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Ubisoft Reveals Far Cry 5 System Requirements
Monday, January 22nd 2018

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Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX Vega 56 Spotted for the First Time

Sapphire's Pulse line of graphics cards focuses on providing aspiring gamers with the best bang for their buck. There are currently eight different models ranging from the Radeon RX 550 all the way up to the Radeon RX 580. According to German retailer Alternate.de, the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX Vega 56 is the latest newborn in the Pulse family even though it isn't officially listed on Sapphire's website at the moment. The card sports a plastic shroud painted in matte black with some red accents. The Pulse Radeon RX Vega 56 occupies three PCIe slots and measures 28.2 cm x 12.5 cm, but that's mainly because of the monstrous heatsink that extends far beyond the graphic card's short PCB. Judging by the design, this model probably utilizes a similar cooling solution, consisting of 4 heatpipes and two 95 mm Dual-X cooling fans, like its RX 580 Pulse sibling. The backplate boasts a simple, yet beautiful design with red lines simulating a human pulse.

Despite the branding difference, the Pulse RX Vega 56 has a lot in common with the higher-end Nitro+ RX Vega 56. Both models depend on a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and they even share the same memory specification. Each has 8GB of onboard HBM2 memory running at 800 MHz across a 2048-bit wide memory interface. However, the Pulse RX Vega 56 comes with a 1512 MHz boost clock, 60 MHz slower than the Nitro+ RX Vega 56. They also differ in display outputs. The Pulse model has three Display Port 1.4 ports and a single HDMI 2.0b, while the Nitro+ model has two of each. Alternate.de lists the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX Vega 56 with a €789 price tag.

AMD Reveals Specs of Ryzen 2000G "Raven Ridge" APUs

AMD today revealed specifications of its first desktop socket AM4 APUs based on the "Zen" CPU micro-architecture, the Ryzen 2000G "Raven Ridge" series. The chips combine a quad-core "Zen" CPU with an integrated graphics core based on the "Vega" graphics architecture, with up to 11 NGCUs, amounting to 704 stream processors. The company is initially launching two SKUs, the Ryzen 3 2200G, and the Ryzen 5 2400G. Besides clock speeds, the two are differentiated with the Ryzen 5 featuring CPU SMT, and more iGPU stream processsors. The Ryzen 5 2400G is priced at USD $169, while the Ryzen 3 2200G goes for $99. Both parts will be available on the 12th of February, 2018.

The Ryzen 5 2400 features an 4-core/8-thread CPU clocked at 3.60 GHz, with a boost frequency of 3.90 GHz; 2 MB of L2 cache (512 KB per core), and 4 MB of shared L3 cache; and Radeon Vega 11 graphics (with the 11 denoting NGCU count), featuring 704 stream processors. The iGPU engine clock is set at 1250 MHz. The dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2933 MHz memory. The Ryzen 3 2200G is a slightly cut down part. Lacking SMT, its 4-core/4-thread CPU ticks at 3.50 GHz, with 3.70 GHz boost. Its CPU cache hierarchy is unchanged; the iGPU features only 8 out of 11 NGCUs, which translate to 512 stream processors. The iGPU engine clock is set at 1100 MHz. Both parts feature unlocked CPU base-clock multipliers; and have their TDP rated at 65W, and include AMD Wraith Stealth cooling solutions.

ASUS Intros ROG Strix Fusion 500 Gaming Headset

ASUS introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Strix Fusion 500 gaming headset, a step up from the Strix Fusion 300 the company launched last September. The headset essentially retains the design of the Fusion 300, but steps it up with gold-metallic body panels around the cans, RGB multi-color LED diffusers replacing the red LED accents, which you can control via ASUS Aura Sync RGB software; and under the hood enhancements.

