Does this look familiar to you? I was browsing on Amazon, and I came across this product, which looked familiar to me. The reason for this was that I bought a virtually identical controller on eBay a few months ago; I even posted an article about it on this site. The Kingwin FPX-003 looks similar to the STW-022B, although the latter seems to have 3 USB ports in the front instead of the card reader. Kingwin only has 4 fan controllers on their website, though (versus 18 on the STW website), so I’m not really sure if Kingwin is STW’s American subsidiary. Kingwin does have several fan controllers, however, so hopefully I will be posting some reviews of them in the future.
Apple Introduces New Mac Pro
At the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple gave a preview of the next Mac Pro. The case’s design is innovative to say the least: it’s 9.9 inches tall, 6.6 inches wide, and thus more than small enough to sit on your desk. The entire system is cooled by a single impeller and each of the major components makes contact with a large, triangular heatsink which Apple calls the “thermal core”. Inside the case are next-generation Xeon processors (up to 12 cores), dual AMD FirePro GPUs, six Thunderbolt 2 ports, PCie-based flash storage, and ECC memory.
The new reliance on Thunderbolt, however, may be a problem for anyone who was not planning on upgrading all of their peripherals. Users who wanted to upgrade to a Mac Pro but keep existing hardware may be disappointed. In addition, current Mac Pro users who depend on dedicated expansion cards, internal drive bays, USB ports or have multiple monitors hooked up via DVI, DP, or HDMI may find themselves locked out of an upgrade until they can afford to buy all new peripherals, or at the very least converters.
Apple did not announce pricing information, and no specific date was announced for availability. You can find out more about the Mac Pro at Apple’s website.
Antec Introduces Kühler H2O 1250 and Kühler H2O 650
Antec demoed a pair of all-in-one CPU coolers in the Kühler H20 series at Computex: the Kühler H20 1250 and Kühler H20 650. The two are an improvement on their Series 4 predecessors with more powerful pumps and new high-airflow fans that focus airflow through the radiator. The fan’s motor doubles up as the pump’s motor so the air and coolant flow are in perfect proportion. With fewer moving parts, one assumes the device will be more quiet, but the unit’s fans will not be replaceable.
The units will be compatible with all of the most recent CPU sockets, including LGA1150. No pricing information has been released yet.
Intel to Rebrand Select Atom CPUs as Celerons and Pentiums
Certain Silvermont-based Atom processors will be rebranded as Celeron and Pentium processors. Celeron is the value end of Intel’s Core-based mainstream chips. Intel’s reasoning is that some variants of Silvermont now offer performance comparable to current mainstream Celeron and Pentium processors. This is quite a contrast from the Atom of old, which had a reputation for being slow. Higher-performance varieties of Silvermont will also ship with PC-like attributes such as PCI and SATA.
The rebranded processors will be featured in notebooks, convertibles, all-in-ones and desktops running both Android and Windows whilst chips destined for tablets and mobile devices will not be taking on the new branding.
Enermax Introduces New ETS-T40 CPU Coolers
Enermax has launched two new coolers in the ETS-T40 series: the ETS T40-Black Twister and the ETS-T40 White Cluster. The Black Twister comes in a sleek black color, while the White Cluster is arctic white. Both, however, feature four 6 mm heat pipes with a Heat Pipe Direct Touch structure, and a 120 mm PWM cooling fan which runs from 800 RPM to 2200 RPM. Both models also use a unique Thermal Conductive Coating (TCC) to create better velocity of thermal transference and prevent oxidation on the contact surface. They also have a Vortex Generator Flow (VGF) structure, which helps increase air convection in between the radiator fins.
The ETS-T40 series feature a universal bracket that works with most Intel and AMD sockets. The Black Twister and White Cluster will be available in the United States with an MSRP of $49.99.
Antec Unveils Venom IV CPU Heatsink
At Computex, Akasa showed off its Venom IV CPU cooler, which keeps up with the basic design elements of the Venom series. The cooler features an aluminum fin-stack design, which uses asymmetric shape and planes to dissipate heat better, and four 6mm-thick copper heat pipes than fan out through the entire length of the fin-stack to dissipate heat more uniformly. The bottom bend of each heat pipe makes direct contact with the CPU.
The Venom IV comes with a 120mm S-flow fan, which should provide up to 30 percent more airflow. The fan is PWM-controlled and can spin at speeds ranging from 600 RPM to 1900 RPM. The unit supports all modern CPU socket types, including LGA115x, LGA1366, LGA2011, AM3+/AM3, and FM2/FM1. Akasa has not made pricing information available as of yet.
