Tuesday, July 7th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Multimedia
Processors
Sound Cards
SSD

Apple to Develop the Metal Family of GPUs, Dump AMD Radeon

In the next big step toward complete silicon independence, Apple is planning to dump AMD as a supplier of discrete GPUs in the near future, closely following its decision to dump Intel and the x86 machine architecture in favor of its own SoCs based on the Arm machine architecture. The company is developing its own line of discrete GPUs under the "Metal GPU Family," a name borrowed from its own Metal graphics API.

This explosive bit of information comes from a WWDC 2020 presentation slide posted by Longhorn (@never_released) on Twitter. The slide suggests that along with the processor, Apple is making a clean break with its graphics hardware. The SoCs powering client-segment Macs, such as future iMacs or MacBooks, could feature iGPUs based on this graphics architecture, while larger platforms such as MacBook Pros, Mac Pros, and iMac Pros of the future could feature Apple's own discrete GPUs.

8Bitdo Preparing to Release Sn30 Pro Microsoft Project xCloud Controller

Microsoft is preparing to launch its xCloud game streaming service in September as part of Xbox Game Pass. The new service is positioned to take on Google Stadia, GeForce NOW, and Amazon's upcoming game streaming service. Accessory makers are busy preparing new products to coincide with the launch, 8Bitdo is adapting it's popular SN30 Pro retro NES controller in a new partnership with Xbox to create the Sn30 Pro controller specifically designed for Microsoft's Project xCloud.

The new Bluetooth controller is compatible with all Android phones and tablets and is officially licensed as Microsoft Project xCloud compatible. The built-in battery provides 18 hours of use and can be juiced up via the USB-C port. The controller comes with an optional mount to attach a phone to the controller. The Sn30 Pro is now available for pre-order via Amazon for 44.99 USD and is expected to ship on September 21st.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Series X Games Showcase Event

After Sony has showcased Unreal Engine 5 capabilities on the new PlayStation 5 console, there was a counterpart event missing from Microsoft. However, Microsoft has announced today that the company will host a live stream event on July 23rd. That is the date when Microsoft will host the event on YouTube and Twitch. Starting at 9 am PT time, the company will showcase the capabilities of the new Xbox Series X console. Possibly, Microsoft will show ray tracing and all the latest technology advancements with AMD's RDNA2 graphics card found inside the new console. What we can expect in terms of games is Halo Infinite and maybe new Forza and Gears of War games. Either way, we have to wait and find out on July 23rd.

H.266/VVC Officially Revealed, Same Quality As H.265/HEVC At Half The Bit-Rate

Fraunhofer HHI today revealed their latest video compression standard H.266/Versatile Video Codec (VVC), which is set to eventually replace the current H.265/HEVC standard. The new standard was developed by Fraunhofer HHI in partnership with industry partners including Apple, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Sony. The standard follows previous iterations promising a 50% reduction in bit-rate while maintaining the same quality.

Fraunhofer HHI claims that the new standard will play a major role in video transmission and storage however it is unknown if companies and consumers will adopt the standard. HEVC was released back in 2013 but is only now seven years later starting to see significant support, Fraunhofer plans to release the first software encoder/decoder this spring while hardware chips will likely take much longer. The major streaming giants such as Google and Netflix will likely determine when or if the standard becomes mainstream.

Apple's Homebrew Mac Processor to Leverage Arm big.LITTLE

The first homebrew processor for Macs by Apple could leverage Arm big.LITTLE technology, according to a slide from a developer-relations presentation leaked by Erdi Özüağ of Donanim Haber. Apple is referring to the setup as "asymmetric cores" in its documentation, although it essentially is big.LITTLE, a technology that's been implemented by Arm SoC vendors since 2012. It combines groups of low-power (high-efficiency) and high-performance (low-efficiency) cores in response to processing demands by software, with the high-performance cores only been engaged when needed. Intel only recently introduced its rendition of this tech, called Hybrid Processing, with its Core "Lakefield" processor, and looks to scale it up with future chips such as "Meteor Lake."

Besides a multi-core big.LITTLE CPU, the Apple SoC features dedicated AI acceleration hardware, including a neural engine and matrix-multiplication hardware (dubbed ML accelerators), a dedicated video hardware encoder and decoder, and memory controller that's optimized for UMA (unified memory) for the iGPU and system memory. Apple has already started shipping Mac Mini prototypes with an Arm-based processor to its ISVs along with a special version of MacOS "Big Sur" and a wealth of software development kit to help port their x86 Mac software over to the new machine architecture.

