Friday, November 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mousepads
SSD

Intel Cutting Retail Processor Supply for Holiday 2018

Prices of retail packages of Intel Core desktop processors could continue to rise over Q4-2018, as the company has reportedly cut their supply, in favor of tray/reel shipments to OEMs. This could mean DIY favorites such as the Core i5-8400, the i5-8600K, i5-9600K, or even Core i7 models such as the i7-8700K, i7-9700K, and the flagship i9-9900K could be severely in short supply, or heavily marked up wherever available. Intel recently devised a strategy to increase its Core processor volumes by pumping in an additional $1 billion to its usually-$15 billion capital expenditure, to fire up small-scale manufacturing facilities around the world, to augment its bigger fabs located in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Sites like Mexico, Israel, and Ireland are beneficiaries of this move, and are being expanded. Much of Intel's efforts appear to be focused on making sure notebook and pre-built PC manufacturers aren't starved of processor inventory. The DIY retail channel, which consists of boxed processors, will foot the bill for this move. A good example of understocked retail channel would be the $499 Core i9-9900K processor being sold for upwards of $900 in some online stores. AMD is in an enviable position to fill the void, comments PCGamesN. Prices of its Ryzen desktop processor PIBs are either flat, or marginally cut; and socket AM4 motherboards are generally cheaper than LGA1151 ones.
Thursday, November 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Game Controllers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Storage
HellSign (Early Access)

HellSign (Early Access)

HellSign is an isometric paranormal activity hunting game developed by Ballistic Interactive. Don't brush it away as a Ghost Hunters sim because Ballistic Interactive has created a surprisingly deep and incredibly atmospheric hunting RPG with a wide variety of unique points to seriously set itself apart from every other game on the market.
XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8 GB

XFX Radeon RX 590 Fatboy 8 GB

AMD today released the Radeon RX 590, which is an improved 12 nanometer version of the RX 580. Thanks to a large clock-speed increase, the card beats the GTX 1060 6 GB by 10%. XFX's RX 590 Fatboy comes with a large triple-slot cooler to keep the card cool and noise levels low.
Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ Special Edition 8 GB

Sapphire Radeon RX 590 Nitro+ Special Edition 8 GB

Sapphire's RX 590 Nitro+ Special Edition features an overclock on both the GPU and memory. What really helps against the GTX 1060 is that Sapphire included a "quiet" BIOS that rivals noise levels of the best GTX 1060 cards we ever tested.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Third Quarter Fiscal 2019

NVIDIA today reported revenue for the third quarter ended Oct. 28, 2018, of $3.18 billion, up 21 percent from $2.64 billion a year earlier, and up 2 percent from $3.12 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $1.97, up 48 percent from $1.33 a year ago and up 12 percent from $1.76 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.84, up 38 percent from $1.33 a year earlier and down 5 percent from $1.94 in the previous quarter.

"AI is advancing at an incredible pace across the world, driving record revenues for our datacenter platforms," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "Our introduction of Turing GPUs is a giant leap for computer graphics and AI, bringing the magic of real-time ray tracing to games and the biggest generational performance improvements we have ever delivered.

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Falls Short of Initial Sales Expectations

The latest game set in the The Witcher universe has been met with slower initial sales than CD Projekt Red expected. According to the company's CEO Adam Kicinski, who spoke in the last earnings call, the slower uptake was the reason for the game's offering on Steam (it was initially launched as a GOG exclusive, but quickly made its way to the much more ubiquitous Steam store.)

As it is the latest game set in The Witcher universe, community interest and excitement surrounding the title increased the sales forecast, but perhaps the "slightly" different take on a Witcher game has turned some buyers' excitement to other pastures. Thronebreaker: the Witcher Tales is a single-player, story-driven adventure with card mechanics, a far cry from the third-person goodness of the now legendary The Witcher 3. Of course, the game now has a long time to rake in funds through continued sales, and it's unlikely the developer will leave The Witcher world behind even if it flops - which it definitely won't, at least not in the long run.

AMD Launches 'Raise the Game Fully Loaded' Bundle, Offers Up To Three Free Games If You Buy a Radeon RX

With AMD's announcement of the new Radeon RX 590 graphics card we've learned something interesting: any user who buys a Radeon RX graphics card or a Radeon RX powered PC will get up to three games for free. "Tom Clancy's The Division 2", "Resident Evil 2" and "Devil May Cry 5", with a retail value of up to $180, will be the titles available for those users.

As mentioned on the press release, "gamers who purchase an AMD Radeon RX Vega or RX 590, or an eligible Radeon RX Vega or RX 590 powered PC, will receive free copies of all three games. Gamers who purchase an AMD Radeon RX 580 or RX 570 graphics card, or an eligible Radeon RX 580 or RX 570 powered PC, can choose two of these games for free".

