Tuesday, October 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Available Today

Microsoft released Windows 10, code named "Threshold 1," a little over two years ago. As of May of this year, there were approximately 500 million Windows 10 devices worldwide. Originally, Microsoft predicted that Windows 10 would be installed on 1 billion devices by mid-2018. When released, Windows 10 gained huge adoption from those running Windows 7 from the "free-upgrade program" which lasted one year.

Since then however, installations have slowly declined and in July of last year, Microsoft admitted that they would miss their projected goal of 1 billion devices. Since its release, Windows 10 has had three major update releases with "Threshold 2," in 2015, "Anniversary Update," in 2016, "Creators Update" in April of this year and today marks the release of Microsoft's fourth major feature update to its operating system, dubbed "Fall Creators Update," version 1709.

AMD Releases Crimson ReLive Beta Driver for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

AMD today have released the latest (unnumbered) Beta version of their Radeon Crimson ReLive driver suite for Radeon graphics, which brings with it "Beta level support for the latest version of Microsoft's Windows 10 Operating System". Naturally, AMD says it should be considered "as is", which is always refreshing to see in a driver release. This update should improve users' experience when dealing with the Fall Creators Update's extended Mixed Reality features, so if you have one of those headsets ready to go and to power 343 Industries' "Halo Recruit" Experience please do and report back to this news editor. There's a list of known issues under MR and the Fall Creators Update, though, so be sure to check that list after the break. Follow the link below for AMD's driver download page.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Crimson ReLive Beta Edition Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Drivers

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming Pictured

The folks over at Videocardz have been true to their name, and managed to snag some images of the latest NVIDIA "sleeper hit" GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. Clad in Gigabyte black and orange and sporting the slightly (currently) out of favor Gaming moniker, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Gaming doesn't include any mention of OC in the name, which could be for one of three reasons. NVIDIA may have disabled any overclocks beyond their included Boost clocks, in a bid to not cannibalize sales of the GTX 1080 with this product; Gigabyte still hasn't finalized specifications; or Gigabyte has finalized specs and the card rally doesn't feature any factory overclock.

Razer Also Announces Quad-Core, 8th Gen Intel Powered Blade Stealth Laptop

Razer today has also announced a revamp of their Blade Stealth laptop, which sees the introduction of the latest generation of Intel processors. The new Razer Blade Stealth features the i7-8550U processor - a quad-core, Hyper Threading (HT) enabled processor that brings eight threads to bear - albeit clocked at a low 1.8 GHz base and a staggering 4.0 GHz max single-core Turbo. This means this is the first version of the Razer Blade Stealth to sport such a core configuration, which should aid in both gaming and production environments. Don't let yourself be fooled, though - the 8th Gen here doesn't mean Coffee Lake. Intel has done all of us the favor of mixing things up a little, and their mobile 8th Gen architecture is actually "Kaby Lake Refresh".

Razer Announces Revised eGPU Dock, the Core V2

Razer today announced a doubling down on their push towards high-performance eGPU enclosures, which look to allow users of mobile computers (read, laptops and similar form factor) to enjoy the full power of a desktop-level graphics adapter. The Core V2 maintains the same visual design as the original Core, and to be honest, users would be hard pressed to find any relevant changes.

It maintains the exact same specifications, but Razer say they have re-engineered the internal components so as to allow for increased width of graphics cards (which are converted to height in the Razer Core). Alongside a reworked port layout on the back of the unit, those are all the changes that can be gleaned. The Core V2 will be available soon for $499.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Cooler Master Introduces MasterWatt PSU Series

Cooler Master, celebrating its 25th anniversary, today announces an expansion to their 80 PLUS Bronze certified line, MasterWatt. Cooler Master created the MasterWatt line for people seeking premium features in a Bronze efficiency power supply. This new line of power supplies offers an improved modular design, enhanced cables, and an innovative semi-fanless system. Inside, a dual forward / DC-to-DC circuit design ensures stable +12V output even in cross loading conditions. MasterWatt is the well-rounded successor to the classic GM series power supply line, widely sold around the world.

Collective feedback incorporated from around the world led to the development of specific features within the MasterWatt series. Cooler Master revised all the cables to accommodate larger cases and the trend of better cable management, resulting in cables that are 14% longer than previous generations. The MasterWatt series use more conductive PCIe cables that are 16AWG for less resistance, thus increasing efficiency of power delivery to graphics cards.

