Hardware Giveaway
Tuesday, November 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
SSD

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha has the aesthetics and build quality of the Cloud Gaming II, the microphone and connectivity of the Cloud Gaming, but also a brand-new dual chamber speaker driver design. Thanks to its amazing audio performance, it's the new reference gaming headset in the $100 price bracket.

Promise's TD-300 is the Perfect Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Creative Professionals

Promise Technology Inc., a leading storage solutions provider for creative and IT applications, today announced the addition of a Thunderbolt 3 dock to its comprehensive lineup of solutions for rich media workflows. Through the new dock, users can add two 4K displays, charge devices, daisy-chain Thunderbolt 3 hard drives, connect USB devices, transfer SD card content, and more -- over a single connection. The new TD-300 brings it all together to expand the capabilities of Thunderbolt 3-enabled macOS and Windows 10 platforms. The TD-300 is also an ideal choice for small office/home office users.

An ideal complement to Promise's industry-leading Pegasus3 series of desktop RAID storage solutions, the TD-300 provides several connectivity options that set it apart from the competition, including five USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader and HDMI 2.0. It also features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and an audio in/out port. Creative professionals working with Windows workstations, iMac and MacBook Pro can now simply connect the TD-300's Thunderbolt 3 port to any Thunderbolt 3-enabled PC or Mac. There are no drivers to download or install, and no additional utility software is needed.

Battlefield 1 Turning Tides Expansion to Drop on December 11

Players will soon be able to experience battles on land, in the air, and at sea on the newest front with Battlefield 1 Turning Tides, the third expansion pack available for Battlefield 1. Battlefield 1 Turning Tides will be released in two waves - the first wave is coming on December 11th for Battlefield 1 Premium Pass owners. Players will be able to fight across a duo of epic maps, including Cape Helles and Achi Baba. In a new Operation set on these maps, players can take part in the 1915 British amphibious assault of the Gallipoli peninsula. There will be a new Infiltrator Elite Class, six weapons and two melee weapons added to your arsenal, and you'll get to rule the waves with the L-Class Destroyer. The second wave, coming January 2018, puts players in the North Sea to tackle two other unique maps: Zeebrugge and Heligoland Blight, with the chance to charge into battle with the new Royal Marines and spawn on the C-Class Airship.

Aquantia Black Friday Deals: AQtion 5G NIC for $59 and 10G NIC for $69

Aquantia Corp., a leader in high-speed, Multi-Gigabit Ethernet connectivity solutions, today announced its plan to help PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts squeeze new levels of performance out of their systems. Today, Aquantia announced a special holiday promotion with international distribution partners Arrow, WPGA and WPI, to deliver the industry's fastest Ethernet adapters - Aquantia AQtion Network Interface Cards (NICs) - to gamers and performance PC users at a giftworthy price point for a limited time. The Aquantia AQtion AQN-108 5G NIC is now available for $59.00 and the Aquantia AQtion AQN-107 10G NIC is available for an unprecedented $69.00.

The super-low latency and in-game advantage that AQtion Multi-Gigabit NICs deliver make them the perfect holiday surprise for any hardware enthusiast. The performance PC user - whether a gamer, video editing enthusiast, designer, engineer or just a tried and true geek - wants the ability to move huge volumes of digital life data seamlessly and quickly. In a home or office, that seamless capability requires a 5G or even a 10G NIC card.

Gold and Platinum Editions for the Drobo 5N2 and 5D3 Make Their Debut

Today, Drobo announced two new special editions for the 5N2 and the 5D3 to bring performance and peace of mind to power users. Power users among creative professionals, SMBs and connected homes require increased speeds, data recovery protection, and extended support for their data-intensive workflows. These special editions are best-in-class complements to Drobo's stellar history of delivering award-winning simple, safe, and smart storage solutions.

All Gold Edition Drobos include a premium DroboCare warranty for five years, replacing the standard two-year coverage for uninterrupted protection on Drobo products. Additionally, the Gold Editions include a 128GB mSATA SSD for up to 30% faster access to frequently used files. The Platinum packages also include one instance of a data recovery service within a five year period. This partnership is an industry first and a direct result of our power users' desire to ensure their data will never be compromised. DriveSavers has the highest recovery rate for mechanical, water and fire damage, file corruption, and more on hard drives and all data storage devices. Drobo has an exclusive partnership with DriveSavers for this level of service, potentially saving customers thousands of dollars in recovery fees.

SteelSeries Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals 2017

SteelSeries, leader and innovator in gaming peripherals, kicks off the holiday season with massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions and the SteelSeries Holiday Gift-a-thon. SteelSeries is celebrating the holiday season with big sales on its most popular products and the first-ever "SteelSeries Gift-a-thon," a giveaway in which more and more prizes are added as more people enter. Prizes include new SteelSeries gear, exclusive in-game codes, Apple TVs, custom-built PCs, and "SteelSeries for life" - a program where winners will receive one new product in each category every year for life!

The Gift-a-thon starts on November 21 and ends on November 30. Participants can enter at steelseries.com. Participants will also receive 50 additional giveaway entries with any purchase on SteelSeries.com (limit one per customer).

