AMD Now Includes Wraith Cooler With FX 8350 and FX 6350

AMD’s upcoming CPU architecture, codenamed Zen, is going to offer a 40 percent IPC improvement compared to Excavator and could dawn in a new era of competitiveness. Hopefully, if AMD can produce something which rivals Intel, it could instigate a pricing war and make enthusiast processors more affordable. Clearly, many consumers are eagerly anticipating Zen’s release which makes the current range seems rather outdated. Despite this, there are some users who own AM3+ motherboards and don’t want to upgrade to an entirely new platform. On another note, consumers on a tight budget might feel they’re a great option to create an affordable HTPC.

Traditionally, bundled CPU coolers are fairly poor at thermal dissipation due to the low fin array and compact heatsink size. Also, they can be alarmingly loud under full load which makes for a shoddy desktop experience. As a result, I always encourage people to invest in a third-party cooler, such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Interestingly, Intel decided to ditch the stock cooler altogether on Skylake K series chips because they knew people would be opting for a better option. Although, this didn’t reduce the retail price at all! During CES this year, AMD displayed their new Wraith stock cooler capable of lower thermals compared to the previous model and significantly reduced noise. The design evokes a premium feel and it looks rather nice.

Today, AMD announced that they will now bundle this new cooler with the FX 8350 and FX 6350. Previously, this was limited to the FX 8370 and A10-7890K. The FX 6350 will retail for $129.99 while the FX 8350’s price is set at $179.99. This is fantastic news for consumers wanting to order a new AMD processor right now. Of course, if you can wait, it would be advisable given the upcoming Zen release.

Are you looking forward to Zen?

Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro Coolers Features Dual Chambers

In recent years, closed loop liquid coolers have risen in popularity, bringing some of the highlights of liquid cooling to consumer segment. The latest in a long line of coolers, Cooler Master has unveiled their MasterLiquid Pro 120 and 240 liquid coolers with a daring new design. The two replace the current Nepton 120XL and Nepton 240M with potentially improved performance and durability.

The headline change is the new and improved pump with dual chambers. By moving critical pump parts to a separate chamber and exposing them only cool liquid, lifespan is improved. Cooler Master has also built the pump using ‘silent driver’ technology that they claim will lead to quieter operation. Another change is to the waterblock, where the coolant is now sprayed onto the middle. This spray down design isn’t actually anything new though as we’ve seen in previous Cooler Master coolers like the Nepton 240M.

The final and most noticeable change is to the radiator. Instead of the usual triangular fins, Cooler Master has moved to rectangular ones. This should lead to improved fin/radiator contact and better airflow at a cost to surface area exposed to the fan. The fans are also improved to MasterFan Pro Air Balance 120-mm models. The Pro 120 carries a $99.99 price tag, while the Pro 240 will sell for $119.99. It remains to be seen if the redesign will get around Asetek’s patents.

Silverstone AR07 & AR08 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


SilverStone is back on eTeknix again today, with their new AR07 and AR08 CPU coolers. Both coolers are designed to be affordable, quiet, stylish and pack great value for money performance. We’re going to be putting both of them on our test bench today, and while we’re expecting the bigger AR07 to offer up better performance, we’re still eager to see what the smaller and more affordable AR08 is capable of.

“The Argon series coolers are designed to provide the best cooling solution for your CPU. To improve performance even further, unique and exclusive heatsink fin designs such as interweaving diamond edge and arrow guides are included. For users looking for a no-nonsense top performing cooler without the premium price, the Argon AR07 is the perfect choice.” – SilverStone

Both coolers come equipped with a triple heat pipe design and a high-quality fan tuned for silence. The AR07 has three 8mm thick pipes, a 140mm PWM fan and the AR08 uses 6mm pipes with a 92mm PWM fan.

Argon Series AR07

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø8mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 140mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening

Argon Series AR08

  • Great balance of silence and performance
  • Unique interweaving diamond edged fins for improved performance
  • Exclusive arrow guides distribute airflow evenly among heat pipes
  • Three Ø6mm heat-pipes and aluminum fins for excellent heat conducting efficiency
  • Heat-pipe direct contact (HDC) technology
  • Includes compact 92mm PWM fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Anti-vibration rubber pads included for additional noise dampening
  • Intel Socket LGA775/115X/1366/2011 and AMD Socket AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2 compatible

Both coolers come nicely packaged with all the main specifications detailed around the box, as well as lots of images showing the fan, fin stack, block, heat pipes design and more.

In the box, you’ll find fan clips, a universal backplate for Intel and an AMD bracket, mounting arms, 3M pads, as well as all the required screws and some thermal paste. Both coolers come with a very similar mounting kit, the only exception being that the AR07 comes with larger fan retention clips.

EKWB Releases EK-RAM Monarch Liquid RAM Cooling Modules

You might already have your graphics card and processor coupled into your liquid cooling setup, but what about your memory? While memory isn’t a thing that’s obvious to add to your custom loop right away, there can be good reasons to do so. To name one: Parts of your system that otherwise wouldn’t run hot might start to do so because of the lack of airflow generated by the fans from traditionally cooled equipment such as CPU and GPU coolers.

Liquid cooling for memory isn’t anything new as such, but EKWB just released a new version of the EK-RAM Monarch cooling modules where the existing black variant is now also available as a Nickel plated version. The EK-RAM Monarch Module is a heatsink adapter which allows virtually any DDR-SDRAM memory module of any generation to be liquid cooled – but it also requires the EK-RAM Monarch series water blocks to go on top.

Each heatsink consists of two separate plates with the memory module sandwiched in between. The heat transfer between the memory module and aluminium heatsink adapter is ensured by the use of an enclosed thermal pad. Each set of EK-RAM Monarch Modules contains two adapter heatsinks that are made of CNC machined high-quality aluminium and feature either a nickel finish or a black anodized finish.

The EK-RAM Monarch modules are available now through EK’s own webshop and their partner reseller network. A nickel plated set of two modules will set you back €34.95 while the black version is a little cheaper and only will cost you €29.95. Both prices include VAT.

Besides the above-mentioned reason of missing airflow in the memory area, adding liquid cooling to your memory will also allow you to overclock them higher while still retaining a stable system. While memory overclocking won’t result in as big a real-world difference as other parts such as CPU and GPU, it might be just what you’re missing to grab those last couple of benchmarks points and beat your friends results. Maybe you’ll also just do it for aesthetic reasons – the modules do look awesome.

