Our history of working with SilverStone has been relatively limited, but we've always walked away impressed. This first happened with the SG08, then again with the Raven RV02 -- which now sits firmly at the top of our thermal bench for enclosures. In talking with the company, we've found that they feel incredibly confident in their products' performance and—while that's not uncommon in PR—they haven't been wrong yet. I can respect that.
The Argon AR01 cooler is another example of this: Having recently re-benched all our coolers on the 2013 GN Test Bench, SilverStone was eager to assert their dominance among air coolers. There are a few different models of the new Argon cooler, each purpose-built for different socket-types (and thus CPU sizes); the advantage to this is that—rather than ship a "one size fits all" unit, like the Hyper 212 or Respire T40—users can achieve peak thermal dissipation with optimized coldplate positioning.
Let's specifically look at Intel for demonstrative purposes: If you're not aware, the number accompanying LGA sockets is the pin-count for the socket. IB LGA1155 has 1155 pins that connect the socket and the CPU, SB-E LGA2011 has 2011 pins, and so on. As you can imagine, the physical substrate dimensions are dictated by the number of pins; this also tends to trend with more powerful (X-class) CPUs, which occupy their substrate with physically-larger silicon dies.
Its knee-high, monolithic stature almost resembles what you'd find in a server farm: Wide, imposing, and externally simple. NZXT's H630 was slowly leaked via a drawn-out, week-long marketing campaign, towing behind it a website revamp and the Sentry Mix 2; with all the fanfare reinforcing the H630's launch, NZXT puts itself in the vulnerable position of living up to hype. Let's see if they do.
This NZXT H630 silent gaming / PC case review looks at its benchmark performance, additional fans, specs, build quality, and briefly skims over noise level. We also tested multiple add-on fan configurations within the case, ideally helping interested buyers to determine the optimal fan configuration.
Enthusiast-class cases have trended toward heavier focus on ease-of-installation features, almost creating the perception that performance features were "maxed-out," so to speak. There's inarguably a place for enthusiast enclosures whose headlining acts are the likes of a 70-color LED strip (like the Phantom 820), but there's an equally-large market contingent that demands nothing but the best performance.
SilverStone originally impressed us with their SG08 mini-ITX SFF case (which we used for an HTPC); they further impressed us at CES 2013, where we were given a pre-production look at the RV04/FT04 enthusiast-class enclosures. SilverStone's recurring message to us has been communicated as a focus on performance. At CES we asked SilverStone for thoughts on the industry's trend toward ease-of-installation and cable management perks, to which they countered: "How many times are you going to install the system? Probably once." They have a solid point.
Hot on the heels of Steve's review of Logitech's high-end G700s, we're regrouping to bring you another Logitech mouse review -- this time, it's the Logitech G500s gaming mouse. The mouse uses a chassis that brings back memories of the MX518, G5, and G500 (non-s) mice by Logitech, using a similar chassis/frame layout, a powerful sensor, quality hardware, and a mid-range price-point.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- and there's certainly not much broken about the previous iterations (sans some quality issues with plastic M4/M5 buttons). Let's see if that holds true for the G500s.
Gaming peripherals are currently spearheading our efforts to deconstruct the underlying components within gaming hardware and, following our Genius Gila review, today we look at Logitech's new G700s mouse. We first spoiled Logitech's new gaming peripherals right before PAX East, where we covered hard specs and talked a bit about Logitech's new branding, but have since had time to speak with Logitech engineers and play with the hardware.
The G700s and G500s were what specifically interested our review staff (Patrick Lathan will be looking at the G500s) for their one-two punch in the high-end and mid-range gaming markets, respectively; a review is also pending for the new keyboards and a headset, though that's still slightly in the distance.
Following-up with our Genius DeathTaker and Logitech G600 reviews, and our Logitech pre-PAX round-up, we're now looking to Genius' Gila (pronounced hee-la), a high-end gaming mouse. This review looks at the Genius GX-Gaming Gila MMO/RTS mouse and includes a look at the insides and software in video format; you all told us that you wanted more peripheral content, so this is very much in response to those demands!