Xigmatek Introduces Boreas and Orthrus CPU Coolers
Xigmatek revealed two new C-type CPU coolers at Computex: the Boreas and the Orthrus. The Boreas cooler follows in the footsteps of Xigmatek’s Janus CPU cooler, though instead of a small fan below the aluminum fin stack it has a bigger fan. It has five 6mm copper heat pipes and two 140 mm PWM-controlled fans. The fans can spin at speeds from 800 to 1500 RPM, and push up to 38.42 CFM. The unit measures 140mm X 140mm X 125mm.
The Orthrus is a departure from the Janus, and does not follow the conventional C-type CPU cooler design. It starts with a conventional copper base with HDT, and seven 6mm-thick heat pipes, with the central ones going to a large aluminum fin stack, while the peripheral ones go to a smaller fin stack located below the larger one, and arranged in an incline. The larger one is ventilated by a 25mm-thick 140mm PWM fan which spins from 800 to 1600 RPM, and the smaller one uses an 80mm fan spinning at 2000 RPM. The entire top of the cooler is covered by a black ABS shroud. The entire unit measures 146mm X 200 mm X 165 mm.
Colorful Debuts GeForce GTX 780 Kudan and GeForce GTX Titan Ultra Edition
At Computex, Colorful unveiled two new graphics cards. The iGame GeForce GTX 780 is their top-of-the-line card featuring a non-reference PCB design and a mammoth Kudan cooler that occupies three expansion slots. The card makes use of a GK110 core that is equipped to a non-reference PCB making use of higher-quality components compared to the reference design. That, in combination with being powered by two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, should allow the card to have a lot more overclocking headroom than reference models.
The GTX Titan Ultra Edition, on the other hand, is a reference model of the GTX Titan with a water block on it and a factory overclock. Colorful has not yet made pricing information available.
AMD Announces Radeon HD 8000 Graphics Cards Will Have Better Coolers
AMD is preparing a new type of cooler for the Radeon HD 8000 series. AMD revealed this information at Computex, but did not show the cooler there. The new coolers will be better than the reference coolers on the Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards, although some add-on-boards (AIBs) will likely make cards with better coolers than the Radeon HD 8000.
Lian-Li Puts a 240 mm Radiator on Top of Motherboard
Lian-Li has introduced a case with a liquid cooling radiator placed at the most obvious place: along the plane of the motherboard, right over its top half. A 240mm X 120mm radiator can be screwed onto a hinged frame, which can easily be moved to access parts of the motherboard right under it. This case was unveiled at Computex 2013.
Other than the hinge for the water cooler, the Lian-Li PC-V360 is a typical PC case, and can house Micro ATX motherboards and smaller ATX boards. It has five 3.5″ drive bays, three 2.5″ drive bays, and a single 5.25″ optical drive bay. Cooling is taken care of by up to three 120mm fans and one 80mm fan, on top of which sits the radio.
Pricing and availability information was not yet released.
This week was the week of the Computex trade show (June 3-7) in Taipei, Taiwan, and as a result, a lot of new products were unveiled. In fact, it may be too much for this installment of the Hardware Roundup, so I may post a second installment later this weekend. But here are the main highlights of the past week.
Cooler Master Compile List of Haswell-Compatible PSUs
Or, more accurately, they have announced that all of their PSUs are Haswell-compatible. In face, most power supplies support Haswell. Among the improvements introduced with Intel’s Haswell processors, power consumption in idle mode has been reduced from 6W to less that 1W. This might cause some older PSUs to shut the system off when the CPU enters idle mode, or prevent the system from waking up out of sleep mode. If motherboard vendors disable this power saving mode by default, then an upgrade to Haswell will not result in any issues.
Still, you can go to Cooler Master’s website to see the full list of Haswell-compatible PSUs.
Kingston Announces SSDNow KC300
Kingston Digital, Inc. announced the latest addition to its SSDNow family, the KC300 solid-state drive. The SSDs are targeted at business users and replace the Kingston V+200 and KC100 drives. The 2.5-inch SSDs are based on the familiar LSI-SandForce SF-2281 and feature various SMART functions, as well as the option to check data integrity through DuraWrite. KC300 enables users to be more productive as the drive maximizes power efficiencies in notebook PCs. KC300 provides advanced power management via an LSI SandForce second-generation SF-2281 processor, allowing users to do more from a single charge.
The storage devices have a SATA 6 Gbit/s interface and come in capacities ranging from 60 GB up to 480 GB. The SSDNow KC300 SSDs are available in a regular version, which includes just the drive, and an upgrade bundle, which comes with several accessories and software to migrate data to the solid-state drive. The KC300 is available as a stand-alone drive or as an upgrade kit containing cloning software and other accessories for a desktop and/or notebook system. It is backed by a three-year warranty and free technical support.
