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Monday, January 22nd 2018

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ASUS Intros ROG Strix Fusion 500 Gaming Headset

ASUS introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Strix Fusion 500 gaming headset, a step up from the Strix Fusion 300 the company launched last September. The headset essentially retains the design of the Fusion 300, but steps it up with gold-metallic body panels around the cans, RGB multi-color LED diffusers replacing the red LED accents, which you can control via ASUS Aura Sync RGB software; and under the hood enhancements.

The headset uses a higher quality ESS Sabre 9018 DAC combined with ESS 9601 amplifier. The DAC has a high SNR, and puts out 24-bit/96 kHz audio. The enhanced audio setup is mated with 50 mm ASUS Essence drivers, and improvements made to the passive acoustic dampening material around your ears. ASUS included game-specific virtual-7.1 surround DSPs with this headset. Available now, the ASUS ROG Strix Fusion is priced at USD $179.99, about $50 pricier than the Fusion 300.
Sunday, January 21st 2018

ASRock Intros a Pair of Celeron "Gemini Lake" ITX Motherboards

ASRock introduced a pair of mini-ITX desktop motherboards implementing Intel's new Celeron "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The ASRock J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX, as their names suggest, are powered by Celeron J4105 "Gemini Lake" SoCs, which combine a quad-core "Goldmont Plus" CPU ticking at 2.50 GHz, with new Intel UHD 600 Graphics. The integrated graphics features hardware-acceleration of 10bpc HEVC video encoding and decoding in addition to new DRM standards, which should enable Netflix 4K, and other on-demand video services at 4K UHD resolution. The J4105-ITX and J4105B-ITX are similar, but for the latter featuring legacy connectivity such as LPT and RS232 COM ports, replacing 8-channel HD audio with 6-channel, and a DVI port. While the former has a PCIe x1 slot, the latter has an x16 slot with x2 wiring.

The board draws power from a 24-pin ATX connector. The SoC is cooled by a fan-less heatsink, and is wired to DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, supporting up to 8 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 memory. The 22 mm M.2 slot that has x1 wiring, is recommended only for a WLAN card. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports on the J4105-ITX, and two ports on the J4105B-ITX. Both boards come with gigabit Ethernet. Display outputs include DVI, HDMI, and D-Sub on the J4105-ITX; while the J4105B-ITX features D-Sub and HDMI. Both boards are expected to be priced around $170, given that the SoC itself costs $107.

NVIDIA Asks Retailers to Ensure Gamers Get Graphics Cards

The crypto-currency plague continues to nibble away at the PC gaming ecosystem, driving gamers to consoles. This affects the long-term prospects of graphics processor manufacturers like NVIDIA, who will find it difficult to pull gamers lost to consoles back to the PC ecosystem, should newer cost-effective ASICs arrest the viability of using GPUs to mine crypto-currency (as it did on several occasions in the past). The company is reportedly writing to PC hardware retailers to take steps to ensure that PC gamers have access to graphics cards first, and only then crypto-currency miners. The request doesn't prescribe any measures to control graphics card prices that have clearly gone out of hand.

Retailers in Germany responded lukewarmly, by setting quantity limitations, ranging between 2 to 5 units per order (and not per-household). Retailers responding to ComputerBase.de commented that they sometimes receive orders by e-mail with quantities running over 100 units. NVIDIA emphasizes that this request is a "recommendation" on its part, and not a directive, and that it would never interfere in freedom of commerce (by letting market-forces sell $200 graphics cards at $1000). The only people standing to lose are PC gamers who haven't upgraded their graphics cards in over two years, who are not able to play today's AAA games at recommended settings, especially when newer games are implementing the new DirectX 12 API, and their eye-candy have leaped to levels 2+ year old high-end graphics cards struggle to keep up with.
Saturday, January 20th 2018

Gigabyte Releases New Gemini Lake-Powered Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, has announced the release of new generation Gemini Lake based J/N series motherboards with the built-in latest Intel Pentium Silver/ Intel Celeron processors. With humidity protected glass fabric PCBs, long acting capacitors, anti-surge ICs, low resistance MOSFETS, and Ultra Durable components, GIGABYTE J/N series motherboards maximize product value by offering users the ability to customize performance settings.

GIGABYTE newest J/N series motherboards utilize a fanless cooling solution and the built-in Intel Gemini Lake processors make them perfect for compact, mainstream builds. The motherboards support HDMI 2.0 4K at 21:9 resolution for high definition video quality. Integrated PCIe Gen2 x2 M.2 slots supporting high speed NVMe SSD allows for fast data transfer speeds. The board's native Intel WIFI via the M.2 Connector along with an independently sold Intel CNVi wireless networking solution can make way for impressive wireless connectivity exceeding 1 gigabit per second, traditionally found in wired connections. Additionally, its support for M.2 SATA SSD, UDIMM DDR4 modules rated for 2400MHz, and noise free configurations makes it a perfect option for school, business, and home usage.
Friday, January 19th 2018

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Seagate Launches 5U84 High-Density Enclosure with Next-Generation OS

Seagate Technology plc today announced the launch of the 5U84 high-density enclosure built with a next-generation operating system that together delivers performance, capacity and reliability. The 5U84 enclosure and firmware technology will enable businesses to store massive quantities of data in a high-availability enclosure that provides high performance access to data. What's more, Seagate Systems' operating system not only powers the high density 5U84, but dramatically improves the system's performance and reliability, increasing confidence in using high-density enclosures.

As with any technology, it is critically important to create layers of protection when it comes to data storage, particularly in markets such as video surveillance, where the integrity of the data is critical. Using next generation data protection technology, Seagate's Advanced Distributed Autonomic Protection Technology (ADAPT) can eliminate up to 95% of performance degradation during a disk drive rebuild when compared to traditional RAID solutions, meaning the 5U84 is essentially "self-healing". The technology disperses data across multiple drives, allocating more resources to rebuilds, thereby reducing the time needed, minimizing the risk of a data unavailability issue and giving the end user uninterrupted access.

Synology Releases the Moments, Drive, and Office Software Packages

Synology Inc. today announced the official release of three major packages, Drive, Office, and Moments. These packages run on the company's line of network-attached storage products and allow users to store, backup, and synchronize their photos, documents, and other files while keeping their data private and secure.

Moments is a completely new application that lets users back up photos from their computer or smartphone to their Synology NAS. Once photos are stored on the Synology NAS, Moments includes deep learning and automatic organization tools that identify people, places, and objects in photos and sorts them into albums accordingly. Since photo indexing is processed on the Synology NAS, users can be assured that all their photos and image data are stored safely and privately.

100,000 PUBG Cheaters to Be Banned Soon, Developer Promises

One thing that phenomenon games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds can boast of is an extraordinary number of active players at any given time (there's been in excess of 3 million active players at one point in time already). This is mostly due to the multiplayer, competitive nature of the game; and where there's competition, there's ways (and ways) of trying to trump it. In a blog post, PUBG developers have taken an open stance on the issue of cheaters, which continues to be one of the most harrowing plagues in PUBG. And the results are in: PUBG has detected "over 100,000 instances of the new pattern related to use of cheat and now we have confirmed that it was clearly an attempt of compromising our game." And for those, players, there's only one solution: "these players will be permanently banned in a single wave."

That more players will be banned than many games have players at any one point in their longevity is already impressive enough. However, PUBG's dedication to maintain its game in a fun, fair state has become a torch of sorts for the company: "We will continue to check the data logs like this even if it means the anti-cheat team has to filter through hundreds of billions of data logs manually. In addition, we are looking into adopting a new solution to detect and ban more cheaters and we have been continuously strengthening our security systems. We have also liaised with investigative authorities in some countries to take legal actions against developers and distributors of cheats. We are determined to take strong measures against them going forward." Et tu, cheaters? Ready to feel the banhammer of righteousness?

Italian Multinational Gas, Oil Company Fires Off HPC4 Supercomputer

Eni has launched its new HPC4 supercomputer, at its Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone, 60 km away from Milan. HPC4 quadruples the Company's computing power and makes it the world's most powerful industrial system. HPC4 has a peak performance of 18.6 Petaflops which, combined with the supercomputing system already in operation (HPC3), increases Eni's computational peak capacity to 22.4 Petaflops.

According to the latest official Top 500 supercomputers list published last November (the next list is due to be published in June 2018), Eni's HPC4 is the only non-governmental and non-institutional system ranking among the top ten most powerful systems in the world. Eni's Green Data Center has been designed as a single IT Infrastructure to host all of HPC's architecture and all the other Business applications.

Dark Souls: Remastered Will be Releasing on PC and Consoles on May 25

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe invites players back to the treacherous land of Lordran with DARK SOULS: REMASTERED, available on 25th May, 2018 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, and PC. Re-experience the genre-defining title that kicked off a worldwide gaming phenomena in stunning high-definition detail. DARK SOULS: REMASTERED marks the DARK SOULS series debut on a Nintendo platform, and for the first time ever can be played on the go with the unique capabilities of the Nintendo Switch console.

Developed by FromSoftware Inc., DARK SOULS: REMASTERED allows players to explore the twisted ancient land of Lordran in the first title of the critically acclaimed action role-playing series like never before. Experience the rich world of DARK SOULS in upscaled 4K resolution with 60FPS when playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro system, Xbox One X, and PC. Also, 1080p resolution with 30FPS is available when playing the game on Nintendo Switch with its TV mode. From their first timid steps to absolute mastery, players will build their characters by strategically adapting to daunting foes, exploring haunting locations, and amassing a large collection of weapons, armor and magic spells to utilize for a truly unique playstyle.

Dell Partners with Meta to Sell Meta 2 Augmented Reality Development Kit

Dell today announced it will be the first authorized reseller of the Meta 2 Augmented Reality Development Kit, equipping commercial companies with the tools needed to more easily innovate and adopt new AR technology applications that can advance their business. In partnership with Meta, Dell aims to make AR more accessible for business deployment, particularly in healthcare, manufacturing and construction, by providing tools for creating immersive experiences unique to the needs of those industries.

Dell is the only technology provider with an end to end ecosystem to consume, create and power VR and AR. The new offering with Meta stems from Dell's VR/AR Technology Partner Program, which brings together other innovators in VR and AR to test and collaborate on the best technology solutions for varying applications and experiences. This program allows Dell to help current and potential customers to better navigate the new and rapidly evolving VR/AR ecosystem, by working with partners to verify and certify the best software and hardware solutions for VR and AR applications - bringing standardization where it is needed most.

Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Finally Gets Launch Date

Microsoft's original plan was to launch Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on October 19 of last year to commemorate the franchise's 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, there was a setback in the game's development, and the launch date was pushed to early 2018. Age of Empires aficionados can finally rejoice. Adam Isgreen, Creative Director at Microsoft, announced yesterday that the highly-anticipated remake is making its way to Windows 10 PCs on February 20 for $19.99. Adam also took the opportunity to remind us that the Definitive Edition isn't your normal everyday remake. It actually comes with many huge improvements like:
  • Completely rebuilding assets for a modern 4K presentation
  • Letting you play online with Xbox LIVE (in addition to LAN play)
  • Re-recorded the original soundtrack with a new orchestral score
  • Adding campaign narration for every mission
  • Enhancing the campaign and scenario editor, which allows anyone to make original custom campaigns for the game, by letting players easily share them with other players around the world via AgeOfEmpires.com

LG Releases the 27UK650-W Monitor: 27" 4K, HDR, IPS Panel With AMD FreeSync

LG has released a new addition to their monitor lineup. The 27UK650-W is an interesting monitor, marrying a 27", 16:9 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with HDR 10 support. The static contrast ratio of 1000:1 means the monitor has a dynamic contrast of 5,000,000:1 (not that that particular spec matters much). The maximum brightness, however, leaves much to be desired on a HDR-enabled monitor: the LG 27UK650-W only manage to deliver 350 cd/m² brightness, which is lower than even the lowest HDR standard AMD considers as being HDR capable (a minimum brightness of 400 cd/m² is required for that). The sRGB 99% Color Gamut coverage is good, however, if not that rare a feature nowadays.

The panel features a 5 ms response time, aided by the implementation of AMD's FreeSync tech, which should help gamers achieve more fluid frame-rates. Flicker free and blue-light reduction technologies are also on board. As for connectivity, 2x HDMI and 1x DisplayPort are available on the LG 27UK650-W. This LG monitor gets rid of the company's hallmark glossy black in the color department, and instead adopts a glossy white and gray finish. The LG 27UK650-W will be available from January 26th for an appealing $529.

Intel Coffee Lake-S Core i3-8300, i5-8500 Release Date, Lineup Pricing Outed

Intel's 8th gen, Coffee Lake-architecture CPUs will soon see new additions to the lineup, if leaked retail dates are correct. While Intel's six-core processors have earned themselves a respectable position in the CPU market - even if outgunned, core-wise, by AMD's Ryzen - the company is in dire need of shoring up its lower-pricing offerings so as to better compete with AMD's full available line-up, which currently offers users many more choices in both platform pricing, features, and processor specs. The date seems to be a make-up gift from the blue giant: it's expected these processors will hit retail on February 14th.

Intel Now Shipping Their RealSense D400 Depth Cameras

Today, Intel began shipping two new Intel RealSense D400 Depth Cameras from the next-generation Intel RealSense D400 product family: the D415 and D435, adding 3D capabilities to any prototype development or end user-ready device or machine.

Ideal for makers and educators as well as hardware prototyping and software development, the new depth cameras come in a ready-to-use, USB-powered form factor that pair with a D400 depth module, a turnkey optical depth solution, and the new Intel RealSense vision processor D4 for processing complex depth data in real time. Supported by the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 - available for the first time as a cross-platform, open source SDK - the cameras can also be used both indoors and outdoors and in any lighting environment.

NZXT Updates Price of N7 Z370 Motherboard

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers since the launch of the new N7 Z370 motherboard, today NZXT is announcing a change to the product and a price reduction from $299.99 to $249.99, both effective immediately.

"We were surprised-and humbled-by the PC gaming community's reaction to our new N7 motherboard. Our focus on simplifying the assembly process for users building their own gaming PC and our unconventional, minimalist approach to design that makes the motherboard disappear into the case has really resonated with people," says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO. "The feedback we received was, that while the thoughtful layout and beautiful all-metal cover are appealing, the price is a bit too high. We've taken steps to address that today with changes to the configuration and price."

SK Hynix Marks its 8Gb GDDR6 Memory Chips "Available" in Latest Catalog Update

SK Hynix, the other Korean DRAM and NAND flash giant than Samsung, updated its DRAM product catalog to reflect immediate availability of its 8-gigabit (1 GB) GDDR6 memory chips. The company is selling four SKUs, part "H56C8H24MJR-S2C" in 14 Gbps and 12 Gbps variants; and part "H56C8H24MJR-S0C" in 12 Gbps and 10 Gbps variants. The -S2C chips are more energy efficient, in achieving 14 Gbps at 1.35V and 12 Gbps at 1.25V; while the -S0C achieves 12 Gbps at 1.35V, and 10 Gbps at 1.25V. Unless NVIDIA decides that the GTX 1080-successor should feature 16 GB of memory, the company could be in the market for 8 Gb GDDR6 chips.

Meanwhile, rival Samsung announced that it began mass-production of 16 Gb (2 GB) GDDR6 memory chips, which should enable 16 GB of memory across a 256-bit memory interface, or 8 GB over a 128-bit interface. Samsung's latest chips not only have double the density as SK Hynix's, but also tick faster, at 18 Gbps, with a voltage of 1.35V. It is widely expected that GDDR6 will be the dominant memory standard for entry, mainstream, and even high-end graphics cards, which launch through 2018-19. NVIDIA is expected this year to launch its new "Volta" graphics architecture across various consumer-graphics market-segments.

AMD Releases Radeon Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta Drivers

AMD late Thursday released Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta drivers to the public. Bearing the same version numbering as the early-January 18.1.1 Alpha release, these drivers have a more detailed change-log, which includes the game crash fix for DirectX 9 games; freezing experienced in DRM-protected video playback, a stability issue affecting Windows 10 "Movies & TV" app, color corruption on Radeon Overlay when running multiple game and 3D applications, PUBG menu flickering in multi-GPU systems, and more. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Beta

The complete change-log follows.

Skyfall and Solace Could be the First Attacks Based on Meltdown and Spectre?

Out of the blue, a website popped up titled "Skyfall and Solace," which describes itself as two of the first attacks that exploit the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities (it doesn't detail which attack exploits what vulnerability). A whois lookup reveals that the person(s) behind this website may not be the same one(s) behind the Spectre and Meltdown website. The elephant in the room, of course, is that the two attacks are named after "James Bond" films "Skyfall" and "Quantum of Solace." The website's only piece of text ends with "Full details are still under embargo and will be published soon when chip manufacturers and Operating System vendors have prepared patches," and that one should "watch this space for more." We doubt the credibility of this threat. Anyone who has designed attacks that exploit known vulnerabilities won't enter embargoes with "chip manufacturers and operating system vendors" who have already developed mitigation to the vulnerabilities.

Western Digital Expands Mid-Range Enterprise Hard Drive Offerings

Known for enabling new levels of enterprise total cost of ownership (TCO) with HelioSeal helium hard drive technology and industry leading capacity drives, Western Digital Corporation is expanding its portfolio for enterprise customers with a new, mid-range series of 4 terabyte (TB), 6TB and 8TB air-based hard drives. The new products enable corporate data centers having data set sizes smaller than found in hyperscale environments to harness the power of data across a broad spectrum of Big Data applications such as analytics and distributed file systems.

Western Digital leads the high-capacity enterprise hard drive market for hyperscale and cloud environments with its 10TB, 12TB and 14TB drives, where the company's HelioSeal helium-sealing technology is required for the highest capacities and densities to deliver the lowest (or best) TCO. However, many applications have small data sets or benefit from optimal performance from implementation of a cluster of lower capacity, air-based hard drives. Many traditional data center systems still rely on moderate capacity points for RAID-based block-and-file systems.
Thursday, January 18th 2018

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ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Motherboard

ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Motherboard

ASRock's X299E-ITX/ac is that mini motherboard for Intel's X299 platform that takes all that is good and shoves it into a board smaller than a shoebox. With a triplet of M.2 ports and dual LAN chips, plus Wi-Fi, there's almost nothing missed, other than some PCIe slots, making this board an engineering feat only ASRock could accomplish.

Crytek Has Alpha Sign-ups Ongoing for Hunt: Showdown

With many games being released in Beta over the years (in no small part thanks to Steam's Greenlight initiative), and some others having made full releases in a close to Alpha state, Crytek seems to be taking the long and arduous road of getting a new multiplayer-focused game out in the open via an initial feedback-gathering closed Alpha. The company's Hunt: Showdown has gone through a hellish development cycle, seeing some concept changes, name changes, and more than a handful of problems going on at developer Crytek. However, with it being the most high-profile currently being developed at Crytek, it's really the company's poster child initiative (unless you count suing Cloud Imperium Games in that place.)

Hunt: Showdown is a free-to-play, 4-player co-op, FPS title that sees players battling in a Van Helsing-esque setting, Civil War-era and steampunk-inspired weapons. Taking a break from the asymmetric gameplay that was being touted by many games some time ago (Fable Legends, Evolve, and the shelved Bioware-developed Shadow Realms), the two player teams compete between themselves to track down an AI-controlled monster in an open-world map. How the teams choose to play is up to them: it's fair game to ally, use, or mercilessly hunt each other. I guess some of the more interesting gameplay videos will cover some manner of Lovecraftian monster barging in uninvited and relatively unannounced into a pitched, two-way firefight.

Kingston features the IronKey at CES - Encryption on the Go

Kingston at CES 2018 showed off their IronKey brand, which they acquired in 2016 from Imation Corp., and some more of their storage solutions for privacy-focused users (or just someone who doesn't want anyone to go around snooping on what isn't their business, really). Take the IronKey D300, for example, which is a USB 3.0-toting, privacy-focused data vault, as Kingston puts it - and we'd say the amount of technologies at use here are more than enough to justify that.

There's business-grade security thanks to the usage of a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified, 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode, which protects 100 percent of data stored and enforces complex password protection. Additionally, the drive locks down and reformats after 10 intrusion attempts, while also featuring digitally signed firmware, making it immune to BadUSBEncryption. All decryption is done on the drive, with no trace left on the host system. Kingston says the drive "stands up to even the most demanding situations as it is manufactured with a zinc casing and a tamper-evident epoxy seal to provide physical security, and is also waterproof up to 4 feet (conforming to IEC60529 IXP8).

AMD Is Served: Class Action Lawsuit Launched Over Spectre Vulnerabilities

Despite the grunt of the media's attention and overall customer rage having been thrown largely at Intel, AMD hasn't moved past the Spectre/Meltdown well, meltdown, unscathed. News has surfaced that at least two law firms have announced their intention of filing a class action lawsuit against AMD, accusing the company of not having disclosed their products' Spectre vulnerability, despite knowledge of said vulnerabilities.

AMD stated loud and clear that their processors weren't affected by the Meltdown flaw. However, regarding Spectre, AMD's terms weren't as clear cut. The company stated that its CPUs were vulnerable to the Spectre 1 flaw (patchable at a OS level), but said that vulnerability to Spectre 2's variant had "near-zero risk of exploitation". At the same time, the company also said that "GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors", adding that "While we believe that AMD's processor architectures make it difficult to exploit Variant 2, we continue to work closely with the industry on this threat.

Caseking Starts Selling Skylake-X Direct Die Cooling Frame

Caseking, in partnership with overclocking prowess Der8auer, have introduced a new overclocking product for users that want to extract every little percentage of additional overclocking from their chips (they had already introduced 99.9% purity silver-based heatspreaders, too). The Skylake-X Direct-Die Cooling Frame is a solution that aims to replace Intel's Integrated Loading Mechanism (ILM), attaching itself to the CPU cooler mount holes, and enabling users to use direct-to-die cooling mechanisms (sans heatspreader). The idea is that users can "cut the middleman" and make do without both Intel's terrible TIM and their stock heatspreaders, achieving a much higher heat transfer form the CPU die to the CPU cooler and, therefore, higher heat dissipation, lower temperatures, and higher overclocking.

BSODs from Meltdown and Spectre Firmware Updates Are Spreading Like the Plague

Have you ever taken your car to the mechanic shop to fix one thing but end up breaking another? Well, that's how Intel CPU owners are feeling right now. Intel previously confirmed that their Meltdown and Spectre firmware updates are causing irritating reboots on systems with Broadwell and Haswell processors. After analyzing the latest customer reports, they are acknowledging that the updates are also causing BSODs on the Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge platforms. This shouldn't come as a shocker considering how both the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affect Intel processors over the past 20 years. The possibility of all platforms suffering from the same side effects is extremely high. Fear not, though, as Intel is already working on an updated microcode to fix the constant system reboots. Motherboard vendors should have the beta microcode for validation by next week. Expect a new BIOS revision for your motherboard soon.

Endless Space 2 Starts This Year with 'Vaulters' Expansion and Free Add-ons

Every year Amplitude celebrate the studio's anniversary with their players. For our seventh year of existence we're going BIG, kicking off with the reveal of the Vaulters Expansion for Endless Space 2!

THE VAULTERS EXPANSION - COMING JANUARY 25
This first Endless Space 2 Expansion re-introduces players to the Vaulters, an all-time fan favorite civilization that has been featured in all the Endless games. Did you know that in Dungeon of the Endless you play the crew that will ultimately become the Vaulters in Endless Legend? Auriga is a small world!!! Here's a quick overview of what you can expect from the "Vaulters" DLC. A new civilization means a new way to play, the Vaulters will have the ability to teleport and use the Argosy - their legacy super colonizer ship featured in the Prologue video.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero Pose Together for the Camera

SiSoft's hardware database is a fountain of information for soon-to-be-released hardware if you have the patience to go through all the entries. On this occasion, we get a glimpse of AMD's future Ryzen 5 2600 processor. Similar to its predecessor, the Ryzen 5 2600 is a 65W six-core processor with twelve threads. However, this new model features a 3.4 GHz base clock which is 200 MHz faster than the Ryzen 5 1600 that we reviewed last year. It will also come with 6 x 512 kB of L2 cache and 2 x 8 MB of L3 cache. Being an engineer sample and all, take these specifications with a pinch of salt. According to the entry, the processor was tested on an ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero motherboard that sports AMD's X470 chipset. Unfortunately, we don't have any more details at this time.

Samsung 860 EVO SSD Makes an Appearance

Hot on the heels of Samsung updating its website with its next performance-segment SSD 860 Pro series, with its range-topping 4 TB variant, a similar pre-launch website update revealed the company's next mainstream SATA SSD, the 860 EVO. The drive will be available in three form-factors, 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch, M.2-2280, and mSATA; all with SATA 6 Gbps interface. The 2.5-inch version comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB variants; while the M.2-2280 version comes in just 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants; and the mSATA version in 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB variants. The drives combine Samsung's latest generation 3D VNAND flash memory built in the 10 nm-class sliicon fabrication process, with an updated controller and refined firmware.

The 860 EVO offers sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s, with up to 520 MB/s sequential writes, up to 97,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 88,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The new-generation flash is rated for "8 times higher" endurance than the 850 EVO series; with up to 2,400 TBW. Samsung is reinforcing its faith in the drive by backing it with 5-year warranties. The company is introducing the new TurboWrite feature, which is a user-configurable SLC cache. You can set anywhere between 12 GB to 72 GB of the NAND flash to function as SLC, so the controller can juggle hot data in and out of it, for improved performance, using the Samsung Magician software.

Sharkoon Announces Quickstore One 2.5" External Hard Drive Enclosure

With the Sharkoon Quickstore One, the range of external enclosures with a USB 3.1 interface expands further. It features a USB Type C port and is suitable for tool-free installation of a 2.5" HDD/SSD with a maximum height of 9.5 mm. The case is compatible with Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS X and Linux. The recommended retail price is 24.99 euros.

Sharkoon has historically offered a large variety of external hard drive enclosures and, with the new Quickstore One, introduces the third portable storage solution with a USB 3.1 interface. The top cover is comprised of brushed aluminum, which is available in the color versions of black or silver, with a plastic underside in black for both versions. The compact dimensions measure 130 x 83 x 16 mm, with a weight without a built-in hard drive of 92.5 grams.

Intel 760p NVMe SSD Variants' Performance Numbers Surface

Earlier this week, we broke the story of Intel giving finishing touches to its new SSD 7-series 760p and 660p NVMe drives. Newer screenshots scored by Tom's Hardware put out the company's performance numbers for each of the five 760p series models, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. The 128 GB variant is the slowest, and its numbers are the territory of the slower 660p series - up to 1500 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 650 MB/s sequential writes; and 4K random access numbers of up to 100,000 IOPS (both reads and writes).

The 256 GB variant is where the 760p really begins to come to life. With up to 2900 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 1300 MB/s sequential writes, this model begins to make use of the 32 Gb/s PCIe interface. Its 4K random access performance is rated at up to 210,000 IOPS reads, with up to 250,000 IOPS writes. The 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB models have near-identical performance numbers, which are the speeds Intel vaguely advertises for the entire series. The three have the same sequential read speeds of up to 3200 MB/s, and 4K random access performance of up to 350,000/280,000 IOPS (reads/writes). The company didn't put out sequential write numbers of the 1 TB and 2 TB models. Intel reportedly launches the 760p some time early-February.

Intel Core i7-8705G with Vega M Obliterates 8th Gen Core + GeForce MX 150

It looks like Intel has achieved the design goals of its new Core i7-8705G multi-chip module, built in collaboration with AMD. Combining a 4-core/8-thread "Kaby Lake" CPU die with an AMD "Vega" GPU die that has its own 4 GB HBM2 memory stack, the ruthless duo put similarly-priced discrete GPU setups to rest, such as the combination of an 8th generation Core processor + NVIDIA GeForce MX 150. More importantly, entry-level discrete GPU combinations with high-end mobile CPUs have a similar power/thermal envelope as the i7-8705G MCM, but at significantly higher PCB footprint.

Dell implemented the Core i7-8705G on one of its latest XPS 15 2-in-1 models. The device was compared to an Acer Swift 3 (SF314-51), which combines a Core i5-8250U processor with GeForce MX 150 discrete graphics; and a Dell XPS 13 9370, which implements an 8th generation Core processor that has Intel's workhorse graphics core, the HD 620. The three devices squared off against each other at "Rise of the Tomb Raider" game benchmark. The i7-8705G averaged 35 frames per second (fps), while the MX 150 barely managed 24 fps. The HD 620 ran a bored intern's PowerPoint slideshow at 9 fps.

DeepCool Intros Earlkase RGB White Edition

DeepCool today introduced the White Edition variant of its Earlkase RGB mid-tower case. The case features a predominantly matte-white front, and interiors, with matte-black contrasting elements. The tempered glass panel that covers the entire left-side panel is slightly tinted. RGB LED elements in the design include the rear 120 mm fan, and a diffuser along one of the front panel edges. Internally, the case features a contemporary horizontally partitioned layout, with shrouds over not just the bottom partition, but also towards the front, where you'd normally hide a 360 x 120 mm radiator.

The top compartment, which houses the motherboard tray, has room for graphics cards up to 34 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16.5 cm in height. Storage areas include two 3.5-inch/2.5-inch drive bays in the bottom compartment, and four 2.5-inch drive mounts above the partition. Ventilation includes three 120 mm or two 140 mm front intakes, two 140 mm or two 120 mm top exhausts, and a 120 mm rear exhaust (fan included). Front panel connectivity includes USB 3.0 and USB 2.0/1.1 ports, and HDA jacks. Measuring 500 mm x 203.5 mm x 510.5 mm (LxWxH), the case dry-weighs around 8.1 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Wednesday, January 17th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Samsung Starts Producing Industry's First 16-Gigabit GDDR6 Memory

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has started mass production of the industry's first 16-gigabit (Gb) Graphics Double Data Rate 6 (GDDR6) memory for use in advanced graphics processing for gaming devices and graphics cards as well as automotive, network and artificial intelligence systems.

"Beginning with this early production of the industry's first 16 Gb GDDR6, we will offer a comprehensive graphics DRAM line-up, with the highest performance and densities, in a very timely manner," said Jinman Han, senior vice president, Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering at Samsung Electronics. "By introducing next-generation GDDR6 products, we will strengthen our presence in the gaming and graphics card markets and accommodate the growing need for advanced graphics memory in automotive and network systems."

Blade Runner: Revelations - A VR Noir Adventure

If you quite enjoyed the original Blade Runner, even after 35 years of its release (like this editor) and enjoyed Blade Runner 2049 even more (also like this editor), then you're likely interested, at some level, in the upcoming VR adventure. Blade Runner: Revelations is a VR video game that's being developed by Seismic Games and Alcon Media Group, and has an expected release date of mid 2018.

The story is set right after the original Blade Runner, and its events lead up to the Blade Runner 2049 narrative. Gamers will take on the role of Harper - an experienced blade runner that aims to keep 2023 Los Angeles safe. Caught within a twisted replicant plot, players will be tasked with searching for evidence to piece together the truth in some events. Gameplay features include access to a flying spinner, unique weaponry and the Esper image reconstruction technology. And contrary to most VR games, Blade Runner: Revelations features a free-movement design, though it's not a full liberty one, much like the real world's.

Adding Insult to Injury: Fake Spectre, Meltdown Patch Pushes Malware to Users

A Malwarebytes report calls attention to the latest occurrence in the inevitable trend that that ensues a particular security vulnerability being given coverage by the media. As users' attention to the vulnerability is heightened, so is their search for a solution, for a way to reduce the risk of exposition. Hence, users search for patches; and hence, some fake patches surface that take advantage of the more distracted, or less informed, of those who really just want to be left at peace.

