Tuesday, May 23rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
Storage

Cougar Megara

The Cougar Megara is a portable in-ear gaming headset with a boom microphone for those wanting all the functional benefits of larger gaming headset without the bulk. You can even take it on the road or use it with your mobile phone thanks to the in-line microphone, controller, and detachable boom microphone.

Cooler Master Cosmos II 25th Anniversary

The Cooler Master Cosmos II was launched in 2012 and became one of the brand's most recognizable enclosures. Now, half a decade later, Cooler Master presents the Cosmos II 25th Anniversary edition to celebrate a quarter century in business and to bring the iconic chassis back to a new generation of enthusiasts and gamers.

Patent Trolls to Lose their "Homefield" Advantage Thanks to Supreme Court

Thanks to a ruling from the Supreme Court, patent trolls could see their designs being thwarted more often than they have until today. Patent trolls stand as a scourge of the industry, ie, companies and even individuals that hold intellectual property with the sole purpose of levying infringement lawsuits against other companies - without producing anything themselves. They're kind of the leeches of the tech and business worlds, without some of the benefits their biological counterparts manage to deliver.

AOC Introduces the AGON AG251FG - 24.5", 1080p, TN, 240 Hz, G-SYNC

AOC has added a new monitor to its line-up, which seems to be especially geared towards competitive gamers in twitch-shooters. Its astonishing 240 Hz refresh rate, 1 ms response time, and G-SYNC support are its greatest selling points, I would wager, though I bid you good luck in running most modern games at such frame-rates. To achieve this kind of screen refresh rates, AOC had to compromise in other areas, though: the AG251FG's 1080p resolution seems somewhat limited, as does the usage of a TN panel.

Connectivity-wise, we're looking at the usual 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0, Audio out and microphone in/out. The AGON AG251FG also features NVIDIA's ULMB mode and AOC's Flicker Free and Low Blue Light technologies. It features AOC's Ergo Dial Base, which allows for tilt, swivel and height adjustments, and also includes a retractable headset holder and a carrying handle for your LAN parties craze. The AOC AGON AG251FG is expected to be available in August 2017, for a bold £519 MSRP (around $673). This seems a tad excessive for a 1080p TN screen, wouldn't you agree? Or do you find the G-SYNC and ludicrous 240 Hz justify such a price-tag?

Source: ETeknix

Acer Announces the Predator Z35P - 35", 1800R, 3440x1440, G-SYNC

Acer has added another entry to their Predator line of gaming monitors. The Z35P comes in to replace the company's now aging Z35, which boasted of a 2560x1080 resolution (which while relatively low for today's standards, I have to say I really enjoy.) The Z35P brings the specs up to speed with today's standards, with a higher resolution and a better contrast ratio than its predecessor. Its design reminds me of a running Flood infection form, honestly, but that may be just me.

The Z35P is based on a 35" AMVA panel with a 3440x1440 resolution (2.39:1 aspect ratio and 106 PPI), has a relatively low maximum brightness of 300 nits (no HDR support here I'm afraid), a 2500:1 contrast ratio, a 100 Hz refresh rate, 178°/178° viewing angles, a 4 ms response time, and a 1800R curvature. Reports indicate the refresh rate can be overclocked from 100 Hz to 120 Hz (with G-SYNC to boot), which isn't all that shabby. Connectivity-wise, the Predator Z25P features 1x HDMI 1.4 port, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 4x USB Type-A headers (with 1x USB-B input) and 1x 3.5-mm audio jack which drives the two 9 W integrated speakers. While in operation, the panel consumes up to 65 W of power. The Acer Predator Z35P is expected to be available in the U.S. in the coming weeks for $1099.99.

Corsair Announces New LINK Fan and Lighting Controllers

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the launch of the Commander PRO and Lighting Node PRO fan and lighting controllers, alongside the new HD140 RGB series of RGB cooling fans. Controlled by CORSAIR LINK software, Commander PRO is the ultimate in system control, providing complete command of up to six 4-pin PWM fans, two RGB lighting channels, four temperature sensors and two USB 2.0 headers.

