Friday, February 23rd 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Notebooks
SSD
Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520

Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520

Cooler Master's MM520 mouse uses great materials, a top optical sensor, and features highly customizable RGB lighting. While the shape might not be for everyone, it could be your top weapon of choice for all different kinds of game genres.

Konami Charges $10 for a Second Save Slot in Metal Gear Survive

Metal Gear Survive like many other games requires the player to create a character in order to start the single-player campaign or play online. Everything is fine up to this point. However, only the first save slot in Metal Gear Survive is free. Players who want to do a second playthrough and keep their existing character will have to pay Konami for a second save slot. Each new save slot costs 1000 Survival coins. Therefore, players will have to spend at least $10 to buy 1150 Survival coins to purchase a save slot. The concept certainly isn't new as many online multiplayer games charge players for creating a second character. It's somewhat justifiable since you're technically paying for additional storage on their servers. But in Konami's case, it's just outright wrong to charge players for storing an extra save file on their own hard drive or SSD.

BenQ Issues Announcement Concerning the Noise Issue with Their EC-B Series Mice

BenQ has detected that a small percentage of their EC-B series mice produce a noise which is noticeable to some users. The company narrowed down the issue to the high frequency vibrations caused by the Avago 3360 sensor and other internal components. These vibrations, which don't affect the mice's performance, are also harmless to the human body. The issue has been addressed and will not affect future products. But since customer comfort and satisfaction are important to BenQ, the company is offering replacement mice starting mid-March. EC-B mice owners who suffer from the noise issue can contact BenQ's service center directly for further assistance.

Crytek's Hunt: Showdown Now Available Through Steam Early Access

The wait is over: Crytek has announced that Hunt: Showdown is now available via Steam Early Access, priced at 29.99 EUR/USD and 25.99 GBP. Hunt: Showdown is a competitive multiplayer bounty hunting game that combines PvP with PvE elements in a handcrafted sandbox environment. "We want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who participated in closed alpha testing," said Hunt Producer Fatih Özbayram. "It was essential for us in our continuing developments, and we are grateful to have such a dedicated community this early in the game."

"Early access is a big milestone for the team, and we are all excited to finally be releasing Hunt: Showdown out into the wild," said Hunt: Showdown Creative Director Magnus Larbrant. "With Hunt, we wanted to make the game that we, as gamers, have always wanted to play ourselves: tense, dark, addictive, terrifying-a real adrenaline-pumping experience. We have the foundations laid out, and now with the support and input of the community during early access, we can polish that experience together."

EK Unveils NVIDIA TITAN V Full-coverage Water-block

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing water blocks for the most powerful PC GPU on the market to this day, the NVIDIA Titan V. The EK-FC Titan V full cover GPU water block will help you enjoy the full computing power of the Volta architecture based NVIDIA Titan V in a silent environment.

This water block directly cools the GPU, HBM2 memory, and VRM (voltage regulation module) as well! Water is channeled directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under high overclocks and to reach full boost clocks. EK-FC Titan V water block features a central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.8.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released GPU-Z v2.8.0, with important stability and feature updates. To begin with, we've addressed driver-crash issues seen on AMD "Raven Ridge" APU iGPU enabled systems, when using GPU-Z. The new DXVA 2.0 Features page in the "Advanced" tab is a ready-reckoner for all the video formats your GPUs provide hardware-acceleration for. We've made improvements to the accuracy of video memory usage readings on AMD Radeon GPUs, rendering performance of NVIDIA PerfCap sensor; and AMD power-limit readings in the "Advanced" tab.

Among the new GPUs supported are Radeon RX 460 Mobile, RX 560 Mobile, RX 570 Mobile, RX 580 Mobile, RX 550 based on Baffin LE. Minor bug-fixes include NVIDIA PerfCap sensor drawing outside its area; accuracy of temperature reading on AMD "Vega," a "BIOS reading not supported" error popping up on certain motherboards, and the driver digital signature reading getting truncated on high-DPI displays. Grab GPU-Z v2.8.0 from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.8.0
The change-log follows.

CableMod Announces PRO Series PSU Cables

Thanks to the undying support of an incredibly enthusiastic community, CableMod has become the go-to maker of premium sleeved cables and other modding accessories in just three short years. Thorough this time, we have been listening intently to community feedback on how to take our products to the next level. Today, CableMod is proud to announce the result of this feedback - the CableMod PRO Series. Featuring thicker wires, closed cable combs, and a totally revamped color scheme, the CableMod PRO Series represents the next-generation of CableMod cables engineered for discerning PC enthusiast.

