27th February 2008

Project: Rogue, Part 20

I thought I’d get a quick update posted. I’ve got a little more work done on the face. After the hole cut for the Matrix Orbital LCD, I thought I’d go ahead and get the holes cut for the Dakota Digital gauges. I used a hole saw for the initial cut, which you can … Read the full entry »

posted by craigbru in Blog Posts, Hardware, Mods, Power Supplies/Cases | Comments Off

21st February 2008

Shuttle gives finalized specs on KPC, their budget PC/barebones platform

Shuttle previously announced the KPC, their budget PC and barebones platform, at CES but much of the specs weren’t finalized yet. That changed recently, as they’ve posted a mini-site for the KPC on their webpage. As we previously reported, the KPC uses an Intel 945GC/ICH7 chipset, Intel GMA950 on-board graphics, 10/100 NIC, 5.1 HD Audio, … Read the full entry »

posted by Eric C. in Hardware, Motherboards, Power Supplies/Cases, Small Form Factor | 0 Comments

22nd January 2008

Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE Case w/ Real Power Pro 1000w SLI – Review (Page 3 / Mounting Hardware & Conclusion)

Though the power supply does need screws to be mounted, much of the rest of the case is completely tool-less. The side panels are held in place by solid plastic brackets that snap it into place. The optical drives are held in place by sliding pressure brackets along side the drive once it is aligned in the case. By the way, inserting an optical drive has never been easier. On the front of the case you open the main door which is held shut by a magnet. Then you open up two small silver brackets that run up the entire length of the front of the case and cover the sides of the 5.25″ bays. Then you just pop out one of the mesh faceplates, slide in your drive, slide the pressure brackets tight, and close front brackets. It took me about 30 seconds to do the entire process and most of that was just trying to make sure the front of the DVD drive was flush with the front of the case.

case front closeup hard drive cage closeup hard drive cage out

Adding a hard drive was slightly more complicated, but the extra hassle is well worth it. The Stacker 830 comes with a hard drive cage which holds 4 hard drives in the space of three 5.25″ bays. This drive cage can be placed anywhere in the case as long as you have three 5.25″ bays clear that are next to each other. The drive cage is held in place by screws, but I have a feeling that the pressure brackets could be used if you didnt need the added security of the screws. Anyways, you undo a few screws and slide the cage out. It has two separate mounting plates which connect to the main part of the cage through rubber grommets. This makes sure that the vibrations of the drives are deadened and does not cause the rest of your case to make noise from amplified vibrations. You just add in whatever drives you want, reattach the mounting plates and slide the entire cage back into the case.

mobo tray half mobo tray out power supply back

Now, we get to the most convenient part of the case’s design. The removable motherboard tray. This isn’t the first case I’ve used with a removable tray, but this one is by far the most solid and convenient. The hole in the back of the case that the tray slides out through is large enough that you probably won’t have to remove most larger aftermarket CPU coolers. The tray is held in place by a well designed locking mechanism which allows you to switch open and just slide the tray out. Along the sides of the tray are two plastic guides for the rails so the tray slides out smoothly and doesn’t make that terrible metal-on-metal screech that plagues many other removable tray setups. You have to screw in the standoffs/risers into the motherboard tray’s mounting holes yourself. This adds great flexibility to only add the mounting holes that you want. I currently only have a mATX motherboard, so I decided to only add the necessary holes to mount that motherboard. Obviously, I will add more later when I upgrade to a full ATX motherboard.

To fully test the functionality of the case, I installed the following components:

- Abit Fatal1ty F-I90HD mATX Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 CPU
- Crucial 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2
- 250GB Hitachi SATA Hard Drive
- Generic IDE Combo Optical Drive

motherboard installed

Right now I am in the process of ordering a new video card, so unfortunately that was left out of the test. Mounting the motherboard and CPU couldn’t have been easier due to the removable tray. The DVD drive went in smoothly without a hitch. The hard drive took a little more time than I had anticipated due to the fact that I had to pull out the entire cage and then try to put it back in. A note of advice to anyone that is lucky enough to get one of these cases, remove the motherboard tray while trying to work on the hard drive cage. The board gets in the way a bit and makes it much harder to maneuver your hands in the case. Once everything was mounted, connecting the power cables was incredibly easy since they are long enough to reach anywhere in the case. I can’t remember the last time it was so easy to build a full PC. Any add-on cards I want to install later will be a simple task with the included thumb screws for all the mounting brackets. A nice feature that I did not even think about until I was all done installing the components and organizing the cables is that never once did I cut myself or hurt my arms on the case. All of the edges are either rounded or have at least been machined so that they offer very little risk to injuring yourself on them.

