Thursday, June 21st 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
NAS
PSUs
SSD
Synology DS718+ 2-Bay NAS

Synology DS718+ 2-Bay NAS

The Synology DS718+ is a high-end 2-bay NAS with good performance, silent operation, and low power consumption. Its strong advantage is that its storage capacity can easily be expanded with five additional drives (seven in total) since it is compatible with the optional DX513 expansion unit.

be quiet! Opens Service Center in the United States

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for twelve consecutive years, recently introduced the Dark Base 700, Dark Rock 4, Dark Rock Pro 4, and the Straight Power 11 series to the U.S. market. be quiet! is now announcing the opening of its U.S. based service center. Customers buying premium products expect premium service. be quiet! does its best to ensure their shipped products have zero defects, but when a customer needs help, it is of the utmost importance that they are assisted as quickly as possible.

"The L.A. based service center is a commitment to our U.S. based customers," said Stanislav Minkin, be quiet! General Manager. "With local technicians, be quiet! can provide support directly to the end-user, minimizing repair times and offering fast solutions to customers' problems and claims"

NEC Announces the 27-Inch MultiSync PA271Q Color-Critical Monitor

NEC Display Solutions of America, Inc., a leading provider of commercial LCD displays and projectors, today announced the launch of the MultiSync PA271Q, a new professional 27-inch wide color gamut monitor.

"The MultiSync PA271Q replaces the PA272W, one of our most popular professional wide color gamut desktop displays," said Art Marshall, Senior Product Manager for Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions. "It provides much better black levels and contrast, and new cutting-edge features have been added to provide improved color coverage to meet the color-critical needs of the print production, digital photography, photo editing, and video production markets, among others."

Samsung, Micron, and Hynix Reportedly Slapped with Colossal Antitrust Fines

China's Anti-Monopoly Bureau of Ministry of Commerce visited Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology last year to express its concerns over the high prices of DRAM. Unfortunately, these meetings yielded no results as DRAM prices continued to skyrocket in the first quarter of this year. With their patience exhausted, Chinese antitrust regulators finally launched an investigation into Samsung, Micron, and Hynix, which collectively owns 90% of the global DRAM pie. The three DRAM vendors are allegedly cooperating with the Chinese authorities to shed some light into the whole DRAM price fixing matter. If found guilty, they could face fines between $800 million to $8 billion. The estimated fines were calculated based on the companies' DRAM sales in China between 2016 and 2017.

Whether you believe in coincidence or not, Samsung, Micron, and Hynix have a long history of being partners in crime. The trio, along with Infineon and Elpida Memory, conspired to fix prices on DRAM in the United States from April 1999 and June 2002. Infineon pleaded guilty in 2004 and was fined $160 million. Hynix cracked shortly afterwards and paid $185 million in fines. Elpida got off the hook easy with a $84 million fine, while Samsung took the biggest hit paying up to $300 million. Curiously, Infineon called it quits shortly after the incident, and Micron later acquired Elpida. In other news, China aims to become self-sufficient in the IC department by supporting local manufacturers like Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC).

MSI Showcases Upcoming Four-Way M.2 PCIe Expansion Card Based on GPU Cooling Tech

MSI showcased their upcoming overkill solution for users that want to have a dedicated PCIe x16 expansion card - and one that brings the true and final cooling solution to end all thermal throttling. Basically, the company appropriated its Aero cooler, which is used for some of their graphics cards, and applied it to a 4x M.2 expansion card. The result? Up to 50 W of cooling capability with this solution - which can go up to 75 W if users connect the additional 6-pin power connector for the fan to go into overdrive.

It's almost as if MSI was giving users a "yes we can" shout on designing this cooling solution, with the amount of overkill this has. No amount of thermal throttling should occur here - ever. Maybe overcompensating for the M.2 Shield debacle? Whatever the reason, this is certainly a competent cooling solution, and it will be included inside their Threadripper X399 MEG Creation motherboard - an outrageous motherboard, with an outrageous M.2 cooling solution. Balance is brought back to the world. Naturally, the company also has plans to offer their expansion M.2 card as a standalone product.

ASUS Gets First Dibs On 144 Hz/3 ms Narrow-Bezel Panels from AU Optronics

ASUS's upcoming ROG GL504 Scar II, Hero II, and Zephyrus GM501 gaming laptops have one thing in common - 144 Hz/3 ms narrow-bezel panels. A source within the company confirmed that ASUS had partnered with AU Optronics to produce the new panel exclusively for its gaming laptops. The Taiwanese manufacturer even funded a portion of the panel's research and development. As a result, ASUS has exclusive rights to the 144 Hz/ 3 ms panel for at least a year. Gaming laptop competitors such as Gigabyte and MSI will have to wait it out or look elsewhere.

