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Silent PC Articles

ECS LIVA Mini PC Kit Review
The ECS LIVA is a feature-packed lilliputian PC that brings the full Windows 8.1 experience to your big screen TV at an incredible value.

Corsair Nautilus 500
Corsairs second watercooling product, the Nautilus 500 gets put through its paces.

Cooler Master RS-550-ACLY Power Supply Review
The RS-550-ACLY is part of Cooler Master's 'Silent Power' line and combines great looks with high performance - fitting of the Cooler Master name.

Thermaltake Golden Orb II
Thermaltake brings back it's famed Orb line in an attempt to capture the midrange cooler market. Larger and fancier than ever before, can the Orb's return signal a new "golden" era for Thermaltake?

AC Ryan Xilencer, SilenX Luxurae, Cooler Master CoolDrive Lite Showdown
We pit three hard drive silencers against each other in today's review of the A.C. Ryan XTOR Xilencer, SilenX Luxurae HDSS, and Cooler Master CoolDrive Lite here at Neoseeker!

Silent PC News

DataSlide unveils new HRD

0 comments Stephen Duffin - 8:28am (PST) Like Share

HRD is capable of 160,000 IOPS according to developer

For many years now the main storage scheme used for personal computers have been mechanical hard disc drive. In the past few years, the solid-state drive has come to market with faster performance and lower capacity and at a much higher price tag.

DataSlide has unveiled a first of its kind medium that may one day replace both HDDs and SSDs. This new medium is referred to as an HRD or Hard Rectangular Disc. DataSlide says that their technology is protected by a patent and can achieve 160,000 IOPS and 500MB/sec performance levels while consuming fewer than 4 watts of power.

The concept for the HRD was taken from the IBM Millipede concept and then reworked with common technologies. DataSlide has no idea on when or how long it might take before the HRD comes to market.

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Categories: Storage Silent PC

Zalman introduces fan controller with a power usage monitor

0 comments Kevin Spiess - 10:49am (PST) Like Share

HOW many watts is my Quad SLI draining??

Want to better monitor your computer's power usage? One product showed off at this years Computex in Taiwan was Zalman's new Fan Mate ZM-MFC2. The ZM-MFC2 can control up to four fans, but what really separates this fan controller from the rest of the pack is the colorful front display which gives you direct measure of your PC's overall power consumption:

This controller can measure up to 800 Watts of power drain.

With this kind of ingenious product hitting the market, and the slowly growing popularity of 'green computing', it's possible that power consumption may increasingly become a more important selling point for graphics cards and other power-hungry components.

Memory + Heat Pipes = Cool!

2 comments J. Micah Grunert - 8:08am (PST) Like Share

OCZ rolls out some killer fast and wicked cool memory, with heat pipes!

Who doesn't use heat pipes nowadays? They're in CPU coolers, video card coolers, and motherboard chipset coolers. It now seems that OCZ had added 1 and 1 together to get this.

Pretty cool! This is the first time I've ever seen a heat pipe cooled slice of memory. Called the OCZ DDR2 PC-8500 Reaper HPC Edition memory, they do come with some fairly decent specs. 

  • 1066MHz DDR2
  • EPP 5-5-5-15 timings
  • Available in 2GB (2x1024MB)
  • Unbuffered
  • OCZ Lifetime Warranty
  • 2.1 Volts
  • 240 Pin DIMM

With the added features of . . .

  • Reaper HPC Heat sink
  • EPP-Ready
  • 2.4V EVP

I like these so far! The Reaper HPC Heat sink is way cool, both figuratively and literally. And even though the HPC does stand for Heat Pipe Conduit, it could also stand for Home Theater PC (HTPC). Memory like that would guarantee an incredibly quite HTPC viewing experience. The EPP (Enhanced Performance Profiles) guarantees that these modules will boot to their rated spec on the latest Nvidia SLI chipset mother boards. That's right, no BIOS CL timing tweaking needed here. But if you really want to, you can over volt these modules up to 2.4V without burning your lifetime warranty. Only extreme tweakers need apply.

Hmmm, maybe I should see about getting a couple of these sticks in for review?


DTX: a new small form factor standard

1 comments William Henning - 12:25pm (PST) Like Share

AMD introduces a new form factor for small PC's

AT,  ATX,  MicroATX,  MiniITX,  BTX ... and now, DTX

Today AMD announced the DTX specification, an open standard it developed to help manufacturers adopt a smaller form factor for PC's.

The idea is that OEM's will be able to build smaller, quiter PC's for the dexktop and for multi-media applications, taking advantage of the low power processors and technologies. The DTX standard leverages of the ATX standards where possible. AMD will make the specification available in Q1.

