Tuesday, October 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Motherboards
Mouse
Mousepads
SSD
Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP 11 GB

Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP 11 GB

Zotac's RTX 2080 Ti AMP is the company's current GeForce RTX flagship. The card is built around a large triple-slot, triple-fan cooler that delivers amazing temperatures of only 65°C. It's the first custom-design that we review that's sold at a price matching the NVIDIA Founders Edition: $1,199.
Crucial P1 NVMe M.2 SSD 1 TB

Crucial P1 NVMe M.2 SSD 1 TB

Crucial has finally released their first M.2 NVMe solid-state-drive. The Crucial P1 SSD is built using QLC NAND flash, which is the next generation in flash memory, promising lower cost per GB than previous technologies. In our testing we see good results that are competitive with popular TLC drives like the Samsung 970 EVO and the Intel 760p.

Paul Allen, billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philantropist, dies at 65

Something changed forever in a little school in Seattle in the early 1970s. Paul Allen met Bill Gates there, and from that moment on the duo would work together to start Microsoft in 1975. Well, it wasn't Microsoft at that time, it was "Micro-Soft". Eight years later Allen would have to leave Microsoft after receiving a Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis. He kept his shares at Microsoft -Gates tried to buy out them at $5 per share-, a decision that allowed him to become a billionaire, an investor and a philanthropist.

He invested in several companies and became a celebrated sports team owner. He purchased Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, but he was also devoted to philanthropy, giving contributions worth more than $2 billion to several projects and organizations. He won all those battles and even beat cancer both in 1982 and in 2009. On October 1, 2018, Allen wrote on Twitter "Recently, I learned the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma I battled in 2009 has returned. I've begun treatment & my doctors are optimistic that I will see a good result. Appreciate the support I've received & count on it as I fight this challenge.". He finally didn't make it and died yesterday, October 15, 2018. RIP.

This is the Trailer for Battlefield V War Stories, a Single-Player Mode That Prepares Us For the Fight

Not quite much had been shown for Battlefield V single-player mode, but EA and DICE have finally released the first trailer that allows us to take a sneak peak at the promising "War Stories" missions. The game will not feature a classic single player mode with a long story focused on one character. Instead, it will include four different missions that bring us to different locations and characters. Those will make us familiarize with several scenarios, weapons and vehicles in the game.

The missions take place in locations such as Nordlys, where we will have to resist German occupation in Norway. There's another mission where we will have to sabotage behind enemy lines as an unlikely English soldier. Tiralleur is the third single-player War Story, and will follow the Senegalese units of the French Colonial Forces, while the last mission (available in December) is called The Last Tiger and will make us join the crew of a Tiger I as they question why they fight. Battlefield V is out worldwide November 20 after the announced delay a few weeks ago.

DataLocker Announces the Sentry K300 Encrypted Portable SSD with Keypad

DataLocker, Inc., a leading provider of encryption solutions, today announced that the company's recently announced DataLocker Sentry K300 encrypted flash drive is in stock and now available for order. When the company first introduced the K300 at RSA 2018, attendees gave the company a very positive reaction to the industry's first menu driven encrypted keypad flash drive featuring AES 256-bit encryption, an alpha-numeric keypad, enhanced security features, and up to 256GB capacity, all developed around DataLocker's "Simply Secure" design principles. Since RSA, the K300 has passed FIPS 197 and IP57 certifications. The Sentry K300 is available for purchase from major resellers and distributors worldwide.

The Sentry K300 is the industry's only platform-independent and OS agnostic keypad flash drive which incorporates an OLED display and represents the next generation of encrypted data storage products. In addition to the display's true alpha-numeric password-based authentication, the Sentry K300 offers users a full featured, visual based menu driven system to easily change passwords, set password policy and enable other security features without needing to consult a user manual. The Sentry K300 utilizes micro SSD flash memory to offer unparalleled speed and performance.

CORSAIR Launches Force Series MP510 M.2 PCIe NMVe SSD

CORSAIR , a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the CORSAIR Force Series MP510 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, the latest and fastest in its range of M.2 solid state drives. The MP510 delivers blazing fast sequential read speeds up to 3,480MB/sec, and sequential write speeds up to 3,000 MB/s, making it CORSAIR's highest performing SSD yet.

Available in 240 GB, 480 GB, 960 GB, and 1920 GB capacities, the MP510 offers extreme storage performance in the ultra-compact and simple M.2 2280 form factor, fitting directly into a motherboard or notebook. Utilizing the ultra high-speed NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 interface for maximum bandwidth, the MP510 leaves traditional SATA 6Gbps and even previous generation M.2 SSDs in the dust. Loading everything from large video and image files to games, applications or the operating system faster than ever before, the MP510 supercharges your system's performance, whatever you're doing.

QNAP Introduces TS-351 3-bay Home NAS

Following the releases of the TS-328 (powered by a Realtek CPU) and the TS-332X (powered by an AnnapurnaLabs CPU), QNAP Systems, Inc. today completes the 3-bay RAID 5 NAS lineup with the introduction of the high-end home NAS TS-351. The TS-351 is powered by an Intel Celeron J1800 processor, and includes a wide range of features for media streaming, instant sharing, HDMI-output, and auto-tiering for optimal storage efficiency. The TS-351 provides homes and home offices with an excellent file management and multimedia entertainment center.

