Tuesday, June 19th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

Noctua Introduces Quiet CPU Coolers for LGA3647 Intel Xeon Platforms

Noctua today introduced three quiet CPU coolers for the LGA3647 socket of Intel's Xeon Scalable (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Xeon-Phi processors. Coming in 140, 120 and 92mm form factors respectively, the new NH-U14S DX-3647, NH-U12S DX-3647 and NH-D9 DX-3647 4U cover all bases from large, ultra-high performance workstations all the way to compact 4U size servers. Thanks to their premium-grade Noctua fans, all three coolers are exceptionally quiet and ideally suited for use in noise-sensitive environments.

Apacer's PANTHER RAGE DDR4 RGB Will Glow Away the Competition

For enthusiastic gamers and modders, powerful gear is a must. And after winning over the professional gaming crowd, Apacer is bringing some colorful bling to DRAM. Since its last incarnation, PANTHER RAGE DDR4 has evolved from single-light LED to splashy RGB, with its bold new color in Gold. Apacer is going to show that the new gear is definitely worth the wait.

By implementing the newly developed hardware architecture to enhance the RGB controller, PANTHER RAGE DDR4 RGB has improved the performance by 200%. It also seamlessly integrates with the latest ASUS Aura Sync software which is popular among gamers, and allows users to select various patterns based on their preference. On top of that, it is compatible with the latest platform by Intel and AMD.

Samsung Wants to Design Their Own Graphics Processor

Job postings on LinkedIn reveal that Samsung is looking to hire a ton of graphics chip engineers to bring forward their own GPU design. In the past the company has licensed GPU IP from companies like ARM and Imagination Technologies, but these designs come with cost, low performance and low flexibility. With Samsung needing graphics IP for a large range of products like phones, tablets and exploring options in markets like automotive, machine learning and AI, it's not surprising that the company is now looking into rolling their own GPU - from scratch as indicated by a recruiters posting:
"This is Samsung's proprietary IP. We will define the ISA, the architecture, the SW, the entire solution."

Western Digital's 14 TB HDD Qualified by Huawei for Big Data Applications

As a leader in enterprise-capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) and the inventor of helium HDD technology, Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) today announced that Huawei has qualified its host-managed shingled magnetic recording (SMR) helium-based HDD, the Ultrastar Hs14 - the industry's first 14TB HDD designed for demanding big data applications. An early adopter of Western Digital's SMR HDDs, Huawei is breaking new ground by optimizing its distributed cloud storage OceanStor 9000 system for the sequential nature of data capture in video surveillance applications. Seeing the value in enabling significant TCO improvements, Huawei has made considerable investments in the integration of Western Digital's SMR HelioSeal HDDs, which deliver unsurpassed density, power efficiency and reliability.

NVIDIA Joins S&P 100 Stock Market Index

With tomorrow's opening bell, NVIDIA will join the Standard and Poors S&P 100 index, replacing Time Warner. The spot that NVIDIA is joining in has been freed up by the merger of Time Warner with AT&T. This marks a monumental moment for the company as membership in the S&P 100 is reserved for only the largest and most important corporations in the US. From the tech sector the list comprises illustrious names such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google Alphabet, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Oracle, Paypal, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

NVIDIA's stock has seen massive gains over the last years, thanks to delivering record quarter after record quarter. Recent developments have transformed the company from a mostly gaming GPU manufacturer to a company that is leading in the fields of GPU compute, AI and machine learning. This of course inspires investors, so the NVIDIA stock has been highly sought after, now sitting above 265 USD, which brings the company's worth to over 160 billion USD. Congratulations!
Monday, June 18th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Sound Cards
SSD
Storage
ADATA SX8200 480 GB

ADATA SX8200 480 GB

The ADATA SX8200 SSD ushers in new performance records for our SSD reviews. Despite the use of TLC, speeds are incredible. The SX8200 has a generous 128 GB SLC write cache, which ensures even large write batches get completed at the drive's full speed. Pricing is awesome too, with only $170 for the tested 480 GB version.

Wishful Thinking, Disingenious Marketing: Intel's Optane Being Marketed as DRAM Memory

Intel's Optane products, based on the joint venture with Micron, have been hailed as the next step in memory technology - delivering, according to Intel's own pre-launch slides, a mid-tier, al-dente point between DRAM's performance and NAND's density and pricing. Intel even demoed their most avant-garde product in recent times (arguably, of course) - the 3D XPoint DIMM SSD. Essentially, a new storage contraption that would occupy vacant DIMM channels, delivering yet another tier of storage up for grabs for speed and space-hungry applications - accelerating workloads that would otherwise become constrained by the SATA or even NVMe protocol towards NAND drives.

