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Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 Review

January 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Whazzup!!!
Dawfreak is back and after a long break we are looking into the recently
releasedDynamic X2 GP-14 from Fractal Design.
fractaldesignblacklogo765x329

THE CONCEPT OF FRACTAL DESIGN
The concept of Fractal Design is to provide products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising the important factors of quality, functionality and pricing. The computer of today has come to play a central role in most people’s home, creating a demand for appealing design of the computer itself and its accessories. Our main product areas are computer enclosures, power supplies and related accessories
DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN SWEDEN
 All Fractal Design products have been thoroughly designed, tested and specified in our Swedish head quarter. The well-known ideas of Scandinavian design can be found through
all of our products; a minimalistic but yet striking design – less is more.
Source

Dynamic X2 GP True all-purpose fans

spec

The Dynamic x2 GP series comes in in two sizes GP-12 of 120mm and the one we are looking at today, GP-14 that is 140mm.

Specifications for the X2 GP series

Fan X2 GP-12 X2 GP-14*
Size [mm] 120*120*25mm 140*140*25mm
Colors available White blades, black frame

Black blades, black frame

White blades, black frame

Black blades, black frame

Screw hole pattern 105*105mm 125*125mm
Connector 3-pin fan header 3-pin fan header
Bearing LLS LLS
Number of blades 7 7
Rotational speed [RPM] 1200 1000
Acoustical noise [dB (A)] 19.4 18.9
Maximum air flow [CFM] 52.3 68.4
Maximum pressure [mm H2O] 0.88 0.71
Actual input power [W] 1.32 1.32
Maximum rated input current [A] 0.18 0.20
Nominal input voltage [V] 12 12
Minimum startup voltage [V] 4 4
MTBF [hours] 100,000 100,000
Unit weight [g] 119 142
Package weight [g] 160 190
Cable length [mm] 500 500
Cable type Black ribbon cable Black ribbon cable
Packaging dimensions [mm]

( Including hanging tab)

180*122*26 200*142*26
Packaging dimensions [mm]

(Excluding hanging tab )

147*122*26 167*142*26

Key features

  • High grade LLS bearing with class leading 100,000 hours MTBF
  • Equipped with a counter-pull magnet that reduces the axial tension on the bearing
  • Fan geometry optimized for a good balance between static pressure and maximum airflow, resulting in good performance in all usage scenarios
  • Aerodynamically shaped stator struts including the wire strut. Helps reduce noise and unwanted turbulence
  • Stator struts sit on a wide angle to the trailing edge of the blades which result in a lower noise level and smoother noise profile
  • Strategically placed notches near the fan hub on the trailing edge of the blades further reducing the humming noise produced when the blades pass the stator struts
  • A “trip wire” on the rear side of the blades near the leading edge. The trip wire introduces a larger turbulent boundary layer at an earlier stage, this delays the layer separation and improves both airflow and noise characteristics.
  • The customized design of the Dynamic Series fans contributes to a beautiful, cool build
  • Available in two color combinations
  • Available in 120mm and 140mm fan sizes
    Source

 

Packaging
dscf0016
The Fractal Design X2 GP fans come in two color combinations, All Black
and Black frame white blades. The setup sent to me is the All black version.

 

dscf0017The X2 GP-14 boxes comes in a black and green colours with nice images of the fan on the front and specs on the back.

 

Inside the box.
dscf0019

Inside the box we find the Fractal Design X2 GP-14 and the standard 4 set Fan screws, this is what you would expect for a fan with a price around $13.99179 kr.

 

Test system
Case: Fractal Design Define R5
CPU: I5 4690K
Motherboard: ASUS Z97-A
GPU: ASUS GeForce GTX 960 4GB STRIX DC2 OC
Ram: 16 gig Corsair PRO 1600mhz (CMY16GX3M2A1600C9R)
System hard drive: Samsung EVO 850
Interface: PreSonus Focusrite scarlett 2i2 Gen2
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S

 

Installation.
For this review I have decided to install the three Dynamic X2 GP-14 in what i believe is the best setup for a Home-studio build, where Two fans are used as Intake and one as exhaust.
all fans are connected to the Fractal Design R5 fan controller.

 

The Concept and basics on how I test.
When it comes to testing Case fans for use in a studio environment I want to push the test rig so that i know that my system gets heat generated, and i like to do that with real world applications. but music production does only push the CPU so i don’t feel that would let me find the information i feel is relevant therefore my test are done with the use of my second hobby that is playing World Of Warcraft.

I start by setting the Fractal Design R5 fan controller to 5V and play for 30 min and take the maximum temps recorded with HW-monitor. this test is then also done with the Fractal Design R5 fan controller set to 7V and 12V.

Now my system is extremely quiet even when gaming so i can easily hear if the fans interfere with the quiet computing that i want for my Studio PC.
The comparison will be done against my current setup, That is three of the previous generation Dynamic Gp-14.

