Friday, February 22nd 2019

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Memory
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SSD

AMD Partners Cut Pricing of Radeon RX Vega 56 to Preempt GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

AMD cut pricing of the Radeon RX Vega 56 in select markets to preempt the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and help the market digest inventory. The card can be had for as little as €269 (including VAT) for an MSI RX Vega 56 Air Boost, which is a close-to-reference product. The GTX 1660 Ti reportedly has a starting price of $279.99 (excluding taxes). This development is significant given that the GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to perform on-par with the GTX 1070, which the RX Vega 56 outperforms. The RX Vega series is still very much a part of AMD's product stack, and AMD continues to release new game optimizations for the card. NVIDIA is expected to launch the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti within February. Although based on the "Turing" architecture, it lacks real-time raytracing and AI acceleration features, yet retains the increased IPC of CUDA cores from the new generation.

NVIDIA Readies GeForce GTX 1650 for March Release

In a hurry to mop up its product stack, NVIDIA is giving finishing touches to the new GeForce GTX 1650 lower-mainstream graphics card, with an intention to release sometime this March. The card is rumored to be based on NVIDIA's smallest "Turing" chip, the 12 nm "TU117." NVIDIA will use the GTX 1650 to capture key sub-$200 price-points where its "Pascal" based GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 3 GB find themselves embattled against AMD's Radeon RX 570 and RX 580 4 GB, which have undergone major price-cuts.

The GeForce GTX 1650 is rumored to feature anywhere between 896 to 1,024 CUDA cores based on the "Turing" architecture, and most likely a 128-bit wide memory interface holding 4 GB of memory. According to TUM_APISAK, its core clock speed is set to 1485 MHz. With its TDP expected to be around 75 Watts, the card will either completely lack power connectors, or feature a single 6-pin PCIe power connector in some custom-design cards.

Transcend Announces New Lines of Portable SSDs

Transcend Information Inc., a leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, today announced the release of a new series of USB Type-C portable SSDs, including the ESD230C, ESD240C, and ESD250C. These drives can be used with devices equipped with USB Type-C or USB Type-A interfaces, and are fast, light, and portable. Featuring impressive storage capacity, each model sports a different kind of elegance, meaning users can choose the one that fits their own fashion sense.

The all-new ESD230C, ESD240C, and ESD250C SSDs are equipped with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible interface with UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), providing transfer speeds of up to 520MB/s, meaning that even 4K resolution videos transfer in an instant. The SSDs are compatible with desktops, laptops, on-the-go mobile devices, as well as gaming consoles. They provide the perfect expansion with their large capacities and speedy file-transfer capabilities.
Thursday, February 21st 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Storage
EK-XRES 140 SPC PWM Classic RGB

EK-XRES 140 SPC PWM Classic RGB

Part of the new EK Classic product lineup, the EK-XRES 140 SPC PWM Classic RGB is a reservoir/pump combo unit using their SPC-60 pump for decent performance at low noise. It is coupled to an acrylic reservoir with integrated RGB lighting and aims to offer value for money to those wanting a more minimalist, classic reservoir.

Crucial Intros 960GB Variant of BX500 SSD

Crucial late Thursday rolled out a 960 GB variant of its entry-level BX500 SATA SSD series (model: CT960BX500SSD1). The BX500 earlier came in capacities only up to 480 GB. The drive implements Micron's latest 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory mated to an SMI SM2258XT DRAM-less controller. Its rated performance is same as the 480 GB model, with up to 540 MB/s reads and up to 500 MB/s writes. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, the drive takes advantage of the SATA 6 Gbps interface. The drive is now selling for USD $129.99 ($0.13 per GB).

Google Keynote at GDC 2019 Hints Towards Dedicated Gaming Entry

Google sent out a fairly cryptic invite to the game developers and associated press this week in the form of a GIF (converted into relevant images below). It teases a keynote on March 19, 2019 and more information was made available shortly confirming this would be in the form of a keynote to be held at 10 am PST during GDC this year. The media giant promises to "reveal all", and also has developer-focused sessions throughout the course of the event. An early report from The Information suggests the keynote will have Google talk about their new game-streaming service, code-named Yeti. This is in line with our own expectations, after having participated in the fairly successful Project Stream beta test that concluded recently.

Kotaku went further to suggest that Yeti is a streaming service in conjunction with a hardware platform- a simple streaming box, if you will, to take on the dedicated game consoles of 2019 and beyond. Indeed, Google has been wanting to get into this highly lucrative market, with intentions to take over Twitch before Amazon pulled one over them. There remain many challenges in general to a game-streaming world, not least of which were detailed in our own editorial linked above. But, with the next generation consoles getting ready for development and Microsoft willing to explore a game-streaming future themselves, perhaps Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and others should pay very close attention to said Google keynote in less than a month's time.

