Thursday, April 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

Seagate Technology Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Seagate Technology plc today reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 ended March 31, 2017. For the third quarter, the Company reported revenue of $2.7 billion, gross margin of 30.5%, net income of $194 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.65. On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes the net impact of certain items, Seagate reported gross margin of 31.4%, net income of $329 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.10.

During the third quarter, the Company generated $426 million in cash flow from operations, paid cash dividends of $186 million, and successfully raised $1.25 billion in investment grade debt. Cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled approximately $3.0 billion at the end of the quarter. There were 297 million ordinary shares issued and outstanding as of the end of the quarter.

Seagate And DJI Announce New Portable Drive for Camera Drones

Drones are creating more content than ever before, and with the announcement of the Seagate DJI Fly Drive, managing that surge of data is about to get easier. The first data solution to come from Seagate and DJI's strategic partnership, Fly Drive will allow drone pilots to efficiently back up their photo and video content on location, thanks to its large storage capacity, integrated MicroSD card slot, quick transfer speeds and durable build. It also comes with a complimentary two-month subscription to Adobe Premiere Pro CC, part of Adobe Creative Cloud-placing the keys to creativity in the hands of drone enthusiasts everywhere.

Latest Unity Engine's Beta Supports NVIDIA VR Works

While the Unity Engine isn't one used for cutting-edge triple-A releases, its workflow is considered by many to be one of the most scalable and platform-adaptable there is. The engine can be scaled all the way from 2D, text-based mobile games all the way towards 3D, VR presentations, which makes it a popular choice - particularly, to Indie studios. A slight sideline here as NVYVE Studio's P.A.M.E.L.A. is powered by Unity, and I have high hopes for that one piece of 3D interactivity.

According to Nvidia, adding VRWorks to titles created with the Unity Engine will now be significantly easier thanks to the recently released Unity 2017.1.0 Beta 2. Unity now doubles down as one of the most popular game engines for VR development (SuperHot VR was powered by it, for example), with Nvidia also stating that the Unity Engine is an important tool for other interactive experiences such as film, medical, tourism, design, education, and training, as well, proving the engine's versatility. As to VRWorks, it functions much like GameWorks: it's a suite of developer tools, APIs, libraries, and engines that are now available as a plugin in the Unity 2017.1.b2 update. Nvidia said that this provides developers an easy path to taking advantage of the SDK in their games and VR experiences. Namely, Unity Engine now includes plugins for Nvidia VRWorks technologies such as Multi-Res Shading, Lens Matched Shading, Single Pass Stereo, and VR SLI, and you can download the latest Beta version of the engine right from NVIDIA.

Source: Tom's Hardware, NVIDIA

Intel Readies 34 Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum Processor Models

Intel is preparing a new nomenclature for its Xeon line of enterprise processors based on core counts. The Xeon Bronze-3000 series will consist of chips with less than 10 cores, Xeon Silver-4000 series with 10 to 12 cores, Xeon Gold-6000 series with 14 to 22 cores, and the top-dog Xeon Platinum-8000 series with 24 to 28 cores. The company will address a variety of enterprise workstation and server markets with these chips. All chips in this lineup will be built in the new LGA-2066 package, and the Xeon Bronze and Xeon Silver parts are confirmed to be based on the "Skylake" microarchitecture.

What is also characteristic of these chips is their vast memory controller with six memory channels, and support for three DIMMs per channel. The top-tier Xeon Platinum-8000 series 28-core chip features 1 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 38.5 MB of shared L3 cache. Its TDP is rated at 208W, and it will be built on Intel's 14 nm process. The 28-core parts come with clock speeds under 2.50 GHz. The 34 Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum series processors Intel plans to launch over the year are tabled below.

Source: ComputerBase.de

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4 Drivers

AMD today released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4, its fourth release for April. These drivers come with optimization for "Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III," with up to 7 percent performance improvement seen on a machine powered by a Radeon RX 580. It also fixes display corruption seen on some machines with HDMI scaling, incorrect HDR colors on "Mass Effect: Andromeda," DirectX 11 mode stuttering on CrossFire machines in "Battlefield 1," a hang noted on Radeon RX 550 machines that haven't been rebooted for a long time, and some UI improvements with Radeon Settings. Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4
Wednesday, April 26th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
PSUs
SSD

FSP Windale 6

FSP looks to break into the cooling market with their brand-new Windale 6 CPU cooler. Featuring a 240 W TDP rating, this sleek black tower cooler certainly looks the part. The question is whether it can stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

AZIO MK Retro Keyboard

The MK Retro is AZIO's take on the humble typewriter modernized to the mechanical keyboard experience. Featuring unique aesthetics, pillar-style feet, and two color options to choose from, it aims to introduce some much needed style to the sub-$100 keyboard market.

