Drones and Anti-Missile Systems Being Used to Protect Tanks

When it comes to technology and tanks, we often think of one of two extremes. Firstly the original tanks from years ago, with the large cannons mounted to tracks and then we think to our idea of the future, with giant floating armoured platforms. It would seem the marines are looking to go somewhere inbetween, but not with flying tanks but ones equipped with more systems to help protect tanks from their enemies.

The U.S. Marine Corps is looking at using technology, not additional armour, to help protect their vehicles. First up on the list of technologies is the use of electronic anti-missile systems, or active protective systems, that will detect and intercept anything from a guided anti-tank rocket to the likes of a rocket propelled grenade (such as those used in RPG’s). The system in place would be the Israli Trophy Active Protection System (APS), with four systems being mounted to both Stryker combat vehicles and M1A2 tanks.

With jammers and missile interception components working together the hardware is commonly designed to protect ships or airplanes, but with threats changing the military wants to be one step ahead. That isn’t all, with the Marines also looking at “unmanned aerial systems” (Drones) to help spot enemies before they can even launch the attack.

Combining knowledge about threats before they happen with active and passive defence systems is a nice way to protect soldiers from unwanted threats at a moments notice.

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.

Akasa Plato X Slim Fanless Chassis i5/i7 NUC Chassis Review

Introduction


We’ve got a great change of pace for you today, as we’ve broken away from the standard motherboard form factors for something a little more compact. I am of course talking about the Intel NUC motherboards, which may be tiny, but still pack a huge range of features, high-end processors such as the i5 and i7 ranges and enough connectivity to satisfy the needs of a whole range of usage scenarios.

Akasa are the masters of integrated systems and their range of NUC products is virtually unmatched by their chassis making rivals. The model we have in today, the Plato X, is super slim and despite its completely fanless design, it has enough cooling potential to chill a 5th Gen Core i7 NUC board.

• Aluminium fanless CPU cooling design
• Stylish front panel diamond effect
• Support one serial port
• Support IR remote function
• Compatible with the following Intel® NUC Board
NUC5i7RYH / NUC5i5RYH / NUC5i5RYK / NUC5i3RYH / NUC5i3RYK
NUC5i5MYBE / NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i3MYBE / NUC5i3MYHE

In terms of spec, this little chassis is well equipped, with room for a single 2.5″ HDD/SSD, but you can squeeze some M.2 drives on your compatible NUC board should you need to.

The chassis is constructed from aluminium, which not only looks stunning with its black finish and silver time highlights on the edges of the front panel, but it also doubles up as the heatsink for the CPU. The entire chassis is designed to provide passive cooling for the internal hardware and that’s why the length of the chassis is so much longer than the 4-inch motherboard, to help better handle the heat of a high-end chip, such as the i7.

The right and left side of the chassis as the same; black aluminium from front to back.

The front panel is gorgeous, good enough to look at home as part of a sleek HTPC setup without being distracting while you’re watching a movie. It’s well equipped too, with a pair of high-speed USB 3.0 ports, an HD audio jack and the usual power buttons.

Around the back, you’ll find the motherboard I/O ports and two rubber pegs that can be removed to allow you to use Wi-Fi antenna.

There’s even a second backplate included in the box for i5 NUC boards, as well as offering support for COM port, something that’s still very widely used for a lot of industrial applications.

The top panel is held in place with four small screws, running down the middle of the top of the chassis.

The base of the chassis is nice and simple, but if you look closely you’ll see a few screw holes. There’s a mounting kit included, perfect for stealth mounting the unit or fitting it to a compatible VESA bracket.

Akasa MAX MT Fanless NUC Chassis Review

Introduction


Big chassis get all of the fame and glory, but there are a lot of cool things happening in the world of ultra-compact chassis. Akasa is one of the biggest names when it comes to the smallest products and their range of NUC chassis is virtually unmatched. With Intel offering up some truly incredibly NUC motherboards, packing many of the latest Intel Core products, M.2 memory support, USB 3.0 and so much more, there’s now a huge range of applications for this type of system, at home in the workplace and beyond.

• Aluminium fanless CPU cooling design
• Stylish front panel diamond effect
• Two bay 2.5″ SATA mobile tray
• Support one serial port
• Support IR remote function
• Compatible with the following Intel® NUC Board
NUC5i5MYBE / NUC5i5MYHE / NUC5i3MYBE / NUC5i3MYHE
NUC5i5RYH / NUC5i5RYK / NUC5i3RYH / NUC5i3RYK

With full aluminium construction, support for a range of NUC boards, a compact form factor, dual 2.5″ drive trays and more, the MAX MT is certainly appealing, but let’s dive right in and take a closer look at what this chassis has to offer.

There are all kinds of accessories included in the box, included a second backplate to expand the motherboard compatibility, a pass through cable for COM connectors, a short and slim SATA cable and more.

The chassis is made from thick and beautifully machined aluminium, with a sleek black finish. While this does add to the aesthetics, the construction is incredibly practical too, as it is durable and the whole bulk of the chassis acts as a passive heat sink for the CPU, allowing it run completely silent.

Down each side of the chassis, you’ll see a fin array, this gives us a greater surface area to help dissipate heat.

