Sunday, March 24th 2019

ASUS Announces Pro OLED Panel: ProArt PQ22UC with 4K, HDR, 10-bit Panel

If you were waiting for another OLED solution in the PC monitor space to enter the market, the ASUS ProArt PQ22UC may be answering part of your prayers. However, it likely doesn't fit your bill at all when it comes to affordability or choice of features for a gaming-centered solution. The ProArt PQ22UC features an OLED panel with 4K resolution, support for HDR, and a 10-bit panel for increased color reproduction. Aiding in color reproduction and accuracy for its professional aspirations is the fact that this monitor already comes factory-calibrated for a Delta E < 2 color accuracy rating.

The ASUS ProArt PQ22UC has an announced 1000000:1 contrast ratio (remember the pure blacks of OLED), 14-bit internal lookup table, and support for Gamma values of 2.6, 2.4, 2.2, 2.0, and 1.8. There's Micro HDMI and dual USB-CTM ports which support AC power input, data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps and 4K UHD output. Pricing? You'd rather not know it: it's going for €5.160,90 (Austrian retailer) or £4,699.00 in the UK.

Quantic Dreams' Detroit: Become Human to Make use of Vulkan API on PC, System Requirements Revealed

The former PS4-exclusive Detroit: Become Human, from Quantic Dreams, will be making use of the Vulkan API on its PC version. This isn't completely outside expectations: PlayStation doesn't feature DirectX like the XXBOX does, and its custom API, geared for an AMD-based solution, would certainly borrow from Vulkan's programming. This likely means that Detroit: Become Human will feature improved performance on AMD's solutions, if only going by history: Vulkan-based games have historically performed better on AMD than on NVIDIA.

An NVIDIA GTX 660 graphics card is set as the minimum graphical requirement, alongside an i5-2400 and a measly 4 GB of system RAM. The recommended specs, however, list an I7-2700K, a much more relevant 12 GB of system RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1080. That's a huge disparity between the minimum and recommended system requirements, particularly on the RAM and graphics side of the equation, which leaves us to wonder exactly what kind of settings will be adjustable in-game. Detroit: Become Human ran at 2160p checkerboard at 30 FPS on the PS4 Pro, with volumetric lighting being rendered at 235x135x64 resolution - with a graphics chip that is close (but slower) than an RX 470 graphics card (4.2 TFLOPs on the PS4 Pro chip compared to 4.9 TFLOPs on the RX 470).

PCIe SSDs Increasing in Demand, Overtaking SATA Solutions in 2019

DigiTimes, citing industry sources, has reported that PCIe-based SSDs will be overtaking SATA-based solutions during 2019. This makes sense in a number of ways: the smaller footprint for Pcie-based, M.2 SSDs means they are prone to higher adoption form laptop manufacturers tan their SATA counterparts. On the desktop and DIY side of things, SATA solutions have sometimes been preferred to their PCIe counterparts mostly due to the pricing delta between solutions across those form factors.

However, as NAND prices have declined precipitously, and PCIe controllers' pricing has done so too, we are now hitting a point where the cost strain on SATA's additional materials compared to their PCIe counterparts leaves the delta so small that it doesn't make any sense to purchase a SATA-limited drive (usually limited only by the speed of the SATA III interface itself) instead of a PCIe-based one. AS demand picks up some additional 20-25% for 2019, this will mostly be taken up by PCIe-based solutions. Pricing of a 512 GB PCIe storage device is now comparable to that of a 256 GB unit just a year ago. Pricing is expected to keep falling for the duration of this year.
Friday, March 22nd 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD
Storage
ASRock Phantom Gaming Alliance System Build  (8700K + RX 580)

ASRock Phantom Gaming Alliance System Build (8700K + RX 580)

ASRock has recently created the Phantom Gaming Alliance brand as a way to help various manufacturers fine tune their products. By doing so, they can guarantee compatibility, reliability, and performance. This should allow them to better deliver a top of the line gaming experience to all users, and in this regard, I can say they exceeded my expectations considering the system's more entry-level focus.

EK Water Blocks Releases EK-Vector Series Water Blocks for AMD Radeon VII

EK Water Blocks, the leading premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing EK-Vector Radeon VII water blocks that are compatible with reference design AMD Radeon VII graphics cards. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more overclocking headroom and more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, 16GB of HBM2 memory, and VRM (voltage regulation module) as cooling liquid is channeled directly over these critical areas. These newly developed water blocks feature a redesigned cooling engine that has a larger footprint compared to the previous generation of EK Full Cover water blocks. This results in a larger surface area for heat transfer which increases the thermal performance of these water blocks.

