Friday, February 15th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Storage
Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM Fan

Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM Fan

Noctua's recent addition to their budget-friendly redux series is the NF-P12 series, which introduces a pressure-optimized fan design at an affordable price point. It delivers good performance at more-than-acceptable noise levels and aims to encourage Noctua adoption in the PC DIY watercooling market.
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

The Glorious PC Gaming Race as a peripherals company is most known for their keyboard, the aptly named Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard. This review goes over the GMMK in detail, covering its features, including the swappable mechanical switches, extensive onboard controls for per-key RGB backlighting, and software driver support.

Metro Exodus Packaging Appears, Steam Logo Simply Hidden Under A Sticker

The drama surrounding Metro Exodus continues unabated. Deep Silver which has ownership over the IP, was the one that decided to pull Metro Exodus from Steam in favor of a 1-year timed exclusivity deal on the Epic Games Store. If you've been following the drama thus far this is all public information. Furthermore, it was speculated that this move was made at the very last minute considering other retailers were originally advertising preorders as being Steam keys for quite some time right up until the news of the digital platform switch broke. Lending more credence to the fact this was a disruptive switch at the last minute is the physical packaging which was not altered for the game's launch and instead has a sticker covering the Steam logo. Truly for such an outstanding game, the mess of its launch should be remembered as a great example of how not to release a game.

ID-Cooling Reveals IS-30 Low-Profile Air Cooler for up to 100 W CPUs

ID-cooling today revealed another entry into their air-cooling line-up, specifically geared for space.-constrained environments that still require adequate cooling capabilities for low operating noise. The IS-30 is a low-profile cooler (30 mm along the Z plane, unsurprisingly) that supports up to 100 W CPU cooling - this means that even 8-core AMD Ryzen 2000 series can be cooled by this baby.

The direct contact, four copper heatpipe design ensures that heat is carried from the processor the array of aluminum fins, and then expelled by usage of a 92-mm PWM fan that spins at 800 ~ 3600 RPM and up to 40 CFM in terms of airflow. The maximum noise levels of 35.8 dB(A) should seem like an acceptable trade-off. It weighs 310 grams, which shouldn't put too big a strain on your system - if it's to remain vertical at all, as these solutions seldom are. No word on pricing at time of writing.

Steam Fanatics Review-bomb "Metro Exodus" on Metacritic

"Metro Exodus" is the week's big AAA PC launch, and the latest entry to the post-apocalyptic horror-survival shooter franchise by 4A Games. The Ukrainian studio recently pulled the game from Steam and made it an exclusive with rival DRM platform Epic Games, in pursuit of a higher revenue-share. This invited inexplicable hatred from Steam users, who appear to have review-bombed the game on review ratings aggregator Metacritic.

Metacritic presents averages of reviews by media publications and user-reviews side-by-side. This is vital as it helps uninformed or undecided gamers know if a game is overrated by the media. In case of "Exodus," Much of the 0-rated user-reviews include lines that criticize the game's non-availability on Steam or its withdrawal from the platform. The Metacritic review-bombing is the latest episode in a long saga of animosity between Steam users and "Exodus" developer 4A Games. 4A Games did initially solicit pre-orders for the game on Steam, and abruptly stopped its sales late-January. Those who had pre-ordered would continue to receive the game and its updates. 4A muddied the waters further by responding to initial criticism from Steam users by threatening to desert the PC platform as a whole, inviting more bile from some really angry gamers. The game received "generally positive" reviews from professional game reviewers.

MSI Redesigns GAMING, ARMOR Graphics Cards for GTX 1660 Ti Launch

Leaked images of MSI's upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards show a redesign of their high-tier offerings. As we've already covered, it seemsn that NVIDIA's GTX 1660 Ti will be the NVIDIA silicon with most partner custom designs and SKUs, and for good reason - it's expected this card will succeed the GTX 1060 in terms of popularity in the mainstream gamer market. The new revisions accompany market trends in adding RGB lighting and some angular revisions.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X will be one of MSI's topmost models, with the highest clock speed, and a design revision in a favor of a black and gray color scheme and RGB lights. It looks classy and understated, even with the RGB lighting, which is something that's increasingly rare to find. The new ARMOS graphics card also has an understated, industrial design, with some more detailed cutouts in the plastic housing, and an interesting mix of black and white. The GeForce GTX branding makes a comeback in these graphics cards, which make use of a single 8-pin connector.

Apex Legends the Fastest Growing Battle Royale FPS, with 25 Million Players in Just a Week

"Apex Legends," developed by Respawn Entertainment, and published by EA, has become the fastest growing online battle-royale shooter, with its popularity snowballing to over 25 million players in just the first week since launch. The game made a splash into the crowded online battle-royale genre that's dominated by "Fortnite" and "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds" aka PUBG, among dozens of knockoffs from independent developers. Apex Legends is being appreciated by players for having a polished, well-tested presentation, slick gameplay, reasonable eye-candy, low "pay-to-win" perception among players, good performance on entry-level and mainstream graphics hardware, and offering many of the inventory-management, gameplay, and teamplaying features felt lacking in other titles. The game is free-to-play, distributed through Origin.

Thermaltake Commander C Cases come with 200 mm ARGB Fans and Tempered Glass

Thermaltake, the leading PC DIY premium brand for Cooling, Gaming Gear and Enthusiast Memory solutions, launches the new Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis. Designed to expand the gaming spirit, the Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis takes the front panel design to the next level.

The Commander C Series inherits the Thermaltake classic chassis design and combines new design elements. The Commander C Series features six different models: C31, C32, C33, C34, C35 and C36, which target a wide range of PC gamers and enthusiasts. Each piece undergoes a rigorous process of survey, observation, experimentation, remodeling, and manufacture, to guarantee ultimate customer satisfaction. The Commander C Series features an enlarged tempered glass side panel, preinstalled two 200mm 5V ARGB front fans and one 120mm standard rear fan for optimal system ventilation. The 200mm 5V ARGB front fans deliver 16.8 million-color RGB illumination and sync with RGB capable motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock.

The Commander C Series comes equipped with GPU mounting, advanced cable management and flexibility for high-end components. The Commander C Series supports the latest PC hardware, and is not only fascinating in appearance but also powerful in performance. With six different models, the new Thermaltake Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis provides users limitless DIY options.

Synology Introduces DiskStation DS1019+

Synology today launched DiskStation DS1019+, a 5-bay desktop NAS with excellent performance and scalability, right for small offices and IT enthusiasts.

"For professional home or SOHO users, it's always struggling to find a NAS server providing outstanding performance, scalability, and applicability at the same time. DS1019+ eliminates all your concerns with a compact chassis design," said Kevin Meng, product manager of Synology Inc. "Featuring a quad-core processor, 8GB memory and dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots, DS1019+ allows you to create SSD cache without occupying any drive trays. Its dual-channel 4K video transcoding capability and scalable storage design also make it an ideal option for multimedia applications, perfectly suitable for ultra HD video streaming among all of your devices."