Lighting Node PRO lights up your PC like never before, with two CORSAIR LINK controlled RGB lighting channels and four included individually addressable RGB LED light strips, each equipped with ten RGB LEDs for brilliant, customizable, system illumination. Finally, HD140 RGB joins the award-winning range of CORSAIR RGB cooling fans. Each 140mm fan boasts twelve vibrant, individually addressable LEDs, software controllable in CORSAIR LINK using either Commander PRO or Lighting Node PRO.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.1.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released GPU-Z 2.1.0, a major update to the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostic utility. Version 2.1.0 introduces the new Advanced tab, which gives you in-depth information related to your installed graphics hardware and software related to graphics and GPU compute, such as API-level features available to you. Information is presented as drop-down lists in the new Advanced tab. API features of DirectX, OpenCL, CUDA, and Vulkan are added.

In addition to the groundbreaking Advanced tab, GPU-Z 2.1.0 adds support for EVGA iCX technology, and can put out live sensor data from various parts of your EVGA iCX graphics card. There's also the usual addition of new GPU support, which now includes NVIDIA Tesla P100 PCIe, Tesla M10, Quadro P5000, Intel HD Graphics 615, and AMD Radeon HD 8350G. In addition, there are various user-interface bug fixes and improvements.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.1.0
The change-log follows.

ASUSTOR Announces Intel Core i5-powered AS7004T-i5 and AS7010T-i5 NAS

ASUSTOR Inc., a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has announced that it has added two new models to its 70 series NAS devices with the AS7004T-i5 and AS7010T-i5. These two new models utilize powerful Intel Core i5 quad-core processors and feature 8GB of built-in memory with mixed capacity expansion support up to a maximum of 16GB for enhanced flexibility.

When compared to ASUSTOR's previous generation of Core i3 models, the AS7004-i5 and AS7010-i5 provide significantly enhanced performance, especially with regards to multimedia playback, transcoding and the processing of large volumes of files. The AS7004-i5 and AS7010-i5 are both equipped with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports which can provide balance and stability under high loading and heavy network traffic. This provides increased efficiency for multi-tasking and multi-user access. Additionally, the AS7010-i5 also comes equipped with a 10GbE network card expansion slot, allowing users to flexibly upgrade their equipment to operate under high speed network access environments.

Cooler Master Announces COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition Case

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, today announced the launch of a new model in the COSMOS line. To celebrate Cooler Master's quarter-century birthday, the brand introduces the COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition. A tribute to Cooler Master's original and iconic COSMOS case.

Ever since the launch of the original COSMOS II, fans all over the World have been asking, or even making their own, windowed side panel for the COSMOS II. Well, Cooler Master heard you and we wanted to add a little flourish: the COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition comes with two curved tempered glass side panels out of the box.

FSP Introduces the New Hydro PTM+ Liquid Cooled PSU

Electrical circuits and water have never liked to be the closest friends. However, computer hardware enthusiasts - and even the simply hardware curious - have been able to leverage liquid cooling solutions' higher thermal dissipation capabilities to reduce temperatures of their operating hardware. Now, FSP is looking to introduce something that has been seldom seen in other power supply units: liquid cooling.

Created in cooperation with Bitspower so as to meet the highest security and safety standards, the Hydro PTM+ is a unique, patented liquid cooled PSU. FSP claims that the the Hydro PTM+ is the world's first 80 Plus Platinum-certified, mass-produced liquid cooled PSU. It features LED lighting, which FSP says achieves a combination of great looks with amazing performance. The unique liquid cooling system, once enabled, increases the power rating from 1200W to 1400W. But, with an array of integrated sensors, the Hydro PTM+ also excels at efficiency, when running in silent mode (below 50% load) it still delivers 600W without the use of a fan for cooling, thus remaining in complete silence. Expect to see more of these units at Computex, where we'll perhaps learn about this unit's pricing. I assure you, however, that these won't come cheap.

Could This be the NVIDIA TITAN Volta?

