SilverStone Releases ECU03 USB 3.1 Expansion Card

USB 3.1 is the newest generation and it brings quite a few improvements over the previous generation, such as the double bandwidth capabilities. The trouble with new generations of connectors is that you’ll also need to upgrade your system to use them, at least if you got an older one. Luckily you don’t need to upgrade your entire system, you can just use an expansion card. SilverStone just released the ECU03 which is such a card and it will give your system both a USB 3.1 Type A and a USB 3.1 Type C connector.

The SilverStone ECU03 offers 10 Gbps bandwidth for excellent throughput and transfer rates, especially when multiple external drives are attached simultaneously and otherwise would create bottlenecks. The ECU03 fully supports the eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) that makes it driverless for an easy installation. The expansion card also supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) that increases the overall throughput by handling multiple requests at the same time.

USB is by definition highly compatible and the card is naturally backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1 devices. Motherboard support is secured through the use of a PCI-Express Gen2 x2 interface that most stationary PCs will have available for use. Even small form factor (SFF) systems are supported as the card is designed to be low-profile. SilverStone also includes a low-profile expansion slot bracket with the card right out of the box.

Special Features

  • Includes SuperSpeed USB 3.1 external USB Type-C connector
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.1 with Type A and Type C ports
  • PCI-E Gen2.0 x2, throughput up to 10Gbps
  • Compliant with eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) specification Revision 1.1
  • Compliant with USB Attached SCSI Protocol Revision 1.0 (UASP)
  • Includes optional low-profile slot cover for supporting low profile cases

Corsair SF600 80 Plus Gold Fully Modular SFX Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


The world of Small Form Factor (SFX) power supplies has been a fierce battleground over the last few years. Gaming systems have been getting smaller, the HTPC and Steambox markets are growing in popularity and the demand for a tiny PSU that can keep the system small, but still deliver the high-performance grunt required by modern gaming GPU/CPU combos is at an all time high. Enter the new Corsair SF600, the latest contender on the market and judging by the specifications, it may be the best one we’ve seen to date.

“SF Series power supplies bring legendary Corsair performance and reliability to the SFX small form factor standard. They have the features found in full-size high performance power supplies, with certification for 80 PLUS Gold efficiency, superior voltage regulation, Zero RPM mode for virtually silent operation, and 105°C All Japanese capacitors for better reliability.” – Corsair

Equipped with 600W of power, more than enough for any high-end and overclocking gaming rig with a single GPU, 100% Japanese 105c capacitors, a zero RPM fan mode for ultra quiet performance at lower loads, fully modular cables and that super compact SFX form factor, the SF600 is certainly an attractive unit. To make the deal even sweeter, it comes backed up by Corsairs confidence inducing 7-year manufacturers warranty!

The packaging is very nicely designed, keeping in theme with other current Corsair product ranges and featuring a clear product image and the main specifications prominently displayed.

Plenty of technical information around the back too, showing off the efficiency and fan speeds at various load scenarios.

In the box, you’ll find two protective bags, one for the cables and another containing the PSU. There is all the usual documentation, a mains power cable, cable ties and screws; everything you need to get you setup and ready to rock.

Intel Launches Skull Canyon Gaming NUC

Late last year, we got the earliest hint of Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC. Based off of the popular NUC or Next Unit of Computing series, the super small form factor PC was set to provide enthusiasts the perfect PC for HTPC and light gaming. Today at GDC, Intel finally revealed the specifications, availability and more importantly the pricing for the NUC.

Size, of course, is one of the biggest considerations with the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK) coming in at  216mm x 116mm x 23mm. To put this in perspective, it is nearly twice as long but somewhat thinner than regular NUCs which are 115mm x 111mm x 32mm. Due to the lack of a 2.5inch drive, it is also significantly thinner than the NUCs which support HDDs that are 115mm x 111mm x 48mm.

For the system itself, it runs an i7 6770HQ with 4C/8T and 2.5Ghz base and 3.2Ghz turbo and 2 DDR4 DIMM slots. The chip only has 6MB of L3 but does have the all important Iris Pro HD 580, sporting 576 ALUs, 72 EUs and 9 subslices with the usually massive 128MB eDRAM cache. This will be enough to surpass AMD’s APUs due not only to the eDRAM cache but also the masive iGPU size. Storage is provided by 2 M.2 slots with more possible over the 4 USB3 ports and 1 Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.1. There is also one each of HDMI 2.0 and mDP 1.2 out and SDXC port.

A barebones system will set you back $650 and adding an 256GB SSD, 16GB of ram and Windows 10 bumps that up to $999. Overall, the NUC seems like a decent set of kit and with external Thunderbolt 3 GPUs picking up and being available, future GPU upgrades are within the realm of possibility.