Certainly there are many display panel manufacturers in the likes of BOE Display, LG Philips, Samsung, and Sharp. Unfortunately, they don't offer a panel that is able to rival the 144 Hz/ 3 ms panel from AU Optronics, which is already in mass production. Consumers who aren't after a gaming laptop with a 144 Hz/ 3 ms panel have other viable options. The current offering on the market includes the MSI GS65 and Gigabyte Aero 15X that feature a 144 Hz panel with a slightly higher response time of 7 ms. And there's also the MSI GS63VR that comes with a 120 Hz/ 3 ms panel.

Your 1440p Monitor Could Be Using a 4K Panel

German site Prad.de reports that sources close to monitor panel manufacturers told them that the production cost of a 27" 4K 3840x2160 panel is lower or at least equal to that of a 27" 2560x1440 QHD panel. This drives monitor manufacturers to use 4K panels in monitors that are specified as QHD - when panel supply is low, or monitor demand is high.

The sources did not mention any specific monitor manufacturer or model, but it's highly probable that some 1440p monitors in the hands of customers today use a 4K panel. Obviously you're not gonna get 4K resolution when paying for a QHD monitor. Rather the panel firmware is configured to report its maximum capability as 1440p, and internally scale the input signal accordingly, which may result in reduced image quality.

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang Gives Away 20 "CEO Edition TITAN V" To Titans of the AI Industry

During the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang pulled a PR stunt eased by NVIDIA's currently entrenched position in the AI-acceleration market. The new TITAN V graphics card being given away under the "CEO Edition" tag feature more than double the amount of HBM memory - up to 32 GB of HBM 2 memory compared to the original Titan V's 12 GB.

This is, essentially, a Titan-branded Quadro GV100 accelerator, made all the more exotic for the limited-edition branding. It features the GV100 graphics processor is a large chip with a die area of 815 mm² and 21,100 million transistors. It features 5120 shading units, 320 texture mapping units and 128 ROPs. Also included are 640 tensor cores which help improve the speed of machine learning applications.

Micron Ready With 96-Layer Flash & 1Y nm DRAM in 2H 2018

In their recent earnings call, Micron commented that they have 96-layer 3D NAND technology on track for volume shipments in the second half of 2018. Most of today's SSDs typically use 32-layer technology, with 64-layer flash chips used in some recent releases like the Crucial MX500. 96-layer is the third generation of 3D NAND and increases storage capacity per chip even further which allows smaller and more energy efficient mobile devices to be built. Of course it will be cheaper too, compared to current-generation 64 layer NAND, which should bring SSD pricing down even more, and of course generally help pricing of consumer products which use flash memory.

The second important note from the presentation is that Micron expects 1X nm (18 nm) DRAM production to exceed that of previous generations before the end of this year. Their next-generation 1Y nm (15/16 nm) DRAM is on track to begin production shipments in the second half of 2018, too. As they noted in a previous event, their product and process roadmap for DRAM 1z looks solid and 1-alpha development programs already under way.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich Resigns - For Having Sex With Colleague

Intel Corporation today announced the resignation of Brian Krzanich as CEO and a member of the board of directors. The board has named Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan interim chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Intel was recently informed that Mr. Krzanich had a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee. An ongoing investigation by internal and external counsel has confirmed a violation of Intel's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Given the expectation that all employees will respect Intel's values and adhere to the company's code of conduct, the board has accepted Mr. Krzanich's resignation.

Ready, Set - Steam Summer Sale Kicking Off Today

(UPDATE: And It's On!)

This years' Steam Summer Sale is kicking off today, as per the one-month-old leak - and warning - we gave our users. I hope you either finished your spending plans; are finalizing them as we speak; or are fortunate enough not to have to plan your spending in these trying, tempting times. Either way, be ready for increased lists of waiting games starting at 5 pm UTC, 10 am PDT (and 6 pm on my own little corner of Europe, Portugal).

AMD Marries Cooler Master for Wraith Ripper: Threadripper 2-Designed Mega Cooler

AMD has partnered with Cooler Master to deliver a Threadripper 2-specific cooler. Dubbed the Wraith Ripper (as per AMD's Wraith stock coolers and their Threadripper 2, up to 32-core, 64-thread HCC CPUs), this is a behemoth of a mega cooler that can dissipate Threadripper 2's (perhaps the Threadripper 2990X's) 250 W TDP.

