Hardware Giveaway
Thursday, September 16th 2021
Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P MAX Review

Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P MAX Review

The ITX-sized Cooler Master NR200P MAX is a slightly larger version of the NR200P. The additional room is used to house a 280 mm AIO, while also including an 850W SFX power supply. This makes the NR200P MAX one of few ITX enclosures that takes the guesswork of getting the best-possible cooling setup out of the equation.

IKEA is Finally Ready to Sell You its ASUS ROG Co-branded Gear

Just over a year ago, IKEA and Asus teased that they were working on something together and from October, you'll actually be able to buy the first products. There will be more than 30 new products in total, ranging from "gaming" desks and chairs, to key "gaming" accessories like mug holders and neck pillows.

It's highly likely that the pandemic has delayed these products, since they launched in China back in January, but now it seems like stock should be arriving globally. In total, there will be six product families, although the press release doesn't go into detail of what product is in each product category. The six families are UPPSPEL, LÅNESPELARE, MATCHSPEL, GRUPPSPEL, UTESPELARE, HUVUDSPELARE, which pretty much are all borrowed from various football (soccer to our American readers) terms in Swedish.

Harman Launches a Range of Mobile Power Accessories Under InfinityLab Brand

This one is going to be a bit tricky to explain, but Samsung owned Harman, has launched a new brand called InfinityLab, which will be selling mobile charging and power products, that will compete with Samsung. We can't really explain this, but we're sure there's some kind of logic behind it all.

What we're looking at is a set of three USB chargers, comprising of a 20 W model for $19.95, a 30 W model for $29.95 and a 65 W model for $49.95, all with a USB-C port and the 30 W and 65 W models also get a USB-A port. The 65 W model is using GaN (that's a curse word in Taiwan btw) or Gallium Nitride power conversion parts and as such joins a growing ecosystem of compact chargers with fairly high output.

ViewSonic Launches New Pantone Validated ColorPro Monitors with 2K and 4K Resolutions

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solutions, announces that it has started shipping the new 27-inch VP2756-2K and VP2756-4K ColorPro monitors. The latest additions to the company's award-winning ColorPro monitor series, the VP2756-2K and VP2756-4K monitors are Pantone Validated and feature native QHD (2560x1440) and Ultra HD (3840x2160) resolutions, respectively, and are engineered to deliver amazing color accuracy and performance.

For professionals who depend on color reliability and fidelity in every pixel on the screen, the VP2756-2K and VP2756-4K monitors provide incredible color accuracy. These monitors have been rigorously tested and deemed capable of reproducing the Pantone Matching System (PMS) Colors. The monitors also come with vDisplayManager software that puts the on-screen display (OSD) menu controls on the monitor's screen so users can quickly and easily adjust the settings as needed. A Color Sensitivity Mode simulates various color deficiencies, while a Designer Mode calibrates the monitor to the sRGB color gamut and makes it easy for the user to change between color profiles.

Arctic Announces LGA1700 Mounting Kits for Intel Core "Alder Lake"

The market launch of the Intel Alder Lake series is expected soon. Along with the new CPUs, Intel is also introducing the new LGA1700- socket with changed hole spacing on the motherboard as well as changes in CPU cooler mounting height. Starting in mid-October, ARCTIC will provide mounting kits for all Freezer 34 models, the entire Liquid Freezer II series, the Freezer 50 as well as Freezer i13 X and Freezer i13 X CO. Replacing the mounting parts will enable our customers to use their ARCTIC coolers with the new Intel processors. In the future, most of the current CPU coolers will be delivered with the mounting set for the Intel 1700 socket.

The mounting sets will be available in the ARCTIC web shop for a service fee of 5,99€, and customers will receive the set completely free of charge upon presentation of a corresponding processor purchase receipt. ARCTIC will soon launch a new CPU air cooler with Alder Lake compatibility from the factory - the i35 A-RGB. The launch of the new Intel cooler with addressable RGB is expected at the end of October.

AGON by AOC Announces PRO E-Sports Monitors AG324UX and AG274FZ

One of the world's leading gaming monitor and IT accessories brand, AGON by AOC, recently launched a new product category for the most demanding and competitive gamers and e-sports players: AGON PRO. Now, the line-up is expanded with two additional models with exceptional specifications: the 31.5" (80 cm) AG324UX (4K @ 144 Hz) with HDR400 and the 27" (68.6 cm) AG274FZ (FHD @ 260 Hz). Both models come with an IPS panel for punchy, vivid colours and offer 1 ms GtG response time for extra-smooth, ghosting-free visuals.

The legends of the gaming community finally get truly legendary gear. To achieve victory on the battlefield, legends accept no compromises and need the highest-level equipment available. With the new AGON PRO models from AGON by AOC, esports pros, professional streamers and hard-core gamers will find that these screens leave hardly anything to be desired.

VIA Labs Announces Launch of USB4 Device Silicon

VIA Labs, Inc. (VLI), a leading supplier of SuperSpeed USB, USB Power Delivery Controllers, and now USB4 controllers today unveiled the VIA Labs VL830 USB4 Endpoint Device. USB4 is a major update to the USB architecture, enabling multiple simultaneous data and display protocols to share a single high-speed link with support for a maximum aggregate bandwidth of 40 Gbps. VL830 offers both USB and DisplayPort functionality and operates at full performance when used with Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 systems, and is also backward compatible with previous-generation devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones that support DisplayPort Alternate Mode over USB Type-C.

"VIA Labs VL830 represents a culmination of our experience in developing USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, and USB 3.2 products, an industry leader in time to market, and contribution and participation in standards development," said Terrance Shih, Business Development Director, VIA Labs, Inc. "USB4 is based on Thunderbolt technology and we are very excited to deliver these capabilities at new price points."

ASUSTOR Announces Switch-n-Stor, an Affordable 2.5GbE Unmanaged Switch for Home-Offices

ASUSTOR Inc. today is proud to announce its first five port network switch named the Switch-n-Stor. The Switch-n-Stor uses Realtek 2.5 GbE controllers in addition to its fashionable enthusiast aesthetic. The Switch-n-Stor is efficient and combines well with any 2.5 GbE-enabled ASUSTOR NAS or 2.5 GbE-enabled computer. PC or NAS not compatible with 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet? Purchase an AS-U2.5G2 and plug it into a USB 3.2 port found on a NAS to easily upgrade a device to 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet and experience more than double the speed. The Switch-n-Stor is backwards compatible with Gigabit and 100-Megabit speeds, ensuring that it is compatible with almost any device, albeit at lower speeds, ensuring maximum seamlessness.

The Switch-n-Stor chassis design is made of metal. With both heat dissipation and a beautiful aesthetic, the Switch-n-Stor dissipates heat and does so while looking good. Take advantage of five 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet ports, each providing more than double the performance of traditional Gigabit Ethernet. The ASUSTOR Switch-n-Stor supports backwards compatibility, ensuring that almost any device will plug in seamlessly while Cat5e cables work flawlessly, saving you from unnecessary cable replacements.

Project Taara: Alphabet's Laser-based 20 Gbps Communication System Transmits 700 TB Over 5 Km

Alphabet has announced that its prototype implementation of a laser-based communications system, Project Taara, successfully managed to transmit over 700 Terabytes of data over a 5 km distance. The system successfully transmitted the information across the Congo river in the African continent, connecting the towns of Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo). The system aims to deliver fiber-optic-level communications speed in locations where infrastructure investment cost for a fiber optics solution is economically unfeasible. In this case, Project Taara delivered the high-speed connection where 250 miles of fiber network cabling would need to be laid out to achieve the same effect. It should also allow for cheaper infrastructure development in well-developed cities.

The project has taken the Free Space Optical Communications technology developed for Project Loon, one of Alphabet's explorations on delivering high-speed internet connections to rural areas whilst using stratospheric helium balloons. Alphabet said that its Project Taara link was operational for 20 days during the test period, where it achieved a signal availability level of 99.9% - meaning that it was practically uninterrupted. The laser system features self-adjustment capabilities that aim to circumvent weather and wildlife elements, which allow the lasers to not only boost the laser strength if required, but also to adjust the output and input laser dishes by up to +/- 5 degrees. The system's current development stage should allows for "a light beam the width of a chopstick accurately enough to hit a 5-centimeter target that's 10 kilometers away."

Thermaltake Pacific PR32-D5, and Pacific PR12-D5 Plus Pump+Reservoir Combo Now Available

Thermaltake, the leading PC DIY premium brand for Cooling, Gaming Gear, and Enthusiast Memory solutions, is excited to announce the worldwide availability for Pacific PR32-D5 Pump & Reservoir Combo and Pacific PR12-D5 Plus Pump & Reservoir Combo in September 16th. The new launch products, the new members of the Pacific PR series, include a pump and reservoir combo with and without RGB lighting effects; if users want to add some glitter, or simplicity to their builds, the latest Pacific PR32-D5 and Pacific PR12-D5 Plus can fulfill their needs.

