Thursday, February 25th 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2021

NVIDIA today reported record revenue for the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2021, of $5.00 billion, up 61 percent from $3.11 billion a year earlier, and up 6 percent from $4.73 billion in the previous quarter. The company's Gaming and Data Center platforms achieved record revenue for the quarter and year.

GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were a record $2.31, up 51 percent from $1.53 a year ago, and up 9 percent from $2.12 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $3.10, up 64 percent from $1.89 a year earlier, and up 7 percent from $2.91 in the previous quarter. For fiscal 2021, revenue was a record $16.68 billion, up 53 percent from $10.92 billion a year earlier. GAAP earnings per diluted share were a record $6.90, up 53 percent from $4.52 a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $10.00, up 73 percent from $5.79 a year earlier.

Samsung is Preparing Exynos SoC with Radeon GPU for Next-Generation PCs

In 2019, AMD and Samsung have announced that they will be joining forces to develop a new class of mobile SoCs, carrying the Exynos name and having a Radeon GPU inside. These Exynos SoCs could be used for almost everything that needs a low-power processor. While the original plan was to have these processors run inside Samsung's mobile phone offerings, it seems like there is another application for them. If the rumors coming from ZDNet Korea are correct, we are in for a surprise. According to the source, Samsung is preparing to use the Exynos SoC with Radeon graphics in the company's next-generation laptops lineup.

While there is little to no information regarding the specifications of the said system, we can expect it to be a fully Samsung-made laptop. That means that Samsung will provide display, RAM, storage, battery, and other components manufactured by the company or its divisions. This laptop is expected to replace Samsung's Galaxy Book S, which currently uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx SoC. The new PC is going to be Windows 10 based system. For more details, we have to wait for the announcement.

Report: TSMC and UMC are Trucking in Water Amid Shortages

Manufacturing silicon is no easy task. You need to have all the right supplies available all the time. One of the most used ingredients in silicon manufacturing is water. Almost every process needs it and it needs to be constantly available to the manufacturer. According to the report coming from Reuters, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) are experiencing water shortages. The Taiwan island is in trouble, as the typhoon season has been rather mild and water supplies are at the historic lows. Water restrictions are in place all across the island and the reservoirs in the center and southern regions are at only 20% capacity.

The lack of water is a big problem for TSMC and UMC, as both companies rely on the constant income of it. With water restrictions in place, TSMC has to keep its facilities running and needs to solve the problem. That is why Taiwan's biggest silicon manufacturer is now making small orders of waters, delivered by a truckload. TSMC expects to compensate for the lack of water coming from its regular sources with truckloads of it. While we do not know the numbers of it, we can expect the water use to be very high if we take into account the number of wafers TSMC produces at its facilities.

AAEON Announces the SRG-3352C Compact Edge IoT Gateway System

AAEON, an industry leader in Edge Computing solutions, announces the SRG-3352C Compact Edge IoT Gateway System. The SRG-3352C brings reliable, cost effective gateway operations with expandability and wireless communication support designed to quickly deploy edge networks in a variety of environments.
The SRG-3352C builds upon the features, durability and reliability of the SRG-3352 Edge IoT Gateway System with expanded support for more connections and wireless communications. All of this is packed into a compact form factor that makes deploying the SRG-3352C even easier, powering more flexible edge network deployments.

The SRG-3352C is powered by the Arm Cortex-A8 800 MHz RISC processor. This innovative processor reduces the energy requirements of the system, allowing for a more efficient system to help save electricity costs. While powerful enough to connect edge networks together, the low energy usage can help cities with achieving green energy goals, and even allow the system to operate on solar power or batteries. It also eliminates the need for dedicated heatsinks, allowing the system to operate in wider temperatures, from 0°C up to 60°C without loss in performance.
Wednesday, February 24th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD
Storage
Kinesis Gaming TKO Tournament Keyboard Review

Kinesis Gaming TKO Tournament Keyboard Review

The TKO Tournament keyboard is an extremely portable 60% form factor keyboard that emphasizes onboard functionality and programming to make this your own gaming/typing keyboard to take with you. Other features are hot-swappable switch sockets, three Kailh BOX switch options, and actual ergonomics in the case design itself!
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact Review

Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact Review

With the Meshify 2 Compact, Fractal Design is combining the insides of the Define 7 Compact with the exterior of the airflow-focused Meshify design. The result is, as the name implies, a smaller version of the well-performing Meshify 2 with all the benefits of the Define family.

BioWare & EA Cancel Development of Anthem NEXT

In the spirit of transparency and closure we wanted to share that we've made the difficult decision to stop our new development work on Anthem (aka Anthem NEXT). We will, however, continue to keep the Anthem live service running as it exists today. Since Anthem's launch, the team has been working hard to continually improve the game, releasing multiple updates that brought with them a variety of improvements and introduced new content to play. Towards the end of 2019 we expanded on that effort and started working on a more fundamental restructure of the game.

During the development we've provided updates revealing some of the team's work through blog posts and conversations with you on social media and it's been inspiring for us to see the positive reactions and feedback. I've been incredibly proud of the work the team has been doing, and excited to see and play each new build of the experience.

AMD Announcing New RX 6000 Series RDNA2 GPU on March 3rd

AMD has recently announced their third "When Gaming Begins" event to announce the latest addition to the Radeon RX 6000 Series. AMD unveiled the first of their Ryzen 5000 Series processors during the first When Gaming Begins event and announced the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT graphics cards during the second event. This third event will almost certainly be to officially unveil the Radeon RX 6700 XT and/or RX 6700 graphics cards which we have received various leaks and rumors about.

We expect the RX 6700 XT to come with 40 compute units, 2560 cores, and 12 GB 192-bit GDDR6 memory and to compete with the NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti. The card is rumored to retail for under 250 USD however it is unknown if the card will actually be available to purchase at this price. The RX 6700 features the same 12 GB 192-bit GDDR6 memory but only includes 36 compute units and 2304 cores. AMD will likely also talk about their laptop plans and software features during the event. The third When Gaming Begins event will be live-streamed by AMD on March 3rd at 11 am ET.

Gigabyte Announces the AORUS WaterForce X Series AIO Liquid CPU Coolers

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the new AIO liquid cooler AORUS WATERFORCE X SERIES. Beyond the success of the AORUS LIQUID COOLER, AORUS WATERFORCE X SERIES deliver 3 radiator sizes of 240/280/360 mm which cater to various needs from users for a robust support to the high performance multicore CPUs on Intel and AMD platforms. Besides the compatibility for a multitude of builds, AORUS WATERFORCE X SERIES improve every aspect functions and designs. The 7.8 mm Tube Diameter improves the flow by 37% and it is engineered with ceramic axis pump to optimize durability and heat dissipation.

The leading Graphene Nano lubricant fan structure also reduces the rate of wear on bearing and carbon deposit by its low coefficient of friction and high lubrication, which extends the life 2.1 times by sleeve bearing fan and avoid the noise from ball bearing on low fan speed to create quieter operation. The renowned LCD display design further integrates more innovative modes and customized settings, including the exclusive Chibi Time, and the support of MP4\GIF\JPG format. Through the newly integrated Micro SD port, users are more free to load preferred materials for display, and paired with multiple lighting modes of RGB FUSION, AORUS WATERFORCE X is the AIO liquid cooler more than you could ever imagined.