NVIDIA Adds New Options to Its MX200 Mobile Graphics Solutions - MX250 and MX230

NVIDIA has added new SKUs to its low power mobility graphics lineup. the MX230 and MX250 come in to replace The GeForce MX130 and MX150, but... there's really not that much of a performance improvement to justify the increase in the series' tier. Both solutions are based on Pascal, so there are no Turing performance uplifts at the execution level.

NVIDIA hasn't disclosed any CUDA core counts or other specifics on these chips; we only know that they are paired with GDDR 5 memory and feature Boost functionality for increased performance in particular scenarios. The strange thing is that NVIDIA's own performance scores compare their MX 130, MX150, and now MX230 and MX250 to Intel's UHD620 IGP part... and while the old MX150 was reported by NVIDIA as offering an up to 4x performance uplift compared to that Intel part, the new MX250 now claims an improvement of 3.5x the performance. Whether this is because of new testing methodology, or some other reason, only NVIDIA knows.

LGM Games Announces Open-World Single-Player Space Action RPG Starpoint Gemini 3

The new installment is an open-world space action single-player RPG that puts the player in the cockpit of Captain Jonathan Bold, a space adventurer traveling the vast universe of Starpoint Gemini 3. For the first time in the franchise, Starpoint Gemini 3 introduces 3D, animated NPCs that players can interact with, and this time the flight path leads beyond Gemini as they get to explore two new planetary systems, visiting various venues, from pubs with shady clientele to high-tech facilities and noisy, glitzy nightclubs.

Along with the action-packed space battles, Starpoint Gemini 3 comes with an array of novel possibilities. With the help of ADAH, a digital consciousness that runs the ship's computer, players can operate the ship's drone and accomplish tasks they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

SilentiumPC Introduces The Armis AR5X TG RGB Chassis

Introducing the latest addition to the Armis lineup, Armis AR5X TG RGB, the most refined mid-tower chassis from SilentiumPC. This top-of-the-line variant of AR5 series provides unparalleled balance of perfect external size and design, features, quality and price for a wide variety of PC system configurations.

The Armis AR5X TG RGB comes with dual tempered-glass panels, one on left side and another one in the front, and is fully RGB-enabled with four ring-type Sigma HP Corona RGB 120 mm fans creating subtle yet stunning illumination effects.

Toshiba Develops New Bridge Chip Using PAM 4 to Boost SSD Speed and Capacity

Toshiba Memory Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, today announced the development of a bridge chip that realizes high-speed and large-capacity SSDs. Using developed bridge chips with a small occupied area and low-power consumption, the company has succeeded in connecting more flash memory chips with fewer high-speed signal lines than with the conventional method of no bridge chips. This result was announced in San Francisco on February 20, at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference 2019 (ISSCC 2019).

In SSDs, multiple flash memory chips are connected to a controller that manages their operation. As more flash memory chips are connected to a controller interface, operating speed degrades, so there are limits to the number of chips that can be connected. In order to increase capacity, it is necessary to increase the number of interfaces, but that results in an enormous number of high-speed signal lines connected to the controller, making it more difficult to implement the wiring on the SSD board.

CORSAIR Launches DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory

CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory, raising the bar once again for premium, world-class DRAM. DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB delivers the high performance that custom PC enthusiasts demand for their cutting-edge systems, while renewing the celebrated and iconic design of DOMINATOR PLATINUM. A fully updated aluminum heatspreader, hand-sorted memory chips, frequencies up to a record-setting 4,800 MHz, and individually addressable RGB lighting - a first for a DOMINATOR PLATINUM module - combine to create DDR4 memory that's in a class of its own.

8Pack Launches The ORION X2 - A Dual System Featuring Three RTX TITANS for a Measly £32,999.99

The World's Most Powerful Dual System Computer, Featuring a Triple Stack of NVIDIA's Flagship TITAN RTX Graphics Cards and Three Custom Acrylic Water-cooling Loops.

A pioneer in innovation, system customisation and world-record breaking Overclocks. 8Pack has been creating revolutionary gaming systems for the last decade. Working directly with NVIDIA, Intel and ASUS ROG he's proud to present the Orion X2, a dual system configuration that not only features the most premium selection of enthusiast grade hardware, but offers something that's completely game changing in terms of raw performance.

LIAN-LI Celebrates a Glorious 2018 with Giveaway Promo

LIANLI Industrial Co. Ltd., world's leading manufacturer of aluminum chassis for enthusiasts, custom OEM/ODM case solutions and case accessories is proud to celebrate a successful year with all its fans across the globe. To celebrate, LIANLI is giving back to the global community with another giveaway to commemorate its 2018 product lines and welcome another year of innovation. LIANLI is inviting fans to choose their favorite 2018 LIANLI products and get the chance to win those items!

ADATA Launches Ultimate SU750 2.5-inch SATA 6 Gbps SSDs

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched its ADATA Ultimate SU750 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s solid-state drives (SSD). With next-generation TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 3D NAND Flash and a host of other features, SU750 SSDs deliver terrific value, great performance, and superb reliability to offer users an excellent option for their next upgrade.