 

Test results

Fan Voltage Cpu Temps GPU Temps Fan Noise
GP-14 (R5) 5V 56c 66c Inaudible
GP-14 (R5) 7V 53c 61c Very small hum
GP-14 (R5) 12V 50c 58c Small hum
X2 GP-14 5V 54c 62c inaudible
X2 GP-14 7V 50c 59c inaudible
X2 GP-14 12V 47c 55c Very small hum

Since I have been using the Stock fans (first gen Dynamic GP-14 series) that came with the Fractal design Define R5 I had hopes on the X2 GP-14 and they sure are a step up Compared to the previous generation as they have a much lower noise output at 12V and the very small hum that can be picked up from the stock GP-14 is non existing on the X2 GP-14.
To also see a small temp drop specially on the GPU is a welcome bonus.

I decided to also try and find at what RPM the fans become audible, to do so I unplugged the Lower front intake fan, after that I connected the X2 GP-14 used for exhaust and the top X2 GP-14 as intake to the Asus z97-a fan connectors and used the Bios fan controller to individual increase the fan to a point where i could hear it.

The Intake fan was inaudible to 892 RPM before i start picking up a small hum.
The Exhaust fan was inaudible up to 806 RPM before i start picking up a small hum.
Note only one fan is running at the time, and the reason for the Exhaust becoming audible at lower RPM is probably due to the case Fan grill blocking the airflow.

Conclusion.
So the testing of the new Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 has come to an end, and I could not be happier with the new generation of an already great fan.
Not only does the X2 GP-14 deliver Better cooling, it also has lower noise where the
X2 GP-14 is inaudible at 7v and has a very small hum at 12V
so if you are adding or changing fans to your PC I strongly recommend you to get the Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-14 as i am confident you will be satisfied.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • quiet
  • good cooling

 

Cons

  • None

 

Verdict

recommended.gif

I would like to thank Fractal Design for letting me do this review.
And as always to my readers… THANK YOU!!!

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz C9 Review

October 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzup DAWfreaks….
I hope you are doing well and that the music is flowing….
The 64bit era brought with it some extremely great hardware and new features for us music making users, and a lot of other users as well.
When building a music PC there are some things that requires some extra attention, RAM is one of them as most of the work we do will demand a fair amount of ram
and it needs to be fast and stable and I personally recommend PC 16 gig as I feel it´s the sweet spot and should do most of you good for a long time.
When choosing ram for your PC there are a huge variety of products that you can use but a rule is, Check your motherboard vendor for compatible DDR, when choosing two or four sticks I recommend you to get two as this will putt less tension on the memory controller and allow you to expand with more if you happen to need it.

Today we are going to look at the Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz from Corsair and see how it performs in a PC based Studio environment, But before we start I would like to thank Corsair for letting me do this review.

About Corsair

Corsair is a global company bringing innovative, high-performance components to the PC gaming market. Specializing in very high performance memory, ultra-efficient power supplies, and other key system components, our products are the choice of overclockers, enthusiasts, and gamers everywhere.

Founded as Corsair Microsystems in 1994, Corsair originally developed Level 2 cache modules for OEMs. After Intel incorporated the L2 cache in the processor with the release of its Pentium Pro processor family, Corsair changed its focus to DRAM modules, primarily in the server market. In 2002, Corsair began shipping DRAM modules that were specifically designed to appeal to computer overclocking enthusiasts. From its roots in high-performance memory, Corsair has expanded its award-winning product portfolio to include ultra-efficient power supplies, builder-friendly cases, ground-breaking CPU coolers, blazing-fast solid-state drives, and other key system components.

Corsair has developed a global operations infrastructure with extensive marketing and distribution channel relationships. Corsair’s products are sold to end users in over sixty countries worldwide, primarily through leading distributors and retailers.

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3 DRAM 1866MHz


Corsair Vengeance Pro Series memory modules are designed for overclocking on the latest 3rd and 4th generation Intel® Core™ platforms, with eight-layer PCBs and ICs specially selected for performance potential.The aluminum heat spreaders provide superior temperature management and have the aggressive look you want in your gaming rig. XMP 1.3 profiles allow for automatic, reliable overclocking.They’re available in multiple colors to let you match your Vengeance Pro memory to your system’s color scheme. As a bonus, they’re priced to deliver class-leading value, so you’ll have more room left in your system build budget. Source

 

Specifications

Brand: Corsair
Model: CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B
Size: 16GB (2 x 8GB)
Performance Profile: XMP
Memory Type: DDR3
Speed Rating: PC3-15000 (1866MHz)
SPD Speed: 1333MHz
Tested Speed: 1866MHz
SPD Voltage: 1.5
Tested Voltage: 1.5
Tested Latency: 9-10-9-27
SPD Latency: 9-9-9-24
Warranty: Lifetime

Package and installation

The Corsair Vengeance Pro comes packed in a colorful great looking box that gives a true PRO feeling over it.