Of course, that product was a way off; and that product still hasn't come to light. The marriage of Optane's density and speed with a users' DRAM subsystem is just wishful thinking at best, and the dreams of pairing DRAM and 3D Xpoint in the same memory subsystem and extracting the best of both worlds remains, well... A figment of the imagination. But not according to some retailers' websites, though. Apparently, the usage of Intel's Optane products as DRAM memory has already surfaced for some vendors - Dell and HP included. How strange, then, that this didn't come out with adequate pomp and circumstance.

Trade Your Intel Core i7-8086K for a Threadripper 1950X

AMD acknowledges Intel's contribution to the x86 architecture over the last 40 years. However, AMD is convinced that they are the leading company for future high-performance computing, and will "take it from here". That's why AMD will hold its own online sweepstakes to give the first 40 U.S.-based winners of the Intel sweepstakes the opportunity to swap their 6-core prize for a 16-core monster. To put things into perspective, the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X has 16 cores, 32 threads, 40 MB of cache, and 64 PCIe Gen3 lanes. Now that's something hard to pass up on! AMD's sweepstakes will go live on June 25 at 1:00:00 PM EDT. If you were one of the lucky Core i7-8086K winners and want to take up on AMD's offer, check this page for further details.

Update: Intel's response didn't take long. The company posted the following message to their Intel Gaming Twitter account: "if you wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K processor too, you could have just asked us. :)"

AMD Raven Ridge APUs Not Getting Beta Drivers, 3-Month WHQL Only

AMD's latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.6.1 Beta, which is available now, lacks Raven Ridge APU support. Driver support for the APUs are limited to WHQL releases only, as noted by an AMD representative on the Overclockers UK forum. Currently AMD is set to use a three month release cycle for APU drivers. Understandably, this has caused some concern with the latest driver to offer support for the Raven Ridge APUs being the Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 driver released in May. The only good news here is the limited driver releases allow AMD to further optimize their costs in regards to testing and qualification.

Limited or outdated drivers, with such a long period between releases, means games could perform sub-optimally on AMD's latest and greatest APUs. Worse yet, consumers could be stuck waiting three months for an updated driver. Even then, if a problem arises and is a fringe issue, fixes could take even longer. Essentially Raven Ridge owners are being left out in the cold to some extent in regards to hot-fixes and performance improvements. This makes AMD's Raven Ridge APUs with built in VEGA graphics for both desktops and mobile systems a bit less appealing. This issue is further exacerbated by the fact Intel's Kaby Lake G series which also features AMD's VEGA graphics has seen a new driver released that is based on the 18.6.1 driver.

Seagate Introduces New 2TB Game Drive SSD - Exclusively for Xbox

Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in data storage solutions, today announced the new Game Drive for Xbox SSD - a flash-speed SSD storage drive designed exclusively for Xbox One - delivering fast gaming performance and convenient portability. Available in 2TB, 1TB, and 500GB capacities, the pro-level flash SSD upgrade delivers fast game loading performance to get you into the game. The officially licensed Xbox drive offers branding elements that match the Xbox One X consoles and increases the console's storage capacity to make room for all of your games and downloadable add-ons.

"The quality of production and in-game environment for today's game titles is off the charts," said Jeff Fochtman, vice president of marketing for Seagate Technology. "Seagate's Game Drive for Xbox SSD offers gamers the extra capacity for their entire library and flash-speed performance so they can jump into their games without waiting on slow menus and load times."

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and IO Interactive Announce HITMAN 2

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and independent game developer, IO Interactive, today announced HITMAN 2, the follow-up to the acclaimed international video game, HITMAN. Featuring entirely new hyper-detailed sandboxes full of living, breathing environments to explore, HITMAN 2 offers players the freedom to plan the ultimate assassination utilizing an assortment of tools, weapons, disguises and a variety of stealth techniques to creatively trigger their own unique chain of events. HITMAN 2 will be available for PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, PlayStation 4 Pro computer entertainment system, Xbox One X, Xbox One and PC beginning 13th November 2018.

"We are thrilled to partner with IO Interactive on HITMAN 2 and bring the latest game in this iconic franchise to the passionate HITMAN fanbase and new players," said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "IO Interactive has done a fantastic job with the Hitman franchise, and this new game will provide a distinct gameplay experience for players to be creative in larger sandbox locations."

Gigabyte Announces Availability of Two New, Smaller NVIDIA GTX 1050 3 GB Graphics Cards

Gigabyte has announced two new SKUs that join their previous interpretation of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1050 3 GB graphics card. Adding (or maybe subtracting, on account of it being smaller) to their lineup is the new GTX 1050 3 GB D5, which features a shorter PCB (172 mm x 113 mm x 30 mm, minus 19 mm) when compared to the original 3 GB OC model (for reference, 191 mm long, 111 mm wide, and 36 mm in height). The reduced footprint of the graphics card means there's now a single fan (now at 90 mm instead of 2x 80 mm) at work on cooling the GPU - but it's such a lean one that that factor should pose no problem. Additionally, the clocks are slightly lower on this card, and adhere to NVIDIA's reference of 1392 MHz base and 1518 MHz boost. Connectivity-wise, there's 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI 2.0b and 1x DisplayPort 1.4 port (up to three simultaneous displays are supported).