The headset uses a higher quality ESS Sabre 9018 DAC combined with ESS 9601 amplifier. The DAC has a high SNR, and puts out 24-bit/96 kHz audio. The enhanced audio setup is mated with 50 mm ASUS Essence drivers, and improvements made to the passive acoustic dampening material around your ears. ASUS included game-specific virtual-7.1 surround DSPs with this headset. Available now, the ASUS ROG Strix Fusion is priced at USD $179.99, about $50 pricier than the Fusion 300.
Sunday, January 21st 2018

ASRock Intros a Pair of Celeron "Gemini Lake" ITX Motherboards

ASRock introduced a pair of mini-ITX desktop motherboards implementing Intel's new Celeron "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The ASRock J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX, as their names suggest, are powered by Celeron J4105 "Gemini Lake" SoCs, which combine a quad-core "Goldmont Plus" CPU ticking at 2.50 GHz, with new Intel UHD 600 Graphics. The integrated graphics features hardware-acceleration of 10bpc HEVC video encoding and decoding in addition to new DRM standards, which should enable Netflix 4K, and other on-demand video services at 4K UHD resolution. The J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX are similar, but for the latter featuring legacy connectivity such as LPT and RS232 COM ports, replacing 8-channel HD audio with 6-channel, and a DVI port. While the former has a PCIe x1 slot, the latter has an x16 slot with x2 wiring.

The board draws power from a 24-pin ATX connector. The SoC is cooled by a fan-less heatsink, and is wired to DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, supporting up to 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 memory. The 22 mm M.2 slot that has x1 wiring, is recommended only for a WLAN card. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports on the J4105-ITX, and two ports on the J4105B-ITX. Both boards come with gigabit Ethernet. Display outputs include DVI, HDMI, and D-Sub on the J4105-ITX; while the J4105B-ITX features D-Sub and HDMI. Both boards are expected to be priced around $170, given that the SoC itself costs $107.

NVIDIA Asks Retailers to Ensure Gamers Get Graphics Cards

The crypto-currency plague continues to nibble away at the PC gaming ecosystem, driving gamers to consoles. This affects the long-term prospects of graphics processor manufacturers like NVIDIA, who will find it difficult to pull gamers lost to consoles back to the PC ecosystem, should newer cost-effective ASICs arrest the viability of using GPUs to mine crypto-currency (as it did on several occasions in the past). The company is reportedly writing to PC hardware retailers to take steps to ensure that PC gamers have access to graphics cards first, and only then crypto-currency miners. The request doesn't prescribe any measures to control graphics card prices that have clearly gone out of hand.

Retailers in Germany responded lukewarmly, by setting quantity limitations, ranging between 2 to 5 units per order (and not per-household). Retailers responding to ComputerBase.de commented that they sometimes receive orders by e-mail with quantities running over 100 units. NVIDIA emphasizes that this request is a "recommendation" on its part, and not a directive, and that it would never interfere in freedom of commerce (by letting market-forces sell $200 graphics cards at $1000). The only people standing to lose are PC gamers who haven't upgraded their graphics cards in over two years, who are not able to play today's AAA games at recommended settings, especially when newer games are implementing the new DirectX 12 API, and their eye-candy have leaped to levels 2+ year old high-end graphics cards struggle to keep up with.
Saturday, January 20th 2018

Gigabyte Releases New Gemini Lake-Powered Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, has announced the release of new generation Gemini Lake based J/N series motherboards with the built-in latest Intel Pentium Silver/ Intel Celeron processors. With humidity protected glass fabric PCBs, long acting capacitors, anti-surge ICs, low resistance MOSFETS, and Ultra Durable components, GIGABYTE J/N series motherboards maximize product value by offering users the ability to customize performance settings.

GIGABYTE newest J/N series motherboards utilize a fanless cooling solution and the built-in Intel Gemini Lake processors make them perfect for compact, mainstream builds. The motherboards support HDMI 2.0 4K at 21:9 resolution for high definition video quality. Integrated PCIe Gen2 x2 M.2 slots supporting high speed NVMe SSD allows for fast data transfer speeds. The board's native Intel WIFI via the M.2 Connector along with an independently sold Intel CNVi wireless networking solution can make way for impressive wireless connectivity exceeding 1 gigabit per second, traditionally found in wired connections. Additionally, its support for M.2 SATA SSD, UDIMM DDR4 modules rated for 2400MHz, and noise free configurations makes it a perfect option for school, business, and home usage.
Friday, January 19th 2018

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Seagate Launches 5U84 High-Density Enclosure with Next-Generation OS

Seagate Technology plc today announced the launch of the 5U84 high-density enclosure built with a next-generation operating system that together delivers performance, capacity and reliability. The 5U84 enclosure and firmware technology will enable businesses to store massive quantities of data in a high-availability enclosure that provides high performance access to data. What's more, Seagate Systems' operating system not only powers the high density 5U84, but dramatically improves the system's performance and reliability, increasing confidence in using high-density enclosures.