Gelid Antarctica Ultra-Quiet Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Gelid are one of the most legendary cooling companies in the world and while you may not think of them first when you’re looking at a new CPU cooler, they’re the top choice for many system builders, enthusiast overclockers, and all of us here at eTeknix for our test benches, when it comes to Thermalpaste. Gelid GC-Extreme has been a popular choice for many years, and it’s with that in mind that we know that Gelid has a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to thermal performance in the PC market.

“The Antarctica comes with a 3D optimized heatsink that offers best-in-class thermal performance. The engineers of GELID Solutions especially designed a set of 5 power heat pipes, aluminum fins with improved profiling and an additional smaller heatsink with a copper core. These elements provide exceptional heat transfer from the CPU to the heatsink. Both heatsinks were created using precise software simulation and calculation during the development stage to ensure efficient air flow distribution at the lowest fan speed possible. The result, the Antarctica fully supports heat transfer of TDP 220W being paired with even very low-speed, virtually noiseless fans.” – Gelid

Their latest CPU cooler, the Gelid Antarctica, comes equipped with support for a wide range of CPUs, features a slim cooling tower to ensure it doesn’t conflict with motherboard VRM cooling or large RAM heatsinks, while being tall enough to provide great cooling performance. This is backed up by a high-quality 140mm PWM fan, which is designed to operate at low RPM, providing great airflow while maintaining whisper quiet performance. To make things even more appealing, it’s also backed up by a reassuring 5-year warranty.

“A silent 140mm fan with the intelligent GELID PWM (Pulse Width Module) control compliments the heatsink. The fan blades are optimized to deliver high air flow at low speed, and the newly designed PWM IC eliminates any clicking noise. The intelligent GELID PWM curve operates the fan in an extended speed range of 450 RPM to 1500 RPM, it constantly keeps the fan silent but accelerates speed whenever additional cooling is needed. With 2 sets of fan mounts, a second fan can be installed to improve the cooler’s outstanding performance even further. Additionally, the multi-award winning high performance GC-Extreme thermal compound is already included in the package.” – Gelid

The packaging is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy overall, but a nice image of the cooler as well as detailing support for Skylake CPUs.

Around the back, we can see that the cooler supports a huge range of CPUs, right back to 775 and old AMD sockets. There’s also 2011 support, but you’ll need to purchase a separate bracket for it.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, as well as a bag of fitting components.

There’s a backplate for both Intel and AMD motherboards, two mounting arms, four fan retention clips, high-quality screws, a sticker and a very welcome tube of Gelid’s award-winning GC-Extreme thermal paste; the same paste we use for all our cooling reviews!

Cooler Master TX3i CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking the right cooler for your system can be a daunting task as there are virtually endless amounts of solutions out there. Every size, shape, colour, fan configuration and beyond that you can think of. It becomes more demanding when it comes to smaller system builds, where space is at a premium and budget is tight, especially if you’re running your system under load and the stock CPU cooler just isn’t up to the job; if your chip even came with one to begin with.

  • 3 direct contact heat pipes with a base that is engineered to minimize CPU contact gaps – providing excellent heat conduction.
  • Option for adding 2nd fan with quick-snap fan brackets to increase cooling performance.
  • All-in-one mounting solution supporting Intel® LGA 1150 / 1151 / 1155 / 1156 / 775
  • A mere 17 dBA (minimum speed) is accomplished by utilizing a silent 92mm PWM fan with a wide RPM range.

“The Hyper TX series has evolved along with the requirements of mainstream CPUs. The launch of Hyper TX3i marks another milestone with Cooler Master’s Improved Direct Contact technology, further improving cooling performance.” – Cooler Master

Taking inspiration from previous TX3 models, the TX3i is expected to be one of Cooler Masters most affordable and capable (relative to price) coolers to date. With a triple heatpipe design, low-noise 92mm fan, and support for all major Intel sockets, as well as a super compact form factor that should mean zero conflicts with memory modules, expansion cards or the vast majority of chassis designs.

The three heat pipes measure in at 6mm and make direct contact with the CPU, it’s a cheap way of doing things, but so long as it work, that’s not a problem. The fan if a 4-pin WPM model and can spin between 800RPM and 2200RPM, so it should be pretty quiet at idle, but may be a little noisy when pushed, but we’ll find out soon enough.

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a clear image of the cooler and fan design, as well as a quick rundown of the main specifications.

Around the back and side, the full specifications, as well as dimensions of the cooler.

In the box, you’ll find the cooler (obviously), the usual documentation, a tube of thermal paste, screws, 3M pads, and extra fan clips to mount a second fan (not included).

Inno3D GTX 980Ti iChill Black Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Closed-loop liquid coolers have become extremely popular in the CPU market due to the cleaner build, and greater space around the CPU socket compared to traditional air cooling hardware. This means you can install an all in one liquid cooler without having to make concessions in terms of memory compatibility or worry too much about your motherboard’s PCI-E arrangement. As you might expect, all in one liquid coolers have progressively moved into the GPU sector to offer improved overclocking headroom and a lower noise output. There are some interesting parallels between CPU and GPU all in one liquid cooling though which needs to be addressed.

Firstly, many air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 can outperform Asetek units, while being much quieter. It’s a similar picture with graphics cards because proficient air cooling setups including the Gigabyte Windforce X3 and Sapphire Tri-X provide a superb noise to performance ratio. Liquid cooled graphics cards have a price premium and involve a more complicated installation process. It’s important to remember that Maxwell is a very mature and efficient architecture which allows vendors to enable a 0dB idle fan mode. Despite my own qualms about closed-loop liquid cooling, it’s fantastic to see products which cater to a different target market. There’s clearly a demand for pre-assembled liquid cooled graphics cards, and their appeal is bound to grow in the next few years.

Today, we’re taking a look at the Inno3D GTX 980Ti iChill Black which utilizes a very powerful hybrid cooling solution. The GPU incorporates a traditional fan which only switches on during heavy load, in addition to a 120mm fan/radiator combination. The Arctic Cooling radiator fan is constantly on but has a very low RPM curve to maintain silent running. This impeccable hardware allows for an impressive core clock of 1203MHz and default boost reaching 1304MHz. The memory has also been increased to 7280MHz. As you can see from the chart below, this isn’t the greatest configuration we’ve encountered from the factory, but it’s exceedingly fast and should be a top performer. It will be fascinating to contrast this graphics card with the marvellous Inno3D GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS which opts for a hefty air cooling design.

