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.

HP Powers New Ways of Capturing, Creating, and Connecting Creative Workflows with Z by HP

Today at Adobe MAX, HP Inc. announced its latest innovations to the HP Create Ecosystem to capture, create, and experience. HP continues evolving the Create Ecosystem, offering creators new remote solutions and the necessary tools to collaborate, accelerate workflows, and iterate, ensuing they can truly share their creations and work in real-time from any environment. Additionally, the next-generation Z by HP and DreamColor displays are reimagined with the creator in mind, providing seamless color accuracy, industry-leading performance, and an ultra-thin frameless design.

As creators work in new hybrid work environments, the need for the right technology and tools to keep them productive, connected, and collaborative has never been more essential. Eighty percent of companies are doing what they can to keep up with today's new normal by accelerating the adoption of collaboration applications for workers. Even in a pandemic, the creative community never stops creating as consumers still crave the entertainment and the escape that artists, designers, and engineers bring to the world. The importance of enabling remote work for creators will continue to increase, with 80% of creators reporting a desire to continue to work from home post-pandemic.

Micron Readies World's First Multichip Package With LPDDR5 DRAM for Mass Production

Micron Technology, Inc., today announced the launch of uMCP5, the industry's first universal flash storage (UFS) multichip package with low-power DDR5 (LPDDR5) DRAM. Now ready for mass production, Micron's uMCP5 combines high-performance, high-density and low-power memory and storage in one compact package, equipping smartphones to handle data-intensive 5G workloads with dramatically increased speed and power efficiency. The multichip package uses Micron's LPDDR5 memory, high-reliability NAND and leading-edge UFS 3.1 controller to power advanced mobile features previously only seen in costly flagship devices using discrete products, such as stand-alone memory and storage. Now available on other high-end phones, these emerging technologies—such as image recognition, advanced artificial intelligence (AI), multicamera support, augmented reality (AR) and high-resolution displays—are becoming accessible to more consumers.

"Moving 5G's potential from hype to reality will require smartphones that can support the immense volumes of data flowing through the network and next-gen applications," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president and general manager of Micron's Mobile Business Unit. "Our uMCP5 combines the fastest memory and storage in a single package, unleashing new possibilities for 5G's disruptive, data-rich technologies right at consumers' fingertips."

TerraMaster Launches F4-210 NAS for Personal Cloud Storage

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products including network-attached storage (NAS) devices, launches the F4-210 1 GB version, the same 4-bay NAS for personal cloud storage at a more affordable price. The TerraMaster F4-210 is just a portion of the price of an Intel-based NAS device. The F4-210 supports up to 108 TB of storage and supports 3.5" SATA hard drives and 2.5" SATA hard drives and solid-state drives.

The TerraMaster F4-210 is perfect for users that are looking for a powerful personal cloud storage solution without a hefty investment. Costing just half the price of an equivalent Intel x86 quad-core processor-based NAS storage, the F4-210 can deliver modest read/write speeds of up to 124 MB/s with two WD Red 4 TB hard drives in RAID 0. The F4-210 supports various private cloud services including Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Alphacool Releases Eisblock ES Acetal Water Blocks for RTX 3090 and RTX 3080

Today, Alphacool presents its latest RTX 3080 GPU cooling block for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition to pre-order. Delivery is expected to start at the end of October. This cooler covers all the necessary components that require cooling. This includes the voltage converters, graphics memory and of course the GPU. All known hotspots of the graphics cards are completely cooled with water. Alphacool includes special 1 mm thick Ultra Soft thermal pads with this GPU cooler. As the name suggests, these are very soft and nestle perfectly to the components to be cooled. When the thermal pads heat up, the consistency and behavior is more like a thermal paste than a thermal pad. This of course has a positive effect on heat dissipation and is thermally far superior to standard thermal pads.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 5950X Also Benchmarked in Geekbench 5

It would seem that a number of players have received their Zen 3 samples, considering the amount of performance leaks that have surfaced just in the past two days. The new AMD Zen 3 processors carry a huge weight on their shoulders - demonstrating AMD's touted leadership in CPU performance in all metrics, whilst justifying their increased pricing against Zen 2 offerings. Many rivers of ink (and some tears) have flown in regards to pricing of the new AMD processors, so it all pertains to performance considerations on whether that pricing is justified or not.

