Friday, February 21st 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Monitors
Mouse
SSD
ROCCAT Kain 100 AIMO

ROCCAT Kain 100 AIMO

ROCCAT expands their Kain line-up with the Kain 100. Sporting the same patented click mechanism and RGB lighting system as its bigger brother, the Kain 120, the Kain 100 features a slightly inferior sensor (PMW3331) and different, but still high-quality materials, all at a relatively low weight of 86 grams.
Fractal Define 7

Fractal Define 7

The Fractal Define 7 is the seventh generation of the Define R series of cases. It sports a new, clean branding, loads of new features and plenty of enhancements over the previous version without compromising on the core functionality and design that has defined the series this last decade.

Free Game Alert: Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Faeria Now Available for Free from EPIC Games Store

Another week, another interesting free game being driven upon us by the EPIC Games Store. This time, it's Ubisoft's 345th entry in the Assassin's Creed series: Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Set in 1868 London, smack in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, this is considered to be the title that straightened out the franchise after the ill-received Assassin's Creed Unity, with an overall 76 score in Metacritic.

Also available for free is Faeria, a collectible-card game from developers Abrakam, which has a very respectable 81 score in Metacritic and an average 7.6 user score, putting it ahead of Syndicate in both metrics. Gameplay is often compared to a mix of Catan (with its hex-based, living board) and Heartstone (due to the collectible 300+ cards the game has to offer). It has single-player and PVP modes to scratch your particular craving at the moment, so it might be an interesting (and free) addition to your library.

Microsoft Redesigns Windows 10 Icons

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has been a mix of old and new designs since its launch, however, Microsoft decided to modernize its UI look by providing a fresh set of icons. If you are a user of Microsoft Office suite, then you already know how the new icons look for Office applications like Excel and Word. The material design present on those apps is now transferring to the rest of Windows 10 stock applications like Calendar and Calculator. In the effort to modernize the look of Windows 10 and end the Windows 7 inspired UI, Microsoft will be pushing the updated icon set over few following months. The updates icons are already available for Windows 10 Insiders, and specifically for Preview Build 19569. Regular users can expect to get the update in the coming months.

Make a Fresh Tech Start with URCDKeys Spring Sale: Discounted Genuine Software

Spring is a season of new beginnings - new PC builds, fresh OS installations (especially in the wake of Windows 7 discontinuation), and renewals of annual Office 365 licenses. Why not save big on all three? With URCDKeys, you can give your computers the fresh start they need with genuine, globally-valid Windows 10 Pro, the preferred edition of Windows 10 by gamers and PC enthusiasts, priced at just USD $13.54 with a TechPowerUp-exclusive discount code. Why entangle yourself with annual subscriptions to Office 365 when you can get permanent licenses to Office 2016 Professional Plus and the latest Office 2019 Professional Plus for the same cost? Save even more when you combine Windows 10 Pro with your favorite version of Office 2016 or Office 2019. URCDKeys accepts PayPal, so you can shop with confidence.

Don't forget to apply the TechPowerUp-exclusive coupon code TP20 on the following items to avail the prices you see here.

Buy Windows 10 Pro from URCDKeys for $13.54 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus for $29.58 | Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus for $52.79 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional Plus Combo for $37.96 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2019 Professional Plus Combo for $63.69

Samsung Electronics Begins Mass Production at New EUV Manufacturing Line

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its new cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication line in Hwaseong, Korea, has begun mass production.

The facility, V1, is Samsung's first semiconductor production line dedicated to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology and produces chips using process node of 7 nanometer (nm) and below. The V1 line broke ground in February 2018, and began test wafer production in the second half of 2019. Its first products will be delivered to customers in the first quarter.