The high-performance TS-351 uses an Intel Celeron J1800 dual-core 2.41 GHz processor (burst up to 2.58 GHz), features 2 GB/4 GB DDR3L memory (upgradable to 8 GB), supports SATA 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s disks, and enables AES 256-bit encryption for both full volumes and shared folders. Featuring a minimalist design with effective airflow and cooling, the TS-351 can easily fit home space. Its tool-less 3.5-inch hard drive installation allows easy system setup and maintenance.

Tesoro Launches GRAM Spectrum TKL Mechanical Keyboard on November 1, 2018

The GRAM Spectrum TKL Mechanical Keyboard follows the award winning GRAM Spectrum, delivering a low profile design in a compact version. Featuring the Tesoro's low-profile Agile Switch, the GRAM TKL offers precise keystrokes, fast response and accurate actuation available within a shorter, beautiful tenkeyless body. Experience typing and gaming with an ergonomic, aligned mouse placement for optimal comfort with hours of use. While compact in size, features, functionality and customization are robust and plentiful with the GRAM TKL. Enhanced RGB with 16.8M color customization, the GRAM TKL is housed within double injected PBT keycaps and casing made from high-strength steel plate.

Inno3D Announces its GeForce RTX 2070 Series Graphics Cards

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of awesome high-end graphics hardware components and various innovations enriching your life, introduces a new family member to the INNO3D gaming graphics cards line, the GeForce RTX 2070. The line-up of this series will consist of the TWIN X2 and X2 OC version. 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 INNO3D GeForce RTX 2070 X2 OC Edition is designed for gamers who demand round-the-clock excellent performance with 24/7 gameplay. The intricate design for this cooling system comprises of 2 x 92mm ultra quiet fans, INNO3D unique Power Direct Cooling System (P.D.C.S), AI full-Stop-Mode technology and strand reinforcing backplate, offering the most efficient heat transfer and the best gaming performance at ultra-low noise levels.

Roccat Announces Kone Pure Owl-Eye White and Khan AIMO White

Black products are a tradition with the German gaming peripherals manufacturer, with the Kone Pure Gaming Mouse being the first white ROCCAT product that was introduced back in 2013. Today ROCCAT offers various products in white giving different options for gamers' set-ups.

Often requested from ROCCAT's customers, the Kone Pure Owl Eye and the Khan AIMO are perfect additions to the white collection the manufacturer already counts in its portfolio. Both products are perfect peripherals to display RGB lighting and boast the same technology of the other colour variants.

be quiet! Announces Dark Rock Pro TR4: High-end Air Cooler for AMD Ryzen Threadripper

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for twelve consecutive years, announces Dark Rock Pro TR4, its high-end air cooler for AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processors. Dark Rock Pro TR4 is part of the Dark Rock 4 cooler family and features a large base plate, optimized for Socket TR4 CPUs. With a sleek design and smart optimizations, Dark Rock Pro TR4 targets demanding workstation users needing the best performance at extremely low noise levels.

Party Like It's 1998: Winamp to See New 2019 Release With Modern Features

I myself never used Winamp - I was a Windows Media Player kind of guy back then, yeah - but I'm well aware of its cult status among users of that times' PC's. The app's latest official version was released back in 2013, but a new version (release 5.8) will hit the scene soon - at first, with bug fixes and removal of Pro features for a more cohesive package.

Radionomy, the company that purchased Winamp back in 2014, has announced via its CEO, Alexandre Saboundjian, that "There will be a completely new version next year, with the legacy of Winamp but a more complete listening experience." This means eventual added support for modern features that have become quintessential to our consumption of audio media, such as playlists, podcasts, streaming radio stations, and others. The new release is pegged for a 2019 launch, though details are scarce in the fields for now.

iBase Announces MI995: Low-Power Mini-ITX Motherboard With 8th Gen Intel Xeon E / Core Processors

IBASE Technology Inc. (TPEx: 8050), a leader in the manufacture of industrial motherboards and embedded systems, announces the new MI995 in mini ITX form factor (170x170 mm) based on the latest 8th Gen Intel Core / Xeon E family processors and Intel CM246/QM370 mobile chipset.

The MI995 low-power Mini-ITX delivers stunning graphics and media performance and supports up to three independent displays in eDP, HDMI 2.0a, DVI-D and DisplayPort outputs, which makes it ideal for gaming/entertainment, digital signage and POS applications. The motherboard has two DDR4-2666 SO-DIMM sockets accepting up to 32GB memory with ECC. Apart from enhanced performance of CPU and graphics, the MI995 features optimized I/O with onboard 6x USB 3.1, 4x USB 2.0, 4x COM, and up to 4x SATA III to empower real-time IoT and data-intensive applications.

