Friday, April 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus 11 Gbps 8 GB

The MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus is built around the updated GTX 1080 NVIDIA announced recently. It comes with faster 11 Gbps memory chips and a decent GPU overclock, which results in a significant performance improvement. The cooler is also extremely quiet and runs very cool.

Digital Purchases Make Up Majority of US Video Game Sales, and Other ESA Stats

In the latest edition of "RTB's Obvious News," I present you with an alarming statistic:

Digital purchases make up most video game sales in the United states at around 74% of purchases, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

I know, I can hear it now: "Obvious news is obvious, R-T-B. Why'd you post this? Your news sucks!" etc etc. Believe it or not, I have a reason for bringing this seemingly lame study to your attention, and that's because despite the headline being lame, the study actually contains some interesting tidbits about the gaming market in general.

Microsoft Confirms Windows, Office 6-Month Update Cycle

Microsoft has been steadily increasing stability, features and, the company hopes, attractiveness of its latest Windows 10 operating system. Recently, its Creator's Update has brought, among other features, a performance-boosting Game Mode, a 3D version of the popular and (respectably ancient) Paint app, as well as increased privacy control, something users clamored for. Now, the Redmond company has confirmed that it's looking towards a six month update cycle for Windows 10 (thus aligning it with Office 365 ProPlus), looking to streamline and increase predictability of its support.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, and the Creators Update made its public debut on April 11 2017, which is already close to the six-month update cycle the company is now confirming (seven months, in this case.) Now the company has confirmed that it plans to release its next step on the Windows 10 operating system on September 2017. From then on, updates should arrive in a steady cadence, on every subsequent March and September. Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months, as is currently the case, and the company has also added that its System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, "making both easier to deploy and keep up to date."

Source: Blogs.Windows.com, Tom's Hardware

Intel's X299 Platform to Counter AMD's X399 with 12-core CPUs

Intel's X299 HEDT platform, whose launch we recently covered as having been pulled by the company so as to better compete against AMD's upcoming X399 HEDT platform, has some new, juicy rumors floating about it. Namely, Bench.Life has reported that Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X lines of high performance CPUs will also feature 12-core offerings on its Skylake-X materialization, instead of just the previously reported 6, 8, and 10-core designs.

This really looks like an Intel that's stretching its manufacturing and chip design prowess so as to prevent itself from being buried in higher-performing, higher core and thread count offerings from its rival AMD, which has turned Intel's line-up in the mainstream consumer market head-over-heels already. Latest reports peg the new series as being presented on Computex 2017 (specifically, on may 30th), with availability being expected on June 26th. Which platform are most interested in, and what do you think of this move from Intel?

Source: Bench.life, Videocardz

PowerColor Announces the Radeon RX 550 RedDragon

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has released a new PowerColor Red Dragon RX 550 2GB GDDR5 added in the line of RX 500 series. It is based on AMD's latest GCN 4 architecture designed for GloFo 14nm FinFET that delivers premium VR capability, increased level of performance, smooth VR, seamless support for next-gen gaming monitors and CPU-free game streaming or recording.

Furthermore, the model also supports AMD's optimized DirectX 12,Vulkan Gaming, Radeon FreeSync, and Liquid VR. It has the features of AMD's newest technology called Radeon ReLive which supports 4K, 30 & 60FPS, HEVC & H.264 providing you smooth recording on lower power systems, and Radeon Chill which is an intelligent power-saving feature that regulates dynamically frame rate based on your movement's in-game.

XFX Launches its RX 550 Full and Low-Profile Graphics Cards

XFX has launched three variants of the RX 550 graphics cards, the tiny GPU that could, which AMD launched so as to bridge the enormous gap between IGP and its previous entry-line RX 460 (now RX 560) series of graphics cards. There are two low-profile versions of the RX 550, packing either 2GB or 4 GB of memory (whose amounts can be justified or not,) both with boost clocks set at 1203 MHz and 7000 MHz GDDR5 memory over a 128-bit bus. There is also a full-profile, dual slot RX 550, dubbed the Core Edition, and another Core Edition, though this one is a full-profile, single-slot solution.

All of these pack the same 1203 MHz boost clocks, so XFX is basically telling you to pick and choose the size of the graphics cards that best fits your use case, with improvements on cooling and sound profile that come with the larger, beefier cooling solutions. Display outputs stand the same among all the different cards, with 1x DVI-I Dual-Link, 1x DisplayPort, and 1x HDMI 2.0.

