Thursday, January 20th 2022

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Speakers
INNOCN 27C1U 4K Monitor Review

INNOCN 27C1U 4K Monitor Review

The INNOCN 27C1U is a sleek 27-inch 4K IPS monitor offering excellent ergonomics and versatile connectivity options. It is equipped with a Gravity Sensor that rotates the image when the screen is pivoted, and has a 65-watt USB-C PD port.
MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL Keyboard Review

MSI Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL Keyboard Review

MSI adds to its ever-growing keyboard lineup with a new low-profile entry. The new Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL complements the previously released full-size version by using Kailh Choc low-profile switches and a thin case design, and doubles up on portability with a detachable cable and drawstring carry case.

Mackie Announces the new M•Caster Live

Mackie, a leading producer of high-quality professional audio products, today announces the M•Caster Live Portable Live Streaming Mixer. Not just another repurposed live sound mixer, M•Caster Live was designed from the ground up for content creators and their unique needs. Whether you're a social streamer, gamer, podcaster, or DJ, the M•Caster Live has features that make it easier than ever before to create your content and get it out there for the world to see.

"When talking to creators, we kept seeing the same complaints over and over again. Users want a simple way to connect with their streaming platform. They want to sound great. And they want something that can be easily portable." said Mackie Product Manager Craig Reeves. "M•Caster Live delivers on all of those points and manages to look great while doing it!"

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.44.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the handy graphics sub-system information and diagnostic utility for gamers and PC enthusiasts. Version 2.44.0 adds support for several new GPUs, feature updates to the Resizable BAR detection, and a handful other fixes. To begin with, GPU-Z adds support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, RTX 3080 12 GB, RTX 3070 Ti Mobile, RTX 3050 Ti Mobile, RTX 2060 12 GB, MX550, and a number of other mobile GPUs from NVIDIA. On the AMD front, you get support for Navi 24: Radeon RX 6500 XT, RX 6400, RX 6300M, RX 6500M, PRO W6300M, PRO W6500M, and PRO W660M. Support is also added for Intel "Alder Lake" non-K processors, "Alder Lake" mobile processors, and Xeon processors based on "Rocket Lake."

TechPowerUp GPU-Z can now report the exact base-address register (BAR) size when Resizable BAR is enabled. Find it in the Advanced Panel, under Resizable BAR. Detection of Resizable BAR has been improved. Detection of LHR in certain RTX 3060 cards has been improved to weed out misreporting of LHR. Vendor detection was added for Vastarmor. The internal Screenshot hosting utility now uploads screenshots over HTTPS. The 64-bit Windows Vista name will now include a space character, so "Vista 64" instead of just "Vista64." Grab GPU-Z from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.44.0

Alphacool Rolls Out ES 4U Reservoir with D5 Top

Today, Alphacool introduces the ES 4U reservoir with integrated D5 pump top from the Enterprise Solutions series. The combination of pump top and reservoir is designed to be mounted directly into the front of 4U servers. This gives you easier maintenance possibilities thanks to clever positioning in the server case!

Another plus point is the cover used, it is made exclusively of acrylic, allowing you to see and control the water cooling level at any time. In addition, the acrylic cover has 2 inlets and outlets with G1/4" threads, which allow easy filling, draining and bleeding of the cooling loop even when installed in the case. The integrated pump top and is compatible with all D5 format pumps. The pump retaining ring, pump O-ring and all screws are included.

Sharkoon Announces Skiller SGH50 Gaming Headset

Sharkoon Technologies, an international supplier of high-quality, high-performance PC components and peripherals, now introduces the SKILLER SGH50. This is a high-performance gaming headset with Hi-Res Audio certification and carefully balanced audio drivers for immersive gaming and intense music enjoyment. To fit the head, the ear cups and headband adjust automatically and, together with their soft synthetic leather cushioning, should ensure lasting comfort.

According to the manufacturer, the audio drivers of the SKILLER SGH50 were continuously optimized during an ongoing process in order to achieve an expressive and crystal-clear sound. In addition, the SKILLER SGH50 has Hi-Res Audio certification as well as a certified frequency range from 10 hertz to 40 kilohertz. In games, opponents can be acoustically located, and explosions can be powerfully reproduced. When listening to music, the sounds of treble, mid and bass are harmoniously balanced so that no details are lost.

Cincoze Announces GOLD Series Edge GPU Computer

AIoT is the catalyst for the advent of the smart era, and edge computing devices lie at the core of real-time processing and analysis in the field. The Cincoze GOLD series is a range of GPU computers designed from the ground up to meet the needs of large-scale image processing, machine vision, and machine learning applications in AIoT. The series includes the GP-3000 and GM-1000, which are selectable according to application requirements like size, performance, I/O, functionality, and future upgradeability. Whether it is smart manufacturing, smart transportation, smart cities, or even national defense, the GOLD series is an excellent choice for building smart applications for AIoT.

The GP-3000 series is a top-of-the-line GPU edge computer that supports 720 W total system power. It uses a 9th/8th generation Intel Xeon /Core (Coffee Lake-R and Coffee Lake) high-performance CPU with up to eight cores, has a built-in Intel C246 chipset, and supports two sets of DDR4-2666 ECC/non-ECC SO-DIMM up to 64 GB. The front maintenance area provides four front-accessible SATA III (6 Gbps) 2.5" HDD/SSD trays and supports RAID 0/1/5/10 to improve data storage and security.

Intel "Bonanza Mine" Bitcoin ASIC Secures First Big Customer, a $3.3 Billion Crypto-Mining Startup

Just a few days ago, we reported that Intel is preparing to unveil the company's first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) dedicated to mining cryptocurrency. To be more specific, Intel plans to show off its "Bonanza Mine" ASIC at the 2022 ISSCC Conference, describing the chip as "ultra low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC." We have yet to see how this competes with other industry-made ASICs like the ones from Bitmain. However, it seems like the startup company GRIID, valued at around $3.3 billion, thinks that the Bonanza Mine ASIC is the right choice and has entered a definitive supply agreement with Intel.

According to the S-4 filing, GRIID has "entered into a definitive supply contract with Intel to provide ASICs that we expect to fuel our growth. The initial order will supply units to be delivered in 2022 and GRIID will have access to a significant share of Intel's future production volumes." There are a few other mentions of Intel in the document, and you can see another exciting tidbit below.

CHERRY Launches MW 9100 and MC 2.1 Mice

CHERRY, the specialist for computer input devices from Germany, starts the new year 2022 with the first two product launches. Two new computer mice will expand the product range from now on: the CHERRY MW 9100 and the CHERRY MC 2.1. The resolution of the CHERRY MW 9100 can be adjusted in 3 steps. The DPI button allows you to switch between 1000, 1600 and 2400 dpi at the touch of a button. When the status LED indicates a low battery level, the mouse can be recharged via the included USB-C cable and work can be continued in a relaxed manner. One charge of the lithium battery will last for several weeks.

For maximum flexibility, the wireless PC mouse can be connected to your device via Bluetooth or via the 2.4 GHz radio receiver. A slide switch on the bottom of the mouse allows you to switch between these types of connection, and in both cases the transmission uses AES-128 encryption. Whilst travelling, the CHERRY MW 9100 can be stored in the included transport bag. The USB receiver is stored magnetically inside the mouse.

ZALMAN Launches Alpha Series AIO CPU Coolers with "Triple Flow" Pump Innovation

ZALMAN today launched the Alpha line of all-in-one liquid CPU coolers. Available in three variants based on radiator size—Alpha 36 (360 mm x 120 mm), Alpha 28 (280 mm x 140 mm), and Alpha 24 (240 mm x 120 mm), each with sub-variants based on color—white and black; the main sell with the Alpha series is an innovation with the pump-block design.

ZALMAN designed the pump to feature three independent coolant flow paths for the inflow and outflow, which works to prevent pump overload. Its designers claim this also improves cooling performance by reducing residual fluid in the pump-chamber. The heat-dissipation base is made of copper, with a large micro-fin lattice, with 0.15 mm fins. The pump-block features an in-built fan-controller that manages the radiator fans based on cooling needs. The pump-block also features a dome-shaped ARGB-illuminated top that freely moves around, so you can orient the ZALMAN logo whichever way you want.