The cooler features addressable RGB lighting that can be app-controlled, and Cooler Master says this cooler has been designed to offer full memory compatibility. The height between the baseplate and the heatsink's fins does seem tall and tidy for the tallest RAM sticks you can find, for sure - even with the eight pairs of heatpipes that drive the heat away from your most precious silicon component. Check our COMPUTEX 2018 pics of this behemoth below.

AMD to Rename "FreeSync 2" To "FreeSync 2 HDR", Increase Minimum HDR Requirement

The guys over at PC Perspective conducted an interesting interview with AMD, during which a company representative talked about impending changes to AMD's FreeSync program. Essentially, the company found that there is some consumer confusion regarding what features exactly FreeSync 2 delivers over its first-gen counterpart. As such, they feel renaming the technology to FreeSync 2 HDR conveys the focus on the new feature-set: LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) and the FreeSync 2 HDR fast-lane for tone-mapping improvements.

The AMD representative further clarified what specs are required for a monitor to receive FreeSync 2 HDR certification: support for at least HDR600, coverage of 99 percent of BT.709 and 90 percent of the DCI P3 color spectrum. Also mentioned was a minimum response time, though the exact value remains unknown. An interesting point that can be gleaned from AMD's change, though, is that this one is more than just cosmetic: AMD's first FreeSync 2 certification program required displays to only be able to adhere to HDR400. There are some examples of announced, FreeSync 2 monitors that only support that standard (and others that don't support even that but were certified all the same), instead of the aforementioned HDR600 the company will apparently start enforcing alongside the renewed "FreeSync 2 HDR" program. Here's hoping for a stricter certification program from AMD in this regard, since HDR400 was a push in itself towards being true HDR (it isn't...) - and FreeSync 2 already has all the market support and recognition it needs to now start increasing its requirements for quality support instead of mainly quantity.

OpenBSD Turns Off Hyper-Threading to Combat Intel CPU Security Issues

Lead developer for OpenBSD Mark Kettenis has announced that OpenBSD will no longer enable Hyper-Threading on Intel processors by default. This move is intended to mitigate security exploits from the Spectre ecosystem as well as TLB and cache timing attacks, because important processor resources are no longer shared between threads. Their suspicion is that some of the unreleased (or yet unknown) attacks can be stopped using this approach.

This move is supported by the fact that most newer motherboards no longer provide an option to disable Hyper-Threading via BIOS. OpenBSD users who still want to use Hyper-Threading can manually enable support for it using the sysctl hw.smt. The developers are also looking into expanding this feature to other CPUs from other vendors, should they be affected, too.

TEAMGROUP Releases 3600 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM for Gaming Laptops

With the rapid growth of the global eSports economy, the gaming laptop market is getting hotter and hotter. TEAMGROUP's gaming brand, T-FORCE releases VULCAN DDR4 3600 MHz memory module exclusively for gaming laptop. The clock frequency is as high as the maximum performance of DDR4 3600 MHz. The capacity of the memory module is up to 32 GB (16 GBx2), which allows gamers to possess high speed performance and master the key to winning every gaming battle.

Samsung Introduces 8 TB NVMe SSD For Data Centers

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has launched the industry's highest capacity NVMe solid state drive (SSD) based on the incredibly small Next-generation Small Form Factor (NGSFF) - an eight-terabyte (TB) NF1 SSD. The new 8TB NVMe NF1 SSD has been optimized for data-intensive analytics and virtualization applications in next-generation data centers and enterprise server systems.

"By introducing the first NF1 NVMe SSD, Samsung is taking the investment efficiency in data centers to new heights," said Sewon Chun, senior vice president of Memory Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to lead the trend toward enabling ultra-high density data centers and enterprise systems by delivering storage solutions with unparalleled performance and density levels."

Samsung & SK Hynix 18 Nanometer DRAM Yields Plagued By Technical Problems

Digitimes reports that Korean memory manufacturers Hynix and Samsung have both been hit by unstable yield rates for their 18 nm server DRAM production.

While the yields are claimed to be sufficient for notebook and desktop PC production, they are not good enough for server memory, which has higher quality requirements. Due to the shortage, Chinese enterprises like Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo and Tencent are now switching to use 20 nanometer DRAM for their servers, which is in better supply. Other vendors have even requested that no more 18 nm chips are shipped by these Korean suppliers, in a bid to improve quality, which might take several months, but shouldn't have a significant impact on overall DRAM prices.

