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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

GIGABYTE Introduces Z370 AORUS Motherboards

Supercharge your gaming experience with these powerful motherboards  

Taipei, Taiwan, September 25th, 2017 – GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, has unveiled the new GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS motherboards based on the Intel® Z370 chipset. These supercharged motherboards are equipped with a server-grade digital power design which fully support 8th generation Intel Core™ processors. Performance tuned, the Z370 AORUS Motherboards are compatible with memory modules rated for 4133MHz. With unique features like an ESS Sabre DAC, Smart Fan 5 and RGB Fusion, there’s no doubt why gamers turn to AORUS for the ultimate gaming motherboard.

“Following Intel‘s release of the Z370 chipset platform, GIGABYTE has designed a new, groundbreaking motherboard,” said Vincent Liu, Senior Associate Vice President of GIGABYTE’s Motherboard Business Unit. “GIGABYTE Z370 AORUS motherboards are designed for gamers who value powerful, yet highly durable motherboards. With our new digital power design, not only will Z370 AORUS motherboards unleash the power of the 8th generation Intel Core processors’ they will easily fulfill gamers’ demands.”

Designed with 14nm technology, the 8th gen Intel Core processors range from 4-Cores and 4 threads to 6-Cores and 12 threads each performing better than its predecessor. Z370 AORUS Motherboards deliver the highest video quality, 4K UHD, and uninterrupted streaming to users through the use of HDCP 2.2 Technology, a HEVC 10-bit decoder, as well as a VP9 hardware decoder.
 
Efficient Power Delivery

The Z370 AORUS Motherboards utilize a new VRM and PWM design which is able to drive 60 amps per power phase as well as strengthen the signal between the processor and voltage regulator. Through the use of server-grade 10K Ultra Durable Black™ capacitors GIGABYTE is able to increase durability while reducing excess electrostatic charge on the PWMs, improving efficiency between the CPU. With its intricate power design the Z370 AORUS Motherboards are still able to meet the standards of the California Energy Commision (CEC) as a low power and high efficiency motherboard.

Immersive Audio Experience with an ESS Sabre DAC

Paired with an ESS Sabre DAC and the Creative Sound BlasterX 720° software the Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 offers unrivaled audio performance. This synergy of hardware and software allows users a distinct advantage in multiplayer online games. Through Scout Radar gamers can obtain visual cues to where enemies or opponents are giving them an edge in-game. For audiophiles this duo has comprehensive tools backed by leading technology and algorithms to enrich the audio experience whether users are listening to music, watching movies, or streaming.

Beat the Heat with Smart Fan 5 with Fan Stop Technology
Smart Fan 5 has been a sought after feature for gamers and PC enthusiasts. As it continues to evolve Smart Fan 5 has incorporated features like Fan Stop Technology which allows fans to actively shut off to reduce ambient noise when thermal thresholds are not met. With the flagship Z370 AORUS Gaming 7, Smart Fan 5 introduces active cooling. Active cooling integrates a unique fan positioned near the VRMs for systems built with AIO liquid coolers where airflow is not present. These technologies allow for users to prolong the life of their gaming pc and squeeze the limits of performance from their Motherboard through the use of overclocking.

Other technologies that can be found on Z370 AORUS Motherboards are M.2 Thermal Guards which cool down those next generation form factors for storage. AORUS Thermal Guards reside on M.2 slots ensuring that gamers and power users will receive the most optimal transfer speeds from their top of the line storage devices.

Show Your True Colors with RGB Fusion and Digital LEDs
RGB Fusion is more powerful than ever, now with support for Digital LEDs in either 5v or 12v, RGB Fusion can be customized with individually addressable LED strips, arrays, and even matrices. The Z370 AORUS Motherboards offer RGB Pin Headers on both the bottom and top of the board to ensure convenience for modders and the everyday PC builder. With a 4-pin header that can be reconfigured to be compatible with almost all RGBW strips on the market, RGB Fusion is the most versatile platform for all RGB accessories.

