Wednesday, February 21st 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Desktop PC
Keyboards
Mouse
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

Sonnet 1TB Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive Now Shipping

Sonnet Technologies today announced that the new 1TB version of its popular Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is now shipping. A rugged, pocket-size solid-state drive (SSD) storage device with a Thunderbolt 3 interface, the Mac- and Windows-compatible drive is equipped with 1TB of NVMe flash storage and leverages the 40Gb/s bandwidth of Thunderbolt 3 to deliver data transfer speeds up to 2600 MB/s.

The Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive was designed for pro users requiring ultimate performance in a truly portable storage device, unencumbered by the need for an AC power adapter. The storage device connects to any compatible Mac or Windows computer, or at the end of a Thunderbolt 3 device daisy chain, with its 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) cable. Based on the latest PCIe Gen 3 flash memory technology, the Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PCIe Flash Drive is more than five times faster than 6Gb/s SATA SSDs and USB 3 SSD drives.
Tuesday, February 20th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD
ADATA Gammix S10 512 GB

ADATA Gammix S10 512 GB

ADATA's Gammix S10 SSD is built using a Silicon Motion controller paired with 3D TLC flash. The SSD is cooled by a sexy red heatsink that not only looks pretty but also keeps the drive cooler than other NVMe SSDs we tested before. Priced at $210, it's one of the most affordable PCIe x4 drives on the market.

ASUS Announces Availability of Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102

ASUS today announced the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102. Its unique and innovative design, featuring a beautiful 3D pattern and a comfy weight-balanced construction with premium antibacterial cushioned materials, means it's not only stylish but also supremely cool and comfortable for extended use.

Unlike other headsets, the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 doesn't need any external sensors, making initial setup incredibly easy - users will be ready to play in less than 10 minutes. What's more, the headset supports over 20,000 Windows apps and more than 2,000 Steam VR titles, so users can watch immersive 360° videos, play games like never before or get on with important work or school projects. And importantly, the headset is also compatible with a wide range of affordable PCs. The ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 is the revolutionary, easy-to-use and affordable way for users to explore their imaginations.

Gem Rose Accent Offers 1 Bitcoin Prize to First Person that Beats Their New Game

Developer Gem Rose Accent will reward the first player to beat their new puzzle game with a Bitcoin, which is worth $11,669.97 at the time of this post. In MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma, players must navigate through a very complicated maze from a first-person perspective and solve the 24 puzzles to finish the game. Players also have the option form a group with other players to solve the different puzzles. MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma is available on Steam for $1.99, but you can purchase it for introductory price of $1.19. According to the developer, MonteCrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma will easily be one of the hardest game you will ever play. Will you take up their challenge?

Discovery Tour Update Turns Assassin's Creed Origins Into an Interactive Museum

Ubisoft's Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt is a new educational and entertainment tool, which lets anyone explore the entire interactive 3D recreation of Ancient Egypt in Assassin's Creed Origins, free of conflict, time pressure or gameplay constraints. The Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt releases on February 20th, 2018 on PS4, Xbox and PC, at no cost for all owners of the Assassin's Creed Origins game, and it will also be available independently from the game on PC via the Uplay and Steam platforms for £15.99.

From Alexandria to Memphis, the Nile Delta to the Sand Sea, the Giza plateau to the Faiyum Oasis, the Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt lets visitors either explore the rich world of Ancient Egypt at their will or follow the 75 themed tours devised by Ubisoft's creative teams in collaboration with History experts and Egyptologists.

Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter One Arrives on February 27

The wait is nearly over as Elite Dangerous: Beyond - Chapter One arrives on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 27. Beyond, the third Elite Dangerous season will be free for all players, and will focus on community-requested enhancements to the overall player experience. Alongside those core foundational changes, new in-game content will progress the ever-expanding player-driven storyline and give pilots across the galaxy new tools to shape the ongoing narrative.

With the release of Chapter One the crime and punishment system in Elite Dangerous will undergo a series of changes designed to improve the response to players' criminal activities, making Open Play's massively multiplayer galaxy fairer and more competitive. The new Advance Tactical Response will be on the hunt for repeat offenders, 'Hot Ships' attach crimes to players' spacecrafts, and new notoriety levels increase consequences for illegal activities making the galaxy a more challenging place for veteran pilots.

Fujitsu Launches New 2 in 1 Tablets Powered by 8th Gen Intel Core Processors

Fujitsu introduces its latest flagship 2 in 1 detachable device - the Fujitsu Tablet STYLISTIC Q738. Outstanding durability combined with the mobility of a tablet, in tandem with the power and productivity of a notebook, make the STYLISTIC Q738 an ideal choice for high-performance, mobile working1.

