Day one of our Computex 2016 coverage began and ended with MSI's product lineup. We haven't yet gotten to the VR backpack – that'll come soon enough – but we did go over the new GTX 1080 Twin Frozr VI cards. The MSI HQ also brought to bear its updated X99 motherboards for Broadwell-E. The new BW-E Intel CPUs are compatible with the “old” socket type and chipset from Haswell-E (though firmware will need to be updated on older boards), though most motherboard manufacturers are launching entirely new, refreshed lines to coincide with the BW-E launch.
The new motherboards are branded with the “X99A” prefix/suffix combo. That “A” denotes that the product is part of the new motherboards coinciding with the BW-E launch; it is not an entirely new chipset, just a suffix notation. The boards mentioned in our meetings are of the Titanium (“X99A Titanium”), Gaming (“X99A Gaming Pro Carbon”), and SLI (“X99A SLI Plus”) lines, which cover the high-end enthusiast market, mid-range gaming market, and entry-level X99 market (e.g. 5820K).
As many of our regular visitors know, our DIY GTX 1080 Hybrid project revealed that nVidia's GTX 1080 could yield additional clock-rate increases if accompanied by a custom VBIOS and more advanced power management. The Founders Edition of the card has a few points of capping with regard to overclocking: The first is thermal, which was resolved with our Hybrid solution, as sustained clock-rates become impossible when the GPU saturates its heatsink and hits 82C; a 100% VRM blower RPM will mitigate this issue, but that is unusable in a real-world environment. The second issue, once thermal is resolved (and it will be by these AIB partners), is voltage regulation. Not power – we weren't fully tapping the available power supply to the card – but voltage.
The stock GTX 1080 is limited by its 5+1-phase VRM in some ways, but is more limited by VBIOS restrictions that prohibit extreme overvoltage in order to protect the card. This makes sense in some regard – allowing the users full voltage control would result in an insurmountable wall of RMA'd bricks – but does feel a bit like a tease to enthusiast users.
While at an MSI press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, in preparation for Computex, we pulled aside MSI Corp. Executive Vice President Charles Chiang, VGA Product Marketer Ernest Liu, and Product Marketing Manager Joran Schoonderwoerd to discuss the new Twin Frozr VI GTX 1080 cards. We'll discuss the new SeaHawks in another post.
NZXT's manufacturing birthplace is in Shenzhen, China, but the company moved to a new, high-end facility in 2000. The company now works with Godspeed Casing, a factory that NZXT is largely responsible for 'raising' from the ground-up. Over 1200 employees work at the factory, working with tens of millions of dollars of equipment on a daily basis. One of the largest, most impressive machines in the factory is the SAG-600, which can apply upwards of 600 metric tonnes of downward force to create case paneling. That machine alone costs $2 million (USD) and towers a few times over its operator.
This NZXT factory tour is part of our Asia trip, and marks the second stop in our extended “How Cases are Made” coverage. In-Win was the first factory we visited, based in Taoyuen, Taiwan, and we've now spent a day in China for NZXT's facilities. We'll soon be back in Taipei for further Computex and local factory coverage.
Let's look at NZXT's setup:
GN's embarking on its most ambitious trip yet: Taipei, then Shenzhen, China and neighboring countries, then back to Taipei. There are many reasons we're doing the Asia tour, but it's all rooted in one of the world's largest consumer electronics shows. Computex rivals CES in size, though arguably has a bigger desktop hardware / component presence than CES (hosted annually in Las Vegas). This year, we're attending – should be a good show.
Here's a quick recap of what PC hardware to expect at Computex 2016.
This Computex, Be Quiet doesn’t appear to be jumping into any new markets, but rather improving their current case, fan, cooler, and power supply product lines.
Corsair's Computex announcements began with “Bulldog,” the company's attempt at a DIY kit for “console-sized” 4K gaming. Bulldog is effectively a barebones kit of core components, to include a small form factor case, CLC, PSU, and motherboard. Users must purchase other necessary components separately.
PC cases are most simply a box. Sometimes, they’re expensive boxes. Yet throughout the years, we have seen cases transform from being “just a box” with a couple added features to being incredibly polished and feature-rich cases, putting enclosures from a more beige era to shame.
Despite the simple concept of a case, PC case manufacturers have continued to add new and creative features that make their cases more than “just a box.” Phanteks is a fairly well-known name in fans and CPU coolers, but as of late, their new Enthoo case line has generated interest in the PC building community.
FreeSync was first announced as a variable refresh rate technology at CES 2014, legitimately taking nVidia by surprise on the show floor. Immediately after the technology was unveiled, we happened to be scheduled for a meeting with nVidia's Tom Peterson and Vijay Sharma to discuss G-Sync. I'd slipped in a question about the technology, announced an hour beforehand, and Peterson told us: "I don't know. We just heard about that today. I haven't read about it yet - ask me after the show."
"Hicookie" isn't an easily-forgotten name. The RAM overclocker last made a major appearance using G.Skill's TridentX RAM, which he pushed to nearly 4GHz. Just a couple of days ago, Gigabyte and
Case, power, and cooling manufacturer NZXT announced new products in their liquid cooling (CLC) lineup today at Computex. The company debuted the Kraken X41 and Kraken X61 to members of the media at the Taipei-based computer electronics convention, alongside a new "GRID+" fan controller hub.
The closed-loop liquid coolers are follow-up products to the Kraken X40 and Kraken X60 that we reviewed last year. The X41 and X61 have kept the same 140mm / 280mm CLC design, but make additions in the form of variable pump speed control and increased radiator thickness.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.