Monday, August 10th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
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Gaming PC
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Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master Review

Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master Review

Featuring 90 amp power stages and a trademark finned heat sink alongside Dual BIOS and Q-Flash, the Z490 AORUS Master from Gigabyte promises a feature-rich overclocking experience without compromising creature comforts. Let's see how it stacks up against the competition!

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm Snapdragon's DSP May Render 1 Billion Android Phones Vulnerable to Hacking

Vulnerabilities in Qualcomm's DSP (Digital Signal Processor) present in the company's Snapdragon SoCs may render more than a billion Android phones susceptible to hacking. According to research reported this week by security firm Check Point, they've found more than 400 vulnerabilities in Snapdragon's DSP, which may allow attackers to monitor locations, listen to nearby audio in real time, and exfiltrate locally-stored photos and videos - besides being able to render the phone completely unresponsive.

The vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-11201, CVE-2020-11202, CVE-2020-11206, CVE-2020-11207, CVE-2020-11208 and CVE-2020-11209) can be exploited simply via a video download or any other content that's rendered by the chip that passes through its DSP. Targets can also be attacked by installing malicious apps that require no permissions at all. Qualcomm has already tackled the issue by stating they have worked to validate the issue, and have already issued mitigations to OEMs, which should be made available via software updates in the future. In the meantime, the company has said they have no evidence any of these flaws is being currently exploited, and advise all Snapdragon platform users to only install apps via trusted locations such as the Play Store.

NVIDIA Starts Ampere Marketing With #Ultimatecountown

NVIDIA today shared the first real teaser in what seems to be the start of the Ampere marketing push. A post via Twitter shared an image showing an explosion of cosmic proportions, with a "#theultimatecountdown" tag alongside the "21 days. 21 years" tagline. This is a likely throwback to August 31st 1999, when NVIDIA launched its first GeForce branded graphics card - the GeForce 256 - setting it on its journey to become today's most successful dedicated graphics card maker.

Following the teasers' logic, we should expect some very interesting announcements from NVIDIA come August 31st, 2020 - and with Ampere around the corner, it's highly unlikely we'll be hearing about anything other than that.

Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD 1TB Giveaway Closes Tomorrow: Still Open Worldwide

Late July Seagate brought you the Seagate FireCuda + TechPowerUp Forums Giveaway, letting you stand a chance to bring home a sweet Seagate FireCuda 120 1 TB SATA SSD, a handy expansion that lets you expand your game library. The FireCuda 120 has sufficient performance for snappy AAA game load times, and 1 TB of space lets you dump up to 20 AAA titles. It's equally formidable as a boot drive. Check out our comprehensive review of the drive here. The Giveaway closes tomorrow, but you still have time to drop in your hat. It's open for entries worldwide (wherever legal).

Seagate doesn't pick winners by random draw, but on the basis of the best response to the sentence "I need the Seagate FireCuda 120 SSD 1 TB because _______." What better place to pen your thoughts and meet like-minded gamers and PC enthusiasts than TechPowerUp Forums? Get cracking!

For more details and to participate, visit this page.

Sony Announces WH-1000XM4 Industry-leading Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony today announced the WH-1000XM4, the 4th generation over-ear wireless noise cancelling headphones in Sony's award-winning 1000X family. The latest headphones offer all the much-loved technology from the hugely popular WH-1000XM3, with additional intelligent features that allow you to personalise and control your music, improve noise cancellation and adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences for a superior sound experience.

Whether you're flying long haul or relaxing in a café, the WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver Sony's best ever noise cancelling performance, reducing high and mid frequency sounds. With two microphones on each earcup, being used for noise cancelling, our Dual Noise Sensor technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the trusted HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Then a new BLUETOOTH Audio SoC (System on Chip) senses and adjusts to music and noise at over 700 times per second. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 applies noise cancelling processing in real time. This allows the user to focus more on the music they love and blur out the chaos of the outside world.

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Toshiba Officially Exits the Laptop Business

Toshiba, a Japanese technology company, has announced last week that is exiting the laptop business in full. In 2018, Toshiba has sold 80.1% of its shares in Dynabook Inc. to Sharp Corp., Japanese company as well, just focused on electronics manufacturing. In the press release issued on August 4th, last week, Toshiba has transferred the remaining 19.9% of shares in Dynabook to Sharp and thereby has officially left the laptop business. "As a result of this transfer, Dynabook has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sharp.", says the Toshiba press release. This is one end of an era, as Toshiba has been manufacturing laptops from 1985, until this day in a way. This is one last goodbye to Toshiba, your laptop legacy will be remembered. If you were/are an owner of a Toshiba laptop, tell us about your experiences in the comments down below.
Toshiba Laptop

TerraMaster Launches All-New Duple Backup Application

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage (NAS) and direct attached storage (DAS), announces the availability of the Duple Backup Application. The backup tool is now available at the TOS Application suite for download.

The Duple Backup application is independently developed by TerraMaster, exclusive for TerraMaster storage devices. It supports scheduled backup, incremental backup, and multi-version backup, and has a one-key restore function. The backup tool provides the user with a variety of methods to remotely backup folders or iSCSI LUNs. It also comes with a convenient one-key restore function for restoring stored backups.

