Wednesday, May 4th 2016

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ASUS Intros the Monstrous PCE-AC88 PCIe Wireless Adapter

ASUS announced its flagship PCI-Express wireless networking adapter, the PCE-AC88. The card is the first in the market to offer dual-band 4x4 AC3100 Wi-Fi, with speeds of up to 2.1 Gbps at 5 GHz, and 1 Gbps at 2.4 GHz. It takes advantage of 4x4 NitroQAM (1024-QAM) to offer such speeds. A 3x3 adapter would serve 1.3 Gbps. The PCE-AC88 includes a set of four antennae that you can directly attach to the card (ideal for to use the card as a WLAN client), as well as an external, router-looking module for the antennae, letting you use your card (your machine) as a WLAN router, using the included software. The card features a PCI-Express 2.0 x1 bus interface. The company didn't reveal pricing or availability.
Tuesday, May 3rd 2016

Today's Reviews

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Intel Core i7-6850K Pictured, Tested

Intel's upcoming Core i7-6850K six-core processor made its way to the hands of an enthusiast on OCN, who wasted no time in picturing the chip, and putting it through a few handy tests. Built for the LGA2011v3 socket, the i7-6850K is based on the 14 nm "Broadwell-E" silicon, and features six cores, HyperThreading enabling 12 logical CPUs, 15 MB of L3 cache, and a nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. To begin with, while the i7-6850K is pin-compatible with existing socket LGA2011v3 motherboards (and logically features an identical pin-map to "Haswell-E,") the package is slightly different. Its fiberglass substrate is slightly thinner (1.12 mm vs. 1.87 mm of "Haswell-E,"). Its thickness is made up for by a chunkier IHS (integrated heatspreader).

The i7-6850K sample was installed on a machine with ASRock X99 Extreme3 motherboard (BIOS: P3.30), 16 GB of quad-channel DDR4-2133 memory, and a single GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card. It was compared to a Core i7-5820K processor on the same setup. The i7-6850K based setup was barely (~1%) faster at 3DMark FireStrike Extreme in its final score, however, its CPU-intensive Physics score was 14.9% higher. Moving on to the community favorite Cinebench R15, the i7-6850K yielded a 10% higher score. To test its single-core performance, the chip was put through SuperPi 32M, where the i7-6850K crunched through the test in 8m 27.854s, compared to 8m 38.866s by the i7-5820K.

Source: OCN

Crucial Readies the MX300 Performance SSD

Crucial is reportedly readying a successor to its best-selling MX200 performance-segment SSD. The new MX300, which will initially be launched in a 750 GB capacity (model: CT750MX300SSD1), will feature 3D (stacked) NAND flash memory. This particular model serves up sequential transfer speeds of up to 530 MB/s reads, with up to 510 MB/s writes. Looking at the way Crucial is pricing the drive in Japan (JPY ¥24,000), its stateside pre-tax MSRP could very well be sub-$200, working out to a price/GB of at most $0.26. According to the source, the drive could launch later today.


Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Shuttle Computer Group Exhibits New SZ170R8 at InterOp

Shuttle Computer Group, Inc., a world leader in the design of small form factor computers, announced its new SZ170R8 Cube PC that continues Shuttle's cube legacy and incorporates a new internal design that accepts up to four 3.5" hard disk drives as well as extra room for oversized PCI-E X16 cards. The SZ170R8 will be showcased in Booth #746 at InterOp, the IT and Networking Expo, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, May 5-6, 2016.

This new high performance Mini PC supports Intel 6th Generation Skylake LGA1151 95W processors, and the expanded storage is perfect for applications that require large capacity storage like high-end graphics, CAD/CAM and 4K media files. Combined with Intel's Rapid Storage Technology, the SZ170R8 load time is lightning fast. Its internal design provides more flexibility and oversized slots can accept large graphics cards, video surveillance cards, RAID cards and others.

