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Intel Launches Site Detailing Optane Requirements: Skylake Users Need not Apply
Tuesday, February 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC 6 GB

MSI's GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC is a custom GTX 1060 variant that's optimized to not break the bank while still offering features like idle-fan-stop, low noise, and good temperatures. The card uses the exact same PCB as the more expensive Gaming X, at lower clocks, though.

Alphacool Presents the "Eislicht," a Revolution in Illumination

Alphacool presents the next step in modding and style. With the "Eislicht" , Alphacool is introducing a brand new technology into the field of case illumination.

Installing lighting into PCs started many years ago with cathode tubes. They had a pleasant, even glow, but were rather chunky and difficult to integrate into a system. Their lifespan was also a lot shorter than today's LEDs.

The latter are state of the art today, and the world of modding can hardly be imagined without them. They're easy to install, don't use a lot of power, give off very little heat, and their lifespan is very long. However, their illumination is rather piecemeal and often looks awkward due to the many individual LEDs.

AMD's Ryzen 7 1700X Glorious Benchmarks Leak; IHS, Pin Layout Photographed

Another day, another leak: the folks at XFastest have indeed been the fastest to leak images of an actual Ryzen 7 1700X processor, with pictures of the processor's IHS and pin area running rampant throughout the Internet (the Ryzen chip is located to the right in both pictures, with a sample of AMD's previous-generation FX CPUs on the left side for comparison sake).

While revealing shots may have their appeal, it's the benchmarking portion that most of us are expectant about. Until actual reviews are out, we're left nothing more than these leaks (which should be taken with appropriate amounts of salt). In this case, benchmarks of AMD's upcoming Ryzen 7 1700X have been released, showing just how the upcoming CPU delivers in 3D Mark Fire Strike, CPU Mark and Cinebench R15.

Google Dominates VR Headsets Market: Strategy Analytics

2016 saw the launch of multiple new VR platforms vying for consumer, developer and enterprise attention. The Strategy Analytics report "VR Headset Platform Market Share Year End 2016" estimates that over 30 million VR headsets shipped, split between 6 major competing VR platforms in an increasingly fragmented landscape.

David MacQueen, Executive Director of Strategy Analytics' Virtual Reality Ecosystem research program, noted, "2016 certainly was a busy year in VR. Appearing alongside Google Cardboard were new platforms Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and SteamVR, currently served by the HTC Vive device, although more vendors will join this platform in 2017."

AMD Appoints John W. Marren to Board of Directors

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today announced the appointment of John W. Marren, 53, to its board of directors coinciding with Martin Edelman's decision to step down as member of the company's board of directors, a position he has held since 2013. Marren's 30-year career spans both the financial and technology industries, with a deep focus on semiconductors. He retired from Texas Pacific Group (TPG) Capital in 2015 after spending 16 years at the firm as senior partner and head of technology investments. Prior to TPG, he was managing director and co-head of the Technology Investment Banking Group at Morgan Stanley, and prior to that time was managing director at Alex, Brown and Sons. Before shifting his focus to finance, Marren spent seven years in various technical and business roles at VLSI Technology and Vitesse Semiconductor. He currently serves on a number of private company boards, including Avaya Inc., Infinidat, Inc., and Isola Group.

"John brings substantial board, financial, and technology industry experience as well as strong semiconductor knowledge that make him a valuable addition to AMD as the company enters an exciting growth phase driven by a strengthened and expanded portfolio of new products," said John Caldwell, AMD's chairman of the board. "On behalf of the AMD Board, I would also like to express our thanks to Marty for his four years of service as a director. We are grateful for his counsel and insight that has helped AMD transform and build a solid foundation for growth."

AMD Ryzen Stock Cooling Solutions Detailed

AMD is expected to package its upcoming Ryzen desktop processors in five ways - OEM trays (for system integrators and big pre-built PC manufacturers), PIB (processor in a box) with its basic fan-heatsink cooling solution, PIB with the new Wraith Spire cooling solution; PIB with the new Wraith Max cooling solution, and WOF (without fan-heatsink consumer). You can find the various models of Ryzen processors listed in our older article.