QNAP Releases Notes Station 3 and Qnotes3 for Collaborative Notetaking on NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today updated Notes Station 3, a multi-user note-taking application for NAS. With Notes Station 3, workgroups can collaboratively edit notes and easily track edits, greatly simplifying team communication and improving productivity. The mobile version, Qnotes3, allows users to record and share inspirations, ideas, and tasks at any time.

"Collaborative notetaking can greatly improve individual and workgroup productivity," said Josh Chen, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "Notes Station 3 and Qnotes3 are convenient, hassle-free, and ideal for recording daily inspirations, plans, and meeting minutes. We constantly improve Notes Station 3 based on user feedback."
Monday, July 6th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Harddisks
Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Processors
SSD
Storage
Montech Fighter 600 Review - A Solid & Compact Budget Case

Montech Fighter 600 Review - A Solid & Compact Budget Case

The Montech Fighter 600 is taking on the extremely contested $60 segment where you will find OEM cases as well as some brands trying to push the envelope of bang for your buck, and that is where the Fighter 600 feels right at home with its well-rounded features, surprisingly solid material mix, and fan configuration right out of the box.

ASRock Rack Intros W480M WS Motherboard

ASRock Rack today introduced the W480M WS socket LGA1200 motherboard targeted at workstation builds, in the Micro-ATX form-factor. This board should appeal greatly to those wanting a very conservative-looking motherboard with a green PCB and conventional-finned aluminium heatsinks cooling the CPU VRM and PCH. Based on the Intel W480 chipset, the board not only supports all 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" processors, but also Xeon W-1200 series processors based on the silicon, including support for ECC memory when paired with Xeon processors. The board draws power from a combination of a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin+4-pin EPS connectors; conditioning it for the CPU with a 6+2 phase VRM.

Expansion slots on the ASRock Rack W480M WS include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, an open-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x8 (which splits lanes from the x16 slot), and an open-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slot that's wired to the PCH. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each, and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports, one of which has reinforced power delivery for SATA DOMs. The onboard audio solution is simple ALC892 fare, but the networking on offer consists of two 1 GbE ports driven by Intel i210 series controllers. There's quite some legacy connectivity, including COM and SGPIO. The board offers a large number of 4-pin PWM fan headers so it could be used in 2U rack chassis with server ventilation. The company didn't reveal pricing.

MSI Rolls Out Optix G32CQ4 Curved Gaming Monitor: 1500R, WQHD, 165Hz

MSI today rolled out the Optix G32CQ4, a 31.5-inch, 16:9 curved gaming monitor. Featuring a 1500R curvature, this monitor uses a VA panel with WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) native resolution, 1 ms (MPRT) response time, 165 Hz refresh rate, 178°/178° viewing angles, and support for AMD FreeSync Premium technology. Other vital panel specs include 3000:1 static contrast ratio with dynamic mega-contrast, 250 cd/m² maximum brightness, and 91.43% coverage of DCI-P3. The panel features a matte finish and anti-glare treatment. Inputs include one DisplayPort 1.2a (needed for FreeSync), and two HDMI 2.0 ports. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Sapphire Intros Radeon RX 5600 XT Pulse BE: Shorter and Smaller than the Original

Sapphire introduced a price-optimized variant of its Radeon RX 5600 XT Pulse, with the new RX 5600 XT Pulse BE (model: 11296-05-20G). This card is visibly smaller than the original RX 5600 XT Pulse that is largely based on the board design of the RX 5700 series Pulse cards. The newer card is 23.05 cm long and 12.25 cm tall, compared to the original Pulse, that's 25.4 cm long and 13.5 cm tall. The new card is also slightly thinner, at exactly 4 cm (slightly less than 2 slots thick), while the original Pulse is 4.65 cm thick (slightly more than 2 slots thick).