Source: Videocardz

HIS Launches Radeon RX 500 Series IceQX2 Graphics Cards

HIS has added two RX 500 series cards to its portfolio, one of which has one of the highest factory-overclocked boost clocks we've seen yet. The RX 580 XTR IceQX2 Roaring Turbo carries a 1430 MHz boost clock in Turbo Mode, as well as a 1411 MHz (at the level of Sapphire's Nitro+ Limited Edition RX 580) in OC Mode. The memory clock is set to a standard 8 Gbps (which is something I really don't understand, with the amount of headroom these usually have.) The board has one each of a 6+8pin power connectors so as to power this power-hungry card (relative to its performance, at least.)

ENERMAX Launches the D.F. STORM 3500 RPM, Self-Cleaning Fan

ENERMAX releases D.F. STORM fan, the new flagship 120mm fan which can operate at 3500RPM. The D.F. Storm can generate strong airflow up to 155.08(CFM) and static pressure as high as 11.131(mm-H2O). Furthermore, the high-speed fan includes the latest DFRTM technology for self-cleaning and the patented APS PWM design, which makes this fan an excellent cooling choice for servers, industrial applications or high-performance gaming rigs.

This super high-speed fan employs the Storm-Flow blades specifically designed to be used under extreme conditions. The solid design and the special shape of the fan blades will ensure low-vibration during operation. Unlike other high-RPM fans using two-ball bearing, D.F. STORM utilizes the ultra-silent Twister Bearing technology to deliver silent operation; moreover; its high-quality and heat-resistant components ensure 160,000 hours MTBF, even at high operating temperature.

Latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Introduces per Process "Power Throttling"

With its latest Insider Preview build of Windows 10 (Build 16176), Microsoft has introduced a feature known as "Power Throttling," which is essentially per-process power management leveraging the Intel Speed Shift technology available in 6th-gen and newer Intel processors. According to Microsoft, although Power Throttling currently requires Intel's "Speed Shift" tech, it will be expanded to earlier generation Intel processors that lack the feature in coming months.
Thursday, April 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking

iFi Audio nano iDSD LE

iFi Audio's nano iDSD LE is a little DAC/amp with big ambitions. It packs all the knowledge from the bigger DAC/amps in iFi's huge portofolio of products into a small package. Despite being small, it still features RCA line-outs, a very respectable headphone amplification circuit, and a 1000 mAh battery.

ASUS Brings "Tinker Board" Raspberry Pi 3 Competitor to North America

ASUS is bringing its higher-performing Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, the "Tinker Board" to markets in North America. Priced at a nice easy 54.99, ASUS touts the machines horsepower as being nearly double that of a Raspberry Pi 3 and says it is "capable of powering all of your projects from robots to media boxes to coding machine for budding programmers."

The machine's specifications are certainly more capable than a Raspberry Pi 3, and being it is Linux based there will certainly be a plethora of community support for this device. Interestingly enough, Android Support is a bit behind (being only on Marshmallow at the moment), but ASUS has a pledge for Nougat support in place.

Specifications are listed below, and I have also kindly provided a link to the products amazon page for those interested.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VSBVQWS/

PS: Yes, I am aware this is not exactly "PC Hardware" but I felt enough of us might have some use for a cheap Single Board Computer to find this interesting.Source: HotHardware

StarCraft Available For Free From Blizzard, Nearly 20 Years After Launch

In 1998, I wasn't a StarCraft guy. My Packard Bell 486DX 8MB wonder that my parents refused to upgrade couldn't run it. That thing wouldn't do a merciful "fall-on-its-sword" act like all the other Packard Bells in the neighborhood either. The thing insisted on surviving until almost 2004 when my parents finally took it to the dump. I personally, got out of that hell in 2001 when I built my own system with an Athlon Thunderbird 1Ghz chip and a lofty 512MBs of ram, but StarCraft was never really my thing.

Now, the jokes on you, suckers, cause I can download it for free!

Samsung, Amazon Unveil Yet Another HDR Standard

And here I was thinking the whole point of having standards was to homogenize offerings for a given feature, ensuring the same minimal requirements were met by anyone (or any product) looking to carry a sticker emblazoning its capabilities. Yet here it is, another HDR standard, which Samsung and Amazon are calling HDR10+.