Several Gen11 GPU Variants Referenced in Latest Intel Drivers

The latest version of Intel Graphics drivers which introduce the company's latest UWP-based Graphics Command Center app, hide another secret in their INF. The file has pointers to dozens of variants and implementations of the company's next-generation Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which we detailed in a recent article. Intel will implement Gen11 on two key processor microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Lakefield," although later down the line, the graphics technology could trickle down to low-power Pentium Silver and Celeron SoC lines, too, with chips based on the "Elkhart Lake" silicon.

There are 13 variants of Gen11 on "Ice Lake," carved using execution unit (EU) count, and LP (low-power) aggressive power management. The mainstream desktop processors based on "Ice Lake," which are least restrained in power-management, get the most powerful variants of Gen11 under the Iris Plus brand. Iris Plus Graphics 950 is the most powerful implementation, with all 64 EUs enabled, and the highest GPU clock speeds. This variant could feature on Core i7 and Core i9 brands derived from "Ice Lake." Next up, is the Iris Plus Graphics 940, with the same EU count, but likely lower clock speeds, which could feature across the vast lineup of Core i5 SKUs. The Iris Plus 930 comes in two trims based on EU count, of 64 and 48, and could likely be spread across the Core i3 lineup. Lastly, there's the Iris Plus 920 with 32 EUs, which could be found in Pentium Gold SKUs. There are various SKUs branded "UHD Graphics Gen11 LP," with EU counts ranging from 32 to 64.

AMD Ryzen 3000 "Zen 2" BIOS Analysis Reveals New Options for Overclocking & Tweaking

AMD will launch its 3rd generation Ryzen 3000 Socket AM4 desktop processors in 2019, with a product unveiling expected mid-year, likely on the sidelines of Computex 2019. AMD is keeping its promise of making these chips backwards compatible with existing Socket AM4 motherboards. To that effect, motherboard vendors such as ASUS and MSI began rolling out BIOS updates with AGESA-Combo 0.0.7.x microcode, which adds initial support for the platform to run and validate engineering samples of the upcoming "Zen 2" chips.

At CES 2019, AMD unveiled more technical details and a prototype of a 3rd generation Ryzen socket AM4 processor. The company confirmed that it will implement a multi-chip module (MCM) design even for their mainstream-desktop processor, in which it will use one or two 7 nm "Zen 2" CPU core chiplets, which talk to a 14 nm I/O controller die over Infinity Fabric. The two biggest components of the IO die are the PCI-Express root complex, and the all-important dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. We bring you never before reported details of this memory controller.
Thursday, March 21st 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Storage
Aukey KM-G6 Mechanical Keyboard

Aukey KM-G6 Mechanical Keyboard

Aukey effectively replaces their excellent value for money KM-G8 keyboard with the new KM-G6. It keeps the same Outemu Blue mechanical switches and doubleshot-injected keycaps, while adding multi-color backlighting with many lighting effects and onboard controls at that same attractive price point.

ENERMAX Announces LIQMAX III AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance PC hardware products, introduces LIQMAX III, the new generation of LIQMAX, one of the proclaimed AIO CPU cooler series from ENERMAX. Like the award-winning predecessors featuring superior cooling performance as well as rock-solid quality, LIQMAX III is built with a luminous Aurabelt water-block supporting synchronizabale RGB lighting with RGB motherboards from ASRock, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI. LIQMAX III is undoubtedly an excellent choice for mainstream water-cooled RGB gaming rigs.

The premium Aurabelt water-block provides luminous RGB lighting; besides, the exquisite water block is able to support RGB lighting synchronization with motherboards that come with 4pin RGB header(s) (12V/G/R/B). Users can select the preferred lighting styles via the RGB motherboard software.

TP-Link Introduces New Line of Value Packed Archer A Series Routers

TP-Link , a leading global provider of consumer and business networking products, today unveiled a full product line of Archer A Series Wi-Fi routers, the latest additions to TP-Link's lineup of affordable, cutting-edge networking solutions. Priced from 20 to 30 percent lower than other brands, the new line of Archer A series Wi-Fi routers offers unbeatable value and is one of the most complete Wi-Fi offerings in the marketplace.

"Our new family of Archer A Series routers is one of our most exciting and budget-friendly product lines to date, with Archer A7 already leading the way as one of the best-selling routers on Amazon," said Louis Liu, CEO at TP-Link USA. "These state-of-the-art routers offer a fast, reliable Wi-Fi experience and are the ideal choice for demanding customers that require the highest performance at the lowest possible price. With numerous products and pricing options, there is TP-Link Archer A Series router for every taste and every budget. It's this commitment to value that has made TP-Link No. 1 in Wi-Fi markeshare worldwide."