Team Group Releases the T193 Stationery Flash Drive and the PD1000 Portable SSD

TEAMGROUP releases two storage products, the T193 Stationery Flash Drive and the PD1000 Portable Solid State Drive. The T193 Stationery Flash Drive combines multifunctional stationery design and applications. Functions such as a 180-degree protractor, magnifying glass and magnet are all on this flash drive and offering 128 GB of large capacity available to choose from. PD1000 Portable Solid State Drive uses USB 3.2 Gen2 ultra high-speed interface. The read/write speed is up to 1000/900 MB/s. It complies with the IP68 certification, which is dustproof, waterproof and 1600 kg pressure proof. These two unique and creative devices will change the data storage industry of 2020.

After the T183 Tool Flash Drive was highly praised by major design awards and global consumers, TEAMGROUP has once again released the all new multifunctional T193 Stationery Flash Drive. T193 is the first flash drive that combines stationery and complete protection design. It has functions like a 180-degree protractor, magnifying glass and magnet. In addition, it is made with top aluminium alloy material and it has dust-proof, waterproof and shockproof protection. T193 uses USB 3.2 Gen1 interface and offers large storage capacity from 32 GB to 128 GB. Its multiple functions and special look make it different than other ordinary USB flash drives.
Thursday, February 20th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
SSD
Optimus Foundation CPU Block (Intel)

Optimus Foundation CPU Block (Intel)

Perhaps the most requested CPU water block review in years, we finally take a look at Optimus Water Cooling's Foundation CPU block. With a near-rabid user base touting praises galore, we put it to the test to see if the hype and asking price is justified.
Optimus Signature V2 CPU Block

Optimus Signature V2 CPU Block

Alongside the Optimus Foundation CPU block, we saw it fit to also cover the company's flagship Signature CPU block. In its second version, the Signature V2 for Intel CPU sockets features to good effect a thick unibody brass top and mounting bracket, as well as the cooling engine and other features of their Foundation block.
Durgod x HK Venus Keyboard

Durgod x HK Venus Keyboard

Durgod has grabbed many an eye among the enthusiast keyboard market, and today, we get to see if the brand merits the attention. We take a look at the Venus, a 60% form factor keyboard that aims to combine high build quality and customization via switch options and software drivers for a value product without seeming cheap!

KIOXIA First to Deliver Enterprise and Data Center PCIe 4.0 U.3 SSDs

The PCI Express 4.0 specification was designed to double the performance of server and storage systems, pushing speeds up to 16.0 gigatransfers per second (GT/s) or 2 gigabits per second (Gb/s) throughput per lane, and driving new performance levels for cloud and enterprise applications. Today, KIOXIA America, Inc. (formerly Toshiba Memory America, Inc.) announced that its lineup of CM6 and CD6 Series PCIe 4.0 NVM Express (NVMe ) enterprise and data center solid state drives (SSDs) are now shipping to customers.

An established leader in developing PCIe and NVMe SSDs, KIOXIA delivers never-before-seen performance. KIOXIA was the first company to publicly demonstrate PCIe 4.0 SSDs and is now the first to ship these next-generation drives. The CM6 and CD6 Series SSDs are compliant to the latest NVMe specification, and include key features such as in-band NVMe-MI, persistent event log, namespace granularity, and shared stream writes. Additionally, both drives are SFF-TA-1001 conformant (also known as U.3), which allows them to be used in tri-mode enabled backplanes, which can accept SAS, SATA or NVMe SSDs.

AOC Releases the AGON AG353UCG Monitor: 35" VA, 3440 x 1440 UWQHD, Quantum Dot, 200 Hz, DisplayHDR 1000, G-Sync Ultimate, 1800R

AOC launches the 35" (88.98 cm) AGON AG353UCG with 200 Hz refresh rate, 2 ms GtG response time, 3440 x 1440 UWQHD (21:9) resolution, VESA DisplayHDR 1000 and Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate.

Its native 3440 x 1440 UWQHD (21:9) resolution combined with the 1800R curvature creates the next level of immersion. The AG353UCG's visuals pop thanks to Quantum Dot technology, 1000 nits peak brightness with VESA DisplayHDR 1000, 2500:1 contrast and 90% DCI-P3 coverage. Finally, the monitor supports Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, offering HDR with 1000 nits brightness, at the same time eliminating stutter, tearing and reducing latency.

