Open air test benches aren't for everyone. Your mom and pop? They're probably not candidates. In fact, we'd venture to guess that the vast majority would prefer a traditional closed case. That's not to say there isn't a market for test benches -- reviewers, frequent upgraders, and those who are always tinkering will see the value in such a design. There aren't a ton to choose from, though the market for open air test benches did just grow by one with the introduction of Lian Li's PC-T80.
New PSUs from Fractal Design range in wattage from 450W to 750W
Fractal Design is perhaps best known for its line of cases, like the Define XL or Core 3000. However, that's not all the company is into. Fractal Design just rolled out a new family of modular power supplies dubbed Edison M. They're available in a variety of wattages, including 450W, 550W, 650W, and 750W, each with modular cables and 80 Plus Gold efficiency certification.
With the recent launch of Nvidia's Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and 980 graphics cards, the pressure is on AMD to respond, especially since we haven't heard much about its Tonga XT architecture as of late. One alternative to releasing a new graphics card that's proved popular is giving away free games, and rumor has it AMD is getting ready to announce a new Never Settle bundle.
You'd be surprised at how many OEM motherboards in pre-built systems come from ECS, but be that as it may, it still isn't a company most would associate with high-end computing. ECS appears to want to change that perception, hence the creation of its "L337 Gaming" high-end gaming motherboard series. The latest addition to the L337 Gaming line is the ECS Z97I-Drone, which is essentially a mini-ITX version of the company's Z97-Machine.
Planning a massive system build loaded to the gills with large components and high end parts? You'll need a case that's capable of housing all those parts, and if you're in the market for one, Enermax hopes you'll check out its new Thormax GT full tower enclosure. The Thormax GT is large and in charge with support for E-ATX motherboards, graphics cards up to 490mm in length, and 240mm and 360mm depth liquid coolers.
For those of you who needed another solid state drive line to consider for your next upgrade, Mushkin today added the Chronos G2 series to its family of SSDs. Part of the pitch from Mushkin is that they're designed and assembled in the U.S., while the other selling point is that the Chronos G2 line offers a high level of performance for users working with a limited budget.
Taking a trip to 'Hawaii' just got a bit more affordable
Competition is fierce in the graphics card market, and while we've seen AMD and Nvidia duke it out with bundled game offers, it's the price wars that truly get our attention. Speaking of which, Nvidia certainly got AMD's attention when it launched Maxwell during the company's GAME24 event, which saw the release of the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 for $329 and $549, respectively (MSRPs). AMD has just responded by cutting the price of its Radeon R9 290 and 290X Hawaii cards.
MSI may release a slower and less expensive version of the GeForce GTX 970
Nvidia has a winning architecture on its hands with Maxwell, and as we've seen in benchmarks, both the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 are fine graphics cards. As is typically the case, Nvidia's third-party partners have taken to customizing the reference designs with their own cooling solutions and factory overclocks, though interestingly MSI appears to be preparing a Lite Edition of the GeForce GTX 970.
Look for lower priced SSDs in the coming weeks and months
We have to admit, we've been spoiled by solid state drive price drops in the past year or so. While once considered cost prohibitive by many, SSDs are mostly affordable these days, provided you're not trying to match your 4TB hard drive in capacity. SSDs typically sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte with prices continuing to drop. Accelerating the process is a price war in China that's leading to even lower cost SSDs.
We've seen our share of colorful motherboards with loud designs that scream, "Hey, look at me!" They're typically aimed at gamers, overclockers, and enthusiasts in general, and so is MSI's Z97S SLI Krait Edition motherboard, though it's an attention-getter for a different reason. Rather than draw eyeballs with flashing LEDs and a range of colors, MSI opted for a classy black and white scheme.