Friday, June 24th 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Mouse
Notebooks
SSD

ADATA Announces New Accessories for Portable Devices

ADATA Technology is announcing the release of four new accessories for today's digital lifestyle. The new products include a 3-way lightning card reader for iOS, Android and Windows; waterproof external SSD; MFi certified lightning flash drive and an ultra-small Type-C flash drive.

"We developed these new accessories for today's digital world," stated Robert Chen, managing director of North America at ADATA. "Users are creating more and more content and looking for better ways to store and share it. We believe the quality and versatility of these devices will propel them to become a staple anywhere mobile storage is needed and/or collaboration between devices is necessary, may that be the classroom, workplace, home or creative space."

Futuremark Teases 3DMark "Time Spy" DirectX 12 Benchmark

Futuremark teased its first benchmark for DirectX 12 graphics, the 3DMark "Time Spy." Likely marketed as an add-on to the 3DMark (2013) suite, "Time Spy" tests DirectX 12 features in a silicon-scorching 3D scene that's rich in geometric, textural, and visual detail. The benchmark is also ready for new generation displays including high resolutions beyond 4K Ultra HD. Existing users of 3DMark get "Basic" access to "Time Spy" when it comes out, with the option to purchase its "Advanced" and "Professional" modes.

Under the hood, "Time Spy" takes advantage of Direct3D feature-level 12_0, including Asynchronous Compute, heavily multi-threaded CPUs (which can make use of as many CPU cores as you can throw at it), and DirectX explicit multi-adapter (native multi-GPU, including mixed setups). Futuremark stated that the benchmark was developed with inputs from AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, Microsoft, and other partners of the Futuremark Benchmark Development Program.
A teaser trailer video follows.

FSP Announces 700W Variant of its Twins Series Redundant PSU

FSP, the performance power specialist, is pleased to announce its new FSP700-70RGHBE1 PS2 redundant Power Supply. The FSP700-70RGHBE1 joins the FSP500-70RGHBB1 as the latest server-grade power supply from FSP. This time, two highly reliable 700W power supplies are offered, achieving 22.4W/in3 (watt per cubic inch,) the highest power density currently available in a standard PS2 redundant form factor.

The two fully redundant, modular power supplies operate at 80 Plus Gold efficiency, and no specialized bracket is needed for installation. It is the first PS2 redundant which fits 80% of ATX chassis on the market without needing a special bracket. It's compliant with both desktop ATX 12V and server EPS12V standards, suitable for many industrial PCs, and also compatible with rackmount server chassis 3U and above. It offers reliable, 24-hr performance at temperatures up to 50°C.
Thursday, June 23rd 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Networking
PSUs
SSD

MSI Readies the B150M Mortar Arctic and B150M Bazooka Plus Motherboards

MSI, world leading in gaming hardware design, is thrilled to announce two new M-ATX GAMING motherboards, the B150M BAZOOKA PLUS & B150M MORTAR ARCTIC. With Turbo M.2 (32 Gb/s, Gen3 x4) and USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C offering more connectivity options and a plethora of features improving your gameexperience, these new Micro-ATX motherboards are designed for gamers looking for a small gaming PC while getting the best performance & gaming experience. DDR4 Boost technology is available, providing maximum performance and stability while also offering improved memory compatibility. Audio Boost and GAMING LAN ensure you have upper hand on your enemies on the battlefield, ready to finish on top.

The B150M MORTAR ARCTIC is not only a better version of the regular MORTAR model, this special edition comes in a full white PCB design and features a stunning Arctic camouflage styled heatsink and IO cover design. With great attention to detail, the B150M MORTAR ARCTIC not only delivers in terms of specs & features, but manages to bring something truly unique to the B150 motherboard segment. Featuring a new design with a stronger heatsink, more black & white colors, and upgraded specs such as Steel Armor, Turbo M.2 and USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C, the new BAZOOKA PLUS motherboard is ready to set a new standard in the B150 Micro-ATX gaming motherboard segment. With Audio Boost & GAMING LAN offering dedicated gaming features tailored to the most demanding gamers, the BAZOOKA PLUS is sure to satisfy any gamer.

Corsair Lights Up DDR4 with New Vengeance LED Performance Memory

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the immediate release of its new Vengeance LED series of performance DDR4 memory.

Unmistakable thanks to its brilliant LED-lit top bar and aggressively styled aluminum industrial design, Vengeance LED is optimized for maximum performance on the latest Intel X99 and 100 series motherboards. Available in both red LED and white LED variants, Vengeance LED lights up performance PC builds with bright integrated lighting designed to make your PC look as good as it runs, alongside blistering performance at frequencies up to 4333 MHz.

