Friday, February 14th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD
KnewKey Rocksete Keyboard

KnewKey Rocksete Keyboard

The KnewKey Rocksete aims to impress with both sight and sound alike, combining a typewriter-style keyboard with a JBL surround sound system. Featuring two separate batteries and two different lighting systems, the Rocksete is a fusion of two peripherals for those who are looking for a portable peripheral solution.
Alphacool Eisblock XPX 1U CPU Water Block

Alphacool Eisblock XPX 1U CPU Water Block

Alphacool has been busy making different versions of the base Eisblock XPX CPU water block design originally introduced in 2016. We take a look at the Eisblock XPX 1U today, which is a low-profile version with multiple side ports for those wanting liquid cooling in a small form factor chassis/server rack.

ModMyMods Launches ModWater PC Watercooling Coolants Produced in the USA

ModMyMods rose out of the proverbial ashes from the meltdown of FrozenCPU, a PC hardware boutique in upstate New York that catered primarily to custom watercooling. While FrozenCPU is back up and running in some form today, people in the northern states and along the east coast of the US have become accustomed to having a local resource for PC modding and cooling supplies with the Rochester-based ModMyMods. We met representatives from the company at CES this year where they showed off their upcoming line of coolants for DIY custom loops, aptly named ModWater. They anticipated a launch in March at the time, but have managed to churn out enough in the month since to release these for sale as of the time of this news post.

The company tells us that ModWater is the result of over an year of work that began with the making of ultra-pure water from an in-house designed purification system with a series of processing to bring down the final TDS (total dissolved solids) value to <0.05 ppm. They are separately selling this water in 5 US gallon tanks for system integrators, but the retail customer will not doubt be interested in the coolants themselves that come in Pure-Clear, and several UV-Reactive colors including: Red-UV, Green-UV, Blue-UV, and Clear-UV (Blue base UV). The coolants ship in 1 liter containers for $9 each in bottles that are shaped similar to motor oil bottles, with a spout design to help pour the coolant out. The coolants, as expected these days, has additives for anti-corrosion properties with biocide and fungicide activity as well. If you are interested, here's the collective link for the product pages.

Intel Core i9-10900 10-core CPU Pictured

Intel's desktop Comet Lake-S lineup is close to being released and we are getting more leaks about the CPU models contained inside it. Perhaps one of the most interesting points for Comet Lake-S series is that it brings a boost in frequency and boost in core count, with the highest-end Core i9 processors going up to 10 cores. Thanks to Xfastest, a Hong Kong-based media outlet, we have first pictures of what appears to be an engineering sample of the upcoming Core i9-10900 processor.

Being a non-K version, this CPU is not capable of overclocking and has a fixed TDP rating of 65 Watts. Compared to 125 W of the K models like the upcoming Core i9-10900K, this CPU will output almost half the heat, thus requiring a less capable cooling solution. The CPU is installed in LGA1200 socket, which is a new home for Comet Lake-S CPUs and provides backward compatibility for coolers supporting LGA1151. In the sample processor pictured below, we can see a marking on the CPU that implies 2.5 GHz base clock. Previously rumors were suggesting that this CPU version has 2.8 GHz base clock, however, it can be an early engineering sample given that no official imprints are found on the CPU heat spreader.

Bitspower Unveils Premium Summit M CPU Water Block

Bitspower, one of the world's leading suppliers of water-cooling equipment for performance computers, has launched its "Bitspower Premium Summit M" CPU block series — the first in a new range of products with premium metal finishes. The new blocks include brackets and accessories making it compatible with both Intel and AMD platforms, and feature a copper top, as well as built-in RGB lighting, combining the best of both hard-wearing construction and beautiful aesthetics. The RGB components have been incorporated into the block's metallic design in such a way that offers a more subtle lighting effect, allowing discerning modders to create a unique and vibrant look without outshining other components of their rig.

In order to make the block's heat exchange as efficient as possible, the copper base plate features a layer of 0.3 mm fins to increase the surface area of the cooling contact point, which helps to maximize heat dissipation. Bitspower's specialised water injection design ensures a high flow of coolant directly on top of these fins to further strengthen the cooling effect.