The front panel is certainly interesting. As much as this chassis is designed to be tucked out of the way, it’s still very attractive and I’d have no issues have it out on show as part of my desktop setup or a home AV setup and the trimmed silver edges of the front panel certainly add to the appeal.

Aside from the IR port, the power button, USB and the HD audio, you’ll also notice the most important feature of this chassis; dual 2.5″ drive bays. These can be opened at the front, allowing for easy hot-swapping of 2.5″ drives, making this a great option for a compact NAS, workstation or HTPC.

around the back, you’ll find a com port, motherboard I/O, two rubber pegs which can be removed to mount WiFi antenna and a Kensington lock fitting. Of course, you can also swap this backplate for the other included in the box, which offers support for some other NUC motherboards.

across the top, even more thick fins in the aluminium, which will help improve the cooling performance even more, but also keeps the design uniform with the sides of the chassis.

The base of the chassis is compatible with VESA mounting kits, meaning you can easily install it on a bracket, on the back of a compatible monitor or TV and a whole host of other places. There are four screws here too, as the base is the only access point for installing your hardware.

Giada Introduces Compact and Fanless F103D Mini PC

Giada unveiled a new compact and completely silent Mini PC dubbed the F103D. The Giada F103D isn’t the average mini-PC, it is packed with the latest Intel Braswell N3150, N3050, or N3000 Processors with a max TDP of 6W as well as other great features.

The F103D is designed for digital signage and harsh environments, but I see completely different possibilities thanks to the features and specifications. Starting with the dual LAN, powered by two Realtek controllers, the F103D opens up for easy built custom routers and firewalls. This functionality is further increased by an optional upgrade with a WiFi module. It already has the antenna.

The system supports 4K video out at 30Hz via the onboard HDMI and it also comes with a D-Sub VGA connector. There are several COM ports as well as USB ports too. The unit also features 5.1 audio via the display out. You can mount one mSATA SSD as well as a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD in this mini PC.

It comes with 2GB memory onboard and that can be expanded with 2GB more with a DDR3L SO-DIMM slot. Further, you get an onboard IR module and IR sensor on the front, but the remote control is optional. The system is compatible with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 as well as Linux. Android support is planned for 2016.

Enermax DIGIFANLESS 550W Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


The latest Enermax power supply landed in the eTeknix officer recently and while I admit, it can sometimes be difficult to get excited about a power supply, I am very much so about this one. The DIGIFANLESS packs two important features, as the name would suggest; it’s fanless and it is digital. Fanless power supplies are an incredible addition to your system, especially if you’re trying to build a completely silent rig, as the removal of the fan means you’ll never hear a single noise from the unit and that’s certainly no bad thing!

Despite being passively cooled, the DIGIFANLESS still promises to churn out two very impressive figures. The first is that it’ll run up to 550W, which is more than enough for a single GPU system and a powerful CPU. The second is that it will deliver 80 Plus Platinum rated levels of efficiency. Let’s just recap, digital monitoring, passive cooled silent performance, 80 Plus Platinum, 550W of power and if that’s not enough to open your eyes wide, he’s the classic “but that’s not all” sales pitch. It also has fully modular, has individually braided premium grade cables, all Japanese capacitors, is rated to run 24/7 and comes with a 5-year warranty! Enough dancing around, let’s jump right in and take a closer look!

The packaging is really nicely designed, giving a good rundown of the specifications and I’m already getting a nice “premium” vibe here.

Around the back, a nice run down of all the cables, the digi features, the high-quality capacitors and more.

Normally the packaging isn’t something I talk about too much, but the DIGIFANLESS was so well packaged, I just had to take a quick picture.

In the box, you’ll find the mains power cable, the digital link cable, the owner’s manual and a protective storage bag.

AMD Announces New FirePro S9170 Server GPU

AMD might just have released their latest Radeon branded graphics cards, but that isn’t the only upgrade they have in stock for us. Today they are releasing the new FirePro S9170 server GPU with an industry-leading 32GB memory for high-performance compute.

The server card is designed for DGEMM heavy double-precision workloads and with support for OpenCL 2.0. It is based on the second-generation AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU architecture and this new monster is able to deliver up to 5.24 TFLOPS of peak single precision compute performance while enabling full throughput double precision performance, up to 2.62 TFLOPS of peak double precision performance. That is some serious performance.

FirePro graphics cards aren’t something for gamers and if you came here to find an amazing game card, then you’ll be disappointed. GPUs are great with parallel workloads and can be used to offload those tasks from the CPU and achieve a great performance per watt. In fact, AMD is the market leader in that field and are ranked number 1 in Green when counting performance per watt.

The new AMD FirePro S9170 isn’t a replacement for the S9150 but rather thought as a complimentary card for those who need that extra memory to solve those extra big problems. It is the new flagship of server graphics cards and comes with ECC support.

We don’t find the new HBM memory here, which is a given due to the amount and HBM’s current limitation. Instead, it is the good old and well-performing GDDR5 that is used. The card is passive cooled and requires an airflow of 20 cubic meters per minute – which any current server setup should deliver. Users shouldn’t experience any thermal restrictions or throttling if cooled according to specifications.

The GPU clock of the S9170 got a slight boost over the S9150 and it now runs at 930MHz vs the old 900MHz. Shipments are scheduled for Q3 2015 and the street price will be slightly higher than the current S9150.

