Hardware Giveaway
Monday, October 21st 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Mousepads
Networking
PSUs
SSD
Cooler Master MP510 Mouse Pad

Cooler Master MP510 Mouse Pad

The MP510 is a unique mouse pad from Cooler Master. It features a highly durable Cordura fabric as its top material, which is a smooth nylon blend. It has a splash-proof surface, stitched edges, and a logo that glows in the dark.

Kingston Technology Also Releases Enterprise-Grade Data Center 450R SSD

Kingston Digital Europe Co LLP, the flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced it is shipping the Data Center 450R (DC450R) Enterprise SSD, a high performance 6 Gbps SATA SSD with 3D TLC NAND, designed for read-centric application workloads. This streamlined server SSD delivers on performance while providing exceptional I/O and latency predictability, a requirement now amongst Data Center Class SSDs. Built to Kingston's strict QoS requirements, the DC450R is designed to ensure performance consistency over a wide range of read intensive and read caching workloads.

Kingston's DC450R is designed for workloads that require 24/7 uptime and reliability, such as Content Delivery Networks (CDN), edge computing applications and a wide array of software-defined storage architectures. DC450R presents a specifically focused feature set that enables data centers to select the most cost effective SSD for their workloads. Businesses require results as they deliver on products, solutions and service level agreements (SLAs) and DC450R provides system builders and Cloud providers with a high performance, economical SSD standard they can count on.

Kingston Digital Introduces New KC600 SATA SSD

Kingston Digital Europe Co LLP, the flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, today announced it is shipping the KC600 SATA SSD. Designed for use in desktop and notebook workloads, KC600 is a full-capacity SSD that provides remarkable performance. It comes in a 2.5" form factor using the SATA Rev 3.0 interface with backwards compatibility.

KC600 is optimized for functional system responsiveness with incredible boot, loading and transfer times. It supports a full-security suite that includes AES-XTS 256-bit hardware-based encryption, TCG Opal 2.0 and eDrive, allowing users to protect and secure their data. KC600 will be available in capacities up to 2 TB utilizing the latest 3D TLC NAND technology and has read/write speeds up to 550/520 MB/s, respectively. It is offered as both a stand-alone SSD or as a bundle kit which provides everything needed for an easy desktop or notebook upgrade installation.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Gets a VR Port

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is another addition in the Zelda universe that its fans enjoyed. Being playable on only on Nintendo Switch, and Wii U, so far its audience has been limited to people with access to one of the Nintendo's consoles. However, that is about to change. There is new port of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild, that runs on PC at 4K resolution, with unlocked framerate giving players possibility of achieving more than 60 frames per second, and is playable in VR.

Thanks to a YouTube channel BSoD Gaming, we have footage of Zelda: Breath of the Wild running in VR mode. With a PC powered by Intel Core i7 8700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, this Zelda game is running above 60 FPS at 4K resolution (around 80-100 FPS). VR mode is being handled easily due to the game being not so graphically demanding, so there will be plenty of people who should be able to experience VR mode without too much trouble.

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Beats Intel Core i9-10980XE by 24% in 3DMark Physics

AMD's upcoming Ryzen 9 3950X socket AM4 processor beats Intel's flagship 18-core processor, the Core i9-10980XE, by a staggering 24 percent at 3DMark Physics, according to a PC Perspective report citing TUM_APISAK. The 3950X is a 16-core/32-thread processor that's drop-in compatible with any motherboard that can run the Ryzen 9 3900X. The i9-10980XE is an 18-core/36-thread HEDT chip that enjoys double the memory bus width as the AMD chip, and is based on Intel's "Cascade Lake-X" silicon. The AMD processor isn't at a tangible clock-speed advantage. The 3950X has a maximum boost frequency of 4.70 GHz, while the i9-10980XE isn't much behind, at 4.60 GHz, but things differ with all-core boost.

