Friday, December 9th 2016

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TSMC to Build New $15.7 Billion Fab in Taiwan, for 3 nm and 5 nm Chips

TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), one of the foremost semiconductor producers in the world - which controls a leading 55% share of the global market - said on Wednesday it plans to build a new, $15.7 billion facility in Taiwan that would churn out 5 nm and 3 nm chips. If TSMC were to achieve these production nodes in a timely fashion (with "timely" meaning "before their competitors"), that would prove a huge boon for the company, as everyone - and especially deep-pocketed smartphone chip designers such as Apple and Qualcomm - is looking towards evolution in process nodes, which allows for improvements in power consumption, performance, size and cost of chips per wafer.

"We're asking the government to help us find a plot that is large enough (123 to 197 acres) and has convenient access so we can build an advanced chip plant to manufacture 5 nm and 3 nm chips," TSMC spokesperson Elizabeth Sun said. The spokesperson declined to provide details about the timing of the construction and production, though it's seemingly still a few years away (yet close enough for it to merit an official request). TSMC co-CEO Mark Liu had already mentioned that the company was working on 5 nm chips, and had assigned the task of developing 3 nm technology and conducting research on 2 nm technology to upwards of 300 engineers. Delays on EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography have slowed expected advancements in further miniaturization of the process nodes. It remains to be seen which technology TSMC is counting on towards aiding them in their goals for 5 nm, 3 nm and the mentioned 2 nm chip production, especially since at those sizes, we start leaving the usual realm of plane old physics, crossing the threshold towards their exotic cousins, quantum physics.


Source: Nikkei Asian Review, Thanks P4-630!

AMD BIOS Signature Check re-enabled with ReLive, Locks out Polaris BIOS Modders

If you are using a modded BIOS on your AMD Polaris card, and try to install AMD's excellent Crimson ReLive drivers, you might be in for a surprise. This is because AMD re-enabled their BIOS signature enforcement with these latest drivers. Basically, if you modded your card's BIOS in search of higher overclocking, more voltage or customized fan settings, the hash in your BIOS is no longer recognized by AMD the driver, since it differs from the factory values.

On detecting such a modded BIOS with an invalid checksum, the Crimson ReLive driver won't load, meaning that the system will run with the VGA fallback driver only, without 3D acceleration and Radeon Settings will not start. However, you can force your modded BIOS to load on Crimson ReLive if you're willing to jump through some hoops.

BIOSTAR Reveals New Features of its Upcoming Motherboards

BIOSTAR is excited to announce the feature set for its 2nd-generation RACING series of motherboards that will support the 7th-generation of processors from Intel. BIOSTAR steps up its game for gamers and enthusiasts by introducing new features and upgrading existing ones for a more powerful experience like never before seen from the RACING series.

BIOSTAR introduces new features to further enhance the degree of performance and style that the BIOSTAR RACING series is known for. Some of these features include the brand-new M.2 Cooling Protection, 10GbE LAN, Lightning Charger and the improved ones for LED lighting, such as VIVID LED Armor and 5050 LED Fun Zone, for DIY lovers and lighting enthusiasts. From excellent power delivery for a more stable operation all the way to new ways of improving the visual appeal and style of your system to make it stand out and pop for your next theme. Combined, these new features will bring a new level of experience for gamers and enthusiasts.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 1.14.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z. Version 1.14.0 introduces new features, addresses various bugs, improves the user-interface, and adds support for new graphics cards. To begin with, GPU-Z can detect clocks set by AMD Radeon WattMan on older Graphics CoreNext graphics cards, as enabled by the latest Crimson ReLive drivers.

