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SteelSeries and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Announce Exclusive Partnership
Friday, March 23rd 2018

Today's Reviews

Gaming PC

Antec Launches the P6: Micro-ATX Chassis Featuring Glass Panel, Logo Projector

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, presents the latest mid tower of their award-winning Antec Performance Series: the Antec P6. The case is now commercially available from 59€ (suggested retail price including VAT).

Light It Up
The latest addition to Antec's renowned Performance Series offers a smooth and streamlined appearance - ideal for a versatile micro-ATX build that fits every environment. The compact powerhouse measures 470mm x 200mm x 405mm (DxWxH) and is compatible with micro-ATX and ITX motherboards. The P6 supports VGA cards with a length of up to 390 mm and features a built-in LED logo projector to highlight the desktop set-up. The 4 mm tempered glass side panel makes it easy to show off the build.

EPIC Games Shows off Homonymous Raytracing Proof of Concept Videos

EPIC delivered their "The State of Unreal" presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week (which had a great deal much time devoted to raytracing technologies). EPIC Games has been at the forefront of graphics development for some years now. Their engines (alongside a few other key players in the industry) routinely push the boundaries of graphical fidelity. And naturally, something would be amiss if they weren't jumping on the raytracing bandwagon as well with some of the most impressive proof of concept videos I've ever seen in real-time generated graphics. The company took their time, then, to unveil their artistic interpretations of real-time ray tracing, motion capture and real-time facial animation mapping. Cue many videos, after the break.

Thermaltake Launches Pacific CL Series Copper Radiators

Thermaltake, a leading brand in PC cooling solutions, today released the latest copper radiator lineup - Pacific CL360, Pacific CL420 and Pacific CL480. Available in 360mm, 420mm and 480mm, the Pacific CL Series utilizes an extremely thick radiator with a high-density copper fin design and brass tank to assure the best cooling capacity. The radiators are lighter and more durable than most copper radiators on the market thanks to the stainless steel made side panels that guarantee durability as well as reduce the weight. The integrated G1/4" threads are optimized for easy installation while rigid connections ensure leak-resistant measures are in place. With an ideal mounting, fitting and flow set-up, the radiators meet your cooling needs in every way!
Thursday, March 22nd 2018

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
CORSAIR K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

CORSAIR K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

CORSAIR joins the higher-end wireless keyboard market with the K63 Wireless, a TKL mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches, configurable blue backlight, a reliable and powerful software driver, and fast wireless response times despite the industry standard encryption that has been built in for security. At $110, it aims to provide convenience, features, and performance without breaking the bank.

Mushkin Announces New "Source" SSD Product Line

Mushkin Enhanced MFG, an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance computer products, is announcing the Mushkin Source Series, a new line of solid state drives (SSDs) for the retail, e-tail, system integrator, and channel markets. The Source Series features a powerful, yet cost-effective design suitable for a wide-range of applications.

"The market has never been more ready for SSDs," says Brian Flood, Director of Product Development for Mushkin Enhanced MFG. "With the ultimate balance of value, capacity, and performance, the Source Series leverages all of the great benefits expected from an SSD without breaking the bank."

AMD Announces Radeon Rays and Radeon GPU Profiler 1.2 at GDC 2018

AMD announced at GDC widened support for Radeon Rays with Unity Lightmapper. Its open-source, high efficiency, high performance GPU-accelerated ray tracing software helps game developers to achieve higher visual quality and stunningly photorealistic 3D images in real-time. Radeon ProRender now supports real-time GPU acceleration of ray tracing techniques mixed with traditional rasterization-based rendering, to combine the value of ray tracing with the interactivity of rasterization.

For gaming, ray tracing is in its early stages. For professional applications, however, real-time ray tracing is a well-established rendering technique. Today, AMD is announcing ProRender support for real-time GPU acceleration of ray tracing techniques mixed with traditional rasterization based rendering. Now built on Vulkan, ProRender is continuing to enable developers to deliver interactive photorealistic graphics. We are actively engaging with professional developers to make real-time visualization a reality.

Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza Free Until April 3

IO Interactive just released the Hitman Spring Pack on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Players can redeem it for free starting from today until April 3. The Hitman Spring Pack includes the Sapienza location, which is basically Episode 2 of the six-episode saga. Apart from the story mission, players will also get access to the prequel, which includes two story missions, and other features. If you decide to purchase the full game later on, your progress will carry over without hiccups. PC owners can add the Hitman Spring Pack to their Steam library over at the game's Steam page. If you already own Episode 1 from the December giveaway, you might run into some problems when trying to redeem Episode 2. In that case, you can go to SteamDB and click the Free button to add Episode 2 to your Steam library.

Logic Supply Launches CL200 Apollo Lake-Powered Mini-PCs

Global computer hardware manufacturer Logic Supply has unveiled their CL200 Ultra Small Form Factor computer (www.logicsupply.com/cl200), built to power innovation at the network's edge. Surrounded by an ultra-durable cast aluminum enclosure, and configurable with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 4G connectivity, the CL200 has been engineered to bring reliability to the Internet of Things.

"IoT and Edge projects require flexibility, connectivity and dependability," said Logic Supply Director of Engineering Michael Kleiner. "The CL200 is our smallest fanless system ever, and represents the next generation of IoT computing by combining connection flexibility and efficient performance in an affordable, highly-reliable platform."

PowerColor Announces the Red Dragon RX Vega 56

TUL has introduced the newest PowerColor Red Dragon RX Vega 56 8GB HBM2. This card complements the already successful Red Devil Vega cards offering a more valuable solution in an environment of rising prices without compromising performance, reliability, or cooling performance.

This card has a shorter PCB, mainly due to cooling efficiency. The Devil series has a much larger Cooling, which works amazingly well, but TUL wanted to have something more affordable yet having an extremely efficient cooling ability, which shortening the PCB helped to balance the lower cooling wattage dissipation compared to Devil card. In their testing, this card is the quietest card they've ever manage for Vega. It is powered by AMD's gaming VEGA architecture offering the blazing performance at the highest resolutions with uncompromised graphic details. PowerColor Red Dragon RX VEGA 56 features a GPU boost clock of 1478Mhz while clocking at 800Mhz on 8Gb 2048Bit of ultra energy efficient HBM2 memory.

Corsair Launches 2018 Edition Hydro Series H60 Liquid CPU Cooler

Corsair today announced a new addition to its bestselling Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, the Hydro Series H60, the H60 offers all the Hydro Series essentials to keep your CPU running fast, cool and quiet.

Fully updated for 2018, the new H60's 120mm radiator and multi-CPU socket mounting make it the ideal choice for those stepping up to liquid cooling for the first time, easily fitting into almost any enthusiast case to deliver performance CPU cooling. Finished with distinguished styling and ready to cool today's demanding processors, the H60 offers all the Hydro Series essentials to keep your CPU running fast, cool and quiet. Sharing the same next-generation Hydro Series design as the award-winning Hydro Series H150i PRO and H115i PRO, the H60's pump cap is LED backlit in white to add a touch of brilliance to your system. Inside, the H60's thermally optimized cold plate and low-noise pump efficiently transfer heat away from the CPU to be exhausted by the radiator and quickly expelled from the case.

NVIDIA Expects Partners to Release 4K, 144 Hz G-Sync Displays With HDR in April

Reports have started doing the rounds that users might finally see NVIDIA's dream for 4K, 144 Hz gaming come to fruition as early as next month. NVIDIA's approach towards establishing a platform of a premium 4K gaming experience meant that manufacturers - of which ASUS and Acer are two of the foremost examples for this story - were forced to opt for a single panel solution, based on AU Optronics' M270QAN02.2 AHVA panel. This is because NVIDIA wanted gamers to be treated to a fully integrated solution, that boasted of features such as 3840×2160 resolution, a 144 Hz refresh rate, a 1000-nits brightness, a direct LED backlighting system with 384 zones, and feature a quantum dot film to enable HDR10 and coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

However, with such stringent requirements, NVIDIA monitor partners would have to accept what constraints might arise from the panel manufacturer's side of the equation, which ultimately, resulted in a delay for the manufacturer's models - Acer Predator X27 and ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ - from a 2017 release date to what is now expected to be a firm, April 2018 one. Gamers might thus be in for the impending release of some of the best monitors in the industry when it comes to a premium, high refresh-rate gaming experience. Now, where are those mainstream OLED panels with at least 900 nits brightness I wanted to get my hands on?

