Wednesday, January 19th 2022

NVIDIA Unlocks GPU System Processor (GSP) for Improved System Performance

In 2016, NVIDIA announced that the company is working on replacing its Fast Logic Controller processor codenamed Falcon with a new GPU System Processor (GSP) solution based on RISC-V Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This novel RISC-V processor is codenamed NV-RISCV and has been used as GPU's controller core, coordinating everything in the massive pool of GPU cores. Today, NVIDIA has decided to open this NV-RISCV CPU to a broader spectrum of applications starting with 510.39 drivers. According to the NVIDIA documents, this is only available in the select GPUs for now, mainly data-centric Tesla accelerators.
NVIDIA DocumentsSome GPUs include a GPU System Processor (GSP) which can be used to offload GPU initialization and management tasks. This processor is driven by the firmware file /lib/firmware/nvidia/510.39.01/gsp.bin. A few select products currently use GSP by default, and more products will take advantage of GSP in future driver releases.
Offloading tasks which were traditionally performed by the driver on the CPU can improve performance due to lower latency access to GPU hardware internals.

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 22.1.2 Released

AMD released the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin drivers. Version 22.1.2 beta comes with optimization for "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Extraction," and support for new graphics cards launching today, including the Radeon RX 6500 XT, RX 6400, RX 6500M, and RX 6300M. The only issue fixed with this release addresses longer-than-expected load times for "Borderlands 3" in DirectX 12 mode with Radeon Boost enabled, on certain RDNA2-series GPUs. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 22.1.2

EVGA Announces the Z690 CLASSIFIED Motherboard

Introducing the EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED - The latest addition to EVGA's most-respected line of motherboards. This motherboard fully supports the latest 12th Gen Intel Core Series Processors and takes full advantage of PCIe Gen5 and PCIe Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSDs. The EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED provides unbeatable power, performance and stability via a 19-phase VRM and 10-layer PCB. Moreover, this board supports up to 128 GB of DDR5 memory, 2x 2.5 Gbps NIC + Wi-Fi 6E / BT 5.2, 7.1 HD audio, and multiple USB options. The EVGA Z690 CLASSIFIED is designed for nothing less than the ultimate gaming experience.

Kioxia Advances Development of UFS Ver. 3.1 Embedded Flash Memory Devices With Quad-level-cell (QLC)

Kioxia Corporation, a world leader in memory solutions, today announced the launch of Universal Flash Storage (UFS) Ver. 3.1 [1] embedded flash memory devices utilizing the company's innovative 4-bit per cell quad-level-cell (QLC) technology. For applications needing high density, such as cutting-edge smartphones, Kioxia's QLC technology enables the capability to achieve the highest densities available in a single package.

Kioxia's UFS proof of concept (PoC) device is a 512 gigabyte prototype that utilizes the company's 1 terabit (128 gigabyte) BiCS FLASH 3D flash memory with QLC technology, and is now sampling to OEM customers. The PoC device is designed to meet the increasing performance and density requirements of mobile applications driven by higher resolution images, 5G networks, 4K plus video and the like.
Tuesday, January 18th 2022
Intel Core i5-12400F Review - The AMD Challenger

Intel Core i5-12400F Review - The AMD Challenger

The Intel Core i5-12400F comes at an extremely attractive price point, yet offers performance comparable to AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X. While Intel introduced a Hybrid core design with Alder Lake, the 12400F is a P-core only design, which helps avoid potential compatibility issues with E-cores.

ORICO Unveils USB4 plus Thunderbolt 4 Cable, First Cable Meeting 40Gbps USB4 Standard

ORICO unveiled the first USB type-C cable that meets USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 standards. The cable is certified by Intel to offer 40 Gbps transfer speeds, DisplayPort 1.4 passthrough with support for display resolutions of up to 8K @ 60 Hz, and bi-directional 100 W USB PD (power delivery). The cable features a solid alloy casing at the connectors, Nylon braiding throughout, and a reinforced bender that can take up to 10,000 bends. Available in cable lengths of 30 cm, 80 cm, and 2 m, the cable comes in two variants based on connector orientation, with the TBZ cable being standard, and TBW angled 90°. The 30 cm variant is priced at $20, the 80 cm variant at $27, and the 2 m variant at $57. Find them on Amazon here.

ARCTIC Identifies Bad Batch of MX-5 TIM in the Market, Offers Free Replacements

For ARCTIC, it has always been a top priority to supply customers only with products of the best quality and durability. Should there ever be any doubts about products we've delivered, we stand by our responsibility to our customers.

Current findings from our permanent quality assurance tests show that certain batches of our MX-5 thermal compound contain anomalies in consistency and shelf life. The affected products show an increased separation of oil within the paste, resulting in premature hardening. This can lead to adverse effects and application difficulties.

PATRIOT announces Availability of the P400 PCIe Gen4x4 m.2 SSD

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, is pleased to announce the PATRIOT P400 PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe M.2 SSD with capacities of 512 GB and 1 TB. The PATRIOT P400 was built using the latest PCIe Gen4x4 NVMe controller and best-in-class components to deliver faster data access, multi-application processing, and quick transfer speeds up to 5000 MB/s in sequential. The PATRIOT P400 can offer double the transfer speeds compared to standard PCIe 3x4 solutions with lower power consumption making it the best solution for laptop battery efficiency. In addition, the exclusive thin graphene heatshield provides outstanding heat dissipation, especially in systems with limited space.

