News Archive

Monday, February 27th 2017

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AMD Ryzen 7 Initial Inventory Looks Healthy

On the 2nd of March, AMD Ryzen processors hit the shelves in three high-end models, the $499 Ryzen 7-1800X, the $399 Ryzen 7-1700X, and the $329 Ryzen 7-1700. Tne question on everyone's minds is whether there will be enough units to reach their friendly neighborhood PC hardware stores. According to Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes, AMD is planning a healthy inventory of Ryzen chips.

AMD's initial shipment of Ryzen processors, which go on sale on the 2nd March, will be backed by a worldwide inventory of 1 million units. Think about that for a moment - AMD's bean-counters are confident it can sell 1 million $329-$499 processors. A more or less equal number of socket AM4 motherboards are expected to be in supply, with there being about 80 models of socket AM4 motherboards to choose from.

Source: DigiTimes

AMD Ryzen 7-1800X Cracks 5.20 GHz OC with LN2 and All Eight Cores Enabled

AMD's upcoming Ryzen series processors promise to be an overclocker's treat. A PC enthusiast with access to a Ryzen 7-1800X sample managed to achieve an extreme overclock of 5.20 GHz with liquid-nitrogen cooling, and more importantly, not having to disable any cores to stabilize the OC. The 5201.07 MHz overclock, achieved by cranking the base-clock up to 137.78 MHz, and the multiplier up to 37.75X, backed by a core voltage of 1.875V, was even tested to be bench-stable, scoring 2,363 points in Cinebench R15. This also reveals that you should be able to finely crank up the base-clock multiplier in steps of 0.25X, (as opposed to 0.5X). The Ryzen 7-1800X will be available on the 2nd of March, 2017, priced at $499.
Sources: Hexus.net, TweakTown

XFX Intros the Radeon RX 480 Crimson Edition

XFX introduced the Radeon RX 480 Crimson Edition 8 GB graphics card (model: RX-480P8LFR6). Based mostly on the board design of the RX 480 Double Dissipation card the company launched its RX 480 lineup with, this card features red LED illumination for the two fans, and the XFX logo on the top side of the cooler. As with the Double Dissipation, the Crimson Edition card features detachable, hard-swappable fans that stay off when the GPU is idling.

The card is clocked at 1288 MHz core, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, a minor core overclock against 1266 MHz reference. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include three DisplayPorts, and one each of DVI and HDMI 2.0b. A full-length back-plate comes included. The company didn't reveal pricing. The company also plans to launch "Crimson Edition" variants of its RX 480 4 GB and RX 470 graphics cards.

Western Digital Transforms the Mobile Experience with New iNAND 7350

Western Digital Corp. today introduced the iNAND 7350 storage solution, the company's most advanced and highest capacity embedded flash drive (EFD) to date. Leveraging Western Digital's 3D NAND and unique and highly intelligent, fourth-generation SmartSLC technology, iNAND 7350 delivers up to 256 gigabytes (GB) of reliable and responsive embedded storage that is ideal for data-rich applications and next-generation mobile experiences.

"Our new 256GB iNAND 7350 is the highest capacity embedded storage device available today on e.MMC, the industry's most proven interface," said Christopher Bergey, vice president of Embedded and Integrated Solutions with Western Digital. "By combining our 3D NAND technology and latest application-aware architecture, we have built the iNAND 7350 storage device to deliver an exceptional balance of performance, capacity and cost-efficiency. This can enable smartphone manufacturers to introduce mainstream devices that offer the high capacity consumers crave and deliver outstanding application experiences - from high-quality 4K Ultra HD video playback to next-generation augmented reality (AR)."

GIGABYTE Announces AM4 Ryzen Support

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, is proud to announce the rise of the AORUS Gaming Series Motherboards on the New AM4 Ryzen Platform from AMD. The AM4 Platform will host the X370, B350 and A320 Chipsets which all support the Ryzen CPUs. GIGABYTE will have all three chipsets available, each fully optimized for CPUs with 8-Cores and 16 Threads, for consumers who are interested in any segment of the platform. With user-centric features exclusive to GIGABYTE, consumers will find RGB Fusion, Smart Fan 5 and Dual Audio Chips that provides a solution like no other.

With anticipation building for the new platform, GIGABYTE has made no compromises with its innovative technologies. The fully customizable RGB LEDs from RGB Fusion will allow users to customize their system exactly the way they want. Smart Fan 5, an intuitive user interface, works in tandem with hybrid fan headers for optimum cooling performance and system protection. Moreover, RGB Fusion has made its way onto many accessories and peripherals already in the market. RGB Fusion Ready devices allow enthusiasts to control all of their RGB lit products from a single interface.
Sunday, February 26th 2017

Intel Plays Dirty Over Ryzen, Attempts to Manipulate Ryzen Reviews?

Intel is rattled with AMD Ryzen. Its 10-year old Nehalem CPU architecture that has been shrunk and incrementally updated over the years, is finally coming across as dated in the wake of AMD's "Zen" architecture. What to do when a competitor with 1/50th your R&D budget threatens to wreck your next annual appraisal? Play dirty and arm-twist the media of course! And playing dirty Intel is, according to a TweakTown report.

Apparently, Intel has scrambled its PR department to call in favors with the press in return for "guidelines" on how to review AMD Ryzen. Intel's PR emails allegedly ask reviewers to "call us before you write." The guidelines are worded more to make it sound like Intel wants its chips to be reviewed "fairly" against Ryzen, but the underlying objective is clear.Source: TweakTown

ASRock Announces Motherboards for AMD Ryzen Processors

The leading global motherboard manufacturer, ASRock, is pleased to announce the launch of its series of AMD AM4 socket based X370 and B350 motherboards - celebrating AMD's return to the CPU arena with the all-new, high-performance Ryzen processor. ASRock has created distinctive X370 motherboards to match all your needs, with unique features and a full range of products for gamers, power users, tech geeks and even DIY beginners.

Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming: The world's first AMD X370 motherboard with ultra-fast 5 Gb/s LAN support, ASRock's Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming motherboard is endorsed by professional gaming legend, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. The built-in Aquantia 5Gb/s LAN is no need to upgrade cables - just plug in existing Cat 5e cables with 5 Gb/s switching hub, and you can instantly get 5x more network capacity. The IR digital PWM 16 phase power supply design ensures rock solid stability and consistent performance, even with power-hungry loading scenarios. ASRock's signature PCI-E Steel Slots feature extra enhanced quality that prevent signal interference affecting graphics cards, ensuring glitch-free gaming and heavy graphics cards to be well installed. Key on-board features include 802.11ac WiFi, and the gamer's must-have audio solution, Creative SoundBlaster Cinema 3, to enhance gaming sound with stunning audio realism, intuitive positional accuracy, punch and dynamics.

Following Ryzen's Launch, Intel's CPUs Likely to See Price-Cuts

Let's quietly approach the elephant in the room: Intel's pricing structure will hardly stand the onslaught of AMD's Ryzen, which, if early benchmarks are to be believed, has apparently caught Intel with its pants down. Even purely from the leaks that have been following us non-stop in the last several months, it's obvious that AMD managed to outdo itself in the best way possible, managing to develop an architecture which offers up to 52% more performance than their previous one. Intel, which was enjoying the sun-shaded comfort of carrying a virtual, high-performance x86 monopoly, grew stagnant in innovation, ensuring it would stretch its bottom-line by way of minimal R&D investment - just enough to be able to name their improvements as a "new generation" of processors each year.

This in turn has led to an interesting outlook in the high-performance x86 market: customers aren't blind, and they see when a company is stretching its fingers in their pockets. A stagnant performance increase on Intel's customer processors with almost a decade of single-digit increments and paralyzed core-counts to an (admittedly strong) architecture have taken away a lot of customers' goodwill towards Intel. That Intel still has strong brand cognition is a no-brainer, but it doesn't have as much brand credit these days, on account of the low performance gains, and tick-tock falter, than it did in the days of Athlon 64. AMD has the benefit of being the underdog, of coming up with something new, fresh and performant (with headlines claiming it is the latest revival of a sleeping giant)... and those are all points that put pressure on Intel to reignite interest on its products.
Saturday, February 25th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Synology Announces Official Release of DiskStation Manager 6.1

Synology Inc. today announced the official release of DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.1 and comprehensive packages, delivering a more secure, productive, and unified NAS experience. The award-winning DSM is constantly evolving to help businesses tackle new challenges. This time, it delivers better IT efficiency with Active Directory Server, enhances performance with instant SMB server-side copy, ensures reliability with file self-healing, provides stability and security enhancements, and more.

"The release of DSM 6.1 is another major leap on the advanced NAS operating system in terms of security and productivity. The newly introduced features help Synology NAS serve as your office's all-in-one server and become a central piece of your IT strategy," said Vic Hsu, CEO of Synology Inc.

Mad Catz Ships Tritton ARK 100 Wired 7.1 Headset for PC

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., a global provider of innovative entertainment products, today announced that it has commenced shipment of its new Tritton ARK 100 Wired 7.1 Headset for PC to its retail customers. Connecting via USB, the ARK 100 for PC features advanced audio customization software, which places the gamer center stage and fully in control of the audio environment. The 7.1 surround sound is delivered through 60 mm and 10 mm drivers in each earcan, providing a full 360 degrees of positional awareness, while a boom microphone with dual chat mic system works to cancel out background noise and improve the clarity of the player's voice and communications with teammates and other players.

"The ARK 100 for PC raises the bar for PC gaming headset audio quality, durability and comfort," said Andrew Young, Chief Technology Officer at Mad Catz. "Whether it be the unique comfort resulting from Audionomics, the superior audio performance of R:Drive, or the customizability provided by Kameleon lighting, the ARK 100 for PC is designed to deliver the comfort, audio quality and customization that PC gamers seek for optimum performance and gameplay enjoyment."

ZOTAC Intros Low-profile GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 Graphics Cards

ZOTAC today introduced a pair of low-profile graphics cards based on the GeForce GTX 1050 series, the GTX 1050 Ti LP (model: ZT-P10510E-10L), and the GTX 1050 LP (model: ZT-P10500E-10L). The two cards are based on a common board design, with a half-height 14.4 cm long PCB, and a 2-slot thick cooling solution that features a chunky aluminium mono-block heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of 40 mm fans. Both cards rely on the PCI-Express bus for power, stick to NVIDIA reference clock speeds, and feature the same display outputs - one each of Displayport 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, and dual-link DVI. Low-profile I/O brackets come included. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Unveils the TinkerBoard to Rival Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison

As the world's number one PC motherboard manufacturer by volume, it would be a shame if ASUS didn't pander to the budding engineers and electronics hobbyists among you with a product that rivals the Raspberry Pi and Intel Edison. That product is the TinkerBoard, a card-sized single-board computer with a ton of I/O, including support for 4K Ultra HD displays. At the heart of this board is a Rockchip RK3288 SoC, which embeds a 32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 CPU, and a Mali T764 GPU. This chip is topped off by 2 GB of dual-channel memory. The most prominent Raspberry Pi competitor to this board is the Pi 3 Model B, with its 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 chip, and a starting price of just $35.

Other features of the TinkerBoard include a GPIO that rivals Raspberry Pi, 4K Ultra HD H.264 video decode capability, gigabit Ethernet, SDIO 3.0, 24-bit/192 kHz HD audio, and a swappable antenna for its 802.11 b/g/n WLAN. While the specifications check out well in favor of the TinkerBoard, it all comes down to pricing. Hobbyists working on robotics projects, for example, purchase Raspberries Pi by the dozens thanks to their low price. ASUS should do well to keep that in mind when pricing this board.

The Power of Marketing - AMD's Ryzen Hype Train Hyperloops On

AMD did it again: building-up such a tremendous speed on its new products' hype train that the Ryzen 7 1700X, Ryzen 7 1800X, and Ryzen 7 1700 managed to jump straight to first, second, and fourth spots of Amazon's list of best-selling CPUs, respectively, dethroning even Intel's mighty i7 7700K. Granted, it isn't hard for the processors from one or the other manufacturer to quickly jump and wrangle about the spots on retailer's best seller lists - there Are only two manufacturers of consumer-grade, high-performance x86 CPUs. But keep in mind: this is a pre-order we're talking about, with nothing but leaks and marketing maneuvering for consumers to base their purchase on.
Friday, February 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD

Scythe Kabuto 3

Scythe is looking to slice through the competition like a samurai on horseback with the Kabuto 3. Utilizing a top-flow design that's more compact than similar offerings, it delivers excellent noise levels paired with a good price/performance ratio and simple installation.

Oculus Faces Potential Legal Injunction Over Zenimax VR Code Used in its Products

Earlier this month, Zenimax was awarded $500m when a jury found that VR pioneer Oculus had violated a NDA and illegally used code from the game publisher. That may just be the beginning of the legal ramifications facing Oculus however, as Zenimax has just asked the court to block Oculus from using the code involved in the court case altogether, potentially blocking the sale of a good number of games utilizing the technology of the Oculus VR headset.

Oculus is appealing the case, and calls the prior ruling "legally flawed and factually unwarranted." To their credit, the court did agree that while Oculus had violated a non-disclosure agreement, it did not find that they had committed the larger crime of stealing trade secrets.

AMD's X370 Only Chipset to Support NVIDIA's SLI

Only AMD's top-of-the-line X370 chipset will support competing NVIDIA's SLI technology. AMD's next-in-line B350 eschews SLI support but retains CrossFire compatibility, while the low-end A320 chipset will offer no support for any such multi-GPU technologies. While this may seem a move by AMD to purposely gimp NVIDIA products on its platforms, it stands to reason that even enthusiasts tend to stay away from multi-GPU solutions and their associated problems. Besides, AMD will surely avoid any way of giving NVIDIA more funds than the company already has, by way of paying the "SLI Tax" on every chipset it ships. By limiting SLI support to its highest-end chipsets, AMD shaves some expenses from licensing efforts, whilst keeping SLI support to those that are, in truth, more likely to use them: power users, who will certainly spare no expense in springing to a X370-based platform.

As of now, some details remain unclear in the overall feature-set and compatibility differences between AMD's upcoming AM4 chipsets, but it would seem that only AMD's X370 chipset manages to leverage the full 20 PCIe lanes (18x if you run 2x SATA connections) delivered by AMD's Ryzen CPUs. This would look like a way for AMD to impose a "motherboard tax" on users, by limiting the number of PCIe lanes available on lower-end motherboards, and thus urging them to take the next step to their own X370. Apparently, PCIe lanes are not a differentiating factor between AMD chipsets (with X370, B350 and A320 all offering 4 native lanes), only their ability to access (or not) Ryzen's own 20.

Not much time until all of this is adequately cleared up, though.

Source: Computerbase.de

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 378.77 Hotfix Drivers

NVIDIA today released a hotfix version of its GeForce driver suite. Numbered the 378.77, these fix some issues with the previous driver release, numbered 378.66. Solved issues include driver installation errors for laptops with GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti GPUs, crashes in Minecraft and some other Java-based titles, and resolving 'Debug Mode' as default option on Pascal based GPUs.

This driver release contains all previous improvements, including an optimized experience for Sniper Elite 4, For Honor and Halo Wars 2, whilst also introducing support for NVIDIA's Video SDK 8.0, which provides support for high-bit-depth (10/12-bit) hardware accelerated video decoding of VP9 and HEVC. You can, as always, grab these hot-from-the-coding-gods drivers from the link below, right here on TPU.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 378.77 Hotfix Drivers

ASUS Announces Availability of the Designo Curve MX34VQ With Qi Charging

After announcing it on mid-2016, ASUS is finally coming through with its announcement of a unique take on the widescreen monitor department. Dubbed the Designo Curve, the MX34QV stays true to the design implied in its name, presenting an interesting mix of straight lines and a nicely curved, organic base, which incidentally supports wireless Qi charging. I find the aesthetics on this monitor pleasing and subdued, even though some liberties have been taken with that exquisite Qi charging base, which lights up in a cool blue lighting.

Spire Announces the Archer 9 Vertical Ergonomic Mouse

Spire is pleased to introduce the arrival of the new Archer 9 left handed vertical ergonomic mice. The Archer series by Spire are ergonomic mice that allow your hand, arm and shoulder to be placed in a more human likely and natural position. The vertical design provides better provision to reduce wrist or elbow pain that can come from twisting your arm when using traditional mice.

The latest addition to the Archer series is model 9 which offer support to left handed users. Featuring two ergonomic buttons that are located conveniently on the side of the mouse allowing seamless back and forth browsing. Accomplish higher precision with your choice of adjustable DPI levels. Simply switch between 3 different DPI levels, ranging from 800DPI (green led color),1600DPI (blue led color) to 2400DPI (red led color). The handy DPI button lets you switch between the various tasks you partake in throughout the day.

TechPowerUp Announces TPUCapture v2.0

TPUCapture is our gift to the PC enthusiast community. This nifty little screenshot utility lets you directly upload screenshots to our Free Image Hosting service, and gives out direct sharing links, along with Forums BBCode. We have given it its first major update in years. The new TPUCapture v2.0 is packed to the brim with new features, including support for HiDPI (high pixel-density) displays, in which the OS is upscaling your desktop for clearer fonts. You can now save in three JPEG quality presets, GIF, and lossless PNG formats. You can also tell us if you want us to delete your uploaded image after a specified amount of time. As always, TPUCapture lets you capture select areas of the screen, active windows, or the entire screen. It also lets you highlight portions of your screenshot. Grab TPUCapture from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp TPUCapture v2.0

COLORFUL Introduces iGameGTX1080 X-TOP-8G Advanced

Colorful Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, announces it latest addition to the iGame family of graphics cards with the powerful iGameGTX1080 X-TOP-8G graphics card that is sure to deliver everything gamers ever wanted. Featuring Colorful's unique, in-house designed Silver Shark cooler, the Colorful iGameGTX1080 X-TOP-8G Advanced delivers unhindered performance so you enjoy the latest and greatest games in 4K Ultra HD or in virtual reality all while enjoying the cool and quiet cooling that only Colorful can bring.

The Colorful iGameGTX1080 X-TOP-8G Advanced features a factory overclocked core frequency of up to 1890Mhz on its 2560 CUDA cores. The 8GB GDD5X memory has a bandwidth of 10Gbps and is wired to a 256-bit bus. The card fully supports DX12 and draws power from two 8-pin power connectors. iGame signature features highlight this release with an 8+2 phase digital power supply via iGame Pure Power (IPP). Improved build quality with Colorful's Silver Plating Technology ensure high-level of performance even with extreme loads.

