Tuesday, January 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Processors
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD
Noontec Hammo Wireless

Noontec Hammo Wireless

Noontec has combined good looks, great sound and microphone quality with excellent comfort and a reasonable price of $150, This is a pair of wireless headphones that we can easily recommend to everyone who wants to break free from the cable.

ViewSonic Introduces New Professional and Enterprise Monitors

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, announced a slate of new professional-grade and enterprise monitors with a variety of sizes and resolutions, including a 32-inch 8K Ultra HD (7680x4320) monitor. The award-winning VP Series will now include the VP2768-4K, a 27-inch 4K UHD (3840x2160) monitor with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and the introduction of the VP3278-8K, a 32-inch 8K UHD monitor. The new enterprise solution displays that fill out the VG Series of monitors include the VG2448 and VG2748 with Full HD 1080p resolution and ultra-slim bezel.

"ViewSonic continues to develop and bring to market desktop monitor solutions for users needing high-performance, high resolution screens to businesses needing powerful yet steadfast workstations," said Al Giazzon, Vice President of Marketing at ViewSonic Americas. "The VG monitors feature connectivity options, super thin bezels and advanced ergonomic options, and delivers color coverage and output performance. With the VP2768-4K, ViewSonic offers 4K resolution, color accuracy and performance uniformity. This is critical to those who work with content and need precision that we can deliver. With the Thunderbolt 3 connection, the VP2768-4K can provide the fastest and most versatile connection for 4K content. The VP3278-8K is ViewSonic's technology statement, to show that we're continuing to bring the best display solutions to the market."

Audio-Technica Revealed QuietPoint ATH-ANC700BT Wireless Headphones at CES 2018

At CES 2018 Audio-Technica debuted its ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint over-ear wireless active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, which feature the company's latest advancements in ANC technology to deliver superior noise-cancelling performance and audio quality, along with improved wireless convenience. The ATH-ANC700BT wireless headphones with Bluetooth technology employ a newly-developed active noise cancellation system that operates in a wider frequency range in the low through mid range frequencies than typical ANC designs, and provides a greater degree of noise cancellation. The ATH-ANC700BT also provides improved isolation for better cancellation outside the active range. This enables the headphones to have much more effective noise-cancelling performance by responding to and cancelling a wider range of outside noise.

In addition, the headphones' microphones are mounted behind the driver diaphragm. In standard ANC headphones, the mics are mounted in a location where they can unintentionally pick up some of the generated noise-cancelling signal, which is then reprocessed in a feedback loop and can limit noise reduction performance. The ATH-ANC700BT eliminates this issue by placing the ANC mics behind the driver diaphragm, which provides better noise cancellation along with improved audio quality.

TPCAST Announces Their Next-Generation TPCAST 2.0 Technology

TPCAST, the Wireless VR Solutions leader, announces its Next-Generation Wireless VR Technologies, TPCAST ​​2.0, which utilize the new generation ultra-low latency codec technology and an upgraded TPCAST ​​real-time data control protocol. These combined technologies pave the way to allow TPCAST to continue to deliver high video quality, low latency, and real-time data transmission. The introduction of these new technologies, supporting short, mid and long-range distances and covering multiple VR deployment ranges, strategically places TPCAST in the forefront of the future evolution of the Wireless VR Market.

The TPCAST 2.0 technology includes three main features. The first element is the ultra-low latency codec, capable of compressing VR content on a 50:1 ratio which significantly reduces the bandwidth required for video data transmission while bounding the latency to 1ms. This easy-to-use, stable, and ultra-low latency codec enables TPCAST's product family to deliver consistently high-quality real-time video transmission. The second feature of the TPCAST 2.0 technology is its scalability making it easy to adapt to any headset including 3k, 4k, and 8k video resolution HMDs in the market. The third feature is the capability to preserve the user experience compared to a wired connection. TPCAST's proprietary technology, and accumulated VR knowledge base, gained by its long-term leading position in the Wireless VR space, enables TPCAST's products to deliver a stable and commercial-grade VR experience.

Biostar Announces B250MDC Motherboard

BIOSTAR introduces the B250MDC motherboard offering a well-balanced set of features without the premium price point making it ideal for casual users on a budget. The BIOSTAR B250MDC motherboard is the perfect solution for an entry-level desktop computer for daily multitasking use, office application and home entertainment. The B250MDC features a compact micro-ATX form factor that fits in most budget cases. The B250MDC also uses the Intel B250 chipset, perfect for a daily driver with its high-efficiency performance.

The BIOSTAR B250MDC features the Intel B250 chipset offering everything essential for desktop users without compromise. The B250MDC features a single PCIe 3.0x16 slot that can fully utilize high-end graphics cards and NVMe solid-state drives; dual DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 43GB of 2400MHz memory; four speedy USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and a DVI-D output port for basic setups without discrete graphics. Users will also enjoy the board's 7.1 channel High-Definition Audio.