First Crucial MX500 Firmware Update Released

Crucial has released the first new firmware for their smash-hit MX500 Series SSD, which is among the fastest and most affordable drives on the market (our reviews: 500 GB, 1 TB, 1 TB M.2).

The Crucial website lists the following improvements in the changelog:
  • Improved ready time from DEVSLP low-power state.
  • Improved TRIM and Wear Leveling performance.
  • Improved SATA error handing.
  • Improved compatibility with some TCG Opal 2.0 third-party encryption utilities (this change does not affect MS BitLocker).

Lootboxes: Valve Disables Trading for CS:GO and Dota 2 in Netherlands

Not long ago, the Netherlands ruled that loot boxes in games are gambling, and have been designed to get people addicted, in order to spend more money. Gaming companies had until June 20 (yesterday) to either change their game mechanics accordingly or to apply for a gambling license.

This has now caused Valve to disable trading of items on CS:GO and Dota 2, as the current interpretation of the law has a little loophole that considers loot boxes as gambling only, when the in-game goods are transferable between players.

Basemark Launches Free Multiplatform GPU Benchmark

Basemark launched today Basemark GPU, a new graphics performance evaluation tool for systems with Vulkan 1.0, OpenGL 4.5 or OpenGL ES 3.1 graphics APIs. This tool enables the industry to objectively and reliably quantify and compare graphics performance of next generation mobile, automotive and desktop processors.

"We have poured all of our soul and expertise in making this product. The work started two and half years ago and this massive project has culminated in today's launch of a true state-of-the-art product," said Arto Ruotsalainen, CEO of Basemark. "We believe Basemark GPU will become an essential tool for anyone tasked to evaluate graphics performance in systems ranging from smart phones, smart TVs and cars to PCs."
Wednesday, June 20th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
Notebooks
Speakers
SSD

Steam Releases 'External Funds Used' Tool

Have you ever wondered how much money you've invested into your entire Steam collection? Well, now you can! Valve has recently added a nifty feature called 'External Funds Used' that allows Steam users to see the total amount of money spent at the Steam store. All users have to do is sign into their Steam account at this link. Do note that the tool doesn't take into account key activations. So, games that have been purchased through third-party stores like GOG, Green Man Gaming, Humble Bundle, G2A, and etc. will not contribute to the grand total. The "OldSpend" field equals to the amount of money that was spent before the Limited User Account policy was implemented in 2015. The "PWSpend" is related to purchases made on games operated by Perfect World Entertainment. a Chinese company that runs CS:GO and DOTA 2 in China. So, how much have you spent? Let us know in the comments below.

Plantronics Announces New RIG 500 PRO Series Gaming Headsets

Plantronics, an audio pioneer and communications technology leader, today announced the RIG 500 PRO Series of gaming headsets, created to deliver high-fidelity audio in an ultra-lightweight design for the truly competitive gamer. RIG 500 PRO Series are the first gaming headsets to feature an exoskeleton earcup design with isolated inner acoustic chambers to reduce distortion, creating the ideal audio solution for today's high-resolution gaming platforms.

Premium 50 mm drivers deliver wide-range frequency response while dual-material ear cushions provide the combination of noise reduction and comfort competitive gamers need for long, focused sessions. In addition, the Xbox and PlayStation officially licensed editions come with the patent-pending RIG Game Audio Dial, a 3.5 mm connector with integrated volume control for wireless game controllers. Console gamers can now adjust volume directly from the controller without lifting their hands. PC models feature an inline volume slider.

Synology Releases Virtual Machine Manager Pro

Synology Inc. announced the official release of Virtual Machine Manager Pro to cater to professional users with services suitable to their needs. VMM Pro enables Synology NAS to run multiple virtual machines like Windows, Linux, Virtual DSM. It assists users to integrate and manage multiple Synology NAS via its virtualized cluster, flexibly distributes hardware resources, migrates virtual machines between hosts without any interruption, and conducts regular snapshots and replications to back up virtual machines, for the ultimate goal of building a efficient and safe virtualization environment.

Synology is dedicated to making powerful yet intuitive solutions for users. "Virtual Machine Manager has garnered wide acclaims with its latest version, and more than 130,000 Synology NAS have downloaded and installed it over the course of one year. This clearly shows how this product has been endorsed worldwide, which is very motivating to our development team. With the extremely flexible cluster in Virtual Machine Manager Pro, we are able to help IT personnel to easily build a professional and efficient virtualization environment on NAS servers. As this application improves your work efficiency, it protects critical virtual machines, as well." said Chen Feng Wang, Product Manager of virtualization at Synology.

