Saturday, October 23rd 2021

Intel Xe-HPG Arc Alchemist Graphics Card Alleged Pricing Points Towards $650-$825 Range

Intel's Arc Alchemist lineup of graphics cards, based on Xe-HPG GPU configuration, is nearing the launch. With the current situation with AMD and NVIDIA GPUs outputting graphics card prices over the default MSRP, we wonder how Intel would place pricing of its upcoming GPUs and fit inside the market. And today, we got the first round of speculations based on Intel's Arc Alchemist GPU giveaway called Xe-HPG Scavenger Hunt. There are two principal bundles: one worth $900 that includes Intel Arc merchandise, Xbox Game Pass PC for six months, Intel Premium Arc Alchemist graphics card, and one worth $700 that consists of three months of Xbox Game Pass PC, Intel Arc merchandise, and Intel Performance Arc Alchemist graphics card.

According to some preliminary calculations from Tom's Hardware, we assume that with the $900 bundle containing one Premium Arc Alchemist GPU and other prizes, the card will cost as much as $825 when all things get removed. Going down the ladder, Intel has paired a bundle worth $700 with a Performance Arc GPU, which is roughly worth $650 on its own. It indicates that the two Intel Performance and Premium Arch Alchemist graphics cards are respectfully worth $650 and $825. What will the final pricing look like? We don't know. However, we assume that it could be very similar to this. For more information we have to wait for the official launch.
Friday, October 22nd 2021
SilentiumPC Fera 5 & Fera 5 Dual Fan Review

SilentiumPC Fera 5 & Fera 5 Dual Fan Review

SilentiumPC comes out of nowhere to deliver a 1-2 combo of performance and value with the Fera 5 and Fera 5 Dual Fan CPU coolers. While simple and traditional in terms of design, both of these entry-level heatsinks trade blows with far more popular offerings.
noblechairs EPIC Compact Gaming Chair Review - For Small Players

noblechairs EPIC Compact Gaming Chair Review - For Small Players

The noblechairs EPIC Compact gaming chair is ideal for narrow spaces and short players, including children, of course. Don't let its small dimensions fool you, however. This chair is built to last the test of time. While pricing is stiff, you do get what you paid for with the noblechairs EPIC Compact.
ASRock B550 PG Riptide Review

ASRock B550 PG Riptide Review

ASRock brings the PG Riptide series to B550 with an affordable solution for APUs and PC gamers on a budget. It comes with 2.5 Gb/s LAN from Killer Networking and RGB and PCIe Gen4 support. This motherboard has a lot of the same features as the X570-based Riptide, so let's see if it can hit all the marks!

Intel's Attempts at Acquiring SiFive Fail to Deliver, Company Now Seeks IPO

Back in June, SiFive, a company focusing on providing RISC-V-based IP solutions, received an offer for a takeover from Intel. With a value of over two billion dollars, the company's request was on the table to accept. However, according to the latest report from Bloomberg, SiFive declined an offer and aimed to get an initial public offering or get acquired by an even larger vendor. What made the company reject, you might question?

Well, according to sources familiar with the deal, Intel's offer of two billion USD was not enough, and it interrupted the company's ideologies of operation. SiFive management didn't like how Intel would integrate the company in its roadmaps and decided to stay independent. For now, the company is looking to start an initial public offering or get acquired an even larger company that would respect its vision and guidelines, unlike Intel's offer.

Intel Core i7-12700K and Core i9-12900K Pricing Leaks

US computer component and electronics store Micro Center appears to have gotten ahead of things and listed the upcoming Intel Core i7-12700K and Core i9-12900K pricing on its website almost two weeks ahead of the official sale start. This should be MSRP pricing and if it's good or bad is a question of how you look at it, since both chips are significantly more expensive than their 11-series counterparts and much higher than the MSRP for those parts.

Intel's Core i7-11700K launched at US$399 and the new Core i7-12700K will beat that by $70, as it should launch at US$469.99, which seems like a large chunk of money to pay for the extra efficiency cores. The Core i9-11900K launched with a US$539 price point and the Core i9-12900K brings that up by US$130 to US$669.99. These prices are obviously not confirmed as yet, but Micro Center tends to be one of the cheapest places in the US to get CPUs, so we doubt there's any price gouging going on here.

First MSI Intel Z690 Motherboards Leak

So far, all of the leaked Intel Z690 based motherboards have been void of anything from MSI, but now we get a look at some of their upcoming models courtesy of a couple of different leaks.This gives us a pretty good look at several different market segments from MSI, although none of its really high-end models have leaked yet.

MSI's product stack is a bit cryptic, as we have a pair of MEG boards, one MPG board, one MAG board and a more entry level Pro board. Starting from the bottom working our way up, the Pro Z690-A WiFi appears to be a slightly beefier version of its current Z590-A Pro, with DDR5 support, a pair of 8-pin 12 V EPS connectors, as well as a fourth M.2 slot for NVMe SSDs. We don't spot any real stand-out features on this board, but it looks fairly competent for the market segment.

DeepCool Announces Free Mounting Upgrades for Intel LGA1700 Socket

DeepCool, a global brand and manufacturer of computer hardware and peripherals for enthusiasts, today announced that it will provide free-of-charge mountings kits for Intel's upcoming LGA1700 platform, enabling customers to continue using their existing DeepCool CPU coolers on the new 12th generation Intel Core CPUs (Alder Lake S). Additionally, current and future DeepCool coolers will also include the new mounting hardware.

Intel's new CPU will follow a new hybrid architecture that will be more powerful than previous generations through the use of high-performing, efficient cores. This new architecture will have a direct impact on the appearance of the CPU, as Alder Lake features an additional 500 contacts compared to its predecessors (i.e., 1200 to 1700); as a result, the socket had to be greatly enlarged.

G.SKILL Announces New Ripjaws S5 Series Low-Profile Performance DDR5 Memory

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is announcing the Ripjaws S5 series, an all-new low-profile, high-performance DDR5 memory kit designed for the latest DDR5-enabled platform. Each Ripjaws S5 is created with hand-screened high performance memory ICs that have undergone strict G.SKILL performance testing to provide the best performance, compatibility, and stability. Available in matte black or matte white, the design of Ripjaws S5 is an ideal match for any PC builds for gamers, enthusiasts, and modders who are looking for the perfect trinity of speed, capacity, and style.

Built upon decades of experience in developing high-performance memory, the G.SKILL Ripjaws S5 DDR5 memory series is engineered with high-quality hand-screened ICs, designed for high-speed performance, and tested for compatibility across a wide range of DDR5-enabled motherboards. At launch, Ripjaws S5 is available up to DDR5-6000 memory speed, making this the ideal choice for experiencing the high-performance of next-gen DDR5 memory.

Galaxy Shows off First DDR5 AIDA64 Memory Benchmarks

Remember the "Lego"/"Tetris" DRAM modules that Galaxy was showing off last week? Well, now we have the first benchmarks of said memory running at 4,800 MHz/MT/s with standard timings of 36-36-36-76 and the results are pretty much in line with DDR4 at the same clocks, but with a CAS latency of 19. That said, this doesn't take the latency into account and this is where the issue lies, just as expected.

Despite the change in memory architecture by going to a dual 32-bit bus per DIMM, instead of a 64-bit bus, there is somewhat surprisingly no real gains to be had in AIDA64, even when using two DIMMs. Earlier AIDA64 DDR5 memory benchmarks have only been with a single DIMM, so it has been a bit hard to compare the performance. However, the latency is up by about 30 ns compared to equivalent speed DDR4 memory, which is quite a jump. This does admittedly happen every time there's a transition to a new DRAM technology, but the increase in memory latency has never been this high before. Hopefully RAM with tighter timings and improved CPU memory controllers will help reduce the latency over time, since it'll have an adverse affect on a lot of things, least not many games.

