Wednesday, May 6th 2015

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
SSD
Storage

AMD Readies 14 nm FinFET GPUs in 2016

At its ongoing Investor Day presentation, AMD announced that will continue to make GPUs for every segment of the market. The company is planning to leverage improvements to its Graphics CoreNext architecture for the foreseeable future, but is betting on a huge performance/Watt increase with its 2016 GPUs. The secret sauce here will be the shift to 14 nm FinFET process. It's important to note here, that AMD refrained from mentioning "14 nm," but the mention of FinFET is a reliable giveaway. AMD is expecting a 2x (100%) gain in performance/Watt over its current generation of GPUs, with the shift.

AMD's future GPUs will focus on several market inflection points, such as the arrival of CPU-efficient graphics APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan, Windows 10 pulling users from Windows 7, 4K Ultra HD displays getting more affordable (perhaps even mainstream), which it believes will help it sell enough GPUs to return to profitability. The company also announced an unnamed major design win, which will take shape in this quarter, and which will hit the markets in 2016.

AMD "Zen" Offers a 40% IPC Increase Over "Excavator"

In its Investor Day presentation, led by CEO Lisa Su, and CTO Mark Papermaster, AMD made a slew of careful, near-term product announcements, and market strategies. One of its announcements that strike us, is the company's emphasis on getting the CPU core design right. The company talked about its "Zen" CPU core architecture, not from a technical standpoint, on how it fits into the company's near-term. It turns out that the company is betting on a massive performance increase.

AMD announced that its "Zen" CPU core, will offer a massive 40 percent increase in IPC (instructions per clock) or in other words, performance/clock, over the existing "Excavator" CPU core architecture. Zen will introduce features such as SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), a brand new low-latency cache system, and will leverage the 14 nm FinFET process. The first products based on Zen will be desktop CPUs in the 6th generation FX processor family, which will be launched in 2016. AMD plans to unify the CPU and APU into one socket, which will be called AM4 (and not the previously thought of "FM3"). You'll be able to install both CPUs (which lack integrated graphics, but feature more CPU cores); and the company's 7th generation A-series APUs (which integrate both CPU and iGPUs), on the same kind of motherboards.

TP-LINK Announces Availability of the RE210 AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender

TP-LINK, a global provider of consumer and SMB networking products, today announced the availability of the RE210 AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender with external antennas that offer better speed performance. With next-generation 802.11ac wireless technology, the RE210 boosts any Wi-Fi signal, enabling connectivity throughout the home.

"With the proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices in today's home, dependable wireless Internet is necessary," said Lewis Wu, executive vice president of TP-LINK USA. "The AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE210 provides a stronger Wi-Fi signal, expanding coverage to every corner of the home and offering an Ethernet port that helps keep the entire family connected at gigabit speeds."

MSI Unleashes 990FXA GAMING Socket AM3+ Motherboard

MSI, world leading in motherboard design, debuts the world's first USB 3.1 featured AMD GAMING motherboard, the 990FXA GAMING. Delivering blazing fast USB performance, up to 2 times faster than USB 3.0, the new 990FXA GAMING motherboard offers two USB 3.1 ports, which are fully backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices.

Inheriting the outstanding DNA of MSI's award winning GAMING family, the new MSI AM3+ 990FXA GAMING motherboard features Killer LAN for the best online GAMING experience, Audio Boost 2 powered by Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2 for astonishing sound quality that gives you the upper hand on the battlefield, USB Audio Power and a completely new hardware and software design for enhanced gaming performance. Get ready for high-end AMD GAMING with MSI.

KFA2 Announces GeForce GTX 980 8Pack Edition

KFA2 announced a special edition of its GeForce GTX 980 HOF graphics card, designed by professional overclocker 8Pack. The new 8Pack Edition GTX 980 by KFA2 is one of the highest clocked cards out of the box, with 1304 MHz core, 1440 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 7.00 GHz memory, compared to reference clocks of 1127 MHz core and 1216 MHz GPU Boost. The card features a strong VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and a large triple-fan cooling solution. It features dual-BIOS with manual switching, letting you overclock by playing with the BIOS, with a failsafe BIOS at the push of a button. Available now, the KFA2 GTX 980 8Pack Edition is priced at 589 GBP (incl VAT). It's eligible for NVIDIA's new game bundle with game codes for "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt" and "Batman: Arkham Knight."

PNY Announces the HP x715w USB 3.0 Flash drive

Enjoy lightning speed and high-performance with the HP's latest USB flash drive-the HP x715w. PNY Technologies, world renowned manufacturing giant for USB and Memory products, has officially released the durable and stylish HP x715w USB 3.0 flash drive for storing and sharing your digital files. This thumb-sized drive is extremely lightweight and compact and can be easily carried around anywhere you go. Equipped with USB 3.0 hardware, you can transfer HD movies, images and documents in mere seconds.

The x715w comes encased in a shock-resistant and dustproof durable metallic casing. Its high-quality mirror finishing with electronic plating after printing technic features the HP logo engraved on the drive, which is present only on genuine PNY products and helps in distinguishing between counterfeit replacements. This ensures originality and PNY's top quality performance as promised, is not tampered with in any ways.