There are a handful areas of cost-cutting by Sapphire. To begin with, while the diameter of the two fans of the Dual-X cooling solution is unchanged at 100 mm, the underlying heatsink is visibly slimmer, and of a different design than that used in the original Pulse card. Secondly, the PCB is shorter in length than the cooler itself, and is of a completely different design than the original Pulse. Thirdly, the card lacks dual-BIOS. Lastly, the fans of the card lack the Quick-Connect feature that lets you pop them out to clean the heatsink underneath. Luckily, the new Pulse BE card sticks to AMD's revised OC specs for the RX 5600 XT out of the box, so you don't have to bother with BIOS updates. It ticks at 1560 MHz game clocks, up to 1620 MHz boost clocks, and 14 Gbps (GDDR6-effective) memory. The company didn't reveal pricing, although we expect this card to be priced very close to the USD $279 baseline for the RX 5600 XT.
Sapphire RX 5600 XT Pulse BE

Colorful Rolls Out CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14 Motherboard

Colorful today rolled out the CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14, a socket AM4 motherboard in the Micro-ATX form-factor, based on the AMD B550 chipset. The board gets its "Frozen" name from its mostly-white PCB. The chipset heatsink that extends into an M.2 SSD heatsink features fan ventilation (something not found on most other B550 motherboards). The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and single 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM.

Expansion slots on the Colorful CVN B550M Gaming Frozen V14 include one PCI-Express 4.0 x16, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical gen 3.0 x4) that's wired to the chipset, and a gen 3.0 x1 slot. Storage connectivity includes an M.2-22110 slot with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring from the AM4 socket, and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes a pair of 10 Gbps USB 3.x gen 2 ports wired to the CPU that include a type-C port, and a number of 5 Gbps ports. Networking is care of a 1 GbE connection from a Realtek RTL8111H controller, and the onboard audio solution uses a Realtek ALC1200 codec. Don't like the white color scheme? Colorful has you covered with the CVN B550M Gaming Pro V14, which is an almost identical board that uses a black PCB and a chipset heatsink that makes do without a fan. The company didn't reveal pricing.

HyperX Announces Alloy Elite 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today expanded its Alloy keyboard line up with the release of the HyperX Alloy Elite 2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. The new Alloy Elite 2 gaming keyboard is based on the original Alloy Elite design and boasts HyperX red linear mechanical switches built for performance, longevity and an 80 million lifetime click rating per switch. The keyboard includes dedicated media keys with quick access buttons and volume wheel and uses HyperX designed pudding keycaps with translucent dual-layer style and signature HyperX font to enhance LED and RGB light.

The HyperX Alloy Elite 2 features a signature light bar with LED lighting, dynamic RGB lighting effects with per-key lighting and RGB colors. Alloy Elite 2 is built with solid steel frame for durability, offers dedicated media buttons and a large volume wheel along with quick access buttons for brightness, lighting effects, and game mode. Alloy Elite 2 also includes a USB 2.0 pass through, 100 percent anti-ghosting and full N-key rollover functionality.

ASUS ExpertBook B9450 with Intel vPro Platform Now Available

ASUS today announced that the ExpertBook B9450 based on the Intel vPro platform is now available for purchase at US resellers starting at $1,599.99 USD. The ASUS ExpertBook B9450 provides unmatched business-grade performance, durability and design within an incredibly thin and light form factor weighing in at just 2.2 lbs with a 0.59-inch thin profile. Paired with the Intel vPro platform, the B9450 is ideal for businesses of any size that require top-notch performance, built-in security and better overall value and reliability for the long-term.

Designed for business professionals on-the-go, the ExpertBook B9450 delivers top-tier performance thanks to up to an 10th Gen Intel Core i7 vPro processor, dual-storage design accommodating up to two ultrafast 1 TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs, and up to 16 GB of RAM and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) connectivity. Expect uninterrupted performance on the B9450 with long-lasting battery life delivering up to an impressive 24 hours of use on a single charge, with extra comfort features like the ErgoLift hinge, built-in voice assistant support, and a Harman Kardon-optimized audio system.

ASUS ROG Announces Strix Electro Punk Edition Gaming Peripherals

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the release of new Electro Punk peripherals with a striking black-and-pink color scheme. First introduced in April, the Electro Punk colors can now be found on the ROG Strix Go 2.4 gaming headset, ROG Strix Scope TKL gaming keyboard, ROG Strix Impact II gaming mouse and other gaming and lifestyle accessories.

ROG Strix Go 2.4 Electro Punk is a USB-C 2.4 GHz wireless headset that enables stable, lag-free audio on smart devices, PC, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo Switch (in Handheld mode). The Electro Punk edition features pink piping in and around the headband, ear pads, and ROG logo to give it that a special touch, while the rest stays bold black to prevent stains. Strix Go 2.4 has a detachable boom mic powered by AI Noise-Canceling technology that intelligently eliminates unwanted background noise for clear voice communication for work or play.

