Tuesday, May 31st 2016

GALAX Hall of Fame Custom-design SLI HB Bridge Pictured

Here's the first picture of a custom-design SLI HB (high-bandwidth) bridge by GALAX. With NVIDIA recommending a new kind of SLI bridge for NVIDIA "Pascal" GPUs to give you the smoothest possible display at high-resolutions, NVIDIA partners have taken it upon themselves to launch SLI HB bridges (which you purchase separately, of course). Following last night's MSI Gaming SLI HB reveal, we have the GALAX Hall of Fame SLI HB bridge in our hands. There's not much to the bridge besides a white PCB, two SLI contact slots with metal reinforcements, and a white LED lighting up a GALAX HOF logo on the bridge's shroud. The bridge has a 2U spacing (allowing for 1-slot gap between two dual-slot graphics cards).

G.Skill Intros Trident Z DDR4-4500 Memory in 8GB and DDR4-3466 128GB Kit

G.Skill introduced one of the fastest 8 GB density memory modules, with the Trident Z DDR4-4500. Available in 16 GB kits of two 8 GB modules, this DIMM achieves its advertised speeds at timings of 16-16-16-36, although its voltage is still under the wraps. The company also showed off a gargantuan 128 GB quad-channel memory kit with eight 16 GB DDR4-3466 modules (one of the highest speeds for the 16 GB density). This kit too is timed at 16-16-16-36 to achieve its rated speeds.

PowerColor DevilBox XConnect Enclosure Pictured

PowerColor showed off its external graphics enclosure for AMD Radeon graphics cards that take advantage of AMD XConnect technology, the DevilBox. This is more than a graphics enclosure. It plugs into the host machine over a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connection, and puts out not just a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot for a wide range of graphics cards, but also provides a SATA 6 Gb/s port for a 2.5-inch internal drive bay, two USB 3.1 ports (one each of type-A and type-C), four USB 3.0, and a wired gigabit Ethernet connection. Powering it all is an internal 500W power supply. You can drop in any high-end, air-cooled graphics card, including the Radeon R9 Fury, and the GeForce GTX TITAN X. Topping it all off is RGB internal lighting. Why not.

PowerColor Next-Gen LCS Liquid Cooling Solutions Pictured

PowerColor is ready with its next-generation LCS (liquid cooling system) VGA cooling solutions. The first one in the series is a close-loop all-in-one solution for single-GPU cards, which consists of a pump+block, plumbed to a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator (at least for this prototype). Much of the liquid cooling parts have "GamerStorm" design language, hinting at DeepCool being the OEM. This single-GPU cooler could be launched with upcoming "Polaris" graphics cards. Don't let the radiator size be any indication of the upcoming chip's thermal characteristics.

Also unveiled is a new full-coverage water block for dual-GPU graphics cards hinting at the possibility of a custom-design Radeon Pro Duo by PowerColor being under development. The block appears to be more than 1-slot thick, and uses the additional volume for two independent coolant channels, so one GPU doesn't get second-hand coolant from another GPU.

ZADAK511 Also Announces a Trio of SSDs

It's becoming clear that the running theme for Computex 2016 is "Must RGB Every Possible Thing!" Take ZADAK511 Shield RGB, for example. It's a solid-state drive with RGB LEDs embedded, which you can control by plugging it not just into your usual SATA interface, but also a USB 2.0 header on your motherboard. The 10 mm (12 mm?) thick drive is meant for open-air benches, or cases in which every component of your build is in plain sight - including the SSD. The design language from the Shield DDR4 memory carries over. For the more restrained enthusiasts who just want a 7 mm-thick drive, ZADAK511 has a more plain looking drive with a brushed aluminium finish.