The HDR10+ standard looks to slightly bridge the gap between the HDR10 standard as certified by the UHD Alliance, and the Dolby Vision one, which boasted better HDR reproduction whilst carrying higher specifications to be adhered to. The greatest change in HDR10+: the adoption of Dynamic Tone Mapping, which stand upon variable dynamic metadata to help adjust brightness and contrast in real time, optimized on a frame-by-frame basis, a feature present in Dolby Vision but lacking on the UHD Alliance's HDR10, which resulted in some overly darkened bright scenes.

Dell Announces the UltraSharp UP2718Q: 27", 4K, HDR

Dell, which makes some of the best computer monitors around (though they really don't tend to be the most cost-effective), has announced a new addition to its line of monitors. The UP2718Q is a 27" monitor which boast of 4K (3140* 2160) resolution, and supports the UHD Alliance's HDR10 standard. Its peak brightness of 1,000 nits ensures its adherence to the HDR standards (which backs up to 400 nits brightness on non-HDR material), while the 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% REC 709, 97.7% DCI-P3, and 76.9% REC2020 color coverage ensures this is a panel best used by professionals who need extreme color accuracy. Connectivity wise, we find 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x mini-DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0a ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a hub of 4x USB 3.0 ports, two of which are capable of charging.

ZOTAC Also Intros GeForce GTX 1060 6GB AMP+ with 9 Gbps GDDR5 Memory

In addition to the GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme 11 Gbps, ZOTAC introduced the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB AMP+ graphics card with faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 memory (model: ZT-P10600G-10M). The card comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 1607 MHz core, 1835 MHz GPU Boost, and 9.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, which now churns out 216 GB/s of memory bandwidth; against NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 1506/1709/8008 MHz. The card features a short-length custom-design PCB that draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, and keeps cool with a compact rendition of ZOTAC's IceStorm cooling solution, featuring two 90 mm fans, and a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ZOTAC Intros the GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme with 11 Gbps GDDR5X Memory

ZOTAC today introduced the GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme with faster 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory (model: ZT-P1080I-10P). The card is nearly identical to the GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme the company launched its GTX 1080 lineup with, but features 10% faster memory, which is factory-overclocked even further. The card ships with clock speeds of 1771 MHz core, 1911 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.2 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, against NVIDIA reference speeds of 1607/1733/10008 MHz (core/boost/memory).

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme 11 Gbps features a custom-design PCB with a strong VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, to support the massive factory-overclock. It features a triple-slot IceStorm cooling solution by ZOTAC, which features a trio of 100 mm fans that ventilate a large dual-stack aluminium fin heatsink. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it is expected that this card replaces the older 10 Gbps memory-equipped AMP! Extreme.

Inno3D Announces GeForce GTX 1080 11 Gbps and GTX 1060 9 Gbps Graphics Cards

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of high-end hardware components and computer utilities, expands its portfolio with the new GeForce GTX 1080 11Gbps and GTX 1060 9Gbps graphics cards. The new entries will become available in the premium iChiLL range of products.

The new INNO3D GeForce GTX 1080 11 Gbps and GTX 1060 9 Gbps iChiLL gaming cards draw everything out of NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture and leave nothing go to waste. All power and cooling efforts are perfectly tuned making them the perfect choice to run the latest games, the most demanding design suites and last but not least Virtual Reality applications.

GALAX GeForce 1080 Ti Hall of Fame Poses for the Camera - 16+3 Phase Design

This here is probably the most beautiful AIB partner card I've ever seen (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you are naturally free to disagree with me.) The pristine color scheme and subdued backplate design really stand out for me, as does the white PCB. Nitpicking, I hoped the power cables would not be color coded as they are, but I guess that would invite disaster.

CORSAIR Launches the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the release of the new CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti all-in-one liquid cooled graphics card. Combining the extreme gaming horsepower of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU with world-renowned CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti delivers the phenomenal performance of an overclocked GTX 1080 Ti with all the benefits of liquid cooling. Cooler temperatures, lower noise, higher clock speeds, and easy installation combine to allow the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to offer all the performance, with none of the compromises.