PowerColor Launches its Radeon RX 6500 XT Series

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, today announced its Radeon RX 6500 XT line up. The latest graphics cards are built on AMD RDNA2 gaming architecture and designed to make incredible 1080p gaming experiences for popular AAA and esports titles accessible to more gamers.

Every gamer has different needs and PowerColor is offering its Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics cards in two- and single-fan configurations for those looking to build a small form factor gaming PC. With high-efficient cooling and PowerColor's Mute Fan Technology, PowerColor Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics cards are cool and quiet, ideal for anyone looking to game without distractions.
Wednesday, January 19th 2022

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD
AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT PCI-Express Scaling

AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT PCI-Express Scaling

The AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT comes with only a narrow PCI-Express x4 interface. In this article, we took a closer look at how performance is affected when running at PCI-Express 3.0; also included is a full set of data for the academically interesting setting of PCI-Express 2.0.

GEEKOM Launches the $399 Mini IT8 Mini PC

Spring is around the corner, and it is a time to bring in the new. On the occasion of the season, GEEKOM launched its latest Mini PC-GEEKOM Mini IT8 and a pro-gaming laptop-GEEKOM |Intel BookFun 11. The portable yet powerful Mini PC has been available on Amazon since January 19, 2022. Powered by a high-performance 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor (4 Cores, 8 Threads, up to 3.8 GHz, 6 MB Intel Smart Cache) and Iris Plus Graphics 655 GPU (up to 2350 MHz), this pocket-sized small desktop PC has super processing power to cope with all of your daily PC needs smoothly.

We rely on our PCs today to get things done. The GEEKOM Mini PC can do anything a PC does and takes up a lot less space. Its compact size, incredible performance, and plenty of ports make it perfect for a surprising range of uses. The GEEKOM Mini IT8 Mini PC can drive multiple 4K displays and projectors, each one with different content. With a GEEKOM Mini PC for home, you can build a 4K home theater. Just tuck this small form factor desktop on a shelf or mount it out of sight behind your TV. With its compact, quiet, and sleek form, it can fit anywhere in your home. Stream your favorite movie in 4K brilliance, view photos in stunning clarity, or try new games-all without leaving the couch, via the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and 4K video capabilities.

Meletrix Unveils Zoom65 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

There was a time when personal computers were more of a novelty, but in the modern age, they're an integral part of everyday work and personal life. Since the induction of remote work, there has been an increasing demand for accessories and peripherals that not only matches one's taste but also offers a user experience that's pleasant and comfortable to use all day. Enthusiast-level peripherals often come at a very price tag, and in the case of great custom keyboards, they're often a very limited release and/or require a great level of skill to assemble.

Meletrix is on a mission to provide the same luxury, quality, and user experience to the masses at a very affordable price. Its flagship product, the Zoom65, is a mechanical keyboard that appeals to both newcomers and seasoned veterans in the hobby. Born under the parent brand Wuque Studio, Meletrix has taken a simple yet groundbreaking approach to elevate the traditional mechanical keyboard for everyday consumers.

ROCCAT Unveils the Syn Buds Core Gaming Earbuds

ROCCAT, Turtle Beach's award-winning PC peripheral brand, today revealed its all-new Syn Buds Core gaming earbuds. The Syn Buds Core is a wired 3.5 mm pair of earbuds designed for gamers with multiple systems looking for a versatile audio solution. ROCCAT's new earbuds deliver immersive audio via 10 mm drivers, and offer gamers crystal-clear audio whether being used at their desktop or connected to their mobile device while on the go. The Syn Buds Core earbuds come with a 1.2-meter cable with an in-line mic and volume control, plus a multifunction button to easily answer and end calls. The Syn Buds Core wired earbuds promise versatility and performance, and are available now at roccat.com and from participating retailers for a MSRP of $24.99 (€24.99/£19.99 in Europe).

"Whether gaming, listening to music, or working out, the Syn Buds Core earbuds offer maximum convenience and comfort and true high-quality audio," said René Korte, ROCCAT Founder and General Manager for PC Peripherals at Turtle Beach. "Mobile gaming is already huge and only getting bigger, so we created the Syn Buds Core for ROCCAT fans and gamers who want to get the most from their earbuds. The Syn Buds Core are a phenomenal value as they offer durability and quality components at an affordable price."

Intel Ireland Fab 34 Achieves Development Milestone, Facility to Drive Intel 4 Node

Intel Ireland last week chalked up a milestone in its $7 billion Fab 34 construction project: A team rolled in the new plant's first huge chipmaking tool. The machine, a lithography resist track, arrived by truck at Intel's Leixlip, Ireland, plant after a flight across the Atlantic Ocean from an Intel Oregon plant.

Ireland's new lithography tool runs in conjunction with an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner, a crown jewel in Intel's manufacturing capability. The new tool provides precision coating of silicon wafers before alignment and exposure inside the EUV scanner. The wafer then returns to the lithography tool for a series of precision oven bakes, photo development and rinsing. A typical Intel fab contains about 1,200 advanced tools, many of them costing millions of dollars a piece.

Intel Purchases ASML TWINSCAN EXE:5200 EUV Production System

Today, ASML Holding and Intel Corporation announced the latest phase of their longstanding collaboration to advance the cutting edge of semiconductor lithography technology. Intel has issued its first purchase order to ASML for the delivery of the industry's first TWINSCAN EXE:5200 system - an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) high-volume production system with a high numerical aperture and more than 200 wafers per hour productivity - as part of the two companies' long-term High-NA collaboration framework.

"Intel's vision and early commitment to ASML's High-NA EUV technology is proof of its relentless pursuit of Moore's Law. Compared to the current EUV systems, our innovative extended EUV roadmap delivers continued lithographic improvements at reduced complexity, cost, cycle time and energy that the chip industry needs to drive affordable scaling well into the next decade," said ASML President and CTO Martin van den Brink.

Sapphire Announces PULSE Radeon RX 6500 XT Graphics Card

SAPPHIRE Technology announces the new PULSE AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Graphics Card targeting quiet and effective 1080p gaming graphics. With the signature PULSE red accents on a classic black minimalist shroud, it is designed to be an eye-catching addition to any PC. Play AAA games with striking performance and cooling with the PULSE AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Graphics Card.

The PULSE AMD Radeon RX 6500 Graphics Card headlines with 1024 stream processors running with a Boost Clock of up to 2825 MHz and a Game Clock of up to 2685 MHz. The latest GDDR6 high-speed memory clocked at 18 Gbps Effective, with 16 MB of AMD Infinity Cache memory technology, which reduces latency and power consumption, enabling high overall gaming performance. To support the latest display monitors in the market, it is equipped with output ports including HDMI and DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC outputs. The PULSE AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT Graphics Card series features 16 powerful Compute Units and 16 Ray Accelerators.

EK Announces Vector² Water Blocks for ASUS ROG Strix Cards

EK, is introducing a whole series of liquid cooling products for ASUS ROG Strix RTX graphics cards. RTX 3080, 3080 Ti, and 3090 ROG Strix cards get their Vector² water block with passive backplate, new synergistic active backplate, and other aesthetic pieces to customize your water-cooled 30-series Strix GPU to your own desires. The EK-Quantum Vector² Strix RTX 3080/3090 D-RGB is a complete liquid cooling solution including a new Vector² water block, black-anodized aluminium backplate, and mounting mechanism. The new look of the next-gen water blocks is dominated by minimalistic straight lines.

The 3rd-generation Vector cooling engine combines the jet plate with a 3D machined Plexi insert to improve flow distribution and thermal performance. This new cooling engine is still based on an Open Split-Flow cooling engine design, which proved to be a superior solution for GPU water blocks. It is characterized by low hydraulic flow restriction, meaning it can be used with weaker water pumps or pumps running on low-speed settings, and still achieve top performance. Great care was taken to achieve a symmetrical flow domain by utilizing an internal bridge to secondary components. This was done to ensure the cooling of secondary components without sacrificing flow distribution over the GPU core.

Akasa Announces LGA 1700 Compatible CPU Coolers

Akasa, has announced they will be releasing an updated set of CPU coolers compatible with Intel's newest mounting system, LGA1700. The new line of coolers will follow Intel's official thermal and mechanical design guide and improves heat dissipation from the Alder Lake processors.