Implementing 3D NAND Flash, Ultimate SU750 SSDs features higher storage capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. With SLC Caching, the drives can achieve read/write speeds of up to 550/520MB per second to accelerate PC performance. Users will revel in not having to wait around to access files and for programs to load. What's more, with no mechanical components, SU750 SSDs are more resilient than HDDs. They are more resistant to shock and vibration (1500G/0.5ms), therefore providing better protection of data. Also, SSDs also run silently and consume less power than HDDs.
Wednesday, February 20th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
Corsair ONE i160 Compact Gaming PC

Corsair ONE i160 Compact Gaming PC

Corsair has revamped their desktop lineup with the ONE i160 compact gaming PC. Sporting an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Intel i9-9900K, and 32 GB of memory, this new system is more than just a bunch of high-end hardware. It's also absolutely tiny. Maybe, they should have called it Little Mac since it packs such a serious punch.

Lenovo Adware Class Action Lawsuit Settled, Claimants Get $40 on Average

The class action lawsuit levied against Lenovo and Superfish for the Visual Discovery adware has long since been settled. With roughly 800,000 laptops sold between September 2014 and February 2015 having been affected and therefore qualifying for a claim estimated at up to $40. While claims can go higher with proof, the majority of claimants will likely pick the easy option. That said, a rumor from Media Post is now stating users may be eligible for up to $55 thanks in part to fewer people coming forward than initially expected. This is likely not true as the settlement came out January 11th. Even so, this new rumor gaining traction at least serves as a good reminder that if you haven't done so and you have a system that qualifies (listed after the break) you can go here and submit a claim. All claimants have until March 25th, 2019 to file there claim.

ENERMAX Introduces New Addressable RGB Fan, SquA RGB

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance PC hardware products, announces the launch of an addressable RGB computer fan series, SquA RGB. SquA RGB made its debut at CES 2019 and caught much attention by its square-shaped lighting and optimized low 300 RPM starting speed. SquA RGB will have Single Pack and 3-Fan Pack for retail market. In the Single Pack, users can plug & play the fan to showcase constant rainbow RGB lighting effect. As for 3-Fan Pack, SquA RGB especially includes ENERMAX integrated RGB control box for users to adjust lighting effects. The fans in both Single Pack and 3-Fan Pack can support synchronizable RGB lighting via motherboards (4-pin RGB header).

Valve to Remove all Non-game Videos from Steam

Steam is perhaps most known for their massive video-game library, but they have expanded their product portfolio in the recent years to include software and other video content, including movies that could be rented or even purchased. Valve perhaps wanted to go beyond just being a game storefront, and take in some of that hollywood money as well. Things did not turn out as they expected, however, with the vast majority of end users not using the Steam platform for this venture. It also did not help that movies tend to operate with in a market where Steam does not boast a large market share, and licensing rights meant that the available content was meager at best. Valve tried to work around this by providing a platform for free content as well, but that did not help either.

In a blog post, Valve confirmed that they are making changes to all non-gaming video content on Steam. Indeed, as of the time of this post, there is no more Video section on Steam. They mentioned, and I quote, "In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam". Accordingly, any existing content will be retired in the coming weeks, although owners of previously purchased video content will still find it accessible in their library. With pressure building from competing store fronts, perhaps this renewed focus on video games will be just what Valve, and Steam, want to have.

Intel Invites Gamers for a Graphics Odyssey Spanning Multiple Continents

Intel is working to build up hype and awareness around its discrete graphics efforts, of which we're still to see more off besides Intel's continuous acquisition of AMD-based talent for that particular endeavor. It's relatively hard to build up enthusiasm for something other than the fact there is a third competitor entering the high-performance graphics card space; the rest is mostly rumors, speculations, and declared intentions.

Denuvo 5.6, Used in Both Metro Exodus and Far Cry New Dawn, Cracked in Five Days; UWP for Crackdown 3 Bypassed

New game releases with newly-revamped Denuvo protection, and new cracked versions of those games - all in less than five days after release. For now, only Metro Exodus is cracked, though the fact that Far Cry New Dawn makes use of the same version does little to inspire confidence in its continued resistance. The tale is becoming older and older, and the question in most anyone's mind is whether there is actually any financial incentive for developers/publishers to go after Denuvo's protections against cheaper option, because it seems that Denuvo is failing to guarantee even that brief time-window that is always brought about when it comes to new game releases.

Most Denuvo-protected games have been cracked in less than a week after release, and things haven't been improving for some time now. Whether or not it makes sense to keep a team of software engineers working on such a product is also a question that would be well-posed to Denuvo. But not only Denuvo and its DRM solutions are falling short, since it seems that Microsoft's own UWP-protected Crackdown 3, which finally released after a very early 2015 reveal, has also been cracked.

Intel's FinFET-Based Embedded MRAM is Ready for Production

A report via EETimes slates Intel's own working MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memory) is ready for production in high-volume manufacturing. MRAM is a nonvolatile memory technology, meaning that it retains information even if there is a change in powerstate (ie, power loss), meaning that it's more akin to a storage device than to, say, RAM.

