Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC and more
Posted on: 05/20/2013 10:38 AM
Here today's reviews and articles, including Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC, Mini Review: Acer Iconia W510 Windows 8 Tablet, In Depth: Best 27 iPad mini cases, Gigabyte offers early peek at Z87 motherboards, and League Of Legends Performance, Benchmarked
Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC: Small and Silent Performance @ Techspot
While many of us are content with traditional desktop tower PCs, there are those who have been pushing for a more compact and quieter alternative.
One of the pioneers of small computing, VIA Technologies, developed the Mini-ITX form factor over a decade ago in 2001. Although VIA’s solutions were too underpowered for daily usage, over the next few years motherboard manufacturers were able to adapt more powerful AMD and Intel platforms to use along the tiny 170 × 170 mm (6.7 × 6.7 in) Mini-ITX motherboards.
Subsequently case manufacturers provided support with a range of creative Mini-ITX solutions such as the Lian Li PC-Q25, which we reviewed and awarded a couple of years ago. Considerably smaller than traditional ATX and Micro ATX computer cases, the PC-Q25 not only supported the latest Intel Core i7 processors, but it also allowed for a PCI Express x16 dual-slot graphics card. An impressive feat no matter how you measure it.
Read more: Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC: Small and Silent Performance @ TechspotSumo Lounge Emperor @ Phoronix
Taking a break from our usual Linux hardware coverage and performance benchmarking this weekend is a look at the Sumo Emperor, a comfortable basis for lounging or working from a laptop.
Our friends over at Sumo Lounge sent over the Emperor to check out at Phoronix, the latest product in their high-end beanbag family. Sumo Lounge continues to cater to gamers and computer enthusiasts, which is where Phoronix comes in to play. The Sumo Emperor measures in with a 55-inch diameter and 25-inch height to easily accommodate one or two people whether it's for relaxing while watching a movie, working from a laptop, gaming in your living room, or engaging in other activities.
Read more: Sumo Lounge Emperor @ PhoronixMini Review: Acer Iconia W510 Windows 8 Tablet @ WP Central
Windows 8 tablets are a great option for those wanting portable, compact options for their computing needs. We've taken a look at the Samsung ATIV Smart PC and now we turn our sights on the Acer Iconia W510 tablet. The Acer is a smidgen smaller than the Samsung or even the Microsoft Surface series, sporting a 10.1" CrystalBrite LED-backlit TFT LCD instead of a 11.6" screen. While the W510 may be smaller, it doesn't skimp on features. The Acer Iconia W510 is a really nice option to consider if you're in the market for a compact Windows 8 tablet at a decent price. The tale of the tape has the Acer W510 coming in at 10.18 x 6.6 x .35 inches and weighing 1.27 pounds.
Read more: Mini Review: Acer Iconia W510 Windows 8 Tablet @ WP CentralIn Depth: Best 27 iPad mini cases @ Techradar
Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad mini is a recommended option to house your beloved iOS device, but when it comes to keeping it in good condition, you might want to look at a more comprehensive alternative. The most popular cases come in the form of folios, which protect the front and back of your iPad and usually fold to create a stand, ideal for watching films or typing on. Then there are the sleeves, which are perfect as carry cases. Rugged cases are for extreme use (or to keep your iPad mini safe in the hands of children), while rear shells are for keeping the back of your mini scratch-free. Whatever your specific requirements, you'll find plenty of options to choose from here. Folio cases - smart cases to protect both sides of your iPad mini1. GEAR4 CoverStandPrice: $38 There's nothing particularly fancy about this case, but it's still a good all-rounder.
Read more: In Depth: Best 27 iPad mini cases @ TechradarFractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case @ Benchmark Reviews
If you research a little about Fractal Design, you'll discover that "Design" in their name is not an accident. They've set out to "provide products with an extraordinary design level" using a "less-is-more" philosophy. With that in mind they've made some revisions to their Arc Midi enclosure, resulting in the new Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 computer case. The original was praised for its ability to accommodate radiators and other water cooling components in a mid-tower enclosure. Benchmark Reviews has the chance today to take a closer look at the revisions made to the Fractal Design Arc Midi.
There resides within my brain a section that would love to launch into a discussion on "Design." Unfortunately, I don't have a background in the subject (either academic or professional) beyond my own likes and dislikes and evolving tastes over the years. I will say Fractal Design cases have caught my eye in the past - something about the clean lines, white fans and accents made me pick up a Core 3000 almost a year ago now. It was somewhat of a departure for me: normally I prefer something with more color, or unique styling. The Core 3000 was by comparison a little "boring" - and I place that term in quotes because I believe Fractal Design have accomplished something unique with their enclosures. In my opinion, they've managed to find a near-perfect blend of sophistication and style while integrating common-sense features important to a performance oriented case. Will the Arc Midi R2 measure up to the rest of their product line? Let's dig in and find out.