WD Announces G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle Thunderbolt 3 DAS

Western Digital Corporation today introduced two new ultra-transportable solutions in its high-powered G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle product family. The new solutions are designed to meet the demands of professional content creators who need lightning-fast transfer speed and a high-capacity storage solution that can easily be moved from the studio to wherever your project takes you, and back.

The rise of streaming video on demand (SVoD) services is providing many new opportunities for studios, production houses and independent filmmakers. To capitalize on these opportunities, the right tools are crucial. When working in-the-field, production teams need a fast solution that can handle demanding workflows of 4K and 8K content with the ability to collect that precious footage and quickly move the content from location to location.

Be Quiet! Announces Straight Power 11 Modular PSU Series

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for eleven consecutive years, announces its latest, most silent power supply, Straight Power 11. With its completely redesigned PCB, wire-free design on the DC side, an expanded power range with models up to 1,000 watts, and a modern topology using high-quality components, Straight Power 11 is a worthy successor to be quiet!'s premium power supply series.

The Straight Power 11 series uses be quiet!'s renowned Silent Wings 3 135 mm fan with a funnel-shaped vent that simultaneously provides excellent airflow and reduces unwanted turbulence. A 6-pole motor and fluid-dynamic bearings create both an extremely low noise level and the lowest startup rotational speed in the market - under 200 revolutions per minute. This fan is extremely silent, making semi-passive solutions unnecessary and ensuring constant cooling at a low noise level. Since fans are not the only source of noise in a power supply, high-quality capacitors are used to prevent high-frequency electronic noise emission and noise induced by extreme load changes (like, for example, from modern graphics cards) is also minimized.

QNAP Launches TS-x28A Series Home NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the all-new TS-x28A series NAS for entry-level home users, including the TS-128A and TS-228A models. The TS-x28A series provides complete multimedia storage, sharing and streaming functions, and complete file and data protection capabilities (including snapshots) to meet increasing data protection needs for home users. The launch of the TS-x28A series also marks the milestone of all QNAP NAS on the market being able to benefit from snapshot protection. Users can now enjoy more features, stronger protection, and more cost-effective NAS.

The TS-x28A series features a Realtek RTD1295 quad-core 1.40 GHz processor with 1 GB RAM, providing abundant performance for home multimedia/data storage needs. The TS-x28A series also comes with QTS 4.3.4, the latest version of QNAP's award-winning operating system. QTS 4.3.4 introduces enhanced snapshot features with lowered hardware resource requirements, allowing NAS with 1 GB RAM to benefit from snapshot protection. Users of the TS-x28A series will enjoy these advanced data protection capabilities alongside other amazing applications for multimedia, sharing, backup and data storage at an attractive price point.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 2.6.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility. Version 2.6.0 adds support for new GPUs, and fixed several critical bugs. To begin with, GPU-Z 2.6.0 adds support for NVIDIA TITAN V, GeForce GTX 1060 5GB, Tesla K40m, GeForce 825M, Quadro M520, NVIDIA NVS 810, NVIDIA Grid M6-8Q; AMD "Raven Ridge" APUs (RX Vega 8), and Radeon Pro WX9100; and Intel HD Graphics P630, UHD Graphics 630, Gemini Lake UHD Graphics 600. Support is added for AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.

Among the critical bugs fixed are the application failing to start on some systems due to a broken executable compressor, system crashes experienced on machines with Radeon RX Vega series GPUs, and an application crash on machines with graphics cards that have an empty board id (eg: MSI RX 580 Armor). Fan RPM monitoring is fixed on AMD RX Vega GPUs. Other fixes include "GP100" die-size (correction), and AMD RX 550 "Baffin" reported as "Polaris 21," Intel "Braswell" EU count. Grab it from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.6.0

The change-log follows.

Leaked AI-powered Game Revenue Model Paper Foretells a Dystopian Nightmare

An artificial intelligence (AI) will deliberately tamper with your online gameplay as you scramble for more in-game items to win. The same AI will manipulate your state of mind at every step of your game to guide you towards more micro-transactions. Nothing in-game is truly fixed-rate. The game maps out your home, and cross-references it with your online footprint, to have a socio-economic picture of you, so the best possible revenue model, and anti buyer's remorse strategy can be implemented on you. These, and more, are part of the dystopian nightmare that takes flight if a new AI-powered online game revenue model is implemented in MMO games of the near future.

The paper's slide-deck and signed papers (with corrections) were leaked to the web by an unknown source, with bits of information (names, brands) redacted. It has too much information to be dismissed off hand for being a prank. It proposes leveraging AI to gather and build a socio-economic profile of a player to implement the best revenue-generation strategy. It also proposes using an AI to consistently "alter" the player's gameplay, such that the player's actions don't have the desired result leading toward beating the game, but towards an "unfair" consequence that motivates more in-game spending. The presentation spans a little over 50 slides, and is rich in text that requires little further explanation.
The rest of the presentation follows.