  • Passively cooled solution for server environments
  • AMD Graphics Core Next architecture
  • 2,816 stream processors (44 compute units)
  • 5.24 TFLOPS peak single-precision floating point
  • 2.62 TFLOPS peak double-precision floating point
  • Full throughput double-precision
  • Error-correcting code memory support (external only)
  • 32GB ultrafast GDDR5 memory
  • 512-bit memory interface
  • Up to 320GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 275W maximum power consumption
  • Support for SMBus temperature reporting at boot-up
  • AMD PowerTune technology3
  • AMD STREAM technology4
  • OpenCL, OpenGL support
  • PCIe® x16 bus interface, PCIe 3.0 compliant
  • Full-height/full-length dual-slot form factor
  • Headless display support
  • Linux OS support (64- and 32-bit)
  •  FCC, CE, C-Tick, BSMI, KCC, UL, VCCI, RoHS, and WEEE compliance
  • Designed, built, and tested by AMD
  • Planned minimum three-year life cycle
  • Limited three-year warranty

ECS Offers a Closer Look at its Mini PC’s @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Following from yesterday’s coverage of the ECS (Elitegroup) press event, we have no been given a close-up look at the new range of Mini PC’s ready to hit the market. These are some very sleek designs which wouldn’t look out of place in a modern home or connected to a projector at a meeting.

All of the current Mini PC’s offer the usual connectivity such as USB 3.0, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, WiFi and all can support up to 1TB of addition storage thanks to onboard M.2 ports. These are some very interesting computers that I’m sure will take the world by storm for those that only want a small computer for everyday tasks.

 

We look forward to reviewing some of these Mini PC’s after the show. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

Testing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Cards In SLI

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, as we have 2 GeForce GTX 960’s ready for some testing. The first is the Asus STRIX GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here) and the second is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here). When striving for the best results, it is favourable to test 2 of the same models to allow for no variation in any clock speeds or variations in any integrated components. Fortunately, as these cards are both non-reference, we have some headroom for overclocking, which is sometimes not present in reference models.

In their dedicated reviews, you can see that both of these graphics cards are more than capable of running most feature games and benchmarking software at playable levels at 1440p. When tested at 4K resolution, both of these cards struggled and failed to wow us, so it will be interesting to see how these cards stack up against their single scores. This setup might be the favourable choice for some, as it is more budget friendly than splashing the cash on a pair of GTX 970’s or GTX 980’s, so let’s find out if it’s worth it!

We inserted both GTX 960 graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for SLI operation.

Due to both of these graphics cards having ample cooling capabilities in their own right, position isn’t really an issue. In this test, we have placed the Gigabyte G1 Gaming graphics card in the traditional ‘Hot Spot’ due to its far more substantial cooling solution.

As we saw in the dedicated reviews, thermal throttling isn’t an issue here. In fact, both of these cards have a passive running feature which allows for passive running under 65°c. It will be very interesting to see if these cards can run passively together, possibly even while playing slightly more demanding games.

Both of the graphics cards we have here are non-reference, they have a higher base clock as standard compared to a reference design card. We will have to match these cards clock speeds of both core and memory to try to closely match them and to give the best results.

 

ZALMAN Files for Bankruptcy

Today is a sad day in the world of technology, as legendary Korean manufacturer Zalman have filed for bankruptcy. The company filed for bankruptcy on the 3rd of November in Seoul. This is suspected to be due to a scam by its owner Moneual.

The company has gained much praise over the years for their passive cooling hardware, such as the TNN-500 and the TNN-300 series coolers. I’m sure more than a few of you who are reading this will have used or still do use Zalman hardware.

The future of the company is uncertain at this time, but things aren’t looking good. Either someone will jump in and save the day at the last-minute, or the company will be broken up and sold off to cover their debts.

No doubt this is bad news for the current work force at Zalman, so we wish you all the best of luck in finding a new career path.

Thank you AskCorp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of AskCorp.

Streacom Introduces Unique 240W Fanless Power Supply

Streacom has announced the ZF240 ZeroFlex Fanless 240W power supply. Without a fan, there is no noise, making this a perfect PSU for HTPCs or tucked-away systems. Small form-factor power supplies aren’t that new, but they rarely come with an efficiency as great as this. The ZF240 has an impressive 93% efficiency rating and while it doesn’t have an 80 Plus certification, it would equal Gold rating.

If this was an active cooled power supply, it would be marketed as a 450W PSU according to Streacom. This is another added bonus as it should ensure a great headroom for peak power draw situations. The flexible AC socket allows for optimal placement inside the chassis.

The Streacom ZF240 is encased in an all aluminium enclosure and is designed for the Streacom FC5 Evo, FC9 and FC10 cases. There shouldn’t however be anything wrong with using it in your own custom setup. The PSU comes with an L bracket to be attached to the PSU and then make contact with the PC case. This effectively turns your chassis into one giant heatsink for the PSU.