AUO Reportedly Shipping Mini-LED Panels for Gaming Monitors in 4Q18

According to a report by DigiTimes, panel-maker AU Optronics is looking to ship gaming panels with built-in mini-LED technology going into the 4Q 2018. This isn't a new display tech, and shouldn't be confused with Micro LED tech, which is hailed as the great coming of an OLED killer. Despite that, mini-LED remains a very interesting, likely crucial piece of technology in enabling much increased color accuracy and contrast ratios of current panel technology - thus also bettering HDR implementations.

Usually, a given monitor or TV features Edge-lit LED technology to achieve the backlighting necessary for image display (or in the case of OLED, there's no need for any of that, since it's a self-emissive technology). In recent times, contrast ratios have been increased by the introduction of local dimming (essentially, there are multiple LED lighting units across the entirety of the monitor or TV, which can be singularly controlled to achieve desired lighting ratios). Mini-LED technology brings this a leap further, allowing for an enormous increase in lighting zones - up to the tens of thousands, compared, for example, to the 384 local dimming units present on the recently released 4K, 144 Hz G-Sync monitors - of which AUO did sample specification-like panels but with this added mini-LED tech. Of course, these "tens of thousands" still pale in comparison to an OLED panel's pixel-count-like dimmable LEDs. As a bonus, panel thickness can also be reduced with mini-LED tech.

Graphics Card Shipments Fall On Weak Mining Demand in 2H18; Prices to Remain Hiked

According to DigiTimes, the entire AIB partner and graphics card supply channel is gearing up to an expected demand decrease for graphics cards in the second half of 2018. This marks an expectation on the continuation of the downward trend since December 2017, a time where Bitcoin (and as such, alternate cryptocurrencies) were at all-time highs. As profits decrease, difficulty increases, and mining players offload their graphics cards to still-interested buyers of their hardware, the market's ability to trade existing graphics cards and absorb new inventory is dwindling. Naturally, this reduced demand means that prices for new graphics cards have also been decreasing and somewhat stabilizing towards pre-mining boom prices.

However, producers of graphics cards obviously don't want to give away their record-high profits in their entirety; and they're showing some reluctance, some "pricing memory" on their graphics cards, maintaining gross margins in the 20% area, double that of pre-mining pricing. As such, graphics card makers are again abandoning the mining boom as a source of stable revenue, looking to other solutions (such as servers, datacenter acceleration and such, DigiTimes reports in the case of TUL). Another thing that would certainly help graphics card manufacturers in keeping up high demand and profits, of course, would be the impending release of a new NVIDIA architecture... At least for those that have AIB status with the company.

Take Two: News of Single Player Games' Death Is Greatly Exaggerated

With so many games either a) adding a tacked-on multiplayer component with lootboxes or other monetization ingredients; and b) single-player games turning into multiplayer experiences (look no further than the expected Fallout 76's always-on multiplayer approach, of which I'm still reeling from), it's the little things, the little draughts of single player respect that keep us lone gaming wolves sane. Take Two, publishers of the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 (and a company best known for its affiliation with single-player experiences, thankfully), has said that single player games are going nowhere.

In an interview with Venture Beat, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick voiced his support for single-player experiences as anchors for player engagement with all aspects of a game - including its multiplayer components, or paving the way for online-only efforts such as GTA Online, the most lucrative title ever in the history of entertainment. Zelnick said that "(...) there are also people saying that it won't work if it's not a free-to-play battle royale. People really are saying that, and not even tongue-in-cheek. I don't buy that. Single-player, in my opinion, is not dead, not even close. Companies that feel like they'll just avoid the hard work of building a story and characters and go right to where the money is in multiplayer, I don't think that's going to work. I'd be surprised.

NVIDIA's Next-Gen Graphics Cards to Launch in Q3 2018, Breadcrumb Trail Indicates

We the media and you enthusiasts are always getting scare jumps every time a high-profile launch is announced - or even hinted at. And few product launches are as enthusing as those of new, refined graphics cards architectures - the possibilities for extra performance, bang for buck improvements, mid-tier performance that belonged in last generation's halo products - it's all a mix of merriment and expectation - even if it sometimes tastes a little sour.