We originally grouped up with the company at CES 2013, where Genius representative Sam Chou informed us that the company was taking its first steps into the world of gaming peripherals. If the Gila, DeathTaker, and their speakers do well, we were told, they'd consider the possibility of mechanical keyboards and other high-profile gaming equipment.
Let's see if the Gila did well.
We've been busy with PAX here at GamersNexus for the past weeks, but now the team is back and it's time to catch up on some peripheral reviews. First in line is a mouse—and it isn't Logitech this time (but you should also check out our Logitech roundup)—no, this time it's the Genius DeathTaker. Just let that name sink in for a moment.
Genius is the brand name of KYE Systems Corporation, a Taiwanese company with a focus on general computer peripherals; they make just about everything, ranging from drawing tablets, to mouse pads, to speakers, to mice, and they've recently begun exploring the PC gaming space with their new GX Gaming lineup. The DeathTaker is part of their GX Gaming devices (so is the Gila - be sure to keep an eye out for a review soon) and has been labeled as an "MMORPG/RTS Gaming Laser Mouse," although it's not tailored to those two genres exclusively, or at all: it's more of a jack of all trades.
This article aims to review Genius' DeathTaker MMO/RTS gaming mouse, talk about its pros/cons, execution, and overall performance in gaming.
As with any modernized adaptation of an existing technology, closed-loop liquid coolers (CLCs) have become almost fad-like in their adoption. In part, this is because CLCs actually do have very legitimate advantages over traditional air coolers - they are highly noise-to-temperature efficient, for one thing, and have an aesthetic appeal for some users. The other part of this liquid cooling craze, though, I believe is attributable to a general doting of something new.
The thing is, not every liquid cooler is going to be inherently better than similarly-priced air coolers. Just having liquid in tubes (rather than copper-encased capillaries) does not make the units predisposed to superior cooling qualities; this said, a well-constructed liquid-cooling solution can certainly trounce a well-constructed air cooling solution -- it just comes down to the engineering in each product and consideration of other differences (noise). There's a reason we use radiators for large, hot things (cars, for one) in tandem with traditional air-cooling engineering (also found in car cooling systems in the form of air intakes, copper/aluminum sinks, etc.): Both have their place for optimizing maximized potential for thermal dissipation.
There was a recent burst in demand from our community (that's you guys) to cover more gaming peripherals—keyboards, mice, headsets, the works—and start reviewing the options out there. Following-up with our video production rig, which endeavored to detail some great audio peripherals, this review signifies the impending publication of several new mouse & keyboard reviews.
For the past several weeks I've had the opportunity to play around with a couple of high-end gaming mice sent in to GamersNexus, including today's Logitech G600; this Logitech G600 gaming mouse review will look at its features, value for MMO gamers, and talk about serious button enthusiasm.
As I've explained innumerable times this past month, the overwrought enthusiast market has clambered over itself with new hardware for 2013. It's really quite unbelievable: As the mainstream desktop market wanes—due to many factors, like prolonged usable system lifespan and minimized consumer interest—the enthusiast and gaming markets have picked up competitive interest among manufacturers. There's suddenly a much greater incentive to establish and maintain a foothold in enthusiast computing, making for undeniably excellent news for our readers; today's case review of NZXT's Phantom 630 is a testament to that, given its swath of features for a previously unachievable price-point. We originally previewed the Phantom 630 at CES, found here.
This is also evident in other recent cases we've reviewed (or intend to review), like the upcoming Throne, Corsair's 900D (which looks amazing, by the way), SilverStone's entire line-up, and the far more affordable RAIDMAX Cobra and Armor Evolution. Quite simply put, we're seeing more features, more efficiency, and better performance at a lower cost to the consumer -- or as it's affectionately known, competition at its finest.
NZXT's Phantom 630 is the next to be reviewed & benchmarked, a particularly interesting case for its appeal to more budget-conscious gaming hardware enthusiasts. The price scale for gaming enclosures is an interesting one -- it's very heavy in the mid-range (~$100 sector) and top-end, but lightens up toward the bottom of the scale ($50~$70). The Phantom 630 is targeted at around $180, placing it firmly between mid-range full towers and hardcore enthusiast systems (like the Phantom 820 we reviewed, which was $250ish).
As always, let's start with the video review component and the hard specs.
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