AAEON, an ASUS Company, Unveils World's Most Advanced COM Express Type 10 Module

AAEON, a global leader in embedded computing systems, launches the NANOCOM-KBU, the world's first COM Express Type 10 board to be powered by a 7th Gen Intel Core U Processor. With its powerful CPU, the trailblazing NANOCOM-KBU has onboard 4GB DDR4 memory and a graphics engine that supports 4K applications.

In addition to its Core processor, the NANOCOM-KBU boasts an upgraded embedded controller structure with a real-time interrupt for faster response rates, and it addresses a customer demand for power control and battery management systems. The board's I2C bus also supports a range of IC formats, making it easier for end users to integrate the module with their own custom-made carrier boards. The AAEON NANOCOM-KBU features a wide operating temperature range of -40oC to 85oC, 5V/12V CD input support, a 1GbE LAN port, eight USB2.0 and two USB3.0 ports, two SATA 2 interfaces, and four PCI-E expansion slots.

Intel Core i5-8500 Surfaces on SANDRA Database

It's no revelation that Intel is expanding its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor lineup through Q1-2018, alongside cost-effective B360 Express and H310 Express motherboard chipsets. One of these is the Core i5-8500 six-core processor, positioned a notch above the current Core i5-8400. The chip surfaced on a SiSoft SANDRA database entry. Although the i5-8400 launched at $189, retailers are pushing it for 10-15 percent margins above MSRP. The i5-8500 could launch bang-on the $200-mark, although one must expect a similarly jacked up $220-ish retail price.

The Core i5-8500 comes with a psychologically-pleasing 3.00 GHz nominal clock speed (while the i5-8400 has a sub-3 GHz clock of 2.80 GHz). The database entry doesn't reveal Turbo Boost clocks, but given that the i5-8400 comes with a 4.00 GHz Boost frequency, one can expect that of the i5-8500 to be 4.20-4.30 GHz. The 6-core/6-thread chip comes with 9 MB of shared L3 cache, and a TDP rating of 65W. It scored 139.63 GOPS in the Arithmetic test, 317.88 Mpix/s in the multi-media test, 7.49 GB/s in the cryptography test, which puts its performance in the league of AMD's Ryzen 5 1600.

Crucial Starts Selling MX500 2.5-inch SSD Models

Crucial started selling all four models of its premium SATA SSD, the MX500. The drive was launched earlier this month. It comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants; and in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface. M.2-2280 variants with SATA interface, which were shown off at the 2018 International CES, could launch a little later this year. The 250 GB variant is priced (MSRP) at USD $79.99 ($0.31 per GB), the 500 GB variant at $139.99 ($0.27 per GB), the 1 TB variant $259.99 ($0.25 per GB), and the range-topping 2 TB variant $499.99 ($0.24 per GB). All four models come with 5-year warranties.

Crucial MX500 combines Micron's 2nd generation 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory with a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller, and a custom firmware by Crucial. The NAND flash chips by design offer the same levels of power-loss protection as drives that need capacitor banks to do so. Among its features are Dynamic Write Acceleration (SLC-cached writes), and Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN). All four variants offer sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s with up to 510 MB/s writes, and 4K random access performance ratings of up to 95,000/91,000 IOPS (reads/writes).
Monday, January 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Cherry MX Board 3.0

Cherry MX Board 3.0

The Cherry MX Board 3.0 is a minimalist keyboard for professionals offering low profile, thick ABS keycaps, large anti-slip pads, a key configuration tool, and dedicated media buttons. Despite a release in 2013, it remains relevant and is a good option for consideration in the $80 price range.

Marvell's Ready to launch QLC Controller Delivers 670K IOPS

QLC is the next big step in flash memory, with another bump in density increases and, crucially for consumers, revised, lower pricing for flash-based products that employ the new technology. We've already had a sneak peek at what QLC-based products can deliver - Intel's leaked SSD 660P employs QLC memory and is expected to deliver 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with 150,000 IOPS. Expect base drive capacities to increase - QLC being higher density would mean fewer NAND chips, but manufacturers want to keep the added performance of chip parallelism.

However, flash needs controllers to deliver its true potential, and Marvell has one up its sleeve. The new controller will eventually replace the NVMe 1.1 Eldora (88SS1093) used in some popular SSDs that are already shipping, such as Plextor's M9Pe, and the folks at Tom's hardware took a peek at it - running the current TLC memory, that is. The controller delivered over 670,000 IOPS and 3,500 MB/s in the demo, though there's no information on the density of the drive. But for those performance levels, it must've had a good amount of silicon. While not representative of final QLC memory performance of the controller, it's good to know that at least this part of the ecosystem is good to go. Now if only QLC was quick and hot off the presses, we could see a $100 512 GB SSD.