NVIDIA Releases Comparison Benchmarks for DLSS-Accelerated 4K Rendering

NVIDIA released comparison benchmarks for its new AI-accelerated DLSS technology, which is part of their new Turing architecture's call to fame. Using the Infiltrator benchmark with its stunning real-time graphics, NVIDIA showcased the performance benefits of using DLSS-improved 4K rendering instead of the usual 4K rendering + TAA (Temporal Anti-Aliasing). Using a Core i9-7900X 3.3GHz CPU paired with 16 GB of Corsair DDR4 memory, Windows 10 (v1803) 64-bit, and version 416.25 of the NVIDIA drivers, the company showed tremendous performance improvements that can be achieved with the pairing of both Turing's architecture strengths and the prowess of DLSS in putting Tensor cores to use in service of more typical graphics processing workloads.

The results speak for themselves: with DLSS at 4K resolution, the upcoming NVIDIA RTX 2070 convincingly beats its previous-gen pair by doubling performance. Under these particular conditions, the new king of the hill, the RTX 2080 Ti, convincingly beats the previous gen's halo product in the form of the Titan Xp, with a 41% performance lead - but so does the new RTX 2070, which is being sold at half the asking price of the original Titan Xp.

Crucial Announces the P1 M.2 NVMe SSD with QLC NAND Flash

Crucial, a leading consumer brand of Micron Technology for memory and storage upgrades, today announced the availability of the Crucial P1 SSD, a PC storage device that leverages the NVMe PCIe interface and Micron's leading-edge QLC technology to deliver fast capacity for less. This is an expansion of Crucial's award-winning portfolio of dependable, high-performing, and affordable SSDs.

The Crucial P1 SSD delivers category-leading, real-world performance. PCMark 8 benchmarks show that the drive is capable of mixed-mode throughputs of up to 565 MB/s, with a composite score of 5,084, which outperforms similar SSDs within the price category. With sequential read/write speeds up to 2,000/1,700 MB/s, the P1 provides unwavering performance via hybrid-dynamic write acceleration, a unique SLC cache implementation. The drive offers an MTTF of 1.8 million hours and an endurance of up to 200 TB total bytes written, with power usage at an active average of 100mW.

AeroCool Intros Playa Slim Micro-ATX Case

AeroCool introduced the Playa Slim, a slim tower-type micro-ATX case that can be oriented sideways for living room shelves. Its motherboard tray seats micro-ATX or mini-ITX motherboards, with room for up to five low-profile (half-height) add-on cards 18~24 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 8 cm in height. Storage options include a 5.25-inch drive bay (which you'll need for your Blu-ray drive), and a 2.5-inch internal drive bay. Ventilation includes just two 80 mm fan vents. Front-panel connectivity includes two USB 3.0 type-A ports, and HDA jacks, although an IR receiver is a notable absentee. An concealed power-supply bay holds SFX PSUs, with an AC receptacle relaying power to it. The case measures 100 mm x 380 mm x 300 mm (WxDxH), weighing about 2.6 kg.

AMD Updates Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.1 with New Regional SKU Support

AMD late Monday updated its Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.1 beta drivers, without changing version numbers, to support some of the new regional SKUs the company launched over the weekend, including a variant of the Radeon RX 580 with only 2,048 stream processors instead of the normal 2,304; and the RX 580G and RX 570G. Besides this, the driver is unchanged from the original 18.10.1 drivers AMD released late last week. We have uploaded these latest drivers to our Downloads section.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.1

Mushkin Intros Source M.2-SATA SSDs

Mushkin introduced M.2-SATA variants of its cost-effective Source SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drives feature SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The drives combine a Silicon Motion SM2258XT DRAM-less controller with Micron 3D TLC NAND flash, and comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. On tap are sequential read speeds of up to 560 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes; up to 78,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 81,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Among its unique features are LPDC ECC, Data Shaping, Global Wear-leveling, Static Data-refresh, and MEDS (Muskin Enhanced Data-protection Suite), an imaging and data-backup software. The drives are backed by 3-year warranties, and could be priced mostly under the $100-mark, except for the 960 GB variant.
Monday, October 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Input Devices
Keyboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Speakers
SSD
Storage
QSAN XN3002T 2-bay NAS

QSAN XN3002T 2-bay NAS

The QSAN XN3002T has a distinctive nice look and uses a promising operating system utilizing the ZFS filesystem, which is known for its increased data protection. In order to boost performance you can add an SSD-based caching layer. However, is it worth its high asking price of $499?
Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB

Samsung 970 EVO 500 GB

The Samsung 970 EVO is the company's offering for users who want the blazing speeds of NVMe, but aren't willing to pay premium for the 970 Pro. Read speeds of the 970 EVO match the 970 Pro; writes are lower, but still very good at 1.7 GB/s.

AMD Could Cut Prices of 2nd Gen Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Processors

AMD's first response to Intel's 9th generation Core "Coffee Lake Refresh" processors could be that of 5-10% price-cuts of its Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors across the board, according to a pricing list compiled by Techspot. These cuts could see the company's Ryzen 7 2700X priced just below the $300-mark. These cuts will be introduced not just by AMD, but also retailers.