Pacific PR32-D5 is a non-RGB-designed pump, which inherits all the features of the previous Pacific PR32-D5 Plus but without the lighting effects. As an upgraded version of the Pacific PR22-D5, the parts of Pacific PR32-D5 are solely in colors of black and silver with no LED lighting to match our TOUGHFAN Series, which is an ideal option for users whose builds are in a calm tone and for those who are seeking simplicity. With a powerful pump, the coolant can circulate at a faster pace to cool down the system in a more effective manner. Besides, like the Pacific PR32-D5 Plus, the Pacific PR32-D5 is now one of the Thermaltake's largest reservoirs in the collection; its 267 mm tall reservoir has a capacity of 400 ml, which can bear a maximum pressure of 50 PSI. It brings flexibility by featuring a 360-degree rotary cap, which allows users to adjust the positions of the G 1/4 thread ports with convenience while installing, especially when connecting tubes. Additionally, users can choose from installing the Pacific PR32-D5 with a mounting stand or with a bracket to be fitted onto a fan.

TEAMGROUP Releases Innovative Technology Solutions for Industrial Control to Meet Demands of High-Speed Computing

Leading global memory brand TEAMGROUP has been expanding in the industrial field for many years. Today, the company launched multiple industrial-grade innovative technology solutions, including the M.2 SATA SSD S750-M80, the mSATA SSD S750-3A, and the DDR4 WT DIMM product series. They feature a graphene cooling solution patented in the U.S. (Patent No. US 11,051,392 B2) and Taiwan (Patent No. I703921) to deliver the industry's best performance and heat dissipation technology. Utilizing this novel technology, TEAMGROUP is doubling down on high-speed 5G computing, on-board computing, AIoT, and edge computing applications. Every industrial product from TEAMGROUP has passed military-grade testing standards for shock (MIL-STD-202G and MIL-STD-883K) and vibration resistance (MIL-STD-810G), guaranteeing stability and durability to overcome the extreme conditions of industrial applications.

MSI Optix MPG321UR-QD 4K 144Hz Monitor Launches in Japan

4K gaming monitors that are hitting 144 Hz or more seems to be a thing this year and not to miss out on its chance to get its share of the market, MSI has launched the Optix MPG321UR-QD in Japan, with the rest of the world likely to follow soon. The display was actually announced back in June, alongside a range of other new displays from MSI, but is only making it into retail by the end of this month.

MSI is using a quantum dot IPS panel with a resolution of 3840x2160 that offers a DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage of 97 percent. The 32-inch screen supports a refresh rate of 144 Hz, a response time of 1ms (MPRT) and is G-Sync compatible. It also sports a Display HDR 600 certification, which suggests that it has some kind of zoned backlighting. Inputs consist of two HDMI 2.1 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4a port and a USB-C port which has DP-alt mode support.

BenQ Launches a Pair of Portable Projectors With Android TV Support

BenQ might not be your first choice of consumer electronics, but the company keeps churning out some interesting products and its new GV30 and GS50 portable projectors are adding some new features to an already crowded market. First of all, both models have integrated 2.1 speakers and although we doubt you're going to get a cinema level experience from these speakers, it's much better than most of its competitors.

More interestingly, both projectors come with Android TV support, which in itself might not be very unique, but the way BenQ has added this support is unique, as far as we know. It's done via BenQ's QS01 Android TV dongle, which is neatly integrated into the projectors via a hidden compartment. This way it's possible to upgrade the "smarts" once the hardware gets updated or stops receiving updates, a feature we'd like to see on the so called smart TV's out there. The QS01 dongle is based on an unspecified Amlogic SoC, paired with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of eMMC, has dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and is running Android TV 9.0.

be quiet! Lauches MC1 Cooler for PlayStation 5 M.2 SSDs

be quiet!, the German manufacturer for premium PC components, is proud to announce that its MC1 M.2 SSD cooler is a perfect match for the brand-new PlayStation 5 SSD expansion capabilities.

For those running out of storage space on the built-in solid-state drive of the PlayStation 5, Sony has recently released a firmware update that unlocks the M.2 SSD expansion slot, allowing users to add an additional solid-state drive to the console. These drives can run very hot, which could cause SSD throttling, prompting Sony to recommend only using M.2 SSDs with a heatsink. be quiet! offers gamers the ideal solution with its MC1 cooler, which is compatible with any single-sided or double-sided 2280 M.2 SSD that does not feature a built-in heatsink. It is also one of the only M.2 SSD coolers on the market compact enough to perfectly fit inside the expansion slot of the PlayStation 5 and able to cool double-sided SSDs, protecting the memory modules on both sides of the PCB from overheating. The result is much lower and safer SSD temperatures, which translates into trouble-free gaming sessions and an increased lifespan of the drive.

Asetek Unveils Premium Performance Invicta Sim Racing Pedals

Asetek, sim racing gear innovator, the creator of the all-in-one liquid cooler, and the global leader in liquid cooling solutions for gaming PCs and DIY enthusiasts, today announced its Invicta Sim Racing Pedals. Asetek's initial sim racing products include a throttle and brake pedal, and as an add-on a clutch pedal, along with its custom-made RaceHub software for quick and easy adjustments and calibration. Invicta means "undefeated" and with Invicta pedals, the most competitive SimSports gamers will be able to experience full immersion and the feeling of a real racecar.

The Asetek Invicta pedals will be available for purchase in Q4 2021 with pricing to be revealed later this year. In addition to the Invicta pedals, Asetek will also offer replaceable pedal plates for a more comfortable feeling for racers racing without shoes. Stay tuned for more SimSports products from Asetek, including wheelbases, steering wheels, shifters, and other end-user customization options.

Revenue of Top 10 IC Design (Fabless) Companies Reaches US$29.8 Billion for 2Q21, Though Growth May Potentially Slow in 2H21, Says TrendForce

In view of the ongoing production capacity shortage in the semiconductor industry and the resultant price hike of chips, revenue of the top 10 IC design companies for 2Q21 reached US$29.8 billion, a 60.8% YoY increase, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In particular, Taiwanese companies put up remarkable performances during this period, with both MediaTek and Novatek posting YoY growths of more than 95%. AMD, on the other hand, experienced a nearly 100% YoY revenue growth, the highest among the top 10.

TrendForce indicates that the ranking of the top five companies for 2Q21 remained unchanged from the previous quarter, although there were major changes in the 6th to 10th spots. More specifically, after finalizing its acquisition of Inphi, Marvell experienced a major revenue growth and leapfrogged Xilinx and Realtek in the rankings from 9th place in 1Q21 to 7th place in 2Q21.

TP-Link Launches Archer GX90 With Dedicated Wi-Fi Band for Gaming

If you're a fan of the spider/octopus router design that we've seen from several companies since 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 was introduced, then the new TP-Link Archer GX90 might be for you. Jokes aside, this router takes a different approach to the usual tri-band routers, by dedicating the 4x4 5 GHz radio for gaming, while leaving the other 5 GHz radio for your family to share.

The Archer GX90 is sold as an AX6600 router and it appears to be based on the same hardware as TP-Link's Archer AX90, just in a more gamer focused package. TP-Link has incorporated what they call a Game Accelerator, Game Statistics and Game Protector, with the Game Accelerator being limited to less than 50 games at the moment, of which some appear to be specific to the Chinese market. The Game Statistics feature is actually a real time latency monitor, that also shows how long you've been playing a specific game for and the router load, whereas Game Protector appears to simply be some router based antivirus and parental control software.

GIGABYTE Debuts Liquid Cooled High-density Servers Powered by CoolIT and AMD EPYC

GIGABYTE Technology,, an industry leader in high-performance servers and workstations, today announced two high-density servers, H262-ZL0 and H262-ZL2, with direct liquid cooling for CPUs and more. Engineered to cool up to eight CPUs in a 4-node 2U chassis, the liquid cooled servers offer necessary cooling to ensure 280 W versions of AMD EPYC 7003 series processors can perform at their stable, maximum potential. To this end, the GIGABYTE H262 servers come with a cooling kit provided by CoolIT Systems. The development of H series servers with multiple nodes will meet the needs of HPC, HCI, in-memory computing, and scientific research.

As rack density increases along with higher TDP chips, air cooling may not be the best option and direct liquid cooling will deliver stable and higher performance. Thanks to the ability of water to dissipate heat faster than air, direct liquid cooling options have arisen to meet data center workloads. GIGABYTE has engineered two servers, H262-ZL0 for cooling only the CPUs and H262-ZL2 for cooling CPUs, memory, and an NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX -6.

AMD "Stands Ready to Manufacture Arm Chips" According to CFO

AMD Chief Financial Officer Devinder Kumar has recently commented that the company "stands ready to manufacture Arm chips" if demand from business customers exists. These remarks were made at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference held last week and build on comments made by CEO Dr. Lisa Su earlier this year confirming the companies willingness to create Arm chips. AMD has some experience creating Arm products with its K12 architecture which never reached market and their embedded microcontrollers such as the Platform Security Processors. While AMD hasn't confirmed if they have any current Arm projects underway there appears to be interest from customers which AMD is more than happy to fulfill. The pending sale of Arm to NVIDIA may complicate this if NVIDIA reneges on their pledge to continue Arm's open licensing system.