But why does MRAM matter, really? Well, MRAM is being developed as a long-term candidate to a universal memory solution, replacing both DRAM (a volatile memory technology) and NAND flash (a nonvolatile one), since node scaling with these technologies is becoming increasingly harder. MRAM promises better-scaling (at the foundry level) processes, with much higher yield rates. The fact that MRAM has been demonstrated to be able to achieve 1 ns settling times, better than the currently accepted theoretical limits for DRAM, and much higher write speeds (as much as thousands of times faster) compared to NAND flash.

Galax Readies 17.5 cm-long RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 Mini Graphics Cards

Galax is readying compact 17.5 cm long GeForce RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 for the Japanese market, distributed exclusively by Kurouto Shikou. The common board design for both models retains its short length despite not being taller than the ATX standard height, and is no thicker than 2-slot. It uses a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of 80 mm fans. The RTX 2070 Mini (GK-RTX2070-E8GB/MINI) ticks at GPU Boost frequencies of 1620 MHz, while the RTX 2060 Mini (GK-RTX2060-E6GB/MINI) does 1650 MHz. Both cards offer one-each of DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI; and draw power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

Noctua CPU Coolers Now Include AM4 Mounting at No Extra Cost

Noctua today announced that all of its current multi-socket desktop CPU coolers, such as the popular NH-D15, NH-U14S and NH-U12S, now also include installation hardware for the AM4 socket of AMD's Ryzen processors. Although Noctua introduced its dedicated SE-AM4 models in early 2017 and has provided free-of-charge upgrade kits ever since the launch of the AM4 platform, the updates of the existing multi-socket models now allow customers to install them on all current mainstream sockets without ordering extra mounting kits. As suggested retail prices remain unchanged, the updates come at no extra cost to the customers.

"We've supported AMD's Ryzen platform with our SE-AM4 models and free-of-charge mounting upgrades from the very beginning", says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "As with Intel's LGA115x and 20xx platforms, our customers have greatly appreciated our free upgrade policy. We've provided many thousands of free mounting kits and quite a few customers have migrated 10-year-old heatsinks they had already used on several socket generations. This means a lot to us and we'll continue to offer the free kits of course. However, with AM4 becoming more and more popular, we think it is time to also include the mountings with our existing models so that customers have everything at hand when they purchase new coolers."

Team Xtreem Xcalibur DDR4 Memory Wins iF Design Award 2019

T-FORCE gaming memory from TEAMGROUP goes beyond the limit and receives international awards again. After receiving COMPUTEX Golden Pin Design Award last year, T-FORCE XCALIBUR RGB gaming memory has won the iF International Design Award again earlier this year. The award-winning T-FORCE XCALIBUR RGB gaming memory has the Taiwan utility model patent (number: M565883). This memory is incomparable as a king's sword and it shines globally with its excellent all-round design.

The German iF Product Design Award is known as the Oscar Award in design field. This globally well-known product design award was founded in 1953 and it is also the world's top design quality indicator. This year, the German IF Award has gathered the world's top 67 international jury members and received 6375 entries from 52 countries. The T-FORCE XCALIBUR won the award over numerous outstanding entries. A remarkable result like this, once again proves the T-FORCE gaming memory has both top performance and a solid design strength that can stun everyone in the world stage.

Intel Rolls Out the 4 GHz Pentium Gold G5620 Processor

Intel rolled out its first Pentium-branded processor with 4.00 GHz clock-speed, the Pentium Gold G5620 (retail SKU: BX80684G5620). The chip replaces the G5600 on top of the entry-level product stack. Based on the 14 nm "Coffee Lake" microarchitecture, it packs a 2-core/4-thread CPU clocked at 4.00 GHz without Turbo Boost. 256 KB of L2 cache per core and 4 MB of shared L3 cache are also offered. The integrated graphics solution is Intel's workhorse UHD Graphics 630, with 24 execution units. The dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller supports up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. The chip's TDP is rated at 65W. Pricing is up in the air, with retail channel shortages expected to swing the chip on both sides of the $100-mark. Availability is slated for early-March, 2019.
Tuesday, February 19th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Storage
ASUS ROG Strix Flare Keyboard

ASUS ROG Strix Flare Keyboard

We take a look at our first ASUS keyboard, and it just happens to be their flagship, the ROG Strix Flare. Featuring options galore, be it via Cherry MX RGB switch options, profiles and onboard controls, or software driver customization over functions and lighting alike, it makes for a strong impression of the brand in the crowded keyboard market.
Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse

Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse

Behold! The one true heir to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 has arrived: the Pro IntelliMouse. It has the exact same shape as its predecessor, which is great news for many people who loved the original. It features a top optical sensor, Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks, and an RGB tail light.

Logitech G Announces the 2019 MX518 Gaming Mouse

You asked for it, we did it. Over the years, Logitech G community has consistently asked us to bring back the legendary Logitech G MX518, which many consider to be the finest gaming mouse of all time. Today Logitech G is excited to announce that the new MX518 gaming mouse is now available to fans around the world.