Fractal Design Releases Meshify 2 Compact Case

PC case designer Fractal today announced the release of the Meshify 2 Compact. Building on the Meshify history of intelligent space utilization and smooth airflow pathing, Fractal's design team has introduced a host of new features in the Meshify 2 series such as a front USB 3.1 Type-C port, a bolt-free tempered glass panel, a fully removable top panel that grants excellent interior access, and a front nylon filter that can be removed from the mesh for increased airflow. Meshify 2 Compact continues the legacy of its predecessors with a sharp angular asymmetry, high-performance standards and a filtered airflow path from front intake directly through key components to exhaust. The result is a keenly anticipated update to one of Fractals most popular cases.

You can find our review for the Fractal Design Meshify 2 here.

Unity Releases 2020 Gaming Benchmark Report

Unity, the world's leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, today released the 2021 Gaming Report: Unity Insights from 2020 and Predicted Trends for 2021, which provides a comprehensive look at how gaming changed for both players and creators one year into the pandemic. With more than 2.8 billion monthly active consumers of content created or operated with Unity solutions, this report represents the largest dataset on COVID-19's impact on gaming. For a free copy of Unity's 2021 Gaming Report, please visit this page.

"It's still too early to tell if changed habits will become the new norm once the pandemic is over, but given our understanding of past player behavior changes, it would be surprising to see many players revert," said Ingrid Lestiyo, Senior VP and General Manager, Operate Solutions, Unity. "In a year where online entertainment content - more than ever - became the cornerstone of social connections for so many when seeking a semblance of normalcy, Unity Operate Solutions was there to provide reliable, scalable solutions that helped keep the experiences connected and players engaged. Our amazing creators are here for that reason, and our mission is to enable them to focus on, and produce more, content with the technology we provide. While the nature of work may have changed for many game studios over the last year, the tools that help to power their success continued to deliver results that kept players happy, and revenue for developers of all sizes growing."

Seagate Announces Lyve Cloud, Web-based Storage Service

Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in data storage and management solutions, today introduced LyveTM Cloud storage-as-a-service platform, an S3-compatible storage-only cloud. Lyve Cloud enables always-on mass capacity data storage and activation. It is designed as a simple, trusted, and efficient service allowing enterprises to unlock the value of their massive unstructured datasets. Seagate is collaborating with Equinix, the world's digital infrastructure company, to make Lyve Cloud accessible to more customers. This collaboration will provide extensive interconnect opportunities for additional cloud services and geographical expansion.

Lyve Cloud is a natural extension of Seagate's leadership in mass data solutions, combining our mass capacity HDD innovation with deep storage industry knowledge to help customers activate more of their valuable data," said Ravi Naik, executive vice president, storage services, and chief information officer at Seagate. "According to Seagate's Rethink Data report, as much as 68% of data available to enterprises goes unused. By providing a reliable and cost-efficient cloud storage solution at the metro edge, closer to where their data is generated, Lyve Cloud lets enterprises store and activate their data at scale, securely and efficiently."

KIOXIA Partners with Supermicro for Servers and Workstations

The transition to PCIe 4.0 is in full swing, and Kioxia Corporation, a world leader in memory solutions, is leading the way forward. Today, the company announced that its lineup of KIOXIA CM6 and CD6 Series PCIe 4.0 NVM Express (NVMe ) enterprise and data center solid state drives (SSDs) have gained compatibility approval with Super Micro Computer, Inc. (Supermicro)'s PCIe 4.0-based platforms, including a wide range of enterprise-ready rackmount systems encompassing Ultra, WIO, BigTwin, FatTwin, SuperBlade, 1U/2U NVMe all flash arrays, GPU accelerated systems and SuperWorkstations.

Users are moving to NVMe SSDs to address the demands of enterprise performance requirements, cloud-based data center architectures, and performance-centric and latency-sensitive applications. At the center of this movement is heightened demand for NVMe -based storage where PCIe 4.0 is the latest performance upgrade, and Kioxia's CM6 and CD6 Series SSDs are delivering these enhanced capabilities.

Intel Thunderbolt Technology Turns 10

In 2011, computers were clogged with too many input/output (I/O) ports. There were USB ports for data; Ethernet ports for internet; and DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA ports for video. Despite being large enough to accommodate multiple ports, the computers still couldn't keep up with users' needs.

The solution? Intel launched Thunderbolt technology, which consolidated data, video and power on a single, small connector. Thunderbolt allowed users to move data quickly and confidently among connected smart devices - like PCs, docks, monitors, solid state drives, external hard drives and cameras - using that single connector. At the time, Thunderbolt boasted the ability to transfer a full-length, high-definition movie in less than 30 seconds and back up a full year of continuous MP3 music playback in just over 10 minutes.

EK Releases Quantum Vector FTW3 RTX 3070 GPU Water Block

EK, the leading computer cooling solutions provider, is ready to offer its premium high-performance GPU water block for EVGA FTW3 editions of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards. This new water block is named EK-Quantum Vector FTW3 RTX 3070 D-RGB and is exclusively engineered for EVGA FTW3 RTX 3070 GPUs.

This water block is 314mm wide and 155mm long and cools all key components on the GPU's printed circuit board. The EK-Quantum Vector FTW3 RTX 3070 is compatible with EVGA FTW3 RTX 3070 graphics cards. This Vector water block actively cools the GPU, top-facing VRAM, power stages, and chokes in the VRM section. The newly developed FTW3 water blocks feature clean, symmetrically-shaped, optimized flow paths that reduce hydrodynamic instabilities and vortexing (dead spots) inside of them.

Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 1.2 Delayed Due to Cyber Attack on CD Projekt RED

Oh the irony! Hacking was a very viable way to develop your character and play Cyberpunk 2077, but CD Projekt RED did not think their 2021 would be made worse due to an IRL hack. Not only did they lose out invaluable source code to hackers, but said hackers also sold the codes in a move that jeopardizes the structural integrity of a video game developer. You could make jokes about the 90's meme letter the hackers sent to the company, however they clearly don't see the humor in this situation as this has taken up resources which otherwise were meant to go towards patching Cyberpunk 2077- especially on older gen consoles.

CD Projekt RED took to twitter earlier today to inform us that the patch is delayed, as many speculated, but also that the additional time will also contribute towards increasing the scope of the patch beyond earlier updates. Indeed, in a situation where they simply can't seem to catch a break, perhaps transparency and downplaying expectations would have been the way to go. As it stands, the public feedback to this news is a gentle reminder to the sane TPU reader to keep social media and public comments at arm's length to maintain said sanity. We sympathize with CD Projekt RED and hope that they come out better to do better by their paying customers alike.