Intel Previews True Optane M.2 SSD Geared for Enterprise

At the Open Compute project Summit, Intel previewed their upcoming Optane SSD DC P4801X, the company's true M.2, Optane-based SSD for enterprise deployments. Intel has managed to reduce the footprint for their flagship, U.2 form-factor Optane SSD DC P4800X, while increasing the available NAND capacity from their current caching solutions (800p and 900p Optane SSDs).

The new, upcoming M.2 SSD's controller features a 7-channel architecture to improve performance as much as possible, deployed in 375 GB drives, through use of seven quad-die packages of 3D XPoint memory. For the moment, there are no pricing or performance metrics to be talked about. However, this solution marks the first in a general consumer-available form-factor, and could be prototyped for a future, mainstream-hitting Optane SSD.

4A Games' Metro Exodus to be First AAA Game to Feature NVIDIA's RTX Technology

After the world was introduced to the Microsoft and NVIDIA partnership to bring real time raytracing solutions to DirectX 12 via NVIDIA's RTX initiative, we now have confirmation of what is expected to be the first game studio - and AAA game experience - to feature the technology. In a post from their official Twitter account, 4A Games has announced that they are collaborating with NVIDIA to bring RTX's effects to their upcoming Metro: Exodus open-world video game.

The company further warned users to keep at attention towards the impending release of a proof of concept video to be released during GDC. 4A Games is one of those companies that has been delivering incredible experiences through and through, and has already dabbled with NVIDIA's technologies in the past (particularly with their first game, Metro 2033). Here's hoping that AMD can work its drivers into great performance levels in supporting this DX12 technology on their graphics cards as well.

ADATA XPG launches the Gaming SX8200 PCIe M.2 2280 SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched the XPG SX8200, its fastest consumer SSD to date. It arrives in a compact M.2 2280 form factor and uses the ultra-fast PCIe3x4 interface to deliver up to 3200MB/s read and 1700MB/s write - which is perfect for gamers, overclockers, and PC DIY enthusiasts in pursuit of unsurpassed performance! SX8200 employs the latest 2nd generation 64-layer 3D NAND Flash for improved reliability and ships in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB.
Wednesday, March 21st 2018

Today's Reviews


GeIL Super Luce RGB SYNC Gaming Memory Now Supports Most Motherboard Lighting Control Apps

One of the world's premier PC components and peripheral device manufacturers, GeIL, has announced that their popular Super Luce RGB Sync Gaming Memory Series now perfectly supports the ASUS AURA lighting control app allowing users to enjoy the seamless RGB lighting effects from the motherboard, RGB light strips, and the memory all in perfect synchronization. Super Luce RGB Sync Gaming Memory also supports GIGABYTE Fusion and MSI Mystic Light on selected motherboards.

"GeIL is a pioneer in the computer component and peripheral industry, and the company's team is proud to announce the streamlined functionality of their Super Luce RGB Sync Gaming Memory system. This highly anticipated platform offers gamers the lighting capabilities they demand," Said Jennifer Huang, VP of Global Sales and Marketing.

Ubisoft Manages to Fight Off Vivendi's Hostile Takeover Attempt

Adding to today's Ubisoft-related news, a report via Polygon has placed the company as having finally bested Vivendi's hostile takeover attempt. if you'll recall, this is an on-again, off-again "love" affair from Vivendi towards Ubisoft, and was based on the fact that vivendi controlled the biggest stake in Ubisoft shares than any other shareholder, at 27.27%.

I say was, because Vivendi's share of Ubisoft is being divested by the former, following a deal that was signed between Vivendi and Ubisoft. The way this was done was as follows: Ubisoft itself is buying back as much as 8.1% of its shares from Vivendi from 2019 through 2021. Guillemot Brothers SE - which represents Ubisoft's founding Guillemot family - is buying an extra 2.7% of the company in a cash transaction with Vivendi. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - an independent organization that administers pensions for about 318,000 teachers in Canada - is acquiring a 3.4% stake, and Tencent (the Shenzhen, China-based company that is the world's largest gaming company by revenue) is buying an additional 5% of the company.