AMD Radeon RX 470 Could Surprise with Pricing

AMD could deal yet another shock to NVIDIA after the Radeon RX 480, with its smaller sibling, the Radeon RX 470. This card is expected to be priced at $149 for the 4 GB variant, and $179 for the 8 GB variant. The card is rumored to feature 2,048 stream processors, spread acrosss 32 compute units, down from the 2,304 stream processors of the RX 480. Its memory ticks slower, at 7 Gbps, with a memory bandwidth of 224 GB/s. The most spectacular specification, however, is its typical board power, which is rated at 110W. The card should be faster than at least the R9 380X, and at its given specs, offer a very interesting option for 1080p gamers, at $149.
Sources: WCCFTech, VideoCardz
Wednesday, June 22nd 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Input Devices
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Speakers
Storage

Sapphire Reference Radeon RX 480 Taken Apart, Pictured Some More

A Sapphire branded AMD reference design Radeon RX 480 graphics card was taken apart, giving us an early close look at the card and its key components. The pictures reveal pretty much the same details as the first close-up shot of the reference RX 480 / RX 470 common PCB, and the cooling solution was taken apart further, revealing more details than the first time we saw what's underneath.

To begin with, the reference RX 480 PCB features a 6-phase VRM that draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include one HDMI 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. One of the pictures features a close-up of the 14 nm "Ellesmere" silicon. The cooling solution is confirmed to feature a chunky monolithic aluminium heatsink with a copper core, cooling the GPU, with a metal base-plate conveying heat from the VRM and memory to it; ventilated by a lateral blower. The Radeon RX 480 is expected to launch on the 29th of June, 2016, priced at $199 for the 4 GB variant, and $229 for the 8 GB variant.
More pictures follow.

AMD "Zen" Processor Integrated Chipset Has USB 3.1 Issues, Could Escalate Costs

With its next-generation processors and APUs based on the "Zen" micro-architecture, AMD is integrating the chipset into the processor/APU die, making motherboards entirely chipset-free. This on-die chipset, however, is rumored to be facing issues with its integrated USB 3.1 controllers, according to industry sources. AMD sourced the design for the integrated USB 3.1 controllers from ASMedia. The company has a tendency of sourcing integrated controller IP from third-party manufacturers (eg: its SATA controllers and port-multipliers in the past have been sourced from Silicon Image).

Motherboard manufacturers are noticing significant drops in USB 3.1 bandwidths with increase in circuit distances (think wiring running from the AM4 socket to USB 3.1 front-panel headers on the bottom-right corner of a motherboard). Board designers are reportedly having to use additional retimer and redriver chips to get acceptable bandwidths over such ports, and in some cases even entire USB 3.1 controllers, eating into the platform's PCIe budget and escalating costs.
Tuesday, June 21st 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Input Devices
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Storage

EVGA Announces its Pro SLI HB Bridges

EVGA has once again amped up the SLI bridge with the EVGA PRO SLI BRIDGE HB. These new, completely redesigned SLI bridges come with new features and improved performance. Included is an RGBW color switcher that allows you to choose Red, Green, Blue or White color. Also, with the new High Bandwidth technology on NVIDIA GTX 10 series cards, you get double the available transfer bandwidth compared to previous generation cards.

TechPowerUp Impact: MSI Issues "OC Mode by Default" BIOSes

MSI today issued its first official statement on our investigation which found that the company had a pattern of sending reviewers samples with higher clock-speeds out-of-the-box, than what retail cards offer out-of-the-box, by means of enabling a higher software overclock profile by default, which consumers otherwise had to enable using the MSI Gaming app. We had argued that this practice was deceptive and the review samples weren't 100% representative of retail cards.

The company today released corrective BIOS updates for at least two Gaming series graphics cards, the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X, and the GTX 1070 Gaming X, which enable the "OC mode" clock-speed profile by default. These BIOS updates enable you to have "OC mode" clock speeds without you having to install the MSI Gaming app to enable them. The company, however, did not mention whether the cards that are currently under production will ship with "OC mode" out of the box, going forward. Without that assurance, this is a farcical workaround which will appease only those bold and skilled enough to update graphics card BIOSes, and not corrective action.

WD Announces the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series

Western Digital Corporation, a global storage technology and solutions leader, today introduced the WD Pro Series: My Passport Wireless Pro Wi-Fi mobile storage and My Cloud Pro Series network attached storage (NAS). Designed specifically for the creative community, the WD Pro Series enables seamless transfer of content between devices, with classic WD reliability and speed, regardless of whether users are on a remote shoot, in the studio or editing at home. The products use the My Cloud mobile app - the new version of the app will be launched with the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series and be compatible with the Adobe Creative Cloud. In addition, both the My Passport Wireless Pro and My Cloud Pro Series devices are also compatible with the Plex Media Server and My Cloud OS 3 software for easy editing, streaming and sharing of content.

"Portability, reliability, capacity, speed and interoperability are crucial for creative professionals, whose very livelihoods rely on the strength of the technology they use to store their life's work," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing for content solutions at WD. "We created the WD Pro Series as a comprehensive, feature-rich storage solution designed to fit seamlessly into their workflow, regardless of where the work actually happens, so storage, transfer, back-up, editing and even streaming options are readily available."

