UPDATE: Congratulations to Brent Goodacre– taking away that amazing first prize trip to LA!
IT’S MORPHIN TIME!
Those fine folks at Cooler Master are running an amazing competition with a MIGHTY prize up for grabs – a trip for two to Los Angeles for the Power Ranger movie premier!
This new movie is a modern special effect extravaganza! Following the classic storyline from the series we joinfive ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.
In addition to this main prize 5 lucky people will be in to win custom wrapped MasterCase Maker 5T!
The arrival of the new Kaby Lake CPU brought with it some new Z270 motherboards for some beautiful high end Gaming PC builds and although these latest generation motherboards only have a couple of new techy features depending on the model (good for supporting more high speed storage devices) they’ve all had a solid update to the lighting kits and some even have some pretty sweet liquid cooling loadouts ready to roll 🙂
Starting things off with a favourite from the bunch we take a closer look at the new lineup from Gigabyte, specifically the Aorus Z270X Gaming 5 \o/
With this new lineup Aorus motherboards we get a major cooling controller upgrade. The Aorus Gaming 5 (and all other Aorus mobo as well :P) includes what Gigabyte is calling “hybrid fan headers” which allow us to adjust the voltage to each connected device so we can tweak our builds cooling, pumps and most importantly – make things oh so quiet. It’s not just one or two of the headers that are special like this either, all (5) on our Gaming 5 mobo work in this way 🙂 The mobo also packs a bunch of thermal sensors so if you want your machine to rev up additional cooling automatically it’s ready to roll and to top things off if you’re wanting to add additional RGB lighting strips you’ll find a handy RGB 12v header just under the bottom PCIe slot and connecting to this will allow you to sync the lighting throughout the build via Fusion \o/
One of the main reasons we like the Aorus lineup so much is because of the pure black and white colour scheme Gigabyte have gone with, and this makes using the new multi-zone RGB LED lighting system that Aorus comes equipped with all the more awesome – you can light up around the ram slots, graphics card slots and there has also been a really cool update to the trace lighting path on the side of the motherboard thanks the addition of a patterned transparent plate that really captures the LED and the glow isincredible, these plates are easily interchangeable as well so messing around with patterns for custom builds is going to be blast! They’ve got some slick new software to make the most of this which also has the fancy name “RGB Fusion” and it will allow you to quickly customise the various zones to get the perfect look.
Combine all this with some really nice features like re-enforced PCIe slots, X-Fi audio (great if you want to hear those footsteps), gold plated connections and dual M.2 slots for some very rapid storage and you’ve got one killer motherboard that looks good and can hold together a top tier system – fun times ahead!
But that’s not all!
Asus have revealed their new lineup also and among these is what looks to be an updated version for the Z170-AR we use in our own Paladin GTX 1070 Gaming PC which Asus are calling the Z270-A Prime (looks like this one is the Z270-AR in NZ)
Much like the Gigabyte motherboard above this new version has had the previous blue accent removed and is now sports a clean black and white colour scheme we like. It sports those nifty fan headers as well and although it’s shy on the lighting zones (a small bit of RGB path lighting) Asus have continued to make the new lineup a little more mod friendly by offering a range of unique customisation options for those with access to a 3D Printer \o/ Dedicated mounting points on the motherboard make fitting 3D printed parts possible by using the same screws as M.2 drives (hard to find but four 2mm x 3mm screws included with the kingston ssd bracket if you get stuck) so we’ll be able fit nameplates, ninja cable covers and more as we experiment with things – With Asus backing 3D Printer modding in this way along with Cooler Master and ThermalTake we’re sure to see more and more cool models emerge for these and not just for those lucky few with a fancy new motherboard – 3D models for 120mm fan covers, 2-way SLi bridges and even cable combs!
Taking inspiration from the iconic CM Storm Stryker chassis this latest addition to the new MasterCase lineup is sporting a very tough handle on the top that will make transport very easy but blends into the form of the chassis looking good even if you never use it 🙂 The tempered glass sides on this new case have been done in a new way that opens a like a reverse gull wing and have a key lock to open and close the panels which is pretty cool. Another really good thing about this chassis is the internal graphics card support bar is ready for two graphics cards making it absolutely amazing for a killer SLi Gaming PC 🙂
Just in time and perfect for the Red/Black theme we’re going for with this new build, Cooler Master Seidon 120V3 Plus water cooling kits have arrived in New Zealand! These have actually been available in the UK for a while now but here in NZ we’ve only had the blue options so this is absolutely perfect 🙂
We’ve had a good go with a bunch of Z270 series motherboards now and for our Red/Black theme there is one that really does look perfecto!