The $200-300 segment could get crowded, with the 8-core/16-thread 2700X at around $295, the Ryzen 7 2700 (non-X) at $265, and the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 2600X drop to around $210. Intel's only sub-$300 offering from its 9th generation family is the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K. The sub-$200 segment will see the Ryzen 5 2600 go for $160, a rather compelling price for a 6-core/12-thread chip, given that Intel's cheapest 6-core offering, the i5-8400, is now retailing for $220, and that the company only has the quad-core i3-8350K around this price, at $170.

GIGABYTE Z390 OC Guide Suggests Intel 9000 Series Processors Will Run Hot Even With Custom Watercooling

It seems that by the time NDA drops on Intel's latest and greatest mainstream processor platform, we will have known more about it than ever before with similar launches. GIGABYTE joined the club with the release of their Z390 overclocking (OC) guide specific to their AORUS-branded motherboards. This contains a lot of useful information in general, and we certainly recommend taking a look at it in the source linked in the full post. As it is, a few items in the guide caught our eye- in particular, a direct quote saying "As you can tell from the last screenshots, the CPU temperature of the i9-9900k is quite high. This is something that we've noticed on almost all the processors. For this reason we suggest you to use a custom water-cooling and adjust the TjMAX Temperature to 110°C."

The quote references their guide to achieve a stable 5 GHz overclock on all cores on the Core i9-9900K, which was cooled via a custom watercooled setup and a Vcore ranging from 1.3-1.4 V. GIGABYTE's internal testing thus indicates that these higher end, unlocked 9000-series CPUs will run incredibly hot if you wish to push them, and the soldered IHS may not be as effective in cooling these dense processors as we may have hoped. Indeed, with news of the 28-core Xeon using thermal paste for the IHS, it appears that Intel may be conflicted on optimal cooling when battling the Core Wars with AMD.

AMD Launches a 2048SP Version of the RX 580 in China: An RX 570 in Disguise?

In a silent event that occurred earlier today, AMD's Chinese product page for the Radeon RX 580 graphics card now shows a new addition- the RX 580 2048SP. Contrary to every other RX 580 on the website, including OEM and system integrator solutions, this new SKU has 256 fewer stream processors (2304 vs 2048, respectively). As it turns out, this appears to be a China-only graphics solution that launched on October 15, 2018 and TechPowerUp can confirm this is a Polaris 20-based Radeon product as well.

Looking purely at the specifications, this appears to be an RX 570 with a higher boost frequency (up to 1284 MHz vs 1244 MHz), so this is a confusing strategy by AMD to call it an RX 580 instead. The tinfoil hat nearby suggests that this may well be taking advantage of consumers who go simply by the name scheme and do not look up what a stream processor is, and indeed this is similar to what AMD did last year with the downgraded Radeon RX 560 that started out to be a Chinese-region product and then found its way elsewhere as well. Retailers have started listing this as a product available for consumer purchase already, and a search for RX 580 brings up both these and the other versions together. Not cool, AMD, not cool.

Benchmarks for Intel Core i5-9600K Leak, Can Be Overclocked to 5.2 GHz On Air

The first official data we have received about the performance of the new Intel processors are not exactly spectacular. The Core i9-9900K has aroused considerable controversy due to the unfair Principled Technologies test bench. The results have been reviewed and confirm that the performance gain is debatable, but independent analyses have yet to appear for Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K processors.

Today we have some info about one of them: a new video in China shows a Core i5-9600K being benchmarked with a MSI Z390 MEG Godlike motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 memory and a Silver Arrow Extreme cooler from Thermalright. We don't have game benchmarks, but at least we have some Cinebench results both with the processor working with its 3.7 GHz base clock and overcloked to 5.2 GHz. That process was done without problems despite using an air cooler.

Intel 9th Gen LGA1151 Processors Support Up to 128GB of Memory

Intel's 6-core "Coffee Lake" die was essentially a "Kaby Lake" die with two extra cores, and no physical changes to other components, such as iGPU or uncore. With its new 8-core "Coffee Lake" Refresh silicon, Intel has turned its attention to not just increasing the core-count, but also improving the processor's integrated memory controller, in addition to hardware fixes to certain security vulnerabilities. The 128-bit wide (dual-channel) integrated memory controller now supports up to 128 GB of memory. Intel's current DDR4-capable mainstream desktop processors only support up to 64 GB, as do rival AMD's Ryzen socket AM4 processors.

Support for up to 128 GB explains the emergence of off-spec memory standards such as ASUS' Double Capacity (DC) DIMMs. Samsung is ready with a JEDEC-compliant 32 GB dual-rank UDIMM memory module for client platforms. Introduction of 32 GB UDIMMs also comes amidst reports of DRAM pricing cool-off through 2019, which could make 32 GB dual-channel memory kits consisting of two 16 GB UDIMMs more affordable. The increase in maximum memory amount could also indicate Intel's seriousness to introduce 3D Xpoint-based Optane Persistent Memory modules as alternatives to DRAM-based main memory, with higher capacities compensating for worse latencies and data-rates compared to DRAM.

