Hardware Giveaway
Thursday, August 16th 2018
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2018 (Updated)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2018 (Updated)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2018 and beyond. We cover and keep track of Intel Whiskey Lake, AMD Zen 2, NVIDIA Turing, and NVIDIA Ampere, and more.
Cougar Armor S Gaming Chair

Cougar Armor S Gaming Chair

The Cougar Armor S is a comfortable gaming chair of good build quality and with a fair price tag. It is fully adjustable, and its black and orange color combination and diamond stitching pattern make for nice looks.

Time is Money: Slow Online Checkouts a Big No-No for Order Completion Among gamers

The rhythms of our lives have been increasing non-stop as technology advances, and we're more and more unappreciative of any lost time. We try and do everything as efficiently as possible to be able to attend to the myriad of other issues we have to take on yet. "It is simply a matter of time", said Morpheus to Commander Lock in Matrix Reloaded. That wording is true in all manner of issues, whether in digital cyberpunk fantasy-land or in real life, where time is the ultimate judge. Ascending from these philosophical depths, though, there's a simple matter that actually does take issue with time: online orders.

SuperData, a market intelligence firm, has revealed a report where it's been found that over 27% of the gamer population has left online orders in limbo, never quite finishing them. The issue? Time and convoluted purchase processes, whether with multiple registration steps, email confirmation, a slew of obligatory data checks, shipping, payment options... Everything that isn't seamless makes gamers - and I'd say, people that aren't gamers as well - leave their orders unfinished.

Turtle Beach Announces New Atlas Line of Gaming Headsets

Turtle Beach, a global leader in gaming audio, today revealed plans for expanding the company's portfolio of high-quality, award-winning gaming headsets with a focus on the PC market. Designed in collaboration with leading esports teams, including Astralis, OpTic Gaming, and the Houston Outlaws, Turtle Beach's Atlas line is built for PC gamers and features three different models - the Elite Atlas Pro Performance Gaming Headset, the powerful Atlas Three Amplified PC Gaming Headset, and the Atlas One PC Gaming Headset.

Furthering Turtle Beach's commitment to designing headsets for all gamers, each Atlas product offers PC players an innovative set of features, functionality and pricing, starting with the Elite Atlas with a MSRP of £89.99, and the Atlas Three and Atlas One with MSRPs of £69.99 and £39.99, respectively. All three Atlas gaming headsets are available for pre-order at participating retailers starting today and are planned to launch at the end of September 2018. Read below for full details of each Atlas PC gaming headset.

SilentiumPC Announces Regnum RG4T(F) RGB Chassis

Next level value for money meets maximum airflow and RGB illumination in the new SilentiumPC Regnum RG4T(F) RGB chassis. Based on a dual-chamber internal layout, it offers functionality and solutions for all modern system requirements, supports up to 380 mm long graphics cards and up to 159 mm tall CPU coolers.

To ensure proper cooling properties Regnum RG4T(F) RGB has a mesh-type front panel and comes equipped with three quiet 120 mm RGB case fans. The system can be extended to up to six fans in total, which can be controlled via the built-in fan controller. Liquid cooling enthusiasts will appreciate radiator mounting spots at the top (120/240) and front (120/240/360) for either various AIO solutions or custom loops. The interior is cleverly divided into two thermally independent chambers, allowing for more effective cooling. Power Supply Units and Hard Drives are mounted in the lower chamber and the other components in the main chamber on top. The Regnum RG4T(F) RGB is equipped with three pre-installed dust filters, located at the front, top and the bottom to keep the interior dust-free. Convenient cable management is achieved thanks to numerous pass-through openings and cable tie points.

Valve Apparently Working on Compatibility Tools Allowing Windows Games to be Played on Linux

Keen-eyed Linux and Valve uses have noticed what could seemingly be a big reveal and shake-up to games' compatibility with the Linux platform. If you're a die-hard Linux fan, or even if you're just a curious dabbler in that operating system, you know that there aren't many concerted efforts of bringing game experiences to that operating system. A good port requires many more hours than game developers are willing to put into it - let alone compiling a native implementation of their game for that OS.

However, Valve, being the most important digital games distributor through their Steam platform, know there's an untapped source of income in that part of the market. And if developers won't do it themselves, then Valve seem to be willing to take the matter into their own hands. This speculation arises from Steam's GUI files, which when looked at with SteamDB's Steam Tracker, include a hidden section with unused text related to an (as of yet) unannounced Steam Play system, which "(...) will automatically install compatibility tools that allow you to play games from your library that were built for other operating systems."