Intel Announces Xeon E7 v3 Series Processors

Intel Corporation today announced the Intel Xeon processor E7-8800/4800 v3 product families, delivering accelerated business insight through real-time analytics and enhanced performance and reliability for mission-critical computing.

Real-time business intelligence is a top priority for companies across the full spectrum of industries, from healthcare to retail to telecommunications, among others. The need to rapidly extract actionable insight from large volumes of data is driving demand for new technologies for in-memory computing and big data analytics. Considering the current and future demand for in-memory computing, Gartner believes that revenue in this market will exceed $9.5 billion by year-end 2018, and at least 50 percent of large organizations will adopt in-memory computing to enable digital business strategies.
Tuesday, May 5th 2015

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
PSUs

Western Digital Board Declares Dividend For Fourth Quarter Of Fiscal 2015

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that the board of directors declared a cash dividend for the quarter ending July 3, 2015, of $0.50 per share of common stock (the "cash dividend"). The cash dividend will be paid on July 15, 2015, to the company's stockholders of record as of July 3, 2015.

The amount of future dividends under the company's dividend policy, and the declaration and payment thereof, will be based upon all relevant factors, including the company's financial position, results of operations, cash flows, capital requirements and restrictions under the company's existing credit agreement, and shall be in compliance with applicable law. The board retains the power to modify, suspend or cancel the company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future.

NVIDIA Announces "Two Times The Adventure" Game Bundle

NVIDIA announced its latest game bundle for buyers of its GeForce GTX 900 series graphics products. Called "Two Times the Adventure" bundle, it includes two of the year's most anticipated PC titles - "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," and "Batman: Arkham Knight." New buyers of GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 graphics cards, from participating retailers, will receive game coupons to both the games, which can be redeemed on Steam. New buyers of GeForce GTX 960, and notebooks with GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M, will receive game codes to just "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt."

Codes for both games, if activated on Steam before their launch dates, will count as pre-orders, so you can pre-load and start playing on the launch dates. Both games come with NVIDIA's GameWorks varnish, which enables a few GeForce-exclusive eye-candy, such as HairWorks (GPU-accelerated hair effects) in The Witcher 3, PhysX-accelerated destruction and cloth effects, and HBAO+ in both games. The Witcher 3 releases on May 19, and Batman: Arkham Knight on June 23.

Samsung Announces PRO Plus and EVO Plus Memory Cards

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today introduced its latest memory card lineups, PRO Plus and EVO Plus. The two latest product lineups add to Samsung's SD and microSD card portfolio to now consist of the PRO Plus, PRO, EVO Plus and EVO families, to address the rapidly growing consumer need for advanced multimedia memory solutions.

"Samsung is following through on our promise to deliver next-generation memory cards that have even faster speeds and higher memory storage volume that will enhance consumer satisfaction level and solidify Samsung's branded memory business leadership," said Un-Soo Kim, Senior Vice President of Branded Product Marketing, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. "With the increase of 4K UHD enabled devices and market needs for memory capacity, the PRO Plus and EVO Plus lineups are optimized solutions that will meet today's user expectations."

Giada Launches Compact i200 Mini-PC

Giada, a brand of Shenzhen Jiehe Technology Development, Co., Ltd, today announces the ultra compact i200 Mini-PC. Designed for thin client, digital signage, enterprise and industrial applications, the i200, with dimensions of 5.12" x 5.06" x 1.02", offers PC-level performance and full featured connectivity at low power consumption levels.

With its ability to run 24/7, the i200 is ideal for many applications in the thin client, enterprise and industrial fields. The full metal casing provides excellent heat dissipation while in operation as well as robust protection from harsh working environments.

Colorful iGame-Z170 Motherboard Pictured

Here is the first picture of Colorful's premium socket LGA1151 motherboard, the iGame-Z170. The company plans to carve out at lease three unique SKUs out of this PCB (second picture below), the iGame-Z170 being the base model. As its name suggests, the board is based on Intel's upcoming Z170 Express chipset, and is designed for 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors. Some variants of this board, such as the iGame-Z170U, will feature DDR4 DIMM slots (up to 64 GB), while others will feature DDR3 (up to 32 GB).

The board offers a pretty decent feature-set, including a 14-phase CPU VRM, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 when both are populated) wired to the CPU, a third PCI-Express x4 slot wired to the PCH, three other PCI-Express x1 slots; storage connectivity that includes six SATA 6 Gb/s, one SATA-Express, and one M.2 10 Gb/s; two USB 3.1 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a modern onboard audio solution with ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors. The iGame-Z170 series will launch some time in Q3, 2015. The three will likely be exhibited at Computex 2015, this June.

Desktop OEMs Begin Listing "Broadwell" Chips, "Skylake" Arrives in Q3

Major pre-built desktop manufacturers began listing products driven by 5th generation Core "Broadwell" processors, which are having a brief stint at the markets before being replaced by 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors in Q3-2015. The 5th Generation Core family is led by two parts, the Core i5-5675C, and the Core i7-5775C, both of which come with unlocked base-clock multipliers, are based on Intel's new 14 nanometer silicon fab process, and built in the LGA1150 package, compatible with existing Intel 9-series chipset based motherboards, with BIOS updates.

