Monday, October 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Memory
Monitors
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD

G.Skill TridentZ 3866 MHz 2x 8 GB DDR4

We step it up a notch in memory speeds thanks to G.SKILL's pricey 3866 MHz TridentZ memory. This is one capable kit, ready for ultra-high speeds with Intel's Kaby Lake CPUs right out of the box, and even has some OC headroom to spare.

Politifact Sees Unsactioned Introduction of Web Miner, Vows to Investigate

This here is an issue that this editor has been fearing for a while, and that we here at TPU have called our users' attention to in the past. It's bad enough when websites willingly implement web mining scripts absent of users' consent or simple knowledge. Opt-in mining as a contribution to a website's revenue would be the best way to go around the issue; however, absent that, a simple opt-out capability wouldn't be much worse. But if stealth usage of a site viewers' computing resources is bad, what then can be said when the site managers themselves are unaware of the implementation of a web miner?

This is what happened with Politifact, the US politics fact-checking website, which is but one of hundred of the world's top traffic websites that have seen the stealth introduction of these web mining scripts - against the will of the site managers. in the meantime, Politifact has brought down the offending code and has vowed to investigate, but this opens up Pandora's box, really. Generally speaking, these JavaScript apps are running code hosted on another server that the end user - and sometimes even the site hosts - can't inspect or don't expect to have to inspect. And this is easier to do than one would imagine; there's a lack of protection against JavaScript routines like this one. And where there's potential for profit, there's abuse; and that's what we're seeing. It also doesn't help that injecting the necessary JavaScript into the front page of a website is much easier than a full blown hack into a website's databases; and once the code has been shoehorned into a website's code, it runs itself, hijacking users' CPU cycles and putting the resulting Monero coins into a designated wallet.

Kingston Technology Celebrates 30 Years in the Industry

Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory storage products and technology solutions, announces tomorrow that it celebrates its 30th year in the business as an innovative technology hardware provider for computers and devices. Kingston was co-founded on October 17, 1987, by CEO John Tu and COO David Sun. The two co-founders continue to guide the company and remain very active in day-to-day operations.

The entrepreneurial spirit of both owners and the success of the company have been recognized globally through the years. Kingston's core tenets of respect, loyalty, flexibility and integrity have created an exemplary corporate culture - one that guides its relationships with customers, partners and vendors, and to which Kingston owes its success. The company continues to be the largest supplier of DRAM modules among non-semiconductor manufacturers and a leading maker of Flash memory products - especially SSDs - where it has become a dominant force among consumers and organizations alike looking to upgrade existing systems and data centers.

Kingston manufactured just one product when it started in 1987 and has steadily and strategically evolved as a company by controlling as much of the production cycle as possible - from initial wafer processing through finished product - for both DRAM and Flash. The company has done this through expansion, strategic investments, partnerships and adapting to industry needs as early as possible.

EK Water Blocks Releases two New Slim Series Kits

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is excited to announce the expansion of the S Kit lineup. Following the recent release of EK-CoolStream SE 140 and EK-CoolStream SE 280 slim radiators, two new kits will also be joining the webshop. Slim Series kits or in short S Kits are a great choice for beginners at liquid cooling and people doing builds with limited radiator space.

EK-KIT S140 and EK-KIT S280 beside the super compatible thin EK-CoolStream SE radiator that they use will also be very suitable for low noise scenarios. As we know, slim radiators benefit from low-speed fans more than the thick ones, and the 140mm fan format only adds additional cooling surface.

Noctua Introduces Chromax Line Fans, Cables and Heatsink Covers

Noctua today introduced the long-awaited chromax editions of its most renowned 120mm and 140mm fan models as well as chromax line cables and heatsink covers for its award-winning NH-U12S and NH-D15 series CPU coolers. All the new chromax line products allow users to colour-customise their Noctua cooling systems in order to match popular build colour schemes.

"Noctua is an engineering-driven company: we pride ourselves on relentlessly tuning our products for maximum performance and quality rather than putting form before function, but of course we understand that many customers put an emphasis on build aesthetics these days," explains Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With the new chromax line fans, cables and heatsink covers, we now offer a range of products that's ideal for those who care about looks just as much as about quality and performance."

HP ENVY x360 15-bq101na Could be First "Raven Ridge" Implementation

HP posted the datasheet of its upcoming 2-in-1 notebook PC, the ENVY x360 15-bq101na, which could be the world's first implementation of AMD's upcoming 14 nm "Raven Ridge" APU. The silicon combines a quad-core "Zen" CPU with an integrated graphics core based on the "Vega" GPU architecture. The datasheet speaks of an "AMD Ryzen 5 2500U" processor powering the machine.