For more details, please visit the official GIGABYTE website.
http://www.gigabyte.com/

To learn more about AORUS:
http://www.aorus.com

To learn more about Z370 AORUS GAMING 7:
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/Z370-AORUS-Gaming-7-rev-10#kf


About GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE, a global leading brand in the IT industry, offers a broad product portfolio including Motherboards, Graphics Cards, PC Components, PC Peripherals, Laptops, Desktop PCs, Network Communications, Servers and Mobile Phones. GIGABYTE also demonstrates the pinnacle of its hardware excellence in AORUS, in which it provides a full spectrum of innovative gaming products that deliver the ultimate performance and exemplify PC’s capability of bringing gamers unprecedented delights. Since its founding in 1986, GIGABYTE has taken the lead in the world’s motherboard and graphics card innovations and been internationally recognized by National Quality Award, Taiwan Excellence Award, Asia Info Tech 100, and as a Taiwan Top 20 Global Brand. With the idea to “Upgrade Your Life”, GIGABYTE creates innovative digital solutions that completely satisfy consumer needs and desires. Please visit www.gigabyte.com for more information.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

G.SKILL RipJaws KM570 RGB Review

G.Skill RipJaws KM570 RGB - Can this be your new budget gaming buddy!?


G Skill is a brand very well known around the globe for their flashy looking and record breaking memory kits, the latest one being the very popular Trident Z RGB series. Lesser do we know that they even manufacture gaming peripherals including gaming keyboards such as the very robust KM780. Thanks to G.Skill India today I have one of their very popular and mainstream gaming keyboard for review on the table, we have with us the G.Skill RipJaws KM570 RGB Gaming Keyboard.

Priced in at $99 the KM570 RGB comes in two variants with each variant further bifurcated into four sub categories as per their switch types. You can either get the RGB version such as the one we are reviewing today or a non RGB one with red only backlit color, both of these variants are available with CherryMX Red, Blue, Brown and Quick Silver switch types making it a great keyboard lineup as they've got an option for almost everybody depending upon their taste and usages.
Constructed with a 50 million keystroke durability and a smooth linear key response as well as contoured keypads for greater comfort, the KM570's other features include macro support with on-the-fly macro recording, per-key lighting customization with seven lighting patterns, full n-Key rollover and 100% anti-ghosting technologies, as well as shortcuts for Windows functions, keyboard functions, media playback and volume control.

What's in the Box!?


G.Skill brings the KM570 RGB in a thin yet solid cardboard box with the red and black color scheme to justify the G.Skill branding. All the key features are printed right on the front CherryMX Red mechanical keys, Per key LED lighting etc. You also get the RGB logo on the top left corner to clarify that its the RGB variant and not otherwise which is a good thing since too many options ought to create confusion.

At the back a colored marked diagram of the keyboard is printed to illustrate the various functions that it has to offer in a well laid out fashion. At the bottom we see the other features printed in various languages aswell, since ours in an 'English' packing so we get all the labeling in English or else it would've been otherwise.

Open the black box and you'll find the KM570 RGB keyboard, a user manual and warranty card. The accessories with this keyboard are bare minimum and even lack the now conventional contorted-textured gaming keys that come with most of the keyboards now. The only possible reason can be the cost cutting factor here but a few plastic caps wouldn't have hurt that much since they include a keycap pulling tool in the box!

The KM570 RGB Keybaord!


Looking at the G.Skill KM570 RGB you realize that its a plain and simple keybaord with a boxy finish very much like that was found in the good old IBM days which is quite nice. I'm happy G.Skill didn't try going wild with the design in the budget segment and kept it subtle while concentrating more upon the features.
Also judging by sheer looks the KM570 actually bridges the gap between the smaller KM560 and the much bigger KM780R making it sit right in the middle of the lineup.

