Release roundup: Mobo audio, bay adapters, and superclocked Titans

This week in our look at miscellaneous tidbits and announcements, we bring you fresh news from ASRock, Cougar, Noctua, Scythe, and Zotac:

  • ASRock brings new technology to light! A-Style: purity sound. We've seen ASRock motherboards with fancy integrated audio before. Now, the company says its upcoming 8-series Haswell motherboards will have a newfangled audio system good enough to "satisfy even the pickiest audiophiles." Dubbed Purity Sound, this scheme will comprise a Realtek ALC1150 codec, a digital-to-analog converter with a 115dB signal-to-noise ratio, and two TI NE5532 amplifiers, one of which will be able to drive headphones with impedance up to 600 ohms. Other perks will include "cap less Direct Drive technology, EMI shielding cover, PCB isolate shielding and support for DTS Connect." I expect we'll learn more by the time Haswell comes out early next month.

  • Value Line PSU from Cougar is quiet. Cougar says its new SL series power supplies are "fully compliant with the 80-PLUS® Gold efficiency requirement." The company goes on to quote a peak efficiency of 80%—well below the 90% mandated by the 80 Plus Gold standard. Cougar then touts the presence of temperature-controlled fans and protection against under-voltage, over-voltage, short-circuit, and overload. Because, you know, all those other PSUs leave their fans running at full speed all the time and catch on fire when anything goes wrong. Ahem.

  • Noctua releases PWM version of award-winning NF-A14 140mm fan. Noctua already had a PWM-enabled 140-mm fan, the NF-A15, but it says that model's round frame was better suited to CPU heatsinks than to cases and liquid-cooling radiators. The new NF-A14 has a square frame and features PWM support, a 1500-RPM top speed, "reference class SSO2 bearings," modular cabling, a low-noise adapter, and a six-year warranty.

  • Scythe announcing Kama Panel 3.1 featuring USB 3.0 and 2.5 inch HDD/SSD rack. Got a spare 5.25" bay in your PC? If so, Scythe wants you to fill it with the Kama Panel 3.1, a vertiable Swiss army knife that includes power and reset buttons, dual USB 3.0 ports, a 2.5" drive bay, a card reader, audio connectors, a pair of retractable fan-control knobs, and a backlit screen that lets you monitor fan speeds and temperatures. Scythe is charging €32 before VAT for this puppy; that translates to about $41.78, provided the Kama Panel 3.1 makes it across the Atlantic.

  • Zotac supercharges the Titan. You wouldn't think of the thousand-dollar GeForce GTX Titan as a card that needs extra oomph. Nevertheless, Zotac has announced a version of the Titan that pushes clock speeds 10% above the reference model. The base clock speed is up from 836 to 902MHz, the Boost clock has risen from 876 to 954MHz, and the memory speed has climbed from an even 6 GT/s to 6.6 GT/s. Zotac doesn't quote pricing, but you can bet this monster isn't gonna be cheap.

You know, I quite like the thinking behind Scythe's Kama Panel gizmo. We've all got tall ATX cases, and most of us barely even need an optical drive anymore. It's about time we came up with a better use for those 5.25" drive bays.

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