Tuesday, March 28th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
PSUs

ADATA Announces the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash drive for iOS devices. Featuring Lightning and USB 3.1 in one slim 6.9mm device, the AI920 delivers 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacity and up to 150MB/s read. The Jet Black color scheme has been added in order to better complement Apple devices with an exact color match with iPhone 7, giving consumer more choice. The AI920 is also Apple MFi certified, making it an official iOS accessory.

Finalwire Releases AIDA64 v5.90

FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme 5.90 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Engineer 5.90 software, a professional diagnostic and benchmarking solution for corporate IT technicians and engineers; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business 5.90 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Network Audit 5.90 software, a dedicated network audit toolset to collect and manage corporate network inventories.

The new AIDA64 release implements optimized benchmarks for AMD Ryzen Summit Ridge and Intel Apollo Lake processors, supports the upcoming Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update as well as the latest graphics and GPGPU computing technologies by both AMD and NVIDIA.
DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v5.90

ID-Cooling Intros the SE-903-R CPU Cooler with AMD Ryzen Support

ID-Cooling introduced the SE-903-R tower-type CPU cooler with support for AMD socket AM4 processors, such as Ryzen and 7th gen. A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The cooler is a variant of the SE-903, and comes with factory-fitted AM4 mounting clips and a red LED fan, compared to the blue LED the original SE-903 ships with. Its mounting clips easily hook on to the retention frames that come pre-installed on socket AM4 motherboards.

These aside, the SE-903-R is identical to the original. It is designed for thermal loads of up to 130W. It is a conventional tower-type heatsink featuring an aluminium fin stack, to which heat drawn directly from the base is fed by three 6 mm thick copper heat pipes, and ventilated by a 92 mm fan that spins up to 2,000 RPM, pushing 37.44 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 23.1 dBA. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it shouldn't be too far off from the $20 price tag of the original.

ASUS Intros the VG245Q Value Gaming Monitor

ASUS introduced the VG245Q, a 24-inch gaming-grade monitor targeting a sub-$250 price point. This monitor comes with 1 ms response time (GTG), and support for AMD FreeSync technology. Under the hood is a TN-film panel with Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, 250 cd/m² maximum brightness, 170°/160° viewing angles (H/V), and flicker-free LED brightness adjustment. The monitor comes with display presets optimized for the various genres of gaming (racing sims, RTS, RPG, FPS, etc). Inputs include one DisplayPort 1.2a (required for FreeSync), two HDMI 1.4a, and one D-Sub.
Monday, March 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Intel's First Client Optane Product is a Cache SSD

Intel's first consumer (client) SSD based on its revolutionary new 3D Xpoint memory is an Optane branded cache SSD that improves the performance of slower local storage, such as hard drives, or even slower NAND flash based SSDs. On machines with larger hard drives, Intel claims that a 3D Xpoint based cache SSD could halve booting times, improve overall system performance by 28 percent, and lower game level load times by up to 65 percent. As a cache-SSD, it's also designed to be affordable, and that's because it's local storage is 16 GB or 32 GB.

The target consumer is one that which is transitioning from hard drives to SSDs, and is happy with a noticeable performance boost, as long as they don't lose the immense capacities of their HDDs. It also targets gamers with SSDs that are running out of space for multiple >50 GB games, so they could start installing some of those games on their larger/slower HDDs and get reasonably improved performance. As with all SSD caching technologies from Intel in the past, such as the ReadyBoost and Smart Response, Optane cache SSDs juggle "hot data" (frequently accessed data) in and out of their user-space from the host storage. On the software side of things, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15.5 and later handles the caching tasks.

Team Group Announces the GO Card for Adventure Cameras

Team Group, the world's leading memory brand, today announced the release of Go Card, a memory card made especially for action cameras. Team Group is continuously dedicated to satisfying our customers' needs in every respect. And now, to meet the huge demand for memory cards brought about by smart mobile devices, and consumers' requirements for speed and versatile usages, Team Group released Go Card, a memory card that has great versatility, excellent transfer performance and UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3) compliant. Go Card is able to satisfy sports lovers by capturing and preserving all wonderful memories, while expanding the memory capacity of the action camera swiftly and easily.

Team Group's latest released GO Card is not only fast, high performance and rated UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3), it is also the best companion for action camera users. With the performance Full HD and 4K high quality video needed, users are able to capture in 4K ultra high quality or 240 frames per second. The read speed of GO Card is up to 90MB/s, and the write speed is up to 45 MB/s. When using GO Card, you can immediately enjoy the smooth recording and video playback experience, freely capture wonderful moments in life.

