Saturday, May 23rd 2015

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Smiles for the Camera

Here are some of the first pictures of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, in the flesh. As predicted, the reference design board reuses the PCB of the GeForce GTX TITAN-X, and its cooler is a silver version of its older sibling. According to an older report, the GTX 980 Ti will be carved out of the 28 nm GM200 silicon, by disabling 2 of its 24 SMM units, resulting in a CUDA core count of 2,816. The card retains its 384-bit GDDR5 memory bus width, but holds 6 GB of memory, half that of the GTX TITAN-X. The card is expected to launch in early June, 2015. NVIDIA's add-in card (AIC) partners will be free to launch custom-design boards with this SKU, so you could hold out for the MSI Lightnings, the EVGA Classifieds, the ASUS Strixes, the Gigabyte G1s, and the likes.

Source: VideoCardz

Sharkoon Announces External USB 3.1 Hard Drive Case

Sharkoon expands its range of external drive enclosures and presents a variant for the new USB 3.1 standard: The QuickStore Portable USB 3.1 provides an elegant dwelling for a 2.5" SATA HDD/SDD. The internal controller supports the SATA Revision 3.0 and is backward compatible to Revision 2.0 and 1.0. External connection occurs via a micro-B port. The USB 3.1 case supports Windows 8 UASP and offers a maximum transfer rate of 10 gigabits per second.

Disks with a height up to 9.5 mm can be installed. Assembly is completely tool-free and is done within a few simple steps. To do this, the case frame can be simply unlocked and slid open. With the black, brushed aluminium cover, the QuickStore Portable USB 3.1 visually impresses. A blue LED also indicates operation and data transfer. The hard drive case measures a compact 134 x 85 x 14 mm (L x W x H) and weighs only 51 grams. Packaging includes short instructions as well as a USB 3.1 cable (type-A plug to micro-B port).

NVIDIA Restores Overclocking on GTX 900M, Again

NVIDIA re-enabled overclocking on its GeForce GTX 900M series mobile GPUs, by releasing a new hotfix driver (GeForce 353.00 Hotfix). Launch drivers originally allowed overclocking on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 900M series mobile GPUs. NVIDIA disabled overclocking with its R347 drivers, stating that overclocking was originally allowed due to a bug, drawing outrage from the PC enthusiast community. NVIDIA then re-enabled overclocking with its 347.88 drivers, with a quasi-apology. Then, without making much noise, the company disabled overclocking (or the "clock-block," as the enthusiasts are calling it), with its R350 drivers, which stayed on even as the drivers graduated to R352 series.

Following our May 21st report uncovering this, the company slipped out a driver hotfix, late last night. Version 353.00 Hotfix comes with a single item on its release notes, which reads "Fixes a regression that prevented overclocking the GPU on some GeForce Notebooks" (read: Whoops!). So gaming notebook owners have the freedom of overclocking their GPUs to tweak up eye-candy on the latest games, such as GTA V and The Witcher 3, which would have been buggy and unplayable, if users reverted to older R347 drivers, just to be able to overclock.

DOWNLOAD: GeForce 353.00 Hotfix for mobile GPUs
Friday, May 22nd 2015

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Technical Director for Frostbite at DICE Reveals AMD "Fiji" Graphics Card

Johan Andersson, technical director for the Frostbite game engine at DICE, developers of games such as Battlefield, tweeted the first clear picture of AMD's next flagship graphics card, and it looks a lot [better] than this mockup render. We'd be tempted to call it the Radeon R9 390X, but older reports suggest that AMD could give it a fancy name, just as NVIDIA named its top-dog "Titan." That's not all, Andersson commented that "this new island is one seriously impressive and sweet GPU," referring to the card's GPU codename of "Fiji." AMD is expected to launch this card in the third week of June. Either to preempt that, or out of spook (with an effort to siphon off high-end GPU sales), NVIDIA is preparing the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, which will launch in the first week.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Core Configuration Revealed

It looks like NVIDIA's GTX 980 Ti launch, which is imminent, won't be a repeat of the GTX 780 Ti, in that it won't be faster than the TITAN product at the time of launch. According to Korean tech publication HWBattle, the GTX 980 Ti will feature fewer CUDA cores than the GeForce GTX TITAN-X, at 2,816. NVIDIA gets that count by disabling 2 of the 24 SMM (streaming multiprocessor Maxwell) units on the GM200 silicon. The texture memory unit (TMU) count will be proportionately lower, at 176 (compared to 192 on the GTX TITAN-X). The ASIC bears the model number GM200-310, according to older reports.