Fry's Electronics to Shut Down All Operations, Adds to Brick-and-Mortar Woes in the USA

Fry's Electronics, Inc. (or simply Fry's as is more popularly referred to) ripped off the band-aid from its ailing operations in the USA today. The 36-year old company was a Silicon Valley original, and went full-time into the PC market as a retailer shortly after giving up its grocery business dreams. The company had been struggling for a while now, with yours truly having never once bought from any of their stores despite having lived in a city that housed so many, and clearly too many, of them. The brand had quickly become associated with outdated and overly expensive hardware, and unfortunately today's news was due to happen sooner than later. We wish all employees a quick rebound, and look out for wind-down sales from the company as it attempts to satisfy creditors and stakeholders.

Gigabyte Announces "Neonpunk" GeForce RTX 3060 AORUS ELITE

"Neonpunk style emanates in the darkness from the glimmer of high quality metals, showcasing futuristic aesthetics in the darkness of the night. The new era of esports has arrived." This is how Gigabyte describes their latest RTX 3060 AORUS ELITE design. Apart from the apparent attempt at coining a new nomenclature for RGB lighting and dark materials, Gigabyte have announced that their to-be-launched graphics card features the company's well-known Windforce 3X cooling system.

The card features a 1x 8-pin and 1x 6-pin power delivery subsystem, a black metal backplate, dual-BIOS capabilities with a (default) OC and a Silent mode, and LED power indicators to easily troubleshoot power delivery issues. No word on pricing or clockspeeds were available at time of writing.

Industry Specialists Expect Chip Shortages to Last Until 2022

Industry specialists with various analysis groups have stated that they expect the world's current chip supply shortages to not only fail to be mitigated in the first half of 2021, but that they might actually last well into 2022. It's not just a matter of existing chip supply being diverted by scalpers, miners, or other secondary-market funnels; it's a matter of fundamental lack of resources and production capacity to meet demand throughout various quadrants of the semiconductor industry. With the increased demand due to COVID-19 and the overall increasingly complex design of modern chips - and increased abundance of individual chips within the same products - foundries aren't being able to scale their capacity to meet growing demand.

As we know, the timeframe between start and finish of a given semiconductor chip can sometimes take months. And foundries have had to extend their lead times (the time between a client placing an order and that order being fulfilled) already. This happens as a way to better plan out their capacity allocation, and due to the increased complexity of installing, testing, and putting to production increasingly complex chip designs and fabrication technologies. And analysts with J.P. Morgan and Susquehanna that are in touch with the pulse of the semiconductor industry say that current demand levels are 10% to 30% higher than those that can be satisfied by the fabrication and supply subsystems for fulfilling that demand.

HP to Acquire HyperX Gaming Peripherals Brand from Kingston, Which Retains Memory Business

HP Inc. today announced a definitive agreement to acquire HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company. The acquisition supports HP's strategy to drive growth in its Personal Systems business, where gaming and peripherals are attractive segments. HyperX's award-winning product portfolio spans a range of gaming peripherals, including headsets, keyboards, mice, mouse pads, USB microphones, and console accessories.

"HyperX is a leader in peripherals whose technology is trusted by gamers around the world and we're thrilled to welcome their outstanding team to the HP family," said Enrique Lores, President and CEO, HP Inc. "We continue to advance our leadership in Personal Systems by modernizing compute experiences and expanding into valuable adjacencies. We see significant opportunities in the large and growing peripherals market, and the addition of HyperX to our portfolio will drive new sources of innovation and growth for our business."

PC gaming continues to be one of the most popular forms of video gaming, with the PC hardware industry anticipated to be worth $70 billion by 2023.1 The global peripherals market is expected to grow to $12.2 billion by 2024, with gaming peripherals representing a disproportionate share of this growth.

Cincoze Announces Flagship GP-3000 Industrial-Grade High-Performance GPU Computer

Cincoze, a professional manufacturer of embedded systems, has announced its new flagship GPU edge computing system, the GP-3000. Its crowning feature is an exclusive GPU Expansion Box that provides expansion for up to two high-end GPU graphics cards and creating a high-performance industrial-grade GPU computer. Brandon Chien, General Manager of Cincoze, stated that "We already know AI will drive innovation and expansion for industrial applications. The GP-3000 is Cincoze's answer for intensive image processing and complex calculations, such as deep machine learning, autonomous driving, automated visual inspection, and mobile monitoring. As our latest flagship model, the GP-3000 multiplies edge computing efficiency, amplifies productivity and reliability, and accelerates AIoT automation."

The GP-3000's extreme computing power starts with an 8th or 9th generation Intel Xeon or Core i3/i5/i7 (Coffee Lake and Coffee Lake-R) CPU, Intel C246 chipset, and supports two sets of DDR4-2666 ECC/non-ECC SO-DIMM up to 64 GB and can support up to two 250 W high-end GPU graphics cards. With a total system power consumption of 720 W, it's easy to meet and exceed high-efficiency application requirements. A precision heat dissipation and cooling design quickly wick away heat, keeping the focus squarely on the breathtaking performance of the GP-3000.

Silicon Power Announces Cinema Series CF Cards for 4K and 8K Video Recording

For professional photographers, videographers, and cinematographers, a reliable memory card is just as important as using high-end cameras and recorders. In addition, since the advent of 5G, the demand for high quality has become even more prevalent. SP Industrial's "Cinema Series" line of CF memory cards meet the latest CFast 2.0 specifications for outstanding performance, making them ideal solutions for shooting high-resolution Full HD, 4K. Hoping to further support professionals in this field, SP industrial has set in motion the development of a CFexpress Type B card, the Cinema Ex. The card will join the "Cinema Series" family, and promises to meet all requirements of the most demanding users by fully equipping them with the tools to shoot videos in 8K.

When it comes to memory cards, CF cards are the superior choice for professionals as they are faster and more durable than SD/microSD cards. Their ability to reach incredible read and write speeds are ideal for shooting extreme sports and action shots as well as capturing wildlife and fast-paced motion. Their greater durability allows them to be used in situations that cater to the environments of this type of footage, including the rugged outdoors and the forces of nature.

Intel Alder Lake Processor Tested, Big Cores Ramp Up to 3 GHz

Intel "Alder Lake" is the first processor generation coming from the company to feature the hybrid big.LITTLE type core arrangement and we are wondering how the configurations look like and just how powerful the next-generation processors are going to be. Today, a Geekbench submission has appeared that gave us a little more information about one out of twelve Alder Lake-S configurations. This time, we are getting an 8-core, 16-threaded design with all big cores and no smaller cores present. Such design with no little cores in place is exclusive to the Alder Lake-S desktop platform, and will not come to the Alder Lake-P processors designed for mobile platforms.

Based on the socket LGA1700, the processor was spotted running all of its eight cores at 2.99 GHz frequency. Please note that this is only an engineering sample and the clock speeds of the final product should be higher. It was paired with the latest DDR5 memory and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU. The OpenCL score this CPU ran has shown that it has provided the GPU with more than enough performance. Typically, the RTX 2080 GPU scores about 106101 points in Geekbench OpenCL tests. Paired with the Alder Lake-S CPU, the GPU has managed to score as much as 108068 points, showing the power of the new generation of cores. While there is still a lot of mystery surrounding the Alder Lake-S series, we have come to know that the big cores used are supposed to be very powerful.

