Hardware Giveaway
Friday, March 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Gaming PC
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2018

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2018

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2018 and beyond. We, among others, cover and keep track of AMD Zen+ and Zen 2, NVIDIA Turing, and NVIDIA Ampere.
Nitro Concepts Series S300 Gaming Chair

Nitro Concepts Series S300 Gaming Chair

The Nitro Concepts S300 is an affordable, very comfortable chair with quite a lot of features for its price. It is available in eight different color combinations to cover all tastes, and its dimensions are ideal for larger users.

ASUS ROG X470 Motherboard Shows Up Out of Nowhere

The folks at VideoCardz received a picture of a soon-to-be-released ASUS X470 motherboard from an unnamed sender. Judging by the motherboard's aesthetics and design, we suspect that it belongs to the Strix Series. Although there are no signs of the Strix branding on the motherboard, the rear I/O cover and the 8+2 phase VRM resemble the ones used on the ASUS ROG Strix X370-F Gaming motherboard. Initially, the "Republic" marking threw us off as ASUS isn't known for placing the Republic of Gamers branding on their previous Strix motherboards. The "Hybrid" marking remains a mystery though. The Chinese characters 玩家 that are located beside one of the memory slots literally translates to "Players", which certainly suggests that this will be a gaming-oriented motherboard. As of the time of this article, there are five confirmed X470 motherboards from ASUS: Prime X470-Pro, ROG Strix X470-F Gaming, ROG Strix X470-I Gaming, ROG Crosshair VII Hero, ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WI-FI), and TUF X470-Plus Gaming.

AMD Throws EPYC Jab at Intel Xeon Products on Cloudfest

Cloudfest is a summit of sorts, a running line of conferences and announcements that focus on the cloud side of computing. With the increasing market value and demand of cloud services and providers, it's no surprise that industry behemoths are in attendance. AMD is one such, and it took the opportunity to throw a slight jab at Intel. Making the best it can from its long-coming favorable position in the server market, AMD put up a banner with an EPYC pun, touting its 3.3x performance per dollar advantage versus the Xeon competition... and then some. Just take a look at the image for yourself. It's all in good sport... Right?

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Goes Mobile

After being crowned as Steam's third best-selling game ever, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is on its way to conquer the mobile world. Developed by LightSpeed & Quantum Studio and published by Chinese tech giant Tencent, PUBG Mobile has been soft launched in Canada. The game is now available for download at the Google Play Store. PUBG Mobile stays true to the PC version. It was developed on the Unreal Engine 4 and supports features that include 7.1 surround sound and in-game voice chat. For the time being, only the original Erangel map is in the mobile version. The minimum requirements consist of a smartphone with Android 5.1.1 and 2 GB of RAM. Although there is no mention of a minimum processor requirement, the developer states that the game is supported on more than 500 Android devices.

ASRock Releases a Teaser of Their Upcoming Phantom Gaming Graphics Cards Series

ASRock was rumored to enter the graphics card market as per a report by DigiTimes. The motherboard and soon-to-be graphics card manufacturer just released a teaser on their Japan Twitter account that confirms this rumor. The mysterious graphics card in the video belongs to their Phantom Gaming Series. Although the exact model wasn't revealed, DigiTimes's article stated that it's probably an AMD Radeon-based card. From what can be seen from the 30-second long video, the graphics card features a dual-slot design with a black and white theme. The graphics card apparently relies on two fans to provide active cooling and a single 8-pin PCIe connector for power.

The Crew 2 Set for June 29 Release

Today, Ubisoft announced that The Crew 2, the newest iteration in the revolutionary open world driving franchise The Crew, will launch on June 29th, 2018, for PlayStation4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices and Windows PC. In addition, The Crew 2 has been enhanced with additional features for PS4 Pro systems.

Developed by Ubisoft Ivory Tower, a studio based in Lyon, France, The Crew 2 will let players experience the thrill of American motorsports inside a fully redesigned USA. The game's playground pushes physical boundaries to let driving and open world fans test their skills, solo or with friends, in nonstop competition and exploration. From coast to coast, drivers will explore America and compete to become the greatest motorsports champion, by collecting a wide variety of exotic cars, bikes, boats and planes, and dominating the motorsports scene on the land, on the water and in the air. Players will find challenges and inspiration among four different motorsports families: street racing, off-road, pro racing and freestyle, and will be given a broad set of options among a wide selection of vehicle types.

CTS-Labs Responds to a TechPowerUp Technical Questionnaire

Yesterday, we had a very productive phone call with CTS-Labs, the firm behind the "AMD Flaws" critical security vulnerabilities exposé of the "Zen" microarchitecture. Our questions focus on the practicality of exploiting these vulnerabilities, and should provide more insight to the skepticism centered on needing admin privileges, flashing BIOS ROMs, and other localized hacks that would render any machine, not just "Zen" powered, vulnerable. Feel free to follow up with questions in the comments section, if we can help explain something.