Razer's Servers Fail for Second Time this Month, Forcing Profiles to Defaults

Razer's cloud storage servers failed for the second time this month, forcing user peripherals to use default settings across the globe. Worse yet, it came during the weekend, a time when many come home from a hard work-week to hope to have a gaming session. The worst part of all this? Apparently, the profiles are not only stored on the cloud, but also on your local machine, however, you must use a XML editing hack to get the software in offline mode to make it actually use the local profile on your machine. Otherwise, the software prefers to just go to defaults and give the end user an arguably irritable situation.

AMD Ryzen 12-Core, 24-Thread CPU Surges on SiSoftware Sandra

In an interesting report that would give some credence to reports of AMD's take on the HEDT market, it would seem that some Ryzen chips with 12 Cores and 24 Threads are making the rounds. Having an entire platform built for a single processor would have always been ludicrous; now, AMD seems to be readying a true competitor to Intel's X99 and its supposed successor, X299 (though AMD does have an advantage in naming, if its upcoming X399 platform really does ship with that naming scheme.)

Colorful iGame GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is a Graphics Card with a Display on it

Colorful made its mark on the industry with some of the most over-the-top designs, such as giving enthusiast-segment cooling on upper-mid range SKUs. With the iGame GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Colorful allowed its engineers to run amok with ideas. Just as other graphics card designers are beginning to add RGB LED lighting elements to the glowing company logos on the cooler shrouds, colorful went ahead and attached a multi-segment display directly on the graphics card, which reads out temperatures, clock speeds, and fan-speeds in real-time. Something like this came in cumbersome detachable external OC modules. The 3-slot thick graphics card features the heaviest air-cooling solution Colorful ever made, mated to a custom-design PCB with a gargantuan 18-phase VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The card is expected to come out some time in April.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD Ryzen Quad-Core 2+2 vs. 4+0 Core Distributions Compared

With AMD readying quad-core variants of its Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, the question on everyone's minds is whether the chip features two quad-core compute complexes (CCX) with two cores enabled, each, or just one CCX, given that the L3 cache amount being advertised by the company is 8 MB (that of one CCX), in comparison to 6-core Ryzen parts receiving the full 16 MB (8 MB per CCX) available on the silicon. While we will be able to definitively answer that question on the 11th of April, a new UEFI firmware by ASUS for its Crosshair VI Hero motherboard lets users not just disable cores, but also the distribution of the disabled cores.

CPU cores on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor are distributed in two groups of four cores, each, called the quad-core compute complex (CCX). Each CCX has an 8 MB L3 cache, and so the ideal way of distributing cores on lower core-count models would be to disable an equal number of cores per CCX. For 6-core chips, one core is disabled per CCX, resulting in a 3+3 configuration. For quad-core chips, however, you can either disable all four cores in a CCX (4+0 configuration), or do a purportedly more optimal 2+2 configuration, with two cores disabled per CCX. Hardware Unboxed took advantage of ASUS' new UEFI firmware to compare the 4+0 configuration to the 2+2 configuration. The results are somewhat surprising.

Intel X99 Chipset Successor is the X299, Spotted Alongside Core i7-7740K

Intel's next-generation HEDT processor platform, based on the "Kaby Lake" micro-architecture, is the 7th generation Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" family. The platform is based on the new LGA2066 CPU socket, and a new motherboard chipset, the Intel X299 Express. The platform builds on the strengths of the Intel HEDT (high-end desktop) market-segment, in offering double the memory bandwidth and PCIe lanes as the LGA1151 mainline desktop platform, and succeeds the current Core "Broadwell-E" family processors that run on socket LGA2011v3 motherboards, with Intel X99 Express chipsets.

The first chip on the X299 platform isn't a meaty two-figure core-count chip, but the 4-core Intel Core i7-7740K. This chip lacks an integrated graphics core. Its TDP has been increased to 112W from 91W of the i7-7700K. Someone with access to an i7-7740K sample paired it with an ASRock X299 Fatal1ty Gaming i7 motherboard, and posted SiSoft SANDRA processor arithmetic and multimedia performance scores of the chip. The chip performs close to the Ryzen 5 1600X six-core chip, but falls short of the Ryzen 7 1800X.

Source: VideoCardz

Gigabyte's AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11G Detailed

Gigabyte has just revealed the specs for their custom, AORUS-branded GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. This keeps the tradition of the AORUS line of products, where the AORUS GTX 1080 Ti features Gigabyte's Windforce (triple-slot, 3x 100 mm fans) cooler with RGB lighting (16.8 million colors). Aiding its triple-fan cooling prowess is a direct copper contact through a 6-heatpipe design, as well as a built-in backplate. Gigabyte is marketing this card as "Built for Extreme Overclocking", through its usage of 12+2 Power Phases. These help deliver substantial clock speed, in the form of two modes: an OC Mode, with boost clocks of 1708 MHz and base clocks at 1594 MHz; and a Gaming Mode, with 1683 MHz boost and 1569 MHz base.

