Hardware Giveaway
Friday, December 13th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
PSUs
SSD
Pichau Gaming Nidus 500 W

Pichau Gaming Nidus 500 W

The Nidus 500 is the first power supply from Pichau Gaming. It might use an old platform, but build quality and overall performance are satisfactory. This is a budget-oriented product, and thanks to its reliable parts, it will easily outlive the short warranty supporting it.

BitFenix Introduces the Alchemy 3.0 ARGB GPU Bracket

BitFenix today announced an accessory for your graphics cards' safety, whilst adding some bling to your build. The Alchemy 3.0 ARGB GPU Bracket is little more than a support for your graphics card which installs in your PC case and provides physical support to prevent sagging and other problems that may arise from deploying a graphics card with a high-performance, heavyweight custom cooling solution (it literally supports graphics cards with weights going up to 7.5 Kg and 80-120 cm long).

The Alchemy 3.0 ARGB GPU Bracket features ARGB lighting which users can control and customize to their liking, and the 18 available mounting holes ensure maximum compatibility regardless of your graphics card. It also comes with three different extension holders, sizing up at 45 mm, 80 mm and 120 mm. The GPU bracket will take up three free PCI slots on your build, though, so keep that in mind if you're planning on using this.

AOC Reveals Two New UltraWide Monitors, CU34G2 and CU34G2X: 34" 21:9 VA, 3440 x 1440, up to 144 Hz, 1 ms, 1500R, FreeSync

AOC has revealed two new additions to their monitor lineup, which seemingly tick most - if not all - of the right boxes. The only thing that differs in both the CU34G2 and CU34G2X is their maximum refresh rates: the CU34G2 can go up to 100 Hz, while the CU34G2X can refresh at up to 144 Hz. The rest of the specs are virtually the same: a 34" VA panel with 3440 x 1440 resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, 1 ms response times, 300 nits maximum brightness, 1500R curvature, and support for FreeSync.

In terms of color space, the CU34G2 wins out, covering 124% of the sRGB space and 92% of AdobeRGB, while the CU34G2X tightens the color space a smidge with 119% sRGB and 88% of AdobeRGB. I/O wise, both feature 1x DisplayPort 1.2 and 2x HDMI (only the CU34G2 uses HDMI 2.0, though). Both monitors also offer a quad USB 3.0 Hub and 1x Headphone out. The monitors will launch come January 2020 at attractive price points: $450 for the 100 Hz CU34G2 and $550 for the 144 Hz CU34G2X,

MSI Announces Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming and MECH Series

As the world's most popular GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to introduce its full line up of graphics cards based on the new AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT series with remarkable performance. Furnished with the new AMD RDNA gaming architecture - Efficiently energetic, RDNA architecture was designed to deliver incredible performance, scalability and power efficiency. Built on the 7 nm FinFET process and delivering higher performance-per-watt compared to the previous architecture, the Radeon RX 5500 XT Series will be available as GAMING and MECH.

ASRock Launches the Radeon RX 5500 XT Phantom Gaming D 8G OC Graphics Card

he leading global motherboard, graphics card and mini PC manufacturer, ASRock, launches the Radeon RX 5500 XT Phantom Gaming D 8G OC graphics card - as the latest member of the ASRock Phantom Gaming series graphics card product line, equipped with AMD 's 2nd generation 7nm Radeon RX 5500 XT GPU, 8 GB 128-bit GDDR6 video memory, and support PCI Express 4.0 bus standard, as well as the new dual fan design with Phantom Gaming appearance, brilliant Polychrome SYNC lighting effect synchronization, and the stylish metal backplane. The advanced specifications and rich functions bring gamers an outstanding 1080p gaming experience.