The Ryzen 5 2500U is being described as featuring a quad-core CPU clocked at 2.00 GHz with 3.60 GHz boost frequency, and 6 MB of cache. This could very well be total-cache, since that's how AMD likes OEMs to advertise cache on its chips, which works out to 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 4 MB of shared L3 cache. The graphics core features the branding "AMD Radeon Vega M," confirming that this chip is indeed a derivation of "Raven Ridge."

Antec Announces the P110 Luce Chassis

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, presents the latest addition to their renowned Performance One Case series: The P110 Luce. The case is now commercially available from 119€ (suggested retail price including VAT).

The Antec P110 Luce lets you shed a light on your installed hardware: The frame measures 489 mm x 230 mm x 518 mm (L x W x H) and features a tempered glass panel on the side. The mid-tower is made of 1mm+0.8 mm steel & ABS and the front panel is made of 0.8 mm anodized aluminium. The P110 Luce accommodates ATX-, Micro-ATX and ITX-mainboards and offers space for up to six 3.5" HDDs (convertible for four 2.5" SSDs) and two 2.5" SDDs as well as ten expansion slots (eight horizontal and two vertical slots). Users can install VGA cards with a length of up to 390 mm. The card holder features an extra bracket which makes it easy to adjust the actual position of the VGA and to achieve better compatibility. This also supports the weight of heavy VGA cards.

Logitech Announces ASTRO A20 Wireless Gaming Headset

Logitech ASTRO Gaming, a leader in premium video gaming equipment, today unveiled the latest entry into its new line of essentially featured gaming headsets with the launch of the studio's ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset. The ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset is designed to make gameplay more immersive, exciting and memorable with a category-leading set of features and enhancements.

The companion to the studio's recently released ASTRO A10, the ASTRO A20 Wireless Headset is a robustly featured wireless audio solution designed to make ASTRO Gaming's renowned build quality, enhanced comfort and audio fidelity more attainable. The ASTRO A20 features two models compatible with PlayStation4, Windows 10 PCs and Mac iOS, and two models compatible with the Xbox One family of devices (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X), Windows 10 PCs and Mac iOS.

ASUS ROG Strix RX Vega 64 Clock Speeds Revealed

ASUS may have been among the first to unveil its custom-design Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards with the ROG Strix Radeon RX Vega 64 (model: ROG-STRIX-RXVEGA64-O8G-GAMING), but kept its clock-speeds under the wraps. The company updated its product page, revealing the clock speeds. Out of the box, the card is clocked at 1298 MHz core, with 1590 MHz boost, and an untouched 945 MHz memory, against AMD-reference clock speeds of "up to 1546 MHz" GPU clock for the air-cooled RX Vega 64. It still pales in comparison to the RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition SKU, which ticks at 1677 MHz core and 1750 MHz boost. The company is yet to update the product page of its ROG Strix RX Vega 56 O8G.

Digital River: "Games as a Service, Microtransactions, Tripled Industry's Value"

A report from monetization service company Digital River has found that the gaming industries' value has roughly tripled since the inception of the G"Games as a Service Model", which includes DLC (like Destiny and Destiny 2' content modules) and microtransactions (of which loot boxes are all the rage these days). The report, titled "Defend Your Kingdom: What Game Publishers Need to Know About Monetization & Fraud", noted that developers of all sizes are benefiting from the "steady stream of in-game content that both serves player expectations and increases their revenue per user." And this doesn't apply to free-to-play games: the report states that "In 2016, a quarter of all digital revenue from PC games with an upfront cost came from additional content."

According to the report, "Consumers are less willing to pay $60 for a boxed game and instead choose titles with a steady stream of new content. Publishers seek to meet these expectations and have adopted a 'games as a service' model, releasing fewer titles over time while keeping players engaged longer with regular updates and add-ons." The fact that PC users are less willing to pay the full upfront cost of games, usually waiting a few weeks before taking the plunge so as to take advantage of lowered pricing - which occurs much earlier compared to other platforms - leads the report to say that PC gamers are "gaming the games market".

Sources: Games Industry, Digital River Report

Swiftech Intros Apogee SKF-TR4 Water Block for Ryzen Threadripper

Swiftech introduced a limited-edition variant of its Apogee SKF series CPU water blocks, the Apogee SKF-TR4, which is designed for AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors. The blocks come with an elongation for better coverage of the large Ryzen Threadripper integrated heatspreader (IHS). The copper blocks are longer than the original SKF Heirloom series blocks, and feature more micro-fins, translating into 30 percent more surface-area for heat-dissipation to the coolant. The blocks also feature a coolant fitting positioning such that the inlets and outlets are directly above the two active dies of the Threadripper multi-chip module (MCM). The factory-fitted retention module only supports AMD socket TR4/SP3r2 motherboards. The block is priced at USD $107.95.

