Tuesday, April 24th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage
Tesoro GRAM XS Keyboard

Tesoro GRAM XS Keyboard

Tesoro adds another set of unique switches to their growing portfolio, and the new GRAM XS keyboard uses ultra-slim mechanical switches in linear or tactile/clicky versions. Combine this with chiclet-style thin keycaps and a low profile case, and we have a keyboard that looks like an OEM keyboard at ~23 mm in height while offering the features of a modern high-end mechanical keyboard.

AMD Explains Ryzen 2000 Series XFR2, Precision Boost 2 Technology

AMD on its YouTube channel shared a video where their Technical Marketing Manager, Robert Hallock, explains some of the new, fine-tuned technologies behind the new Ryzen 2000 series processors. We've already found in our very own reviews that AMD has done a great job with extracting maximum performance from their chips, almost invalidating the need for fine-tuning overclock - at least, when it comes to the processors' frequency (remember that AMD's Zen always improves the most when it comes to tweaking the system RAM speeds and timings).

XFR2 and Precision Boost 2 are the sort of technologies that almost make the point of an unlocked processor moot for the average user, but here's to AMD for keeping that option open - there's always LN2. And even if there isn't, there's something to be gained from going from a small, anemic, airflow-restricted case to an actual monstrosity packed with water cooling systems. AMD has made sure of that. You can check the AMD video after the break.

Intel's Next Atom Core, Tremont, Revealed - Likely to Be Fabbed on the 10 nm Process

Intel, via its internal documentation that is, routinely, the source of new information on unreleased products, has revealed their next low-power architecture. Codenamed Tremont, the new architecture is expected to be developed on the company's 10 nm process (not unlike Ice Lake) and bring some performance improvements to the company's options for the embedded market.

Tremont will thus replace Intel's Goldmont Plus, which is still being manufactured on the company's 14 nm process (it hasn't been side-graded to the company's 14 nm + or ++ processes, due to these being less suited for denser chip designs). The new architecture will likely receive some specific performance improvements that mirror some of Intel's Core architecture's improvements, alongside support for new instruction sets - CLWB, GFNI (SSE-based), ENCLV, Split Lock Detection instruction set extensions are all extensions that will also be introduced in the company's Ice Lake cores, which increases the likelihood of the same process. Other functions introduced specifically for Tremont include CLDEMOTE, direct store, and user wait instructions.

Pro Overclocker der8auer Delids the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor

In his latest Youtube video, famous overclocker der8auer has delidded his AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor for the sole purpose of evaluating whether the benefits justify the risk. Since the IHS in the new Pinnacle Ridge processors is soldered directly to the die with Indium, delidding the processors is a tricky but not impossible task. Everything melts when it gets warm enough, and indium starts melting around 156.60 °C. Therefore, der8auer had to use a modified version of his popular Delid Die Mate 2 tool by replacing the acrylic pieces with aluminum while also removing the rubber washer. After baking his Ryzen 5 2600 chip in the oven between 170 °C to 180 °C, Der8auer removed the IHS easily with his delidding tool. For his testing, he replaced the indium solder with Thermal Grizzly liquid metal thermal compound. As expected, the results weren't very impressive. With the Ryzen 5 2600 overclocked to 4.1 GHz with 1.35V, the difference was a mere 4 °C under load. So, there you have it. Don't delid your Pinnacle Ridge processor. It's not worth the effort.

Samsung Announces the 970 PRO and 970 EVO Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

Samsung Electronics, today introduced the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO, the third generation of its industry-leading consumer solid state drive (SSD) lineup. Having led the market with the first consumer-focused NVMe SSD in 2015, Samsung continues to push the performance barriers with this latest generation of SSDs that are built for tech enthusiasts and professionals so that they can enjoy higher bandwidth for intensive workloads on PCs and workstations.

"Samsung has led the NVMe SSD industry since its inception, and the company continues to define the latest standards of consumer storage with unprecedented performance of the 970 PRO and EVO SSDs," said Un-Soo Kim, senior vice president of Brand Product Marketing, Memory Business at Samsung Electronics. "The 970 series sets a new bar in all aspects for the NVMe SSD market with groundbreaking performance, superior reliability and best-in-class capacity."

Dell Announces New Commercial PC Portfolio

Business leaders worldwide are balancing two objectives: keeping the business running smoothly by preventing security and productivity disruptions while simultaneously tapping into the incredible potential of new innovations, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and VR/AR. Dell is introducing new solutions across its commercial PC portfolio designed to help businesses of all sizes achieve that critical balance. In addition to being the world's most secure and manageable commercial PCs, Dell's updated commercial lineup features advances in smart design, productivity and sustainability to meet the ever-expanding needs of a global, diverse workforce.

