Wednesday, May 23rd 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Cougar GX-F Series 750W

Cougar GX-F Series 750W

We test the strongest member of Cougar's new GX-F line - the model with a capacity of 750 W. The GX-F750 is fully modular, uses a quality fan, and has good overall performance.

Phanteks Announces the New Eclipse P350X Case

Phanteks is introducing a new compact case to the Eclipse lineup, the P350X. The P350X brings new design with an amazingly affordable price. Clean interior design makes installation easy while the integrated Digital RGB lines on the exterior accentuates the case. The P350X offers high airflow capability, E-ATX motherboard clearance, liquid cooling support, and high-end configurations within the compact design. The case features integrated Digital RGB lighting profiles that allows you to personalize to your style. The P350X offers more capabilities than other midtowers without compromising the price. Phanteks Eclipse P350X will be available in two color options: Black and Black/White.

Samsung to Power Future High-Performance Computing and Connected Devices

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, today unveiled a series of new silicon innovations at the heart of future high-performance computing and connected devices. With comprehensive process technology roadmap updates down to 3-nanometer (nm) at the annual 'Samsung Foundry Forum (SFF) 2018 USA', Samsung Foundry is focused on providing customers with the tools necessary to design and manufacture powerful, yet energy-efficient system-on-chips (SoC) for a wide range of applications.

"The trend toward a smarter, connected world has the industry demanding more from silicon providers," said Charlie Bae, executive vice president and head of the Foundry Sales & Marketing Team at Samsung Electronics. "To meet that demand, Samsung Foundry is powering innovation at the silicon level that will ultimately give people access to data, analysis, and insight in new and previously unthought-of ways to make human lives better. It is imperative for us to accomplish the first-time silicon success for our customers' next-generation chip designs."

Plantronics Announces the BackBeat GO 600 Wireless Headphones

Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, today announced its Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 Series: wireless, over-the-ear immersive headphones featuring unique capabilities for people who put music first, at an economical price point.

To ensure music lovers can create the listening experience they prefer, BackBeat GO 600 comes equipped with dual equalization (EQ) modes, to allow the listener to easily alternate between 'Bass Boost' and 'Balanced' EQ. Balanced EQ mode is Plantronics' signature sound, which is tuned to be the most accurate possible representation of the source audio across all genres of music. Listeners can move between modes with a single push of a button - a feature not typically found on headphones in this price range. BackBeat GO 600 is slim and lightweight with an over-ear design and soft memory foam ear cushions that provide the ideal balance of comfort and isolation resulting in deep, rich sound with minimal distraction.

GIGABYTE Launches New S451-3R0 Storage Server

GIGABYTE has released a compelling new choice in storage servers with a unique combination of performance, capacity and flexibility: the S451-3R0. Powered by dual Intel Xeon Scalable processors and with a capacity of 36 x 3.5" + 2 x 2.5" SSD / HDD, the S451-3R0 provides the best balance of throughput and density, making it extremely suitable for block or object storage, streaming media and big data.

Dual Intel Xeon Scalable Processors
The S451-3R0 features dual Intel Xeon Scalable processors, with up to 28 cores per CPU, making it extremely suitable for storage applications where high performance or heavy workloads are required. Each CPU socket supports the highest CPU thermal design power requirement of 205W, as well as Intel's Omni-Path connection technology to eliminate CPU to network latency. Six memory channels per CPU with two DIMM slots per channel are supported for DDR4 memory. Maximum memory capacity will depend on your CPU model with a maximum of 1.5TB per CPU.

ASUSTOR Releases the All New AS1002T v2 and AS1004T v2 NAS

ASUSTOR Inc. today has announced two new NAS devices will be released; the AS1002T v2 and AS1004T v2. These new models are upgraded versions of the AS1002T and AS1004T and uses an upgraded CPU now at 1.6GHz, providing better read and write performance than the previous generation. In addition, the hard disk controller has been redesigned to allow a hard drive capacity of up to 12TB.

ASUSTOR product manager Johnny Chen said: "Compared to the previous generation, the write performance of the AS10 v2 series has increased by more than 20%, providing home users with a smoother and faster storage experience. In addition, ASUSTOR offers a number of energy-saving designs in protect the environment and save money. The NAS also can hibernate all day almost without consuming power, making it suitable for users who need a NAS for the long-term to create their own dedicated backup solution."

ADATA Unveils the UV240 USB Flash Drive

ADATA today launched the UV240 USB Flash drive, adding to its extensive range of portable storage devices. The UV240 works in USB 2.0 and is offered in capacities up to 64 GB. It features a convenient flip-cap capless design alongside a quick-slide mechanism for maximum usability.

