Hardware Giveaway
Tuesday, August 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Processors
PSUs
Etymotic ER3XR

Etymotic ER3XR

Etymotic's ER3-series in-ears aim to bring their ER4 design into a lower price category. Priced at $179, the ER3s are nearly half the price of the ER4-series in-ears, and their specification sheets show that they are not far off. We take a good look at the new in-ears to see how they fare against their bigger brethren.

Cooler Master Announces the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB CPU Cooler

Cooler Master, a global leader in manufacturing CPU coolers, computer components and peripherals, introduces its first 360mm all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU cooler. The MasterLiquid ML360R features addressable RGB LEDs on both the fans and water block and is certified compatible with ASUS, MSI and ASRock motherboards.

The MasterLiquid ML360R RGB features Cooler Master's newly designed pump with 12 addressable RGB LEDs on the water block and eight addressable RGB LEDs on each fan, capable of 16.7million color options. Users can easily customize each LED, individually, through the addressable RGB software from ASUS, MSI and ASRock motherboards, or with Cooler Master's MasterPlus+ software for complete ambient control.

Intel X599 Chipset to Drive 28-core HEDT+ Platform

The introduction of 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX at $1,799 has demolished the competitiveness of the similarly priced Core i9-7980XE, forcing Intel to "productize" its Skylake-X XCC (extreme core-count) silicon for the client-segment. We've already seen one or two motherboards for this platform at Computex, notably the ASUS ROG Dominus (pictured below). Intel's demo platform is reportedly powered by a GIGABYTE-made motherboard. Both these boards may have been prototypes based on Intel C629 "Lewisburg" chipset, as Intel was still mulling on whether to even launch the product.

With the 2990WX out, the fate of the client-segment cousin of the Xeon Platinum 8180 is sealed, and so is that of the C629. In its client-segment avatar, the chipset will be branded "Intel X599 Express." This chipset will support new SKUs derived from the "Skylake-X" XCC silicon (probably 24-core, 26-core, and 28-core), in the LGA3647 package. The platform features not just up to 28 cores, but also a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, which will probably support up to 192 GB of memory on the client-platform. There's also a rumor that Intel could launch new 20-core and 22-core LGA2066 processors. Those, coupled with the 8-core LGA1151 processor, will be Intel's fig-leaf until late-2019.

MSI Unveils New WS65 Mobile WS, PS42 Notebook and Optix Gaming Monitors

MSI, a world leader in high performance computing hardware, today announces its new WS65 mobile workstation. The WS65 shows MSI's continued investment in its workstation lines with a commitment to users searching for sophisticated products that blend performance and portability. Additionally, the PS42 professional laptop and Optix MAG241C and MAG271C gaming monitors are now available. MSI will have the WS65 on display at Siggraph 2018 at the NVIDIA Booth number 801.

MSI's new WS65 mobile workstation features a similar chassis to the GS65 Stealth Thin, with attractive styling and 15.6-inch, ultra-thin bezel display. With up to Intel's 8th Generation Core i9 processor and up to NVIDIA Quadro P4200 graphics, the WS65 is up to 40 percent faster than the previous generation. While it was designed for portability, the WS65 also features an 82Whr battery for up to eight hours of battery life.

NVIDIA Outs GeForce 398.98 Hotfix to Address "LA Noire VR" Bugs

NVIDIA late Monday rushed out the GeForce 398.98 Hotfix drivers to address glaring bugs with "LA Noire VR." Apparently the game notices crashes and stuttering with the latest GeForce 398.86 Beta drivers. The drivers also fix a stuttering issue noticed on some configurations trying to run "Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Beta." Hotfix releases lack WHQL certification, and are released to correct one or two major bugs that require NVIDIA's immediate attention. Unless you're playing the two games mentioned, you'd rather skip the driver update as the change-log lists no other updates.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 398.98 Hotfix

Finer Details of Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K Emerge

Taiwanese tech site BenchLife.info scored finer details of Intel's upcoming premium LGA1151 processors through screenshots of leaked documents; revealing more about the Core i7-9700K 8-core/8-thread processor, and the top-dog 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. The i7-9700K has the QDF number QQPK, and the i9-9900K "QQPP." The tables below also reveal their extended product code, CPUID, and iGPU device ID. There's also a confirmation that the TDP of both parts is rated at just 95 W. The next table provides a great insight to the clock speeds of the two chips.

Both chips idle at 800 MHz, and have an identical nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. The two differ with their Turbo Boost states. The i7-9700K has a maximum Turbo Boost state of 4.90 GHz, which it awards to 1-core. As a reminder, this chip is the first Core i7 SKU ever to lack HyperThreading support. 2-core boost frequency for this chip is 4.80 GHz. 4-core boost is up to 4.70 GHz. 4.60 GHz is the all-core boost (cores 5 thru 8). The i9-9900K gives both 1-core and 2-core the highest boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (that's up to 4 threads). The 4-core boost state is 4.80 GHz, and all-core (cores 5 thru 8) get 4.70 GHz. Intel is keeping its boost states rather high for this round of processors, as it tries to compete with the Ryzen 7 "Pinnacle Ridge" series.

