Tuesday, May 30th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
SSD
Storage

Team Group T-Force DARK ROG 3000 MHz DDR4

Today, we take a look at Team Group's ROG Certified DARK series of DIMMs from their T-Force line-up of enthusiast-oriented DDR4 DIMMs. These ROG Certified DIMMs have a special secret; read on to find out what that is!

ADATA XPG SX9000 M.2 SSD Pictured

At the ADATA booth, we ran into two of the company's most exciting products, the XPG SX9000 and XPG SX8000 series M.2 PCIe SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, and NVMe protocol support, the drives are positioned in the upper-performance/enthusiast segments. The XPG SX9000 combines a Marvell 88S1093 controller with planar MLC toggle-NAND flash, and comes in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB. It offers sequential speeds of up to 2,800 MB/s reads, with up to 1,500 MB/s writes, and features an LDPC ECC engine.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon, Gaming M7, SLI Plus, and Tomahawk Pictured

MSI showed off three of its premium-segment socket LGA2066 motherboards, the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon, X299 Gaming M7, X299 SLI Plus, and X299 Tomahawk. All four boards are based on a common PCB, with subtle variations to the designs of the PCH/VRM heatsinks, I/O shroud, and PCB paintjobs, besides some included accessories. Kudos to MSI engineers for minimizing R&D costs, let's just hope that these boards are priced within 10 percent of each other.

The board draws power from 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX (on some of the higher-end models). A 9-phase VRM conditions power for the CPU. Eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots are wired to the CPU. Three 32 Gb/s M.2 and one 32 Gb/s U.2 are common across all boards. Also common here is the Audio Boost IV onboard audio solution, with a 120 dBA SNR CODEC, audio-grade capacitors, and OPAMP. Some of the models feature just the one GbE interface driven by i219-V controller, some feature two; and some of the higher-end models such as the Gaming M7 and Gaming Pro Carbon even feature Killer 802.11ac+BT4.1 WLAN cards. The higher-end boards also feature a bigger spread of RGB LEDs. Pricing-wise, one can expect the X299 SLI Plus to be the cheapest, followed by the X299 Tomahawk, X299 Gaming Pro Carbon, and the X299 Gaming M7. We wonder why.

MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC Motherboard Pictured

Here's the first picture of MSI's flagship socket LGA2066 motherboard, the MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC. It features a polarizing silvery/white design, which you'll either love or hate. Built in the ATX form-factor (well, midway between ATX and E-ATX), the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 4-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and an optional 4-pin Molex. A 14-phase VRM conditions it for the CPU, which is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8).

Can you imagine five M.2 SSDs in your rig? MSI can, and besides three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots on the board (two 110 mm and one 80 mm), an included PCIe 3.0 x8 riser card gives you two additional 110 mm 32 Gb/s slots. Other storage options include a 32 Gb/s U.2 port, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s. The board supports NVMe RAID and Optane. Networking is care of two Intel i219-V driven GbE interfaces, and an Intel-driven 802.11ac WLAN with Bluetooth 4.1 connection. MSI Mystic Light RGB software marshals not just a splattering of RGB LEDs all over the board, but also an "art in motion" LED ornament on the PCH heatsink.

Corsair Announces Dust and Spill Resistant K68 Gaming Keyboard

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the new CORSAIR K68 mechanical gaming keyboard. Continuing CORSAIR's commitment to mechanical keyswitch quality, the K68 uses 100% CHERRY MX LED-lit mechanical keyswitches, combining them with a per-key silicone rubber shield to make the K68 both dust and water resistant tested to an IP32 rating. Preserving all the mechanical touch and feel that has made CHERRY switches gamer's first choice, K68 also boasts per-key dynamic back-lighting and dedicated multimedia controls, allowing for simple customization and on-the-fly audio adjustment. CORSAIR K68 - ready for everything you, or your games, can throw at it.

It can happen to any gamer's setup. In a brief lull in the action you reach for a drink or snack, only for an unseen threat to suddenly appear on screen. As you instinctively reach for your WASD keys to respond, it's already too late to stop your falling snack or spilling beverage and the loss is often much greater than just a round, quest or mission. CORSAIR K68 was designed with those moments in mind, surrounding its CHERRY MX Red mechanical key switches with individual silicone rubber shields to allow spills to flow right through and keep dust and grime out.
Monday, May 29th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mousepads
Notebooks
Processors

AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.2 GHz

The most affordable Ryzen part at the moment, the $170 Ryzen 5 1400 quad-core processor, is endowed with features you find only on Intel processors twice its price. We're interested to see where that leaves competing Intel parts within its price range.