The CableMod PRO Series begins with all-new extra-thick wires. Reducing the gap between each wire, the effect is a fuller, more robust look. To perfect the aesthetics on the motherboard side, each cable is also carefully constructed to completely eliminate any merged terminals, which means only a clean and tangle-free wires are visible for an unmatched professionally-sleeved look.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.3 Beta

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition. Version 18.2.3, the third release for this month, comes with optimization for "Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age," "Sea of Thieves," and "Brass Tactics." With "Sea of Thieves," the drivers enable up to 29% higher frame-rates at 4K UHD, when measured with Radeon RX Vega 64, and up to 39% higher frame-rates at 1080p, when measured with an RX 580. With FFXII, it enables up to 13% higher frame-rates at 1440p measured with an RX Vega 64, and up to 20% higher frame-rates at 1080p, with an RX 580.

A host of FreeSync-related bugs are addressed with this release. They correct a bug experienced with FreeSync kicking in during online video-playback in Google Chrome, causing flickering; rapid frame-rate changes between minimum and maximum FPS ranges when gaming in certain system configurations; which causes stuttering; and a flickering observed on FreeSync-capable displays when performance metrics overlay is enabled with Enhanced Sync. A Radeon Overlay flickering noticed on Vulkan API games was fixed. A display corruption issue with "Fortnite" was fixed. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.2.3 Beta

The change-log follows.
Thursday, February 22nd 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Bloody B945 Optical Gaming Keyboard

Bloody B945 Optical Gaming Keyboard

The Bloody B945 is a unique full-size keyboard with a left-sided numpad, which effectively helps with getting the mouse closer to the keyboard for better ergonomics while in use. It features their new LK Libra optical switches with a stabilizer bar for every single switch, dust and spill resistance, and a software driver that crams in a ton of customization options as well!
CORSAIR Obsidian 500D

CORSAIR Obsidian 500D

The CORSAIR Obsidian 500D offers sleek looks with a thick slab of aluminum up top and heavy swing-open glass side panels. But it does not stop there. You will also get USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, two retail-grade 120 mm fans, and a few little surprises inside the chassis to make your life a lot easier when assembling your dream system.

Samsung Electronics Breaks Ground on a New EUV Line

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today broke ground on a new EUV (extreme ultraviolet) line in Hwaseong, Korea, aiming to maintain its leadership in state-of-the-art semiconductor technology. With this new EUV line, Samsung will be able to strengthen its leadership in the single nanometer process technology by responding to market demand from various applications, including mobile, server, network, and HPC (high performance computing), where high performance and power efficiency are critical.

The new facility is expected to be completed within the second half of 2019 and start production ramp-up in 2020. The initial investment in this new EUV line is projected to reach US$ 6 billion by 2020 and additional investment will be determined depending on market circumstances. Samsung has decided to utilize cutting-edge EUV technology starting with its 7-nanometer (nm) LPP (Low Power Plus) process. This new line will be set up with EUV lithography equipment to overcome nano-level technology limitations. Samsung has continued to invest in EUV R&D to support its global customers for developing next-generation chips based on this leading-edge technology.

Venezuela Oils Its Economic Gears With "petro" Cryptocurrency Launch

Blockchain technologies will eventually change the world, eventually. Whether or not cryptocurrencies will be part of that world, however, is still up for debate. Venezuela, however, is looking to reap dividends from the current cryptocurrency craze before the final answer to that question has a chance of being answered. As the country has entered a severely crippled economic and civil state, the search for a way to raise government funds has led to the development of the petro cryptocurrency - which is linked, as one would expect, to the country's primary export and income source: oil.

As part of the petro pre-sale, investors were being offered $60 petro tokens at discounted rates that they can exchange for actual petros during a planned Mars ICO (Initial Coin Offering). After that ICO has been gone through, a petro will supposedly represent a barrel of crude from a specific division in the country's Orinoco oil belt. Is this a pre-buy for a barrel of crude of sorts? It seems so. It's also an extremely risky move for investors, though, but nothing that they aren't used to already: futures trading does exist, after all.

AU Optronics To Begin Shipping 8K TV Panels In 1H18

Even as most users are still transitioning from their Full HD panels to 4K ones (less than 40% of users have a 4K-capable panel), the 8K panel onslaught should begin as early as the first half the current year. AU Optronics, one of the world's foremost panel makers, is expected to start shipping 8K-enabled panels between the 65-85 inch range in the first half of this year, thus moving the goalpost once again on what the top of the line in the display market is.