The other, more interesting model, is the GTX 1050 OC Low Profile 3G. Like the name implies, this is a low-profile graphics card, best suited for space-starved enclosures. Coming in at 167mm x 68.9mm x 37mm, it's as small as this type of card has ever been in Gigabyte's lineup. The low profile version should feature higher performance than the D5 one, since it clocks in at 1404 MHz (1544 MHz boost clock) in the default Game Mode. OC Mode brings the graphics card's clocks to 1430 MHz and 1569 MHz respectively. Likely owing to an expected HTPC usage for these graphics cards, Gigabyte has added an extra HDMI 2.0 port to this card, bringing connectivity to 1x DVI-D, 2x HDMI 2.0b, and 1x DisplayPort 1.4 port.

QNAP Releases New TS-x32XU Rackmount NAS Series

QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading provider of networked storage and computing solutions, today announced the release of a new TS-x32XU rackmount NAS series, consisting of the 4-bay TS-432XU, 8-bay TS-832XU and 12-bay TS-1232XU with single power and redundant power models to choose from. The TS-x32XU series inherits the classic exterior design and all features of the TS-x31XU series and combines it with a new 64-bit Alpine AL-324 ARMv8 Cortex-A57 quad-core 1.7 GHz processor by Annapurna Labs, an Amazon company, and DDR4 memory. These hardware improvements bring performance boosts and enable support of snapshots, Qtier 2.0 tiered storage and RAID 50/60. With the high cost efficiency of the TS-x32XU, small businesses can benefit from faster operations and simplified workflows.

The TS-x32XU series comes with two 10GbE SFP+ network ports, two Gigabit network ports, four USB 3.0 Type A ports and one PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 x2 slot. The hardware is capable of supporting versatile daily operational needs with additional expansion opportunities provided by the PCIe slot. Available QNAP expansion cards include the QXG-10G1T 10GBASE-T/NBASE-T Multi-Gigabit wired network adapter, QM2 M.2 SSD/10GBASE-T expansion cards and the USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) Type A expansion cards. With added hardware capabilities, the TS-x32XU NAS series can be used in more diversified applications and expanded to match growing business needs.

Lose by a Hundred, Lose by a Thousand: Black Ops 4 DLC Locked for Season Pass Buyers

Well, add this one decision by Activision to either a sensible, forward-thinking, profit-maximizing business decision or as another in a death by a thousand cuts scenario for the Call of Duty series. As big a behemoth as the series is, we doubt this will see the end of it; but whatever the side of that particular fence you're on, the decision to lock all eventually-launched DLC content behind a pay-once, get-it-all paywall seems to have struck the wrong cord with gamers and fans of the series.

Activision has announced that all future DLC releases will only be available and launched for Season Pass holders, and won't be able to be purchased in separate packages. There may be various reasons for this decision; one of them is that gamers are paying the development cost for DLC upfront, and thus, Activision knows exactly how much it can stretch the budget in each of the content releases. They can't change the actual release contents - those are set with the Season pass Announcement - but it's almost guaranteed they will scale back in map and asset complexity according to how many Season Pass bundles they sell - and thus, money they make.

AMD Motherboard Vendors Are Removing Support for Older CPU Models

Current AMD AM4 motherboards basically support four platforms at the moment: the new Ryzen 2000 processors, Ryzen 2000 G APUs with integrated graphics, 1st generation Ryzen and Bristol Ridge. Bristol Ridge was AMD's last processor generation before Ryzen was released. Bristol Ridge introduced Socket AM4, which according to AMD has a lifespan beyond 2020. According to Anandtech, several motherboard manufacturers are now reporting that they might drop support for Bristol Ridge in their future motherboard releases. The underlying reason is that in addition to the setup interface, and UEFI with its driver and network stack, the BIOS has to support all processors by including microcode for them.

Supporting so many CPU models bloats the size of the BIOS beyond 128 megabits (16 MB), which would exceed the capacity of the BIOS flash chips used by most vendors and force them to use higher capacity models, ie 256 megabits. As always in this industry, the issue here comes down to pricing.

The Cyberpunk 2077 E3 Demo Ran on a Modern, Yet Achievably-Specced PC

Cyberpunk 2077 is likely one of the more highly anticipated videogames in recent times, due in no small part - well, due specifically - to CD Projekt Red's pedigree as a developer. To say that any "projekt" the Polish team chose to tackle would be met with silly levels of expectations is likely correct - few developers have followed their stratospherical level of improvement, time and again, with every new game release.

