Monday, May 2nd 2016

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards

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 $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

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

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?

PNY Launches GeForce GTX 960 & 950 XLR8 OC Gaming Graphics Cards

PNY Technologies has today announced the launch of a new design to its XLR8 OC Gaming range, revamping the PNY GeForce GTX 960 and GTX 950 with a stunning fresh look to match its blazing speeds.

The new PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming and GeForce GTX 950 XLR8 OC Gaming graphics cards are being released alongside PNY's new dedicated gaming website, where gamers can learn how to improve their gaming experience and deliver better results. You can visit the new site here:

Ozone Announces the Neon 3K Gaming Mouse

Ozone, the global gaming manufacturer today announced the launch of Neon 3K, its new advanced gaming mouse. Powered with one of the most precise mouse sensor in the market, the Pixart 3320, Ozone's engineer team chose optical technology for this top performance mouse, to provide a more reliable experience for the users, making it perfect for intense gaming sessions.

Optical sensors technology provides a better reliability and preciseness experience for the users to help them give their best in each game. That's why Ozone's lab has designed an optical mouse, to bring back a technology that offers perfect control and speed. Neon 3k optical sensor, Pixart 3320, is capable to track up to true 3500 DPI, providing a next level gaming experience, accurate and fast on each movement. Includes On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment that can be easily customized using Ozone's technology drivers.

AMD and Nantong Fujitsu Close on Semiconductor Assembly J.V.

AMD and Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics Co., Ltd. today announced that they have closed the transaction to create a joint venture offering differentiated assembly, test, mark, and pack (ATMP) capabilities to both AMD and a broader range of customers.

"Combining AMD's world-class teams and facilities in Penang and Suzhou with NFME's expertise in the growing assembly and test market will create a new outsource assembly and test leader with the scale and capabilities to help us deliver our upcoming high-performance technologies and products that can re-shape the industry," said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su. "The creation of this joint venture marks another step in building a more focused AMD as we complete our transition to a fabless business model, enhance our supply chain operations, and further strengthen our financial position."

"AMD is a world class semiconductor provider with advanced flip chip packaging and test technologies. These capabilities are complementary with NFME's advanced packaging and test technologies, such as its flip chip and bump technology for the computing, communication and consumer market. The establishment of this joint venture will elevate the competitiveness of NFME's flip chip packaging and test technologies to a world-class level. With this joint venture, NFME's advanced packaging and test capabilities will account for 70 percent of its total revenue, leading the entire industry and ranking among the top packaging and test companies in the world," said Chairman of Nantong Fujitsu Mr. Shi Mingda.

Phanteks Announces the EVOLV ATX Tempered Glass Edition

Phanteks today announced the new Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass Edition which features full tempered glass panels and Phanteks RGB LED lighting controls. The Evolv ATX Tempered Glass with come in three colors - Satin Black, Galaxy Silver and Anthracite Grey.

Designed based on the EVOLV line, the Enthoo EVOLV ATXTempered Glass Edition combines sandblasted aluminum with tempered glass panels. System builders and watercooling enthusiasts can now present their build with a premium touch. The EVOLV ATX Tempered Glass Edition is equipped with innovative features, amazing (water)cooling potential, and RGB illumination.

Biostar Announces the H110MH PRO D4 Motherboard

BIOSTAR, one of the leading manufacturers for Motherboards and graphic cards redefines the norm of motherboard with the launch of its latest 'H110MH PRO D4', which boasts several advanced features, to transform the PC into a professional entertainment and office hub.

The BIOSTAR H110MD PRO D4 supports the latest 6th-generation Intel Core processors and uses the H110 chip and accepts up to DDR4 - 2133/1867 upto 32G capacity. The board integrates the core features of the BIOSTAR PRO series featuring the Tough Power Enhanced power design for improved stability and AudioArt capacitors guaranteeing an unparalleled experience. The BIOSTAR H110MD PRO D4 guarantees a perfect balance of price and features with improved reliability, making sure that system builders who want an affordable but dependable system are getting the best-in-class product which delivers on their needs and more.

HP Unveils the Chomebook 13

HP Inc. today announced the HP Chomebook 13 , an ultra-thin Chromebook for home and office use. The device reinvents the Chromebook experience to deliver:
  • A modern, all-metal design measuring only 12.9 mm thin
  • The first docking solution for a Chromebook , enabled through HP's USB-C Docking Station to deliver dual high-definition displays, full-size keyboards, wired networks and charging
  • First Chromebook to use 6th generation Intel Core M processors
  • Category-leading sound and video capabilities, custom-tuned in collaboration with audio experts from B&O PLAY, and a 13.3 inch diagonal QHD+ (3200 x 1800) resolution IPS display for optimal collaboration using apps like Google Hangouts

Western Digital Announces Results For Q3 of FY2016

Western Digital Corp. today reported revenue of $2.8 billion and net income of $74 million, or $0.32 per share, for its third fiscal quarter ended Apr. 1, 2016. On a non-GAAP basis, net income was $283 million, or $1.21 per share. In the year-ago quarter, the company reported revenue of $3.5 billion and net income of $384 million, or $1.63 per share. Non-GAAP net income in the year-ago quarter was $441 million, or $1.87 per share.

The company generated $485 million in cash from operations during the third fiscal quarter, ending with total cash and cash equivalents of $5.9 billion. On Feb. 10, 2016, the company declared a cash dividend of $0.50 per share of its common stock, which was paid on Apr. 15, 2016.
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