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Post Computex 2011 – Part 1

Computex 2011 just finished and we are ready to show off some of the latest products coming out this year. In this article we’ll take a look at Thermaltake, Noctua, ZOTAC, Zalman and Silverstone.

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Post Computex 2011 – Part 1

Computex 2011 just wrapped up a successful 5 day run, and we were back in Taiwan again to bring you news of some of the latest products hitting the market this year. There is a lot to look at and we’re sure there will be something interesting that will catch your eyes, so read on and join in on what you think about this year’s Computex 2011.

Thermaltake

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Like every year, the moment we arrived at Thermaltake’s booth, we got invited in by several booth babes. This tradition is an important part of Computex–lots of girls, lots of educational activities, and of course new and exciting products.

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Tt eSports showed off a new mouse this year directed towards the casual to high-end gamer. We can see this mouse on the right side next to the two well known mice that Thermaltake currently carries, the Azurues 1600DPI Optical gaming mouse and the Black Gaming Laser mouse which has up to 4000DPI. There is not much that Thermaltake told us about this new mouse since it is still just a prototype, however the back side has a compartment similar to what a wireless gaming mouse would have for the battery. That compartment allows the user to place small weights inside to adjust the weight of the mouse. These weights look somewhat like standard LR-44 batteries. This new unnamed mouse has a few extra features besides the DPI settings and color shift design that most Tt eSports mice come with. One of these new features is a new button on the bottom of the mouse which allows the user to disable the side buttons on the mouse in case it becomes a problem in certain games that might be sensitive to the user accidently clicking the side buttons on the mouse. Naming, pricing, and market release date are not yet available.

In the other two pictures we can see two new power supplies from Thermaltake. These two models are designed for the high-end gamers and overclockers. For the 1475W Gold Certified ToughPower XT Power supply, Thermaltake is able to provide efficient wattage and amperage to feed even the hungriest high-end components on the market at the moment. Due to the limitation of power output on the standard US wall sockets, Thermaltake realized that it would not be worth going higher on the wattage since the user won’t be able to use it without switching to higher amperage sockets.

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Before we go into the beastly cooler that we see in the top two pictures, we would like to talk a bit about Thermaltake’s new Level 10 GT Snow Edition gaming cases. The Snow Edition gaming case is obviously a white case with a plastic design instead of just a repainted case. The reason for this is to prevent scratches and marks on the case which would become easily visible with painted designs. Unfortunately we do not have a picture of the Snow Edition case, but from what we have seen, people seem to love the new design. The Level 10 GT Snow Edition will carry the same price as the previous Level 10 GT at $269.99 at Newegg, and should also be available on the market in the next month or so.

Moving on to the new Frio GT cooler, this cooler is designed specifically for the Level 10 GT users, hence the cooler name has GT in it. This is one massive cooler that we have not seen being implemented for quite some time now. This beastly cooler provides the user with ten heatpipes and up to 300W of cooling with 4x 120mm fans. Since this cooler is designed for the Level 10 GT, we can see a special mounting implementation towards the top right corner of the cooler, which should provide support for the cooler and prevent damage to any components in the system while it is being moved to a LAN party or other events. The Frio GT should be available sometime in the Fall or 4th quarter of 2011, and should be priced around or just below US$100.

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On these 3 new pictures we can see a very interesting Level 10 GT mod done by Shu-Yi Chen. Unfortunately we did not meet him at Computex this year, but the mod is definitely a piece of art. While not visible on the pictures, the LEDs change colors to the users liking and it has a very interesting metallic cover on the original black paint that the Level 10 GT comes with. With cable management like this, we are sure most gamers would enjoy showing off a PC like this at their LAN parties.

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We’re coming close to the end of the new products that Thermaltake has to show us, but this does not mean that the rest of the products are not awesome enough to not mention. First of, we can see the new Dr. Power II devices which can help out any PC builder when testing Power Supplies. This power supply tester not only indicates if the Power Supply is fully functional, but will also provide information about each rail on the power supply. It also has a built in alarm system in case there are any problems with the power supply.

On the 2nd picture we can see several new products to help save some power on those power-hungry systems. First off, if we take a look at the surge protector in the back, this new product from Thermaltake comes with a wireless device that allows the user to easily click a button and cut the power from the system or other devices connected to the surge protector. The extra accessories that you can get with the surge protector provide the user easy options to charge their USB powered devices, providing addition power savings for those that were only able to charge their devices through their PCs in the past. This means that the computer system does not have to be on at the moment when the USB powered devices are being charged directly from the surge protector. Additional products in the pictures show portable power packs which can provide additional power to devices that require charging.

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Finally, the Luxa division of Thermaltake showed off some neat new products for the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices from Apple.  The first two pictures show a safety cover for the iPhone that provides shock absorption to the iPhone. The 2nd picture shows Thermaltake Director of Marketing Ramsom Koay dropping the iPhone to the ground at the show. Interestingly, the iPhone had no scratches and or any cracks. The casing is also water proof, allowing for underwater photography and filming. Pretty neat feature.