Case in point: Malwarebytes has identified a recently-registered domain that is particularly targeting German users (remember: you can be next; it's just a matter of Google translating the page for it be targeting you as well). The website is offering an information page with various links to external resources about Meltdown and Spectre and how it affects processors, and is affiliated with the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) - all good, right?

Star Trek Online Celebrates its 8th Anniversary with New Content

Today, Perfect World Entertainment Inc., a leading publisher of free-to-play MMORPGs, and Cryptic Studios announced Star Trek Online is preparing to commemorate its 8th Anniversary. Originally launching in February 2010, the game is now one of the longest running Star Trek series in the history of the franchise and offers 161 episodes, three major expansions and 14 full seasons of playable content. PC captains can help celebrate this milestone throughout the month, by joining daily giveaways leading up to the anniversary and participating in a brand new featured episode and special events for rewards, which begin January 23. Anniversary events will also be available on Xbox One and PlayStation4 at a later date. In addition, Star Trek Online is teaming up with Loot Crate to give away free subscriptions for the Star Trek Mission Crate to kick off the game's anniversary. Captains who visit the in-game C-store from now through January 23 can participate in server-wide giveaways, which allow them to collect a new reward each day, including uniforms, starships and other items. Giveaway items will be revealed on Star Trek Online's blog.

Where Art Thou, Fable? Microsoft Reportedly Delivers Franchise to Playground

Fable has been one of the hallmarks of the modern RPG. Not only because of the series' characteristic graphics and tone signature, with its cartoonish characters, hub world design, and Monty Python-esque sense of humor. It was also due, in no small part, to Peter Molyneux's grandiose sales of his vision for the franchise (which never materialized... but could they ever, really?)

Now, after Microsoft killed off the franchise with its free-to-play bet gone wrong in Fable Legends, it seemed the franchise's future was dark and absent of any real interest in development. However, it seems all hope is not yet lost, as reports (saying they're "sources close from the project") have surfaced that Microsoft has delivered the keys to the Fable universe to Playground Games, responsible for the development of the Forza Horizon series of games. The studio is (also reportedly) in the process of hiring new talent for the expected 200-strong project team set to work on the game at Playground's newly-established second office in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. A quick tour by the studio's website, however, reveals that when it comes to careers, Playground Games are "unable to offer internships or work placements at this time.

Iiyama Starts Selling a 5K, 16:9, 27" IPS Monitor @ 60 Hz for €799

Yes, you've definitely read that right. Iiyama have silently come out with what has to be one of the best price/performance ratio monitors in the high pixel density races. The XB2779QQS is a 27" affair with a 60 Hz IPS panel trucking along in delivering its 5K (5120 x 2880) resolution. The contrast ratio is also a good selling point for the monitor, at 440 cd/m² (we've been seeing one too many 250 cd/m² brightness monitors as of late), and the contrast ratio is rated at 1200:1. For this price, however, the panel remains an 8-bit one, which is still more than enough, as years have shown us. The aspect ratio is the usual 16:9 (which means no fidgeting required with games or other content, as you likely would with most content on a 21:9 screen).

When it comes to connectivity, there are 3x HDMI ports (limited at 3840 x 2160 pixels and 60 Hz), 1x DisplayPort 1.3 (able to display the full resolution and refresh rate) of 5120 x 2880 pixels and 60 Hz. The XB2779QQS is listed at roughly €799 in the EU, which likely means our US readers should be able to snag it for as low as $799. Here's hoping.

InSpectre Tool Determines Whether Your PC is Vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre

During the whole Meltdown and Spectre turmoil, Microsoft released a PowerShell script that lets users assess their system to determine whether it's properly protected against the two CPU exploits. To say that Microsoft's method is non-intuitive is an understatement though. Their procedure involves punching in several lines of commands into the PowerShell prompt only to be presented with an end result of mumbo jumbo. For users who fancy a more straightforward approach, InSpectre might be exactly what the doctor would order. InSpectre is a small tool designed by none other than famous software engineer Steve Gibson to automate Microsoft's time-consuming procedure in a a single click. It also provides results that even non-tech-savvy users can comprehend. However, InSpectre not only scans the user's system but also allows him to enable or disable the Meltdown and Spectre protections.

Ozone Launches Alliance, the State-of-the-art Hybrid Gaming Keyboard

Alliance represents the perfect outcome of the evolution of gaming keyboards, integrating organically the best of both mechanical and membrane keyboards.

Cutting-edge technology
Alliance brings fresh new features to the hybrid keyboards category. With innovative technology that delivers advantages such as multicolored backlighting, semi-mechanical CrossTech Switches, and sound-reactive lighting effects.

Assassin's Creed Origins Gets 'The Hidden Ones' DLC on January 23

Today, Ubisoft announced that The Hidden Ones, the first downloadable content (DLC) for Assassin's Creed Origins, will launch on January 23rd, 2018, on all platforms. Ubisoft also revealed release dates for upcoming Assassin's Creed Origins post-launch content, including season pass content and free add-on content, available to all players. Players can continue their journey through Ancient Egypt with a wide variety of content, including several hours of new storyline expansions and quests, timed events and customization items.

DLC 1 - The Hidden Ones: This story-driven expansion builds upon the growth of the Brotherhood, taking players four years after the events of Assassin's Creed Origins, as they clash with an occupying Roman force in a new region of the world, the Sinai. This expansion will increase the level cap to 45, allowing players to continue to upgrade and customize their character. Players will have access to four new Legendary weapons, a new outfit, two new mounts and multiple new weapons, as well as two new levels for all crafted gear. The Hidden Ones DLC is available for all season pass owners or can be purchased separately on January 23, 2018.

Confessions of a Crypto Miner: The Setup

As I have mentioned on the forums here at TechPowerUp a few times, I was an active crypto-miner during one of the most tumultuous times in crypto history: The period between 2013 and 2015. Rather than tell you a long and sad story, I will say just this: I ended up with a net loss by the end of this era, and it wasn't a good time to be an investor if you didn't like roller coaster rides. The reasons I lost money are many, but I think I can attribute them to primarily a lack of experience, a lack of written records, and really, a complete lack of a plan.

My New Plan
Yes, I'm planning on mining again. I've always been drawn to the tech, and I am in a much better position to do so now. Ironically, this time around, I'm not really in it for the money. I've already been there, done that, and it's too stressful for me. Having no end goal of riches doesn't set me up for failure. I think it is a more realistic mindset for taking on this project. It also gives me a chance to document my endeavor to the world, and to you, dear reader. I hope we all learn something here.

Samsung Reveals 860 Pro 4TB SSD on its Website Listing

Samsung has unwittingly released some specs and product images of the as of yet unannounced SSD product. The 860 Pro SSD carries the model number MZ-76P4T0E, and has a pretty impressive 4 TB capacity that's sure to deliver the highest performance possible on the SATA III interface. The stated performance levels stand at 560 MB/s read speeds, and 530 MB/s write, which should be more than enough for most usage tasks. Pricing is also more than enough, and then some; Samsung is quoting a $1,899 pricing for this particular drive.

Streacom Readies Fanless GPU Heatsink for DB4 Chassis

Expert fan-less case maker Streacom is putting final touches to its fan-less GPU heatsink for the DB4 cube-shaped chassis. The cooler transports heat drawn from the GPU onto the main body panels of the DB4, which dissipate it. Its design is similar to the CPU heatsink included with the case, in which a GPU base where four 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make direct contact with the GPU, transport it onto a second block that makes contact with the innner wall of the body panel. The cooler comes with included heatsinks for memory and VRM of the graphics card, and is designed to handle thermal loads of up to 65-75W, which would mean lower-mainstream graphics cards such as the GeForce GTX 1050 (or below), and the Radeon RX 550 (or below).
Tuesday, January 16th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Processors
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD
Noontec Hammo Wireless

Noontec Hammo Wireless

Noontec has combined good looks, great sound and microphone quality with excellent comfort and a reasonable price of $150. This is a pair of wireless headphones we can easily recommend to everyone who wants to break free from the cable.

Varmilo Launches the 'Chicken Dinner' Mechanical Keyboard for PUBG Addicts

Varmilo, a renowned Chinese keyboard manufacturer, is adding a PUBG-inspired keyboard to their already exotic lineup. The new Chicken Dinner mechanical keyboard certainly upholds the company's reputation for uniqueness. It features a distinctive multi-colored theme and high-quality dye-sublimated PBT keycaps. And just to put the icing on the cake, Varmilo replaced the number keys and some of the function keys with the corresponding PUBG in-game key bindings. The spacebar even carries the iconic "WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!" phrase. It's safe to say that the Chicken Dinner mechanical keyboard is fit for all tastes. Consumers who prefer compactness can opt for the tenkeyless model (VA87M) and those who need the number pad can grab the full-size model (VA108M). The wide selection of switches includes the Cherry MX Red, Blue, Brown, and Silver.

"You Hold It!" - Cryptocurrency Pricing Plummets as South Korea Revives Pressure

Cryptocurrency value has begun a tumultuous plummet since yesterday, in a market shrinkage that's being mostly correlated with an announcement by South Korean finance minister Kim Dong-yeon that a ban on cryptocurrency trading could still happen, pending a government review. South Korea is one of the world's most relevant economy and technology players, so a ban there could certainly start a domino effect in other countries.

""There are no disagreements over regulating speculation," minister Kim Dong-yeon specifically said - a move that would include a ban on anonymous cryptocurrency account, thus spelling doom for some privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero and ZCash from being traded in the country, for sure. The minister also places a heavy value in being able to tax the income made on virtual currency, and added that shutting down the exchanges was "a live option but government ministries need to very seriously review it."

AMD Announces Enmotus FuzeDrive technology to Speed Up Ryzen-based Systems

AMD today in a blog post announced the fruits of its partnership with Enmotus, a mainly enterprise-focused company that has made its name in creating performance-optimizing software solutions. The new solution, the FuzeDrive, is an ingenius (paid) software stack that will aggregate all of a users' system memory (be it RAM, HDDs, SSDs, NVMe drives, all of that) and expose it as a single drive via software. The goal is to allow the software to optimize data placement on the fly according to its read/write needs, creating caching solutions at will, learning from users' usage patterns, and basically creating a "set it and forget it" experience for users that critically also improves performance (and by AMD's estimates, it really does do so by a significant margin).

All of these features were pretty hard-set from the start; in the AMD blog post by Don Woligroski, he states that "AMD started with a list of goals, like improving storage performance and lowering loading times." AMD's love for open standards still hasn't gone and went away; he said that "because AMD believes in open hardware standards, it prefers to work with off-the-shelf, non-proprietary NVMe, SSD, and hard disk drives." Convenience was also a very important item to check; according to AMD, "any superior storage acceleration solution needs to be easy to set up, and simple to use." And the company believes they've achieved all of that with their new solution.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition Release Date, Final System Specs Detailed

The ultimate version of the fifteenth Final Fantasy (how many fantasies can really be final, eh?) has been outed, and now PC gamers now when they can expect to go around the most perfect iteration of the Final Fantasy XV game world. The latest, greatest, and heavily graphically-revised Final Fantasy will finally hit the PC platform on March 6.

The PC version of Final Fantasy XV, will include all previously released DLCs (Episodes Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis as well as multiplayer), extra bosses, a new dungeon, an in-game vehicle and a first-person mode (this is the one I really have to see). As previously covered, the new PC version has been developed with heavy input from NVIDIA, offers up to 8K resolution in HDR, and includes many NVIDIA GameWorks technologies, such as NVIDIA Flow, NVIDIA HairWorks, NVIDIA Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows, NVIDIA Turf Effects, NVIDIA Voxel Ambient Occlusion, and more. With all of that NVIDIA technology being built-in, it's somewhat expected that the game will only run the way the developers envisioned on a green team graphics card. Read on after the break for the latest system specs and the Royal Edition release trailer (a special version that's equivalent to the Game of the Year versions of other video-games, with all the released DLC for console players.)

ViewSonic Introduces New Professional and Enterprise Monitors

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, announced a slate of new professional-grade and enterprise monitors with a variety of sizes and resolutions, including a 32-inch 8K Ultra HD (7680x4320) monitor. The award-winning VP Series will now include the VP2768-4K, a 27-inch 4K UHD (3840x2160) monitor with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and the introduction of the VP3278-8K, a 32-inch 8K UHD monitor. The new enterprise solution displays that fill out the VG Series of monitors include the VG2448 and VG2748 with Full HD 1080p resolution and ultra-slim bezel.

"ViewSonic continues to develop and bring to market desktop monitor solutions for users needing high-performance, high resolution screens to businesses needing powerful yet steadfast workstations," said Al Giazzon, Vice President of Marketing at ViewSonic Americas. "The VG monitors feature connectivity options, super thin bezels and advanced ergonomic options, and delivers color coverage and output performance. With the VP2768-4K, ViewSonic offers 4K resolution, color accuracy and performance uniformity. This is critical to those who work with content and need precision that we can deliver. With the Thunderbolt 3 connection, the VP2768-4K can provide the fastest and most versatile connection for 4K content. The VP3278-8K is ViewSonic's technology statement, to show that we're continuing to bring the best display solutions to the market."

Audio-Technica Revealed QuietPoint ATH-ANC700BT Wireless Headphones at CES 2018

At CES 2018 Audio-Technica debuted its ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint over-ear wireless active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones, which feature the company's latest advancements in ANC technology to deliver superior noise-cancelling performance and audio quality, along with improved wireless convenience. The ATH-ANC700BT wireless headphones with Bluetooth technology employ a newly-developed active noise cancellation system that operates in a wider frequency range in the low through mid range frequencies than typical ANC designs, and provides a greater degree of noise cancellation. The ATH-ANC700BT also provides improved isolation for better cancellation outside the active range. This enables the headphones to have much more effective noise-cancelling performance by responding to and cancelling a wider range of outside noise.

In addition, the headphones' microphones are mounted behind the driver diaphragm. In standard ANC headphones, the mics are mounted in a location where they can unintentionally pick up some of the generated noise-cancelling signal, which is then reprocessed in a feedback loop and can limit noise reduction performance. The ATH-ANC700BT eliminates this issue by placing the ANC mics behind the driver diaphragm, which provides better noise cancellation along with improved audio quality.

TPCAST Announces Their Next-Generation TPCAST 2.0 Technology

TPCAST, the Wireless VR Solutions leader, announces its Next-Generation Wireless VR Technologies, TPCAST ​​2.0, which utilize the new generation ultra-low latency codec technology and an upgraded TPCAST ​​real-time data control protocol. These combined technologies pave the way to allow TPCAST to continue to deliver high video quality, low latency, and real-time data transmission. The introduction of these new technologies, supporting short, mid and long-range distances and covering multiple VR deployment ranges, strategically places TPCAST in the forefront of the future evolution of the Wireless VR Market.

The TPCAST 2.0 technology includes three main features. The first element is the ultra-low latency codec, capable of compressing VR content on a 50:1 ratio which significantly reduces the bandwidth required for video data transmission while bounding the latency to 1ms. This easy-to-use, stable, and ultra-low latency codec enables TPCAST's product family to deliver consistently high-quality real-time video transmission. The second feature of the TPCAST 2.0 technology is its scalability making it easy to adapt to any headset including 3k, 4k, and 8k video resolution HMDs in the market. The third feature is the capability to preserve the user experience compared to a wired connection. TPCAST's proprietary technology, and accumulated VR knowledge base, gained by its long-term leading position in the Wireless VR space, enables TPCAST's products to deliver a stable and commercial-grade VR experience.

Biostar Announces B250MDC Motherboard

BIOSTAR introduces the B250MDC motherboard offering a well-balanced set of features without the premium price point making it ideal for casual users on a budget. The BIOSTAR B250MDC motherboard is the perfect solution for an entry-level desktop computer for daily multitasking use, office application and home entertainment. The B250MDC features a compact micro-ATX form factor that fits in most budget cases. The B250MDC also uses the Intel B250 chipset, perfect for a daily driver with its high-efficiency performance.

The BIOSTAR B250MDC features the Intel B250 chipset offering everything essential for desktop users without compromise. The B250MDC features a single PCIe 3.0x16 slot that can fully utilize high-end graphics cards and NVMe solid-state drives; dual DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 43GB of 2400MHz memory; four speedy USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and a DVI-D output port for basic setups without discrete graphics. Users will also enjoy the board's 7.1 channel High-Definition Audio.

WD Announces G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle Thunderbolt 3 DAS

Western Digital Corporation today introduced two new ultra-transportable solutions in its high-powered G-Technology G-SPEED Shuttle product family. The new solutions are designed to meet the demands of professional content creators who need lightning-fast transfer speed and a high-capacity storage solution that can easily be moved from the studio to wherever your project takes you, and back.

The rise of streaming video on demand (SVoD) services is providing many new opportunities for studios, production houses and independent filmmakers. To capitalize on these opportunities, the right tools are crucial. When working in-the-field, production teams need a fast solution that can handle demanding workflows of 4K and 8K content with the ability to collect that precious footage and quickly move the content from location to location.

Be Quiet! Announces Straight Power 11 Modular PSU Series

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for eleven consecutive years, announces its latest, most silent power supply, Straight Power 11. With its completely redesigned PCB, wire-free design on the DC side, an expanded power range with models up to 1,000 watts, and a modern topology using high-quality components, Straight Power 11 is a worthy successor to be quiet!'s premium power supply series.

The Straight Power 11 series uses be quiet!'s renowned Silent Wings 3 135 mm fan with a funnel-shaped vent that simultaneously provides excellent airflow and reduces unwanted turbulence. A 6-pole motor and fluid-dynamic bearings create both an extremely low noise level and the lowest startup rotational speed in the market - under 200 revolutions per minute. This fan is extremely silent, making semi-passive solutions unnecessary and ensuring constant cooling at a low noise level. Since fans are not the only source of noise in a power supply, high-quality capacitors are used to prevent high-frequency electronic noise emission and noise induced by extreme load changes (like, for example, from modern graphics cards) is also minimized.

QNAP Launches TS-x28A Series Home NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the all-new TS-x28A series NAS for entry-level home users, including the TS-128A and TS-228A models. The TS-x28A series provides complete multimedia storage, sharing and streaming functions, and complete file and data protection capabilities (including snapshots) to meet increasing data protection needs for home users. The launch of the TS-x28A series also marks the milestone of all QNAP NAS on the market being able to benefit from snapshot protection. Users can now enjoy more features, stronger protection, and more cost-effective NAS.

The TS-x28A series features a Realtek RTD1295 quad-core 1.40 GHz processor with 1 GB RAM, providing abundant performance for home multimedia/data storage needs. The TS-x28A series also comes with QTS 4.3.4, the latest version of QNAP's award-winning operating system. QTS 4.3.4 introduces enhanced snapshot features with lowered hardware resource requirements, allowing NAS with 1 GB RAM to benefit from snapshot protection. Users of the TS-x28A series will enjoy these advanced data protection capabilities alongside other amazing applications for multimedia, sharing, backup and data storage at an attractive price point.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 2.6.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility. Version 2.6.0 adds support for new GPUs, and fixed several critical bugs. To begin with, GPU-Z 2.6.0 adds support for NVIDIA TITAN V, GeForce GTX 1060 5GB, Tesla K40m, GeForce 825M, Quadro M520, NVIDIA NVS 810, NVIDIA Grid M6-8Q; AMD "Raven Ridge" APUs (RX Vega 8), and Radeon Pro WX9100; and Intel HD Graphics P630, UHD Graphics 630, Gemini Lake UHD Graphics 600. Support is added for AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition.

Among the critical bugs fixed are the application failing to start on some systems due to a broken executable compressor, system crashes experienced on machines with Radeon RX Vega series GPUs, and an application crash on machines with graphics cards that have an empty board id (eg: MSI RX 580 Armor). Fan RPM monitoring is fixed on AMD RX Vega GPUs. Other fixes include "GP100" die-size (correction), and AMD RX 550 "Baffin" reported as "Polaris 21," Intel "Braswell" EU count. Grab it from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.6.0

The change-log follows.

Leaked AI-powered Game Revenue Model Paper Foretells a Dystopian Nightmare

An artificial intelligence (AI) will deliberately tamper with your online gameplay as you scramble for more in-game items to win. The same AI will manipulate your state of mind at every step of your game to guide you towards more micro-transactions. Nothing in-game is truly fixed-rate. The game maps out your home, and cross-references it with your online footprint, to have a socio-economic picture of you, so the best possible revenue model, and anti buyer's remorse strategy can be implemented on you. These, and more, are part of the dystopian nightmare that takes flight if a new AI-powered online game revenue model is implemented in MMO games of the near future.

The paper's slide-deck and signed papers (with corrections) were leaked to the web by an unknown source, with bits of information (names, brands) redacted. It has too much information to be dismissed off hand for being a prank. It proposes leveraging AI to gather and build a socio-economic profile of a player to implement the best revenue-generation strategy. It also proposes using an AI to consistently "alter" the player's gameplay, such that the player's actions don't have the desired result leading toward beating the game, but towards an "unfair" consequence that motivates more in-game spending. The presentation spans a little over 50 slides, and is rich in text that requires little further explanation.
The rest of the presentation follows.

AAEON, an ASUS Company, Unveils World's Most Advanced COM Express Type 10 Module

AAEON, a global leader in embedded computing systems, launches the NANOCOM-KBU, the world's first COM Express Type 10 board to be powered by a 7th Gen Intel Core U Processor. With its powerful CPU, the trailblazing NANOCOM-KBU has onboard 4GB DDR4 memory and a graphics engine that supports 4K applications.

In addition to its Core processor, the NANOCOM-KBU boasts an upgraded embedded controller structure with a real-time interrupt for faster response rates, and it addresses a customer demand for power control and battery management systems. The board's I2C bus also supports a range of IC formats, making it easier for end users to integrate the module with their own custom-made carrier boards. The AAEON NANOCOM-KBU features a wide operating temperature range of -40oC to 85oC, 5V/12V CD input support, a 1GbE LAN port, eight USB2.0 and two USB3.0 ports, two SATA 2 interfaces, and four PCI-E expansion slots.

Intel Core i5-8500 Surfaces on SANDRA Database

It's no revelation that Intel is expanding its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor lineup through Q1-2018, alongside cost-effective B360 Express and H310 Express motherboard chipsets. One of these is the Core i5-8500 six-core processor, positioned a notch above the current Core i5-8400. The chip surfaced on a SiSoft SANDRA database entry. Although the i5-8400 launched at $189, retailers are pushing it for 10-15 percent margins above MSRP. The i5-8500 could launch bang-on the $200-mark, although one must expect a similarly jacked up $220-ish retail price.

The Core i5-8500 comes with a psychologically-pleasing 3.00 GHz nominal clock speed (while the i5-8400 has a sub-3 GHz clock of 2.80 GHz). The database entry doesn't reveal Turbo Boost clocks, but given that the i5-8400 comes with a 4.00 GHz Boost frequency, one can expect that of the i5-8500 to be 4.20-4.30 GHz. The 6-core/6-thread chip comes with 9 MB of shared L3 cache, and a TDP rating of 65W. It scored 139.63 GOPS in the Arithmetic test, 317.88 Mpix/s in the multi-media test, 7.49 GB/s in the cryptography test, which puts its performance in the league of AMD's Ryzen 5 1600.

Crucial Starts Selling MX500 2.5-inch SSD Models

Crucial started selling all four models of its premium SATA SSD, the MX500. The drive was launched earlier this month. It comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants; and in the 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface. M.2-2280 variants with SATA interface, which were shown off at the 2018 International CES, could launch a little later this year. The 250 GB variant is priced (MSRP) at USD $79.99 ($0.31 per GB), the 500 GB variant at $139.99 ($0.27 per GB), the 1 TB variant $259.99 ($0.25 per GB), and the range-topping 2 TB variant $499.99 ($0.24 per GB). All four models come with 5-year warranties.

Crucial MX500 combines Micron's 2nd generation 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory with a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller, and a custom firmware by Crucial. The NAND flash chips by design offer the same levels of power-loss protection as drives that need capacitor banks to do so. Among its features are Dynamic Write Acceleration (SLC-cached writes), and Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN). All four variants offer sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s with up to 510 MB/s writes, and 4K random access performance ratings of up to 95,000/91,000 IOPS (reads/writes).
Monday, January 15th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
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Cherry MX Board 3.0

Cherry MX Board 3.0

The Cherry MX Board 3.0 is a minimalist keyboard for professionals offering low profile, thick ABS keycaps, large anti-slip pads, a key configuration tool, and dedicated media buttons. Despite a release in 2013, it remains relevant and is a good option for consideration in the $80 price range.

Marvell's Ready to launch QLC Controller Delivers 670K IOPS

QLC is the next big step in flash memory, with another bump in density increases and, crucially for consumers, revised, lower pricing for flash-based products that employ the new technology. We've already had a sneak peek at what QLC-based products can deliver - Intel's leaked SSD 660P employs QLC memory and is expected to deliver 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with 150,000 IOPS. Expect base drive capacities to increase - QLC being higher density would mean fewer NAND chips, but manufacturers want to keep the added performance of chip parallelism.

However, flash needs controllers to deliver its true potential, and Marvell has one up its sleeve. The new controller will eventually replace the NVMe 1.1 Eldora (88SS1093) used in some popular SSDs that are already shipping, such as Plextor's M9Pe, and the folks at Tom's hardware took a peek at it - running the current TLC memory, that is. The controller delivered over 670,000 IOPS and 3,500 MB/s in the demo, though there's no information on the density of the drive. But for those performance levels, it must've had a good amount of silicon. While not representative of final QLC memory performance of the controller, it's good to know that at least this part of the ecosystem is good to go. Now if only QLC was quick and hot off the presses, we could see a $100 512 GB SSD.

Ducky Teases 'Blade Air' Keyboard with Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Switches

German switch maker Cherry officially announced their MX Low Profile RGB switches at CES 2018 a few days ago. Ducky Channel also seized this opportunity to promote their upcoming Ducky Blade Air mechanical keyboard which features the new low profile switches. Thanks to the slim design, the Ducky Blade Air stands just 22 mm tall, but boasts a full feature set that includes various RGB lighting modes, customizable LED zones, USB N-key rollover support, floating keycap design, Doubleshot keycaps, and macro support. The Ducky Blade Air allows consumers to connect the keyboard to their computers using an old-school USB cable or via a wireless Bluetooth connection. The keyboard works in a Windows or Mac environment, as well as with Android and iOS mobile devices.

HighPoint RocketU 1344A Guarantees Full Bandwidth USB 3.1 Ports

HighPoint announced the RocketU 1344A, a USB 3.1 gen 2 add-on card, which puts out four type-A ports. Its USP is guaranteed 10 Gbps bandwidth for each of the four ports at all times. A PLX PCI-Express gen 3.0 bridge chip segments a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface into two gen 3.0 x2 connections to ASMedia-made 2-port USB 3.1 controllers. Each controller is fed with 20 Gbps of bus bandwidth, and hence the overhead on each port is minimized. This card is ideal for systems that don't support PCIe bifurcation. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Synology Introduces RackStation RS818+/RS818RP+ and Expansion Unit RX418

Today, Synology Inc. launched RackStation RS818+/RS818RP+, a new 1U 4-bay rackmount NAS designed with speedy transmission performance and storage scalability for small and medium-sized businesses. RS818+/RS818RP+ features a 2.4GHz quad-core processor with AES-NI encryption engine, 2GB DDR3 memory (expandable to 16GB in dual channel), and a PCIe 2.0 slot to support an optional 10GbE network card. This powerful hardware provides over 1,099 MB/s reading speed, making RS818+/RS818RP+ an ideal centralized storage option for multi-client data transmissions.

The storage capacity of RS818+/RS818RP+ can be further expanded with the new Synology expansion unit RX418, providing up to 8 drives for flexible data management and backup. RS818+/RS818RP+ comes with four 1GbE LAN ports to support Link Aggregation and failover. Synology High Availability support provides a reliable active/passive server cluster, keeping data and services online. RS818RP+ is also equipped with redundant power supplies to deliver increased service continuity.

Intel SSD 760p and 660p Specifications and Pricing Listed Online

Autobuy, a popular online shopping site in Taiwan, recently listed Intel's upcoming 760p and 660p M.2 NVMe SSDs on their store. The SSD 760p will be manufactured under Intel's 64-layer 3D NAND technology and feature TLC (triple-level-cell) NAND. It's obviously the faster of the two with a sequential read speed up to 3,200 MB/s and a write speed up to 1,600 MB/s. The drive offers random access reads up to 350,000 IOPS and writes up to 280,000 IOPS. Intel will offer this model in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. TigerDirect listed the pricing for them at $96, $120, $240, $448, and $893, respectively.

The SSD 660p is Intel's budget-friendly this time around. Therefore, it will use QLC (quad-level-cell) NAND despite being manufactured with the same technology as its older brother. This SSD can reach up to 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with random access read and write performance in the range of 150,000 IOPS. Surprisingly, Intel won't be offering this model in the 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. Instead, the lowest capacity model will start from 512 GB and make its way up to 2 TB. Unfortunately, pricing wasn't available at the time of this article.

MSI Unveils Latest GE63 Raider RGB and GT75VR Titan Pro Gaming Notebooks

At the 2018 CES show, MSI gaming notebooks has been focused on pioneering and innovative gaming features for worldwide enthusiasts of the latest gaming laptops, MSI's first gaming notebook top cover with limitedless RGB backlit, with slimmest gaming laptops in the GS series, more features and world's 1st gaming laptop with Killer Wireless-AC 1550. All these new features show MSI's innovation at the 2018 CES show.

Experience the 24 Million colors with Gaming Modes on GE63 Raider RGB
The GE series has been an all-time classic favored by gaming enthusiasts since its inception. But in 2018, the upcoming GE63/73 Raider RGB has been given a new identity and weaponry inspired by exotic sports cars; with the 12 zones of the RGB lights design at top cover on both sides of the lighting, the backlight armed with 24M different lighting modes using SteelSeries Engine 3 or independent control by Dragon Center, users can show more in-game real-time interactions related to the lights from the top cover and keyboard backlight, that makes the new generation of GE63/73 more vibrant and more professional for gamers to show off their gaming skills with these lighting interactions.

Gamdias Showcased Their Latest Gaming Products at CES 2018

GAMDIAS announced a new product line of PC component, including AEOLUS fan case, CHIOME liquid cooler, and ASTRAPE power supply series at CES 2018. GAMDIAS will also launch AEOLUS Box, the unparalleled control box which is just icing on the cake for the components. GAMDIAS showcased the latest RGB gaming chair and gaming gears. What is more, Hades M1, a new wireless gaming mouse, will be launched soon. Let's take a first look at these amazing products at CES 2018.

AEOLUS P1 Fan Case
For those who have been looking for RGB masterpiece, AEOLUS P1 will bring you unprecedented aesthetics without audio distraction. As 16.8 million color customizable lighting becomes a basic condition for gamers, AEOLUS P1 comes with 18 LEDs of which the color and brightness can be separately adjusted by users with AEOLUS Box. The speed and directions of lighting effects can be completely controlled at your preference. What really makes AEOLUS P1 outstanding lies in the support of AEOLUS Box, which has eight ports to plug fans; thus, users can enjoy 8 lighting effects simultaneously or create unparalleled group lightings accordingly. In addition, the use of aerospace-grade lubricant offers better protection against wear, friction, corrosion, and carbon deposit buildup. Hence, AEOLUS P1 is definitely an excellent gaming rig to level up the cooling performance of your PC!