Leaker extraordinaire TUM_APISAK has leaked some benchmarks on AMD's upcoming Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X CPUs - namely, in Geekbench 5. In this round of leaks - which are, admittedly, originating from two different systems), the 12-core, 24-thread AMD Ryzen 9 5900X scores 1605 points in single-core and 12869 in the Multi-core benchmarks. The 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 5950X, on the other hand, scores 1575 points in single and 13605 points in Multi-core workloads. The Ryzen 9 5900X's higher base clocks may be responsible for the higher single-core score; however, the Ryzen 9 5959X pulls ahead - expectedly - in the Multi-core portion of the benchmark. Comparing scores between the Zen 3 5950X and the Zen-based 3950X (via AnandTech), which carry the same amount of cores, the 5950X offers a 18% and 12% advantage, respectively, in the single and multi-threaded tests - not a far cry from AMD's touted 19% IPC uplift.

HyperX Launches Wireless Cloud II Gaming Headset

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology, Inc., today announced the release of the HyperX Cloud II Wireless gaming headset. Building on the legacy of the wired Cloud II's design, comfort, performance, and durability, the new wireless Cloud II headset brings a host of new features to its predecessor, which continues to outsell in the market with nearly four million headsets sold since its inception.

"Our goal was to build on the legendary comfort and sound DNA of HyperX Cloud headsets to deliver a wireless version of our best-selling Cloud II," said Larry Gonzales, V.P. sales and marketing, HyperX. "The HyperX Cloud II Wireless headset is designed to carry on the legacy of the original Cloud II, which was first introduced in 2015 and shook up the industry with its iconic design, comfortable fit, and best sound for a headset in its price range."

Game Dev Rates Intel Xe HPG On Par with Radeon RX 580 in System Requirements List

Intel's Xe HPG discrete GPU made its debut in a game's system requirements list. Frictional Games, developers of "Amnesia Rebirth," put out system requirements lists for the game. Easy on graphics hardware, the first-person survival horror can make do with Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics, which features in the minimum system requirements list next to the HD 5750 from AMD and GTX 460 from NVIDIA. Things get interesting, however, with the recommended system requirements list, where we see what is possibly the first mention by a game dev of the Intel Xe HPG discrete GPU. What's even more interesting is that the Xe HPG is pitted next to the AMD Radeon RX 580 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (which compare to the RX 5500 XT and GTX 1660 Super from the current-gen). We don't know if game devs have access to Xe HPG engineering samples, but this listing gives us a peek at what the devs expect out of the Xe HPG.

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series "Big Navi" GPU Features 320 W TGP, 16 Gbps GDDR6 Memory

AMD is preparing to launch its Radeon RX 6000 series of graphics cards codenamed "Big Navi", and it seems like we are getting more and more leaks about the upcoming cards. Set for October 28th launch, the Big Navi GPU is based on Navi 21 revision, which comes in two variants. Thanks to the sources over at Igor's Lab, Igor Wallossek has published a handful of information regarding the upcoming graphics cards release. More specifically, there are more details about the Total Graphics Power (TGP) of the cards and how it is used across the board (pun intended). To clarify, TDP (Thermal Design Power) is a measurement only used to the chip, or die of the GPU and how much thermal headroom it has, it doesn't measure the whole GPU power as there are more heat-producing components.

So the break down of the Navi 21 XT graphics card goes as follows: 235 Watts for the GPU alone, 20 Watts for Samsung's 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory, 35 Watts for voltage regulation (MOSFETs, Inductors, Caps), 15 Watts for Fans and other stuff, and 15 Watts that are used up by PCB and the losses found there. This puts the combined TGP to 320 Watts, showing just how much power is used by the non-GPU element. For custom OC AIB cards, the TGP is boosted to 355 Watts, as the GPU alone is using 270 Watts. When it comes to the Navi 21 XL GPU variant, the cards based on it are using 290 Watts of TGP, as the GPU sees a reduction to 203 Watts, and GDDR6 memory uses 17 Watts. The non-GPU components found on the board use the same amount of power.

