EKWB Predator AIO Now AMD Compatible with new Upgrade Kit

EK Water Blocks Predator AIO is probably one of the best AIO cooling solutions you can get at the moment despite the minor hiccup that resulted in full callback a few months ago. However, so far they have been limited to Intel users as that were the only CPU sockets supported by the mounting brackets. AMD users also want liquid cooling, especially those that run the high TDP processors and there is good news for them.

EK Water Blocks released a new EK-XLC Predator AMD Upgrade Kit that will fix this and allow pretty much any AMD CPU user to install the Predator AIO cooling solution in their system. The EK-XLC Predator AMD Upgrade Kit is a set of mounting plates with backplate and screws that will work with every EK-XLC Predator revision 1.1. After upgrading the Predator AIO with the new mounting brackets, it will be fully compatible with AMD Sockets 939, 754, 940, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1, FM2, and FM2+, which covers pretty much any AMD CPU.

The new AMD upgrade kit is available now and early pre-orders should be on route and arrive very shortly. This isn’t a free upgrade, but won’t cost you a whole lot either, but the EK-XLC Predator Upgrade Kit will set you back €6.95.

Overall the Predator AIO is one of the most expensive AIO solutions, but it’s also one of the best as previously mentioned. With the quick disconnect feature you’re able to expand the loop with extra units such as pre-filled graphics card blocks and have a system that comes very close to a custom loop setup, but with a lot less hassle when upgrading, maintaining, or just fiddling with your system.

What’s your take on AIO cooling solutions and especially EKWB’s Predator? Do you love it or would you rather go for a custom loop despite the added workload? Let us know in the comments.

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

AMD Unifies Desktop Zen CPU and APU Sockets

In the days before AMD launched their APUs, all of their consumer CPUs largely used the socket across their lineup. When AMD launched their Llano series of APUs in 2011, they used the an incompatible FM1 socket instead of the AM3/3+ due to the need to integrate the iGPU. With the subsequent Trinity and Richland APUs, AMD kept a different socket in FM2. This year AMD is finally moving to a unified socket.

Officially confirmed as AM4, this new socket will combine the CPU and APU lineups for AMD. This means users will no longer have to decide which platform as well as chip they want, simplifying the decision to between a CPU or APU. This means users can purchase an APU on a budget and upgrade to a dedicated CPU and GPU later on without having to buy a new motherboard. This should help drive sales of AMD chips since it simplifies choice and offers more flexibility.

In bringing the two platforms together, we can finally expect to see Zen CPUs become a SoC. This is because the APU lineup already has the PCIe lanes tied to the CPU directly which bring along power savings and better performance, something the CPU lineup will finally pick up. Zen is expected to bring DDR4 support along as well. The biggest questions will be AMD have another socket meant for higher end chips like Intel does, whether or not the Zen CPUs will have some form of on-die graphics like Intel does and if AM4 will still be PGA.

be quiet! Pure Rock CPU Cooler Revealed

be quiet! are legendary for their extremely quiet coolers, impressive performance and ultra-high build quality. The only problem with be quiet! is that their products can be a little expensive. Of course you do get what you pay for, but what if you’re on a tighter budget?

Introducing the new Pure Rock, a compact entry-level product from be quiet! The new cooler features four 6mm heat pipes and can cool a CPU with a TDP of up to 130 watts; more than enough for many of the latest chips on the market. The cooler features a premium grade Pure Wings 2 120mm fan, which means the cooler should never produce more than 26.8 dBa; virtually silent unless you’ve got your ear right next to it.

The Pure Rock is compatible with all major AMD and Intel sockets. It features a simple mounting solution for easy installation and measures in at 155 x 121 x 87.5mm, meaning it should be compatible with a wide selection of systems. The Pure Rock should be available from most major retailers right now with an RRP of 32.90 EUR.

Thank you be quiet! for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of be quiet!

ASRock X99 WS LGA2011 Motherboard Revealed

There are just two weeks left until Haswell-E and the Intel X99 chipset becomes available and already there is a nice selection of motherboard products creeping up ready for launch day. One of the latest is this new ASRock board, which is obviously built around the upcoming X99 chipset and designed for workstation level X99 systems.

The board features the LGA2011 socket, Super Alloy technology for massive aluminium alloy heatsinks, premium alloy chokes, dual-stack MOSFET and 12k platinum capacitors. There are eight DDR4 slots to allow up to 128GB of RAM, ten SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, an Ultra M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 connector and six PCIe x16 slots with SLI and CrossFire support.

Not content with all that, the board also features dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet, Purity Sound 2 7.1 channel audio, one eSATA port, four USB 3.0 connectors and a debut LED.

Unfortunately there are no details on price just yet, but you can bet that with flagship levels of specifications like this, it isn’t going to be cheap.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Lepa LV12 CPU Cooler Now Available In Europe

LEPA are quickly securing a solid reputation in Europe, as a new brand they’ve already launched an impressive set of high-end power supplies and chassis products to market and their coolers have proven time and time again to be efficient and cost effective. Their latest product, the LEPA LV12 CPU cooler looks set to continue this trend and is now available in EU markets.