The 1080 Ti AORUS only has a single VR-link HDMI port on its front corner (while the GTX 1080 had two). On the rear IO however, you'll find 2x HDMI ports (ideal for VR-link), 3x DisplayPort, and 1x DVI. The card is expected to hit shelves mid-April. And on another note and slight update, its more powerful sibling, the AORUS GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition, has had its clock revealed as well: its OC Mode shows boost speeds of 1746 MHz and 1632 MHz base; and its Gaming Mode lowers those to 1721 MHz boost, and 1607 MHz base clocks.

Source: Gigabyte

HyperX Expands Its Fury DDR4 Memory Product Line

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, today announced it is now expanding the HyperX FURY DDR4 memory product line with several new colors options - red and white - with frequencies up to 2666 MHz to support the demand of our gaming community. HyperX is the first company to offer plug and play memory to gamers and continues to develop industry leading gaming gear. FURY DDR4 memory is optimized to be compatible with Intel 200 series processors and X99 chipsets. Additionally, FURY DDR4 memory has been compatibility tested with AMD's new Ryzen processors, in the HyperX Labs and by our motherboard partners.

"FURY DDR4 memory is our most popular DDR4 memory range, and our new products offer more options to choose from", said Edward Baily, HyperX Business Manager, EMEA. "With three color options, builders and enthusiasts have more ways to customize their new PC's or upgrade the PC they use today."
Friday, March 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Storage

Cougar Panzer Max

The Cougar Panzer Max is a full-tower representation of the Panzer chassis. It is larger, bulkier, has more space, and looks a lot more menacing to boot. It really does resemble a tank, which is what "Panzer'' means in German. So in this review, we take the Panzer Max for a joy ride, fill it with some ammunition, and see if it is a straight shooter.

Invading Subscriber Privacy - Senate Says ISPs Can Now Sell Your Data

The US Senate on Thursday passed a joint resolution to eliminate broadband privacy rules that would have required ISPs to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other companies. This win was pulled by a hair - 48 Nay against 50 Yea - and went entirely through party lines, with Republicans voting Yea, and the Democrats voting Nay. The effects won't be immediate, mind you - the measure will have to pass the House and then be signed by President Donald Trump before it can become law.

Jailbreaking American Tractors with Ukrainian Firmware

Tractors are some of the most beloved and benign pieces of automotive technology, and some of the very first applications of the internal combustion engine, after cars. Tinkering with the classic free-breathing (natural aspiration) engines of old tractors is something arguably every mechanical engineer has ever done. Over the ages however, tractors and other farm equipment have gotten increasingly complex. The engines became smaller (and hence more fuel-efficient), and technologies such as turbochargers and electronic fuel injection shored power and torque back up to the levels of larger free-breathing engines. Running the engine is now handled by a small embedded computer called the ECU (engine control unit). Likewise, running the various ancillaries on farming equipment such as harvesters have been governed by electronics. The more there's electronics, the less there is that a spanner can fix, and that has become a big problem in America.

Some popular farm equipment manufacturers such as John Deere have taken greed cleverly disguised as "quality assurance" to the same levels as the Apple iPhone. On the iPhone, you can't just install third-party software that hasn't been vetted by Apple and distributed through the App Store. Free software activists have criticized this for stiffing innovation, because Apple's software doesn't give users unrestricted access to the hardware that they've paid for. John Deere and some of its competitors are in the same league. They've outfitted their tractors and farm equipment with electronics that make it practically impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair. If your crop is up for harvest and your harvester is throwing a fit, you have no option but to take it back to a John Deere service center, or other repair shops "authorized" by the company. If you've replaced a part yourself, a guy with a laptop has to come over to your farm, and "activate" that part. American farmers aren't taking kindly to this, and help is coming from the most unlikely of places.

Microsoft Lifts "Spying" Components in Windows 10 for Chinese Government Version

Reports have started coming in that Microsoft has finalized its special, "non-spying" edition of Windows 10 for the Chinese government. In a joint-venture with China's own CTEC (China Electronics Technology Group), the Redmond-based company has apparently managed to deliver what they themselves thought impossible: a version of their operating system that doesn't spy on its users.

China's government previously banned Windows 8 and its derivatives, citing security concerns, and later launched an anti-monopoly probe against Microsoft. This meant that Microsoft was largely left out of China's huge state-backed enterprises in China - and one can imagine how lucrative a market this one is. Microsoft surely wouldn't be willing to allow such a chance of revenue to just jostle over to the Linux field, following the Chinese government's attempts to craft a custom OS (Kylin, which failed) and recent efforts with new NeoKylin initiative. Microsoft isn't willing to relent so as to what and how were features cut from their Windows 10 version that leads it to continue normal functions even without the heavily baked-in, essential, flaunted telemetry features. What is true, though, is that the company did say telemetry and data collection was so deeply embedded on their operating system that removing them would break it at a fundamental level which is, apparently, only the case if you don't have the money (or potential revenue) to pony up for a custom edition.