The Z270MX-Gaming 5 from Gigabyte boasts the most advanced LED system in the market today. With more customisability than ever and a convenient, intuitive UI thanks to the RGB Fusion App we’re going to have a blast making a build with this one! The bright and vibrant LEDs can even be configured to display the PC’s temperature or load… hmmm tempting 😛
Just announced – the new MasterMouse S is coming to New Zealand soon \o/ A small and elegant gaming mouse that aims to provide a secure and satisfying grip.
The body of the mouse sports five buttons (not including the dpi switch), one of which is a secondary function button that will allow us to map another command to the other four buttons – we like this layout as it’s easy to use and allows for some pretty handy hotkeys to be activated directly from the mouse, simply mapping health and mana potions to a single button and having the shifter let you activate either is pretty sweet but things get really cool when you map a steady fire macro as the alternate left click function, unloading a whole clip accurately at range is a killer. They actually call this shifter button the “Storm TactiX” which does sound a bit cooler than the shift term we like to use 😛 It’s located just under the base of your thumb for very easy access.
The MasterMouse S has onboard memory, so we can save our macros within five profiles, with everything being saved on the mouse. These profiles can also save unique settings to each with two RGB illumination zones, there is one along the rim of the mouse wheel and one at the rear edge and both be customised with the usual spectrum of 16.7 million colours as well as a range of effects that can be assigned to each of the zones independently.
All of the lighting settings, button functions, macros, DPI levels and various sensor settings can be tweaked easily via Cooler Master’s Portal software which is the new unified software package for all things CM 🙂
Aside from all this good stuff we get all the other usual premium bits like a matte UV coating that is easy to clean and resistant to finger smudges, main buttons equipped with those glorious Omron switches which can take a beating and a nice patterned PVC cable which at 1.8 meters long is pretty savvy for a little lounge room gaming.
With our most recent Dark Knight eSports edition we changed things up a lot upgrading toa very nice new chassis, an unlocked and water cooled intel i7-6700K + 500GB SSD and massive 4TB HDD for storage but the biggest change came from us fitting an EVGA Hybrid GTX 1070, which also has a very fancy all in one liquid cooler attached 🙂
And this is where things get fun 🙂 The GTX 1080 + i7-6700K is able to hit a whopping 19400 in the Final Fantasy Benchmark run which is pretty excellent, our tests with the GTX 1070 + i7-6700K in Paladin gave us an impressive result of 17800 which was actually a lot closer than we thought it would be… this might actually be possible with an OC. In game it was very difficult to tell the two graphics card apart performance wise (both run most on ultra settings pretty darn well) but the EVGA Hybrid 1070 under full load is much much quieter, something we specifically wanted for this build as it’ll be used for a lot of live game streaming.
We had such a good time testing things out in our GTX 950 Hero Overclocking Blog so we thought we’d do it again and see if we how close we could get to the 19400 score with our Dark Knight 1070 by making full use of that sweet cooling 🙂
The rules are simple, overclocking of the graphics card is savvy but we’re not going to touch the CPU or RAM at all 😛
We’ll be using our favourite FREE benchmark for this one set to maximum detail at 1920×1080, you can download the Final Fantasy Benchmark software via this blog from Nvidia Benchmarks, it’s free so you can install and test your own systems at home and compare with various configurations we have in our Gaming PC Benchmark Playlist.
For overclocking we’ll be using the Asus GPU tweak II software (also FREE!) as we love how easy it is to use, feel free to use any software you want for this though as it all does pretty much the same thing. It doesn’t matter which flavour of graphics card you are using either – other software choices like Afterburner or Precision will still work just fine 🙂
Starting with a base test at stock settings we exceed our previous base test and score 18000, this is going to be easier than first thought but we’ll still be needing around 9% performance gains to get reach to our dream target of 19400 \o/
We then started tweaking a little, first cranking power limit to max for a run before we tinker with the all important Core Clock and Memory Clock. We then tweaked these up with basic +100 to each, with GPU tweak II you can click and type in target clock speed rather than using the sliders, also don’t forget to click the tick to apply the settings. This gave us slightly better results with a score coming in a 18400, now to close the gap!
With a little tweaking and a few long tests to be sure it’s stable we managed an impressive 19228 with the 1070! (less than 1% off our GTX 1080 score!) You can check out the final scene in our benchmark run video below, with a quick snapshot of our settings shown at the very end to make things easy if you’re wanting to tinker for yourself at home – maybe even push things up a little higher!
