Hardware Giveaway
Saturday, October 19th 2019

U.S. Legislators Including AOC Come Down Hard on Activision-Blizzard on Blitzchung Ban

Three Congresspersons and two Senators, in a letter to Activision-Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, came down hard on the company's decision to ban and withdraw prize winnings of Hong Kong gamer Ng Wai Chung aka "Blitzchung." In the letter, the legislators unleashed scathing criticism of the company's decision to place its market-access to China above its expectations as an American business to spread the core American values of freedom and liberty around the world. Among these legislators are Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski; and Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden.

"Your company benefits from China's growing market for e-sports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China's largest technology firms. As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinion with which it disagrees. Last week alone, the Chinese government targeted Apple for hosting an app to help peaceful demonstrators evade repression and the NBA because one team's general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong protests," the letter reads.
Friday, October 18th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
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Processors
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2019 and beyond. We cover and keep track of developments for AMD 3rd gen Threadripper, AMD Navi 12, Ice Lake, Intel's own GPU, chipsets, memory and more.
Thermaltake A700 TG

Thermaltake A700 TG

The Thermaltake A700 TG is an uncompromising full-tower chassis that offers extremes in many areas, from material mix to liquid-cooling capabilities or even just sheer size and weight. While that comes at a price, it is refreshing to see its over-the-top approach in-line with pricing - you definitely get what you pay for.

Free Game Alert: "Observer" and "Alan Wake's American Nightmare" Free in the Epic Games Store, Halloween Sale Launched

Free games are always hard to pass, so if you are craving some meaty releases to tide you over until something new and fresh that catches your fancy comes along, this Epic Games Store might (and might not) be for you. From October 17th through October 24th, the digital storefront so many love to hate is offering two generally well thought-off games i the form of Observer and Alan Wake's American Nightmare.

Whether you crave a meaty, cyberpunk-inspired detective story in Observer, or a not so meaty, all-hell-broken-lose experience set in the excellent Alan Wake universe, you can drop by your Epic Games Store Launcher (we know you have it installed, come on) and just add them to your cart for free. They're yours to keep forever. And if you don't have the Epic Games Store launcher, perhaps you should. Observer might very well make it worth all the hassle of downloading and clicking through a menu three or four times. And as a very relevant footnote, the Epic Games Store has just started its Halloween Sale, which goes from today, October 18th, through November 1st. You can find some older games discounted up to 70%, with the discount decreasing somewhat linearly according to release date.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, 3970X and 3990X Launch Dates Leaked

The folks over at Videocardz managed to snag some impressive information on AMD-s upcoming Threadripper lineup - their launch dates. According to the tech publication, a source within AMD provided information regarding previously-set dates for paper and hardware launches that stand at November 5th for the formal announcement of the next generation HEDT CPUs, followed by lifted embargos on reviews and actual product availability come November 19th. Apparently, AMD will only launch the Threadripper 3960X and 3970X come November 5th (remember remember the 5th of November), with a product announcement for the Threadripper 3990X which will only be launched in January 2020.

AMD will also formally unveil their next-gen Threadripper TRX40 platformon November 5th (which won't be compatible with previous-gen Threadrippers). This makes sense - CPUs without a platform to pin them onto doesn't seem like a conscientious business decision. No information was available on clockspeeds and core counts at this time, though the Threadripper 3960X, the base of the new lineup, is expected to sport 24 cores and 48 threads of Zen 2 goodness.

G.SKILL Announces Extreme Low Latency DDR4-4000 CL15 32GB Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is delighted to announce an extreme low-latency, high-speed DDR4 memory kit at DDR4-4000 CL15-16-16-36 in a 32 GB (8 GB x4) capacity configuration under the classic Trident Z and the RGB-enabled Trident Z Royal memory series. Once again, these extraordinary memory kits are manufactured using high-performance Samsung B-die ICs to achieve the world's lowest latency of CL15 at DDR4-4000.

