Hardware Giveaway
Monday, August 20th 2018

Today's Reviews

Desktop PC
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB

Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R RGB

Cooler Master seeks to light up your life with their MasterLiquid ML360R RGB. This latest 360 mm all-in-one liquid cooler sets itself apart by offering addressable RGB LEDs on the pump and fans, with software and hub controller giving users complete control over their ARGB experience.

NVIDIA's Move From GTX to RTX Speaks to Belief in Revolutionary Change in Graphics

NVIDIA at its Gamescom-imbued presentation finally took the lid off its long-awaited refresh to its GeForce lineup - and there's more than a thousand increase (and a consonant change) to it. At the Palladium venue in Koln, Germany (which was choke-full with press and NVIDIA-invited attendees), Jensen Huang went on stage to present a video on the advancements of graphics simulation that brought about animations such as Tron, the first Star Wars, the original Tomb Raider, Multi-Texturing on RIVA TNT, and passed through special effects in Hollywood... Every incarnation of the pixels and triangles we've been accustomed to.

We already know the juicy tidbits - the three models being released, when, and their pricing (with a hike to boot on the 2070 graphics card, which sees its price increased by $100 compared to last gen's 1070. We know the cooling solution official NVIDIA cards will sport, and how the company will be pairing efforts with game developers to ensure the extra hardware they've invested time, money, and a name change into will bear fruits. But what's behind this change? What brought us to this point in time? What powered the company's impressive Sol Demo?

NVIDIA Announces Partnerships With Multiple Studios to Bring RTX Tech to Gamers

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang at the company's Koln event announced partnerships with multiple games studios. This is part of NVIDIA's push to bring real time ray tracing and NVIDIA's RTX platforms' achievements to actual games that gamers can play. These encompass heavy hitters such as Battlefield V (DICE), Hitman 2 (IO Interactive), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Crystal Dynamics), Metro Exodus (4A Games) and Control (Remedy Entertainment).

However, not all games are made equal, and NVIDIA knows there are significant gaming experiences coming from other, smaller studios. That's why partnerships have been established with the studios developing games such as We Happy Few (Compulsion Games), Atomic Heart (Mundfish), Assetto Corsa Competizione (Kunos Simulazioni), just to name a few. Of course, RTX's nature as a technology depends on NVIDIA's push for the initial implementation wave, and the company will be looking to bring developers up to speed with all needed programming skills, needs and difficulties inherent to the adoption of any new development framework. However, that DICE have already implemented an Alpha Version of NVIDIA's RTX technology into Battlefield V is surely a good sign.

MSI Unveils its GeForce RTX Series

As the leading brand in True Gaming hardware, MSI has sold over 8 million graphics cards in the last year alone. Today we are extremely proud to share with you our take on NVIDIA's exciting new GeForce RTX 20 series GPUs.

The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs have reinvented graphics and set a new bar for performance. Powered by the new NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and the revolutionary NVIDIA RTX platform, the new graphics cards bring together real-time ray tracing, artificial intelligence, and programmable shading. This is not only a whole new way to experience games-this is the ultimate PC gaming experience.
The new GPUs were unveiled at a special NVIDIA two-day event called the "GeForce Gaming Celebration" which kicked off tonight at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany ahead of Gamescom 2018.

NVIDIA Announces the GeForce RTX: 10 Years in the Making

NVIDIA today unveiled the GeForce RTX series, the first gaming GPUs based on the new NVIDIA Turing architecture and the NVIDIA RTX platform, which fuses next-generation shaders with real-time ray tracing and all-new AI capabilities.

This new hybrid graphics capability represents the biggest generational leap ever in gaming GPUs. Turing -- which delivers 6x more performance than its predecessor, Pascal -- redefines the PC as the ultimate gaming platform, with new features and technologies that deliver 4K HDR gaming at 60 frames per second on even the most advanced titles.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX Series Prices Up To 71% Higher Than Previous Gen

NVIDIA revealed the SEP prices of its GeForce RTX 20-series, and it's a bloodbath in the absence of competition from AMD. The SEP price is the lowest price you'll be able to find a custom-design card at. NVIDIA is pricing its reference design cards, dubbed "Founders Edition," at a premium of 10-15 percent. These cards don't just have a better (looking) cooler, but also slightly higher clock speeds.

