Friday, October 23rd 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
VAXEE ZYGEN NP-01 Review

VAXEE ZYGEN NP-01 Review

The NP-01 is the first mouse release by VAXEE, which was founded by several former Zowie employees. Still true to the no-frills approach, the right-handed ergonomic NP-01 focuses on performance over software or RGB lighting. To that end, it is equipped with PixArt's PMW3389 sensor and Huano switches for the main buttons, and capable of extensive on-device configuration.

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Free Game Alert: Layers of Fear 2 Available in the Epic Games Store

Players familiar with Bloober Team's psychological horror who haven't played Layers of Fear 2 will be happy to know they can now grab this gut-wrenching game free of charge from the Epic Games Store. Bloober Team has cemented itself as one of the foremost games developers in the psychological horror genre ever since Layers of Fear (an interesting, albeit flawed, game), and have since brought their expertise to Layers of Fear 2 and the excellent Observer (which will see a System Redux version with new quests and ray tracing, among many other improvements). In Layers of Fear 2, you are cast as a Hollywood actor taking on the main role in a movie being shot on an ocean liner - but obviously, the terror starts after that. The game has a 70% Metacritic Review Average and a 6.3 User Average.

Another game available in the EPIC Games Store is Costume Quest 2, a Japanese-style action RPG where you're tasked with saving Halloween via time travel and other artifices. The game currently stands with a 68 Metacritic Review Average and a user score of 7.5.

NVIDIA Readies New GeForce RTX 30-series SKU Positioned Between RTX 3070 and RTX 3080

Possibly unsure of the GeForce RTX 3070 tackling AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series parts, NVIDIA is designing a new RTX 30-series SKU positioned between the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. This is not a 16 GB variant of the RTX 3070, but rather a new SKU based on the 8 nm "GA102" silicon, according to a reliable source with NVIDIA leaks, kopite7kimi. The SKU is based on the GA102 with the ASIC code "GA102-150-KD-A1." The silicon is configured with 7,424 CUDA cores across 58 streaming multiprocessors (29 TPCs), 232 tensor cores, 232 TMUs, 58 RT cores, and an unknown number of ROPs. According to kopite7kimi, the card is configured with a 320-bit wide memory interface, although it's not known if this is conventional GDDR6, like the RTX 3070 has, or faster GDDR6X, like that on the RTX 3080.

NVIDIA recently "cancelled" a future 16 GB variant of the RTX 3070, and 20 GB variant of the RTX 3080, which is possibly the company calibrating its response to the Radeon RX 6000 series. We theorize that doubling in memory amounts may not have hit the desired cost-performance targets; and the company probably believes the competitive outlook of the RTX 3080 10 GB is secure. This explains the need for a SKU with performance halfway between that of the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. As for pricing, with the RTX 3070 positioned at $500 and the RTX 3080 at $700, the new SKU could be priced somewhere in between. AMD's RDNA2-based Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs are expected to feature DirectX 12 Ultimate logo compliance, meaning that there is a level playing ground between AMD and NVIDIA in the performance segment.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Takes the Crown of the Fastest CPU in Passmark Single-Thread Results

AMD has been improving its Zen core design, and with the latest Zen 3 IP found in Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, it seems like the company struck gold. Thanks to the reporting of VideoCardz, we come to know that AMD's upcoming Ryzen 5 5600X CPU has been benchmarked and compared to other competing offerings. In the CPU benchmark called PassMark, which rates all of the CPUs by multi-threaded and single-threaded performance, AMD's Ryzen 5 5600X CPU has taken the crown of the fastest CPU in the single-threaded results chart. Scoring an amazing 3495 points, it is now the fastest CPU for 1T workloads. That puts the CPU above Intel's current best—Core i9-10900K—which scores 3177 points. This puts the Zen 3 core about 10% ahead of the competition.

As a reminder, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU is a six-core, twelve threaded design that has a base clock of 3.7 GHz and boosts the frequency of the cores to 4.6 GHz, all within the TDP of 65 Watts. The CPU has 32 MB of level-3 (L3) cache and 3 MB of L2 cache.

