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Wednesday, February 20th 2019

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Team Xtreem Xcalibur DDR4 Memory Wins iF Design Award 2019

T-FORCE gaming memory from TEAMGROUP goes beyond the limit and receives international awards again. After receiving COMPUTEX Golden Pin Design Award last year, T-FORCE XCALIBUR RGB gaming memory has won the iF International Design Award again earlier this year. The award-winning T-FORCE XCALIBUR RGB gaming memory has the Taiwan utility model patent (number: M565883). This memory is incomparable as a king's sword and it shines globally with its excellent all-round design.

The German iF Product Design Award is known as the Oscar Award in design field. This globally well-known product design award was founded in 1953 and it is also the world's top design quality indicator. This year, the German IF Award has gathered the world's top 67 international jury members and received 6375 entries from 52 countries. The T-FORCE XCALIBUR won the award over numerous outstanding entries. A remarkable result like this, once again proves the T-FORCE gaming memory has both top performance and a solid design strength that can stun everyone in the world stage.

Intel Rolls Out the 4 GHz Pentium Gold G5620 Processor

Intel rolled out its first Pentium-branded processor with 4.00 GHz clock-speed, the Pentium Gold G5620 (retail SKU: BX80684G5620). The chip replaces the G5600 on top of the entry-level product stack. Based on the 14 nm "Coffee Lake" microarchitecture, it packs a 2-core/4-thread CPU clocked at 4.00 GHz without Turbo Boost. 256 KB of L2 cache per core and 4 MB of shared L3 cache are also offered. The integrated graphics solution is Intel's workhorse UHD Graphics 630, with 24 execution units. The dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller supports up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. The chip's TDP is rated at 65W. Pricing is up in the air, with retail channel shortages expected to swing the chip on both sides of the $100-mark. Availability is slated for early-March, 2019.
Tuesday, February 19th 2019

Today's Reviews

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Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
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Motherboards
Mouse
Storage
ASUS ROG Strix Flare Keyboard

ASUS ROG Strix Flare Keyboard

We take a look at our first ASUS keyboard, and it just happens to be their flagship, the ROG Strix Flare. Featuring options galore, be it via Cherry MX RGB switch options, profiles and onboard controls, or software driver customization over functions and lighting alike, it makes for a strong impression of the brand in the crowded keyboard market.
Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse

Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse

Behold! The one true heir to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 has arrived: the Pro IntelliMouse. It has the exact same shape as its predecessor, which is great news for many people who loved the original. It features a top optical sensor, Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks, and an RGB tail light.

Logitech G Announces the 2019 MX518 Gaming Mouse

You asked for it, we did it. Over the years, Logitech G community has consistently asked us to bring back the legendary Logitech G MX518, which many consider to be the finest gaming mouse of all time. Today Logitech G is excited to announce that the new MX518 gaming mouse is now available to fans around the world.

The reborn MX518 retains the same shape and feel of the original that made it famous but is updated to the very latest, next-generation technologies, including HERO 16K sensor and the addition of a 32-bit ARM processor for a super fast 1 ms report rate. The MX518 also features eight programmable buttons so you can bind custom commands. With onboard memory, you can also save your preferences directly to the mouse, so you can use it on different systems without the need to install custom software or reconfigure your settings.

JEDEC Updates Standard for Low Power Memory Devices: LPDDR5

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, the global leader in standards development for the microelectronics industry, today announced the publication of JESD209-5, Low Power Double Data Rate 5 (LPDDR5). LPDDR5 will eventually operate at an I/O rate of 6400 MT/s, 50% higher than that of the first version of LPDDR4, which will significantly boost memory speed and efficiency for a variety of applications including mobile computing devices such as smartphones, tablets, and ultra-thin notebooks. In addition, LPDDR5 offers new features designed for mission critical applications such as automotive. Developed by JEDEC's JC-42.6 Subcommittee for Low Power Memories, LPDDR5 is available for download from the JEDEC website.

With the doubling of memory throughput over the previous version of the standard (LPDDR5 is being published with a data rate of 6400 MT/s, compared to 3200 MT/s for LPDDR4 at its publication in 2014), LPDDR5 promises to have an enormous impact on the performance and capabilities of the next generation of portable electronic devices. To achieve this performance improvement, LPDDR5 architecture was redesigned; moving to 16Banks programmable architecture and multi-clocking architecture.

Hadean Integrates Distributed Simulation Technology - Powered by Microsoft Azure

(Editor's Note: Hadean seems to be building a cloud-based OS that serves more than games via its Aether Engine: on its website, the company cites usages for gaming, multi-scale cellular models, and risk profile analysis with increased datasets than ever before. The idera of a cloud-based OS seems to stem from a desire to usher developers into an almost auto-sufficient system and interface, without the need for the layers of distributed engineeriuing, with multiple inputs and workflows for middleware, microservices, containers, and other parts. Users can take part in the 10,000 player stress test that's being planned for the end of February, and can register to partake in the experiment on the company's website.)

Hadean announced its Aether Engine will be powered by Microsoft Azure, allowing developers to more seamlessly scale their applications at increased speed and ease across the cloud. Hadean's technology will also be integrated with other parts of Microsoft's developer suite, including Visual Studio. Hadean's record-breaking 10,000 player gaming experience that will be unveiled at GDC 2019 will be powered by the Aether Engine running on Azure. Outside of gaming, this exact same technology is driving Hadean and the Francis Crick Institute's biomolecular simulation work in the field of cancer cell research.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1660 Ti AMP, Twin Fan Renders Leaked

As we draw closer to the launch of NVIDIA-s upcoming, RTX/less GTX 11660 Ti graphics card, which is pegged to offer performance comparable to that of their previous generation GTX 1070, more and more partner cards - with their custom designs ready to go - are popping up. This time it's ZOTAC and its AMP and Twin Fan graphics cards, though there's not much more information.

The pictures offer some, though, as do ZOTAC's previous launch decisions when it comes to their AMPD and Twin Fan graphics cards. Both SKUs for the GTX 1660 Ti offer a dual-fan, single-slot solution, with a single 8-pin connector guaranteeing enough juice for both nominal and overclocked operation. A different PCB design is seemingly used between both cards, as the leaked renders seem to point towards. The AMP series will offer somewhat overclocked values for higher performance, and sports a lighter gray on the shroud, compared to the Twin Fan solution. Expect these to launch alongside NVIDIA's announcement, coming in just a few days.

snakebyte Announces the HEAD:SET PRO, A New Luxury Gaming Headset Without the Luxury Price

snakebyte group, leading innovators of consumer electronics hardware, announced today the shipping of the HEAD:SET PRO PC, an all-new premium gaming headset without the premium price. Focusing on high-quality audio and featuring an impressive specification, the HEAD:SET PROis ideal for the discerning PC gamer looking for a quality headset without the overinflated price tag.

Advanced 50mm Neodymium Drivers engineered for gaming audio, reproduce every explosion, shot or team conversation with crystal-clear clarity, giving gamers the winning edge, they need to come out on top. Engineered from memory foam, the luxury earcups feature passive noise cancellation technology so gamers can concentrate on the action on screen without distraction.

Blizzard and NZXT Introduce the H500 Overwatch Special Edition

NZXT and Blizzard Entertainment have joined forces to deliver a PC chassis made for gamers who are passionate about building and showing off their own rigs-and also throwing in some flavor from their favorite games. The new, special edition H500 Overwatch Edition mid-tower showcases NZXT's signature design with a sleek look that any hero would be proud to have in their arsenal. Featuring an all-steel construction in black, a cable management system for streamlined building, and a luminous Overwatch logo on the front panel, this special H500 chassis is perfect for the Overwatch player looking to outfit their rig for battle.

"As a company of passionate gamers, we admire the enthusiasm and dedication shown by the Overwatch community, and we know Blizzard aims to deliver legendary products and experiences to its players," says Johnny Hou, founder and CEO of NZXT. "That's why we teamed up with Blizzard on this epic H500 PC chassis. Whether you are a Mercy, D.Va, or Genji main, the H500 Overwatch is made for any hero who wants to answer the call."

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming Unboxing Video Goes Live

PC World Bulgaria has on its YouTube channel posted a full-fledged unboxing video of the unreleased MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Gaming X graphics card. The card features MSI's new-generation TwinFrozr 7 cooling solution that's embedded with RGB LEDs, TorX 3.0 fans, and a design that's resembling, although slightly toned down, from the company's RTX 2060 Gaming Z graphics card. You also get a full-coverage backplate that extends to cover the tail end. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include a trio of DisplayPort 1.4 and an HDMI 2.0b.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is expected to launch later this month at a starting price of USD $279, although the MSI Gaming X could command a premium. Based on the 12 nm "TU116" silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti lacks RTX technology, but offers 1,536 CUDA cores from the "Turing" generation, and 6 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 192-bit wide memory interface.
The video presentation follows.

NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti to Perform Roughly On-par with GTX 1070: Leaked Benchmarks

NVIDIA's upcoming "Turing" based GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card could carve itself a value proposition between the $250-300 mark that lets it coexist with both the GTX 1060 6 GB and the $350 RTX 2060, according to leaked "Final Fantasy XV" benchmarks scored by VideoCardz. In these benchmarks, the GTX 1660 Ti was found to perform roughly on par with the previous-generation GTX 1070 (non-Ti), which is plausible given that the 1,536 CUDA cores based on "Turing," architecture, with their higher IPC and higher GPU clocks, are likely to catch up with the 1,920 "Pascal" CUDA cores of the GTX 1070, while 12 Gbps 192-bit GDDR6 serves up more memory bandwidth than 8 Gbps 256-bit GDDR5 (288 GB/s vs. 256 GB/s). The GTX 1070 scores in memory size, with 8 GB of it. NVIDIA is expected to launch the GTX 1660 Ti later this month at USD $279. Unlike the RTX 20-series, these chips lack NVIDIA RTX real-time raytracing technology, and DLSS (deep-learning supersampling).

GlobalFoundries Looking for Buyers, Samsung and SK Hynix Seem Interested

GlobalFoundries is looking to be sold lock-stock-and-barrel by its investors, after heavily downsizing and parting with some of its Singapore-based assets recently. Once promising to lead the market with 7 nm and 5 nm advancements, the company crashed out of the sub-10 nm race, making AMD, its biggest customer, look for 7 nm supplies from TSMC. GlobalFoundries is the world's third largest semiconductor foundry service provider, with an 8.4 percent market share, behind TSMC and Samsung. Intel doesn't offer manufacturing services, as its fabs are fully dedicated to manufacturing its own products.

GlobalFoundries's main investor is Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Technology, which holds a 90 percent stake in the company. Korean semiconductor companies Samsung and SK Hynix are reportedly in the foray to buy out GlobalFoundries, as it would give them a turnkey presence in the US, with its Upstate New York facilities. The company is unlikely to entertain bids from Chinese companies, as CFIUS would likely block the sale. "Global Foundries is unlikely to be bought by a Chinese company such as SMIC in that the U.S. government is keeping China in check in various industries," said an industry insider, adding, "The most potential candidates include South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, and Samsung Electronics can increase its share in the market to 23 percent at once if it takes over Global Foundries."

ASUS Unveils ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 Router with GeForce NOW Optimization

ASUS today unveiled the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rapture GT-AC2900 wireless router with optimization for NVIDIA GeForce NOW cloud-based gaming service. What this entails is a certification from NVIDIA that the router provides "the best possible experience" streaming your game between the GeForce NOW cloud and your machine. What it really means is specialized QoS rules that prioritize traffic between your machine and GeForce NOW. As a router, you get 1 Gbps Ethernet WAN, four wired 1 Gbps Ethernet LAN ports, 802.11ac WLAN with 750+2167 Mbps across two bands, which includes 3x3 MIMO for 2.4 GHz, and 4x4 MIMO for 5 GHz. You also get USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 for 4G dongles and storage devices. You also get RGB LED lighting that's configurable using the ASUS Aura Sync RGB utility. The company didn't reveal pricing, since it hasn't finalized a release date.

ENERMAX Unleashes the Beastly MAXREVO 1800W Power Supply

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-end power supplies, announces the launch of MAXREVO 1800, a heavyweight 1800 watt power supply with peak power up to incredible 1900 watt. Characterized by the high-performance transformer, high-density PCB, and FMQ topology, MAXREVO 1800 PSU achieves a housing depth of only 180mm without sacrificing efficiency or performance, compared to its peers that normally come in 220 mm deep. Furthermore, 6 powerful +12V rails and 12 PCI-E connectors provide powerful output capabilities without compromising hardware safety. Specially designed for multi-GPU rigs, video editing workstations, industrial PC, and servers, MAXREVO 1800 is ready to quench the thirst of power-demanding systems.

MAXREVO 1800 is built with patented Turbo Switch; the design can help bring down the temperature of the critical components by 10-15°C. Through simply pressing the Turbo Switch, the PSU fan will spin at max speed (3100RPM) to create extra massive airflow to cool down the components.
Monday, February 18th 2019

Today's Reviews

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Cooling
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SSD
SilentiumPC Spartan 3 Pro RGB

SilentiumPC Spartan 3 Pro RGB

SilentiumPC continues to push the boundary of what users can expect in regards to entry-level CPU coolers with the Spartan 3 Pro RGB. Equipped with a 100 mm Sigma Pro RGB fan, this compact tower cooler manages to stay relatively silent while still delivering adequate performance when it matters.

TSMC Revises Financial Outlook, Accounts for January Chemical Contamination and Lost Silicon

TSMC has revised its financial outlook following the recent contamination of its 14 B Gigafab, which saw between 10,000 and 30,000 wafers affected. It seems that TSMC has needed to scrap a higher number of wafers than it had initially calculated (no word on where exactly on those 10,000-30,000 spectrum that number is). This has resulted in an expected, lowered first-quarter 2019 revenues by about US$550 million, gross margin by 2.6%, operating margin by 3.2%, and EPS (Earnings Per Share) by NT$0.42, the foundry house said.

TSMC said it expects to deliver these chips in the second quarter, making up for most of the lost revenue - it's not so much of a loss, but more of a delay in earnings. As it comes to the actual, final impact of the event on TSMC's operating profits, the company estimates a reduced gross margin by 0.2%, operating margin by 0.2%, and EPS by NT$0.08. TSMC said that it has been in constant conversation with customers, and has already scheduled replacement deliveries - surprising absolutely no one.

Less Than a Year Since Its Inception, Razer is Closing its Razer Games Store

"That didn't last long" is what the user that brought us this story opened up with, and there's really not much more that can be said to encapsulate this event. Remember how Razer announced, in April of 2018, it would be introducing its own Razer Games Store, looking to grab a slice of the publishing revenue from Steam? Well, the project didn't quite pan out - whether because of its zSilver-associated rewards program or not, Razer is pitting this as part of its "realignment plans".

The Razer Game Store will close its doors at 1am PST February 28, with purchased games continuing to work, and pre-ordered titles shipping as planned. Discount vouchers, however, must be used before that date. TechCrunch reports that in a Q&A accompanying the announcement, Razer said it would "continue bringing games to gamers via other services." "We will be investing in other ways to deliver great content and introduce game promotions through Razer Gold, our virtual credits system," the company said. The Epic games store is developing at a relatively good pace, even if the titles are somewhat sparse - it has been nagging more and more high-profile launches from Steam's doorstep, as it did with Metro Exodus. So it isn't that much a problem of it being an impossible market to break in to - it just seems EPIC developed a wholly better strategy (businesswise) for it.

NVIDIA: Image Quality for DLSS in Metro Exodus to Be Improved in Further Updates, and the Nature of the Beast

NVIDIA, in a blog post/Q&A on its DLSS technology, promised implementation and image quality improvements on its Metro Exodus rendition of the technology. If you'll remember, AMD recently vouched for other, non-proprietary ways of achieving desired quality of AA technology across resolutions such as TAA and SMAA, saying that DLSS introduces "(...) image artefacts caused by the upscaling and harsh sharpening." NVIDIA in its blog post has dissected DLSS in its implementation, also clarifying some lingering questions on the technology and its resolution limitations that some us here at TPU had already wondered about.