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang Makes Cover of 2021 TIME 100 Most Influential People

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has been selected as one of only seven individuals to receive their own cover for the upcoming print edition of the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2021. The Taiwanese-American earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1992 before co-founding NVIDIA in 1993 where he now holds the role of CEO. He has been described as one of the most technically savvy CEOs by Andrew Ng who is a founder of DeepLearning.AI and has written about Jensen for Time.

When Jensen directed NVIDIA to focus on GPU development in 2003 there was considerable skepticism however the gamble has paid off with the company holding a market-leading position and recording profits in the billions. This latest award will add to the numerous already received by him including the Robert N. Noyce Award from the Semiconductor Industry Association and an honorary doctorate from the National Taiwan University. The special 2021 print edition of TIME 100 Most Influential People will be available to purchase from September 17th.

AUO & MSI Introduce AmLED Technology in Flagship Creator Z16 Hiroshi Fujiwara Laptop

AUO has long dedicated itself to the development of advanced display technologies and pioneered to develop the mini LED technology years ago. Today, AUO proudly presents the introduction of its AmLED (Adaptive mini LED) display technology for MSI Creator Z16 Hiroshi Fujiwara Limited Edition, a collaboration between MSI and the world-famous designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. With its 16:10 Golden Ratio display, this laptop utilizes AUO proprietary AmLED's adaptive local dimming technology to deliver the premium image quality featuring QHD+ resolution, ultra-high brightness, and wide color gamut. It combines the exquisite workmanship to thoroughly embody next-generation creators' spirit of pushing the limits and overturning tradition.

MSI Creator Z16 Hiroshi Fujiwara Limited Edition is the world's first and only laptop that Hiroshi Fujiwara, the renowned godfather of street fashion, ever worked with. In this laptop, his first collaboration the global premium laptop brand, Fujiwara injects elements of street culture and subculture to perfectly interpret the fusion of street fashion and design thinking. On top of Fujiwara's signature lightning logo, Creator Z16 Hiroshi Fujiwara Limited Edition is also equipped with a top-class panel powered by AUO AmLED technology to deliver the best layers of visual images. The innovative and creative spirit demonstrate the ultimate aesthetic both internally and externally to address next-generation creators' pursuit of the best image quality.

Cherry Intros MX 10.0 N RGB Low-profile Mechanical Keyboard

Cherry earlier this week debuted the MX 10.0 N RGB low-profile mechanical keyboard, which brings you the convenience of a low-profile keyboard with low key travel and the lack of a need for a palm-rest; with RGB LED illumination. The keyboard uses Cherry MX Low-Profile RGB Speed switches, which enables the keyboard to have a height of just 22 mm. The keyboard features a solid matte aluminium housing, even its incline feet are made of aluminium. The keyboard's RGB illumination supports 16.8 million colors, color mapping for each individual key using the Cherry Utility software, and 8 MB of on-device storage for macros and lighting customization. The MX Low-Profile RGB keyswitch can handle 50 million keystrokes. Its electronics feature N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. The keyboard comes with both USB type-C and type-A inputs (native type-C with a C-to-A adapter), and a detachable cable. Available from late-September 2021, the Cherry MX 10.0 N RGB keyboard is priced at 149.99€.
Wednesday, September 15th 2021

Today's Reviews

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ True Wireless In-Ear Headphones Review

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ True Wireless In-Ear Headphones Review

Cambridge Audio is a stellar name when it comes to Hi-Fi amplifiers and streamers, and now wants to do the same with headphones. Today, we put the Melomania 1+ true wireless earphones through its paces, which is a fairly unique-looking set of ear buds that promises an award-winning British sound!
Quick Look: ADATA EC700G RGB SATA/PCIe SSD Enclosure

Quick Look: ADATA EC700G RGB SATA/PCIe SSD Enclosure

The ADATA EC700G offers all the usual fixings of a modern M.2 based enclosure with both SATA and NVMe support while utilizing a 10 Gbps USB interface. However, with its all-metal body, tool-less design and embedded RGB, it manages to stand out vividly from the competition.

MSI Announces PRO AP241 All-in-One Desktop

MSI, a world leader in high performance and innovative computing solutions, have announced the PRO AP241 11M All-in-One PC. Featuring powerful processors and eye care technology with an IPS panel for a wide viewing angle and enhanced viewing experience, PRO AP241 is designed with efficiency and productivity in mind. While most All-in-One PCs in the market utilize mobile-grade processors, the PRO AP241 11M features the Desktop-grade H510 chipset with new 11th Gen Intel Rocket Lake CPUs for unparalleled performance. It is easier than ever to upgrade this All-in-One PC with relatively easier access to critical components like the CPU, RAM, SSD, and HDD. This increases product usefulness over time with potential upgrades and easier maintenance.

PRO AP241 11M can help improve work flow and efficiency. With an HDMI-out port, you are able to connect another monitor and easily navigate multiple windows or documents at the same time. Anti-flicker technology for the display helps to keep your eyes healthy and reduce fatigue throughout long work hours. Featuring up to Intel Core i7-11700 processor, PRO AP241 stays responsive with low load times when multi-tasking while remaining cool thanks to it's Server-grade cooling system to reduce CPU thermal throttling. Information security is always indispensable for businesses; the PRO AP241 supports FW TPM technology which can protect device data from attacks by malicious software and unauthorized access.

Battlefield 2042 Delayed to November 19

Electronic Arts Inc. today announced a change to the launch date of Battlefield 2042, which will now release worldwide on November 19, 2021. EA is reiterating our net bookings guidance for fiscal year 2022 provided on August 4, 2021, despite this change in launch date for Battlefield 2042.

Battlefield 2042 will now launch worldwide on November 19 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC via Origin, Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Below is a message shared by DICE Studio GM Oskar Gabrielson with the Battlefield fan community today, announcing the change to the launch date:

Nintendo Switch Software Update Adds Bluetooth Audio Support

The Nintendo Switch has without a doubt been a huge success for the company, but the portable gaming console has been missing a key feature, namely Bluetooth audio support. This has finally been addressed by Nintendo, courtesy of a software update that was in a software update that was released today.

However, it's not exactly what everyone was waiting for, as for some reason Nintendo only added support for audio output. This means that if you want to use voice chat, you'll still have to use a wired headset or a third party Bluetooth dongle, which seems to slightly defeat the purpose of this update. Another oddity is that wireless headsets/headphones can't be used at the same time as you play local wireless games, as they would be automatically disconnected in such a scenario. Up to 10 Bluetooth devices can be remembered by the Switch, but only one can be used at a time.

Lexar Professional NM800 NVMe SSD Detailed

Lexar unveiled out the Professional NM800, a premium follow-up to its NM620 performance-segment SSD from Spring. The NM800 takes advantage of PCI-Express Gen 4 and NVMe 1.4 protocol, and comes in capacities of 512 GB and 1 TB. The 512 GB variant offers sequential transfer rates of up to 7000 MB/s reads with up to 3000 MB/s writes, and random-access throughput of 200k/500k (read/write) IOPS. The 1 TB variant, on the other hand, does up to 7400 MB/s sequential reads, up to 5800 MB/s sequential writes, and 400k/750k IOPS. The company didn't put out which combination of controller and NAND flash it is using, but we suspect that the drive is based on the Innogrit IG5236 "Rainer" controller, and Micron 3D TLC NAND flash. Endurance of the drives is rated at 250 TBW for the 512 GB variant, and 500 TBW for the 1 TB variant. The 512 GB variant is expected to be priced at 99€, and the 1 TB variant at 179€.

Valve Steam Deck On Its Way To Developers

The Steam Deck has taken one step closer to launch, as Valve has announced it has shipped dev-kits to its key partners. Valve mentions that "these engineering verification test builds allow us to connect developers with units that are functionally identical to what will ship to you", but presumably the overall build quality wouldn't be the same as on the final consumer units.

The dev-kit units are not being sent out for feedback on the devices themselves, but rather for the game developers to make sure their games are optimized for the Steam Deck. Presumably software related feedback will be taken into consideration though, since this is something that Valve can improve upon in the time until the Steam Deck is expected to ship to consumers.

TerraMaster Announces D16 Thunderbolt 3 Storage Solution

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products for home, businesses and enterprises,presents the high-end and compact D16 Thunderbolt 3 tower storage solution for smooth DIT workflow. The standard for quality content rises each year as technology pushing innovation for high-definition audio and visual experiences. Today, 4K and 8K videos are in demand with more and more users capable of enjoying such high-definition content with modern displays. However, producing 4K and 8K content can be very taxing to content creators.

Ultra-high-definition such as 4K and 8K videos accumulate vast amounts of data storage. The speed requirement of uncompressed 4K video images can exceed 300 MB/s. Certain scenes a require higher frame rate, and the data volume may reach 1.5 GB/s. While for 8K video, the speed requirement and data volume are exponentially increased.

