Release roundup: Cases, mobos, graphics, and a little memory
This week's release roundup is a doozy. We've got product announcements from Biostar, Crucial, Lian Li, Scythe, and Zotac:
- Biostar releases the most powerful AMD APU mainboards. Biostar may not have the standing and reputation of its bigger rivals, but that hasn't stopped it from unleashing a trio of Socket FM1 motherboards for AMD's upcoming Llano processors. The TA75A+ has a full-sized ATX form factor, while the TA75M+ and TA75M are both microATX. Interestingly, Biostar has outfitted all three boards with dual physical PCI Express x16 slots, and it claims support for CrossFire multi-GPU configurations. Other perks include a "new heat sink design" as well as passive cooling for the CPU's power regulation circuitry.
- Crucial further expands gaming line with new Ballistix Tactical and Ballistix Elite Series. This announcement is a tad premature, because Crucial's new modules won't actually be available until September. However, Crucial says its new Ballistix DIMMs will do up to 2133MHz, and it will offer 4GB modules rated for operation as high as 2000MHz. Ballistix Tactical DDR2 and DDR3 DIMMs ought to satisfy performance enthusiasts, the company says, while the Ballistix Elite DDR3 series targets "extreme enthusiasts and gamers" and features built-in thermal sensors.
- Back-to-front cooling scheme on all-new PC-A05FN. This, folks, is Lian Li's latest aluminum mid-tower PC case—and it breaks a few rules. The PSU area is positioned below the hard-drive bays at the front of the case, for starters, and Lian Li has reversed the traditional path of airflow, sticking a 120-mm intake fan at the back and a 120-mm exhaust at the front. The resulting design is surprisingly compact, measuring just 8.3" x 15.2" x 19.7", yet it has room for full-sized ATX motherboards, three 3.5" and two 2.5" internal hard drives (or SSDs), one 3.5" and two 5.25" external drives, and space for graphics cards as long as 11".
- Scythe announces mainstream PC Case called Ikazuti. In one of the most prudently phrased announcements I've had the chance to read, Scythe describes its new case as having "many useful features including an optimized airflow as well as very decent overall design." The Ikazuti looks very decent indeed, with a choice of black, silver, and "dark silver" front-panel bezels, room for five 5.25" drives and four 3.5" drives, and a pair of pre-mounted Slip Stream 120 fans that spin at 800 RPM, presumably generating very little noise in the process. The enclosure's motherboard tray has the customary cut-outs for cable management and access to the back of the CPU socket, and the front panel includes USB, external Serial ATA, and audio ports.
- Zotac announces GeForce GTX 550 Ti Multiview. If you read our review of the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, you probably know this isn't a terribly fast or exciting product. Zotac has managed to spice it up somewhat, though, releasing a reference-clocked "Multiview" model that can purportedly deliver a "seamless triple-display computing experience" (you know, like similarly priced Radeons have been doing for some time). The card has one DisplayPort, two dual-link DVI, and two HDMI outputs.
That Lian Li case is definitely intriguing. I'm usually not a fan of all-aluminum designs, because they tend to feel flimsy and seem to amplify the sounds of noisy hard drives more than their steel counterparts, but I may have to check out the PC-A05FN.