AMD's first wave of Ryzen processors consist of 65W and 95W TDP chips. Some of the more cost-effective models, such as the quad-core Ryzen R3 and SMT-equipped quad-core Ryzen R5, and certain variants of the six-core Ryzen R5, which have their TDP rated at 65W, could include AMD's basic cooling solution. According to XFastest, this cooler will look identical to the ones AMD used to bundle with its FX-series processors, before it innovated its Wraith cooling solution (representative image below). These coolers were being bundled with 125W TDP FX-series chips, and will now be re-tuned for low noise for the 65W TDP Ryzen chips, and will feature AM4 compatibility. Given this, we expect them to do a good job.

Want to Review Headphones and Headsets for TechPowerUp?

Lend us your ears! TechPowerUp is looking for audiophiles and enthusiasts who can review consumer headphones and gaming headsets for us. Reviewing listening devices such as headphones aren't heavy on measurements and data analysis; we will however, be counting on your literary and photography skills, besides your ability to spot subtle differences in the way different headphones reproduce test sounds. The position is part-time, remote, and we pay, besides arranging samples. Interested? Send us your CVs, optionally along with samples of your work. We're cool with first-time reviewers, too.
Image Credit: PC Games News

GeIL Launches its EVO-X Series DDR4 Memory with RGB LED Lighting

GeIL launched its flagship EVO-X line of high-performance DDR4 memory modules featuring RGB LED lighting, which it unveiled at the 2017 International CES, earlier this year. The modules feature a diffused RGB LED lighting element that takes input from most RGB LED standards over 4-pin headers, such as ASUS Aura Sync, ASRock Aura RGB, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion. The modules feature two inputs, one on either side. One plugs into a 4-pin RGB LED header, and the other draws additional power from a 9V/12V power source, such as a fan header.

Internally, the LED lighting element is placed on a separate PCB from the actual DRAM module, so there's no scope for electrical interference that can destabilize the memory. The modules come in 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB densities, and in a wide range of speeds and timing combinations, including DDR4-2133, DDR4-2400, DDR4-3000, DDR4-3466, DDR4-4000, and DDR4-4133. The modules further come in single-module and dual-channel kits; and with two heatspreader color options - glossy white and matte black. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Blizzard Ends Windows XP and Vista Support for Popular Titles

Blizzard announced that support for several of its popular titles in Windows XP and Vista will be ending later this year. These titles include World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.

Dropping support for these platforms makes sense from an economic standpoint. As a platform ages, it becomes increasingly hard to make software work with it without making it difficult to support modern technology and features. Windows XP in particular doesn't support above DirectX 9, severely limiting the abilities of a developer wishing to take advantage of modern graphics and effects. Vista, on the other hand, supports up to DirectX 11, but has such limited market share as to make it statistically irrelevant (XP market share hovers at slightly less than 10%, while Vista market share doesn't even register, according to netmarketshare.com).

Source: BlizzardSource: HardOCP
Monday, February 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
PSUs
Speakers
SSD

Tesoro Gram Spectrum RGB Keyboard

The Tesoro Gram Spectrum RGB keyboard is a new take on an old design. It has the now expected full RGB backlighting, software driver support and programmable/macro features for keyboards but does so while using low profile keycaps and a new Cherry MX switch clone- the Agile switches- with shorter actuation and bottoming out distances intended for faster response times.

AOC Intros Two New AGON CX Series Curved Gaming Monitors

AOC today introduced two new AGON CX series curved gaming monitors in the conventional 16:9 aspect ratio, the 32-inch AG322QCX, and the 27-inch AG272FCX. The two feature VA (vertical alignment) panels, which serve up 144 Hz refresh-rates, and support for AMD FreeSync technology (over DisplayPort). The monitors look "gaming grade," boasting glossy red+black color schemes, and an acrylic tripod stand. Controls are handled by an AOC QuickSwitch RF remote control. The AG322QCX offers native resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and inputs that include two each of DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, with one D-Sub (VGA); while the AG272FCX is Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), featuring two DisplayPorts and one HDMI, besides the D-Sub. Slated for May 2017, the AG272FCX is expected to be priced at 449€, and the AG322QCX at 599€ (including taxes).