EVGA Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N Hydro Copper

EVGA today introduced its flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|ngp|n Hydro Copper (model: 11G-P4-6799), tuned by the legendary overclocker Vince "K|ngp|n" Lucido himself. The card features the choicest VRM components, binned "GP102" ASIC and GDDR5X memory chips, to support not just the highest overclocking headroom among EVGA's lineup, but also its highest factory-overclocked speeds of 1582 MHz core, 1695 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.00 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory clocks.

The card is intended to be plumbed to your own liquid-cooling loop, and comes with an all-copper, full-coverage water-block. You also get EVGA's iCX technology, which puts 9 thermal sensors across various points in the card. Available now (in limited stocks), exclusively through EVGA's own online store, the card is priced at USD $1,249.

SilverStone Intros Essential Series 450W PSU

SilverStone today introduced its Essential series 450W power-supply (model: SST-ET450-B), which covers all the basics for first-time builders. The Essential series made its debut earlier this year, with larger 550W and 650W models. The standard-ATX PSU is 14 cm long, and features fixed cabling. It has enough juice and straws for a premium mainstream-desktop build with one high-end graphics card. The PSU offers 80 Plus Bronze switching efficiency. Under the hood, it features a single +12V rail design, with a single 34A rail.

Other under-the-hood features include active-PFC, and protections against over/under-voltage, overload, and short-circuit. A low-noise optimized 120 mm fan keeps the unit cool, with noise output as low as 18 dBA. Connectors include a 24-pin ATX, one 4+4-pin EPS, two 6+2-pin PCIe power, four SATA power, three 4-pin Molex, and one 4-pin Berg. Backed by a 3-year warranty, it is priced at USD $59.99.

Cooler Master Announces MasterKeys MK750 Keyboard

Cooler Master, a global leader in designing and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, today announces its new performance focused mechanical gaming keyboard, the MasterKeys MK750. The new addition to its award winning lineup of gaming peripherals boasts a removable magnetic wristrest, four dedicated media keys, full RGB backlighting with an illuminating light bar, USB Type-C removable Cable and of course Cherry MX Mechanical Switches mounted to an anodized aluminum body. It's a pro-grade gaming keyboard perfect for the aspiring gamer looking for a pro-gaming experience.

"We wanted to further raise the bar so we designed a keyboard that harbors all of the fantastic existing features of our MasterKeys Pro line except now we added more elements that are needed for a competitive gaming set up such as dedicated media keys and removable wristrest for comfort," says Bram Rongen, Peripheral Sr. Product Marketing Manager.

Microsoft Xbox One X Falls Short of Expectations in Japan - Again

Cracking Japan's console market has always been a tough - read: almost impossible - feat for Microsoft. For generations now, Microsoft has failed to achieve any kind of market penetration in that country. To put things in perspective, Xbox One's sales in japan have been so low that retailers in Japan started marketing and selling the consoles as Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray readers, not as gaming consoles. For Microsoft, that would have been fine - a sale is a sale is a sale, and the Xbox One never was sold at a loss like previous hardware generations - but it just goes to show that the Japanese market doesn't really care much for the typical games Microsoft offers with its console. The relative abundance of JRPGs and other typical games for which the Japanese crowds usually lean towards the most are relatively absent from Microsoft's staples of exclusives, which probably justifies this cold stance towards Microsoft's console. But to be fair, japan is one of the foremost mobile gaming countries in the world, so that definitely has something to do with it as well.

According to Japanese Famitsu, the Xbox One X managed to move... 1,639 units at launch. This means that the Xbox One X was outsold by virtually all consoles - The PS4 (23,613 units), PS4 Pro (6,028 units), Nintendo Switch (84,593 units), and was even outsold by the PS Vita, 3DS, and 2DS XL. It only snagged wins against previous-generation hardware (like the PS3 and Wii U) or Microsoft's own other console - The Xbox One S. A bittersweet victory, to say the least. The fact that the Xbox One X did get sold-out in Japan is telling - but that did happen because of the low orders Japanese retailers put in for the new console. Some 4 consoles later, they know that barring a black swan, Microsoft isn't setting a foothold in Japanese gamers' living rooms.

Sources: Famitsu, via PCMag

Toshiba to Enable 14 TB, PMR HDDs as Soon as 2018

Toshiba has announced they will begin commercializing HDDs based on Showa Denko K.K.'s (SDK) 9th generation perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) platter technology. This latest technology brings about improved storage areal densities in both the 2.5" and 3.5" platters, increasing storage capacities without having to resort to Shingled Magnetic Recording 8SMR), which typically reduces performance. The increased areal density of the new generation technology enables 1 TB 2.5" platters and up to 1.8 TB 3.5" platters, opening the door for PMR HDDs with up to 14 TB capacity sometime in 2018.