Gainward Teases Reveal of New Graphics Card Products Set on August 20th

Gainward, one of NVIDIA's exclusive board partners, has a relatively small presence in the West, and are much more focused on the Eastern markets with their product lines. However, being an NVIDIA AIB, Gainwards' teases count for the ecosystem as a whole - at least when it comes to new product generation releases.

With everything lining up for a new graphics card lineup reveal from NVIDIA's part at Gamescom in the 20th of August (just next Monday), Gainwards' timer-infused tease at Weibo of "7 days to your Glaring Eyes" seems to represent a triple-fan solution in a graphics card. It remains to be seen if NVIDIA will be taking a staggered approach to its graphics cards launches as in recent times, with their Founders' Editions being the first to market, soon followed by AIB's custom designs. That, of course, doesn't prevent any of the AIBs to announce finalized designs on their products - and if Gainward is teasing a new product (as they seemingly are) then other partners certainly won't be far behind.

NVIDIA Does a TrueAudio: RT Cores Also Compute Sound Ray-tracing

Positional audio, like Socialism, follows a cycle of glamorization and investment every few years. Back in 2011-12 when AMD maintained a relatively stronger position in the discrete GPU market, and held GPGPU superiority, it gave a lot of money to GenAudio and Tensilica to co-develop the TrueAudio technology, a GPU-accelerated positional audio DSP, which had a whopping four game title implementations, including and limited to "Thief," "Star Citizen," "Lichdom: Battlemage," and "Murdered: Soul Suspect." The TrueAudio Next DSP which debuted with "Polaris," introduced GPU-accelerated "audio ray-casting" technology, which assumes that audio waves interact differently with different surfaces, much like light; and hence positional audio could be made more realistic. There were a grand total of zero takers for TrueAudio Next. Riding on the presumed success of its RTX technology, NVIDIA wants to develop audio ray-tracing further.

A very curious sentence caught our eye in NVIDIA's micro-site for Turing. The description of RT cores reads that they are specialized components that "accelerate the computation of how light and sound travel in 3D environments at up to 10 Giga Rays per second." This is an ominous sign that NVIDIA is developing a full-blown positional audio programming model that's part of RTX, with an implementation through GameWorks. Such a technology, like TrueAudio Next, could improve positional audio realism by treating sound waves like light and tracing their paths from their origin (think speech from an NPC in a game), to the listener as the sound bounces off the various surfaces in the 3D scene. Real-time ray-tracing(-ish) has captured the entirety of imagination at NVIDIA marketing to the extent that it is allegedly willing to replace "GTX" with "RTX" in its GeForce GPU nomenclature. We don't mean to doomsay emerging technology, but 20 years of development in positional audio has shown that it's better left to game developers to create their own technology that sounds somewhat real; and that initiatives from makers of discrete sound cards (a device on the brink of extinction) and GPUs makers bore no fruit.

Thermaltake Introduces Alexa Support for Its Riing Plus and Pure Plus RGB Radiator Fan Series

Thermaltake, as a leading brand in PC DIY & liquid cooling technology, is thrilled to announce that the TT RGB PLUS Ecosystem is officially Amazon Alexa enabled. All TT RGB Plus products such as the Riing Plus 12/14/20 LED RGB Fans and Pure Plus 12/14 LED RGB Radiator Fans come with Amazon Alexa integration, allowing users to adjust lighting modes and fan speeds by giving voice commands to Alexa-enabled devices.

In addition to existing functions, the TT RGB Plus Ecosystem has also developed exclusive effects for Amazon Alexa Skills. "Weather Mode" offers users a colorful way to learn the current weather in a specific location. Users can simply ask Alexa about the weather in a major city, and the Riing Plus and Pure Plus LED RGB Radiator Fans will respond with lighting illumination corresponding to the weather condition of the location. Together, the Thermaltake TT RGB PLUS Ecosystem and Amazon Alexa Skills deliver innovative smart voice control management, while providing a magnificent and modern way to the whole new world of PC DIY!

The Only Thing You Get with Mining Ethereum Now is Room Heating

Cryptocurrency prices continue their downward slide making them no longer viable to mine on GPUs. The value of Ethereum has dropped to USD 256, down from its historic high of $1,250 this January. Bitcoin fell to below $6,000 Wednesday, way down from its late-2017 high of $19,000. A 79 percent devaluation isn't the worst of Ethereum's problems. The currency is facing stiff inflation from conversions to other cryptocurrencies or the Dollar. At its peak, ETH held 32 percent of all cryptocurrency market cap, beaten only by BTC at 39 percent. Now ETH only makes 14 percent.