GIGABYTE Z690 AERO D Combines Function with Absolute Form

GIGABYTE's AERO line of motherboards and notebooks target creators who like to game. The company is ready with a premium motherboard based on the Intel Z690 chipset, the Z690 AERO D. This has to be the prettiest looking motherboard we've come across in a long time, and it appears to have the chops to match this beauty. The Socket LGA1700 motherboard uses large ridged-aluminium heatsinks over the chipset, M.2 NVMe slots, and a portion of the rear I/O shroud. Aluminium fin-stack heatsinks fed by heat-pipes, cool the CPU VRM. You get two PCI-Express 5.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated). As an AERO series product, the board is expected to be loaded with connectivity relevant to content creators, although the box is missing a Thunderbolt logo. We expect at least 20 Gbps USB 3.2x2 ports, and 10 GbE networking, Wi-Fi 6E.

Intel Reports Third-Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported third-quarter 2021 financial results. "Q3 shone an even greater spotlight on the global demand for semiconductors, where Intel has the unique breadth and scale to lead. Our focus on execution continued as we started delivering on our IDM 2.0 commitments. We broke ground on new fabs, shared our accelerated path to regain process performance leadership, and unveiled our most dramatic architectural innovations in a decade. We also announced major customer wins across every part of our business," said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO. "We are still in the early stages of our journey, but I see the enormous opportunity ahead, and I couldn't be prouder of the progress we are making towards that opportunity."

In the third quarter, the company generated $9.9 billion in cash from operations and paid dividends of $1.4 billion. Intel CFO George Davis announced plans to retire from Intel in May 2022. He will continue to serve in his current role while Intel conducts a search for a new CFO and until his successor is appointed. Third-quarter revenue was led by strong recovery in the Enterprise portion of DCG and in IOTG, which saw higher demand amid recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Client Computing Group (CCG) was down due to lower notebook volumes due to industry-wide component shortages, and on lower adjacent revenue, partially offset by higher average selling prices (ASPs) and strength in desktop.
Thursday, October 21st 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Montech Air 1000 Lite Review

Montech Air 1000 Lite Review

The Montech Air 1000 Lite is a really interesting chassis since the brand is known for pushing the price-performance barrier while including new engineering and keeping functionality in mind. Let's see if the Air 1000 Lite manages to impress or is nothing but hot air.
Quick Look: ASUS ROG Strix Arion NVMe Enclosure

Quick Look: ASUS ROG Strix Arion NVMe Enclosure

The ASUS ROG Strix Arion is most likely one of the coolest NVMe enclosures out there to date with its ASUS AURA-capable ARGB lighting. Its rugged housing also acts as a heatsink, and there is a unique tool-less assembly method and good set of extras.
HIFIMAN TWS800 High Impedance True Wireless Earphones Review

HIFIMAN TWS800 High Impedance True Wireless Earphones Review

HIFIMAN's new TWS800 is a true wireless set of earphones that has more in common with IEMs and some high-fidelity headphones than other TWS devices. Featuring a 150 Ω driver and dedicated amplifier module inside each earbud, this is a review you need to see to believe and appreciate!

AMD Rembrandt 8-Core Zen 3+ Mobile APU Spotted

The first trace of AMD's upcoming Ryzen 6000 mobile series has recently appeared with a processor of OPN code 100-000000518-41_N surfacing in the UserBenchmark database with the socket listed as FP7 which is the rumored platform for AMD's 6 nm Rembrandt family. The engineering sample features 8-cores and 16-threads with a base clock of 3.9 GHz and a boost of 4.1 GHz along with an integrated RDNA2 iGPU.

This marks the move from Vega to Navi 2 for the integrated GPU which should result in significant graphics performance and efficiency improvements. The processor was paired with a single 16 GB DDR5 memory module from Corsair running at 4800 MHz CL40, the computer is also listed as Corsair Xenomorph which is interesting as we are not aware of any plans for Corsair to release laptops. AMD is expected to announce Rembrandt at CES 2022 and the processors have allegedly already entered production.

Windows 11 Performance Issues on Ryzen Fixed by Updates from Microsoft and AMD

Microsoft and AMD on Thursday released software updates that fix the two performance issues affecting AMD Ryzen processors with Windows 11. The two issues were abnormally high L3 cache latency, and a broken "Preferred Cores" system. The companies had assessed that the issues impact performance of Ryzen processors on Windows 11 by as much as 15%.

The two issues are fixed in separate methods. The L3 cache latency bug is improved through a Windows Update patch, which has been released now as an Update Preview (an Update Preview is not a "beta," but a software update released ahead of its designated "patch Tuesday"). The Update Preview is chronicled under KB5006746, and Windows 11 systems updated with this, get their OS build version set as "build 22000.282." The next update restores the Preferred Cores mechanism that leverages UEFI-CPPC2. This update comes in the form of an AMD Chipset Software update. You'll need to download and install both of the following:

DOWNLOAD: Windows 11 October 21, 2021 Update Preview KB5006746 | AMD Chipset Driver Software

Razer Unveils Top-of-the-Line PC Components—Engineered for Enthusiasts

Razer, the world's leading lifestyle brand for gamers (Hong Kong Stock Code: 1337), today unveiled the Razer Kunai, Razer Hanbo, Razer Katana, and Razer PWM Fan Controller, a new portfolio of high-performance PC components engineered for enthusiasts to build the ultimate gaming desktop. The new components will include cutting edge hydraulic case fans, all-in-one liquid coolers, a variety of industry leading platinum rated power supplies and controllers for maximum performance and customization.

The new components have been designed to meet the highest reliability standards, while also incorporating simple plug-and-play software that allows easy access to PC thermal information. The new components have been designed to meet the highest reliability standards, while also incorporating simple plug-and-play software that allows easy access to PC thermal information. Additionally, these high-performance products are enabled within Razer Synapse, and are designed with addressable RGB (aRGB) lighting to support an enhanced immersive gaming experience.

Apple M1 Max Beats GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU in GFXBench 5.0, but Doesn't Shine in Geekbench

This should be taken with a fair helping of salt, considering GFXBench 5.0 is mobile device focused benchmark, even though the company behind claims it's a platform independent benchmark. Regardless of that, it looks like the new 32 core GPU in Apple's M1 Max SoC offers some pretty competitive performance, as it manages GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU in said test.

However, this is a median score for the GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU and many of the tests that make up GFXBench 5.0 aren't using DirectX, which is one likely reason for Apple's M1 Max GPU beating the Nvidia card. On the other hand, all tests seem to support Metal, which is Apple's 3D API, whereas the Nvidia card has to fall back to using OpenGL which tends to offer lower performance than DirectX in games. In most of the tests we're looking at an average performance advantage of less than 10 percent in favour of Apple, but it's nonetheless impressive considering that Apple hasn't been in the GPU business for very long.

A Closer Look at the Intel Core i9-12900K Retail Package

Intel has had a little streak of quirky, over-the-top retail packages for its flagship desktop processors since the 9th Generation Core i9-9900K, which carries on into the 12th Gen with that of the Core i9-12900K. posted a set of unboxing images. It's important to note here, that these are images of the retail i9-12900K, and not some special package sent to reviewers.

The package involves a hard paperboard hollow cube with two open sides. You undo a set of pull-tabs that are probably held together by factory seal, to pull out a pair of plastic stands holding what looks like a stack of silicon wafers in place. This decorative plastic canister is painted in gold-chrome and disperses colors like a fabricated wafer does. You open the two halves of this "wafer" to find your processor inside, with some Styrofoam cushioning. A separate compartment in the paperboard housing contains the documentation and a case-badge.

Seagate Expands Xbox Series X|S Storage Capacity for the Holiday Season

More than ever, today's Xbox fans needs more storage space to keep their console games easily accessible without sacrificing performance. Today, Seagate Technology plc, officially added 512 GB and 2 TB capacity options to its Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S line up. Just in time for the holidays, players can now choose from 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB external storage capacities for a streamlined gaming experience replicating the speed and performance of their Xbox Series X|S console's internal storage.

With a sleek design exclusively designed for Xbox, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is the only external storage device that enables users to leverage the full performance of the Xbox Velocity Architecture when playing games that have been optimized for the next generation of Xbox consoles. With the added capacities, more Xbox fans can collect and play new and legacy games directly from the storage card without sacrificing graphics, speed, load times, or frame rates. The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is backwards compatible with games from all four generations of Xbox, including Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox. It includes a three-year limited warranty, so players have peace of mind knowing their games and data are safe.

