Hardware Giveaway
Friday, July 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Speakers
SSD

Intel Clover Trail-based Systems Won't Receive Creators Update - Ever

We recently covered how users with systems powered by Intel's Clover Trail CPUs were having issues with a "Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC" error when trying to update their machines to Microsoft's latest Windows 10 Creators Update. The systems in question - built around Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors - are generally low-cost, low-power machines (mainly 2-in-1) released between 2012 and 2015 under Windows 8 and 8.1. These systems were deemed ready to receive Windows 10; however, now it looks as if they won't ever be able to support it.

In our last piece, we wondered if this problem was only temporary; now it seems it's permanent. Microsoft has however announced that Clover Trail-based systems will still receive security updates (just not feature updates) until 2023. The issue seems to lay with Clover Trail's integrated GPU drivers; Clover Trail Atoms use GPU technology licensed from Imagination Technologies. Ars Technica's Peter Bright says that "Imagination appears unwilling, and Intel appears unable, to update the GPU drivers to meet the demands of the Creators Update. So systems built with such hardware will never be upgradable beyond the Anniversary Update."

Blizzard to Discontinue Support for Windows XP, Vista

Blizzard, best known for their Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo series (who are also responsible for that phenomenon World of Warcraft), has recently announced they are going to cut back support for older Windows-based operating systems. Resource allocation is a real problem; the opportunity cost of having engineers working on ensuring that their most recent updates and recent remasters aren't breaking support for older operating systems always comes at the cost of work on newer OSes.

As such, in a blog post on their forums, Blizzard has announced that starting in October of this year, "we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm." They went on to explain this decision, in that "Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions." And if you're thinking that this isn't true end of life for these systems when it comes to Blizzard game support, think again: "The games will not run on these older operating systems once they are no longer supported, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version. We'll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game."

Source: Blizzard @ Battle.net Forums

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Motherboards to be Showcased on July 25th

AMD is organizing the "Meet the Experts" webinar, which will focus on AMD's pcoming Ryzen Threadripper motherboard designs and offerings from AMD partners. As we inch closer to AMD's HEDT X399 platform launch, we've gotten confirmation from AMD on Threadripper's specs and pricing. However, the actual motherboards where you're expected to sit your awe-inducing 12 and 15-core processors have largely been absent from the show.

And since AMD knows that processors without a motherboard don't really equate to anything much, the company has invited ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock to detail at least some of their X399 motherboards. So far, the motherboards we have some info are the GIGABYTE X399 AORUS Gaming 7 (which has 5x PCIe x16 slots, no PCIe x1 slots, and 3x M.2 slots in an ATX form-factor); the ASUS X399 ROG ZENITH EXTREME (EATX, 4x PCIe x16 slots, 1x PCIe x1 slots, and 2x M.2 slots); the ASROCK X399 Professional Gaming (ATX, 4x PCIe x16 slots, 1x PCIe x1 slots, and 3x M.2 slots); and finally, the ASROCK X399 TAICHI, which counts with the usual ATX form-factor, and offers 4x PCIe x16 slots, 1x PCIe x1 slots, and 3x M.2 slots. All of these seem to be marketed toward gamer enthusiasts, though we'll see some increasingly workstation-geared motherboards closer to or after the launch.

Source: Videocardz
Thursday, July 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD
Storage

1MORE Triple Driver In-ears

1MORE is one of the few companies that focuses on creating affordable quality in-ears. Even though the company is new, it has gained quite the following because they deliver in-ears with more drivers and accessories at a given price point than any of the older in-ear companies. Of course drivers are not everything. We put their Triple Driver in-ear under scrutiny to see if it can live up to the hype!

Cryorig and TechPowerUp Present the Cryo-RGB Giveaway

Cryorig and TechPowerUp are proud to bring you the Cryo-RGB Giveaway, celebrating the company's finest CPU air cooler. Up for grabs are four Cryorig H7 Quad Lumi coolers. These tower-type monsters feature large aluminium fin stacks capped with an RGB LED-lit Cryorig logo, and an RGB LED-illuminated 120 mm fan. Both RGB LED elements feature support for software-based control standards. Four lucky winners from all over the world, get this fine piece of Cryorig engineering, each. The Giveaway is open from today, until July 28. To participate, simply fill up a short form that helps us contact you, if you win. Good Luck!

For more information, and to participate, please visit this page.

