Sunday, April 30th 2017

NVIDIA to Support 4K Netflix on GTX 10 Series Cards

Up to now, only users with Intel's latest Kaby Lake architecture processors could enjoy 4K Netflix due to some strict DRM requirements. Now, NVIDIA is taking it upon itself to allow users with one of its GTX 10 series graphics cards (absent the 1050, at least for now) to enjoy some 4K Netflix and chillin'. Though you really do seem to have to go through some hoops to get there, none of these should pose a problem.

The requirements to enable Netflix UHD playback, as per NVIDIA, are so:
  • NVIDIA Driver version exclusively provided via Microsoft Windows Insider Program (currently 381.74).
  • No other GeForce driver will support this functionality at this time
  • If you are not currently registered for WIP, follow this link for instructions to join: https://insider.windows.com/
  • NVIDIA Pascal based GPU, GeForce GTX 1050 or greater with minimum 3GB memory
  • HDCP 2.2 capable monitor(s). Please see the additional section below if you are using multiple monitors and/or multiple GPUs.
  • Microsoft Edge browser or Netflix app from the Windows Store
  • Approximately 25Mbps (or faster) internet connection.

KFA2 geForce GT 1030 EXOC White Pictured, Detailed

AIB partner for NVIDIA KFA2 is renowned for the design (often polarizing) of its graphics cards, and the company seems to carry white quite close to its heart (something I don't have a problem with, actually.) Now, the company has seemingly confirmed incoming retail availability of NVIDIA's leaked GT 1030 graphics cards, with an EXOC edition of the card in question.

The EXOC white edition by KFA2 is factory overclocked out of the box, and the packaging confirms its a 2GB GDDR5 model with 64-bit memory bus. According to the source, El Chapuzas Informatico, this card is equipped with a 16nm GP108 GPU with 384 CUDA cores (not the 512 we previously reported.) This makes sense, however, as this means NVIDIA can easily carve a GT 1040 SKU from the supposed 512 CUDA-cores base design of the GP108 chip. The base clock for the KFA2 GT 1030 EXOC is 1252 MHz, with a 1506 MHz boost clock. This card is expected to go on sale for around 80€ ($87 direct conversion, but more likely a $69 price-tag.)

Source: El Chapuzas Informatico, Videocardz

EK Waterblocks Releases New Monoblock for the ASUS ROG STRIX Z270I Gaming

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing its third monoblock in one week! The new monoblock is specially made for the ASUS ROG Strix Z270I Gaming super-compact mITX motherboard. The EK-FB ASUS Z270I Strix RGB Monoblock is 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 Intel Z270 Express Chipset LGA-1151 ASUS ROG Strix Z270I Gaming 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. This water block directly cools Intel LGA-1151 socket type CPU and the power regulation (MOSFET) module as well. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Like with every EK monoblock, ASUS Z270I Strix RGB features high flow design and this monoblock can be easily used with the system using a weaker water pump as well.

G.SKILL Announces RIPJAWS KM560 MX TenKeyless Mechanical Keyboard

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is announcing the release of the RIPJAWS KM560 MX mechanical gaming keyboard. This new addition of the compact tenkeyless mechanical keyboard is designed for gamers and users who require a smaller keyboard footprint without compromising keyswitch and build quality.

Compact Keyboard Footprint: More Room for Everything Else
Perfect for anyone with limited desk space or wanting larger space for their mousepads, the ideal keyboard solution is a compact 87-key layout. The KM560 MX series shaves off 8cm (3.15in) from the KM570 series, a full-size mechanical keyboard, gives users more space to configure and choose gaming tools for each specific needs.

Silicon Power Unveils the New Dual-interface Type-C USB Flash Drive-Mobile C31

Silicon Power, a leading provider of memory storage solutions, unveils its latest addition to its dual USB flash drive portfolio - the Mobile C31. The C31 features dual-interface design with USB Type-A and Type-C connectors that enables hassle-free data transmission between "traditional" USB laptops or PCs and new-generation Type-C devices. It also lets users instantly free up to 128GB valuable storage on any Type-C ready smartphone or tablet. For data sharing and storage expansion with ease and style instead of cables or network constraints.

The drive's 360° swivel cap never gets lost and always protects the end that is not in use. And it is made with a classy diamond cut pattern that adds a lot of style to the swivel. The COB (Chip on Board) technology keeps the C31 tiny and compact as well as protected against water, vibration, and dust. Like a diamond it is made to last and comes with lifetime warranty.

