Wednesday, November 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs

Battlefield V with RTX Initial Tests: Performance Halved

Having survived an excruciatingly slow patch update, we are testing "Battlefield V" with DirectX Ray-tracing and NVIDIA RTX enabled, across the GeForce RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti, augmenting the RTX-on test data to our Battlefield V Performance Analysis article. We began testing with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card with GeForce 416.94 WHQL drivers on Windows 10 1809. Our initial test results are shocking. With RTX enabled in the "ultra" setting, frame-rates dropped by close to 50% at 1080p.

These may look horrifying, given that at its highest setting, even an RTX 2080 Ti isn't able to manage 1080p 120 Hz. But all is not lost. DICE added granularity to RTX. You can toggle between off, low, medium, high, and ultra as "degrees" of RTX level of detail, under the "DXR ray-traced reflections quality" setting. We are currently working on 27 new data-points (each of the RTX 20-series graphics cards, at each level of RTX, and at each of the three resolutions we tested at).

Battlefield V Gets NVIDIA RTX Support Through a Day-Zero Patch

EA-DICE producer for "Battlefield V," Jaqub Ajmal revealed that the studio has released a day-zero patch for the game, which enables the promised NVIDIA RTX technology. NVIDIA used Battlefield V as a tech-demonstrator in its launch event for RTX, an ambitious real-time ray-tracing technology, which works to improve realism by adding real-time ray-traced elements to rasterized scenes. For Battlefield V, this means more realistic reflections, optical effects, and detail for objects and character models.

To play Battlefield V with RTX enabled, you'll need an NVIDIA GeForce RTX (or Quadro RTX) graphics card with GeForce 416.94 WHQL, and Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809). Microsoft resumed rolling out Windows 10 1809 update earlier this week. We are currently testing RTX support on Battlefield V, and will update our recent Battlefield V Performance Analysis article with additional RTX-on data-points.

Intel Unveils the Neural Compute Stick 2

Intel is hosting its first artificial intelligence (AI) developer conference in Beijing on Nov. 14 and 15. The company kicked off the event with the introduction of the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2 (Intel NCS 2) designed to build smarter AI algorithms and for prototyping computer vision at the network edge. Based on the Intel Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU) and supported by the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit, the Intel NCS 2 affordably speeds the development of deep neural networks inference applications while delivering a performance boost over the previous generation neural compute stick. The Intel NCS 2 enables deep neural network testing, tuning and prototyping, so developers can go from prototyping into production leveraging a range of Intel vision accelerator form factors in real-world applications.

"The first-generation Intel Neural Compute Stick sparked an entire community of AI developers into action with a form factor and price that didn't exist before. We're excited to see what the community creates next with the strong enhancement to compute power enabled with the new Intel Neural Compute Stick 2," said Naveen Rao, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the AI Products Group.

Stuttgart-based HLRS to Build a Supercomputer with 10,000 64-core Zen 2 Processors

Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum (HLRS, or High-Performance Computing Center), based in Stuttgart Germany, is building a new cluster supercomputer powered by 10,000 AMD Zen 2 "Rome" 64-core processors, making up 640,000 cores. Called "Hawk," the supercomputer will be HLRS' flagship product, and will open its doors to business in 2019. The slide-deck for Hawk makes a fascinating disclosure about the processors it's based on.

Apparently, each of the 64-core "Rome" EPYC processors has a guaranteed clock-speed of 2.35 GHz. This would mean at maximum load (with all cores loaded 100%), the processor can manage to run at 2.35 GHz. This is important, because the supercomputer's advertised throughput is calculated on this basis, and clients draw up SLAs on throughput. The advertised peak throughput for the whole system is 24.06 petaFLOP/s, although the company is yet to put out nominal/guaranteed performance numbers (which it will only after first-hand testing). The system features 665 TB of RAM, and 26,000 TB of storage.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Launch Price, Other Details Revealed

AMD is very close to launching its new Radeon RX 590 graphics card, targeting a middle-of-market segment that sells in high volumes, particularly with Holiday around the corner. The card is based on the new 12 nm "Polaris 30" silicon, which has the same exact specifications as the "Polaris 20" silicon, and the original "Polaris 10," but comes with significantly higher clock-speed headroom thanks to the new silicon fabrication process, which AMD and its partners will use to dial up engine clock speed by 10-15% over those of the RX 580. While the memory is still 8 Gbps 256-bit GDDR5, some partners will ship overclocked memory.

According to a slide deck seen by VideoCardz, AMD is setting the baseline price of the Radeon RX 590 at USD $279.99, which is about $50 higher than RX 580 8 GB, and $40 higher than the price the RX 480 launched at. AMD will add value to that price by bundling three AAA games, including "Tom Clancy's The Division 2," "Devil May Cry 5," and "Resident Evil 2." The latter two titles are unreleased, and the three games together pose a $120-150 value. AMD will also work with monitor manufacturers to come up with graphics card + AMD FreeSync monitor bundles.

GIGABYTE Intros C246-WU4 Motherboard for Xeon E-Series and Core Processors

GIGABYTE today introduced the C246-WU4, a workstation-grade socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel C246 chipset, with support for the recently announced Xeon E-2100 series, in addition to 8th and 9th generation Core processors. With Xeon processors installed, it supports up to 128 GB ECC memory. 9th Generation Core processors let you use up to 128 GB non-ECC memory. 8th generation ones cap out at 64 GB non-ECC. The board also supports many of the vPro enterprise features that the Q370 Express chipset offers.

Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and optional 4-pin ATX, and uses an 8+2 phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which slots 1 and 3 are wired to the CPU, and share an x16 link (x16/NC or x8/x8), while slots 2 and 4 are gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the PCH. There's also a legacy PCI slot driven by a bridge chip. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 PCIe with gen 3.0 x4 wiring, each; and ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, from which eight are driven by the PCH, and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. Network connectivity includes two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219-V, and the other by i211-AT, with vPro support. USB connectivity includes USB 3.1 gen 2, including type-C rear-panel ports. The onboard audio features a Realtek ALC1220VB, which is EMI shielded, and wired to WIMA capacitors. Expect this board to be priced around $350.

Samsung Launches First Mobile SoC with AI-Accelerating Matrix Multiplication Cores

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its latest premium application processor (AP), the Exynos 9 Series 9820, equipped for on-device Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications. The Exynos 9820 features a fourth-generation custom CPU, 2.0-gigabits-per-second (Gbps) LTE Advanced Pro modem, and an enhanced neural processing unit (NPU) to bring new smart experiences to mobile devices.

"As AI-related services expand and their utilization diversify in mobile devices, their processors require higher computational capabilities and efficiency," said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. "The AI capabilities in the Exynos 9 Series 9820 will provide a new dimension of performance in smart devices through an integrated NPU, high-performance fourth-generation custom CPU core, 2.0Gbps LTE modem and improved multimedia performance."
Tuesday, November 13th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Scythe Ninja 5

Scythe Ninja 5

Scythe has updated their long running Ninja series with the Ninja 5. It offers a solid upgrade over the previous iteration, featuring quality of life improvements like its increased memory compatibility and updated mounting hardware. Pair that with solid performance and a nearly silent operation and you have a winning combination.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 416.94 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the GeForce 416.94 WHQL "Game Ready" drivers. These come optimized for "Fallout 76," "Hitman 2," and "Battlefield V." NVIDIA re-listing Battlefied V, a game it already optimized for with v416.81 could mean the company may have improved performance for the game. NVIDIA confirmed that a game patch will drop "soon" through Origin, which will add NVIDIA RTX support, more so because Microsoft has resumed rolling out Windows 10 1809. The drivers also add 3D Vision profiles for "Hitman 2" and "Fallout 76." A minor bug that caused lagging on Windows desktop with GeForce GTX 780 has also been fixed. Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 416.94 WHQL

The Change-log follows.

MSI GeForce RTX 2070 AERO ITX Makes Its Debut

MSI's most recent addition to their NVIDIA GeForce based line up has appeared. The newly minted RTX 2070 AERO ITX is as you may have guessed a graphics card that targets the mini-ITX market. While it is currently the smallest RTX 2070 graphics card spotted thus far, in order to reach that form factor MSI has removed a few features. NVlink is the first of the features being removed, which would make sense considering the card is meant for ITX systems. It also helps by further simplifying PCB design and giving much-needed space for other board components, thereby lowering overall cost. There is also the simple fact that MSI has many other offerings that are better suited for multi-GPU systems.

The second feature removed is the VirtualLink (USB-C) connector that delivers power, video, and data for virtual reality headsets. While not entirely a deal breaker it still makes using it for a small form factor VR system a bit more difficult. That said, considering the slow adoption of VR its removal is still a relatively safe bet for MSI for now. Taking a closer look at the packaging shows no indication of a pre-applied overclock, meaning MSI's RTX 2070 AERO ITX should come with NVIDIA reference clock speeds of 1410 MHz base / 1620 MHz boost on the core. The 8 GB of GDDR6 memory should have clocks of 1750 MHz (14000 MHz effective). As for the graphics card's TDP, it should also keep to the reference specification of 175-watts. Currently, pricing and availability are still unknown.

Microsoft Resumes Rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 Feature Update (1809)

Originally Microsoft shelved the Windows 10 October 2018 feature update after a data-destroying bug among other problems was detected just days after its initial rollout. Now with more than a month has passed they are finally re-releasing the update after having "thoroughly investigated and resolved" the issues, according to Microsoft's John Cable, director of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery.

The decision to re-release the update was reached after the careful study of diagnostic data from millions of Windows Insiders showed no further evidence of data loss. Currently, the update is only available via media and manual updates, automatic updates will be coming later. This is because Microsoft is taking a slower more methodical approach to their updates. Taking more time for careful study of device health data in order to improve the overall user experience. This new approach will take problems like application incompatibility among other things into account in order to make sure future updates do not automatically install unless known issues have been resolved. This should help reduce the frequency of problems end users encounter.

NVIDIA Deploys GP104 GPU for GDDR5X version of GeForce 1060

NVIDIA has just shown us one of the most ingenious ways of creating new custom, competitive SKUs for the midrange market without spending any additional amounts of money on R&D, wiring, or memory controller work: just reuse the chips that already have that work done. This is the case for NVIDIA's new GTX 1060 GDDR5X graphics card, which the company has "designed" to further fill in the gaps on its midrange offerings against a revamped Radeon RX 590.