ZADAK511 Unveils its First DDR4 Memory Kit

ZADAK511 is a new enthusiast hardware brand that's taking flight from Computex 2016. The company partnered with HWBot to launch a new memory overclocking challenge. At Computex, the company launched its first enthusiast memory kit, the ZADAK511 Shield DDR4-3000. You see a characteristic silver-on-black neo-Gothic stylic on all the company's products launched. The memory does DDR4-3000 at timings of 16-18-18-38, although its voltage is unknown. The company apparently also has a DDR4-4266 kit, which it's giving away in the HWBot contest. So far, we've only seen 4 GB densities on these modules.

Noctua Unveils Prototype Large Socket Heatsink for Xeon and Opteron Chips

Noctua unveiled a prototype fin-stack heatsink for very large CPU socket types, such as Intel Socket P (LGA3647) and AMD SP3, powering chips such as Intel Xeon Phi "Knights Landing," and upcoming AMD Opteron SP3 32-core SoCs. There will be 3U and 4U versions of this heatsink, supporting NF-A9 (92 mm) and NF-F12 (120 mm) fans. The heatsink is just a very large aluminium fin-stack, to which heat drawn from the base is fed by seven 8 mm thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes.

Noctua Readies AMD Socket AM4 Upgrade Kit

Noctua is among the first CPU cooler manufacturers to develop a retention kit for the upcoming AMD socket AM4. There are three versions of this, compatible with all existing Noctua coolers, except D0 series and NH-L9i series. This means that even 10-year old heatsinks from Noctua should be able to cool next-gen AMD chips. Noctua will be giving these away for free to all existing customers (proof of purchase required).

Noctua Bites the RGB Bullet with Project Chromax Heatsink Covers

Noctua bit the RGB LED bullet with the unveiling of Project Chromax, a company initiative to develop products with RGB multi-color LEDs. The first of its kind is a line of heatsink covers. These devices strap onto your heatsink fin-stacks, and do not much more than light up a bunch of graphics. Initially, Noctua will launch heatsink covers for the NH-D15S and the NH-U12S coolers.

Noctua Shows Off New A-series 200 mm Fan

Noctua's fabled 200 mm A-series fan is closer to market availability, with the company greatly refining its design. In its latest prototype, the fan features a new fiberglass impeller. Fiberglass is chosen over ABS plastic as it is 26% lighter. A 200 mm ABS plastic impeller would need greater torque on the motor to get going at acceptable speeds. The motor features a larger 4 mm-dia chrome-steel axis (33% more bearing surface), and SSO2 ball bearing. Other features common along Noctua fan prototypes, such as acoustic optimization along the frame, a stepped inlet design, and vibration dampening pads are carried over.

Noctua Also Announced 15 mm Thick 80 mm, 70 mm, and 50 mm Fans

Noctua is extending the A-series 15 mm thick form-factor to several other sizes, including the popular 80 mm, 70 mm, 60 mm, and 50 mm. All four come with 20 mm thick frame adapter, should you run into trouble installing them. Much like the slim A-series 120 mm fan, these fans feature acoustic-optimized frames, double ball-bearing motors, 5V and 12V inputs (including PWM controls), and frosted translucent frames and impellers.

Noctua Unveils a Prototype 120 mm Slim Fan

Noctua unveiled a prototype slim 120 mm fan. The fan is just 15 mm thick (25 mm is the most common thickness for 120 mm fans). The fan features a metal reinforced hub, to make sure the hub and its four support structures don't disfigure over time. The motor features double ball bearing. The frame features a design that minimizes noise from the whiplash of the impeller. The frame further features rubber padding along the mount holes, to dampen vibration. Noctua did not put out fan-speed and air-flow numbers for this fan.

Cougar Unveils the Revenger and 550M RGB Gaming Mice

Cougar also brought two new gaming mice to Computex, with its flagship Revenger, and the new 550M RGB. The Revenger packs a 12,000 dpi sensor, a programmable trigger button next to six other programmable buttons, 1000 Hz polling rate, 1 ms response time, 512 KB onboard memory to store button maps, and two independent RGB lighting zones (one over the company logo, and another near the buttons). The 550M RGB, on the other hand, is a variant of the 550M, featuring the same 2-zone RGB LED system, while the rest of its feature-set is identical to the original 550M.

