CasesOtherReviews

Battle of the Boutiques Part 2: A4-SFX | S1 | SM550 | SM560

The following article is for Part 2 of our multi-part review. If you haven’t already seen it, you can view Battle of the Boutiques Part 1 here. We had originally intended to release the 2nd and final part of this review back in July but due to immature BIOS issues with Ryzen’s latest CPUs, we experienced some questionable voltage results and instability, so we decided to wait it out. Finally, on the 15th of August, ASUS provided a BIOS update(1.0.0.3 Patch AB, still not perfect) to their ROG STRIX X470-I GAMING motherboard, so I decided to crank through this in …
CasesReviews

SilverStone’s VT01 – TJ07-esque uSFF!

Recently, I looked at SilverStone’s VT02 – a subtle Mini-STX case along the lines of the ASRock DeskMini styling. Aftermarket cases for the M-STX form factor aren’t exactly common, but SilverStone does have two compatible models in the range – today’s review is of the VT01, the cheaper sibling to the VT02. Inspired by the SilverStone TJ07 – an iconic (albeit huge) case of years gone, the VT01 is an ultra small case for the SFF generation. Built entirely from SECC steel, the VT01 isn’t exactly a pure descendant of the TJ07, but it does offer great value and a …
CoolingReviews

The Scythe Big Shuriken 3. Big performance at a small price.

We would like to thank Scythe for providing us with a review sample of their Big Shuriken 3 heatsink. Without their generosity, this review would not be possible. Scythe, the heavy hitting underdog of the HSF world, has once again hit us with another surprise entry into the SFF market with their Big Shuriken 3. At just 70mm tall, it will be interesting to see how this cooler compares to the competition. Packaging The packaging looks exactly like we have come to expect from Scythe. There is not much else that can be said besides it doing a adequate job …
CasesReviews

Battle of the Boutiques Part 1: A4-SFX | S1 | SM550 | SM560

With the tremendous success of the Dancase A4 from community member Dondan, we now have several boutique cases that feature that iconic sandwich hardware layout. For anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, the sandwich layout is MOBO/CPU/RAM/PSU on one side and GPU on the other. This layout is made possible by the use of a flexible PCIe riser cable that plugs into the PCIe slot on your motherboard and relocates that slot to the backside of the motherboard. This layout is extremely efficient not just for space savings, but it also provides hardware with the ability to pull in fresh air …
CoolingReviews

Noctua NH-U12A heatsink review. Will it SFF?

We would like to thank Noctua for providing us with a review sample of their NH-U12A heatsink. Without their generosity, this review would not be possible. Fresh off the heels of our NT-H2 Thermal Paste shootout, we have a compelling new heatsink from Noctua, the NH-U12A. This model is more compact than some of Noctua’s larger offerings but offers unparalleled performance for its size due the quality of fans being used. It’s still a little on the larger side and may not fit in most of our cases but for those that have the room, you may not find a …
CoolingReviews

Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste shootout. Does SFF benefit?

We would like to thank Noctua for providing us with a review sample of their entire thermal interface material suite. Without their generosity, this shootout would not be possible. Noctua’s latest NT-02 thermal paste has been available in retail channels for a few months now but after playing around with it, I’ve been reluctant to post this review. Not because Noctua’s proposed gains are in any way false, but because it doesn’t appear that the small form factor community can measurably benefit from its usage. Before I proceed and come off as biased to any of our readers, I just …
CasesReviews

SilverStone’s VT02 – An STX Upgrade

Comments on the ASRock DeskMini (non-GTX) line have been clear, the stock case that comes with the DeskMini line is pretty average – from the cheap plastic fascia to the mediocre tray style build. The plastic rails and hard-mounted front panel config just leaves a lot of room for that dreaded cables-stuck-in-fan situation. SilverStone’s VT series of cases have existed as long as the DeskMini line of cases, but with little fanfare – these quiet achievers have sat out of the limelight. Part of why I asked for review samples (thanks SilverStone!) of both models, everyone loves an underdog.  At …
ReviewsSystems

ASRock’s DeskMini A300 – Finally!

Around a year ago, AMD graced us with the Ryzen APU family, bringing higher logical core counts and the Vega GPU architecture to the APU platform. Unlike the rather.. limited.. FM1/2/2+ platform family, the new generation ran on the AM4 platform, allowing anyone to choose between CPUs and APUs for their builds. What the new Ryzen platform also offered is a chipset-less option – A300. Because Ryzen integrates so many controllers and devices into the die, it is possible to create a motherboard with no chipset at all, much like the ill-fated AM1 platform. SATA, PCIe, RAM, and more fed …
ReviewsSystems

Guest Review: ECS Liva Z2

This review has been provided by forum member Duality92! Editing has been performed by John Morrison. I would like to take this opportunity to thank ECS for this product sample, they have provided me with an ECS Liva Z2 for the purpose of this review. ECS is no newcomer in the Mini PC world, this is the third unit I have reviewed, the others being the Liva Plus and the miniscule Liva Q. The Liva Z2 is the latest generation of the fanless Mini PC lineup from ECS. It sports the Intel Gemini Lake CPU, which were released in Q4 …
GraphicsReviews

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan Review

We would like to thank ZOTAC for providing us with a review sample of their ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan while attending CES. Without their on the spot generosity, this graphics card review would not be possible. With CES 2019 behind us and having just recently reviewed ZOTAC’s GeForce RTX 2070 Mini, we’re very pleased to get our hands on the new ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 Twin Fan. In our RTX 2070 Mini review, we reported that the $530 card was a far better price:performance option than the $1200 RTX 2080 TI (reviewed here) and while it was true then, it’s …
GraphicsReviews

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 Mini Review

We would like to thank ZOTAC for providing us with a review sample of their ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 Mini. Without their generosity, this graphics card review would not be possible. Fresh off the heels of our NVIDIA 2080 Ti review, ZOTAC has provided us with their ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 Mini. This GPU is perfect for those who don’t need as much horsepower, are using something like an HDPlex PSU, desire a short(er) length GPU, or perhaps want to buy something with a much better price to performance ratio. Below are a few resources that ZOTAC was kind enough to provide for …
MotherboardsReviews

ASRock’s Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac – A New Direction

For some time, ASRock has been using the Fatal1ty branding on their high end products – a tie back to the days of old, where Quake was king, and bright, flashy branding was cool. However, Fatal1ty has given way to ASRock’s “Phantom Gaming” brand, with a much more subtle aesthetic. All black? Yes please! Beefy heatsinks? Yessir! First sighted on ASRock’s limited availability (unfortunately) GPU line, the Phantom Gaming brand has come to motherboards – slowly taking over the performance space within ASRock’s lineup. This particular model uses the Intel Z390 chipset – what Z370 should have been, but I digress. …