AMD's RX Vega Makes an Appearance Alongside Quake Champions

The long term strategic partnership between AMD and Bethesda seems to be on full swing, with branding and marketing for both companies appearing in increasingly intertwined states (did you see that shortcut article we posted earlier in the week?) First, with Arkane Studios' Prey and Vega marketing, which gave us the first glimpse towards a release window for AMD's new high-performance graphics architecture. Now, it's another Bethesda IP, in the form of Quake Champions, that makes such an appearance.

Case in point: a leaked image from Informatica Cero, which shows packaging for what seems like a bundle of Quake Champions and AMD's RX Vega, which "brings gaming to life". The joint marketing does go hand in hand with AMD and Bethesda's partnership, so there's that, though if this was to be the packaging for a RX Vega graphics card, I have to say it seems a little too heavy-handed on the Quake side of it.

BIOSTAR Announces G330 SSDs

BIOSTAR has announced an evolution of their G300 SSDs that it introduced in August 2016. The new, revised G330 series maintains the overall design from the series it supersedes, but upgrades the controller to an SMI 2258 (from an SMI 2256). They're built on Micron's 3D TLC NAND, with a DRAM cache that boosts performance, and come in three different capacities (128, 256 and 512 GB) in a 2.5-inch form factor, with a 6.8 mm height.

The drives feature read speeds up to 565MB/s and write speeds up to 515MB/s over a SATA 6Gb/s interface, and come with a MSRP of $59 for the 128GB model (G330-128GB), $99 for the 256GB model (G330-256GB), and $169 for the 512GB model (G330-512GB).

Source:ETeknix[small]Thanks @P4-630

NVIDIA To Launch New GTX 1070, GTX 1080 GPUs on the Mobile Market

NVIDIA is apparently working on some new iterations of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 GPUs for the mobile market. These new parts should come with lower clocks than the parts that are currently on the market, as a means for system builders to be able to reduce the profile and overall thickness of their laptops whilst still being able to keep a powerful graphics card at their heart.

The new GTX 1080 is the chip more details are floating about, with some captures from NotebookCheck showing all 2560 CUDA cores enabled, but lower clocks making up a much restrained power consumption. The 1290 MHz base clock (with an unknown boost value as of this point) points to a power consumption of just 110 W (compared to 165 W on the 1556 MHz base-clock GTX 1080; the new GTX 1070 should feature a TDP of 90 W compared to its previous 120 W fully-powered variant.) This naturally means a slower GPU - the new, revised GTX 1080 scored 17000 points on 3D Mark whereas usual implementations of the card score on the vicinity of 21,000. The change in power envelope, however, would enable new notebooks, such as the showcased Acer Predator 700, to deliver more performance than some of last gen's comparable thickness laptops. Its GTX 1080-powered 18.9 mm thickness in the leaked images allows for 600 points more than some previous-generation, 29 mm laptops.

Source: NotebookCheck, Videocardz.com

Microsoft Trademarks Direct Physics - HAVOK Rebranded?

As you might recall, Microsoft bought HAVOK from Intel back in 2015, promising to "add Havok's IP to its existing tools and platforms, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Azure." Well, it would seem we are seeing the fruits of that particular seeding, with Microsoft having trademarked "Direct Physics".

With Microsoft having previously talked about integrating HAVOK with its DX12 API, that is probably the most probable scenario for this trademark. A tighter, in-DX12 integration could possibly allow for the physics workflow to have increased performance under the API, which is something we can all get behind of. However, this also begs the question as to what exactly happens to HAVOK licensing in the process. I myself wouldn't expect Microsoft to put its HAVOK tools and libraries behind a DX12 implementation wall - the number of companies who license those libraries aren't few in number. So my guess is that Microsoft is simply rebranding the HAVOK middleware for integration under its DX12 API, which could mean opening up its libraries to any game that makes use of DX12.
Friday, April 28th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

Roccat Cross Gaming Headset

The Roccat Cross is a comfortable and lovely sounding gaming headset with an interesting twist. You can remove its boom microphone and attach a secondary cable equipped with an in-line microphone, plug it into your smartphone, and use it as a mobile headset. It holds its own in both of those scenarios, which fully justifies its $70 price and then some.

MSI Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON

When you want your PC to be fast, ultra fast, you are going to look at very specific products only. One you might not look at is MSI's Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON, a board truly designed to be one of the fastest boards on the market, ready to help you reach the finish line first.