Designed to be tough, the STYLISTIC Q738 can resist damage from accidental knocks and bumps while on the move, thanks to a robust magnesium housing and reinforced edges. The multi-touch, 13.3-inch Full HD anti-glare wide-screen display can be used in direct sunlight, while the 8th generation Intel Core processor provides notebook-matching performance. With weight starting from just 789 grams (1.74 lbs.), the STYLISTIC Q738 is an easy-to-carry yet powerful device, and all-day battery life gives users the freedom to work anywhere, anytime.

HyperX Ships 4 Million Headsets, Global Leader in Esports

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced it has shipped more than 4 million units of its award-winning gaming headsets. HyperX began shipping gaming headsets in April 2014, reaching 1 million units in less than two years. HyperX gaming headset popularity extends from first-time gamers to professional gamers on tournament stages around the world. HyperX headsets are now available in 15,000 stores, in over 100 countries and across 6 continents.

HyperX headsets deliver the ultimate comfort for hours of gaming for pro gamers and enthusiasts alike, featuring premium HyperX signature memory foam, an adjustable headband, and multi-platform capability. HyperX headsets are designed to deliver industry-leading sound quality for an immersive gaming experience, as well watching movies, listening to music and chat.

Intel "Coffee Lake" Based Pentium Gold Processors Begin Selling

Even as Intel is giving final touches to its massive 8th generation Core family product stack expansion with up to eight new SKUs, retailers have started stocking up, and secretly selling some of these chips. Last week, we brought you the story of Newegg beginning to sell new Core i5 and Celeron 49xx series SKUs, namely the Core i5-8600 (non-K), the i5-8500, the Celeron 4920, and the Celeron 4900. We're now hearing of three other SKUs that have made it to the shelves, the Core i3-8300, and three Pentium Gold models.

The Core i3-8300, like the i3-8350K, is a quad-core chip that lacks HyperThreading, but unlike the current entry-level i3-8100, features a hearty 8 MB of L3 cache. It lacks the unlocked multiplier of the i3-8350K. It is clocked at 3.70 GHz, and lacks Turbo Boost. It's selling at USD $134.99 in tray quantities, so we expect its boxed retail unit price to be $139-$149. The Pentium Gold family consists of 2-core/4-thread chips backed by 4 MB of L3 cache. Leading the pack is the Pentium Gold G5600, clocked at 3.90 GHz, followed by the G5500 clocked at 3.80 GHz, and the G5400 at 3.70 GHz. The three could occupy price-points ranging between $80-$99.
Monday, February 19th 2018

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage
FSP CMT510

FSP CMT510

The FSP CMT510 utilizes nothing but steel and glass and comes jam-packed with four RGB fans - all at quite the intriguing price point. With its ability to switch up the color hue and a simple but functional interior with plenty of room, the CMT510 turns out to be quite a worthy chassis in the crowded mid-range market.

ID-Cooling Intros DK-03 Halo AMD Red CPU Cooler

ID-Cooling rolled out the DK-03 Halo AMD Red, a simple top-flow CPU cooler that acts as a replacement to AMD's decent Wraith-series coolers. It should particularly appeal to those who opt for models that lack stock coolers (eg: Ryzen 5 1600X, Ryzen 7 1700X, 1800X, etc.). The cooler's design consists of a cylindrical aluminium heatsink with radially-projecting fins, ventilated by a large 120 mm fan. The heatsink looks taller than that of a Wraith Spire, yet narrower, for clearance around the memory and VRM areas. A pre-installed clip-type retention mechanism lets the cooler support AMD sockets AM4, AM3(+), and FM2(+).

With its factory-installed fan in place, the cooler measures 130 mm x 130 mm x 63 mm (WxDxH), weighing about 365 g. The fan features a red LED diffuser that draws power from the fan's power supply. The fan spins at speeds of up to 1,600 RPM, pushing up to 58.4 CFM of air, with a noise output of 26.4 dBA. The cooler is rated for thermal loads of up to 100W, which means you will be able to run 95W TDP Ryzen chips such as the 1800X at stock speeds, without expecting much overclocking headroom. Available now, the DK-03 Halo AMD Red is expected to be priced around USD $14.99.

Samsung Begins Mass-production of 30.72-terabyte PM1643 SSD

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's largest capacity Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) solid state drive (SSD) - the PM1643 - for use in next-generation enterprise storage systems. Leveraging Samsung's latest V-NAND technology with 64-layer, 3-bit 512-gigabit (Gb) chips, the 30.72 terabyte (TB) drive delivers twice the capacity and performance of the previous 15.36 TB high-capacity lineup introduced in March 2016.

This breakthrough was made possible by combining 32 of the new 1TB NAND flash packages, each comprised of 16 stacked layers of 512 Gb V-NAND chips. These super-dense 1 TB packages allow for approximately 5,700 5-gigabyte (GB), full HD movie files to be stored within a mere 2.5-inch storage device.

