Monday, December 5th 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD
Storage

Nvidia Rumored to Launch the GTX 1050 M at CES 2017

New reports have surfaced that indicate NVIDIA is all set to launch a new mid range mobile graphics solution, the GTX 1050 M at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. While NVIDIA has already released mobile variants of the GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and GTX 1060, people not willing to spend big on higher tier products from the green camp are limited to "Maxwell" based GTX 960 M or GTX 950 M offerings. Reports also indicate there has been somewhat of a surge in demand for GTX 1060 M equipped laptops, where the new GTX 1050 M could be nicely positioned to further augment consumer appetite.

As we reported in November, we can expect that in line with the existing "Pascal" based mobile solutions, the new GTX 1050 M to sport the same (or better) core-configuration as its desktop counterpart, but with significantly higher clock speeds. This should make the GTX 1050 M an attractive option as it would endow the laptop with graphical horsepower exceeding the very capable GTX 970 M. All in all with new Intel "Kaby Lake" processors set to take the stage at CES 2017 too, we could see quite an array of new or reconfigured laptops scattered throughout the show.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 376.19 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA has today released their latest GeForce Game Ready drivers, in the form of the 376.19 WHQL release. The new drivers boast support for Oculus Touch launch titles, such as Crytek's "The Climb", Oculus Studios' "Oculus First Contact", Insomniac's "The Unspoken", The Stork Burnt Down's "Home Improvisation: Furniture Sandbox" for all your furbishing-related needs and IKEA doctorate, as well as Escalation Studios' "Please, Don't Touch Anything", along with an estimated 345 other Oculus Touch launch games (in reality, closer to 49 others;I admit, I picked some of the most interesting names). Also, remember that article about the VR bubble bursting?)

Lacking are any additional SLI profiles, though there are some resolved issues specifically on Windows 10: an issue where No Man's Sky with the Foundation Update (1.10) would display severe texture corruption with SLI enabled, G-SYNC flickering issues on notebooks, as well as a notebook G-SYNC pendulum demo issue. For those of you using 3D Vision, there are some updates on that field as well, with four new profiles for Dead Rising 4, Mars 2030, Serious Sam and SuperHot. You can grab the drivers from the NVIDIA page, right here.


Source: Thanks qubit!

Mysterious GPU Benchmarked in AOtS - Possible Upcoming AMD Graphics Card

Benchmarks of an as-of-yet-unknown GPU have surfaced in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database - one that could point towards performance levels on an upcoming AMD GPU (the RX 490?). With new cards based on Vega expected to arrive in early 2017 sporting a brand new architecture, hope is they will fill in AMD's utterly lacking (as in, equal to zero) enthusiast-class performance graphics solutions. The new GPU appears to be within spitting distance of the already established GTX 1080, with only a few percentage points separating the two (with the unknown graphics card having an 85.1 average frame-rate in all batches at 1080p standard settings, against 93.4 on a GTX 1080 - with both values potentially varying with particular overclocking characteristics and so on, so please don't take them at face value.

2017's Weak VR/AR Demand May Burst VR Investment Bubble

Many research firms' numbers have shown that VR product sales in 2016 have been weaker than originally expected due to both high product costs and lack of content. No-one has yet seen VR's killer app, after all, and I know I'd love to see another Halo-like product to drive awareness on the VR platforms like it did on the original Xbox.

All of the above lead towards Google's Daydream View, HTC's Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Electronics' Gear VR having all achieved sales that are not even close to previously-set market expectations, with even the current mainstream poster-boy for VR, Sony's PSVR, showing adoption numbers that are as lowly as low can be. Even in their home-field, Japan, a country known for being filled with tech-savvy and tech-crazed customers, only 0.7% of the existing PS4 and PS4 Pro user-base has made the jump for a VR headset.

AMD's ZEN-Supporting X370 Motherboards to be Shown at "New Horizon" Event

AMD's December 13th "New Horizon" event is supposedly (and expectedly) a pivotal moment for the company - a celebration of sorts for the impending launch of their ZEN-based microprocessors. The event, which will be presented mainly by Gametrailers TV-based journalist Geoff Keighley, is now turning up to be a Summit Ridge celebration of sorts as well.