Corsair Share to be Sold to Private Investor (Again)

News agency Reuters recently reported that hardware giant Corsair was in talks with middle market private equity firm EagleTree Capital for acquisition of the company in its entirety. The deal was reported by Reuters as being valued at close to $500 million. Part of the Corsair brand is, and continues to be, owned by Corsair founder and Chief Executive Andy Paul, who founded the company in 1994. Another part of it, however, is currently owned by Francisco Partners, an American private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in technology and technology-enabled services. In 2013, Francisco Partners made a $75 million investment in the company, after Corsair scrapped its IPO plans.

However, an industry source has shed some more light on the matter. The source (singular, since we couldn't verify this through multiple channels) told TPU that it isn't the entirety of Corsair that's for sale; only the share previously acquired by Francisco Partners. It's this particular stake that's being eyed by EagleTree Capital - probably at a much higher valuation than the initial $75 million investment. As always, you should take this current information with a grain of salt.

Source: Reuters

Thermaltake Intros View 21 Tempered Glass Edition Case

Thermaltake today introduced the View 21 Tempered Glass Edition case. A variant of the View 21, this ATX mid-tower comes with 4 mm-thick tempered glass panels along both its sides, and front. The case features a contemporary horizontally partitioned layout. The larger top compartment holds the motherboard tray, with room for add-on cards as long as 42 cm, and CPU coolers as tall as 16 cm.

Storage options include two 2.5-inch mounts along the partition between the two compartments, two 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch bays behind the motherboard tray. Cooling includes three 120 mm front intakes, a 120 mm bottom intake, one 140 mm top exhaust, and a 120 mm rear exhaust. Measuring 208 mm x 471 mm x 492 mm (WxDxH), the case weighs a little over 8 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.

i-Rocks Releases the K70E RGB Capacitive Gaming Keyboard

i-Rocks, a technology leading company in PC peripherals, announces the K70E RGB Wired Capacitive Keyboard. This high-ended keyboard has been crafted for both professional PC users and gaming enthusiasts who demand stable key feedback, highly customizable appearance and extremely reliable typing experience. The K70E RGB is packed with non-contact electro capacitive technology developed by i-Rocks, two actuation force options of 45g and 60g, MX-compatible double shot keycaps, swappable top panel and additional rubber ring to ensure lower typing noise. Engineered for the best gaming performance, the K70E also provides onboard memory, on-the-fly macro recording, dedicated G-mode gaming profile and switchable actuation depths for faster key command response.

Microsoft Decreasing Windows 10 Updates Downtime in Fall Creators Update

If you're a standard Windows user, you probably find Windows updates something of a pain - especially when they force you to reboot your PC after they're installed. But imagine you own a business that constantly has its machines up and running, but also requires the latest security upgrades; each minute of downtime for installing such updates is lost revenue. Because of that issue, which companies brought to Microsoft's attention over the years, the company is streamlining its update process, decreasing the amount of update steps that need to be taken offline (which means less time waiting for the machines to become available to use following an update.)

Demand for EUV Fabrication Systems Increasing; ASML Sees 25% Revenue Growth

Dutch company ASML may not be very known to us mortal users, but it has one of the greatest aces up its sleeve: it specializes in what are some of the most complex machines currently made by mankind. Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography Systems (EUV) are the kind of machines that make you look in wonder and amazement at man's ingenuity - ASMl, which specializes in this type of systems, has a production capability for 2017 that numbers just 12 of these. That means on average, they take a whole month putting one of these together. That really goes to show the complexity inherent to these systems. And it shows: EUV machines are about the size of a city bus, and typically cost more than 100 million euros ($115.3 million) each.

The revenue growth forecast is spurred by an additional 8 EUV systems being ordered by ASML's clients, which include Intel, Samsung, and TSMC - some of the biggest players in the semiconductor business. The new orders brought the company's order backlog to 27 machines - more than double their current annual output. ASML is taking steps to to ensure an increase in production capability to keep up with the multi million-dollar demand: the company is set to expand its system production capability to 24 in 2018, before reaching an expected capacity of around 40 systems in 2019. Third-quarter revenue will be about 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion), the Veldhoven, Netherlands-based maker of chip-making machines predicts. The company's stock valuation has increased some 30% over the past year - the company's valuation currently stands at around €53 billion ($61 billion.)

Sources: Bloomberg, Tweakers.net, Thanks @ P4-630!

GEIL Announces EVO Spear Series of DDR4 Memory Kits

GEIL's EVO Spear joins the company's DDR4 memory line-up with some inconspicuous looks and lack of LED lighting. The new series from GEIL also features something that's not all that common nowadays - a standard DIMM-sized heat spreader, which doesn't add much volume to the parts. This means these kits shouldn't pose many clearance problems (if any), which is a good thing in some smaller form-factor builds.