Intel LGA1700 Socket Pictured, Familiar Installation Method

Here's the first picture of Intel's upcoming mainstream desktop processor socket, the LGA1700, which was until now only seen in renders or technical drawings. The socket is characterized by a more rectangular contact pad than previous Intel sockets. The Socket H family (LGA115x and LGA1200) that ruled Intel MSDT sockets for over a decade, has a largely square pad. Intel's HEDT sockets such as the LGA1366, LGA2011 and LGA2066, on the other hand, had a rectangular pad, though not as pronounced (slender) as the LGA1700.

From the looks of it, the retention mechanism of the LGA1700 appears similar to that of Socket H and most other Intel LGA sockets (though dissimilar from the LGA2011/LGA2066). In its client desktop avatar, the LGA1700 has 100 unused pins. This is because the socket is physically identical to the LGA1800, which is speculated to be left for future generations of Intel processors with additional power or I/O pins. The Z-height of LGA1700 is lower than that of Socket H, which entails a major change in the retention module design of most aftermarket CPU cooling solutions.

Jingjia Micro JM9 GPU Series Targeting GTX 1080 Performance Tapes Out

The Chinese Electronics company Jingjia Micro have recently completed the tapeout of their JM9 GPU series almost 2 years after they first announced the lineup. The JM9 series will consist of two GPUs with the entry-level JM9231 targeting GTX 1050 performance while the higher-end JM9271 aims for the GTX 1080. The JM9231 is stated to feature a clock speed above 1.5 GHz, 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, and will provide 2 TFLOPS of performance within a 150 W TDP through a PCIe Gen3 x16 interface. The JM9271 increases the clock speed to above 1.8 GHz and is paired with 16 GB of HBM memory which should offer 8 TFLOPS of single-precision performance to rival the GTX 1080. The card manages to do this within a TDP package of 200 W and also includes PCIe Gen4 x16 support. The two cards both support HDMI 2.0 in addition to DisplayPort 1.3 for the JM9231 and DisplayPort 1.4 for the JM9271.

While the JM9271 may target GTX 1080 performance it only features OpenGL and OpenCL API support lacking DirectX or Vulkan compatibility greatly reducing its use for gaming. The cards were originally expected to be available in 2020 but after various delays they are now ready to enter production. These products are highly unlikely to make their way outside of the Chinese mainland and if they did we wouldn't expect them to have much impact on the global market.

Intel Prepares Seamless Updating of Firmware Without a Need for Reboot

Intel has been working on a technology that will improve the lives of all users that have an Intel-based processor in their system. According to the recent round of patches for the Linux kernel, Intel's engineers have been working on a feature called Intel Seamless Update, which promises to bring updating of system firmware without a need to reboot. First of all, it is important to note that firmware upgrades have been stuck at requiring reboot in order to apply patches. This has caused many systems to be down and to slow down the infrastructure by a wide margin, as these updates can last up to several minutes, where the system is rebooting and can not be used.

Intel has presented an idea of creating a technology that will update system firmware, such as UEFI, in the run time. That means that the system will be able to apply firmware patches, without ever needing a reboot, minimizing downtime. This is especially valuable for customers with very high service level agreements (SLAs) around downtime, meaning that almost 100% uptime (not possible to be 100% generally speaking) is required for these systems. An example of this would be medical server infrastructure, which has to constantly be available for access. Using this technology, systems such as these could update their firmware and be online non-stop, without maybe ever needing to reboot. The said feature is supposed to arrive in time for the launch alongside Intel "Sapphire Rapids" Xeon processors.

SteelSeries Launches Prime Mini Mice with Optical Magnetic Switches

SteelSeries, today announced the launch of the all-new Prime Mini and Prime Mini Wireless eSports mice. Building on the award-winning success of the Prime franchise that revolutionized gaming mice technology with the first-ever optical magnetic switches in eSports, the newest edition to the Prime series introduces a lineup of smaller, lighter mice featuring the same cutting-edge Prestige OM technology. Fit, feel, and lightning-fast response time are crucial for fast attacks, melees, and (ultimately) wins. Featuring an ultra-lightweight, ergonomic shape with a smaller profile, the Prime Mini is engineered to be 12% lighter and the Prime Mini Wireless is sculpted to be 9% lighter within a form factor mini silhouette.

Each mouse in the Prime lineup is equipped with Prestige OM switches that are engineered to last 5x longer than the competition, providing crispy clicks with lightning-fast response times that harness the power of light. The revolutionary Optical Magnetic switches, the first OM switch in eSports, actuate at quantum speeds so that gamers can beat the competition to the trigger every time. Not all clicks are made the same - most degrade with each click of the mouse. The unique Prime design utilizes a magnetic core to ensure that the 100 millionth click feels just as crispy as the very first.

Razer Launches, Uhm, Finger Sleeves, for Touchscreen Control

If you're a mobile gamer, then Razer might have a product for you, especially if you have problems with greasy marks on your screen, or sweaty fingers. Razer's new gaming Finger Sleeves are here to save your mobile device from grease smudges and sweaty fingers, while at the same time promising to improve your gaming, of course.

The finger sleeves are made from a "smooth, high-sensitivity fabric" that has conductive silver fibers woven into it to enhance touch sensitivity and response, while reducing friction. It all sounds like a bit of a gimmick to say the least, as further down on its product page, Razer mentions nylon and spandex, so it looks like the finger sleeves are yoga pants for your fingers.

Apple's New iPhones Get Faster A15 Bionic SoC

Say what you want about Apple's ARM based SoC's, but the company has been pushing the envelope almost every time they've released a new chip. However, this year it would seem that even Apple isn't particularly excited about its new SoC, as the A15 Bionic is only described as 50 percent faster than the nearest competitor, which doesn't really say much about the actual performance.

Likewise, the improved GPU in the A15 Bionic is being touted as offering 30 percent faster graphics than leading competition, which says nothing about how much of an improvement it is over the previous generation from Apple. This time around, Apple is also binning its chips based on working GPU cores, as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini only get four GPU cores, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and the iPad mini gets five GPU cores.It's possible that the cost of manufacturing 5 nm chips has something to do with this.

OCT Technology Announces 2-Port 4K/60 HDMI Dual-head KVM Switch with USB 3.2 Gen1 and Type-C

OCT Technology, a professional manufacturer of KVM switches, AV extenders & LCD monitor drawers, is pleased to announce its new 2-port dual-head KVM switch, the KC4K-223UHDA. The KVM switch allows the control of two dual view computers by using one keyboard, mouse, microphone input, stereo audio output, and two HDMI video outputs for extended or mirror display mode. You can get complete multimedia control between different computers, which makes this KVM switch an ideal choice for creative professional applications. Moreover, it can help you to reduce hardware costs, save space on your workspace, and increase productivity.

The KC4K-223UHDA supports up to UHD 4K at 60 Hz (4:4:4) video resolution to deliver the stunning image quality and complies with HDCP 2.2 (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) for streaming 4K content smoothly. Furthermore, the KVM switch is equipped with a USB 3.2 Gen 1 hub and its transfer rate is 5 Gbps, which is about 10 times faster than the USB 2.0 standard. This USB 3.2 Gen 1 hub features 2x USB Type-A ports and 1x USB Type-C port to connect high-speed peripherals, such as printers, hard drives, scanners, web cameras, and flash drives, between the two accessed computers.

Apple Launches New iPads

Apple has launched a host of new products, with a pair of new iPads and no less than four new iPhones and a new Apple Watch. Whether you're a fan of Apple products or not, there's no denying that the company has business acumen and delivers products that its target audience likes.

Starting with the new iPad, which is technically the least exciting product announced, we're looking at a 10.2-inch display with a resolution of 2160x1620 pixels and 264 ppi with 500 nits brightness. The iPad also features an Apple A13 SoC, an 8MP wide angle camera with a ƒ/2.4 aperture and 1080p30 video support. Maybe more importantly, at least in current times, the front facing camera has been updated to a 12MP ultra wide camera that can record video at 1080p60.
Tuesday, September 14th 2021

Today's Reviews

Shurikey Gear Hanzo Keyboard Review

Shurikey Gear Hanzo Keyboard Review

Shurikey Gear is a new brand with ties to Varmilo and focuses on bolder ideas with more fun ventures promised. Their first keyboard, the Hanzo, is a 65% form factor unit that adopts a retro-industrial design, comes in three themes with unique color combinations, and uses the new Varmilo EC V2 switches.
Razer Orochi V2 Review

Razer Orochi V2 Review

With the Orochi V2, Razer presents a mouse focused on mobility without compromising on performance: It has PixArt's PAW3369 capable of 18,000 CPI, second-generation Razer mechanical switches, and up to 425 hours of battery life in 2.4 GHz and up to 950 hours in Bluetooth mode, along with the ability to use any AA or AAA-battery.

Possible Intel 12th Gen Core US Retail Pricing Leaked

US electronics retailer Provantage allegedly leaked the retail pricing of the upcoming Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors. The list confirms that the company will only be debuting the unlocked "K" and "KF" SKUs in 2021, with locked 65 W SKUs joining in only in 2022. Pricing was put out for both boxed, as well are tray (per-piece) prices. The lineup begins with the Core i5-12600KF boxed processor at $261.77, a 6+4 core (P+E), 16-thread processor with 20 MB of L3 cache, and 4.90 GHz maximum boost frequency for the P cores. As a "KF" SKU, it lacks an iGPU. The i5-12600K, which has the same specs and an iGPU on top, is priced at $295.49.

