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This review is from: Corsair Carbide Series CC-9011083-WW White/Red SPEC-ALPHA Mid-Tower Gaming Case
Cons: Front fan placement
Other Thoughts: This Jawa Sandcrawler shaped case from Corsair is definitely a unique looking piece. The Carbide Series’ angular slightly forward leaning shape give some some credence to that favorite vehicle of our droid thieving friends from Star Wars. The white & red color combination, along with the black grill material give this case a very unique look. Corsair very thoughtfully painted both the outside and inside of the side panels, resulting in a clean look. The case also has angled feet which lift it up a little over an inch, giving ample breathing room for your power supply fan.
Speaking of fans, this offering from Corsair sports six different locations for 120mm fans, two front, two top, one bottom, and one rear. Three of these locations are pre-populated (with Corsair fans of course). The fan placement could use a little improvement as the two front fans sit up high on the case and the bottom fan is close enough to the power supply that any largish one would block it. This fan placement also means the entire hard drive cage has virtually no intake fan blowing on it at all. Keep this in mind if you plan on having high intensity spinning hard drives. One last note on the fans is that there’s essentially two layers of fan mesh on the top of the case (one from the frame and one from the cover. Picky people might say this hampers the airflow, and still others might see this as a potential cleaning nightmare (meaning you’d have to remove the top panel to dust out the space between the meshes.
The hard drive cage in this Corsair case allows for two 2.5” and three 3.5” drives. The motherboard-side side panel also accommodates an additional two 2.5” drives (though it’s a bit odd that they are mounted on the outside of the frame). The tool-less design is nice and should make swapping drives out a snap. Note that the 3.5” bays face the window-side panel which may mean needing longer cables. Also note that the drive cage could potentially impinge upon the second video card slot. There’s roughly 10” of space between the back wall of PCI slot covers and the drive cage, so if you run dual video cards, check your card length before buying this case.
The front panel of the SPEC-ALPHA has a clean line of buttons and ports, with a 3-way toggle switch fan speed controller included. A nice touch for those who want to keep their fan solution simple. Other than the fan switch, the standard fare of power switch, reset button, and various I/Os are there.
In the box isn’t much besides the case. A multi-lingual manual and decent assortment of screws is included, and most of the motherboard standoffs are pre installed.
Overall this case is a solid choice at a decent price for the budget minded computer builder who wants something a little different.
Cons: Can be a bit finicky to run at the full advertised speed.
Other Thoughts: This DDR4 memory kit from Corsair is a solid choice for any budget minded PC builder. While it has XMP (Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile) built in which will automatically select the best “safe” settings, this particular memory choose a little more on the safe side than the performance side, so you may have to do a little trial and error tweaking to get the settings just right.
If you’re the PC builder that has to have the flashiest, fancy looking heat spreaders, then this offering from Corsair gives you a few color choices, Red, Blue, Black, and White (oooh white!). Other than the color choices they are fairly plain, but they are a great value.
Installed into an X99 based motherboard with an Intel i7 5820K, this RAM was rock solid and performed great. It’d be a great addition to any budget minded PC build. That in mind, it might be worthwhile to note that you can go and get this exact memory in a quad kit (that’s 32 GB of RAM, four sticks of 8 GB) for only $42 more to double the amount of RAM and have a full quad channel setup. Just a thought. Either way this is a great kit and highly recommended for those on a budget!
Pros: Much faster than similar non-hybrid drives
Cons: The speed increase is only on files you use repeatedly
Other Thoughts: This hybrid solid state / spinning disk iteration from Seagate is an interesting animal. It claims to wear two hats often worn separately in the typical power user system nowadays, those hats being a smallish solid state drive (SSD) for speed and a gargantuan spinning disk to store data for keepsies. Somehow there’s a voodoo magic built in that will mix the two nicely right? Let’s take a look.
First off with the basics. This drive is a standard sized 3.5” internal SATA connected drive. The drive has four disks internally with two heads a piece and boasts 4 TB of capacity (3.63 TB formatted under Windows 8.1). The SSD portion of the drive or NAND memory is 8 GB.
Seagate claims this drive performs “up to 5x faster than typical desktop hard drives.” So let’s put that to the test. For my tests, the drive was in a new Intel Core i7 based system with an X99 chipset and Samsung 830 SSD as the copy to/from drive. Here’s a couple of file copies as an initial test:
7.9 GB single file: read 198 MB/s, write 198MB/s
27.1 GB folder full of photos: read 143 MB/s, write 143 MB/s
Not exactly what you’d call 5x faster than typical desktop hard drives. So what’s the secret sauce that invokes the drive to use its NAND memory? It turns out the drive learns when it sees repeated use of the same files. So to put that to the test, I performed a read ten separate times with the following results:
5.87 GB folder with 240 photos
Read1: 136 MB/s
Read2-3: 151 MB/s
Read4: 159 MB/s
Read5: 255 MB/s
Read6-10: 326 MB/s
So we do actually see the drive learning and getting faster. I could see how using this drive as the “one drive to rule them all” would work out great as a sole drive in a system. It would also save the user significant money considering the two hats referred to earlier would cost a lot more than this Seagate hybrid drive. As of this writing this drive is priced ($144.99) similarly to many other 4 TB drives which do not have any hybrid capabilities, and even only $25 more than a similar non-hybrid Seagate drive. It’s easily worth my $25 to get significantly improved performance and perhaps skip the expensive, smallish SSD altogether.
Overall a great drive from Seagate, an excellent choice for a budget minded system that still has great performance. A solid 5 egger in my book.