Toshiba Unveils the XG 5 M.2 Performance NVMe SSD

Toshiba today unveiled the XG 5 series performance-segment SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor. These drives take advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, and the NVMe 1.2 protocol. At the heart of these drives is Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS Flash (3D TLC NAND flash) memory. Available in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the drive offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 3,000 MB/s reads, with up to 2,100 MB/s writes. The drive features an SLC-cache feature, in which the drive treats a small portion of the TLC NAND flash as SLC NAND, by storing just 1 bit per cell, hot data is juggled in and out of this portion. The drives will go on sale in the first week of June.

A Brief Stroll Through the Jonsbo Booth - UMX 5, VR1, C4, and More

Ahead of their official Computex 2017 unveiling, we took a brief stroll through Jonsbo's booth, and took a peek under the covers to reveal some fascinating creations of anodized aluminium and tempered glass. The styling on these cases includes matte aluminium with brushed finish, and diamond-cut edges, mated with tinted-black tempered glass panels. The first case that caught our attention was the VR1, a cuboidal SFF chassis for mini-ITX builds, with a pedestal motherboard tray, a graphics card bay which utilizes the 399 mm height of the case to hold graphics cards up to 32 cm in length, using a PCIe riser. The case also takes advantage of its height and motherboard tray orientation to free up room for CPU coolers as tall as 19 cm.

Next up is the new UMX 5. Featuring a characteristic vertical striped front fascia, this case is made of 0.5 mm-thick aluminium-magnesium alloy, with 5 mm-thick tempered glass over the side panel. It measures 224 mm x 507 mm x 485 mm (WxHxD), and serves up room for E-ATX (and smaller) motherboards, with graphics cards up to 32.5 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16.6 cm in height. Cooling includes three 120 mm front intakes, two top exhausts, two bottom intakes, and a rear exhaust. The radiator support works out accordingly.
Pictured above: three colors of UMX 5, VR1, C4, and two unnamed cases.

The Slumbering Giant Wakes: Intel to Introduce 18-core X-Series Processors?

Videocardz is advancing an exclusive in that Intel seems to be about to introduce even more cores in a single package than previously thought. Intel's X299 platform, which we've just started officially started seeing some motherboards for (just scroll down on our news feed), looks to be the awakening of a slumbering giant. But you don't have to believe me on this: before we ever knew of AMD's Ryzen line of processors (much less about their Threadripper line), leaks on Intel's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors only showed core counts up to 10-cores - in line with previous Intel HEDT platforms (see below image.) Cue more recent leaks, and it would seem that Intel is increasing the core-counts on its upcoming platform on a daily basis - especially if the most recent leak referencing 14, 16 and 18-core parts pans out. (I am reminded of a "moar cores" meme that used to float around the web. Maybe one of you in the comments can find it for me?)

A new, leaked slide on Intel's X-series processors shows 18, 16, 14, and 12-core configurations as being available on the upcoming X299 platform, leveraging Intel's turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0 (which is apparently only available on Intel's Core i9-7820X, 7900X, 7920X (which we know to be a 12-core part), 7940X (probably the 14-core), 7960X (16-core) and the punchline 7980XE 18-core processor, which should see a price as eye-watering as that name tumbles around on the tip of the tongue. There is also mention of a "Rebalanced Intel Smart Cache hierarchy". But you don't want me to be rambling on about this. You want to comment about this story. Feel free to partake in a joyous conversation over these news (I'll also leave you with a bonus picture of some purported, upcoming Intel X-series packaging efforts. They're certainly colorful.)

Source: Videocardz

EVGA Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|ngp|n Edition Graphics Card

Remember that EVGA card to end all cards? Well, EVGA has now officially announced it. Built in collaboration with overclocker K|ngp|n (Vince Lucido), the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|ngp|n Edition Graphics Card sports a cooler that builds upon the iCX technology innovations EVGA has been moving towards. In addition, the company has redoubled efforts towards packing the highest-grade electrical components in this graphics card for extreme overclocking methods, even going so far as to include support (via a connector) to external overclocking modules such as EVBot.

