Tuesday, January 22nd 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Storage

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Put Through AoTS, About 16% Faster Than GTX 1060

Thai PC enthusiast TUM Apisak posted a screenshot of an alleged GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Ashes of the Singularity (AoTS) benchmark. The GTX 1660 Ti, if you'll recall, is an upcoming graphics card based on the TU116 silicon, which is a derivative of the "Turing" architecture but with a lack of real-time raytracing capabilities. Tested on a machine powered by an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, the AoTS benchmark was set to run at 1080p and DirectX 11. At this resolution, the GTX 1660 Ti returned a score of 7,400 points, which roughly compares with the previous-generation GTX 1070, and is about 16-17 percent faster than the GTX 1060 6 GB. NVIDIA is expected to launch the GTX 1660 Ti some time in Spring-Summer, 2019, as a sub-$300 successor to the GTX 1060 series.

Starblaze Announces High-Performance STAR1000P SSD Controller

Today Starblaze announced the availability of the STAR1000P NVMe solid state drive (SSD) controller for high-end client and entry-level enterprise applications. Performance optimizations enable the new controller to achieve sequential reads at 3.6GB/second and sequential writes at 3.2GB/second, up to 50% higher than Starblaze's previous generation controller, STAR1000. The STAR1000P achieves random reads at 750K input/output operations per second (IOPS) and random writes at 600K IOPS, up to 120% higher than Starblaze's STAR1000. The STAR1000P features PCIe Gen3x4, NVMe 1.3 and eight flash channels to support up to 32 terabytes (TB) of storage. The STAR1000P also incorporates a multicore implementation of Synopsys' DesignWare ARC HS38 processor, taking advantage of ARC's extensible architecture with custom instructions that improve scheduling efficiency.

"Enterprise SSD applications need increasing processor performance to support much higher throughput with reduced latency," said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP at Synopsys. "Synopsys' ARC HS processors deliver the scalability that Starblaze needs to extend the performance of their STAR1000P platform for the rapidly evolving SSD controller market."
Monday, January 21st 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
PSUs
SSD
Storage
1STPLAYER Bullet Hunter MK6 Keyboard

1STPLAYER Bullet Hunter MK6 Keyboard

1STPLAYER is a relatively unknown Chinese brand wanting to grab attention globally with their new keyboards. The Bullet Hunter MK6 mechanical keyboard offers RGB backlighting, extensive onboard controls, a software driver, and hot-swappable switches at a good price point, making it a strong contender for their goal.
Palit GeForce RTX 2070 GameRock Premium 8 GB

Palit GeForce RTX 2070 GameRock Premium 8 GB

Palit's GeForce RTX 2070 GameRock Premium is the company's highest-specced RTX 2070 variant. It comes overclocked out of the box to 1815 MHz boost and features a large triple-slot cooler that delivers excellent temperatures. With $600, pricing matches that of the NVIDIA Founders Edition.

ASUS Intros GeForce RTX 2070 Turbo EVO Graphics Card, Ditches VirtualLink

ASUS today introduced an "affordable" GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card and a variation of its cheapest RTX 2070 product, the Turbo EVO. This card looks almost identical to the RTX 2070 Turbo ASUS launched last September, but comes with a handful physical changes. To begin with, its 80 mm lateral-blower fan comes with a double ball-bearing motor, and an IP5X-compliant dust-proof impeller. The build quality is also improved since ASUS is building the card on a fully-automated process it calls "Auto Extreme," coupled with a 144-hour stress-test for each card. Also, while the original RTX 2070 Turbo draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors, the new RTX 2070 Turbo EVO only needs a single 8-pin PCIe power input.

There is a catch, though. Unlike the original RTX 2070 Turbo, the new RTX 2070 Turbo EVO lacks a USB type-C VirtualLink connector. The clock-speeds of both cards are identical, with 1620 MHz GPU Boost, and 14 Gbps (GDDR6-effective) memory. You can tell the two cards apart on a store shelf by paying attention to the box. The EVO's box features an "Auto Extreme" graphic on the front face, and carries the model number "TURBO-RTX2070-8G-EVO," while the original RTX 2070 Turbo goes with "TURBO-RTX2070-8G" (no "EVO"). The company didn't reveal pricing, although it wouldn't surprise us if both the cards are sold at the same baseline price of USD $530.