Liao Wei-lun, president of AUO's video products business group, said that global sales of 65- and 70-inch TVs and display products are expected to grow 40% and 50% on year, respectively, in 2018. As yields have improved, so has pricing come down, which means users will be looking to upgrade their panels to higher diagonal sizes. But the bigger the size, the higher the resolution of the panel has to be, and that's where AUO wants to do business. AUO expects the penetration rate of 65-inch and above sizes of 8K TVs will start gaining momentum in 2018 and reach 10% in 2020. Naturally, AUO plans to start 8K panel production on the higher margin products - high diagonal TVs - and will scale down from there, eventually hitting PC monitor's screens. Maybe by that time we'll have graphics card options that can actually push that gargantuan number of pixels.

Intel, NVIDIA Join Forces Towards Garnering US Government Support for AI Field

Intel and NVIDIA found themselves on the same side of the field last week as both companies defended the US government's planning and intervention into the AI field. Naturally, these two giants' interests aligned in spurring the government to adopt policies and decision making that would impulse and accelerate development of AI technologies. That move would certainly boos both companies' endgames, as both have cut increased footholds in the Ai industry in their respective areas.

This was just the first of three planned hearings with industry professionals in the AI field. The order of business: to inform the federal government in formulating public policy around AI technologies, with a defining stake: making sure the US maintains its leadership in AI. Texas Congressman Will Hurd, which spearheaded the testimony in the hearing, said that "dominance in artificial intelligence is a guaranteed leg up in the realm of geopolitics and economics." AI's impact on general system's inefficiencies, such as transportation, accounting, healthcare, cybersecurity, and defense systems, were pointed towards by the NVIDIA and Intel spokespersons as definite areas of interest and extreme economic growth - and less expenditure - via AI deployment, which could ultimately add eight trillion dollars to the U.S. economy by 2035.

Supermicro Launches New Embedded Solutions Based on the Intel Xeon D-2100 SoC

Super Micro Computer, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMCI), a global leader in enterprise computing, storage, networking solutions and green computing technology, today announced several new additions to its edge computing and network appliance portfolio based on the new Intel Xeon D-2100 SoC (System-on-a-Chip) processor.

Leveraging its deep expertise in server technology, Supermicro is bringing customers some of the first Intel Xeon D-2100 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor-based solutions. The company's X11SDV series motherboards offer infrastructure optimization by combining the performance and advanced intelligence of Intel Xeon processors into a dense, lower-power system-on-a-chip. Supermicro is introducing a wide range of new systems to the market including compact embedded systems, rackmount embedded systems, as well as multi-node MicroCloud and SuperBlade systems.

EA Publisher Sale on Origin and Amazon with Discounts Up to 75%

Electronic Arts is currently running a big sale on Origin and Amazon that you simply cannot miss out on. There's an excellent selection of titles that includes Battlefield 1, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Titanfall 2, and many others. The good news is that the discounts also extend to several DLCs and game bundles. It's worth taking a look even if you're not a big fan of Origin. The EA Publisher Sale runs through until Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 10 am Pacific time. As is the custom, we've highlighted some of the more interesting offers.

Intel to Bring 5G to Mobile PCs by 2019

Today, Intel announced it is collaborating with Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft to bring 5G connectivity to Windows PCs with Intel XMM 8000 series commercial 5G modems. Intel expects the first high-performing 5G-connected PCs to surface in the market in the second half of 2019.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) attendees will get a first sneak peek at a concept 5G-connected PC - a detachable 2 in 1 - connected by an early 5G modem and powered by 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processors. At MWC, Intel will showcase the power of 5G on a PC by livestreaming video over the 5G network. This concept is one of many stepping stones for moving the industry forward in what's possible for 5G-enabled PCs.

5G is not just another generation of wireless connectivity. It promises new opportunities for technology innovation across the computing and connectivity landscape from the cloud to the network and the client.

Corsair Announces Obsidian Series 500D Chassis

CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today unveiled a stunning new identity for its iconic Obsidian Series of enthusiast PC cases with the launch of the CORSAIR Obsidian Series 500D. Continuing the Obsidian Series' signature elegant and minimalist design, the 500D adds premium smoked glass tempered side panels and curved aluminium construction to create an enthusiast PC case that's thoroughly modern, inside and out. This is the new Obsidian.

With its clean exterior lines, smoked tempered glass side panels and a curved aluminum front, the Obsidian 500D combines minimalist design with the best in premium materials. Solid brushed black aluminum construction is impossible to miss, from the curved door handles, to the front plate and front-to-back top plate. Simply put, the 500D is built better.