Is Wood the Next Big Case Material? In Win Thinks So

In Win is one of the most influential brands when it comes to case-design, the company is at the cutting edge of implementing new materials. If 2015-16 was all about tempered glass, 2017-18 could be about wood, at least that's what In Win thinks so. The company unveiled two cases with plywood (particle-board) panels, the In Win 806 ATX mid-tower, and the Gaming Cube A1 cubical mini-ITX. Both cases feature a slightly lime-tinted wood panel. On the 806, it dominates the design running from the front to the top; on the A1, it finishes off the top. Both cases further feature aluminium and tempered glass, the two other premium materials for PC cases.

The Gaming Cube A1 measures 200 mm x 268 mm x 340 mm (WxHxD), and features a pedestal-type layout for its motherboard tray, which frees up room for a dual-slot (well, 2.5-slot) graphics card up to 31.5 cm in length. It can hold an SFX power-supply, and a CPU cooler up to 16 cm in height. Cooling features include two 120 mm bottom intakes and a 120 mm exhaust each on the rear and side. The In Win 806, on the other hand, is a mid-tower measuring 215 mm x 490 mm x 468 mm, with room for CPU coolers as tall as 17 cm, and graphics cards as long as 32 cm. Cooling includes two 120 mm mounts each along the top, bottom, and front; and a rear exhaust. The case features reversible USB 3.1 type-C front-panel ports.

CRYORIG Releases the Taku Monitor Stand PC Case on Kickstarter

Remember the Taku Monitor Stand PC Case, that Cryorig showcased mid-2016? Well, it's now made its way to Kickstarter, a likely way for Cryorig to gauge interest in such a product whilst letting consumers foot part of the manufacturing bill. It's an interesting one, really - at least it's different from most other SFF PCs, though I've seen more compact designs. The press-release follows.

CRYORIG, the PC Cooling and peripherals innovator is releasing their first PC case project the Taku on crowdfunding website Kickstarter. The Taku, first announced and exhibited last summer, will also be shown during Computex 2017. The TAKU has been in development for over 2 years in house, with over 6 months of co-development with manufacturing partner Lian Li. The Taku Kickstarter campaign begins on May 29th and ends on July 28th. Besides offering backers the chance to be the first people to receive the Taku, backers are also offered multiple customization options only available on Kickstarter.

ASRock X299 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i9 and X299 Killer SLI/ac Detailed

ASRock showed off its premium gaming-grade X299 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming i9 and X299 Killer SLI/ac motherboards. The two boards are based on a common PCB, but differ with the former featuring 10 GbE network connectivity and Creative Sound Blaster Cinema audio DSP, while the latter lacks them. If you want the feature-set of the X299 Killer SLI/ac but the white+black color scheme isn't rubbing of on you, ASRock has you covered with the X299 Fatal1ty Gaming K6. Drawing power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, the boards employ a 14-phase VRM to condition power to the CPU, which is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16.

Storage connectivity on the boards includes three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Both boards further feature two USB 3.1 ports (of which one is type-C), about 8 USB 3.0 ports, and network connectivity that includes 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.1, and at least one gigabit Ethernet connection driven by an Intel i219-V controller. The Fatal1ty Gaming i9 tops this with Aquantia AQC107 controller-driven 10 GbE. The two feature Aura Sync RGB headers.

ASUS TUF X299 Mark 2 Motherboard Pictured

ASUS returned to its extremely durable TUF (The Ultimate Force) line of motherboards with the TUF X299 Mark 2. You'll notice that it dropped the "Sabertooth" moniker. This LGA2066 motherboard covers all the feature-set checkboxes of a premium motherboard plus the military-grade durability people have come to expect of the TUF series. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 4-pin ATX, and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it using an 8-phase VRM.

The TUF X299 Mark 2 features eight DDR4 DIMM slots, three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8), an open-ended x4, and two x1 slots completing the expansion area. Storage features include two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots (of which one is perpendicular), and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each type-A and type-C), and eight USB 3.0. 8-channel HD audio driven by a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC, and a single gigabit Ethernet connection, powered by Intel i219-V make for the rest of it.