NVIDIA Reports Q4 and 2018 Financial Results - Down 45%

NVIDIA today reported revenue for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 27, 2019, of $2.21 billion, down 24 percent from $2.91 billion a year earlier, and down 31 percent from $3.18 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.92, down 48 percent from $1.78 a year ago and down 53 percent from $1.97 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.80, down 53 percent from $1.72 a year earlier and down 57 percent from $1.84 in the previous quarter. For fiscal 2019, revenue was $11.72 billion, up 21 percent from $9.71 billion a year earlier. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $6.63, up 38 percent from $4.82 a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $6.64, up 35 percent from $4.92 a year earlier.
"This was a turbulent close to what had been a great year," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "The combination of post-crypto excess channel inventory and recent deteriorating end-market conditions drove a disappointing quarter.

"Despite this setback, NVIDIA's fundamental position and the markets we serve are strong. The accelerated computing platform we pioneered is central to some of world's most important and fastest growing industries - from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles to robotics. We fully expect to return to sustained growth," he said.
Thursday, February 14th 2019
MSI MEG X299 CREATION

MSI MEG X299 CREATION

From the elite family of products dubbed MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) comes another cutting-edge board with unique features and accessories. The MEG X299 CREATION is yet another board that promises to go above and beyond, so I took the review and turned it to 11.

AMD Doesn't Believe in NVIDIA's DLSS, Stands for Open SMAA and TAA Solutions

A report via PCGamesN places AMD's stance on NVIDIA's DLSS as a rather decided one: the company stands for further development of SMAA (Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Antialiasing) and TAA (Temporal Antialising) solutions on current, open frameworks, which, according to AMD's director of marketing, Sasa Marinkovic, "(...) are going to be widely implemented in today's games, and that run exceptionally well on Radeon VII", instead of investing in yet another proprietary solution. While AMD pointed out that DLSS' market penetration was a low one, that's not the main issue of contention. In fact, AMD decides to go head-on against NVIDIA's own technical presentations, comparing DLSS' image quality and performance benefits against a native-resolution, TAA-enhanced image - they say that SMAA and TAA can work equally as well without "the image artefacts caused by the upscaling and harsh sharpening of DLSS."

Of course, AMD may only be speaking from the point of view of a competitor that has no competing solution. however, company representatives said that they could, in theory develop something along the lines of DLSS via a GPGPU framework - a task for which AMD's architectures are usually extremely well-suited. But AMD seems to take the eyes of its DLSS-defusing moves, however, as AMD's Nish Neelalojanan, a Gaming division exec, talks about potential DLSS-like implementations across "Some of the other broader available frameworks, like WindowsML and DirectML", and that these are "something we [AMD] are actively looking at optimizing… At some of the previous shows we've shown some of the upscaling, some of the filters available with WindowsML, running really well with some of our Radeon cards." So whether it's an actual image-quality philosophy, or just a competing technology's TTM (time to market) one, only AMD knows.

Metro Exodus Now Available For Preload On Steam

For those who got lucky enough to pre-order Metro Exodus on Steam before its defection to the Epic Games store are now able to pre-load the title in preparation for its launch. It will require 51 GB of storage space, so if your connection is a bit slower, you'll be waiting a while for it to download, which means the Steam pre-load period quite beneficial. For those that bought the title elsewhere and have to go through the Epic Game store, you will have to wait for the official launch since the platform does not currently support preloading of soon to be released games. This will likely make those with slower connections a bit irked since it means they will be waiting even longer to play the title come release day.

The fact Metro Exodus was pulled from Steam but can still be preloaded on the platform, while the Epic Game store will force users to wait will likely just add to the drama and controversy. However, if you step away for a moment and focus on the game itself one thing remains breathtakingly clear, the game is quite astonishing in regards to the graphics, even with RTX disabled. You can take a closer look for yourself in our performance analysis of Metro Exodus.

EA, Bioware Partner With Oats Studios and Neil Blomkamp to Produce Conviction - An Anthem Story

Neil Blomkamp is one of today's most well-regarded sci-fi filmmakers - and for good reason. While you may know him for his feature-length films (such as the legendary District 9 and the even more legendary, for me, Elysium), he has been making forays into conceptual filmmaking ever since he set up Oats Studios. The goal for Oats Studios was to create cinematographic thought-experiments with a sci-fi twist, and the studios have released a number of great works that you can follow on their YouTube (such as Zygote, Firebase, and Rakka), even going so far as to fully experiment with the power of Unity in the making of some seriously impressive pieces in their Adam series. If you don't know the studio's work yet, do yourself a favor and take a look.

That said, EA and Bioware have clearly picked up on the potential for Oats Studios, and ordered a cinematic, live-action story set on the Anthem universe. Named Conviction, the short serves as a teaser for the games' release, and showcases the impressive world of Anthem being brought to life with real people and settings. I won't dive into much detail here; I've given you the background. Suffice it to say that I am left even more wanting in regards to Neil Blomkamp's canceled Halo project after watching this. I bet you'd love to see something such as this brought to life in more detail and depth than a short three minutes and forty-five seconds allow for.

NVIDIA TU116 GPU Pictured Up Close: Noticeably Smaller than TU106

Here is the first picture of NVIDIA's 12 nm "TU116" silicon, which powers the upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. While the size of the package itself is identical to that of the "TU106" on which the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 are based; the die of the TU116 is visibly smaller. This is because the chip physically lacks RT cores, and only has two-thirds the number of CUDA cores as the TU106, with 1,536 against the latter's 2,304. The die area, too, is about 2/3rds that of the TU106. The ASIC version of TU116 powering the GTX 1660 Ti is "TU116-400-A1."

VideoCardz scored not just pictures of the ASIC, but also the PCB of an MSI GTX 1660 Ti Ventus graphics card, which reveals something very interesting. The PCB has traces for eight memory chips, across a 256-bit wide memory bus, although only six of them are populated with memory chips, making up 6 GB over a 192-bit bus. The GPU's package substrate, too, is of the same size. It's likely that NVIDIA is using a common substrate, with an identical pin-map between the TU106 and TU116, so AIC partners could reduce PCB development costs.

beyerdynamic Drives Wireless Innovation with Xelento

beyerdynamic, one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and conferencing products, announces Xelento, a wireless, in-ear headphone combining outstanding quality and cutting technology to create an exciting musical experience. The Xelento wireless features beyerdynamic's innovative, miniaturized Tesla drivers, aptX HD Bluetooth technology and MOSAYC sound personalization by Mimi Defined.

beyerdynamic's Xelento wireless bridges the gap for convenient on-the-go solutions and sophisticated luxury headphones by creating a single solution to combine two worlds. Xelento's drivers and acoustic design provide uncompromising sound with Bluetooth connectivity to enable comfortable listening in any environment. Xelento's breathtaking Tesla drivers are recognized among audio enthusiasts for their incredible sound, precise impulses, exceptional transparency and acoustic balance ranging from tight bass to detailed highs. Featuring a sleek design, the Xelento wireless is both an exquisite piece of jewelry and an audiophile listening device creating a platinum state for in-ear headphones.