Ray Tracing and Variable-Rate Shading Design Goals for AMD RDNA2

Hardware-accelerated ray tracing and variable-rate shading will be the design focal points for AMD's next-generation RDNA2 graphics architecture. Microsoft's reveal of its Xbox Series X console attributed both features to AMD's "next generation RDNA" architecture (which logically happens to be RDNA2). The Xbox Series X uses a semi-custom SoC that features CPU cores based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture and a GPU based on RDNA2. It's highly likely that the SoC could be fabricated on TSMC's 7 nm EUV node, as the RDNA2 graphics architecture is optimized for that. This would mean an optical shrink of "Zen 2" to 7 nm EUV. Besides the SoC that powers Xbox Series X, AMD is expected to leverage 7 nm EUV for its RDNA2 discrete GPUs and CPU chiplets based on its "Zen 3" microarchitecture in 2020.

Variable-rate shading (VRS) is an API-level feature that lets GPUs conserve resources by shading certain areas of a scene at a lower rate than the other, without perceptible difference to the viewer. Microsoft developed two tiers of VRS for its DirectX 12 API, tier-1 is currently supported by NVIDIA "Turing" and Intel Gen11 architectures, while tier-2 is supported by "Turing." The current RDNA architecture doesn't support either tiers. Hardware-accelerated ray-tracing is the cornerstone of NVIDIA's "Turing" RTX 20-series graphics cards, and AMD is catching up to it. Microsoft already standardized it on the software-side with the DXR (DirectX Raytracing) API. A combination of VRS and dynamic render-resolution will be crucial for next-gen consoles to achieve playability at 4K, and to even boast of being 8K-capable.

URCDKeys Xmas Sale: Get Genuine Windows 10 and Office 2016 at Up To 90% Off

As we head closer to Xmas, the Holiday spirit grows and so do shipping times, but not for digital goods! URCDKeys says that's never too late to stuff your virtual stockings with genuine, globally-valid software. With discounts as deep as 90% we can hardly argue with them. It's a great opportunity to upgrade all the computers in your family to Windows 10, as Microsoft prepares to pull the plug on Windows 7 support from January. Office 2016 Professional Plus is another great addition to your PCs, as it's the most wholesome personal-productivity suite. Grab them both from the links below.

Don't forget to apply the TechPowerUp-exclusive discount code TP20 at checkout to avail the prices you see here!

Buy Windows 10 Pro from URCDKeys for $12.49 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from URCDKeys for $32.13

ADATA XPG Announces Tested Compatibility with Ryzen 9 3950X and 3rd Gen Threadripper

ADATA Technology (Taiwan Stock Exchange: 3260.TWO), a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories is pleased to announce that ADATA and XPG DDR4 memory modules are compatible with latest 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper HEDT (High-end Desktop) platforms. Whether for creators that demand high-capacity modules or gamers and overclockers seeking high-performance modules, ADATA and XPG offer memory products that meet their specific needs.

ADATA and XPG have always strove to ensure high compatibility of their memory modules through the use of high-quality, rigorously tested IC chips and PCB boards. With the recent launch of AMD's most powerful desktop processors- Ryzen 9 3950X processor with X570 platform and AMD HEDT Ryzen Threadripper 3960X/3970X processor with TRX40 platform, ADATA's and XPG's commitment to high compatibility remains a key consideration, in addition to robust performance and sufficient capacity.

LG Announces new Gram Laptop Lineup Powered by Intel Ice Lake CPUs

LG Electronics' newest gram laptop computer series - the LG gram 17 (model 17Z90N), LG gram 15 (model 15Z90N), LG gram 14 (model 14Z90N) and 14-inch LG gram 2-in-1 (model 14T90N) - is designed to set a new standard for portable computing and will satisfy the needs of the most demanding users. The 2020 lineup of LG gram laptops stick to the company's winning formula - lightweight, compact, long battery life - while adding even more performance.

At the heart of the new series is the 10th Generation Intel Core processor with Iris Plus graphics and up to 24 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory. With double the graphics processing power of last year's models, content creators will love having the speed and power to edit 4K video on-the-go and users will marvel at how smooth games can be with Iris Plus built-in.

Logitech Announces 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam for Apple Pro Display XDR

Logitech introduced the first webcam designed specifically for the new Apple Pro Display XDR, available today. With a contemporary design and seamless mounting experience, the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam offers high-quality video to communicate, collaborate and record right from your desk with the new Pro Display XDR.