At G.SKILL, we are always searching for the ultimate memory kit, tuned not only for speed, but also for efficiency. This means pushing for lower latency timings. Previously, the best CAS latency that memory kits at the DDR4-4000 level could achieve was at CL17. This is surpassed by the new DDR4-4000 CL15-16-16-36 32 GB (8 GB x4) memory kit running under 1.5 V, shown validated on the MSI MEG Z390 ACE motherboard and Intel Core i7-9700K processor in the screenshot below.

URCDKeys Lets You Stretch Your Gaming PC Hardware Budget with Discounted Software

URCDKeys is your go-to online store for genuine, globally-valid licenses to popular software your gaming PC can't do without. With simmering PC hardware prices, it makes sense to save money on the one component whose quality won't change with price - your Windows license. URCDKeys is selling genuine, globally-valid Windows 10 Pro licenses for just USD $11.46, exclusively to TechPowerUp readers. Office 2016 Profesional Plus is another piece of software your home desktop is incomplete without. Those assignments aren't going to make themselves! URCDKeys helps you save big by letting you have a genuine, lifetime-valid license to Office 2016 Professional Plus for just $29.51, which is fraction of what you'd pay for an annually-recurring Office 365 license. Do take a moment to check out all the cool Microsoft products, security software, games, and in-game items you can buy from URCDKeys to save even more!

Don't forget to apply the TechPowerUp-exclusive coupon TP20 at checkout to shave 20% off and avail the prices you see here.

Buy Windows 10 Pro from URCDKeys at $11.46 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from URCDKeys for $29.51

XIGMATEK Unveils the ZEUS Spectrum Edition Open Tower Chassis

XIGMATEK unveiled the ZEUS, a premium open-air tower-type chassis. The case consists of a highly adaptable metal frame clad with tempered glass panels on three sides, and detachable panels on nearly all sides. This has the makings of a new trend with PC cases where towers aren't cuboidal, and have a somewhat trapezoid or poligonal shape that orients the motherboard tray at an angle, so it receives active air-flow from more directions. Alienware likely started this trend with its 2017 Area 51 desktop, which Jonsbo copied with its TR03 from earlier this week. The XIGMATEK ZEUS has room for a standard ATX (or smaller) motherboard, room for graphics cards up to 32 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height.

Storage options on the XIGMATEK ZEUS include two 2.5-inch drive bays just below the top panel, one 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive mounts behind the motherboard tray. Cooling options include three 120 mm front intakes that can hold onto a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator, three 120 mm top exhausts that can hold onto another 360 mm x 120 mm radiator, a 120 mm exhaust on the upward-facing rear panel, and another 120 mm exhaust on the downward facing rear panel. Front panel connectivity includes two USB 3.1 type-A ports, and separate headphones/mic jacks. The case measures 755 mm x 220 mm x 595 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Intel Could Unveil First Discrete 10 nm GPUs in mid-2020

According to the sources close to DigiTimes, Intel will unveil its first discrete 10 nm graphics cards named "Xe" very soon, with the first wave of Xe GPUs expected to arrive some time in 2020. Said to launch mid year, around July or August, Intel will start selling initial Xe GPU models of the long awaited product to consumers, in hope of gaining a share in the massive market using GPU for acceleration of all kinds of tasks.

Perhaps one of the most interesting notes DigiTimes reported is that "... Intel's GPUs have already received support from the upstream supply chain and has already been integrated into Intel's CPUs to be used in the datacenter and AI fields.", meaning that AIB partners already have access to first 10 nm graphics chips that are ready for system integration. First generation of Xe graphics cards will cover almost whole GPU market, including PC, datacenter, and AI applications where NVIDIA currently holds the top spot.

Microsoft Pushes Intel "Haswell" Microcode Update to Harden Against MDS

Microsoft started deploying microcode updates to some of Intel's older Core, Pentium, and Celeron processor generations through Windows Update. The latest Cumulative Update packages chronicled under "KB4497165" apply to machines running Intel's 4th generation Core "Haswell" processors, and low-power Pentium and Celeron chips based on "Apollo Lake," "Gemini Lake," "Valley View," and "Cherry View" microarchitectures.