NVIDIA Settles Next-Gen GeForce Naming Confusion: It's GTX 2080 (or RTX 2080?)

When NVIDIA teased its August 20 event with the #BeForTheGame video earlier this week, we didn't pay as close attention to the chat the gamers were having in it, as some redditors. A screengrab confirms two things: One, that NVIDIA will launch its next-generation graphics card on August 20; and two, that the card will be named GeForce GTX 2080. This settles the debate on whether NVIDIA uses the GeForce 11-series progression or GeForce 20-series. The 10-series (eg: GTX 1080, 1070, etc.) felt like a natural continuation of 900-series (GTX 980, 970); while 20-series (eg: 2080, 2070), similarly feels like a natural succession of 10-series.

Update: Some users are also paying attention to another screengrab with a username RoyTeX, hinting at the possibility of NVIDIA disposing of the "GTX" moniker for "RTX," as it did with its recent Quadro RTX series. If true, the nomenclature could look something like GeForce RTX 2080, RTX 2070, etc. Apparently NVIDIA is going big with its real-time ray-tracing tech.

NAND Flash Prices Could Reach $0.08/GB in 2019

Prices of NAND flash could drop to historic lows of $0.08 per gigabyte in 2019, according to Jim Handy from Objective Analysis, addressing delegates at the 2018 Flash Memory Summit. If you add the cost of the controller, optional DRAM chip, and other low-cost parts that make up an SSD, 480~512 GB drives under $70 could finally be a reality; followed by 1 TB under $120, and 2 TB under $200. Handy attributes the low prices to a catastrophic oversupply of NAND flash in the industry, which could push manufacturers to the brink of economic collapse.

The price drop is also accelerated with the introduction of the QLC (4 bits per cell) technology, which increases densities (and conversely decreases price/GB). Luckily, most NAND flash manufacturers also happen to make DRAM, and are offsetting some of their NAND flash losses with DRAM profits, as DRAM remains in undersupply. The NAND flash price-crash threatens to wipe out conventional hard-disk drives from the consumer-space, at least in matured markets; relegating them to developing markets.

AKiTiO Node Duo is an External Graphics Box with Room for Two

In the unlikely event that you need to lug two graphics cards for an on-site job (think having to carry an ultraportable with two professional graphics cards for touch-ups and rendering on the fly), AKiTiO has a solution, with the Node Duo. This box measures about 29.3 cm x 15.5 cm x 23.2 cm (DxWxH), and encloses two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical gen 3.0 x2), which it wires out upstream with a Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gbps) connection. Each slot has room for 2-slot thick graphics cards that are up to 22 cm in length. The enclosure ventilates them with a 120 mm intake fan.

The Node Duo uses USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 wiring. The upstream port has standard 15W delivery, and plugs into your PC; whereas the downstream port supports USB PD, with up to 60W downstream power delivery. This port has no USB link-layer, only Thunderbolt. There's also a standard-size DisplayPort 1.2 output, if your Thunderbolt input is meant to daisy-chain with a DP monitor at one end (not with display from the installed graphics cards, though). Out of the box, you get a 150W power-brick that supplies up to 25W each to the graphics cards through the slot; although you can expand that to a 230W PSU that supplies up to 75W. Available from a little later this month, the Node Duo by AKiTiO is priced at USD $394.95.
Wednesday, August 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD
iKBC CD108 BT Keyboard

iKBC CD108 BT Keyboard

iKBC brings out their first wireless keyboard with the budget-friendly CD108 BT that supports Bluetooth in addition to wired operation. Add-on features include removable batteries, PBT keycaps, and extensive on-board functionality, that makes this a modern option for a wireless keyboard in 2018.

Intel Teases Their Upcoming Graphics Cards for 2020

Right in time for SIGGRAPH, the world's leading conference for computer graphics, the people around Raja Koduri and Chris Hook have posted a video on Twitter, which shows a teaser for their upcoming graphics cards, that are scheduled to become available in 2020.
The video is produced in a style that's typical for what Chris Hook has been releasing at AMD, too. It starts with a history lesson, praising Intel's achievements in the graphics department, and then continues to promise that in 2020, Intel discrete graphics cards "will be set free, and that's just the beginning".

In the comments for the video, Chris Hook, who left AMD to join Intel as head of marketing for their graphics department said: "Will take time and effort to be the first successful entrant into the dGPU segment in 25 years, but we have some incredible talent at Intel, and above all, a passion for discrete graphics."

