Compulab Passively-Cooled Airtop2 Inferno with GeForce GTX 1080

Compulab Passively-Cooled Airtop2 Inferno with GeForce GTX 1080

Compulab has announced its first passively-cooled gaming desktop computer developed using the company’s expertise in fanless SFF systems. The Airtop2 Inferno uses an enhanced version of the Compulab’s proprietary natural air-flow (NAF) cooling system that can handle Intel’s Core i7-7700K processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. The Airtop2 Inferno will only be mass-produced if the company sees interest from the end user towards such systems.

Miniature gaming computers are certainly a part of an ongoing trend towards miniaturization of PCs in general — numerous manufacturers offer SFF gaming systems. Passively-cooled gaming PCs represent another category. Numerous companies have attempted to build such systems and/or produce appropriate components (e.g., Calyos, Zalman, etc.), but they were either very expensive, large, or had compromises when it comes to performance. Enter, Compulab. The company has been producing fanless special-purpose SFF PCs since 2007 and has experience with passive cooling. Compulab has been selling its specialized Airtop-branded fanless workstations for over two years now and this month it announces plans to expand its business to gaming systems. The first of such machines will be the Airtop2 Inferno that builds upon the workstation introduced earlier this month, but has an improved cooling system that can handle higher TDPs.

The Compulab Airtop2 Inferno relies on a specially-designed Intel C236-based motherboard and will be equipped with Intel’s Core i7-7700K processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. The system can be outfitted with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory, two M.2 NVMe SSDs and four 2.5”/9.5mm SATA storage devices. When it comes to I/O capabilities, the Airtop Inferno2 will have two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB-A and USB-C) ports (enabled by a FACE module), seven USB 3.0 headers, two GbE controllers, optional 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, audio connectors, DisplayPort 1.2 as well as HDMI outputs and so on. Since the Airtop2 Inferno relies on the Airtop2, it has almost the same connectivity capabilities as the fanless workstation, so it supports an optional 4G/LTE modem as well as FACE expansion modules.

The key difference between the Airtop2 and the Airtop2 Inferno is the enhanced natural air-flow (NAF) cooling technology capable of removing up to 300 W of heat. As discussed two years ago, the NAF heat-exchange system uses two special side-panels, each of which can dissipate heat. The side-panels are equipped with traditional flat copper heat-pipe arrays (with micro-channels) that take away heat from the hottest components (i.e., the CPU and the GPU) and spread it across the side-panel. The heat from the heat-pipe arrays is removed by the special air-tube panels consisting of 14 tubes with air inside. Once the air gets hot, it starts to rise up, removing heat from the side panels. The Airtop2 Inferno has side panels that feature additional aluminum tubes/heat spreaders that can dissipate more heat than the regular NAF panels and therefore handle TDP of Intel’s Core i7-7700K as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080. Compulab believes that the maximum TDP rating that the NAF Inferno cooling system can handle is 300 W, enough to keep the aforementioned CPU and GPU cool, but without overclocking.

Compulab Airtop2 Inferno
  General Specifications
CPU Intel Core i7-7700K (4C/8T, 4.2/4.5 GHz)
Chipset Intel C236
SKL, KBL support,
up to 20 PCIe 3.0 PCIe lanes
x1, x2, x4 bifurcation
RAID, vPro, TXT etc.
RAM Up to 64 GB DDR4-2400
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8 GB
Intel HD Graphics 630
Storage DFF 4 × 2.5″/9.5mm SATA HDDs/SSDs or
2 × 2.5″/15mm SATA drives
Modules 2 × M.2-2280 PCIe NVMe SSDs
3 × M.2-22110 PCIe NVMe SSDs on backplane card installed instead of discrete graphics card
Expansion PCIe x16
FACE Modules
Display Outputs iGPU 2 × DisplayPort 1.4
1 × HDMI 1.4
dGPU 3 × DisplayPort 1.4 + 1 × HDMI 2.0b
Networking Wired Dual GbE: Intel I219 + Intel I210
Wireless 802.11ac, 2T2R, 2.4 GHz/5GHz
Bluetooth 4.2
WWAN Optional M.2 B-key 3042 + 2×RP-SMA antennas modem with micro-SIM
I/O Front: 2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB-A, USB-C), 1 × USB 3.0
Back: 6 × USB 3.0, 3 × RS232
Audio Realtek ALC1150 audio codec with line-out, mic, S/PDIF
Dimensions 150 × 300 × 255 mm
5.9″ × 11.8″ × 10″
Volume ?
Operating System Windows 10
FACE Modules FM-AT2 Built-in-self-test LED indicators | 2x USB 3.0 | audio | micro-SD | mini-PCIe
FM-POE 4x Gbit Ethernet with PoE (PSE) | 2x USB 2.0
FM-LANE4U4 4x Gbit Ethernet | 4x USB 2.0
FM-OPLN 2x Optical Gbit Ethernet (SFP+) | 2x USB 2.0
FM-EBP Gigabit Ethernet bypass
FM-SER 6x RS232 / RS485
FM-XTDM2 2x mini-PCIe