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #1: ASRock and ASUS Issue Updates

A new feature we are planning here on TPU is a post every so often with the latest Ryzen related bios updates. This will happen more or less as significant updates happen, starting today. This is a starting post and will list all bios updates as of today. Future posts will include only the latest releases and reference this post.

This post will include the latest bios updates, which ones are "hot off the press" (new as of the past 2 days) and links to where to get them. As for the rest, I assume you know how to flash a motherboard.

Kaspersky Backs Away From Threat of Antitrust Lawsuit against Microsoft / Win10

Russian-based Kaspersky Labs is backing away from its earlier threat of an antitrust case filing with the European Commission, instead opting for a "wait and see" approach with regards to its complaints with Microsoft over Windows 10 and its included security software "Windows Defender."

Kaspersky Labs has been threatening to press an antitrust action since November 2016, when in a November blog post titled "That's it. I've had enough!" Chief Executive Eugene Kaspersky complained that Microsoft did not give developers ample time to prepare for a new Windows release, and was using their "compatibility checker" tool to effectively remove competing software in favor of Windows Defender.

NSA's Windows Exploit "DoublePulsar" Being Actively Utilized in the Wild

The "DoublePulsar" exploit exposed recently as part of the leaked NSA-derived hacking toolkit posted online, is set to become one of the more significant issues related to the leak. Not because it is unpatched, because it has been patched for roughly a month, but rather because according to a threatpost.com report, few users are as up to date as they should be.

SteelSeries Announces the QcK Prism Mouse Mat - 360º RGB Illumination

If you've ever wondered if you could get even more bling for your wrist area, and an RGB-crazed playground for your hairless rodent of choice, you need not look any further. SteelSeries has just announced availability of their QcK Prism mouse mat, which offers a psychedelic 360º of RGB illumination. All of this is powered by USB, but we do have an abundance of those on the back of our rigs (and in some of our monitors as well.)

This is achieved by a total of 12 separate, RGB-lighted zones, which integrate a 356.71 x 292.4 mm area (with 8.68 mm height.) The mouse sports a dual-sided, reversible design, with premium micro-textured cloth on one side (for added friction) and a hard polymer surface for faster gliding movements on the other. Users can just flip the side they want on top, laying it over the RGB-illuminated base to play with the surface resistance type that they prefer. It is also controllable via the SteelSeries Engine software and supports SteelSeries GameSense which will allow the QcK Prism to react to in-game events such as low ammo, health, kills, cooldown timers and more. Interestingly, SteelSeries pits its QcK directly against Razer's Firefly (I really like the "intuitive cable placement" selling point.) The SteelSeries QcK will be available to light your world for $59.99, or a murderous 75€.

Source: SteelSeries, ETeknix

Microsoft Advises Against Installing The Creators Update Manually

Apparently, Microsoft is alerting would-be Creators Update takers that doing so manually (as in, before its automatic update roll-out through Windows Update itself) may result in a bad first experience. Microsoft is therefore suggesting that the majority of Windows 10 users should wait for the Windows Update version of the (ahem) update, due to concerns with some hardware compatibility problems.

In a blog post, Microsoft give the example of a user who reported issues between a Bluetooth connectivity accessory (Broadcom-based) for their PC and Windows 10 Creators Update, which resulted in Microsoft blocking all machines with similar hardware from being able to update until issues are solved. I for one must say I manually updated my system on April 7th and found nothing wanting, so these really do seem like hardware-specific snags. Microsoft is apparently doing everything in its power to make sure adopters of the latest version of Windows find a hassle-free experience on the other side of their screens, which is commendable. This does seem like a sensible solution to the problem, with power users (or simply users who don't care about warnings and are confident on their success and hardware compatibility) still being able to update, while less tech-savy customers are left waiting for a proven version for their hardware configuration. Here's hoping that doesn't take long, since the 3D-version of Paint really brought back childhood joy (for some of us, at least.)

Source: Blog.Windows.com, Tom's Hardware

Patriot's Viper V570 Hybrid FPS/MMO Mouse Available for Purchase

Patriot have announced retail availability for their Viper V570 gaming mouse. This is a clear case of a company attempting to appease two different demographics at the same time, with the Viper V570 delivering a a sniper button for FPS games, as well as 13 buttons for your MMO requirements. While the design is something to look at, the aggressiveness of some curves could mean some polarizing potential in regards to its comfort. Patriot said that 13 buttons on the mouse are programmable, although it's not certain if that count includes the multiple functions of the click-wheel.