Discord PC Store Starts Offering Early Access Games

With over 150 million users Discord, the popular chat platform for gamers, made a big step forward last October and launched its own online store. We started talking about that move in August, and it seems the idea is growing on the company, because they will now be offering early access games as part of their current catalog. This allows users to enjoy titles that are still in development, and the title creators can start earning some money while receiving valuable feedback in the process.

There are several games that became popular through this model like 'Ark: Survival Evolved' and even 'Fortnite', and on Discord we will find several offerings of this kind like 'Mad Machines', 'Parkasaurus', 'Kynseed', 'Visage' or 'Descenders'. This new catalog is an interesting addition to other platform offerings such as Discord Nitro, its own subscription service that offers unlimited access to 60+ games for $9.99/month or $99/year (USD).

The New Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ is Here: Smaller, Cheaper, But With Compromises

The original Raspberry Pi showed the world that we could have (almost) a computer for $35. This little prodigy has surprised us over and over again, and their developers have now announced the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+, which according to them "is about closing things out in style" on the current generation of this miniPC. The new version has shrunk down the previous Model B+ both in size and in price: it is now available for just $25. To accomplish that we'll have to live with certain comprises.

The new model keeps the same CPU, but halves the memory to 512 MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, the four USB 2.0 ports are reduced to one, and there is no Ehernet port available. The rest of its connectivity options are still there, including the 802.11 ac WiFi or the Bluetooth 4.2 LE support. The new model sits therefore between the even more compact Raspberry Pi Zero W and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ announced in March 2018. As Eben Upton explained on the official announcement, the next Raspberry Pi will be quite different from the current generation: "whatever we do next will of necessity be less of an evolution, because it will need new core silicon, on a new process node, with new memory technology". Until that future model arrives, though, the new and compact version of the Raspberry Pi could be an interesting option for many users.

All ASUS Motherboards Meet Stringent New California Energy Commission Standards

ASUS today announced that its motherboards meet ambitious energy-efficiency standards laid down by the California Energy Commission (CEC), and due to come into force on January 1, 2019.

From this date, most new computers, monitors and signage displays sold or offered for sale in California must adhere to strict new power-consumption standards, with the aim of reducing energy use across the state and ultimately nationally. The regulations are expected to result in energy savings of up to 2,332 GWh annually, and reduce the cost of utility bills by up to US $373 million.

Under the new regulations motherboards are classed as computers. All existing and new ASUS and ASUS ROG motherboards will meet the CEC's tier-one specification for typical energy use (TEC) for computers.

AMD Announces the Radeon RX 590 Graphics Card

You can find our launch-day reviews of the Radeon RX 590 here: Sapphire RX 590 Nitro+, XFX RX 590 Fatboy

AMD today unveiled the Radeon RX 590 graphics card, an advanced 12 nm GPU designed to deliver amazing gaming experiences and outstanding performance for the latest AAA, eSports and Virtual Reality (VR) titles.

Powered by AMD "Polaris" architecture, the AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics card provides faster clock speeds for higher gaming performance than the AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card2, and delivers up to 20 percent or higher performance-per-dollar than the competition. Paired with the advanced AMD Radeon FreeSync gaming display technology and loaded with the latest AMD Radeon Software features, the AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics card delivers an exceptional gaming experience.

NVIDIA Confirms Issues Affecting Early Production Run of GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Cards

NVIDIA, via a blog post on its forums, has confirmed widespread reports of failures affecting their flagship RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. The issues, which resulted in "crashes, black screens, blue screen of death issues, artifacts and cards that fail to work entirely," started cropping up throughout tech forums, before reaching a critical mass that warranted coverage - just in case this was exactly what it seemed, ie, a production issue.

It seems this was just so, and that the problem was luckily limited to some early manufacturing issues or QA controls. As NVIDIA themselves put it, "Limited test escapes from early boards caused the issues some customers have experienced with RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition." The company then says that they stand ready to help customers who are experiencing problems - but nothing else was to be expected, really.

Cougar Announces Helor 240 and Helor 360 Liquid CPU Coolers

Cougar is proud to introduce its very first CPU liquid coolers, the Helor 240 and Helor 360. The Helor Series is the first by Cougar that utilizes liquid cooling! The Water Block combines all the reliability and performance expected from a high-end CPU cooler. With its large transparent window, it's the perfect solution for gamers that require a powerful CPU and enjoy beautiful visuals. The window also allows the user to check the coolant level.

Combine the production of the Water Block with the Vortex Omega fans, which have 16% longer blades and include speeds from 600 R.P.Ms to 1800 R.P.Ms, and the heat will dissipate from the CPU with ease. The fans. And if you love customizing lights for your mood, you are in for a treat!
You will have access to over 100 different lighting effects with two ways to control your RGB. The Helor includes a Core Box V2 and a remote control. You will be able to enjoy system-wide RGB through the 3-pin 5v RGB motherboard synchronization.