CORSAIR Launches Premium Gaming PBT Double-Shot Keycaps Kit

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components, and high-performance gaming hardware today announced a new accessory for its industry-leading line of mechanical keyboards - a full set of performance PBT double-shot keycaps. Created using a special two-shot molding process, CORSAIR Gaming PBT Double-shot keycaps use a redesigned legend that always remains clear and legible, while still allowing LED backlighting to shine through brightly. Available in black or white and made from ultra-durable, shine resistant PBT, CORSAIR Double-Shot keycaps will never fade and boast a premium feel to complement even the most refined setup. Compatible with a wide range of CORSAIR mechanical keyboards, CORSAIR Double-Shot Keycaps are the ultimate upgrade for your CORSAIR mechanical keyboard.

CORSAIR knows that when it comes to PC gaming, standard just isn't enough. Now you can take your CORSAIR mechanical keyboard even further with CORSAIR Double-Shot Keycaps, replacing traditional laser etched keys with precision double-shot molded keys for the most premium of keyboard experiences.

NZXT Also Announces the Grid+ V3 Fan Controller

NZXT today announces the newest member of the GRID+ family, providing a smart solution for advanced digital fan control. "Finding the right mix between cooling and noise reduction can be complex and time-consuming, even for experienced builders. GRID+ V3 provides a smart solution for advanced digital fan control using our intuitive CAM dashboard. We're also introducing Adaptive Noise Reduction, allowing you to reduce fan noise up to 40%. With GRID+ V3, you won't have to choose between silence and cooling-you'll get the perfect balance of both." says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO.

By measuring fan noise levels, CPU and GPU load, and system temperature, CAM leverages machine learning to provide the optimal thermal profile with the lowest possible fan noise. Custom fan profiles can also be set and adjusted through CAM.

NZXT Introduces the H Series Cases

Today NZXT is announcing the all-new H Series PC cases showcasing its vision for modern PC building. The H700i, H400i, and H200i include the newly-developed, fully-integrated Smart Device controller providing the same capabilities as NZXT's highly-acclaimed GRID+ and HUE+ products. Each case comes build-ready with pre-installed RGB lighting and pre-wired Aer F fans, saving the cost and hassle of adding RGB and fan controllers.

The Smart Device also adds an audio sensor to measure fan noise, enabling a new feature called "Adaptive Noise Reduction." This intelligent, cloud-based algorithm leverages the power of shared data and machine learning to develop fan curves that can reduce system noise by up to 40%. A patent-pending cable management system makes it easy to keep your system neat and tidy, without wasting time on your wiring. And finally, all H Series cases feature a tempered glass side panel so you can show off the stunning results of your build.

Roccat Announces the Khan Pro Gaming Headset

ROCCAT is proud to announce that its newest stereo gaming headset, the Khan Pro, is now available across all major channels. The suggested retail price is $99.99. The Khan Pro is the first gaming headset in the world granted the Hi-Res Audio certificate, given only to the very best audio products on the market. With its remarkable sound clarity, the player can hear and locate any opponent long before they come in sight. With a broad frequency range between 20Hz and 40kHz, the Khan Pro boasts deep bass, rich mids and clear highs, enabling gamers to enjoy unrivalled sound. The Khan Pro makes every gamer a winner.

The Khan Pro also features a Real-Voice mic, offering the most natural voice transmission deliverable in a gaming headset. The microphone of the Khan Pro can pick up lower frequencies than competitors in its class. This expanded spectrum makes the human voice sound as natural as possible on a gaming headset, optimizing team communication like never before, and ensuring commands and callouts are crystal clear.

ASRock Announces X299E-ITX/ac, World's First Mini ITX LGA2066 Motherboard

Size matters! For years, Big powerful and tons of expandability has been the golden rule for high-end motherboards especially for Intel X299 Platform, but powerful machine doesn't have to be huge and bulky, ASRock has successfully crammed all amazing spec and features into a Mini-ITX sized motherboard, the world's first Mini ITX X299 motherboard is here.

The ultimate Mini-ITX has to have everything, X299E-ITX/ac was built on a X299 platform to give ultimate processing power, dual Intel Gigabit Lan along with dual band 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac WiFi provides the best connectivity, USB3.1 Gen2 Type A+C are also available at the rear of the motherboard, more amazingly this little beast also supports quad channel memory up to DDR4 4000 MHz(OC), stunning performance on such a small motherboard.

Taking Hold of Your Signal - Critical Flaw Discovered in WPA2 Wi-Fi Security

Researchers have recently discovered a critical flaw that affects all WPA2 protected Wi-Fi devices. This can't be remedied solely by user intervention, or password changes, or even by the usage of HTTPS website; this is a flaw with the core of WPA's protection scheme, and means that an attacker could intercept every single traffic data point that your device sends over Wi-Fi, including passwords, credit card details, images - the whole treasure trove. Adding insult to injury, it's even possible for attackers using this method to inject malware into your devices. The new attack method - dubbed KRACK for Key Reinstallation Attack - basically forces your device's encryption code to default to a known, plain-text all-zero decryption key, which is trivial for hackers to reuse.

