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.

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 games' 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."
Friday, February 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD
Storage
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Benchmark Performance Analysis

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Benchmark Performance Analysis

Kingdom Come: Deliverance is the first surprise hit of 2018. It puts you in the shoes of a low-skilled peasant who has to endure tough adventures in the middle ages. We tested the game on 15 graphics cards at four resolutions, looked at VRAM usage, and checked on how the game scales on the CPU.

Windows 10 UWP Protection Kicks the Bucket

2018 has been an exciting year for the Warez scene so far. First, Italian group CPY circumvented Ubisoft's deadly triple protection (Uplay, Denuvo, and VMProtect) that was present in Assassin's Creed Origins. And now, the word on the street is that CODEX has successfully cracked Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) protection found in Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. Unlike Denuvo's unimpressive track record for protecting games for a few months, UWP actually did a stellar job in keeping multiple Microsoft games safe for over a year. So, what's Microsoft's secret winning formula? Stick as many layers of DRM into the game as humanly possible. According to CODEX's NFO file, Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection had as many as five different DRMs (MSStore, UWP, EAppX, XBLive, and Arxan) which made the game a pain in the neck to crack. At this moment, it's unknown whether other Microsoft titles like Forza Motorsport 7 or Gears of War 4 possess the same number of protection layers. But now that CODEX has initiated the domino effect, we'll find out soon enough.

ARCHOS Unveils the Vision 215 All-in-One PC

Fitting in an ultra slim design, with a 21.5 inches Full HD display, almost without edges, the ARCHOS Vision 215 embeds the essential components of a PC, a keyboard and a mouse, a complete connectivity set, and the Home edition of Microsoft Windows 10. This all-in-one PC comes in elegant design, easy to install at the heart of a home to be enjoyed by all members of the household, in order to use online services, interact with their favorite content, texts, music tracks, photos, videos or to achieve main tasks for school or the office. Unveiled at the MWC 2018 (Hall 6 - Stand B60), the ARCHOS Vision 215 will be available from May 2018, priced at 299.99 € all taxes included.

In its sleek design, less than 7 mm thick, the ARCHOS Vision 215 fits easily into any home. Space saver, with its tilting screen, it finds its place anywhere in the house, and becomes a real entertainment platform, in the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Featuring a Full HD 21.5-inch screen, almost borderless, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels in 16:9, combined with the Intel HD Graphics 400 graphics, it displays an ideal surface, realistic and bright colors to view photos and videos or read texts, alone or in a group.

Compulab Launches the Airtop2 Fanless PC with a Xeon CPU & Quadro Graphics Card

Compulab is introducing Airtop2 - a high-performance ruggedized fanless PC for edge computing and industrial applications that require deployment in harsh conditions. Based on Intel Xeon Processor E3-1275 v6 with an optional NVIDIA Quadro P4000 - both passively cooled using Compulab proprietary Natural Airflow technology and with a volume of just 7.5 liter - Airtop2 redefines the performance level of compact fanless PCs.

Other remarkable features of Airtop2 are up to 64 GB DDR4, high-performance storage sub-system with 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5" SATA SSDs / HDDs, tool-free service and a broad selection of FACE Module extensions. Airtop2 is available at an industrial temperature range of -40°C to 70°C and ships with 5 year warranty.

Coinbase Commerce is a New Cryptocurrency Payment Program for Vendors

Coinbase, one of the world's largest - and more transparent, in legal terms - cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced the start of a new cryptocurrency payment program. Coinbase Commerce is a new service that enables merchants to accept multiple cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin) directly into a user-controlled wallet as payment for services rendered or products acquired. Coinbase Commerce can be directly integrated into a merchant's checkout flow or added as a payment option on an e-commerce platform with just an email address and a phone.

This is another step to cryptocurrency world domination, and one of the most important steps towards widespread adoption of these as actual stores of value. The difficulty of translating cryptocurrency into real world value and products - which has seen better days, but has since seen key players withdraw from accepting these as payments - is one of the remaining walls towards widespread, mainstream adoption, and could provide a window for crypto in general to abandon its actual relevance as mere speculative investment. Some platforms already exist - TenX and BitPay come to mind, for instance. however, Coinbase as an exchange has some of the more solid footings in the cryptocurrency industry - and financial markets as well - so this is definitely a high-impact move that could help cement a future based in cryptocurrency trades.