SEC Warns Tech Execs Not to Trade Stock When Investigating Security Flaws

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came down hard on silicon valley executives trading company stock when their companies were investigating security or design flaws that could potentially bring down stock value; as something like that borders on insider-trading, a felony under US law. This comes in the wake of senior executives of credit rating company Equifax, and chipmaker Intel, dumping company stock while their companies were investigating security flaws in their products or services. Intel CEO Brian Kraznich raised quite a stink when reports emerged that he sold $39 million worth Intel stock while the company was investigating the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its processors (which hadn't been made public while he dumped the stock).

The SEC has come up with a far-reaching new guideline to keep tech execs from exhibiting similar borderline-insider-trading behavior. "Directors, officers, and other corporate insiders must not trade a public company's securities while in possession of material nonpublic information, which may include knowledge regarding a significant cybersecurity incident experienced by the company," the new guideline reads. "There is no doubt that the cybersecurity landscape and the risks associated with it continue to evolve," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. "I have asked the Division of Corporation Finance to continue to carefully monitor cybersecurity disclosures as part of their selective filing reviews. We will continue to evaluate developments in this area and consider feedback about whether any further guidance or rules are needed."

Qualcomm to Build Snapdragon 5G SoCs on Samsung 7nm LPP EUV Process

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, today announced the intention to expand their decade-long foundry relationship into EUV (extreme ultra violet) lithography process technology, including the manufacture of future Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets using Samsung's 7-nanometer (nm) LPP (Low Power Plus) EUV process technology.

Using 7LPP EUV process technology, Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets will offer a smaller chip footprint, giving OEMs more usable space inside upcoming products to support larger batteries or slimmer designs. Process improvements, combined with a more advanced chip design, are expected to bring significant improvements in battery life.

Impactics DMono is a Fanless Case Without Aluminium Ridges

Want a fanless aluminium case for a reasonably powerful machine, but not a fan of brutalist aluminium ridges (fins) sticking out? Impactics DMono could be your choice. This case looks heavily inspired from the Mac Mini, but unlike the tiny air cooler Apple sneaked in, the DMono is completely fanless. Its body, made of a 5 mm-thick block of aluminium, acts as heatsink, powerful enough to handle 35W TDP Intel LGA115x processors. There's 2.65 kg of aluminium to go around. The DMono comes in four variants, two based on color (brushed aluminium and matte-black), and sub-variants based on the positioning of the power button (front or top). Thin mini ITX motherboards from GIGABYTE are supported. Available exclusively from Caseking.de, the DMono is priced at 200€ a piece.

ADATA Showcases Full Industrial Product Range at Embedded World 2018

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules, SSD and NAND based Flash products, is pleased to confirm participation in Embedded World 2018, which is the premiere embedded systems and industrial PC trade show in Europe. The event is scheduled for February 27th to March 1st 2018 and taking place in Nuremberg, Germany. ADATA is fielding its entire industrial-grade portfolio, covering SSDs, SD cards, and CFAST products that now use new-generation 3D NAND.

ADATA will showcase several PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs and DDR4 2666 DRAM modules, which feature extreme high speed, wide temperature tolerance and sustained reliability for industrial embedded applications, as well as for AI, AR, VR and video gaming. In addition, industrial box PCs, embedded cards, server motherboards, smart car infotainment, and casino gaming controls will be at the show. ADATA ex! pects Embedded World 2018 to be the most productive and exciting show yet after years of taking part in the event.

IBASE Announces Embedded Devices with EPYC 3000 and Ryzen Embedded CPUs

IBASE Technology Inc., a world leader in the manufacture of industrial motherboard and embedded systems, today launched a series of new AMD Ryzen Embedded and EPYC Embedded processor-based products, including the MI988 Mini-ITX motherboard, SI-324 4x HDMI 2.0 digital signage player and FWA8800 1U rackmount network appliance.

"As a premier AMD partner, we have been working closely on building products utilizing both AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 and EPYC Embedded 3000 products." said Jackson Mao, Product Planning Division Vice President of IBASE. "The next-generation performance and scalability delivered by the new AMD processors translate to real-world differentiation and benefits for our customers across networking, digital media, and industrial applications."

ADATA and XPG Feature Total Mobile Gaming Solution at MWC 2018

ADATA Technology Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, is excited to announce the first participation at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018,the world's largest gathering for the mobile industry. ADATA and XPG are together presenting a total mobile gaming solution that provides mobility, functionality, and convenience in order to fulfill of growing number of mobile users' needs. ADATA brings the latest three high density battery cellpower bank models that provide a lightweight and versatile choice of colors and capacities. For XPG, EMIX I30 features patented design driven by 5.2 channel surround sound with a rich and detailed sound quality. By bringing these two devices together into a small, tidy package offers an immediate convenience for mobile gamers.