If you’re overclocking to see just how far you can get remember that not all graphics cards limits are identical and overclocking results can vary a bit from card to card but that makes it all the more fun when you get a really good one! Go slowly as you increase the clock speeds look out for graphical glitches so you know when the limits of your card are getting close. The first one to keep an eye out for is pop in (or missing) textures, if you see odd colour dimming or pink and green flashes your OC is likely a little too high 😛 If you go wayyy to far you’ll crash either the benchmark software, nvidia display driver or force reboot your PC so play it safe and go slow so you avoid having to reboot.
Lot’s of fun to be had with this kind of thing in any case, keep your eyes on GGPC Computers Blog for the latest gameplay tests, custom builds and more!
The MasterPulse Over-ear headset delivers quality stereo sound in a comfortable, lightweight aluminum frame fitted with flexible headband provides comfort for even the longest gaming sessions while five little cushions provide a better fit and feel for your head. The ear shaped padded cups provide a decent level of comfort while blocking unwanted external noise, these cups can also be removed for a quick clean.
This new gaming headset also features back covers that, when the panels are removed, significantly enhance the lower frequencies which gives you noticeably enriched bass tones which isn’t really something we’ll use much for gaming but because this headset is packing a discreet mic it’s a little more savvy for general use over the more traditional gaming headsets we usually see, you can use it with most mobile devices via a 3.5mm gold-plated four pole headphone jack. When we jump back onto our PC’s we connect this to an additional splitter to separate the mic and speakers.
When the panels are on, the MasterPulse will provide you with clear and balanced sound at normal bass levels. These side panels can also be 3D Printed and Cooler Master have provided a 3D model here for easy download (contains .STP and .OBJ files)
UPDATE: Now we’ve got these onto our heads we can see (or hear) what all the fuss is about, the headset produces some epic sound when you’re gaming and in titles like Battlefield 1 the bass produced from firing a howitzer is extremely satisfying \o/ The volume on these is also quite remarkable, at full it’s so loud it feels like your ears are taking damage but still it maintains a clarity often missing in headsets when turned up so far, no crackles here 🙂 While we don’t recommend putting with one on full noise when gaming this headset isn’t just for gaming – listening to music via our phones when out and about was an enjoyable experience. There’s a little microphone built into the left side which provides pretty good voice chat options and this also did well in the wind outside, great stuff Cooler Master! The last little bit we really liked was the shape of the earcups, being tall enough to fit a ear without pinching allowed us to do some marathon gaming sessions with these without discomfort which is always nice 😛 Overall it’s a great headset for just about anyone, customisation is a plus and Cooler Master got the essentials pretty spot on, on that note we happily give this new set of ear cannons our GGPC recommends award – the MasterPulse Gaming Headset is GOOD!
Cooler Master have got another new gaming keyboard – well actually this one’s a combo!
Introducing the new Cooler Master Masterkeys Lite 🙂 Unlike the above gaming keyboards which use the Cherry MX this new value keyboard is packing CM’s own mem-chanical switch which not only feels great but also conforms to the Cherry MX standard shape so we can add aftermarket custom key caps very easily, it’s still early days for the Maker Hub but we’ll be keeping an eye on this for 3D printable models to appear, until then Thingiverse certainly has more than enough to keep us modding!
While the Masterkeys Lite Keyboard might not be quite as bright as its big brothers this keyboard still produces that clean RGB LED glow we’re in love with. They’ve added something really interesting to the kickstands by running a grippy texture along the back so when you’ve got the keyboard laying flat it still sticks to your desk like glue.
Even though the target is value this keyboard is still very well built and you can change the LED lighting to suit you setup quickly and easily from the keyboard itself without additional software or drivers needed, simple must haves like disabling the windows key (which is printed with a Cooler Master logo on this keyboard) can be done easily by pushing Fn+F12 and you’ll also find a host of media and lighting controls can be accessed in the same way.
The included mouse is a nice shape has an LED indicator that flashes in several colours as you change though the DPi settings lighting up the scroll wheel and also a thin strip at the base of the mouse, you can make this glow constant and even cycle to a RGB breathing mode by clicking the DPi shift + scroll wheel simultaneously – awesome stuff Cooler Master!
The version we have to play with has a L on the box as well which leads us to believe a second 10keyless version might be on the way which is always nice (UPDATE: Yep, there’s a new S version), in any case this is certainly the best entry level combo we’ve had the pleasure of using in a long time (since the Cooler Master Devastator II actually) and we’re happy to give this new value gaming combo our GGPC recommends badge – the Masterkeys Lite is GOOD!
UPDATE: We’ve built a lot of Gaming PC with this one now and it’s super quiet with little things we love like the adjustable pipes, on that note we happily give these new CPU Liquid Coolers from Cooler Master our GGPC Recommends award – The MasterLiquid Pro is GOOD! (and in all sizes, this whole series is pretty darn amazing TBH!)