“LEPA relies on a new technique for efficient air stream conduction: Small air vents improve the air circulation inside the heat sink and increase the heat dissipation rate. The heat pipes rest directly on the CPU so that hot spots can be eliminated quickly. Due to these techniques, LEPA engineers have been able to lower down the thermal resistance of the cooler to just 0.095°C/W.” said LEPA in a recent PR.

Featuring a high quality PWM fan which comes fitted with Barometric Oil-less (BOL) bearing, which ofers silent operation and 160,000 hours MTBF, completely removable fan blades for easy maintenance, as well as a three speed PWM limiter to set the front to 800-1500 RPM, 800-1800 RPM and 800-2200 RPM to suit your cooling and acoustic performance needs.

The cooler is coated with a slick matt black colour, which not only looks great, but will also help protect the cooler from corrosion without affecting thermal performance.

The cooler will be available at major retailers any time now with an MSRP of just 36.90 EUR incl. VAT.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

FM2+ Socket Is Here For At Least Another Two Years

It is hardly uncommon knowledge that AMD like to get as much use out of their sockets as possible, and their latest FM2+ socket looks set to stick with us until at least 2016 without any major changes. Their newer desktop and APU processors rely on this socket and it’s great news that AMD don’t chop and change their socket types very often, as it means you can get extended use out of your motherboard, while still enjoying the benefits of upgrading your CPU/APU each year.

Yet even for AMD the delay on upgrading from FM2+ stands out a little more than most and it is being attributed to things such as DDR4 memory proliferation and AMD’s “project Fast-Forward” which aims to put high-bandwidth memory right into the APU die, something that should help their integrated APU graphics hardware get past memory bottlenecks, but something we likely won’t see now until 2016 and beyond, once DDR4 prices fall.

AMD’s Carrizo APU is set to use FM2+ and will be targeted at low-TDP devices such as notebooks and tablets, which will feature their next-gen Excavator micro-architecture, so it looks like FM2+ is here to stay, what comes next is anyone’s guess.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


be quiet! are well-known in the industry for doing one thing incredibly well, making super quiet performance products; their power supplies, fans and CPU coolers have won many awards for their whisper quiet acoustics and their high-end cooling. The main downside with be quiet! products is that they’re really high-quality means their price tags often wander into the premium budget ranges, of course you do get what you pay for, but not everyone has £70+ to spend on their CPU cooler, nor do they want to. The Shadow Rock Slim looks set to address the price concern by offering the legendary be quiet! performance in terms of cooling and aesthetics, but at the much more affordable price range of around £30.

Many of the be quiet! coolers on the market today are some of the best air coolers money can buy; they all feature be quiet! ultra-premium grade Silent Wings fans, flawless quality and great aesthetics that go a long way to compliment the high levels of performance they offer. Just how much of these things gets lost in a budget model such as the Shadow Rock Slim remains to be seen, but I have a feeling be quiet! don’t know how to make an inferior product, so I suspect this will also be one of the best coolers in its price bracket; just like every other product they produce.

As you can see from the specification below, the cooler support all major socket types for both Intel and AMD. It comes equipped with a single 135mm SilentWings 1400rpm fan and aluminium fin construction.

The box features the same styling of the rest of the be quiet! range; along the front you can see a nice image of the cooler, below which you’ll see it has a max TDP of 160W.

Around the back is a quick run-down of some of the major features, but we’ll be taking a closer look at those in a moment.

In the box you’ll find a universal backplate with thick foam padding, two fan clips, thermal grease, Intel mounting brackets,  AMD mounting brackets an assortment of screws and bolt, and a small spanner.

Grandis XE1236 Twin-Tower Cooler Announced by SilentiumPC

SilentiumPC has announced a new predecessor to its current Fortis 2 XE1226 cooler, it being in the shape of the high-TDP twin-tower Grandis XE1236 heatsink. It features a twin-tower design with a pair of bundled 120mm fans, and mounts for an optional third fan if required.

The Grandis XE1236 Twin-Tower Cooler features SilentiumPC’s XE Technology in the shape of a solid-copper heat spreader, specifically designed with the means of transmitting energy from the processor to the cooler’s six 6mm U-shaped heat pipes more efficiently.

Following the heat distribution, the pipes then lead to a pair of cooling fin stacks made in a twin-tower shape, being cooled by the stock GF12025 120mm PWM-controller fans. The company also praises the XE1236 Twin-Tower’s extremely silent working environment, producing only 21 dBA. The company also states that the previous makes the cooler at hand a perfect candidate for high-end systems having high thermal design profile chips.