ENERMAX Intros the ETS-F40 Series CPU Tower Coolers

ENERMAX is introducing a new tower CPU cooler family in the form of the ETS-F40 series, which promises heat dissipation of up to 200 W TDP. The coolers feature a compact design, with a single fin stack protruding directly from the baseplate and 4x 6 mm heatpipe array. The ETS-F40 series will be available in part numbers ETS-F40-FS (Essential version, with non-RGB fan); ETS-F40-BK (same as Essential, but with a solid black finish); ETS-F40-BK-ARGB (solid black finish with an ARGB fan); and ETS-F40-W-ARGB (solid white finish with an ARGB fan). Both the ARGB versions also sport RGB lighting in the top plate. The cooler further supports installation of a second fan.

The supplied fans are 140 mm in nature, PWM-controlled affairs which can spin as low as 300 RPM (up to 1200 RPM), if noise is your utmost concern but still want a (somewhat) active cooling solution. Cooler dimensions stand at 140 x 65 x 156 mm (w/ fan) for the essential version, while the added top plate in the others will increase height to 158 mm. The ETS-F40 Essential will be available from this month of October, while the other versions with the ARGB fan will enter the channels in December. The ETS-F40 Essential is currently available in an european etailer for ~€31, which could point to a $29 pricing for the base offering.

Dialog Semiconductor Licenses its Non-Volatile ReRAM Technology to GLOBALFOUNDRIES for 22FDX Platform

DIALOG SEMICONDUCTOR, a leading provider of battery and power management, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and Industrial edge computing solutions and GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry, today announced that they have entered into an agreement in which Dialog licenses its Conductive Bridging RAM (CBRAM) technology to GLOBALFOUNDRIES. The resistive ram (ReRAM)-based technology was pioneered by Adesto Technologies which was recently acquired by Dialog Semiconductor in 2020. GLOBALFOUNDRIES will first offer Dialog's CBRAM as an embedded, non-volatile memory (NVM) option on its 22FDX platform, with the plan to extend to other platforms.

Dialog's proprietary and production proven CBRAM technology is a low power NVM solution designed to enable a range of applications from IoT and 5G connectivity to artificial intelligence (AI). Low power consumption, high read/write speeds, reduced manufacturing costs and tolerance for harsh environments make CBRAM particularly suitable for consumer, medical, and select industrial and automotive applications. Furthermore, CBRAM technology enables cost-effective embedded NVM for advanced technology nodes required for products in these markets.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 20.10.1 Drivers

AMD released the latest version of the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition drivers. Version 20.10.1 beta comes with optimization for "DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods, Part One;" "Watch_Dogs: Legion," "DiRT 5 early access," and "World of Warcraft : Shadowlands Pre-Patch." Among the bugs fixed with this release are audio instability issues for AV receivers pulling digital audio from HDMI ports on Radeon RX 5000 series graphics cards; Windows Desktop experiencing flickering in multi-display setups with one of the displays running a Vulkan API game full-screen; uploading or streaming to YouTube using Radeon Software not working correctly; "Genshin Impact" not displaying correctly in the gaming tab of Radeon Software; some legacy Windows screensavers causing a crash on RX 5000 series graphics cards; and graphics corruption noticed on high refresh-rate multi-display setups. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 20.10.1 beta
The change-log follows.

BIOSTAR AM4 400 series motherboards support AMD Ryzen 5000 Vermeer series processors with BIOS update

BIOSTAR, a leading brand of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, today announces that their AM4 400 series motherboards will support the latest generation AMD Ryzen 5000 Vermeer series Zen 3 processors. BIOS updates supporting the AMD Ryzen 5000 Vermeer series processors on BIOSTAR AM4 400 series motherboards will be available starting January 2021. The details will be subject to BIOSTAR official website announcement.

Xbox Series X External Storage Requirements Confirmed: USB 3.0, 128 GB

Microsoft is introducing some new requirements for external storage devices on the Xbox Series X/S. The new consoles feature high-speed PCIe 4.0 SSD storage which should greatly reduce loading times, with 802 GB of usable space on the Xbox Series X for games and apps. This internal SSD will allow gamers to install a handful of AAA games, for those looking to expand the storage on the new console have two options the proprietary high-speed connector or a USB based storage device.