The DTX standard will be designed to embrace energy-efficient processors from AMD or other hardware vendors, and allow an optimally designed small form factor system to consume less power and generate less noise. When processor power consumption is reduced, system size and
cooling costs can also go down. Energy efficient processors can also help extend the longevity of PCs, while offering consumer and business users a quiet, more pleasant experience in their offices or living rooms.

AMD is hoping that by making DTX an open standard it will be widely adopted, and will avoid the adoption issues with current small form factor computers that use proprietary (and expensive) cases, power supplies, motherboards and coolers.

Frankly, I like this idea a LOT. With todays technology, there is no real need for our computers to be large, power hungry monsters - just take a look at a Mac Mini for proof.


Alienware Redesigns, Adds Core 2 Duo

Alienware have redesigned their famed enclosure to herald the launch of Core 2 Duo chips in their desktops. While there isn't much technically different from the previous chassis, they have added lighted front ports and claim better airflow through the widening of the front intakes. They have added the ability to tune the color of the LED's this time around 'to match your mood' as well, and have finally gotten around to toolless entry.

Prices for the new Intel machines start at $1799 with an E6400, 1 GB of RAM and a 7900 GT, though we had no problems cranking the price to $9615 with a few clicks.


AMD Unveils Low Power CPU Roadmap

0 comments Howard Ha - 10:32am (PST) Like Share

AMD Touts Lower Power versions of their processors

AMD has announced its intended short term roadmap for more energy efficient versions of their CPUs on the AM2 socket. In the wake of so much industry support for energy efficiency and "Green" products, AMD is also intending on offering lower power CPUs across their entire lineup (which includes the X2 dual core CPUs, the Athlon 64 single core, and the Sempron), to be shipped in May. The key selling point of energy efficiency is really performance per watt as well as heat output. With HTPC, silent PCs, and SFF (Small Form Factor) being such hot topics now its no wonder that both AMD and Intel are pushing towards cooler and more efficient designs.

AMD's announcement today doesn't include specifics as far as actual CPU wattages, but they do summarize with some teaser info:

  • energy efficient AMD desktop processors can provide up to 37 percent greater performance-per-watt than standard power AMD processors
  • energy efficient SFF AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core desktop processors can provide up to 154 percent greater performance-per-watt than standard power AMD desktop processors
  • Using SYSmark® 2004 SE benchmark, AMD reports that their energy efficient dual-core CPU consume 14 watts+.
AMD has also announced pricing for the upcoming energy efficient AM2 CPUs:
  • Energy Efficient Desktop Processors++: AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors 4800+ ($671), 4600+ ($601), 4400+ ($514), 4200+ ($417), 4000+ ($353) and 3800+ ($323).
  • Energy Efficient Small Form Factor Desktop Processors+++: AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor 3800+ ($364), AMD Athlon 64 processors 3500+ ($231), and AMD Sempron processors 3400+ ($145), 3200+ ($119) and 3000+ ($101).

Intel's Viiv cheats at "instant-off/instant-on"

1 comments Tom K - 12:49pm (PST) Like Share

I thought these days were over

So it turns out that the Intel "Viiv" platform's "instant-on" feature isn't quite the real thing. Put a different way, it's extremely easy to do "instant-on" if the machine was never turned off in the first place. Are you still a little confused?

If you look at the Viiv pages here, it lists 'instant On/Off' as a feature, but it does no such thing. The instant on/off feature simply mutes the sound and blanks the video, everything else carries on as usual. Don't believe me? Read this. Note the bolded warning, it says straight out that it does not power down the computer in any way. Several manufacturers have confirmed this to me also.

So what you have is Intel claiming that it shuts down the computer, but it does not, will not, and was never planned to. If you hit that instant off feature, the machine sits there spinning away at full tilt, or nearly so, sucking down electricity 24 hours by seven. It should be ashamed of itself, needlessly wasting resources and covering it up.

Shame, Intel. Shame, shame, shame. I thought the days of tactless gimmicks and cheating were over, but this takes the cake in my opinion. I suggest that Intel's Viiv marketers actually whip out a dictionary and look up the definition of "off". Deep sleep is "off". Hibernation is "off". Blaring fans with muted audio and blanked video is not "off".


Shuttle's Next-Generation SFF PCs

0 comments Tom K - 12:49pm (PST) Like Share

The desktop case form factor makes a comeback

In the back of my mind, I always knew that the desktop case form factor -- the ugly, boxy, and completely useless form factor that was popular in the early 90s, where the case would sit on your desk, with the monitor sitting on it -- would make a comeback.