As with any technology, it is critically important to create layers of protection when it comes to data storage, particularly in markets such as video surveillance, where the integrity of the data is critical. Using next generation data protection technology, Seagate's Advanced Distributed Autonomic Protection Technology (ADAPT) can eliminate up to 95% of performance degradation during a disk drive rebuild when compared to traditional RAID solutions, meaning the 5U84 is essentially "self-healing". The technology disperses data across multiple drives, allocating more resources to rebuilds, thereby reducing the time needed, minimizing the risk of a data unavailability issue and giving the end user uninterrupted access.

Synology Releases the Moments, Drive, and Office Software Packages

Synology Inc. today announced the official release of three major packages, Drive, Office, and Moments. These packages run on the company's line of network-attached storage products and allow users to store, backup, and synchronize their photos, documents, and other files while keeping their data private and secure.

Moments is a completely new application that lets users back up photos from their computer or smartphone to their Synology NAS. Once photos are stored on the Synology NAS, Moments includes deep learning and automatic organization tools that identify people, places, and objects in photos and sorts them into albums accordingly. Since photo indexing is processed on the Synology NAS, users can be assured that all their photos and image data are stored safely and privately.

100,000 PUBG Cheaters to Be Banned Soon, Developer Promises

One thing that phenomenon games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds can boast of is an extraordinary number of active players at any given time (there's been in excess of 3 million active players at one point in time already). This is mostly due to the multiplayer, competitive nature of the game; and where there's competition, there's ways (and ways) of trying to trump it. In a blog post, PUBG developers have taken an open stance on the issue of cheaters, which continues to be one of the most harrowing plagues in PUBG. And the results are in: PUBG has detected "over 100,000 instances of the new pattern related to use of cheat and now we have confirmed that it was clearly an attempt of compromising our game." And for those, players, there's only one solution: "these players will be permanently banned in a single wave."

That more players will be banned than many games have players at any one point in their longevity is already impressive enough. However, PUBG's dedication to maintain its game in a fun, fair state has become a torch of sorts for the company: "We will continue to check the data logs like this even if it means the anti-cheat team has to filter through hundreds of billions of data logs manually. In addition, we are looking into adopting a new solution to detect and ban more cheaters and we have been continuously strengthening our security systems. We have also liaised with investigative authorities in some countries to take legal actions against developers and distributors of cheats. We are determined to take strong measures against them going forward." Et tu, cheaters? Ready to feel the banhammer of righteousness?

Italian Multinational Gas, Oil Company Fires Off HPC4 Supercomputer

Eni has launched its new HPC4 supercomputer, at its Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, 60 km away from Milan. HPC4 quadruples the Company's computing power and makes it the world's most powerful industrial system. HPC4 has a peak performance of 18.6 Petaflops which, combined with the supercomputing system already in operation (HPC3), increases Eni's computational peak capacity to 22.4 Petaflops.

According to the latest official Top 500 supercomputers list published last November (the next list is due to be published in June 2018), Eni's HPC4 is the only non-governmental and non-institutional system ranking among the top ten most powerful systems in the world. Eni's Green Data Center has been designed as a single IT Infrastructure to host all of HPC's architecture and all the other Business applications.

Dark Souls: Remastered Will be Releasing on PC and Consoles on May 25

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe invites players back to the treacherous land of Lordran with DARK SOULS: REMASTERED, available on 25th May, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, and PC. Re-experience the genre-defining title that kicked off a worldwide gaming phenomena in stunning high-definition detail. DARK SOULS: REMASTERED marks the DARK SOULS series debut on a Nintendo platform, and for the first time ever can be played on the go with the unique capabilities of the Nintendo Switch console.

Developed by FromSoftware Inc., DARK SOULS: REMASTERED allows players to explore the twisted ancient land of Lordran in the first title of the critically acclaimed action role-playing series like never before. Experience the rich world of DARK SOULS in upscaled 4K resolution with 60FPS when playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro system, Xbox One X, and PC. Also, 1080p resolution with 30FPS is available when playing the game on Nintendo Switch with its TV mode. From their first timid steps to absolute mastery, players will build their characters by strategically adapting to daunting foes, exploring haunting locations, and amassing a large collection of weapons, armor and magic spells to utilize for a truly unique playstyle.