NAND Flash Prices Projected to Enter Cyclical Downturn in 2022 Due to Modest Demand Growth and Competition for Higher-Layer NAND, Says TrendForce

Contract prices of NAND Flash products are expected to undergo a marginal drop of 0-5% QoQ in 4Q21 as demand slows, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Hence, the current cyclical upturn in NAND Flash prices will have lasted for only two consecutive quarters. Looking ahead, NAND Flash suppliers' capacity expansion plans will be affected by the outlook on future trends and the supply of other non-memory components. At the same time, attention will have to be paid to the demand projection. At the moment, NAND Flash suppliers appear likely to downsize their capacity expansion activities for 2022, resulting in a 31.8% YoY increase in NAND Flash bit supply next year. Annual bit demand, on the other hand, is projected to increase by 30.8% YoY. With demand being outpaced by supply and competition intensifying among suppliers for higher-layer products, the NAND Flash market will likely experience a cyclical downturn in prices in 2022.

Intel Alder Lake Doesn't Look Like an Overclockers Dream

Another day, another Intel Alder Lake leak, although this time it seems to be the same Core i9-12900K retail CPU that is being tested in China. Some additional details have been provided on its ability to overclock and although it's perfectly possible to overclock these upcoming CPUs from Intel, it's going to be hard to cool them, even for very small gains in clock speeds.

An all core P-core overclock, with the E-cores at default requires quite the Voltage bump as well, since according to the leaked information, going from 4.9 GHz and a power draw of 233 Watts, with a CPU Voltage of 1.275 V to 5.2 GHz, sees a jump of almost 100 Watts. The CPU Voltage also has to be bumped to 1.38 V in the sample used. However, pushing the CPU to 5.3 GHz requires 1.44 V and pushes the CPU power to a massive 400 W, which is high-end GPU territory. That said, we're hearing that not all CPUs need this high Voltage to hit 5.2 GHz, although we also understand that 5.3 GHz is not a speed that will be easily attained. Apparently the best way to get the most performance out of these news CPUs will be to tune the turbo settings, rather than to try and overclock them.

AMD, Microsoft Collaborate in Limited Edition, Halo Infinite-Themed RX 6900 XT Graphics Card

Here it is: Microsoft and AMD have collaborated in a special, limited-edition Halo-themed graphics card. Putting the Halo in a halo product, the new release features a collaborative design between AMD and Microsoft, and deepens the link between both companies. The design takes its cues specifically from Halo's most recognizable character, The Master Chief - Spartan John-117. The custom card features a triple-fan cooling solution, customized with the military green and faceplate gold from the iconic Halo character. The backplate too screams the connections to Halo, with a 117 embossing and a LED-illuminated blue AI logo.

Microsoft also used the limited edition RX 6900 XT graphics card announcement to indicate that it is working closely with AMD to bring ray tracing to Halo infinite, saying that "Ray tracing is one our top development priorities post-launch and look forward to sharing more soon." Smartly, and perhaps learning from what happened with the retail release of the Halo infinite custom Xbox Series X console (which fell to scalpers in a matter of minutes), the new, limited edition graphics card won't be available for sale; instead, " AMD, Halo, and other partners will be offering players multiple opportunities over the coming weeks to get their hands on one." Look after the break for the teaser video of the product.

ROCCAT Unveils Vulcan TKL PRO Keyboard in White

ROCCAT, Turtle Beach's Hamburg, Germany-based PC peripheral brand, today revealed its Arctic White version of the Vulcan TKL Pro keyboard, adding another option to its award-winning PC gaming keyboard series. ROCCAT unveiled its very first Vulcan mechanical keyboard featuring the Titan Tactile Switch in 2018 at Computex Taiwan, followed by the Titan Speed Switch in 2019.

In September 2020, ROCCAT added new Titan Optical Switches and smaller tenkeyless design. Titan Optical Switches offer PC gamers a true competitive advantage, with keystrokes that register 40 times faster than classic mechanical switches, and with a lifespan twice as long. The Vulcan TKL Pro White is the new tenkeyless version of the full-size Vulcan Pro. The Vulcan TKL Pro White's sleek design with silver brushed aluminium top plate and Arctic White keys is the perfect addition for gamers looking to maximize their Arctic White ROCCAT desktop setup for a bigger range of mouse movement. The Vulcan TKL White is available for pre-order today for a MSRP of £139.99 and will be available for purchase December 6, 2021 at participating retailers.

Elgato Partners with Snap to Bring Snap Lenses to Mobile Webcam App EpocCam

Elgato, a leading provider of hardware and software for streamers and content creators, today announced a new partnership with Snap to bring the popular Augmented Reality Snap Lenses to EpocCam, the iOS app that turns your phone into a high-definition webcam for use with PC or Mac. This collaboration marks the first time that Snap Lenses have been integrated into a mobile webcam app, opening up vast new possibilities for adding AR effects to streams and video content.

With Snap Lenses, EpocCam video feeds are enhanced in real time with eye-catching Augmented Reality backgrounds, artwork, filters, and visual effects. Lenses invite the Elgato community to further express themselves in a creative and fun way. "This partnership reinforces our ongoing commitment to providing innovative and creative new features for streamers and content creators," said Julian Fest, SVP and GM of Elgato. "EpocCam enables anyone to make high-quality video content without breaking the bank on expensive equipment, and we're happy that Snap is working with us to enrich that experience even further."

CORSAIR Launches New Custom CPU Water Blocks, Compatible with LGA1700

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast components for gamers, creators, and PC builders, today announced a new PRO generation of performance custom cooling CPU water blocks in the award-winning Hydro X Series: the XC5 RGB PRO and XC7 RGB PRO. Equipped with more than 110 high-efficiency micro-cooling fins and an innovative quad-split flow design, these new water blocks deliver extraordinary cooling paired with vibrant RGB lighting at the heart of your loop. With compatibility across the entire range of modern CPUs from Intel and AMD, including the upcoming Intel LGA 1700 socket, the Hydro X Series delivers the cooling you need to help your next stunning PC build run at its full potential.

Thanks to new precision-machined copper cold plates and a quad-split flow design with multiple inlet channels, the XC5 RGB PRO and XC7 RGB PRO achieve fantastic cooling performance, up to 4°C lower than their previous generation counterparts. Their durable construction with reinforced standard G1/4" threads will keep your CPU running at its best for years to come.

Stream Me Up: GeForce NOW RTX 3080 Brings Next-Generation Performance to Cloud Gaming

GFN Thursday welcomes you to the next generation of cloud gaming - boldly going where no cloud gaming service has gone before with the new GeForce NOW RTX 3080 membership. The new memberships will stream from the world's most powerful gaming supercomputer, the GeForce NOW SuperPOD, giving gamers their own high-performance cloud gaming rig. GeForce NOW RTX 3080 members will enjoy streaming at up to 1440p resolution and 120 frames per second on PCs and Macs, and 4K HDR at 60 FPS on SHIELD TV, with ultra-low latency that rivals many local gaming experiences.

Founders and Priority members in North America and Western Europe now have early access to preorder GeForce NOW RTX 3080 memberships - with six-month memberships available for $99.99. Memberships will be limited at launch, and the exclusive preorder window gives our earliest supporters the first opportunity to upgrade to next-generation gaming.

Matrox Celebrates 45 Years of Technology Innovation

This year, Matrox proudly celebrates its 45th anniversary. Innovation has been central to the brand's identity since its inception, and continual evolution has propelled Matrox through decades of technological and industry change. Its two divisions - Matrox Imaging and Matrox Video - enjoy a longevity that far outpaces many other major players in the pro AV/IT, broadcast, industrial imaging, and machine vision markets.

Continued innovative product releases evince Matrox's sustained market leadership; in 2021 alone, the company launched a highly anticipated IoT edge device, released new software tools that leverage deep learning capabilities, unveiled next-generation multi-4Kp60 encoders, and continues to advance work in remote production and champion open standards in the AV-over-IP realm.