AMD Backpedals on Quake Champions Promo Link with Radeon 17.4.4 Drivers

AMD made headlines yesterday (27th April), when AMD Radeon users discovered that their GPU driver update places a promotional link to a "Quake Champions" beta signup on their desktops. The Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4 drivers leave a shortcut on your desktop which reads "Quake Champions," and has the official icon. The shortcut, however, points to a URL, which leads to a "Quake Champions" beta signup on publisher Bethesda's website. You can't opt not to see this icon during the driver setup's "custom setup" component selection page. The URL contains a referral extension, which made some people accuse AMD of trying to make money off it, a charge the company denies.

This caused major uproar in social media, with some comments calling it "adware" and AMD losing the moral high ground over NVIDIA, which marketed games through its GeForce Experience app. Sensing a PR fumble on its hands, AMD updated Radeon Software 17.4.4 drivers on its downloads page, which no longer plants the "Quake Champions" shortcut on your desktop. AMD could be testing the waters with how it could monetize its driver updates further. The company, like NVIDIA, already has game banner advertisements in the driver installer. AMD denied that it is making any money off the referral link, and that it is only using referral data to gauge activity.

Microsoft Releases FY17 Q3 Earnings - Azure Revenue Increases 93%

Microsoft just reported earnings for the last quarter, with the company reporting non-GAAP revenue of $23.6 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.73. YoY, Microsoft reported increased earnings per share of $0.11, from $0.62 in last year's quarter. Microsoft's "Intelligent Cloud" business hit $6.8 billion this quarter, up 11 percent from last year's $6.1 billion, and on its way to Microsoft's estimated $20 billion run rate by 2018. Azure revenue was up a staggering 93 percent, driven both by increased demand for the core Azure compute services as well as Azure's premium services. Azure's annual run rate is now $15.2 billion, which puts it on track to hit the $20 billion run rate Microsoft expects to achieve by 2020.

KFA2 Announces the Fastest GTX 1080 Ti - The HOF "8 Pack" Edition

Premium graphics cards these days are a dime a dozen, and KFA2 seems to be a well-regarded AIB for some more exquisite designs based on NVIDIA graphics chips. Together with OverclockersUK, KFA2 is announcing the most premium of premium GTX 1080 Ti, the Hall of Fame "8 Pack Edition", which features a full custom design with KFA2's trademark aesthetics, triple 8-pin power connectors, triple-fan and triple-slot cooler an LCD display, and the highest stock clocks from any GTX 1080 Ti model so far - a base 1645 MHz with 1759 MHz boost and 1425 MHz memory clocks.

According to OverclockersUK, due to low yields of the cherry-picked GPUs that power these graphics cards, only 5 to 10 units are expected to be sold each month. The cards are currently available for pre-order with expected shipping date of May 26th... For the clean sum of £950. A premium pricing for a premium solution, indeed. If that pricing is a little to bold for you, you can opt for an "8 Pack Approved" graphics card, which is essentially the same package on a GPU with a lower 1607 MHz base, 1721 MHz boost, and 1376 MHz memory clocks. This one should retail for a more respectful £859.99.

Source: OverclockersUK, Videocardz

Chrome 62 Really Won't Like "HTTP" Sites When In Incognito Mode

As part of Google's push towards a safer, HTTPS-encrypted web, the Chrome browser will begin marking any HTTP site as non-secure when a user browses in incognito mode. Incognito is the Chrome browser's enhanced privacy mode, which goes a long way in explaining why Google sees non-HTTPS sites as a non-secure place to visit. Save some network metadata, encrypted HTTPS connections keep the contents of the communications between the user and a web server hidden from outside parties - in normal circumstances, that is. The company is already marking HTTP web-pages that accept credit card details as not-secure, and starting October this year, the browser will do the same on every HTTP site in which the user has to input data, and for every HTTP page browsed in Incognito mode.

Interestingly, Google has advanced that traffic to pages it has marked "Not Secure" has dropped by 23%, which goes to show that such policies do impact a user's decision on whether or not to establish such a connection. In addition, Google started scrambling its search engine algorithm so as to feature HTTPS sites more prominently than sites that don't. This means that websites that see diminishing visitors should be more inclined towards a adopting the more secure, encrypted HTTPS. And in an era where every scrap of our information is deemed worthy of at least being stored and resold, I find it commendable that Google thinks every piece of information should be secured, instead of just our payment information - which even that isn't always secure.