The two 120mm fans provided and the fan in the power supply make almost no sound at all. The only way I know that the PC is on is by the glow of the blue LEDs that are mounted on the front 120mm fan.

Pros:

  • Tool-less, Easy to assemble and maintain
  • Allows configuration options for even the most diehard enthusiast
  • 1000W PSU with connectors for everything
  • Ample room for liquid cooling
  • Great air flow/ventilation
  • All aluminum design

Cons:

  • Metal mesh does not help with sound proofing
  • Front door does not stay open
  • PSU is not modular
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posted by Doomzilla in Hardware, Power Supplies/Cases, Reviews Subpage | 0 Comments

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22nd January 2008

Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE Case w/ Real Power Pro 1000w SLI – Review (Page 2 / PSU & Cooling)

The Stacker 830 is made completely of aluminum, which is the metal of choice when getting a case this big as it’s much lighter than steel. It feels relatively light for its gigantic size and has plenty of room for ventilation. Speaking of ventilation, there are spots to hold a crazy amount of 120mm fans. There is a position in the back for one 120mm fan, as well as one in the front, one in the top, as well as four on the side in the provided bracket which takes up the entire side of the case. This giant multi-fan bracket is quite amazing and when coupled with the fact that much of the side panel has metal mesh, it allows any user to amp up their airflow if needed. Also, you should be able to use very quiet low CFM fans if you want and still have very good cooling because of the sheer amount of fans you can mount in this case. Besides the fan mounts, a portion of the bottom of the case has metal mesh as well. This, I assume, is so that cool air can be pulled up past the components and expelled through the top or back of the case.

case left side case back inside case left open

The top fan bracket can be replaced with a hard drive bracket that would be ideal for a Raptor X 150GB hard drive, which has a window so you can see the drive mechanics. Its apparent that the bracket is designed mainly for enthusiasts who own such a drive, but its nice for those that just want to add another drive to the case.

case top

For anyone who wants to go with water cooling, the case also has two holes on the back to route your tubes outside of the case to your reservoir or any other component that you would have externally. From my past experience with water cooling, I would think that you could easily fit an entire water cooling setup inside this case with the proper placement of all of your components.

case back

Like I mentioned earlier, the provided power supply is a full 1kW. A quick search of the UL number on the power supplies sticker, which is E166947, shows that Enhance is the company that manufactured it for Cooler Master. I haven’t seen a Cooler Master power supply made by a poor quality OEM and this is no different, Enhance has been making high quality power supplies for a long time now. Also shown on the sticker on the PSU are the amperages for all the different rails, note that it has six separate 12V rails. Four of them have 18A and the remaining two have 28A each. This is more than enough to power the best SLI rig, so if you buy this kit you won’t have to worry about having to upgrade to a better PSU. It also has a crazy amount of cables, as you saw in the specs and picture above. You shouldn’t need any power adapter cable when plugging in any of your hardware. The only exception might be Three-Way SLI or Quad-Crossfire, you may need an adapter or two to power more than two cards. Unfortunately, I don’t have a high-end SLI rig or elaborate power supply load tester to fully test the power supply. One of the most genius features about this case is that the power supply is connected to the case via a special bracket. The power supply can be removed from the case by taking the screws out that holds the bracket to the case and then you can just pull the entire unit out of the back of the chassis. This makes it much easier than laying the case down and trying to reach up past all of your components to remove the power supply. As if that wasn’t convenient enough, the bracket has extra mounting holes for the PSU, so you can mount the PSU the normal way (fan facing down) or reverse (fan facing up). This is just one more option to the many cooling solutions this case offers.

power supply out power supply closeup img_0417.jpg img_0420.jpg main power plug psu bay

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posted by Doomzilla in Hardware, Power Supplies/Cases, Reviews Subpage | Comments Off

22nd January 2008

Cooler Master Stacker 830 SE Case w/ Real Power Pro 1000w SLI – Review

Let me start this review by saying that I have not owned a full ATX case, or even a mid-tower, for a couple years. I switched over to SFF back in late 2003 and have owned only mATX, mITX, and Flex ATX cases since then. So, when set with the task of building a system that would allow me to easily switch components in and out as my … Read the full entry »

posted by Doomzilla in Hardware, Power Supplies/Cases, Reviews | Comments Off

8th November 2007

NZXT launches ROGUE mATX SFF case

NZXT’s Rogue mATX Small Form Factor (SFF) case has had some pictures around the web for a little while now but not much in the way of official information, until now. They put up the official product page recently and are expecting to release the case later this month or early next month. Some Small Form Factor purists may decry the use of the term for this case, similarly to the way … Read the full entry »

posted by Eric C. in Hardware, Power Supplies/Cases, Small Form Factor | 2 Comments