BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


BIOSTAR might not be the most recognizable motherboard brand in western markets but their pedigree for creating reliable products is worthy of praise. When compared to MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS, the company struggles to entice consumers with unique aesthetic designs. Furthermore, the BIOS and software package has been sorely lacking and in dire need of change. Thankfully, BIOSTAR have acknowledged these criticisms and decided to forge a brand new range based upon a racing theme to please petrolheads with an avid interest in enthusiast hardware. Each RACING motherboard sports a chequered flag PCB and stylish LED illumination while introducing a new BIOS layout. Clearly, this is a major departure from BIOSTAR’s previous products which evoked a fairly mundane appearance.

The BIOSTAR RACING H170GT3 is based on the mATX form factor and supports up to 64GB DDR4 with a maximum speed of 2133MHz. Intel’s H170 chipset blocks multiplier overclocking which means you have to resort to your processor’s default turbo frequency. Of course, there’s been some controversy surrounding BCLK overclocking on H170 and B150 motherboards to unofficially achieve boosts fairly close to traditional multiplier overclocking. Sadly, Intel has voiced their displeasure regarding this phenomenon and pressurized manufacturers to disable BCLK overclocking via a BIOS update. As a result, we have to rely on stock figures to determine the motherboard’s performance. Previously, I’ve seen some astounding results when it comes to storage with BIOSTAR products, and I’m interested to see if this trend continues.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

Here we can see the absolutely stunning packaging which contains a carbon fibre inspired cover and vibrant text. This coincides with the RACING focus and feels quite reminiscent of a luxury sports car’s interior.

On the opposite side, there’s a detailed diagram showing the motherboard’s layout and explanation of its unique selling features. Once again, this is presented a superb manner and makes you inquisitive about the product’s specification.

In terms of accessories, the motherboard includes a user’s manual, Vivid LED DJ instructions guide, SATA cables, driver disk, and I/O shield.

Lian Li Announces PC-7N Classic Mid-Tower Chassis

Lian Li’s newly announced PC-7N chassis comes with a classic and minimalistic look on the outside, but quite a few improvements on the inside. The new PC-7N includes an improved and customizable storage rack for drives, tool-less building features, and great clearances in a lightweight chassis.

As a mid-tower chassis, the PC-7N can hold the most common sized ATX or mATX motherboards. Clearance is a factor in this chassis and you can easily mount CPU coolers with a height up to 170mm and graphics cards as long as 370mm without hard disk trays mounted in front of the card. With trays, you can still mount cards with a length up to 250mm.

Lian Li built the PC-7n with tool-less mounting options for easy installation. The chassis comes with four drive trays included which all are fitted with vibration-dampening rubber washers. Each of the trays can be installed in one of the eight available slots and they’ll be directly cooled by the two front intake fans. The drive trays are secured by a removable aluminum arm that in itself is secured by a thumbscrew. You can also add up to two 5.25-inch drives to this chassis and those trays also feature tool-less installation.

Cooling wise the PC-7N has the basic features and nothing out of the norm. You get two front intake 120mm fans and one rear 120mm exhaust fan. The front intake and the PSU area both have dust filters to help keep your system as clean on the inside as possible. There’s also basic water cooling support for those that wish a liquid cooled setup. The front allows for radiators with a size up to 140mm x 280mm x 60mm and the rear also features liquid cooling grommets.

There is plenty of space for the PSU due to the clean internal build which allows you to mount PSUs with a length of up to 270mm. That should be plenty for even the most powerful power supplies on the market. You also get eight expansion slots for easy setup with up to four dual-slot cards, and a front panel with audio and USB 3.0 ports.

The PC-7N is scheduled for an availability at the end of March and it will be available in two colours. The manufacturer suggested retail price is set to £84.90.

Feature Highlights

  • Customizable modular drive rack
  • Fits four 3.5” HDDs or 2.5” SSDs
  • Water cooling: up to 140mmx280mmx60mm on internal bracket
  • Removable front panel and mesh filter; two 120mm intake fans, one 120mm exhaust fan
  • Accommodates VGA cards up to 370mm long
  • Accommodates CPU coolers up to 170mm tall
  • Accommodates PSUs up to 270mm long
  • MSRP: £84.90
  • Availability: End of March

Check out the Amazing 17-Liter Project Nova Chassis

Some of the best ideas are born out of necessity because they are needed but don’t exist yet. The same goes for the 17-liter chassis currently known as Project NOVA. Aibohphobia wanted to add more RAM to his system built-in a Mini-ITX NCASE M1, but there wasn’t any room to add more. Disappointed with the available mATX cases, he set out to design his own and it looks amazing so far.

Project NOVA is designed to be as small as possible and still have a maximum of flexibility and space for high-end hardware. This easily goes beyond what has been seen before, at least when we don’t count specialized systems with specially designed hardware components. The Project NOVA can do all this with default hardware.

The NOVA is only 300 mm high, 170 mm wide, and 333 mm deep. It is built from 20 gauge steel panels and frame while the handle on the top is machined aluminium. It is however currently unknown if the handle will make it to the final version. In my opinion, it isn’t needed and the case would look better without it. It could also save some costs.

Speaking of costs and the actual reason for this post, the case that started out as a project for a single system will turn into a commercial product. We don’t have the final details yet as they won’t be revealed until the 11th February, so in three days. We do however already know that it will be launched as a crowdfunding campaign which I have no doubt will be successful. It looks amazing while the design has been finalized and the prototype stands, so all that is missing to get it off the ground is some funding.

So, how much can you actually fit into this tiny chassis? The answer is a lot. It comes with 5 expansion slots and room for an mATX motherboard. There is clearance for 113mm CPU cooler height when we assume it will use a 25mm thick fan and side bracket left in. The side bracket can hold a 120mm or 140mm AIO cooler support while the PSU area supports both normal SFX and the longer SFX-L PSUs.

