No reference card has impressed us this generation, insofar as usage by the enthusiast market. Primary complaints have consisted of thermal limitations or excessive heat generation, despite reasonable use cases with SIs and mITX form factor deployments. For our core audience, though, it's made more sense to recommend AIB partner models for superior cooling, pre-overclocks, and (normally) lower prices.
But that's not always the case – sometimes, as with today's review unit, the price climbs. This new child of Corsair and MSI carries on the Hydro GFX and Seahawk branding, respectively, and is posted at ~$750. The card is the construct of a partnership between the two companies, with MSI providing access to the GP104-400 chip and a reference board (FE PCB), and Corsair providing an H55 CLC and SP120L radiator fan. The companies sell their cards separately, but are selling the same product; MSI calls this the “Seahawk GTX 1080 ($750),” and Corsair sells only on its webstore as the “Hydro GFX GTX 1080.” The combination is one we first looked at with the Seahawk 980 Ti vs. the EVGA 980 Ti Hybrid, and we'll be making the EVGA FTW Hybrid vs. Hydro GFX 1080 comparison in the next few days.
For now, we're reviewing the Corsair Hydro GFX GTX 1080 liquid-cooled GPU for thermal performance, endurance throttles, noise, power, FPS, and overclocking potential. We will primarily refer to the card as the Hydro GFX, as Corsair is the company responsible for providing the loaner review sample. Know that it is the same as the Seahawk.
Corsair has expanded into a wider range of products than “just” RAM, now including cases, CPU coolers, power supplies, keyboards, mice, headsets, and more. In the mechanical gaming keyboard market especially, Corsair has built-up a relatively solid reputation for performant and discreet-looking keyboards compared to much of its flashier competition. Corsair’s latest addition to its mechanical keyboard lineup is the K RGB Rapidfire series. The K65 and K70 RGB Rapidfire – tenkeyless and full-sized, respectively – are the same as the K65 and K70 LUX RGB counterparts with the exception of the switch. The new K65 Rapidfire keyboard uses Cherry’s new MX Speed switch rather than MX Reds or Browns. The MX Speed switch is currently a Corsair exclusive, but will eventually open up to other vendors.
For those who don’t know, the LUX versions of Corsair’s keyboards are the same as the non-LUX versions, but they feature the larger font style found on the Strafe (reviewed), an updated RGB controller (allowing for 16.8 million colors without flickering), and USB passthrough.
Today, we look at the K65 RGB Rapidfire, Corsair’s new tenkeyless RGB gaming keyboard. Most notably, the K65 Rapidfire markets itself as having unique switches, sturdy build quality, and versatile RGB lighting. Reflecting that feature-set, the K65 RGB Rapidfire is somewhat expensive at $140 -- let’s see if it’s worth it.
Memory manufacturer Corsair has signaled its re-entry to the solid-state drive market with an updated Neutron series of SSDs. The new Neutron XTi SSDs operate on the Phison controller that's been going around – and has seemed to replace most of the fading SandForce market dominance – to enable SATA III transactions at maximum interface allowance. Corsair uses MLC NAND (two bits per cell), which offers better endurance to TLC alternatives at a rough 30% price-hike per gigabyte.
The Neutron XTi ships in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities. Corsair also notes in its release to the press that the drive will “become Corsair's first 1920GB SSD,” meaning that there's a ~2TB model forthcoming. Price is not yet determined for the 2TB model, but the 960GB (~1TB) model lands at $330.
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.
Vendor Battles are our newest form of lighthearted, fun, but informational content. We conducted our first Vendor Battle at PAX East 2016, starring EVGA, MSI, and PNY. Now, at Computex, we turned to the case manufacturers: “You have one minute. Tell me why I should buy your case and not the next manufacturer's.”
It was a fun battle, particularly because all the case teams seem to know each other. George Makris of Corsair opened, followed by Shannon Robb of Thermaltake, and then Christoph Katzer of Be Quiet! All three well-known companies in the space.
Here's the showdown video – direct quotes below.
PAX East 2016 has a strong hardware presence, and the number of zero-hour announcements backs that up. MSI, Corsair, AMD (a first-time exhibitor at East), nVidia, Intel, Cooler Master, Kingston, and a handful of other hardware vendors have all made an appearance at this year's show, ever flanked by gaming giants.
Today's initial news coverage focuses on the MSI Aegis desktop computer, Corsair's updated K70 & K65 keyboards, and the AMD Wraith cooler's arrival to lower-end SKUs. Find out more in the video below:
Corsair’s recent Strafe RGB keyboards are among our highest-rated peripherals for gaming and typing. The Strafe RGB expanded Corsair’s RGB lineup and fixed some of the issues Corsair’s other RGB keyboards have. Corsair is once again expanding its RGB keyboard line – and standard keyboard line – with its new Rapidfire K70, K65 RGB Rapidfire, and K70 RGB Rapidfire. These keyboards are the same as Corsair’s current versions, but the new RAPIDFIRE iteration features Cherry’s new Cherry MX Speed switch, which actuates at 1.2mm (40% higher than normal Cherry MX switches) at 45g.
It takes our technicians minutes to build a computer these days – a learned skill – but even that first-time build is completable within a span of hours. Cable management and “environment setup” (OS, software) generally take the longest, but the build process is surprisingly trivial. Almost anyone can build a computer. The DIY approach saves money and feels rewarding, but also prepares system owners for future troubleshooting and builds a useful, technical skillset.
Parts selection can be initially intimidating and late-night troubleshooting sometimes proves frustrating; the between process, though, the actual assembly – that's easy. A few screws, some sockets that live under the “if it doesn't fit, don't force it” mantra, and a handful of cables.
This “How to Build a Gaming Computer” guide offers a step-by-step tutorial for PC part selection, compatibility checking, assembly, and basic troubleshooting resources. The goal of this guide is to educate the correct steps to the entire process: we won't be giving you tools that automatically pick parts based on compatibility, here; no, our goal is to teach the why and the how of PC building. You'll be capable of picking compatible parts and assembling builds fully independently after completing this walkthrough.
Back in the day – cue black-and-white flashback – computers used to take up entire rooms. Gradually, this has changed. Personal computers have become smaller and smaller, and now the SFX form factor allows PCs that are the size of consoles. The SFX PSU form factor was originally used for HTPCs, made possible by SilverStone’s high-wattage SFX PSUs; SFX options have evolved, and now SFX form factor cases like Fractal Design Node 202 and SilverStone RVZ01 support SFX PSUs and full-length GPUs. GPUs are placed horizontally to reduce the vertical height of the case and allow for small form factor gaming PCs that don’t have to compromise between high-end components or a small size.
Unfortunately, there are few SFX power supplies with enough wattage to comfortably run a system with both a high-end GPU and high-end CPU.
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