PowerColor Announces the AMD Radeon Red Devil RX 590 8GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has introduced the newest PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 8GB GDDR5. The new Red Devil RX 590 brings new blood to the mainstream market, performing more than 10% over the comparable priced cards, this makes a no brainer for this segment.

It is powered by AMD's newest gaming RX590 GPU built on 12 nm, offering the best 1080p performance at the highest settings with uncompromised graphic details. Red Devil RX 590 improves on efficiency, having a boost clock of 1576 MHz core clock speed which is 17% clock speed increase over the 580 at no power consumption increase.

GIGABYTE Intros B450M Gaming Socket AM4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE today introduced the B450M Gaming, a low-cost socket AM4 motherboard based on AMD B450 chipset, designed to be priced under $100. Built in the compact micro-ATX form-factor (205 mm x 244 mm), the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, and uses a 4+3 phase VRM to power the AM4 SoC. A large VRM heatsink dominates the main MOSFET block, which also covers up a portion of the rear I/O area. The AM4 socket is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory, the board's sole M.2-2280 slot, and the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with metal reinforcement. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots wired to the B450 chipset make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity includes one M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.1 gen 1 type-A ports on the rear panel, and two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports via header. Networking, interestingly, is a 1 GbE interface driven by Realtek Dragon 8118AS controller, which was originally launched as Realtek's competitor to the i219-V (comes with various performance enhancements). Audio is a basic 6-channel fare driven by Realtek ALC887, somewhat improved with ground-layer isolation and electrolytic capacitors.

G.SKILL Announces DDR4-4266 64GB (8x8GB) and DDR4-4000 128GB (8x16GB) Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is excited to announce two world-class extreme speed high capacity memory kits - DDR4-4266 64GB (8x8GB) and DDR4-4000 128GB (8x16GB) for the latest Intel Core X-series processors and X299 motherboards. Both kits are equipped with high performance Samsung B-die ICs and are validated on the ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE II motherboard with the Intel Core i9-9920X and Core i7-9800X processors, respectively.

Dedicated to developing faster overclocking memory, G.SKILL is bringing 128GB capacity kits to the speed class of DDR4-4000, while maintaining an ultra-efficient CL19-19-19-39 CAS latency and 1.35V low voltage. It is the ultimate memory solution for building a super performance computer combining the highest capacity and extreme speed. This kit will join the G.SKILL Trident Z RGB family and has been validated on the ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE II motherboard and with the latest Intel Core i7-9800X processor. The following screenshot shows the stress test result: (Note: Please refer to the "Specification" field of the CPU tab for the correct CPU model name.)

Intel Core X 9000-series Skylake-X Refresh Processors Formally Launched

Intel today formally launched its Core X 9000-series socket LGA2066 high-end desktop (HEDT) processors. Based on the same "Skylake-X" LCC and HCC dies as the Core X 7000-series, these processors are a minor refresh, in that Intel has bumped either the clock-speeds, or core-count, or L3 cache amount at existing price-points. The only physical difference between these chips and their "predecessors" is soldered integrated heatspreader, or STIM as Intel likes to call it. The processors are drop-in compatible with existing socket LGA2066 motherboards, although some boards may require BIOS updates. Many boards offer USB flash-back, a feature with which you can update the system BIOS even without any processor or memory installed.

With the introduction of 6-core and 8-core mainstream-desktop processors, Intel withdrew 6-core/12-thread for the LGA2066 platform. There is no more HEDT platform option under $500, such as the Core i7-7800X, or the smash-hit Core i7-920. The Core i7-9800X is an 8-core/16-thread chip clocked at 3.80 GHz nominal and 4.40 GHz boost, priced at $589. Its clock speeds may be lower than those of the i9-9900K, but it gives you quad-channel memory interface, 16.5 MB L3 cache (in addition to 1 MB L2 cache per core), and 44-lane PCIe interface. That's right, Intel learned from its blunder of stripping its sub-$1000 Core X processors of half their PCIe lanes, and now the entire lineup features the full 44-lane PCIe root complex, and quad-channel memory.

NVIDIA Announces Quadro RTX 4000 Graphics Card

NVIDIA today introduced the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card - the company's first midrange professional GPU powered by the NVIDIA Turing architecture and the NVIDIA RTX platform. Unveiled at the annual Autodesk University Conference in Las Vegas, the Quadro RTX 4000 puts real-time ray tracing within reach of a wider range of developers, designers and artists worldwide.

Professionals from the manufacturing, architecture, engineering and media creation industries witnessed a seismic shift in computer graphics with the launch of Turing in August. The field's greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006, Turing features new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and next-gen Tensor Cores for AI inferencing which, together for the first time, make real-time ray tracing possible.

CORSAIR Announces Support for Xbox One with Gaming Keyboards and Mice

CORSAIR , a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced compatibility with the Microsoft Xbox One for CORSAIR wired and wireless keyboards and mice, following Microsoft's recent announcement of expanded peripheral support for the console. Now, players can take advantage of CORSAIR's award-winning gaming peripherals to play keyboard and mouse-enabled games on a whole new platform-Xbox One.