Fractal Design Announces the Define Series 7, 7 XL Chassis

Featuring the most comprehensive refinement of design elements yet, the Define 7 brings a new body to the long established Define series while staying true to its heritage as a solid platform for the silent PC.

Always pushing boundaries, Fractal product developers added loads of new features to ensure that the 7 series is the most capable and cohesive Define range ever released. Thanks to an adaptable dual-layout interior, the Define 7 can easily accommodate motherboards all the way up to 285 mm E-ATX, extensive storage arrays with up to 14 HDDs, 4 SSDs and an ODD bay, and robust cooling with a 420 mm radiator and up to nine fans. Versatile new multi-brackets allow you to convert any unused fan position to an HDD, SSD or pump mount.

Ek Waterblocks Announces the EK-Loop Connect

EK, the leading premium water cooling gear manufacturer, is proud to introduce the EK-Loop Connect, a straightforward information and control hub for all the relevant parameters of your liquid cooled PC.

EK-Loop Connect
A Fan, Pump, and an Addressable D-RGB controller unit that is designed from the standpoint of an enthusiast. With this control hub you can easily set your desired RGB lighting effects with just a few clicks, as well as optimize your cooling performance, and noise levels through a simple PWM chart or pre-defined profiles. That's not all though, as you'll have the option of using external temperature sensors, flow meters, and coolant level probes.

ADATA Launches ISSS333 Solid State Drives with Power Loss Protection

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, is pleased to announce the launch of its new 2.5-inch SATA III ISSS333 PLP 3D TLC solid state drives (SSD) featuring Power Loss Protection (PLP). The industrial-grade SSDs are purpose made for applications that require durability, reliability, and high capacities, including industrial computing, embedded applications, surveillance systems, medical equipment, gaming machines, defense applications, and general automation. ISSS333 PLP SSDs implement 3D NAND Flash and the SATA III 6 Gb/s interface for superb transfer rates of up to 560/520 MB per second. For cost savings, these SSDs sport lower power consumption of 2.3 watts.

Equipped with Power Loss Protection, ISSS333 3D TLC PLP SSDs guard against data loss when a sudden power failure occurs. This capabilities comes in handy for applications that are more prone to power outages, namely those operating in outdoor environments, such as base stations, surveillance systems, and transportation facilities to name a few. What's more, ISSS333 3D TLC PLP SSDs also feature wide-temperature resistance (-40°C to 85°C) to ensure optimal operation even in the harshest environments and polymer capacitors with short circuit protection. ISSS333 3D TLC PLP SSDs also support LDPC (Low-Density Parity-Check) error correcting code technology to detect and fix a wider range of data errors for more accurate data transfers and a longer SSD lifespan.

Cyberpunk 2077 is Coming to GeForce NOW

NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game streaming service has recently suffered a big blow coming from Activision Blizzard, as the company has pulled its entire game library from the GeForce NOW platform. However, there is some good news for GeForce NOW coming. In its announcement blog, NVIDIA shared that upcoming game that is perhaps the most anticipated release of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077, will be available on its game streaming service. One of the NVIDIA staff shared that "GeForce NOW members will be able to grab their copy on Steam and play the game the moment it's available. GeForce NOW Founders members can explore the streets of Night City with RTX ON, fully optimized and instantly available, even on your Mac laptop."

Intel 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake-S" IGP-Disabled Processor Lineup Detailed

With its 9th generation Core processor series, Intel adapted an interesting strategy to maximize its yields and increase competitiveness of its desktop processors. The "F" model number extension would go on to denote a lack of integrated graphics. It could be used in conjunction with other extensions such as "K" (unlocked base-clock multiplier). Completely disabling integrated graphics would allow Intel to salvage dies on which the iGPU component, which takes up a large chunk of the die area, doesn't clear validation. Intel refers to this as "GT0" (graphics tier zero), to fit into its iGPU tier differentiation scheme. The company also tends to price its "F" SKUs slightly lower, letting it compete with AMD Ryzen chips better. A case in point is the Core i5-9400F, often found under $160, and proving a strong alternative to the Ryzen 5 series for gaming PCs. With the 10th generation "Comet Lake-S" family, the company is planning several new "F" and "KF" SKUs.