NVIDIA, which unveiled its faster "Volta" GPU architecture at its 2017 Graphics Technology Conference (GTC), beginning with the HPC product Tesla V100, is closer to launching the consumer graphics variant, the TITAN Volta. A curious-looking graphics card image with "TITAN" markings surfaced on Reddit. One could discount the pic for being that of a well-made cooler mod, until you take a peak at the PCB. It appears to lack SLI fingers where you'd expect them to be, and instead has NVLink fingers in positions found on the PCIe add-in card variant of the Tesla P100 HPC accelerator.

You might think "alright, it's not a fancy TITAN X Pascal cooler mod, but it could be a P100 with a cooler mod," until you notice the power connectors - it has two power inputs on top of the card (where they're typically found on NVIDIA's consumer graphics cards), and not the rear portion of the card (where the P100 has it, and where they're typically found on Tesla and Quadro series products). Whoever pulled this off has done an excellent job either way - of scoring a potential TITAN Volta sample, or modding whatever card to look very plausible of being a TITAN Volta.
Sources: Reddit, VideoCardz

HighPoint Intros SSD7101 Series PCI-Express 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID SSDs

HighPoint, known for its enterprise storage RAID HBAs, has a thriving portfolio of workstation-grade storage solutions, such as Thunderbolt enclosures. The company developed a new line of NVMe RAID solutions beginning with its RocketRAID 3800 PCIe x16 HBA, and now the SSD7101 series PCIe solid-state drives. The drives are built in the full-height PCI-Express add-on card form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x16 host interface. The card combines a number of M.2-2280 SSD subunits wired to an NVMe RAID controller, and either striped in user-transparent RAID 0 for maximum performance, or RAID 1 and RAID 5 modes, for data redundancy. The resulting volume exposed to the OS has full NVMe protocol and TRIM support.

The SSD7101 comes in two variants, the SSD7101A featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 EVO sub-units, and the faster SSD7101B featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 PRO series sub-units. The card features four 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, the SSD7101A comes in capacities of 500 GB (2x 250 GB), 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), and 4 TB (4x 1 TB); while the SSD7101B comes in capacities of 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), 4 TB (4x 1 TB), and 8 TB (4x 2 TB). The SSD7101A offers sequential transfer rates of up to 13,000 MB/s reads, with up to 7,500 MB/s writes; while the SSD7101B offers up to 13,500 MB/s reads, with up to 8,000 MB/s writes, and 33 percent higher endurance. You can halve the capacity and double the endurance by running the drives in RAID 1 mode. Both drives feature an aluminium fin-channel cooling solution, with heatsinks over each of the four M.2 subunits, and the NVMe RAID controller. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Monday, May 22nd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Storage

Bitfenix Shogun

The Bitfenix Shogun may not look the part when it comes to its naming, but it does offer a nice and mostly functional feature set coupled with great overall build quality. It also sets itself apart by allowing the user to expand the motherboard tray for an E-ATX board.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released its latest GeForce "Game Ready" drivers. The new GeForce 382.33 WHQL drivers come game-ready for the week's big game releases - "Tekken 7," and "Star Trek Bridge Crew." It also addresses bugs such as Windows Store not opening on Windows 10 Creators Update with 3D Vision enabled on TITAN X; stuttering noticed in "Prey" with GTX 1080 Ti, extended monitors not drifting into Sleep in Windows 10 Creators Update with GTX 1070, and GTX 970 SLI machines not being able to toggle SLI unless Norton 360 is disabled or Windows is booted into "Safe Mode." Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

The change-log follows.

EK Announces GeForce GTX FE Full-Cover Water Blocks

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing several new EK-FC GeForce GTX FE water blocks that are compatible with multiple reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. All the water blocks feature recently introduced aesthetic terminal cover as well! FE blocks come as a replacement to current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks.

All current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks are going to be discontinued after the stock runs out and FE blocks come as a complete replacement. FE blocks are designed to fit all reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. The current compatibility list rounds up a total of 106 graphics cards that are on the market, but as always, we recommend that you refer to the EK Cooling Configurator for a precise compatibility match.