ADATA remains committed to its USB Flash drive global leadership role and will continue releasing new models as market needs evolve. ADATA designers have long preferred USB Flash drives with no cap, as with such a design there is less clutter and fewer parts to potentially misplace. The UV240 utilizes a convenient flip-cap design, which does not only prevent you from misplacing the cap, it also allows it to be easily opened with the flick of a thumb. This intuitive design helps make the UV240 extremely satisfying to use on the go.

On the New Subscription Age, and EA Acquires Game Streaming Service Gamefly

Seems like almost every industry is looking towards transitioning to a subscription model for its goods and services. Netflix may be the most iconic one such company, having acquired millions of subscribers that allow it to have a relatively stable, monthly influx of liquidity (yes, we can also count World of Warcraft on such a scenario). However, many other industries have taken to the same approach (think lootcrates, all kinds of crates, subscription services for online features, etc).

That said, few industries can take the same amount of data from their subscribers such as these media-consumption based ones, where an Internet connection is required, and user data - be it views or, the most interesting metric, engagement rates - are king in determining exactly what the user base expects and craves more of. Netflix's algorithms and view history have been responsible for the selection of its future investments. The base idea for the movie Bright, for example, was developed based on a mash-up of genres Netflix's algorithms indicated as the more captivating to the user base - and Netflix's sci-fi portfolio, for instance, has recently grown towards becoming the single biggest investment from the company, as users seem to gobble-up such content (I'm dully guilty as charged for that one sin as well, I have to admit).

COLORFUL Adds Two CN600S Solid-State Drives to Their Storage Offerings

COLORFUL Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and high-performance storage solutions is proud to announce the addition of two new options for its CN600S line of solid-state drives. COLORFUL is adding the CN600S 240GB and CN600S 480GB drives featuring Intel 64-layer 3D NAND. Those looking for a cost-effective high-performance, high-capacity storage solution for low-profile applications including notebooks and other M.2 capable devices. The improved speed and capacity of the COLORFUL CN600S allows it to be used in a wider range of applications including gaming, professional use or HTPC.

The COLORUL CN600S is equipped with the SMI 2263XT controller, features a M.2 2280 design standard and is rated for transfer speeds up to 2 GB/s reads and 1.5 GB/s write performance. The SMI 2263XT uses the PCIe Gen3 x4 interface and can deliver 4x faster performance than SATA3 for reading, accessing and opening applications and games. The COLORFUL CN600 M.2 PCIe SSD is focused in offering the most compelling cost-benefit ratio in the market.
Tuesday, May 22nd 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
PSUs
Storage
ASRock Radeon RX 580 Phantom Gaming X 8 GB

ASRock Radeon RX 580 Phantom Gaming X 8 GB

ASRock is the first new player in the GPU market for a long time. We review their AMD-based RX 580 Phantom Gaming X, which is an overclocked custom-design variant. ASRock has optimized their card for low-cost, which matters a lot today due to prices being inflated by GPU mining.
NZXT H500i

NZXT H500i

The NZXT H500 and H500i present a smaller version of the H700 chassis, but employ the same steel construction. On top of that, the "i" variant features a built-in NZXT CAM module. With their retail-grade fans and well-executed features, the H500 cases are surprisingly affordable and have the potential to be favorites for both end users and system integrators.

NZXT Continues to Redefine the Modern PC Case with the H500 and H500i

NZXT, a leading provider of desktop components for PC gamers, today announces its all-new H500 and H500i, the latest addition to its highly acclaimed H Series PC cases. With the new H500 and H500i compact mid-tower models, NZXT continues its award-winning design language across even more form factors, so users do not have to compromise when building their perfect gaming PC.

Available in two models, the H500 and the CAM-powered H500i, each with a stunning tempered glass windowed chassis, provide an elegant and affordable solution to builders of all skill levels. Modern features include a simplified water cooling installation bracket, intuitive cable routing options, and quick-release SSD trays for building beautiful gaming PCs quickly and easily. The H500i also features the CAM-powered Smart Device, providing RGB lighting and digital fan control, and includes an integrated vertical GPU mounting bracket.

3D Headphone Startup Shut Its Doors After Raising $3.2 Million in Crowdfunding

In the business world, companies fail all the time, and startups are no exception either. Ossic is the latest startup to make the headlines after announcing over the weekend that the company is shutting its door. The audio startup had successfully raised $3.2 million through Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns to produce their high-end "3D sound" Ossic X headphones. The headphones, which costed between $199 to $299, incorporated special head-tracking technology to deliver surround sound in VR environments. Apparently, they were also capable of determining the shape of the user's ears and customize the sound profile to match the user.