Sharkoon Announces SKILLER SGP30 Big Hex and 1337 V2 Big Mouse Mats

Sharkoon Technologies, an international supplier of high-performance quality PC components and peripherals, has now introduced two new mouse mats: the SKILLER SGP30 Big Hex and the 1337 V2 Big. The Big Hex presents itself with a hyper-realistic 3D motif design, while the 1337 V2 Big comes in minimalist black. Both mouse mats are 120 centimeters long and 60 centimeters wide, making them Sharkoon's largest mouse mats so far.

Both the SKILLER SGP30 Big Hex and the 1337 V2 Big, with their length of 120 centimeters and a width of 60 centimeters, are the largest mouse mats from Sharkoon to date. They can therefore cover a large part of the tabletop and offer ample room for mouse movements. According to the manufacturer, the rubber underside always offers a firm hold, even under demanding conditions. Also, thanks to its sublimation printing, the hexagon motif of the SKILLER SGP30 Big Hex should be able to withstand a high degree of intensive use - just as much as the minimalist black surface of the 1337 V2 Big.

Silicon Power Announces Armor A66 Portable Hard Drive

Back-up and protect your data from out in the wild to back in the office with the new Armor A66 portable hard drive from Silicon Power (SP). It's the ultimate all-terrain drive that's rugged enough to shake-off drops, shocks, rains, and dust with ease. Meeting the MIL-STD 810G Method 516.6 Procedure IV drop test requirements, this drive is military-grade shockproof against accidental bumps and drops for worry-free handling.

On the outside, an all-around rubber bumper provides 360˚ protection to both absorb and soften the effects of any unfortunate mishaps.On the inside, an advanced suspension system effectively reduces impact force and increases shock-absorption to keep data from directly feeling these effects. IPX4-level water-resistance shields the drive from splashing water in any direction to fearlessly go out regardless of the weather forecast.

ADATA XPG HEADSHOT Mouse and GENESIS DDR5 Memory Win Prestigious Good Design Award

ADATA XPG, a fast-growing provider of systems, components, and peripherals for Gamers, E-sports Pros, and Tech Enthusiasts, today announces that the XPG HEADSHOT gaming mouse and GENESIS DDR5 memory module have been recognized for design excellence with 2021 Good Design Awards.

The XPG HEADSHOT gaming mouse is a one-of-a-kind gaming mouse manufactured via 4D printing and AI technology. 4D printing is used to create a mechanical structure with a lattice mesh exterior that provides for an incredibly sturdy yet lightweight mouse. Thanks to 4D printing, the HEADSHOT can be custom-made to match the shape of an individual's hands for personalized ergonomics. Its design process was started with three key aspects, light weight, incomparable ergonomics and stylish design. XPG HEADSHOT also recently won Taiwan's most influential design award, the Golden Pin Design Award.

Angry Miao Releases CYBERBOARD R3

Angry Miao officially launched its next generation of custom mechanical keyboards, the CYBERBOARD R3. It will be available in Budapest Pink, Aquatic Green, Cloud White and Basalt Black, inspired by the color palette of Wes Anderson. CYBERBOARD R3 is priced at 570 USD for Budapest Pink, Aquatic Green and Basalt Black and 620 USD for the Cloud White variant.

"CYBERBOARD is a product for nerds in the know. Many of its early supporters came from tech companies like Google, Tesla and Facebook." said Li Nan, founder of Angry Miao. "However, street fashion and unique sub-cultures are something we're truly interested in. Hypebeast's coverage on our AM HATSU keyboard only further strengthened this interest. Thus, Wes Anderson inspired this generation of CYBERBOARD. We hope that the striking shades of his color palette - pink in particular - would interest new female users. Although we may find out that buyers are still the hardcore geeks afterall."

GIGABYTE Announces a Unique Server Solution to RAID Drawbacks with GRAID SupremeRAID

GIGABYTE Technology, an industry leader in high-performance servers and workstations, today announced a new server, GIGABYTE R282-Z9G, that gets around hardware and software RAID limitations that bottleneck RAID when used with NVMe SSDs. Continuing in the success of the R282 series, the new SKU was designed to house an all-in-one server solution that specifically targets high performance NVMe (Gen4) SSDs for RAID by incorporating the GRAID SupremeRAID solution into the R282-Z9G. This is the first GIGABYTE server to incorporate a GRAID Technology solution and has proven to be highly successful with Kioxia CM6-R SSDs.

More and more companies are using flash storage and doing so on a larger scale; however, there may be pitfalls when using RAID, such as limitations in computing performance or consuming a large amount of CPU resources. To solve these problems and to do so with a large amount of drives, the GRAID SupremeRAID works by installing a virtual NVMe controller on the OS while integrating a PCIe device for high performance. With this GIGABYTE solution over 100 GB/s of throughput is possible for workloads in HPC, 4K/8K video editing, high-frequency trading, online transaction processing, or database processing.
Wednesday, October 20th 2021
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2021 (Updated Oct 2021)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2021 (Updated Oct 2021)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2021 and beyond. We cover and keep track of developments for Intel Alder Lake, Raptor Lake, AMD Zen 4, Intel's new ARC discrete GPUs, new AMD Radeons, NVIDIA Ada Lovelace, DDR5 memory, chipsets and more.
Deathloop: DLSS vs. DLAA vs. FSR Comparison Review

Deathloop: DLSS vs. DLAA vs. FSR Comparison Review

Originally, Deathloop on PC was only available with support for AMD FidelityFX FSR upscaling technology. Recently, it has been updated to also support NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology with the ability to run DLSS at native resolution (DLAA). In this mini-review, we take a look and compare the image quality and performance offered by these solutions.

Retail Intel Core i9-12900K and Core i5-12600K Pictured

Here are some of the clearest shots of retail (non-ES) production versions of the upcoming Intel Core i9-12900K and i5-12600K "Alder Lake-S" desktop processors. Posted to the web by "DDAA117" on Chinese social media Zhihu, the pictures reveal the long and slender packages, with their S-spec codes: SRL4H for the i9-12900K and SRL4T for the i5-12600K. Based on what we know from older reports, the i9-12900K maxes out the "Alder Lake-S" silicon, featuring all 8 P-cores, and 8 E-cores. The i5-12600K, on the other hand, features 6 P-cores and 4 E-cores. Other areas of segmentation between the two include clock speeds, and possibly boost algorithms. The chips will be open to pre-orders from October 27, and generally available from November 4.

Microsoft Launches Initial Android Application Support on Windows 11

Microsoft has recently released a new Windows 11 beta build to Windows Insiders with initial support for running Android applications. The latest update brings the Amazon Appstore and the Windows Subsystem for Android allowing you to run a limited selection of 50 curated Android games and apps. The preview works on AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm equipped devices leveraging Intel Bridge Technology for AMD and Intel platforms. The current selection of applications doesn't include any benchmarking tools so we cannot definitively say how this compares with competing programs like BlueStacks or native performance. You cannot currently install applications from an APK file however Microsoft has previously confirmed that this will be possible so we may see this functionality introduced in future versions.

To get started with running Android applications on Windows 11 you will need to join the Windows Insider Program on your device and join the Beta Channel. The PC will need to be updated to Windows 11 build or later and have virtualization enabled in the BIOS/UEFI. The Android Apps preview requires your PC region to be set to the US and you will also need a U.S.-based Amazon account to download applications. The Amazon Appstore can then be downloaded here which will also install and set up the Windows Subsystem for Android.

God of War PC Port Incoming to Steam Early 2022 - Featuring NVIDIA DLSS and Reflex Tech

It's confirmed: one of the most widely acclaimed games from the PS4 era is finally coming to your PC of choice early next year - January 14th, to be precise. The announcement was done by Sony via a blog post, quickly followed by a YouTube trailer (which you can watch below). A Steam store page has been made available since then; the game will be available for $49, and includes all previously-released digital content.

God of War on PC will be more than a straight PC port, according to Sony. The game will feature support for 21:9 resolution, various controller types, and will support a full 4K renderer for machines that have the required processing and graphics grunt. Sony also promises "a wide range of graphical presets and options so you can fine-tune your visual experience based on your setup. From higher resolution shadows and improved screen space reflections to enhancements to the ambient occlusion pipeline with GTAO and SSDO - God of War on the PC can create striking visual quality unique to the platform." Beyond that, Sony Santa Monica has been working closely with NVIDIA, and will be integrating the company's DLSS and Reflex technologies into the game - DLSS by itself should make a 4K output resolution much easier to achieve.