Antec Launches PRIZM ARGB Case Fans

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, presents their new ARGB case fans, the PRIZM ARGB series. Taking style, performance and silence to the next level, Prizm ARGB is available in 120/140 mm, and is surrounded by a ring of addressable RGB LEDs and high-performance fan blades including the addressable RGB LED controller.

SK Hynix Announces 1Ynm 16Gb DDR5 DRAM

SK Hynix announced that it has developed 16 Gb DDR5 DRAM, the industry's first DDR5 to meet the JEDEC standards. The same 1Ynm process technology used for the recently-developed 1Ynm 8Gb DDR4 DRAM was applied to the new DRAM, giving an industry-leading competitive edge for the Company.

DDR5 is a next-generation DRAM standard that offers ultra-high speed and high density with reduced power consumption as compared to DDR4, for use in data-intensive applications such as big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

SCDKey Unveils Black Friday Game Sale to Pick on Major Game Publishing Platforms

SCDKey is an online games and software vendor that sells genuine license keys for a large selection of games, and software, including Microsoft Windows and MS Office. The vendor just launched a gargantuan Black Friday sale of games and software keys; with the likes of Windows 10 Pro OEM selling for $14, Office 2016 for $35 (permanent, not subscription), and Microsoft products marked down by as much as 85%.

You can also get the latest AAA game keys on SCDKey at a minimum discount of 12%. Take "Fallout 76," for example, which is going for $57.48 against a Steam price of $68.30. The site is now giving away monthly, quarterly, and annual subscriptions to its Members Zone. As an SCDKey Premium member, you have access to discount-coupons that can shave off anywhere between 30% to 80% on the already marked down prices, letting you get away with genuine keys at unreal prices. With each purchase you get bonus points that you can redeem in future purchases as alternative for real money. The site uses PayPal, so your payment instruments stay shielded from the vendor. I've already bought a Windows 10 Pro license along with a discount coupon for $12. How much do you want to spend this Winter gaming season?

SCDKey Black Friday Mega Sale

TechPowerUp readers get exclusive discount coupons.

ADATA Launches Ultimate SU630 3D QLC NAND SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, and mobile accessories today launched the ADATA Ultimate SU630 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD, which signals its expansion into 3D QLC NAND Flash storage. With next-generation QLC (Quad-Level Cell) 3D NAND Flash, the SU630 delivers terrific value, great performance, and superb reliability, offering users a viable alternative to HDDs for their next upgrade.

Delivering excellent performance without the less than great value typically associated with SSDs, the SU630 gives HDDs a run for their money. It comes in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities and sports 3D QLC NAND Flash to deliver improved reliability, longevity, and performance over its TLC counterparts. Reinforced by performance-boosting SLC Caching, the SU630 reaches speeds of 520 MB/s read, and 450 MB/s write for smooth and fast boot, file transfers, and downloads. What's more, the SSD also features characteristics that work to keep data safe, including a shock rating of 1500G/0.5ms and resilience to temperature changes (0°C ~ 70°C), while also being more energy-efficient and quieter than HDDs.

TeamGroup Launches Multiple USB Drives with Unique Features

In order to satisfy modern consumers' need for variety in storage devices, TEAMGROUP launches multiple products with their own features. The simple, compact C185 and the C186 with classic design both have elegant and concise case, and the smooth retractable capless design makes it easy for consumers to use. The T183 Tool USB drive is the perfect interpretation of practical concepts. It not only has won the 2018 COMPUTEX d&i award, but also was highly praised by the Taiwan Excellence Awards recently. The T183 Tool USB drive is the first to include practical functions like bottle opener, straight ruler, etc. In addition, it also has high speed storage performance, which makes it both trendy and practical.

Constantly innovating in response to the current trend, TEAM GROUP's new USB drives have sleek ridgeline and smooth streamline design, which creates a trendy and minimalist style. Both USB drives have retractable design that makes it easy for handheld. The special designed structure not only can reduce wear and tear, but also eliminate the trouble of misplacing the cap. Both devices has its own features. The C185 uses USB 2.0 interface and has classic silver characters. The C186 has black base color with premium golden color to emphasize its high quality. It has USB 3.1 Gen1 interface and up to 128GB of storage capacity to satisfy consumers with different needs. Plug and play makes file sharing and backup easier than ever.

Kingston Enhances Award-Winning IronKey D300 Encrypted USB

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory products and technology solutions, has added new features to its recent Cyber Defense 2018 Global Awards winning IronKey D300 encrypted USB Flash drive to improve device management and security. IronKey D300 is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified and uses 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode. Shipping next week, a new Serialized version (D300S) with two new features will further enhance the drive's already advanced level of security to safeguard sensitive data.