The first Toshiba drive to make use of this technology is aimed at ultra-portable laptops that require lots of storage space: the MQ04ABF Series features 5,400 RPM spindle speeds, 1TB of data storage capacity in an ultra-compact 2.5-inch 7.0 mm height form factor. This news is particularly interesting for enterprise-class solutions, however. Today's top-of-the-range enterprise-class 3.5" HDDs can store up to 12 TB of data (14 TB solutions have to make use of SMR). These 12 TB HDDs are based on 8x 8th generation PMR platters featuring ~1.5 TB capacities. With the arrival of the 9th gen PMR platters in 2018, hard drive makers will be able to increase capacities of 8x platter models to 14 TB, while designs with 7x platters can go up to 12 TB.

Sources: AnandTech, Toshiba

PowerColor Radeon RX Vega 64 Red Devil Available Soon, Overclocked, £590

It seems our wait for custom editions of AMD's RX Vega graphics cards is coming to an end. "Better late than never" is what they always say; however, AMD and its AIB partners have to know that this kind of wait can sap customer enthusiasm for a product. It's not enough that customers waited around two years for Vega to come to fruition; we've also had to wait some additional months (not weeks), for an actual custom-design graphics card. Vega's exotic design with HBM2 memory means that these graphics cards' availability would fall prey not only to Vega GPU yields, but also to HBM2 memory availability.

Additionally, Vega has been vulnerable to packaging of HBM2 and the GPU as well, with various factories providing different levels of quality in the finished product. This introduced some unexpected variance in the finished products - making the creation of cooling designs that could cope with all the design discrepancies more difficult.

ADATA Releases the XPG STORM RGB M.2 2280 Active-Cooled Heatsink

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched the XPG STORM heatsink add-on for M.2 2280 drives. STORM features an aluminum heatsink and with a fan. It can be easily affixed to any compatible SSD to provide powerful cooling. Lower SSD temperatures promote more stable storage and system performance, in addition to the XPG-styled STORM heatsink with its colorful RGB lighting contributing to attractive, gaming-themed PC setups.

Lower temperatures complement high speeds
While M.2 2280 PCIe SSDs are currently the fastest on the market, their high data rates also mean considerable heat buildup. Without a heatsink, accumulating heat can compromise performance and accelerate SSD aging. STORM includes an aluminum heatsink that fits on any M.2 SSD without causing overhead issues. Together with the heatsink, STORM uses a fan to circulate cool air and reduces temperature by at least 25% when compared with bare M.2 SSDs.
Monday, November 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

be quiet! Dark Base 700

The be quiet! Dark Base 700 is the brand's first RGB-equipped chassis. It keeps the design elements of the previous be quiet! cases and, as it is part of the Dark Base family, is intended for the high-end enthusiast who may love the larger Dark Base 900, but is looking for a more compact choice.

DarkSide Gentle Typhoon 1450 RPM Black Edition Fan

The Gentle Typhoon made a comeback recently under the DarkSide brand, and in an all-black color scheme too. It was the fan of choice for PC DIY enthusiasts only a few years ago, and in this review, we will see how it holds up against newer fans and features alike.

"Summit" Supercomputer to Propel US Back to Number 1 in Top 500 by 2018

China has been increasingly - and steadily - gaining relevance in the supercomputing world, with most of the top-500 entries being controlled by that country. In fact, China can boast of having the number one supercomputer in the world, the Sunway TaihuLight, which can deliver 93 PetaFLOPS of computing power - just 3x more computational power than the second most powerful machine, China's own Tianhe-2). However, supercomputing, and the amount of money that's earned by selling processing slices of these supercomputers for private or state contractors, i a very attractive pull - especially considering the increasingly more expensive computational needs of the modern world.

The Summit is to be the United State's call to fame in that regard, bringing the country back to number one in raw, top-of-the-line single-machine supercomputing power. Summit is promising to more than double the PetaFLOPS of China's TaihuLight, to over 200 PetaFLOPs. That amounts to around 11x more processing grunt than its predecessor, the Titan, in a much smaller footprint - the Titan's 18,688 processing nodes will be condensed to just ~4,600 nodes on the Summit, with each node achieving around 40 TeraFLOPS of computing power. The hardware? IBM and NVIDIA, married in water-cooled nodes with the powerful GV100 accelerator that's still eluding us enthusiasts - but that's a question for another day.

ASUS Launches World's First Ryzen 7-Powered Laptop - The ROG Strix GL702ZC

AMD's Ryzen CPUs have come out of the gates swinging, and have maintained that momentum still. Besides democratizing core-counts and SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading), these AMD chips brought about a revolution of sorts for AMD's CPU power efficiency, with Ryzen frequently going up against Intel's solutions - and even besting them frequently in this area. As such, that the Zen architecture would make its way to laptops was only a matter of engineering, design and testing - which usually translate to time. Ever since we reported ASUS was working on a Ryzen 7-powered laptop, the folks at ASUS have been working on it. And now, they've finally introduced the ROG STRIX GL702ZC.

The ROG STRIX GL702ZC is the world's first Ryzen 7-powered laptop, and marks the beginning of the end for AMD as the "budget" option when it comes to mobile solutions, with lower ASP of products based on AMD's platform justifying sometimes horrendous specs and configurations. The ROG STRIX GL702ZC features a 17.3" FHD IPS anti-glare display with FreeSync, driven by a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU paired with AMD Radeon RX580 graphics (the 4GB VRAM version) and 16 GB of DDR4 memory (expandable up to 32GB). The system can be further configured with an M.2 SSD (up to 256 GB) and/or an up to 1 TB , 5,400 RPM HDD.