CTS-Labs Posts Ryzen Windows Credential Guard Bypass Proof-of-concept Video

CTS-Labs, following up on Tuesday's "Masterkey" exploit proof-of-concept video, posted a guide to bypassing Windows Credential Guard on an AMD Ryzen-powered machine. We once again begin in a privileged shell session, of an AMD-powered machine whose Secure Processor that has been compromised using admin privileges, by exploiting it using any of the 13 vulnerabilities chronicled by CTS-Labs. Mimikatz, a tool that is used by hackers to steal network credentials, should normally not work on a machine with Windows Credential Guard enabled. Using a modified version of Mimikatz, the CTS-Labs researchers are able to bypass Windows Credential Guard (which relies on hardware-level security features present on the processor), leveraging the AMD Secure Processor malware microcode they wrote.
The proof-of-concept video follows.

Ubisoft Welcomes Spring with Special Sale

Ubisoft is holding a special Spring sale over at their Ubi Store. The French video game publisher is offering discounts up to 75% on some of their games, DLCs, and other merchandise including clothing and collectibles. Titles from the Assassin's Creed, Tom Clancy, Far Cry, Splinter Cell, and Watch Dog franchises carry some juicy discounts. Some might find the Assassin's Creed Origins deal quite tempting as the game is currently at half-price. The Ubisoft Spring Sale isn't exclusive to the PC crowd. Console owners can get in on the fun as well. The majority of the discounts should be valid worldwide, although some might be restricted to certain regions. Here are a few of our recommendations.

CD Projekt Red Opens Wroclaw Studio to Help Develop Cyberpunk 2077

Located in the city of Wrocław, south-western Poland, the new studio will join forces with CD PROJEKT RED Warsaw and Cracow, and bolster development of Cyberpunk 2077 - the upcoming futuristic AAA role-playing game.

"Wrocław is one of the biggest and most technologically advanced cities in Poland and a playing field for serious creative talent. I think the scope of our current and future projects, as well as the overall package we're bringing in, will pull in people who were hesitant to move to Warsaw or Cracow." - says Adam Kiciński, President and Joint CEO, CD PROJEKT Capital Group. "The founding dev team of CDPR Wrocław is already pretty stellar, but I still can't wait to see what talents we'll discover in new people along the way." - Kiciński adds.

Experience High-Fidelity Gaming Audio with Sennheiser's New GSP 500 Gaming Headphones

Gamers want to be completely immersed in their game, where everything fades into the background and the world of the game becomes reality. For those chasing this ultimate thrill, Sennheiser has created the new GSP 500. The newest addition to the audio specialist's acclaimed gaming range, the new open acoustic headset is so comfortable that you barely notice wearing it, while its incredibly realistic, natural sound places you at the heart of the action. With improved ergonomics, microphone performance and exceptional durability, the GSP 500 ensures a brilliantly enjoyable gaming experience.

The GSP 500 features a new, improved open speaker system designed and manufactured by Sennheiser that delivers a natural sound performance, balancing excellent clarity with an enhanced low frequency response that adds excitement to the gaming audio. Specially positioned speakers within the ear cups channel the sound directly into the ears to ensure the best possible spatial representation and awareness of the gaming environment.

QSAN Introduces Three New Members of the XCubeNAS XN5000 Series

Today, QSAN Technology Inc. launched three new members of the XCubeNAS XN5000 Series: The XCubeNAS XN5008T, XN5008R, and XN5012R. These powerful and highly capable rackmount and tower servers provide businesses with fast data processing speeds and the option to scale data storage capacity as their business grows.

"These three new additions to the XN5000 Series offer SMB's and small enterprises the perfect high-performance, secure data storage solution," said Peggy Weng, NAS Product Manager at QSAN. "They provide premium comprehensive data protection and business services such as WORM, SED support, and multiple virtualization and data backup applications," added Weng.

Seagate Unveils the 14TB Helium-Based Exos X14 Enterprise Hard Drive

Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), a world leader in data storage solutions, today unveiled its 14TB helium-based ExosTM X14 enterprise drive at the OCP U.S. Summit 2018 in San Jose, Calif. The Seagate Exos X14 delivers high performance and greater capacity for hyperscale data centers looking to efficiently and cost-effectively manage increasing amounts of data.

Enterprises across the globe face the daunting challenge of managing a massive increase in data volume as the world is expected to create 163 zettabytes of data in 2025, according to a study by analyst firm IDC and sponsored by Seagate. As the need for hyperscale and cloud storage rises to unprecedented levels, Seagate's Exos X14 hard drive is a direct response to customer demand for increased enterprise storage capacity and efficiency.

