Wednesday, January 29th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Memory
Mouse
SSD

AMD to Debut 2nd Gen RDNA Architecture in 2020

AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su, in her Q4-2019 and FY-2019 earnings call, confirmed that the company debut its second-generation RDNA graphics architecture in 2020. "In 2019 we launched our new architecture in GPUs, it's the RDNA architecture, and that was the Navi-based products. You should expect those will be refreshed in 2020, and we will have our new next-generation RDNA architecture that will be part our 2020 lineup."

Second-gen RDNA, or RDNA2, is expected to leverage the new 7 nm+ (EUV) silicon fabrication process at TSMC, to dial up transistor-counts, clock-speeds, and performance. Among the two anticipated feature additions are VRS (variable rate shading) and possibly ray-tracing. The fabled "big Navi" silicon, a GPU larger than "Navi 10," is also on the cards, according to an earlier statement by Dr Su. More details about these upcoming graphics cards are expected to be put out in March, at the 2020 AMD Investor Day conference.
Tuesday, January 28th 2020

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cooling
CPU Coolers
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
SSD
ASRock TRX40 Taichi

ASRock TRX40 Taichi

The first TRX40 board to reach my test bench, and also the first motherboard to boast 90 A power stages from Intersil (16 of them!), the ASRock TRX40 Taichi promises serious overclocking potential for the new Ryzen Threadripper processors without resorting to an E-ATX form factor.
Bitspower CPU Block Summit M with OLED

Bitspower CPU Block Summit M with OLED

Bitspower updates their mainstream CPU blocks with the Summit M series, adding temperature sensing and an onboard OLED display to differentiate it from other offerings on the market. There is also the now-expected RGB lighting, but in the form of addressable LEDs controlled via your motherboard for increased compatibility.

AMD Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual 2019 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2019 of $2.13 billion, operating income of $348 million, net income of $170 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.15. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $405 million, net income was $383 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.32. For fiscal year 2019, the company reported revenue of $6.73 billion, operating income of $631 million, net income of $341 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.30. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income was $840 million, net income was $756 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.64.

"2019 marked a significant milestone in our multi-year journey as we successfully launched and ramped the strongest product portfolio in our 50-year history," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We delivered significant margin expansion and increased profitability as we gained market share with our Ryzen and EPYC processors. Our focused execution and the investments we made in our high-performance computing roadmaps position us well for continued growth in 2020 and beyond."

Blizzard Releases Warcraft III: Reforged System Requirements

Blizzard today released the system requirements for their remastered version of Warcraft III, Warcraft III: Reforged. The new game sees the inclusion of the original Reign of Chaos campaign and its expansion, the Frozen Throne, amounting to 60 campaign missions. Reworked graphics, four-hours of updated in-game cutscenes and re-recorded voice-overs are paired with rebalanced online play and the addition of social and matchmaking capabilities.

Requirements-wise, it's a light game on its minimum settings for sure: Blizzard says gamers will need an Intel Core i3-530 or AMD Athlon Phenom II X4 910. A mere 4 GB of system RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD 5750 will be required to power the games' visuals. If you aren't looking for the minimum specs but how good of an experience you'll have, the Recommended specs up the ante: an Intel Core i5-6400 or AMD Ryzen 7 1700X or better are being called for, paired with 8 GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 280X.

NZXT Announces Kraken X-3 and Z-3 Series AIO Liquid Coolers

NZXT, a leading developer of software-powered hardware solutions for PC gaming, today announces the Kraken X-3 and Kraken Z-3 series, the next iterations in NZXT's award-winning line of RGB all-in-one liquid coolers. This new generation of Kraken gives PC builders more options to uniquely customize their builds while providing enhanced cooling performance backed by NZXT's industry-leading warranty.

New to the NZXT Kraken ecosystem, the Z-3 series (available in both 280 mm and 360 mm configurations) is the quintessential centerpiece to the ultimate gaming battlestation. A beautiful 2.36"(60 mm) LCD screen providing unlimited visual customization, powered by NZXT CAM, is capable of displaying vital system health data as well as any custom GIF. With unparalleled aesthetics, the Kraken Z-3 series provides builders the opportunity to express themselves in an all-new way.

1MORE Announces True Wireless ANC In-Ear Headphones Now Shipping

1MORE, a globally distributed premium consumer audio company, today announced its new True Wireless ANC In-Ear headphones featuring dual drivers for superior sound quality, two levels of active noise cancelation, pass-through mode and a wireless charging option is now shipping. As the first true wireless headphones pending THX Certification, these earbuds continue to uphold 1MORE's commitment to consumers by providing affordable luxury audio products. The True Wireless ANC headphones are available now on 1MORE.com and Amazon.com for $199.99 MSRP.