ASUS Equips ROG Huracan G21 Mini PC with 8 cores and RTX 2080

ASUS launched its ROG Huracan G21 mini gaming PC a long time ago intending to provide a small form factor gaming machine. Today, ASUS decided to update the Huracan with the latest hardware available. Inside a 17.7 liter chassis measuring 129.9×372.4×366.1 mm, ASUS managed to pack some powerful hardware. Starting with CPU, the ROG Huracan G21 is a house to Intel's Core i9-9900K 8 core, 16 thread CPU. There are also configurations available with Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9400 CPUs. The CPU is installed on Mini-ITX Z390 motherboards made by ASUS, so it is technically possible to overclock it, however with an inadequate cooling solution for that it is not recommended.

To make a gaming PC, you need to have a good GPU to push all the framerates, and ASUS opted to equip the G21 with up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card with a blower-type cooler. Other options include GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 GPUs as well. For storage, there are quite a few options. There is one M.2 SATA SSD which can range from 128 GB to 512 GB in capacity. In addition to a 3.5-inch HDD that is available in 1 TB and 2 TB capacity, there is a hot-swap bay for a 2.5-inch drive. As far as the main memory goes, there is room for up to 32 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz memory. For IO, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port is available on the front of the chassis. In the back, there are two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, along with four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports. Video outputs are dependant on which graphics card is equipped in a given configuration. Additionally, to power this PC, ROG Huracan G21 relies on external power adapters that come in 180, 230, or 280 Watt options that again depend on the configuration of the machine. It is also worth pointing out that for audio, the G21 uses Realtek ALC1150 with ESS DAC and amplifier. Support for RGB is not lacking and of course, and it is compatible with ASUS Aura Sync software.

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SMART Modular Launches 32GB Low-profile DDR4-3200 Mini-DIMMs for Industrial Applications

SMART Modular Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of SMART Global Holdings, Inc., and a leader in specialty memory, storage and hybrid solutions including memory modules, Flash memory cards and other solid state storage products,today announced its lineup of DDR4-3200 32 GB Low Profile industrial Mini-DIMMs. SMART has several new 32 GB Mini-DIMMs which include ULP (Ultra Low Profile) and VLP (Very Low Profile) with registered and unbuffered ECC options to meet a wide range of use cases. SMART has been providing Mini-DIMM support for many years, offering customers long-term support as well as a solid roadmap of new higher-density, higher-speed options.

SMART's DDR4-3200 32 GB industrial Mini-DIMMs undergo stringent in-house environmental temperature screening to operate between -40 °C to +85 °C which makes SMART's DDR4 Mini-DIMMs an ideal solution for telecom and networking equipment being deployed under harsh operating conditions. Customized ruggedizing features can be added, such as conformal coating and anti-sulfur resistors to protect against toxic operating conditions or underfill for excessive vibration, all to allow reliable, long-term system operation.

EK Introduces EK-Vardar X3M, The New Addressable D-RGB Fans

EK Water Blocks, the premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new version of its renowned 120 mm EK-Vardar fan. The EK-Vardar X3M 120ER comes with removable rubber dampers on the corners, making sure vibration is not transferred from the fan to the rest of the PC. Aside from that, the rotor has received airflow optimizations, and on the RGB versions, the lighting solution is upgraded to addressable D-RGB LEDs.

The EK-Vardar X3M 120ER is a high-static pressure computer cooling fan built for the highest-performance computer systems. It features removable rubber dampers on corners of the fan to reduce vibration and thus noise. These rubber dampers come pre-installed for use in push orientation but can be removed and mounted the other way for a pull orientation.
Thursday, February 13th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Sound Cards
SSD
Bitspower Touchaqua Summit MS OLED

Bitspower Touchaqua Summit MS OLED

Rounding off our trilogy of Bitspower CPU block coverage is the value-oriented Touchaqua Summit MS. This specific version is the Summit MS OLED and includes a coolant temperature sensor, OLED display, and integrated dRGB lighting for a good feature set without breaking the bank.
Corsair A500 Dual Fan CPU Cooler

Corsair A500 Dual Fan CPU Cooler

Corsair's A500 dual-fan CPU cooler is a monster in terms of size, with an appealing design and features that set it apart. We found installation to be remarkably easy as well, but performance could be better. The review also goes into detail about why we had to file down the heat pipes on the A500.
Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite Mouse

Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite Mouse

The Scimitar RGB Elite is the newest entry in Corsair's MMO/MOBA gaming mice line. It still features the same patented 12-button key-slider side panel and the same shape and shell, but comes with an upgraded sensor (PMW3391) as well as improved components and materials.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2020

NVIDIA today reported revenue for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 26, 2020, of $3.11 billion, up 41 percent from $2.21 billion a year earlier, and up 3 percent from $3.01 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $1.53, up 66 percent from $0.92 a year ago, and up 6 percent from $1.45 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.89, up 136 percent from $0.80 a year earlier, and up 6 percent from $1.78 in the previous quarter.