HGST Ships Ultrastar He12 12TB Enterprise Hard Drives

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has begun shipping its fourth-generation helium-based hard drive with its 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 hard drive. The Ultrastar He12 12TB hard drive is the next generation of the company's award-winning high capacity enterprise-class drive with HelioSeal technology, providing customers with a data storage solution addressing the expansive information management needs and demanding performance requirements of today's enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

"We have again raised the bar in enterprise storage with the industry's most advanced and cost-effective highest capacity helium HDD storage solutions," said Mark Grace, senior vice president of devices at Western Digital. "The Ultrastar He12 hard drive advances Western Digital's portfolio leveraging the HelioSeal platform to deliver industry-leading high capacity HDD storage with exceptional power efficiency. Western Digital has shipped over 15M helium-based high capacity drives to date and continues to support our customers with outstanding reliability and Quality of Service (QoS). Our industry-leading data center portfolio enables customers across the spectrum to meet their evolving and dynamic data center demand."

EK Water Blocks Releases Monoblock for ASUS Maximus IX Apex

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new monoblock for the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX APEX hardcore overclocking motherboard. The ROG MAXIMUS IX APEX motherboard features two EPS 12V 8PIN ATX power plugs which mean serious overclocking potential, so the EK-FB ASUS M9A Monoblock is up to the task of cooling that powerful VRM.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new Intel Z270 Express Chipset LGA-1151 ASUS ROG Maximus IX APEX motherboard that supports the latest 7th generation and 6th generation Intel Core Processors as well. Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Gets a Small Price Cut

AMD has given its flagship Ryzen processor, the Ryzen 7 1800X, a small price cut. The chip is now priced at USD $469 on leading online retailers in the US, down from its launch price of $499. This $30 cut, however, isn't spread over to AMD's other Ryzen 7 series parts. The Ryzen 7 1700X continues to go for $399, and the Ryzen 7 1700 (non-X) around $329. Prices of the Ryzen 5 series six-core and quad-core parts seem unaffected, too.

AMD's flagship processor, the Ryzen 7 1800X features eight cores, SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs for the software to deal with, 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. It is clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz TurboCore frequency, and XFR (extended frequency range) unlocking higher automated overclocks depending on the effectiveness of your cooler. The socket AM4 chip is built on the 14 nm process, and has a 95W TDP rating.

AMD Radeon Vega in the League of GTX 1080 Ti and TITAN Xp

In an AMA (ask me anything) session with Tom's Hardware community, AMD desktop processor marketing exec Don Woligrosky answered a variety of AMD Ryzen platform related questions. He did not shy away from making a key comment about the company's upcoming high-end graphics card, Radeon Vega, either. "Vega performance compared to the Geforce GTX 1080 Ti and the Titan Xp looks really nice," Woligrosky stated. This implies that Radeon Vega is in the same league of performance as NVIDIA's two top consumer graphics SKUs, the $650 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and the $1,200 TITAN Xp.

It is conceivable that AMD's desktop processor marketing execs will have access to some privileged information from other product divisions, and so if true, this makes NVIDIA's recent memory speed bump for the GTX 1080 a failed gambit. NVIDIA similarly bumped memory speeds of the GTX 1060 6 GB to make it more competitive against the Radeon RX 580. Woligrosky also commented on a more plausible topic, of the royalty-free AMD FreeSync becoming the dominant adaptive v-sync technology, far outselling NVIDIA G-Sync.

Source: Tom's Hardware

id Software Talks AMD Ryzen, Hints at Heavily Optimized New Game Engine

id Software, the pioneering game studio behind "Doom" and "Quake," in a marketing video about how its developers and gamers are benefiting from AMD Ryzen processors, hinted that it is working on a new next-generation game engine that succeeds idTech 6, which is heavily optimized for AMD Ryzen processors. id CTO Robert Duffy spoke at length about how Ryzen is putting more CPU capabilities in the hands of gamers at attractive price-points, which is letting game developers add that much more content and production design that benefits from this level of parallelism and performance.

The most interesting part about Duffy's comment comes later in the video, where he talks about a new game engine that id is working on, which will be "far more parallel than idTech 6" (far more multi-core and multi-thread friendly), and that it will be able to consume "all of the CPU [compute power] that Ryzen can offer." Duffy also confirmed that "Quake Champions," the studio's upcoming online hero-based FPS, will be optimized for both Ryzen and Radeon Vega.
The video follows.