The microcode update provides firmware-level hardening against four major variants of the MDS class of security vulnerabilities, namely CVE-2019-11091 (MDS Uncacheable Memory), CVE-2018-12126 (Microarchitectural Store Buffer Data Sampling), CVE-2018-12127 (Microarchitectural Load Port Data Sampling), and CVE-2018-12130 (Microarchitectural Fill Buffer Data Sampling).

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL

AMD late Thursday released the Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL. These drivers are identical to the Adrenalin 19.10.1 Beta drivers released earlier this month, with the only difference being WHQL certification. AMD is picking up the pace with WHQL releases of Radeon Software, as more OEMs are implementing Radeon RX 5700-series and upcoming RX 5500-series GPUs, and prefer WHQL-signed drivers. The 19.10.1 drivers introduce support for AMD's new Radeon RX 5500 series graphics cards based on its new 7 nm "Navi 11" silicon, along with fixes for "Borderlands 3" running in DirectX 12 mode, optimization for "GRID," and fixes certain display problems with high refresh-rate settings.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL
Change-log for 19.10.1 follows.
Thursday, October 17th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
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SSD
Team Group Cardea II 1 TB NVMe SSD

Team Group Cardea II 1 TB NVMe SSD

The Team Group Cardea II M.2 NVMe SSD comes with a large pre-installed heatsink that adds excellent cooling capability to prevent any sort of thermal throttling. Another highlight is the good sustained write performance, which ends up at over 1 GB/s even though TLC flash is used.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Delayed, Still Coming in 2020

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been delayed, according to developer Hardsuit Labs (Paradox Interactive makes a cameo here as publisher). The game, which builds upon the original Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines released way back in 2004, aims to provide a "deep, branching storyline; fascinating and amazingly acted characters; the rich universe of the World of Darkness" that can additionally be played in either first or third person perspective. According to the developer, pushing for a Q1 2020 release would mean compromise in those areas, as well as in polish for the final version of the game.

Of course, one other reason for the delay might be the fact that Q1 2020 is already jam-packed with heavy-hitting franchises and games such as the hugely awaited Cyberpunk 2077, the remastered Final Fantasy 7, The Last of us 2, and Doom Eternal, just to name a few. Perhaps the developer (and publisher Paradox Interactive) saw history in danger of repeating itself with the release of the original Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, which went toe to toe with Half Life 2, Halo 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - not the best time to launch a game. That decision eventually led to the shuttering of then-developer Troika Games. Expect the game to still drop around 2020, though no firm release date was set alongside the delay announcement.

TSMC Reports Third Quarter Results

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$293.05 billion, net income of NT$101.07 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$3.90 (US$0.62 per ADR unit) for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Year-over-year, third quarter revenue increased 12.6% while net income and diluted EPS both increased 13.5%. Compared to second quarter 2019, third quarter results represented a 21.6% increase in revenue and a 51.4% increase in net income. All figures were prepared in accordance with TIFRS on a consolidated basis.

AMD to Release Ryzen 7 3750X Processor?

AMD's latest Product Master guide (since taken down but immortalized in the interweb) has a surprise in store for AMD's Ryzen 7 desktop CPU lineup. Sandwiched in-between the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 7 3800X, a new entry has reared its head, in the form of the Ryzen 7 3750X. The new CPU is specified to keep the same 105 W TDP of its elder sibling Ryzen 7 3800X, instead of keeping the Ryzen 7 3700X's 65 W TDP. Technically, this is possible to achieve in both pricing and performance: the Ryzen 7 3750X, if it ever is launched (it could be a specific release for system integrators or other interested parties outside the usual mainstream desktop suspects) could sport increased base clocks compared to the Ryzen 7 3700X's 3.6 GHz base / 4.4 GHz boost clocks... But not easily, considering the Ryzen 7 3800X starts at 3.9 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost. It's possible to release the 3750X with a 200 MHz boost on base clocks and the same 4.4 GHz boost, but does it make any sense to do so?