ASRock X299 OC Formula by Nick Shih Pictured

Professional overclocker Nick Shih has led ASRock design teams through some of the most well laid-out motherboards for enthusiasts. His latest creation is the ASRock X299 OC Formula. This board gets down to the brass-tacks of overclocking-grade motherboards with a simple layout that's stripped of everything unnecessary. It draws power from a 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, a 6-pin PCIe, and 4-pin ATX. The CPU is powered by a 14-phase VRM, and wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. A PCIe 3.0 x4 makes for the rest of the expansion. Overclocking features include ultra fine-grained voltage control using onboard controls, and an OC Formula kit. Storage connectivity includes two 32 Gb/s M.2-22110, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s. 802.11ac WLAN, and gigabit Ethernet, besides ASRock's top of the line onboard audio make for the rest of it.

Colorful iGame GTX 1080 Ti Neptune W Liquid-cooled Graphics Card Pictured

Colorful showed off its flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the iGame GTX 1080 Ti Neptune W. This card combines the same enthusiast-segment PCB featured on the iGame GTX 1080 Ti Vulcan X OC, with a factory-fitted all in one closed-loop liquid-cooling solution. The pump-block portion of it features a large base-plate in addition to the pump-block over the GPU, which conveys heat from the memory and VRM to the block. The card is then plumbed to a large 240 mm x 120 mm radiator with a pair of 120 mm fans. Out of the box, the card features reference clocks; but a secondary BIOS activated at the push of a button runs the card at an "insanely high" overclock. For now Colorful is keeping this clock profile a secret.

ASRock Unveils the X299E-ITX/ac: Mini ITX + X299 + Quad-channel Memory

ASRock did it! Finally, there's an Intel HEDT platform motherboard with full quad-channel DDR4 memory. The new X299E-ITX/ac is for those who need up to 18 CPU cores and up to 64 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory in their SFF machines for reasons. The board manages its limited PCB real-estate by going vertical. It features two riser cards, one with a few onboard controllers, and a pair of 32 Gb/s M.2 slots), and the other riser with SATA 6 Gb/s ports, a third M.2 slot, and the headers such as USB 3.1. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the LGA2066 CPU using a 7-phase VRM. The lone expansion slot is a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, memory is handled by four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots. Connectivity includes two Intel I219-V driven gigabit Ethernet interfaces, 802.11ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.1.

BIOSTAR Unveils the Stunning-looking Racing X299GT9 Motherboard

BIOSTAR has consistently improved its motherboard product design back to the standards of its TPower glory-days, and unveiled this stunning looking flagship LGA2066 motherboard, the Racing X299GT9. Built in the E-ATX form-factor, the board features a well-spaced out layout, and draws power from a pair of 8-pin EPS power connectors, and a 6-pin PCIe, besides 24-pin ATX. It conditions it for the CPU with a 14-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, and seven PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/x8/x4/x4/x4/x4).

Storage connectivity on the BIOSTAR Racing X299GT9 includes two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots (stacked), two 32 Gb/s U.2 ports, and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Connectivity includes a 10 GbE connection driven by Intel X550AT processor), a second 1 GbE driven by Intel i219-V, USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (one each type-A and type-C), and six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0. The onboard audio features a Hi-Fi circuit. The board is peppered with RGB LEDs and additional headers.

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z Pictured

It looks like MSI is re-positioning the "Z" brand extension from its Gaming series over to its more coveted Lightning series. The company unveiled its flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z. This air-cooled monstrosity is over 30 cm long, 1.5x standard height, and close to 4 slots thick. Its combines a custom-design PCB MSI hasn't used on any of its cards, yet, with its new-generation Tri-Frozr cooler.

The custom-design PCB features a massive VRM which draws power from a trio of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Out of the box, the card runs at 1582 MHz core, 1695 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.12 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory; while a software-activated "Lightning" mode runs it at a staggering 1607 MHz core, 1721 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.12 GHz memory; putting it in the league with some of the fastest GTX 1080 Ti cards money can buy. This card could be priced close to the $1000-mark.

ASUS PRIME X299-A Motherboard Pictured

ASUS showed off its PRIME X299-A socket LGA2066 motherboard. The PRIME series consists of ASUS' mainline motherboards, and a consistent product design theme follows through the entire lineup. We reckon that the PRIME X299-A will be the "entry-level" socket LGA2066 offering by ASUS, topped by the PRIME X299-PRO and PRIME X299-Deluxe. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and a 4-pin ATX power connector. It uses a simple 8-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. The LGA2066 socket is wired to eight DDR4 DIMM slots, in addition to three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/NC or x16/x8/x8). Two close-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and an x1 slot make for the rest of the expansion.