Dell Partners with Meta to Sell Meta 2 Augmented Reality Development Kit

Dell today announced it will be the first authorized reseller of the Meta 2 Augmented Reality Development Kit, equipping commercial companies with the tools needed to more easily innovate and adopt new AR technology applications that can advance their business. In partnership with Meta, Dell aims to make AR more accessible for business deployment, particularly in healthcare, manufacturing and construction, by providing tools for creating immersive experiences unique to the needs of those industries.

Dell is the only technology provider with an end to end ecosystem to consume, create and power VR and AR. The new offering with Meta stems from Dell's VR/AR Technology Partner Program, which brings together other innovators in VR and AR to test and collaborate on the best technology solutions for varying applications and experiences. This program allows Dell to help current and potential customers to better navigate the new and rapidly evolving VR/AR ecosystem, by working with partners to verify and certify the best software and hardware solutions for VR and AR applications - bringing standardization where it is needed most.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Finally Gets Launch Date

Microsoft's original plan was to launch Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on October 19 of last year to commemorate the franchise's 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, there was a setback in the game's development, and the launch date was pushed to early 2018. Age of Empires aficionados can finally rejoice. Adam Isgreen, Creative Director at Microsoft, announced yesterday that the highly-anticipated remake is making its way to Windows 10 PCs on February 20 for $19.99. Adam also took the opportunity to remind us that the Definitive Edition isn't your normal everyday remake. It actually comes with many huge improvements like:
  • Completely rebuilding assets for a modern 4K presentation
  • Letting you play online with Xbox LIVE (in addition to LAN play)
  • Re-recorded the original soundtrack with a new orchestral score
  • Adding campaign narration for every mission
  • Enhancing the campaign and scenario editor, which allows anyone to make original custom campaigns for the game, by letting players easily share them with other players around the world via AgeOfEmpires.com

LG Releases the 27UK650-W Monitor: 27" 4K, HDR, IPS Panel With AMD FreeSync

LG has released a new addition to their monitor lineup. The 27UK650-W is an interesting monitor, marrying a 27", 16:9 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with HDR 10 support. The static contrast ratio of 1000:1 means the monitor has a dynamic contrast of 5,000,000:1 (not that that particular spec matters much). The maximum brightness, however, leaves much to be desired on a HDR-enabled monitor: the LG 27UK650-W only manage to deliver 350 cd/m² brightness, which is lower than even the lowest HDR standard AMD considers as being HDR capable (a minimum brightness of 400 cd/m² is required for that). The sRGB 99% Color Gamut coverage is good, however, if not that rare a feature nowadays.

The panel features a 5 ms response time, aided by the implementation of AMD's FreeSync tech, which should help gamers achieve more fluid frame-rates. Flicker free and blue-light reduction technologies are also on board. As for connectivity, 2x HDMI and 1x DisplayPort are available on the LG 27UK650-W. This LG monitor gets rid of the company's hallmark glossy black in the color department, and instead adopts a glossy white and gray finish. The LG 27UK650-W will be available from January 26th for an appealing $529.

Intel Coffee Lake-S Core i3-8300, i5-8500 Release Date, Lineup Pricing Outed

Intel's 8th gen, Coffee Lake-architecture CPUs will soon see new additions to the lineup, if leaked retail dates are correct. While Intel's six-core processors have earned themselves a respectable position in the CPU market - even if outgunned, core-wise, by AMD's Ryzen - the company is in dire need of shoring up its lower-pricing offerings so as to better compete with AMD's full available line-up, which currently offers users many more choices in both platform pricing, features, and processor specs. The date seems to be a make-up gift from the blue giant: it's expected these processors will hit retail on February 14th.

Intel Now Shipping Their RealSense D400 Depth Cameras

Today, Intel began shipping two new Intel RealSense D400 Depth Cameras from the next-generation Intel RealSense D400 product family: the D415 and D435, adding 3D capabilities to any prototype development or end user-ready device or machine.

Ideal for makers and educators as well as hardware prototyping and software development, the new depth cameras come in a ready-to-use, USB-powered form factor that pair with a D400 depth module, a turnkey optical depth solution, and the new Intel RealSense vision processor D4 for processing complex depth data in real time. Supported by the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 - available for the first time as a cross-platform, open source SDK - the cameras can also be used both indoors and outdoors and in any lighting environment.