2019 the Year of 1TB SSDs: Prices Fall by 50%

1-Terabyte SSDs could become a new mainstream-desktop must-have in 2019, as prices of the drives have fallen by 50 percent year-over-year, according to DigiTimes. A 1 TB SATA SSD in the 2.5-inch form-factor can now be had for as little as $99, while faster NVMe drives in the M.2 form-factor start around $130. At the beginning of 2018, 1 TB SATA SSDs used to start around the $160-mark, and NVMe drives north of $200. The 1 TB category includes 960 GB, 1000 GB, and 1024 GB marketed capacities with varying amounts of overprovisioning set by manufacturers.

Falling SSD prices are accelerated by the entry of cost-effective 96-layer 3D NAND flash, higher-density QLC NAND flash, undigested inventories of drives based on older technologies such as 64-layer or TLC NAND flash; and a 15 percent sequential quarterly drop in NAND flash prices in the industry. Growth in speeds of client-segment SSDs have remained largely flat over the year, and not much is to be expected in performance growth other than perhaps the advent of PCIe gen 4.0 based enterprise SSDs towards the end of the year.

SMART Modular Announces New N200 Family of SATA Flash Products

SMART Modular Technologies, a leader in specialty memory, storage and hybrid solutions including memory modules, Flash memory cards and other solid state storage products, today announced the introduction of its N200 line of SATA products. With burst speed and low power consumption, the N200 family is an ideal economic option for NAS/SAN storage systems, x86 server-storage appliances, distributed scale-out servers, telecom and networking routers and switches, industrial control, printers and more.

Built with Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology, the new N200 line of SATA products, consisting of the mSATA (MO-300), the M.2 2242 and 2280, the Slim SATA (MO-297), and the removable 2.5" solid state drive form factors, delivers the advantages of economical, industrial-grade non-volatile memory to embedded computing applications. The N200 SATA products are offered in capacities ranging from 32GB to 1TB, depending on form factor, and all are available in industrial and commercial temperatures.
Wednesday, February 13th 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Notebooks
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage
Metro Exodus Benchmark Performance, RTX & DLSS

Metro Exodus Benchmark Performance, RTX & DLSS

Metro Exodus launches this week. We thoroughly tested the game's technical aspect, on 3 resolutions, with 16 graphics cards, including the whole RTX lineup and Radeon VII. We also have a ton of screenshots and side-by-side image comparison using NVIDIA RTX and DLSS.
NVIDIA DLSS Test in Battlefield V

NVIDIA DLSS Test in Battlefield V

Today's Battlefield V update has brought numerous improvements to the game, including long-awaited support for NVIDIA's DLSS technology. We took a closer look at image quality with DLSS on and off and measured its performance cost.

Intel Core i9-9990XE OEM-only, Even Then it's a Lottery

In a sign of just how arid the DIY retail channel has become for Intel, Tom's Hardware reports that the new socket flagship LGA2066 HEDT processor model Intel sneaked into its product-stack, the Core i9-9990XE, is restricted to the OEM/SI (system integrator) channel. Even to OEMs, ordering a tray of i9-9990XE chips isn't as simple as ordering other chips, such as the i9-9900K. Apparently, Intel has been running secret online auctions that are OEM-only, for these chips. OEMs get to bid on the per-chip price in n-unit tray quantities.

Workstation integrator Puget Systems was able to score itself some i9-9990XE inventory at USD $2,300 per chip. Puget Systems last week received its first batch of chips from Intel, and released performance benchmarks. At this price, the i9-9990XE is being sold at a 21% premium over the retail-channel SEP price of the i9-9980XE, and a whopping 65% premium over the i9-9940X. Intel can't shake off comparisons between the i9-9990XE and the i9-9940X because both chips are 14-core/28-thread with 19.25 MB shared L3 cache, with the i9-9990XE only offering significantly higher clock-speeds, but at an astounding TDP of 255W. The i9-9990XE was shown beating the 18-core i9-9980XE in a variety of HEDT-relevant benchmarks.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 Beta Drivers

AMD today made available the latest version of their Radeon software drivers, Adrenalin Edition 19.2.2, for supported graphics solutions. This brings with it support for the recently released Radeon VII graphics card, in addition to equally new and upcoming game titles including Metro Exodus, Far Cry New Dawn, the Civ VI: Gathering Storm expansion, and Crackdown 3. More pleasing to many users no doubt will be the large list of fixed issues, including a timely Alt + Tab shortcut on a DisplayPort monitor and plenty of bug fixes related to Radeon Wattman as it pertains to the Radeon VII. The drivers are up for download at the link below, hosted directly on TechPowerUp for your convenience, and the full change log is available past the break for those interested.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.2.2

NVIDIA DLSS and its Surprising Resolution Limitations

TechPowerUp readers today were greeted to our PC port analysis of Metro Exodus, which also contained a dedicated section on NVIDIA RTX and DLSS technologies. The former brings in real-time ray tracing support to an already graphically-intensive game, and the latter attempts to assuage the performance hit via NVIDIA's new proprietary alternative to more-traditional anti-aliasing. There was definitely a bump in performance from DLSS when enabled, however we also noted some head-scratching limitations on when and how it can even be enabled, depending on the in-game resolution and RTX GPU employed. We then set about testing DLSS on Battlefield V, which was also available from today, and it was then that we noticed a trend.

Take Metro Exodus first, with the relevant notes in the first image below. DLSS can only be turned on for a specific combination of RTX GPUs ranging from the RTX 2060 to the RTX 2080 Ti, but NVIDIA appear to be limiting users to a class-based system. Users with the RTX 2060, for example, can't even use DLSS at 4K and, more egregiously, owners of the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti can not enjoy RTX and DLSS simultaneously at the most popular in-game resolution of 1920x1080, which would be useful to reach high FPS rates on 144 Hz monitors. Battlefield V has a similar, and yet even more divided system wherein the gaming flagship RTX 2080 Ti can not be used with RTX and DLSS at even 1440p, as seen in the second image below. This brought us back to Final Fantasy XV's own DLSS implementation last year, which was all or nothing at 4K resolution only. What could have prompted NVIDIA to carry this out? We speculate further past the break.

Unreal Engine Gets a Host of Real-Time Raytracing Features

Epic Games wants a slice of next-generation NVIDIA GameWorks titles that are bound to leverage the RTX feature-set of its hardware. The latest version of Unreal Engine 4, released as a preview-build, comes with a host of real-time ray-tracing features. In its change-log for Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview, Epic describes its real-time ray-tracing feature to be a "low level layer on top of UE DirectX 12 that provides support for DXR and allows creating and using ray tracing shaders (ray generation shaders, hit shaders, etc) to add ray tracing effects."

The hardware being reference here are the RT cores found in NVIDIA's "Turing RTX" GPUs. At the high-level, Unreal Engine 4 will support close to two dozen features that leverage DXR, including a denoiser for shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion; rectangular area lights, soft shadows, ray-traced reflections and AO, real-time global illumination, translucency, triangular meshes, and path-tracing. We could see Unreal Engine 4.22 get "stable" towards the end of 2019, to enable DXR-ready games of 2020.