The reborn MX518 retains the same shape and feel of the original that made it famous but is updated to the very latest, next-generation technologies, including HERO 16K sensor and the addition of a 32-bit ARM processor for a super fast 1 ms report rate. The MX518 also features eight programmable buttons so you can bind custom commands. With onboard memory, you can also save your preferences directly to the mouse, so you can use it on different systems without the need to install custom software or reconfigure your settings.

JEDEC Updates Standard for Low Power Memory Devices: LPDDR5

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in standards development for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of JESD209-5, Low Power Double Data Rate 5 (LPDDR5). LPDDR5 will eventually operate at an I/O rate of 6400 MT/s, 50% higher than that of the first version of LPDDR4, which will significantly boost memory speed and efficiency for a variety of applications including mobile computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, and ultra-thin notebooks. In addition, LPDDR5 offers new features designed for mission critical applications such as automotive. Developed by JEDEC's JC-42.6 Subcommittee for Low Power Memories, LPDDR5 is available for download from the JEDEC website.

With the doubling of memory throughput over the previous version of the standard (LPDDR5 is being published with a data rate of 6400 MT/s, compared to 3200 MT/s for LPDDR4 at its publication in 2014), LPDDR5 promises to have an enormous impact on the performance and capabilities of the next generation of portable electronic devices. To achieve this performance improvement, LPDDR5 architecture was redesigned; moving to 16Banks programmable architecture and multi-clocking architecture.

Hadean Integrates Distributed Simulation Technology - Powered by Microsoft Azure

(Editor's Note: Hadean seems to be building a cloud-based OS that serves more than games via its Aether Engine: on its website, the company cites usages for gaming, multi-scale cellular models, and risk profile analysis with increased datasets than ever before. The idera of a cloud-based OS seems to stem from a desire to usher developers into an almost auto-sufficient system and interface, without the need for the layers of distributed engineeriuing, with multiple inputs and workflows for middleware, microservices, containers, and other parts. Users can take part in the 10,000 player stress test that's being planned for the end of February, and can register to partake in the experiment on the company's website.)

Hadean announced its Aether Engine will be powered by Microsoft Azure, allowing developers to more seamlessly scale their applications at increased speed and ease across the cloud. Hadean's technology will also be integrated with other parts of Microsoft's developer suite, including Visual Studio. Hadean's record-breaking 10,000 player gaming experience that will be unveiled at GDC 2019 will be powered by the Aether Engine running on Azure. Outside of gaming, this exact same technology is driving Hadean and the Francis Crick Institute's biomolecular simulation work in the field of cancer cell research.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Ti AMP, Twin Fan Renders Leaked

As we draw closer to the launch of NVIDIA-s upcoming, RTX/less GTX 11660 Ti graphics card, which is pegged to offer performance comparable to that of their previous generation GTX 1070, more and more partner cards - with their custom designs ready to go - are popping up. This time it's ZOTAC and its AMP and Twin Fan graphics cards, though there's not much more information.

The pictures offer some, though, as do ZOTAC's previous launch decisions when it comes to their AMPD and Twin Fan graphics cards. Both SKUs for the GTX 1660 Ti offer a dual-fan, single-slot solution, with a single 8-pin connector guaranteeing enough juice for both nominal and overclocked operation. A different PCB design is seemingly used between both cards, as the leaked renders seem to point towards. The AMP series will offer somewhat overclocked values for higher performance, and sports a lighter gray on the shroud, compared to the Twin Fan solution. Expect these to launch alongside NVIDIA's announcement, coming in just a few days.

snakebyte Announces the HEAD:SET PRO, A New Luxury Gaming Headset Without the Luxury Price

snakebyte group, leading innovators of consumer electronics hardware, announced today the shipping of the HEAD:SET PRO PC, an all-new premium gaming headset without the premium price. Focusing on high-quality audio and featuring an impressive specification, the HEAD:SET PROis ideal for the discerning PC gamer looking for a quality headset without the overinflated price tag.

Advanced 50mm Neodymium Drivers engineered for gaming audio, reproduce every explosion, shot or team conversation with crystal-clear clarity, giving gamers the winning edge, they need to come out on top. Engineered from memory foam, the luxury earcups feature passive noise cancellation technology so gamers can concentrate on the action on screen without distraction.

Blizzard and NZXT Introduce the H500 Overwatch Special Edition

NZXT and Blizzard Entertainment have joined forces to deliver a PC chassis made for gamers who are passionate about building and showing off their own rigs-and also throwing in some flavor from their favorite games. The new, special edition H500 Overwatch Edition mid-tower showcases NZXT's signature design with a sleek look that any hero would be proud to have in their arsenal. Featuring an all-steel construction in black, a cable management system for streamlined building, and a luminous Overwatch logo on the front panel, this special H500 chassis is perfect for the Overwatch player looking to outfit their rig for battle.