The high-speed connector will allow for plug and play storage upgrades with high speed NVMe SSDs from Seagate however, these expansion modules will come in at a high price. For those looking to save some money, Microsoft has recently confirmed the minimum requirements for using an external storage device for game and app installations, which are USB 3.0 only and a minimum of 128 GB. This will rule out older HDDs and lower capacity USB sticks but will helpfully allow for a higher quality experience.
Monday, October 19th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
Sound Cards
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2020 (Updated Oct 2020)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2020 (Updated Oct 2020)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2020. We cover and keep track of developments for Intel Rocket Lake, AMD Ryzen 5000 Zen 3 & Zen 4. NVIDIA Ampere, AMD's RDNA2 architecture, Intel's own Xe GPU, chipsets, memory and more.
Chuwi LarkBox Review

Chuwi LarkBox Review

Ultra tiny and packed with features, Chuwi's LarkBox mini-PC is more than a novelty. Equipped with 128 GB of eMMC storage and 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory, it even has a SATA M.2 2242 slot for further storage expansion. Add in the capability to handle 4K 60 Hz and you have a solid basis for a micro HTPC.

Rockstar Games Acquires Ruffian Games

Rockstar Games is proud to announce that it has acquired Ruffian Games. Based in Dundee, Scotland, the studio will operate under the new name of Rockstar Dundee. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. "We are thrilled to have Ruffian join the Rockstar Games family," said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. "The Ruffian team are a talented addition to Rockstar's global studios, and we look forward to working together on future projects."

Founded in 2008 by Gary Liddon and Billy Thomson, Ruffian partnered with Microsoft to work on the Crackdown series, and with 343 Industries on Halo: Reach from the Halo Master Chief Collection, among many other projects. Ruffian's talented team of just over 40 have a depth of development experience that even includes some early Rockstar titles from the Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt series. Both Liddon and Thomson will remain on-board as Co-Studio Directors of Rockstar Dundee.

Blue Microphones Introduces Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition with Voice Modulation Effect & HD Samples

Blue, a leading innovator in audio technology and design, today announced the new Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition professional USB microphone. Developed in collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition allows players to alter their voices to sound like denizens of Azeroth using the all-new voice modulation effect in Blue VO!CE. Gamers can celebrate victories, communicate with their raid group and entertain stream audiences using hundreds of HD audio samples from Blizzard's upcoming World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion and the Warcraft universe. Featuring a custom Warcraft design, Yeti X World of Warcraft Edition enables players to create a dynamic audio broadcast that elevates streams and gameplay to new levels.

"This is an exciting collaboration with Blizzard that brings the World of Warcraft universe to life with Yeti X," said Doug Sharp, Sr. Product Manager of Gaming at Blue Microphones. "Players not only get broadcast-quality audio, but can transform their voice to bring their personal creativity to their gameplay or stream. We're excited to see how gamers and streamers will use the new voice modulation effect and the Blizzard HD sample library to entertain audiences and create epic streams."

SK hynix to Acquire Intel NAND Flash Memory Business for $9 Billion

SK hynix and Intel today announced that they have signed an agreement on Oct. 20, KST, under which SK hynix would acquire Intel's NAND memory and storage business for US $9 billion. The transaction includes the NAND SSD business, the NAND component and wafer business, and the Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China. Intel will retain its distinct Intel Optane business.

SK hynix and Intel will endeavor to obtain required governmental approvals expected in late 2021. Following receipt of these approvals, SK hynix will acquire from Intel the NAND SSD business (including NAND SSD-associated IP and employees), as well as the Dalian facility, with the first payment of US $7 billion. SK hynix will acquire from Intel the remaining assets, including IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce, upon a final closing, expected to occur in March 2025 with the remaining payment of US $2 billion. Per the agreement, Intel will continue to manufacture NAND wafers at the Dalian Memory Manufacturing Facility and retain all IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers until the final closing.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Pictured in the Flesh

Here's the first picture showing AMD's Ryzen 5000 series "Zen 3" desktop processors in the flesh. The first wave of Ryzen 5000 series for the retail channel include the Ryzen 5 5600X, the Ryzen 7 5800X, the Ryzen 9 5900X and the 5950X. All four chips are shown sitting on a tray. All four chips are compatible with existing Socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 500 series chipset motherboard with a BIOS update; and with the 400-series using a special beta BIOS which will be released in January 2021. The four should be available for purchase in the retail channel by November 5, 2020, with the 6-core/12-thread 5600X priced at USD $300, the 8-core/16-thread 5800X at $450, the 12-core/24-thread 5900X at $550, and the flagship 16-core/32-thread 5950X at $800.