Xilinx Revolutionizes the Modern Data Center with Software-Defined, Hardware Accelerated Alveo SmartNICs

Addressing the demands of the modern data center, Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ: XLNX) today announced a range of new data center products and solutions, including a new family of Alveo SmartNICs, smart world AI video analytics applications, an accelerated algorithmic trading reference design for sub-microsecond trading, and the Xilinx App Store.

Today's most demanding and complex applications, from networking and AI analytics to financial trading, require low-latency and real-time performance. Achieving this level of performance has been limited to expensive and lengthy hardware development. With these new products and solutions, Xilinx is eliminating the barriers for software developers to quickly create and deploy software-defined, hardware accelerated applications on Alveo accelerator cards.

Samsung Begins Mass Production of Data Center SSD Customized for Hyperscale

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing its most advanced line of data center SSDs, the PM9A3 E1.S.

The new PM9A3 fully complies with the Open Compute Project (OCP) NVMe Cloud SSD Specification to satisfy the rigorous demands of enterprise workloads. Defined by leading data center providers including Facebook, the OCP Specification is a set of unified interoperable standards, enabling SSD vendors to work toward next-generation storage designs with much more effectiveness.
Tuesday, February 23rd 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
Storage
NETGEAR Nighthawk MR2100 4G LTE Mobile Router Review

NETGEAR Nighthawk MR2100 4G LTE Mobile Router Review

NETGEAR shows off their mobile broadband routers in the most mobile way possible. The Nighthawk MR2100 4G LTE router attempts to be a swansong in the hustling and bustling world of on-the-go mobile internet, with an integrated battery and 4x4 MIMO antennas aiming to deliver whole-day internet at up to 2 Gbps downloads!
Dream Machines DM6 Holey Duo Review

Dream Machines DM6 Holey Duo Review

The Dream Machines DM6 Holey Duo is quite aptly named: Featuring both wired and wireless connectivity, it comes with PixArt's PAW3335 sensor, Huano main button switches, 72 hours of battery life, and a 79 g honeycomb design, all for the wallet-friendly price of $49.99.

"Rocket Lake" Offers 11% Higher PCIe Gen4 NVMe Storage Performance: Intel

Intel claims that its upcoming 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processors offer up to 11% higher storage performance than competing AMD Ryzen 5000 processors, when using the CPU-attached M.2 NVMe slot. A performance slide released by Intel's Ryan Shrout shows a Samsung 980 PRO 1 TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD performance on a machine powered by a Core i9-11900K processor, compared to one powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. PCMark 10 Quick System Drive Benchmark is used to evaluate storage performance on both machines. On both machines a separate drive is used as the OS/boot drive, and the Samsung 980 PRO is used as a test drive, free from any OS role.

The backup page for the slide provides details of the system configurations used for both machines. What it doesn't mention, however, is whether on the AMD machine, the 980 PRO was installed on the CPU-attached M.2 NVMe slot, or one that's attached to the AMD X570 chipset. Unlike the Intel Z590, the AMD X570 puts out downstream PCI-Express 4.0, which motherboard designers can use to put out additional NVMe Gen 4 slots. On the Intel Z590 motherboard, the M.2 NVMe Gen 4 slot the drive was tested on is guaranteed to be the CPU-attached one, as the Z590 PCH puts out PCIe Gen 3 downstream lanes. A PCI-Express 4.0 x4 link is used as chipset bus on the AMD X570, offering comparable bandwidth to the DMI 3.0 x8 (PCI-Express 3.0 x8) employed on the Intel Z590. A drive capable of attaining 7 GB/s sequential transfers should be in a sub-optimal situation on a chipset-attached M.2 slot. It would be nice if Intel clears this up in an update to its backup.

Update 02:51 UTC: In response to a specific question on Twitter, on whether the drives were tested on CPU-attached M.2 slots on both platforms, Ryan Shrout stated that a PCI-Express AIC riser card was used on both platforms to ensure that the drives are CPU-attached. 11% is a significant storage performance uplift on offer.

Sony Offering Free Copy Of Ratchet and Clank to PlayStation Users

Sony has restarted their "Play At Home initiative" to provide a "series of free games and entertainment offers for our PlayStation community to make the next few months a little more fun and enjoyable". The Play At Home initiative was launched by Sony in April 2020 and offered PlayStation users a free copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and Journey for PS4. Sony will now be offering a free copy of Ratchet & Clank PS4 from Insomniac Games between March 1st and March 31st. Once you redeem the game, it will be yours to keep as was the case previously. All the games offered via the Play At Home initiative are playable on the PS5 with backward compatibility mode. Sony has also partnered with Funimation to offer an extended trial for new customers of the anime streaming service. Sony will announce additional free games and services in the coming months.

Sony Confirms That Next-Generation PSVR Headset for PS5 is Under Development

Sony has officially announced that they are working on a next-generation PlayStation VR headset for the PS5. Sony has only provided limited details of the upcoming headset but they include upgrades to resolution, field of view, tracking, and input. The new headset will also connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup. The new VR controllers will incorporate various improvements from the latest generation DualSense wireless controller along with general ergonomic improvements. While this new PSVR system is still under development and will not launch until at least 2022 Sony has reaffirmed their commitment to the existing PSVR platform confirming the launch of several new titles including After The Fall, Sniper Elite VR, and Humanity. You can read the full release from Sony below.

Akasa Releases Turing A50 Fanless Chassis for ASUS PN50

Akasa, a global leader in fanless technology, has extended their Turing fanless chassis design series by releasing the new Turing A50. The Turing A50 has been designed specifically to support the mainboards found inside the ASUS Mini PC PN50 series, which features the latest AMD Ryzen 4000 notebook PC mobile processors in conjunction with Radeon graphics. The Turing A50 is a product at the forefront of fanless technology and combines innovative style with solid functionality in order to create a contemporary Ryzen fanless system.

The ASUS Mini PC PN50 series can feature some of the latest AMD mobile processors: the Ryzen 3, 5 and 7. Whichever you choose, the Turing A50 will be able to keep the APU cool under all working conditions to optimize performance in complete silence. The case utilizes fanless technology, where the solid aluminium core that showcases hi-performance AK-TC5026 thermal compound and gap fillers, efficiently transfers heat from the APU. With the chassis itself working as a heatsink, the excess heat from the APU is then transferred to the external fins via the aluminium core and into the surroundings, keeping the APU cool without the need of a noisy fan. Built with deep cooling fins to maximize the surface area and an aluminium casing, the system functions optimally whilst also existing as a completely silent component.

Cherry Launches the KC 4500 ERGO Keyboard

Cherry Americas, part of the global leader in computer input devices, today announced that the CHERRY KC 4500 ERGO ergonomic keyboard has been added to its portfolio. Through its unique design, the CHERRY KC 4500 Ergo is specifically built to allow hands, arms and shoulders to adopt a natural posture and provides hours of comfortable working.