The new Kits from GEIL are available in both Intel and AMD-compatibility kits, and the new series is fully compatible with the Intel X299 HEDT platofrm (it remains to be see if the AMD-compatible parts will have the same compatibility towards the company's X399 Threadripper platform.). GEIL offers the module in speeds of 2133MHz up to 3466MHz, in single, dual or quad-channel kits. GEIL didn't release pricing information as of yet, but says that "EVO Spear Series is designed for PC gamers looking for well-performed standard-height gaming memory without high price tag." This probably means these kits will sell for less than comparable GEIL kits from other series. Expect these to hit the streets this July.

Sources: GEIL, via ETeknix
Wednesday, July 19th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Storage

CRYORIG A40

The A40 by CRYORIG is the company's entry level offering in their all-in-one hybrid liquid CPU cooler lineup. It lacks the size of the A80 and the radiator thickness of the A40 Ultimate. However, unlike the others, it offers a more affordable price point with all the same features.

AMD Confirms its Platform Security Processor Code will Remain Closed-Source

Since the launch of AMD Ryzen, a small piece of hardware that handles basic memory initialization as well as many security functions has been the center of some controversy. Called the Platform Security Processor (the "PSP" for short) it is essentially an arm core with complete access to the entire system. Its actions can be considered "above root" level and are for the most part invisible to the OS. It is similar in this regard to Intel's Management Engine, but is in some ways even more powerful.

Why is this a bad thing? Well, let's play a theoretical. What happens if a bug is discovered in the PSP, and malware takes control of it? How would you remove it (Answer: you couldn't). How would you know you needed to remove it? (answer, unless it made itself obvious, you also wouldn't). This scenario is obviously not a good one, and is a concern for many who asked AMD to open-source the PSPs code for general community auditing.

Windows 10 Support for Older Hardware Encountering Difficulties, Cut Off

As part of its new "Windows as a Service" model, Microsoft elected to provide users with a guaranteed, steady stream of updates with virtually no clear, hard-defined EOL. However, Microsoft took refuge, as well it should, from an increasingly difficult support for different hardware sets: a little footnote, saying that you are eligible for Windows 10 for the "supported lifetime of the device." Yes, it's true you now don't have to purchase a new Windows version. But that also means that your devices potentially won't be supported for Microsoft's previous 5 + 5 policy (meaning, 5 years of feature and security updates, and 5 extra years for security updates only.)

The systems in question - built around Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors - are generally low-cost, low-power machines (mainly 2-in-1) released between 2012 and 2015 under Windows 8 and 8.1. These systems were deemed ready to receive Windows 10; however, they are currently blocked from installing Windows 10 Version 1703 - the "Creators Update." Attempts to install result in a message saying that "Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC." The problem is that each Windows 10 update receives security fixes for just 18 months. Version 1607, the latest that these Clover Trail machines can install, will drop out of support in early 2018 - after which they'll cease to receive any patches at all.

Intel Quietly Reveals 12-core i9-7920X 2.9 GHz Base Core Clock

Intel has quietly revealed base clocks for their upcoming 12-core, 24-thread Core i9-7920X processor. This particular Intel model materializes (at least for now) the only 12-core processor in Intel's X299 HEDT platform line-up on the LGA 2066 socket. A report from Videocardz pegs the new 12-core processor as having a base clock of 2.9 GHz, a full 400 MHz slower than the company's 10-core, 20-thread i9-7900X. The L3 cache amount appears as well, though it's an expected 16.5 MB (which amounts to around 1.375 MB per core.)

The chip also brought a pricing confirmation for $1,189 in tray quantities (which means final consumer prices will be higher.) On paper, this doesn't trade favorably with the competition's 12-core Threadripper offering, where AMD will be offering the same amount of cores and threads for $799 (final consumer pricing at launch) with a much more impressive 3.5 GHz base clock. Consumers will say whether a $400 price difference for going Intel over AMD is worth it for the same number of cores and threads, though it remains to be seen whether AMD's frequency advantage will translate to performance while maintaining power consumption at acceptable levels (which, from what we've seen from AMD's Ryzen, should, in theory, be true.)