NZXT Updates Price of N7 Z370 Motherboard

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers since the launch of the new N7 Z370 motherboard, today NZXT is announcing a change to the product and a price reduction from $299.99 to $249.99, both effective immediately.

"We were surprised-and humbled-by the PC gaming community's reaction to our new N7 motherboard. Our focus on simplifying the assembly process for users building their own gaming PC and our unconventional, minimalist approach to design that makes the motherboard disappear into the case has really resonated with people," says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO. "The feedback we received was, that while the thoughtful layout and beautiful all-metal cover are appealing, the price is a bit too high. We've taken steps to address that today with changes to the configuration and price."

SK Hynix Marks its 8Gb GDDR6 Memory Chips "Available" in Latest Catalog Update

SK Hynix, the other Korean DRAM and NAND flash giant than Samsung, updated its DRAM product catalog to reflect immediate availability of its 8-gigabit (1 GB) GDDR6 memory chips. The company is selling four SKUs, part "H56C8H24MJR-S2C" in 14 Gbps and 12 Gbps variants; and part "H56C8H24MJR-S0C" in 12 Gbps and 10 Gbps variants. The -S2C chips are more energy efficient, in achieving 14 Gbps at 1.35V and 12 Gbps at 1.25V; while the -S0C achieves 12 Gbps at 1.35V, and 10 Gbps at 1.25V. Unless NVIDIA decides that the GTX 1080-successor should feature 16 GB of memory, the company could be in the market for 8 Gb GDDR6 chips.

Meanwhile, rival Samsung announced that it began mass-production of 16 Gb (2 GB) GDDR6 memory chips, which should enable 16 GB of memory across a 256-bit memory interface, or 8 GB over a 128-bit interface. Samsung's latest chips not only have double the density as SK Hynix's, but also tick faster, at 18 Gbps, with a voltage of 1.35V. It is widely expected that GDDR6 will be the dominant memory standard for entry, mainstream, and even high-end graphics cards, which launch through 2018-19. NVIDIA is expected this year to launch its new "Volta" graphics architecture across various consumer-graphics market-segments.

AMD Releases Radeon Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta Drivers

AMD late Thursday released Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta drivers to the public. Bearing the same version numbering as the early-January 18.1.1 Alpha release, these drivers have a more detailed change-log, which includes the game crash fix for DirectX 9 games; freezing experienced in DRM-protected video playback, a stability issue affecting Windows 10 "Movies & TV" app, color corruption on Radeon Overlay when running multiple game and 3D applications, PUBG menu flickering in multi-GPU systems, and more. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta

The complete change-log follows.

Skyfall and Solace Could be the First Attacks Based on Meltdown and Spectre?

Out of the blue, a website popped up titled "Skyfall and Solace," which describes itself as two of the first attacks that exploit the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities (it doesn't detail which attack exploits what vulnerability). A whois lookup reveals that the person(s) behind this website may not be the same one(s) behind the Spectre and Meltdown website. The elephant in the room, of course, is that the two attacks are named after "James Bond" films "Skyfall" and "Quantum of Solace." The website's only piece of text ends with "Full details are still under embargo and will be published soon when chip manufacturers and Operating System vendors have prepared patches," and that one should "watch this space for more." We doubt the credibility of this threat. Anyone who has designed attacks that exploit known vulnerabilities won't enter embargoes with "chip manufacturers and operating system vendors" who have already developed mitigation to the vulnerabilities.

Western Digital Expands Mid-Range Enterprise Hard Drive Offerings

Known for enabling new levels of enterprise total cost of ownership (TCO) with HelioSeal helium hard drive technology and industry leading capacity drives, Western Digital Corporation is expanding its portfolio for enterprise customers with a new, mid-range series of 4 terabyte (TB), 6TB and 8TB air-based hard drives. The new products enable corporate data centers having data set sizes smaller than found in hyperscale environments to harness the power of data across a broad spectrum of Big Data applications such as analytics and distributed file systems.