Roccat Announces the Kova AIMO Gaming Mouse

The Kova AIMO, ROCCAT's most versatile mouse yet, is available now. With a design optimized for both left- and right-handed gamers alike, it is exceptionally adaptable. Yet it is also remarkably comfortable owing to its refined, ergonomic shape. The mouse features quick-fire buttons that are intuitively placed on either side of the main top buttons to allow for fast, instinctive control. Together with the Titan wheel and additional side buttons, the Kova AIMO offers an impressive 20 possible functions.

It represents the latest addition to the AIMO family and boasts 16.8 million discrete color options. AIMO is both a lighting engine and an ecosystem at once. Its functionality grows based on the number of compatible devices connected and presents vivid, state-of-the-art illumination scenarios without the need for configuration. With the Kova AIMO the lighting is showcased on the robust Titan wheel and newly revamped logo.

NEC Display Solutions Announces New 55-inch Professional UHD Displays

NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., a leading provider of commercial LCD displays and projectors, today announced the V554Q, a large-format 4K UHD display packed with commercial-grade features and a slim new design to blend into any environment. Like other new models in the C & V Series, the V554Q features an industry-best anti-reflective high haze coating, full external control and network capabilities through LAN, and SpectraView Engine Technology, which allows for complete color control.

"We've listened to our customers in designing the V554Q to be the best 55-inch display tailored for commercial and corporate signage needs," said Ben Hardy, Senior Product Manager at NEC Display Solutions. "The V554Q has best-in-class, high-haze anti-glare coating, updated connectivity, and both landscape and portrait orientation support to seamlessly fit any digital signage environment."

EK Releases Aluminum Based Water Blocks for NVIDIA RTX Series Graphics Cards

EK Water Blocks, the market leader in PC custom liquid cooling, is announcing the expansion of their Fluid Gaming aluminum based custom loop liquid cooling line. With price and performance in mind, EK Fluid Gaming is an inexpensive ticket to the custom liquid cooling world. Following the release of copper blocks for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080Ti cards, EK is now launching one aluminum water block that is cross-compatible with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080Ti cards which use the reference PCB and layout.

The EK-AC GeForce RTX is a full-cover water block designed and developed in cooperation with NVIDIA and it fits several high-end NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards. This water block directly cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card to reach higher boost frequencies. The loud stock fan gets to be replaced by a slim-line minimalistic water block that will not only make your PC look better, but also make the graphics card perform better. Finally, you will be able to enjoy your favorite games in silence. This water block also comes with a sleek matte black backplate.

Intel Introduces its New Graphics Command Center App, Paving the Way For Intel Xe

Intel has revealed the layout and overall look (as well as functionality, though that one is always changing) of their new Graphics Command Center app, which showcases the company's vision for a graphics control hub. The design is thematically coherent (read: it's blue), and is, for now, of a simple layout. Enthusiast options are expectedly going to be added closer to or upon release of the company's discrete-level graphics architecture with Intel Xe, but the Command Center as it is showcases Intel's overall spirit to their graphics push. For now, features keep the minimalist approach of Intel's integrated graphics - this is more of a new coat of paint than a new enthusiast-grade Command Center.

Intel made a video available on its Twitter account, and announced an early access program for users that want to partake i the feature and usability development of the new Command Center. The new app is available through Microsoft's App Store on Windows.

Nitro Concepts Releases the New S300EX PU Leather Gaming Chair

The Nitro Concepts S300EX is a brand new addition to the existing S300 range, sporting new PU leather upholstery and with an updated design to match. It's breathable cold foam construction, alongside ergonomic design, make it perfect for gaming in total comfort.

The S300EX is totally customisable to gamers of every size, with adjustable or fully removable headrest and lumbar support. Armrests are three dimensional; with height, rotation and the ability to slide both back and forwards depending on your seating style. Finally the chair itself is both height and backrest adjustable, with a built in rocking feature for when you're ready to kick back and relax.

EPIC Games Shows Off Unreal Engine 4.23 Physics, Destruction System "Chaos" at GDC 2019

Not all news coming from EPIC covers its EPIC Games Store - though according to the relative attention they've been garnering with the constant scooping up of PC timed exclusives, perhaps it should. This piece of news, alas, covers the company's unreal Engine, which has been one of the hallmarks in games development for a while now, being used for a number of disparate games such as the gears of War games, or even a relatively obscure, Xbox 360 exclusive title, Lost Odyssey. At GDC 2019, EPIC showcased version 4.23 of its Unreal Engine, with particular attention to its improved destruction and physics engine, which they've aptly named "Chaos".