AMD Updates its Chipset Drivers, Includes Updated Power Plan for Ryzen CPUs

In the anticipation of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series of CPUs launch based on Zen 3 architecture, AMD has just released the updated drivers for its chipsets. Covering a wide selection ranging from B350, A320, X370, X399, B450, X470, X570, B550, and TRX40 Chipset, the updated chipset drivers include some bug fixes and new features. Now there is an updated power plan for AMD Ryzen CPUs that coordinate with chipsets, which means that AMD engineers have developed a new plan for Windows 10 OS which provides the best performance and power usage. You can check out the fixes listed below and you can go to the download link to install the new drivers.
Download: AMD Ryzen Chipset Driver 2.10.13.408.

AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Benchmarked, Conquers Intel Core i5-10600K

Since AMD announced its next-generation Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors based on Zen 3 core, everyone has been wondering how the new processors perform. For a detailed review and performance numbers, you should wait for official reviews. However, today we have the scores of Ryzen 5 5600X CPU. Thanks to the popular hardware leaker @TUM_APISAK, the Ryzen 5 5600X performance numbers in the SiSoftware Sandra benchmark suite have been leaked. When digging under the hood, the new Ryzen CPU contains six of Zen 3 cores with 12 threads, paired with as much as 32 MB of level three (L3) cache. These cores are running at 3.7 GHz base frequency, while the boost speeds are reaching 4.6 GHz.

In the test results, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU has scored Processor Arithmetic and Processor Multi-Media scores of 255.22 GOPS and 904.38 Mpix/s. These scores are not much on their own until we compare them to some of the Intel offerings. When compared to the Intel Core i5-10600K CPU, which is likely its targeted competing category, it scores 224.07 GOPS and 662.33 Mpix/s for Processor Arithmetic and Processor Multi-Media tests respectively. This puts the AMD CPU ahead 13.9% and 36.5% in these tests, indicating the possibility of Zen 3. Another important note here is the thermal headroom both of these CPUs run. While the Intel model is constrained withing 125 W TDP, the AMD model runs at just 65 W TDP. This could be an indication of the efficiency that these new processors harness.

Kingston Announces Dual-Interface DataTraveler Duo USB Flash Drive

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announces the addition of the DataTraveler Duo to its family of double versatility, dual-interface USB flash drives. DataTraveler Duo provides ultimate flexibility for users with newer and legacy devices.

DataTraveler Duo features dual USB connectors that work with both standard USB Type-A and USB Type-C1 ports to easily share files between laptops, desktops and mobile devices. The dual-interface drive is also ideal as extra storage with 32 GB and 64 GB capacities. The USB 3.2 Gen 1 speeds allow users to easily access and transfer documents, photos, videos, music and more. Dual sliding caps protect the connectors when not in use.

China's SMIC Announces N+1 Node Tape-Out for 7 nm Silicon

SMIC is taking immense strides in bridging the gap between China's in-house silicon manufacturing capability compared to the usual Taiwanese or US-based options. Despite its ties to the Chinese government, which led for a US blacklisting of the company amidst the current China-US trade-war, SMIC has definitely achieved a benchmark with its 7 nm tape-out. This was achieved after a number of funding rounds, some of them with the power of the Chinese state behind them. While the blacklisting definitely hurt the company, they still have access to ASML's semiconductor manufacturing equipment, so while the rope may be tight, it likely isn't suffocating.

The node's first production tape-out is for an ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) design for Innosilicon, which specializes in cryptocurrency mining, purpose-built chips. SMIC states that the new N+1 process can offer up to 20% boosted performance at the same clocks and core complexity compared to their 12 nm designs, which is subpar compared to other player's "7 nm class nodes", such as GloFo's 12 LP+, Samsung's 8LPP and TSMC's N7 non-EUV nodes (TSMC, for instance, offered a 20% performance boost between the 10 nm and 7 nm nodes). SMIC's manufacturing looks better in other metrics, though: power requirements can be reduced by 57% at the same TDP and complexity, and the transistor density can be increased by up to 2.7 times, (the "up to" depends on specific semiconductor structures). This is SMIC is only targeting - for now - low-power and low-cost devices with the N+1 nodes.