NVIDIA to Give Away Three VR Games with GeForce GTX + Oculus Bundle

NVIDIA is giving away three VR games with bundles of Oculus Rift VR headset, Oculus Touch controller, and qualifying GeForce GTX graphics cards. Game codes to three of the hottest VR titles, "The Unspoken," "SUPERHOT VR," and "Wilson's Heart" will be given away for free when you buy bundles of the Rift VR headset, Touch controller, with GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. The bundles will be sold exclusively through Amazon and Newegg.

On the special promotion pages of these stores, you can match an Oculus Rift headset and Touch controller with an applicable GeForce GTX graphics card of your choice. A typical GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB + Oculus Rift + Touch controller bundle is priced around US $850, a GTX 1070 based bundle around $980, a GTX 1080 based bundle around $1,090, and a GTX 1080 Ti based bundle around $1,300.
Tuesday, April 25th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD

Thecus N2810 Pro 2-Bay NAS

The N2810 Pro from Thecus uses an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core CPU, which offers sufficient computing power for entry level users who are on a tight budget. It also supports high-speed transfers using two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and comes with HDMI as well as DisplayPort connectivity.

FSP Announces the Windale 4 and Windale 6 CPU Coolers

Global power and cooling specialist, FSP, is pleased to announce the new Windale series of supremely effective, ultra-quiet, heat pipe equipped fan-cooled PC heatsinks. The Windale 6 (AC601) and Windale 4 (AC401) bring a combination of extreme cooling performance with very low noise and vibration to a huge range of Intel and AMD CPUs - including the newest Core i7 and Ryzen processors. These new PC coolers are ideal for gamers, performance enthusiasts, and overclockers, as well as for general users who need quiet, reliable cooling and long CPU life.

Both the Windale 4 and Windale 6 feature CPU direct contact technology to remove heat from the CPU with maximum efficiency, protecting the valuable CPU and extending its lifespan. As their names suggest, the Windale coolers feature four and six heat pipes respectively, to spread that heat through the cooling fins. These louver fins are assembled with a patented solder-less technique which ensures unhindered heat transfer, unlike traditional soldered fins. Finally, the large, quiet 120 mm cooling fan drives up to 60 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air through the fins to dissipate the heat and keep the CPU running safely at optimum speed.

Logitech Delivers Highest Retail Sales Growth in Six Years

Logitech International (SIX:LOGN) (Nasdaq:LOGI) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of Fiscal Year 2017. Q4 closed a strong fiscal year with sales for the quarter reaching $496 million. Q4 retail sales grew 17 percent in constant currency, GAAP operating income more than doubled to $22 million and non-GAAP operating income grew 61 percent to $36 million.

Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and chief executive officer, said, "Our FY 2017 performance demonstrates the strength of our strategy. For the fourth consecutive year, we accelerated growth in retail sales. We grew across almost all our product categories and in all our regions. Many categories - Video Collaboration, Mobile Speakers, Gaming, and Smart Home - grew double digits, and PC Peripherals saw solid growth too. And we're just getting started. I'm excited by our pipeline of innovative products and the amazing world of opportunities unfolding in front of us."

MSI Bundles Optane Cache SSDs with Select Motherboards

In what could be the first of many such bundles by motherboard manufacturers, MSI is preparing special SKUs of its motherboards that include Intel Optane cache SSDs. The drives won't be free, but the bundle would be slightly cheaper compared to buying the board and the drives separately. These bundles will be demarkated as variants of existing motherboards, and will come with the drives pre-installed on the boards' M.2 slots. MSI announced two such SKUs for now, the B250M Bazooka Opt Boost, and the Z270 Tomahawk Opt Boost, which come with 16 GB Intel Optane memory pre-installed and configured.

The 16 GB Intel Optane memory offers burst speeds that are 14X those of regular hard drives. The latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver, when configured for Optane caching, juggles "hot" data (most frequently accessed data) in and out of the drive from your main storage (HDD or even SSD), thereby boosting performance. MSI did not reveal pricing of the two SKUs, but they are expected to be nominally cheaper than purchasing the boards and drives separately.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 381.89 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today has released another one on their "Game Ready" driver suite releases. This one brings with it support for the PC-exclusive Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III and Heroes of the Storm 2.0, as well as for Batman: Arkham VR, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, and Wilson's Heart.