Ducky Teases 'Blade Air' Keyboard with Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Switches

German switch maker Cherry officially announced their MX Low Profile RGB switches at CES 2018 a few days ago. Ducky Channel also seized this opportunity to promote their upcoming Ducky Blade Air mechanical keyboard which features the new low profile switches. Thanks to the slim design, the Ducky Blade Air stands just 22 mm tall, but boasts a full feature set that includes various RGB lighting modes, customizable LED zones, USB N-key rollover support, floating keycap design, Doubleshot keycaps, and macro support. The Ducky Blade Air allows consumers to connect the keyboard to their computers using an old-school USB cable or via a wireless Bluetooth connection. The keyboard works in a Windows or Mac environment, as well as with Android and iOS mobile devices.

HighPoint RocketU 1344A Guarantees Full Bandwidth USB 3.1 Ports

HighPoint announced the RocketU 1344A, a USB 3.1 gen 2 add-on card, which puts out four type-A ports. Its USP is guaranteed 10 Gbps bandwidth for each of the four ports at all times. A PLX PCI-Express gen 3.0 bridge chip segments a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface into two gen 3.0 x2 connections to ASMedia-made 2-port USB 3.1 controllers. Each controller is fed with 20 Gbps of bus bandwidth, and hence the overhead on each port is minimized. This card is ideal for systems that don't support PCIe bifurcation. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Synology Introduces RackStation RS818+/RS818RP+ and Expansion Unit RX418

Today, Synology Inc. launched RackStation RS818+/RS818RP+, a new 1U 4-bay rackmount NAS designed with speedy transmission performance and storage scalability for small and medium-sized businesses. RS818+/RS818RP+ features a 2.4GHz quad-core processor with AES-NI encryption engine, 2GB DDR3 memory (expandable to 16GB in dual channel), and a PCIe 2.0 slot to support an optional 10GbE network card. This powerful hardware provides over 1,099 MB/s reading speed, making RS818+/RS818RP+ an ideal centralized storage option for multi-client data transmissions.

The storage capacity of RS818+/RS818RP+ can be further expanded with the new Synology expansion unit RX418, providing up to 8 drives for flexible data management and backup. RS818+/RS818RP+ comes with four 1GbE LAN ports to support Link Aggregation and failover. Synology High Availability support provides a reliable active/passive server cluster, keeping data and services online. RS818RP+ is also equipped with redundant power supplies to deliver increased service continuity.

Intel SSD 760p and 660p Specifications and Pricing Listed Online

Autobuy, a popular online shopping site in Taiwan, recently listed Intel's upcoming 760p and 660p M.2 NVMe SSDs on their store. The SSD 760p will be manufactured under Intel's 64-layer 3D NAND technology and feature TLC (triple-level-cell) NAND. It's obviously the faster of the two with a sequential read speed up to 3,200 MB/s and a write speed up to 1,600 MB/s. The drive offers random access reads up to 350,000 IOPS and writes up to 280,000 IOPS. Intel will offer this model in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. TigerDirect listed the pricing for them at $96, $120, $240, $448, and $893, respectively.

The SSD 660p is Intel's budget-friendly this time around. Therefore, it will use QLC (quad-level-cell) NAND despite being manufactured with the same technology as its older brother. This SSD can reach up to 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with random access read and write performance in the range of 150,000 IOPS. Surprisingly, Intel won't be offering this model in the 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. Instead, the lowest capacity model will start from 512 GB and make its way up to 2 TB. Unfortunately, pricing wasn't available at the time of this article.

MSI Unveils Latest GE63 Raider RGB and GT75VR Titan Pro Gaming Notebooks

At the 2018 CES show, MSI gaming notebooks has been focused on pioneering and innovative gaming features for worldwide enthusiasts of the latest gaming laptops, MSI's first gaming notebook top cover with limitedless RGB backlit, with slimmest gaming laptops in the GS series, more features and world's 1st gaming laptop with Killer Wireless-AC 1550. All these new features show MSI's innovation at the 2018 CES show.

Experience the 24 Million colors with Gaming Modes on GE63 Raider RGB
The GE series has been an all-time classic favored by gaming enthusiasts since its inception. But in 2018, the upcoming GE63/73 Raider RGB has been given a new identity and weaponry inspired by exotic sports cars; with the 12 zones of the RGB lights design at top cover on both sides of the lighting, the backlight armed with 24M different lighting modes using SteelSeries Engine 3 or independent control by Dragon Center, users can show more in-game real-time interactions related to the lights from the top cover and keyboard backlight, that makes the new generation of GE63/73 more vibrant and more professional for gamers to show off their gaming skills with these lighting interactions.

Gamdias Showcased Their Latest Gaming Products at CES 2018

GAMDIAS announced a new product line of PC component, including AEOLUS fan case, CHIOME liquid cooler, and ASTRAPE power supply series at CES 2018. GAMDIAS will also launch AEOLUS Box, the unparalleled control box which is just icing on the cake for the components. GAMDIAS showcased the latest RGB gaming chair and gaming gears. What is more, Hades M1, a new wireless gaming mouse, will be launched soon. Let's take a first look at these amazing products at CES 2018.