Crytek Reveals New CRYENGINE Royalty-Based User Model

Crytek has announced a new 5% royalty-based model for CRYENGINE, alongside a range of improvements, enhancements, new learning offerings, and full access to the editor source code. Developers around the world now have complete, uninhibited, and easy access to the power of CRYENGINE, and the opportunity to have their expertise with the engine recognized.

Creators who release games using CRYENGINE V will find development faster and easier than ever before and incur costs only after $5,000 is raised in revenue. An enterprise tier will also be introduced for custom support packages and royalty buyouts. Developers currently developing on CRYENGINE 5.0-5.4 can apply for a royalty exemption if they wish to stay on the current version and not take advantage of access to the editor source code. For more information, consult the CRYENGINE FAQ pages.

Fortigis Introduces Their Ultimate AI-Driven Security Router

Fortigis Inc., today announced the launch of Fortigis, a cloud-enabled privacy & security wireless Virtual Private Network (VPN) router that patrols and controls who connects to a user's Wi-Fi network. The Indiegogo campaign for Fortigis, which is being managed by the Launchpad Agency, has a funding goal of $50,000 USD, and features limited Super Early Bird Specials of $199 as well as several other rewards for backers.

Fortigis uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to provide users online privacy and anonymity by creating a secure and private network. The secure connection encrypts all of the user's incoming and outgoing web traffic so no one can trace their online activity, protecting them against identity theft, ad targeting and having their online transactions such as online shopping or banking hijacked.

Edifier Releases the S880DB Hi-Res Audio Certified Powered Speakers

Premium audio has never looked so suave than with Edifier's brand new speakers, the S880DBs. Crafted with a high tech interior and completed with a glossy white exterior and wood side panels, these speakers will bring both a beautiful ambience and stunning aesthetic to any room. Whether as a gift for a loved one, or a treat for yourself, a set of these speakers is sure to impress.

More Kick Than You'd Believe
Accredited with Edifier's first High-Res Audio certification, the S880DB speakers are designed for people who love audio. Equipped with a titanium-laminate tweeter unit, you can expect you beautifully detailed acoustic music to play through these speakers with incredible fidelity.

TRENDnet Introduces Compact USB-C HD Docking Station

TRENDnet, a global leader in reliable SMB and consumer networking and surveillance solutions, has announced it will introduce a Mini USB-C HD Docking Cube, model TUC-DS1. The compact USB-C docking station supports high-resolution HD video, and extends or mirrors your notebook's display.

TRENDnet's Mini USB-C HD Docking Cube allows you to connect multiple USB devices, and network your laptop all from a single cable. Easily manage multiple workstation devices such as USB storage, keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, and HD monitor. Free up desk space with this compact USB-C docking station to make more room for what's really important to you.

Futuremark Showcases DirectX Raytracing Demo, Teases Upcoming 3D Benchmark Test

DirectX Raytracing (DXR) is a new feature in DirectX 12 that opens the door to a new class of real-time graphics techniques for games. We were thrilled to join Microsoft onstage for the announcement, which we followed with a presentation of our own work in developing practical real-time applications for this exciting new tech.

Accurate real-time reflections with DirectX Raytracing
Rendering accurate reflections in real-time is difficult. There are many challenges and limitations when using the existing methods. For the past few months, we've been exploring ways of combining DirectX Raytracing with existing methods to solve some of these challenges. While much of our presentation went deep into the math for our solution, I would like to show you some examples of our new technique in action.

Thermaltake Unveils View 37 RGB Edition and View 37 Riing Edition

Thermaltake, a leading premium gaming tower manufacturer, announced the immediate availability of Thermaltake View 37 RGB Edition and View 37 Riing Edition Mid-Tower Chassis. Constructed with a gull-wing window panel for internal components show-off, the View 37 Series delivers a sleek look to complement its excellent cooling. View 37 RGB Edition is preinstalled with 3 built-in Riing Plus 140mm Hardware Control fans, a Riing Plus RGB controller and a PCI controller to deliver 256-color RGB illumination and unparalleled ventilation.