The latest in thermal technology from Cooler Master – the MasterLiquid Pro 240 is one of the coolest looking all-in-one cooling solutions we’ve seen in a long while! Those talented guys and gals at Cooler Master have re-engineered how liquid absorbs and expels heat throughout closed loop of the cooler, this has created a new CPU cooling solution that lasts longer, performs better and like all good AIO options – requires virtually no maintenance (it’s nice to change your CPU paste every few years :P)
They’ve stacked an extra chamber on top and engineered it so that cold stuff can go in, but hot stuff can’t go back up. Inside all the important components live within this new cooler area while a powerful pump sprays liquid directly at the center of the water block, solving the issue of slow flow, they’ve even mounted more ultra-fine fins on the copper base, creating even more surfaces from which the coolant can take away heat.
Geared towards being cool in silence, Cooler Master have encased the pump needed to drive that concentrated spray at our CPU with a silent driver, the custom driver rotates way more smoothly than any other technology out there apparently reducing noisy clicks and vibration. Going even further in their efforts to reduce noise the MasterLiquid’s unique square fin design on the radiator creates a greater surface area for absorption of the heat and allows for spacious airflow – this increased space allows for use of a quieter fan that pushes air farther out of the case. Bringing everything together it’s really rather quiet!
The MasterLiquid Pro 240 includes two of the latest MasterFan Pro Air Balance fans, these new high-static-pressure fans utilize a similar “silent-driver” to operate quietly while moving plenty of air.
UPDATE: Voting is now closed – thanks to everyone all the votes!
Voting has just begun for the 2016 Cooler Master Custom PC building competition and we’ve got two awesome custom PC builds for you to check out from New Zealand modders – Bennies “benwaki” Bolstad and Jason “bits” Lau!
For this competition there are two categories you can choose to enter, Ben and Jason have gone separate ways covering both with two very unique builds.
Starting out with the Scratch Build category we have what is possibly the worlds first open water featured live garden PC called the GG Terrarium.
“My scratch build project is a glass enclosed hexagon Terrarium PC with open water cooling to create a waterfall feature inside. A gardeners PC that can play a little league of legends :)”
Next up in the CaseMod category is a custom PC built using the Cooler Master MasterCase 5… Well… more accurately TWO MasterCase 5 and is aptly named ??A???T?AM | MASTERCASE
“This mod idea came about as I have always wanted a case with a straight-through airflow design with radiator/fan mounts on either side of the case(think of a tunnel with a push/pull fan on each side), as I believe this design would enable the absolute best in cooling performance and watercooling potential.”
This is achieved in this mod by combining parts from 2(!) Cooler Master Mastercase Pro 5 cases. The exterior panels from both cases are combined to make an almost mirror-symmetrical design (which is where the projects name comes from) while the interior is completely custom designed and made.
The Computex 2016 expo was a showcase for some of the most talented modders in the world and while we were at the show hunting down new chassis, components and gaming gear we also took some time to meet the makers and see all the awesome custom PC they built!
There are a bunch of rig modding competitions with big prizes to inspire creativity so before we dive in here’s a bit more information about two of our favourites that you can participate in down here in New Zealand and Australia 🙂
The Cooler Master Case Mod World Series ANZ edition was created to recognize and promote modders within our community. Three Winners from ANZ region will be selected after the Case Mod World Series 2016 concludes on the 8th of June. There are two categories you could choose to enter, the first begin a case modification and the second is a to build a PC from scratch which is loads of fun!
2016 Thermaltake CaseMOD Invitational Season 1’s modding theme is the Thermaltake Core P5 ATX Wall-Mount chassis. Participating modders have the choice of modding a single or dual build. Modders are given a special time frame to complete the build and are given an unlimited selection of Thermaltake products to mod and install on the build.
Now everyone knows what’s up let’s take a look at some builds!
This one is a rather cool build (lol couldn’t resist) from case modder Jenki – It takes Captain Americas shield and encases it within ice as it slices through the P5 – pretty crazy stuff and he’s even modded a gaming keyboard to match!
If you’re a fan the Gundam Anime you might have recognised this build right away, a creation by modder Von Carlo Rasonabe (Reapervon) this one is named “The Weapon of Mass Destruction” and it’s pretty massive!
We also spotted an out of this world mod known as the BAHIA BLASTER by case modder Maciel Barreto, aside from the liquid coolant reservoir on the front it’s pretty hard to tell this one is a gaming PC! Enermax had some of the best cable management of the show with an excellent Division custom build but the Gigabyte Mini-Gun PC was certainly the show stopper with its rotating barrel – check out this beast in action!