The above specifications allow for the basic hardware parts such as motherboards and graphics cards, but there also needs to be space for all our files. The NOVA has a dual 2.5-inch drive tray and you can also place a 3.5-inch sized drive instead of using the 5th expansion slot. That coupled with the available M.2 storage these days should be more than enough for most users.

As previously mentioned, the NOVA allows for AIO cooling solutions to be mounted on the side bracket, but the rest of the system also needs some cooling. For this, you can mount a 92mm fan at the rear and a 120mm fan at the front. The bottom allows for either two 120mm fans or a 92mm fan when a 3.5-inch drive is mounted there. Every little bit of space has been used and optimized for the best possible hardware support.

The top mounted slim fan seen in the image below has since been removed as testing showed little to no difference whether it was mounted or not.

The finished product as seen here is built with an i7 5930K, two GTX 980 in SLI, Gigabyte X99M Gaming 5 motherboard, 32GB Crucial 2400MHz DDR4 memory, a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD, an NZXT X41 CPU cooler, and the SilverStone SX600-G PSU.

A system that can kick some serious butt and when you take the size into consideration, it’s mind-blowing. Here’s a comparison that shows just how small it is.

I’ve attached a few more images below, but I can also highly recommend the official build log that takes you on a trip from the start of the project and into its final stage, that is if you got a couple hours spare as you’ll quickly loose yourself in it. There is a lot to view and read.

Phanteks Launches Eclipse Series P400 and P400S

We had a little look at Phanteks Eclipse series during our visit to CES in Vegas last month and now Phanteks officially launched the new Eclipse P400 and P400S chassis. The two cases are identical on the basic features and the difference between the two is that the S model is the silent edition. Both versions of the Eclipse P400 are available in three colours: Satin Black, Anthracite Grey and Glacier White.

The Eclipse Series P400 and P400s are compact mid-towers that still have space for a lot of hardware. The interior chassis design is based on the Enthoo Series and the case is built with a full metal exterior and it comes in both windowed and closed versions. Other features include the RGB lighting system with colour control for external ambient and the option to attach extra interior RGB lighting strips.

 

The Eclipse P400 series is also equipped with dust filters all around, it features all-in-one radiator mounting location in the front for up to 360mm units, and a power supply shroud to hide the things you don’t want to show off. The P400S comes with the same features as the P400, but it also has additional features for an improved acoustical performance. The P400S includes top ventilation covers with soundproofing layer, front and side panels with soundproofing layers and also an integrated 3-speed fan controller.

There aren’t many limitations when it comes to hardware you can mount in the Eclipse P400. There is room for up to E-ATX motherboards with a width up to 272mm as well as default ATX, mATX, and mITX motherboards. The CPU cooler can be up to 170mm high while the graphics cards and other expansion cards can have a length up to 395mm without additional HDDs mounted and up to 280mm with them.

Speaking of storage drives, there is room for up to six 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drives in this great looking chassis, however only two 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch brackets are included and you’ll need to purchase additional 3.5-inch mounts should you require them.

The new Phanteks Eclipse P400 series will be available in March for a recommended retail price of €69.90 in the basic version. The silent version will cost you an additional €10 and the same goes for a windowed version. Even the €89.90 for the most expensive model is a fair price for a case that offers as much as the Eclipse P400 does.

Sharkoon Releases DG7000 Midi Tower

Sharkoon’s newest chassis follows the trend of other cases and peripherals from the company when it comes to the appearance and still remind us a little bit about the Transformers. But the new DG7000 Midi Tower looks to be more of a premium item than we’re used to and it comes with quite a few great features.

The Sharkoon DG7000 is available in three different colours to match the setup that you prefer, blue, green, and red. With these colours, you should be able to find matching hardware all the way through and make an overall great looking system. The colour isn’t just in the form of coloured LED fans in the DG7000, the interior backplate has also been coloured to match.

There’s a large CPU cutout that should make CPU cooler mounting easier, but we don’t see much else when we open the normal side panel. The PSU shroud at the bottom hides the HDD drive bays and PSU area, only leaving the main compartment and 5.25-inch drive bays visible.

The DG7000 has room for three 3.5-inch hard disk drives at the bottom next to the power supply unit. There is also room for two SSDs on the rear of the motherboard tray and there should be plenty of room to route your cables this way. Speaking of the motherboard area, being a midi-tower you can mount mini-ITX, micro-ATX, and normal ATX motherboards in this case. The max power supply length can be 230mm with the hard drives at that location.

 

There aren’t many other limitations in this case as the main area is so open as it is. The graphics cards and other add-in cards can be up to 380mm long and the CPU cooler can be up to 175mm high. There is also enough room for water cooling setups in this case with a max radiator clearance in the front of 57mm including the fan. The limitation here comes from the bottom shroud that can create conflicts with thicker radiator and fan combinations.

The top and front vents have removable dust filters and there’s also one placed below the PSU area. Other than that, there isn’t that much more to say about the DG7000. It is a simple PC chassis that seems to offer a lot of space and room for the most common drive amounts.

The Sharkoon DG7000 should be available already for the suggested retail price of €69.90 Euro. You can also view the product video below of check out the official product page.

SuperMicro C7H170-M (LGA 1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


SuperMicro might not be the most recognizable name among enthusiasts with the likes of MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte and other household brands being the logical choice for consumers. However, their pedigree is unparalleled when it comes to stability and creating the best server solutions available today. As a result, I’m always overjoyed to test any SuperMicro motherboard and see this level of expertise move into other markets. Slowly but surely, SuperMicro appears to be targeting the gaming audience and releasing visually appealing products with an impressive range of features.

