Review – The Creep #1

Writer: John Arcudi
Art: Jonathan Case
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover Art: Mike Mignola
Published by: Dark Horse Comics

The Creep returns to us for a new issue, we join Oxel in his continued pursuit to find the truth about the suicide of a child belonging to one of his past romantic desires. Unfortunately we also see quite a bit of time has been lapsing since the #0 issue took the stage and a worried Stephanie is trying to keep Oxel fighting to find the truth after a disturbing series of investigations as he started the case. The period between those encounters hasn’t been kind, Oxel’s health is continuing to deteriorate and we see a very conflicted man pushing on through the story.

The problem seen in The Creep is that we’re leading nearly 3 stories at once and it’s also an investigative pursuit on top of all else. Honestly it’s frustrating to see so many elements at once but you can’t help but feel it’s taking on a cinematic approach of layering the madness until it comes to a boil. One can only hope the introductions of possible addiction and disillusionment don’t make this difficult case any more of a mess than it already is with so few leads available to Oxel.

It’s a hard job being a detective and it’s even worse with uncontrollable disease, physical disfigurement and a budget that barely allows for a cup of coffee. Oxel has his work cut out for him as he fights his own internal debate on how deep he wants to go with this case, seeing the situation of the families and the growing level of conflict between everyone can’t be that helpful. We do see signs of conviction coming back toward the final pages that show there’s some movement coming but one has to wonder if it’ll be enough to keep this nightmare scenario rolling?

I have faith in Oxel and while mixing booze and meds is certainly not a great idea on his part, I think he’ll be wise enough to get it together to face this whole situation head-on and give us some new twists as he gets his feet wet again.

Release Date: September 12, 2012

Links: Pre-Order | Preview (Coming Soon)

Story:★★★½☆ 
Art:★★★★½ 
Dialog:★★★½☆ 
Overall:★★★★☆ 

Marvel and PDP launch new iPhone 4 cases for comic fans

Marvel has quite a history with comics, today they’re sharing a bit of that history in a new way thanks to a partnership with Performance Designed Products. Their new clip cases for the iPhone 4 deliver a bit of protection to your phone and also some amazing comic art that has helped push Marvel into the hearts of fans all over.

The current line:

  • Venom – Lethal Protector #1 (Mark Bagley)
  • Amazing Fantasy #15 – Spider-Man (Steve Ditko)
  • Wolverine #1 (Frank Miller)
  • Invincible Iron Man #1 (Gene Colan and Mike Esposito)
  • The Incredible Hulk – Eve of Annihilation #116 (Herb Trimpe and Dan Adkins)
  • Journey into Mystery – The Grandeur and the Glory #124 (Vince Colletta)

Unfortunately these are isolated to the iPhone 4 right now, hopefully Marvel can help bring these to other phone models in the future too. Kind of a shame to see sweet work like this isolated to just a small pool.

Check out the gallery below for larger shots on all the current models.

Link: Marvel News |PDP

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)

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

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.

Review – NZXT Phantom

The computer case market is thriving with creativity again, one of the lead companies to emerge in the market is NZXT, lately the company has been on a roll as they combine contemporary style with gamer aesthetics. The result in this case is the mighty Phantom line, packing high airflow, incredible space and sleek design that can appeal to new builders and veteran builders looking for something not as extreme as a plexiglass case.

Opening the box up, it became clear this wasn’t just a looker but it was there for function as well. The stock unit contains sufficient cooling from the start and a box full of goodies for mounting and stealth cabling. I’ll go ahead and include the spec sheet below to give the full impressions.

MODEL Phantom Series
CASE TYPE Full Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Plastic/Steel
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 222 x 540 X 623 mm
VGA Clearance Maximum
350mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 1 X 140mm
REAR, 1 X 120mm (included)
SIDE, 2 x 120mm, 1 x 200/230 (2 x 120mm included)
TOP, 2 X 200mm (1 x LED 200mm included)
DRIVE BAYS 5 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS
7 INTERNAL 3.5″/2.5″ Slots
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel with black finish
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
WEIGHT 11 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT E-ATX, ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

Sample build used:

AMD Phenom 9750 AM2+
Jetway 790GX (HA08)
Crucial 4GB DDR2 PC6400
Sapphire HD 4850 512
Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic
Hitachi Deskstar 1TB HDD
Maxtor 320GB HDD

Before jumping into the fray, I had to test a few areas first. The current configuration works fine if you have a high flow fan on the side and coming from the front, the case pressure goes pretty much positive at that point. If you lack that, you may want to consider flipping the top 200mm fan and throw air in. Often systems will tend to choke to some degree when the box is simply dumping air and pulling little if any fresh air in.

Fortunately the top panel removes easily, place your hand under the front panel grip and tug out, the clips will release and reveal another hand hold for the top panel. Unscrew the 200mm fan and reverse mount it to generate some positive pressure in the case.  I lacked a 140mm fan to place in the front so I mounted a 250mm fan to the side panel from an Antec Skeleton. Odd enough, with a bit of boring out the fan mounts without much issue and generates essential airflow for the GPU and CPU zones.