Asus Unveils Maximus VI
Asus announced its first Republic of Gamers motherboard for the mini-ITX form-factor: the Maximus VI Impact. The Maximus VI Impact is a mini-ITX LGA1150 motherboard with the Intel Z87 Express chipset and supports 4th generation Core “Haswell” processors. The CPU is powered through an 8+2 phase VRM design that protrudes the main motherboard in its own PCB. The PCB gets its power through an 8-pin EPS connector. The rest of the board is powered through a 24-pin ATX connector. There are three other daughterboards on the Maximus VI: the SupremeFX Impact, a sound-card with an audiophile-grade 115 dBA DAC, OPAMPs, and audio-grade capacitors; and an mPCIe combo card that lends it 802.11 ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0; and an ImpactControl card that gives overclockers POST diagnostic readouts and CMOS reset/restore at the push of a button, right from the rear panel.
The Maximus VI Impact also gives you four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an eSATA 6 Gb/s port, six USB 3.0 ports (four rear, two by header), six USB 2.0/1.1 ports, HDMI, DisplayPort, gigabit Ethernet (Intel controller), 6-channel SupremeFX Impact audio with 8-channel digital output, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory. No price has been announced yet.
The product was introduced at Computex, where Asus chairman Jonny Shih challenged the notion that the DIY side of PC gaming is disappearing with the popularity of consoles and the growing influence of mobile gaming. “The core essence of building,” he said, “is the core feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.” To this end, Asus continues to offer components suited to DIY enthusiasts, and has added several features for performance enhancement.
You can find out more about the Maximus VI at Asus’s product page for the Maximus VI.
Triplex Announces Slot-Powered Radeon HD 7850
Graphics card maker Triplex unveiled a new single slot Radeon HD 7850 2 GB (GDDR5 memory) air-cooled graphics card that relies entirely on the PCI-Express slot for power. It has a base clock speed of 860 MHz and the memory runs at an effective speed of 4.8 GHz. The card can only consume up to 75 watts from the PCIe x16 slot. This card will only be sold through OEM channels and will not be sold directly to consumers.
NZXT Announces HALE82 V2 PSUs
NZXT has announced a new lineup of power supplies at Computex: the HALE82 V2 series. The power supplies are fully modular, 80+ Bronze certified (ensuring efficiency levels up to 85%), and are available in black and white designs. They are built using a single powerful 12V rail to ensure your components get the power they need. For now, the HALE82 V2 will be available in two versions: a 700W unit and a 550W one. They come with a 135mm silent fan. Pricing is $106 U.S.D. for the 550 watt version and $132 U.S.D. for the 700 watt version.
Asus Launches ET2702 All-In-One PC
Asus has announced the ET2702, an all-in-one PC, at Computex. The ET2702 is the first all-in-one desktop with QHD resolution; it comes standard with a 27-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS screen and offers three HDMI in/out ports that allow it to serve as a display for other devices and connect up to three external displays simultaneously.
For now, the ET2702 will include a choice of Intel 4th generation Core processors, a Radeon HD 8990A graphics card, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi that offers transfer speeds of up to 867 Mb/sec and Asus SonicMaster audio technology. In the U.S., the initial configuration will feature a Core-i7-4770 processor, a 2 GB AMD Radeon HD 8890A GPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 2 TB hard drive, 802.11ac and a Blu-ray drive. No pricing information is available yet, but it will reportedly have a price around $2000, and will be available in late July or early August.
Gigabyte Debuts Z87-OC and Z87-OC Force Motherboards
At Computex, Gigabyte has debuted a new Z87-based motherboard for Intel’s new Haswell line of processors, a board designed especially for overclockers. They debut a number of interesting features designed to “help enthusiasts and overclockers get the most performance from their hardware, as well as the most enjoyable OC experience possible.”
The board carries an orange and black theme, and has four RAM DIMM slots. It also has the OC Touch, onboard buttons which allow the user to fine-tune the CPU frequency. It also features four PCIe-x16 expansion slots and supports up to four-way Crossfire and SLI. The PCIe slots are spaced every other expansion slot, leaving room for dual-slot coolers. The Z87X-OC also features six USB 3.0/2.0 ports and two exclusively USB 2.0 ports. Gigabit Ethernet is provided through an Intel networking chip. THe board also features 8-channel audio via an ALC892 audio controller. Gigabyte has not yet made pricing and availability information public.
NZXT has released a new fan controller, the Sentry Mix 2. The controller is designed to resemble audio mixing equipment, with 6 sliding potentiometers for controls. The Sentry Mix 2 has 6 channels, with 30 watts per channel. The unit will fit in a 5.25″ drive bay. The fan headers are 4-pin connectors, and will accommodate both 4-pin PWM fans and 3-pin fans. There are two Molex connectors for power input.
There is no pricing information for this product yet, but you can read about the Sentry Mix at NZXT’s website.