Cougar Also Unveils the Ultimus and Attack X3 RGB Keyboards

Cougar brought two new mechanical gaming keyboards to the Computex floor, the Ultimus and Attack X3 RGB. The Ultimus features a simple and elegant design with an aluminium face-plate, a simple 104-key layout with Function key enabling various system macros, full N-key rollover in USB mode, and RGB LED lighting along its Cherry MX mechanical switches. The more familiar looking Attack X3 RGB is just a variant of the Attack X3, featuring RGB LED back-lighting the the keys. Not much else has changed from the original.

Cougar Panzer Series VR-Ready Cases Pictured

So "VR-Ready case" is apparently a thing. We immediately started looking for front-facing HDMI ports, but couldn't find any. Still, the Panzer MAX from Cougar is an impressive ATX full-tower, measuring 226 mm x 612 mm x 556 mm (WxHxD), with room for E-ATX and SSI-EEB motherboards, up to four 39 cm long graphics cards, four radiator bays, including 360 x 120 mm slots on the front and top panels; and front-panel fan controls. The case can hold up to six 2.5-inch SSDs or four 2.5-inchers + two 3.5-inch ones.

Also shown was its slightly smaller sibling, the Cougar Panzer. This ATX mid-tower seats conventional motherboard sizes, and measures 208 mm x 565 mm x 520 mm (WxHxD), with room for three 42.5 cm long graphics cards. Interestingly, it supports the same number of fans and radiators as the larger Panzer MAX.

ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4-4400 Memory Pictured

ADATA is ready with its flagship XPG Z1 memory module that belts out DDR4-4400 speeds. The modules achieve DDR4-4400 at timings of 17-19-19-39, although its DRAM voltage is not known. The module was demonstrated running at its marketed speeds. It's also interesting to note that the module doesn't use heatsinks or elaborate cooling to run at these speeds, and makes to with a rather thin heatspreader.

ADATA Also Unveils SR1030 Enterprise MLC SSD

ADATA also unveiled its SR1030 SSD targeted at workstation/enterprise builds. The drive ticks on a Seagate (ex-SandForce) SF-3514 processor, wired to 3D MLC NAND flash, and comes in capacities ranging between 128 GB to 1 TB, with sequential read/write performance rated at up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes. You get a lot of SandForce-made features such as DuraWrite (garbage collection enhancement), Shield and RAISE (protection).

ADATA Launches Maxiotek Controller-based SU700 Value SSD

ADATA is a launch partner for Maxiotek MK8115 processor, a new entrant to the consumer SSD scene, with the new SU700 series. These drives will be ADATA's most affordable, and targeted at buyers upgrading from hard drives. The MK8115 is mated to synchronous Micron-made DRAM-less 3D TLC NAND flash memory, in capacities ranging up to 1 TB. ADATA put out CDM performance numbers for the drive, which clocks in at 554 MB/s sequential reads, and 529 MB/s sequential writes.

ADATA SX8000NP M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Pictured

ADATA showed off its flagship M.2 PCIe SSD lineup, the SX8000NP. These drives will target a price-performance sweetspot between the fastest SATA drives, and the enthusiast M.2 ones. They're driven by a Silicon Motion SMI2260H processor, wired to 3D (stacked) MLC NAND flash memory. This drive takes advantage of PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and the new NVMe protocol, to serve up sequential transfer rates of up to 2,000 MB/s reads, with up to 800 MB/s writes. ADATA put up its own CDM performance numbers for a 480 GB variant of this drive.
Monday, May 30th 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Supermicro Also Unveils the C7X99-OCE Motherboard

In addition to the CZ170-OCE, Supermicro also unveiled the C7X99-OCE. This socket LGA2011v3 motherboard appears to be derived from one of its workstation boards. You can tell from the blank traces over where a remote management chip would normally rest. All that's changed is the PCB color (to black), the slots (blue+black), and more sporty looking heatsinks over the CPU VRM and the X99 PCH. The board covers all the basics of this platform, but gives you a pair of Intel-driven gigabit Ethernet connections, onboard OC fine-tuning buttons, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Missing in action is M.2 slots. We have no way of telling if Supermicro tucked away M.2 slots at the reverse side of the PCB.