When paired with 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory, the Ryzen 9 3950X powered machine scores 32,082 points in the CPU-intensive physics tests of 3DMark. In comparison, the i9-10980XE, paired with 32 GB of quad-channel DDR4-2667 memory, scores just 25,838 points as mentioned by PC Perspective. Graphics card is irrelevant to this test. It's pertinent to note here that the 3DMark physics test scales across practically any number of CPU cores/threads, and the AMD processor could be benefiting from a higher all-core boost frequency than the Intel chip. Although AMD doesn't mention a number in its specifications, the 3950X is expected to have an all-core boost frequency that's north of 4.00 GHz, as its 12-core sibling, the 3900X, already offers 4.20 GHz all-core. In contrast, the i9-10980XE has an all-core boost frequency of 3.80 GHz. This difference in boost frequency, apparently, even negates the additional 2 cores and 4 threads that the Intel chip enjoys, in what is yet another example of AMD having caught up with Intel in the IPC game.

GIGABYTE Threadripper TRX40 AORUS Motherboard Teased

AMD is going to launch its premium HEDT Threadripper CPUs, based on 7 nm manufacturing process, as soon as November 5th arrives. To prepare for the launch, manufacturers like GIGABYTE have been working hard to bring new CPUs to life, by integrating AMD's new chipsets into the new motherboard models. Dubbed "Castle Peak" and "Sharkstooth", the two new CPU variants will be accompanied by TRX40, TRX80 and WRX80 chipsets, each enabling additional features.

We now got a hold of the first picture of what appears to be GIGABYTE's AORUS motherboard based on TRX40 chipset. Coming in with the E-ATX form factor, this motherboard is similar in size with the previous X399 AORUS Xtreme model. It features four PCIe 4.0 x16 slots and eight slots that support four-channel DDR4 memory, so it is likely that TRX40 chipset is meant only for such configuration, with TRX80 and WRX80 chipsets being reserved for eight-channel memory configurations. Another thing to note is the presence of chipset fan, indicating that the TDP of these chipsets is high and it needs to be actively cooled in normal use cases. If you remember, plenty of X570 boards have a fan on chipset as well due to their TDP.
Sunday, October 20th 2019

SK hynix Develops 1Znm 16Gb DDR4 DRAM

SK hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed 1Znm 16Gb (Gigabits) DDR4 (Double Data Rate 4) DRAM. As 16Gb is the industry's largest density for a single chip, the total memory capacity per wafer is also the largest of the existing DRAMs. The productivity of this product has improved by about 27% compared to the previous generation, 1Y nm. It does not require highly expensive extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which gives it a competitive edge cost-wise.

The new 1Z nm DRAM also supports a data transfer rate of up to 3,200 Mbps, which is the fastest data processing speed in DDR4 interface. The Company significantly increased its power efficiency, successfully reducing power consumption by about 40% compared to modules of the same density made with 1Y nm 8 Gb DRAM.
Saturday, October 19th 2019

U.S. Legislators Including AOC Come Down Hard on Activision-Blizzard on Blitzchung Ban

Three Congresspersons and two Senators, in a letter to Activision-Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick, came down hard on the company's decision to ban and withdraw prize winnings of Hong Kong gamer Ng Wai Chung aka "Blitzchung." In the letter, the legislators unleashed scathing criticism of the company's decision to place its market-access to China above its expectations as an American business to spread the core American values of freedom and liberty around the world. Among these legislators are Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressmen Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski; and Senators Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden.

"Your company benefits from China's growing market for e-sports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China's largest technology firms. As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinion with which it disagrees. Last week alone, the Chinese government targeted Apple for hosting an app to help peaceful demonstrators evade repression and the NBA because one team's general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong protests," the letter reads.
Friday, October 18th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

Upcoming Hardware Launches 2019 (Updated)

This article serves as a continuously updated summary of currently known leaks and official announcements regarding upcoming hardware releases in 2019 and beyond. We cover and keep track of developments for AMD 3rd gen Threadripper, AMD Navi 12, Ice Lake, Intel's own GPU, chipsets, memory and more.
Thermaltake A700 TG

Thermaltake A700 TG

The Thermaltake A700 TG is an uncompromising full-tower chassis that offers extremes in many areas, from material mix to liquid-cooling capabilities or even just sheer size and weight. While that comes at a price, it is refreshing to see its over-the-top approach in-line with pricing - you definitely get what you pay for.