Adding to the paranoia, this is basically a device and software-agnostic attack - it's effective against devices running Android, Linux, and OpenBSD, and to a lesser extent macOS and Windows, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices. HTTPS isn't the best solution either, simply because some website's implementation of it isn't the best, and there are scripts (such as SSLScript) that can force a website to downgrade its connection to a simple HTTP link - which can then be infiltrated by the attacker.
Monday, October 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Memory
Monitors
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD

G.Skill TridentZ 3866 MHz 2x 8 GB DDR4

We step it up a notch in memory speeds thanks to G.SKILL's pricey 3866 MHz TridentZ memory. This is one capable kit, ready for ultra-high speeds with Intel's Kaby Lake CPUs right out of the box, and even has some OC headroom to spare.

BIOSTAR Launches Flagship RACING Z370GT7 Motherboard

BIOSTAR introduces its flagship Intel Z370 motherboard under the third generation RACING series, the BIOSTAR RACING Z370GT7. This motherboard supports the latest 8th generation Intel Core processors also known as Coffee Lake. The RACING Z370GT7 sports premium features that gamers, overclockers, professional content creators, and modders demand. It has a luxurious golden black color theme and advanced RBG lighting customizations with Advanced VIVID LED DJ. New and improved features: the smart A.I FAN and reinforced PCI-E slots to handle heavier graphics cards make the new-gen RACING Series much more robust. Push performance and harness the power of the new Intel Core i7-8700K 6-core, 12-thread processor along with dual Intel Optane-ready M.2 slots for the fastest PCIe NVMe drives available today.

BIOSTAR's 3rd Gen RACING Design
BIOSTAR revamps the RACING series motherboards with a much more flashy and high-end design with a golden black color theme.
  • Gold I/O Armor - Gold I/O Armor strongly protects I/O interfaces and components from static electricity. The RGB LED lights on top of the armor
  • are controllable with the Advanced VIVID LED DJ for more lighting control.
  • Gold Tattoo RACING R - The classic "R" sign on the heatsink shows the spirit of RACING Series.
  • RGB Rainbow Lighting Effect - 10 flashing modes for RGB lighting effect bring you more customization fun via Advanced VIVIVD LED DJ utility.
  • Gold PCB Treatment - The 3rd Gen RACING Z370 motherboards ascend to a higher level of luxury and fashion for your gaming world!

Samsung 860 Evo SSD Spotted In SATA-IO Listing

The Samsung 850 EVO SSD has been in the market for almost three years now. In what seems to be an eternity in tech years the 850 EVO SSD, sporting the 3D NAND flash memory, has held its own in the consumer space. Back when it was released, the 850 EVO SSD heralded a new generation of price and performance combination that established it in the high end enthusiast market. With sequential read speeds of up to 550 MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 520 MB/s, 4 KB Random Read of up to 100,000 IOPS and 4KB Random Write of up to 90,000 IOPS, the 850 EVO solidified and marked a new era of SSD computing.

But now it looks like the 860 EVO will take over where the 850 EVO left off. The 860 EVO SSD has been spotted in the database of the Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) in the integrators listing as having passed interoperability. The 860 comes in variants of 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB and 4 TB SATA III in a 2.5-inch 7 mm form factor with support for Native Command Queuing (NCQ), ASR, SSP, IPMh, 3 Gb/s and 6 Gb/s transfer speeds. The 250GB drive is labeled under MZ7LH250**** with the following, 500****, 1T0****, 2T0**** marked respectively. No announcement has been made by Samsung.

Source: SATA-IO

Politifact Sees Unsactioned Introduction of Web Miner, Vows to Investigate

This here is an issue that this editor has been fearing for a while, and that we here at TPU have called our users' attention to in the past. It's bad enough when websites willingly implement web mining scripts absent of users' consent or simple knowledge. Opt-in mining as a contribution to a website's revenue would be the best way to go around the issue; however, absent that, a simple opt-out capability wouldn't be much worse. But if stealth usage of a site viewers' computing resources is bad, what then can be said when the site managers themselves are unaware of the implementation of a web miner?

This is what happened with Politifact, the US politics fact-checking website, which is but one of hundreds of the world's top traffic websites that have seen the stealth introduction of these web mining scripts - against the will of the site managers. In the meantime, Politifact has brought down the offending code and has vowed to investigate, but this opens up Pandora's box, really. Generally speaking, these JavaScript apps are running code hosted on another server that the end user - and sometimes even the site hosts - can't inspect or don't expect to have to inspect. And this is easier to do than one would imagine; there's a lack of protection against JavaScript routines like this one. And where there's potential for profit, there's abuse; and that's what we're seeing. It also doesn't help that injecting the necessary JavaScript into the front page of a website is much easier than a full blown hack into a website's databases; and once the code has been shoehorned into a website's code, it runs itself, hijacking users' CPU cycles and putting the resulting Monero coins into a designated wallet.