Supermicro Unveils First LGA1151 Motherboard with PCIe Bridge Chip

Supermicro launched the first socket LGA1151 motherboard featuring a PCIe bridge chip that expands the board's lane budget, something that not even the $600 ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme features. The new CZ170-OCE from the traditionally server/workstation motherboard maker is based on Intel Z170 Express chipset, and features a PCI-Express gen 3.0 x48 bridge chip (likely the PLX PEX-8747), which takes the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 PEG port from the CPU, and puts out 32 lanes, which are wired to the board's three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots.

The topmost slot runs at x16 full-time, while the middle and bottom slots are x8/x8 when both are populated (x16/NC/x16 or x16/x8/x8). The designers lavishly spent its remaining lane budget on two PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slots, and a 32 Gb/s M.2-22110 slot. Besides the 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Other modern connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each of type-A and type-C), two gigabit Ethernet connections (one driven by Intel I219V and another by Intel I210-AT), HD audio, and four other USB 3.0 ports.

Inno3D Unveils GeForce GTX 1070 iChill X3

Inno3D also unveiled its fastest GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, the GTX 1070 iChill X3. This card is based on a custom-design PCB by Inno3D, which draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors, featuring a strong VRM to support the card's high factory overclock. It features the same triple-fan >2-slot cooling solution as the one featured on the GTX 1080 iChill X3. It features an easy to open cooler shroud, which lets you clean the fans and heatsink from time to time. The card's clock speeds are unknown at this point. The card could go on sale later in June.

Inno3D Liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 1080 iChill Black Pictured, Too

Here's the first picture of Inno3D's flagship GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, the GTX 1080 iChill Black. Based on the reference NVIDIA PCB, the card features a liquid+air hybrid cooling solution by Arctic, the Arctic Accelero Hybrid S. It relies on a factory-fitted, closed-loop AIO block with a 120 mm x 120 mm radiator, to cool the 180W TDP GPU, while using heatsinks and a single 70 mm blower to cool the VRM and memory chips. In all likelihood, this product could be positioned above the GTX 1080 iChill X4.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming OC Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of Inno3D GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming OC. The card appears to be based on NVIDIA reference PCB, combining it with a simple yet elegant 2-slot, dual-fan cooling solution. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, and ships with factory overclocked speeds. We expect it to be priced between the $379 baseline for the SKU and the $449 Founders Edition price, making for a smarter purchase.

AZiO Also Announces the MGK L80 RGB Keyboard

In addition to the MGK Alpha, AZiO also unveiled its flagship keyboard, the MGK L80 RGB. This mechanical keyboard features RGB LED multi-color lighting for its keys and aesthetic bits, with six lighting modes that can be set directly on the keyboard, without needing software. You also get four macro keys that are directly programmable on the keyboard. Also featured is a magnetic detachable palm-rest, and a volume control knob. The MGK L80 RGB goes on sale later this month.

AZiO Also Announces the EXO Alpha Gaming Mouse

AZiO Also announced the EXO Alpha line of gaming mice featuring a metal-frame design, with a brushed aluminium floating palm-rest that comes in three colors - red, blue, and gunmetal, and light from an RGB LED coming out from the edges of the floating rest. Under the hood is a 9,800 dpi optical sensor with 5 adjustable settings, six programmable buttons, and a management software that stores your settings on the cloud.

AZiO Unveils the MGK Alpha Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

AZiO unveiled the MGK Alpha, a high-end backlit mechanical keyboard. Away from the RGB madness, the MGK Alpha features elegant white LED back-lighting, a magnetic detachable palm-rest, a volume-control scrollwheel, an anodized-aluminium faceplate with brushed finish; and an anodized side-mesh. You get five programmable macro keys, and you can use the Function key to set even more macros using the included software. The keyboard allows hot-switching between three profiles programmed directly into it.