Dell Announces U4919DW Dual Quad HD Monitor: 49", 5120 x 1440, 60 Hz, 3800R, USB-C

Dell today announced the monster of ultrawide monitors, and the world's first Dual Quad HD monitor, in the form of the U4919DW. This 49" monitor sports a 5120 x 1440 resolution on a 60 Hz panel. The panel is of the IPS type with the usual LED edge lighting we've come to expect, which is much cheaper than any form of local dimming technology. The 3800R curve should help users keep the monitor's screen real-estate in their field of vision, which would be harder to do with a flat panel; and the screen's diagoal basically precludes its usage in a multi-monitor setup.

NVIDIA Recreates Lunar Landing with RTX Technology and Ray Tracing

NVIDIA has released an exquisite lunar landing recreation powered by their RTX technology, bringing a fresh coat of paint to their previous iteration of the video. The new version goes to great lengths to showcase exactly what ray tracing is all about: those little, graphics-card-accelerated rays of light interact perfectly with objects and their physical qualities. This means reflections, ambient occlusion, shadows, and the entire graphics reality - no longer effects - that ensues.

Developed under Unreal Engine 4 with a ray-tracing capable graphics path, this is a serious showcase of actual physically-accurate lighting, and NVIDIA, of course, took the opportunity to throw in a time-travel joke for how good their RTX graphics cards are in rendering reality. Can't really blame the green company, though.

Alleged AMD RX 590 3D Mark Time Spy Scores Surface

Benchmark scores for 3D Mark's Time Spy have surface, and are purported to represent the performance level of an unidentified "Generic VGA" - which is being identified as AMD's new 12 nm Polaris revision. The RX 590 product name makes almost as much sense as it doesn't, though; for one, there's no real reason to release another entire RX 600 series, unless AMD is giving the 12 nm treatment to the entire lineup (which likely wouldn't happen, due to the investment in fabrication process redesign and node capacity required for such). As such, the RX 590 moniker makes sense if AMD is only looking to increase its competitiveness in the sub-$300 space as a stop-gap until they finally have a new graphics architecture up their shader sleeves.

HyperX Ships 60 Million Memory Modules

As HyperX begins shipping Cloud Mix , its first Bluetooth-enabled gaming and lifestyle headset this month, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc. today announced that since its inception in 2002, it has shipped over 60 million memory modules, billions of bytes of memory. Chosen by OEMs, PC builders, overclockers, and the gaming community, HyperX has steadily grown as the largest independent gaming memory module manufacturer and performance leader. With this major milestone and the growth in sales of headsets, keyboards and mice, HyperX is projected to exceed $550 million in total revenue for branded products in 2018.

Since HyperX launched 16 years ago, it has increasingly expanded its product line and market reach. The HyperX brand is not only recognized for delivering high quality memory products, but also as a peripherals leader, providing gaming headsets, keyboards, mice, and mousepads to gamers across the globe. The HyperX Engineering Labs and engineering team is committed to developing technology to bring new performance memory products to the PC, mini-PC and notebook markets. HyperX provides a variety of memory solutions, including Predator DIMMs for high performance PC builds, FURY DIMMs for gamers building affordable PCs, and Impact SODIMMs for notebook updates and system builds.

Sharkoon Announces Pure Steel RGB Minimalist Case

With the PURE STEEL, Sharkoon Technologies introduces an ATX midi tower which puts individual creativity into the foreground. The spacious case catches the eye with its minimalist steel body and almost frameless side panel made of tempered glass. In combination with a power supply tunnel which is situated in the top of the case, the side panel should provide an optimal view of the individualized hardware configuration - including the illuminated fan of the power supply. The blank and inconspicuous front panel can thus become the actual side panel. The case would therefore be appropriate as a hardware showroom to be placed on the table top. Those wishing to put a special frame around their hardware can do so using the steel chassis - with its black or white foundation - as a blank canvass for various modding ideas.

For a worthwhile display of the hardware, the PURE STEEL should also be able to incorporate demanding components such as mainboards with dual or multi-processors, CPU coolers with a maximum height of 16 cm as well as graphic cards with a maximum length of 42 cm. A rubberized support is also pre-installed which prevents any sagging of the graphics card.

MSI Working on GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z

MSI is working on its next-generation flagship graphics card, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z (going by previous naming conventions for the Lightning). The card will be positioned above its current Gaming X Trio, as well as the liquid-cooled SeaHawk series, and it's possible there could be a sub-variant with factory-fitted full-coverage water-block. As with previous generation cards that bear the name, the card could have the highest factory overclock in MSI's product stack, the strongest VRM setup that's voltmod-friendly, and a gargantuan cooling solution for its air-cooled sub-variant. There's no word on when MSI could roll the beast out. MSI teased the card with a final slide in one of its media events in China, which depicts lightning bolts captioned "Coming Soon."