GPU-Z 1.14.0 fixes a memory leak noticed when GPU-Z is running for extended periods on machines with NVIDIA "Pascal" graphics cards. The driver WHQL status detection has been improved. The way GPU-Z reports bus interface has been improved. GPU-Z can now properly tell between DDR3 and DDR4 memory types on AMD "Kaveri" integrated graphics. GPU-Z 1.14.0 adds support for AMD Radeon Pro Duo, Radeon Pro WX7100, WX5100, WX4100, and early support for AMD "Stoney." We've also added support for various VIA graphics solutions.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 1.14.0 | GPU-Z 1.14.0 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.
Thursday, December 8th 2016

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BitFenix Announces the Shogun Chassis with ASUS Aura Support

BitFenix announces the Shogun Chassis. During Computex 2016 we showcased four of our brand new chassis, which also included Cape. With the input from some of the world's renowned enthusiasts, we have developed and tweaked the Cape to be an extremely desirable chassis with many novel features. Strength, Power and Absolute Control makes you a champion. Carrying on the theme of simplicity from our famous Shinobi Chassis, Shogun is the newest flagship design model from BitFenix. The all new BitFenix Shogun is the most capable command station that gives you the edge in the battle for victory. May it be performance or looks, Shogun is the best of both worlds. With the top level aesthetics, novel features and extreme compatibility BitFenix Shogun is one of the most advance and user friendly chassis in the market.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Drivers Released

AMD has just announced their 2016 major software update release (following Catalyst Omega in 2014 and Crimson Edition in 2015). It's dubbed the "Crimson ReLive" release (numbered 12.6.1), and is purported to bring a lot of features and performance improvements across the board for AMD products, as has been historically achieved by AMD with these annual driver releases. This time, there's just one other thing: game recording and streaming through the built-in ReLive app. It serves as a streaming app that works for both professional, developer and consumer use cases. It supports major streaming giants (such as Twitch and YouTube), includes an in-app toolbar and custom overlay, and is apparently going to feature its own tab inside AMD's updated driver suite, with minimal reported impact on performance.

As always, you can grab the drivers right here on TPU: just follow the links below. And for more information, benchmarks, and a run-through of the new driver and its features, check out TPU's review of the driver suite, right here.
Download: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 16.12.1 for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

First GIGABYTE Aorus Branded Motherboard Teased, probably Z270

Back in early November it was reported that GIGABYTE is planning to open a new front against rivals ASUS Republic of Gamers and MSI Gaming, with Aorus-branded motherboards and graphics cards, in 2017. The company appears to be ready with the motherboards. A teaser pic posted on its Facebook page reveals at least one enthusiast-segment socket LGA1151 motherboard, which is likely based on the Intel Z270 Express chipset. The few features that stand out are four PCI-Express x16 slots (of which two could be wired to the Z270 chipset and electrical x4, given the chipset's 4 additional PCIe downstream lanes); a smattering of RGB LEDs all over the board, and premium overclocking features.

Update (09/12): Here are some of the first press-shots, courtesy of VideoCardz. Apparently GIGABYTE decided to keep its conventional naming scheme.
Many Thanks to Chaitanya for the tip.

MSI Z270 "Tomahawk" Motherboard Teased

Tis the season of 'leaks.' A marketing image of an upcoming socket LGA1151 Z270 chipset based motherboard by MSI bearing its Gaming Series Tomahawk branding was teased on Facebook. It appears to be feature-rich given that MSI positions its "Tomahawk" branded motherboards in the mid-tier of its lineup. One of the features that caught our attention is MSI's claim to have achieved true 1000 MB/s bandwidth for USB 3.1 (gen 2.0) using a custom software feature. MSI is calling this the X-Boost. The company is also guaranteeing full 8 Gb/s bandwidth per port, since it's using ASMedia AS2142 controllers to drive its USB 3.1 ports.


Many Thanks to TheLostSwede for the tip.

ADATA Releases Updated SC660H and SV620H 3D NAND External SSDs

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launchedthe updated Premier SC660H and Premier SV620H external SSDs. Based on previous designs, the new models are part of the ADATA move to 3D NAND Flash in all new SSDs and in refreshes of existing models. The SC660H and SV620H feature 3D TLC NAND instead of traditional 2D NAND to provide increased reliability, durability, and efficiency. The drives connect to host PCs via USB 3.1 Gen 1, and are presented in two distinct enclosure styles. Thanks to 3D NAND, the updated SSDs are available in 256GB and 512GB as opposed to 240GB and 480GB in the original SC660/SV620. Performance is 440 MB/s read and 430MB/s write in both models.