Anker Unveils PowerCore Play 6K Mobile Gaming Controller

Anker has recently unveiled the PowerCore Play 6K mobile gaming controller with support for Android and IOS devices. The PowerCore Play 6K features an integrated 6,700 mAh battery bank which can charge devices at up to 15 W via the USB Type-A or USB Type-C ports. The battery bank can be fully recharged in just 3 hours and should offer a significant boost to phone battery life while gaming. The controller also features an integrated fan to keep your device cool along with a built-in kickstand and grips. The PowerCore Play 6K supports phones ranging from 5.7 to 6.45 inches long and is now available on Amazon for 35 USD with an 18-month manufacturer warranty.

Video Memory Sizes Set to Swell as NVIDIA Readies 20GB and 24GB GeForce Amperes

NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20-series "Turing" graphics card series did not increase video memory sizes in comparison to GeForce GTX 10-series "Pascal," although the memory itself is faster on account of GDDR6. This could change with the GeForce RTX 30-series "Ampere," as the company looks to increase memory sizes across the board in a bid to shore up ray-tracing performance. WCCFTech has learned that in addition to a variety of strange new memory bus widths, such as 320-bit, NVIDIA could introduce certain higher variants of its RTX 30-series cards with video memory sizes as high as 20 GB and 24 GB.

Memory sizes of 20 GB or 24 GB aren't new for NVIDIA's professional-segment Quadro products, but it's certainly new for GeForce, with only the company's TITAN-series products breaking the 20 GB-mark at prices due north of $2,000. Much of NVIDIA's high-end appears to be resting on segmentation of the PG132 common board design, coupled with the GA102 silicon, from which the company could carve out several SKUs spaced far apart in the company's product stack. NVIDIA's next-generation GeForce "Ampere" family is expected to debut in September 2020, with product launches in the higher-end running through late-Q3 and Q4 of 2020.

Fall Guys Peaks as Fourth Most Played Game on Steam with 124,000 Active Players

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is the latest game from Mediatonic which launched to impressive levels of popularity this week. The game which is available on PS4 and Steam has recently overtaken Grand Theft Auto V to peak as the fourth most played game on Steam at 124,772 consecutive players before dropping back down to fifth. The casual multiplayer game has received mostly positive reviews on Steam but has faced various server issues over the last few days due to the unforeseen demand. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is now available on Steam here for 19.99 USD.

Xbox Series S Confirmed in Leaked Controller Packaging

We reported on rumors about the cheaper next-generation Xbox console back in June, and after this latest leak we can be sure it will be called the Xbox Series X. Twitter user Zak S has obtained images of the Xbox Series X controller and packaging, which confirm compatibility with the Xbox Series S. The packaging details that the controller will work with both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles along with Xbox One consoles, Windows 10, Android, and IOS.

This Xbox Series S is expected to be announced by Microsoft in the coming weeks, the console is designed to complement the Xbox Series X as a cheaper alternative for casual gamers and media consumption. The console is rumored to feature 7.5 GB useable memory compared to the 13.5 GB useable on the Xbox Series X along with graphics power of 4 TFLOPs or roughly 3x worse then the Xbox Series X at 12 TFLOPs.

a-XP is a Crazy AMD Ryzen Thread Ripper Portable Workstation with up to 64 Cores

If you are addicted to LAN parties and are a prosumer interested in purchasing a portable workstation that is a complete beast, then look no further. Media Workstations, a maker of all kinds of workstation PCs, has today launched a uniquely designed portable workstation called a-XP. Alongside its unique aesthetics, the PC is packing some serious hardware. At the heart of the machine, there lies AMD's Ryzen Thread Ripper 3990X CPU. With 64 cores and 128 threads, this makes the PC equipped with a huge CPU horsepower capable of handling any workload on the go.

Besides the speedy CPU, the chassis packs up to 256 GB of DDR4 2933 MHz memory, which is disturbed in 8 DIMMs of 32 GBs. There are options for two SSDs, and one HDD, which can go up to any capacity you specify. For GPUs, Media Workstations offers anything from NVIDIA GeForce RTX and Quadro RTX to Tesla GPUs. If you are crazy enough you can even put two of GPUs for workloads that benefit from dual-GPU setup. Be sure to check out the Media Workstations website for additional configuration details, here.
Media Workstations a-XP Media Workstations a-XP Media Workstations a-XP Media Workstations a-XP

ASUS Intros TUF Gaming Bronze Series PSUs

ASUS over the weekend introduced its TUF Gaming Bronze line of power supplies. The series aligns with ASUS's overall brand strategy for TUF Gaming - appealing for value-conscious serious gamers. The TUF Gaming Bronze series debuts with two mid-range Wattage options - 550 W and 650 W. ASUS has a few selling points up its sleeve in this heavily saturated market: firstly, the PSUs feature a double ball-bearing 135 mm Axial Tech fan (an ASUS innovation), which features impellers that are webbed toward the ends to guide all their airflow axially. The fans are controlled by a 0 dB idle fan-stop logic (the fan stays completely off below a 30% load/temperature threshold). The main PCB features surface treatment that protects it from wear over the years (against moisture and dust debris). The third innovation is a segment-first 6-year product warranty.