Source: Videocardz

Arctic Confirms Support for Ryzen Threadripper with Liquid Freezer Series Cooler

Arctic today confirmed that its Liquid Freezer line of all-in-one closed-loop liquid CPU coolers support AMD's upcoming Ryzen Threadripper processors. The lineup includes the Liquid Freezer 120 with a 120 mm radiator; the Liquid Freezer 240 with a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator; and the range topping Liquid Freezer 360 cooler with a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator. AMD is expected to launch its enthusiast-segment 12-core and 16-core Ryzen Threadripper processors before 10th August, 2017.

Alphacool Intros Eisblock HDX 2 and HDX 3 M.2 SSD Coolers

After developing the compact, very successful Alphacool HDX M.2 SSD cooler, Alphacool is now expanding its product range with the Eisblock HDX-2 and HDX-3 coolers. Both coolers come with a 4x PCIe card, on which the cooler and SSD are mounted. This has many advantages over mounting directly to the motherboard.

Cooling can be difficult on a motherboard due to space constraints and the location of the graphics card, which is often mounted directly above or beside the motherboard. A PCIe card and cooler give you lots of room to set up a good cooling solution. But why do you need to cool your M.2 SSD? When an M.2 SSD is used continuously and for substantial data transfers, it can heat up so strongly that the drive slows itself down and decreases its performance significantly. This can happen after even a few seconds. The only way to solve this problem is with a good cooling solution.

AMD's RX Vega Low Key Budapest Event: Vega Pitted Against GTX 1080

On the first stop in AMD's two-continent spanning RX Vega tour (which really only counts with three locations), the company pitted their upcoming RX Vega graphics card (we expect this to be their flagship offering) against NVIDIA's GTX 1080 graphics card. The event itself was pretty subdued, and there was not much to see when it comes to the RX Vega graphics card - literally. Both it and the GTX 1080 were enclosed inside PC towers, with the event-goers not being allowed to even catch a glimpse of the piece of AMD hardware that has most approximated a unicorn in recent times.

The Vega-powered system also made use of a Ryzen 7 processor, and the cards were running Battlefield 1 (or Sniper Elite 4; there's lots of discussion going on about that, but the first image below does show a first-person view) with non-descript monitors, one supporting FreeSync, the other G-Sync. The monitor's models were covered by cloth so that users weren't able to tell which system was running which graphics card, though due to ASUS' partnership in the event, both were (probably) of ASUS make. The resolution used was 3440 x 1440, which should mean over 60 FPS on the GTX 1080 on Ultra. It has been reported by users that attended the event that one of the systems lagged slightly in one portion of the demo, though we can't confirm which one (and I'd say that was AMD's intention.)

BenQ Announces SW271 Monitor for Professional Photographers

BenQ, internationally renowned provider of digital lifestyle devices, introduced today SW271, a 4K UHD 27" monitor offering industry-standard HDR10 support and advanced color performance for photographers. Covering 99% of Adobe RGB, and 100% of both sRGB and Rec. 709, SW271 delivers the ultimate color accuracy of Delta E≦2 performance with its 10-bit IPS panel and advanced 14-bit 3D lookup table (LUT). "We are proud to present SW271, which joins our full line of professional monitors purpose-engineered for photographers," said Conway Lee, President of BenQ Corporation. "SW271 brings photo enthusiasts professional-grade performance, specialized tools, and advanced calibration for color-critical applications."

To display each color across its broad color gamut with perfect accuracy, SW271 utilizes an advanced 14-bit 3D LUT to achieve Delta E values of two or better. Technicolor Color Certified to meet strict color accuracy standards used in Hollywood and entertainment media, SW271's 10-bit 27" IPS panel delivers authentic colors as envisioned by content creators. Producing intense photographic realism and color depth by expanding the dynamic range between true darkness and high brightness, SW271 clearly displays high-resolution images from sophisticated DSLRs and other HDR source devices.
Tuesday, July 18th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Speakers
SSD
Storage

SteelSeries Arctis 7

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is a phenomenal-looking, customizable wireless headset equipped with high-quality 40-millimeter audio drivers capable of delivering stereo and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 Surround Sound. It also offers mind-boggling wireless range and battery life as well as a couple extremely useful features you won't find elsewhere.

ECS LIVA Z Plus

The ECS LIVA Z Plus is a powerful, upgraded LIVA Z, offering the same small footprint and base design with a huge boost in terms of specifications. Packed with an Intel Core i5-7300U and a 128 GB SSD, it can do everything the LIVA Z can and more.