Specifications:

  • Power Output: 240W Combined, 3.3V @ 10A, 5V @ 10A, 5VSB @ 2A, 12V @14A, -12V @ 0.3A
  • Input Power: 100-240V AC 50/60Hz
  • Output Connectors: 1 x 20+4 ATX, 1 x 4PIN CPU, 2 x SATA, 2 x MOLEX, 1 x FDD
  • Input Connector: IEC C14 Socket
  • Internal Input Cable Length: 150mm
  • Output Cable Length: 400mm
  • Dimensions: 139 x 86 x 47(LxWxH)
  • Weight: 848g NET

Thanks to Streacom for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Streacom

New Thermalright HR-02 Macho Zero CPU Cooler Revealed

The Thermalright Macho series has already proven to be one of the best bang for buck CPU coolers on the market. Now it’s back once again with the release of the HR-02 special edition, and it promises to be better than ever. Thermalright listen to their community and have revised the coolers looks, cooling performance and fans to create their latest model. The HR-02 features a black nickel finish to its thick copper heatpipes and mounting kit, giving it a sleek and uniform appearance.

The cooler is designed to run passively, perfect for those who want a completely silent system. The HR-02 also comes bundled with a 120mm or 140mm fanduct, allowing for semi passive use; this means you can add an aftermarket fan of your own to suit your build. The cooler also comes equipped with a massive 53 x 40mm base plate, perfect for many of the flagship CPUs on the market, such as the new Core i7 models.

Technical Data Thermalright Macho Zero

  • Length: ca. 136 mm
  • Width: ca. 152 mm
  • Height: ca. 163 mm
  • Weight: ca. 1.870 Gramm
  • Material: Hybrid
  • Heatpipes: 6 x 6 mm
  • Noise: 0 dB(a)

The HR-02 supports all major Intel and AMD sockets, comes bundled with the Thermalright magnetic screwdriver, a pair of black anodized fan brackets and 2g of Chill Factor 3 thermal paste. It will be available from most major retailers from mid-December.

Thank you Thermalright for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Thermalright.

Cooler Master Hyper 612 CPU Cooler Revealed

Cooler Master are a popular choice when it comes to CPU coolers; they’ve got some of the best high-end coolers on the market, and their budget friendly models are still some of the best selling coolers around. Now they’re back once again with their new and improved Hyper 612 Ver. 2.

The Hyper series has always been a popular choice, mostly thanks to it’s impressive price vs performance ratio and we expect the new 612 will offer the same award winning formula once again. The cooler has been designed to operate passively for completely silent performance on CPU’s of up to 95W. For those who need more performance, you can use the included PWM fan, and even add a second optional PWM fan if you need to.

  • Two different ways to mount the fan (plastic clip or wire clip)
  • Four anti-vibration rubbers
  • No interference with memory due to special design
  • Easy mounting procedure

The Hyper 612 Ver. 2 will be available in Europe from the end of this month and while price and availability will vary based on region, it’s expected to be found at most major retailers for around 39.90 EUR.

Thank you Cooler Master for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Cooler Master.

Silverstone Nightjar 520W Passive Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


One thing that you learn reviewing power supplies is just how big Seasonic are. Seasonic platforms are used by multiple brands due to their exceptional quality, performance and reliability. Silverstone are one of those brands that use Seasonic platforms. In a case of déjà vu I am looking at another Seasonic Platinum rated 520 watt passive power supply. Firstly, I took a look at the XFX XTS 520, then Seasonic’s own Platinum 520 and now Silverstone’s Nightjar 520. The internals are identical to the aforementioned PSUs: we’ve still got 80 Plus Platinum efficiency, Seasonic’s promised +-2% voltage regulation, active PFC and a fully modular design. The best part is of course the passive operation and the “Nightjar” moniker of this Silverstone power supply is supposed to reflect that passive segmentation. To aid with the passive operation the Platinum efficiency is vital for minimising heat but the well ventilated enclosure is also important.

An extensive recap of this unit’s specifications can be found below:

Packaging and Contents

White/silver seems to be the theme of this product as they are the closest to the colour of Platinum. The front of the packaging clearly orchestrates that passive operation is the flagship feature of this product.

Around the back we find Silverstone championing the quality and features of this product; assisted mainly by the Seasonic OEM platform used.

Included with the Nightjar 520 is a power cable, selection of documentation, velcro cable ties, standard cable ties and four silver screws for mounting to your case.

Seasonic Platinum Fanless 520W Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


Fanless power supplies have become increasingly popular over the past few years as the efficiency of power supplies has risen, meaning they produce less heat, and the efficiency of computer components has increased, meaning they consume less power. The convergence of these two trends makes it possible to run a high end system with a passive power supply. In fact, with the Seasonic Fanless Platinum 520W power supply we have here today it is possible to run a Core i7 4960X based system with an Nvidia GTX Titan Black and still have plenty of capacity left over for other things.

To our regular readers this power supply may look identical to another power supply we reviewed recently; the XFX XTS 520. There’s a reason for that – they are the same units internally. As many of you may known Seasonic produce a lot of power supplies and if they don’t sell them under the Seasonic brand, they sell them to other vendors who resell them, such as XFX, Antec and many more.

Below you can find the full specifications of Seasonic’s Platinum fanless 520W power supply, as the name implies this power supply boasts 80 Plus Platinum certification – this high efficiency is what allows it to operate fanlessly without any heat issues.

Packaging and Contents

Seasonic’s packaging is very tastefully done and plays heavily on the Platinum theme.

The back details the efficiency standards of the PSU as well as the promise of +-2% voltage regulation on all of the rails.