MSI Launches Low-Profile AMD RX 460 Graphics Cards in 2 GB and 4 GB Flavours

To strangely low pomp and fanfare, MSI has further increased its line-up of offerings for the RX 460 family of graphics cards, with the launch of the Radeon RX 460 4GT LP (4GB), as well as a 2GT (2GB) version. Based on AMD's Olaris 11 "Baffin" graphics chip, these graphics cards feature a 75 W TDP, thus eschewing any auxiliary PCIe power connectors. That TDP being tamed by a dual-fan cooling solution and the usage of MIL-STD-810G certified components mean that this is a card where MSI feels comfortable about its lifespan.

Connectivity-wise, the boards offer 1x DL-DVI-D, as well as 1x HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 support, which makes any of these a relevant choice for an HTPC. MSI has not revealed a MSRP for any of these cards, but considering the segment at which they fit in like a jigsaw puzzle, one can surely expect their pricing to not be that far off from those recommended by AMD ($109 for the 2 GB version, and $139 for the 4 GB one).

Source: AnandTech

Trays of AMD Ryzen CPUs Pictured

Feast your eyes on these trays of AMD Ryzen processors. Someone (likely an OEM gaming desktop builder) leaked pictures of several 12-unit trays of AMD Ryzen processors, revealing their package designs. A prominent "Ryzen" branding is printed on the integrated heatspreaders (IHS), besides the part numbers, and the various serial numbers.

The chips boast of "diffused in USA, made in China" markings, denoting that the dies (the actual chips) are made in the USA, at GlobalFoundries' swanky new fab, in upstate New York. The chips are then shipped as wafers to GloFo's facility in China, where the dies are bumped and packaged (mated with the pinned substrate and IHS). AMD is expected to launch the Ryzen line of high-performance desktop processors on the 28th February, 2017.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD vs. NVIDIA Flamewar Claims its First IRL Fatality

A Russian man was convicted for murdering his friend over an argument they had over whose graphics card brand is better. Although this incident happened about a year ago, a court placed on official record that the fight that led to the murder was over graphics card brand loyalties. Aleksander Trofimov, hacked his friend Evgeny Lylin to death with a knife as things got heated way out of control between them. The two were under the influence of alcohol. Trofimov, got so offended by his friend's arguments over which GPU brand's cooling solution is better, that he stabbed him 11 times with a knife. Maybe keep your flame-wars on the Internet, where mods with bansticks can sort you out. We stab only your ego.

Source: FragHero

QNAP Launches TS-431X Entry-level Business NAS with a 10GbE Port

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the new TS-431X NAS - a cost-effective dual-core business NAS supporting 4 drives, one built-in 10GbE SFP+ port, and hardware-accelerated encryption. Along with its application-aware design and abundant productive features including containerized virtualization, centralized email management, a private-cloud-based note-taking tool, and Virtual JBOD, the 10GbE-ready TS-431X is a perfect NAS for small and midsize businesses looking for backup, restoration, private cloud, and higher bandwidth for rigorous data processing.

Powered by a dual-core AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-212 1.7 GHz processor and 2GB/8GB DDR3 RAM (upgradable to 8GB), the TS-431X delivers up to 956 MB/s read speed with 10GbE, and up to 312 MB/s read speed with AES 256-bit volume-based data encryption. The integrated 10GbE SFP+ port enables exceptional throughput for intensive data transfer, and fast backup and restoration for an ever-growing amount of data.

NVIDIA to Steal AMD's Ryzen Limelight on Feb 28

NVIDIA could attempt to steal the limelight from AMD's 2017 "Capsaicin & Cream" launch event for its Ryzen desktop processors, slated for February 28, with a parallel GeForce GTX event along the sidelines of the 2017 Game Developers' Conference (GDC). At this event, the company is expected to launch its next enthusiast-segment graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This could at least be a paper-launch, with market availability following through in March.

While the GTX 1080 Ti is a graphics card, and Ryzen a processor (they don't compete), NVIDIA's choice of launch-date could certainly steal some attention away from AMD's big day. Besides launching Ryzen, it wouldn't surprise us if AMD teases its upcoming Radeon "Vega" graphics cards a little more. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is expected to be based on the same "GP102" silicon as the company's flagship TITAN X Pascal graphics card, and could be positioned very close to the USD $1,000 mark, given that NVIDIA priced the TITAN X Pascal at a wallet-scorching $1,199.