Moving into installation there isn’t much trouble, the Phantom is for the most part tool-less where it counts, the PCI  brackets use thumb screws instead of regular mounts to save on tools. Unfortunately you still need a screwdriver to break the initial torque after being mounted. Installation of components went down in roughly 20 minutes, cabling took a bit longer just for the sake of being stealth about it, the Phantom offers room for most mountings and even my aging Cooler Master Real Power Pro was able to reach high enough for the 8-pin power connector by the CPU. After years of building systems I can say this was most likely the most painless installation yet, also it left me cut free thanks to rolled edges on the case.

For window fans, there is a lot to miss with the mesh on the side of the case, honestly, the white finish is one of the cleanest and most pure colors I’ve seen in quite a while. With a blueish glow it reflects color perfectly inside. Not being able to see it does hurt, if you are insistent, you could always mount your own panel and remove the mesh, or just pop open the front door on the case and watch from there. It really is worth the show, the Tri-Color light show from the Antec really made it an amazing sight to see. For the hardcore modder that wants a little more, cutting the case and custom mounting acrylic would be really rewarding.

Functionally, the Phantom is up there with the best of them, the fans all connect to a single fan bus that gets controlled on top of the case, the inputs and power buttons are also on the top in sleek form. There’s an aspect of this design which takes me back to the era of Tron, super sleek but hard lines everywhere, a blue glow from the stock fans, power sources and fan bus that snares anyone who watches. It’s sleek but deadly and awesome as a centerpiece. Going from the Antec Skeleton to this is a huge jump, even comparing it to the Antec P193 has me still leaning in favor to the excessive attention to detail that NZXT took with this model.

To start closing this up, I have this to say about the NZXT Phantom.

  • Simple installation
  • Room for cable stealthing
  • Tons of air-flow
  • Integrated fan bus controller
  • Extra parts to last a lifetime
  • Sleek design, ultra contemporary feel
  • Low case noise, even with all fans running it remains tolerable
  • Excellent cooling on system
  • Plenty of room for larger video cards (6900 series, etc)
  • Tool-less design for drive mounting works, needs a little extra force to pop pins back in
  Low Speed High Speed
CPU Idle 41c 39c
CPU Load 47c 44.5c
GPU Idle 45.5c 44c
GPU Load 73c 70c

Things I might change are few really, this is a gaming case and if I wanted true silence I would opt for the H2, we don’t have that case to review so… just try to look around and get some other impressions if you’re not sure. The sound insulation and other features seem to be well worth the price.

Closing up, the Phantom is probably the easiest case I’ve been able to work with, because I’m extra paranoid I actually decided to also wax the finish for extra scratch protection because this is a busy desk.

Kudos to NZXT for bringing home a heavy hitter like the Phantom, for those interested, it comes in a few variants and honestly that pure black model looks quite awesome. For gamers it’s a new piece of kit to mod out, for older builders it still has some show with a Tron inspired design but not too much to make it feel like you’re pounding Redline and skipping out on studying for your finals all over again.

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NZXT H2 Classic Silent Chassis arrive

NZXT has been making waves in the market over the past years, coming up as a relative unknown group and emerging as a mainstream PC manufacturer. Today the H2 Classic strikes from their labs, a silent powered ATX case offering low noise case fans and expansion room to suit most users.

Spec sheet from NZXT
—————————

MODEL H2
CASE TYPE Mid Tower Steel
FRONT PANEL MATERIAL Plastic/Steel
DIMENSIONS (W x H x D) 215 x 466 X 520 mm
VGA Clearance Maximum
310 w/o HDD, 270mm with HDD
CPU Heatsink Support 170mm
COOLING SYSTEM FRONT, 2 X 120mm @ 1200rpm ( included )
REAR, 1 X 120mm @ 1200rpm (included)
TOP, 1 X 140mm
BOTTOM, 1 x 120mm
DRIVE BAYS 3 EXTERNAL 5.25″ DRIVE BAYS
8 INTERNAL 3.5″/2.5″ Slots
Screwless Rail Design
MATERIAL(S) Steel with painted interior
EXPANSION SLOTS 7
WEIGHT 8.9 kg
MOTHERBOARD SUPPORT ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

—————————

Looking at the gallery below it’s easy to see how tempting these cases are, with color matched interiors it turns the system into a full show piece instead of just an external piece of eye candy. The hot swappable drive dock on the top, the USB 3.0 connection support and countless expansion zones are enough for anyone wanting a powerhouse on a dime.

Is this enough to separate it from the likes of Antec, Corsair, Coolermaster and more? No one really knows, the silent factor may be the single selling point to consumers in that market. Keep an eye out for it at your favorite e-retailer or B&M store.