Huawei Desktop PC with Kunpeng 920 Processor Teased and Tested

Huawei has been readying the entire new breed of desktop PCs with a custom motherboard, custom processor, and even a custom operating system. Being that Huawei plans to supply Chinese government institutions with these PCs, it is logical to break away from US-made technology due to security reasons. And now, thanks to the YouTube channel called "二斤自制" we have the first look at the new PC system. Powered by Huawei D920S10 desktop motherboard equipped with Kunpeng 920 7 nm Arm v8 processor with 8 cores, the PC was running the 64-bit UOS operating system, which is a Chinese modification of Linux. In the test, the PC was assembled by a third-party provider and it featured 16 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 memory and 256 GB SSD.

The YouTube channel put it to test and in the Blender BMW render test, it has finished in 11 minutes and 47 seconds, which is quite slow. The system reportedly managed to stream 4K content well but has struggled with local playback thanks to poor encoding. Being that it runs a custom OS with a custom processor, app selection is quite narrow. The app store for the PC is accessible only if you pay an extra 800 Yuan (~$115), while the mentioned system will set you back 7,500 Yuan (~$1,060). At the heart of this system is eight-core, eight threaded Kunpeng 920 2249K processor. It features a clock speed of 2.6 GHz, has 128K of L1 cache (64K instruction cache and 64K data cache), 512K of L2, and 32 MB of L3 cache.

Samsung Leads Semiconductor Paradigm Shift with New Material Discovery

Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) have unveiled the discovery of a new material, called amorphous boron nitride (a-BN), in collaboration with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and the University of Cambridge. Published in the journal Nature, the study has the potential to accelerate the advent of the next generation of semiconductors.

Recently, SAIT has been working on the research and development of two-dimensional (2D) materials - crystalline materials with a single layer of atoms. Specifically, the institute has been working on the research and development of graphene, and has achieved groundbreaking research outcomes in this area such as the development of a new graphene transistor as well as a novel method of producing large-area, single-crystal wafer-scale graphene. In addition to researching and developing graphene, SAIT has been working to accelerate the material's commercialization.

Intel Core i7-1165G7 "Tiger Lake" Mauls Ryzen 7 4700U "Renoir" in Most Geekbench Tests

Intel's upcoming Core i7-1165G7 4-core/8-thread processor based on the 10 nm "Tiger Lake-U" silicon packs a mean punch in comparison to the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor, despite half the number of CPU cores. A Geekbench comparison between two Lenovo laptops, one powered by an i7-1165G7, and the other by a 4700U, shows a staggering 36.8% performance lead for the Intel chip in single-threaded performance, while also being 0.5% faster in multi-threaded performance. The i7-1165G7 features a 4-core/8-thread CPU with "Willow Cove" cores, while the 4700U lacks SMT, and is an 8-core/8-thread chip with "Zen 2" CPU cores. The game changes with the Ryzen 7 4800U, where the 8-core/16-thread chip ends up 22.3% faster than the Core i7-1165G7 in the multi-threaded test owing to SMT, while Intel's single-threaded performance lead is lowered to 29.3%.

Ubisoft Assassin's Creed: Valhalla Game Footage Leaks

Thanks to a discovery by TweakTown, we have obtained game footage pictures of the Ubisoft Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. While TweakTown does not share any video links due to respect for Ubisoft developers, we still get to see the medieval-themed Assassin's game. It is mostly resembling a Witcher 3 vibe, which is a good thing. Combining the gameplay of classic Assassin's Creed game with stunning visuals, the game is set to be a hit. Right off the bat, the game starts in a bloody and chaotic battle. On the battlefield, there is lots of equipment you can interact with, like a siege engine and battering rams. Being that the setting is a medieval one, there are of course castles that you need to overtake. Ubisoft may officially launch game footage at its Forward event on July 12th, when we could take a closer look at the upcoming game. For now, please check out the pictures below.
Assassins Creed: Valhalla Assassins Creed: Valhalla Assassins Creed: Valhalla Assassins Creed: Valhalla Assassins Creed: Valhalla

Atari VCS Console Finally Set To Release in Fall 2020 for $389.99 USD

The Atari VCS was first announced over two years ago in 2018 but has since suffered numerous delays. It looks like there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the Atari VCS 800 with the console now available for pre-order from Atari, GameStop, or Walmart. The console is only available as part of a bundle including the console itself, Wireless Classic Joystick, a Modern Controller, and free copy of Atari Vault of 100 classic arcade and console games. The bundle is priced at 389.99 USD and is expected to ship by the 2020 holiday season.