Ossic had received over 22,000 pre-orders over the company's life. Unfortunately, the company only managed to produce 250 pairs of their Ossic X headphones and delivered around a dozen of them to Kickstarters. As the well has run dry, Ossic has no other alternative but to cease operations. Kickstarter backers are extremely angry - and with right as they will not receive their headphones or refunds. A Facebook group with over 2,500 members threaten to pursue a class action lawsuit against the company.

Say Hello to the Next Generation of Arduino Boards, Introducing FPGA Solutions

We're excited to kick off Maker Faire Bay Area by expanding our IoT lineup with two new boards: the MKR Vidor 4000 and the Uno WiFi Rev 2.

The MKR Vidor 4000 is the first-ever Arduino based on an FPGA chip, equipped with a SAM D21 microcontroller, a u-blox Nina W102 WiFi module, and an ECC508 crypto chip for secure connection to local networks and the Internet. MKR Vidor 4000 is the latest addition to the MKR family, designed for a wide range of IoT applications, with its distinctive form factor and substantial computational power for high performance. The board will be coupled with an innovative development environment, which aims to democratize and radically simplify access to the world of FPGAs.

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh Delivers Intelligent Wi-Fi Networks

Wi-Fi Alliance introduces Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh , bringing efficient, self-organizing networks that deliver a broad footprint of uniform Wi-Fi service. Built on the promise of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED , Wi-Fi EasyMesh delivers a standards-based approach to deploying adaptable networks comprised of multiple access points from different vendors, extending uniform Wi-Fi coverage and enhancing performance throughout a larger service area than is possible with a single access point. Wi-Fi EasyMesh allows users and service providers to select interoperable devices across different brands to ensure fast, wide, and reliable Wi-Fi coverage.

Wi-Fi EasyMesh technology coordinates multiple access points into a unified and intelligent Wi-Fi network that autonomously aids all areas of the home to have complete Wi-Fi coverage. Access points organize themselves and establish high-performance Wi-Fi network connectivity with minimal effort required by the user. After the initial simple setup, Wi-Fi EasyMesh monitors network conditions and self-adapts as needed. Wi-Fi EasyMesh guides smartphones, tablets, and other user devices to the optimal access point, enabling a seamless experience, even when moving throughout the home. Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks accommodate a greater selection of devices across brands and are also extensible, making it easy for users to introduce new Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points into their network. Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points today will maintain interoperability with future Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks, providing an enhanced user experience for years to come.

The Saga Continues: Intel Addresses New Research for Side-Channel Variant 4 Attacks

Following Google Project Zero's (GPZ) disclosure of speculative execution-based side-channel analysis methods in January, Intel has continued working with researchers across the industry to understand whether similar methods could be used in other areas. We know that new categories of security exploits often follow a predictable lifecycle, which can include new derivatives of the original exploit.

Expecting that this category of side-channel exploits would be no different, one of the steps we took earlier this year was expanding our bug bounty program to support and accelerate the identification of new methods. The response to that program has been encouraging, and we are thankful for the continued partnership we have with the research community. As part of this ongoing work, today Intel and other industry partners are providing details and mitigation information for a new derivative of the original vulnerabilities impacting us and other chipmakers. This new derivative is called Variant 4, and it's being disclosed jointly by GPZ and Microsoft's Security Response Center (MSRC).

AMD and Fnatic Ink Landmark Deal to Extend and Expand eSports Partnership

AMD a leading manufacturer of high-performance computing, graphics and visualization technologies, and Fnatic, one of the world's top esports organizations, have announced a landmark esports partnership agreement that further expands AMD's engagement in competitive gaming. AMD will be Fnatic's exclusive hardware partner across four competitive gaming hardware categories: motherboards, GPUs, CPUs and laptops. In this third year of collaboration, the sponsorship will include AMD's top-tier brands, Ryzen and Radeon RX.

AMD Ryzen processors are designed for impeccable performance for the most ambitious gamers. Radeon RX Vega Graphics are for extreme gamers looking to run their games at the highest resolutions, highest framerates, and maximum settings. Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards are designed to play games at a smooth 1080p and beyond.

Razer Releases Revised Core X Enclosure for eGPU Solutions

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced the Razer Core X, a Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure for gaming-grade performance at a new value price. The Razer Core series of external graphics enclosures including the Core V2 and Core X are now compatible with Mac laptops with Thunderbolt 3.

Razer Core X
The new Core X transforms integrated graphics laptops like the Razer Blade Stealth into desktop-class gaming machines by adding an external graphics card. Gamers can also future-proof their gaming laptops or unlock VR-Ready experiences by boosting the performance beyond the current laptop's limits.

QNAP Introduces New QM2 PCIe Cards to Enhance NAS Performance

QNAP Systems, Inc. has extended the lineup of QM2 PCIe expansion cards with new models that support up to four M.2 SSDs slots on a single card. QM2 cards support either M.2 SATA SSDs or M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs to enable SSD caching for boosted IOPS performance or to form an auto-tiering volume for optimal storage performance. QM2 cards also allow QNAP NAS users to maximize both storage capacity and performance by installing M.2 SSDs without occupying any 3.5-inch drive bays.