The 12th generation of Intel Core processors will be using this LGA1700 mounting system, launching with a host of technological advances. Intel's new hybrid core design allows for efficient data processing, with the introduction of Performance and Efficiency cores (P-cores and E-cores respectively). P-cores are dedicated to the faster processing tasks, whilst Ecores have been built to work through background processes, therefore increasing the multitasking capabilities of the CPU. Due to the new sizes of these cores, the shape of the CPU's integrated heatspreader (IHS) has changed to accommodate this, with its rectangular dimensions of 37.5 mm x 45 mm.

SilentiumPC Gear Announces Three New Desks

SilentiumPC, announces their new trio of specialized desks that easily stand out from the crowd. The GD700, and the GD700E with electric height adjustment, are the first to be added to the portfolio. Both versions of the desk are durable, spacious and highly stable, providing users with extensive cable management capabilities. The broad and thick tabletop has room for many accessories and peripherals, including XXL mouse pads, full-size keyboards, and even multiple monitors. Convenient rubber grommets greatly help with cable routing, and thanks to the three unique cut-outs on the back of the tabletop, users can even hide away monitor mount arms and any additional cables. Another included feature is a metal headphone holder directly underneath, which can be placed on the left, right, or even the front or side edges of the table.

The third addition is the GD100 Onyx White, which is a white version of the popular GD100 desk. The desk is equipped with a number of practical solutions for cable management: a metal shelf under the contoured table top, a flat rubber grommet on the desk surface, and additional grommets in the legs for cable management. These features allow users to arrange their cables in both a non-obtrusive and aesthetically pleasing way. The carbon finish of the table top looks great, and is both easy to clean and scratch resistant.

Antec Announces NX700 Mid-Tower Case

Antec, presents the NX700, the new model in the NX series. The mid-tower is already equipped with three ARGB fans ex works and is now available in stores at a very affordable price of € 84,99. The NX series from Antec offers a large selection of gaming cases with LED lighting and eye-catching front panel designs. The new NX700 housing has a side panel made of tempered glass and perfectly sets the scene for the built-in components. The case from the entry-level segment measures 440 mm x 220 mm x 492 mm (D x W x H) and is compatible with ATX, Micro-ATX and ITX motherboards.

The NX700 supports graphics cards with a length of up to 340 mm and radiators with a maximum height of 170 mm. It offers space for up to eight 120 mm fans and is factory-fitted with three ARGB fans (two 185 mm ARGB fans at the front, one 120 mm ARGB fan at the rear). In addition, the NX700 offers space for a 360 mm water cooler at the front, a 280 mm cooler at the top and a 140 mm cooler at the rear of the chassis.

New AMD Radeon PRO W6000 Series Graphics Unleash High-Efficiency, Powerful CAD Performance for Mainstream Workstation Users

Today AMD announced new additions to the AMD Radeon PRO W6000 Series desktop and mobile workstation graphics lineup, designed to deliver exceptional performance, stability and reliability for professional users, including CAD designers, engineers and office knowledge workers. The new AMD Radeon PRO W6400 graphics card is built on the high-performance, energy efficient AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture and advanced 6 nm manufacturing process technology, with 16 MB of high-bandwidth, low-latency AMD Infinity Cache memory technology acting as a bandwidth amplifier. Offering an ideal blend of performance and efficiency at an affordable price, the new graphics card is optimized for the requirements of today's popular CAD and office productivity applications in a compact design that can be easily added to modern small-form-factor desktops.

Compared to the previous generation, the AMD Radeon PRO W6400 graphics card delivers up to three times higher performance in Autodesk AutoCAD 2022 during 3D orbit rotational tests in shaded modes. It also offers up to 87 percent higher performance in McNeel Rhino using the Holomark 2 benchmark with mesh, object and model data stress tests. The new graphics card also offers performance gains in typical office applications and workloads, such as videoconferencing, email and web browsing, where reliability and stability are key. Additions to the AMD Radeon PRO product family also include the AMD Radeon PRO W6500M and AMD Radeon PRO W6300M GPUs for next-gen professional mobile workstations. The new GPUs are also built on AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture with 6 nm process technology and harness up to 8 MB of AMD Infinity Cache memory technology to deliver ultra-high viewport frame rates, dependability and exceptional performance for professional applications.

Micron Rumoured to be Eyeing Austin Texas for New Fab

Despite having sold its fab in Lehi, Utah to TI back in October last year, it looks like Micron is ready to build a new, most likely more advanced fab and rumours are now circulating that it might end up in Austin, Texas. Micron currently has two fabs in Virginia and one in Idaho, plus four in Singapore, four in Taiwan, one in the PRC and one in Japan. It should be noted that Micron used to have a fab outside of Dallas, so Texas isn't entirely unfamiliar ground for Micron. Initially Micron is said to have been eyeing North Carolina for its new fab, but that apparently fell through recently.

Micron announced last year that it's looking to invest some US$150 million in expanding and improving upon its current fabs, plus potentially building additional ones. In addition to Texas, California and Arizona are apparently still in the running, although it's unclear when Micron will make a final decision. The fab will obviously be producing either DRAM or flash memory, but it's not clear what markets Micron is looking to expand its production in, but DRAM seems more likely based on current market conditions. The company is said to be looking for a location that has not only the suitable staff required, but is also looking for the right cost and reliability when it comes to utilities, as well as regulatory friendliness.

Chinese GPU Makers Aiming for 5 and 7 nm GPUs in 2022

According to DigiTimes, several Chinese GPU makers are aiming to build GPUs using 5 or 7 nm nodes this year, something that might be a challenge for them, considering that TSMC's key customers are already said to have pre-paid TSMC to get preferential access to these nodes. The companies in question are Innosilicon, who works with Imagination Technologies IP, Changsha Jingjia Microelectronics and Biren Technology, all of which are largely unknown players in the GPU market space.

Innosilicon's Fantasy One is said to offer performance similar to GeForce RTX 2070, which means it might even be a competitor for Intel's Arc GPUs, assuming the Fantasy One doesn't end up being a pipe dream. Changsha Jingjia Microelectronics is said to have announced it first GPU back in December last year with the JM9 series, which is said to offer around 80 percent of the performance of a GeForce GTX 950, which puts it in the office PC category these days and almost make you wonder why they bothered. Finally Biren Technology announced the BR100 in October last year and it's apparently already manufactured on TSMC's 7 nm node, although no word on performance is available. The bigger question is if any of these products will have any impact in the GPU market, since at best, they might offload some customers in the PRC from buying GPUs from AMD, Intel and Nvidia, until these companies have proven that they can deliver viable drivers alongside their hardware.

MediaTek Shows The World's First Live Demos of Wi-Fi 7 Technology to Customers and Industry Leaders

MediaTek today announced the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7 technology, highlighting the capabilities of its forthcoming Wi-Fi 7 Filogic connectivity portfolio. MediaTek is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

"The rollout of Wi-Fi 7 will mark the first time that Wi-Fi can be a true wireline/Ethernet replacement for super high-bandwidth applications," said Alan Hsu, corporate vice president and general manager of the Intelligent Connectivity business at MediaTek. "MediaTek's Wi-Fi 7 technology will be the backbone of home, office and industrial networks and provide seamless connectivity for everything from multi-player AR/VR applications to cloud gaming and 4K calls to 8K streaming and beyond."

final Announces First True Wireless Earphones— final ZE3000

final is an established audio brand that has made its name over the years, with the S'NEXT company it belongs to claiming several engineering designs and patents in addition to a solid reputation in the consumer and professional audio markets as a whole. We took a look last year at what I thought was final's first TWS (True Wireless Stereo) set of IEMs, but apparently that being a collaboration meant it did not count in terms of wholly representing the final brand. As such, final informed us recently that it had indeed been working on its own vision of a first TWS product, which is named the final ZE3000. Sound quality and comfort were prioritized in the design process, and accordingly the use of a single driver was done to avoid phasing issues. The driver itself, a full-range dynamic driver with a new 6 mm adhesive-less injection molded diaphragm, a special silicone surround and a CCAW (copper-clad aluminium wire) voice coil, aims to provide extremely low distortion while at it.

