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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Antec Mercury 360 Review

The Antec Mercury 360 AIO CPU Liquid Cooler - Size does matter!!


Antec has been a main stream player in the PC hardware industry for almost three decades now with a wide catalogue of products including AIOs and PSU. Their PSUs have been ground breaking and heavily trusted upon by enthusiasts and general consumers alike complimented by the lowest return rate in the industry! Talking about AIO Liquid Coolers, Antec started their lineup of AIOs with the H2O liquid coolers a few years back and now they've come up with their latest and refreshed lineup of Mercury AIO CPU Liquid coolers. Today thanks to Antec India I not only have a Mercury cooler for review but I have the magnanimous Antec Mercury 360 AIO CPU Liquid Cooler for review on the table!

Priced in at £104 or Rs 8,500 in India the Antec Mercury 360 is as the name suggests a 360mm AIO unit with an all new pump design and three 120mm blue LED fans that are swappable/removable, unlike the H2O series, and are mounted on an aluminum radiator. The Mercury series coolers come in three sizes namely as 120mm, 240mm and the 360mm that we have today. The new Antec Mercury CPU Cooler Series is engineered to keep the CPU cool for up to 50,000 hours and are also backed by the Antec five-year warranty period.
Note - Antec has also released a RGB lineup of the Mercury cooler which technically are identical to the normal Mercury coolers such as the one we have today but just feature Asus Aura Sync compatible RGB pump and fans instead of the static blue ones.

What's in the Box!?


We get the Mercury 360 in a big cardboard box which is quite heavy and sturdy considering the weight that it contains within which is a very good sign keeping safety in mind during transit. It is mainly white with hues of blue and a black background on top with the product image imprinted along with the Mercury 360 written boldly and proudly. At the bottom you also find all the features and specifications briefly highlighted by graphical representations.

Inside the box we have everything securely resting in plastic bags and covers nestled inside a molded cardboard frame for extra cushioning and organized packing. For a heavy and big unit such as this I'm really happy with the sturdy packing material that Antec chose to go with.

Laying out all the contents on the table and we see that its a lot of stuff and I mean a lot of tiny stuff that you can easily lose and then repent for! Inside the box Antec has placed the Mercury 360 radiator with its three 120mm blue LED PWM fans along with their mounting screws and washers, eSATA to mini USB power connector, 3pin to triple 4pin fan adapter, a big tube of thermal paste, a multi lingual installation and warranty guide and all the necessary mounting hardware for Intel platforms including the LGA2011 socket and for AMD platforms including the very latest AM4 socket. Sadly this cooler is not compatible with AMD Threadripper CPUs and has no TR4 brackets. I'm a bit disappointed with this since a latest 360mm AIO such as this should be compatible with Threadripper as it has all the potential to keep those chips cool.

Let's take a Closer Look!


The Antec Mercury 360 is a lot different from its predecessors and features a more conventional pump-radiator-fan arrangement with detachable fans and big pump that's entirely different both in terms of design and technology.

Starting from the pump itself we have a LED backlit Antec logo on top of the unit which changes color with respect to the temperature of the CPU. The pump is is made out of carbon metal and is wrapped by a white plastic enclosure to damp the noise and also probably to make it look brighter with white. This is their new silent design which has a three-phase motor pump  featuring a ceramic axis with graphite bearings to produce water pressure of 2.3 meters with a flow rate of 3.5 liters per minute. This on paper is very impressive and should be there not to bottleneck the huge 360mm radiator that its connected to.

The pump also has a mini USB port on one side and it draws power from here only via the provided micro USB to SATA connector, its an old technique that Antec has been carrying forward from their older AIOs. Not a huge fan of this but if you have a SATA connector to spare from your PSU ,which most of us have, then its a good approach to shed the load off the motherboard fan connectors without compromising upon the pump's performance.


The pump has a copper base which comes covered by a plastic film and no thermal compound is preapplied over here. Upon looking at the copper base-plate we see that it is really clean and smoothly finished and is not an off the mill design which should help in better heat transfer for this unit no doubt.

The tubing on the Mercury 360 is a 330mm long Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tube which is also Teflon coated for more durability and extra leak protection. These are attached to the pump and radiator quite nicely and can bend at a full 90° to ease the installation process.

Antec has used a aluminum radiator on the Mercury 360 which measure in at 394x119x27 mm and has a high fin density of 16FPI (Fin per Inch) which should be there for a product of this stature. The build quality of this unit is solid and doesn't feel light or flimsy from any angle, support for upto six 120mm fans making a push pull configuration is its big plus point. As for the aesthetics Antec has done nothing odd or out of the world here but just put their logo at one end creating a minimalist design.