While the E3 demo shown during Microsoft's press conference was met with extreme enthusiasm, there was some level of fear as well, due to the developers' choice to tackle the Cyberpunk universe from a first-person perspective instead of the third-person one they've perfected over the years. But after all is said and done, a demo is a demo, and the gaming press has been much more vocal about the closed-doors gameplay experience they were offered.

Gigabyte Bundles Intel's Optane Memory With Select AORUS Motherboards

Gigabyte, in a bid to further differentiate itself from its competitors' products, has decided to start bundling Intel's high-performance, 3D XPoint memory-based Optane drives with select AORUS motherboards. The initiative, which is available for the company's Z370 Aorus Gaming 7-OP and Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming WIFI-OP (where the OP suffix denotes the Optane bundle) delivers Intel's 32 GB Optane module at a price that's lower than the sum of its parts.

The Z370 Aorus Gaming 7-OP, for example, comes with an MSRP of just $269, $20 more than the non-OP version of the same motherboard - and can now be had for the same $249. This means you'll snag a full 32 GB Optane module for free with this bundle. The Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming WIFI-OP delivers a slightly less sweet deal, but it's still interesting: it's available at an MSRP of $214, while its non-Optane-equipped equivalent is available for $164.99 (this means the usually $74 Optane module will set you back a much more manageable $32). And have I mentioned these are absolutely beautiful motherboards?

AMD Ryzen 3 2300X and Ryzen 5 2500X Spotted in Geekbench

It looks like AMD has some more Ryzen 2000 models coming out soon. Two benchmark runs were posted to Geekbench showing off the capabilities of these two new processors.

The Ryzen 3 2300X runs at 3.5 GHz base, with turbo reaching up to 4.0 GHz. It comes with four cores and four threads, ie it lacks SMT. This is slightly surprising as all Ryzen 2000 non-APU processors so far came with SMT enabled to double their thread count. The Ryzen 5 2500X on the other hand does feature SMT and a higher base clock of 3.6 GHz. Highest turbo is set to 4.0 GHz too. Both processors feature the X suffix, which means Precision Boost and XFR is available, to boost the processor's operating frequency to the highest clock possible depending on load and cooling capabilities.

Latest 4K 144 Hz Monitors use Blurry Chroma Subsampling

Just a while ago the first 4K 144 Hz monitors became available with the ASUS PG27UQ and Acer X27. These $2,000 monitors no longer force gamers to pick between high-refresh rate or high resolution, since they support 3840x2160 and refresh rates up to 144 Hz. However, reviews of early-adopters report a noticeable degradation in image quality when these monitors are running at 144 Hz. Surprisingly refresh rates of 120 Hz and below look perfectly sharp.
The underlying reason for that is the DisplayPort 1.4 interface, which provides 26 Gbits/s of bandwidth, just enough for full 4K at 120 Hz. So monitor vendors had to get creative to achieve the magic 144 Hz that they were shooting for. The solution comes from old television technology in form of chroma subsampling (YCbCr), which, in the case of these monitors, transmits the grayscale portion of the image at full resolution (3840x2160) and the color information at half the horizontal resolution (1920x2160).
Friday, June 15th 2018

Samsung Launches the Chromebook Plus (V2)

Samsung Electronics America, Inc., announced the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2), a 2-in-1 convertible designed to help people get the most out of Chrome OS wherever life and work take them. Available at Best Buy starting June 24, the Samsung Chromebook Plus (V2) is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point.

"Today's consumers want to be able to maximize their communication while also expressing their creativity wherever they are, and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus fulfills that need, " said Alanna Cotton, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Samsung Electronics America. "For those who choose Chrome OS, we wanted to give them a lot of reasons to choose the new Samsung Chromebook Plus, as it is designed especially for people who never stop moving, to match their pace and magnify their creativity."

Lenovo Reveals ThinkPad P52 with Xeon Hexa-Core CPU and 128 GB of RAM

Lenovo recently announced its latest ThinkPad P52 mobile workstation designed for 3D rendering, content creation, and AI simulations. The laptop can be equipped with a 8th generation Intel Core or Xeon hexa-core processor. What's amazing with the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is its ability to house up to 128 GB of DDR4 memory and 6 TB of storage. The P52 flaunts a 15.6-inch 4K display with a 10-bit color depth, 100% Adobe color gamut, and 400 nits of brightness. The laptop's graphics duties are delegated to a mobile high-end NVIDIA Quadro P3200 GPU with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory.

The ThinkPad P52 comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports alongside three USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a HDMI 2.0 port, and a mini DisplayPort 1.4. It also comes with a Smart Card and an integrated 4-in-1 card reader. Internet connectivity includes a conventional RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11ac adapter with integrated Bluetooth 5.0, and a Fibocomm 4G LTE (Cat 9) modem. The ThinkPad P52 isn't only fast, but it's probably one of the most secure mobile workstations to date. Lenovo implemented various security measures into the P52 such as TPM 2.0, IR camera, fingerprint reader, and ThinkShutter. The manufacturer didn't disclose the pricing of the ThinkPad P52. However, we'll find out soon as the laptop should be available by late June.