Nowadays, end users have continued to be fascinated and amazed by rapidly evolving mobile technology. Mobile gaming is one of the few segments that have swiftly grown at an immense pace and with a rise in demand. XPG places an emphasis on delivering rich and detailed sound quality. The 5.2 channel EMIX I30 has established an inner vacuum tube technology that creates true 3D surround sound. It also employs oversized 13.5 mm units made of durable yet reactive monomer materials. EMIX I30 works instantly with a majority of electronic devices.

Apacer Intros Commando Series DDR4-3600 and DDR4-3466 CL16 Memory

Remember that God-awful (in our opinion) Commando assault rifle-shaped PCIe SSD by Apacer? The company decided to extend some of that styling onto its latest Commando series DDR4 memory variants. The new Apacer Commando DDR4 memory series comes in 16 GB (2x 8 GB) dual-channel kits, in frequencies of DDR4-3466 CL16 (originally announced in Q4-2017 with looser CL18 timings) and the new DDR4-3600 (EK.16GA4.GFAK2). Its module design features a distinctive heatspreader with an ornament that looks like the top attachment rail of certain assault rifles or carbines.

The newer DDR4-3466 variant comes with tighter timings of 16-18-18-36 (against the original's 18-18-18-42), and a module voltage of 1.35V, while the DDR4-3600 variant does its advertised clock speeds at 17-19-19-39, and 1.35V module voltage. Both kits are XMP 2.0 compliant, so the advertised speeds can be enabled with one click in your UEFI setup program. Available now, the DDR4-3466 CL16 kit is priced at 254€, while the DDR4-3600 kit goes for 379€.

Iiyama Intros ProLite XB3270QS 31.5-inch Monitor

Japanese display maker Iiyama today introduced the ProLite XB3270QS 31.5-inch monitor. The monitor combines an IPS LCD panel with flicker-free LED back-lighting that uses a non-PWM method to control brightness, reducing flicker. The monitor offers WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution, 60 Hz refresh-rate, 4 ms (gray to gray) response time, and 300 cd/m² maximum brightness, with dynamic mega-contrast ratio. The LED back-lighting features blue-light reduction technology. Display inputs include dual-link DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, and HDMI 1.4 (30 Hz only). Its stand offers basic tilt adjustments. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Intros GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Cerberus Series Graphics Cards

ASUS rolled out GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Cerberus series graphics cards. Much like the GTX 1070 Ti Cerberus card launched late-2017, these cards come with 144-hour burn-in quality-control by ASUS, and are targeted at gaming iCafes. The GTX 1050 Ti Cerberus (model: CERBERUS-GTX1050TI-O4G) comes with 4 GB of memory, while the GTX 1050 Cerberus (CERBERUS-GTX1050-O2G) comes with 2 GB.

Both cards are based on an identical board design, featuring a 17 cm long full-height PCB, and a monoblock aluminium GPU heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of IP5X-certified (dust resistant) 80 mm fans. A 3+1 phase VRM with ASUS' highest grade Super Alloy Power II chokes power the card. Both cards rely on the PCI-Express slot for power. Display outputs include one each of dual-link DVI-D, HDMI 2.0b, and DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. Both cards are factory-overclocked, with the GTX 1050 Ti Cerberus shipping with 1341/1455 MHz (core/GPU Boost), and an untouched 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory; while the GTX 1050 Cerberus ships with 1404/1518 MHz (core/GPU Boost). The company didn't reveal pricing.

"Kingdom Come: Deliverance" Year's First Gaming Blockbuster, Sells a Million

Medieval RPG "Kingdom Come: Deliverance" is on course to becoming 2018's first gaming blockbuster. The game sold over a million copies in its first week since launch, with the PC platform amounting to 45 percent of the sales, through Steam. The sales data was compiled by SteamSpy, accounting the first week of sales since the game's February 13 release across Windows (PC), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 platforms. Czech developer Warhorse Studios debuted with the game, which is published by Deep Silver.

In related news, the game already received its first major patch, version 1.2.5, which fixes controller issues on the console platforms, such as an unresponsive R2 button; bugs in quests with Hans Capon; and bugs in the "Ginger in a Pickle" quest. "We're about one million when I count all the platforms and distribution channels. We certainly thought about one million. The number is surprisingly positive, but it's not something we thought we could not achieve," said Martin Frývaldský, CEO of Warhorse Studios.
Wednesday, February 21st 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Desktop PC
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage
ECS Z370-Lightsaber

ECS Z370-Lightsaber

ECS is back for the new year with the newest entry into its provocatively named "Lightsaber" line of motherboards; this time with the ECS Z370-Lightsaber. Will ECS deliver an overclocking weapon as effective as the lightsaber is for the Jedi?