Western Digital leads the high-capacity enterprise hard drive market for hyperscale and cloud environments with its 10TB, 12TB and 14TB drives, where the company's HelioSeal helium-sealing technology is required for the highest capacities and densities to deliver the lowest (or best) TCO. However, many applications have small data sets or benefit from optimal performance from implementation of a cluster of lower capacity, air-based hard drives. Many traditional data center systems still rely on moderate capacity points for RAID-based block-and-file systems.
Thursday, January 18th 2018

Today's Reviews

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ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Motherboard

ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Motherboard

ASRock's X299E-ITX/ac is that mini motherboard for Intel's X299 platform that takes all that is good and shoves it into a board smaller than a shoebox. With a triplet of M.2 ports and dual LAN chips, plus Wi-Fi, there's almost nothing missed, other than some PCIe slots, making this board an engineering feat only ASRock could accomplish.

Crytek Has Alpha Sign-ups Ongoing for Hunt: Showdown

With many games being released in Beta over the years (in no small part thanks to Steam's Greenlight initiative), and some others having made full releases in a close to Alpha state, Crytek seems to be taking the long and arduous road of getting a new multiplayer-focused game out in the open via an initial feedback-gathering closed Alpha. The company's Hunt: Showdown has gone through a hellish development cycle, seeing some concept changes, name changes, and more than a handful of problems going on at developer Crytek. However, with it being the most high-profile currently being developed at Crytek, it's really the company's poster child initiative (unless you count suing Cloud Imperium Games in that place.)

Hunt: Showdown is a free-to-play, 4-player co-op, FPS title that sees players battling in a Van Helsing-esque setting, Civil War-era and steampunk-inspired weapons. Taking a break from the asymmetric gameplay that was being touted by many games some time ago (Fable Legends, Evolve, and the shelved Bioware-developed Shadow Realms), the two player teams compete between themselves to track down an AI-controlled monster in an open-world map. How the teams choose to play is up to them: it's fair game to ally, use, or mercilessly hunt each other. I guess some of the more interesting gameplay videos will cover some manner of Lovecraftian monster barging in uninvited and relatively unannounced into a pitched, two-way firefight.

Kingston features the IronKey at CES - Encryption on the Go

Kingston at CES 2018 showed off their IronKey brand, which they acquired in 2016 from Imation Corp., and some more of their storage solutions for privacy-focused users (or just someone who doesn't want anyone to go around snooping on what isn't their business, really). Take the IronKey D300, for example, which is a USB 3.0-toting, privacy-focused data vault, as Kingston puts it - and we'd say the amount of technologies at use here are more than enough to justify that.

There's business-grade security thanks to the usage of a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified, 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode, which protects 100 percent of data stored and enforces complex password protection. Additionally, the drive locks down and reformats after 10 intrusion attempts, while also featuring digitally signed firmware, making it immune to BadUSBEncryption. All decryption is done on the drive, with no trace left on the host system. Kingston says the drive "stands up to even the most demanding situations as it is manufactured with a zinc casing and a tamper-evident epoxy seal to provide physical security, and is also waterproof up to 4 feet (conforming to IEC60529 IXP8).

AMD Is Served: Class Action Lawsuit Launched Over Spectre Vulnerabilities

Despite the grunt of the media's attention and overall customer rage having been thrown largely at Intel, AMD hasn't moved past the Spectre/Meltdown well, meltdown, unscathed. News has surfaced that at least two law firms have announced their intention of filing a class action lawsuit against AMD, accusing the company of not having disclosed their products' Spectre vulnerability, despite knowledge of said vulnerabilities.

AMD stated loud and clear that their processors weren't affected by the Meltdown flaw. However, regarding Spectre, AMD's terms weren't as clear cut. The company stated that its CPUs were vulnerable to the Spectre 1 flaw (patchable at a OS level), but said that vulnerability to Spectre 2's variant had "near-zero risk of exploitation". At the same time, the company also said that "GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors", adding that "While we believe that AMD's processor architectures make it difficult to exploit Variant 2, we continue to work closely with the industry on this threat.

Caseking Starts Selling Skylake-X Direct Die Cooling Frame

Caseking, in partnership with overclocking prowess Der8auer, have introduced a new overclocking product for users that want to extract every little percentage of additional overclocking from their chips (they had already introduced 99.9% purity silver-based heatspreaders, too). The Skylake-X Direct-Die Cooling Frame is a solution that aims to replace Intel's Integrated Loading Mechanism (ILM), attaching itself to the CPU cooler mount holes, and enabling users to use direct-to-die cooling mechanisms (sans heatspreader). The idea is that users can "cut the middleman" and make do without both Intel's terrible TIM and their stock heatspreaders, achieving a much higher heat transfer form the CPU die to the CPU cooler and, therefore, higher heat dissipation, lower temperatures, and higher overclocking.

