The NZXT Noctis 450 enclosure was modified for display at Intel's booth for PAX West 2016, featuring an LCD panel for the side “window” in place of the usual acrylic. The display was built by iBUYPOWER as a prototype, and is effectively a 4:3 screen slapped onto the side of the case, then backlit (because there is no normal LCD LED backlight) by the internal case LEDs. White components are specifically used to create a high-contrast viewing port, meshing with the LCD panel in a way that allows video playback on the side of the case.
For the show, iBUYPOWER loaded a splash/advert video onto the side panel that scrolled through Intel and IBP logos. The future may permit more dynamic integrations with the panel, like loading PC monitoring software (e.g. NZXT CAM) with high contrast onto the display, then extending through usual Windows functionality. That's not possible yet, but is one of the considerations made by the team.
This week following IDF has posted several news items for general computing technology and for product announcements. As one might expect, Intel unveiled more Kaby Lake information at its self-titled "Intel Developer Forum," and OCaholic posted a SKU listing for the new Kaby Lake CPUs up to the 7700K. Our news round-up video discusses the limited specifications of the i5-7600K, i7-7700K, lower TDP chips, and Intel's plans for launch.
We also look to the world of peripherals for the Logitech G Pro mouse, equipped with the PMW3366 sensor, and to the world of cases for X2's new "Empire" enclosure.
More in the video or script below, if you prefer:
German manufacturer Be Quiet! has released its latest line of ultra-quiet fans – the SilentWings 3, first found in the Dark Base 900 that we saw at Computex. Be Quiet! is a company whose name backs most product roll-outs, as representative Christoph Katzer explained to us. The company focuses heavily on build quality and silence, and the new SilentWings 3 fans have been redesigned with fluid-dynamic bearings, now using brass cores and seven blades that have a funnel-shaped design. The frame is rubberized to enable a reported near-inaudible sound level – according to Be Quiet!, the 120mm model produces 16.4 decibels and the 140mm model 15.5 decibels. To put that into perspective, someone whispering is about 30 decibels. The rubberized design also reduces vibration levels to further mitigate noise.
We looked at Be Quiet!'s Dark Base 900 PC case at Computex and were impressed. The SilentWings 3 fans debuted in the DB900, about 3 months prior to launch individually, so owners of the DB900 are already equipped with the new fans.
Discussion of In Win is normally around trade show systems, often of the “$2400 animatronic deathbot” variety. The not-a-Transformer systems still exceed price-points of $400, as found with the trademark orange-and-glass D-Frame. In Win's image has firmly solidified as one of a designer company: the cases tend to be artful, of high build quality, and expensive, leaving the low-end market to peddle its flimsy steel panels and acrylic windows.
Today marks our first review of an affordable In Win case, and the first affordable In Win case we find legitimately innovative and well-suited for mainstream gaming PCs. The In Win 303 is a $90 enclosure with a full, 3mm-thick tempered glass side window, a half-chamber top-mounted PSU with unique radiator mounting, and a simplified (but not minimalistic) exterior. The case uses 1.2mm thick SECC steel paneling, making it one of the most rigid enclosures on the market – and that's across the entire sub-$200 price-range, not just the budget price-point; that said, most directly competing cases use 0.6mm or 0.8mm steel.
Prior to working on this case, we toured the In Win factory (while in Taipei for Computex – a short drive to Taoyuan) and got a first-hand look at the manufacturing process. The unique experience has afforded us a unique ability to judge the case for its engineering and materials. Check the In-Win Factory Tour content for that.
We're getting close to the June 29 release date of the AMD RX 480 GPU, and we're still tailing the Pascal launch of nVidia's GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. That's planted these last few episodes of Ask GN firmly within graphics territory, with most questions revolving around the pricing and availability of the newest cards.
This episode focuses on the “actual” availability and pricing of the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 (read: we've been told by AIB partners to expect more supply by mid-late July), pricing, the RX 480 vs. the GTX 970, and more. Some of the topics under the “more” category talk motherboard impact on FPS, UEFI vs. Legacy follow-ups, and PC thermals.
Our recent NZXT factory tour showed how the burgeoning case manufacturer manufactures its towers – from tooling to assembly – and gave an insider's look at the industry. Now, just a few weeks later, NZXT has announced its refreshed H440 “EnVyUs” Edition, named after the popular eSports team that competes in CSGO, CoD, LoL, and now Overwatch.
The H440 is similar to the model we reviewed back in 2014 (and said it was “why we review cases,”), but has been updated with the H440v2 modifications. These primarily include updates to the airflow – like larger intake ventilation – and have been in production for around a year now. Newegg lists the H440v2 as the “H440 STEEL.”
We've made it a habit to cover the best gaming cases at every CES show for a few years now, but our (first ever) visit to Computex has revealed something: Computex is a huge show for PC hardware; bigger than CES, in many ways, and that includes new case unveils.
Following our coverage for Computex 2016, this gaming case round-up highlights some of the best PC towers of the year. Several of these cases aren't yet on sale – and some may never be – but the majority of manufacturers are targeting a 2H16 launch for their enclosures. For this best cases of Computex 2016 round-up, we look at SilverStone, Lian-Li, In-Win, Be Quiet!, Corsair, Thermaltake, and Rosewill. Other manufacturers were present in droves – Nanoxia, Cooler Master, Deep Cool, and others – but these were the stand-out cases of booths we visited.
No particular order to the below listing. "HM" stands for "Honorable Mention."
Corsair's products precede them. Computex 2016 didn't feature any new cases from the rapidly growing case manufacturer, but did quietly highlight a refresh of the 400C Carbide in white. We received the 600C and 400C series well in reviews, so adding a new color doesn't hurt. A few new products did make their way to the showroom, primarily new fans with mag-lev bearings and an updated set of DDR4 memory kits.
The Mag-Lev fans use a bearing which is – at least temporarily – exclusive to Corsair, a trend with Corsair's supply-side partners. Corsair's ML Pro fans will be the first to ship with mag-level fan bearings and will be available in both 120mm and 140mm sizes; we don't yet have a price, but have been told that the fans will be among Corsair's most expensive.
It's been a number of years since we were thoroughly impressed by Rosewill. The Rosewill R5, made back in 2012, landed on our bench as one of the best cases we'd ever worked with. It was exactly in-tune with the market, and shipped at a time when things like dust filters were getting hugely popular and common. Since then, the Throne filled a gap at the high-end, but not much else has caught our eye.
Finally, Rosewill's started making moves in the right direction (following the Gungnir launch). The new “Cullinan” case keeps with the industry's move toward the tinted, tempered glass aesthetic; Rosewill's using a high-quality, thick tempered glass side panel on the left and right of the Cullinan, and also throws one onto the front. The front panel, as one would expect, reveals the 120mm fans seated within the front of the chassis. Three were installed at the show, but we're told to expect somewhere around 4-5 total fans (stock) with the system – that'd be one in the rear, one or two in the top, and two or three in the front (all 120mm).
Years ago, at one of our earliest CES shows, we covered the SilverStone-ASUS external graphics enclosure. It was a joint-venture that never made it to production, a result of licensing issues relating to Intel and Thunderbolt. Now, with the market flooding with external dGPU enclosures, SilverStone has resurrected its killed product from the dead.
SilverStone is responsible for the chassis and power supply – a 450W, bronze-rated PSU housed in an aluminum tower – and Gigabyte is helping with the logic connecting the VGA to the laptop. The enclosure is fully made of aluminum and can fit effectively all video cards (as long as they're two-slot cards or smaller), and has two thunderbolt outputs for communication with laptops.
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