Antec Launches the Dark Avenger 601 Case

Antec today released its Dark Avenger 601 ATX mid-tower chassis for gaming PC builds high on RGB LED illumination. The case is characterized by a faux-aluminium ornament on the front panel that conceals the front fan intakes, a tempered glass left side-panel, and an in-built addressable RGB LED lighting controller. The front ornament is studded with aRGB LED strips that make up an "X" shape. The lighting can either be wired to the in-built controller which cycles lighting presets at the push of a button on the front-panel, or be directly plugged in to your motherboard over a standard 3-pin aRGB header.

The DA601 features a conventional partitioned layout, with the motherboard tray serving up room for ATX motherboards with 7 expansion slots, graphics cards up to 40 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height. Storage areas include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch trays in the bottom compartment, and four 2.5-inch drive mounts behind the motherboard tray. Cooling features include three 120 mm fan mounts each along the front- and top-panels, and a rear 120 mm exhaust. Antec includes two fans with the case, an aRGB illuminated Prizm along the front intake, and a regular 120 mm spinner at the rear. The case measures 480 mm x 220 mm x 500 mm (DxWxH). Front panel connectivity includes two USB 3.1 type-A ports, HDA jacks, and the RGB controller cycle button. The company didn't reveal pricing.

AMD "Navi" GPU Code Surfaces in Latest Apple MacOS Mojave Beta

System software code used for detecting and installing AMD's upcoming Radeon "Navi" family of graphics processors surfaced in the latest Apple MacOS "Mojave" beta. Version 14.2 beta of the operating system packs preparation for AMD's next-generation GPUs through a device identifier "0x73101002." A similar piece of code surfaced on early versions of MacOS "Sierra" some 6 months prior to Radeon "Vega" family launch, which perfectly aligns with this release of Mojave preceding the speculated mid-2019 launch of "Navi."

The code makes four references, Navi 16, Navi 12, Navi 10, and Navi 9. We're not quite sure if these are brand names or ASIC codes pointing to the number of next-generation compute units enabled on the silicon. If they are the latter, and assuming AMD hasn't changed the number of stream processors per NGCU, we're looking at the possibility of these chips being mid-range performance successors to the "Polaris" family, and it's likely they'll find place in Apple's upcoming generation of iMac, and possibly even MacBooks.
Many Thanks to theoneandonlymrk for the tip.

AMD Re-releases Adrenalin 19.1.1 Drivers with WHQL Certification

AMD late Monday released WHQL-signed Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.1.1 drivers. These drivers are identical in features and changes to January 11 release of Adrenalin 19.1.1 as a Beta. Among the key changes over the previous 18.12.3 drivers include performance optimization for "Fortnite," bug fixes for Virtual Super Resolution (VSR), graphics card fan zero-fan mode not correctly engaging when toggled on/off in Radeon Settings, incorrect software update notifications in Radeon Settings Advisor, and multi-monitor systems experiencing a mouse pointer lag when one of the displays is enabled but powered off.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.1.1 WHQL

The change-log follows.

Kingston Also Showcases KC2000 Series NVMe SSDs

Kingston at CES 2019 also showcased their high-tier KC2000 series SSD. These differ from the likely market-warping A2000 series SSDs in terms of pure performance, for those that only care for that metric. While the A2000 series has the potential to bring SATA SSDs completely out of the equation (if promises of lower pricing paired with three to four times higher performance come true), the KC2000 will be gunning for the upper tiers of the market in terms of performance.

The KC2000 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs will be available in capacities ranging from 256 GB to  2TB, boasting performance of 3 GB/s read and 2 GB/s write. Unlike their lower-tier counterparts, which make use of a variety of lower-tier controllers and Toshiba's 3D TLC NAND, these will contain the SMI SM2262en controller paired Intel 3D TLC NAND flash memory. These SSDs should be released sometime in Q2 2019 and will have a security software suite included.

GIGABYTE to Introduce RTX 2070 eGPU Gaming Box

eGPUs may not have made quite as much of an impact on the market as one might expect - but maybe that's because of incorrect expectations. The idea of having an external GPU box to increase a given machine's frame output when it's stationary is all well and good, but that begs the question of why not just buying a more powerful machine outright, which will allow users to keep their mobility and portability.

It seems GIGABYTE is readying another eGPU solution, after their work on their RX 580 gaming box. The box is equipped with a GIGABYTE-engineered GeForce RTX 2070 graphics which features 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C, 1x ThunderBolt 3 and 3x USB 3.0 ports, so it also serves as an extender for your laptop's (or mini-ATX) functionality.