The CHERRY KC 4500 ERGO is designed to be equally well suited for use in the office or home. As with all its products, CHERRY has placed great emphasis on maximizing ease of use, including three stand-up feet on the front side of the keyboard to enable users to change the angle of operation whether the user is sitting or standing. The inclusion of rubber feet on the keyboard prevents any slipping in all positions. The keyboard also comes with a soft palm rest that provides optimal positioning to allow users to rest their hands comfortably and prevent straining pressure points.

Epic Games Reaches Class Action Settlement

A class action settlement with Epic Games, Inc. ("Epic") has received preliminary approval from the Superior Court of North Carolina, Tenth Judicial District. Under the settlement, all U.S. players of Fortnite: Save the World and Rocket League who bought a random item loot box in either game before Epic Games discontinued them will receive certain benefits immediately and automatically. The settlement also provides up to $26.5 million in cash and other benefits to U.S.-based Fortnite and Rocket League players to resolve claims arising from players' purchases of Fortnite and Rocket League in-game items.

Beginning today, Epic will deposit 1,000 V-Bucks, the Fortnite virtual currency, or 1,000 Rocket League Credits, into the accounts of U.S. players who bought a random item loot box. These deposits will be automatic and players do not need to do anything to claim them, though it may take a few days for all eligible players to receive them.

Additionally, players who believe they were harmed or damaged by virtue of their in-game Fortnite or Rocket League purchases and meet certain criteria can file a claim for a cash payment of up to $50 or a virtual currency deposit of up to 13,500 V-Bucks (in Fortnite) or 13,000 Credits (in Rocket League). Legal guardians of players who are minors that made in-game purchases without parental permission can seek partial refunds of up to $50, but must agree to the closure of their child's Epic Games accounts.

Intel, Google Cloud Aim to Advance 5G Networks, Edge Innovations

Intel and Google Cloud today announced a collaboration to develop telco cloud reference architectures and integrated solutions for communication service providers to accelerate 5G deployment across multiple network and edge locations.

"Communications service providers can adopt cloud-native technologies to harness the potential of 5G both as a connectivity solution and as a business services platform to deliver applications to the network edge," said Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager of networking at Google Cloud. "Expanding on our work with the telecommunications industry, we are excited to work with Intel to help customers plan, test and deploy the technology and infrastructure needed to accelerate the delivery of cloud-native 5G for consumer and enterprise use cases."

be quiet! Announces Dark Power 12 Power Supply Series

be quiet!, market leader for PC power supplies in Germany since 2007, introduces the Dark Power 12 series. This high-end power supply series consists of three models with 750, 850, and 1000 watts. They are positioned directly beneath the award-winning Dark Power Pro 12 series, starting at 1200 watts. Dark Power 12 features an extraordinary 80 PLUS Titanium certification, an advanced topology, and a proven cooling concept for the perfect balance between efficiency, performance, and silence. An Overclocking Key lets users combine the four 12 V rails into one with high power output, ideal for overclocked processors or graphics cards. be quiet! has combined these high-end technical specifications with fully modular black sleeved cables.

Dark Power 12 features 80 PLUS Titanium certification. be quiet! has achieved this high-efficiency factor by implementing the advanced "Active Rectifier + Full Bridge LLC + SR + DC-DC" topology and a wire-free interior design on the DC side. Unlike the Pro models, Dark Power 12 does not rely on digital regulation: the active rectifier helps its topology achieve a high efficiency rating on Titanium level. For maximum reliability and signal quality from the four 12 V rails, Dark Power 12 relies exclusively on premium components such as long-lasting Japanese 105°C capacitors.

Explosive Growth in Automotive DRAM Demand Projected to Surpass 30% CAGR in Next Three Years, Says TrendForce

Driven by such factors as the continued development of autonomous driving technologies and the build-out of 5G infrastructure, the demand for automotive memories will undergo a rapid growth going forward, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. Take Tesla, which is the automotive industry leader in the application of autonomous vehicle technologies, as an example. Tesla has adopted GDDR5 DRAM products from the Model S and X onward because it has also adopted Nvidia's solutions for CPU and GPU. The GDDR5 series had the highest bandwidth at the time to complement these processors. The DRAM content has therefore reached at least 8 GB for vehicles across all model series under Tesla. The Model 3 is further equipped with 14 GB of DRAM, and the next-generation of Tesla vehicles will have 20 GB. If content per box is used as a reference for comparison, then Tesla far surpasses manufacturers of PCs and smartphones in DRAM consumption. TrendForce forecasts that the average DRAM content of cars will continue to grow in the next three years, with a CAGR of more than 30% for the period.

Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Declined 5% in Fourth Quarter of 2020

Global sales of smartphones to end users declined 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Gartner, Inc. Smartphone sales declined 12.5% in full year 2020.

"The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimized the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. "Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter."

New PassMark PerformanceTest Versions Allow for Expanded Cross-platform CPU Results

Passmark Software have recently announced the significant expansion of their cross-platform benchmarking with the latest releases of PerformanceTest. For the first time this cornerstone benchmarking software is now available for Windows ARM, included with every PerformanceTest for Windows license. All CPU, 2D, Memory and Disk Tests have been natively compiled to run on Windows ARM, partial 3D support is also available.

PerformanceTest has also been released as free command line versions for Linux x86 64-bit, Linux ARM 32-bit, Linux ARM 64-bit and for MacOS (CPU Test Suite Only). The Android and IOS Mobile versions have also received updates, with all available versions of PerformanceTest now running the same CPU Test Suite found in V10 for Windows. These releases allow for directly comparable cross-platform CPU results, an apparent necessity as the number of ARM based processors such as Apple's M1 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon enter consumer hardware.
Monday, February 22nd 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Mouse
Mousepads
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage
ADATA XPG Gammix S70 2 TB SSD Review

ADATA XPG Gammix S70 2 TB SSD Review

The ADATA XPG Gammix S70 M.2 NVMe SSD uses a PCI-Express 4.0 controller from Innogrit, for transfer rates of over 7 GB/s. Since this drive targets the enthusiast and gamer market, ADATA preinstalled a large heatsink on the drive, which makes a huge difference for temperatures.

Intel Core i7-11700 "Rocket Lake" Tested Some More: Competition for 5800X Firms Up

Odd Tech Reviews published a performance review of an Intel Core i7-11700 (non-K) "employee beta sample." This review comes on the heels of a Lab501.ro review of an unlocked i7-11700K engineering sample; and yet springs a different set of results in relation to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. The i7-11700 is shown having a slight edge over the 5800X in both the single- and multi-threaded tests of the CPU-Z Bench, where it's shown posting a 3.59% higher single-threaded score.

The Ryzen 7 5800X retakes the lead over the Core i7-11700 sample in Cinebench R15 and R20, posting higher scores in both the single- and multi-threaded tests. The 5800X also maintains lead with 7-Zip. Blender sees the i7-11700 once again run past the 5800X, but the AMD chip claws back with V-Ray and Handbrake video-encoding tests. There's a pitched battle between the 5800X and the i7-11700 with gaming, with each chip having an upper hand over the other, depending on the test. Find all these results and more in the Odd Tech Reviews presentation.