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 2.13.0

TechPowerUp today released GPU-Z 2.13.0, our graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility. Version 2.13.0 introduces fixes to some of the major bugs reported by our users. To begin with, it corrects missing fan-speed sensors for pre-Turing NVIDIA graphics processors running on GeForce R400 release (or newer) drivers. Some rare crashes during GPU-Z start-up have been corrected. The "take screenshot" tooltip will no longer be part of the screenshot. We also improved the "minimize on close" behavior.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.13.0

The change-log follows.

Intel Xeon W-3175X to Lack STIM, Retain Thermal Paste for IHS

Soldered thermal interface material, or STIM, has been one of Intel's key feature-additions to its high-end 9th generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Besides higher clock-speeds, STIM is the only feature that sets its refreshed Core X 9000-series family apart from Core X 7000-series. STIM is also only given to the i9-9900K and i7-9700K in the mainstream-desktop space. The 28-core Xeon W-3175X was touted by Intel to be a high-end desktop (HEDT) processor initially, before Intel decided to retain the Xeon brand and target the gray-area between HEDTs and workstations. This also means that the W-3175X will lack STIM, as confirmed by an Intel spokesperson in an interview with PC World.

Soldered TIM is preferred by PC enthusiasts as it offers superior heat-transfer between the CPU die and the integrated heatspreader. Intel's decision to equip the Core X 9000-series and higher-end Coffee Lake-Refresh parts with it, is aimed at improving the thermals and overclocking headrooms of its products. The lack of STIM for the W-3175X speaks for its intended use-case - a workstation processor that can be overclocked, provided it's de-lidded and cooled by exotic methods such as liquid nitrogen evaporators. Intel's branding decisions could be guided by AMD's decision to side-brand its 24-core and 32-core Ryzen Threadripper processors as "WX," which focuses on their workstation proficiency while slightly toning down their PC enthusiast appeal.

Rosewill Prism S500 Is a Horizontally Partitioned Case with Bottom Compartment Up Top

Eons ago, when dinosaurs walked the Earth, ATX cases featured PSU bays above the motherboard tray, which found its rightful place below, so a PSU could breathe outside air from an intake vent, and direct it outside the case, instead of scooping up air from the motherboard's various hot components. The Rosewill Prism S500 is contemporary up to the point where it features a horizontally partitioned interior; but that the smaller half that packs the PSU bay and drive cages, is located above the larger half with the motherboard tray. A vent is located where most PSUs have their intake fans.

This layout means that the top panel is now completely devoid of any fan vents (which means no dust intake); and the bottom intake is freed up for a long vent that can hold up to three 120 mm fans in a row. There's also a side exhaust that can hold up to two 120 mm vents, and the 120 mm rear exhaust where you'd expect it to be. The motherboard tray has room for graphics cards up to 44 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height. Lighting includes two RGB LED diffusers the accentuate the front panel's edges, and ring diffusers framing each of the six included 120 mm fans. All illuminated components feature addressable-RGB connections, so you could plug them directly to your motherboard's headers and control via software. Measuring 210 mm x 475 mm x 470 mm (WxHxD), the case weighs about 8 kg.

GIGABYTE Intros DDR4 Memory Modules with Chunkier Heatspreaders

GIGABYTE expanded its teething DDR4 memory lineup with a new 16 GB (2x 8 GB) dual-channel DDR4 memory kit, called simply "GIGABYTE Memory 2666MHz." These modules lack the Aorus branding featured on the company's very first DDR4 modules. You instead get 32 mm tall, 7 mm-thick modules with a restrained design, and plain GIGABYTE branding.

One area where the company refined its design is the heatspreaders, which are thicker, and have more mass to them, even if they lack finnage. GIGABYTE's module does what it says on the tin - DDR4-2666 with 16-16-16-35 timings, at 1.2 Volts. Out of the box, it packs both JEDEC and XMP SPD profiles. Memory controllers that support DDR4-2666 (such as Intel "Coffee Lake" and later), should run it at the advertised speeds without any user intervention. For older platforms, an XMP 2.0 profile helps achieve the advertised settings. The modules are backed by lifetime warranty.
Sunday, October 14th 2018

AMD "Zen" Does Support FMA4, Just Not Exposed

With its "Zen" CPU microarchitecture, AMD removed support for the FMA4 instruction-set, on paper. This, while retaining FMA3. Level1Techs discovered that "Zen" CPUs do support FMA4 instructions, even through the instruction-set is not exposed to the operating system. FMA, or fused multiply add, is an efficient way to compute linear algebra. FMA3 and FMA4 are not generations of the instruction-set (unlike SSE3 and SSE4), but rather the digit denotes the number of operands per instruction. Support for both were introduced by AMD in 2012 with its FX-series processors, while Intel added FMA3 support in 2013 with "Haswell."