Storage connectivity includes two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots (one 80 mm and the other 110 mm), and eight SATA 6 Gb/s. There's just the one gigabit Ethernet interface driven by an Intel I219-V controller, and an onboard audio solution featuring Realtek ALC1220 (120 dBA SNR) CODEC, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. This board could be priced around the $200 mark.

GIGABYTE BRIX VR BNi7G6-1060 Pictured

GIGABYTE updated the BRIX UHD SFF desktop it showed off in 2016, with the new BRIX VR BNi7G6-1060, a desktop with actual gaming credentials, targeted at VR gaming. The BNi7G6-1060 is based on the same cuboidal chassis as the BRIX UHD, with updated hardware - 7th gen Core "Kaby Lake" mobile processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics (not sure if 3 GB or 6 GB), two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, two 32 Gb/s M.2-2280 slots, 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI 2.0 display output, and USB 3.1 type-C ports.

GIGABYTE Z270X Aorus Gaming 9 Pictured, Too

In addition to the X299 Aorus Gaming 9, GIGABYTE showed off its Z270X Aorus Gaming 9, its flagship socket LGA1151 motherboard based on the current Z270 Express chipset. With its nomenclature, GIGABYTE appears to have relegated "Aorus" to a brand-extension, rather than an overarching brand by itself. The Z270X Aorus Gaming 9 is packed to the brim with features. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors; conditioning it for the CPU with a massive 24-phase VRM, with a liquid-cooling ready heatsink. This board features a PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express gen 3.0 x48 bridge chip, which takes in the x16 PEG link from the CPU, and puts out four x16 slots (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8), with support for 3-way and 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.

Storage options are aplenty, with two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots with NVMe RAID and Optane support, two 32 Gb/s U.2 ports, two 16 Gb/s SATA-Express ports, and ten SATA 6 Gb/s ports. This board features the same ultra high-grade AMP-UP onboard audio solution as the X299 Gaming 9, with a 127 dBA SNR CODEC made by ESS, the highest-grade audio capacitors money can buy, and three user-replaceable OPAMPs. The board will feature a plethora of CPU and memory overclocking features, and GIGABYTE's RGB Fusion LED lighting system. It goes on sale some time in June.

GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Gaming 9 Motherboard Detailed

Here's the first picture of the GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Gaming 9 motherboard, a TechPowerUp-exclusive. This socket LGA2066 motherboard is ready for upcoming Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" 4-core, and "Skylake-X" 6-core, 8-core, 10-core, and 12-core processors. Based on Intel X299 Express chipset, this board draws power from two 8-pin EPS power connectors, besides 24-pin ATX. This could become the norm with X299 motherboards. There could either be a second 8-pin EPS or a second 4-pin ATX connector. A 12-phase VRM conditions power.

The LGA2066 socket is wired to four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, which can be configured as electrical x8/x8/x8/x8 or x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 with "Skylake-X" 10-core and 12-core chips; or x8/NC/x8/x4 or x16/NC/NC/x4 with "Kaby Lake-X" quad-core and "Skylake-X" 6-core and 8-core chips. The 5th x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the PCH. There are plenty of storage options, including two 32 Gb/s M.2 (up to 80 mm) slots, a 32 Gb/s M.2 (up to 110 mm) slot, with native NVMe RAID and Optane support; and eight SATA 6 Gb/s. The board features ASMedia ASM3142 USB 3.1 controller with type-A and type-C ports on the rear panel, as well as additional ports through headers.
Sunday, May 28th 2017

Intel Cuts Price of Core i3-7350K Overclocker-friendly Dual-core Chip

Over the weekend, Intel cut the retail price of its overclocker-friendly dual-core chip, the Core i3-7350K. The chip is now priced at USD $149, down from its launch price of $184. Based on the 14 nm "Kaby Lake" silicon, the i3-7350K is designed to target the performance-segment gaming PC crowd by offering two cores clocked extremely high out of the box, which in Intel's calculation could prove sufficient to power gaming at 1080p or even 1440p. Then there's always the joy of overclocking, thanks to its unlocked base-clock multiplier.