U.S. DoD Partners with GlobalFoundries to Manufacture Chips at Fab 8, Upstate NY

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry, today announced a strategic partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a secure and reliable supply of semiconductor solutions manufactured at GF's Fab 8 in Malta, New York—the company's most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility. These semiconductor chips will be used in some of the DoD's most sensitive applications for land, air, sea, and space systems.

Under the agreement, GF will provide a supply of chips built at Fab 8 on its differentiated 45 nm SOI platform. The agreement is made possible by Fab 8's compliance with U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and highly restrictive Export Control Classification Numbers under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The new supply agreement builds upon the longstanding partnership between the DoD and GF to provide chips for defense, aerospace, and other sensitive applications. GF currently supplies the DoD with chips manufactured at GF's other on-shore facilities, Fab 10 in East Fishkill, New York, and Fab 9 in Burlington, Vermont.

Blizzard Also Announces World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic, Coming Later This Year

Beyond the Dark Portal in the shattered realm of Outland, the armies of the demonic Burning Legion prepare for an invasion that threatens the entire world of Azeroth. Later this year, World of Warcraft players will return to the fel-scarred ruin of Hellfire Peninsula to stop the incursion at its source; rediscover what lurks below the fungal forests of Zangarmarsh; and face down Illidan the Betrayer once again in Burning Crusade Classic, Blizzard Entertainment's authentic recreation of the acclaimed first World of Warcraft expansion.

"The World of Warcraft community made it clear that they wanted WoW Classic, and now they're eager to continue their journey into The Burning Crusade," said J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment. "Since the launch of WoW Classic and as we rolled out content updates, we've learned a lot about what players want from an experience like this in 2021. We're building on that to ensure players' new adventures in Outland are as epic as ever, whether they're taking a return trip through the Dark Portal or joining us for the very first time."

Blizzard Entertainment to Resurrect Diablo II in 2021 for PC and Consoles

Diablo II, one of the most acclaimed titles in PC gaming history, returns... and Hell has never looked better. Blizzard Entertainment today revealed Diablo II: Resurrected, the definitive remastering of Diablo II and its Lord of Destruction expansion—two hallmark entries in the company's genre-defining action role-playing series.

Diablo II was hailed by Time magazine as "arguably the best role-playing game of all time, the best dungeon-crawler of all time and the best PC game of all time." Diablo II: Resurrected welcomes back veteran heroes and invites a new generation of players to experience the game's sinfully dark storyline, thrilling loot chase, and visceral hack-and-slash gameplay with modernized visuals that take advantage of the latest gaming hardware.

FORESEE P78A SSD from Longsys Passes Multiple Platform Compatibility Certifications

The epidemic in 2020 made people once again realize that computers are indispensable for study, entertainment, and work. In situations where frequent computer use is required, high-performance laptops are of vital importance. In September 2020, Intel launched the Evo platform, bringing improvements for laptops in terms of components, technology, and appearance. The platform makes laptops capable of delivering a remarkable experience, including: higher responsiveness, longer battery life, and improved appearance.

Under this context, the Evo platform puts forward higher requirements on laptop hardware. In addition to PCIe/NVMe SSDs with 256 GB or higher capacity, a near-instantaneous wake up time of 1 second or less is required. This outperforms many high-performance laptops on the market. The "1-second wake" function must be certified by Intel Modern Standby and Microsoft IHV (Tiger Lake requires SSD power to be less than 1.5 mW in the D3 cold state).

AMD Releases Radeon Software 21.2.3 Drivers

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin drivers. Version 21.2.3 beta adds optimization for "DIRT 5 Energy Content Pack." Among the handful of issued fixed with these drivers include HDMI audio device (such as home-theater receivers) failing to install on Radeon RX 400 series and RX 500 series "Polaris" graphics cards; hot-plugging TVs and displays in multi-monitor configurations causing a system hang; "Substance Painter" experiencing a crash with Radeon RX 6000 series; HP Reverb G2 VR HMD causing a system crash when plugging into RX 6900 XT, and the Radeon Software application sometimes failing to look up the latest version of the software. Grab it from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.2.3 beta
The change-log follows.

AMD Acknowledges USB Connectivity Issues on 500 Series Chipset Motherboards

Users have recently been reporting various intermittent USB connectivity errors on AMD 500 series motherboards. AMD has acknowledged these issues in a recent Reddit post where they have asked affected users for more information to help them resolve the issues. The issues appear to be most commonly found when using VR headsets on X570 motherboards where intermittent connectivity issues are most noticeable. Some of the affected users report that the issues are most common when using a PCIe 4.0 GPU and that switching to PCIe 3.0 can sometimes resolve the issue. AMD is asking affected users to submit reports through their Online Service Request platform and will also contact users directly on Reddit to request detailed information.

EK Expands its Classic Line With a Strix RTX 3080, 3090 GPU Water Block

EK, the leading computer cooling solutions provider, is ready to offer its Classic design GPU water block for ASUS ROG Strix edition of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards. Minimalistic design with fewer details makes this EK-Classic Line water block more affordable while still offering all the qualities of an EK product, such as high performance, excellent customer support, and a comprehensive installation manual.

The EK-Classic GPU Water Block Strix RTX 3080/3090 D-RGB has a big purpose-designed 126 mm wide and 237 mm long copper base to cover and cool all key components on the GPU printed circuit board. This gives it an advantage on the market of having a clean design, showing off all the cooling liquid, and cooling all the necessary components.

Chinese Manufacturer Asgard Launches 4,800 MHz DDR5 Memory Modules

In the name of Odin, Chinese manufacturer Asgard has launched their first DDR5 memory modules to market - beating some competing western companies that are still "gearing up" for it. Owned by the much less interestingly-named Shenzhen Jiahe Jinwei Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., Asgard likewise lost some of its flair in naming these DDR5 sticks - the best they could do was VMA5AUK-MMH224W3. The modules will be available in 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB per-stick densities.

The initial modules don't have any flair - they're built with the same green PCB that's actually the forerunner of today's colored ones. The company hs also announced that the modules win run at a relatively mild 4,800 MHz (the DDR5 specification goes up to 8,400 MHz), and that its timings coincide with JEDEC's "B" classification, which should mean 40-40-40. The voltage likewise remains at the JEDEC-set standard of 1.1 V. The company announced that mass-production rollout will only occur after there are actual CPUs and platforms that can take advantage of the DDR5 memory spec, and said that they expect Intel's Alder-Lake, Sapphire Rapids and Tiger Lake-U from the blue team, as well as Van Gogh and Rembrandt APUs from the AMD camp. No word on consumer pricing was available at time of writing.

NVIDIA RTX 3060 Bests RTX 2060, RTX 2070 in Ashes of the Singularity Benchmark

Benchmark performance for NVIDIA's yet-unreleased RTX 3060 graphics card have already started doing the rounds - even if it's one of the currently less-representative benchmarks for actual GPU performance, Ashes of the Singularity. Videocardz has gone through the trouble of collating benchmark results from the same user that uploaded the results for this RTX 3060 graphics card, hence the 19% performance differential in favor of the RTX 3060 results compared to the same users' RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 results.