Kingston's A2000 NVMe SSDs - Aiming at Sub-SATA SSD Pricing On Toshiba's BiCS4 3D TLC NAND

Kingston at CES 2019 demonstrated its A2000 NVMe SSDs, which the company has developed with a specific goal in mind - undercut SATA-based SSDs. This has, until now, been impossible, due to increased costs of NVMe controllers over their SATA counterparts, but such is the trend with any technology - prices do come down after a product is first introduced. Some NVMe solutions have used cut-down controllers that only supported PCIe x2 buses, but not the A2000 - they will use full-fledged PCIe 4x lanes, and will be available in 240, 480, or 960 GB capacities.

The A2000 series will make use of different controllers, which means Kingston is sourcing from more than one manufacturer (Silicon Motion's SM2263-series and Phison's low-cost controllers). While that could introduce performance variations, Kingston says that they will be making sure the experience and performance stays consistent between differently-sourced products, and that the only reason for this is to decrease overall BOM costs to achieve a lineup-wide below-SATA cost. NVMe drives typically require less materials than SATA drives, and as a plus, aren't constrained by link bandwidth limitations. This is huge news for the industry, because if Kingston manages to do its bidding 2Q2019, as they expect, the industry will follow suit - they won't be leaving the lowest-priced, and consequently, likely highest-volume product, to a single player. Kingston is quoting up to 2000 MB/s sequential read speeds as well as up to 1500 MB/s sequential write speeds.

Kingston Releases Managed Model of IronKey D300 Serialized Encrypted USB

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, announced today the Managed model of IronKey D300 Serialized (D300SM) encrypted USB Flash drive is now available. A fully-encrypted managed USB drive is an essential component in following industry standards and the strong data encryption of the D300 series is what makes this drive compliant for data storage under GDPR and the NY financial regulations.

IronKey D300SM requires IronKey EMS or SafeConsole by DataLocker allowing central management of drive access and usage across thousands of drives. Either cloud-based or on-premises, it enforces drive-specific policies, such as password strength and retry limits, lets administrators remotely disable lost or stolen drives, reset passwords when forgotten and more. This is the first IronKey drive that is supported on SafeConsole, allowing it to be used by customers who already have SafeConsole installed.

Add the Finishing Touch with a Host of New Premium PC Accessories from CORSAIR

CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the availability of a wide range of new PC enthusiast accessories to help complete the look of a custom PC: CORSAIR Premium Individually Sleeved PSU Cables, Premium Sleeved Front Panel Extension Kit, Premium Sleeved SATA Cable, Premium PCIe 3.0 x16 Extension Cable, and TM30 Performance Thermal Paste. From custom paracord cables available in a range of colors, to flexible PCIe mounting and dependable thermal paste, the new range of accessories are the perfect way to build and complete a stunning professional-looking custom PC.

GIGABYTE Z390 and C246 Motherboards Support Single Slot 32GB Memory

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, announced that its Z390 and C246 motherboards now fully support 32GB Unbuffered memory per DIMM slot for up to 128GB total memory capacity on 4DIMM configurations, providing increased memory capacity for users. Additional BIOS updates will soon be rolled out to enable support for other 300 series motherboards.

Up until now, 32GB memory per DIMM slot was primarily limited to workstation ready motherboards with registered memory for users to fulfill memory-intensive tasks on their system. GIGABYTE has worked closely with Intel to ensure that GIGABYTE Z390 series motherboards paired with 9th Gen. processors can support 32GB memory per DIMM slot.

RAIDMAX Rolls Out the Magnus White and Brushed Aluminium Finish Chassis

RAIDMAX today rolled out the Magnus, a premium ATX full-tower case characterized by its mostly-white body with contrasting black, and a brushed aluminium panel dominating its front. The interiors feature a semi-partitioned layout, with the bottom partition only enclosing the PSU bay, while a 2-drive 3.5-inch cage sits besides it, which is detachable. Four additional 2.5-inch drive mounts are located beside and behind the motherboard tray. The motherboard tray can house ATX and E-ATX boards, with eight expansion slots, and two additional vertically oriented slots to show off your graphics card (PCIe riser not included). You get room for graphics cards up to 42 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 17.8 cm in height. Ventilation includes either three 120 mm or two 140 mm front intakes, three 120 mm or two 140 mm top exhausts, and a 140/120 mm rear exhaust factory-fitted with an NV-120FB RGB fan.