This 450x160x40mm, 1.25Kg matte black keyboard is basically all plastic and no metal, not even to the least of bits but is still quite heavy for its size! This is primarily done to save cost aswell as to avoid any accidental shocks in case of a liquid spillage. The layout is pretty basic and you get the standard Corsair keys with the space-bar key being textured.


At the back nothing much is going on and we find five rubber feet to securely hold the keyboard in place once placed on a surface to avoid slipping and unnecessary budging. These feet do their job quite well for a keyboard of this size and weight plus you get two stand offs to tilt your keyboard a bit if you like to. So nothing much to discuss or complain about over here.

The keyboard comes with a 2m long braided cable that ends up into a gold plated USB 2.0 port for maximum compatibility & optimum signal transfer. The cable is not too stubborn when it comes to straightening it out so you don't have to worry about kinky wires hanging below your desk.

The front of the keybaord is simple with no extra USB port or anything for USB Pass Through functionality which is somewhat acceptable in this budget category so no complains over here.

Looking at it from the side we realize that the KM570 RGB actually is contoured from the front to the back with the keys following the same pattern so as to keep the entire contoured key caps feel intact! The front is 3.5cm high with the key-cap while the back is 4.5cm high, which does pose a small problem which we'll discuss later on in the review.



The keybaord relies upon on board key combinations for a range of functions and they are namely as shortcuts, media buttons and volume control functions. Holding the Fn or Function key located adjacent to the right ALT key you can perform actions such as opening My Computer, Default Web Browser, E-Mail, Calculator, Windows Lock Key for Gaming Mode and the NKRO or N Key Roll Over function.
The media control keys are pretty much straight forward while the arrow keys can be used to change the brightness level on the go with a five stage brightness control system with the final stage setting the LEDs completely off.

The key caps on this keyboard are standard ABS ones with contoured design and no extra padding or texture on top for extra grip for typing or gaming. We'll see how good they are in our testing.


Pop a key cap and you can see the CherryMX Red switches underneath, since these are CherryMX switches they are fitted with a damping material inside to reduce the clicking noise that mechanical keyboards are famous for. These are basically the same CherryMX switches that we tend to find in all of Corsair Keyboards and come with 50 million click cycle & an actuation force of 45g and 2mm depth.

Due to the added depth to the switches and the contoured design of the keybaord itself the LED lights are quite bright but still they don't bleed out. This is a very good job done by G.Skill since keycaps with height, even on premium keyboards, tend to lights bleeding out from under them but the designing on the KM570 RGB is nicely done.





Nothing special just a bunch of photographs I managed to click with different lighting configurations and the same red color!

G.Skill KM570 RGB Utility

Even though you can control some of the vital functions of the KM570 RGB from the keybaord itself like Maco Recording but still you need the G.Skill KM570 RGB Utility to use this keyboard to its maximum potential. You can simply plug n play with this keybaord on Windows 7 and above but once you install this utility it will update the keybaord firmware once, it did in my case, only after which you can use the keybaord after a system restart. At first the software failed to update the firmware on my sample and rendered it dud means I couldn't use the keybaord at all but after a system restart and a fresh utility install the firmware update was successful and I was all set to go.

The first thing you notice about the KM570 RGB Utility is that its plain, basic and the windows is the design of your keyboard only. On the opening screen you get two main tabs and three sub tabs, the first is the Customize tab that lets you link a program to a key for quick launch purposes or even swap two keys  in case you need a bunch of keys right under the tip of your fingers be it while gaming or editing videos/photos etc. You can save these settings into a profile and then flash it onto the keybaord memory. Sadly the KM570 can hold only one profile at a time so make sure you save the appropriate profile to your device when taking it to a LAN party etc.

Settings tab is as the name suggests and lets you tweak the technical behavior of the KM570 RGB including the Polling rate, N-Key Roll Over and even the repeat rate.

Lighting lets you choose from the number of Lighting effects the KM570 has to offer including the Rain and Wave effects along with the level of brightness. Remember that when you save a profile to the keybaord you would be saving it with all the three aspects together and not individually means that a profile would have the key settings, polling rate and the lighting effects all together.