"As a company of passionate gamers, we admire the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the Overwatch community, and we know Blizzard aims to deliver legendary products and experiences to its players," says Johnny Hou, founder and CEO of NZXT. "That's why we teamed up with Blizzard on this epic H500 PC chassis. Whether you are a Mercy, D.Va, or Genji main, the H500 Overwatch is made for any hero who wants to answer the call."

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming Unboxing Video Goes Live

PC World Bulgaria has on its YouTube channel posted a full-fledged unboxing video of the unreleased MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X graphics card. The card features MSI's new-generation TwinFrozr 7 cooling solution that's embedded with RGB LEDs, TorX 3.0 fans, and a design that's resembling, although slightly toned down, from the company's RTX 2060 Gaming Z graphics card. You also get a full-coverage backplate that extends to cover the tail end. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include a trio of DisplayPort 1.4 and an HDMI 2.0b.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is expected to launch later this month at a starting price of USD $279, although the MSI Gaming X could command a premium. Based on the 12 nm "TU116" silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti lacks RTX technology, but offers 1,536 CUDA cores from the "Turing" generation, and 6 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 192-bit wide memory interface.
The video presentation follows.

NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti to Perform Roughly On-par with GTX 1070: Leaked Benchmarks

NVIDIA's upcoming "Turing" based GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card could carve itself a value proposition between the $250-300 mark that lets it coexist with both the GTX 1060 6 GB and the $350 RTX 2060, according to leaked "Final Fantasy XV" benchmarks scored by VideoCardz. In these benchmarks, the GTX 1660 Ti was found to perform roughly on par with the previous-generation GTX 1070 (non-Ti), which is plausible given that the 1,536 CUDA cores based on "Turing," architecture, with their higher IPC and higher GPU clocks, are likely to catch up with the 1,920 "Pascal" CUDA cores of the GTX 1070, while 12 Gbps 192-bit GDDR6 serves up more memory bandwidth than 8 Gbps 256-bit GDDR5 (288 GB/s vs. 256 GB/s). The GTX 1070 scores in memory size, with 8 GB of it. NVIDIA is expected to launch the GTX 1660 Ti later this month at USD $279. Unlike the RTX 20-series, these chips lack NVIDIA RTX real-time raytracing technology, and DLSS (deep-learning supersampling).

GlobalFoundries Looking for Buyers, Samsung and SK Hynix Seem Interested

GlobalFoundries is looking to be sold lock-stock-and-barrel by its investors, after heavily downsizing and parting with some of its Singapore-based assets recently. Once promising to lead the market with 7 nm and 5 nm advancements, the company crashed out of the sub-10 nm race, making AMD, its biggest customer, look for 7 nm supplies from TSMC. GlobalFoundries is the world's third largest semiconductor foundry service provider, with an 8.4 percent market share, behind TSMC and Samsung. Intel doesn't offer manufacturing services, as its fabs are fully dedicated to manufacturing its own products.

GlobalFoundries's main investor is Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Technology, which holds a 90 percent stake in the company. Korean semiconductor companies Samsung and SK Hynix are reportedly in the foray to buy out GlobalFoundries, as it would give them a turnkey presence in the US, with its Upstate New York facilities. The company is unlikely to entertain bids from Chinese companies, as CFIUS would likely block the sale. "Global Foundries is unlikely to be bought by a Chinese company such as SMIC in that the U.S. government is keeping China in check in various industries," said an industry insider, adding, "The most potential candidates include South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, and Samsung Electronics can increase its share in the market to 23 percent at once if it takes over Global Foundries."

ASUS Unveils ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 Router with GeForce NOW Optimization

ASUS today unveiled the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rapture GT-AC2900 wireless router with optimization for NVIDIA GeForce NOW cloud-based gaming service. What this entails is a certification from NVIDIA that the router provides "the best possible experience" streaming your game between the GeForce NOW cloud and your machine. What it really means is specialized QoS rules that prioritize traffic between your machine and GeForce NOW. As a router, you get 1 Gbps Ethernet WAN, four wired 1 Gbps Ethernet LAN ports, 802.11ac WLAN with 750+2167 Mbps across two bands, which includes 3x3 MIMO for 2.4 GHz, and 4x4 MIMO for 5 GHz. You also get USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 for 4G dongles and storage devices. You also get RGB LED lighting that's configurable using the ASUS Aura Sync RGB utility. The company didn't reveal pricing, since it hasn't finalized a release date.

ENERMAX Unleashes the Beastly MAXREVO 1800W Power Supply

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-end power supplies, announces the launch of MAXREVO 1800, a heavyweight 1800 watt power supply with peak power up to incredible 1900 watt. Characterized by the high-performance transformer, high-density PCB, and FMQ topology, MAXREVO 1800 PSU achieves a housing depth of only 180mm without sacrificing efficiency or performance, compared to its peers that normally come in 220 mm deep. Furthermore, 6 powerful +12V rails and 12 PCI-E connectors provide powerful output capabilities without compromising hardware safety. Specially designed for multi-GPU rigs, video editing workstations, industrial PC, and servers, MAXREVO 1800 is ready to quench the thirst of power-demanding systems.