This "f-core for Wireless" driver unit is paired with final's proprietary f-LINK damping system to regulate the air pressure change inside the enclosed housing without introducing a vent. The advantages allowed come in the form of the necessary TWS components not affecting the air pressure regulating system necessary to make the most of the driver, as well as maintaining IPX4 environmental resistance that is crucial for TWS solutions today. This is how final claims the ZE3000 to be able to deliver a non-fatiguing, "relaxing and enjoyable music experience regardless of the music genres". On the technology side, the final ZE3000 is paired with a Qualcomm chipset allowing Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and aptX Adaptive codec support for music playback up to 24-bit/48 kHz, as well as pre-programmed touch controls. The shells employ a claimed ergonomic design with three points of contact in the ear concha, and being on the smaller side also helps with the physical fit. It uses final's Type-E ear tips, which are excellent in my opinion, and comes in black or white colors with a matching case. The advertised battery life is up to 7 hours per charge, and up to 35 hours with the case. The final ZE3000 is available to buy now for £119/€119/$149 from Hifiheadphones (UK) and Amazon US/Amazon UK.

NVIDIA Unlocks GPU System Processor (GSP) for Improved System Performance

In 2016, NVIDIA announced that the company is working on replacing its Fast Logic Controller processor codenamed Falcon with a new GPU System Processor (GSP) solution based on RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This novel RISC-V processor is codenamed NV-RISCV and has been used as GPU's controller core, coordinating everything in the massive pool of GPU cores. Today, NVIDIA has decided to open this NV-RISCV CPU to a broader spectrum of applications starting with 510.39 drivers. According to the NVIDIA documents, this is only available in the select GPUs for now, mainly data-centric Tesla accelerators.
NVIDIA DocumentsSome GPUs include a GPU System Processor (GSP) which can be used to offload GPU initialization and management tasks. This processor is driven by the firmware file /lib/firmware/nvidia/510.39.01/gsp.bin. A few select products currently use GSP by default, and more products will take advantage of GSP in future driver releases.
Offloading tasks which were traditionally performed by the driver on the CPU can improve performance due to lower latency access to GPU hardware internals.

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 22.1.2 Released

AMD released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin drivers. Version 22.1.2 beta comes with optimization for "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction," and support for new graphics cards launching today, including the Radeon RX 6500 XT, RX 6400, RX 6500M, and RX 6300M. The only issue fixed with this release addresses longer-than-expected load times for "Borderlands 3" in DirectX 12 mode with Radeon Boost enabled, on certain RDNA2-series GPUs. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 22.1.2

EVGA Announces the Z690 CLASSIFIED Motherboard

Introducing the EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED - The latest addition to EVGA's most-respected line of motherboards. This motherboard fully supports the latest 12th Gen Intel Core Series Processors and takes full advantage of PCIe Gen5 and PCIe Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSDs. The EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED provides unbeatable power, performance and stability via a 19-phase VRM and 10-layer PCB. Moreover, this board supports up to 128 GB of DDR5 memory, 2x 2.5 Gbps NIC + Wi-Fi 6E / BT 5.2, 7.1 HD audio, and multiple USB options. The EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED is designed for nothing less than the ultimate gaming experience.

Kioxia Advances Development of UFS Ver. 3.1 Embedded Flash Memory Devices With Quad-level-cell (QLC)

Kioxia Corporation, a world leader in memory solutions, today announced the launch of Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Ver. 3.1 [1] embedded flash memory devices utilizing the company's innovative 4-bit per cell quad-level-cell (QLC) technology. For applications needing high density, such as cutting-edge smartphones, Kioxia's QLC technology enables the capability to achieve the highest densities available in a single package.

Kioxia's UFS proof of concept (PoC) device is a 512 gigabyte prototype that utilizes the company's 1 terabit (128 gigabyte) BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory with QLC technology, and is now sampling to OEM customers. The PoC device is designed to meet the increasing performance and density requirements of mobile applications driven by higher resolution images, 5G networks, 4K plus video and the like.
Tuesday, January 18th 2022
Intel Core i5-12400F Review - The AMD Challenger

Intel Core i5-12400F Review - The AMD Challenger

The Intel Core i5-12400F comes at an extremely attractive price point, yet offers performance comparable to AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X. While Intel introduced a Hybrid core design with Alder Lake, the 12400F is a P-core only design, which helps avoid potential compatibility issues with E-cores.

ORICO Unveils USB4 plus Thunderbolt 4 Cable, First Cable Meeting 40Gbps USB4 Standard

ORICO unveiled the first USB type-C cable that meets USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 standards. The cable utilizes an Intel IC to offer 40 Gbps transfer speeds, DisplayPort 1.4 passthrough with support for display resolutions of up to 8K @ 60 Hz, and bi-directional 100 W USB PD (power delivery). The cable features a solid alloy casing at the connectors, Nylon braiding throughout, and a reinforced bender that can take up to 10,000 bends. Available in cable lengths of 30 cm, 80 cm, and 2 m, the cable comes in two variants based on connector orientation, with the TBZ cable being standard, and TBW angled 90°. The 30 cm variant is priced at $20, the 80 cm variant at $27, and the 2 m variant at $57. Find them on Amazon here.

ARCTIC Identifies Bad Batch of MX-5 TIM in the Market, Offers Free Replacements

For ARCTIC, it has always been a top priority to supply customers only with products of the best quality and durability. Should there ever be any doubts about products we've delivered, we stand by our responsibility to our customers.

Current findings from our permanent quality assurance tests show that certain batches of our MX-5 thermal compound contain anomalies in consistency and shelf life. The affected products show an increased separation of oil within the paste, resulting in premature hardening. This can lead to adverse effects and application difficulties.

PATRIOT announces Availability of the P400 PCIe Gen4x4 m.2 SSD

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, is pleased to announce the PATRIOT P400 PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe M.2 SSD with capacities of 512 GB and 1 TB. The PATRIOT P400 was built using the latest PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe controller and best-in-class components to deliver faster data access, multi-application processing, and quick transfer speeds up to 5000 MB/s in sequential. The PATRIOT P400 can offer double the transfer speeds compared to standard PCIe 3x4 solutions with lower power consumption making it the best solution for laptop battery efficiency. In addition, the exclusive thin graphene heatshield provides outstanding heat dissipation, especially in systems with limited space.

"The PATRIOT P400 M.2 is designed to be an ideal solution for budget-minded users looking to achieve a cost-efficient storage solution with PCI Express gen4x4 performance. Our design team has created an excellent thermal solution using a slim graphene heatshield which can avoid any physical interference when using this drive-in system with limited space, such as a thin laptop." Said Roger Shinmoto, the vice president of PATRIOT MEMORY.

Lenovo Education Solutions Deliver Agile Learning Tools

Today Lenovo announced new additions to its broad education portfolio designed to enhance learning efficiencies in a new age for education. The new devices are purpose-built to meet the needs of modern in-person and distance-learning. The all-new Lenovo 10w Tablet running Windows 11 is powered by the Snapdragon 7c compute platform to enable an Always On, Always Connected computing experience, balancing the power and performance students expect and the mobile computing experiences they need to help them succeed in modernized learning. The new Lenovo 13w Yoga offers the flexibility of a convertible device with AMD Ryzen 5000 U-Series processors for mobile up to an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, and can include options to boost teacher and student engagement, device protection and improved connectivity.

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students have been impacted by the pandemic and many countries have been affected by extended school closures. Although classes are thankfully reopening, many continue to endure disrupted agendas and at the time of writing more than 35 million learners are still unable to benefit from classroom instruction. The longer-term focus needs to be on learning recovery and returning the trajectory beyond pre-Covid levels. A recent UNESCO report points out that we collectively have an opportunity to reinvent education to be more resilient, equitable and efficient in delivering learning for all. Institutions need to invest in structured learning programs that provide access to technology that can amplify classroom-based experiences. The tools need to be dynamic to support distance learning solutions and computer-assisted learning to help maximize education continuity. As a technology provider, Lenovo is committed to partnering with customers to develop and deliver innovative solutions to enhance learning today and into the future.

Intel "Bonanza Mine" is a Bitcoin Mining ASIC, Intel Finally Sees Where the Money is

Intel is reportedly looking to disrupt the cryptocurrency mining hardware business with fixed-function ASICs that either outperform GPUs, or end up with lower enough performance/Watt or performance/Dollar to take make GPUs unviable as a mining hardware option. The company is planning to unveil its first such product, codenamed "Bonanza Mine," an ASIC purpose-built for Bitcoin mining.