Under the hood, the ASUS TUF Gaming Bronze PSUs feature single +12 V rail designs, 80 Plus Bronze efficiency as the name suggests, and protection against over/under-voltage, overload, overheat, and short-circuit. Both models feature fixed, sleeved cabling. Both models offer a single 4+4 pin EPS, 24-pin ATX, five SATA power, and four Molex connectors. The 550 W model offers two 6+2 pin PCIe power, while the 650 W model offers four of these. The PSU measures 150 mm in length. The company didn't mention pricing.
Sunday, August 9th 2020

Intel's Apple-exclusive Core i9-10910 Geekbenched

Intel designed an Apple-exclusive Core i9-10910 10-core processor for its new-generation iMac, with an interesting set of specs. The chip has a base frequency of 3.60 GHz - much higher than the 2.90 GHz of the i9-10900 - but a lower max boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (against 5.20 GHz TVB max of the i9-10900). The TDP of the new chip is rumored to be higher, at 95 W, giving its boosting algorithm more breathing room. Leakbench, a twitter handle that tracks interesting submissions to the Geekbench online database, fished out one of the first Geekbench 5 submissions of the i9-10910.

The i9-10910 serves up 6.9% higher single-threaded performance than the i9-10900. It however, falls behind the i9-10900 in multi-threaded performance by 9.6%. These results as surprising. Normally, we'd expect the i9-10910 to have a lower single-threaded performance and higher multi-threaded performance. As its max boost frequency is lower, and the i9-10900 is able to run single-threaded workloads on its favored cores at frequencies of up to 5.20 GHz (as opposed to 5.00 GHz on the i9-10910). On the other hand, with a higher TDP (higher PL1), the i9-10910 has more power budget for its cores to sustain higher boost states, which should give it a slight edge over the i9-10900 in multi-threaded performance. The raison d'être of the i9-10910 appears to be in giving Apple a variation of the 10-core "Comet Lake" die that macOS can make the most of, as it probably lacks optimization for Turbo Boost Max 3.0 and Thermal Velocity Boost.

AMD Files Patent for its Own big.LITTLE Tech - Processor Clusters

In a sign of AMD's answer to Intel Hybrid tech being quite far away from implementation in a product, the company filed patents to a rival/similar technology only as recently as June 30, 2020, with the patent application being dug up by Underfox. The patent calls for a multi-core processor topology with two kinds of CPU cores - a "high-feature" core (big core), and a "low-feature" one (small core).

Here's where AMD's design is different: it calls for closely integrated groups of the two kinds of cores (one big core, and one small core), called "Processor Clusters." The dedicated L1 caches of the big and small cores in each group shadow data, while an L2 cache is shared between the two cores. Several such big+small Processor Clusters sit across a die, sharing the chip's last-level cache (L3 cache). This is unlike Intel's Hybrid design, where the big and small cores are spread apart on the die, with little cache coherency (Lakefield die-shot by le Comptoir du Hardware below). The patent also details the workflow of how the processor reconciles the ISA differences between the two core types.

As AMD Ryzen 4000G Kept Out of DIY Retail Channel, Bootlegging of OEM Parts Takes Over

AMD's decision to not launch its Ryzen 4000G "Renoir" Socket AM4 processors in the DIY retail channel has baffled many in the PC enthusiast community. The parts are now exclusively in the OEM channel, however bootlegging of these chips out of the tray is rampant in Asia. A Hong Kong based eBay seller listed several 4000G SKUs, such as the flagship Ryzen 7 PRO 4750G, at a premium.

Apparently trays of 4000G chips - which aren't even supposed to end up with SI (system integrators), and only with big OEMs (think Compal, Foxconn, Dell, Lenovo, HP, etc), have somehow made their way to Asia's PC retail malls, where they're sold piecemeal, and at a premium. You pay for a chip, and the storekeeper pops one out of the tray and hands it over to you, straight up. Don't want to deal with its pins? Why not bundle it with a compatible motherboard from the same retailer, who will install the chip on the socket for you? Listings such as this one, are fraught with all the risks of bootleg commerce - the chip comes with no warranties, and the seller accepts no returns. Your only protection against getting a paperweight in your box is PayPal. It's time AMD put an end to this bovine defecation with a retail launch.

DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods, Part One Teased

Bethesda over the weekend posted a teaser to the very first expansion of DOOM Eternal, one of 2020's brighter spots. Titled "The Ancient Gods, Part One," (which indicates more parts); the DLC is an expansion of the original's campaign, and appears to pick off from it. Urdak (a dimension that's compared to Heaven) is in tatters and swarming with demons following the events of "Eternal," and Doomguy is resurrected by Father (creator of the universe) to clean it up. The teaser features a monologue by Father that sounds an awful lot like Vega. "Am I the Father?" were its last words as it was consumed by Urdak's computers. The 30-second teaser shows us an Urdak-like locale, demons with a new blue buff, possibly as they're resurrected by the summoner (which makes a comeback from DOOM (2016)). We also see a new more formidable makyr heavy enemy than the walking piñatas from "Eternal." Beth will post an extended trailer on August 27, at Opening Night Live of Gamescom 2020.
The teaser follows.
Friday, August 7th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
CPU Coolers
Headphones
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Montech Air X Review - Big Fans on a Tight Budget

Montech Air X Review - Big Fans on a Tight Budget

The Montech Air X comes with two 200 mm intake fans in the front, up from the three 120 mm units in the Air 900 model. With its cool looks and clean window coupled with the solid frame, the Air X is surprisingly affordable to boot.