AMD's PlayReady 3.0 In Polaris, Vega GPUs, APUs to Enable 4K HDR Streaming on PC

In the wake of increased requirements when it comes to digital copy protection mechanisms in consumable media (be it in the streaming or disc-type), AMD is looking to allow users of its products to keep up with the increasing demands of content distributors. Besides hardware encode/decode capabilities, hardware DRM support such as HDCP 2.2 or Microsoft's PlayReady 3.0 has become a necessity for high-quality content viewing, and is required for Netflix 4K and HDR streaming on PCs.

AMD themselves have said that they plan on enabling these features for their products via a driver release, thus turning the most recent Ryzen + Vega APUs into even more desirable HTPC-environment solutions. In the Ryzen Desktop APU Reviewers' Guide, the company specifically said, "Please note that HDCP 1.4/2.2 are supported for the purposes of streaming 4K+HDR content. AMD intends to have a production PlayReady 3-capable graphics driver in early Q2". The company thus joins Intel and NVIDIA in developing solutions that allow users to take advantage of 4K and HDR content on their PC solution via, for example, Netflix. The steps are still very convoluted, though; just look at the Netflix requirements for your PC after the break. It's mind-boggling.

Ruckus Signs Strategic OEM Deal with Dell

Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company, today announced it has signed a global original equipment manufacturing (OEM) agreement with Dell EMC to deliver Ruckus' broad portfolio of wireless solutions, including access points (APs), controllers, virtualized and data analytics assets, and Cloudpath secure network access software-along with Ruckus IoT and CBRS LTE products-as Dell-branded solutions. This agreement gives Dell EMC's networking sales team and end-user customers access to Ruckus' award-winning portfolio of secure wireless connectivity solutions and strong brand presence not available through alternative suppliers. The agreement is effective immediately and encompasses a range of sales, marketing and customer support programs in international markets, including APAC, EMEA and the Americas.

"Delivering innovative wireless networking solutions to our partners is key to address the insatiable demand for high-performance wireless networking in the enterprise," said Dan Rabinovitsj, president, Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company. "The Dell EMC brand and market reach is complementary to our own and represents a significant path for growth for both companies across a range of vertical markets, including education, public infrastructure, the federal government and service providers. We view Dell EMC's strength in storage and scalable computing platforms as critical to collaboration where complete bundled solutions are required to compete and win."

Lucasfilm Rumored to Ditch EA for a New Game Publisher

Rumors are going around that Lucasfilm isn't too happy with how the Star Wars franchise is turning out since they handed the license on a silver platter over to Electronic Arts in 2013. Up to now, EA has produced a total of two titles under the Star Wars: Battlefront sub-series. Their first Star Wars: Battlefront game was released in 2015 and many considered it a reboot of the previous games. Regardless, Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) was highly criticized for its lack of a single-player campaign. EA's solution to keep die-hard Star Wars fans happy was to release a multitude of free expansions and paid DLC packs to add more content to the game. And then came Star Wars: Battlefront II in 2017, a sequel that received even harsher backlash because of the over aggressive loot-crate system that was implemented into the game. In an attempt to put out the fire, EA temporarily eliminated the microtransactions.

Then, to make matters even worse, EA closed Visceral Games last year. The studio was working on the single-player driven Star Wars: Project Ragtag title, but apparently it didn't fit into EA's business model so they decided to pull the plug. With all that has occurred, EA's relationship with Lucasfilm hangs on a thin thread right now. The gaming giant's lackluster record of releasing two games in a five year period allegedly forced Lucasfilm to explore other options. Ubisoft and Activision were the two big names that have been mentioned so far. If the rumors were true, who would you rather have working on the next Star Wars game?

Intel Unveils Discrete GPU Prototype Development

Intel is making progress in its development of a new discrete GPU architecture, after its failed attempt with "Larrabee" that ended up as an HPC accelerator; and ancient attempts such as the i740. This comes in the wake of the company's high-profile hiring of Raja Koduri, AMD's former Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) head. The company unveiled slides pointing to the direction in which its GPU development is headed, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. That direction is essentially scaling up its existing iGPU architecture, and bolstering it with mechanisms to sustain high clock speeds better.

The company's first 14 nm dGPU prototype, shown as a test-chip at the ISSCC, is a 2-chip solution. The first chip contains two key components, the GPU itself, and a system agent; and the second chip is an FPGA that interfaces with the system bus. The GPU component, as it stands now, is based on Intel's Gen 9 architecture, and features a three execution unit (EU) clusters. Don't derive numbers from this yet, as Intel is only trying to demonstrate a proof of concept. The three clusters are wired to a sophisticated power/clock management mechanism that efficiently manages power and clock-speed of each individual EU. There's also a double-clock mechanism that doubles clock speeds (of the boost state) beyond what today's Gen 9 EUs can handle on Intel iGPUs. Once a suitable level of energy efficiency is achieved, Intel will use newer generations of EUs, and scale up EU counts taking advantage of newer fab processes, to develop bigger discrete GPUs.
More slides follow.