We get three 120mm blue LED lit PWM fans with the Antec Mercury 360. These are rated at a maximum speed of 1800RPM with 73.31CFM airflow, 2.25mm H2O static pressure and 30dBA noise. The white ring on the fans are blue LED lit and don't change color but do brighten down or flash at times. As for the noise we see that Antec has added white rubber grommets on all four sides to dampen the noise and vibration that they might originally create.

Time for the fun part - Installation   


Over here I'm going to test the Antec Mercury 360 over my Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5P motherboard which is an Intel platform and also can get really hot at times. For this we'll be using all the parts shown in the picture above with the fans all screwed an mounted on top of the radiator securely.
All we need is the power cable for the pump, the fan header extension cable, the thermal compound, the Intel brackets for the pump, screws and stand offs for the LGA2011 socket and retention screws.
In case you plan to use the cooler with any of the other AMD or Intel platform just swap LGA 2011 kit with the Intel or AMD/AMD AM4 backplate and the pump bracket with the AMD/AMD AM4 brackets as everything else would remain the same.

Once ready I'm very much happy with the outcome as the installation is quite simple for any platform for this cooler and infact Antec has eased upon and improved in the installation department of their AIOs which with the H2O series was quite painful at times! Obviously it not the best and needs a few more tweaks and improvements like for example the screw height is a bit too much even when fully tightened when using the LGA 2011 platform for the tube to bend fully on the side and obstructs the path even though the tube can bend at a full 90° which can be improved upon more flexibility and ease especially when someone is installing this or any of the other Mercury series coolers in a tight chassis with less space to work around in.

Let's put it to Test!

For testing the performance of the Antec Mercury 360 we'll be using the following test bench -

CPU: Intel Core i7 5930K
Motherboard: Gigabyte X99 Gaming 5P
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
Cooler: Antec Mercury 360
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti G1 Gaming 4GB OC
Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Before I move on any further I'd like to mention that as per Antec the LED on the pump is supposed to change colors with respect to the CPU temperatures in the fashion of  Blue for less than 48°C, Green for 49°C-60°C and Red for greater than 60°C which however did not happen in my case and the LED was breathing a solid blue color throughout the duration of our tests. Upon researching about it further I came to know that Antec has installed the thermistor inside the head of water cooling which implies that the LED doesn't change color wrt the CPU temperature but wrt the temperature of the coolant flowing through the pump. So even if my CPU was say running at around 65°C for more than half and hour or more the LED changed color to green and not red or something. this also happened only after half and hour or more of consistent high temperatures on the CPU as the coolant doesn't heat up that easily and always remains less than the CPU temperature by around 20°C-25°C.

Coming back to the testing of the cooler firstly, the CPU is kept at stock speeds with boost enabled and temperatures are measured both at idle and at full load. Then we overclock our Intel i7 5930K to 4.5Ghz at 1.75v which is a bit more than what my chip requires to reach that frequency but I had to add some extra heat to it, the same process as that for the stock speed testing is repeated. Temperature is measured using HW monitor with an average being taken of the temperatures recorded on all six cores. MSI Kombuster utility is what I prefer to stress test the CPU at all twelve threads, I run it for a good 15 minutes before recording the temperatures since by then the temperatures reach a saturation point.
Secondly, the pump is plugged directly into the SATA connector while the fans are plugged into the motherboard fan header via the provided fan extension cable. Fan profile was kept at default from the BIOS itself to rule out any discrepancy whatsoever.
The readings would be shown in delta temperature that is after subtracting the ambient temperature of the room while noise levels are recorded from a distance of three feet from the cooler which is a reasonable and practical distance for such tests.

Temperature wise we can see that the Antec Mercury 360 does a fabulous job for a 360mm AIO cooler especially at overclocked frequencies where its massive size comes into play. Considering my ambient temperature is high and the fan profiles are set to default I'm sure if you set the fan speeds to full or to performance in a cooler environment the results would be even better.

The cooler is a bit noisy I'd say when the system is under full load but at idle state the units is barely audible. Considering its size and the three 120mm fans that come into play the cooler is one of the quietest coolers in its category if not the quietest. The rubber cladding on the pump and the rubber gaskets on the fans do help a lot and minimize the noise levels, without these I'm sure the story would've been quite different.