According to a company slide leaked to the web by InformaticaCero, there are at least three each of "F" and "KF" SKUs in the works. The lineup includes the 10-core/20-thread i9-10900KF and i9-10900F; the 8-core/16-thread i7-10700KF and i7-10700F; and the 6-core/12-thread i5-10600KF and i5-10600F. Clock speeds and cache sizes of these chips are identical to their corresponding non-F SKUs (eg: i7-10700KF clock-speeds being identical to those of the i7-10700K). Provided they're sold at slightly lower prices, the lack of an iGPU doesn't affect target buyers of these chips - PC gamers or creative professionals who use graphics cards and don't need an iGPU. Competing Ryzen processors lack iGPUs by design. Intel is expected to debut its 10th generation Core "Comet Lake-S" processors in April.

GIGABYTE Updates the Brix Lineup with 10th Generation Comet Lake CPUs

GIGABYTE has updated its Brix lineup of Mini-PCs with Intel's latest and greatest 10th generation Comet Lake mobile CPUs. Measuring 46.8 x 119.5 x 119.5 mm, the Brix mini PC is a small form factor machine with its 0,6-liter size. If anyone thinks that power is proportional to the size of a PC, the GIGABYTE Brix is here to prove them wrong. Available in four variants that differ only in CPU that is soldered inside, you can get anything from a dual-core Intel Core i3-10110U, all the way up to six-core Core i7-10710U CPU powerhouse. These CPUs are 15 W TDP models, so even though the Brix is small, its cooling solution should be able to handle the heat.

The Brix Mini-PC comes with a mounting bracket for 75 x 75 mm and 100 x 100 mm VESA mounts, meaning that you can place it behind a monitor. Storage options are limited to one 2.5-inch drive that can be up to 9.5 mm thick. For RAM, the Brix is using two SO-DIMM slots that can support up to 64 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM. When it comes to connectivity options, GIGABYTE has equipped the Brix with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 wireless adapter providing Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 802.11ac connectivity. The IO options are somewhat decent as Brix has three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports at the front, along with a USB Gen 2 Type-C connector and 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the back, there are two HDMI 2.0a ports for video output, two additional USC 3.2 Gen 2 ports, power input, and of course an RJ45 Ethernet connector.

BIOSTAR Announces Windows 7 x64 SP1 Support for Intel B365 Series Motherboards

BIOSTAR, a leading brand of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, today announces windows 7 x64 SP1 support for Intel B365 series motherboards. BIOSTAR's Windows 7 x64 SP1 support will be further extended to the RACING B365GTA and the B365MHC motherboards as Windows 7 x64 SP1 still remains the second most-used Windows operating system worldwide, used in many homes, offices, schools and government organizations, all BIOSTAR consumers who have the need to use Windows 7 x64 SP1 will have an extended lifetime for their Windows 7 x64 SP1 experience.

The RACING B365GTA and the B365MHC, are ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards equipped with Intel's B365 Chipset supporting the 9th and 8th generation Intel processors. The two motherboards are packed with the latest features and functionality that is versatile for any use case. With the latest support patch for Windows 7 x64 SP1, BIOSTAR consumers who are looking for Windows 7 x64 SP1 supporting products will be related to have the latest high-end hardware supporting their favorite operating system further.

DeepCool Rolls Out MATREXX 30 SI, Minimalist M-ATX Case

DeepCool today rolled out the MATREXX 30 SI, a sober-looking minimalist Micro-ATX case for those who don't like to stare at the innards of a computer. Its design is characterized with opaque black steel side panels, an all-black interior, and a ridged front design that has slits between the ridges that serve as the front intake. The front-panel I/O is located at the top of this panel.