Cheaper Intel 300-series Chipset Motherboards Around the Corner

Right now, it makes little sense to pick up Intel's Core i3 quad-core and cheaper Core i5 six-core chips, only to pair them with the company's premium Z370 Express chipset-based motherboards, which start around $139. The company had promised a second wave of Core i3 and Core i5 "Coffee Lake" processors, and newer Pentium Gold and Celeron parts based on the silicon; alongside three cheaper motherboard chipsets - H370 Express, B360 Express, and H310 Express; for launch some time in Q1-2018. We're getting word that March could be a busy month for PC hardware retailers.

The H370 has an almost identical feature-set to the Z370, except its lack of support for CPU overclocking and multi-GPU (PCIe segmentation). The B360 is slightly cheaper, and has fewer connectivity options. The H310 is entry-level, and has the least connectivity options. H370-based motherboards could be priced between $100 to $170; B360-based ones $80 to $130, and H310-based ones $50 to $70. Online retailers have already begun listing some of these motherboards. A list was compiled by Redditor dayman56. It includes links to over a dozen such listings of ASRock and GIGABYTE motherboards that, if not anything else, confirm model names.

Microsoft Shares What to Expect From Mixed Reality in 2018

In a LinkedIn blog post, Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman shared the company's vision for its Mixed Reality ecosystem for this 2018 year. The vision stands on a three-pronged stance: MR +AI, AR + VR, and Immersive Communication. The first is likely the more exciting of the bunch: marrying MR environments and apps with the power of the cloud to render extensive AI workloads. This starts with the inclusion of AI-processing capabilities intro the next version of Microsoft's HoloLens and its HPU (Holographic Processing Unit). With a strong internet connection, this local processing will be joined by Microsoft's cloud AI processing glut to marry the virtual and physical worlds in an increasingly inseparable mix, allowing for the virtual to perfectly overlap the physical.

The second stance on this Microsoft approach is the marriage of the AR + VR environments in a single product, which both allows for virtual overlays in the physical world, and a comprehensive solution for VR-specific workloads that the same AR headset can propel you to - essentially building a HoloLens + VR headset solution. Finally, Immersive Communication is one of the other applications where Microsoft sees extreme potential in this MR world we're about to enter: where the instant messaging and video chats of the world are superseded by an actual VR solution that places people next to their desired public, be it their loved ones or, frighteningly, their boss, from the comfort of their home or another location they see fit. A focus on actual presence can be brought equally to people separated by an inch or a thousand miles.

Updated Firmware Available for 6th, 7th and 8th Generation Intel Core Processors

Intel today shared in a blog post that they are deploying microcode solutions that have been developed and validated over the last several weeks. These updates aim to patch security vulnerabilities recently found in Intel processors, and will be distributed, mostly, via OEM firmware updates - users who want to have their system hardened against Spectre and Meltdown exploits will have to ensure that their system manufacturer of choice makes these microcode updates available. If they don't do it in a timely fashion, users have no choice but to be vocal about that issue - Intel has now done its part in this matter.

This is the second wave of Intel's patches to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, after the first, hasty patch sent users on towards unstable, crashing systems and the inevitable update rollback. Security had already been reinstated, of sorts, for Intel's Skylake processors, but left users of any other affected Intel CPU family out in the cold. Here's hoping this is the one update that actually sticks after thorough testing and validation.

Intel Plans $5 billion Investment in Israel Plant for Expanded 10 nm Production

Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen today revealed that after talks with Intel, the company shared plans for a $5 billion investment in its Kiryat Gat plant, located in southern Israel. The Kiryat Gat plant currently features tools and manufacturing facilities that allow only 22 nm chips to be produced - definitely not cutting edge, but still somewhat relevant in the semiconductor market for simpler technologies. Intel's investment would bring this plant's capabilities to 10 nm manufacturing levels. The minister further stated that Intel will begin its investment this year, and was looking towards a full 2020 payoff with increased manufacturing capabilities. Naturally, with investment comes tax opportunities and government incentives, and Intel is expected to receive a 10% grant from the Israeli government to help it in this investments' funding.

Alphacool Announces the Eisbaer LT AIO Family

With the Alphacool Eisbaer LT, you get a high-performance compact water cooling system that's barely inferior to its bigger brother, the Eisbaer AIO.
Just like the Eisbaer, the Eisbaer LT distinguishes itself from the usual AIO mix in that Alphacool relied on normal custom components as much as possible during development. This allows the Eisbaer LT to be expanded on not just with the Eisbaer Ready quick connectors but also with connectors using standard G1/4" threads. Another highlight is the new 25mm thin Slim Radiator, made entirely of copper. Since copper has twice the heat capacity of aluminium, optimal cooling is guaranteed.