Approximately two months ago, we reviewed the SuperMicro C7Z170-SQ and felt it offered excellent overclocking functionality for extreme usage scenarios. In contrast to this, today’s review sample is built on the H170 chipset which theoretically disables any chance of frequency boosts. However, recent evidence shows that BCLK overclocking can be attained on non-K series CPUs and H170 motherboards via a BIOS update. The C7H170-M has been proven to allow for BCLK adjustments and huge overclocking headroom using high-end cooling apparatus. Clearly, we’re not going to change our testing CPU to keep the results fair. Although, I’m fascinated to see the maximum frequency on a H170 motherboard and see how close it gets to traditional multiplier overclocks.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The SuperMicro C7H170-M comes in a gorgeous box which evokes a sense of luxury. Its design is simplistic while being extremely unusual and looks stylish. I’m incredibly fond of bold cut-out for the lettering which makes this particular product stand out.

On the rear, there is a detailed overview about the motherboard and its core specification.

The package is quite barebones and comes with a layout diagram, I/O shield, driver disk, M.2 screws and server-style SATA cables. Please note, the included technical sheet also helps with the rudimentary installation procedure. Although, it’s much less detailed than other vendors. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t pose a major problem, and I don’t expect the type of customer purchasing a SuperMicro product to have limited experience in system building.

MSI Announces Two C236 Based WORKSTATION Motherboards

MSI already has a line of mobile workstations and it looks like they would like a bigger piece of the workstation pie as they’ve just introduced two new workstation motherboards based on Intel’s latest Greenlow platform and C230 series chipsets. The two new motherboards are the MSI C236A WORKSTATION and the MSI C236M WORKSTATION where the difference in the two is the size and a PCI Express connector more or less.

The C236A is a full-sized ATX motherboard while the C236M is an mATX version instead that naturally lacks one of the PCI Express slots due to the size limitations. Naturally the boards are designed for the use of Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro graphics cards in both single and multi-GPU scenarios. The PCI-E slots also got the Steel Armor treatment for better stability.

MSI also added some of their other well-known features such as DDR4 Boost, Military Class 4 components, Audio Boost, Intel Gigabit LAN and Click BIOS 5. There are plenty of storage options too including the newest Turbo M.2, Turbo U.2 and SATA Express connectors. You will also find the new reversible USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port on the IO area.

That is what we know of MSI’s new Workstation motherboards so far. The press release didn’t reveal much and the product pages don’t appear to be online yet. I am however sure that we will find out a lot more coming CES in Vegas January 2016.

Spire Introduces PowerCube 715 Micro-ATX Chassis

Spire released a new small chassis that looks quite stylish and they call it the PowerCube 715. This cube chassis can hold a micro-ATX or a mini-ITX motherboard along with a standard sized ATX power supply. There is even a 420W power supply included with the PowerCube 715.

The small chassis has room for two 3.5-inch hard disk drives next to the motherboard and PSU. The front panel has both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectors next to the HD audio 3.5mm jacks, but that’s also about the highlights when it comes to this chassis. It’s certainly not anything special feature wise, but it fulfills the basic needs and couple look quite good on an office desk.

I have doubts that the Spire PowerCube 715 will find a lot of fans among our enthusiast readers, especially with the included un-rated power supply. Most people would rather pick their own PSU and then the extra money paid or the package deal would be a waste. The Spire PowerCube 715 comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of €64,95.

Would you want to build a system with this new Spire chassis or do you have better suggestions for our readers that want to build a stylish and compact system? Let us know in the comments.

SilverStone Announces Precision Series PS12 Micro-ATX Chassis

SilverStone announced a new entry to the Precision series, the PS12 Micro-ATX chassis. The PS12 was created with the goal of exceeding user experience and expectation for affordable PC chassis by offering a wide range of features and complete it off with great build quality.

The SilverStone PS12 offers two external 5.25-inch drive bays as well as four internal 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive bays. The is one 120mm fan included and mounted in the front where you also can mount an 80mm fan. The rear or the chassis can hold an 80mm or 92mm fan while the side panel features oversized vents. Overall, plenty of cooling for a small chassis.

You can mount Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards in this chassis and it takes normal PS2/ATX sized power supplies. It is compatible with expansion cards, IE graphics cards, with a length of up to 14.1-inch, allowing you to use even bigger graphics cards.

The CPU cooler has to stay within the 140mm height specifications, but there are quite a few to pick from in a size up to that. You get two front USB 3.0 ports as well as headset connectors. Overall, everything you want from a chassis without having to pay a premium for something that just needs to work.

SilverStone also added removable fan filter, created the PS12 with all black painted interior, and a CPU backplate cutout. The recommended end user price for the SilverStone PS12 is set to $45 USD excl. VAT and it will be available on November the 25th.

Special Features:

  • Quick access filters to prevent dust buildup
  • Motherboard backplate opening for quick CPU cooler assembly
  • Supports four expansion slots cards up to 14.1 inches long
  • All black painting inside with stylish look
  • Highly flexible drive storage options

ASRock Rack Introduce Three Greenlow Platform Server Motherboards

Intel’s recent release of Skylake Xeon CPUs also sparked the release of a lot of new motherboards and just a few weeks ago we saw ASRock Rack’s new workstation motherboards based on the new C236 chipset. Today, ASRock Rack introduced three new server motherboards for this platform, well suited for high-density web 2.0 and storage servers.

The first of the three new motherboards is micro-ATX sized and called the ASRock Rack E3C236D4U. It can easily fit in a rack or short depth chassis while still providing plenty of features and connectivity. The chipset provides eight SATA3 ports where one of them supports DOMs, and you get one PCIe x16, one PCIe x8, and one PCIe x1 slot along with a PCIe x4 slot that shares the bandwidth with the onboard M.2 connector. Network connectivity is covered by two Intel i210 controllers while it also features dedicated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and RTL8211E LAN. With four DIMM slots at your disposal, you can install up to 64GB DDR4 2133/1866 ECC and UDIMM memory.