The Core i7-12700KF and i7-12700K are 8+4 core (P+E), 20-thread chips with 25 MB of cache, and 5.00 GHz boost frequency. The two are differentiated by iGPU. The i7-12700KF is priced at $395.61, and the i7-12700K at $422.17. Leading the pack, are the Core i9-12900K and i9-12900KF, which max out the silicon, with 8+8 (P+E) core, 24-thread, and 30 MB of cache. These boost up to 5.20 GHz, but we've heard rumors of the Thermal Velocity Boost feature driving frequencies beyond this. The i9-12900KF is priced at $578.13, while the i9-12900K goes for $604.99. Tray pricing of these chips is more or less similar, with price difference being under $5. The boxed SKUs don't include a cooler, so from a bill-of-materials standpoint, this price difference only accounts for the paperboard box. Intel is expected to formally launch these chips in late-October (which is probably when reviews go live), with retail availability in mid-November.

Activision Blizzard Hires Senior Executives from Disney and Delta

Activision Blizzard, Inc. today announced the hiring of two senior executives to help the company build a more inclusive workplace as well as diversify and grow its revenue. Julie Hodges, Senior Vice President, Corporate HR and Compensation, Benefits and Talent Acquisition at The Walt Disney Company, will become Chief People Officer, effective September 21. Sandeep Dube, Senior Vice President, Revenue Management at Delta Airlines, will become Chief Commercial Officer, effective September 27.

"These two outstanding leaders from companies with exceptional reputations will help us achieve our goal of becoming the best company to work for in the entertainment industry while growing our reach, engagement and player investment," said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. Ms. Hodges brings more than three decades of global human resources experience in entertainment and an impeccable record of shaping corporate culture. She will be responsible for the company's global talent organization, making Activision Blizzard the destination for top talent. In her role, she will lead all aspects of human resources, including diversity, equity and inclusion, talent acquisition, employee experience, learning and development, compensation and benefits and workforce planning.

MSI Unveils Creator P50 Desktop and Summit MS321 Flagship Monitor

Without question, MSI is not only the market leader in the gaming hardware industry but also the pioneer in the Content Creation & Business market with a range of innovative technologies. As the world tends to be unpredictable, MSI keeps on developing products with stylish, stable, and have the best performance for all kinds of users. Today, MSI launched the brand new Content Creation Products: the Creator P50 with another new flagship monitor Summit MS321UP, both designed for creators, business professionals, and multi-taskers.

Creator P50 is sleek, slim, but packs a ton of power and is the dream desktop for creators, multi-taskers, and business professionals. MSI Creator P50 was inspired by the wireframe modeling and construction lines made by creators. The polygonal cutting pattern on this small 4.72 liters chassis not only symbolizes the unlimited imagination and extension of creativity, but also reflects a creator's growth, transformation, and refinement. It won't steal away the brilliance of the environment but blends in quietly with a low-key and elegant design. The P50 is a professional, clean, and stylish creativity center.

QNAP Adds Team Viewer Support for NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading computing, networking and storage solution innovator, today announced a partnership with TeamViewer-a leading global provider of remote connectivity and workplace digitalization solutions-to provide the TeamViewer application on QNAP NAS. This partnership enables remote management and connectivity to multiple NAS devices from Windows PCs with an unparalleled level of safety, while increasing IT efficiency and end user productivity.

With TeamViewer integration, NAS administrators can access, manage, and monitor QNAP NAS devices using the Windows PC TeamViewer client. TeamViewer on QNAP NAS offers a fast and reliable remote access solution with features such as masked IP address and end-to-end 256-bit session encryption to enhance NAS security.

TechPowerUp, Asetek, and ASUS ROG Present ROG Strix RTX 3080 Ti LC Giveaway

TechPowerUp, Asetek, and ASUS Republic of Gamers, come together to bring our readers from the European Union a mind-blowing chance to win an ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3080 Ti LC graphics card. Co-developed by ASUS and Asetek, the RTX 3080 Ti Strix LC combines a top-of-the-line, factory-overclocked RTX 3080 Ti GPU with all-in-one liquid cooling by Asetek. This includes the company's latest-generation AIO pump-block technology, a 240 mm radiator, and a pair of 120 mm fans. TechPowerUp reviewed this card a while ago, but the card up for grabs is brand-new and factory sealed.

To participate, simply head over to this page. You can maximize your chances of winning by sharing this giveaway with your friends on social media. Open for entries until September 28.

Razer Announces the Wolverine V2 Chroma Game Controller

Razer today announced the launch of their most advanced controller ever, the Wolverine V2 Chroma. Playable on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles as well as PC, Razer has taken decades of competitive excellence and R&D from their best-in-class PC peripherals lines and engineered these learnings into the all-new Wolverine V2 Chroma.

The Wolverine V2 Chroma pro controller is the cornerstone of Razer's new "Connect. Compete. Conquer." campaign focused on showcasing the competitive advantages by playing with the Razer family of products while on console. The new Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is the ultimate controller for Xbox and PC players, boasting some of the fastest actuation and response times of any controller on the market through a combination of Razer's ultra-responsive Mecha-Tactile switch technology and a stable, competition-focused wired connection. This controller is a must-have for any serious competitor looking to take their talents to the next level.

PS5 September Update Brings M.2 SSD Storage Expansion to Everyone

It's been a long time coming, but Sony is finally ready to allow all of its PS5 customers to get access to the M.2 SSD storage expansion slot, courtesy of the September system update, which lands tomorrow. It's not the only feature that the new update will bring though, as Sony has also worked on some user experience enhancements when it comes to navigating the UI, as well as some improvements to the PlayStation Now UI.

Sony has also added support for 3D audio via the speakers built into TVs, although it's not entirely clear what this brings from the details on Sony's blog post. However, it does appear to use the microphone on the DualSense controllers to measure the acoustics of the room to enhance the audio as much as possible. The Pulse 3D wireless headset is getting access to the built in equalizer settings with this update.

Rare Earth Metal Prices Are Skyrocketing, Electronics Prices Expected To Follow

If it wasn't bad enough that we're in the middle of a pandemic, which has resulted in major shipping issues globally and a semiconductor shortage, it now looks like electronics are likely to get even more expensive due to skyrocketing prices of many rare earth metals.
Nikkei is reporting that many often overlooked materials, such as neodymium and the lesser known praseodymium, have increased by almost 74 percent since the same time last year and that's only one of several key materials that have increased in price by 50 percent or more in a year.

It's no secret that lithium has increased in price and it now costs about 150 percent of what it was costing last year. However, many other, less obvious materials have also increased in price, with copper up over 37 percent and tin up almost 82 percent in a year. To TPU's readers this mainly means that you can expect higher costs for PCBs and all the components that are soldered onto them, as tin is used to solder just about every component in place.

Thermaltake Tower 100 Mini Chassis Now in Metallic Gold

Thermaltake, the leading PC DIY premium brand for Cooling, Gaming Gear, and Enthusiast Memory solutions, is thrilled to introduce The Tower 100 Metallic Gold Mini Chassis, a brand new member to our multicolored series products. A gold case is rarely found on the market, and it is also the new variant to the current Black, Snow, Turquoise,and Racing Green editions. The boldness and uniqueness of The Tower 100 Metallic Gold brings yet another vibe to make both your PC build and your room gleam. PC enthusiasts can match the Metallic Gold case with the TOUGHRAM RGB Metallic Gold to form the ideal PC build in a more comprehensive style and to further achieve the "Your MOD, Your Way" spirit.

Carrying on the unique vertically-designed appearance beloved by users, The Tower 100 Metallic Gold is a much smaller version of the classic The Tower 900 with the dimensions of 462.8 mm (Height), 266 mm (Width), 266 mm (Depth), which aims at giving more flexibility to users who are concerned with space arrangement. The Tower 100 Metallic Gold provides panoramic viewing by featuring three 4 mm tempered glass windows at the front, left, and right sides. Additionally, the two 120 mm standard fans preinstalled and the sophisticated internal layout helps to provide a smooth air intake and exhaust to keep the interior temperature low, guarantying outstanding cooling performance. What's more, The Tower 100 Metallic Gold has good hardware compatibility, supporting a CPU cooler with a maximum height of 190 mm, VGA with a maximum length of 330 mm, a power supply with a length of up to 180 mm, two 2.5" SSDs with the side bracket, and two 2.5" or two 3.5" HDD at the rear (without rear fan).

ASUS Z690 Motherboard Lineup Hits Regulators, Mix of DDR5 and DDR4 Variants

A list of upcoming ASUS motherboards based on the Intel Z690 chipset hit the radar on the Euasian Economic Commission (EEC) website, and it's telling. Intel's upcoming "Alder Lake-S" 12th Gen Core desktop processors support both DDR5 and DDR4 memory, as they form a point of transition between the two memory standards. The company's 6th Gen Core "Skylake" technically supported DDR3, helping people move between it and the then new DDR4, but motherboard vendors mostly avoided DDR3 slots. This time, the stakes are different, as component prices are on the boil, and the company would want to avoid placing the additional burden of new memory on people with DDR4 memory kits. This reflects on the ASUS motherboard lineup.