Maingear Announces the R2 Razer Edition Gaming PC

MAINGEAR continues its partnership with RAZER, today announcing the launch of the MAINGEAR R2 | RAZER Edition gaming desktop. Built for compact performance with award-winning craftsmanship, the R2 pushes the boundaries of small form factor gaming. The R2 | RAZER Edition features a much smaller, radically engineered design that is more than fifty percent smaller than the original R1 case. Performance is uncompromised, as the R2 comes with the latest gaming components to drive 4K quality graphics. The R2 is available with the latest NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards along with the fastest processors on the market: Intel's Core i7 and i9, and AMD Ryzen.

Harnessing the newest SSDs and huge 10 TB HDDs, gamers will have fast and reliable storage along with support for up to 32 GB of premium DDR4 memory. MAINGEAR's eSports and VR-ready configurations take the guesswork out of building a system. Livestreamers who demand quiet systems will appreciate the R2's quiet open loop cooling system that is able to run virtually silent at ultra-settings for most games. "MAINGEAR and RAZER have a joint vision to develop ground breaking products designed specifically for gamers," says Wallace Santos, MAINGEAR CEO. "No matter your needs, our combined culture of obsessively pushing ourselves to create the best performing hardware possible is a core part of the R2's DNA."

EK Releases RGB Monoblocks for MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is maintaining its market leadership by releasing the world's first LGA-2066 socket based monoblock tailor made for MSI X299 motherboards. The EK-FB MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with MSI Mystic Light, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for three MSI Intel X299 Chipset based motherboards that support new Intel Core X-series LGA-2066 socket processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following MSI motherboards:
  • MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC
  • MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON
  • MSI X299 GAMING M7 ACK

ADATA Launches ISSS314 Industrial-Grade SSDs in 3D MLC and 3D TLC NAND Versions

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products,today launched industrial-grade ISSS314 solid state drives in 3D MLC and 3D TLC versions. All models can withstand a wide temperature range, extreme shocks and vibrations, as well as humidity to meet the needs of industrial users. Using hardened and carefully sorted components, ISSS314 SSDs consume just 2.5W to lower operating costs while providing speedy 560 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write. They are offered in 3D MLC and 3D TLC NAND plus capacities ranging from 32GB to 512 GB in order to better cover and serve as many budgets and needs as possible.

The increased durability and power efficiency of stacked NAND Flash compared to older planar NAND offers very appealing advantages in applications that require non-stop and long term use. The ISSS314 range has an MTBF of 2 million hours, which is 25% more than comparable 2D NAND drives. At the same time, they consume just 2.5W per drive while reaching 512 GB in capacity. Modest power draw translates into major electricity savings over the life of the drive, especially in large installations where many units are needed. Across the range, ISSS314 drives reach 560 MB/s read and 520 MB/s write.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Launches Pugio Gaming Mouse

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) is excited to launch Pugio, an ambidextrous gaming mouse that offers ultimate customizability to meet the needs of most hardcore gamers. Its configurable side buttons let you decide on your own side button layout, while exclusive push-fit switch sockets offer variable click resistance. The push-fit design makes it easy to replace worn out switches to extend the lifespan of the mouse. The Pugio features stunning, aggressive aesthetics to match its performance - including angular ASUS Aura RGB light channels with Aura Sync support.

Ambidextrous mice with side buttons usually feature a mirrored button layout to accommodate both right- and left-handed gamers. The drawback of this design is that it often results in side button misclicks. Even with the buttons disabled, they can still be distracting. With the ROG Pugio, there's no need to change your grip style to avoid the buttons. The Pugio has configurable magnetic side buttons on both flanks to give you a truly ambidextrous and ergonomic gaming mouse. Simply swap the buttons out and replace them with the side button covers: use four, two, or no side buttons - the options are all yours.

Benchmarks Find Intel Core i7-7700K Better Than i7-7800X for Gaming

Over at Techspot, Steven Walton managed to get a hold of Intel's new six-core, 12-thread Core i7-7800X CPU, and chose to take it for a spin over a levy of gaming benchmarks. The results don't bode particularly well for Intel's new top i7 offering, though: it is soundly beat by its smaller, svelter brother in virtually all gaming tasks.

Out-of-the-box results are somewhat in line with what we would expect: the Core i7-7700K does bring about a base clock increased by 700 MHz compared to the i7-7800X (4.2 GHz vs 3.5 GHz), and has a higher boost clock to boot (4.5 GHz vs 4 GHz.) And as we've seen over and over again, including with Intel rival AMD's Ryzen offerings, frequency usually trumps core count when it comes to performance when applications are exposed more than four cores. And this leads to Walton's results: the Core i7 7700K is still king in pure FPS terms, coming in with a much more attractive proposition than the 7800X in both minimum and maximum FPS, as well as power consumption.

