Monday, January 18th 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Notebooks
Speakers
SSD

Logitech Q3 Sales Grow 85%, Operating Income Triples

Logitech International (SIX: LOGN) (Nasdaq: LOGI) today announced financial results for the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2021. "This quarter's record results demonstrate the strength of our portfolio, addressing long-term growth trends in remote work and education, video collaboration, esports, and digital content creation," said Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and chief executive officer. "We are increasingly investing in our capabilities and people for the growth potential we see in the future. Logitech has never been more relevant to our customers' work, play and creativity."

Logitech raised its Fiscal Year 2021 annual outlook to between 57 and 60 percent sales growth in constant currency, and approximately $1.05 billion in non-GAAP operating income. The Company's previous outlook was between 35 and 40 percent sales growth in constant currency, and a range of $700 million to $725 million in non-GAAP operating income.

EK Introduces EK-AIO Basic and Special Edition EK-AIO Elite Aurum CPU Coolers

EK, the leading computer cooling solutions provider, is expanding its All-In-One product line with two new products: EK-AIO Basic and EK-AIO Elite Aurum 360 D-RGB. Following the success of EK-AIO D-RGB that comes in three different sizes and EK-AIO Elite with the push-pull configuration, the new EK-AIO Basic now creates a balance in the EK's AIO portfolio by offering a price-competitive, all-black, non-RGB option. The second EK-AIO product making its debut is the Special Edition EK-AIO Elite Aurum - a golden variant of the popular EK-AIO Elite. It boasts a glossy, gold-like nickel finish on the pump cover and fittings for those who want their PCs to sparkle.

The EK-AIO Basic is available in 240 and 360 mm radiator models. These are all-black all-in-one liquid cooling solutions for modern AMD and Intel CPUs. Visually, EK-AIO Basic is minimalistic with a black brushed aluminium-like pump cover and black fans. These performance-focused AIOs offer all the benefits of a water-cooling solution in a compact, easy to install, and maintenance-free design. They are simple, efficient, and come without any RGB lighting. By keeping the aesthetics minimal, EK-AIO Basic can be more competitive price-wise than the pioneering trio with D-RGB implementation.

Intel Rocket Lake-S Processors European Pricing Leaked

Pricing for Intel's upcoming Rocket Lake-S series of desktop processors has recently been leaked by a Dutch computer store. The 11th Generation Intel Core i5, i7, and i9 processors will feature the new Comet Lake CPU architecture while the lower-end Intel Core i3, and Intel Pentium processors will retain the older Cypress Cove CPU architecture. The new Intel Core i9 processors have returned to an 8 core 16 thread design down from the 10 core 20 thread design found in 10th generation processors.

The Intel 11th Generation Core i9 series will be approximately 6.6% cheaper than their predecessors but with 2 fewer cores and 4 fewer threads. The other new processors all see price increases from their 10th generation versions with an average increase of 6.5%. The new Comet Lake CPU architecture is expected to bring significant IPC improvements which may allow them to regain the title of best gaming CPU.

Novachips Prepares 8TB Military-Grade SSDs

Novachips Co., Ltd., an innovator in flash storage solution, today announced that it had acquired Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 (Cert# 3785) certification on its mainstream Scalar (SATA-based) and Express (NVMe-based) Solid-State Drive (SSD).

FIPS 140-2 is a standard developed by the National Institute of Standards (NIST) and is widely used to approve cryptography related algorithms and cryptographic modules. To sell into governmental and federal agencies, meeting these standards is mandatory, and an increasing number of healthcare and financial companies have turned to FIPS compliance as a standardized way to meet their security needs. By completing the FIPS 140-2 validation, Novachips is now perfectly positioned to provide its super-density flash storage products to governmental, military, and other mission-critical applications where the customers want to keep massive data secure.

Apple MacBook Pro (2017) Suffers from Widespread Retina Display Flaw

Apple MacBook Pro 2017 models are susceptible to a similar display flaw as the "Stage Light" or "Flexgate" issue found in the 2016 models. Our mid-2017 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which features a 13-inch LED-backlit LCD Retina Display, is exhibiting similar symptoms to the 2016 models, which forced Apple to run a "Display Backlight Service Program" fixing the flaw for free. Unfortunately, the program does not cover 2017 (or later) models. The "Stage Light" flaw, observed in the 2016 model, can be described as a dark horizontal band that appears along the bottom edge of the display with individual LEDs casting a light similar in shape to those of theater stages.

The 2017 MacBook Pro model appears to routinely start failing on the bottom edge of the screen with a soft gray bar appearing. This flaw appears thin on a cold-booted device, and spreads over time with use, as the device heats up. It dissipates as you power the MacBook down or close the lid for a while. The band distorts all content in the region of the display that it affects, including the macOS Dock, and vertically-scrolling content such as web-pages or text documents, and can be particularly bad for content creators working on tasks that are sensitive to display quality, such as Photoshop. Apparently, a small PCB located near the base of the display panel, which handles connectivity of the display with the mainboard, heats up over time, causing the LED backlit film to distort or the display controller PCB to malfunction.