GIGABYTE Expands Density Optimized Intel Xeon Scalable Server Range

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, an industry leader in competitive, high performance server platforms & embedded solutions continues to expand its Intel Xeon Scalable product family by adding three new density optimized systems: H231-H60, H261-H60, and H261-H61, giving our customer a wider range of choices to meet their ever increasing needs for efficiency in the server room.

Some Blockchain in My Voting, Please: Sierra Leone Implements Innovative System

Putting aside discussion of cryptocurrencies, bubbles, and the debated absence of intrinsic value, blockchain itself has a myriad of uses that are still in their exploration infancy. One such usage - one that was arguably first thought of by Philip K. Dick, albeit unknowingly - was the usage of such a system in voting, as a way to provide transparency and trust towards the system which (supposedly) materializes the will of the people.

When asked which country would be the first to implement a Blockchain-based election (which ran at 70% of the voting stations), Sierra Leone would likely be completely absent as an option. The country, which has a population of 7.4 million, has a known history of political and societal unrest, having seen multiple UN interventions in its (relatively) recent history. The company had no technological capacity to build such a blockchain-based voting system - and thus turned to an outside provider. Agora was the chosen company, which aimed to power Sierra Leone's presidential election through anonymously stored votes in an immutable ledger, thereby offering instant access to the election results. The wins come not only in counting speed and actual logistics and state spending improvements, though: the usage of blockchain obviously also ushers in transparency.

Brainwavz Introduces its S0 IEM Noise Isolating Earphones

Global audio specialist Brainwavz, established in 2008 with a focus on offering high quality products at a competitive price, today announces the availability of its S0 IEM noise isolating earphones. The S0 IEM are the latest in the Brainwavz range of over 25 earphones and headphones and accessories and represent great value at £35.73 /$49.50.

The Brainwavz S0 earphones have been designed to provide a balanced sound signature with each part of the sound spectrum represented being both accurate and clear. The all metal housing and flat, tangle free cabling provides a sleek look, feel and long lasting durability (with no fear of tangling in a bag either!). The S0's will work with any genre of music and are sure to keep anyone happy whether they're listening to pop, classical, hip hop or rock.
The Clearwavz mic and remote use a high precision MEMS (Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System) silicon microphone with a three-button control. This enables users to make audio calls as well as audio playback and is far easier to control with maximum performance so making a phone call on the go could not be simpler.

Audeze Announces the Mobius Gaming Headset With Spatial Positioning Tech

Audeze, a company that prides itself in offering a premium sound solution for gamers, has launched their latest headset - the Mobius. The Mobius headset features 3D spatial positioning simulation, which takes the audio source and applies a number of Audeze technologies - their planar magnetic technology, for instance, combined with head tracking, room simulation, and sound localization technologies.

COLORFUL Announces Limited Edition Season Series Solid-State Drives

COLORFUL Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and high-performance storage solutions is proud to announce the availability of its limited edition COLORFUL SL300 160G Spring L.E. solid state drive. Featuring an all-new pink frosted aluminum alloy shell, the COLORFUL Season series SSD is set to make a statement for builders who are looking to express themselves and create a stunning build featuring a pink color scheme or just want a snazzy pink SSD for their PC, the COLORFUL SL300 160G Spring L.E. is the only choice.

The COLORFUL SL300 Spring L.E. is based off the highly-commended SL300 series solid-state drives from COLORFUL. These SSDs feature a non-standard capacity due to newer 3D NAND flash specification which is the result of new developments in 3D NAND technology. This allows a large volume single BGA NAND flash chip to be created. For example, the COLORFUL SL300 Plus 160G uses a 4 die wafer array.
Thursday, March 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Crucial MX300 M.2 525 GB

Crucial MX300 M.2 525 GB

With just $140 for the 525 GB version, the Crucial MX300 is one of the most affordable M.2 drives out there. Instead of NVMe, it uses the slower SATA interface, though. Our review will take a closer look at how much of a difference that really makes and whether the MX300 M.2 is a good alternative to 2.5" SATA drives.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Accidentally Listed on Amazon

Amazon Germany accidentally listed the upcoming AMD Ryzen 5 2600X six-core processor. According to the listing availability of the chip is scheduled for 19th April. The chip is priced at 248.93€ including taxes, which is in line with the launch SEP prices we saw in the leaked AMD press-deck posted earlier this month. The listing also mentions a handful specifications, such as the chip being based on 12 nm silicon fabrication process, and featuring clock speeds of 3.60 GHz, with 4.25 GHz turbo. Unlike with some of the higher end first-generation Ryzen retail packages, AMD will be including cooling solutions with all models of the 2nd generation Ryzen series. The Ryzen 5 2600X will include a Wraith Spire cooler, characterized by its RGB LED ring, and having a design focus on low-noise operation.