The blog post describes some of the limitations in DLSS technology, and why exactly image quality issues might be popping out here and there in titles. As we knew from NVIDIA's initial RTX press briefing, DLSS basically works on top of an NVIDIA neural network. Titled the NGX, it processes millions of frames from a single game at varying resolutions, with DLSS, and compares it to a given "ground truth image" - the highest quality possible output sans any shenanigans, generated from just pure raw processing power. The objective is to train the network towards generating this image without the performance cost. This DLSS model is then made available for NVIDIA's client to download and to be run at your local RTx graphics card level, which is why DLSS image quality can be improved with time. And it also helps explain why closed implementations of the technology, such as 3D Mark's Port Royal benchmark, show such incredible image quality scenarios compared to, say, Metro Exodus - there is a very, very limited number of frames that the neural network needs to process towards achieving the best image quality.
Forumites: This is an Editorial

Zotac Announces Liquid-Cooling Ready GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm Graphics Card

ZOTAC Technology, a global manufacturer of innovation is pleased to announce the launch of the ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm graphics card. Get the best of both worlds with the all-new waterblocked graphics card packing the ultimate 2080 Ti performance with 16+4 power phases combined with fearless cooling. Continuing to push on design and innovation, the full coverage waterblock introduces a precision machine laser etched design entirely new to the design process.

The carved edges and added texture bring dimension to the clear acrylic block and enables it to catch the lighting lit across the block beautifully to enhance the overall design in a very discrete, elegant fashion. The lighting gets updated to SPECTRA 2.0, bringing with it more powerful Addressable RGB LEDs controllable with the newly designed Firestorm software. Adjust brightness and lighting modes on two independent zones or synchronize them together in unison lighting. With an onboard memory, your preferred lighting settings will stay whether the system restarts or shuts down.

AMD Radeon VII Retested With Latest Drivers

Just two weeks ago, AMD released their Radeon VII flagship graphics card. It is based on the new Vega 20 GPU, which is the world's first graphics processor built using a 7 nanometer production process. Priced at $699, the new card offers performance levels 20% higher than Radeon RX Vega 64, which should bring it much closer to NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080. In our testing we still saw a 14% performance deficit compared to RTX 2080. For the launch-day reviews AMD provided media outlets with a press driver dated January 22, 2019, which we used for our review.

Since the first reviews went up, people in online communities have been speculating that these were early drivers and that new drivers will significantly boost the performance of Radeon VII, to make up lost ground over RTX 2080. There's also the mythical "fine wine" phenomenon where performance of Radeon GPUs significantly improve over time, incrementally. We've put these theories to the test by retesting Radeon VII using AMD's latest Adrenalin 2019 19.2.2 drivers, using our full suite of graphics card benchmarks.

Intel Acquires Indian Startup to Strengthen Position in Discrete GPU Tech

Several years ago, Ineda, a small startup from Hyderabad, India made headlines when they developed custom-design processors for use in wearable devices that were optimized for high energy-efficiency, while still having the ability to read out various sensors or listen to voice commands at the same time. Such improvements help increase battery life on devices that people don't want to recharge every day. Over the years the company has received several million dollars in funding from Samsung, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies and others.

Looks like this caused enough attention at chip giant Intel, who's trying to come up with a competitive design for a discrete graphics processor, that's able to take on AMD's and NVIDIA's offerings. While Ineda certainly has patents that could come in useful, it looks like Intel is more interested in the company's manpower. With around 100 engineers, the company has a lot of talent, that's experienced in chip design and how to make these chips energy efficient.

Modding a 2x 140 mm All-in-One CPU Watercooler onto the AMD Radeon VII

Reddit user CarbonFireOC wasn't happy with the temperatures he's been seeing on his Radeon VII, and decided he wanted watercooling. Unfortunately, that early since product release no GPU waterblocks are available for the Radeon VII. What he figured out was that the waterblock of EVGA's CLC 280 all-in-one cooler will fit. This cooler, which is made by Asetek and licensed by EVGA is designed for Intel & AMD motherboards and many similar variants exist from vendors like Fractal Design, NZXT and others.

While performing such a mod on a $700 graphics card is not for the faint-hearted, it shows that with a little bit of creative ingenuity you can achieve amazing results without wasting top dollar.

His 24/7 stable settings on Radeon VII are 2122 MHz core, 1265 mV, and 1252 MHz memory, resulting in a 3DMark Firestrike graphics score of around 33,000. Even at such a high voltage, the watercooling keeps temperatures very low at 40°C GPU, 60°C Hotspot.
Sunday, February 17th 2019

Tight Squeeze Below $350 as Price of GTX 1660 Ti Revealed

NVIDIA is reportedly pricing the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti at USD $279 (baseline pricing), which implies pricing of custom-designed and factory-overclocked cards scraping the $300-mark. The card is also spaced $70 apart from the RTX 2060, which offers not just 25% more CUDA cores, but also NVIDIA RTX and DLSS technologies. In media reporting of the card so far, it is being compared extensively to the GTX 1060 6 GB, which continues to go for under $230. Perhaps NVIDIA is planning a slower non-Ti version to replace the GTX 1060 6 GB under the $250-mark. That entry would place three SKUs within $50-70 of each other, a tight squeeze. Based on the 12 nm TU116 silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to feature 1,536 CUDA cores, 96 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 192-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, handling 6 GB of memory at 12 Gbps (288 GB/s). This GPU lacks RT cores.

EK Releases Vector RTX Series Blocks for ASUS ROG Strix Series Graphics Cards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia based water cooling gear manufacturer, is introducing its new generation water blocks for the popular ROG Strix GeForce RTX series graphics cards, based on Turing TU106, Turing TU104 and Turing TU102 graphics processor.

The inspiration for the new GPU block name "Vector" came from the sheer computing power of the graphics cards that are on the market today. Naming a water block "Full Cover" isn't enough these days, when the product is packed with unique features, such as these. The EK Vector Strix RTX water blocks are specially designed for multiple ROG Strix GeForce RTX Turing based graphics cards. The water block itself uses the signature EK single slot slim look, and it covers the entire PCB length. This sophisticated cooling solution will transform your powerful ROG graphics card into a minimalistic, elegant piece of hardware with accented RGB LED lighting. The block also features a unique aesthetic cover over the block Terminal which is designed to showcase the graphics card model via LEDs, visible from the side.
Friday, February 15th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Storage
Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM Fan

Noctua NF-P12 redux-1700 PWM Fan

Noctua's recent addition to their budget-friendly redux series is the NF-P12 series, which introduces a pressure-optimized fan design at an affordable price point. It delivers good performance at more-than-acceptable noise levels and aims to encourage Noctua adoption in the PC DIY watercooling market.
Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

The Glorious PC Gaming Race as a peripherals company is most known for their keyboard, the aptly named Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard. This review goes over the GMMK in detail, covering its features, including the swappable mechanical switches, extensive onboard controls for per-key RGB backlighting, and software driver support.

Metro Exodus Packaging Appears, Steam Logo Simply Hidden Under A Sticker

The drama surrounding Metro Exodus continues unabated. Deep Silver which has ownership over the IP, was the one that decided to pull Metro Exodus from Steam in favor of a 1-year timed exclusivity deal on the Epic Games Store. If you've been following the drama thus far this is all public information. Furthermore, it was speculated that this move was made at the very last minute considering other retailers were originally advertising preorders as being Steam keys for quite some time right up until the news of the digital platform switch broke. Lending more credence to the fact this was a disruptive switch at the last minute is the physical packaging which was not altered for the game's launch and instead has a sticker covering the Steam logo. Truly for such an outstanding game, the mess of its launch should be remembered as a great example of how not to release a game.

ID-Cooling Reveals IS-30 Low-Profile Air Cooler for up to 100 W CPUs

ID-cooling today revealed another entry into their air-cooling line-up, specifically geared for space.-constrained environments that still require adequate cooling capabilities for low operating noise. The IS-30 is a low-profile cooler (30 mm along the Z plane, unsurprisingly) that supports up to 100 W CPU cooling - this means that even 8-core AMD Ryzen 2000 series can be cooled by this baby.

The direct contact, four copper heatpipe design ensures that heat is carried from the processor the array of aluminum fins, and then expelled by usage of a 92-mm PWM fan that spins at 800 ~ 3600 RPM and up to 40 CFM in terms of airflow. The maximum noise levels of 35.8 dB(A) should seem like an acceptable trade-off. It weighs 310 grams, which shouldn't put too big a strain on your system - if it's to remain vertical at all, as these solutions seldom are. No word on pricing at time of writing.

Steam Fanatics Review-bomb "Metro Exodus" on Metacritic

"Metro Exodus" is the week's big AAA PC launch, and the latest entry to the post-apocalyptic horror-survival shooter franchise by 4A Games. The Ukrainian studio recently pulled the game from Steam and made it an exclusive with rival DRM platform Epic Games, in pursuit of a higher revenue-share. This invited inexplicable hatred from Steam users, who appear to have review-bombed the game on review ratings aggregator Metacritic.

Metacritic presents averages of reviews by media publications and user-reviews side-by-side. This is vital as it helps uninformed or undecided gamers know if a game is overrated by the media. In case of "Exodus," Much of the 0-rated user-reviews include lines that criticize the game's non-availability on Steam or its withdrawal from the platform. The Metacritic review-bombing is the latest episode in a long saga of animosity between Steam users and "Exodus" developer 4A Games. 4A Games did initially solicit pre-orders for the game on Steam, and abruptly stopped its sales late-January. Those who had pre-ordered would continue to receive the game and its updates. 4A muddied the waters further by responding to initial criticism from Steam users by threatening to desert the PC platform as a whole, inviting more bile from some really angry gamers. The game received "generally positive" reviews from professional game reviewers.

MSI Redesigns GAMING, ARMOR Graphics Cards for GTX 1660 Ti Launch

Leaked images of MSI's upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards show a redesign of their high-tier offerings. As we've already covered, it seemsn that NVIDIA's GTX 1660 Ti will be the NVIDIA silicon with most partner custom designs and SKUs, and for good reason - it's expected this card will succeed the GTX 1060 in terms of popularity in the mainstream gamer market. The new revisions accompany market trends in adding RGB lighting and some angular revisions.

The GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X will be one of MSI's topmost models, with the highest clock speed, and a design revision in a favor of a black and gray color scheme and RGB lights. It looks classy and understated, even with the RGB lighting, which is something that's increasingly rare to find. The new ARMOS graphics card also has an understated, industrial design, with some more detailed cutouts in the plastic housing, and an interesting mix of black and white. The GeForce GTX branding makes a comeback in these graphics cards, which make use of a single 8-pin connector.

Apex Legends the Fastest Growing Battle Royale FPS, with 25 Million Players in Just a Week

"Apex Legends," developed by Respawn Entertainment, and published by EA, has become the fastest growing online battle-royale shooter, with its popularity snowballing to over 25 million players in just the first week since launch. The game made a splash into the crowded online battle-royale genre that's dominated by "Fortnite" and "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds" aka PUBG, among dozens of knockoffs from independent developers. Apex Legends is being appreciated by players for having a polished, well-tested presentation, slick gameplay, reasonable eye-candy, low "pay-to-win" perception among players, good performance on entry-level and mainstream graphics hardware, and offering many of the inventory-management, gameplay, and teamplaying features felt lacking in other titles. The game is free-to-play, distributed through Origin.

Thermaltake Commander C Cases come with 200 mm ARGB Fans and Tempered Glass

Thermaltake, the leading PC DIY premium brand for Cooling, Gaming Gear and Enthusiast Memory solutions, launches the new Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis. Designed to expand the gaming spirit, the Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis takes the front panel design to the next level.

The Commander C Series inherits the Thermaltake classic chassis design and combines new design elements. The Commander C Series features six different models: C31, C32, C33, C34, C35 and C36, which target a wide range of PC gamers and enthusiasts. Each piece undergoes a rigorous process of survey, observation, experimentation, remodeling, and manufacture, to guarantee ultimate customer satisfaction. The Commander C Series features an enlarged tempered glass side panel, preinstalled two 200mm 5V ARGB front fans and one 120mm standard rear fan for optimal system ventilation. The 200mm 5V ARGB front fans deliver 16.8 million-color RGB illumination and sync with RGB capable motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock.

The Commander C Series comes equipped with GPU mounting, advanced cable management and flexibility for high-end components. The Commander C Series supports the latest PC hardware, and is not only fascinating in appearance but also powerful in performance. With six different models, the new Thermaltake Commander C Series Tempered Glass ARGB Mid-Tower Chassis provides users limitless DIY options.

Synology Introduces DiskStation DS1019+

Synology today launched DiskStation DS1019+, a 5-bay desktop NAS with excellent performance and scalability, right for small offices and IT enthusiasts.

"For professional home or SOHO users, it's always struggling to find a NAS server providing outstanding performance, scalability, and applicability at the same time. DS1019+ eliminates all your concerns with a compact chassis design," said Kevin Meng, product manager of Synology Inc. "Featuring a quad-core processor, 8GB memory and dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots, DS1019+ allows you to create SSD cache without occupying any drive trays. Its dual-channel 4K video transcoding capability and scalable storage design also make it an ideal option for multimedia applications, perfectly suitable for ultra HD video streaming among all of your devices."

NVIDIA Reports Q4 and 2018 Financial Results - Down 45%

NVIDIA today reported revenue for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 27, 2019, of $2.21 billion, down 24 percent from $2.91 billion a year earlier, and down 31 percent from $3.18 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.92, down 48 percent from $1.78 a year ago and down 53 percent from $1.97 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.80, down 53 percent from $1.72 a year earlier and down 57 percent from $1.84 in the previous quarter. For fiscal 2019, revenue was $11.72 billion, up 21 percent from $9.71 billion a year earlier. GAAP earnings per diluted share were $6.63, up 38 percent from $4.82 a year earlier. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $6.64, up 35 percent from $4.92 a year earlier.
"This was a turbulent close to what had been a great year," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "The combination of post-crypto excess channel inventory and recent deteriorating end-market conditions drove a disappointing quarter.

"Despite this setback, NVIDIA's fundamental position and the markets we serve are strong. The accelerated computing platform we pioneered is central to some of world's most important and fastest growing industries - from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles to robotics. We fully expect to return to sustained growth," he said.
Thursday, February 14th 2019
MSI MEG X299 CREATION

MSI MEG X299 CREATION

From the elite family of products dubbed MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) comes another cutting-edge board with unique features and accessories. The MEG X299 CREATION is yet another board that promises to go above and beyond, so I took the review and turned it to 11.

AMD Doesn't Believe in NVIDIA's DLSS, Stands for Open SMAA and TAA Solutions

A report via PCGamesN places AMD's stance on NVIDIA's DLSS as a rather decided one: the company stands for further development of SMAA (Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Antialiasing) and TAA (Temporal Antialising) solutions on current, open frameworks, which, according to AMD's director of marketing, Sasa Marinkovic, "(...) are going to be widely implemented in today's games, and that run exceptionally well on Radeon VII", instead of investing in yet another proprietary solution. While AMD pointed out that DLSS' market penetration was a low one, that's not the main issue of contention. In fact, AMD decides to go head-on against NVIDIA's own technical presentations, comparing DLSS' image quality and performance benefits against a native-resolution, TAA-enhanced image - they say that SMAA and TAA can work equally as well without "the image artefacts caused by the upscaling and harsh sharpening of DLSS."