BSODs from Meltdown and Spectre Firmware Updates Are Spreading Like the Plague

Have you ever taken your car to the mechanic shop to fix one thing but end up breaking another? Well, that's how Intel CPU owners are feeling right now. Intel previously confirmed that their Meltdown and Spectre firmware updates are causing irritating reboots on systems with Broadwell and Haswell processors. After analyzing the latest customer reports, they are acknowledging that the updates are also causing BSODs on the Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge platforms. This shouldn't come as a shocker considering how both the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affect Intel processors over the past 20 years. The possibility of all platforms suffering from the same side effects is extremely high. Fear not, though, as Intel is already working on an updated microcode to fix the constant system reboots. Motherboard vendors should have the beta microcode for validation by next week. Expect a new BIOS revision for your motherboard soon.

Endless Space 2 Starts This Year with 'Vaulters' Expansion and Free Add-ons

Every year Amplitude celebrate the studio's anniversary with their players. For our seventh year of existence we're going BIG, kicking off with the reveal of the Vaulters Expansion for Endless Space 2!

THE VAULTERS EXPANSION - COMING JANUARY 25
This first Endless Space 2 Expansion re-introduces players to the Vaulters, an all-time fan favorite civilization that has been featured in all the Endless games. Did you know that in Dungeon of the Endless you play the crew that will ultimately become the Vaulters in Endless Legend? Auriga is a small world!!! Here's a quick overview of what you can expect from the "Vaulters" DLC. A new civilization means a new way to play, the Vaulters will have the ability to teleport and use the Argosy - their legacy super colonizer ship featured in the Prologue video.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero Pose Together for the Camera

SiSoft's hardware database is a fountain of information for soon-to-be-released hardware if you have the patience to go through all the entries. On this occasion, we get a glimpse of AMD's future Ryzen 5 2600 processor. Similar to its predecessor, the Ryzen 5 2600 is a 65W six-core processor with twelve threads. However, this new model features a 3.4 GHz base clock which is 200 MHz faster than the Ryzen 5 1600 that we reviewed last year. It will also come with 6 x 512 kB of L2 cache and 2 x 8 MB of L3 cache. Being an engineer sample and all, take these specifications with a pinch of salt. According to the entry, the processor was tested on an ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero motherboard that sports AMD's X470 chipset. Unfortunately, we don't have any more details at this time.

Samsung 860 EVO SSD Makes an Appearance

Hot on the heels of Samsung updating its website with its next performance-segment SSD 860 Pro series, with its range-topping 4 TB variant, a similar pre-launch website update revealed the company's next mainstream SATA SSD, the 860 EVO. The drive will be available in three form-factors, 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch, M.2-2280, and mSATA; all with SATA 6 Gbps interface. The 2.5-inch version comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB variants; while the M.2-2280 version comes in just 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants; and the mSATA version in 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB variants. The drives combine Samsung's latest generation 3D VNAND flash memory built in the 10 nm-class sliicon fabrication process, with an updated controller and refined firmware.

The 860 EVO offers sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 97,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 88,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The new-generation flash is rated for "8 times higher" endurance than the 850 EVO series; with up to 2,400 TBW. Samsung is reinforcing its faith in the drive by backing it with 5-year warranties. The company is introducing the new TurboWrite feature, which is a user-configurable SLC cache. You can set anywhere between 12 GB to 72 GB of the NAND flash to function as SLC, so the controller can juggle hot data in and out of it, for improved performance, using the Samsung Magician software.

Sharkoon Announces Quickstore One 2.5" External Hard Drive Enclosure

With the Sharkoon Quickstore One, the range of external enclosures with a USB 3.1 interface expands further. It features a USB Type C port and is suitable for tool-free installation of a 2.5" HDD/SSD with a maximum height of 9.5 mm. The case is compatible with Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS X and Linux. The recommended retail price is 24.99 euros.

Sharkoon has historically offered a large variety of external hard drive enclosures and, with the new Quickstore One, introduces the third portable storage solution with a USB 3.1 interface. The top cover is comprised of brushed aluminum, which is available in the color versions of black or silver, with a plastic underside in black for both versions. The compact dimensions measure 130 x 83 x 16 mm, with a weight without a built-in hard drive of 92.5 grams.

