Antec unveils the Three Hundred Two case at retail

Get ready for another to the line-up, Antec announces a successor to the Three Hundred chassis with the Three Hundred Two coming in at $79.95, a mid-tower refresh bringing refined airflow and USB 3.0 to the mix. Some minor style changes include water cooling tube support from the top of the case, side exhaust port behind the CPU panel as well as filters for the PSU and front panel intake. Relatively little has managed to change since that point in appearances. Some users might be a bit upset that Antec has gone with full USB 3.0 support on the front panel which excludes anyone on older motherboards still. An alternative to this is ordering the 300 front port assembly to get your 2.0 support back on your system, would have been nice to see an adapter option like the company had gone with before on the P280 instead of asking for $8.50 + shipping to have legacy support if you were fortunate enough to figure out the option.

Overall the case is an update not a rebirth of any kind, it would have been nice to see them ditch the extruded vents on the case, they seem to do more damage than good in appearance, giving it a dated feel that I just can’t get past. If you’re really looking to go Antec on your next value case then this might fit the bill, if you need USB 2.0 support and are willing to overlook the rear CPU vent and water cooling holes the Three Hundred might be more your speed.

The specs

Model Three Hundred Two
Case Type Mid-Tower
Color(s) Black
Cooling System • One 120 mm rear TwoCool™ fan
• One 140 mm top TwoCool™ fan
• Two 120 mm front intake fans (optional)
• One 120 mm side intake fan (optional)
• One 120 mm side exhaust fan behind motherboard (optional)
• Perforated front bezel for maximum air intake
• Top water cooling grommets
• Enlarged CPU Cutout
Drive Bays • Three 5.25” tool-less drive bays
• Two 2.5” drive bays (dedicated)
• Six 3.5” tool-less drive bays
Front Ports Two USB 3.0 with internal motherboard connector
• Audio In/Out
Expansion Slots /
video card size
Eight expansion slots
12.5” (318 mm) maximum video card size
PSU No Power Supply included
Motherboard Support Standard ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
CPU Cutout Enlarged CPU Cutout
Cable Management N/A
Side panel features N/A
Dimensions 22.2” (H) x 11.4” (W) x 20.7” (D) /
565 mm (H) x 290 mm (W) x 525 mm (D)
Weight • Net Weight: 15.3 lb (6.9 kg)
• Gross Weight: 18.7 lb (8.5 kg)

Personally, we’re at a point where going with standard primer interiors is growing old, a refresh with a black interior would be refreshing. Seeing dual fan support at the top for larger radiators or a revision to the physical design would have helped. Instead there isn’t much to say about the Three Hundred Two given it’s already had a debut. It’s a refresh cycle and unfortunately very few of them bring exciting changes even though they should bring that last push of a product cycle to get people to want the improved version of what they already have.

Find it at: NCIX, Newegg, Frys (not available online yet)

Pogo Sketch gets a makeover as the Pogo Sketch Plus

Love drawing on your iDevices? Ten One Design has a product update for you, today the company is launching their improved version of the Pogo Sketch series for iOS devices. Using the new Pro Tip technology they’re providing greater sensitivity while offering an even smaller tip, the result provides superior control and precision when working with it. For those in doubt go from trying to sketch something with a Crayola marker to using a ball point pen. It’s obviously not that exact of a size drop but any changes to have greater sense of place do help. For those that just want to keep the smudges off their screen, it also allows for quick navigation and typing on the go.

For those that already own the original Pogo Sketch, Ten One Design is offering 50% off if you send a picture of your current stylus to their special email address. Although time is limited, the offer expires on January 31st at 11:59PM (EST) so you really don’t have that much time.

As the picture indicates, you can find the Plus in Burnt Orange, Cactus, Hot Pink and Silver for $14.95 on their website.

If there was word about these working with Android devices I’d be tempted to invest in one, I’m looking at offerings from Incipio so I can get a better experience on my HTC phone for Sketchbook.

NZXT uncages the Switch 810 chassis

Known for such recent products as the H2 and Phantom, NZXT is here with the Switch 810 series, a new Hybrid Full Tower setup build for the enthusiasts of course. The design goal focusing on adaptability that allows owners to change their systems in any way they choose, from water cooling to high flow air or just silent cooling.  How is it that NZXT makes this possible you might ask, they boast support for 280mm radiators and up to 10 140mm or 120mm fans while using hybrid fins that isolate noise and attraction of dust. When needed these fins can be opened to allow for full flow air to pass through and generate maximum results, the versatility is a key to allow any group to use this system to the fullest.