Inside, you get room for a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard, a conventional ATX power supply, and plenty of storage options - two 5.25-inch bays, from which one is external; three 3.5-inch bays, and two additional 2.5-inch mounts. Behind the motherboard tray is 1.5 cm of crawlspace to route cables through. The main chamber offers clearance for graphics cards up to 25 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 15.1 cm in height. Cooling options include one 120 mm front intake, and a 120 mm rear exhaust, from which the exhaust fan comes pre-installed. Front-panel connectivity includes a pair of USB ports and HDA jacks. We expect this case to be priced around $30.
Wednesday, February 19th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
NAS
Networking
Processors
PSUs
SSD
ID-Cooling SE 224 XT ARGB & SE 224 XT Basic

ID-Cooling SE 224 XT ARGB & SE 224 XT Basic

ID-Cooling looks to dominate the entry level cooler market by giving users a traditional tower cooler with an emphasis on solid performance in the SE 224 XT Basic. Taking things a step further, they add LED lighting with the appropriately dubbed SE 224 XT ARGB. Both versions certainly gave the competition a pummeling.
Super Flower Leadex III ARGB Gold 850 W

Super Flower Leadex III ARGB Gold 850 W

The Super Flower Leadex III ARGB Gold with 850 W maximum power output performs well and operates quietly. If you are after an RGB-lit power supply and don't mind the price premium, you should include this PSU in your list. Super Flower will bring this model to the US soon.

New AMD Listings in Korean RRA Certification Point to Impending Graphics Cards Release - Big Navi?

The Korean RRA has listed AMD graphics cards for certification this month which may well point towards an actual announcement coming from AMD during the next month. The company has already confirmed they will be discussing RDNA2 graphics cards come their next Financial Analyst Day, set for March 5th. The new entries, D32310 and D30201, have been listed on February 03 and February 19, respectively. This is relevant for a March announcement - even if just a paper one - of the new RDNA2 GPUs because historically, it seems that AMD has registered impending releases with the Korean RRA roughly one month prior to actual product releases.

As you can see in the listing, AMD registered two graphics cards in June 2019 (D16302 and D18206 - and one month later, in July, the company released Navi-based RX 5700 XT and RX 5700. AMD also registered the RX 5600 XT model number, D32501, on December 3, 2019 with a release one month later on January 21, 2020. AMD similarly registered model number D18902 on November 27, 2019 - and AMD released the 5500 XT on December 12, less than a month later. There seems to be a pattern here. if you're wondering why the model number for these new February registrations is lower than that of the RX 5600 XT (D32501 against the newer, yet lower D32310 and D30201), it could have something to do with the fact that AMD decided to carve out the RX 5600 XT SKU later than they knew they'd be releasing Big Navi - as an attempt to curtail NVIDIA in the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 Super battlefield.

No Man's Sky Updated With "Living Ship" Expansion, Introduces New Ship Classes, Missions, Improvements

I like to write articles on No Man's Sky because barely have I ever seen a game this well supported. In fact, I'd even risk saying this game sees better support - and more support - than many other games that even have the "games as a service" philosophy. The only other game I can think of that has had comparable improvements and overhauls throughout its lifecycle is Warframe, but that's a completely different beast. In No Man's Sky, I think we can see exactly how studios that make games as a work of love go on about supporting them.

While the games' release may have been a flop compared to the expectations set upon it (in no small part because of their own creators), I think it really is commendable that hello games didn't just pocket the immense profits they made with the games' release and are, instead, still working it up to its entire potential. It just really goes to show how good tool planning and the adequate mindset can bring about improvements over time.

MetallicGear Announces NEO Qube Dual-chamber Chassis

MetallicGear, powered by Phanteks, today announced the new addition to the NEO series, the NEO Qube. The NEO Qube sports dual tempered glass panels with integrated smooth Digital-RGB lighting making this the perfect showcase to display your system from every angle.