NVIDIA: Turing Adoption Rate 45% Higher Than Pascal, 90% of Users Buying Upwards in Graphics Product Tiers

NVIDIA during its investor day revealed some interesting statistics on its Turing-based graphics cards. The company essentially announced that revenue for Turing graphics cards sales increased 45% over that generated when NVIDIA introduced their Pascal architecture - which does make sense, when you consider how NVIDIA actually positioned its same processor tiers (**60, **70, **80) in higher pricing brackets than previously. NVIDIA's own graphics showcase this better than anyone else could, with a clear indication of higher pricing for the same graphics tier. According to the company, 90% of users are actually buying pricier graphics cards this generation than they were in the previous one -which makes sense, since a user buying a 1060 at launch would only have to pay $249, while the new RTX 2060 goes for $349.

Other interesting tidbits from NVIDIA's presentation at its investor day is that Pascal accounts for around 50% of the installed NVIDIA graphics cards, while Turing, for now, only accounts for 2% of that. This means 48% of users sporting an NVIDIA graphics card are using Maxwell or earlier designs, which NVIDIA says presents an incredible opportunity for increased sales as these users make the jump to the new Turing offerings - and extended RTX feature set. NVIDIA stock valuation grew by 5.82% today, likely on the back of this info.

Scythe presents Kotetsu Mark II & Choten TUF Gaming Alliance Coolers

Japanese cooling expert Scythe presents two special editions of its CPU Cooler models Kotetsu Mark II and Choten as part of the ASUS TUF Gaming Alliance series. Both products bundle their unique advantages with the fancy design of the TUF Gaming Alliance series and gorgeous RGB illumination.

Scythe Kotetsu Mark II TUF Gaming Alliance Edition is based on the award-winning Kotetsu Mark II, offering outstanding performance even for overclocking purposes at impressively low noise levels. The Scythe Choten TUF Gaming Alliance on the other hand, aims for much more compact PC case environments while providing excellent balance between size, compatibility and performance.

Intel "Ice Lake" GPU Docs Reveal Unganged Memory Mode

When reading through the Gen11 GT2 whitepaper by Intel, which describes their upcoming integrated graphics architecture, we may have found a groundbreaking piece of information that concerns the memory architecture of computers running 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. The whitepaper mentions the chip to feature a 4x32-bit LPDDR4/DDR4 interface as opposed to the 2x64-bit LPDDR4/DDR4 interface of current-generation chips such as "Coffee Lake." This is strong evidence that Intel's new architecture will have unganged dual-channel memory controllers (2x 64-bit), as opposed to the monolithic 128-bit IMC found on current-generation chips.

An unganged dual-channel memory interface consists of two independent memory controllers, each handling a 64-bit wide memory channel. This approach lets the processor execute two operations in tandem, given the accesses go to distinct memory banks. On top of that it's now possible to read and write at the same time, something that's can't be done in 128-bit memory mode. From a processor's perspective DRAM is very slow, and what takes up most of the time (= latency), is opening the memory and preparing the read/write operation - the actual data transfer is fairly quick.

Intel Gen11 Architecture and GT2 "Ice Lake" iGPU Detailed

Intel "Ice Lake" will be the company's first major processor microarchitecture since the "Skylake" (2015), which promises CPU IPC improvements. Intel has been reusing both CPU cores and graphics architecture for four processor generations, since "Skylake". Gen9 got a mid-life update to Gen9.5 with "Kaby Lake", adding new display interfaces and faster drivers. "Ice Lake" takes advantage of the new 10 nm silicon fabrication process to not just pack faster CPU cores (with increased IPC), but also the new Gen11 iGPU. Intel published a whitepaper detailing this architecture.

An illustration in the whitepaper points to the GT2 trim of Gen11. GT2 tends to be the most common variant of each Intel graphics architecture. Gen9.5 GT2, for example, is deployed across the board on 8th and 9th generation Core processors (with the exception of the "F" or "KF" SKUs). The illustration confirms that Intel will continue to use their Ring Bus interconnect on the mainstream implementation of "Ice Lake" processors, despite possible increases in CPU core counts. This is slightly surprising, since Intel introduced a Mesh interconnect with its recent HEDT and enterprise processors. Intel has, however, ensured the iGPU has a preferential access to the Ring Bus, with 64 Byte/clock reads and 64 Byte/clock writes, while each CPU core only has 32 Byte/clock reads and 32 Byte/clock writes.