The Core i3-7350K features out of the box clock speeds of 4.20 GHz. Turbo Boost isn't available to the Core i3 brand. The dual-core chip features HyperThreading, enabling 4 logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. It also gets 4 MB of shared L3 cache. Its $184 launch price may have been rendered untenable by competing AMD Ryzen 5-1500X and Ryzen 5-1400 quad-core parts priced at $189 and $169, respectively, which not just give you two more cores, but also double or quadruple the L3 cache, and unlocked multipliers. Unlike the two Ryzen 5 quad-core parts, the Core i3-7350K retail package lacks a stock cooler, escalating its cost by at least another $20 for a decent cooler, if you don't have one. These factors may have driven the price-cut.
Saturday, May 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Two 16-core AMD Threadripper Parts Listed Online

Ahead of their May 29 unveiling at AMD's pre-Computex 2017 show in Taipei, and their scheduled market availability for Summer 2017, two 16-core AMD Threadripper processor SKUs surfaced as online-store listings, on Greek online retailer Skroutz. These include the AMD Threadripper 1998, and the AMD Threadripper 1998X. The listings don't come with price-tags.

Some specifications of the two SKUs were revealed, too. To begin with, both chips feature 16 cores, and SMT enables 32 logical CPUs for the OS to address. The Threadripper 1998 is clocked at 3.20 GHz, with an unknown boost clock; while the 1998X is clocked higher, at 3.50 GHz, with unknown boost clocks. The "X" in the model number could denote XFR, which could unlock higher automated overclocks than the boost clock. Both chips are listed with AMD socket SP3r2 support, AMD's upcoming 4,094-pin LGA socket.

Source: DigiWorthy
Friday, May 26th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
SSD
Storage

iKBC F87 RGB Keyboard

The iKBC F87 RGB is a full RGB backlit ten-key-less keyboard from a group of enthusiasts in Taiwan who wanted a solid keyboard without sacrificing much. It features backlit doubleshot PBT keycaps, two color options, four genuine Cherry MX switch options, and driver-less backlighting control.

Intel "Gemini Lake" SoC Detailed

Intel is giving final touches to its next-generation "Gemini Lake" SoC, which will be sold under the Celeron and Pentium brands, and will succeed the current-generation "Apollo Lake" SoC. Built on a refined 14 nm process, the chip features a TDP of just 6W for the mobile variant, and 10W for the SFF desktop, but boasts of improved performance-per-Watt than its predecessor, translating into direct performance gains.

To begin with, "Gemini Lake" will embed a dual-core or quad-core CPU based on Intel's "Goldmont Plus" micro-architecture. A Goldmont Plus core isn't physically different from the current-gen "Goldmont," but apparently doubles the L2 cache to 4 MB from the existing 2 MB, and takes advantage of process-level improvements to lower power-draw, which Intel is using to bump up the CPU clock speeds.

SoftBank Grabs 4 Billion Dollar Stake in NVIDIA, Becomes 4th Largest Shareholder

NVIDIA has seen impressive growth over the past year in all sectors, and not just the usual ones such as PC gaming. Deep learning, Artificial Intelligence, all these have seen growth with the chip maker presenting some compelling products over the past year.

This growth has apparently garnered some attention from investment group SoftBank, whom have just placed a nice 4 Billion dollar investment in the company in exchange for a 4.9 percent stake. This amount is carefully calculated: It's pretty much the largest amount they can invest without having to seek regulatory approval in the United States. This also makes SoftBank NVIDIA's 4th largest shareholder, and is in line with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son's plan to become the biggest investor in technology over the next decade.

It's surely a vote of confidence in the chip maker in the most direct language possible: Money. Furthermore, one has to ask if this is not the beginning of more investments from SoftBank in the future.

Source: bloomberg.com

HyperX Completed Gaming Peripheral Product Lines

As eSports and gaming community getting prosperous, gamers nowadays tend to spend longer time playing, hence in need of gaming gears with higher quality. HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology, is dedicated to bringing the best gaming experience to Pros and casual gamers alike. Since the first Cloud Gaming Headset launched in April 2014,HyperX surpassed 2-million headset sales mark in three short years, and then successfully expanded the product lines to gaming mouse pads and keyboards. As PulseFire FPS Gaming mouse completes the peripheral family in 2017, HyperX is now ready to offer gamers all the required peripherals for the best gaming setup.