Gigabyte's Z690 Aorus Xtreme Leaks, Features Two PCIe 5.0 x16 Slots

With only about two weeks until Intel's official launch of its Alder Lake CPUs and the Z690 chipset, it would appear that the leaks are getting kicked up a notch and the latest leak is a rather intriguing one to say the least. Gigabytes Z690 Aorus Xtreme is a rather unusual looking motherboard, in as much as you can make a motherboard that look unusual, least not with regards to the slot placement, but also for the peculiar cover over the DRAM slots.

It's not quite clear what the function of the memory cover is beyond aesthetics, if any, but it seems unlikely that it has an integrated LCD screen, although not unthinkable. Pretty much the entire board is covered in either metal or plastic, which makes this look like a real chore to build, at least if you're planning on using M.2 SSDs. The standout feature here is that the board features a pair of PCIe 5.0 x16 slots, although as per current consumer boards, the bandwidth would be shared between the slots if the second one is used, so both slots end up as x8 slots. There's also a third PCIe x16 slot, but no indication of the bandwidth available to it.

SilentiumPC Gear GK650K Omnis Onyx White Pudding Edition Keyboard

SilentiumPC Gear, the gaming label of the European manufacturer SilentiumPC, presents its new visually striking, full-size mechanical keyboard that meets the requirements of not only gamers and students or those who often work at their computer. The new addition features a bright design which was inspired by the extremely rare white variety of onyx. Just like the valuable mineral, the new keyboards are characterized by their high durability and extraordinary appearance. SilentiumPC Gear offers the GK650K Omnis Onyx White Pudding Edition with three different switches to choose from: Kailh Red (linear), Kailh Brown (tactile), Kailh Blue ("clicky").

This new addition to the series is distinguished by its unique white-and-silver colour scheme, durable PBT "Pudding" keycaps, configurable RGB backlight and side-strips, solid and compact design, aluminium-reinforced top, a magnetic wrist rest, a comfortable sound wheel for volume level adjustment, as well as advanced software and macro support. All of this makes the GK650K Omnis Onyx White Pudding Edition suitable for work or school and also for evenings and nights spent waging intense battles in video games with friends. There are three types of switches to choose from, depending on the user's preferences: Kailh Red switches have ultra-fast response times and linear, quiet operation. Kailh Brown switches are characterized by their balanced and universal character. Lastly, the Kailh Blue switches offer high levels of feedback during typing, and are a great choice for people who write a lot.

ASML Reports €5.2 Billion Net Sales and €1.7 Billion Net Income in Q3 2021

Today, ASML Holding NV (ASML) has published its 2021 third-quarter results. "Our third-quarter net sales came in at €5.2 billion with a gross margin of 51.7%, both within our guidance. Our third-quarter net bookings came in at €6.2 billion, including €2.9 billion from EUV systems. The demand continues to be high. The ongoing digital transformation and current chip shortage fuel the need to increase our capacity to meet the current and expected future demand for Memory and for all Logic nodes. ASML expects fourth-quarter net sales between €4.9 billion and €5.2 billion with a gross margin between 51% and 52%. ASML expects R&D costs of around €670 million and SG&A costs of around €195 million. For the full year, we are on track to achieving growth approaching 35%," said ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink.

NFC Forum Releases Wireless Charging Specification 2.0

The NFC Forum, the global standards and advocacy association for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, announced today that its Board of Directors approved and adopted the Wireless Charging Specification (WLC) 2.0. The WLC 2.0 makes it easier and more convenient to charge low-power devices such as wireless earbuds, smart watches, digital stylus pens, headsets, fitness trackers and other consumer products using smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices at a power transfer rate of up to one watt. It allows for wireless charging by enabling a single antenna in an NFC-enabled device to manage both communications and charging.

What's new with WLC 2.0 is that it supports even smaller antenna sizes expanding the range of small, battery-powered consumer and IoT devices that can be wirelessly charged using smartphones and other NFC-enabled devices. This is transformative for device manufacturers and solution providers because it allows for the design of smaller, lighter and more affordable wireless products. In addition, the NFC Forum estimates that the majority of mobile phones are interoperable with the extra small antennas covered in WLC 2.0.

Micron Announces Over $150 Billion in Global Manufacturing and R&D Investments to Address 2030 Era Memory Demand

Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), the only U.S.-based manufacturer of memory and one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers, today announced that it intends to invest more than $150 billion globally over the next decade in leading-edge memory manufacturing and research and development (R&D), including potential U.S. fab expansion. Micron's investment will address increasing demand for memory that is essential to all computing.

Memory and storage are a growing portion of the global semiconductor industry, and today represent approximately 30% of the semiconductor market. Secular growth drivers like 5G and AI will expand usage of memory and storage across the data center and the intelligent edge, and in areas like automotive and a diversity of user devices.

G.SKILL Announces World's Fastest DDR5-6600 CL36 Trident Z5 Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to announce the world's fastest DDR5 memory kit at an extreme speed and low latency of DDR5-6600 CL36-36-36-76 32 GB (2x 16 GB). This is the world's first DDR5 memory kit to reach such high level of frequency speed and extremely efficient low timings, achieved with high-performance Samsung DDR5 ICs.

In the never-ending quest for memory performance, G.SKILL is proud to reveal the latest addition of ultra-high DDR5 frequency to the flagship Trident Z5 family. While reaching an extreme frequency speed of DDR5-6600, this memory kit specification is also created with an ultra-low timing at CL36-36-36, compared to the typical CL40-40-40 timing of DDR5, making this the ultimate performance choice for gamers, enthusiasts, and overclockers. The screenshot below shows a G.SKILL memory kit validated with the use of high performance Samsung DDR5 ICs.

Retail Version of Intel Alder Lake Core i9-12900K Overclocked to 5.2 GHz on All Cores

Although we can't confirm it, the screenshot below is said to be of a retail version of the Intel Alder Lake Core i9-12900K that has been overclocked to 5.2 GHz on all P-cores, with the E-cores at stock clocks. It is said to be drawing a massive 330 Watts at these clock speeds, which is rather a lot for a consumer level CPU.

Sadly details such as the motherboard used and RAM clocks are absent. The E-cores are said to be locked at a maximum clock of 3.7 GHz, so there appears to be no overclocking potential in them. Yes, Intel does manage to edge out AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X at these clock speeds in the multithreaded test, which is no mean feat considering we're looking at eight threads less here, but Intel does so at over twice the power draw.

Update: Updated due to a slight misunderstanding, the E-cores were apparently enabled, but running at stock clock.

Supply Constraints Hits Some Raspberry Pi Products

No-one seems to be immune to the current spat of component shortages and Even Upton from the Raspberry Pi foundation has announced that the 2 GB SKU of Raspberry Pi 4 will be going up in price, to its previous US$45 price point, from its current US$35. They will also bring back the 1 GB SKU of the Raspberry Pi until things settle down and it'll retail for $35.

They're also shifting their production priorities to be able to meet the demand of some products, as they're experiencing a fab allocation shortage on the 40 nm node on which the Raspberry Pi 3 SoCs are being made. As such, the Raspberry Pi 3B+ might end up in short supply, as the Raspberry Pi foundation will focus on its Raspberry Pi 3 and 3+ compute modules, as well as the Raspberry Pi 3B.

AORUS Offers Preview of Future Gaming with Concept Gaming PC with 5G

Gigabyte, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, showcased a new concept 5G gaming PC, Project Cielo by AORUS. Combining 5G connectivity, modular design, and portability, Project Cielo, which stands for sky in Spanish, gives an intriguing depiction of the future of PC gaming with endless possibilities.