You can find the video here.

DRAM Market to Reach $100 Billion Volume This Year

The DRAM market is expected to increase in value some 30% this year, in wake of increased demand and parts shortage due to less-than-adequate production ramp-up to keep up with the demands of modern systems integrators. Doing this, its value will jump to more than $100 Billion in value, marking the first time a semiconductor product category ever surpasses that mark. The 30% increase in value joins an accumulated 78% increase that already occurred in 2017 - a twofold increase in just two years. Who said anything about cryptocurrency having massive increases in value?

IC Insights expects this $100 Billion threshold to be passed this year (a 39% growth), while IBS projects it to only be surpassed by 2019, with a 32% growth for 2018. Still, that's a small differing window which matters little in the grand scheme of things.

Mistel Intros Vision MX Series Fanless PSUs with RGB LED Lighting

You probably know Mistel more for its physically split keyboards. The company is taking a plunge into PC power with the new Vision MX PSU series, which it had shown off at Computex 2018. This is probably the first fanless PSU with RGB LED illumination and 80 Plus Platinum-certified efficiency. Available in 550W and 650W variants for now, these units feature a very airy body design, which is needed to keep its hot innards cool. The space where a fan ought to be, is filled up with large heatsinks. It still ends up looking like you can sneak a 15 mm-thick fan in there on your own.

Mistel didn't put out finer specs of the Vision MX, but it likely features a single +12V rail design. You get full modular cabling, with enough juice and straws for a gaming PC with up to three graphics cards. Besides the 24-pin ATX, you get up to two 4+4 pin EPS, up to eight 6+2 pin PCIe connectors, a dozen SATA power, and 3 Molex connectors. The PSU features addressable RGB LED lighting across a 16.7 million-color palette. A standard 4-pin ARGB cable links the PSU to your motherboard or LED controller. The company plans to launch the higher-spec MX1000 and MX1250 later down the year, but those aren't fanless. The company didn't reveal pricing.

TSMC Approves $4.5B investment in R&D, Fabrication Development

TSMC's Board of Directors convened yesterday with the intention of defining the company's strategy for future developments and investment. The result was a commitment of $4.5B to investments ranging from construction of fab facilities; installation, expansion, and upgrade of advanced technology capacity; conversion of logic capacity to specialty technology capacity; conversion of mature technology capacity to specialty technology capacity; expansion and upgrade of specialty technology capacity; expansion of advanced packaging technology capacity; and fourth quarter 2018 R&D capital investments and sustaining capital expenditures. These values pale in comparison to Samsung's usual investment applications, of course; but let's not forget is an industry behemoth with more product lines and investment opportunities that TSMC's comparably "specific" domain of the market.

Intel and Philips Accelerate Deep Learning Inference on CPUs in Medical Imaging

Using Intel Xeon Scalable processors and the OpenVINO toolkit, Intel and Philips tested two healthcare use cases for deep learning inference models: one on X-rays of bones for bone-age-prediction modeling, the other on CT scans of lungs for lung segmentation. In these tests, Intel and Philips achieved a speed improvement of 188 times for the bone-age-prediction model, and a 38 times speed improvement for the lung-segmentation model over the baseline measurements.

Intel Xeon Scalable processors appear to be the right solution for this type of AI workload. Our customers can use their existing hardware to its maximum potential, while still aiming to achieve quality output resolution at exceptional speeds," said Vijayananda J., chief architect and fellow, Data Science and AI at Philips HealthSuite Insights.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Overclocked to 5.955 GHz On All Cores

Hardwarebot has graced us with the confirmed feat of an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX reaching almost 6 GHz across all of its cores. The overclocking effort, supported by an extreme overclocking setup with liquid nitrogen - and as such, worth more for the sheer PR and "fun tech factor" associated with it. Overall, the overclock up to 5.955 GHz on all cores amounts to a practically 100% increased clockspeed over its base, all-core 3 GHz base clocks.

The overclocking effort was achieved bu user IvanCupa on MSI's X399 MEG Creation motherboard paired with 8 GB of single-channel DDR4 memory (easier on the CPU to support than if more channels were populated). We'll see whether this chip can be taken even closer to the stratosphere than this - remember it's only been a few days since the chip's release to the wild. "Tinkerers be tinkering still."