Source: Google Security Blog, Tom's Hardware

SilverStone Announces the Vital Series VT02 - Compact Mini-STX Chassis

If you're looking for an enclosure for a media streamer or a work computer, SilverStone has just announced a compact chassis that you might be interested in. The VT02 measures 6.5 (width) x 2.87 (height) x 6.16 inches (depth). The fact that the chassis supports a mini-STX motherboard means you will not be constrained by your choice of an off-the-shelf processor - just remember that a Kaby Lake CPU is required for 4K Netflix. You can even acquire a more powerful drop-in upgrade down the road. The height of the system, however, will severely constrain your choice of cooling, but if you're looking into such a product, you know this already.

The chassis supports 2x 2.5" hard drives or SSDs, with the front panel including 1x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x USB 3.0 Type-C, and an audio and microphone jack. A vertical LED light bar on the front panel handles power-state notifications, and the case increases its air circulation through large vents on the top and sides. It sports a VESA MIS-D 75 x 75mm mounting plate, which allows this chassis to be attached to the back of your TV or monitor. The Vital Series VT02 Mini-STX has a one-year warranty, and retails for 28,90€ / $31.50.

Source: Tom's Hardware
Thursday, April 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

Aqua Computer and Rockit Delidding Tools tested on Core i7-7700K

Intel mainstream CPUs have had a bottleneck in cooling due to poor heat transfer from the CPU die to the integrated heat spreader. Thanks to new de-lidding friendly tools released recently, it is now easier than ever before to handle this yourself and get a cooler running CPU. We examine two such solutions from Rockit Cool and Aqua Computer today, both of which promise fool-proof de-lidding and re-lidding.

be quiet! Pure Base 600

The be quiet! Pure Base 600 is aimed at the purists out there. There are no colored elements or a front door, just a clean and understated design. However, do not let that fool you as the chassis offers excellent liquid-cooling capability and a great amount of storage flexibility, all while being quiet, especially thanks to the built-in fan controller.

Intel Announces Record First-Quarter Revenue of $14.8 Billion

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter revenue of $14.8 billion, up 8 percent year-over-year on a GAAP basis and 7 percent on a non-GAAP basis. Operating income was $3.6 billion, up 40 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP operating income was $3.9 billion, up 20 percent. EPS was 61 cents, up 45 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP EPS was 66 cents, up 22 percent.

The company also generated approximately $3.9 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.2 billion, and used $1.2 billion to repurchase 35 million shares of stock. Intel's board of directors has approved a $10 billion increase to Intel's share buyback program, which brings the amount currently available for future buybacks to approximately $15 billion.

Acer Unleashes Predator Triton 700 Compact Gaming Notebook

At Acer's next@acer global press conference in New York today, the company unveiled the powerful and thin Predator Triton 700 gaming notebook. The notebook's svelte 18.9 mm (.74 inch), 2.6kg (5.7 pound) aluminum chassis houses a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display and best-in-class computing technologies, striking just the right balance of size and performance without sacrificing thermals, features or rigidity.

"Building on the highly acclaimed Predator 21 X curved gaming notebook, Acer is proud to announce the new Predator Triton 700, an incredibly thin yet powerful gaming notebook," said Jerry Hou, General Manager, Consumer Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Our industry-leading AeroBlade 3D Fan with metal blades provides ultimate thermal performance, which allows us to pack massive computing power inside this ultrathin form factor without compromise."

Acer Also Announces Predator Z27 Series Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitors

Acer today announced two new 27-inch Predator gaming monitors that infuse the gaming experience with stunning visual clarity, vibrant colors, and remarkably smooth performance. The Predator X27 takes gaming to a new level with NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR at 4K resolution with a lightning-fast 144 Hz refresh rate, while the Predator Z271UV sports an 1800R curved panel and eye-tracking technology for intuitive gameplay.

Both monitors leverage Quantum Dot technology, offering a wider color range with higher brightness, deeper saturation and better accuracy to offer dramatically more vivid visuals with the Predator X27 supporting 99% of the Adobe RGB color space, and Predator Z271UV covering 130% of the sRGB color space. With a Quantum Dot film that is coated with nano-sized dots of various types that emit very specific colored lights, the new displays can produce a wider color gamut compared to standard monitors, increasing color purity and efficiency.

Acer Announces the Predator Helios 300 Gaming Notebook

At Acer's next@acer global press conference in New York today, the company debuted its new Predator Helios 300 gaming notebook line. Available with 15.6-inch or 17.3-inch displays, its matte black chassis incorporates tasteful red accents, providing a slightly edgy, fun design. Shipping with Windows 10, it offers powerful features and technologies at mid-range price points, making gaming notebooks more accessible than ever.