The image above shows the side of the Corsair Vengeance Pro that shows the product information.
As we open the box we find the two Corsair Vengeance Pro placed in a secure plastic holding, the cooler on the Corsair Vengeance Pro looks awesome and the blue plate with the Corsair LOGO ads a nice touch as well.


When we flip to the other side we see find a sticker with the Vengeance Pro LOGO.

Installing the Corsair Vengeance Pro was not as simple as it usually is installing memory, this is not Corsairs fault but I wanted to highlight this minor issue so you will know it can happen.

I use the P8Z77-V LX motherboard and aNoctua NH-D14 SE2011 to cool my I5 3570K and the Space between the cooler and the first Memory was minimum so it was tricky to get it in, but once in place there is about 2 mm space between the top of the Vengeance Pro cooler and the lowest fin on the NH-D14 CPU cooler.


With the Vengeance Pro installed it was time to fire up the system and head in to UEFI / BIOS of the
P8Z77-V LX and changing the AI overclock Tuner to X.M.P to adjusted the Vengeance Pro DDR to the right settings.


The initial Windows boot was successful but I am very picky so I rebooted the system and ran a Memtest86 just to make sure.

Testing Corsair Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B

Test System

Case: Fractal Design Define R4
CPU: I5 3570K
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LX
GPU: SAPHIRE HD 7750
Ram: 16 gig Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9B
System hard drive: Seagate SSD 600
project hard drive : Seagate ST3000DM001
Sample hard drive: Western digital Velociraptor 1TB
Interface: PreSonus FIRESTUDIO Mobile

I wanted to test the Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 with focus on music production so I ran a memory demanding project in both Studio One PRO and Cubase 7 to see how the system would behave with 12 gig+ of samples in the ram.

I also want to give you a view of how the two DAW handles projects with a high amount of ram usage, and to get a feel of how the system speed and stability maintained under more demanding situations.


First I ran the test in Studio One PRO V2 for 1 hour, and the system continued to run nice and smooth.


I followed up with the same test in Cubase 7, and once again the system continued to run nice and smooth.

The Vengeance Pro handles everything i throwed at it without any complains not even when with 84% memory used did the system slow down or behave weird, But I also wanted to look at how the Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 performs in synthetic benchmarks in AIDA64.

 

Test Results

Read 27620 MB/S
Write 28239 MB/s
Copy 26535 MB/S
Latency 51,7 ns

 

1333 VS 1600 VS 1866 any difference?
OK now that we have tested the Corsair Vengeance Pro set up as it was designed to run,
i wanted to take a closer look at the performance difference between running the Vengeance Pro in 1333 MHz,1600MHz and 1866 MHz memory clock frequency’s.

The Sample loading time test

The first test i decided to do is load times, For this i decided to use Toontrack Superior drummer 2.0 with The Metal Foundry SDX to see how and if the different RAM speed settings had a impact on how fast samples would load inside Superior drummer.
I also wanted to se if Superior drummer loaded the samples faster in any of my two test DAW Studio One V2 and Cubase 7.

A small note, The samples for superior drummer 2.0 The Metal Foundry is located on a Western digital Velociraptor.

I created a project in both Studio One and Cubase 7, in the projects i added 4 instances of Superior Drummer 2.0 and loaded 4 different presets to get a total RAM use of 5486MB.
I then rebooted the system and set the ram to first run in 1333Mhz. I started up windows and loaded the test project in Studio one and used a stopwatch to get the time it took for Superior drummer to load the samples.
When the loading was done i restarted the PC to clear the ram completely and then loaded the Cubase 7 projects and timed that as well.

This test was then also done in 1600MHz and 1866MHz memory clock frequency’s..


Test Results
mem load test
As we can see in the charter above there is a small difference when loading the samples into Superior Drummer. The interesting fact is that Superior Drummer loads the samples up to 3 seconds faster in Studio one v2 compared to Cubase 7.

CPU performance test
I also wanted to check if there is any CPU performance gain between the three memory clock frequency’s and to do this i once again created identical projects in Cubase 7 and Studio One. These projects was set up with 20 audio tracks (24bit / 44100), on each track i loaded the
meldaproductions free MEqualizer and Mcompressor and on the master buss i loaded the Slate Digital Virtual Buss Compressor.
I ran the test for 5 min in Cubase 7 and recorded the highest CPU usage for the software and then did the same for Studio One v2

Test Results
cputest
Once again we see that there is a small difference in terms of CPU usage and once again Studio One v2 comes out as the winner, however the numbers only show the difference in the DAW environment and does not show the full strength of the Corsair Vengeance Pro.