Free Game Alert: "Observer" and "Alan Wake's American Nightmare" Free in the Epic Games Store, Halloween Sale Launched

Free games are always hard to pass, so if you are craving some meaty releases to tide you over until something new and fresh that catches your fancy comes along, this Epic Games Store might (and might not) be for you. From October 17th through October 24th, the digital storefront so many love to hate is offering two generally well thought-off games i the form of Observer and Alan Wake's American Nightmare.

Whether you crave a meaty, cyberpunk-inspired detective story in Observer, or a not so meaty, all-hell-broken-lose experience set in the excellent Alan Wake universe, you can drop by your Epic Games Store Launcher (we know you have it installed, come on) and just add them to your cart for free. They're yours to keep forever. And if you don't have the Epic Games Store launcher, perhaps you should. Observer might very well make it worth all the hassle of downloading and clicking through a menu three or four times. And as a very relevant footnote, the Epic Games Store has just started its Halloween Sale, which goes from today, October 18th, through November 1st. You can find some older games discounted up to 70%, with the discount decreasing somewhat linearly according to release date.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, 3970X and 3990X Launch Dates Leaked

The folks over at Videocardz managed to snag some impressive information on AMD-s upcoming Threadripper lineup - their launch dates. According to the tech publication, a source within AMD provided information regarding previously-set dates for paper and hardware launches that stand at November 5th for the formal announcement of the next generation HEDT CPUs, followed by lifted embargos on reviews and actual product availability come November 19th. Apparently, AMD will only launch the Threadripper 3960X and 3970X come November 5th (remember remember the 5th of November), with a product announcement for the Threadripper 3990X which will only be launched in January 2020.

AMD will also formally unveil their next-gen Threadripper TRX40 platformon November 5th (which won't be compatible with previous-gen Threadrippers). This makes sense - CPUs without a platform to pin them onto doesn't seem like a conscientious business decision. No information was available on clockspeeds and core counts at this time, though the Threadripper 3960X, the base of the new lineup, is expected to sport 24 cores and 48 threads of Zen 2 goodness.

G.SKILL Announces Extreme Low Latency DDR4-4000 CL15 32GB Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is delighted to announce an extreme low-latency, high-speed DDR4 memory kit at DDR4-4000 CL15-16-16-36 in a 32 GB (8 GB x4) capacity configuration under the classic Trident Z and the RGB-enabled Trident Z Royal memory series. Once again, these extraordinary memory kits are manufactured using high-performance Samsung B-die ICs to achieve the world's lowest latency of CL15 at DDR4-4000.

At G.SKILL, we are always searching for the ultimate memory kit, tuned not only for speed, but also for efficiency. This means pushing for lower latency timings. Previously, the best CAS latency that memory kits at the DDR4-4000 level could achieve was at CL17. This is surpassed by the new DDR4-4000 CL15-16-16-36 32 GB (8 GB x4) memory kit running under 1.5 V, shown validated on the MSI MEG Z390 ACE motherboard and Intel Core i7-9700K processor in the screenshot below.

URCDKeys Lets You Stretch Your Gaming PC Hardware Budget with Discounted Software

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Don't forget to apply the TechPowerUp-exclusive coupon TP20 at checkout to shave 20% off and avail the prices you see here.

Buy Windows 10 Pro from URCDKeys at $11.46 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from URCDKeys for $29.51

XIGMATEK Unveils the ZEUS Spectrum Edition Open Tower Chassis

XIGMATEK unveiled the ZEUS, a premium open-air tower-type chassis. The case consists of a highly adaptable metal frame clad with tempered glass panels on three sides, and detachable panels on nearly all sides. This has the makings of a new trend with PC cases where towers aren't cuboidal, and have a somewhat trapezoid or poligonal shape that orients the motherboard tray at an angle, so it receives active air-flow from more directions. Alienware likely started this trend with its 2017 Area 51 desktop, which Jonsbo copied with its TR03 from earlier this week. The XIGMATEK ZEUS has room for a standard ATX (or smaller) motherboard, room for graphics cards up to 32 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height.