SilentiumPC Intros Vero L2 Bronze Series PSUs

SilentiumPC today introduced the Vero L2 Bronze series of mainstream power-supplies (PSUs). Available in two models - 500W and 600W, the PSUs offer low-noise fans, fixed cabling, and boasts of 80 Plus Bronze switching efficiency, besides an up to date standards compliance (ATX 12V 2.31, and Intel Core new C6/C7-states support). Under the hood, the Vero L2 Bronze features a single +12V rail design, a resonant LLC converter, active PFC, and most common electrical protections, including over/under-voltage, overload, input surge, and short-circuit protection.

Both variants of the SilentiumPC Vero L2 Bronze offer the same connector loadout - a 24-pin ATX, a 4+4 pin EPS, two 6+2-pin PCIe power, seven SATA power, three 4-pin Molex, and one 4-pin Berg (floppy). Besides the 24-pin ATX, all connectors feature flat ribbon-type cables. The units are cooled by a 120 mm PWM fan that's been optimized for low noise, and stays at 20% of its rated 1,800 RPM speed up to 30% of load. The units are backed by 3-year "door to door" warranty. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Plextor Announces M8Se Series SSD Availability

Plextor today announced retail availability of its M8Se series of PCI-Express solid-state drives (SSDs). Designed to compete with Samsung 960 EVO series, the drives use Toshiba-made TLC NAND flash memory, mated to a Marvell 88SS1093 controller. Available in M.2-2280 and half-height PCI-Express 3.0 x4 add-on card form-factors, the drives take advantage of PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 interface, and the NVMe protocol.

The M8Se lineup are available in three distinct variants based on form-factor, M8Se-Y (PCIe add-on card), M8Se-G (M.2-2280 with heatsink), and M8Se-GN (M.2-2280 without heatsink, ideal for notebooks); the three further consist of variants based on capacity - 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB. Performance ratings are the same on all variants - up to 2,450 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1,000 MB/s sequential writes, up to 210,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 175,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The M8Se-Y and M8Se-G series drives feature chunky aluminium heatsinks which make contact with the NAND flash, DRAM, and main controller. Prices start at 83€ for the 128 GB variant, and go all the way up to 494€ for the 1 TB variant.

MSI Intros Five Additional GT 1030 Graphics Cards

Taking a blanketing approach to the GT 1030 market, MSI has announced a further five SKUs based on NVIDIA's GT 1030 silicon, which will join the company's already announced full height, passive-cooled GT 1030 2GH OC offering. MSI is catering to one and every need their users could possibly have with this line-up: from a half-height, passive-cooled solution, passing through a full-height, still passively-cooled solution, and a full-height, actively-cooled one. The only thing missing seems to be a water-cooled version.

MSI's line of GT 1030 graphics cards are available now from various retailers at around the $75 price-bracket.

Inno3D Intros Single-slot GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Graphics Cards

INNO3D, one of the leading brands in high-end graphics cards and high quality 3D printers, expands its GPU portfolio with the new Single-Slot edition of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and 1050. By designing a powerful video card in a thin and elegant form factor, performance that usually finds itself in dual-slot space, you can now get the same experience in smaller PCs that usually were lacking that graphics power.

NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture fuels the new INNO3D GeForce GTX 1050 Ti / 1050 single slot graphics cards and deliver fast & smooth gameplay, supporting the latest DirectX 12 features in both classic and modern games at even 1080p @ 60 fps. The ultimate & affordable upgrade is here; INNO3D GeForce GTX 1050 Ti/ 1050 series.

Alphacool Intros the Eisblock XPX CPU Water Block

Alphacool proudly presents the XPX Eisblock clear and satin versions. As with the other versions of the XPX, Alphacool relies on their specially developed and patented ramp technology. This innovation significantly improves the cooling performance, which has already been shown in tests with the normal Eisblock XPX. It allows the water to flow evenly over all the cooling fins instead of just rushing through the middle section and nearly standing still at the edges. Additionally, the Eisblock XPX boasts a large bottom surface of 34 x 32mm, perfect for CPUs with 8 or more cores, and a very fine fin structure of 0.2mm.