The cooler bottom is made entirely of copper and has an ultra-fine cross slot structure. Thanks to those cross slots and a sophisticated nozzle system, heat is absorbed extremely fast and transferred away from the CPU. The built-in DC-LT Ultra Ceramic Low Noise pump is an extremely quiet pump that Alphacool has used in many products. The pump is much stronger than what you'd usually find in AIOs. It can also be throttled with the optional 7V adaptor, decreasing the already low noise generation even further. The pump casing is very flat and the aluminium cap gives it a clean, elegant look.

Fractal Design Expands Meshify C Line-Up

Fractal Design, leading designer and manufacturer of enthusiast PC cases and components, today announced two new additions to the popular Meshify C series high-airflow mid tower lineup. Meshify continues to strike an aggressive pose with its unparalleled cooling performance and defiant look, now available in a multitude of side panel variations. The introduction of the Meshify C with dual solid side panels and Meshify C - TG with lightly tinted tempered glass gives users all new choices, both functional and aesthetic. These new all-solid and light tint TG versions complement the original Meshify C - Dark TG with dark tint TG to satisfy a wide range of stylistic preferences.

An open ATX layout with intelligent space utilization creates an unrestricted airflow path from the mesh front intakes directly through key components to exhaust, ensuring heat is never an issue. The Meshify C series has a remarkably compact footprint with the high-end component support of a larger tower, and with seven fan mounts and multi-radiator liquid cooling capability, it has the cooling capacity to match. When performance is top priority and compromise is not an option, Meshify has you covered in style, now with three unique side panel configurations to choose from.

Assetto Corsa Competizione Speeds its Way Into Steam Early Access This Summer

Assetto Corsa Competizione, the new official game of the Blancpain GT series, named after world-renowned Swiss watch manufacture Blancpain and organized by SRO Motorsports Group, will be speeding onto Steam Early Access this summer from Kunos Simulazioni and 505 Games. Featuring an extraordinary level of simulation quality that allows players to experience the unique atmosphere of this GT3 Series, players can compete against official drivers, teams, accessing all cars and circuits with the highest level of accuracy and attention to detail.

Taking full advantage of Unreal Engine 4, Assetto Corsa Competizione will ensure the highest quality rendering with photorealistic weather conditions and graphics to reach a new standard in driving realism and immersion racing. Players will experience highspeed torque as they get behind the wheel of luxurious speedsters including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, McLarens and many other prestigious GT cars reproduced with an outstanding level of detail. Motion capture technology is used to create the animations of mechanics and drivers in an even more realistic fashion and guarantee a high level of player engagement during races, pit stops and driver changes.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Might Make its Way to Steam Someday

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, which was released yesterday, is currently a Windows 10 exclusive. Essentially, what that means is that players can only get the game through the dreaded Windows Store. Microsoft previously blamed Valve for not wanting Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on their Steam platform, but then stated that the move was possible if the platforms pledge their unconditional support for Windows 10. In a recent interview with PC Games Network, Adam Isgreen suggested that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition could possibly arrive on Steam in a near future. As a creative director, Adam has little control over game distribution, however, he fully recognizes that some users suffer from annoying issues with the Windows 10 Store.

AMD Launches Embedded EPYC 3000 and Ryzen V1000 Processors

AMD today introduced two new product families - the AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 processor and AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 processor - to enter a new age for high-performance embedded processors. AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 brings the power of "Zen" to a variety of new markets including networking, storage and edge computing devices, while AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 targets medical imaging, industrial systems, digital gaming and thin clients. These new AMD Embedded processors deliver breakthrough performance, exceptional integration and on-chip security.

"Today we extend the high-performance x86 'Zen' architecture from PCs, laptops and the datacenter to networking, storage and industrial solutions with the AMD EPYC Embedded and AMD Ryzen Embedded product families, delivering transformative performance from the core to the edge," said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Business Group, AMD. "AMD EPYC Embedded 3000 raises the bar in performance for next-generation network functions virtualization, software-defined networking and networked storage applications. AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 brings together the 'Zen' core architecture and 'Vega' graphics architecture to deliver brilliant graphics in a single chip that provides space and power savings for medical imaging, gaming and industrial systems. With these high-performance products, AMD is ushering in a new age for embedded processors."