With the console's new compatibility with keyboards and mice, developers can now choose to add support for those devices to their games. The first announced Xbox One game titles to receive peripheral support include Fortnite, Warframe, and Minecraft, with many more games planned for future compatibility. Microsoft is focused on working with developers to ensure that these games are fun, fair, and properly balanced no matter how players decide to control them.

VIA Partners with Lucid to Develop Industry-Leading VIA Edge AI 3D Developer Kit

VIA Technologies, Inc today announces that it is partnering with AI vision startup Lucid, to deliver AI-based depth sensing capabilities to more dual- and multi-camera devices in the security, retail, robotics and autonomous vehicle space. With Lucid's proprietary 3D Fusion Technology embedded into the VIA Edge AI 3D Developer Kit, security and retail cameras, robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles will now be able to easily capture accurate depth and 3D with dual- or multi-camera setups while reducing the costs, power, and space consumption of previous hardware depth solutions. As VIA builds out its long-term Edge AI solutions roadmap, Lucid is adding camera- and machine-learning based depth capabilities on top of every platform.

The AI-enhanced 3D/depth solution developed by Lucid, known as 3D Fusion Technology, is currently deployed in many devices such as 3D cameras, security cameras, robots, and mobile phones, including the RED Hydrogen One which is launching in November without any additional emission or laser-based hardware components. In the VIA Edge AI 3D Developer Kit, the AI depth solution runs on the Qualcomm APQ8096SG embedded processor, which features the Qualcomm AI Engine along with support for multiple cameras to help Lucid provide superior performance compared to other hardware depth solutions and deliver an industry-leading and unique pure machine learning-based software solution.

HIS Radeon RX 590 IceQ X² Detailed

With a little Javascript trickery, Redditor "BadReIigion" succeeded in making the company website of AMD partner HIS to spit out details of its upcoming Radeon RX 590 IceQ X² graphics card (model number: HIS-590R8LCBR). Pictured below is the RX 580 IceQ X², but we expect the RX 590-based product to be mostly similar, with cosmetic changes such as a different cooler shroud or back-plate design. The website confirms some details like the ASIC being "Polaris 30 XT," a rendition of the 2,304-SP "Polaris 20" die on the 12 nm FinFET node, and that the card features 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. Some of the other details, such as the engine clock being mentioned as "2000 MHz" is unlikely.

The consensus emerging on engine clock boost frequencies from RX 590 leaks so far, put RX 590 custom-design, factory-overclocked cards to tick around 1500-1550 MHz, a 100-200 MHz improvement over the RX 580. Some board vendors such as Sapphire are even overclocking the memory by about 5%. "Polaris 30" is likely pin-compatible with "Polaris 20," because most board vendors are reusing their RX 580 PCBs, some of which are even carried over from the RX 480. For the HIS RX 590 IceQ X² this means drawing power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector.

ASRock Radeon RX 590 Phantom Gaming Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of ASRock Radeon RX 590 Phantom Gaming graphics card, based on AMD's upcoming "Polaris 30" silicon, which is an optical shrink of the "Polaris 20" silicon to 12 nm FinFET process, letting AMD and its partners increase GPU clock speeds. The RX 590 Phantom Gaming features a similar board design to the RX 580 Phantom Gaming X, with subtle design changes to its cooler shroud. The card still draws power from only a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. The VideoCardz article with these pictures doesn't mention clock-speeds, although going by trends, the RX 590 could be clocked well above 1500 MHz out of the box, compared to 1445 MHz of the RX 580 Phantom Gaming X in "OC mode."

SilverStone Intros FW124-ARGB Slimline 120mm Fan

Continuing on its streak of releasing slimline 120 mm fans, SilverStone rolled out the FW124-ARGB. This 120 mm spinner is 15 mm thick instead of the usual 25 mm, leaving you with more room in SFF cases. The fan features the same 9-blade impeller design with blade-integrated guide-vanes as the FN124 from last week; but backs it with a more premium fluid-dynamic bearing instead of sleeved. The impeller is made of frosted, translucent polycarbonate instead of opaque black, because it has to diffuse the six addressable RGB LEDs studded in the impeller hub. These LEDs take in standardized 3-pin addressable RGB input. The motor is more advanced, and takes in 4-pin PWM input instead of 3-pin DC. The fan spins between 800 to 2,000 RPM, while pushing 13.1 to 32.6 CFM of air-flow, with a proportionate noise output ranging between 14.7 to 24.6 dBA. The fan is rated for 50,000 hours of life. The company didn't reveal pricing.

cirrus7 Announces Nimbini 2.5 "Bean Canyon" Fanless NUC

Fanless mini-PC major cirrus7 rolled out the Nimnini 2.5, cube-shaped fanless NUC powered by Intel 8th generation "Coffee Lake" ("Kaby Lake-R") SoC, specifically the Core i7-8559U. This chip features a 4-core/8-thread CPU clocked at 2.70 GHz with 4.50 GHz boost, 8 MB L3 cache, and Intel Iris Plus 655 graphics processor that has 128 MB L4 cache. cirrus7's approach to cooling this 28W TDP MCM is an aluminium fin-stack heatsink that consists of large square aluminium plates that are held together by four 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes. The outer body continues along this design scheme. The company claims the case with its included heatsink runs the i7-8559U a whole 12 °C cooler than Intel's stock fan-heatsink based case.

