Quick Disconnect (QDC) liquid cooling has been concepted a few times before. For the enthusiast and DIY market, there’s not been much of an uptake on the QDC quasi-open loop liquid cooling – but there’s also never been a major marketing push. Our CES 2016 visit with EVGA had us hands-on with a quad-SLI + CPU quick disconnect liquid cooling setup, taking from the well-received GTX 980 Ti Hybrid design and expanding into sequential liquid cooling.
EVGA’s roadmap for 2016 includes quick disconnect GPUs, CPU blocks, and radiators, with additional product support in cases, power, boards, and audio. We’re focusing on the QDC components and the case today.
NZXT's latest case has unique side panels that are convexly curved and stamped from steel, a tooling process we discussed with Corsair earlier in the CES 2016 show. At NZXT's case unveil, we got a hands-on look at the case's exterior and a gathered some sorely limited information about the interior, but some of the most pertinent questions still remain unanswered.
It won't be until January 26, 2015 that we're able to release the name and price of the new mini-ITX mini-tower. We were also asked to wait for information about the interior of the case, to the point that NZXT didn't even remove the side panel (which had a blacked-out window) at its CES demonstration. At this point, we can only speculate as to what it looks like inside and how well it will perform in thermal testing.
Rummaging through Corsair’s suite at CES 2016 produced the usual convention findings: New cases, coolers, software updates, croissants – the conventional assortment of convention goods. Our primary objective for this visit had us focusing on the creation of more unique content, eventually developing into an interview on tooling, manufacturing processes, and the cost of making a case.
We were joined by Corsair’s George Makris, Director of Product Marketing, who openly spoke to the merits of various tooling designs for Corsair and competing cases. High points are recapped in the article following the video interview.
Corsair’s CES suite warrants a few articles and videos, not the least of which includes a forthcoming interview on the topic of case manufacturing and tooling. The company’s newest lineup of cases – the Spec-Alpha, 600C (that we reviewed), and 400C – largely dotted the room, though our focus is on an update to Corsair Link.
Corsair Link is the company’s software utility for commanding “i” suffixed products and PWM-enabled fans. The H100i and HXi PSUs are enduring examples, both of which have some level of monitoring and control access through the software. It seems everyone’s got their own software these days, too – NZXT has CAM, peripheral manufacturers offer innumerable programs of varying utility and bloat, board manufacturers provide “smart” utilities that tap-in to the higher-level UEFI for OS layer firmware management. The idea isn’t new, but execution at a level of legitimate usefulness and stability is new; outside of reviews, our staff rarely goes on to continue use of applications required to change fan speeds and LED colors due to general sluggishness or instability.
Our team has already landed in Las Vegas for CES 2016 and, over the next week, we'll be posting video and written analysis of new products from all major manufacturers. Corsair's announced some of their new items ahead of meetings, to include the Spec-Alpha gaming PC case.
The Spec-Alpha ships in gray-on-black and red-on-white finishes, making ample use of jutting angularity and bezels on top of bezels. Part of the front panel is mesh-covered, the other covered by usual case plastics, and the entire enclosure sits atop black feet (which look a bit out of place for the white and red case).
SilverStone’s Raven RV02 enclosure was once a chart-topper in our bench, laying claim to thermal superiority by taking risks. The RV02 uniquely approached system configuration by rotating the motherboard 90-degrees clockwise, a move that slipstreamed intake from three bottom-mounted, 180mm fans into the video card and CPU cooler. All of the air exhausted through a single top fan, creating a “Stack Effect” solution that yielded high-performance cooling for the GPU and CPU.
It’s been a while since the RV02 came out and made its splash and – a fact we didn’t learn until months after our review – that case was dust-prone, resultant of its positive pressure and all-bottom intake setup. We’ve been due for another risk-taker in the market.
Corsair today officially launches its new 600C and 600Q cases, each deploying an inverted motherboard design and strongly highlighting cooling efficiency. In the 600C/Q, the motherboard is not only rotated by 180-degrees, but inverted – it’s on the right side of the case, rather than the left. Without front-facing I/O, this is the only way to pull-off a 180-degree motherboard rotation. The models are differentiated by the right side panel (which, remember, is the access panel to the board): the 600Q (“quiet”) sacks the window in favor of a steel panel with sound-damping material; the 600C spotlights internals with its large window, somewhat similar to the company’s 760T arrangement (though not glass). The 600C/Q cases are each priced at $150.
Case modder “Gentleman Dingo,” also known as Charlie Falcone, has adapted a GAEMS portable console case into a small form factor gaming PC, hoping to draw GAEMS into the PC gaming market.
The GAEMS Vanguard is a preexisting case designed for transporting consoles--you just pop a console into the bottom compartment, hook it up to the built-in 1366x768 screen via HDMI, and plug the whole thing into a wall outlet. This has obvious advantages for gamers in the military or on vacation, but isn't much use to PC gamers anywhere.
The company that generated industry-wide attention for its H440 case, launched in 1Q14, has returned from relative product-silence with its HUE+ LED controller. The HUE+ is outfitted with a number of substantial improvements over its championed HUE analog controller.
NZXT's HUE+ is a dual-channel RGB LED controller, complete with four high-density, fully addressable LED strips and an SSD form factor hub. It's possible to expand to eight total LED strips (four per channel) for 80 LEDs, each addressable through NZXT's existing CAM software. CAM, already established for Kraken CLC control and live FPS monitoring, makes available eight preset display modes, a pair of custom display modes, four lighting modes, and allows for fully-digital control over the LEDs.
We built a system using the NZXT HUE+ RGB LED controller and spent some time with CAM. This review looks at the new NZXT HUE+ RGB LED system, its build quality, brightness, LED bleed, and overall value. You can find a video review below, worth watching if only for a more visual representation of the LED functionality.
Active users of the site will notice that we've gotten back into case reviews recently and, thanks to some new methods, we've gone a lot deeper with methodology than previously. The bench now includes thermal-over-time charts – which add great value to design analysis – and we've spoken with a number of experts on small design features to spot. Until now, all the 2015 cases we've looked at have been mid-tower or smaller. This B2 Spirit ($180) enclosure is a giant in comparison; in fact, it can nearly fit an entire NZXT S340 within it.
The Rosewill B2 Spirit full-tower case is targeted at gaming PC builds, but can readily fit server-class HPTX motherboards. It's got some unique design features, like pop-out fans and an elevated top-panel plate, but also has some unique oversights. This Rosewill B2 Spirit review tests case build quality, temperatures, and competitive alternatives.
Lian-Li has announced the PC-X510, a case they claim can fit a "full-tower build in mid-tower size."
Thanks to the arrangement of its three internal compartments, the Lian-Li PC-X510 can fit full-sized components into a relatively small footprint. A separate chamber on top of the case holds HDDs and SSDs, shortening the front of the case and making it distinctively tall and skinny (no, the picture isn't stretched – we thought so, too).
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