Hardware

In suit of its H630 silent case announcement and website redesign, NZXT has announced today that it intends to revitalize its Sentry series of fan controllers. NZXT's Sentry Mix 2 fan controller specs have been detailed in the announcement, and having tested previous models, we have a couple of thoughts on the unit. A review is pending.

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New: NZXT H630 Specs - Silent Gaming Case

By Published May 07, 2013 at 11:51 am

NZXT's been teasing the release of a new addition to their quiet series of cases for nearly a week now, and as the reveal comes to fruition, we finally know what's in store: The H630.

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The H-series of cases from NZXT is considered their "silent" line. The new H630 case takes the Phantom 630 chassis, makes some key panel changes, and promotes itself as an enthusiast-class silent enclosure option.

NZXT's H630 specs have been fully detailed along with the launch of a new website, so this is definitely a big day for the company. Here's what we know so far:

As everyday consumers continue to trend toward heavier utilization of smaller devices—phones, tablets, laptops, HTPCs, what-have-you—storage capacity becomes a more noticeable throttle than previously experienced on desktops. Thanks to some serious compression algorithms and efficient file management on mobile operating systems, we see more effective space utilization than previously -- still, for users who consume storage for large media formats, mobile readers and drives have become a bit of a 'thing.'

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This was first demonstrated on our site through coverage of Corsair's Voyager Air, an all-in-one, self-powered standalone drive that effectively operates as a 'family fileserver.' The Voyager Air was marketed at a somewhat bonecrushing $180-$220. At the same event as Corsair's unveil, we received early sample units of Kingston's next iteration of their MobileLite family of remote storage; they're less all-encompassing and more affordable than the Voyager, but have a different approach to wireless storage. Let's talk about specs and applications.

New: Budget Rosewill Patriot Gaming Case Specs

By Published April 26, 2013 at 5:43 am

Rosewill's been known to silently release budget/mid-range products without major press fanfare -- the Line-M, which we spotted at CES, is a recent example of this. The new Patriot case had no official press release, but is freshly available on Newegg and has been posted to the company's facebook page; here's what we know about the Rosewill Patriot case from the specs (review hopefully impending):

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In addition to Rosewill's custom-painted Throne case, PAX East 2013 will see the return of Corsair, one of the fastest-rising stars in the tech sector. Corsair has announced that its new Vengeance K70 keyboard (first teased at CES 2013) will be present at PAX East this weekend, apt to show-off its key-by-key LED backlighting.

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Valve has long stated its beliefs in a community-driven gaming environment, as evidenced in the tools the company has released for its own Team Fortress 2 and other titles; they see gaming as an ecosystem that can be sustained better by players than by developers, in part due to numbers, in part just because gamers are closer to the end product given their nature of being isolated from the development process.

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In continuing this philosophy, Steam is now equipped with "Steam Early Access," a platform that allows players to play games pre-release and aid devs in testing for bugs and feature requests.

Logitech's made our job of titling a post difficult this time. With impeccable timing, the company is unveiling eight new products (two headsets, two keyboards, four mice), and has effectively renewed its dedication to PC gaming.

This launch sees marketing material surrounding their G-Series branding—a letter that is clearly superior to its 25 competitors, all vying for power—with the new products prefixed by 'G,' as usual, and suffixed with an 's.' Logitech's announcement brings us two high-end gaming mice, the G700s and G500s, two high-end keyboards (G19s, G510s), and a high-end headset, the G430s. There's a lot of stuff to look at, so we'll go through point-by-point:

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Intel's 4th-Gen CPUs ("Haswell") are fast-approaching, and that means a new chipset, socket type, and new motherboards to go with it all. Intel appears to be sticking with its branding schema for the next round of chipsets, including Z87 (the new "Performance" brand, championing Z77) and an X-series enthusiast chipset.

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MSI, BioStar, ASRock, and Gigabyte have all revealed detailed Haswell motherboard plans and prototypes for their impending Z87 boards at CeBIT in Germany; ASUS has additionally teased some information, but nothing of much use yet. All the boards mentioned herein are on Intel's upcoming LGA1150 socket type, made for their 4th-Gen Haswell CPUs.

While writing four liquid cooler reviews of Corsair and NZXT products today, I had an eerily-coincidental story pop-up on my feed reader: Asetek is out for blood (again), and this time, they're targeting Cooler Master.

How extraordinarily relevant to the impending review content.

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You know graphics are starting to get good when hardware developers and game developers have time to work on hair. Rendering realistic hair has historically put GPUs under tremendous load, and actually we've often used FurMark—literally just a ball of dynamic fur—for stress-testing GPUs and testing for thermals. The obstructions to realistic, real-time hair rendering are mostly expected: In the real world, thousands of little strands of hair will react to every step and movement in the wind; hair can be greasy, wet, dry, and I'm sure if we were stylists, we'd be able to name dozens of other hair afflictions. Oh, and hair doesn't clip in the real-world, either. None of this is easy to render without consuming more system resources than can be allocated to, well, just hair.

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This is why we see polygonal, blocky hair in a lot of games -- it gets covered by hoods or rendered in a bland enough way that it's not something you pay any mind. Artists can apply masks and textures that create hair that looks the part, but that's far away from the realm of hair (I'm getting semantic satiation over here) being realistically responsive to weather and movements. And this is where AMD hopes to enter the ring.

Hot on the heels of their Jaguar integration in the PS4, AMD has announced the development of its TressFX hair rendering technology. The company—in joint-effort with game dev Crystal Dynamics—hopes to bring further realism to Lara Croft's blood-spattered, dirt-covered avatar in the newest Tomb Raider iteration.

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