My Verdict

I've not been a fan of Antec AIO coolers for one reason or the other but that was till I got my hands on the Antec Mercury 360! Antec has almost made everything perfect about this cooler with only a few minor cons which are easily outweighed by the pros that it has to offer.
The radiator and pump are all solid in build and look elegant from every possible corner with no unnecessary RGB nonsense! Tubing is good but the anti kink design is a bit old now can be replaced by a simple straight tube if not something that is sleeved. Cooling performance is really good for a cooler of this category and its true power is seen when the processor is overclocked so yet again its proven that this cooler is only meant for people who plan to run really hot/overclocked systems as at stock you'll be better off with a smaller unit. Mercury 360 is one of the quietest 360mm AIOs out there today and that is all because of the rubber cladding on the pump and the gaskets on the fans which is a very good move on part of Antec. They've compromised raw performance at the cost of silence but you can always swap them with aftermarket fans from any other brand with higher RPM to reap this unit's full benefit.
The blue LED is subtle and bright enough to impart a sense of style to the cooler & also changes color with the temperature but I would've loved to have control over its behavior in terms of temperature limits for the LED colors and even turn it completely off if required.
"All in all the Antec Mercury 360 is a step in the right direction and would appeal to enthusiasts and gamers alike with enough elegance to woo in some modders aswell who want something different from the usual and boring AIOs."
Pros-
  • Solid Build Quality
  • Easy Installation
  • Great Performance 
  • Supports push-pull configuration 
  • Silent
  • Aggressively priced 
Cons - 
  • Tubing could be better
  • Not compatible with AMD Threadripper
  • No software to control the LED behavior
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

HyperX Cloud Stinger Review

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is here but does it have enough to Sting dead the competition!?


Kingston has been around the block for many years now and wooing in PC enthusiasts & gamers alike with their impressive and sturdy line of memory and storage devices. But lately in an attempt to explore new territories & regaining lost ones they are expanding their presence in the world of gaming headsets and boy they are making ripples for sure! Their Cloud Stinger has been one such attempt which cemented its legacy as one of the best gaming headsets in the industry offering a balance of almost everything one can ask for at an unbelievable price point.

At just around $50 or Rs 3,500 in India the HyperX Cloud Stinger utilizes 50mm neodymium drivers to deliver a thump pumping audio quality at a maximum 18Khz all working perfectly with almost any device you can name of including PC, cell phones, tablets and even gaming consoles of the latest generation.
With an impedance of 30 Ohms and a maximum output power of 150mW we're looking at around a 50mW output higher and almost-double the Ohms on offer than competing headsets, once again accentuating the HyperX quality I have experienced in the past.

What's in the Box!?


HyperX Cloud Stinger comes to us in the HyperX signature packing style and color scheme. The box is mainly black with hues of wine red in terms of color scheme and has the product image right in the center of the box occupying most of the real estate. Product name is written on the top left side and its major selling point of wide compatibility with various devices is clearly stated on top.

Open the box and you find the headset resting securely in a foam cavity covered by another foam sheet which is placed inside a black cardboard box for extra protection.

The packaging included the Stinger headset, an extension cum splitter cable and a welcome card from Kingston Technologies. This is quite a basic packing and accessory set but i don't expect anything extra for a product at this price point so nothing to complain over here.

A look at the Stinger!



Looking at the headset itself we see that it is an all black product which is made out of premium quality plastic and has the HyperX logo on each cup. The cups have steel sliders extension & can rotate a full 90° inwards for easy storage and wearing around the neck. We also find the signature memory foam on these cups which we are used to seeing on every HyperX headset by now and these foam cups are really good in terms of comfort and designing so we hope the same from the Stinger aswell.


The headband is also made out of plastic and has the HyperX logo on top with the memory foam underlying it. Also the unidirectional mic on the left earcup is flexible which can be bend into an orientation as per the users requirement and is easy to mute and activate with an easy swivel, put it up and its off and pull it down to your mouth and its active.



The right earcup has has a volume slider to adjust the in game volume and its quite easily accessible compared to an in line volume controller if you ask me which sometimes gets lost swinging around with the wire. Also the wire on the HyperX Cloud Stinger is not braided but covered with silicon which is non sticky and doesn't kink. The wire ends up in a four pole single 3.5mm jack  and is 1.7m long which can be further extended with the Y-Splitter 1.3m cable ideally for PCs and Laptops.

Time to hit the Chords!

Gaming Performance 


Since the HyperX Cloud Stinger aims at gaming, obviously, we tested it with some of our all time favorites, Crysis 3 and Battlefield 1 for its excellent blend of audio, Middle Earth: Shadow of War for its pitch perfect environmental sounds and NFS: Rivals well simply 'coz I like that game!
In Crysis 3 we had no issue whatsoever in listening to or understanding what Prophet was saying and noises were greatly distinguished in the heat of battle, even of the crickets in the NY jungle! Battlefield 1 came out fully immersive especially when it came to sitting inside the battle tanks or listening to aerial bombing happening across the field. In Shadow of War we could really feel the voices coming from different directions and interestingly even though the bass on these headphones are acceptable they didn't distort the sounds of footsteps from behind and I was able to pin point the enemy location making it a great choice for eSport players including CS:GO. The engines of Bugatti or Lamborghini never revved any better and we were blown away by the deep bass these cups had to offer.
Also the mic is static free and picks up noise at low levels, a bit of a nasal comes in but with a bit of an adjustment that can be taken care of. Even though its quite flexible I didn't feel it to be flimsy at all in terms of build quality which is quite good since we adjust the mic often during gaming sessions.