Alphacool is also the first water cooling manufacturer worldwide to dispense with Plexiglas and instead use transparent nylon, the material of the future, for both coolers. Nylon is a much more robust material than Plexiglas, meaning that the danger of cracks in the cooler is drastically reduced. Cracks can occur due to connectors being fastened too tightly or some other uneven strain on the Plexiglas.

HIS Intros Single-slot Radeon RX 550 Graphics Card

HIS today introduced a single-slot Radeon RX 550 graphics card. The new HIS Radeon RX 550 Green iCooler Slim graphics card comes in two variants based on memory size - 2 GB and 4 GB. Both cards are factory-overclocked, shipping with core clocks of 1183 MHz, with 1203 MHz boost, and an untouched 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory.

The cards combine a close-to-reference full-height PCB with a single-slot cooler featuring an aluminium base-plate with a copper core over the GPU, and aluminium channels for heat dissipation, from the air pushed by a 70 mm fan. The card relies on the PCI-Express slot for all its power, display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

AMD Ryzen-optimized C and C++ Compilers Improve Performance

AMD followed up its Ryzen processor launch with support for the software development ecosystem by releasing special C and C++ compilers that let you make software that can fully take advantage of the "Zen" micro-architecture. The new AOCC 1.0 C/C++ compilers by AMD are based on LLVM Clang, with "Zen" specific patches. AMD claims AOCC offers improved vectorization and better code generation for "Zen" based CPUs. It also includes a "Zen" optimized linker.

Phoronix benchmarked AOCC against other more common compilers such as GCC 6.3, GCC 7.1, GCC 8, LLVM Clang 4.0, and LLVM Clang 5.0 using a Ryzen 7-1700 eight-core processor powered machine, running on Ubuntu 17.04 Linux, and found that AOCC offers higher performance than GCC in most cases, LLVM Clang in some cases, and marginally higher performance than LLVM Clang in some cases. Find more results in the link below.

Source: Phoronix.org
Friday, May 19th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Vertagear Triigger 275 Gaming Chair

We take a look at another high-end gaming chair, this time from Vertagear. It promises to take you through comfortable, hour-long gaming sessions and looks nice; however, its price is quite steep.

AMD Ryzen 2000 Series Processors Based on Refined 14 nm Process

At its Analyst Day follow-up conference call, AMD confirmed that the company could build a new generation of Ryzen processors on 14 nm (albeit refined 14 nm) process, before transitioning to "Zen2," which will be built on the 7 nm process. As the first "Zen" based products built on the 14 nm process, the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors are based on the current-generation 14 nm FinFET process. AMD hopes to tap into a more refined version of this process before moving on to "Zen 2."

This could indicate that AMD's next generation of Ryzen processors, likely the Ryzen # 2xxx series, could be minor incremental updates to the current product stack, likely in the form of higher clock speeds or better energy-efficiency facilitated by the refined 14 nm process, but nothing major in the way of micro-architecture. Assuming the current Ryzen product stack, which will be augmented by Ryzen 3 series, Ryzen Pro series, and Ryzen APUs in the second half of 2017; last till mid-2018, one could expect a follow-up or refreshed Ryzen # 2xxx series run up to another year, before AMD makes a "leapfrog" upgrade to the 7 nm process with "Zen2," in all likelihood, by 2019.

Threadripper a Brand, not Codename: AMD, More Details

At its follow-up conference call for its Analysts Day presentation, AMD clarified that Threadripper is a brand, and not a codename to its upcoming line of HEDT processors. This effectively implies that the chips will be called either Threadripper (followed by a model number), or Ryzen Threadripper, but not "Ryzen 9." Responding to questions by TechPowerUp, AMD also mentioned that it will put out more details about Threadripper in its May 29th pre-Computex event in Taipei.

AMD also confirmed that Threadripper is very much a client platform product and not enterprise; although its target audience is "a bit of both" power-users looking for a huge amount of CPU power, and high-end gamers. The Epyc line of processors are firmly in the enterprise domain. Finally, AMD confirmed that motherboard manufacturers will show off Threadripper motherboards at Computex 2017. AMD hopes to launch Threadripper within Summer 2017 (that's before September end). Wake me up when September ends.