Developed in partnership with the expert graphics team at MSI, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the most advanced NVIDIA GeForce GPU ever made. Boasting an irresponsible level of graphics processing performance, the GTX 1080 Ti features 11GB of GDDR5X memory, 3,584 CUDA Cores and a massive 352-bit memory bus, allowing it to drive today's most demanding games and graphics applications at not just ultra-detail settings and high frame-rates, but stunning 4K resolution; it's the ultimate GeForce GPU for PC enthusiasts who demand nothing but the best. The Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti pushes that performance even further, with a factory overclocked GPU core frequency of 1,506 MHz, boost frequency of 1,620 MHz and a memory frequency of 11,124 MHz, squeezing every frame per second, polygon and pixel out of the GTX 1080 Ti GPU.

NVIDIA's Volta Reportedly Poised for Anticipated, Early Q3 2017 Launch

According to a report from Chinese website MyDrivers, NVIDIA is looking to spruce things up on its line-up with a much earlier than expected Q3 Volta Launch. Remember that Volta was expected, according to NVIDIA's own road-maps, to launch around early 2018. The report indicates that NVIDIA's Volta products - apparently to be marketed as the GeForce 20-series - will see an early launch due to market demands, and NVIDIA's intention to further increase pricing of its products through a new-generation launch.

These stand, for now, as only rumors (and not the first time they've surfaced at that), but paint a pretty interesting picture, nonetheless. Like Intel with its Coffee Lake series, pushing a product launch to earlier than expected has consequences: production, logistics, infrastructure, product roadmaps, and stock of existing previous-generation products must all be taken into account. And with NVIDIA just recently having introduced its performance-champions GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp graphics cards, all of this seems a trigger pull too early - especially when taking into account the competition landscape in high-performance graphics, which is akin to a single green-colored banner poised atop the Himalayas. And NVIDIA must not forget the fact that AMD could be pulling a black swan off its engineering department with Vega, like it did with its Ryzen series of CPUs.

TechPowerUp Announces MemTest64 - Test Memory from Within Windows

TechPowerUp today announced MemTest64, our lightweight, standalone utility that lets you test your system memory for hardware faults and other errors. The application has a graphical user interface (GUI), and can be run from within Windows, without needing any administrator privileges. MemTest64 can also be used to test the stability of your memory performance tuning, such as overclocks and tight timings. The utility puts your memory through a battery of test patterns, while juggling data from the memory to the page file. The app is portable, and does not require any installation. This is our first public release of MemTest64, after thorough internal testing. We welcome your feedback in the app's dedicated forum on TechPowerUp Forums.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp MemTest64 1.0

BIOSTAR Launches Two New Mini-ITX Motherboards for AMD Ryzen

BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the growing mini-ITX family of BIOSTAR motherboards with the introduction of the world's first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform and the first mini-ITX RGB LED-capable motherboards with AMD X370 and AMD B350 chipsets. BIOSTAR is pleased to welcome the new BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN mini-ITX motherboards into the RACING Series family. Both motherboards aim to deliver the best balance of form and function, delivering the full potential that the AMD AM4 platform offers especially with AMD RYZEN CPUs, all in a small package.

The BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN comes equipped with BIOSTAR 2nd-gen RACING features like 5050 LED Fun Zone with dual 5050 LED header for DIY customization, the BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ with full RGB LED control that lets enthusiasts design their own system lighting with precise control. Together with that, BIOSTAR also adds performance and quality features for maximum system performance and stability.

ADATA Launches ISDD361 Industrial-Grade SD Cards

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products,today launched industrial-grade ISDD361 SD cards. The cards employ meticulously-sorted and tested SLC NAND flash, and feature a hardened design optimized for extreme cold, heat, shock, and vibration. ISDD361 cards are meant for deployment in manufacturing, professional camcorder use, travel, photography, and military applications. They deliver up to 90 MB/s read and are available in capacities ranging from 256 MB to 16 GB.

ADATA uses only the best single-level cell Flash on industrial-grade SD cards. ISDD361 models employ SLC, which surpasses MLC and TLC (multi-level cell and triple-level cell) NAND flash in durability, longevity, and reliability. With ADATA A+ Testing methodology in place, users get SD cards with guaranteed quality, backed by a 3-year warranty.