Shuttle’s New DH170 1-Liter Mini-PC Now Available in the UK

Shuttle has been on a roll as of late, releasing one new system after another, but one of the most impressive ones is probably the DH170 which features impressive options in a tiny 1.3-liter chassis. Now the Shuttle DH170 is officially available in the UK. The XPC Slim Series DH170 system is built upon the H170 chipset with support for the latest Skylake processors (up to 65W TDP) while only being 43m thick.

The Shuttle DH170 can be equipped with up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3L 1600 RAM, but there is only one 2.5-inch SATA3 drive bay. Then again, there are limits to what fits inside such a small system so that’s an understandable limitation and one drive should still be plenty for most usage scenarios for this system. While I just said that it only had room for one drive, that’s technically incorrect as the DH170 also features an M.2 2260/2242 Type B M key socket and a Half-size Mini-PCIe socket.

You get an impressive external connectivity with the DH170 as it features four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers (i211 and i219LM) that support teaming. It also features a Realtek ALC662 HD audio solution as well as triple monitor connection via two DisplayPort and one HDMI connector. A wireless antenna fixture, serial ports, and a card reader are also included in the DH170.

This tiny reliable system is rated for continues 24/7 usage in 50-degree environments without the smart fan having any trouble keeping everything cool. It’s also economical with its 90W power supply. The DH170 is available now for £194 (VAT excluded).

Key Features:

  • Intel H170 chipset supports the latest Intel Skylake processors
  • Compact 1.3-liter chassis only 43mm thick
  • Rugged design and construction for 24/7 stability and high-temperature environments
  • Supports three independent displays even at 4K resolution; two DisplayPorts and one HDMI
  • Ample connectivity; four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, two RS232; M.2., Mini PCI-E
  • VESA mount compatibility
  • Available at Entaonline.com for £194

Shuttle Announces SZ170R8 Skylake-Based Mini-PC

Small form factor computers are the future in many directions, but going too small also limits the options considerably. Shuttle has been in the Mini-PC business for a long time and they’ve found a good balance between upgradability and size with their XPC cubes. The newest family member to the Shuttle XPC series is the SZ170R8 which already gives away half of its specifications in the name: The system is a Skylake-based one with a Z170 chipset inside the new R8 chassis.

The XPS R8 chassis is only a third of the size that a traditional tower PC occupies and it still comes with plenty of space for your hardware. You can install up to four 3.5-inch hard disk drives or eight 2.5-inch drives with optional PHD3 adapter brackets.

The system features two expansion slots that allow you to install graphics cards and other adapters with a length up to 267mm. That coupled with the use of 6th generation Intel Core processors and support for up to 64GB DDR4 memory will give you a great base for almost any task.

You can install Skylake LGA1151 processors with a TDP up to 95W and use the built-in GPU units that support 4k/Ultra HD video playback, the system is well equipped for it with two DisplayPort and one HDMI port. There are plenty of USB connection, the network connection is handled by an Intel i219LM controller, and the audio by a Realtek ALC892 7.1 HD audio solution.

The SZ170R8 is equipped with Shuttle’s I.C.E 2 heat pipe technology and comes with an 80 Plus Silver certified 500W power supply to maintain long-term and high stability operation for various professional applications.

Next generation expansion modules can be installed too with the support for one M.2 and one half-size mini PCI-E expansion slots. So whether you want to install a super fast M.2 2280 SSD or a Wi-Fi module, the system is ready.

 

MSI Announces Cubi 2 Plus Mini-PC

MSI announced a new addition to their lineup of mini-PCs with the release of the new MSI Cubi 2 Plus. The new Cubi 2 Plus is built on the same principle as other mini-PCs where modern technology meets a space-saving design. This is also a system that will speak equally to normal consumers like you and me as well as businesses that want the benefits from a powerful system without the size restraints.

This new generation Cubi comes with the new mini-STX motherboard form factor that is about 29% smaller than a mini-ITX motherboard and making it the smallest motherboard with a socket design available. This is a new thing for miniPCs and it will allow you to easily upgrade the CPU should it be needed. You are still limited to the Skylake-S processors, but that in return makes the Cubi 2 Plus a very energy-efficient device that and uses less power.

The Intel H110 chipset used will allow you to install up to 32GB DDR4 memory to run at speeds up to 2133MHz. Internally you can attach one M.2 SSD and one 2.5-inch SATA drive which should be plenty local storage. Externally the Cubi 2 Plus offers both USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1, and USB 2.0 with super charger function. It has normal Gigabit Ethernet LAN powered by an Intel i219LM controller and dual-band wireless support via an M.2 adapter.

Overall, this is a system that seems to have it all and the only weak point, if you could call it that, is the use of Intel HD graphics. You still get support for dual-monitor setup through the HDMI and DisplayPort connectors.