GIGABYTE Launches the AORUS Gen4 7000s M.2 NVMe SSD

Gigabyte Technology, one of the top global manufacturers of motherboards, graphics cards, and hardware solutions, announces today the latest AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD with up to 7 GB/s read speed. Enhanced by the new generation PCIe 4.0 controller with advanced 3D-TLC NAND Flash, it boosts up to 55% more performance than previous generation PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. AORUS Gen4 7000s SSDs come in two capacity variants, 2 TB and 1 TB with M.2 2280 interface to make installation easy. They equip big aluminium thermal interface in different sizes and double side thermal pad with Nanocarbon coating for improved heat dissipation. Meanwhile, the SSD Tool Box application provides the instant overview and adjustment of SSD status.

"The storage devices are taking advantage of the PCIe 4.0 transfer speed that raised from 5 GB/s to almost 8 GB/s, which is great news for users who expect to optimize storage performance and reduce the bottle neck of system operation." said Jackson Hsu, Director of the GIGABYTE Channel Solutions Product Development Division. "AORUS Gen4 7000s SSDs further advance the standards set by our previous SSD products to provide users with breakthrough performance. After the OS installed, uses can enjoy unprecedented 7 GB/s read speed with 1 TB or 2 TB storage capability. The thermal solution and the double-sided thermal pad are designed to slow down the throttling that might occur at high-speed operation of SSD, thus boost the system performance."

Critical Flaw in Windows 10 Could Corrupt Your Hard Drive

Windows OS security is taken seriously, as the OS is wide-spread across millions of PCs around the world, however, there may be issues where OS has some security flaw that is found by external researchers. Due to the sheer code base of the new OS like Windows 10, there are a plethora of bugs and security flaws waiting to get discovered by someone. And today, thanks to the team of cybersecurity researchers, we have found out that in Windows 10 file-system called NTFS, there is a bug that corrupts your hard drive by simply triggering a specific variable name in a file.

If the end-user inside Windows 10 tries to access the NTFS attribute called "$i30" in a specific way, the flaw is exploited. The NTFS search index attribute, specifically the string "$i30", is containing a list of files and subfolders in a directory, and there is even a log of deleted files and folders. After running a specific command inside the command line (CMD) or inside the browser, Windows will start to display warnings of "File or directory is corrupted and cannot be read". After that, the OS will prompt a user to restart the machine and repair the damaged drive, so the Windows disk check utility will start. Once corrupted, Windows 10 will start displaying a notification indicating that the main file table (MFT) on the particular disk is corrupted and thus can not operate. Starting from the build Windows 10 Build 1803 the OS is vulnerable until the current version and a possible fix is expected to be released soon.

MSI Outs MAG A520M Bazooka WiFi and MAG B550M Vector WiFi

MSI updated the entry-level of its AMD 500-series chipset motherboard product stack with two interesting additions. The new MAG A520M Bazooka WiFi is essentially based on the same board design as the MAG B550M Bazooka, but uses the cheaper A520 chipset; while the new MAG B550M Vector WiFi is based on the same design as the MAG A520M Vector WiFi that the company debuted its A520 motherboard lineup with.

The A520M Bazooka is a well spaced-out 240 x 240 mm Micro-ATX board with a 7+2 phase CPU VRM solution that uses a large heatsink to cool the Vcore MOSFETs; four DDR4 DIMM slots, expansion slots that include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, and two Gen 2 x1 slots; and an entry-level combination of audio CODEC and Ethernet PHY (Realtek ALC887 + RTL8111H). The B550M Vector will be the most affordable B550 offering from MSI, thanks to its narrow Micro-ATX footprint, and just two DIMM slots. Unlike the A520M Vector, this board gives you PCI-Express 4.0 x16 and a Gen 4 NVMe slot. The onboard audio+Ethernet combination is the same as the Bazooka. Both boards offer dual-band 802.11ac WLAN + Bluetooth 4.2, put out by an Intel Wireless-AC 3168 WLAN solution. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Blast from the Past: Creative Announces Updated Sound Blaster Z SE Discrete Sound Card

Creative today has announced an updated to their Sound Blaster Z discrete sound card. The updated Sound Blaster Z SE keeps the up to 116 dB SnR and 24-bit/192 kHz sound of the sound card it updates, but adds 7.1 support for headphones and 5.1 discrete audio on speakers. The new dedicated sound card also features additional gaming profiles (it has specially-designed profiles for PUBG and Fortnite, for example), and new equalizer presets.