Intel 760p NVMe SSD Variants' Performance Numbers Surface

Earlier this week, we broke the story of Intel giving finishing touches to its new SSD 7-series 760p and 660p NVMe drives. Newer screenshots scored by Tom's Hardware put out the company's performance numbers for each of the five 760p series models, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. The 128 GB variant is the slowest, and its numbers are the territory of the slower 660p series - up to 1500 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 650 MB/s sequential writes; and 4K random access numbers of up to 100,000 IOPS (both reads and writes).

The 256 GB variant is where the 760p really begins to come to life. With up to 2900 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 1300 MB/s sequential writes, this model begins to make use of the 32 Gb/s PCIe interface. Its 4K random access performance is rated at up to 210,000 IOPS reads, with up to 250,000 IOPS writes. The 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB models have near-identical performance numbers, which are the speeds Intel vaguely advertises for the entire series. The three have the same sequential read speeds of up to 3200 MB/s, and 4K random access performance of up to 350,000/280,000 IOPS (reads/writes). The company didn't put out sequential write numbers of the 1 TB and 2 TB models. Intel reportedly launches the 760p some time early-February.

Intel Core i7-8705G with Vega M Obliterates 8th Gen Core + GeForce MX 150

It looks like Intel has achieved the design goals of its new Core i7-8705G multi-chip module, built in collaboration with AMD. Combining a 4-core/8-thread "Kaby Lake" CPU die with an AMD "Vega" GPU die that has its own 4 GB HBM2 memory stack, the ruthless duo put similarly-priced discrete GPU setups to rest, such as the combination of an 8th generation Core processor + NVIDIA GeForce MX 150. More importantly, entry-level discrete GPU combinations with high-end mobile CPUs have a similar power/thermal envelope as the i7-8705G MCM, but at significantly higher PCB footprint.

Dell implemented the Core i7-8705G on one of its latest XPS 15 2-in-1 models. The device was compared to an Acer Swift 3 (SF314-51), which combines a Core i5-8250U processor with GeForce MX 150 discrete graphics; and a Dell XPS 13 9370, which implements an 8th generation Core processor that has Intel's workhorse graphics core, the HD 620. The three devices squared off against each other at "Rise of the Tomb Raider" game benchmark. The i7-8705G averaged 35 frames per second (fps), while the MX 150 barely managed 24 fps. The HD 620 ran a bored intern's PowerPoint slideshow at 9 fps.

DeepCool Intros Earlkase RGB White Edition

DeepCool today introduced the White Edition variant of its Earlkase RGB mid-tower case. The case features a predominantly matte-white front, and interiors, with matte-black contrasting elements. The tempered glass panel that covers the entire left-side panel is slightly tinted. RGB LED elements in the design include the rear 120 mm fan, and a diffuser along one of the front panel edges. Internally, the case features a contemporary horizontally partitioned layout, with shrouds over not just the bottom partition, but also towards the front, where you'd normally hide a 360 x 120 mm radiator.

The top compartment, which houses the motherboard tray, has room for graphics cards up to 34 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16.5 cm in height. Storage areas include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays in the bottom compartment, and four 2.5-inch drive mounts above the partition. Ventilation includes three 120 mm or two 140 mm front intakes, two 140 mm or two 120 mm top exhausts, and a 120 mm rear exhaust (fan included). Front panel connectivity includes USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/1.1 ports, and HDA jacks. Measuring 500 mm x 203.5 mm x 510.5 mm (LxWxH), the case dry-weighs around 8.1 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Wednesday, January 17th 2018

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Samsung Starts Producing Industry's First 16-Gigabit GDDR6 Memory

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has started mass production of the industry's first 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory for use in advanced graphics processing for gaming devices and graphics cards as well as automotive, network and artificial intelligence systems.

"Beginning with this early production of the industry's first 16 Gb GDDR6, we will offer a comprehensive graphics DRAM line-up, with the highest performance and densities, in a very timely manner," said Jinman Han, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics. "By introducing next-generation GDDR6 products, we will strengthen our presence in the gaming and graphics card markets and accommodate the growing need for advanced graphics memory in automotive and network systems."
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