Tag Archives: corsair

Corsair recalls dodgy Force Series SSDs

Only the 120 GB variant is affectedIf you’ve been having problems with your shiny new Corsair Force Series SSD, you’re not alone.

Corsair say they have identified a number of stability issues with the 120 GB variant CSSD-F120GB3-BK, and are urging customers to return their faulty SSDs for a replacement drive.

Unfortunately the problem can’t be fixed with a simple firmware upgrade alone;  it also requires changes to the hardware. Corsair are footing the shipping bill so at least it won’t cost you any money.

Even if you haven’t experienced any issues thus far, Corsair insist you return the drive immediately.

Head on over to Corsair’s forums for more info on their remediation plan.

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Corsair adds H60 to their cooling line-up

Corsair H60

Corsair announced it has started shipping its new CPU water-cooling solution, the H60. The comapny has been offering an easy-setup solution for water-cooling a processor for a few years now, and already has a H50 and H70 model.

This latest iteration of the company’s ‘Hydro’ cooler features a new micro-channel cold plate and a split-flow designed manifold and also brings to the game a new custom-designed fan for better cooling.

The Corsair Hydro Series H60 is a fantastic choice for cooling. With a new micro-channel cold plate and a split-flow designed manifold, the H60 brings remarkable new technologies to an affordable price point. If that weren’t enough, the H60 also features an all-new fan, custom designed to offer enhanced static pressure, which means better cooling.

The H60 is listed on Amazon for $80 making it an attractive option for anyone looking to overclock their CPU.

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Installing the Corsair A50/70? Piece of cake!

Corsair A70, bits and bobs

Thinking of buying an aftermarket cooler for your new (or not so new) processor? It can be a daunting task for newcomers; how much thermal paste do I use? Will the cooler fit in my case? Corsair want to simplify the procedure for even the novice PC builder. In what has turned into a regular series of video and written tutorials, Corsair have another handy guide on how to fit their new CPU air-cooler the A70/50.

With these step-by-step instructions, even our resident web designer could manage a fan-upgrade ..maybe.

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If you only knew the power of a custom-built gaming PC!

AlienBEware Episode V: The Wallet Strikes Back

If you only knew the power of a custom-built gaming PC!

Back in August I set out to build a decent PC gaming rig without breaking the bank. I wanted to show how much money can be saved when purchasing all the parts separately and assembling it yourself. For the price comparison I chose Alienware as they are pretty well-known for making high-end gaming PCs and Notebooks but with a hefty price-tag.

Since the PC is now built, I figured I’d follow the last post up with some performance benchmarks and updates on the changes made (notably the price). It has pretty much remained the same apart from the graphics card and a few minor changes. But the few minor changes have saved even more money. All the parts arrived about 2 weeks ago and I have found the time to put it together and run some benchmarks. So if you’re interested in building your own rig, read on if you want to see the kind of performance that can be attained on this budget.

The previous build came to a total of 1,534.79 Pounds Sterling, with Alienware costing almost double for practically identical specs. My slight hardware revision shaves even more off that price and weighs in at a more pocket-friendly 1,251 Pounds Sterling. That equates to $1,970.67 USD, but these parts are much cheaper in the U.S. as opposed to here in Europe so it would be even less expensive than that for my Yankee comrades.

Parts:

Processor: Intel i7 950 Quad CoreIntel Core i7 950

This is a great Quad-core processor with Hyper-threading. All cores run at 3.06GHz but individual cores can be bumped up in speed when applications don’t make use of all the cores. It has come down in price literally by 50% in the past few months, so as I was going i7 anyway, this was a no-brainer for me. Plus if you’re into overclocking the CPU, I’ve seen people reach 4GHz with ease (with a decent air/water-cooler).

Graphics card: MSI Cyclone GTX 460 1GB MSI Cyclone GTX 460

I can’t begin to praise this card enough. It cost me under 200 Euro; it runs silent, even while in game and has more than enough beef to handle any game I’ve thrown at it so far. The desktop temps are in the mid 20s and when I get out of a long stint of gaming, the card never gets hotter than 44 degrees. Plus this little mid-ranger is a Herculean overclocker, but more on that later.

The original build included an ATI 5970 but for one 22″ monitor that was a little overkill in retrospect.

Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-EAsus P6X58D-E

This board is basically the same as the Premium variant but with a few minor features missing. It’s the perfect budget-board for anyone interested in building an X58 system. It supports 3-way SLI and Quad-CrossfireX and has support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s, with all the usual ASUS features you would expect. Obviously it can house any Intel i7 processor, including the 6-core Gulftown.

System RAM: Corsair Dominator 3 x 2GBCorsair Dominator 1600MHz 3 x 2GB

This RAM performs very well. Although I had to adjust the frequency in the BIOS settings in order for the Corsair Dominator to run at its native speed of 1,600MHz.  But that was painless and literally took seconds.

Power supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M850

I went with the Cooler Master Silent Pro because it has an 80 Plus Bronze rating and got rave reviews pretty much across the board. It is extremely quiet (as the name
Cooler Master Silent Pro m850would imply), comes with a 5 year warranty and has ample power to feed my rig, even when I add another graphics card sometime down the line.

Modular PSU ftw!

 

PC case: Cooler Master HAF 932

Cooler Master HAF 932The Cooler Master HAF 932 is one of the main stars of this build, and is a shining beacon of engineering prowess. I cannot heap enough praise and when you look at the Amazon page, you’ll see others sharing in my enthusiasm. The case’s aesthetics are first and foremost what drew me in. It looks like something you’d find in Darth Vader’s chamber in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s black all around with some red LED lights on the front intake fan.

The case sports 3 x 230mm case fans; one that blows from the side door right over the graphics card and processor, the other sucking air from the front and one more venting heat out the roof of the case. There is also a smaller fan at the rear, sucking hot air out the back. I could literally cool beers inside this case, it’s pretty amazing. If you’re looking for something that will give you ample room to
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB (6GB/s)work in, have plenty of cable management holes, great air flow and killer looks, than I highly recommend the HAF 932 full-tower case from Cooler Master.

Hard drive: 640 GB Western Digital Caviar Black 6GB/s

I know a lot of you recommended an SSD, some were horrified that I would dare put a mechanical hard drive into a new gaming rig. But unfortunately price-per-gigabyte, I cannot justify spending money on these things just yet. I’m happy to see that the prices are coming down all the time, and I will add one in at a later stage, probably around the same time I pick up another GTX 460. For now though, the Caviar Black is a decent hard drive, very cheap and serves its purpose well. It’s limited to 7,200 RPM but I can live with that until SSDs come down a title more.

Mouse: Sidewinder X3
Microsoft Sidewinder X3I really like this mouse. I’ve always said that Microsoft make great mice, that last. This mouse feels like it was custom-made for my own hand. I can game for yours with no cramp or wrist pain to speak of. The only thing I would complain about is the buttons on the side are a little far to the front of the mouse. But other than it’s a cool little mouse and pretty darn cheap.

 

Keyboard: Sidewinder x4

Microsoft SideWinder X4I’ve been using laptop keyboards for damn near 8 years now so it was a little bit of a transition to get back into PC keyboards again, but once I got past that hurdle, this is one comfortable keyboard with a wrist-rest at the base. It has all the usual features from a gaming keyboard; like the ability to assign macros to certain keys, and the likes of volume control, play, stop, etc. Very good price. Plus the keys light up in red, which matches the LEDs at the front of the case..’nuff said!

Monitor: 22″ LG E2240T LEDLG Flatron E2240

This is one sweet little monitor, with a crisp clear image. Compared to the laptop I have been using for the past few years, this monitor is like sweeping the cobwebs from my eyes and getting a cornea upgrade. For the price, wow.

Continue reading

Corsair Obsidian 700D Computer Case Review

If you’re aiming for something big for your next PC case, perhaps the Obsidian 800D has been attractive to your eyes. If you almost fainted when you checked prices, you might be happy to know Corsair released the little brother: Obsidian 700D. At the moment of reviewing this case the 800D costs $254.99, while the 700D costs $239.99, bringing this product to a reachable level for many PC enthusiasts. You’ll notice the main differences are the non-existent side-panel window, and the removal of hot-swappable drives in the front of the chassis. While there are some other small differences which we’ll check across the review, those are the reasons to shave $15 to bring a very interesting product to a mid-high price level. Additionally, let me tell you some months ago, the difference between the 700D and 800D was bigger; going from $30 to $50 giving a bigger advantage to the 700D, but times have changed and the difference has been reduced to $15 only (newegg’s prices).