Lian Li Announces LANCOOL ONE Chassis

Lian Li Industrial Co. Ltd., world's leading manufacturer of aluminum chassis for enthusiasts, custom OEM/ODM case solutions and case accessories is pleased to announce the official launch of the LANCOOL ONE chassis. Featuring Lian Li's signature brushed aluminum finish and quality combined with modern RGB lighting, the LANCOOL ONE brings a new twist to a classic Lian Li design. Debuted in the recent COMPUTEX 2018 expo, the LANCOOL ONE has already managed to wow consumers due to its unique design and incredible value offering.

Nobody in the business does aluminum better than Lian Li and the LANCOOL ONE continues that legacy with its stylish aluminum front panel which exudes a timeless, elegant vibe but is given a modern touch with impressive RGB lighting. The RGB lighting serves as both an accent piece for the front panel as well an ambient lighting for the internal chamber giving it a two-in-one function that provides a lot of value. The LEDs also illuminate front fans directly so users not using RGB fans on the front can get the illusion of using RGB fans on the front thanks to the front panel lighting.

New "L1 Terminal Fault" Security Vulnerability Affects Intel Processors, Mitigation Out

A new series of CPU vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors emerged from the company's security bounty-hunter program, which are an exploitation of the L1 terminal fault. The vulnerability affects Intel processors that support SGX (Software Guard Extensions). A multinational group of researchers from KU Leuven University, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Adelaide and Data61 chronicled the vulnerability. The exploit involves interpreting and deriving data from timing the L1 cache. You'll recall that NetSpectre was a similar timing-based bit derivation exploit, what's being measured here instead, is how the L1 cache SRAM refreshes itself to different patterns of bits, and transcribing them to bits and bytes on the other end. We imagine a mitigation to this bug would be to randomize the L1$ timers.

Intel these days is releasing CPU microcode updates faster than King updates Candy Crush with new offline banner ads. The company was sure to have a mitigation for this vulnerability ready before disclosing it to the public. The company, in a statement, said that it's working tireless to get customers to install the updates. The three variants of the L1 Timing Fault vulnerability are chronicled in CVE-2018-3615, CVE-2018-3620, and CVE-2018-3646.

NVIDIA Posts Cryptic #BeForTheGame Video Pointing at 20th August

When NVIDIA debuted its "Turing" GPU architecture through its recent Quadro RTX series, PC enthusiasts felt being left hung and dry. The occasion was SIGGRAPH, the biggest annual expo of digital content creators, and so a Quadro unveiling felt fitting. Come 21st August, and Gamescom will be almost upon us. NVIDIA is planning its own event in host city Cologne a day earlier. The theme of the event is "Be For The Game."

NVIDIA posted the mother of all teasers pointing to the August 20 event. It doesn't mention a new product launch, but there are enough hints, such as the back-plate reminiscent of TITAN V, combined with glossy green and black surfaces that look similar to the Quadro RTX reference boards. The video winks at both gamers and PC enthusiasts, with the first half depicting a sick build being put together. We can't wait!
The video follows.

Chromebooks to Get Windows Dual-Boot Capability with Campfire

Bootcamp was an instant hit with MacBook users, as it allowed them to dual-boot between MacOS and Windows, giving them access to applications that don't have MacOS versions. Google's Chromebook is a similar walled-garden to Apple Mac, with the company maintaining tight control over the hardware and OS. A new software modeled along Bootcamp, cheekily named Campfire, could introduce dual-booting on Chromebooks, allowing you to switch between ChromeOS and Windows 10.

Campfire first surfaced on the Chromium Git as a mysterious new project pointing to an "alt OS mode" for ChromeOS. XDA Developers confirms that Campfire will be introduced by Google for its entire userbase, and not just something that you optionally install. You also don't need to enable Developer Mode to use it. For now, a wide range of Chromebooks appear to be Campfire-ready. Google will focus on making it as easy as possible to install Windows 10. Although not limited by other hardware specs, Campfire could eat up at least 30 GB of storage to meet Windows 10 requirements and leave a reasonable amount of user-space. You should only try it out on Chromebooks with 60 GB (or higher) storage.

EVGA Announces Availability of the X299 Micro ATX 2 Motherboard

The X299 MICRO ATX 2 is a reimagined mATX board designed to support the power, performance, and cooling necessary to power Intel's i5/i7/i9 CPU's for the X299 Chipset. With a 14 Phase power design, a thick VRM heatsink/fan, two 8 pin EPS power connectors, an additional 6 pin PCIe power connector, and external BCLK, this motherboard was born for the enthusiast desiring maximum power in a small form factor. The X299 MICRO ATX 2 supports current storage standards, including M.2 NVMe, Intel Optane, Intel VROC and SATA 6Gb/s to give you a blazing fast access to your data, while Intel Dual-Band WIFI/BT and an Intel i219V Gigabit NIC Keeps you connected.
Tuesday, August 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Processors
PSUs
Etymotic ER3XR

Etymotic ER3XR

Etymotic's ER3-series in-ears aim to bring their ER4 design into a lower price category. Priced at $179, the ER3s are nearly half the price of the ER4-series in-ears, and their specification sheets show that they are not far off. We take a good look at the new in-ears to see how they fare against their bigger brethren.