Lunar Sale, Wishlist Tweaks Hit Valve's Steam Platform

Valve yesterday announced the begin of yet another wallet-burning sale to appeal to our consumerist bones. The Lunar Sale, as it is being called, is live from February 15th through February 19th, so, a mere four days with tons (thousands) of games under heavy discounts that can sometimes go up to 90%. On this front, it's business as usual - buy all those games you've been wanting at a fire-sale price, and then look at them guiltily as they collect virtual dust on your backlog.

Other, somewhat more relevant changes that have been made by valve to the overall Steam experience also look towards making it easier for customers to part with their hard-earned currency of choice (or not so hard-earned, it's all good for Valve, really.) Namely, there are some changes to the wishlist which now allow users to place items on their shopping cart directly from their wishlist page - which is nice, since before, you had to enter the games' own store page, and then add it to your cart). Of course, for items that are sold in packages or where there's a bundle, customers will be invited to peruse "Details" on the package, via the relevant store page. There's also the ability to sort your wishlist gamers through those that have the higher discount percentage - a handy tool for bargain-bin hunters. There's also tag search, and filtering options to exclude games such as W"Early Access" titles that aren't currently finished - and that may, or may not, be finished in the future.

AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs Get Soldered IHS

AMD's second-generation Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, which succeed the company's first Ryzen "Summit Ridge," reportedly feature soldered integrated heatspreaders (IHS), according AMD spokesperson "AMD_Robert" on Reddit. This would make the chips different from the Ryzen 2000G-series "Raven Ridge" APUs launched earlier this week, which come with a thermal paste between the IHS and the die. Soldered heatspreaders are generally known to have better heat transfer between the IHS and die, when compared to packages with thermal pastes between the two; and are more expensive to manufacture. They remove the need to "de-lid" the processor (remove the IHS). Ryzen 2000-series processors are expected to debut in April 2018.

EK Announces Monoblock for GIGABYTE 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 GIGABYTE X399 motherboards. The EK-FB GA X399 GAMING RGB Monoblock has an integrated 3-pin RGB Digital LED strip which makes it compatible with GIGABYTE Fusion, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for two GIGABYTE AMD X399 Chipset based motherboards that support AMD Socket TR4 AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following GIGABYTE motherboards:
  • GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Gaming 7 (rev.1.0)
  • GIGABYTE X399 Designare EX (rev.1.0)

Microsoft Adding "Ultimate Performance Mode" To Windows 10

In a blog post, Microsoft detailed some new features that have become available for Microsoft's Insider Program Fast Ring users, of which the titular "Ultimate Performance Mode" certainly wrings the most attention. The Ultimate Performance Mode is really a performance plan integrated into Windows, which basically throws all power saving features out the Window to make sure that the underlying hardware is always running at its peak performance. Microsoft says that latencies and microstutters should be reduced as much as possible, thus allowing users to wring "ultimate performance" from their systems.

Microsoft says this is focused on the Workstation market, and should be especially deployed in mission critical scenarios where every second counts (wait, doesn't gaming qualify by this measure?) As a result of this re-balancing on idle and power states, power consumption goes up; the main reason why Microsoft isn't making this feature available for battery-powered devices - at least for now. The consumer side of the equation is being left out in the cold, for now, when it comes to this Ultimate Performance Mode; but users should remain optimistic. There's no reason why Microsoft would leave this option to Workstation environments only, so a consumer-focused release (be it in the Insider Fast Ring or on the regular Windows 10 update cycles) is still out in the open.

ASUS Launches Gladius II Origin Gaming Mouse

ASUS has launched the third iteration of their Gladius gaming mouse, the Gladius II Origin (a missed chance for a Gladius III, uh?) There's a 12,000 DPI optical sensor under the hood (unclear if it's a PixArt solution), and the switches are both Omron-developed, though two different ones at that - there's an Omron D2FC-F-K switch and an Omron D2F-01F, with different clicking resistances, likely to incentivize sensitivity in the left mouse button. All in all, there are five buttons on this mouse (there's a DPI selector button and two thumb buttons on the left side of the mouse).

Other features include detachable, replaceable rubber and braided cables; RGB lighting with ASUS' Aura Sync support for the RGB zones (bottom, scroll wheel, and ROG logo); and support for ASUS' Armoury app. The Gladius II Origin weighs in at 110 g (sans cable), and has dimensions of 126 x 67 x 45 mm, and is available now from select etailers and retailers for $99.