EK Announces Monoblock for MSI X399 Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new Socket TR4 based monoblock made for several MSI X399 motherboards. The EK-FB MSI X399 Gaming RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with MSI Mystic Light, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for two MSI AMD X399 Chipset based motherboards that support AMD Socket TR4 AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following MSI motherboards:
  • MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
  • MSI X399 SLI Plus

Spire Intros SP-ATX-2000W-BTC ETH PSU for Mining Rigs

Spire rolled out the SP-ATX-2000W-BTC/ETH, an ATX/PS2 power-supply for GPU-based crypto-currency mining rigs. With 2000W power on tap, the PSU bears a no-frills design to keep costs low. The design focus is not just on the number of PCIe power connectors, but also the length of the PCIe power cables, so you can have a multitude of graphics cards popping out through risers. The PSU comes with a total of eighteen PCIe power connectors, of which ten are 6-pin, and eight 6+2 pin. You also get a surprisingly high thirteen SATA power connectors, a 4+4 pin EPS, and a 24-pin ATX.

Under the hood, the Spire SP-ATX-2000W-BTC/ETH features a single +12V rail design with so-called "85 Plus Gold" efficiency; APFC, common electrical protection mechanisms against over/under-voltage, overload, short-circuit, and overheat. Two 80 mm fans (one on each end) are used to keep the unit cool. Taking into account its target audience, Spire is rating its life-expectancy at 100,000 hours, and is backing it with a 2-year warranty. It is priced at USD $219.99 a piece Stateside, or 199.95€ a piece in the EU. Currently, the company is only selling it on B2B platforms such as Alibaba, in 200-unit minimum orders.

Kickstart and Burn: System Shock Remaster Put on Hold After Collecting $1.3M

Kickstarter has had some amazing success stories; but it's also had quite the number of unbelievable fails. And the failures to deliver are usually much more impressive, and generate much more press, than the actual success stories - that's just the way of the beast. Now, gamers waiting for the eventual remaster of what this editor has been told is one of the most groundbreaking games of its time - System Shock - have been left in a somewhat spacey environment, as the developer has come out to say that the game has been put on hold - but not cancelled. Nightdive Studios sold its vision to 21,625 Kickstarter backers, which collectively donated more than $1.3M - and some 21,331 extra backers on Backerit, which donated $107,199.83 more to the cause.

Nightdive Studios' CEO Stephen Kick, in a campaign update, revealed that at some point along the way, the vision for the game veered from a remaster to what would essentially become a whole new game. The decision to also change the development engine from Unity to Unreal Engine 4 - which the developers say they don't regret - has also shaved much time and resources from the original intended development effort. Here's hoping this isn't a full 180 on the game's development, and that we do see the light of day for this project - in a way that makes all the backers feel as if their hard-earned money - and the journey they've gone to to see the remaster come to fruition - hasn't been in vain. I, for one, would love to play a modern rendition of System Shock. Look after the break for some of the core ideas in Nightdive Studios' CEO Stephen Kick message to backers.

HDPlex H3 V2 Fanless Chassis Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of HDPlex H3 V2 fan-less HTPC chassis. The H3 sits between the tiny H1 and deck-sized H5. It has the height of the H5 and the width of the H1. The case measures 270 mm x 264 mm x 93 mm (WxDxH), weighing in at 5.5 kg. Its main chamber can house mini-ITX motherboards, and a half-height add-on card that's no more than 1-slot thick. As with most fan-less cases, the chunky, ridged aluminium body of the H3 V2 doubles up as heatsink for the CPU/SoC, and can handle thermal loads of up to 80W. The CPU block uses eight 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes to transport heat to the body. The case also has room for up to four 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch drives. Available now, it is priced at USD $240.

CD Projekt Red Opens Up Regarding Loot Box Integration in Games

In an interview to PC Gamer, CD Projekt Red's CEO Adam Kiciński approached the subject of loot boxes and their integration in videogames as ways of increasing companies' bottom line. And as has been the case in nearly every move CD Projekt has ever made, the CEO's - and the company's - posture is one of respect and frankly, overwhelming candure as to how to conduct a respectable business. When inquired on where the company that developed the Witcher games stands on the microtransactions and lootbox conversation, Adam Kiciński was very clear: far and away from a "milking customers" position.

"'Conversation' sounds way too nice to describe what was happening last year. I would rather call it community backlash," says Kiciński. "And this time around, it wasn't just the hardcore community, there were a lot of really pissed off gamers out there and they decided to speak up. Where we stand is quite simple and you could see it with all of our past releases-most recently The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and GWENT. If you buy a full priced game, you should get a big, polished piece of content, which gives you many, many hours of fun gameplay."
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