Valve Introduces Auto Resolution Scaling to Steam VR

Valve has announce that they've added a new rendering capability to their Steam VR environment which aims to improve image quality and frames per second in VR environments, while reducing processing load on both over and underpowered hardware. The auto resolution scaling feature they've introduced to Steam VR is nothing really new - it's been used in some games for a while now, and has recently begun attracting wide industry and game developer interest mainly on the back of the new, revised mid-gen upgrade consoles from Sony (the PS4 Pro) and Microsoft (Xbox One X).

The idea behind the auto resolution scaling is that developers (or users) can set a given frame rate target, and rendering resolution will be automatically adjusted so as to facilitate those FPS values to be achieved - wither by increasing rendering resolution (and thus image quality) in less work-intensive areas, or doing the reverse, and reducing rendering resolution in performance-hog stretches of games or experiences.

Microsoft Rolling Out New "Speculative Execution" Bug Bounty Program

In a blog post, Microsoft has announced that it has decided to take the matter of finding critical bugs of similar nature to the Spectre/Meltdown flaws into its own hands - at least partially. Adding to its bug bounty programs, the company has now announced that a new pot of up to $250,000 is up for grabs until at least December 31st of this year.

The new bug bounty program is divided into four different severity/compensation tiers, with tier 1 flaws (New categories of speculative execution attacks) granting up to $250,000 in rewards for the "coordinated disclosure" of such vulnerabilities. The idea here is Microsoft is employing the knowledge and will of the capable masses that might find ways of exploiting vulnerabilities, and would choose to disclose them to Microsoft - getting the prize money, helping the tech industry in providing a timely, coordinated defense against these exploits, and saving vast amounts of funding (and time), by not having to do the bug bounty themselves.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Announced: Lara Croft Returns on September 14th

Square Enix today announced that the final installment in the Tomb Raider origins trilogy is being released on September 14th this year. Moving on from their previous "timed exclusive" contract with Microsoft, which saw Rise of the Tomb Raider be first published on the Xbox family of devices, the latest game will be available for all platforms - PC, PS4 and Xbox - on release date.

The new game in the Tomb Raider series has moved hands, though, leaving Crystal Dynamics' studios (who is now working on an Avengers video game with Marvel), and was taken upon by Eidos Montreal - the studio best known for the latest (way better than they're given credit, by the way) Deus Ex games (Human Revolution and Mankind Divided). A full reveal of the game is expected next month, on April 27th - just two months before E3, which will certainly pave the way for even more content on the game. Square Enix is promising users they'll "Experience Lara Croft's defining moment as she becomes the Tomb Raider". Interesting, no? Look after the break for a preview teaser.

Sneak Peek of Upcoming H370, H310, and B360 Motherboards from ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI

Coffee Lake processors were launched along side the high-end Z370 motherboards. While the Z370 chipset certainly brings many innovative features to the table, different consumers have different levels of needs. Some consumers simply don't need all the bells and whistles that the Z370 chipset has to offer. That's why other mainstream chipsets like H370, H310, and B360 still hold their value, and many consumers are waiting for motherboards based on one of the aformentioned chipsets to come out. Unfortunately, Intel still haven't shared a concrete launch date with the public. But as online stores have started to list the new H370, H310, and B360 motherboards, our guess is that they will be available real soon. Since some of you are probably planning your next budget PC build with one of these chipsets, we've rounded up the images of the different models that are currently floating around the internet. You can get a sneak peek at the offerings from major manufacturers like ASRock, Gigabyte, and MSI. There are 29 models in total that range from the mini-ATX form factor to the conventional ATX form factor.


Fractal Design Expands Meshify C Line Up with New White Variant

Meshify strikes an aggressive pose in the Fractal Design lineup with unparalleled cooling performance and a defiant new look. Like diamond facets, the angular asymmetry of the Meshify C carves a space uniquely its own as a new dominant force in high-airflow design. Tempered glass completes the distinct, stealth-inspired aesthetic with exceptional style.

An open ATX layout with intelligent space utilization creates an unrestricted airflow path from the mesh front intakes directly through key components to exhaust, ensuring heat is never an issue. The Meshify C has a remarkably compact footprint with the high-end component support of a full tower, and with seven fan mounts and multi-radiator liquid cooling capability, it has the cooling capacity to match.