Read more: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Case @ Benchmark ReviewsMad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
The F.R.E.Q. 5 headset from Mad Catz is available in multiple colors and sports a robust design by combining plastic and light metal. The product comes with 50mm Neodymium drivers, a removable microphone and two types of connectivity options: 3.5mm jack and USB.
Read more: Mad Catz F.R.E.Q. 5 Gaming Headset Review @ MadshrimpsHIS 7790 iCooler Turbo 1GB GDDR5 Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
The new HIS 7790 iCooler Turbo card is well balanced and is recommended to people on a tighter budged which will want to upgrade their old GPU in order to be able to play the latest games on monitors up to 24’’. The cooling system is simpler compared to the offerings from XFX or PowerColor and an overclocking utility is supplied on the HIS website for added value.
Read more: HIS 7790 iCooler Turbo 1GB GDDR5 Video Card Review @ MadshrimpsROCCAT Hiro Mousepad Review @ OCC
For the Speed comparison, I turned the DeathAdder to 3500 DPI with the goal to see if the mousepad was still readable. The good news is the Razer DeathAdder picked up the Hiro and I could barely keep track of where the mouse went. The worst surface was the desk - I almost had to pick up the mouse before it moved off the desk. There is not much to this observation, but just remember fast is good because you can always turn down the sensitivity. On the other hand, if your mouse does not pick it up the pad in the first place, then that becomes a problem. I find myself leaving the DeathAdder at 1800 DPI and making slight adjustments in game. If you are playing a real-time strategy (RTS) game, a low DPI might suit you better, but I've also known a few people who max out the DPI so they don't have to move their hand basically at all.
Read more: ROCCAT Hiro Mousepad Review @ OCCThermaltake Armor Revo Gene Mid Tower Computer Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
For some reason the testing and medical techniques that are being developed from genetics still seems very science fiction. Who is to say that this better understanding of genetics is not going to encourage scientists to work on altering genes to correct defects or possibly even splice other species genes into the human genome and create a new human. In a sense you can look at genetic engineering becoming as big as engineering mechanical items. Regardless computing power is going to continue to be in demand and for many users this has to start with a vessel to hold the electronic components.
The Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene is a mid-tower case in targeted at mainstream users. Thermaltake designed the Armor Revo Gene with aggressive styling, including aluminum wings on the front bezel, large feet to raise it off the ground, and LED logo in the top front with a breathing effect. The Revo Gene supports up to four 5.25” external devices, one external 3.5” drive, and five internal 3.5” or 2.5” devices. The top of the case also has a 3.5” or 2.5” hard drive dock for quickly accessing a bare hard drive. The cooling system is robust and includes a front 200mm fan, rear 120mm fan, and top 200mm. There are also optional fan mounting locations on the side for a 200mm fan and bottom for a 120mm fan. The headset holder on the side of the case is one more feature making the Revo Gene ready for battle.
Read more: Thermaltake Armor Revo Gene Mid Tower Computer Case Review @ Hi Tech LegionGigabyte offers early peek at Z87 motherboards @ The Tech Report
With Haswell approaching, motherboard makers are eager to show off their Z87 boards. We have the goods on what Gigabyte has in store for the platform.
Read more: Gigabyte offers early peek at Z87 motherboards @ The Tech ReportMionix Naos 8200 Gaming mouse @ Rbmods
Today we take a look at a gaming mouse, we are taking a look at Mionix latest creation that they named Naos 8200. It seems to be a fairly light weight mouse with a good size and plenty of buttons to play around with.
Lets take a closer look and get this review going.
Read more: Mionix Naos 8200 Gaming mouse @ RbmodsBIOS Option Of The Week - ISA Shared Memory @ Tech ARP
Since 1999, we have been developing the BIOS Optimization Guide, affectionately known as the BOG. From a meager beginning of a single page, it now covers over 440 BIOS options. As old BOG readers will know, we started offering two editions of the BOG since Revision 8.0 - a simplified edition and the complete edition.
In the simplified edition, the description of each BIOS option in this guide is condensed and written in a simplified format. This simplified edition is not a sampler or demo version of the complete BIOS Optimization Guide. It is merely a simplified version with all the essential points and minus the frills.
The complete edition, on the other hand, features both simplified descriptions as well as full details of each BIOS option. This allows you to quickly get the gist of what each BIOS option mean and delve deeper into the details if you wish to learn more about it.
Read more: BIOS Option Of The Week - ISA Shared Memory @ Tech ARPWhat To Expect From The Next iPhone @ ThinkComputers.org
If Apple follows their typical release schedule, the new iPhone will be available sometime this summer, and the rumors are already flying about what that’s going to contain. With rival phones from Android stepping up their game, will Apple feel the pressure to do something completely new and spectacular? Maybe it’ll be like the 4S, which made small improvements to the iPhone 4 but didn’t break out of the mold too much. Nobody really knows, as Apple hasn’t provided us with any official information yet, but there are some of the speculated changes.