NVIDIA and Samsung Agree to Settle All Outstanding IP Litigation

NVIDIA and Samsung have agreed to settle all pending intellectual property litigation between the two companies, NVIDIA announced today. The agreement will lead to the immediate dismissal of all pending IP litigation in U.S. district courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. Patent Office between the companies. The settlement includes the licensing of a small number of patents by each company to the other, but no broad cross-licensing of patents or other compensation. Further details of the agreement are not being disclosed.

Turtle Beach Announces the Elite Pro Tournament Headset

A decade ago Turtle Beach Corporation (NASDAQ: HEAR), a leading audio technology company for over 40 years, pioneered the console gaming headset category and is set to do so again in 2016 with its revolutionary Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset, Elite Pro Tactical Audio Controller (T.A.C.) and Elite Pro accessories designed for competitive gamers, which establishes a new standard for eSports gaming audio performance and comfort. Turtle Beach's "Elite" series products represent the highest level in audio and build quality, and the all-new Elite Pro Headset, T.A.C.and Elite Pro accessories are the Company's all-new line of competitive gaming audio gear created to meet the demands of today's professional and aspiring pro teams and players.

The Elite Pro Headset's journey began in 2013. Seeing the consistent growth and popularity of eSports, Turtle Beach launched a comprehensive scientific research program to deeply examine the needs of professional and hardcore gamers as it pertained to game audio, communicating with teammates, and overall comfort. The result is the all-new Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset - a ground-up redesign of the competitive gaming headset that brings to market multiple first-and-only innovations in the core mechanics of headset design, weight and fit. Not only does the Elite Pro Headset provide Turtle Beach's best-in-class game audio and chat performance, but also delivers groundbreaking comfort-driven technologies, including the ComforTec Fit System with multiple adjustment points for a truly personalized headset fit and feel, Aerofit Ear Cushions that stay cool in the heat of battle, and Turtle Beach's all-new patented ProSpecs Glasses Relief System that finally makes wearing a gaming headset comfortable for players who wear glasses.

Intel Intros "Crystalwell" IGP Based Core "Skylake-R" Embedded CPUs

Intel introduced a trio of embedded CPUs for SFF desktops and industrial PCs (IPCs), based on its "Skylake-R" silicon. This variant of Skylake features the largest integrated GPU Intel ever made - the Intel Iris Pro 580. This IGP features 72 execution units (compared to 24 on, say, the i7-6700K), and relies on a 128 MB eDRAM L4 cache for fast frame-buffering operations. The IGP uses this tiny yet fast cache, in conjunction with its traditional UMA system memory share, as video memory. The "Skylake-R" package is a multi-chip module of the main die with four "Skylake" CPU cores and the 72-EU IGP, and a second die housing the L4 cache.

Among the three "Skylake-R" chips Intel launched are the Core i7-6785R, the Core i5-6685R, and the Core i5-6585R. The i7-6785R features HyperThreading enabling 8 logical CPUs, 8 MB of L3 cache, and 3.30 GHz nominal clock speed, with 3.90 GHz Turbo Boost. The i5-6685R and the Core i5-6585R lack HyperThreading, and feature just 6 MB of L3 cache; the former features clock speeds of 3.20 GHz nominal with 3.80 GHz Turbo Boost, while the latter offers 2.80 GHz nominal with 3.60 GHz Turbo Boost. All three feature iGPU clocks of 350 MHz nominal, with up to 1150 MHz boost. The 14 nm chips further feature TDP of 65W, and feature dual-channel memory controllers that support both DDR4 and DDR3L memory. Sold in the OEM channel, the i7-6785R, i5-6685R, and i5-6585R, are priced at US $370, $288, and $255, respectively, per-piece, and in 1000-unit tray quantities.

Source: AnandTech

HP Announces New Pavilion PC Line-up

Today HP Inc. unveiled a new Pavilion PC portfolio in a bold color palette featuring new convertibles, notebooks and desktops with sleek designs and more power ideal for students, millennials and families. The new portfolio lets customers reflect their sense of style and delivers the power they need to be productive and entertained at a price that delivers value.