Team Group Introduces its Fastest SSD for Gamers with T-FORCE CARDEA M.2

Team Group, the world's leading memory brand, today officially announces the launch of its fastest storage solution designed for gamers with the introduction of the T-FORCE CARDEA M.2 solid-state drive. The T-Force CARDEA M.2 SSD utilizes x4 PCIE 3.0 for up to 2600MB/s read speeds along with NVMe and TRIM support. The custom-made T-FORCE cooling module enhances looks as well as endurance for continuous high-intensity usage. This combination of high-speed data transfer, aggressive looks and effective cooling makes the T-FORCE CARDEA the perfect upgrade for gamers who want the best for their system.

Named after the Goddess of Storm, the T-FORCE CARDEA utilizes new-generation PCIE Gen3 x4 to breakneck 2600 MB/s read and 1450 MB/s write sequential performance and with up to 180K/140K IOPS in random read/write operations. The T-FORCE CARDEA's speed brings fast boot-up along with a responsive operating system that loads games and application faster for a smoother experience with reduced loading time.

AMD "Zen" Based APUs Later This Year

An AMD representative, responding to a Reddit question on AMD Ryzen branding, confirmed that the company will launch Mobile SoCs (APUs) based on the "Zen" micro-architecture later this year. The logical next-step for AMD with "Zen" beyond "Summit Ridge" has been to combine one or more quad-core "Zen" CCX (CPU complexes) with an integrated graphics core based on one of its newer GPU architectures ("Polaris" or "Vega").

The AMD representative confirmed that the company will launch mobile SoCs that combine "Zen" CPU cores with an integrated GPU, in the second half of 2017. This could hint at the availability of "Zen" powered notebooks, of all shapes and sizes by Holiday 2017. Over the year, AMD will begin launching "Zen" based products, starting off with 8-core high-end Ryzen 7 processors on March 2nd, six-core and some of the higher-end quad-core Ryzen 5 series processors in Q2-2017, and some of the lower-end quad-core Ryzen 3 parts in the second-half of 2017, now joined by mobile SoCs around the same time.

Source: Reddit
Thursday, February 23rd 2017

EU Still Concerned about Windows 10 User Privacy

Despite Microsoft announcing changes recently to the Windows 10 installation process, Europe's biggest privacy watchdogs remain unconvinced.

A group comprised of the EU's 28 authorities responsible for enforcing the data protection law, known as the "Article 29 Working Party," asked Microsoft earlier last year to clarify how they process and handle data for various purposes, including advertising.

Of New Horizons and Zen: The Story of the Name "Ryzen" for AMD's New Processors

AMD's Ryzen CPU has been a hot topic as of late, and certainly looks set to shake up the CPU world as we know it; however, it wasn't that long ago that we weren't calling it "Ryzen" at all, but merely referring to it by its codename, "Zen." What happened to that?

The "Zen" name was quite popular, and AMD claims to have made the name choice to emphasize the balance it struck between various design principles. It resonated with many enthusiasts to be sure. It was a far cry more popular than the line of "construction equipment" themed code-names that preceded it (though whether that had to do with actual performance of those products or their naming scheme itself is certainly up for debate).

Regardless, there is no denying the "Zen" name was well entrenched and already had its own level of pride built up around itself, so why dump it?

AMD Radeon Vega Power Connectors Pictured

At its first reveal of the Radeon Vega graphics card on the sidelines of the 2017 International CES show, AMD was careful to conceal the power-connectors of its graphics card prototype (using tissue paper), even though teaser images of the card were splattered all over the web. From this week's reveal of a Radeon Vega graphics card running on an AMD Ryzen 7-1800X powered machine, the veil is off the power connector layout. Apparently, AMD's reference design Radeon Vega 10 graphics card is air-cooled, and it draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 (reference) makes do with a single 8-pin connector, although most custom-design GTX 1080 cards feature 6-pin + 8-pin layouts. The GP102-powered TITAN X Pascal reference, too, draws power from 6+8 pin connectors. It's interesting to note here, that the power connectors feature a string of LEDs near their contact points on the PCB. The Radeon R9 Fury X, too has something like this, although the LEDs are used to alert users of faulty power input, or power draw. In the image below, we see that LEDs over only one connector are lit up. Could this indicate that AMD is making sure users are aware that the card isn't drawing power from both connectors all the time?

Source: ComputerBase

Razer Releases Power Bank Smart Charge Mobile Accessory

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced availability for its Razer Power Bank smart charge accessory. The Razer Power Bank is optimized to work with the Razer Blade Stealth 12.5-inch laptop to extend battery life past 15 hours. The Blade Stealth is Razer's most awarded laptop design for its combination of best-in-class displays, mobility, portability and value. Designers, professionals and other creatives who need more pixels can upgrade to a 4K IGZO touch display for 100 percent Adobe RGB color saturation.

Razer's Power Bank is also compatible with additional USB-C powered laptops for absolute convenience. Users can also connect a wide array of mobile devices with dual USB-A ports and a USB-C port for charging up to three mobile devices simultaneously. Equipped with a large 12,800 mAh capacity battery, the Razer Power Bank is an ideal traveling companion for all mobile power needs.

EK Releases Monoblock for ASUS Maximus IX Hero

EK Water Blocks, the world renowned premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is proud to release their monoblock liquid cooling solution for the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero motherboard. The EK-FB ASUS M9H is first in the line of monoblocks for socket 1151 ASUS Z270 chipset motherboards. EK-FB ASUS M9H Monoblock is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new Intel Z270 Express Chipset LGA1151 ASUS ROG Maximus IX motherboard that supports the latest 7th generation and 6th generation Intel Core Processors as well.

Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools Intel LGA-1151 socket type CPU, as well as the power regulation (MOSFET) module. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Like with every EK monoblock, EK-FB ASUS M9H features high flow design and this monoblock can be easily used with the system using a weaker water pump as well.

BYKSKI Announces the XPR-A CPU Water Block for AMD Ryzen

BYKSKI, known as one of the biggest water block provider in China, today released XPR-A water block for the latest AMD Ryzen CPU. The Ryzen CPUs are used Socket AM4, and the mounting holes position is different from old AMD Sockets (3mm deviation, hole spacing of Socket AM4 is 90mm*54mm). The BYKSKI XPR-A uses a piece of 83mm*83mm*6mm red copper to CNC, with Nickel plating for the anti-oxidation treatment, it makes the appearance of the water blocks to be not the copper color but satin nickel color. The cover uses lucid PMMA material to make it visible of the coolant working.

BYKSKI says they will provide more Socket AM4 support water blocks in the future because of the Ryzen CPUs are favored by users. The retail price of the BYKSKI XPR-A is set at $69 USD, it will be available both in BYKSKI China official store.

Cooler Master Intros MasterLiquid 120 and 240 CPU Coolers with Low-profile Pumps

Cooler Master, a leader in computer components and peripherals, announces the MasterLiquid 120 and 240. The MasterLiquid 120 and 240 are designed with next-gen low-profile Dual Chamber pump that separates incoming and outgoing coolant to strike the perfect balance of performance and noise-level. Both models are fully compatible with the latest platforms such as AM4 socket and Kaby Lake for added piece of mind for future upgrades.

Both models feature Dual Layer Tubing with inner FEP tubing and outer sleeve tubing, more durability and they are aesthetically pleasing for anyone looking to perfect their build. MasterFan Air Balance is also included to complement the lower noise-level design. Just like all our All-in-One liquid coolers, the MasterLiquid 120 and 240 require no further maintenance once installed.

FSP Group Announces Its Latest Transparent Chassis Cover the CMT210

FSP Group today announced the release of the CMT210, a transparent chassis design that allows gamers to see all their computer's critical components at a glance. The chassis addresses the three main requirements that gamers have when building a PC, namely high cooling capability, easy expansion, and compatibility. The CMT210's tranquil appearance showcases FSP's unique droplet-shaped cooling-hole design, capable of holding 360 mm of water in its cooling system and features FSP's custom-designed paragliding electric fan, which achieves a high cooling effect.

The spacious interior layout allows for the installation of three groups of 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch personal storage devices, with seven groups of PCI-E multiple graphics card slots for high scalability. The layout also takes into account potential size differences between the chassis and key components which may not have matching measurements, such as the ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX, as well as other mainstream motherboards. Moreover, the high cooling tower and high-end long graphics card can be made perfectly compatible.

Ryzen 7-1700 Beats Core i7-7700K: AMD

AMD is very confident that it has a lineup of desktop processors that compete with Intel's best. In its recent Ryzen 7 series launch presentation, the company released benchmark numbers to claim that the $499 Ryzen 7-1800X performs on par with the $1,099 Core i7-6900K, despite a narrower memory bus, and at less than half its price.

More interestingly, the company claims that the Ryzen 7-1700, its third fastest Ryzen part, will be a clear winner against the identically-priced Core i7-7700K ($329). The Ryzen 7-1700 posts up to 46% higher performance than the i7-7700K, and even holds up a slim lead over its rival in tests that are not very multi-threaded.

AMD Ryzen 5 Six-Core Processors to Launch in Q2-2017

AMD plans to launch six-core variants of its upcoming Ryzen processors in the second quarter of 2017 (April-June). This would mean that on March 2nd, you will be able to choose from only the top-tier eight-core Ryzen 7 series parts. The more cost-effective Ryzen 3 series will launch in the second half of 2017 (after June). Priced at $329, $399, and $499, the Ryzen 7-1800X, 1700X, and 1700 will likely cater to the high-end market, as they are priced either on par or greater than Intel Core i7-7700K. The 1700X and 1800X, according to AMD, even compete with Intel's larger HEDT Core i7 socket LGA2011v3 parts. Our older article, which deals with the pricing of the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 series SKUs, reveals that some of these parts, such as the Ryzen 5-1600X offer very compelling value propositions at their price-points.

NVIDIA Counts Down to GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Launch

NVIDIA's GeForce.com website today was updated to greet us with a curious-looking countdown to evening, February 28. The countdown goes with the caption "It's Almost Time," with "Ti" in bold lettering. This just about confirms launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA's next high-end graphics card based on the same "GP102" silicon as the TITAN X Pascal. It remains to be seen if the company endows the SKU with more CUDA cores than the TITAN X Pascal, or less. A lot will depend on what NVIDIA's product managers learned about AMD's upcoming Radeon Vega.

AMD Ends Windows 8.1 32-bit Support with Latest Radeon Software Release

With its latest Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1 drivers, AMD decided to stop releasing regular WHQL-signed drivers for the 32-bit version of the Windows 8.1 operating system. At first we thought AMD's web-admins accidentally missed publishing the driver (so we could post it on our Downloads section). When we got in touch with AMD, we were told that the company doesn't have new drivers for 32-bit Windows 8.1. We were even told that it's because nobody cares about 32-bit Windows 8.1 anymore, citing extremely low download numbers.

Apparently, AMD is cutting down costs and time for its driver development team by discarding operating systems and architectures that only a few people use. It was first to dump Windows XP support, and support for Windows 8 (in favor of Windows 8.1). While the company does provide 64-bit Windows 8.1 WHQL drivers as regularly as its popular Windows 7 and Windows 10 ones; it is skipping support for 32-bit Windows 8.1 going forward. The company will not release any new Windows 8.1 32-bit drivers anymore. One way out of this is to upgrade to Windows 10 while you still can. Updating to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 is pretty smooth, and maybe you can consider an upgrade to 64-bit, since most new AAA games are limited to 64-bit only.
Wednesday, February 22nd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs

TerraMaster F2-220 2-Bay NAS

The TerraMaster F2-220 is an affordable two-bay NAS featuring good performance and nice looks thanks to its aluminum enclosure. This Intel Dual-Core powered storage system uses Linux under the hood and is very energy-efficient with only 12 W power consumed in idle.

CyberPowerPC Debuts AMD Ryzen Series of Fully-Customizable Gaming Enthusiast Rigs

CyberPower Inc., a global manufacturer of custom gaming PCs, gaming laptops, and performance workstations, today announced the pre-sale of a new series of enthusiastic gaming PCs based on the AMD Ryzen CPU and AM4 platform, which features advanced overclocking and more PCI Express lanes for handling high-bandwidth, immersive computing.

CyberPowerPC Ryzen based gaming PCs come in a multitude of flavors and offerings, including a Virtual Reality-ready system, refreshes to its current award winning Gamer Dragon, as well as high performance machines in the new Gamer Master Series and Hyper Liquid series. All Ryzen equipped systems will be fully customizable.

Pricing of Entire AMD Ryzen Lineup Revealed

AMD Wednesday launched its much awaited Ryzen performance desktop processor lineup with three top 8-core models, the Ryzen 7-1800X priced at USD $499, followed by the Ryzen 7-1700X at $399, and the Ryzen 7-1700 at $329. You're probably curious as to the rest of the lineup, especially the cheaper six-core SMT-enabled parts. Here they are. The Ryzen 5-1600X is designed to lure buyers away from the Core i5-7600K, and probably even the i7-7700K. This six-core chip with SMT, which enables 12 logical CPUs for your software to deal with, is endowed with the full 16 MB of L3 cache, and is not only unlocked, but also features the XFR (extended frequency range) technology. It's clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz TurboCore. The Ryzen 5-1600X is priced at $259, and is sure to draw some attention.

Next up, is the Ryzen 5-1500. This 6-core/12-thread chip lacks XFR, but is still unlocked, ticks at 3.20 GHz with 3.50 GHz TurboCore, and features the full 16 MB of L3 cache. At $229, and with a TDP of 65W, this chip is sure to disrupt Intel's "Kaby Lake" Core i5 lineup. The quad-core Ryzen lineup is built by disabling one of the two 4-core CCX complexes on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon, and feature 8 MB of L3 cache. The lineup is led by the $199 Ryzen 5-1400X. This quad-core chip ticks at 3.50 GHz, with 3.90 GHz TurboCore, and features XFR and SMT, which enables 8 threads. Next up, is the quad-core Ryzen 5-1300, priced at $175, with the Core i3-7350K in its crosshairs, clocked at 3.20 GHz and 3.50 GHz Turbo. At the bottom of the pile is the Ryzen 3 quad-core lineup, which lack SMT. The Ryzen 3-1200X is priced at just $149, but you get 3.40 GHz clocks with 3.80 GHz Turbo, and XFR, and 8 MB of L3 cache. The cheapest Ryzen chip is just $129. The Ryzen 3-1200 lacks XFR, but gives you 3.20 GHz clocks with 3.50 GHz Turbo.

Source: OCaholic

Shuttle XPCs Now Available with Kaby Lake Support

The new year now heralds the arrival of the 7th generation of the Intel Core processors at Shuttle. The first chips for the mobile segment appeared under the code name Kaby Lake back in the autumn of last year. The desktop version is now hitting the market in the first quarter of 2017. What Kaby Lake means for users is primarily more graphics performance coupled with lower power consumption. A BIOS update is required to make current Shuttle XPC Barebones compatible. An XPC with an LGA 1151 socket is also essential.

AMD Releases the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1 WHQL Drivers

AMD today released the 17.2.1 WHQL version of its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive. This release features Multi GPU profiles and support for For Honor (with an up to 4% performance improvement on Radeon RX 480) and Sniper Elite 4 (with a 5% performance improvement being registered here). Look after the break for a list of known, fixed issues. Compared to the previous 17.2.1 Beta release of the ReLive driver suite, this one is virtually the same, the only difference being the WHQL signing.

As always, you can grab the drivers right here at TPU, through our revamped downloads section. Just follow the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.2.1 WHQL

AMD Reveals Ryzen 7 Family, Pricing, and Radeon Vega Logo

At a press event by AMD, company CEO Lisa Su unveiled the first three AMD Ryzen desktop processor models, the top-dog Ryzen 7-1800X, the Ryzen 7-1700X, and the Ryzen 7-1700. The R7-1800X is priced at USD $499, followed by the R7-1700X at $399, and the R7-1700 at $329. The three chips will be available for purchase on the 2nd of March, 2017. The R7-1800X is clocked at 3.60 GHz, with a TurboCore frequency of 4.00 GHz, and the XFR (extended frequency range) feature, which further overclocks the chip, depending on the effectiveness of your CPU cooler.

The Ryzen 7-1700X ships with 3.40 GHz clocks, with 3.80 GHz TurboCore frequency, and the XFR feature. The Ryzen 7-1700 lacks XFR, and comes with slightly lower clocks, at 3.00 GHz core, and 3.70 GHz TurboCore. All three are true 8-core chips, with 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. Also featured are dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controllers, and an integrated PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex. The Ryzen 7-1700 has a TDP of just 65W (for a performance 8-core chip that's a kick in the butts of Intel's engineers), and will include an AMD Wraith Max cooling solution, while the 1700X and 1800X have TDP rated at 95W, and will come without coolers. At its media event, CEO Lisa Su stated that at $499, the Ryzen 7-1800X "smokes" the Intel Core i7-6900K eight-core processor. The company also unveiled the branding of its Radeon Vega enthusiast graphics family. Lastly, feast your eyes on the beautiful, 14 nm, Made-in-USA die-shot of Ryzen.

Source: HotHardware

NGD Systems Announces the Industry's Highest Capacity SSD

NGD Systems, a pioneer creating intelligent solid state drives (SSD) for public and private cloud data centers, today announced the availability of the industry's highest density storage solution. Shipping immediately and currently being qualified at leading OEMs, the Catalina SSD is available in capacities up to 24TB with 3D TLC flash in a PCIe edge card form factor.

"The Catalina is the industry's highest capacity PCIe NVMe SSD, designed and optimized for applications requiring consistent and low latency mass storage," said Nader Salessi, founder and chief executive officer of NGD Systems. "We are setting a new metric for energy and storage density to meet a key concern within data center and cold storage applications alike."

Asetek Signs Data Center Product Development Agreement

Asetek announced today the signing of a development agreement with a major player in the data center space. The end-goal of the development agreement is to have products in the market before year-end and resulting revenue to have significant impact on Asetek's future data center business. The name of the partner will be disclosed at a later date.

"This development agreement is the direct result of several years of collaboration and I am very pleased that we have come this far with our partner. I expect this is the major breakthrough we have been waiting for," said André Sloth Eriksen, CEO and founder of Asetek.

Current data center OEM customers include Fujitsu, Penguin and CRAY. Asetek's RackCDU D2C liquid cooling is used in nine installations in the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world, and in nine installations in the Green500 list of the world's most energy efficient supercomputers.

AMD to Detail Vega Some More at Capsaicin 2017 Event

AMD in a press release today, stated that in its 2017 "Capsaicin Live" event held on the sidelines of the Game Developers Conference, it will reveal "exciting new details surrounding Vega," its next-generation GPU architecture, on which the company is expected to launch its next high-end graphics card. The company is hosting the much talked about "Capsaicin and Cream" launch event on the 28th February, 2017. It is expected to launch its next-generation Ryzen performance desktop processors, and talk some more about its "Vega" GPU architecture. Besides Ryzen and Vega, AMD will showcase some of Summer 2017's most anticipated AAA game launches that take advantage of VR.