"The PATRIOT P400 M.2 is designed to be an ideal solution for budget-minded users looking to achieve a cost-efficient storage solution with PCI Express gen4x4 performance. Our design team has created an excellent thermal solution using a slim graphene heatshield which can avoid any physical interference when using this drive-in system with limited space, such as a thin laptop." Said Roger Shinmoto, the vice president of PATRIOT MEMORY.

Lenovo Education Solutions Deliver Agile Learning Tools

Today Lenovo announced new additions to its broad education portfolio designed to enhance learning efficiencies in a new age for education. The new devices are purpose-built to meet the needs of modern in-person and distance-learning. The all-new Lenovo 10w Tablet running Windows 11 is powered by the Snapdragon 7c compute platform to enable an Always On, Always Connected computing experience, balancing the power and performance students expect and the mobile computing experiences they need to help them succeed in modernized learning. The new Lenovo 13w Yoga offers the flexibility of a convertible device with AMD Ryzen 5000 U-Series processors for mobile up to an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, and can include options to boost teacher and student engagement, device protection and improved connectivity.

According to UNESCO, more than 1.5 billion students have been impacted by the pandemic and many countries have been affected by extended school closures. Although classes are thankfully reopening, many continue to endure disrupted agendas and at the time of writing more than 35 million learners are still unable to benefit from classroom instruction. The longer-term focus needs to be on learning recovery and returning the trajectory beyond pre-Covid levels. A recent UNESCO report points out that we collectively have an opportunity to reinvent education to be more resilient, equitable and efficient in delivering learning for all. Institutions need to invest in structured learning programs that provide access to technology that can amplify classroom-based experiences. The tools need to be dynamic to support distance learning solutions and computer-assisted learning to help maximize education continuity. As a technology provider, Lenovo is committed to partnering with customers to develop and deliver innovative solutions to enhance learning today and into the future.

Intel "Bonanza Mine" is a Bitcoin Mining ASIC, Intel Finally Sees Where the Money is

Intel is reportedly looking to disrupt the cryptocurrency mining hardware business with fixed-function ASICs that either outperform GPUs, or end up with lower enough performance/Watt or performance/Dollar to take make GPUs unviable as a mining hardware option. The company is planning to unveil its first such product, codenamed "Bonanza Mine," an ASIC purpose-built for Bitcoin mining.

Since it's an ASIC, "Bonanza Mine" doesn't appear to be a re-purposed Xe-HPC processor, or even an FPGA that's been programmed to mine Bitcoin. It's a purpose-built piece of silicon. Intel will unveil "Bonanza Mine" at the 2022 ISSCC Conference. It describes the chip as being an "ultra low-voltage energy-efficient Bitcoin mining ASIC," putting power-guzzling GPUs on notice. If Intel can clinch Bitcoin with "Bonanza Lake," designing ASICs for other cryptocurrencies is straightforward. With demand from crypto-miners slashed, graphics cards will see a tremendous fall in value, forcing scalpers to cut prices.

Microsoft to Acquire Activision Blizzard to Bring the Joy and Community of Gaming to Everyone, Across Every Device

With three billion people actively playing games today, and fueled by a new generation steeped in the joys of interactive entertainment, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc., a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard's net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world's third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like "Warcraft," "Diablo," "Overwatch," "Call of Duty" and "Candy Crush," in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the word with nearly 10,000 employees.

PSA: GPU-Z shows PCI-Express x16 for Radeon RX 6500 XT / Navi 24. It really is x4

AMD announced the Radeon RX 6500 XT and RX 6400 at CES just a few days ago. These new entry-level cards debut the company's first 6 nm GPU, codenamed "Navi 24"—the smallest chip from the RDNA2 family. Navi 24 is barely the size of a motherboard chipset, roughly 100 mm² in die size. The chip only features a 64-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, needing just two memory chips to achieve 4 GB of memory size. While AMD has been fairly quiet about it, people quickly found out that the Navi 24 GPU only uses a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface. While the physical connector is x16, there is only enough signal traces for x4.

Even the most updated 2.43.0 public version of GPU-Z misreports the bus interface as PCIe x16 4.0 though, which will certainly lead to confusion in the reviewer community who trust GPU-Z to report the correct specs and speeds for their articles. Maybe that's the reason why AMD has decided to not send us a sample this time—a first in 15 years.

Introducing Logitech Pen, Rechargeable Stylus for USI-enabled Chromebooks, Designed for Students

Today Logitech announced the launch of the Logitech Pen, the newest K-12 stylus designed for touch screen Chromebooks that supports Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) standards and is Works With Chromebook certified. Research shows that when it comes to students retaining what they learn, the act of physically annotating during lessons makes a significant difference. Designed in collaboration with students and educators, for students and educators, the Logitech Pen provides the control they need to work and collaborate in new ways.