Of course, AMD may only be speaking from the point of view of a competitor that has no competing solution. However, company representatives said that they could, in theory, develop something along the lines of DLSS via a GPGPU framework - a task for which AMD's architectures are usually extremely well-suited. But AMD seems to take the eyes of its DLSS-defusing moves, however, as AMD's Nish Neelalojanan, a Gaming division exec, talks about potential DLSS-like implementations across "Some of the other broader available frameworks, like WindowsML and DirectML", and that these are "something we [AMD] are actively looking at optimizing… At some of the previous shows we've shown some of the upscaling, some of the filters available with WindowsML, running really well with some of our Radeon cards." So whether it's an actual image-quality philosophy, or just a competing technology's TTM (time to market) one, only AMD knows.

Metro Exodus Now Available For Preload On Steam

For those who got lucky enough to pre-order Metro Exodus on Steam before its defection to the Epic Games store are now able to pre-load the title in preparation for its launch. It will require 51 GB of storage space, so if your connection is a bit slower, you'll be waiting a while for it to download, which means the Steam pre-load period quite beneficial. For those that bought the title elsewhere and have to go through the Epic Game store, you will have to wait for the official launch since the platform does not currently support preloading of soon to be released games. This will likely make those with slower connections a bit irked since it means they will be waiting even longer to play the title come release day.

The fact Metro Exodus was pulled from Steam but can still be preloaded on the platform, while the Epic Game store will force users to wait will likely just add to the drama and controversy. However, if you step away for a moment and focus on the game itself one thing remains breathtakingly clear, the game is quite astonishing in regards to the graphics, even with RTX disabled. You can take a closer look for yourself in our performance analysis of Metro Exodus.

EA, Bioware Partner With Oats Studios and Neil Blomkamp to Produce Conviction - An Anthem Story

Neil Blomkamp is one of today's most well-regarded sci-fi filmmakers - and for good reason. While you may know him for his feature-length films (such as the legendary District 9 and the even more legendary, for me, Elysium), he has been making forays into conceptual filmmaking ever since he set up Oats Studios. The goal for Oats Studios was to create cinematographic thought-experiments with a sci-fi twist, and the studios have released a number of great works that you can follow on their YouTube (such as Zygote, Firebase, and Rakka), even going so far as to fully experiment with the power of Unity in the making of some seriously impressive pieces in their Adam series. If you don't know the studio's work yet, do yourself a favor and take a look.

That said, EA and Bioware have clearly picked up on the potential for Oats Studios, and ordered a cinematic, live-action story set on the Anthem universe. Named Conviction, the short serves as a teaser for the games' release, and showcases the impressive world of Anthem being brought to life with real people and settings. I won't dive into much detail here; I've given you the background. Suffice it to say that I am left even more wanting in regards to Neil Blomkamp's canceled Halo project after watching this. I bet you'd love to see something such as this brought to life in more detail and depth than a short three minutes and forty-five seconds allow for.

NVIDIA TU116 GPU Pictured Up Close: Noticeably Smaller than TU106

Here is the first picture of NVIDIA's 12 nm "TU116" silicon, which powers the upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. While the size of the package itself is identical to that of the "TU106" on which the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 are based; the die of the TU116 is visibly smaller. This is because the chip physically lacks RT cores, and only has two-thirds the number of CUDA cores as the TU106, with 1,536 against the latter's 2,304. The die area, too, is about 2/3rds that of the TU106. The ASIC version of TU116 powering the GTX 1660 Ti is "TU116-400-A1."

VideoCardz scored not just pictures of the ASIC, but also the PCB of an MSI GTX 1660 Ti Ventus graphics card, which reveals something very interesting. The PCB has traces for eight memory chips, across a 256-bit wide memory bus, although only six of them are populated with memory chips, making up 6 GB over a 192-bit bus. The GPU's package substrate, too, is of the same size. It's likely that NVIDIA is using a common substrate, with an identical pin-map between the TU106 and TU116, so AIC partners could reduce PCB development costs.

beyerdynamic Drives Wireless Innovation with Xelento

beyerdynamic, one of the world's leading manufacturers of headphones, microphones and conferencing products, announces Xelento, a wireless, in-ear headphone combining outstanding quality and cutting technology to create an exciting musical experience. The Xelento wireless features beyerdynamic's innovative, miniaturized Tesla drivers, aptX HD Bluetooth technology and MOSAYC sound personalization by Mimi Defined.

beyerdynamic's Xelento wireless bridges the gap for convenient on-the-go solutions and sophisticated luxury headphones by creating a single solution to combine two worlds. Xelento's drivers and acoustic design provide uncompromising sound with Bluetooth connectivity to enable comfortable listening in any environment. Xelento's breathtaking Tesla drivers are recognized among audio enthusiasts for their incredible sound, precise impulses, exceptional transparency and acoustic balance ranging from tight bass to detailed highs. Featuring a sleek design, the Xelento wireless is both an exquisite piece of jewelry and an audiophile listening device creating a platinum state for in-ear headphones.

2019 the Year of 1TB SSDs: Prices Fall by 50%

1-Terabyte SSDs could become a new mainstream-desktop must-have in 2019, as prices of the drives have fallen by 50 percent year-over-year, according to DigiTimes. A 1 TB SATA SSD in the 2.5-inch form-factor can now be had for as little as $99, while faster NVMe drives in the M.2 form-factor start around $130. At the beginning of 2018, 1 TB SATA SSDs used to start around the $160-mark, and NVMe drives north of $200. The 1 TB category includes 960 GB, 1000 GB, and 1024 GB marketed capacities with varying amounts of overprovisioning set by manufacturers.

Falling SSD prices are accelerated by the entry of cost-effective 96-layer 3D NAND flash, higher-density QLC NAND flash, undigested inventories of drives based on older technologies such as 64-layer or TLC NAND flash; and a 15 percent sequential quarterly drop in NAND flash prices in the industry. Growth in speeds of client-segment SSDs have remained largely flat over the year, and not much is to be expected in performance growth other than perhaps the advent of PCIe gen 4.0 based enterprise SSDs towards the end of the year.

SMART Modular Announces New N200 Family of SATA Flash Products

SMART Modular Technologies, a leader in specialty memory, storage and hybrid solutions including memory modules, Flash memory cards and other solid state storage products, today announced the introduction of its N200 line of SATA products. With burst speed and low power consumption, the N200 family is an ideal economic option for NAS/SAN storage systems, x86 server-storage appliances, distributed scale-out servers, telecom and networking routers and switches, industrial control, printers and more.

Built with Triple Level Cell (TLC) 3D NAND technology, the new N200 line of SATA products, consisting of the mSATA (MO-300), the M.2 2242 and 2280, the Slim SATA (MO-297), and the removable 2.5" solid state drive form factors, delivers the advantages of economical, industrial-grade non-volatile memory to embedded computing applications. The N200 SATA products are offered in capacities ranging from 32GB to 1TB, depending on form factor, and all are available in industrial and commercial temperatures.
Wednesday, February 13th 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Notebooks
PSUs
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SSD
Storage
Metro Exodus Benchmark Performance, RTX & DLSS

Metro Exodus Benchmark Performance, RTX & DLSS

Metro Exodus launches this week. We thoroughly tested the game's technical aspect, on 3 resolutions, with 16 graphics cards, including the whole RTX lineup and Radeon VII. We also have a ton of screenshots and side-by-side image comparison using NVIDIA RTX and DLSS.
NVIDIA DLSS Test in Battlefield V

NVIDIA DLSS Test in Battlefield V

Today's Battlefield V update has brought numerous improvements to the game, including long-awaited support for NVIDIA's DLSS technology. We took a closer look at image quality with DLSS on and off and measured its performance cost.

Intel Core i9-9990XE OEM-only, Even Then it's a Lottery

In a sign of just how arid the DIY retail channel has become for Intel, Tom's Hardware reports that the new socket flagship LGA2066 HEDT processor model Intel sneaked into its product-stack, the Core i9-9990XE, is restricted to the OEM/SI (system integrator) channel. Even to OEMs, ordering a tray of i9-9990XE chips isn't as simple as ordering other chips, such as the i9-9900K. Apparently, Intel has been running secret online auctions that are OEM-only, for these chips. OEMs get to bid on the per-chip price in n-unit tray quantities.

Workstation integrator Puget Systems was able to score itself some i9-9990XE inventory at USD $2,300 per chip. Puget Systems last week received its first batch of chips from Intel, and released performance benchmarks. At this price, the i9-9990XE is being sold at a 21% premium over the retail-channel SEP price of the i9-9980XE, and a whopping 65% premium over the i9-9940X. Intel can't shake off comparisons between the i9-9990XE and the i9-9940X because both chips are 14-core/28-thread with 19.25 MB shared L3 cache, with the i9-9990XE only offering significantly higher clock-speeds, but at an astounding TDP of 255W. The i9-9990XE was shown beating the 18-core i9-9980XE in a variety of HEDT-relevant benchmarks.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 Beta Drivers

AMD today made available the latest version of their Radeon software drivers, Adrenalin Edition 19.2.2, for supported graphics solutions. This brings with it support for the recently released Radeon VII graphics card, in addition to equally new and upcoming game titles including Metro Exodus, Far Cry New Dawn, the Civ VI: Gathering Storm expansion, and Crackdown 3. More pleasing to many users no doubt will be the large list of fixed issues, including a timely Alt + Tab shortcut on a DisplayPort monitor and plenty of bug fixes related to Radeon Wattman as it pertains to the Radeon VII. The drivers are up for download at the link below, hosted directly on TechPowerUp for your convenience, and the full change log is available past the break for those interested.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.2.2

NVIDIA DLSS and its Surprising Resolution Limitations

TechPowerUp readers today were greeted to our PC port analysis of Metro Exodus, which also contained a dedicated section on NVIDIA RTX and DLSS technologies. The former brings in real-time ray tracing support to an already graphically-intensive game, and the latter attempts to assuage the performance hit via NVIDIA's new proprietary alternative to more-traditional anti-aliasing. There was definitely a bump in performance from DLSS when enabled, however we also noted some head-scratching limitations on when and how it can even be enabled, depending on the in-game resolution and RTX GPU employed. We then set about testing DLSS on Battlefield V, which was also available from today, and it was then that we noticed a trend.

Take Metro Exodus first, with the relevant notes in the first image below. DLSS can only be turned on for a specific combination of RTX GPUs ranging from the RTX 2060 to the RTX 2080 Ti, but NVIDIA appear to be limiting users to a class-based system. Users with the RTX 2060, for example, can't even use DLSS at 4K and, more egregiously, owners of the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti can not enjoy RTX and DLSS simultaneously at the most popular in-game resolution of 1920x1080, which would be useful to reach high FPS rates on 144 Hz monitors. Battlefield V has a similar, and yet even more divided system wherein the gaming flagship RTX 2080 Ti can not be used with RTX and DLSS at even 1440p, as seen in the second image below. This brought us back to Final Fantasy XV's own DLSS implementation last year, which was all or nothing at 4K resolution only. What could have prompted NVIDIA to carry this out? We speculate further past the break.

Unreal Engine Gets a Host of Real-Time Raytracing Features

Epic Games wants a slice of next-generation NVIDIA GameWorks titles that are bound to leverage the RTX feature-set of its hardware. The latest version of Unreal Engine 4, released as a preview-build, comes with a host of real-time ray-tracing features. In its change-log for Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview, Epic describes its real-time ray-tracing feature to be a "low level layer on top of UE DirectX 12 that provides support for DXR and allows creating and using ray tracing shaders (ray generation shaders, hit shaders, etc) to add ray tracing effects."

The hardware being reference here are the RT cores found in NVIDIA's "Turing RTX" GPUs. At the high-level, Unreal Engine 4 will support close to two dozen features that leverage DXR, including a denoiser for shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion; rectangular area lights, soft shadows, ray-traced reflections and AO, real-time global illumination, translucency, triangular meshes, and path-tracing. We could see Unreal Engine 4.22 get "stable" towards the end of 2019, to enable DXR-ready games of 2020.

Is Denuvo Falling Out of Favor? Another Bandai Namco Release Sheds the DRM Tech

Denuvo's technology has fallen out of efficacy, at least, with recent game releases sporting the technology being, overall, quickly cracked (some exceptions, that confirm the rule, exist, of course). However, the usual sales pitch of "protecting games' launch windows, where most of the revenue is made" hasn't been reflected on some of the high profile game releases as of late. While the market has kept using Denuvo technology as a DRM ftowards curbing piracy efforts, it seems that the technology's cost-to-profit ratio isn't working out so well for some companies to include it - such as Bandai Namco.

the company has recently launched God Eater 3, which shunned the Denuvo DRM solution in favor of more classic solutions (Steam). Ace Combat 7 still included the protection, and stands uncracked as of yet (12 days and counting). God Eater 3, which launched 4 days later, didn't include the protection, and the company's Jump Force videogame, launched just yesterday, didn't pack Denuvo either. This means that these two latest game releases have already been cracked, while Ace Combat 7 is holding out strong. Perhaps this signals an experiment being taken on at Bandai Namco's headquarters regarding the benefits of Denuvo usage, though it seems that a game like Ace Combat 7, which will likely sell particularly well in the western market compared to the other releases, did justify Denuvo more than the other releases - but only Bandai Namco knows whether this signals a shift in direction or not.

Activision Blizzard Doubling Down on Diablo, Warcraft IPs Amidst Changing Market

The times have been rough for the Activision Blizzard juggernaut, as changing market conditions and lack of differentiated IP launches have led the company into a sort of stagnant position in the market - in both launches and revenue sources. The recent split from Destiny developer Bungie took out a bite from one of the company's additional streams of revenue amidst dwindling World of Warcraft subscriptions (after the usual spike post launch for Battle of Azeroth) and the lack of any new sources of income in the close future. This saw the company's stock valuation coming down, and was bookended by the recent layoff of some 8% total of the company's workforce (around 800 out of its 9,600 employees). Reports peg these as being mostly outside of the game development workforce, though, which could give traction to the report that the company is doubling down on IP-related development, instead of shying away from it - a sensible move, if you'll ask me.

Activision Blizzard COO Coddy Johnson reiterated Blizzard's fantastic IP reserves, and wants the company to achieve a higher cadence in content releases that follow the type of high-quality launches they achieve in their World of Warcraft expansions - but on other, more differentiated revenue sources. Johnson also reiterated more resources being put to work on the Diablo franchise, saying that "Diablo's development headcount will grow substantially", with "The teams are working on several projects for the franchise as well as the global launch of Diablo Immortal."

ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Models With 3 GB VRAM Registered With the EEC

It seems that NVIDIA may be pulling another GTX 1060 when it comes to memory configurations of its upcoming midrange, non-RTX GPU. If ASUS' filling with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission) are anything to go by - and they usually are - then the green team is looking to tier their GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards via memory culling, offering it in both 6 GB and 3 GB versions. The GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 will supersede NVIDIA's highest-volume GTX

In all, there are 9 SKUs for the GTX 1660 Ti 3 GB graphics card being filed with the EEC, which usually preempts graphics card launches in those domains. These slot in nicely with ASUS' plans for 6 GB versions of the GTX 1660 Ti, almost to a card - though ASUS' STRIXX-branded graphics cards seem, for now, to only be available in 6 GB versions. Of course, the 3 GB of VRAM on the GTX 1060 allow the card to achieve a desirable performance/dollar ratio, but at the cost of some performance, with the penalty increasing alongside resolution - but these are cards that likely won't ever be used for 4K gaming. While 3 GB graphics cards still fare relatively well, as we've seen, the latest games are pushing over 3 GB of video RAM more often than not, which leaves the 3 GB version of the graphics card somewhat of a less than choice when it comes to AAA gaming. But when it comes to competitive multiplayer game,s it likely will be more than enough.

EK co-develops a heatsink for the Intel Optane 905P M.2 SSD

EK Water Blocks, the premium computer cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing a passive heatsink for the M.2 version of the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD. The passive heatsink ensures lower operating temperatures which expands the lifespan and improves the sustained performance of the drive. It ensures that the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD operates at its maximum possible performance by preventing thermal throttling during heavy workload cycles.