NVIDIA Readies the GeForce GT 1030 to Compete with Radeon RX 550

With the Tuesday (18/04) launch of the Radeon RX 550 at US $79, the market for IGP-replacement discrete GPUs sprung back to life. NVIDIA is preparing to address the market with the new GeForce GT 1030 graphics card, based on its "Pascal" architecture. The SKU will be based on the new 14 nm "GP108" silicon, and could feature up to 512 CUDA cores, and up to 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit wide interface.

With tiny board and electrical footprints, one can expect the chip to rely on the PCI-Express slot entirely for its power, and come in low-profile and fan-less designs. It could feature an up-to-date I/O, including HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4, which its predecessor, the GT 730 lacks. The company could formally announce the GT 1030 around mid-May, 2017.

Source: Expreview

User Patch Unlocks Windows 7 and 8.1 Updates for Core "Kaby Lake" and Ryzen

Microsoft, in a bid to ensure users of 7th generation Intel Core "Kaby Lake," AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge," and AMD Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors stick to Windows 10, ensured that the three platforms don't receive software updates when running older Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 operating systems. A new user-made patch removes this draconian restriction, letting you install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on your new-generation CPU powered machine, and receive regular software updates through Windows Update.

The patch is open-source, so you can inspect its code, and available on GitHub. The author of the patch, Zeffy, discovered two new functions to system file wuaueng.dll after the March 2017 update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, labeled "IsCPUSupported(void)" and "IsDeviceServiceable(void)." This library is patched to toggle those two functions "1," telling Windows Update that the CPU is "supported" and that the platform is "serviceable," making it eligible to receive updates.

DOWNLOAD: New-gen CPU Windows Update Unlocking Patch for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 by ZeffySource: Github

Phanteks Announces the Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Edition

Phanteks, award-winning case manufacturer, today proudly announced the successor to the very first Evolv case. The renowned Evolv MATX now sports luxurious hinged glass doors, RGB illumination and easy to access front I/O.

The latest installment to the Evolv family now sports magnetic tempered glass on hinges for easy and convenient accessibility on both sides. The silk screen printed glass panels and 3mm anodized aluminium exterior retains the sleek mimimalistic design that the Evolv is known for. Many enhancements to the internal layout provide support for long GPU's and extreme cooling with two mounting locations for radiators (up to 360mm in front and 280 mm on top).

GIGABYTE Intros Core i3 "Kaby Lake" Based BRIX IoT

GIGABYTE today introduced a powerful variant of its BRIX IoT fanless node. In contrast to its Pentium "Apollo Lake" SoC based siblings, the new GB-EKi3A-7100 ships with a Core i3-7100U "Kaby Lake" processor. The unit is also slightly larger, measuring 180 mm x 117 mm x 36 mm (LxWxH). You get two DDR4 SODIMM slots, besides a 32 Gbps M.2-2280 slot with NVMe support, so you can add your own memory and SSD. Connectivity includes 802.11ac WLAN with Bluetooth 4.0, gigabit Ethernet, RS232 serial COM, two 5 Gbps USB 3.0 type-A ports, and two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 ports, of which one is type-C. Display outputs include HDMI 2.0 and mini-DisplayPort 1.2 (driven by the integrated Intel HD 620 graphics core).

Source: FanlessTech

Samsung Announces Galaxy Book 12 Enterprise 2-in-1 Solution

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced pre-order sales and availability of Samsung Galaxy Book 12 with Windows 10 Pro, a 2-in-1 device that offers highly mobile workforces style, performance and productivity. Galaxy Book will be available for pre-order through select resellers beginning April 21 for $1429, which includes an S Pen and Keyboard Case, as well as Samsung's enterprise solutions, services and support. Device shipments will begin May 23.

"We see tremendous growth and potential for 2-in-1s in the enterprise, particularly in vertical markets like sales, finance, healthcare and retail industries where users move frequently between collaboration and productivity mode," said Kevin Gilroy, executive vice president of enterprise mobility at Samsung Electronics America. "Galaxy Book helps Windows 10 Pro users make an impression with a stylish and flexible device that's backed by the power, security and reliability of our Galaxy foundation."
Wednesday, April 19th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs

Phanteks Glacier 1080 GPU Waterblock

The Glacier GTX 1080 waterblock is among Phanteks' first ever offerings to the DIY watercooling market. It features integrated RGB lighting, an acrylic top with aluminum side covers, nickel-plated copper cold plate, and a split central flow design scheme for low coolant flow restriction.