QNAP Launches New AMD Quad-Core 4/8/12-Bay TS-x63XU Rackmount NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the new 10GbE-ready TS-x63XU rack-mountable NAS (available in 4, 8, and 12-bay models with single and redundant power supply options) that features an AMD G-Series GX-420MC quad-core 2.0 GHz processor, 4GB DDR3L memory (upgradable to 16GB), and easy scalability, providing ideal storage solutions for bandwidth-demanding data center and virtualization applications.

Pre-installed with a single-port 10GbE 10GBASE-T network card (which also supports 10G/5G/2.5G/1G/100M data transfer) the TS-x63XU series delivers up to 1,038 MB/s read speed and 985 MB/s read with AES-NI encryption acceleration. Supporting SSD caching, tiered storage allocation, and excellent expandability with a QNAP 12-bay expansion enclosure, the TS-x63XU series is ideal for business organizations looking for a secure private cloud and efficient IT infrastructure for 10GbE networks.

Plextor Unveils Latest M9Pe Extreme Ultra Hi-Speed NVMe SSD

PLEXTOR, a leading developer of award-winning solid-state drives (SSDs) and other high-performance digital storage devices, showcased the new M9Pe Extreme at COMPUTEX 2018, Taipei, Taiwan. Breaking consumer SSD speed barriers, the new M9Pe Extreme delivers astonishing sequential read/write speeds of up to 6,500 / 5,000 MB/s. The next-generation M9Pe Extreme combines technologically advanced components and the Marvell 88NR2241 intelligent NVMe switch along with PLEXTOR exclusive technologies to deliver high level performance required by prosumers, professional PC gamers and other application-intensive users such as animation editors, audio-visual drafting personnel, and film-making companies. Not only does M9Pe Extreme provide greatly enhanced data transmission performance, it also offers RAID functionalities for data redundancy and performance improvements making it a great choice for office or workspace environments.

Fay Ho, Senior Director for Brand Division, LITE-ON Technology Corporation, said, "Continuing Plextor's outstanding capability in the high-speed storage devices, the M9Pe Extreme, as the name states, delivers unprecedented extreme high-speed performance, making a new record in consumer SSD read/write speeds. With high quality components and excellent performance boosting technologies, PC gaming experience, for one, will never be the same."

Memblaze Launches New PBlaze5 Series NVMe SSDs

Beijing Memblaze Technology Co., Ltd. newly released high-performance PBlaze5 910/916 and low-power 510/516 series NVMe SSD. They adopt the 64-layer enterprise-level 3D-NAND and support NVMe standard protocol with a user capacity up to 15.36TB.

The PBlaze5 910/916 series NVMe SSD features 6GB/s sequential read bandwidth, 1 million IOPS read performance and 89/11microsecond read/write latency. With the high performance shared by PBlaze series products, PBlaze5 910/916 series boasts advanced features like High-speed TRIM and Multiple-namespace, with higher QoS and more flexible.

Atari at E3 2018 - A Resurgence in More Than Name

E3 2018 has concluded, leaving us with dozens - if not hundreds - of games to anxiously await throughout the remainder of 2018 and beyond.

Atari, one of the world's most recognized publishers and producers of interactive entertainment, took to the show this year to showcase another impressive line-up of multi-platform video game titles - from reimagined revivals of beloved Atari hits to new takes on current popular franchises and completely original titles. For those that couldn't make the show, Atari has released today all-new assets for their E3 2018 line-up.

343 Industries Announces Halo Infinite, (Eventually) Coming to XBOX and Windows 10 PCs

343 Industries and Microsoft, at its E3 press conference, opened up hostilities with a reveal trailer for the next installment in the Halo series. Presented as Halo Infinite, the new Halo game will mark the first time a mainline Halo experience is launched in both the XBOX platform and Windows PCs, and thus marks a new era, with even greater market penetration, for the critic and user-acclaimed series.

The reveal trailer is more of a technical showcase rather than a full-blown reveal trailer for the game; the idea was to showcase the new Slipspace Engine. This new engine marks the second one to have ever been used in the mainline Halo series (not counting the Saber engine used in the Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary by Saber Interactive, or the engines used for Halo Wars). The Halo series has been using virtually the same game engine since the series' inception with Halo: Combat Evolved back in 2001 (heavily modified each year, of course). The new Slipspace Engine is a chance to build new tools which will apparently lead to an open-world setting - that's what some publications are expecting. Honestly, I would expect something more akin to hub locations in a galaxy-spanning conflict, in an approach similar to Destiny and Destiny 2, with quasi-open world settings at each one. Side-quests are likely to be introduced, likely in a way similar to what Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare delivered (but hoepfully beatter and more meaningful in their introduction). For now, this is all speculation, though, so take it with a bucketload of salt.