The 905P Intel Optane Drive uses around 9.35 W of power under load, which is challenging to dissipate without a dedicated cooling solution like the EK-M.2 Intel Optane Heatsink. The cooling performance of this solution by EK is achieved via thermal pads that transfer heat to the aluminum heatsink that is finned for a larger dissipation area. The design of the heatsink ensures that it is easy to install, it is low profile, easily reusable and aesthetically not intrusive.

Xilinx Introduces HDMI 2.1 IP Subsystem

Xilinx, Inc., the leader in adaptive and intelligent computing, today announced that it has introduced a complete HDMI 2.1 IP subsystem to its portfolio of intellectual property cores, enabling Xilinx devices to transmit, receive and process up to 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) ultra-high-definition (UHD) video in pro AV equipment, including cameras, streaming media players, professional monitors, LED walls, projectors and KVM, as well as broadcast products such as end points and infrastructure that are being upgraded to handle 8K video.

Customers are increasingly adopting machine learning to monetize and improve workflows in diverse applications such as broadcast, pro AV, automotive and surveillance. HDMI 2.1 data rates are provided by Xilinx's highly reliable high-speed I/O transceivers. This, combined with native 8K interfaces supported by HDMI 2.1 now make it possible to replace several ASSP's or fixed-function products support processing, compression, high-quality analytics and decision-making with a single Xilinx device.

SteelSeries Cross-platform Game Controllers Get Full "Fortnite" Support

SteelSeries, the global leader in gaming peripherals, today announces full Fortnite compatibility across all its mobile controllers including the new Stratus Duo, Stratus XL and Nimbus. This comprehensive family of critically acclaimed controllers is ready for Fortnite on mobile or PC. "With the massive success of Fortnite, we want to ensure gamers have the best possible gaming experience regardless of what platform they're playing on," said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries Chief Technical Officer.

DIYPC and TechPowerUp New Year's Resolution Giveaway: The Winners

DIYPC and TechPowerUp brought you the New Year's Resolution Giveaway through late-January and February 8. A DIYPC Trio-GT RGB case and Rainbow-RGB 120 mm fan are up for grabs. The Trio-GT RGB case packs a balanced combination of tempered glass, RGB LED lighting, and a highly practical case layout. The Rainbow-RGB 120 mm is a neat package of RGB LED lighting and durable bearing. From thousands of entries, two winners are randomly selected. Without further ado, the winners:
  • Courtney from the United States: Wins a DIYPC Trio-GT RGB case
  • Bruno from Portugal and Matt from the United States: Win a Rainbow-RGB 120 mm, each.
TechPowerUp will return with more interesting Giveaways.

Plugable Launches the First NVMe SSD Enclosure with a Completely Tool-free Design

Plugable, the leading developer of USB, Thunderbolt, Bluetooth and power-related devices, launches the 10Gb USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2) NVMe SSD Enclosure, the first high performance NVMe enclosure to feature a completely tool-free, spring-loaded design for inserting and removing a compatible SSD, along with advanced thermal management to maximize performance and device lifespan.

With a sleek and slim profile, a rugged aluminum body for improved heat dissipation, and USB Type-A and Type-C host compatibility, the Plugable USB-C NVMe Enclosure is an optimal solution for safeguarding SSDs when moving from the workplace to the home office and achieving maximum transfer performance speeds on PCs, Macs and Linux devices.

NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Optimizes Battlefield V and Metro Exodus for DLSS

NVIDIA today released the latest version of GeForce desktop software. Version 418.91 WHQL adds day-one optimization for "Metro Exodus," including the game's RTX support. It also adds support for DLSS in both "Battlefield V" and "Metro Exodus." This last part is crucial because DLSS requires a lot of pre-processed "ground truth" data from NVIDIA to work, which are shipped in driver updates like these. The drivers also fix a wide range of issues related to G-SYNC, "Apex Legends," display corruption on "Hitman 2," and "ARK Survival." Grab them from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL

The change-log follows.

Battlefield V Gets NVIDIA DLSS Support

Battlefield V became the first AAA title to support NVIDIA Deep-learning Supersampling or DLSS, a new-generation image-quality enhancement feature exclusive to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards, since it requires tensor cores. The feature was introduced as part of its comprehensive Battlefield V Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes Update late Tuesday. To use it, DXR must be enabled in the game. In its release notes for the update, EA-DICE describes DLSS as a feature "which uses deep learning to improve game performance while maintaining visual quality." The developers also improved the way the deploy screen displays on ultrawide monitors on the PC, particularly with the "Rotterdam" map.

Update: We have posted an article, taking a closer look at the DLSS implementation in Battlefield V.

Corsair Unveils Five 12-module Vengeance LPX DDR4 Memory Kits for W-3175X

Corsair unveiled four new Vengeance LPX series DDR4 memory kits tailored for high-end desktops based on the Xeon W-3175X processor. Of these, one is a 96 GB (12 x 8 GB) kit, and the other four 192 GB (12 x 16 GB), which max out the processor's memory support. The 96 GB kit (CMK96GX4M12P4000C19) ticks at DDR4-4000 MHz, and 19-23-23-45 timings at 1.35 V. The 192 GB kit comes in four flavors based on speed: DDR4-2667, DDR4-3200, DDR4-3600, and DDR4-4000. Corsair has tested the XMP 2.0 profiles of these modules to work on the ASUS ROG Dominus motherboard.

The top-dog 192 GB DDR4-4000 kit (CMK192GX4M12P4000C19) is priced at USD $2,999. It achieves DDR4-4000 with 19-23-23-45 timings and 1.35 V. The 192 GB DDR4-3600 kit (CMK192GX4M12P3600C18) goes for $2,319, with 18-19-19-39 timings, and 1.35 V. The 192 GB DDR4-3200 kit (CMK192GX4M12P3200C16) is significantly cheaper at $1,719, and ticks at 16-18-18-36. Lastly, the most "affordable" 192 GB DDR4-2666 kit (CMK192GX4M12P2666C16) can be yours for $1,584. You get 16-18-18-35 timings at 1.2 V. The DDR4-4000 models of both the 96 GB and 192 GB kits include a set of two Vengeance Airflow memory coolers.

NZXT Unveils the HUE 2 LED Strips: See Your Battlestation in a New Light

NZXT, a leading developer of software-powered hardware solutions for PC gaming, today announces two new sizes of RGB LED strips for the HUE 2 RGB lighting kit, powered by CAM. Available now in 200mm and 250mm, the new sizes expand the HUE 2 ecosystem to over 10 different RGB products, giving PC builders even more ways to mix-and-match their RGB accessories for a better fit, no matter the case size.

One of the key innovations in the new HUE 2 family is the addition of a microcontroller to every single RGB accessory. This innovative, patent-pending feature allows each HUE 2 component to identify its specific LED configuration, breaking the limits faced by existing RGB components available today. In addition to the different LED counts and unique accessories in the HUE 2 product line, the new LED strip lengths in 200mm, with 6 LEDs, and 250mm, with 8 LEDs, offer higher flexibility for different PC form factors.
Tuesday, February 12th 2019

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD
WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) 500 GB

WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) 500 GB

WD Black NVMe is Western Digital's premium M.2 SSD for demanding gamers and enthusiasts. It uses an 8-channel SSD controller paired with SanDisk 3D TLC flash. Priced at $105 for the reviewed 500 GB version, it comes at reasonable pricing, and offers outstanding performance.

EVGA x deadmau5 Project and Giveaway

Canadian electronic music producer and mau5trap label head deadmau5 is one of the most prominent fixtures in the international dance scene of the last decade, instantly recognizable with his signature oversized mau5 head. Known for his live sets and highly produced stage set-ups, he is also an avid video gamer - contributing to soundtracks for Grand Theft Auto, Need for Speed, and more.

The EVGA x deadmau5 project was sparked by a tweet posted by deadmau5 asking his community where he could get a quality gaming PC to use while traveling. EVGA reached out and suggested building a mITX PC with the EVGA Hadron chassis. Both sides further discussed the case and EVGA offered to build a gaming PC using its EVGA Hadron air and hardware.

TSMC 7nm EUV Process to Enter Mass-Production in March 2019

TSMC is giving final touches to set its flagship 7 nanometer EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) silicon fabrication node at its highest state of readiness for business, called mass-production. At this state, the node can mass-produce products for TSMC's customers. TSMC had taped out its first 7 nm EUV chips in October 2018. The company will also begin risk-production of the more advanced 5 nm node in April, staying on schedule. Mass production of 5 nm chips could commence in the first half of 2020.

The 7 nm EUV node augments TSMC's 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet lithography) node that's been already active since April 2018, and producing chips for AMD, Apple, HiSilicon, and Xilinx. At the turn of the year, 7 nm DUV made up 9 percent of TSMC's shipments. With the new node going online, 7 nm (DUV + EUV) could make up 25 percent of TSMC's output by the end of 2019.

Antec Starts Selling the Dark Avenger 601 Case

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, announces the DA601: a case engineered for performance and built for the ultimate Gaming PC. The case delivers a combination of cooling, performance, and convenience. Its aesthetics will appeal to gamers and enthusiasts who prefer a futuristic yet functional appearance. The DA601 features X-ARGB-Strips on the front panel while the mesh design allows the light of the included 120mm Prizm ARGB fan to shine through. The DA601 will soon reach store shelves and online retail outlets in Europe with a competitive MSRP of 93 Euros.

The DA601 features an exceptionally robust cooling system to be prepared for the most demanding Gaming battles. The mid-tower comes with one pre-installed 120 mm Prizm ARGB fan and one regular 120mm fan in the rear. The chassis offers space for additional two 120 mmm fans in the front and three 120 mm or two 140 mm fans on the top. The frame measures 480 x 220 x 500 mm (D x W x H) and supports E-ATX (up to 12" x 11"), ATX and Micro-ATX motherboards as well as graphics cards with a maximum length of 400 mm and power supplies with a maximum length of 200 mm.

Xtrfy Unveils the Xtrfy H2 Gaming Headset for Extended Gaming Sessions

Ninjas in Pyjamas' gaming gear brand Xtrfy has announced its first product launch of 2019. The new Xtrfy H2 gaming headset hits stores this March. Following up their premium esports headset, H1, Swedish gaming gear specialists Xtrfy are now announcing the launch of the new addition to their audio range. The Xtrfy H2 is a headset ready for competitive gaming, at a competitive price point.

"We're truly excited to introduce the Xtrfy H2. Not only because we're proud of what this headset brings to the table - it's also a new chapter for us as it completes our audio range and makes Xtrfy headsets available to gamers of all levels", says Joakim Jansson, CEO at Xtrfy.

Advantech Unveils New Lineup of SQRAM DDR4 32GB Unbuffered Memory for HPC

Advantech, a leading global flash storage and memory solutions provider in the embedded market, announces the industry's most comprehensive lineup of 32GB DDR4 unbuffered DIMM memory. Advantech SQRAM offers single 32GB DRAM modules in various DIMM types including SODIMM, UDIMM, ECC DIMM, and extremely robust Rugged DIMM with guaranteed wide temperature operation for high performance computing in applications such as networking and military.

As the global IoT market gradually embraces big data and edge computing, demand for high data and performance processing is increasing. SQRAM 32 GB unbuffered DIMM memory uses Samsung's 16 Gb 2666 MT/s IC chips for high reliability requirements in mission critical applications. SQRAM 32 GB wide temperature operation (-40~85 °C) Rugged DIMM offers extreme vibration resistance, plus ECC checking to ensure data accuracy.

AMD Clarifies Radeon VII Pro Driver Support: No WS Certifications

Monday we were treated to news we felt was too good to be true at the back of our minds, that AMD is adding a host of Radeon Pro features to its flagship client-segment Radeon VII graphics card, by enabling support in its upcoming Pro 19.Q1 drivers. The company today released a clarification on the matter, and explained that while it's true that some Radeon Pro features are being enabled, such as enterprise-grade security, standard feature-set, and Pro-grade driver stability; key features such as 3D application certifications and optimizations are being excluded. These would be the features you pay top-Dollar to buy Radeon Pro or competing NVIDIA Quadro products for. The drivers also lack enterprise remote workstation features.

AMD clarified the reasoning behind this partial Radeon Pro driver support that's along the lines of its Radeon Pro Vega Frontier Edition feature-set: to enable businesses to use both Radeon Pro and client-segment Radeon VII products across their infrastructure. They could, in theory, have a workstation set up with a Radeon Pro graphics card to satisfy application certification, and render some of their workloads on a Radeon VII installed on the same machine.
The full AMD statement on the matter follows.

AMD Outs UEFI-ready Video BIOS for Radeon VII, Company Promises One-click Updater

As a follow-up to our story from Monday about AMD missing out UEFI BIOS support for its Radeon VII graphics cards, AMD has come out with a quick response. The company in a statement said that it is ready with a UEFI-ready video BIOS for the Radeon VII, and has released the BIOS to its partners. This explains ASRock's timely release of its BIOS update. The company also assured those unwilling to manually update their video BIOS that it will have one-click automatic BIOS updates posted on the AMD website very soon. AMD reiterated that the older BIOS and the new one with UEFI GOP support won't have any performance differences. The new BIOS will make your machine start up faster, since your motherboard will no longer need to load CSM. AMD's full statement follows.
AMD has released a BIOS for the Radeon VII with UEFI GOP included for our AIB partners. We will also make a one click installable BIOS available to end users via AMD.com. We do not expect gaming performance differences between the non UEFI BIOS and the UEFI GOP included BIOS, although the non UEFI BIOS may experience slower boot times from cold boot.
Monday, February 11th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Speakers
Tt eSPORTS Talon Elite Gaming Gear Combo

Tt eSPORTS Talon Elite Gaming Gear Combo

When it comes to mice, Tt eSPORTS is mostly known for their great prices. The Talon Elite RGB Gaming Gear Combo is no different as it offers mouse and mouse pad for below $30. The mouse features a PMW3325 optical sensor, main switches rated for 20 million clicks, and, of course, a lot of great-looking RGB effects.

SuperMicro Gearing for Launch of New Gaming-Grade Motherboards With PCIe Gen4 and DDR5 Wave

SuperMicro may not be household name in consumer motherboards right now, but they once were a decent alternative in the market - or so I've been told by people much more knowledgeable than me in that regard, as I never laid my hands on one. The company is now more known for its server products, where it has focused most of its attention in the past decade - an effort that gave it a good, third-place hold in that market. And if the company can command such a market share in a much more requirements-heavy environment such as the server market demands, then it's likely those design decisions and developments will find themselves trickling down to the consumer side in any sort of consumer, gaming-grade product the company decided to tackle.

To that end, SuperMicro is gearing up to re introduce themselves to the consumer market, accompanying the wave of new technologies coming to the market in a few years - namely, PCIe Gen 4 and DDR5 memory. The company seems to think that this will mark a perfect opportunity for a strong comeback to the consumer market - where they now only offer a handful of motherboard solutions for Intel's CPUs. One such example is the C9Z390-PGW motherboard, based on Intel's Z390 chipset - with its 10-phase VRM design, PLC chip for doubling of PCIe lanes, and 10 Gigabit Lan. But not only on said "typical" consumer motherboard techonologies will SuperMicro be delivering - if the company has its way, anything from 5G, IoT, Mission Learning and Artificial Intelligence can be incorporated for some use case or another on consumer-grade motherboards, thus providing an axis of penetration for SuperMicro - and its entire partner eco-system.

EA Releases Anthem Launch Trailer... Two Weeks Ahead of Anthem Itself

So, this is kind of a strange, time-traveling move on EA (and Bioware's) part: a launch trailer that jumps the gun on the actual game by almost two weeks. So, granted, it isn't really two weeks - it's a ten-day period between today and Anthem's February 22nd launch. That said, there really are some more days left on the calendar - the launch trailer seems slightly premature.