"Some customers want thin and light PCs for on the go while other customers want power and performance to create and store," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, consumer personal systems, HP Inc. "HP's redesigned Pavilion PCs offer affordability and a variety of options for customers to get the functionality they need in a PC packed with style and personality."

ADATA Launches XPG Dazzle LED DDR4 Memory Modules

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched XPG Dazzle,itsfirst line of LED DDR4 memory modules. The modules feature illuminated LED strips and DDR4 specificationsforan exciting look that complements their high performance and power efficiency. Utilizing patented LED memory module technology by AVEXIR, XPG Dazzle makes PCs much more eye-catching to meet growing demand by case modders, PC enthusiasts, and gamers for unique, colorful, and vibrant system builds.

XPG Dazzle LED DDR4 memory modules maintain and evolve the aggressive but sleek style of XPG products, featuring a tough outline, cool color combinations, and their own unique highlight in the form of a shining LED strip built into the heatsink. With a special design and alluring red LED, XPG Dazzle accentuates chassis appearance and revitalizes performance PCs, whether for overclocking, gaming, or pure case modding showcases. XPG Dazzle memory modules are available in different kits: 8GBx2, 8GB x4, 16GBx2, and 16GBx4, giving users greater flexibility when assembling high-end systems.

Acer Steps up its Digital Signage Solutions with Its BYOC Platform

With the global digital signage market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% over the next five years, Acer, with its expansive offering of hardware, software, and services, will continue to provide solutions that evolve with the ever-growing demand for innovative display solutions.

Building on decades of experience in computing and communication, Acer has a complete technology offering supporting digital signage solutions, including hardware such as LFDs (Large Format Displays, up to 65 inches), PCs, and software and cloud services via its highly-scalable Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) platform. This total solution offering combined with a global sales and support network makes Acer the ideal digital signage partner for system integrators (SI) and content providers.

Today's digital signage solutions combine the power of technology to broadcast content at scheduled times, and allow content providers to push out changes across a network of displays almost instantaneously. They are used to show a nearly unlimited variety of messages in public areas, such as timetables and at check-in information at airports and stations; directions or meeting notices at the reception and entrances of schools, hospitals, and hotels; special promotions and floor plans at retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, and more.

GIGABYTE Improves Performance of EL-20 Series IoT Gateways

GIGABYTE Technology, a leading creator of high performance products for IT professionals and an associate member of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, is pleased to announce that its current line-up of EL-20 series IoT Gateway solutions will phase in new Intel Pentium and Celeron processors based on the Braswell D stepping.

The new Intel Pentium N3710 and Intel Celeron N3060 will be phased in to deliver higher performance on both compute tasks and graphics, while maintaining their current thermal and power envelopes, thanks to improvements of Intel's 14 nm process. The new D-stepping Braswell processors now fall under the Intel Embedded Options, delivering longer availability lifetime for those seeking to invest in a long-term platform.
Monday, May 2nd 2016

Today's Reviews

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AMD Radeon R9 480 (non-X) Performs Close to R9 390X

In all the 16 nm NVIDIA "Pascal" GPU fervor, it would be foolish to ignore AMD's first "Polaris" GPUs, built on the more advanced 14 nm process. Hot on the heels of reports that a fully-equipped "Ellesmere" GPU based Radeon R9 490 performs close to NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 Ti (and AMD's own R9 Fury X), with nearly half its power-draw, new numbers from an early GFXBench run suggests that its cut-down R9 480 (non-X) sibling performs close to the Radeon R9 390X. The R9 480 succeeds the currently-$200 R9 380, and its prospect of offering performance rivaling the $400 R9 390X at half its power-draw appears to meet AMD's "generational leap" claims for the "Polaris" architecture. Similarly, the R9 490, based on a better-endowed "Ellesmere" chip, offering performance rivaling current $600 GPUs at a $350-ish price-point (succeeding the R9 390), appears to meet expectations of a generation leap.