Is Denuvo Falling Out of Favor? Another Bandai Namco Release Sheds the DRM Tech

Denuvo's technology has fallen out of efficacy, at least, with recent game releases sporting the technology being, overall, quickly cracked (some exceptions, that confirm the rule, exist, of course). However, the usual sales pitch of "protecting games' launch windows, where most of the revenue is made" hasn't been reflected on some of the high profile game releases as of late. While the market has kept using Denuvo technology as a DRM ftowards curbing piracy efforts, it seems that the technology's cost-to-profit ratio isn't working out so well for some companies to include it - such as Bandai Namco.

the company has recently launched God Eater 3, which shunned the Denuvo DRM solution in favor of more classic solutions (Steam). Ace Combat 7 still included the protection, and stands uncracked as of yet (12 days and counting). God Eater 3, which launched 4 days later, didn't include the protection, and the company's Jump Force videogame, launched just yesterday, didn't pack Denuvo either. This means that these two latest game releases have already been cracked, while Ace Combat 7 is holding out strong. Perhaps this signals an experiment being taken on at Bandai Namco's headquarters regarding the benefits of Denuvo usage, though it seems that a game like Ace Combat 7, which will likely sell particularly well in the western market compared to the other releases, did justify Denuvo more than the other releases - but only Bandai Namco knows whether this signals a shift in direction or not.

Activision Blizzard Doubling Down on Diablo, Warcraft IPs Amidst Changing Market

The times have been rough for the Activision Blizzard juggernaut, as changing market conditions and lack of differentiated IP launches have led the company into a sort of stagnant position in the market - in both launches and revenue sources. The recent split from Destiny developer Bungie took out a bite from one of the company's additional streams of revenue amidst dwindling World of Warcraft subscriptions (after the usual spike post launch for Battle of Azeroth) and the lack of any new sources of income in the close future. This saw the company's stock valuation coming down, and was bookended by the recent layoff of some 8% total of the company's workforce (around 800 out of its 9,600 employees). Reports peg these as being mostly outside of the game development workforce, though, which could give traction to the report that the company is doubling down on IP-related development, instead of shying away from it - a sensible move, if you'll ask me.

Activision Blizzard COO Coddy Johnson reiterated Blizzard's fantastic IP reserves, and wants the company to achieve a higher cadence in content releases that follow the type of high-quality launches they achieve in their World of Warcraft expansions - but on other, more differentiated revenue sources. Johnson also reiterated more resources being put to work on the Diablo franchise, saying that "Diablo's development headcount will grow substantially", with "The teams are working on several projects for the franchise as well as the global launch of Diablo Immortal."

ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Models With 3 GB VRAM Registered With the EEC

It seems that NVIDIA may be pulling another GTX 1060 when it comes to memory configurations of its upcoming midrange, non-RTX GPU. If ASUS' filling with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission) are anything to go by - and they usually are - then the green team is looking to tier their GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards via memory culling, offering it in both 6 GB and 3 GB versions. The GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 will supersede NVIDIA's highest-volume GTX

In all, there are 9 SKUs for the GTX 1660 Ti 3 GB graphics card being filed with the EEC, which usually preempts graphics card launches in those domains. These slot in nicely with ASUS' plans for 6 GB versions of the GTX 1660 Ti, almost to a card - though ASUS' STRIXX-branded graphics cards seem, for now, to only be available in 6 GB versions. Of course, the 3 GB of VRAM on the GTX 1060 allow the card to achieve a desirable performance/dollar ratio, but at the cost of some performance, with the penalty increasing alongside resolution - but these are cards that likely won't ever be used for 4K gaming. While 3 GB graphics cards still fare relatively well, as we've seen, the latest games are pushing over 3 GB of video RAM more often than not, which leaves the 3 GB version of the graphics card somewhat of a less than choice when it comes to AAA gaming. But when it comes to competitive multiplayer game,s it likely will be more than enough.

EK co-develops a heatsink for the Intel Optane 905P M.2 SSD

EK Water Blocks, the premium computer cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing a passive heatsink for the M.2 version of the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD. The passive heatsink ensures lower operating temperatures which expands the lifespan and improves the sustained performance of the drive. It ensures that the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD operates at its maximum possible performance by preventing thermal throttling during heavy workload cycles.

The 905P Intel Optane Drive uses around 9.35 W of power under load, which is challenging to dissipate without a dedicated cooling solution like the EK-M.2 Intel Optane Heatsink. The cooling performance of this solution by EK is achieved via thermal pads that transfer heat to the aluminum heatsink that is finned for a larger dissipation area. The design of the heatsink ensures that it is easy to install, it is low profile, easily reusable and aesthetically not intrusive.

Xilinx Introduces HDMI 2.1 IP Subsystem

Xilinx, Inc., the leader in adaptive and intelligent computing, today announced that it has introduced a complete HDMI 2.1 IP subsystem to its portfolio of intellectual property cores, enabling Xilinx devices to transmit, receive and process up to 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) ultra-high-definition (UHD) video in pro AV equipment, including cameras, streaming media players, professional monitors, LED walls, projectors and KVM, as well as broadcast products such as end points and infrastructure that are being upgraded to handle 8K video.

Customers are increasingly adopting machine learning to monetize and improve workflows in diverse applications such as broadcast, pro AV, automotive and surveillance. HDMI 2.1 data rates are provided by Xilinx's highly reliable high-speed I/O transceivers. This, combined with native 8K interfaces supported by HDMI 2.1 now make it possible to replace several ASSP's or fixed-function products support processing, compression, high-quality analytics and decision-making with a single Xilinx device.

SteelSeries Cross-platform Game Controllers Get Full "Fortnite" Support

SteelSeries, the global leader in gaming peripherals, today announces full Fortnite compatibility across all its mobile controllers including the new Stratus Duo, Stratus XL and Nimbus. This comprehensive family of critically acclaimed controllers is ready for Fortnite on mobile or PC. "With the massive success of Fortnite, we want to ensure gamers have the best possible gaming experience regardless of what platform they're playing on," said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries Chief Technical Officer.

DIYPC and TechPowerUp New Year's Resolution Giveaway: The Winners

DIYPC and TechPowerUp brought you the New Year's Resolution Giveaway through late-January and February 8. A DIYPC Trio-GT RGB case and Rainbow-RGB 120 mm fan are up for grabs. The Trio-GT RGB case packs a balanced combination of tempered glass, RGB LED lighting, and a highly practical case layout. The Rainbow-RGB 120 mm is a neat package of RGB LED lighting and durable bearing. From thousands of entries, two winners are randomly selected. Without further ado, the winners:
  • Courtney from the United States: Wins a DIYPC Trio-GT RGB case
  • Bruno from Portugal and Matt from the United States: Win a Rainbow-RGB 120 mm, each.
TechPowerUp will return with more interesting Giveaways.

Plugable Launches the First NVMe SSD Enclosure with a Completely Tool-free Design

Plugable, the leading developer of USB, Thunderbolt, Bluetooth and power-related devices, launches the 10Gb USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2) NVMe SSD Enclosure, the first high performance NVMe enclosure to feature a completely tool-free, spring-loaded design for inserting and removing a compatible SSD, along with advanced thermal management to maximize performance and device lifespan.

With a sleek and slim profile, a rugged aluminum body for improved heat dissipation, and USB Type-A and Type-C host compatibility, the Plugable USB-C NVMe Enclosure is an optimal solution for safeguarding SSDs when moving from the workplace to the home office and achieving maximum transfer performance speeds on PCs, Macs and Linux devices.

NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Optimizes Battlefield V and Metro Exodus for DLSS

NVIDIA today released the latest version of GeForce desktop software. Version 418.91 WHQL adds day-one optimization for "Metro Exodus," including the game's RTX support. It also adds support for DLSS in both "Battlefield V" and "Metro Exodus." This last part is crucial because DLSS requires a lot of pre-processed "ground truth" data from NVIDIA to work, which are shipped in driver updates like these. The drivers also fix a wide range of issues related to G-SYNC, "Apex Legends," display corruption on "Hitman 2," and "ARK Survival." Grab them from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL

The change-log follows.

Battlefield V Gets NVIDIA DLSS Support

Battlefield V became the first AAA title to support NVIDIA Deep-learning Supersampling or DLSS, a new-generation image-quality enhancement feature exclusive to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards, since it requires tensor cores. The feature was introduced as part of its comprehensive Battlefield V Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes Update late Tuesday. To use it, DXR must be enabled in the game. In its release notes for the update, EA-DICE describes DLSS as a feature "which uses deep learning to improve game performance while maintaining visual quality." The developers also improved the way the deploy screen displays on ultrawide monitors on the PC, particularly with the "Rotterdam" map.

Update: We have posted an article, taking a closer look at the DLSS implementation in Battlefield V.

Corsair Unveils Five 12-module Vengeance LPX DDR4 Memory Kits for W-3175X

Corsair unveiled four new Vengeance LPX series DDR4 memory kits tailored for high-end desktops based on the Xeon W-3175X processor. Of these, one is a 96 GB (12 x 8 GB) kit, and the other four 192 GB (12 x 16 GB), which max out the processor's memory support. The 96 GB kit (CMK96GX4M12P4000C19) ticks at DDR4-4000 MHz, and 19-23-23-45 timings at 1.35 V. The 192 GB kit comes in four flavors based on speed: DDR4-2667, DDR4-3200, DDR4-3600, and DDR4-4000. Corsair has tested the XMP 2.0 profiles of these modules to work on the ASUS ROG Dominus motherboard.

The top-dog 192 GB DDR4-4000 kit (CMK192GX4M12P4000C19) is priced at USD $2,999. It achieves DDR4-4000 with 19-23-23-45 timings and 1.35 V. The 192 GB DDR4-3600 kit (CMK192GX4M12P3600C18) goes for $2,319, with 18-19-19-39 timings, and 1.35 V. The 192 GB DDR4-3200 kit (CMK192GX4M12P3200C16) is significantly cheaper at $1,719, and ticks at 16-18-18-36. Lastly, the most "affordable" 192 GB DDR4-2666 kit (CMK192GX4M12P2666C16) can be yours for $1,584. You get 16-18-18-35 timings at 1.2 V. The DDR4-4000 models of both the 96 GB and 192 GB kits include a set of two Vengeance Airflow memory coolers.

NZXT Unveils the HUE 2 LED Strips: See Your Battlestation in a New Light

NZXT, a leading developer of software-powered hardware solutions for PC gaming, today announces two new sizes of RGB LED strips for the HUE 2 RGB lighting kit, powered by CAM. Available now in 200mm and 250mm, the new sizes expand the HUE 2 ecosystem to over 10 different RGB products, giving PC builders even more ways to mix-and-match their RGB accessories for a better fit, no matter the case size.

One of the key innovations in the new HUE 2 family is the addition of a microcontroller to every single RGB accessory. This innovative, patent-pending feature allows each HUE 2 component to identify its specific LED configuration, breaking the limits faced by existing RGB components available today. In addition to the different LED counts and unique accessories in the HUE 2 product line, the new LED strip lengths in 200mm, with 6 LEDs, and 250mm, with 8 LEDs, offer higher flexibility for different PC form factors.
Tuesday, February 12th 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) 500 GB

WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) 500 GB

WD Black NVMe is Western Digital's premium M.2 SSD for demanding gamers and enthusiasts. It uses an 8-channel SSD controller paired with SanDisk 3D TLC flash. Priced at $105 for the reviewed 500 GB version, it comes at reasonable pricing, and offers outstanding performance.

EVGA x deadmau5 Project and Giveaway

Canadian electronic music producer and mau5trap label head deadmau5 is one of the most prominent fixtures in the international dance scene of the last decade, instantly recognizable with his signature oversized mau5 head. Known for his live sets and highly produced stage set-ups, he is also an avid video gamer - contributing to soundtracks for Grand Theft Auto, Need for Speed, and more.

The EVGA x deadmau5 project was sparked by a tweet posted by deadmau5 asking his community where he could get a quality gaming PC to use while traveling. EVGA reached out and suggested building a mITX PC with the EVGA Hadron chassis. Both sides further discussed the case and EVGA offered to build a gaming PC using its EVGA Hadron air and hardware.

TSMC 7nm EUV Process to Enter Mass-Production in March 2019

TSMC is giving final touches to set its flagship 7 nanometer EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) silicon fabrication node at its highest state of readiness for business, called mass-production. At this state, the node can mass-produce products for TSMC's customers. TSMC had taped out its first 7 nm EUV chips in October 2018. The company will also begin risk-production of the more advanced 5 nm node in April, staying on schedule. Mass production of 5 nm chips could commence in the first half of 2020.

The 7 nm EUV node augments TSMC's 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet lithography) node that's been already active since April 2018, and producing chips for AMD, Apple, HiSilicon, and Xilinx. At the turn of the year, 7 nm DUV made up 9 percent of TSMC's shipments. With the new node going online, 7 nm (DUV + EUV) could make up 25 percent of TSMC's output by the end of 2019.

Antec Starts Selling the Dark Avenger 601 Case

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, announces the DA601: a case engineered for performance and built for the ultimate Gaming PC. The case delivers a combination of cooling, performance, and convenience. Its aesthetics will appeal to gamers and enthusiasts who prefer a futuristic yet functional appearance. The DA601 features X-ARGB-Strips on the front panel while the mesh design allows the light of the included 120mm Prizm ARGB fan to shine through. The DA601 will soon reach store shelves and online retail outlets in Europe with a competitive MSRP of 93 Euros.

The DA601 features an exceptionally robust cooling system to be prepared for the most demanding Gaming battles. The mid-tower comes with one pre-installed 120 mm Prizm ARGB fan and one regular 120mm fan in the rear. The chassis offers space for additional two 120 mmm fans in the front and three 120 mm or two 140 mm fans on the top. The frame measures 480 x 220 x 500 mm (D x W x H) and supports E-ATX (up to 12" x 11"), ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards as well as graphics cards with a maximum length of 400 mm and power supplies with a maximum length of 200 mm.

Xtrfy Unveils the Xtrfy H2 Gaming Headset for Extended Gaming Sessions

Ninjas in Pyjamas' gaming gear brand Xtrfy has announced its first product launch of 2019. The new Xtrfy H2 gaming headset hits stores this March. Following up their premium esports headset, H1, Swedish gaming gear specialists Xtrfy are now announcing the launch of the new addition to their audio range. The Xtrfy H2 is a headset ready for competitive gaming, at a competitive price point.