"Given that students and educators are increasingly using Chromebooks as an everyday tool in schools and at home, we created the Logitech Pen to unlock the full potential of Chromebooks in the classroom," said Michele Hermann, Vice President of Mobility and Head of Education Solutions at Logitech. "The Logitech Pen is notably transforming how students utilize their Chromebooks, enabling these devices to become even more essential tools in active learning through annotation, sketching, and note taking, which are proven to increase comprehension and retention."

Sharkoon Launches the TG7M RGB Case

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of high-performance quality PC components and peripherals. Now, with the TG7M RGB, Sharkoon is introducing a PC case that should match up to cases of a higher class. In addition to an air-permeable mesh front panel, the case has four pre-installed 120-millimeter RGB PWM fans. As the first case in the series, a 360-millimeter radiator can be installed not only behind the front panel of the TG7M RGB, but also under the top panel. Graphics cards can be installed vertically in the case using a separately available kit. In addition to two USB 3.0 ports, the I/O panel also has a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port.

According to the manufacturer, the TG7M RGB is especially designed for efficient cooling: In addition to a mesh grille on the front panel, four 120-millimeter PWM RGB fans have been pre-installed in the case: three at the front and one at the rear of the case. Three fans with an edge-to-edge length of 120 millimeters can also be installed under the top panel. The TG7M RGB is the first case of the TG series where a 360-millimeter radiator can be installed either behind the front panel or under the top panel. Depending on the installed hardware, the size of the mainboard and the height of the RAM, there is at least 5 centimeters of space available under the top panel. Behind the front panel there is space for a radiator with a height of up to 6 centimeters.

KINGMAX Unveils PQ4480 M.2 NVMe Gen4 SSD

KINGMAX today unveiled the PQ4480, an interesting "entry-level" M.2 NVMe SSD. While it features a PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface, it doesn't really utilize that kind of bandwidth, and should offer nearly-identical performance with both PCIe Gen3 and Gen4 M.2 slots. While the company doesn't mention the controller + NAND flash combination in play, we predict this to be a Phison PS5019-E19T PCIe Gen4 DRAM-less controller, paired with 3D TLC NAND flash memory.

The PQ4480 comes in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. All three capacity variants offer sequential read speeds of up to 3600 MB/s. The 250 GB variant writes at up to 1200 MB/s and has 4K random access speeds of up to 150k/300k IOPS reads/writes, the 500 GB variant up to 2300 MB/s with up to 300k/350k IOPS, and the 1 TB variant up to 3000 MB/s, with up to 400k/450k IOPS. Endurance is rated at 150 TBW for the 250 GB variant, 300 TBW for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TBW for the 1 TB variant. KINGMAX is backing these drives with 3-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

DeepCool Also Introduces CK560 Series Mid-Tower Cases

In addition to the KG722 mechanical keyboard, DeepCool introduced the CK560 and CK560 White ATX mid-tower cases. These are characterized by a front-intake with holes punched in the DeepCool logo pattern that almost makes it a coarse mesh intake for the three RGB-illuminated 120 mm fans behind. The case features a conventional horizontally-partitioned interior layout that's all-black in both models.

The upper compartment with the motherboard tray features room for graphics cards up to 38 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 17.5 cm in height. The tray also features a graphics card brace that counteracts PCB bending over time. Four 120 mm fans are included with the case, three of which have RGB illumination. Ventilation options include three 120 mm front intakes, a 120 mm rear exhaust, and two 140 mm top exhausts. Storage options include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays, and two 2.5-inch mounts behind the motherboard tray. Front-panel connectivity includes a USB 3.2 type-C, two USB 3.2 type-A, and a 4-pole headset jack. The case measures 456 mm × 230 mm × 471 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Thermalright Outs TA120 EX Mini White Compact Tower-type CPU Cooler

Thermalright today introduced the TA120 EX Mini White, one of the company's more compact tower-type CPU coolers. The cooler is designed with a height of 135 mm, even though it uses a 120 mm fan for ventilation. It features a conventional tower type design, in which five 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make indirect contact with the CPU at the base (nickel-plated C1100-grade copper with mirror finish), pushing heat through the fin-stack, which is ventilated by a TL-D12 PRO-W fan. It features a fluid-dynamic bearing, and turns at speeds of up to 1,850 RPM, pushing up to 82 CFM of airflow, with 2.1 mm H₂O static pressure, and 29.6 dBA noise output. Among the CPU socket types supported include LGA1700, AM4, and LGA1200. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Monday, January 17th 2022

Today's Reviews

Quick Look: Jelly Key Zen Pond IV Artisan Keycap

Quick Look: Jelly Key Zen Pond IV Artisan Keycap

Jelly Key is back at it with another new artisan keycap series! This time, the Koi fish in the popular Zen Pond theme make a comeback, but with more details and complexities. The Eden effect has been revamped with three vibrant colors, and the fish models also get placed in multiple depth stacks to make for a more realistic art scene on your keyboard.
God of War: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

God of War: DLSS vs. FSR Comparison Review

God of War recently released on PC with support for NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). In this mini-review, we take a look at and compare the image quality and performance offered by these technologies in this game.