The RTX 3060 was tested in the 1080p Crazy benchmark preset. It then scored a total of 6600 points and 67.8 average framerate in the first test; the second test, which might've been run with increased power or clocks, achieved 6800 points and 69.8 FPS on average. The first test's score (so, prior to any eventual overclocking) puts the RTX 3060's results 19% above those of the RTX 2060 (which scored 5,650 points) and even achieving a 7% performance advantage over the RTX 2070's 6,166 points.

NVIDIA's Mining Performance Cap On Unreleased ZOTAC RTX 3060 Shows Results

The NVIDIA RTX 3060 isn't even released yet, but as you might've heard, cards are already doing the rounds throughout the secondhand market at ridiculous prices. And now, to sour the pot even more, one crypto enthusiast going by the name of CryptoLeo on YouTube has shown that he already has his hands on the card - and performed a quick mining test on it. The user showcases the cards' serial number, so I hope NVIDIA is reading this post so as to know exactly which distributor this graphics card came from; breaking time-to-market likely isn't to be taken lightly by the company.

The test, done without the RTX 3060's release drivers (which are still a week away), showcases the graphics card capping its own mining performance a little after the mining algorithms begin to be processed. The card, identified in the below screenshots as tagged "1", shows a decline in performance from the initial 41.5 MH/s down to 24-24 MH/s. The card tagged as "2" is a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, which doesn't show the same performance decline (naturally). That the card exhibited this behavior sans release drivers goes to show that NVIDIA's solution is, at the very, very least, BIOS-based, and isn't a shoestring-budget driver-based solution that was haphazardly thrown in for good measure. And once again, it's a ZOTAC card in the mining spotlight. Is this a pattern?

HyperX Now Shipping Alloy Origins 60 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced its Alloy Origins 60 mechanical gaming keyboard is now shipping in the U.S. and Canada. A compact, 60 percent form factor keyboard, Alloy Origins 60 features HyperX Red linear mechanical switches that are built for performance, longevity and rated with an 80 million lifetime click rating per switch. The keyboard includes RGB exposed backlit keys for brighter illumination with radiant lighting effects and double shot PBT keycaps with secondary functions for long-term use and durability.

Alloy Origins 60 is the first HyperX 60 percent gaming keyboard built with HyperX Red linear mechanical switches. HyperX Red switches are designed with a shorter actuation point and shorter travel time than other switches on the market, for a more responsive switch action. As a durable, stable gaming keyboard, Alloy Origins 60 features a full aircraft-grade aluminium body and offers a space-saving 60 percent layout that maximizes desktop real estate for ultimate mouse movement.

TerraMaster Introduces Upgraded D8 Thunderbolt 3 8-Bay DAS for Professional Creators

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products including direct-attached storage (DAS) devices, introduces the upgraded D8 Thunderbolt 3 (D8-331) 8-bay professional-grade RAID storage. The new D8 Thunderbolt 3 model features an upgraded RAID controller that delivers faster data transmission by up to 30% over the previous model. The new model delivers speeds of up to 2100 MB/s in RAID 0 using eight SSDs (old model 1600 MB/s). The D8 Thunderbolt 3 RAID storage is designed for professional creators such as video editors, animators, photographers, and others. Now, creators can enjoy even faster data transmission speeds to get work done faster.

The TerraMaster D8 Thunderbolt 3 is ideal for small- and medium-sized enterprises in need of high-speed, large-capacity storage for content creation, perfect for creators working on applications like Apple Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Lightroom, DaVinci Resolve, and others. The RAID storage also comes with two 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 ports that are fully compatible with the latest macOS Big Sur system version.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.37.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the popular video sub-system information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility, for PC enthusiasts and gamers. The latest version, 2.37.0 adds support for new GPUs, and improves the user interface in many ways. To begin with, supported is added for the upcoming GeForce RTX 3060, and recently launched GPUs, such as the RTX 3080 Mobile, RTX 3070 Mobile, RTX 3060 Mobile, compute accelerators such as the A6000, A40, A100-SXM4-40 GB, Drive PX2, P106M, and professional-visualization cards such as the Quadro K510M, and Tesla K20M modded to Quadro K6000. On the AMD side, we have preliminary support added for the upcoming Radeon RX 6700 series and RX 6600 series.

Among the many feature updates, fixes, and improvements we've made with GPU-Z 2.37.0 are detection for memory vendors on graphics cards based on RDNA and RDNA2 graphics architectures. A workaround has been added for a hardware bug in NVIDIA Ampere's PCIe controller. Filtering has been added for EVGA iCX sensor misreading. Fake GPU detection for "GT218" silicon has been improved. Lastly, we've brushed up our Russian translation. Grab GPU-Z from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.37.0
The change-log follows.

Apple Subpoenas Valve for Steam's Data on 346 Games

Apple and Epic Games have had quite a turbulent history of legal issues in the past year. Fortnite, the world's biggest battle royale game, got removed from the Apple store because its developer, Epic Games, had refused to comply to store rules. If a developer is listing a game on the Apple store, all in-game payments must be processed through Apple, with the company taking a 30% tax cut for it. Epic Games didn't like that idea too much, so the company just used an external system that gave players the option to pay for in-game goods using different ways. However, that represented non-compliance to Apple store guidelines, and Apple took the Fortnite game down.

Epic Games has sued the famous fruit company over this practice, however, another big publisher is being dragged into the fight. Valve, the company behind the popular gaming platform, Steam, has just entered the fight. Apple has requested Valve to hand over information about 346 games and its user statistics, meaning the number of monthly, daily, etc. players and other useful information. This information request was made off the court and Valve has denied providing it. In the second attempt by Apple, the information requested was "very narrow" and Valve did not want to provide any more data. The response from Valve was that the company doesn't sell mobile games and has little business in the mobile world, thus making Apple's request irrelevant.

AMD Instinct MI200 to Launch This Year with MCM Design

AMD is slowly preparing the next-generation of its compute-oriented flagship graphics card design called Instinct MI200 GPU. It is the card of choice for the exascale Frontier supercomputer, which is expected to make a debut later this year at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. With the supercomputer planned for the end of this year, AMD Instinct MI200 is also going to get launched eight a bit before or alongside it. The Frontier exascale supercomputer is supposed to bring together AMD's next-generation Trento EPYC CPUs with Instinct MI200 GPU compute accelerators. However, it seems like AMD will utilize some new technologies for the making of this supercomputer. While we do not know what Trento EPYC CPUs will look like, it seems like Instinct MI200 GPU is going to feature a multi-chip-module (MCM) design with the new CDNA 2 GPU architecture. With this being the only information about the GPU, we have to wait a bit to find out more details.
AMD CDNA Die

PowerColor Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Devil Smiles for the Camera

Here are some of the first marketing pictures of the PowerColor Radeon RX 6900 XT Liquid Devil, the company's flagship graphics card targeted at PC enthusiasts with DIY liquid-cooling setups. The company had teased this card in mid-January, but is yet to formally launch it. The card combines a juiced up variant of the RX 6900 XT Red Devil PCB with a full-coverage water-block supplied by EK Water Blocks. This block is derived from EK's QuantumVector RX 6000 family, and features nickel-plated copper as its main material, paired with an acrylic top that's studded with addressable-RGB LEDs. The card is expected to come with slightly higher clock speeds than the air-cooled Red Devil Limited Edition. The package also includes a PowerColor-exclusive set of coolant dyes.