Microsoft to Roll-out Anti-cheating Tech with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

With its upcoming "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10, Microsoft is preparing to roll out its own game anti-cheating platform, under two new technologies, TruePlay and Game Monitor. TruePlay provides a "new set of tools to combat cheating within their PC games," according to Microsoft. This is similar to VAC (Valve Anti-Cheating). From the looks of it, the TruePlay API is limited to games built for the UWP (Universal Windows Platform), such as recent additions to the Forza franchise. Game Monitor is another side of this coin. When enabled, the operating system shares system information with games to weed out cheating tools such as aimbots. Enabling it could soon become a requirement of certain online multiplayer games.

Games with TruePlay run in a "protected" (read: sandboxed) process, which mitigates a class of common cheating tools, as the game's real PID is never exposed to other processes. A separate Windows process will be on constant lookout for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios. Data (read: telemetry) of this process will be shared with game developers after determining that cheating could have occurred. The "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10 is likely to be released before December.

Sources: MSDN, Overclock.net Forums

Samsung's Next-Gen PM981 NVMe SSDs Surface

Samsung is the most well-regarded company when it comes to consumer SSDs. even if their SSD solutions do usually carry a premium versus the competition, that price delta is usually well justified: Samsung's SSDs are frequently the most reliable, fastest option in the market. Samsung's 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs have done a good job of clarifying the company's market positioning, and now, the successors for those Samsung SSDs have already surfaced.

The next-gen Samsung NVMe drives carry the PM981 code-name - where "PM" stands for TLC NAND (in this case, based on 64-layer 3-bit per cell V-NAND chips), "9" stands for Samsung's highest performing solutions, and "81" stands for the part number - two tiers ahead of Samsung's 960 series. It's expected that there will be a 970 part, since Samsung seems to be steering away from the "EVO" and "PRO" monikers to differentiate products according to performance - a straight numeral is expected to be the norm going forward. For now, the parts that have surfaced carry 512 GB and 1 TB of memory. These will make use of Samsung's Polaris V2 controller (with a metal heatsink over it to aid in cooling), and deliver 3,000 MB/s and 3,200 MB/s sequential read speeds (for the 512 GB and 1 TB versions respectively) and 1,800 MB/s and 2,400 MB/s sequential write, respectively. The models surfaced from a Vietnamese retailer, which has them going for $233 and $439 - which doesn't mean this will be the final consumer retail price, but seems reasonable for the technology and performance tier of these NVMe SSD solutions.

Source: Tom's Hardware

AMD Readies AGESA 1.0.0.7 Update Enabling "Raven Ridge" APUs

AMD is readying an update to its AGESA micro-code. AGESA is an essential component of AMD platform motherboard BIOSes responsible for starting the processor at system start-up. Updates to it improve the motherboards' memory and CPU compatibility. Following its all-important AGESA 1.0.0.6 update that vastly improves memory compatibility of AMD Ryzen processors, the company is readying an even newer version. The new AGESA 1.0.0.7 update prompts significant changes to the structure of motherboard BIOSes, making it easy to implement support for upcoming socket AM4 chips, such as the "Raven Ridge" APUs, and the 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs.

Professional overclocker elmor, who is currently associated with ASUS ROG, responding to an Overclockers.net forums question about the Crosshair VI series motherboard, mentioned that AGESA 1.0.0.7 significantly changes the BIOS structure of AMD motherboards, which will make it easier implement support for future processors. "AGESA 1007 comes with support for Raven Ridge APUs. AMD has also changed the entire BIOS base structure so we have to do a lot of work to port everything to the new version, which may result in further bugs. The advantage is that it makes it easier to support future CPUs (Raven Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge)," he said. Updates to AGESA are distributed by motherboard manufacturers as BIOS updates.

Source: Overclock.net Forums

Intel Helps Retailers Digest Old Core K-series Inventory with Game Bundles

With the rather fast introduction of the Intel Core i7-8700K (just 9 months following the January 3rd launch of the i7-7700K), retailers are finding themselves with quite a bit of unsold i7-7700K (and even i7-6700K) inventory. Consumers are drawn to either the i7-8700K, or the competing AMD Ryzen processors. To help the market digest these unsold chips, Intel started a new game-bundle dubbed "Game Without Compromise."

Buyers of brand-new Core i7-7700K and i7-6700K processors will receive game keys to "Total War: Warhammer II" and "Assassins Creed: Origins," which is effectively a $100 value-addition to these $330 quad-core chips. It provides an upgrade path to users of the older 100-series/200-series chipset platform. As with most such game bundles, the "Game Without Compromise" bundle will be limited to select retailers.