Perhaps this is EA's way of keeping interest in Anthem and recapturing some of that original hype. With the game's demo being plagued by stability and server issues during the initial period, and the game's demo itself receiving a more lukewarm than not response from critics and the (more outspoken) community, it seems that interest in this Destiny killer has waned in recent times. Which really could be bad news, considering EA's history, and Bioware's last title, Mass Effect: Andromeda's, fate. There's also the possibility that the recent launch of EA's own sleeper-hit Apex Legends - which has recently garnered some 10 million unique players in four days since its inception. Perhaps the thunder is being stolen out of Anthem's feet with a series of unfortunate circumstances - not incidents. It remains to be seen. For now, instead of spelling doom left and right, just watch the small but cool Anthem launch trailer. Let's hope the story holds... For a game with no PvP, let's just hope the story holds.

AMD May Offer Some Insights on Upcoming Ryzen 3000 Series at GDC 2019

AMD's Ryzen 3000 series is one of the most hotly anticipated hardware launches in recent times. I'd say that the hype surrounding AMD's processor launches, unlike Intel's, has become vested with an actual enthusiasm that is likely in our nature - to see the underdog come out with innovative products that reverse market expectations. AMD's processor launches have seen hype levels rivaling - and even surpassing, all of this anecdotally, of course - some GPU launches. It makes sense for AMD to embrace every opportunity it gets to build hype around its products - and it seems the company will be doing just so at GDC 2019, which will run from March 18th through March 22nd.

AMD will be hosting a time slot at GDC 2019 in San Francisco. Hosted by Ken Mitchell, the presentation that has been slotted in to GDC's panels is titled ""AMD Ryzen Processor Software Optimization (Presented by AMD)". As the announcement reads, this presentation is meant to "Learn about the Ryzen line up of processors, profiling tools and techniques to understand optimization opportunities, and get a glimpse of the next generation of "Zen 2" x86 core architecture. Gain insight into code optimization opportunities and lessons learned with examples including C/C++, assembly, and hardware performance-monitoring counters." So no, there won't be any architecture deep dives. But there will be some new information - and we all know that speculating and running through the breadcrumb trail is a huge part of the fun.

ASUS Intros GeForce RTX 2080 Dual EVO with Axial Tech Fans

ASUS today introduced the Dual GeForce RTX 2080 EVO series graphics cards, available in two variants based on factory-overclock. Positioned between its RTX 2080 Dual and RTX 2080 ROG Strix series, these cards are characterized by a unique 3-slot thick cooling solution that implements a pair of Axial Tech fans. These fans feature a barrier ring that runs along the periphery of the impeller to prevent lateral airflow, and guide all of it axially (downwards onto the heatsink). The card also features an idle fan-stop, which turns these fans off when the GPU temperature is below 55 °C.

The card draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0b, and a USB-C VirtualLink. As mentioned earlier, the card comes in two variants. The base variant "DUAL-RTX2080-8G-EVO" features NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 1710 MHz GPU Boost, while the more premium "DUAL-RTX2080-A8G-EVO" comes with 1725 MHz GPU Boost. Memory frequency is untouched on both cards, at 14 Gbps (GDDR6-effective). The company didn't reveal pricing.

Philips E Series Adds Two New Monitors with Brilliant Color

Today EPI, an affiliate of TPV Technology Limited (TPV), who holds all Philips-branded home and personal audio licensing worldwide, announces the addition of two new high-performance monitors to its E Series Collection. The Philips 32" QHD LCD Display (326E8FJSB) with Quad HD 2560 x 1440 pixels and the Philips 27" 4K UHD Display (276E8VJSB) with 3840 x 2160 resolution join the family of stunning professional monitors for an affordable price. Both displays are now available at Amazon and NewEgg for $279.99 MSRP each.

Ideal for home entertainment, the new Philips 32'' QHD LCD Display features AMD FreeSync technology with a smooth quick refresh at 60Hz and an ultra-fast response time of 5ms, which is perfect for Console or PC gaming. Plus, the new SmartImage Game mode offers multiple options for gamers, including FPS, Racing and RTS Modes. FPS Mode improves dark themes in games, allowing users to see hidden objects in dark areas. Racing Mode adapts the display with the fastest response time, high color and image adjustments. RTS Mode has a unique SmartFrame feature which enables specific areas to be highlighted and allows for size and image adjustments. Users can save their personal customized settings depending on the game, allowing for quick access and ensuring the best performance.

NVIDIA DLSS Technology Coming to Battlefield V Soon According to DICE Update Notes

In a case of "Oops, we didn't mean to", DICE's update notes for Battlefield V came out at least a day before they were supposed to. While DICE quickly took to social media to mention these update notes were not necessarily final, everyone was quick to notice that the PC-specific improvements section listed NVIDIA DLSS support being added on February 25. We were able to take a look at DLSS in action on Battlefield V at the NVIDIA suite during CES 2019, and it made a vast difference in overall performance and graphics alike, especially since we could now turn on NVIDIA RTX and not get a massive decrease in average framerate.

Jaqub Ajmal, a producer at DICE for the game soon tweeted to clarify that the company is still working on this implementation, and does not actually have a set date yet. It may well be that the actual update notes that go out tomorrow (still Feb 11 in North America at the time of posting) may well have something else instead. Regardless of whether this happens Feb 25 or not, we here at TechPowerUp will take a closer look at DLSS and in-game effects, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on DLSS coming to game titles and your expectations for the future.

AMD Radeon VII Has No UEFI Support

In what is turning out to be a massive QA oversight by AMD, people who bought retail Radeon VII graphics cards report that their cards don't support UEFI, and that installing the card in their machines causes their motherboard to engage CSM (compatibility support module), a key component of UEFI firmware that's needed to boot the machine with UEFI-unaware hardware (such as old storage devices, graphics cards, NICs, etc.,).

To verify this claim, we put the stock video BIOS of our Radeon VII sample in a hex editor, and what we found out startled us. The BIOS completely lacks UEFI support, including a GOP (graphics output protocol) driver. A GOP driver is a wafer-thin display driver that runs basic display functions on your GPU during the pre-boot environment. Without UEFI support for the graphics card (i.e. with CSM running), Windows 10 cannot engage Secure Boot. Since UEFI Secure Boot is a requirement for Microsoft Windows 10 Logo certification, we are having doubts whether AMD can really claim "Windows 10 compatible" for Radeon VII, at least until a BIOS update is available.

AMD to Unlock Professional Features for Radeon VII to Blunt RTX 2080's Ray-tracing Edge

To add value and give it a feature-set edge over the GeForce RTX 2080, AMD is reportedly preparing to unlock several professional graphics features for the Radeon VII that are otherwise exclusive to Radeon Pro series graphics cards. These features will be released by simply adding Radeon VII support to the upcoming Radeon Pro 19.Q1 software suite. You uninstall your Radeon Adrenalin 2019 Edition drivers and replace them with the Radeon Pro 19.Q1 drivers to access pro features.

These include access to ProRender, certifications for various 3D, CAD, and CGI suites, SecureMI security, enterprise virtualization, and more. Over 320 professional applications are certified for the Radeon Pro 19.Q1 drivers, all of which will seamlessly run on the Radeon VII. AMD will also introduce a feature that lets you switch between the Radeon Pro and Radeon Adrenalin drivers on-the-fly (without needing reboots), so you don't lose your ability to play the latest games with day-one optimizations from AMD. These drivers will make the Radeon VII an incredible value in the enterprise space, as the GPU offers performance rivaling professional graphics cards priced well north of $3,000. It also blunts the feature-set edge the RTX 2080 holds over the Radeon VII.

Palit and EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Cards Pictured

As we inch closer to the supposed 15th February launch of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, pictures of more AIC partner branded custom-design cards. The first two of these are from Palit and EVGA. Palit is bringing two very compact cards to the table under its StormX banner. These cards appear to be under 18 cm in length, and use an aluminium fin-stack cooler that's ventilated by a single 100 mm fan. There are two grades based on factory-overclock. The base model ticks at 1770 MHz boost, while the OC variant offers 1815 MHz boost.

EVGA's GTX 1660 Ti lineup includes two cards under its XC brand, with both cards being under 20 cm in length, but are 3 slots thick. Both cards appear to be using the same 3-slot single-fan cooling solution as the company's RTX 2060 XC. Once again, we see two variants based on clock-speeds, with the "Black" variant sticking to 1770 MHz boost, and the XC version slightly dialing up that frequency. Based on the 12 nm "TU116" silicon, the GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to feature 1,536 CUDA cores based on the "Turing" architecture, but lacking in RTX technology. The SKU succeeds the GTX 1060 6 GB.

Arctic Celebrates 10 Millionth MX-series TIM Sold with 2019 Editions

ARCTIC, a leading manufacturer of low-noise PC coolers and components, is celebrating the sale of more than 10 million tubes of its MX-2 and MX-4 thermal compounds. This year, both versions of the well-loved thermal compound will be packaged in a celebratory 2019 edition. "Since the introduction of our MX Thermal Paste, it has become one of our best-known and best-selling products. We want to celebrate the 10 millionth MX tube with our loyal customers and give them a special thank you," says ARCTIC CEO Magnus Huber.

To mark the anniversary, ARCTIC is organizing a worldwide* giveaway, offering its customers the chance to win US $1000 each month. On the packaging of each 2019 Edition is a unique QR code that links directly to the registration page. Further information, as well as terms and conditions, are available at this page.

GALAX Product Boxes Confirm GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is Real

Pictures, and not renders, of GALAX GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards are the first real indicator of the existence of the GTX 1660 Ti, its wacky name, and the fact that it's based on the "Turing" architecture minus RTX technology (real-time ray-tracing). Thanks to NVIDIA's SKU box design standardization, the front face of the box reveals that the card is indeed based on the newer "Turing" architecture, with an emphasis on "shaders." This indicates CUDA cores based on the newer architecture, minus RTX technology. We also see a confirmation that the 6 GB of memory on tap is based on the newer GDDR6 standard. Pictures of the box were snapped up by someone unboxing a crate of these cards to stock up a retailer. The card is rumored to be launched as early as 15th February, with availability later this month.

New Intel Core i9-9990XE Sheds Cores in Favor of High Clock Speeds, Benchmarked

Intel is giving final touches to a new socket LGA2066 high-end desktop processor with an interesting model number for its specifications. The new Core i9-9990XE is positioned above the current flagship i9-9980XE. Normally you'd expect it to be the same 18-core "Skylake-X" chip with a speed-bump, however, the i9-9990XE is a unique proposition. It sheds cores in favor of significantly higher clock-speeds than the i9-9980XE.

The i9-9990XE is a 14-core/28-thread processor, based on a binned "Skylake-X" HCC (high core count) die, and uses STIM (soldered thermal interface material) between the die and integrated heatspreader (IHS). It features some aggressive clock-speeds, with 4.00 GHz nominal clock-speeds, and a massive 5.10 GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency that beats even the Core i9-9900K. Besides 14 cores, the i9-9990XE is configured with 19.25 MB of shared L3 cache, and 1 MB of L2 cache per core. The four disabled cores alone don't help Intel's efforts to dial up clock-speeds. Intel has increased the chip's rated TDP all the way up to 255 Watts!

Dell Recalls Hybrid Laptop Power Adapters With Power Banks Due to Safety Risk

While Dell's hybrid power adapters with power banks were a great idea on paper as they allow users to charge their laptop while still on the go, there have been reports some of these units pose a safety risk. For now, there have been 11 reports of hybrid power adapters breaking and thereby exposing internal components. To fix the problem, Dell has issued a recall for hybrid adapters with manufacture code -"CN-05G53P - LOC00 - XXX - XXXX - AXX" (X representing various numerical values). Said manufacture code can be located on the back of the adapter as seen in the third image below. Dell has also determined that all problem units were produced between January 2017 and March 2017 and were sold on the Dell website, Amazon, Microcenter, and other affiliated retailers.

In total, roughly 8900 units are to be recalled and replaced with 475 having been sold in Canada. To find out if your hybrid charger is affected, you can contact Dell by phone or go to www.dellproduct.com and enter the manufacture code without dashes for verification. Anyone with a unit manufactured during the date noted above can have it replaced for free. While no injuries have been reported it would likely be better safe than sorry.

Intel Invests €7 Billion in Ireland Toward a New Fab

Intel is following up on its massive $11 billion investment in Israel with a second large manufacturing investment, this time in Leixlip, Ireland. The company has earmarked a €7 billion investment toward construction of a new fab in Leixlip, which will employ 1,600 people, and have a built-up area of 110,000 m². This fab will sit alongside existing fabs that already employ over 4,500 staff. The company did not go into details of what the fab will manufacture. The investment aligns with Intel's strategy of massive investments in manufacturing to increase its chip volumes as enterprises, small and medium businesses, and consumers at large look to upgrade their computers at the turn of the decade. The company is already combating acute shortages of processors in the retail channel.

LiteOn Unveils the MU3 Line of Mainstream SATA SSDs

LiteOn unveiled its latest MU3 line of mainstream SSDs. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor with SATA 6 Gbps interface, the drive implements Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS 3D TLC NAND flash memory, and comes in capacities of 120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB. It offers sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 500 MB/s writes; and random-access throughput of up to 83,000 IOPS reads, with up to 89,000 IOPS writes. You get most features common to the segment, including NCQ, TRIM, SMART, and a 3-year warranty. LiteOn didn't reveal pricing.
Sunday, February 10th 2019

Corsair Whitewashes the LL120 RGB 120mm Fans

Corsair is readying mostly-white variants of its LL120 RGB case fans. A variant of the LL120 from 2017, the LL120 RGB White features an all-white frame with contrasting black frame rubber inserts, a white silicone diffuser along the bore of the frame with 16 addressable RGB LEDs, a pearl-white finish impeller, and a contrasting black impeller hub sticker. The fan takes in 4-pin PWM input to do its job, and a 3-pin addressable RGB input for its lighting. It spins at speeds of up to 2,200 RPM, pushing up to 63 CFM of air, at a noise output of up to 36 dBA. It has a rated lifespan of 40,000 hours. Corsair is selling the LL120 RGB White in individual packs, and 3-fan packs with an added iCUE RGB LED controller. The two go on sale on the 15th of February.

Liquid Metal TIM Shaves 5°C Off Radeon VII Junction Temperatures

In our own testing of the Radeon VII, we found that adding washers to the GPU retention bracket to increase mounting pressure reduces temperatures by up to 10°C. You can learn more about what we did in the Overclocking section of our Radeon VII review. Replacing the thermal pad between the Radeon VII GPU and its cooler with liquid metal TIM was found to lower the GPU's maximum junction temperature by 5 °C, and a 24 MHz gain in minimum sustained engine clock speed was observed, by German professional overclocker Roman "der8auer" Hartung. AMD uses a strip of highly conductive Hitachi Chemical TC-HM03 thermal pad as the interface material between its reference Radeon VII cooling solution and the "Vega 20" MCM. Based on vertically-oriented graphite strands, the TC-HM03 is rated to offer 25-45 W/m·K of thermal conductivity, which beats most aftermarket fluid TIMs on paper, including those based on diamond. The conductivity and longer lifespan compared to fluid TIMs is probably why AMD chose it.