Europe Readies its First Prototype of Custom HPC Processor

European Processor Initiative (EPI) is a Europe's project to kickstart a homegrown development of custom processors tailored towards different usage models that the European Union might need. The first task of EPI is to create a custom processor for high-performance computing applications like machine learning, and the chip prototypes are already on their way. The EPI chairman of the board Jean-Marc Denis recently spoke to the Next Platform and confirmed some information regarding the processor design goals and the timeframe of launch.

Supposed to be manufactured on TSMC's 6 nm EUV (TSMC N6 EUV) technology, the EPI processor will tape-out at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, and it is going to be heterogeneous. That means that on its 2.5D die, many different IPs will be present. The processor will use a custom ARM CPU, based on a "Zeus" iteration of Neoverese server core, meant for general-purpose computation tasks like running the OS. When it comes to the special-purpose chips, EPI will incorporate a chip named Titan - a RISC-V based processor that uses vector and tensor processing units to compute AI tasks. The Titan will use every new standard for AI processing, including FP32, FP64, INT8, and bfloat16. The system will use HBM memory allocated to the Titan processor, have DDR5 links for the CPU, and feature PCIe 5.0 for the inner connection.

CacheOut is the Latest Speculative Execution Attack for Intel Processors

Another day, another speculative execution vulnerability found inside Intel processors. This time we are getting a new vulnerability called "CacheOut", named after the exploitation's ability to leak data stored inside CPU's cache memory. Dubbed CVE-2020-0549: "L1D Eviction Sampling (L1Des) Leakage" in the CVE identifier system, it is rated with a CVSS score of 6.5. Despite Intel patching a lot of similar exploits present on their CPUs, the CacheOut attack still managed to happen.

The CacheOut steals the data from the CPU's L1 cache, and it is doing it selectively. Instead of waiting for the data to become available, the exploit can choose which data it wants to leak. The "benefit" of this exploit is that it can violate almost every hardware-based security domain meaning that the kernel, co-resident VMs, and SGX (Software Guard Extensions) enclaves are in trouble. To mitigate this issue, Intel provided a microcode update to address the shortcomings of the architecture and they recommended possible mitigations to all OS providers, so you will be protected once your OS maker releases a new update. For a full list of processors affected, you can see this list. Additionally, it is worth pointing out that AMD CPUs are not affected by this exploit.

Cisco Appoints AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa T. Su to Board of Directors

Cisco today announced the appointment of Dr. Lisa T. Su, AMD president and CEO, to its board of directors effective today. "Lisa is an accomplished business leader with deep expertise in the semiconductor industry," said Chuck Robbins, chairman and CEO, Cisco. "We look forward to her contributions to Cisco's board and our business as we continue to develop ground breaking technologies, and a new internet for the 5G era that will help our customers innovate faster than ever before."

Dr. Su, 50, joined AMD in 2012 and has held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer since October 2014. She also serves on AMD's Board of Directors. Previously, Dr. Su served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networking and Multimedia at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., and was responsible for global strategy, marketing and engineering for the company's embedded communications and applications processor business. Dr. Su joined Freescale in 2007 as Chief Technology Officer, where she led the company's technology roadmap and research and development efforts.
Monday, January 27th 2020

Today's Reviews

Cases
CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
NAS
Speakers
SSD
Adesso iMouse X3

Adesso iMouse X3

Adesso isn't too known as a brand among mouse enthusiasts. Let's see if Adesso is able to change that with this 9-button, 6400 CPI right-handed ergonomic mouse.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super WindForce OC

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 Super WindForce OC

The Gigabyte GTX 1650 Super WindForce OC is only marginally more expensive than the NVIDIA MSRP, yet includes premium features like fan-stop, a dual-fan thermal solution, overclock out of the box, and a backplate. We take a closer look, also to decide how it competes against the AMD RX 5500 XT.

Intel Rumored to be Courting GlobalFoundries for Some CPU Manufacturing

With its own silicon fabrication facilities pushed to their capacity limits, Intel is looking for third-party semiconductor foundries to share some of its supply load, and according to a WCCFTech report, its latest partner could be GlobalFoundries, which has a 14 nm-class fab in Upstate New York. If it goes through, the possible Intel-GloFo deal could see contract manufacturing commence within 2020.

GloFo's fab offers 14 nm FinFET and 12LPP, a refinement that's marketed as 12 nm. According to the report, Intel could use GloFo for manufacturing CPU dies, specifically its entry-level chips such as Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron. Intel is also known to shed its own manufacturing workload by contracting foundries for 14 nm core-logic (chipsets). In a bid to maximize 14 nm fab allocation for its CPUs, Intel also started making some of its 300-series chipsets on the older 22 nm process, which goes to show the company's appetite for 14 nm.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.1.4 Beta Drivers

AMD today released a new version of their Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition drivers. Version 20.1.4 Beta adds support for Warcraft III: Reforged, with increased performance by up to 11% in some scenarios. Support for "Journey to the Savage Planet" has also been added.