For fiscal 2020, revenue was $10.92 billion, down 7 percent from $11.72 billion a year earlier. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $4.52, down 32 percent from $6.63 a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $5.79, down 13 percent from $6.64 a year earlier. "Adoption of NVIDIA accelerated computing drove excellent results, with record data center revenue," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Our initiatives are achieving great success.

ASRock B550AM Gaming Motherboard Pictured Up Close

Here are some of the first close-ups of the ASRock B550AM Gaming motherboard, which made its first appearance back in October 2019. The B550A is a rebadged B450 low-power "Promontory" chipset. Boards based on the chipset are guaranteed to support all 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processors out of the box. The B550AM Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with an 8+2 phase VRM.

The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting dual-channel DDR4 memory; the board's sole PCI-Express 4.0 x16, and an M.2-22110 slot that has PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. The only other expansion slot is a PCI-Express x4 wired to the B550A chipset, which is likely gen 2.0. Other storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 gen 2 ports (from which one is type-C), and six USB 3.2 gen 1 ports (from which two are by headers). Network connectivity includes WLAN (likely 802.11ac), and a 1 GbE wired interface. The 6-channel HD audio appears to be driven by a premium Realtek ALC1220-class CODEC. There are two 4-pin RGB and one 3-pin ARGB headers. The company didn't reveal pricing, or whether this board is even available in the retail channel, given that back in October we heard that the B550A was an OEM exclusive.

VR as a Coping Mechanism for Loss: Meet Nayeon

VR has been hailed as the next coming of truly ingenious, engrossing, enveloping experiences, and to some extent, it already does offer those. There are still limitations to the technology and the level of realism it can impart (there is a whole slew of senses we need to trigger for truly enveloping experiences, of course), but I feel we sometimes get somewhat limited in the way we look at VR. Of course, we can all imagine video games built in VR - and when we do, we likely imagine them as they were presented to us in Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One.

Then there are other use-cases, such as real-estate experiences that place you right inside your future home and allow you to see the changes you'd make. Architecture design, engineering, game world design, even strolls through museums, your mind a subatomic particle able to instantly travel to foreign countries and explore their marvels. All for this, mind you, without ever leaving the comfort of our home, without the required expenses and no wasted time with travelling or passport checks - all, however, simulated. But what if VR could go even further? What if VR could be used as a coping mechanism? What if you could meet your dead parents, siblings... Or children? This is the story I bring to you today: of how VR was used to reunite a mother with her deceased seven-year-old girl. This is the story of Ji-sung and her daughter Nayeon.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Aztez Now Available for Free in the EPIC Games Store

The EPIC Games Store has been a great source of free weekly games, with such offerings such as Observer, The Witness, and Surviving Mars all seeing their way into players' libraries without spending a penny. Now, a juggernaut of last year's releases comes our way as well in the form of Kingdom come: Deliverance, the immersive open-world sim from Warhorse Studios. If you'll remember, our own W1zzard has taken a look at this game, and even in its release state, found it to be hugely engrossing. Now, with months of active bug fixing behind it, it should be an even better, more polished experience.

The other title on offer, Aztez, is described as a hybrid beat-them-up and turn-based strategy game, with striking black, white and red visuals (and developed by Team Colorblind, so that might have something to do with the aesthetic choice). The game actually looks like a lot of fun, and the visuals are what they are already, so why not get yourself another game for your already endless waiting list?

PATRIOT Launches the P300 M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD Series

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, is pleased to announce the official launch of P300 Gen3 x4 NVMe m.2 SSD with capacities available from 256 GB up to 1 TB. The P300 is designed to deliver the most significant all-around performance for desktop and laptop users. Built with next-generation PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe controller and best-in-class components, the P300 is posed to bring out rapid data transfer speeds and best in class reliability for the user. P300 represents a milestone for the next generation of PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD, which can offer 25% higher transfer speeds better IOPs over standard PCIe 3 x2 solutions and attribute to its low power consumption is the best solution for laptop battery endurance.