AEOLUS P1 Fan Case
For those who have been looking for RGB masterpiece, AEOLUS P1 will bring you unprecedented aesthetics without audio distraction. As 16.8 million color customizable lighting becomes a basic condition for gamers, AEOLUS P1 comes with 18 LEDs of which the color and brightness can be separately adjusted by users with AEOLUS Box. The speed and directions of lighting effects can be completely controlled at your preference. What really makes AEOLUS P1 outstanding lies in the support of AEOLUS Box, which has eight ports to plug fans; thus, users can enjoy 8 lighting effects simultaneously or create unparalleled group lightings accordingly. In addition, the use of aerospace-grade lubricant offers better protection against wear, friction, corrosion, and carbon deposit buildup. Hence, AEOLUS P1 is definitely an excellent gaming rig to level up the cooling performance of your PC!

Thrustmaster Launches the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition Racing Wheel

Following the Ferrari 250 GTO Wheel Add-On and T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition, the third product unveiled by Thrustmaster to celebrate Ferrari's 70th anniversary is the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition racing wheel. It features high-performance technologies which seamlessly work hand-in-hand with the stunning 488 Challenge Edition wheel.

Tailor-made for competition
A truly exceptional product, the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition has been designed with fans of the legendary Prancing Horse automaker in mind: PC gamers looking for performance, quality and realism. The racing wheel replicates that found in the 488 Challenge, the most powerful car in the Ferrari one-make series history thanks to its turbocharged engine. The end result is a 9:10 scale replica (12.6"/32 cm in diameter) of the real 488 Challenge wheel, with hand-stitched wrapping made from the same Alcantara material used on genuine Ferrari wheels. As seen with Thrustmaster's recent Ferrari 70th anniversary releases, the TS-PC RACER 488 Challenge Edition boasts advanced onboard pieces of equipment of impeccable quality: a faceplate crafted of black brushed anodized metal, two 5.5"/14 cm tall sequential metal paddle shifters, two D-pads with push function, two metal rotary switches with push function, and eight action buttons. That's no less than 25 programmable functions in total!

D-Link DIR-X9000 and DIR-X6060 Flagship 802.11ax Routers Pictured

D-Link this CES showed off its flagship 802.11ax Wi-Fi router, the DIR-X9000 (pictured below in silver), which meets the AX11000 standard (11 Gbps combined wireless throughput). The router takes in a 2.5 Gbps WAN port, has four downstream 1 GbE ports. Its wireless chops include 4x4 MU-MIMO over its eight antennae meeting 802.11ax specifications (dual-band plus MIMO and MU-MIMO). The company also showed off the DIR-6060 (pictured below, teal), with a combined wireless bandwidth of 6 Gbps.

Why would anyone need this much wireless bandwidth? The D-Link rep we spoke to said that D-Link understands that people don't upgrade their Wi-Fi routers for years, with a large population still on 801.11n (150-300 Mbps) routers, with the guiding logic being that Wi-Fi bandwidth being significantly higher than your Internet bandwidth comes with little benefit. The DIR-X9000 is a router you buy, install, and forget about for the greater part of a decade. It has sufficient bandwidth for multiple 4K UHD video streams flying around your house, while your appliances are increasingly IoT ready.

The Balloon Falls: Memory Chip Price Decrease in Q4 2017 Prompts Investor Fear

Reuters reports that a sudden (if ridiculous) 5% drop in memory chip prices in Q4 2017 has brought revenue expectations and investors' profit measurements to a teetering halt. 5% may not look like much - it certainly isn't much when we look at the historic price increases that almost doubled the cost of DDR4 memory kits, as you can see in the PC Part Picker chart below. This memory module price chart doesn't include the 5% drop yet, probably because it takes time for memory chip pricing to materialize in end-user module pricing. But for investors, it's like a spark in a paper archive - it could signal an impending price decrease that would push all profit estimates out the window.

This 5% drop in pricing has prompted industry analysts to review their profit estimates for 2018, and expect that the memory industry's growth rate will fall by more than half this year to 30 percent. You read that right - investors are scared because growth rates will be 30 percent instead of 60 percent. Oh the joys of inflated pricing, and slower-than-usual ramp-up to keep demand higher than supply. The joys of economic capitalism, where prices for consumers go up, and an industries' value skyrockets by more than 70$ in a single year (2017).

Jonsbo Intros CR-301 White Edition Cooler

Jonsbo today introduced the CR-301 White Edition, a variant of the original CR-301 C-type top-flow CPU cooler the company introduced in December 2017. The whitewash extends to the fan frames, impellers, the 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes, and a steel top-plate capping the aluminium fin-stack, in which the fins are left to its natural color. The fans still retain the RGB LED illumination from the original, even though the fan frame and the white surfaces have a matte finish instead of glossy black on the original. The rest of its feature-set is the same as the original.