ZOTAC Announces Availability of MEK Mini Gaming PC

ZOTAC Technology, a global manufacturer of innovation, today announced the launch of the super-compact gaming desktop, MEK MINI. Boasting a mere 9.18 liter, MEK MINI packs an Intel Core i7 processor, a discrete ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX graphics card, and SPECTRA 2.0 lighting system.

Utilizing over 12 years of design and engineering expertise, ZOTAC has been pioneering its way with many things MINI. First with the ZBOX Mini PC ranging from impossibly small to ones capable of rivaling desktops, secondly with MINI graphics cards that still retain the potent power and performance of larger sized ones, and now ZOTAC has set its sight on the Gaming PC segment with the small and strong MEK MINI.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 419.67 Creator Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today surprised us with the curiously named GeForce 419.67 Creator Ready drivers. These are client-segment graphics drivers, and only support GeForce and TITAN graphics cards, and not a single Quadro product is supported. Their version numbering also aligns with the GeForce trunk. The way we read this, "Creator Ready" is a new moniker like the existing "Game Ready," and while the latter is timed to release with major AAA game launches, the former aligns with major productivity apps relevant to the client-segment that doesn't need too many professional features or certifications exclusive to the Quadro series. These drivers support GeForce GTX 10-series "Pascal," GeForce GTX 16-series "Turing," GeForce RTX 20-series "Turing," and TITAN products based on the "Pascal," "Volta" and "Turing" architectures. 900-series "Maxwell" support is removed.

These drivers introduce performance optimization for recently launched productivity applications Autodesk Arnold, Unreal Engine 4.22, REDCINE-X PRO, Adobe Lightroom, and Substance Designer by Adobe. The drivers also improve performance of existing applications. You can expect a 13 percent performance improvement with Blender Cycles, up to 9 percent with Photoshop CC and Premier Pro CC, and up to 8 percent with Maxon Cinema 4D. NVIDIA also added G-Sync certifications to ASUS VG278Q and VG258 monitors, which are adaptive-sync capable. Installing these drivers won't change the gaming feature-set of your existing drivers. These very much still are GeForce drivers, and your settings can carry forward.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 419.67 Creator Ready Drivers

The change-log follows.

Samsung Develops Industry's First 3rd-generation 10nm-Class DRAM

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has developed a 3rd-generation 10-nanometer-class (1z-nm) eight-gigabit (Gb) Double Data Rate 4 (DDR4) DRAM for the first time in the industry. In just 16 months since it began mass producing the 2nd-generation 10nm-class (1y-nm) 8Gb DDR4, development of 1z-nm 8Gb DDR4 without the use of Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) processing has pushed the limits of DRAM scaling even further.

As 1z-nm becomes the industry's smallest memory process node, Samsung is now primed to respond to increasing market demands with its new DDR4 DRAM that has more than 20-percent higher manufacturing productivity compared to the previous 1y-nm version. Mass production of the 1z-nm 8Gb DDR4 will begin within the second half of this year to accommodate next-generation enterprise servers and high-end PCs expected to be launched in 2020.

ASUS Rolls Out TUF B450M-Pro Gaming Motherboard

ASUS expanded its TUF Gaming motherboard series for the AMD platform with the new TUF B450M-Pro Gaming, positioned above its existing TUF B450M-Plus Gaming. This board features a more upscale CPU VRM design, chunkier VRM heatsinks, a more premium onboard audio solution, an additional M.2 slot, and more fan headers than the B450M-Plus Gaming. To begin with, the board features a 10-phase CPU VRM compared to the simpler 6-phase design of the B450M-Plus Gaming. Both areas of the CPU VRM are cooled by visibly bigger heatsinks, while the B450M-Plus Gaming features no heatsink over the VSoC phases. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors.

ASUS rearranged the expansion slot layout to make room for a second M.2 slot. The upper slot features both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, while the lower slot features PCI-Express 3.0 x2 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. Both slots use SATA switching logic to divert SATA links from the board's six SATA 6 Gbps ports. The third major area of improvement is the onboard audio solution, which uses a top-grade Realtek ALC1220A CODEC compared to the entry-level ALC887 of the B450M-Plus Gaming. This chip is still wired out to 6-channel analog jacks. There are a couple of additional 4-pin fan headers. The onboard gigabit Ethernet solution is unchanged, driven by a Realtek RTL8111H PHY. The ASUS TUF B450M-Pro Gaming is expected to be priced at USD $99.
Wednesday, March 20th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
AMD Ryzen Memory Tweaking & Overclocking Guide