Kingston Technology Celebrates 30 Years in the Industry

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory storage products and technology solutions, announces tomorrow that it celebrates its 30th year in the business as an innovative technology hardware provider for computers and devices. Kingston was co-founded on October 17, 1987, by CEO John Tu and COO David Sun. The two co-founders continue to guide the company and remain very active in day-to-day operations.

The entrepreneurial spirit of both owners and the success of the company have been recognized globally through the years. Kingston's core tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity have created an exemplary corporate culture - one that guides its relationships with customers, partners and vendors, and to which Kingston owes its success. The company continues to be the largest supplier of DRAM modules among non-semiconductor manufacturers and a leading maker of Flash memory products - especially SSDs - where it has become a dominant force among consumers and organizations alike looking to upgrade existing systems and data centers.

Kingston manufactured just one product when it started in 1987 and has steadily and strategically evolved as a company by controlling as much of the production cycle as possible - from initial wafer processing through finished product - for both DRAM and Flash. The company has done this through expansion, strategic investments, partnerships and adapting to industry needs as early as possible.

EK Water Blocks Releases two New Slim Series Kits

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is excited to announce the expansion of the S Kit lineup. Following the recent release of EK-CoolStream SE 140 and EK-CoolStream SE 280 slim radiators, two new kits will also be joining the webshop. Slim Series kits or in short S Kits are a great choice for beginners at liquid cooling and people doing builds with limited radiator space.

EK-KIT S140 and EK-KIT S280 beside the super compatible thin EK-CoolStream SE radiator that they use will also be very suitable for low noise scenarios. As we know, slim radiators benefit from low-speed fans more than the thick ones, and the 140mm fan format only adds additional cooling surface.

Noctua Introduces Chromax Line Fans, Cables and Heatsink Covers

Noctua today introduced the long-awaited chromax editions of its most renowned 120mm and 140mm fan models as well as chromax line cables and heatsink covers for its award-winning NH-U12S and NH-D15 series CPU coolers. All the new chromax line products allow users to colour-customise their Noctua cooling systems in order to match popular build colour schemes.

"Noctua is an engineering-driven company: we pride ourselves on relentlessly tuning our products for maximum performance and quality rather than putting form before function, but of course we understand that many customers put an emphasis on build aesthetics these days," explains Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With the new chromax line fans, cables and heatsink covers, we now offer a range of products that's ideal for those who care about looks just as much as about quality and performance."

HP ENVY x360 15-bq101na Could be First "Raven Ridge" Implementation

HP posted the datasheet of its upcoming 2-in-1 notebook PC, the ENVY x360 15-bq101na, which could be the world's first implementation of AMD's upcoming 14 nm "Raven Ridge" APU. The silicon combines a quad-core "Zen" CPU with an integrated graphics core based on the "Vega" GPU architecture. The datasheet speaks of an "AMD Ryzen 5 2500U" processor powering the machine.

The Ryzen 5 2500U is being described as featuring a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.00 GHz with 3.60 GHz boost frequency, and 6 MB of cache. This could very well be total-cache, since that's how AMD likes OEMs to advertise cache on its chips, which works out to 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 4 MB of shared L3 cache. The graphics core features the branding "AMD Radeon Vega M," confirming that this chip is indeed a derivation of "Raven Ridge."

Antec Announces the P110 Luce Chassis

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, presents the latest addition to their renowned Performance One Case series: The P110 Luce. The case is now commercially available from 119€ (suggested retail price including VAT).

The Antec P110 Luce lets you shed a light on your installed hardware: The frame measures 489 mm x 230 mm x 518 mm (L x W x H) and features a tempered glass panel on the side. The mid-tower is made of 1mm+0.8 mm steel & ABS and the front panel is made of 0.8 mm anodized aluminium. The P110 Luce accommodates ATX-, Micro-ATX and ITX-mainboards and offers space for up to six 3.5" HDDs (convertible for four 2.5" SSDs) and two 2.5" SDDs as well as ten expansion slots (eight horizontal and two vertical slots). Users can install VGA cards with a length of up to 390 mm. The card holder features an extra bracket which makes it easy to adjust the actual position of the VGA and to achieve better compatibility. This also supports the weight of heavy VGA cards.

Logitech Announces ASTRO A20 Wireless Gaming Headset

Logitech ASTRO Gaming, a leader in premium video gaming equipment, today unveiled the latest entry into its new line of essentially featured gaming headsets with the launch of the studio's ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset. The ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset is designed to make gameplay more immersive, exciting and memorable with a category-leading set of features and enhancements.