Since it's an ASIC, "Bonanza Mine" doesn't appear to be a re-purposed Xe-HPC processor, or even an FPGA that's been programmed to mine Bitcoin. It's a purpose-built piece of silicon. Intel will unveil "Bonanza Mine" at the 2022 ISSCC Conference. It describes the chip as being an "ultra low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC," putting power-guzzling GPUs on notice. If Intel can clinch Bitcoin with "Bonanza Lake," designing ASICs for other cryptocurrencies is straightforward. With demand from crypto-miners slashed, graphics cards will see a tremendous fall in value, forcing scalpers to cut prices.

Microsoft to Acquire Activision Blizzard to Bring the Joy and Community of Gaming to Everyone, Across Every Device

With three billion people actively playing games today, and fueled by a new generation steeped in the joys of interactive entertainment, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc., a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard's net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

PSA: GPU-Z shows PCI-Express x16 for Radeon RX 6500 XT / Navi 24. It really is x4

AMD announced the Radeon RX 6500 XT and RX 6400 at CES just a few days ago. These new entry-level cards debut the company's first 6 nm GPU, codenamed "Navi 24"—the smallest chip from the RDNA2 family. Navi 24 is barely the size of a motherboard chipset, roughly 100 mm² in die size. The chip only features a 64-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, needing just two memory chips to achieve 4 GB of memory size. While AMD has been fairly quiet about it, people quickly found out that the Navi 24 GPU only uses a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface. While the physical connector is x16, there is only enough signal traces for x4.

Even the most updated 2.43.0 public version of GPU-Z misreports the bus interface as PCIe x16 4.0 though, which will certainly lead to confusion in the reviewer community who trust GPU-Z to report the correct specs and speeds for their articles. Maybe that's the reason why AMD has decided to not send us a sample this time—a first in 15 years.

Update Jan 20th: GPU-Z 2.44.0 has been released, which properly reports the PCIe bus configuration of RX 6500 XT.

Introducing Logitech Pen, Rechargeable Stylus for USI-enabled Chromebooks, Designed for Students

Today Logitech announced the launch of the Logitech Pen, the newest K-12 stylus designed for touch screen Chromebooks that supports Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) standards and is Works With Chromebook certified. Research shows that when it comes to students retaining what they learn, the act of physically annotating during lessons makes a significant difference. Designed in collaboration with students and educators, for students and educators, the Logitech Pen provides the control they need to work and collaborate in new ways.

"Given that students and educators are increasingly using Chromebooks as an everyday tool in schools and at home, we created the Logitech Pen to unlock the full potential of Chromebooks in the classroom," said Michele Hermann, Vice President of Mobility and Head of Education Solutions at Logitech. "The Logitech Pen is notably transforming how students utilize their Chromebooks, enabling these devices to become even more essential tools in active learning through annotation, sketching, and note taking, which are proven to increase comprehension and retention."

Sharkoon Launches the TG7M RGB Case

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of high-performance quality PC components and peripherals. Now, with the TG7M RGB, Sharkoon is introducing a PC case that should match up to cases of a higher class. In addition to an air-permeable mesh front panel, the case has four pre-installed 120-millimeter RGB PWM fans. As the first case in the series, a 360-millimeter radiator can be installed not only behind the front panel of the TG7M RGB, but also under the top panel. Graphics cards can be installed vertically in the case using a separately available kit. In addition to two USB 3.0 ports, the I/O panel also has a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port.

According to the manufacturer, the TG7M RGB is especially designed for efficient cooling: In addition to a mesh grille on the front panel, four 120-millimeter PWM RGB fans have been pre-installed in the case: three at the front and one at the rear of the case. Three fans with an edge-to-edge length of 120 millimeters can also be installed under the top panel. The TG7M RGB is the first case of the TG series where a 360-millimeter radiator can be installed either behind the front panel or under the top panel. Depending on the installed hardware, the size of the mainboard and the height of the RAM, there is at least 5 centimeters of space available under the top panel. Behind the front panel there is space for a radiator with a height of up to 6 centimeters.

KINGMAX Unveils PQ4480 M.2 NVMe Gen4 SSD

KINGMAX today unveiled the PQ4480, an interesting "entry-level" M.2 NVMe SSD. While it features a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface, it doesn't really utilize that kind of bandwidth, and should offer nearly-identical performance with both PCIe Gen3 and Gen4 M.2 slots. While the company doesn't mention the controller + NAND flash combination in play, we predict this to be a Phison PS5019-E19T PCIe Gen4 DRAM-less controller, paired with 3D TLC NAND flash memory.

The PQ4480 comes in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. All three capacity variants offer sequential read speeds of up to 3600 MB/s. The 250 GB variant writes at up to 1200 MB/s and has 4K random access speeds of up to 150k/300k IOPS reads/writes, the 500 GB variant up to 2300 MB/s with up to 300k/350k IOPS, and the 1 TB variant up to 3000 MB/s, with up to 400k/450k IOPS. Endurance is rated at 150 TBW for the 250 GB variant, 300 TBW for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TBW for the 1 TB variant. KINGMAX is backing these drives with 3-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

DeepCool Also Introduces CK560 Series Mid-Tower Cases

In addition to the KG722 mechanical keyboard, DeepCool introduced the CK560 and CK560 White ATX mid-tower cases. These are characterized by a front-intake with holes punched in the DeepCool logo pattern that almost makes it a coarse mesh intake for the three RGB-illuminated 120 mm fans behind. The case features a conventional horizontally-partitioned interior layout that's all-black in both models.

The upper compartment with the motherboard tray features room for graphics cards up to 38 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 17.5 cm in height. The tray also features a graphics card brace that counteracts PCB bending over time. Four 120 mm fans are included with the case, three of which have RGB illumination. Ventilation options include three 120 mm front intakes, a 120 mm rear exhaust, and two 140 mm top exhausts. Storage options include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays, and two 2.5-inch mounts behind the motherboard tray. Front-panel connectivity includes a USB 3.2 type-C, two USB 3.2 type-A, and a 4-pole headset jack. The case measures 456 mm × 230 mm × 471 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Thermalright Outs TA120 EX Mini White Compact Tower-type CPU Cooler

Thermalright today introduced the TA120 EX Mini White, one of the company's more compact tower-type CPU coolers. The cooler is designed with a height of 135 mm, even though it uses a 120 mm fan for ventilation. It features a conventional tower type design, in which five 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make indirect contact with the CPU at the base (nickel-plated C1100-grade copper with mirror finish), pushing heat through the fin-stack, which is ventilated by a TL-D12 PRO-W fan. It features a fluid-dynamic bearing, and turns at speeds of up to 1,850 RPM, pushing up to 82 CFM of airflow, with 2.1 mm H₂O static pressure, and 29.6 dBA noise output. Among the CPU socket types supported include LGA1700, AM4, and LGA1200. The company didn't reveal pricing.

DeepCool Intros KG722 65% Mechanical Keyboard

DeepCool announced the KG722, a 65%-format mechanical gaming keyboard. With compact dimensions of 31 cm x 10.16 cm x 3.9 cm (WxDxH), the keyboard features a 68-key layout, with the lettering printed along the frontal side of the keycaps, rather than on the top. The keys are RGB illuminated. Under the hood, you get Gateron RGB Red mechanical switches. Its electronics offer N-key rollover, 12 ms response time, and 1000 Hz USB polling rate. Other features include 32 KB onboard memory for storing macro and lighting profiles, and a 1.8 m braided-sleeved cable that offers both USB type-A and type-C connectivity. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ADATA Industrial Unveils New ISSS31AP 4TB Industrial-Grade Solid State Drive

ADATA Technology (Taiwan Stock Exchange: 3260.TWO), a manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, mobile accessories, gaming products, electric power trains, and industrial solutions, today announces the ADATA ISSS31AP industrial-grade 2.5-inch solid state drive (SSD). With high capacity of 4 TB, Power Lost Protection (PLP), and multiple data security technologies, it is ideally suited for 5G networks, Internet of Things, industrial PCs, automation, and other applications.