Intel Readies Crimson Canyon NUC with 10nm Core i3 and AMD Radeon

Intel is giving final touches to a "Crimson Canyon" fully-assembled NUC desktop model which combines the company's first 10 nm Core processor, and AMD Radeon discrete graphics. The NUC8i3CYSM desktop from Intel packs a Core i3-8121U "Cannon Lake" SoC, 8 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4 memory, and discrete AMD Radeon RX 540 mobile GPU with 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. A 1 TB 2.5-inch hard drive comes included, although you also get an M.2-2280 slot with both PCIe 3.0 x4 (NVMe) and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. The i3-8121U packs a 2-core/4-thread CPU clocked up to 3.20 GHz and 4 MB of L3 cache; while the RX 540 packs 512 stream processors based on the "Polaris" architecture.

The NUC8i3CYSM offers plenty of modern connectivity, including 802.11ac + Bluetooth 5.0 powered by an Intel Wireless-AC 9560 WLAN card, wired 1 GbE from an Intel i219-V controller, consumer IR receiver, an included beam-forming microphone, an SDXC card reader, and stereo HD audio. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.1 type-A ports including a high-current port. Display outputs are care of two HDMI 2.0b, each with 7.1-channel digital audio passthrough. The company didn't reveal pricing, although you can already read a performance review of this NUC from the source link below.

Western Digital WD Black SN750 is a High-end NVMe SSD with a Chunky Heatsink

Western Digital over the weekend refreshed its high-end client-segment SSD lineup with the WD Black SN750. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface and support for the NVMe 1.3 protocol, the drive combines a refreshed in-house developed controller with SanDisk-made 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, cushioned by up to 2 GB of DRAM cache. The biggest change this drive offers over last Summer's WD Black 3D series, however, is the optional aluminium heatsink originally made by EK Waterblocks, which improves the drive's thermals and possibly sustained performance. You can opt to buy the drive without this heatsink.

Available in capacities of 250 GB for $80, 500 GB for $130, 1 TB for $250, and 2 TB for $500, the WD Black SN750 offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3470 MB/s reads on the 500 GB and 1 TB models. The 250 GB model reads at up to 3100 MB/s, and the 2 TB model up to 3400 MB/s. Sequential write speeds, too, are improved across the board, with up to 3000 MB/s for the 1 TB model, up to 2900 MB/s for the 2 TB model, up to 2600 MB/s for the 500 GB model, and up to 1600 MB/s for the 250 GB model. 4K random-access numbers can be as high as 515,000 IOPS reads. All models are backed by 5-year product warranties.
Friday, January 18th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD
MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6 GB

MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6 GB

MSI's GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z is the best RTX 2060 custom-design we've reviewed so far. It comes with idle-fan-stop and a large triple-slot cooler that runs cooler than the Founders Edition. Noise levels are excellent, too; it's the quietest RTX 2060 card to date.

Touring NETGEAR at CES 2019: Wi-Fi 6 Takes Center Stage!

The gift that is CES keeps on giving! We go over the NETGEAR suite, and it was more of an entire floor, in this article with the company showing off their involvement in every networking sector imaginable- the professional environment, consumer and retail networking solutions, and smart home devices. Indeed, stepping off the elevator itself led to a hallway lined with Meural canvasses, which are very well built frames that have an integrated display to show off images of your choosing. This public hallway had generation 2.0 canvasses, with the new-for-CES generation 3.0 series inside the show room that encompasses four different frame options in two different sizes- the currently available 27" version, and the newer 21.5" size for those wanting something smaller.

Meural canvasses can be used in landscape or portrait configurations, and supports a library of over 30,000 curated art images at an optional membership cost of $49.95/year. The new generation is available from August 2019, with the new screens having a wider color gamut and a truer-to-life display, that was impressive. These are definitely for a niche audience, however, but I can appreciate NETGEAR wanting to provide more use cases for their networking solutions. The current Gen 2.0 27" canvas starts at $595 (dimensions with the frame are larger than 27"), and an optional pivoting stand with more display I/O options is an additional $49.95 for when you want to have your own images connected to it. For the rest of the tour, be sure to read past the break!

TSMC's 7 nm Fabrication Becomes Biggest Share of Revenue in 4Q18

TSMC's introduction of its 7 nm fabrication technology has essentially propelled the company to silicon manufacturing heights. Every company - particularly in the mobile space - is after the most minute increase in transistor density and power consumption improvements the latest and greatest can bring. AMD themselves have become a major TSMC partner in pursuit of its newfound competitiveness against Intel, and has apparently leveraged the 7 nm process as a way to keep its high-performance GPU offering minimally competitive with NVIDIA's solution - at a much lesser die area requirement, if the Radeon VII vs RTX 2080 estimates are something to go by.

