NZXT Releases New GRID+ V2 Digital Fan Controller

There are several ways to control the installed fans in your system and the preferred is probably having a fan controller somewhere. If you don’t have a spare 5.25-inch or 3.5-inch drive bay for one of those externals or your opt for an internal for other reasons, then NZXT just released one that might be worth taking a closer look at. The new GRID+ V2 digital fan controller builds on the same principle as its predecessor and also comes with improvements.

The NZXT GRID+ V2 has 6 channels that can be individually controlled and supports up to 30W total output. The GRID+ V2 is compatible with the NZXT CAM software that makes control and monitoring easy. A few clicks with the mouse and you have adjusted the settings the way you want them to be. You can label the channels with something that is easy to recognize, allowing you to actually find the fans you are looking for instead of a trial and error run. The NZXT CAM software can run several profiles and also take care of the a silent operation by only speeding up the fans when the system needs it.

The new NZXT GRID+ V2 will be available in Europe starting in September for an MSRP of £19.99+VAT or €29.99+VAT.

Features

  • CAM Software Enabled
  • 6 Individually Controlled Fan Channels
  • Supports both 3-pin and 4-pin PWM fans (All controlled only by voltage)
  • Up To 30W Total Output
  • Discreet Installation
  • Voltage and Short Circuit Protection
  • 2 Included Fan Extension Cables

Intel to Improve iGPU Performance With Skylake

Something that Intel always struggled with in the past was the internal graphics processing units (iGPU), mainly the performance (or lack of) compared to the AMD counterpart. Although, Intel did make an improvement thanks to the Iris and Iris Pro graphics cores.

With the upcoming launch of Intel Skylake processors, we can expect to see the new graphics cores utilised to the fullest potentials. The CPU’s will come in 4 key variants, Skylake-S (Desktop), Skylake-H (High-Performance Mobile), Skylake-Y (Low TDP) and Skylake-U (Ultra Low Power); all of which will be poised at all possible consumer markets in terms of price and performance.

Earlier today, WFFCTech compiled a list of the comparable differences between the Skylake and Broadwell variants of the iGPU. Thanks to Compubench, information was sourced regarding 3 new CPU’s, the Core m3-6Y30 which is the successor to the Core M5Y31, the Core i5-6200U which is the successor to the Core i5-5200U and finally an unknown CPU with Iris Graphics 540; which was compared against the Core i5-5257U with Iris Graphics 6100.

“The Core i5-6200U which is powered by the HD Graphics 520 iGPU is the successor of the Core i5-5200U that features the HD Graphics 5500 iGPU. Being a GT2 level Broadwell graphics chip, the HD Graphics 5200 features 24 execution units, 1300 million transistors and a clock speed ranging from 300 MHz (Base) up to 950 MHz (Boost) clock. The HD Graphics 520 iGPU could also be a GT2 level core with 24 execution units while the more performance heavy GT3e variants featured on faster Core i7 variants will be integrated with 48 execution units and 64 MB eDRAM LLC (Last Level Cache).”

“The Core M-6Y30 will be powered by the HD Graphics 515 iGPU that is the successor to the Core M-5Y31 which is part of the Broadwell-Y lineup that launched last year. The HD 5300 featured on the Core M-5Y31 is powered by 24 execution units and a clock speed of 300 MHz (Base) and 900 MHz (Boost) clock speeds. All Broadwell-Y Core M processors are based on the HD Graphics 5300 core which is the entry level iGPU chip but that will kind of change with Skylake-Y which will be getting GT1 and GT1.5 chips with 12 and 18 Execution units each that deliver better performance per core unit and faster clocks.”

“Finally we have the Iris Graphics 540 which is the successor to the Iris Graphics 6100. Note that these are not the Iris Pro variants being compared which feature higher execution units and clock speeds. The current Iris Graphics 6100 core features 48 Execution units, 1900 Million transistors and clock speeds of 300 MHz (base) and 1100 MHz (Boost). The Iris Graphics 540 will feature similar amount of execution units with faster clocks and a eDRAM cache of 64 MB. A faster GT4e graphics core is also confirmed which will be part of the Iris Pro Graphics 550 with 72 Execution units and 128 MB cache but we don’t have any specific results for the chip. The performance of these chips can be seen in the pictures below but do note that they aren’t represnetative of final performance nor do they showcase actual gaming performance you might expect from the processor it self. There are notable improvements from these chips which shows Intel did make some graphics architecture updates on Skylake platform.”

As you can see, there are noticeable improvements, but there is no information on the high-end i7-6700k or i5-6600k; which I’m sure is what everyone wants to see. Will you be buying a different variant of the Skylake line up other than the ‘K’ series? Let us know in the comments.

Enermax Displays Internal and External Storage Solutions at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – When you mention Enermax, most people think of cooling as the first thing. But the company produces a lot more than just fans and we’ve swung by their booth at Computex to check out their storage expansion units, card readers, and multi-purpose units.