AMD Ryzen Memory Tweaking & Overclocking Guide

Memory overclocking has a significant impact on performance of AMD Ryzen-powered machines, but the alleged complexity of memory tweaking on this platform, largely fueled by misinformation and lack of documentation, has kept some enthusiasts away from it. We want to change this.
Cooler Master Masterbox NR600

Cooler Master Masterbox NR600

The Cooler Master NR series aims to combine form and function in a streamlined look with a good material mix. It actually achieves this balance quite well considering its affordable price tag, sturdy build quality, and simple but useful feature set.
Cooler Master Masterbox NR400

Cooler Master Masterbox NR400

The Cooler Master Masterbox NR400 is the smaller of the two enclosures from the recently launched family. It aims to offer an efficient, cost-effective mass-market appeal while retaining a useful feature set at the same time.

beyerdynamic Innovates Lifestyle Headphones with Soul BYRD and Blue BYRD

beyerdynamic, one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and conferencing products, announces Blue BYRD, the first wireless, in-ear headset within the BYRD Series, and the Soul BYRD, an in-ear headset. Featuring a unique, extra-flat design, the Blue BYRD and Soul BYRD allow for unrestricted listening with state-of-the-art technology and crisp acoustics.

Blue BYRD combines simple elegance, impressive sound and enjoyable wearing comfort to create an everyday wireless headphone. Blue BYRD boasts flawless Bluetooth transmission with Qualcomm aptX and AAC technology for a balanced listening experience for up to six hours of playing time. Blue BYRD's universal, three-button remote microphone provides flexibility to manage media playback, phone calls, and virtual assistants on both Android and iOS playback devices. Blue BYRD retails for $199.00 USD and is currently shipping. For more information, please visit https://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/blue-byrd.html.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.3 Drivers

AMD today released the latest version of their Radeon Adrenalin 2019 Drivers with beta version 19.3.3. This release adds support for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Generation Zero. In regards to performance improvements AMD made no mention of any with this release; however, a few fixes were implemented. Up first is Rainbow Six Siege which should no longer have texture flickering or intermittent corruption issues. Meanwhile, in DOTA 2 VR AMD has managed to eliminate stutter problems on HMD devices when the game is utilizing the Vulkan API. They also made mention of two known issues as well. The first issue impacts AMD Ryzen mobile processors with Radeon Vega Graphics, on which the mouse cursor can disappear or go beyond the top boundary of a display. While the second problem pertains to WattMan gauges along with the performance metrics, overlay being inaccurate on systems with an AMD Radeon VII installed.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Adrenalin Edition 19.3.3 Beta

Oculus Announces the Rift S Headset for $399, Developed in Partnership With Lenovo

Oculus today announced an improvement to their original Rift headset, the Oculus Rift S. The new headset from oculus builds upon advances in their view of a VR experience, as well as from learnings acquired through the development of the original Rift, the smartphone-only Oculus Go, and the standalone Oculus Quest, to deliver the new, ultimate VR experience in the Oculus field.

The Oculus S features improved panels with a 2560x1440 resolution (just like the Oculus GO), offering 40% more pixels and improving the pixel subsystem with groupings of three instead of two. It also features Oculus Quest's Inside-Out tracking capabilities, with five cameras instead of the Quests' four, alongside redesigned controllers.

Denuvo Parent Company Irdeto Launches Anti-Cheat Solution

Irdeto, Denuvo's parent company, is now looking to offer another service for publishers: an anti-cheat solution. Named Denuvo Anti-Cheat (because why would they abandon the well-known Denuvo branding), the new system aims to prevent cheaters from extracting or manipulating game code that could give them an advantage over other users.

Like the Denuvo DRM, this Anti-Cheat solution isn't located at the executable level, but is integrated into the game code natively. Developers will have to work it into select triggers, much like they already do with Denuvo, for the solution to be as seamless as possible. Irdeto said "Denuvo Anti-Cheat makes use of the latest hardware security features offered by Intel and AMD, combined with Machine Learning of game-agnostic process metrics, to ensure no false positives and maximum detection of cheating".

Quantic Dreams' PlayStation Exclusives Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human Announced for PC as EPIC Games Store Exclusives

The unthinkable, never-before-seen, has happened: games that were developed as PlayStation exclusives are finally making their way to PC (outside of any PS Now streaming shenanigans). Developer Quantic Dreams has announced at GDC 2019 that Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls and Detroit: Become Human are coming to the PC platform. And if you didn't read that title, you probably wondered, and yes: they are exclusive, for a period of one year, to the EPIC Games Store.

