Once a leading force in the industry with the Antec 900, the company has been mostly quiet for the last few years. Antec's newest endeavor is in partnership with Razer, similar to what NZXT did with the H440 (“By Razer”) and S340 (“By Razer”) cases. We're not completely sure of how much design involvement Razer had with Antec on the case, but previous partnerships were largely logo licensing/branding and green/black color schemes that were not otherwise available.
The case was at PAX West 2016 for the first time, where we got a few moments of unsupervised hands-on with the case (see video below) for the basic specs. Since shooting that video, we've also retrieved a specs table from Antec (also below) with the hard information.
The Star Wars Destroyer case mod was an obvious draw to MSI’s suite at CES 2016, thus far unrivaled in its seemingly monolithic artistry, and served as a magnetic pull for the company’s new products. That’s common in Convention Land – a fabled realm stocked with bags of chips and bottles of water – and a means for companies to generate outside interest in the passerby attendee crowd. The Destroyer was covered in our previous video and article; today’s content shifts focus to MSI’s new “Vortex” product, named for its approach to thermal dissipation through a vertical shaft.
SSD and GPU faceplates are often put front-and-center by case modders, perhaps despite manufacturers' best efforts to make ugly faceplates. System integrator (SI) iBUYPOWER recently figured it'd bypass the modding and sell flashy cases direct-to-consumer, planting the faceplates behind an acrylic window that lifts like a fighter plane's cockpit glass.
The new system and case amalgam, called the Revolt 2, tightly packs internals into a mini-ITX enclosure, using an inverted motherboard* to separate the GPU from the more thermally-constricted core components. We've got one on-hand for testing and intend to send the Revolt 2 through exhaustive thermal analysis, with a new focus on chipset and SSD thermal measurements, but won't be doing that until after CES. For the time being, we'll walk through the Revolt 2's case and talk design and test targets for the review.
Relative case and cooling newcomer Phanteks today announced its Enthoo Evolv ITX SE case. The Enthoo Evolv ITX case hosts mini-ITX motherboards in a 230 x 375 x 395mm enclosure. The SE version – Special Edition – is delivered in two new color combinations: Red/black and white/black.
The growing trend nowadays seems to be miniaturization, judging by phones, silicon chip sizes, and even computers. At one point, computers took up entire rooms, but over the years they have continued to shrink while becoming massively more powerful. Due to this trend, some see mITX as the next segment of the PC market that will substantially grow, which has caused mITX cases, coolers, and even GPUs to be released. Cougar looks to be the next company to make a name for themselves in the mITX market with its newest QBX, a compact gaming case meant for small form factor builds.
Gigabyte first debuted its Brix Pro Steambox at CES 2014, where we got a powered-down hands-on with the device. Steam's recent delay in the SteamBox -- a result of a major controller redesign -- has caused manufacturers to reconsider branding of their pending devices. Because Steam has to give the green light on licensing its name for system makers, and because Steam machines have been delayed, manufacturers are stuck with products that can't be sold until an unset date. That's a huge risk, and so we're seeing these companies rebrand their products as "MiniPCs" and HTPCs. Case and point: Zotac's EN760 was originally slated to be a Steam Box of sorts, but ended up shipping as a mini gaming PC.
I rarely have the chance to do an enthusiast build as I'm normally tasked with doing the cheaper PC builds, like the $475 Cheap Bastard's Gaming PC that we recently published. It's been a while since we've done an enthusiast build -- in fact, this is the first of its type this year. We decided it'd be a great time to see what we could do with a higher budget while retaining a small and versatile form factor. The goal was to build a small form factor PC that could do just about anything you typically required from a gaming or video editing rig; this could double as an HTPC for those who'd like a living room gaming machine.
I was able to fit a core i5-4670k, MSI Z87i motherboard, and GTX 770 all inside the extremely versatile Corsair Obsidian 250D mini-ITX case that we saw at CES. This $1100 gaming HTPC build can handle just about anything you throw at it, including gaming at max settings and video editing / game streaming tasks.
Despite all of our gaming coverage emerging from PAX East, we still made the rounds with our regularly-visited hardware manufacturers. Rosewill was among them, as always.
At CES 2014, I explained in a few camera discussions that mini-ITX cases were going to become a major trend for the year; the advent of Steam OS and Valve's impending Steam boxes only emboldens the expansion of home theater PCs (HTPCs), of which mini-ITX enclosures are a major component choice to consider. Cases are normally pretty low on the list of prioritized components, but when you're building small, there are suddenly a lot of concerns: Clearance for VGAs and coolers, CPU coolers, drives, and thermal challenges are all factors worthy of attention.
Rosewill had their Legacy line-up at CES, but most of the cases there were primarily uninteresting to our gaming-focused staff. PAX East brought the unveil of the Legacy W1, a mini-ITX case that floats toward a middle-size and makes room for larger components. Here's my video walkthrough:
Small form factor enclosures were huge at this year's CES. Last year we saw a few behemoths -- like the 900D -- but with the advent of "Steam machines" and boxes like the Brix Pro, mini-ITX is gaining traction in the marketplace. Some companies have always been in the space, others are riding the trendy wave; SilverStone is a good example of a manufacturer that's been present since the get-go, especially with their high-quality SG08.
Lian-Li is another that's been in the mATX/mITX game for a while. As with nearly all Lian-Li enclosures, the PC-TU100 is a fully-aluminum case with a brushed-like finish. All-aluminum materials lend to a 4 pound overall weight, aided by the small 6.3" x 10.8" x 9.5" dimensions. The case is targeted at those who move their systems around a lot -- LAN gaming is the easy example -- and is equipped with a handle, a single cooling fan, and enough space for a low-profile video card.
In this quick Lian-Li PC-TU100 case overview and unboxing, we'll look at the specs and primary uses for what is one of the lightest mini-ITX cases.
It's been a while since our last proper home theater gaming PC build; as Steam's Big Picture mode continues to develop, and with the impending arrival of Steam's Linux gaming platform, HTPCs now have more big-name support than ever before. This time, I wanted to put together an "enthusiast-class" HTPC, meant for those who want to play games on high resolutions with maximum settings and play around with overclocking, too.
Using several Cyber Monday & remnant Black Friday deals, we're able to put together a high-end gaming computer for relatively low cost. This $1028 HTPC build is best used as a DIY DVR or Big Picture gaming PC (for the likes of Assassin's Creed IV, Battlefield 4, Thief, etc.).
When I set-out to build this one, I struggled for a good ten minutes on one motherboard versus another... and ultimately decided to put together a list of components that I thought would be fun to build, not just functional. This system packs a couple TFLOPs of power in a small box and will run relatively quietly, so let's hit the list!
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