AMD Radeon "Big Navi" PCB Allegedly Pictured

Here's what is possibly the first picture of an AMD Radeon RX 6000 "Navi 21" reference PCB, which the company could use across its RX 6900 XT and RX 6800 series graphics cards. The partially built PCB has a possibly large ASIC at the center (masked out), surrounded by eight GDDR6 memory pads, confirming a 256-bit wide memory interface. There are two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and a 16-phase VRM solution powering the card's 320 W typical board power. Display connectors on the board appear to include two DisplayPorts, one HDMI, and a USB type-C. There are also a handful headers handling the fans and possible ARGB LED illumination of the card. We also spy a 2-way switch, which could indicate dual-BIOS.

AMD Radeon "Big Navi" GPU Benchmarked in Firestrike Ultra

AMD's "Big Navi" GPU is nearing the launch on October 28th, just a few days from now. This means that benchmarks of the card are already appearing across the internet, and we get to see how the card performs. Being divided into two different versions, Big Navi comes in Navi 21 XT and Navi 21 XTX silicon. While the former is available to AMD's AIBs, the latter is rumored to be exclusive to AMD and its reference design, meaning that at least in the beginning, you can only get Navi 21 XTX GPU if you purchase one from AMD directly.

Today, thanks to the Twitter account of CapFrameX, a frame time capturing tool, we have benchmark results of the Big Navi GPU in Firestrike Ultra. According to the people behind this account, the card scores about 11500 points in the benchmark. Compared to NVIDIA's offerings like GeForce RTX 3080, which scores about 10600, the AMD card is 8.5% faster. It is not known whatever this is Navi 21 XT or Navi 21 XTX silicon, however, we can assume that it is the former, and AMD is keeping the XTX revision to themselves for now. This result could be a leak from some of the AIBs, so it could not be the final Big Navi performance. All of this information should be taken with a grain of salt.

Intel Xe-HPG DG2 GPU is in the Labs

In its Q3 earnings, Intel disclosed that it is now shipping Intel's first discrete GPU - DG1. Codenamed Intel Iris Xe MAX, the GPU is set to arrive in ultraportable laptops and designs. It is based on Xe-LP design, which is Intel's GPU configuration for iGPUs and low-power models. However, to satisfy the needs of gamers, Intel will not be good with just this GPU configuration. The company would need something faster and ore power-hungry to power the highest framerates and highest resolutions. Enter the world of Xe-HPG DG2 GPU. Made for gamers, it features all the hardware-enabled features you would expect in such a GPU, like raytracing, etc. This GPU is manufactured outside Intel's fabs, most likely at TSMC's facilities. Right now, this GPU is in the alpha phase and is booting in Intel's labs, meaning that the final silicon is just a few months away.

Lenovo Announces Legion Slim 7 Gaming Laptop

Today, Lenovo announced its latest 15-inch gaming laptop, the Lenovo Legion Slim 7, fueled by the next-level AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series Mobile Processors for the first time on this premium model. Paired with up to powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design GPU for real-time raytracing, the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 is also the world's lightest 15-inch gaming laptop with NVIDIA GeForce RTX. Now, gamers have more processor choices when selecting which Lenovo Legion's stylish and savage GeForce RTX gaming laptop is right for their needs.

Available in Slate Grey hue with up to AMD Ryzen 9 4900H Mobile Processor, this season's sleek design is decked to impress gamers and holiday shoppers with a more secure, integrated power button with fingerprint reader and the incredibly immersive sound of Dolby Atmos Speaker System with Sound Radar by Dolby, all set inside Lenovo's well-designed acoustics chamber for reduced rattling and clearer audio.

Puget Systems Test Quad NVIDIA RTX 3090 Graphics Card Workstation

Puget Systems have recently released performance and testing data from their quad NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 workstation. Puget Systems has paired the four Gigabyte RTX 3090 TURBO 24G cards with a 10 core Intel Xeon W-2255, 128 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 memory, and an EVGA SuperNOVA 1600W P2 power supply. The power draw hit 1717 W being drawn from the wall when running DaVinci Resolve, this prompted the installation of a second EVGA SuperNOVA 1600W P2 power supply.

The performance of this system is extremely impressive for enterprise applications that natively support multiple GPUs as NVIDIA has limited SLI support to two cards with the RTX 3090 ruling out running any of the few games which still support the feature. Puget Systems noted that they had very few issues getting the four blower-style cards working in a desktop workstation with temperatures staying below 80°C even under full load.