The new MSI Cubi 2 Plus is scheduled to be globally available by the beginning of March 2016. Next to the normal Cubi 2 Plus there also will be a vPro edition with support for Intel’s® vPro technology. With all the security benefits it now also features Intel Unite. Intel Unite lets you easily set up meetings with colleagues that are all around the world and supports sharing up to 4 screens at the same time.

Feature Highlights

  • Windows 10 Home
  • DDR4 2133HMz up to 32GB
  • 6th Intel® Skylake-S power saving processor
  • Equipped with USB3.1 Gen1 type C
  • Maximum to 1 x M.2 SSD and 1 x 2.5” SATA HDD or SSD
  • Supports 4K ultra-high definition resolution
  • Supports Dual monitors
  • Special USB2.0 port on the top of the case with supercharger
  • Supports Microsoft DirectX 12
  • Support 802.11ac Combo Card
  • Support standard VESA-mount

SilverStone Releases Nitrogon NT09-115X Slim-Profile CPU Cooler

There are many obstacles one need to take into consideration when building small form factor builds and one of them is the CPU cooler. It needs to be powerful enough to cool your system, but most importantly, it needs to fit into the chassis. SilverStone released a new CPU cooler that should solve both of these issues and it is called the Nitrogon NT09-115X.

The Nitrogon NT09-115X is only 45mm tall and made for Intel’s LGA 115x sockets. It is compatible with all four of them, LGA 1156, 1155, 1150, and 1151, and it can handle processors with a TDP of up to 65W.


The NT09-115X has been designed especially for use in space limited applications and comes with extruded aluminum fins for excellent thermal conductive. In addition, the NT09-115X is equipped with a custom PWM 92mm silent fan that is staggered against the aluminum fins for better airflow focus and enhanced heat dissipation.

The 92mm fan has a variable speed from 550 to 2500 RPM in order to generate an air pressure of 0.136 to 2.8mm H2O and an airflow of 10.34 to 47.0 CFM. In return, the cooler will generate a noise level between 18.5 and 32 dBA which isn’t bad at all for a small form factor cooler. From inaudible to slightly audible, yet with a good cooling performance.

Both the core and the extruded fins are made of aluminium which makes for a very light CPU cooler that shouldn’t put much stress on your motherboard, no matter how weak it might be. The entire CPU cooler with fan only weights 213.5 grams. Despite the low weight, SilverStone still ships the NT09-115X with a reinforced backplate to lessen the stress on the motherboard even more.

Special Features:

  • Supports Intel LGA1156/1155/1150/1151 processors
  • Designed for low profile systems at only 45mm tall
  • Custom quiet 92mm fan for excellent cooling and low noise
  • Extruded aluminum fins for good heat dissipation
  • Reinforced back plate design reduces motherboard bending to provide tighter CPU contact

The new Nitrogon NT09-115X is available from today for a recommended end-user price of $13.75 USD.

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.

Enermax Introduces ETS-N30II Air CPU Cooler

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intel Prepping Skull Canyon Enthusiast NUC

With the increasing relevance of mobile and smaller form factors, Intel has been focusing a lot of their attention on this segment. According to leaked internal documentation, Intel is readying a new enthusiast-oriented NUC or Next Unit of Computing. Dubbed Skull Canyon, the new system will feature a Skylake based CPU paired with a potent Iris Pro iGPU in the tiny form factor.

Set to arrive in Q1 2016, Skull Canyon is expected to be the fastest NUC Intel has ever made yet. With the top end Iris Pro 580 graphics (GT4), this little NUC will offer potent graphics capability that should surpass most HTPCs. The iGPU will feature 576 ALUs, in 72 EUs, in a total 9 subslices. Paired with 128MB of eDRAM, this should allow for performance near GTX 750 or R7 370 levels. You can read more about our analysis of Skylake’s new graphics architecture here.

Given our experience with past NUCs, this should be paired with a dual-core i7 U series processor with Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading. This should give the iGPU plenty of juice to ramp up clock speeds. However, with the enthusiast label, Intel may push things further this time around and opt for a quad -core chip. Expect to pay for this level of performance though as NUC’s are not cheap, least of all an enthusiast one.

ASUS AMD R9 Nano White Edition Spotted

When we first found out about AMD’s limitations for the R9 Nano, one of the biggest questions was how were the various AIB partners going to differentiate their cards. While restrictions were nothing new, AMD has traditionally been more lax. Today, we getting our first glimpse on the ASUS “custom” R9 Nano White Edition.

With major PCB and heatsink changes barred, ASUS has contented themselves with what appears to be a mere color scheme change. With a white colored stock heatsink shroud, we are given the “White Edition” of the R9 Nano. Unfortunately, the PCB is not white though that may change in future models. There are some hints that the PCB is custom but we have no confirmation of that yet. Any changes likely will be targeted towards the coil whine faced by the Nano but the layout of components should still be reference.