I’ll tell you some key-features about the Obsidian series. First of all, both Obsidian cases are full-tower sized, supporting E-ATX motherboards and down to Mini-ITX motherboards. Corsair has given their Obsidian products a very simple, yet elegant design, which brings a very interesting look for those who’re not aiming to “pimp” their PCs with tons of UV LEDs and LED fans. The CC700D also integrates a 3-chamber system inside of the case, which separates the motherboard/CPU/GPU space, from the PSU and internal drives. Perhaps, the most important feature is the incorporation of tons of rubber grommets to make cable management look like if it was built by a professional, and the inclusion of a completely tool-less installation (except for the expansion slots).

Corsair_700D_Frontview.jpg

The Obsidian 700D comes in a plain black color, and you’ll be surprised because you won’t find any other color inside or outside of it. Personally, I think a black painted interior is a must-have feature nowadays, but perhaps, some users would prefer to have it mixed with platinum or any other color, especially in the exterior. Corsair didn’t hesitate about doing a big case; this case is HUGE. Because of that, it must have tons of spaces to add fans and keep airflow within excellent conditions.

It’s all about thermal management, and various manufacturers have stepped up with a variety of solutions. There’s the “big case with a lot of fans” design, typified by the Cooler Master HAF series and the new NZXT Phantom, as well as the “isolated thermal zones” school of thought, embraced by the Corsair Obsidian 700D and taken to its ultimate expression by the Thermaltake Level 10.

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

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AlienBEware: Why You SHOULD build Your Own Gaming PC

AlienBEware: Why You SHOULD build Your Own Gaming PC

AlienBEware

For the past 10 years I’ve been living in a laptop-gaming fantasy land where games never run quite right and low frames-per-second are enough to give you migraine. So I decided a few weeks back to break the mold and build me a new gaming PC, an almighty Herculean flagship for the wrath of Directx 11 titles on the way, and of course for next year’s Rage and Doom 4.

But how much would it cost? And what was I going to put into it?

Back when I was building PCs it was much more of a pricey hobby. Intel Pentium III processors were all the rage, and if you had over 128mb of ram you were considered a little eccentric and on the fringes of the overclocking community. Times have changed though, and thanks to major competition we can build a high-end gaming PC with a fraction of the budget of 10 years ago.

Below is a chart showing how much I will be paying for my new dream rig, and how much it costs with a reputable PC builder. As you can see the savings speak volumes. But more on that later.

Currency My PC Alienware’s Price Money I Saved
Sterling: 1,534.79 3,029.01 1,494.21
Euro: 1,875.00 3,693.28 1,818.28
Dollars (US): 2,368.23 4,666.50 2,298.27

System Specs:

Full tower case: £116.99

I watched more case unboxing videos than I care to remember. There’s a lot of great choice out there when it comes to a PC enclosure. But at the end of the day I settled with the Coolermaster HAF 932. It has ample space, more than enough to accommodate the hardware I’ll be putting into it – with lots more room for anything that might happen a few years down the line. Plus it has 2 x 230mm fans and looks like something Darth Vader would use.

Coolermaster Haf 932

Power Supply: £118.99

If my CompTIA instructor taught me nothing else (and he didn’t) it was never to skimp on a power supply. This is important even more so in the last few years as graphics card power requirements are through the roof. ATI recommend a minimum of 650 Watts when powering their 5970 card. I went with a Cooler Master Silent Pro 850 Watt. If I choose to add another card sometime down the line this power supply (which comes with a 5 year warranty) will comfortably handle a dual-gpu setup.

Silent Pro 850w

Processor: £234.99

Right off the bat we’re going quad core. The price of Intel’s i7 processors are dropping significantly in 5 days time so now even the i7 950 is not out of reach for the cost-conscious gamer.

Everyone seems to be overclocking these chips with ease. It’s not something I plan on doing anytime soon but it’s nice to know that perhaps in a few years when it needs a bit of a kick, I can go into the bios and start fiddling with voltages and what-not. But with a stock speed of 3.06ghz this thing should be fine for the time being.

i7 950

Motherboard: £149.99

For the motherboard I’ll be buying the much lauded Asus P6X58D-E. This board is future-proof in supporting USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. It also can hold up the 24 GB of ram. I’m not sure if I’ll ever use that much ram, but I wouldn’t rule it out. It handles both SLI and Crossfire configurations with all the usual features you would expect from a premium ASUS board.

