Hardware

The Phanteks Enthoo Pro 2 is a case that we last saw at CES 2020, back in January. It’s a giant liquid cooling-focused enclosure built on the existing P600S chassis and, as such, it differs from our usual case reviews in much the same way that the O11 Dynamic XL review did. Incidentally, the Phanteks reviewer’s guide suggests that this case is intended to directly compete with the XL, as well as Fractal’s Define 7 XL, be quiet!’s Dark Base Pro 900, and Corsair’s Obsidian Series 1000D. Today, we’ll be discussing the airflow and some unusual features of the Enthoo Pro 2, including our first hands-on testing of Phanteks’ self-dubbed “High Performance Fabric.”

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.

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.

Cooler Master has yet to master its overwhelming instinct to put 500 in the name of cases. This latest offering is the Masterbox TD500 Mesh, a mesh-ified version of an existing acrylic-fronted case. Apparently they’ve gotten so tired of us drilling holes in their cases that they’ve started doing it for us. The TD500 Mesh is a mid tower with three ARGB fans, good ventilation, and an MSRP of $100, and based on our review of the Phanteks P400A, that’s a good place to be right now.

Right after we said that an AMD R3 CPU is “enough for gaming,” stealing the old Intel mantra from many generations ago, Intel decided to launch its 10-series CPUs. Intel calls this “10th Gen,” but in reality, it’s the nth Gen of a long-standing architecture. We’ve lost count at this point, but either way, it’s the 10-series of processors. The i5-10600K is the one we’re reviewing here, and it’s actually repositioned to resurrect that old “an i5 is enough for gaming” phrasing from the days of the i5-4690K and i5-6600K. This, we think, is the more interesting CPU as compared to Intel’s i9-10900K that we reviewed in the previous video, but both have points of intrigue. The biggest one is core-to-core deltas in thermals now that Intel is sanding the die down, something we showed previously in our i9-10900K delid. Today, we’re reviewing the i5-10600K.

NOTE: THIS IS A DELAYED PUBLICATION OF OUR 10600K REVIEW FROM YouTube. If you already saw this on YouTube, it's the same thing, just the written format. We have not changed anything, so new information we've uncovered about the 10600K isn't included post-launch and you'll need to check our channel for follow-up coverage, like our in-depth tuning piece on the 10600K.

Intel’s continuing to bring the heat, literally and figuratively, and is now leveling its new 10C/20T part squarely at AMD. We have a separate in-depth review coming up on the 10600K, which has interesting implications for the R5 3600 and the realm of gaming, but for launch, we need to start with the flagship 10900K. That’s not the 10900X, mind you, but the 10900K, which is the part socketable for LGA1200 and Z490 motherboards. We’ll be looking at whether Intel’s die sanding worked for leveling-off thermals, benchmarking games, initial overclocking on the ASUS Max XII Extreme, production workloads versus the 3900X, and more.

UPDATE: Intel i5-10600K review is now live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQVBlCfb72M

The Thermaltake Level 20 RS ARGB is part of a small resurgence of Cooler Master HAF-esque cases that have come out in the wake of the H500P, with the two big 200mm RGB front intake fans that were distinctive of that case. We’re not going to try to pick apart Thermaltake’s naming conventions this time, so we’ll just say that although the chassis clearly reuses tooling from some earlier case, it’s not the Level 20 MT that we reviewed in 2018. This Level 20 uses mesh.

This is the big one: In this review, we’re benchmarking the AMD R3 3300X $120 CPU, but we’re specifically interested in the real-world impact of the CCX-to-CCX communication latency in the Ryzen 3 3100 versus the Ryzen 3 3300X at the same overclocked frequency of 4.4GHz. It’s massive in some instances, beyond 20%, and eliminates the ability to just overclock the otherwise identical 3100 to meet the 3300X performance for cheaper. As discussed in our Ryzen 3 3100 review that’s already live, the 3300X runs a 4+0 core configuration with everything on one CCD, on one CCX, while the 3100 runs a 2+2 configuration on two CCXs on that CCD. We’re going to look at how much that impacts performance, but also review the 3300X versus basically every other current CPU, and a few older ones.

Today we’re reviewing the AMD R3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X, but we have a dedicated content piece for the AMD R3 3300X because we added benchmarks for the two CPUs at the same frequency, exposing the latency difference between them. For this specific article and video, we’re focusing all of our attention on the AMD R3 3100 CPU at $100, potentially a high-volume part for budget PC builds. That includes overclocking, power consumption, gaming benchmarks, frequency analysis, production workloads (Premiere, Photoshop, compile, et al.), and more. Our AMD Ryzen 3 3300X review will post within a couple of hours on this one (on YouTube, at least, if not also on the site), and that’ll feature head-to-head 4.4GHz overclocks on the R3 3100 vs. R3 3300X, where the 3300X’s 4+0 core CCX configuration can be tested for its real-world latency impact versus the 2+2 3100. 

Writing this review, it felt like we were writing a review script from the same era as the 7700K, and not just because AMD is positioning itself against the 2017 CPU. Back when we reviewed the 7700K, all the comparisons were to the 6700K, the 4790K, the 2600K – the theme was that it was all intra-brand competition. The same is happening now, where we’re throwing a few Intel names out there as comparisons, but until the 10-series, AMD really is just competing against itself. It’s fascinating in a way, because from a reviewer and editorial standpoint, it really does feel like dejavu – except it’s a different company in 2020. The new AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X CPUs have a release date set for May 21, 2020, with the Intel 10th “Gen” release date set for May 20, 2020.

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