Alpenföhn Launches Gletscherwasser AIOs in 240 mm, 360 mm, in Collaboration With Der8auer

Alpenföhn is a name that still hasn't crossed TPU's benchmark suites, but we have written about the brand in the past. The company is now launching a new AIO cooling solution, (well, cooling lineup) in the form of the Gletscherwasser AIOs, which are available in both 240 mm (240 mm and 240 mm HS) and 360 mm (360 mm and 360 mm HS) according to the employed fans. The Gletscherwasser was designed in conjunction with overclocking poster-child Der8auer, though the extent of this collaboration is unclear. The new AIOs do promise "high performance cooling in a near silent delivery", as most brands do. The Gletscherwasser AIOs feature RGB lighting (via 2x 120 mm ARGB fans or 3x of such fans, according to the 240 mm or 360 mm model) as well as customizable top plates that users can change and customize to their liking. There's a remote control for that ARGB goodness as well.

The pump on the Gletscherwasser AIO liquid coolers can be configured to either extreme performance or "virtual silence" (rated noise of 17.8 dBA). Alpenföhn promises an anti-leak design, with internal pressure avoiding any spillage should the potential for a leak occur (in all parts, including the 465 mm tubing that connects the pump to the radiators. The radiators are made of aluminium, coming in at 27 mm thickness. The Gletscherwasser 240 and 360 fans speeds range from 500 to 1600RPM, with a rated airflow of up to 92.6 m³/h, a maximum pressure of 2.19 mm Aq and a rated noise of up to 23.6 dBA, while the HS (High Speed) models fans are a bit faster and louder, reaching up to 2200RPM with a rated airflow of up to 132.4 m³/h, a maximum pressure of 3.24 mm Aq, and a rated noise of up to 36.8 dBA.

KeysOff Halloween Sale on Discounted Genuine Software Rolls On

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Ubisoft Brings a Collection of Older Titles to Google Stadia

Ubisoft has been a major proponent of Google Stadia since release announcing plans to integrate uPlay+ and was the first major publisher to release a new game on the platform. Ubisoft has recently announced plans to bring eight older titles to Stadia in the coming weeks, these games include; Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, Assassin's Creed Origins, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin's Creed Unity, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands, Far Cry New Dawn, and Far Cry 5. These titles are in addition to major new releases such as Watch Dogs: Legion, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Far Cry 6 which are set to launch in the coming months. A variety of smaller Ubisoft games are also coming soon to Stadia, including Just Dance 2021, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, and Riders Republic.

SSD Prices Expected To Fall 10-15% in Q4 2020

The memory market is expected to remain in a state of oversupply during Q4 2020 for both DRAM and NAND flash according to a new report from TrendForce. This oversupply will mean ~10% lower prices for memory in Q4 2020 with further price drops in 2021, this will result in falling SSD prices of 10-15%. These price drops in the consumer market will likely result in the lowest SSD pricing seen to date. These reductions were mainly driven by Huawei losing access to foreign DRAM and NAND memory which wasn't fully taken up by other smartphone manufacturers leading to an access of supply. These lower SSD prices will help accelerate the decline of HDDs in consumer devices as price parity gets closer.

Leaked AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile Lineup Shows Significant Performance Boosts

AMD has attempted to fix their mobile processor naming situation with the launch of Ryzen 5000 desktop processors, by skipping Ryzen 4000 on desktop AMD has brought their mobile and desktop processor generations under the one naming scheme. However, it seems this naming scheme simplification hasn't gone as well as expected with leaked specifications for the upcoming Ryzen 5000 mobile series showing a mix of Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors. The leaked processors include the AMD Ryzen 3 5300U (Zen 2), Ryzen 3 5400U (Zen 3), Ryzen 5 5500U (Zen 2), Ryzen 5 5600U (Zen 3), Ryzen 7 5700U (Zen 2), and the Ryzen 7 5800U (Zen 3).