Giant Chipmaker Marvell Technology Devours Smaller Rival Cavium for $6 Billion

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and Cavium, Inc. today announced a definitive agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, under which Marvell will acquire all outstanding shares of Cavium common stock in exchange for consideration of $40.00 per share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each Cavium share. Upon completion of the transaction, Marvell will become a leader in infrastructure solutions with approximately $3.4 billion in annual revenue.

The transaction combines Marvell's portfolio of leading HDD and SSD storage controllers, networking solutions and high-performance wireless connectivity products with Cavium's portfolio of leading multi-core processing, networking communications, storage connectivity and security solutions. The combined product portfolios provide the scale and breadth to deliver comprehensive end-to-end solutions for customers across the cloud data center, enterprise and service provider markets, and expands Marvell's serviceable addressable market to more than $16 billion. This transaction also creates an R&D innovation engine to accelerate product development, positioning the company to meet today's massive and growing demand for data storage, heterogeneous computing and high-speed connectivity.

Patriot Launches New VIPER LED Series DDR4 Performance Memory

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals and flash storage solutions today announced its new VIPER LED Series Performance DDR4 Memory. A remarkable LED-lit top decorative lighting and stylish aluminum heat shield design, VIPER LED Series DDR4 Memory is optimized for maximum performance on the Intel 100/200/300 series and AMD 300 series motherboards. VIPER LED Series available in both red and white LED model which light up gaming rig with bright integrated lighting designed to make the gaming rig look as good as it performs.

The modern gaming PC is exposed with many featuring large windows and tempered glass side panels. A perfect complement to these systems is a well-placed lighting scheme which includes LED lights on all of the major components. VIPER LED Series DDR4 Memory is available in both red and white LED lighting configurations with a decorative style and fantastic brightness.

D-Link Launches Trio of Next Generation DGS-3630 Switches

D-Link today announced its new generation of Layer 3 Managed Gigabit Switches - the DGS-3630 Series. The series now offers PoE models DGS-3630-28PC with 24 PoE ports and DGS-3630-52PC with 48 PoE ports to provide a complete Layer 3 fully managed switch portfolio. The DGS-3630 Series switches deliver scalable software management and software image upgrades to access additional advanced features according to network requirements. The Switch Resource Management (SRM) feature allows the hardware table size to be changed so that switch functions can be optimized based on different applications.

Working at wire-speed performance, the switches can aggregate all the traffic in the network. Built-in 10 Gigabit uplink ports and stacking technology allow the switches to easily accommodate larger enterprise networks. Full Layer 3 protocol support, OAM features, and advanced QoS offer scalable and efficient network operation, administration and maintenance, even in stressful metro Ethernet infrastructures.

Riotoro Intros CR500 Mid-tower Chassis

Riotoro today introduced the CR500 ATX mid-tower chassis. The case is characterized by a slightly protruding and perforated front-panel for better air intake, with a full-coverage tempered glass making up the side panel. The case features a contemporary horizontal partition layout. The top compartment houses an ATX/micro-ATX/mini-ITX motherboard with room for graphics cards as long as 40 cm, and CPU coolers as tall as 18 cm.

The bottom compartment of the CR500, accessible from the right side panel, houses two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays, two additional 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive mounts, and the PSU compartment. The cooling system includes three 120 mm or two 140 mm top exhausts, two 140 mm/120 mm front intakes, a 120 mm bottom intake, and a 120 mm rear exhaust. Front panel connectivity includes two each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/1.1 ports, and HDA jacks. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros Aorus K9 Optical Gaming Keyboard

GIGABYTE introduced the Aorus K9 Optical gaming keyboard. As its name suggests, this is a variant of the Aorus K9 mechanical keyboard, featuring optical switches. These switches, made by Flaretech, enable debounce times as low as 0.03 ms, and come with an endurance of over 100 million keystrokes per key. The keyboard is also splash-proof, chatter-proof, and feature a floating key design, in which the keys aren't entrenched into the frame, making them tougher to clean. The electronics provide N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. The keyboard features 16.8 million-color RGB multi-color back-lighting, which can be controlled with GIGABYTE RGB Fusion software. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Plantronics Announces Global Availability for Their Dolby Atmos Gaming Headsets

Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, today announced the worldwide availability of its new RIG LX family of gaming headphones featuring Dolby Atmos. This special audio enhancement for Xbox One and Windows 10 lets gamers hear sounds with three-dimensional clarity - from above and below, in front and behind - giving them increased advantage in nearly any gaming scenario. Dolby Atmos for Headphones activation is available with Plantronics RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and the wireless RIG 800LX, which was recently revealed to be a CES 2018 Innovation Award Honoree in the gaming category.

This is the tenth consecutive year that Plantronics has been recognized by the Consumer Technology Association for its innovative audio solutions. Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting-edge consumer electronics products across 28 product categories.