Micron Technology Announces World's Highest-Capacity Enterprise SATA SSD

Micron Technology, Inc. today introduced the Micron Enterprise 5100 Series SATA solid state drive (SSD) family, enabling future-focused data storage platforms to meet the combined demands of performance, capacity and enterprise-class reliability. Micron's 5100 Series Enterprise SATA SSDs provide IT with an easy migration to bridge the infrastructure divide to tomorrow's all flash data center. With an industry-leading 8-terabyte (TB) capacity, the 5100 Series helps you manage the data deluge created by today's diverse digital universe with performance characteristics perfectly tailored to manage the data tsunami.

"Micron is uniquely positioned to help IT embrace modernization and agility, and leading enterprise and cloud data centers look to Micron for breadth and depth in solid state storage solutions to tame a diverse digital universe," Darren Thomas, vice president of storage at Micron. "Our Micron 5100 Series SATA SSDs featuring FlexPro architecture offer a seamless migration path with enterprise class reliability and proven ROI, ensuring flexibility, continuity and agility for data management today and tomorrow."

GIGABYTE Also Unveils the Xtreme Gaming XTC700 CPU Cooler

In addition to the Xtreme Gaming XK700 gaming keyboard, GIGABYTE also unveiled the Xtreme Gaming XTC700, a tower-type CPU cooler. Built to handle thermal loads of ">200W," and with support for LGA2011v3, AM4, LGA115x, AM3(+), FM2(+), and LGA1366; the cooler features an aluminium fin-stack with molded fins to maximize surface area for heat-dissipation; ventilated by a pair of 120 mm fans in push-pull configuration, capped off by a top-plate with an RGB LED-lit GIGABYTE Xtreme Gaming logo ornament that supports GIGABYTE RGB Spectrum software control.

Heat to the aluminium fin-stack is conveyed by three 10 mm-thick copper heat pipes, which make direct contact with the CPU at the base. The included fans each spin at speeds ranging from 500-1,700 RPM, pushing 14-53 CFM of air, and with a noise output of 12-31 dBA. The fans feature 4-pin (PWM) power input, while the LED ornament plugs into one of your motherboard's USB 2.0/1.1 headers. Measuring 139 mm x 109 mm x 169 mm, the cooler weighs 1015 g. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Wednesday, December 7th 2016

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GIGABYTE Intros the Xtreme Gaming XK700 Mechanical Keyboard

GIGABYTE introduced the Xtreme Gaming XK700 mechanical keyboard. Featuring a brushed aluminium top, and a standard 104-keyset (with 22 hotkeys enabled using the Function key), the XK700 combines Cherry MX RGB mechanical switches with advanced electronics by GIGABYTE the offer full-NKRO over USB, anti-ghosting, and 512 KB of onboard memory to locally store hotkey sets and lighting profiles. The lighting can be managed using GIGABYTE's RGB Spectrum software, letting you set any of 16.7 million colors to individual keys, sets of keys, or even set groovy lighting effects. They keyboard also offers finely tuned front elevation adjustments, a set of orange keycaps to highlight your favorite keys, and a set of wrist bands. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Thermaltake Announces Core X31 Tempered Glass Edition

Thermaltake today announced the Core X31 Tempered Glass Edition (model: CA-1E9-00M1WN-03), a variant of the Core X31 mid-tower chassis featuring a tempered-glass side-panel, replacing the acrylic panel on the original. The clear panel covers the entire area of the side panel, letting you show off your gear. Measuring 250 mm x 511 mm x 497 mm (WxDxH), this is one of the wider mid-towers you'll come across, with the extra width being distributed between more "crawl-space" behind the motherboard tray for better cable management, support for larger 200 mm-wide fans along the top and front panels; and additional height clearance for the motherboard tray, letting you accommodate tall CPU air coolers, or an additional graphics card along the plane of the motherboard, using an included PCIe riser.