These new processors will maintain the core counts of their Ryzen 4000 predecessors while gaining a modest bump to base and boost speeds. These clock speed improvements will be accompanied by the claimed 19% IPC uplift on the Zen 3 based processors. The processors will also benefit from increased Vega iGPU cores and iGPU clock speed boosts. This combination should offer significantly improved performance over previous generation Ryzen 4000 mobile processors which already offered strong performance against Intel's offerings. AMD is expected to officially announce these processors at an event in January with prices slightly above previous generations.

ID-Cooling Intros Ice Flow ARGB Snow Series AIO Liquid CPU Coolers

ID-Cooling today unveiled the Ice Flow ARGB Snow line of all-in-one liquid closed-loop CPU coolers. These are essentially a whitewash of the original Ice Flow ARGB series the company unveiled in July 2020. With silvery white taking over the cooler's CPU block, its Nylon tubing sleeves, the radiator (including its aluminium fins), the compound fan's frame, and the impeller. The impeller is still studded with addressable RGB LEDs at the hub. A unique feature with the Ice Flow ARGB series is the location of the pump+reservoir, which is at the radiator, rather than integrated with the CPU water block. The Ice Flow ARGB flow debuts with a 240 mm x 120 mm variant that has a dual impeller compound fan. The cooler has the same specs and cooling capacity (of 250 W) as the original. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Plextor Unveils M8V Plus Series SATA SSDs

Plextor late last week unveiled the M8V Plus line of mainstream SATA SSDs in the 2.5-inch and M.2-2280 form-factors. The M8V Plus is an incremental update of the original M8V series from 2018. What's new is the implementation of KIOXIA-sourced 96-layer TLC NAND flash replacing 64-layer chips from Toshiba. The M8V Plus series comes in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants, while the original M8V came in 128-thru-512 GB variants.

The Silicon Motion SM2258 controller under the hood of the M8V Plus, has been updated to its latest revision, and supports Plextor-innovated Plex Compress technology. This feature uses the controller's idle time to compress files that haven't been accessed for over 30 days. The Plex Turbo feature, which is essentially variable-size SLC cache, has also been improved to be larger in size. On-paper performance hasn't changed, with the company claiming up to 560 MB/s sequential reads, up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 90,000 IOPS 4K random access for the 256 GB and 512 GB variants; and up to 88,000 IOPS random access for the 1 TB variant. The company rates write endurance for the 256 GB variant at 140 TBW, 512 GB variant at 280 TBW, and 560 TBW for the 1 TB variant. All three variants are backed by 3-year warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Cherry Announces the Gentix Desktop Wireless Keyboard+Mouse Set

With the GENTIX DESKTOP, CHERRY has added a new dream team to its portfolio. The GENTIX DESKTOP is the perfect fusion of the popular CHERRY GENTIX MOUSE with an uncompromisingly matching keyboard - both wireless components. The latest addition from CHERRY is characterized above all by its extensive features.

The keyboard has ten multimedia keys that make everyday office life noticeably easier thanks to the lock, browser, mail, and calculator functions. Here too, CHERRY has paid great attention to ease of use. The six keys for controlling multimedia functions are self-explanatory. The arrangement of the keys is designed to prevent accidental keystrokes.

ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 TP470EZ Among First to Feature Intel DG1 Graphics

ASUS unveiled a special variant of its 2020 VivoBook Flip 14 convertible notebook, which features the "First Intel Discrete Graphics," expected to be the Iris Xe DG1 discrete GPU based on the Xe LP architecture. Intel appears to be promoting the combination of the Iris Xe dGPU with its 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processors, as a potent ultra portable computing solution with rich graphics and mobile gaming. This eats into the markets of entry-level dGPUs by NVIDIA and AMD. Intel is also developing an iGPU+dGPU Multi-Adapter technology that could leverage asymmetric explicit multi-GPU to accelerate gaming performance. The VivoBook Flip 14 TP470EZ features a 14-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display, and so the combination of the "Tiger Lake" Xe LP iGPU and dGPU could take a swing at Full HD AAA and e-sports gaming.