Klevv Announces the Fit 4 DDR4 Module

Klevv announced its new entry-level DDR4 memory module, the Fit 4. The module features an identical heatspreader design to the original Fit (DDR3) series, and features a black full-height PCB. The Fit 4 series is likely to include various sub-3000 MHz DDR speeds, densities of 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB; making up dual-channel kits of 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB, respectively. These could also be among the most affordable DDR4 memory you can get from this brand.

Phanteks Also Launches Tempered Glass Editions of Enthoo Evolv ATX and Pro M

Phanteks also launched Tempered Glass Edition variants of two of its most popular cases, the Enthoo Evolv ATX, and the Enthoo Pro M. Both cases feature slightly tinted tempered glass side-panels, which cover almost the entire area of the sides. The Enthoo Evolv ATX Tempered Glass Edition, in addition, features RGB LED strips that line the edges of these panels. These LED strips comply with ASUS Aura RGB specification, letting you control them with ASUS Aura software. The rest of their feature-sets are consistent with their original cases.

Phanteks Unveils Enthoo Elite Flagship Chassis

Phanteks unveiled its new flagship chassis, the Enthoo Elite. This garrgantuan full-tower is made of 4 mm-thick sandblasted aluminium sheet-metal, and slightly tinted tempered glass. It has room for large motherboard form-factors, such as HPTX, SSI-EEB, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX. If you use a micro-ATX motherboard, a portion of the motherboard tray and rear I/O can be tilted parallel to the plane of the base (perpendicular to the plane of the side panel, to make it a dual-system chassis, with the remaining slots and tray portion holding a mini-ITX system.

The Enthoo Elite serves up vast amounts of room for liquid cooling gear, including a 560 mm x 140 mm front radiator slot (which also holds a 480 mm x 120 mm radiator); and 420 mm x 140 mm / 480 mm x 120 mm radiator baysalong the top, mid-section, and the bottom panels (four radiators in all!). The case offers a total of 10+2 expansion slots; 13x 3.5-inch drive bays, and 7x 2.5-inch bays. To top it all off, you get an RGB LED lighting system that meets ASUS Aura specifications.

Phanteks Intros the Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition

Phanteks unveiled the Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition. The premium ATX mid-tower case is rooted firmly in the RGB LED generation, with multi-color LED strips lining the inner- and outer-edges of its panels. It gets its name from the tempered glass side panels, which cover nearly the entire area of the sides. The rest of its feature-set appears to be consistent with the original Enthoo Luxe.

MSI Grades its Gaming Series Graphics Card Lineup

With the GeForce 10 Series, MSI is beginning to sub-brand its Gaming series graphics cards, so it could offer them at multiple price-points. The company launched its GTX 1080 lineup with the GTX 1080 Gaming X. The "X" here denotes a middle-grade (for features and clock speeds). A notch above this, is the GTX 1080 Gaming Z (yet to be launched, comes with the most features and highest clock speeds). There will be a third brand-extension, which will succeed the "LE" extension from previous generations. It could very well just be "Gaming" (no letters next to it). These cards look custom-design, but feature reference or close to reference clock speeds. Below are the pictures of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming Z (not yet launched), and the GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X.

MSI Makes a Big Push into Gaming Peripherals

MSI is making a big push into the gaming peripherals market, under its MSI Gaming banner. The company dabbled with gaming peripherals for a couple of years now, but didn't manage to make a mark. That's until now. The company appears to have big marketing plans for its new lines of gaming headsets, keyboards, and mice. Below are some of the first pictures of a pair of new gaming mice, an aluminium mousepad, a mechanical keyboard, and two new headsets.