ASRock Rack also introduced a lighter version of this board called the E3C232D4U-V1L (not pictured). It has basically the same features but comes with the lighter C232 chipset. That limits the SATA3 ports to six and it only features a single Intel LAN controller and no dedicated IPMI.

The second new motherboard in this series is a full ATX sized motherboard called the E3C236D4M, and it comes with 8 SATA3 ports provided by the Intel C236 chipset just like the Micro-ATX brother. It also supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz dual-channel memory and it has dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers and onboard IPMI 2.0 with dedicated RTL8211E LAN. Expansion port wise you get two PCIe x16, two PCIe x8, and one PCIe x1 connector along with a legacy PCI one. The motherboard also features two mezzanine slots for adding up to 40Gbit extra network connectivity or SAS controllers. An M.2 connector is also present to connect those new and fast NVMe drives.

The last of the three new motherboards is called the E3C236D2I and it is an mITX sized board. The small size makes it easy to deploy as a micro server, mini servers, or tower servers no matter whether you are enterprise NAS users or just a power home users. The board supports two DDR4 ECC DIMMs with a speed up to 2133MHz and also comes with eight SATA3 ports and dual Intel LAN (i210+i219). For expansion, you get a single PCIe x16 slot which should be plenty in such small systems.

ASRock Rack didn’t reveal and pricing or availability at this time, but we can expect them to hit the online and retail shops very shortly.

GIGABYTE Reveals C230 Series Server & Workstation Motherboards

GIGABYTE is ready for the new Intel Xeon E3 1200 V5 processors and they’re releasing four new motherboards for them today, all based on the new Intel C230 series chipsets. The new addition to the lineup consists of two workstation motherboards and two server motherboards. The new 14nm Skylake microarchitecture CPUs bring some new features to the single socket motherboards, mainly the switch to DDR4 memory with increased speed and maximum capacity. The other main new feature is the increase of the number and speed of PCIe lanes available from up to 8 Gen2 lanes to up to 20 Gen3 lanes.

The first new workstation motherboard is the MW31-SP0 and it comes in the normal ATX form factor. It features dual Intel Gigabit LAN with expansion abilities through the mezzanine card slot that can be used for additional network connections, but also for an extra M.2 slot or Thunderbolt port. It supports 2-way SLI and CrossFireX and has the 8 SATA3 ports that the chipset provides. Additionally it also has an M.2 storage port and onboard audio with 5 audio jacks and S/PDIF out on the rear plus onboard headers. You can pack this motherboard with up to 64GB DDR4 ECC memory.

The second workstation motherboard is the MW21-SE0 and it is a microATX form factor board intended for entry-level builds. With minimal specifications, it’s perfect for users looking for a simple and affordable yet highly durable solution to access the features of the new Xeon family.

The MW21-SE0 features a single Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, four USB 3.0 ports, a COM port, and a D-Sub VGA connector. You can connect up to six SATA3 drives to the onboard connectors. This motherboard can also equip up to 64GB ECC memory.

The GIGABYTE MX11-PC0 is a compact NVMe enabled server board designed for high density or low-profile server integration. The component placement is rackmount optimized and there are plenty of features despite the small size.

It is the first GIGABYTE server motherboard to be released with a mini-SAS HD connector capable of connecting to one NVMe drive. With higher IOPS, lower latency, and lower power consumption, the NVMe technology is perfect for this scenario. It features two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers, four SATA3 ports and an onboard AST2400 for remote management (IPMI).

 

The MX31-BS0 is an entry-level microATX server board with rackmount optimized component placement and all the features required to integrate a standard server system based on the new Intel Xeon CPUs. It features two Intel GbE LAN ports, one M.2 slot, six SATA3 ports, and onboard IPMI 2.0 via an AST2400 chip. So despite being called an entry-level motherboard, it features quite a lot.

 

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R (Intel C612) mATX Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard that I am taking a look at today is a little bit special as it is considered to be the first mATX motherboard featuring Intel Xeon E5 V3 series with LGA 2011-3 single socket. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R isn’t just a rarely seen form factor in this category, it also packs a huge punch and plenty of features such as quad-channel DDR4 memory support, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, dedicated IPMI, and native support for up to 16 storage drives.

Just because you decide to create a motherboard in the mATX form factor as ASRock Rack did here, doesn’t mean that you can’t add plenty of features to it. It’s all about using the available space properly. You get a total of eight SATA3 ports that are powered by the Intel C612 chipset and on top of that you get another eight SAS3 12Gbps ports thanks to the added LSI 3008 RAID controller. If that isn’t enough for you already, then you have plenty of possibilities to expand that with two PCIe Gen3 x16 and one PCIe Gen3 x8 slot.

The networking is a little bit special on this board as it comes with dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet thanks to the Intel X540 network controller. These ports are still RJ45 and backward compatible with normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet components. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R also features a dedicated IPMI 2.0 connection based on a Realtek RTL8211E controller that allows you to manage all your servers from a single connection, locally or remotely.

Four DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support allows you to use this motherboard for memory-hungry applications and while the QVR list only has up to 16GB modules so far, you should also be able to use 32GB modules in this motherboard and get up to 128GB memory to support Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processors.

Overall, with the high performance processor, storage, and network all together in a mATX motherboard, the EPC612D4U-2T8R is perfect for the compact storage solution such as mid-range servers, web 2.0 storage servers, and other warm data servers. It also fits snugly into ASRock Rack’s previous released storage solution 1U12L-C612D4U, and currently has EPC612D4U, EPC612D4U-2T, EPC612D4U-8R and EPC612D4U-2T8R for customers’ selection.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the Network and storage capabilities as well as the form factor.

