Monday, June 26th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
Storage

Bykski FOUR CPU Waterblock

Bykski is a watercooling brand that has been operating in Asia thus far, but recently made strides to go global. Their new FOUR series of CPU waterblocks offer five color customization options, a metal top cover on an acrylic top, a massive nickel-plated copper cold plate, and installation all from the back for a clean look when installed.

Critical Flaw in HyperThreading Discovered in "Skylake" and "Kaby Lake" CPUs

A critical flaw was discovered in the way Intel implemented its simultaneous multi-threading technology, HyperThreading, on "Skylake" and "Kaby Lake" processors. Being a micro-architecture specific flaw, this could affect all implementations, from low-power mobile chips, to mainstream desktop, high-end desktop, and perhaps even enterprise-segment Xeon processors. At this time, there are no security implications of this flaw.

Intel chronicled this flaw in its micro-architecture errata "SKZ7/SKW144/SKL150/SKX150/SKZ7/KBL095/KBW095," and described it as follows: "Under complex micro-architectural conditions, short loops of less than 64 instructions that use AH, BH, CH or DH registers as well as their corresponding wider register (e.g. RAX, EAX or AX for AH) may cause unpredictable system behavior. This can only happen when both logical processors on the same physical processor are active." As an implication, Intel goes on to note that Due to this erratum, the system may experience unpredictable system behavior."

Vega Frontier Ed Beats TITAN Xp in Compute, Formidable Game Performance: Preview

PC World posted a preview of an AMD Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition graphics card, and reported some interesting observations about the card ahead of its review NDA. The tech publication compared the air-cooled Pro Vega Frontier Edition against NVIDIA's fastest consumer graphics card, the TITAN Xp. It did reveal performance numbers of the two cards in two compute-heavy tests, SPECViewPerf 12.1 and Cinebench R15 (OpenGL test), where the Vega FE significantly outperforms the TITAN Xp. This shouldn't come as a shocker because AMD GPUs tend to have a strong footing with GPU compute performance, particularly with open standards.

It's PC World's comments on the Vega card's gaming performance that might pique your interest. In its report, the publication comments that the Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition offers gaming performance that is faster than NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080, but slightly slower than its GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. To back its statement, PC World claims to have run the Vega Frontier Edition and TITAN Xp in "Doom" with Vulkan API, "Prey" with DirectX 11, and "Sniper Elite 4" with DirectX 12. You must also take into account that the Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition could command a four-figure price, in the league of the TITAN Xp; and that gamers should look forward to the Radeon RX Vega series, bound for a late-July/early-August launch, at price-points more appropriate to their competitive positioning. The RX Vega is also expected to have 8 GB of memory compared to 16 GB on the Frontier Edition. Watch PC World's video presentation in the source link below.
Sources: PC World, VideoCardz

GIGABYTE Gives Away Up to €80 Worth Steam Credit with X299 Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, is pleased to announce a new promotion event starting on the June 26th, 2017 until August 31th, 2017. Any one that buys selected GIGABYTE AORUS X299 motherboards will receive up to €80 in Steam Wallet Codes totally free. Steam Wallet codes work just like gift cards which can be redeemed on your personal Steam account for Steam credit and used for the purchase of games, in game content, software and any other item you can available in the Steam store.

To participate in this new promotion, simply purchase one of the selected boards below and register on the micro-site. Please note that this promotion is open to residents of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Iceland.

Falcon Northwest Tiki with Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition Pictured

Gaming PC builder Falcon Northwest teased a picture of its upcoming Tiki compact high-performance desktop built on the AMD Radeon theme. The silver-bodied beast shows off a Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition graphics card through an acrylic cutout on its side, and will be one of the first pre-built desktops you can buy with the $1,000-ish air-cooled Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition. Not much else is known about this variant of the Tiki. Looking at its prominent AMD branding, it's entirely possible that the side-panel hides a mini-ITX socket AM4 motherboard with a Ryzen 7 series chip; or maybe not, and it sticks with a Core i7 "Kaby Lake" with a 200-series chipset mini-ITX motherboard.

Source: Reddit

MSI Intros the B350M/A320M Pro-VD Motherboards

MSI introduced the B350M Pro-VD and A320M Pro-VD socket AM4 motherboards. Built in the slim micro-ATX form-factor, the two boards are nearly identical, and differ only with the chipset (AMD B350 and A320). The boards draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors; conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with a 6-phase VRM. The APU socket is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and both of the boards' PCIe x1 slots. Two of the four SATA 6 Gbps ports on the boards come from the AM4 SoC. Display outputs include DVI and D-Sub. Gigabit Ethernet and 6-channel HD audio make for the rest of them. The only feature the B350M Pro-VD offers over its A320-based twin is support for CPU overclocking. The two could feature sub-$80 price-points.
Friday, June 23rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
Storage

Rosewill RGH-3300 Pro Gaming Headset

The second-cheapest gaming headset Rosewill has to offer - the $35 RGH-3300 - isn't the prettiest to look at, but acoustically, it’s surprisingly well balanced and capable of delivering good performance in both games and music. Contrary to what the song says, it's not all about the bass!