Thrustmaster Launches the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition Racing Wheel

Following the Ferrari 250 GTO Wheel Add-On and T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition, the third product unveiled by Thrustmaster to celebrate Ferrari's 70th anniversary is the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition racing wheel. It features high-performance technologies which seamlessly work hand-in-hand with the stunning 488 Challenge Edition wheel.

Tailor-made for competition
A truly exceptional product, the TS-PC RACER Ferrari 488 Challenge Edition has been designed with fans of the legendary Prancing Horse automaker in mind: PC gamers looking for performance, quality and realism. The racing wheel replicates that found in the 488 Challenge, the most powerful car in the Ferrari one-make series history thanks to its turbocharged engine. The end result is a 9:10 scale replica (12.6"/32 cm in diameter) of the real 488 Challenge wheel, with hand-stitched wrapping made from the same Alcantara material used on genuine Ferrari wheels. As seen with Thrustmaster's recent Ferrari 70th anniversary releases, the TS-PC RACER 488 Challenge Edition boasts advanced onboard pieces of equipment of impeccable quality: a faceplate crafted of black brushed anodized metal, two 5.5"/14 cm tall sequential metal paddle shifters, two D-pads with push function, two metal rotary switches with push function, and eight action buttons. That's no less than 25 programmable functions in total!

D-Link DIR-X9000 and DIR-X6060 Flagship 802.11ax Routers Pictured

D-Link this CES showed off its flagship 802.11ax Wi-Fi router, the DIR-X9000 (pictured below in silver), which meets the AX11000 standard (11 Gbps combined wireless throughput). The router takes in a 2.5 Gbps WAN port, has four downstream 1 GbE ports. Its wireless chops include 4x4 MU-MIMO over its eight antennae meeting 802.11ax specifications (dual-band plus MIMO and MU-MIMO). The company also showed off the DIR-6060 (pictured below, teal), with a combined wireless bandwidth of 6 Gbps.

Why would anyone need this much wireless bandwidth? The D-Link rep we spoke to said that D-Link understands that people don't upgrade their Wi-Fi routers for years, with a large population still on 801.11n (150-300 Mbps) routers, with the guiding logic being that Wi-Fi bandwidth being significantly higher than your Internet bandwidth comes with little benefit. The DIR-X9000 is a router you buy, install, and forget about for the greater part of a decade. It has sufficient bandwidth for multiple 4K UHD video streams flying around your house, while your appliances are increasingly IoT ready.

The Balloon Falls: Memory Chip Price Decrease in Q4 2017 Prompts Investor Fear

Reuters reports that a sudden (if ridiculous) 5% drop in memory chip prices in Q4 2017 has brought revenue expectations and investors' profit measurements to a teetering halt. 5% may not look like much - it certainly isn't much when we look at the historic price increases that almost doubled the cost of DDR4 memory kits, as you can see in the PC Part Picker chart below. This memory module price chart doesn't include the 5% drop yet, probably because it takes time for memory chip pricing to materialize in end-user module pricing. But for investors, it's like a spark in a paper archive - it could signal an impending price decrease that would push all profit estimates out the window.

This 5% drop in pricing has prompted industry analysts to review their profit estimates for 2018, and expect that the memory industry's growth rate will fall by more than half this year to 30 percent. You read that right - investors are scared because growth rates will be 30 percent instead of 60 percent. Oh the joys of inflated pricing, and slower-than-usual ramp-up to keep demand higher than supply. The joys of economic capitalism, where prices for consumers go up, and an industries' value skyrockets by more than 70$ in a single year (2017).

Jonsbo Intros CR-301 White Edition Cooler

Jonsbo today introduced the CR-301 White Edition, a variant of the original CR-301 C-type top-flow CPU cooler the company introduced in December 2017. The whitewash extends to the fan frames, impellers, the 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes, and a steel top-plate capping the aluminium fin-stack, in which the fins are left to its natural color. The fans still retain the RGB LED illumination from the original, even though the fan frame and the white surfaces have a matte finish instead of glossy black on the original. The rest of its feature-set is the same as the original.

NVIDIA to Launch Efficiency-Oriented GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Aims at Intel EMIB

NVIDIA through the changelog of one of its Linux driver releases may have spilled the beans in an as of yet unannounced, unreleased product. The company's Max-Q variants of their graphics cards typically trade performance for power efficiency, sitting the designs somewhat more optimally in the power/performance ratio curve. The fact that NVIDIA is looking to bolster efficiency of its GTX 1050 with a Max-Q design is likely aimed at competing with the performance level of the already announced Intel + AMD EMIB design, where an Intel discrete CPU is paired with a discrete, Vega-based AMD GPU and its accompanying HBM2 memory stacks, in a small, extremely power efficient package (when compared with current designs.)

The folks at Notebookcheck expect the 1050 Max-Q to perform about 10 to 15 percent slower than the standard 1050 and 1050 Ti, respectively, with TDP likely ranging between 34 W to 46 W - NVIDIA is aiming at the same market that the >AMD + Intel EMIB collaboration is going after (thin, light, adequate performance solutions.)
Sunday, January 14th 2018

Intel Could Ditch AMD dGPU Die on Future Core G-series MCMs with "Arctic Sound"

Intel did the impossible in 2017, by collaborating with rival AMD after decades, on a product. The new Core i7-8000G series processors are multi-chip modules that combine quad-core "Kaby Lake" CPU dies with discrete AMD Radeon Vega GPU dies that have their own dedicated HBM2 stacks. With performance-segment notebooks and sleek AIO desktops building momentum for such products, Intel sees a future in building its own discrete GPUs, at least dies that can replace the AMD Radeon IP from its Core G-series processors.

With former AMD Graphics head Raja Koduri switching to Intel amidst rumors of the company investing in discrete GPUs of its own, details emerge of the company's future "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" graphics IP, which point to the possibility of them being discrete GPU dies based on the Gen 12 and Gen 13 graphics architectures, respectively. According to Ashraf Eassa, a technology stock commentator with "The Motley Fool," both "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" are discrete GPU dies that connect with Intel processor dies over EMIB, the company's proprietary high-density interconnect for multi-chip modules. It could be a long wait leading up to the two, since the company is still monetizing its Gen 9.5 architecture on 8th generation Core processors.

Cherry Annnounces the Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Switches

CHERRY, the market leader and expert in mechanical switches in keyboards, is announcing the MX Low Profile RGB. This shallow switch features a brand-new design and combines the well-known characteristics of the MX switch with a low profile. This allows the implementation of mechanical keys in a much more compact format, making the CHERRY MX Low Profile RGB suitable not only for use in notebooks but also for building unusually thin high-end keyboards.

The CHERRY MX Low Profile RGB is the first truly new development in mechanical switches in more than 30 years. The company's R&D department has invested a lot of time and effort in achieving a total height of only 11.9 millimeters without compromising on characteristics and quality. The MX Low Profile RGB is about 35 percent shallower than the standard MX switches, and thanks to its unique design it can be used just as easily for mechanical keyboards in high-end notebooks as for unusually thin mechanical desktop keyboards. The new CHERRY switch was fully developed and built in Germany, its the "Made in Germany" seal representing the best product quality and the highest manufacturing precision.

Jabra Has Your Ears at CES 2018

Jabra, an acoustic-focused brand, took to CES 2018 to showcase their latest developments in the world of sound-delivering straight to your eardrums. The company makes a model for every type of user, and every ergonomic taste, really. The company took the opportunity to showcase some particular sound drivers though. On one hand, there were the wireless, fitness-oriented Elite Sport earbuds, which even carry a heart rate monitor function, and have a specially-designed ergonomic outline that serves both form and function.

Their Jabra Elite 65T true wireless earbuds, on the other hand, leave ergonomics a little to the side (while still being comfortable to use, naturally) to focus more on signal quality, bringing premium sound and call quality with its unique 4-microphone technology. The 15-hour battery on these will certainly appeal to power users; those that really like to shut off from the world around them.

SteigerDynamics Demonstrates Interesting, Flexible SFF Case Lineup at CES 2018

SteigerDynamics took the opportunity granted to them by taking part in a world-renowned tech show floor of CES 2018 to showcase an interesting lineup of SFF computer cases, with powerful systems integrated in a small footprint. These are usually considered the more impressive feats of engineering in the computer space, really; how much performance you can squeeze in a limited space, without compromising component reliability, cooling, and acoustics for the particular environments these will be used in.

SteigerDynamics has shown they do know how to engineer these systems, for sure. Their LEET Gaming Room/Living Room Gaming PC is a little on the bigger side, but it still carries a small footprint, in a pretty package, for the amount of high-quality hardware it's packing. A Maximus Hero X, a Core i7-8700K at 5 GHz, 16 GB of G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4 memory and EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC, are almost as high-end a configuration one can have already. Add in the 2x 512 GB Samsung 960 PRO SSDs, and the 4x 1 TB HDDs in RAID 10, and there really isn't much to fault with this unit. Even power is taken care of by a Seasonic PRIME Titanium PSU. And to keep all of these high-performance components cool, the SteigerDynamics LEET carries a fully custom watercooling loop, that aids in silence and aesthetics. Just follow my lead here: don't look at the price-tag. It's really not for the faint of heart.

Seasonic Proudly Displays Its Snow Silent Gold Lineup of PSUs at CES 2018

Seasonic, known as one of the best PSU manufacturers in the market, took to CES 2018 with the approach the company is mostly known as for their own branded products: quality over quantity. This led the company to showcase its Snow Silent line of white-colored, modular PSUs, which should bring with them a solid performance showing in comparison with Seasonic's own Snow Silent Platinum series of PSUs, albeit at a more agreeable pricing. And there were some blue, Prime hearts to go with them as well, but these wouldn't power much, in the grand scheme of things.

Sapphire Shows the Elusive RX Vega Nitro+ Graphics Card at CES 2018

Sapphire took to CES 2018 to showcase one of the most elusive products in recent times: a custom variant of AMD's RX Vega graphics cards. Sapphire went to great lengths to keep the entire affair under as many wraps as possible, even going so far as to book an entire room to showcase their RX Vega Nitro+, laying still, like a mirage, on top of its anti-static plastic wrap.

There's something eerily beautiful about this graphics card: not on its exquisite back and faceplate designs alone, nor on the custom Sapphire-cut exhaust port; it's really for the condition of a somewhat "unicorn" type of product. Some people believe they're out there, but sightings in their natural environment (read, correct MSRP) are so rare that they are brought up as mass deliriums. The most interesting tech product on CES 2018 based on this story alone, surely.

ROCCAT Delivers Entire Gaming Station Worth of Products at CES 2018

ROCCAT at CES 2018 wanted to prove something: that they're a far-reaching, all-encompassing gaming product company. To that end, it seems the one question ROCCAT engineers, salespeople, and overall team wanted to answer: "Can we deliver an entire ROCCAT-branded gaming station?" The answer, it would seem, was a resounding "Yes, we can."

ROCCAT showed how it had the input game fully in control with its Horde AIMO keyboard, Kone AIMO gaming mouse, and Kanga mouse mat. However, gaming is not just about these mechanical inputs; there's a lot to be said about environment and sound cues, as well as teammate coordination.

"Bloody Gaming" Lets CES 2018 Attendants Feast on Myriad Product Offerings

Bloody Gaming may not be a mainstay in gaming peripherals and products, but the company certainly made its presence felt at CES 2018 via its impressive filled-to-the-brim booth. The company dips its toes anywhere where there's money to be made that has a gaming tinge to it: headphones, keyboards and gaming mice hold no secrets for this company. The company's Bloody gaming headset lets its hybrid diaphragm technology with Carbon Fiber Mycellium compounds carry most of its attractiveness weight (the color schemes are the most common of all, really: black, red and white offerings are all there).

Alphacool Lets Its Water Cooling DNA be Known at CES 2018

Alphacool, the renowned watercooling and accessories company, took to CES 2018 to showcase their watercooling product and accessory lineup. The company's Eisstation cooling blocks made a welcome, "LEDy" appearance, as did the company's full-coverage waterblocks for your choice of VGA. The company also demonstrated a hybrid, water and air cooling solution via its dressed-up radiators; a good-looking maintenance kit; and the company's distinct Eisbecher Helix and Helix Light watercooling "bling".

AKRacing Shows Off Gaming Chairs at CES 2018

AkRacing likely isn't as well-known as some other high-profile gaming chair makers, but it's a company that certainly has a lot of confidence in their ability to design a superior quality products. The company showcased its gaming chair lineup at CES 2018, which includes offerings in various colors, such as red and blue, catering to most gamers' favorite color choices (apparently, companies just can't go wrong with any manner of black + another color combo, really). The company's offerings are spread out throughout three different products categories: the Core Series, which is the more basic configuration; Office Series, which aims to bring maximum comfort to what should be essentially work environments; and Master Series, the company's product pinnacle, which are also, appropriately, the most expensive and more complete options.

However, one of the things that attracts most attention with AKRacing's gaming chairs is the warranty: the company offers a five year warranty on the chair itself (cushion materials, and so on), while offering an overwhelmingly good 10-year warranty on the chair's frame. This particular advantage of AKRacing's over other gaming chair-producing companies could be the hedge the company needs for increased relevance in this market.

1More Showcases Myriad Audio Products at CES 2018

1More, the audio-specific brand, took to CES 2018 to showcase all manner of audio products for the discerning user. The company makes available the users' choice of in-ear and over-hear headphones, with some offerings going between three and four drivers designs. By doing this, 1More hopes to cater to all manner of sound profile enthusiasts, from the more purist listener to the heavier bass-heads. The company even has introduced products with THX certification and the Hi-Rez badge, taking a pie of the certification market for users that like to make sure their products conform to some particular standards.
Saturday, January 13th 2018

ECS Unleashes New LIVA Mini-PCs at CES 2018

It's evident that conquering the small form factor market was one of ECS's New Year's resolutions. The Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer used CES 2018 to reveal their multiple LIVA offerings to the public. The updated LIVA lineup is mainly powered by Intel's low-power Gemini Lake SoC platform with integrated UHD Graphics 600. The LIVA One is currently the new kid on the block. Consumers can choose between a Celeron J4005, Celeron J4105 or Pentium Silver J5005 processor. This mini-PC has one SO-DIMM DDR4 slot, a M.2 slot to accommodate 2242/2280 SSDs, and two SATA 2.5" bays. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. Consumers have a tough decision to make on the video outputs though. The LIVA One either comes with a HDMI and DisplayPort or a HDMI and VGA port.

Similar to the LIVA One, the Z2 employs a Gemini Lake processor. However, the Z2 incorporates an extra SO-DIMM DDR4 slot, thus allowing it to support more memory. In terms of storage options, the Z2 is sold with a 32GB or 64GB eMMC SSD, but it has a 2.5" bay for additional storage. Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 is provided by the onboard wireless combo card, while a pair of HDMI (1.4 and 2.0) ports are available for connecting monitors, TVs and projectors.

Toshiba's Not-so-flashy CES Booth was Full of Flash

Toshiba throughout 2017 made big moves in the flash storage industry, particularly its bitter falling out with WD/SanDisk. The company today is more innovative than ever. Its 2018 International CES booth had a mix of products by the original Toshiba digital storage products division, and its client-focused, US-based, former OCZ division. The star-attraction isn't some big PCIe add-on card SSD that can push a dozen terabytes per second; but the modest RC100 M.2 NVMe drive. Drives like it could make NVMe storage affordable for upper-mainstream gaming PC builders throughout 2018.

The RC100 has been exhaustively detailed in one of our older articles. It's an M.2-2242 drive with PCIe gen 3.0 x2 interface, and more than triple the transfer rates of the fastest SATA SSD you can find. This drive will be gulped down by both the DIY and OEM markets. Next up, is the TR200 entry-level SATA SSD launched last October, targeted at those still clinging onto HDDs or first-time builders. It features Toshiba's 64-layer TLC NAND flash to achieve some of the lowest price-per-gigabyte ratios.
Friday, January 12th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Storage

In Win Storms CES 2018 with Multiple Eye-Catching Cases

In Win has always been known for their out-of-the-box designs and exotic cases. And as always, the brand didn't disappoint and showcased some impressive offerings at their booth. The 909 was the first case that we encountered upon entering. In this occasion, the case showed a few minor upgrades which included a co-branded reservoir from EK Water Blocks, 5mm thick tinted tempered glass side panels, dazzling LED lighting effects, and a front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C connector. However, the 909 wasn't the only model that got a makeover. In Win's popular 101 case received a special TUF treatment from ASUS as well. The front panel now sports an attractive orange-yellow theme making it a perfect match for TUF Gaming motherboards.

The 915 is a new full-tower case that flaunts a sexy curved exterior, premium aluminium body with tinted tempered glass side panels, and RGB lighting. It also features a cool automatic elevating ventilation cover on the top. In Win also brought their latest mini-ITX case, the A1, to the show. This miniature model comes equipped with a 600W power supply and Polaris RGB fans. The quick-release glass side panels make swapping components easy, and the case even comes with an optional wireless mobile device charging area. The final case on our tour is the WINBOT which looks like it came out of a sci-fi movie. It's basically an aluminium case that lives inside a plexiglass bubble. As a result, users can have a 360° view of the system inside. The case is equipped with an advanced facial detection module which allows it to scan, observe, and react to your hand signals.

AMD Confirms They are Affected by Spectre, too

The public disclosure on January 3rd that multiple research teams had discovered security issues related to how modern microprocessors handle speculative execution has brought to the forefront the constant vigilance needed to protect and secure data. These threats seek to circumvent the microprocessor architecture controls that preserve secure data.

At AMD, security is our top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise. As a part of that vigilance, I wanted to update the community on our actions to address the situation.

Lian Li Shows Off PC Cases, LED Lighting Focus at CES 2018

Lian li at CES 2018 took to the stage (or should we say, room) to showcase some of their case designs' possibilities. The 011 Dynamic, for example, is an interesting behemoth of a case with its 450 x 273 x 460 mm dimensions. The aluminum, SECC, and tempered glass panel make sure this is a sturdy, Lian-Li-worthy case, and there's no lack of storage and fan capacity in this one: a total of 9x 120 mm and 2x 140 mm fans can be mounted on the chassis alone, and there's still space to spare for 3x 3.5" and 5x 2.5" SSD bays. The very elaborate cooling system and the overall case design were handpicked by Lian-Li in a collaboration with overclocking prodigy Der8auer, and make for an impressive showing.

Cooler Master Also Introduces MasterPlus+ Division at CES 2018

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, is not just thinking about hardware these days. They will demonstrating how desktop PCs, with their new software, can become powerful hubs to customize a 'ole-room experience.Cooler Master's new software division, called MasterPlus+, has developed the first version of an application that will help users access, customize, and monitor their PCs and the owing list of devices that can connect to that central hub.

"It's from the inside to the out," said Danny Chen, head of the software team and Cooler Master's CTO. "Instead of just building smart systems around internal PC functions, we want to expand that smart control to the entire room and its devices."

Cooler Master Announces MasterWatt V and MasterWatt Maker at CES 2018

Cooler Master, a leading manufacturer of desktop components and peripherals, today announced the MasterWatt V and the MasterWatt Maker with cooler Master Connect v2.0 power supply units (PSU). The MasterWatt V series adds a new line of high quality, gold rated power supplies to Cooler Master's PSU library, while the MasterWatt Maker with Cooler Master Connect v2.0 revolutionizes what digital PSUs are capable of.

ASUS Unveils the XG Station Pro External GPU Enclosure

ASUS today announced XG Station Pro, an external graphics card enclosure with a stylish aluminum chassis and advanced cooling that provides PC and Mac laptop users with high-end graphics performance, suitable for demanding professional applications, such as video rendering, 3D design and scientific modeling. With support for the latest NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards and featuring fast and convenient Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, XG Station Pro enables a workstation-class experience when connected to a laptop and an external monitor without sacrificing mobility.

Premium, all-aluminum design
Designed in collaboration with In Win - the well-known maker of premium computer chassis - XG Station Pro has a highly functional and stylish design with an elegant, grey aluminum chassis that perfectly complements premium laptops. XG Station Pro fits a full-length, 2.5-slot graphics card, yet has a compact size that takes up minimal space on a desk or workspace. An external, 330W power supply drives even the most demanding graphics cards, reduces heat within the chassis, and enables XG Station Pro to have a smaller overall size.

ASUS Announces New Slim and Light Monitors for Mobile Professionals

ASUS today announced ProArt PQ22UC and ZenScreen Go MB16AP, slim and light portable monitors created for designers, video producers and other professionals who often need to create and showcase work away from the office. ProArt PQ22UC features an extremely high contrast ratio due to its OLED panel and exclusive ASUS ProArt Calibration technology for highly accurate, vibrant and undistorted colors. ZenScreen Go MB16AP can be connected to a laptop or Android device, and provides more flexibility with a built-in battery. The new portable monitors will be on display at the ASUS Showcase Room at Wynn Las Vegas, from January 9-12, 2018.

Intel AMT Security Issue Lets Attackers Bypass Login Credentials

F-Secure reports a security issue affecting most corporate laptops that allows an attacker with physical access to backdoor a device in less than 30 seconds. The issue allows the attacker to bypass the need to enter credentials, including BIOS and Bitlocker passwords and TPM pins, and to gain remote access for later exploitation. It exists within Intel's Active Management Technology (AMT) and potentially affects millions of laptops globally.

The security issue "is almost deceptively simple to exploit, but it has incredible destructive potential," said Harry Sintonen, who investigated the issue in his role as Senior Security Consultant at F-Secure. "In practice, it can give an attacker complete control over an individual's work laptop, despite even the most extensive security measures."

Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 and Dark Rock 4 CPU Coolers Pictured

At its new product launch suite along the sidelines of the 2018 International CES, Be Quiet showed off a large number of new products, beginning with the Dark Rock Pro 4, the company's new flagship CPU air cooler, and its second-fiddle, the Dark Rock 4. These are two entirely different coolers. While the Dark Rock Pro 4 is dual fin-stack aluminium fin tower cooler, the Dark Rock 4 is features a single but thick aluminium fin-stack. Seven 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes pass through the two fin-stacks int he Dark Rock Pro 4, which are ventilated by two fans in push-pull configuration, even as the cooler can hold up to three fans. The outside "push" fan is a 120 mm SilentWings 3, while the "pull" fan, nestled between the two fin stacks, is a larger 135 mm SilentWings fan. You can run the cooler without the outer 120 mm fan.

The Dark Rock Pro 4 is designed to handle thermal loads of up to 250W, which means it supports a variety of HEDT CPU socket types. Be Quiet hopes to launch this cooler some time in Q2-2018. The Dark Rock 4, on the other hand, features a more conventional single fin-stack tower design, with six 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes transporting heat through the fin-stack. The heatsink is venilated by a 135 mm SilentWings fan. The Dark Rock 4 can handle thermal loads of up to 200W, and it too will feature support for various HEDT CPU sockets. This cooler is slated for Q2-2018, too. Both models feature improvements to the fin design, including small dots that increase surface area, and a dark ceramic coating that improves heat dissipation.

COUGAR Announces the Phontum Gaming Headset

COUGAR is proud to announce today the arrival of its new Phontum gaming headset. Two interchangeable ear pad sets and splendid audio quality are its main strengths. This new headset will be available worldwide before the end of January 2018.

Phontum is COUGAR's unified solution for gamers' high-quality indoor and outdoor audio needs. A dual ear pad system in which the Home and On-the-go ear pad sets complement each other achieves this goal. The Home earpad set, made of memory foam, provides better adaptation and isolation, while the On-the-go earpad set, thinner and lighter, is ideal for outdoor use and commuting. Both ear pad sets sport a premium soft protein surface that feels smooth to the touch. Together, they ensure that the user gets the best experience.

Intel Acknowledges: More BSODs Affecting "Haswell" and "Broadwell"

As Intel CEO Brian Krzanich emphasized in his Security-First Pledge, Intel is committed to transparency in reporting progress in handling the Google Project Zero exploits.

We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates. Specifically, these systems are running Intel Broadwell and Haswell CPUs for both client and data center. We are working quickly with these customers to understand, diagnose and address this reboot issue. If this requires a revised firmware update from Intel, we will distribute that update through the normal channels. We are also working directly with data center customers to discuss the issue.

End-users should continue to apply updates recommended by their system and operating system providers.

Intel Releases CPU Benchmarks with Meltdown and Spectre Mitigations

It's safe to say that there's one thing that you don't mess around with, and that's performance. Enthusiasts don't spend hundreds of dollars on a processor to watch it underperform. Given the complicated nature of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Microsoft's so-called mitigations were bound to have an impact on processor performance. The million dollar question was: Just how much? The initial estimate was somewhere around 30%, but Intel, being optimistic as usual, expected the performance impact to be insignificant for the average user. They recently provided some preliminary benchmark results that looked quite convincing too. Well, let's take a look at their findings, shall we?

Intel measured the mitgations' impact on CPU performance using their 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Intel Core processors but, more specifically, the i7-6700K, i7-7920HQ, i7-8650U, and i7-8700K. The preferred operating system used in the majority of the benchmarks was Windows 10, however, Windows 7 also made a brief appearance. Intel chose four key benchmarks for their testing. SYSmark 2014 SE evaluated CPU performance on an enterprise level simulating office productivity, data and financial analysis, and media creation. PC Mark 10, on the other hand, tested performance in real-world usage employing different workloads like web browsing, video conferencing, application start-up time, spreadsheets, writing, and digital content creation. 3DMark Sky Diver assessed CPU performance in a DirectX 11 gaming scenario. Lastly, WebXPRT 2015 measured system performance using six HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads which include photo enhancement, organize album, stock option pricing, local notes, sales graphs, and explore DNA sequencing.
Thursday, January 11th 2018
Dobot Rigiet Gimbal

Dobot Rigiet Gimbal

The Dobot Rigiet is a user friendly gimbal equipped with three precision motors for 0.01 degrees accuracy. This gadget ensures that your recording is stable, whether you use a smartphone or an action camera.

beyerdynamic Reveals Their Upcoming Audio Products at CES 2018

beyerdynamic, popular German audio equipment manufacturer, showcased some of their latest wireless audio products at their CES booth. The Amiron Wireless and Aventho Wireless are both on-ear headphones that make use of Bluetooth 4.2. The controls are touch-based and are integrated into the right earcup. In terms of battery life, the headphones should last around 30 hours on a single charge. The Xelentho Wireless was the only in-ear Bluetooth headset present. This model features an ergonomic casing with molded eartips, silver-plated cables, universal 3-button remote, and an aluminium battery casing. All three siblings are supported by beyerdynamic's MIY app which allows users to personalize the audio to their linking.

AZiO Shows Off New Peripherals at CES 2018

We visited AZiO's booth to get a sneak peek of their upcoming products. First up, we got a glimpse of their Atom, Aventa, and Bluetooth Retro Classic mice. The AZiO Atom is an ambidextrous RGB gaming mouse which is available in black or white. It boasts a 280-degree surround RGB lighting system with onboard control. The Atom features an anti-slip surface finish to provide users with a better grip and a Pixart 3360 optical sensor for dead-accurate precision. The Aventa, on the other hand, sports a more aeronautic exterior with a Zinc alloy exoskeletal frame complemented by an ergonomic hand grip. Both the scroll wheel and 3D logo possess RGB backlighting. The Aventa utilizes the exact same sensor as the Atom. Lastly, the Retro Classic is built with a metal frame with bolts and makes use of a refined leather and plastic interchangeable surface.

AZiO also had some interesting keyboards on display as well. The MGK Ultra is the company's latest RGB backlit gaming mechanical keyboard. It's available with Cherry MX Blue, Red, Brown, or Silver switches. This keyboard features a full RGB backlit control which doesn't require the use of software. The lighting is separated into two independent zones. The interchangeable top plate is made of bulletproof Kevlar and exotic carbon fiber material, and the spacious palm rest is magnetic. An integrated USB 3.0 hub and audio ports are also present on the keyboard.

Cooler Master Debuts M800 Gaming Series

Cooler Master, a Taipei-based leader in designing and manufacturing computer components and gaming peripherals, will debut the M800 gaming series consisting of the MK850 and MK851 keyboards, MH850 headset, MM830 mouse, and the MP860 RGB dual sided mouse pad. The series provides the highest level of flash and expression while combining features such as Aimpad technology, hidden D-Pad, Focus FX, and precision wheels that work together across the series for the ultimate competitive gaming advantage.

"The M800 gaming series embodies the best of the best. We aimed to raise the bar with unique technology and features such as the collaboration with Aimpad, but also set the stage with a fresh level of design to ensure we deliver a premium gaming experience," says Bram Rongen, Senior Product Marketing Manager.

Hack Like It's 1998: Sites Still Vulnerable to Revived ROBOT Exploit

Another week, yet another security bulletin in tech news, with yet another vulnerability that joins the fray of both Intel's meltdown and Western Digital's MyCloud hacks. A team of researchers recently wrote a paper they titled "Return Of Bleichenbacher's Oracle Threat (ROBOT)". This paper went on to show how a well-known, circa 1998 exploit is still a viable way to take advantage of websites of even big name companies and services, such as Facebook and PayPal (in total, around 2.8% of the top 1 million sites also tested positive). The ROBOT exploit, a critical, 19-year-old vulnerability that allows attackers to decrypt encrypted data and sign communications using compromised sites' secret encryption key, is still valid. Only, it's 19 years later.

The heart of the issue stems from a vulnerability that was discovered in 1998 by researcher Daniel Bleichenbacher, who found the vulnerability in the TLS predecessor known as secure sockets layer. The attack is dubbed an Oracle threat because attackers can write specialized queries to which the websites and affected systems respond with "Yes" or "No"; as such, it's possible, given enough time, for attackers to build up the amount of disclosed sensitive information and get a clear picture of the protected data. To the flaw's discovery by Bleichenbacher, SSL architects apparently responded in a B-movie type of way, which nevertheless might have been needed to keep all systems green: by designing workarounds on top of workarounds, rather than removing or rewriting the faulty RSA algorithm.

Silverstone Showcases Myriad of Computer Cases at CES 2018

Silverstone took to CES 2018 to showcase what they feel is their strongest case offerings for the current market. In the Silverstone booth, the company showed off their Redline RL07, Primera PM02, Lucid LD01 (MicroATX) and Lucid LD02 cases, which look to cater to all tastes - and sizes.

The Redline is an ATX form-factor case with an interesting, asymmetric front look, with interesting LED inserts in the top and bottom declinations, which bring about an interesting lighting effect. The black case shines red LEDs; the white case shines blue LEDs. Simple enough. The Primera, on the other hand, are Silverstone's "trend-setting" cases, with a bold, micro-perforated look on the front of the chassis, with a Silverstone branding LED projecting the company's name towards your desk (or floor, should you commit that particular crime). Both the Redline and Primera chassis feature a steel body design, with a tempered glass side panel.

Sharkoon Announces SM1 Clip-On Microphone for Headsets

Sharkoon expands their range of input devices and introduces, with the SM1, a clip-on microphone made from metal. If offers a wide range of applications plus the SM1 supplements every type of headphones with a microphone function and, accordingly, allows it to be used as a headset.

The SM1 from Sharkoon is a metal lavalier microphone, which is particularly suitable as a complement for headphones. Thanks to its metal clip, the microphone can attached, for example, to the cable of the preferred headphones or directly to clothing. It is also suitable for applications such as lectures, presentations, video production, podcasts and streaming. Thanks to its lightweight of only 31 grams, including cable, and with its compacted dimensions, the black SM1 ensures discreet use. The 250 cm long cable guarantees maximum freedom of movement.