"We're truly excited to introduce the Xtrfy H2. Not only because we're proud of what this headset brings to the table - it's also a new chapter for us as it completes our audio range and makes Xtrfy headsets available to gamers of all levels", says Joakim Jansson, CEO at Xtrfy.

Advantech Unveils New Lineup of SQRAM DDR4 32GB Unbuffered Memory for HPC

Advantech, a leading global flash storage and memory solutions provider in the embedded market, announces the industry's most comprehensive lineup of 32GB DDR4 unbuffered DIMM memory. Advantech SQRAM offers single 32GB DRAM modules in various DIMM types including SODIMM, UDIMM, ECC DIMM, and extremely robust Rugged DIMM with guaranteed wide temperature operation for high performance computing in applications such as networking and military.

As the global IoT market gradually embraces big data and edge computing, demand for high data and performance processing is increasing. SQRAM 32 GB unbuffered DIMM memory uses Samsung's 16 Gb 2666 MT/s IC chips for high reliability requirements in mission critical applications. SQRAM 32 GB wide temperature operation (-40~85 °C) Rugged DIMM offers extreme vibration resistance, plus ECC checking to ensure data accuracy.

AMD Clarifies Radeon VII Pro Driver Support: No WS Certifications

Monday we were treated to news we felt was too good to be true at the back of our minds, that AMD is adding a host of Radeon Pro features to its flagship client-segment Radeon VII graphics card, by enabling support in its upcoming Pro 19.Q1 drivers. The company today released a clarification on the matter, and explained that while it's true that some Radeon Pro features are being enabled, such as enterprise-grade security, standard feature-set, and Pro-grade driver stability; key features such as 3D application certifications and optimizations are being excluded. These would be the features you pay top-Dollar to buy Radeon Pro or competing NVIDIA Quadro products for. The drivers also lack enterprise remote workstation features.

AMD clarified the reasoning behind this partial Radeon Pro driver support that's along the lines of its Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition feature-set: to enable businesses to use both Radeon Pro and client-segment Radeon VII products across their infrastructure. They could, in theory, have a workstation set up with a Radeon Pro graphics card to satisfy application certification, and render some of their workloads on a Radeon VII installed on the same machine.
The full AMD statement on the matter follows.

AMD Outs UEFI-ready Video BIOS for Radeon VII, Company Promises One-click Updater

As a follow-up to our story from Monday about AMD missing out UEFI BIOS support for its Radeon VII graphics cards, AMD has come out with a quick response. The company in a statement said that it is ready with a UEFI-ready video BIOS for the Radeon VII, and has released the BIOS to its partners. This explains ASRock's timely release of its BIOS update. The company also assured those unwilling to manually update their video BIOS that it will have one-click automatic BIOS updates posted on the AMD website very soon. AMD reiterated that the older BIOS and the new one with UEFI GOP support won't have any performance differences. The new BIOS will make your machine start up faster, since your motherboard will no longer need to load CSM. AMD's full statement follows.
AMD has released a BIOS for the Radeon VII with UEFI GOP included for our AIB partners. We will also make a one click installable BIOS available to end users via AMD.com. We do not expect gaming performance differences between the non UEFI BIOS and the UEFI GOP included BIOS, although the non UEFI BIOS may experience slower boot times from cold boot.
Monday, February 11th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Speakers
Tt eSPORTS Talon Elite Gaming Gear Combo

Tt eSPORTS Talon Elite Gaming Gear Combo

When it comes to mice, Tt eSPORTS is mostly known for their great prices. The Talon Elite RGB Gaming Gear Combo is no different as it offers mouse and mouse pad for below $30. The mouse features a PMW3325 optical sensor, main switches rated for 20 million clicks, and, of course, a lot of great-looking RGB effects.

SuperMicro Gearing for Launch of New Gaming-Grade Motherboards With PCIe Gen4 and DDR5 Wave

SuperMicro may not be household name in consumer motherboards right now, but they once were a decent alternative in the market - or so I've been told by people much more knowledgeable than me in that regard, as I never laid my hands on one. The company is now more known for its server products, where it has focused most of its attention in the past decade - an effort that gave it a good, third-place hold in that market. And if the company can command such a market share in a much more requirements-heavy environment such as the server market demands, then it's likely those design decisions and developments will find themselves trickling down to the consumer side in any sort of consumer, gaming-grade product the company decided to tackle.

To that end, SuperMicro is gearing up to re introduce themselves to the consumer market, accompanying the wave of new technologies coming to the market in a few years - namely, PCIe Gen 4 and DDR5 memory. The company seems to think that this will mark a perfect opportunity for a strong comeback to the consumer market - where they now only offer a handful of motherboard solutions for Intel's CPUs. One such example is the C9Z390-PGW motherboard, based on Intel's Z390 chipset - with its 10-phase VRM design, PLC chip for doubling of PCIe lanes, and 10 Gigabit Lan. But not only on said "typical" consumer motherboard techonologies will SuperMicro be delivering - if the company has its way, anything from 5G, IoT, Mission Learning and Artificial Intelligence can be incorporated for some use case or another on consumer-grade motherboards, thus providing an axis of penetration for SuperMicro - and its entire partner eco-system.

EA Releases Anthem Launch Trailer... Two Weeks Ahead of Anthem Itself

So, this is kind of a strange, time-traveling move on EA (and Bioware's) part: a launch trailer that jumps the gun on the actual game by almost two weeks. So, granted, it isn't really two weeks - it's a ten-day period between today and Anthem's February 22nd launch. That said, there really are some more days left on the calendar - the launch trailer seems slightly premature.

Perhaps this is EA's way of keeping interest in Anthem and recapturing some of that original hype. With the game's demo being plagued by stability and server issues during the initial period, and the game's demo itself receiving a more lukewarm than not response from critics and the (more outspoken) community, it seems that interest in this Destiny killer has waned in recent times. Which really could be bad news, considering EA's history, and Bioware's last title, Mass Effect: Andromeda's, fate. There's also the possibility that the recent launch of EA's own sleeper-hit Apex Legends - which has recently garnered some 10 million unique players in four days since its inception. Perhaps the thunder is being stolen out of Anthem's feet with a series of unfortunate circumstances - not incidents. It remains to be seen. For now, instead of spelling doom left and right, just watch the small but cool Anthem launch trailer. Let's hope the story holds... For a game with no PvP, let's just hope the story holds.

AMD May Offer Some Insights on Upcoming Ryzen 3000 Series at GDC 2019

AMD's Ryzen 3000 series is one of the most hotly anticipated hardware launches in recent times. I'd say that the hype surrounding AMD's processor launches, unlike Intel's, has become vested with an actual enthusiasm that is likely in our nature - to see the underdog come out with innovative products that reverse market expectations. AMD's processor launches have seen hype levels rivaling - and even surpassing, all of this anecdotally, of course - some GPU launches. It makes sense for AMD to embrace every opportunity it gets to build hype around its products - and it seems the company will be doing just so at GDC 2019, which will run from March 18th through March 22nd.