We can't take a call on the ROP count and L3 cache amount. Normally we would deduce that it has a full complement of 96 ROPs, but given that Maxwell allows SKU designers to disable components in a way they previously couldn't, it's possible that the GTX 980 Ti could have a different ROP count than the GTX TITAN-X, just as the GTX 970 has a lower "effective" ROP count at 56, compared to the GTX 980, despite the same memory bus width. We know from other reports, that the GTX 980 Ti will feature 6 GB of memory. The TDP is a very arbitrary number, and 250W shouldn't surprise us. What also wouldn't surprise us is NVIDIA reusing the PCB and NVTTM (NVIDIA Time-to-Market) cooler design from the GTX TITAN-X (and several older SKUs). NVIDIA could allow its AIC (add-in- card) partners to come up with custom board designs from day-one.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Launch Imminent

NVIDIA is ready with a new high-end graphics card that will be slotted between the GeForce GTX 980 and the GeForce GTX TITAN-X, in its product stack. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti, as it's being called, will launch within the next couple of weeks, and will be based on the company's GM200 silicon. The core-configuration of this chip remains unknown, but it is rumored to feature 6 GB of GDDR5 memory, half that of the GTX TITAN-X, across its 384-bit wide memory bus.

Back in March, it was reported that NVIDIA will launch this SKU only after Summer. An early June launch suggests that either NVIDIA is spooked about AMD's Radeon R9 390X and its fancy-named sibling, which are expected to launch in the third week of June, and wants to siphon off high-end GPU sales as gamers and enthusiasts wrap up their Summer builds/upgrades, to settle down for the season's big game launches; or the company is confident of its performance, and really wants the GTX 980 Ti to appear on performance graphs, in reviews of AMD's new products.

BIOSTAR Gaming-Z170X Socket LGA1151 Motherboard ES Pictured

Here's the first picture of BIOSTAR's upcoming socket LGA1151 motherboard, the Gaming-Z170X, designed for 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors. This particular board, in its unfinished form, features DDR4 DIMM slots; but there could be other models in the series, with DDR3 DIMM slots. The board could be exhibited without its final PCB color and heatsinks, at the upcoming Computex event. This picture also gives you a glimpse of the Z170 PCH in the flesh.

From the looks of it, the Gaming-Z170X looks pretty feature-packed, offering a 14-phase CPU VRM, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4), and storage connectivity that includes three (yes, three) SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports, carved out of the board's six SATA 6 Gb/s ports; and two M.2 10 Gb/s slots, with a third mPCIe riser. BIOSTAR's Hi-Fi audio solution, which includes a 600Ω headphones amp, a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, and ground-layer isolation; and Killer E2200 wired networking, along with a handful of USB 3.0 (including some USB 3.1?) ports make for the rest of its modern connectivity.
Thursday, May 21st 2015

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Razer Introduces the Firefly Gaming Mousepad with Customizable Lighting FX

Razer, a leader in connected devices and software for gamers, today announced the release of the Razer Firefly, the first hard gaming mouse mat with Razer's Chroma lighting feature. The Chroma feature adds 16.8 million color options and numerous customizable lighting effects to the mouse mat, including reactive, wave and spectrum cycling.

Razer Firefly has lighting along its left, right and bottom borders and can sync up with other Chroma enabled Razer devices for virtually limitless color combinations.
Engineered with all the trusted Razer gaming-grade performance features, the Razer Firefly has a micro-textured finish for the balance between control and speed. The optimized reflective surface ensures mouse movements translate to precise cursor movements and rapid in-game responsiveness.

NVIDIA Back to Dirty Tricks with GTX 900M Series Overclocking

NVIDIA's driver team is at it again. The company drew outrage from the PC enthusiast community, for developing drivers that prevent GPU overclocking on its GeForce GTX 900M series notebook GPUs, in February 2015, with the introduction of its GeForce 347.29 WHQL drivers, blaming it on a "bug" that allowed overclocking on previous drivers. When called-out and under pressure from the community, it re-enabled overclocking on these chips, with the following GeForce 347.88 drivers, with an equally lame quasi-apology.