More custom RGB lighting possibilities are permitted thanks to its light synchronization with enthusiasts' favorite RGB motherboard brands: Asus AURA SYNC/ Gigabyte RGB Fusion/MSI Mystic Light Sync-enabled motherboards. As to View 37 Riing Edition, it features 2 built-in Riing 14 LED Blue fans to illuminate and dissipate heat more properly. The duet doesn't disappoint when it comes to cooling potential and flexibility, with its ability to accommodate up to 8 case fans, including up to two large 200 mm fans at the front.

Samsung Introduces High-Density 6Gbps SATA SSD and 16Gb-64GB DDR4 RDIMM

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it is rolling out its PM883, the highest density datacenter SATA drive, at eight terabytes (TB). Samsung's new solid state drive (SSD) offering is the industry's first datacenter SATA drive to incorporate LPDDR4 DRAM modules and features a 6.0-gigabits-per-second (Gbps) 2.5-inch SATA interface.

The high-performance PM883 is expected to accelerate a transition in many existing enterprise datacenters to SATA-formatted SSD designs, with improved economies of scale through the use of advanced-generation V-NAND technology at higher densities.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to enable a high level of storage density with low power consumption, which thanks to the efficiency of our 64-layer V-NAND-based technology, allows us to double the capacity of current SATA storage," said Jim Elliott, corporate senior vice president, memory sales and marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. "Our expanded lineup for the PM883 will offer up to 8TB to allow optimal use in existing enterprise and cloud storage systems."
Tuesday, March 20th 2018

Today's Reviews

Gaming PC


ADATA recently boldly stepped into the crowded gaming headset market. Their first and currently top-of-the-line product is actually a bundle of three different devices - an analog gaming headset (EMIX H30), a 7.1-channel USB sound card (SOLOX F30), and a headset stand. We set out to find out whether it is worth the asking price of $200.

Initial AMD Technical Assessment of CTS Labs Research

On March 12, 2018, AMD received a communication from CTS Labs regarding research into security vulnerabilities involving some AMD products. Less than 24 hours later, the research firm went public with its findings. Security and protecting users' data is of the utmost importance to us at AMD and we have worked rapidly to assess this security research and develop mitigation plans where needed. This is our first public update on this research, and will cover both our technical assessment of the issues as well as planned mitigation actions.

The security issues identified by the third-party researchers are not related to the AMD "Zen" CPU architecture or the Google Project Zero exploits made public Jan. 3, 2018. Instead, these issues are associated with the firmware managing the embedded security control processor in some of our products (AMD Secure Processor) and the chipset used in some socket AM4 and socket TR4 desktop platforms supporting AMD processors.

Intel's 8-core Mainstream Coffee Lake-S Processor Spotted in the Wild?

A screenshot of what seems to be a higher core-count CPU from Intel has been doing the rounds, brought to us by the usual suspects. This supposedly marks the first appearance of Intel's new Coffee Lake-S processors, which should feature increased core-counts - gearing them towards stealing some of AMD's initiative. If you'll remember, the red team regained it in explosive fashion with their first generation Ryzen CPUs - and AMD is looking to double down on with the launch of their updated, 12 nm refresh Ryzen 2000 series just next month.

The new CPUs should be delivered alongside a new platform, Z390 - at the moment, a mirage that's been referenced here and there, but still has no concrete evidence towards its existence. However, it's expected that Z390 as a platform will be what Intel's Z370 was supposed to be from the very beginning - but never could. The idea that's been circulating, and which has some credit (though it should still be taken with a salty disposition), is that due to Intel's need to rush Coffee Lake out the door - so as not to compete against AMD's 8-core Zen-based CPUs with their usual cadre of 4-core, 8-thread processors - led the company to rush out the Z370 release. The idea for Z370 was simply for it to deliver, at all points in the minimum requirements, the correct power delivery hardware and mechanisms for the increased power draw that comes with the added cores. But it was, as such, absent of any real improvements - it can be interpreted, basically, as a re-branded Z270 chipset platform - and there's something to that claim, definitely. Thus Z390 will be the actual, originally planned platform for Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs, with all features - however fair that is for buyers of Intel's Z370.