AMD Announces The Division 2, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Strange Brigade Partnerships

AMD at E3 2018 announced its commitment to powering the ultimate gaming experiences via partnerships with game publishers and developers, to bring fantastic 3D realms to life. In line with AMD's cooperation with Ubisoft in Far Cry 5, which saw the usage of AMD Vega-centric technologies (such as FP16 Compute on some water and lighting scenarios, Rapid Packed Math, and Shader Intrinsics) across the title, the company has announced it will help Ubisoft deliver a DX12-driven experience with The Division 2. It remains to be seen if more technologies than were used in Far Cry 5 will be in play here.

Alongside its Ubisoft/The Division 2 announcement, AMD also established partnerships with Capcom, for the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake, and with Rebellion for their Strange Brigade title. The partnership with Capcom is a novel one, but AMD had already worked with Rebellion on Sniper Elite 4, for some stellar CrossFire performance. These partnerships join AMD's long-standing, long-reaching partnership with Bethesda Softworks, in order to fight NVIDIA's entrenchment with the videogame industry via its GameWorks program.

SilverStone Intros Fans and Fan-Frames with Addressable RGB Illumination

SilverStone this Computex released a trio of fans, in addition to fan accessories, which feature addressable RGB LED illumination. The lineup begins with the FW124-ARGB, which is a 15 mm-thick 120 mm fan with a 9-blade impeller that's frosted white, diffusing light from LEDs located in the fan's hub (rather than the frame). Next up, are the AP142-ARGB and the AP124-ARGB (Air Penetrator series). Both these are are 25 mm-thick fans, with clear fan blades, addressable RGB LEDs located in the frame, and an air-guide that's characteristic of certain SilverStone fans. Lastly, there are the FG121 and FG141, and FG142 and FG122 fan grilles, which you strap onto your non illuminated fans for added bling. These now come with addressable RGB LEDs.

COLORFUL Onebot All-in-One PC Comes with 49" 3840x1080 Ultra-Wide Screen

COLORFUL Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and high-performance storage solutions is thankful to everyone that made COMPUTEX 2018 a very successful outing this year. During the show, COLORFUL debuted its onebot all-in-one PC with the flagship onebot S49 serving as the flagbearer for the series. The onebot from COLORFUL is still a concept is still under development and deliberation for release in the market. COLORFUL is thankful to everyone that showed their excitement and astonishment at the product and are very glad of the feedback they have received during the event.

UltraWide AIO
COLORFUL wanted to set the bar high for future AIOs and the onebot is a true masterpiece. Featuring a 49" ultrawide screen with a 32:9 ratio, the length of the screen is the immediate draw for this monster. Deep inside the heart of the onebot S49 concept is also a slew of components that compliment its stature. A Core i3-8100 CPU together with 8GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB of SSD storage power the onebot S49 AIO. GPU options vary and COLORFUL has a full line of NVIDIA GeForce cards to power the onebot.

SilverStone Intros New Precision and Sugoi Series Cases

At Computex 2018, SilverStone showed off additions to its premier case lines - Precision and Sugoi. The Precision series is expanded by the new PS07-E (working title) and PS15 micro-ATX cases. The PS15 features a refreshingly simple layout - the motherboard and PSU bays are accessible from the left side, while the drive cage from the right. This way your drive cable clutter, and unused PSU cables are tucked away on the left side, taking advantage of the crawlspace behind the motherboard tray. You get familiar design elements from SilverStone, including a meshed front panel, a large top vent with removable filters, and a tempered glass right side panel. There are five fan bays in all, of which three are 140 mm capable, all 120 mm capable. The case measures 190 mm x 365 mm x 351 mm (WxHxD).

Next up, is the PS07-E micro-ATX tower. This case features a solid brushed metal front unlike the PS15, and a characteristic "hump" up top, which slides down along rails to reveal a 5.25-inch drive bay, three USB 3.0 ports, and HDA jacks. The Sugoi TJ08-Pro is practically identical to this case, but has a meshed front fascia. Inside, both cases feature an upside-down (BTX-style) micro-ATX motherboard tray, bottom-mounted PSU bay, three 3.5-inch drive bays, and two additional 2.5-inch mounts; and a staggering four 140 mm fan mounts, in addition to the 120 mm rear exhaust.

Cryorig Also Demonstrates its H7 Quad Lumi, C7, Crona Fan Cooling Solutions at COMPUTEX

Not content with presenting their Frostbit M.2 cooling solution (even if it's as exotic as it is), Cryorig took the opportunity at COMPUTEX to present would-be consumers with part of their product portfolio. The H7 Quad Lumi CPU cooler is the company's flagship offering, featuring a total of four 6 mm high-end copper heatpipes, NZXT CAM Powered Lumi Lighting System as well as a new QF120 1.600 RPM LED fan. The H7 Quad Lumi also incorporates an RGB controller into its design, making it not just a cooling solution, but the centerpiece for a given rig's RGB chops.