If you suppose most of these features could have been added via a software/firmware update, you'd be right; Creative is releasing most of these features via a software update for the Sound Blaster Z as well. Other specifications remain the same, with the Sound Blaster Z SE sound card featuring Creative's Sound Core 3D audio processor. Whether or not there is a requirement for discrete soundcards in this day and age of integrated sound quality is another discussion, as is the option for users to connect and process their audio via an external DAC.

NVIDIA Quietly Relaxes Certification Requirements for NVIDIA G-SYNC Ultimate Badge

NVIDIA has silently updated their NVIDIA G-SYNC Ultimate requirements compared to their initial assertion. Born as a spin-off from NVIDIA's G-SYNC program, whose requirements have also been laxed compared to their initial requirements for a custom and expensive G-SYNC module that had to be incorporated in monitor designs, the G-SYNC Ultimate badge is supposed to denote the best of the best in the realm of PC monitors: PC monitors that feature NVIDIA's proprietary G-SYNC module and HDR 1000, VESA-certified panels. This is opposed to NVIDIA's current G-SYNC Compatible (which enables monitors sans the G-SYNC module but with support for VESA's VRR standard to feature variable refresh rates) and G-SYNC (for monitors that only feature G-SYNC modules but may be lax in their HDR support) programs.

The new, silently-edited requirements have now dropped the HDR 1000 certification requirement; instead, NVIDIA is now only requiring "lifelike HDR" capabilities from monitors that receive the G-SYNC Ultimate Badge - whatever that means. The fact of the matter is that at this year's CES, MSI's MEG MEG381CQR and LG's 34GP950G were announced with an NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate badge - despite "only" featuring HDR 600 certifications from VESA. This certainly complicates matters for users, who only had to check for the Ultimate badge in order to know they're getting the best of the best when it comes to gaming monitors (as per NVIDIA guidelines). Now, those users are back at perusing through spec lists to find whether that particular monitor has the characteristics they want (or maybe require). It remains to be seen if other, previously-released monitors that shipped without the G-SYNC Ultimate certification will now be backwards-certified, and if I were a monitor manufacturer, I would sure demand that for my products.

MSI Announces AGESA ComboPI V2 1.2.0.0 BIOS Updates for AMD 500 and 400 Series

MSI announced that it will begin rolling out UEFI firmware updates for its Socket AM4 motherboards based on the AMD 400-series and 500-series chipsets, which incorporate AMD's latest AGESA Combo PI V2 1.2.0.0 microcode. These firmware updates will enable resizable BAR support for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series "Ampere" graphics cards, improvements for Ryzen 5000 series "Vermeer" desktop processors, and an assortment of board model-specific improvements or fixes.

The company will begin releasing these firmware updates for its AMD 500-series chipset motherboards, and its AMD 400-series "MAX" models in January 2021. In February, it will follow up with updates for AMD 400-series non-"MAX" models. The "MAX" model name suffix for an MSI AMD 400-series motherboard denotes a board with a 32-megabyte SPI flash ROM chip that allows MSI to cram in its feature-rich ClickBIOS setup program. Keep checking the "support" section of your motherboard's product page on the MSI website for these firmware updates.

NVIDIA Discloses Listing of Mice Compatible With Reflex Latency Analyzer

NVIDIA has published listings of gaming mice compatible with their Reflex latency reduction technology - specifically, mice that are compatible with NVIDIA's Latency Analyzer, which will ensure the best responsiveness from your NVIDIA-equipped PC in gaming scenarios. The mice listing is always pending updates as more and more manufacturers submit their mice for NVIDIA certification, and the list of certified ones is currently bigger than what NVIDIA is sharing in renders.

As per NVIDIA, the listing of currently-supported and certified reflex mice features a total of 11 mice. Acer features three certified mice in the form of the Acer GM310, Predator Cestus 330, and Predator Cestus 350; Alienware's only mice is the AW610M; ASUS ROG counts with the Chakram Core; Corsair's DARK CORE RGB PRO/ RGB PRO SE make the cut; Logitech features the G Pro X Superlight; MSI counts with the GM 41 gaming mouse in the roster; The Razer Death Adder V2 and SteelSeries Rival 3 also make the cut. These are mice that are certified to provide compatibility with NVIDIA's Reflex ecosystem, which takes into account your graphics card, PC monitor and gaming mouse to ensure the lowest latency and fastest system response times for competitive gaming.

ASUS Launches Pilot the Future Program for the ASUS BR1100C Laptop

ASUS North America today announced the launch of the Pilot the Future program for the K-12 education-focused ASUS BR1100C laptop, which was recently announced at CES 2021. ASUS North America will be kicking off the Pilot the Future Campaign today to provide select K-12 schools in North America with the opportunity to receive a set of 30 ASUS BR1100C clamshell laptops, enough to equip a full class of students for learning remotely and in the classroom. To be considered for the ASUS BR1100 Pilot the Future program, school faculty can submit videos to share with ASUS how their school is preparing students for better collaboration in-person and remotely, as well as how the ASUS BR1100 laptops can help promote learning in their classroom.