The console features a custom AMD Raven Ridge APU with Vega 3 graphics, paired with 8 GB DDR4 ram, and 32 GB eMMC internal flash storage. The device runs a custom Linux OS but also supports Linux, Windows, Steam OS, or Chrome OS if booting from an external drive. Connectivity consists of 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 while I/O includes a single HDMI 2.0 port, gigabit Ethernet port, and quad USB 3.1 connectors. A lower-powered Atari VCS 400 system is also planned with half the ram at 4 GB and is expected to sell for 249.99 USD.

Dynics Announces AI-enabled Vision System Powered by NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPU

Dynics, Inc., a U.S.-based manufacturer of industrial-grade computer hardware, visualization software, network security, network monitoring and software-defined networking solutions, today announced the XiT4 Inference Server, which helps industrial manufacturing companies increase their yield and provide more consistent manufacturing quality.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being integrated into modern manufacturing to improve and automate processes, including 3D vision applications. The XiT4 Inference Server, powered by the NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs, is a fan-less hardware platform for AI, machine learning and 3D vision applications. AI technology is allowing manufacturers to increase efficiency and throughput of their production, while also providing more consistent quality due to higher accuracy and repeatability. Additional benefits are fewer false negatives (test escapes) and fewer false positives, which reduce downstream re-inspection needs, all leading to lower costs of manufacturing.

Nintendo Switch Sales More Than Double In 2020

The Nintendo Switch has proven to be a very popular hybrid gaming console with sales surpassing the SNES, N64, GameCube & Wii U. The console is currently sold out at many retailers across the world thanks in part to a monumental surge in demand for the console arising from lockdowns due to the coronavirus. VideoGamesChronicle reports that Nintendo Switch sales have more than doubled in the first half of 2020 compared to the first six months of last year in the UK.

This will bring the Nintendo Switch closer to overtaking the Nintendo Entertainment System in lifetime hardware sales. Traditional game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One also saw significant hardware sales increases of around 50% and 25% respectively. Game sales were also up 48% across the board for the first four months of 2020.
Sunday, July 5th 2020

Intel Readies Core i9-10850K 10-core/20-thread Processor

Intel is giving final touches to a mysterious Core i9-10850K processor that was unearthed from the Geekbench database by TUM_APISAK. This would be the second new 10-core "Comet Lake-S" desktop processor SKU discovered in the past week, since the Apple-exclusive i9-10910. The i9-10850K is fascinating, in that it features an unlocked multiplier, 100 MHz lower nominal clocks than the i9-10900K, at 3.60 GHz, the same 5.20 GHz Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequency; but an unknown Thermal Velocity Boost frequency.

It wouldn't surprise us if the processor lacked TVB altogether. It's likely that the i9-10850K is an OEM-exclusive targeted at pre-built designers that don't want to deal with the steep cooling requirements of the i9-10900K to give end-users visible boosting to its TVB Max frequencies of 5.30 GHz. The i9-10850K offers nearly identical Geekbench performance to the i9-10900K.

Eurocom launches MXM3 to PCIe Adapter for GPU Developers

Embedded, GPU-accelerated computing is the use of a graphics processing unit (GPU) combined with a central processing unit (CPU) to facilitate advanced computing processes such as Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT), Deep Learning, Prototyping/Pre-concept design, CUDA development and medical Hi-Res imaging, to name a few.

Embedded, GPU-accelerated computing is gaining popularity as its potential becomes realized in many high-tech labs and R&D facilities around the world. GPU-accelerated computing plays a huge role in accelerating applications in platforms within these bleeding-edge industries. Whether it is designing self-driving cars, rendering ultra-HD scenes with millions of polygons (4K and above), or working with advanced CAD models for GIS mapping, a multi-GPU system will significantly increase the performance and capabilities advanced developers have available.
Through embedded GPU-accelerated technology, processing and computing times can be cut into a fraction of the time of what could be accomplished compared to traditional, less-sophisticated computing infrastructures. The combination of high-performance computing along with lower power consumption can result in a more significant and more extensive deep learning in neural networks.
Friday, July 3rd 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Gaming PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB DDR-4600 MHz CL19 2x8 GB Review

Thermaltake TOUGHRAM RGB DDR-4600 MHz CL19 2x8 GB Review

Thermaltake is back with a refresh to their TOUGHRAM RGB memory. This new revision uses SK Hynix D-die memory ICs to drive frequencies up to 4600 MHz. With the top spec kit ready for testing, it's time to see what the TOUGHRAM does with this newfound performance!

