Published on 31st October, 2017
[nextpage title=”INTRODUCTION” ]
Lazer3D is pleased to announce a range of new LZ7 case panels enabling DC-DC power supply compatibility, available to order now at Overclockers UK.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? In simple terms it means increased system wide cooling potential.
The LZ7 is already a very capable case with excellent cooling potential for its size, but if you don’t mind trading an SFX power supply for an external power brick you can open up more space inside the case which can be dedicated to higher performance cooling options, including up to 130mm tall CPU coolers, 120mm AIO watercoolers or extra case fans.
Click the tabs below for more information.
[nextpage title=”DC-DC PSU’s EXPLAINED” ]
A DC-DC PSU is a small PCB that sits inside your PC instead and replaces the ATX or SFX power supply typically used to power your system.
The main advantage of DC-DC power supplies is their small size, allowing for more compact systems, or alternatively opening up more space that can be dedicated to extra cooling. Other benefits include silent (fanless) operation and high power efficiency.
They come in a variety of types, some people may know them as “Pico” style PSU’s which plug directly into the motherboards 24pin power connector (other brands include G-Unique, Akasa, Realan, HDPLEX), usually these require a 12v DC input to provide their power, some models are 19v. Here is an example PicoPSU:
There are also the more generic style long and slim PCB style PSU’s, often bundled with really small cases, usually these require a 12v DC input to provide their power:
Finally there is HDPLEX who specialise in passively cooled PC enclosures and high efficiency DC-DC power supplies, these PSU’s are fast becoming the SFF communities go to choice for high power DC-DC power supplies, these power supplies usually require a 19v DC input.
They have a 160w NanoATX Power Supply, great for low to mid level system with 65w TDP CPU’s and PCIe powered Graphic Card combos such as the GTX 1050Ti:
HDPLEX also have a 19v 400w HiFi DC-ATX Model which when paired with a suitable adapter can power a high end system such as Desktop grade Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 and GTX 1060/1070/1080:
DC-DC PSU’s require a separate external AC power adapter (some refer to this as the power brick), it converts your mains voltage AC power from your wall socket into low voltage DC power, usually 12V or 19V that you plug into the power connector of your case:
Although DC-DC setups have the potential to provide increased cooling in the LZ7, they do have some drawbacks compared to the more conventional SFX power supply setup, the most obvious being the requirement of an external power brick which you can rightfully argue increases the overall volume of your system.
SFX power supplies offer an all in one fully integrated plug and play solution, you know exactly what you’re getting, plug it into the mains and you’re done. DC-DC power supplies require a bit more research to make sure you get a suitable board with the correct cabling for your setup and a compatible AC-Adapter with matching voltage and power connectors.
Finally, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the AC-Adapter itself, high wattage AC-Adapters can be very pricey, often costing more than the DC-DC board.
[nextpage title=”NEW PANEL OPTIONS” ]
REAR DC-DC PANEL KIT
The first of the new panels is the LZ7 Rear DC-DC panel, this panel swaps the default SFX mounting points for a smaller C14 bracket. Provided with the panel is a set of C14 adapter plates allowing variety of different DC power input connector types to be fitted including HDPLEX, G-Unique and other more generic round connector types:
The SFX power supply opening has been replaced with a 92mm Cyclone Vent compatible with 80mm/92mm x 25mm fans. This fan position is particularly useful when combined with a tower cooler for direct CPU heat exhaust, eliminating heat recirculation:
Mounting points are also provided for securing a HDPLEX 400W HiFi DC-ATX to the rear panel (instead of a 92mm fan), this is handy if you can’t fit the HDPLEX onto the front mounting panel.
STORAGE + DC-DC MOUNTING PANEL
This panel replaces the standard 2x 2.5” storage drive panel, with a 1x 2.5” storage drive + DC-DC mounts. For example you can fit an SSD horizontally across the bottom of the panel and the new HDPLEX 400W HiFi DC-ATX horizontally across the top of the panel.
The panel also provides mounting positions for the HDPLEX 300W AC-DC adapter which is great for using in conjunction with Pico style PSU’s that plug straight into your motherboard, or alternatively in conjunction with the HDPLEX 400W HiFi DC-ATX mounted to the rear panel – although it should be noted that this configuration will likely limit your CPU cooler compatibility to low profile coolers.
As a bonus the panel also has mounting positions for compatibility with some other popular types of DC-DC power boards.
XL-VENT TOP PANEL
The primary function of this panel is to provide extra mounting points for securing extra case fans to the top panel.
The XL-Vent Top Panel features a series of cut-outs to form one large vent, the cut-outs are spaced to allow a range of different sized fans to be mounted in various positions for maximum layout flexibility and hardware compatibility.
Without an SFX power supply installed the top XL-Vent panel can be used to mount extra cooling fans (up to 4x 80mm / 2x 92mm / 1x 120mm / 1x 140mm) or a 120mm AIO water-cooler.
ANTI-VANDAL POWER SWITCH OPTIONS
Due to the width of some DC-DC boards such as the HDPLEX 400w HiFi DC-ATX you will need to select the Vandal Power Switch side panel and corner options when opting for a DC-DC setup to ensure full compatibility:
The Anti-Vandal LED switches come pre-wired with custom short length cables helping to simplify cable management. They are available in a range of LED colours including white, red, blue and green.
[nextpage title=”TESTING AND RESULTS” ]
A range of coolers were tested in the LZ7 to see what is possible when using either SFX power supplies or DC-DC power supplies.
For the SFX power supply system a Corsair SF450 was used, a 140mm Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex fan was mounted to the side panel.
For the DC-DC system a HDPLEX 400w HiFi DC-ATX power board in combination with a Dell 19v 330w external AC Power Adapter was used.
For the Corsair H60 AIO watercooler setup a 140mm Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex fan was mounted to the side panel.
For the NH-U9S tower cooler setup an additional Noctua 92x25mm fan was mounted to the rear panel set to exhaust as well as the 140mm Prolimatech side fan.
All setups were tested using the same software, with Prime95 (2 threads) + Unigine Valley highest settings @ 1080p run simultaneously for a consistent system wide stress, each test was carried out for a minimum of 30 minutes and maximum temperature/noise results were recorded.
Even though you now have the option to install a 120mm AIO watercooler, the testing found that the Noctua NH-U9S tower cooler in combination with a rear 92mm exhaust fan outperformed the Corsair H60 AIO in both noise and temperatures.
In summary, if you don’t mind using external power bricks then opting for a DC-DC setup can result in an incredibly efficient CPU cooling machine, capable of maintaining temps and noise levels that a case many times bigger would be proud of.
ULTIMATE COOLING SETUP