FrozenCPU Rises from the Dead

FrozenCPU was one of the leading computer water cooling stores in its prime. If you needed a special fitting, reservoir, or any other water cooling part, you knew exactly where you had to go. Needless to say, the company left many water cooling enthusiasts heartbroken when they closed their doors back in 2015. According to an ex-employee's testimony, the owner Mark Frigga battled with an addiction problem for a long time, and an unfortunate series of events led to warehouse damage and the firing of all personnel. Now, two years later, FrozenCPU is ready to start from a clean slate. The company returns with a new direction and employees ready to fulfill all your water cooling needs once again. They've also upgraded their "OCN" coupon code to a 6% discount in order to recover their clientele.

Sharkoon Intros SM1 Clip-On Microphone Made from Robust Metal

Sharkoon expands their range of input devices and introduces, with the SM1, a clip-on microphone made from metal. If offers a wide range of applications plus the SM1 supplements every type of headphones with a microphone function and, accordingly, allows it to be used as a headset.

The SM1 from Sharkoon is a metal lavalier microphone, which is particularly suitable as a complement for headphones. Thanks to its metal clip, the microphone can attached, for example, to the cable of the preferred headphones or directly to clothing. It is also suitable for applications such as lectures, presentations, video production, podcasts and streaming. Thanks to its lightweight of only 31 grams, including cable, and with its compacted dimensions, the black SM1 ensures discreet use. The 250 cm long cable guarantees maximum freedom of movement.

DeepCool Quadstellar Electro Looks like Something by Aperture Science

DeepCool, at its 2018 International CES showed off the Quadstellar Electro limited edition case. This isn't simply whitewashing the original Quadstellar the company closed 2017 with, where white metal replaces black, while contrasting black-tinted tempered glass panels take over the clear ones; but a re-styling. The primary color is silver and not white. Silver-chrome accents frame the front ends of the four lobes instead of glossy black, there are hints of orange along its feet and main LED elements. The central LED ornament, which can be configured to the color of your choice, glows orange out of the box, which makes this case look like something out of the "Portal" or "Half Life" universes (we can't decide which). If you can imagine your next big mod to appease Lord Gaben to hurry up with his Rapture (read: next installment of "Half Life,") then you better haul. DeepCool is only making 100 of these, and the one on display is already 001/100.

Thermaltake Announces X1 RGB Cherry MX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Thermaltake, a leading brand in eSport gaming peripherals, today announced a new addition to its keyboard line, the X1 RGB Cherry MX Silver Speed/Blue Switch Mechanical Gaming Keyboard at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9th (Tue) to 12th (Fri). The new product equipped with the latest Cherry MX Speed Silver Switch, offers gamers super short reaction times; furthermore, it packed with features like pre-configured FPS1, FPS2, RTS, MMO, MOBA lighting zones, full anti-ghosting, n-key rollover, on-the-fly macro recording, audio and USB pass through, that offers maximum customization to suit the ever demanding needs of today's enthusiasts.

For comfort level, X1 RGB Cherry MX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard features a detachable magnetic wrist rest for maximum ergonomic comfort during periods of long play. Other than powerful functions, the new keyboard delivers 16.8 million of true RGB color illumination with 12 dynamic, including sound and system temperature control lighting effects for a truly enhanced gaming atmosphere. Best yet, it is fully TT RGB Sync compatible, meaning users will be able to sync all RGB colors seamlessly to all Thermaltake compatible product lines for even greater color coordination. Finally, the X1 RGB comes with a unique smartphone/tablet app that features unique Voice Recognition Command for lighting functions, in-app light and macro setting adjustment. The app also features an exclusively patented designed (VGC) Virtual Game Controller for a truly astounding mobile gaming experience.

QNAP Introduces TVS-x73e 4/6/8-bay NAS, Featuring AMD Inside

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the release of the high-performance TVS-x73e series - an SMB NAS lineup featuring an AMD RX-421BD quad-core APU, up to 64GB DDR4 RAM, two M.2 SATA 6Gb/s SSD slots (for SSD cache acceleration with Qtier auto-tiering), the unique USB QuickAccess port, dual 4K HDMI output, and hardware-assisted 4K video transcoding acceleration. Designed for versatile business needs, the secure and scalable TVS-x73e series provides a pair of PCIe slots for flexibly installing 10GbE NICs, QM2 cards or USB 3.1 10 Gbps cards, presenting small and medium businesses with the perfect NAS solution to build a private cloud for applications including high-speed data transfer, backup/recovery, virtualization, media playback and graphics display.

"The TVS-x73e NAS series is powered by an AMD quad-core APU with up to 3.4 GHz clock speed and also provides dual PCIe slots that add more value to maximize NAS potential for a wider range of applications, making the TVS-x73e ideal for organizations and professionals who ask for performance and expandability," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP.

Thermaltake Announces New Iris Optical RGB Gaming Mouse

Tt eSPORTS, the energetic and powerful challenger introduces the Iris Optical RGB Gaming Mouse, a new high performance entry-level mouse packed with features at CES 2018 at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9th (Tue) to 12th (Fri). Equipped with customizable 16.8 million RGB color, 9 dynamic lighting effects coupled with exclusive side aura illumination, enthusiasts can light up the battlefield tailored to the battle colors of their choice.

The Iris Optical RGB also comes with a gaming grade sensor that supports up to 5000 DPI, 20-million-click gaming grade switches for maximum durability and new gen gaming software for macro, advanced performance, light and profiles settings. Light up the battlefield with the Iris Optical RGB and play with superior accuracy, tracking, and ergonomic comfort. Tt eSPORTS Iris Optical RGB Gaming Mouse suggested price of USD 29.99.

EVGA's Gargantuan SuperNova 2200W P2 Can Jumpstart Your Pickup Truck

EVGA this CES showed off its flagship PSU, the massive SuperNova 2200W P2. This unit has enough juice to power a gaming+mining rig with up to 9 graphics cards, or to jumpstart a pickup truck. Under the hood, it features a single +12V rail design, with an impressive 183.3A +12V rail (~2199W), and 24A rails over the +5V and +3.3V domains that work out to 120W. DC-to-DC switching converts power between the domains. The PSU boasts of 80 Plus Platinum switching efficiency. A 140 mm fan keeps the unit cool. Among its constellation of output connectors are one 24-pin ATX, two 4+4 pin EPS, eighteen 6+2 pin PCIe, twelve SATA power, six Molex, and two Berg.

Tt eSports Announces Draconem RGB Touch Gaming Mousepad

Tt eSPORTS, the energetic and powerful challenger introduces a new addition to the DRACONEM RGB gaming mouse pad family, the DRACONEM RGB Touch Edition Gaming Mouse Pad. Equipped with 16.8 million RGB color illumination, 4 stunning lighting effects, coupled with a completely new left, right and bottom design construction, gives the mouse pad even greater color illumination than ever before. The surface for the mouse pad is specially optimized and creates play that is balanced for both speed and control. The highlight feature, a state-of-the-art biometric FIDO certified Touch ID System, which allows for easy login to PC systems, access to favorite web pages, and secure file and folder encryption. In addition, enthusiasts can further customize their desired lighting settings with both hardware and software controls for even greater color personalization.

The DRACONEM RGB Touch Edition Gaming Mouse Pad uses the Fast Identify Online (FIDO) UAF standard that provides interoperability of the security mouse pad meaning users no longer need to create and remember multiple usernames and password for a strong, safe and secure passwordless experience. In addition to this, the Touch Edition uses the latest biometric sensor with "Iron Veil" technology by Synaptics. The sensor takes just 0.2 second to acquire data from the sensor and match it. It offers speedy and intuitive fingerprint authentication with strong, safe, secure windows, website login, and file and folder encryption.

EVGA Enters Gaming Peripherals Foray with Z10 Gaming Keyboard

EVGA is on the prowl for its share of the gaming peripherals market, with the new Z10 mechanical gaming keyboard (model: 801-ZT-N101-KR). Built with a solid aluminium body with a metal top-panel, and ABS back, the keyboard is characterized by its tiny LCD display (a la Logitech G15), which can be used to display a whole range of information, including game OSD, live data from EVGA Precision, keyboard macro mapping on-the-fly, etc. In addition to a standard 104-keyset, the Z10 has 7 cleverly positioned macro keys, and media shortcut keys. The keyboard will be available with Kailh Red and Brown switches, the one on display had Brown ones.

Thermaltake Announces Toughpower iRGB PLUS with DPS G 3.0

Thermaltake releases the new Toughpower iRGB PLUS Platinum Power Supply Series - TT Premium Edition (850W/1050 1200W) , located at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9 th (Tue) to 12 th (Fri). In addition to the great build quality, the Platinum-certified series packs the patented ultra-silent, 16.8 million-color Riing 14 RGB fan and 12 controllable single LEDs with seven lighting modes (Full lighted, Flow, RGB Spectrum, Ripple, Blink, Pulse and Wave). The Toughpower iRPG PLUS Platinum also supports Thermaltake's three intelligent platforms - New DPS G PC APP 3.0, DPS G Smart Power Management (SPM) Cloud 1.0, and DPS G Mobile APP 1.0 - helping users monitor their smart power supply units to conserve energy and stay green.

This is especially helpful for gaming and mining enthusiasts. Backed up by a hefty 10-year warranty, the fully modular TT Premium Edition Toughpower iRGB PLUS Platinum Series permits a captivating way to make users systems match their intended color scheme and gives best-in-class, mute operation for all kinds of chassis.

Samsung Starts Mass-producing 2.4 Gbps 8GB HBM2 Stacks

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has started mass production of its 2nd-generation 8-gigabyte (GB) High Bandwidth Memory-2 (HBM2) with the fastest data transmission speed on the market today. The new solution, Aquabolt, which is the industry's first HBM2 to deliver a 2.4 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) data transfer speed per pin, should accelerate the expansion of supercomputing and the graphics card market.

"With our production of the first 2.4 Gbps 8 GB HBM2, we are further strengthening our technology leadership and market competitiveness," said Jaesoo Han, executive vice president, Memory Sales & Marketing team at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to reinforce our command of the DRAM market by assuring a stable supply of HBM2 worldwide, in accordance with the timing of anticipated next-generation system launches by our customers."
Wednesday, January 10th 2018

More Pictures of GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7, Because Moar

We headed to the GIGABYTE Aorus booth at the 2018 International CES to check out the only motherboard based on AMD's upcoming 400-series chipset visible in the entire show, the Aorus X470 Gaming 7. We snapped a lot of pictures. The first thing that caught our attention is the board's updated styling, which resembles the one GIGABYTE introduced with its Intel Z370-series motherboards. The second thing of course, was two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, confirming that AMD has indeed addressed 300-series chipset's greatest shortcoming - lack of PCIe gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. Since the AM4 SoC puts out 4 gen 3.0 general purpose lanes of its own, which wired to one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot on 300-series motherboards, the new 400-series boards will have at least two of these slots, one wired to the AM4 SoC, and another to the chipset.

The Aorus X470 Gaming 7 could become the company's flagship socket AM4 product based on AMD X470 chipset. It's been designed as such. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX power connectors. A 12-phase VRM supplies power to the AM4 SoC. It's interesting to note that GIGABYTE chose some very high-current chokes for the chip's main voltage domains. The VRM heatsinks, too, are elaborate aluminium fin-stack types, with the two heatsinks spreading heat over a heat pipe. Is this a telltale sign that certain Ryzen 2 parts could have >95W TDP? The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 when both are populated), and one of the two M.2 slots (we're guessing the top M.2-22110 slot). Both it, and the bottom M.2-2280 slots have included heatsinks. Other expansion slots include an x16 (electrical x4) slot wired to the chipset, and two x1 slots, which are all gen 3.0.

Silverstone Also Showcases Storage Solutions at CES 2018

Silverstone at CES 2018 also showcased some number of cases and storage solutions that the company hopes to carve its way through the market with. There's an interesting 4x M.2 Drive bay, for instance, which occupies a traditional 3.5" bay but gives users the option to mount up to 4x M.2 SSD drives; there's a 2.5" SSD expansion bay (EXB01) that allows for hot-swapping of SSDs mounted on the rack; an M.2 to PCIe adapter with embedded heatsink and LEDs, as well as a PCIe Gen3 x16 to an NVMe drive adapter.

Crucial Shows Off Its MX500 M.2 SATA SSD

Crucial at CES 2018 has unveiled their M.2 version fo the prize-winning MX500 drive (you can read TPU's review of the MX500 2.5" drive here). The new M.2 SATA SSDs bring a much needed form-factor for Crucial's SSD line, with capacities ranging from 250 GB, passing through 500 GB, and ending in the 1 TB mark. All capacities have the same performance rating: 560 MB/s sequential read, 510 MB/s sequential writes, 90K random write and 95K random read IOPS.

Mushkin Also Details Silverline RAM, External SSD, SWAP Flash Drive at CES 2018

Mushkin at CES 2018 also announced other products in addition to their Triactor and Helix-L, Pilot SSD products. Still on the SSD side of the announcements, Mushkin also introduced their new external SSD solution, the CarbonEXT. The CarbonEXT delivers data through its USB 3.1 interface, which is fed by 120 GB - 1 TB memory capacities via a Silicon Motion SM2258XT controller (SSD), and an ASMedia solution (ASMedia ASM1153E) for the USB interface. This combination of components delivers maximum sequential throughput of up to 450 MB/s, in a 93 x 50 x 13 mm package with black and sandblasted gun metal trim finish aesthetics.

Mushkin's Silverline DRAM heatsink is Mushkin's new revision of an already launched product, built with aircraft-grade aluminum for fast heat dissipation. These modules are for both budget and look-conscious gamers and DIY's, with Mushkin promising a pretty palatable price-tag for users that pick up these "head-turning" diamond cut design heatsinks.

Silverstone Showcases PSUs, Micro-STX Case, Mouse Pad, More at CES 2018

Silverstone at CES 2018 showcased a slew of new products for the consumer market. Some of them are a relatively known quantity - the company showcased their Strider Platinum line of PSUs, a modular affair ranging from 550 W up to 1200 W of power delivery capacity. These ship with 80+ Platinum ratings, and have some impressive specs.

Besides the Strider Platinum Series PSUs, Silverstone showcased their VT03 micro-STX form factor case, powered by Intel, and a 2.3 liters capacity over a 211 x 66 x 166 mm plastic and steel body. Connectivity-wise, there's the usual USB 2.0 (x2), USB 3.0 (1x), USB 3.0 Type-C (1x), and others.

NVIDIA "Pascal" and AMD "Vega" Graphics Card Prices Sizzle Stateside

Over the 2018 International CES week, prices of performance-segment and high-end graphics card prices have taken flight on US-based online retailers. Prices of the recently-launched GeForce GTX 1070 Ti ($380-ish launch price) cards are touching, $900; those of the GTX 1080 (non-Ti) are over the $1,000-mark, while the GTX 1080 Ti is out of stock in many places. Prices of the GTX 1060 series is still under the $300-mark, but are beginning to rise. AMD's Radeon RX Vega family is either out of stock, or over the $1,000-mark. A combination of crypto-currency mining craze, coupled with reports of graphics card prices rising over 2018 could be behind this rally.

Sony's New MDR-1AM2 Headphones Deliver Uncompromised High-Resolution Sound

Sony Electronics announced today the latest in Hi-Resolution headphones, the MDR-1AM2. Building from the acclaimed MDR-1A headphones that launched in 2014, the MDR-1AM2 brings a host of new and improved features to take the premium headphones industry by storm. Sony has built on its already established high quality listening experiences, and improved its sound even further.

"At Sony, we are committed to bringing high quality sound to consumers," said Dunja LaRosa, Director, and Head of Mobile Audio Business, Home Entertainment and Sound at Sony Electronics, North America. "Reviving Sony's classic headphones, the MDR-1AM2 is a testament to this commitment, playing back music as the artist intended and delivering consumers the ability to enjoy high quality music, regardless of their location."

Enter a New Era of Gaming Audio with Sennheiser's New GSP 600 Gaming Headphones

When you take your gaming seriously, performance matters and seeing and hearing everything with pinpoint precision can prove decisive. When you compete at this level, you need a gaming headset that's just as focused on your needs: Introducing the new GSP 600 from audio specialist Sennheiser. Building on the success of the GAME ZERO, acclaimed as the ultimate closed gaming headset, the new GSP 600 improves on its predecessor with even better audio performance, improved microphone performance, as well as increased comfort and durability. No matter how long the gaming session and no matter how intense the action gets, the GSP 600 lets you keep cool and in control. It features a range of ergonomic enhancements that include an all-new ear pad design, an innovative adjustable headband to customize contact pressure, new materials and an advanced hinge system for a better fit.

The new GSP 600 delivers a truly excellent sound performance that shatters expectations of what a gaming headset can do: It features a new and improved speaker system designed and manufactured by Sennheiser, with improved aluminum voice coil speakers that ensure an exceptional audio experience with an increased sub-bass range that powerfully adds impact to games and movies. This warm deep bass never overpowers the well-controlled mid-range and finely detailed high frequencies, for incredible fidelity and realism that lets you hear every detail and react faster.

DeepCool Reveals Electro Limited-Edition Cases and AIO Liquid CPU Cooler

DEEPCOOL, the company that specializes in water-cooled and illuminated cases for the PC enthusiast will use CES 2018 to introduce three exciting new models based on its flagship PC enclosures and cooling solutions. With enhanced styling and color schemes reminiscent of a high end sports car, the three Electro Limited Edition are based on the company's revolutionary QUADSTELLAR enclosure, the versatile NEW ARK 90 and the Captain 240EX RGB For TR4 version.

QUADSTELLAR is the world's first smart PC case has revolutionized conventions by allowing users to customize RGB lighting and heat dissipation systems through an APP. QUADSTELLAR provides a stylish, high-tech housing for the E-ATX mainboard, multiple graphics cards, power supply and cooling components in four independent compartments to eliminate inter-compartment heat dissipation interference to achieve maximum cooling efficiency. The chassis frame is crafted using precision engineered cast aluminium technology. This ensures the case has rigidity and overall quality while keeping the weight down. QUADSTELLAR accommodates a wide range of lighting, cooling and thermal control components and these features are highlighted in the Electro Limited Edition. Only 100 pieces of QUADSTELLAR Electro Limited Edition will be made available in May, 2018.

Toshiba Refreshes Canvio Portable Hard Drive Line

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), a committed technology leader, announces the latest additions to its line of portable hard drive solutions for personal storage, the CANVIO PREMIUM, ADVANCE and BASICS models, offering flexible capacity ranging from 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 3TB options. Although the models may differ in materials and features, the CANVIO line brings a unified design of flat and rounded devices thanks to the new 1TB-per-platter technology.

The CANVIO PREMIUM series offers versatile connectivity in a stylish design with an aluminum finish and diamond-cut edges in silver metallic. The device is easy to store with the thinness body and give it a sharper look. It is accompanied by a USB Type-A to USB Type-C2 adapter that can be inserted in any orientation for easy connectivity to everything from notebooks to high-end desktop PCs. The 2TB devices in the Premium line have a 13.5mm profile, 5.5mm slimmer than the previous model. The 1TB devices also have a 13.5mm profile and the 3TB devices have a 19mm profile.

MSI Releases Motherboard BIOS Updates Addressing Recent CPU Vulnerabilities

MSI, one of the world leading motherboard developers, has been working swift on solutions ever since receiving a formal notice from Intel stating that the current Intel microcode version might be subject to recently identified security vulnerabilities. To ensure any system powered by MSI Z370-series motherboards is operating securely, Intel and MSI have been working around the clock to prepare updated microcode and release new BIOS updates, which are now available for download. More information from Intel on the updated microcode can be found here.

MSI strongly recommends its users to update their systems by downloading and applying the latest BIOS. It is recommended to review Intel's Security Advisory, for more information, including appropriate identification and mitigation measures. Furthermore, MSI is preparing updates for its X299-series, 200-series, 100-series and X99-series motherboards. For these platforms, BIOS versions containing similar security patches are expected to be ready very soon. Keep an eye on the product pages to check for their availability.

Cooler Master Continues to Redefine Liquid and Air Cooling

Cooler Master with 25 years of innovation in thermal design and production, unveils a wide range of cooling products that is set to redefine liquid and air cooling. There is the revolutionary design in heat transfer with the Heat Column that allows exceptional performance in low-profile coolers. Smart features such as thermal detection and addressable RGB LED in liquid and air coolers offer users many options from Cooler Master. And increase co-development cooling products, puts Cooler Master at the forefront of thermal design.

Break-Through Design in Heat Transfer for MasterAir G100M
The revolutionary unified design of the Heat Column combines the contact with the CPU with thermal conductivity and phase transition. The entire block of Heat Column (Ø41.2) is able to transfer a massive amount of heat away from the CPU in the shortest distance possible. This break-through design enables low profile design of the MasterAir G100M to reach TDP of 130W that matches performance of traditional heatsinks.

NETGEAR Expands Industry-First Portfolio of 5-Speed Networking Switches

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of networking devices that power today's smart home and small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), is expanding its family of industry-first 5-speed Multi-Gigabit switching products first introduced last quarter.

The new NETGEAR 5-Speed switches operate at 100Mbps, 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, or 10Gbps. Through an intuitive interface, the Multi-Gigabit switches provide easy, reliable and affordable connectivity with granular per-port bandwidth control and traffic monitoring without needing to install expensive new cabling to alleviate speed barriers. The five speeds per Ethernet port make them the most flexible and affordable 10-Gigabit/Multi-Gigabit switches in the market.
  • XS512EM 12-Port XS512EM 12-Port 10-Gigabit/Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Smart Managed Plus Switch with 2 SFP+ Ports, Desktop and Rackmount- $899.99
  • XS724EM 24-Port XS724EM 24-Port 10-Gigabit/Multi-Gigabit Ethernet Smart Managed Plus Switch with 2 SFP+ Ports, Rackmount- $1,699.99

NETGEAR Introduces All-New Nighthawk Pro Gaming Line

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of networking devices that power today's smart home, is launching two new products this week during CES 2018 in Las Vegas that amp up your gameplay - Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi Router (XR500) and Nighthawk Pro Gaming SX10 10G/Multi-Gig LAN Switch (GS810EMX) Nighthawk Pro Gaming SX10 10G/Multi-Gig LAN Switch (GS810EMX). Whether you're online gaming, hosting a LAN party, or streaming high-definition content, the new NETGEAR Pro Gaming products will take your network to a whole new level of speed, performance, personalization and control.

Gamers are looking for every advantage to maximize their ability to thrive in their online multiplayer game of choice. Regardless of whether you are a serious or casual gamer on either a console or PC, the Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router XR500 and the Nighthawk Pro Gaming Switch SX10 will give you greater command over who you play with and prevent unwanted interruptions, giving you the ability to level up your gameplay.

EDGE Memory Also Announces Launch of NextGen M.2 PCIe SSD

EDGE Memory, a leading U.S.-based supplier of memory and storage upgrades, is announcing the NextGen M.2 PCIe 2280 SSD, adding a powerful PCIe NVMe based solid state drive solution to its product portfolio.

With transfers speeds up to 3.2GB/s and an IOPS rating of up to 370,000, the NextGen SSD is set to be one of the fastest drives available on the market. Powered by a Silicon Motion based SM2262 controller and a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.3 interface, this drive delivers incredible performance. NextGen M.2 SSDs provide the advanced features and speeds to satisfy the needs of enthusiasts and power users everywhere.

EDGE Memory Announces Launch of CLX600 Line at CES 2018

EDGE Memory, a leading U.S.-based supplier of memory and storage upgrades, is announcing their CLX600 line of SSDs with M.2 2280, MO-300/mSATA, and 1.8" SATA 6Gb/s models.

Featuring a combination of performance, reliability, and low power consumption, CLX600 SSDs are the ideal choice for system integrators. The M.2 and mSATA models provide impressive throughput, with up to 500MB/s transfer rate and transactional performance that reaches up to 59,000 IOPS. The CLX600 1.8" SSD can achieve transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s and up to 76,000 IOPS. CLX600 SSDs provide ultra-efficient block management to protect data and enhance endurance. These drives deliver leading edge performance and reliability for the most demanding power users, while low power modes extend battery life for road warriors.

Thermaltake New Pacific CL Copper Radiators Series - 7 New Liquid Cooling Assets

Thermaltake, a leading brand in PC cooling solutions, today released the latest copper radiator lineup - Pacific CL360, Pacific CL420 and Pacific CL480 along with 7 most advanced liquid cooling products at CES 2018, located at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9 th (Tue) to 12 th (Fri). Avaliable in 360mm, 420mm and 480mm, the Pacific CL Series utilize an extremely thick radiator with copper, brass fins, and stainless steel made side panels to reduce the weight and assure the best cooling capacity and durability.

The integrated G1/4" threads are optimized for easy installation while rigid connections ensure leak-resistant measures are in place. The following are 7 new cooling products displayed at the booth. The Pacific C-PRO 16mm OD Compression Fitting is custom made to simplify the installation of PETG tubing, and is available in 6 different colors. The Tt Premium Ice Blue UV Concentrate Coolant is a ready-to-mix and UV reactive blue dye for Thermaltake C1000 series coolants. The Pacific M4 RGB CPU Water Block is a 256-color RGB waterblock designed for the ASUS X299 TUF MARK I/MARK II motherboards and ASUS Aura Sync, along with three water cooling kits - Pacific M360 Plus Liquid Cooling Kit, Pacific M360 Liquid Cooling Kit and Pacific M240 Liquid Cooling Kit. All the products will be available on TT Premium online shops soon. The product availability and price vary by country and region, please contact the local Thermaltake sales representative for further information.

Phanteks Unveils Glacier C350iP and C350AP Water Blocks with Acetal Tops

Phanteks showed off premium versions of its latest Glacier C300-series CPU water blocks, with the Glacier C350iP and the Glacier C350AP. The two are nearly identical to each other, but differ with their CPU socket support, with the former supporting Intel LGA115x and LGA2011(v3)/LGA2066; and the latter supporting just AM4. These blocks themselves are identical to the Glacier C350-series, but come with acetal tops. The gunmetal-gray top replaces the clear-acrylic ones on the standard C350-series blocks, such as the C350a and C350i. The cold plate material is still nickel-plated copper, with mirror finish at the base. Both blocks are priced at USD $69.99, which is surprisingly $10 cheaper than their acrylic twins.

Phanteks' Four New RGB LED Products Dazzle

At its 2018 International CES booth, Phanteks showed off four new RGB LED product lines, beginning with the Digital RGB Controller and Digital RGB Expansion Hub. The Digital RGB Controller lets you put out three RGB headers with a manual control pod that gives you color, brightness, and light modes with a 3-button wired remote pod. You can also connect this controller to a USB header for software control (via Aura Sync, Mystic Light, etc.). The RGB/D-RGB Expansion Hub lets you connect an addition four RGB headers by taking in two upstream inputs (D-RGB and RGB), and power from SATA-power. You can expand up to 5 meters of RGB LED-strips, and connect up to 8 D-RGB products from Phanteks.

The company also unveiled 40 cm long RGB LED strips that come with 30 diodes, each. These strips come with 3M adhesive tape on one side, and silicone casing on the other, and are rated by its makers to be water-resistant. Each pack of the Digital-RGB LED strip comes with two 40 cm strips, which each take in standardized D-RGB inputs. Lastly, there's the Halos Lux RGB digital fan frame, which lets you convert any 120 mm fan into an RGB LED-lit fan, so you can light up your favorite (and expensive) SanAces or Noctuas. You attach the frame ideally along the intake end of your fan, and bolt it in place. 30 diodes project a smoothly transitioning lighting onto your impeller. The body of the frame is made of aluminium. It takes in standardized D-RGB input. The RGB/D-RGB controller hub is priced at USD $24.99, the RGB/D-RGB Expansion hub at $19.99, the Halos Lux Digital 120/140 at $$19.99/21.99, respectively; and LED strips (pack of 2) at $19.99.

Phanteks Eclipse P300 and Eclipse P350X Cases Pictured

Phanteks is planning to make its flagship Eclipse line of cases more affordable this year, with the introduction of two entry-level models, the Eclipse P300 and the Eclipse P350X. Both are ATX mid-towers with more subdued styling than the P400-series, without any apparent compromise on build quality. The Eclipse P300 features a full-metal construction, with steel (and not ABS) even making up the front panel. The side panel features a tempered-glass panel over the upper compartment of its contemporary horizontal dual-partitioned layout. There are three new color variants of the P300, as pictured below.

Storage areas include two each 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drive bays. Ventilation includes two 140/120 mm front intakes, two 120 mm or one 140 mm top exhaust, and a rear 120 mm exhaust. You can mount 280 mm x 140 mm or 240 mm x 120 mm radiators along the front panel, and 240 mm x 120 mm or 140 mm x 140 mm ones up top. The Eclipse P350X is a more upscale sibling of the P300, and is positioned between the P300 and the P400. It comes in a special all-black color, and RGB LED lighting, which takes input from standardized headers and supports ASUS Aura Sync RGB and MSI Mystic Light software. The Eclipse P300 new color variants is expected to be priced at USD $59.99, while the P350X is expected to go for $69.99.

Phanteks Revolt X and Revolt Pro Power Supplies Pictured

Phanteks at its 2018 International CES booth treated us with a big selection of new wares, beginning with the new Revolt X and Revolt Pro power-supply series. The Revolt X model on display is 1200W (model: PH-P1200PS). Revolt X are high-end, fully-modular PSUs, with cabling to power two individual systems. You get two 24-pin ATX cables, three 8-pin EPS, and a total of eight 6+2 pin PCIe power connectors. You also get a total of eight SATA power, three Molex, and one Berg. The power supply turns on when either of the two 24-pin connector shorts the power cable, and turns off when neither of the two is drawing power, so you get the freedom to use two individual machines within one case.

Under the hood, the Revolt X features a single +12V rail design, with a single 100A rail. The unit boasts of 80 Plus Platinum efficiency, micro-tolerance load regulation, a hybrid fan control (fan stays off below a temperature threshold); active PFC, and most common electrical protections, against over/under voltage, overload, short-circuit, and overheat. The Revolt Pro is the antithesis of the idea behind the Revolt X. While the Revolt X is designed to power two individual machines within one box, the Revolt Pro is designed to work in teams of two to power one machine, for redundancy and power output increase. You power two machines with one Revolt X (convenience, less clutter), while you power one machine with two Revolt Pro's (redundancy, more power).

Mushkin Triactor 3DX and 3DL SATA SSDs Detailed

Mushkin updated its Triactor line of mainstream SATA SSDs with the new Triactor 3DX and 3DL. The "3D" symbolizes 3D NAND flash, in this case, 3D TLC NAND flash, mated to a Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. The drive comes in sizes of 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 565 MB/s reads, with up to 530 MB/s writes, and 4K random access performance of up to 100,000/91,000 IOPS (read/write). The Triactor 3DX is built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, while the Triactor 3DL is built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface.

Mushkin Shows Off its Helix-L and Pilot M.2 NVMe SSDs

Mushkin showed off its Helix-L cost-effective M.2 NVMe SSD. The company also showed off the slightly faster Pilot M.2 NVMe drive. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the Helix-L combines a Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities ranging between 120 GB and 1 TB. The drive's rated performance matches the controller's maximum rated performance numbers, which stand at up to 2400 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1700 MB/s sequential writes, up to 280,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 250,000 IOPS maximum writes.