Even with the restrictions, the stock R9 Nano PCB and cooler are pretty good. With the addition of the White Edition, it looks like ASUS is trying to appeal for those looking for a white and black theme without having to void their warranties by modding. It will be interesting to see if there is a market for these kinds of models with minor aesthetics changes. In the end, we may be better off served by true custom Nano and Fury X cards.

BOXX Introduces the World’s Smallest Overclocked Workstation

When we think small and compact systems, we usually think in the direction of HTPCs or low-powered LAN rigs, but there are a lot more possibilities with today’s hardware and BOXX proves that with their impressive new and very compact workstation dubbed the APEXX 1.

The APEXX 1 is the smallest workstation coming from BOXX and it packs quite an impressive punch for its tiny measurements. It is less than 5 inches wide, 8.5 inches tall, and 9 inches deep, which has been achieved thanks to the in-house developed and built chassis.

There are two new models available in the APEXX series, the first is i7 based and the second is Xeon based. The i7 systems features an 8-core CPU overclocked to 4GHz and up to 32GB DDR4 memory while the Xeon E5 model comes with up to 18 cores and up to 64GB DDR4 memory. Overclocked Skylake models will be available at the end of the month too.

When it comes to the graphics card used, you got the choice between both of the two rivals in the workstation market. Whether you need an NVIDIA Quadro or an AMD FirePro graphics card, you can get both.

The system is using a duality of liquid cooling as well as a blower fan to provide optimal cooling for the entire system. An important aspect in such a tiny system and especially considering the power that these systems pack. The closed-loop AIO cooler is maintenance free as we’re used to and the system doesn’t require any more than a little de-dusting now and then.

Storage wise you can get the best of the best too. You can go with an optional M.2 PCI-Express NVMe drive or use the two dual 2.5-inch bays for more traditional SATA3 drives such as SSDs and HDDs. Although I don’t know who would put a mechanical drive in a beautiful and modern system like this.

There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 ports available so you can attach all the external storage that you want. It also features eSATA, USB 2.0, and a dual PS2 connector. Gigabit Ethernet is also present and so is a 7.1 channel sound card with S/PDIF Out. The PSU is external and is among the reasons why this system can be so tiny despite its power.

If one system shouldn’t be enough for your workplace or you need extra rendering power, then you can easily stack these system thanks to the four bumpers available when placed on its side. The upcoming renderPRO 1 can also be stacked right on top and it fits like a glove.

The system comes with either Windows or Linux and it is backed by a 3-year warranty, one year of 24/7 phone support and next business day onsite service for US and Canadian customers. The price will depend on your configuration and model of the APEXX 1, but I have no doubt that it will be worth it.

SilverStone Releases Super Slim Milo ML08 Mini-ITX Chassis

SilverStone released quite a few great looking cases recently, such as the Milo ML06 chassis that we recently reviewed here at eTeknix, and now they are ready with yet another great looking mini-ITX chassis called the Milo ML08.

Milo ML08 is based on the Raven Z RVZ02 chassis, but with a more living-room approved design that reminds of a console rather than a PC case. The tiny chassis has a 12-liter volume, yet you’re able to mount quite a bit hardware inside of it.

Dual-slot graphics cards with a length of up to 13 inches can be used in this system, allowing you to build enough power into the tiny chassis. As mentioned, it takes mITX motherboards and you’ll need an SFX power supply too. Inside it features a 2-chamber design that helps to keep vital parts separated from excessive heat from other components. Both the CPU and the graphics card, which are the two biggest heat sources in a system, each have their own airflow path.

If you’d like to take your compact system with you where ever you go, then you might want to opt for the expanded model called the ML08B-H. This model also features a removable carrying handle.

Both versions of the chassis are available now and the recommended end user price, excl. VAT, is set to 93.48 USD for the ML08B and 106.68 USD for the ML08B-H.

Silverstone Milo Series ML06B-E Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Introduction


Silverstone are known around the world, they’re titans in this industry and create a huge range of new products every year. They’ve got some of the best chassis, power supplies, coolers and a whole host of products for the desktop market and their reputation for premium quality is virtually unmatched. Today, we’ll be taking a look at one of their latest SFF chassis, perfect for the workplace, a compact home desktop, and even the HTPC market.

“The ML06-E is an evolution and variation of the premium Mini-ITX HTPC case, the Milo ML06. With external dimension unchanged at 7 liters, the ML06-E’s rearranged internal layout provides a crucial second expansion slot for support of more powerful low-profile discrete graphics card or expansion card that are two slots wide. For users that wish to build with a more robust GPU or tuner card in console/DVR-like form factor to game or for multimedia content recording, the ML06-E is a great starting point.”