Compulab describes its Inferno as the Airtop2 on steroids. It is very similar, but uses a different processor, graphics card, cooling system, PSU and is equipped with a module that enables USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity. The company has finished development of the system, but needs to fabricate the extra passive cooling elements, for which it plans to run a special crowdfunding campaign. With all things go, Compulab intends to ship the system in June. The actual price of the Airtop2 Inferno will depend on exact configurations of RAM and storage, but expect starting price to be comparable with pricing of beefed-up Airtop2 workstation.

Compulab expects to start selling the Airtop2 Inferno direct from its website in a couple of months.

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Corsair ONE Gets Caffeinated: Now with Coffee Lake

Corsair ONE Gets Caffeinated: Now with Coffee Lake

This week Corsair introduced two new versions of its small form-factor desktop, called the ‘ONE’. The new versions upgrade the processor to the latest generation Intel six-core Coffee Lake processors. The end result is more performance, with a corresponding increase in price. The new versions, called the ONE Pro Plus and the ONE Elite, represent the best performance versions of the Corsair One, while the model at the bottom of the stack is discontinued.

Corsair’s new ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite systems are based on Intel’s Core i7-8700K processor, and subsequently get an upgrade to a Z370 based motherboard. The new Corsair ONE PCs come in the familiar 12L aluminum chassis with a custom liquid cooling system, featuring dual liquid cooling loops that are used to cool down the CPU and the GPU separately. For the new units, the GPU is also upgraded, to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. Despite packing rather significant compute horsepower then, the use of the liquid cooling loops allows Corsair to promote the ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite as quiet.

As for other components, the new high-end Corsair ONE models are outfitted with 16 GB of Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400 (ONE Plus) or 32 GB of Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Elite) memory, a 480 GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and a 2 TB 2.5” 5400-RPM HDD. Since the systems use industry-standard components, they are upgradeable. Technically the CPU and GPU can also be overclocked, as long as cooling performance and 500W PSU are sufficient.

Specifications of Early-2018 Corsair ONE Gaming PCs
Model ONE Pro
ONE Pro Plus
ONE Elite
CPU Core i7 7700K with liquid cooling Core i7 8700K with liquid cooling
GPU GeForce GTX 1080 w/LCS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti /w LCS
DRAM 16 GB DDR4-2400 32 GB DDR4-2400 16 GB DDR4-2400 32 GB DDR4-2666
Motherboard mini-ITX, Z270 chipset mini-ITX, Z370 chipset
Storage SSD 480 GB NVMe
HDD 2 TB HDD, 5400 RPM
PSU 400 W SFX 500 W SFX
Warranty 2 years
MSRP $2300 $2500 $2800 $3000

The new ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite gaming machines exist alongside Corsair’s existing ONE Pro systems, featuring Intel’s Core i7-7700K as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080. At the same time, Corsair has EOLed its original ONE computer based on the Core i7-7700 and the GeForce GTX 1070. Corsair says that customer interest for the $1800 system was low, so it decided to discontinue the SKU. As a result, the range now starts at $2300, while the most expensive Corsair ONE Elite model retails for $3000.

The new Corsair ONE Pro Plus and Corsair ONE Elite will be available worldwide directly from Corsair as well as its resellers.

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Acer Reveals Predator Orion 9000 Gaming Desktop: Up To 18 Cores, 4 Vega GPUs

Acer Reveals Predator Orion 9000 Gaming Desktop: Up To 18 Cores, 4 Vega GPUs

In one of many announcements from Acer at IFA, the company has revealed a powerful new gaming desktop in their Predator line, the Acer Predator Orion 9000. The new desktop will support up to an i9 Extreme Edition processor, Intel’s i9 7980XE, with up to 18 cores and 36 threads. The higher core count versions will appeal more to prosumers and workstation users than to the bulk of a typical gamer’s budget. It will also be able to squeeze in four AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics cards in CrossfireX, or up to two NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti’s in SLI. The Orion 9000 is being pitched for gaming at 4K+ resolutions, is VR capable, and can certainly take on compute loads. Acer says the Orion 9000 series is “power you can see” and “the most powerful PC we’ve ever made.”