Toshiba Now Shipping Samples of 64-Layer, 512-gigabit 3D Flash Memory

Toshiba Corporation has today unveiled the latest addition in its industry-leading line-up of BiCS FLASH three-dimensional flash memory with a stacked cell structure, a 64-layer device that achieves a 512-gigabit (64-gigabytes) capacity with 3-bit-per-cell (triple-level cell, TLC) technology. The new device will be used in applications that include enterprise and consumer SSD. Sample shipments of the chip started this month, and mass production is scheduled for the second half of this calendar year.

Toshiba continues to refine BiCS FLASH, and the next milestone on its development roadmap is the industry's largest capacity, a 1-terabyte product with a 16-die stacked architecture in a single package. Plans call for the start of sample shipments in April 2017. For the new 512-gigabit device, Toshiba deployed leading-edge 64-layer stacking process to realize a 65% larger capacity per unit chip size than the 48-layer 256-gigabit (32-gigabytes) device, and has increased memory capacity per silicon wafer, reducing the cost per bit.
Tuesday, February 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC 6 GB

MSI's GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC is a custom GTX 1060 variant that's optimized to not break the bank while still offering features like idle-fan-stop, low noise, and good temperatures. The card uses the exact same PCB as the more expensive Gaming X, at lower clocks, though.

Adesso Launches AKB-636 Mechanical Keyboard

Adesso Inc., a leading manufacturer of computer input peripherals, announces the release of the AKB-636UB Mechanical Keyboard which offers users a new style of advanced ergonomic input device with multifunctional browsing features.The MSRP for the 636 is $99.99 available for purchase at www.adesso.com.

The Adesso AKB-636UB Desktop Mechanical Typewriter Keyboard is the perfect keyboard for users that love efficiency with a "retro" design. This sturdy keyboard features silver colored crisp mechanical keys for increased productivity, N-Key Rollover allowing up to 6 keys to be pressed at the same time, multi-functional hotkeys that give you quick access to your media player tools. With the smooth action of the mechanical keys you can type faster than you imagined, handling up to 50 million keystrokes.

Intel Announces Atom C3000 Line with up to 16-cores and Enterprise Level Features

Intel's Atom CPU line may bring back ugly memories of the netbook era and slow, underpowered devices that were often jokingly compared to the compute power of a common potato, but this latest line of Atom CPUs appears to have evolved into something much different.

At the high end of the C3000 line, Intel is talking in terms of 16-core CPUs, and not 16-core weaklings either. The announcement includes some features borrowed from the coveted Xeon line, such as hardware virtualization, and RAS (reliability, availability, and serviceability) which is a tech designed for enterprise data needs.

Intel Launches Site Detailing Optane Requirements: Skylake Users Need Not Apply

Microprocessor giant Intel has launched a new page dedicated to its 3D XPoint-based Optane memory solution, a technology that it jointly developed with memory manufacturer Micron back in 2015, and was supposed to be on the market by 2016. The company missed that date; however, the technology is still interesting to enthusiasts and power users alike, due to its promises of both high speed and large capacity, a seemingly unattainable combo in today's markets.

Unfortunately, it seems that any system built around when Optane was announced will not be able to run Optane-based SSDs. In the system requirements section of its page, Intel has indicated that Optane will not run on anything earlier than a Kaby Lake based CPU. No exceptions. Yes, that includes Skylake, Broadwell, and pretty much everything else besides Kaby Lake. You will also need a 200-series chipset or newer.

Alphacool Presents the "Eislicht," a Revolution in Illumination

Alphacool presents the next step in modding and style. With the "Eislicht" , Alphacool is introducing a brand new technology into the field of case illumination.

Installing lighting into PCs started many years ago with cathode tubes. They had a pleasant, even glow, but were rather chunky and difficult to integrate into a system. Their lifespan was also a lot shorter than today's LEDs.

The latter are state of the art today, and the world of modding can hardly be imagined without them. They're easy to install, don't use a lot of power, give off very little heat, and their lifespan is very long. However, their illumination is rather piecemeal and often looks awkward due to the many individual LEDs.

AMD's Ryzen 7 1700X Glorious Benchmarks Leak; IHS, Pin Layout Photographed

Another day, another leak: the folks at XFastest have indeed been the fastest to leak images of an actual Ryzen 7 1700X processor, with pictures of the processor's IHS and pin area running rampant throughout the Internet (the Ryzen chip is located to the right in both pictures, with a sample of AMD's previous-generation FX CPUs on the left side for comparison sake).

While revealing shots may have their appeal, it's the benchmarking portion that most of us are expectant about. Until actual reviews are out, we're left nothing more than these leaks (which should be taken with appropriate amounts of salt). In this case, benchmarks of AMD's upcoming Ryzen 7 1700X have been released, showing just how the upcoming CPU delivers in 3D Mark Fire Strike, CPU Mark and Cinebench R15.

Google Dominates VR Headsets Market: Strategy Analytics

2016 saw the launch of multiple new VR platforms vying for consumer, developer and enterprise attention. The Strategy Analytics report "VR Headset Platform Market Share Year End 2016" estimates that over 30 million VR headsets shipped, split between 6 major competing VR platforms in an increasingly fragmented landscape.

David MacQueen, Executive Director of Strategy Analytics' Virtual Reality Ecosystem research program, noted, "2016 certainly was a busy year in VR. Appearing alongside Google Cardboard were new platforms Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and SteamVR, currently served by the HTC Vive device, although more vendors will join this platform in 2017."

AMD Appoints John W. Marren to Board of Directors

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today announced the appointment of John W. Marren, 53, to its board of directors coinciding with Martin Edelman's decision to step down as member of the company's board of directors, a position he has held since 2013. Marren's 30-year career spans both the financial and technology industries, with a deep focus on semiconductors. He retired from Texas Pacific Group (TPG) Capital in 2015 after spending 16 years at the firm as senior partner and head of technology investments. Prior to TPG, he was managing director and co-head of the Technology Investment Banking Group at Morgan Stanley, and prior to that time was managing director at Alex, Brown and Sons. Before shifting his focus to finance, Marren spent seven years in various technical and business roles at VLSI Technology and Vitesse Semiconductor. He currently serves on a number of private company boards, including Avaya Inc., Infinidat, Inc., and Isola Group.

"John brings substantial board, financial, and technology industry experience as well as strong semiconductor knowledge that make him a valuable addition to AMD as the company enters an exciting growth phase driven by a strengthened and expanded portfolio of new products," said John Caldwell, AMD's chairman of the board. "On behalf of the AMD Board, I would also like to express our thanks to Marty for his four years of service as a director. We are grateful for his counsel and insight that has helped AMD transform and build a solid foundation for growth."

AMD Ryzen Stock Cooling Solutions Detailed

AMD is expected to package its upcoming Ryzen desktop processors in five ways - OEM trays (for system integrators and big pre-built PC manufacturers), PIB (processor in a box) with its basic fan-heatsink cooling solution, PIB with the new Wraith Spire cooling solution; PIB with the new Wraith Max cooling solution, and WOF (without fan-heatsink consumer). You can find the various models of Ryzen processors listed in our older article.

AMD's first wave of Ryzen processors consist of 65W and 95W TDP chips. Some of the more cost-effective models, such as the quad-core Ryzen R3 and SMT-equipped quad-core Ryzen R5, and certain variants of the six-core Ryzen R5, which have their TDP rated at 65W, could include AMD's basic cooling solution. According to XFastest, this cooler will look identical to the ones AMD used to bundle with its FX-series processors, before it innovated its Wraith cooling solution (representative image below). These coolers were being bundled with 125W TDP FX-series chips, and will now be re-tuned for low noise for the 65W TDP Ryzen chips, and will feature AM4 compatibility. Given this, we expect them to do a good job.

Want to Review Headphones and Headsets for TechPowerUp?

Lend us your ears! TechPowerUp is looking for audiophiles and enthusiasts who can review consumer headphones and gaming headsets for us. Reviewing listening devices such as headphones aren't heavy on measurements and data analysis; we will however, be counting on your literary and photography skills, besides your ability to spot subtle differences in the way different headphones reproduce test sounds. The position is part-time, remote, and we pay, besides arranging samples. Interested? Send us your CVs, optionally along with samples of your work. We're cool with first-time reviewers, too.
Image Credit: PC Games News

GeIL Launches its EVO-X Series DDR4 Memory with RGB LED Lighting

GeIL launched its flagship EVO-X line of high-performance DDR4 memory modules featuring RGB LED lighting, which it unveiled at the 2017 International CES, earlier this year. The modules feature a diffused RGB LED lighting element that takes input from most RGB LED standards over 4-pin headers, such as ASUS Aura Sync, ASRock Aura RGB, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion. The modules feature two inputs, one on either side. One plugs into a 4-pin RGB LED header, and the other draws additional power from a 9V/12V power source, such as a fan header.

Internally, the LED lighting element is placed on a separate PCB from the actual DRAM module, so there's no scope for electrical interference that can destabilize the memory. The modules come in 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB densities, and in a wide range of speeds and timing combinations, including DDR4-2133, DDR4-2400, DDR4-3000, DDR4-3466, DDR4-4000, and DDR4-4133. The modules further come in single-module and dual-channel kits; and with two heatspreader color options - glossy white and matte black. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Blizzard Ends Windows XP and Vista Support for Popular Titles

Blizzard announced that support for several of its popular titles in Windows XP and Vista will be ending later this year. These titles include World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.

Dropping support for these platforms makes sense from an economic standpoint. As a platform ages, it becomes increasingly hard to make software work with it without making it difficult to support modern technology and features. Windows XP in particular doesn't support above DirectX 9, severely limiting the abilities of a developer wishing to take advantage of modern graphics and effects. Vista, on the other hand, supports up to DirectX 11, but has such limited market share as to make it statistically irrelevant (XP market share hovers at slightly less than 10%, while Vista market share doesn't even register, according to netmarketshare.com).

Source: BlizzardSource: HardOCP
Monday, February 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Notebooks
PSUs
Speakers
SSD

Tesoro Gram Spectrum RGB Keyboard

The Tesoro Gram Spectrum RGB keyboard is a new take on an old design. It has the now expected full RGB backlighting, software driver support and programmable/macro features for keyboards but does so while using low profile keycaps and a new Cherry MX switch clone- the Agile switches- with shorter actuation and bottoming out distances intended for faster response times.

AOC Intros Two New AGON CX Series Curved Gaming Monitors

AOC today introduced two new AGON CX series curved gaming monitors in the conventional 16:9 aspect ratio, the 32-inch AG322QCX, and the 27-inch AG272FCX. The two feature VA (vertical alignment) panels, which serve up 144 Hz refresh-rates, and support for AMD FreeSync technology (over DisplayPort). The monitors look "gaming grade," boasting glossy red+black color schemes, and an acrylic tripod stand. Controls are handled by an AOC QuickSwitch RF remote control. The AG322QCX offers native resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, and inputs that include two each of DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, with one D-Sub (VGA); while the AG272FCX is Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), featuring two DisplayPorts and one HDMI, besides the D-Sub. Slated for May 2017, the AG272FCX is expected to be priced at 449€, and the AG322QCX at 599€ (including taxes).

MSI Launches Low-Profile AMD RX 460 Graphics Cards in 2 GB and 4 GB Flavours

To strangely low pomp and fanfare, MSI has further increased its line-up of offerings for the RX 460 family of graphics cards, with the launch of the Radeon RX 460 4GT LP (4GB), as well as a 2GT (2GB) version. Based on AMD's Olaris 11 "Baffin" graphics chip, these graphics cards feature a 75 W TDP, thus eschewing any auxiliary PCIe power connectors. That TDP being tamed by a dual-fan cooling solution and the usage of MIL-STD-810G certified components mean that this is a card where MSI feels comfortable about its lifespan.

Connectivity-wise, the boards offer 1x DL-DVI-D, as well as 1x HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 support, which makes any of these a relevant choice for an HTPC. MSI has not revealed a MSRP for any of these cards, but considering the segment at which they fit in like a jigsaw puzzle, one can surely expect their pricing to not be that far off from those recommended by AMD ($109 for the 2 GB version, and $139 for the 4 GB one).

Source: AnandTech

Trays of AMD Ryzen CPUs Pictured

Feast your eyes on these trays of AMD Ryzen processors. Someone (likely an OEM gaming desktop builder) leaked pictures of several 12-unit trays of AMD Ryzen processors, revealing their package designs. A prominent "Ryzen" branding is printed on the integrated heatspreaders (IHS), besides the part numbers, and the various serial numbers.

The chips boast of "diffused in USA, made in China" markings, denoting that the dies (the actual chips) are made in the USA, at GlobalFoundries' swanky new fab, in upstate New York. The chips are then shipped as wafers to GloFo's facility in China, where the dies are bumped and packaged (mated with the pinned substrate and IHS). AMD is expected to launch the Ryzen line of high-performance desktop processors on the 28th February, 2017.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD vs. NVIDIA Flamewar Claims its First IRL Fatality

A Russian man was convicted for murdering his friend over an argument they had over whose graphics card brand is better. Although this incident happened about a year ago, a court placed on official record that the fight that led to the murder was over graphics card brand loyalties. Aleksander Trofimov, hacked his friend Evgeny Lylin to death with a knife as things got heated way out of control between them. The two were under the influence of alcohol. Trofimov, got so offended by his friend's arguments over which GPU brand's cooling solution is better, that he stabbed him 11 times with a knife. Maybe keep your flame-wars on the Internet, where mods with bansticks can sort you out. We stab only your ego.

Source: FragHero

QNAP Launches TS-431X Entry-level Business NAS with a 10GbE Port

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the new TS-431X NAS - a cost-effective dual-core business NAS supporting 4 drives, one built-in 10GbE SFP+ port, and hardware-accelerated encryption. Along with its application-aware design and abundant productive features including containerized virtualization, centralized email management, a private-cloud-based note-taking tool, and Virtual JBOD, the 10GbE-ready TS-431X is a perfect NAS for small and midsize businesses looking for backup, restoration, private cloud, and higher bandwidth for rigorous data processing.

Powered by a dual-core AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-212 1.7 GHz processor and 2GB/8GB DDR3 RAM (upgradable to 8GB), the TS-431X delivers up to 956 MB/s read speed with 10GbE, and up to 312 MB/s read speed with AES 256-bit volume-based data encryption. The integrated 10GbE SFP+ port enables exceptional throughput for intensive data transfer, and fast backup and restoration for an ever-growing amount of data.

NVIDIA to Steal AMD's Ryzen Limelight on Feb 28

NVIDIA could attempt to steal the limelight from AMD's 2017 "Capsaicin & Cream" launch event for its Ryzen desktop processors, slated for February 28, with a parallel GeForce GTX event along the sidelines of the 2017 Game Developers' Conference (GDC). At this event, the company is expected to launch its next enthusiast-segment graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This could at least be a paper-launch, with market availability following through in March.

While the GTX 1080 Ti is a graphics card, and Ryzen a processor (they don't compete), NVIDIA's choice of launch-date could certainly steal some attention away from AMD's big day. Besides launching Ryzen, it wouldn't surprise us if AMD teases its upcoming Radeon "Vega" graphics cards a little more. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is expected to be based on the same "GP102" silicon as the company's flagship TITAN X Pascal graphics card, and could be positioned very close to the USD $1,000 mark, given that NVIDIA priced the TITAN X Pascal at a wallet-scorching $1,199.

Sources: IO-Tech, NordicHardware

Synology Acknowledges Erratum in Intel Atom C2000-powered NAS

Synology Inc. is aware of a new processor erratum discovered in the Intel Atom C2000 family. After in-depth investigation, the possibility of seeing accelerated degradation of a certain processor component is rare after prolonged and heavy usage. This erratum is not known to cause data loss, nor any safety hazards. Based on hundreds of thousands of shipped products equipped with Intel C2538 processors since 2014, Synology has not seen any abnormal error rates compared to products equipped with different Intel processors.

As of today, all products equipped with Intel C2538 processors are performing in-line with Synology's quality standards. As a testament to our confidence in Synology's product reliability, we are extending the warranty for Intel C2538 based products by an additional year. A dedicated service email, has also been implemented for further questions.
Friday, February 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
Speakers

Aerocool P7-C1

The Aerocool "Project 7" P7-C1 offers a futuristic take on what a gaming professional should use as their chassis. It offers large, clean design elements, a long list of functionality, an interesting material mix, and RGB lighting.

AMD Ryzen 1700X, 1600X & 1300 Benchmarks Leaked

A number of sites have been reporting on some leaked (as in, captured from Futuremark's database) scores on AMD's upcoming CPUs. Now, some benchmarks seem to have surfaced regarding not only the company's 8-core, 16-thread monsters, but also towards its sweet-spot 6-core, 12-thread CPUs and its more mundane 4-core offerings.

Taking into account some metrics (which you should, naturally, take with some grains of salt), and comparing Intel's and AMD's Ryzen offerings on 3DMark's Fire Strike Physics scores, we can see that a $389 Ryzen 7 1700X (8 cores, 16 threads) at its base clock of 3.4 GHz manages to surpass Intel's competing (in thread count alone, since it retails for $1089) 6900K running at its base 3.2 GHz frequency - with the Ryzen processor scoring 17,878 points versus the 6900K's 17,100. Doing some fast and hard maths, this would mean that if the R7 1700X was to be clocked at the same speed as the 6900K, it would still be faster, clock for clock (though not by much, admittedly). We don't know whether Turbo was disabled or not on these tests, for either AMD's or Intel's processor, so we have to consider that. However, if Turbo were enabled, that would mean that the R7 1700X's clockspeed would only be 100 MHz higher than the 6900K's (3.8 GHz max, vs 3.7 GHz max on the Intel CPU).

Valve Reportedly Indifferent to Fate of Virtual Reality Tech

It seems Valve is far from concerned about rumors of an underwhelming Virtual Reality headset market. In a recent interview with the head of the game studio, Gabe Newell said his company was still "optimistic" in regards to VR's present state of affairs, and that it's "going in a way that's consistent with our expectations." He also added that Valve was "pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure."

VR Tech sales have come under scrutiny due, in part, to lack of information. Neither Valve nor Oculus' respective marketplaces have produced sales data, leaving speculation to run rampant. To further fuel the fire, leaked figures from late last year suggest only 140,000 HTC Vive headsets had been sold, below market expectations for what is supposed to be the next "big thing."

Phanteks Also Announces the Glacier G1080 Series VGA Water Blocks

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, is excited to introduce the new Glacier Series GPU water blocks. The Glacier G1080 full cover waterblocks from Phanteks are designed to work seamlessly with the 1080/1070 Graphic Cards from MSI Gaming Series, Asus Strix, EVGA FTW, Gigabyte G1, preserving compatibility with orignal backplates and RGB functionalities.