The base-model of the cirrus7 Nimbini 2.5 includes a Core i3-8109U dual-core SoC, and is priced at 499€. You can configure it with a Core i5-8259U quad-core for an extra 139€, and the i7-8559U for 299€ over the base price. You add your own memory and storage. The NUC board supports up to two DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, holding up to 32 GB of memory. The Nimbini holds a 2.5-inch SATA drive in addition to the NUC board's M.2 slot. The case measures 157 mm x 157 mm x 120 mm (HxDxW), weighing 2.5 kg, including the heatsink and NUC motherboard option you choose.

ZADAK 511 Intros MOAB M.2 RGB SSD Heatsink

ZADAK 511 today introduced the MOAB M.2 RGB, an M.2-2280 SSD heatsink that's studded with addressable RGB LED lighting. The heatsink is 80 mm long, and roughly 1 cm tall. It's made of aluminium, with a 2 mm-thick base plate, and heatsink fins projecting upward. The heatsink is capped off by a steel top-plate with RGB LED embellishments that wire out to standard 5V aRGB connectors. The company didn't reveal the heatsink's total weight, but is including special steel long bolts to hold the heatsink and your SSD down to the board's M.2 nuts. The company also didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros X299 Aorus Master Motherboard

GIGABYTE today announced its almost-flagship socket LGA2066 motherboard, the X299 Aorus Master. The Master brand-extension, if you'll recall, is positioned just a notch below the flagship Aorus Xtreme, which makes this board a successor to the X299 Aorus Gaming 7. The X299 Aorus Gaming 9 and Designare-EX remain the company's flagship LGA2066 products, until they're succeeded by a new Aorus Xtreme product. There's still plenty to go around with the new X299 Aorus Master, beginning with its updated design scheme that's in sync with the company's latest Z390 motherboard lineup. It ships with out-of-the-box support for Core X 9000-series processors. The board is wider than ATX, although not quite E-ATX. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and an optional 6-pin PCIe power. A 12-phase VRM powers the CPU, cooled by a 2-stage heatsink. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/NC/x16/NC or x16/NC/x8/x8 or x8/x8/x8/x8). The DIMM and PCIe slots feature metal reinforcement.

Storage connectivity on the GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Master includes three M.2 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each with heatsinks; and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking includes a 2.5 GbE wired interface driven by Realtek Dragon 8125AG controller, a 1 GbE driven by Intel i219-V controller, and 802.11 ac + Bluetooth 5 interface driven by Intel 9260 WLAN card. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (two on the rear panel including a type-C, two by header), driven by a combination of ASMedia ASM1142 controller and the X299 PCH. The onboard audio solution is quite something. An ESS Sabre 9218 DAC (130 dBA SNR!) drives the main front + headphones channel with Ti Burr Brown OPA2111KP OPAMPs and WIMA capacitors; while a 120 dBA SNR Realtek ALC1220VB pulls the remaining channels. Manually-switchable dual-BIOS, 7-segment POST code readout, USB flash-back, and a boatload of other overclocker-friendly features complete the board. Expect it to be priced around USD $399.
Monday, November 12th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Party Hard 2

Party Hard 2

This is the second in a series I hadn’t heard of until last week when Pinokl Games approached me with a review key. After no small amount of research, I discovered this bizarre style of game that I can only describe as a mash up between the latest and greatest of the Hitman series and Hotline: Miami. A comparison of those two may pique your interest, as it should.
Silverstone Lucid LD01

Silverstone Lucid LD01

The Lucid LD01 from Silverstone tries to ditch the plastic and move to a mix relying heavily on steel and tempered glass for an understated high quality look and feel. It clearly caters to those who'd like to transcend the classic use of steel and plastic panels and want simple but effective, functional designs and features.
ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme 8 GB

ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme 8 GB

Zotac's GeForce RTX 2070 AMP Extreme is the highest-clocked RTX 2070 card out there, and its memory is overclocked, too. This results in 7% higher performance than the Founders Edition, which is finally a meaningful increase for an out-of-the-box overclock on GeForce 20.

Greenliant Sampling Industrial Temperature SATA M.2 ArmourDrive SSDs Up to 1TB

Greenliant is growing its portfolio of ArmourDrive solid state drive (SSD) modules with the introduction of 87 PX Series SATA M.2 products. Designed for embedded systems requiring removable data storage that can operate in extreme environments, industrial temperature (-40°C to +85°C), SATA M.2 ArmourDrive SSDs are built in the widely used 2280 form factor.

With high reliability and low power consumption, SATA M.2 ArmourDrive SSDs can be used in a multitude of applications, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices, industrial automation, servers, networking equipment, digital signage, surveillance and video conferencing systems. SATA M.2 ArmourDrive supports the SATA 6Gb/s interface and can reach up to 550/500 MB/s sequential read/write performance. Using 3-bits-per-cell (TLC) 3D NAND flash memory, 87 PX Series SATA M.2 ArmourDrive is rigorously tested to give customers cost-effective and reliable removable solid state storage for space-constrained systems.