Liquid-cooled AMD Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition Power Draw Tested

The liquid-cooled variant of AMD Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition has some very lofty power requirements. Although it draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which along with the PCI-Express slot total a power output of 375W, the card was tested by PC Perspective, to be overdrawing power from the power connectors, with a peak power draw of a staggering 440W, with its power limit raised by 25% to stabilize a 7% overclock. At its stock clock speeds, however, the card remains well under the 375W limit, drawing around 350W of power.

The liquid-cooled Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition has its TDP rated at 375W, compared to 300W of the air-cooled variant. Given its performance being somewhere between the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti, these figures don't bode particularly well for the upcoming Radeon RX Vega family of consumer graphics cards, unless AMD pulls a rabbit out of its hat with pricing. The RX Vega series is expected to be announced on July 27.

Source: PC Perspective

BenQ announces ZOWIE XL 2546 PC e-Sports Monitor with DyAc

Since its release in Dec. 2016, the XL2540 has become the monitor of choice for tournaments such as ESL Pro League Season 5, ESL ONE Cologne, PGL, DreamHack Open Series and other tournaments with competitive FPS titles. The new XL2546 has the same increased smoothness that was introduced in the XL2540 and the addition of DyAc provides increased movement clarity in-game. Actions with vigorous screen movement, such as spraying of weapons will benefit most from DyAc as being able to see more clearly can help with recoil control.

Like the XL2540, the benefits of the XL2546 and its native 240Hz refresh rate can be fully activated when the computer generates over 240 frames per second(FPS). As such, one should make certain their PC performance is up to par before considering either monitor. The ZOWIE XL 2546 with DyAc will make its tournament debut at DreamHack Atlanta 2017 where it has been selected as the official monitor.

HyperX Unveils HyperX Alloy Elite and TKL HyperX Alloy FPS Pro Gaming Keyboards

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today introduced two new additions to its award winning lineup of gaming keyboards used by eSports athletes worldwide - the HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Pro Gaming Keyboard and Alloy Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. HyperX delivers all the components needed for the best competitive gaming set up, and the new HyperX Alloy Keyboards boasts Cherry MX Mechanical switches, lighting effects, 100 percent anti-ghosting, and solid-steel frames for the tactile feedback and performance gamers expect from HyperX gear.

"Further raising the bar for personalization and comfort, HyperX is excited to reveal the new Alloy Elite Keyboard with Cherry MX Mechanical switches, detachable palm rest and custom lighting features. For TKL keyboard fans, the new Alloy FPS Pro was designed in our HyperX labs specifically for them," said Marcus Hermann, senior business manager, HyperX. "Ensuring that gamers connect and play immediately, keyboard customization options can be accessed without the assistance of software via keyboard functions."

Samsung Increases Production of 8 GB HBM2 Memory

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it is increasing the production volume of its 8-gigabyte (GB) High Bandwidth Memory-2 (HBM2) to meet growing market needs across a wide range of applications including artificial intelligence, HPC (high-performance computing), advanced graphics, network systems and enterprise servers.

"By increasing production of the industry's only 8GB HBM2 solution now available, we are aiming to ensure that global IT system manufacturers have sufficient supply for timely development of new and upgraded systems," said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president, Memory Sales & Marketing team at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to deliver more advanced HBM2 line-ups, while closely cooperating with our global IT customers."
Monday, July 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Processors
Speakers
SSD

Evoluent Reduced Reach Right Handed Keyboard

The Evoluent Reduced Reach keyboard for right-handed users aims to optimize the standard full-size keyboard by moving the Num Pad to the left. Combined with a minimized arrow-key column, this keyboard offers reduced reach to the nearby mouse, to help minimize joint pains over the long run.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #10

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

In this release, we have several new betas, mostly all consisting of fresh AGESA 1.0.0.6a code.

The VRM Odyssey: ASUS Redesigns VRM Heatsink for X299 ROG Rampage VI Apex

You certainly remember the whole controversy surrounding Intel's X299 platform VRM "disaster". As a surmise, this refers to what basically amounts to inadequate engineering in the VRM cooling components of some motherboards (from varied manufacturers) for Intel's latest HEDT X299 platform. The issue has been discussed frequently, and one of the most recognized voices initially calling out to this issue was overclocker prodigy Der8auer.