"When faced with a performance bottleneck, the random read/write speed of the hard drives in a NAS is one of the decisive performance factors," said Joan Hsieh, Product Manager of QNAP, continuing "QM2 cards can greatly boost the performance of QNAP NAS with PCIe slots, while the flexible configuration of SSD caching and I/O-aware Qtier all helps multiply NAS performance."

New Razer Blade is the World's Smallest 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop

Razer , the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced its all-new Razer Blade 15.6-inch gaming laptop featuring Intel's latest processor. The new Razer Blade is the world's smallest gaming laptop in its class, boasting more display area and performance features. The available 144 Hz refresh rate 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) display of the new Razer Blade enhances gaming and entertainment viewing with full-frame fluid motion graphics and 100% sRGB color. Users can also step up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution with touch functionality and 100% Adobe RGB color support. Each laptop display is individually custom calibrated in production for amazing color accuracy out-of-the-box. Best-in-class 4.9 mm thin bezels flank the display, while retaining the ideal web camera placement at the top of the screen.

The world's smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop measures as little as 0.66-inches thin and with a minimal footprint for ultimate mobility. The refined chassis is individually CNC milled from a single aluminum block to provide a sturdy yet compact design, and features a scratch resistant anodized black finish. Managing heat without sacrificing performance in such a small form factor is no easy task, but Razer innovated by utilizing vapor chamber technology for the cooling solution instead of the traditional heat pipes found in most gaming laptops. Beyond cooling the CPU and GPU, the vacuum-sealed vaporized liquid helps dissipate the heat generated from other components within the laptop.

Cooler Master Introduces The New RGB-Touting MA410M Tower Cooler

Cooler Master today launched a new addition to its flagship, four-heatpipe coolers - the MasterAir MA410M. Equipped with dual 120 MasterFans, it continues the tradition of recognizably excellent cooling performance and reliability from the Hyper series.

The heatsink is precisely designed, ensuring the spacing between each fin of the tower is at the optimal distance to guarantee minimal airflow resistance and thus allowing maximum air into the heatsink. The MA410M is equipped with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 (CDC 2.0), which means all the four heatpipes are compressed to increase CPU contact surface area - this significantly increases thermal conductivity and heat transfer. The patented X-vents and Air-Guided Armor combined with CDC 2.0 technology provide the best thermal solution for your build.

CRYORIG Announces Frostbit M.2 Cooler and C7 RGB for Computex 2018

Ahead of Computex 2018 CRYORIG announces new M.2 cooler Frostbit and RGB enhanced C7 RGB CPU Cooler. CRYORIG's Frostbit is not only the industry first aftermarket M.2 NVMe SSD cooler with dual heatpipes, it allows full adjustment of the Secondary Heatpipe and large volume Heatsink. The C7 RGB is based on CRYORIG's award winning ITX cooler C7, with a 12v RGB lighting enhanced 92 mm fan. Both products will be shown at CRYORIG's Computex booth at Nangang Exhibition Hall I0527.

Arctic Intros Alpine 12 Passive CPU Heatsink

Arctic introduced the Alpine 12 Passive, and here's our cure to your déjà vu. The cooler is essentially an Alpine M1 Passive, which launched early-2016, but is anodized black. It has the same exact design, which involves a large monolithic chunk of aluminium measuring 95 mm x 95 mm x 69 mm, dissipating heat over large ridges; with pre-applied MX-5 thermal paste at the base. Designed exclusively for the LGA115x socket, the cooler can handle TDP of up to 35W, although it's capable of up to 48W. The gaps between the ridges are wide enough to let you bolt on a 92 mm fan for additional cooling capacity. The heatsink is priced at USD $12, and is backed by a 6-year warranty, which could come in mighty handy if the block of metal with zero moving parts somehow stopped working.

AMD B450 Mid-range Chipset Detailed

AMD is giving finishing touches to its second 400-series motherboard chipset, the B450. Slated for a 2H-2018 launch alongside the Ryzen 5 2500X and a few other entry-level 2nd generation "Zen" processors, the B450 succeeds the mid-range B350 chipset, comes with out of the box support for Ryzen 2000 "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, and has a couple of features up its sleeve. To begin with, it puts out the same numbers of USB, SATA, and PCIe links as the B350. You get two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, just two 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, just two SATA 6 Gbps ports, and just six downstream PCI-Express gen 2.0 lanes. The AM4 SoC augments this paltry connectivity with two more 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, two more SATA 6 Gbps ports, and a 32 Gbps M.2 PCIe slot. Unlike mid-range chipsets from Intel, the AMD B450 and B350 retain CPU overclocking support.