The Core X31 Tempered Glass Edition features a flexible design, with detachable drive cages and support braces, letting you accommodate heavy liquid-cooling gear, such as pumps, reservoirs, and tubing. Storage areas include two 5.25-inch drive bays, and three 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays. Cooling includes support for one rear 140 mm fan, two top 200 mm (or 3x 140 mm or 3x 120 mm) fans; one 200 mm front (or 2x 140 mm or 2x 120 mm) fans; and two 140 mm (or 2x 120 mm) bottom fans. Each of these fan slots can hold radiators of the corresponding size. The company didn't reveal pricing, but we expect it to be a small premium over the original's $130 price.

Possible Upcoming AMD Radeon GPUs Spotted: Polaris 10 XT2 and Polaris 12

when looking up at an hex file taken from macOS Sierra drivers, Anandtech forum user Glo found what could very well possibly amount to upcoming graphics chips from AMD: Polaris 10 XT2 and Polaris 12. We could very well be looking here into an as-of-yet unknown revision of AMD's Polaris 10 architecture, as well as a totally different chip from the already released Polaris 11 and Polaris 10. Maybe Polaris 12 is the mysterious 687F:C1 chip previously benchmarked in AOtS?

Also of note is the referral to Vega 10, lending further credence to reports of an early 2017 release. Given the fact that all three different architectures are referenced in the same hex dump, this could mean that AMD is working on a new 500 line of GPUs for 2017 - possibly to complete a given ZEN platform and giving customers the chance to go all-in on an AMD system, while simultaneously capitalizing on AMD's apparent confidence in ZEN's market reception. In this scenario, AMD's Vega10 would serve as the successor to the Fury series, with Polaris 12 and Polaris 10 XT2 replacing Polaris 11 and Polaris 10 from the product stack. Another scenario is that Polaris 10 XT2 corresponds to a dual-gpu solution, whose rumors have been making the rounds for some time now.


Source: Anandtech ForumsSource: Thanks P4-630

Bluetooth 5 Specification Now Available, 4x Range, 2x Speed

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) officially adopted Bluetooth 5 as the latest version of the Bluetooth core specification this week. Key updates to Bluetooth 5 include longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity, as well as improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies. Bluetooth 5 continues to advance the Internet of Things (IoT) experience by enabling simple and effortless interactions across the vast range of connected devices.

"Bluetooth is revolutionizing how people experience the IoT. Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience," said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. "This means whole-home and building coverage, as well as new use cases for outdoor, industrial, and commercial applications will be a reality. With the launch of Bluetooth 5, we continue to evolve to meet the needs of IoT developers and consumers while staying true to what Bluetooth is at its core: the global wireless standard for simple, secure, connectivity."

Khronos Group Announces Open VR Standards Initiative

After putting in work in the OpenGL, WebGL, and most recently, Vulkan APIs, the technology industry consortium Khronos Group is setting its sights on the VR industry and ecosystems. Their aim: to create a "cross-vendor, royalty-free, open standard" for the VR development community. This move is an effort to prevent the VR system from fragmenting itself towards an eventual collapse, considering the multiple engines to create content, platforms to sell that content through, and a few different hardware options with casuistically different requirements and tool-sets. As a result, for a developer to support SteamVR (OpenVR), Oculus (OVR), and OSVR, it has a lot of work to do, since each platform (with its unique runtime) interfaces with the game engine in a different way. Developers must account for the intricacies of each platform during the development process.

Scythe Announces the Mugen 5 CPU Cooler with Kaze Flex 120 Fan

Japanese cooling expert Scythe presents the fifth version of the Mugen CPU Cooler, which has been fitted with significant improvements. The Mugen has been one of the most popular CPU coolers on the market for a long time. Scythe was able to ramp up the performance even further with Mugen 5 and at the same time equip the heatsink with a unique new fan. Supplied Kaze Flex 120 PWM fan features noise reduction rubber-insulators in the corners, dynamic fan speed range from 300 to 1.200 rpm as well as a brand-new Sealed Precision FDB bearing, allowing smooth and silent operation at all times.