The driver also comes with a small list of fixed issues, as per the release notes:
  • [Sniper Elite 3]: The game crashes.
  • [Notebook][eDP panel]: Blue-screen (code 3B) occurs followed by the Recovery screen during software un-bundling process.
  • [GeForce GTX 1060]: Blue-screen crash occurs pointing to driver (Nvlddmkm.sys) after the system reboots from sleep mode.
  • GPU idling voltage has increased.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 381.89 Game Ready

SMART High Reliability Solutions Announces 8TB Ruggedized SSD

SMART High Reliability Solutions LLC ("SMART HRS"), a provider of current and next-generation solid-state storage solutions specializing in ruggedized, high-performance and high-capacity solid-state drives ("SSDs") for defense, aerospace and industrial markets, today announced its new 8TB HRS-M1HC 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD. The HRS-M1HC is the latest in a growing product portfolio of highly ruggedized, reliable and secure SSDs from SMART HRS. The M1HC is designed for land, air and sea applications where collecting and storing large amounts of mission critical information is essential.

SMART's new HRS-M1HC builds on its predecessor the HRS-M1, leveraging all of the ruggedness and performance features of the M-Series product line, and is available in capacities of 1, 2, 4 and 8 Terabytes. The 8TB drive comes in a high-strength industrial design 9.5 mm enclosure while the 1, 2 and 4TB drives are housed in the same but a more compact 7.0 mm enclosure that addresses the size, weight and density requirements of more standardized applications. It's fast sequential read speed of 520 GB/s and write speed of 500 MB/s makes it a perfect candidate for many demanding defense, industrial automation, transportation, medical and telecommunication applications.

BIOSTAR Announces its Radeon RX 500 Series Graphics Cards

BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce its latest lineup of graphics card for gamers featuring the 2nd-generation Polaris architecture from AMD coupled with excellent gaming performance and higher clock speeds. Introducing the new BIOSTAR RADEON RX 500 series GPUs designed to be the perfect graphics upgrade for those looking to play modern games and experience VR at compelling prices and the prodcuts will be exclusively for Asia Pacific and China region.

The new BIOSTAR RADEON RX 500 series GPUs include the latest flagship RX 580, together with the mainstream RX 570 and RX 550. The new GPUs feature support for DX12 and Vulkan API. Combined with technologies to help improve visual performance and display technologies to improve the overall gaming experience, gamers will fully enjoy their gaming experience with the new RADEON RX 500 series.

Tenda Unveils New USB 3.0 AC1300 Wireless Network Adapter

Tenda Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Shenzhen Tenda, is eager to announce its new U12 AC1300 Wireless Network Adapter. The U12 uses the faster USB 3.0 interface for better throughput on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Its an excellent companion for users not fully leveraging the bandwidth of their gigabit router, using dated built-in networking adapters with slower performance.

The U12 is a dual-band adapter with transfer speeds as fast as 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. It harnesses 256-QAM technology to break the limitations of the 802.11n protocol, achieving a higher 400Mbps throughput on the 2.4GHz band. Users can even select the specific operating frequency bands seldom used in their environment to avoid radio interference issues and network congestion.

Intel's Core i7-7740K Kaby Lake-X Benchmarks Surface

Two days, two leaks on an upcoming Intel platform (the accelerated release dates gods are working hard with the blue giant, it would seem.) Now, it's Intel's own i7-7740K, a Kaby Lake-X HEDT processor that packs 4 cores and 8 threads, which is interesting when one considers that AMD's latest mainstream processors, Ryzen, already pack double the cores and threads in a non-HEDT platform. Interesting things about the Kaby Lake-X processors is that they are rumored to carry 16x PCIe 3.0 lane from the CPU (which can be configured as a singularly populated 16x or as a triple-populated 1x @ 8x and 2x @ 4x PCIe ports. Since these parts are reported as being based of on consumer, LGA-1151 Kaby Lake processors, it would seem these eschew Intel's integrated graphics, thus saving die space. And these do seem to deliver a quad-channel memory controller as well, though we've seen with Ryzen R7 reviews how much of a difference that makes for some of the use cases.

AMD Confirms Vega is Launching this Quarter

Via Facebook, AMD has confirmed that Vega is nearly here - at least, as nearly here as a "this quarter" can be. This means Vega will launch in two-months time (Q2 extends through the months of April, May and June, after all.) Through a post on its Facebook page, AMD replied that Vega will be coming "when it's ready... And it will be this quarter."