From the batch of submissions, ASUS will select a number of schools to move onto the community voting round from March 5 through March 22, where schools with the most votes will be selected as a participant in the program. The Pilot the Future program starts today with initial school nominations through February 26 and concludes when the selected K-12 schools are announced on March 29.

GoDeal24 New Year Sales Roll On with Heavily Discounted Genuine Software

GoDeal24 brings you software for new beginnings this New Year's. Power your next-generation gaming PC, barebones, or hardware-only notebook with genuine, globally-valid Windows 10 operating system at prices starting $7.43 for the mighty Windows 10 Pro. Have more than one machine? Pick up a twin-pack for just $11.53. No modern PC is complete without a productivity suite. Bring home the power of next-gen collaboration with Office 2019 Professional Plus for just $28.96. Combine the two for just $34.92. Also check out other editions of Windows 10, Office, and their combinations, to save even more. GoDeal24 uses advanced payment gateways that accept PayPal, so your purchase is secured.

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MSI, Palit, Gainward Announce NVIDIA RTX 3060 Mini-ITX Graphics Cards

It seems that Mini-ITX lovers will finally be able to get their due Ampere injection to their HPC or small form factor systems. MSI, Palit and Gainward have announced Mini-ITX versions of NVIDIA's RTX 3060 graphics card, enabling higher performance (especially in RTX workloads) than last generation's mainstream RTX 2060 graphics cards. MSI's Aero ITX will be available in base and OC variants, and there's currently no confirmation on how many power connectors are built into those cards (though a standard 8-pin would suffice).

Shuttle Announces Space-Saving Barebones For AMD Ryzen Processors

Some eight years after the last AMD-based Mini-PC from Shuttle, a second processor manufacturer is once again being incorporated into the company's own product line. As an initial model to revive this segment, Shuttle is supplying a robust 1.3-litre PC for AMD Ryzen processors with Socket AM4.

The first product with the model name XPC DA320 is a Barebone from the "XPC slim" family which measures just 4.3 cm. It features the standard design of the range, but also supports the latest AMD Ryzen CPUs in Socket AM4 and up to 32 GB of RAM. Like all Shuttle products in a 1.3-litre format, this solution is also regarded as particularly robust. The AMD Radeon graphics unit which is integrated into the processor works well with up to three UHD displays which can be connected via HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort and used simultaneously.

Mysterious GeForce GT 1010 Rears its Head, Targeting OEMs

NVIDIA has quietly introduced a new entry-level desktop discrete GPU positioned a notch below even the GeForce GT 1030. The new GT 1010 is based on the "Pascal" graphics architecture circa 2016, and is cut further down from the 16 nm "GP108" silicon. The GT 1010 appears to be NVIDIA's move at replacing the "Kepler" based GT 710 from its bare entry-level, and helping the company clear out all remaining inventory of the "GP108" silicon from the channel, out to OEMs. The GT 1010 likely features 256 CUDA cores, 16 TMUs, 16 ROPs, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 64-bit wide memory bus (40 GB/s bandwidth), with a maximum GPU Boost frequency of 1468 MHz. If the GT 1010 does make it to the retail channel, we expect a sub-$60 price. With these specs, the chip will be easily bested by the latest iGPUs from AMD and Intel.

Antec Rolls Out DF700 FLUX Mid-Tower Case

Antec today rolled out the DF700 FLUX, an ATX mid-tower case characterized by a unique design for its high-airflow front-panel mesh intake. Rather than a flat panel shape for its mesh, the DF700's mesh curves to the pattern of a wavefront. The top panel features the case's second large mesh vent, while the left side panel is tinted tempered glass. Inside, the case features a conventional horizontally partitioned layout, with the upper compartment that houses the motherboard tray, offering room for graphics cards up to 40.5 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 17.5 cm in height.

Ventilation options in the DF700 FLUX include three 140 mm / 120 mm front intakes, either three 120 mm or two 140 mm top exhausts, a 120 mm rear exhaust, and two 120 mm conveyors between the bottom and top compartments. The case includes a 5-channel fan+ARGB controller. Storage options include two 3.5-inch drive-bays, a 3.5-inch mount, and three 2.5-inch mounts for a total of five spaces. Front panel connectivity includes a pair of USB 3.x type-A, and HDA jacks. The case measures 467 mm x 220 mm x 486 mm (DxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Novachips Announces FIPS-140-2 CMVP Certified 8TB Military-grade SSD

Novachips Co., Ltd., an innovator in flash storage solution, today announced that it had acquired Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 (Cert# 3785) certification on its mainstream Scalar (SATA-based) and Express (NVMe-based) Solid-State Drive (SSD). FIPS 140-2 is a standard developed by the National Institute of Standards (NIST) and is widely used to approve cryptography related algorithms and cryptographic modules. To sell into governmental and federal agencies, meeting these standards is mandatory, and an increasing number of healthcare and financial companies have turned to FIPS compliance as a standardized way to meet their security needs. By completing the FIPS 140-2 validation, Novachips is now perfectly positioned to provide its super-density flash storage products to governmental, military, and other mission-critical applications where the customers want to keep massive data secure.