The accessory bundle is fairly generous relative to other PSU vendors; there is a power cable, some screws, a case sticker, normal cable ties, velcro cable ties and some documentation.

Super Flower Golden Silent 500W Semi-Modular Passive Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


If you want a truly silent system there are a lot of things to consider purchasing: a passive graphics card, a passive CPU cooler, SSD storage instead of mechanical hard drives and more importantly a passively cooled power supply. The advantages of a passively cooled power supply are numerous but the main advantage is that unlike most power supplies that will get noisy above 50% load a passive power supply never gets noisy. Other advantages include the fact that passive power supplies tend to require higher quality components in order to keep heat output down so when you buy a passive power supply you also know you’re buying quality and an efficient unit. Today I am taking a look at my second passively cooled power supply but this time from a brand not many people have heard of. Super Flower may not be well known as a consumer brand but Super Flower already feature inside many high-end power supplies sold by big brands, EVGA is the most notable one of those that springs to mind. In the UK market at least Super Flower are deciding to go at it as a standalone brand selling a wide range of their power supplies through Overclockers UK at very competitive prices. In this review I will be looking at Super Flower’s Golden Silent 500W passive power supply. This is an interesting power supply for a number of reasons: because it is 80 Plus Platinum rated, because it has a whopping big heatsink built into the PSU but also because the design has been built in its entirety from the ground up by Super Flower.

Packaging and Contents

The packaging has a rather strange butterfly theme to it, perhaps because butterflies are silent? The box also states this is an “OverClock Version”, I’m really not sure what that is supposed to mean in reference to a passive power supply….maybe something got lost in translation.

The back details the product features, specifications as well as the materials used in the product including the Japanese made Nippon Chemi-Con capacitors.

Included will be a user’s manual, power plug and four silver thumb-screws for securing into your case.

XFX XTS 520W Passive Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


For PC users who are serious about noise there really is no alternative to a passive power supply. Sure there are power supplies on the market that operate incredibly quietly (such as Be Quiet’s Dark Power Pro range) and even power supplies that don’t spin up their fans until they pass a certain load amount, normally 40% load (Corsair’s AXi range for example). However, a fan is still a fan whichever way you butter it up and a fan means some noise irrelevant of how quiet that fan is.

Enter XFX’s latest passive range of power supplies dubbed the XTS series. Today we are checking out the XFX XTS 520 which is a totally silent, passively cooled 520W power supply with a fully modular design, 80 Plus Platinum certification and a 5 year warranty. This really is the bees knees of power supplies and while 520W may not sound like much, that’s easily enough to power a Core i7 4960X system with a GTX Titan Black and a tonne of hard drives or SSDs, lots of memory and a full sized ATX board. With that said the XFX XTS 520 is a power supply that is versatile enough for any system from a low-end workstation to a high-end gaming PC: you can even run SLI or CrossFire with this power supply.

As with all XFX power supplies the XTS 520 is based on a Seasonic OEM design: this means it is going to be a quality piece because Seasonic are one of the top vendors in the entire power supply industry. Let’s start this review by taking a look at the packaging of XFX’s XTS 520.

Packaging and Contents

The packaging features images of the product as well as all the relevant certifications of SLI, CrossFire, 80 Plus Platinum and the fact it is Haswell C6/C7 low power state ready.

Moving around to the back and we find that the packaging details more features about the power supply. XFX note the use high quality 105 degrees celsius rated Japanese capacitors which is always nice to see and reassures you about the quality of the product.

Included with the power supply is a brief user manual, four silver screws for securing into your case and an EU-style power plug. We expect that the power plug will reflect the region within which you buy the product (unless the retailer you buy from is selling imported stock from other regions).

QNAP SilentNAS HS-210 2-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


When we look at where a NAS is typically designed to be placed, integration into a home A/V setup is not overly common surprisingly. Whilst there are a countless number of two and four bay systems that offer media playback capabilities, which I will add is great to see for the SOHO markets, their tower like design is not always that convenient to fit in with the DVD players, surround sound systems and game console stack that many of us have underneath our TV’s in the lounge – like the photo above funnily enough which is a quick glimpse into the system that we are taking a look at today.

QNAP as we know are one of the big players in the NAS market, lining up alongside Thecus, Asustor and Synology to name but a few and like everyone else, their product range spreads out from the basic single bay systems that are found on the entry-level end of the scale, right up to the 16+ bay rackmount systems that are built for enterprise and datacentre use. What QNAP have noticed though is that there is a gap in the market for systems like the one in hand today and considering many home users are now looking towards a network storage solution for their home media, now is a perfect time to hit that market with a system that blends right in to the A/V stacks that we all have in one way or another.

Built around a two bay design and supporting the latest 5TB drives, the HS-210 SilentNAS is, as the name would suggest, a system that takes noise head on and following some carefully planned design work, they have created a system that is totally passive with no fans included in the system. No fans = no noise and whilst we do have to account for the fact that spinning platter do generate a certain level of acoustic output, they are nowhere near as acoustic as they were only a few years ago. Another challenge that QNAP have decided to take on is hiding the drive bays away from view. Whereas having drive bays on view on a typical desktop NAS, in a home theater setup they’re not the most elegant of objects to look at, so a front cover that hides the bays away acts as a simple, yet effective solution.