Axiomtek Introduces New Palm-sized eBOX560-512-FL Fanless Embedded System

Axiomtek, one of the world's leading design and manufacturing companies of innovative, high performance and reliable PC-based industrial computer products, is proud to announce the launch of the eBOX560-512-FL, an embedded system powered by Intel Core i5-7300U or Celeron 3965U processors. The ultra-compact computer is packed with features in its small IP40 aluminum and steel enclosure. It offers scalable computing performance; rich graphical capabilities that support dual independent display of up to 4K resolution; flexible communication options; and thoughtful design that offers versatility and values for Industrial Internet of Things use. The system is made for smart factory automation, digital signage and smart retail applications or any applications that require a good balance of a high performance industrial-grade computer and a good price point - with space-serving design and rich features.

The eBOX560-512-FL comes with many communications options such as four USB 3.0 ports, two RS-232/422/485 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one PCI Express Mini Card slot and two antenna. This tiny embedded PC offers two HDMI ports, a lockable 12 VDC power input with power protection feature and a user-friendly AT/ATX DIP switch for adjustments between automatic and manual operation control. The eBOX560-512-FL has 2.5" SATA HDD and one mSATA for data storage, and one 260-pin DDR4-2133 SO-DIMM socket with up to 16 GB system memory. It is compatible with Windows 10 IoT and supports Axiomtek's exclusive AXView 2.0 software for smart device monitoring and remote management for IoT applications. For flexible mounting options, this fanless rugged embedded platform is compatible with a wall mount, a VESA mount and a DIN-rail mount.

Samsung's Z-NAND to Compete Favorably With Intel's Optane

As big data usage is becoming ubiquitous, and workload data-sets increase in both size and complexity, new ways of connecting processing resources to storage are being developed. Intel and Micron's partnership in developing 3D XPoint memory came as a way for computer systems to reduce their bottlenecks in storing data for processing, with a particular emphasis on reducing latency. Samsung, however, has enough resources to try and provide alternatives for the emergent market needs, and being one of the most important players in the NAND industry, it seems the company is betting on the Z-NAND wagon.

For now, Z-NAND as it is being developed by Samsung, is expected to be a new rendition of SLC (Single-Level Cell) NAND, with increased controller tweaks and improvements to achieve greater IOPS in both random and sequential workloads. SLC has already been widely used in the SSD market, though in recent years it has been giving way to density-oriented technologies, such as MLC and, more recently, TLC NAND, in an effort to lower the $/GB equation. Z-NAND is a return to the SLC roots, with some very relevant tricks up its sleeve - while 3D XPoint's call to fame was sometimes up to 10x lower latency (in the order of 10/10μs), Z-NAND is also bringing latency to levels hitherto unknown to NAND memory - specifically, to the 12-20/16μs realms.

Cooler Master MasterLiquid Maker 240 CPU Cooler Teased

Ahead of its launch, Cooler Master teased its upcoming high-end liquid CPU cooler, the MasterLiquid Maker 240. This cooler occupies the gray-area between closed-loop AIO coolers, and larger DIY kits that come in a knocked-down form, or which you buy piecemeal for the best combination. Some assembly is still required, but the kit is purpose-built for cooling one CPU out of the box. It comes with standard G 1/4 fittings, so you can expand it with a VGA block, or upgrade it with a bigger radiator later down the line.

The MasterLiquid Maker 240 features a CPU water-block, a 200 ml cylindrical reservoir+pump combo, a 240 mm x 120 mm copper radiator, two MasterFan Pro RGB 120 mm fans, coolant, and clear tubing. The cooler is purported to offer better performance than 240 mm AIO CLCs, and is yet expected to sell at a sub-$200 price-point.

Intel to Remove Legacy BIOS Support from Motherboard UEFI in 2020

Intel is guiding its motherboard partners to remove legacy BIOS support from their UEFI firmware by 2020. The company's client- and enterprise-platforms that come out in 2020 will lack CSM (compatibility support module), a component which lets UEFI-unaware operating systems and bootable devices run on newer machines with UEFI. Devices featuring this CSM-devoid runtime will be graded "UEFI Class 3," as the runtime only exposes UEFI or UEFI PI interfaces.

This practically marks the end of 32-bit operating systems on the newer machines, as 32-bit Windows and desktop Linux distributions require CSM. You'll still be able to use 32-bit software running on 64-bit Windows through WoW64 translation layers. The lack of CSM will also affect devices with 16-bit OpROM, such as older network adapters, and older RAID HBAs. You'll have to depend on OS-based programs to configure those devices. Newer versions of Windows Secure Boot will require UEFI Class 3 devices to function. This also affects booting with your main display plugged into graphics cards older than 4 years (launched roughly before 2013), which lack UEFI-ready video BIOS.

Source: Tweakers.net
Friday, November 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Processors
SSD

Secretlab Titan Chair

The Titan chair is Secretlab's latest release, a chair for users of up to 130 kg (287 lbs). This chair promises to be comfortable after even long periods of use. It also packs some nice features you won't even find in much more expensive models.