Intel to Launch Multiple Six-core CPUs on Coffee Lake Architecture, i5 Lineup

In what could be a decisive response from Intel towards AMD's recent Ryzen success and core count democratization, reports are making the rounds that Intel is preparing for a shakedown of sorts of its i7 and i5 CPU line-up under the upcoming Coffee Lake architecture. We recently saw (and continue to see) AMD deliver much more interesting propositions than Intel in a pure power/performance/core ratio. And Intel seems to know that its lineup is in dire need of revision, if it wants to stop its market dominant position from bleeding too much.

A report from Canard PC claims that Intel will thoroughly revise its CPU lineup for the Coffee Lake architecture, with an i7-8700K six-core, 12-thread processor being the top offering. This 8700K is reported to deliver its 12 threads at a 3.7 GHz base clock, and a 95 W TDP. These are comparable to AMD's Ryzen 5 1600X processor, which ships with the same six cores and 12 threads under the same TDP, though it has 100 MHz less in base clock speed. However, AMD's Ryzen 5 1600X does retail for about $249 - and you can go even lower to Ryzen 5 1600's $219 - which probably won't happen with Intel's top of the line i7 offering. A slight mention towards the Ryzen 7's 95 W TDP - the same as this reported i7 8700K - even though it has 2 more physical cores, and 4 extra threads.

Sharkoon Announces the SilentStorm Icewind Power Supply Series

A new wind blows from Sharkoon and their range of PC power supplies expands with a new series: The Sharkoon SilentStorm Icewind power supply series is now available in two editions, black or white, in either 550, 650, and 750 Watt. The Sharkoon SilentStorm Icewind, in a white edition, is deliberately kept in line with the colors snow white and ice blue and is aimed at users who, in addition to the technical details, also attach importance to the design of their components and their cabling. Naturally, the textile braided cable also fits perfectly into the color scheme.

Modular cables and cable combs ensure the PC stays tidy. The cables can be secured with practical cable combs and are kept intentionally modular, except for the firmly soldered 24-pin mainboard cable and 4+4-pin CPU cable. This ensures that only the immediately needed cables are used. In addition to the firmly soldered cables, a cable with three 4-pin IDE connectors as well as three cables with three SATA connectors are included; an extra two PCIe cables with a 6+2-pin connector is provided in the 550 Watt version. The 650 and 750 Watt versions connect via its two PCIe cables, each with two 6+2-pin connector. The unused cables can be easily stored in the included cable bag. Thanks to the used DC-to-DC technology, the SilentStorm Icewind benefits from increased voltage stability since the other voltages are not affected by load changes of the 12 V rail. The power supply is effectively cooled via its 135 mm fan.

AMD to Include AIO Liquid Coolers with Ryzen Threadripper Processors

In a move that could drown out the value proposition of competing Core X processors even further, AMD is reportedly including all-in-one liquid CPU coolers with its two upcoming Ryzen Threadripper processor models, the 12-core/24-thread 1920X and the 16-core/32-thread 1950X. While in its recent reveal of its first two Ryzen Threadripper SKUs besides Ryzen 3 series, the company did not specify the TDP of its Threadripper chips, older rumors pin the TDP of the 12-core part at 125W, and the 16-core part at 155W, both of which could run comfortably under liquid cooling. This won't be the first time AMD is bundling stock liquid-cooling solutions with its processors. The company bundled liquid coolers with certain high-TDP SKUs of its FX-series 8-core processors (pictured below).

This, combined by the dearth of compatibility announcements by third-party CPU cooler manufacturers for its TR4 socket, could be forcing AMD to take steps to ensure that the first Threadripper owners aren't left without a cooler, more so in maturing markets. Intel's new LGA2066 socket, on which its Core X processors are based, didn't face this problem, as it shares its mount-hole spacing with older LGA2011v3 socket. According to the source, Threadripper could be available in Japan on the 10th of August. This could mean availability in the US from 9th August.

Sources: Hermitage Akihabara, HotHardware

Acer Notebooks Among First to Feature Core "Coffee Lake" Processors

PC major Acer will be among the first manufacturers to deploy Intel's 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors on its products. The company's Swift 3 notebook, which is already open to pre-orders on Amazon, has one of its CPU options as Intel Core i5-8250U, as discovered by LaptopMedia, in an article. It goes on to describe the i5-8250U as a quad-core chip clocked at 1.60 GHz with up to 3.40 GHz boost, with 6 MB of L3 cache. This is particularly big for the ultra-slim notebook segment as the i5-8250U is among the first quad-core "ultra low power" ("U" suffix) SKUs based on a high performance core, by Intel. The listing doesn't reveal when the notebook will ship.