Intel to Introduce 3D XPoint DIMM Tech to the Market on 2018

Early on in Intel's 3D XPoint teasers and announcements, the company planned to have this memory integrated not only as a system cache solution or SSD replacement, but also as a potential substitute for DRAM memory. The objective: to revolutionize the amount of DRAM memory a given system can carry, at a much lower price per GB, with a somewhat acceptable performance penalty. Intel describes the current DRAM implementation as too small, too expensive, and too unstable (read: data loss on power loss) to continue being on top of the memory food chain. This is where the 3D Xpoint DIMM implementation can bear fruits, by offering significantly higher amounts of storage at much lower pricing, while keeping attractive bandwidth and latency performance. DRAM will still be used for system-critical operations and booting, albeit in lower capacities, and will be used side by side with these 3D XPoint DIMM slots, which will take in the bulk of the work.

This kind of usage for Intel's 3D XPoint also delivers an interesting side-effect: since this memory is persistent (which means that data isn't lost when the power is turned off,) interruption or loss of power won't erase the work in memory. At the same time, this means that this kind of DRAM-substitute memory requires some security precautions DRAM doesn't, since anyone with direct physical access to the stick could just remove one and take it with all the data inside. Even though a 2018 time to market seems a little to optimistic, considering all the changes this implementation would require from adopters, the technology is definitely promising enough to tempt users to make the jump.

Source: EXPreview

ASUS Teases Ryzen-based ROG Laptop

ASUS, through its ROG (Republic of Gamers)brand, has started teasing what is to be one of the first Ryzen-powered gaming laptops. Other than Ryzen's circular orange logo and the ROG brand, the video doesn't offer any specifics of what hardware rests under the hood. The clip includes the words "something has awakened," and the post is accompanied by the hashtag #Computex2017.

G.SKILL Organizes OC World Record Stage and OC World Cup at Computex 2017

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to announce its largest annual LN2 extreme overclocking events at Computex - the 6th Annual OC World Record Stage 2017 and 4th Annual OC World Cup 2017. In addition, an Extreme OC Workshop event co-hosted with HWBOT.org at the G.SKILL booth this year. These 3 events will be held throughout Computex week at the G.SKILL Computex booth in the Nangang Exhibition Hall, 1F, Booth J0806.

The G.SKILL OC World Record Stage event has reached its 6th year in the running and has become one of the biggest annual overclocking events in the community. This year, 18 world-class professional overclockers will be attending and aim to break as many benchmark records as possible, showing off the astounding performance of the latest hardware from Intel, leading motherboard vendors, and G.SKILL.

MSI Intros Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX Series Graphics Cards

MSI today introduced the Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX series graphics cards. These factory-overclocked cards are available in two identical looking variants that differ by memory size - 2 GB and 4 GB. The cards are characterized by a short-length PCB measuring 15.5 cm, making it ideal for cubical ITX cases; mated to a 2-slot thick cooler. This cooler features a simple aluminium monoblock heatsink ventilated by a 90 mm fan. The card draws all its power from the PCI-Express bus. The MSI RX 560 Aero ITX features factory-overclocked speeds of 1196 MHz core, 1320 MHz boost, and 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. Display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

PowerColor Intros Radeon RX 570 4GB Red Devil Graphics Card

PowerColor announced market availability of its Radeon RX 570 4 GB Red Devil graphics card. The company had announced the card at the RX 570 SKU launch. It is Positioned above the RX 570 Red Dragon, and is characterized by a high-end looking product design, featuring a long custom-design PCB, mated with an equally long 2-slot, triple-fan cooling solution, which features an aluminium dual-fin-stack heatsink ventilated by a trio of 70 mm fans, which stay off when the GPU is idling. PowerColor also included a back-plate to add to its premium appeal.