Hardware-based Protection Coming to Data Center and PC Products Later this Year: Intel CEO

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich penned (or signed) a blog post today where we went on to describe all of the steps his company took after knowing of the disclosed vulnerabilities by Google Project Zero (which gave Intel more than 24H notice). In the blog post, he acknowledges there's still much work to be done, but assures customers of security's importance to Intel. For one, 73 days after the vulnerabilities were made public, Intel is now done with software mitigations: all of Intel's last five years worth of CPUs now have in production patches.

The CEO also vowed that hardware solutions will be deployed on newly produced Intel processors by the end of 2018 - these will hit the company's next iteration of Xeon scalable processors (Cascade Lake) and will be deployed to 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors as soon as the second half of this year. The blog post follows.

CTS Labs Posts Some Clarifications on AMD "Zen" Vulnerabilities

CTS-Labs the research group behind the AMD "Zen" CPU vulnerabilities, posted an addendum to its public-release of the whitepaper, in an attempt to dispel some of the criticism in their presentation in the absence of technical details (which they shared with AMD and other big tech firms). In their clarification whitepaper, quoted below, they get into slightly more technical details on each of the four vulnerability classes.

ViewSonic Launches Its Kaby Lake-Powered NMP660 Chromebox

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, introduces the ViewSonic NMP660 Chromebox. Paired with the company's ViewBoard family of interactive flat panel displays or any ViewSonic display, the ViewSonic NMP660 Chromebox can transform any Google classroom into a collaborative learning hub, or provide content management as a signage player and desktop virtualization solution for conference rooms. The ViewSonic NMP660 Chromebox delivers a complete and secure Chrome OS and Google Play experience.

The ViewSonic NMP660 Chromebox offers a quick out-of-the-box set-up, integrated Google management console and built-in security features, making it an ideal solution for educational and corporate environments. It can drive 4K content, and with the swift set-up, users can quickly access popular applications, websites and even games. Powered by Google Hangouts Meet, Google's video conferencing software, the NMP660 facilitate presentations, brainstorming, and decision-making - even when employees, clients, or students are spread across the globe.

Sharkoon Announces the TG5 RGB ATX Midi Tower with Controllable RGB LED Fans

Sharkoon has added a new version to the TG5 ATX PC Case launched in 2017: The Sharkoon TG5 RGB ATX Midi Tower. In addition to the tempered glass front and left side panel, the TG5 RGB ATX Midi Tower features four 120 mm RGB LED fans as well as a Sharkoon RGB LED strip. In total, six LED elements can be controlled via a 12V-G-R-B connector with the included 6-port RGB hub. The TG5 RGB is compatible with GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light, ASUS Aura as well as other common RGB capable mainboards. For mainboards without a 12V-G-R-B connector, the TG5 RGB comes with a manual color control.

The Sharkoon TG5 RGB is especially made for fans of flashy gaming PCs who want an individualized illumination from as many as 16.8 million colors. The tempered glass left side panel provides a clear view of the illuminated components inside the case. Thanks to the cable management system, the PC case can always make a tidy impression. The front panel is designed cable-free and can thus be removed easily without pulling on any cabling. The front has three pre-installed 120 mm LED fans, and another 120 mm LED fan is pre-installed on the rear panel. In addition, a RGB LED strip is provided for the case interior. The strip can be attached magnetically and by using its adhesive tape. In total, six LED elements can be connected to mainboards with a 12V G-R-B connector and controlled, using the included 6-port RGB hub - as long as the LED elements are compatible with GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light, ASUS Aura or other common RGB capable mainboards. For mainboards without a 12V-G-R-B connector, the TG5 RGB comes with a manual color control. This is equipped with switches, enabling the illumination of the fans and the strip in seven colors, including white. In order to strengthen airflow inside the case, the top panel provides room for up three 120 mm fans or two 140 mm fans. For water cooling, a 280 mm or a 360 mm radiator can be installed to the front of the case.

Logitech G Unveils New PC Gaming Speaker and Mechanical Keyboard With LightSync

Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, today announced two new additions to their family of high-performance gaming gear. The Logitech G560 PC Gaming Speaker is the first dedicated gaming speaker system with advanced Logitech G LIGHTSYNC, a technology that synchronizes both light and sounds to gameplay. Joining the speaker is the new Logitech G513 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The Logitech G513 also features LIGHTSYNC RGB, provides the choice of two Romer-G mechanical key switches and a premium palm rest for a comfortable experience. Logitech G continues to expand its range of high-performance gear that is purpose-built for the needs of gamers, and push innovation in RGB to new immersive levels.