Source: OC3D
Sunday, October 15th 2017

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Ashes of the Singularity Numbers Surface

Ahead of its October 26 launch, someone with access to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti sample put it through "Ashes of the Singularity" (AotS) benchmark, with its scores even getting posted on its online database. Paired with an Intel Core i9-7900X based high-end machine, and running the benchmark's DirectX 11 API version, the card scored 6,200 points in the "Extreme" (1440p) preset.

This score spaces it significantly apart from the GTX 1070, which typically scores around 5,400 points in this test, and the GTX 1080, which puts out around 7,000 points. The GTX 1070 Ti manages to keep frame-rates of AotS consistently above 60 frames per second. Much like the Radeon RX Vega 56 it's designed to compete with, the GTX 1070 Ti will find its comfort-zone with the 1440p resolution, even though it will be capable of playable (≥30 fps) frame-rates at 4K Ultra HD.

Sources: AotS Benchmark Database, VideoCardz
Saturday, October 14th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

Weekend Reading 101: On Ransomware's Chains and Carbon Black's Report

Carbon Black, a cybersecurity company that's been founded by former members of the U.S. government's elite team of offensive security hackers, has released a report detailing the continued rise of ransomware's impact, which served as the fire-starter for this piece. Carbon Black's Threat Analysis Unit (TAU) has found that ransomware is an increasingly prolific economical entity, bolstered by a 2,502% increase in sales in the dark web. As with every activity, legal or illegal, the economic footprint follows profit; and in ransomware's case, it's estimated it has yielded around $1 billion just this year. Ransomware even has the advantage of not requiring specialized computer skills, and can be quickly and brainlessly deployed in search of a quick buck.

Carbon Black reports that there are currently more than 6,300 ransomware marketplaces in the dark web, with over 45,000 different product listings, which range in price from $0.5 to $3K (the median price for a DIY ransomware package stands at roughly $10.5). Ransomware sellers are taking advantage of this burgeoning, "quick buck at anyone's expense" reasoning: some ransomware sellers are earning more than six figures yearly, sometimes even more than legitimate software companies. It's no surprise, however that the report points to technologies such as Bitcoin and the Tor network as being two of the most important enablers in this ransomware explosion, besides making it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to, well, enforce the perpetrators.
To our Forum Dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial
Friday, October 13th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Input Devices
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs

Sennheiser GSP 301

The Sennheiser GSP 301 is the company's entry-level gaming headset. Even though it comes with a fairly short list of features, especially considering its $100 price, it delivers heaps in all important aspects - sound, microphone quality and wearing comfort are exceptional.

Logitech CRAFT Keyboard

The Logitech CRAFT is more than a simple keyboard, adding a creative input dial to allow configurable control in applications, ranging from Adobe CC to web browsers and MS Office. It targets content creators who want a single device to be a full-size keyboard that also saves them precious time in their workflow.

Cherry Announces the Gentix Silent Mouse

CHERRY, the specialist for computer input devices, introduces the Gentix Silent. This new version of the classic Gentix mouse is ideally suited for open-plan offices where a quiet work environment is key. As with its predecessor, the CHERRY Gentix Silent has a high-resolution optical sensor and is extremely comfortable to use due to its ergonomic, symmetrical design.

The Gentix Silent is the ideal mouse for quiet work environments. By utilizing special switches CHERRY has eliminated the clicking sound of mouse buttons, which makes this mouse ideal for open-plan offices or public spaces such as libraries. And CHERRY has not just focused on minimizing noise: the ergonomic, symmetrical design of the Gentix Silent makes this mouse extremely comfortable to use for both left- and right-handed users, while the unique shape accommodates all hand sizes. The wear-resistant rubber surface doesn't just feel good, it also improves the grip on the mouse.

Humble Bundle and IGN Joining Forces

Co-Founder and CEO of Humble Bundle, Jeffrey Rosen, announced earlier today the company's "biggest bundle ever", the merging of his company with media giant IGN. "We chose IGN because they really understand our vision, share our passion for games, and believe in our mission to promote awesome digital content while helping charity. I can't think of a better partner than IGN to help Humble Bundle continue our quest", said Rosen. One consequence of the companies joining forces will be a new publishing initiative, but Humble Bundle will, it was claimed, maintain its independence going forward. A point reiterated by IGN executive VP Mitch Galbraith, in a conversation with Gamasutra today. But IGN, which reviews and critiques games, now owns a platform- albeit at arm's length- for selling them; a development that might strike some as creating the potential for future conflicts of interest.