Mad Catz Announces EGO Arcade FightStick, C.A.T. 7 Gamepad

Mad Catz Global Limited, the leading innovators in gaming hardware, is excited to announce shipping of two new console products, the EGO Arcade FightStick and the C.A.T. 7 Controller, each boasting multi-format compatibility, stunning designs and a high-specification feature set.

Leading the charge is a triumphant return to fighting game controllers in the form of the EGO Arcade FightStick. Legendary for their dominance in the category, the EGO is a long-awaited return to a fan-favorite Mad Catz range.

Noblechairs Announces DOOM Edition Gaming Chair Availability

Today, noblechairs are excited to launch the official noblechairs HERO Gaming Chair - DOOM Edition! The "DOOM Edition" will be available to purchase through many retailers worldwide. noblechairs recently announced their partnership with games publisher, Bethesda Softworks, and have already released an officially licensed Fallout Edition gaming chair.

The DOOM Edition by noblechairs has been designed to take distinctive elements from the game - making it a must have for enthusiasts and fans of the DOOM franchise. The chair comes with an all black base, blood-red accents and an exceptional design throughout. It features multiple rune markings, including the iconic glyph on the front of the chair, the mark of the DOOM Slayer.

Chieftec Announces CW-01B-OP Chassis

CHIEFTEC, a world-wide renowned brand for reliable PC chassis and power supplies, today announces the CW-01B-OP, a new high-performance workstation case, built from 0.7 mm strong steel with an abundance of functional flexibility and an airflow-focused design. The CW-01B-OP provides users with the ability to build a system that fully suits their needs, whether that requires three 5.25" external drive bays, a 3.5" external drive bay or up to seven internal (3.5" or 2.5") drive bays. Top radiator installation, two 120 mm fans in the front, one 140 mm fan in the bottom, as well as a maximum graphics card length of 410 mm, are all features the CW-01B-OP masters with ease.

Combining a modern, timeless design, featuring brushed aluminium and filtered mesh, with the high functional flexibility, the Chieftec CW-01B-OP is a companion for the ages, built to last, perform and look great years on.

KeysOff Presents Genuine Software at All-time Low Prices

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Apple Says Cloud Gaming Services Like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud Violate App Store Guidelines

Cloud gaming is the next step in mobile gaming, with services like Microsoft project xCloud aiming to bring AAA titles right to your mobile phone. Microsoft has already been testing its xCloud application on Android and iOS devices for some time, and the application was supposed to launch sometime in September. However, it seems like Microsoft is only going to serve the customers on Android, as Apple says that these types of applications violate App Store guidelines. This doesn't only apply to xCloud, but also Google's Stadia gaming platform. When developer uploads application to App Store for iOS, the application goes through a review by Apple, for security reason and for Apple to check if it meets its guidelines.

Being that xCloud and Stadia are types of applications which offer a way to access many more applications (games in this case), this is against Apple's policy as they can't control the applications these services offer.

Axiomtek Announces eBOX626-311-FL Fanless Embedded System Powered by Atom

Axiomtek - a world-renowned leader relentlessly devoted in the research, development and manufacture of series of innovative and reliable industrial computer products of high efficiency - is pleased to announce the eBOX626-311-FL, its new slim-type fanless embedded system powered by the Intel Atom processor x5-E3940. The fanless embedded box PC was designed to operate reliably in industrial environments - with an IP40-rated enclosure, extended -40°C to +60°C support, and 3 Grms vibration resistance. To ensure system security, it utilizes the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 function. The embedded box computer eBOX626-311-FL is well-suited for industrial controllers, intelligent robotic control, intelligent gateway systems, smart kiosks, visual inspection and data visualization.

"The eBOX626-311-FL is a highly-integrated platform with high performance, abundant I/O connectivity and high reliability. The fanless embedded box PC has a wide voltage input and supports an 11 ms interruption to prevent an unexpected power outage. The wide temperature settings and 3Grms vibration resistance along with IP40-rated rugged aluminium extrusion and steel case makes it solid and durable in harsh environments," said Annie Fu, product manager of Product PM Division at Axiomtek."

Epic Games Announces $1.78 Billion Funding Round

Epic Games today announced a $1.78 billion round of funding consisting of primary capital and secondary purchases from employee equity holders. Epic's post-money equity valuation is now $17.3 billion.