Delivering crystal-clear 4K Ultra HD video with crisp resolution, color and detail, the Logitech 4K Pro Magnetic Webcam is perfect for Mac users who use Pro Display XDR. The webcam's secure magnetic mount makes set up effortless and holds your webcam firmly in place, even when it is tilted up and down. Featuring RightLight 3 with HDR technology, the lighting on the webcam automatically adjusts so you look great regardless if you are low light or direct sunlight situations. The Logitech Camera Settings app also allows you to customize and adjust brightness, color intensity, contrast and more, so you always look your best on camera.

Microsoft Unveils Xbox Series X, Available Holiday 2020, and "Senua's Saga: Hellblade II"

Microsoft announces the Xbox Series X console. For eighteen years and three console generations, the Xbox community has shown us the power both games and fun can have on all of us. As we enter a new generation of gaming, we see a future where you're instantly absorbed in your games - where worlds are even more lifelike, immersive, responsive and surprising - and where you are at the center of your gaming experience. With the new Xbox Series X, we will realize that vision.

Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you. Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay. We also designed Xbox Series X to support both vertical and horizontal orientation. It's bold and unique, very much like our fans around the world and the team of collaborators and innovators who built it.

PowerColor Announces its Radeon RX 5500 XT Red Dragon Series

TUL Corporation, parent of the leading and innovative AMD Graphics Card Manufacturing brand, PowerColor, announces their latest cards in their lineup, PowerColor Red Dragon RX 5500 XT 8 GB and PowerColor RX 5500 XT 4 GB. Powered by the the newest and most advanced 7 nm RDNA architecture with GDDR6 VRAM, the RX 5500 series features performance delivery optimized for better visuals such as volumetric lighting, motion blurring effects, depth of field, and multi-level cache hierarchy for reduced latency and a highly responsive gaming experience.

PowerColor's newest RX 5500 XT series is a perfect match for 1080p gaming, reaching 60 FPS on AAA gaming titles on high graphics settings, and over 90 FPS on the leading e-sports titles. AMD's newest lineup of features on their Radeon Graphics Drivers enhances the experience further with settings such as Radeon Image Sharpening and FidelityFX for maximum performance and insane immersive gaming experiences as well Radeon Anti-Lag for highly responsive gaming.

EK Launches a Quantum Revolution of Tubular D5 Combos

EK, the premium liquid cooling gear manufacturer based in Europe, is releasing a new Quantum Line of genuine D5 pump based combo units. These units are a revolution and an upgrade of the market-proven design used in the old EK-XRES Revo generation of pump-res combos since the new units have twice as much ports. EK-Quantum products come with sophisticated 5 V addressable D-RGB LEDs which can be controlled through your motherboard RGB control software or the upcoming EK-Connect controller unit.

The most popular cylindrical pump-res combo on the market is redesigned, upgraded and is better in every way. The top is now featuring three G1/4" ports, one of which has a pre-installed nickel-plated brass internal tube which helps to prevent the splashing of the coolant inside the reservoir if the top is to be used as an inlet. This reduces the chances of air being sucked in by the pump and foaming of the coolant as well. Any of these ports can also use used for filling the system or adding additional upcoming accessories (thermal probes, LEDs, etc.)

Thermaltake Announces S500 Tempered Glass Snow Edition Case

Thermaltake, the leading PC DIY premium brand for Cooling, Gaming Gear, and Enthusiast Memory solutions, is thrilled to announce that the S500 Tempered Glass Mid Tower Chassis now comes in a white version- the S500 Tempered Glass Snow Edition Mid Tower Chassis- is now available for pre-order. Embeded with the main idea of being sleek, simple, and elegant, the S500 TG Snow shows sophistication and simplicity and is all built with a modern steel construction. The S500 TG Snow's immaculate snow white panels make it easy for users to build their own winter themed liquid cooling gaming system.