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Inno3D GTX 980 Ti iChill Black comes in a huge box to properly house the closed loop cooler’s tubing and protect against leaks during shipping. Honestly, the picture doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of the packaging’s size. I have to commend Inno3D because they have taken the precautionary steps to reduce the possibility of damage occurring and utilized strong foam inserts as cushioning materials. The box itself features an attractive render of the GPU, and outlines its specification.

On the rear portion, there’s a brief synopsis of NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. I’m a bit surprised to see the back doesn’t contain any information about the liquid cooling solution and the acoustical benefits compared to NVIDIA’s reference cooler.

In terms of accessories, the graphics card is bundled with mounting screws, 6-pin PCI-E to molex adapter, case badge, DVI-D to VGA adapter and installation guide. There’s also a driver’s disk which you should disregard, a copy of 3DMark, and other documentation. This is a great selection of items and provides everything you need to get started! The mouse mat is surprisingly high-quality and relatively thick.

Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Picking the right cooler for your system can be tricky, but when it comes to sticking a high-performance CPU in a compact gaming system, your choices are often quite limited to a range of low-profile air coolers. Corsair is looking to solve this issue with the new Corsair H5 SF Hydro Series Low Profile Liquid CPU Cooler, an AIO unit that’s small enough to mount over the top of a mini-ITX motherboard! Unlike most AIO that must be mounted on a 120/140mm fan fitting, this cooler is a similar shape and size to a 5.25″ drive and comes with a special bracket that mounts it above the CPU like you would expect an air/tower cooler to install.

“The Hydro Series H5 SF is a low profile liquid CPU cooler that provides efficient cooling for small form factor Mini-ITX systems. Building a small form factor system shouldn’t have to mean compromising on processor speed, and with the H5 SF you can provide reliable cooling for your system’s high-performance CPU.” – Corsair

While I’m not expecting huge performance from the new cooler overall, when it comes down to cooling a compact gaming rig, it’s very likely that it’ll still be better than most low-profile air coolers that would fit the same system. Corsair has some impressive figures of their own, but how do they hold up in the real world? That’s what we hope to find out.

“It has a pump assembly with a copper coldplate and flexible, low permeability tubing, just like our larger Hydro Series models. They’re matched with a one-piece blower which cools the circulated liquid by drawing cool air from the inside of your PC and exhausting it outside the case. So, in addition to keeping your CPU cool, the H5 SF provides additional cooling for the motherboard and other components by constantly pulling cool air across them.” – Corsair

Equipped with copper and aluminium construction, high-quality tubing and support for all major sockets, the H5 SF is certainly promising. So let’s move on and take a closer look.

The packaging is typical Corsair, with the usual black and yellow theme at work, as well as a nice big image of the product, showing us the design of the pump and radiator.

Around the back, a nice technical breakdown of the specifications, design and a little image of how the radiator looks when mounted on a mini-ITX motherboard.

The packaging is nicely done on the interior too, with lots of protective cardboard around all major components, as well as protective plastic bags and stickers to prevent any minor marks or scratches.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get the cooler installed on major Intel and AMD mini-ITX platforms. All the screws are really good quality with a nice dark nickel finish and there’ sa durable L-shaped support bar for mounting it above the motherboard.

Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 AIO Cooler Review

Introduction


Arctic are well-known for their air cooling products, but today we’ll be taking a look at one of their first entries to the high-end AIO water cooling market; the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240. Designed for high-performance cooling for gaming systems, overclocking, workstations and more, you’ll find a fairly thick 240mm radiator, backed up by four high-quality 120mm fans, there’s little doubt that it’ll be able to shift some serious heat from your system. With a max TDP of 300 Watts, as well as support for all major Intel and AMD sockets, the Freezer 240 can easily handle some of today’s fastest CPUs.

Water cooling is becoming increasingly popular, especially with many consumers now running overclockable processors. Being able to push your systems limits to get the most value for money out of your hardware is no bad thing. When you’re gaming, editing video, rendering and more, the CPU get’s pretty toasty, which in turn causes fans to spin faster and can result in more noise. Having a more powerful cooler should help ensure that not only do your temps stay nice and low, but you’ll also be keeping the acoustics in check too; let’s hope the new cooler from Arctic can tick both of those boxes.

The packaging is pretty straight forward, with a good image of the cooler on the front and a bit of branding.

Around the back, things get a lot more technical, with some relative performance figures and specifications. Of course, we’ll be doing our own independent testing, so I won’t focus on their figures too much.

The packaging is pretty crammed, with components and hoses next to each other and minimal padding around anything in here. I would hope then when shipped, the item comes in another box with bubble wrap around this one, as it doesn’t seem sufficient.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual nuts and bolts, a universal backplate, AMD and Intel brackets, as well as a small sachet of Arctic MX-4 thermal paste.

There are four high-quality fans included with this cooler. Each measure 120mm and are Arctic’s own design, promising high airflow and low noise. Each fan comes with a built-in fan header splitter, making it super easy to daisy chain them on a single fan header. Each fan has extra long cables, with black sleeving and a PWM header.

ID-Cooling Hunter VC-Twin CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


ID-Cooling are a name that are quickly growing in popularity. Having had many years of experience building CPU coolers of their own in Eastern markets, as well as working as the OEM for many popular brands, they’ve proven that they know a thing or two about CPU cooler production and design. We’ve seen some great products from them in the past here at eTeknix, and ID-Cooling have shown us that not only can they compete in terms of cooling performance, they can also do it as very affordable prices, so we’re eager to see what the VC-Twin has to offer today.

Equipped with support for all major socket types, new and old, as well as a max TDP of up to 200W, it’s certainly ticking a lot of boxes in terms of compatibility. The cooler has a vapor chamber design, with five incredibly thick 8mm heat pipes, as well as two aluminium fin stack cooling towers. On top of that, you’ll find two high-performance fans, a 120mm and a 140mm, which overall sounds like some pretty promising hardware for great cooling performance, so let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what’s on offer.

The packaging doesn’t give much away in terms of design, but the aggressive fonts certainly imply it’s a high-end product.

A good amount of care has gone into the packaging, with thick foam surrounding all major components.

In the box, you’ll find a universal backplate and mounting kits, all the usual bolts and screws, fan clips, fan Y-splitter, as well as a simple installation guide.

The two fans are very nice, and ID-Coolings own design. Both feature PWM connectors and anti-vibration rubber mounts on the corners.