Impaired Creativity: Bethesda to Still Use Creation Engine for The Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield

Bethesda Softworks has been betting hard on its Creation Engine to take them through multiple installments in some of the biggest AAA game releases players usually see, in the form of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. And even as the company has announced their intention to explore another new universe in the still mysterious Starfield, it seems the company only knows of one way to do so: their Creation engine. The Creation engine is in itself a heavily upgraded and revised version of Bethesda's own Gamebryo engine, which was deployed in The Elder Scrolls III - Morrowind... back in 2002. It has since been heavily upgraded, but it's looking slightly long in the tooth, at least from a visual perspective.

Another Denuvo Version Falls: Hitman 2 Cracked Days Before Official Release

Well, Hitman 2 has been released, really, but only for special edition buyers, who are able to get their hands on the game where you kill Sean Bean (one of the most killed actors of all time, if I recall correctly). However, the official launch date really is set for tomorrow, so the title is still accurate. And providing the title early for special edition buyers has turned the tides on Warner Bro's decision, and put the pressure on Denuvo... Again. the DRM used on Hitman 2 stands at version number 5.3, but a single day after the game was made available to early players, on November 9th, Denuvo was gone.

That's not much to say on protecting the most critical cycle on any new game release: as Irdeto, Denuvo's parent company, puts it, the first 14 days. You can read the entire press release where Irdeto explains their market understanding after the break. The fact of the matter, however, seems to be that hackers are getting better and better and understanding and circumventing Denuvo's efforts.

It Does Matter How You Spin it - Spintronics Could be Answer to Future Semiconductor Technologies

It's only a matter of time before microchip production as we know it disappears entirely, at least for leading-edge tech designs. Either via new materials applied to trusted techniques (such as carbon coating/nanotubes) or entirely new and exotic fabrication technologies, we're rapidly approaching the limits of traditional silicon-based microchips. One solution to the problem, as it stands, might be found in spintronics - an interesting concept which bases processing and data retention not simply on whether current is being applied to a given transistor (as is the case for current silicon chips), but on a property of electrons called spin. Crucially, changing the magnetic orientation of electrons requires but a single charge, instead of a continued supply of power - which allows for much lower power consumption and heat output, two of the encroaching, limiting factors for the usual chips.

Valve Seemingly Preparing Their Own VR Headset; Hints Point to Half Life VR Bundle

In June 2016 Valve announced 'Destinations', a Steam workshop not easy to find anymore, that allowed the end user to enter real and fictitious scenarios through the magic of virtual reality. The idea was intriguing, but the media was not completely sold and judged Valve's proposal as both "the best and the worst of VR". From all this, however, came a singular discovery: those who reverse-engineered its code discovered in it the HLVR acronym, which initiated a wide debate about the potential appearance of a Half Life VR (HLVR) version specifically developed for VR headsets.

Lending further credence to this hypothesis was Gabe Newell's announcement in February 2017 that Valve was preparing three big titles for virtual reality- two of them based on Source 2, and one of them based on Unity. More such signs appeared in the summer of 2018, and everything was pointing towards this project being indeed real, that it would likely be based on Source 2, and that it would offer a full-fledged blockbuster title that this generation of VR has been desperately seeking. We now have more data courtesy a "leaked email" to Reddit user 2flock that suggests Valve's work is apparently going beyond just VR game development, as images of a prototype device seen below confirm that Valve is also working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD), one whose development would also be more advanced than initially suspected.

AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su Bestowed with GSA Exemplary Leadership Award

Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) will honor industry visionary and innovator Dr. Lisa Su, President and CEO, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), with the prestigious Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award at its highly-anticipated Annual Awards Dinner to be held in Santa Clara, California, on December 6, 2018.

Established in 1999, the Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award recognizes individuals for their exceptional contributions, exemplifying how their vision and global leadership have transformed and elevated the entire semiconductor industry. The selection of Dr. Su is based on her ongoing technological contributions, exceptional business acumen, status as a positive and inspiring role model, and wide ranging respect among the technology industry and business community.

Advantech Launches High Capacity NVMe SSD with Wide Temperature Support

Advantech, a global leading provider of the industrial flash storage solution SQFlash, today releases a flagship NVMe SSD product-SQFlash 920 series. This new series product line brings high performance, density, and full function storage security support, which allows complete design-in service for industrial applications. Advantech's SQFlash 920 series NVMe SSD includes the very popular M.2 2280 form factor (SQF-CM8) as well as a 2.5" U.2 form factor (SQF-C25) using the latest Toshiba BiCS3 3D NAND Flash technology to achieve up to 8TB per drive capacity.

Heading towards AIoT applications such as auto-piloting and industrial machine vision, the SQFlash 920 series is an industry first wide-temperature 3D NAND SSD that comes with built-in smart thermal management and comprehensive security features. Using the latest controller technology that includes LDPC and a RAID-ECC error correction engine, SQFlash 920 series provides best-in-class reliability and the same endurance level as planer MLC NAND Flash. What's more, a cloud ready online predictive maintenance feature (PMQ) is also available to help users remotely monitor their SSD.

Sapphire Radeon RX 590 NITRO+ Special Edition Detailed

Sapphire is developing a premium variant of its upcoming Radeon RX 590 series, called the RX 590 NITRO+ Special Edition, much like the "limited edition" branding it gave its premium RX 580-based card. Komachi Ensaka accessed leaked brochures of this card, which will bear an internal SKU code 11289-01. The brochure also confirms that the RX 590 features an unchanged 2,304 stream processor count from the RX 580, and continues to feature 8 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface. All that's new is improved thermals from a transition to the new 12 nm FinFET silicon fabrication process.