The Milo ML06 is super compact but has just enough room to fit all the important hardware you’re likely to need. You’ll find space for a good amount of cooling, at least considering the chassis compact size, as well as room for a few storage drives, slim OOD and more!

In the box, you’ll find the vertical stand feet, which come as four pieces that clip together to make two. Four rubber feet for the bottom of the chassis, some cable ties and a 120mm magnetic dust filter.

Down the left side of the Milo, you’ll find a good amount of ventilation for passive cooling, but you can install 2 x 80mm fans here should you feel the need. There’s also a pair of USB 3.0 ports and HD audio jacks, offering all the usual connectivity you’re likely to require.

The right side is a plain black panel.

The front is really nice, with a brushed black aluminium finish, a small power and reset button and the SilverStone logo stylishly situated in the corner.

Hiding ever so slightly, a slim ODD bay, perfect for multimedia uses.

Around the back, you’ll find an SFX PSU cut-out, the motherboard I/O and some expansion slots. The two main expansion slots are only half width, so you’re unlikely to get any serious gaming hardware in there, but networking hardware and more should do just fine.

On the top, there’s a good amount of ventilation above the motherboard and some more in the corner for the PSU.

The bottom of the chassis is a plain black panel.

AMD May Launch R9 Nano for $649 Today

Later today, AMD is expected to finally launch their much-anticipated R9 Nano GPU. Based off of the full Fiji die, the small form factor card will be a sure hit with the HTPC crowd. Having already had some of their slides with benchmarks and images of the card leak, we’re now getting word on the pricing situation. According a report, AMD is setting the price pretty high, with the Nano set to launch with an MSRP of $649 USD. Keep in mind that this is still unconfirmed right now and AMD may yet launch the card at a different price.

To put that in perspective, the R9 Fury, with a slightly higher clocked but gimped Fiji comes in at $549 while the full Fiji flagship R9 Fury X costs about $649. This puts the R9 Nano in a tough spot despite having a full Fiji. Even with similar top clocks as the Fury X, the Nano is still limited by its cooling, 42dB sound rating and its 75C temperature target. This means the Nano will probably perform closer to the vanilla Fury. Against the green side, the Nano does offer 30% more performance than the competing SFF GTX 970, but will set you back double the price.

With those numbers in mind, it really seems that AMD wants to maintain their margins on the Fiji die and HBM. The serious binning they are doing to get such efficient chips also means the Nano is a rarity. The biggest question is whether or not users are willing shell out top cash to get the fastest and most efficient mini-ITX card on the market or will they simply settle for something else. At this price though, there is little chance the Nano will cannibalize the Fury’s so AMD has at least got that covered.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

Antec ISK 310-150 Mini-ITX Chassis With Built-in 150w PSU Review

Introduction


Just a few months ago, we took a look at the rather fantastic and affordable Antec ISK-110, which features a 90w built-in PSU and room for a mini-ITX motherboard. It was perfect for mounting on the back of your monitor, making it a very compact and space-saving desktop system that is ideal for offices; I should know, I’m using one for my spare workstation and it’s brilliant! Today we’ll be taking a look at something a little higher up the price and specification range, the Antec ISK 310-150, much like its little brother, it comes with support for a mini-ITX motherboard and it’s fairly small, although still bigger than the ISK110. It also features a built-in PSU, but the maximum power has been upped to 150w, giving you much more headroom for a high-end CPU or APU based system.

“Mini-ITX is the next “big” thing. And now, Antec introduces the ISK 310-150, designed exclusively for Mini-ITX motherboards. With three drive bays, a quiet 80mm TriCool fan, and a 150-watt power supply, the ISK 310-150 can handle many of the tasks of a traditional PC, in a fraction of the space. Plus, its stylish, silver front bezel will fit in perfectly with your existing multimedia components. From petite desktop options to silent home theater, Antec’s ISK 310-150 is an epic case of mini proportions.”

As you can see from the specifications, it’s not the most capable chassis in the world, but it is quite a compact design after all. There’s room for a few hard drives, a slim ODD and you’ll certainly want a low-profile (or stock) CPU cooler.

The chassis comes bundled with quite a few accessories to get all your components installed, with screws, cable ties, power cable and one of the cooler parts, a vertical desktop mount.

The ISK310-350 is pretty heavy, that much is immediately apparent when you take it out of the box and this is due in no small part to the built-in and pre-installed PSU. There’s a good amount of ventilation down the left side, and even a little extra on top to help keep things cool.

Down the right side, we’ve got even more ventilation, as well as a pre-installed 80mm TriCool fan. This fan is connected to a three-speed fan controller on the rear of the chassis.