DeepCool Intros KG722 65% Mechanical Keyboard

DeepCool announced the KG722, a 65%-format mechanical gaming keyboard. With compact dimensions of 31 cm x 10.16 cm x 3.9 cm (WxDxH), the keyboard features a 68-key layout, with the lettering printed along the frontal side of the keycaps, rather than on the top. The keys are RGB illuminated. Under the hood, you get Gateron RGB Red mechanical switches. Its electronics offer N-key rollover, 12 ms response time, and 1000 Hz USB polling rate. Other features include 32 KB onboard memory for storing macro and lighting profiles, and a 1.8 m braided-sleeved cable that offers both USB type-A and type-C connectivity. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ADATA Industrial Unveils New ISSS31AP 4TB Industrial-Grade Solid State Drive

ADATA Technology (Taiwan Stock Exchange: 3260.TWO), a manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, mobile accessories, gaming products, electric power trains, and industrial solutions, today announces the ADATA ISSS31AP industrial-grade 2.5-inch solid state drive (SSD). With high capacity of 4 TB, Power Lost Protection (PLP), and multiple data security technologies, it is ideally suited for 5G networks, Internet of Things, industrial PCs, automation, and other applications.

According to research firm IDC, global SSD shipments are estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% by 2025. As the requirements of enterprise storage customers and cloud service providers continue to become ever more discerning, the adoption of more durable and reliable high-performance solid state drives equipped with 3D Flash will no doubt continue to grow.

Samsung Introduces Game Changing Exynos 2200 Processor with Xclipse GPU Powered by AMD RDNA2 Architecture

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its new premium mobile processor, the Exynos 2200. The Exynos 2200 is a freshly designed mobile processor with a powerful AMD RDNA 2 architecture based Samsung Xclipse graphics processing unit (GPU). With the most cutting-edge Arm -based CPU cores available in the market today and an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU), the Exynos 2200 will enable the ultimate mobile phone gaming experience, as well as enhancing the overall experience in social media apps and photography.

"Built on the most advanced 4-nanometer (nm) EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) process, and combined with cutting-edge mobile, GPU, and NPU technology, Samsung has crafted the Exynos 2200 to provide the finest experience for smartphone users. With the Xclipse, our new mobile GPU built with RDNA 2 graphics technology from the industry leader AMD, the Exynos 2200 will redefine mobile gaming experience, aided by enhanced graphics and AI performance," said Yongin Park, President of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics. "As well as bringing the best mobile experience to the users, Samsung will continue its efforts to lead the journey in logic chip innovation."

MSI Announces Three New PC Cases

MSI has recently announced several new PC cases including the Neon Genesis Evangelion limited-edition co-branded MPG GUNGIR 110R, MEG TREBLE ITX, and the MEG PROSPECT 700RL. The MSI MPG GUNGIR 110R EVA e-PROJECT case is a custom version of the GUNGIR 110R featuring coloring and theming inspired by the 1995 mecha anime series. The MSI MEG TREBLE Series ITX case features a unique hexagonal design with three chambers for a 330 mm graphics card, 280 mm liquid cooler radiator, and ITX motherboard + SFX-L power supply. The case can be positioned vertically or horizontally and features three removable panels for easy access to the chambers.

The MSI MEG PROSPECT 700RL is a standard mid-tower case featuring an integrated EKWB distribution plate simplifying custom water-cooling setups. The case can accommodate up to three 360 mm radiators on the top, front, and side and comes pre-installed with four 140 mm ARGB fans on the front and rear. The side and back panels all feature a screw-less design for easy access and maintenance while the front IO includes USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, HD audio, and a LED control button. MSI has not revealed any pricing or availability information for these cases.

MSI Announces Vigor GK71 Sonic & GK50 Low Profile TKL Gaming Keyboards

MIS has recently announced the Vigor GK71 Sonic and Vigor GK50 Low Profile TKL gaming keyboards. The MSI Vigor GK71 is a full-size mechanical keyboard featuring MSI Sonic Red 35 g Linear switches paired with translucent keycaps and MSI Mystic RGB lighting. The keyboard features integrated volume and media controls along with a detachable memory foam wrist rest. The MSI Vigor GK71 will be available to purchase exclusively from the MSI US online store for 119.99 USD from February 2022.

The MSI GK50 Low Profile TKL is an 80% mechanical keyboard featuring Kalih White low-profile switches paired with octagonal keycaps and MSI Mystic RGB lighting. The keyboard features an ergonomic floating keycap design with a detachable USB Type-C cable and included drawstring bag for transportation. The integrated feet support three different angles at 5°, 8°, or 11° and anti-slip pads for increased support. The MSI GK50 Low Profile TKL will be available to purchase in Asia and Europe soon with an MSRP of 84.99 USD.

MSI Announces Immerse GV60 Microphone & GH50 Wireless Headset

MSI has recently announced two new Immerse products with the GV60 microphone and GH50 wireless headset. The GV60 is a freestanding 24 bit USB Type-C microphone featuring multiple condenser capsules allowing for four different pickup patterns. The microphone also features an integrated 3.5 mm jack for real-time low-latency monitoring and can be easily integrated into existing setups with a 5/8" threading and a 3-meter USB cable. The MSI Immerse GV60 microphone will be available exclusively from the MSI US online store for 129.99 USD from January 21.