Music, Movies & Miscellaneous Stuff


For movies and music I plugged in the Cloud Stinger into a ALC 1220 codec based audio solution on my PC motherboard and also we tested it with an Apple iPhone 5S and iPhone 7 for basically musical playback. Firstly we went in for a wide variety like the dialogue intensive Schindler's List & 12 Years a Slave to high pitch titles like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Fast and the Furious 8, all came out in exceptional quality.
Bryan Adam's Heaven and some of my all time favorite Bollywood songs sounded great with exceptional lows accompanied by a good treble. Eminem Legacy and Rap God were as clear as they can be with bass nearing perfection for a gaming headset, even at full volume songs from 3 Doors Down, Motorhead or Metallica didn't crack displaying the true power of the 50mm drivers that it uses. The only issue that one might face is with the mids here since they tend to get over shadowed by the lows and the high bass which is quite common for gaming headsets but for this price I can't really much complain but only appreciate the great audio quality that these cups have to offer.

My Verdict

HyperX as a gaming brand doesn't really disappoint with its offerings but with the HyperX Cloud Stinger it has not only delivered a yet another impressive product but its a game changer for the budget gamer. The headset is not build like a tank but is sturdy due to the high quality of plastic used and the steel sliders instead of plastic ones which impart some rigidity to the whole frame.
The cups are soft and don't make the ear too hot or itchy due to sweating even after long usage, I like the fact that they rotate to a 90° making it easy to wear around and also store in a drawer or carry bag. Mic is good and you can't ask for anything more for a $50 price tag but the real shiner is the audio quality that the Stinger offers. Its clear, crisp and to the point for hardcore gaming and even for casual music and movies a times. I've seen headsets almost double or more the price of the Stinger offering inferior audio quality so the Stinger sure shines out here for sure.
"The HyperX Cloud Stinger is build solid, sounds perfect, looks great and is priced to the point making it a perfect recommendation for every gamer on a budget who wants a bang for their buck & even more!"
Pros -
  • Looks good
  • Aptly priced
  • Good Sound quality 
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Cups rotate at 90°
  • Mic is quite clear and receptive
Cons - 
  • Made out of plastic
I give it a 9/10 earning our Gold award! 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Meet your new Travel Buddy - Astrum HT600 Leather Headset

Astrum India announces Travel friendly; Fold & Pack Leather Headset ‘HT600’ for Rs.
4990/-

  • Upto 8 hours of Music & 96 hours of standby, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Flexsoft comfort fit for longer hours with Superior Noise Cancellation
    Technology
Astrum, one of the leading ‘new technology’ brand known for its innovation and intelligent solutions announces the launch of its newest ‘HT600 Leather Headset’ The Good news you don’t have to break the bank to get Headphones that offer crisp sound and punchy bass.

No wires, no external noise, a lightweight and comfortable Astrum Headband that folds into a box and of course, perfect sound quality – Its Fold, Pack and GO! The Bluetooth Headphone features an updated twist folding design, which allows for compact storage and comes with its own hard shell case and a pouch too.
Devised with a hinge, the headphone comes with a case that allows user to fold away tidily when not in use and also makes it easy to stash in the sleek carrying case. The folding headband in leather ensures the perfect snug fit with foam ear cups that ensures comfort fit for every activity – be it Music, Movies or more. The premium on ear headphones comes with noise cancelling technology that shuts out the world and lets you focus on your music. The Headset with 3.5mm drivers gives a full range audio with deep bass, a strong medium register and clear highs. Furthermore, HT600, comes with handy controls that are all conveniently placed on the outside of the earpiece – So simply Pause, Rewind & Play!

Speaking on the launch of the Headphone, Mr. Manoj Kumar Pansari – CEO, Astrum Electronics says, “One of our most awaited launch – HT600 Headset. The superior sound isolation technology, robust construction and swiveling earcups guarantee you will be enjoying Good Music for years to come. It’s not just a buy, but an investment towards Good Music
The headset supports Bluetooth Version 4.0 so you can pair 2 mobiles at one go, and also operate the phone while in use. The Headset also comes with in-built microphone which allows you to make and receive calls. With built in NFC Technology, simply pair by touch to non-stop music.With standby time of upto 96 hours and 8 hours of talking or listening Music, let your playlist do the wonder every weekend! In shades of Black, the product is available with leading retail stores in India.