It could - even if with some forced optimism - should AMD price it closer to the Ryzen 7 3700X than to the Ryzen 7 3800X. The $329 and $399 prices for those CPUs, respectively, leave a gap that could be filled by the Ryzen 7 3750X at around the $349 mark, for example. It's likely most users would be making the jump from the 65 W CPU than dropping less cash compared to the 3800X, so AMD's margins per sale would definitely improve. At the same time, this could be a way for AMD to cope with TSMC's 7 nm increase in lead-times and lower availability of CPUs by moving stock from the 65 W CPU to the pricier 3750X in parts that can actually run at those frequencies. Driving their lineup's ASP up ensures AMD can keep a steady stream of income should availability decline - less parts sold at a greater price can shore up some of the lost cash influx.

Biostar Announces the Racing X570GTA Motherboard

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, is proud to launch a new addition to its 4th generation of RACING motherboards with the powerful yet humble BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA. Built with designers and content creators in mind, the RACING X570GTA combines a set of onboard features to ensure that quality content can be produced with a system that users can rely on. The BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA is tastefully designed with the iconic BIOSTAR RACING GEN 4 features and grey lightning strikes that represents the lightning-fast performance and ultra-responsives that gives gamers the competitive edge to take their gaming experience to the next level.

The BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA, equipped with the latest X570 chipset for AMD socket AM4, brings support for 3rd Gen Ryzen processors, an essential tool for content creators. While designers rely on high performance and responsiveness to render videos or 3D content, which is supported by the RACING X570GTA PCI-e 4.0 lanes (offering bandwidth of 64 GB/s and compatibility for the latest as well as previous generation graphics cards), the users can rest assured their investment in high-end hardware is secured with the BIOSTAR's exclusive Iron Slot Protection on the x16 lanes which helps handle heavier graphics cards, prevent bending, and extend the longevity of the slots. In addition, PCI-e 4.0 also opens the door to PCI-e M.2 4.0, the latest storage interface which delivers the highest bandwidth (64 GB/s) and offers lower latency, making launching programs such as video and photo editing software, and accessing heavy files a flash.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X a 24-core Chip the Range Starts With

With its 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper "Castle Peak" HEDT processor family, AMD isn't bothering with 16-core models as the company's mainstream desktop socket AM4 platform already offers those many cores with the upcoming Ryzen 9 3950X. The lineup will begin with the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, which is the 24-core/48-thread part. The model number "3950X" is already taken up by the 16-core socket AM4 chip. Confirmation of this came from an "Ashes of the Singularity" screenshot that references an "AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24-core Processor."

AMD's decision to start the lineup at 24 cores is interesting, as it looks to keep up its competitiveness against Intel, which recently launched its 10th generation "Cascade Lake-X" Core i9 HEDT processor series, with all parts priced under $1000, including the range-topping 18-core/36-thread one. It remains to be seen if the Threadripper 3960X can beat it while holding onto a sub-$1,000 price. The previous-generation 24-core 2970WX beat the i9-9980XE in some rendering and simulation tests that scaled with cores and which weren't too heavy on memory bandwidth. With its 3rd generation Threadripper series, AMD is eliminating a key memory bottleneck, giving each core on the chip an equal access to the processor's monolithic quad-channel memory interface.

ARCTIC Launches the Freezer 50 TR ARGB CPU Cooler for Ryzen Threadripper

ARCTIC, a leading manufacturer of low-noise PC coolers and components, today launched the latest in its well-respected Freezer series of CPU coolers, the Freezer 50 TR. An extremely powerful cooler for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the ARCTIC Freezer 50 TR is a dual tower CPU cooler with eight heatpipes and two ARCTIC P-fans (for optimal airflow in push-pull configuration). As the first cooler of the Freezer family that comes equipped with Addressable RGB, it combines high performance with striking design.

"With the Freezer 50 TR, the target was simple yet hard to reach: we had to be the best air cooler in the market and be able to cope with the amazing wattage that the Threadripper can pull out," said Vincent Andre, Technical Director at ARCTIC. "Countless hours of design, simulation and testing were necessary, but I think we have reached our target. With A-RGB integration, the Freezer 50 TR is not only the most powerful ARCTIC air cooler to date, it's also the first ever with lighting effects."