IronKey D300S will have a unique serial number and bar code on the drive itself, allowing network administrators to simply read or scan the code instead of plugging in the drive. When a drive is deployed, returned or during any physical auditing or asset management of hardware, this feature will make the process more efficient and streamlined. The second feature, a virtual keyboard, enables users to enter a password with clicks of the mouse instead of using a physical keyboard, thereby providing a greater level of protection against any possible keylogging when using D300S on other computers.

EVGA Bundles Enmotus FuzeDrive with Select Motherboards

For a limited time you can get "Less Boot Time and More Game Time" with a FREE* copy of Enmotus FuzeDrive when you purchase a qualifying EVGA motherboard. A $59.99 value! FuzeDrive software combines your performance SSD with capacity storage into a single fully automated volume. Your games' active data is dynamically placed on your fast storage media without any manual intervention. Advanced Machine Intelligence learns how you use your system and ensures SSD performance for all your applications.

"EVGA, with their high end motherboard products, is the perfect partner for our Machine Intelligence storage technology," said Enmotus CEO, Andy Mills. "Their high end quality demanded by gamers combined with FuzeDrive will deliver a great gaming experience." Your games are served up from your fast storage media resulting in fast boot times, accelerated game loading and applications. Dynamic data movement means you no longer have to manually manage what drive to store your data on.

ENERMAX Intros SABERAY White, the Premium Addressable RGB Gaming Fortress

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance PC hardware products, announces the launch of SABERAY White, the premium addressable RGB gaming chassis. This clean, classy, sleek mid-tower gaming castle caught much attention when it made its debut at COMPUTEX 2018. Featuring eye-catching light strips and 3 unique square RGB fans, SABERAY White is a decent combination of performance and aesthetics.

Certified by ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI motherboard makers for addressable RGB lighting synchronization, SABERAY White can match lighting colors harmoniously with other system gear for a more appealing and elegant look. Moreover, the gaming chassis includes interchangeable two meshed panels and one acrylic panel, so that users can run depending on their preferred configurations and designs. Furthermore, SABERAY White also comes with a 4 mm full-view tempered glass window for users to showcase their precious rigs.
Wednesday, November 14th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
Battlefield V with GeForce RTX DirectX Raytracing

Battlefield V with GeForce RTX DirectX Raytracing

Today, Battlefield V enabled support for DirectX Raytracing with the latest patch. We tested this update using the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070, with shocking results. Even though only reflections are raytraced, the performance hit for DXR is more than 50%.

Final Fantasy XV Benchmark Gets DLSS Update, GeForce RTX 2080 Performance Tested

Square Enix has just updated their Final Fantasy XV Benchmark to version 1.2, adding support for NVIDIA's DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling) technology. The new release will still allow users to test any graphics card(s) they have just as it did before. That said, owners of NVIDIA's RTX 2070, 2080, and 2080 Ti get the benefit of having access to DLSS for improved image quality and performance. NVIDIA claims that performance will improve by up to 38% with DLSS alone. In order to verify that we ran a few tests of our own to find out.

Preliminary testing was done using Corsair's Vengeance 5180 Gaming PC, which is equipped with an Intel i7-8700, 16 GB 2666 MHz DDR4 and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080. At 3840x2160 with the highest possible settings, DLSS offered a 36% increase in performance. This is very close to NVIDIA's specified increase and within the expected margin of error. When compared to the older GTX 1080 Ti which was paired with a stock Intel i7-8700K, and 32 GB of 3466 MHz memory we see the GeForce RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti offer roughly the same level of performance. Therefore DLSS really is the difference maker here allowing for better performance and image quality. It should also be noted both systems used the same NVIDIA 416.94 WHQL drivers.

EA Officially Announces Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn Remaster - No Microtransactions

EA today has announced that which we were already hoping and expecting: remasters of the Command & Conquer series of videogames. The publisher has officially announced thew initiative, which will start in the very beginning of the series: Tiberian Dawn. This will be the first of a series of efforts on the series, though, as EA will be looking to start remastering Red Alert as soon as Tiberian Dawn is released (always pending, of course, consumer reception). As an added bonus, DLC released for the original games will be bundled right alongside the remastered versions, so it really is the definitive package.

EA has partnered with Petroglyph for this undertaking, aided by Lemon Sky Studios, to help bring these original games to 4K glory, with improved assets and visuals that stay true to the original vision for the games. I for one am waiting intently. But i'd just like to take a passing shot at the industry at large here: don't you know the world has turned a sour point when "no microtransactions" becomes a boast and sales marketing strategy?