The Radeon RX 570 4 GB Red Devil features factory-overclocked speeds of up to 1320 MHz GPU (boost), compared to reference frequencies of 1275 MHz; and its memory is left untouched at 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective). Based on the 14 nm "Lexa" silicon, the Radeon RX 570 features 2,048 stream processors across 32 GCN compute units, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The RX 570 Red Devil draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0 and dual-link DVI.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Spotted in AMD's Labs

AMD's senior marketing director Chris Hook has taken to Twitter to tease AMD's recently-revealed, non-gaming oriented Vega Frontier Edition graphics card. According to the man, he's testing the Frontier Edition's lighting system, which, as we've seen in renders, is supposed to bring in that yellow shade to the Frontier Edition's brushed aluminum, "Pro Blue" furnishings.

What we should be paying more attention to, though, is the partial graphics card that stands to the frontier Edition's right side. It's only a partial, granted, but the black and red color scheme is reminiscent of... well... AMD's gaming Radeon graphics cards. Could this actually be meant as a tease for one of the gaming-oriented RX Vega graphics cards?

Source: Twitter, ETeknix

AMD Talks Improved Ryzen Memory Support, Ryzen 3, and Game Optimization

AMD, in an interview with Forbes, confirmed that it is working to improve DDR4 memory support of its Ryzen series processors, to enable higher memory clocks. AMD Ryzen users find it difficult to get DDR4 memory clocks to run above 3000 MHz reliably. With memory clock being linked with the chip's Infinity Fabric clock (the interconnect between two CCX units on the "Summit Ridge" silicon), the performance incentives for higher memory clocks are just that much more.

AMD confirmed that its AGESA update for May improves DDR4 memory compatibility, although it also stressed on the need for motherboard manufacturers to improve their board designs in the future, with more PCB layers and better copper traces between the DIMM slots and the SoC socket. The company assures that more updates to AGESA are in the pipeline, and would improve performance of Ryzen processors at various levels. The AGESA updates are dispensed through motherboard vendors as BIOS updates.

Bungie's Destiny 2 to Offer 4K, 21:9, Uncapped Framerate Support on PC Version

Bungie's space-opera extraordinaire (well, let's hope it is so) Destiny 2 will apparently offer a great level of support for us PC enthusiasts. It has been confirmed through the hands-on portion after yesterday's live-stream that the game will offer some PC-centric features, including support for up to 4K resolutions, ultra-widescreen support, an adjustable FOV, and uncapped frame-rates for those of you who like to live on the edge. These features, however, make it likely that cross-play between PC, XBOX and PlayStation versions of the game won't be possible, if the added speed and precision of the mice and keyboard options over their gamepad counterparts wasn't enough already. Additionally, it has been confirmed that the game will be distributed through Blizzard (formerly Battle.net), which makes a resounding business sense. Why would Activision distribute its game through Steam, having its profits capped by 30%, when they already have the infrastructure to support a game of this magnitude? Sadly, it has been confirmed that the PC version will be delayed, not being launched on September 8th like the console versions.

There was already some hands-on time with Destiny 2's PC version yesterday. While the PC requirements for the game have not yet been released, I think we can interpret the systems on offer at the stage as an overkill approach to it: the systems featured an Intel Core i7-7700K, 16 GB of Ram, an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, a 500 GB SSD, and Windows 10, which powered an Acer Predator XB271HK monitor (4K, IPS, G-Sync screen.) Though the fact the game was running at over 60 FPS on 4K with the above configuration does speak to relatively mild performance requirements.

Gigabyte Offers up to 60€ in Steam Wallet With Select Aorus Motherboard Purchase

In a bid to increase attractiveness of its offerings even further, Gigabyte has recently announced via a forum post that it's offering up to 60€ in Steam vouchers to consumers who purchase a select Aorus motherboard. This promotion is available for both Intel and AMD Aorus-branded motherboards, and will be open until June 30th 2017 or while stock lasts. Intel customers seem to be getting the bulk of the promotion though, with AMD users only getting 20€ in Steam Wallet vouchers.

Something that we don't see everyday is that this promotion is particularly focused on the EU. Gigabyte states it's only open to residents of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal (yay!), Serbia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuanian, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Croatia and Slovenia. Check the list of featured motherboards and respective voucher value eligibility after the break.