  • UATX 9.6”x9.6”
  • Single Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866 RDIMM/LR DIMM/NV DIMM, 4 slots
  • Support 8 SATA3 by C612 and by 8 SAS3 LSI 3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • ASPEED 2400. Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel Dual 10GLAN by Intel X540

Packaging and Accessories

A server motherboard doesn’t need to come in a fancy box with flashy images and slogans, and that is why we don’t get that here. The EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a simple black box with a little graphic and basic keywords.

The rear of the box doesn’t provide much more information either, but it will tell you a little bit about ASRock Rack as a company.

I really like that ASRock Rack also packed the motherboard properly like seen below. It provides that extra bit of protection during the transport from factory to end-customer over a motherboard that’s just loosely packed into a cardboard box.

Besides the motherboard itself, you’ll find an IO Shield, driver disk, and manual along with six SATA3 cables inside the box. It is nice to see a printed manual come along as it will help a lot with the basic task of finding the headers and pins you need to set it up.

Raijintek STYX Now Available at Overclockers UK

Raijintek was very successful with the METIS line of Micro Towers and it’s hard to see it going any other way with the STYX. Getting one of the new Raijintek STYX cases isn’t as hard as it was before as Overclockers UK announces that they’re stocking the entire line-up.

The STYX is built on the same basic principle as the METIS, it’s just larger and can accommodate Micro-ATX motherboards on top of Mini-ITX motherboards while keeping similar aesthetics with its brushed aluminium chassis. It is available in six colours as well as with or without sidepanel window. A bigger chassis also allows for more cooling and you can mount two 120mm fans or a 240mm radiator in the top of the case and one on the side. There’s also support for a 120mm fan on the rear and one at the bottom of the chassis.

You can mount graphics cards with a length of up to 280mm and CPU coolers with a height of up to 180mm in the Raijintek STYX. It is designed for use with default ATX power supplies and also offers plenty of storage bays. There is an opening for use with a slimline slot-in optical drive and support for three 3.5-inch and six 2.5-inch drives, allowing you to add plenty of storage to the system. The chassis also comes with front audio and two USB 3.0 ports.

You can pre-order one of the 12 available Raijintek STYX chassis now and get one as soon as the become available. The non-windowed version will cost you £62.99 while the one with a window will cost £2 more, a minor premium for those who want to be able to see inside their chassis.

ASUS Launches X99M-WS Micro-ATX Motherboard

ASUS showed off their new X99M-WS motherboard back at Computex in June and then there was a bit silence on that regards while users patiently await its release. That time should now be upon us as it’s being reported that ASUS formally launched this new Micro-ATX motherboard with LGA2011v3 socket and Intel X99 Express chipset.

This could very well be the most feature rich motherboard in this category, with this chipset and this form factor. With support for Core i7 “Haswell-E” processors and certain Xeon E5 v3 models and four DIMM slots for up to 64GB quad-channel memory, this board starts out great. Additionally you’ll get three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8) as well one PCIe x1 slot for expansion cards of your choice.

Storage doesn’t come short either with eight SATA3 ports and one 32Gbps M.2 slot. On top of that you could use the PCIe slots for even more storage, may it be by RAID and storage controllers or PCIe storage drives. You also get a full coverage on connectivity with dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac Wireless LAN.

You’ll also find the latest generation of USB ports where this board features two Type-A USB 3.1 ports on top of the six USB 3.0 and several USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a proper onboard sound solution thanks to the 8-channel ASUS CrystalSound 2.

Thank You TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Antec Released P50 Window Whisper-Quiet Cube Chassis

Antec’s newest case is here and this time it is a cube-shaped chassis. The new Antec P50 Window features a two-compartment design and has room for a surprising amount of hardware despite it 312 x 260 x 330 mm size.

The two-compartment architecture allows for great airflow to your important components and prevents heat from one device to affect the rest as much. The PSU, Optical drive, and storage drives have their own compartment while the motherboard and add-in cards reside in the other.

The case comes with two 120mm and one 80mm fan included and has support for two more 80mm on the rear and two 120mm on the top for a total of seven fans. The case should still stay silent thanks to the dual-layer side panels made from Polycarbonate and that eliminates vibrations fro within the chassis.

The case is compatible with Micro ATX and Mini ITS motherboards and can hold graphics cards with a length of up to 300mm. A Multi-GPU setup isn’t a problem with that space and the four expansion slots at your disposal.

The CPU cooler has to stay below 130mm height, but most people will probably install a liquid cooling solution in a case like this and that’s no problem either as it supports up to two 240mm radiators at the top.

You can fit two 2.5-inch and three 3.5-inch drives into the case and you can do it tool-free. The front panel provides you with two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and the obligatory audio jacks.

 

The coloured mesh panels seen below are optional accessories that can brighten up the case and its surroundings. Available in four colors, these mesh panels will set you back £6.99  each.

 

 

Antec’s cube shaped Quiet Computing enclosure P50 Window is available now and should arrive at a shop near you very soon. It comes with an MSRP of £59.99 which isn’t bad at all.

SilverStone Released SUGO SG12B Chassis

SilverStone’s Sugo series has set new standards for small form factor cases and things aren’t any different with the newest member to the family. The new SilverStone Sugo SG12 features a classic shoebox design, but impresses with the amount of hardware that you can put inside.

The SG12 can accommodate many standard sized components such as ATX power supply, it has room for graphics cards up to 14.5 inches, and CPU coolers with a height of up to 82mm.

 

The SG12 features a 120mm intake fan on the side and can take 80mm fans on the rear and top. You’ll get four expansion slots and the ability to mount mATX motherboards, but the real surprise of this case is in the amount of drives that you can mount.