Made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks, the G1080 water blocks deliver extreme cooling and improve stability under high overclocks for the enthusiasts. VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity.

Phanteks Also Announces the Glacier C350i CPU Water Block

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, is excited to introduce the Glacier Series C350i, a compact design CPU water block for Intel platform that delivers the highest possible rate of cooling performance to the processor efficiently and improves stability when overclocked.

The Glacier C350i features a large copper base in high quality nickel finish, polished acrylic surface, and integrated high density cooling fins. The fins are fine-tuned to 0.4mm wide and designed with extra high fins (5mm) for improved conductivity. The C350i is integrated with RGB Lighting that can be synchronised with all Phanteks RGB products and RGB motherboards. Tailored with Viton O-Ring, the C350i is durable, resistant to extreme temperatures and retains sealing performance for long periods of time.

Phanteks Announces the Glacier Series Water Cooling Fittings

Phanteks, the award-winning thermal cooling and chassis manfacturer, has expanded their products into water cooling. Designed to compliment and work seamlessly with their chassis, GPU and CPU water block, Phanteks is excited to announce their new line-up of Glacier Series Fittings. Consisting of soft tube and hard tube fittings, the fittings are ready for any style of watercooling.

The fittings are made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks. The Glacier Fittings are CNC-machined from solid brass and precisely engineered to create a high flow design for extreme water cooling performance. VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity.

MSI Announces Aero ITX Line of Compact Graphics Cards

MSI today announced the Aero ITX line of short-length graphics cards that are mini-ITX friendly. The lineup is led by the GeForce GTX 1070 Aero ITX OC (and its non-overclocked variant); which is just 18.4 cm long, 14.4 cm tall, and 2 slots thick. Its cooler features a dense aluminium fin-stack to which heat drawn directly from the GPU are fed by three 8 mm-thick nickel plated copper heat pipes; and ventilated by a single 100 mm TorX fan. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; and serves up a factory-overclock of 1531 MHz core, 1721 MHz GPU Boost (against reference clocks of 1506/1683 MHz); and an untouched memory clock of 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective). The non-OC variant sticks to reference clocks, at a slightly lower price.

Moving on, there's the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB/3GB Aero ITX series, in OC and non-OC variants. All four cards are built on a common board design, with 17.5 cm length, and 11.5 cm height. The cooler is slightly lighter than the one that cools the GTX 1070 Aero ITX, and employs just one S-shaped 8 mm-thick heat pipe, passing through two ends of an aluminium fin-stack; ventilated by an 80 mm spinner. The GTX 1060 6GB Aero ITX OC ticks at 1544 MHz core, and 1759 MHz GPU Boost (vs. 1506/1709 MHz reference). The GTX 1060 3GB OC runs at 1544/1759 MHz. The non-OC variants run at reference speeds. The cards draw power from single 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

BIOSTAR RACING Series Motherboard Lineup for AMD RYZEN Announced

BIOSTAR is proud to announce the newest entry in its RACING Series family of high-performance motherboard with its debut entry for AMD with the BIOSTAR RACING X370 and B350 motherboard line up. Featuring the latest 2nd-generation RACING Series technology, the race to the future has just become more intense with support for the new AMD RYZEN processors.

True to the legacy of the BIOSTAR RACING series, the new motherboards for the Super 5 concept as well as the BIOSTAR's revolutionary VIVID LED Armor and 5050 LED Fun Zone. In conjunction with this are BIOSTAR's new improvement to component stability and performance with its new feature of Digital Power+ for overclocking and M.2 Cooling Protection. Also debuting with this model is the FLY.NET network performance software that works in tandem with the new DRAGON gaming LAN solution designed for gamers that want absolute network performance without lag when every second counts.

BIOSTAR and TechPowerUp Announce the Racing GT Giveaway

BIOSTAR and TechPowerUp are back with a 'racing' new giveaway, to celebrate the launch of BIOSTAR's Intel 200-series chipset based Racing GT series motherboards. These socket LGA1151 motherboards by BIOSTAR are designed with high-durability electrical components, and the grooviest RGB LED lighting. Open to participants from the United States and Mexico; up for grabs, are one BIOSTAR Racing Z270-GT6 high-end motherboard; and two BIOSTAR Racing B250-GT5. That's three lucky winners who stand to win one of BIOSTAR's very best! To stand a chance to win, all you have to do is fill up a short form (to help us identify you). Good Luck!
For more information, and to participate, visit this page.
Thursday, February 16th 2017

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Desktop PC
Headphones
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AMD Ryzen Die Shot and New Architecture Details Revealed at ISSCC

At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference held earlier this month, some solid information has come to surface on a subject near and dear to many enthusiast hearts right now: AMD's upcoming Ryzen CPU line.

As far as credibility, the information comes in fairly convincing form. AMD's claims are backed with die shots of actual AMD Ryzen cores and further supported by more shots of their CCX (core complex) modules. From these shots, we can guess at several things, and further more see evidence for several of their claims.

Arkane's New IP is Prey to AMD's Vega - Possible Hint at Launch Window

It all seems to go back to AMD these days, doesn't it? If it isn't the company's upcoming Ryzen CPUs that stand in the limelight (a rare thing nowadays, with a seemingly neverending amount of leaks around them and the accompanying AM4 platform), it's the company's Vega graphics architecture that makes waves with new info or new leaks.

Now, reports are coming in (with solid imagery at that) regarding a collaboration between Arkane and AMD, marrying Arkane's promising new IP, Prey, and AMD's upcoming Vega architecture. This may sound like an interesting, if not at all important, piece of information. But digging deeper, this is probably indication of Vega's expected launch window. Considering that AMD's woman of the moment, Lisa Su, has previously placed Vega's launch in Q2 2017 (spanning April, May, and June), and adding 1+1, this places AMD's Vega launch before Prey's - after all, it wouldn't make much sense to market a game as being optimized for a given architecture.... If users can't actually use it.

As an avid reader and story addict, I admit that Arkane's take on the world of Dishonored in its second iteration left me a little underwhelmed (though the worldbuilding, gameplay and art direction were simply sublime). However, judging from Prey's trailers and some hands-on impressions running the world wide web, it looks as if Arkane has again hit the proverbial nail in the head. And from what AMD promises, Vega will be here to power it when it launches on May 5th.

Source: PCGameshardware.de

Alphacool Presents the Eiswand Water Cooling Set

Alphacool presents the Eiswand ("Ice Wall"), a water cooling set for your CPU that can also be expanded on through its two quick-release connectors. For example, you could add one of the prefilled graphics card coolers in the Eiswolf GPX-Pro series, which would even add an extra pump to your system. You can find a fitting graphics card cooler using the configurator at http://www.hwconfig.com.

The Eiswand itself has two DC-LT low noise pumps built into its illuminated bottom. Even in the unlikely case that one of the two pumps fails, the cooling loop will continue to operate with only a marginal decrease in cooling performance. This means the Eiswand offers you enormous system stability.

The core component of the Eiswand is the 360mm full-copper radiator, which is equipped with six Eiswind fans. The fans' Push&Pull configuration gives you optimal cooling power. You can also use a Silent Adapter to severely restrict the pumps and fans, lowering the volume even more. Cooling power is only slightly reduced with the adapter.

ADATA Releases the XPG SX950 SSD and EX500 Enclosure

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched the XPG SX950 SSD and its accompanying gaming-styled EX500 drive enclosure. Loaded with up to 960GB of 3D MLC NAND and driven by a SMI controller, the SX950 utilizes a custom ADATA PCB and is backed by an extra-strict chip sorting process to ensure an SSD that can handle prolonged high demand. Performance reaches 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write. Bearing the signature XPG look, the EX500 is aimed at gamers and case modders, boasting a textured enclosure and a vibrant yet aggressive feel. It arrives with a spacer and bracket for easy install on desktops and notebooks. For users that would like to use the SX950 as external storage, the EX500 offers a stylish, durable, and easy-install enclosure that pairs instantly with desktops, notebooks, and game consoles via high speed USB 3.1.

ADATA is completing its transition to stacked memory, or 3D NAND. This allows for SSDs with bigger capacities without a correlating increase in prices paid by end users. The SX950 uses durable 3D MLC (multi-level cell) NAND Flash and SMI controller. Consumers can choose from 240GB, 480B, and 960GB versions of the SX950. Not only denser (higher capacity), 3D NAND is also roughly 10% faster than 2D NAND and so the SX950 outpaces its predecessor, the SX930 - reaching 560MB/s read and 530MB/s write.

AMD Ryzen Motherboards' Packaging From ASUS, Gigabyte, BIOSTAR Leak

We've already covered some upcoming AM4 motherboards from a plethora of companies here, here, and here. Packaging for some of these AM4 motherboards from various manufacturers have now been leaked, with models from ASUS (namely, the X370-based Crosshair VI Hero and Prime X370-PRO); Gigabyte (AORUS AX-370 Gaming 5), as well as BIOSTAR (with two different chipsets making the rounds, the X370 through the Racing X370 GT7 and Racing X370 GT5 models; and the B350 chipset through their Racing B350 GT5 and B350 GT3) making the rounds.

Team Group Announces the T-FORCE DARK Series Memory Asus ROG Certified

Team Group, the world's leading memory brand, today officially announces the launch of the popular ASUS ROG certified memory product, the T-FORCE DARK memory. ROG (Republic Of Gamers) is a gaming brand established in 2006. It represents the ultimate performance and top quality that gamers around the world keep pursuing. Team Group's T-FORCE DARK memory is rigorously tested and certified by ASUS officials to obtain the ROG certification. Together with ASUS motherboards, the consumers can have all the top gaming hardware at once to fully enjoy an extreme gaming and entertainment experience.

T-FORCE DARK is both unique and eye catching thanks to its unique feature of being the first and only to utilize a four-piece heat-spreader in the industry. In addition to advancing from previous two-piece heat spreaders, it also adds a combination of two more arched fins to increase radiating area and provide up to 8% better dissipation performance than traditional heat spreaders. Besides ROG certification and performance improvements, its killer look of a dark knight's armor is combined with ROG's unique elements such as the ROG abstract patterns together with the mighty ROG log. Consumers can freely choose from the eye catching colors of black and red, or the calming colors of black and grey to build up the perfect gaming memory.

NVIDIA to Host GeForce GTX Gaming Celebration Event at GDC 2017

Not to be outdone by AMD, and making sure to keep the landscape populated with enough green, NVIDIA has announced its presence in the upcoming GDC 2017. Could this be the choice battleground for an announcement regarding the (now) almost mythical GTX 1080Ti?

Let's see what the company has to say: "You're invited to attend the GeForce GTX gaming celebration! Come join us for an evening of awesome PC gaming, hardware, tournaments and of course free food, drinks and a few other amazing surprises. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the event will start promptly at 7 PM. The celebration will take place in downtown San Francisco, CA."

Let's just say that the company has history of announcing its top-of-the-line Ti models on GDC (much like it did with 2015's GTX 980 Ti), and that NVIDIA closes their announcement with a very tentative (if generic) "You won't want to miss this". And with rumors of AMD being prepared to show off its Vega architecture on the same day, as well as the expected release of its highly anticipated Ryzen CPUs, February 28th is looking out to be one of the best days of the year for enthusiasts.
Source: Eventbrite
Wednesday, February 15th 2017

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Sniper Elite 4: Performance Analysis

We test Rebellion's new shooter on 10 modern graphics cards, with the latest game-optimized drivers from AMD and NVIDIA. A surprise is that AMD gains up to 27% performance from switching to DX12 with Async Compute, while the performance uplift for NVIDIA users is only up to 5%.

Super Flower Platinum King 650 W

The Super Flower Platinum King is a highly efficient, very affordable mid-capacity PSU, priced at €89. This 80PLUS Platinum rated unit delivered good overall performance in our testing and features a single +12V rail and non-modular cable design.

AMD Ryzen Reviews and Shipping Coming on February 28th

Slight update on the Ryzen Event: reports confirm that Ryzen samples are finding their way to reviewers' hands, with the company's NDA being lifted on the 28th February - and the launch of AMD's flagship 1800X, 1700X and (my favorite so far) 1700 models on the same day. The remaining models in AMD's 17-strong Ryzen product-line are expected to follow a little later, on March 2nd.

Early leaked benchmarks have hailed the Ryzen launch as the second coming of a competitive CPU landscape for the first time in years, and as a turning point for AMD's position in the market. Fingers crossed, people: competition (alongside sufficient supply) is the holy grail for a consumer's wallet. Let's hope this is the much-needed spark towards reviving the CPU market and inciting future product development.

TrendForce Reports Global DRAM Revenue Jumped 18.2% Sequentially in Q4 2016

Peak season demand and surging prices for DRAM products across different applications resulted in an 18.2% sequential growth in the global DRAM revenue for the final quarter of 2016, reports DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.

Smartphone shipments peaked in the fourth quarter on account of the traditional busy season. Chinese smartphone brands continued to post strong sales while Apple benefitted from the release of iPhone 7. "Rising demand for mobile DRAM kept squeezing the industry's production capacity for PC DRAM," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "Contract prices of PC DRAM modules increased by more than 30% sequentially on average in the fourth quarter due to insufficient market supply. Server DRAM lagged behind PC and mobile DRAM in terms of price hike during the same period, but it is expected to catch up in the first quarter of this year."

Creative Intros Tournament Edition Variants of its SoundBlasterX H7 and H5

Creative announced retail availability of new Tournament Edition variants of its SoundBlasterX H5 and SoundBlasterX H7 gaming headsets. The variants are characterized by large 50 mm drivers and cushioning designed for extended periods of gameplay (as in tournaments). Both are stereo headsets, but the H7 comes with a USB DAC that puts out virtual 7.1-channel audio, with support for 24-bit/96 kHz audio formats. The 50 mm drivers range between 20 Hz to 22 kHz, with 32Ω impedance, and 118 dB/mW sound-pressure sensitivity. The retractable microphone ranges between 100 Hz to 15 kHz, with 2.2Ω impedance. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Also Announces the DSL-AC88U Gaming Grade Modem Router

ASUS today announced DSL-AC88U, an ultra-fast AC3100 dual-band Wi-Fi modem router that supports the latest high-speed G.fast DSL standard as well as all existing ADSL, ADSL2/2+ and VDSL2 standards. DSL-AC88U is our fastest ever modem router, featuring cutting-edge Broadcom NitroQAM technology that delivers 1.25X-faster Wi-Fi speeds than standard four-stream (4x4) routers. This enables data rates of up to 2167Mbps on the 5GHz band and 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band - or a combined concurrent bandwidth of up to 3167 Mbps.

DSL-AC88U has family-friendly parental controls that allow users to monitor and filter internet activity, which can help to protect the online safety of younger family members. In addition to its wide compatibility with G.fast and existing DSL broadband services, DSL-AC88U can also connect to the internet via an Ethernet connection, such as those provided by fiber- or cable-modem-based ISPs. These outstanding connectivity options make DSL-AC88U a supremely flexible and future-proof choice for any home user.

ASUS Announces the ROG Strix Impact Gaming Mouse

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Strix Impact, a wired optical gaming mouse with a lightweight and ergonomic ambidextrous design optimized for multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. Built with the essential qualities of lightness, speed, comfort, and durability that MOBA gamers need to triumph and have fun during marathon sessions, ROG Strix Impact is a reliable and effective gaming weapon.

Flexible customization options available in the intuitive ROG Armoury software let gamers change different aspects of the operation of ROG Strix Impact, and ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting lets them express their personal style and synchronize lighting with other Aura-enabled products. ROG Strix Impact is built to last with durable Omron switches that are rated to 50 million clicks. Thoughtful design details include a DPI switch and indicator to adjust tracking speed on the fly, and a low-friction, drag-free cable for fast, easy movement.

ADATA Intros the XPG SX950 SSD with 3D MLC NAND

ADATA launched the XPG SX950 line of performance segment SSDs, which it unveiled at the 2017 International CES expo. Available in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities, these drives combine a Silicon Motion made controller with 3D MLC NAND flash memory, to belt out performance of up to 560 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 530 MB/s sequential writes; and up to 90,000 IOPS 4K read/write random access performance. The controller features SLC caching, with which the drives treats a small portion of the MLC NAND user area as SLC NAND, and juggles hot data in and out of this portion, for improved performance. Built in the 7 mm thick 2.5-inch form-factor, the drives take advantage of SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The company is backing these drives with an interesting 6-year product warranty.
Tuesday, February 14th 2017

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Steam Changes Indie Game Policy. For Better or Worse?

Valve has a right to be proud of their Steam platform. After all, it's become an essential part of any gamer's tool belt. Even if one does not buy games on the Steam store directly, many games require it as part of their DRM to activate and launch, and you will end up with Steam on your system anyway. Recently, Valve has been looking into ways to make their system more accessible to smaller companies and Indie Developers, and until now, Steam Greenlight has been the main way to allow for this.

Under Greenlight, for a fee of $100, a developer could put up as many games as they desired into the Steam platform, but they are not immediately put into the store. Rather, they are voted on by the community and only games that do well are allowed in. Steam Direct differs from this in that it gets rid of the community voting process and allows developers to publish directly for a fee that is paid for each title. This opens a new can of worms that depends entirely on how large this fee is. Valve is currently talking in the range of $100 to as high as $5,000 (based on a survey among developers).

AMD's Ryzen Processors Box Art Leaked

The leaks and details regarding AMD's Ryzen processors just don't seem to - and really won't - stop these days. Now, it's the enclosing piece of cardboard in which these processors will ship that's made the rounds, and AMD seems to have continued with an understated look to its overall box design.

The box art was posted through a listing of AMD's upcoming Ryzen processors on a Thailand-based retail outlet, alongside pre-order pricing (which seems to carry a slight premium (for example: a Ryzen 7 1800X is listed at 18,790 Baht, which would roughly amount to $537, a little higher than the reported $499). But a picture is worth a thousand words, and as such, I'll just leave you with those.

Source: WCCFTech

AMD to Hold Capsaicin Event at GDC 2017

AMD has announced that they will be holding a Capsaicin Event at GDC 2017 on February 28th. Named "Capsaicin & Cream", this event could serve as a playground for its highly-awaited Ryzen launch, whilst allowing AMD to pair a showcase of its new CPUs (and thus borrowing some of the hype) with some tentative tasting of its upcoming graphics products.

The will be split up in two sections: first up is a Livestream (much like AMD's previous New Horizon celebration), taking place between 10.30am and 11.30pm PST, a " feature-packed show highlighting the hottest new graphics and VR technologies"; secondly, AMD will be hosting a private developers session, running between 2.30pm and 5pm PST, "with a special talk featuring Unity and Epic", followed by a private, GDC-attendees-only afterparty.