Rare's Sea of Thieves Now Launched For Xbox, Windows 10

Rare's latest (and first in a long time) original, full fledged video game has just been made available. Done under the umbrella of Microsoft, Sea of Thieves promises to bring back the fun in games, with a ludicrous setting and an entire design philosophy that just speaks "fun". The first-person, multiplayer co-op and player vs. player game has both sea and land fights, treasure and player hunting, so there's enough there to sate the tastes of different players altogether.

Sea of Thieves is part of Microsoft's Game Pass subscription, which means that for $9.99 monthly, users have the chance of trying out the game and playing it, no holds barred, with no additional payment (you can always purchase it for the usual asking price of $59.99/£49.99/€69.99 - and don't you just love the price differences across currencies?) This "Games as a Service" is being hailed as one of the solutions for triple-A game development, bringing companies like Microsoft steady streams of revenue they can then re-inject into their in-house game studios. Furthermore, Sea of Thieves is part of Microsoft's Play Anywhere program - meaning a digital purchase on either Xbox or PC will grant you the ability to play it on both platforms. So go out there and walk the plan, drink rum, shoot some cannons, and drink some gallons of salt water, you old sea dog!

Marvell Introduces New NVMe Switch and SSD Controllers

Marvell, a leader in storage, networking and connectivity semiconductor solutions, today announced that it is launching innovative NVM Express (NVMe)-based chipset solutions that will accelerate the time to market for application-optimized data center SSD implementations. These new, highly-versatile building blocks can optimally address current and emerging workload storage requirements, spanning capacity, latency, performance, power and cost, to enable tailored SSD solutions for specific cloud and enterprise workloads.

The proliferation of cloud services and new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, is driving various workloads in the data center. These evolving and expanding workloads can have differing storage requirements that emerging SSD form factors are targeted to address. Marvell has developed innovative NVMe chipsets capable of powering the larger Enterprise Data Storage Form Factors (EDSFF), Next Generation Small Form Factors (NGSFF) and various customized form factors, providing the ability to increase storage capacity, performance and overall workload efficiencies.

Xilinx Unveils Their Revolutionary Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform

Xilinx, Inc., the leader in adaptive and intelligent computing, today announced a new breakthrough product category called adaptive compute acceleration platform (ACAP) that goes far beyond the capabilities of an FPGA. An ACAP is a highly integrated multi-core heterogeneous compute platform that can be changed at the hardware level to adapt to the needs of a wide range of applications and workloads. An ACAP's adaptability, which can be done dynamically during operation, delivers levels of performance and performance per-watt that is unmatched by CPUs or GPUs.

An ACAP is ideally suited to accelerate a broad set of applications in the emerging era of big data and artificial intelligence. These include: video transcoding, database, data compression, search, AI inference, genomics, machine vision, computational storage and network acceleration. Software and hardware developers will be able to design ACAP-based products for end point, edge and cloud applications. The first ACAP product family, codenamed "Everest," will be developed in TSMC 7nm process technology and will tape out later this year.

CTL Announces Three New Chromebooks

CTL, an Oregon-based company specializing in comprehensive personalized learning solutions, announced the release of three new models in a refresh of their best-selling NL-series Chromebooks all designed for use in K12 education. The CTL Chromebook NL7, the CTL Chromebook NL7T-360, and the CTL Chromebook NL7TW-360 each provide a variety of benefits to schools looking to invest in Chromebook Deployments.

All three education NL-series Chromebook models by CTL feature a rugged design including an IP41 drop rating, water resistant keyboards, and reinforced ports, hinges, and power plug. The NL series, which is CTL's premium line of Education Chromebook, also includes a tuck away handle for easy carrying, especially useful for carrying from class to class. This series also includes 32GB of storage and a DC-in USB-C Cable.

Jabra Launches the Elite 65e Noise-Cancelling Wireless Earbuds

Audio and communications technology specialist Jabra announced today that it has expanded its Elite franchise, a family of headphones and earbuds engineered for superior sound to provide the best combined voice and music experience, with the Jabra Elite 65e. These neckband wireless earbuds are engineered for best-in-class wireless calls and music. They feature Jabra's leading Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) solution, providing two levels of noise cancellation and challenging existing products in the market.

Standing on a noisy train platform? Walking through a busy downtown street? Cancel out disruptive background sound with Jabra's unrivaled total noise cancellation solution - with optimized engineering for both active and passive noise cancellation. The Jabra Elite 65e also offers incredible conversation quality with three-microphone technology (two outer microphones used for optimizing transmitted audio and one microphone in the mic box) that creates a noise-blocking zone, ensuring your voice is conveyed with crystal-clear clarity.