According to previous leaks (and our own deep dive on Vega's architecture), Vega should go a long way towards bridging the power/performance gap between AMD and NVIDIA's GeForce series. It will be the first time since Fury that AMD will have a competitive, high-performance graphics design (expectedly, and hopefully, since no-one likes to buy over-priced graphics cards.) The fact that AMD has teased Vega in two different pieces of media that come out in May (Arkane Studios' Prey, which comes out on May 5th, and Alien: Covenant, which also comes out during the month of May.) I've previously posited that AMD wouldn't tease Vega's launch alongside one of the most promising games of the year without giving us the chance to power it through Vega come launch day, but as Prey's release date approaches and there is no more information on Vega (much less an announcement), it's looking increasingly likely that we'll have to wait until we can see that universe in all of its Vega-rendered glory.

Source: WCCFTech

You Can Now Purchase Intel's Optane Memory Accelerator

In case Intel's DC P4800X SSD (you know, the Optane-based SSD that sells for $1,520 for 375 GB) is too expensive for your wallet, Intel has now announced availability of the much more cost-effective Optane Memory accelerator, which is available in 16GB or 32GB single-sided M.2 2280 form factor drives. Just keep in mind that while you can order yours today, it's not meant to ship out until April 29th - but that's not too far off in any case.

If you're thinking of integrating one of these babies on your system (which actually do wonders for mechanical drives' performance, it seems, putting out 1.4GB/s data transfer speeds, as well as a 204MB/s low 4K read performance), just keep in mind compatibility is... iffy, as in, limited to the latest and greatest platform Intel has to offer. If you're not rocking something better than a Kaby Lake i3, and a 200 series chipset, you're out of luck. This seems like a strange occurrence, given that users with older, mechanical drive-based systems were looking to reap the greatest benefits from installing one of these puppies into their system, but this choice from Intel looks to stand more on platform support and the requirements of having such a technology in place than a way of artificially limiting compatibility. The 16GB model MEMPEK1W016GAXT starts at $45, and the 32GB model is expected to go for around $77.

Source: ETeknix
Monday, April 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium 11 GB

Palit's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium is the company's latest flagship card. It introduces a new fan design in which two stacks of two fans each operate in a counter-rotating fashion. Also, the card comes with a dual BIOS and a large overclock out of the box.

Windows 10 Creators Update Still Activates with "old" Windows 7/8 License Keys

Although Microsoft officially stopped offering free upgrades to Windows 10 back in the summer of 2016, it seems loophole after loophole keeps being discovered for those with a bit of computer knowledge to upgrade anyways. This latest loophole, which comes in the form of activating via an older Windows 7 or 8 key, is not exactly new. This method of upgrading was first released to ease free upgrades to Windows 10 during the official upgrade period, but was never switched off in the summer of 2016 as one would've expected. Nor was it switched off with the Anniversary Update, and now again, Microsoft seems content to leave it enabled even with its latest Creators Update.

Akasa Intros Newton S7 and Newton AC Fanless Cases

Akasa introduced a pair of fanless mini-PC cases for Intel's "Apollo Lake" and "Kaby Lake" NUC boards, the Newton S7 and Newton AC. The Newton S7 is designed to cope with the 15W TDP thermal loads of NUC boards with Core i3 and Core i5 "Kaby Lake" NUC boards, such as the NUC7i3BNK, NUC7i3BNH, NUC7i5BNK, and NUC7i5BNH. The Newton AC, on the other hand, is designed for Pentium and Celeron "Apollo Lake" based NUC boards, such as the NUC6CAYH and NUC6CAYS.

Measuring 176.5 mm x 200 mm x 53.5 mm (WxDxH), the Newton S7 features a chunky aluminium body that doubles up as a heatsink for the SoC. It offers one 9.5 mm-thick 2.5-inch drive bay. Its front-panel ports include two USB 3.0 type-A, HDA audio jacks, a hole for IR receiver, and two WLAN antenna holes at the rear end. The Newton AC, on the other hand, measures 140 mm x 111 mm x 51 mm, with one 2.5-inch drive bay, and cutouts for front IR receiver, USB type-A ports and HDA jacks. Both cases come with options for compatible power bricks.

Source: FanlessTech

EK Water Blocks Releases AM4 Monoblock for ASUS Crosshair VI Hero

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is proving its market leadership once again by releasing the first ever AM4 socket based monoblock tailor made for the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard. The EK-FB ASUS C6H RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new AMD X370 Chipset AM4 socket based ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero gaming motherboard that supports the latest generation of AMD Ryzen and 7th Generation A-series/Athlon processors. Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools AMD AM4 socket type CPU, as well as the power regulation (MOSFET) module. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Like with every EK monoblock, EK-FB ASUS C6H features high flow design and this monoblock can be easily used with the system using a weaker water pump as well.