Next Major AMD Driver Release, ReLive Redux, to Include Performance OSD

Every year, AMD regales its users with a new major version of their driver suite, with added features and, usually, increased performance. In 2015, AMD introduced the Radeon Crimson driver release, which included a hefty performance package for some major titles, the new Radeon Settings design interface, and increased stability over the previous mega-release, Catalyst Omega. Last year, we were treated to the introduction of the ReLive, LiquidVR, and Radeon Chill features. AMD is keeping up with its annual overhauls, even after former RTG head, Raja Koduri, left the company for bluer pastures.

Twitter user Blaze #BlazeK_AMDRT shared some screenshots over Twitter which show that the new driver release will, among other things, include an OSD for performance metrics - not unlike what NVIDIA is offering with its GeForce Experience suite. However, AMD will likely keep ringing the "no registration necessary" bell to increase attractiveness of its software suite over NVIDIA's. From the screenshots, however, it seems that AMD's suite will offer more registers than NVIDIA, to polls like VRAM, CPU usage, among others. AMD's track record with software and drivers has been much improved since Raja Koduri took the helms of RTG, with a much steadier driver release schedule, and pre-emptive releases introducing support for the latest and greatest games. It's at least comforting to see that there's no sign of that reverting after he left the company.

Source: BlazeK_AMDRT

Intel to Bring Additional Assembly Online to Improve Supply of Coffee Lake CPUs

There were some rumors regarding an expected low availability of Intel's latest, 8th Gen "Coffee Lake" CPUs. Then, in a new report, those rumors were sort of confirmed by Newegg. Now, we have it straight from the blue giant themselves, as Intel has announced that they're adding another facility to their 8th Gen Coffee Lake production and certification facilities. Stock of Intel 8th Gen CPUs has been spotty, to say the least, and pricing of the lineup's unlocked CPUs (8600K and 8700K, which are the most interesting for enthusiasts) have been particularly affected. If current output isn't enough to satisfy demand, the oldest trick in the book is to simply improve output. And Intel is doing it.

While Intel has been mainly using its assembly and test facilities based in Malaysia, the company is adding a new, certified assembly to the list: one in Chengdu, China. That shouldn't send alarms ringing, however; Intel's assembly and test facilities are a part of Intel's Copy Exactly! (CE!) program. This means that in order to be certified, all facilities must have identical methodologies and process technologies across different production sites throughout the world - there should be no quantifiable difference in quality. Intel's customers will begin to receive the aforementioned processors assembled in China starting from December 15. There is no real way to know exactly how much difference the new assembly facility will make on the worldwide supply of Intel 8h Gen CPUs - but it should only improve.

Source: AnandTech

ASUS Intros ROG Strix XG35VQ 21:9, UWQHD Monitor With 100 Hz FreeSync

ASUS has introduced a new ROG Strix monitor to its lineup, the XG35VQ, which brings with it UWQHD resolution (3440 x 1440) in a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 35" diagonal. It's a curved affair - 1800R at that - and ASUS says the VA panel offers 100% sRGB coverage, plus 2500:1 contrast and 300 cd/m2 brightness. Viewing angles stand at an almost perfect 178° - a standard spec in recent times.

The most interesting selling point for this monitor, however, is that it can deliver a 100 Hz refresh rate, with FreeSync support up to that frequency. A 4 ms response time means reduced ghosting, and the panel also applies ASUS' version of Extreme Low Motion Blur mode, which strobes the LED backlight to lower persistence, much like a VR display. This mode uses a fixed refresh rate, so ASUS recommends it for fast-paced games where users can comfortably maintain high frame rates.

Thermaltake Reveals Two New Gaming Chairs Made from Real Leather

Thermaltake Gaming Tt eSPORTS, the energetic and powerful challenger is delighted to announce the launch of the X FIT & X COMFORT Real Leather Edition Professional Gaming Chair. The X FIT & X COMFORT Real Leather gaming chair comes in a stunning all-black genuine leather covering found in top-level sport vehicles, coupled with elegant upholstery, the latest in ergonomic design, and use of top-notch materials for maximum durability, optimal form-fit and ultimate comfort. Make the X FIT & X COMFORT Real Leather gaming chair the best seat in your house with premium craftsmanship and luxury.

MADE FROM REAL LEATHER
The X FIT & X COMFORT Real Leather Edition gaming chair is fully covered in genuine leather for both the entire seat and contact areas; and is extremely durable, easy to clean, UV, aging, and temperature resistant for maximum longevity and use. The steel frame is surrounded by high-class cold foam that keeps its shape even after prolonged usage and is responsible for the chair's ergonomic upholstery, which ensures an upright and simultaneously comfortable sitting posture that provides the X FIT & X COMFORT real leather gaming chair with the perfect mix of form, function, and durability desired by gamers.

Under Fire, EA Backs Down on Star Wars Battlefront II Microtransactions

In an announcement on EA's website, Oskar Gabrielson, General Manager at DICE, came forward to respond in no uncertain terms to the issues looming over Star Wars Battlefront 2. In the post, Gabrielson vows that EA and Dice have "(...) an ongoing commitment to constantly listen, tune and evolve the experience as it grows. But as we approach the worldwide launch, it's clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We've heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we've heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn't get this right."