In addition to offering up the looks that home theatre users are likely to want, QNAP are aware that the price point is also key to securing the purchase, so a price point of around $290 / £240 should whet the appetite of any tech enthusiast – at least that is the theory.

There is no surprises in seeing a simple and to the point kit list with this being an entry-level system. Along side a quick setup guide and a couple of sets of screws for 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, we get a single Ethernet cable and a DC power adaptor with regional mains cable to suit.

NoFan CR-80EH Fanless Copper CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


On the cooling test bench today we have something pretty special, the NoFan CR-80EH. The latest cooler from NoFan, a completely passive CPU cooler that obviously promises silent performance for your computer, but it’s also the newer, more budget friendly model of their previous fan-less CPU cooler, the CR-95C which we reviewed two years ago. We were really impressed by the performance of the previous model, it kept our CPU well within the safe zone for your average user and of course it didn’t without making so much as a whisper of noise.

When it comes to building a HTPC, a silent build can be an incredible tool at your disposal, but it’s hard to get the components right. Passive components still need airflow to get the heat out of the chassis and keep the system from overheating, but with careful consideration you can have a rig that won’t be humming away in the corner while your watching your favourite movies, leaving you to enjoy the show, not the ambient noises.

Prices at just under £40 the CR-80EH is far from expensive, but while I’m certain that I would be able to find many coolers in this price range that offer much better cooling performance, I doubt there are any that will be as quiet. Cooling performance is still important of course, no one wants to cook their CPU in a hurry, but not everyone is trying to overclock the brains out of their system. So long as the CR-80EH can keep a stock i5 within the safe zone, I’ll be happy, but I would be foolish to think this will be enough to cool a heavily overclocked chip… but we’ll find out about that shortly.

As you can see from the specifications, the cooler is quite large, but no so much that it shouldn’t find in most PC cases. It can handle up to 80W, which should be ok for newer high-end or older midrange chips, but keep in mind that some of the older AMD hardware for example can require 125W coolers.

The packaging is really nicely designed, giving a great view of the cooler thanks to a plastic window, just look at all that lovely copper!

Around the back we have another window panel, this time giving us a sneak peek at the CPU block. There are some features listen on the box too, such as the zero noise and dust free design.

In the box you’ll find an easy to follow product manual, some mounting screws, so AMD / Intel compatible brackets and a small bottle of thermal compound.

Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate Passive 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


Sapphire’s Ultimate series already has quite a reputation for consumers interested in passively cooled AMD graphics cards. Sapphire have been making their Ultimate series with AMD graphics cards for a very long time and there is a common trend among all the GPUs – they tend to be entry level GPUs. We’ve seen a HD 4670, HD 5670, HD 6670 and HD 7750. Today we have a new Ultimate series card with us from Sapphire, although let’s cut right to the chase – this isn’t new at all. The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate graphics card is merely a Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate, Sapphire have just renamed it. In fact from what I can tell AMD’s R7 250 was meant to only be a 384 GCN core Oland XT part, this is how AMD explained the product on launch and at their tech conferences. Yet a few months down the line and we now have these 512 GCN core HD 7750 rebrands being dubbed R7 250s, a move AMD has endorsed on its own official product specification. My suspicion is that HD 7750 inventories needed to be digested so AMD gave board partners permission to use those as R7 250s. The reality is that this is great news for consumers – you can get an R7 250 with more GCN cores and better performance for the same $90 price point as the Oland XT variant.

Specifications Analysis

So the Sapphire R7 250 is different to other R7 250 graphics cards we’ve looked at – it has 512 GCN cores at 800MHz. It has a lower clock than the Oland XT version but the extra GCN cores mean we will see more performance and this will become particularly apparent when we move into overclocking. The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate holds a $10 premium over R7 250 reference pricing which is very reasonable.

Packaging and Bundle

The packaging is typical of Sapphire with their usual robotic theme. Key features include 1GB of GDDR5 memory and their passive silent cooling solution.

The back details all the key features a little more.

Included is some documentation and a driver CD.

Accessories are limited to a 1.8m HDMI cable and a DVI to VGA adapter.

Silverstone Releasing New NightJar Platinum Power Supply

Silverstone have unveiled their latest power supply product which will be joining their NightJar series. The new PSU packs 520W of power, which may not sound a lot, but this power supply has a few tricks up its sleeve that helps it stand out from the crowd. The NightJar 520W is fully modular, so cable management should be fantastic and runs a single +12V rail with a single 43A +12V rail.

The SST-NJ520 is fully passive cooled, its fanless design means that it operates completely silent. Not having to hear a single whisper from the PSU fan can provide big advantages for some systems, especially those involved in scientific areas, music / studio production, HTPC builds and other noise sensitive environments.

The latest NightJar power supply is also rated at 80 Plus Platinum, meaning it is incredible efficient, which should help you save a little money over time, something you’ll need given that this isn’t going to be a cheap product to begin with.