Source: Overclock3D

NVIDIA Releases the 378.66 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA has released the latest version of its "Game Ready" drivers, providing an optimized experience for Sniper Elite 4, For Honor, and Halo Wars 2. In addition to these features, these drivers add support for NVIDIA's Video SDK 8.0, which provides support for high-bit-depth (10/12-bit) hardware accelerated video decoding of VP9 and HEVC, as well as some miscellaneous other media-related features. Grab them from the link below:

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 378.66 WHQL

Death By a Thousand Cuts: Toshiba to Sell Majority of its Semiconductor Business

Toshiba may not be dead in the water just yet, but news are dire for the company. After the company confirmed it was looking to spin-off its NAND production business so as to sell a minority, 20% stake for much-needed liquidity in the face of amounting debt and multiple management mistakes, reports now announce a much more aggressive stance from the company. It is now apparently looking to sell a majority stake (60%) on the spin-off, in the face of escalating costs and dwindling prospective chances.

AMD Ryzen Benchmarks Leaked - Amazing Multi-core and Single-core Performance

Benchmarks have leaked on AMD's upcoming Ryzen CPUs, and if accurate, these are the ones that will change the name of the game from "Hype Train" to "Reality Check". Part of a verified Passmark entry, the test system consisted of an AMD Ryzen 8-core, 16-thread ES clocked at 3.4 GHz (which puts it closely on the Ryzen 7 1700X territory, though it isn't known whether Turbo to its rated 3.8 GHz was active or not), seated on an entry-level MSI A320 AM4 motherboard (absent of overclocking functionality) and 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory.

The tests include integer math, floating point performance, prime numbers, encryption, compression, sorting, SSE performance and physics. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700X outperformed every other CPU in 5 out of the 8 tests, including Intel's fastest 8-core chip, the $1099 Broadwell-E i7 6900K. When put side by side against Intel's slightly less expensive $999 8 core extreme edition Haswell-E i7 5960X, Ryzen was faster in 6 out of the 8 tests. The 1700X showed particularly good performance in integer math and encryption, workloads typically associated with server workloads (and where the bulk of the profit is).
Monday, February 13th 2017

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Gigabyte GTX 1080 Aorus Xtreme Edition 8 GB

Gigabyte's new brand, AORUS, has released their first graphics card. The AORUS GTX 1080 Xtreme comes with identical specifications as the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming, but adds adjustable RGB lighting and a copper block on the back to improve GPU temperatures.

Biostar Intros the A6N-5100 "Kabini" Motherboard

Biostar introduced the A6N-5100 mini-ITX motherboard. A slight upgrade over the company's A6N-5000 from two years ago, the new board integrates AMD A4-5100 APU based on the "Kabini" silicon, which has the chops to outperform Intel's Celeron "Braswell" processors. The A4-5100 integrates a quad-core CPU ticking at 1.60 GHz, and AMD Radeon GCN graphics. The board features two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, supporting up to 16 GB of memory, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI display output, and storage connectivity that includes two SATA 6 Gb/s ports. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Source: FanlessTech

AMD Releases the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1 Beta Drivers

AMD today released the 17.2.1 Beta version of its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive. This release features Multi GPU profiles and support for For Honor (with an up to 4% performance improvement on Radeon RX 480) and Sniper Elite 4 (with a 5% performance improvement being registered here). Look after the break for a list of known, fixed issues.

As always, you can grab the drivers right here at TPU, through our revamped downloads section. Just follow the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.2.1 Beta

Razer Updates the 14-inch Blade with New CPU and Graphics

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced the new Razer Blade 14-inch gaming laptop. This latest version of Razer's award-winning laptop offers an updated CPU, faster memory and a new 4K UHD screen option. The result is a laptop with a perfect balance of power, mobility and durability with the characteristically elegant Razer Blade profile.

The latest generation of 7th Gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor in the new Razer Blade is more powerful and more efficient than last year's model, the "Best Portable Gaming Laptop" on the market according to Digital Trends (November 2016). The powerful CPU of the new Razer Blade achieves double-digit increases in productivity benchmarks and is paired with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics to deliver the best frame rates available in an ultra-thin laptop. The performance of the new Razer Blade is matched by its light weight and durability. Measuring only 0.70 inches thin, it weighs a little more than four pounds and is housed in a unibody CNC aluminum chassis.

AMD Ryzen XFR Frequencies Revealed

AMD's upcoming Ryzen processors are "unlocked," in that they feature unlocked base-clock multipliers that let you easily overclock them; yet a few of its variants feature a brand extension "X." As our older article details, the "X" refers to availability of the XFR (extended frequency range) feature. Think of it as a second stage boost that rewards good CPU cooling with higher CPU clocks set automatically. The Ryzen R7-1800X, R7-1700X, R5-1600X, R5-1400X, and R3-1200X feature this.

The R7-1800X features clock speeds of 3.60 GHz, with TurboCore frequencies of 4.00 GHz and XFR ranging beyond 4.00 GHz. That of the R7-1700X is set beyond 3.80 GHz, and the R7-1600X beyond 3.70 GHz, R5-1400X beyond 3.90 GHz, and the R3-1200X beyond 3.80 GHz. There are no fixed values as to how much higher these frequencies will go, probably because AMD doesn't want to advertise clock speed figures consumers hold it to account for. The TurboCore frequencies, on the other hand, are achievable on even the included stock cooling solutions, or coolers that meet the TDP ratings of these chips.
Source: WCCFTech
Friday, February 10th 2017

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On Intel and Their $7B White House Affair

By now, we've all seen, or at least heard, about Intel CEO's Brian Kraznich Fab 42 announcement (done from the Oval Office, no less). It was to be a joint press conference to announce a highly impactful investment on U.S. soil, which also turned into some welcome PR for Intel, and got the CEO some face time with the President.

It has to be said though, that hailing this as a Trump administration win is simply politics doing its best: spinning the truth for its own benefit. I say this because the original announcement for the construction of this Arizona fab was done way back in 2011, with then Intel CEO Paul Otellini breaking the news that they would spend $5 billion on the plant during the Obama Administration. Construction started that year, with overall expectation for its completion being somewhere around 2013. Cue the usual delays, and enter 2013's 10% decline of the PC market, and Intel did what any sensible company would do in the wake of lower expected volume of shipments (and respectively lower production needs) - they postponed the opening of the factory, indefinitely, instead choosing to improve manufacturing capability of its then already-operational fabs. So, the factory wasn't announced because of President Trump's policies and overall government acumen, nor is it probably going to be finished by the time his first term ends.

EVGA Introduces its iCX Technology Suite - 9 Sensors on the Card

Featuring a total of 11 global patents (pending and granted), iCX from EVGA is efficiency perfected. With 9 additional sensors embedded on the PCB, a newly designed diecast baseplate and backplate, purposefully directed airflow chambers, and full control using EVGA Precision XOC, EVGA's iCX is the very definition of Interactive Cooling.

Why was iCX Technology Created?
With PC gaming growing, it is important to provide "Peace of Mind Gaming" to the user. With EVGA's new iCX technology, users can have a better understanding of their cards operation. This includes temperature monitoring on key components (not just GPU), interaction with other devices and better cooling with asynchronous fan control providing better overclocking capabilities.

With EVGA iCX technology, a new era of PC gaming is coming.

AMD's "X" Nomenclature on Upcoming Ryzen Chips Related To XFR Feature

A Reddit user has used some good, old-fashioned thinking and inference (along with a good memory for details and investigative spirit) to try and shed some light on AMD's upcoming Ryzen chips - particularly, on the "X" part of their nomenclature.

As we've previously reported, upcoming AMD Ryzen chips will slot in two versions for each model: for example, there will be a R7 1700X, 8-core, 16-thread processor (with 95 W TDP), and expected to retail for $381.72, and a R7 1700 (sans "X"), also 8-core, 16-thread, with a rated TDP at 65 W, expected to retail at $316.59, almost $70 cheaper than the 1700X. Now, with AMD's promise of all Ryzen processors being multiplier unlocked (and thus user - or even through an automatic BIOS - overclockable), this would mean that acquiring the 1700X chip would somehow feel like bad business - after all, if the only difference between the two models were to be base and boost clocks (thus higher pricing and TDP), that would fall irrelevant to most power users, since the ability to overclock their Ryzen processors to those levels would be there anyway.

Jonsbo Announces Four New Cases

Introducing the RM4, U4, FR-131 and FR-531, and the GA-01 Monitor-Stand. With the RM4 and the U4, we offer two outstanding models, both of which are rounding up their respective case series. Both ATX-Tower convince by the combination of high-quality materials and the outstanding processing. In addition, we are expanding our fan range with two sets of 3 RGB fans with RGB-controllers, the FR-131 and the FR-531. Final, we offer a stylish aluminum and tempered glass monitor stand with white LED lighting, the GA-01.

The RM4 is part of the RM case series, created for maximum variability for the installation of hardware. The optimally designed midi-tower can be equipped with ATX, Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards and convinces with its smartly designed interior. Particular attention has been paid to allow the installation of high-end hardware with powerful air- or water cooling.

Intel Optane DC P4800X with 3D XPoint Offers 21x Endurance Over MLC NAND

Intel is readying a fleet of new SSDs based on its new 3D XPoint non-volatile memory, a technology that Intel hopes will replace NAND flash in the years to come. The company developed this technology in collaboration with Micron Technology, under its IMFlash Technologies banner. The first Intel SSDs with this memory will be sold under the Optane brand. There are several sub-brands targeting the various market segments (client, enterprise, data-center, etc.), and technical slides of the data-center targeted Optane DC P4800X SSD were leaked to the web.

One of the first Optane DC P4800X SSDs comes in a rather measly capacity of 375 GB. The drive is built in the half-height PCI-Express add-on card (AIC) form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface. The drive belts out sequential transfer rates of up to 2400 MB/s reads, with up to 2000 MB/s writes, which may not sound like much given that even TLC NAND flash based PCIe 3.0 x4 drives offer higher transfer rates; until you look at three key metrics - latency, random-access performance, and endurance.

8th Gen Core "Cannon Lake" Over 15% Faster Than Kaby Lake: Intel

At an investor meeting in February, Intel touched upon its performance guidance for its 8th generation Core processor family due for later this year. Based on the 14 nm "Cannon Lake" silicon, these processors are expected to have a bigger performance gain over the preceding 7th gen Core "Kaby Lake" micro-architecture, than Kaby Lake had over its predecessor, the 6th gen Core "Skylake."

In a slide titled "advancing Moore's Law on 14 nm," Intel illustrated how Kaby Lake processors are on average 15 percent faster than Skylake parts, in SYSmark. While Kaby Lake has negligible IPC gains over Skylake, the newer chips are clocked significantly higher, making up Intel's performance targets. Unless Cannon Lake is a significantly newer micro-architecture than Kaby Lake, we could expect them to come with even higher clock speeds. Will the Core i7-8700K be a 5 GHz chip?

Source: VideoCardz

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2017

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported revenue for the fourth quarter ended January 29, 2017, of $2.17 billion, up 55 percent from $1.40 billion a year earlier, and up 8 percent from $2.00 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.99, up 183 percent from $0.35 a year ago and up 19 percent from $0.83 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.13, up 117 percent from $0.52 a year earlier and up 20 percent from $0.94 in the previous quarter.

For fiscal 2017, revenue reached a record $6.91 billion, up 38 percent from $5.01 billion a year earlier. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $2.57, up 138 percent from $1.08 a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $3.06, up 83 percent from $1.67 a year earlier. "We had a great finish to a record year, with continued strong growth across all our businesses," said Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "Our GPU computing platform is enjoying rapid adoption in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, gaming, and autonomous vehicles.‎
Thursday, February 9th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
SSD

ErgoDox EZ Shine Keyboard

Ergonomics, customization, open source, split keyboard. Those are probably the four terms I would use to introduce the ErgoDox EZ Shine: a pre-assembled split keyboard built on a proven concept but with added tweaks to make this your keyboard, not what someone else designed for you.

Intel Announces the Xeon E7-8894 v4 Processor

Intel today extended the performance capabilities of the Intel Xeon processor E7-8800 v4 product family with the addition of a high-performance SKU in the processor family's Advanced SKU stack. The new SKU delivers the processor family's highest performance to handle the most demanding, mission-critical enterprise workloads. Businesses can use Intel Xeon processor E7-8894 v4-based servers to derive faster insights from the unprecedented amount of data being generated to create new services and improve customer experiences.

The Intel Xeon processor E7-8894 v4 combines high memory capacity and compute performance to deliver quicker results and improved productivity. The processor is targeted at scale-up workloads such as large databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), online transaction processing (OLT) and in-memory analytics. The ability to scale-up allows more resources (more sockets and more memory) to be added to a single node image.

BIOSTAR Unveils the TB250-BTC Motherboard for Bitcoin Mining Rigs

Apparently some Bitcoin miners haven't moved on to ASIC-based mining rigs. For these, BIOSTAR unveiled the TB250-BTC, a motherboard with a number of PCI-Express slots, so you can cram in as many GPUs/ASIC cards as possible. Since mining isn't a bandwidth-heavy application, a number of PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots besides an x16 slot wired to the CPU, should live up to the task. The TB250-BTC is built in the ATX form-factor, and is based on the Intel B250 Express chipset, with support for Core "Kaby Lake" processors out of the box.

The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, a SATA-power, and two optional 4-pin Molex power connectors, to stabilize power delivery to the add-on cards. It uses a simple 7-phase VRM to condition power for the CPU, which is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. 6-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet driven by a Realtek RTL8111H controller, make for the rest of it.

NEC Announces MultiSync EX341R Curved Ultrawide QHD Display

Adding to its staple of monitor offerings, NEC has just announced the EX341R Curved Ultrawide QHD Display 34" display, which boasts a 3440 x 1440 resolution, an 1800R curvature, and an SVA panel. The panel makes do with a 5ms response time, which while not being great also isn't the worst we've seen on this kind of panels. It also boasts of 16.7 million colors, a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, and brightness is rated at 290 cd/m².

The EX341R is certified for Low Blue Light Content and Flicker-Free operation, which should help reduce eye strain and other health issues. It also features NEC's ControlSync technology, which works with DisplayPort's daisy-chain functionality to simplify multiple monitor configurations; the monitor also features a picture by picture mode. As to connections, the EX341R has 2xHDMI ports, 4xUSB 3.0 ports, and 1xDisplayPort 1.2 I/O.

No Windows 7 Drivers for AMD Ryzen

AMD confirmed that it will not release Windows 7 drivers for its upcoming Ryzen series processors. It was earlier reported that the company is working on these drivers. The company, however, did state that it tested and validated Ryzen processors on a variety of operating systems, including Windows 7. "To achieve the highest confidence in the performance of our AMD Ryzen desktop processors (formerly code-named "Summit Ridge"), AMD validated them across two different OS generations, Windows 7 and 10," AMD said in a statement. "However, only support and drivers for Windows 10 will be provided in AMD Ryzen desktop processor production parts," the company added.

This doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be Windows 7 drivers for other socket AM4 chips, such as the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. AMD-supplied drivers are essential for these chips, as they drive the AMD Radeon integrated graphics, and Windows 7 continues to be a gaming platform. What happens now? Well, you can run Windows 7 on AMD Ryzen-powered desktops just fine, it's just that the OS won't support all of the processor's capabilities, such as some of the newer instruction sets it comes with.Source: DigiWorthy

EK Waterblocks Releases RGB Monoblock for GIGABYTE Z270X Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the world renowned premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is proud to release the monoblock liquid cooling solution for GIGABYTE Z270X motherboards. EK-FB GA Z270X RGB Monoblock is compatible with GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, thus offering a full lighting customization experience!

EK-FB GA Z270X RGB Monoblock is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for Intel LGA-1151 socket Kaby Lake and Sky Lake CPU's. This monoblock is compatible with the following GIGABYTE motherboards: GA-Z270X-Gaming 7; GA-Z270X-Gaming K7; GA-Z270X-Gaming 5; GA-Z270X-Gaming K5; GA-Z270X-Ultra Gaming; GA-Z270-Phoenix Gaming; GA-Z270-Gaming 3; GA-Z270-Gaming K3; GA-Z270X-UD5.

US Prices of AMD Ryzen Processors Surface

AMD Ryzen processors, which are scheduled to hit the shelves later this month, could be priced competitively, and one can read into their performance looking at their prices (compared to Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 "Kaby Lake" series). US pricing of at least three top-tier 8-core Ryzen models surfaced on ShopBLT. The flagship AMD Ryzen R7-1800X, bearing PIB part number "YD180XBCAEWOF," is priced at USD $490.29. The Ryzen R7-1700X (YD170XBCAEWOF), on the other hand, goes for $381.72. It's interesting to note here that the part numbers end in "WOF," designating "without fan-heatsink."

Lastly, there's the Ryzen R7-1700 (YD1700BBAEBOX), with 65W TDP, which is priced at $316.59. Given that all three parts are priced above the Core i5-7600K, and two of these are significantly pricier than the Core i7-7700K, which goes for $330, one could read into the chips' possible performance numbers. Remember, AMD has been selling 8-core FX "Piledriver" chips consistently cheaper than Intel's quad-core LGA115x Core i7 parts, and that has been significantly changed with Ryzen.

Source: ShopBLT

Toshiba Starts Construction of Fab 6 and Memory R&D Center at Yokkaichi, Japan

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has started construction of a new state-of-the-art semiconductor fabrication facility, Fab 6, and a new R&D center, the Memory R&D Center, at Yokkaichi Operations in Mie prefecture, Japan, the company's main memory production base.

Fab 6 will be dedicated to production of BiCS FLASH, Toshiba's innovative 3D Flash memory. Like Fab 5, construction will take place in two phases, allowing the pace of investment to be optimized against market trends, with completion of Phase 1 scheduled for summer 2018. Toshiba will determine installed capacity and output targets and schedules by closely monitoring the market.
Wednesday, February 8th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
Sound Cards
Storage

HiFiMAN Edition S Open/Closed back Headphones

HiFiMAN's Edition S brings an entirely new category to the world of headphones. The Edition S allows you to convert it from closed-back to open by removing a small back plate. This allows it to double up as an open headphone for at home use while still offering some ambient noise attenuation for on the go!

AMD Releases the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.1.2 WHQL Drivers

AMD today released the 17.1.2 WHQL version of its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive. The release packs the exact same game support, fixes and known bugs as the previous 17.1.2 Beta, with the only difference being that this version is now WHQL-signed.