The Pilot, on the other hand, combines the faster Silicon Motion SM2262 controller, with 3D TLC NAND flash over 8 channels, and is cushioned by a DRAM cache, which together push its performance to up to 3200 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 1900 MB/s sequential writes; and 4K random access performance figures of 370,000/300,000 IOPS (reads/writes). It comes in capacities ranging between 240 GB and 2 TB. Both drives support the latest NVMe 1.3 specification, and are backed by 3-year warranties.

HP Omen X 65 Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD) Pictured

NVIDIA this CES is pushing for a new large-format PC display standard called "Big Format Gaming Display" (BFGD). This is a glorified 4K-HDR living room TV (40-inch and above) that's been tweaked for gaming desktops with G-SYNC-HDR hardware, an NVIDIA Shield in place of the TV's in-built Android-based "Smart TV" OS, and 110-ish ppi pixel-density of conventional monitors, so no software-based HiDPI scaling is necessary. The logic behind BFGD is either more desktop immersion, or better quality living-room gaming.

HP showed off the HP Omen X 65, a massive 65-inch television monitor with 4K Ultra HD resolution, support for HDR10 (1,000 nits brightness), 120 Hz maximum refresh-rate, support for NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR, and an in-built NVIDIA Shield, which you can use for on-demand content, game-streaming from your main gaming rig in another room, or even casual gaming from the Shield library. Somebody forgot to pack its power-brick. Thankfully, any ATX PSU can put out 12 VDC, and the booth staff improvised. Since NVIDIA is targeting this device at serious gamers, expect the Omen X 65 to cost a pretty penny more than that 65-inch 4K HDR TV you probably bought last Black Friday.

NVIDIA Quadro GV100 Surfaces in Latest NVFlash Binary

NVIDIA could be giving final touches to its Quadro GV100 "Volta" professional graphics card, after the surprise late-2017 launch of the NVIDIA TITAN V. The card was found listed in the binary view of the latest version of NVFlash (v5.427.0), the most popular NVIDIA graphics card BIOS extraction and flashing utility. Since its feature-set upgrade to the TITAN Xp through newer drivers, NVIDIA has given the TITAN family of graphics cards a quasi-professional differentiation from its GeForce GTX family.

The Quadro family still has the most professional features, software certifications, and are sought after by big companies into graphics design, media, animation, architecture, resource exploration, etc. The Quadro GV100 could hence yet be more feature-rich than the TITAN V. With its GV100 silicon, NVIDIA is using a common ASIC and board design for its Tesla V100 PCIe add-in card variants, the TITAN V, and the Quadro GV100. While the company endowed the TITAN V with 12 GB of HBM2 memory using 3 out of 4 memory stacks the ASIC is capable of holding; there's an opportunity for NVIDIA to differentiate the Quadro GV100 by giving it that 4th memory stack, and 16 GB of total memory. You can download the latest version of NVFlash here.

ASRock Intros Ultra Quad M.2 Card

ASRock introduced the Ultra Quad M.2 Card, an add-on card that lets you easily set up an M.2 NVMe RAID array with up to four drives with 32 Gbps bandwidth for each drive. In principle, this product does exactly what ASUS Hyper M.2 x16 Riser card does, but better. The first benefit is shorter traces- while the ASUS card has M.2 slots arranged horizontally along the plane of the card, with the topmost slot being farthest away from the PCI-Express interface, the ASRock card has them arranged diagonally, in a way that ensures each slot is close to the PCIe bus. ASRock also claims better thermals with a larger 50 mm fan (vs. 40 mm of the ASUS card) and longer thermal pads (110 mm vs 80 mm), power stability with a 6-pin PCIe power input, and software control over the fan. The card supports NVMe RAID on both Intel X299 and AMD X399 platforms. The card is expected to be priced around USD $69.99.
ASRock presentation slides follow.
Tuesday, January 9th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
PSUs
Cougar Immersa Pro

Cougar Immersa Pro

The $80 Cougar Immersa Pro is the successor to the well-known and well-liked Immersa, one of the most popular $50 gaming headsets on the market. Even though it looks and feels almost the same, it comes with its own sound card, an RGB lighting system, and bigger speaker drivers that are tuned quite differently than those of the original Immersa.

SteelSeries Announces Rival 600 Gaming Mouse

Today, SteelSeries announces a new innovation in gaming sensor technology with the Rival 600 gaming mouse and TrueMove3+ dual sensor system. Unveiled at CES 2018, the TrueMove3+ dual sensor system features the SteelSeries TrueMove3 as its primary sensor, but also features a second optical sensor that exclusively tracks lift-off distance. The Rival 600 is a gaming mouse designed for competitive gamers who want the most accurate sensor available and unlimited physical and technical customization options. This technology removes all possibility of jitter and cursor disparity on liftoff movements and offers the lowest lift-off distance in the market.

"This is a breakthrough in gaming mouse sensor technology," said SteelSeries CEO, Ehtisham Rabbani. "We took a massive leap forward in sensor innovation with Pixart with the TrueMove3 sensor in the Rival 310 and Sensei 310. Now we're taking that innovation even further by combining the true 1-to-1 tracking of the TrueMove3 with a second optical sensor for precision. It's the only dual optical sensor system in the world that can offer this level of precision and accuracy of movement."

ADATA Shows Off XPG SX8200 and IM2P33F8 M.2 NVMe 1.3 SSDs

ADATA showed off its latest M.2 NVMe SSDs that support the latest NVMe 1.3 specification, and are based on some of the newer generation controllers, beginning with the XPG SX8200. This drive combines Silicon Motion SM2262 controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB. The drive offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3200 MB/s reads, with up to 1700 MB/s writes; and features SLC caching, an LPDC ECC engine, and an internal RAID engine.

The ADATA XPG SX8200 is designed to succeed the XPG SX8000, which is second-fiddle to the company's fastest XPG SX9000-series, and competes with the likes of Samsung 960 EVO series. The ADATA IM2P33F8 implements Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller, which is DRAM-less and has just four flash channels. The drive offers sequential speeds of up to 2400 MB/s reads, with up to 1700 MB/s writes; and comes in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB.

ADATA Shows Off "Project Jellyfish:" A Mineral-oil Based DIMM Heatspreader

ADATA at its 2018 International CES booth showed off a prototype titled "Project Jellyfish." This is a proof-of-concept that memory modules can be cooled with a "liquid heatsink" made of mineral oil, an electrically non-conductive liquid that can conduct some heat, and is used in oil immersed PCs, and to cool large transformers in power distribution grids. In its current iteration, Project Jellyfish is simply a small acrylic tank enclosing a DIMM, that has some mineral oil filled in it. This amount of oil can at best spread some heat, but with the lack of any visible metal heatsink, it remains to be seen by how much it lowers temperatures. This isn't an actual product, and so there's no timeline on when it's implemented on one.

ADATA Shows off XPG Storm RGB M.2 SSD Heatsink

Thermal throttling is a big problem for M.2 NVMe SSDs, with drives losing up to 30 percent in sequential transfer rates when overheated. ADATA, with an M.2 SSD product spanning nearly all price-points, is taking the issue of throttling heat-on with its XPG Storm RGB M.2 SSD heatsink. The cooler consists of a chunky aluminium heatsink with coverage area for M.2-2280 drives, a tiny lateral-blower fan, and a cooler shroud with RGB LED lighting. ADATA claims the heatsink reduces temperatures by up to 25 percent.

Its RGB LED lighting supports standard headers, and can be controlled using standardized software such as ASUS Aura Sync RGB, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light RGB, etc. Unfortunately, the heatsink appears to add Z-height that makes it unfit for M.2 slots located between PCI-Express add-on card slots. At best they're suited for boards with M.2 slots above the topmost heatsink, or just south of the PCH heatsink. The heatsink relies on adhesive thermal-pads and its installation is tool-free

HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB Memory Pictured Up Close

A quick walk back through Kingston's HyperX booth showed us the company's innovative new HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB memory in action. These memory modules feature IR (infrared) sensors that let them talk to their neighboring modules, to synchronize RGB lighting, and letting you transition your RGB lighting effects across multiple modules. This takes away the need for wired connections to the motherboard for software control.

AMD Shows Off Ryzen Mobile Products at Its CES 2018 Booth

AMD took to CES 2018 with a smattering of partner products and designs that take advantage of the company's mobile implementation of its Ryzen CPUs (and ZEN architecture). At its CES 2018 booth, AMD showcased products from HP and Lenovo, and our lucky coverage agents even managed to catch AMD CEO, Lisa Su, in her visit/inspection to her company's CES 2018 presence (extra Easter-egg after the break).

The products on display included one HP AIO, one Dell AIO, one HP and one Lenovo laptop, as well as pre-built systems from the likes of Dell (under its own brand and the Alienware brand) and Lenovo. The HP Pavilion AIO 24 makes use of AMD's Ryzen Mobile 2500U with Radeon Vega 8 graphics, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2 TB HDD. The other AIO in the house, a Dell Inspiron 7775, packs a desktop-class Ryzen 7 1700, discrete Radeon RX 580 graphics, 16 GB of DDR4 memory, a 256 GB SSD, and a 1 TB HDD for all your storage needs.

Intel Chip Flaw Meltdown Prompts Company Reorganization, Internal Security Group

Intel CEO Brian Kzarnich announced on Monday to its employees that as part of the company's continued strife towards better communication and consideration of its customers, the creation of a new internal group was necessary. The move comes after considerable media and tech industry turmoil after news broke out on Intel's 10-year product stack being almost completely vulnerable to some specific exploits. The Intel Product Assurance and Security group will be headed by Intel HR chief Leslie Culbertson, who will have on her team the former Vice President and General manager of Intel's New Technology Group, Josh Walden, who was, alongside Steve Smith, Intel Vice President and General Manager of its Data Center Engineering group, pulled from his current functions to work under Culbertson.

"It is critical that we continue to work with the industry, to excel at customer satisfaction, to act with uncompromising integrity, and to achieve the highest standards of excellences," Krzanich told employees in a memo Monday, obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive. "Simply put, I want to ensure we continue to respond appropriately, diligently, and with a customer-first attitude."

Intel Advances Quantum and Neuromorphic Computing Research

Today at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel announced two major milestones in its efforts to research and develop future computing technologies including quantum and neuromorphic computing, which have the potential to help industries, research institutions and society solve problems that currently overwhelm today's classical computers.

During his keynote address, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the successful design, fabrication and delivery of a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The keynote also noted the promise of neuromorphic computing.

HTC Announces The VIVE Pro VR Headset

HTC took to CES 2018 to announce the next iteration in immersive VR with the VIVE Pro VR headset. The new Vive Pro boasts of much increased per-eye resolution (1440 x 1600 per eye compared to the original VIVE's 1080 x 1200 pixels). Furthermore, the new Vive Pro abandons the 90 Hz LCD technology and makes the move to AMOLED technology for its panels, which keep the 90 Hz refresh rate of the LCD screens with much higher pixel density and image fidelity.

Dell Pushes Boundaries with New PCs, Software, and Partnerships at CES 2018

At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Dell is unveiling a suite of elegant new products and software to address the myriad ways people play and work. In addition to revealing some of the world's most beautiful devices, Dell will highlight incredible hidden innovations within these products designed to improve performance, functionality and the overall user experience.

"At Dell, innovation never sleeps. We're passionate about creating technology that expands the boundaries of what's possible," explains Sam Burd, president, Client Solutions Group, Dell. "With Dell, the incredible product design you see on the outside makes for gorgeous machines, but one of our most striking advantages comes from the innovation within. Beauty and brawn lurk beneath those beautiful exteriors, revolutionizing and redefining personal computing, and giving people experiences they want - and some they've never dreamed possible."

Wi-Fi Alliance Confirms WPA3 Arrival Later This Year

Wi-Fi Alliance introduces enhancements and new features for Wi-Fi Protected Access, the essential family of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED security technologies for more than a decade. Wi-Fi Alliance is launching configuration, authentication, and encryption enhancements across its portfolio to ensure Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices continue to implement state of the art security protections.

WPA2 provides reliable security used in billions of Wi-Fi devices every day, and will continue to be deployed in Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices for the foreseeable future. Wi-Fi Alliance will continue enhancing WPA2 to ensure it delivers strong security protections to Wi-Fi users as the security landscape evolves. Advanced Wi-Fi applications will rely on WPA2 with Protected Management Frames, broadly adopted in the current generation of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices, to maintain the resiliency of mission-critical networks. New testing enhancements will also reduce the potential for vulnerabilities due to network misconfiguration, and further safeguard managed networks with centralized authentication services.

Crucial Launches the MX500 Solid State Drive

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today announced the availability of the Crucial MX500 SSD. The new drive features second generation Micron 3D NAND technology and is 45 times more energy efficient than a typical hard drive. Available in capacities up to 2TB in the 2.5-inch form factor and up to 1TB in the M.2 form factor, the MX500 has sequential reads/writes up to 560/510 MB/s and random reads/writes up to 95K/90K IOPS.

"This next generation MX500 SSD features a stackable 64-layer, 256-gigabit component. Micron's floating gate NAND is designed with CMOS Under the Array (CUA), which allows us to minimize the footprint of the die. At 59 square millimeters, it's among the world's smallest 256-gigabit die," said Jon Tanguy, Crucial Senior SSD Product Engineer. "Our engineering team has incorporated this leading-edge NAND technology in an SSD that includes all the advanced features Crucial customers have come to expect to keep their data safe."

Sennheiser Sets New Audiophile Standard with Launch of HD 820 Headphones

Sennheiser is redefining the limits of audiophile sound - with the new HD 820 which will first be showcased at CES. The closed-back dynamic stereo headphones deliver astonishingly transparent sound, thanks to a unique glass transducer cover that minimizes resonances - an innovation that ensures an incredibly realistic and natural sound field. With a more than 70-year history of setting performance standards in sound, Sennheiser is once again redrawing the map with the creation of the HD 820. The new circumaural dynamic stereo headphones shatter expectations of what was thought possible from a closed-back model and set a new benchmark in sound quality for this type of design.

"Whether on the move, at work or at home, the passionate audiophile will always want to appreciate their music to the full," said Axel Grell, Portfolio Management Consumer at Sennheiser. "Usually, high-end headphones require an open-back design, which has placed limits on where you can enjoy true audiophile sound. The HD 820 is a game changer that delivers exceptional sound while insulating the listener from their environment. I consider them to be the most transparent-sounding closed-back headphones in the world."

Cooler Master Announces a Plethora of New Cases

Cooler Master, a Taipei-based leader in designing and manufacturing computer components and gaming peripherals, announces their latest additions to the MasterCase and MasterBox series, as well as the refresh of the iconic Trooper SE and Stryker SE cases.

MasterCase H500M
Looks meet performance with the MasterCase H500M. Equipped with two, different, front panels the H500M allows users to swap between a mesh styled panel or a combination mesh and tempered glass panel, depending on preference for look or function. The mesh front panel supplies two 200mm addressable RGB fans with maximum airflow while the tempered glass option prioritizes aesthetics and compliments the rugged bar structure. The windowed PSU cover, cable covers, and support for radiators up to 360mm makes this case a perfect fit for any evolving dream build. Additionally, the front I/O of the MasterCase H500M is equipped with a Type-C USB port, four USB 3.0 ports and two 3.5mm jacks allowing users to connect all their devices without having to search for the needed space.

Razer Unveils Project Linda: Android Laptop/Phone Hybrid Concept

Razer, the leading lifestyle brand for gamers, today revealed "Project Linda," a 13.3-inch laptop design powered by the Android-based Razer Phone. The smartphone and laptop hybrid concept harkens a new era for mobile personal computing, blending the familiar Android environment with the ease-of-use of a laptop. As one of the few companies in the world to straddle user interfaces, laptops and smartphones, Project Linda is a groundbreaking concept that blurs the lines between the smartphone and the laptop.

Razer's Project Linda laptop seamlessly docks the Razer Phone inside its chassis where a touchpad would normally reside, and connects with the press of a button. The phone's Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform and 8 GB of RAM deliver responsive performance, instantly transforming Project Linda into an Android laptop. The Razer Phone 5.7-inch display can be used as a touchpad, or as a second screen for access to apps, tools, and more.

Razer Launches New Nommo Speaker Line

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced a new speaker line for PCs, the Razer Nommo and Nommo Pro. The Nommo Pro is a no- compromise, THX Certified, 2.1 speaker system with Dolby Virtual Speaker technology for gaming immersion. The Razer Nommo a 2.0 speaker system is a price-performing alternative for balanced, full-range sound.

The Nommo speaker range was engineered to aid gamers with sensing environmental factors. The entire range features accurate positional audio using true left and right stereo imaging to help ensure gamers know exactly where sounds are coming from for quicker more accurate response. Additionally the Nommo Pro features Independent Tweeters for enhanced highs to catch minute details in gaming audio.

Philips Lighting and Razer Join Forces to Create Immersive Gaming Experience

Philips Lighting, the world leader in lighting, today announced its first partnership for Philips Hue Entertainment with Razer, the world's leading lifestyle brand for gamers. To provide gamers with a new level of spatial immersion, the companies have integrated the Philips Hue Entertainment API and tools with the Razer Chroma lighting ecosystem.

Gamers will be able to sync their Philips Hue color-capable smart lighting with their Razer Chroma-enabled devices, including laptops, keyboards, mice and mousepads, and enjoy light effects that enhance their gameplay and content. Game developers will be able to create lighting effects that change dynamically during gameplay. Gamers can already enjoy these in-game lighting effects when playing "Overwatch," "Quake Champions" and other popular games.

Lenovo Reveals Latest Miix 630 2-in-1 Detachable

This CES 2018, we're teaming up with Qualcomm and Microsoft to bring mobile computing to consumers in a whole new way. Meet the new Miix 630, Lenovo's latest Windows 10 S 2-in-1 detachable that gives you the power and productivity of a laptop with the always on, always connected mobility of a smartphone. This isn't just Wi-Fi. We're talking about true anytime, anywhere mobility - with integrated 4G LTE so you don't have to just rely on finding a Wi-Fi hotspot. Now you can have the instant-on, whisper-quiet operation of a smartphone in the form of a versatile 2-in-1 detachable with a full-sized keyboard and digital pen included.

Razer Solves Wireless Gaming Mice' Biggest Put Off: Weight

Razer 2018 International CES, demonstrated its solution to the biggest complaint serious gamers have with wireless gaming mice - their weight. Wireless mice run on batteries, and even if not bulky AAA ones, the relatively lighter lithium ion batteries in some of the more expensive wireless mice still add unnecessary weight that affects gameplay, particularly in games that demand rapid mouse movements. This isn't that much of a problem for non-gamers. Razer's solution to the problem is an implementation of electromagnetic induction, the same phenomenon that enables things like wireless charging, transformers, and modern human civilization to function.

The new Razer Mamba HyperFlux is a two-piece product - first is the mouse itself, that looks like a Razer Mamba, one of the company's most popular ambidextrous gaming mice; and second - the Razer Firefly HyperFlux mousepad. This is a medium-size, 4:3 cloth mousepad, which has an induction coil underneath. The surface is detachable (for cleaning). The mousepad plugs into one of your USB ports for power, while the mouse talks to your PC over a wireless USB dongle. The mouse needs this particular mousepad to function, which sparks an interesting debate on the logic behind this product.

Digital Storm Unveils Project SPARK Gaming PCs

Digital Storm is proud to announce Project SPARK, our smallest enthusiast-class PC to date. With a custom hardline liquid cooling system, SPARK effortlessly delivers an unparalleled level of performance featuring up to NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics and an Intel Core-i7 8700K processor.

SPARK redefines custom PCs by delivering the performance of a full-size desktop at a quarter of the size. Built upon a new Micro STX platform, the processor, graphics card, memory, and storage drives are all fully upgradable, despite its micro size. "We've always wanted to design and build a PC that raises the bar in terms of performance-per-square-inch and cooling," said Harjit Chana, Digital Storm's Founder, "advances in motherboard design have finally allowed us to make this goal a reality for our customers."

Sennheiser Introduces the CX 6.00BT Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones

At CES 2018, audio specialist Sennheiser introduces the CX 6.00BT, new Bluetooth in-ear headphones that let you enjoy brilliant sound on the go. The CX 6.00BT features ear-canal earbuds joined by a cable around the neck - a lightweight design that is compact yet robust and provides superior fit and comfort. Powered by Sennheiser's high-quality proprietary speaker system, the CX 6.00BT delivers clear, detailed sound with an enhanced bass response. Thanks to Bluetooth 4.2 and Qualcomm apt-X, it is possible to enjoy this uncompromised wireless audio performance to the full. Qualcomm apt-X Low Latency compatibility also enhances gaming or video viewing by keeping the audio transmission perfectly in sync with the visuals.

"We have created the CX 6.00BT to deliver everything you need to enjoy excellent sound on the go," said Nan Chen, Product Manager at Sennheiser. "Thanks to the latest wireless technologies you can enjoy this unspoilt audio experience with the flexibility of supremely compact, lightweight and comfortable Bluetooth headphones."

Seagate Shows Off New Mobile Data Storage Solutions at CES 2018

Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in data storage solutions, today announced a range of new products at the CES 2018 conference designed to equip the world's increasingly mobile population with solutions that solve key challenges they face when creating, processing and accessing their data on-the-go.

"Our world is becoming more data-centric, connected and mobile. This means creating, transferring, storing and accessing data quickly and reliably is critical to unlocking the potential of everything - from data created in the field, to data powering self-driving cars, AI personal assistants or virtual and mixed reality experiences," said Tim Bucher, senior vice president of Seagate consumer solutions. "At Seagate, we're constantly pursuing innovative ways to address our customer needs so they can gain a competitive edge in whichever field they play."

Easily Build a Quiet and Gorgeous System with NZXT's N7 Z370 Motherboard

NZXT today announces the N7 Z370, its first motherboard. Built around Intel's Z370 chipset, the N7 delivers everything you need to build a powerful, gorgeous gaming PC right out-of-the-box. All the essentials are included, along with a built-in digital fan controller and integrated RGB lighting channels. The all-metal motherboard cover perfectly matches the color and finish of your case, creating a visually seamless backdrop for your components. Using NZXT's CAM software, you have full control over your system's lighting, cooling, and performance.

"Leveraging our years of experience as professional PC builders, we've designed the N7 motherboard with a completely new approach. In the face of increasing complexity in the PC gaming market, we want to make building easier and more enjoyable, with the N7 as a cornerstone for this new experience. Everything you need--from easy layout and obvious connections to digital fan control and RGB lighting--is included. We've also designed a completely unique motherboard cover so it's both beautiful and powerful. You can't build a quieter, better-looking system as easily as you can with our new N7 motherboard." says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO.

Vertagear Unveils the World's First Wireless LED/RGB Gaming Chair

We're announcing the world's first wireless LED gaming chair, the Vertagear PL4500, at this year's Consumer Electronic Show (CES). We're breaking new ground and giving gamers what they've been asking for, further merging the world of technology and gaming chairs. The PL4500 LED lights include wireless control; audio syncing; full spectrum RGB lighting; individual channel control; and phone and PC applications for customization.

Shuttle PC Announces XH110G 3-liter Mini-PC with Room for Four 2.5-inch Drives

3-litre PCs are among the most flexible models in the wide array of space-saving computers. They can be equipped with powerful desktop processors and lots of memory while offering convenient ports on both the front and back. Shuttle has now set itself the goal of making such devices even more versatile. The recent release of the XH110G featured a 3-litre PC with a fully-fledged PCI Express x16 slot. This was preceded by a 3-litre PC with eight serial interfaces and now there is a 3-litre PC with space for four hard disks or SSDs.

Going by the name XH270, the Mini-PC manufacturer today rolls out a model which, despite its overall height of just 72 mm, can accommodate up to four 2.5" drives (hard disks or SSDs). Thanks to RAID support, the drives can be operated in mode 0, 1, 5 or 10. When four drives are installed, each one may be 9.5 mm high, and with two drives a height of even 15 mm is permitted. A U-shaped holder, specifically designed for this model, features stabilisation elements at the sides and so can be mounted securely in the chassis. All required cables are already pre-routed.

Thermaltake New Level 20 Full-Tower Chassis Astounds at CES 2018

Thermaltake, celebrates the upcoming 20th anniversary by announcing the new Level 20 Full Tower Chassis at CES 2018, is located at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9 th (Tue) to 12 th (Fri). The Level 20 is the next generation of the legendary Level 10 Extreme Gaming Chassis, which was released around a decade ago. Within these 10 years, Thermaltake achieved several breakthroughs in terms of design and technology. Featuring a gaming oriented design with architectural aesthetics, the aluminum-made Level 20, utilizes an aerodynamic trio chamber structure to achieve ventilation and space management optimization.

The Three hinged swing-doors are made with premium-quality 4mm thick tempered glass windows that provide durability and superb viewing capability. The Level 20 is installed with latest USB 3.1 Type-C port to provide 10G of transmission speed. Furthermore the Level 20 has three built in Riing Plus 14 RGB Fans and two Lumi Plus LED Strips. This can all be controlled with the included Riing Plus RGB Controller and Riing Plus RGB Software, allowing users to custom control fan speeds and lighting effects. Compatible with the latest PC hardware, AIO and DIY liquid cooling solutions, the commemorative Level 20 delivers not just an unprecedented design but also a jaw dropping performance.

Apacer Announces BLADE FIRE DDR4-3200MHz 64GB Memory

Apacer is pleased to announce its groundbreaking achievement in DDR history, BLADE FIRE DDR4 with heartbeat LED, perfectly for gaming, overclocking, and M.O.D enthusiasts. It is astonishing to see speed at 3200MHz with LED pulsing at 77 beats per minute yet it is still consuming low voltage at 1.35V. It is compatible with Intel & AMD platforms, providing unprecedented performance and energy-saving efficiency. Backed by the world's best technology in industrial memory module and storage, BLADE FIRE DDR4 makes users on fire in the gaming/ overclocking star-war.

The world-class BLADE FIRE DDR4 is an advanced generation of BLADE DDR4 which was published in Feb 2015, featured a sensational armory design on heat spreader as well as LED lights heartbeat effect. The meticulously screened ICs allow the optimized stability and compatibility while playing in the heavy workload games. BLADE FIRE DDR4 is available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities in dual-module package and comes equipped with total capacity of 32GB(16GBx2). The fastest memory kit available is clocked at 3200MHz, and BLADE FIRE DDR4 kits are ranged in four different clock speeds from 2800MHz 1.2V to 3200MHz 1.35V with 16-18-18-38. The XMP 2.0 support for simple overclocking setup delivers instant top-level performance for motherboards with Intel's 100 & 200 Series. Not only low latency for outstanding DDR4 performance but also lower power consumption with less heat and higher reliability provides users the fastest speeds and the highest stability when it comes to gaming and overclocking.

Microsoft Halts Meltdown-Spectre Patches to AMD PCs as Some Turn Unbootable

Microsoft late-Monday halted Meltdown and Spectre security patches to machines running AMD processors, as complaints of machines turning unbootable piled up. Apparently the latest KB4056892 (2018-01) Cumulative Update causes machines with AMD processors (well, chipsets) to refuse to boot. Microsoft has halted distributing patches to PCs running AMD processors, and issued a statement on the matter. In this statement, Microsoft blames AMD for not supplying its engineers with the right documentation to develop their patches (while absolving itself of any blame for not testing its patches on actual AMD-powered machines before releasing them).

"Microsoft has reports of customers with some AMD devices getting into an unbootable state after installing recent Windows operating system security updates," said Microsoft in its statement. "After investigating, Microsoft has determined that some AMD chipsets do not conform to the documentation previously provided to Microsoft to develop the Windows operating system mitigations to protect against the chipset vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown," it added. Microsoft is working with AMD to re-develop, test, and release security updates, on the double.

Update (09/01): AMD responded to this story, its statement posted verbatim is as follows.

ZOTAC Pico PI226 Puts is a Slick Mini PC that Challenges NUCs

At its 2018 CES booth, ZOTAC showed off its smallest mini-PC to date, the Pico PI226. This mini PC is barely bigger than a portable hard drive, but packs a proper Intel x86_64 machine that can run Windows 10. It packs an Intel Celeron N4000-series processor with 4 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of eMMC storage, which can be expanded by up to 256 GB with a microSDXC card. Connectivity includes an HDMI 1.4 display output (via a USB type-C to HDMI dongle that's included); two USB 3.0 type-C ports, 802.11ac Wi-Fi (up to 896 Mbps), and Bluetooth 4.1.

Tesoro Gram TKL Keyboard Pictured, Too

At its CES presentation, Tesoro also showed off its new Gram TKL keyboard. This is a tenkeyless (TKL) variant of the original Gram Spectrum (and not the newer Gram SE Spectrum). A tenkeyless keyboard lacks the NUM pad. The lack of the NUM pad shaves a good 12 cm from its width. Like the Gram Spectrum, it features Tesoro's in-house Agile mechanical switches (in red or white flavors), with 3.5 mm key travel, and 1.5 mm actuation, and 16.7 million-color RGB LED illumination. The rest of its feature-set is identical to that of the Gram Spectrum. Tesoro plans to launch the Gram TKL some time in the first half of 2018, but has not decided upon its pricing, yet. There's also the possibility of a white (body color) variant.

Tesoro Gram XS Keyboard Pictured

Tesoro had a few tricks up its sleeve at CES, and we spotted its latest gaming gear beginning with the now finalized Tesoro Gram XS keyboard. This keyboard retains the essential design of the Gram SPECTRUM, but is compacted in every dimension. Its frame is as thin as possible, the keycaps are flattened (chiclet-type), the overall body is thin (at just 14 mm), and yet it offers the linear or tactile/clicky feedback of conventional mechanical keyboards. The magic happens thanks to the all new TTC low profile mechanical switches that Tesoro say they were involved in the development of. Alongside the new hardware design comes also a revamped software driver featuring a clean aesthetic with user experience improvements throughout. Slated for late-January availability, the Tesoro Gram XS will be priced at USD $149.99.

USB-IF Introduces Fast Charging to Expand its Certified USB Charger Initiative

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced the expansion of its Certified USB Charger Compliance and Logo Program to include Certified USB Fast Chargers. Certified USB Fast Chargers support the Programmable Power Supply (PPS) feature of the USB Power Delivery 3.0 specification.

The USB-IF Certified USB Charger Initiative was first announced in August 2016 to provide a universal charger for the evolving device and computing markets. The Certified USB Charger Initiative aims to increase the reusability and sharing of chargers across all compliant USB Type-C devices, reduce electronic waste in landfills, and provide a reliable and easy to use charging solution for consumers. USB-IF anticipates USB Fast Charging to become the de facto industry standard for charging.

SanDisk Announces New Flash Storage Solutions

At today's Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES 2018), Western Digital unveiled new and breakthrough consumer solutions that address today's personal content explosion, including voice-activated media streaming via popular Smart Home devices, the world's smallest 1TB USB flash drive and a portfolio of ultra-mobile, high-performance, wireless and high-capacity flash storage products. Sold under the SanDisk and WD brands, these offerings ensure that personal experiences and memories can thrive for years to come.

Smartphones, drones, action cameras and virtual reality (VR) goggles are capturing and creating rich content that users want to access and share with friends and followers alike. Innovations in multi-lens cameras, 8K video, 5G wireless, VR, augmented reality (AR) and video streaming are enabling more immersive experiences. As a result, consumers are looking for easier ways to capture, preserve, access and share their personal content as it becomes richer and more robust.