MAXREVO 1800 is built with patented Turbo Switch; the design can help bring down the temperature of the critical components by 10-15°C. Through simply pressing the Turbo Switch, the PSU fan will spin at max speed (3100RPM) to create extra massive airflow to cool down the components.
Monday, February 18th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
SilentiumPC Spartan 3 Pro RGB

SilentiumPC Spartan 3 Pro RGB

SilentiumPC continues to push the boundary of what users can expect in regards to entry-level CPU coolers with the Spartan 3 Pro RGB. Equipped with a 100 mm Sigma Pro RGB fan, this compact tower cooler manages to stay relatively silent while still delivering adequate performance when it matters.

TSMC Revises Financial Outlook, Accounts for January Chemical Contamination and Lost Silicon

TSMC has revised its financial outlook following the recent contamination of its 14 B Gigafab, which saw between 10,000 and 30,000 wafers affected. It seems that TSMC has needed to scrap a higher number of wafers than it had initially calculated (no word on where exactly on those 10,000-30,000 spectrum that number is). This has resulted in an expected, lowered first-quarter 2019 revenues by about US$550 million, gross margin by 2.6%, operating margin by 3.2%, and EPS (Earnings Per Share) by NT$0.42, the foundry house said.

TSMC said it expects to deliver these chips in the second quarter, making up for most of the lost revenue - it's not so much of a loss, but more of a delay in earnings. As it comes to the actual, final impact of the event on TSMC's operating profits, the company estimates a reduced gross margin by 0.2%, operating margin by 0.2%, and EPS by NT$0.08. TSMC said that it has been in constant conversation with customers, and has already scheduled replacement deliveries - surprising absolutely no one.

Less Than a Year Since Its Inception, Razer is Closing its Razer Games Store

"That didn't last long" is what the user that brought us this story opened up with, and there's really not much more that can be said to encapsulate this event. Remember how Razer announced, in April of 2018, it would be introducing its own Razer Games Store, looking to grab a slice of the publishing revenue from Steam? Well, the project didn't quite pan out - whether because of its zSilver-associated rewards program or not, Razer is pitting this as part of its "realignment plans".

The Razer Game Store will close its doors at 1am PST February 28, with purchased games continuing to work, and pre-ordered titles shipping as planned. Discount vouchers, however, must be used before that date. TechCrunch reports that in a Q&A accompanying the announcement, Razer said it would "continue bringing games to gamers via other services." "We will be investing in other ways to deliver great content and introduce game promotions through Razer Gold, our virtual credits system," the company said. The Epic games store is developing at a relatively good pace, even if the titles are somewhat sparse - it has been nagging more and more high-profile launches from Steam's doorstep, as it did with Metro Exodus. So it isn't that much a problem of it being an impossible market to break in to - it just seems EPIC developed a wholly better strategy (businesswise) for it.

NVIDIA: Image Quality for DLSS in Metro Exodus to Be Improved in Further Updates, and the Nature of the Beast

NVIDIA, in a blog post/Q&A on its DLSS technology, promised implementation and image quality improvements on its Metro Exodus rendition of the technology. If you'll remember, AMD recently vouched for other, non-proprietary ways of achieving desired quality of AA technology across resolutions such as TAA and SMAA, saying that DLSS introduces "(...) image artefacts caused by the upscaling and harsh sharpening." NVIDIA in its blog post has dissected DLSS in its implementation, also clarifying some lingering questions on the technology and its resolution limitations that some us here at TPU had already wondered about.

The blog post describes some of the limitations in DLSS technology, and why exactly image quality issues might be popping out here and there in titles. As we knew from NVIDIA's initial RTX press briefing, DLSS basically works on top of an NVIDIA neural network. Titled the NGX, it processes millions of frames from a single game at varying resolutions, with DLSS, and compares it to a given "ground truth image" - the highest quality possible output sans any shenanigans, generated from just pure raw processing power. The objective is to train the network towards generating this image without the performance cost. This DLSS model is then made available for NVIDIA's client to download and to be run at your local RTx graphics card level, which is why DLSS image quality can be improved with time. And it also helps explain why closed implementations of the technology, such as 3D Mark's Port Royal benchmark, show such incredible image quality scenarios compared to, say, Metro Exodus - there is a very, very limited number of frames that the neural network needs to process towards achieving the best image quality.
Forumites: This is an Editorial

Zotac Announces Liquid-Cooling Ready GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm Graphics Card

ZOTAC Technology, a global manufacturer of innovation is pleased to announce the launch of the ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm graphics card. Get the best of both worlds with the all-new waterblocked graphics card packing the ultimate 2080 Ti performance with 16+4 power phases combined with fearless cooling. Continuing to push on design and innovation, the full coverage waterblock introduces a precision machine laser etched design entirely new to the design process.