Asus P6X58D-E

GPU: £469.99

We’re not skimping on the processor or motherboard and the graphics card will be no different. For this rig I’ll be fitting a Sapphire Radeon HD 5970. I didn’t make this decision lightly, it’s still a pretty expensive card but nearly all the benchmarks I’ve seen put this dual graphics processing monster King of the DX11 range. It simply creams through any game out there. With 2gb of GDDR5 memory this card is likely to be a strong contender for the next few years. Let’s hope the price drops before I buy the card (which will be my last purchase).

Finally I can play games at 1080p resolution!

Sapphire HD5970

RAM: £169.99

For system memory (Ram) Corsair’s Dominator memory modules are top of most enthusiast’s list. These ultra-low latency DIMMs will find themselves right at home inside the case. I was going to go with 12gb of system memory, but after close examination of benchmarks and reading what the experts say I don’t think I can justify forking out the cash for 12gb. Even recently released games don’t recommend anything over 4gb.

Corsair Dominator

HDD: £47.99 x 2

My hard-drive setup will consist of 2 x 500gb Western Digital Caviar Black SATA 6Gb/s 64MB, in a RAID 0 configuration. I’ve never set up RAID before but the idea always intrigued me – the power of 2 hard drives working as one. I’m assuming it’s easier to setup than it was 10 years ago. It will be interesting to see just how much faster RAID 0 (or striped set) will perform.

WD Caviar

Monitor: £126.89

For the monitor I’ll be going with a 21.5 inch BenQ LED. I’m not too fussy about the screen as long as it supports a 1980x1080p resolution, which this monitor does comfortably. I’ve never used an LED monitor before so I’m looking forward to seeing how far technology has come in 10 years.

Benq LED

Keyboard/Mouse: £33.99 / £16.99

Keyboard and mouse will be Microsoft’s Sidewinder range (x4 and x3 respectively). I already bought the mouse and I can assure you it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever wrapped my right hand around.

So far I’ve purchased the case, power supply and mouse. It will be about 6-8 weeks before I have the rest of the hardware, but you can get an idea of what you’ll need to spend to build a high-end rig. For my money this pc has a good 3-4 years on the top of the gaming world before it will start to show its age with the very latest games.

Below is a list of the components – where I’m buying them an the cost (and no, I’m not getting any money from the companies I’m linking to ). :P

  • Sapphire Radeon HD5970 GPU £469.99
  • Coolermaster Silent Pro M 850 Watt Power Supply £118.99
  • Coolermaster Haf 932 Case £116.99
  • Asus P6X58D-E £149.99
  • Intel Core i7 950 £234.99
  • 6 GB of Corsair Dominator Ram @ 1600Mhz £169.99
  • 2 x 500gb Western Digital Caviar SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache £47.99 x 2
  • 21.5 inch BenQ LED 126.89
  • X3 Gaming Mouse £16.99
  • Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Keyboard £33.99
  • Building the Dream Machine with Alienware:

    I know Dell has taken over Alienware but that’s the first name that pops into my head when I think of high-end gaming PCs. So with that in mind I went over to Alienware’s UK website to build a PC with the exact same (almost) specifications to the one I’m building to see what the cost benefit is in building it myself.

    Alienware Area 51

    This Alienware Area-51 differs only in a 200mhz faster processor. I’m not sure what kind of motherboard, power supply or ram they have in that machine, but I can’t imagine it’s any better than what I have chosen for my PC (Asus, Coolermaster, Corsair etc).

    I’m aghast to the nth degree at the exorbitant pricing of Alienware’s flagship gaming PC with the build I specified. It boggles the mind thinking how this could actually be justified. I sincerely hope this is an eye-opener for anyone thinking of going for a pre-built gaming PC. Building one yourself is a piece of cake, and you’ll save a whole lot of cash in the process and likely end up with something more powerful and ultimately more personal than a mass-production assembly line could ever conjure up.

    Update: 27/10/2010:

    Since the PC is now built, I figured I’d follow this post up with some performance benchmarks and updates on the changes made (notably the price).

    Read about it in my new article:
    AlienBEware Episode V: The Wallet Strikes Back

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