Macro and Lighting Effects tabs let you program macros to any key that you like or even add a text message that you can directly add to the chat box and send to your team mates during a match by the press of a single key! Also note that this message is actually typed by the keyboard and not copy pasted from the clipboard so it will work with all the apps possible. Lighting Effects area is the section where you can customize the entire effect as per you own taste including colors, patters and even timings which is quite handy.
The G.Skill KM570 RGB Utility is quite basic and needs a face lift for sure but considering the fact that its neatly laid out and makes a basic budget keyboard such as the KM570 quite a lot useful and customizable is a noteworthy fact. It does add a few brownie points to this keybaord simply because of its pricing but for more expensive keyboards this utility is just not enough and quite lame to be honest when compared to what the competition has to offer.

Performance - Time to put those Keys to Test!


Whenever I review a keyboard or mouse I like to use the device for atleast a week putting it through my daily usage varying across the week. My usage is obviously more inclined towards typing and I mean lot of typing with various keyboard shortcuts combinations, followed by casual gaming mainly racing, open world or FPS. So lets classify the G.Skill KM570 MX RGB Gaming Keyboard performance across two broad categories of daily use and gaming.

Daily Affairs

G.Skill KM570 RGB is a very competent keyboard when it comes to typing paragraphs swiftly and smoothly.  The CherryMX Red switches due to their quick response & lower actuation makes it really easy to type long paragraphs with great speed without hurting your fingertips. Though it does need a little getting used to since the keys are quick but with a few minutes into training your fingers you'll find yourself using it with no problem. Since my fingers are thick I did accidentally push the Caps Lock key at times since the key is quite big and at almost no separation from the main alphabetical keys, people with slimmer fingers might not come across this issue.
These switches are identical to those used by Corsair with their keyboards, which I'm more used to since I own one of them, when it came to typing or anything else making it easier for a large chunk of consumers to get used to quickly. The keys are not slippery and the slim design makes them a good landing pad for the fingers imparting reasonable grip.
The aluminum plate at the bottom and the MX Red switches don't really make it too noisy like relatively to other mechanical keyboards I've come across nor does the board slip when I go all berserk while typing. For typing and daily use the keyboard has absolutely no issues that I can point out.

Game On!

Gaming is the area where this keyboard really shined for me since I personally prefer the CherryMX Red switches for gaming purposes so this keybaord did the job for me. The keys are just perfect and due to logical actuation force and distance its neither too sensitive nor too hard. I generally find CherryMX Speed switches a bit too quick and can't be used without some practice but these I'd say are a buy and go for most of the buyers out there. Still sometimes I found pressing a key accidentally as my finger was resting over it & managed to press it down just by a little, namely the spacebar not mainly due to the key sensitivity but due to the absence of a wrist rest which is gravely needed for a compact keybaord that also happens to be contoured like this and for users like me who have large palms.
Rapid key strokes is where the keyboard proves its metal as they keys offer high resistance with distance and hence reset quickly so rapid strokes are easy and swift making it easy in game like Rise of the Tomb Raider.
A strange issue that I came across is that the Esc key on my sample has this double press issue and I couldn't pause and jump to the menu while gaming! Its quite irritating when you feel like taking a pee in real life and need to pause of game campaign life. Probably an issue with my unit only since others over the net don't seem to complain anything like this.
The default keys work well for gaming aswell especially considering the price tag. Contoured design of the keybaord frame is the prime reason for this grip on these ABS caps as it makes the grip a tad bit better when compared to similar key cap boards.