Sadly my old ram for some reason have become to unstable to be compared to in these tests but i know how the system felt when they were OK and you can rely feel the difference.


Conclusion
Since I installed the Corsair Vengeance Pro I have been able to see them work with what I do with my PC and these memory does not disappoint, I can fill them close to the edge with samples and they don’t sweat a tear! There is not much to it rely! Corsair is known for their high quality products and they know how to create great memory and the Vengeance Pro series CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 is a most excellent pair of top quality memory from Corsair.

Now this review does not show over clocking as that is not something I am into, nor does it show gaming but I can tell you this, the moments when I go out for some MMO gaming in Guild Wars 2 just like the overall system feeling there is a small but noticeable difference in how the game behaves and loads. So if you are on the market for some high capacity quality memory don’t look any further course I truly recommend the Corsair Vengeance Pro Series.

I would once again like to thank Corsair for letting me do this review.

And to my readers… THANK YOU

Fractal Design NODE 304 Review

August 14, 2013 2 comments

Wazzup Dawfreaks…
It is time to look at a new PC case. This time the case is for people who want / need a small PC but depending on needs still can get everything they need into it.
The Case we are going to look at today is the NODE 304 from fractal design, they have developed some great PC cases through the years and have the best cool and quiet case on the market today with their Define R4.

About fractal design

THE CONCEPT OF FRACTAL DESIGN

The concept of Fractal Design is to provide products with an extraordinary design level, without compromising the important factors of quality, functionality and pricing. The computer of today has come to play a central role in most people’s home, creating a demand for appealing dsign of the computer itself and its accessories. Our main product areas are computer enclosures, power supplies and related accessories

DESIGNED AND ENGINEERED IN SWEDEN

All Fractal Design products have been thoroughly designed, tested and specified in our Swedish head quarter. The well known ideas of Scandinavian design can be found through all of our products; a minimalistic but yet striking design – less is more.
Source

 

NODE 304

Features

  • Compact, modular interior
  • Minimalistic design with an elegant aluminum front panel
  • Unique new modular mounting system that accommodates up to 6 hard drives
  • Accommodates tower CPU coolers and single-fan water cooling systems
  • Filtered air intakes ensure a dust-free environment for internal components
  • Three Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans included
  • Excellent cooling for all components
  • Accommodates ATX power supplies
  • Fan controller for all fans included
  • USB 3.0 for fast file transfers

Technical specifications

  • Mini ITX, DTX motherboard compatibility
  • 2 expansion slots
  • 6 – supports either 3.5" or 2.5" HDD / SSD
  • ATX PSUs, up to 160mm in length (To fit in combination with a long graphics card,
        PSUs with modular connectors on the back typically need to be shorter than 160 mm)
  • Graphics cards, up to 310mm in length, when 2 HDD brackets
        (1 HDD hanging bracket total) are removed (Graphics cards longer than 170 mm 
        will conflict with PSUs longer than 160mm)
  • Tower CPU coolers, up to 165 mm tall
  • Case dimensions (W x H x D): 250 x 210 x 374 mm
  • Case volume: 19,5 Liters
  • Net weight: 4,9 kg
  • Colors available: Black and White

 

    Cooling and ventilation
  • 2 – Front mounted 92mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fans, 1300 RPM
        speed(compatible with 80mm fans) – included
  • 1 – Rear mounted 140mm Silent Series R2 hydraulic bearing fan, 1000 RPM
        speed (compatible with 120mm fans) – included
  • Removable air filters for front fans and PSU
  • Fan filter for graphics card
  • 1 – fan controller for all 3 fans included
    Front Interface
  • 2 – USB 3.0 (Internal 3.0 to 2.0 adapter included)
  • 1 – 3.5mm audio in (microphone)
  • 1 – 3.5mm audio out (headphone)
  • Power button with LED
  • HDD LED

Unboxing and Content

IMG_2965

The NODE 304 box is comes with all the product specification, details, features and a Exploded view of the case. As we open the box we find the NODE 304 protected with foam and covered in a plastic bag.

IMG_2972

Inside the box we find the NODE 304 along wit a user´s manual, all the mounting gear needed for installation and a Attention note with instructions on how to proceed with a faulty unit (if that happens).

 

A closer look (external view)

IMG_2967IMG_2969

Well outside the box we can take a closer look at the NODE 304 Externals, The above images shows the front faceplate/bezel and the back witch also shows the included 140mm exhaust.

Note that the Power connector on the lower left of the back is not the PSU, It is a Power extension connector. And though it  is hard to see in the image, there is a fan controller switch on the back for 5v,7v and 12 V this is the same switch used on the Define R4 and is a very simple but great feature.

 

IMG_2966IMG_2968

These two images shows the sides of the NODE 304, The left holds a huge ventilation hole to allow a graphic card to take cool air from the outside Where the right has a smaller Ventilation hole to aid the overall cooling performance.