Storage options on the XIGMATEK ZEUS include two 2.5-inch drive bays just below the top panel, one 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drive mounts behind the motherboard tray. Cooling options include three 120 mm front intakes that can hold onto a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator, three 120 mm top exhausts that can hold onto another 360 mm x 120 mm radiator, a 120 mm exhaust on the upward-facing rear panel, and another 120 mm exhaust on the downward facing rear panel. Front panel connectivity includes two USB 3.1 type-A ports, and separate headphones/mic jacks. The case measures 755 mm x 220 mm x 595 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Intel Could Unveil First Discrete 10 nm GPUs in mid-2020

According to the sources close to DigiTimes, Intel will unveil its first discrete 10 nm graphics cards named "Xe" very soon, with the first wave of Xe GPUs expected to arrive some time in 2020. Said to launch mid year, around July or August, Intel will start selling initial Xe GPU models of the long awaited product to consumers, in hope of gaining a share in the massive market using GPU for acceleration of all kinds of tasks.

Perhaps one of the most interesting notes DigiTimes reported is that "... Intel's GPUs have already received support from the upstream supply chain and has already been integrated into Intel's CPUs to be used in the datacenter and AI fields.", meaning that AIB partners already have access to first 10 nm graphics chips that are ready for system integration. First generation of Xe graphics cards will cover almost whole GPU market, including PC, datacenter, and AI applications where NVIDIA currently holds the top spot.

Microsoft Pushes Intel "Haswell" Microcode Update to Harden Against MDS

Microsoft started deploying microcode updates to some of Intel's older Core, Pentium, and Celeron processor generations through Windows Update. The latest Cumulative Update packages chronicled under "KB4497165" apply to machines running Intel's 4th generation Core "Haswell" processors, and low-power Pentium and Celeron chips based on "Apollo Lake," "Gemini Lake," "Valley View," and "Cherry View" microarchitectures.

The microcode update provides firmware-level hardening against four major variants of the MDS class of security vulnerabilities, namely CVE-2019-11091 (MDS Uncacheable Memory), CVE-2018-12126 (Microarchitectural Store Buffer Data Sampling), CVE-2018-12127 (Microarchitectural Load Port Data Sampling), and CVE-2018-12130 (Microarchitectural Fill Buffer Data Sampling).

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL

AMD late Thursday released the Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL. These drivers are identical to the Adrenalin 19.10.1 Beta drivers released earlier this month, with the only difference being WHQL certification. AMD is picking up the pace with WHQL releases of Radeon Software, as more OEMs are implementing Radeon RX 5700-series and upcoming RX 5500-series GPUs, and prefer WHQL-signed drivers. The 19.10.1 drivers introduce support for AMD's new Radeon RX 5500 series graphics cards based on its new 7 nm "Navi 11" silicon, along with fixes for "Borderlands 3" running in DirectX 12 mode, optimization for "GRID," and fixes certain display problems with high refresh-rate settings.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.10.1 WHQL
Change-log for 19.10.1 follows.
Thursday, October 17th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
Team Group Cardea II 1 TB NVMe SSD

Team Group Cardea II 1 TB NVMe SSD

The Team Group Cardea II M.2 NVMe SSD comes with a large pre-installed heatsink that adds excellent cooling capability to prevent any sort of thermal throttling. Another highlight is the good sustained write performance, which ends up at over 1 GB/s even though TLC flash is used.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Delayed, Still Coming in 2020

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been delayed, according to developer Hardsuit Labs (Paradox Interactive makes a cameo here as publisher). The game, which builds upon the original Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines released way back in 2004, aims to provide a "deep, branching storyline; fascinating and amazingly acted characters; the rich universe of the World of Darkness" that can additionally be played in either first or third person perspective. According to the developer, pushing for a Q1 2020 release would mean compromise in those areas, as well as in polish for the final version of the game.

Of course, one other reason for the delay might be the fact that Q1 2020 is already jam-packed with heavy-hitting franchises and games such as the hugely awaited Cyberpunk 2077, the remastered Final Fantasy 7, The Last of us 2, and Doom Eternal, just to name a few. Perhaps the developer (and publisher Paradox Interactive) saw history in danger of repeating itself with the release of the original Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, which went toe to toe with Half Life 2, Halo 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - not the best time to launch a game. That decision eventually led to the shuttering of then-developer Troika Games. Expect the game to still drop around 2020, though no firm release date was set alongside the delay announcement.