CORSAIR Releases SCIMITAR RGB ELITE MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse and MM500 3XL Mouse Pad

CORSAIR, a world leader in high-performance gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the SCIMITAR RGB ELITE, the latest upgrade to the award-winning range of SCIMITAR RGB gaming mice, providing MOBA and MMO players with 17 fully programmable buttons and the patented Key Slider control system for convenient access to a multitude of shortcuts and macros, alongside a leading 18,000 DPI optical sensor. The SCIMITAR RGB ELITE will be right at home on the new CORSAIR MM500 Extended 3XL Premium Anti-Fray Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad. With dimensions of 1220 mm x 610 mm (48" x 24"), the MM500 is the biggest mouse pad that CORSAIR has ever produced, with room for everything on a player's desktop.

For MOBA and MMO players who need quick access to a host of shortcuts, commands, and complex macros, the CORSAIR SCIMITAR RGB ELITE combines a total of 17 programmable buttons with an upgraded 18,000 DPI optical sensor. The SCIMITAR RGB ELITE's patented Key Slider control system allows users to reposition the side button cluster 8 mm forward or backward to find the most comfortable position for a grid of 12 fully programmable side buttons. 50 million click-rated Omron switches and durable construction give the SCIMITAR RGB ELITE the longevity to last through years of late-night raiding.

MSI Lists GeForce GTX 1650 with GDDR6 Memory

According to VideoCardz, who found the latest EEC listing, MSI has prepared a new variant of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. In the listing, there are a total of eight new GeForce GTX 1650 graphics cards. Unlike the regular GTX 1650 GPU, these are a bit different. They feature improved GDDR6 memory and make up for the confusing stacking of these products.

The GTX 1650 SUPER model features GDDR6 memory, while the regular GTX 1650 had GDDR5 memory until now. With such a product that is between regular GTX 1650 and the SUPER model, MSI is creating a hybrid card. Having the same specifications as the GTX 1650, the only differentiator will be the memory and memory speed, where GDDR6 equipped card will be faster.

NVIDIA GeForce MX350 and MX330 Surface, Pascal Based Entry mGPUs

NVIDIA's GeForce MX-series mobile GPU line exists so notebook manufacturers can put the NVIDIA logo on their products and boast of gaming capabilities. The company is giving finishing touches to its new GeForce MX330 and MX350 chips, based on the "Pascal" architecture. The MX330 is the company's second rebrand of the MX150 that's based on the 14 nm "GP108" silicon. It's equipped with 384 CUDA cores, and up to 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 64-bit wide memory interface. NVIDIA increased the clock speeds to 1531 MHz base, and 1594 MHz GPU Boost (compared to 1227/1468 MHz of the MX150), while remaining in the 25 W TDP envelope.

The MX350, on the other hand, is based on the 14 nm "GP107" silicon, is equipped with 640 CUDA cores, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across the same 64-bit bus width as the MX330; but has aggressive power-management that lends it a TDP of just 20 W, despite 66% more CUDA cores than the MX330. Both chips are easily capable of handling non-gaming tasks on typical 1080p / 1440p notebooks; but can game only at 720p thru 1080p, with low-to-mid settings.

TSMC Sets Aside Almost 7 Billion Dollars for Fab Expansion

TSMC is working hard to ensure its number one spot in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, and it has the funds to back it up. Yesterday TSMC's Board of Directors approved the company budget for another semiconductor fab expansion. With a budget totaling 6.74 billion US dollars allocated, TSMC has "Approved capital appropriations of approximately US$6,742.1 million (approximately NT$200.9 billion) for purposes including: 1) Fab construction, and installation of fab facility systems; 2) Installation and upgrade of advanced technology capacity; 3) Installation of specialty technology capacity; 4) Installation of advanced packaging capacity; 5) Second quarter 2020 R&D capital investments and sustaining capital expenditures."
Wednesday, February 12th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Notebooks
SSD
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2020 (Updated)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2020 (Updated)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2020. We cover and keep track of developments for Intel Comet Lake, AMD Ryzen 4000 & RDNA2 architecture, Intel's own Xe GPU, chipsets, memory and more.
Tt eSPORTS Shock V2

Tt eSPORTS Shock V2

The Tt eSPORTS Shock V2, successor to the 2015 Shock, comes with a larger pair of speaker drivers, a new microphone, and a couple of design changes. We tested it as a combination with the Thermaltake E1 RGB Gaming Headset Stand!