WannaCry Strikes Again: Attack Forces Honda Factory to Shutdown

If you thought WannaCry was done, it would appear you were wrong. Honda has appeared as the latest victim of the outbreak, as late as this week. The outbreak was bad enough to stop production at its Sayama plant northeast of Tokyo. That factory can churn out nearly 1,000 vehicles a day, by the way, so this is not a small amount of money lost for the company.

The company says it discovered the malware Sunday, and by Wednesday it had managed to spread to several regions including Japan, North America, Europe, China and other locations (Sayama was the only place to experience an actual shutdown of operations, however).

G.SKILL Announces New DDR4 Specifications for Intel X299 HEDT Platform

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, announces new high-speed DDR4 memory specifications designed for the latest Intel Core X-series processors and X299 chipset motherboards. All the new memory kits are built with high performance Samsung 8Gb ICs, and tested under the highest standards of the Trident Z family.

With the improvement of overclocking performance on the latest Intel Core X-series processor and X299 chipset, G.SKILL is thrilled to release the fastest DDR4-4400 CL19-19-19-39 8GBx2 dual-channel memory kit designed for Kaby Lake-X processor. This high-end DDR4 memory kit will be available under the Trident Z RGB series and an all-new Trident Z Black series.

LG Intros the 34UC89G-B 34-inch Curved Ultra Wide Gaming Monitor

LG today introduced the 34UC89G-B, a 34-inch curved ultra-wide gaming monitor. Featuring an aspect-ratio of 21:9, the monitor features a curved IPS panel with a native resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels. Boosting its gaming credentials are its 144 Hz refresh-rate, a Dynamic Action Stabilizer feature for games, which reduces shaky-cam in games, an OSD crosshair, and support for NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. Other panel specs include 5 ms (GTG) response-time, 178°/178° viewing angles, 300 cd/m² maximum brightness, and dynamic mega-contrast. The monitor takes input from DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a connectors. Other features include a 2-port USB 3.0 hub. The monitor will start selling by mid-July.

Valve to Launch "Knuckles" VR Controllers; Include Individual Finger Tracking

Even though current VR controllers already do a competent job of tracking our movements in the 3D world, there is always room to improve (and VR has much, much room to improve.) AS such, valve is looking to improve the way we can interact with the VR worlds we are offered. And one of those ways is by improving gesture and hand recognition in these worlds. If ever something seemed to be designed to allow you to taunt your opponent, Valve's "Knuckles" controller is it.

Through the use of a new "CapSense" tech, which basically adds capacitive fields to the grip of the wand controller, games will be able to know whether you're fully gripping the controller or not. These sensors, which for now need to be calibrated on a per-user basis, can "detect the state of the user's hands", meaning, they're able to track the degree to which your fingers are curled or sticking out. Valve has used a technologically impressive solution for those cases where you might drop your controller for eagerness of showing your fingers to your enemies: an adjustable strap on both controllers that tightens around your hands. Valve has started to ship the Knuckles controllers out to developers, but there's no word yet on when consumer versions of the device might be available.
After the break: bonus taunts.

Foxconn Eyeing US for $10 billion Investment; Looking After Toshiba Deal

Taiwan-based Foxconn, one of Apple's main suppliers, is looking to expand its operations in the US to the tune of $10 billion. The company is still deciding which state will get the greatest solo investment, in the form of a $7 billion display factory (worth mentioning here is that Foxconn's display manufacturing has seen a recent buff by the acquisition of Sharp.) Reportedly, investments are being considered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and/or Texas. There was no given timeframe for the construction's start or finish, but a final decision should be made public in July. Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou also vowed to press on with a bid for Toshiba Corp.'s semiconductor business, although the Japanese company has already selected a preferred buyer in the form of a Japanese and US joint venture. Such a deal could cost $27 billion and introduce Foxconn (and, likely but indirectly, China) into the memory chip business.

SilverStone Intros the Strider Titanium Line of High-Wattage PSUs

SilverStone introduced its flagship Strider Titanium line of high-wattage power supplies for enthusiast-segment gaming PCs and record-seeking overclocking builds. The lineup consists of 1100W, 1300W, and 1500W variants, and boasts of 80 Plus Titanium-certified efficiency. The units offer full modular cabling, with enough juice and straws for Core X or Threadripper HEDT builds with 3-way or 4-way multi-GPU configs. All models feature two 8-pin EPS connectors, which each collapse into 4+4 pin ATX, so you can power Intel X299 or AMD X399-chipset motherboards with two EPS inputs.

Under the hood, the Strider Titanium features a single +12V rail design on all variants, active PFC, and most common electrical protection mechanisms. The units also feature a compact 180 mm length, compared to other brands which typically come in 220 mm lengths for this kind of wattage. All three variants come with eight 6+2-pin PCIe power connectors, up to sixteen SATA power, and six 4-pin Molex connectors. The units are cooled by a 135 mm fan, which stays completely off when the load is under 20%. The company didn't reveal pricing.
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