Phanteks Makes its Foray into DIY Liquid Cooling

Phanteks made its major foray into DIY liquid cooling, with the launch of two new CPU blocks, a new full-coverage VGA block for the GeForce GTX 1080, and a variety of fittings. To begin with, the company showed off two new untitled CPU water blocks, one features a bulged out frosty acrylic top, and the other a flat top with POM acetal inserts near the fittings area. Speaking of which, the company launched a boat-load of plugs, extenders, and compression fittings to go with these blocks. Lastly, the company launched its first full-coverage VGA block, with one designed for the GTX 1080.

Klevv Urbane U610 SSD Pictured

Here's the first picture of an Urbane 610 SSD by Klevv, in the flesh. The performance-segment SSD is built in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and serves up 560 MB/s of sequential reads, with up to 530 MB/s sequential writes (480 GB and 960 GB variants) or up to 360 MB/s writes (240 GB variant). It combines Toshiba 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory, with Phison PS3110-S10 controllers.

AeroCool Dreambox Chassis Pictured

Here's the first look at Dreambox, AeroCool's Computex Design Award winning chassis. The case is a bunch of pipes and rods that you use to put together a cubical or tower-type case of your own design, and then add from the various pieces of included tempered glass panels. It should be particularly useful for case-modders who wish their case was shaped in a certain way. Here's an example build of the Dreambox.

Lian Li PC-J60WRX Case Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of the PC-J60WRX, the company's new ATX mid-tower case for the season. The case is characterized by black brushed-aluminium panels with red accents. This case too is firmly rooted in the post-5.25" era, with the forward portion having room for a radiator, and the top having a radiator bay that stretches all the way to the front. This gives you room for a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator up front, a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator on the top, and the usual 120 mm rear exhaust. The case's storage areas are lined along the bottom, with five 3.5-inch bays, and one 2.5-incher. The case measures 210 mm x 507 mm x 489 mm (WxHxD).

MSI Gaming Custom-design SLI HB Bridge Pictured

Here some of the first pictures of an NVIDIA add-in card (AIC) partner branded SLI-HB (high-bandwidth) bridge. This kind of bridge is recommended for use with GeForce "Pascal" graphics cards, at high resolutions, such as 4K @ 60 Hz with HDR, 4K @ 120 Hz, 5K, and above. Pictured here is a 2-way SLI HB bridge with 2U spacing (1-slot gap between the two cards). The bridge appears to have a red LED of its own, lighting up the MSI Gaming dragon logo. At this point it's not clear whether the bridge comes included with the cards, or if it needs to be purchased separately. The cards being bridged in these pictures are the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming Z, a notch above the GTX 1080 Gaming X the company debuted its custom GTX 1080 lineup with.

Be Quiet! Silent Loop AIO Liquid CPU Coolers Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of the upcoming Be Quiet! Silent Loop series all-in-one liquid CPU coolers. These coolers come in sizes of 280 mm x 140 mm, 240 mm x 120 mm and 120 mm x 120 mm; and are characterized by pump+block fittings that don't move around a pivot, and come out from the top of the block. This approach clears up a lot of space around the CPU socket. This may also hint at the cooler's possible non-Asetek origins. You also get fill-ports along the pump-block and the reservoir attached to the radiator. Be Quiet! is bundling PureWings 2 PWM fans. The coolers will be backed by 3-year warranties.

ID-Cooling Enthusiast Case with Monitor Stand Spied

ID-Cooling is ready with a new enthusiast grade rail-type case, which doubles up as a VESA-mount monitor stand, so you could pack a real wallop behind your >27-inch display. The rail-type case features a 3-dimensional T-shaped frame, with an L-shaped frame tapering to the back. The cage has room for a mini-ITX motherboard, but with enough clearance for a long, 2-slot high-end graphics card. You also get room for a fairly big high-Wattage PSU, and enough clearance for a DIY liquid-cooling loop (including a reservoir, a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator), and the works. A tinted tempered-glass panel tops off the case from the rear. A small cutout lets you manage your cable spaghetti and route cables to your monitor.
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