For this certification, Novachips had developed all required cryptographic algorithms and security functions based on in-house ASIC controller NVS3800 hardware and firmware without adopting any 3rd party security components. This single controller design architecture allows achieving lower power consumption and immediate Zeroize service without any delay factor to destroy the key and key materials via specified host commands or external hardware signal input.
Sunday, January 17th 2021

Qualcomm Reportedly Developing Apple M1 Competitor Dubbed Snapdragon SC8280

Qualcomm is no stranger to developing ARM-based computer processors having released the Snapdragon 8cx and more recently the 8cx Gen 2, however they pale in comparison to Apple's recently releases 5 nm M1 chip. Qualcomm has acknowledged that Apple's latest silicon is a sign of where the future of computing is going and it would seem they have been preparing a competitor. In a new report from WinFuture it is revealed that Qualcomm has been developing a new SOC with internal model number SC8280 as a successor to the 8cx Gen 2.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon SC8280 was found in two configurations one with 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM while the other was coupled with 32 GB of LPDDR4X memory. This is double what Apple offers with the M1 chip which is only available in 8 GB and 16 GB LPDDR4X configurations. The chip has also seen a 13% die size increase coming in at 20 mm x 17 mm up from the 20 mm x 15 mm on the 8cx Gen 2. This new processor is still under development and it is yet to been seen how it will compare with the M1 or the rumored 12-core Apple processor.

Blizzard's Battle.net Launcher Receives a Makeover

Blizzard has recently announced a major overhaul of their Battle.net software to make getting into your games quicker and easier. The new Battle.net design features several major navigation and layout changes including improved game organization, full-page news & game content, revamped social pane, and a new consolidated notification hub. These new features have been under development for some time with beta participants and will now be rolling out to all users starting with North America. The updates will then be rolled out globally in the weeks ahead.

Intel Discontinues All Consumer Optane-Only SSD Products

Intel has quietly announced the discontinuation of all Optane Memory SSDs for the consumer market. The company also confirmed that going forward they had no plans to release any new consumer Optane-Only SDDs. The Intel Optane Memory M10, 800P, 900P, and 905P series SSDs have now all been discontinued with final shipments going out next month. Intel has directed users to look at their Optane Memory H20 with Solid State Storage as a potential replacement, the H20 is a QLC M.2 SSD with 32 GB of Optane memory offered in 1 TB and 2 TB configurations. If you are looking to purchase an Intel Optane-Only SSD you will have to act quickly as once stocks run out they won't be returning.
Friday, January 15th 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Memory
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
SSD

Sapphire Develops a Fanless RX 5700 XT Card for Rack Airflow

Sapphire released the GPRO X070 compute graphics card. This is very much a graphics card, in that it has display outputs, and is based on the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT, but there's a twist—it's completely fanless. The card has a large triple-slot heatsink cooling the GPU, which is designed to rely on external airflow in rackmount cases, and probably won't work on its own in a tower case. Sapphire says its applications include render farms, or V-GPUs. The card features an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT that runs at reference clock speeds—1905 MHz max boost, 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory. There's also an "Efficiency Mode" enabled through a secondary BIOS, which runs the GPU at 1750 MHz boost, possibly making the card best suited for crypto-currency mining operations.

Pat Gelsinger: "Intel Has to be Better at Making CPUs Than That Lifestyle Company"

Intel's future CEO Pat Gelsinger, who supersedes current CEO Bob Swan come February 15th, has reportedly compared Intel with Apple's efforts, in wake of that company's decision to leave the Intel ecosystem in favor of in-house designed ARM CPUs. As Apple M1-powered devices hit reviewers' tables, the opinions mostly went one-sided in favor of Apple's decision, clamoring for that particular CPU design to be only lightly short of a computing miracle, considering the amount of computing power provided at that chip's TDP, and running circles around Apple's previous Intel implementations.

According to The Oregonian, a local newspaper from (you guessed it) Oregon where Intel has a strong branch presence, Intel held an all-hands meeting of its Oregon workforce, attended by future Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who is quoted as having remarked that "We [Intel] have to deliver better products to the PC ecosystem than any possible thing that a lifestyle company in Cupertino makes. We have to be that good, in the future." Considering how Apple's M1 has raised the world's attention to the ARM architecture as a competitor with strong enough arguments to face the x86 ecosystem (as if ARM powering the world's current fastest supercomputer wasn't a strong enough argument), that seems like a strong yet adequate statement. We'll see how Intel fares with its Alder lake CPUs, which essentially bring ARM's design philosophy of an heterogeneous CPU with both high-performance and high-efficiency cores to the x86 table.