According to research firm IDC, global SSD shipments are estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% by 2025. As the requirements of enterprise storage customers and cloud service providers continue to become ever more discerning, the adoption of more durable and reliable high-performance solid state drives equipped with 3D Flash will no doubt continue to grow.
Monday, January 17th 2022

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
NAS
Other
SSD
Quick Look: Jelly Key Zen Pond IV Artisan Keycap

Quick Look: Jelly Key Zen Pond IV Artisan Keycap

Jelly Key is back at it with another new artisan keycap series! This time, the Koi fish in the popular Zen Pond theme make a comeback, but with more details and complexities. The Eden effect has been revamped with three vibrant colors, and the fish models also get placed in multiple depth stacks to make for a more realistic art scene on your keyboard.
God of War: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

God of War: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

God of War recently released on PC with support for NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). In this mini-review, we take a look at and compare the image quality and performance offered by these technologies in this game.

Samsung Introduces Game Changing Exynos 2200 Processor with Xclipse GPU Powered by AMD RDNA2 Architecture

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its new premium mobile processor, the Exynos 2200. The Exynos 2200 is a freshly designed mobile processor with a powerful AMD RDNA 2 architecture based Samsung Xclipse graphics processing unit (GPU). With the most cutting-edge Arm -based CPU cores available in the market today and an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU), the Exynos 2200 will enable the ultimate mobile phone gaming experience, as well as enhancing the overall experience in social media apps and photography.

"Built on the most advanced 4-nanometer (nm) EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) process, and combined with cutting-edge mobile, GPU, and NPU technology, Samsung has crafted the Exynos 2200 to provide the finest experience for smartphone users. With the Xclipse, our new mobile GPU built with RDNA 2 graphics technology from the industry leader AMD, the Exynos 2200 will redefine mobile gaming experience, aided by enhanced graphics and AI performance," said Yongin Park, President of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics. "As well as bringing the best mobile experience to the users, Samsung will continue its efforts to lead the journey in logic chip innovation."

MSI Announces Three New PC Cases

MSI has recently announced several new PC cases including the Neon Genesis Evangelion limited-edition co-branded MPG GUNGIR 110R, MEG TREBLE ITX, and the MEG PROSPECT 700RL. The MSI MPG GUNGIR 110R EVA e-PROJECT case is a custom version of the GUNGIR 110R featuring coloring and theming inspired by the 1995 mecha anime series. The MSI MEG TREBLE Series ITX case features a unique hexagonal design with three chambers for a 330 mm graphics card, 280 mm liquid cooler radiator, and ITX motherboard + SFX-L power supply. The case can be positioned vertically or horizontally and features three removable panels for easy access to the chambers.

The MSI MEG PROSPECT 700RL is a standard mid-tower case featuring an integrated EKWB distribution plate simplifying custom water-cooling setups. The case can accommodate up to three 360 mm radiators on the top, front, and side and comes pre-installed with four 140 mm ARGB fans on the front and rear. The side and back panels all feature a screw-less design for easy access and maintenance while the front IO includes USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, HD audio, and a LED control button. MSI has not revealed any pricing or availability information for these cases.

MSI Announces Vigor GK71 Sonic & GK50 Low Profile TKL Gaming Keyboards

MSI has recently announced the Vigor GK71 Sonic and Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL gaming keyboards. The MSI Vigor GK71 is a full-size mechanical keyboard featuring MSI Sonic Red 35 g Linear switches paired with translucent keycaps and MSI Mystic RGB lighting. The keyboard features integrated volume and media controls along with a detachable memory foam wrist rest. The MSI Vigor GK71 will be available to purchase exclusively from the MSI US online store for 119.99 USD from February 2022.

The MSI GK50 Low Profile TKL is an 80% mechanical keyboard featuring Kalih White low-profile switches paired with octagonal keycaps and MSI Mystic RGB lighting. The keyboard features an ergonomic floating keycap design with a detachable USB Type-C cable and included drawstring bag for transportation. The integrated feet support three different angles at 5°, 8°, or 11° and anti-slip pads for increased support. The MSI GK50 Low Profile TKL will be available to purchase in Asia and Europe soon with an MSRP of 84.99 USD.

MSI Announces Immerse GV60 Microphone & GH50 Wireless Headset

MSI has recently announced two new Immerse products with the GV60 microphone and GH50 wireless headset. The GV60 is a freestanding 24 bit USB Type-C microphone featuring multiple condenser capsules allowing for four different pickup patterns. The microphone also features an integrated 3.5 mm jack for real-time low-latency monitoring and can be easily integrated into existing setups with a 5/8" threading and a 3-meter USB cable. The MSI Immerse GV60 microphone will be available exclusively from the MSI US online store for 129.99 USD from January 21.

The MSI Immerse GH50 is a wireless gaming headset featuring a lightweight foldable design with rotating ear cups. The dual 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver virtual 7.1 surround sound and vibration effects while the detachable omnidirectional microphone enables easy transportation. The 2.4 GHz wireless USB dongle can transmit up to 20 m or the headset can be used in wired mode via the 3.5 mm jack. The headset also features MSI mystic RGB lighting along with inline wired audio controls for volume, microphone, surround sound, and vibration effects. The headset boasts a wireless battery life of 17 hours and will be available in Q2 2022 for 89.99 USD.

EK Launches PCIe 4.0 X16 Riser Cable

EK, is launching a stand-alone PCIe 4.0 X16 riser cable. This premium high-speed cable is compatible with all modern motherboards. That includes those based on Z590, Z690, X570, and B550 chipsets. It was tested with both the RX 6000 series AMD GPUs and RTX 30 series NVIDIA GPUs. Although a true PCIe 4.0 riser cable, it is 100% compatible with PCIe 3.0 standard.

This high-speed 4.0 GPU riser cable features improved individual PCIe laneway shielding that blocks unwanted external EMI/RFI and interference between channels. EK-Loop PCI-E 4.0 Riser Cable is designed to match the PCIe impedance differential of 85 ohms. Signals that are traveling between the motherboard and the GPU are matched at the proper frequency without any capacitors in the cable that would introduce a potential point of failure and result in a less compact riser.

MSI and Phison Partner to Launch Spatium E26 PCIe Gen5 AIC SSD

Phison is on a mission to be the first to market with PCIe Gen 5 SSD controllers, having announced the E26-series controllers this CES. The company is ready with a branded drive under the MSI Spatium brand, the MSI Spatium E26. Built in the PCIe add-in-card (AIC) form-factor, the drive features a PCI-Express 5.0 x4 interface (128 Gbps per direction), and very likely sticks to the reference design that Phison demoed in its own booth.

This PCB is used in its client configuration, with just the controller, DRAM, and NAND flash chips; while the PCB allows an enterprise configuration with banks of capacitors offering explicit power-loss protection (the NAND flash chips offer implicit PLP). A simple copper-film heatspreader is used. Neither MSI nor Phison put out actual performance numbers, but mentioned sequential reads being "10 GB/s or beyond" (the interface is physically capable of 16 GB/s).

Update Jan 17th: MSI clarified that this is not yet a shipping product, but a representation of what such a device could be. Thus, this should be considered a concept or at best proof of concept. Both MSI and Phison are actively working together on exploring what such a retail product could be.

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE Motherboard to Bundle AIO Cooler and Memory Sticks

The retail version of MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE, the company's flagship Socket LGA1700 motherboard, will include an all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and DDR5 memory sticks. Snapped at a PC retailer, the front-face of the retail box of the motherboard reads that the contents include an MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360 cooler, and Kingston FURY Beast DDR5 memory. The size and speed of the memory is not mentioned. What's also unknown at this point, is whether the board comes in retail packages that don't bundle the cooler or memory. Assuming the bundled memory is a 32 GB (2x 16 GB) kit of decent specs, such as DDR5-6000, this motherboard could easily command a four-figure price, with speculative prices averaging $1,500.

Update Jan 17th: MSI has informed us, that the price for this bundle, consisting of the motherboard, 360 mm AIO, and 32 GB of DDR5 memory, will be around $2,099 in retail.

ADATA Guarantees Consistent XPG Atom 50 SSD Controller and NAND Flash Combo

A disturbing trend among entry-level M.2 NVMe SSDs is a complete disregard from manufacturers for consistency in the brands and types of the various key components of the drives. The companies simply advertise a certain set of performance and endurance numbers, which serve as ends to reach by whatever means (of controller or NAND flash combos). This was recently illustrated with the Kingston NV1, which presents an extreme case of "hardware lottery." You can get either a SMI or Phison controller, and either a TLC or QLC NAND flash (combinations thereof).