AMD will be hosting a time slot at GDC 2019 in San Francisco. Hosted by Ken Mitchell, the presentation that has been slotted in to GDC's panels is titled ""AMD Ryzen Processor Software Optimization (Presented by AMD)". As the announcement reads, this presentation is meant to "Learn about the Ryzen line up of processors, profiling tools and techniques to understand optimization opportunities, and get a glimpse of the next generation of "Zen 2" x86 core architecture. Gain insight into code optimization opportunities and lessons learned with examples including C/C++, assembly, and hardware performance-monitoring counters." So no, there won't be any architecture deep dives. But there will be some new information - and we all know that speculating and running through the breadcrumb trail is a huge part of the fun.

ASUS Intros GeForce RTX 2080 Dual EVO with Axial Tech Fans

ASUS today introduced the Dual GeForce RTX 2080 EVO series graphics cards, available in two variants based on factory-overclock. Positioned between its RTX 2080 Dual and RTX 2080 ROG Strix series, these cards are characterized by a unique 3-slot thick cooling solution that implements a pair of Axial Tech fans. These fans feature a barrier ring that runs along the periphery of the impeller to prevent lateral airflow, and guide all of it axially (downwards onto the heatsink). The card also features an idle fan-stop, which turns these fans off when the GPU temperature is below 55 °C.

The card draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0b, and a USB-C VirtualLink. As mentioned earlier, the card comes in two variants. The base variant "DUAL-RTX2080-8G-EVO" features NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 1710 MHz GPU Boost, while the more premium "DUAL-RTX2080-A8G-EVO" comes with 1725 MHz GPU Boost. Memory frequency is untouched on both cards, at 14 Gbps (GDDR6-effective). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Philips E Series Adds Two New Monitors with Brilliant Color

Today EPI, an affiliate of TPV Technology Limited (TPV), who holds all Philips-branded home and personal audio licensing worldwide, announces the addition of two new high-performance monitors to its E Series Collection. The Philips 32" QHD LCD Display (326E8FJSB) with Quad HD 2560 x 1440 pixels and the Philips 27" 4K UHD Display (276E8VJSB) with 3840 x 2160 resolution join the family of stunning professional monitors for an affordable price. Both displays are now available at Amazon and NewEgg for $279.99 MSRP each.

Ideal for home entertainment, the new Philips 32'' QHD LCD Display features AMD FreeSync technology with a smooth quick refresh at 60Hz and an ultra-fast response time of 5ms, which is perfect for Console or PC gaming. Plus, the new SmartImage Game mode offers multiple options for gamers, including FPS, Racing and RTS Modes. FPS Mode improves dark themes in games, allowing users to see hidden objects in dark areas. Racing Mode adapts the display with the fastest response time, high color and image adjustments. RTS Mode has a unique SmartFrame feature which enables specific areas to be highlighted and allows for size and image adjustments. Users can save their personal customized settings depending on the game, allowing for quick access and ensuring the best performance.

NVIDIA DLSS Technology Coming to Battlefield V Soon According to DICE Update Notes

In a case of "Oops, we didn't mean to", DICE's update notes for Battlefield V came out at least a day before they were supposed to. While DICE quickly took to social media to mention these update notes were not necessarily final, everyone was quick to notice that the PC-specific improvements section listed NVIDIA DLSS support being added on February 25. We were able to take a look at DLSS in action on Battlefield V at the NVIDIA suite during CES 2019, and it made a vast difference in overall performance and graphics alike, especially since we could now turn on NVIDIA RTX and not get a massive decrease in average framerate.

Jaqub Ajmal, a producer at DICE for the game soon tweeted to clarify that the company is still working on this implementation, and does not actually have a set date yet. It may well be that the actual update notes that go out tomorrow (still Feb 11 in North America at the time of posting) may well have something else instead. Regardless of whether this happens Feb 25 or not, we here at TechPowerUp will take a closer look at DLSS and in-game effects, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on DLSS coming to game titles and your expectations for the future.

AMD Radeon VII Has No UEFI Support

In what is turning out to be a massive QA oversight by AMD, people who bought retail Radeon VII graphics cards report that their cards don't support UEFI, and that installing the card in their machines causes their motherboard to engage CSM (compatibility support module), a key component of UEFI firmware that's needed to boot the machine with UEFI-unaware hardware (such as old storage devices, graphics cards, NICs, etc.,).

To verify this claim, we put the stock video BIOS of our Radeon VII sample in a hex editor, and what we found out startled us. The BIOS completely lacks UEFI support, including a GOP (graphics output protocol) driver. A GOP driver is a wafer-thin display driver that runs basic display functions on your GPU during the pre-boot environment. Without UEFI support for the graphics card (i.e. with CSM running), Windows 10 cannot engage Secure Boot. Since UEFI Secure Boot is a requirement for Microsoft Windows 10 Logo certification, we are having doubts whether AMD can really claim "Windows 10 compatible" for Radeon VII, at least until a BIOS update is available.

AMD to Unlock Professional Features for Radeon VII to Blunt RTX 2080's Ray-tracing Edge

To add value and give it a feature-set edge over the GeForce RTX 2080, AMD is reportedly preparing to unlock several professional graphics features for the Radeon VII that are otherwise exclusive to Radeon Pro series graphics cards. These features will be released by simply adding Radeon VII support to the upcoming Radeon Pro 19.Q1 software suite. You uninstall your Radeon Adrenalin 2019 Edition drivers and replace them with the Radeon Pro 19.Q1 drivers to access pro features.

These include access to ProRender, certifications for various 3D, CAD, and CGI suites, SecureMI security, enterprise virtualization, and more. Over 320 professional applications are certified for the Radeon Pro 19.Q1 drivers, all of which will seamlessly run on the Radeon VII. AMD will also introduce a feature that lets you switch between the Radeon Pro and Radeon Adrenalin drivers on-the-fly (without needing reboots), so you don't lose your ability to play the latest games with day-one optimizations from AMD. These drivers will make the Radeon VII an incredible value in the enterprise space, as the GPU offers performance rivaling professional graphics cards priced well north of $3,000. It also blunts the feature-set edge the RTX 2080 holds over the Radeon VII.

Palit and EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Cards Pictured

As we inch closer to the supposed 15th February launch of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, pictures of more AIC partner branded custom-design cards. The first two of these are from Palit and EVGA. Palit is bringing two very compact cards to the table under its StormX banner. These cards appear to be under 18 cm in length, and use an aluminium fin-stack cooler that's ventilated by a single 100 mm fan. There are two grades based on factory-overclock. The base model ticks at 1770 MHz boost, while the OC variant offers 1815 MHz boost.

EVGA's GTX 1660 Ti lineup includes two cards under its XC brand, with both cards being under 20 cm in length, but are 3 slots thick. Both cards appear to be using the same 3-slot single-fan cooling solution as the company's RTX 2060 XC. Once again, we see two variants based on clock-speeds, with the "Black" variant sticking to 1770 MHz boost, and the XC version slightly dialing up that frequency. Based on the 12 nm "TU116" silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to feature 1,536 CUDA cores based on the "Turing" architecture, but lacking in RTX technology. The SKU succeeds the GTX 1060 6 GB.