Cooler Master Announces the MasterLiquid ML360R RGB CPU Cooler

Cooler Master, a global leader in manufacturing CPU coolers, computer components and peripherals, introduces its first 360mm all-in-one (AIO) liquid CPU cooler. The MasterLiquid ML360R features addressable RGB LEDs on both the fans and water block and is certified compatible with ASUS, MSI and ASRock motherboards.

The MasterLiquid ML360R RGB features Cooler Master's newly designed pump with 12 addressable RGB LEDs on the water block and eight addressable RGB LEDs on each fan, capable of 16.7million color options. Users can easily customize each LED, individually, through the addressable RGB software from ASUS, MSI and ASRock motherboards, or with Cooler Master's MasterPlus+ software for complete ambient control.

Intel X599 Chipset to Drive 28-core HEDT+ Platform

The introduction of 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX at $1,799 has demolished the competitiveness of the similarly priced Core i9-7980XE, forcing Intel to "productize" its Skylake-X XCC (extreme core-count) silicon for the client-segment. We've already seen one or two motherboards for this platform at Computex, notably the ASUS ROG Dominus (pictured below). Intel's demo platform is reportedly powered by a GIGABYTE-made motherboard. Both these boards may have been prototypes based on Intel C629 "Lewisburg" chipset, as Intel was still mulling on whether to even launch the product.

With the 2990WX out, the fate of the client-segment cousin of the Xeon Platinum 8180 is sealed, and so is that of the C629. In its client-segment avatar, the chipset will be branded "Intel X599 Express." This chipset will support new SKUs derived from the "Skylake-X" XCC silicon (probably 24-core, 26-core, and 28-core), in the LGA3647 package. The platform features not just up to 28 cores, but also a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, which will probably support up to 192 GB of memory on the client-platform. There's also a rumor that Intel could launch new 20-core and 22-core LGA2066 processors. Those, coupled with the 8-core LGA1151 processor, will be Intel's fig-leaf until late-2019.

MSI Unveils New WS65 Mobile WS, PS42 Notebook and Optix Gaming Monitors

MSI, a world leader in high performance computing hardware, today announces its new WS65 mobile workstation. The WS65 shows MSI's continued investment in its workstation lines with a commitment to users searching for sophisticated products that blend performance and portability. Additionally, the PS42 professional laptop and Optix MAG241C and MAG271C gaming monitors are now available. MSI will have the WS65 on display at Siggraph 2018 at the NVIDIA Booth number 801.

MSI's new WS65 mobile workstation features a similar chassis to the GS65 Stealth Thin, with attractive styling and 15.6-inch, ultra-thin bezel display. With up to Intel's 8th Generation Core i9 processor and up to NVIDIA Quadro P4200 graphics, the WS65 is up to 40 percent faster than the previous generation. While it was designed for portability, the WS65 also features an 82Whr battery for up to eight hours of battery life.

NVIDIA Outs GeForce 398.98 Hotfix to Address "LA Noire VR" Bugs

NVIDIA late Monday rushed out the GeForce 398.98 Hotfix drivers to address glaring bugs with "LA Noire VR." Apparently the game notices crashes and stuttering with the latest GeForce 398.86 Beta drivers. The drivers also fix a stuttering issue noticed on some configurations trying to run "Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Beta." Hotfix releases lack WHQL certification, and are released to correct one or two major bugs that require NVIDIA's immediate attention. Unless you're playing the two games mentioned, you'd rather skip the driver update as the change-log lists no other updates.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 398.98 Hotfix

Finer Details of Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K Emerge

Taiwanese tech site BenchLife.info scored finer details of Intel's upcoming premium LGA1151 processors through screenshots of leaked documents; revealing more about the Core i7-9700K 8-core/8-thread processor, and the top-dog 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. The i7-9700K has the QDF number QQPK, and the i9-9900K "QQPP." The tables below also reveal their extended product code, CPUID, and iGPU device ID. There's also a confirmation that the TDP of both parts is rated at just 95 W. The next table provides a great insight to the clock speeds of the two chips.