Cutting through all this, ADATA is making a reassuring guarantee with regards to its recently announced entry-level NVMe product, the XPG Atom 50. In an exclusive comment to TechPowerUp, the company said that all XPG Atom 50 drives in the market will come with a consistent combination of controller and NAND flash. The drive combines an Innogrit IG5220 RainierQX controller with Micron "B47R" 176-layer 3D TLC NAND flash chips, a combo ADATA guarantees it will never break. We recently reviewed the 1 TB variant of this drive, and found it to offer excellent performance leveraging PCIe Gen4, at a price you'd typically find PCIe Gen3 drives at.

TechPowerUp and KIOXIA Exceria SSD Giveaway: The Winners

TechPowerUp partnered with NAND flash pioneer KIOXIA to give you a chance to bring home one of three KIOXIA Exceria series SSDs. Based on the company's BiCS 3D NAND flash technology, the Exceria series spans various client SSD form-factors, including M.2 NVMe and 2.5-inch SATA. The brand also extends to the company's various consumer flash products, including portable SSDs, USB flash drives, and memory cards. Up for grabs in the TechPowerUp Giveaway were a 2 TB Exceria Plus G2 NVMe SSD, a 1 TB Exceria NVMe SSD, and a 960 GB Exceria SATA 2.5-inch SSD. The results are in, and we have the winners!
  • Martin from Malta, wins the 2 TB Exceria Plus G2 NVMe SSD
  • Pari from New Zealand, wins the 1 TB Exceria NVMe SSD
  • Paul from the United Kingdom, wins the 960 GB Exceria SATA 2.5-inch SSD
A huge Congratulations to you three! TechPowerUp and KIOXIA will return with more such interesting giveaways.

Taiwan Aims to Become Self-sufficient in Semiconductor Equipment

The Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-Wen, told local media that she believes that Taiwan can become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductor equipment, although this is obviously not something that would happen overnight. A large part of why this has even been considered seems to be the current pandemic, as although Taiwan might not have suffered much from the pandemic itself, the nation has suffered when it comes to imports, as just in time production and delivery systems have broken down, which has affected most industries in Taiwan.

In 2021 Taiwanese semiconductor companies invested some NT$1 trillion (~US$36.3 billion), of which 70 percent was in equipment, according to the President, with around NT$600 billion (~US$21.8 billion) of that money being towards imported equipment. It also shows that local semiconductor equipment makers have a lot of work to do, especially if they're intending to catch up with their international competitors. The President also mentioned that the local semiconductor equipment industry grew by 28.7 percent in 2021, although it was still relatively small at NT$116.7 billion (~US$4.2 billion), but she was quoted as saying that she's 100 percent certain that Taiwan has the ability to make all semiconductor equipment the [local] industry needs.

Biostar 700-series Intel Motherboard Lineup Leaks

Intel's 600-series motherboards have barely made it into retail and we're now looking at a list of upcoming 700-series motherboards from Biostar that has leaked courtesy of the Eurasian Economic Commission via @harukaze5719 in Twitter. The list of boards suggests that Biostar will only be using the Z790 and B760 chipsets, although it's unclear at this point if there will be an H770 and a H710 chipset, as Intel has skipped those SKUs in the past for second generation CPUs using the same socket.

The boards in question are the Z790 Valkyrie, Z790GTA- SILVER, B760GTQ, B760M-SILVER, B760GTN, B760T-SILVER, B760MX5-E PRO, B760MX-PRO, B760MX-C, B760MX-E, B760MH. We'd hazard a guess that the Z790 Valkyrie will replace the Z690 Valkyrie, but the models with silver in the model name are currently missing from Biostar's 600-series lineup, but there are some 500-series silver models. In addition to the Z790 SKUs, there are also some B660 boards with a BTC suffix that Biostar hasn't announced yet and these would appear to be boards designed for mining, as this is the naming Biostar has used in the past for such boards. Intel's 700-series chipset and Raptor Lake CPUs are expected to launch later this year.

Acer Brings Windows 11 for Education to its TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3 Laptops

Acer today announced that it will begin carrying PCs which run on Windows 11 SE, starting with the Acer TravelMate B3 and Acer TravelMate Spin B3 laptops. The portable 11.6-inch laptops were built to survive the school-day, boasting military-grade durability certifications and a 10-hour battery life, and now come pre-installed with Windows 11 SE or Windows 11 Pro Education. Additionally, the devices' chassis have been constructed with over 14% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Acer has been working closely with Microsoft in order to provide devices for pilot programs that bring Windows 11 SE to schools around the world. It is one of the first brands to carry devices featuring the new operating system.

EK Water Blocks Unveils EK-Quantum Torque Micro Rotary 90° Fittings for SFF Builds

EK, the premium water cooling gear manufacturer, is expanding the Quantum Torque fittings line with Micro Rotary adapter fittings aimed at SFF builders and use-cases where spacing is an issue. EK-Quantum Torque Micro Rotary 90° are premium male-female 90-degree interconnects. Their rotary function allows them to rotate around one axis in 360 degrees. They are used primarily in tight spaces or when build aesthetics demands low-profile fittings and adapters.

This micro rotary 90° series consists of 5 different models with varying finishes. With an overall installed height of just 21 mm, Torque Micro Rotaries can squeeze into the most difficult places where it would be otherwise impossible to make a bend. This means it is 10 mm lower in height than the standard 90° EK-Quantum Torque Rotary angled fitting.

Intel NUC 11 Essential with Jasper Lake SoC Officially Launched

Although not available in retail quite yet, Intel has officially launched its NUC 11 Essential models built around its Jasper Lake SoCs and thanks to the new processor options, Intel's entry level NUC models are looking quite promising. Not only are we looking at much better GPUs, with a 78 percent increase of execution units at the high-end, but even the low-end CPUs have had a 33 percent increase, when comparing Jasper Lake to Gemini Lake, which some older NUC models were based on. This is quite a jump, but it's hardly surprising, as Gemini Lake was launched at the tail end of 2017.

There's also official support for up to 32 GB of RAM and a boost in memory speed from 2400 MHz to 2933 MHz. Processor speeds have obviously been bumped somewhat as well between the processor generations, alongside with the GPU speeds, but we're mostly looking at a few hundred MHz here, depending on the CPU model. All the new NUC models appear to be using the 10 W TDP Jasper Lake CPU SKUs and all of them should also come with 64 GB of eMMC soldered down, plus an M.2 2280 SATA and NVMe capable slot for SSDs.

Report Forecasts Increased AMD EPYC Processor Pricing, Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeons Delayed

Server processors tend to be one of the most profitable businesses for AMD and Intel. Thus, investment groups and analysts closely monitor happenings in the server and data center world. A report from Mizuho Securities (investment bank) Managing Director Jordan Klein states that many upcoming changes on the server processor front are coming this year. Mr. Klein cites sources over at Insupur Systems, one of the most prominent server vendors. More precisely, Dolly Wu is the VP and GM of Datacenter/Cloud at Inspur. According to the report, AMD and Intel will change their strategy in the server market going forward in 2022.

As far as AMD is concerned, the company plans to increase the pricing of its EPYC processors by 10-30%. This increase should be a bit easier on the strategic cloud customers. The report also indicates that as the demand far exceeds the supply of EPYC processors, AMD increases prices and makes a "take it or leave it" offer, resulting in most customers accepting the increased costs. Another interesting tidbit from the report was the talk about Intel. The blue team laid out its strategy to launch highly-anticipated Sapphire Rapids Xeons in Q2 of 2022. However, it will maybe get delayed to Q3 of 2022. Intel doesn't plan to increase prices to remain competitive with AMD, so the server space will see Intel fighting to regain the lost market share.

AMD to Refresh the Radeon RX 6000 Desktop Series with Faster Memory

AMD is preparing a round of updates to its desktop Radeon RX 6000 series in the wake of RTX 30-series models by NVIDIA, according to Greymon55, a reliable source with GPU rumors. The company could be leveraging faster 18 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips for the task. This wouldn't be the first RX 6000 series products with 18 Gbps memory, as the liquid-cooled MBA (made-by-AMD) RX 6900 XT that's exclusive to OEMs, already comes with 18 Gbps memory clocks.