As always, you can grab the drivers right here at TPU, through our revamped downloads section. Just follow the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.1.2 WHQL

MSI Announces New ARCTIC Range of ATX and mATX Z270 and B250 Motherboards

MSI, world leading in gaming motherboard innovation, is thrilled to announce four new ARCTIC white GAMING motherboards, the Z270/H270 TOMAHAWK & H270M/B250M MORTAR ARCTIC, are added to the Arsenal GAMING Series. The second generation of ARCTIC models not only inherited the spirit of the unique ARCTIC design, it also adopted a plethora of features from other 200 series GAMING motherboards for an improved gaming experience. Enjoy never seen before low latency online gaming with MSI GAMING LAN, while benefiting from enhanced, studio grade sound with Audio Boost. Featuring heavy plated heat sinks, fully styled to perfectly match the ARCTIC look and feel, the new ARCTIC motherboards are ready to conquer the battlefield.

CORSAIR Announces the ONE PC

CORSAIR, one of the most renowned manufacturers of PC hardware, has recently announced the first in what is expected to be a new line of products: a fully-assembled, ready-to-run PC.

CORSAIR developed a new case for their ONE system, taking in cues from their previously-launched Carbide 330R and Obsidian 550D cases, though there is some increased attention to detail and blue accents in this ONE case. The top and bottom have a finned structure reminiscent of a large heatsink, while the side panels are perforated with triangular ventilation holes. Apparently, no windowed side-panel was used, which is slightly at odds with the industry-approved "gamer" aesthetic, which CORSAIR seems to have nevertheless strived to achieve. The tower seems unable to accommodate full-sized ATX boards, though that isn't necessarily a requirement for a high-end system. The Corsair ONE features an HDMI port on the front in addition to the usual USB, which is probably there to service VR headsets.

Pricing and availability for the Corsair ONE have not been announced, which isn't that strange, considering no specifications were announced either. Expect to hear more from this one in the coming months.

SilverStone Intros the FG Series RGB LED Fan Mounts

Want to add RGB LED bling to your machine but don't want to lose the steady hands of your high-end SanAce fans? SilverStone may have a way out. The FG121 and FG141 fan mounts latch on to your fans, and add RGB LED lighting. Made of clear acrylic, the mounts feature programmable RGB LED elements. The FG121 is designed for 120 mm fans, and is fitted with 24 LEDs. The FG141 is designed for larger 140 mm spinners, and holds 28 LEDs. It uses conventional 4-pin RGB LED control input. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Super Talent Intros the SuperCache AIC314 PCI-Express SSD

Super Talent introduced the SuperCache AIC314 PCI-Express SSD. Built in the half-height add-on card form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, the drive combines a Phison PS5007-E7 controller with MLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities of 480 GB, 960 GB, and 1920 GB. The drive takes advantage of the new NVMe protocol, and offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3000 MB/s reads, with up to 2200 MB/s writes; 340,000 IOPS 4K random reads, with up to 260,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The drives feature banks of capacitors that mitigate data loss to power outages. Super Talent is targeting enterprises with these drives.

AMD's Ryzen R7 8-core, 16-thread Processor Prices Outed for Europe

A Spanish-based hardware site has just outed what they claim to be AMD's upcoming R7 Ryzen chips' pricing, and if true, these seem to spell a spectacular amount of value (if performance is at the rumored and expected range, naturally).

As it is, the prices cover only three models of AMD's overall Ryzen line-up, namely, the R7 1800X, the R7 1700X and the non-X, R7 1700 (all 8-core, 16-thread parts). According to the source, these chips will feature base clocks in the order of 4 GHz for the 1800X; 3.8 GHz for the 1700X; and 3.7 GHz for the 1700. Overall european pricing (including taxes) is set at €599.99 for the 1800X; €469.99 for the 1700X; and a "measly" €389.95 for the 1700. As always, you can expect US pricing to be even more competitive; perhaps a $349 pricing for the 1700 chip (which also carries a 65W TDP to boot).

From this, and considering all AMD Ryzen processors will be multiplier-unlocked, we can surmise that the 1700 should be quite a steal at this pricing. And this also bodes well for AMD's upcoming 6-core, 12-thread R5 processors - status-quo upsetting at an affordable price-point, anyone?
Source: elchapuzasinformatico, Reddit user pheder

Lian-Li's PC-O11 Dual-Chambered Case Now Available

Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd launches the PC-O11: the largest among the latest generation O-series chassis. This case preserves the proportions of a tower rather than cube chassis while managing a dual-chambered layout and fitting conventional ATX PSUs. Unlike its little brother, the PC-O10, this new chassis accommodates several 360mm water cooling radiators in a gorgeous, spacious tempered-glass interior: the PC-O11 is the ultimate glass showcase for top-of-the-line enthusiast builds.

Intel Core i7-7740K and i5-7640K Codenamed "Kaby Lake-X," 112W TDP, No IGP

The two new quad-core processors Intel is fielding against AMD Ryzen, the Core i7-7740K and the Core i5-7640K, which we described in our older article, will be based on a refined (or at least relabeled) silicon, codenamed "Kaby Lake-X." The current i7-7700K and i5-7600K desktop chips are based on the same silicon as the rest of the 7th generation Core processor lineup, codenamed "Kaby Lake-S." It was also reported in the older article that the TDP of these chips will be rated at 100W. Turns out that they're rated even higher, at 112W, according to PC Games Hardware (PCGH). The top-dog AMD Ryzen R7-1800X features 95W TDP.

According to PCGH, what sets Kaby Lake-X apart from Kaby Lake-S appears to be Intel disabling the integrated graphics. You now need a graphics card to get going with these chips, and it will get trickier if you want to recover your graphics card from a bad BIOS flash. The chips also reportedly feature a high-performance thermal interface material (TIM) under the integrated heatspreaders (IHS). Compared to the i7-7700K and i5-7600K, these chips feature minor 100 MHz speed-bumps, but Intel could make them better overclockers.

Update: Apparently these two chips are built in the new socket 2660 package, and will be launched around Gamescom, some time in August.Source: PCGH

ASRock Unveils the H110-STX MXM Motherboard

ASRock unveiled the H110-STX MXM motherboard. Designed for the STX form-factor, this board features a type-B MXM slot, letting you install notebook discrete graphics cards, with TDP of up to 120W. The LGA1151 CPU socket is wired to two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel memory; and the MXM slot over PCI-Express 3.0 x16 interface. The board features Intel H110 Express chipset, and features essential connectivity.

Storage connectivity on the H110-STX MXM includes two SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Display connectivity includes one HDMI port that's wired to the CPU's onboard graphics, a second HDMI port wired to the MXM slot, a full-size DisplayPort wired to the MXM, and a Thunderbolt port with mini-DisplayPort wiring to the MXM. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports. The board's single gigabit Ethernet interface is driven by an Intel i219V controller. The board features a total of two 20 Gb/s Thunderbolt interfaces, one on the rear panel, and one on the front panel. The onboard HD audio controller puts out stereo audio, and 7.1-channel digital (SPDIF) output. We also spy an ASUS Aura Sync compatible RGB LED header. A 220W power-brick comes included.

SanDisk Announces the SkyHawk Series Enterprise SSDs

SanDisk today announced the SkyHawk and SkyHawk Ultra lines of enterprise SSDs. Built in the 12 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, the drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface over U.2 or SATA-Express connections. The drives incorporate high-endurance 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory. The SkyHawk series includes 1920 GB and 3840 GB variants, and offer transfer speeds of up to 1500 MB/s reads, with up to 1700 MB/s writes; up to 250,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 47,000 IOPS 4K random writes. Its MTBF is rated at 2 million hours, and it is backed by a 5-year warranty.

The more premium SkyHawk Ultra series comes in 1600 GB and 3200 GB variants, with sequential transfer speeds of up to 1700 MB/s reads, and up to 1200 MB/s writes, up to 250,000 IOPS random reads, with up to 83,000 IOPS random writes. These drives offer nearly triple the durability of the SkyHawk (standard) series, with 1.7 DWPD (vs. 0.6 DWPD of the SkyHawk standard); although their MTBF are rated the same, at 2 million hours, and are backed by the same 5-year product warranties.
Tuesday, February 7th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
Storage

Toshiba Announces First MN Series HDDs

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), a committed technology leader, today announces its first MN Series HDDs, bridging the value gap between top-end enterprise capacity HDDs and entry-level desktop HDDs, while still delivering 7,200RPM rotational latency performance. The MN series delivers up to 8TB capacity in a 3.5-inch form factor for a broad range of file and object storage applications. With a 6 Gbit/s SATA interface, 7,200 rotational speed, 1,000,000 hour MTTF rating, and a rated annual workload of 180TB transferred, the new HDD series delivers the performance and reliability needed for file and object storage workloads that typically utilize sequential data transfer operations. The drives are designed for 24/7 power-on operation and feature rotational vibration compensation technology to help provide consistent performance in tower and low-density style multi-drive enclosures, such as small NAS platforms.

"Many customers with predominantly file-oriented and fixed-content sequential write and read workloads are looking for cost-effective capacity for moderate workload storage applications," said Scott Wright, director of HDD marketing at Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. With our new MN Series HDD models we are providing a workload range within the high workload data center work-horse Enterprise Capacity HDDs and relatively low workloads associated with client HDD models."

Rambus Introduces High Bandwidth Memory PHY on GlobalFoundries FX-14

Rambus Inc. today announced the availability of its High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) Gen2 PHY developed for GLOBALFOUNDRIES high-performance FX-14 ASIC Platform. Built on the GLOBALFOUNDRIES 14nm FinFET (14LPP) process technology, the Rambus HBM PHY is aimed at networking and data center applications and designed for systems that require low latency and high bandwidth memory. This PHY is fully compliant with the JEDEC HBM2 standard and supports data rates up to 2000 Mbps per data pin, enabling a total bandwidth of 256 GB/s to meet the needs of today's most data-intensive tasks.

"Data center needs are continuously changing and we are at the forefront of delivering memory interface technology designed to meet today's most demanding workloads," said Luc Seraphin, senior vice president and general manager of the Rambus Memory and Interfaces division. "Through our collaboration with GLOBALFOUNDRIES, we are delivering a comprehensive and robust solution for high-performance data center and networking applications. Our HBM offering will allow data center solution developers to bring high performance memory closer to the CPU, thus reducing latency and improving the system throughput."

Rosewill Debuts the RK-9300 Mechanical Keyboard

Adding to its mechanical keyboard line-up, Rosewill has just announced availability of the RK-9300 Mechanical Keyboard, which sports two choices of Cherry MX Blue or Brown switches to sate your particular tastes. The RK-9300 has a more subdued look than most other recent mechanical keyboards we've seen, and sheds full RGB lighting for a more professional look, as well as additional cost-savings for the customer. However, that isn't to say it doesn't sport some sort of lighting: it features blue LEDs, with three lighting modes available (full keyboard, with a breathing mode and four variable levels of brightness; numerical pad only; WASD and arrow keys only).

The keyboard features an all-black design, with an aluminum top panel that extends out and down at a slight angle. The upper right side of the keyboard features the usual notification lights, and the F keys double as media and volume controls, including brightness, Windows lock, and more. It also features n-key rollover, though there is no macro support (and no accompanying software). The two versions of the RK-9300 list for $99, but both are available for $85 on Amazon (Blue switches and Brown switches) and Newegg (Blue switches and Brown switches).

Source: Tom's Hardware

AMD's Ryzen CPUs Shipping Date Surfaces; Mark Your Calendars for February 28th

A Reddit user brought to the playing field the news that AMD's upcoming ZEN CPU's have surfaced in a "pre-order" form through AMD Shangai's official Taobao channel (though you should nevertheless take these with a measure of salt). Details on which CPU we are actually looking at here are still scarce, unfortunately, but the chip is listed at ¥1999.00 (roughly $295). While the chip's process is listed at the expected 14 nm, the base CPU frequency reads 4.2 GHz.

Looking at the supposed AMD Ryzen launch line-up, though, no model is listed at these clockspeeds. However, we should recall that AMD's Ryzen chip used on CES 2017 (an engineering sample) carried clockspeeds of 3.6 GHz base and 3.9 GHz boost, so it is certainly conceivable that newer, release steppings have bumped the frequencies to 3.9 GHz/4.2 GHz respectively (4.2 GHz base clock seems a little too much from what we've seen from the chip, but then again, we don't have any indication as to whether this is an 8-core, 16-thread or a 4-core, 8-thread part, so that should also be taken into account on our "theorycrafting"). We should now have a more firm launch window for Ryzen chips though: previous rumors have pegged the launch at March 2nd, but a February 28th launch window should now be considered to be correct. Can we just have these on our hands already?

Source: Reddit user eric98k

UMC To Start 14 nm Shipments in Q1 2017

For a while there, the only competitive foundries that we've been hearing about have been TSMC and GlobalFoundries (Intel's foundries are such a well-known fact that they sometimes - and paradoxically - fade into obscurity). However, according to UMC's CEO, the company is poised to become another option in the 14 nm field this year.

This represents a general acceleration of UMC's plans to bring the manufacturing process to market, where it would supposedly only be ready for primetime on Q2 2017. However, following intensive engineering activities, UMC's 14-nanometer transistor performance has delivered speed and leakage results which are comparable with the industry's 14-nanometer standards. Initial 14nm manufacturing capacity should be 2,000 wafers per month, and the company already has numerous customers running test chips.

AMD's Ryzen Chips 10% Smaller Than Comparable Intel Skylake Dies

At the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), AMD presented a whitepaper in which they demonstrated how its upcoming Zen x86 core fits into a 10 percent smaller die area than Intel's currently shipping second-generation 14nm processor. According to reports, analysts and Intel engineers in the session said the Zen core is clearly competitive, though many as-of-yet unknown variables will determine whether the die advantage translates into lower costs for AMD. That said, one thing is clear: the chip will have to perform in addition to being smaller, if AMD wants to ever capitalize on the potentially higher margins a smaller die could grant them.

One of the ways AMD improved upon its ZEN core in comparison to its previous products has been on switching capacitance for their new chips, with a reported overall 15% improvement. In addition, AMD has apparently moved on to a metal-insulator-metal capacitor design, thus achieving lower operating voltages as well as as more fine-grained per-core voltage and frequency control (on to become part of their SenseMI technology suite). Looking at the image, which pits an AMD ZEN chip to a comparable Intel solution, we see that AMD saves additional die space by making do with only 12 metal layers as well as overall lower L2 and L3 cache footprints.

Source: EETimes

Arctic Announces The New P533 PENTA Gaming Headset

Nobody knows better what gamers demand of their equipment than esports pros. The highly trained specialists fill entire stadiums around the globe with their perfect performances and are watched by many million viewers who cheer for them.

ARCTIC's new gaming headset gives you the chance to benefit from these stars' experience. Developed in close collaboration with the pros from Germany's leading esports brand PENTA Sports, the P533 PENTA fulfills the highest quality standards and is the perfect piece of equipment for rising stars.

Cooler Master Announces the MasterCase Pro 6 Chassis

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, today announced the launch of a new model in its modular MasterCase line. The Pro 6 is the discreetly designed mid-tower cousin of the award-winning Pro 5 case, and it comes with the same FreeForm Modular System that allows multiple exterior and interior layouts.

What makes the MasterCase Pro 6 immediately stand out from the rest of the MasterCase series is its flush look. The top, front and back panels are all seamlessly merged by smooth, flush panels in dark metallic grey. The front is marked by a soft LED glow emerging from the bottom. Even the I/O panel is hidden by a cover that blends into the top panel.

MSI Readies the Z270 Gaming Plus Motherboard

MSI is giving finishing touches to its Z270 Gaming Plus motherboard. Positioned around the $120-140 mark, the Z270 Gaming Plus covers the essentials, but lacks support for NVIDIA SLI, with its second PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot being electrical x4, and wired to the Z270 PCH. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors; and conditions it for the CPU using a simple 7-phase VRM. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

The MSI Z270 Gaming Plus features a red LED lighting element. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. There are no 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports, you get eight 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, four by headers). Display outputs include one each of DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. Networking is care of a single gigabit Ethernet interface, driven by an Intel-made controller. The 8-channel HD audio solution features a 90 dBA SNR CODEC, ground-layer isolation, and electrolytic capacitors over the front output. The board will be available later this week.

GIGABYTE Intros the B250M-Gaming 5 Motherboard

GIGABYTE today introduced the B250M-Gaming 5 motherboard. This micro-ATX socket LGA1151 board is targeted at performance-segment gaming PC builds, and features full RGB lighting over two multi-color LED elements near the CPU socket, and a multi-color LED lighting strip near the ATX power connector. There are also LEDs under the PCH heatsink and the audio ground layer isolation strip. The board is based on the Intel B250 Express chipset, and lacks support for CPU overclocking, or NVIDIA SLI. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots (reinforced), and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. The second x16 slot is gen 3.0 x4 and wired to the PCH. Two other gen 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the B250M-Gaming 5 includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. Display outputs include DVI and HDMI. Networking is care of a single gigabit Ethernet interface, driven by an Intel-made controller. GIGABYTE deployed its AMP-UP onboard audio solution, with an 8-channel HD audio CODEC that boasts of 120 dBA SNR, a headphones amp, audio-grade electrolytic capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. USB ports include four USB 3.1 ports (two on the rear panel, including a type-C port, and two ports through headers); and six USB 3.0 ports. Other features include GIGABYTE's dual-UEFI BIOS. The company didn't reveal pricing, although one could expect this one to be priced around the $100 mark.

Thermalright Announces Retail Availability of the AXP-100RH CPU Cooler

With the AXP-100RH Thermalright presents a slightly higher version of the popular HTPC cooler to match the AXP-100H Muscle. We would also like to use the opportunity to introduce the Silver Arrow ITX-R, which will become available at the beginning of March. The AXP-100RH has been designed for users who are looking for maximum cooling capacity at minimal dimensions. The adjustment in height became necessary to match the higher VRM cooler of the most recent ASUS "Republic of Gamers" MAXIMUS motherboard series.

The black and red design of the original AXP-100R was meant as a homage to the "Republic of Gamers" series. In order to use the cooler on the new Mini-ITX motherboards, the height was increased by 7 mm. With its 51 mm (65 mm with the fan), it is the perfect cooler for compact home theater/multimedia systems or minimalistic work stations with a limited height.
Monday, February 6th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Motherboards
PSUs
SSD

G.SKILL Ripjaws KM570 MX Keyboard

G.SKILL's KM570 MX keyboard is targeted at the more budget-conscious consumer. It features genuine Cherry MX switches (red, brown or blue), on-the-fly macro recording, full backlighting, lighting animations, all for well below $100.