Liquid metal is the best possible DIY thermal interface material currently available in the retail market, however it requires careful application because it is electrically conductive and can short open vias or SMDs. der8auer used nail polish to insulate the SMD electrical components surrounding the GPU die on the fiberglass substrate. After drying it, a generous amount of liquid-metal was spread over the uniform MCM cluster. To prevent any air-gaps between the cooler and the TIM layer that's bound to be thinner than the thermal pad, a layer of liquid metal was also coated on the base of the cooler. The retention module was fastened a little on the tighter side. The maximum junction temperature of the GPU lowered from 106 °C to 101 °C, and the minimum GPU clock sustained increased from 1709 MHz to 1733 MHz. The boost frequency, however, remained around 1780 MHz. You can watch the full video presentation by der8auer here.
Friday, February 8th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
SSD
CORSAIR K70 RGB MK.2 SE Keyboard

CORSAIR K70 RGB MK.2 SE Keyboard

CORSAIR decided that a RAPIDFIRE version of their K70 RGB MK.2 keyboard was not enough, and have since released another- the K70 RGB MK.2 SE. This special edition uses Cherry MX Speed Silver switches with a silver frame and white doubleshot-injected PBT keycaps, making for an impressive hardware and software package.

Story Trailer, System Requirements for From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Outed

From Software's Dark Souls series has become one of the hallmarks of gaming in recent years, spawning multiple formula-copying titles with their own takes and settings. However, it has become clear that no one developer has mastered From Software's mix of cruel difficulty. I'd say From Software has mastered an almost alchemically concocted technical prowess in animation mechanics and timing, mixed with pattern recognition, attention to detail, reflexes, and the cherry on top, immediate, repeatable gratification on finally overcoming that damn Ornstein and Smough pair.

The latest story trailer showcases Japan's Sengoku period in the 1500's, a period drenched in conflict and the blood of samurai, with Owl taking on an apprentice from the remains of a battle. As with almost every samurai tale, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be making use of a plot centered around recovering one's honor. According to From Software, you'll be able to use "deadly prosthetic tools and powerful ninja abilities while you blend stealth, vertical traversal, and visceral head-to-head combat". I'm already fully aware that the title is misleading: you'll die more than twice by the time the credits roll. You can start counting your deaths and victories come March 22nd, when the game is released for all platforms (via Steam on PC).

ASRock Launches Its Radeon VII Phantom Gaming Graphics Card

The leading global motherboard, graphics card and mini PC manufacturer, ASRock, launches the flagship level product - Phantom Gaming X Radeon VII 16G graphics card, featuring AMD's world's first 7nm Radeon VII gaming GPU and 16GB 4096-bit HBM2 memory with powerful computing performance, plus full instruction set support such as DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5 and Vulkan for the latest AAA-rated games, virtual reality (VR), 3D rendering and video editing applications, and next-generation computing workloads. It provides a great experience for enthusiast gamers and professional creators.

The Phantom Gaming X Radeon VII 16G graphics card is equipped with the Radeon VII gaming GPU built on the latest 7nm process technology based on the next-generation Vega architecture, achieving a base/boost frequency of 1400/1750 MHz and with 16GB 4096-bit HBM2 memory which is twice the capacity of the previous generation Radeon RX series, while the 1TB/s maximum memory bandwidth that is 2.1 times of the previous generation. The average game performance increased by 29%, and the average content creation efficiency increased by 36% compared with the previous generation Radeon RX series.

AOC Introduces the CQ32G1 Monitor: 31,5" VA, 2560 x 1440, 1 ms, 144 Hz, FreeSync, 1700R for $400

AOC today introduced what might be one of the most compelling arguments for a monitor upgrade I've ever seen in their CQ32G1 monitor. This seemingly checks all the boxes for either an AMD or NVIDIA (now that G-Sync has been opened up to FreeSync) users. The 31,5" VA, 1700R curved panel promises better image quality and color accuracy than a TN alternative, while the 2560 x 1440 resolution means there are a number of graphics cards that can run the latest games with above 60 FPS performance - and is a sweetspot resolution for those delicious, if rare, RTX effects. The 1 ms response time and 144 Hz refresh rate guarantee that users who want an even more fluid feel and pack serious graphics cards can do so on the cheap as well.

Sadly, the monitor doesn't support HDR content (maximum 300 cd/m² brightness), but for the price, I'd say users can't really complain about that. There's a 3000:1 static contrast ratio and 124% sRGB coverage; there are some AOC-exclusive technologies (such as Flicker-Free technology, LowBlue Mode, grey level control with AOC's Game Color, and AOC Dial). Image input is taken care of by 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4, and 1x DisplayPort 1.2. Cut corners include ergonomic capabilities (the stand only tilts (-4° ~ +21.5°).

Apple MacBook Pro 2018 Appears to Have a Serious Design Flaw

Apple's MacBook Pro (2018) with the AMD Radeon RX Vega 20 graphics option appears to have a serious design flaw related to its video subsystem. The laptop tends to show severe screen flickering and lines crossing through the picture after waking up from extended periods of idling (after the display has turned off). The problem persists even through reboots. A reboot will make the flickering go away, however the next time the MacBook idles and decides to turn off its display, waking the machine will bring the flicker back. Most common remedies an enthusiast could think of, such as disabling the auto-switching between integrated- and discrete GPUs, and preventing the monitor from idling, don't appear to fix the problem.

The problem was discovered on a brand new $4,500 15-inch MacBook Pro (Intel Core i9, AMD Vega 20, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD). Upon its discovery, it was taken to the Apple Store, where the employees immediately replaced it without further questions when they heard "display corruption after standby". The replacement process was hassle-free, it looks like others have faced this issue with this MacBook Pro model and Apple is trying to quickly resolve it to keep the lid on it. However, after a couple of days, the problem re-surfaced on the replacement MacBook, too. Both models were running MacOS "Mojave" version 10.14.2.

No AMD Radeon "Navi" Before October: Report

AMD "Navi" is the company's next-generation graphics architecture succeeding "Vega" and will leverage the 7 nm silicon fabrication process. It was originally slated to launch mid-2019, with probable unveiling on the sidelines of Computex (early-June). Cowcotland reports that AMD has delayed its plans to launch "Navi" all the way to October (Q4-2019). The delay probably has something to do with AMD's 7 nm foundry allocation for the year.

AMD is now fully reliant on TSMC to execute its 7 nm product roadmap, which includes its entire 2nd generation EPYC and 3rd generation Ryzen processors based on the "Zen 2" architecture, and to a smaller extent, GPUs based on its 2nd generation "Vega" architecture, such as the recently launched Radeon VII. We expect the first "Navi" discrete GPU to be a lean, fast-moving product that succeeds "Polaris 30." In addition to 7 nm, it could incorporate faster SIMD units, higher clock-speeds, and a relatively cost-effective memory solution, such as GDDR6.

GIGABYTE Announces its Radeon VII Graphics Card

GIGABYTE, the world's leading premium gaming hardware manufacturer, today announced the launch of Radeon VII HBM2 16G, the latest Radeon VII graphics cards built upon the world's first 7nm gaming GPU. Based on the enhanced second-generation AMD 'Vega' architecture, Radeon VII is equipped with 3840 stream processors and 16GB of ultra-fast HBM2 memory (second-generation High-Bandwidth Memory). It is designed to deliver exceptional performance and amazing experiences for the latest AAA, e-sports and Virtual Reality (VR) titles, demanding 3D rendering and video editing applications, and next-generation compute workloads.

According to the AMD official website, the Radeon VII graphics card enables high-performance gaming and ultra-high quality visuals. Ground-breaking 1 TB/s memory bandwidth and a 4,096-bit memory interface paves the way for ultra-high resolution textures, hyper-realistic settings and life-like characters. With the high speeds of today's graphics cards, framerates often exceed the monitor refresh rate, causing stuttering and tearing.
Thursday, February 7th 2019

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Motherboards
Networking
PSUs
SSD
Storage
AMD Radeon VII 16 GB

AMD Radeon VII 16 GB

The time has come. We're finally allowed to talk about Radeon VII performance numbers. The company's new flagship graphics card is the world's first to be made using a 7 nanometer production process. Also, it has the largest VRAM size of any card below $1000: 16 GB.

Corsair Hydro H100i Platinum SE Liquid CPU Cooler Pictured

Corsair is giving final touches to the mostly-white Platinum SE variants of its Hydro H100-series all-in-one liquid CPU coolers. Pictured here is the H100i Platinum SE, a variant of the original Platinum H100i Platinum launched last November. What's interesting is the level of whitewashing Corsair has done to the cooler. Not only is the radiator frame white, but also the radiator fins. The fiber-weave sheath around the coolant tubes are white, too. White also dominates the fan frames and impellers. There are some interesting contrasting black bits such as the main body of the pump-block, its crown, and the vibration dampening mounts, not to mention the included screws. Corsair is expected to launch these coolers on the 15th of February.

Thermaltake and Mayhems Fighting Over "Pastel" Trademark in the UK

This is still a developing story, however it has matured enough to where we feel confident about discussing it. It kicked off last week when the proprietor of Mayhem Solutions Ltd, better known simply as Mayhems, shared information regarding Thermaltake introducing their own Pastel-branded coolants to be used in the PC DIY water cooling sector. Mayhems has had a trademark registered for this in the UK since 2015, and let Thermaltake know via email to try to reach an amenable solution. Indeed, EKWB and Alphacool had both used the Pastel trademark with Mayhems' permission in the past, some of which also came via using the Mayhems Pastel base under their respective brand names. After word from Thermaltake's legal team, first trying to defend the use of Pastel as a generic term, and then saying that they would work on a compromise, Mayhems told us they have not heard back from the company in over a week since the last correspondence, and are forced to take legal action to prevent Thermaltake P1000 pastel coolants to be sold in the UK.

We wanted to have due diligence in our reporting, and contacted Thermaltake ourselves for a statement. After receiving word that they will send us one, we too have not heard back from the company since. We respect Thermaltake's decision, and are always willing to update this post if they do send us one, but in the meantime we went further. Indeed, a careful look at the trademark (screenshots seen below) confirms Mayhem's legal stance on this matter. However, it is not easy to enforce a trademark in the court. It would be all the more harder to do so when there can be an argument made about the use of the term pastel, which no doubt Thermaltake would argue is not necessarily tied to the coolant, but more as the general term to showcase the various colors and the opaque-nature of said coolants. More on this story past the break, including quotes from retailers we spoke to.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Has Sold 23 Million Copies In Three Months... Without Help from PC

Stories about single-player gaming's death have been greatly exaggerated, over and over again. Every once in a while, a good, single-player focused game that only looks to tell a great story, in a great setting, comes along to set company's perceptions straight. This has happened over and over again in the market, but the most notable, recent examples must be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Red Dead Redemption 2.

News has just surfaced, courtesy of Take Two, that the game has shipped in excess of 23 million copies since its launch back in October, when it set the entertainment's biggest opening weekend of all time. That means more than 7 million copies have been sold on a monthly basis since then. And this was all done without the help of our own platform of choice: PC. When the game finally does release for our rigs (and there's no sensible reason it wouldn't), we'll see how starved the market actually was for a good, single-player, story-focused game, in the day and age of always-on content.

4A Games Releases New Cinematic, CGI Trailer for Metro Exodus: "Artyom's Nightmare"

Despite the controversy, review bombing, and overall reaction/counter reaction routine on the whole Metro Exodus and its EPIC Games Store exclusivity, the game is shaping up to be one of the hottest releases of 2019. With 4A Games' experience and ability as a developer having already been proven with their original Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light games, the controversy doesn't really matter: the game is expected to be a good one.

And as it stands, 4A Games is doing what it can to open up the lore and world of Metro to the highest number of people possible. As a part of that effort, they have released a brand new CGI cinematic for Metro: Exodus. Titled Artyom's Nightmare, this is a 4-minute long cinematic that showcases the beauty of pre-rendered graphics, the depth and scale of lore drenching the frames of this cutscene, and the games' mood. Even though CGI movies have fallen significantly in use, with most developers choosing the in-engine rendering mechanic, I'd argue that these story explorations are the bread and butter for today's CGI landscape, offering the most compelling atmosphere and image quality for story and content absorption, whilst avoiding the "reality check" of jumping from in-engine to CGI cutscenes (even though in-engine scenes are fast becoming virtually indistinguishable from actual CGI).

MSI Announces AMD Radeon VII Graphics Card

MSI is proud to officially announce AMD Radeon VII, the world's first 7nm gaming graphics card. The all-new Radeon VII is designed to provide exceptional performance and amazing experiences for the latest AAA, esports and VR titles, demanding 3D rendering and video editing applications, and next-generation compute workloads.

"AMD Radeon VII is the highest-performance gaming graphics card we have ever created," said Scott Herkelman, corporate vice president and general manager, Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. "It is designed for gamers, creators and enthusiasts who demand ultra-high quality visuals, uncompromising performance and immersive gaming experiences."

More GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Specs Emerge

A Russian retailer has leaked more specifications of NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. Based on the 12 nm "TU116" silicon, this card will be configured with 1,536 "Turing" CUDA cores, but have no RT cores, and hence no RTX features. The chip could end up with 96 TMUs and 48 ROPs. The GPU is clocked at 1500 MHz nominal, and the boost frequency is set at 1770 MHz, however, the latter could be a factory-overclock set by AIC partner Palit for their GTX 1660 Ti StormX graphics card.

The memory subsystem of the GTX 1660 Ti is interesting. While it's still 6 GB of GDDR6 memory across a 192-bit wide memory bus, the memory clock itself is lower than that of the RTX 2060. The memory ticks at 12 Gbps, which results in 288 GB/s of memory bandwidth, compared to the RTX 2060, which thanks to its 14 Gbps memory achieves 336 GB/s. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Outputs include HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI, we don't expect any cards to ship with VirtualLink.

Akasa Turing is an Art Deco Fanless "Bean Canyon" NUC Case

Akasa Turing is the company's latest fanless cases for Intel "Bean Canyon" NUC family, which embeds 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors. Designed for living rooms or corner offices, the Turing is a carbon-black monolith with its aluminium body doubling up as heatsink for the processor. Fins and ridges of the body panel curve in an almost Art Deco style. You can either orient the case vertically, or sideways. The case can handle SoCs with TDP of up to 28 W without needing fans. Front panel connectivity includes a pair of USB 3.1 type-A, an IR receiver, and headset jack, while the rear panel is designed for most "Bean Canyon" boards. Akasa will reveal pricing very soon.
Wednesday, February 6th 2019

Today's Reviews

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SteelSeries Rival 650

SteelSeries Rival 650

A flagship without wires—the top SteelSeries mouse is back in a wireless form as the Rival 650. Featuring an exceptional dual-sensor system, main buttons rated for 60 million clicks, a robust and durable shell, and, of course, highly customizable RGB lighting, it's surely a premium product, which its pricing reflects as well.

Radeon VII Priced 739€ in the EU, France and Spain Only Have Dozens of Cards

Hot on the heels of our earlier report of there being just 100 Radeon VII graphics cards in stock to sell in the UK, we're hearing from French tech publication Cowcotland of an even worse situation in the Old Continent. Apparently, there are only 20 cards allocated to France and Spain, each. The price Cowcotland reports for the card is 739€ (including VAT), although paucity of cards could allow retailers to price the card just about anything, if there is demand for them. AMD has not given retailers in Europe inventory replenishment dates. Factories in China are down for the Lunar New Year holiday there, and depending on demand, another production run could be underway only by mid-thru-Late February, with fresh stocks reaching Europe only a month after.

Digital Storm Raises Bar for Mainstream Gaming PCs With Lynx Pre-Built

Digital Storm aims to strike the perfect trifecta for gamers between price, performance, and exceptional quality by launching Lynx, starting at $799.

Lynx is our evolution from distilling 17 years of knowledge in crafting enthusiast-class PCs for our clients. Our aim with this new launch is to deliver Digital Storm's unique brand to a more mainstream PC gamer audience. With a new in-house design, Lynx provides exclusivity not usually found at this price point by Digital Storm. Lynx is highly customizable, delivering the kind of bespoke custom aesthetic Digital Storm is known for, while still offering excellent value for the customer.