TSMC Reports Third Quarter Results

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$293.05 billion, net income of NT$101.07 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$3.90 (US$0.62 per ADR unit) for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Year-over-year, third quarter revenue increased 12.6% while net income and diluted EPS both increased 13.5%. Compared to second quarter 2019, third quarter results represented a 21.6% increase in revenue and a 51.4% increase in net income. All figures were prepared in accordance with TIFRS on a consolidated basis.

AMD to Release Ryzen 7 3750X Processor?

AMD's latest Product Master guide (since taken down but immortalized in the interweb) has a surprise in store for AMD's Ryzen 7 desktop CPU lineup. Sandwiched in-between the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 7 3800X, a new entry has reared its head, in the form of the Ryzen 7 3750X. The new CPU is specified to keep the same 105 W TDP of its elder sibling Ryzen 7 3800X, instead of keeping the Ryzen 7 3700X's 65 W TDP. Technically, this is possible to achieve in both pricing and performance: the Ryzen 7 3750X, if it ever is launched (it could be a specific release for system integrators or other interested parties outside the usual mainstream desktop suspects) could sport increased base clocks compared to the Ryzen 7 3700X's 3.6 GHz base / 4.4 GHz boost clocks... But not easily, considering the Ryzen 7 3800X starts at 3.9 GHz base / 4.5 GHz boost. It's possible to release the 3750X with a 200 MHz boost on base clocks and the same 4.4 GHz boost, but does it make any sense to do so?

It could - even if with some forced optimism - should AMD price it closer to the Ryzen 7 3700X than to the Ryzen 7 3800X. The $329 and $399 prices for those CPUs, respectively, leave a gap that could be filled by the Ryzen 7 3750X at around the $349 mark, for example. It's likely most users would be making the jump from the 65 W CPU than dropping less cash compared to the 3800X, so AMD's margins per sale would definitely improve. At the same time, this could be a way for AMD to cope with TSMC's 7 nm increase in lead-times and lower availability of CPUs by moving stock from the 65 W CPU to the pricier 3750X in parts that can actually run at those frequencies. Driving their lineup's ASP up ensures AMD can keep a steady stream of income should availability decline - less parts sold at a greater price can shore up some of the lost cash influx.

Biostar Announces the Racing X570GTA Motherboard

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, is proud to launch a new addition to its 4th generation of RACING motherboards with the powerful yet humble BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA. Built with designers and content creators in mind, the RACING X570GTA combines a set of onboard features to ensure that quality content can be produced with a system that users can rely on. The BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA is tastefully designed with the iconic BIOSTAR RACING GEN 4 features and grey lightning strikes that represents the lightning-fast performance and ultra-responsives that gives gamers the competitive edge to take their gaming experience to the next level.

The BIOSTAR RACING X570GTA, equipped with the latest X570 chipset for AMD socket AM4, brings support for 3rd Gen Ryzen processors, an essential tool for content creators. While designers rely on high performance and responsiveness to render videos or 3D content, which is supported by the RACING X570GTA PCI-e 4.0 lanes (offering bandwidth of 64 GB/s and compatibility for the latest as well as previous generation graphics cards), the users can rest assured their investment in high-end hardware is secured with the BIOSTAR's exclusive Iron Slot Protection on the x16 lanes which helps handle heavier graphics cards, prevent bending, and extend the longevity of the slots. In addition, PCI-e 4.0 also opens the door to PCI-e M.2 4.0, the latest storage interface which delivers the highest bandwidth (64 GB/s) and offers lower latency, making launching programs such as video and photo editing software, and accessing heavy files a flash.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X a 24-core Chip the Range Starts With

With its 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper "Castle Peak" HEDT processor family, AMD isn't bothering with 16-core models as the company's mainstream desktop socket AM4 platform already offers those many cores with the upcoming Ryzen 9 3950X. The lineup will begin with the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X, which is the 24-core/48-thread part. The model number "3950X" is already taken up by the 16-core socket AM4 chip. Confirmation of this came from an "Ashes of the Singularity" screenshot that references an "AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24-core Processor."