The chassis is manufactured with one tempered glass side panel, two preinstalled standard fans, 140 mm at the front and 120 mm at the rear to enable outstanding ventilation. Through Thermaltake's exclusive TT RGB PLUS software, users can select different light modes and colors to create the perfect holiday atmosphere. The S500 TG Snow incorporates a full modular design, vertical radiator & GPU mount, patented rotational PCI-E slots, and the support for 200 mm fans. The new S500 TG Tempered Glass Snow Edition Mid Tower Chassis is a great fit for PC builders who are looking for a modern and stylish chassis.
Thursday, December 12th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
SSD
Storage
MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8 GB

MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X 8 GB

The MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT Gaming X features twice the VRAM of the 4 GB OEM model, which we found to make a surprising difference in games, even at 1080p. As expected, the card includes an extremely quiet cooler, idle-fan-stop, and a backplate.
Sapphire Radeon RX 5500 XT Pulse 4 GB

Sapphire Radeon RX 5500 XT Pulse 4 GB

Sapphire's factory-overclocked Radeon RX 5500 XT Pulse comes with an amazing cooler that delivers excellent temperatures and unbelievable noise levels at the same time. Idle fan stop and a dual BIOS are included, too, for a very reasonable price increase of $10.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.12.2 with RX 5500 XT Support

AMD today re-released Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition with the same version number, 19.12.2 WHQL. The drivers add support for the Radeon RX 5500 XT retail desktop graphics card launched today. The rest of its feature-set is identical to that of the 19.12.2 drivers, which debut with a new installer, 20 new or improved features, and the all-encompassing new Radeon Software app. We are awaiting a change-log from AMD to see if anything else has changed (think fixes to glaring bugs from the original driver's release), and will update this post accordingly.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 19.12.2 (December 12 release)

AMD Announces the Radeon RX 5500 XT Graphics Card in the Retail Channel

AMD today announced the Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card for the DIY (retail) channel, launched exclusively through its add-in board partners. Based on the 7 nm "Navi 14" silicon, the RX 5500 XT has the same exact core-configuration as the RX 5500 launched in October to OEMs. This means only 22 out of the 24 RDNA compute units are enabled, and the XT doesn't max the silicon out. These work out to 1,408 stream processors. Other vital specs include 88 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface. The RX 5500 XT will still end up faster than the RX 5500 OEM card from last month, since it has a higher engine "game clocks" of 1717 MHz, while the RX 5500 OEM ships with roughly 1670 MHz game clocks. Engine boost clocks for the RX 5500 XT are rated at up to 1845 MHz.

The Radeon RX 5500 XT comes in two variants based on memory size, 4 GB and 8 GB. Both variants use 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips across the chip's 128-bit wide memory bus. The 4 GB variant uses four commonly available 8 Gbit chips, while the 8 GB variant typically uses high-density 16 Gbit memory chips. AMD is pricing the Radeon RX 5500 XT at USD $169.99 for the 4 GB variant, and $199.99 for the 8 GB variant. It competes with a spectrum of NVIDIA cards including the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 Super.

Read the TechPowerUp Reviews of the Sapphire Radeon RX 5500 XT 4 GB Pulse OC and MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT 8 GB Gaming X
The complete AMD slide deck follows.

Sharkoon Announces RGB LIT 100 and RGB LIT 200 Cases

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon now introduces two new midi ATX towers: the RGB LIT 100 and RGB LIT 200. These are two strikingly impressive PC cases, which features a tempered glass front and side panel, an addressable RGB fan in the back plus an LED strip at the bottom of the glass side panel. The front of the RGB LIT 100 catches the eye with its circuit-board pattern and the RGB LIT 200 with its pattern of jagged waves. In addition, both cases provide enough space for fans, powerful hardware and up to six SSDs.

Both RGB LIT cases benefit from an impressive RGB lighting in the front, which can be flexibly programmed and synchronized with other compatible lighting elements. The front panel itself is made of tempered glass. With the LIT 100, this has a reflective circuit board pattern, while the LIT 200 has a reflective design of jagged waves. Inside the front, there are LED strips that emit an individualized lighting over the entire pattern.