EA Stocks Dive 13% With Disappointing Battlefield V Sales, Mobile Revenue

EA stocks today have taken a dive of 12.83% (17% at the worst case scenario, with a slight rebound in the meantime), at the moment of writing, compared to their opening hours. The descent, which represents a dip towards a $80.61 valuation per share compared to the $92.52 at the opening market, followed the release of the company's Q3 FY19 Financial Results, caused by lower than expected sales from Battlefield V and lower than expected revenue from EA's mobile efforts. This is capitalism at its finest - the 7.3 million sales of Battlefield V (an impressive number by any metric) fell close to a cool million short of projected sales by this time, and that is enough for the market to correct their expectations.

EA's mobile business saw a YoY fall of 22%, which did little to assuage investors and provide a positive note for the underperforming Battlefield V. It's interesting to note how interesting the markets can be: on the surprise announcement of the new, Respawn-developed Apex Legends, there was no significant change in EA's stock valuation, despite this launch meaning a new, hopefully rich, revenue source for the publisher. Although considering TechPowerUp's overall sentiment regarding that games' launch (not representative of the entire community), it seems that EA won't be banking much on our users.

Softbank Dumps its Entire NVIDIA Stock Worth $3.6 Billion

Japan's Softbank is known for far-sighted strategic investments in the technology industry. It shook Silicon Valley this morning by announcing a sale of its entire NVIDIA shareholding, valued on December 31 at JPY 39.8 billion, or USD $3.6 billion. It's the worst possible time to be NVIDIA's CFO, with the company having shed over 50 percent in value in the wake of the crypto-currency fall, mediocre demand for RTX 20-series graphics cards, and "deteriorating economic conditions in China" for the company. NVIDIA recently trimmed its outlook for revenues from gaming hardware sales by $500 million, eroding more share value. Softbank's tech portfolio now includes ARM Holdings, Uber, WeWork, Slack, among dozens of other tech startups.

UK's Allocation of Radeon VII a Grand Total of 100-200 at Launch

Update February 6, 2019: Our colleagues at Kitguru were able to talk more recently with Gibbo from OcUK, who now clarified there may be anywhere between 100-200 Radeon VII available in the UK at launch, and possibly more coming after that. Take all statements with a grain of salt accordingly. The original story is below.

In what could add credibility to reports of AMD's initial production batch of the Radeon VII being no more than 5,000 pieces, a representative of British PC hardware retailer Overclockers UK posted on the OCUK forums that the inventory for the UK is no more than 100 pieces. From this, OCUK has stocked up 44 cards, and a few more are on the way. In a forum post, "Gibbo" mentions that OCUK will have more than half the Radeon VII graphics cards allocated to the UK market. Sales of the card go live at14:00 BST, on the 7th of February. AMD is probably playing the Radeon VII launch close to the chest, and future production batches will be greenlit looking at how quick these 5,000-odd cards fly off the shelves.

Electronic Arts Reports Q3 FY19 Financial Results

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2018. "The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change," said CEO Andrew Wilson. "Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We're very excited about Apex Legends, the upcoming launch of Anthem, and a deep line-up of new experiences that we'll bring to our global communities next fiscal year."

"FIFA stands out as a robust franchise through a tumultuous year in the video game industry," said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen. "Elsewhere in the business, we're making adjustments to improve execution and we're refocusing R&D. Looking forward, we're delighted to launch Anthem, our new IP, to grow Apex Legends and related Titanfall experiences, to deliver new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed titles, and to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to our sports titles in the fall."

RAIDMAX Galaxy Lets You Have Infinite Reflection On The Cheap

RAIDMAX unveiled the Galaxy, an entry-level (read: sub-$50) mid-tower case with an infinite reflection RGB light-strip along the front fascia (a concept introduced by the In Win 805). RAIDMAX is using addressable RGB LED strips that take in 3-pin standard aRGB input directly from your motherboard. Measuring 423.6 mm x 191 mm x 408 mm (DxWxH), the Galaxy is one of the narrower cases in the market, highlighted by its rear exhaust fan vent being a measly 80 mm, which is also the only fan-vent available in this case. Tempered glass makes up the front and left side-panels of the case. Storage options include three 3.5-inch drive trays, and two 2.5-inch mounts. The motherboard tray offers room for graphics cards up to 35.5 cm long, and CPU coolers no more than 14.5 cm tall.

Metro Exodus Developer Discusses Boycott of the PC Platform for Sequels over Steam Review Bombing

Update 2: February 5th, 2019: A post on TwitLonger from the official @MetroVideoGame handle has looked to bring a more positive outlook to this whole scenario, in an attempt to bridge the gap between a lone developer's sentiment and the entire 4A Games studio. The post follows:
The recent decision to move Metro Exodus from Steam to the Epic Game Store was made by Koch Media / Deep Silver alone.

The recent comments made by a member of the 4A Games development team do not reflect Deep Silver's or 4A Games' view on the future of the franchise. They do reflect the hurt and disappointment of a passionate individual who has seen what was previously nothing but positive goodwill towards his work turn to controversy due to a business decision he had no control over. We respectfully ask that any and all valid feedback over this decision is directed at Koch Media / Deep Silver, and not the developers at 4A Games.

The future release strategy of the Metro series lies with Koch Media / Deep Silver. Our decision to partner with Epic Games was based on the goal of investing in the future of the series and our development partner at 4A Games. We have every intention of continuing this franchise, and a PC version will always be at the heart of our plans.
Tuesday, February 5th 2019

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Memory
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Cougar Panzer G

Cougar Panzer G

The Cougar Panzer G is an upgraded version of the original Panzer which combines the benefits of the Panzer-S having additional fans with even more glass panels all around. All that without a crazy big price difference make the Panzer G quite the intriguing choice for those who are fans of understated looks and maybe a more professional work environment.

The Witcher Author Andrzej Sapkowski Reportedly Settles With CD Projekt Red For Less Than He Bargained For

Remember when we brought you news that The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski was looking for payment in the order of 6% of total The Witcher profits from CD Projekt Red? At the time, CD Projekt Red made it clear that they thought their contractual obligations had been fulfilled - which meant that Sapkowski's decision to accept a lump-sum payment instead of a percentage on the profits was his own.

Well, news is circulating that the parties have reached a silent, under the table agreement, much like Sapkowski initially wanted. It remains unclear whether CD Projekt Red's lawyers actually saw some merit on the author's claims, or if the studio just wanted to avoid any sort of bad press that could be associated with these developments. Choosing to focus on the studio's well-being and not being driven into a conflict with the author of the universe they were built upon certainly wouldn't boost morale in the studio. With the money the studio has garnered from all its investments, it's likely a "pay and forget" stance was enacted, though for less than the initial $16 million Sapkowski was looking for.

Respawn's New "Apex Legends" Battle Royale Game Sees >1 Million Concurrent Players in First Hours of Launch; No Titanfall 3

The launch of Respawn's Apex Legends must've caught most of the consumer base (and even much of the industry) by surprise. A silent entry into the gaming world, published by EA? Color us all surprised. The new game, which has roots on Respawn's Titanfall IP, is a free-to-play Battle Royale game that does away with Titanfall's mechs in order to sustain up to 60 players in a match, made up of 20 teams of three players. Each "Legend", as in, playable character, has unique powers, strengths and weaknesses, and a number of them have roles that complement each other.

The game was teased and announced in a record 8 hours or so, and that announcement saw the game being subsequently downloaded and played by more than 1 million unique users, all vying for a try of the next battle royale fix. While those are great numbers (the game being a free-to-play affair helped, of course), and while Respawn's Vince Zampella glowed as he shared the news on Twitter, the development of Apex Legends comes with its own piece of sad news: no, there was no Titanfall 3 in development at Respawn. For now, EA is betting hard on Apex Legends as the ongoing work for Respawn (and cash cow for microtransactions), but who knows? Maybe one day, we'll see the game introduce Titanfall's Titans in a world-breaking update. Warframe has certainly done some such metamorphic changes since its inception.

Steam "Lunar New Year" Sale Is Ongoing; Grab Your Vices With a Discount

Despite the entire controversy that has been affecting the digital games distribution market in recent times, life is following its usual course over at the not-so-green, not-so-walled garden of Steam. The platform is having another Sale, this time, themed "Lunar New Year". The whole sale has an eastern flavor to it, which isn't that strange to understand.

There are the usual, multi-developer and publishing deals, but Steam has created a whole category for games by Chinese Developers, thus bringing attention (and keeping flavor, of course) with the sale's team. You can grab some nice discounts on West-developed games such as Vampyr, Bioshock Infinite, and some other classics and not so classics, or some particularly interesting East-developed titles. The sale ends on February 11th, and users buying games at a discount can count on another €5 off from their minimum €30 purchases, provided the conditions are met.

Arctic Introduces Gen 3 Monitor Arms, All New W1C Wall Mount

ARCTIC presents the latest edition of its popular Z and Z Pro monitor arm series while also introducing the all new W1C wall mount. All products are available now in stores and in the ARCTIC Webshop.

The new Gen 3 models of the monitor mounts - Z1 (Gen 3), Z2 (Gen 3), Z1 Pro (Gen 3), Z2 Pro (Gen 3) and Z3 Pro (Gen 3) - are characterized by maximum load capacity, endless flexibility, a simple mounting system and high-quality manufacturing. With a new matte black finish and reworked cable management, the Gen 3 monitor arms differ both visually and functionally from their predecessors. All Gen 3 models have an easily accessible USB hub with four ports and are suitable for both large screens and ultrawide monitors. Extensions are available for the Z Pro Gen 3 series, which allow users to mount one or two additional monitors on top. In addition, the Pro models come with a Micro-USB power supply.

SilentiumPC Unveils Armis AR7X TG RGB Sports Chassis

SilentiumPC presents a completely revamped Armis AR7 PC Chassis packed with high-end features and first in line to omit the Optical Disc Drive bays completely. The new Armis AR7X TG RGB combines all the advantages of the Armis AR7 series and elevates them to the next level. Both the tinted front and the clear side panel are made from tempered glass and perfectly match the 4 built-in RGB-enabled SilentiumPC Sigma HP Corona RGB 120 mm fans. Features like the airflow-oriented design, support for high-end components, vertical mounting of graphics cards and the unique I/O panel make the Armis AR7X TG RGB a great choice for virtually every system build, especially when considering the low price point of 106,90 € (incl. VAT).

SilentiumPC has further improved the design and structure by completely omitting the Optical Disc Drive bays and refining the looks by adding a tempered glass front-panel. The latter has a great effect in combination with the all-new Sigma HP Corona RGB 120 mm case fans. SilentiumPC adds four of these new fans to the Armis AR7X TG RGB, which illuminate the interior with vibrant colors and effects.

Be Quiet! Unveils Dark Base 700 White Edition Case

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany since 2007, announces Dark Base 700 White Edition, a limited edition model of the company's highly popular Dark Base 700 premium PC chassis. Limited to just 3,000 units worldwide, Dark Base 700 White Edition shines with an eye-catching white premium finish and includes a clear side window.

Dark Base 700 received a lot of praise from press and public alike, with its 2017 launch as one of the first PC cases with front I/O support for USB 3.1 Gen 2. To this day, the case still holds up against the competition. As the name suggests, Dark Base 700 White Edition is coated in a bright and elegant white. To emphasize the case's white interior, the side window was changed from a tinted brown tone to clear glass. An aluminum badge with a running number reflects Dark Base 700 White Edition's limited availability of 3,000 pieces worldwide, making the chassis a collector's item for any PC enthusiast. Thanks to an adhesive back, this badge can be placed at the buyer's discretion - or left off completely.

Logitech G Announces New Lineup of Gaming Headsets

Today, Logitech G, leading innovator of gaming technologies and products, introduced a new lineup of gaming headsets, engineered to deliver the ultimate in sound science and the most immersive audio gaming experience. "Whether you're into tricking out your battlestation or tearing it up in your favorite battle royale game, we want you to get the superior audio and comfort you deserve," stated Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager, Logitech Gaming. "We're always exploring new ways to deliver amazing gaming experiences, and that's just what we're bringing to the table with these new headsets."

At 1550€, ASUS ROG Dominus Most Expensive Client-Segment Motherboard

ASUS formally launched its Republic of Gamers (ROG) Dominus, the sole available motherboard option for Intel Xeon W-3175X unlocked quasi-HEDT processor. Cowcotland scored its price in the old continent to be a whopping 1,550€, making it the most expensive client-segment motherboard (at least in the past 20 years of PC history). Built in the SSI-EEB form-factor, this board is designed for overclocking the 28-core/56-thread Xeon chip, which is capable of pulling over 1000W of power (just the CPU) under extreme overclocking. The processor itself is priced around 3,100€ including VAT. Add a matching hexa-channel DDR4 memory kit such as these Trident Z Royal ones, and your platform cost could easily touch 5,500€.

Shuttle Unveils XPC DH370 Mini-PC for 6-core 8th Gen Intel Processors

The 1.3-litre PCs of the XPC slim model series are getting a facelift - the DH370 sports a new chassis design which accommodates Intel processors of the 8th generation for socket LGA1151v2, relies on the faster H370 chipset and offers a total of four USB 3.1 ports with up to 10 GBit/s. With the DH370, Intel's H370 chipset makes its debut in Shuttle's range of 1.3-litre PCs. These not only support Intel processors of the "Coffee Lake" generation with up to 65 Watt TDP and up to 32 GB of DDR4 SO-DIMM memory, it is also possible to control three monitors at once in 4K resolution. An HDMI 2.0b and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports are available to facilitate this. If required, one analog VGA port can be provided optionally. Three of the four monitor ports could then be used simultaneously.

"With these technical specs on paper, the DH370 now bears the title of the XPC model with the highest performance per cubic centimetre," says Tom Seiffert, Head of Marketing & PR at Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH. "The new chassis design sets the appropriate tone." Despite its compact dimensions of just 19 x 16.5 x 4.3 cm (DWH), there is space for a 2.5-inch drive (HDD/SSD) and an M.2 NVMe SSD. Another M.2 slot in 2230 format can be fitted with a WLAN module, for example. The Shuttle WLN-M is the appropriate accessory here. Two antennas guarantee optimum reception quality.

ASUS GPU Tweak II Smears Ads Over Your Games

ASUS GPU Tweak II is a utility the company bundles with its graphics cards, which lets you overclock and monitor them. Among its many monitoring featuresis performance overlay mode, that adds an overlay to fullscreen 3D apps (in other words, games), which can be set to display parameters such as GPU temperatures, clock-speeds, frame-rates, etc. GPU Tweak II user "PurpleSquash640" on Reddit posted a screenshot of an ASUS banner ad overlaying their Battlefield V fullscreen.

This somewhat square banner is positioned at the right-center corner of the screen, with a handy "turn off this picture press ctrl+alt+F" text. When GPU Tweak II is closed (background process killed), the overlay disappears. The banner itself markets the company's latest RTX 20-series graphics cards. "PurpleSquash640" captioned this banner "wtf?" in their screenshot, and we can't disagree with that sentiment. This is the first among many questionable GPDR-teasing practices by ASUS in recent times, including unsolicited injection of files to Windows System32 folder by its latest motherboards.

Update 05/02: We have been informed that the "ad" doesn't appear by default, and is just a placeholder image for a different feature altogether. Apparently you can configure the GPU Tweak II OSD to display images (such as your clan logo). The app has a bundled placeholder image that looks like an ASUS banner ad.

ASRock DeskMini 310 supports Intel 9th Gen Processors

The world leading motherboard and mini PC manufacturer - ASRock, announces DeskMini 310 supports Intel the latest 9th Generation Core series 65-watt LGA1151 processors. ASRock DeskMini 310 adopts with Intel H310 chipset, supports up to 32GB DDR4-2666MHz memory, dual 2.5-inch hard drive and one M.2 (2280) PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD. ASRock provides various optional accessories of DeskMini 310, includes USB 2.0 cable, VESA mount kit, and Wi-Fi ac kit. With comprehensive accessories, DeskMini 310 can satisfy diverse demands from all users.