The MSI Immerse GH50 is a wireless gaming headset featuring a lightweight foldable design with rotating ear cups. The dual 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver virtual 7.1 surround sound and vibration effects while the detachable omnidirectional microphone enables easy transportation. The 2.4 GHz wireless USB dongle can transmit up to 20 m or the headset can be used in wired mode via the 3.5 mm jack. The headset also features MSI mystic RGB lighting along with inline wired audio controls for volume, microphone, surround sound, and vibration effects. The headset boasts a wireless battery life of 17 hours and will be available in Q2 2022 for 89.99 USD.

EK Launches PCIe 4.0 X16 Riser Cable

EK, is launching a stand-alone PCIe 4.0 X16 riser cable. This premium high-speed cable is compatible with all modern motherboards. That includes those based on Z590, Z690, X570, and B550 chipsets. It was tested with both the RX 6000 series AMD GPUs and RTX 30 series NVIDIA GPUs. Although a true PCIe 4.0 riser cable, it is 100% compatible with PCIe 3.0 standard.

This high-speed 4.0 GPU riser cable features improved individual PCIe laneway shielding that blocks unwanted external EMI/RFI and interference between channels. EK-Loop PCI-E 4.0 Riser Cable is designed to match the PCIe impedance differential of 85 ohms. Signals that are traveling between the motherboard and the GPU are matched at the proper frequency without any capacitors in the cable that would introduce a potential point of failure and result in a less compact riser.

MSI and Phison Partner to Launch Spatium E26 PCIe Gen5 AIC SSD

Phison is on a mission to be the first to market with PCIe Gen 5 SSD controllers, having announced the E26-series controllers this CES. The company is ready with a branded drive under the MSI Spatium brand, the MSI Spatium E26. Built in the PCIe add-in-card (AIC) form-factor, the drive features a PCI-Express 5.0 x4 interface (128 Gbps per direction), and very likely sticks to the reference design that Phison demoed in its own booth.

This PCB is used in its client configuration, with just the controller, DRAM, and NAND flash chips; while the PCB allows an enterprise configuration with banks of capacitors offering explicit power-loss protection (the NAND flash chips offer implicit PLP). A simple copper-film heatspreader is used. Neither MSI nor Phison put out actual performance numbers, but mentioned sequential reads being "10 GB/s or beyond" (the interface is physically capable of 16 GB/s).

Update Jan 17th: MSI clarified that this is not yet a shipping product, but a representation of what such a device could be. Thus, this should be considered a concept or at best proof of concept. Both MSI and Phison are actively working together on exploring what such a retail product could be.

MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE Motherboard to Bundle AIO Cooler and Memory Sticks

The retail version of MSI MEG Z690 GODLIKE, the company's flagship Socket LGA1700 motherboard, will include an all-in-one liquid CPU cooler, and DDR5 memory sticks. Snapped at a PC retailer, the front-face of the retail box of the motherboard reads that the contents include an MSI MEG CoreLiquid S360 cooler, and Kingston FURY Beast DDR5 memory. The size and speed of the memory is not mentioned. What's also unknown at this point, is whether the board comes in retail packages that don't bundle the cooler or memory. Assuming the bundled memory is a 32 GB (2x 16 GB) kit of decent specs, such as DDR5-6000, this motherboard could easily command a four-figure price, with speculative prices averaging $1,500.

Update Jan 17th: MSI has informed us, that the price for this bundle, consisting of the motherboard, 360 mm AIO, and 32 GB of DDR5 memory, will be around $2,099 in retail.

ADATA Guarantees Consistent XPG Atom 50 SSD Controller and NAND Flash Combo

A disturbing trend among entry-level M.2 NVMe SSDs is a complete disregard from manufacturers for consistency in the brands and types of the various key components of the drives. The companies simply advertise a certain set of performance and endurance numbers, which serve as ends to reach by whatever means (of controller or NAND flash combos). This was recently illustrated with the Kingston NV1, which presents an extreme case of "hardware lottery." You can get either a SMI or Phison controller, and either a TLC or QLC NAND flash (combinations thereof).

Cutting through all this, ADATA is making a reassuring guarantee with regards to its recently announced entry-level NVMe product, the XPG Atom 50. In an exclusive comment to TechPowerUp, the company said that all XPG Atom 50 drives in the market will come with a consistent combination of controller and NAND flash. The drive combines an Innogrit IG5220 RainierQX controller with Micron "B47R" 176-layer 3D TLC NAND flash chips, a combo ADATA guarantees it will never break. We recently reviewed the 1 TB variant of this drive, and found it to offer excellent performance leveraging PCIe Gen4, at a price you'd typically find PCIe Gen3 drives at.