Thermaltake Unveils the New View 91 Tempered Glass RGB Edition

Thermaltake, a leading premium gaming tower manufacturer, announced the immediate availability of the new Thermaltake View 91 Tempered Glass RGB Edition Super Tower Chassis at CES 2018 at the Venetian Hotel Veronese 2402 Suite from January 9th (Tue) to 12th (Fri). Boasting the trio huge 5mm thick tempered glass panels for internal components show-off, the View 91 TG RGB delivers a sleek look to complement its excellent cooling.

Apart from the four built-in 140mm Riing Plus LED RGB Fans, which offer patented 16.8 million colors LED ring, 12 single controllable LEDs, and are digitally PWM controlled through the patented Riing Plus RGB Software, the View 91 TG RGB can accommodate up to two large 200mm fans on top, three 140mm fans at the bottom, while there is still space for up to six 200mm fans inside the enclosure. Speaking of hardware support, this XL-ATX super tower is engineered as a high-end workstation to include a USB 3.1 Type-C port for extra data transfer speed, and has room for up to twelve 3.5"/2.5" HDDs plus "10+2" expansion slots. It supports CPU coolers up to 200mm in height, VGA lengths up to 600mm, and PSU sizes up to 220mm in length, and the latest AIO/DIY liquid cooling solutions.

Aaeon Announces BOXER-6640M Rugged IPC

AAEON, a leading developer of Industry 4.0 solutions, announces the release of the BOXER-6640M embedded Box PC. This feature-rich ruggedized device supports high frames per second (FPS) cameras and dynamic facial recognition software, making it ideal for both machine vision and digital surveillance applications.

"With its combination of nine LAN ports and a 6th or 7th Generation Intel Core Desktop Processor, the BOXER-6640M achieves a level of performance few other systems can match," said system platform division product manager Roy Huang. While it is normal to see PCs fitted with either a powerful processor or a large number of LAN ports, it's rare to find both features on the same machine. The BOXER-6640M also features eight USB 3.0 ports to meet the growing demand for USB camera support.
Monday, January 8th 2018

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
Corsair AXi Series 1600 W

Corsair AXi Series 1600 W

Simply put, the Corsair AX1600i is the best PSU money can buy today. Because of its huge capacity and price tag, it only addresses a small portion of users; those only satisfied with having the best of the best.
Corsair Carbide SPEC-OMEGA

Corsair Carbide SPEC-OMEGA

The Corsair Carbide SPEC-OMEGA takes the stylish "beginner friendly" ALPHA as an inspiration and is a larger variant of that modern and edgy case. It also comes with a higher quality material mix and bit more elaborate design. Available in three colors, it aims to cater to gamers who like the bolder look and more spacious interior.
Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro

Corsair Hydro Series H150i Pro

Corsair looks to reassert their dominance in the all-in-one liquid cooler market with the launch of the H150i Pro. Taking the "go big or go home" approach, it packs an RGB pump block and 360 mm radiator. The cherry on top is the inclusion of Corsair's much vaunted ML series fans.

NVIDIA GeForce 390.65 Driver with Spectre Fix Benchmarked in 21 Games

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have been making many headlines lately. So far, security researchers have identified three variants. Variant 1 (CVE-2017-5753) and Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715) are Spectre, while Variant 3 (CVE-2017-5754) is Meltdown. According to their security bulletin, NVIDIA has no reason to believe that their display driver is affected by Variant 3. In order to strengthen security against Variant 1 and 2, the company released their GeForce 390.65 driver earlier today, so NVIDIA graphics card owners can sleep better at night.

Experience tells us that some software patches come with performance hits, whether we like it or not. We were more than eager to find out if this was the case with NVIDIA's latest GeForce 390.65 driver. Therefore, we took to the task of benchmarking this revision against the previous GeForce 388.71 driver in 21 different games at the 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. We even threw in an Ethereum mining test for good measure. Our test system is powered by an Intel Core i7-8700K processor overclocked to 4.8 GHz, paired with G.Skill Trident-Z 3866 MHz 16 GB memory on an ASUS Maximus X Hero motherboard. We're running the latest BIOS, which includes fixes for Spectre, and Windows 10 64-bit with Fall Creators Update, fully updated, which includes the KB4056891 Meltdown Fix.

Alienware Launches the AW3418HW Monitor on CES 2018: 34", WFHD, 3800R, G-Sync

Alienware today unveiled their latest gaming monitor, the AW3418HW. After you've parsed that seemingly unreadable name/product number, you should know that this monitor features a 38090R curved WFHD (2560x1080) display, with full NVIDIA G-SYNC support. Adding to its gaming chops, G-SYNC enables extra fluidity on the monitor's 144 Hz (stock, overclockable up to at least 160 Hz). The monitor has a pretty aggressive, "gaming" design, which definitely won't agree with all potential customers. However, one thing where the Alienware AW3418HW really is looking towards being a jack of all trades is its connectivity department: 1x Line-out port; 1x USB port with Power Charging; 1x Headphone jack; 1x USB 3.0 port; 1x USB upstream port; 2x USB 3.0 ports; 1x HDMI port; and 1x DisplayPort. Now breathe with me after all those connectivity options. That's it.

Patriot EVLVR Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD to Debut at CES 2018

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions today announced the new addition to their performance SSD line, The EVLVR Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD, offering an evolution in SSD technology.

The EVLVR Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD outpaces the speeds of traditional external SSDs by three-fold. With outstanding speed delivered by the Phison E8 PCIe controller and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, the EVLVR can reach up to 1500MB/s in sequential read and up to 1000MB/s in sequential write speeds. On top of being extremely fast, the EVLVR is also power efficient and does not require any external power supply. Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gb/s, creating one compact port that does it all. With Thunderbolt 3 a single cable now revolutionizes connection technology - simultaneously supporting high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices while also supplying power.

CORSAIR Launches New PSU, Coolers and Case at CES 2018

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components, today launched a range of PC enthusiast products, equipped with a host of new innovations and features to help PC builders create the most incredible systems ever. To power the most amazing PCs, you need the world's most amazing PSU, and the new CORSAIR AX1600i is exactly that. The AX1600i is the only enthusiast PSU to use Gallium Nitride (GaN) transistors, delivering superior efficiency, in a smaller form factor than ever before. 1600W of ultra-stable, ultra-efficient power stands ready with better-than 80 PLUS Titanium efficiency, complete digital monitoring and control using CORSAIR LINK software, and all in a new, smaller, 200mm length size. It's the pinnacle of enthusiast PSUs.

CORSAIR Launches Full Range of Wireless Gaming Peripherals at CES 2018

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components, and high-performance gaming hardware, today announced a complete range of new performance wireless gaming peripherals. Powered by CORSAIR UNPLUG and PLAY wireless technology, the K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard, DARK CORE RGB Wireless Gaming Mouse, and MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad allow PC enthusiasts and gamers to experience wire-free gaming without compromise. It's time to UNPLUG and PLAY.

The new K63 Wireless mechanical gaming keyboard, a CES 2018 Innovation Award Honoree, brings the quality, performance and reliability of CHERRY MX Red mechanical keyswitches to the wireless desktop. Connecting via a choice of ultra-fast 1ms 2.4GHz gaming-optimized wireless, low latency Bluetooth wireless, or a wired USB connection, the K63 Wireless instantly registers keystrokes and commands however you connect. With up to 75 hours of rechargeable battery life, K63 Wireless has the stamina to outlast the longest gaming session. Per-key, customizable blue LED backlighting, controlled using CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) software delivers vibrant lighting and dynamic, reactive visuals, alongside per-key macros and programmable keys.

Acer Unveils 65-inch Predator Big Format Gaming Display with NVIDIA G-Sync

Acer today unveils its 65-inch Predator Big Format Gaming Display with NVIDIA G-SYNC, introducing big screens to PC gaming. The supersized Predator gaming display builds on the same top-of-the-line specifications that its smaller cousins boast, and integrates NVIDIA SHIELD streaming capabilities to play movies and TV shows in stunning 4K HDR.

Massive yet Nimble
At 65-inches, the Predator Big Format Gaming Display (BFGD) features ultimate gaming specifications that consumers have come to expect from Predator gaming displays. It sports NVIDIA G-SYNC Variable Refresh Rate technology which provides a buttery-smooth, tear-and-stutter-free gaming experience, as well as ultra-low latency at 4K 120Hz. A full-array direct backlight delivers up to 1,000 nits peak luminance, and local dimming provides higher contrast, deeper blacks and brighter whites.

ASUS Announces Innovative Blue Cave AC2600 Wi-Fi Router

ASUS today announced Blue Cave, a stunningly designed high-performance AC2600 Wi-Fi router based on Intel's connected home technology that's built to meet the demanding needs of modern smart homes. Winner of a 2017 Computex Best Choice Golden Award, Blue Cave is an easy-to-use, innovatively designed router with stylish good looks and family-friendly features. It's built to cope easily with the increasingly complex and bandwidth-heavy demands of smart home networks, offering superb multi-device performance powered by the Intel Home Wi-Fi chipset, comprehensive commercial-grade security with ASUS AiProtection, and out-of-the-box IoT integration with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.

"Combining years of ASUS experience in wireless innovation and Intel's connected home technology, Blue Cave delivers ultrafast Wi-Fi speeds throughout the home," said Tenlong Deng, General Manager, ASUS Networking and Wireless Devices Business Unit. "Not only powerful, its eye-catching design with no external antennas blends perfectly with any décor."

Acer Chromebook 11 Built for Content Consumption, Productivity, and Fun

Acer today introduced its new Chromebook 11 line that offers strong everyday performance and a portable design with all-day battery life of up to 10 hours. The new Acer Chromebook 11 (CB311-8HT / CB311-8H) offers an 11.6-inch display in a portable and fanless design, so it's great for consumers and families who will move the device around or use in shared spaces. Plus, connecting peripherals, charging phones and other devices, and even sharing content on a large display can be done thanks to the Acer Chromebook 11's two USB 3.1 Type C ports.

"The new Acer Chromebook 11 continues Acer's tradition of delivering strong performance with all the benefits of Chrome OS at an excellent value," said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Chromebooks are widely known as a fast, easy and secure way to work and play both online and offline. Customers can play games, stay productive, enjoy content and do even more with the new Acer Chromebook 11 thanks to its support of Google Play."

Jabra Launches Third-Generation True Wireless Earbuds

At CES 2018, Jabra today unveiled the Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t, the company's third generation of true wireless earbuds, built for a consistently stable wireless connection and up to 15 hours of battery life (with cradle). In launching the Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t, Jabra has reinvented a set of true wireless earbuds, incorporating its knowledge about usage, comfort and design from the first true wireless innovation. The new earbuds have a distinct focus on the voice experience, delivering superior audio quality for calls and music without wires. The products come in two versions: one for daily on-the-go use and an 'Active' version, made for training and sport.

Building on the success of the Jabra Elite Sport - the best-selling, most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds - the new devices are engineered to deliver an even better voice and music experience, and come with new design and color choices.

D-Link's McAfee-Powered AC2600 Router Automatically Protects Connected Devices

D-Link and McAfee today announced the D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee (DIR-2680), an all-in-one solution that automatically increases security for devices on the home network and delivers on both companies' vision to address the pressing need for online security as people's lives become increasingly connected. The comprehensive solution includes D-Link's high-performance dual-band 802.11ac router with MU-MIMO technology that enhances network capacity and efficiency for users, McAfee Secure Home Platform that automatically protects all devices connected to the network, and the Intel Home Wi-Fi Chipset WAV500 Series to deliver robust Wi-Fi connectivity to numerous connected devices at the same time, running a range of high-bandwidth applications.

The number of connected devices in the home has skyrocketed - from tablets and gaming consoles, to IP surveillance cameras, smart door locks, and more. By 2020, Gartner estimates there will be 20 billion connected things, and their role and influence is set to dramatically increase over the next 10 years1. They've also raised a new crop of security issues, as Internet of Things (IoT) devices are subject to attacks just like any other connected device like a PC or smartphone. The new D-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Router Powered by McAfee immediately and automatically helps secure all connected devices at the network level in a home, including non-display IoT devices, providing an additional layer of protection from potential hackers and for members of the home using devices and accessing online content.

Kensington Pushes Productivity to the Max with New Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

Businesses need a technical infrastructure with the flexibility to support a dynamic and increasingly mobile workforce while meeting the demands for mobile computing performance across various job functions. Which is why Kensington, trusted worldwide to support the most advanced technology for business and home office professionals, developed the game-changing SD5200T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station for Windows and macOS.

The Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station was engineered and tested for optimal performance with both macOS and Windows users. The cross-platform compatible dock is the hyper-productivity solution for power users and was specifically designed to support mixed-computing environments with high transfer-speed requirements.

Acer Redefines the World's Thinnest Laptop with the Unveiling of the New Swift 7

Acer today launches the world's thinnest laptop, the new Swift 7 (SF714-51T). At just 8.98 mm thin, the new Swift 7 is an always-connected PC running Windows 10 that's designed for mobility, with an ultraportable design packing a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, all-day battery life and a personal, trusted 4G LTE connection.

"We're extremely proud to make the world's thinnest laptop even thinner with the new Swift 7," said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business of Acer Inc. "Building on the engineering breakthroughs from the previous generation, the new Swift 7 steps up the game with an even slimmer chassis, powerful performance and always-on 4G LTE connectivity for professionals on the go."

Kingston Digital Releases 7-in-1 USB Type C Hub

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., a world leader in memory storage products and technology solutions, announced today the launch of Nucleum, a 7-in-1 Type C USB hub. Nucleum is the ideal hub for newer MacBooks as it provides extra USB-C and USB-A ports as well as HDMI and SD/microSD card slots.

Nucleum, with its multiple ports, is built to handle all of the familiar accessories consumers have such as mice, keyboards and even a second monitor. Users can be more productive as all seven ports can be engaged at the same time. Nucleum users can power up a MacBook while also running an external hard drive and charging an iPhone simultaneously.

Kingston to Showcase Upcoming SSD Solutions and More

Kingston Digital Europe Co LLP, an affiliate of Kingston Technology Company Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, is set to share its latest and upcoming products at CES. Kingston will have demonstrations highlighting the capabilities of their family of solid-state drives and encrypted USB Flash drives, as well as additions in the consumer lifestyle space with mobile and embedded solutions.

"We are excited to share what's to come from Kingston in 2018. CES week provides a great opportunity to showcase the many quality technology solutions that make up the Kingston family," said Robert Allen, Director Marketing and Technical Services -EMEA, Kingston. "From enterprise SSDs, encrypted USBs, consumer mobile products to embedded solutions, we continue to offer customers rock-solid reliability, ultimate security and maximum performance. When guests visit our suite, they will fully understand Kingston's commitment to offering the most complete family of performance solutions."

Acer Unveils New Ryzen-Powered Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

Acer today announced its new Acer Nitro 5 gaming laptop, designed for casual gamers seeking great performance in an attractive laser-textured design. Powered by Windows 10, the new 15-inch laptop is targeted towards mainstream users who enjoy the thrill of gaming with friends, and building their own network of like-minded players.

"With performance to effortlessly power mainstream titles, the Acer Nitro 5 houses essential technologies that casual gamers value most," said Jerry Hou, General Manager, Consumer Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "We've developed the Nitro 5 knowing that gamers want powerful specs to enable great experiences on the go. The new Nitro 5 is designed to tackle these needs and features a striking exterior for added uniqueness."

HP Unveils the Narrow Bezel HP t310 G2 All-in-One Zero Client

HP announced its first narrow bezel HP t310 G2 All-in-One Zero Client with seamless visuals, improved ergonomics and maximum data security. Powered by Teradici and compatible with VMware and Amazon virtual workspace environments, the HP t310 G2 AiO Zero Client allows customers to take their work to new heights with the design and performance they want, and the security they need.

With a virtually borderless full HD display, customers can enjoy an impressive visual experience with one or more monitors to create a seamless and aesthetically beautiful workspace. The comfort designed stand can be adjusted up, down, tilted, swiveled or rotated to support landscape and portrait mode, so customers can customize their workspace to meet their unique needs.

Elgato Announces Their New Portable Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock at CES 2018

Elgato today announced Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock, a groundbreaking solution that brings the industry-leading reliability and performance of Thunderbolt 3 to a portable dock form factor. Featuring HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3, and gigabit Ethernet ports, Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock eliminates the need for four separate adapters without compromising data bandwidth or power delivery. Up to 40 Gbps throughput guarantees that every port operates reliably at full performance, regardless of what is connected to the other ports.

The dock is powered by its rugged, built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable, which stows neatly in its base for transport. Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock will be available in spring 2018. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7 WiFi, one of the first socket AM4 motherboards based on the upcoming AMD X470 chipset, which will launch with out of the box support for 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" and Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, in addition to current-gen Ryzen chips, when it launches early-Q2 (April). The presence of more than one 32 Gbps M.2 slot bodes well, as it confirms that the chipset features PCI-Express gen 3.0 general purpose lanes (current AMD 300-series chipset have gen 2.0). One can also spy three x16 slots, from which two will be wired to the CPU, with SLI support; and the board's overall design scheme matching that of the company's Intel 300-series chipset motherboards.

JBL Announces Everest Headphones Optimized for Google Assistant

HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the launch of the JBL Everest 710GA, 310GA and 110GA. The around-ear, on-ear and in-ear premium wireless headphones combine legendary JBL Pro Audio Sound with built-in Google Assistant.

After an easy setup on Bluetooth enabled smartphones and tablets, the JBL Everest GA headphones, along with the Google Assistant, are ready to provide easy and quick assistance, whenever and wherever it's needed. Now featuring the Google Assistant, users can take full control of their music experience with the use of voice control and receive notifications without needing to look at their smartphone or tablet. To access the Google Assistant, download the Assistant on your phone, connect the headphone and then simply touch the sensors located on the ear cup. Once activated, listeners can control volume, get access to meetings and events, and enjoy tracks on-the-go by stating simple phrases like, "volume up/down," "tell me about my day" or "play pop music."

ASUS Showcases Small Form Factor Solutions at CES 2018

ASUS today announced its latest lineup of small form factor products at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, including the PB40 and PN40 Mini PCs, Chromebox 3 and Tinker Board S. This year's innovations offer compactness and versatility for a variety of usage scenarios without compromising quality or performance.

With the new PB40 and PN40 Mini PCs, users can enjoy the power of a computer with the convenience of a compact and portable device, whether for work or play. The latest Chromebox 3 lets users enjoy their favorite Android apps for both home and educational entertainment, with the full power of an 8th Generation Intel Core processor. And with the new ASUS Tinker Board S, DIY enthusiasts can enjoy class-leading performance for turning their creative ideas into reality.

ViewSonic Unveils Next Level Gaming and Entertainment Monitors

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solution products, introduces its next generation of gaming and entertainment monitors to its award-winning lineup. These new XG and VX monitors deliver the ultimate in fluidity and fast response times for motion-based content, whether playing the latest first-person shooter (FPS) game or bingeing on the latest television series on any streaming service. Packed with the latest display technologies and enhancements, the new ViewSonic gaming monitor models include: XG2560, XG3220 and XG3540C; and the entertainment models include: VX2758-C-MH and VX3258-2KC-MHD.

ViewSonic expanded its gaming monitor portfolio to deliver a paramount immersive experience for playing a variety of games. The XG2560 is a 25-inch monitor with Full HD 1080p resolution, NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, and a 240Hz refresh rate. With Ultra HD 4K resolution, the XG3220 is a 32-inch monitor that features HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) support and AMD FreeSync technology. The XG3540C is a 35-inch curved widescreen display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, Ultra-Wide QHD (3840x1440) resolution, and a refresh rate of 100Hz. Each monitor comes with a feature called Game Mode with customizable settings to provide gamers the ability to fine-tune the monitor to specific preferences, and offers special color support for different game genres. The company's exclusive Black Stabilization Technology provides amplified visibility and detail by brightening darker scenarios while maintaining natural contrast across the screen.

Micron and Intel Announce Update to NAND Memory Joint Development Program

Micron and Intel today announced an update to their successful NAND memory joint development partnership that has helped the companies develop and deliver industry-leading NAND technologies to market. The announcement involves the companies' mutual agreement to work independently on future generations of 3D NAND. The companies have agreed to complete development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology, which will be delivered toward the end of this year and extending into early 2019. Beyond that technology node, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently in order to better optimize the technology and products for their individual business needs.

Micron and Intel expect no change in the cadence of their respective 3D NAND technology development of future nodes. The two companies are currently ramping products based on their second-generation of 3D NAND (64 layer) technology. Both companies will also continue to jointly develop and manufacture 3D XPoint at the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) joint venture fab in Lehi, Utah, which is now entirely focused on 3D XPoint memory production.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 390.65 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA today released GeForce 390.65 WHQL drivers. These drivers come game-ready for "Fortnite," including support for ShadowPlay Highlights in the "Battle Royale" mode of the game. The drivers also introduce NVIDIA Freestyle technology, which lets you apply custom post-processing effects for your game, or choose from several included post-FX filters. More importantly, the drivers introduce security updates against "Spectre" variant 2 (CVE-2017-5753) vulnerability. The drivers also provide pop-up notifications when an external GPU is connected or disconnected. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 390.65 WHQL

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces ROG Swift PG65 BFGD

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced that it will unveil the new ROG Swift PG65 big format gaming display (BFGD) with NVIDIA G-SYNC at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. The 65-inch 4K UHD ROG Swift PG65 is the world's largest gaming display format, and is designed to bring uncompromising performance and a giant screen experience that's ideal for PC gaming. The new monitor will be on display at the ROG Showcase Room at Encore Las Vegas, Fairway Villa, from January 9-12, 2018.

HyperX Also Shows Off Alloy Elite RGB Mechanical Keyboard

HyperX gave the Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard it launched last July, the RGB LED treatment, with the new HyperX Alloy Elite RGB. The keyboards retain the feature-set of the original Alloy Elite, but come with RGB LED-illuminated Cherry MX Red, MX Brown, or MX Blue switches. The RGB LED illumination, along with macros, is controlled via the new HyperX NGenuity software. Available from a little later this week, the new HyperX Alloy Elite RGB is priced at USD $169.99.

HyperX Shows Off Pulsefire Surge RGB Mouse

Kingston showed off its HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB gaming mouse. Designed for ambidextrous use, the mouse is studded with 360° RGB LED diffusers. Under its hood, is a Pixart 3389 sensor, that has a staggering 16,000 dpi tracking resolution, with fine-grained adjustment. Its main buttons are backed by Omron-made mechanical switches that have rated durability for up to 50 million clicks. The included HyperX NGenuity software lets you not only control macros, but also its RGB LED lighting. Available in Q2-2018, the mouse is expected to be priced at USD $69.99.

HyperX Unveils World's First Infrared Synchronized DDR4 RGB Memory

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced the industry's first memory modules featuring synchronized RGB lighting with IR (infrared) technology - the HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB. HyperX has designed IR communication channels onto each memory module, allowing multiple modules to sync LED lighting and produce an exceptional color and pattern display. Powered directly from the motherboard, this patent-pending technology provides an enhanced visual experience of RGB memory for gaming, overclocking PCs and DIY system builds. A video demo of the HyperX IR technology is here.

"As a leader in performance and overclocked memory for 15 years, HyperX is excited to bring this unique RGB memory innovation to CES 2018 and the market," said Kristy Ernt, business manager, HyperX. "Synchronizing HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB memory using IR technology creates a new way to experience RGB lighting on a PC and enables gamers and overclockers to further personalize their gaming experience."

Toshiba RC100 "Entry-level" M.2 NVMe SSD Detailed Some More

Following its early-CES launch, we have more details of Toshiba's "entry-level" M.2 NVMe SSD, the RC100. This drive is designed to offer significantly higher performance than SATA SSDs, at a tiny (10-15 percent) price premium over the fastest SATA SSDs. This market has been made inroads to by companies like ADATA, with their XPG SX6000-series. The RC100, offers not only NVMe performance, but also a more compact size. The drive is built in the M.2-2242 form-factor (42 mm long). It will fit on any motherboard that supports M.2-2280 drives, you just have to move the fastening nut to an inner hole marked "42."

Toshiba RC100 drives combine an in-house developed controller with Toshiba 64-layer BiCS Flash TLC memory. The drive features PCI-Express 3.0 x2 host interface, and takes advantage of the NVMe 1.2 protocol. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 1,620 MB/s reads, with up to 1,130 MB/s writes; and 4K random access performance of up to 160,000 IOPS reads, and 120,000 IOPS writes. The drive comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB, and is backed by a 3-year warranty.

MSI Brings Award-Winning Innovations to CES 2018

MSI, a world leader in gaming hardware, launches three brand-new gaming products at CES 2018, and will display two other CES Innovation Award Honorees. The CES 2018 Innovation Award Honorees include the Trident 3 Arctic, the new Z370 GODLIKE GAMING motherboard, new GTX 1080TI Lightning Graphics Card, Infinite X gaming desktop and new Optix MPG27CQ gaming monitor. The Trident 3 Arctic was also awarded a "Best of Innovation at Gaming" award. With these products, MSI affirms its position at the head of the high-end gaming market, bringing gamers all over the world the latest and greatest technologies.

"MSI has been dedicated to the field of gaming and is highly acclaimed by gamers and eSports teams worldwide," said Eric Kuo, MSI Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing. "We are honored to receive award recognition for these products and are excited to share them with gamers everywhere."

Intel Launches the Smallest VR-capable System Ever

Today, Intel launched the latest and most powerful Intel NUC to date, based on the newly announced 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with Radeon RX Vega M graphics. The new Intel NUC (formerly code-named Hades Canyon) brings this powerful new processor and graphics solution into an incredibly tiny 1.20-liter system. Great for VR enthusiasts and workload-heavy content creators, it will be Intel's smallest premium VR-capable system in the market.

The new NUC will come in two versions: NUC8i7HVK and NUC8i7HNK.
  • The NUC8i7HVK is based on the unlocked version of the new 8th Gen Intel Core processor with the Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics, giving overclockers the ability to take the system to higher levels.
  • The NUC8i7HNK uses the 8th Gen Intel Core processor with the Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics.

AMD Reveals CPU, Graphics 2018-2020 Roadmap at CES

AMD at CES shed some light on its 2018 roadmap, while taking the opportunity to further shed some light on its graphics and CPU projects up to 2020. Part of their 2018 roadmap was the company's already announced, across the board price-cuts for their first generation Ryzen processors. This move aims to increase competitiveness of its CPU offerings against rival Intel - thus taking advantage of the blue giant's currently weakened position due to the exploit saga we've been covering. This move should also enable inventory clearings of first-gen Ryzen processors - soon to be supplanted by the new Zen+ 12 nm offerings, which are expected to receive a 10% boost to power efficiency from the process shrink alone, while also including some specific improvements in optimizing their performance per watt profile. These are further bound to see their market introduction in March, and are already in the process of sampling.

On the CPU side, AMD's 2018 roadmap further points towards a Threadripper and Ryzen Pro refresh in the 2H 2018, likely in the same vein as their consumer CPUs that we just talked about. On the graphics side of their 2018 roadmap, AMD focused user's attention in the introduction of premium Vega offerings in the mobile space (with HBM2 memory integration on interposer, as well), which should enable the company to compete against NVIDIA in the discrete graphics space for mobile computers. Another very interesting tidbit announced by AMD is that they would be skipping the 12 nm process for their graphics products entirely; the company announced that it will begin sampling of 7 nm Vega products to its partners, but only on the Instinct product line of machine learning accelerators. We consumers will likely have to wait a little while longer until we see some 7 nm graphics cards from AMD.

AMD Announces Official Price-Cuts for Ryzen Processors

Following its Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G socket AM4 APU announcement, AMD announced price cuts for its Ryzen family of processors, across the board. These are official price cuts, and not seasonal retailer discounts. The price cuts have been made in a bid to make its existing socket AM4 Ryzen processors more competitive against 8th generation Intel Core "Coffee Lake" processors.

Among the notable changes, are bringing the entire Ryzen 7-series lineup under the $350-mark, with the 1800X being priced at $349, the 1700X at $309, and the 1700 non-X at $299. These changes make the three competitive against the Core i7-8700K (which is scraping the $400-mark in many places), and the i7-8700 non-K (around $330). The Ryzen 5-series six-core parts also receive much-needed price-cuts to make them competitive against the Core i5 six-core SKUs, such as the i5-8600K and i5-8400. There are marginal changes in the Ryzen 3 series and Ryzen Threadripper series. All price cuts are tabled below.

LG Unveils 34WK95 Monitor: 34", 5K, UltraWide, HDR600, Thunderbolt 3, Nano IPS

LG today at CES announced a new introduction to its monitor lineup. The 34WK95 continues the company's foray into the 5K market, this time with a UltraWide part, which delivers a 21:9 aspect ratio that should improve productivity in some more horizontal-dependent workloads. The 34WK95 is a 34" affair with HDR600 support, and Thunderbolt 3 capabilities for daisy-chain of multiple monitors or connection of other Thunderbolt 3 devices. The 5K resolution (5120x2160) and Nano IPS display technology mean LG is confident in the color reproduction and viewing angles of this monitor for professionals. The monitor features a four-edgeless design (with ultra slim bezels on all sides), and the typical LG half-moon stand has been redesigned with metal instead of plastic, and should offer increased stability.

Genius Announces the Latest Digital Peripherals at CES 2018

Genius Smart Keyboard
Passion for Productivity? The latest release of Genius Smart keyboard has the answer for you. It redefines keyboard productivity by having you to type less but do more with your daily tasks for a saving of 50% or more time. It offers twelve (12) Genius Smart Keys and serves as shortcuts ("bookmarks") for your frequently used apps, apps' functions, files or websites that you can launch with a single keystroke without further typing. It's "Smart" to automatically switch the Smart Keys mapping "unique" to that application that you just invoke. Instantly you have a keyboard which has more keys than you see.

Genius LiveSound Headset
Passion for True-to-life sound? The Genius HS-610 headset delivers deep, rich and powerful sound as if you are alive in a concert. While you are immersed with the deep bass driving the beats of the music, the headset also plays crisp and crystal vocal like the singer is singing next to you. The comfort of HS-610's cover-the-ear cups and noise-cancellation design let you have total music enjoyment without worrying about surrounding noise.

Try it, listen to it, feel it and believe in it.

HyperX Savage EXO External SSD Pictured

Kingston showed off its HyperX Savage EXO external SSD, targeted at notebook gamers, and game console users, so you could easily swap out game install folders of multiple games on the fly. Built in a compact, yet rugged polycarbonate chassis, the drive comes in capacities of 480 GB and 960 GB, implementing 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The drive takes advantage of USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) interface, offering sequential transfer rates of up to 490 MB/s reads, and up to 480 MB/s writes (something not possible with USB 3.1 gen 1, due to interface overhead). Both type-A and type-C cables come included with the drive, a single cable handles both power and host-connectivity.

Kingston HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Gaming Headset Pictured

Kingston showed off its new HyperX Cloud Flight wireless gaming headset. This is the company's first wireless gaming headset, and has a design focus on light weight, so your neck can cope with extended periods of gaming with a headset that has batteries. It has a slightly chiseled design compared to the original HyperX Cloud, and loses unnecessary bulk unless it serves a function. The company assures 30 hours of usage on a full battery charge. Kingston speaks of audio performance rivaling its wired siblings, thanks to its 50 mm drivers. Slated for mid-January, the HyperX Cloud Flight is priced at USD $159.99.