This culminates on a decision to abandon all microtransactions as they were coded into the final version of the game, or, as Gabrielson puts it: "(...) we're turning off all in-game purchases. We will now spend more time listening, adjusting, balancing and tuning. This means that the option to purchase crystals in the game is now offline, and all progression will be earned through gameplay. The ability to purchase crystals in-game will become available at a later date, only after we've made changes to the game." So, it's not a total, definitive cut as it is; it's more of a "back to the drawing board" kind of approach. which only makes sense, as EA has been loud and clear in saying that they consider these microtransactions as essential components of a given games' development.

Razer Adds Two New Members to Their Hammerhead Gaming Earphone Family

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, has announced two new additions to the Razer Hammerhead in-ear headset family. The new earphones feature a digital connection regardless of Android or iOS - no 3.5 mm connection, a highly durable aluminum chassis, flat cables and bi-flange ear tips for passive noise isolation. They also come with inline remotes to provide quick control for audio fidelity from the 10 mm dynamic drivers. The Razer Hammerhead USB-C is the perfect companion for the Razer Phone and other devices without 3.5 mm audio jacks, while the Razer Hammerhead for iOS Mercury Edition blends with iPhone colors.

CaseLabs' Popular Magnum SMA8 Case Undergoes Transformation

Premium custom PC case maker CaseLabs announced today a new revision to the Magnum SMA8 case which is easily the company's most popular and best-selling case. The original Magnum SMA8 was released two years ago, and it has become the preferred case for many water-cooling aficionados. The Magnum SMA8 A Revision (SMA8-A) has been refined to make the build process even more enjoyable, and more personalized than ever before! The new revision will be available for pre-order soon.

Vivendi Puts Off Decision on Ubisoft Hostile Takeover for Now

French media conglomerate Vivendi has been amassing Ubisoft shares over a course of two years. The company is the biggest shareholder at the moment owning approximately 26% of Ubisoft's shares. By French accounting law, Vivendi is obligated to make a mandatory bid once their shareholder percentage surpasses the 30% mark. Earlier this year, the French giant made it clear that the hostile takeover would happen before the year ends. It won't be their first rodeo, since they took over Gameloft not so long ago. The gaming sector is the second largest in the content industry after all, so you can't hardly blame Vivendi for wanting a bigger piece of the pie. However, business plans do change over time. According to Vivendi's recent third-quarter financial report, the company has postponed the Ubisoft takeover for at least another six months.

AVerMedia Debuts SonicBlast Gaming Soundbars

AVerMedia Technologies, Inc. today introduced a brand new line of gaming audio solutions called SonicBlast. The opening lineup includes two soundbar variations -- the SonicBlast Soundbar GS331 and GS333, both of which deliver crisp and clear sound for a variety of occasions. Both soundbars are optionally complemented by the GS335 Subwoofer, a dedicated add-on that brings powerful bass and groundbreaking performance.

Featuring three EQ modes for games, movies, and music, the SonicBlast GS331 is a 2.0 channel soundbar that delivers 40W of rich sound and connects wirelessly via Bluetooth. Meanwhile, the SonicBlast GS333 is a straight audio beast with 60W of roof-raising audio, built-in subwoofer for heavier tones, three EQ modes, and Bluetooth connectivity. For the bass hounds out there seeking an extra dose of thunder during their bombastic gaming sessions, there's the SonicBlast GS335 that features 70W of in-your-face bass, a simple wireless setup, and intuitive on-board volume controls. The GS335 Subwoofer can be paired seamlessly with the GS331 and GS333 soundbars.

Intel Set to Launch Their New 5G Modems in 2019

Intel today announced substantial advances in its wireless product roadmap to accelerate the adoption of 5G. Highlights include the introduction of the Intel XMM 8000 series, Intel's first family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems, and Intel's latest LTE modem, the Intel XMM 7660. Intel also announced it has successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call based on its early 5G silicon, the Intel 5G Modem - a key milestone in its development. Finally, the Intel XMM 7560 modem unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2017 has achieved gigabit-class speeds.

"Intel is committed to delivering leading 5G multi-mode modem technology and making sure the transition to 5G is smooth," said Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. "Our investments in a full portfolio of modem technologies and products are critical to achieving the vision of seamless 5G connectivity."

The Creative Assembly Announces Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

The Creative Assembly, one of the foremost developers of Real Time Strategy (RTS) experiences, has announced a spin-off series based on the award-winning Total War series. Saga starts a series of spin-offs for the Total War game series, with The Creative Assembly saying that this series focuses on "exciting pivotal moments in history rather than whole historical eras."

Thrones of Britannia already has a Steam page, which points towards a 2018 release. Exploration of key flashpoints and distinct locations throughout history is the focus of these, with Total War series director Mike Simpson saying that "Unlike our era-spanning titles, we're putting defined geographical areas under the microscope, building super-detailed campaign maps with a strong cultural focus and flavor that players can dive into," Simpson said in a news release. "This will complement our broader-scope titles perfectly."