Lamptron Unveils SM436 Sync Edition PCI RGB-Fan and LED-Controller

In times of Tempered Glass, not only the cooling performance and volume development of the PCs want to be adapted to their own and changing requirements, but also the RGB lighting suitable for the hardware. The Lamptron SM436 Sync Edition PCI RGB & Fan Controller offers not only extensive functionality, but also high compatibility. It runs up to four fans with or without PWM control and RGB products with or without digital RGB LEDs. The separate LC display can be attached to PCI slots, which can be admired by a transparent side section made of hard or acrylic glass. The control is operated by an infrared remote control.

Intel and Wargaming Join Forces to Deliver Ray Tracing to World of Tanks

Intel has been very serious about its efforts in computer graphics lately, mainly because of its plans to launch a dedicated GPU lineup and bring new features to the graphics card market. Today, Intel and Wargaming, a maker of MMO titles like World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes, partnered to bring ray tracing feature to the Wargaming's "Core" graphics engine, used in perhaps one of the best-known MMO title - World of Tanks.

Joint forces of Intel and Wargaming developers have lead to the implementation of ray tracing, using only regular software techniques without a need for special hardware. Being hardware agnostic, this implementation works on any graphics card that can run DirectX 11, as the "Core" engine is written in DirectX 11 API. To achieve this, developers had to make a solution that uses CPU's resources for fast, multi-threaded bounding volume hierarchy which then feeds the GPU's compute shaders for ray tracing processing, thus making the ray tracing feature entirely GPU shader/core dependent. Many features are reworked with emphasis put on shadow quality. In the images below you can see exactly what difference the new ray-tracing implementation makes, and you can use almost any graphics card to get it. Wargaming notes that "some FPS" will be sacrificed if ray tracing is turned on, so your GPU shouldn't struggle too much.

iBUYPOWER Announces New MR Series of Cases

iBUYPOWER, a leading manufacturer of custom gaming PCs, today announced its new MR Series of PC cases, expanding upon the company's signature Slate, Trace and Element series of cases.

The Slate MR, Trace MR and Element MR all feature a black, partial-mirror finish on the front and side tempered glass panels. This custom finish gives the illusion of a mirror and reflects its surroundings when systems are off and no lighting is visible. When the enclosure is illuminated by the four addressable RGB (ARGB) fans included with each MR case, users will have a clear view of the internal components of their PC.
Wednesday, October 16th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Gaming PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Philips Introduces the Productivity-Geared 346B1C Monitor: 34" VA, 3440 x 1440, Curved 21:9

Philips today introduced their latest productivity-geared monitor in the form of the 346B1C. The 34" panel is of the VA type, ensuring great viewing angles without any form of color degradation. The WQHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 means maximum resolution, which can be better put to use in the 21:9 curved format of the display, allowing you to seamlessly work across two different windows (like this news editor is doing right now, really). The 346B1C features a USB-C dock so that you can have a seamless workflow from your portable environment to the big screen. It also sports split-screen views and an integrated multi-client KVM switch, so two PCs can use the same monitor, keyboard and mouse.

There's Adaptive-Sync (which should add some gaming chops to the monitor), flicker-free tech and LowBlue Mode for comfort. The stand features support for 180º swivel, tilt, and height-adjustments, and there's VESA support (though that's a given nowadays). The Philips 346B1C will be available this November for £539.

Jonsbo Introduces the TR03, a Triangular Case With RGB Lighting

Jonsbo, who have recently reentered the American market, have launched their latest PC case, which sees a departure from the norm (in a seen-before sort of way, though). The TR03 is a triangular case, eschewing the usual boxy design of 90% of the market. The TR03 is made of aluminium, for the outside and steel on the innards to achieve structural integrity, and features tempered glass side panels for showing off your hardware - like any enthusiast case true to its name should.