CORSAIR Launches HS75 XB WIRELESS Headset for Xbox

CORSAIR, a world leader in high-performance gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of its first officially licensed headset for Microsoft Xbox, the HS75 XB WIRELESS Gaming Headset. Compatible with Xbox One and the upcoming next-generation Xbox Series X and Series S, the HS75 XB WIRELESS delivers the fantastic sound and comfort that the CORSAIR HS Series is known for, connecting directly to your Xbox console via Xbox Wireless without the need for a wireless receiver, or to a Windows 10 PC via the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows (sold separately). Complete with immersive Dolby Atmos for precise three-dimensional sound and a noise-cancelling uni-directional microphone, the HS75 XB WIRELESS is the perfect companion for your current or future Xbox console.

Great sound starts with great audio drivers, which is why the HS75XB WIRELESS utilizes custom-tuned 50 mm neodymium drivers with the range to hear everything you need on the battlefield. Coupled with Dolby Atmos spatial audio - a first for a CORSAIR headset - you'll feel closer to the action than ever before. To ensure clear communication with your teammates, the HS75 XB WIRELESS is equipped with a uni-directional microphone, along with on-ear game audio and chat mix controls so you can easily switch focus from hearing the action to hearing your squad, and vice versa.

PNY Launches XLR8 CS3040 M.2 NVMe Gen4 x4 SSDs

PNY today announced the launch of XLR8 CS3040 M.2 NVMe Gen4 x4 Solid State Drive, the "CS3040", that will deliver the next generation speed and ultra-high performance demanded today. PNY's quest to develop the absolute ultra-fast internal storage to answer today's demands of 4K and 8K content creators, high-intensive applications and ever more demanding games, lead to the launch of the company's first PCIe 4.0 Solid State Drive.

With the ever-growing support from CPU and motherboard manufacturers to the latest NVMe Gen 4.0 protocol, it is eminent to have a supporting SSD that, when combined, will bring intensive users to a true Gen 4.0 level and deliver the performance and experience they ultimately demand. Delivering the future of ultra-high performance and next-generation speed today, the CS3040 offers sequential speeds of up to 5,600 MB/s Read and 4,300 MB/s Write that will accelerate productivity and elevate the gaming experience to a whole new level.
Thursday, October 22nd 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD

Intel Confirms Iris Xe MAX Brand for Company's Next-Gen Discrete Graphics

Intel in its Q3-2020 earnings release unveiled the Iris Xe MAX brand under which it will launch its first discrete GPUs in over two decades. The company also disclosed that it has started shipping the product (i.e. commenced mass production and started shipping volumes to its partners). The first Iris Xe MAX discrete GPU is expected to be based on the Xe LP architecture, and we expect it to target the mobile market, as the likes of ASUS has already developed ultraportables featuring the discrete GPU. Intel unveiled a proof-of-concept of an asymmetric explicit multi-GPU technology which could see the Iris Xe iGPU of the 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processor work in tandem with a discrete GPU based on the same architecture, which is now turning out to be the Iris Xe MAX. We expect the Iris Xe MAX to make life miserable to entry-level mobile dGPUs from NVIDIA and AMD.

Intel Reports Third-Quarter 2020 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported third-quarter 2020 financial results. "Our teams delivered solid third-quarter results that exceeded our expectations despite pandemic-related impacts in significant portions of the business," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Nine months into 2020, we're forecasting growth and another record year, even as we manage through massive demand shifts and economic uncertainty. We remain confident in our strategy and the long-term value we'll create as we deliver leadership products and aim to win share in a diversified market fueled by data and the rise of AI, 5G networks and edge computing."

In the third quarter, the company generated $8.2 billion in cash from operations and paid dividends of $1.4 billion. In August, Intel initiated accelerated share repurchase (ASR) agreements for an aggregate of $10.0 billion of our common stock. Following settlement of these agreements, Intel will have repurchased a total of approximately $17.6 billion in shares as part of the planned $20.0 billion share repurchases announced in October 2019. Intel intends to complete the $2.4 billion balance and return to historical capital return practices when markets stabilize.