AMD Releases Last Quarterly Update to Radeon Pro Driver Suite for 2018

AMD today released their last driver update for 2018 in the enterprise segment, the Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q4 driver. A new feature is the Day Zero Certification Program, which serves for would-be deployers of AMD's updated drivers (or any business looking to leverage the red team's products in a new installation) to know which programs have already been certified to work flawlessly with the latest driver revision. Exactly which scenarios and configurations (name of the ISV, software, OS and graphics card used during the certification process) are also part of this certification. This list is up to 290 entries as of November 13th.

AMD is quoting performance improvements that can go up to 89% in YoY performance gains compared to their last 2017 driver. There's also a mountain of fixed bugs in the latest release, and AMD is keeping up with its commitment to stable, predictable driver releases that it started with their new vision for the enterprise and business environments.

Nominees for Game Awards Show 2018 Outed - And There are a Lot of PS4 Exclusives

The nominees for the 2018 Game Awards have been announced, and... It seems that us PC gamers are missing out. I myself am missing out, despite owning my own PS4 system; there's just so much time one can have in between - the other kind of - life. However, the range of nominees that are exclusive to Sony's system is relentless in showing us that there may be life on the other side of the pond.

There are a whole lot of categories for this one, so I'll take my editor's discretion in calling your attention to the Game of the Year, Best Game Direction, and Best Narrative categories, where exclusives to Sony's platform God of War and Marvel's Spider-Man are nominated in all three categories. Detroit: Become Human, another PS4 exclusive, eeked its way into both Best Game Direction and Best Narrative categories as well, and console exclusive (for now) Red Dead Redemption 2 is nominated in all three categories. You can check out the main Game Awards 2018 page for all the categories, including Best Ongoing Game and Best Score/Music - up to a total of 30 differentiating categories.

CPU Shortages Will Continue Into the Second Quarter of 2019 According to Asustek CEO

A few weeks ago we talked about Intel problems in the production chain. The semiconductor giant was facing a shortage of 14 nm CPUs probably due to Intel allocating volumes from the same 14 nm++ node for its upcoming 9th Generation Core processors. That caused a clear rise in the prices of processors like the Core i7-8700K, which had a launch price of $359 and was hard to find for less than $400 a month ago. Prices have relaxed since then, but are still higher than their launch ones.

Intel's processor shortage could continue in the coming months, and in fact Jerry Shen, CEO of Asustek Computer, explained how the problem will continue until at least the second quarter of 2019. In his words, "the continued CPU supply crunch, escalating US-China trade disputes, and increasing competition in the notebook segment in Europe have pressed down Asustek's "operational visibility" for the fourth quarter of 2018 to the lowest level of 20% compared to an over 50% seen in previous years".

Battlefield V with RTX Initial Tests: Performance Halved

Having survived an excruciatingly slow patch update, we are testing "Battlefield V" with DirectX Ray-tracing and NVIDIA RTX enabled, across the GeForce RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti, augmenting the RTX-on test data to our Battlefield V Performance Analysis article. We began testing with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card with GeForce 416.94 WHQL drivers on Windows 10 1809. Our initial test results are shocking. With RTX enabled in the "ultra" setting, frame-rates dropped by close to 50% at 1080p.

These may look horrifying, given that at its highest setting, even an RTX 2080 Ti isn't able to manage 1080p 120 Hz. But all is not lost. DICE added granularity to RTX. You can toggle between off, low, medium, high, and ultra as "degrees" of RTX level of detail, under the "DXR ray-traced reflections quality" setting. We are currently working on 27 new data-points (each of the RTX 20-series graphics cards, at each level of RTX, and at each of the three resolutions we tested at).

Update: Our full performance analysis article is live now, including results for RTX 2070, 2080, 2080 Ti, each at RTX off/low/medium/high/ultra.

Battlefield V Gets NVIDIA RTX Support Through a Day-Zero Patch

EA-DICE producer for "Battlefield V," Jaqub Ajmal revealed that the studio has released a day-zero patch for the game, which enables the promised NVIDIA RTX technology. NVIDIA used Battlefield V as a tech-demonstrator in its launch event for RTX, an ambitious real-time ray-tracing technology, which works to improve realism by adding real-time ray-traced elements to rasterized scenes. For Battlefield V, this means more realistic reflections, optical effects, and detail for objects and character models.

To play Battlefield V with RTX enabled, you'll need an NVIDIA GeForce RTX (or Quadro RTX) graphics card with GeForce 416.94 WHQL, and Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809). Microsoft resumed rolling out Windows 10 1809 update earlier this week. We are currently testing RTX support on Battlefield V, and will update our recent Battlefield V Performance Analysis article with additional RTX-on data-points.