The TR03 supports radiators up to 360 mm, CPU coolers up to 175 mm, PSUs up to 185 mm and graphics cards up to 460 mm, so you known you won't have to make forced decisions regarding your hardware configuration on account of this case. The interior of the case is modular, and can be rearranged in a number of ways to display your hardware vertically or horizontally, and pre-designed mounts for your custom water tank mean you won't have to worry about your hardware's integrity. It supports up to ATX motherboards, has mounts for 3x 2.5" SSD + 3x 3.5" HDD or 5x 2.5" SSDs. It also features supports for up to ten fans. No word on pricing at time of writing, but you should expect this case to be in the upper echelon of pricing for the company.

ASRock AMD B550AM Gaming Motherboard Spied

Here is the first picture of a motherboard based on AMD's upcoming mid-range desktop motherboard chipset, the AMD "B550A," the ASRock B550AM Gaming. The board was spied inside a pre-built desktop at a Best Buy store. This is the first time we've seen the mid-range chipset being referenced as "B550A" and not "B550." The "A" may not be part of the motherboard's model name as the "M" denotes Micro-ATX and usually succeeds the chipset model in ASRock's nomenclature. The B550(A) will be an important chipset for AMD as it will enable motherboards priced under the $150 mark that support AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processor's I/O natively.

While the X570 is an in-house development by AMD, the B550 is sourced from ASMedia, and is expected to be a new version of the "Promontory-LP" silicon. The only thing that sets this chip apart from the 400-series "Promontory-LP" is PCI-Express gen 3.0 certification. The chipset talks to the AM4 SoC over a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 link, and puts out up to 8 PCI-Express gen 3.0 downstream lanes. A 3rd gen Ryzen processor on a B550 motherboard still puts out PCI-Express gen 4.0 connectivity, which means you get one PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot, and one M.2 slot with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring. The rest of the chipset's I/O will be similar to the 400-series, which includes six SATA 6 Gbps ports, up to two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 ports, up to four 5 Gbps USB 3.1 ports, and eight USB 2.0/1.1 ports. If the AM4 SoC installed is a 3rd gen Ryzen, then you'll get a couple more 10 Gbps USB 3.1 ports. AMD partners could use the opportunity to launch some of the more upscale B550 motherboards with the latest 2.5 GbE wired LAN, and 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6.

Update (16/10): We learn later down in the referenced Reddit thread, including from comments by AMD's Robert Hallock, that the B550A is a rebranded B450 targeted at OEMs. The B550 (non-A) is what is the upcoming chipset detailed in this article.

Bitspower Launches New Summit M CPU Block with OLED Display for Intel and AMD Platforms

Following the success of their Touchaqua-branded Summit MS OLED CPU block earlier this year, which was for Intel platforms only at that time, Bitspower have decided to add the OLED display to their main brand in the form of the new Summit M CPU water block. The design is a departure from the squared-off Summit MS, with a smaller form factor that also increases CPU socket compatibility to the red camp out of the box. The OLED display is housed on a metal top plate, with an acrylic body enabling side views of the coolant, a temperature sensor enabling readout on the display, as well as the integrated dRGB LEDs for lighting options compatible with ASUS AURA Sync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and ASRock Polychrome.

The cooling engine uses a nickel-plated copper base plate, with 0.3 mm CNC-machined fins and microchannels that are part of a split central-inlet flow promising high coolant flow directly over the fins to remove as much heat from the CPU as possible. This is similar to the vast majority of CPU block designs in practice, but manufacturers tend to experiment with the flow schematic to see if they can do better, so time will tell how the Summit M fares on the TechPowerUp test bench. In the meantime, it is available for direct purchase from the Bitspower store for 4500 NTD (~$150 USD) before any applicable taxes and shipping costs.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Super Gaming X and Ventus XS Pictured

MSI is ready with its premium Gaming X and affordable Ventus XS custom board designs for NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Super GPU. These boards are largely identical to the GTX 1660 Ti down to the PCB design, as the GTX 1660 Super is essentially a GTX 1660 with GDDR6 memory instead of GDDR5, yet positioned a notch below the GTX 1660 Ti owing to fewer CUDA cores (1,408 vs. 1,536).