My Verdict

The budget gaming peripheral market is flooded and that includes the keyboards as well most of which are just not worth even half of the asking price even from reputed manufacturers! G.Skill on the other side might've found itself a winner in form of the KM570 RGB gaming keyboard. Its exactly what you pay for and even a bit more at times. The build quality is solid and even though its plastic the feel and rigidity is top notch. Its a plain and simple keyboard layout with all the basic essentials for gaming.
Loaded with CherryMX switches all the available KM570 are extremely well thought off considering that at around $80 at some websites you get an RGB keybaord with a very well defused lighting that can be customized to a great extent with a software suite that's easy to use and quite comprehensive for the asking price of the product. I'm happy to see that G.Skill opted for CherryMX switches here and not any other lesser known manufacturer to cut corners with the pricing.
On the downside the keybaord doesn't have a wrist rest or swappable key caps out of which the former is a big let down since its necessary for gaming over long stretches.
"I recommend the G.Skill RipJaws KM570 RGB to anyone who is looking for a mechanical keybaord on a budget and values balanced performance with classic yet effective aesthetics to get the most out of their money."
Pros - 
  • Solid Build Quality
  • CherryMX Switches 
  • Supports Macros
  • RGB lights are very well defused
  • Well priced 
Cons - 
  • No Wrist Rest
  • Only supports one Profile at a time
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award!

Friday, 22 September 2017

MSI shows off GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO

When dual fan-single fan becomes just too boring for you!

Just when we'd thought that the triple fan design for graphics card is all out dated and prehistoric MSI just came out with their GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO graphics card! A great news for people like me who value beefy cards over the newer slimmer and smaller form factors.
A triple fan design, 2.5 slot requirement and a RGB strip emblazoned on the backplate are some of the physical differences of the TRIO that seperates it from the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X, MSI current flagship graphics card.
 
MSI has the clocks on the GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO at 1569MHz base, 1683MHz boost, and the 11GB of GDDR5X clocked at 11124MHz. MSI requires 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which indirectly translates to power power for more performance. How much performance boost? We'll only be able to answer that once we have the card in hand.
MSI will be selling its newly unveiled GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO on October 12.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Need for Speed Payback's PC system requirements have been revealed

Can you run it, or will your PC be left in the dust?

According to OC3D EA has released Need for Speed Payback's PC system requirements, offering not only minimum hardware specifications but also framerate and settings targets for those machines. 

These requirements confirm that Need for Speed Payback is a DirectX 11 title, with the game requiring a 64-bit OS and a minimum of four CPU threads to function. 

When it comes to RAM EA recommends that users have at least 8GB of RAM for 1080p 60FPS gameplay and at least 4GB of VRAM, though systems with 6GB of RAM and 2GB of VRAM will be usable with lower graphical settings. 

Below is a gameplay video from Nvidia which showcases 4K 60FPS gameplay from a system that uses a GTX 1080 Ti.

Minimum Requirements for 720p30 at low settings

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or later
  • CPU: Intel i3 6300 @ 3.8GHz or AMD FX 8150 @ 3.6GHz with 4 hardware threads
  • RAM: 6GB
  • DISC DRIVE: DVD ROM drive required for installation only
  • HARD DRIVE: 30GB
  • VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 750 Ti or AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 or equivalent DX11 compatible GPU with 2GB of memory
  • DirectX: 11 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • INPUT: Dual analog controller
  • ONLINE CONNECTION REQUIREMENTS: 192 KBPS or faster Internet connection

Recommended Requirements for 1080p60 at high settings

  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10 or later
  • CPU: Intel i5 4690K @ 3.5GHz or AMD FX 8350 @ 4.0GHz with 4 hardware threads
  • RAM: 8GB
  • DISC DRIVE: DVD ROM drive required for installation only
  • HARD DRIVE: 30GB
  • VIDEO: AMD Radeon™ RX 480 4GB, NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1060 4GB or equivalent DX11 compatible GPU with 4GB of memory
  • DirectX: 11 Compatible video card or equivalent
  • INPUT: Dual analog controller
  • ONLINE CONNECTION REQUIREMENTS: 512 KBPS or faster Internet connection

Need for Speed Payback will release on November 10th on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, releasing three days early for Deluxe Edition owners. The game will also receive a Play First Trial on November 2nd for EA Origin Access Subscribers.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

MSI Core Frozr L Review

The MSI Core Frozr L is finally here but will the dragon burn down the competition or fizzle into a puff of smoke!