Sources: Humble Bundle, Gamasutra

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Overclocking to be Restricted

NVIDIA could severely limit the overclocking capabilities of its upcoming "almost GTX 1080" performance-segment graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. The company will tightly control the non-reference clock-speeds at which its add-in card (AIC) partners ship their custom-design graphics cards; and there could even be tighter limits to which you can overclock these cards. NVIDIA is probably doing this to ensure it doesn't completely cannibalize its GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, which has been recently refreshed with faster 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory.

The GTX 1070 Ti is based on a "GP104" Pascal silicon with a core-configuration that's vastly higher than the current GTX 1070, and too close to that of the GTX 1080. It features 2,432 CUDA cores, just 128 fewer than the GTX 1080, and core clock speed of 1608 MHz that's on-par with the pricier card, too. The GPU Boost frequency is set to 1683 MHz, which is lower than the 1733 MHz of the GTX 1080. It also features slower GDDR5 memory. The GTX 1070 Ti is expected to launch by the 26th of October, priced at $429.

Sources: eTeknix, Expreview, VideoCardz

NEC Display Updates MultiSync PA243W Monitor With Latest Features

NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., a leading provider of commercial LCD displays and projectors, today announced the availability of the 24" MultiSync PA243W professional desktop display.

"The MultiSync PA243W updates the PA242W, one of our most popular professional wide color gamut desktop displays," said Art Marshall, Senior Product Manager for Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions. "New cutting-edge features have been added to provide improved color coverage to meet the color-critical needs of the print production, digital photography, photo editing, and video production markets, among others."

Thermaltake Announces Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum Power Supplies

Thermaltake is adding the new Toughpower Grand RGB Platinum Series to its Power Supply line-up. Outside of the RGB LEDs, the fully modular members come in compact sizes to provide users with more room for cable routing, cooling and more.

The newest addition to the Toughpower Grand RGB family covers capacities ranging from 850W to 1200W, featuring a pre-installed, patented 256-color Riing 14 RGB fan with 5 lighting modes (RGB Cycle Mode, Solid Red, Solid Green, Solid Blue, and Solid White), a LED Off mode and a built-in memory function that remembers users last lighting mode selection even after a shutdown.

Silicon Power Announces Bolt B10 Portable SSD

Silicon Power adds a second model, the Bolt B10, to its brand new portable SSD product line. The Bolt B10 is the perfect companion for busy commuters and frequent travelers who need fast and reliable storage on the go. It is not much bigger than a business card and weighs only 25g, yet offers storage capacities of up to 512GB.

With fast read and write speeds of up to 400 MB/s, the B10 ensures smooth file management and hassle-free data backups. It has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and comes with a micro-B (B10) to Type-A cable. Traditional portable hard drives store data on a spinning disk. The B10 is more robust and forgiving to accidental bumps and drops, as it stores data on an SSD which contains no moving parts. It offers protection against data corruption by supporting LDPC (Low-Density Parity Check) coding, a very effective error correction function.

G.Skill Announces Trident Z RGB DDR4-4266 32GB Quad-channel Kit

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is very excited to announce the latest Trident Z RGB memory kit that boosts RGB-infused DDR4-4266MHz memory kits to a never-before-seen 32GB (4x8GB) configuration! Built from ultra-high performance Samsung B-die DDR4 ICs, this new DDR4 memory kit marks a new milestone as the fastest 32GB (4x8GB) RGB memory kit on the market thus far.

Just one week after the launch of the 8th Gen Intel Core processors and Z370 chipset motherboards, G.SKILL further fine-tuned the high-end RGB memory kits to reach even higher levels of overclocking speeds. Ever since the launch of Trident Z RGB almost a year ago, the largest capacity at DDR4-4266MHz was 2x8GB. In combination with the ASUS OptiMem technology, which complements the T-Toplogy layout that uses equalized trace lengths, four-DIMM memory configurations have improved stability and increased frequency headroom.

MSI Intros Optix AG32C 32-inch Curved Gaming Monitor

MSI today rolled out the Optix AG32C, a gaming-grade 32-inch (31.5-inch viewing area) monitor, with an 1800R curvature. Despite its colossal panel size, the monitor only puts out Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. Lending to its gaming-grade credentials are 165 Hz maximum refresh-rate, 1 ms response time, and support for AMD FreeSync technology. Other vital specs include 178°/178° viewing angles, 3000:1 static contrast-ratio, and 250 cd/m² maximum brightness. Display inputs include HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, and dual-link DVI. Other features include an anti-flicker brightness adjustment, OSD crosshairs, etc. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Riotoro Intros the Prism CR 1088 Case

Riotoro today introduced the Prism CR 1088, a vertical dual-compartment ATX case. The case features a vertical partition for its two compartments that are split in a 35:65 ratio in volume. Unlike with other cases such as the Corsair Carbide Air 540, the compartment with the motherboard-tray is located on the right-hand side on the Prism CR 1088, in an upside-down (BTX) fashion; and the compartment with the PSU bay and a few drive bays are located on the left-hand side.

