Hardware

The Thermaltake View 37 is the latest addition to Thermaltake’s big-transparent-window-themed View series. It’s similar in appearance to the older View 27, but with a much larger acrylic window and less internal shrouding.

The acrylic window is impressive, and it’s about the best it can be without using tempered glass. Manufacturing curved glass panels is difficult and expensive, and using glass would probably bring the price closer to $200 (or above, for the RGB version). As it is, the acrylic is thick and well-tooled so it’s basically indistinguishable from glass, other than a tendency to collect dust and small scratches. Acrylic was the right choice to ship with this case, but if Thermaltake sticks to past patterns they may offer a separate glass panel in the future.

Today, we’re reviewing the Thermaltake View 37 enclosure at $110, with some 2x 200mm fan testing for comparison. The RGB version runs at $170.

If you went through our original H500P review and addressed each complaint one by one, the result would be the H500P Mesh, Cooler Master’s new mesh-fronted variant of the (formerly) underwhelming HAF successor. We previously built our own Cooler Master mesh mod, and the performance results there nearly linearly mirror what we found in Cooler Master’s actual H500P Mesh case.

In our Cooler Master H500P Mesh review, we’ll run through temperature testing (thermals), airflow testing with an anemometer, and noise testing. Additional quality analysis will be done to gauge whether the substantial issues with the original H500P front and top panels have been resolved.

 

As this case is the same barebones chassis as the original H500P, we encourage you to read that review for more detailed notes on the build process. The focus here is on airflow, thermals, noise, and external build quality or other resolutions. As a reminder, the original marketing advertised “guaranteed high-volume airflow,” and suggested to reviewers that the case was a high-airflow enclosure with performance-oriented qualities. That, clearly, was not true, and was what resulted in the lashing the H500P received. Honest marketing matters.

Raven Ridge APUs are interesting as products. In a world where MSRP acted as an infallible decree handed down by galactic overlords, the GT 1030 would cost $70, the RX 560 would cost $100, and the G4560 would always have been $60. In this world, however, the GT 1030 has now usurped both the GTX 1050 and RX 560 in price, landing at $110 to $120, and the G4560 has… actually fallen in price, down to $60 from an overpriced $80 previously.

Then the R3 2200G and R5 2400G entered the market, priced at $100 and $170, respectively. These APU launches are different from previous APU launches: Previously, AMD has pushed variants of the Bulldozer architecture with older generation GPU components; today, Ryzen and Vega significantly outperform AMD’s previous parts, and are both found in the APUs.

We’re benchmarking the Raven Ridge parts entirely for gaming right now. In our eyes, the Raven Ridge APUs – the R3 2200G and R5 2400G – are gaming parts, and so we’ll leave the production workloads to the higher-end Ryzen desktop parts. We are also focusing our performance testing on the R3 2200G, R5 2400G, and competing, similarly priced dGPU + discrete CPU options. This includes the G4560 + GT 1030 and R3 1200 + GT 1030. For determining performance scalability, we have a few charts from our GPU bench (run with an unconstrained GPU on an i7-7700K). These are obviously not meant to compare the APU performance to high-end desktop components, but rather to offer perspective of scale – it’s a look at how much performance an APU provides at its price.

Note also that we’ve not bothered to test the Intel IGP performance, as we already know its performance is, comparatively speaking, garbage. There’s no need to do in-depth testing on that; no one should reasonably be using an Intel IGP for gaming at any meaningful quality level. Because our performance floor cuts the IGPs, we are left with the APUs and immediately competing discrete components.

We recently revisited the “King of Case Airflow”, the SilverStone Raven 02, which we originally reviewed back in 2013. It’s certainly the king compared to anything we’ve tested recently, but competition for the crown was a lot stronger back when the case was released, and the ultimate example of high airflow early 2010’s cases is the Cooler Master HAF X (still available, by the way). 2010 seems like ancient history, back when certain people were working for Newegg TV and others for NCIX, but the HAF series remains so respected that Cooler Master leveraged the name to promote the H500P last year; the HAF X specifically was so popular that brand new ones are available for purchase on Newegg right now, nearly eight years after its release.

GamersNexus did exist when the HAF X launched, but we never officially reviewed it. Steve bought the case featured in this revisit for his own system years ago, and we ran a contest for a HAF X shirt in 2012. It seems like everyone had a high opinion of it, including us, which made the H500P a big letdown. This revisit aims to find out whether the HAF X was really worthy of all that hype.

The Corsair 270R won our Editor’s Choice award when we reviewed it back in 2016. The 570X was the main event in that article, but we also praised the 270R as a decent case with a launch price in the $60-$70 range--and we’ve continued to mention it favorably, since it’s gone on sale for as low as $50. Now the 275R is here, Corsair’s new and slightly fancier version with the option of a tempered glass side panel.

