Chillblast gave us a friendly poke to see if we were interested in taking a look at one of their mini-itx gaming range. As I am mainly used to dealing with hulking gaming monsters which are show-pieces never to be moved, I was quite interested to see what offerings are available in terms of portable PCs of tiny small form factor, and finding out if they’re actually worth it or not.
Having a brief look over the spec sheet revealed on paper at least, that this seemed a fairly decent gaming rig, even touting an AIO liquid cooled CPU cooler. We’ve seen plenty of GTX 970s, 980s and even Titan Xs, but we’ve yet to try out the GTX960. Needless to say, we gratefully took Chillblast up on their offer and sure enough a fairly large yet light parcel turned up at eTeknix HQ.
Name: Chillblast Fusion Barbarian Gaming PC
Case: Raijintek Metis Windowed Mini ITX Case – Red – modified
Motherboard: Asus Z97I PLUS
Processor: Intel Core i5 4690K Devils Canyon overclocked to 4.3GHz
Graphics card: GTX 960 2GB based on the Maxwell Architecture
Power Supply: Corsair CX 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified PSU Modular Version
Optical Drive: None
Wireless: Asus A/C
Monitor: Not included
Peripherals: Not included
OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Warranty: 5 Year Warranty with 2 Years Collect and Return (UK only)
Price: £869.99as configured Delivered.
The outer box, sealed and in perfect condition, a good start!
Inside the outer box amongst a large amount of paper padding on all sides we have a smaller box and a case box.
The much smaller Raijintek case box
In the side box, we have the external magnetic Asus Wi-Fi antennae, extra modular power cables, kettle power lead, PCIE blanking plates, motherboard sound speaker and various manuals and drivers discs.
Removing the rig from its case showed that extra care had been given to the components inside the case, nice.
It’s system review time at eTeknix HQ and today Overclockers.co.uk step into the arena with their Titan Pandora Gaming PC. Housed in a Bitfenix Pandora case we have a high-end i5 4690k overclocked to 4.2GHz, Nvidia GTX 970, 16GB of DDR3 with a clock speed of 2133MHz. There is a double 240mm AIO CPU liquid cooler and a Galax GeForce GTX 970 EXOC Black Edition featuring an impressive 11% overclock. On the storage front, we have Samsung’s latest SSD offering in terms of the 250GB 850 EVO, with a larger amount of storage supplied in the form of a Seagate Barracuda 2TB mechanical hard drive.
Gaming systems at this price point have become very competitive recently, so let’s get stuck in and see what else the Titan Pandora has to offer!
Name: Overclockers UK Titan Pandora
Case: Bitfenix Pandora Micro ATX Gaming Case – Black
After a lot of speculation and rumours the Intel Devil’s Canyon processors have finally been launched. The flagship part is the new Core i7 4790K which is Intel’s first 4GHz base clock speed processor to ever be released. The Core i7 4790K will also turbo up to an impressive 4.4GHz and has an 88W TDP.
Frequency bumps aside there are also some physical changes to the Core i7 4790K compared to the Core i7 4770K. The Core i7 4790K gets additional capacitors on the underside to smooth power delivery to the die, furthermore Intel are using a next-generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material (NGPTIM) to improve cooling efficiency, which will definitely be needed if the temperature problems we saw on Haswell are anything to go by.
There is also a Devil’s Canyon Core i5, the 4690K, and this gets a modest 0.1GHz speed bump compared to the Core i5 4670K. The speed bump brought to this CPU is much less impressive than that offered by the Intel Core i7 4790K. As far as we can tell the Core i5 4690K also gets the improved thermal interface material and additional capacitors because Intel state that applies to “New Unlocked 4th Gen Intel Core Processors” of which the Core i5 4690K definitely fits that description. Pricing is identical to the current unlocked offerings, we presume these will get price cuts in response to the new launches or that they will be gradually phased out.
Devil’s Canyon is the apparent codename for Intel’s newest unlocked K series CPUs that will probably be released on or around Computex 2014 in June according to widely circulated rumours. Devil’s Canyon is expected to include a Core i7 4790K and a Core i5 4690K both of which are supposedly based on Haswell architecture and part of “Haswell Refresh” series from which we’ve already seen a few locked CPUs released. We’ve heard from a lot of sources that there will not be backwards compatibility of Devil’s Canyon CPUs with 8 series motherboards (Z87, Z85, H87, H81, B85, Q87, Q85 etc) because of some hardware level changes in the CPU design such as the way power is delivered.However, one source reports that this is simply not the case and Devil’s Canyon will be compatible with 8 series motherboards.
The lack of compatibility is apparently just a formal thing because the specification of the TDPs do not match up between the revised LGA 1150 socket spec on 9 series and the LGA 1150 8 series socket spec. Therefore Intel is obliged to state incompatibility between 8 series and Devil’s Canyon. However, the difference is a mere 4 watts and apparently motherboard vendors are already validating Devil’s Canyon CPUs in existing 8 series motherboards to great success. Devil’s Canyon is still a fourth generation processor design so Broadwell might still be incompatible with 8 series motherboards even if Devil’s Canyon is compatible. However, this latest development does also call that rumour into question as well.