The GeForce RTX 2070 is where the lineup begins, for now. This card has an SEP pricing of USD $499. Its Founders Edition variant is priced at $599, or a staggering 20% premium. You'll recall that the previous-generation GTX 1070 launched at $379, with its Founders Edition at $449. The GeForce RTX 2080, which is the posterboy of this series, starts at $699, with its Founders Edition card at $799. The GTX 1080 launched at $599, with $699 for the Founders Edition. Leading the pack is the RTX 2080 Ti, launched at $999, with its Founders Edition variant at $1,199. The GTX 1080 Ti launched at $699, for the Founders Edition no less.

NVIDIA RTX 20-series Founders Edition Cards are Dual-Fan Across the Board

Find specifications of the GeForce RTX 20-series graphics card in our older posts. Turns out, that dual-fan reference coolers are finally here, with NVIDIA implementing it across its GeForce RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition reference boards. Each fan is a 13-blade affair, and the newly-redesigned cooling system allows the RTX 2080, for example, to work at one fifth the noise levels of previous-gen GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, 2070, and 2080 Ti Specifications Revealed

(Update 1: NVIDIA at its Koln event also revealed that these graphics cards were made for overclocking, with highly-improved power regulation and management systems designed just for that purpose. Jensen Huang himself added that these new graphics cards, with their dual 13-blade radial fan design, work at one fifth the audio levels of a previous-gen GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

With product pages and pricing of the GeForce RTX 2080, RTX 2070, and the RTX 2080 Ti going up ahead of formal unveiling. The RTX 2080 leads the pack with 2944 CUDA cores, 1515 MHz GPU clocks, 1710 MHz boost, and 14 Gbps memory; while the RTX 2070 is equipped with 2304 CUDA cores, 1410 MHz GPU clocks, 1620 MHz boost, and an unchanged 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory. The RTX 2080 Ti leads the pack with 4352 CUDA cores, 1350 MHz core, 1545 MHz boost, and 14 Gbps memory, but a wider 352-bit memory interface.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX Pricing Founders Edition Revealed

Redditors noticed NVIDIA published its GeForce RTX product page ahead of product launch. The page reveals MSRP prices for the first three Founders Edition products in the series, the RTX 2080, the RTX 2080 Ti, and the RTX 2070. The RTX 2080 is priced at USD $799.99, followed by the RTX 2080 Ti at $1,299 and the RTX 2070 at $599. All three new graphics cards will begin shipping on the 20th of September, 2018.

NVIDIA Turing has 18.9 Billion Transistors

NVIDIA revealed that "Turing," the chip powering its RTX 2080-series has up to 18.9 billion transistors, making it the second biggest chip ever made (after NVIDIA V100). The Turing chip combines three key components, SM cores (CUDA cores), RT cores, and Tensor cores. The CUDA cores (SM cores) offer 14 TFLOPs of compute power; with tensor cores (4x4x4 matrix multiplication) at 110 TFLOPs FP16; and RT cores processing 10 giga-rays per second (10x over the predecessor).

Shuttle Announces Compact 11.6-inch AIO PC with Multi-touch Display

All-in-one PCs with a touchscreen are clever: They take up a minimum of space, avoid cable clutter, are quick to set up and, as a result, are comparatively mobile. The 15.6" fanless "X50" models have proven this for many years. Shuttle's range of models is now being expanded to include another fanless, but considerably smaller, 11.6" (29.5 cm) version.

Wherever larger all-in-one PCs are out of place, the XPC all-in-one P20U is right at home. Its external dimensions are just 29.9 x 27.1 x 5.0 cm (D x W x H). If tidied cable routing can be dispensed with, the height can be reduced by an additional 6.8 cm by removing the cable collector box on the bottom of the unit which is new with this model.

GIGABYTE Intros B450-I Aorus Pro WiFi Motherboard

GIGABYTE introduced an Aorus-branded, quasi-premium mini-ITX motherboard based on AMD B450 chipset, for socket AM4 processors, the B450-I Aorus Pro WiFi. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, conditioning it for the SoC with a lean 4+2 phase VRM. The AM4 SoC is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and the board's lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

Storage connectivity on the B450-I Aorus Pro WiFi includes an M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring; and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers); and two USB 3.1 gen 2 (both on the rear panel). With just 6-channel jacks, the onboard audio solution may look cheap, but is redeemed by Realtek ALC1220 CODEC. The Intel 9260 adapter is at the helm of wireless networking, with 802.11ac + Bluetooth 5.0, while GbE is handled by Intel i219-V. There's also some RGB LED fun to be had, with two 4-pin ARGB headers, and a small 8-pixel diffuser behind the PCB. GIGABYTE could price this board around $120.