G.Skill Announces Trident Z DDR4-4400 32GB CL19 Kit

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to announce the never-seen-before 32GB (4x8GB) Trident Z memory kit at an extremely blistering DDR4-4400MHz CL19-19-19-39. This new DDR4 Trident Z dual-channel memory kit upgrades the four-DIMM configuration to the next level as the world's fastest 32GB (4x8GB) memory kit in the world. These extremely high-speed desktop modules are manufactured with rigorously tested and binned ultra-performance Samsung B-die DDR4 ICs.

After the launch of the 8th Gen Intel Core processors and Z370 chipset motherboards, G.SKILL has been constantly pushing DDR4 speeds faster than ever before to higher levels with various capacity configurations. With the availability of the ASUS OptiMem technology, which complements the T-Toplogy layout that uses equalized trace lengths, four-DIMM memory configuration has improved stability and memory overclocking performance. G.SKILL Trident Z memory once again achieves the world's fastest 32GB memory kit at the ultra-high DDR4-4400MHz speed, with an exceptionally aggressive timing of CL19-19-19-39 in 32GB (4x8GB) at 1.5V. Below is the screenshot of the memory kit being stress tested and demonstrating its stability on the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS X HERO (WI-FI AC) motherboard with the Intel Core i7-8700K processor.

PowerColor Radeon RX Vega Red Devil Teased

PowerColor teased its first Radeon RX Vega series graphics card, under its flagship Red Devil branding. The company could use this common board design for both RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 SKUs. It combines a custom-design, triple-slot, triple-fan cooling solution, with a semi-custom design PCB. The cooler is an upscale of the company's RX 580 Red Devil, with a massive 2.5-slot thick aluminum fin-stack heatsink, which draws heat from the "Vega 10" GPU and a base-plate conveying heat from the VRM MOSFETs surrounding it, ventilated by a trio of 100 mm fans.

PowerColor's PCB for this card is a variation of AMD's reference "Vega 10" board, in that it's slightly taller towards the front. The company went with two each of DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, instead of the standard three DP + one HDMI layout. The VRM is the same 12-phase setup from the reference-design PCB, with PowerColor sticking to International Rectifier IR6894 and IR6211DirectFETs, and IR3598 phase-doublers, while customizing the chokes. The PCB is enlarged height-wise to give easy access to the BIOS switch. Two inverted 8-pin PCIe power inputs are located toward the end. Given how heavily this board is based on the reference PCB, it remains to be seen if fan idle-power off is featured. PowerColor is expected to launch the RX Vega 64 Red Devil and RX Vega 56 Red Devil before Holiday.

Source: VideoCardz
Thursday, November 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Crucial MX300 2 TB

The Crucial MX300 2 TB is the biggest SSD in the company's lineup. It provides a staggering 2050 GB of capacity, which should be plenty for everyone. Thanks to its good performance and outstanding price of 27 cents per GB, this is the drive you want if you need tons of fast storage.

Jonsbo Intros the PC-701 Top-flow CPU Cooler

Jonsbo today introduced the PC-701 top-flow CPU cooler. The cooler features a "C-type" aluminium fin-stack which propagates along the plane of the motherboard. Heat drawn by five 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat-pipes making direct contact with the CPU at the base, is conveyed along five points of the aluminium fin-stack, which is then ventilated by a 120 mm fan. Measuring 120 mm x 125 mm x 75 mm (WxDxH), and weighing 570 g, the cooler is designed to handle thermal loads of up to 135W.

The included 120 mm fan is the same one Jonsbo bundles with the CR-601 cooler. Taking in 4-pin PWM input, it spins between 500 to 1,500 RPM, with a noise output ranging between 19.5 to 29.2 dBA. This fan features RGB LED lighting projected onto its impeller. The cooler supports most mainstream-desktop CPU socket types, including AM4, AM3(+), FM2(+), LGA115x, and LGA775. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Intel to Redeem 2.95% Junior Subordinated Convertible Debentures Due 2035

Intel announced today that it has issued a notice of redemption to redeem on December 18, 2017 all of its outstanding 2.95% Junior Subordinated Convertible Debentures due 2035 (CUSIP Number 458140AC4) (the "Securities"). As of November 15, 2017, approximately $1.6 billion of the Securities was outstanding.

The Securities called for redemption will be redeemed at a stated redemption price equal to 100% of the aggregate principal amount of such Securities, plus accrued and unpaid interest to (but excluding) the redemption date.

The conversion rate of the Securities as of November 16, 2017 is 37.1860 shares of Intel common stock per $1,000 principal amount of the Securities, which is equivalent to a conversion price of $26.89 per share of common stock. The Securities called for redemption may be converted at any time before 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on December 15, 2017, the business day immediately preceding the redemption date. Intel has elected to settle the conversion obligation with respect to the Securities in cash.

EVGA DG-7 Series Gaming Case Available on Pre-order

The mid-tower is the ideal form factor that is well balanced between usable space and overall footprint. DG-7 is a case designed with aesthetics and function in mind, and is the perfect mid-tower solution. DG-7 features convenient and easy cable management, wide range of radiator support, and a durable steel frame. The tempered glass side panel is perfect to show off your system, no matter if you go with traditional GPU mount or vertical GPU mount.
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