There are one exposed 5.25-inch drive bay and three internal 3.5-inch drive bays that are compatible with 2.5-inch drives. The amazing part comes in the form of 2.5-inch drive bays of which there are nine. That’s a lot a drives in a tiny case.

The recommended End User price is set to €85.60 excl. VAT and the SST-SG12B will be available on the 27th of May.

Special Features:

  • Built-in handlebar design for easy transport
  • Support graphics cards of any length
  • Ample space for CPU cooling (82mm in height)
  • Micro ATX motherboard & ATX PSU compatible
  • Cleanly styled SFF chassis with modernized layout
  • Amazing capacity for 2.5” drives

ASUS Quietly Launched Cherry Trail SoC MATX Motherboards

Just because a processor is designed with one field in mind, doesn’t mean you can’t take it for something else. A previous prime example of this was the AMD Neo II, but this time ASUS have taken the 14nm Cherry Trail platform designed for tablets and packed it onto two new motherboards.

The two new motherboards silently launched by ASUS are the N3050M-E and N3150M-E and the only difference between the two is what SoC they’re using.

The motherboard numbering follows the CPU and the boards come with either the Intel Celeron Dual-Core N3050 SoC or Quad-Core N3150 SoC onboard Processors that have a TDP of 4W and 6W respectively. This allows for a passive and completely silent cooling while the mATX form factor still allows for plenty of customization.

You get one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot that runs in x1 mode and two normal PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and two U-DIMM RAM sockets for a maximum of 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Non-ECC dual-channel memory.

The motherboards have two onboard SATA3 ports that support Intel’s Smart Connect Technology, Realtek TRL8111H1 Gigabit Ethernet, Realtek ALC887-VD2 8-channel HD Audio and both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports with UASP support and onboard headers for both.

The boards should also last quite well with five times protection, over 1000 devices tested for compatibility, and with over 7000 validation hours. The five protections include LANGuard that protects your network connection, enhanced DRAM overcurrent protection, 5K-hr solid-state capacitors, stainless-steel back I/O and ESD Guards for protection against electrostatic discharge.

There is a lot of potential in these small SoC’s, they even support native 4K UHD resolutions and come with UEFI BIOS for easy configuration.

BIOSTAR Releases Hi-Fi A68U3P Budget Motherboard

Sometimes you don’t need the ability for quad graphics cards and high-end processors, sometimes you just want to build an office or media PC with great features without blowing your budget. BIOSTAR has a lot of motherboard for this type of scenario and they’ve just expanded with one more.

The newest BIOSTAR motherboard is dubbed the Hi-Gi A68U3P and it is based on the AMD A68 chipset with support for multi-core socket FM2+/FM2 processors from the A-series and E2-series.

 

The two DDR3 memory slots support up to 32GB total RAM with a speed of 2600MHz (OC). You get one PCI-E x16 3.0, one PCI-E x1 2.0, and one legacy PCI slot. Four SATA 3 connectors with RAID support provide you with internal storage options and while you can connect high-speed external devices through the USB 3.0 ports.

You’ll of course also get BIOSTAR’s Hi-Fi audio connections, in this case with 5.1 surround sound support and a Gigabit Ethernet port powered by Realtek’s RTL8111G chip.

The board caters to both those that want more pixels per connector with support for 4K2K and 3D HD display resolutions just as it does for those who want to protect their precious components from extra dangers through electrostatic discharges and sudden over-voltages.

Super LAN Surge Protection provides the LAN port with more advanced antistatic protection capabilities by adding an integrated chip to strengthen electrical stability and prevent damage from lightning strikes and electrical surges. BIOSTAR’s Super LAN Surge Protection series motherboards upgrade the existing standards with up to four times the protection.

BIOSTAR’s Hi-Fi A68U3P will have an MSRP of just $49 USD.

BIOSTAR Releases the Hi-Fi B85S1 Motherboard

BIOSTAR has released another motherboard and this time it is a business rich option at a value price. The Hi-Fi B85S1 is an mATX motherboard built around the Intel B85 chipset and with support for Intel’s Core i3, i5, i7, and Pentium processors on the LGA 1150 socket. With two DIMM slots, it’s able to handle up to 16GB RAM running at 1600MHz and it comes with one PCIe x16 3.0 and two PCIe x1 2.0 slots.

The board also features BIOSTAR innovative Hi-Fi technology with a powerful built-in headphone amplifier and Super LAN Surge Protection which enhances Ethernet protections and as an Intel board it supports IRST and Intel Small Business Advantage (Intel SBA) which delivers business-centric security protection such as after-hours virus scans and data backup as well as block recognition of unwanted USB drives and Intel’s Smart Connect Technology.

The Hi-Fi B85S1 also works well for entertainment needs with support for Direct3D 11.1 and HDMI. It also has Blu-ray audio and provides a 24 bit/192KHz audio output. BIOSTAR also added the Double Hi-Fi integrated AMP which allows users to enjoy the same high quality of sound on both the front panel and direct IO connectors. It is built with 100% solid capacitors and Super Durable Ferrite Chokes for the best durability and efficiency.

It comes with two PS2 ports, one USB 3.0 header and two port, two USB 2.0 headers and two ports, Gigabit Ethernet powered by a Realtek TRL811G controller, and it has both a VGA port for legacy screens and a DVI port for more modern screens.

The Hi-Fi B85S1 is Windows 8 ready, and supports BIO-Remote2 and BIOS Online Update features for easy management, and it will only cost you $59.00 USD.

Cooltek Announces Flip-Down GT-05 Mini-Tower

Cooltek is expanding their case series with a new mini-tower that comes with a unique flip-down opening system. The new GT-05 is part of new Cooltek gaming tower series and brings versatile features and simple hardware installation to the table.