AMD Announces New Radeon Pro Duo - Polaris x2

Today AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced the world's first dual-GPU graphics card designed for professionals: the Polaris-architecture-based Radeon Pro Duo. Built on the capabilities of the Radeon Pro WX 7100, the Radeon Pro Duo professional graphics card is designed to excel at media and entertainment, broadcast, and design and manufacturing workflows, delivering outstanding performance and superior flexibility that today's creative professionals demand.

The Radeon Pro Duo is equipped with 32GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 memory to handle larger data sets, more intricate 3D models, higher resolution videos, and complex assemblies with ease. Operating at a max power of 250W, the Radeon Pro Duo harnesses a total of 72 compute units (4608 stream processors) for a combined performance of up to 11.45 TFLOPS of single-precision compute performance on one board, and twice the geometry throughput of the Radeon Pro WX 7100. The Radeon Pro Duo enables professionals to work up to four 4K monitors at 60Hz, drive the latest 8K single monitor display at 30Hz using a single cable, or drive an 8K display at 60Hz using a dual cable solution.

G-Technology Announces Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C Updates to its Product Lines

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a global storage technology and solutions leader, today announced upgrades to its award-winning G-Technology product lines, including the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity technologies. The upgrades optimize the speed and performance of these drives, meeting the growing needs of creative professionals who are capturing and transferring vast amounts of high-resolution content.

"G-Technology recognizes the need for a complete workflow solution that takes advantage of the power of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing, Client Solutions, Western Digital. "The result is a substantial upgrade across several product lines that delivers reliable, fast, and easy-to-use storage solutions to fit the current and future needs of our customers."

HyperX Now Shipping Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced the US release of the HyperX Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse, designed to meet the needs of professional and aspiring competitive FPS gamers looking for a precise and consistent gaming mouse. To meet the performance requirements of gamers, a PixArt 3310 sensor was designed in for accurate tracking. Omron switches are used for fast response times, with 20M click reliability per switch. Winner of the prestigious 2017 RED DOT AWARD for design quality and craftsmanship, HyperX's first gaming mouse was designed by top engineers in the HyperX labs and with inputs from top professional gamers.

"HyperX is a great partner for over five years now and we are very happy to now game with the new Pulsefire FPS gaming mouse," said Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev, NAVI CSGO team member. "The Pulsefire FPS gaming mouse meets our performance needs and has a comfortable design for hours of practice and tournament gaming."

QNAP Announces TS-x53B Series NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the TS-x53B series NAS (available in 2-bay, 4-bay and 6-bay models) with a PCIe expansion slot to meet the growing performance and functional demands from SMB and SOHO users. "The TS-x53B is the first NAS in its class to provide PCIe expansion, which provides fantastic long-term potential for the NAS to be upgraded to include features such as SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP. "For users who seek high productivity and smart workflows, the TS-x53B series offers a compelling choice in big features," Hsu added.

Powered by the 14 nm Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core 1.5GHz processor (burst up to 2.3GHz), dual-channel 4GB/8GB DDR3L RAM (upgradable to 8GB), SATA 6Gb/s drive support with integrated dual Gigabit LAN ports, the TS-x53B series delivers up to 224 MB/s read and write speeds while also maintaining the same outstanding performance with AES-NI accelerated encryption.

AOC Introduces the PDS241 and PDS271 Monitors - Designed by Porsche

AOC has partnered up with cr-designer extraordinaire Porsche to come up with sleek designs for two new monitors on its range. The PDS241 and PDS217 monitors both feature a (slightly yawn-inducing) 1080p AH-IPS panel, at 24 and 27" respectively. These come in thin as razors at 5.2mm, sporting a three-way-frameless design.

Apart from the sleek design and the stand (which is a hit-or-miss aesthetic choice from my perspective), there is nothing groundbreaking on offer here. You get technologies such as AOC's SuperColor WCG (100% sRGB coverage, and 90% coverage of the NTSC color space), flicker-free operation and low blue-light technology to help combat eyestrain. And these monitors won't set you back that much, at around $240 for the 24", and $330 for the 27", though you really are paying a pretty penny for that Porsche-christened design pedigree.