The Core i5-5675C and i7-5775C aren't exactly successors of the i5-4690K and i7-4790K. The i7-5775C is placed in a product tier Intel calls "P1+," while the i5-5675C is placed in one called "MS2+." The two aren't exactly in the same plane as P1K (eg: i7-4790K) or MS2K (eg: i5-4690K), respectively, and don't qualify as P1 (eg: i7-4790 non-K) or MS2 (eg: i5-4690 non-K). The two still feature unlocked multipliers. This places them somewhere between P1K/MS2K and P1/MS2. Both the i5-5675C and i7-5775C are quad-core chips, and physically feature just 6 MB of L3 cache. The i7-5775C has access to all 6 MB of it, while the i5-5675K features just 4 MB.
Monday, May 4th 2015

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Mushkin Announces REACTOR Series Expansion

Mushkin Enhanced MFG, an industry leading designer and manufacturer of high performance and mission critical computer products, announced today its expansion of its popular REACTOR series SSD, on May 11th, 2015 enthusiast will now be able to purchase the REACTOR Series in 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB capacities, perfect for professionals and tech enthusiasts who want the best possible computing experience.

"At Mushkin we have always focused on not only helping enthusiasts push the limits of their PCs, but we've taken it to the next level, by providing quality solutions that deliver levels of performance that have earned Mushkin its place as one of the top SSD manufacturers," said Brian Flood, Director of Product Management at Mushkin Enhanced MFG.

MSI Launches 8 New Socket FM2+ Motherboards for AMD "Godavari" APU

MSI, world leading in motherboard design, is pleased to announce the launch of 8 new AMD FM2+/FM2 socket based motherboards supporting the latest AMD Godavari APU. These new models are available in ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ATX form factors and are backwards compatible with FM2 processors (Kaveri, Richland, Trinity, 6000 and 5000 series). MSI has packed these models with a rich blend of features and technologies, such as onboard LAN, PCI Express 3.0 x16, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 and multiple display support, offering the most stable and most cost-effective solution available.

AMD Radeon R9 380 Launched by PC OEM

Earlier this day, HP announced its newest line of desktop PCs, one of which comes with a curious-sounding Radeon R9 380 graphics card. HP's product pages for its new desktops aren't active, yet, leaving us to only speculate on what the R9 380 could be. One theory making rounds says that the R9 380 could either be a re-branded R9 285, or be based on its "Tonga" silicon, which physically features 2,048 stream processors based on Graphics CoreNext (GCN) 1.2 architecture, and a 384-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. Another theory states that the R9 380 could be an OEM-only re-brand of the R9 280 or R9 280X, based on the 3+ year old "Tahiti" silicon.

The former theory sounds more plausible, because re-branding a "Tahiti" based product would be suicidal for AMD. Although based on GCN, "Tahiti" lacks a lot of architecture features introduced with "Hawaii" and "Tonga." AMD practically stopped optimizing games for "Tahiti," and some of its new features, such as FreeSync and XDMA CrossFire, can't be implemented on it. "Tonga," on the other hand, supports both these features, and one can create an SKU with all its 2,048 stream processors, and its full 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface unlocked. If the R9 380 is indeed an OEM-only product, then it's likely that the company's retail-channel products could be branded in the succeeding R9 400 series. GPU makers tend to re-brand and bump their SKUs by a series for OEMs to peddle in their "new" products at short notice.

HP Announces the Next Wave of 2015 Back to School PCs

HP today announced a new family of all-in-one desktop and tower PCs designed to fit beautifully in the home for back to school. The new desktop lineup offers customers power and flexibility to scale for next-level productivity and entertainment.

"The desktop PC continues to be an important form factor for customers who want to get things done and be entertained, but lack style and as a result are often hidden in basements and dens," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, Consumer Personal Systems, HP. "With our 2015 desktop family, we are breathing new life into the category by giving customers more capabilities wrapped in colorful and premium designs that they will be proud to place in kitchens, living rooms and other public spaces in their homes."

Habey Launches MITX-6770 Mini-ITX Motherboard

HABEY USA, a leading manufacturer of embedded computer products, today announces MITX-6770, the latest embedded board powered by the Intel J1900 Quad Core 2.42 GHz Celeron Processor. This thin Mini-ITX board is designed to meet the increasing demand for variety of network connectivity, higher network performance, flexible storage options and improved security of the Internet of things (IoT). The board has dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports build-in with Power over Ethernet (PoE) option, on-board Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security feature and support of two mSATA slots for storage redundancy.

Unique features of the MITX-6770 also include Digital Display Interface (DDI) headers for additional rear panel HDMI, DisplayPort (DP) or LVDS, eDP expansion, 7.1 High Definition audio header for RCA device outputs, LPC expansion header for legacy I/O device add-on cards and a SIM socket for cellular radio connectivity.
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