Read more: What To Expect From The Next iPhone @ ThinkComputers.orgMad Catz R.A.T.M Wireless Mobile Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
So far 4 great things have happened this month, first Ubisoft Montreal released Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon (retro FPS that no one saw coming), SOE gave 1 free premium month to all of their PlanetSide 2 players (both Free and Premium members), Metro Last Light by Deep Silver/4A Games finally made it to retail (after several unfortunate incidents that led to the dismantle of THQ and sale of their assets to several game developers/publishers) and finally Mad Catz launched both their M.O.U.S.9 and R.A.T.M Bluetooth wireless mice. Now as most of you are aware we did test the M.O.U.S.9 a few days ago which in the end left us with mixed impressions especially because of its rather low DPI and somewhat high price tag so although my quest for the perfect notebook wireless mouse continues it's very possible that the R.A.T.M wireless mobile gaming mouse which we have here with us will be the one to rule them all.
Read more: Mad Catz R.A.T.M Wireless Mobile Gaming Mouse @ NikKTechPowerColor SCS3 HD7850 Review @ Hexus
PC performance continues to improve at a steady pace, but if there's one thing that stands out in modern components, it's how today's hardware is so much more efficient. It wasn't long ago that our gaming rigs were facetiously referred to as nuclear reactors, primarily as a result of high-performance graphics cards that kicked out enough hot air to heat a small house. Heck, it's almost comical to look back at cards that drew massive amounts of power, ran in excess of 90ºC under load and still struggled to play Crysis.
Efficiency is where the latest GPUs really shine, and the more favourable balance between performance and power consumption has paved the way for cards that are smaller, quieter and ultimately more refined. Hoping to take things a step further, PowerColor has stepped up to the plate with the world's first passively-cooled Radeon HD 7850.
The card, dubbed the SCS3 HD7850, is the latest in a long line of passive Radeon designs launched under the Silent Cooling System umbrella, and it's ambitious in trying to chill a 130W mid-range GPU without any fans. Noiseless operation is of course the key benefit, but will the card be able to keep suitably cool when gaming? We're not so sure, as the SCS3 HD6850 was found to struggle, and that featured a less-hungry 125W chip.
Read more: PowerColor SCS3 HD7850 Review @ HexusBe Quiet! Dark Rock 2 CPU cooler review: cheaper Dark Rock Pro 2@ Hardware.info
When Be Quiet! released the Dark Rock Pro 2, we were enamoured by it right-away. That high-end cooler cooled extremely well and was also very quiet. In our recent group test of 33 CPU coolers, when we switched to a new and improved method of testing, the Dark Rock Pro 2 was once again one of the best coolers. So when Be Quiet! informed us that a more affordable version was on the way, we were of course very interested. Today we will take a closer look at the Dark Rock 2, without the Pro suffix.
The Dark Rock 2 is clearly cheaper than the Pro version, even if it's not very apparent from the average price. The cheapest you'll find is just below 50 euros, and the most expensive almost 100 euros. The Dark Rock Pro 2 costs € 69.
The two coolers are clearly related, the Dark Rock 2 is also completely black with a black aluminium plate on the top and a black fan. We love the design of it, actually. The Dark Rock 2 has a smaller heatsink in one part with only one fan, where the Pro version has two. The smaller heatsink and the lack of a second fan makes the Dark Rock 2 about 4 cm less deep. It also has one less heatpipe, with six. The 135mm fan spins at a maximum of 1300rpm and has a 4-pin PWM plug. It weighs 871 grams, compared to the 1,250 grams of the Dark Rock Pro 2.
Read more: Be Quiet! Dark Rock 2 CPU cooler review: cheaper Dark Rock Pro 2@ Hardware.infoLeague Of Legends Performance, Benchmarked @ Tom's Hardware
Following up our Dota 2 performance analysis, we benchmark the most-played PC game in the world, League Of Legends, and find out just how much graphics and CPU performance it requires for high-resolution, high-detail play, even across three screens.
Read more: League Of Legends Performance, Benchmarked @ Tom's HardwareGigabyte Z77-HD4 Review @ Anandtech
While most of the focus for motherboards is on the big models, what happens when we get down to the lower price points? If you want a basic ATX Z77 motherboard with all the IGP video outputs, Gigabyte has you covered at $120.
Read more: Gigabyte Z77-HD4 Review @ AnandtechARIA Gladiator 6300-HD7870LE AMD 4.10ghz 6 core System Review @ KitGuru
If you have a limited budget then many of the high end systems we review on Kitguru are simply out of reach. Today we aim to redress this by looking at a budget oriented build from UK retailer ARIA. The Gladiator 6300 comprises a 6 core AMD processor, 8GB of 1,600mhz memory, Corsair power supply and an AMD HD7870 Tahiti LE graphics card. The asking price? A cool Â£499.99 inc vat. Is this THE budget system you need to be looking at this year?
Read more: ARIA Gladiator 6300-HD7870LE AMD 4.10ghz 6 core System Review @ KitGuru