Intel "Tiger Lake" Based Pentium and Celeron to Feature AVX2, an Instruction the Entry-Level Brands were Deprived Of

Intel's next-generation Pentium Gold and Celeron entry-level processors based on the "Tiger Lake" microarchitecture could finally receive the AVX2 instruction set. Intel had segmented AVX and AVX2 to be exclusive to the Core and Xeon brands, with the Pentium Gold and Celeron products based on the same microarchitectures to artificially lack these instructions.

Intel updated its ARK product information database with entries for "Tiger Lake" based Pentium Gold and Celeron products. The page for the Pentium Gold 7505 and Celeron 6305, mention support for AVX2 besides SSE4. Both are mobile chips with 15 W TDP, and are built on the same 10 nm SuperFin process as the rest of the 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" processor family.
Sunday, October 18th 2020

AMD Navi 21 XT Seemingly Confirmed to Run at ~2.3, 2.4 GHz Clock, 250 W+

AMD's RDNA2-based cards are just around the corner, with the company's full debut of the secrecy-shrouded cards being set for October 28th. Rumors of high clocks on AMD's new architecture - which were nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors up to now - have seemingly been confirmed, with Patrick Schur posting on Twitter some specifications for upcoming RNDA2-based Navi 21 XT. Navi 21 XT falls under the big Navi chip, but likely isn't the top performer from AMD - the company is allegedly working on a Navi 21 XTX solution, which ought to be exclusive to their reference designs, with higher clocks and possibly more CUs.

The specs outed by Patrick are promising, to say the least; that AMD's Big Navi can reach clocks in excess of 2.4 GHz with a 250 W+ TGP (quoted at around 255 W) is certainly good news. The 2.4 GHz (game clock) speeds are being associated with AIB cards; AMD's own reference designs should be running at a more conservative 2.3 GHz. A memory pool of 16 GB GDDR6 has also been confirmed. AMD's assault on the NVIDIA 30-series lineup should embody three models carved from the Navi 21 chip - the higher performance, AMD-exclusive XTX, XT, and the lower performance Navi 21 XL. All of these are expected to ship with the same 256 bit bus and 16 GB GDDR6 memory, whilst taking advantage of AMD's (rumored, for now) Infinity Cache to make up for the lower memory speeds and bus. Hold on to your hats; the hype train is going full speed ahead, luckily stopping in a smooth manner come October 28th.
Saturday, October 17th 2020

ASUS Showcases GeForce RTX 3090 ROG STRIX GUNDAM Edition

ASUS has held its Republic of Gamers (ROG) day, and at the event, there was a special graphics card. Spotted there was a GeForce RTX 3090 GPU in the form of ASUS ROG STRIX GUNDAM edition. With an appeal based on a famous anime series GUNDAM, ASUS has decided to launch a new product line made up of a motherboard and a graphics card. The new ASUS GeForce RTX 3090 ROG STRIX GUNDAM Edition features the same specifications as the regular RTX 3090 edition, just with an increased clock speed of 1890 MHz, three 8-pin power connectors, and a maximum power limit of 480 Watts.

The card features a white triple slot body with three fans cooling the heatsink. When it comes to the availability of this card, it is said to be a limited edition only sold to the Asian market. The price tag will carry a premium over the regular ROG STRIX model, with a cost of 16,999 Yuans (~2530 USD). The standard ROG STRIX model comes at a 1799 USD price tag, meaning that you will pay 730 USD more for this limited edition product. The availability is supposedly going to be even worse than with current cards, meaning that only a few people will get their hands on these if the current situation is any reference.
More pictures follow.

ClockTuner for Ryzen Version 1.1 Released

Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy released the latest version of ClockTuner for Ryzen (CTR), a utility for perfecting an AMD Ryzen-powered PC overclock. CTR lets you easily implement the most optimal clock, voltage, timing, and memory settings for your desktop, and squeezed out levels of performance previously not thought possible, with users reporting double-digit percentage performance gains for practically free.

Version 1.1 introduces a handful new features. For starters, the app's user interface comes with a separate profile management page, which can be accessed by clicking on the "profile management" button. It's now easier to reset the settings. Tool-tips across the app have been improved. CTR 1.1 also introduces additional internal checks to ensure a frequency step up doesn't run into voltage droop. Improvements have been made to the app's engine to ensure the correct commands are sent to the registers, and the "check stability" function.

DOWNLOAD: Clock Tuner for AMD Ryzen
The change-log follows.
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