The MSI GTX 1660 Super Gaming X retains its brushed metal finish, RGB LED embellishments, and premium appeal of the GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X. The Ventus XS, too retains its compact dimensions. This time around, though, MSI gave the plastic back-plate a faux brushed-aluminium finish. The Ventus XS comes in a standard variant that sticks to NVIDIA-reference clock-speeds, and an OC Edition with a mild factory-overclock. The Gaming X has the highest factory-overclock from MSI for this SKU.

PCI-Express Gen 6.0 Specification to Finalize by 2021

With 64 Gbps bandwidth per lane, 256 Gbps in x4, and a whopping 1 Tbps in x16 (128 GB/s per direction), PCI-Express 6.0 will debut in 2021 as 5G adoption hits critical mass in markets across the globe, to support server nodes, high-bandwidth network infrastructure, and lighting fast I/O for HPC and AI applications. Development of the new standard is already underway, with the specification having achieved a pre-release version 0.3, according to the PCI-SIG, the body that develops and maintains the PCI IP.

Further development, prototyping, and testing of the standard will run through 2020 as drafts of the standard are dispatched to interested parties. With the specification published in 2021, the first devices implementing it could arrive the following year. Granted, very few devices need 1 Tbps bandwidth, but the exercise of doubling bandwidth every 3 or so years has its maximum impact on devices that only have wiring for one PCIe lane, and directly impacts bandwidth of other I/O specifications that are derived from PCIe, such as USB, Thunderbolt, CXL, etc.

Possible XFX Radeon RX 5500 THICC II Pictured

These could very well be the first pictures of a custom-design Radeon RX 5500 graphics card. Pictures of the purported XFX Radeon RX 5500 THICC II made it to the web courtesy VideoCardz. It's very likely that this is the RX 5500 looking at its power-connectivity, which includes just a single 8-pin PCIe input. An RX 5700-series product would at least feature an 8+6-pin input design. The display I/O is also peculiar, with not one but two dual-link DVI-D connectors (no analog pins on either), and one each of DisplayPort and HDMI. The card has the same design language as its THICC series siblings from the RX 5700-series.

The cooling solution uses two shrouds (the front shroud and the back-plate) that meet in the middle in symmetry. Two fans ventilate an aluminium fin-stack heatsink that features two or three 8 mm-thick copper heat pipes. The cooler is longer than the card itself. Based on the 7 nm "Navi 11" silicon, the Radeon RX 5500 features 22 RDNA compute units working out to 1,408 stream processors, boost frequencies of up to 1848 MHz, and up to 8 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 128-bit wide memory interface.

NZXT Joins the ASRock Phantom Gaming Alliance with H510i Variant

NZXT joined the ASRock Phantom Gaming bandwagon with a special edition variant of its popular H510i mid-tower case. The case ships with the characteristic gaming-centric design language of the motherboard maker with streaks of red and silver accenting a gray background. These streaks dominate the opaque right side panel, and make up both the opaque and see-through parts of the left side panel. The signature NZXT vertical divider is painted in ASRock's favorite shade of red. A prominent Phantom Gaming logo dominates the front panel. The front connectivity, located at the top, includes a USB 3.1 type-C, USB 3.1 type-A, and a headset jack. Slated for November 1st market availability, the NZXT H510i Phantom Gaming edition is priced at USD $109.

TSMC Extends 16 nm Lead Time, Possibly Because the Fab is Swamped

TSMC has increased its 7 nm delivery time by as much as three times because of extra demand from customers who want their products made on 7 nm manufacturing process. While we thought the struggles with the delivery of 7 nm will only be present for that node, it turns out that TSMC is facing some issues with the delivery of its 16 nm node as well.

There is no clear indication of why is TSMC having issues meeting demand for its 16 nm node, just now. What might be the reason is that a large number of manufacturers are still designing and manufacturing their products on 16 nm, as it is quite cheaper than smaller nodes, so the 16 nm manufacturing facilities may be "overloaded". Another possible reason is that wafer output faced some issues that are now affecting both the 7 and 16 nm node delivery time being extended. That can be anything from a small power cut to a large issue like contamination of cleanrooms where processors are made.
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