About Astrum
Since the inception in Hongkong in 2008 until now, with key aim of the Brand remains unchanged: to enable people to get worldwide access to new technologies, in the field of consumer electronics. Whether it is for Mobile Accessories, Audio devices, IT or LED Lights, they too have a complete range of Car Charger, Car mobile holders come in car accessories. Also smart device as a different category. Astrum has put all the efforts to break the trade-off between innovation, quality and cost. Astrum is known to provide robust, reliable – yet affordable high tech devices all around the globe. With the key vision, to think smart and challenge the norm by creating exceptional products that are innovative and serve the purpose of enhancing the way people live,Astrum aims to make people ‘Experience the Difference’. Part of this extensive portfolio of is an unparalleled range of over 1000+ unique products across 40 categories in 17 Countries across the Globe.

ATI Electronics launches Philips Power Banks in India

ATI Electronics launches Philips Power Banks and other Mobile
Accessories in India; signs exclusive deal with Flipkart.

Mumbai, November 28, 2017: ATI Electronics India Pvt Ltd, the exclusive OEM
partner and distributor for Philips Accessories in India has recently announced its
foray in the Indian market. Known for its best-in- class quality and hi-end technology,
the brand has launched a host of products under its umbrella for the technology
segment like Power Banks, Bluetooth headsets, Micro, HDMI and Lightening Cables,
Chargers and Surge Protectors among others.

There aren’t many well-known multi-national brands serving the mobile accessories
segment in India. With its foray, ATI Electronics aims to fill the void in the higher end
of the mobile accessories market. Power Banks being most popular among the
various products launched by the Company, ATI is launching around 10 models of
Power Bank for the style and quality conscious consumers, varying from 2600mAh to
13000mAh. In addition, ATI Electronics is also launching High Speed HDMI Cables,
fast charging Apple sync and lighting cables, Car & home wall chargers and Universal
Power Sockets (Surge Protectors) among others.
The brand is being launched in India this week. The products are aggressively priced
between Rs.199/- and Rs.2,999/-. ATI Electronics has tied up with Flipkart to sell
some of the premium Philips Power Banks exclusively on its online marketplace.

Speaking about the foray into the Indian market, Mr. Murli Manohar Jha, CEO, ATI
Electronics India Pvt. Ltd., said, “India is one of the fastest growing market for mobile
accessories in the world and the second largest growing market for smart phones.
The growth in smart phone sales is bound to spike the demand for mobile
accessories and we fit in at the higher end of the market. The manner in which India
adopt new technological innovations, makes it one of the most lucrative market for
any tech Brand. We are proud to partner and bring Philips Accessories to India and
are happy that we have finally entered this market and look forward to a great
association with Flipkart.


Sharing his views about the exclusive tie-up, Mr. Hari Kumar - Senior Director,
Electronics at Flipkart said, "We are excited to be the exclusive partner for the
launch of Philips Mobile Charging portfolio. Philips would be a strong brand addition
in the Mobile Charging space where we are the undisputed market leaders. Power
Bank is a focus category for Flipkart in Electronic Accessories where we have more
than 70% of the online and nearly 25% of the All India market share. As a market
leader, Flipkart is continuously solving for wider selection availability, affordable
pricing with unmatched service levels.
"

ATI Electronics India Pvt Ltd is in the process of establishing its chain of distribution
network all across India. Soon, Philips Accessories will be available all across India on
both online and multi brand offline mobile stores. For more information, please visit
www.atielectronics.in.

About ATI Electronics:
ATI Electronics India Pvt Ltd, is an affiliate of ATI Electronics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd, a
Sino-US multinational electronics contract manufacturing JV, established in 1999.
Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, it is one of the largest electronics OEM
manufacturer, specializing in Bluetooth & Wireless products. At present the
company is innovating in the field of Smart Home and IOT. With its in-house most
modern R&D facilities, the company caters to brands like Samsung, Philips,
Motorola, Altec Lansing etc. ATI Electronics India Pvt Ltd has been formed with the
vision of participating in Government of India’s “Make In India” program and bring
their manufacturing innovation and expertise to the Indian market. The company is
also planning to establish its state of the art assembly cum manufacturing unit in the
City of Bangalore, Karnataka.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Corsair Launches ML Pro “Magnetic Levitation” RGB LED Fans

Corsair ML Pro series fans are here!

 
Following the release of its non-RGB ML fans in 2016, Corsair has now announced the new ML Pro RGB fans that bring RGB LED lighting to the series. The new fans finally marry RGB lighting with Corsair’s magnetic-levitation bearing technology.