Project Cielo is a gaming PC with built-in 5G connectivity. Compared to the traditional wired or 4G wireless networks, 5G makes PC gaming on the go possible by offering greater bandwidth, ultra-low latency and near-instant access to cloud gaming. Project Cielo comes with an accommodating falcon-wing antenna that symbolizes AORUS. The design also cleverly integrates the 5G antenna into PC chassis. Players can save the expense of purchasing additional 5G antennas and the trouble of cable arrangement; at the same time they can enjoy the ultimate gaming experience on the go brought by 5G.
Tuesday, October 19th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Game Controllers
Quick Look: Jelly Key Retro TV + Dragons of Eden Artisan Keycaps

Quick Look: Jelly Key Retro TV + Dragons of Eden Artisan Keycaps

Jelly Key comes back strong with two more keycap series we look at today. The first is a cute retro TV series invoking a golden era of imagination and first visitors, and the second dips into mythology by paying homage to dragon legends. Both are good examples of intricate, hand-finished designs that truly make them artisan.
XPG SPECTRIX D45G DDR4-4400 2x 8 GB Review

XPG SPECTRIX D45G DDR4-4400 2x 8 GB Review

The XPG SPECTRIX series blurs the line between high-performance, high-octane DIMMs and the bedazzling light show powered by RGB LEDs. XPG doesn't miss a beat rounding out the experience with SK Hynix DJR ICs; this kit has overclocking has written all over it. Join me as we take a closer look at this XPG 4400 MT/s 16 GB memory kit.

OWC Announces Ideal Storage and Connectivity Solutions For New Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max

OWC, the premier zero-emissions Mac and PC technology company, and a respected provider of Memory, External Drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions, and performance upgrade kits, announces innovative storage and connectivity solutions for new Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max. With the new Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max, key ports are back, and by adding a dock or hub, you can turn the new MacBook Pro into a mobile powerhouse. For connectivity, OWC offers a range of dock and cable solutions to help you build the perfect on-the-go, at-home, in-studio, or on-set workstation for the new Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max.

Valve Introduces Steam Deck Verified Game Program

Valve has recently announced a new program aimed at verifying game compatibility on the Steam Deck with a simple four-category classification system. Valve is reviewing the entire Steam library to see how each title performs in four key areas on the Steam Deck including input, display, seamlessness, and system support. Games need to feature full controller support and automatically bring up the on-screen keyboard to fulfill the input requirement along with supporting the Steam Decks native resolution of 1280x800 or 1280x720. They will also need to work correctly with Proton including anti-cheat if no native Linux version is available along without displaying any warning messages.

Valve will mark games that fail some sections of these checks as playable meaning that the user may need to manually select a community-created controller configuration or use the touchscreen to navigate the launcher. Games that cannot run will be marked as unsupported while all other games will be classified as unknown meaning that Valve has yet to test the title on the Steam Deck. These new compatibility labels will be featured prominently throughout the Steam store on Steam Deck with detailed information about individual checks available. Valve will continuously update these ratings as developers launch updates for their games and they hope to have the feature live before deliveries of the Steam Deck begin.

GlobalFoundries Announces Launch of Initial Public Offering

GlobalFoundries (GF ), a global leader in feature-rich semiconductor manufacturing, today announced the commencement of its initial public offering of 55,000,000 ordinary shares, 33,000,000 of which are being offered by GF and 22,000,000 of which are being offered by GF's existing shareholder, Mubadala Investment Company PJSC, pursuant to a registration statement on Form F-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). The initial public offering price is currently expected to be between $42.00 and $47.00 per share. In connection with the offering, Mubadala expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 8,250,000 ordinary shares at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions. GF has applied to list its ordinary shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "GFS."

Morgan Stanley, BofA Securities, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and Credit Suisse are acting as active book-running managers for the proposed offering. Deutsche Bank Securities, HSBC and Jefferies are acting as additional book-running managers for the proposed offering. Baird, Cowen, Needham & Company, Raymond James, Wedbush Securities, Drexel Hamilton, Siebert Williams Shank and IMI - Intesa Sanpaolo are acting as co-managers for the proposed offering.

SK hynix Announces Development of HBM3 DRAM

SK hynix Inc. announced that it has become the first in the industry to successfully develop the High Bandwidth Memory 3, the world's best-performing DRAM. HBM3, the fourth generation of the HBM technology with a combination of multiple DRAM chips vertically connected, is a high value product that innovatively raises the data processing rate.

The latest development, which follows the start of mass production of HBM2E in July last year, is expected to help consolidate the company's leadership in the market. SK hynix was also the first in the industry to start mass production of HBM2E. SK hynix's HBM3 is not only the fastest DRAM in the world, but also comes with the biggest capacity and significantly improved level of quality.

EK-Quantum Velocity² D-RGB - New LGA 1700 CPU Water Block Ready for Alder Lake

After the long reign of the most popular water block on the market, the EK-Quantum Velocity, it's time to push the boundaries yet again and step into the future. Enter the next generation EK Quantum Line water block - the EK-Quantum Velocity². The water block showcases the EK-Matrix7 initiative, a standard where increments of 7 mm manage the height of products and the distance between ports. This product uses a socket-specific cooling engine to ensure the best performance and optimal flow with low restrictions on every platform. Three years after the original Velocity water block launch, EK is officially launching the Velocity² 1700, which is engineered for the Intel LGA 1700 socket and Alder Lake series desktop processors. Other Velocity² CPU water blocks will also follow shortly, tuned specifically for each CPU socket and IHS geometry on the market.

This new water block kept the name "Velocity" because it retained the ability to be responsive and agile in the world of liquid cooling. Embedded in the Velocity² is a next-generation EK CPU water block cooling engine that is socket-specific. A combination of mounting pressure and cold plate geometry, tailored for the IHS and die layout of Intel LGA 1700 socket processors, is used to achieve low hydraulic flow restriction and high performance. Thе lathe-turned cold plate is made with precision to cover the IHS effectively and put optimal pressure on the die area.

BAPCo Adds Android Support to CrossMark

BAPCo, a non-profit consortium of leading PC hardware manufacturers, today added support for the Android OS for CrossMark. Released in March, CrossMark has rapidly established itself as a cross-architecture performance benchmark that simplifies system performance and responsiveness measurement using common and relevant workloads for Windows, iOS, macOS and Android. CrossMark is based on widely used open-source applications to assess system performance scores in the areas of Productivity, Creativity and Responsiveness.

Adding Android support to the ecosystem allows CrossMark to accurately and objectively measure both system performance and responsiveness, which has traditionally been a time-consuming, difficult process to billions of new devices. CrossMark allows users to quickly install the software natively on their system and be up and running in a matter of minutes - with measurement runs as quick as 5 minutes to complete. At its conclusion, CrossMark reports an overall system performance and responsiveness score, as well as several key sub-scores indicative of typical day-to-day system performance. With over 2,200+ submitted and published results on BAPCo's online database users can compare their scores to a wide range of systems across multiple architectures.

Intel's CEO Blames Predecessors for Current State of the Company, Wants Apple Business Back with Better Processors

It's funny how new company CEOs always seem to blame their predecessors for whatever went wrong and it seems like Pat Gelsinger is no different, as he's throwing shade at his predecessors for not having been engineers. At the same time, he's set his mind on winning Apple back as a customer, as all Intel apparently has to do "is create a better chip than they can do themselves", with they being Apple here.

It should be pointed out that Intel hasn't had an engineer at the helm of the company since 2005, so the question is how far back Pat Gelsinger wants to throw the blame, although a guesstimate would be back to at least 2012/2013 when Paul Otellini stepped down. That said, in an interview with Axios, it's stated that "while he acknowledges the need to prove himself, Gelsinger said he will rebuild the company's credibility with its customers so that if they say they need a million of some chip by Monday, the order will be there by Sunday night."

Razer Launches New Seiren V2 Pro and Seiren V2 X Professional Broadcast Microphones

Razer today announced the launch of two new entries into its award-winning family of broadcaster microphones, the Seiren V2 Pro and Seiren V2 X. The new Seiren V2 family of products are bound to become the essential centerpiece of any streamer's setup, offering premium feature sets within dynamic and condenser microphones to deliver true to life, natural audio capture.

The Seiren V2 Pro offers best-in-class rich, powerful vocals allowing streamers to showcase depth and timber in their voices, with radio-DJ tonal quality. High pass filters and analog gain limiters make sure that the microphone only captures what you want it to, naturally filtering out accidental bumps and background noises. The Seiren V2 Pro is a must-have for any streamer or digital entertainer looking to up their audio quality and showmanship.