Intel Unveils the Neural Compute Stick 2

Intel is hosting its first artificial intelligence (AI) developer conference in Beijing on Nov. 14 and 15. The company kicked off the event with the introduction of the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2 (Intel NCS 2) designed to build smarter AI algorithms and for prototyping computer vision at the network edge. Based on the Intel Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU) and supported by the Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit, the Intel NCS 2 affordably speeds the development of deep neural networks inference applications while delivering a performance boost over the previous generation neural compute stick. The Intel NCS 2 enables deep neural network testing, tuning and prototyping, so developers can go from prototyping into production leveraging a range of Intel vision accelerator form factors in real-world applications.

"The first-generation Intel Neural Compute Stick sparked an entire community of AI developers into action with a form factor and price that didn't exist before. We're excited to see what the community creates next with the strong enhancement to compute power enabled with the new Intel Neural Compute Stick 2," said Naveen Rao, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the AI Products Group.

Stuttgart-based HLRS to Build a Supercomputer with 10,000 64-core Zen 2 Processors

Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum (HLRS, or High-Performance Computing Center), based in Stuttgart Germany, is building a new cluster supercomputer powered by 10,000 AMD Zen 2 "Rome" 64-core processors, making up 640,000 cores. Called "Hawk," the supercomputer will be HLRS' flagship product, and will open its doors to business in 2019. The slide-deck for Hawk makes a fascinating disclosure about the processors it's based on.

Apparently, each of the 64-core "Rome" EPYC processors has a guaranteed clock-speed of 2.35 GHz. This would mean at maximum load (with all cores loaded 100%), the processor can manage to run at 2.35 GHz. This is important, because the supercomputer's advertised throughput is calculated on this basis, and clients draw up SLAs on throughput. The advertised peak throughput for the whole system is 24.06 petaFLOP/s, although the company is yet to put out nominal/guaranteed performance numbers (which it will only after first-hand testing). The system features 665 TB of RAM, and 26,000 TB of storage.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Launch Price, Other Details Revealed

AMD is very close to launching its new Radeon RX 590 graphics card, targeting a middle-of-market segment that sells in high volumes, particularly with Holiday around the corner. The card is based on the new 12 nm "Polaris 30" silicon, which has the same exact specifications as the "Polaris 20" silicon, and the original "Polaris 10," but comes with significantly higher clock-speed headroom thanks to the new silicon fabrication process, which AMD and its partners will use to dial up engine clock speed by 10-15% over those of the RX 580. While the memory is still 8 Gbps 256-bit GDDR5, some partners will ship overclocked memory.

According to a slide deck seen by VideoCardz, AMD is setting the baseline price of the Radeon RX 590 at USD $279.99, which is about $50 higher than RX 580 8 GB, and $40 higher than the price the RX 480 launched at. AMD will add value to that price by bundling three AAA games, including "Tom Clancy's The Division 2," "Devil May Cry 5," and "Resident Evil 2." The latter two titles are unreleased, and the three games together pose a $120-150 value. AMD will also work with monitor manufacturers to come up with graphics card + AMD FreeSync monitor bundles.

GIGABYTE Intros C246-WU4 Motherboard for Xeon E-Series and Core Processors

GIGABYTE today introduced the C246-WU4, a workstation-grade socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel C246 chipset, with support for the recently announced Xeon E-2100 series, in addition to 8th and 9th generation Core processors. With Xeon processors installed, it supports up to 128 GB ECC memory. 9th Generation Core processors let you use up to 128 GB non-ECC memory. 8th generation ones cap out at 64 GB non-ECC. The board also supports many of the vPro enterprise features that the Q370 Express chipset offers.

Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and optional 4-pin ATX, and uses an 8+2 phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which slots 1 and 3 are wired to the CPU, and share an x16 link (x16/NC or x8/x8), while slots 2 and 4 are gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the PCH. There's also a legacy PCI slot driven by a bridge chip. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 PCIe with gen 3.0 x4 wiring, each; and ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, from which eight are driven by the PCH, and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. Network connectivity includes two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219-V, and the other by i211-AT, with vPro support. USB connectivity includes USB 3.1 gen 2, including type-C rear-panel ports. The onboard audio features a Realtek ALC1220VB, which is EMI shielded, and wired to WIMA capacitors. Expect this board to be priced around $350.

Samsung Launches First Mobile SoC with AI-Accelerating Matrix Multiplication Cores

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced its latest premium application processor (AP), the Exynos 9 Series 9820, equipped for on-device Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications. The Exynos 9820 features a fourth-generation custom CPU, 2.0-gigabits-per-second (Gbps) LTE Advanced Pro modem, and an enhanced neural processing unit (NPU) to bring new smart experiences to mobile devices.