MSI Releases CPU Cooler Type Optimization to ClickBIOS 5

MSI, a world-leading motherboard manufacturer, announces the new BIOS feature: CPU Cooler Tuning. "CPU Cooler Tuning" is an innovative design that unleashes the processors from the thermal design power of the boxed cooler after users replace it with a better solution. It helps the users take advantage of the full potential of the processors. It is also very intuitive and easy to use. The drop-down menu shows the options to the users and lets them choose the cooling solution and the system will automatically change the power and current limit to the corresponding values.

This table shows the maximum power and current limit of B460 & H410 motherboards and how high the frequency they can achieve. It is obvious that the power limit makes a huge impact on the boost frequency when the processor is under load. As long as the cooler is efficient enough, MSI recommends users to set the power limit at a higher value for better performance.

Looking for a Paperweight? Buy an Oculus Quest 2 and Get Your Facebook Account Locked

We've all been there - we've all looked longingly at someone elses' flashy paperweight - an Escher puzzle, a coffee mug, a smartphone, a badly flashed GPU or even a face mask are all worthy contenders vying for our attention. Facebook, however, has been turning the paperweight game on its head, and in the real world too - some users who bought the most recent Quest 2 headset (which is apparently selling pretty well) are being given the opportunity to adorn their desks with this high-tech, low-key paperweight due to its Facebook-required integration. Essentially, users who have their Facebook accounts banned (or, more specifically, with pending verification) have been met with difficulties in actually using their Quest 2 (which, by all accounts, is a huge step forward for the VR space).

AMD Seemingly Working on Cryptocurrency-focused Navi 10 GPU

New Linux patches seem to point towards a cryptocurrency-focused graphics card from AMD. First spotted by Phoronix, the patches add descriptions for a "navi10 blockchain SKU" - it's a pretty self-describing, well, description. The device ID is reported as 0x731E, and Phoronix says that the major difference between this graphics card and the other Navi 10 offerings in the market (namely RX 5700XT and RX 5700) is the absence of Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) engines. Whether these are absent from the silicon, or simply disabled by other means is currently unclear. Their absence, however points towards cards with no graphical outputs, a lapalissian practicality for cryptocurrency-focused graphics mining products.

Phoronix estimates a release of no sooner than early 2021, considering the timing of the patch information on Linux. While the market for GPU-accelerated cryptocurrency mining isn't what it used to be (luckily), there is still a market opportunity to be taken advantage of here - while ASICs have become more commonplace, there are still many GPU-mining alternatives within the realm of crypto. A crypto-focused product might steer users away from gaming-oriented consumer products, thus easing strain on supply for AMD's upcoming RX 6000 series - especially if this Navi 10-based GPU (or should we call it a CHU - Cryptocurrency Hashing Unit?) features some voltage and power adjustments to increase power efficiency on these workloads.

Genesis Announces the Krypton 550 Lightweight Gaming Mouse.

Genesis Krypton 550 is a gaming mouse designed with tested solutions in mind. The manufacturer decided for a precise sensor and comprehensive software, and the whole set is enclosed in an ultralight perforated case with PRISMO illumination. The Genesis Krypton 550 is a gaming mouse with expanded functionality. Its software allows users to change the functions of each of its seven buttons, create macros and save them on in-built memory. Motion tracking is being handled by the PixArt PMW 3325 sensor. According to the manufacturer, it manages acceleration up to 20 G and tracks movements with speed of up to 100 inches per second.

The sensor sensitivity can be configured from 200 to 8000 DPI. Thanks to its perforated, 70 g casing the Genesis Krypton proves to be an interesting offer for FPS fans looking for speed and precision. Durability and customization were the focus of the designers as well. The manufacturer chose Huano switches with up to 20 million click durability, and the wheel, the insides and the bottom edges are equipped with RGB LED illumination.

Acer Announces The Porsche Design Acer Book RS Laptop

Porsche Design and Acer have entered a new partnership that fuses Porsche Design's functional design philosophy and engineering mindset with Acer's technological innovations and deep-rooted knowledge in the global computer segment. Both parties strive to deliver unique, state-of-the-art products. The first creation developed in collaboration is a high-end notebook that combines advanced technologies with purist and minimalist design elements.

