Our coverage of last year's best PC enclosures has remained some of our most popular content to date, and as is CES tradition, we're updating the coverage for 2015. The previous years have gone through trends of mini-ITX / SFF boxes (the Steam Box craze, now dying down) and larger, enthusiast-priced boxes. This year's CES trends saw a lull from major case manufacturers like Corsair, Cooler Master (reeling from a lawsuit by Asetek), and NZXT, but welcomed budget-friendly enclosures and high-end works of art. Users seeking more mid-range enclosures will be left waiting a while longer, it seems.
During our NZXT office tour back in September, we spotted a tiny box in the corner of a conference room – something that wouldn't be given a name or explanation “until further notice.”
Last week's CES tour saw a revisit to NZXT, whereupon the company showcased its strikingly familiar “DOKO” streaming box. The unit serves as an input passthrough between a gaming rig and a living room gaming setup, effectively forwarding USB signals from the box (like gamepads or keyboards) to the LAN-connected PC.
Now that Black Friday is upon us, we have loads of hardware sales to choose from – more than we could possibly list here. We found what we consider the best sales going on right now. Only once a year do we see sales of this magnitude: An NZXT H440 for $90 (won't go live til 11/28), 240GB SSD for $85, R9 270 for $135, and more.
Shortly after Game24 and the GTX 980 unveil (fully benchmarked here), we visited the likes of NZXT, HyperX (Kingston), CyberPower, and others to learn more about the inner-workings of the industry. This is something we're making a habit of, including previous tours of nVidia's phenomenally expensive silicon failure analysis lab and Kingston's SMT line, where we showed how RAM & SSDs are made.
We found a fairly high-end system in the CyberPowerPC meeting room that was begging for video coverage. The unit used a modified version of NZXT's S340 enclosure, through the window of which we spotted nVidia's new GTX 980. As for the processor, the custom-built rig was running on Intel's Devil's Canyon 4790K CPU overclocked about 10% (it's capable of more, but would require fine tuning due to thermal constraints). The CPU was topped-off with NZXT's X61 that we've previously spoken about – a 280mm CLC powered by Asetek, staking variable pump speed as its claim to fame – and the host platform was Gigabyte's SOC Force Z97 overclocking motherboard. A full 32GB of HyperX Fury memory (clocked at 1866MHz natively and easily overclocked) was found slotted into the board. We previously reviewed HyperX Fury over here.
Most of the tech industry’s major players are located somewhere in California – a state that has, in our experience, proven to be very large and very saturated with horrifyingly bad drivers. It also happens to be saturated with leading technology innovators and game development companies; the hardware split is pretty even between SoCal (Orange County, Fountain Valley, LA, Industry) and NorCal (home to Silicon Valley). Game developers mostly hang-out in San Francisco and San Jose.
We’ve previously toured both regions, with some of our best content focusing on nVidia’s silicon failure analysis lab (San Jose) and Kingston’s automated RAM/SSD manufacturing line. Following Game24 and the GTX 980 launch, we returned to the Los Angeles area for more. In our most recent California trip, we visited NZXT, HyperX, CyberPower, and iBUYPOWER to see their assembly lines and warehouses.
I’ve watched what NZXT offers with their crafted series cases for quite some time now. Besides, it’s always good to see the company release a case that isn’t a Phantom brand. Their lineup of cases keeps growing post-PAX. In the case of the Source 340, we get a case that seems to be a less expensive variant of the H440 with a chassis overhaul. The H440 was a ground-breaking case and was one of the first cases to include a power supply shroud and completely remove the 5.25", bays allowing for more cooling options and a cleaner look. The Source 340 at first glance appears to mimic everything we loved about the H440, but hovers at almost half the price.
Normally we wait until a product has been benchmarked to talk about it on camera, but we're presently waiting on a driver update for both the ZBOX and NZXT's new CLCs. While we wait for the
In this review, we'll look at NZXT's Sentry 3 specs, its performance and accuracy as a fan controller and temperature reader, and overall build quality.
We called NZXT's H440 enclosure an "innovator" and "the reason we review cases" after benchmarking the product. The H440 ships with a built-in PSU shroud, a side window that obscures the drive bays, and a complete lack of 5.25" external optical drive bays; along with these risks taken by the company, the enclosure uses sound-damping foam and locking thumb screws to mitigate noise and streamline installation.
The company has now partnered with Razer, in a somewhat shocking turn of events, who are now offering their own "NZXT H440 Designed by Razer." The core specs of the case remain the same, but changes to the aesthetic have been made by Razer.
Since 2006, when Asetek released their more affordable closed-loop coolers (or CLCs), enthusiasts have experimented with using them in creative implementations. One of the more interesting mods was using zip ties to
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