Crucial Releases NVDIMM Server Memory to Help Protect Companies from Data Loss

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today announced the availability of Nonvolatile DIMM (NVDIMM) server memory to help companies protect data in the event of a system power loss. Historically, companies have used uninterruptible power supplies, solid state drives (SSDs), mechanical hard drives (HDDs) or other devices to ensure the security of critical data. While this method of preserving critical data has been effective, the backup and restore times have been very long due to the latency and write times of the SSD and HDD. Today's applications such as relational databases, scale-out storage, data analytics, and in-memory databases require much faster backup and restore times.

Crucial NVDIMM server memory combines DRAM and NAND onto a single module, providing the performance of DRAM with the persistence of NAND. In the event of a power loss, the NVDIMM will back up all DRAM data to the NAND while utilising a backup power source, known as an ultracapacitor. The DRAM on the NVDIMM ensures critical data can be operated on from a low-latency memory space without the risk of losing it. The NAND on the module ensures that the contents of the DRAM are not lost during a power failure, making the DRAM persistent. When power is restored to the system, the data in the NAND is restored on the DRAM.

ADATA Launches the Premier SP550M.2 2280 SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched thePremier SP550 M.2 2280 SATA 6Gb/s solid state drive. As the market presence of slim laptops and ultrabooks continues to grow, M.2 form factor SSDs are increasingly the preferred main storage choice due to limited internal chassis space. This applies to factory installs as well as user upgrades. Loaded with advanced features and technologies, the extremely light Premier SP550 M.2 2280 provides high speed performance alongside superior stability and efficiency to those delivered by mechanical 2.5" drives, resulting in a powerful yet affordable solution.

While the Premier SP550 M.2 2280 measures just 22x80x3.5mm, it is available in up to 480GB and upgrades slim laptops and ultrabooks without compromising performance. Its maximum read/write speeds are 560/510 MB per second, with 4K random read at up to 75K IOPS thanks to a high quality SMI controller and SLC caching technology. The latter allows the Premier SP550 M.2 2280 to operate in simulated SLC (single-level cell) mode for a performance boost. DRAM cache buffer functionality (where the SSD uses system RAM as a temporary, ultra-fast cache) also enhances read/write performance by as much as double that of solid state drives that lack a DRAM cache.

NVIDIA Announces a PCI-Express Variant of its Tesla P100 HPC Accelerator

NVIDIA announced a PCI-Express add-on card variant of its Tesla P100 HPC accelerator, at the 2016 International Supercomputing Conference, held in Frankfurt, Germany. The card is about 30 cm long, 2-slot thick, and of standard height, and is designed for PCIe multi-slot servers. The company had introduced the Tesla P100 earlier this year in April, with a dense mezzanine form-factor variant for servers with NVLink.

The PCIe variant of the P100 offers slightly lower performance than the NVLink variant, because of lower clock speeds, although the core-configuration of the GP100 silicon remains unchanged. It offers FP64 (double-precision floating-point) performance of 4.70 TFLOP/s, FP32 (single-precision) performance of 9.30 TFLOP/s, and FP16 performance of 18.7 TFLOP/s, compared to the NVLink variant's 5.3 TFLOP/s, 10.6 TFLOP/s, and 21 TFLOP/s, respectively. The card comes in two sub-variants based on memory, there's a 16 GB variant with 720 GB/s memory bandwidth and 4 MB L3 cache, and a 12 GB variant with 548 GB/s and 3 MB L3 cache. Both sub-variants feature 3,584 CUDA cores based on the "Pascal" architecture, and core clock speed of 1300 MHz.

Sharkoon Announces the SharkZone GK15 Gaming Kit

Sharkoon expands its range of input devices and introduces a gaming mouse-keyboard set, specifically aimed at price-conscious gamers. The Sharkoon SHARK ZONE GK15 Gaming Kit comes in the typical black-yellow SHARK ZONE design. It consists of a gaming keyboard with red, yellow and green LED illumination and a gaming mouse with LED illumination in five colors.

The rubber dome keyboard with 3-block layout has an integrated palm rest and provides function keys with preset multimedia actions. The keyboard is especially suitable for gamers thanks to its gaming mode with deactivated Windows key, interchangeable WASD section and multi-key rollover support. Its LED illumination adjusts comfortably via shortcuts and without software in the colors red, yellow and green. A pulsating effect, in addition to the illumination intensity, is selectable in which three colors on the keyboard run consecutively. The keys have an operating life cycle of a minimum of 10 million keystrokes. The keyboard connects via a yellow cable with gold-plated USB plug.

EVGA Cashes in on Tweaked Review Sample Anger

Cashing in on anger against the likes of MSI and ASUS for sending out graphics card review samples with higher out-of-the-box clock speeds than retail cards, EVGA put out a press release, stating that it never indulges in such deceptive practices as putting up "fake" reviews, or sending out cards with "tweaked clock-speeds" to reviewers, adding that with EVGA, "what you see is what you get."

Last week, we unearthed a disturbing pattern of MSI and ASUS sending out graphics card review samples with higher clock speeds out-of-the-box than what consumers get in their retail cards, out-of-the-box. Till date, we have not received any follow-up statements on the matter from either company.
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