The Porsche Design Acer Book RS with a compact all-metal chassis packs in up to the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU while remaining just 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs) light. Topping off the chassis is a carbon fiber cover, a distinctive touch derived from decades of motorsports designs that value carbon fiber for its lightweight strength and extreme performance. Porsche Design Acer Book RS was co-engineered with Intel and includes Intel Evo platform verified models to meet key experience targets for consistent responsiveness on battery, instant wake, real-world battery life and fast charge, making it an exceptional laptop for getting things done.

Oculus Quest 2 Exceeding Sales Expectations

In a recent interview with Chris Pruett, Facebook's Director of Content Ecosystem at Oculus it was revealed that the Oculus Quest 2 launch had been a huge success exceeding the companies expectations. Chris Pruett commented that the Oculus team "really couldn't be happier" with the launch and noted the headset was selling "faster than Quest did" and "maybe a little bit beyond what we expected". VR developers have been echoing these comments with Rec Room noting a 250% larger launch over the original Quest and a 10x increase in sales.

The data from Rec Room also shows that the majority of Oculus Quest 2 purchases are from people trying VR for the first time which is great news for the VR industry in general. Facebook has been able to keep up with the demand for the new headset which has evidently proven to be a great success even with controversy surrounding the Facebook account requirements.
Wednesday, October 21st 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 AotS Benchmarks Surface—Trades Blows with RTX 2080 Ti

Ashes of the Singularity (AotS) Benchmark numbers for the upcoming GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card surfaced, strengthening NVIDIA's performance claims for the card being "faster" than the previous generation flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti. According to the benchmark numbers dug out by _rogame and compiled by VideoCardz, the RTX 3070 ends up being 1% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti at 1080p with the "Crazy" preset. This lead extends to 2.3% at 1440p, albeit with a custom preset of which details aren't known.

At 4K UHD with the "Crazy" preset, however, the RTX 3070 ends up about 2.4% slower than the RTX 2080 Ti. These numbers suggest that the RTX 3070 should still be a formidable 4K UHD gaming option, with moderate RTX effects. It should allow you to game at 1440p with RTX maxed out; and should enable 1080p high refresh-rate AAA gaming; but for those seeking 4K UHD with RTX maxed out, the RTX 3080 should be the one to buy. Then again, AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series is just around the corner, and could take a swing at this segment, with a full DirectX 12 Ultimate feature-set, and plenty of muscle.

Acer Expands Monitor Lineup with 6 New Predator and Nitro Models

Acer has expanded its award-winning monitor line with a new assortment of powerful monitors suited to a wide range of gamers, from elite professionals requiring top-of-the-line technology to casual players more concerned with enjoying themselves. Additionally, Acer is the first[2] brand to offer TÜV Rheinland Eyesafe -certified gaming monitors, designed to selectively filter out blue light while still maintaining crisp and vivid colors.

"Our newest gaming monitors feature the industry's newest technology to give gamers smooth performance and comfortable ergonomics," said Victor Chien, President, Digital Display Business, Acer Inc. "Designed to appeal to the most power-hungry gamers as well as those who just want to have fun, the new Predator and Nitro-branded monitors are available in a variety of designs and sizes to support just about anyone in the market for a gaming monitor."

Intel's First Discrete Graphics Solution, Iris Xe MAX, Debuts in Acer's Swift 3X Featuring Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake

Acer today announced the Swift 3X, a new laptop which will give consumers the first taste of Intel's discrete graphics solution powered by Xe. Remember that Intel's Xe is Intel's first discrete-class graphics architecture, whose development was helmed by former AMD graphics head Raja Koduri after Intel hired him just a week after he tendered his resignation with AMD. This is the first materialization of an Intel-developed, discrete graphics product for the consumer market, and thus should blow the lid on Intel's Xe performance. Whether or not the blue giant cements itself as a third player in the discrete graphics accelerator space - at first try - depends on the performance of this architecture.

The Swift 3X features the new Intel Iris Xe MAX discrete graphics solution paired with 11th Gen Intel Core processors "in order to offer creative professionals such as photographers and YouTubers unique capabilities and powerful on-the-go performance for work and gaming." The Swift 3X comes in at 1.37 kg (3.02 lbs), and Acer quotes up to 17.5 hours of up time in a single charge; if necessary, the Swift 3X can also be fast-charged to provide four hours of use in just 30 minutes.