As a consequence of the market interest for the 7 nm process, it has rapidly become TSMC's biggest revenue generator as soon as 4Q18. The company said that 7 nm already generated 10% of the company's entire 2018 revenue, despite the process only having been ramped up in June of the same year. Other less dense technologies still generate a lot of revenue for the company, and are likely much higher volume. However, TSMC is most likely riding on much increased ASP for 7 nm wafers than for other technologies.

EKWB: The past can be the future with EK Classic

EK , the leading premium liquid cooling gear manufacturer, announces the global launch of their new Classic Product Line. It includes an NVIDIA RTX 2000 series GPU block, CPU blocks for both the most popular AMD and Intel platforms, and a pump-reservoir combo unit. Whether you only care about cooling performance, or just prefer the clean and timeless design of EK, the Classic Line will fulfill all your needs.

For users who want to experience the core essence of liquid cooling, the EK CLassic Line of products will offer excellent value regarding performance that is accompanied with simple and minimalistic looks. While designing and engineering the portfolio of the Classic Lineup, the performance of the products was not compromised at any moment.
Thursday, January 17th 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2019 and beyond. We cover and keep track of developments for AMD Zen 2, Radeon VII, Ice Lake, Intel's own GPU, chipsets, memory and more.

ASRock Announces its Intel B365 Motherboard Series

There's no better way to kick off 2019 with the launch of new products, the motherboards featuring Intel B365 chipset launched during CES 2019 aims mostly at mainstream market but with huge improvement on not only functionality but also aesthetics, the product line are formed by total of 5 motherboards including Mini-ITX, the ever popular PRO series and the latest Phantom Gaming motherboards, giving a wide range of selection for everyone.

As M.2 NVMe SSDs get ever more attractive through affordability, capacity and performance, it is certain that these lightning fast storage devices will soon be a must have solution for gaming or even everyday use. ASRock has seen this trend and went all out to be the first to include the M.2 heatsink as standard equipment for the mainstream motherboard, the B365 Phantom Gaming 4 even has two separate M.2 heatsink for secondary high speed M.2 SSDs.

DIYPC Announces the Affordable Trio-GT-RGB Chassis

DIYPC, leading professional manufacturer of computer cases and accessories (case fan, hub, headset, mouse) base in China which mainly focus on overseas market. DIYPC is proud to introduce its latest gaming chassis for every gamer featuring high-quality tempered glass and multi-color RGB fans. Featuring a steel body and support for ATX, mATX and mITX motherboards, the DIYPC Tri-GT-RGB chassis ensures gamers plenty of options for their build with extensive support for custom cooling as well as customization and its well-designed cable management and airflow will be sure to be a charm to those who want a great value case for an attractive cost. The DIYPC Tri-GT-RGB will have an MSRP of $109.99.

The DIYPC Trio-GT-RGB features excellent premium features to excite builders that will be sure to impress your friends and fellow gamers as well. The Trio-GT-RGB features dual swing door side panels allowing you to easily access the components and rear panel of your build. The side panels are made of 4 mm thick tempered glass to allow you to show off not just your internal components but your cable management as well. DIYPC has a 29mm gap in the back of the motherboard tray to allow ample space to manage your cables and the chassis has tie-down provisions so you can further secure your cables.

Impressions of Google's Project Stream: Game Streaming in 2019 Actually Seems Feasible

What happens when Google, AMD, and Ubisoft get together? Aside from pleasantries, it leads to Project Stream- a surprise announcement in late 2018 from the online giant, which clearly was part of their getting into the gaming space. Google had teased entries into more dedicated gaming hardware and software alike, with those presumably on the way, and Project Stream is going to be a big part of that equation in 2019, if not the gaming market in general.

Picture being able to play AAA games at 1080p and 60 FPS on an internet browser, with the only requirements being a decent enough internet connection (the test called for 25 Mbps down, and no mention on minimum upload speeds) and a controller or keyboard/mouse combo. This would have been a pipe dream even with NVIDIA's own take on this, GeForce Now, having been announced significantly earlier. However, that has yet to come out of a private beta test, and even so shows no sign of leaving a limited test region centered around the USA and EU. Perhaps it was fitting then that AMD, with their RadeonPro GPUs providing the horsepower, helped lay the ground for the most convincing public test of game streaming to date.
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