Like the X470, the new B450 comes with a reduced idle power-draw of less than 2W, and hence can be cooled by extremely tiny heatsinks. The chipset has the same "enhanced" CPU VRM and memory routing specifications (additional PCB layers), introduced by the X470. To be more business/enterprise-friendly, the B450 lets system administrators disable specific USB ports of the motherboard from the UEFI setup program. Also, both X470 and B450 support NVMe RAID, which was exclusive to the X399 in the previous generation. You also get out of the box support for AMD StoreMI technology. Interestingly, the table detailing the B450 lists a feature exclusive to the X470 and B450, called "XFR 2.0 Enhanced." No AMD technical document we read tells us what XFR 2.0 Enhanced is, and how it's different from XFR 2.0 (separately listed in that table).

Possible Intel 8-core LGA115x Processor Surfaces on SANDRA Database

That Intel bringing 8 cores to the mainstream-desktop (MSDT) platform is more than a rumor now, as a curious-looking SiSoft SANDRA database entry suggests. An anonymous source submitted benchmark results of a processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, 256 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of L3 cache; clocked at 2.60 GHz (prototypes and engineering-samples are usually clocked low). This can't be i7-5960X or the i7-6900K, because the HEDT chips pack 20 MB of L3 cache. The more recent i7-7820X packs 11 MB of L3 cache, with 1 MB per core of L2 cache. It's conceivable that an MSDT chip could retain the cache hierarchy of the current MSDT processors from Intel, with 2 MB L3 cache slices per core, adding up to 12 MB on the i7-8700, for example, explaining the large 16 MB L3 cache on this chip.

The SANDRA numbers suggest similar IPC to the "Coffee Lake" architecture, while a proportionate increase in performance to the increased core-count. The chip scored 96 points with 237.03 GOPS score; 330.64 GIPS Dhrystone integer, 194.46 GFLOPS Whetstone single-precision floating-point; and 148.47 GFLOPS Whetstone double-precision; and 91.45 GOPS/GHz clocks/performance. Intel is rumored to launch an 8-core/16-thread LGA115x processor, possibly paired with its upcoming Z390 Express chipset, and possibly based on its new 10 nm silicon fabrication process; sometime either in 2H-2018 or Q1-2019.

Toshiba Memory Corporation to Expand 3D Flash Memory Production Capacity

Toshiba Memory Corporation (TMC) today announced that it decided to start construction of a new state-of-the-art fab for BiCS FLASH , its proprietary 3D flash memory, in Kitakami, Iwate prefecture in July this year.

TMC has selected Kitakami City as the next location to expand its operations in September last year, and has started preparations for construction of the new fab. Demand for 3D flash memory is increasing significantly on fast growing demand for enterprise SSD for datacenters and servers. TMC expects continued strong growth in the mid and long term, and the timing of its construction positions it to capture this growth and expand its business.

The new fab will be completed in 2019, and will have a quake absorbing structure and an environmentally friendly design that includes the latest energy saving manufacturing equipment. It will also introduce an advanced production system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to boost productivity. Decisions on the new fab's equipment investment, production capacity and production plan will reflect market trends. TMC expects to continue its joint venture investments based on discussion with Western Digital in the new facility.

Toshiba Memory Corporation Plans to Relocate Its Headquarters

Toshiba Memory Corporation (TMC) announces that it has decided to relocate its headquarters to Tamachi Station Tower S in msb Tamachi district from the Hamamatsucho Building (Toshiba Building) in January 2019.

TMC will launch corporate activity under its new shareholders on June 1st, 2018. Through moving the head office, TMC will expand its headquarters activities as required for business growth, and improve productivity and employee motivation in a new office environment. Along with this move TMC will conduct activities such as cross-functional workshops to explore the work style for the future, to create a new office environment in which employees can have free and open-minded communication with each other.

Micron Ships Industry's First Quad-Level Cell NAND SSD

Micron Technology, Inc. has commenced shipments of the industry's first SSD built on revolutionary quad-level cell (QLC) NAND technology. Unveiled at Micron's 2018 Analyst and Investor Event, the Micron 5210 ION SSD provides 33 percent more bit density than triple-level cell (TLC) NAND, addressing segments previously serviced with hard disk drives (HDDs). The introduction of new QLC-based SSDs positions Micron as a leader in providing higher capacity at lower costs to address the read-intensive yet performance-sensitive cloud storage needs of AI, big data, business intelligence, content delivery and database systems.

As workloads evolve to meet the ever-increasing demands for real-time data insights and analytics, data centers increasingly need the capacity, speed, reliability and steady state performance that enterprise flash storage provides. Micron QLC NAND - reaching densities of 1 terabit with its next-generation 64-layer 3D NAND structure - is optimized to meet these demands and make SATA SSD performance and capacity more approachable than ever before.