NVIDIA Teases "Pascal" Launch with "Order of 10" Puzzle

NVIDIA just sent reviewers a curious looking briefcase with pieces to an elaborate puzzle under the ominous-sounding Order of 10 website. Besides the puzzle, the site has a countdown that ends on 6th May 2016. The solution to the "Order of 10" puzzle, along with several other highlights, such as a Battlefield 5 reveal, could form highlights of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards. The company plans to unveil its next-generation "Pascal" architecture-based GeForce GPUs, beginning with the GeForce GTX 1080, and the GTX 1070, as early as on 6th May, with reviews and market-availability slated for early-June.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 365.10 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA released the GeForce 365.10 WHQL drivers. These drivers are game-ready for "Forza Motorsport 6," "Overwatch: Open Beta," "Paragon Beta," and "Battleborn." These include NVIDIA SLI profiles (on games which support them), GeForce Experience optimal settings. The drivers also include all the game-specific fixes from 364.96 Beta. Grab them from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 365.10 WHQL for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit

NVIDIA to Unveil GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 This Week

That's right, the launch (or at least unveiling) of NVIDIA's next-generation "Pascal" architecture based GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 could be a lot sooner than the "early-June" date making rounds. According to sources with an invite to an event in Austin, Texas; NVIDIA could talk the money-making end of the "Pascal" architecture (GeForce products), on May 6th.

This is when NVIDIA will give the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 at least a paper-launch. Availability of add-in card (AIC) partner branded cards, as well as reviews of the two cards, could still be slated for early-June. What's more, EA-DICE' "Battlefield 5" (working title) unveiling is scheduled around the same time. Could it be that NVIDIA could pull off something big? Think Battlefield 5 at 4K, with a single card?

Source: WCCFTech

Intel Core i7-7700K "Kaby Lake" Processor Detailed

It looks like Intel's 7th generation performance desktop processor, the Core i7-7700K, will be a quad-core part, like the seven generations before it. Leaked SiSoft SANDRA benchmark leaderboards reveal interesting details about the chip. To begin with, this quad-core part will feature HyperThreading enabling 8 logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. It will be clocked at 3.60 GHz, with a TurboBoost frequency of 4.20 GHz. Compare this, to the 4.00 GHz nominal and 4.20 GHz TurboBoost clocks of the current-generation i7-6700K. Bear in mind that this is a pre-release engineering-sample, and may not be accurate for the production chips.

The IMC of the i7-7700K will be clocked at 4.00 GHz, and its integrated graphics core will feature 24 execution units, much like "Skylake-D." The cache setup is unchanged, too, with 256 KB per-core L2, and 8 MB shared L3 caches. The "Kaby Lake" silicon will be built on Intel's 14 nm node, and is rumored to be slightly more energy-efficient than "Skylake." It will be built in the LGA1151 package, and will be compatible with current Intel 100-series and future 200-series chipset motherboard. "Kaby Lake" is the third mainline CPU architecture by Intel on the 14 nm node (after "Broadwell" and "Skylake"). The first 7th generation Core processors could launch later this year.

Source: WCCFTech

Antec Announces the P9 Window Case

Antec, Inc., California-based manufacturer of high-performance computer cases, power supplies and mobile accessories, announced today the availability of the P9 Window, the latest addition to Antec's award-winning Performance series. The enclosure is now commercially available at a price of £69.99 (MSRP including VAT). The P9 Window is a fusion of stylish design and a sophisticated cooling system. Like all models in the series, the P9 Window is specially equipped to dampen system noise to the point where the computer is almost inaudible even when the fans spin at a higher speed.