Sources: IO-Tech, NordicHardware

Synology Acknowledges Erratum in Intel Atom C2000-powered NAS

Synology Inc. is aware of a new processor erratum discovered in the Intel Atom C2000 family. After in-depth investigation, the possibility of seeing accelerated degradation of a certain processor component is rare after prolonged and heavy usage. This erratum is not known to cause data loss, nor any safety hazards. Based on hundreds of thousands of shipped products equipped with Intel C2538 processors since 2014, Synology has not seen any abnormal error rates compared to products equipped with different Intel processors.

As of today, all products equipped with Intel C2538 processors are performing in-line with Synology's quality standards. As a testament to our confidence in Synology's product reliability, we are extending the warranty for Intel C2538 based products by an additional year. A dedicated service email, has also been implemented for further questions.
Friday, February 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
Speakers

Aerocool P7-C1

The Aerocool "Project 7" P7-C1 offers a futuristic take on what a gaming professional should use as their chassis. It offers large, clean design elements, a long list of functionality, an interesting material mix, and RGB lighting.

AMD Ryzen 1700X, 1600X & 1300 Benchmarks Leaked

A number of sites have been reporting on some leaked (as in, captured from Futuremark's database) scores on AMD's upcoming CPUs. Now, some benchmarks seem to have surfaced regarding not only the company's 8-core, 16-thread monsters, but also towards its sweet-spot 6-core, 12-thread CPUs and its more mundane 4-core offerings.

Taking into account some metrics (which you should, naturally, take with some grains of salt), and comparing Intel's and AMD's Ryzen offerings on 3DMark's Fire Strike Physics scores, we can see that a $389 Ryzen 7 1700X (8 cores, 16 threads) at its base clock of 3.4 GHz manages to surpass Intel's competing (in thread count alone, since it retails for $1089) 6900K running at its base 3.2 GHz frequency - with the Ryzen processor scoring 17,878 points versus the 6900K's 17,100. Doing some fast and hard maths, this would mean that if the R7 1700X was to be clocked at the same speed as the 6900K, it would still be faster, clock for clock (though not by much, admittedly). We don't know whether Turbo was disabled or not on these tests, for either AMD's or Intel's processor, so we have to consider that. However, if Turbo were enabled, that would mean that the R7 1700X's clockspeed would only be 100 MHz higher than the 6900K's (3.8 GHz max, vs 3.7 GHz max on the Intel CPU).

Valve Reportedly Indifferent to Fate of Virtual Reality Tech

It seems Valve is far from concerned about rumors of an underwhelming Virtual Reality headset market. In a recent interview with the head of the game studio, Gabe Newell said his company was still "optimistic" in regards to VR's present state of affairs, and that it's "going in a way that's consistent with our expectations." He also added that Valve was "pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure."

VR Tech sales have come under scrutiny due, in part, to lack of information. Neither Valve nor Oculus' respective marketplaces have produced sales data, leaving speculation to run rampant. To further fuel the fire, leaked figures from late last year suggest only 140,000 HTC Vive headsets had been sold, below market expectations for what is supposed to be the next "big thing."

Phanteks Also Announces the Glacier G1080 Series VGA Water Blocks

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, is excited to introduce the new Glacier Series GPU water blocks. The Glacier G1080 full cover waterblocks from Phanteks are designed to work seamlessly with the 1080/1070 Graphic Cards from MSI Gaming Series, Asus Strix, EVGA FTW, Gigabyte G1, preserving compatibility with orignal backplates and RGB functionalities.

Made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks, the G1080 water blocks deliver extreme cooling and improve stability under high overclocks for the enthusiasts. VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity.

Phanteks Also Announces the Glacier C350i CPU Water Block

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, is excited to introduce the Glacier Series C350i, a compact design CPU water block for Intel platform that delivers the highest possible rate of cooling performance to the processor efficiently and improves stability when overclocked.

The Glacier C350i features a large copper base in high quality nickel finish, polished acrylic surface, and integrated high density cooling fins. The fins are fine-tuned to 0.4mm wide and designed with extra high fins (5mm) for improved conductivity. The C350i is integrated with RGB Lighting that can be synchronised with all Phanteks RGB products and RGB motherboards. Tailored with Viton O-Ring, the C350i is durable, resistant to extreme temperatures and retains sealing performance for long periods of time.