The lineup consists of the usual, predictable list of ROG Maximus, ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, Prime, and ProArt series SKUs, but what's noteworthy is that many of these come with the extension "D4," denoting DDR4 memory slots. For example, something like the Prime Z690-A comes in two variants, the standard one with DDR5 slots, and the "D4" variant with DDR4. It's interesting to note here, that the top-of-the-line ROG Maximus XIV series lacks any D4 variant, which means they'll remain DDR5-exclusive. We can't tell just from the names whether any of these models features both DDR5 and DDR4 slots; but one can definitely expect other brands such as ASRock to come up with such crazy contraptions.

Thermaltake Starts Selling 64GB (2x 32GB) ToughRAM XG RGB DDR4 Memory Kit

Thermaltake released its highest-capacity dual-channel (2-module) DDR4 memory kit, the ToughRAM XG RGB R016R432GX2-3600C18A. This kit uses modules that are a swansong of DDR4 in terms of capacity—32 GB x 2. The 32 GB module is dual-rank, and only compatible with some of the later generations of Intel Core and AMD Ryzen processors that feature memory controllers with support for up to 128 GB of memory in total. On its part, Thermaltake claims that the modules were only tested to be compatible with Intel 10th Gen and 11th Gen Core; and AMD Ryzen 2000 series and above. In terms of performance, the ToughRAM XG RGB R016R432GX2-3600C18 packs an Intel XMP 2.0 profile for DDR4-3600 with 18-22-22-42 + CR2T timings, and 1.35 V module voltage. The module is aesthetically identical to the ToughRAM XG RGB series the company debuted in March 2021.

NVIDIA GeForce NOW Inadvertently Leaks Unreleased Game Titles, Company Redacts, Calls List "Speculative"

NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service sprung to limelight when the company inadvertently leaked the names of several games under development, which it likely to be aware of, making the leak credible. These include remasters or remakes to several "Final Fantasy" titles, a 2021 anniversary title in the "Tomb Raider" franchise, remasters of GTA "San Andreas" and "Vice City," an upcoming 2022 "Bioshock" title, an RTX remaster of "Mirror's Edge." The company today redacted the list and put out a statement that the list was "unauthorized" and only meant to be a speculative one meant for internal tracing of upcoming titles. To their credit, most of the titles are non-specific, and are rather numbers next to existing franchise names, or designations such as "remaster."

The NVIDIA statement reads:
NVIDIA is aware of an unauthorized published game list, with both released and/or speculative titles, used only for internal tracking and testing. Inclusion on the list is neither confirmation nor an announcement of any game.

NVIDIA took immediate action to remove access to the list. No confidential game builds or personal information were exposed.
The list of titles follows.

TSMC Rumoured to Build New Fab in Southern Taiwan

According to Nikkei, TSMC is set to start building a new fab in Kaohsiung, which is Taiwan's third largest city and located in the south of the island. It's also where ASE Technology Holding is located, which is the world's largest chip packaging and testing contractor. So far, TSMC doesn't have any fabs this far south in Taiwan, but it's not without its challenges.

The new fab is said to be designed to build chips on TSMC's 6 and 7 nm nodes, which are currently their most popular nodes, although this is likely to change as their 5 nm node begins to ramp up production. That said, there will still continue to be a huge demand for 6 and 7 nm parts, as these nodes transition to become mainstream production nodes.

LG Debuts UltraGear GP9 Gaming Speaker, Matches its Displays

LG has gained a pretty good reputation for its UltraGear monitors and the company has now launched its first accessory, the matching GP9 gaming speaker. At first glance, it just looks like a compact soundbar, but looks can be deceiving and that's very much the case here, as not only is it a portable, battery powered speaker, but it hides quite a few features that aren't apparent at first glance.

For starters, LG has incorporated what they call a "Quad DAC" with some help from ESS in the shape of the 9038Pro, which is ESS' flagship 32-bit DAC. LG uses this to deliver virtual 7.1-channel audio and the GP9 is Hi-Res Audio certified. The GP9 also has a built-in noise cancelling microphone, so you can use it for voice chat or online meetings if so inclined.

Logitech Launches the G435 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Headset

Wireless gaming headsets only keep gaining popularity and it's not hard to understand why once you've owned a pair, as losing the cable is really quite convenient. Logitech's latest entry into the wireless headset market is the G435, which is also their cheapest wireless model to date.

However, we're also looking at a lightweight headset here, at only 165 grams (5.8 oz) and Logitech is making a big deal about its sustainability too, with it being certified CarbonNeutral. What this means is that Logitech has carbon offset the production of the G435, which seems like a cheap shot at getting green creds, but Logitech does at least use a minimum of 22 percent of "post-consumer" recycled plastic by weight and FSC-certified paper sources for the packaging. How much any of this will matter when people are making their purchasing decisions is a different matter.

ZALMAN Intros MegaMax V2 Series Power Supplies

ZALMAN today introduced the MegaMax V2 line of entry-level power supplies. Available in capacities of 500 W, 600 W, and 700 W, these offer fixed cabling (black, ribbon-type), and 80 Plus (230 V EU) efficiency. Under the hood, you get a single +12 V rail design, active PFC, and DC-to-DC switching. You also get protection against over/under-voltage, overload, short-circuit, and overheat. A premium bit with this PSU is its 120 mm hydro-dynamic bearing fan. The 500 W model includes 8+4 pin EPS connectors, while the 600 W and 700 W ones include 8+8 pin. All three include at least a pair of 6+2 pin PCIe connectors, while the 700 W model includes four. The company didn't reveal pricing.

EMEA Gaming PC Market Set to Stay Strong in 2021, Despite Component Shortage, Says IDC

The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) market for gaming PCs posted another quarter of solid growth in 2021Q2, growing 10.8% YoY and recording 2.5 million units shipped, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Approaching the end of 2021, growth is expected to continue, albeit at a lower rate than in recent quarters. 2021Q3 is predicted to grow at 6.1% YoY, while 2021Q4 has an anticipated rise of 4.8% YoY. While the momentum is stabilizing, long-term growth is still expected. In 2025, the PC gaming market is forecast to rise to 11.4 million units, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5%.

In Western Europe, 2021H1 saw demand in the market driven by consumers working from home, despite the loosening of lockdowns. With upcoming game releases in 2021H2 expected to increase graphical requirements, more gamers will be looking to refresh their PCs to game at the highest level. Therefore, acceleration of new/returning gamers is expected to continue in 2021. However, with component supply and logistics problems continuing, gaming PC production will be impacted too.

DeepCool Intros AK620 Dual Fin-Stack CPU Cooler

DeepCool introduced the AK620, a premium dual fin-stack tower-type CPU cooler. The cooler scrapes your side-panel at 160 mm height, and tips the scales at 1.45 kg. A nickel-plated copper base pulls heat from your processor, which is passed on to two aluminium fin-stacks at the ends of six 6 mm-thick heat-pipes. Two 120 mm fluid-dynamic bearing fans come included with the cooler, they each turn at speeds of 500 to 1,850 RPM, pushing 68.99 CFM of airflow, with a static pressure of 2.19 mm H₂O. The fin-stacks are recessed at the bottom to make space for your memory modules or VRM heatsinks. Among the CPU socket types supported are AM4, LGA1200, LGA115x, and LGA2066. The upcoming LGA1700 doesn't find mention in DeepCool's specs. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Samsung Announces 24" S4 Monitor with Integrated Webcam

Samsung Electronics today unveiled its latest monitor, the 24-inch Webcam Monitor S4, designed to suit the needs of hybrid workers. With a built-in webcam, speakers and microphone, the monitor helps users connect and collaborate with ease. With a 2.0-megapixel FHD camera and an infrared camera, the S4 meets the specifications required to join a conference or attend virtual meetings. The pop-up camera is revealed by pushing it down into the monitor to make it spring up, creating a simple and seamless experience when video conferencing and connecting with others virtually.

To increase login speeds and user convenience, the S4 is 'Windows Hello' certified, which means that users can log into or unlock their computer within as little as 2 seconds. Biometric sensors activate and scan a user's face, and there is no need to provide a password to get access to the user's Windows 10 devices, apps and websites, making the access quick, secure and efficient.
Monday, September 13th 2021

Today's Reviews

The Medium: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

The Medium: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

Originally, The Medium was an NVIDIA-sponsored game on PC, with support for DLSS only. Recently it has been updated to also support AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution technology. In this mini-review we take a look and compare the image quality and performance offered by both solutions.
Hynix Gold P31 2 TB Review - Finally in 2 TB

Hynix Gold P31 2 TB Review - Finally in 2 TB

Finally! The Hynix Gold P31 SSD is available as a 2 TB version. Built exclusively with Hynix in-house components, the Gold P31 achieves impressive performance results, making it the fastest PCIe 3.0 SSD we ever tested. It's actually even faster than some PCIe 4.0 models, and much more affordable.
Drop CTRL Mechanical Keyboard Review

Drop CTRL Mechanical Keyboard Review

Drop drops onto the TechPowerUp review database with its own CTRL keyboard. It is not a new release, but aims to show that the feature set and build quality hangs in 2021 just as well courtesy the plethora of hardware and software customization options and excellent build quality.