The carved edges and added texture bring dimension to the clear acrylic block and enables it to catch the lighting lit across the block beautifully to enhance the overall design in a very discrete, elegant fashion. The lighting gets updated to SPECTRA 2.0, bringing with it more powerful Addressable RGB LEDs controllable with the newly designed Firestorm software. Adjust brightness and lighting modes on two independent zones or synchronize them together in unison lighting. With an onboard memory, your preferred lighting settings will stay whether the system restarts or shuts down.

AMD Radeon VII Retested With Latest Drivers

Just two weeks ago, AMD released their Radeon VII flagship graphics card. It is based on the new Vega 20 GPU, which is the world's first graphics processor built using a 7 nanometer production process. Priced at $699, the new card offers performance levels 20% higher than Radeon RX Vega 64, which should bring it much closer to NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080. In our testing we still saw a 14% performance deficit compared to RTX 2080. For the launch-day reviews AMD provided media outlets with a press driver dated January 22, 2019, which we used for our review.

Since the first reviews went up, people in online communities have been speculating that these were early drivers and that new drivers will significantly boost the performance of Radeon VII, to make up lost ground over RTX 2080. There's also the mythical "fine wine" phenomenon where performance of Radeon GPUs significantly improve over time, incrementally. We've put these theories to the test by retesting Radeon VII using AMD's latest Adrenalin 2019 19.2.2 drivers, using our full suite of graphics card benchmarks.

Intel Acquires Indian Startup to Strengthen Position in Discrete GPU Tech

Several years ago, Ineda, a small startup from Hyderabad, India made headlines when they developed custom-design processors for use in wearable devices that were optimized for high energy-efficiency, while still having the ability to read out various sensors or listen to voice commands at the same time. Such improvements help increase battery life on devices that people don't want to recharge every day. Over the years the company has received several million dollars in funding from Samsung, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies and others.

Looks like this caused enough attention at chip giant Intel, who's trying to come up with a competitive design for a discrete graphics processor, that's able to take on AMD's and NVIDIA's offerings. While Ineda certainly has patents that could come in useful, it looks like Intel is more interested in the company's manpower. With around 100 engineers, the company has a lot of talent, that's experienced in chip design and how to make these chips energy efficient.

Modding a 2x 140 mm All-in-One CPU Watercooler onto the AMD Radeon VII

Reddit user CarbonFireOC wasn't happy with the temperatures he's been seeing on his Radeon VII, and decided he wanted watercooling. Unfortunately, that early since product release no GPU waterblocks are available for the Radeon VII. What he figured out was that the waterblock of EVGA's CLC 280 all-in-one cooler will fit. This cooler, which is made by Asetek and licensed by EVGA is designed for Intel & AMD motherboards and many similar variants exist from vendors like Fractal Design, NZXT and others.

While performing such a mod on a $700 graphics card is not for the faint-hearted, it shows that with a little bit of creative ingenuity you can achieve amazing results without wasting top dollar.

His 24/7 stable settings on Radeon VII are 2122 MHz core, 1265 mV, and 1252 MHz memory, resulting in a 3DMark Firestrike graphics score of around 33,000. Even at such a high voltage, the watercooling keeps temperatures very low at 40°C GPU, 60°C Hotspot.
Sunday, February 17th 2019

Tight Squeeze Below $350 as Price of GTX 1660 Ti Revealed

NVIDIA is reportedly pricing the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti at USD $279 (baseline pricing), which implies pricing of custom-designed and factory-overclocked cards scraping the $300-mark. The card is also spaced $70 apart from the RTX 2060, which offers not just 25% more CUDA cores, but also NVIDIA RTX and DLSS technologies. In media reporting of the card so far, it is being compared extensively to the GTX 1060 6 GB, which continues to go for under $230. Perhaps NVIDIA is planning a slower non-Ti version to replace the GTX 1060 6 GB under the $250-mark. That entry would place three SKUs within $50-70 of each other, a tight squeeze. Based on the 12 nm TU116 silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to feature 1,536 CUDA cores, 96 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 192-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, handling 6 GB of memory at 12 Gbps (288 GB/s). This GPU lacks RT cores.

EK Releases Vector RTX Series Blocks for ASUS ROG Strix Series Graphics Cards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia based water cooling gear manufacturer, is introducing its new generation water blocks for the popular ROG Strix GeForce RTX series graphics cards, based on Turing TU106, Turing TU104 and Turing TU102 graphics processor.

The inspiration for the new GPU block name "Vector" came from the sheer computing power of the graphics cards that are on the market today. Naming a water block "Full Cover" isn't enough these days, when the product is packed with unique features, such as these. The EK Vector Strix RTX water blocks are specially designed for multiple ROG Strix GeForce RTX Turing based graphics cards. The water block itself uses the signature EK single slot slim look, and it covers the entire PCB length. This sophisticated cooling solution will transform your powerful ROG graphics card into a minimalistic, elegant piece of hardware with accented RGB LED lighting. The block also features a unique aesthetic cover over the block Terminal which is designed to showcase the graphics card model via LEDs, visible from the side.
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