The motherboard-tray compartment features 7 expansion slots, and room for graphics cards up to 30 cm in length. It also features a bulged-out clear acrylic window, and an 80 mm rear exhaust fan. The compartment with the PSU bay houses a standard PS/2 ATX PSU, and two 3.5-inch drive bays that each convert to 2.5-inch. There are two additional 2.5-inch mounts on the motherboard compartment. Cooling includes a 120 mm front intake, an 80 mm rear exhaust, and two 120 mm bottom intakes. The case is studded with RGB LEDs along a front diffuser highlighting the partition, which supports 16.8 million colors, and takes input from a standard RGB header. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Cooler Master MasterBox MB600L, Liquid Cooling on a Budget

Unlike yesteryear when computer cases were limited to beige, or off-beige, for the adventurous, buyers today have a plethora of choices. The Cooler Master MasterBox MB600L, which is available with a choice of three different side trim colors (red, blue or gunmetal), as well as an optional optical disc drive (ODD) bay, reflects this greater attention to style. In addition to a neutral all-black background, the MB600L features a brushed front panel, PSU cover, an edge to edge transparent, acrylic side panel and sufficient space for routing cables.

Equal attention was paid to the case's interior design. The MB600L supports ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards, GPUs up to 16.14" (400mm), PSUs as long as 7.1" (180mm) and CPU coolers up to 6.3" (160mm) in height. Cooling options are equally plentiful. While there is only a single rear 120mm fan, the front can accommodate two 140mm fans, two 120mm fans (w. ODD) or three 120mm fans (w/o ODD). Radiators are limited to 280 mm, or 360mm if the ODD is not present. It is important to note that the maximum thickness, in the case of the latter, is 50mm without fans. All for the suggested retail price of $50 US, and you even get front and bottom dust filters. According to Cooler Master the case is available now, but none of the retailers I checked have listed it just yet.

Sources: Cooler Master, The Tech Report
Thursday, October 12th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Processors
SSD

Aerocool P7-L240 All-in-One

Aerocool bursts onto the all-in-one liquid cooler market with the P7-L240. It features an attractive design, paired with low noise levels and good performance. Also included is RGB LED illumination that can be controlled via motherboard or the separately available P7-H1 Hub.

Intel i7-8700K Coffee Lake Memory Benchmark Analysis

We take a close look at memory speeds, latencies, and command rate on Intel's latest Core i7-8700K with Z370. Scenarios tested include fail-safe 2133 MHz, the platform default of 2666 MHz, and overclocked memory speeds ranging from 3000 MHz to 4000 MHz - at various timings.

On Intel's Decision to no Longer Disclose All-core Turbo

Intel is no longer going to disclose all-core Turbo Boost speeds, starting with their 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors that have just been released. The information comes straight from the blue giant. Answering a query from ExtremeTech on the matter, the company said that "[W]e're no longer disclosing this level of detail as its proprietary to Intel. Intel only specifies processor frequencies for base and single-core Turbo in our processor marketing and technical collateral, such as ARK, and not the multi-core Turbo frequencies. We're aligning communications to be consistent. All Turbo frequencies are opportunistic given their dependency on system configuration and workloads."

This decision is a rollback that does little more than rob users of another data point that has really always been there. The practical effect of this change isn't anything to write home about: Intel's Turbo Boost capabilities were never guaranteed performance levels (the fact that the advertised Turbo speeds were called "Max Turbo" implied Turbo levels could be lower.) However, there's also not much that can be said to explain this change in stance from the blue giant. If anything, this decision only opens up debate and speculation regarding the reasons why Intel is making this change: and the skeptics among us will always default to foul play or dark linings.

To our Forum dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial

The Pirate Bay Resumes Cryptocurrency Mining, No Opt-Out

We've previously covered The Pirate Bay's usage of a web-based miner on users' machines without their knowledge or consent. We've even done a pretty extensive editorial on whether or not this could be the revenue model of the future. At the time, we came away with the conclusion that the problem isn't with the technology per se, but with the fact it's implemented by humans (and most problems do have their root cause in us humans after all, don't they?).

This seems to be such a case, since The Pirate Bay has now resumed their web-based mining activities with no Opt-out or, better yet, opt-in business model. Now, however, the code isn't being run in the site's core code, but is instead embedded on an advertisement script (yes, advertisements are still running parallel on The Pirate Bay). The most popular adblockers should be enough to stop this miner from ever running, anyway, but yes, there are still users who surf the web absent of any ad-blocking capabilities - and these should see some added processing spikes on their CPUs.