Intel "Ice Lake-U" Gen 11 iGPU Features 48 Execution Units

Intel's next generation "Ice Lake" processor could integrate a significantly faster integrated graphics solution (iGPU), if a SiSoft SANDRA online database entry is to be believed. A prototype "Ice Lake" chip was benchmarked, with its iGPU being described by the database as "Intel UHD Graphics" based on the company's Gen 11 graphics architecture, which succeeds the current Gen 9.5 architecture implemented on "Coffee Lake" and "Kaby Lake." This iGPU is endowed with 48 execution units (EUs), which work out to 384 unified shaders; against 24 EUs and 192 shaders on Intel UHD 620. SANDRA also describes the iGPU as being able to share up to 6 GB of memory from the system memory; and featuring 768 KB of dedicated cache. Its reference clock is 600 MHz, double that of the UHD 620, although its boost clock remains a mystery. "Ice Lake" is being built on Intel's new 10 nm+ silicon fabrication process, so it's understandable for the company to significantly enlarge its iGPU.

GIGABYTE Outs Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming 2.0 with Improved VRM

GIGABYTE released a major revision of Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming motherboard. This isn't just marked "Rev 2.0" in some obscure corner of the PCB, but is part of the model name - Z370 Ultra Gaming 2.0. It replaces the 7-phase CPU VRM of the original with a new 11-phase setup that uses stronger ferrite-core chokes that don't whine when stressed. The company is also including one M.2 SSD heatsink for the upper M.2-22110 slot, which the original lacks.

Besides these, the Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming 2.0 is identical to the original, including its RGB LED diffusers, multiple RGB headers governed by GIGABYTE RGB Fusion software, two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 when both are populated) with NVIDIA SLI support, one gigabit Ethernet interface driven by an Intel i219-V controller, and a premium onboard audio solution with a headphones amplifier and 120 dBA SNR CODEC (Realtek ALC1220); and a price ranging between $150-$170.
Thursday, February 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Zhiyun Crane 2 Gimbal

Zhiyun Crane 2 Gimbal

A gimbal is a filming stabilizer, to ensure a precise filming result. Zhiyun offers a plethora of gimbals for entry-level users and professionals alike. The Crane 2 is Zhiyun's top product, offering a rich feature set and top performance along with great responsiveness for the shooting of pro-level video if combined with a suitable camera.

Intel Reimagines Data Center Storage with New 3D NAND SSDs

Today, Intel announced the Intel SSD DC P4510 Series for data center applications. The P4510 Series uses 64-layer TLC Intel 3D NAND to enable end users to do more per server, support broader workloads and deliver space-efficient capacity. The P4510 Series enables up to four times more terabytes per server and delivers up to 10 times better random read latency at 99.99 percent quality of service than previous generations. The drive can also deliver up to double the input-output operations per second (IOPS) per terabyte. The 1 and 2TB capacities have been shipping to cloud service providers (CSPs) in high volume since August 2017, and the 4 and 8TB capacities are now available to CSPs and channel customers. All capacities are in the 2.5-inch 15 mm U.2 form factor and utilize a PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 connection.

To accelerate performance and simplify management of the P4510 Series PCIe SSDs and other PCIe SSDs, Intel is also delivering two new technologies that work together to replace legacy storage hardware. Intel Xeon Scalable processors include Intel Volume Management Device (VMD), enabling robust management such as surprise insertion/removal and LED management of PCIe SSDs directly connected to the CPU. Building on this functionality, Intel Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) uses Intel VMD to provide RAID to PCIe SSDs. By replacing RAID cards with Intel VROC, customers are able to enjoy up to twice the IOPs performance and up to a 70 percent cost savings with PCIe SSDs directly attached to the CPU, improving customer's return on their investments in SSD-based storage.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: Storing Your Coins

Welcome back to Confessions of a Crypto Miner, my bi-weekly column about a crypto miner from 2013 trying to get caught up with the latest standards. I'm presently mining and reporting to you from a dual-GTX 1080 based rig mining zCash.

As requested by many readers, today, we are going to talk about safekeeping your digital currency, and particularly, how to do it safely. Crypto has gotten a bad rap as of late for being insecure, due to numerous hacks of exchanges - but the cryptography in it is actually very strong and solid, and nearly all hacks have been related to centralized services or bad practices.