AMD Radeon RX 5600 Series SKUs Feature 6GB and 8GB Variants

AMD's Radeon RX 5600-series could see the company take on the top-end of NVIDIA's GeForce 16-series, such as the GTX 1660 Super and the GTX 1660 Ti. A report from earlier this month pegged a December 2019 product announcement for the RX 5600-series and subsequent availability in the weeks following. Regulatory filings by AMD AIB (add-in board) partners with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) shed more light on the product differentiation within the RX 5600 series. The filings reveal that the RX 5600 and RX 5600 XT feature 6 GB and 8 GB sub-variants.

The regulatory filing by ASUS references products across its ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, and Dual lines of graphics cards. As mentioned in the older report, we expect AMD to carve the RX 5600 series out of the larger "Navi 10" silicon, by disabling many more RDNA compute units than the RX 5700, and narrowing the GDDR6 memory bus to 192-bit for the 6 GB variants. AMD has an opportunity to harvest "Navi 10" chips down to stream processor counts such as 1,792 (28 CUs) or 2,048 (32 CUs). It also has the opportunity to use cost-effective 12 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips.

Intel RealSense Lidar Camera Technology Redefines Computer Vision

Today, Intel announced the Intel RealSense lidar camera L515, the world's smallest and most power-efficient, high-resolution lidar that captures millions of depth points per second. Designed with proprietary technology that creates entirely new ways to incorporate lidar into smart devices to perceive the world in 3D, the L515 provides high-quality performance and millimeter accuracy to products that require vision capabilities.

"Intel RealSense technology is used to develop products that enrich people's lives by enabling machines and devices to perceive the world in 3D. With the L515 depth camera, we are excited to bring high-resolution lidar performance to markets previously inaccessible to this technology."
-Sagi BenMoshe, corporate vice president, Intel RealSense Group
Wednesday, December 11th 2019

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Multimedia
SSD
Storage
ROCCAT Kone Pure Ultra

ROCCAT Kone Pure Ultra

ROCCAT's newest iteration of their popular Kone series, the Kone Pure Ultra, improves on its predecessors in many ways: a drastically lower form factor of just 66 g, PixArt's PMW 3389 sensor, and ROCCAT's very own AIMO lighting system.
ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 Super STRIX OC

ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 Super STRIX OC

The ASUS GeForce GTX 1650 Super STRIX OC is the company's most premium GTX 1650 Super variant available. It comes with a large overclock out of the box, and its dual-fan cooler achieves excellent temperatures and noise levels. A backplate is included, too.
Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is a fairly novel split keyboard in the 60% form factor that uses upcoming module support to distinguish itself from the rest of the market. It places typing ergonomics and user customization at the forefront and comes ready to go in a variety of switch, layout, and configuration options.

EK Releases Momentum D-RGB Monoblock for ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II

EK, the European premium liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing a new Intel X299 socket based monoblock belonging to the Quantum Line of products, the EK-Quantum Momentum ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II D-RGB. This monoblock is engineered specifically for the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II motherboard from ASUS. The addressable D-RGB LED in the monoblock is compatible with ASUS Aura Sync RGB control and offering a full lighting customization experience for every single diode at any given time.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for Intel Socket 2066 Core X-Series Processors and the monoblock is covering the entire VRM section of the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II motherboard.

Western Digital Unveils WD Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

Western Digital unveiled the WD Blue SN550 line of M.2 NVMe SSDs. A successor to the WD Blue SN500, the SN550 is updated with a new controller that utilizes PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (compared to just x2 on the SN500). Designed in-house by WD and SanDisk, the controller is based on the same architecture as the one that drives the WD Black SN750, but is DRAM-less, and has fewer flash channels. Speaking of which, WD deployed 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and wants the drive to compete in pricing with QLC NAND-based drives such as the Crucial P1. The 250 GB variant is priced at USD $54, the 500 GB variant $65, and the 1 TB variant $99.

All three variants take advantage of the increased PCIe bandwidth to offer sequential read speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s (the SN500 capped out at 1,700 MB/s). Write speeds vary, with the 250 GB variant offering up to 950 MB/s, the 500 GB variant up to 1,750 MB/s, and the 1 TB variant up to 1,950 MB/s. Endurance figures (TBW) of the three variants are rated at 150 TB for the 250 GB variant, 300 TB for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TB for the 1 TB variant. An interesting design choice with these drives is pushing the NAND flash chip and the controller as far apart on the PCB as possible, for less concentration of heat. All three models are backed by 5-year warranties.