GALAX Confirms Specs of RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti

GALAX spilled the beans on the specifications of two of NVIDIA's upcoming high-end graphics cards, as it's becoming increasingly clear that the company could launch the GeForce RTX 2080 and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti simultaneously, to convince GeForce "Pascal" users to upgrade. The company's strategy appears to be to establish 40-100% performance gains over the previous generation, along with a handful killer features (such as RTX, VirtuaLink, etc.,) to trigger the upgrade-itch.

Leaked slides from GALAX confirm that the RTX 2080 will be based on the TU104-400 ASIC, while the RTX 2080 Ti is based on the TU102-300. The RTX 2080 will be endowed with 2,944 CUDA cores, and a 256-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, holding 8 GB of memory; while the RTX 2080 Ti packs 4,352 CUDA cores, and a 352-bit GDDR6 memory bus, with 11 GB of memory. The memory clock on both is constant, at 14 Gbps. The RTX 2080 has its TDP rated at 215W, and draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors; while the RTX 2080 Ti pulls 250W TDP, drawing power through a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. You also get to spy GALAX' triple-fan non-reference cooling solution in the slides below.

EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC Ultra Pictured

The XC Ultra, a new brand extension by EVGA, could be its flagship graphics card based on the GeForce RTX 2080. Pictured below, this monstrosity is characterized by a 2-slot thick new cooling solution that uses two aluminium fin-stacks, which draw heat from the GPU over five nickel-plated copper heat pipes; ventilated by a pair of 100 mm fans. The cooler shroud is clear acrylic, and unless we're mistaken, the fan intakes are framed by four RGB LED diffusers that put up a light show.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 ASIC is "TU104," Smiles for the Camera

Here are some of the first pictures of the "TU104," the chip at at heart of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, in its top-spec TU104-400A-A1 variant. While the package itself isn't bigger than that of its predecessors, the GP104 and GM204, the die of the TU104 is huge! If it's built on existing silicon fabrication processes such as 14 nm or 12 nm, the TU104 could end up with transistor-counts higher than those of even the GP102.

You'll recall that we posted bare-PCB pictures of this board recently. In its production (or close-to-production) variant, the board draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe connectors, conditioning it with an 8+2 phase VRM. The GPU is surrounded by eight GDDR6 memory chips. Display connectivity includes three DisplayPorts, an HDMI, and a USB type-C (VirtuaLink).

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Reference Design Teased

Here's the first teaser picture of NVIDIA's upcoming super high-end GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, with its most prominent feature being a dual-fan reference-design cooler. Given that blank PCB pictures of the RTX 2080 reference board shows two fan headers, it's possible that NVIDIA could make this dual-fan cooler common for both the RTX 2080 Ti and the RTX 2080+ (a premium 3,072-SP version of the RTX 2080, which could launch in September).

Logitech Goes Vertical With Its Most Advanced Ergonomic Mouse

Today Logitech announced the Logitech MX VERTICAL, its most advanced ergonomic mouse that combines science-driven ergonomic design with the performance of Logitech's high-end/flagship MX series. MX VERTICAL is designed to reduce forearm strain and wrist pressure, while its special 57-degree vertical angle is optimized for an ergonomic posture without compromising on productivity.

"We know that many computer users experience discomfort or pain in their hand, forearm and in their wrists," said Delphine Donne-Crock, general manager of creativity and productivity at Logitech. "To address this, we've created our most advanced ergonomic mouse yet, MX VERTICAL, designed with an innovative natural handshake position. The unique angle is optimized for an ergonomic posture and reduces both wrist pressure and forearm strain. With MX VERTICAL, you can maximize your productivity in comfort."

ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti Pictured

It's not just GIGABYTE, even ASUS has several of its graphics cards leaked to the web. We see pictures of at least three products by the company, an ROG Strix-branded RTX 2080, a cheaper RTX 1080 Dual, and a rather basic-looking RTX 2080 Ti. The new-generation DirectCU III cooler introduced with the ROG Strix RTX 2080 looks more menacing than ever. The 2.5-slot cooler appears to feature two large aluminium fin-stacks, ventilated by three 100 mm spinners, with up to 5 copper heat pipes making direct contact with the GPU at the base. The RTX 2080 Dual features a much simpler fin-stack cooler, ventilated by just two 90 mm spinners. The RTX 2080 Ti Turbo features a lateral-blower cooler, and may be priced on par with NVIDIA's reference design.

GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Cards Pictured

It looks like NVIDIA has a bonanza in store for later today (20th August), with pictures emerging of not just custom-design GeForce RTX 2080, but also RTX 2080 Ti. The cycle of leaks begins with GIGABYTE, which curiously lacks Aorus branding for its cards. There are four SKUs in all: the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming OC 11G, GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Ti WindForce OC 11G, GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming OC 8G, and GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce OC 8G. The OC variants feature a 2.5-slot thick cooler, while the non-OC versions are strictly 2-slot.

All four feature variants of GIGABYTE's latest generation of WindForce 3X triple-fan coolers. The cooler features three aluminium fin stacks that are fed heat by 4-5 copper heat pipes that make direct contact with the GPU at the base. Power is drawn from two 8-pin PCIe connectors. Display outputs are an interesting mix, including three full-size DisplayPorts, an HDMI port, and a USB type-C with DisplayPort (+ USB-PD?) wiring.

USB Type-C with DisplayPort+USB Wiring Could Get a Big Push by NVIDIA

With its GeForce "Maxwell" family, NVIDIA, riding on the multi-monitor fad, began equipping its graphics cards with up to three DisplayPort connectors, besides an HDMI, and optionally, a legacy DVI connector. Prior to that generation, AMD dabbled with equipping its cards with two mini-DisplayPorts, besides two DVI and an HDMI.

With the latest GeForce RTX "Turing" family, NVIDIA could push for the adoption of USB type-C connectors with DisplayPort wiring, and perhaps even USB-PD standards compliance, pushing up to 60 Watts of power from the same port. This USB+DP+Power connector is called VirtuaLink. This could make it easier for VR HMD manufacturers to design newer generations of their devices with a single USB type-C connection for display and audio input form the GPU, USB input from the system, and power. We reckon 60W is plenty of power for a VR HMD.

Tranquil PC Intros Three Ryzen Embedded Based Fanless Mini PCs

British PC maker Tranquil PC is making its comeback with three new fanless mini PCs based on AMD Ryzen Embedded SoCs. The three are part of the "mini multi display" series, and are its variants, named "Basic," "Advance," and "Advance+." The three feature Tranquil PC's latest octagonal fanless aluminium chassis measuring 180 mm x 157 mm x 54 mm. The body panels of the case double up as heatsink for the sub-25 Watt SoCs. Connectivity is common between the three. On the front-panel, you get two USB 3.0 ports, one of which is type-C; HDA audio jacks, and interestingly an RS232 serial COM port.

The rear panel gives you access to four DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, which can each drive a 4K UHD display; two additional type-A USB 3.0 ports, two 1 GbE interfaces, and hardpoints for the WLAN antennae (802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1). SoC variant and storage is what differentiates the three. The Basic trim gives you a Ryzen Embedded V1202B (2-core/4-thread, up to 3.20 GHz) chip, 8 GB of DDR4 memory, and 256 GB of SSD storage. The Advance trim gets you the faster 4-core/8-thread Ryzen Embedded V1605B (up to 3.60 GHz); 16 GB of memory, and 256 GB SSD storage. The Advance+ trim steps that up with 32 GB of memory, and 1 TB of SSD storage. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 Series Specifications Pieced Together

Later today (20th August), NVIDIA will formally unveil its GeForce RTX 2000 series consumer graphics cards. This marks a major change in the brand name, triggered with the introduction of the new RT Cores, specialized components that accelerate real-time ray-tracing, a task too taxing on conventional CUDA cores. Ray-tracing and DNN acceleration requires SIMD components to crunch 4x4x4 matrix multiplication, which is what RT cores (and tensor cores) specialize at. The chips still have CUDA cores for everything else. This generation also debuts the new GDDR6 memory standard, although unlike GeForce "Pascal," the new GeForce "Turing" won't see a doubling in memory sizes.