Lite-On to Unveil Powerful New NVRAM Hybrid Solid-State Drive at OCP 2018

LITE-ON Storage, an established leader in the rapidly expanding solid-state drive (SSD) industry, said today it will demonstrate its latest enterprise drives, the NVRAM Hybrid SSD, during the OCP U.S. Summit 2018, kicking off here today.

The new LITE-ON NVRAM Hybrid drive, slated for release this spring, is a compact high-density drive with multi-namespaces. One of the namespaces can be dedicated to NVRAM drive and the other namespace to boot drive, fully utilizing the NAND portion of the drive. This drive has a dual-use feature such that it can serve as boot drive for server with the SSD namespace and as cache with the NVRAM part of the drive, resulting in reduced overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with a better utilization rate.

"Customers tell us they need the most technologically advanced SSDs in their enterprises, but those storage solutions must also make financial sense," said Darlo Perez, Managing Director, LITE-ON Storage Group. "Our new NVRAM Hybrid SSD is capable of meeting today's demanding and time-sensitive data center requirements while maximizing TCO."

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 391.24 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA today released GeForce 391.24 WHQL software. The drivers add more optimization for "Sea of Thieves," and two new NVIDIA Freestyle post-fx filters - "Old Film" and "Tilt-Shift." The drivers address issues related to VR headsets from both HTC and Oculus, in which the headset would stop working after several application launches or resumption of system from hibernation. A bug that prevented Freestyle from being enabled on games that support it, is fixed. MPC-HC no longer stutters in the first couple of seconds of the video playback. A driver TDR error with Mozilla Firefox was fixed. A rare bug that caused stuttering on "Rise of Tomb Raider" when opening the in-game menu on GTX 1060, was fixed. Grab the drivers from the link below.

The change-log follows.

Raijintek Intros the ZOFOS EVO Chassis

Raijintek's latest release the ZOFOS EVO is a case which has been designed to be practical; featuring the latest sound insulation, magnetic covers and the option for either a fully enclosed or windowed case. This full tower case supports up to EE-ATX motherboards, 470mm GPUs and up to three 360mm radiators for a comprehensive gaming system.

QNAP Rolls Out TS-x73 Series NAS with Quad-core AMD R-Series CPUs

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the cost-effective high-performance 4-bay (TS-473), 6-bay (TS-673), and 8-bay (TS-873) TS-x73 series NAS featuring an AMD RX-421ND quad-core CPU with Turbo Core up to 3.4GHz and two PCIe slots for installing a QNAP QM2 card, wireless network card or a graphics card to extend NAS functionalities. The TS-x73 series provides small and medium businesses with an ideal NAS solution to build a private cloud for applications including high-speed data transfer, backup/recovery, virtualization, media playback and graphics display.

The TS-x73 NAS series presents a budget-friendly solution by allowing users to add more value to their NAS based on their individual needs. Through the two PCIe slots, users can install a QNAP QM2 card to add SSD caching/10GbE connectivity for boosted performance; a wireless card with WirelessAP Station app to turn the NAS into a wireless access point; or even an PCIe bus-powered graphics card to enable 4K transcoding and HDMI output for a greater media multimedia experience," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP.

TechPowerUp and Be Quiet! Win to Build Giveaway: The Winners

TechPowerUp and Be Quiet! brought you a chance to pick up either a Dark Base 700 case, or Straight Power 11 750W PSU, or both. Our Giveaway has ended, and we've picked three lucky winners from hundreds of entries. Dark Base 700 is among the quietest mid-towers in the market, and our review has shown that its acoustic dampening can significantly quieten the many noisy components your high-end build may have. The Straight Power 11 750W is its perfect match, with a design focus on low noise, without compromising on safe and clean power for your build. Without further ado, the winners:
  • Srdjan from Madison, USA - wins both a Be Quiet! Dark Base 700 case and a Straight Power 11 750W PSU
  • Mylous from Las Vegas, USA - wins a Be Quiet! Dark Base 700 case
  • Christopher from Highland, USA - wins a Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 750W PSU
A huge congrats to you three! TechPowerUp and Be Quiet! will return with more such interesting giveaways.
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