Source: The Verge

AMD's Rumoured Upcoming 16-core Part to Reportedly Run at 3.1/3.6 GHz

Some rumors and whispers have been making the rounds lately, regarding a HEDT platform incoming from AMD. This platform (built upon a new X399 chipset planned exclusively for it) would use a cut-down version of the Naples-based server SP3 socket called SP3r2. SP3r2 and the new chip will reportedly offer quad channel memory support, pitting them directly in competition with Intel's HEDT lineup in terms of memory bandwidth.

Reportedly, engineering samples of the 180W 16-core Ryzen currently run at 3.1 GHz Base, 3.6 GHz Boost clocks, which leads towards performance in the level of two Ryzen 7 1700 chips. If the rumors are true and such a platform is in development, then we will surely hear of some more chips designed for it. Going through the trouble of creating a new chipset and platform for a single CPU model doesn't seem likely. Perhaps some 12-core and 20-core chips are lurking just below the surface?

MSI Lifts the Lid on Their GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X Graphics Card

MSI's top of the line take on the GTX 1080 Ti - The GAMING X - has just been detailed by the company, building upon the previously-released teasers. The GAMING X features MSI's two-and-a-half slot TWIN FROZR VI dual-fan cooling solution with Torx 2.0 fans, which have the ability to completely turn off in low-load scenarios through their Zero Frozr feature. The card comes with a custom PCB, equipped with dual 8-pin power connectors and 8+2 phase design.

AMD's Ryzen 5 Processors Already Out in the Wild

AMD's Ryzen 5 line-up is arguably the most interesting segment on AMD's product stack, purely from a price/performance point of view. And it would seem that some retailers have jumped the gun on the sales embargo for AMD's (apparently only partially upcoming) Ryzen 5 series of processors. Users around the globe (from Philippines to Brazil that we can confirm right now) have been posting pictures of their newly-arrived Ryzen 5 1600 processors. As such, it is only a matter of time until some non-NDA-constrained benchmarks arise. So hang onto your hats for some 6-core, 12-threads at $219 goodness!

Dell Starts Selling its 32-inch 8K UltraSharp Monitor

Dell today started selling its flagship 32-inch (31.5-inch viewable) 8K monitor on its website. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K boasts of "visuals that rival life," thanks to its gargantuan 7680 x 4320 pixels resolution, which is four times that of 4K Ultra HD, and sixteen times that of Full HD. At its size, the display offers a stellar pixel density of 279 ppi. Under the hood is an IPS panel with 178°/178° viewing angles, 60 Hz refresh rate, 6 ms response time (GTG), 1,300:1 static contrast ratio with dynamic mega-contrast, and 400 cd/m² maximum brightness. The display takes input from two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the UltraSharp UP3218K is priced at USD $5,000.

ASUS Announces the STRIX GD30 Gaming Desktop

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Strix GD30, a powerful gaming desktop featuring a sleek black-and-white design, with interchangeable front panels that allow gamers to customize the system to suit their unique style. Equipped with up to the latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics, ROG Strix GD30 delivers unrivaled performance for incredible gaming and multimedia experiences.

An advanced thermal system - featuring large air vents at the front and underside plus an isolated power supply chamber - provides improved airflow for better cooling and greater system efficiency. Exclusive ASUS Aegis III software enhances gaming experiences by allowing gamers to track CPU and memory usage, monitor networking status, and control fan speeds and ASUS Aura RGB lighting effects.

GIGABYTE Intros A320-DS3 and A320M-HD2 Socket AM4 Motherboards

GIGABYTE introduced one of the first ATX form-factor motherboard based on AMD's new entry-level chipset for socket AM4 processors, the A320-DS3. The company also launched the micro-ATX A320M-HD2. Besides a slim feature-set, the A320 chipset lacks support CPU overclocking, making these boards better suited for the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs than the unlocked Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors, although they do come with Ryzen support out of the box.

Besides one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, the A320-DS3 features a PCI-Express 2.0 x4 (x16) slot, and two each of gen 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI slots. You also get two DDR4 DIMM slots, two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 type-A ports, 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include DVI and D-Sub. The A320M-HD2, on the other hand, features two PCIe gen 2.0 x1 slots, besides a legacy PCI slot, and the gen 3.0 x16 slot. Most of its feature-set is similar to its ATX sibling, except it also offers an HDMI display output. Expect sub-$80 pricing for the two.
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