AMD's decision to start the lineup at 24 cores is interesting, as it looks to keep up its competitiveness against Intel, which recently launched its 10th generation "Cascade Lake-X" Core i9 HEDT processor series, with all parts priced under $1000, including the range-topping 18-core/36-thread one. It remains to be seen if the Threadripper 3960X can beat it while holding onto a sub-$1,000 price. The previous-generation 24-core 2970WX beat the i9-9980XE in some rendering and simulation tests that scaled with cores and which weren't too heavy on memory bandwidth. With its 3rd generation Threadripper series, AMD is eliminating a key memory bottleneck, giving each core on the chip an equal access to the processor's monolithic quad-channel memory interface.

ARCTIC Launches the Freezer 50 TR ARGB CPU Cooler for Ryzen Threadripper

ARCTIC, a leading manufacturer of low-noise PC coolers and components, today launched the latest in its well-respected Freezer series of CPU coolers, the Freezer 50 TR. An extremely powerful cooler for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the ARCTIC Freezer 50 TR is a dual tower CPU cooler with eight heatpipes and two ARCTIC P-fans (for optimal airflow in push-pull configuration). As the first cooler of the Freezer family that comes equipped with Addressable RGB, it combines high performance with striking design.

"With the Freezer 50 TR, the target was simple yet hard to reach: we had to be the best air cooler in the market and be able to cope with the amazing wattage that the Threadripper can pull out," said Vincent Andre, Technical Director at ARCTIC. "Countless hours of design, simulation and testing were necessary, but I think we have reached our target. With A-RGB integration, the Freezer 50 TR is not only the most powerful ARCTIC air cooler to date, it's also the first ever with lighting effects."

Lamptron Unveils SM436 Sync Edition PCI RGB-Fan and LED-Controller

In times of Tempered Glass, not only the cooling performance and volume development of the PCs want to be adapted to their own and changing requirements, but also the RGB lighting suitable for the hardware. The Lamptron SM436 Sync Edition PCI RGB & Fan Controller offers not only extensive functionality, but also high compatibility. It runs up to four fans with or without PWM control and RGB products with or without digital RGB LEDs. The separate LC display can be attached to PCI slots, which can be admired by a transparent side section made of hard or acrylic glass. The control is operated by an infrared remote control.

Intel and Wargaming Join Forces to Deliver Ray Tracing to World of Tanks

Intel has been very serious about its efforts in computer graphics lately, mainly because of its plans to launch a dedicated GPU lineup and bring new features to the graphics card market. Today, Intel and Wargaming, a maker of MMO titles like World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes, partnered to bring ray tracing feature to the Wargaming's "Core" graphics engine, used in perhaps one of the best-known MMO title - World of Tanks.

Joint forces of Intel and Wargaming developers have lead to the implementation of ray tracing, using only regular software techniques without a need for special hardware. Being hardware agnostic, this implementation works on any graphics card that can run DirectX 11, as the "Core" engine is written in DirectX 11 API. To achieve this, developers had to make a solution that uses CPU's resources for fast, multi-threaded bounding volume hierarchy which then feeds the GPU's compute shaders for ray tracing processing, thus making the ray tracing feature entirely GPU shader/core dependent. Many features are reworked with emphasis put on shadow quality. In the images below you can see exactly what difference the new ray-tracing implementation makes, and you can use almost any graphics card to get it. Wargaming notes that "some FPS" will be sacrificed if ray tracing is turned on, so your GPU shouldn't struggle too much.

iBUYPOWER Announces New MR Series of Cases

iBUYPOWER, a leading manufacturer of custom gaming PCs, today announced its new MR Series of PC cases, expanding upon the company's signature Slate, Trace and Element series of cases.

The Slate MR, Trace MR and Element MR all feature a black, partial-mirror finish on the front and side tempered glass panels. This custom finish gives the illusion of a mirror and reflects its surroundings when systems are off and no lighting is visible. When the enclosure is illuminated by the four addressable RGB (ARGB) fans included with each MR case, users will have a clear view of the internal components of their PC.
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