EK Waterblocks Introduces Its Professional Lineup of Products

EK, the leader in custom loop liquid cooling products is proud to announce the official launch of a product line that is meant for professional use. Characteristic properties of these products are robust, industrial material choices and no RGB whatsoever. The EK Professional Line of products is all about the use of high-quality materials, longevity and enhancing the power of your PC or computing unit. These new products are also suited for the most demanding customers, like servers, data centers, deep learning workstations, etc.

Cybersecurity in 2019: Ransomware up 41% in the US Alone, Average Decryption Price in December 2019 set at $190,946

A Report via the New York Times paints an increasingly challenging picture for security specialists, technology users and businesses. Security firm Emsisoft reported a 41% increase in ransomware attacks in 2019 (in the US) compared to the previous year (up to 205,280 distinct attacks). The advent of cryptocurrencies with built-in anonimity, such as Monero, have become the favored extortion method employed by wrongdoers, shielding them from the usual checks and balances of the banking system. And with increasingly complex tools in the hands of hackers, plus the advantage of first strike new attacks enjoy, ransomware is becoming harder and harder to battle. According to the New York Times, citing security firm Coveware, the average payment for file decryption in 2019 rose to $84,116 in the Q4 2019, double what it was just in Q3. And in the last month of the year, the average decryption payment jumped more than twofold to $190,946.

Wacom Graphics Tablets Dial Home with Info on Every Application You Run: Investigation

Wacom is a brand graphics artists swear by, thanks to its near monopoly over the pen-digitizer tablet market. These are essentially input devices in which convert pen-like input on a surface to 2D graphics on the screen, which high precision. Software engineer Robert Heaton discovered that the driver of Wacom tablets leak information on every application you open, to an entity that's using Google Analytics to collect the data.

Heaton used Wireshark to first detect that his Wacom's driver is sending data packets to Google Analytics by monitoring its DNS lookups. The payload of data sent to the analytics website was encrypted by TLS. He then set up an internal proxy using Burp Suite that convinced the Wacom driver that it is sending data over a secure connection, and intercepted its payload. It was then discovered that Wacom driver tracks every application its users open (and not just applications of interest to the company). The company's EULA don't seek even implicit consent to collect this data, and it presents a big privacy challenge. Heaton argues that what if this could be used by Wacom employees to, say, discover that Valve software is working on "Half Life 3," by querying its data heap for executables that sound like "Half Life 3"? Find a fascinating technical run down of Heaton's discovery on his blog.

Intel Core i7-10700K Features 5.30 GHz Turbo Boost

Intel's 10th generation Core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processor series inches chose to its probable April 2020 launch. Along the way we get this fascinating leak of the company's Core i7-10700K desktop processor, which could become a go-to chip for gamers if its specifications and pricing hold up. Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK revealed what could be a Futuremark SystemInfo screenshot of the i7-10700K which confirms its clock speeds - 3.80 GHz nominal, with an impressive 5.30 GHz Turbo Boost. Intel is probably tapping into the series' increased maximum TDP of 125 W to clock these chips high across the board.

The Core i7-10700K features 8 cores, and HyperThreading enables 16 threads. It also features 16 MB of shared L3 cache. In essence, this chip has the same muscle as the company's current mainstream desktop flagship, the i9-9900K, but demoted to the Core i7 brand extension. This could give it a sub-$400 price, letting it compete with the likes of AMD's Ryzen 7 3800X and possibly even triggering a price-cut on the 3900X. The i7-10700K in APISAK's screenshot is shown running on an ECS Z490H6-A2 motherboard, marking the company's return to premium Intel chipsets. ECS lacks Z390 or Z370 based motherboards in its lineup, and caps out at B360.

Activision Blizzard Pulls Out of NVIDIA GeForce Now Game Streaming Service

NVIDIA recently launched its GeForce Now game streaming service, where you could stream any game from your digital library on some capable hardware. However, it seems that the service is not receiving good acceptance from some game makers, specifically Activision Blizzard. In a surprising turn of events, Activision Blizzard has pulled out its entire game library from the GeForce Now game streaming service. Being a provider of many popular titles like Call of Duty series, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, etc. this makes a big blow to the GeForce Now service.