Shuttle Unveils XC60J IPC Powered by Intel "Apollo Lake" Celeron SoC

Shuttle Inc., the global leader in small form factor computer technology, announces the latest Intel Apollo lake platform, XC60J support with 8 COM ports to power highly interactive Kiosk, vending machine, POS and more. The XC60J is the first 3-liter model with fanless design, powered by Intel Celeron J3355. With built-in Intel HD Graphics and processor, the XC60J can support 4K/Ultra HD video playback and HEVC/H.265 high definition video playback.

With one built-in M.2 2280 Type M and one M.2 2230 Type A/E expansion slots, you can easily install an M.2 SSD, Wi-Fi module or other compatible devices. The XC60J is highly connectable with multiple I/O: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, SATA 6Gbps, COM, and Intel Dual Gigabit LAN ports. Seven RS232 and one RS232/RS422/RS485 ports which support 0V/5V/12V. Connect to barcode scanners, receipt printers, keypads, and other peripherals makes XC60J easily configured into peripheral-heavy POS, Kiosk, and Digital Signage systems.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX X370-F Gaming Motherboard

ASUS today introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) STRIX X370-F Gaming motherboard, positioned below its flagship ROG Crosshair VI Hero, but above its Prime X370-Pro upper mid-range motherboard. Based on the AMD X370 chipset, and ready for socket AM4 Ryzen processors, the board is characterized by its RGB LED lighting chops. The VRM and chipset heatsinks feature RGB LEDs with diffusers, the board is peppered with status LEDs, and features RGB LED headers. The included ASUS Aura Sync RGB lets you orchestrate your LED setup.

Built in the ATX form-factor, the STRIX X370-F Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A 10-phase VRM conditions power for the AM4 SoC, which is wired to four reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 with both populated), with NVIDIA SLI support. The third x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the chipset. Three other x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion.

AMD Confirms Radeon RX Vega Soft-launch at Computex

AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) head Raja Koduri, responding to questions on a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session, confirmed that while the company will launch the consumer-graphics variant of "Vega," the Radeon RX Vega graphics card, at its 2017 Computex event, availability of the card won't follow immediately after, making it a soft-launch. "We'll be showing Radeon RX Vega off at Computex, but it won't be on store shelves that week. We know how eager you are to get your hands on Radeon RX Vega, and we're working extremely hard to bring you a graphics card that you'll be incredibly proud to own," Koduri said.

The first consumer graphics card based on the "Vega 10" ASIC will be the Radeon RX Vega Frontier Edition. This card will be armed with 8 GB of HBM2 memory spread across two 16 Gbit HBM2 8-Hi stacks, with its combined memory bandwidth around 480 GB/s. From the words of Koduri, we can deduce that AMD is still finding the right clocks to make Vega Frontier Edition a competitive product. Koduri confirmed that there will be faster/bigger implementations of Vega. "Consumer RX will be much better optimized for all the top gaming titles and flavors of RX Vega will actually be faster than Frontier version," he said. In the meantime, check out some groovy concept renders of RX Vega reference board by VideoCardz. Our money is on the one below.

Source: Reddit
Thursday, May 18th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

Palit GTX 1050 Ti KalmX 4 GB

Palit's GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX is the fastest passively cooled graphics card on the market. It also runs on PCI-Express slot power only; no additional power connector is needed, which makes the card an excellent candidate for a media PC or quiet small-form-factor system.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2 Drivers

AMD released the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.5.2 drivers. These drivers improve performance of "Prey" a further 4.5 percent, compared to 17.5.1 drivers, as tested on a Radeon RX 580 8 GB graphics card. The drivers also address some critical bugs, beginning with random hangs or application crash noticed on "NieR: Automata," excessive level load times noticed on "Forza Horizon 3," a bug related to multi-GPU setups where displays plugged into the second graphics cards where the first (primary) graphics card disappears from the device list; and a bug with Radeon RX 550 which causes the system to hang when entering sleep or hibernate states. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2
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