"Our goal with these two products was to complement our G502, the world's best selling gaming mouse," said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech Gaming. "With LIGHTSYNC technology we are able to add real intelligence to what RGB lighting can do - synchronizing audio and RGB lighting to on-screen gameplay. If you already own a G502, then the new G513 keyboard and G560 speakers with LIGHTSYNC are the perfect way to complete your desktop, and create a totally immersive solution."

FSP Introduces CMT230 and CMT240 Mid-Tower Cases

FSP, a worldwide leader in innovative, reliable enthusiast PC components, today unveiled the new CMT230 and CMT240 Mid-Tower cases. The CMT line has proven itself as one of the most trusted case series on the market over the years, offering modern design, flexible cooling options and easy setup for any mainstream gaming system. Both models offer plenty of cooling options to meet the demands of the most component-heavy systems. Where ergonomic design meets flexible ventilation needs, both elegant cases are the ideal solution for today's mainstream gaming systems and customization enthusiasts.

Refined style, blue LED lights and mesh front panel design (CMT230) or solid metal front panel (CMT240) with flexible ventilation options keep your components always running cool. Both models support up to six 120mm/140mm fans or up to two 280mm radiators for more cooling options to ensure that your cooling performance will no suffer even if you add more components to your system. The CMT230 comes standard with three blue LED fans, while CMT240 sports solid steel front panel with blue LED light bar. On top of that, our smart design and magnetic adhesion make it easy to always keep your PC dust-free and spend less time on maintenance.

Power Outage at Samsung NAND Flash Plant Cuts March Global Output by 3.5%

A power-outage on 9th March, at one of Samsung's NAND flash manufacturing plants located in Pyeongtaek, Korea, will have a notable impact on global NAND flash production. It reduced the global NAND flash output for the month of March 2018 by 3.5 percent, a number that isn't insignificant, and translates into non-volatile memory for millions of devices. It also trims Samsung's output by 11 percent for the month. SIlicon fabrication is a highly sensitive process, and the power-outage is said to have damaged up to 60,000 wafers of NAND flash chips.

The impact of this event on global prices of NAND flash memory, and devices based on it, remains to be seen. Any inflation could be nipped in the bud by Samsung and other NAND flash makers significantly increasing production through this quarter. Samsung will begin expansion of its NAND flash plant in Xi'an, China, which currently outputs 120,000 wafers per month, and is expected to put out 320,000 wafers a month after the expansion.

GIGABYTE Intros CMT2014 M.2 Slot Card

GIGABYTE today rolled out the CMT2014, an add-on card that converts a PCI-Express gen 3.0 x16 slot into four 32 Gbps M.2 PCIe slots, using PCIe lane-segmentation on the motherboard's end (it doesn't have any bridge chip on its end). This is similar in function, concept, and design to the ASRock Ultra Quad M.2, and the ASUS Hyper M.2, but lacks any mechanism to cool the drives. You get four M.2-22110 slots with PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 wiring, two of these slots face forwards, and the others backwards.

If you have M.2-2280 (or smaller) drives installed on the slots that face backwards, you can physically (and irreversibly) break off a piece of the card to reduce its length from 21 cm to around 18.5 cm. Other features include power/activity LEDs for each of the four slots, and temperature sensors positioned where most SSDs have their controllers located. The company didn't reveal pricing, but to prevent RMAs from people who can't get it to work on their motherboards lacking lane segmentation, it mentioned that the card is only intended for Xeon "Purley" platform, for now.
Wednesday, March 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Phanteks Glacier C350i CPU Water Block

Phanteks Glacier C350i CPU Water Block

With Phanteks getting ready to launch new acetal top versions of their Glacier C350i CPU water block soon, we take a detailed look at the acrylic top version of the same. This was the product that launched their entry to custom water cooling - with aluminum side covers, integrated RGB lighting, a user friendly installation, and low coolant flow restriction providing a new, and yet fresh option for DIY enthusiasts.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Rears Its Head On Geekbench

As we grow ever closer to the launch of AMD's 2000-series, details and scores are expected to be revealed in increasingly faster fashion. Today, some Geekbench benchmarks (reportedly) of an AMD 2700X CPU have appeared, shedding some light on the expected performance - and performance improvement - of the new AMD top-of-the-line CPU.

The Ryzen 7 2700X CPU that has been tested achieved scores of 4746 single core and 24772 multi-core, which show some interesting improvements over the original flagship Ryzen 7 1800X. The official Geekbench baseline scores for AMD's 1800X are 4249 and 21978, respectively, for single and multicore benchmarks. This means that the new 2700X, which is expected to carry an increased 100 MHz base (3.7 GHz vs 3.6 GHz) and 350 MHz higher boost (4.35 GHz vs 4.0 GHz) over the 1800X, is pulling some additional performance from some micro-architecture refinements, and not just from the added clockspeed. The mobo used, an ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard, is a X370-series chipset motherboard, so while it supports the new AMD CPUs, it might not fully support all their SenseMI Gen 2 improvements. From what can be gleaned, the Ryzen 7 2700X ran at its default base frequency of 3.7GHz, and the accompanying 16GB memory ran at 2.4GHz.