The focus of this article will be how to hold coin safely for the purpose of investment. I will go over the types of wallets, and their pros and cons. It may seem a bit more technical than some of my usual works but it is very essential information that everyone considering crypto should know. I've done my best to boil it down to basic, easy to understand principles for you.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Release Date and System Requirements Revealed

Fatshark announced in a live stream that Warhammer: Vermintide 2, the sequel to Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide, will land on PCs on March 8. Up to four players can band together to face the Chaos and Skaven armies. Players can also choose between five different heroes with 15 different career paths to choose from. Warhammer: Vermintide 2 will also feature a new Heroic Deeds system and a revamped loot system. The normal edition costs $29.99, while the Collector's Edition is going for $44.99. However, the game is already up for pre-purchase on Steam for 10% off the regular price. Consumers who pre-order the game will get the chance to participate in the exclusive pre-order beta that starts on February 28.

Intel Core i5-8500, i5-8600 (non-K), and Celeron G49xx Listed on Newegg

Four of Intel's latest 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors that are part of the company's second wave of products for the LGA1151 (300-series) platform, surfaced on Newegg. These include the Core i5-8500 (model: BX80684I58500), the Core i5-8600 non-K (BX80684I58600), the Celeron G4920 (BX80684G4920), and the G4900. The Core i5-8500 and i5-8600 fill the price-performance gap between the i5-8400 and the i5-8600K; while the G4900 could be the cheapest processor you can buy on this platform. The i5-8500 is listed at USD $215.99, the i5-8600 at $239.99, the G4920 at $65.99, and the G4900 at $54.99. The product pages don't include specs yet, but at the time of this writing, both the i5-8500 and the G4920 can be added to cart. Intel is planning to expand its 8th generation Core, Pentium, and Celeron processor families before the end of Q1-2018, along with motherboards based on the more cost-effective B360 Express and H310 Express chipsets.

NETGEAR Insight 28-Port Smart Cloud Switches Now Available

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of networking devices that power today's smart home and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), has begun shipping two new 28-port Smart Cloud Switches introduced last month during CES 2018. Offering even more capacity for growing businesses, the switches fall under the umbrella of the award-winning NETGEAR Insight management solution. With its unified, single pane-of-glass view, Insight provides the convenience of setup, monitoring and management features from anywhere, at anytime, via the Insight mobile app or new Insight cloud web portal. With the addition of these latest switches the Insight ecosystem is now made up of six managed switches, the entire line up of ReadyNAS storage and the WAC500 series of wireless access points providing a complete managed network solution.

Optoma NuForce and Massdrop Announce the Massdrop x NuForce EDC3 IEM Earphones

Optoma NuForce, a world-leading manufacturer of audio products, today announced that the new Massdrop x NuForce EDC3 IEM (In-Ear Monitors), created from the company's collaboration with Massdrop, is now available for purchase. On the heels of the success of the award-winning Massdrop x NuForce EDC IEM, which won The Absolute Sound's "Product of the Year 2017" award in the earphone/IEM category, the new IEM has been designed for discerning yet price-conscious audiophiles.

Made with direction from Massdrop's audiophile enthusiast community, the EDC3 IEM combines key high-end audio elements and attributes to create a standout product that meets their highly-refined needs. Featuring three balanced armature drivers for true audiophile performance, the IEM is available for just $99 - one-third the price of competitive products.

Microsoft Launches the Surface Precision Mouse for $99.99

Microsoft today launches the Surface Precision Mouse. Designed for exceptional accuracy, comfort, and control, the new mouse helps you stay in your flow with flawless scrolling and three customisable buttons. Boasting an ergonomic shape, the mouse allows for either wired or Bluetooth connection and can work and switch seamlessly up to three different PCs. The Surface Precision Mouse is available for purchase now from the Microsoft store for $99.99. Special pricing is also available for eligible students, parents and teachers.

Samsung's Latest Notebook 9 Laptops Available Starting February 18

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced that three new PCs will be available for purchase starting February 18. The Samsung Notebook 9 Pen will be available on Samsung.com and Amazon.com for $1,399.99, along with the Samsung Notebook 9 (2018), which comes in 13-inch and 15-inch models, starting at $1,199.99 and $1,299.99, respectively. The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018) will be available at Best Buy and on Samsung.com and Bestbuy.com for $899.99.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen: Lightweight convertible with embedded S Pen
Available in a 13-inch model ($1,399.99), the Notebook 9 Pen is Samsung's lightest 2-in-1 PC weighing 2.2 pounds that comes with the creative power of the S Pen, popularized in Samsung Galaxy Note devices. It is equipped with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and engineered with Metal12, a premium magnesium alloy built for ultimate portability and durability.

CORSAIR Launches the CORSAIR ONE ELITE

CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced a new version of its award-winning CORSAIR ONE small form factor gaming PC, the CORSAIR ONE ELITE. Now featuring the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8700K six-core CPU, the CORSAIR ONE ELITE boasts six liquid-cooled CPU cores, running at up to 4.2GHz, providing even more processing power to drive the latest games, streaming tools and demanding content creation applications, all at once.