Both chips idle at 800 MHz, and have an identical nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. The two differ with their Turbo Boost states. The i7-9700K has a maximum Turbo Boost state of 4.90 GHz, which it awards to 1-core. As a reminder, this chip is the first Core i7 SKU ever to lack HyperThreading support. 2-core boost frequency for this chip is 4.80 GHz. 4-core boost is up to 4.70 GHz. 4.60 GHz is the all-core boost (cores 5 thru 8). The i9-9900K gives both 1-core and 2-core the highest boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (that's up to 4 threads). The 4-core boost state is 4.80 GHz, and all-core (cores 5 thru 8) get 4.70 GHz. Intel is keeping its boost states rather high for this round of processors, as it tries to compete with the Ryzen 7 "Pinnacle Ridge" series.

VIA C3 Processors Compromised by a Simple Shell Command

VIA processors probably make up an infinitesimal amount of the desktop PC market-share, and its makers market the chip only at pre-built machines such as digital-signage kiosks, information kiosks, ticket vending machines, ATMs, etc (which don't need a lot of processing power). At the Black Hat 2018 conference, security researcher Christopher Domas discovered that getting access to root privileges in Linux on a machine powered by VIA C3 "Nehemiah" processors is laughably easy. Just key in ".byte 0x0f, 0x3f" (without quotes) in any Linux CLI in user mode, and voila! You are now the root user.

Domas calls this his own iddqd (the cheat-code for "God Mode" in "Doom"). This backdoor, probably put in place by the processor's designers themselves, completely collapses the ring-based privilege system of the operating system, and elevates users and applications from the ring-2 (and above) userspace to ring 0 (root). It is an exploitation of a shadow-core, a hidden RISC processor within C7, which manages the startup, operation, and key storage of the x86 cores. Intel and AMD too have shadow-cores with similar functions.

Intel "Bean Canyon" NUC Family with Inbuilt Thunderbolt Detailed

Intel is giving final touches to a new generation of pre-built NUC (next unit of computing) kits codenamed "Bean Canyon." These tiny desktops are based on the company's new wave of "Coffee Lake-U" SoCs. The family includes five models, two each based on the Core i3-8109U and Core i5-8259U, and one based on the Core i7-8559U. The NUC8i3BEH, NUC8i5BEH, and NUC8i7BEH are more compact, with just an M.2-2280 (with both PCIe x4 and SATA wiring) slot in charge of storage, while the NUC8i3BEK and NUC8i5BEK are slightly taller, with room for a 2.5-inch SATA drive in addition to the M.2-2280 slot.

What's common between all five models is the display connectivity, which not just includes an HDMI 2.0b, but also a USB 3.1 type-C port with Thunderbolt 3.0 (40 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 wiring. Networking, which includes a 1 GbE interface driven by the trusty i219-V, and a new-generation Intel 9260 WLAN card with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless networking. Prices for the Core i3 model could start at $299, the Core i5-based ones could be $399, and the Core i7 based one at $599.

Lenovo Announces Thinkpad P1 Mobile Workstation

Today, Lenovo is launching a brand-new addition to its ThinkPad mobile workstation portfolio - the ThinkPad P1. Lenovo's thinnest, lightest and sleekest mobile workstation, the ThinkPad P1 gives users the style they want and the performance they need.

The ThinkPad P1 fulfills the desire for workstation performance and reliability in a thin and light design. The result is an ideal recipe of workstation power and an ultra-premium look and feel.

Seagate Launches Nytro 1000 SATA SSD Series with SandForce's DuraWrite Technology

Expanding on its Nytro portfolio of enterprise flash products, Seagate today announced the launch of its new Nytro 1000 Series SATA SSD drives. The Seagate Nytro 1000 SATA SSD series (which includes the Nytro 1351 and Nytro 1551 SSDs) delivers ultra-fast, consistent performance for read-intensive workloads. Globally available in the fall, the Nytro SSDs is being demonstrated at this week's Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara.

The Nytro SSD series is designed to serve as the backbone of the enterprise's cloud infrastructure, making it ideal for data center managers looking to upgrade their existing systems.

Samsung 16Gb GDDR6 Memory Powers Latest NVIDIA Quadro Professional Graphics Solution

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory is being used in NVIDIA's new Turing architecture-based Quadro RTX GPUs.