HyperX complete FPS family is designed to meet the specific requirements of gamers. PulseFire FPS Gaming Mouse provides gamers accurate tracking and fast response time with PixArt 3310 sensor and Omron switches. Solid-built HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard is a perfect match for mice movement with its small footprint design, maximizing desktop space. Furthermore, gamers looking for competitive edge will need a pair of decent headsets, where HyperX Cloud Revolver S can easily fit in. With studio-grade sound stage and Plug N Play virtual Dolby Surround 7.1 audio, Cloud Revolver S helps gamers easily identify the location of enemies and win every battle.

ID-Cooling Announces the Auraflow 240 CPU Cooler

ID-COOLING a cooling solution provider focusing on thermal dissipation and fan technology research and production for over 10 years, announced AURAFLOW 240 AIO water cooler, featuring RGB lighting on both the pump and fans at the same time synchronizing with motherboard RGB control.

The pump is designed with a simple C character with an improved light diffuser which can provide smooth and even lighting effect. Copper base contacts CPU to help the heat transfer. Micro fin submerged design increases the heat dissipation surface. The dimension of the whole water block is Ф65×36mm. Solid connectors are used on both ends of the premium sleeved tubing, more reliable & performance efficient. Inside the tubing is self-contained highly efficient and eco-friendly liquid coolant.

NVIDIA Announces GeForce MX150 Laptops: Supercharged For Work and Play

Remember that MX150 mobile graphics card we covered recently? NVIDIA has just let the cat out of the bag, with an announcement that seemingly confirms the specs we were expecting. NVIDIA is selling this mobile GPU's space as the expected IGP-upgrade, citing up to 3x superior performance-per-Watt compared to previous-generation Maxwell-based GeForce 940MX laptops. In other words, GeForce MX150 enables thinner laptops that run applications faster while sipping less power.

AMD Announces AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 - Supports up to 4000 MHz Memory Clocks

You've probably heard of AMD's AGESA updates by now - the firmware updates that are ironing out the remaining kinks in AMD's Ryzen platform, which really could have used a little more time in the oven before release. However, kinks have been disappearing, the platform has been maturing and evolving, and AMD has been working hard in improving the experience for consumers and enthusiasts alike. As a brief primer, AGESA is responsible for initializing AMD x86-64 processors during boot time, acting as something of a "nucleus" for the BIOS of your motherboard. Motherboard vendors take the core capabilities of AGESA updates and build on them with their own "secret sauce" to create the BIOS that ultimately populate your motherboard of choice. The process of cooking up BIOS updates built on the new AGESA will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but AMD's Robert Hallock says you should be seeing BIOSes based on this version halfway through the month of June - if your vendor isn't already providing a Beta version of some kind.

This new AGESA update code, version 1.0.0.6, should be just up the alley of enthusiasts, however, in that it adds a grand total of 26 new parameters for memory configuration, improving the compatibility and reliability of DRAM, especially for memory that does not follow the industry-standard JEDEC specifications (e.g. faster than 2667, manual overclocking, or XMP2 profiles). Below you'll find the 26 parameters that were introduced.

Swiftech Intros Apogee Drive 2 with AM4 Support

Swiftech today released the Apogee Drive 2 CPU water-block with integrated pump, which now comes with support for AMD socket AM4. A successor to the second-generation Apogee HD pump-block, the Apogee Drive 2 features increased surface area for heat dissipation to the coolant, and features a higher flow MCP35X integrated-pump, with hydraulic bearings. The G1/4 inlet and exhausts can turn within a 90° angle. The Swiftech logo ornament on top of the block features an RGB lighting element (simple 3-color). Besides AM4, the Apogee Drive 2 supports LGA2011(v3), LGA115x, LGA1366, and LGA775, besides other AMD sockets, such as AM3(+) and FM2(+). Available now, it is priced at US $138.95.

SAPPHIRE Brings NITRO Gear and Thunderbolt 3 Accessories to Computex 2017

SAPPHIRE Technology is unveiling brand new products at Computex 2017. The SAPPHIRE NITRO Gear Series will provide SAPPHIRE users with more customization options than ever, with LED fans as well as new backplate & shroud sets. After the enthusiastic reception of the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition, SAPPHIRE will offer a Special Edition version with blue shroud and backplate, and high factory overclock as part of its regular offer. For ultrabook owners, SAPPHIRE is bringing new Thunderbolt 3 dongles with 2x DisplayPort or 2x HDMI outputs.