NVIDIA to Launch Efficiency-Oriented GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Aims at Intel EMIB

NVIDIA through the changelog of one of its Linux driver releases may have spilled the beans in an as of yet unannounced, unreleased product. The company's Max-Q variants of their graphics cards typically trade performance for power efficiency, sitting the designs somewhat more optimally in the power/performance ratio curve. The fact that NVIDIA is looking to bolster efficiency of its GTX 1050 with a Max-Q design is likely aimed at competing with the performance level of the already announced Intel + AMD EMIB design, where an Intel discrete CPU is paired with a discrete, Vega-based AMD GPU and its accompanying HBM2 memory stacks, in a small, extremely power efficient package (when compared with current designs.)

The folks at Notebookcheck expect the 1050 Max-Q to perform about 10 to 15 percent slower than the standard 1050 and 1050 Ti, respectively, with TDP likely ranging between 34 W to 46 W - NVIDIA is aiming at the same market that the >AMD + Intel EMIB collaboration is going after (thin, light, adequate performance solutions.)
Sunday, January 14th 2018

Intel Could Ditch AMD dGPU Die on Future Core G-series MCMs with "Arctic Sound"

Intel did the impossible in 2017, by collaborating with rival AMD after decades, on a product. The new Core i7-8000G series processors are multi-chip modules that combine quad-core "Kaby Lake" CPU dies with discrete AMD Radeon Vega GPU dies that have their own dedicated HBM2 stacks. With performance-segment notebooks and sleek AIO desktops building momentum for such products, Intel sees a future in building its own discrete GPUs, at least dies that can replace the AMD Radeon IP from its Core G-series processors.

With former AMD Graphics head Raja Koduri switching to Intel amidst rumors of the company investing in discrete GPUs of its own, details emerge of the company's future "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" graphics IP, which point to the possibility of them being discrete GPU dies based on the Gen 12 and Gen 13 graphics architectures, respectively. According to Ashraf Eassa, a technology stock commentator with "The Motley Fool," both "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" are discrete GPU dies that connect with Intel processor dies over EMIB, the company's proprietary high-density interconnect for multi-chip modules. It could be a long wait leading up to the two, since the company is still monetizing its Gen 9.5 architecture on 8th generation Core processors.

Cherry Annnounces the Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Switches

CHERRY, the market leader and expert in mechanical switches in keyboards, is announcing the MX Low Profile RGB. This shallow switch features a brand-new design and combines the well-known characteristics of the MX switch with a low profile. This allows the implementation of mechanical keys in a much more compact format, making the CHERRY MX Low Profile RGB suitable not only for use in notebooks but also for building unusually thin high-end keyboards.

The CHERRY MX Low Profile RGB is the first truly new development in mechanical switches in more than 30 years. The company's R&D department has invested a lot of time and effort in achieving a total height of only 11.9 millimeters without compromising on characteristics and quality. The MX Low Profile RGB is about 35 percent shallower than the standard MX switches, and thanks to its unique design it can be used just as easily for mechanical keyboards in high-end notebooks as for unusually thin mechanical desktop keyboards. The new CHERRY switch was fully developed and built in Germany, its the "Made in Germany" seal representing the best product quality and the highest manufacturing precision.

Jabra Has Your Ears at CES 2018

Jabra, an acoustic-focused brand, took to CES 2018 to showcase their latest developments in the world of sound-delivering straight to your eardrums. The company makes a model for every type of user, and every ergonomic taste, really. The company took the opportunity to showcase some particular sound drivers though. On one hand, there were the wireless, fitness-oriented Elite Sport earbuds, which even carry a heart rate monitor function, and have a specially-designed ergonomic outline that serves both form and function.

Their Jabra Elite 65T true wireless earbuds, on the other hand, leave ergonomics a little to the side (while still being comfortable to use, naturally) to focus more on signal quality, bringing premium sound and call quality with its unique 4-microphone technology. The 15-hour battery on these will certainly appeal to power users; those that really like to shut off from the world around them.

SteigerDynamics Demonstrates Interesting, Flexible SFF Case Lineup at CES 2018

SteigerDynamics took the opportunity granted to them by taking part in a world-renowned tech show floor of CES 2018 to showcase an interesting lineup of SFF computer cases, with powerful systems integrated in a small footprint. These are usually considered the more impressive feats of engineering in the computer space, really; how much performance you can squeeze in a limited space, without compromising component reliability, cooling, and acoustics for the particular environments these will be used in.

SteigerDynamics has shown they do know how to engineer these systems, for sure. Their LEET Gaming Room/Living Room Gaming PC is a little on the bigger side, but it still carries a small footprint, in a pretty package, for the amount of high-quality hardware it's packing. A Maximus Hero X, a Core i7-8700K at 5 GHz, 16 GB of G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 memory and EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC, are almost as high-end a configuration one can have already. Add in the 2x 512 GB Samsung 960 PRO SSDs, and the 4x 1 TB HDDs in RAID 10, and there really isn't much to fault with this unit. Even power is taken care of by a Seasonic PRIME Titanium PSU. And to keep all of these high-performance components cool, the SteigerDynamics LEET carries a fully custom watercooling loop, that aids in silence and aesthetics. Just follow my lead here: don't look at the price-tag. It's really not for the faint of heart.