The P9 Window excels in combining a sleek, modern design with noise dampening features for silent computing and provides maximum performance and functionality for gamers when pushing the system to the limits. It is perfect for users of silent computing looking for the bare essentials. However, this chassis is also easily capable of supporting high-end hardware for gaming systems. As part of the Performance Series, the P9 Window brings the same level of performance as its predecessors at an affordable price while offering a wide variety of high-end features.

Crucial Unveils the Ballistix Sport LT Red DDR4 Module

Crucial unveiled the Ballistix Sport LT Red DDR4 memory module. Available in densities of 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB, and in kits of single-module, dual-channel, and quad-channel; the module offers PC4-19200 (DDR4-2400 MHz) speeds, with timings of 16-16-16, and module voltage of 1.2V. The module is characterized by a full-height black PCB, and a racy red heatspreader, with a very G.Skill-like styling. The company didn't reveal pricing or availability.


Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Third NVIDIA GP104 SKU Could be GTX 1060 Ti with 192-bit Memory Bus

NVIDIA is rumored to launch three SKUs based on its "Pascal" GP104 silicon, in June. The first two parts, slated for early-June, could be the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070, which have been detailed in our older articles. The third SKU, slated for mid-June, remained a mystery. It was earlier speculated to be a mobile GPU, but it's becoming clear that NVIDIA is attempting to fix its $200-$300 problem area.

To ensure there's no repeat of the vast canyon of performance/price between the GTX 960 and GTX 970, leaving its $200-$300 segment up for the taking by AMD, with its R9 380 and R9 380X, NVIDIA is preparing a third SKU based on its GP104 silicon, which could likely target this price-segment. Likely called the GTX 1060 Ti, it could be built to a cost, and could be heavily cut-down from even the GTX 1070. ChipHell speculates that the SKU could even feature 6 GB of video memory, likely over a 192-bit GDDR5 memory interface, compared to 8 GB on the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. The GTX 1060 Ti could feature the ASIC code "GP104-150-A1." SKUs based on the even smaller GP106 silicon, driving sub-$200 SKUs, could follow in Autumn 2016.


Source: ChipHell, VideoCardz

Intel Core i7-6950X Engineering Sample Sells for $1950

Ahead of their launch, industry partners with engineering samples (ES) of unreleased processors make a killing on Ebay. The same was true for one lucky user of a Core i7-6950X ten-core processor ES. Listed for auction on Ebay, the chip sold for $1,950. High-resolution pictures of the chip reveal that it could ship with a core clock speed of 3.00 GHz, which is not surprising considering how low Intel has been clocking its high core-count chips to respect 140W TDP, over the past few generations. The i7-6950X is based on Intel's 14 nm "Broadwell-E" silicon, and will be compatible with existing socket LGA2011v3 (X99 chipset) motherboards, with BIOS updates, when it hits the shelves later this month. Intel's policy on engineering samples, which its partners agree to before receiving samples, states that engineering samples issued by the company, are its property.


Source: Expreview

Sapphire Unveils the Radeon R9 390 TOXIC Graphics Card

Sapphire unveiled its highest tuning air-cooled TOXIC variant for the Radeon R9 390. Targeted at the Greater China region (PRC, Hong Kong, Taiwan), this card features a swanky new VaporX vapor-chamber cooling solution, and the highest factory-overclock by the company for this chip. The core is clocked at 1120 MHz against reference clocks of 1000 MHz, and an untouched 6.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory clock.

The cooling solution consists of a large vapor-chamber plate, from which a number of 8 mm-thick copper heat pipes convey heat to two aluminium fin stacks, which are ventilated by three 100 mm spinners. A chunky, ridged, aluminium base-plate covers nearly every other part of the PCB, cooling the VRM and memory chips. Based on the 28 nm "Grenada" silicon, the R9 390 features 2,560 stream processors, 160 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 8 GB of memory.