Underlying reasons for this move are unknown. Activision Blizzard has been a part of the GeForce Now Beta program, with its games being readily available. What made them pull out now, when the streaming service began operating just a few days ago, is the possibility that Activision Blizzard seeks more profits. Some speculations indicate that they are switching the streaming platforms or making their own. The sheer size of players utilizing Activision Blizzard games is astonishing, and if they decide to make their service, it could turn out to be very profitable.

SK Hynix Licenses DBI Ultra 3D Interconnect Technology

Xperi Corporation today announced that it entered into a new patent and technology license agreement with SK hynix, one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers. The agreement includes access to Xperi's broad portfolio of semiconductor intellectual property (IP) and a technology transfer of Invensas DBI Ultra 3D interconnect technology focused on next-generation memory.

"We are delighted to announce the extension of our long-standing relationship with SK hynix, a world-renowned technology leader and manufacturer of memory solutions," said Craig Mitchell, President of Invensas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation. "As the industry increasingly looks beyond conventional node scaling and turns toward hybrid bonding, Invensas stands as a pioneering leader that continues to deliver improved performance, power, and functionality, while also reducing the cost of semiconductors. We are proud to partner with SK hynix to further develop and commercialize our DBI Ultra technology and look forward to a wide range of memory solutions that leverage the benefits of this revolutionary technology platform."
Tuesday, February 11th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Mouse
Processors
SSD
Storage
iBUYPOWER Snowblind

iBUYPOWER Snowblind

iBUYPOWER is getting into the case market, and the Snowblind is in the middle of a trio of enclosures featuring a see-through LCD screen. You are free to display all kinds of nifty information or cool animations and have the benefit of building your own system instead of buying a full system straight from iBUYPOWER.
ASRock Radeon RX 5500 XT Phantom Gaming OC 8 GB

ASRock Radeon RX 5500 XT Phantom Gaming OC 8 GB

ASRock's Radeon RX 5500 XT Phantom Gaming comes at the AMD MSRP of $200, yet features a solid cooler with a metal backplate, idle fan stop, and very low temperatures. 8 GB GDDR6 give the card a performance advantage over the 4 GB version, even at 1080p. Is future-proofing worth it?

Intel Zooms in on "Lakefield" Foveros Package

The fingernail-size Intel chip with Foveros technology is a first-of-its kind. With Foveros, processors are built in a totally new way: not with the various IPs spread out flat in two dimensions, but with them stacked in three dimensions. Think of a chip designed as a layer cake (a 1-millimeter-thick layer cake) versus a chip with a more-traditional pancake-like design. Intel's Foveros advanced packaging technology allows Intel to "mix and match" technology IP blocks with various memory and I/O elements - all in a small physical package for significantly reduced board size. The first product designed this way is "Lakefield," the Intel Core processor with Intel hybrid technology.

Industry analyst firm The Linley Group recently named Intel's Foveros 3D-stacking technology as "Best Technology" in its 2019 Analysts' Choice Awards. "Our awards program not only recognizes excellence in chip design and innovation, but also acknowledges the products that our analysts believe will have an impact on future designs," said Linley Gwennap, of The Linley Group.

Quick Look: Altec Lansing Nano Pods

What do you do when you come back from CES with swag galore? More often than not, you leave it in your hotel room for the hotel staff to enjoy, because there is only so much you can fit in your luggage. But this year, it seemed to be the year of audio, and the year of True Wireless buds to be more specific. Perhaps it was again Apple that started the trend, with their Airpods and the removal of the previously-ubiquitous 3.5 mm audio jack on phone creating another venue of cash income for audio companies, and also phone makers. We've seen quite a few companies jump aboard this train to various degrees of success, and we will cover some of them in our Quick Look format that we debuted with the HyperX replacement keycaps . What better way to begin than via a $29.99 set of true wireless earpods from Altec Lansing?

Yeah, you read that right. We received two sets of these, in different colors, for visiting the company at CES. They had a plethora of gaming products to show off as part of a new business unit launching this year, and these Nano Pods are part of their TWS (true wireless) earphone lineup. There were three other entries debuting at the trade show, all of which were more expensive too, but no doubt these colorful, inexpensive earphones were what I wanted to start this series with. Read past the break for our quick thoughts and comments on the Altec Lansing Nano Pods!
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