Silverstone haven’t released pricing information just yet, but given that the bronze rated SST-ST40NF is still £99.95 and the silver rated SST-ST50NF is £109.95, I wouldn’t expect their new Platinum rated one to be cheap, so expect to see prices in the region of £150.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

AMD XFX Radeon R7 250 Core Edition Passive 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


While the low-end graphics card market is fairly monotonous, passive graphics cards always make for interesting system builds and the XFX R7 250 we have here today this is certainly no exception. The R7 250 from AMD offers a surprisingly punchy amount of performance for quite a modest price of just $90 and with low power consumption. XFX’s take on the R7 250 costs just $10 more than the MSRP and in return you get an awesome looking passive cooler but there is of course no factory overclock because taming heat is of the essence. XFX is targeting their R7 250 (R7-250A-ZLH4) at the gamer or HTPC user who wants a silent experience but with enough power to get involved with gaming or 4K playback. Unlike the R7 240 the R7 250 offers up almost twice the performance yet costs only $20 more, making it a viable gaming card for a user on a budget. The R7 250 does of course face stiff competition from the R7 250X which offers a substantial leap in performance for just $10 more but the R7 250 has the advantage of not needing supplementary power and being cool-running enough to facilitate a variety of passively cooled models.

Specifications Analysis

As we’ve mentioned the XFX R7 250 is clocked at stock speeds and is priced $10 higher. It is also worth noting that it uses only 1GB of GDDR5 which in my opinion is the best choice. XFX are not offering DDR3 models or variants with 2GB of VRAM which is a sensible decision – for this type of graphics card 1GB is ample. A technical detail worth noting is that XFX use the “new” Oland XT based R7 250, that is in contrast to the “old” Cape Verde Pro R7 250 which is based on the HD 7750. The HD 7750 variant is slightly faster but availability of these cards are quite scarce and so far I only see Sapphire offering Cape Verde Pro based R7 250s.

Packaging and Bundle

The packaging retain’s XFX’s usual styling and it points out the key feature – a passive 0 dB cooling solution with a 6mm heat pipe.

The rear details the card’s features.

Included with this card is a variety of documentation and a driver CD. There are no adapters, brackets or cables.

AMD XFX Radeon R7 240 Core Edition Passive 2GB DDR3 Graphics Card Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


The R7 240 may not be the most exciting graphics card to review but I think this review will still be interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the R7 240 is incredibly affordable at just $69.99. Believe it or not graphics cards in the sub $100 price bracket are actually the most popular even if they are not the most glamorous – so it will be very interesting to see what $70 actually gets you. Secondly, this is the first of our reviews on our new graphics card test system. As we detail further on the test system and procedures page this is a purpose built test system for low end to mid range graphics cards, we will continue to use our high end test system from upper mid range and enthusiast grade graphics cards. With a new test system comes a revised set of games, as chosen by your votes, and some new compute and mining tests to give you a wider perspective on what additional performance graphics cards can offer outside of gaming.

However, let’s get back to the product in hand for today’s review which is the XFX R7 240 Core Edition (R7-240A-CLH4) graphics card which features a fully passive cooling solution and 2GB of DDR3 VRAM. From the low profile, passive and compact design of this graphics card it should be quite clear that this is aimed at the HTPC market but also the light usage home PC or the budget gaming PC. This isn’t going to be powering a fully fledged gaming desktop PC, however, it will still play games at lower resolutions and detail settings despite what anyone may tell you.

Specifications Analysis

XFX’s R7 240 Core Edition passive graphics card has identical specifications to a reference R7 240. The main difference between the reference design is that this Passive Core Edition model comes with a choice of only 2GB of DDR3 VRAM and has a premium of $15 over the $70 MSRP on the R7 240.

Packaging and Bundle

The XFX R7 240 comes with XFX’s usual style of packaging and the front of the box presents the key features – a passive cooling solution, a low profile design with interchangeable brackets and support for stereoscopic 3D and BluRay playback.

The back of the box has a more extensive list of features.

Included with the product is some documentation about installation, warranty and other XFX products as well as a driver CD.

Additionally XFX provide a low profile kit that allows you to change your rear I/O configuration.

2014 Range Of Lepa Products At CeBIT 2014

Lepa are a component manufacturer that fly under the Enermax banner, and while their products are often similar to Enermax, it is because they share many of the same design team and researchers between the two brands. Lepa has generally been targeted at different markets than Enermax, but now that the brand has built up a solid reputation of their own, we are starting to see more and more of them in western markets.

Below we have their new range of budget friendly coolers, based around the Enermax ETS-T40 (our review) design they offer great cooling performance and funky colour choices that would suit almost any kind of system build.

The new Lepa 120mm and 240mm coolers are again based around Enermax products, but feature high performance fans and a unique exterior pump design.

A wide range of new chassis products will be hitting the market this year, ranging from midi to full towers and we’ll be getting these in for review in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more information on these.

The PSU market get’s their new MX range, offering up the MX Bronze, Gold and Platinum series with the none modular (white), semi-modular (red and black) and semi-modular G800M (black).

Their latest prototype was secured under a cover, but was their demonstration of their future PSU products and features a fully passive design for completely silent performance, perhaps we will see more details about this at Computex later this year.

Boom! Saving the best for last. The P1700M is full modular and features a staggering 1700W of power at Platinum efficiency rating, if you’re interested in building a monster of a BitCoin mining rig, then this GPU should be on your shopping list. Build quality is incredible and all the finest components money can by have been poured into it, we can’t wait to get our hands on one and put it through its paces.

That’s everything from the Lepa booth for today, but we’ll be back later with even more coverage from this years CeBIT 2014 in Hanover.