VIA C3 Processors Compromised by a Simple Shell Command

VIA processors probably make up an infinitesimal amount of the desktop PC market-share, and its makers market the chip only at pre-built machines such as digital-signage kiosks, information kiosks, ticket vending machines, ATMs, etc (which don't need a lot of processing power). At the Black Hat 2018 conference, security researcher Christopher Domas discovered that getting access to root privileges in Linux on a machine powered by VIA C3 "Nehemiah" processors is laughably easy. Just key in ".byte 0x0f, 0x3f" (without quotes) in any Linux CLI in user mode, and voila! You are now the root user.

Domas calls this his own iddqd (the cheat-code for "God Mode" in "Doom"). This backdoor, probably put in place by the processor's designers themselves, completely collapses the ring-based privilege system of the operating system, and elevates users and applications from the ring-2 (and above) userspace to ring 0 (root). It is an exploitation of a shadow-core, a hidden RISC processor within C7, which manages the startup, operation, and key storage of the x86 cores. Intel and AMD too have shadow-cores with similar functions.

Intel "Bean Canyon" NUC Family with Inbuilt Thunderbolt Detailed

Intel is giving final touches to a new generation of pre-built NUC (next unit of computing) kits codenamed "Bean Canyon." These tiny desktops are based on the company's new wave of "Coffee Lake-U" SoCs. The family includes five models, two each based on the Core i3-8109U and Core i5-8259U, and one based on the Core i7-8559U. The NUC8i3BEH, NUC8i5BEH, and NUC8i7BEH are more compact, with just an M.2-2280 (with both PCIe x4 and SATA wiring) slot in charge of storage, while the NUC8i3BEK and NUC8i5BEK are slightly taller, with room for a 2.5-inch SATA drive in addition to the M.2-2280 slot.

What's common between all five models is the display connectivity, which not just includes an HDMI 2.0b, but also a USB 3.1 type-C port with Thunderbolt 3.0 (40 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 wiring. Networking, which includes a 1 GbE interface driven by the trusty i219-V, and a new-generation Intel 9260 WLAN card with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless networking. Prices for the Core i3 model could start at $299, the Core i5-based ones could be $399, and the Core i7 based one at $599.

Lenovo Announces Thinkpad P1 Mobile Workstation

Today, Lenovo is launching a brand-new addition to its ThinkPad mobile workstation portfolio - the ThinkPad P1. Lenovo's thinnest, lightest and sleekest mobile workstation, the ThinkPad P1 gives users the style they want and the performance they need.

The ThinkPad P1 fulfills the desire for workstation performance and reliability in a thin and light design. The result is an ideal recipe of workstation power and an ultra-premium look and feel.

Seagate Launches Nytro 1000 SATA SSD Series with SandForce's DuraWrite Technology

Expanding on its Nytro portfolio of enterprise flash products, Seagate today announced the launch of its new Nytro 1000 Series SATA SSD drives. The Seagate Nytro 1000 SATA SSD series (which includes the Nytro 1351 and Nytro 1551 SSDs) delivers ultra-fast, consistent performance for read-intensive workloads. Globally available in the fall, the Nytro SSDs is being demonstrated at this week's Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara.

The Nytro SSD series is designed to serve as the backbone of the enterprise's cloud infrastructure, making it ideal for data center managers looking to upgrade their existing systems.

Samsung 16Gb GDDR6 Memory Powers Latest NVIDIA Quadro Professional Graphics Solution

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory is being used in NVIDIA's new Turing architecture-based Quadro RTX GPUs.

Thanks to Samsung's industry-leading 16Gb GDDR6 memory, end users can expect improved performance and energy efficiency in the widest array of graphics-intensive applications, including computer-aided design (CAD), digital content creation (DCC) and scientific visualization applications. Samsung's 16Gb GDDR6 can also be used in rapidly growing fields such as 8K Ultra HD video processing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

CaseLabs Withers Away After Losing PR Battle to Thermaltake

Premium aluminium case maker CaseLabs made a splash in 2015 when it accused Thermaltake of stealing many of its case designs to make "cheap Asian knock-offs." When faced with the prospect of a legal challenge by the much larger Thermaltake, CaseLabs this July withdrew its comments and publicly apologized to Thermaltake for it. Things didn't look up for the company after that. A deadly cocktail of the US-China trade-war, and the default of a large commercial loan account hit the company "at the worst possible time," it said in a statement. Failure to secure additional capital to stay afloat was the last straw.

Apparently, the import tariffs on a wide range of products manufactured in China raised prices for CaseLabs by "almost 80 percent," which cut deeply into the company's margins. The company has since stopped accepting orders, thanked its over 20,000 customers, and promised to fulfill as many of the pending orders as possible, while cautioning that it won't be able to fulfill all of them.