In terms of storage we see support for up to 7 HDD’s with two 140mm or 120mm fans to guide air over the cages not only that, we also see 2 more fans to pull air off of those heated drive bays to continue to push across video cards and other accessories. Those wondering about the design will note the cages are reverse mounted so the other side of the case has to be pulled to access the drives, otherwise the end cap on the bay covers them and creates a seamless impression with the NZXT logo stamped on the end bumper.

There are many little innovations for NZXT in this case, they’ve even gone so far as to illuminate the back panel for those nights you’re fumbling around trying to secure a video cable or even just attach a USB device to your board. Handy items like this help the daily experience with the case and add a unique flare that turns friends green with envy.

Overall it’s a tempting package with improvements all around including a larger CPU mount cutout behind the motherboard, unfortunately this was a huge drawback for earlier cases from NZXT but they’re working to remedy it as best they can. With so many options for cooling and airflow it’s hard to imagine the 810 failing to deliver to the expectations of any owner. It’s sleek, simple and packs a variety of features, it also swaps the mesh grills for plexi to show off those hardcore tweaks.

We don’t have a review available for this debut but there are many sites already launching their impressions now. Check them out below. If you’d rather see more images of the case just skip down to the gallery.

Reviews: Neoseeker | Vortez | 3Dgameman | Hardwareheaven | Hardware Secrets

Review – GELID GX-7 CPU Cooler

GELID got into the custom cooling late in the game, 2008 was the first experience to the world while everyone was already pursuing the next trend to come in cooling tech. It hasn’t taken the company long to come forward from that point, today we have a unique setup with their GX-7 CPU cooler. A 7 stage heat-pipe design that directs heat not only using near flush connected heat-pipes but a stacked system as well. The stacked part is where things get sketchy, normally the idea is to spread your pipes equally and maximize the surface absorption and distribution, you’re still getting that in the GX-7 design though. The change is the 5 pipes handle the surface contact while the upper 2 remove excess heat over the center of the cooler as that’s where the silicon and primary heat rest.

With that breakdown said, let’s get into the details of what we’re running and jump into testing.

Test system:

  • AMD Phenom 9750 B3
  • Jetway 790GX HA08 ComboL
  • ASUS EAH 6850 DirectCU
  • 4GB Crucial DDR2 800 (5-5-5-12)
  • Hitachi 1TB 7200RPM
  • Seagate 300GB 7200RPM
  • Cooler Master Real Power Pro 650W
  • NZXT Phantom Case (extra NZXT 200mm on top)

Coolers:

  • AMD OEM Cooler – Standard Phenom
  • AMD Black Edition Cooler (2 Heat-pipe design)
  • Cooler Master Hyper 612 PWM
  • GELID GX-7
  • GELID GX-7 (2-fan w/Wing 12PL PWM)

Thermal Paste:

  • GELID GC-Extreme Thermal Compound

Monitoring:

  • Core Temp 1.0
  • AMD OverDrive 3.1.0
Synthetic bench:
  • HyperPI 0.99b (12M calculation for stress testing)
  • SiSoft Sandra 2011 (Arithmetic)
Gaming bench:
  • Battlefield 3
  • Saints Row: The Third

With all the details out-of-the-way let’s get rolling!

Bundle

The GX-7 packs everything you need in a slim case, the packing is enough to protect it from shipping trauma and they make sure to keep the extra screws and panels isolated to their own box to prevent confusion.

As a special case with this review we have an extra 120mm GELID fan to attach so we’ll be using those extra wire tension bands for the rear. What will not go into use is the default cooling paste as we’ll be using the GELID GC-Extreme compound instead so we can max this out.

Supported AMD Platforms: AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+/FM1
Supported Intel Platforms:  775/1155/1156/1366

  

Design

Out of the box the GX-7 is conservative looking for a cooler for this market, the pipes on top are capped off with a plastic cover, the side fins are extremely tight together allowing for little turbulence to develop as wind passes through. Speaking of which, the frosted finish on the back of the blades gives the cooler a dull appearance when it’s not running, crank up the power and the and the glow fills the blades and the case itself.