"For many of our customers, work is no longer a place they go -- it's an activity," said Jay Parker, president, Client Product Group, Dell. "And smart companies that want to attract and keep the best talent have embraced the evolving needs and expectations of their employees. IT departments are working with Dell to build a technology strategy that gives employees the power and flexibility to get their jobs done, whenever and wherever it best fits their lifestyle, while keeping data secure and TCO low."

Audio-Technica Releases New Rugged BPHS2 Headsets

Audio-Technica, a leading innovator in transducer technology for over 50 years, announces the new BPHS2 Broadcast Stereo Headset for news and sports broadcasting. The BPHS2 is based on the new ATH-M60x On-Ear Professional Monitor Headphones and uses the same proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers. This rugged stereo headset offers a low-profile, closed-back, on-ear design with commanding, broadcast-ready vocal reproduction. It is available in three configurations: the standard BPHS2 stereo and the BPHS2S single-ear versions both with a hypercardioid dynamic mic, and the BPHS2C stereo with a condenser mic. Premium memory foam earpads and headband provide exceptional comfort for extended wearing and durability and detach for easy replacement.

X2 Announces the PIRATE 1416 MicroATX Tempered Glass Case

X2 is pleased to inform the new arrival of the PIRATE 1416 PC case. This microATX structured chassis is made out of 0.5 mm SPCC steel, all black coated inside and out enclosed by two tempered glass panels and one metal side panel. This new PC gamer case is a great solution for your entry level gaming system build with more than enough space for the assembly of your powerful hardware. It comes with a total up to three 3.5-inch SSD drives and four rear expansion PCI slots. The PIRATE 1416 is equipped with a separated PSU chamber and ample space for those long graphics cards (up to 320 mm length) and large CPU coolers (up to 150 mm height clearance). The case also has more than sufficient air cooling options with four 120 mm fan mount locations and one 92 mm fan mount throughout this chassis. Already included are two multi-LED 120 mm red cooling fans, one on the rear and one in the front.

The PIRATE 1416 offers easy upkeep throughout the whole chassis with nice cable routing and the tool-free removal of the tempered glass panels. It offers convenient placement of Audio and USB connections for your plug and play gaming peripherals. Standard USB configuration includes one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port plus support for AC97/HD AUDIO. Show off your cool components, LED or RGB cooling and water or air coolers through the smoked tempered glass windows of the PIRATE 1416 PC gamer case by X2-gaming. We believe in exceptional style coupled with genuine product quality, redefining the meaning of affordable gaming - All geared up!

Team Group Announces ASUS TUF Gaming Co-branded T-Force DDR4 Memory

TEAMGROUP, the world's leading memory brand, today officially announces the launch of the TUF Gaming Alliance certified T-FORCE VULCAN TUF Gaming Alliance memory, which is strictly tested by motherboard leader ASUS. After the cooperative launch with ASUS ROG, T-FORCE DARK ROG has created a trend around the world. Now once again, with creativity and ingenuity, TEAMGROUP design team adds TUF's unique military camouflage pattern on the heat spreader. T-FORCE VULCAN TUF Gaming Alliance memory is definitely gamer's best comrade on the battlefield of gaming or pursuit of extreme overclocking.

T-FORCE VULCAN TUF Gaming Alliance has passed strict burn in test held by ASUS. With clock frequency of up to 3600MHz, it offers consumers an experience of high-speed performance and a hardware with unique style. The memory is both distinctive and eye catching. With complete coverage design, the area of the high efficiency forged heat spreader is extended to the top and the two sides to provide memory a complete coverage of protection and enhance the radiating performance, so the system is able to maintain a longtime stable operation. The appearance is designed with unique military camouflage pattern. T-FORCE VULCAN TUF Gaming Alliance's exclusive asymmetrical cutting is most suitable for gamers who love military style design.

EK Releases ASUS ROG Strix X470-F Monoblock

EK Water Blocks, the premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is proving its market leadership once again by releasing its first X470 series monoblock that is tailor-made for the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING motherboard. The EK-FB ASUS Strix X470 RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, thus offering a full lighting customization experience. This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new AMD X470 Chipset AM4 socket based ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING motherboard that supports the second generation of AMD Ryzen and 7th Generation A-series/Athlon processors.

Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS , this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools AMD AM4 socket type CPU, as well as the power regulation (MOSFET) module. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Like with most EK monoblocks, the EK-FB ASUS Strix X470 features high flow design and it can be easily used with the system using a weaker water pump or lower pump speed settings as well.
Monday, April 23rd 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Storage
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider (GTX 1070)

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider (GTX 1070)

MSI is offering a more affordable option for high-refresh-rate gaming on the go with the GE63VR 7RF Raider. Thanks to is 120 Hz display, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, it packs a punch for the price. The question remains though whether that is enough in such a competitive market.

Audio-Technica Adds ATH-M60x On-Ear Professional Monitor Headphones to M-Series Line

Audio-Technica, a leading innovator in transducer technology for over 50 years, announces the new ATH-M60x On-Ear Professional Monitor Headphones, the latest addition to A-T's critically acclaimed M-Series line. Designed for studio, broadcast and mobile applications, the ATH-M60x is a low-profile, on-ear professional headphone model that utilizes the same proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers found in the ATH-M50x (with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils), delivering exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range with accurate bass response.

The ATH-M60x's low-profile, closed-back, on-ear design provides excellent sound isolation and a great fit, which is enhanced by the exceptional comfort and durability of the memory foam earpads and headband. The headphones come with three interchangeable cables (1.2 m - 3.0 m coiled, 3.0 m straight, and 1.2 m straight - each with a 3.5 mm (1/8") mini-plug), a 6.3 mm (1/4") screw-on adapter, and a protective carrying pouch.

Intel Crimson Canyon NUC to Feature Cannon Lake-U CPU and Radeon 500 Graphics

Photographs of Intel's Crimson Canyon NUC have finally surfaced. WinFuture managed to get their hands on one that's powered by an Intel Core i3-8121U dual-core processor based on the Cannon Lake architecture. The NUCs come with 4 GB or 8 GB of memory, a 2.5-inch hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. The Crimson Canyon NUC also features a discrete AMD Radeon graphics card. The "Radeon 500-series" reference in one of the screenshots along with the "2GB of GDDR5" on the packaging takes us to the conclusion that Intel is most likely integrating a Polaris-based graphics card into the Crimson Canyon NUC. It's highly unlikely that we will find the CPU and GPU on the same chip like the one in the Hades Canyon NUC. Instead, the GPU will probably be soldered directly to the motherboard itself. The Intel Core i3-8121U models (NUC8I3CYSM2 and NUC8I3CYSM3) start around 450 euros, which roughly translates to $550. There was no mention when they will be available though.

Six First-Generation AMD Ryzen Processor Models Reach EOL

With the April 19 introduction of four new second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" desktop processor SKUs, namely the 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600; AMD is retiring six first-generation "Summit Ridge" SKUs from its lineup, according to a Guru3D report. Six SKUs have been marked EOL (end of life), meaning retailers can no longer order them from AMD. They can sell their remaining inventory, and AMD will honor full product warranties and aftersales support, to end users.

Among the retired SKUs are the previous-generation flagship Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 (non-X); Ryzen 5 1600X, 1400, and the Ryzen 3 1200. As revealed in its product stack slide, the 2700X currently replaces both the 1800X and 1700X as the "8-core high performance" SKU, followed by the 2700 as the "8-core high efficiency" SKU, which replaces the 1700. The 2600X and 2600 succeed the 1600X and 1600, respectively. The Ryzen 5 1400 finds itself replaced by the GPU-equipped Ryzen 5 2400G "Raven Ridge" APU, and the entry-level Ryzen 3 1200 by the sub-$100 Ryzen 3 2200G. The table below reveals the updates prices of first-generation SKUs still in the product stack.

MSI and AMD Prepare Their 'Combat Crate' Bundles

MSI has partnered with AMD to bring their new 'Combat Crate' bundles to the gaming market. These Combat Crates are comprised of a Ryzen 5 1600 or Ryzen 7 1700 processor, a MSI B350 Tomahawk motherboard, and, last but not least, a MSI RX 580 Armor graphic card. With the Ryzen 2000 Series processors already out and B450 motherboards probably on the way, the primary goal of this partnership is probably for both companies to clear their last-gen stock. The description on the packaging reads:
The AMD Combat Crate comes stocked with essential hardware you need to push your game to the next level and lay waste to the competition. With a lightning-fast Ryzen processor, powerful RX graphics backed by revolutionary Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and a feature-ready MSI motherboard - the AMD Combat Crate is the ultimate arsenal for gamers.

ID-Cooling Intros IS-60 Low Profile Top Flow CPU Cooler

ID-Cooling introduced the IS-60, a low-profile, top-flow CPU cooler, with a cooling capacity of up to 130W (TDP). The cooler features a dense "C-type" design, in which an aluminium fin-stack projects along the plane of the motherboard, in very close proximity to an aluminium heatsink base, the two are connected by six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes, which make indirect contact with the CPU, through a copper base.