NVIDIA Reportedly Cancels Launch of RTX 3080 20 GB, RTX 3070 16 GB

Fresh reports floating in the rumor mill's circulatory system claim that NVIDIA backtracked on its plans to launch higher VRAM capacity versions of their RTX 3080 and the (in the meantime, delayed) RTX 3070. These cards launched with 10 GB VRAM for the RTX 3080 and 8 GB VRAM for the RTX 3070, with reports circulating as early as their announcement that there would be double-capacity versions hitting the market just a few months later - specifically, in December of this year. Videocardz, however, claims that these long-rumored 20 GB and 16 GB SKUs have now been canceled by NVIDIA, who sent this news to its AIB partners - and the usage of canceled, not postponed, is perfunctory.

For cards theoretically shipping come December, this is indeed a small advance notice, but it might be enough for AIB partners to feed all their GA102-200 (RTX 3080) and GA104-400 (RTX 3070) silicon towards the already - if not readily - available models. This report, Videocardz claims, has been confirmed by two of their sources, and comes at the exact same day specifications for AMD's RX 6000 series leaked. It's likely NVIDIA already had knowledge of its competition's designs and performance targets, however, so this could be seen as nothing more than a coincidence. One of the publications' sources claims GDDR6X yields might be the cause for the cancellation, but this doesn't help explain why the alleged RTX 3070 16 GB card (with its GDDR6 chips) was also canceled. Remember: these are rumors on cards that were never announced by NVIDIA themselves, so take these with the appropriate salt-mine level of skepticism.

EVGA Unleashes XOC BIOS for GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 Graphics Card

EVGA has today published the "XOC" BIOS version for its GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 graphics cards. The XOC BIOS version is designed for "extreme overclocking" purposes, as it boosts the power limit of the card by very a few additional Watts. This allows the overclockers to use the card to its full potential so the GPU core is not limited by power. To run XOC BIOS on your GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 GPU card, you need to have an adequate cooling solution and sufficient power supply. For power, EVGA recommends that you use at least 850w+ Gold PSU, at minimum. This is a sign that shows that XOC bios will boost the system power consumption by quite a bit. The XOC BIOS is enabling the GPU to have a power limit of 500 Watts. It is important to note that EVGA does not guarantee any performance increase or overclock while using this BIOS update.

You can download the EVGA XOC BIOS for GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 graphics card here. To install it, unzip the file, run Update.exe, and after updating restart your PC. That is the complete update process for the BIOS update. EVGA uploads both the normal BIOS (so you can revert) and XOC BIOS there so be careful when choosing the right files. You can use TechPowerUp GPU-Z tool to verify the BIOS install.

Los Alamos National Laboratory Deploys HPE Cray EX 'Chicoma' Supercomputer Powered by AMD EPYC Processors

Los Alamos National Laboratory has completed the installation of a next-generation high performance computing platform, with aim to enhance its ongoing R&D efforts in support of the nation's response to COVID-19. Named Chicoma, the new platform is poised to demonstrate Hewlett Packard Enterprise's new HPE Cray EX supercomputer architecture for solving complex scientific problems.

"As extensive social and economic impacts from COVID-19 continue to grip the nation, Los Alamos scientists are actively engaged in a number of critical research efforts ranging from therapeutics design to epidemiological modeling," said Irene Qualters, Associate Laboratory Director for Simulation and Computing at Los Alamos. "High Performance Computing is playing a critical role by allowing scientists to model the complex phenomena involved in viral evolution and propagation."

ASUS Announces Zen3 Support BIOS updates for AMD 500 Series Motherboards

ASUS today announced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Crosshair VIII Dark Hero, TUF Gaming X570 Pro (WiFi) and ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming WiFi—three gaming motherboards designed for gaming builds featuring the latest-generation AMD Ryzen Zen 3 architecture processors. In addition to the latest X570 and B550 motherboards, all ASUS 500 series motherboards (X570, B550 and A520) are ready for AMD Ryzen Zen 3 architecture processors.

ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero
The AMD X570 platform features extensive PCI Express 4.0 connectivity ripe for the latest graphics cards and SSDs. The chipset's copious bandwidth necessitates a robust cooling solution to deliver sustained performance, and that challenge is typically tackled by neatly pairing a heatsink with an embedded fan that spins up on demand. ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is the first ASUS X570 board to implement a completely passive cooling design, featuring a sizeable heatsink that extends from the chipset zone to the space between the PCIe slots. The additional surface area helps keep thermals under control even when the motherboard is loaded with a full complement of hardware, laying a compelling foundation for enthusiast PC builds.

Phison Readies Next-Gen E18 SSD Controller, Upward of 7.38 GB/s Sequential Transfers for Client Segment

Phison was first to market with a PCI-Express gen 4.0 client-segment NVMe SSD controller, the E16 series, which let it bag design wins with several DIY gaming PC SSD manufacturers. Not to be left behind by PCIe gen 4.0 controllers by its competitors, such as SMI, Marvell, Samsung, etc., offering higher performance than the E16, the company is designing a newer generation controller for high-performance client-segment SSDs, under the E18 family. TweakTown has access to early performance figures of a drive in production with this controller. The CrystalDiskMark screenshot shows the drive's sequential transfer rates to be 7381.21 MB/s reads, and 7025.86 MB/s sequential writes, making the E18 among the fastest PCIe gen 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD controllers known.

Thermaltake Intros Pacific MX1 Plus CPU Water Block

Thermaltake today introduced the Pacific MX1 Plus, a CPU water block for DIY liquid cooling setups which bears a strong resemblance to AIO CLC pump-blocks, with its characteristic puck-shape. The block features an acrylic top with a silicone ARGB LED diffuser that's studded with LEDs. The block uses a standard 3-pin ARGB header for its lighting. The inlet and outlet are located toward the center-top (fittings not included). The primary material is nickel-plated copper, with a mirror finish at the cold plate, and a 0.15 mm micro-fin lattice for heat dissipation to the coolant. The block also includes a thermal diode (2-pin). Among the CPU socket types supported are AM4, LGA1200, LGA115x, and LGA2066. The block weighs about 670 g, measuring 93.4 mm x 93.4 mm x 52.2 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Microsoft Confirms 120 FPS Update For Halo Master Chief Collection on Xbox Series X/S

Microsoft has confirmed that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be receiving a next-generation upgrade for the Xbox Series X/S. The upgrades include 120 FPS support in Campaign & Multiplayer game modes along with split-screen improvements. These updates are similar to the improvements found in the PC version of the game which has been progressively releasing. The Xbox Series X version will also be receiving 4K support when the upgrade launches on November 17th as a free update for owners of the game. The Halo: The Master Chief Collection will also be available through Xbox Game Pass and contains Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4.

Silicon Motion Launches PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Controllers

Silicon Motion has recently launched three new PCIe 4.0 NVMe controllers for performance, mainstream, and value SSD applications. The new portfolio of controllers includes the SM2264 for performance, SM2267 for mainstream, and SM2267XT for value DRAM-less SSDs. The high-end SM2264 performance-optimized controller offers speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s sequential reads and 6,800 MB/s sequential writes which will compete with the Phison E18 controller and proprietary controllers from Samsung and Western Digital. The controller will be produced on TSMC's 12 nm node and supports 8 NAND channels along with LPDDR4/DDR4 DRAM.

The more value-focused SM2267 and SM2267XT controllers will offer strong performance rivaling high-end PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSDs. The two controllers both offer sequential read speeds of 3,900 MB/s and sequential write speeds of 3,500 MB/s with support for 4 NAND channels. They will both be manufactured on a 28 nm node for cost reductions and have entered mass production with the main difference between the two controllers being the exclusion of DRAM support on the SM2267XT. Consumer products featuring the new controllers should be available in the coming months.

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series Specs Leak: RX 6900 XT, RX 6800 XT, RX 6700 Series

AMD's Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards, based on the RDNA2 graphics architecture, will see the introduction of the company's first DirectX 12 Ultimate graphics cards (featuring features such as real-time raytracing). A VideoCardz report sheds light on the specifications. The 7 nm "Navi 21" and "Navi 22" chips will power the top-end of the lineup. The flagship part is the Radeon RX 6900 XT, followed by the RX 6800 XT and RX 6800; which are all based on the "Navi 21." These are followed by the RX 6700 XT and RX 6700, which are based on the "Navi 22" silicon.