Accompanying its new state-of-the-art CPU, the CORSAIR ONE ELITE boasts hardware to rival the most powerful desktop PCs, all still contained in a chassis that's just 12L in volume and which produces less than 20dBa of noise at idle. 32GB of CORSAIR VENGEANCE LPX DDR4 2,666MHz memory offers plentiful capacity and performance for the most demanding games or content creation applications, while a liquid-cooled NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti delivers leading 3D graphics performance to push frame rates to the limit, even with maximum detail settings and at 4K resolution.

AMD Provides Support for BIOS Update on 2nd Gen Ryzen - Boot Kit Available

The Socket AM4 platform is designed to be a long life, fully featured, scalable solution with support for multiple processors, with varying capabilities. Since the release of the AMD Socket AM4 motherboards in early 2017 with the AMD Ryzen desktop processor, there have been several BIOS updates made available through our motherboard partners. These updates not only provide improved system performance but also expand support for newer processors as they become available.

In February 2018, AMD began introduction of the new 2nd Gen Ryzen Desktop Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics. To enable support for this new processor, an updated BIOS is required. Due to the rapid pace of innovation, and strong demand for Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics, it may be possible that some users with an AMD Socket AM4 motherboard paired with a 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop introduced in 2018, may experience an issue where the system does not boot up during initial setup.

ELSA Releases GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB ST Graphics Card

After releasing their GTX 1080 Ti on December 2017 (a little late when it comes to this particular GPU, I'd say), ELSA is now launching a new (late) addition in the form of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB ST. It sports the exact same cooler design as the GTX 1080 Ti they've previously released (if it isn't broken, don't fix it or spend money improving it), and the exact same port distribution as the GTX 1080 Ti (3x DisplayPort, 1x Dual link DVI-D, and 1x HDMI 2.0b). All in all, this is a pretty vanilla release, the kind of which ELSA seems to favor, even if months behind other competitors.

Sea of Thieves System Requirements Outed by Developer

Sea of Thieves is one of the more interesting games coming from Rare since it's been bought by Microsoft. The company, which was previously almost locked in into developing games for the Kinect system, was felt by many as being creatively constrained and underappreciated by Microsoft's management. Well, Kinect is officially dead as a gaming peripheral, and as such, Rare has started developing games outside the Kinect box. Sea of Thieves is the first such, a pirate game with heart, and the company has just outed their system requirements for the game on Windows 10 PC's.

The system requirements are pretty extensive in the amount of configurations you can have for some preset experiences. The game can even be played on Intel's integrated graphics, according to Rare - at 540p with minimum details, though, so I doubt that's what gamers will be looking for as an actual gaming experience. For 1080p and 60 FPS play, Rare is quoting systems with at least an i5 4690 or an AMD FX 8150 (so, an Intel quad core or an AMD "octa-core"), 8 GB RAM, and a graphics card with at least 4 GB of VRAM. A GTX 770 or an AMD Radeon 380X are set as the graphics card requirement,s which Rare is putting on equal footing to the more recent, "modern" GTX 1060 or RX 470. The system requirements seem to scale pretty well with resolution and graphics settings, up to a 4K 60 FPS experience requiring the current top of the line graphics cards in the form of the GTX 1080 Ti or AMD's RX Vega 64.

CD Projekt Red Announces Arena Mode for Gwent

Gwent was a runaway success for CD Projekt Red. Embedded in The Witcher III - Wild Hunt, Gwent stands as an inception of sorts of a deep, strategical game within a deep, satisfying single player experience. And it was so successful, in fact, that the company decided to spin it off into a separate, standalone game that has been widely accepted as well.

The standalone Gwent differs from the version implemented in The Witcher III in a great many ways, as was to be expected for a competitive card game as opposed to the satisfying time killer it was in The Witcher III. And one thing lacking in the game was an alternate mode that allowed players to compete in other environments other than a Constructed format. Gwent's Seasons are typically a race to the top for the best prizes, but it can become a slog for players reaching the top ranks as deck diversity is reduced to a couple of high-power behemoths in the hand of extremely skilled players. As such, Gwent's Draft Mode introduction should not only give players another way of having fun on Gwent, but also give them ways of earning prizes near the end of the Season, allowing them to build up their decks even in the face of what would be insurmountable odds in the Constructed portion of Gwent.