The black and red theme looks quite cool too, and should match the plethora of black and red gaming hardware that’s already on the market.

LEPA Announces Exllusion 240 Liquid Cooler

All in one liquid coolers have become incredibly popular among hardware enthusiasts and made a large number switch from traditional air cooling. When it comes to performance, air coolers tend to offer similar heat dissipation at quieter noise levels. Although, this is usually the case with closed-looped-coolers from Asetek which use an aluminium radiator. While air coolers still exhibit great performance numbers, many people don’t care for the lack of space around the CPU socket. Furthermore, the large size can impact on memory compatibility and even stop you from inserting a graphics card into the first PCI-E x16 slot.

On the other hand, custom loops leverage extra performance and look absolutely stunning. However, they are an expensive proposition and quite daunting to anyone without water cooling expertise. Originally, closed loop coolers from Asetek and CoolIT adopted a very mundane, and uninspired design. Thankfully, this has changed in recent years and products like the Rajintek Triton include various dyes and clear tubing to create a striking finish. The latest liquid cooler to enter the market adopts a similar look to the Triton and includes a fill port. The Exllusion 240 by LEPA has a transparent block to monitor your cooler’s water levels. Here is a detailed run-down about the unit’s capabilities:

  • 400W+ TDP Cooling Capacity

    Performance-capable, refillable and customizable AIO CPU water cooler for most stable CPU operation even under extreme overclocking.

  • Rapid Heat Dissipation

    Nickel-plated copper base with patented Dual Central Diffusing Passage (CDP). The two channels within the micro-fin structure accelerate heat dissipation and eliminate CPU hot spots more efficiently.

  • Voluminous Transparent LED Water Block

    The water block has a higher coolant capacity to increases the coolant circulation. The transparent chassis and tubes allow for an easy monitoring of the coolant flow & volume status. Stylish LED lightning.

  • Colour Your Cooling!

    LEPA provides three RGB dyes (red, green, blue), so that you can colour the coolant individually. Mix your favourite colour!

  • Durable & Silent Pump

    The ceramic bearing prevents from corrosion and ensures a durable and silent operation.

  • Dual Convex Blade Fans

    The advanced aerodynamic design of the fan blades generates a high static pressure and increases the air flow rate. The Dual Convex Blades fans achieve a higher cooling performance at lower speed.

  • Refillable Water Block

    Add or modify the coolant composition. Additional 500ml LEPA coolant included for future refill processes.

  • Universal & Solid Mounting Kit

    Easy and user-friendly installation. EXllusion supports the latest Intel® and AMD© desktop sockets.

  • Large 240mm Radiator

    Higher heat exchange rate for maximum cooling performance.

The Exllusion 240 of LEPA is now available from participating retailers and has a suggested price of 109.99 Euro (+VAT). The LEPA CXcoolant kit will also be available from March with a suggested price of 14,90 Euro.

Do you prefer air cooling or liquid cooling?

Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Arctic are well-known for their air cooling products, having made many great products over the years, but now they’re moving into new territory with the release of their first water cooler. The Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 is an AIO water cooler, which means its going to be super easy to install and will need virtually no maintenance, making it an accessible option for those who don’t want to tackle custom loop cooling. It may only be a 120mm radiator, but Arctic are promising big performance, which will no doubt come from the thick radiator design, the two high-quality fans and their high-end pump and block design.

“We fully designed the F12 fan with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) software and optimized it for high airflow. From all fans tested in our air tunnel and anechoic chamber the F12 offers the highest airflow at a given noise level – by margin” said Arctic. “Dual low noise 120 mm fans mounted on opposite sides of the radiator provide a great airflow. First fan pushes air through the radiator, second fan pulls the air through it. Controllable with PST function to adjust the fan speed based on CPU temperature.” they added. “The Fluid Dynamic Bearing comes with an oil capsule that avoids lubricant leakage. Thus this bearing is as quiet as a sleeve bearing but comes with a significantly higher service life.”

120mm radiators are extremely compatible with a huge range of chassis products, but keep in mind that at 49mm thick, as well as two 15mm thick fans, you’re going to need good clearance to einsure a comfortable fit, although we suspect this will only be an issue for some SFF chassis types.

The cooler offers up support for all the latest socket types, and with an impressive max TDP of 300 watts, it’s going to be able to handy virtually anything you throw at it.

  • Intel Socket: 2011(-3), 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156
  • AMD Socket: AM2(+), AM3(+), FM1, FM2(+)
  • Max. Cooling Performance: 300 Watts
  • Recommended for TDP up to: 250 Watts

The packaging is nicely designed, with a nice clear image of the cooler on the front, as well as a good amount of technical data on the sides.

There are some performance figures here, but as is often the case, I’ll trust my own numbers in our benchmarks, which we’ll take a look at shortly.

In the box, you’ll find a backplate, Intel and AMD mounting brackets, the installation guide, and all the usual nuts and bolts for mounting the fans, radiator, and pump.

Both F12 series fans are Arctics own design, with FDB and PWM speed control. What’s interesting is that both fans have super long cables and each has a Y-splitter so that you don’t lose the use of a fan header.


Cooler Master Hyper 212X CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


The Cooler Master 212 series has long been regarded as one of the best CPU coolers on the market, making it an extremely popular choice for system builders. Is it the best performing cooler on the market? No, not really, but it’s been hard to compete with the kind of performance improvements it gives over stock CPU coolers, and it does it for a very reasonable price. Now, Cooler Master have taken their most popular cooler and made it better than ever, by improving the hardware, they’ve managed to give it a performance boost and reduce the noise from the cooler, and that’s obviously a very welcome improvement on a cooler that was already doing rather well.

“The latest in the extremely popular Hyper 212 series, Cooler Master’s Hyper 212X is based on the same patented CDC Quad heatpipe array as the 212 EVO but features several improvements that boost performance and further reduce noise. Thanks to our brand new Smart Engine and POM bearing, the 212X is incredibly durable and will virtually last a lifetime.” said Cooler Master

Equipped with four direct touch heat pipes, an aluminium fin array, improved fan blades, a new bearing and more, the 212 cooler has never been so good. So let’s jump in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

  • High-performance Copper heatpipes with a fusion bonded copper powder wick.
  • Patented CDC technology – 4 direct touch heatpipes creating a gap-less contact surface
  • Aluminum Fin Array with New Tunnel Effect layout for improved heat dissipation.
  • 4th Generation Bearing – MTBF of 160,000 hours thanks to highly durable POM components.
  • Redesigned Fan-blades that create vortices to boost airflow without creating more noise.
  • Smart Fan engine – stops the fan when blocked to prevent damage, and automatically restarts the fan when it has been cleared.
  • Universal mounting system for all Intel and AMD platforms.