Seasonic Proudly Displays Its Snow Silent Gold Lineup of PSUs at CES 2018

Seasonic, known as one of the best PSU manufacturers in the market, took to CES 2018 with the approach the company is mostly known as for their own branded products: quality over quantity. This led the company to showcase its Snow Silent line of white-colored, modular PSUs, which should bring with them a solid performance showing in comparison with Seasonic's own Snow Silent Platinum series of PSUs, albeit at a more agreeable pricing. And there were some blue, Prime hearts to go with them as well, but these wouldn't power much, in the grand scheme of things.

Sapphire Shows the Elusive RX Vega Nitro+ Graphics Card at CES 2018

Sapphire took to CES 2018 to showcase one of the most elusive products in recent times: a custom variant of AMD's RX Vega graphics cards. Sapphire went to great lengths to keep the entire affair under as many wraps as possible, even going so far as to book an entire room to showcase their RX Vega Nitro+, laying still, like a mirage, on top of its anti-static plastic wrap.

There's something eerily beautiful about this graphics card: not on its exquisite back and faceplate designs alone, nor on the custom Sapphire-cut exhaust port; it's really for the condition of a somewhat "unicorn" type of product. Some people believe they're out there, but sightings in their natural environment (read, correct MSRP) are so rare that they are brought up as mass deliriums. The most interesting tech product on CES 2018 based on this story alone, surely.

ROCCAT Delivers Entire Gaming Station Worth of Products at CES 2018

ROCCAT at CES 2018 wanted to prove something: that they're a far-reaching, all-encompassing gaming product company. To that end, it seems the one question ROCCAT engineers, salespeople, and overall team wanted to answer: "Can we deliver an entire ROCCAT-branded gaming station?" The answer, it would seem, was a resounding "Yes, we can."

ROCCAT showed how it had the input game fully in control with its Horde AIMO keyboard, Kone AIMO gaming mouse, and Kanga mouse mat. However, gaming is not just about these mechanical inputs; there's a lot to be said about environment and sound cues, as well as teammate coordination.

"Bloody Gaming" Lets CES 2018 Attendants Feast on Myriad Product Offerings

Bloody Gaming may not be a mainstay in gaming peripherals and products, but the company certainly made its presence felt at CES 2018 via its impressive filled-to-the-brim booth. The company dips its toes anywhere where there's money to be made that has a gaming tinge to it: headphones, keyboards and gaming mice hold no secrets for this company. The company's Bloody gaming headset lets its hybrid diaphragm technology with Carbon Fiber Mycellium compounds carry most of its attractiveness weight (the color schemes are the most common of all, really: black, red and white offerings are all there).

Alphacool Lets Its Water Cooling DNA be Known at CES 2018

Alphacool, the renowned watercooling and accessories company, took to CES 2018 to showcase their watercooling product and accessory lineup. The company's Eisstation cooling blocks made a welcome, "LEDy" appearance, as did the company's full-coverage waterblocks for your choice of VGA. The company also demonstrated a hybrid, water and air cooling solution via its dressed-up radiators; a good-looking maintenance kit; and the company's distinct Eisbecher Helix and Helix Light watercooling "bling".

AKRacing Shows Off Gaming Chairs at CES 2018

AkRacing likely isn't as well-known as some other high-profile gaming chair makers, but it's a company that certainly has a lot of confidence in their ability to design a superior quality products. The company showcased its gaming chair lineup at CES 2018, which includes offerings in various colors, such as red and blue, catering to most gamers' favorite color choices (apparently, companies just can't go wrong with any manner of black + another color combo, really). The company's offerings are spread out throughout three different products categories: the Core Series, which is the more basic configuration; Office Series, which aims to bring maximum comfort to what should be essentially work environments; and Master Series, the company's product pinnacle, which are also, appropriately, the most expensive and more complete options.

However, one of the things that attracts most attention with AKRacing's gaming chairs is the warranty: the company offers a five year warranty on the chair itself (cushion materials, and so on), while offering an overwhelmingly good 10-year warranty on the chair's frame. This particular advantage of AKRacing's over other gaming chair-producing companies could be the hedge the company needs for increased relevance in this market.