Shipped Pre-built PC Systems See 13% Rise in Sales in 2020 Compared to 2019

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed PC shipping growth numbers for 2020 - counting desktops, notebooks (including Chromebooks) and workstations (but excluding laptops and servers), and the results are clear. In a currently-pandemic world, and with the urge and necessity for teleworking efforts so as to reduce personal exposure to risk environments, we've seen an unprecedented demand for technological components. Whether in shortages for the latest "comfort" technologies such as dedicated graphics cards, latest-gen consoles, or even webcams, it's been clear that citizens of the world have been increasingly investing their money in technological devices. This need - either for work, for bridging social distances through the Internet, or for entertainment - has led the pre-built PC ecosystem shipments to increase as much as 13% in 2020 - and a global shipment number set at 302.6 million units.

This year-over-year (YoY) increase is bolstered, mainly, by rises in sales throughout Q4 of 2020, where global PC shipments achieved an outstanding 26% increase from Q4 2019 - in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, 91.6 million units were shipped. In that particular quarter, Lenovo led the top three vendors with a 25.2% share of the sales, followed by HP (20.9%) and Dell (17.2%). Apple appears in fourth place with a mere 8% market share, but shows the strongest growth among the top 5 sellers, at 49.2% YoY - and that's with Apple's comparatively small product portfolio when put against any of the other top three vendors.

NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti, Eventual SUPER Revisions Allegedly Postponed Indefinitely Amidst Supply Woes

Everyone and their mother expected NVIDIA to announce - if not a SUPER refresh to their existing graphics cards with increased memory sizes - at least the RTX 3080 Ti. That card surfaced as a planned NVIDIA counter to AMD's preemptive pricing of $999 on its RX 6900 XT graphics card (which to be fair, is in itself as abundant a card as unicorns this side of the galaxy). GamersNexus reported NVIDIA partners' comments on the indefinite postponement of the RTX 3080 Ti and possible SUPER derivatives of the RTX 30-series lineup. It's being said that NVIDIA decided (smartly, I would say) to ensure consistent supply of their existing lineup to sate demand, instead of dispersing its limited chip production across even more product lines.

This would result, I have no doubt, on NVIDIA only having even more SKUs out of stock than they currently do. Considering the market's current state of mind in regards to NVIDIA's lineup, this seems like the most sensible decision possible. TechPowerUp has in the meantime confirmed this information with NVIDIA partners themselves.

Following Huawei, Xiaomi Added to US Blacklist For Alleged Chinese Military Ties

Access to affordable electronics isn't looking much of a reality for US citizens, as the US government (presently in the outgoing days of Trump's administration) has now announced the addition of Chinese tech company Xiaomi to its military-connections blacklist. The move, enforced via a presidential executive order, now also demands U.S. investors to divest, or sell out, of affected holdings of any companies on the blacklist, by Nov. 11 this year. This addition to the US blacklist is done in accordance with the US National Defense Authorization Act of 1999, and doesn't place XIAOMI in the Entity list, of which Huawei is a part of, which would impede the Chinese tech giant from acquiring US technology and components for fabrication of its products.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) said in a statement that "The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People's Republic of China's (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities". Xiaomi has been classified as one of nine "Communist Chinese military companies".

ASUS Reveals Its GeForce RTX 3060 ROG STRIX Graphics Card

ASUS today revealed their latest flagship iteration on the NVIDIA RTX 3060, the ASUS RTX 3060 ROG STRIX. the graphics card follows ASUS' tried and true ROG STRIX design with a triple-fan cooling solution (that features 0 dB technology when in light use) and an RGB strip detailing alongside the shroud. The RTX 3060 ROG STRIX features a single 8-pin power connector, palatable for this card's expected performance profile, and the company has managed to decrease the footprint of their cooling solution to a 2.7-slot design, which should be more than enough for the card's 170 W TDP.

ASUS has fitted the card with an abundance of connectors that are sure to stand the test of time: 2x HDMI 2.1, and 3x DisplayPort 1.4. ASUS expects the card to be available near the end of February, in both OC and non-OC versions. No word on pricing was available at time of writing - though it will surely be higher than NVIDIA's $329 MSRP.

Bitspower Announces the Premium Mobius VGA Water Block for GeForce RTX 3080 FE

Bitspower has announced a new addition to their VGA waterblock lineup in the form of the Mobius, a specialty-designed waterblock that's meant to fit only NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 Founder's Edition. The Mobius has been engineered to mimic the original NVIDIA design, but trades the traditional dual-fan configuration for a higher-performance cooling solution that stays true to NVIDIA's original design vision for the Founder's Edition.