The company's C7 Cu full-copper cooler also made a showing, with its expensive, all-copper solution. The thrice-more-expensive-than-aluminum copper offers only double the thermal conductivity of the former, which is why it gives diminishing returns in cooling performance. However, in the SFF builds this low-profile cooler will more likely be used, all performance gains matter so as to allow for a small, silent solution that nonetheless dissipates copious amounts of heat.

Ballistix Shows Off TUF Gaming Alliance Sport Memory

Ballistix announced its ASUS TUF Gaming Allinace co-branded Sport DDR4 memory module, and we got a chance to go hands on. These modules are essentially the company Sport series mid-range sticks with a ruggedized heat-spreader, and style elements from the TUF Gaming Alliance - black with sharp golden-yellow lines. The module comes in 8 GB (single-rank) and 16 GB (dual-rank) densities, which each come in two speed variants - DDR4-2666 and DDR4-3000, making up dual-channel kits of 16 GB and 32 GB, respectively.

Cougar Intros the Phontum Pro, Immersa 2, and Havoc BT Gaming Headsets

Cougar launched three new gaming headsets and an external DAC this Computex, including the Phontum Pro, Immersa 2, Havoc BT, and Dive. The Phontum Pro is a step up from the original Phontum headset the company launched at CES 2018. While its design is practically unchanged from the original, the Phontum Pro features a circular RGB LED diffuser that lights up the grille of the cans. You also get virtual 7.1 surround DSP. It's compatible with Cougar's proprietary UIX software, which gives you virtual 7.1 processing, a graphic equalizer, and controls for the RGB LED illumination. The audio specs are otherwise unchanged from the original.

The Havoc BT is a pair of wireless in-ear gaming headphones, which you can use over Bluetooth 5.0. You get up to 8 hours of listening on a full battery charge, with each of the two earbuds embedding its own battery. Under the hood, these pack 10 mm graphene diaphragm drivers. The tips are made of memory foam that retain the unique shape of your ears. The Immersa 2 is an evolution of the original Immersa headset, which got an RGB LED upgrade with last year's Immersa Pro launch. What's changed are the new titanium-coated diaphragms inside the 50 mm drivers which produce a "unique" sound-stage; 35 mm thick ear-pads that are now made from memory foam, and a larger 9.7 mm microphone.

Cryorig Showcases Its Frostbit M.2 Cooling Solution at COMPUTEX 2018

Cryorig at COMPUTEX 2018 showed the most complex and impressive M.2 SSD cooling solution the market has ever seen with their Frosbit cooler. The Frostbit cooler, which the company had already teased going into the show, is the world's first M.2 cooling solution to feature heatpipe cooling technology - the heatpipe transfers heat from the M.2 SSD through its heatpipe loop and dissipates it in a large volume heatsink. This should alleviate any thermal throttling issues which some NVMe, M.2 SSDs are plagued with with inefficient airflow setups. The secondary, heat-dissipating heatsink can be adjusted so as to avoid contact with other components. This design really brings memories of OCZ's Reaper memory kits, as well as some other after-market modding solutions for RAM memory sticks which featured similar heatpipe designs.

Cougar's Puri Keyboard now Available in Silver, with White LEDs

At Computex, Cougar unveiled a silver version of its minimalist Puri mechanical gaming keyboard, which debuted last year. This version features a matte silver finished bezel, with flat Allen key rivets holding it to the base-plate. The keycaps sit tall, though not all the way up (above the plane of the bezel). The keycaps are matte-black, and have a white LED illumination with 20 backlighting modes. The keyboard itself has a 108-key layout, with four media keys, and the Fn key converting the function keys to re-programmable macro keys. Cougar will probably price this on par with the original, at $79.99.

Cougar Shows New Gaming Keyboard with Integrated Speakers

Probably the most oddball fusion of two components, Cougar unveiled a prototype gaming keyboard with integrated stereo speakers. The body design appears to be an evolution of the company's Attack X3, with a few polygonal cutouts along the side-walls. These speakers feature drivers found in notebooks, and take advantage of the hollow space inside the keyboard, and its metal base. The keyboard takes audio input from a standard 3.5 mm jack, while a USB connection drives the rest of it (probably including an amplifier for the speakers). There's also a downstream 3.5 mm jack to plug in your headphones, which probably mutes these tweeters integrated speakers, when your headphones are plugged in. How does it sound? Like your laptop. As a keyboard itself, you get a standard 104-key layout with RGB LED illumination, and special chrome keycaps over the WASD and arrow keys.