Scythe's engineering team took the user feedback and applied it on the revamped design of Mugen 5! The heatsink of the Mugen 5 is based on 6 high-quality all-copper heatpipes and a solid aluminum fin stack. Great compatibility to tall memory modules is achieved thanks to the new asymmetrical design of Mugen 5. The solid copper base-plate has been placed slightly shifted for this purpose, instead of centered. In addition to that, several layers of the fin stack on the back of Mugen 5 have been shortened, to further increase RAM compatibility. Mugen 5 can easily fit into most PC chassis on the market, thanks to the total height of only 154.5 mm. In order to avoid corrosion and to improve the quality, all copper-heatpipes and the copper-baseplate are nickel-plated.

Intel Could License AMD Radeon iGPU Tech for Future Processors

Intel and AMD's cross-licensing arrangements could get more equitable in the future, with reports hinting at the possibility of Intel licensing AMD Radeon intellectual property to be used as Intel processors' integrated GPUs. Rumors of such a deal were first reported by HardOCP this Spring, where it stated that the two companies were negotiating a licensing agreement. Earlier this week, HardOCP editor Kyle Bennett commented on the site's forums that a licensing agreement has been reached between the two, even though Intel does not want this to be public.

Such an agreement could see AMD sharing designs of its Radeon integrated graphics processors with Intel, which will integrate it into its processor designs, and manufacture them. Whether the amalgamated graphics solution will continue to be branded "AMD Radeon" or whether it will be marketed under the Intel graphics brands, remains to be seen.


Sources: OC3D, HardOCP
Tuesday, December 6th 2016

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Western Digital Corporation Renews Patent Cross-License Agreement with Samsung

Western Digital Corporation, a world leader in storage technologies and solutions, today announced that it has signed a definitive royalty-bearing agreement with Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. to renew the cross-license of the two companies' semiconductor patent portfolios. The terms of the renewed agreement are retroactive to the end date of the prior agreement, which expired on August 14, 2016. The renewed agreement will run through December 31, 2024.

The agreement includes rights to each party's patents broadly covering multi-level cell flash memory and flash storage systems. The original agreement, which dates back to 1997 and had been renewed twice before, had permitted Samsung to use patented flash memory technologies invented by SanDisk, which Western Digital acquired in May 2016.

Raidmax Announces the Alpha Mid-tower Chassis

Raidmax today announced the Alpha, an ATX mid-tower chassis characterized by a large perforated-metal front panel, with RGB LED lighting. The lighting is handled by LED strips, and can be controlled using an included infrared remote control, which lets you set not just color, but also any of 22 multi-color lighting modes. The side panel features a large clear acrylic window. Internally, the case features a contemporary horizontally partitioned layout.

The Raidmax Alpha has room for graphics cards as long as 33 cm, and 16 cm tall CPU coolers. Storage areas include one exposed 5.25-inch drive bay, three internal 3.5-inch (of which two can convert to 2.5-inch), and two additional 2.5-inch. The cooling features include 3x 120 mm or 2x 140 mm front intakes, two 140 mm top exhaust, and 120 mm rear exhaust. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Western Digital Introduces New Enterprise-Class HDDs and SSDs: 12 TB & 14 TB

Western Digital Corp. today further expanded its data center SSD and HDD portfolio with the introduction of next-generation storage solutions designed to help IT managers address the intensive data and extreme performance demands of today's enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

The new solutions include the blazingly fast HGST-branded Ultrastar SN200 NVMe-compatible PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) series, which offers class-leading random read performance of up to 1.2 million IOPS in key workloads, and the company's fastest and highest capacity SAS SSD to date, the HGST-branded Ultrastar SS200 Series SSD. The company also introduced its fourth-generation helium-based HelioSeal enterprise-class hard disk drive (HDD), the 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 drive. Additionally, the company announced it will extend the He12 platform to 14TB, leveraging Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR).

NVIDIA to Give Away One of Three VR Indie Games with Mid-Range Graphics Cards

NVIDIA today announced the "Choose your Adventure" bundle. Buyers of new GeForce GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, and GTX 1060 graphics cards will get to choose from one of three available VR indie games. The giveaway also extends to notebooks with mobile variants of the GPUs. The selection includes "Maize," "Redout," and "Raw Data." The offer is applicable to a large selection of markets and participating retailers. Invoices of new applicable products from these retailers will include coupon codes which can be exchanged on NVIDIA's redemption page for game keys.
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