Accessories for NITRO-charged gamers
Demand for personalization in PC gaming hardware is increasing. To meet it, SAPPHIRE is introducing a brand-new NITRO Gear Series of accessories. To begin with, the company will offer extra LED fans (with dual-ball bearing) in 3 backlight colors - white, red and blue. SAPPHIRE users can easily swap their stock fans with the SAPPHIRE Quick Connect system. Packs with one 95 mm fan in selected colors will be available to buy. The fans are compatible with all SAPPHIRE NITRO+ and Pulse RX 580 / 570 models as well as NITRO/NITRO+ RX 480 / 470 models.

Rosenblatt Securities: "Buy" Rating to AMD Stock, "Sell" for Intel

On the back of impressive performance, yield, and cost metric for AMD's market-warping Ryzen and server-shaking EPYC processors, securities firm Rosenblatt Securities' Hans Mosesmann has affirmed a "Buy" rating for AMD's stock, while saddling Intel with a seldom-seen "Sell". All in all, there have been a number of changes in Intel's market ratings; there seems to be a downgrade trend towards either "Hold" or "Sell" scenarios compared to the usual "Buy" ratings given by hedge funds and financial analysts - ratings which are undoubtedly affected (at least in part) by AMD's Ryzen and EPYC execution.

MSI, ASUS, ASRock and Gigabyte Tease Their X299 Motherboards for Computex

Disclaimer: It's currently unclear whether or not the majority of these are actual X299 motherboards. Remember MSI's GODLIKE tease, which was expected to be a X299 motherboard due to the number of PCIe slots on offer, but ended up being a Z270-based one? Well, we remember, hence why we start with this disclaimer to pour some cold water on expectations. However, there is one model that can be said to be a X299 offering pretty confidently: MSI's tease of a new Gaming Pro motherboard, which shows the four RAM slots as close to the I/O bracket: a design usually reserved for quad-channel supporting platforms. Port design in the PCIe and M.2 fronts seems similar to the GODLIKE Z270, but it would seem that MSI has designed another kind of an M.2 Shield interface, which now encircles a PCIe port while cooling two simultaneous M.2 SSDs.

The next motherboard, which we can't confirm is really a X299 based-one, is teased by ASUS, under its Republic of gamers branding, which shows the integration a an LCD screen in the motherboard footprint. The LCD seems basic enough, and could be useful so as to visually check operating frequencies and temperatures, though ASUS naturally had to add their ROG bling to it. Seems like simple LED support was too 2016 for them.

EVGA Teases GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|ngp|n Graphics Card

EVGA teased some of the first pictures of its upcoming flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|ngp|n (kingpin) graphics card, designed by the renowned overclocker himself. The card features all of the iCX technology innovations EVGA made, plus some of the highest-grade electrical components primed for LN2 overclocking, and external overclocking modules such as the EVBot. The company will unveil the card at its Computex 2017 booth.

JPR: GPU Shipments Decrease -4.5% YoY; Desktop Decreases -13.5%, Mobile Rises 2%

Jon Peddie Research has released another of their interesting GPU market analysis, which the analyst firm pegs as currently gearing up to a strong Q3. However, this gearing-up comes on the back of a "moderate" quarter, which in reality means there was a seasonal decrease of -17.5% in overall GPU shipments compared to last quarter. This -17.5% decrease takes from a -25% decrease in AMD products, Nvidia decreased -26%, and -14% in Intel's products. This translates into a YoY decrease of -4.5% in overall GPU shipments, with a whole -13.5% in desktop platforms and the saving grace in the 2% rise in mobile GPU shipments. Overall discrete GPU market share is increasing compared to their iGPU counterparts, for the third consecutive quarter.

Intel showed the highest gain in the quarter, in a market that seems to have to have returned to normal seasonal cycles. This quarter was appropriately down (normally it is flat to down), and the Gaming PC segment, where higher-end GPUs are used, was once again the bright spot in the overall PC market for the quarter. JPR sets the tablet craze as ending, bringing much needed stability to the PC market, as users realize a tablet is useful for a lot of things, but can never replace a PC for performance, screen size, or upgradability.
Thursday, May 25th 2017

EK Water Blocks Introduces Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Series FC Blocks

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing two EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Aorus water blocks that are compatible with GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti based graphics cards. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under full load and high overclocks. EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Aorus water block features a central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.
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