MSI is a well known name in the PC industry with its famous & competent lineup of motherboards and graphics cards that have impressed many both in terms of performance and aesthetics. Recently they've stepped into unfamiliar yet promising territories of CPU Air Cooler by releasing the MSI Core Frozr CPU Air Cooler series, yes read that right, a CPU cooler from MSI! The Core Frozr is the new series from MSI and as of now comes with two models namely as the MSI Core Forzr L and MSI Core Frozr XL, the latter being bigger and supporting RGB LEDs. Thanks to MSI India I have with me the MSI Core Forzr L for review on my table today and I've never been any more excited to say the least!

With a price tag of $50 and available in India free with the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard this 200W TDP cooler weighs in at 960g and is compatible right out of the box with almost every Intel and AMD platform including the latest AM4 and the old LGA775. It is a 120mm cooler with support for dual fans in push pull configuration.

What's in the Box!?


MSI brings the Core Frozr L in a familiar packing style with less of the dragon logo and more of the product image this time. Its a tall cardboard box which is solid and colored in the conventional MSI black and whine red color theme. The front has all the details printed along with the list of compatible sockets including the AMD AM4 socket for Ryzen CPUs.

At the back we get all the features enlisted along with supportive diagrams and pictures such as customizable cover panels, nickel plated copper base etc and a dimensional wire diagram at the bottom right to assist you in choosing a compatible cooler for your build.


Open the box and we find the cooler in a clamp shell cover, a silica gel pouch and a sleek black box with all the nuts and bolts. The box houses all the vital components required for installing the cooler and since I'm a fan of organized stuff this box is my favorite since everything inside is so meticulously kept in a foam cavity.
The box contents include the required nuts and bolts, the universal backplate and retention bracket, a pair of metal clamps to install an additional 120mm fan, the MSI Thermal Compound X thermal paste tube, a black MSI Gaming cover for the cooler for swapping, rubber spacers for the extra fan and a user manual.
All in all the packing is quite simple and to the point with enough details and all the essentials packed nicely in the right manner and quantity.

A Closer Look!


Take the cooler out and you'll notice the obvious MSI branding and signature styling all over the place which not only makes it unique but also quite functional which we'll discuss later on. The cooler is basically black and red with silver and nickel coming from the fins and pipes.

The top has a customizable MSI Gaming logo cover which is made out of plastic and is LED backlit, sadly only in static red. By default it comes with a silver cover since the cooler is aimed to be advertised as a complimentary with the silver colored MSI X370 XPower Titanium Motherboard but it also gels in with many other motherboard with a similar white/silver theme. Not to happy with silver then you can go with the black cover and make it go with your black build and since black and red is a great combination I don't think this cooler would face much issue in gelling in easily.

The fins on this cooler are designed in a very peculiar way which not only makes it look like a dragon's back but also as MSI claims provides this Air Flow control technology which actually bends the cool intake air towards the heat pipes passing through the center for better cooling performance.


MSI is an expert when it comes to designing heatsinks for its graphics cards and a similar trend can be observed with the Core Frozr L aswell. which has been designed and manufactured by the same engineers & manufacturing units as that of the graphics cards. Looking at the 140mmx155mmx84mm aluminum heatsink of the Core Frozr we see that its quite dense and is identical to the heatsinks we find on MSI graphics cards, infact its like a MSI Graphics Card heatsink mounted vertically!
You might've observed by now that the cooler is actually off-set from the center to make room for the graphics card on the first PCIe slot. This way the cooler has managed to stay broad hence provide more surface area for heat dissipation but towards the VRM heatsink of the motherboard and not towards the PCIe area!
The cooler is tower style and hence quite tall but still not tall enough to cause any incompatibility issues with the smaller chassis.