1More Showcases Myriad Audio Products at CES 2018

1More, the audio-specific brand, took to CES 2018 to showcase all manner of audio products for the discerning user. The company makes available the users' choice of in-ear and over-hear headphones, with some offerings going between three and four drivers designs. By doing this, 1More hopes to cater to all manner of sound profile enthusiasts, from the more purist listener to the heavier bass-heads. The company even has introduced products with THX certification and the Hi-Rez badge, taking a pie of the certification market for users that like to make sure their products conform to some particular standards.
Saturday, January 13th 2018

ECS Unleashes New LIVA Mini-PCs at CES 2018

It's evident that conquering the small form factor market was one of ECS's New Year's resolutions. The Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer used CES 2018 to reveal their multiple LIVA offerings to the public. The updated LIVA lineup is mainly powered by Intel's low-power Gemini Lake SoC platform with integrated UHD Graphics 600. The LIVA One is currently the new kid on the block. Consumers can choose between a Celeron J4005, Celeron J4105 or Pentium Silver J5005 processor. This mini-PC has one SO-DIMM DDR4 slot, a M.2 slot to accommodate 2242/2280 SSDs, and two SATA 2.5" bays. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. Consumers have a tough decision to make on the video outputs though. The LIVA One either comes with a HDMI and DisplayPort or a HDMI and VGA port.

Similar to the LIVA One, the Z2 employs a Gemini Lake processor. However, the Z2 incorporates an extra SO-DIMM DDR4 slot, thus allowing it to support more memory. In terms of storage options, the Z2 is sold with a 32GB or 64GB eMMC SSD, but it has a 2.5" bay for additional storage. Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 is provided by the onboard wireless combo card, while a pair of HDMI (1.4 and 2.0) ports are available for connecting monitors, TVs and projectors.

Toshiba's Not-so-flashy CES Booth was Full of Flash

Toshiba throughout 2017 made big moves in the flash storage industry, particularly its bitter falling out with WD/SanDisk. The company today is more innovative than ever. Its 2018 International CES booth had a mix of products by the original Toshiba digital storage products division, and its client-focused, US-based, former OCZ division. The star-attraction isn't some big PCIe add-on card SSD that can push a dozen terabytes per second; but the modest RC100 M.2 NVMe drive. Drives like it could make NVMe storage affordable for upper-mainstream gaming PC builders throughout 2018.

The RC100 has been exhaustively detailed in one of our older articles. It's an M.2-2242 drive with PCIe gen 3.0 x2 interface, and more than triple the transfer rates of the fastest SATA SSD you can find. This drive will be gulped down by both the DIY and OEM markets. Next up, is the TR200 entry-level SATA SSD launched last October, targeted at those still clinging onto HDDs or first-time builders. It features Toshiba's 64-layer TLC NAND flash to achieve some of the lowest price-per-gigabyte ratios.
Friday, January 12th 2018

Today's Reviews

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

In Win Storms CES 2018 with Multiple Eye-Catching Cases

In Win has always been known for their out-of-the-box designs and exotic cases. And as always, the brand didn't disappoint and showcased some impressive offerings at their booth. The 909 was the first case that we encountered upon entering. In this occasion, the case showed a few minor upgrades which included a co-branded reservoir from EK Water Blocks, 5mm thick tinted tempered glass side panels, dazzling LED lighting effects, and a front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector. However, the 909 wasn't the only model that got a makeover. In Win's popular 101 case received a special TUF treatment from ASUS as well. The front panel now sports an attractive orange-yellow theme making it a perfect match for TUF Gaming motherboards.

The 915 is a new full-tower case that flaunts a sexy curved exterior, premium aluminium body with tinted tempered glass side panels, and RGB lighting. It also features a cool automatic elevating ventilation cover on the top. In Win also brought their latest mini-ITX case, the A1, to the show. This miniature model comes equipped with a 600W power supply and Polaris RGB fans. The quick-release glass side panels make swapping components easy, and the case even comes with an optional wireless mobile device charging area. The final case on our tour is the WINBOT which looks like it came out of a sci-fi movie. It's basically an aluminium case that lives inside a plexiglass bubble. As a result, users can have a 360° view of the system inside. The case is equipped with an advanced facial detection module which allows it to scan, observe, and react to your hand signals.

AMD Confirms They are Affected by Spectre, too

The public disclosure on January 3rd that multiple research teams had discovered security issues related to how modern microprocessors handle speculative execution has brought to the forefront the constant vigilance needed to protect and secure data. These threats seek to circumvent the microprocessor architecture controls that preserve secure data.

At AMD, security is our top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise. As a part of that vigilance, I wanted to update the community on our actions to address the situation.

Lian Li Shows Off PC Cases, LED Lighting Focus at CES 2018

Lian li at CES 2018 took to the stage (or should we say, room) to showcase some of their case designs' possibilities. The 011 Dynamic, for example, is an interesting behemoth of a case with its 450 x 273 x 460 mm dimensions. The aluminum, SECC, and tempered glass panel make sure this is a sturdy, Lian-Li-worthy case, and there's no lack of storage and fan capacity in this one: a total of 9x 120 mm and 2x 140 mm fans can be mounted on the chassis alone, and there's still space to spare for 3x 3.5" and 5x 2.5" SSD bays. The very elaborate cooling system and the overall case design were handpicked by Lian-Li in a collaboration with overclocking prodigy Der8auer, and make for an impressive showing.
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