From an external viewpoint the design comes off like a sleeper until it goes live, once the juice hits the fan all bets are off.

  

From a technical standpoint, the design of the GX-7 is unique, the finish is competitive with current generation offerings, nothing too smooth for the finish but it’s not unpolished either and leaves a slight mirror effect. The pipes are welded with care and in touch testing there was a noticeable level of heat gathering in those pipes that would normally fall to rogue currents or a basic heat sink. Copper pipes to aluminium fins channel the main power and the PWM fan takes up airflow duty from 800 – 2000 RPM depending on your workload. If you plan to run dual fans I would say try to get the same model fan so you’re not suffering with turbulence in the fins as one pushes harder than the other.

Installation

Installation is a snap with the GX-7, by that I mean it’s about as hard as any other performance cooler on the market and that in itself is incredibly hard the first time around. Fortunately GELID has heard the cries of the fallen and has attempted to help with their setup this time around.

How it works:

  • Remove your old CPU cooler (remember to clean the top and re-apply paste)
  • If you have an access port big enough to remove the back plate for the cpu bracket then do so
  • If not, remove the motherboard and remove the bracket and plate
  • Install the included washers over the mounting holes for the bolts and then slide the bolts through as shown in the diagram.
  • Tighten the nuts down to the motherboard base so you have all 4 exposed
  • After that, lower the cpu cooler on the 4 posts and use the special twist caps with springs to tighten the cooler down on each point, move in an X pattern to give equal pressure to each side.
  • Once tightened plug-in the PWM fan to the port and you’re ready to roll!

How it really worked:

  • Everything went relatively well until it came to installing the cooler on the posts, I had to remove the clips holding the fan on the heat sink to get my hand in to tighten the posts on that side.
  • The clips are actually easy to use, just remember to keep tension and equal pressure on them or they will pop off during fan installation.

Comparing this to the Hyper 612 is tough, if you’re scared about supporting the cooler while sideways or you’re not a fan of having your board upside down to mount and tighten the screws the GX-7 starts to step in as your cooler. If you’re fine with that it’s really a toss-up that our performance area will help you decide with.

Performance

The GX-7 took no mercy just like the rest of the lineup, I did go ahead and split coverage up with the 2 fan and single fan setups though for fair representation. Idle measurements were made after 30 minutes in Windows 7 with no active applications running (Steam/Origin/etc). Load was taken with HyperPi running all 4 cores to 12M at normal priority once temps reached an average plateau. Load was verified again against Battlefield 3 in-game and Saints Row: The Third as they’re both CPU intense especially on mid-range models.

bamfas.com

 

The results are interesting, 2 fans do make an impact on the GX-7 results, high does bring a bit more noise into the scenario but leaving it at auto for the PWM to work seems the best choice for those who have no wish to constantly adjust the fan speed by hand. The most interesting area was the configuration differences with the GX-7 and Hyper 612, the idle temps were higher than the 612 but the performance of the cooler at higher temps held low, it’s a trade that users will have weigh on their own. Lower idle temps vs roughly equal load performance once the real use goes into effect. In game, average temps between high load often left the cooler in the high 30’s most of the time.

Noise

Given the setup of this review it’s a unique situation to discuss loudness of this cooler, I’ll break it down based on the type of user you might be.

Power User: Using manual control to force the fan to 100% load will bring some extra noise, no more than the Cooler Master variant in real world application. When using a dual fan setup there is a bit of extra noise created and the trade-off versus auto mode is questionable.

Casual User: Using auto control leaves the GX-7 to manage itself and the noise level is able to stay at the bottom end of the spectrum. If you’re gaming you’ll rarely ever notice the fan kicking up in speed and in dual fan mode the same will stay true as the cooler rarely brings itself to 100% fan speed by default.

Over a stock cooler the GX-7 makes the time for installation well worth the effort, no tiny fans spinning up to high dB levels creating annoying sounds. Instead the 120mm just hums along cranking out high cfm through the cooler and you rarely ever notice it speeding up during games.

Conclusion

At $69.99 the GELID GX-7 is a solid performer, at idle temps the cooler runs a little higher than the competition but when then the pressure is on it matches up against top coolers in the field around the same price. The perk with the GX-7 is the gamer focus of the cooler with the LED PWM fan that really is super bright in the case, it saves users from having to invest in a new fan for another brand and essentially shelve the packaged fan.