At the heart of the Predator Helios 300 is an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050Ti GPU combined with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 (7700HQ) or i5 processor (7300HQ) for outstanding performance. All of this processing power is supported with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory (upgradable to 32GB), a speedy SATA SSD and a 1TB HDD. An access compartment doors on the bottom of the notebooks makes it easy to upgrade memory and storage components.

Sharkoon Announces the B1 Stereo Headset

Sharkoon expands their range of gaming peripherals and introduces a solid stereo headset for demanding gamers. High quality 40 mm drivers win over not just computer gamers with its precise and powerfully specific audiophile sound. Optimum voice transmission is promised thanks to the pop filter microphone, which is also detachable.

The Sharkoon B1 Stereo Headset is all-black and leaves a solid, purist impression with its materials and workmanship. The reinforced headband, with synthetic leather and stylish stitching, is comfortably padded for optimum wear comfort. The massive height adjustors of the ear cups are made from brushed aluminium and promises corresponding longevity. Mesh metal covers decorate the outside of the matte finished ear cups. But it is the sound quality of the B1 which leaves a lasting impression. High quality, powerful 40 mm drivers are used, offering brilliant highs and sonorous bass with an audiophile sound.

Noctua Provides Free Mounting Upgrade for Intel's Upcoming LGA2066 Platform

Noctua today announced that it will continue its tradition of supplying customers with its premium-class SecuFirm2 mounting kits for novel platforms free of charge. While most current Noctua heatsinks support the new LGA2066 socket of Intel's 'Basin Falls' X299 platform for 'Skylake-X' and 'Kaby Lake-X' CPUs out of the box, older models can be upgraded with the NM-I2011 or NM-i20xx kits at no additional cost.

"We're determined to provide the best possible support to our customers and, over the years, we've sent many thousands of mounting kits free of charge to users who wanted to upgrade to new platforms", says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With Skylake-X just around the corner, we're pleased to announce that we'll extend this offer for LGA2066. Owners of older Noctua retail heatsinks that don't support LGA2011/LGA2066 out of the box will be able to upgrade to the new socket free of charge!"

Asetek Receives Award of $600K After Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Asetek today announced that it has received payment of approximately $600 thousand as awarded in a patent infringement lawsuit against CMI USA, Inc. In December 2014, the U.S. District Court unanimously ruled in favor of Asetek on all claims in a patent infringement lawsuit against CMI USA, Inc. ("CMI") involving Asetek's U.S. Patents 8,240,362 and 8,245,764. The jury awarded Asetek damages representing a 14.5% royalty on CMI's infringing sales since 2012. After an appeal by CMI, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion in April 2017 affirming the prior rulings regarding infringement, validity, damages and injunction against CMI. Payment from CMI of approximately $600,000, including interest, was received by Asetek today.

"This award signifies another successful defense of Asetek's intellectual property," said André Sloth Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. "As part of efforts to build and maintain market share, we closely review and assess all competitive offerings for infringement of our patents. We are pleased with our success in defending them."

Razer Announces Lancehead Gaming Mice

Razer has announced the addition of two new gaming mice to their repertoire, with the Lancehead Wireless Gaming Mouse and the Lancehead Tournament Edition mice. These are both essentially the same, except that the Tournament Edition is wired, while the Lancehead Wireless gaming Mouse is... You guessed it. The wireless Lancehead makes use of something Razer calls Adaptive Frequency Technology (AFT) - frequency hopping that aims to avoid congested frequencies by setting up the optimal one each time the mouse is turned on, only changing it on a as-needed basis.

Synology Announces the FlashStation FS2017 NAS

Synology today launched FlashStation FS2017, a high-performance and scalable NAS designed for enterprise usage. Capable of handling over 90,000 IOPS in 4K random writing, FS2017 is perfect for big data analysis, video post-production, virtualization, and handling any demanding database application that requires high IOPS and low latency at the same time.

FS2017 is powered by an 8-core Intel Xeon D processor together with 16 Gigabytes of DDR4 ECC RDIMM that is expandable up to 128GB. The cutting-edge hardware delivers high performance and throughput even with multitasking and multiple virtual machines hosted. Four Gigabit ports allow simple plug-and-play into existing RJ45 based networks, ensuring continual network uptime. For higher bandwidth applications, the dual 10GBASE-T ports with the option of an additional 10GbE / 25GbE / 40GbE NIC can maximize throughput and meet data-intensive requirements.