Mass-production of JEDEC-standard GDDR6 memory chips with data-rates as high as 20 Gbps and 24 Gbps by Samsung is expected to get underway later this year. The company is already sampling these chips, and it's likely that they may feature in the next round of product-stack updates by AMD and NVIDIA. In the run up to its next-gen RDNA3 graphics architecture, AMD is rumored to be working on a refresh of RDNA2 on the new TSMC N6 (6 nm) foundry node that it already leverages for the entry-level "Navi 24" ASIC. This is expected to open up headroom to dial up engine clocks, and possibly support faster memory. As for this latest refresh with 18 Gbps memory, if AMD's naming convention for its mobile RX 6850M is anything to go by, the new SKUs could feature a similar "xx50" model numbering.

NVIDIA's Custom RTX 3090 Ti Graphics Cards Reach $4,000 Pricing in Europe

NVIDIA's RTX 3090 Ti is hot on the presses, and while actual product availability is anyone's guess, the card has already been made available for order (in extremely limited quantities, as one might expect). That said, the lack of a clear pricing messaging from NVIDIA seems to have left the door open for truly egregious pricing practices, which are likely added to at every step of the supply chain from the green team's AIB (add-in-board) partners and their custom RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards. Case in point: European, Swiss retailer Top Preise has started listing the latest NVIDIA halo card at a cool, not at all jaw-dropping average of €3,600 ($4,000). This is easily the highest-ever-pricing practiced on a consumer-level graphics card, so if anything, 2022 seems to have at least brought us that particular record-setting. Of course, pricing of a single retailer doesn't prove a pricing trend; but the fact that the cards are priced at untidy values does seem to indicate these aren't placeholder values.

This is much the case as has happened with NVIDIA's recent launch of the RTX 3080 12 GB - that card too didn't receive public MSRP guidance from NVIDIA, leaving its board partners - and retailers - to carve whatever pricing philosophy they deem adequate, considering the current state of the market, expected demand for NVIDIA's latest and greatest, and, of course, additional profits. Considering how the RTX 3080 12 GB has been found in store shelves for around $1,700 (remember the original MSRP for the RTX 3080 8 GB was set at $699), an upgrade to the RTX 3090 Ti would be a very expensive, $2,300 proposition for a relatively small performance improvement.
Sunday, January 16th 2022

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight System Returns to the Markets

Leading gaming accessory maker Turtle Beach Corporation today announced the brand's award-winning VelocityOne Flight simulation control system has been restocked and is now available. VelocityOne Flight is one of Turtle Beach's most pre-ordered products and has sold-out multiple times due to strong demand since its initial release in November 2021. The only modern all-in-one flight control system, VelocityOne Flight delivers a new level of realism and simplicity for gamers taking to the virtual skies on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. Paired with its unbeatable MSRP of $379.95, VelocityOne Flight has received an abundance of critical acclaim, driving continued interest in Turtle Beach's groundbreaking flight simulation control system. With today's restock announcement, fans can now get their hands on VelocityOne Flight and effortlessly guide their favorite aircraft into the sky.

"As the first entry in a growing portfolio of simulation products, our team produced the best all-in-one flight control system for Xbox and PC and I'm pleased to see their hard work and dedication being recognized by critics and fans alike," said Juergen Stark, Chairman and CEO, Turtle Beach Corporation. "It is clear that we delivered a remarkable flight sim controller, and we're excited to now be able to have more fliers take to the skies with the VelocityOne Flight."

Silicon Power Announces the XPOWER XS70 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD

The all-new XPOWER XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD from Silicon Power (SP) is about to take gaming to new highs with its thrilling performance and unique design that will give hardcore gamers the boost to take on opponents for hours on end.

With a standard data transfer rate that's 2x faster than the 3.0 version, the XS70 PCIe Gen4 x4 with 3D NAND flash memory and NVMe 1.4 support is exactly what serious gamers need to crush the competition. Mind-blowing continuous read and write speeds up to 7,300 MB/s and 6,800 MB/s, respectively, enable the XS70 to push the limits of what an SSD can do so you can break new records.

Scythe Releases SCMK-1700B Mounting Kit for Intel LGA1700

Scythe releases a revised version of 1700 mounting kit (SCMK-1700B) in 2022. The four mounting angles have evolved from fixed struts into fine-cut plow bolts. This allows the SCMK-1700B mounting kit to have more solid contact pressure to the CPU surface than SCMK-1700. The SCMK-1700B kit is already available for the Japan and Taiwan market and will be available for purchase in mid-end of March in the USA and Europe, for listing in other regions please contact Scythe local agents.

Intel and Windows 11 Deprecating SGX Breaks 4K Blu-ray Playback

It took a while for this discovery as it's probably rare for people with modern PCs to also have Blu-ray optical drives. Apparently PCs with Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake," and older 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake" processors, as well as the latest Windows 11 OS, are unable to playback protected 4K Blu-ray video discs, as the DRM component is broken in the absence of Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX). Intel introduced SGX with 6th Gen Core "Skylake," and deprecated it with "Rocket Lake." To be clear, playback of Blu-ray discs at 1080p isn't affected.

CyberLink, makers of the PowerDVD software that's bundled as an OEM application with optical drives to play back protected Blu-ray video; put out a statement on its website confirming that they're unable to help with this situation, as they don't control the DRM, the Blu-ray Association does. "The removal of the SGX feature, and its compatibility with the latest Windows OS and drivers, has caused a substantial challenge for CyberLink to continue supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray movie playback in our player software," it stated. Just to clarify, this only affects playback of Blu-Ray content at 4K—1080p is not affected.

Many Thanks to Steevo for the tip.

Arctic Introduces P14 RGB & P14 A-RGB Fans

ARCTIC, one of the leading manufacturers of low-noise PC coolers and components, expands the RGB fan portfolio with 140 mm variants of the P-series with PWM PST. The P14 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB and P14 PWM PST RGB 0dB are available starting now as single fans as well as in a three-fan bundle. The PWM fan control enables dynamic speed adjustment. At low load, the case fans automatically switch to silent passive mode.

With 12 RGB-LEDs and the ARCTIC P14 fans, the case will glow in the color of your choice; in the A-RGB version, there are virtually no limits to the lighting effects. The P14 PWM PST A-RGB and RGB fans have tested compatibility with the (A-)RGB standards of leading motherboard manufacturers and are therefore interoperable with their connectors and software. This makes installation and configuration especially easy. The P14 PWM PST RGB 0 dB is available in the Value Pack with the software-controlled ARCTIC lighting controller, which allows freely configurable LED modes in addition to numerous presets.

Intel "Raptor Lake" Rumored to Feature Massive Cache Size Increases

Large on-die caches are expected to be a major contributor to IPC and gaming performance. The upcoming AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor triples its on-die last-level cache using the 3D Vertical Cache technology, to level up to Intel's "Alder Lake-S" processors in gaming, while using the existing "Zen 3" IP. Intel realizes this, and is planning a massive increase in on-die cache sizes, although spread across the cache hierarchy. The next-generation "Raptor Lake-S" desktop processor the company plans to launch in the second half of 2022 is rumored to feature 68 MB of "total cache" (that's AMD lingo for L2 + L3 caches), according to a highly plausible theory by PC enthusiast OneRaichu on Twitter, and illustrated by Olrak29_.

The "Raptor Lake-S" silicon is expected to feature eight "Raptor Cove" P-cores, and four "Gracemont" E-core clusters (each cluster amounts to four cores). The "Raptor Cove" core is expected to feature 2 MB of dedicated L2 cache, an increase over the 1.25 MB L2 cache per "Golden Cove" P-core of "Alder Lake-S." In a "Gracemont" E-core cluster, four CPU cores share an L2 cache. Intel is looking to double this E-core cluster L2 cache size from 2 MB per cluster on "Alder Lake," to 4 MB per cluster. The shared L3 cache increases from 30 MB on "Alder Lake-S" (C0 silicon), to 36 MB on "Raptor Lake-S." The L2 + L3 caches hence add up to 68 MB. All eyes are now on "Zen 4," and whether AMD gives the L2 caches an increase from the 512 KB per-core size that it's consistently maintained since the first "Zen."
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