Adding to the previous breadcrumbs neatly laid-out regarding NVIDIA's Hot Chips presentation on a new "Next Generation mainstream GPU", the source for et another piece of bread that would make Grettel proud comes from Power Logic, a fan supplier for numerous AIB partners (company representative holding an EVGA graphics card below), who have recently said they expected "Q3 orders to be through the roof". Such an increase in demand usually means increased orders as AIB partners stock up on materials to produce a substantial enough stock for new product launches, and does fall in line with the NVIDIA Hot Chips presentation in August. Q3 starts in July, though, and while the supply-chain timings are unknown, it seems somewhat tight for a July product launch that coincides with the increased fan orders.

Raja Hires Larrabee Architect Tom Forsyth to Help With Intel GPU

A few months ago we reported that Raja Koduri has left AMD to work at Intel on their new discrete GPU project. Looks like he's building a strong team, with the most recent addition being Tom Forsyth who is the father of Larrabee, which was Intel's first attempt at making an x86-based graphics processor. While Larrabee did not achieve its goal and is considered a failure by many, it brought some interesting improvements to the world, for example AVX512, and is now sold under the Xeon Phi brand.

Tom, who has previously worked at Oculus, Valve, and 3DLabs posted on Twitter that he's joining Intel in Raja's group, but he's "Not entirely sure what he'll be working on just yet." At Oculus and Valve he worked on Virtual Reality projects, for example he wrote big chunks of the Team Fortress 2 VR support for the Oculus Rift. Taking a look at Tom's papers suggests that he might join the Intel team as lead for VR-related projects, as that's without a doubt one of Raja's favorite topics to talk about.

GameStop is Talking to Potential Buyout Firms

GameStop, which is one of the largest video game retailers, confirmed that they are in discussion with third parties for a potential buyout. To facilitate that, they have hired a financial advisor to help navigate talks. Who they are talking to and in what stages these discussions are was not revealed. The equity firm Sycamore Partners, which among others is invested in Staples, does seem interested in buying GameStop.

The company operates over 7,200 stores in 14 countries, and has been plagued by bad news recently. They had a data breach last year and had to shut down more than 100 store locations. With a net loss of $106 million reported for the year 2017, their stock has slid over 30% bringing the company's worth down to $1.4 billion.

PUBG Has Sold 50 Million Copies, 400 Million Players Total

PUBG Corp. just announced that they have reached the incredible number of 50 million units sold on the platforms PC and Xbox One. When including PUBG Mobile, they have over 400 million registered players world-wide, with over 87 million of them playing PUBG every single day.

To celebrate this epic milestone, they have decided to have the first ever sale of PUBG, at a price of $17.99, until July 5th. Could be that sales are going down, possibly driven by Epic's Fortnite, which has a bigger player base now, and is available for more platforms.
Tuesday, June 19th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 4000 MHz

Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 4000 MHz

Corsair's latest entry into RGB memory is their Vengeance PRO series, a kit supporting iCUE, which is Corsair's RGB lighting control system. This isn't just any RGB memory, though; the Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO series is built for serious overclocking too!

First Benchmarks, CPU-Z Screenshots of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 32-core CPU Surface

First benchmarks and CPU-Z screenshots of AMD's upcoming Ryzen Threadripper 32-core monster have surfaced, courtesy of HKEPC. The on-time-for-launch (as AMD puts it) 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" processor has apparently been christened "Threadripper 2990X", which does make sense - should AMD be thinking of keeping the 2920X moniker for 12 cores and 1950X for 16-cores, then it follows a 20-core 2960X, a 24-core 2970X, a 28-core 2980X, and the aforementioned 32-core 2990X. whether AMD would want to offer such a tiered lineup of HEDT processors, however, is another matter entirely, and certainly open for discussion - too much of a good thing can actually happen, at least where ASP of the Threadripper portfolio is concerned.

On the CPU-Z screenshot, the 2990X is running at 3.4 GHz base with up to 4.0 GHz XFR, and carries a 250 W TDP - a believable and very impressive achievement, testament to the 12 nm process and the low leakage it apparently produces. The chip was then overclocked up to 4.2 GHz on all cores, which caused for some thermal throttling, since performance was lower than when the chip was clocked at just 4 GHz on all cores. Gains on this particular piece of silicon were reserved up to 4.12 GHz - the jump to 4.2 GHz must have required another bump in voltage that led to the aforementioned throttling. At 4.12 GHz, the chip scored 6,399 points in Cinebench - a remarkable achievement.

Acer Announces 49", 55" Gaming Monitors - 4K, HDR, IPS

Acer today at its japan-specific news page revealed the launch of two new desktop monitors that really do defy convention on the real-estate that you can have plopped right in front of your eyes. The new 49" EB490QKbmiiipfx and 55" EB550Kbmiiipx displays (ehrm... a little more attention to the naming convention, Acer?) deliver what's expected to be a sub-par HDR experience (due to their maximum 300 cd/m² brightness), even though they do tout HDR 10 certification. Response times are being set at 4 ms for both models, with a 1,200:1 contrast ratio.