The EPIC Games Store Odyssey: Obsidian's "The Outer Worlds", Remedy's "Control" Exclusive for One Year

It seems that the EPIC Game Store exclusivity saga is still coming strong, with not one, but two AA games coming to PC that are exclusive to the new games distribution platform. Obsidian's The Outer Worlds is likely one of the most anticipated RPG games this side of Fallout 76, and Remedy has always been known for great single-player games that push the boundaries of the medium - and sometimes wreck those boundaries completely, as it happened with Quantum Break.

Now, both games are known to be part of EPIC's Game Store in a time-limited exclusive format for one year after launch, much like has happened with Metro Exodus - though here there is no sudden Steam departure to be met with. The Outer Worlds will also be available in Microsoft Store, true (Obsidian is now part of Microsoft's Game Studios, remember?).

Without Silicon, Intel Scores First Exascale Computer Design Win for Xe Graphics - AURORA Supercomputer

This here is an interesting piece of tech news for sure, in that Intel has already scored a pretty massive design win for not one, but two upcoming products. Intel's "Future Xeon Scalable Processors" and the company's "Xe Compute Architecture" have been tapped by the U.S. Department of Energy for incorporation into the new AURORA Supercomputer - one that will deliver exascale performance. AURORA is to be developed in a partnership between Intel and Cray, using the later's Shasta systems and its "Slingshot" networking fabric. But these are not the only Intel elements in the supercomputer design: Intel's DC Optane persistent memory will also be employed (in an as-of-yet-unavailable version of it as well), making this a full win across the prow for Intel.

NETGEAR Debuts AX12 Wi-Fi 6 Home Router

NETGEAR, the leading provider of networking devices that power today's smart home and small businesses, has introduced a new tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router (RAX200).

The Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 (RAX200) is a powerful Wi-Fi 6 router that uses three bands with a combined Wi-Fi speed of 10.8Gbps. This provides the ideal solution for the growing needs of households with an ever-increasing number of connected devices vying for internet bandwidth simultaneously. Tri-Band Wi-Fi provides an additional Wi-Fi band to reduce congestion and provide a better-connected experience across multiple devices simultaneously. The latest Wi-Fi 6 technology provides four times the amount of data capacity over that of the previous generation of Wi-Fi routers (802.11ac), also now known as Wi-Fi 5.

Alpenföhn Unveils the Brocken ECO Advanced CPU Cooler

Alpenföhn today unveiled the Brocken ECO Advanced CPU cooler, available for pre-order through Overclockers UK in the EU. The Brocken ECO Advanced is the latest CPU cooler from German manufacturer Alphenfohn. It sports an asymmetrical design, with a compact size allowing almost universal compatibility of the adjacent RAM modules - no matter the height of the heat spreader.

The Brocken ECO Advanced offers an overall increased cooler size and with a new high performance fan gives cooling support for a TDP of 170 Watts; making it perfect for overclockers. It's ultra-quiet 120 mm WingBoost 3 fan, featuring redesigned blades and a fixed guide, increased volume flow whilst reducing total noise output.

MSI Rolls Out AMD 400-series BIOS Updates with "Zen 2" Microcode

MSI mid-March began quietly rolling out BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD 400-series chipset, with a very ominous BIOS change-log entry: "Support new upcoming AMD CPU." At first, we dismissed this for being the company's follow-up to its 6th March announcement of support for some of the newer Athlon processor models, namely the 220GE and 240GE. After updating our MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC with one of these BIOSes, however, we discovered a very interesting microcode string - AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2.

Such a major change in AGESA shouldn't be warranted to add support for two new chips based on existing "Raven Ridge" architecture that both AGESA "Summit Ridge" and AGESA PiR (Pinnacle Ridge) series microcodes should be able to comfortably run. We spoke with sources familiar with AMD microcode, who revealed that this AGESA COMBO-AM4 0.0.7.2 is designed for the upcoming "Zen 2" microarchitecture, and its first socket AM4 implementation, codenamed "Matisse." AMD internal versions of AGESA with Matisse support begin with the version sequence 0.0.7.x., and as we head closer to formal launch of these chips, AMD could release a 1.0.0.0 version of "AGESA COMBO-AM4." For our B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, the BIOS version packing this new AGESA is v1.60, and we wager this board should now be able to run Ryzen "Matisse" engineering samples. Now, if we can only get our hands on one.

Kyle Bennett of HardOCP Joins Intel as Director of Enthusiast Engagement

Kyle Bennett, owner of tech publication HardOCP that ruled the web for over two decades, has joined Intel in the position of Director of Enthusiast Engagement. Following his departure, HardOCP will "mothballed," in that it will not generate new content, its IP and existing content will be owned by Bennett. HardForum.com, on the other hand, will be sold to a company Bennett is familiar with, demonetized, and run by volunteers and funded by Patreons. At Intel, Bennett will work under Technology Leadership Marketing, and will lead the company's efforts to "reconnect with the top of the high-performance consumer pyramid which contains hardware enthusiasts, overclockers, gamers, and content creators."