This round includes a previously announced $250 million strategic investment from Sony Corporation. Additional investment partners include Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and David Tepper. Existing investors KKR and Smash Ventures also added to their 2018 investment. Following the closing of the funding round Epic will continue to have only a single class of common stock outstanding and will remain controlled by its founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney.
Thursday, August 6th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Networking
SSD
ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF EVO Review

ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF EVO Review

The ASUS Radeon RX 5600 XT TUF EVO uses the improved version of the EVO cooler. Temperatures and noise levels are excellent because ASUS decided not to downgrade the heatsink for their RX 5600 XT despite the much lower heat output of the GPU. Idle fan stop and a backplate are included, too.

Intel Hit by a Devastating Data Breach, Chip Designs, Code, Possible Backdoors Leaked

Intel on Thursday was hit by a massive data-breach, with someone on Twitter posting links to an archive that contains the dump of the breach - a 20-gigabyte treasure chest that includes - but not limited to - Intel Management Engine bringup guides, flashing tools, samples; source code of Consumer Electronics Firmware Development Kit (CEFDK); silicon and FSP source packages for various platforms; an assortment of development and debugging tools; Simics simulation for "Rocket Lake S" and other platforms; a wealth of roadmaps and other documents; shcematics, documents, tools, and firmware for "Tiger Lake," Intel Trace Hub + decoder files for various Intel ME versions; "Elkhart Lake" silicon reference and sample code; Bootguard SDK, "Snow Ridge" simulator; design schematics of various products; etc.

The most fascinating part of the leak is the person points to the possibility of Intel laying backdoors in its code and designs - a very tinfoil hat though likely possibility in the post-9/11 world. Intel in a comment to Tom's Hardware denied that its security apparatus had been compromised, and instead blamed someone with access to this information for downloading the data. "We are investigating this situation. The information appears to come from the Intel Resource and Design Center, which hosts information for use by our customers, partners and other external parties who have registered for access. We believe an individual with access downloaded and shared this data," a company spox said.

US Aims to Bring Chip Manufacturing Industry Back to Its Soil

The US is one of the leading countries when it comes to chip design technologies and know-how; however, when it comes to actual manufacturing those designs, it's fallen from grace in recent years. Once the leader in both design and manufacturing, nowadays the US can only claim some 12% of the world's semiconductor production. The rest of it is mainly produced in Asia, where TSMC stands as the industry juggernaut, with other companies stretching across Taiwan, Japan, and most recently (and surging) China - the country has more than doubled its 300 mm manufacturing sites since 2017. This places some strain on the US' dependence from foreign shipments; and the country is looking to bridge that gap in its perceived national interests by investing heavily in silicon manufacturing to be brought back to the country. Recent slippages from Intel when it comes to keeping its manufacturing lead have apparently also instilled preoccupation amongst US policy makers.

Intel Readies Atom "Grand Ridge" 24-core Processor, Features PCIe 4.0 and DDR5

Intel is monetizing its "small" x86 cores across its product lineup, and not just in entry-level client processors. These cores will be part of Intel's current- and upcoming Hybrid processors, and have been serving Intel's re-branded Atom line of high core-count low-power server processors targeting micro-servers, NAS, network infrastructure hardware, and cellular base-stations. A company slide scored by AdoredTV unveils Intel's Atom "Grand Ridge" 24-core processor. A successor to the 24-core Atom P5962B "Snow Ridge" processor built on 10 nm and featuring "Tremont" CPU cores, "Grand Ridge" sees the introduction of the increased IPC "Gracemont" CPU cores to this segment. These cores make their debut in 2021 under the "Alder Lake" microarchitecture as "small" cores.

The "Grand Ridge" silicon is slated to be built on Intel's 7 nm HLL+ silicon fabrication node, and features 24 "Gracemont" cores across six clusters with four cores, each. Each cluster shares a 4 MB L2 cache among the four cores, while a shared L3 cache of unknown size cushions transfers between the six clusters. Intel is deploying its SCF (scalable coherent fabric) interconnect between the various components of the "Grand Ridge" SoC. Besides the six "Gracemont" clusters, the "Grand Ridge" silicon features a 2-channel DDR5 integrated memory controller, and a PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex that puts out 16 lanes. It also features fixed function hardware that accelerates network stack processing. There are various USB and GPIO connectivity options relevant to 5G base-station setups. Given Intel's announcement of a delay in rolling out its 7 nm node, "Grand Ridge" can only be expected in 2022, if not later.
Intel Grand Ridge

MediaTek Sampling Intel 5G Modem Solution for Next-Gen PC Experiences

MediaTek and Intel have reached a milestone in the development and certification of 5G T700 modem solutions for next-generation PC experiences. As announced by MediaTek today, the project is on schedule and the team has conducted 5G calls with the chipset. Intel is also well under way developing platform optimizations for best-in-class 5G PC user experiences that include validation and system integration, and readying co-engineering support for further enablement of its OEM partners.

"A successful partnership is measured by execution, and we're excited to see the rapid progress we are making with MediaTek on our 5G modem solution with customer sampling starting later this quarter. Building on Intel's 4G/LTE leadership in PCs, 5G is poised to further transform the way we connect, compute and communicate. Intel is committed to enhancing those capabilities on the world's best PCs," said Chris Walker, corporate vice president and general manager of Mobile Client Platforms at Intel.