Micron and Intel Extend Their Leadership in 3D NAND Flash Memory

Micron Technology Inc. and Intel Corporation today announced production and shipment of the industry's first 4bits/cell 3D NAND technology. Leveraging a proven 64-layer structure, the new 4bits/cell NAND technology achieves 1 terabit (Tb) density per die, the world's highest-density flash memory. The companies also announced development progress on the third-generation 96-tier 3D NAND structure, providing a 50 percent increase in layers. These advancements in the cell structure continue the companies' leadership in producing the world's highest Gb/mm2 areal density.

Both NAND technology advancements-the 64-layer QLC and 96-layer TLC technologies -utilize CMOS under the array (CuA) technology to reduce die sizes and deliver improved performance when compared to competitive approaches. By leveraging four planes vs the competitors' two planes, the new Intel and Micron NAND flash memory can write and read more cells in parallel, which delivers faster throughput and higher bandwidth at the system level. The new 64-layer 4bits/cell NAND technology enables denser storage in a smaller space, bringing significant cost savings for read-intensive cloud workloads. It is also well-suited for consumer and client computing applications, providing cost-optimized storage solutions.
Monday, May 21st 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
SilentiumPC Grandis 2 XE1436

SilentiumPC Grandis 2 XE1436

SilentiumPC has of late been focusing on value for money. Enter the Grandis 2 XE1436. This dual tower, dual fan CPU cooler uses a popular tried-and-true design. Size isn't always indicative of performance, however, so let's see just what the Grandis 2 has to offer!

In Wake of Intel's 10 nm Process Difficulties, Analyst Firm Bumps AMD's Share Outlook

Intel's woes with their 10 nm process have been well documented by now (and even if they hadn't, the absence of any real product on store shelves would be a dead giveaway). And as Intel struggles to get its process up and running - and is now ramping up production on comparatively simple Core i3 chips, which are smaller and less prone to costly silicon defects - AMD and other Intel rivals are gaining traction over the once too-slumbering giant.

As a result of Intel's 10 nm difficulties, analyst firm Susquehanna, who recently downgraded AMD and NVIDIA shares on the expected lowered demand for graphics products from these companies in the wake of the first ever Ethereum ASIC, has now revised AMD's share strategy. Previously set at "Sell", the firm now rates AMD's shares as "Neutral" - specifically citing Intel's difficulties in ramping up the new process as simply giving AMD more chances to catch-up and surpass its blue counterpart. Susquehanna's Christopher Rolland published a note to clients stating basically that - that "We believe Intel's delay will help to maintain/improve AMD's competitiveness for their next generation of EPYC and Ryzen products", adding that "(...) for the first time in memory, AMD will compete at a similar process technology as Intel, a strong multi-year tailwind".

Where AREZ Thou, GPP? ASUS 180's, Announces ROG Branding is Here to Stay

Well, if doubts ever existed, those have been somewhat dispelled in recent times, but this must be the final nail in the GPP coffin. Hopefully, it's also the proverbial nail to show customers Green, Red and Blue (seldom-remembered Intel was also a target) of what exactly NVIDIA's program entailed. NVIDIA found itself in a rather embattled field against tech publications and consumers alike when the first match was lit on what GPP was and what it forced NVIDIA partners to do with their brands. Turns out exclusively aligning them with NVIDIA products would give incredibly relevant advantages compared to partners who didn't, forcing an otherwise healthy ecosystem to converge on the dominant market player.

After around two months of story coverage, NVIDIA terminated the GPP program - begrudgingly so, and seemingly forgetting everything about the way things are meant to be played. However, some AMD partners had already announced some exclusive AMD-branded graphics cards, with new, market recognition-absent brands such as ASUS's AREZ and (it all seems to point that way) MSI's MECH 2 series of graphics cards. What were they to do in the wake of GPP's earlier-than-expected burial? These companies spent marketing and design funds to come up with new brands and designs, after all.
UPDATE (22/05): ASUS informed us that the tweet which was the basis of the original report is not operated by ASUS. The company stated that it will continue to sell ASUS ROG and AREZ branded graphics cards side-by-side. ASUS is in the process of getting Twitter to take down the impersonating handle.