The GT-05 chassis comes with integrated card reader, and the ability to customise the colour scheme of the case with the breaking line on the top and front. The piano black line is attached by default, but it can easily be swapped with a different coloured piece, which are included, for a style more fitting to your preferences and colour layout.

The cover and front are in a piano-black style and the case offers one 3.5-inch and one 5.25-inch external drive bays for the installation of optical drives, fan controllers, docking stations, and other things you might fancy. It has another two 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive bays internally.

You can mount either Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards in the GT-05 and it has room for 340mm long graphics cards and 165mm high CPU coolers. Cooltek does warn that some mITX motherboards won’t allow for heatsinks as large as that and that is due to the close proximity of the CPU socket to the edge of the motherboard, when less than 30mm.

It is divided into two chambers, a top one for the motherboard and graphics cards, and a bottom one for the PSU and hard drives. Temperature wise, this is a great layout and the GT-05 has room for one rear 120mm fan, one front 120mm or 140mm fan and one top 120mm fan, but it’s only the rear one that comes included.

The case features one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports next to the card-reader on the top, and the obligatory two 3.5mm audio jacks for your headset are also present.

The Cooltek GT-05 certainly is a case with an attractive price and interesting features. It should arrive in stores next week for an MSRP of €49.99 incl. 19% VAT.

Silverstone Releases Kublai KL06 MATX Chassis

Silverstone has released the first micro-ATX chassis in their Kublai series that is built with an optimal layout for efficiency. The new chassis is the KL06 and it comes equipped with dual 120mm quiet fans for cooling multiple drives and high-end components in a classic wrapping.

The internal body structure is based on the benchmark Temjin TJ08-E and Precision PS06, resulting in a new design that meets both current and future demands. There is enough space to accommodate graphics cards with a length of up to 13.5 inch, CPU cooler up to 165mm height, and PSU of up to 180mm length. Externally you’ll get two 5.25-inch bays and inside there are another one 3.5-inch and eight 2.5-inch drive bays.

Besides the two front side intake 120mm fans, the KL06 also has room for a rear 120mm exhaust fan. The front panel features two USB 3.0 ports as well as audio jacks for your headset.

For easy assembly and more convenience, the KL06 features a removable drive cage, motherboard tray, and top panel. The filters are accessible from the outside, which makes the normal maintenance very easy too. The SilverStone Kublai KL06 is a cool looking chassis full of features, and the price isn’t bad either. The recommended End User price (excl. VAT) is $79.98 USD.

If this got your interest, then you should head right on over to our review section where you can find the full and in-depth review of just this case.

Special Features:

  • Up to eight 2.5” drives and one 3.5” drive capacity
  • Innovative drive cage design enables support for front and rear AIO liquid coolers
  • Modular design with removable drive cage, motherboard tray, and top panel
  • Includes two quiet 120mm fans
  • Convenient externally removable fan filters
  • Independent power supply intake vents

BIOSTAR Releases H81MDC-LSP mATX Motherboard

The newest motherboard to come from BIOSTAR is the micro-ATX sized Intel H81-based H81MDC-LSP motherboard. The new motherboard supports Intel’s 4th generation Core i7 and i5 processors and comes with upgraded sound chip and LAN surge protection. The H81 chipset provides the board with two SATA3 and four SATA2 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and support for up to 1600MHz memory of which you can have up to 16GB on the two slots. The new BIOSTAR motherboard looks to be a great combination of features packed in a small form factor with a low cost.

You rarely need more options in an SFF build than one expansion card and two high-speed drives, so why spend money on more than you need. It also supports HDMI video-out through the iGPU, but that must be through an adapter as it doesn’t have a port for it, and it of course also features Intel’s Rapid Start Technology and Smart Connect Technology.

The H81MDC-LSP is built with the X.D.C (eXtreme Durable Capacitors) solid capacitors with a lifetime that can be more than 6.25 times that of ordinary liquid caps. Further protections come in for of the Super LAN Surge protection which provides a LAN port with more advanced anti-static protection capabilities by adding an integrated chip to strengthen electrical stability and prevent damage from lightning strikes and electrical surges.

The boards also feature the latest BIOSTAR technologies such as BIOS Flasher and BIOS Online Update for easy updating and restoration of the BIOS, as well as BIO-Remote2 for remote control of the system via Android and Apple devices.

 

Lastly, the H81MDC-LSP also features the Charger Booster function for charging those devices that need more power than normal USB ports can provide, such as the iPad, but also works iPhone and Android phones and tablets. It will provide a faster and more efficient charging and can decrease the time needed to charge up to 42%.

The BIOSTAR H81MDC-LSP is a cheap motherboard despite its feature set and the MSRP is set to $49 USD.

Anidees Introduced the AI-7m mATX Chassis

Anidees has introduced an mATX version of their cube form factor AI-07 chassis dubbed the AI7m. The new case is focused on cooling and maximum configurability as well as available in as both black and white model and with and without window in the sidepanel. The case supports m-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards formats.

The AI-7m has space for up to 8 fans and comes with a 200mm silent fan pre-installed. The dual chamber design puts your main hardware at the top while the PSU and storage drives are tucked away at the bottom, separating the heat-sources and allowing for a better-optimized setup. It is also suitable for water cooling with support for a top 240mm radiator, two 240mm at the front, and one 140mm or 120mm radiator at the rear.