Source: LaptopMedia

RMA Fraud on Amazon Targeting AMD Ryzen Buyers

Amazon inventory of AMD's Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors seem to be suffering from RMA fraud, if several reddit reports and a general article from WCCFtech are to be believed. The RMA fraud appears to consist of a scheme in which an unknown party has been buying up quantities of Ryzen 7 or 5 series CPUs, and RMAing them back to Amazon with a fake CPU inside. The fake CPU appears to be an older Intel-based LGA packaged model, ironically.

The RMA gets by because the heatspreader is relabeled with an authentic looking AMD Ryzen label, which is presumably enough to fool a very PC-knowledge limited Amazon RMA check-in employee. This means the product gets sold again as an open-box item, as usually happens with RMAs.

Intel Adds New Core CPUs to Its Desktop, Laptop Lineups

Intel has recently updated documentation on their available list of processors based on the 7th generation of the Core Family. These new Kaby Lake-based CPUs will further flesh-out Intel's offerings in both the desktop, laptop, and professional segments with new entries in the Core i3, Kaby Lake-U, and Xeon E3 lines of processors.

The new Core i3 processors make use of the S-0 stepping, instead of the B-0 stepping of previously-released processors. The additions are comprised of the i3-7340 (4.2 GHz, 4 MB cache, 51 W TDP); i3-7320T (3.6 GHz, 4MB cache, 35 W TDP); i3-7120 (4 GHz, 3 MB cache, 51 W TDP); and the i3-7120T (3.5 GHz, 3 MB cache, 35 W TDP.) On the laptop side of the equation, Intel is introducing four new processors: the Core i3-7007U (2 cores, 4 threads, 2.1 GHz, 3 MB cache); the Core i3-7110U (2 cores, 4 threads, 2.6 GHz, 3 MB cache); the Core i5-7210U (2 cores, 4 threads, 2.5 GHz base, 3.3 GHz Turbo, 3 MB cache); and the Core i7-7510U (2 cores, 4 threads, 2.7 GHz base, 3.7 GHz Turbo, 4 MB cache.) Lastly, Intel is adding the new E3-1285 v6 Xeon to its lineup. This one brings increased clock speeds (4.1 GHz base, 4.5 GHz Turbo) with Intel's HD P630 integrated graphics, increasing the TDP by 19 W ( to 91 W) compared to the already existing Xeon E3-1275 v6 - for a 300 MHz clock speed increase. This Xeon should be the new highest-end processor for the iMac, which should place its pricing above the $612 mark previously held by the Xeon E3-1280 v6.

Sources: Intel, via AnandTech

GIGABYTE Intros H110-D3A Motherboard for Mining Rigs

GIGABYTE today rolled out the H110-D3A, a low-cost socket LGA1151 motherboard for crypto-currency mining builds, based on Intel H110 Express chipset. Built in the ATX form-factor, this board is characterized by five PCI-Express x1 slots, besides an x16 slot, and "Ultra Durable" components, which GIGABYTE claims, have been tested for prolonged operation. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and two optional 4-pin Molex inputs, conditioning power for the CPU with a simple 5-phase VRM.

The CPU is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and the board's lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Storage connectivity includes a 32 Gbps M.2 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There's a host of legacy connectivity, including LPT and COM ports, separate PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, and D-Sub display output. Four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two by headers), gigabit Ethernet, and 6-channel HD audio make for the rest of it. Expect a sub-$70 pricing.

EA Incentivizes Pre-orders with Exclusive Graphics Effects

Electronics Arts announced that pre-ordered copies of its upcoming flagship motorsport simulator "Need for Speed: Payback" will feature exclusive graphics effects not found on copies bought after its release. The pre-order page for the game lists out benefits for paying for the game before reading or watching a single review from a neutral source; including "the platinum car pack," a selection of exclusive vehicles, and a curious-looking "exclusive tire smoke."

While giving away bonus content, a tiny headstart in the game with more in-game currency or items, isn't new to pre-orders, this is one of the first times that a big production title is presenting exclusive graphics effects, the tire smoke color in this case, that otherwise won't be available even on machines with the most powerful hardware, or the most powerful consoles. If successful, this model could lure more gamers toward pre-orders of untested and unproven games.

Source: EB Games (Australian retailer)
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