AOC Intros AGON AG352UCG6 35-inch Curved Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

AOC today introduced the AGON AG352UCG6, a 35-inch curved ultrawide gaming monitor. Featuring an 1800R curvature and 21:9 ultrawide aspect-ratio, the monitor offers WideQHD (3440 x 1440 pixels) resolution, with 120 Hz refresh-rate, and support for NVIDIA G-SYNC. Its AMVA panel offers 178°/178° viewing angles. Display inputs include DisplayPort 1.2, and HDMI 1.4. Among its gamer-centric features are genre-specific display presets, headset stand, rear RGB LED diffusers that either work as mood-lighting or whatever you set them to do, a 200-step gray levels saturation setting (think Adobe Photoshop levels control built into your monitor); and a headset mount.

Sonnet 1TB Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive Now Shipping

Sonnet Technologies today announced that the new 1TB version of its popular Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is now shipping. A rugged, pocket-size solid-state drive (SSD) storage device with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, the Mac- and Windows-compatible drive is equipped with 1TB of NVMe flash storage and leverages the 40Gb/s bandwidth of Thunderbolt 3 to deliver data transfer speeds up to 2600 MB/s.

The Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive was designed for pro users requiring ultimate performance in a truly portable storage device, unencumbered by the need for an AC power adapter. The storage device connects to any compatible Mac or Windows computer, or at the end of a Thunderbolt 3 device daisy chain, with its 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable. Based on the latest PCIe Gen 3 flash memory technology, the Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is more than five times faster than 6Gb/s SATA SSDs and USB 3 SSD drives.
Tuesday, February 20th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD
ADATA Gammix S10 512 GB

ADATA Gammix S10 512 GB

ADATA's Gammix S10 SSD is built using a Silicon Motion controller paired with 3D TLC flash. The SSD is cooled by a sexy red heatsink that not only looks pretty but also keeps the drive cooler than other NVMe SSDs we tested before. Priced at $210, it's one of the most affordable PCIe x4 drives on the market.

ASUS Announces Availability of Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102

ASUS today announced the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102. Its unique and innovative design, featuring a beautiful 3D pattern and a comfy weight-balanced construction with premium antibacterial cushioned materials, means it's not only stylish but also supremely cool and comfortable for extended use.

Unlike other headsets, the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 doesn't need any external sensors, making initial setup incredibly easy - users will be ready to play in less than 10 minutes. What's more, the headset supports over 20,000 Windows apps and more than 2,000 Steam VR titles, so users can watch immersive 360° videos, play games like never before or get on with important work or school projects. And importantly, the headset is also compatible with a wide range of affordable PCs. The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 is the revolutionary, easy-to-use and affordable way for users to explore their imaginations.

Gem Rose Accent Offers 1 Bitcoin Prize to First Person that Beats Their New Game

Developer Gem Rose Accent will reward the first player to beat their new puzzle game with a Bitcoin, which is worth $11,669.97 at the time of this post. In MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma, players must navigate through a very complicated maze from a first-person perspective and solve the 24 puzzles to finish the game. Players also have the option form a group with other players to solve the different puzzles. MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma is available on Steam for $1.99, but you can purchase it for introductory price of $1.19. According to the developer, MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma will easily be one of the hardest game you will ever play. Will you take up their challenge?

Discovery Tour Update Turns Assassin's Creed Origins Into an Interactive Museum

Ubisoft's Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt is a new educational and entertainment tool, which lets anyone explore the entire interactive 3D recreation of Ancient Egypt in Assassin's Creed Origins, free of conflict, time pressure or gameplay constraints. The Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt releases on February 20th, 2018 on PS4, Xbox and PC, at no cost for all owners of the Assassin's Creed Origins game, and it will also be available independently from the game on PC via the Uplay and Steam platforms for £15.99.

From Alexandria to Memphis, the Nile Delta to the Sand Sea, the Giza plateau to the Faiyum Oasis, the Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt lets visitors either explore the rich world of Ancient Egypt at their will or follow the 75 themed tours devised by Ubisoft's creative teams in collaboration with History experts and Egyptologists.

Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter One Arrives on February 27

The wait is nearly over as Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter One arrives on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 27. Beyond, the third Elite Dangerous season will be free for all players, and will focus on community-requested enhancements to the overall player experience. Alongside those core foundational changes, new in-game content will progress the ever-expanding player-driven storyline and give pilots across the galaxy new tools to shape the ongoing narrative.

With the release of Chapter One the crime and punishment system in Elite Dangerous will undergo a series of changes designed to improve the response to players' criminal activities, making Open Play's massively multiplayer galaxy fairer and more competitive. The new Advance Tactical Response will be on the hunt for repeat offenders, 'Hot Ships' attach crimes to players' spacecrafts, and new notoriety levels increase consequences for illegal activities making the galaxy a more challenging place for veteran pilots.
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