TechPowerUp and KIOXIA Exceria SSD Giveaway: The Winners

TechPowerUp partnered with NAND flash pioneer KIOXIA to give you a chance to bring home one of three KIOXIA Exceria series SSDs. Based on the company's BiCS 3D NAND flash technology, the Exceria series spans various client SSD form-factors, including M.2 NVMe and 2.5-inch SATA. The brand also extends to the company's various consumer flash products, including portable SSDs, USB flash drives, and memory cards. Up for grabs in the TechPowerUp Giveaway were a 2 TB Exceria Plus G2 NVMe SSD, a 1 TB Exceria NVMe SSD, and a 960 GB Exceria SATA 2.5-inch SSD. The results are in, and we have the winners!
  • Martin from Malta, wins the 2 TB Exceria Plus G2 NVMe SSD
  • Pari from New Zealand, wins the 1 TB Exceria NVMe SSD
  • Paul from the United Kingdom, wins the 960 GB Exceria SATA 2.5-inch SSD
A huge Congratulations to you three! TechPowerUp and KIOXIA will return with more such interesting giveaways.

Taiwan Aims to Become Self-sufficient in Semiconductor Equipment

The Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-Wen, told local media that she believes that Taiwan can become self-sufficient when it comes to semiconductor equipment, although this is obviously not something that would happen overnight. A large part of why this has even been considered seems to be the current pandemic, as although Taiwan might not have suffered much from the pandemic itself, the nation has suffered when it comes to imports, as just in time production and delivery systems have broken down, which has affected most industries in Taiwan.

In 2021 Taiwanese semiconductor companies invested some NT$1 trillion (~US$36.3 billion), of which 70 percent was in equipment, according to the President, with around NT$600 billion (~US$21.8 billion) of that money being towards imported equipment. It also shows that local semiconductor equipment makers have a lot of work to do, especially if they're intending to catch up with their international competitors. The President also mentioned that the local semiconductor equipment industry grew by 28.7 percent in 2021, although it was still relatively small at NT$116.7 billion (~US$4.2 billion), but she was quoted as saying that she's 100 percent certain that Taiwan has the ability to make all semiconductor equipment the [local] industry needs.

Biostar 700-series Intel Motherboard Lineup Leaks

Intel's 600-series motherboards have barely made it into retail and we're now looking at a list of upcoming 700-series motherboards from Biostar that has leaked courtesy of the Eurasian Economic Commission via @harukaze5719 in Twitter. The list of boards suggests that Biostar will only be using the Z790 and B760 chipsets, although it's unclear at this point if there will be an H770 and a H710 chipset, as Intel has skipped those SKUs in the past for second generation CPUs using the same socket.

The boards in question are the Z790 Valkyrie, Z790GTA- SILVER, B760GTQ, B760M-SILVER, B760GTN, B760T-SILVER, B760MX5-E PRO, B760MX-PRO, B760MX-C, B760MX-E, B760MH. We'd hazard a guess that the Z790 Valkyrie will replace the Z690 Valkyrie, but the models with silver in the model name are currently missing from Biostar's 600-series lineup, but there are some 500-series silver models. In addition to the Z790 SKUs, there are also some B660 boards with a BTC suffix that Biostar hasn't announced yet and these would appear to be boards designed for mining, as this is the naming Biostar has used in the past for such boards. Intel's 700-series chipset and Raptor Lake CPUs are expected to launch later this year.

Acer Brings Windows 11 for Education to its TravelMate B3 and TravelMate Spin B3 Laptops

Acer today announced that it will begin carrying PCs which run on Windows 11 SE, starting with the Acer TravelMate B3 and Acer TravelMate Spin B3 laptops. The portable 11.6-inch laptops were built to survive the school-day, boasting military-grade durability certifications and a 10-hour battery life, and now come pre-installed with Windows 11 SE or Windows 11 Pro Education. Additionally, the devices' chassis have been constructed with over 14% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Acer has been working closely with Microsoft in order to provide devices for pilot programs that bring Windows 11 SE to schools around the world. It is one of the first brands to carry devices featuring the new operating system.

EK Water Blocks Unveils EK-Quantum Torque Micro Rotary 90° Fittings for SFF Builds

EK, the premium water cooling gear manufacturer, is expanding the Quantum Torque fittings line with Micro Rotary adapter fittings aimed at SFF builders and use-cases where spacing is an issue. EK-Quantum Torque Micro Rotary 90° are premium male-female 90-degree interconnects. Their rotary function allows them to rotate around one axis in 360 degrees. They are used primarily in tight spaces or when build aesthetics demands low-profile fittings and adapters.

This micro rotary 90° series consists of 5 different models with varying finishes. With an overall installed height of just 21 mm, Torque Micro Rotaries can squeeze into the most difficult places where it would be otherwise impossible to make a bend. This means it is 10 mm lower in height than the standard 90° EK-Quantum Torque Rotary angled fitting.

Intel NUC 11 Essential with Jasper Lake SoC Officially Launched

Although not available in retail quite yet, Intel has officially launched its NUC 11 Essential models built around its Jasper Lake SoCs and thanks to the new processor options, Intel's entry level NUC models are looking quite promising. Not only are we looking at much better GPUs, with a 78 percent increase of execution units at the high-end, but even the low-end CPUs have had a 33 percent increase, when comparing Jasper Lake to Gemini Lake, which some older NUC models were based on. This is quite a jump, but it's hardly surprising, as Gemini Lake was launched at the tail end of 2017.