Features

  • Available Colour: Black / White
  • Internal Colour: Black
  • Dimension: (D/W/H) 380 x 288 x 380 mm
  • Weight: 6.35kg
  • Cooling System Top: 2 x 140 / 120mm fan (optional) (Air Cooling) FrontL 1 x 200mm (700 RPM, included) or 2x 140mm fan (900 RPM, include)
  • Cooling System Top: 1 x 240mm Radiator (optional) (Watercooling) Front: 2 x 240mm Radiator (optional)
  • Rear: 1 x 140/120mm Radiator (optional)
  • ODD, HDD Cage, Removable for easy install
  • MB Tray: MB Type m-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • Material: Steel t=0.7mm, Plastic
  • Drive Bays: 1 x 5.25″ 4 x 3.5″ hidden 4 x 2.5″ ( 4 convert from 3.5″ HDD Tray)
  • I/O Panel: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Audio, 1 x MIC, Fan controller (rear)
  • Expansion Slots: 5
  • Power Supply: ATX PS2, up to 186mm deep (optional)
  • Cable routing below MB tray: Yes
  • Maximum Compatibility: Graphics card length: 310 mm CPU cooler height: 180mm

The Anidees AI-7m is available now for a price between £62.99 and £74.99 depending on model.

Thanks to Overclockers UK for providing us with this information

COUGAR Introduces SPIKE Mini Gaming Tower to the UK Market

Bigger isn’t always better and there is a growing number of people building their gaming platform around the mATX form factor. For those, COUGAR created the SPIKE chassis, and that is now available at a range of UK resellers like Kikatek, Lambda-Tek, CCLonline, and Amazon.

Where other cases often suffer, this mini tower can take graphics cards up to 330mm length and hold up to four fans for optimal cooling of those hot running gaming parts.

The SPIKE mini tower sports a gaming themed style and the interior has also been painted black. The drive installation should be both quick and easy with the screwless design for both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch HDDs/SSDs. The chassis also supports the installing of a 2.5-inch drive at the bottom cover.

Air flow and ventilation are important for a gaming builds and many small cases lack space for both of them. The COUGAR SPIKE has room for a total of four fans: one 80/90/120mm fan for the front (optional), one 80/120mm fan for the rear (pre-installed), and two side 120mm fans (optional).

The COUGAR SPIKE mini-tower gaming case is available now for an £26.99 MSRP.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhZUDe1Na4U

Thanks to COUGAR for providing us with this information

X2 Announced The TRAJAN Small Gamer Enclosure

X2 announced the TRAJAN chassis (X2-A902B-CE/R-U3) that designed to be small and light, yet bring enough features to convince a gamer that this could be his next case. Build from durable lightweight metal, a simple yet sophisticated design which are not just cool but also dust-proof due to the fan intake grills. Not only are the designs well thought out, the features are also something to look into.

The TRAJAN is built with durable lightweight metal and has a simple design. It’s touted as being dustproof due to the fan intake grills, but I think that is just what the rest of us consider as dust covers and not really proof.

It is compatible with ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX motherboards and takes normal ATX power supply units too. It also has support for the high-end graphics cards like the Titan and GTX780 as well as water-cooling systems. It has three USB 3.0 ports and HD AUDIO jacks on the front of the case. That doesn’t sound all too bad for a case that is about half the size and weight of most tower cases.

Main Features:

  • Contemporary & sophisticated design
  • Durable lightweight metal, SECC 0.6mm thick
  • Dust-proof intake, front USB & AUDIO connections
  • All black, front panel and internal structure
  • ATX and ITX motherboard compatible
  • Standard ATX power supply compatibility

The X2 TRAJAN case will be available in Europe at the end of January and should already be available in the US. The MSRP is set to €54.95 and $69.95 respectively.

Thanks to X2 for providing us with this information

MSI Launches Backlit B85M Night Elf Motherboard

MSI has launched a new Night Elf mATX motherboard with the main feature being backlight. However, the somewhat sad news is that it will only be available in China.

The LED backlight feature is called “Wisps of light” and can be switched on and off through the BIOS. The motherboard only uses a B85 chipset as the name already suggests, but the Night Elf still comes with some great features otherwise only found on bigger boards like the Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 LAN controller as well as an EMI Shield design.

It has six SATA3 ports, four DDR3 DIMM slots, one PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 slots as well as plenty of headers for everything. It also features the OC Genie 4 for easy overclocking. The external IO connectivity isn’t anything special but is has what you need: Two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, PS2 for keyboard and mouse, Gigabit LAN, D-Sub and DVI connectors as well as 7.1 surround sound.

The MSI B85M Night Elf looks pretty cool backlit and could make for some beautiful builds for those lucky enough to be able to get it, AKA everyone in China.

Thanks to VRZone for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of VRZone

BitFenix Pandora Aluminium Chassis Revealed

The latest BitFenix chassis has just been revealed and it’s unlike anything they’ve ever done before, in fact, it’s unlike anything anyone else has done before! The BitFenix Pandora features a brushed aluminium design, a slim MATX form factor and it even features an integrated LCD logo on the front panel.

The chassis features a super clean exterior design with curved aluminium panels that come with tool-free fittings. The chassis has a slim 160mm profile; that’s just big enough to fit an ATX power supply.

The front panel comes equipped with a customisable BitFenix ICON 2.4″ TFT screen, meaning you can add your own logo, photo or what ever you like to the front of the case via a simple drag and drop software interface. The screen is connected to your system via a motherboard USB header.

BitFenix have also put in extra effort to ensure the chassis is compatible with high end components, with room for graphics cards of up to 350mm, PSUs of up to 180mm and radiators of up to 240mm x 120mm.

There are three 120mm fans pre-installed in the chassis, two in the front and one in the top, with all intakes fitted with easy to remove dust filters. Depite the slim form factor, BitFenix have also equipped the chassis with some cable management solutions.

The chassis will be available in black or silver, as well as with an optional windowed side panel for those who love to show off their builds. If you just want the stock chassis, you can even get it without the ICON display to help keep your costs down.

Thank you BitFenix for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of BitFenix.