The front panel is easily the star of the show, a thick piece of aluminum and while that does add extra weight, it adds a lot more to the overall appeal. There’s a range of connectors on the front, covering all the basics, a nicely designed power button and a slim ODD drive bay (drive not included) with a flip down front, helping to maintain those clean front panel looks.

To the rear, you’ll find that three-speed fan controller, with room for another should you install an additional TriCool fan (sold separately). There’s a 3-pin power connector for the included power cable and of course, the motherboard I/O cut-out, with room for a half-width expansion card.

AMD R9 Nano Confirmed to Have Full 4096 Core Fiji at 1000mhz

With AMD virtually confirmed to launch their SFF R9 Nano tomorrow, we’re getting word that the Fiji GPU onboard won’t be cut down. Unlike the R9 Fury, the Nano will be like it’s older R9 Fury X sibling and feature the complete Fiji die. This means that the Nano will have the same 4096 shader cores, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPs and 4GB HBM as the full fledged Fury X flagship. The Nano may also feature HDMI 2.0 which will allow 4K 60hz for TVs, something the Furys lacks and great for a card that is perfect for high-end HTPC gaming

What is even better news for SFF fans is that the Nano will feature a top speed of 1000Mhz on the core, giving it the potential to nearly match the Fury X. If the card manages to somehow not throttle (ie under water probably), the performance should be pretty much on par with the Fury X, in a much more compact form factor. The card also features the same display setup as it’s Fury siblings, all in a row which can allow for a single expansion card slot under a watercooling. Stock cooling probably is a combination vapor chamber and several heatpipes though we’ll know more once the card arrives.

The biggest question though is how the stock power limits, the 8pin connector, and the heat sink will impact the card. While the 8pin connector in tandem with the PCIe slot should allow plenty of power, the stock power limits may serve to limit the speeds you’ll get at full throttle. Another issue is whether or not the cooling system can keep up with a full Fiji, keeping in mind that AMD went with watercooling for the Fury X which also features full Fiji at similar speeds. Some sources are saying that at full load the card will usually throttle to about 800mhz with the peak speed only being seen in some lighter loads. Noise levels will also be interesting to see. AMD did run into some serious problems with the stock cooling for the R9 290X, leading to heavy throttling. Hopefully, the lesson has been learned.

With a full Fiji core, AMD can’t afford to sell the card too low but it also somehow has to fit in with the Fury siblings. Given that performance should hover around that of the Fury, AMD will have to price the card carefully to ensure that it does sell, but also preventing it from cannibalizing the rest of the lineup too much. With just a day to go, we hope to bring your more information as it arrives.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

Intel Prepping 5×5 Mini PC with LGA Socket

Users have long been chiming for a smaller form factor smaller than the current mini-ITX. Intel does have the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and other vendors have their solutions. Most of these are quite limited in upgradeability and tend to have few if any expansion slots, limiting functionality. In response to this Intel is launching an all new form factor, dubbed “5×5”.

Revealed at IDF, the 5×5 will measure 140mm x 148mm, which is 5.5”×5.8”, making the 5×5 more of a 6×6 really. Being 30% smaller than mini-ITX, the 5×5 will also feature a fixed CPU position and more importantly, support LGA CPUs. Intel is planning to support i3, i5 and i7 CPUs right from the start with integrated graphics. The 5×5 will have uniform CPU and board mounting holes and will support CPUs from 35 to 65W TDP. The platform can probably go lower, but Intel probably doesn’t have plans for a sub 35W LGA chip.

Despite being more flexible than the NUC, discrete graphics won’t be supported as the z-height is targeting 39mm. There is a lot of other I/O though with 2 SO-DIMM slots, a M.2 SSD connector, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card port, a SATA port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 HDMI outputs and Gigabit Ethernet. While the boards will likely be sold standalone, Intel is hoping the chassis and the board will match up, providing a good combo for placing the heatsinks and 2.5″ drives.

Intel has not released any information yet about the expected launch for 5×5, but it probably isn’t far off. While integrated graphics can be limiting, a Skylake LGA chip with GT4 graphics and 128MB of eDRAM will make for a pretty strong small factor gaming rig. If Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 are supported in the future, external graphics might also be possible. Hopefully, Intel can get buy-in from motherboard makers. It will also be interesting to see if AMD will try to get into the game by offering their own 5×5 boards with APUs.

Images courtesy of Intel and hardware.hdblog.it

Report Suggests AMD to Launch R9 Nano on August 27th

Small form factor fans should block off some time on August 27th because AMD is set to launch their R9 Nano on that day. We’ve long known that the R9 Nano would arrive before September so August 27th next week isn’t too much of a surprise. The biggest question is whether or not supply will turn the hard launch into a paper one.