If you’re a modder looking for an all-in-one CPU cooler that delivers performance and lighting then look no further than the GELID GX-7. You get a bit of everything with the cooler, design, lighting, performance and a simpler installation system. I do feel that some might find the design of the mounting system itself to be a huge plus over other installations, be sure to follow the guidelines packaged with the cooler so you don’t install the washers on the wrong side though.

With GELID looking to expand in 2012 the enthusiast market certainly has something to look forward to. If you plan on investing in the GX-7 I would say do yourself a favor and get the Wing 12PL to go with it and take up those 3-4c off in temps.

Performance:★★★★★★★★½☆ 
Design:★★★★★★★★★☆ 
Weight:★★★★★★★★★½ 
Overall:★★★★★★★★★☆ 

 

GELID GX-7 Gallery:

ARCHOS brings Honeycomb for under $200

When Amazon brought the Kindle Fire to the market the race turned to a new price, the $200 mark. Today ARCHOS has taken up the challenge and brought the ARCHOS 70b IT, it’s an enhanced 70 IT using an upgraded screen and a 1.2GHz processor to get the job done.

Users will get Android 3.2 with full functionality including a regular marketplace, this means games, books and more will get delivered unrestricted. The full functionality of the OS remains in-tact, leaving the smooth transitions and quick navigation unharmed. Overall it’s shaped up to compete with just about everyone out there.

Here are some key details:

  • Android 3.2 (Honeycomb)
  • 7″ 1024×600 display
  • 512MB of RAM
  • Integrated GPU (unspecified)
  • 1.2 GHz CPU (unspecified, the 70 used an ARM A8)
  • 8GB of storage
  • Micro SD Card support
  • HDMI Output
  • WiFi support

What does all of that mean? The 1.2 GHz CPU should be more than enough to power most games now, in the future that might be a problem though. More titles are starting to favor Dual-Core setups and are blocking single core chips out of the market. For now it should be a beast for processing with lots of speed to last for the years to come, the 512MB of RAM will actually help that stay true. The display resolution is a solid fit for a 7″ screen, dense enough to not be frustrating to read text but not so poor as to look choppy.

Overall ARCHOS is laying down a tablet for the now and it should hold its own for a few years to come in entertainment apps and even more in standard browsing and composition.

The 70b is set to arrive in stores after the holiday season with January arrivals starting at $199, give it a bit of time and dig up more info on the ARCHOS homepage once they get the listing up for the new tablet.

The AMD HD 7970 leaks to the internet with more goodies

Maximum PC caught a nice photo leak this weekend for the new 7970 arriving soon. The card seems to have a solid rumor date of December 22nd for the official unveiling and a few key slides of the card and the changes have leaked out already to the public. Honestly I’m liking the design shift and hoping the new vapor chamber really helps bring the temps down, AMD has claimed in the past with Bulldozer they can get things to run ice-cold, if they can do the same on their high-end cards without a performance hit I’ll be happy.

Check out the gallery for some details.

The changes are many, over 2000 stream processors and 1GHz clock speed and above on the stock cooler. You have 3GB of onboard memory and AMD stepping out of the classic ring bus that served them well for a 384-bit bus to take the memory bandwidth through the roof. The whole thing will still run under 300W in single card mode which is a relief for a juggernaut in the next generation race.

We’ll have to wait until Thursday to see if the rumors of the announcement are true, makes me wish I didn’t just upgrade to a 6800 series this weekend though.

PDP rolls out their final Collector’s Edition TRON controllers

That’s not true, it’s the final line of controllers related to the license, if it was just their final controller it would be a crazy battle of the TRON fans for who gets it.

Moving back to the topic, PDP is here with their final collector’s edition for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in white. For those who haven’t seen TRON, come on man… for everyone else, these do pay a nice tribute to the movie with their styling on these models. Personally I love things that glow but that’s a given because of my wish to light every section of my PC case right now. Without carrying on too much more, here’s the breakdown.

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Price: $49.99
Developed by: PDP
Connections:  Wired (Xbox 360) | Wireless (PS3)
Buy it from PDP – Xbox 360 | Playstation 3

Check out the images below and try to say you wouldn’t want one of these hanging around in your collection. Both models stick to their genuine controller styles. No excess bulk or strange additions, just straight up gaming goodness with a bright super white glow.