The defining aspect of Corsair’s ML series of fans is its use of a magnetic bearing. We spoke with Corsair about this technology at Computex 2016. In short, the magnetic bearing levitates the fan stem in the fan hub so that there is no surface-to-surface contact. The resulting reduction in friction gives the fan an exceptionally long life and wide RPM range.

The new ML Pro RGB fans add RGB lighting to the mix. They have four lighting zones that emanate from the fan hub and diffuse across their frosted fan blades. Like all of Corsair’s RGB products, the ML Pro RGB fans tie into Corsair’s lighting ecosystem, which is extensive and fairly confusing.
 
Corsair’s RGB fans have separate connections for LED and motor control. The latter, which works like it does for any regular computer fan, is attached to a motherboard or fan hub. On the other hand, the LED control uses a proprietary connector that goes to a Corsair RGB LED Hub which in turn goes to one of Corsair’s many different RGB lighting control modules. Among the basic ones available are the HD Lighting Controller, which has physical switches to cycle among pre-programmed patterns, and the Lighting Node Pro, which has a USB connection for control from Corsair’s Link driver software.

Back to the ML Pro RGB fans themselves, they are largely the same as their non-RGB counterparts. They're available in 120mm and 140mm versions, and their “Pro” designation means that they have interchangeable rubber corners. There is one very important difference, however: lower maximum RPM on the RGB fans. The 120mm and 140mm RGB fans go to 1600 RPM and 1200 RPM respectively, as opposed to 2400 RPM and 2000 RPM for the non-RGB ones.
Corsair is not the only company that uses magnetic bearings, nor is it the only company making advanced RGB LED fans, but there aren’t many competitors tying the two together. Further, the ML Pro RGB fans are not Corsair’s most advanced in terms of LED lighting. Its LL series of fans feature a lit fan hub and a lit band that's embedded in the fan frame. However, that has a more conventional hydraulic bearing with a lower life span. It has only a two-year warranty, compared to the ML series’ five-year warranty. 

The 120mm and 140mm ML Pro RGB fans are available individually now on Corsair’s site at $35 and $40, respectively. Multi-packs (these include an RGB Lighting Hub and Lighting Node Pro) of three 120mm fans and two 140mm fans are also available for $120 and $100, respectively.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Review

The Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC is here, will it deliver or is just another card with a mouthful for a name!?


The Pascal architecture from Nvidia has been a total juggernaut burning every competition and record to cinders especially with it main stream and high end cards that keep on getting better and better with new models rolling out with time. Last we heard from Nvidia in the Pascal architecture was in form of the Titan X Pascal which well is a Titan in graphical performance but eight months since its release Nvidia brought out the GTX 1080 Ti the successor to the GTX 1080 dethroning the latter as the new flagship gaming oriented card.
Thanks to Asus India today we have with us our very first GTX 1080 Ti for review on the table and this is nothing but the very best the segment has to offer, we have with us the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition for review.

Priced in at $800 or Rs 79,600 in India the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition comes with an all new cooler design and is equipped with 3584 CUDA Cores, 224 Texture Units, a 352-bit memory controller and 11 GB of  GDDR5X memory. The card is based on the same Pascal 16nm FinFet architecture & has the same GP102 GPU as the TITAN X Pascal, but the GTX 1080 Ti is slightly reconfigured and also features a GB less of that ultra fast GDDR5X memory.
The card is clocked in at 1569Mhz out of the box and 1595Mhz using the OC Mode while the memory is at 1376Mhz and 1389Mhz in the OC Mode, this gives the GTX 1080 Ti OC edition  a massive 484GB/s of bandwidth which is enough to handle any title in the market at 4K resolution, finally!

What's in the Box?


Asus brings the ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti in a big-heavy cardboard box which is mainly black in color with hints of green on the sides. The STRIX and ROG logo along with the graphics card image occupy most of the real estate on the packing while the Aura and VR ready logos are printed clearly at the bottom and the very top right side.

On the back side the box boasts about the 3 years warranty that the card comes with along with various technical and physical features that then GTZ 1080 Ti comes loaded with such as the patented fan blade design, two times more contact area for the cooler, Aura sync etc.


Inside the outer cover you will find a big black box with the STRIX logo printed right in the center. Open this and you get a small envelop nestled inside a foam cavity under which the GTX 1080 Ti rests in a thick foam block wrapped in an anti static plastic bag.

On the accessories front the box included the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Graphics Card along with the driver DVD, user manual, ROG velcro cable ties and a power cable Y-splitter. All in all the packaging is to the point and protective enough to keep this beefy card safe and secure during transit.