Source: Expreview

AMD Teases Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 ASIC Images

AMD posted a new webpage for its upcoming "Polaris" GPU architecture, outlining its various innovations - 4th gen. Graphics CoreNext, 4K H.265 60 Hz game-streaming, next-generation display engine with support for DisplayPort 1.3 and HDMI 2.0, XConnect Technology, and the foundation of GPUOpen. In this page, the company inadvertently leaked pictures of its upcoming Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" and Polaris 11 "Baffin" ASICs.

The mast image of the page has a faded 3-quarter shot of a "small" GPU with a die that's almost 30% of the package area. This hints at Polaris 11 "Baffin." This chip is rumored to feature a 128-bit GDDR5/GDDR5X memory interface, and so its pin-count, and conversely, package-size is less. Then in its "4th gen GCN" heading image, AMD showed a picture of a bigger GPU. At first glance, you could assume that it's either "Tonga XT" or "Tahiti" looking at its support brace, but VideoCardz observed that the on-package electrical components in this image are arranged nothing like on the "Tonga" or "Tahiti." This could very well be Polaris 10 "Ellesmere."

Source: VideoCardz
Sunday, May 1st 2016

ASRock Intros the H110M-HDVP Motherboard

ASRock introduced the H110M-HDVP entry-level socket LGA1151 motherboard with additional legacy connectivity for office PC builds to cope with old peripherals. The board is built in the slim micro-ATX form-factor, drawing power from a combination of 24-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors, conditioning it with a basic 3+1 phase VRM. The board features two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory.

Expansion slots on the H110M-HDVP include one each of PCI-Express 3.0 x16, legacy PCI, and two PCIe 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Display outputs include one each of HDMI, D-Sub, and DVI. Among its legacy connectivity options are two RS-232 serial COM ( one on the rear panel, one via header), parallel LPT (through header), and separate PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports. Four USB 3.0 ports (two via headers, two on the rear panel), 6-channel HD audio, and gigabit Ethernet, make for its modern connectivity. Expect a sub-$80 price.

Lian Li Intros PC-O5SW Black-White Case

Lian Li introduced a black-white variant of its PC-O5SW case, featuring matte black interiors contrasting white aluminium exteriors, and a large, clear-acrylic window on its side panel. The SFF case has room for a mini-ITX motherboard, with risers wiring out four expansion slots along the plane of the motherboard (ideal for triple-slot graphics cards), a slimline optical drive, three 3.5-inch drive bays through a detachable drive rack, and two 2.5-inch bays behind the motherboard tray, which convert to one 3.5-inch bay.

An SFX PSU is needed to power your rig up. Ventilation includes two 120 mm top exhausts, and a 140 mm right side-panel fan. The case supports graphics cards with 19 cm length with the 3x 3.5-inch HDD rack in place, and up to 31 cm with it removed. PSUs as long as 140 mm are supported, and CPU coolers as tall as 85 mm. Measuring 384 mm x 465 mm x 148 mm (WxHxD), the case weighs 6.4 kg. Front-panel connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports (standard header), and HDA jacks. The PCIe riser supports PCIe gen 3.0 standard.
Friday, April 29th 2016

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Hitman Episode Two Update Breaks DirectX 12 Support

The latest update for the episodic "Hitman" game (version 1.1.2) breaks support for DirectX 12 on the PC platform. Released earlier this week, the update introduces players to the second episode based in the Medeterranean setting of Sapienza. We found that after the update, the game simply refused to start. We took advantage of the external settings tool to do some trial-and-error work.

The topmost setting, which lets you select between DirectX 12 (our original setting) and DirectX 11, fixed the issue, when we switched to the latter. We even swapped graphics cards between GeForce GTX 970 SLI (our original setup), GTX 970 single-card (NVIDIA driver 364.96), and Radeon R9 290 (AMD driver 16.4.2). Neither setups worked. A stroll through the Internet reveals that multiple other players are facing this issue. Has Square Enix done absolutely no play-testing in DirectX 12?
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