The full CaseLabs statement follows.

NVIDIA Announces Turing-based Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 5000

NVIDIA today reinvented computer graphics with the launch of the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture. The greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006, Turing features new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and new Tensor Cores for AI inferencing which, together for the first time, make real-time ray tracing possible.

These two engines - along with more powerful compute for simulation and enhanced rasterization - usher in a new generation of hybrid rendering to address the $250 billion visual effects industry. Hybrid rendering enables cinematic-quality interactive experiences, amazing new effects powered by neural networks and fluid interactivity on highly complex models.
Monday, August 13th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

Ryzen Threadripper 2950X is AMD's new flagship 16-core processor. Precision Boost Overclock works wonders to further increase its performance while always being stable. Our review of the 2950X presents four data sets: stock, manual OC, PBO enabled and PBO with Local Memory Access mode.

AMD Launches World's Most Powerful Desktop Processor: 2nd Generation Threadripper

AMD today announced the availability of world's most powerful desktop processor, the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor with 32 cores and 64 threads. Designed to power the ultimate computing experiences, 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors are built using 12 nm "Zen+" x86 processor architecture and offer the most threads on any desktop processor with the flagship model delivering up to 53% greater performance than the competition's flagship model. Second Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors support the most I/O, and are compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards via a simple BIOS update, offering builders a broad choice for designing the ultimate high-end desktop or workstation PC.

"We created Ryzen Threadripper processors because we saw an opportunity to deliver unheard-of levels of multithreaded computing for the demanding needs of creators, gamers, and PC enthusiasts in the HEDT market," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group, AMD. "With the 2nd Gen processor family we took that challenge to a whole new level - delivering the biggest, most powerful desktop processor the world has ever seen."

Cooler Master Announces the Wraith Ripper for 2nd Generation Threadripper

Cooler Master, a global leader in computer hardware and peripherals manufacturing, announces the Wraith Ripper, the official air cooler for the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper desktop processor, as part of an exclusive partnership with AMD. The Wraith Ripper is designed, specifically, to keep the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper cool under the most strenuous conditions and manage up to 250W TDP.

AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 Launched at $999

AMD today announced a high-performance addition to the Radeon Pro WX workstation graphics lineup with the AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 graphics card, delivering the world's best workstation graphics performance for under $1,000 for real-time visualization, virtual reality (VR) and photorealistic rendering. AMD also unveiled major updates to Radeon ProRender and a new alliance with the Vancouver Film School, enabling the next-generation of creators to realize their VFX visions through the power of Radeon Pro graphics.

The new turbocharged AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 graphics card allows professionals to effortlessly accelerate design and rendering. It is the ideal graphics card for design and manufacturing, media and entertainment, and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) workloads at all stages of product development.

ASUS Intros VP248QGL-P Low-cost FreeSync Monitor

ASUS today introduced the VP248QGL-P, a cost-effective 24-inch gaming-grade monitor with AMD FreeSync technology support. If you can get past the TN-film panel with 1080p resolution, you'll also find that it features response times as low as 1 ms, and up to 75 Hz refresh-rates. Viewing angles are 170°/160° (H/V). Among its feature-set is ASUS Splendid display management software, blue light filtering, and ASUS GamePlus, which is a collection of game genre-specific display presets. Display inputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.2a, HDMI 1.4a, and D-Sub. Stereo speakers and 3.5 mm-jack make for the rest of it. Expect a sub-$175 price.
Friday, August 10th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Motherboards
NAS
PSUs
SSD
Monster Hunter: World Benchmark Performance Analysis

Monster Hunter: World Benchmark Performance Analysis

Monster Hunter: World brings the epic fight against huge enemies to the PC platform. The port is well done and runs well, especially on AMD graphics cards. Our performance review looks at this in detail, using 15 graphics cards. We also investigate VRAM usage and CPU-core scaling.

Goldman Sachs Upgrades Stock Ratings for AMD, Downgrades Intel to "Sell"

Goldman Sachs, citing problems with Intel's 10 nm manufacturing process delivery - which was supposed to be available in the market for years now - has reduced the blue giant's stock rating. Previously at a "neutral" stance - already downgraded in the face of Intel's manufacturing woes - the stock is now at a "Sell" level. Even though Intel is still outperforming the S&P 500's 6.7 percent return with their (current) 8.6 percent this year through Thursday, the outlook isn't good for the company.
"We see Intel's struggles with 10 nm process technology having ramifications in terms of its competitive position - across a broad set of products. While the 10nm push is well-publicized at this point, we believe Intel's manufacturing issues could potentially be deeper-rooted than what most think and could have a sustained impact on market share and/or spending levels as Intel competes with a growing/stronger TSMC eco-system."

Goldman Sachs Analyst Toshiya Hari
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