The NEO Qube features a spacious dual-chamber interior that brings a smooth building experience, heat separation for better cooling and supports powerful hardware. Combined with the Phanteks Revolt X power supply, the NEO Qube can even support 2 motherboard installations (E-ATX + ITX), which brings more possibilities for streamers, professionals, and multi-users looking for dual system support.

Intel Core i7-10700F Cinebenched, Roughly Matches Ryzen 7 3700X

The Core i7-10700F is an upcoming 8-core/16-thread processor that's expected to be significantly affordable compared to the i7-10700K. Unlike the i7-10700K targeted at overclockers, the i7-10700F is multiplier locked, has lower nominal clock speeds of 2.90 GHz, and lacks integrated graphics (hence the "F" extension). PC enthusiasts on Korean tech community QuasarZone posted a screenshot of an alleged i7-10700F test run on Cinebench R20. The chip is shown scoring 4781 points in the multi-threaded test, and 492 points single-threaded. These scores roughly compare with AMD's Ryzen 7 3700X processor. No other details such as motherboard or memory configuration were put out.

ASUS Rolls Out TUF Gaming GT301 Case

ASUS today rolled out the TUF Gaming GT301 case for gaming PC builds meant for the road (i.e. BYO LANs). It's design is characterized by a mostly ABS front panel that has a honeycomb outer grille with a metal inner mesh, and inserts through which a nylon strap zig-zags through. The top panel features another mesh surface, while the left side panel is tempered glass. The rest of the case, including its inner chassis and right side panel, are made of SECC steel. Adding to the aesthetic are three included ARGB fans along the front intake. A fourth dark 120 mm fan vents exhaust. Two additional 120 mm spinners can be mounted along the top exhaust. A headphones hanger can be mounted on either side of the case.

Inside, the ASUS TUF Gaming GT301 features a conventional horizontally-partitioned layout, with the top compartment serving up room for graphics cards up to 32 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height. Storage options include four 2.5-inch drive mounts along the motherboard tray, and two 3.5-inch drive bays in the bottom compartment. Front panel connectivity includes two USB 3.2 type-A ports, and HDA audio jacks. Measuring 426 mm x 214 mm x 482 mm (LxWxH), the case weighs around 7.2 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Qualcomm Introduces Third-Generation 5G Modem Called the Snapdragon X60

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. today announced the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System, its third-generation 5G modem-to-antenna solution (the Snapdragon X60). Snapdragon X60 features the world's first 5-nanometer 5G baseband and is the world's first 5G Modem-RF System to support spectrum aggregation across all key 5G bands and combinations, including mmWave and sub-6 using frequency division duplex (FDD) and time division duplex (TDD), providing ultimate operator flexibility to uplift 5G performance utilizing fragmented spectrum assets. This 5G modem-to-antenna solution is designed to enhance the performance and capacity for operators worldwide while increasing average 5G speeds in mobile devices. Snapdragon X60 is engineered to accelerate network transition to 5G standalone mode through support for any key spectrum band, mode or combination, along with 5G Voice-over-NR (VoNR) capabilities.

Intel and QuTech Detail "Horse Ridge," First Cryogenic Quantum Computing Control Chip

Intel Labs, in collaboration with QuTech ‑ a partnership between TU Delft and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) ‑ outlines key technical features of its new cryogenic quantum control chip "Horse Ridge" in a research paper released at the 2020 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco. The paper unveils key technical capabilities of Horse Ridge that address fundamental challenges in building a quantum system powerful enough to demonstrate quantum practicality: scalability, flexibility and fidelity.

"Today, quantum researchers work with just a small number of qubits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect mechanisms. Intel's Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity. By systematically working to scale to thousands of qubits required for quantum practicality, we're continuing to make steady progress toward making commercially viable quantum computing a reality in our future," said Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware, Intel Labs.
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