The companion to the studio's recently released ASTRO A10, the ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset is a robustly featured wireless audio solution designed to make ASTRO Gaming's renowned build quality, enhanced comfort and audio fidelity more attainable. The ASTRO A20 features two models compatible with PlayStation4, Windows 10 PCs and Mac iOS, and two models compatible with the Xbox One family of devices (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X), Windows 10 PCs and Mac iOS.

ASUS ROG Strix RX Vega 64 Clock Speeds Revealed

ASUS may have been among the first to unveil its custom-design Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards with the ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 (model: ROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-O8G-GAMING), but kept its clock-speeds under the wraps. The company updated its product page, revealing the clock speeds. Out of the box, the card is clocked at 1298 MHz core, with 1590 MHz boost, and an untouched 945 MHz memory, against AMD-reference clock speeds of "up to 1546 MHz" GPU clock for the air-cooled RX Vega 64. It still pales in comparison to the RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition SKU, which ticks at 1677 MHz core and 1750 MHz boost. The company is yet to update the product page of its ROG Strix RX Vega 56 O8G.

Digital River: "Games as a Service, Microtransactions, Tripled Industry's Value"

A report from monetization service company Digital River has found that the gaming industries' value has roughly tripled since the inception of the G"Games as a Service Model", which includes DLC (like Destiny and Destiny 2' content modules) and microtransactions (of which loot boxes are all the rage these days). The report, titled "Defend Your Kingdom: What Game Publishers Need to Know About Monetization & Fraud", noted that developers of all sizes are benefiting from the "steady stream of in-game content that both serves player expectations and increases their revenue per user." And this doesn't apply to free-to-play games: the report states that "In 2016, a quarter of all digital revenue from PC games with an upfront cost came from additional content."

According to the report, "Consumers are less willing to pay $60 for a boxed game and instead choose titles with a steady stream of new content. Publishers seek to meet these expectations and have adopted a 'games as a service' model, releasing fewer titles over time while keeping players engaged longer with regular updates and add-ons." The fact that PC users are less willing to pay the full upfront cost of games, usually waiting a few weeks before taking the plunge so as to take advantage of lowered pricing - which occurs much earlier compared to other platforms - leads the report to say that PC gamers are "gaming the games market".

Sources: Games Industry, Digital River Report

Swiftech Intros Apogee SKF-TR4 Water Block for Ryzen Threadripper

Swiftech introduced a limited-edition variant of its Apogee SKF series CPU water blocks, the Apogee SKF-TR4, which is designed for AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors. The blocks come with an elongation for better coverage of the large Ryzen Threadripper integrated heatspreader (IHS). The copper blocks are longer than the original SKF Heirloom series blocks, and feature more micro-fins, translating into 30 percent more surface-area for heat-dissipation to the coolant. The blocks also feature a coolant fitting positioning such that the inlets and outlets are directly above the two active dies of the Threadripper multi-chip module (MCM). The factory-fitted retention module only supports AMD socket TR4/SP3r2 motherboards. The block is priced at USD $107.95.

Microsoft to Roll-out Anti-cheating Tech with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

With its upcoming "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10, Microsoft is preparing to roll out its own game anti-cheating platform, under two new technologies, TruePlay and Game Monitor. TruePlay provides a "new set of tools to combat cheating within their PC games," according to Microsoft. This is similar to VAC (Valve Anti-Cheating). From the looks of it, the TruePlay API is limited to games built for the UWP (Universal Windows Platform), such as recent additions to the Forza franchise. Game Monitor is another side of this coin. When enabled, the operating system shares system information with games to weed out cheating tools such as aimbots. Enabling it could soon become a requirement of certain online multiplayer games.

Games with TruePlay run in a "protected" (read: sandboxed) process, which mitigates a class of common cheating tools, as the game's real PID is never exposed to other processes. A separate Windows process will be on constant lookout for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios. Data (read: telemetry) of this process will be shared with game developers after determining that cheating could have occurred. The "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10 is likely to be released before December.

Sources: MSDN, Overclock.net Forums

Samsung's Next-Gen PM981 NVMe SSDs Surface

Samsung is the most well-regarded company when it comes to consumer SSDs. even if their SSD solutions do usually carry a premium versus the competition, that price delta is usually well justified: Samsung's SSDs are frequently the most reliable, fastest option in the market. Samsung's 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs have done a good job of clarifying the company's market positioning, and now, the successors for those Samsung SSDs have already surfaced.