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.33.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information, diagnostic, and monitoring utility. Version 2.33.0 introduces new features, support for new GPUs, improved the sensors and fixed a few bugs. To begin with, GPU-Z fixes DirectX 12 Mesh Shader detection in the Advanced Panel, supported on Windows 10 May 2020 Update (2004) and later. Support for AMD "Renoir" APUs has been improved, including several crashes and bugs related to the iGPU's detection fixed. On processors with AMD integrated graphics, "GPU chip power draw" now appears as "GPU Power Draw." An application crash with showing sensor values in the window title-bar has been fixed. Among the new GPUs supported are AMD "Navi 12" Radeon Pro 5600M, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (mobile) and RTX 2070 (mobile) GPUs based on the TU106-B ASIC; and new GeForce MX330 and MX350. Support added for UHD 610, UHD 630 and UHD P630 iGPU solutions found with various 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" processors. Grab GPU-Z from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.33.0
The change-log follows.

QNAP Launches High-Speed TS-431X3 Quad-core NAS with 10GbE SFP+ and 2.5GbE

QNAP Systems, Inc., a leading computing, networking and storage solution innovator, today launched the quad-core 1.7 GHz TS-431X3 NAS. Featuring 10 GbE SFP+ and 2.5 GbE RJ45 connectivity, the TS-431X3 enables businesses to deploy a high-speed network environment to meet data backup, recovery, and virtualized storage needs.

The TS-431X3 is powered by a quad-core 1.70 GHz processor, 4 GB RAM (upgradable to 8 GB), and features a 10 GbE SFP+ port to provide high bandwidth for intensive data transmission. Coupled with a QNAP QSW series switch, users can build a 10 GbE network environment to enjoy higher transfer speeds and deploy containerized applications. The TS-431X3 also features a 2.5 GbE port for low-latency file sharing and team collaboration. The TS-431X3 comes with tool-less and lockable drive bays, simplifying drive installation and ensuring that drives are safe and secure.

New 4K Screenshots for Death Stranding Released; System Requirements Are In

A new set of absolutely stunning 4K Ultrawide screenshots for Death Stranding have been released, which showcase just how good the game will look on its best rendition yet - in none other platform than the PC, of course. The PS4 version of the game is beautiful, mind you - but the PS4 Pro can't render the game in true 4K, and framerate is slightly less than ideal around 30 FPS with some dips down under. As such the PC version, with our more powerful hardware and (especially for NVIDIA users) backed by DLSS 2.0, is bound to be the best place to play the game.

The game will be released on July 14th after a small delay to account for the work-from-home requirements amidst the (still ongoing) pandemic. The game will be using Denuvo's anti-tamper technology, and will be the first appearance of the Decima engine (which also power Horizon Zero Dawn) on PC. Look after the break for additional screenshots (warning: some mobile data usage right there) and the full PC requirements (likely on a 1080p/High Settings baseline)

MSI Updates Mini ITX Version of the GeForce GTX 1650 Aero ITX 4G OC - Now OCV1

MSI has launched a new revision of their GeForce GTX 1650 Aero 4G OC, the original MSI rendition of a Mini ITX graphics cards based on NVIDIA's TU 116 chip. The GeForce GTX 1650 Aero 4G OCV1 is only 170 mm long, 111 mm wide, 38 mm thick, and weighs 375 grams features a single cooling fan that is more than sufficient to keep the 284 mm² die cool enough. Boost clock is being reported at 1,695 MHz. There's a 128-bit memory bus that ferries data between the GPU and its 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. I/O wise, there's 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, and 1x Dual Link DVI (and built-in triple-display support). There's no additional power connector, which means a below-75 W power consumption figure.