Outside of the high-end specifications, the chassis itself looks to intimidate. It uses both black and silver colors with an angled front bezel like that of a stealth vehicle designed to deflect radar with angled cues around the entire chassis. There is a large windowed side panel with a latch on top for access inside. In fact, both sides of the case have that latch up top for tool less entry. RGB lighting flanks the angled front of the case as well as inside with optional LED fans lighting up the room and showing off the inside. Moving the case should be easier with the integrated handles up top as well as casters/wheels on the bottom.

If overclocking is your thing and do not like to play around in the BIOS, Acer includes ‘one-punch’ overclocking to select turbo performance with a single press of the button. With overclocking though comes extra power use and of course heat. The Orion 9000 series feature liquid cooling and Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0, an airflow management solution separating the system in several thermal zones, each with an individual airflow tunnel to remove the heat. The front and top of the chassis have large metal mesh panels to take in and expel air. Five 120mm fan locations help move the air through, with some of the airflow intentionally directed behind the motherboard tray to cool storage devices.

Detailed system specifications are a mystery outside of being Intel X299 based. Though it is labeled a gaming machine, in practice it’s going to pull double-duty as both a gaming and workstation machine, depending on the CPU used. Intel’s high-end 18 core i9 7980XE makes for a good workstation, and conversely gamers are likely better off with the lower core count CPUs and their higher frequencies.

We do know the system can support up to 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory allowing for plenty of memory intensive activities on the machine. Other connectivity includes two USB3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A and Type-C), eight USB3.1 Gen 1 ports (1xType-C  and 7x Type-A) as well as two USB2.0 ports. The Predator Orion 9000 supports a total of three M.2 slots for storage purposes. Other details were not provided. 

The Predator Orion 9000 Series gaming desktops will be available in North America in December with prices starting at $1,199; and in EMEA regions in November, starting at €1,999. 

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Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition Announced at E3, Available for Order July 27

Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition Announced at E3, Available for Order July 27

Alienware this evening has announced their new Area-51 Threadripper Edition desktop at E3. The high-end gaming desktop offers up to a heady 16-core/32-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor – marking AMD’s first OEM win for the HEDT processor – paired with a customized CPU liquid cooling system. In addition, Alienware has revealed that they will be “the exclusive OEM launch partner to deliver AMD Ryzen Threadripper pre-built systems to market”, which can be a bit confusing, but as later confirmed by PCWorld, is solely about a temporary exclusive among the OEMs. Alienware’s exclusive deal won’t impact stand-alone CPUs for enthusiasts.

The custom Triad Chassis fits three graphics cards, nicely complementing Ryzen ThreadRipper’s 60+4 PCIe 3.0 lanes and X399 chipset, and the GPU options top out at dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti’s or triple AMD Radeon RX 580s. To run this gamut of cards, PSU options range from 850W 80+ Bronze to 1500W 80+ Platinum. And not one to be ever out-done on bling, Alienware has made sure the chassis has AlienFX Lighting for any and all LED needs.

Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition
Processor AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up to 16C/32T)
Memory Up To 64 GB 2933 MHz DDR4 (4x DIMM)
Graphics Up to 2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in SLI or
Up to 3 x AMD Radeon RX 580 in Crossfire
Storage HDD: Up to 2TB
SSD (M.2 PCIe): Up to 1TB
Wireless Dell 1820 802.11ac 2×2 or
Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi
Front 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Optical Drive
Headphone Jack
Microphone Jack
Media Card Reader
Rear 10 USB ports (unspecified form-factors)
Includes 1 USB Type-C (w/ 15W Powershare)
Dual Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit NICs
5 1/8″ Audio Jacks
Dimensions 569 x 638 x 272 mm
Weight Starting at 28kg
Pricing TBA

The TR4 socket Ryzen ThreadRippers will come with an all-core factory overclock and will be available as a 12-core/24-thread variant. Memory options top out at 64GB of 2933 MHz quad-channel DDR4 RAM, while storage offerings go up to 1TB M.2 SSDs and 2TB HDDs. Connectivity-wise, two USB 3.1 Gen-1 Type-A ports, media card reader, headphone jack, and microphone jack is included in the front, while the rear includes ports for dual Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet as well as “10 USB ports of different form factors, including a Type-C port”.

Positioning the Area-51 Threadripper Edition and its 6/8/10/12-core Intel Skylake-X counterpart for “4K, 8K, or VR applications” as well as “megatasking”, Alienware is offering demo rigs to visitors at E3 to experience the system first-hand. They will probably be as heavy as they look: the starting weight for these pre-builts is roughly 62 pounds.