Being such a tiny card, SFF aficionados will be sure to love it given that it will probably offer GTX 980 level performance in an efficient and tiny package. At only 175W, the Nano should offer 2x the power efficiency of the R9 290X, making it one of the most efficient cards AMD has in their lineup; this is what allows AMD to pack a full Fiji die under such a tiny cooler.

Hopes are high for the card and hopefully the supply situation will be better than its other siblings which have been severely supply constrained. AMD needs this card to perform and sell well if they are to hope to regain some marketshare. No word has been released about pricing, but it should fall near the R9 Fury given that the Fiji die and the HBM don’t come free. Hopefully, the card will deliver on the high expectations many are holding.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

Gelid Launched Low Cost and Low Profile 1U Intel CPU cooler

Cooling is an important factor in compact builds such as SFF and 1U rack mounted systems, but it’s something that can be tricky at times. You either get something that isn’t very effective or you get something that is loud.

Gelid has just launched their newest cooler, the Polar, and it is designed for just this. It is a low-profile CPU cooler compatible with Intel’s LGA 1150, 1155, and 1156 sockets. The tiny cooler supports Celeron, Pentium, Core i3, and Core i5 processors with a TDP up to 65W.

The heatsink height is just 27mm, so it will fit almost any chassis and the fan is inserted into it and won’t take up any extra space. Speaking of the fan, it is a 75mm fan and it features an intelligent PWM Fan Control and has an RPM between 1400 and 2000. It is a silent ball bearing fan and it can push an air flow of 29.6/50.3 CFM/CMH.

The width and length are both 92mm so it shouldn’t interfere with any other components such as RAM or PCIe slots, nor power or fan connectors. The noise level is rated between 16 and 28.9 dBa.

It is rated for 50 thousand hours of lifetime and is backed by a five-year warranty. Best of all, the suggested retail price is just $14 USD or €12 Euro.

 

AMD Explains Why it Offers Intel CPU In Project Quantum

We love poking a bit of fun when something seems amiss. Lately, our attention has been turned at AMD and the release of the new 300 series and very poor stock levels of the Fury graphics card range. Now we take a closer look at why exactly AMD is offering an Intel CPU in the newly announced Project Quantum SFF Gaming PC.

Our original thoughts were that AMD knew it made some pretty inferior (in comparison) CPU’s and knew Intel held the best chance of unleashing all of the potential power that the twin Fiji graphics processors can offer up; which should be quite a lot if one can almost match an NVIDIA GTX Titan X.

Well AMD has now stepped up and offered an explanation to clear things up:

“We have Quantum designs that feature both AMD and Intel processors, so we can fully address the entire market. I’m sure you’ve heard AMD leaders speak before about how we’re driving growth in the company and our key businesses, and that one of the key strategies we have for doing that is listening to customers.

You may have heard at the recent AMD financial analyst day that Lisa Su described Job #1 as “Build Great Products.” In the case of buyers for systems like Project Quantum, there is a clear preference for choice; they’re not interested in a narrow range of computing solutions – they want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want, that are hand-tailored in a world of off-the-rack-suits.

With a product as compelling as R9 Fury, we are extremely pleased to enable as much success as we can. There is a range of technology options for CPU in Project Quantum… but the real star is Radeon Fury.”

I guess that makes sense, but surely on a huge reveal at E3 you would tout the best graphics card option you have available with the best CPU you have available and then subtly offer competitor options at a later date?

Thank you to tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information.

Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.

Specifications
  • Name: Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200
  • CPU: Intel i5 5200U (2C/4T, 2.2 GHz w/ 2.7 GHz Max Turbo, 14nm, 15W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • LAN: Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $364.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Overclockers UK Revamps Prebuilt Systems

Overclockers UK is one of the largest gaming PC system builders in the UK and that’s a thing they don’t take lightly. As such, they’re revamping their current line up of gaming systems and splitting them up into easier to understand categories.

The first of the new series we’re presented with is the new Atomic range featuring compact systems that still pack a great punch. While the systems already are tailored for most demands, customers can still customize them before ordering thanks to the easy to use website.

The new Atomic series of compact systems start at £409.99 and are ideal for those with limited space, whether it is in your living room, bedroom, office, or something to take with you to LAN events.

The new series consists off the Titan Electron, Neutron, Photon, Proton, and Quark systems that are built into some of the best SFF cases on the market from makers such as Silverstone, Raijintek and Xigmatek.

The systems are built in-house by Overclocker UK’s experienced builders and overclockers and come backed by a 3-year warranty that also can be extended. The systems are fully Windows 10 ready, allowing Windows 7 and 8 users to easily upgrade once the new system is released.

The systems will also come with a free Xbox Wireless controller for a limited time and while supply lasts. These systems are definitely worth a checkout if you’re in the market for a new and compact system.