Logitech Says It's Doing Everything it Can to Thwart Webcam Shortages

Physical distancing has meant a resurgence in technologies meant to bridge gaps in geography (mainly webcams), as people have found that face to face conversations and team meetings are multiple steps above emails. However, ever since the pandemic (and associated lockdown and work from home) procedures began, it's been difficult to find any webcams available for purchase - at least at MSRP. Both new and used webcams have seen their prices increased in wake of tight supply and demand equations, and Logitech, as one of the premier webcam manufacturers in the world, has been on the forefront of fighting these shortages.

In its latest earnings call, Logitech President and CEO Brecken P. Darrel told investors that "PC webcams continued the strong momentum exiting last quarter with Q1 sales more than doubling to the highest quarterly level in a decade... We're ramping our capacity to meet demand, working to overcome component shortages as we do. We expect Q2 supply to improve, but still -- it still could remain pretty tight throughout the quarter." Demand equations in a time of pandemic aren't an exact science, so Logitech underestimating demand isn't all that unexpected. here's hoping the company can provide enough units for the resale channel so as to normalize pricing.

Marvell Launches a Vast Lineup of Networking PHYs: 2.5GbE, 5GbE, 10GbE, and Up

Marvell today announced an integrated set of access, aggregation and core Ethernet switch and PHY solutions that intelligently enable secure and efficient data movement throughout enterprise networks. The new portfolio is purpose-built to address the specific requirements of the borderless enterprise as mobility and cloud applications extend the boundaries of the traditional campus environment. Today's enterprise IT organizations are tasked with delivering a seamless experience - including to an ever-growing remote workforce - with zero-downtime, higher bandwidth performance for video and content sharing, and data protection and security. Marvell's unified Prestera Ethernet switch and Alaska PHY solution set is architected from the ground up with insightful telemetry, flow-aware intelligence, scalable performance and advanced integrated security technologies that set the bar in switching.

With a complete line of GE, 2.5GE, 5GE, 10GE, 25GE, 100GE and 400GE platforms, the portfolio is designed to fit a variety of network architectures at different speeds, densities and scales at small, medium and large enterprise IT organizations. This latest generation of solutions, comprised of four cutting-edge Prestera Ethernet switches and corresponding Alaska Ethernet PHYs, create a clear path to upgrade enterprise networks to multi-gigabit Ethernet in support of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G deployments. Marvell's intelligent workload management enables optimized data processing at or near the network access edge, improving the performance of hybrid cloud architectures. Insightful telemetry capabilities enable the solution to produce data that facilitates network automation and expedites forensic analytics. Advanced security features underpin trustworthiness and provide network embedded protection from ever-evolving security threats. To support emerging use cases in retail, manufacturing, hospitality, finance and education, Marvell's switching family is built with flexibility and feature richness to address the imminent needs these networks face.

OWC Releases Rover Pro Wheels Kit for Apple Mac Pro: $199 Against Apple's $699

OWC; a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world's most respected providers of Memory, External Drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions and performance upgrade kits reveals the new OWC Rover Pro - a toolless, patent-pending made in the USA design that allows users to add wheels to the 2019 Mac Pro in under two minutes. Factory-finish, matching stainless-steel housings feature 360-degree articulating wheels with non-marring soft rubber tread install and include stops to keep your Mac Pro in place and offer the freedom of mobility when needed.

The OWC Rover Pro is the innovative mobility solution for the 2019 Mac Pro. The patent-pending design enables your Mac Pro to go "wheels on/wheels off" in under two minutes while saving time and money vs the factory wheel kit. No tools, no hassle, no worry: simply place your Mac Pro's factory feet into the Rover Pro's polished stainless-steel housings and secure with a few hand twists. When you're done moving your Mac Pro around, the Rover Pro allows quick and easy conversion back to the factory feet for stationary use.

Coreboot Code Hints at Intel "Alder Lake" Core Configurations

Intel's 12th Gen Core EVO "Alder Lake" processors in the LGA1700 package could introduce the company's hybrid core technology to the desktop platform. Coreboot code leaked to the web by Coelacanth's Dream sheds fascinating insights to the way Intel is segmenting these chips. The 10 nm chip will see Intel combine high-performance "Golden Cove" CPU cores with energy-efficient "Gracemont" CPU cores, and up to three tiers of the company's Gen12 Xe integrated graphics. The "Alder Lake" desktop processor has up to eight big cores, up to eight small ones, and up to three tiers of the iGPU (GT0 being disabled iGPU, GT1 being the lower tier, and GT2 being the higher tier).

Segmentation between the various brand extensions appears to be primarily determined by the number of big cores. The topmost SKU has all 8 big and 8 small cores enabled, along with GT1 (lower) tier of the iGPU (possibly to free up power headroom for those many cores). The slightly lower SKU has 8 big cores, 6 small cores, and GT1 graphics. Next up, is 8 big cores, 4 small cores, and GT1 graphics. Then 8+2+GT1, and lastly, 8+0+GT1. The next brand extension is based around 6 big cores, being led by 6+8+GT2, and progressively lower number of small cores and their various iGPU tiers. The lower brand extension is based around 4 big cores with similar segmentation of small cores, and the entry-level parts have 2 big cores, and up to 8 small cores.