The monitors feature blue-light reduction technology, and 2x 5 W speakers are par of the course. "Flickerless" technology points our proverbial ears to some sort of variable refresh rate technology, but nothing else from the translation seems to suggest this. Input listing points to 1x HDMI 2.0 (HDCP 2.2 compatible), 2x HDMI 1.4, and 1x DisplayPort 1.2 ports. Apparently, these will be launched in Asia first, for 70,000 yen (550 EUR/USD) and 100,000 yen (799 EUR/USD) for the 49" and 55" panels, respectively, starting on June 21st.

Cooler Master Launching Gateron-based Keyboards CK550, CK552

Cooler Master is gearing up for launch of two extra mechanical keyboards, packing Gateron switches (rated for 50 million clicks) instead of the more market-wide Cherry MX ones. The Gateron switches will also be available in Blue, Red and Brown varieties, and are similar in behavior to the Cherry MX ones (blue for tactile-clicky, brown for tactile-silent, and red for a linear switch).

These will still feature some extra gaming features, such as on-the-fly macros and the ubiquitous RGB lighting with a bazillion modes (and the keys have a translucent base for improved lighting). The CK550 features a brushed aluminum casing in gunmetal gray, and is available worldwide starting today from €89. The CK552 is a US/Canada exclusive, features a black brushed aluminum casing, and will be available from $79.99 only at Best buy and Staples.

Western Digital Expands Purple Line of HDDs with 12TB Model

To help enable the surveillance industry's evolution to increasingly higher resolution cameras and new applications requiring real-time edge analytics, Western Digital Corporation has expanded its surveillance portfolio with the introduction of the industry's highest capacity, deep-learning-capable, surveillance-class drive, Western Digital Purple 12TB drive with exclusive AllFrame AI technology. The newest addition to Western Digital's surveillance portfolio creates new possibilities in video surveillance by supporting the capture of multiple high resolution video streams while simultaneously accessing recorded video to support deep learning and analytics. This capability is purpose-built for emerging DVR and NVR systems with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in that it supports real-time detection of AI-triggered events at the point of capture with continuous background learning.

According to IDC, the amount of big data exabytes generated by surveillance solutions is expected to grow by 25 percent per year through 20211. This growth is driven by the installation of more complex cameras with vastly improved resolutions, increasingly intelligent applications and overall expanding use of video for analytics globally. Traditional video surveillance systems detect moving subjects without providing detailed analysis. New systems enable additional functions such as real-time edge analytics to better detect objects and reduce false triggers. Objects such as animals, leaves, and even light can cause false alarms. AI-enabled systems not only detect the moving targets, but can analyze them to help determine if they are a potential threat.

AMD Radeon Vega 12 and Vega 20 Listed in Ashes Of The Singularity Database

Back at Computex, AMD showed a demo of their Vega 20 graphics processor, which is produced using a refined 7 nanometer process. We also reported that the chip has a twice-as-wide memory interface, effectively doubling memory bandwidth, and alsomaximum memory capacity. The smaller process promises improvements to power efficiency, which could let AMD run the chip at higher frequencies for more performance compared to the 14 nanometer process of existing Vega.

As indicated by AMD during Computex, the 7 nanometer Vega is a product targeted at High Performance Compute (HPC) applications, with no plans to release it for gaming. As they clarified later, the promise of "7 nanometer for gamers" is for Navi, which follows the Vega architecture. It's even more surprising to see AOTS results for a non-gaming card - my guess is that someone was curious how well it would do in gaming.

TP-Link Announces the Deco M9 Plus Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 2-Pack System

TP-Link , a leading global provider of consumer and business networking products, today announced availability of the Deco M9 Plus Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 2-Pack System, the newest addition to the brand's lineup of mesh solutions. TP-Link's Deco M9 Plus features AC2200 speeds and tri-band Wi-Fi with dedicated backhaul to deliver fast, dependable connections to more than 100 devices throughout your entire home while doubling as a smart home hub for your IoT devices.

"From everyday activities like streaming Netflix and using smart voice assistants, to occasional video chats with friends or online gaming, our home lives are more connected than ever before," said Derrick Wang, director of product management at TP-Link USA Corp. "Today, families need Wi-Fi systems that can support the higher demands put on their network, delivering reliable performance in every room of the home. Deco M9 Plus is a powerful solution designed to meet the Wi-Fi needs of the modern smart home."