According to recent reports, a small number of motherboard manufacturers should also be in attendance at the event, showing-off their AM4-compatible motherboards based on the top-of-the-line X370 chipset. The X370 is the most advanced version of the Zen-compatible chipsets and is expected to provide extensive overclocking features and up to two third-generation PCIe x16 lanes for multi-GPU systems. Below the X370, the B350 and A320 take over the role of the mid-range and entry-level chipsets respectively. The new chipsets are expected to bring native M.2 NVMe & SATA Express connectivity, PCIe gen 3, DDR4 memory compatibility and USB 3.1 Gen2 to the company's high-end desktop platform for the very first time.

Realtek HD Audio Codec Driver Updated for 2016 - Version 2.80 Now Available

Realtek have recently updated their High Definition Audio drivers. Version 2.80 of the drivers brings some overdue improvements to the table, at least when it comes to the time frame of their release: Windows 10 is now supported, and there are some mysterious "customizations" added. Codecs ALC255, ALC235 and ALC867 where also added, and support for Windows 8.1 was improved.

You can grab the drivers from Realtek's own site, right here.
Friday, December 2nd 2016

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
PSUs
SSD

Watch Dogs 2 Wants to Monitor Your System, But You Need Not Let It Do So

We've earlier reported about the implementation of EasyAntiCheat on Watch Dogs 2 - and how the Ubisoft game installs a driver in kernel mode and a service that monitors your systems' operating files (when Watch Dogs 2 is running). In that piece, we said that "This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only - and even offline - modes, meaning that you're not getting out of its crosshairs no matter how you are playing the game". Now, there seems to be a way to bypass the system monitoring altogether and enjoy the game in single-player. The way to do so, however, varies whether you're running the game on Steam or on Uplay.

ASRock's Beebox-S SFF PCs Upgraded With Kaby Lake CPUs

Remember ASRock's Beebox? The original Mini PC was originally reviewed here on TechPowerUp to a glowing score and wholehearted recommendation, and now, the company has announced an upgrade to its innards that is sure to give a new lease of life to the device's appeal. The upgraded systems are powered by either Intel's Core i5-7100U (2C/4T, 2.5 GHz base and 3.1 GHz Boost clocks) or i3-7200U (2C/4T, 2.4 GHz base clock) CPUs, featuring the Kaby Lake micro-architecture, but are, apart from that, identical to their predecessors. The system can also be equipped with up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133 memory (two SO-DIMM slots), an M.2-2280 NVMe SSD and a 2.5" SSD/HDD depending on your particular demands. Meanwhile, Intel's 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.0 wireless module is pre-installed.

Seagate Duet Announced: Amazon Cloud-Syncing Portable HDD

Seagate has announced that the company is launching its Duet external hard drive, which would be, in all regards, a run-of-the-mill external hard drive (based on the company's Backup Plus Portable Drive), were it not for the fact that it runs tailored software that syncs its contents with the Amazon Drive service. The drive automatically downloads and uploads content from (and to) Amazon Drive to enable instant and offline access to data stored in the cloud - allowing you to not only store your data on the Cloud, but also keep a physical copy of it with you.

SSD Pricing to Surge on the Back of NAND Shortages - Stock Your SSD Needs

Business. Business never changes. Whether you're for Keynes or Hayek, some truths just can't be escaped: and the one based on the market tending to equilibrium between the forces of supply and demand is oft times almost akin to a law of physics - other times, not so much. This time, it appears as if the market forces are steering NAND prices through the roof. The causes? Varied, though you probably carry one of them in your pocket most of the time. We earlier reported surging prices in the DRAM market, spurred by the Note 7 fiasco and increased production of that smartphone's competitors (and Samsung's own products) to fill the gaping hole left by its forcible market removal. But not only by DRAM are smartphones powered - they also make use of NAND flash.

NVIDIA to Release GTX 1060 Variants Based on GP104 Silicon

Due to the usual metrics and happenstances with foundry yields and wafer production, some chips contained in the production wafers are defective, with inoperative sections. This is always taken into account by companies, such as NVIDIA, while designing their product stacks (with the GTX 1070/1080 sharing the same silicon, and GTX 1070 samples being, mostly, defective versions of the fully-enabled Pascal GP104-140 chip). Other times, when supply of defective chips that can guarantee sufficient numbers of lower-tiered products, such as the GTX 1070, is insufficient to guarantee market demands (basically, things go better than expected at production), some sections of fully-operational chips are deactivated, so that it has the same working resources as the (otherwise defective) chips. Sometimes, like it happened with the Radeon HD 6950, these chips' resources can even be unlocked by simple BIOS flashing. According to recent reports, NVIDIA is bound to do something akin to that, by reusing GP104-140 chips on their GTX 1060 3 GB variants.
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