Kingston HyperX Fury RGB SSD Pictured

Kingston did what was inevitable - RGB LED lighting on SSDs, the least showy components of any PC build. The new HyperX Fury RGB series SSDs feature RGB LED lighting elements in the form of two diffusers and the HyperX logo. The drive is build in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, with SATA 6 Gbps interface. In addition to the SATA interface, the drive has a micro-USB 2.0 port, and in included cable that connects it to a USB 2.0 header of your motherboard. This USB connection is needed to let you control its LED lighting. In addition to Kingston's own HyperX app, in addition to industry standards such as ASUS Aura Sync RGB, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion. As a drive, the HyperX Fury RGB retains the feature-set of the HyperX Fury. It comes in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB; and implements 3D MLC NAND flash memory. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 550 MB/s reads, with up to 520 MB/s writes.

Qi Charging Pads Dominate CES

Wireless charging smartphones aren't new, with devices supporting the Qi wireless charging standard dating all the way back to 2012. The standard could finally hit critical mass with Apple's decision to implement it into iPhone. The latest iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X support Qi, along with other Apple devices such as Watch and Air Pods. A slew of Qi charging pads pepper 2018 CES, below is a small compilation of pads from Belkin. Qi has already become standard equipment of several of today's cars, and could soon be part of "smart furniture" (office desks). An interesting contraption seen at CES is portable chargers featuring Qi surfaces.

Linksys Shows off WRT32XB Gaming Router Powered by Killer

Linksys at its exhibition alongside the 2018 CES, showed off its latest gaming-grade Wi-Fi router, the WRT32XB. The router comes in two main "variants," one with co-branding from Alienware, Razer, GIGABYTE, and MSI; while another with exclusive Xbox One co-branding, named WRT32XB. Both variants are based on Rivet Networks Killer WLAN processors, and firmware optimization. The WRT32XB comes with a little more firmware fine-tuning that gives your Xbox One console a slight edge in pings and bandwidth prioritization. The router can sense that an Xbox One is seeking traffic (you're playing on it), and automatically run QoS rules that give it priority. The router comes with 802.11AC (2x2 dual-MIMO), with gigabit Ethernet WAN ports, and USB 3.0 ports for mass-storage sharing. When it comes out this February, it will be priced at the same USD $299.99 price as the WRT32X.

GeForce Experience Gets New Freestyle Feature and More at CES 2018

We're bringing more new features to more of the games you love. NVIDIA Freestyle, a new feature that allows you to customize your gameplay, and an updated user interface for NVIDIA Ansel, our powerful photo mode for games, are among the enhancements to GeForce Experience we are announcing at CES in Las Vegas this week. We are also announcing that Fortnite Battle Royale is among three new games that support NVIDIA ShadowPlay Highlights, which automatically captures your gaming achievements in videos and screenshots.

GeForce Experience is our companion application for GeForce GTX GPUs that helps keep your drivers up to date, optimize your game settings, and capture and share videos, screenshots and livestreams with friends. It turns a great PC into a great gaming PC with innovative features that are only available with GeForce GPUs.

NVIDIA Supersizes PC Gaming with New Breed of Big Format Gaming Displays

PC gaming today makes the leap to a giant screen, with NVIDIA's introduction of big format gaming displays, or BFGDs. Created in conjunction with NVIDIA hardware partners Acer, ASUS and HP, BFGDs integrate a high-end 65-inch, 4K 120Hz HDR display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology together with NVIDIA SHIELD, the world's most advanced streaming device. The combination delivers a buttery-smooth gaming experience and your favorite media streaming applications - all on a giant screen.

"PC gamers expect high performance and instant response times, but, until now, they've been largely limited to traditional desktop displays," said Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing at NVIDIA. "BFGDs change that. With NVIDIA's latest technology built into these new displays, PC gamers can now experience their favorite titles in all the low-latency glory they deserve."

With GeForce NOW a Billion Cheap PCs Can Now Taste Gaming, Too

Your underpowered PC can now pack the punch of high-performance GeForce GTX GPUs with GeForce NOW. Starting today, the game-streaming service, which launched a successful beta last summer, is available as a free beta compatible with most Windows-based desktops and laptops. GeForce NOW can connect gamers to their library of games from many of the top digital stores - and starting today that includes Uplay PC, Ubisoft's PC games portal.

"Ubisoft is excited that gamers playing acclaimed franchises such as Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege on Uplay PC can now enjoy outstanding play experiences on PCs and Macs thanks to NVIDIA's futuristic GeForce NOW service, without needing a high-end PC," said Chris Early, vice president of Partnerships and Revenue at Ubisoft. "NVIDIA is powering a high-quality experience that now streams a selection of Ubisoft's top franchises."

AMD Launches Ryzen APUs with Radeon Vega Graphics, Updates Roadmap

Building on the global enthusiasm generated in 2017 by Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics technology, AMD today detailed its forthcoming roll-out plan for its new and next generation of high-performance computing and graphics products during an event in Las Vegas just prior to the opening of CES 2018. Alongside announcing the first desktop Ryzen processors with built-in Radeon Vega Graphics, AMD also detailed the full line up of Ryzen mobile APUs including the new Ryzen PRO and Ryzen 3 models, and provided a first look at the performance of its upcoming 12nm 2nd generation Ryzen desktop CPU expected to launch in April. In graphics, AMD announced the expansion of the "Vega" family with Radeon Vega Mobile and that its first 7nm product is planned to be a Radeon "Vega" GPU specifically built for machine learning applications.

"We successfully accomplished the ambitious goals we set for ourselves in 2017, reestablishing AMD as a high-performance computing leader with the introduction and ramp of 10 different product families," said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su. "We are building on this momentum in 2018 as we make our strongest product portfolio of the last decade even stronger with new CPUs and GPUs that bring more features and more performance to a broad set of markets."

Intel Announces 8th Gen Core i7 Processor with Radeon Vega M Graphics

Today, Intel is launching a first-of-its kind processor: the 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics. Packed with features and performance crafted for gamers, content creators and fans of virtual and mixed reality, it expands Intel's portfolio thanks to its optimization for small form factors like 2 in 1s, thin and light notebooks, and mini PCs.

Among the devices launching with this processor: new thin and lightweight 2 in 1s from Dell and HP as well as the most powerful NUC Intel has ever introduced. The new 8th Gen Intel Core processor will come in two configurations:
  • 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics (65W total package power)
  • 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (100W total package power), which features an unlocked configuration
Friday, January 5th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Headphones
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Notebooks

RISC-V Foundation Issues Statement on Spectre, Meltdown Exploits

Recent articles in the media have raised awareness around the processor security vulnerabilities named Meltdown and Spectre. These vulnerabilities are particularly troubling as they are not due to a bug in a particular processor implementation, but are a consequence of the widespread technique of speculative execution. Many generations of processors with different ISAs and from several different manufacturers are susceptible to the attacks, which exploit the fact that instructions speculatively executed on incorrectly predicted code paths can leave observable changes in micro-architectural state even though the instructions' architectural state changes will be undone once the branch prediction is found incorrect. No announced RISC-V silicon is susceptible, and the popular open-source RISC-V Rocket processor is unaffected as it does not perform memory accesses speculatively.

VESA Announces DP8K, HBR-Supporting Cables and Work on Next-Gen DP

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced that DP8K Certified DisplayPort cables-native DisplayPort cables that are guaranteed to support DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3)-are now available in the marketplace. HBR3 is the highest bit rate (8.1 Gigabits per second (Gbps) per lane) supported by DisplayPort standard version 1.4, and provides the speed required to drive 8K video resolution at 60 frames per second (fps) using a single cable, as well as multiple 4K displays. Key applications supported by HBR3 include high-performance gaming, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and television broadcasting. With HBR3 already available in a wide array of consumer products, including GPUs and monitors, the availability of cables that have been certified by VESA to support HBR3 provides a crucial final link to the ecosystem.

Western Digital Ships "Someone's Backdoor" With My Cloud Drives

Western Digital has seemingly been shipping their My Cloud personal network attached storage solutions with an integrated backdoor. It's not really that complicated a backdoor either - a malicious user should always be able to use it. That stems from the fact that it's a hard coded backdoor with unchangeable credentials - logging in to someone's My Cloud is as simple as inputing "mydlinkBRionyg" as the Administrator username and "abc12345cba" as the respective password. Once logged in, shell access is unlocked, which allows for easy injection of commands.

The backdoor has been published by James Bercegay, with GulfTech Research and Development, and was disclosed to Western Digital on June 12th 2017. However, since more than 6 months have passed with no patch or solution having been deployed, the researchers disclosed and published the vulnerability, which should (should) finally prompt WD to action on fixing the issue. Making things even worse, no user action is required to enable attackers to take advantage of the exploit - simply visiting malicious websites can leave the drives wide open for exploit - and the outing of a Metasploit module for this very vulnerability means that the code is now out there, and Western Digital has a race in its hands. The thing is, it needn't have.

Vuzix to Showcase Their 'Blade' Augmented Reality Smart Glasses at CES 2018

Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of Smart Glasses and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for the consumer and enterprise markets, is pleased to announce the official unveiling of the Vuzix Blade, which was awarded four International CES Innovation 2018 awards in the areas of Fitness, Sports and Biotech; Wireless Handset Accessories; Portable Media Players and Accessories as well as Computer Accessories.

The Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses provide a wearable smart display with a see-through viewing experience utilizing Vuzix' proprietary waveguide optics and Cobra II display engine. It's like having your computer or smartphone screen information right in front of you, wherever you go. The Vuzix Blade weighing in at less than 3 oz. represents the first pair of smart glasses that provide the wearer with a sizable virtual screen and brilliant pallet of colors via a thin completely see-through lens, in a fashionable form factor. The Vuzix Blade features adjustable FOV location and brightness, and is prescription ready, enabling any wearer both indoors and out to enjoy a comfortable visual experience. The Vuzix Blade, which can be paired seamlessly to Android or iOS phones enables individuals or workers to leave their phone in their pocket while visually presented with location aware content driven by the user's phone. Built for today's world and usable for work or play, the Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses offer the wearer heads up and hands-free mobile computing and connectivity, in an unprecedented form factor.

Ethernet Alliance Hails the Arrival of 200G and 400G Ethernet

The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to the continued success and advancement of Ethernet technologies, today commended the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group on the approval of IEEE 802.3bs, Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers, and Management Parameters for 200 gigabit per second (Gb/s) and 400 Gb/s Operation. The specification of 200 gigabit Ethernet (200GbE) and 400 gigabit Ethernet (400GbE) operation across various interconnects will help satisfy mounting bandwidth demands from cloud-scale data centers, internet exchanges, co-location services, service provider networks, and other bandwidth intensive application spaces, while delivering better economies of scale and lower cost-per-port performance.

"IEEE 802.3bs represents a transformational moment in the move to next generation of networks. The delivery of 200G and 400G is arriving just in time to meet growing needs for reliable, high-speed connectivity from a diverse array of applications and markets," said John D'Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance; and senior principal engineer, Huawei. "The exceptional effort resulting in the completion of this standard is only the start of the industry's investment in the networks of tomorrow. We've laid a firm foundation for 200G and 400G with our early interoperability demonstrations and plugfests, but it's time to kick things into high gear. The real work of testing and verifying multivendor interoperability begins now, and the Ethernet Alliance is ready. We look forward to building on past successes, and helping accelerate 200G and 400G Ethernet's rollout and adoption."

Plugable's Latest Thunderbolt 3 External SSD Drive Delivers Amazing Performance

Plugable's new 480GB external NVME SSD drive hits performance levels not possible before Thunderbolt 3. Connect the drive to a Thunderbolt 3 port to gain 480GB of extra storage with amazing speeds of up to 2400+ MB/sec read and 1200+ MB/sec write, all without the need for an external power connection. These speeds make this external drive a no-compromise performance solution for video editing, backup, and any tasks which demand maximum disk performance. "Thunderbolt 3 is a revolutionary technology," said Bernie Thompson, CEO of Plugable Technologies. "We've created our line of high-end docks, adapters, and drives to show it off."

Intel Braces for an Avalanche of Class Action Lawsuits

Following reports of Intel's gross mishandling of its CPU vulnerabilities Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754); particularly its decision to not call off 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processor launch after learning of its vulnerability; and a general barrage of "false marketing" allegations, with a dash of "insider trading" allegations added to the mix, the company is bracing for an avalanche of class-action lawsuits in the US, and similar legal action around the world.

Owners of Intel CPU-based computers in California, Oregon, and Indiana, have filed separate complaints alleging that Intel sold vulnerable processors even after the discovery of Meltdown and Spectre; that the chips being sold were "inherently faulty," and that patches that fix them are both an "inadequate response to the problem," and "hurt performance" (false marketing about performance), by 5 to 30 percent. All three complainants are in the process of building Classes.

3dRudder Announces the New and Improved 'BlackHawk' Foot Motion Controller

3dRudder, an innovative technology company, leader in delivering solutions to virtual reality motion issues, announces today the 3dRudder Blackhawk, a new foot motion controller for PC Gaming and VR, to be honored with a 'CES Innovation Award' in the "Computer Accessories" product category and presented for the first time at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

The 3dRudder Blackhawk represents the next evolution in the product line and offers a newly redesigned device providing added functionalities. It fully really takes the space limitations out of the room-scale VR experience. Users control their motion intuitively with their feet while sitting, leaving the hands free to grab hand controllers and maximize the immersion while playing games.

Creative Reveals Their High-Performance Outlier Black Bluetooth Headphones

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Creative Outlier Black. The high-performance Bluetooth headphones personify the perfect fusion of impressive audio performance and the stylish aesthetic of modern-day fashion.

Black, Bold, Beautiful
Unapologetically bold and inspired by the functional minimalist aesthetics found in today's streetwear apparel and sneaker collections, the Creative Outlier Black fits stylishly into the active urbanite's lifestyle: whether it's walking around town, working on a laptop at a cafe, running to catch a bus, or the daily urban commute on the subway. Exuding the powerful presence of a well-engineered piece of acoustic engineering, the Outlier Black makes a fashion statement without trying too hard.

BenQ Announces the ZOWIE XL2740 240 Hz e-Sports Gaming Monitor

BenQ announces the ZOWIE XL2740 monitor. The XL2740 is a 27 inch PC e-Sports monitor with native 240hz refresh rate providing gamers with another option to suit their personal preference. It has the same features as the smaller 24.5 inch XL2540 and in order to experience the benefits in-game, people who are interested should make sure their computer is able to generate over 240 frames per second (fps) consistently. Please stay tuned to our social media for information regarding availability in your region.

Samsung Introduces the New Notebook 7 Spin (2018)

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018), a versatile notebook that provides consumers with the accessibility needed to remain productive in today's digital world. Designed for working professionals, students and those looking for entertainment, the Notebook 7 Spin (2018) offers modern features including a 360-degree touchscreen for added convenience; an Active Pen (sold separately) for quick and easy note-taking; as well as the power and performance for more efficient multi-tasking.

"Our customers wanted a functional, intuitive device that includes a wide range of their favorite features, and that's what we've delivered with the Notebook 7 Spin (2018)," said YoungGyoo Choi, Senior Vice President of the PC Business Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. "This device meets the needs of today's digital lifestyle, combining work and play with a smart, seamless and personalized experience that connects users with their other devices."

ASRock Announces X399M Taichi Motherboard for Ryzen Threadripper

ASRock today unveiled the industry's first micro-ATX form-factor motherboard for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the X399M Taichi. The board supports a full-featured Threadripper HEDT build. Drawing power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, it uses an 8-phase VRM to power the CPU. MOSFETs of this VRM vent heat onto both a smaller primary heatsink, and a larger secondary heatsink, via a heat-pipe. The TR4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting quad-channel DDR4 memory; and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (from which at least two run at full x16 bandwidth at all times).

Storage connectivity on the ASRock X399M Taichi includes three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, one 32 Gb/s U.2 port, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking connectivity includes 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.x WLAN, and two 1 GbE interfaces. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 (including a type-C) ports on the rear panel, and four USB 3.0 ports via headers. ASRock deployed its highest-grade onboard audio solution, which takes advantage of a 120 dBA SNR CODEC, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The company will showcase this board at the 2018 International CES.

ADATA and XPG Showcase the Technology of Smart Future

ADATA Technology Co., Ltd., a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, will bring a series of innovative products to the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 from January 9thto 12th, including the world first XPG RGB SO-DIMM memory modules, new form factor NGSFF ultra-fast PCIe SSD, NV-DIMM memory modules, and the latest wireless charging and storage products with the newest specifications. ADATA will also display high quality robot products using AI technology for visitors to experience the convenience from innovation.

XPG will reveal two brand new RGB DDR4 memory modules, SPECTRIX D60RGB DDR4 memory modules which combine extreme performance and a dazzling heatsink with a maximum speed of 4600MHz and SPECTRIX DS40 DDR4 SO-DIMM which is the world's first RGB SO-DIMM. Both are equipped with XPG Auro Sync software for users to adjust the lighting atmosphere. These give mini-system modders new options. The debut of EMIX H40 high-quality headphone provides field-optimized sound mode, letting players quickly enter the game. In addition, EMIX H40 is particularly suitable for FPS games (First-Person Shooting Games) due to its optimized listening Bit-Technology which provides the more accurate sound in FPS games allowing the player to clearly hear everything around them. Another thrilling audio product, EMIX I30 in-ear earphone, not only has the 5.2 channel surround sound which can deliver true 3D surround sound, also! supports multiple platforms and applications, including any PC / Mac, Nintendo Switch, Sony PS4 VR, HTC VIVE, Xbox One, smartphone, and tablet. Users can easily control and enjoy the sound effect in any game.

Toshiba Unveils RC100 Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

Toshiba Memory America, Inc. (TMA), the U.S.-based subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Corporation, will be highlighting the use of its industry-leading BiCS FLASH 3D memory in several applications - including its new lineup of NVMe SSDs, the RC100 Series.

At CES, TMA is collaborating with its customers and technology partners to take on the future - together. Toshiba was the first company in the world[1] to announce 3D flash memory technology, which effectively addresses the processing, storage and management of the growing volume of data generated worldwide. Recent announcements see the company continuing to lead the industry forward, including the introduction of a 96-layer 512Gb die; the debut of the industry's first[2] flash memory device with quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology; and the addition of Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology. Already enabling the enterprise, data center, PC and mobile applications of today, TMA's BiCS FLASH has paved the way for the applications of tomorrow. In everything from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to a growing number of automotive applications (such as infotainment), high performance computing and the ever-expanding "internet of things," storage density needs will climb higher and higher - and BiCS FLASH was designed with this in mind.

Intel Released "Coffee Lake" Knowing it Was Vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown

By the time Intel launched its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor family (September 25, 2017, with October 5 availability), the company was fully aware that the product it is releasing was vulnerable to the three vulnerabilities plaguing its processors today, the two more publicized of which, are "Spectre" and "Meltdown." Google Project Zero teams published their findings on three key vulnerabilities, Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715); and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) in mid-2017, shared with hardware manufacturers under embargo; well before Intel launched "Coffee Lake." Their findings were made public on January 3, 2018.

Intel's engineers would have had sufficient time to understand the severity of the vulnerability, as "Coffee Lake" is essentially the same micro-architecture as "Kaby Lake" and "Skylake." As one security researcher puts it, this could affect Intel's liability when 8th generation Core processor customers decide on a class-action lawsuit. As if that wasn't worse, "Skylake" and later micro-architectures could require micro-code updates in addition to OS kernel patches to work around the vulnerabilities. The three micro-architectures are expected to face a performance-hit, despite Intel extracting colorful statements from its main cloud-computing customers that performance isn't affected "in the real-world." The company was also well aware of Spectre and Meltdown before its CEO dumped $22 million in company stock and options (while investors and the SEC were unaware of the vulnerabilities).
Thursday, January 4th 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
Storage
Biostar Racing Z370GT6

Biostar Racing Z370GT6

Biostar's Racing Z370GT6 is a cost-effective motherboard for Intel's newest mainstream platform. It still features two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots connected to the CPU, which means multi-GPU setups are possible. Also included are two M.2 NVMe slots and a heatsink to keep those drives cool.

Intel Issues Updates to Protect Systems From Security Exploits

Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems -- including personal computers and servers -- that render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as "Spectre" and "Meltdown") reported by Google Project Zero. Intel and its partners have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates.

Intel has already issued updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years. By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years. In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Alpha Drivers

Making good on its post-New Year promise, AMD late Thursday released its first Radeon Software Adrenalin iteration for the year, version 18.1.1 Alpha. Being flagged "Alpha," these are very early drivers, the use of which are not backed by any warranties. They're not fully tested to work by AMD.

Version 18.1.1 Alpha addresses critical bugs that caused some of the older games to break following Adrenalin 17.12 release. The games, which are nearly a decade old, are AAA blockbusters which are based on the older DirectX 9 API. A number of older DirectX 9 games, such as EA's "Command & Conquer 3," "Command & Conquer 4" series, "Battle for Middle Earth 1-2," and "The Witcher Enhanced Edition" had simply refused to start following the 17.12 driver update. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.1.1 Alpha

Intel Announces JHL7x40 Series "Titan Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 Controllers

Today Intel is announcing the Intel Thunderbolt 3 controller JHL7x40 series, code named Titan Ridge. Comprised of three controllers, the JHL7x40 series is a compatible extension of the current line of Intel JHL6x40 Thunderbolt 3 controllers, code named Alpine Ridge. The JHL7540 and 7340 controllers provide computer makers the same Thunderbolt 3 40Gb/s performance and feature set as Alpine Ridge, and also adds DisplayPort 1.4 capability for increased video performance.

The JHL7440 controller was specifically designed for Thunderbolt 3 monitor and enterprise dock makers who choose to offer basic compatibility when a Thunderbolt 3 monitor or dock is connected to a USB-C computer port. To accomplish this, the JHL7440 controller integrates USB-C computer port compatibility so a Thunderbolt 3 monitor or dock can intelligently provide more performance and features when connected to a Thunderbolt 3 computer port, and basic compatibility when the Thunderbolt 3 monitor or dock is connected to a USB-C computer port. Additionally, as with the other controllers in the JHL7x40 series, the JHL7440 supports DisplayPort 1.4.

Google, ARM, Microsoft Issue Statements Regarding Discovered Security Flaws

After Intel and AMD's differing statements on the same issue, now is the time for Google, ARM, and Microsoft to release statements regarding the recently discovered (and still in the spotlight) security flaws that impact almost all Intel CPUs from the last decade. Google is the company that originally alerted Intel to the existence of the security vulnerabilities, and mentioned some reservations regarding AMD and ARM's immunity as well. Microsoft, as the maker of the world's most recognized and widely-used OS, has also issued a statement. The ARM statement follows, with both Google and Microsoft's statements transcribed after the break.

ARM
This method requires malware running locally and could result in data being accessed from privileged memory. Our Cortex-M processors, which are pervasive in low-power, connected IoT devices, are not impacted.

Intel Aware of CPU Flaws Before CEO Brian Krzanich Planned $24M Stock Sale

The news and details on Intel's most recent chip flaw have been coming in almost faster than news outlets can put them out, and it just seems that the company is going through a phase where news are seldom good. New information has come to light that paint Intel CEO's Brian Krzanich's sale of $24M worth of stocks in November 24th in a negative spotlight, euphemisms be allowed. We (meaning, this editor) previously dismissed the share sale as a pre-planned event that didn't show any kind of shady wrongdoing in the face of news breaking out regarding Intel's VM security flaw. However, it seems as if it pays off to be negative rather than positive in the world at large, and the skeptic in me is saying "serves you right".

Creative Unveils the Audiophile-Grade Aurvana Trio In-Ear Headphones

Creative Technology Ltd announced today the Aurvana Trio audiophile-grade in-ear headphones, the latest addition to its well-received Aurvana Series. The Aurvana Trio features a triple driver array that combines two precision balanced armature drivers with one dynamic bio-cellulose driver.
Aurvana Trio: Audiophile-Grade Hybrid Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

The dual balanced armature module consists of a super tweeter that has been tuned to deliver detailed high-frequency playback, and a mid-range driver for natural vocals. The dynamic 10mm Bio-cellulose driver, on the other hand, is meticulously tuned to produce beautifully accurate and powerful bass. Bio-cellulose is an extremely fine natural fiber with high purity. Using cutting-edge biotechnology processes, this material is compressed to produce an ultra-thin diaphragm that is ideal for delivering sound velocity comparable to an aluminium or titanium diaphragm, while giving warm and delicate sound of paper ones.

Samsung Optimizes Exynos 9810 for AI Applications and Richer Multimedia Content

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the launch of its latest premium application processor (AP), the Exynos 9 Series 9810. The Exynos 9810, built on Samsung's second-generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process, brings the next level of performance to smartphones and smart devices with its powerful third-generation custom CPU, faster gigabit LTE modem and sophisticated image processing with deep learning-based software. In recognition of its innovation and technological advancements, Samsung's Exynos 9 Series 9810 has been selected as a CES 2018 Innovation Awards HONOREE in the Embedded Technologies product category and will be displayed at the event, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas, USA.

"The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is our most innovative mobile processor yet, with our third-generation custom CPU, ultra-fast gigabit LTE modem and, deep learning-enhanced image processing," said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. "The Exynos 9810 will be a key catalyst for innovation in smart platforms such as smartphones, personal computing and automotive for the coming AI era."

Lenovo Announces New ThinkVision Series X24, P32U Monitors

Lenovo announced the addition of two new monitors to its ThinkVision lineup. The X24 and P32U are distinct in both diagonal sizes and feature-sets, so let's start with the bigger of the two. The P32U is being touted as a professional-grade display, featuring a 32" diagonal, 4K resolution IPS panel with a maximum 300 cd/m² brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, a 6 ms GtG response time, 178°/178° viewing angles as well as a 60 Hz maximum refresh. The monitor covers 99.5% of the AdobeRGB color space, which means that its capabilities exceed those required to display 100% of the sRGB spectrum. Another interesting feature is the support for Thunderbolt 3 daisy-chaining of multiple monitors, external storage sub-systems, or any other TB3 devices. Connectors on this display include 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x Thunderbolt 3 input, and 1x Thunderbolt 3 output.

DisplayLink Brings Docking to Qualcomm Powered Windows 2-in-1 Mobile Platforms

DisplayLink, the leading provider of USB graphics technology, today announced support for Qualcomm 2-in-1 mobile platforms running the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system. DisplayLink "Plug and Display" technology enables any USB port on the new 2-in-1 laptops to be used as a docking station connector for adding multiple displays, audio, Ethernet, and other USB peripherals.

Officially announced at Qualcomm's Technology Summit, these platforms provide a full Windows 10 experience along with Gigabit LTE and up to 24 hours of battery life. DisplayLink offers enterprise workers the best of two worlds, an "always connected" mobile device while on-the-go and the ability to dock for full PC productivity in an office or hot desk while connected to any DisplayLink docking station.

Creative Announces the Zen-Inspired Creative Pebble Desktop Speakers

Creative Technology Ltd announced today the Creative Pebble. Shaped like a smooth pebble one would find in a Japanese rock garden, the orb shaped speaker takes its aesthetic design inspiration from elements in Zen architecture and design and would look perfect in today's modern homes and offices. Featuring a 45° elevated custom-tuned far-field driver solution that works with rear facing passive radiators, the Pebble delivers a personal listening experience that surprises with its degree of detail, immersiveness and depth for a speaker of its size.

Made to work seamlessly with a PC or laptop, the Pebble is powered by a single USB cable without the need for a power adapter. Pebble also features an easily accessible volume control button built into the front of the right speaker. The speaker is available in pure white and bold black.

In Win Releases the 305 Mid-Tower Chassis

In-Win has introduced a new tower chassis to their lineup, sporting a sleek design and tempered glass side panel (of the tool-less variety; users need only press the handle for it to pop out. The jury is still out on whether or not this is a hazardous feature). There's a steel, plastic and tempered glass construction that join together to create one of the more subdued, yet aesthetically pleasing designs the company has come up with. Space for 7x 120 mm fans means your rig will hardly ever suffer form constrained heat, while the overall dimensions of the chassis mean there's support for up to 160 mm high tower coolers, up to 200 mm PSUs (kept in a separate chamber), and up to 350 mm graphics cards. Out of the box, there's support for 2x 3.5" and 2x 2.5" drive bays (with a potential extra slot for the latter).

Dragon Bones DLC Coming Soon to The Elder Scrolls Online

Zenimax Online Studios has revealed details on the first major update of 2018 for The Elder Scrolls Online - a two-dungeon DLC Game Pack called Dragon Bones, and Update 17, a free addition for everyone which includes a slew of new features and upgrades that make ESO better than ever. Dragon Bones and Update 17 are expected to launch in February.

The Dragon Bones DLC Game Pack will include two new dungeons - Scalecaller Peak and Fang Lair - available in both normal and veteran modes, with a veteran Hard Mode for each final boss. These new dungeons pit players against new and returning enemies, including plague-ridden ogres, powerful sorcerers and their undead creations, and even the reanimated bones of an ancient dragon.

ASUS Releases AiMesh Feature Upgrade for New and Existing Selected ASUS Routers

ASUS today announced AiMesh, an innovative feature upgrade for ASUS routers that allows users to easily create a flexible and powerful whole-home Wi-Fi system using any compatible ASUS models.

AiMesh overcomes many of the limitations found in alternative off-the-shelf whole-home Wi-Fi systems, such as mesh-networking systems. Although these systems can be convenient all-in-one solutions, they are often only available in fixed bundles, with a limited choice of Wi-Fi speeds, hardware features and upgrade paths. With AiMesh, users can create a completely flexible whole-home Wi-Fi system tailored to their needs, while continuing to enjoy all the functions of each individual ASUS router, such as extreme Wi-Fi performance and exclusive advanced networking features. AiMesh also offers convenient central management and control via either the ASUS Router mobile app or the ASUSWRT web interface.

ADAM Elements Launches Their iKlips II USB 3.1 Lightning Flash Drive

ADAM elements will be present at this year's CES in Las Vegas and showcase a new member of its highly successful and multi-awarded storage extension family for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices - the iKlips II. Connected to any of these via the Lightning interface, users can easily free up space on their mobile devices and use the iKlips app, now updated to version 4, for a multitude of other tasks.

Extra storage for iOS devices
The Apple MFI-certified (made for iPhone/iPad/iPod) iKlips II comes with both a Lightning and a USB 3.1 connector, so data exchange between iOS devices and a macOS or Windows computer is a breeze. Available with capacities of 32, 64 and 128 GB, these stylish flash drives support the exFAT file system, so there is no limit to the size of individual files. The iKlips II comes with a 3-year warranty. It will be available in the colors grey or red from mid-January 2018. Prices (MSRP) are as follow: £50 for the 32 GB, £70 for the 64 GB and £90 for the 128 GB version.

Mad Catz is Back in the Game With Multiple New Products

Mad Catz Global Limited, the legendary brand, leading innovation in gaming hardware for almost three decades, announced today a surprise return to the international gaming scene. Less than a year after the much-loved brand disappeared from the gaming landscape, Mad Catz is back: under new management, with new ideas, new attitude and most importantly, an entire range of new, high-quality gaming products!

Known for their award-winning range of R.A.T. gaming mice, arcade FightSticks, gaming headsets and much more besides, the new Mad Catz will focus first on quality, committed to producing innovative gaming products, designed and engineered in-house to stand out amongst the competition and deliver superlative performance for gamers of all abilities. At CES 2018, Mad Catz will be previewing the first products in the new range, a line of all-new PC gaming hardware including new R.A.T. mice, S.T.R.I.K.E. keyboards, F.R.E.Q. gaming headsets and G.L.I.D.E. gaming surfaces.

