Happy 4/20! Today’s Mosh Pit is all tech-related, and there’s a lot of quality stuff to absorb, man. So, inhale deeply and exhale a few times, feel your body start to relax, and join us to look at some waaaaay cool tech. There’s a few new cases that continue the budding trend of cubed chassis, a trippy new version of Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system, Facebook’s slowly going up in a cloud of smoke, and MSI’s Vortex W25 is just so damned tiny (and big on the outside and small on the inside and big on the outside and small on the inside and small on the outside and big on the inside and-wait, snap out of it!).
Lian Li 011 Dynamic
Extreme overclocker Der8auer has made a name for himself offering tools and exclusive components to PC enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their systems, from delidding Intel’s new Coffee Lake processors to making some neat watercooling kits for RAM. Der8auer paired up with Lian Li to make a case with his brand on it, and the result is the extremely non-aluminum 011 Dynamic. Yes, non-aluminium. There’s more aluminium in one half of a drive cage in a typical Lian Li case than there is in the front panel of the 011 Dynamic. The rest of it is 0.8mm SECC steel with flush glass panel inserts and a cubed chassis design with compartments that are closed off from each other to offer better cooling for the components.
You can fit up to three 360mm radiators in this thing. There’s space for ten 120mm fans, up to three 3.5-inch hard drives or six 2.5-inch SSDs, four removable dust filters, angled rubber grommets to hide cables, eight PCI brackets for up to three GPUs in a multi-GPU setup, and there’s also a mounting point to have your GPU stand vertically in the chassis thanks to the included riser card. It even has a second name, the “Bauhaus-011”. How much does it cost? In the US it’s on pre-order for $130, which translates to approximately R1,500 locally, but there will be additional fees and VAT added on there that will probably hike the price up to more than R2,000. If it’s a unique design that you’re after, this
Ubuntu 1804 “Bionic Beaver”
On 26 April 2018, Canonical signs off on Ubuntu 1804 codename “Bionic Beaver”, the first of a long line of RTS releases with the Gnome desktop and the revamped user interface and applications. Canonical has made some incredible strides in getting to this point, the least of which was deciding to call in the Unity desktop interface project and kill it off quietly in the alleyway behind their offices. Gnome-shell is the main desktop experience for the forseeable future, and it’s quite shocking to see the speed at which the switch was made. Within months of the 17.10 betas starting, Unity had already been shelved and work had begun on integrating the Ubuntu Gnome team into the company’s workflow.
In the six months since 17.10 and today, the Ubuntu OS has undergone a complete overhaul stripping out dead weight, deprecating old software, and adopting long called-for community requests (six months? It took Microsoft four years to get to the same point with Windows 10). LTS releases are supported for up to five years for security updates and are generally the best supported distributions around. The crazy thing about this release? Microsoft is actually working to make Ubuntu 1804 work well with their software and services, allowing things like Remote Desktop through XRDP to function properly, and making moves to set up Hyper-V environments to allow Windows Server and Windows 10 to host Ubuntu-based virtual machines more seamlessly. This is a weird time to be alive.
Cooler Master Masterbox Q300
Continuing the weird trend of cubed cases becoming the next big thing for PC component manufacturers, Cooler Master has the wonderfully detailed MasterBox Q300 to sell you. The company announced the Q300 back in January at CES, and the time has finally come for their local launch. The Q300L is a cubed chassis with a slightly wider front than the regular ATX specification, with a mesh front and top grille that allows for higher airflow through the case that has this neat hexagonal detailing that sets it apart from the glut of tempered glass designs we’ve seen so far.
With support for mATX motherboards and full-sized ATX power supplies, the Q300L and Q300P are quite flexible for most builds, featuring lots of mounting points for fans, many rolled cut-outs for cable management, hideaways for storage drives, and a movable front I/O panel that can be rotated according to your preference. The Q300P additionally includes two RGB fans, a built-in RGB controller, and handy… handles for portability. It doesn’t have the flat ventilated panels like the Q300L, or the easily removable dust filters, but it does have two DarkMirror panels that allow you to show off your RGB fans without blinding yourself and everyone else in the dark at your next LAN. Prices start at R600 for the Q300L and R1,100 for the Q300P, directly facing off with Corsair’s Carbide 88R.
God of War launches today on PS4
This is a friendly reminder to go pick up your copy of Kratos’s latest adventure where he accidentally upends the running of the universe (again) by killing a number of immortal beings with his bare hands. We’ll have a review up soon enough, but whoever gets to review it must grow a Viking-style beard in the process to qualify (oooooh, that was close – she-ed).
MSI Vortex W25 Workstation
When MSI began to debut their thin and light workstations aimed at replacing gaming desktops, Wesley Fick, our resident hardware guy (who’s really at the other end of the country so we don’t know why we even call him a resident anything) wrote that they should really be thinking about doing a professionally-skewed version of the same idea, integrating things that people using them for CAD work and video or photo editing, or even programming, might appreciate. MSI seems to have heard that call, because this week they announced a brand new range of workstation-class machines, including the sexy Vortex W25. This is a small-form-factor PC that is designed to hide away on or under your desk, or even behind your monitor. It packs an Intel 8th gen Coffee Lake processor with up to six cores and twelve threads, a NVIDIA Quadro-series graphics card with up to 16GB of GDDR5 memory, enough space for two NVMe solid state drives, and a 2.5-inch hard drive bay for mass storage. It’s so tiny and diminutive that you could miss it if you’re not looking for it closely.
Along with the Vortex W25, MSI announced the 17-inch WE series of notebooks with Intel Xeon Coffee Lake processors and Quadro graphics, the WT75 which is a workstation version of the Dominator GT family, and the WS63, a workstation version of the GS63 Stealth series. All of these new products come with Windows Hello-capable cameras and fingerprint readers, and have the promise of up to 18 months of image support from NVIDIA’s driver team for their Quadro GPUs.
Mosh Pit is about popular lifestyle things and new tech, and what could be a more popular lifestyle thing than Facebook? That’s right – quitting Facebook. In the last few years, we’ve had numerous studies tell us how bad social media is for us mentally, and how things would be so much better if people didn’t cultivate their social circles into echo chambers of other people who only always agree with their preconceived biases. As a species, this is pretty normal, but that’s not what being human is all about. So if you were thinking to yourself on this fine Friday about getting off your social media and finding better ways to interact with people, here’s a handy link to begin the process of deleting your Facebook profile. Not just disable it, delete it entirely, removing any temptation to get back in. Make sure you make a backup of everything you’ve ever shared on Facebook beforehand.