Phanteks Announces the Glacier Series Water Cooling Fittings

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, has expanded their products into water cooling. Designed to compliment and work seamlessly with their chassis, GPU and CPU water block, Phanteks is excited to announce their new line-up of Glacier Series Fittings. Consisting of soft tube and hard tube fittings, the fittings are ready for any style of watercooling.

The fittings are made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks. The Glacier Fittings are CNC-machined from solid brass and precisely engineered to create a high flow design for extreme water cooling performance. VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity.

MSI Announces Aero ITX Line of Compact Graphics Cards

MSI today announced the Aero ITX line of short-length graphics cards that are mini-ITX friendly. The lineup is led by the GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC (and its non-overclocked variant); which is just 18.4 cm long, 14.4 cm tall, and 2 slots thick. Its cooler features a dense aluminium fin-stack to which heat drawn directly from the GPU are fed by three 8 mm-thick nickel plated copper heat pipes; and ventilated by a single 100 mm TorX fan. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; and serves up a factory-overclock of 1531 MHz core, 1721 MHz GPU Boost (against reference clocks of 1506/1683 MHz); and an untouched memory clock of 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective). The non-OC variant sticks to reference clocks, at a slightly lower price.

Moving on, there's the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB/3GB Aero ITX series, in OC and non-OC variants. All four cards are built on a common board design, with 17.5 cm length, and 11.5 cm height. The cooler is slightly lighter than the one that cools the GTX 1070 Aero ITX, and employs just one S-shaped 8 mm-thick heat pipe, passing through two ends of an aluminium fin-stack; ventilated by an 80 mm spinner. The GTX 1060 6GB Aero ITX OC ticks at 1544 MHz core, and 1759 MHz GPU Boost (vs. 1506/1709 MHz reference). The GTX 1060 3GB OC runs at 1544/1759 MHz. The non-OC variants run at reference speeds. The cards draw power from single 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

BIOSTAR RACING Series Motherboard Lineup for AMD RYZEN Announced

BIOSTAR is proud to announce the newest entry in its RACING Series family of high-performance motherboard with its debut entry for AMD with the BIOSTAR RACING X370 and B350 motherboard line up. Featuring the latest 2nd-generation RACING Series technology, the race to the future has just become more intense with support for the new AMD RYZEN processors.

True to the legacy of the BIOSTAR RACING series, the new motherboards for the Super 5 concept as well as the BIOSTAR's revolutionary VIVID LED Armor and 5050 LED Fun Zone. In conjunction with this are BIOSTAR's new improvement to component stability and performance with its new feature of Digital Power+ for overclocking and M.2 Cooling Protection. Also debuting with this model is the FLY.NET network performance software that works in tandem with the new DRAGON gaming LAN solution designed for gamers that want absolute network performance without lag when every second counts.

BIOSTAR and TechPowerUp Announce the Racing GT Giveaway

BIOSTAR and TechPowerUp are back with a 'racing' new giveaway, to celebrate the launch of BIOSTAR's Intel 200-series chipset based Racing GT series motherboards. These socket LGA1151 motherboards by BIOSTAR are designed with high-durability electrical components, and the grooviest RGB LED lighting. Open to participants from the United States and Mexico; up for grabs, are one BIOSTAR Racing Z270-GT6 high-end motherboard; and two BIOSTAR Racing B250-GT5. That's three lucky winners who stand to win one of BIOSTAR's very best! To stand a chance to win, all you have to do is fill up a short form (to help us identify you). Good Luck!
For more information, and to participate, visit this page.
Thursday, February 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors

AMD Ryzen Die Shot and New Architecture Details Revealed at ISSCC

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference held earlier this month, some solid information has come to surface on a subject near and dear to many enthusiast hearts right now: AMD's upcoming Ryzen CPU line.

As far as credibility, the information comes in fairly convincing form. AMD's claims are backed with die shots of actual AMD Ryzen cores and further supported by more shots of their CCX (core complex) modules. From these shots, we can guess at several things, and further more see evidence for several of their claims.
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