"As AI-related services expand and their utilization diversify in mobile devices, their processors require higher computational capabilities and efficiency," said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. "The AI capabilities in the Exynos 9 Series 9820 will provide a new dimension of performance in smart devices through an integrated NPU, high-performance fourth-generation custom CPU core, 2.0Gbps LTE modem and improved multimedia performance."
Tuesday, November 13th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Scythe Ninja 5

Scythe Ninja 5

Scythe has updated their long running Ninja series with the Ninja 5. It offers a solid upgrade over the previous iteration, featuring quality of life improvements like its increased memory compatibility and updated mounting hardware. Pair that with solid performance and a nearly silent operation and you have a winning combination.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 416.94 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the GeForce 416.94 WHQL "Game Ready" drivers. These come optimized for "Fallout 76," "Hitman 2," and "Battlefield V." NVIDIA re-listing Battlefied V, a game it already optimized for with v416.81 could mean the company may have improved performance for the game. NVIDIA confirmed that a game patch will drop "soon" through Origin, which will add NVIDIA RTX support, more so because Microsoft has resumed rolling out Windows 10 1809. The drivers also add 3D Vision profiles for "Hitman 2" and "Fallout 76." A minor bug that caused lagging on Windows desktop with GeForce GTX 780 has also been fixed. Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 416.94 WHQL

The Change-log follows.

MSI GeForce RTX 2070 AERO ITX Makes Its Debut

MSI's most recent addition to their NVIDIA GeForce based line up has appeared. The newly minted RTX 2070 AERO ITX is as you may have guessed a graphics card that targets the mini-ITX market. It is currently the smallest RTX series graphics card to be spotted thus far, with it being perfect for this form factor as it lacks a few features seen on the higher end RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti that add complexity. Essentially the lack of NVlink on all RTX 2070 offerings allows for a simpler PCB design that is better suited for this design. There is also the fact anyone wanting SLI would not be looking at ITX focused cards anyway.

The other feature removed likely for cost savings is the VirtualLink (USB-C) connector that delivers power, video, and data for virtual reality headsets. While not entirely a deal breaker it still makes using it for a small form factor VR system a bit more difficult going forward. That said, considering the slow adoption of VR its removal is still a relatively safe bet for MSI for now. Taking a closer look at the packaging shows no indication of a pre-applied overclock, meaning MSI's RTX 2070 AERO ITX should come with NVIDIA reference clock speeds of 1410 MHz base / 1620 MHz boost on the core. The 8 GB of GDDR6 memory should have clocks of 1750 MHz (14000 MHz effective). As for the graphics card's TDP, it should also keep to the reference specification of 175-watts. Currently, pricing and availability are still unknown.

Microsoft Resumes Rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 Feature Update (1809)

Originally Microsoft shelved the Windows 10 October 2018 feature update after a data-destroying bug among other problems was detected just days after its initial rollout. Now with more than a month has passed they are finally re-releasing the update after having "thoroughly investigated and resolved" the issues, according to Microsoft's John Cable, director of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery.

The decision to re-release the update was reached after the careful study of diagnostic data from millions of Windows Insiders showed no further evidence of data loss. Currently, the update is only available via media and manual updates, automatic updates will be coming later. This is because Microsoft is taking a slower more methodical approach to their updates. Taking more time for careful study of device health data in order to improve the overall user experience. This new approach will take problems like application incompatibility among other things into account in order to make sure future updates do not automatically install unless known issues have been resolved. This should help reduce the frequency of problems end users encounter.

NVIDIA Deploys GP104 GPU for GDDR5X version of GeForce 1060

NVIDIA has just shown us one of the most ingenious ways of creating new custom, competitive SKUs for the midrange market without spending any additional amounts of money on R&D, wiring, or memory controller work: just reuse the chips that already have that work done. This is the case for NVIDIA's new GTX 1060 GDDR5X graphics card, which the company has "designed" to further fill in the gaps on its midrange offerings against a revamped Radeon RX 590.

PowerColor Announces the AMD Radeon Red Devil RX 590 8GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has introduced the newest PowerColor Red Devil RX 590 8GB GDDR5. The new Red Devil RX 590 brings new blood to the mainstream market, performing more than 10% over the comparable priced cards, this makes a no brainer for this segment.

It is powered by AMD's newest gaming RX590 GPU built on 12 nm, offering the best 1080p performance at the highest settings with uncompromised graphic details. Red Devil RX 590 improves on efficiency, having a boost clock of 1576 MHz core clock speed which is 17% clock speed increase over the 580 at no power consumption increase.