ASUS Announces its Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 STRIX and Dual-X Graphics Cards

ASUS is excited to launch the RX 500 Series, an all-new line-up of gaming graphics cards powered by the latest AMD Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs. These new graphics cards are capable of delivering HD+ resolution gaming with ultra-settings, bringing new levels of performance to the market at an affordable cost. The ROG Strix RX 580 and Strix RX 570 are engineered with advanced cooling and reliability features to deliver superb gaming performance, plus Aura Sync illumination for the best in PC personalization.

The new models include the high-performance ROG Strix RX 580 series with higher clock speeds, MaxContact cooling, and FanConnect II technologies along with Aura Sync illumination for building a personalized high-performance gaming PC. The ASUS Dual RX 580 Series provides "sweet spot" graphics performance that is ideal for both VR and eSports gaming. Both RX 580 series cards feature 0dB wing-blade fans that spin down completely when the cards are idling or under lighter loads for blissful silence when you're surfing the web, watching movies, and even playing less-demanding games. You also get dual HDMI 2.0 ports, which is perfect for connecting a VR headset and monitor simultaneously.

ASUS VR-Ready VivoPC X Now Available

ASUS today announced the availability of the VivoPC X, an elegant and compact desktop PC designed for immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences. The VivoPC X is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series graphics, and is fully compatible with the latest VR headsets. Its compact 5-liter chassis can be placed anywhere in the home, and has extensive connectivity features including four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 ports for VR peripherals and controllers. The VivoPC X is designed for general consumers who are looking for a VR-ready PC that meets the hardware demands of VR tasks and entertainment.

From April 25 to June 13, users can purchase the Oculus Rift + Touch and ASUS VivoPC X Bundle at select resellers. ASUS, Oculus, and NVIDIA have partnered to bring you a complete package with everything needed to experience an immersive VR experience right out-of-box: an Oculus-Ready Desktop PC, Oculus Headset, and Touch Controller at a discounted price. In addition, users will receive 4 of the latest VR titles for free: Insomniac Games' The Unspoken, Superhot VR, Twisted Pixel's Wilson's Heart, and Oculus' VR Sports Challenge.

Intel Atom-based Puma 6 Modem Chipset has Severe Latency Issues, Many Cable Modems Affected

Sometimes as a news reporter, a story drops right into your lap. That was the case with me and my latest experience with my ISP rented modem, which I recently upgraded to support higher speeds.

The modem I got was based on the Puma 6 chipset, which is an Atom based chipset from Intel. I immediately noticed a more sluggish web experience, despite the bandwidth nearly doubling (going from 8 downstream pipes to 24 will do that). I began to google this issue, and came up with a much-underreported issue from a thread on dslreports.com where the dedicated members there have extensively documented the issues with the Puma 6 chipset, and Intel's apparent inability to patch them.

Cherry Announces B.Unlimited 3.0 Wireless Desktop

CHERRY, the specialist for computer input devices, presents a high-quality desktop set for everyday use with the B.Unlimited 3.0. The benefits of this completely redesigned keyboard-mouse combination are a high reliability, wireless operation, and an encrypted transmission of data signals. Through the abrasion-resistant laser inscription of key caps, the new B.Unlimited 3.0 is extremely durable.

The new B.Unlimited 3.0 desktop set consists of a high-quality keyboard and mouse and is designed for continuous use. CHERRY has opted for robust materials which hold even under daily office operations. The characters on the key caps are laser-etched, resulting in an abrasion-resistant label. The keyboard itself features SX keys with scissor technology that are guaranteed to last over 20 million actuations. The desktop set is rounded off by a symmetrical three-button mouse with an infrared sensor that can be switched between 1,000 and 2,000 DPI.

Samsung Completes Qualification of its 2nd Generation 10nm Process Technology

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced today that its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus), has been qualified and is ready for production. With further enhancement in 3D FinFET structure, 10LPP allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to the first generation 10LPE (Low-Power Early) process with the same area scaling.

Samsung was the first in the industry to begin mass production of system-on-chips (SoCs) products on 10LPE last October. The latest Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones are powered by some of these SoCs. To meet long-term demand for the 10nm process for a wide range of customers, Samsung has started installing production equipment at its newest S3-line in Hwaseong, Korea. The S3-line is expected to be ready for production by the fourth quarter of this year.