InWin Presents NUC and SFF Cases at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – InWin is well known for their unique PC chassis designs, but this time they took their design ideas and shrunk it down to be used with Intel’s NUC systems and mITX form factors.

On display were a lot of small cases, perfect for the space-conscious user, living room, or small office as they still offer plenty of features.

The outside of a case is just one part, the insides have to match. InWin has a list of modules available that include dual and quad LAN adapters with Power over Ethernet PoE support, Serial and Parallel ports.

Some systems come pre-equipped with Intel NUC board such as the K3-3Gen Broadwell system. A common feature for all the small cases on display is that they’re all standing vertically for the smallest footprint possible.

InWin’s Ultratop cases aren’t just available pre-equipped with NUCs, they also come as bare systems, allowing you the choice on what board to put inside.

Just because something is small, doesn’t mean that you can’t connect plenty of devices to them.

Despite the small size, you can still fit 2.5-inch drives into the cases and they come with plenty of USB ports, WiFi, and Bluetooth as well.

Power over Ethernet is an amazing feature. You do not need to have a dedicated power supply as these low power units can get enough electricity to run on just the power that’s provided through your ethernet cable, that is if you have a PoE infrastructure. It is one of those things that has to be experienced in real life before you realise just how great this is.

Stay tuned for more news and product reveals directly from Computex in Taipei.

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

SilverStone Announced Fortress Z SFF Chassis

A little over a year ago, Silverstone introduced the revolutionary slim form factor case RVZ01 that was created by SilverStone’s RAVEN team, a case that exceeded and refined what a slim HTPC or console-styled PC could do.

Now Silverstone is ready with a follow-up chassis and the new line is called the Fortress Z and it is designed for enthusiasts that want a great looking small form factor chassis made of first class materials.

The FTZ01 utilizes a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans that in return allow you to use the biggest consumer graphics cards on the market and still maintain a superb air cooling. The case even supports liquid cooling, but you should pick the cooler with care as it won’t be all that fit.

The FTZ01 could be the perfect choice for those looking to build a premium, all-metal slim form factor PC with high-end components.

It will come as both a black and silver version, but people who are after the Silver need a little more patience. The Black FTZ01 will be available in stock on the 26th of May and the Silver version will be available on the 10th of July.

Designed for use in either vertical or horizontal orientation, it can be placed comfortably in any space-constrained environment that requires a powerful PC.

Special Features

  • Classic exterior built from aluminum unibody frame
  • Supports graphics card up to 13 inches
  • Mini-ITX motherboard & SFX PSU compatible
  • Maximum performance in slim form factor with support for liquid cooling*
  • Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
  • Fits in nearly any environment with horizontal or vertical orientation

Silverstone DS380 NAS Chassis Review

Introduction


There are three important aspects to consider when selecting an NAS enclosure for your DIY build. You’ll want as small a size with as small a footprint as possible, you’ll want an efficient design with space for all your drives and other parts, and finally you’ll want it all to be well cooled since it will be running 24/7. With this in mind, it sure looks like Silverstone hit a triple home run with their DS380 NAS Chassis.

The Silverstone DS380 has a tiny footprint of just 211 x 360 mm and is 285 mm high. This isn’t much, but it still has room for a total of 12 drives, mITX motherboard, SFF PSU and three 120mm cooling fans. The rear fan area is even placed so it can accommodate AIO liquid cooling solutions such as the Silverstone TD03 and the three included fans have a maximum noise generation of 22dBA.

The 8 of the drive bays can take up to 3.5-inch drives and are hot-swappable from the front. The connecting backplane can connect with both SATA and SAS controllers for added possibilities and features. The backplane gets power from two Molex connectors, which helps a lot when you want to connect this amount of drives to an SFX PSU. The two fans mounted at the side are also powered and controlled over this backplate; this is both a smart and a nice addition.

The last 4 drive bays are internal and only for 2.5-inch drives, which is perfect for a raid 10 setup as your system drive, or just another raid array at your disposal with smaller drives; there are almost endless possibilities with the Silverstone DS380.

If we’ll couple those 12 possible drives and think current 6TB 3.5-inch drives and 2TB 2.5-inch drives, we can get a total capacity up to 56GB possible storage inside this chassis and depending on setup more with external connections via eSATA or USB, or even iSCSI targets.

Just having room for a lot of drives isn’t everything to a chassis, all those drives have to be cooled effectively as well. Silverstone took care of this with two 120mm fans on the side of the chassis blowing cold air in on the front mounted 3.5-inch drives and one 120mm rear exhaust fan to help get the hot air expelled.

Silverstone added a front door with lock to prevent anyone tampering with your drives. The reset button is hidden behind door and it’s up to you whether the power button will work through the door or not by using the internal lock function. The DS380 has two USB 3.0 front ports as well as 3.5mm audio jacks for when audio should be needed.