IMG_3337IMG_3339

As we remove the front faceplate/bezel we find the two included R2 92mm intake fans, the left image shows the fans with the included removable dust filter.

IMG_3353IMG_3352

In the above images we se the bottom of the NODE 304, the PSU intake hole has a dust filter witch you can se in the left image.  In the right image I temporarily mounted the PSU show you the how well the fan is positioned over the intake of cool air

 

A closer look (internally)

IMG_2974

Getting a good overview of the inside with the camera was tricky, This image shows the inner back of the NODE 304 with the included 140mm exhaust fan.

IMG_2973
This image is taken from above to show you the three included hard drive brackets,

IMG_2976

The hard drive brackets can hold two hard drives each and unused brackets can be removed for better airflow.

IMG_2978

Removing the three included hard drive brackets reveals the PSU Area with the intake hole, and we can again se the two included 92mm fans.

Installation And finished build

Components

Motherboard: Asrock A75M-ITX
CPU: AMD A6 3500 APU
RAM: 4GB Corsair Vengience 1.5v
Hard drive: Western digital Velociraptor 1TB
PSU: Fractal Design INTEGRA R2 500w

 

IMG_2994

First I installed the INTEGRA 500W PSU, the case has a Power extension cable inside to allow the PSU to be mounted in the front of the case while the External power cable goes into the back of the NODE 304.

 

IMG_3347

IMG_3350IMG_3349

 

Installation Thoughts.

I was quiet concerned about the limited space in the NODE 304, but the installation went smooth apart from a situation where I had to remove two fins on the vengeance ram (that is not low profile) to be able to fit them beneath the 140mm exhaust fan.
Cable management in the NODE 304 is actually not bad, if you spend some time with it you can end up with a much better result then id did.

All in all there is nothing really to complain about, Fractal Design has manage well with the inside layout.

Note that there is no 5.25” slots in the NODE 304 so if you are building a HTPC that needs a 5.25” bay I recommend you to look at the Node 605.

Testing
This system is not going to be hot so I adjusted the fans to be set to 7v and I set the CPU fan to the lowest setting, I ran Prime95 for 30 min to get a good view of the over all temperatures in the system.

 

Test results and noise.
Untitled

The system temps was where I expected them to be and there is nothing to complain about, On the noise side Fractal Design has managed as well, as the system is really quiet on the 7v setting and the CPU cooler does more noise then any of the fans in the NODE 304.
Setting the fans to 12v makes the fans noticeable but not loud, but on most systems not used for gaming with the fan configuration that the NODE 304 holds the airflow given when the fans are running at 7v is more then enough.

 

Conclusion.
Fractal Design is my preferred brand for Studio and gaming PC´s, I have yet to se anything that is as flexible, well designed, cool and QUIET as the Define R4. The NODE 304 shows me that no matter the size, fractal design manage to deliver quality cases for everyone and every situation. I also like the simple but still Stylish looks of the Fractal Design PC case lineup.
A feature that I could not test myself is to have a graphic card installed but the feature is there if needed witch makes this case usable for many different types of PC´s
The Node 304 has a average pricing of about $79.99 witch is a reasonable price.

 

Pros

  • Small
  • easy installation
  • good cooling
  • quiet

Cons

  • Some higher RAM might not fit without modification

 

The Verdict

I would like to thank Fractal Design for letting me do this review.

And to me readers.. THANK YOU!!

Noctua NF-S12A FLX/PWN/ULN Review

August 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Wazzup DAWfreaks..

The summer heat is here and days like these it is good to have good cooling, so today we will look at the new NF-S12A series of fans.

Some of the Images in this review has been taken directly from the Noctua page due to camera issues.
noctua_logo_b500px

Here follows a small info on Noctua.

 

Designed in Austria, Noctua’s premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 1000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua’s fans and heatsinks are chosen by more than a hundred thousand satisfied customers around the globe.

This text was taken from http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=unternehmen&lng=en

 

The NF-S12A Fans
IMG_3320

 

Klick to view larges imageKlick to view larges imageKlick to view larges image

What’s included
NF-S12A PWM
noctua_nf_s12a_pwm_5

The NF-S12A PWM box contains the NF-S12A PWM fan, Manual, 4 regular fan screws, 4 rubber fan mounts, L.N.A adapter, Y-cable and a 30cm extension cable.

 

NF-S12A FLX
noctua_nf_s12a_flx_5

The NF-S12A FLX box contains the NF-S12A FLX fan, Manual, 4 regular fan screws, 4 rubber fan mounts, L.N.A adapter, U.L.N.A adapter, Y-cable and a 30cm extension cable.

 

NF-S12A ULN
noctua_nf_s12a_uln_5
The NF-S12A ULN box contains the NF-S12A ULN fan, Manual, 4 regular fan screws, 4 rubber fan mounts, L.N.A adapter, Y-cable and a 30cm extension cable.