Acer Predator X27 G-Sync HDR Monitor Goes Up for Preorder at $2000

Acer's 27-inch Predator X27 G-Sync HDR gaming monitor has been listed for preorder on Newegg with a whopping $1999.99 price tag. The Predator X27's impressive specifications include a 4K (3840 x 2160) AHVA IPS panel with 178°/178° horizontal/vertical viewing angles, a response time of 4 ms, and a refresh rate up to 144 Hz through overclocking. Being a HDR monitor, the Predator X27 is capable of reaching 1,000 nits of brightness. The monitor also features full 10-bit HDR support, 99% Adobe RGB coverage, and support for NVIDIA G-Sync. In terms of connectivity, the Acer Predator X27 comes equipped with a single HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort 1.4, and four USB 3.0 ports. Newegg will start delivering the Acer Predator X27 on June 1.

Acer the First in the Industry to Ship Notebooks with Amazon Alexa

Acer today announced that several of its popular Windows 10 notebook lines are the industry's first to offer Alexa pre-installed, including the Acer Spin 3 and Acer Spin 5 lines, which are available at retailers now. The news today is the first step in Acer's plans to roll out Alexa across its PC portfolio. Alexa will also be pre-installed on the Acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming notebook line next month. It will also be available on select Aspire, Switch and Swift notebooks, as well as Aspire all-in-one PCs, as they are rolled out to Acer's retail partners over the next few weeks.

Additional product lines already purchased by customers will soon be able to be updated with Alexa via the Acer Care Center. The first Acer notebook lines to receive the update will be the Acer Spin 5 and Spin 3 convertible families on May 23 and May 26, respectively.

Ubisoft Reveals 'Operation Para Bellum' for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Today, Ubisoft announced the full details for Operation Para Bellum, one of the largest content updates yet for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. Operation Para Bellum introduces two new defending operators, Alibi and Maestro, alongside an all-new map, Villa, set in the Italian countryside. Year Three Season Two also brings a breath of innovation, including a new intel gadget, operator speed adjustments, various other gameplay improvements, and the all new Pick & Ban setting - a feature that evolves the way players engage with multiplayer. Operation Par Bellum will be available in June 2018.

In Operation Para Bellum, two Italian G.I.S. Operators join Rainbow as the unit raids a luxurious Tuscan villa, Rainbow Six Siege's 20th map. The land belongs to the Vinciguerra, a dangerous crime family known for their smuggling activities. The house is their retreat, where they lead a lavish lifestyle and collect rare art pieces. Players will arrive at Villa during a key moment: Vinciguerras are burning documents and transporting their holdings before the big raid. But they've got wind of Operation Para Bellum and fled, leaving everything in disarray with vital information ready for the taking.

Huawei MateBook X Pro Now Available in the U.S.

Designed to meet the demands of today's mobile lifestyles, the ultra-slim, lightweight yet mighty HUAWEI MateBook X Pro is ideal for everyone who relies on their notebooks to do everything, and go with them everywhere. The 13.9-inch HUAWEI MateBook X Pro features a 3K 10-point touchscreen with an optimal 3:2 aspect ratio and an industry-first 91 percent screen-to-body ratio FullView display. To provide an immersive 3D sound experience, Huawei collaborated with Dolby on a powerful quad-speaker system featuring the Second Generation Dolby Atmos Sound System. Inside is a powerful, full-featured 8th Generation Intel Core i7 or i5 processor, a 57.4Wh battery for extended use and discrete graphics.

The HUAWEI MateBook X Pro is disruptively priced at $1,499.99 for the Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory, 512GB solid state drive and NVIDIA GeForce MX150; or $1,199.99 for the Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, 256GB solid state drive and Intel UHD Graphics 620. Each HUAWEI MateBook X Pro also includes one-year of Microsoft Office 365 Personal and the HUAWEI MateDock 2. The HUAWEI MateBook X Pro comes in Space Gray or Mystic Silver and is available online at Amazon, Newegg and Microsoft.com beginning May 21 and in Microsoft Stores on May 23. Purchase the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro online from Amazon and Newegg, or a Microsoft Store by June 10 and receive a $300 gift card from the respective retailer for a future purchase.

MSI Adds Latest AMD BIOS Update for MSI AM4 Motherboards

MSI, the world leading motherboard manufacturer, has been working on BIOS updates to support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors, which also includes security updates since recent public disclosures have brought to the forefront the importance of security.

To ensure any system powered by MSI AM4 motherboards is operating securely, AMD and MSI have been working around the clock to prepare updated processor microcode and release new BIOS updates regarding mitigations for Google Project Zero (GPZ) Variant 2 (Spectre) for Microsoft Windows users, which will be available for download. This BIOS version is with AMD AGESA 1.0.0.2a to fully support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors. More information from AMD on the updated microcode can be found here.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB Memory Bus-width Confirmed: A Major Trade-off

NVIDIA's entry-level GeForce GTX 1050 launched in a new 3 GB variant, earlier this month, with 50 percent more memory than the 2 GB which the original GTX 1050 launched with. But there's a major catch that's relegated to the fine-print of the card's specifications on NVIDIA website, and something most NVIDIA AIC (add-in-card) partners won't particularly blare on their product packaging anywhere near as loudly as the memory amount, and that's memory bus width. The 3 GB GTX 1050 has 50 percent more memory than the original GTX 1050, but a 25% narrower memory bus, at just 96-bit.