The Sapphire RX 590 NITRO+ SE ships with two clock-speed profiles, that can be probably toggled on the hardware by switching between two BIOS ROMs. The first profile is called NITRO+ Boost, and it runs the GPU at 1560 MHz, and the memory at 8400 MHz (GDDR5-effective). The second profile, called Silent Mode, reduces the engine clock boost to 1545 MHz, and the memory to 8000 MHz. For both profiles, the fan settings are unchanged. The fans stay off until the GPU is warming up to 54 °C, and spins at its nominal speed at 75 °C. It cuts off at 45 °C. The nominal speed is 0 - 2,280 RPM and the maximum speed is 3200 RPM.

David Wang From AMD Confirms That There Will Eventually Be an Answer to DirectX Raytracing

We don't know when, but it seems AMD will someday have support for DirectX Raytracing , a feature introduced by Microsoft on March 2018. David Wang, Senior Vice President of Engineering at AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, told so in an interview on the Japanese gaming website 4Gamer. Overclock3D confirmed the comments with the assistance of a Japanese speaker who helped to translate the interview without misunderstandings. It's important to clarify that what Wang said was "a personal view", not an official statement from AMD.

Nevertheless, this executive seems to be that "AMD will definitely respond to DXR", although right now the company is focused on improving its current CG production environment based on Radeon ProRenderer. Wang went further on his comments and told also that "the spread of Ray-Tracing's game will not go unless the GPU will be able to use Ray-Tracing in all ranges from low end to high end". Therefore he thinks that ray tracing technology will not become mainstream until there is support for all types of products, from low-end to high-end, but that doesn't mean that AMD won't offer that support gradually when it sees fit. And he seems to think it will be entirely appropriate at some point, and that's what's important.

Micron and Achronix Deliver Next-Generation FPGAs Powered by GDDR6 Memory

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced that its GDDR6 memory, Micron's fastest and most powerful graphics memory, will be the high-performance memory of choice supporting Achronix's next-generation stand-alone FPGA products built on TSMC 7nm process technology. GDDR6 is optimized for a variety of demanding applications, including machine learning, that require multi-terabit memory bandwidth and will enable Achronix to offer FPGAs at less than half the cost of FPGAs with comparable memory solutions.

Achronix's high-performance FPGAs, combined with GDDR6 memory, are the industry's highest-bandwidth memory solution for accelerating machine learning workloads in data center and automotive applications.

This new joint solution addresses many of the inherent challenges in deep neural networks, including storing large data sets, weight parameters and activations in memory. The underlying hardware needs to store, process and rapidly move data between the processor and memory. In addition, it needs to be programmable to allow more efficient implementations for constantly changing machine learning algorithms. Achronix's next-generation FPGAs have been optimized to process machine learning workloads and currently are the only FPGAs that offer support for GDDR6 memory.

Western Digital Enters In-Memory Computing Segment with Ultrastar Memory Drive

Western Digital Corporation, a data infrastructure leader, today announced it is extending the breadth and depth of its data center portfolio into the rapidly evolving in-memory computing market segment. The new Ultrastar DC ME200 Memory Extension Drive is the company's first product that enables customers to better optimize in-memory system capacity/performance for running demanding applications that drive today's real-time analytics and business insights.

"Today's requirement for faster analytics, data processing, cloud services and high-performance computing (HPC) is increasing demand for in-memory computing across a variety of industries, including healthcare, telecommunications and IT, and retail," said Ashish Nadkarni, group vice president, IDC. "By expanding in-memory capacity, the Ultrastar memory drive helps alleviate the high cost of adding extra DRAM, as well as addresses the physical limitations of available DIMM slots, where scaling is either cost-prohibitive or nearly impossible."

AMD "Zen 2" IPC 29 Percent Higher than "Zen"

AMD reportedly put out its IPC (instructions per clock) performance guidance for its upcoming "Zen 2" micro-architecture in a version of its Next Horizon investor meeting, and the numbers are staggering. The next-generation CPU architecture provides a massive 29 percent IPC uplift over the original "Zen" architecture. While not developed for the enterprise segment, the stopgap "Zen+" architecture brought about 3-5 percent IPC uplifts over "Zen" on the backs of faster on-die caches and improved Precision Boost algorithms. "Zen 2" is being developed for the 7 nm silicon fabrication process, and on the "Rome" MCM, is part of the 8-core chiplets that aren't subdivided into CCX (8 cores per CCX).

According to Expreview, AMD conducted DKERN + RSA test for integer and floating point units, to arrive at a performance index of 4.53, compared to 3.5 of first-generation Zen, which is a 29.4 percent IPC uplift (loosely interchangeable with single-core performance). "Zen 2" goes a step beyond "Zen+," with its designers turning their attention to critical components that contribute significantly toward IPC - the core's front-end, and the number-crunching machinery, FPU. The front-end of "Zen" and "Zen+" cores are believed to be refinements of previous-generation architectures such as "Excavator." Zen 2 gets a brand-new front-end that's better optimized to distribute and collect workloads between the various on-die components of the core. The number-crunching machinery gets bolstered by 256-bit FPUs, and generally wider execution pipelines and windows. These come together yielding the IPC uplift. "Zen 2" will get its first commercial outing with AMD's 2nd generation EPYC "Rome" 64-core enterprise processors.