TEAMGROUP Releases T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 & ARGB LED Uniform Strip

TEAMGROUP releases T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 and T-FORCE ARGB LED Uniform Strip which are specially designed for CARDEA LIQUID Water Cooling SSD and building an eye-catching PC of your own. T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 has five colors available at once upon release, so users can change the theme and style of the PC freely. T-FORCE ARGB LED Uniform Strip uses 2020 LED bead which is more refined than 5050 ones on the market. With addressable ARGB LED, the creativity can be limitless.

Intel's Process Roadmap Gets Updated with Plans to go Back to Two Year Cadence

During the IEDM event hosted by the IEEE organization, ASML's CEO, Martin van den Brink, took the stage to elaborate more on ASML's vision of the future of semiconductors. When talking about the future of semiconductors, Mr. Brink started talking about Intel and their vision for the future. Intel's slides were showing many things including backporting of IP to older processes and plan to go back to "tick-tock" two-year cadence to restore the previous confidence in Intel's manufacturing capabilities.

Perhaps one of the most interesting notes about the presentation is the fact that Intel is working hard to realize its plans of bringing back a two-year cadence of "tick-tock" process realization. That means that in the future, presumably after 10 nm debut problems are solved, Intel wants to do the old process and optimization tactics. A slide (shown below) titled "In Moore We Trust" is speaking a lot about Intel's future plans, showing few things in particular: Intel's upcoming 10 nm++ and 10 nm+++ nodes, and the possibility of backporting.

New "Plundervolt" Intel CPU Vulnerability Exploits vCore to Fault SGX and Steal Protected Data

A group of cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new security vulnerability affecting Intel processors, which they've craftily named "Plundervolt," a portmanteau of the words "plunder" and "undervolt." Chronicled under CVE-2019-11157, it was first reported to Intel in June 2019 under its security bug-bounty programme, so it could secretly develop a mitigation. With the 6-month NDA lapsing, the researchers released their findings to the public. Plundervolt is described by researchers as a way to compromise SGX (software guard extensions) protected memory by undervolting the processor when executing protected computations, to a level where SGX memory-encryption no longer protects data. The researchers have also published proof-of-concept code.

Plundervolt is different from "Rowhammer," in that it flips bits inside the processor, before they're written to the memory, so SGX doesn't protect them. Rowhammer doesn't work with SGX-protected memory. Plundervolt requires root privileges as software that let you tweak vCore require ring-0 access. You don't need direct physical access to the target machine, as tweaking software can also be remotely run. Intel put out security advisory SA-00298 and is working with motherboard vendors and OEMs to release BIOS updates that pack a new microcode with a mitigation against this vulnerability. The research paper can be read here.
Tuesday, December 10th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Next Gen Core i5 Desktop Processor Confirmed to Feature HyperThreading

A 3DMark results database entry confirmed that the 10th generation Core i5 desktop processor will indeed feature HyperThreading (HTT). Based on the 14 nm "Comet Lake" silicon, the next-gen Core i5 processor will be 6-core/12-thread. Besides HTT, the processors will feature higher clock-speeds than their 9th generation counterparts. In the 3DMark validation, a Core i5-10600 processor is referenced, featuring 6 cores and 12 logical processors. The chip has a nominal clock-speed of 3.30 GHz in its name string (a 200 MHz increment over the i5-9600), although its Turbo Boost frequency hasn't been detected properly by SystemInfo.

It's possible that the maximum Turbo Boost will be a similar 100-200 MHz gain over the 4.60 GHz of the i5-9600. It remains to be seen what L3 cache amount Intel gives these chips. The 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700 has 12 MB, or an additional 512 KB L3 slice per core, to cope with the HTT overhead, although there have been exceptions to this rule in the company's mobile processor lineup. Intel is expected to debut its 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" processor series alongside the Z490 Express chipset in April 2020.