Six 8mm nickle plated copper heatpipes run through the thick aluminum heatsink of the Core Frozr L and all of these join together into a nickle plated copper base plate which is an old design but is still the best one around! The baseplate is not really smooth with mirror finishing but has a machine finish instead which isn't really bad as long as the cooler sits tightly upon the CPU and has good heat dissipation. Also its noticeable that two out of the six heatpipes, the ones on the right side in the picture, are abruptly bent to provide an off-set to the cooler which we've discussed above.

The 120mm TORX fan is a Hydro-Dynamic Bearing PWM version which has airflow optimized fan blades. The unit fan spins at 500 - 1800 ±15% RPM with PWM control, pushing 19.79 - 71.27 CFM of air, creating 0.16 - 2.09 mm of air pressure, and making up to 17.2 ~ 33.6 dBA of noise. 

Installation of the Core Frozr L


We'll be installing the MSI Core Frozr L CPU Air Cooler on two platforms two see how it fairs off, one would be a AMD Ryzen Platform while other is an Intel SkylakeX Platfrom. The reason for this is pretty simple, since the cooler comes bundled with a Ryzen motherboard in India and is touted for being a great companion for Ryzen CPUs we'll test it on Ryzen but also the cooler has  amssive TDP of 200W which is enough to cool even the latest Intel HEDT SkylakeX so it would be interesting to see how this mid-range cooler performs on this high end platform.



Installing the MSI Core Forz L is a pretty simple process if you manage to decode that manual full of hieroglyphics! For the installation on both the platforms we've used the shown parts and obviously you won't need the universal backplate for the X99/X299 platform but for every other Intel/AMD platform the backplate is a must. It is of a really high quality and one of the best I've seen with a cooler of this price range.


Put the top retention bracket and then after applying some TIM place the cooler without the fans on top of the CPU. Now using the black screws for Ryzen and the normal nickle ones for others tighten the plate that connects the cooler baseplate to the retention plate. Make sure you tighten each side equally as the plate tends to slip otherwise. Snapping on the TORX fan with the provided clips is a bit tedious job & requires effort so make sure you have a pair of extra hands for help or you yourself are ready for some work.


The cooler can either be placed with the fan towards the DIMM slots or opposite to them but its advisable that you face the fan towards the DIMM slots for two major reasons. Firstly, the fan would be able to draw cool air from the front end of the case which would be dust free since most chassis manufacturers install dust filters on the front fascia of the chassis. This would also cool the RAM sticks in the due process. Secondly, facing the back of the cooler towards the DIMM slots will result in hot air blowing onto the RAM sticks resulting in overheating, low performance and even memory failure in the long run.
Now with that being said, the Core Frozr L does block the first DIMM be it on X99/X299 or any other platform in case of a majority of RAM sticks except for some really low profile ones like the Corsair Vengeance LPX or the HyperX Fury. I did manage to fit in my Galax HOF Memory Kit but at the cost of mounting the fan a bit upwards which will cause performance loss so its best you stick with low profile RAMs or if not then just use two sticks rather than four.
The off-set indeed works and there is enough space between the cooler and the graphics card in the first PCIe slot.

Let's put it to Test!


Our Ryzen configuration for benchmarking the MSI Core Frozr L is as follows -
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Motherboard: Asus X370 Crosshair VI Hero
RAM: Galax HOF 16GB DDR4 3600Mhz
Cooler: MSI Core Frozr L
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1050Ti G1 Gaming OC
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480 480GB
Secondary Storage: ADATA XPG SX8000 256GB M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700

While our SkylakeX configuration for this benchmark is as follows -
CPU: Intel Core i7 7820X
Motherboard: MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
RAM: Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB DDR4 3000Mhz
Cooler: MSI Core Frozr L
Graphics Card: Gigabyte GTX 1050Ti G1 Gaming OC
Storage: Corsair Neutron GTX 480 480GB
Secondary Storage: ADATA XPG SX8000 256GB M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 700