GeForce RTX 3060 Already Hits Second-Hand Market as NVIDIA Sours the Milk for Miners

NVIDIA's yet-to-be-released GeForce RTX 3060 "Ampere" graphics card has already hit the second-hand graphics card market, as those with early access to RTX 3060 inventory have begun re-selling it. Belarusian tech marketplace Onliner listed these GIGABYTE RTX 3060 Eagle OC custom-design graphics cards for 2,800 BYN (USD $1,080) a piece, from a lot of three cards.

NVIDIA announced that the company plans to tackle the problem of crypto-currency miners soaking up inventory of GeForce "Ampere" graphics cards, beginning by designing the GeForce RTX 3060 to be bad at mining, putting out half the hash-rate it normally should, with the specs at its disposal. The company claims to be using an elaborate mechanism to enforce this hash-rate limiting, so miners can't work around by modifying the drivers. We're also hearing that the company could revise other RTX 30-series "Ampere" products with hashrate limiters, so they become unviable for crypto mining.

SilverStone Intros Hydrogon D120 ARGB Dual Fin-stack CPU Cooler

SilverStone today introduced the Hydrogon D120 ARGB a "slim" aluminium dual fin-stack CPU cooler. The cooler features a "D-type" dual fin-stack heatsink with slim fin-stacks that contribute to an overall cooler depth of just 112 mm with both fans in place (comparable to a single fin-stack cooler with a push-pull fans arrangement). The two fin-stacks are skewered by six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes that make indirect contact with the CPU over a mirror-finish nickel-plated copper base. The heat pipes progress upward in a bent fashion as shown in the pictures below, to free up clearance around the memory area of your motherboard.

A pair of 120 mm, 9-blade ARGB-illuminated fans are included with the SilverStone Hydrogon D120 ARGB. Each of these take in 4-pin PWM for the main function, and 3-pin ARGB for the lighting. The fans feature hydraulic bearings, turn up to 1,850 RPM, each pushing up to 56.23 CFM of air-flow, with a noise output of 30.5 dBA. Among the CPU socket types supported are AM4, LGA115x, LGA1200, and LGA2066. The cooler measures 125 mm (W) x 153 mm (H) x 112 mm (D), weighing 885 g (including fans). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Noctua Teases Upcoming Budget Redux CPU Cooler

Noctua is preparing to launch their first Redux CPU cooler in the coming weeks targeting price-conscious consumers who still want a quality cooling solution. Noctua describes their upcoming Redux product as a 'proven CPU cooler, reduced to the essentials' which indicates the design will be similar to an existing product such as the NH-U12. The new cooler will ship with Grey Redux fans for an industrial look, moving away from the signature brown and beige fans. This new cooler will compete with the likes of Cooler Master's Hyper 212 lineup however exact pricing and availability are currently unknown.

iFixit Teardown Reveals The Reasons Behind Joystick Drift on PS5 Controllers

We recently reported about the class action lawsuit being filed against Sony surrounding the alleged drift on their DualShock 5 controllers. We now have some new evidence from iFixit which points towards this physical issue being present on all DualShock 5 controllers. The DualShock 5 controllers use "off-the-shelf joystick hardware with a long history of predictable, preventable issues" according to iFixit. They also estimate that the life-time of these joysticks is just over 400 hours of game time which is significantly less than what would be expected on a 70 USD controller.

The controller drift will get worse as the controllers are used due to several design faults. The main issues identified by iFixit include the specific potentiometers used in the joysticks which will wear down from use quickly making the reading more unreliable. The springs used to bring the joystick to a neutral position will fatigue over time creating a new neutral point and shifting readings. The plastics used in the DualShock 5 controller will inevitably deteriorate with time. The controller will also accumulate grime and dust in the housing from use which increases the severity of drift. The best way to minimize controller drift is to clean your controller regularly; however, this will not solve the hardware faults.

ASUS USB-C2500 Provides a Handy, Tool-free 2.5GbE Upgrade

ASUS USB-C2500 lets you add 2.5 Gbps wired Ethernet to your PC or NAS without the fuss of opening it up for a PCIe adapter. The dongle features a USB 3.0 type-A (5 Gbps) connector on one end, and an easy-to-setup 2.5 GbE port on the other. The main body of this network dongle is made of an aluminium alloy, while a Nylon-sleeved 5 cm cable ties it to the USB 3.0 type-A connector. A type-A to type-C adapter, or native type-C interface aren't included, unlike with the ASUSTOR AS-U2-5G2. The company didn't mention the controller underneath, but it's very likely to be the Realtek RTL8156B, possibly the only USB3-based 2.5 GbE single-chip solution at large. The company didn't announce pricing.

ZALMAN Intros Z8 Series Mid-Tower Cases

ZALMAN today introduced the Z8 line of ATX mid-tower cases. These include the standard Z8, with its mesh front-panel and fans that don't light up; the Z8 MS with fans that do; and the Z8 TG, which replaces the mesh front panel of the Z8 and Z8 MS, for one made of tempered glass. The side panels on these cases are hinged, and can open like doors. Inside, the Z8 series feature a conventional horizontally-partitioned layout, with the upper compartment serving up room for graphics cards up to 35 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16.2 cm in height.

Ventilation options on the Z8 series include either three 120 mm or two 140 mm front intakes, two 140/120 mm top exhausts, and a 120 mm rear exhaust. Storage options include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive trays, and four additional 2.5-inch mounts. Front-panel connectivity includes two USB 3.x type-A ports, a USB 2.0 port, and HDA jacks. The case measures 460 mm x 212 mm x 493 mm (DxWxH), dry-weighing around 6.8 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Sunday, February 21st 2021

Dell Lists an AMD "Ryzen 7 5800" (non-X) Option

AMD appears to be taking baby steps toward expanding its Ryzen 5000 "Zen 3" desktop processor lineup. Dell Canada has started listing a model of the processor series not yet available in the DIY retail channel, the Ryzen 7 5800 (non-X). This isn't a typo, as the option is listed next to the 5800X. The Ryzen 7 5800 is described as being an 8-core part, much like the 5800X, but has a slightly lower max boost frequency of 4.60 GHz, as opposed to 4.70 GHz of the 5800X. It could have a lower nominal (base) frequency compared to the 5800X, and possibly even a lower TDP. The last time AMD released an OEM-exclusive non-X SKU was the Ryzen 9 3900 12-core processor.

AMD's current retail-channel (PIB) lineup of Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors starts at $299 for the 6-core Ryzen 5 5600X, with the company still selling Ryzen 3000-series SKUs such as the 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X under this price. We expect the company to flesh out the 5000-series with SKUs such as the "Ryzen 5 5600 (non-X)," later this year, in response to Intel's 11th Gen Core i5 series based on the "Rocket Lake-S" silicon. Given the fate of the Ryzen 9 3900, we don't expect a broad retail launch of the Ryzen 7 5800.
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