3DGAMEMAN has posted a video review of this product:
Model Number AC-SEN-MIX2-M1
Material Acrylic, Plastic
Fan Connector 4-Pin
Finish Matte black bezel with glossy black sliders
Included Accessories 4x M3 Screws
Form Factor Single 5.25″
Connections 2x Molex
Cable Finish Black Rubber
Cable Finish RGB Color Changing
Maximum Combined Wattage 180 Watts
Control Method Sliders
Fan Channel Quantity 6
Fan Channel Wattage 30 Watts
Minimum Power To Fans Minimum Power To Fans
Minimum Power To Fans 40%
Minimum Power To Fans Voltage
Warranty 2 Years
This article is the first in what I intend to be a regular Friday feature on this blog: a weekly hardware roundup, focusing on hardware for desktop and laptop computers.
Raspberry Pi Camera Module Available
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of its first official accessory for the single-board computer: a five megapixel camera board.
The Raspberry Pi, a fully-functional computer on a circuit board which has a price tag of about $50, has sold over a million units. While third-party add-on boards have been available, the Foundation concentrated on making Raspberry Pis, until now.
This week, the Foundation announced the release of the official Raspberry Pi Camera Board. Designed to plug into the Pi’s Camera Serial Interface (CSI) port, the module is just 25mm by 25mm and 9mm tall and packs a 5-megapixel sensor and a surprisingly powerful imaging engine (previously found on Nokia’s N8 smartphone).
The camera module’s release will likely be followed with at least one other official accessory: the Foundation will likely develop a small form factor display which will use the Display Serial Interface (DSI) capabilities of the computer.
AMD Unveils 8970M
AMD has unveiled the latest addition to its laptop graphics series. The new range currently consists of only one card: the top of the line HD 8970M, which has an impressive 1280 stream processors, double that of the 8800M. It uses AMD’s GCN architecture and features full DirectX 11.1 support.
Due to its power output, the 8970M will probably only be found on very bulky laptops, such as the MSI GX70, a 17-inch model with a full 17-inch HD screen and a quad-core AMD A10 APU.
Here are the full specs for the 8970 GPU:
Stream Processors: 1280
Engine Clock: 850 Mhz
Memory Clock: 1200 Mhz
Single Precision Compute Power: 2304 GFLOPS
Double Precision compute Power: 144 GFLOPS
Direct X Version: 11.1
Asus Announces Z87 Line of Motherboards
Asus has announced its Z87 motherboards for Intel’s new Haswell CPUs. This motherboard will be of interest to most readers of this blog, as the CPU fan header on all Z87 motherboards adds a MOSFET between the power supply unit (PSU) and CPU fan. As a result, Asus’ software fan control suites are now able to vary the speed of 3-pin fans and 4-pin pulse-width modulated (PWM) fans. A simple latch built-in to the header detects when a 3-pin or 4-pin fan is connected. This has the potential to render expensive automatic fan controllers useless. The UEFI BIOS also receives some upgrades: the user will be able to add notes relating to settings and there is also a history of BIOS changes. In addition, the board implements Thermal Armor, which Asus, touts as “Total Airflow-Boosting Heat Dissipation”, the world’s first-ever thermal design for the entire motherboard, which is purported to safeguard the system against hot air and help keep temperatures down, conducting hot air away and out of the case through special airflow channels.
The mini-ITX market it also attended to with this board line-up, with a new overclocking-oriented model called the Z87 I-Deluxe.
Arctic Announces Alpine 20 Plus
Arctic has announced the arrival of a new CPU cooler, the Alpine 20 Plus. The cooler is only compatible with the the LGA 2011 socket, but works for both desktop version of the Intel Core i7; and the Xeon processors that fit in LGA 2011 sockets.
The cooler is made from an aluminum block and has a number of aluminum fins through which air is pushed by a 92mm fan. The fan’s speed can vary from 600 RPM to 2200 RPM and is a PWM fan. The cooler has an MSRP of $14.50 and has a 6-year warranty.
HP Announces Two New X2s
HP announced this week that it is expanding it’s x2 detachable PC portfolio with two new models: the Android-powered HP SlateBook x2 packed with a Tegra 4 system on a chip (SoC), and the Windows 8-powered HP Split x2. They will be released in the U.S. in August with starting prices of $479.99 and $799.99 respectively.
The SlateBook x2 has Android 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean” installed and has services like Google Now, Google Maps and more. The hardware contained within is not entirely known, but it will have a 10.1-inch HD touchscreen, 64 GB of internal storage and DTS+ sound. The HP Split x2 is based on Intel’s third-generation processors and Windows 8 Pro. It will have a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen, HP Connected Music, Beats Audio, a 2MP HP Truevision Full HD webcam, and an HP ClickPad.