ASUS' Prime Z690-P Motherboards Make an Early Appearance

The first mainstream Z690 boards have made an appearance online in the shape of ASUS' Prime Z690-P series. As with most of ASUS' Prime boards, these are fairly basic boards, but shouldn't leave the average user wanting for much, although ASUS has made a rather odd layout decision on these boards that we can't quite grasp.

The four models on display are the Prime Z690-P WiFi D4, Prime Z690-P D4, Prime Z690-P and Prime Z690M-Plus D4. The last model doesn't strictly belong to the Prime Z690-P family, but it follows a pretty similar overall design. The Prime Z690-P is obviously the only DDR5 SKU among the four boards, although from what we can tell, there are no other differences between it and the equivalent DDR4 model.

NZXT Announces BLD PC Building Kits

NZXT, a community-driven provider of PC hardware, software, and services today launches BLD Kit - a PC building kit that makes the experience of building a high-performance PC fun and achievable. Each BLD Kit box comes with everything needed to guide users through a PC building adventure— creating an experience perfect for families, first-timers, or for those who want an everything-in-one-place solution to building their own system.

The BLD Kit concept comes from years of user feedback, focus group builds, and a dedication to serving and growing the PC gaming community. Building a computer is a process that may seem daunting at first, but anyone can fall in love with it, with a little help and support. NZXT is also excited to announce that the limited-time NZXT GG sale for NZXT BLD is kicking off now. This 48-hour-only sale will have 10% off all custom PCs, pre-built PCs, and BLD Kits (US only) going from now until October 20th at 11:59pm.

Alibaba Goes Anti-x86: Open-Source RISC-V and 128-Core Arm Server Processors on the Horizon

With the x86 architecture, large hyperscale cloud providers have been experiencing all sorts of troubles, from high power consumption to the high pricing structure of these processors. Companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) build their processors based on 3rd party instruction set architecture designs. Today, Alibaba, the Chinese giant, has announced the launch of two processors made in-house to serve everything from edge to central server processing. First in line is the RISC-V-based Xuantie series of processors, which can run anything from AliOS, FreeRTOS, RT-Thread, Linux, Android, etc., to other operating systems as well. These processors are open-source, capable of modest processing capabilities, and designed as IPs that anyone can use. You can check them out on T-Head GitHub repositories here.

The other thing that Alibaba announced is the development of a 128-core custom processor based on the Arm architecture. Called Yitian 710 server SoC, TSMC manufactures it on the company on 5 nm semiconductor node. So far, Alibaba didn't reveal any details about the SoC and what Arm cores are used. However, this signifies that the company seeks technology independence from outside sources and wants to take it all in-house. With custom RISC-V processors for lower-power tasks and custom Arm server CPUs, the whole infrastructure is covered. It is just a matter of time before Alibaba starts to replace x86 makers in full. However, given the significant number of chips that the company needs, it may not happen at any sooner date.

Extreme CPU Cooling with Your Own Digital Dashboard - CORSAIR Launches ELITE LCD CPU Coolers

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast components for gamers, creators, and PC builders, today announced new, highly customizable additions to its ELITE line of all-in-one CPU coolers: iCUE ELITE LCD Display Liquid CPU Coolers. With a vivid 2.1" LCD screen on the pump head to display anything from system vitals to animated GIFs, ELITE LCD coolers offer a unique window into both your PC's performance and your own style and personality. The ultra-bright LCD screen is also available as an upgrade kit for CORSAIR iCUE ELITE CAPELLIX coolers, letting you add a digital dashboard to your existing cooler.

The new H100i ELITE LCD, H150i ELITE LCD, and H170i ELITE LCD are also equipped with new ML RGB ELITE Series fans, delivering powerful concentrated airflow with the performance of magnetic levitation bearings and AirGuide technology, illuminated by eight individually addressable RGB LEDs per fan. ML RGB ELITE fans are also available separately in both 120 mm and 140 mm sizes and either black or white frames, so you can take advantage of their high performance to cool your entire system as well.

TechPowerUp Custom Water Cooling Survey and $1000 CORSAIR Giveaway

TechPowerUp loves cooling. We pride ourselves with bringing you hundreds of reviews, and thousands of news articles, covering PC cooling components of all shapes and sizes. With ever more powerful hardware comes the need to keep them cool and quiet. There are plenty of air coolers and pre-built AIO liquid cooling solutions available that you can install and forget about. If you still want to +1 that, then DIY custom liquid cooling exists as higher performing (and potentially quieter) option to pre-built AIO coolers, but it's also more expensive and complex. We are eager to know how you're cooling your PC, how you'd like to cool it in the future, and what your thoughts are on custom watercooling tech, so we've put together a survey to learn more.

The survey is for you, regardless of whether you've even used custom liquid-cooling before. We hope to better understand the custom watercooling market—people who never used it, veterans who've done it for years as well as recent members of the club. We also want to learn why you're not using watercooling, or why you are considering it for a future build. It will only take a few minutes of your time. Once data collection is completed on November 2nd, we'll put together an article summarizing the findings, with charts and everything. As a token of thanks, taking the survey also adds you to our Global Sweepstakes in association with CORSAIR, a leading brand for gaming peripherals and PC components. One lucky winner stands to win a Care Package worth $1000 from CORSAIR, which includes a K100 premium mechanical keyboard, a Virtuoso XT headset, a Sabre RGB Wireless mouse, an MM300 mousepad, an ST100 headset stand and two LT100 desktop ambient lighting towers; in a winner-takes-all prize. The survey and giveaway is open worldwide. In return for their support, Corsair gets access to the anonymized raw data. Please don't answer "Corsair is best" everywhere, just because they provide prizes, we're looking for honest opinions.

To participate in the Survey, please Visit This Page.

Update Oct 19th: Corsair saw your comments "why not watercooling prizes?"—the winner can now substitute the prizes for Corsair Hydro X components.

Introducing the next generation of AirPods: The world's most popular wireless headphones just got better

Apple today announced the third generation of AirPods featuring spatial audio, delivering advanced features and a magical experience in a new contoured design. By combining the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ. Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices. The new AirPods are resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the convenient charging case. AirPods (3rd generation) join the world's most popular family of headphones and are available to order starting today, and in stores beginning Tuesday, October 26.

"AirPods forever changed wireless headphones with their groundbreaking design, incredible sound, and magical experience," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We are excited to introduce the next generation of AirPods, featuring unrivaled sound through Adaptive EQ and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, along with seamless interaction between Apple devices - making the world's best-selling headphones even better."

ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II with RGB Now Also Available in 280 and 420 Models

ARCTIC, one of the leading manufacturers of low-noise PC coolers and components, has added the powerful Liquid Freezer II 280 and Liquid Freezer 420 RGB and A-RGB models to its award-winning AIO range. The multi-compatible water coolers are also equipped for Intel's new Alder Lake CPUs with LGA1700 sockets. With the efficient PWM-controlled pump, featuring a VRM fan for additional cooling in the socket area, as well as the proven 140 mm P-fans, achieving high static pressure with very low noise, the ARCTIC Liquid Freezer II series clearly sets itself apart from other AIOs and offers plenty of overclocking flexibility.

A maintenance-free water circuit and the integrated cable management, which hides the PWM and RGB cables in the hose sleeves, plus a six-year manufacturer's warranty underline the high quality and complete the attractive price-performance ratio of the Liquid Freezer II range. The color-capable, effective LED lighting of the fans makes these high-performance coolers the ideal choice for gaming PCs. Optionally, the Liquid Freezer II 280 RGB and Liquid Freezer 420 RGB are also available in a bundle with Arctic's software-controlled RGB controller.

ZOTAC Introduces the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti AMP White Edition LHR

ZOTAC today added to its NVIDIA RTX 3000-series portfolio with a white version of the RTX 3060 Ti. The ZOTAC RTX 3060 Ti AMP White Edition LHR (Lite Hash Rate) essentially reuses the cooling solution found on its darker cousin, the 3060 Ti Twin Edge, which we have reviewed here. The IceStorm 2.0 cooling solution maintains the 11-blade, dual-fan, dual-slot design, but paints the shroud in white for users that want that particular color coordination for their system.