Kyle Benett is among a handful superstar tech journalists Intel soaked up in recent times as Raja Koduri and Chris Hook build Intel's Infinity Gauntlet with them. These include Ryan Shrout from PC Perspective, and Damien Triolet from Hardware.fr (albeit via AMD). Anand Lal Shimpi probably was one of the first and most prominent tech press leaders who left his publication for the industry. AMD's arsenal includes Scott Wasson from The TechReport and the famous overclocker Sammi Maekinen. Lars Weinand from RivaStation works for NVIDIA (also via AMD). Kyle Bennett is famous for a mountain of work in the DIY PC sphere, but in recent times is most recently credited for exposing and leading an awareness campaign against NVIDIA's poorly conceived GeForce Partner Program (GPP). We wish Kyle Bennett all the very best in his new endeavor and pray that he doesn't allow DIY PC and overclocking to become as expensive a hobby as fast cars (which unfortunately is the direction in which it's headed).

Apple iMac Gets a 2x Performance Boost

Apple today updated its iMac line with up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors for the first time and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. From consumers to pros alike, users will notice their iMac is faster for everyday tasks all the way up to the most demanding pro workloads. This boost in performance, combined with its gorgeous Retina display, sleek all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave, makes iMac the world's best desktop.

"Customers are going to love the huge boost in iMac performance. With up to 8-core processors and powerful Vega graphics, the iMac lineup is stronger than ever," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac Product Marketing. "With its stunning Retina display, amazing design, twice the performance, and macOS Mojave that our customers love, iMac is by far the best desktop in the world."

Samsung Electronics Introduces New Flashbolt HBM2E High Bandwidth Memory

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2E) product at NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) to deliver the highest DRAM performance levels for use in next-generation supercomputers, graphics systems, and artificial intelligence (AI).

The new solution, Flashbolt , is the industry's first HBM2E to deliver a 3.2 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) data transfer speed per pin, which is 33 percent faster than the previous-generation HBM2. Flashbolt has a density of 16Gb per die, double the capacity of the previous generation. With these improvements, a single Samsung HBM2E package will offer a 410 gigabytes-per-second (GBps) data bandwidth and 16 GB of memory.

Scythe Unleashes Big Shuriken 3 CPU Cooler

Scythe today announces the release of new cooler Big Shuriken 3. This cooler is low profile cooling solution for small form factor systems. The version uses newly developed Kaze Flex 12015mm slim fan that delivers great airflow and compact size for only 69mm in height. The wide-space heatsink jointed with 5 sintered heatpipes can transfer and ventilate the heat effectively, and with asymmetric design offering best compatibility to memory and components on motherboard.
Tuesday, March 19th 2019

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Zowie Divina S Series

Zowie Divina S Series

Zowie is often considered one of the best peripheral makers across the globe. They certainly know how to create fantastic shapes, so pretty much everyone can find a comfortable Zowie mouse. The Divina S series mice feature a symmetrical design, PMW3360 top optical sensor, and a lightweight shell optimized for eSports-level performance.
RTX and DLSS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

RTX and DLSS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Today, Eidos released their long awaited RTX and DLSS patch for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Raytracing in the game helps improve the quality and realism of shadows. We took a close look at image quality and measure the performance impact using the complete GeForce RTX lineup.

Philips Announces the E9 Series Curved Monitors

Today EPI, who holds all Philips-branded home and personal audio licensing worldwide, unveiled three new curved monitors as part of its E9 Series - inviting users to experience the ultimate in real immersion with stunning picture quality and new, built-in speakers. Perfect for home entertainment or at the office, the Philips E9 Series includes the 32" Ultra-Wide Color QHD monitor (328E9FJAB), and the Philips 32" (328E9QJAB) and 27'' Ultra-Wide Color LCD monitors (278E9QJAB). The new collection is now available on Amazon. The 328E9FJAB is $349.99 MSRP, the 328E9QJAB is $249.99 MSRP and the 278E9QJAB is $215.99.

The new displays all feature Ultra-Wide Color Technology which means a wider spectrum of colors, including vivid reds and deep blues, that deliver a more brilliant picture that comes to life on screen. The ultra-narrow borders and curved design allow for minimum distractions, maximum viewing size and enhanced productivity. Ultranarrow borders are ideal for multi-display or tiling set-up with gaming, graphic design and professional applications - making it feel like one large display.
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