Thermaltake Introduces the New View 71 Tempered Glass Snow Edition Full-Tower Chassis

Thermaltake, a leading premium gaming tower manufacturer, announced the immediate availability of the Thermaltake View 71 Tempered Glass Snow Edition Full-Tower Chassis. Designed to expand the legacy of the View Series lineup, the View 71 Tempered Glass Snow Edition Full Tower Chassis features unrivaled cooling support and expandability surrounded in tempered glass for a one of a kind view. Swing open full window tempered glass panels for easy access with all panels properly spaced for optimal airflow.

Akasa Vegas is a Constellation of Illuminated Case Fans

Akasa at Computex, also unveiled several new illuminated case fans. The lineup begins with the Vegas series (not to be confused with a fan series of the same name from Enermax). The Vegas series come in fixed color options of red, white, green, and blue; characterized by spiral light-shafts from the LED studded frames. The Vegas 7 takes this design philosophy forward with contrasting light shafts in the opposite orientation, for a "kaleidoscopic" effect.

The Vegas R series is for those who prefer a uniform diffusion of light from the frame, and uses silicone diffusers over the monochrome LEDs (again, either red, blue, white, or green). The Vegas R7 and Vegas X7 series are identical to the Vegas and Vegas R series in design, but feature RGB LEDs. The Vegas AR7 is identical to both the Vegas R and Vegas R7, but with more advanced addressable RGB LED illumination. Akasa didn't put out details like the bearing type, or air-flow.

Akasa Unveils a Range of Fanless Cases for "Dawson Canyon" NUC Desktops

Akasa at Computex, unveiled a wide range of fan-less aluminium cases for the 7th generation "Dawson Canyon" NUC boards. The company had alreadly launched the Pascal MD late-2017. Among the new cases are the Newton S7D, Newton D3, and the Plato X7D. The Plato X7D is the largest of the three, and is characterized by a lattice of aluminium ridges that work like heatsinks for the SoC and chipset of the NUC, and diamond-cut edges along the front panel. Front-panel connectivity includes two each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Besides rear I/O holes for "Dawson Canyon" series NUC boards, the case offers a stub for an RS232 (COM) port at the back. All three cases feature VESA mounts, so you can strap the NUCs behind your monitor and reduce clutter on your desk.

The Newton D3 is the most compact case of the three, and supports fewer NUC board models, namely the NUC7i3DNBE, NUC7i3DNKE, and NUC7i3DNHE (all of which have are low-TDP SoCs and fewer connectors). You still get a 2.5-inch drive bay, mount holes for your WLAN card's antennae, two USB 3.0 front panel connectors, an IR window, and an RS232 serial port provision at the back. The Newton S7D is its larger sibling, with more metal to the bone, to cope with higher TDP SoCs, and hence supports NUC boards based on Core i5 and Core i7 SoCs.
Thursday, June 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate

ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate

The second generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs have hit the market, and with them comes a wave of new motherboards. The ASRock X470 Taichi Ultimate aims at a top spot among them. Has ASRock brought enough to the table to make this board the Ultimate?

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.6.1

AMD today released Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.6.1 beta. The drivers come with performance optimization for "Warhammer: Vermitide 2," with up to 9 percent performance improvements over 18.5.2, seen on Radeon RX Vega 56, at 1440p resolution; and up to 10 percent improvements seen using the RX 580 8 GB. In addition, the update fixes a number of bugs.

Blank screen issues with "Subnautica" have been fixed. System hangs or crashes experienced in "Sea of Thieves" in the "Cannon Cove" area have been fixed. Ground texture corruption in "World of Tanks" on certain multi-GPU systems, has been fixed. Flickering noticed in certain menus of "Middle Earth: Shadow of War" has been fixed. Desktop being out of the visible area at the 8K resolution on Radeon Pro Duo has been fixed. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.6.1

The change-log follows.

EKWB's R&D Team Shows New Concepts for PC Cooling

EKWB were full of updates at Computex this year, as seen in our other news post, but this did not stop them from unveiling wholly new concepts as it comes to the company. These are ideas that their R&D thinktank decided to explore beyond the norm, and first up is the creation of a new brand under the EK Special Projects (Spec) team that is tentatively named König, after their founder Eduard König. As we found out in person, Eddy has a passion for woodworking in addition to managing a company, and decided to combine the two. The new König brand intends to offer a personalized, made-to-order experience wherein they will work with the end user to design and manufacture products to match a lifestyle. This is currently built around solid wood of multiple varieties, three Slovenian version of which were shown at their suite, but they are open to working with other materials including carbon fiber, anodized aluminum, leather and so on. They shared some images of some example products as it pertains to watercooling (CPU block top covers, GPU blocks and backplate, fittings and so on) as well as modded cases with wooden panels as seen below. Be sure to also click on the story to read more on an entirely different concept from the company.
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