MSI Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio and Gaming Trio

MSI is proud to announce its latest high-end graphics card, the new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X TRIO. This new card features three fans and a beautiful Mystic Light RGB implementation with detailed controls. Boasting an improved thermal design with Military Class certified components, it's bound to enhance your high-end gaming experience.

MSI's Mystic Light enables you to customize the RGB effects of your hardware to give your system a different look whenever you feel like it. Using the MSI Mystic Light software, you can control three zones of LED individually on the shroud and backplate. Furthermore, you can synchronize colors and effects of your graphics card, motherboard, case-fans and peripherals to enhance the gaming atmosphere surrounding you.

Corsair Announces Availability of the LL Series RGB LED Fans

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming and PC components hardware today announced a new addition to its acclaimed range of RGB cooling fans, the LL Series. 16 Brilliant independent RGB LEDs encircle each LL series fan and its central hub (12 LEDs in the outer loop and four in the inner), all controllable using CORSAIR LINK software to create a stunning symphony of color.

CORSAIR has managed to pack even more stunning RGB lighting into the LL Series, with both a 12 RGB LED loop around the fan's edge and an internal four RGB LED loop, creating a virtually limitless amount of color options. The included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO allows for in-depth software lighting control for up to 12 CORSAIR RGB fans or eight CORSAIR RGB Lighting strips, making it easy to tie all your PC's RGB lighting together. With CORSAIR LINK software. So go ahead and turn the lights on, you'll want to see this.

Where Art Thou, Denuvo? Shadow of War DRM Cracked in Two Days

Denuvo has been one of the foremost DRM technologies in recent times. There have been a number of issues around this particular RM technology: unclear terms of service that didn't explain the use of this third party DRM, or reports of inconsistent and even degraded performance on Denuvo-protected games. While some of those points have since been corrected - there's no clear evidence of degraded performance with Denuvo anti-tamper on or off - and games' terms of service have been updated to include references to Denuvo anti-tamper being used, this is one of those technologies that has been more ill-received - kind of like SecuROM, back in the days.

Denuvo, however, has enjoyed some measure of success in the past, in that it has allowed games developers to see their products remain uncracked for longer periods of time that they would with other DRM technologies that are currently employed (like Steam, for instance). Developers and publishers say this allows them to see more fruits from their labor in that at least during that DRM-protected window, would-be pirates will likely make the jump towards a legitimate version of the game, instead of waiting for the DRM protection to be bypassed. Lately, though, its protections are being bypassed almost as fast as Steam's, which has been the case with Middle-Earth: Shadow of War - cracked two days after release. This is a prickly subject that usually neatly divides proponents of either DRM-free games, or those that really don't care, so long as it doesn't tamper with end-user experience. There are success cases for both fields - GOG on the DRM-free side of the fence and Steam on the other, for example - but this is clearly a debate that won't be settled any time soon.

Sources: Crack Watch, User @ rdri on Reddit

Intel Delivers 17-qubit Superconducting Chip with Advanced Packaging to QuTech

Today, Intel announced the delivery of a 17-qubit superconducting test chip for quantum computing to QuTech, Intel's quantum research partner in the Netherlands. The new chip was fabricated by Intel and features a unique design to achieve improved yield and performance. The delivery of this chip demonstrates the fast progress Intel and QuTech are making in researching and developing a working quantum computing system. It also underscores the importance of material science and semiconductor manufacturing in realizing the promise of quantum computing.

Quantum computing, in essence, is the ultimate in parallel computing, with the potential to tackle problems conventional computers can't handle. For example, quantum computers may simulate nature to advance research in chemistry, materials science and molecular modeling - like helping to create a new catalyst to sequester carbon dioxide, or create a room temperature superconductor or discover new drugs. However, despite much experimental progress and speculation, there are inherent challenges to building viable, large-scale quantum systems that produce accurate outputs. Making qubits (the building blocks of quantum computing) uniform and stable is one such obstacle.

Deutsche Post DHL First Adopter of NVIDIA's Self-driving Truck Tech

Germany's national postal service Deutsche Post, which also runs one of the world's biggest private logistics firms under the DHL brand, will be the first adopter of NVIDIA's self-driving truck technology. Deutsche Post envisions a near-future in which self-driving vehicles reach the sender's address to pick-up packages (the sender probably inserts the package into an automated machine), after which the truck drives itself to the nearest hub (or the receiver, if they're within the truck's service area). Package deliveries, too, will be handled by automated trucks that vend-out packages to receivers curbside, upon some authentication.