X2 Announces the T6 ATX Chassis

The T6 computer case with a contemporary and all meshed front panel, based on the 0.5mm SGCC ATX chassis structure. The contemporary front panel is minimalistic and functional with USB2.0 | 3.0 and HD Audio on the top for easy reach. This well-designed tower structure provides sufficient space for hardware installation and component cooling. The chassis structure is prepared for adequate cooling, we have pre-assembled 1*120mm blue LED cooling fan in the front of the chassis and there is further space for another 1*120mm cooling on the front, 1* 120mm cooling fan on the rear and 2* 120mm fan on the side panel for additional VGA card and GPU cooling.

The internal space design is well thought out and supports a full drive bay rack for the installation of three drive bays 3.5 inch and two drive bays 5.25 inch, additionally you can mount two SDD drives 2.5 inch. There is room for the expansion of upgrade cards up to six units. Looking for a companion on one of your many computing adventures, well the luck is in your favor with the T6 ATX powerhouse which will help you lead to victory.

Thermaltake Intros the Pacific V-GTX 1080Ti Full-coverage Water Block

Thermaltake today introduced the Pacific V-GTX 1080Ti (model: CL-W183-CU00TR-A), a full-coverage water block designed for reference-design NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. Although not mentioned in its specs-sheet, the block could also work on TITAN X Pascal and TITAN Xp graphics cards, which use the same PCB. The block is made of nickel-plated copper with a mirror finish at its GPU base, and features a clear acrylic top. The block has standard G 1/4-inch threads, with inserts along its top for LEDs. Measuring 22.6 mm x 131.2 mm x 238.5 mm (HxWxL), the block weighs about 890 g. The block also includes a back-plate made of 4 mm-thick aluminium. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVIDIA's Pascal GP108-300 GPU Pictured, Benchmarked - Powers Upcoming GT 1030

We've already covered how NVIDIA is looking to take a slice of the IGP-replacement discrete GPU market after AMD brought it back to life with the RX 550 (of which you can see some examples here). Considering how the last NVIDIA entry into this market was the GT 730, it's safe to say a refresh is past due.

The most recent information points towards a chip sporting 512 CUDA cores and a 30W TDP - absent of any auxiliary power connectors. Pricing should be close to the RX 550's, though the performance difference between both parts is still up in the air - though an average 12 FPS in Ashes of the Singularity on 1080p is nothing to write home about, even if that is expectable given the GPU's price/performance bracket. The GT 1030 is currently expected to make landing on the second week of May.

Source: Expreview, Videocardz

MSI Intros the A320M Gaming Pro Motherboard

MSI today introduced its entry-level gaming-grade socket AM4 motherboard, the A320M Gaming Pro. This board is based on the same exact PCB as the A320M Grenade, but tops it up with slightly more premium black capacitors, a pitch-black PCB (compared to brown on the A320M Grenade) and MSI's signature dragon red color scheme for some of the slots and connectors. The board could be priced slightly above the A320M Grenade. The feature-set of the two boards, however, appears to be identical.

Built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor, the A320M Gaming Pro draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the SoC using a 6-phase VRM. Expansion slots include one reinforce PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two PCIe gen 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. USB connectivity includes six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports. 6-channel HD audio (Realtek ALC887 controller) and gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111H controller) make for the rest of it. The board features red LED illumination and RGB LED headers, which can be controlled using the Mystic Light app. Expect a sub-$80 price.

AMD Releases Chipset Drivers 17.10 WHQL with Ryzen Balanced Power Plan

AMD today released its latest platform core-logic (chipset) drivers for Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. The new version 17.10 WHQL chipset drivers are particularly important for AMD Ryzen platform users, as it installs a new Windows power-management plan called "Ryzen Balanced Power." This plan is better than the "Balanced" power plan Windows ships with, in that it hands over more power-management from the OS over to the silicon-level SenseMI power-management logic of Ryzen processors, which has more fine-grained voltage and clock-gating over cores, and which would otherwise cause latency issues with OS-level power-management using P-state triggers. The power plan is detailed at length in our older article. The power-plan is installed on machines with AMD A320, B350, and X370 chipsets. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Chipset Drivers 17.10

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. The drivers also add a curious looking shortcut to your desktop (check out the image below). Grab the driver from the link below.

Edit: In case you are wondering where that Quake Champions Beta shortcut on your desktop comes from, AMD's 17.4.4 driver installation stealth-adds that to your desktop, with a bit.ly tracking link, instead of directly to the official page. Looks like AMD is making some $$ from it, a referral id is included in the final URL destination, too.
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."
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