The next-gen Samsung NVMe drives carry the PM981 code-name - where "PM" stands for TLC NAND (in this case, based on 64-layer 3-bit per cell V-NAND chips), "9" stands for Samsung's highest performing solutions, and "81" stands for the part number - two tiers ahead of Samsung's 960 series. It's expected that there will be a 970 part, since Samsung seems to be steering away from the "EVO" and "PRO" monikers to differentiate products according to performance - a straight numeral is expected to be the norm going forward. For now, the parts that have surfaced carry 512 GB and 1 TB of memory. These will make use of Samsung's Polaris V2 controller (with a metal heatsink over it to aid in cooling), and deliver 3,000 MB/s and 3,200 MB/s sequential read speeds (for the 512 GB and 1 TB versions respectively) and 1,800 MB/s and 2,400 MB/s sequential write, respectively. The models surfaced from a Vietnamese retailer, which has them going for $233 and $439 - which doesn't mean this will be the final consumer retail price, but seems reasonable for the technology and performance tier of these NVMe SSD solutions.

Source: Tom's Hardware

AMD Readies AGESA 1.0.0.7 Update Enabling "Raven Ridge" APUs

AMD is readying an update to its AGESA micro-code. AGESA is an essential component of AMD platform motherboard BIOSes responsible for starting the processor at system start-up. Updates to it improve the motherboards' memory and CPU compatibility. Following its all-important AGESA 1.0.0.6 update that vastly improves memory compatibility of AMD Ryzen processors, the company is readying an even newer version. The new AGESA 1.0.0.7 update prompts significant changes to the structure of motherboard BIOSes, making it easy to implement support for upcoming socket AM4 chips, such as the "Raven Ridge" APUs, and the 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs.

Professional overclocker elmor, who is currently associated with ASUS ROG, responding to an Overclockers.net forums question about the Crosshair VI series motherboard, mentioned that AGESA 1.0.0.7 significantly changes the BIOS structure of AMD motherboards, which will make it easier implement support for future processors. "AGESA 1007 comes with support for Raven Ridge APUs. AMD has also changed the entire BIOS base structure so we have to do a lot of work to port everything to the new version, which may result in further bugs. The advantage is that it makes it easier to support future CPUs (Raven Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge)," he said. Updates to AGESA are distributed by motherboard manufacturers as BIOS updates.

Source: Overclock.net Forums

Intel Helps Retailers Digest Old Core K-series Inventory with Game Bundles

With the rather fast introduction of the Intel Core i7-8700K (just 9 months following the January 3rd launch of the i7-7700K), retailers are finding themselves with quite a bit of unsold i7-7700K (and even i7-6700K) inventory. Consumers are drawn to either the i7-8700K, or the competing AMD Ryzen processors. To help the market digest these unsold chips, Intel started a new game-bundle dubbed "Game Without Compromise."

Buyers of brand-new Core i7-7700K and i7-6700K processors will receive game keys to "Total War: Warhammer II" and "Assassins Creed: Origins," which is effectively a $100 value-addition to these $330 quad-core chips. It provides an upgrade path to users of the older 100-series/200-series chipset platform. As with most such game bundles, the "Game Without Compromise" bundle will be limited to select retailers.

Source: OC3D
Sunday, October 15th 2017

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Ashes of the Singularity Numbers Surface

Ahead of its October 26 launch, someone with access to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti sample put it through "Ashes of the Singularity" (AotS) benchmark, with its scores even getting posted on its online database. Paired with an Intel Core i9-7900X based high-end machine, and running the benchmark's DirectX 11 API version, the card scored 6,200 points in the "Extreme" (1440p) preset.

This score spaces it significantly apart from the GTX 1070, which typically scores around 5,400 points in this test, and the GTX 1080, which puts out around 7,000 points. The GTX 1070 Ti manages to keep frame-rates of AotS consistently above 60 frames per second. Much like the Radeon RX Vega 56 it's designed to compete with, the GTX 1070 Ti will find its comfort-zone with the 1440p resolution, even though it will be capable of playable (≥30 fps) frame-rates at 4K Ultra HD.

Sources: AotS Benchmark Database, VideoCardz
Saturday, October 14th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

Weekend Reading 101: On Ransomware's Chains and Carbon Black's Report

Carbon Black, a cybersecurity company that's been founded by former members of the U.S. government's elite team of offensive security hackers, has released a report detailing the continued rise of ransomware's impact, which served as the fire-starter for this piece. Carbon Black's Threat Analysis Unit (TAU) has found that ransomware is an increasingly prolific economical entity, bolstered by a 2,502% increase in sales in the dark web. As with every activity, legal or illegal, the economic footprint follows profit; and in ransomware's case, it's estimated it has yielded around $1 billion just this year. Ransomware even has the advantage of not requiring specialized computer skills, and can be quickly and brainlessly deployed in search of a quick buck.