The Corsair 275R case ships in two varieties: $80 with tempered glass or $70 for acrylic -- at which point the latter is essentially a 270R. The 275R is a refresh, then, and prioritizes tempered glass, a longer PSU shroud that doesn’t abruptly terminate, and rubber grommets. As it differs from the 270R, that would more or less recap the 275R. As its name openly indicates, this is a half-step to something new.

The Obsidian Series 500D is a new glass and aluminum enclosure from Corsair that we showed at CES, noting primarily that it took no risks, but was OK overall. The case takes a lot of known-good concepts and merges them in a single enclosure. It’s a safe play -- but safe plays are sometimes the best ones.

The chassis of the 500D is only slightly modified from the 570X, a case that we reviewed highly and gave a Quality Build award back in 2016. That doesn’t give it a free pass--the exterior panels are often what make or break the performance of a case, as we’ll discuss further in the thermal section. As for looks, though, Corsair has successfully adapted old tooling to a new model without obvious compromises, other than some cutouts around the edges that were clearly intended for steel side panels--but those aren’t visible with the case closed.

EK Waterblocks makes some of our favorite quick release valves, but their previous attempt at a semi-open loop liquid cooler – the EK Predator – terminated after an overwhelming amount of issues with leakage. It was a shame, too, because the Predator was one of the best-performing coolers we’d tested for noise-normalized performance. Ultimately, if it can’t hold water, it’s all irrelevant.

EK is attempting to redeem themselves with the modular, semi-open approach set-forth with the new EK-MLC Phoenix series. A viewer recently loaned us the EK-MLC Phoenix 360mm cooler and Intel CPU block ($200 for the former, $80 for the latter), which we immediately put to work on the bench. This review looks at the EK-MLC Phoenix 360mm radiator and CPU cooling block, primarily contending against closed-loop liquid coolers (like the H150i Pro and X62) and EK's own Fluid Gaming line.

SilverStone Primera PM02 Case Review vs. PM01, RL06

By Published February 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm

The PM02 is the successor to Silverstone’s Primera 01, a case we’ve often referenced but have never fully reviewed. As Silverstone points out on their site, Primera is Spanish for “first,” so please take a quiet moment to appreciate the name “Primera 02.” This (still) isn’t a review of the PM01, but since it will continue to be sold alongside the PM02 (~$140), we took this opportunity to do some testing and make a close comparison. The original Primera should be a familiar sight to anyone that’s seen our render rig or the community-funded gift PC from a few months ago. Because the two cases seen in those videos are being used, we acquired yet another for this article--we like the 01 a lot.

This review will benchmark the SilverStone PM01 vs. the PM02 and RL06 airflow PCs, with additional testing conducted across other popular on-market cases, including the H500P.

MSI GTX 1070 Ti DUKE Review: Thermals & Overclocking

By Published January 25, 2018 at 11:07 pm

We recently bought the MSI GTX 1070 Ti Duke for a separate PC build, and decided we’d go ahead and review the card while at it. The MSI GTX 1070 Ti Duke graphics card uses a three-fan cooler, which MSI seems to now be officially calling the “tri-frozr” cooler, and was among the more affordable GTX 1070 Ti cards on the market. That reign has ended as GPU prices have re-skyrocketed, but perhaps it’ll return again to $480. Until then, we’ll write this assuming that price. Beyond $480, it’s obviously not worth it, just to spell that out right now.

The MSI GTX 1070 Ti Duke has one of the thinner heatsinks of the 10-series cards, and a lot of that comes down to card form factor: The Duke fits in a 2-slot form factor, but runs a three-fan cooler. This mixture necessitates a thin, wide heatsink, which means relatively limited surface area for dissipation, but potentially quieter fans from the three-fan solution.

NOTE: We wrote this review before CES. Card prices have since skyrocketed. Do not buy any 1070 Ti for >$500. This card was reviewed assuming a $470-$480 price-point. Anything more than that, it's not worth it.

Cherry MX 6.0 Mechanical Keyboard Review

By Published January 15, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Cherry MX switches have long been well-regarded in the keyboard community. They were first introduced in 1983, and since then have become commonplace in the mechanical keyboard market – which was the only keyboard market before the invention of rubber domes. Yet Cherry not only produces MX switches for other keyboards, but also produces keyboards – and claim to be the oldest keyboard manufacturer still in business.

One of the most recent additions to Cherry’s keyboard lineup is the Cherry MX 6.0 – not exactly the cleverest name – which aims to be a high-end keyboard meant to suit both typists (such as office workers) and gamers alike. It features MX Red switches, a moderately reserved style, red backlighting, an excellent build quality, Cherry Realkey, and a hefty price of $176.

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