Hoping that nobody would notice, the company seems to have reinstated the overclocking block, or "clock-block" as the community is calling it; with its R350 and R352 drivers, such as the GeForce 352.86. Enthusiasts in notebook-centric communities such as NotebookReview, discovered that the latest GeForce drivers prevent overclocking if it reads a "lock-bit" in the video BIOS. Below are the two excuses the company exhausted by means of mutual-contradiction.

MSI First Motherboard Brand to be Windows 10 Certified

MSI, leading in motherboard design, is proud to announce being world's first motherboard manufacturer to receive official Microsoft Windows 10 WHQL certification. The H81M-P33 motherboard passed Microsoft Windows 10 official certification today. The H81M-P33 is the world's first motherboard to be completely compliant with Microsoft Windows 10. Other MSI motherboards are to achieve official WHQL certification very soon.

With a true testament to compatibility and performance, the MSI R&D team is making sure you never have to worry about your MSI hardware supporting for the latest version of Microsoft Windows. If you want to enjoy the full benefit of the latest Microsoft Windows Operating System, MSI motherboards are the best choice. MSI Click BIOS 4 is optimized for the latest version of Microsoft Windows 10. The highly awarded design is reliable and easy to use. Besides great stability, MSI Click BIOS 4 is recognized as an extraordinary piece of kit which allows you to fully customize your PCs setup. Find the certification here.

EK Releases New Supremacy EVO X99 LGA2011v3 Water Block

EK Water Blocks, Ljubljana based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is proud to introduce EK-Supremacy EVO X99 water block, optimized for use on Intel socket LGA-2011-3 series processors. EK-Supremacy EVO X99 is the highest performance CPU water block for Intel X99 / LGA-2011-3 platform and comes with pre-assembled, error-preventing mounting mechanism. The result is a perfect installation which results in optimal performance every time.

EK Supremacy EVO X99 is truly the only product for performance seeking enthusiasts. It brings unmatched thermal performance with more than 2.2°C better performance on most popular LGA-2011-3 processors. Very high-flow design with low hydraulic restriction allows this product to be used in setups using weaker water pumps. Fine-tuned specifically for LGA-2011-3 it unleashes maximum performance by ensuring the optimal contact with the CPU integrated heat spreader (IHS).

Tech Source Releases Condor 4000 3U VPX Graphics Card for GPGPU Applications

Tech Source, Inc., an independent supplier of high performance embedded video, graphics, and high end computing solutions, has released the Condor 4000 3U VPX form factor graphics/video card. Designed for compute-intensive General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) applications deployed in avionics and military technology, the Condor 4000 3U VPX graphics card delivers up to 768/48 GFLOPS of peak single/double precision floating point performance and 640 shaders with the AMD Radeon E8860 GPU at its core.

The Condor 4000 3U VPX card is for seriously high-end graphics, parallel processing, and situation awareness image and sensor processing applications such as radar, sonar, video streaming, and unmanned systems. The new card operates at higher speeds than an XMC form factor equivalent card as it occupies a dedicated slot to allow for better cooling which enables it to run at 45 Watts full power.

Anidees AI6 v2 Chassis Starts Selling

Announcing the availability of the Anidees AI-06 V2 case that has the same premium design as the original, however this new version has even more great features. The elegant, premium and sleek visual of the chassis is for those who want a clean and minimal workspace.

The I/O panel on top of the case has had an overhaul, keeping the two USB2 and two USB3 ports along with the microphone and audio ports, Anidees has added an SD card reader and also a fan controller. The AI-06 V2 has been designed to hold more hard drives, giving the user eight 3.5" hard drive cages and one 2.5" cage that is placed discreetly behind the motherboard tray.

FSP Launches Hydro G Series 80 Plus Gold Power Supplies

FSP, an experienced power supply manufacturer, today announces the Hydro G 80 Plus Gold Power Supply that has been redesigned to maximize cooling efficiency with features such as a smart fan, internal component arrangement for increased airflow, enhanced heat dissipation and efficient energy conversion. This FSP power supply also features changeable logos that allow DIY enthusiasts to match the logo with the rest of the hardware.