ZOTAC have decided to slightly bump operating frequencies of the GA-104 chip powering the RTX 3060 Ti AMP White (1,775 MHz compared to the Twin Edge's 1,750 MHz). The remainder of the specs are as expected: 4,840 Ampere CUDA cores, 8 GB of 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory over a 256-bit bus, and a pair of 2x 8-pin connectors to power all the electronics up. External card dimensions stand at 231.9 mm length, 141.3 mm width, and 41.5 mm thickness. I/O is assured by the usual 3x DisplayPort 1.4a and 1x HDMI 2.1 connectors. The card is now springing up in retail stores - and considering current pricing for the Twin Edge version, listed at $659, you should expect pricing to be in the same ballpark.

Sharkoon Unveils Skiller SGK60 Keyboard with Kailh BOX Switches

Sharkoon Technologies, an international supplier of high-performance quality PC components and peripherals, now presents its latest gaming keyboard, the SKILLER SGK60. This is a three-block keyboard with multimedia keys for the convenient control of videos and music, and which also has a macro key for keeping the upper hand in any game. The SGK60 comes with Kailh BOX switches as standard, whereby the user is free to choose from three switch types for the keyboard. In addition, 14 especially durable PBT keycaps are included. Thanks to double-injection technology, these should offer long-lasting use, free of wear and tear. The edges of the keyboard are diamond cut for an overall elegant appearance.

Thanks to the high-quality mechanical switches from Kailh, the keyboard is particularly beneficial for professional gamers. The red switches are worthwhile for gamers thanks to their linear switch characteristics and the low operating force required. The brown switches are suitable for both work and gaming due to their tactile characteristic with an inaudible feedback. Frequent writers can enjoy the white switches, which should give them the sensation of a typewriter when using the keyboard.

Team Group Announces T-Force Vulcan DDR5 Gaming Memory

The global memory provider TEAMGROUP has announced the T-FORCE VULCAN DDR5 GAMING MEMORY. Designed for overclocking, the new RAM takes the design language of the sleek and compact DDR4 series even further. Its aluminium alloy heatspreader comes in a unibody design, created through a sophisticated stamping process. It features a gorgeous streamlined body and multi-angular design, outlining its one-of-a-kind visual aesthetics. With the highest-spec kit providing capacity of 2X32GB for dual channel mode and frequency of up to 5,200 MHz, the T-FORCE VULCAN DDR5 will lead the new generation of overclocking memory with its beauty and performance.

The T-FORCE VULCAN DDR5 GAMING MEMORY, debuted at the recent TEAMGROUP Online Launch Event 2021, has been highly anticipated by both gaming and overclocking enthusiasts worldwide. It uses a special thermal conducting silicone to strengthen the adhesion between the heat sink and memory, enhancing the cooling of the power management IC. The ingenious thermal design quickly dissipates heat from top to bottom, allowing the memory to maintain the optimal working temperature and provide more stable operation. It is available in frequencies of 4,800 MHz and 5,200 MHz and capacity options of single 16 GB and 32 GB sticks and dual-channel 2X16GB and 2X32GB kits, meeting the needs of a wide range of consumers seeking ultra-fast speeds. The VULCAN DDR5 GAMING MEMORY is fully tested for compatibility and reliability and will deliver incredible performance to gamers and overclocking enthusiasts around the world.

QNAP Announces TBS-464 NASbook with M.2 NVMe SSD Support & Dual 2.5GbE Ports

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the compact and versatile TBS-464 NASbook which is designed for small working spaces and mobile workers. Using four M.2 NVMe SSDs for storage, the TBS-464 supports HybridMount, which can mount storage from cloud and enable local caching, providing the ability to work with online files as quickly as local files. The multi-functional and near-silent TBS-464 provides two HDMI 2.0 4K 60 Hz outputs, hardware-accelerated transcoding and streaming, and includes QNAP's KoiMeeter for video conferencing and wireless presentations. With two 2.5 GbE ports, the TBS-464 NASbook can achieve speeds of up to 5 Gbps with Port Trunking.

The TBS-464 is powered by an Intel Celeron N5105/ N5095 quad-core 4-thread processor (burst up to 2.9 GHz) with Intel AES-NI encryption engine, 8 GB DDR4 memory and USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports for faster data transfer. The TBS-464 comes with the QTS 5 operating system, providing a next-generation usage experience and optimized user interface. HBS (Hybrid Backup Sync) realizes efficient local/remote/cloud backup jobs; Block-based snapshots make data protection and recovery easier and effectively mitigate the threats of ransomware; HybridMount provides cloud storage gateways that integrate private and public cloud storage and enable local caching.

Longsys Launches FORESEE DDR4 DRAM Chips

With the rapid development of advanced technologies, such as 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and 8K, people are placing more stringent requirements on the convenience, intelligence, and functional integration of their electronics. This has given rise to new development opportunities in the storage industry. As we progress further into the digital revolution, intelligent electronics will require small-capacity storage products which feature an increased level of reliability and stability. High-temperature tolerance in storage products will be vital for customers in the intelligent and small-sized consumer electronics market.

Longsys recently launched the FORESEE DDR4, which utilizes 96-ball thin fine ball grid array (TFBGA) encapsulation. The product's manufacturing process, transmission speed, power consumption, and high-temperature reliability all perform at an industry-leading level.
Monday, October 18th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Kioxia Exceria Plus G2 2 TB Review

Kioxia Exceria Plus G2 2 TB Review

The Kioxia Exceria Plus G2 offers excellent real-life performance that rivals the best PCIe Gen 3 SSDs out there, but it's unfortunately not available in the US. Priced at around $270, the 2 TB drive in our review is quite affordable, too, and definitely worth considering when looking for a high-performance 2 TB M.2 NVMe SSD.
Thermaltake Divider 200 TG Review

Thermaltake Divider 200 TG Review

The Thermaltake Divider 200 TG fills the mATX gap in the Divider family of enclosures, but looks vastly different from the 300 or 500 series. With its stacked internal layout and cube shape in combination with the Divider's design elements, the Divider 200 TG is rather unique right out of the gate.

FinalWire Releases AIDA64 v6.50

FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme 6.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Engineer 6.50 software, a professional diagnostic and benchmarking solution for corporate IT technicians and engineers; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business 6.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Network Audit 6.50 software, a dedicated network audit toolset to collect and manage corporate network inventories.

The new AIDA64 update introduces support for Windows 11 and AMD 4700S processor, monitoring of sensor values on VoCore LCD displays, and supports the latest AMD and Intel CPU platforms as well as the new graphics and GPGPU computing technologies by both AMD and nVIDIA.

DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 Extreme v6.50

Apple Announces MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max Processors, and Liquid Retina XDR Display

Apple today unveiled the completely reimagined MacBook Pro powered by the all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max—the first pro chips designed for the Mac. Available in 14- and 16-inch models, MacBook Pro delivers groundbreaking processing, graphics, and machine learning (ML) performance whether running on battery or plugged in, as well as amazing battery life—enabling workflows previously unimaginable on a notebook. The new MacBook Pro also features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and the best audio system in a notebook. Combined with macOS Monterey, which is engineered down to its core to take full advantage of M1 Pro and M1 Max, the user experience is simply unrivaled. Shattering the limits of what a notebook can do, MacBook Pro is designed for developers, photographers, filmmakers, 3D artists, scientists, music producers, and anyone who wants the world's best notebook. The new MacBook Pro joins the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 to form the strongest lineup of pro notebooks ever. Customers can order the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models today, and they will be available beginning Tuesday, October 26.

"We set out to create the world's best pro notebook, and today we're excited to introduce the all-new MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max—a game-changing combination of phenomenal performance, unrivaled battery life, and groundbreaking features," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The all-new MacBook Pro adds a breathtaking XDR display, more ports like MagSafe 3, an advanced 1080p camera, and a sensational six-speaker sound system, all in a stunning new design. The new MacBook Pro simply has no equal and is by far the best pro notebook we've ever built."
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