Cooler Master Kickstarts Pi Case 40, Passively Cooled Raspberry Pi Case

Cooler Master, a popular maker of computer peripherals, has today launched a Kickstarter campaign for its latest project - a Raspberry Pi 4 case. Called the Pi Case 40, it is made from 100% aluminium and provides passive cooling to the Pi chip. Designed exclusively for Raspberry Pi 4, the case has precise port cutouts so every port is accessible. The case has a hatch on the side for GPIO cutout, however, the use of HATs is prevented as it gets blocked. The case is capable of providing sufficient cooling to the chip, and the design files are open source. With the purchase, you get the VESA mounting adapter so you can attach the case to anything with a VESA mount. If you sign up for the waitlist now, you get a 25% off discount, however, exact pricing is unknown.
Cooler Master Pi Case 40 Cooler Master Pi Case 40

Jonsbo Unveils the V8 Cuboidal Mini-ITX Case

Jonsbo today unveiled the V8, a cuboid-shaped Mini-ITX case featuring a 2-piece slide out chassis design. The internal steel chassis of the case slides out intact of the outer aluminium-magnesium alloy body that has a silver/gray matte finish. The outer body features a floating front intake that conceals the case's main fan vent; and additional vents along the sides and top. The front intake features a large 200 mm fan that maintains positive air pressure inside the case; and mounts for two 140 mm/120 mm fans along the top, and one 140 mm/120 mm rear exhaust.

The Jonsbo V8 offers room for a Mini-ITX motherboard with room for full-height graphics cards up to 33 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 19.5 cm in height. There are two expansion slots, however, there's enough room for a graphics card that's slightly thicker than 2 slots. An internal SFX/SFX-L PSU bay is wired to an AC receptacle extension at the rear. Stroage areas include two 3.5-inch bays and a 2.5-inch mount. Front panel connectivity includes one each of USB 3.2 type-C, USB 3.2 type-A, and HD audio jacks. The case measures 249.5 mm (W) x 390 mm (D) x 260MM (H). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Enmotus, Company Behind Original StoreMI, Launches FuzeDrive NVMe SSD

Enmotus is the company behind the FuzeDrive software on which the original AMD StoreMI technology is based, which juggles data among your various physical storage devices based on heat (frequency of access), improving performance. The company has now come up with its first hardware-product, the FuzeDrive NVMe SSD. Built in an M.2-2280 form-factor, the drive offers 1.6 TB of capacity, and combines a Phison E12-series controller with 96-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory. The drive takes advantage of PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4.

Performance numbers of the FuzeDrive 1.6 TB SSD as rated by its makers include up to 3,470 MB/s sequential reads, up to 3,000 MB/s sequential writes; and an endurance rating of 5,000 TBW. The drive uses a 128 GB SLC cache to speed up write performance in moderate bursts. There's more to this drive than just its hard-product, Enmotus includes software that juggles data between the 128 GB pseudo-SLC and QLC areas; and of course the FuzeDrive software that lets you build volumes of up to 15 TB in size by throwing in fixed physical drives of any shape and size. Enmotus is pricing the FuzeDrive 1.6 TB NVMe SSD at $349.

Update Jul 3rd: We've learned through Enmotus that this drive has a permanent 128 GB SLC cache that's exclusive of the 1.6 TB QLC user-area. We believe this drive is possibly a 2 TB QLC drive, in which a quarter of the user area is permanently assigned to work as SLC, with 30,000 P/E cycles. The FuzeDrive firmware transfers hot data between the SLC and QLC areas of the drive.

KeysWorlds Unveils Hot Summer Deals on Genuine Software

KeysWorlds, an international merchant of discounted genuine software, today unveiled Hot Summer deals on genuine software. Get stellar deals that help you get your new Summer and Back-to-School desktop or new notebook off the ground, with deals on Windows 10 + Office 2019 combos, over 50% off already discounted prices of your preferred Office edition, and 38% off genuine Windows 10. Take advantage of stellar deals such as genuine Windows 10 Pro for $9.49, Office 2019 Professional Plus (lifetime valid) for $39.62, and a combo of Office 2019 Professional + Windows 10 Pro for $36.09. KeysWorlds uses PayPal so both your purchase and payment instruments remain secured.