Update Nov 14: AMD has issued the following statement regarding these claims.
As we demonstrated at our Next Horizon event last week, our next-generation AMD EPYC server processor based on the new 'Zen 2' core delivers significant performance improvements as a result of both architectural advances and 7nm process technology. Some news media interpreted a 'Zen 2' comment in the press release footnotes to be a specific IPC uplift claim. The data in the footnote represented the performance improvement in a microbenchmark for a specific financial services workload which benefits from both integer and floating point performance improvements and is not intended to quantify the IPC increase a user should expect to see across a wide range of applications. We will provide additional details on 'Zen 2' IPC improvements, and more importantly how the combination of our next-generation architecture and advanced 7nm process technology deliver more performance per socket, when the products launch.

Intel Puts Out Additional "Cascade Lake" Performance Numbers

Intel late last week put out additional real-world HPC and AI compute performance numbers of its upcoming "Cascade Lake" 2x 48-core (96 cores in total) machine, compared to AMD's EPYC 7601 2x 32-core (64 cores in total) machine. You'll recall that on November 5th, the company put out Linpack, System Triad, and Deep Learning Inference numbers, which are all synthetic benchmarks. In a new set of slides, the company revealed a few real-world HPC/AI application performance numbers, including MIMD Lattice Computation (MILC), Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF), OpenFOAM, NAMD scalable molecular dynamics, and YaSK.

The Intel 96-core setup with 12-channel memory interface belts out up to 1.5X performance in MILC, up to 1.6X in WRF and OpenFOAM, up to 2.1X in NAMD, and up to 3.1X in YASK, compared to an AMD EPYC 7601 2P machine. The company also put out system configuration and disclaimer slides with the usual forward-looking CYA. "Cascake Lake" will be Intel's main competitor to AMD's EPYC "Rome" 64-core 4P-capable processor that comes out by the end of 2018. Intel's product is a multi-chip module of two 24~28 core dies, with a 2x 6-channel DDR4 memory interface.

Thermaltake Intros Pacific V-RTX ASUS Strix VGA Water Blocks

Thermaltake today introduced the Pacific V-RTX 2080 and Pacific V-RTX 2080 Ti full-coverage water blocks for ASUS ROG Strix series graphics cards based on the GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, respectively. These blocks are tailor-made for ASUS' custom-design PCBs for these cards, with heat-drawing bumps at just the right places, over memory and VRM MOSFETs. The blocks combine a nickel-plated copper primary material with a clear-acrylic top that has a stainless steel plate along the edge of the channel. A brushed metal finish back-plate also comes included. The top is studded with addressable RGB LEDs that can be controlled via ASUS Aura Sync RGB software. Both blocks come with mounts for standard G 1/4" fittings. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Sunday, November 11th 2018

DeepCool Intros GamerStorm Castle 360 RGB CPU Cooler

DeepCool expanded the GamerStorm Castle RGB line of AIO liquid CPU coolers that feature addressable RGB LEDs, with the new Castle 360 RGB. As its name suggests, the cooler mates a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator with the cylindrical pump-block characteristic of this series, which features dual ceramic bearings for the pump assembly, and a circular RGB LED diffuser along the top plate. The rest of the pump-block's body is finished in matte-black with diamond-cut edges.

A trio of 120 mm fans with addressable RGB LED illumination and rubberized frame edges comes included. These fans each take 4-pin PWM input, spin between 500 to 1,800 RPM, pushing up to 69.34 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 30 dBA. The pump-block as well as fans feature both an included preset-based lighting module, but also fully support standardized addressable RGB input, letting you control them via motherboard software such as Aura Sync, Mystic Light, RGB Fusion, Polychrome, and VividLED. The GamerStorm Castle 360 RGB is among the rare few coolers that support both AMD TR4 and Intel LGA2066, in addition to AM4 and LGA115x. Available now, the DeepCool GamerStorm Castle 360 RGB is priced at 180€ (including taxes).

SK Hynix Develops 10 nm-class 8 Gb DDR4 DRAM

SK Hynix Inc. announced that it has developed 1Ynm 8Gb (Gigabits) DDR4 (Double Data Rate 4) DRAM. The productivity of this product is increased by 20% and the power consumption reduced by more than 15%, compared to the previous generation, 1Xnm DRAM. It also supports a data transfer rate of up to 3,200Mbps, which is the fastest data processing speed in DDR4 interface. The Company adopted a '4-Phase Clocking' scheme, which doubles the clock signal to boost data transfer speed and stability.

SK Hynix also introduced its own 'Sense Amp. Control' technology to reduce power consumption and data errors. With this technology, the Company successfully enhanced the performance of the sense amplifier. SK Hynix improved the transistor structure to lower the possibility of data errors, a challenge that accompanies technology shrink. The Company also added a low-power power supply to the circuit to prevent unnecessary power consumption.
Loading more posts, please wait... Load more news posts