MSI Japan Announces Bravo 15 Gaming Laptop

MSI Japan has recently announced the MSI Bravo-15-A4DDR-056JP a 15-inch AMD Ryzen 7, Radeon RX gaming laptop. The Bravo 15 features a powerful 8-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 4800H paired with a Radeon RX 5500M 4 GB GDDR6, which helps drive the full HD 144Hz AMD FreeSync display. The laptop also comes equipped with 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. The laptop boasts Wi-Fi 6 networking and features x2 USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-C, x2 USB 3.2 Gen-1 Type-A, x1 HDMI, x1 Gigabit LAN, x1 headphone output and x1 audio combo jack.

The laptop includes a Japanese style backlit keyboard, stereo speakers, 720p webcam, and packs in a 51 WHr 3 cell battery. The Bravo 15 measures 359 mm x 254 mm x 21.7 mm while coming in at just 1.9 kg. The laptop will be available to purchase in Japanese markets starting August 20th for a suggested price of 160,000 yen (~1500 USD), it is currently unknown if MSI plans to bring this laptop to other markets.

Intel Preparing Avengers Branded "KA" Processors

Intel became the official PC hardware partner for the PC version of Marvel's Avengers last year and it seems like Intel is looking to take advantage of that with new limited edition "KA" Avengers series processors. Trusted leaked @momomo_us recently discovered listings for several of these Intel "KA" series processors on a Vietnamese retailer. It appears Intel is preparing to release 4 processors across their i5, i7, and i9 lineups these being the i5-10600KA, i7-10700KA, i9-10850KA and i9-10900KA. These processors should be identical to their K series counterparts apart from the commemorative packaging and the possible inclusion of Marvel's Avengers game codes. These processors will likely see a global release in the coming weeks/months in preparation for the launch of Marvel's Avengers on September 4th.

ASRock Introduces the DeskMini H470 & DeskMini X300

The leading global motherboard, graphics card and mini PC manufacturer, ASRock, proudly announces the all-new DeskMini H470 and DeskMini X300. The ASRock DeskMini H470 adopts the Intel H470 chipset to support Intel 10th Gen 65 W LGA1200 processors and dual-channel DDR4-2933 memory. Relying on advanced power design, it supports exclusive BFB (Base Frequency Boost) Technology to allow users to bump non-K processors speed to enhance system performance.

The all-new DeskMini X300 not only supports AMD latest Ryzen 4000 series APU, but also allows users to adjust CPU/GPU core clock, and tuning voltage to excavate APU potential power. DeskMini X300 supports 8 Cores Ryzen 7 APU and dual-Channel DDR4-3200+MHz (OC) memory, which leads to outstanding computing power and 3D performance.

Transcend Releases DDR4 3200 MHz Industrial Modules

Transcend, a leading brand of industrial-grade memory products and storage solutions, recently announced the release of a new series of industrial-grade DDR4-3200 memory modules. Aiming at 5G networking and intelligent computing at the edge, DDR4-3200 memory modules feature high transmission bandwidth at 3200MT/s, low latency, and low power consumption, running at 1.2 V. The line-up includes Unbuffered Long-DIMM, Unbuffered SO-DIMM, ECC Long-DIMM, ECC SO-DIMM, and Registered Long-DIMM, addressing the varied, and often strict, form factor requirements of vertical markets. Fully complied with JEDEC specification, DDR4-3200 memory modules are optimized for Intel, AMD, and ARM processors. The DDR4-3200 DIMMs are ready to power up embedded telecommunication, in-vehicle, gaming, and smart healthcare applications in the approaching AIoT decade.

AMD Ryzen 9 4950X "Vermeer" Tested, the Sample Boosts to 4.8 GHz

AMD is preparing to launch its next-generation Ryzen 4000 series of desktop processors based on Zen 3 architecture, codenamed Vermeer. Thanks to the sources over at Igor's Lab, we have some new information about the clock speeds of a rumored Ryzen 9 4950X Vermeer model. Featuring 16 cores and 32 threads, the Ryzen 9 4950X is reportedly going to feature boost frequency of at least 4.8 GHz. Given that this is only an engineering sample, the final frequencies could be higher. In the report, the base frequency of the CPU is said to be 3.5 GHz. This is a very good frequency for a CPU that has that many cores. All of this information is coming from decoding the OPN code which states "100-000000059-52_ 48/35 _ Y". The 48 number indicates the boost, and 35 the base frequency. In the previous reports, we got OPN codes "100-000000059-14_46/37_Y" and "100-000000059-15_46/37_N" which suggested 4.6 GHz boost and base of 3.5 GHz, indicating that this is a new stepping.

Softbank Approaches TSMC and Foxconn for Potential Arm Buyout

Softbank-owned company Arm Ltd. has been a subject to a round of rumors regarding the potential buyout of the company because Softbank has considered selling it for some time. The company has approached NVIDIA, with their talks getting "advanced", and Samsung wants a piece of the cake as well. It is now reported that Softbank has approached TSMC and Foxconn as well, regarding a potential Arm takeover. In the report by Nikkei Asia, we have found out that Arm has shared the same financial data points and business plan with TSMC and Foxconn, the same way company did with NVIDIA.