Arctic Celebrates 10 Millionth MX-series TIM Sold with 2019 Editions

ARCTIC, a leading manufacturer of low-noise PC coolers and components, is celebrating the sale of more than 10 million tubes of its MX-2 and MX-4 thermal compounds. This year, both versions of the well-loved thermal compound will be packaged in a celebratory 2019 edition. "Since the introduction of our MX Thermal Paste, it has become one of our best-known and best-selling products. We want to celebrate the 10 millionth MX tube with our loyal customers and give them a special thank you," says ARCTIC CEO Magnus Huber.

To mark the anniversary, ARCTIC is organizing a worldwide* giveaway, offering its customers the chance to win US $1000 each month. On the packaging of each 2019 Edition is a unique QR code that links directly to the registration page. Further information, as well as terms and conditions, are available at this page.

GALAX Product Boxes Confirm GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is Real

Pictures, and not renders, of GALAX GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards are the first real indicator of the existence of the GTX 1660 Ti, its wacky name, and the fact that it's based on the "Turing" architecture minus RTX technology (real-time ray-tracing). Thanks to NVIDIA's SKU box design standardization, the front face of the box reveals that the card is indeed based on the newer "Turing" architecture, with an emphasis on "shaders." This indicates CUDA cores based on the newer architecture, minus RTX technology. We also see a confirmation that the 6 GB of memory on tap is based on the newer GDDR6 standard. Pictures of the box were snapped up by someone unboxing a crate of these cards to stock up a retailer. The card is rumored to be launched as early as 15th February, with availability later this month.

New Intel Core i9-9990XE Sheds Cores in Favor of High Clock Speeds, Benchmarked

Intel is giving final touches to a new socket LGA2066 high-end desktop processor with an interesting model number for its specifications. The new Core i9-9990XE is positioned above the current flagship i9-9980XE. Normally you'd expect it to be the same 18-core "Skylake-X" chip with a speed-bump, however, the i9-9990XE is a unique proposition. It sheds cores in favor of significantly higher clock-speeds than the i9-9980XE.

The i9-9990XE is a 14-core/28-thread processor, based on a binned "Skylake-X" HCC (high core count) die, and uses STIM (soldered thermal interface material) between the die and integrated heatspreader (IHS). It features some aggressive clock-speeds, with 4.00 GHz nominal clock-speeds, and a massive 5.10 GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency that beats even the Core i9-9900K. Besides 14 cores, the i9-9990XE is configured with 19.25 MB of shared L3 cache, and 1 MB of L2 cache per core. The four disabled cores alone don't help Intel's efforts to dial up clock-speeds. Intel has increased the chip's rated TDP all the way up to 255 Watts!

Dell Recalls Hybrid Laptop Power Adapters With Power Banks Due to Safety Risk

While Dell's hybrid power adapters with power banks were a great idea on paper as they allow users to charge their laptop while still on the go, there have been reports some of these units pose a safety risk. For now, there have been 11 reports of hybrid power adapters breaking and thereby exposing internal components. To fix the problem, Dell has issued a recall for hybrid adapters with manufacture code -"CN-05G53P - LOC00 - XXX - XXXX - AXX" (X representing various numerical values). Said manufacture code can be located on the back of the adapter as seen in the third image below. Dell has also determined that all problem units were produced between January 2017 and March 2017 and were sold on the Dell website, Amazon, Microcenter, and other affiliated retailers.

In total, roughly 8900 units are to be recalled and replaced with 475 having been sold in Canada. To find out if your hybrid charger is affected, you can contact Dell by phone or go to www.dellproduct.com and enter the manufacture code without dashes for verification. Anyone with a unit manufactured during the date noted above can have it replaced for free. While no injuries have been reported it would likely be better safe than sorry.

Intel Invests €7 Billion in Ireland Toward a New Fab

Intel is following up on its massive $11 billion investment in Israel with a second large manufacturing investment, this time in Leixlip, Ireland. The company has earmarked a €7 billion investment toward construction of a new fab in Leixlip, which will employ 1,600 people, and have a built-up area of 110,000 m². This fab will sit alongside existing fabs that already employ over 4,500 staff. The company did not go into details of what the fab will manufacture. The investment aligns with Intel's strategy of massive investments in manufacturing to increase its chip volumes as enterprises, small and medium businesses, and consumers at large look to upgrade their computers at the turn of the decade. The company is already combating acute shortages of processors in the retail channel.

LiteOn Unveils the MU3 Line of Mainstream SATA SSDs

LiteOn unveiled its latest MU3 line of mainstream SSDs. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gbps interface, the drive implements Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 500 MB/s writes; and random-access throughput of up to 83,000 IOPS reads, with up to 89,000 IOPS writes. You get most features common to the segment, including NCQ, TRIM, SMART, and a 3-year warranty. LiteOn didn't reveal pricing.
Sunday, February 10th 2019

Corsair Whitewashes the LL120 RGB 120mm Fans

Corsair is readying mostly-white variants of its LL120 RGB case fans. A variant of the LL120 from 2017, the LL120 RGB White features an all-white frame with contrasting black frame rubber inserts, a white silicone diffuser along the bore of the frame with 16 addressable RGB LEDs, a pearl-white finish impeller, and a contrasting black impeller hub sticker. The fan takes in 4-pin PWM input to do its job, and a 3-pin addressable RGB input for its lighting. It spins at speeds of up to 2,200 RPM, pushing up to 63 CFM of air, at a noise output of up to 36 dBA. It has a rated lifespan of 40,000 hours. Corsair is selling the LL120 RGB White in individual packs, and 3-fan packs with an added iCUE RGB LED controller. The two go on sale on the 15th of February.

Liquid Metal TIM Shaves 5°C Off Radeon VII Junction Temperatures

In our own testing of the Radeon VII, we found that adding washers to the GPU retention bracket to increase mounting pressure reduces temperatures by up to 10°C. You can learn more about what we did in the Overclocking section of our Radeon VII review. Replacing the thermal pad between the Radeon VII GPU and its cooler with liquid metal TIM was found to lower the GPU's maximum junction temperature by 5 °C, and a 24 MHz gain in minimum sustained engine clock speed was observed, by German professional overclocker Roman "der8auer" Hartung. AMD uses a strip of highly conductive Hitachi Chemical TC-HM03 thermal pad as the interface material between its reference Radeon VII cooling solution and the "Vega 20" MCM. Based on vertically-oriented graphite strands, the TC-HM03 is rated to offer 25-45 W/m·K of thermal conductivity, which beats most aftermarket fluid TIMs on paper, including those based on diamond. The conductivity and longer lifespan compared to fluid TIMs is probably why AMD chose it.

Liquid metal is the best possible DIY thermal interface material currently available in the retail market, however it requires careful application because it is electrically conductive and can short open vias or SMDs. der8auer used nail polish to insulate the SMD electrical components surrounding the GPU die on the fiberglass substrate. After drying it, a generous amount of liquid-metal was spread over the uniform MCM cluster. To prevent any air-gaps between the cooler and the TIM layer that's bound to be thinner than the thermal pad, a layer of liquid metal was also coated on the base of the cooler. The retention module was fastened a little on the tighter side. The maximum junction temperature of the GPU lowered from 106 °C to 101 °C, and the minimum GPU clock sustained increased from 1709 MHz to 1733 MHz. The boost frequency, however, remained around 1780 MHz. You can watch the full video presentation by der8auer here.
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