A 15 mm-thick 120 mm fan blows air through the fin-stack. This hydraulic bearing fan takes in 4-pin (PWM) input, spins between 600 to 1,600 RPM, pushing up to 53.6 CFM of air, with a noise output ranging between 13.8-30.2 dB(A). The cooler supports mainstream desktop sockets, including AM4, AM3(+), FM2(+), and LGA115x. Measuring 120 mm x 125 mm x 55 mm, including the fan, the cooler weighs about 470 g. The company didn't reveal pricing.

MSI Intros the MAG Pylon Tempered Glass Case

MSI today introduced the Gaming Series MAG Pylon, an ATX mid-tower case characterized by tempered glass panels, and MSI Mystic Light RGB readiness. The case features 4 mm-thick tempered glass making up both its left and right side panels, and front panels. The rest of the case is made of 0.6 mm-thick SECC steel. Under the hood is a conventional horizontal dual partition layout. The upper main compartment serves up room for graphics cards up to 37 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16.5 cm in height.

The bottom compartment is completely enclosed from the left side, and has an RGB LED-illuminated MSI Gaming logo near the PSU bay. Storage features include two 3.5-inch drive bays in the bottom compartment, which can each hold 2.5-inch drives; and four 2.5-inch drive mounts behind the motherboard tray. Cooling includes three 120 mm or two 140 mm front-intakes, with three factory-fitted 120 mm RGB LED-lit fans; two 140/120 mm top exhausts, and a 120 mm rear exhaust. Front panel connectivity includes two each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/1.1 ports, and HDA jacks. The company didn't reveal pricing.

EK Launches Updated EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Water Block

EK Water Blocks, the leading premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is further expanding its RGB portfolio by releasing the EK-FC1080 GTX Ti FTW3 RGB water block that is compatible with EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 based graphics cards. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, VRAM and the VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under full load and high overclocks. EK-FC1080 GTX Ti FTW3 RGB water block features a central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.
Sunday, April 22nd 2018

Firewatch Developer Campo Santo Acquired by Valve

Firewatch Developer Campo Santo has announced in a blog post that their studio has been acquired by Valve. The affair has come about after a sort of enamorement period after the team at Campo Santo drank a bottle of champagne that was meant to be opened with the attribution of a Game of the Year accolade to Valve's own Portal 2 - back when Valve actually developed games (some of us can remember that time, yes).

The message sent by the Campo Santo team is one of excitement at the opportunity, and confidence that Valve will be a partner in the development their studio wants to make, rather than an evil overlord mind-bent on franchise and creativity destruction. Knowing Valve, I'm sure people would agree with the developers. Here's hoping this marks a newfound interest from Valve in games development... even if by proxy. How I miss GLADoS' jokes... but that's a story for another day. For now, you can read the press release from Campo Santo right after the break.

AMD Officially Discloses Ryzen 3 2200GE, Ryzen 5 2400GE Energy-Efficient APUs

AMD has disclosed, via a pretty standard addition to their website, the existence of some ill-guarded secrets. The secrets in point are low-power variants of the company's 2000-series APUs, which come and join AMD's lineup with lowered TDPs to increased energy efficiency. The Ryzen 3 2200GE and Ryzen 5 2400GE slot right alongside their previously released counterparts, but have enjoyed some clock tuning (and likely some silicon binning as well) to bring their TDPs down from the 2200 and 2400's 65 W to only 35 W - an impressive feat considering there's no difference, at the execution unit level, on these silicon pieces.

Philips Announces Their Momentum 436M6VBPAB Monitor: 4K, Display HDR 1000, Active Sync

Philips have been on a roll not only with their OLED TVs, which have become some of the highest-esteemed in the market, but want to bring that premium quality to their PC monitors as well. Enter the Momentum 436M6VBPAB monitor, a 43" MVA panel affair that supports 4K resolution, features true Display HDR with 1000 maximum nits brightness, and Active Sync tech to bring it up to speed to users' interests and the latest tech (tough sadly, it's being listed as a 60 Hz panel). Have we mentioned integration of Philips' excellently mesmerizing Ambiglow technology?

Philips is promising 97.6% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour space, a peak brightness of over 1000 nits (needed fot that HDR 1000 certification), local dimming for deeper blacks, and support for 10-bit colour (8-bit + FRC). The display will support HDMI 2.0, Displayport 1.2, mini DisplayPort and USB Type-C (DP alt mode) inputs. This monitor may well release in the near future, but expect its pricing to be adequate to the technology it offers.
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