The packaging is nicely designed, with a clear image of the cooler and some of the main features detailed at the bottom.

Around the back, a quick run down of some of the main specifications, but nothing we don’t already know.

In the box, you’ll find the cooler, the universal backplate and a small box of components.

The component box is really nicely laid out, with the user manual, some extra fan brackets, the mounting support and a handy pack for all the screws.

This little sorter box makes it super easy to see the components you need and even comes with a full tube of thermal paste, allowing for multiple applications of the cooler.

Antec Kuhler H20 H1200 & H600 Pro Water Cooler Review

Introduction


Antec is one of the biggest names in the PC component market, with many years of experience in creating chassis, cooler, power supplies and more.  With Antec having created so many products over the years, it’s more than likely you’ve owned a few of their components over the years, so it’s great to see them continue to push the limits. Antec has been a little behind in the cooling market recently, as their last range of Kuhler H20 products didn’t exactly capture the imaginations of the market, but their latest versions, the H1200 Pro and the H600 Pro look set to change that.

Maximum cooling thanks to large copper base plate and high-performance radiator

“To achieve the best results when used with overclocked processors, both Kühler H2O H600 PRO and H1200 PRO are equipped with a large copper base plate that efficiently transfers heat from any AMD or Intel processor to the radiator. For maximum performance, H600 PRO and H1200 PRO feature a precisely constructed radiator with a 0.2 mm fin interval. The dimensions of the radiator are 275 mm x 120 mm x 27 mm for the H1200 and 155 mm x 120 mm x 27 mm for the H600.” – Antec

The new range features a 120mm and a 240mm slim radiator design, with an AIO (all in one) water cooling setup that aims to deliver high-end performance, flawless designs and best of all, wallet-friendly prices. Spec for spec, the latest Antec products are often half the price of their next big competitor, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up with some of the more established AIO coolers on the market, especially at such competitive prices. If they can, then Antec are about to win over a huge part of the PC system building market.

Extremely quiet operation meets tremendous power

“Despite their excellent cooling performance, H600 PRO and H1200 PRO operate extremely quiet. This is due to the high-quality blue LED 120 mm fans that can reach up to 2,400 revolutions per minute. In addition, the enclosed pump impeller is near completely silent while delivering a pressure of 2.3 meters of water. The pump achieves this exceptional pressure thanks to the higher rotational speed of the winding type three-phase motor, maximising cooling performance for any PC system. For clean cable management, the pump is powered by a SATA interface.” – Antec

High build quality for exceptional durability

All components used for the Kühler H2O H600 PRO and H1200 PRO systems impress with their outstanding build quality and durability. The oil-free lubrication graphite bearing has a service life of up to 150,000 hours. The service life of the carbon metal crystalline ceramic axis is also 50 times longer than that of common models.” – Antec

We’ve got both models in the eTeknix office today and will be putting them head to head with each other, as well as a wide range of aftermarket coolers from many other brands, so it’ll be exciting to see how they perform. As you can see, both coolers come in a stylishly designed box, with a nice image of the product on the front and the main specifications, although I don’t think that lightning effect on the H600 is a feature, obviously.

The H1200 comes bundled with two lovely 120mm blue LED fans, each fitted with a standard PWM connector, anti-vibration screw holes and clear fan blades. It also comes bundled with a Y-splitter, so you only need a single motherboard header to connect them. The H600 comes with just one of these fans, which also means it doesn’t include the Y-splitter.

The fans are certainly of a nice quality and they’re Antec’s own design; having personally used a lot of Antec fans in the past, I have high hopes for their performance.

Both the H600 and the H1200 come with the same set of components, with the exception of the extra fan and Y-splitter for the H1200. You’ll find a universal backplate, AMD and Intel mounting brackets, a small tube of thermal paste, and all black fittings for the screws and other mounting hardware.

Both coolers come nicely packaged in protective cardboard, with durable plastic bag coverings on all major hardware, as well as some thick air pockets to help prevent any of it moving around in transit.

EKWB Issues Full Recall of Predator 240 and 360 AIO Coolers

If you purchased one of EKWB’s Predator 240 or 360 all-in-one liquid coolers, then you should read this. EKWB has issued a full recall of all EK-XLC Predator 240 and 360 pre-filled and pre-assembled all-in-one (AIO) CPU liquid cooling units due to a potential risk of leakage of liquid from the unit. Affected are all Revision 1.0 models of both the 240mm and 360mm version with the EAN-codes 3831109863343 and 3831109863350.

At first it was estimated as a limited risk situation where only a single batch of units were affected and could develop leakage over time, it quickly turned out to be a more widespread problem and that is why EKWB issued a full recall. The good news in all of this is that a new and fixed version is ready, any revision 1.0 product will be replaced or refunded, and EKWB even covers damage to other parts that resulted from a leaking Predator AIO.

EKWB first identified the issue as a faulty O-ring in the EK-Supremacy MX CPU water block that was used in the unit. At first, it was thought that it only affected the November batch of O-rings, as pre-orders and early testers hadn’t reported any issues. That quickly changed and EKWB found the problem to affect all units. The leakage may occur between the copper cold plate and bracket on the water block after it is heated up and pressure rises. Current statistics show that 1 out of 10 units leaks.

If you currently use one of these units, then you are strongly recommended to stop doing so. EKWB has redesigned and released a new version of EK-XLC Predator (Revision 1.1) on the 4th of January 2016 that prevents any leakage under normal working modes. For the full details on refund or exchange, please visit EKWB’s official note about this issue. You’ll also find contact email addresses and phone numbers for both EU and US customers.

Errors in productions are something that can happen to anyone at any time, what is important is how you handle the aftermath. EKWB has shown a prime example of how it is done. They are taking full responsibility for it and giving their customers multiple fix options from a refund to replacement units. No secrets but full disclosure all the way through. Well done EKWB, it might cost you some money to fix the issue right now, but you’ll win some loyal customers with it.