The exact reasons why AMD deprecated FMA4 with "Zen" are unknown, but some developers speculate it's because AMD's implementation of FMA4 is buggy, even though it's more efficient (33% more throughput). Intel's adoption of FMA3 made it more popular, and hence more stable over the years. Level1Techs used an OpenBLAS FMA4 test-program to confirm that feeding "Zen" processors with FMA4 instructions won't just return a "illegal instruction" error, but also the processor will go ahead and complete the operation. This is interesting because FMA4 isn't exposed as a CPUID bit, and the operating system has no idea the processor even supports the instruction. For linear algebra, FMA4 has proven more efficient than AVX in both single- and double-precision.
Saturday, October 13th 2018

New PT Data: i9-9900K is 66% Pricier While Being Just 12% Faster than 2700X at Gaming

Principled Technologies (PT), which Intel paid to obtain some very outrageous test results for its Core i9-9900K eight-core processor launch event test-results, revised its benchmark data by improving its testing methodology partially. Initial tests by the outfit comparing Core i9-9900K to the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen Threadripper 2950X and 2990WX, sprung up false and misleading results because PT tested the AMD chip with half its cores effectively disabled, and crippled its memory controller with an extremely sub-optimal memory configuration (4-module + dual-rank clocked high, leaving the motherboard to significantly loosen up timings).

The original testing provided us with such gems as the i9-9900K "being up to 50 percent faster than 2700X at gaming." As part of its revised testing, while Principled Technologies corrected half its rookie-mistakes, by running the 2700X in the default "Creator Mode" that enables all 8 cores; it didn't correct the sub-optimal memory. Despite this, the data shows gaming performance percentage-differences between the i9-9900K and the 2700X narrow down to single-digit or around 12.39 percent on average, seldom crossing 20 percent. This is a significant departure from the earlier testing, which skewed the average on the basis of >40% differences in some games, due to half the cores being effectively disabled on the 2700X. The bottom-line of PT's new data is this: the Core i9-9900K is roughly 12 percent faster than the Ryzen 7 2700X at gaming, while being a whopping 66% pricier ($319 vs. $530 average online prices).
Friday, October 12th 2018

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Notebooks
SSD
CORSAIR STRAFE RGB MK.2 Keyboard

CORSAIR STRAFE RGB MK.2 Keyboard

CORSAIR has updated the original STRAFE RGB keyboard after three years and aims to offer a similar enthusiast-grade keyboard with more value for money. The new STRAFE RGB MK.2 now has hardware playback, more dedicated buttons, and support from a new unified software driver, and retains the rarely-seen option of the Cherry MX Silent Red RGB switch.

Turtle Beach Announces Elite Pro 2 + SuperAMP Pro Gaming Audio System

Get ready to propel yourself to higher levels of competitive play and more podium wins as leading gaming audio brand Turtle Beach (NASDAQ: HEAR), today announced its flagship Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp Pro Performance Gaming Audio Systems for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have started hitting retail stores. Developed in collaboration with top pro esports teams, including OpTic Gaming, Splyce, and the Houston Outlaws, the Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp delivers a perfect balance of powerful amplified professional-grade sound, unmatched build quality and comfort, and groundbreaking mobile app-based controls. The Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp is available on the Turtle Beach website and participating retailers across Europe for a SRP of £219.99.

"The Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp is the perfect successor to the original Elite Pro, once again offering gamers our signature professional-grade audio performance and unmatched comfort, now paired with a revolutionary new way to connect, amplify and control their audio," said Juergen Stark, CEO, Turtle Beach. "We designed the Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp in collaboration with some of the world's best pro gamers, so if you're a serious player looking to get an edge on the competition, you owe it to yourself to check it out because this headset is built to help you win."

Prices for DRAM and NAND flash Will Drop in 2019, DRAMeXchange Says

Good news for consumers: prices for DRAM memory and NAND flash chips will start falling in the fourth quarter "ending nine straight quarters of growth", and that downward trend will continue throughout 2019 according to DRAMeXchange. Their data shows that average DRAM price will drop by 15~20% YoY in 2019 due to several reasons. Smartphones won't see remarkable shipments next year, for example, but there is also uncertainty in server shipments and the shortage of Intel CPUs could affect notebook and PC shipments. DRAM manufacturers expect a high possibility of oversupply, and DRAM expects the annual bit output to increase by nearly 22%, with the 1X/1Y processes going mature and the wafer starts increasing.

The trend will also affect NAND flash chips, which dropped 10% in price in the third quarter and are expected to fall another 10-15% in the fourth quarter. In 2019 the price decline will be around 25-30% due to increased 3D NAND production capacity, specially since enterprise SSD suppliers will fiercely compete next year. DRAMeXchange mentions the impact of China-US trade war, and alert about the gap between the supply and demand, that "may be moderated if the NAND Flash manufacturers postpone their capacity expansion and transition to 96-layer 3D NAND devices".

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0 Released

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0 released today with useful new features and several stability updates. We worked extensively on the ability of GPU-Z to detect fake NVIDIA graphics cards (i.e cards not really having the GPU advertised on the box). GPU-Z now prepends "[FAKE]" to the Graphics Card name field, and lights up with a caution triangle. This capability is forward compatible for the supported GPUs (listed in the changelog), so for example, it will be able to detect a fake RTX 2060, which in reality uses a GK106 GPU. The second big feature is the ability to extract and upload graphics card BIOS of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2000 graphics cards. Graphics cards with multiple independent fans (each with its own speed control) are gaining popularity, and we've added the ability to read and log fan-speeds of individual fans on NVIDIA "Turing" graphics cards that support the feature, in addition to fan speed percentage monitoring.