When you look at a GTX 1050 3 GB graphics card PCB, you'll likely only find three 8 Gb (1 GB) memory chips, with one set of memory chip traces blanked out. It's not even like NVIDIA compensated for the narrower memory bus with higher memory clocks. The chips run at the same 7 Gbps as the original's, yielding just 84 GB/s memory bandwidth, compared to the original's 112 GB/s. The CUDA core count of the GTX 1050 3 GB is the same as the GTX 1050 Ti, with 768 CUDA cores, which twitch their thumbs as data is moved between the GPU and memory over Pony Express. Besides more CUDA cores, the GPU clocks are marginally higher, with 1392 MHz base and 1518 MHz GPU Boost, compared to 1354/1455 MHz of the original. NVIDIA, which recently sermonized the industry on "making products easier for consumers to identify" with its stillborn GPP, is once again caught concealing a major specification. To find it, you'll need to visit the product page of the GTX 1050, scroll all the way down to the specs sheet, and click on "view full specs" to reveal the memory bus width.

Thermaltake Brands at COMPUTEX 2018 - "Say Hello TT"

Thermaltake the industry leader in computer and gaming hardware innovation, together with premium product brand - TT Premium, professional gaming gear brand Thermaltake Gaming - Tt eSPORTS and Thermaltake Mobile - LUXA2 will be unveiling the latest tech masterpiece at COMPUTEX Taipei 2018, during June 5th (Tue) - June 9th (Sat) 2018 in TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall (4th floor, booth number M0120).

This year Thermaltake's focus for COMPUTEX revolves around the latest industry trends of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Sync Technology. Visitors will be given a demonstration with the TT RGB PLUS Ecosystem and TT AI Voice Control; supporting Android and iOS mobile devices and the Amazon Alexa smart speaker. Therefore, Thermaltake's marketing idea at COMPUTEX is SyncALL, Say "Hello TT". With the AI technology and patented TT RGB PLUS Software developed by Thermaltake, all Thermaltake RGB products can be synchronized together and voice controlled by saying "Hello TT".

NZXT Scores with the H700i Ninja Edition

NZXT, a leading provider of desktop components for PC gamers, today announced, in collaboration with world famous streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, the H700i Ninja Edition mid-tower case. Designed alongside Ninja, the H700i Ninja Edition gives NZXT's build-friendly chassis a completely unique look, sporting Ninja's iconic logo and personally-selected color theme, setting it apart from other battle royale PC cases.

"What Ninja has done for PC gaming and the gaming community at large is nothing short of amazing," said Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder and CEO. "The H700i Ninja Edition celebrates this and is the perfect way for those who share his passion to show off their love for both Ninja and the world's most popular game."

DeepCool Intros Maelstrom 240 RGB CPU Cooler

DeepCool today rolled out the Maelstrom 240 RGB all-in-one liquid CPU cooler. What sets this cooler from the company apart from its other AIO coolers, is support for motherboard-based control standards, such as ASUS Aura Sync RGB, ASRock Polychrome RGB, MSI Mystic Light RGB, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, giving you control through your motherboard. The cooler features a pair of RGB LED studded 120 mm fans, which plug into your motherboard's 4-pin RGB LED header. As the name suggests, this cooler features a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator.

The pump-block features a copper base, with a ceramic bearing pump. The included fans spin between 500 to 1,800 RPM, pushing up to 69.34 CFM of air, and noise output ranging between 17.8-30 CFM, each. The cooler supports most modern CPU socket types, including LGA 2066, LGA2011(v3), LGA115x, AM4, AM3(+), and FM2(+). The company didn't reveal pricing.

SilverStone Intros Nightjar NJ450-SXL Fanless Power Supply

SilverStone introduced its Nightjar NJ450-SXL, a fan-less (silent) power-supply in the SFX-L form-factor. The unit boards of full modular cabling, and relies on a chunky, ridged aluminium body that doubles up as a heatsink, to cool itself. The unit puts out 450W of continuous power, with 80 Plus Platinum-rated efficiency. It supports the latest ATX 12V 2.4 specification.

Under the hood, the NJ450-SXL features a single +12V rail design, active PFC, and most common electrical protection mechanisms. There's enough juice and straws for a gaming PC build with a fairly high-end graphics card. You get a staggering four 6+2 pin PCIe power connectors (probably the highest ever for a 450W PSU), besides the 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, eight SATA power, three Molex, and a Berg. The company didn't reveal pricing.
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