Silverstone Tundra TD02-Slim AIO Cooler Review

Introduction


The design team at Silverstone are the masters of ergonomics, something we’ve seen time and time again with their revolutionary space-saving chassis designs. Not only have they created some masterful chassis, but they also have a great range of cooling products that are perfectly designed for tighter spaces, such as slim fans, low-profile air coolers and slim AIO radiators. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Tundra TD02-Slim, a 240mm AIO water cooler with a total thickness of just 37mm, with the fans installed! This is going to be a great cooler for mini-ITX and Micro-ATX chassis designs where space is at a premium.

“Due to limited room in smaller cases, small form factor users are often left out of liquid cooling option, so SilverStone has released the Tundra TD02-Slim. Designed for small form factor PCs, this cooler has a radiator and fan combo of only 37mm thick, making it possible to fit into slimmer profile cases or giving more space in tight confines. By retaining many of the high-end features from SilverStone’s other liquid cooling models, the TD02-Slim also has great performance for the money and is a top choice for high performance but small PC builds.”

The cooler is well equipped, with a copper base plate, a 22mm aluminium radiator, high-performance pump, and two 15mm thick PWM fans. Of course, the cooler also comes with support for a massive range of socket types, ensuring compatibility with any modern system.

The packaging shows off a nice image of the cooler, as well as a quick rundown of the main spec, such as the slim form factor and the extensive socket support.

Around the back, much of the same information, just broken down into various international languages.

Virtually everything you need is included, such as a universal backplate, as well as a Y-split fan cable and a Molex adaptor should you not have any available fan headers on your motherboard.

The included fans look really nice, with a contrasting black and white theme. They’re obviously super slim, but with a large number of fins, they’re still going to be able to shift some serious airflow. The only minor gripe is the colour of the fan cables, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.

EVGA Reveal Hydro QRG Expandable Cooler @ CES 2016

CES 2016: EVGA may be better known for their PSUs, graphics cards and other hardware, but now they’re expanding into the world of CPU coolers too! This isn’t the first time EVGA has dabbled with cooling through, having had many water cooled GPUs in recent years, so I have high expectations for their new QRG CPU Cooler.

The pump design is certainly unique and comes with a gorgeous LED-lit EVGA logo behind the clear top panel. The hoses are a good length, and come with a thick braiding over the top, and better yet, they come with quick release interlinks, allowing you to easily add a GPU into the mix; such as the Hydro EVGA series!

The cooler is set to launch soon, with just the 120mm version available initially, but expect other models to follow afterwards and if it’s successful, EVGA will be eager to expand on this range even further.

Cooler Master Showcase Latest Cooling Products @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Cooler Master may have been in a little hot water last year over pump designs, but that’s old news and something they’ve easily worked around with their a new cooling design of their own making. The new water cooler still has a fairly straight forward radiator design, but now features super flexible tubing, as well as a very unique pump design.

As you can see, it has a clear top, giving you a great view of the liquid chamber in the pump. The demo hardware was running dry to show off the hardware, and CM also said that while there’s only a single LED here, it will be fully LED lit when it comes to market. This is going to look great when it’s done and we cant wait to test it out when it is completed.

Then we have their new fan series, gone are all the previous brandings, now focusing on three ranges, AirFlow, Balance and Air Pressure. Obviously, the usual sizing variants will be available, but they’ll com ewith all black fittings, a sleek design and anti-vibration rubber mounts for the screws.

The new Masterair Maker 8, which features a sleek design for high-end air cooling. It uses a 3D vapor chamber in the base, a thick tower and a push/pull fan configuration for excellent cooling performance.

It’ll support 120mm and 140mm fans via removable clip-on brackets, allowing for quick and easy fan changes/maintainance.

It’s also very colourful. The LED lighting is actually from the fans, but there’s a cool lighting pass-through design that helps illuminate the top cover and the area around the heat pipes.

This is a stunning looking cooler and once again we can’t wait to see it in the eTeknix office and put it through its paces.

Air cooling not your thing? Expect to see this range of custom loop cooling hardware on the market very soon too!

 

 

 

Thermaltake Display Latest High-End Cooling Products @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Thermaltake are pushing hard to be a one-stop shop for system components, and their rapidly expanding cooling range is a prime example of this. If you’ve got need for a custom loop, they’ve got it all. Tiny radiators, not a problem, but what if you need a giant 560mm radiator to span two stacked chassis? Yup, they’ve got that too.

It’s also nice to see that they’re now stocking a lot of GPU water blocks, covering many popular variants, or at least the kind that any enthusiast system builder would be buying, as well as dual, triple and quad water block VGA bridges.

This is a real show stopper for me, just look at those colours! Thermaltake now make their own cooling fluid and while you may think this is just for demo builds, Thermaltake promise these colours are all designed to be full-time coolant for day-to-day use.

Need everything in one box? The new water cooling kits come with all the hose, thermal paste, interconnects, fans, reservoirs, coolant, radiators and more that you’ll need to get the job done.

Expanding on that, their huge range of fans, but the most notable being their new Riing, which come with multiple LED RGB lights to allow you to create some fantastic effects.

What’s your favourite addition to the Thermaltake cooling range this year?

Noctua NH-D9L Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Notcua, the PC cooling markets masters of sublime build quality and ultra-quiet performance, are back on eTeknix once again today. I’ll be taking a look at their new NH-D9L cooler, and while it may seem a little small and not particularly special, it’s certainly got a few promising features that I’m looking forward to testing.

Despite the compact design, measuring just 111mm tall! The D9L features a dual tower design, yet still provides perfect clearance for RAM modules, as well as keeping clear of any PCIe expansion cards. It’s small enough to fit in a mini-ITX system build, but for the more professional hardware enthusiast, it’ll be perfect for 3U systems too. Noctua build quality is world-famous, and to support their confidence, the D9L comes with a whopping six-year warranty! That’s confidence in their products right there.

“The included NF-A9 premium fan supports automatic speed control via PWM for outstanding quietness of operation and a second, optional NF-A9 fan can be added for further improved performance in dual fan mode. Topped off with the trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, Noctua’s proven NT-H1 thermal compound and full 6 years manufacturer’s warranty, the NH-D9L forms a highly compact premium package for space-restricted applications.”

For a quick overview of the coolers features and design, check out this lovely product video from Noctua.

Equipped with support for all major sockets and then some, as well as a form factor that will support a vast amount of system and motherboard configurations, including some server deployments, high-quality build materials and a premium grade fan, this little cooler is already starting to sound quite exciting.

The box is typical Noctua, nicely designed, with a brown and white colour scheme, and technical/performance data plastered on every side of the box.