Fixed issues include corruption issues on Red Dead Redemption 2 under Vulkan; crashes on Vulkan-based games when performing a task switch while Radeon Image Sharpening is enabled; system hangs or black screens in GTA V at launch, missing audio in Radeon ReLive recordings, and Integer Scaling not being shown in some Windows 7 hardware configurations. Look after the break for other details of this release. You can grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 20.1.4 Beta

Kolink Introduces the Void RGB Midi-Tower

Kolink today has launched their Void Midi-Tower, which features a striking design on its front chassis. Through the usage of an infinity mirror and RGB lighting, the angular, V-shaped front panel achieves a very striking look - if the press materials are anything to go by. I have an Oblivion callback with this one - anyone remember the Tet?

The Kolink Void seems to tick many more boxes than a PSU at its price-point should, with support for 5x 120 mm fans (two on the top, one on the back, and two in the front with support for a 240 mm radiator), a PSU shroud, an included 120 mm RGB fan, tempered glass side-panel, steel innards, and support for up to four drives (2x 3.5", 2x 2.5"). Maximum graphics card length stands at 310 mm, maximum CPU cooler height at 160 mm, and PSU length can go up to 180 mm. The Kolink Void is compatible with Micro-ATX, Mini-ATX and ATX motherboards, and is available for £46.99 ($61, approximately).

ASUS Launches the ROG STRIX XG17AHPE Portable Gaming Monitor

Today, ASUS launched another additional product in its lineup of portable monitors, called the ROG STRIX XG17AHPE. This portable gaming monitor features a 17.3-inch display with an astonishing 240 Hz refresh rate. Being targeted at "gamers on the go" this monitor is equipped with features to make the user experience as good as possible. Featuring a 17.3-inch IPS panel with a 1080p resolution, the display of this monitor is very decent. Maximum brightness goes up to 300 nits, the contrast ratio is 1000:1, and the panel has 3 ms GtG response time. The Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology used is VESA's Adaptive-Sync.

When it comes to the I/O options, the display is capable of taking a USB-C (that is capable of DisplayPort alternative mode) or Micro HDMI 2.0 as its inputs. There is a built-in ESS Sabre 9118 DAC to transfer digital audio signals to an analog signal for speaker and headphones output. There are also two 1 W stereo speakers integrated into the monitor body. To power the monitor there is a 7800 mAh battery capable of providing 3.5 hours of usage.

Chinese Government Closes Foxconn and Samsung Factories Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Some of the recent news from China is the stuff of science fiction, with the Central Government there locking down entire cities to contain the deadly Coronavirus outbreak there. When cities with 10+ million populations are under lock-down, it's only natural for factories to run out of workforce. According to a ZeroHedge report, the government has reportedly shut down factories owned or operated by big names in the technology and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) industries.

Among these are the ubiquitous Foxconn, which has manufacturing contracts with the biggest silicon valley tech firms for contract-manufacturing their hard-product - including the Apple iPhone; and Samsung Electronics, which makes consumer electronics, home appliances, and certain semiconductor products in China. A third big name in the report is the FMCG and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. The closure of factories could wreck tech stocks in the coming trading sessions, not to mention possible impact on prices of electronics. As of now, the closure is stipulated for the next 1-2 weeks.

Sharkoon Announces Light² 200 Ultra-Lightweight Customizable Gaming Mouse

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon presents the Light² 200, an ultra-lightweight gaming mouse of only 62 grams. The mouse has a precise sensor of up to 16,000 DPI, an extremely flexible cable and five mouse feet made of pure PTFE. The Light² 200 is therefore particularly suitable for PC games and applications that require fast and precise operation.

The Light² 200 has a honeycomb structure that extends over the sides, the bottom and the top cover of the mouse. This construction reduces the weight of the mouse to 62 grams, making it one of the lightest gaming mice available. In addition, it has five mouse feet made of pure PTFE as well as a flexible, textile braided cable.

GoodOffer24 Warms Things Up with Pre-Spring Sale on Genuine Software

GoodOffer24 brings you a safe and economical path to give your new PC builds genuine software and upgrade your PCs stuck on older, discontinued versions of Windows. With deep discounts on genuine, globally-valid licenses to Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, PC enthusiasts and businesses alike can save big on software expenditure while maximizing their spend on faster hardware and better future-proofing. Also on offer are genuine licenses to Office 2019 Professional Plus, the most powerful productivity suite for everyone; and further-discounted combos of Windows and Office. Apply a TechPowerUp-exclusive discount code to save even more!