Silverstone

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Silverstone this year had some very interesting products, especially the new Silverstone Temjin Series TJ12 Prototype case that we’ll take a look towards the bottom of the page. To start things off, we need to understand a few things about Silverstone’s Strider Fan design, which they have been using in some of their latest cases like the Raven series or the TJ11 case. The Strider Fans are famous for having a specific fan grill which provides directed airflow instead of the undirected airflow that standard fans would have. What we mean by this is that most fans when they blow air, they tend to blow air at a given angle which helps spread the air throughout the case, but it usually does not provide direct airflow for components, unless they are positioned right next to the components. Silverstone’s Product Manager, Tony Ou, demonstrated their Strider Series Fans by placing a balloon right above the air stream that the fan was blowing. Interestingly, the balloon hovered in the air directly over the fan, as long as there was no major obstruction in front of the blades. Doing this with a traditional fan would just blow the balloon away from the fan.

With this explained, the new implementation that Silverstone has on their Strider Gold 750W power supply is the Strider series fans. With this, the power supply can run cooler due to a directed air stream instead of a standard random air stream. The Strider Gold 750W power supply still uses a 100% modular cable design, which always looks nice in any high-end gaming system.

Now the other 1350W power supply is something we have not seen in the past. The SST-ZM1350 Zeus Series 1350W power supply is specifically designed for overclockers due to the rail adjustment and fan speed adjustment which is provided to the user with buttons, switches and other adjustment methods. The back photo of the power supply by the modular cable connectors shows a switch which allows the user to switch between a multiple or single rail setup. The four holes above this switch provide the user with adjustment to the voltages on each rail to fit the voltage needs overclockers are looking for. Finally, the red button by the fan is a fan speed adjustment button, which provides the user with standard fan speed or maximum RPM setting.

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Silverstone had two passively cooled NightJar Series power supplies in the past, though they would only range between 300W and 400 Watts. The 400W power supply had a 80Plus Bronze certification, however, the efficiency would only be rated up to 86% at 20-100% load. With the new Silverstone SST-ST50NF 500W passivly cooled NightJar power supply, the top efficiency hits all the way in the 80Plus Gold efficiencies at 100% load at 87% efficiency. Unfortunately, if a system only uses 100W of power the efficiency drops all the way down to 82%, but at 50% load, the PSU can achive up to 88% efficiency. This power supply should be great for audio and video recording studios or for those thinking about building high-end HTPC systems with quiet passively cooled products. The price point for this power supply is going to be very steep though. Users can expect this PSU to retail somewhere around $230-$250.

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While there have not been too many motherboards that can be put into an extra slim case, Silverstone is working closely with Intel to make sure that they will be one of the first to have support for the new thin Mini-ITX form factor. These motherboards will only have a single row of connectors instead of the multiple rows on standard motherboards. In-Win is another case manufacturer already showing off their new thin Mini-ITX form factor cases.

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And finally, the system that will make all of us think “WOW“. Silverstone is working on this new prototype for the Temjin series TJ12 case. This case has up to 19 expansion slots available, and can accommodate up to 6 dual slot video cards with an extra space in between each video card for good air circulation. As we explained earlier about the strider fans, Silverstone is placing two massive strider fans on the bottom of the case which will provide direct cool airflow over the video cards.

So how does this work, you may ask? On the 2nd picture we can see between each video card. Silverstone had to come up with a good solution to get everything working and we can see silver covered cables to make sure the integrity of the signal from each PCI-Express connector on the ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer motherboard is still good enough to provide enough power to the video cards while also maintaining good latency signals. There is more experimental work that needs to go into this idea because at the moment it is still not perfect, but hopefully Silverstone will not throw away this idea and will continue implementing it. If they end up getting everything working perfectly, a system like this could become the ultimate Folding machine.

The Silverstone TJ12 case will support up to 3 power supplies if we remember correctly, so plenty of power should not be a problem.

Noctua

It feels like it has been forever since Noctua had any interesting news about new products coming out in the near future. Well, this year at Computex Noctua confirmed that in the upcoming months, perhaps August or September, a new fan will be released to the market. This fan does not have a concrete name at the moment, but Noctua calls it the Focused Flow Fan. The Focused Flow fan has some great new features that we have not seen on any fans till now and Noctua is convinced that the acoustic noise will be lower and performance will be higher than their older NF-P12 120mm fans. So what’s new about this fan that was different on the older NF-P12 model? Well, let’s start off with the integrated anti-vibration pads on the sides of the fan. These will help prevent vibrations between different surfaces like coolers or the case. Next up we can see small notches on the fan cover, or more like a fan grill or housing of the fan. The Varying Angular Distance and feature Vortex-Control Notches. Both measures help to spread the noise emission over a broader frequency spectrum and thus make the fan’s sound pattern less obtrusive to the human ear.