Mid-range and High-end Graphics Card Prices Could Rally: Report

Prices of mid-range and high-end graphics cards could rise over the course of 2018, warns a report by Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes. The report quotes a USD $5-20 increase (we're guessing that's bill-of-material/BOM cost). Tight supply of memory chips and GPUs are attributed to the price hikes. Crypto-currency mining is a key factor, according to the report. Demand for graphics cards by miners hasn't waned (perhaps associated with Ethereum's all-time high value), which could further strain graphics card supplies throughout 2018.

Major Taiwan-based graphics card vendors, such as ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, benefited from the GPU-accelerated crypto-currency mining boom of 2017, and sales went down only slightly towards Q4-2017. On the other end of the spectrum, rising popularity of online multi-player games such as "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds," has triggered PC upgrades, further straining graphics card supply, the report states.

AMD Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Processors Launch in March

There is more clarity on when AMD plans to launch its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, along with companion 400-series chipsets. Retailers in Japan, citing upstream suppliers, expect AMD to launch Ryzen # 2000-series (or "Ryzen 2") processors in March 2018, along with two motherboard chipset models, the top-tier AMD X470, and the mid-range AMD B450. An older report pegged this launch at February. The two chipsets are differentiated from their current-generation 300-series counterparts in featuring PCI-Express gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. The "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, on the other hand, are expected to be optical-shrinks of current Ryzen "Summit Ridge" silicon to the new 12 nm silicon fabrication process, which will allow AMD to increase clock speeds with minimal impact on power-draw.

AMD Ryzen 2 "Pinnacle Ridge" processors will be built in the existing socket AM4 package, and are expected to be compatible with existing socket AM4 motherboards, subject to BIOS updates by motherboard manufacturers. AMD plans to nurture the socket AM4 ecosystem till 2020. Future motherboards based on AMD 400-series chipsets could also feature compatibility with existing "Summit Ridge" Ryzen processors. These motherboards will come with out of the box support for Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, something that requires BIOS updates on current 300-series chipset motherboards.

MSI Announces B350I Pro AC Motherboard

MSI, one of the world leading motherboard developers, is pleased to introduce the new Mini-ITX B350I PRO AC motherboard, ready for AMD SocketAM4 and the latest RYZEN processors. Building a small form factor PC, whether it's for professional, multimedia or gaming use, has never been more interesting on the AM4 platform with this comprehensive, feature packed solution.

A strong 9-phase PWM design (6+2+1), unseen on any AM4 Mini-ITX motherboard, the use of Military Class components and inclusion of DDR4 Boost, ensures a perfectly stable system under any condition with top performance. It also features DisplayPort, a HDMI output and 2x pin headers for RGB strips.The new B350I PRO AC even comes with Mystic Light, allowing anyone to change the system LED colors while applying lighting effects.

ZOTAC Showcases Magnus and ZBOX C Gaming Desktops with 8th Gen Core Processors

ZOTAC Technology, a global manufacturer of innovation, is excited to unveil the latest innovation at CES 2018. ZOTAC and ZOTAC GAMING will demonstrate new designs and engineering with a new line-up of next-generation ZBOX Mini PCs, along with new gaming accessories that will make their debut. "Our pioneering products always align the latest technologies to reinvent the concept of PC productivity," says Tony Wong, CEO of ZOTAC Technology. "CES 2018 marks the beginning of a new year of consumer electronics, and we are proud to join the frontline of the industry."

Showcased for the first time are the new ZBOX Mini PCs that incorporate the new range of workstation-class NVIDIA Quadro graphics. From a range of Quadro P series graphics cards from P1000, P3000, and up to P5000 graphics, the high performance of enterprise desktop graphics is endorsed in a sleek and compact enclosure, providing a portable workstation for the creative and technical professionals. A world first for a Mini PC equipped with NVIDIA Quadro P series graphics hardware.

AMD Updates on AMD Processor Security Status

There has been recent press coverage regarding a potential security issue related to modern microprocessors and speculative execution. Information security is a priority at AMD, and our security architects follow the technology ecosystem closely for new threats. It is important to understand how the speculative execution vulnerability described in the research relates to AMD products, but please keep in mind the following:
  • The research described was performed in a controlled, dedicated lab environment by a highly knowledgeable team with detailed, non-public information about the processors targeted.
  • The described threat has not been seen in the public domain.
Wednesday, January 3rd 2018
Tesoro GRAM SE Spectrum Keyboard

Tesoro GRAM SE Spectrum Keyboard

The GRAM SE Spectrum keyboard from Tesoro is a hybrid of their earlier Excalibur and GRAM series. It takes the excellent optical switches from the former, which were co-developed with Gateron, and adds in the customization options of the latter to provide a keyboard with user-replaceable switches, RGB backlighting, and onboard and software controls - all at an attractive price.

ID-COOLING Announces DF-12025-RGB-TRIO Fan Set

ID-COOLING announces the new RGB Fan set: DF-12025-RGB-TRIO, which is compatible with Motherboard RGB Sync functions and also includes a remote controller for user oriented RGB effects. The new DF series have 9 high brightness leds shining from the center around the motor. Fan blades and the frame circle are made of light-transmission material which leads the LED lighting all through to enhance the system RGB effect.

2Ball bearing is used in DF fans to maintain a long lifespan. PWM function is enabled and fan speed is set from 900RPM to 2000RPM. With a balanced blades design, DF operates at 16~31.5dB(A), producing an maximum airflow of 56.5CFM. Accessories include mounting screws for case panel or radiator, RGB splitter, Remote controller and receiver, 1-3 fans power splitter and a male-male RGB splitter adapter for more RGB expansion possibilities.

Dear Intel, If a Glaring Exploit Affects Intel CPUs and Not AMD, It's a Flaw

Intel tried desperately in a press note late Wednesday to brush aside allegations that the recent hardware security-vulnerability are a "bug" or a "flaw," and that the media is exaggerating the issue, notwithstanding the facts that the vulnerability only affects Intel x86 processors and not AMD x86 processors (despite the attempt to make it appear in the press-release as if the vulnerability is widespread among other CPU vendors such as AMD and ARM by simply throwing their brand names into the text); notwithstanding the fact that Intel, Linux kernel lead developers with questionable intentions, and other OS vendors such as Microsoft are keeping their correspondence under embargoes and their Linux kernel update mechanism is less than transparent; notwithstanding the fact that Intel shares are on a slump at the expense of AMD and NVIDIA shares, and CEO Brian Kraznich sold a lot of Intel stock while Intel was secretly firefighting this issue.

The exploits, titled "Meltdown," is rather glaring to be a simple vulnerability, and is described by the people who discovered it, as a bug. Apparently, it lets software running on one virtual machine (VM) access data of another VM, which hits at the very foundations of cloud-computing (integrity and security of virtual machines), and keeps customers wanting cost-effective cloud services at bay. It critically affects the very business models of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, some of the world's largest cloud computing providers; and strikes at the economics of choosing Intel processors over AMD, in cloud-computing data centers, since the software patches that mitigate the vulnerability, if implemented ethically, significantly reduce performance of machines running Intel processors and not machines running AMD processors (that don't require the patch in the first place). You can read Intel's goalpost-shifting masterpiece after the break.

Intel Shares Down, AMD and NVIDIA Up Following VT Flaw Surface

Intel's stock pricing has taken a 6.19% dip at time of writing, in a regress that analysts say has everything to do with the reported VT flaw in Intel's central processing units. The flaw, which Intel has been silently firefighting and which we've covered extensively here on TPU, is a hardware-level vulnerability which has the potential to allow unauthorized memory access between two virtual machines (VMs) running on a physical machine, due to Intel's flawed implementation of its hardware-level virtualization instruction sets. Kernel patches are already being deployed that mitigate the issue; however, these should incur in performance losses for Intel processors, and are being deployed in an apparent "spray and pray" method that also affects performance in AMD-based machines, which are expected to be immune to the Intel flaw.

Bitcoin's Lack of Wallet Privacy Leads Criminals to Look Towards Other Cryptos

"It is used for criminal, illegal activities" is one of the most oft-mentioned reasons for users to reject Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. However, it seems that this argument is losing weight as we speak when it comes to Bitcoin. In the wake of much increased interest and awareness regarding the fledgling, currently leading cryptocurrency, which has seen institutions and states renew their interest and attention towards regulation or stricter control of the virtual currency, users that would use Bitcoin for nefarious purposes have started to migrate to other cryptocurrencies. You see, the reality of a distributed, transparent ledger is great for a system's transparency; however, transparency and easily identifiable - and traceable - wallets and transactions go against criminals' interests. Law enforcement agencies, such as Europol, have already issued warnings and established protocols towards the adoption of software tools to monitor people using bitcoin. As such, criminals are looking towards other less "transparent" cryptos to use as escape routes for their criminal ways.

The most viable alternative for criminals has apparently been Monero, the cryptocurrency that has also been in the world's mouth because it's usually the one being mined in web browsers, absent of users' consent. Monero has been developed with privacy as a main design criteria from the start, encrypting the recipient's address on its blockchain and generating fake addresses, obfuscating the real sender, but going one step further by also obfuscating the amount of the transaction. This means Monero is currently "one of the favorites, if not the favorite" for usage in ransomware attacks, said Matt Suiche, founder of Dubai-based security firm Comae Technologies, said in a phone interview to Bloomberg.

Icy Dock's ToughArmor Series Gets New Family Members

Cost effectiveness is a key factor that drove many successes in a well established company. With ICY DOCK's ToughArmor series removable 2.5" SSD / HDD enclosures, we are introducing a different kind of cost effectiveness or we called it "space efficiency" by creating flexible configurations for data drives in a standard drive bay as seen in many HP and DELL workstations or servers. Whether you need to add 8 x 4TB 2.5" SATA SSD in a single 5.25" bay of your HP workstation, or replace the slim optical disk drive with hot-swappable 2.5" HDD/SSD bay, the ToughArmor got you covered!
  • Key features of ICY DOCK ToughArmor series:
  • Ruggedized Full Metal Construction
  • Heavy Duty Removable Drive Caddy
  • High Storage Density Design for Space Saving
  • Approved and Used by First Tier Company such as HP and GE
  • Complimentary Technical Support with 3-Year Warranty

G.SKILL Releases New Sniper X DDR4 Memory Series

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is releasing the new Sniper X series DDR4 memory that features 3 different camouflage designs and available in speeds up to DDR4-3600MHz. This new family of high performance memory kits is perfect for memory upgrades or for building PC gaming rigs and custom system builds.

Unique Camouflage Design
Sniper X is designed with a militaristic camouflage top bar to compliment any gaming system with offerings in three distinct patterns: Classic Camo, Urban Camo, and Digital Camo. Classic Camo is inspired by the classic jungle green camouflage design, while Urban Camo is styled to blend into a concrete jungle combat setting with multiple shades of gray. And developed to match the ASUS TUF Gaming series motherboard, the Digital Camo features yellow stylistic highlights for a modern warfare look. All three variations are paired with minimalistic aluminum heat spreaders that further optimizes cooling performance under heavy computing load, so you won't miss out on the next firefight!

M&A Technology Starts Shipping Their 200 MH/s Ethereum Manda Miner

M&A Technology continues to innovate with the latest technology and is shipping its Manda Miner which can be configured as an Ethereum or ZCash mining server. The Manda Miner is available now. The Manda Miner is a purpose built, application specific server solution for the cryptocurrency market. It performs at ~200MH/s for Ethereum or ~2400H/s for ZCash. The system designed by experienced cryptocurrency systems engineers is assembled at an ISO certified factory in Texas with the highest quality materials available.

The Manda Miner is a data center ready, performance optimized cool and quiet running cryptocurrency mining server. The Manda Miner is FCC B verified and housed in a 4U chassis specifically for crypto-mining purposes functional as a standalone unit or as a data center cabinet rack-mountable unit. The system's eight high performance graphics cards are optimized to interface with a standard motherboard for manageability and high quality performance. The system utilizes a highly efficient power supply and cooling fans designed to ensure operational efficiency and reliability.

DTS Announces First Wireless Speakers to Support Works with Amazon Alexa

DTS, a global leader in high-definition audio solutions and a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation, is pleased to announce the first DTS Play-Fi-enabled wireless speakers to support the Works with Amazon Alexa functionality. Initial products supported include the Pioneer Elite Smart Speaker F4, Onkyo Smart Speaker P3 and the Phorus PS10. Additional DTS Play-Fi-enabled products, including the Klipsch Stream wireless multi-room audio lineup, as well as McIntosh Laboratories, MartinLogan and THIEL Audio, will add the capability by the end of Q1 2018.

Available via a Works with Amazon Alexa over-the-air firmware update, consumers can now control audio playback on select DTS Play-Fi products from another room using an Amazon Echo, Dot or Show. This functionality allows users to verbally ask Alexa to play a song in a specific room, groups of rooms or the whole house, adjust volume, skip the track forward, mute, pause and stop the music.

Transcend Reveals Their Sleek JetDrive 825 Thunderbolt PCIe Portable SSD

Transcend Information Inc., a leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, is proud to announce the release of JetDrive 825 Thunderbolt PCIe portable solid-state drive (SSD) for Mac computers. The drive utilizes the powerful JetDrive 820 PCIe SSD as its storage media featuring 3D NAND flash and a PCIe Gen3 x2 interface. The JetDrive 825 offers lightning-fast transfer speeds and large capacities, making it the perfect storage upgrade for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Thunderbolt technology in a sleek case
Transcend's JetDrive 825 features a 10Gb/s Thunderbolt interface, capable of blazing-fast file transfers. The drive is housed in sleek, aluminum alloy enclosure which was designed to tastefully complement your Mac's simple, clean design. In addition, the inner SSD is removable for greater ease of use based on users' preferences.

Lian Li to Resurrect the LanCool Brand

Lian Li announced that it is resurrecting the LanCool brand of gaming PC cases. LanCool branded cases are differentiated from the main Lian Li series in typically being of a lower cost, having more steel in place of aluminium, and breaking away from the restrained and minimalist style Lian Li is known for. LanCool cases compete with some of the more mainstream ATX mid-tower and micro-ATX tower-type cases. With the advent of RGB multi-color LED lighting, tempered glass, and horizontally-partitioned designs, Lian Li probably sees a market in resurrecting a new gaming PC case line without diluting the Lian Li identity. The first LanCool cases post its resurrection, will be shown off at the 2018 International CES, which begins later this week. Below are some of LanCool's cases that are nearly a decade old. If they look contemporary today, they would have looked ahead of their time back then.

AMD Struggles to Be Excluded from Unwarranted Intel VT Flaw Kernel Patches

Intel is secretly firefighting a major hardware security vulnerability affecting its entire x86 processor lineup. The hardware-level vulnerability allows unauthorized memory access between two virtual machines (VMs) running on a physical machine, due to Intel's flawed implementation of its hardware-level virtualization instruction sets. OS kernel-level software patches to mitigate this vulnerability, come at huge performance costs that strike at the very economics of choosing Intel processors in large-scale datacenters and cloud-computing providers, over processors from AMD. Ryzen, Opteron, and EPYC processors are inherently immune to this vulnerability, yet the kernel patches seem to impact performance of both AMD and Intel processors.

Close inspection of kernel patches reveal code that forces machines running all x86 processors, Intel or AMD, to be patched, regardless of the fact that AMD processors are immune. Older commits to the Linux kernel git, which should feature the line "if (c->x86_vendor != X86_VENDOR_AMD)" (condition that the processor should be flagged "X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE" only if it's not an AMD processor), have been replaced with the line "/* Assume for now that ALL x86 CPUs are insecure */" with no further accepted commits in the past 10 days. This shows that AMD's requests are being turned down by Kernel developers. Their intentions are questionable in the wake of proof that AMD processors are immune, given that patched software inflicts performance penalties on both Intel and AMD processors creating a crony "level playing field," even if the latter doesn't warrant a patch. Ideally, AMD should push to be excluded from this patch, and offer to demonstrate the invulnerability of its processors to Intel's mess.

Samsung Unveils First Thunderbolt 3 QLED Curved Monitor

Samsung Electronics will expand the connectivity and performance capabilities of its signature curved display line-up with the debut of its new CJ791 monitor, the first curved monitor to feature Intel's Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Designed for entertainment and business audiences, the 34-inch CJ791 model aligns single-source power and processing speed with an exceptional picture quality for a comfortable and productive user experience.

Through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, CJ791 users can link and dock their monitor and laptop without extensive wiring. The Thunderbolt 3 connection provides processing speed of up to 40 Gigabits per second (Gbps) - a rate nearly four times faster than USB alternatives - allowing users to enjoy connectivity across a full ecosystem of docks, displays and peripheral devices including Macs, USB type-C laptops, and other desktop accessories like storage drives or external graphics cards. The Thunderbolt 3 interface also enables the CJ791 to provide up to 85 watts (W) of laptop charging power.
Tuesday, January 2nd 2018
Geil Super LUCE RGB DDR4

Geil Super LUCE RGB DDR4

Yet another kit by Geil has crossed my desk, and this one is also for AMD's Ryzen CPUs. This time, we've got big heatsinks and RGB lighting thrown into the mix. Although we've seen many RGB memory kits already, this one has yet another slightly different take on how RGB and memory should mash up together. Plus, it's for Ryzen, and most other kits aren't.

Intel Secretly Firefighting a Major CPU Bug Affecting Datacenters?

There are ominous signs that Intel may be secretly fixing a major security vulnerability affecting its processors, which threatens to severely damage its brand equity among datacenter and cloud-computing customers. The vulnerability lets users of a virtual machine (VM) access data of another VM on the same physical machine (a memory leak). Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are among the big three cloud providers affected by this vulnerability, and Intel is reportedly in embargoed communications with engineers from the three, to release a software patch that fixes the bug. Trouble is, the patch inflicts an unavoidable performance penalty ranging between 30-35%, impacting the economics of using Intel processors versus AMD ones.

Signs of Intel secretly fixing the bug surfaced with rapid changes to the Linux kernel without proper public-visibility of the documentation. The bulk of the changes involve "kernel page table isolation," a feature that prevents VMs from reading each other's data, but at performance costs. Developers note that these changes are being introduced "very fast" by Linux kernel update standards, and even being backported to older kernel versions (something that's extremely rare). Since this is a hardware vulnerability, Linux isn't the only vulnerable software platform. Microsoft has been working on a Windows kernel patch for this issue since November 2017. AMD x86 processors (such as Opteron, Ryzen, EPYC, etc.,) are immune to this vulnerability.

Motherboard Shipments Expected to Take 10% Dip in 2018

DigiTimes, citing sources from the "upstream supply chain", has advanced a report stating that global branded motherboards' shipments are expected to decline by 10% YoY in 2018. The report further states that the DIY PC market is expected to shrink by up to 15% this year. These decreases follow a down trendline starting in 2013, where motherboard shipments peaked at 75 million. This number has seen continuous reductions since then, with less than 50 million shipments in 2016, and decreased further towards an estimated 43 million units in 2017.

Motherboard makers are looking towards the still expanding gaming sector (and gaming motherboards) as a way to increase shipments and revenue, due to higher ASP (average selling price) of all things gaming branded. Manufacturers are looking at an uphill battle against ASUSTeK, however, which has done a tremendous job in marketing and brand recognition with its ROG line of gaming products, and has consequently locked in around 70% of the gaming product market.

Steam Reveals 2017's Top Selling/Highest Grossing Games

Steam has revealed the top selling/highest grossing games on its platform for the year 2017, and with come some surprises, and some non-surprises as well. The distinction between top selling and highest grossing is a needed one, if you look at the top Platinum tier. There are two free-to-play games on it, which really isn't much when you consider that the category itself contains 12 titles. Still, it does go to show how correct monetization of free-to-play games leads to impressive earnings for companies. Joining those two titles are the usual multiplayer galore of titles. The hit phenomenon Player Unknown's Battlegrounds stars in 4th place, behind H1Z1, Grand Theft Auto V, and Rocket League. When it comes to single-player games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt holds its own on 6th place in the Platinum list, a remarkable feat if one considers the game was originally released in May 2015, and hasn't seen added content for a year now.

WHO Classifies Gaming Addiction as a Psychological Disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now officially classified gaming addiction as a disorder, thus being listed as a mental health condition that is diagnosable. The WHO announced the new disorder today, which is bound to be included in the organization's 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) guide, which is due to be published this year.

Despite having its inclusion in the ICD confirmed, gaming addiction as a disorder still doesn't have a finalized transcript. It's still in the draft stages, and at this time, gaming addiction is being described as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior so severe that it takes "precedence over other life interests". From the draft, the WHO is looking at extended diagnosing periods of at least 12 months until it can be confirmed that someone suffers from this disorder, though the diagnosis time frame can be reduced "if symptoms are severe".

AMD Will Fix Adrenalin Driver Game Incompatibility Issues After All

Right in the last corner of 2017, as our collective minds were getting ready to move onto a new year at full warp speed, we covered this bit of news regarding AMD's Adrenalin Driver incompatibility with some older game titles under DX9 ("C&C3 Tiberium Wars," "C&C3 Kane's Wrath," "C&C Red Alert 3," "C&C Red Alert 3 Uprising," "C&C4 Tiberian Twilight," "Battle for Middle Earth 1-2," and "The Witcher Enhanced Edition.") At the time, AMD stated that they were "unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue." User backlash ensued, and with the new year comes a new AMD: one that has found the valuable engineering resources needed towards working on a fix for said issues.

Apparently, the problem stemmed from a driver-level incompatibility with SAGE engine games, and AMD's Terry Makedon took to Twitter to make things better for fans of those games, saying that "We will for sure fix this bug with SAGE engine games in an upcoming hotfix." All in all, a good guy move by AMD. For sure, the initial statement might not echo the full sentiment of the entire company on the issue, though it's a fact that it was an AMD employee that started the whole debate. That said, the user backlash certainly goes to show that PC gamers want their systems to always have backwards compatibility with older games - one of the more important differentiating factors between PCs and games consoles.

SolidRun's MACCHIATObin ClearCloud 8K Comes with Google Cloud IoT Core Support

SolidRun, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance embedded solutions, and edge computing platforms, today announced support for the public beta of Google Cloud IoT Core, a fully managed service on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to securely connect and manage IoT devices at scale. Cloud IoT Core is now publicly available to all users in beta, including new features and pricing plan. With Cloud IoT Core, businesses can easily connect and centrally manage millions of globally dispersed IoT devices. When used as part of the broader Google Cloud IoT solution, it can ingest all IoT data and connect to Google Cloud's state of the art analytics services including Cloud Pub/Sub, Dataflow, Bigtable, BigQuery, and Machine Learning.

The MACCHIATObin ClearCloud 8K, is based on a Marvell ARMADA A8040 SoC, and features a quad core Arm Cortex A-72 1.6GHz processor, including 4GB DDR4 DIMM memory (16GB optional), dual 10GbE, microSD connectors, 3 x SATA 3.0, USB 3.0 and PCIe x4 3.0 slot. SolidRun's MACCHIATObin ClearCloud 8K with Google's Cloud IoT Core allows users to easily and securely connect to GCP. The solution has been developed in collaboration with Sartura Ltd., a leading specialized open source developer and integrator for embedded applications, in conjunction with Marvell.

The Laceli AI Compute Stick is Here to Compete Against Intel's Movidius

Gyrfalcon Technology Inc, an emerging AI chip maker in Silicon Valley, CA, launches its Laceli AI Compute Stick after Intel Movidius announced its deep learning Neural Compute Stick in July of last year. With the company's first ultra-low power, high performance AI processor Lightspeeur 2801S, the Laceli AI Compute Stick runs a 2.8 TOPS performance within 0.3 Watt of power, which is 90 times more efficient than the Movidius USB Stick (0.1 TOPS within 1 Watt of power.)

Lightspeeur is based on Gyrfalcon Technology Inc's APiM architecture, which uses memory as the AI processing unit. This eliminates the huge data movement that results in high power consumption. The architecture features true, on-chip parallelism, in situ computing, and eliminates memory bottlenecks. It has roughly 28,000 parallel computing cores and does not require external memory for AI inference.

Plextor Debuts Their Latest M9Pe Gaming PCIe SSDs

PLEXTOR, a leading manufacturer of award-winning solid-state drives (SSDs) and other high-performance digital storage devices for consumers, today announced the launch of its newest NVMe PCIe SSD the M9Pe Series. The new M9Pe SSD Series has adopted advanced 64-layer 3D NAND and flagship controller along with exclusive PlexNitro, smart cache technology, delivering unprecedented sequential read/write up to 3,200/2,100 MB/s and random read/write up to 400,000/300,000 IOPS. The M9Pe puts improved performance and durability in its crosshairs.

Aimed at high-level PC gaming such as eSports, the M9Pe boasts of its superior components to deliver less lags and 20% faster boot up times compared to a typical SATA drive. The new M9Pe (HHHL/AIC version only) also sports a new eye-catching design with its programmable 3-mode RGB LED lights for the perfect visual appeal on any desktop gaming setup. Similar to its predecessors, the new M9Pe features a high-performing thermal heatsink (M9PeY and M9PeG only) to help regulate SSD temperatures during prolonged gaming sessions resulting to stabilized performance.

Reeven and TechPowerUp Year-End Giveaway: The Winners

TechPowerUp and Reeven ended 2017 with a [silent] bang, our Year End Giveaway gave three lucky winners a chance to win some of Reeven's best cooling products, including a Reeven Hans CPU cooler, a pair of Reeven ColdWing14 fans, and a Reeven 4Eyes Touch fan-controller. With 2017 behind us (in all timezones), we picked the winners!
  • Michael from the United States, wins a Reeven Hans CPU Cooler
  • 睿璟 黃 from Taiwan, wins two Reeven ColdWing14 Fans
  • Marco from Italy, wins a Reeven 4Eyes Touch Fan-controller
A Huge Congrats to you three! TechPowerUp strives to bring you more such interesting giveaways throughout 2018!

Update Jan 10: Michael never responded, so another winner for the Reeven Hans cooler was picked: Rhys from Australia.

VIA Making a Comeback to x86 CPU Market with Zhaoxin R&D Monies

The only other active x86 architecture licensee than AMD, VIA Technologies, is planning a comeback to the x86 processor market, bolstered by R&D investment by Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor. VIA and Zhaoxin have been co-developing the ZX family of x86 processors for rollout in 2018, and at least on paper, the chips appear to have the chops to take on Intel's "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The new VIA-Zhaoxin combine CPU family begins with the KX-5000 "Wudaoku" SoCs launched late-2017. These are full-fledged SoCs, which completely integrate the chipset (including the southrbidge).

The KX-5000 chips feature 4 or 8 CPU cores without SMT, 2.00-2.20 GHz nominal CPU clock, 2.40 GHz boost clock, a dual-channel DDR4 IMC, a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, an integrated graphics core, and platform I/O that includes SATA 6 Gbps, and USB 3.1 gen 2. This chip debuted on only one product from a major OEM, the Lenovo M6200 desktop model launched in China. 2018 could see a broader launch of VIA-Zhaoxin chips, with the KX-6000. While the older chips were built on the 28 nm process, the KX-6000 series will be built on the newer 16 nm process, feature 4 or 8 CPU cores clocked at speeds of up to 3.00 GHz, while retaining the feature-set of the KX-5000 series. These chips could realistically be touted as low-cost alternatives to Intel "Gemini Lake" SoCs, although Zhaoxin is making bold claims about its performance nearing that of AMD Ryzen processors.

ASUS Intros ProArt PA27AC displayHDR 400 Monitor

ASUS today introduced the ProArt PA27AC monitor that meets displayHDR 400 standards. This 27-inch monitor features an IPS display panel with WQHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) native resolution, and covers 100% of the sRGB color-space with its 8bpc color depth. The monitor meets VESA's displayHDR 400 standard, with a peak luminescence of 400 nits, 8bpc image quality, and standard dynamic mega contrast dimming. The PA27AC also offers support for AMD FreeSync technology. Other vital specs include 60 Hz refresh-rate, and 5 ms (GTG) response time. The monitor takes input from DisplayPort 1.2a (needed for FreeSync), HDMI 2.0, and HDMI 1.4. The DisplayPort interface is USB type-C, and supports Thunderbolt 3 daisy-chaining (one port in, one out). The company didn't reveal pricing.
Monday, January 1st 2018

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Input Devices
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Intel Core i7-8809G "Kaby Lake + Vega" MCM Specs Leaked Again, Indicate Dual IGP

Intel revealed specifications of its upcoming "Kaby Lake + AMD Vega" multi-chip module, the Core i7-8809G, on its website. A number of these specs were already sniffed out by Futuremark SystemInfo, but the website sheds light on a key feature - dual integrated graphics. The specs sheet confirms that the chip combines a 4-core/8-thread "Kaby Lake" CPU die with an AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics die. The CPU is clocked at 3.10 GHz, and SystemInfo (from the older story) confirmed that its Turbo Boost frequency is up to 3.90 GHz. The L3 cache amount is maxed out a 8 MB. The reference memory clock is set at dual-channel DDR4-2400. What's more, the CPU component features an unlocked base-clock multiplier.

Things get interesting with the way Intel describes its integrated graphics solution. It mentions both the star-attraction, the AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH, and the Intel HD Graphics 630 located on the "Kaby Lake" CPU die. This indicates that Intel could deploy a mixed multi-GPU solution that's transparent to software, balancing graphics loads between the HD 630 and RX Vega M GH, depending on the load and thermal conditions. Speaking of which, Intel has rated the TDP of the MCM at 100W, with a rider stating "target package TDP," since there's no scientifically-correct way of measuring TDP on a multi-chip module. Intel could build performance-segment NUCs with this chip, in addition to selling them to mini-PC manufacturers.

Resident Evil 7 Down to $24 on Steam

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is one of the top-rated games in the Resident Evil franchise with a 86% Metacritic score. The game was released in January 2017 with a $59.99 price tag on Steam. It has gone to sell over 4.1 million units. Now, exactly one year later, the standard version is down to its all-time low of $23.99 in the Steam store. The Gold version, which includes the base game and the Season Pass, is discounted to $45.34 as well.

Mass Effect 2 and 3 DLC Bundles Now Available for Direct Purchase on Origin

Purchasing DLCs for the Mass Effect 2 and 3 games has always been a pain, and expensive too. Players couldn't purchase the DLCs directly from the Origin Store. Instead, they had to buy special Bioware Points that are only sold in packages. Currently, the 800 and 1600 points packages cost $10 and $20, respectively. Due to the huge variation in Bioware Points between each DLC, players usually spend more than necessary to get enough points to purchase a specific DLC and sometimes end up with unused points. Although it's a little over due, EA finally puts the DLCs up for direct purchase on the Origin Store. The Mass Effect 2 DLC bundle is priced at $24.99, while the Mass Effect 3 DLC bundle will set you back $29.99. Just a reminder that the Origin Holiday Sale is still in effect, so you can get the standard edition for $6.49 if you don't already own them.
Sunday, December 31st 2017

AMD Unlikely to Fix DX9 Games Bugged by Adrenalin Driver

AMD ended 2017 with its year-end mega driver release, the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition (17.12), which introduced a large number of new features. The drivers, incidentally, also inadvertently caused bugs with some 10-year old games running on the older DirectX 9 API. When AMD Radeon users took to Reddit, and other tech forums to report these issues, AMD responded on its official support forums that it is "unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue."

Among the games affected, old as they may seem, are AAA blockbusters, including "C&C3 Tiberium Wars," "C&C3 Kane's Wrath," "C&C Red Alert 3," "C&C Red Alert 3 Upising," "C&C4 Tiberian Twilight," "Battle for Middle Earth 1-2," and "The Witcher Enhanced Edition." AMD blames its inability to fix these issues to outdated API models. The company's full statement reads "This title is from 2007, so we are unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue, which is most likely caused by outdated API modules."