Silverstone’s Latest NAS, HTPC & SteamBox-Style Chassis On Display At CeBIT 2014

Here we are once again at CeBIT 2014 with more great coverage from some of the top manufactures from around the world. Silverstone are already highly regarded for their attention to detail and innovation and the new cases on display at the show are no exception. First up we have the lovely new SG08-Lite (top left) which features an bold exterior design, extensive ventilation for keeping your GPU and other components cool, a slot loading optical drive bay, ATX PSU support and room for a mini-ITX motherboard.

Next to that we have on of the coolest cases on the market today, the RVZ01 gaming chassis (2nd from left) which features room for a large GPU and plenty of storage thanks to its innovative design. We actually reviewed this case recently, so if you would like to know more you can check out the full review here (spoiler: It’s awesome).

Next in line we have the DS260 mini-ITX chassis (below), easily our favourite Silverstone product at CeBIT 2014. It features a thick aluminium construction and despite only being a mock-up it’s already looking superb. It features a hybrid design that makes it ideal for a mini-ITX style system, but it’s real purpose in life is as a NAS box.

Aside from feature a sturdy chassis which features carry handle style side panels, you’ll also find tabbed hard drive bays which can be lifted out right from the top of the case. If you’re in need of a case that allows quick and easy hard drive swaps then you’re going to love this. If you need to do mass backups, file transfers, or need very flexible storage then the DS260 may very well be one of the best choices on the market for a self-build NAS system.

The new GD09 is a serious power house for those wanting to build a mighty HTPC style build, although I guess there is no reason why you couldn’t use it for a desktop based system dependant on your requirements and preferences. It is compatible with ATX motherboards, ATX PSU’s, multiple large graphics cards (just like any other ATX sized chassis), features plenty of air filters, fan mounts and everything else you would expect from a high-end Silverstone product.

If your space requirements are a little more limited, the ML06 features support for mini-ITX motherboards, but still features plenty of ventilation, dust filters and side inputs for USB 3.0 and HD Audio that make it an ideal compact solution for a HTPC or space-saving desktop system.

ML06 not small enough for you? Then check out their gorgeous new range of PT14 NUC style cases, which feature passive CPU cooling designs that range from eSATA storage compatibility in the smaller ones, to full 3.5″ hard drive support of the larger models, making them great for digital advertising, HTPC, media streaming, or just a powerful, yet compact system that you can take with you with ease.

We’ve got plenty more to share with you from CeBIT 2014 and even more from the Silverstone booth, we will be back shortly with coverage of some of their larger chassis products, as well as other accessories.

GamerStorm Lucifer CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Deepcool are one of the biggest cooling companies in the world, and while they may not be the leading name here in the UK or America, they are still the largest cooling company in mainland China. The company has been around now since 1996 and literally started out with the company founder making products in his garage, a far cry from the 700 people the company now employs in its 20,000sqm factory.

“Ever since the stunning victory of Deep Blue, a program running on an IBM supercomputer, over Gary Kasparov, then world chess champion, in 1997, it has been clear that computers would be the most powerful tool of human being. At that time, we started our computer cooling business. We hoped our products could be as great as Deep Blue. With that in mind came the name Deepcool.” – Say Deepcool on their website.

From their inspiration, Deepcool have themselves gone on to help in the development of super computers like IBM’s Deep Blue, having provided the thermal solutions for two of the world’s top 500 super computers, something that has no doubt given them valuable insight in the world of high performance, and of course high-efficiency cooling.

As you can see from the specifications below, the Lucifer packs plenty of promising specs, with an aluminium construction backed up by a full-copper base, a large tower to provide great surface area for extra cooling, a low RPM (yet powerful) 140mm fan, high quality hydro bearings and more. so let’s stop mucking about and get a closer look at the Lucifer, because we really want to see what this thing can do!

The overall packaging is a little bland, but surprising the box for the Lucifer is rather huge, you would think there was a 240mm radiator in this box! We have a quick run down of the main socket support around the back, but no concerns here as all major AMD and Intel sockets are happily supported.

Everything you need is in the box, including a metal back plate and some beautifully chrome finished fittings and brackets, four fan clips (to mount two fans) and some plastic spacers.

Finally we have a basic setup guide, which was unfortunately a pain to follow, but it’s enough to get you though the installation if you know what you’re familiar with CPU coolers in general. There was also a 140mm fan in the box, but we’ll take a look at the on our next page.

Akasa Reveals Fanless Newton V Case Series For Intel’s NUC

Akasa has unveiled its Newton V series of passive cases for Intel’s NUC platform. Akasa first showed these all aluminium cases at Compute 2013 and we know that they will be available in black, silver and gold. The passive cooling solution works by drawing heat from the processor, chipset and other hot components towards the body of the case. This means the case doubles up as a large heatsink.

Akasa have stated that this particular case is designed for Intel’s D53427RK NUC motherboard only. The Intel D53427RK features a Core i5 3427U 17W dual core. The Akasa Newton V measures in at 150 x 150 x 47mm and weighs 950g. There are VESA wall mounting holes and two holes for WiFi or Bluetooth Antennae. The front panel includes three USB ports of which one is USB 3.0. Pricing is TBA, availability should follow within a month.

Image courtesy of Akasa