Wrapping things up, Alienware’s Area-51 Threadripper Edition will be available for pre-order on July 27. However pricing has not been announced at this time, and more importantly, neither has a shipping date. AMD has not yet unveiled ThreadRipper’s release date, so all we know for sure by now is that it won’t be any sooner than July 27th, and may very well be later. Meanwhile Area-51 models with Intel’s Skylake-X family of CPUs will be available on August 22.

CORSAIR ONE Gaming PC Released

CORSAIR ONE Gaming PC Released

First announced in February, the new Corsair ONE pre-built gaming PC is now shipping. The Corsair ONE is the first ready-to-run system from the manufacturer that has mostly been known for their PC components and peripherals. Selling and supporting entire systems is a new venture for Corsair, but the design and capabilities of the Corsair ONE are a good fit for the company’s product lineup.

The Corsair ONE uses a custom case form factor that is a shallow-depth mini tower, but all of the major components inside use standard PC form factors: mini-ITX motherboard, SFX power supply, 2.5″ SSDs and supporting graphics cards up to 11″ long with two or three slot cooling solutions. Naturally, many of those components are either existing Corsair parts or special editions made for the Corsair ONE. The total volume of the case is around 12L and the exterior is mostly black aluminum.

The system’s cooling is provided by a single ML140 exhaust fan at the top and intake is through the side panels. The right side intake is occupied by the radiator for the CPU’s closed-loop water cooler. The left side intake vent opens directly onto the air-cooled graphics card in the base model, while the top Corsair ONE includes a second water cooler for the GPU. Neither radiator has any fans of their own, as the exhaust fan at the top of the case provides most of the air flow. The power supply uses semi-passive cooling with its own fan, and the system as a whole emits around 20dB at idle.


In order to allow the graphics card to be positioned behind the motherboard and facing its own air intake, the Corsair ONE chassis provides the necessary cables to route the PCIe lanes to the graphics card, and pass-through video connections to ports on the back and one HDMI port on the front that is intended for VR displays. The power supply is mounted in the top of the right side of the case and also makes use of a short pass-through cable to the plug on the back of the machine. Because both side panels are used as air intakes, the Corsair ONE can only operate in vertical orientation cannot be operated with either side directly against any obstructing surface.

The top vent and fan are removable without tools, but the two side panels with the radiators must be unscrewed at the top and are hinged at the bottom. While Corsair cases are usually quite easy to work in, further disassembly of the Corsair ONE gets tricky as usability has been sacrificed to save space.

Corsair ONE PC Specifications
Model Corsair ONE Corsair ONE PRO Corsair ONE PRO (web store only)
CPU i7 7700 i7 7700K
GPU air-cooled GeForce GTX 1070 water-cooled GeForce GTX 1080
DRAM 16GB DDR4 2400
Motherboard mini-ITX, Z270 chipset
Storage 240GB SSD + 1TB HDD 480GB SSD + 2TB HDD 960GB SSD
PSU custom edition of Corsair SF600: SFX, 80+ Gold with semi-passive cooling
Warranty 2 years
MSRP $1799 $2299 $2399

The base model Corsair ONE comes standard with an Intel Core i7 7700 processor in a Z270 motherboard with 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM. The base graphics card is an air-cooled NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. The Corsair ONE PRO model upgrades to a Core i7 7700K processor and a MSI GEFORCE GTX 1080 AERO 8G OC with Corsair’s custom water cooler. Storage is either a combination of a SATA SSD and a 2.5″ hard drive or a single larger SATA SSD.

Stylistically, the Corsair ONE is less ostentatious than many gamer-oriented products. The front face of the case includes aqua blue accent lighting that can be controlled or entirely disabled through Corsair Link software, but it’s single-color rather than full RGB lighting. Even with the lighting off the Corsair ONE doesn’t easily blend in with typical office or living room furnishings, but the relatively small size and all-black color scheme make it fairly unobtrusive.

The software pre-installed on the Corsair ONE is minimal: Windows 10 Home with all the necessary drivers, Corsair’s CUE customization tool, and installers for popular game digital distribution platforms including Steam, Origin, Uplay and GoG Galaxy.

Corsair will be selling the Corsair ONE PC through major electronics retailers as well as directly through their online store. Support will be be handled in-house by Corsair’s expanded support department that now includes specialists for the Corsair ONE. The system comes with a two-year warranty and aftermarket upgrades performed by the consumer will void that warranty, but Corsair will also be partnering with retailers to provide in-warranty aftermarket upgrades.