The waterblock features a nickel and chromium-plated copper base plate, engineered with direct contact technology to cool both the GPU chip and VRM circuitry. The Mobius features an acrylic cover which supports Bitspower's Digital RGB LED technology - which has sync capabilities with popular 3rd party RGB software (ASUS AURA Sync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light Sync, ASRock Polychrome, BIOSTAR VIVID LED DJ, and Razer Chroma). The waterblock features a cutout for NVIDIA's reference 12-pin power connector, and an additional RGB sync cable that extrudes from the PCIe connector side of the waterblock. the Bitspower Mobius waterblock for NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 FE is being listed at $325.

Gigabyte Announces Z590 Vision Motherboard Lineup: Empowering Creators

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, today announced the new Z590 VISION series motherboards for creators which power the 11th Gen Intel Core processors. The exclusive design of VisionLINK and VisionLINK TB enables the simple connection to pen displays with only one USB Type-C cable, releasing creators from the mess of transmission cables and switches to a neat space. Featuring an optimized power design, thermal design, superior connectivity and high quality components, GIGABYTE Z590 VISION series motherboards provide the remarkable platform for creators.

The VisionLINK technology allows for data and video transmission based on USB Type-C Interface and it provides power delivery up to 60 W. VisionLINK technology lets creators not only without cable clutter, but also the benefit of data, video, and power charging at the same time. One USB Type-C cable connected, turn the workspace into neat and tidy. VisionLINK TB is an advanced version of VisionLINK technology. It is based on Thunderbolt 4 delivers 40 Gb/s high-bandwidth speeds, data transferring, video signal, 60 W power charging, and daisy chain function to support up to 10 devices connection.

Intel Gives Memory Overclocking Ability to H570 and B560 Chipsets

With the launch of its 500 series chipsets, Intel has officially laid the groundwork for the launch of its Rocket Lake-S CPU lineup. And with the new platform, there are some new features to be expected. The surprising news today is that Intel has enabled memory overclocking on a non-Z chipset like the upcoming H570 and B560 chipsets designed for mid-range motherboards that provide a budget option compared to the Z series that is designed for overclocking. The H570 and B560 chipsets now only lack the support for CPU overclocking, however, with Intel's history of limiting any overclocking exclusively to Z chipsets, this represents good progress nonetheless. However, for any frequencies above 2666 MHz, you need to use a Core i5 processor and above. The Core i3 and Celeron models are not going to support any higher speeds than 2666 MHz.

NVIDIA Evaluates Cryptocurrency Mining GPU Production

During the 19th Annual J.P. Morgan Tech/Auto Forum Conference, NVIDIA has talked about the possibility of special graphics cards dedicated to mining purposes. The special edition crypto mining GPU is a form of graphics card that has no display outputs, and possibly a few defective texture units. Usually, GPUs that end up with defective texture units end up as waste, however, as crypto mining requires only the compute element from the GPU, these products could be rebranded as mining GPUs. But, it seems like NVIDIA is currently somewhere in the middle ground and weighing in whatever the company sees something like that as a feasible option.

During the conference, NVIDIA's Colette Kress, a chief financial officer, had said a few things about the possible production of GPUs dedicated to crypto mining. "If crypto demand begins or if we see a meaningful amount, we can also use that opportunity to restart the CMP [mining-specific GPUs] product line to address ongoing mining demand," said Ms. Kress. She added that "We [NVIDIA] don't have visibility on how much of the GeForce RTX 30-series end demand comes from mining. So, we don't believe it's a big part of our business today. Gaming demand is very strong, and we think that's larger than our current supply." And that is an understandable thing. Right now crypto mining is hot because of Bitcoin's price, however, NVIDIA can't predict if it will crash a lot or not, so the company doesn't want to risk starting a big production for something that can burst like a bubble.

GoodOffer24 Presents New Year Super Sale on Discounted Genuine Software

GoodOffer24 wishes you a Happy New Year and welcomes 2021 with its New Year Super Sale, with heavy discounts on genuine, globally-valid software that help you spend more on your hardware, while saving big on genuine software. Get Windows 10 Pro for as little as 11.47€. Office 2019 Professional Plus is the most powerful productivity suite, get it for as little as 36.39€. Better yet, combine the two for just 41.99€. Do check out other interesting editions of Windows 10 and Office, and their combinations, to save even more. GoodOffer24 enables PayPal payments, to secure your payment instruments.

Please use the coupon code TOP30 on the following items, to avail the prices you see here.