Source: TechRadar

Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs Likely Compatible With LGA 1151 Motherboards

Another interesting tidbit to have dropped from recent SiSotware leaks on Intel's upcoming Coffee Lake CPUs is that these could be backwards compatible with LGA 1151 motherboards that rock the 200 series chipset (and perhaps even the 100 series.) This last tidbit seems to be a bit of a stretch, even if it does end up being somewhat of a motherboard manufacturer's choice whether or not to issue updated, supporting BIOSes for the most recent Intel processors on their older boards. But why lose so many sales of motherboards equipped with Intel's upcoming, complimentary 300 series chipsets?

This piece of information comes courtesy of SiSoftware Sandra, again, where the 6-core Coffee Lake Intel chip, running @ 3.5 GHz, was tested in a Kaby Lake S platform - which features a 200 series chipset, no less. This means that there is a chance users will have a straight, drop-in upgrade path for Coffee Lake 6-core chips (seems Intel is no longer keeping all of those cores to themselves.) Doesn't that make the world seem a better place?

Source: WCCFTech

Intel's Six-core, Coffee Lake CPUs Surface in SiSoftware

Intel's upcoming Coffee Lake architecture, which is now all but confirmed to have been pulled forward by the company in an attempt to staunch the bleeding incurred from AMD's recently launched, table-turning Ryzen processors, has reared its head in SiSoftware. In some benchmarks, what is identified as a 6-core, 6-thread CPU from Intel surface, with a clockspeed @ 3.5 GHz, 1.5 MB L2 cache (256 Kb per core) and 9 MB L3 cache. This L3 cache is quite puzzling, considering how Intel's Kaby Lake architecture features 2 MB of L3 cache per core. If Coffee Lake were to keep most of Kaby Lake's design - which it will - then this chip should feature something along the lines of 12 MB L3 cache. The reduced amount of cache seems to scream at a disabled chip, but this could also be a case of a reporting error.

Yeston Announces the Triple-fan RX 580 GameAce

Yeston, the Chinese manufacturer of graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD alike, has announced what is one of the (as of yet) few triple-fan takes on the recently-released RX 580 graphics card. Yeston increased the graphics card's footprint by adding that third fan, which partially settles against a protrusion added by the card's backplate.

The center fan is 10 cm wide, while the outer fans are 9 cm - all temperature-level controlled, which means they remain idle until a certain temperature threshold is reached. There is a LED-backlit RX 580 logo on the side of the card, as well as Radeon RX branding on the backplate. The RX 580 GameAce is clocked at 1340 MHz, which probably means a Polaris 20 XTX chip. This model will not be sold outside China, which is a downer, since its cooling system seems interesting enough, and the card is pleasing in aesthetics. However, some of you might find a way to get them shipped to your doorstep if you so wish.

Source: Videocardz

Aorus Intros the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Xtreme Edition with 9 Gbps Memory

GIGABYTE today launched its second custom-design GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB graphics card that features faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 memory, the Aorus GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB Xtreme Edition 9 Gbps (model: GV-N1060AORUS X-6GD). The company had last week announced the triple-fan WindForce OC variant of this SKU. The Xtreme Edition card features a triple-slot, dual-fan cooler that features the signature X-shaped lighting ornament on the cooler shroud, sitting between the two 100 mm fans. Under this shroud is an aluminium fin dual-stack heatsink that draws heat from a copper base-plate that covers not just the GPU, but also the memory and VRM. A back-plate is included. The cooler shroud features RGB LED illumination.

The Xtreme Edition is positioned a notch above the card GIGABYTE launched last week, in featuring higher factory-overclocked speeds of 1620 MHz core, 1847 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 9026 MHz (GDDR5-effective) memory clock, against 1607/1835 MHz (core/boost) of the WindForce 3X, and 1506/1709/8008 MHz (core/boost/memory) NVIDIA-reference clocks. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe connector, display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0b and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GALAX and KFA2 Intro GeForce GTX 1080 Ti EXOC White Graphics Card

GALAX today introduced its more affordable custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the EXOC White. The card combines an NVIDIA reference-design PCB with a custom-design cooling solution that's characterized by its milky white shroud and fan impellers, and a white back-plate. Under the shroud is a strong aluminium fin dual-stack heatsink that employs five 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes to distribute heat drawn directly from the GPU die, to two aluminium fin-stacks, which are ventilated by a pair of 90 mm fans, which stay off when the GPU is idling. The cooler also features white LED illumination.

The GALAX GTX 1080 Ti EXOC White ships with factory-overclocked speeds of 1531 MHz core, 1645 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 11 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, against NVIDIA reference speeds of 1480/1582 MHz (core/boost). Galaxy's EU-specific brand, KFA2, also unveiled an identical version of this card under its name. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Source: VideoCardz
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