Sapphire to Launch RX 5500 XT Nitro + Special Edition with ARGB Fans - $259

Sapphire's upcoming take on AMD's RX 5500 XT graphics card has been spotted up for preorder on Amazon (availability set for December 12th), and it's a special one. Besides the usual Nitro+ edition, Sapphire will also be launching a fully customized RX 5500 XT Nitro+ Special Edition. Besides addressable ARGB fans, the card features what can be called a very interesting, reduced PCB design, with the shroud and backplate artificially adding length to the graphics cards so as to increase space for the dual fan cooling solution.

Upcoming MSI RX 5500 XT MECH, GAMING Graphics Cards Leaked

Images of MSI's upcoming interpretations of AMD's Navi 14-based RX 5500 XT graphics cards have leaked, which place them in the company's GAMING and MECH series of graphics cards. MSI's RX 5500 XT MECH features a gunmetal gray and black color scheme, without any of the red bangs and whistles that are usually associated with gaming graphics cards. It's a more understated design, even though there is added detail to the cooler shroud. The GAMING series, like usually, ships with gray/black and red accents, and has a more subdued shroud material design.

Based on AMD's Navi 14, the MSI MECH and GAMING RX 5500 XT will feature 1408 stream processors. In the case of the GAMING graphics card, AMD reference clocks of 1845 MHz will see an increase to 1905 MHz, with GDDR6 memory clocks untouched at 14 Gbps. MSI will be readying 4 GB VRAM SKUs in time as well, though you should expect only 8 GB models to be available come launch day. Both cards feature the usual I/O connectors of at 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI.

BIOSTAR Adds 1 TB Option to M700 PCIe NVMe SSD Line

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, announces a new addition to its M700 series of NVMe M.2 SSDs with the high capacity 1 TB. Complying with the NVMe 1.3 standard and using PCIe Gen3 x4, gamers and content creators get up to 3 times performance increase from traditional SATA III drives, a clear advantage for improved productivity and uninterrupted gameplay. With its lightweight, small form factor, and high storage capacity, the M700 1 TB might just be the only drive you will need to build the ultimate budget-friendly system.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 441.66 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the latest version of its GeForce Software. Version 441.66 WHQL is game-ready for "MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries" and "Detroit: Become Human." The drivers also fix an application crash with DaVinci Resolve when playing back timeline using Blackmagic RAW CODEC media; a stutter noticed after a few laps with "Forza Motorsport 7," a frame-rate drop noticed in "Fallout 76" with G-Sync enabled, an incorrect video memory size reported in NVIDIA Control Panel with GTX 1060 6 GB, and lack of a 5.1-ch or 7.1-ch surround sound option with GTX 1080 Ti. Grab the driver from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 441.66 WHQL
The change-log follows.

AMD Announces Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition

AMD today unveiled AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition, the next generation of its software suite for AMD Radeon graphics, providing gamers, creators and enthusiasts with a unique set of features and capabilities that deliver unparalleled visual fidelity and phenomenal gaming experiences. Featuring a fully redesigned gaming application, AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition puts powerful capabilities at gamers' fingertips. It includes the new Radeon Boost feature, bringing enhanced performance and fluidity to fast-motion gameplay, new Integer Display Scaling technology that rejuvenates old games for modern displays, as well as significant enhancements to the acclaimed AMD Link mobile application, to Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon Anti-Lag, and much more.

Our detailed write-up, including performance testing on Navi, Vega and Polaris can be found here.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 19.12.2 WHQL
"With each Radeon Software release, we laser-focus on bringing innovative features gamers demand, significant performance improvements, and the ultimate in software stability and reliability," said Andrej Zdravkovic, corporate vice president of software development at AMD. "AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition takes gaming on Radeon graphics to the next level with breathtaking visual quality, faster performance, and a host of unique, must-have features that dramatically improve the overall user experience."