Buy Windows 10 Pro from GoodOffer24 for 11.47€ | Buy Windows 10 Enterprise 2019 LTSC for 9.86€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro 2-PC for 16.79€ | Buy Windows 10 Home for 11.01€ | Buy Office 2019 Home and Business for 41.31€ | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus for 33.17€ | Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus for 36.39€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2019 Professional for 41.99€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional for 42.69€ | Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2016 Pro for 39.69€ | New Year Sale on Other Items

BIWIN Launches its Own Retail Channel Brand, Biwintech

BIWIN announced its own retail channel brand of memory products in the North American region, named Biwintech. BIWIN is a Shenzhen-based OEM of DRAM and NAND flash client-segment memory products that supplies to giants in the PC industry, such as HP. It is now bringing a sizable portfolio of memory products under its own Biwintech brand to the market, which include DDR4 UDIMM and SO-DIMM PC memory modules, M.2 NVMe SSDs, 2.5-inch SATA SSDs, USB portable SSDs; and memory cards, including SDXC and microSDXC cards, CFast cards, and CFexpress cards. Interestingly, the announcement doesn't mention UFDs (USB flash drives). Biwintech will go to market with 5-year warranties on all its products, including 9 to 5 phone- and 24-hour e-mail tech support.
Thursday, January 14th 2021

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Networking
SSD
Corsair 5000D Airflow Review - A Beautiful & Clean Full-Tower Case

Corsair 5000D Airflow Review - A Beautiful & Clean Full-Tower Case

The Corsair 5000D Airflow is the first full-tower chassis from the brand with their new signature look, and the yellow color accents we first saw in the 4000D. As the name and form factor imply, the 5000D Airflow is both taller and deeper, but still follows the same clean and beautiful design language while offering more space and cooling possibilities.
Team Group T-Create Classic 10L DDR4-3200 MHz CL22 2x32 GB Review

Team Group T-Create Classic 10L DDR4-3200 MHz CL22 2x32 GB Review

The Team Group T-Create Classic 10L is a high-capacity memory kit available in either 2666 MHz or 3200 MHz, with a low-profile design and a 10-layer PCB for extra stability. My sample consists of a pair of 32 GB sticks with the higher 3200 MHz specification—let's see how 64 GB of native 3200 MHz memory performs!

Steam Lunar New Year Sale 2021 Dates Leaked

SteamDB has recently received a leaked email to Steam partners confirming the dates for Steam's next sale. The Steam Lunar New Year Sale 2021 will take place from February 11th to February 15th. Steam regularly sends out emails like this to their developers so that they can prepare for upcoming sales. These emails aren't supposed to be made public. Steam will also be having a Game Festival early next month before the Lunar New Year Sale where they will be releasing free demos for upcoming titles and highlighting indie games.

Patriot Announces EP Series of High Endurance microSDHC/XC Cards

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, today is excited to announce the market launch of its EP series High Endurance microSDHC/XC cards. These new microSDHC/XC cards are designed for video recording devices needing to operate under extreme weather conditions and harsh environments with outstanding reliability and durability. This new series fully support Class 10, V10/V30, and offers improved write speed reaching 30 MB/s to meet the most demanding recording circumstances. The EP series High Endurance microSDHC/XC cards can achieve a sustained 95 MB/s transfer for superior stability and playback of FHD or UHD videos. Now available at major retailers with 32 GB, 64 GB, & 128 GB capacities.

"The EP series High endurance microSDHC/XC cards are tested under rugged conditions, and their specifications have been reinforced, which include high levels of vibration, shock resistance, extreme temperatures, and endurance under a wide range of temperature fluctuations. These cards are also waterproof, dust resistant, and immune to X-ray radiation," said Roger Shinmoto, Vice President of Patriot Memory. "Patriot is dedicated to bringing a total solution with outstanding reliability for the professional user who needs to capture video in a variety of extreme environments, including security system cameras, dashcams, and home monitoring. These cards will work even if you are recording video in the arctic or desert."

OWC Aquires LumaForge, Makers of Jellyfish Storage Servers

OWC today announced the acquisition of LumaForge, creator of the award-winning family of shared storage Jellyfish solutions and its support of the ultra-reliable video workflow server that connects content creators, editors, colorists, graphic artists, and sound mixers. The Jellyfish product line adoption further establishes OWC as the provider of the most reliable storage workflow solutions available for both existing OWC and LumaForge customers and new.

The LumaForge Jellyfish product family consists of Jellyfish Mobile: The first plug-and-play video workflow server that comes with a handle. Jellyfish Mobile was designed to be on-the-go or, at least, out of the server room. It excels with teams of four to six editors working with 4K media on the road or at the office. Jellyfish Tower: Matches the ease-of-use and plug-and-play magic powers of the Mobile and is as powerful as something you'd find in your server room. It's quiet enough to stand on its own in your edit bay and powerful enough to take on 6+ editors working with 4K media and beyond.

Synology Introduces Ultra-compact RackStation RS1221+ and RS1221RP+

Synology Inc. launched today the RackStation RS1221+ and RS1221RP+ (redundant power) 2U 8-bay rackmounted storage servers built to deliver high performance in a space-efficient form factor.

"The RS1221+ and RP+ units are designed for the small-business sector, and indeed, "small" they are," said Michael Wang, Synology Product Manager. "These units not only pack in a huge leap forward in performance, but do it at a modest depth for 2U units in their class. What's more, for businesses who require higher availability, the RP+ version is equipped with dual power supplies for redundancy and added reliability."
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