GlobalFoundries to Sell its Singapore-based Fab 3E to Vanguard

GlobalFoundries has decided to exit the MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) manufacturing business by selling off its Fab 3E, located in Singapore. The foundry will be acquired lock stock and barrel by Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS). GlobalFoundries earns USD $236 million from this sale. The transfer of operations is scheduled to take place on 31st December, 2019. Fab 3E has an installed capacity of producing 35,000 200-mm wafers per month, and specializes in MEMS and analog/mixed signal chips. Under the terms of sale, Vanguard also stands to obtain GlobalFoundries' MEMS-related IP and workforce for this facility, which continues its employment after transition. Vanguard also inherits GloFo's clientele for products made at this facility.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.1

AMD today posted the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition. Version 19.2.1 beta ships with optimization for "APEX Legends" and "The Division 2 private beta." It also improves performance of "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey" by up to 5 percent, when tested on a Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card. The company also fixed a number of issues.

To begin with, a bug affecting "Battlefield V" in which character outlines remain on the screen after revive has been fixed. Radeon Settings not automatically installing when updating Radeon Software on machines with hybrid graphics has been fixed. Also fixed is a Radeon Settings application crash noticed when switching tabs too quickly with long game lists. Some displays experiencing a loss in video when maximizing to fullscreen any software with FreeSync enabled, also has been fixed. A white-screen bug affecting "Anthem" has been fixed. HDMI Underscan settings not restoring after reboot has been fixed. An inverted color bug with ReLive has been fixed.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.2.1 beta

The change-log follows.

3DMark Adds NVIDIA DLSS Feature Performance Test to Port Royal

Did you see the NVIDIA keynote presentation at CES this year? For us, one of the highlights was the DLSS demo based on our 3DMark Port Royal ray tracing benchmark. Today, we're thrilled to announce that we've added this exciting new graphics technology to 3DMark in the form of a new NVIDIA DLSS feature test. This new test is available now in 3DMark Advanced and Professional Editions.

3DMark feature tests are specialized tests for specific technologies. The NVIDIA DLSS feature test helps you compare performance and image quality with and without DLSS processing. The test is based on the 3DMark Port Royal ray tracing benchmark. Like many games, Port Royal uses Temporal Anti-Aliasing. TAA is a popular, state-of-the-art technique, but it can result in blurring and the loss of fine detail. DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is an NVIDIA RTX technology that uses deep learning and AI to improve game performance while maintaining visual quality.
Monday, February 4th 2019

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Accessories
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Cooling
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Mouse
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AMD Radeon VII Unboxing & Preview

AMD Radeon VII Unboxing & Preview

AMD's pleasant surprise at CES 2019, the Radeon VII graphics card, found its way to our doorstep. We unbox the card and zoom in on the sharp edges of its industrial reference design in the run up to our full review.

Is a New Jade Empire Game on the Horizon? EA Files for New Trademark

The original Jade Empire was Bioware's first foray into their own imagined IP and universe, and released to wide acclaim as an original Xbox exclusive (and I mean original Xbox, the one that gave us Halo and Azurik and other small and not so small gems). First outed in 2005, the game was later released for PC in 2007 with a Special Edition. Now, EA has filed for a trademark on the game in the "Goods and Services" category, allowing for "Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet." The fastest and dirtiest interpretation would be a multiplayer or always-online game, but we have to remember that all games now have a form of digital distribution and/or upkeep via downloadeable updates, so, it could really be as simple as that.

It could also just mean that EA is keeping up with soon-to-be-expiring trademarks so as not to lose their rights to the IP, but still, launch of any game would require the establishment/renewal of such trademarks. We'll have to play the most unavoidable game known to gamers: the waiting one.

GIGABYTE Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce Motherboard Now Available... For $899 or €1049

Remember when we brought you coverage of Gigabyte's watercooling-built Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce motherboard? At the time, we expected its design and feature set to place it some $100-$150 above the original Z390 Aorus Xtreme. Well, color us surprised, as it's being sold not at some $650-$700, but at a staggering $899 if you're lucky enough to live on the other side of the pond (speaking as a Portuguese man over here), or for an outrageous €1087 ($1247) here in my home country of Portugal. And I'm not even kidding.

Perhaps this is part of Gigabyte's push for higher profitability, via higher ASP (Average Selling Price) of its products in order to increase margins, especially on high-tier or halo products. Still, this pricing seems silly. We'll see if the market agrees with the valuation GIGABYTE is throwing behind its Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce motherboard.

DigiTimes: Gigabyte Looking to Cut up to 10% of Its Workforce, Lower Marketing Expenses

DigiTimes, citing sources familiar on the matter, have reported that Gigabyte is looking to improve its financial outlook amidst not-so-rosy projections for the graphics card and motherboard markets 2019 (with the former being expected to shrink, while the latter is to stay weak). The way they're going to do this, according to the report, is twofold: cutting on marketing expenses and the enrolled workforce. According to the report, he motherboard-bound employees are expected to be the ones coming out of the gates, for now.

To give some context to the weak motherboard demand, Gigabyte is reported to have shipped 16 million motherboards back in 2016 - and the objective for 2019 is to sell above 10 million units, a huge decrease in three years. As to grpahics cards, demand is now finding its non-cryptocurrency-driven quota, as shipments for graphics cards in 2019 are expected to reach the levels of 2016, at 3.5 million units sold - a strong decrease from 2017's 4.8 million units. It seems that Gigabyte has also been working on delivering products that offer higher profits than their usual outings, though, with multiple halo products (such as the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme Waterforce, for example, which is available and retailing for $899 [or €1049 in Europe!]). These top-tier products have higher ASP and profits for the manufacturer than budget solutions, and look like a way for Gigabyte to look for higher earnings on a slimmer market.

MSI Announces, Releases Its RX 590 Armor Graphics Card

This should be old news by now, but it actually isn't: MSI is just now releasing their iteration of the AMD Radeon RX 590 SKU. Perhaps the company decided that the product wasn't too differentiated from the previous RX 480 and RX 580 graphics cards so as to justify all the resources they'd have to pour through to its development; or they wanted to first sell through their RX 580 inventory, and have now struck a good balance with stocks of the old and the new.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that MSI's first RX 590, launched in the Armor series - it isn't even in the gaming X department - has been released, three months later, in two variants: Armor and Armor OC (the latter is running a paltry 20 MHz higher than the non-OC version, so). The 12 nm, Polaris 30 XT graphics card draws power from an 8-pin connector, and video outputs include 2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, and 1x DVI. It's a dual-slot affair, like almost all MSI graphics cards, and all Armor ones. No word as of yet on availability nor pricing.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 418.81 WHQL Software

NVIDIA today released GeForce 418.81 WHQL software. The drivers add support for mobile versions of GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs. The desktop version adds optimization for 3DMark Port Royal benchmark, in addition to its DLSS (deep learning supersampling) AA setting. The drivers add or improve NVIDIA SLI support for "Anthem," "Assetto Corsa Competizione," "Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2," "Life is strange Season 2," "NBA 2K19," and "Space Hulk Tactics." CUDA version 10 is included with these drivers.

Among the issues fixed are HDR not being enabled by default in Gamestream when an HDR display is connected to the client and PC. 3D performance and frame-rate overlays accidentally appearing on Twitter UWP app is fixed. Random flickering in games with G-Sync enabled is fixed. Also fixed is a strange issue in which when a G-Sync display (one with NVIDIA G-Sync hardware) is hotplugged, and a G-Sync Compatible (read: VESA Adaptive Sync) display is connected, the right half of the G-Sync display goes blank. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 418.81 WHQL

GIGABYTE Rolls Out Aorus AC300 Glass Mid-tower Chassis

GIGABYTE today updated its Aorus AC300 case with a new model featuring tempered glass panels and addressable-RGB LED lighting, and an updated front-panel. The new AC300 Glass, as its name suggests, dons a 4 mm-thick tempered-glass left side-panel, replacing the original's steel panel with acrylic window. The RGB LED embellishments of the case, such as Aorus logos on the front fascia and PSU compartment, and inserts along the front, now come with 3-pin addressable-RGB connectors, so you can control them with any aRGB LED control software, such as GIGABYTE RGB Fusion. For those without RGB motherboards, there's also a simple internal controller with a button on the front panel that toggles between lighting presets. The updated front-panel now features a USB 3.1 type-C port (standard header), in addition to a VR-Link HDMI port, two standard USB 3.1 type-A, and HDA audio jacks. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASUS Debuts GeForce RTX 2060 TUF Gaming Graphics Card

With ASUS extending its TUF Gaming brand to pretty much every mainstream gamer-centric product, including co-branded hardware, it was only a matter of time before it built graphics cards with that badge again. Its first attempt was the GTX 950 TUF Echelon from way back in 2016. The new GeForce RTX 2060 TUF gaming is a stout little RTX 2060 card with around 20 cm in board length, 12.5 cm height, and 2-slot thickness. Pulling power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, it's one of the very few RTX 20-series cards to feature a DVI connector in addition to two DisplayPort 1.4 and a HDMI 2.0b.

The RTX 2060 TUF Gaming board design consists of a twin fan cooling solution, which uses an aluminium fin-stack heatsink that pulls heat from the GPU using two 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes that make flattened direct contact at the base; while two 80 mm double ball-bearing fans with IP5X (dust-proof) impellers ventilate the heatsink. There is no 0 dBA idle fan-off mode. You do get a full-coverage back-plate. ASUS is releasing this card in two SKUs based on clock-speeds, the TUF-RTX2060-6G, and the overclocked TUF-RTX2060-O6G. The latter ships with 1710 MHz boost clocks compared to 1689 MHz of the former. Both cards are expected to be priced well under $370.

Intel Core i5-9400F Processor Lacks STIM, Uses Thermal Paste

With its 9th generation Core processor family, Intel introduced STIM (soldered thermal interface material) to transfer heat between the processor die and the metal integrated heatspreader (IHS), as opposed to fluid thermal pastes. Enthusiasts prefer soldered IHS for their superior heat-transfer characteristics. It was known since the series launch that STIM will be restricted to the unlocked "K" SKUs, such as the i9-9900K and i7-9700K, while locked SKUs would retain thermal pastes. PC enthusiast @momomo_us (Twitter handle) de-lidded a Core i5-9400F sample to confirm this.

The Core i5-9400F was de-lidded (its IHS removed) and placed next to a de-lidded i5-9600K, showing you TIM residue surrounding the i5-9400F die, and solder fragments on that of the i5-9600K. Interestingly, the i5-9600K die looks visibly larger than the i5-9400F, despite both being 6-core processors with 9 MB L3 cache. This isn't because the latter lacks an iGPU (not physically anyway). The i5-9400F die appears to be roughly as big as the 6-core "Coffee Lake" die used in 8th generation Core 6-core processors, while the i5-9600K appears to be carved out of the 8-core "Coffee Lake" die by disabling two CPU cores. The iGPU is physically present on the i5-9400F, but disabled.

Intel Posts Open-Source AV1 Encoder for Online Streaming Servers

Intel posted an open-source video encoder for the new AV1 video format, targeted at online streaming servers that process large amounts of online videos for streaming. The new SVT-AV1 (Scalable Video Technology-AV1), is an BSD-2-Clause-Patent licensed video encoder that supports Linux, Windows, and MacOS operating systems, optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors based on the "Skylake" microarchitecture and older, as it probably leverages the AVX-512 instruction-set. It has some pretty steep hardware requirements from a client viewpoint, but nothing big video stream service providers can't afford: 48 GB of minimum RAM for a 10 bpc 4K stream, or 16 GB for a Full-HD stream. The encoder can scale up to 112 logical processors. Intel earlier offered a similar encoder for the proprietary H.265/HEVC format, with SVT-HEVC. You can inspect and grab SVT-AV1 from Intel's Git.

ZOTAC Announces the ZBOX Pro series Embedded Computer Lineup at ISE 2019

ZOTAC Technology, a global manufacturer of innovation, is proud to expand its reach to the embedded computing market with the launch of ZBOX PRO. ZBOX PRO represents the emerging of ZOTAC's professional embedded solution that embodies high performance for commercial and industrial applications and differing business needs worldwide. The product line will make its debut appearance at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2019.

ZBOX PRO re-engineers the functionality and small footprint of ZBOX Mini PCs to offer embedded product selections with more controlled tolerances. The series features a diverse range of industrial design and engineering from passive-cooled embedded computers, pint-sized display solutions to powerful workstation-class systems. Professional-grade hardware are integrated inside the durable chassis, with an array of connectivity, memory capacity and storage options provided. With up to 5 years of supply longevity, ZBOX PRO guarantees a long lifespan to provide stable and enduring service supporting your business.

Crypto Exchange Head Takes $137 million Cold Wallet Key to his Grave

In a classic case of why businesses should have disaster mitigation plans in place, Vancouver-based crypto-currency exchange QuadrigaCX has potentially lost USD $137 million in assets (customers' money), after its founder's death. Founder and director Gerry Cotten had stored the money in an offline cold wallet on an encrypted laptop and committed its password to memory. In December, Cotten died overseas of Crohn's disease, leaving the company with no other handwritten record of the laptop's password.

Crypto exchanges tend to store assets in cold wallets either on offline computers or plain paper, to avoid the wallets getting stolen on hacked online computers. The company has hired cybersecurity firms to try and decrypt the laptop to no success thus far. Cotten's widow Jennifer Robertson in a sworn affidavit to a court said that she had not found any traces of the password in their residence despite repeated and thorough searches. QuadrigaCX in addition to the $137 million under management, also holds $53 million in disputed assets.
Friday, February 1st 2019

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Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Monitors
Mouse
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PSUs
SSD

Antec Announces Prizm Cooling Matrix Compound Fans

Antec Inc., the leading providers of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, presents you the Prizm Cooling Matrix, an unconventional case fan with a single bracket, dual-fan housing and streamlined ARGB lighting strips. It is now commercially available at USD $69.99.

Prizm Cooling Matrix also won 2019 iF Design Award. Each year, the world's oldest independent design organization, Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, organizes the iF DESIGN AWARD. Prizm Cooling Matrix had passed a rigorous examination, standing out from more than thousands of products, and finally became one of the winners due to its innovative design and practical use.

DeepCool Rolls Out the MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB Case in Silver

DeepCool introduced the MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB in a silver trim. The case now features a matte-silver finish across the metal parts of its front and site panels, combined with all-white interiors, and tinted tempered glass along the left-side and most of the front-panel. A key design element is the addressable-RGB diffuser running the height of the case along the front panel. All RGB LED elements in the case, including this light-strip, now feature addressable-RGB (3-pin) headers. The case offers four 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch drive trays/mounts, three 140 mm front panel fan mounts, two 140 mm top mounts, and clearance for graphics cards up to 37 cm in length and 16.8 cm tall CPU coolers. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Outs GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC White Graphics Card

GIGABYTE extended its all-white trim to its third graphics card from the RTX 20-series, the RTX 2070 Gaming OC White (model: GV-N2070GAMINGOC WHITE-8GC). This follows similar trims for the RTX 2060 Gaming OC Pro White and RTX 2070 Gaming OC Pro White. As with the others, the card's USP is its mostly-white cooler shroud with chrome inserts, and a matching white metal back-plate. Contrasting them are a trio of 90 mm matte-black fans with chrome hub stickers, and the black PCB carried over from the original Gaming OC series.

As with the RTX 2070 Gaming OC, this card offers a factory-overclock of 1725 MHz boost, compared to 1620 MHz reference. The memory is untouched at 14 Gbps (GDDR6-effective). The cooler offers 0 dBA mode (idle fan-stop). The card draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and a USB-C VirtualLink. Based on the 12 nm "TU106" silicon, the GeForce RTX 2070 offers 2,304 CUDA cores, 288 tensor cores, 36 RT cores, 144 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR6 memory interface, holding 8 GB of memory. GIGABYTE is offering a unique 4-year warranty with this card, if you register your purchase with them.