Thanks to Samsung's industry-leading 16Gb GDDR6 memory, end users can expect improved performance and energy efficiency in the widest array of graphics-intensive applications, including computer-aided design (CAD), digital content creation (DCC) and scientific visualization applications. Samsung's 16Gb GDDR6 can also be used in rapidly growing fields such as 8K Ultra HD video processing, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

CaseLabs Withers Away After Losing PR Battle to Thermaltake

Premium aluminium case maker CaseLabs made a splash in 2015 when it accused Thermaltake of stealing many of its case designs to make "cheap Asian knock-offs." When faced with the prospect of a legal challenge by the much larger Thermaltake, CaseLabs this July withdrew its comments and publicly apologized to Thermaltake for it. Things didn't look up for the company after that. A deadly cocktail of the US-China trade-war, and the default of a large commercial loan account hit the company "at the worst possible time," it said in a statement. Failure to secure additional capital to stay afloat was the last straw.

Apparently, the import tariffs on a wide range of products manufactured in China raised prices for CaseLabs by "almost 80 percent," which cut deeply into the company's margins. The company has since stopped accepting orders, thanked its over 20,000 customers, and promised to fulfill as many of the pending orders as possible, while cautioning that it won't be able to fulfill all of them.

The full CaseLabs statement follows.

NVIDIA Announces Turing-based Quadro RTX 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 5000

NVIDIA today reinvented computer graphics with the launch of the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture. The greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006, Turing features new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and new Tensor Cores for AI inferencing which, together for the first time, make real-time ray tracing possible.

These two engines - along with more powerful compute for simulation and enhanced rasterization - usher in a new generation of hybrid rendering to address the $250 billion visual effects industry. Hybrid rendering enables cinematic-quality interactive experiences, amazing new effects powered by neural networks and fluid interactivity on highly complex models.
Monday, August 13th 2018

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

Ryzen Threadripper 2950X is AMD's new flagship 16-core processor. Precision Boost Overclock works wonders to further increase its performance while always being stable. Our review of the 2950X presents four data sets: stock, manual OC, PBO enabled and PBO with Local Memory Access mode.

AMD Launches World's Most Powerful Desktop Processor: 2nd Generation Threadripper

AMD today announced the availability of world's most powerful desktop processor, the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor with 32 cores and 64 threads. Designed to power the ultimate computing experiences, 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors are built using 12 nm "Zen+" x86 processor architecture and offer the most threads on any desktop processor with the flagship model delivering up to 53% greater performance than the competition's flagship model. Second Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors support the most I/O, and are compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards via a simple BIOS update, offering builders a broad choice for designing the ultimate high-end desktop or workstation PC.

"We created Ryzen Threadripper processors because we saw an opportunity to deliver unheard-of levels of multithreaded computing for the demanding needs of creators, gamers, and PC enthusiasts in the HEDT market," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group, AMD. "With the 2nd Gen processor family we took that challenge to a whole new level - delivering the biggest, most powerful desktop processor the world has ever seen."

Cooler Master Announces the Wraith Ripper for 2nd Generation Threadripper

Cooler Master, a global leader in computer hardware and peripherals manufacturing, announces the Wraith Ripper, the official air cooler for the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper desktop processor, as part of an exclusive partnership with AMD. The Wraith Ripper is designed, specifically, to keep the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper cool under the most strenuous conditions and manage up to 250W TDP.

AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 Launched at $999

AMD today announced a high-performance addition to the Radeon Pro WX workstation graphics lineup with the AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 graphics card, delivering the world's best workstation graphics performance for under $1,000 for real-time visualization, virtual reality (VR) and photorealistic rendering. AMD also unveiled major updates to Radeon ProRender and a new alliance with the Vancouver Film School, enabling the next-generation of creators to realize their VFX visions through the power of Radeon Pro graphics.

The new turbocharged AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200 graphics card allows professionals to effortlessly accelerate design and rendering. It is the ideal graphics card for design and manufacturing, media and entertainment, and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) workloads at all stages of product development.

ASUS Intros VP248QGL-P Low-cost FreeSync Monitor

ASUS today introduced the VP248QGL-P, a cost-effective 24-inch gaming-grade monitor with AMD FreeSync technology support. If you can get past the TN-film panel with 1080p resolution, you'll also find that it features response times as low as 1 ms, and up to 75 Hz refresh-rates. Viewing angles are 170°/160° (H/V). Among its feature-set is ASUS Splendid display management software, blue light filtering, and ASUS GamePlus, which is a collection of game genre-specific display presets. Display inputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.2a, HDMI 1.4a, and D-Sub. Stereo speakers and 3.5 mm-jack make for the rest of it. Expect a sub-$175 price.
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