KIOXIA Introduces PCIe 4.0 Storage Class Memory SSDs

Low latency, high endurance Storage Class Memory (SCM) is coming to KIOXIA SSDs. KIOXIA America, Inc. is now sampling its FL6 Series enterprise NVMe SCM SSDs. Featuring the KIOXIA SCM solution, XL-FLASH, the dual-port and PCIe 4.0-compliant KIOXIA FL6 Series SSDs bridge the gap between DRAM and TLC-based drives, making them well-suited to latency-sensitive use cases such as caching layer, tiering and write logging.

Based on KIOXIA's innovative BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory technology with 1-bit-per-cell SLC, XL-FLASH SCM brings low latency and high performance to data center and enterprise storage. While volatile memory solutions such as DRAM provide the access speed needed by demanding applications, it comes at a high cost. SCM addresses this by providing high density, lower cost non-volatile flash memory.

EK Launches a 1U-Compatible Threadripper CPU Water Block

EK, the leading liquid cooling gear manufacturer, launches a 1U rack compatible high-performance liquid cooling solution for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. 1U rack compatibility is achieved with G1/8"-threaded side ports that enable a smaller vertical footprint. This is a dedicated enterprise-grade water block that was specifically developed for AMD processors. It features a total of 2 ports. These are located on the side and have a G1/8" threading to take up as little space as possible.

Aside from 1U compatibility, the goal in designing the new EK-Pro CPU WB sTR Rack - Nickel + Acetal water block was to cover the entire IHS of HEDT AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors and achieve optimal cooling performance. A dense micro-fin structure that counts 91 wide grooves fully covers the CPU dies that are located below the IHS for more efficient cooling.

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.9.1 Released with Auto-Overclock, SAM for RX 5000 Series

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin. Version 21.9.1 is feature-packed with stuff enthusiasts are bound to love. To begin with, it introduces Smart Access Memory (PCI Resizable BAR) support for AMD Radeon RX 5000 series (RDNA) graphics processors, when used with a compatible platform. Next up, it adds optimization for "Call of Duty Vanguard Open Beta," and "Deathloop." The drivers also add a handful Vulkan API extensions, including VK_KHR_zero_initialize_workgroup_memory, VK_KHR_shader_integer_dot_product, VK_EXT_shader_atomic_float2, and VK_EXT_load_store_op_none. Perhaps the biggest new feature addition is AMD Auto Overclock.

On machines with AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors and Radeon RX 6000 series graphics, the Auto-Overclock feature detects CPU load, and automatically overclocks it in increments of 50 MHz, beyond the processor's rated maximum boost frequency. Just like manual overclocking, this comes with sizable costs to power consumption and cooling. The feature also automatically overclocks your RX 6000 series GPU. Using the feature is as easy as pulling up the Tuning tab in Radeon Software, and clicking on "Auto Overclock" in the Tuning Control tab. Lastly, Adrenalin 21.9.1 adds support for the upcoming Windows 11 operating system. The software is released alongside AMD's latest Chipset Software, which also add Windows 11 support. A handful bugs have also been fixed, as described below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.9.1 | AMD Chipset Software

NVIDIA Reportedly Readies RTX 2060 12 GB SKUs for Early 2022 Launch

Videocardz, citing their own sources in the industry, claims that NVIDIA is readying a resurrection of sorts for the popular RTX 2060 graphics card. One of the hallmarks of the raytracing era, the Turing-based RTX 2060 routinely stands as the second most popular graphics card on Steam's hardware survey. Considering the still-ongoing semiconductor shortages and overreaching demand stretching logistics and supply lines thin, NVIDIA would thus be looking at a slight specs bump (double the GDDR6 memory to 12 GB) as a marketing point for the revised RTX 2060. This would also add to the company's ability to deliver mainstream-performance graphics cards in a high enough volume that enables the company to keep reaping benefits from the current Ampere line-up's higher ASP (Average Selling Price) across the board.

Videocardz' sources claim the revised RTX 2060 will be making use of the PG116 board, recycling it from the original GTX 1660 Ti design it was born unto. Apparently, NVIDIA has already warned board partners that the final design and specifications might be ready at years' end, with a potential re-release for January 2021. While the increase to a 12 GB memory footprint on an RTX 2060 graphics card is debatable, NVIDIA has to have some marketing flair to add to such a release. Remember that the RTX 2060 was already given a second lease of life earlier this year as a stopgap solution towards getting more gaming-capable graphics cards on the market; NVIDIA had allegedly moved its RTX 2060 manufacturing allocation back to Ampere, but now it seems that we'll witness a doubling-down on the RTX 2060. Now we just have to wait for the secondary market pricing to come down from its current $500 average... For a $349 MSRP, 2019 graphics card.

First Tentative Alder Lake DDR5 Performance Figures Leak

The first indication of what to expect in terms of early DDR5 memory performance on Intel's Alder Lake platform has leaked, courtesy of a Chinese forum and Twitter. It's not the first time we've seen DDR5 performance figures, but this time the CPU is clocked at much higher speeds compared to the figures leaked by Longsys back in March.

Although the memory is still running at 6400 MHz, performance is up significantly with read speeds of over 90 GB/s. As we're most likely still looking at an ES sample and an early UEFI build, there should be room for improvement here. The leaked performance numbers appear to be from a Dell system of unknown model.

Bitspower Intros Sedna Torque Reservoir for Antec Torque Case

Bitspower today introduced the TouchAqua Sedna Torque, a custom-design reservoir+pump combo for the Antec Torque case. This was earlier part of the Sedna Torque kit. The reservoir is made almost entirely of clear acrylic, and includes a Bitspower P5D pump. The reservoir puts out ports and just the right spots to connect a CPU block and a VGA block with minimal tubing. The reservoir holds about 300 ml of coolant on its own, which the P5D circulates at a flow-rate of up to 14.5 liters/minute, with a peak power draw of 20 W, and noise output just under 40 dBA. The reservoir is studded with addressable RGB LEDs that connect to any standard 3-pin ARGB header. Available now, the TouchAqua Sedna Torque is priced at $180.

HalfDive, World's First Bed-Mounted-Display VR Headset

VR and AR headsets might not have been quite the success they were expected to be, mainly due to cost, but now, a Japanese company has developed what has to be one of the weirdest VR headsets to date, one that's meant to be used in bed.

The HalfDive VR headset, or BMD (Bed-Mounted-Display) from Diver-X is trying to implement a range of new features that have never been seen before in a VR headset, such as "wind feedback. This is simply done by a pair of fans built into the headset that outside of adding a touch of wind in your face effect, can apparently also be used for cooling down the user.

Other more normal features include a 3D audio system that consists of four speakers placed around the head, a force feedback system based on what might best be described as friction bands, vibration feedback via an "audio exciter" and foot controllers in addition to regular hand controllers.

SSD-Insider++ Promises Ransomware-free SSDs

Over the past couple of years there has been a huge increase in ransomware attacks, and now scientists claim to have a solution that could help protect SSDs from getting encrypted by ransomware. The SSD-Insider++, as the solution has been named, claims to be able to detect ransomware activity and reverse the encryption on the fly.

SSD-Insider++ was developed by a group of engineers from South Korea's Inha University, Daegu Institute of Science and Technology, and the Cyber Security Department at Ewha Womans University (EWU), as well as a researcher from the University of Central Florida in the US. It's a firmware level based protection that looks for patterns of ransomware activity on the drive and stops it before any damage has been done.

Intel Z690 Alder Lake Chipset Pictured

Today, we got ahold of the first picture showing Intel's upcoming Z690 chipset, the highest-end chipset offering for the Alder Lake lineup of processors. From previous leaks, we have concluded that Intel has enabled the Z690 chipset to be a very powerful offering. Featuring support for running either DDR4 or DDR5 memory, the Z690 chipset will allow motherboard AIBs to offer motherboards with both the new and current DDR standards, easing the transition to the new DDR5 memory. As far as PCIe connectivity, this high-end chipset produces 12 PCIe Gen5 lanes, along with 16 PCIe Gen3 lanes. This is, of course, just an addition to the 16 PCIe Gen5 lanes that the Alder Lake processor provides, enabling a wide portfolio of PCIe lanes for connecting SSDs and graphics cards.

Below, you can see the Z690 chipset image (热心市民描边怪 image), compared to the Z590 (AnandTech image) chipset, where there is a clear difference in size. The new Z690 chipset seems quite a lot bigger, and that is really not a surprise given the new technology stack that it brings.

Fractal Lumen AIO Giveaway: Last Few Hours!