Firstly, the AMD R7 1700 and Intel i7 7820X are kept at stock speeds with XFR/Boost enabled and temperatures are measured both at idle and at full load. Then we overclock our Ryzen 7 1700 to 3.8Ghz at 1.39v and the i7 7820X to 4.3Ghz at 1.23v which is an easily attainable frequency by the chip but also a point where it starts generating quite a lot of heat, the same process as that for the stock speed testing is repeated. Temperature is measured using HW Monitor and taking average temperature across all the cores combined. MSI Kombuster utility is what I prefer to stress test the CPU at all eight threads, I run it for a good 15 minutes before recording the temperatures since by then the temperatures reach a saturation point.
Secondly, the fan is plugged directly into the CPU Fan header with fan profile at default from the BIOS itself to rule out any discrepancy whatsoever.
The readings would be shown in delta temperature that is after subtracting the ambient temperature of the room while noise levels are recorded from a distance of three feet from the cooler which is a reasonable and practical distance for such tests.


At stock frequency its clear that the much smaller MSI Core Frozr L is almost identical to the much bigger Noctua NH-D14 both at idle and load in both the platforms. Also it beats the stock AMD Wraith Spire RGB cooler by quite a margin in both circumstances.


Once both the CPUs are overclocked the picture changes a bit, the Core Frozr L is not as good as the NH-D14 at idle but both the coolers saturate at an identical temperature when the CPU is under load however there is a bit of a difference in the Ryzen area but it is within the margin of error.

As hard as it may be to believe but the MSI Core Frozr L is the quietest Air Cooler among all the coolers we've pit it against & this is largely due to the TORX fan that it uses which has proven to be an incredibly quite cooling solution even for the MSI graphics cards.

My Verdict 

When a reputed manufacturer forays into a new territory its venture is always closely looked upon with apprehensions and expectations. Similar is what I felt when I received the MSI Core Frozr L, at first I thought that its just a good looking cooler with probably an average performance but all my apprehensions were wiped off the moment I installed and turned on the cooler!
We tested the MSI Core Frozr L on some of the hottest chips out there in the market and even though its a first from a non-cooler manufacturing brand the product is a shocker. Though it loses to the bigger AIOs but it flirts with the much bigger and veteran Noctua NH-D14, I mean we are looking at Noctua like performance from this new kid on the block. The build quality is extremely solid and well thought off with thick nickle plated aluminum fins and heatpipes to the inclusion of the 120mm TORX fan which by the way also makes it amazingly quiet. Installation wise the cooler is very easy to put together on any platform and is much more simpler and sturdier than many other coolers out there. The swappable top cover is a great inclusion to make sure the cooler goes with any theme possible today.
If we talk about the downside then it has to be the flimsy fan clips that make the fan installation a bit difficult when the heatsink has been put on the processor. Also in India buying this cooler alone is not only difficult but also very expensive so this makes it more like an add on with the MSI X370 XPower Titanium Motherboard which is a bad thing since the cooler alone is a winner. Obviously considering the fact that you are getting a very good cooler for free with a premium motherboard is a lucrative deal in its own right since it saves a lot of money in case you are going for a Ryzen CPU that doesn't come with a cooler.
"MSI Core Frozr L lives up to its name and the Frozr legacy, delivering impressive yet quiet performance, solid build quality and catchy looks to woo in any gamer, modder or system builder looking to build a budget or even a high end system!"
Pros - 
  • Good Cooling Performance 
  • Very Quiet
  • Easy Installation process
  • Supports dual fan configuration
  • Customizable top cover
  • Solid Build quality 
  • Free with the MSI X370 XPower Titanium in India 
Cons-
  • Fan clips are a bit flimsy 
  • Blocks the first DIMM slot
  • Not available in India exclusively 
I give it a 8/10 earning our Gold Award!