NVIDIA Turing is a Crypto-mining Chip Jen-Hsun Huang Made to Save PC Gaming

When Reuters reported Turing as NVIDIA's next gaming graphics card, we knew something was off about it. Something like that would break many of NVIDIA's naming conventions. It now turns out that Turing, named after British scientist Alan Turing, who is credited with leading a team of mathematicians that broke the Nazi "Enigma" cryptography, is a crypto-mining and blockchain compute accelerator. It is being designed to be compact, efficient, and ready for large-scale deployment by amateur miners and crypto-mining firms alike, in a quasi-industrial scale.

NVIDIA Turing could be manufactured at a low-enough cost against GeForce-branded products, and in high-enough scales, to help bring down their prices, and save the PC gaming ecosystem. It could have an ASIC-like disruptive impact on the graphics card market, which could make mining with graphics cards less viable, in turn, lowering graphics card prices. With performance-segment and high-end graphics cards seeing 200-400% price inflation in the wake of crypto-currency mining wave, PC gaming is threatened as gamers are lured to the still-affordable new-generation console ecosystems, led by premium consoles such as the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. There's no word on which GPU architecture Turing will be based on ("Pascal" or "Volta"). NVIDIA is expected to launch its entire family of next-generation GeForce GTX 2000-series "Volta" graphics cards in 2018.

ASUS Intros GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Phoenix Graphics Card

ASUS today introduced its GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB Phoenix graphics card, based on the same cost-effective design as the GTX 1060 3 GB Phoenix it launched last year. The card features a compact 18.3-inch long custom-design PCB, mated to a simple aluminium fan-heatsink, with spirally-projecting heatsink fins, ventilated by an 80 mm double ball-bearing fan. The card comes with NVIDIA-reference speeds of 1506 MHz core, 1708 MHz GPU Boost, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory.

Based on the 16 nm GP106 silicon, the GTX 1060 features 1,280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 192-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 6 GB of memory. The card draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. Outputs include dual-link DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 connector. In the wake of the crypto-plague, its price is constantly changing.

Thermaltake Intros the Riing Plus 20 RGB TT Premium Edition Fan

Thermaltake today introduced the Riing Plus 20 RGB TT Premium Edition, a large 200 mm fan studded with RGB LEDs. The 30 mm-thick fan features a 11-blade impeller backed by a motor that features hydraulic bearing; and a fan frame with 24 RGB diodes studded along the bore of the frame, which support 16.7 million colors. What's interesting about this fan is that it plugs into your motherboard via the 9-pin USB 2.0/1.1 header, from which it not just powers the fan and the lighting, but also takes in software control for both.

The included Digital Lighting Controller (DLC) module ensures you don't run out of USB headers if you have many of these fans, by taking input from one header (two 500 mA inputs), and putting out three USB headers for up to three fans. Additional power is drawn from a 4-pin Molex input. The Tt RGB Plus software lets you control the fan on your PC, and through a connected smartphone. As a fan itself, the Riing Plus 20 RGB spins between 500 to 1,000 RPM, pushing up to 118 CFM of air, at up to 29.2 dBA of noise output. Available now as a single-pack that includes one fan, the DLC, and cables, the Riing Plus 20 RGB TT Premium Edition is priced at USD $59.99.
Wednesday, February 14th 2018

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Alphacool Eiskoffer Professional Overview

Alphacool Eiskoffer Professional Overview

The Alphacool Eiskoffer Professional is a collection of mandrels, rulers, and other tools contained in a luxurious stainless steel briefcase that help you achieve that perfect watercooling build via effective measurement, bending, and cutting of either 13 or 16 mm OD hard tubing.

EK Water Blocks Apologizes to Customers with Re-designed Threadripper CPU Block

EK Water Blocks (EKWB) did not have the greatest end to 2017, losing key members of their top management, some of whom found employment with CORSAIR as we later found out. The performance of their CPU water block for AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs was also a matter of great debate among enthusiasts, with the cold plate having machined microfins that occupied an area smaller than that occupied by the CPU dies themselves. A few tests from end users and the media alike pointed towards disappointing thermal dissipation relative to the competition and, even though EKWB insisted that the block was good enough, the bad press likely was enough to convince them otherwise.

In a public apology published as a press release on their website, EKWB today even conceded that they did not give their best for the product as it is and laid down some plans to make it right. It begins with a redesign of the cold plate, which affects current and future products alike, as well as doing right to the customers who purchased the previous design of the CPU block as well. Click on the story to know more.
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