The smart 135mm FDB (fluid dynamic bearing) fan of the Hydro G PSU automatically starts when over 30% load, and automatically stops when lower than 20% load. This smart design keeps the power supply cool, and your system quiet. The interior of the Hydro G PSU has been completely redesigned to allow for a better flow of air inside the PSU chassis. Additionally, the internal server grade copper pipes connecting the motherboard and daughterboard increase the conversion efficiency and output reliability of this more than 90% efficient power supply, leading to less excess heat.

Streacom Announces the F12C Chassis

Announcing the F12C from Streacom. The F12C is our first case designed to accept all standard ATX hardware, but of course being Streacom, the design is anything but standard. The ultra-minimalist exterior is made from 4mm thick premium grade extruded aluminium panels which are sandblast finished to create this simple but timeless design.

The unique design isn't just skin deep, we have developed a new drive and fan mounting system that does away with traditional fixed location bays, making this case incredibly adaptable and configurable. Drives and fans can be mounted anywhere along both sides of the case and at virtually any orientation. This allows you to mix, match and perfectly position drives and fans for optimal cooling and hardware compatibility.
Wednesday, May 20th 2015

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AMD "Fiji" HBM Implementation Detailed

Back in 2008, when it looked like NVIDIA owned the GPU market, and AMD seemed lagging behind on the performance and efficiency game, the company sprung a surprise. The company's RV770 silicon, the first GPU to implement GDDR5 memory, trounced NVIDIA's big and inefficient GeForce GTX 200 series, and threw AMD back in the game. GDDR5 helped the company double the memory bandwidth, with lower pin- and memory-chip counts, letting the company and its partners build graphics cards with fewer components, and earn great margins, which the company invested in development of its even better HD 5000 series, that pushed NVIDIA with its comical GeForce GTX 480, to hit its lowest ever in market-share. Could AMD be looking at a similar turnaround this summer?

Since the introduction of its Graphics CoreNext architecture in 2012, AMD has been rather laxed in its product development cycle. The company has come out with a new high-end silicon every 18-24 months, and adopted a strategy of cascading re-branding. The introduction of each new high-end silicon would relegate the existing high-end silicon to the performance segment re-branded, and the existing performance-segment silicon to mid-range, re-branded. While the company could lay out its upcoming Radeon R9 series much in the same way, with the introduction of essentially just one new silicon, "Fiji," it could just prove enough for the company. Much like RV770, "Fiji" is about to bring something that could prove to be a very big feature to the consumer graphics market, stacked high-bandwidth memory (HBM).

ZOTAC Announces ZBOX R-Series Mini-PC

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics card and mini PCs, today puts the limelight on the brand new R Series, the new member of the ZBOX mini PC family. This is the small form factor solution that is more than a personal PC with its storage solution and functionalities while providing the same power efficiency and space saving features that users expect from ZBOX.

"This is certainly a breakthrough for both the mini PC and personal computing," explains Tony Wong, CEO, ZOTAC International. "We are adding more functions to elevate the mini PC to a whole new plane while keeping our signature space saving design and power efficiency. This new addition to the mini PC family will open new doors to even more functionalities."

Scythe Releases Slip Stream 120 DB Fans with Dual Ball Bearing

Japanese cooling expert Scythe expands the 120 mm case fan portfolio with the announcement of the new Slip Stream 120 DB axial-fans. The new line up includes five regular models with fixed fan speed as well as one PWM-enabled model. Special highlight of the series is the Dual Ball Bearing, which has been developed in Japan. Thanks to the new bearing an intense life span increase to 350.000 hours (MTBF) has been accomplished.

The successful "small hub & large fan blades" concept was initially introduced with the first Slip Stream series and is handed down to the Slip Stream 120 DB. Increased flow area and airflow could be achieved at the same fan speed, thanks to this concept. Slip Stream 120 DB lineup includes six different models, including a PWM-enabled version, which offers a wide fan speed range starting at 300 RPM and going up to 1.300 RPM.

OCZ Announces Z-Drive 6000 NVMe SSD

OCZ Storage Solutions -- a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced its Z-Drive 6000 SSD Series that combines PCI Express (PCIe) Gen 3 and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) technologies with an extensive enterprise feature-set and robust endurance and reliability. The NVMe-compliant Z-Drive 6000 Series is available in multiple configurations supporting a variety of form factors, capacity points, and endurance ratings.