DeepCool Announces the Gammaxx 400 Blue CPU Cooler with AM4 Support

DeepCool today updated its Gammaxx 400 cooler with AMD socket AM4 support. The new Gammaxx 400 Blue is practically identical to the original DeepCool launched way back in 2012, but now comes with retention modules for socket AM4 motherboards. The cooler can handle thermal loads of over 130W, making it ready for 95W AMD Ryzen 7 series and 5 series chips that feature XFR (extended frequency range), which rewards effective CPU cooling with automatic CPU overclocks beyond the rated maximum TurboCore frequency of the processor. The "Blue" moniker in the name refers to the included blue LED-illuminated 120 mm fan.

The Gammaxx 400 Blue is a tower-type CPU cooler, in which four 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make direct contact with the CPU at the base, conveying heat to an aluminium fin-stack, which is narrower at the bottom to yield clearance around the CPU socket, for VRM heatsinks and memory. The included fan takes in 4-pin PWM input, spins between 900-1,500 RPM, pushing up to 74.34 CFM of air, with a noise output ranging between 17.8-30 dBA. The cooler measures 135 mm x 80 mm x 154.5 mm (WxDxH), weighing 670 g (including the fan). The included socket AM4 retention module lets you orient the cooler such that it exhausts out of the rear of the case. Available now, the cooler is priced at USD $25.

Thermaltake eSPORTS Ventus X Plus Smart Gaming Mouse Announced

Yes, you read the title right. This is it, folks; it's arrived. The "smart" craze started with your "smart"phones and that has, in the meantime, risen to global domination in all kind of think-tanks and sci-fi scenarios has also arrived, quite literally, towards your gaming hands. The eSPORTS Ventus X Smart Gaming Mouse succeeds Thermaltake's previous Ventus X rodent, forgoing its ambidextrous design for one that's now definitely righter. It packs smart sensors that "track key mouse usage statistics such as click, movement and liftoff, which can be saved onto the cloud with social media integration for information sharing and review of these key performance criteria." (This also seems to me like a sensible way for someone to know whether you are on your PC or not simply through the mouse's feedback on these metrics, but I digress.) With Bluetooth support, the Ventus X Plus Smart (smarter) syncs this data with "mobile devices (iOS/Android) & PC via the Tt eSPORTS PLUS+ application and the Tt eSPORTS PLUS+ Community & Data Management Platform."

Logitech G Announces the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, today announced the launch of an addition to its mechanical gaming keyboard lineup with the Logitech G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Engineered for precision and performance, the keyboard delivers unrivaled performance in a thoughtfully balanced, modern design. The Logitech G413 features Logitech's exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches, offering 25 percent faster actuation than standard mechanical keys, as well as a brushed anodized aircraft-grade aluminum top case, USB passthrough port and precision key backlighting for an affordable price. The Logitech G413 comes in two versions - the Logitech G413 Carbon featuring elemental red backlighting and the Logitech G413 Silver featuring iconic white backlighting, sold exclusively at Best Buy.

"We spent a lot of time carefully designing and engineering this keyboard to deliver advanced performance with just the right feature set, at the right price point," said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. "We created this keyboard with features like USB passthrough, backlit keys and a metal finish. With the G413 we believe we've achieved the perfect balance of high-performance features and attractive design."

Radeon RX 480 Cards Can Successfully be Flashed to RX 580

User TonybonJoby in our own forums has successfully flashed his XFX RX 480 graphics card with the BIOS from a Sapphire RX 580 Limited Edition (the one that runs at 1411 MHz Boost clocks, yes.) Having obtained the Sapphire's BIOS right here on TPU, he then flashed it onto his graphics card (which possesses a dual-BIOS setup; this is an important point which you should consider, as it gives you an extra safety net should anything go wrong) through ATIFlash. The newly-christened RX 580 thus smiles for the screenshot, with a stock clock of 1411 MHz, higher than most overclocks possible with the RX 480 cards, probably due to increased voltages on the BIOS level. The user then tested the card on The Witcher 3 and Furmark, with no problems having been reported. Just remember to back-up your BIOS with GPU-Z and make sure to peruse our forums for some details on this flashing process before you get the proverbial grease on your elbows.