Take a Closer Look


The GTX 1080 Ti from Asus is an elegant looking card with an all black matte finish and a triple fan design which looks old but is infact an all new cooler design to keep this card cool even under extreme loads.

The unit weights at 1.3Kg and measures in at 29.8x13.4x5.25 cm making it one of the longest and thickest cars you can find on the market today. Infact the card occupies two and a half expansion slots so keep this in mind before buying this card as it can pose an issue for ITX users going for a compact build.

At the back the backplate is smooth and decorated with abstract designs all over the surface and the Asus and STRIX logo near the top end. We also find the ROG eye logo at one corner which is RGB LED lit and imparts the signature ROG look to this GTX 1080 Ti from Asus.

The Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC will offer five display connectors; you'll spot two 1.2 certified Display Ports, two HDMI 2.0b connectors and a DVI port. The dual HDMI arrangement is done with VR in mind.
This sort of arrangement enables 4K displays at 120Hz, 5K displays at 60Hz, and 8K displays at 60Hz (using two cables) making the GTX 1080 Ti the best in class for UHD gaming, recording and streaming purposes.

The ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti uses a triple fan cooling solution with new IP5X dust resistant patented fan design for better-reliable cooling and air flow experience. There are six heatpipes embedded inside the thick aluminum heatsink with a nickle plated copper base that makes 40% more contact with the GPU surface for more efficient cooling with lower noise levels. these fans don't spin at upto 55°C and after that they start spinning in an ordered fashion with the right one spinning first followed by the center fan and then the last left fan when the temperature reached above 60°C to eliminate unnecessary noise. It is also sounds and looks kind of cool to me so a few extra brownie points for this kind of implementation.


At the bottom side the entire graphics card is clean with no heatpipe or anything protruding outside of the huge plastic shroud but just the PCIe connector at one end. While at the top we can see ssupport for power connectors and SLI connectors, yes you can even SLI this monster if you have the need and money well more of money than need I'd say!
The rear houses the LED strip header, as well as two extra fan headers that will spin attached chassis fans at the graphics card fan RPM. Fan headers are fine but having LED strip header on a graphics card is kind of odd as not only motherboards offer that in plenty these days but also if you connect one to these heads routing them across the chassis would be a headache if at all possible.

To power the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC we have two 8-pin PCIe power connectors on top which make it cable of withdrawing a massive 375W on paper which is quite a lot over the 250W that is there on the reference model. You can expect a nice overclocking headroom with this much power just in case you are into overclocking or need to overclock this card at all.

Benchmarks and Overclocking



Installing the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC was easy and it powered up like a breeze once we booted up the system.
GPUZ reported the correct frequencies with 1569Mhz on the clock and 1376Mhz on the memory.
For benchmarking the graphics card our new test bench was as follows -

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @3.6Ghz
Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero
RAM: GALAX HOF 32GB 3600Mhz
Cooler: Stock AMD Wraith RGB Air Cooler
Graphics Card: Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition
Storage: Kingston A400 256GB
Secondary Storage: Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX860i 860W
Case: Corsair Obsidian 750D
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Overclocking the STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC was a simple process and using the Asus GPU Tweak II or any other utility yielded the same results. The highest frequency with respect to performance gains that we could obtain on our sample was 1669Mhz on the clock and 1586Mhz on the memory, anything above this either gave poor results, white dots or even system freeze. Overclocking is dependent largely upon your sample so your results would largely depend upon your card. Overclocking wise its a great yield with 6.3% increase on the clock and 15.2% on the memory, I'm sure more is possible but I couldn't take it any further due to the limited time that I got with this card but nonetheless I'm happy with what I've got here.

AIDA64 Extreme edition GPGPU

The AIDA64 GPGPU test not only calculates the read, write and copy speed of the graphics card and processor but is also very useful in observing the SHA-1 Hash and AES-256 score. These are indications of how well the GPU can handle number crunching or real life image or video rendering. Higher score shows a better card.

3DMark Fire Strike and Time Spy

Fire Strike and Time Spy by 3D Mark is a test suit that plays a cinematic scene to determine the FPS, GPU temperature and CPU temperature scaling everything via a cumulative score. It is a great tool to benchmark your GPU since the render is mostly GPU & memory dependent.

Battlefield 1


The latest installation to the Battlefield franchise and mind it the grandest one of them all aswell, Battlefield 1 is a prequel to the infamous Battlefield 1942 placing the players right in the middle of World War 1. Based on the latest Frostbite Engine by EA-DICE, Battlefield 1 takes advantage of DirectX 12 with asynchronous compute to weave together richly detailed worlds. It is heavily taxing on current-generation hardware, and you're handsomely rewarded for investing more into your graphics setup. Settings are at Ultra preset with full HD resolution.