If TSMC and Foxconn have any interest in the company, it would be necessary to create a consortium that would operate Arm Ltd. With NVIDIA, Samsung, and these two new players, the consortium would already count four companies. Nikkei sources claim that Apple and Qualcomm have been also included in the poll of potential buyers, which would make the idea of establishing a consortium very valid.

BIOSTAR Announces A32M2 Micro-ATX Motherboard

BIOSTAR, a leading brand of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, today announces the A32M2 Micro ATX motherboard designed to run the latest AMD Ryzen processors. BIOSTAR has been a brand providing robust, highly reliable motherboards for many years and has a wide range of models on both Intel and AMD platforms to choose from and a plethora of supplementary components catering to many user preferences.

Modern technology meets sleek, refined form factor as BIOSTAR's all new A32M2 Micro ATX motherboard is unveiled to the world built on AMD's A320 single chip architecture capable of supporting the latest Ryzen CPUs as well as the latest A-series APU's. Designed with daily content consumers and office workstations in mind, the BIOSTAR's A32M2 motherboard is made to be the best bang for the buck motherboard amongst its competitors, equipped with 2 DIMMs of DDR4 memory that supports up to 32G maximum capacity, PCIe 3.0 that carries a bit rate of 8GT/s with enhanced signal and data integrity while increases channel improvement.
Wednesday, August 5th 2020

Today's Reviews

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Gaming PC
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Zephyr Gaming Mouse Review

Zephyr Gaming Mouse Review

The ambidextrous Zephyr Gaming Mouse is a new Kickstarter project that aims to introduce a wholly new feature: a built-in fan to keep the hand cool. Additionally, PixArt's PMW3389 sensor, a lightweight honeycomb shell, and a highly flexible cable are on board, too.

Chenbro Launches 12-Bay 2U Rackmount Server for Storage-Centric DC Applications

Chenbro has launched the RB23712, a Level 6, 2U rackmount server barebone with 12 drive bays designed for storage-focused applications in the Data Center and HPC Enterprise. The RB23712 is an easy-to-use barebones server solution that pre-integrates an Intel Server Board S2600WFTR with support for up to two, 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors to ensure a flexible, scalable design that can meet a wide variety of deployment needs, while also assuring mission-critical reliability.

The RB23712 offers Apache Pass, IPMI 2.0 & Redfish compliance, and includes Intel RSTe/Intel VROC options, providing an ideal solution for hosting Video, IMS, SaaS and similar storage-focused applications for either public or private Cloud services.

Western Digital Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2020 Financial Results

Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC) today reported fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020 financial results. "I am extremely proud of the way our team has navigated the complexities and uncertainties inherent in this unprecedented environment, as we continue to adapt to provide supply continuity and high-quality products to our customers and drive value for our shareholders," said David Goeckeler, Western Digital CEO. "While we continue to navigate through a dynamic environment, we remain focused on managing the business for the long-term, including ramping two important product lines to high volume: our SSD products and our energy-assisted capacity enterprise drives. We will continue to deliver the quality, performance and cost-effectiveness our customers rely on, and I am confident that our end market diversity and breadth, broad customer base, channel reach, and innovative leadership all position Western Digital to benefit from the multi-year growth in data creation and storage."

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, Western Digital's revenue increased 18% year-over-year to $4.3 billion, led by strength within Data Center Devices & Solutions and Client Devices end markets.

MSI Announces Next-Generation Creator Series Monitors and Desktops

Without question, MSI is not only the market leader in the gaming hardware industry but also the pioneer in the Content Creation market with an innovative range of technologies. As the world tends to be unpredictable, MSI keeps on developing products with stylish, stable, and the best performance for all kinds of creators. Today, MSI launched the brand new Content Creation Desktop PCs: Creator P100X and Creator P100A with another new monitor, Creator PS321QR & Creator PS321URV, designed for creators and multi-taskers.

George Nelson, one of the most creative designers in the mid-20th century, played a very important role in that period and was representative of the Mid-Century Modern style. George Nelson always foresaw the unknown world and put his imagination into the creation of living objects. The MSI Creator P100 series was gifted with clean lines, geometric forms, gentle organic curves, a love for different materials, and functionality that meet the desires of different creators. Instead of making just a "PC", Creator P100X and P100A will be part of creators' life with a stylish, luxury & aesthetic design.

ASUS Launches VivoBook Flip 14 (TM420)

ASUS today launched VivoBook Flip 14 (TM420), a boldly styled convertible touchscreen laptop with a 360° hinge that allows it to be used in laptop, stand, tent and tablet modes - or anything in between. It also supports the ASUS Pen active stylus for natural writing and response feel, along with accurate input.

Everything's a breeze with VivoBook Flip 14, thanks to its powerful AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Mobile Processor with 8 GB memory and up to 512 GB PCIe SSD. It's also full of personality, sporting a sleek Bespoke Black finish and a color-blocked Enter key with yellow edges and text. The compact VivoBook Flip 14 is the perfect on-the-go laptop for productivity or entertainment anywhere.
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