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Noctua finally also implemented the 4-pin PWM connectors for the fan. Even though the cable is short, there will be extension cables provided with the final product. Also the cable should be sleeved for the retail product. The wavy features around the border of the fan add turbulence to the influx in order to facilitate the transition from laminar flow to turbulent flow, which reduces tonal intake noise, improves flow attachment and increases suction capacity, especially in space restricted environments. We can also notice small notches called the Inner Surface Microstructures. With the tips of the fan blades plowing through the boundary layer created by the Inner Surface Microstructures, flow separation from the suction side of the blades is significantly suppressed, which results in reduced blade passing noise and improved airflow and pressure efficiency. In order to guarantee the highest possible degree of manufacturing precision, minimum tolerance and excellent long-term stability, the fan sports a CNC milled bearing shell made entirely from brass.

After holding the fan in our bare hands and giving it a spin, we can definitely feel that the quality of Noctua fans is still there. We will have to wait and give this fan a try once the retail product is available so we can truly compare the acoustics and thermal performance the older NF-P12 model with the newer Focused Flow Fans.

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Because most of these products shown are only prototypes, we are not going to go into too much detail about them, but we will take a quick glimpse. Last year Noctua had several prototype products, but it turns out not many of them made it to the market. Either way, we are sure the LGA2011 socket bracket will be available once the Sandy Bridge-E CPU’s become availalbe early next year for the X79 chipset.

The pictures in order consist of the following products:

  1. Low-Profile Dual Fan Cooler
  2. Top-Of-the-Range Downdraft Cooler
  3. Top-Of-the-Range Triple Stack Cooler
  4. 140mm D-Type Cooler

The Low-Profile Dual Fan Cooler is designed for HTPC users that would like to use the sandwich type cooler with a large 120mm fan on the top and a 92mm fan on the bottom for extra cooling.

The Top-Of-the-Range Downdraft Cooler is supposed to be a high-end enthusiast cooler for overclockers with the addition of the air being blown over the components on the motherboard including the VRM and the memory. We assume as long as the CPU cooler does not get too hot, this should provide additional cooling for the components on the motherboard. The height of the cooler is designed to fit some of todays highest memory modules as well.

The Top-Of-the-Range Triple Stack Cooler is designed for users looking for a slim cooler design but also to get higher performance by having two additional parts to the cooler on the sides. These additional heatpipes will provide more cooling for the processor, but the heatsink fins are high enough to not obstruct even high memory modules when fully installed.

Finally, the last cooler is similar to the Triple Stack cooler though its design is a bit different. The second fan on the back can be adjusted to go lower or higher, and if the case the user uses allows the fan to go up to the highest position as shown in the picture, then users can use even high profile memory modules with the cooler.

Lets hope with the new Focused Flow fans and the new coolers Noctua will be able to regain some of their lost positions in the high-end cooler market.

Zotac

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Two interesting products showed up at the ZOTAC booth this year at Computex 2011. ZOTAC showed off two of the latest Z68 chipset ITX form factor motherboards. The motherboard on the left can use discreet graphics along with the Intel HD graphics on the Sandy Bridge processors, while the right motherboard already has a GeForce GT 430 with 1GB memory support built onto the board. This does not mean however that the Intel based graphics will be disabled if the motherboard already comes with the GT 430 graphics processing unit. With Virtu, the user will be able to switch between the two graphics taking advantage of both graphics for different tasks. However, the motherboard on the right also comes with RAID support, and most likely will also have support for SSD Caching with Intel Smart Response technology.

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Just recently ZOTAC released the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Multiview video card, which provides users with multiple monitor support from a mid-range video card. In the picture above, we can see three monitors running off of the single video card with smooth playback. The video card supports up to 4 video outputs at once. From the side we can see that the ZOTAC GTX 560 Multiview feeds off of two 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors, and has a very interesting mesh like cooler design. This video card would be great for users looking for multiple monitor setup from a single video card while not breaking the bank by spending too much on a single video card.

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Now we are getting to the top-secret section. There is not much information that we were given about this new product from ZOTAC, however it looks like we are looking at a ZOTAC GTX 580 AMP edition video card cooled by CoolIt’s internal closed watercooling setup called the Omni A.L.C. We hope in the near future we’ll be able to review the product to get our readers an overview of what to expect from this video card. For now our best bet is to take a look at other reviews using the same cooler on similar or the same video card.

ZALMAN

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While we had a quick overview of the Zalman CNPS12X in our news before, we did not have a picture of it running on a system. Looks like the new CNPS12X might be the next high-end cooler from Zalman closely following the UFO-like design we have seen on previous CNPS coolers. This CPU cooler will come with 3 massive fans to cool down the heatsink at a silent or barely audible state.

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Zalman also showed a new prototype design for a case which has not yet been named. We personally like nice clean cases, and this Zalman case seems to follow that design. The internal design is a lot different from any other case we have seen and it definitely feels much sturdier, though we can expect things to change as the case comes closer to production. This case is designed for great air circulation without needing lots of fans while keeping the style and low acoustic levels at the same time. Release date and price are not yet determined.

Stay tuned for more Computex 2011 coverage in the following days where we’ll take a look at some of the latest products from GIGABYTE, MSI, ADATA, and Kingston. We’ll take a look at the new X79 chipset, and some interesting feature implementations on current chipsets.

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