Specifications

The Specification details below was been borrowed from the Noctua product pages for the three NF-S12A fans.

NF-S12A PWM
image

 

NF-S12A FLX
image

 

NF-S12A ULN
image

 

A closer look.

noctua_nf_s12a_pwm_4
The Noctua NF-S12A fans comes in the now “CLASSIC” Noctua color, some like it some don’t!
I don’t really mind it since the PC cases I’m using is meant to be quiet so I don’t se the inside of the case. The corners (on both sides) have been fitted with rubber ant vibration grommets a feature that is most welcome.

IMG_2747

The big change to the NF-S12A has been made to the fan impellers, the new design has added “Anti-stall knobs”.

The NF-S12A’s Anti-Stall Knobs reduce flow separation phenomena in medium to high impedance situations and thereby increase the fan’s stall margin. This means that the NF-S12A is even more versatile than its renowned predecessor and can achieve better performance on heatsinks and radiators.

 

Performance

Test system
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA A-A75-D3H
CPU: AMD A8 3870K (APU)
Ram: Corsair vengence 8GB
PSU: Antec HCG-620
HDD : Kingston SSDNOW V+100 128GB
Case: Antec Solo II (With two intake fans at 750RPM and one exhaust fan at 950RPM)

The test´s was done on the Noctua NH-L12 CPU cooler, Where each fan was run without any L.N.A/U.LN.A to get a view of the top performance of these fans.

Note that the included NF-B9 PWM has been removed during these tests!

I ran a Prime95 test for 30 minutes to get a good view of the CPU temperature’s, I shut of the PC for 20 min between each test.

Results

FAN RPM TEMP
NF-S12A PWM 926 52C
NF-S12A FLX 1200 46C
NF-S12A ULN 800 56c

 

Test Thoughts

It is easy to se that Noctua has once again provided a great cooling fan, and they manages to keep the AMD A8 3870K (APU) at very good temps.
Sadly I don’t have any way to measure noise but I am happy to say that the NF-S12A fans does not disappoint here either.
The NF-S12A FLX was barely notable from 1 meter distance, The NF-S12A PWM and the
NF-S12A ULN was completely inaudible.

Conclusion
When you think there is not much more that can be done to a fan Noctua proves you wrong!
I am happy to se the devotion Noctua shows in their continued struggle to provide their customers with high quality fans with great performance without sacrificing the acoustics.
The price for the fans are on the higher side at recommended retail prices of EUR 19.90 / USD 21.90 but you really get what you pay for!!!

Pros

  • Multiple Ant vibration solutions.
  • Great performance.
  • quiet.

 

Cons

  • A bit high price.

 

The Verdict
recommended

I would like to thank Noctua for letting me do this review.

 

And to my readers, THANK YOU!!

Plextor M3 128GB SSD (PX-128M3) Review

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Wazzup Dawfreaks..
After my System failed i am now back on track and today we are going to have a look at the Plextor M3 128gb SSD. 

About Plextor

Plextor Started of as a CD-ROM manufacturer by Shinano Kenshi which is a company headquartered in Japan that primarily manufactures electric motors. In 1989 the first CD-ROM was released and since then Plextor has been a part of the growing  PC technology of CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, BLURAY and since 2010 Plextor also offers the Solid State Drives.

The Plextor M3 128GB SSD

IMG_0845

Specifications

Model PX-128M3
Capacity 128GB
Form Factor 2.5" Standard
Dimensions (W x L x H) 69.85mm x 100mm x 9.5mm
Interface Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s, Compatible with SATA 3.0Gb/s and 1.5Gb/s

Seq. Read Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)

up to 510MB/s

Seq. Write Speed
(SATA 6Gb/s)

up to 210MB/s

Ran. Read Speed
(IOPS 4K)

Up to 70,000

Ran. Write Speed
(IOPS 4K)

Up to 50,000
DRAM Cache 256MB DDR3
Controller Marvell 88SS9174
Power ECC 48bit per 2KB
Wear Leveling Global Wear Leveling
S.M.A.R.T. Support
NCQ Command Support
Password Protection Support
TRIM Command Support
Flash Memory NAND Flash MLC Type
Shock Resistance 1500G, 0.5ms
Operating Temperature 0°C ~ 70°C
MTBF  

The information for the specifications was taken from the Plextor M3 128gb SSD page.

 

Additional Features

  • Five years warranty
  • True Speed technology sustained High-performance technology in the real world
  • Competence, performance, and testing that goes beyond the laboratory

 

Package
IMG_0845 IMG_0849
The Plextor M3 128GB SSD comes in a nice looking black and blue box, great first impression.

A look at the PX-128M3

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The M3 enclosure has a brushed metal finish, with only the Plextor logo on the top, I like this allot as it makes it looks very professional.