In terms of specs, the Grandis XE1236 Twin-Tower measures in at 130mm x 105mm x 158mm and weighs an impressive 1.16 kg. It features two 120mm fans with additional support for attaching a third fan for those who need the extra cooling power.

SilentiumPC is also looking to make the cooler’s design universal, having support for all modern Intel and AMD sockets. The company also states that it will fit in almost any ATX case with at least 185mm width available.

The price for the SilentiumPC Grandis XE1236 Twin-Tower cooler has yet to be officially confirmed. However, the retail pack including the Pactum PT-1 thermal compound is stated to have been given an European recommended value of €39 / £32.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Bit-Tech

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.

6 New Boards On The Horizon From MSI for Intel’s 5th Gen Chipset

Over the last few weeks we have been hearing some interesting information come to light regarding Intel’s 5th Generation chipset and its Haswell Refresh processors and with a launch date of 11th May only a matter of weeks away now, we are starting to see snippets of information come through with regards to the motherboards that are going to power the 5th Generation processors.

MSI have been throwing out some teasers of what is to come in their latest motherboard lineup and whilst some boards were on display at this year’s CeBIT in Germany, they were only prototype items. This means that whilst they give us an insight into what is on offer when the boards finally go on sale, what is seen is only to be taken with a pinch of salt and things are likely to change between then and the final release.

So what do we know about the new line of motherboards and what features will we see across the product stack? Like previous generation boards we will see the latest release of many features including Military Class IV components, V-Check Points 2, OC Engine, Audio Boost 2 and new to this line of boards we will also see an M.2 interface for the latest SSDs as standard and a Delid Die Guard for the XPower AC as seen last week.

To break up what each board will bring to the market, have a look at the next couple of pages where I’ll touch on what each board has to offer as we go up through the stack. At the moment there is no work on pricing for any of these boards, although we will be certain to keep you all updated as information comes to light.

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.

Cooler Master Hyper 103 CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


Cooler Master are one of the most established and recognised brands in the PC component industry. They’ve got a wide reach that covers everything from gaming peripherals with their CM Storm range, their chassis products, power supplies and obviously their CPU coolers. They’ve won countless awards in all the areas they cover, and they’ve even earned a few of those awards here at eTeknix. It is with this in mind that we have high expectation of the Hyper 103 CPU cooler I am reviewing today.

The Hyper 103 isn’t going to blow away the much of the competition with its performance, it is after all a small cooler with a budget friendly price tag. We will however be looking for competitive performance in this price range and given that Cooler Master already make some of the best budget coolers on the market, we don’t doubt it’ll do well.

Priced at around £18 it is hardly going to hurt your wallet and if you’re looking for a budget friendly solution this will likely be one of the first products you find. As you can see from the specifications below, the cooler has a good range of support for all major socket types for both AMD and Intel, but enough of the boring stuff, let’s get right to it and see what else the Hyper 103 has to offer.

The packaging is nothing too fancy, keeping with the usual informative design that we across the rest of the Cooler Master range. There are a few features listen on the front such as the tower design, triple heatpipes and the silent performance.

Around the back and the side of the box we have more details about what sockets the cooler supports, as well as the full specifications (see above).

In the box I found a couple of user manuals that detail the installation process as well as some warranty information. The mounting kit consists of the metal backplate, 2 Intel brackets, 2 AMD brackets, a set of screws / bolts and four plastic clips.

The mounting kit is well designed and durable, the back plate is reversible, one side if for AMD, the other is for Intel.

Intel Decided To Stick With LGA Platform With Skylake Chips


Intel has updated its longterm roadmap, the roadmap indicated that Intel isn’t pushing the BGA platform into the desktop market and therefore eliminating the upgradability factor in PC Desktop platforms.

It also showed that the upgradeable LGA socket mounting will be used at least till 2015. Intel would stick with 95% of their desktop processor lineup with LGA. By then processors codenamed Skylake will have a socket month. Just like atom and many low powered units, entry level Broadwell and Skylake chips will have BGA mount.

It was only last year when Intel made plans to ditch the LGA platform and have a BGA mount, where the processors will be soldered to the motherboard, therefore restricting inter-changeability of processors on existing motherboards.

Usually BGA is used in units such as utrabooks and AIO desktop units so that the manufacturers will be able to accommodate thinner form factor. But implementing this on the DIY desktop PC market would not only affect the desktop market, but also increase a risk of loss due to stockpiling as companies will have no choice but to have large quantities of motherboards of a model with different combinations of embedded processors.

When the news broke out that Haswell would be the last to have LGA socket mount and Broadwell will be the first to have embedded solution for the mainstream desktop PC market, this created criticism not just by industry’s experts, but also from power users, hardware enthusiasts and often a topic filled with a series of heated debates across multiple internet forums. While its true that BGA has its advantages, especially in regards to costs, its difficult to think that a company as dominating as Intel would decide to implement such a change that will dramatically affect one of their business products where they enjoy and thrive on success, even over AMD from time-to-time.

Source: Xbit Labs