Carbon Black reports that there are currently more than 6,300 ransomware marketplaces in the dark web, with over 45,000 different product listings, which range in price from $0.5 to $3K (the median price for a DIY ransomware package stands at roughly $10.5). Ransomware sellers are taking advantage of this burgeoning, "quick buck at anyone's expense" reasoning: some ransomware sellers are earning more than six figures yearly, sometimes even more than legitimate software companies. It's no surprise, however that the report points to technologies such as Bitcoin and the Tor network as being two of the most important enablers in this ransomware explosion, besides making it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to, well, enforce the perpetrators.
To our Forum Dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial
Friday, October 13th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Input Devices
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs

Sennheiser GSP 301

The Sennheiser GSP 301 is the company's entry-level gaming headset. Even though it comes with a fairly short list of features, especially considering its $100 price, it delivers heaps in all important aspects - sound, microphone quality and wearing comfort are exceptional.

Logitech CRAFT Keyboard

The Logitech CRAFT is more than a simple keyboard, adding a creative input dial to allow configurable control in applications, ranging from Adobe CC to web browsers and MS Office. It targets content creators who want a single device to be a full-size keyboard that also saves them precious time in their workflow.

Cherry Announces the Gentix Silent Mouse

CHERRY, the specialist for computer input devices, introduces the Gentix Silent. This new version of the classic Gentix mouse is ideally suited for open-plan offices where a quiet work environment is key. As with its predecessor, the CHERRY Gentix Silent has a high-resolution optical sensor and is extremely comfortable to use due to its ergonomic, symmetrical design.

The Gentix Silent is the ideal mouse for quiet work environments. By utilizing special switches CHERRY has eliminated the clicking sound of mouse buttons, which makes this mouse ideal for open-plan offices or public spaces such as libraries. And CHERRY has not just focused on minimizing noise: the ergonomic, symmetrical design of the Gentix Silent makes this mouse extremely comfortable to use for both left- and right-handed users, while the unique shape accommodates all hand sizes. The wear-resistant rubber surface doesn't just feel good, it also improves the grip on the mouse.

Humble Bundle and IGN Joining Forces

Co-Founder and CEO of Humble Bundle, Jeffrey Rosen, announced earlier today the company's "biggest bundle ever", the merging of his company with media giant IGN. "We chose IGN because they really understand our vision, share our passion for games, and believe in our mission to promote awesome digital content while helping charity. I can't think of a better partner than IGN to help Humble Bundle continue our quest", said Rosen. One consequence of the companies joining forces will be a new publishing initiative, but Humble Bundle will, it was claimed, maintain its independence going forward. A point reiterated by IGN executive VP Mitch Galbraith, in a conversation with Gamasutra today. But IGN, which reviews and critiques games, now owns a platform- albeit at arm's length- for selling them; a development that might strike some as creating the potential for future conflicts of interest.

Sources: Humble Bundle, Gamasutra

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Overclocking to be Restricted

NVIDIA could severely limit the overclocking capabilities of its upcoming "almost GTX 1080" performance-segment graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. The company will tightly control the non-reference clock-speeds at which its add-in card (AIC) partners ship their custom-design graphics cards; and there could even be tighter limits to which you can overclock these cards. NVIDIA is probably doing this to ensure it doesn't completely cannibalize its GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, which has been recently refreshed with faster 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory.

The GTX 1070 Ti is based on a "GP104" Pascal silicon with a core-configuration that's vastly higher than the current GTX 1070, and too close to that of the GTX 1080. It features 2,432 CUDA cores, just 128 fewer than the GTX 1080, and core clock speed of 1608 MHz that's on-par with the pricier card, too. The GPU Boost frequency is set to 1683 MHz, which is lower than the 1733 MHz of the GTX 1080. It also features slower GDDR5 memory. The GTX 1070 Ti is expected to launch by the 26th of October, priced at $429.

Sources: eTeknix, Expreview, VideoCardz

NEC Display Updates MultiSync PA243W Monitor With Latest Features

NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., a leading provider of commercial LCD displays and projectors, today announced the availability of the 24" MultiSync PA243W professional desktop display.

"The MultiSync PA243W updates the PA242W, one of our most popular professional wide color gamut desktop displays," said Art Marshall, Senior Product Manager for Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions. "New cutting-edge features have been added to provide improved color coverage to meet the color-critical needs of the print production, digital photography, photo editing, and video production markets, among others."

Thermaltake Announces Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum Power Supplies

Thermaltake is adding the new Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum Series to its Power Supply line-up. Outside of the RGB LEDs, the fully modular members come in compact sizes to provide users with more room for cable routing, cooling and more.

The newest addition to the Toughpower Grand RGB family covers capacities ranging from 850W to 1200W, featuring a pre-installed, patented 256-color Riing 14 RGB fan with 5 lighting modes (RGB Cycle Mode, Solid Red, Solid Green, Solid Blue, and Solid White), a LED Off mode and a built-in memory function that remembers users last lighting mode selection even after a shutdown.