Fortunately, it's Shuttle that is responsible for making it come back, and that relieves my tension. Shuttle has been creative with their designs, and I have yet to find myself disliking them. Their next-generation small-form-factor design has the footprint of an A4 sheet of paper, and is just over 5 centimeters tall. There's no word on pricing yet, but I would assume it will be on the higher end, considering the punch it packs:

The XPC X100 is pitched at a new era of home entertainment computers based on Windows XP Media Center Edition. A typical spec, said Shuttle, is a 1.83GHz Core Duo T2400 processor; 512MB of dual-channel DDR 2 SDRAM; ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics on an MXM module so it's upgradeable; 250GB Serial ATA II hard drive; HD Audio; Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi; four-in-one memory card reader; one front- and three rear-mounted USB 2.0 ports; DVI, TV-out and S/P DIF ports; and a six-pin Firewire connector.

Yes! Upgradeability! Thank you, Shuttle! However, now is the time for the obligatory "I still prefer my Mac Mini". It's true, I do -- but there's no use denying it, the XPC X100 is definitely a Goliath to my David, and it has the upgradeability factor to boot.

I can easily see this thing being put in an HTPC-like environment. It is just the perfect length and height, though not as wide as the typical VCR/DVD player. The less-appealing ATX chassis sitting behind my TV is crying now.


Matrox Has Unveiled Remote Graphics Unit

0 comments Matt Horne - 2:14pm (PST) Like Share

'The world's first remote graphics unit'

Matrox announced today their newest product, the Matrox Extio F1400. This new unit will allow the use of keyboard, mouse, monitor and audio equipment to be used remotely.

The new unit will allow a maximum distance of 820 feet from the host computer system, and will be a great solution for silent computing. The Extio F1400 will allow the simultaneously use of 4 monitors along with the standard outboard pc components.

Key features

  • User devices can be separated from computer by up to 250 meters (820 feet) of fiber-optic cable
  • Support for up to 4 digital or analog monitors at a time (in "independent" or "stretched" mode)
  • Passive cooling (heat sink with no fan) for silent operation and extra reliability
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports (downward compatible with USB 1.x) for keyboard, mouse, and other USB peripherals (4 in front and 2 in back)
  • Integrated audio hardware
  • Multi-function audio-output connector for an optical-S/PDIF signal or analog-stereo signal
  • Standard stereo-audio connectors (microphone, stereo-line-in, and stereo-line-out)
  • PCI and PCIe (PCI Express) fiber-optic interface cards (sold separately)
  • 1600 x 1200 maximum resolution per display
  • Matrox UltraSharp Display Output Technology
  • Unified display drivers for Matrox Extio products and QID graphics cards
  • Easy-to-use Matrox PowerDesk display driver interface
  • Matrox Clone to view a copy of one display on the other displays
  • Global sales and technical support
  • 2-year warranty

For more information on this, visit the official page.


Corsair Launches New Nautilus 500 External Water Cooling Kit

0 comments Howard Ha - 8:51am (PST) Like Share

New water kit boasts easy installation and quiet performance

Many of you may have seen pictures of the Nautilus 500 from pictures of CES 2006, and now Corsair is ready to launch this new external watercooling kit to the masses. Designed for ease of use, high performance, and quiet operation, the Nautilus500 supports all current sockets. Corsair also says it installs in 15 minutes flat. MSRP will be $159 which puts this kit slightly more expensive than non-external packages but makes it very competitive against other similar external watercooling kits.

Here's a snippet from the Press Release:

Outstanding Cooling Performance

Designed with enthusiasts in mind, the new Nautilus500 brings 30% more CPU and 40% more GPU cooling efficiency without excessive noise. While overclocking is not guaranteed by any one component, the degree of system overclock generally correlates with the degree of component cooling. The new Nautilus500 brings a new cooling solution to overclockers with its all-copper CPU block and Micro Channel Technology™. The Nautilus500 CPU cooling block provides maximum heat absorption and most efficient heat transfer. Fan speed can be adjusted to suit individual needs. When high fan speed is enabled, cooling performance is maximized. When low fan speed is selected, the Nautilus500 cools effectively with minimum noise generation.

Ultimate Ease of Use

Complicated installation processes and unproven reliability have traditionally been barriers of entry for enthusiasts looking to use watercooling solutions. Corsair's new Nautilus500 features a QuickInstall™ design that allows any user to install the complete kit in less than 15 minutes without having to remove the motherboard from the case. Compared to other watercooling solutions currently available, the 15-minute installation time is twice as fast as the next best competitor. Each complete kit includes pre-fitted, pressure tested tubing that can be adjusted to any length without the fear of accidental leakage. For mobility-minded users, the kit also includes quick connect self-sealing connectors to avoid having to drain the liquid during transport.

Configuration Flexibility

The Nautilus500 complete kit can be used on any processor type, including Intel® LGA775, socket 478 and AMD® sockets 754, 939 and 940. To deliver maximum configuration flexibility, the cooling unit is adaptable with additional GPU and north bridge blocks. Both blocks are sold separately and can be daisy-chained to the CPU block without cooling performance degradation.

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