 

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When we turn to the back of the M3 we find the product tag.

Test System
Case: Fractal Design Define R4
CPU: I7 930
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-X58a-UD3 (rev 2.0)
Ram: 24 GB Kingston HyperX DDR3

Test Mythology.
To test the M3 I start of with a standard windows Boot up, Then i loaded up Cubase 6.5 and Studio One V2, to check their load times with a basic Project. To finish of i ran one single run with CrystalDiskMark, This is to get a basic view of the max performance of the M3 on my system.
I want to ad that the Gigabyte GA-X58a-UD3 comes with SATA III ports but they performed worse then the Intel SATA II so all tests have been done on SATA II ports with AHCI enabled.

Test Results

Test Type Results SSDnow v+100 Results Plextor M3
Windows Boot up 46 Seconds 38 Seconds
Cubase start up 28 Seconds 22 Seconds
Studio One start up 16 Seconds 11 Seconds

Well the speed boost is there but its not that much in terms of Boot and start times,I did not expect to se much difference since i am on a SATAII controller, if my system had modern SATA III controller things would have been much more different.
I want to ad that the over all feeling is that the M3 feels much more snappier and the over all system behavior is faster.

CrystalDiskMark SSDnow V+100

crystal ssdnow  
This image is just to give you an idea of the difference between the two SSD.

CrystalDiskMark Plextor M3
Crystaldisk Plextor firmw 1.05

I knew that The Plextor M3 would be much faster then the older SSDnow v+100, But some of the score differences are Miles apart. Just look at the 4k QD32.

Editors thoughts.
SSD has become the new standard disk to use as system drive, and for a reason.
For studio use SSD might not be a game breaker but for me the important features Noise free and fast computing is why i recommend SSD for DAW use.
the downside with SSD is the space limitations but for a normal user 128-240gb is more then enough space. A basic thumb rule for a DAW system is to have a Main system drive and at least one Project / sample drive, For the last year i have had 2 drives in my system a SSD and a Storage / project / sample disk without any problems. The Plextor M3 has been my Main drive for about 4 months and with satisfaction, If you are worried about stability i have not had any system crashes from the Plextor M3 and i believe that instable SSD is history.

Conclusion
Plextor has delivered a very impressive SSD with the M3, And even though i was not able to test it with full SATA III support it still is rock solid to use with SATAII. Hard drives used to be the system bottleneck, but SSD´s has changed all that. The only downside with SSD is the MB / price ratio, but iv said it before! SSD will make the system faster and quieter something very important for Studio PC`S .
The Price for the Plextor is set on Newegg to $199.99 it is a bit on the high side but since i have been able to test the drive for a longer time i know its worth the money.
The Plextor M3 128GB has been rock solid something that is very important, and as i said before the M3 impressed me in speed and as all SSD it is quiet.

Pros

  • Fast
  • Quiet
  • Stable
  • Feature proof with SATAIII Support

Cons

  • A bit pricy

    The Verdict

    recommended

    “The Plextor M3 128GB has been rock solid, and as i said before impressively fast and quiet”

 

I want to thank Plextor for letting me do this review.
And to my readers… THANK YOU!!!

Noctua NH-L12 Review

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Wazzup Dawfreaks..
I hope you all are doing well and that the music production is flowing.
Today we are going to have a look at a CPU cooler from Noctua named NH-L12
This image was borrowed form Noctuas press page.

About Noctua

Designed in Austria, Noctua’s premium cooling components are internationally renowned for their superb quietness, exceptional performance and thoroughgoing quality. Having received more than 1000 awards and recommendations from leading hardware websites and magazines, Noctua’s fans and heatsinks are chosen by more than a hundred thousand satisfied customers around the globe.

This text was taken from http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=unternehmen&lng=en

Specification

Specification
This image was taken from the Noctua NH-L12 page.

Package and content
IMG_0986
The NH-L12 package is the same as all Noctua CPU coolers.
IMG_0994
Inside the box we find the NHl12 cooler with the pre-mounted NF-B9 PWM / NF-F12 PWM.

IMG_0997
Here is the NH-L12 from above showing the NF-F12 PWM that I reviewed here!

IMG_0989
Included with the NH-L12 is 2x Low-Noise Adaptor (L.N.A.), Y-Split Cable, NT-H1 thermal compound, SecuFirm2™ Mounting Kit, Mini-ITX Mounting-Kit, Noctua Metal Case-Badge.

IMG_0990IMG_0992
Noctua delivers mounting setups for most common sockets on both Intel and AMD.

A important note about the NH-L12 from Noctua I want to ad.