Intel Core i9-10900K 10-core Processor and Z490 Chipset Arrive April 2020

Intel is expected to finally refresh its mainstream desktop platform with the introduction of the 14 nm "Comet Lake-S" processors, in Q2-2020. This sees the introduction of the new LGA1200 socket and Intel 400-series chipsets, led by the Z490 Express at the top. Platform maps of these PCI-Express gen 3.0 based chipsets make them look largely similar to current 300-series platform, with a few changes. For starters, Intel introducing its biggest ACPI change since C6/C7 power states that debuted with "Haswell;" with the introduction of C10 and S0ix Modern Standby power-states, which give your PC an iPad-like availability while sipping minimal power. This idea is slightly different from Smart Connect, in that your web-connected apps and processor work at an extremely low-power (fanless) state, rather than waking your machine up from time to time for the apps to refresh. 400-series chipset motherboards will also feature updated networking interfaces, such as support for 2.5 GbE wired LAN with an Intel i225-series PHY, 802.11ax WiFi 6 WLAN, etc.

HyperThreading will play a big role in making Intel's processor lineup competitive with AMD's given that the underlying microarchitecture offers an identical core design to "Skylake" circa 2015. The entry-level Core i3 chips will be 4-core/8-thread, Core i5 6-core/12-thread, Core i7 8-core/16-thread; and leading the pack will be the Core i9-10900K, a 10-core/20-thread processor. According to a WCCFTech report, this processor will debut in April 2020, which means at CES 2020 in January, we'll get to see some of the first socket LGA1200 motherboards, some even based on the Z490. The platform also mentions an interesting specification: "enhanced core and memory overclocking." This could be the secret ingredient that makes the i9-10900K competitive with the likes of the Ryzen 9 3900X. The LGA1200 platform could be forwards-compatible with "Rocket Lake," which could herald IPC increases on the platform by implementing "Willow Cove" CPU cores.

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".
Monday, December 9th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Dream Machines DM5 Blink

Dream Machines DM5 Blink

With a right-handed ergonomic shape that is strongly reminiscent of the Razer Basilisk, Dream Machines' DM5 Blink checks a lot of boxes: PixArt's PMW3389, main buttons rated for 20 million clicks, and an impressive set of RGB lighting.
ADATA XPG Summoner Keyboard

ADATA XPG Summoner Keyboard

ADATA joins our keyboard reviews with the XPG Summoner from their XPG gaming brand. It is a full-size keyboard available in multiple layouts, with three Cherry switch options, onboard programming, a good set of bundled accessories, and RGB backlighting!

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS X299 SAGE II Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out the Pro WS X299 SAGE II, a redesign and refresh of its WS X299 SAGE series quasi-workstation motherboards, designed for those who want to use Intel's 10th generation Core XE "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processors in a workstation-like environment (CEB form-factor) and can make do without ECC memory. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, along with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize add-on card power delivery. An 8-phase VRM conditions power for the socket LGA2066 processor. The board employs PLX PEX8747 bridge chips to convert two x16 PCIe gen 3.0 links from the LGA2066 processor to four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with full bandwidth, or seven slots with x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 wiring.

Storage options on the ASUS Pro WS X299 SAGE II include three U.2 ports, two M.2 slots (one right below the PCH heatsink, and the other vertical); and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Network connectivity includes two 2.5 GbE interfaces driven by a pair of Intel i225-LM controllers. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports driven by an ASMedia controller (from which one is type-C), a second such controller driving an internal port, and eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports from the X299 PCH. A high-grade onboard audio solution featuring Realtek S1220A HDA codec, headphones amp, ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors, make for the rest of this board. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVIDIA Files for "Hopper" and "Aerial" Trademarks

In a confirmation that a future NVIDIA graphics architecture will be codenamed "Hopper," the company has trademarked the term with the US-PTO. The trademark application was filed as recently as December 4, and closely follows that of "Aerial," another trademark, which is an SDK for a GPU-accelerated 5G vRANs (virtual radio-access networks). Named after eminent computing scientist Grace Hopper, the new graphics architecture by NVIDIA reportedly sees one of the first GPU die MCMs (package with multiple GPU dies). It reportedly succeeds "Ampere," NVIDIA's next graphics architecture.
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