The box is nicely packaged, with lots of protection around the cooler and a separate box for additional components.

In the component box, you’ll find everything you need to get the cooler installed on all major Intel and AMD socket types. There’s a tube of high-quality thermal paste, extra fan clips and even a screwdriver, which are certainly welcome additions.

Enermax Introduces ETS-N30II Air CPU Cooler

Enermax released some impressive cooling solutions over the years and they’re back with one more before New Year’s and introduced the new ETS-N30II side-flow CPU cooler. The new ETS-N30II is the second generation and where the previous model already scored great reviews and rewards around the web, the new one puts one on top with even better efficiency.

Enermax designed the ETS-N30II for use in small and compact systems and it is only 137.2mm high. The tiny CPU cooler comes with perfect RAM compatibility thanks to the asymmetrical heat-pipe design that shifts the whole thing a little to one side. Enermax opted for a 90mm RPM fan and despite the somewhat limited size of everything, the ETS-N30II still comes with a TDP support up to 150W. The three heat-pipes are 6mm thick and the cooler utilizes direct heat-pipe touch for the best cooling abilities.

Enermax applied several of their own patented technologies to bring you the best cooling performance in a compact size. The Vortex Generator Flow is generated by spoilers on the fins that lead the air to the back of the heat pipes too, instead of just hitting the front of them as on most coolers. It also features a closed air path in order to optimize the airflow. It prevents air flow from escaping to the sides before it reaches the entire heatsink.

This second generation ETS-N30 has a 3-degree improvement over the predecessor and it can keep your CPU 22 degrees colder than the stock cooler can do. Enermax also chose to include a fan RPM reduction adapter for those who don’t need as much cooling capability and rather would like a 25% reduction in the noise generation by reducing the speed from 800-2800RPM to 600-1800RPM.

Besides the basic model with a black fan, you’re also able to get the ETS-N30II with Enermax’s Twister Bearing LED fan that has a 160K hours MTBF and zero friction noise. The 12 blue LEDs can give a cool visual bonus to the overall system.

Enermax did not reveal pricing or availability at this time, but pricing should be very similar to the previous ETS-N30 model and availability should be very soon.

EK WB Releases Monoblock for the Compact ASUS MAXIMUS VIII Impact

Liquid cooling seems to be on the up and coming again and we have seen quite a few new products released in the category lately. One type of product that we see a lot are monoblocks that cool both the CPU itself like a normal heatsink, but also the MOSFET power regulation which is a crucial factor when overclocking but also something that could increase the overall lifetime of your hardware.

The new monoblock from EK WB that we see released this time is specifically designed with ASUS to fit the compact and unique ASUS MAXIMUS VIII Impact motherboard that comes with several daughter boards due to the mITX size and the amount of features and functions ASUS loaded it with.

The new monoblock is called the EK-FB ASUS M8I and with its unique design, it attaches itself to both the motherboard and the MOSFET daughterboard for optimal cooling of both. It is designed out of the EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure the best possible CPU cooling as the liquid flows past all the critical components.

The base of the monoblock is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of quality POM Acetal or acrylic glass material, depending on the variant.

The new EK-FB ASUS M8I should be available at official EK WB resellers now for a suggested retail price of €112.95. Both the Nickel and the Acetal and Nickel versions cost the same, so which you pick is down to your personal choice.

Noctua NH-C14S C-Type Premium Cooler Review

Introduction


Noctua, one of most respected names in the cooling industry, are back once again with their latest cooler, the NH-C14S. Those of you who follow Noctua products will notice that the name is rather similar to another very popular Noctua cooler, the NH-C14. The new “S” model takes the award-winning design of the original and improves on it, or at least we hope it has! You’ll find a deeper fin stack and an even more efficient NF-A14 PWM fan.

At almost £60, the NH-C14S is certainly one of the most expensive air coolers on the market, but if previous Noctua products are anything to go by, we can expect one the best in terms of build quality, cooling performance and acoustics. So let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what this new model has to offer.

Inside the very nicely packaged box, you’ll find absolutely everything you need to get yourself setup and ready to rock. Separate installation guides for each socket type, a collection of high-quality screws and bolts, AMD and Intel support brackets, a backplate, screwdriver, thermal paste, extra fan clips and a funky Noctua sticker.

First impressions of the cooler are certainly positive. It’s quite a large unit, giving it a massive amount of surface area, as well as allowing it to handle that lovely and big 140mm fan; both of which will help improve the cooling capabilities.

The fin stack is pretty tight, and the sides are bent to close them off, allowing the fan to better direct airflow right out the top of the cooler and over the heat pipes more efficiently.

The fan does come pre-installed out of the box, but keep in mind that you’ll be needing to remove it in order to install the cooler. The fan is typical Noctua, with the brown design that we’ve all come to love and/or hate. The fan clips are easy enough to use to mount and remove the cooler, and there’s a second set included should you wish to add another fan to the top side of the cooler.

The base plate is mounted directly below the fan and has a thick metal back section which should help further with cooling capabilities. The mounting screws are pre-fitted and sprung too, which should help greatly with the installation process.

There are seven heat pipes in total, all perfectly aligned to give full coverage of the CPU block, although the 7th comes from the thick metal backing on the top of the contact plate, which will help deal with even more heat.

The contact plate is huge and beautifully finished, which should give a fantastic covering over your CPU of choice.

The end of the cooler is nicely finished too, with a soft finish plate and a small Noctua stamp completing the design.

Asus Maximus VIII Extreme Overclocking Review

Introduction


The Maximus VIII Extreme is the new top of the line socket 1151 board from Asus that just begs to be paired with a 6600K or 6700K for some overclocking goodness. The board was built for overclocking from the ground up and it should be fairly capable in extreme overclocking too. We are going to put it through its paces and see just how fun and powerful this board can be when pushing 6700Ks to the extreme, but first, let’s take a look at the features that will help us achieve the overclocks we desire.

Now we see the Maximus VIII Extreme without the heat-sink in all its black on black glory, the color scheme really looks beautiful. The board is built from the ground up for overclocking and has really gone a bit overboard with the features. The board will take dual 8-pin connectors for power along with the standard 24pin.

Onboard buttons for power, reset, safe boot, MemOK, and a POST led display. There are toggles for disabling DIMM channels as well as toggles for LN2 mode and Slow Mode for extreme overclocking. There are also voltage read points for various different board voltages.