The $500 budget gaming PC – Part 2

A few years back I brought the DIY PC Guide for a $500 gaming PC to Bamfas, back then it was a stretch to get performance and value balanced to produce a safe reliable rig. Today I’m here to do it again with a few options given the advances in tech since that point in hardware evolution.

The goals

  • CPU Power
  • Video Power
  • Reliability
Prices taken from Newegg.com December 12, 2011

In this situation we’re going for what works not what wins the beauty pageant. With that said lets jump forward with our suggestions and price quotes. For kicks I’ll attempt to produce Intel and AMD builds but without monitor, as that throws the price into the stratosphere.

$500 AMD

  • AMD Phenom II X4 960T – $109.99
  • ASRock 870 Extreme3 R2.0 AM3+- $79.99
  • Kingston HyperX Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 – $36.99
  • Sapphire 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB – $109.99
  • Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM – $79.99
  • Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus RS500 – $44.99
  • Samsung CD/DVD Burner 22X – $16.99
  • APEX PC-389-C – $19.99

Total: $493.93

Performance upgrades:

  1. Change 6770 to either NVIDIA GTX 560 or ATI HD 6790
  2. Upgrade Phenom II 960 to 970, 1055 or 1075

With the increase in prices for HDD’s we did have to eat out of the case budget, normally an NZXT, Cooler Master or Antec case would be superb to compliment a gaming setup like that. Unfortunately with a cap of $500 we can’t go that extra mile. The system can run modern games like Battlefield 3, Saints Row The Third and others without much sacrifice to the settings, the ASRock motherboard even allows for a second 6770 to join the existing card.

$500 Intel… not really

  • Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge – $189.99
  • ASRock H61DE/S3 LGA 1155 – $67.99
  • Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 – $34.99
  • Sapphire 100338L Radeon HD 6770 1GB – $109.99
  • Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 (0F10381) 500GB 7200 RPM – $79.99
  • Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus RS500 – $44.99
  • Samsung CD/DVD Burner 22X – $16.99
  • APEX PC-389-C – $19.99

Total: $564.92

Performance upgrades:

  1. Change i5 2400 for i5 2500
  2. Change 6770 to NVIDIA GTX 560 or ATI HD 6790

Points to make, the i5 2400 is a stronger upgrade over the 2300 series and well worth it in the long run and not being a K series chip it doesn’t need the most high performance board out there for overclocking as it’s already a bit insane for automated potential. Optionally for AMD users they could try to combat this with the 970 series to gain back some extra Hz.

Sadly, both of these systems would be sub $500 if the current flood situation in Thailand had not come up, as a result many prices are rising across the board. Both builds are focused around being good base systems to carry you at least a year in use, AMD says the 7000 series should be coming at the end of this year or the start of 2012 so it might be wise to hold out for what the new series brings up.

If you’re looking to swing a new gaming system for yourself or a special someone let these be a guide to hopefully give them the gift of PC gaming this year. Hopefully the HDD prices stabilize or return back to normal soon. We’ll have a feature this week highlighting higher end components to surprise that special pc gamer in your life as well.

Incipio lets you design a case with ease

Own an iPod touch 4G or iPhone 4? Wish you could tweak cases to your wishes instead of just picking from the selections out there? You can do it now to at least some degree thanks to the team at Incipio, the new bespoke case customizer is an app for your phone allowing you to dig through albums and apply them to your case for truly custom solutions.

Latest changes to version 1.5 of the app:

  • Social Photo Stream Integration: pull in photos from your Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr accounts and paint your case!
  • Select photos by Facebook Photo Album and paint your favorite memories
Pretty sweet stuff especially if you’re an iPhone or iPod touch owner, unfortunately it’s limited to just the 4G and 4 right now so older users will have to make due. Hopefully at a later point they allow this for other products, I would love to have a Rhyme case sporting an option like that, in the meantime I’ll have to track down a Silicrylic in black and look into their Inscribe line.

Day 2: Android 10 Billion download celebration continues

We’re in day 2, the consumers are restless for more and we’ve found the next lineup for you guys a little earlier than yesterday.

All of the above apps are 10 cents each and a new list will go live tomorrow with even more offers. Again I nabbed up Fruit Ninja, Reckless Racing and Star Chart for myself. I suggest getting in on it before losing this batch.