Enermax brought along two of everything so they both could show off the units in built-in as seen in the shots above, but also let us check out the units first hand and from all sides.

We have the default hot-swap units such as the EMK5102 and EMK5102 as well as more advanced docks such as the EMK5201U3 that features both USB 3.0 front bays and hot-swappable 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives.

3.5-inch enclosures are just as well covered as the 5.25-inch ones and you’ll even find PCI expansion slot covers for 2.5-inch SSDs such as the EMK3106.

The Mobile Rack EMK3203 is a unique and pretty cool enclosure. It doesn’t just put two 2.5-inch drives into a single 3.5-inch drive bay, it allows for easy switching of drives as well as hardware-based RAID. The aluminum cover helps to keep everything cool, even when running mechanical drives inside.

It has rarely been so easy to take your RAID setup on the road and at the same time have the insurance that it will work in any system with a default 3.5-inch drive bay.

Every one of these enclosures is built great and with first class components, and should last you a long time.

Card readers are also part of the display and thanks to the USB 3.0 connection you’ll get all the speed that your memory cards can perform. No bottleneck as there used to be with USB 2.0 connected readers.

All new are the USB 3.1 enclosures Brick EB308U31 and Ultrabox EB310U31. The two new devices are capable of utilizing the new 10Gbps USB connections that are twice as fast as USB 3.0.

Featuring the new USB type-C reversible connector makes it easier than ever to connect them and you’ll never again have to do the well known 3-times-turn move to connect your USB devices.

The Ultrabox docking stations are available as single-bay and two-bay units where the 2-bay even features built-in cloning abilities with process indicators.

SilverStone Storage Enclosures at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Silverstone has a wide variety of enclosures and it doesn’t really matter where or how you need them, They got it covered. From internal to external, hybrids, and from USB to SAS – you’ll find it all.

There are traditional hot-swap bays so you can utilize all you front bays for drives, with and without trays.

The Silverstone MS06 for example is a hybrid solution that allows you to take the drive on the road as USB 3.0 high-speed storage and just plug it into your own system for a direct connection when you get home.

External enclosures such as the DS222 allows you to connect two drives externally to your USB ports and that includes built-in RAID support. RAID isn’t just for external drive bays and the Mobile and Treasure storage MS08 is a 2.5-inch SATA hot-swap module rack with RAID support and a tray-less design.

The TS431 and TS231 units allow you to connect 3.5-inch SATA drives easily to your system via USB 3.0 interface and support hot swap for their trayless drive bays. The units are also available with miniSAS connectors for direct connection to your high-performance controller.

Storage enclosures are nice, but what if you want to build a complete system with lot of drives and keep a small form factor. A thing that used to be difficult, but isn’t anymore thanks to SilverStone. The CS280 and DS380 provide lots of drive bays as well as room for mITX motherboards and internal power supplies.

The CS series are cases for storage and that’s just what they do. The mITX cases support 6 external 2.5-inch hot-swap drive as well as two internal. The whole thing is wrapped in a beautiful aluminum enclosure with rounded corners.

Last but not least, SilverStone also brought along their line-up of internal drive bays, used to expand your case’s front bays in a more practical way. Whether you need 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives to be easy accessible and with hot-swap abilities, SilverStone has it covered with their huge amount of options.

Stay tuned for more news, photos, and information directly from Computex 2015

Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor Review

Introduction


Following on from my review on Asus’ top performing wireless AC router, the RT-AC68U that we looked at not too long ago, it is only worth us taking a closer look at what makes this next generation wireless adaptor tick. Unless your laptop or desktop system has built-in wireless, there is one of two main options out there for you to choose from in order to add the freedom to your system that is wireless networking. The first of these methods is to get a USB based device which is a simple device with very little setup required – literally plug it in, install the driver and you’re away. In addition a USB adaptor is compatible with both notebook and desktop systems and they are not overly expensive either. Like most things though there is a downside to going down the USB path; whilst they are able to deliver some highly respectable levels of performance, the antenna is either very small, or internal to the adaptor and therefore signal strength can be an issue.

The second main path to go down when going wireless is go with a PCI Express add-on card; obviously there is the immediate downside in that you’re not going to shoehorn one of these into your notebook system – so it’s USB only on that one I’m afraid, but for the desktop system there are a couple of perks in going down this route. The first of these is that you don’t lose another USB port on the rear or front of your case, but more importantly the antennae are bigger and on the PCE-AC68 there are three of them with a magnetic base plate on offer to maximise the signal strength and speed of your connection to the router. Sounds good huh?

Inside the box alongside the brightly coloured card Asus give us a VIP warranty note, driver CD and quick setup guide, three external antennae, a magnetic base plate with a long SMA extension cable and a half-height PCI back plate.