There's also official support for up to 32 GB of RAM and a boost in memory speed from 2400 MHz to 2933 MHz. Processor speeds have obviously been bumped somewhat as well between the processor generations, alongside with the GPU speeds, but we're mostly looking at a few hundred MHz here, depending on the CPU model. All the new NUC models appear to be using the 10 W TDP Jasper Lake CPU SKUs and all of them should also come with 64 GB of eMMC soldered down, plus an M.2 2280 SATA and NVMe capable slot for SSDs.

Report Forecasts Increased AMD EPYC Processor Pricing, Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeons Delayed

Server processors tend to be one of the most profitable businesses for AMD and Intel. Thus, investment groups and analysts closely monitor happenings in the server and data center world. A report from Mizuho Securities (investment bank) Managing Director Jordan Klein states that many upcoming changes on the server processor front are coming this year. Mr. Klein cites sources over at Insupur Systems, one of the most prominent server vendors. More precisely, Dolly Wu is the VP and GM of Datacenter/Cloud at Inspur. According to the report, AMD and Intel will change their strategy in the server market going forward in 2022.

As far as AMD is concerned, the company plans to increase the pricing of its EPYC processors by 10-30%. This increase should be a bit easier on the strategic cloud customers. The report also indicates that as the demand far exceeds the supply of EPYC processors, AMD increases prices and makes a "take it or leave it" offer, resulting in most customers accepting the increased costs. Another interesting tidbit from the report was the talk about Intel. The blue team laid out its strategy to launch highly-anticipated Sapphire Rapids Xeons in Q2 of 2022. However, it will maybe get delayed to Q3 of 2022. Intel doesn't plan to increase prices to remain competitive with AMD, so the server space will see Intel fighting to regain the lost market share.

AMD to Refresh the Radeon RX 6000 Desktop Series with Faster Memory

AMD is preparing a round of updates to its desktop Radeon RX 6000 series in the wake of RTX 30-series models by NVIDIA, according to Greymon55, a reliable source with GPU rumors. The company could be leveraging faster 18 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips for the task. This wouldn't be the first RX 6000 series products with 18 Gbps memory, as the liquid-cooled MBA (made-by-AMD) RX 6900 XT that's exclusive to OEMs, already comes with 18 Gbps memory clocks.

Mass-production of JEDEC-standard GDDR6 memory chips with data-rates as high as 20 Gbps and 24 Gbps by Samsung is expected to get underway later this year. The company is already sampling these chips, and it's likely that they may feature in the next round of product-stack updates by AMD and NVIDIA. In the run up to its next-gen RDNA3 graphics architecture, AMD is rumored to be working on a refresh of RDNA2 on the new TSMC N6 (6 nm) foundry node that it already leverages for the entry-level "Navi 24" ASIC. This is expected to open up headroom to dial up engine clocks, and possibly support faster memory. As for this latest refresh with 18 Gbps memory, if AMD's naming convention for its mobile RX 6850M is anything to go by, the new SKUs could feature a similar "xx50" model numbering.

NVIDIA's Custom RTX 3090 Ti Graphics Cards Reach $4,000 Pricing in Europe

NVIDIA's RTX 3090 Ti is hot on the presses, and while actual product availability is anyone's guess, the card has already been made available for order (in extremely limited quantities, as one might expect). That said, the lack of a clear pricing messaging from NVIDIA seems to have left the door open for truly egregious pricing practices, which are likely added to at every step of the supply chain from the green team's AIB (add-in-board) partners and their custom RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards. Case in point: European, Swiss retailer Top Preise has started listing the latest NVIDIA halo card at a cool, not at all jaw-dropping average of €3,600 ($4,000). This is easily the highest-ever-pricing practiced on a consumer-level graphics card, so if anything, 2022 seems to have at least brought us that particular record-setting. Of course, pricing of a single retailer doesn't prove a pricing trend; but the fact that the cards are priced at untidy values does seem to indicate these aren't placeholder values.

This is much the case as has happened with NVIDIA's recent launch of the RTX 3080 12 GB - that card too didn't receive public MSRP guidance from NVIDIA, leaving its board partners - and retailers - to carve whatever pricing philosophy they deem adequate, considering the current state of the market, expected demand for NVIDIA's latest and greatest, and, of course, additional profits. Considering how the RTX 3080 12 GB has been found in store shelves for around $1,700 (remember the original MSRP for the RTX 3080 8 GB was set at $699), an upgrade to the RTX 3090 Ti would be a very expensive, $2,300 proposition for a relatively small performance improvement.
Sunday, January 16th 2022

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight System Returns to the Markets

Leading gaming accessory maker Turtle Beach Corporation today announced the brand's award-winning VelocityOne Flight simulation control system has been restocked and is now available. VelocityOne Flight is one of Turtle Beach's most pre-ordered products and has sold-out multiple times due to strong demand since its initial release in November 2021. The only modern all-in-one flight control system, VelocityOne Flight delivers a new level of realism and simplicity for gamers taking to the virtual skies on Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. Paired with its unbeatable MSRP of $379.95, VelocityOne Flight has received an abundance of critical acclaim, driving continued interest in Turtle Beach's groundbreaking flight simulation control system. With today's restock announcement, fans can now get their hands on VelocityOne Flight and effortlessly guide their favorite aircraft into the sky.