NVIDIA is expected to debut the generation with the new GeForce RTX 2080 later today, with market availability by end of Month. Going by older rumors, the company could launch the lower RTX 2070 and higher RTX 2080+ by late-September, and the mid-range RTX 2060 series in October. Apparently the high-end RTX 2080 Ti could come out sooner than expected, given that VideoCardz already has some of its specifications in hand. Not a lot is known about how "Turing" compares with "Volta" in performance, but given that the TITAN V comes with tensor cores that can [in theory] be re-purposed as RT cores; it could continue on as NVIDIA's halo SKU for the client-segment.
Friday, August 17th 2018

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards

Thermaltake Releases New Level 20 GT RGB Plus Edition and Level 20 GT Edition

Thermaltake releases Level 20 GT RGB Plus Edition and Level 20 GT Edition Chassis, adding new premium full towers to the Level 20 collection. Featuring a gaming-oriented design with architectural aesthetics, Level 20 GT RGB Plus features four tempered glass windows with hinged door and smart lock designs for master durability and superb viewing capability. The Level 20 GT RGB Plus is installed with latest USB Type-C and USB 3.0 I/O Port. With high-end complete solution, it supports motherboards up to standard E-ATX and a patented rotational PCI-E bracket design that supports SLI vertical GPU mount.

Furthermore, the Level 20 GT RGB Plus is preinstalled with two Riing Plus 20 RGB and one Riing Plus 14 RGB fans, which can be controlled by TT RGB PLUS Software, allowing users to custom control fan speeds and lighting effects. Compatible with the latest PC hardware, AIO and DIY liquid cooling solutions, the commemorative Level 20 GT RGB Plus Edition Full-Tower Chassis declares a traditional refinement and contemporary mechanism to all the gamers and enthusiasts. As to Level 20 GT Edition, it shares most of the same traits with the RGB Plus Edition except for the preinstalled fans. Level 20 GT Edition is preinstalled with one 140 mm Riing LED Blue fans and options for up to two 200mm front/top fans for maximum airflows.

QNAP Releases the Intel Dual-core TS-251B SOHO NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the 2-bay TS-251B NAS. Powered by an Intel J3355 dual-core processor, the TS-251B provides home and SOHO users with an excellent cross-device multimedia experience with its 4K media transcoding and streaming capabilities, 4K HDMI output, and a wide range of backup and sharing applications. The TS-251B also provides a PCIe slot to expand its core functionality.

With its PCIe slot, users can easily expand the functionality of the TS-251B. A QNAP QM2 card can be installed to add M.2 SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity; a compatible wireless adapter (e.g. QNAP QWA-AC2600) to create a wireless storage and streaming environment; a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) card to increase the number of USB ports; or a QNAP QXG-10G1T 10GbE network expansion card to add 10GbE connectivity.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Second Quarter Fiscal 2019

NVIDIA today reported revenue for the second quarter ended July 29, 2018, of $3.12 billion, up 40 percent from $2.23 billion a year earlier, and down 3 percent from $3.21 billion in the previous quarter.

GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $1.76, up 91 percent from $0.92 a year ago and down 11 percent from $1.98 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.94, up 92 percent from $1.01 a year earlier and down 5 percent from $2.05 in the previous quarter.

"Growth across every platform - AI, Gaming, Professional Visualization, self-driving cars - drove another great quarter," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Fueling our growth is the widening gap between demand for computing across every industry and the limits reached by traditional computing. Developers are jumping on the GPU-accelerated computing model that we pioneered for the boost they need.

Intel Confirms Soldered IHS for 9th Gen Core Series

Soldered integrated heatspreader has been a longstanding demand of PC enthusiasts for Intel's premium "K" mainstream-desktop processors. With AMD implementing it across all its "Summit Ridge" and "Pinnacle Ridge" Ryzen AM4 processors, just enough pressure for built on Intel. The company, in a leaked slide, confirmed the feature-set of its upcoming 9th generation "K" Core processors, which highlights "STIM" (soldered thermal interface material) for this chip. It shows that STIM could be exclusive to the "K" series SKUs, namely the i9-9900K, i7-9700K, and i5-9600K.

The slides also list out the clock speeds and cache sizes of the three first 9th generation desktop SKUs, confirming that the Core i7-9700K will indeed be the first Core i7 desktop SKU ever to lack HyperThreading. The TDP of the 8-core chips don't seem to breach the 95W TDP barrier Intel seems to have set for its MSDT processors. The slides also seem to confirm that the upcoming Z390 Express chipset doesn't bring any new features, besides having stronger CPU VRM specifications than the Z370. Intel seems to recommend the Z390 to make the most out of its 8-core chips.
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