The NVMe specification extends traditional PCIe flash storage to new levels and was architected from the ground up to enable specific benefits of non-volatile memory-based solid-state storage. It features a streamlined memory interface, command set and queue design that delivers faster access to critical data and highly resilient storage capabilities. This enables both system builders and storage vendors alike to develop different parts of a storage ecosystem to a standard specification with broad interoperability support between storage devices, host platforms and software. NVMe is expected to open new opportunities for faster, better and stronger flash-based storage applications while significantly improving PCIe SSD deployments over the next five years.

Raidmax Intros XT-Series Entry-level PSUs

Raidmax announced three XT-series entry-level PSUs, the 300-Watt RX-300XT, the 400-Watt RX-400XT, and the 500-Watt RX-500XT. The three offer a very basic feature-set, but offer a few neat features such as a low-noise, temperature-controlled 120 mm fan; Core "Haswell" C-states support, a single +12V rail design, and modern electrical protection mechanisms, against over/under-voltage, overload, and short-circuit. The 300W model lacks PCIe power cables; the 400W model offers a single 6-pin cable; while the 500W tops it with a 6+2 pin cable in addition to the 6-pin. Other connectors include 24-pin ATX, 4+4 pin EPS, 4x SATA-power, and two 4-pin Molex. The company didn't announce pricing.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

NVIDIA Gives Away "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" to GeForce GTX TITAN-X Owners

NVIDIA is giving away game codes to "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," to new and existing owners of GeForce GTX Titan X graphics cards, provided they simply install and "beta test" GeForce Experience. To participate, all GTX Titan X owners need to go is install the latest GeForce Experience, and the latest GeForce drivers, and then click on a "redeem rewards" button in the app, and follow these steps to get a Steam key to the game. The company is already giving away the game with new purchases of GeForce GTX 960, GTX 970, GTX 980, and notebooks with GTX 970M and GTX 980M graphics.

It's Now Been Over 160 Days Since a Catalyst WHQL Release

As of today (20/05/2015), it has been over 160 days since AMD released a WHQL-signed Catalyst driver update, in what is a clear sign of decay in the company's after-sales support for the consumer graphics market. Once tuned to a near-monthly release of its Catalyst Software suite, which added optimzations for new games, improved upon support for existing ones; CrossFire multi-GPU support profiles; even if not adding support for new GPUs; AMD slipped into quarterly WHQL release cycle in 2013-14. It now seems to have deviated from even that.

The company's last WHQL-signed Catalyst release was Catalyst 14.12 Omega WHQL, which released on 09/12/2014, 161 days ago. The company has since only released two "Beta" drivers, notably Catalyst 15.4 Beta, with optimization for Grand Theft Auto V, and AMD FreeSync support. In contrast, NVIDIA adopted a faster driver update cycle than its previous monthly GeForce WHQL driver releases, under its "Game Ready" driver program. New WHQL-signed releases predate almost every AAA PC game release. There's still no word on a Catalyst WHQL update, and with launch of new graphics cards slated for the third week of June, it's unlikely that the company will release one interim. By then, it will have been 196 days since a Catalyst WHQL driver release. Such a slow driver update cycle would do little to inspire confidence in buying the next-generation Radeon product, even if it establishes a performance lead over GeForce.
Tuesday, May 19th 2015

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Top-end AMD "Fiji" to Get Fancy SKU Name

Weeks ago, we were the first to report that AMD could give its top SKU carved out of the upcoming "Fiji" silicon a fancy name à la GeForce GTX TITAN, breaking away from the R9 3xx mold. A new report by SweClockers confirms that AMD is carving out at least one flagship SKU based on the "Fiji" silicon, which will be given a fancy brand name. The said product will go head on against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN-X. We know that AMD is preparing two SKUs out of the fully-loaded "Fiji" silicon - an air-cooled variant with 4 GB of memory; and a liquid-cooled one, with up to 8 GB of memory. We even got a glimpse of the what this card could look like. AMD is expected to unveil its "Fiji" based high-end graphics card at E3 (mid-June, 2015), with a product launch a week after.

Source: SweClockers
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