Raspberry Pi Foundation Announces New, Pi 3 B+ Model - Same Price, Better Features

This article is devoted to all of the tech enthusiasts in our forums that just love to tinker with technology themselves. There are some pretty cool projects users can use their Raspberry Pis for - smart mirrors, home-made security systems, even Philips Ambilight clones for their PCs and televisions. The Raspberry Pi foundation has been making strides, in line with tech advancements ever since the introduction of their very first Raspberry Pi model, and have now announced yet another iteration of the popular compute platform: the Pi 3 B+.

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ packs some improved hardware - it runs its quad core 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor at 1.4GHz (versus 1.2 GHz previously), and a dual-band controller that now supports 2.4/5GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 (up from 2.4GHz and Bluetooth 4.1). Other specs are unchanged: there's an Ethernet port, 4x USB 2 ports, a 40-pin GPIO connector, 1x HDMI video output, camera and touchscreen ports, stereo/composite video, and a microSD slot for its software and operating system. For these improvements, users will be requested to shell out exactly the same amount of greenbacks as before: $35.

Google To Ban Crypto-Related Advertisements

Google has surreptitiously announced, via an update to its financial services-related ad policies, that cryptocurrency-related ads on its services will be banned before long. As both public and regulatory bodies have become increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies' successes and shortcomings, the company has decided to take a stance until the as-of-yet deeply unregulated cryptocurrency field becomes clearer for users, and is less of a metaphorical minefield. While blockchain is one of the most promising technologies in recent years, and is definitely here to stay, the path for cryptocurrencies is much less clear, and there have been enough warning shots fired across the bow.

As there are veritable cybernetic graveyards of scams and failed crypto endeavors that ruined millions of peoples' lives, Google won't be facilitating these events. As Google's director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer, told CNBC, "We don't have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we've seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it's an area that we want to approach with extreme caution." The new approach will be brought upon initial coin offerings (ICOs), wallets, and trading advice alike, starting in June this year.

Intel Celeron and Pentium Gold Coffee Lake Processors Spotted on Amazon

Amazon listed for a brief moment four upcoming Coffee Lake processors on their website. The crew over at Tom's Hardware managed to grab some screenshots of the processors right before the pages were taken down. The models in question belong to the Celeron and Pentium Gold families. The Celeron G4900 and G4920 are dual-core processors that lack hyperthreading. Both models are rated at 54W TDP. However, the G4900 operates at 3.1 GHz, while the G4920 runs at 3.2 GHz. Although Amazon didn't leak the pricing, we did some digging of own. According to Connection, the Celeron 4900 goes for $46.27 and the Celeron G4920 for $58.14. Similar to the Celeron models, the Pentium Gold G5500 and G5600 are also dual-core processors and possess a 54W TDP. However, the Pentium Gold models do come with hyperthreading. The G5500 runs at 3.8 GHz and the G5600 at 3.9 GHz. In terms of pricing, the Pentium Gold G5500 costs $82.06 and the faster Pentium Gold G5600 goes for $94.92.

Broadcom Gives Up on Acquiring Qualcomm

After being blocked via an executive order by President Trump, Broadcom has given up on their quest to acquire Qualcomm. The chipmaker will also be withdrawing the slate of independent director candidates that they were planning to nominate at Qualcomm's 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Although highly disappointed with the outcome, Broadcom respects President Trump's decision. The company also wants to thank the stockholders for their unconditional support during the entire process. With this whole Qualcomm takeover business out of the way, Broadcom will concentrate on their redomiciliation process.

OWC Launches Their Mercury Elite Pro Quad External Storage Solution

OWC, a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company, is making drive juggling a thing of the past with the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad. The new external storage solution offers four drive bays to provide massive amounts of storage from a single USB-C connection, with the flexibility to be utilized in Mac, PC and mixed Mac/PC environments. Designed for users who require high capacity storage with fast transfer speeds, the Mercury Elite Pro Quad is ideal for use by post- production firms, photographers, creative agencies, higher education programs, and small businesses.

Fujitsu's Latest LIFEBOOK U938 Wants to be Your Travel Companion

Fujitsu America, Inc. introduces the LIFEBOOK U938 - an enhanced version of its flagship ultra-mobile notebook designed for road warriors and frequent travelers. One of the lightest fully featured business notebooks on the market today, the LIFEBOOK U938 comprises powerful 8th generation Intel Core vPro processors, full size connectivity ports and enterprise-grade biometric authentication.