WD Announces Pilot Production of World's First 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND

Toshiba may be in the ropes for now, but WD, one of its foremost partners (mainly due to its SanDisk acquisition) and most interested party in Toshiba's NAND spin-off efforts, has just announced that it is world first in actually producing a 64-Layer 512 Gb TLC NAND die. WD is developing and producing this 64-layer NAND at its Yokkaichi, Japan fab which it operates alongside - you guessed it - Toshiba, under their joint Flash Forward venture, though there is no indication as to when the new dies will hit full production. The addition of the latest BiCS3 iteration indicates that, despite its recent challenges and snags, Toshiba continues to execute on its semiconductor roadmap, which is certain to be a boon in keeping the value of its NAND production capabilities in the face of the confirmed spin-off and sell-off of a 20% stake on its NAND production business.

There has been some difficulty in achieving any significant ramp-up in 3D NAND production over at the WD-Toshiba venture, with WD having announced a 256 Gb version of the same BiCS 3 technology it employs on the new 512 Gb die last year, to no considerable volume of production. That's one of the reasons for the current NAND shortage and price rises, among other factors, so let's hope all goes well in this ramp up. If all goes well, 1 TB SSD's with 512 Gb TLC NAND dies for $150?

AMD's Upcoming Ryzen Launch to Prompt Reshuffle of Intel's CPU Line-up

AMD's upcoming Ryzen chips probably represent the hardware world's most awaited shake-up in recent times (and I do know I've been mentioning this non-stop, but please, do bear with me here). The thought that the underdog could finally present an actual alternative - at least performance-wise - to its Goliath of a rival - and thus introducing renewed competition in a bogged-down hardware segment and the democratization of high-quality processing cores - is simply too good to not gobble down like water given to a desert nomad. I, for one, hope that AMD can deliver, prompting a better competitive - and pricing - environment for all of us.

And it would seem that Intel is looking to staunch an eventual bleeding that AMD's Ryzen chips might instill to their CPU line-up, with its expected 4-core, 8-thread, 6-core 12-thread, and 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen processors, by shaking up its - now ancient - line-up of Core processors. Intel has already introduced some changes to its line with the release of Kaby Lake - with some Celeron processors carrying Hyper Threading, previously locked to their i3 processors, and the first unlocked-multiplier Core i3-7350K processor, but apparently the company feels that isn't enough for Ryzen's expected performance - enter the Core i7-7740K and the Core i5-7640K.

Antec Announces the Rainbow 120 Series Fans

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, is presenting the new Rainbow case fan. The Antec Rainbow 120 RGB fan is backed by a 2-year limited warranty on parts and labour and has reached store shelfs and online-retailers with an MSRP of 14,90 Euros.

The Antec Rainbow 120 fan combines design with superior performance to deliver best-in-class airflow to noise ratio. The fan blades are engineered to direct the air flow from the center of the fan to the edges, effectively bringing greater air volume and harnessing the full capabilities of airflow for better cooling efficiency. The fan is equipped with hydraulic bearing to reduce friction for silent operation and to ensure a longer lifespan. The Rainbow 120 RGB fan also includes anti-vibration rubber cushions on all four corners to minimize vibrations and noise.

QNAP Launches Cost-efficient TS-x31XU Series Rackmount NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the new business-class TS-x31XU series rackmount NAS; available in 4, 8 and 12-bay models with single and redundant power supply options. Powered by an AnnapurnaLabs, an Amazon company Alpine AL-314 quad-core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A15 CPU, the TS-x31XU features 2GB or 4GB DDR3 RAM (expandable to 16GB), includes two built-in 10GbE SFP+ ports, and supports the innovative VJBOD (Virtual JBOD) and Container Station, providing a high-performance, multifunctional and power-efficient storage solution.

Coupled with a hardware encryption engine and SSD cache support, the quad-core TS-x31XU series offers two 10GbE SFP+ ports that ensure top notch networking capabilities of up to 1,242 MB/s transfer speeds. An additional single-port 10GbE PCIe card can be installed for more flexible deployment. The TS-x31XU is ideal for small-and-medium businesses looking for backup, restoration, virtualization storage, private cloud, and to future-proof their IT infrastructure for 10GbE networks.

Kingston Now Shipping the HyperX Alloy FPS with Cherry MX Red or Brown Switches

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced two new HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboards with Cherry MX Red or Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Switches are now shipping in UK, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboards feature a minimalistic, compact design that's ideal for CS:GO and FPS gameplay, with a solid steel frame built for long-lasting durability and stability. Cherry MX switches provide the tactile feedback and performance gamers have come to expect from HyperX gaming keyboards.

The HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard family now includes three versions: with either Cherry MX Blue, Red or Brown mechanical switches. The ultra-portable, HyperX Alloy FPS comes complete with a high-quality mesh travel pouch to store and protect the keyboard and accessories for tournaments, LAN events, wherever gaming takes you. A convenient USB port is available for charging a phone. Keys are backlit with red LEDs and have six preset LED settings, including a custom mode. The keyboard also offers Game Mode to easily disable the Windows key to prevent game play interruptions, along with 100-percent anti-ghosting and full N-Key rollover functionality. The keys are guaranteed for 50 million key strokes per key.

BYKSKI Intros GT-ROZ-X CPU Water Blocks

BYKSKI, known as one of the biggest water block provider in China, introduced GT-ROZ-X CPU water blocks. The water blocks were supported for modern Intel CPUs, including Intel LGA2011, LGA1150, LGA1151, LGA1155, LGA1156, LGA1366 and LGA775.

The BYKSKI GT-ROZ-X series uses 58mm*58mm*5mm red copper of the base, and uses Nickel plating for the anti-oxidation treatment. On top of the base, it uses lucid PMMA material to make it visible of coolant flow input and output. The individual butterfly design of the aluminum bracket makes the water block more attractive in the computer case. And with high temperature Teflon coating on the bracket surface, it provides four different colors, including white color (GT-ROZ-X), red color (GT-ROZ-X-R), blue color (GT-ROZ-X-B) and gun color (GT-ROZ-X-G).

Intel Readies the Xeon Gold Series Processors for Media Workstations

Hot on the heels of AMD Ryzen, Intel is planning to launch the pro-consumer targeted Xeon Gold line of processors. The company is reportedly "freaked out" at the cost/performance of AMD Ryzen R7-1800X in creative productivity applications, and is preparing a new line of processors targeting that niche of the market, which uses MacPro desktops and media production workstations using HEDT processors, but needs a bit of "reliability." The Xeon Gold series will be based on the 14 nm "Skylake-EP" silicon, and will feature up to 18 CPU cores. The first model in the series is the Xeon Gold 6150.

The Xeon Gold 6150 features 18 CPU cores, with HyperThreading enabling 36 logical CPUs. Intel increased the L2 cache amount per core to 1 MB, from 256 KB found on other implementations of the "Skylake" architecture. The chip features 25,344 KB (24.75 MB) of shared L3 cache. The core clock speed is 2.70 GHz, with a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 3.70 GHz. The chip features a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface. Going by its specs, the Xeon Gold 6150 will clearly occupy a higher market segment than the Ryzen R7-1800X, but could lure orders from the likes of Apple, for its next-generation MacPro workstations.Sources: CanardPC on Twitter, HardOCP Forums

NVIDIA Unveils New Line of Quadro Pascal GPUs

NVIDIA today introduced a range of Quadro products, all based on its Pascal architecture, that transform desktop workstations into supercomputers with breakthrough capabilities for professional workflows across many industries. Workflows in design, engineering and other areas are evolving rapidly to meet the exponential growth in data size and complexity that comes with photorealism, virtual reality and deep learning technologies. To tap into these opportunities, the new NVIDIA Quadro Pascal-based lineup provides an enterprise-grade visual computing platform that streamlines design and simulation workflows with up to twice the performance of the previous generation, and ultra-fast memory.

"Professional workflows are now infused with artificial intelligence, virtual reality and photorealism, creating new challenges for our most demanding users," said Bob Pette, vice president of Professional Visualization at NVIDIA. "Our new Quadro lineup provides the graphics and compute performance required to address these challenges. And, by unifying compute and design, the Quadro GP100 transforms the average desktop workstation with the power of a supercomputer."

Palit Announces the Passive GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX Silent Graphics Card

Palit Microsystems Ltd, the leading graphics card manufacturer, releases a new line called KalmX and is consist of GeForce GTX 1050 Ti series. With passive cooler and the advanced powerful Pascal architecture, Palit GeForce GTX 1050Ti KalmX - pursue the silent 0dB gaming environment.

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a true gaming GPU designed for every PC gamer. It's built to the exacting specifications of the GeForce GTX family and powered by NVIDIA Pascal-the most advanced GPU architecture ever created, it's loaded with innovative NVIDIA Game Ready technologies that let every gamer experience the latest titles in their full glory. GeForce GTX 1050 Ti transforms your PC into a gaming rig to rival any game console. Its powerful, ultra-efficient next-gens architecture makes the Palit GTX 1050 Ti KalmX the weapon of choice for serious gaming at an incredible value. Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti gives you the gaming horsepower to take on today's most demanding titles in full 1080p HD@60 FPS.

Thermalright Intros the Silver Arrow ITX-R CPU Cooler

Thermalright unveiled the Silver Arrow ITX-R CPU cooler. A variant of the original Silver Arrow, this cooler is optimized for mini-ITX builds, with a design focus on clearance near the bottom fins of the fin-stack, making them fit for mini-ITX motherboards, including clearance around the memory, VRM, and PCI-Express slot areas. The cooler features a conventional type-D dual aluminium fin-stack design. The included 130 mm fan, nested between the two fin-stacks, spins between 300 to 1,300 RPM, pushing up to 94.8 m³/h of air. Measuring 103 mm x 153 mm x 150 m, it weighs about 600 g, and supports most modern CPU socket types, including LGA2011v3, LGA115x, AM3+, and FM2+. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Saturday, February 4th 2017

Today's Reviews

Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
PSUs
SSD

First Intel Processor with AMD Radeon Graphics Within 2017

Back in December, it was reported that Intel could license AMD's GPU technology for integration into its future processors. The whispers are growing louder, with Hard|OCP editor Kyle Bennett (who broke the original December story), reporting that the first product of this collaboration could be out within 2017. According to Bennett, posting on the Hard|OCP Forums, the first Intel product with AMD Radeon GPU IP could be a special processor with an AMD Radeon GPU die, and a CPU die based on the "Kaby Lake" micro-architecture.

Bennett further adds that the Radeon-enhanced Intel processor could be a multi-chip module (MCM) with the Radeon GPU die being separate from the CPU die, it won't be an on-die component such as Intel's own HD Graphics solution. This could also mean that AMD will supply nearly-finished dies to Intel, likely manufactured at its own trusted fabs (Global Foundries or TSMC), and not hand over sensitive designs over to Intel's fabs. The product could be an entry-mid range product, which means Intel is trying to aim for the value consumer segment, and not necessarily the workstation crowd. Bennett concludes that one could expect more collaboration between Intel and AMD over graphics IP in the future.

Source: HardOCP

ASRock Top-end X370 Socket AM4 Motherboards Production Versions Pictured

Ahead of their launch, production versions of ASRock's high-end socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD X370 chipset were shown off, at the company-sponsored DOTA Pit gaming event in Split, Croatia. Our friends at Tehix.org shared with us some exclusive pictures. These boards were first spied and detailed at this year's CES expo. Besides looking more polished and ready for retail, not much has changed between these boards from the ones we saw at CES, except the distinctive Ryzen logo on the I/O shield cover, replacing the Intel Ethernet logos. On some models, the Ryzen logo even glows red or white.

AMD Ryzen Processor Models Revealed

Unlike Intel, which has had a predictable processor model number scheme over the past decade, those of AMD's new Ryzen processor family have been shrouded in mystery. Come March 2nd, and the company will launch some of 17, that's right, seventeen processor models. These include 5 eight-core SKUs, 4 six-core SKUs, and a whopping 8 quad-core SKUs. The lineup is led by the AMD Ryzen R7 1800X, followed by the R7 1800 Pro, the R7 1700X, the R7 1700 Pro, and the R7 1700. At this point we don't know the clock speeds of these SKUs, or what "Pro" designates. We know from AMD's application of the "Pro" moniker to some of its A-series APUs that it could designate certain business-desktop centric features.

The six-core lineup is led by the Ryzen R5 1600X, followed by the R5 1600 Pro, the R5 1500, and the R5 1500 Pro. The clock speeds of these SKUs range between 3.20-3.60 GHz, all SKUs feature SMT, enabling 12 logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. Lastly, AMD has an exhaustive range of quad-core chips, the ones with SMT are slotted in the Ryzen R5 extension, and the ones without SMT are Ryzen R3. The SMT-enabled quad-core lineup includes the R5 1400X, R5 1400 Pro, R5 1300, and R5 1300 Pro. The entry-level R3 lineup includes the R3 1200X, R3 1200 Pro, R3 1100, and R3 1100 Pro. A number of these SKUs will launch on the 2nd of March, 2017.

Source: Coolaler
Friday, February 3rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Streacom DB4

Streacom is known for its high-quality enclosures that utilize the case exterior as big heat pipes to achieve a completely passive experience. The Streacom DB4 takes it to the next level with a unique, compact, yet functional and potent design, that supports up to seven HDDs and 20 cm long GPUs.

Micron's Outlook for the Future of Memory: GDDR6, QuantX in 2017

After finally reaching mature yields (comparable to those of planar NAND processes), Micron's 32-layer first generation 3D NAND has grown increasingly prominent in the company's NAND output. Now, the company is looking to ramp-up production of their (currently sampling) 64-layer 3D NAND, promising "meaningful output" by the end of December 2017, looking for an 80% increase in total GB per wafer and a 30% decrease in production costs.

When it comes to the graphics subsystem memory, Micron is looking to transition their 20nm production to a "1x nm" (most likely 16nm) node, in a bid to improve cost per GB by around $20, with introduction of 16nm GDDR5 memory to be introduced later this year. However, GDDR5X volume is expected to grow significantly, in a bid to satisfy bandwidth-hungry uses through GPUs (like NVIDIA's GTX 1080 and potentially the upcoming 1080 Ti) and networking, with GDDR6 memory being introduced by the end of 2017 or early 2018. The company is still mum on actual consumer products based on their interpretation of the 3D XPoint products through their QuantX brand, though work is already under way on the second and third generation specifications of this memory, with Micron planning an hitherto unknown (in significance and product type) presence in the consumer market by the end of this year.

AMD Ryzen Ashes of The Singularity Benchmarks Surface: Impressive 4K Scores

Ashes of the Singularity seems to be the benchmark tool of choice for upcoming AMD products, for some reason; and it was once again used to benchmark an upcoming AMD Ryzen processor. The benchmark results were quickly deleted after they were posted, but the hardware enthusiast should never be underestimated, and timely screenshot skills always help keep alive these little slips of the trade.

Unlike some previous benchmark leaks of Ryzen processors, which carried the prefix ES (Engineering Sample), this one carried the ZD Prefix, and the last characters on its string name are the most interesting to us: F4 stands for the silicon revision, while the 40_36 stands for the processor's Turbo and stock speeds respectively (4.0 GHz and 3.6 GHz). This is the 8-core, 16-thread SMT-enabled monster of a processor that AMD will be bringing to the table in its uphill battle against Intel, with the Ryzen chip having achieved CPU Framerate scores of 81.4 (normal batch, 73.4 (medium batch) and 60.2 (heavy batch), paired with a Pascal-based NVIDIA Titan X (which would likely point towards the test having been done by an independent, off-AMD labs part).

Source: PCShopping

Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 Beta Giveaway: We're Giving Away 7 Keys

"Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3" is the season's most hotly anticipated stealth open world shooter, bound for an April 2017 release. We are giving away 7 keys to the game's closed beta, which lets you take the CryEngine-powered AAA title for a spin. To throw in your hat, simply fill up a short form that lets us get back to you if you've won. The giveaway is open from today (3rd February) till tomorrow (4th February), with one lucky winner being randomly selected every 2 hours starting from 15:00 CET today (3rd Feb). Good Luck!
To participate, please visit this page.

Cooler Master Announces Case Mod World Series 2017

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, today announced the 8th installment of the annual Case Mod World Series. The global case modding competition invites anyone from first-time tinkerers to seasoned veterans to make and submit their creations from Feb 3rd to May 3rd. Entrants can treat viewers to photos and descriptions of their mods in their worklog as they work through their projects. In celebration of Cooler Master's 25th Anniversary, a bonus category has been added to this year's contest to encourage entrants to commemorate the iconic products of the last 25 years and honor the classics with new pieces of modding beauty.

"We have created countless product innovations and design break-throughs which paved the way to the standard cases and cooling technology seen today. With this being the 25th year of our company, we wanted to pay tribute by inviting modders to participate in the biggest modding event in the community with a bonus category" said Raymen Wu, Marketing Director. Cooler Master aims to encourage newcomers to the contest with their new #MASTERBUILD platform. This modding dedicated website is filled with inspiring stories, tutorials, galleries and events aimed at continuously growing and expanding the modding community.

ASUS Intros Z270-WS Workstation Motherboard

ASUS today unveiled the Z270-WS socket LGA1151 motherboard targeted at DIY workstation builds. Based on the Intel Z270 Express chipset, the board supports 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors. What sets this board apart from most of the company's Z270 motherboard lineup is its PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express 3.0 x48 bridge chip. The board features a 12-phase CPU VRM with server-grade electrical components. The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots over the bridge chip (x16/NC/x16 or x16/x8/x8). The fourth x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the PCH. An open-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x4 completes the expansion area. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

Storage connectivity on the Z270-WS includes six SATA 6 Gb/s, two 32 Gb/s M.2, and two 32 Gb/s U.2 ports. The board supports Intel Optane (3D X-point SSD) technology. Network connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet interfaces, one driven by an Intel I210-AT controller, and another by Intel I210-LM. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.0 and four USB 3.1 ports (including one type-C port). The board offers 8-channel HD audio driven by a 115 dBA SNR CODEC. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVM Express Elects Facebook and Toshiba to Board

NVM Express, Inc., the organization that developed the NVM Express specification for accessing solid-state drives (SSDs) on a PCI Express (PCIe) bus, today announced the results of its recent board elections. Elected to Promoter positions were Facebook, Micron, Microsoft, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital. Facebook and Toshiba are new to the Promoter level, and the others are incumbents. The election winners join existing Promoters Cisco, Dell EMC, Intel, Microsemi, NetApp and Oracle, whose current terms expire at the end of 2017.

Representatives from the 13 Promoter companies form the NVM Express, Inc. Board of Directors, which governs the organization, including setting strategic direction. All Contributor and Promoter member companies are eligible to run for Promoter positions, where there are elections each year for roughly half the positions.