Toshiba First to Deliver Value SAS SSDs Targeting SATA Applications

Today Toshiba Memory America, Inc., the U.S.-based subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, unveiled a new, game-changing category of SAS SSDs expected to replace SATA SSDs in server applications. The RM5 12Gbit/s value SAS (vSAS) series features capacity, performance, reliability, manageability and data security advantages - at a price that obsoletes SATA SSDs.

A homogeneous SAS environment has long been the gold standard for enterprise server and storage systems. With vertical integration expertise in flash technology, firmware and controller design, Toshiba leveraged its leading position as the world's leading SAS SSD line optimizing RM5 to close the cost gap with SATA - and usher in a new class of SSD. SATA simply cannot compete with SAS, falling well short in terms of performance, robustness and encryption options.

Intel: "If [AMD] Wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K CPU, [They] Could Have Just Asked Us"

Oh well, this almost makes us think of this industry as going hand in hand merrily, tongue-in-cheeking each other towards fulfilling, eternal happiness. It's a shame that this not usually the shape of our industry, but really, life isn't either, so let's keep our expectations in check. All in all, Intel's Twitter response to the viral, beautifully-crafted AMD initiative of exchanging one of Intel's commemorative 8086K CPUs for one of its Threadripper 1950X processors is equally satisfying - there's an unavoidable smile to be found while considering these two exchanges.

Kudos, Intel. Kudos for both companies for keeping it in a good spirit. If only we didn't have strange things such as Optane memory shenanigans going on concurrently...

Iiyama Introduces the All-New 38-Series ProLite TFxx38UHSC Displays

iiyama's new 38-series (ProLite TFxx38UHSC) has followed-up iiyama's very popular 37-series (TFxx37MSC) displays which have been used extensively in museums, kiosks, shops and interactive signage set-ups around the world. All five models come with a 24/7 operating time, landscape, portrait and face-up orientation and Open Frame mounting holes to facilitate easy installation and trouble-free operation in kiosks, tables, on walls for businesses, education and retail. The 38-series interactive displays are available in the sizes: 32", 43", 49", 55" and 65". They are designed for intensive use; featuring a 3 to 5 mm, 7H ball-drop-proof hardened glass, a metal bezel and PCAP touch technology.

"In our pursuit to continually evolve and improve our range offering to customers, iiyama's new 38-series sets the standard for high-performance PCAP touchscreens. The focus on design, with sleek edge-to-edge glass provides ultimate appeal for many market sectors like retail, museums, automotive and healthcare - but the key improvements are around practical deployment for multiple estates. The control and command suite of functions make this range perfect for serious integrators working with the biggest brands." - Lewis Clifford, iiyama Sales Manager Professional Displays.

Samsung Facing Fine of $400 Million Over FinFET Patent Infringement

Bloomberg is reporting that Samsung was hit with a $400 million fine last Friday, (ahem) courtesy of a Texas federal jury. The source of the patent infringement relates to FinFET-specific technology that is being said was "illegally, and willfully taken" from the licensing arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the South Korean university. If you're wondering why was such a case between two South Korean institutions settled in Texas, well - KAIST IP US, the university's licensing arm is strangely (or not) based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, - a venue considered "particularly friendly" to patent owners.

The $400 million is just the initial sum; since Samsung's mishandling of the intellectual property (usage without payment) was found to be "willful", the company could be faced with up to three times those charges. Bloomberg's report says that KAIST claimed in its initial complaint that Samsung was dismissive of the FinFet research at first, believing it would be a fad. Apparently, that all changed when rival Intel Corp. started licensing the invention and developing its own products, according to KAIST IP. Samsung, naturally, disagrees: the company that it helped the university develop the technology in the first place, and that it was "disappointed by the verdict", and "will consider options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable, including an appeal."

Noctua Introduces Quiet CPU Coolers for LGA3647 Intel Xeon Platforms

Noctua today introduced three quiet CPU coolers for the LGA3647 socket of Intel's Xeon Scalable (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Xeon-Phi processors. Coming in 140, 120 and 92mm form factors respectively, the new NH-U14S DX-3647, NH-U12S DX-3647 and NH-D9 DX-3647 4U cover all bases from large, ultra-high performance workstations all the way to compact 4U size servers. Thanks to their premium-grade Noctua fans, all three coolers are exceptionally quiet and ideally suited for use in noise-sensitive environments.
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