Ashes of the Singularity 


The latest installation to the Battlefield franchise and mind it the grandest one of them all aswell, Battlefield 1 is a prequel to the infamous Battlefield 1942 placing the players right in the middle of World War 1. Based on the latest Frostbite Engine by EA-DICE, Battlefield 1 takes advantage of DirectX 12 with asynchronous compute to weave together richly detailed worlds. It is heavily taxing on current-generation hardware, and you're handsomely rewarded for investing more into your graphics setup. Settings are at Ultra preset with full HD resolution.Developed by Oxide Games & running on the Nitrous Game Engine Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game set in the future where descendants of humans (called Post- Humans) and a powerful artificial intelligence (called the Substrate) fight a war for control of a resource known as Turinium.
We've used the in-built benchmarking tool and the result is shown in an average of all the graphical tests conducted over various locations and topographies of the game. DX12 API, Quality set to Extreme, 4xMSAA and everything else to high.

Prey 


After releasing the excellent Dishonored 2 France-based Arkane Studios hits it out of the park again with Prey, a first-person shooter published by Bethesda Softworks as a reboot from 11 years ago.
Unveiled at E3 2016, Prey uses the CryEngine graphics engine and audio from Audiokinetic's Wave Works Interactive Sound Engine (Wwise). It is exclusively DX11 based so no DX12 or Vulkan testing is possible.

Rise of The Tomb Raider


The latest installation of Lara Croft in the spectacular Rise of the Tomb Raider 2016 with stunning graphics and rich location makes it a great game to benchmark with while enjoying in the due course! We used DX12 and settings were at Ultimate on full HD resolution.

Call of Duty: WWII


Call of Duty: WWII is a first-person shooter video game developed by Sledgehammer Games and published by Activision. Not only is it a a gamer's delight but a graphics card nightmare when all the settings are cranked up offering real life graphics and optimized gameplay.

GTA V


Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. If you like open world adventure then this is something that you don't wanna miss with great graphics, catchy story line and unlimited potential for mods that keep coming in and out every now and then on the web. Our settings are as follows with very high quality, 16xAF, 2xMSAA and FXAA enabled.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus


Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is an action-adventure first-person shooter video game developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda Softworks. Not only doe it put you in the shoes of a futuristic armored suit, yey suits are back, but also gives you the ability to mow down everyone with all guns blazing! The game is well optimized but beats down upon the graphics card at all settings cranked up resulting in high power draw and heat generation.

The Evil Within 2


The Evil Within 2 is a third-person survival horror video game developed by Tango Gameworks and published by Bethesda Softworks for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I personally love playing this game these days in dark room specifically, your preferences might be otherwise. Great gameplay and a well optimized graphical engine make sit a treat for the gamer aswell as for their graphics cad.

Noise & Temperature 


The fans on the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition don't spin till the card hits 55°C or more. We recorded the maximum temperature in Celsius that our card hit during extensive gaming & sound was measured in decibels from a distance of 3 feet. This was performed for both stock and overclocked speeds.

My Verdict 

The GTX 1080 Ti from Nvidia in itself is a winner no doubt with little to no cons but the Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition takes it a notch further with its plethora of technical and physical features. Talking about aesthetics the card is absolutely beautiful & elegant with its all black shroud and immaculate implementation of RGB LEDs which is neither too less nor is a Christmas tree! This makes it suitable for almost all builds where you wan tto show off your card using a riser cable or just simply put it fans down and flaunt the huge ROG eye logo at the back.
Asus has done a great job by changing the DirectCU cooler and using the new one as it surely does what its meant to do that is keeping the card cool even under extensive loads without generating unnecessary noises provided you have a good air flow in your case since the GTX 1080 Tis generate a lot of heat under load. Its raw gaming performance is unmatched especially in the UHD domain from what I've heard and seen in other reviews, sadly I couldn't test it on such high resolutions.
Overclocking wise the card is not a slouch either and yields some impressive results with minor tweaks. This is all thanks to the 10+2 phase power delivery system that it uses along with the dual 8-pin power connectors which give it enough headroom to do so.
"The Asus ROG STRIX GTX 1080 Ti OC Edition is a gem of a card with a price tag like the same and is recommended to anyone who is looking for a 4K delight provided he can afford one! It ticks all the right boxes and is near perfect with the right blend of raw performance and tank like looks!"
Pros - 
  • Looks great
  • Exceptional performance 
  • Overclocks well
  • Runs cool under load
  • Quiet cooling solution
Cons - 
  • A bit expensive
I give it a 9/10 earning our Gold Award!