Buy Office 2019 Professional + Windows 10 Pro at $36.09 | Buy Office 2019 Professional + Windows 10 Home for $37.19 | Buy Office 2016 Professional + Windows 10 Pro at $27.34 | Buy Office 2016 Professional + Windows 10 Home at $26.68

Apply the coupon code KWS50 on the following items at check-out to avail the prices you see here.
Buy Office 2016 Home and Business for Mac at $36.09 | Buy Office 2019 Home and Business for Mac at $84.78 | Buy Office 2016 Home and Student at $29.42 | Buy Office 2019 Home and Student at $39.62 | Buy Office 365 Professional Plus 1-PC 1-Year account at $16.84

Apply the coupon code KWS38 on the following items to avail the prices you see here.
Buy Windows 10 Pro for $9.49 | Buy Windows 10 Home for $10.17 | Buy Windows 10 Pro (2-PC) for $15.59

Kitler Films Partners with Amazon Studios to Develop Series Based On Fallout

Amazon Studios has licensed the rights to the Fallout game series from Bethesda Game Studios and plans to create a new TV series with acclaimed producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's Kilter Films attached to produce the project. Amazon Studios has committed to develop the entire techno-thriller drama series which is currently in pre-production. Kilter Films also produces HBO's Westworld which has been well received and was recently picked up for a fourth season.
Kilter Films
Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time. Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we're incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios.

Chinese Manufacturer ProArtist Solves AM4 CPU Mounting Problem with New IFE2 Bracket

The AMD consumer platform has long used PGA design chips, and this is no different with the AM4 platform. While this design reduces motherboard costs it comes with an unfortunate downside, PGA processors have a habit of sticking to the heatsink when attempting to remove or replace your heatsink. This problem is so commonplace that AMD has published guides online outlining the correct heatsink removal process which involves "twisting the CPU cooler clockwise and counterclockwise to loosen the seal between the heatsink and the lid of the CPU".

Chinese manufacturer ProArtist has created an ingenious solution, the IEF2 AM4 CPU mounting bracket. The bracket replaces the included mounting hardware on motherboards replacing it with spacers secured to a metal mounting place which heatsinks can then be attached to. This bracket ensures that the CPU won't be damaged when removing heatsinks. The bracket is non-standard so only compatibility with ProArtist coolers such as the DESSERTS3 is guaranteed. The IEF2 AM4 CPU mounting bracket is available only in China from Taobao for less than 5 USD.
Thursday, July 2nd 2020

Today's Reviews

Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage
HiFiMAN Deva with Bluemini Review

HiFiMAN Deva with Bluemini Review

HiFiMAN's new Deva is a planar magnetic headphone which doubles up as a Bluetooth headset when you attach the Bluemini device. Currently, the Deva bundled with the Bluemini retails at $299 which also makes it the most affordable of the current planar headphones from HiFiMAN.
BIOSTAR Racing B460GTA Review

BIOSTAR Racing B460GTA Review

Our first look at Intel's new B460 chipset is the BIOSTAR Racing B460GTA. Featuring dual M.2 slots, each with their own full coverage heatsink, RGB lighting, a large VRM heatsink, and even an integrated rear I/O cover, the BIOSTAR Racing B460GTA could be a good budget option for those with locked Intel CPUs.

QNAP Introduces QuTScloud as Cloud NAS Solution

QNAP Systems, Inc. (QNAP), a leading computing, networking, and storage solution innovator, today introduced QuTScloud as its software-defined cloud NAS solution that enables the deployment of QTS, the QNAP NAS operating system, on to the cloud through license subscription.

For organizations which have stored most of their data on the cloud but lack a good management system to capitalize their digital assets, they can select from cloud service providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, and DigitalOcean to create a virtual QTS instance for the implementation of QuTScloud. Supporting advanced file management and collaboration that is unavailable from most cloud platforms, the cloud-based NAS is a great solution that not only optimizes usage of data stored on the cloud, but also benefits users from the expected file services and feature-rich NAS functionalities. Additional QuTScloud solution advantages include hybrid cloud collaboration, pay-as-you-go scalability, and cost-effectiveness.

NVIDIA GeForce "Ampere" GPUs Built on Samsung 8nm Instead of TSMC 7nm?

NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce "Ampere" family of GPUs will be built almost entirely on Samsung's 8 nanometer silicon fabrication process that's derived from its 10 nm node; rather than TSMC's 7 nm process, according to kopite7kimi, a source with a high hit-rate with NVIDIA rumors in the past. The 8LPP silicon fabrication node by Samsung is an extension of the company's 10LPP (10 nm) node. Both have the same fin pitch, but reductions are made in the areas of gate pitch (down by 6%) resulting in a transistor density of over 61 million/mm². Apparently NVIDIA's entire high-end product stack, including the GA102 silicon that powers at least three high-end consumer SKUs, are expected to be based on Samsung 8LPP.
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