The NH-L12 is a low-profile quiet cooler designed for use in small form factor cases and HTPC environments. While it provides first rate performance in its class, it is not suitable for overclocking and should be used with care on CPUs with more than 95W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Please consult our TDP guidelines to find out whether the NH-L12 is recommended for your CPU.  Source

The Test system

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA A-A75-D3H
CPU: AMD A8 3870K (APU)
Ram: Corsair vengence 8GB
PSU: Antec HCG-620
HDD : Kingston SSDNOW V+100 128GB
Case: Antec Solo II (With two intake fans at 750RPM and one exhaust fan at 950RPM)

Installation

install
Installing the NH-L12 on AMD socket FM1 is very easy, it does require you to remove the AMD plastic brackets and then use the same screw holes with the included AMD Set.
But as always with Noctua coolers the installation is very simple and takes about 10 minutes.
The only concern I had was that the space between the NH-L12 heat pipes and the ram is tight but it works without any problems with my setup.

Testing and Results.
I use Prime95 in blend mode to stress the CPU, this will push the CPU above normal conditions and this allows us to find out how well a CPU cooler work.
Since the NF-B9 and NF-F12 are both PWM and are connected to CPU Fan connector with the included Y-Split Cable on the motherboard only one of the fans are shown in HWMonitor.

I first run Prime95 with the stock AMD cooler for 10 minutes and then with the NH-L12 for 10 minutes, this is more then enough time to see how the two coolers handles the pressure.

Results
The stock AMD cooler had issues keeping the AMD A8 3870K (APU) cool with the cores peeking at 68c, and the fan included on the stock AMD cooler is not very quiet ether.

The Noctua NH-L12 did not have ay issues Keeping the AMD A8 3870K (APU) at nice temperatures, after the 10 minute test the cores had peeked at 48c

Now to really test the NH-L12 I let Prime tick on for 20 more minutes and a total of 30 minutes, and the results was very nice.
temps
None of the cores had reached 50c after 30 min stress testing, Good job Noctua.

Now as you probably can tell in the image above One of the fans on the CPU cooler had been running at 1445RPM during the test, the good thing is that compared to the Stock AMD cooler the NH-L12 is much quieter. during normal conditions like music production and light gaming the fans does not go above 1000RPM and still keeps the AMD A8 3870K (APU) cool.

Conclusion
When it comes to CPU cooling Noctua knows how to make great coolers and the NH-L12 is set out to be used in non Overclocking PC´s like HTPC, light / medium gaming rigs, and of course studio pc´s. The cooling performance is very good but what makes the NH-L12 a winner is the size. Installing the NH-L12 is easy, the included NT-H1 thermal compound is great and the fans are fairly quiet under load and extremely quiet during normal use.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • NT-H1 thermal compound
  • PWM fans
  • quiet
  • The height will make it be able to fit in many HTPC cases

Cons

  • None

The verdict
recommended
”The cooling performance is very good but what makes the NH-L12 a winner is the size”

 

I want to thank Noctua for letting me do this review!

And to my readers… THANK YOU!!!

NOISE MAGIC – NoVibes III – review

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Wazzup Dafreaks!!
I’m back with a small review, and this time we will have a look at a easy and smart way to reduce HDD vibration noise that goes by the name NoVibes III from NOISE MAGIC.

IMG_1703
In the image above you can see a Western digital caviar black mounted into the NoVibes III.

About NoVibes III
The NoVibes II is a patented HDD mounting frame, that is suitable for 3.5” wide and 1” height Hard drives. The concept of the NoVibes III bases around the suspension method used by many people to reduce the vibration noise from Hard drives.
But the difference with the NoVibes III is that its frame and rubber bands is pre-fitted to make the installation fast and easy.

To be able to use the NoVibes III you are required to have a 5.25” slot free!
Installing the HDD into the NoVibes III is done in less then a minute and then you just place it in the free 5.25” and secure it with the included screws, everything can easily be done in less then 10 minutes!!

 

IMG_1759
In the image above you can see a Western digital 1tb velociraptor mounted into the NoVibes III.

Does it work?
I have seen, tested and used many different suspension methods and the NoVibes III is a real treat, it is just as effective as any other method but the installation is much simpler with the NoVibes III.

I have my 1tb Velociraptor installed into my NoVibes III inside my Fractal Design Define R4 and I can not hear the Velociraptor work not even on heavier load.
So yes.. the NoVibes II relay work.

Editors Note
There is one thing I have to mention and this is not only a NoVibes III issue, it is known that hard drives mounted in a suspension will have a small increase in temperatures.
The Caviar Black reached 43c during load and the Velociraptor due to its impressive cooler never reached 39c.

 

Conclusion
The NOISE MAGIC NoVibes II is a must have if you want to quiet down your PC, it is SUPER easy to install and does a great Job keeping the vibrations away from your pc case.
The price for the NoVibes II is roughly $22.95 and that is not a bad price to pay for the quieting results you get!

 

The Verdict

Editors

I want to thank Noise Magic for letting me do this review

and to my readers….. THANK YOU!!