Self-driving urban trucks present an easier way to implement self-driving tech than passenger cars or robo-taxis, as the vehicle [probably] isn't carrying human lives. It only has to care for the human lives on the street. Trucks can also be slower moving vehicles, as they lack the agility of cars. DHL's first self-driving trucks will be retrofitted with self-driving hardware from ZF Friedrichshafen (ZF), which will put NVIDIA Drive PX Pegasus artificial-intelligence drive-computer in the "driver's seat." Given that Drive PX Pegasus will fall in the hands of ZF only by late-2018, one can expect the first automated DHL trucks on the streets only after implementation and rigorous testing. We expect that to be around 2020, if not later.

Source: Nu.nl

Corsair LL120 and LL140 RGB LED Fans

Digging through an unnamed retailer's website, Videocardz was the first to spot Corsair's newest RGB fan series. I know what you are thinking, not another RGB fan. But the LL series is a bit different. Thanks to sixteen programmable diodes, separated into two light loops, these fans can act like RGB strips when used with Corsair's Lightning Node Pro, which is needed to control the fans through Corsair's Link program. The fans will be sold separately or in kits, which include the Lightning Node Pro.

Newegg.com currently lists the single LL120 and LL140 fans for $34.99 and 39.99, respectively. The twin 140 fan kit is $99.99, with triple 120 fan kit costing $119.99.
First image courtesy of Videocardz, second two taken from Newegg.

Western Digital Announces Magnetic Storage Breakthrough Enabling 40TB HDDs

At its "Innovating to Fuel the Next Decade of Big Data" event today, Western Digital Corp. announced a breakthrough innovation for delivering ultra-high capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) to meet the future demands of Big Data with proven data center-level reliability. The event, held at the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, included a demonstration of the world's first microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) HDD and presentations from company executives and the inventor of MAMR technology, Professor Jimmy Zhu from Carnegie Mellon University. The company also showcased advancements in micro actuation and Damascene recording head technology. Western Digital expects to begin shipping ultra-high capacity MAMR HDDs in 2019 for use in data centers that support Big Data applications across a full range of industries.

"As the volume, velocity, variety, value and longevity of both Big Data and Fast Data grow, a new generation of storage technologies are needed to not only support ever-expanding capacities, but ultimately help our customers analyze and garner insights into our increasingly connected universe of data," said Mike Cordano, president and chief operating officer at Western Digital. "Our ground-breaking advancement in MAMR technology will enable Western Digital to address the future of high capacity storage by redefining the density potential of HDDs and introduce a new class of highly reliable, 'ultra-high capacity' drives. We have a proven track record for identifying, investing in and delivering advanced technologies that create new product categories and enable the world to realize the possibilities of data. Five years ago we introduced our HelioSeal, helium-filled drive technology. Since then, we have shipped more than 20 million helium drives. That type of leadership and innovation continues today and we aim to leverage it well into the future."
Wednesday, October 11th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
SSD

Oculus VR Announces the $199 Oculus Go VR HMD

In addition to slashing the price of Oculus Rift HMD Set down to USD $399, Oculus VR announced a new standalone VR headset for the masses, the Oculus Go, which at USD $199, is significantly cheaper than the Oculus Rift, while not being that much costlier than the $129 Samsung Gear VR. Oculus Go lacks the fully-tracked motion sensors or inside-out tracking of the Oculus Rift, which helps keep its price down. It retains the essentials, including a 2560 x 1440 pixels display resolution, new lenses, and 3D spatial audio built into the headset. Oculus VR plans to put Go in the hands of developers by November 2017, with mass-production expected to begin shortly after, and retail availability some time in 2018.

Oculus VR Slashes the Price of Oculus Rift Down to $399

Oculus VR announced that its pioneering Oculus Rift VR HMD has finally emerged from its early-adopter pricing, and will be sold at USD $399 a piece, going forward. The company had been facing increased competition in HMDs from the likes of the HTC Vive, and tech majors Microsoft announcing their VR/AR standards. Each $399 Rift bundle comes with Touch controllers, sensors, and six free apps that give you hours of entertainment including Epic's arcade shooter, Robo Recall, and our creative tools, Medium and Quill. Oculus VR, throughout its press-release, emphasized that the $399 price isn't a limited-period offer, and that the pricing is "permanent."

Toshiba Launches TR200 Line of SSDs

Utilizing its own third-generation, 64-layer 3D BiCS TLC memory, Toshiba launched a trio of budget SATA-only SSDs today. Available in the standard 2.5 inch form factor, the drives will have capacities of 240, 480 and 960 GBs and endurance ratings of 60, 120 and 240 TBW, respectively. Sequential read and write speeds are up to 555/540 MB/s, regardless of capacity. Random read/writes, which vary slightly by drive, are up to 82,000 and 88,000 IOPS; typical for a entry-level SSD. Toshiba is confident enough in the line to offer a three year warranty.

Source: Toshiba
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