Silicon Power Announces Bolt B10 Portable SSD

Silicon Power adds a second model, the Bolt B10, to its brand new portable SSD product line. The Bolt B10 is the perfect companion for busy commuters and frequent travelers who need fast and reliable storage on the go. It is not much bigger than a business card and weighs only 25g, yet offers storage capacities of up to 512GB.

With fast read and write speeds of up to 400 MB/s, the B10 ensures smooth file management and hassle-free data backups. It has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and comes with a micro-B (B10) to Type-A cable. Traditional portable hard drives store data on a spinning disk. The B10 is more robust and forgiving to accidental bumps and drops, as it stores data on an SSD which contains no moving parts. It offers protection against data corruption by supporting LDPC (Low-Density Parity Check) coding, a very effective error correction function.

G.Skill Announces Trident Z RGB DDR4-4266 32GB Quad-channel Kit

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is very excited to announce the latest Trident Z RGB memory kit that boosts RGB-infused DDR4-4266MHz memory kits to a never-before-seen 32GB (4x8GB) configuration! Built from ultra-high performance Samsung B-die DDR4 ICs, this new DDR4 memory kit marks a new milestone as the fastest 32GB (4x8GB) RGB memory kit on the market thus far.

Just one week after the launch of the 8th Gen Intel Core processors and Z370 chipset motherboards, G.SKILL further fine-tuned the high-end RGB memory kits to reach even higher levels of overclocking speeds. Ever since the launch of Trident Z RGB almost a year ago, the largest capacity at DDR4-4266MHz was 2x8GB. In combination with the ASUS OptiMem technology, which complements the T-Toplogy layout that uses equalized trace lengths, four-DIMM memory configurations have improved stability and increased frequency headroom.

MSI Intros Optix AG32C 32-inch Curved Gaming Monitor

MSI today rolled out the Optix AG32C, a gaming-grade 32-inch (31.5-inch viewing area) monitor, with an 1800R curvature. Despite its colossal panel size, the monitor only puts out Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. Lending to its gaming-grade credentials are 165 Hz maximum refresh-rate, 1 ms response time, and support for AMD FreeSync technology. Other vital specs include 178°/178° viewing angles, 3000:1 static contrast-ratio, and 250 cd/m² maximum brightness. Display inputs include HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and dual-link DVI. Other features include an anti-flicker brightness adjustment, OSD crosshairs, etc. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Riotoro Intros the Prism CR 1088 Case

Riotoro today introduced the Prism CR 1088, a vertical dual-compartment ATX case. The case features a vertical partition for its two compartments that are split in a 35:65 ratio in volume. Unlike with other cases such as the Corsair Carbide Air 540, the compartment with the motherboard-tray is located on the right-hand side on the Prism CR 1088, in an upside-down (BTX) fashion; and the compartment with the PSU bay and a few drive bays are located on the left-hand side.

The motherboard-tray compartment features 7 expansion slots, and room for graphics cards up to 30 cm in length. It also features a bulged-out clear acrylic window, and an 80 mm rear exhaust fan. The compartment with the PSU bay houses a standard PS/2 ATX PSU, and two 3.5-inch drive bays that each convert to 2.5-inch. There are two additional 2.5-inch mounts on the motherboard compartment. Cooling includes a 120 mm front intake, an 80 mm rear exhaust, and two 120 mm bottom intakes. The case is studded with RGB LEDs along a front diffuser highlighting the partition, which supports 16.8 million colors, and takes input from a standard RGB header. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Cooler Master MasterBox MB600L, Liquid Cooling on a Budget

Unlike yesteryear when computer cases were limited to beige, or off-beige, for the adventurous, buyers today have a plethora of choices. The Cooler Master MasterBox MB600L, which is available with a choice of three different side trim colors (red, blue or gunmetal), as well as an optional optical disc drive (ODD) bay, reflects this greater attention to style. In addition to a neutral all-black background, the MB600L features a brushed front panel, PSU cover, an edge to edge transparent, acrylic side panel and sufficient space for routing cables.

Equal attention was paid to the case's interior design. The MB600L supports ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards, GPUs up to 16.14" (400mm), PSUs as long as 7.1" (180mm) and CPU coolers up to 6.3" (160mm) in height. Cooling options are equally plentiful. While there is only a single rear 120mm fan, the front can accommodate two 140mm fans, two 120mm fans (w. ODD) or three 120mm fans (w/o ODD). Radiators are limited to 280 mm, or 360mm if the ODD is not present. It is important to note that the maximum thickness, in the case of the latter, is 50mm without fans. All for the suggested retail price of $50 US, and you even get front and bottom dust filters. According to Cooler Master the case is available now, but none of the retailers I checked have listed it just yet.

Sources: Cooler Master, The Tech Report
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