GIGABYTE Intros B450M Gaming Socket AM4 Motherboard

GIGABYTE today introduced the B450M Gaming, a low-cost socket AM4 motherboard based on AMD B450 chipset, designed to be priced under $100. Built in the compact micro-ATX form-factor (205 mm x 244 mm), the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS, and uses a 4+3 phase VRM to power the AM4 SoC. A large VRM heatsink dominates the main MOSFET block, which also covers up a portion of the rear I/O area. The AM4 socket is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory, the board's sole M.2-2280 slot, and the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with metal reinforcement. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots wired to the B450 chipset make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity includes one M.2-2280 slot with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.1 gen 1 type-A ports on the rear panel, and two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports via header. Networking, interestingly, is a 1 GbE interface driven by Realtek Dragon 8118AS controller, which was originally launched as Realtek's competitor to the i219-V (comes with various performance enhancements). Audio is a basic 6-channel fare driven by Realtek ALC887, somewhat improved with ground-layer isolation and electrolytic capacitors.

G.SKILL Announces DDR4-4266 64GB (8x8GB) and DDR4-4000 128GB (8x16GB) Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is excited to announce two world-class extreme speed high capacity memory kits - DDR4-4266 64GB (8x8GB) and DDR4-4000 128GB (8x16GB) for the latest Intel Core X-series processors and X299 motherboards. Both kits are equipped with high performance Samsung B-die ICs and are validated on the ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE II motherboard with the Intel Core i9-9920X and Core i7-9800X processors, respectively.

Dedicated to developing faster overclocking memory, G.SKILL is bringing 128GB capacity kits to the speed class of DDR4-4000, while maintaining an ultra-efficient CL19-19-19-39 CAS latency and 1.35V low voltage. It is the ultimate memory solution for building a super performance computer combining the highest capacity and extreme speed. This kit will join the G.SKILL Trident Z RGB family and has been validated on the ASUS PRIME X299-DELUXE II motherboard and with the latest Intel Core i7-9800X processor. The following screenshot shows the stress test result: (Note: Please refer to the "Specification" field of the CPU tab for the correct CPU model name.)

Intel Core X 9000-series Skylake-X Refresh Processors Formally Launched

Intel today formally launched its Core X 9000-series socket LGA2066 high-end desktop (HEDT) processors. Based on the same "Skylake-X" LCC and HCC dies as the Core X 7000-series, these processors are a minor refresh, in that Intel has bumped either the clock-speeds, or core-count, or L3 cache amount at existing price-points. The only physical difference between these chips and their "predecessors" is soldered integrated heatspreader, or STIM as Intel likes to call it. The processors are drop-in compatible with existing socket LGA2066 motherboards, although some boards may require BIOS updates. Many boards offer USB flash-back, a feature with which you can update the system BIOS even without any processor or memory installed.

With the introduction of 6-core and 8-core mainstream-desktop processors, Intel withdrew 6-core/12-thread for the LGA2066 platform. There is no more HEDT platform option under $500, such as the Core i7-7800X, or the smash-hit Core i7-920. The Core i7-9800X is an 8-core/16-thread chip clocked at 3.80 GHz nominal and 4.40 GHz boost, priced at $589. Its clock speeds may be lower than those of the i9-9900K, but it gives you quad-channel memory interface, 16.5 MB L3 cache (in addition to 1 MB L2 cache per core), and 44-lane PCIe interface. That's right, Intel learned from its blunder of stripping its sub-$1000 Core X processors of half their PCIe lanes, and now the entire lineup features the full 44-lane PCIe root complex, and quad-channel memory.

NVIDIA Announces Quadro RTX 4000 Graphics Card

NVIDIA today introduced the Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card - the company's first midrange professional GPU powered by the NVIDIA Turing architecture and the NVIDIA RTX platform. Unveiled at the annual Autodesk University Conference in Las Vegas, the Quadro RTX 4000 puts real-time ray tracing within reach of a wider range of developers, designers and artists worldwide.

Professionals from the manufacturing, architecture, engineering and media creation industries witnessed a seismic shift in computer graphics with the launch of Turing in August. The field's greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006, Turing features new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and next-gen Tensor Cores for AI inferencing which, together for the first time, make real-time ray tracing possible.

CORSAIR Announces Support for Xbox One with Gaming Keyboards and Mice

CORSAIR , a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced compatibility with the Microsoft Xbox One for CORSAIR wired and wireless keyboards and mice, following Microsoft's recent announcement of expanded peripheral support for the console. Now, players can take advantage of CORSAIR's award-winning gaming peripherals to play keyboard and mouse-enabled games on a whole new platform-Xbox One.

With the console's new compatibility with keyboards and mice, developers can now choose to add support for those devices to their games. The first announced Xbox One game titles to receive peripheral support include Fortnite, Warframe, and Minecraft, with many more games planned for future compatibility. Microsoft is focused on working with developers to ensure that these games are fun, fair, and properly balanced no matter how players decide to control them.
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