Our feature-rich "Advanced" tab now also shows information on HDMI and DisplayPort connectors of your graphics cards. Power-draw on NVIDIA graphics cards is now reported both as a percentage of TDP and as an absolute value in Watts. Among the bugs fixed are a system hang due to Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) kicking in when GPU-Z is running in the background; memory bandwidth reading on RTX 2080 & RTX 2080 Ti with GDDR6 memory, AMD Radeon RX 400-series GPU utilization monitoring, and improved texts for system memory usage sensors.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.12.0

The change-log follows.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 416.34 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released GeForce 416.34 WHQL "Game Ready" drivers. These drivers provide optimization for "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" (retail), "Soulcaliber VI," and "GRIP." Among the fixed issues with this release are buggy shadows in "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds," some games launching to a black screen when DSR is enabled, a colorful shimmering line noticed in some games when playing full-screen with G-SYNC enabled, Surround display not being available from NVIDIA Control Panel with Edge browser running, and green screen display corruption on certain games with HDR enabled. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 416.34 WHQL

The change-log follows.

Scythe Intros Kotetsu Mark II ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance CPU Cooler

Scythe today introduced an ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance co-branded variant of its Kotetsu Mark II tower-type CPU air cooler. The Kotetsu Mark II debuted late-2017. Co-branded bits include a new aluminium fin-stack top-plate, which features the urban digital camo pattern and TUF Gaming Alliance logo, and a refreshed Kaze Flex RGB 120 mm fan, which comes with yellow rubberized fan-frame mounts, TUF Gaming Alliance branding on the impeller hub, and RGB LED illumination with addressable RGB header support, which you can control using ASUS Aura Sync RGB (and all other aRGB-capable software). Cosmetic bits aside, this fan has the same exact specs as the Kaze Flex PWM included with the original Kotetsu Mark II, with 300~1,200 RPM range, 16.6~51.17 CFM air-flow, and 4~24.9 dBA noise output. The cooler still measures 136 mm x 83 mm x 154 mm (WxDxH), weighing 645 g. Owing to the aRGB illumination and co-branding, the Kotetsu Mark II ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance CPU cooler could be a touch pricier than the original.

TSMC to be the Sole Supplier of Apple A13 SoCs in 2019

Even as AMD plans to dedicate 7 nm CPU and GPU manufacturing entirely to TSMC, reports are emerging that Apple could make the Taiwanese silicon fabrication giant the sole supplier of its 7 nm A13 SoC, which powers the next generation iPhone and iPad devices. Manufacturing of the A13 could commence in 2019 to keep pace with Apple's roadmaps. TSMC is currently the most strongly placed semiconductor foundry for 7 nm EUV manufacturing, after GlobalFoundries crashed out, and Samsung is trailing behind with a contract to manufacture only a portion of Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon SoCs.
Thursday, October 11th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
PSUs
SSD
Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB

Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB

Samsung's 970 Pro flagship SSD offers incredible performance, especially when it comes to writes, where it tops the charts with up to 2.4 GB/s because of MLC flash. Reads are even faster at 3.5 GB/s. If only the SSD was more affordable: $200 for 512 GB is not exactly cheap.
Silverstone Primera PM02

Silverstone Primera PM02

The Silverstone Primera PM02 goes all out on Steel. There are no tangible plastic elements to be found on the frame of the case, which really pushes the build quality. While other all-steel cases tend to go for an understated look, the PM02 offers a bit more detail, and a few surprises.

ASUS Intros WS Z390 Pro Motherboard with Dual x16 PCIe Bridge Chip

ASUS expanded its Workstation motherboard series with the new WS Z390 Pro, a socket LGA1151 board based on Intel Z390 Express chipset, featuring out-of-the-box support for 9th generation Core processors. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of one 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and an optional 6-pin PCIe power. A 10-phase VRM (likely 8+2 phase incorporating smart-doubling on the Vcore side). This board appears to be using a PCI-Express 3.0 x48 bridge chip to convert 16 gen 3.0 lanes from the CPU to two x16 downstream slots, which are further split to four x8 slots, depending on how you populate the slots. The slot configuration options are x16/x16/NC/NC or x16/x8/x8/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8. An additional open-ended x4 slot wired to the PCH makes for the rest of the expansion.

Storage connectivity includes two each of M.2-22110, and U.2 ports, each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking interfaces include two 1 GbE ports, one of which is driven by Intel i219-LM, and the other Intel i210-AT. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.1 gen 2 ports on the rear panel, from which one is type-C, two additional USB 3.1 gen 2 ports by header, and a USB 3.1 gen 1 2-port header. The 8-channel onboard audio solution combines an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC S1220A codec with audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation. We expect a price of around $350 for this board.
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