Apply the coupon code TP30 on the following items to avail the prices you see here.
Buy Windows 10 Pro for $10.80 | Buy Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC for $11.70 | Buy Windows 10 Pro twin-pack for $18.88 | Buy Windows 10 Home for $10.46 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus for $24.82 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional bundle for $27.08 |Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2016 Professional bundle for $28.10 | Buy Office 2016 Home and Student for $21.07 | Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus for $46.84 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2019 Professional bundle for $50.74 | Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2019 Professional for $49.18

Akasa Rolls Out Vegas Chroma CPU Coolers with ARGB Lighting

Akasa rolled out the Vegas Chroma line of top-flow CPU coolers. The coolers come in two variants based on CPU socket types supported. The Vegas Chroma LG supports Intel LGA115x sockets, while the Vegas Chroma AM supports AMD sockets AM4 and AM3+. The cooler's design is an awful lot similar to Intel's stock HSF for desktop processors. An anodized aluminium heatsink with spirally-projecting fins, is ventilated by a 120 mm fan. Airflow from the heatsink ends up ventilating other components around the CPU socket, such as VRM heatsinks, M.2 heatsink, and possibly even memory.

The hydraulic bearing fan takes in 4-pin PWM for its main function, and 3-pin ARGB for the lighting. LEDs are embedded in the hub of the translucent white impeller. In both variants, the fan spins between 500 and 1,800 RPM, pushing up to 51.3 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 32.5 dBA. Both variants measure 120 mm x 120 mm length and width; but differ in height. The LG variant is 59 mm tall, and the AM variant 63 mm. The LG variant weighs 380 g as it requires a back-plate, while the AM variant tips the scales at 340 g. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Logitech G Releases GHOST Limited Edition PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G is excited to release "GHOST," a limited edition white Logitech G PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse. This new color in our Limited Edition collection will be available on Friday, January 24th in the U.S., Canada and U.K for $149.99.

The profits from the sales of "GHOST", as well as the first Limited Edition "PIXEL", are being donated to three charitable organizations dedicated to helping millions of people around the world with accessibility needs: Adaptive Gaming Kit - AbleGamers, the Abilities Research Center at Mount Sinai, and SpecialEffect. These organizations were instrumental in the development of the Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit, which launched back in November of 2019. Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC), the Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit lets gamers play the way that's most suitable for them by providing a set of controls that are easily configured to a wide variety of use cases.

Intel 400-series Chipset Motherboards to Lack PCIe Gen 4.0, Launch Pushed to Q2

Intel's upcoming 400-series desktop chipset will lack support for PCI-Express gen 4.0. The motherboards will stick to gen 3.0 for both the main x16 PEG slots wired to the LGA1200 socket, and general purpose PCIe lanes from the PCH, according to a Tom's Hardware report. It was earlier expected that 400-series chipset motherboards will come with preparation for PCIe gen 4.0, so even if the upcoming 10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors lacked gen 4.0 root-complexes, the boards would be fully ready for the new bus standard in 11th gen "Rocket Lake" desktop processors.

10th gen "Comet Lake" desktop processors are built on 14 nm process, and implement Intel's current-gen CPU core design Intel has been implementing since 6th gen "Skylake." It's only with 11th gen "Rocket Lake" that the mainstream desktop platform could see a new CPU core design, with the company reportedly back-porting "Willow Cove" CPU cores to the 14 nm process. "Rocket Lake" is also expected to feature a small Gen12 iGPU with 32 execution units, and a new-gen uncore component that implements PCIe gen 4.0. PCIe gen 4.0 doubles bandwidth over gen 3.0, and while only a handful GPUs support it, the standard is made popular by a new generation of M.2 NVMe SSDs that are able to utilize the added bandwidth to push sequential transfer rates beyond M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 limitations.
Sunday, January 26th 2020

EK Releases Pumpless Versions of EK Quantum Reservoirs

EK, the premium liquid cooling gear manufacturer based in Europe, is releasing pumpless versions of the Quantum Line pump-reservoir combo units - the EK-Quantum Kinetic FLT D5/DDC Body D-RGB and the EK-Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 D5 Body D-RGB. This means the customer can attach his already owned DDC or D5 pump allowing for a more affordable upgrade process from the previous generation of reservoirs. EK-Quantum products come with sophisticated 5 V D-RGB addressable LEDs which can be controlled through your motherboard RGB control software.

These models are pumpless versions of the EK-Quantum Kinetic FLT pump-reservoir combos. They come in three sizes, 120 mm, 240 mm, and 360 mm. They are mounted from the backside using the 120 mm fan mounting holes and due to having no pump at the back. Each is compatible with both the D5 and DDC pumps and they come with separate mounting kits for your pump of choice, so if you decide to switch the pump model in the future, you can do that without replacing this combo unit.
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