The 13.3-inch (33.8cm) LIFEBOOK U938 is just 15.5mm tall and has a starting weight of only 1.76 lbs. (799g). Despite its lightweight and slimline profile, it is packed with features including best-in-class connectivity options - with full size interfaces for HDMI, USB types A and C, audio combo, SD and a smart card reader. The U938 is equipped with a long battery runtime to ensure all-day productivity, making it the perfect travel companion.

Cougar Launches the Panzer Evo Full-Size Tempered Glass Case

Cougar's latest release the Panzer Evo is a full size tower case that features a range of practical features, a comprehensive cable management system and support for up to E-ATX form motherboards with capacity for a total of four 390mm graphics cards. The Panzer Evo is a full size case coming in at 266 x 612 x 556 (mm) with screw less access to the internals allowing removal of the side panels and PSU cover without any tools. Inside you'll find support for six motherboard types and four double slot 390mm graphics cards.

The case can support Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, L-ATX, SSI-CEB as well as E-ATX motherboard form factors. Memory support provides space for up to six SSDs with the option to exchange two of those slots for 3.5" HDDs.

CTS Labs Sent AMD and Other Companies a Research Package with Proof-of-Concept Code

CTS Labs, the Israel-based IT security research company behind Tuesday's explosive AMD Ryzen security vulnerabilities report, responded to questions posed by TechPowerUp. One of the biggest of these, which is also on the minds of skeptics, is the ominous lack of proof-of-concept code or binaries being part of their initial public report (in contrast to the Meltdown/Spectre reports that went into technical details about the exploit). CTS Labs stated to TechPowerUp that it has sent AMD, along with other big tech companies a "complete research package," which includes "full technical write-ups about the vulnerabilities," "functional proof-of-concept exploit code," and "instructions on how to reproduce each vulnerability." It stated that besides AMD, the research package was sent to Microsoft, HP, Dell, Symantec, FireEye, and Cisco Systems, to help them develop patches and mitigation.

An unwritten yet generally accepted practice in the IT security industry upon discovery of such vulnerabilities, is for researchers to give companies in question at least 90 days to design a software patch, harden infrastructure, or implement other mitigation. 90 days is in stark contrast to the 24 hours AMD got from CTS Labs. CTS Labs confirmed to TechPowerUp that it indeed shared its research package with AMD (and the other companies) just 24 hours prior to making its report public, but urged those disgruntled with this decision to look at the situation objectively. "If you look at the situation in the following way: right now the public knows about the vulnerabilities and their implications, AMD is fully informed and developing patches, and major security companies are also informed and working on mitigation."

DeepCool Intros Frostwin LED CPU Cooler with High DIMM Clearance

DeepCool today introduced the Frostwin LED, a dual fin-stack, tower-type CPU cooler. The cooler features two fin-stacks that hold on to two 92 mm fans in push-pull configuration, with provision for a third fan. Measuring 102 mm x 121 mm x 142 mm, the cooler has the height typical of a larger heatsink designed for 120 mm fans, and there's a design goal behind this. The fin-stacks are held high up from the motherboard, for additional DIMM and VRM heatsink clearance.

Four 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make direct contact with the CPU at the base, with the two aluminium fin-stacks arranged along their ends. The two included 92 mm fans spin between 900 to 1,800 RPM when plugged into 4-pin PWM power inputs, or up to 1,600 RPM with 3-pin fan headers. At max speed, they push up to 80 CFM of air, with a noise output of 19 dBA, each. The fans feature blue LED lighting, with no control. The cooler weighs in at 740 g. It supports mainstream desktop CPU sockets, such as LGA115x and AM4.

Stephen Hawking Has Died

Stephen Hawking, one of the brightest scientific minds of our time, has died. He was 76. The British theoretical physicist had overcome a debilitating disease to write some of the most popular books on the many mysteries of the universe, and had been regarded as the Einstein of this century. The greatest of Hawking's works include the unification of Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. Hawking also discovered that black-holes can't be black, and emit radiation, which would come to be known as Hawking radiation

Linus Torvalds Slams Security Researchers Without Taking Names

Linus Torvalds has, without taking names, slammed the direction in which the IT security industry is going. The timing of Torvalds' comments is key. They come on a day when CTS-Labs published a press-release chronicling what they claim to be 13 critical security vulnerabilities with AMD "Zen" CPU microarchitecture. "It looks like the IT security world has hit a new low," Torvalds begins. "If you work in security, and think you have some morals, I think you might want to add the tag-line: "No, really, I'm not a whore. Pinky promise" to your business card. Because I thought the whole industry was corrupt before, but it's getting ridiculous," he continues. "At what point will security people admit they have an attention-whoring problem?"