The "Navi 21" silicon physically features 80 RDNA2 compute units, working out to 5,120 stream processors. The RX 6900 XT maxes the chip out, enabling all 80 CUs, and is internally referred to as the "Navi 21 XTX." Besides these, the RX 6900 XT features 16 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface, and engine clocks boosting beyond 2.30 GHz. The next SKU in AMD's product stack is the RX 6800 XT (Navi 21 XT), featuring 72 out of 80 CUs, working out to 4,608 stream processors, the same 16 GB 256-bit GDDR6 memory configuration as the flagship, while its engine clocks go up to 2.25 GHz.

AMD Issues Anti-Scalping Guidelines to Retailers for Radeon RX 6000 and Ryzen 5000 Launches

AMD in a letter to its retail partners issued guidelines to prevent scalping of the kind that affected the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series "Ampere" launch. The letter, leaked to the web by RedGamingTech, calls for measures such as real-time bot detection, complex CAPTCHA implementations (such as math, pictures, etc), a queue-based reservation system; manual processing of online orders, minimizing B2B re-selling to ensure sales to private individuals (end-users), and dynamic inventory. The Ryzen 5000 "Zen 3" series desktop processors will start being available from November 5, while AMD will detail Radeon RX 6000 RDNA2 availability in its October 28 public presentation dedicated to the graphics card series.
Tuesday, October 20th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
SSD
G.SKILL Trident Z Royal DDR4-4000 MHz CL15 2x8 GB Review

G.SKILL Trident Z Royal DDR4-4000 MHz CL15 2x8 GB Review

With looks fit for a king and performance to match, the Trident Z Royal from G.SKILL is back. This time featuring even better XMP specifications with impressive CL15 timings at 4000 MHz. This kit is not only fast, but also looks glamorous on your shelf or when installed.

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 October 2020 Update

Microsoft late Tuesday released the Windows 10 October 2020 Update, the year's second major update to the operating system. This update focuses on improving the user interface, without too many under-the-hood changes. It sees closer integration of the Edge web-browser with Windows, where Alt+Tab lets you cycle not only among open windows but also among web-browser tabs. Edge also introduces Collections, a feature akin to Firefox Pocket, which lets you easily organize and save content you find on the web.

Updates to the Start menu and Taskbar see app icons do away with the square "modern UI" background in the apps list. The Display Settings now include refresh-rate setting. Windows comes with closer integration of 2-in-1 device context switching (between tablet to laptop modes). Commercial users get simpler mobile device management, improved Windows Hello biometric sign-in, and Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG), which uses hardware isolation to protect supported apps such as Edge and Office, by leveraging hardware virtualization. Microsoft started releasing the Windows 10 October 2020 Update (free for existing Windows 10 users), through Windows Update.
A video presentation by Microsoft follows.

MSI Announces VIGOR GK20, IMMERSE GH61, IMMERSE HS01 COMBO, AND CLUTCH GM20 ELITE

MSI, leader in true gaming hardware, is proud to announce the VIGOR GK20, IMMERSE GH61, IMMERSE HS01 COMBO, and CLUTCH GM20 ELITE to provide more choices for mainstream gamers with a determination to win and a refined gaming design. A SOLID BASE FOR GAMING - VIGOR GK20 is your best and most reliable partner in battle! With ergonomic design keycaps, rainbow lighting effect, and being water-repellent keeping your keyboard functional and clean. Conveniently placed hotkeys and 12-keys anti-ghosting enable you to speed up and stay in control during games.

The ergonomic design with concave shaped keycaps enable a more comfortable typing and gaming experience. The RGB effect of the GK20 is here to stay as a static display which can be dimmed or turned off completely. Take control of your GK20 with hotkeys, easily adjust backlight brightness, or control media and volume without installing software. Being water repellent makes GK20 more durable and easy to clean. (*Tested under limited conditions (maximum 60 ml of liquid splash), excluding number keypads and indicator on upper-right corner.) Stand your ground in battle thanks to tactically positioned rubber feet for increased stability and an unyielding platform. Enjoy 12-key anti-ghosting (QWERASDFZXCV) on GK20 keyboard for absolute control in games.
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