TechPowerUp and Fractal Design bring you a unique chance to bag a Fractal Lumen series all-in-one liquid CPU cooler. Open to our readers from the Continental US and Canada, the Giveaway is as easy as filling up a form. Up for grabs are the Lumen S36 RGB, the Lumen S28 RGB, the Lumen S24 RGB, and the Lumen S24, for a total of four prizes to win. The Lumen series from Fractal Design feature the company's latest in-house innovations for liquid cooling; and come with a unique illuminated design that lights up your build. Entries close in a few hours from now (04:00 Eastern on February 14), so stand a chance to get these while you can!

For more information, and to participate, visit this page.

Philips Launches "Designed for Xbox 4K" Gaming Display with Ambiglow

After the introduction of the current generation of consoles, we've started to see more and more monitors with console support and now Philips has joined the fray with its new 279M1RV 4K, 144 Hz, 27-inch gaming display. It might carry a "Designed for Xbox" logo, but using HDMI 2.1 with a console limits it to 120 Hz and you really need a high-end gaming PC to get the most out of it.

Philips is using an LG Nano IPS panel that covers 98% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, 1 ms gray to gray typical response time and 178 degree viewing angles. The display is also HDR 600 certified, although the typical brightness is 450 cd/m². It's also G-Sync compatible, with a slightly disappointing range of 60-144 Hz, which is limited to the DP port. VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and FRL (Fixed Rate Link) are both supported over HDMI 2.1, but ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) and QFT (Quick Frame Timing) seems to be absent.

Intel Designs New Stock Coolers to go with 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" Processors

With its new Socket LGA1700 heralding the first change in the physical dimensions of the processor's integrated heatspreader (IHS), Intel will introduce the first major redesign of its boxed retail stock cooling solution in over a decade. The Socket H-series (LGA115x/LGA1200) stock fan-heatsink has undergone several minor redesigns over the years, with regards to heatsink mass, the presence or absence of a copper core, the spiral or radial orientation of the aluminium heatsink forks (which affect surface-area and mass); although with what we're seeing in leaked Intel slides, the company's next stock coolers could look significantly different.

The Intel Laminar L-series fan-heatsinks come in three distinct variants based on the TDP of the processor they're bundled with. The Laminar RH1 (H equals "high") could be bundled exclusively with Core i9 SKUs that have 65 W TDP on the box, but have PL2 values well above 200 W. The Laminar RM1 (M equals "mainstream" or "medium"), will be bundled with Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 SKUs that have the same 65 W TDP, but slightly lower PL2 (or at least a trade-off for higher noise). The Laminar RS1 (S equals "small"), targets entry-level Pentium and Celeron chips.

ZeroPoint Technologies wants to Compress the Data in your RAM

Some of you might be old enough to remember various "RAM doubling" software software solutions that appeared back in the late 1980's for Apple, as well as in the mid 90's for Windows 95 computers. Most of them never really delivered on their claims, but now it looks like we might be getting something similar, albeit in hardware.

Swedish company ZeroPoint Technology AB has announced that it has raised €2.5 million in a seed round to bring its Ziptilion patented memory compression technology IP to the market. ZeroPoint claims a compression ratio of two to three times depending on the workload, which seems very impressive. Unlike current software compression technologies such as ZSWAP or ZRAM that are used to compress data in RAM at a rate of 1.4 to 1.5 times, ZeroPoint promises that it's hardware IP won't have any real world negative effects on system performance. In fact, they claim it'll only cause one nanosecond of extra latency when writing data and 100 nanoseconds delay when it comes to reading the compressed data from RAM.

Leaked Slides Show Intel DG2 Competing with RTX 3070 & RX 6700 XT

Intel has recently been promoting their upcoming Arc Alchemist (DG2) gaming graphics cards that are set to launch early next year possibly at CES 2022. We have recently seen a slide allegedly from Intel which states that the company will only be releasing products to compete in the upper mid-range segment and below. The slide details two DGPU GPUs where the SOC1 would have a TDP of 175 W - 225 W spawning SKUs to compete with the RTX 3070, 3060 Ti, RX 6700 XT, and 6600 XT while a cheaper SOC2 would have a TDP of 75 W and compete with the RTX 1650 Super. The SOC1 GPU would target the 300 to 499 USD price segment while the SOC2 would focus on the budget 100 - 200 USD market which AMD and NVIDIA have effectively abandoned with their latest architectures.

Even As Graphics Card Prices Skyrocket, Build Quality on the Decline?

So you finally fork out four-figures for a performance-segment graphics card that had a $350 predecessor a couple of generations ago, and what do you find? Misaligned thermal pads, poorly installed cooling, and other build quality flaws. Reddit and other social media platforms show a noticeable increase in people with fairly premium graphics cards that have manufacturing defects that can lower the product life. One such user, kamaloo92, posted pictures of an ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC with a missing block of thermal pads over a row of memory chips. GDDR6X chips are capable of heating in the high-90s Celsius, and a poorly cooled block of memory can cause artifacting in the long run. This, from a company that prides itself in its manufacturing standards.

Another horror story comes from obamaprism3, who posted pictures of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition with a poorly installed memory thermal pad that was so placed so far off, that it overlapped with the cooler's main base, posing severe risk of overheating and performance loss to the GPU. Staying with Founders Edition, a user named antonyjeweet discovered a worker's finger cot stuck under a memory thermal pad of their insanely expensive RTX 3090 Founders Edition card. Recently, we did the story of a PowerColor RX 6700 XT with protective film over thermal pads still in place.

Windows Subsystem for Android Performance Benchmarks Discovered

Microsoft announced that as part of Windows 11 Android applications would be natively supported as if they were desktop apps. The Windows Subsystem for Android will enable this support through emulation and is derived from the Windows Subsystem for Linux added in Windows 10. Microsoft has been working with Intel and Amazon to integrate their Bridge Technology and Appstore to improve the performance and experience of using Android apps. We have recently seen a slew of Geekbench results from devices running the Windows Subsystem for Android which reveals what we can expect in terms of performance.

The listings show Geekbench 5 single-core scores ranging from 107 - 828 and multi-core scores between 439 - 4908 which indicates that performance could far exceed that of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 on the high-end. We cannot determine the specific desktop processor used in each benchmark so these results can only be interpreted as a potential range. Microsoft has announced that Android support won't be available in Windows 11 at launch and will instead come as a future update.
Sunday, September 12th 2021

FUJIFILM Launches LTO Ultrium 9 Data Cartridge—Cold Storage for up to 45TB Data

FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. is pleased to announce the launch and availability of its FUJIFILM LTO Ultrium 9 Data Cartridge (LTO-9). Fujifilm's LTO-9 complies with the ninth generation LTO Ultrium standards for magnetic tape storage media, marking a new standard of performance for backing up and archiving large volumes of data. Fujifilm's LTO-9 uses proprietary technology to offer up to 45 TB of storage capacity (18 TB for non-compressed data), a 50% increase from the previous generation of LTO tape.

Magnetic tape is increasingly recognized as an ideal storage media for long term archival of high-volume data, safely at low-cost. In addition, tape has a significantly lower environmental impact as there is no need to have it constantly powered-on during data storage, thereby reducing CO2 emissions generated during its lifecycle by 95% when compared to hard disk drives (HDDs).

BIOSTAR Intros TZ590-BTC DUO Mining Motherboard

BIOSTAR today introduced the TZ590-BTC DUO, a feature-packed motherboard for crypto-currency mining setups, based on the Intel Z590 chipset, and supporting 10th- and 11th Gen Core processors in the LGA1200 package. The board puts out a total of eight PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots, all from the Z590 PCH, besides a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot wired to the CPU, and four M.2-2280 slots. One of these is PCI-Express 4.0 x4 and wired to the CPU, while the others are Gen 3, and from the PCH. With M.2 to PCIe adapters already in the wild, you can install up to 12 graphics cards on this board. Connectivity options on this board include some legacy ports, including D-Sub for video from the iGPU, besides HDMI; and a PS/2 keyboard port. There is also an unusually high number of SATA ports, at 10 of them, besides the four M.2 NVMe. So you can also farm Chia at scale while you mine. BIOSTAR didn't reveal pricing.

EK Partners with Seagate for FireCuda 530 Stock Heatsink

EK, the European manufacturer of premium liquid cooling gear, and Seagate, a renowned HDD&SSD manufacturer, have partnered to launch the FireCuda 530 solid state drive with a heatsink, offering a minimalist design, anodized-aluminium body, and finely textured micropore surface to improve heat transfer and lower SSD temperatures. Thanks to that, FireCuda 530 can run at peak speeds for extended periods of time. This cutting-edge SSD has a Seagate-validated E18 controller and the latest 3D TLC NAND memory, and achieves speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s.

This SSD delivers incredible transfer speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s with extremely fast response times allowing applications to run fast, snappy, and with no bottlenecks in the storage department. It is ideal for high-bandwidth video rendering, previewing, and as a Photoshop scratch-disk for large files. It also works amazing for gaming, providing fast load times and great access times. FireCuda 530 has DDR4 memory for caching, but it also uses an SLC dynamic cache alongside a technology called SmartFlush to recover the SLC cache space quickly and making sure it never fills up its buffer.
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