Essentially, this may allow you to bypass some artificial overclocking limitation with your graphics card, probably by increased voltages on different power states of the card. You should do this at your own risk, and remember, the only guaranteed way of getting an RX 580 is... you guessed it, buying an RX 580. However, this might also give you an extra performance boost, and free performance is always good, right?

Source: TechPowerUp ForumsThanks for sharing @TonybonJoby!

EK Releases Full-Coverage Blocks for ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 Ti

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix water blocks that are compatible with the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under full load and high overclocks. EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix 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.

Radeon RX 540 Surfaces on AMD Website

It isn't unusual for AMD or NVIDIA to launch OEM-specific graphics chips, and it would seem that AMD is doing just so with its rebranded yet improved RX 500 series. Now, it's time for the RX 540 to surface, which, like the name implies, flies right below the RX 550 in terms of specs, though you wouldn't know it without a closer look.

The chip packs the same 8 CUs as the RX 550 (512 stream processors), but its memory bandwidth (in 2 GB or 4 GB flavors) peaks at 96 GB/s (lower than the RX 550's 112 GB/s.) However, its core clocks see an interesting boost from the RX 550's 1183 MHz boost clocks to a "up to 1219 MHz" value, which should alleviate the performance impact from the stunted memory bandwidth. This is a GPU that's likely to be used by OEMs and system integrators, whether on desktop computers or in laptops, though I do have to wonder regarding this configuration. I'd expect higher clocks on the core to increase power consumption more than the offset allowed by the reduced memory clocks, but then again, I'm not an AMD engineer.

Intel to Accelerate Basin Falls Unveil, Coffee Lake Launch

According to DigiTimes, sources among Taiwan-based PC vendors have indicated that Intel's upcoming Basin Falls platform, which includes Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors on a new X299 chipset, will be unveiled at Computex 2017 (May 30th, June 3rd), in Taipei - two months earlier than expected. This move comes accompanied by an accelerated launch of the Coffee Lake microarchitecture, which still uses the 14 nm process, to August 2017 from an initial January 2018 launch. If true, this is big in a number of ways - that Intel would bring forward a product launch 4 months has some interesting implications - or at least, confirmations.

Remember that Coffee Lake is supposed to carry an increased number of cores in its mainstream designs. And we all know how Intel's line-up has almost been torn apart by Ryzen's aggressive core and thread-count, with AMD offering more cores and threads than Intel at virtually all price-points. And even if an argument is made regarding Intel's better gaming performance, that's one scenario out of many. Future proofing, professional work, multimedia, all of these assert AMD's dominance in a pure price-performance ratio. I, for one, would gladly give up some FPS in some games and accept an increased number of cores than go the other way around (especially with AMD's platform support and the number of patches that have increased game performance on Ryzen CPUs.)

AOC Launches the C4008VU8: 40", Curved, 4K, 10-bit Color

AOC has been one of the most aggressive companies when it comes to launching new displays, with its gaming "AGON" series seeing the addition of multiple monitors in the past few months. The new C4008VU8 doesn't quite tick the gaming aesthetics box, however, which isn't all that bad. Personally, I much prefer its clean, no-frills design, absent of some over-design features.

The panel seems to be an interesting one, nonetheless, with its 40" size, 16:9, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution on a 10-bit MVA panel, with a 60 Hz refresh rate. Its 5 ms response time is relatively good, though the absence of any VRR (variable refresh-rate) technology such as AMD's FreeSync or NVIDIA's G-SYNC is puzzling. The lack of HDR support, however, is kind of a downer, but a necessity when one considers the display's maximum 300 cd/m² brightness. The panel boasts an 85% NTSC wide color gamut with 1.07 billion colors, with 178º horizontal and vertical viewing angle on a 1800R curved display. As for adjustments, the monitor can only be tilted: 5 degrees down, and 13.5 degrees up. Connection-wise, the AOC C4008VU8 boasts 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4, 2x DisplayPort 1.2, and 1x VGA connector (only 8 months ago I would be using such a connection myself, so I really shouldn't judge. There are legacy use cases, after all, and more options are always better.) There are also 4x USB 3.0 ports available, one of which can be used for fast charging devices. The AOC is available with a MSRP of $899, though you may find some retailers selling these for less already.

Source: ETeknix
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