"We're very pleased to welcome Toshiba and Facebook to the NVM Express, Inc. Board, to help shape the future direction of NVM Express technology and the organization," said Amber Huffman, NVM Express President. "In 2016, we marked major milestones, such as publishing the NVM Express over Fabrics specification. We look forward to publishing revision 1.3 in the first half of this year - with much more to come later in 2017."
Thursday, February 2nd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking

NVIDIA Makes it Tougher to Trade Bundled Games

NVIDIA and AMD have, over the past five years, innovated giving away AAA game releases with their graphics cards, through game codes that can be redeemed on DRM platforms such as Steam. The two have their own internal pricing with game publishers, which makes giving away $60 (retail value) games with $400 graphics cards tolerable to their bean counters. To consumers, these games made for great tradable commodities, a sort of "discount coupons," even. Say you don't want to play the included games, already have them, or bought two graphics cards and have one game to spare; you had the ability to give away, trade, or even sell those game codes. NVIDIA is about to change that.

With its latest game bundle that lets you choose from "For Honor" and Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon: Wildlands," on purchase of new GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 graphics cards, NVIDIA changed the game redemption method. You first need NVIDIA's GeForce Experience app installed and logged in. The app then one-time redeems the game of your choice on verifying that you have the graphics card participating in the offer (i.e. a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080). The app doesn't appear to be checking serial-numbers of the cards, but rather if the right GPU is installed in the machine. After redeeming the game, however, you are free to uninstall GeForce Experience, or even change your graphics card. The game is handled by the DRM platform its developers intended (Steam, UPlay, Origin, etc.). We tested how game code trading works under the new system.

Acer Unveils the XR382CQK 38-inch Ultrawide Curved Monitor

Acer today unveiled its high-end XR382CQK 38-inch monitor. This ultra-wide curved monitor with a curvature of 2300 R, serves up a native resolution of 3840 x 1600 pixels, with a response time of 5 ms, viewing angles of 172°/178° (H/V), 300 cd/m² brightness, and 10-bpc (1.07 billion colors) support. The display takes input from DisplayPort 1.2a, and HDMI 2.0, with support for AMD FreeSync technology over DisplayPort.

The XR382CQK features active blue-light reduction technology, a non-PWM method of controlling brightness (reduces LED flicker), "black boost," which improves contrast, and game modes (presets) specific to various game genres. Measuring 896.9 mm x 327.7 mm x 309.1 mm (WxDxH), it weighs about 10.71 kg. It supports VESA wall mount. Other features include a 4-port USB 3.0 hub including one type-C port. Available now, the XR382CQK is priced at USD $1,299.

ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero Flagship Motherboard Detailed

Crosshair is the brand that kicked off ASUS' coveted Republic of Gamers (ROG) series. The NVIDIA nForce chipset based ROG Crosshair socket AM2 motherboard was the board to have, in AMD's hayday as the leader in CPU performance. Over the years, the Crosshair brand received lesser love from ASUS, as AMD's chipset releases became infrequent, due to the company's slower CPU product development cycle than Intel. With the new socket AM4 platform and its companion AMD X370 chipset for the high-end segment, ASUS is back with a Crosshair branded motherboard, the ROG Crosshair VI Hero. It's interesting that ASUS chose not to give it the "Formula," "Extreme" or "Apex" extensions, and instead with the "Hero" extension it reserves for the $200-230 ROG branded boards.

Nevertheless, the ROG Crosshair VI Hero looks to be one of the most elaborately designed socket AM4 motherboards, and will compete with the likes of the Aorus AX370 Gaming 5 and the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium. Built in the ATX form-factor, the Crosshair VI Hero draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 12-phase VRM. The board features a "monochromatic design," so you can deck it up with your own LED lighting. It does feature RGB LED headers, with support for ASUS Aura Sync platform. The board has its own diagnostic LEDs that guide you through the POST sequence. Besides the ROG stylized chipset and CPU VRM heatsinks, the board features plastic I/O shield covers that run the length of the board.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 376.80 Beta Vulkan Support Driver

NVIDIA released the GeForce 376.80 Beta drivers. These drivers are being released exclusively through the Vulkan developer support channel, and come with bug fixes for the company's implementation of Vulkan API support. The change-log is limited to just "bug fixes," and the drivers are not WHQL-signed. If you're gaming on the Vulkan API, on titles such as "Doom," "Ashes of the Singularity," etc., you may want to grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 376.80 Beta Vulkan Support Driver

GALAX Launches Low Profile GTX 1050 OC and GTX 1050 Ti OC

Joining in on other manufacturer's offerings for low-profile graphics solutions for HTPCs and other small fomr factor PCs, GALAX has recently announced that they too will be offering low-profile variants of the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards. With 2 GB and 4 GB of GDDR5 at 7 Gbps respectively, both over a 128 bit bus, both cards make do without any additional power connectors, making do with exclusive power delivery from the PCIe socket.

The core clocks are set at 1303 MHz and 1366 MHz base clocks for the 1050 and the 1060 Ti respectively, with boost clocks seeing a healthy (but somewhat traditional)n uplift to 1417 Mhz and 1468 Mhz. As to connectors, both cards carry 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x DVI-D, and 1x HDMI 2.0b. Considering the cards' characteristics, they probably won't be sold much higher than NVIDIA's reference MSRP for both cards: $139 for the GTX 1050 Ti and $109 for the GTX 1050.

MSI M.2 Shield is Snake Oil Say Tests, Company Refutes Charges

With its 200-series chipset motherboards, MSI introduced its exclusive M.2 Shield accessory on some of its more premium products. This aluminium heatspreader with a thermal pad, according to its makers, is designed to lower temperatures on M.2 SSDs, and reduce thermal throttling of performance. Tests by Gamers Nexus claim that far from reducing throttling, the M.2 Shield creates a "heat trap" that throttles performance further.

The M.2 Shield accessory was tested by Gamers Nexus using a Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe M.2 drive, on an MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard. Driven by a Marvell 88SS9293 controller, the drive is known to heat up and lose performance to overheating. The data presented by the publication is Delta T (temperatures subtracting ambient temperature). MSI on its part, stands by the efficacy of the M.2 Shield accessory, and is sharing testing methods and data of its own with media sites. Tests by other publications such as Bit-Tech and KitGuru show positive results for the M.2 Shield.
Sources: GamersNexus, ComputerBase.de

AMD Readies Ryzen Platform Drivers for Windows 7

AMD is reportedly providing platform (chipset) drivers for its upcoming socket AM4 platform, for the ageing Windows 7 operating system. This is noteworthy as rival Intel isn't providing Windows 7 drivers for its 200-series chipset, which drives the Core "Kaby Lake" processors, and the onboard graphics of Core "Kaby Lake" processors. Graphics drivers by AMD could power integrated graphics cores of the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, and the three socket AM4 chipsets - A320, B350, and X370.

Source: ComputerBase.de

BIOSTAR Unveils the Racing GM5 Gaming Mouse

BIOSTAR is proud to announce its latest introduction into its gaming peripheral family with the most advanced gaming mouse from BIOSTAR yet. Introducing the BIOSTAR RACING GM5 gaming mouse inpired and designed with the RACING spirit in mind. Featuring a unique carbon fiber shell for that sleek gaming feel, experience ultra-swift and precise tracking with the PMW 3330 optical sensor powering the BIOSTAR RACING GM5. Supporting up to 7200 DPI, you are guaranteed optimal gaming performance everytime.

The BIOSTAR RACING GM5 gaming mouse fully unleashes BIOSTAR's commitment into delivering its best when it comes to its gaming products with fully adjustable DPI settings up to 7200DPI, you can easily choose at 50DPI increments if you wish for more precise tracking that is tailored for your own personal need. Gamers also have the option of on-the-fly DPI switching with 4-stage selection from 800, 1600, 2400 and 7200 via the software and DPI switch.

ZeniMax Awarded $500 Million in VR Patent Lawsuit Against Oculus

ZeniMax Media Inc. has been awarded a $500 million settlement in a virtual reality (VR) patent dispute with Facebook-owned Oculus. A jury in Texas found Oculus in violation of VR patents held by ZeniMax. Oculus in 2014 was acquired by Facebook in a $2 billion deal. ZeniMax owns id Software, a pioneering game studio led by John Carmack. ZeniMax alleges that core components of Oculus Rift VR headset were developed by John Carmack, when he was working at a ZeniMax subsidiary, making them ZeniMax' intellectual property. Carmack left ZeniMax to work for Oculus in 2013.

Source: MSN

ASUS Intros the B150M Expedition Motherboard

ASUS' new line of PC hardware targeted at gaming iCafes under the Expedition brand grows, with its first motherboard, the B150M Expedition (model: EX-B150M-V5 D3). These products are designed to be durable enough for the rigors of gaming iCafes, at affordable prices, though not as apocalypse-survivalist as the company's coveted TUF series. The B150M Expedition is a socket LGA1151 motherboard with DDR3 memory support. It features two memory slots that support up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 memory. The memory slots have an anti-theft feature that lets you screw-in the modules to the slots.

The narrow micro-ATX board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 7-phase VRM. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 ports (six on the rear panel, two via headers). Networking is care of a single gigabit Ethernet interface driven by a Realtek RTL8111GR controller. ASUS deployed the gaming-grade Crystal Audio 2 onboard audio solution, with a Realtek ALC887 6-channel HD audio CODEC, ground-layer isolation, audio-grade capacitors, and a headphones amp. The board also features a PS/2 port for legacy input devices. ASUS didn't disclose pricing.

Noctua Presents Three Special-Edition AM4 CPU Coolers for AMD Ryzen

Noctua today presented three special-edition models of its award-winning quiet CPU coolers. The new SE-AM4 versions of the NH-D15, NH-U12S and NH-L9x65 are dedicated premium-quality solutions for the new AM4 socket of AMD's upcoming Ryzen architecture. Whereas the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is tailored for compact systems and the NH-U12S SE-AM4 offers an excellent balance of performance and compatibility, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 provides maximum cooling performance for overclockers and silent enthusiasts.

"AMD's Ryzen architecture promises exciting possibilities for various applications and the NH-D15, NH-U12S and NH-L9x65 are some of our most popular models, so it was a natural choice to create dedicated special editions for the new platform," says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "Each of these coolers has received more than 100 awards and recommendations from international websites and magazines, so we're confident that the SE-AM4 special editions will be a great choice for anything from compact ITX builds to overclocked gaming rigs."

PQI Unveils My Lockey with Windows Hello Certified Fingerprint Reader

A global leader in mobile peripheral solutions, PQI of Foxlink group today announces My Lockey has acquired world's first Microsoft Windows Hello Biometric Fingerprint ID certification, providing a simple way to access and yet sophisticated data security. Available in mid-February, customers without biometric ID hardware can also enjoy having an intelligent gold-key.

After 2017 CES, the CEO of Global Operations at PQI, Spencer Chiu is more confident than ever and states "PQI have been eyeing the biometric market, and plans to be ahead of other competitors. At 2017 CES, PQI My Lockey attracted attention and the number of people showing interests were higher than expected . It simply refused to bow down to smartphones, AR or VR products at the show.
Wednesday, February 1st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Sound Cards
SSD

Mechanical Keyboards MK Fission

MechanicalKeyboards.com is a prominent retailer of mechanical keyboards, as the name would suggest, based in the USA. Today we get to take a look at their new MK Fission full size keyboard that comes in 18 possible options to choose from, Yes, there is RGB included but perhaps not the way you think.

AMD's Stock Soars on FY 2016 Results

AMD recently shared their FY 2016 results - which beat expectations and showed a company poised for either a big return to form (or a monumental backflip) solely on the success or failure of its two upcoming products for the CPU and graphics space, Ryzen and Vega.

Share value is based on both tangible and intangible characteristics of the company it's based upon, and in this case, AMD seems to have garnered even more attention after its solid FY 2016 execution, building confidence and expectation on its upcoming product launches. As we speak, AMD's shares have increased by 16.3% up to $12.06 a share, increasing its market cap up to $10.93B.

AMD's Upcoming Ryzen Line-up Could Feature 6-Core Chips After All

It's always a dance between rumours, expectations and "theorycrafting" when it comes to the launch of any particularly exciting product. And with AMD's Ryzen chips currently being the most hotly anticipated development (and product launch) in the hardware world, well, let's just say that anticipation is really building up to enormous levels, with any possible details surrounding AMD's line-up being the cause, in some cases, of heated debate.

Case in point: with AMD's CCX (CPU Complex) being indivisible, this would mean a blow not only to budget-conscious consumers, but also to AMD's ability to engender its product line. Flexibility has always been the name of the game with AMD (discounting their CMT-based Bulldozer and derived architectures), with the company offering triple-core processors in the past (and weren't those the good old days of processor unlocking). However, now reports have come in that Ryzen's CCX are actually divisible, which could open up possibilities for some theoretically value-breaking hexa-core Ryzen chips.

AOC Q2781PS/Q2781PQ Announced: Swarovsky Crystals To Go With Your QHD Monitor

AOC has just introduced two new monitors to their line-up, offering some respectable, if ordinary, specs. The Q2781PS and the Q2781PQ are both 27" screens featuring AH-IPS panels running at a 2560×1440 resolution, with up to 350 nits brightness, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 178°/178° viewing angles, a 5 ms response time and a 60 Hz refresh rate. AOC claims that the Q2718PQ and the Q2718PS displays can reproduce 16.77 million colors at full sRGB coverage.

These monitors break some ground on the aesthetics part of the equation, though, with extremely thin bezels and an asymmetrical L-shaped stand that must be one of the most tastefully designed I've ever seen. One thing differentiates both panels, though, and this is where we cautiously ravage the "acquired tastes" label: while the AOC Q2781PQ has a silver stand and a regular black back panel, the AOC Q2781PS comes with a rose gold base, and a back panel decorated with Swarovski crystals.

EVGA Announces the CLC 120/280 Liquid Coolers

The EVGA Closed Loop CPU Cooler (CLC) 120 and 280 have arrived. These new liquid coolers from EVGA give you incredible performance, low noise, robust software controls and RGB lighting.

Built to perform
The new cooling block offers improved flowrate and heat transfer surface area for incredible cooling efficiency.

Sync with your EVGA GeForce GTX Graphics Card
Link up your EVGA CLC cooler with select EVGA graphics cards, and match the colors directly from software. One button to control both RGB LED's! Color profiles even save to firmware.

AMD Files Patent Infringement Complaint Against LG, Vizio, Others

On January 24, 2017, AMD filed a complaint against several prominent tech companies, requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337. The basis for the complaint: some of these companies (namely, LG, MediaTek, VIZIO, and Sigma) unlawfully import into or sell inside the U.S. products which infringe on AMD's graphics intelectual property - namely, on U.S. Patent Nos. 7,633,506 (the '506 patent), 7,796,133 (the '133 patent) and 8,760,454 (the '454 patent) (collectively, the "asserted patents".

According to the complaint, these patents generally relate to architectures for graphics processing unit (GPU) circuitry. The '506 patent relates to "a graphics processing architecture that enables a large amount of graphics data to be rendered to a frame buffer". The '133 patent relates to specialized "texture" processing circuitry that is employed by GPUs. Lastly, the '454 patent relates to a "unified shader" hardware architecture for GPUs. The complaint specifically refers to various televisions and smartphones, specifically, towards the graphics processing systems within those televisions and smartphones - as infringing products.

Buffalo Americas Delivers the LinkStation 520DN

Buffalo Americas, a leading provider of USB storage, network attached storage (NAS) and networking solutions, announces the availability of the LinkStation 520DN, a network attached storage device made specifically for the home. The LS520DN is a customizable NAS solution designed to serve as the hub of consumers' connected homes by making it easier to store, share, and secure all digital data for the modern family.

"We are excited to introduce the Buffalo LS520DN as a way for consumers to organize and protect their digital life," said Arthur Traub, Director of Strategic Accounts at Buffalo Americas. "This new product allows home users to easily store, organize, access, stream and protect all their digital assets. We provide NAS-grade disk drives for always-on performance in the LS520DN to ensure ease of use and reliability. And, as with all our Buffalo products, if a customer needs any help, they simply need to contact our 24/7 US-based customer support team."

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 378.57 Hotfix Drivers

NVIDIA released the GeForce 378.57 Hotfix drivers, designed to address glaring bugs. The driver update fixes a critical game crash bug noticed in "Minecraft" and other Java-based titles; and resolves "debug mode" being the default mode on GPUs based on the "Pascal" architecture. The rest of their features appear consistent with older releases. Find the driver from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 378.57 Hotfix

LG UltraFine 5K Monitor Plagued by Rookie Design Flaw

There's "big" trouble for LG, which scored exclusivity on Apple Store for its UltraFine 5K monitor. A critical flaw in the monitor's design makes it intolerant to electromagnetic interference from devices as inconspicuous as home Wi-Fi routers. Apparently, the designers of the display forgot to give proper EM (electromagnetic) shielding for its electronics. When placed within 2 meters of a Wi-Fi router, the display begins to flicker, and when brought closer, the display even blanks out.

As an immediate workaround, LG advised customers to keep the display at least 2 meters away from a Wi-Fi router. Something like this could be tricky in a postmodern workspace such as a studio, where multiple MacPro workstations wired to such 5K displays are connected to the Internet over commercial Wi-Fi, with powerful >9 dBi antennae designed to spread signal to the far reaches of the office. LG maintains in a statement that this issue does not affect its other monitors.

Source: ArsTechnica

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2017 first quarter ended December 31, 2016. The Company posted all-time record quarterly revenue of $78.4 billion and all-time record quarterly earnings per diluted share of $3.36. These results compare to revenue of $75.9 billion and earnings per diluted share of $3.28 in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 64 percent of the quarter's revenue.

"We're thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple's highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline."

AMD Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual 2016 Financial Results

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $1.11 billion, operating loss of $3 million and net loss of $51 million, or $0.06 per share. Non-GAAP(1) operating income was $26 million, non-GAAP(1) net loss was $8 million and non-GAAP(1) loss per share was $0.01.

"We met our strategic objectives in 2016, successfully executing our product roadmaps, regaining share in key markets, strengthening our financial foundation, and delivering annual revenue growth," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "As we enter 2017, we are well positioned and on-track to deliver our strongest set of high-performance computing and graphics products in more than a decade."

NVIDIA Announces New Game Bundle, Requires GeForce Experience to Activate

A graphics card-game bundle is always a reason to cheer, though not this time, if you loathe GeForce Experience. The company's latest "Prepare for Battle" game bundle lets you choose between two of the season's hottest game releases - "For Honor," and Tom Clancy's "Ghost Recon: Wildlands" on purchase of new GeForce GTX 1080 or GTX 1070 graphics cards. The only catch here is that you need GeForce Experience to redeem or activate your free game. This further requires you to create a GeForce Experience login, which adds to the list of startup apps, as GeForce Experience dials home to sign-in and sync your game settings.