"As the first entry in a growing portfolio of simulation products, our team produced the best all-in-one flight control system for Xbox and PC and I'm pleased to see their hard work and dedication being recognized by critics and fans alike," said Juergen Stark, Chairman and CEO, Turtle Beach Corporation. "It is clear that we delivered a remarkable flight sim controller, and we're excited to now be able to have more fliers take to the skies with the VelocityOne Flight."

Silicon Power Announces the XPOWER XS70 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD

The all-new XPOWER XS70 PCIe 4.0 SSD from Silicon Power (SP) is about to take gaming to new highs with its thrilling performance and unique design that will give hardcore gamers the boost to take on opponents for hours on end.

With a standard data transfer rate that's 2x faster than the 3.0 version, the XS70 PCIe Gen4 x4 with 3D NAND flash memory and NVMe 1.4 support is exactly what serious gamers need to crush the competition. Mind-blowing continuous read and write speeds up to 7,300 MB/s and 6,800 MB/s, respectively, enable the XS70 to push the limits of what an SSD can do so you can break new records.

Scythe Releases SCMK-1700B Mounting Kit for Intel LGA1700

Scythe releases a revised version of 1700 mounting kit (SCMK-1700B) in 2022. The four mounting angles have evolved from fixed struts into fine-cut plow bolts. This allows the SCMK-1700B mounting kit to have more solid contact pressure to the CPU surface than SCMK-1700. The SCMK-1700B kit is already available for the Japan and Taiwan market and will be available for purchase in mid-end of March in the USA and Europe, for listing in other regions please contact Scythe local agents.

Intel and Windows 11 Deprecating SGX Breaks 4K Blu-ray Playback

It took a while for this discovery as it's probably rare for people with modern PCs to also have Blu-ray optical drives. Apparently PCs with Intel 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake," and older 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake" processors, as well as the latest Windows 11 OS, are unable to playback protected 4K Blu-ray video discs, as the DRM component is broken in the absence of Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX). Intel introduced SGX with 6th Gen Core "Skylake," and deprecated it with "Rocket Lake." To be clear, playback of Blu-ray discs at 1080p isn't affected.

CyberLink, makers of the PowerDVD software that's bundled as an OEM application with optical drives to play back protected Blu-ray video; put out a statement on its website confirming that they're unable to help with this situation, as they don't control the DRM, the Blu-ray Association does. "The removal of the SGX feature, and its compatibility with the latest Windows OS and drivers, has caused a substantial challenge for CyberLink to continue supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray movie playback in our player software," it stated. Just to clarify, this only affects playback of Blu-Ray content at 4K—1080p is not affected.

Many Thanks to Steevo for the tip.

Arctic Introduces P14 RGB & P14 A-RGB Fans

ARCTIC, one of the leading manufacturers of low-noise PC coolers and components, expands the RGB fan portfolio with 140 mm variants of the P-series with PWM PST. The P14 PWM PST A-RGB 0dB and P14 PWM PST RGB 0dB are available starting now as single fans as well as in a three-fan bundle. The PWM fan control enables dynamic speed adjustment. At low load, the case fans automatically switch to silent passive mode.

With 12 RGB-LEDs and the ARCTIC P14 fans, the case will glow in the color of your choice; in the A-RGB version, there are virtually no limits to the lighting effects. The P14 PWM PST A-RGB and RGB fans have tested compatibility with the (A-)RGB standards of leading motherboard manufacturers and are therefore interoperable with their connectors and software. This makes installation and configuration especially easy. The P14 PWM PST RGB 0 dB is available in the Value Pack with the software-controlled ARCTIC lighting controller, which allows freely configurable LED modes in addition to numerous presets.

Intel "Raptor Lake" Rumored to Feature Massive Cache Size Increases

Large on-die caches are expected to be a major contributor to IPC and gaming performance. The upcoming AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor triples its on-die last-level cache using the 3D Vertical Cache technology, to level up to Intel's "Alder Lake-S" processors in gaming, while using the existing "Zen 3" IP. Intel realizes this, and is planning a massive increase in on-die cache sizes, although spread across the cache hierarchy. The next-generation "Raptor Lake-S" desktop processor the company plans to launch in the second half of 2022 is rumored to feature 68 MB of "total cache" (that's AMD lingo for L2 + L3 caches), according to a highly plausible theory by PC enthusiast OneRaichu on Twitter, and illustrated by Olrak29_.

The "Raptor Lake-S" silicon is expected to feature eight "Raptor Cove" P-cores, and four "Gracemont" E-core clusters (each cluster amounts to four cores). The "Raptor Cove" core is expected to feature 2 MB of dedicated L2 cache, an increase over the 1.25 MB L2 cache per "Golden Cove" P-core of "Alder Lake-S." In a "Gracemont" E-core cluster, four CPU cores share an L2 cache. Intel is looking to double this E-core cluster L2 cache size from 2 MB per cluster on "Alder Lake," to 4 MB per cluster. The shared L3 cache increases from 30 MB on "Alder Lake-S" (C0 silicon), to 36 MB on "Raptor Lake-S." The L2 + L3 caches hence add up to 68 MB. All eyes are now on "Zen 4," and whether AMD gives the L2 caches an increase from the 512 KB per-core size that it's consistently maintained since the first "Zen."
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