CTS-Labs classified their 13 new discoveries into four categories, complete with a Meltdown/Spectre-esque graphics package, infographics, and a YouTube video with amateur-level green-screen stock footage behind the only 3 people the company has on its payroll. Their disclosures invited scorn from the public, particularly for not following the unwritten guideline of IT-sec industry that you have to give hardware/software manufacturers at least 90 days to respond/mitigate your findings before taking your work public. CTS-Labs gave AMD barely 24 hours. Some of the more skeptic voices suggest that these disclosures are part of a purpose-built stock shorting scheme that's currently engaged in devaluing AMD.
Tuesday, March 13th 2018

Today's Reviews

SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC

SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC

The $250 / €270 Arctis Pro + GameDAC is SteelSeries' new flagship gaming audio system. It consists of an amazing gaming headset based on an improved iteration of the Arctis 3, 5, and 7 and the GameDAC, a high-quality external USB sound card equipped with the ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC chip and a host of advanced features, fully usable and configurable without any drivers.
iKBC MF108 V.2 Keyboard

iKBC MF108 V.2 Keyboard

iKBC gave their already excellent keyboards a luxury makeover by cladding it inside five pounds of machined aluminum housing, and the new MF108 RGB V.2 keeps the excellent PBT keycaps with doubleshot legends and all onboard controls while offering new features, including a detachable cable and more switch options.

NVIDIA Turing GPU to Start Mass Production in Q3 2018

Despite not being backed by an official statement, NVIDIA's next-generation crypto-mining Turing graphics cards are expected to be revealed at GTC 2018 between March 26 to 29. According to DigiTimes's latest report, NVIDIA is expecting a drop in demand for graphics card later this year. In an effort to prolong the lifecycle of their current graphics cards, mass production for Turing won't start until the third quarter of 2018. Sources around the industry have also revealed that NVIDIA had a sit-down with AIB partners to address the current situation. In short, NVIDIA partners are now forbidden to promote activities related to cryptocurrency mining and to sell bulks of consumer graphics cards to cryptominers.

NVIDIA P102-100 Cryptomining Graphic Card Surfaces

The truth of the matter is that the cryptocurrency boom isn't losing strength yet, and graphics card manufacturers are more than happy to profit off this phenomenon. However, one must have the right tools to mine cryptocurrency effectively. NVIDIA is keen to provide cryptominers with the necessary hardware as they ready their latest GP102-100 card for launch. The GP102-100 should sound familiar to most enthusiasts since it employs the same GP102 chip used in the mainstream GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and GTX Titan Xp graphics cards. Nevertheless, NVIDIA made a few modifications in order to maintain the hash rate while lowering the price at the same time. In other words, we're basically dealing with a gimped version of the GP102 chip with less memory channels, shader cores, and memory.

The Inno3D P102-100 is the first model to show up in the wild. The card packs 3,200 CUDA cores clocked at 1582 MHz and 5 GB of GDDR5X memory operating at 10 Gbps across a 320-bit wide memory interface. Inno3D is utilizing their Twin X2 cooling solution to cool the card. This solution features five heatpipes to draw the heat away from the GPU and two fans to provide active cooling. Being a mining-oriented model, the Inno3D P102-100 lacks a bracket and display outputs. It also only requires four PCIe lanes to function. The Inno3D P102-100 has a 250W TDP rating and draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. According to Inno3D, their card is capable of mining Ethereum with a hash rate of 47 MH/s which easily beats a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and GTX Titan Xp. Pricing is unknown at the writing of this article.

13 Major Vulnerabilities Discovered in AMD Zen Architecture, Including Backdoors

Security researchers with Israel-based CTS-Labs, have discovered a staggering thirteen critical security vulnerabilities for AMD's "Zen" CPU microarchitecture, which are as damning as the recent "Meltdown" and "Spectre" vulnerabilities that affect various CPU manufacturers at varying degrees (Intel, AMD, and ARM). The thirteen new CVEs are broadly classified into four groups based on the similarity in function of the processor that they exploit: "Ryzenfall," "Masterkey," "Fallout," and "Chimera."

The researchers "believe that networks that contain AMD computers are at a considerable risk," and that malware can "survive computer reboots and re-installations of the operating system, while remaining virtually undetectable by most endpoint security solutions," such as antivirus software. They also mention that in their opinion, "the basic nature of some of these vulnerabilities amounts to complete disregard of fundamental security principles. This raises concerning questions regarding security practices, auditing, and quality controls at AMD."
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