Here we have the dual BIOS chips that are thankfully socketed instead of soldered. Why is that important you may wonder well it is much easier to replace one of these socketed chips by yourself than having to send the whole board into the company for RMA.

The inclusion of the combo PS2 mouse and keyboard is always a welcome sight as it simplifies things and will also reduce the load on the CPU over USB based options while you are overclocking.

For the CPU, the board is using an 8-phase fully digital VRM controlled by ASP1405 (IR based). Mosfets are Infineon BSG0812 (dual N-MOSFET with high + low side in the same package) capable of delivering 50A each. As for the iGPU, it is the same components again, but scaled down to a 4-phase design. DRAM has a dual-phase design with the digital ASP1103 controller.

Asetek Factory Video Shows How a Closed Loop Liquid Cooler is Made

Asetek is the industry’s leader in closed-loop cooling solutions and manufacturers the majority of these products for major companies including Corsair. Arguably, they created the idea for a simple all-in-one unit and threatened legal action against any similar devices which infringed on their patents. As a result, Asetek is the dominant force in sealed water cooling and looks set to have a monopoly in this market. Despite the legal wrangling, it’s always fascinating to see how any product is made especially on such a vast scale.

Recently, Asetek released a video showing the workforce and steps needed to create the Corsair H75 cooler. It’s certainly worth a watch and provides a great insight into their production line. Compared to other traditional air coolers, it’s vital to eliminate any potential problems during the manufacturing process as any leaks will have disastrous consequences. Thankfully, the failure rates on Asetek units are extremely low and very reliable.

That being said, I’d like to see other companies have the freedom to invent new designs and innovate in this sector. Asetek’s attempts so far to control the market have been successful and the lack of competition is never a good thing for consumers.

Phanteks Announces Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window Edition

Phanteks is ready with another beautiful chassis in the Enthoo line-up and this time, it is the Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window Edition chassis. It is a new Enthoo M variant that features a full acrylic side panel window along with a few other modifications and an overall beautiful finish.

The new version features more modifications towards the older models than just a new fancy side panel that gives a great view on the entire system inside the chassis. The Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window Edition also features the new HDD mounting system, the PWM hub, the innovative radiator bracket, and the various pump mounting locations for even more build options and hardware choices.

The front IO panel has moved from the top of the chassis and down to the side for better optics and it is also something that prevents extra dust and dirt from settling the same way as it does in upwards mounted ports. There are two USB 3.0 ports along with the HD audio connectors and a reset button on the side while the power button still is on the top.

The large interior space allows you to mount full-sized ATX components, including motherboard and PSU. The motherboard area features a large cut-out for easy CPU cooler mounting and backplate access and there are plenty of cable routing options for a beautiful build.

Phanteks used the same type of innovative top radiator bracket to allow easy installation of a radiator and fans alike, just like the Enthoo EVOLV ATX and the EVOLV ITX already have.

There are multple locations for storage drives and additional HDD brackets can be purchased and used. As a basis, the chassis supports two internal 3.5-inch drives and one internal 2.5-inch drive. Additional brackets can be used for up to eight 3.5-incch drives and three 2.5-inch drives for plenty of storage.

Phanteks optimized the chassis for liquid cooling setups, so there is plenty of ventilation space for your fans. You can add up to three 120mm or two 140mm fans at both the top and front and another 120mm or 140mm fan at the rear. The front and top support up to 360mm radiators too.

Included with the chassis are two 140mm fans, one at the front and one at the rear. The included fans are PH-F140SP that come with a speed of 1200 RPM and a noise level of just 19 dB.

I previously mentioned that you could add full sized ATX components, but there are more clearance factors to consider than that. The Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window Edition chassis has clearance for graphics cards with a length up to 420 mm, CPU coolers with a height up to 194mm and a power supply unit with a length up to 318mm. That should be plenty for most hardware. There’s also a spacious 35mm cable managements space on the back of the chassis.

The new Phanteks Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window Edition chassis will be available throughout December 2015 for a recommended retail price of €89.90 and £69.99 including VAT. The Enthoo Pro M Acrylic Window edition chassis is also backed by a 5-year limited warranty.

Akasa Max S Passive Cooled Max S NUC Chassis Review

Introduction


We’re back once again with another entry in the NUC chassis series from Akasa, but this one, like the others we’ve previously seen has a neat trick at its disposal that makes it stand out from the crowd. The Akasa MAX MT and the Plato X both won awards from us recently and for good reason too, they’re both exceptional products full of innovative and practical features, so we’re hoping to see a similar performance from the Max S.

Equipped with support for many great NUC motherboards, the Max S comes will a passive cooling design, support for slim and slot loading ODD drives and more, making it a versatile unit for digital advertising, multimedia systems and even desktop use.

• Aluminium fanless CPU cooling design
• Stylish front panel diamond effect
• Support both Tray loading / Slot loading slim ODD
• Support one serial port
• Support IR remote function
• Compatible with the following Intel® NUC Board
NUC5i5MYBE / NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i3MYBE / NUC5i3MYHE
NUC5i5RYH / NUC5i5RYK / NUC5i3RYH / NUC5i3RYK

Everything you need to get your hardware installed is included in the box, so the setup process should be nice and straight forward.

First impressions of the Max S are very promising, as you can immediately tell the build quality is nothing short of exceptional. It’s made from a thick piece of aluminium with a fin array on the sides and top, which will help dissipate heat, as the chassis is used to passively cool the CPU.

The same design on the right, giving it a nice uniform appearance.

The front panel looks stunning, with a brushed aluminium finished and trimmed edges giving them a little bit of silver flair. There’s a pair of USB 3.0 ports, IR pass through, HD audio jack and the power button, so that’s all the basics covered. What’s really important is the slot loading optical bay, a great tool if you’re using this for video displays, HTPC or even desktop use. Even better, there’s a second front panel included to add support for slim tray loading drives, giving you even more flexibility.

Around the back, all the usual cut-outs for NUC boards, as well as two rubber grommets for WiFi antenna should you need them. There’s a Kensington lock hole in the bottom corner too, always a nice thing to have for such a small system. The alternative backplate which is included in the box also adds support for NUC boards with Com ports, something that’s still widely used for a whole host of commercial and industrial purposes.

The base of the chassis has four small feet, giving a little ground clearance to the unit. These screws/feet also hold the base plate on the chassis and need to be removed to install your components. There’s a set of four holes on the base too, which are used for mounting the chassis on a VESA or similarly compatible solution.