News Archive

Tuesday, March 28th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
PSUs

Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct

Thermalright looks to impress with the True Spirit 140 Direct; long name, exceptional results. This ultra-quiet tried and "True" design now utilizes HDT technology for improved cooling performance.

Thermaltake's View 28 RGB Gull-Wing Window ATX Mid-Tower Chassis Announced

Thermaltake has introduced another addition to its line of PC tower chassis with the new View 28 RGB Gull-Wing Window. The View 28 features a transparent gull-wing window (transparent on the side and on the top) as well as an advanced, floating GPU mounting system with an optional PCI-e riser cable to facilitate showing off your hardware. It also features a power supply cover for clean cable management, whilst the tinted front panel features a controllable 256-color RGB LED matrix with 11 operating modes, giving users a clean look while "adding incredibly stunning visual perspective to the system."

MSI Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Armor and Aero Graphics Cards

MSI today launched the two other custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards apart from its Gaming X series, the GTX 1080 Ti Armor series, and the GTX 1080 Ti Aero series. Both lines further have variants that are factory-overclocked, and ones which stick to NVIDIA reference clock speeds. The GTX 1080 Ti Aero will be MSI's cheapest GTX 1080 Ti offering, which could sell on-par with NVIDIA's $699 Founders Edition SKU. It features a lateral-flow cooling solution that pushes hot air out of the case, much like the reference-design cooler. MSI improved upon the drab black plastic cooler shroud design of previous Aero series products with streaks of NVIDIA's favorite shade of green, which lends the card a Quadro-like appearance. The base GTX 1080 Ti Aero sticks to NVIDIA-reference clocks of 1480/1582/11000 MHz (core/GPU Boost/memory), while the OC variant ticks at 1506/1620 MHz, leaving the memory untouched.

The GTX 1080 Ti Armor series is a little more exciting. Part of MSI's Arsenal Gaming family, the Armor series cards are positioned between the Aero series and the Gaming X series. These cards feature an aluminium fin-stack heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of fans that spool down to zero when the GPU is idling. The card also appears to be using the same PCB as the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X. The GTX 1080 Ti Armor sticks to NVIDIA-reference clock speeds, while the Armor OC variant does 1531/1645 MHz (core/GPU Boost) out of the box, which is a little behind the 1569/1683/11200 MHz the Gaming X ships with.

Micron's QuantX-based Products to Ship Late 2017

While Intel has made some definite announcements and product launches of its own take on 3D XPoint technology with its Optane-based professional and consumer products, Micron has been a little late to the party on both. However, recent reports peg Micron's take on the new memory technology, under its QuantX brand, to ship later this year.

Micron is apparently taking a path that differs from Intel's though, in that it's looking to license its 3D Xpoint technology to other storage makers (not currently known which), in SSD or DDR-like formats, according to the company. However, these products will likely first target the enterprise space, with QuantX-based SSDs on the PCI-Express 3.0/NVMe protocols, with capacities of up to 1.4TB. Micron is aligning QuantX with emerging throughput technologies like Gen-Z, which could expand QuantX's reach towards the ARM server market, which has seen increasing interest in recent times.. The QuantX storage and memory will have their own dedicated controllers, sitting close to the CPU for quick data transfers, thus reducing potential bottlenecks.

Source: IT World

FSP's Dagger Line of SFX PSUs Now Available - 500 W, 600 W, 80+ Gold

Several months have passed since the original announcement, but FSP's Dagger line of SFX PSUs are now finally seeing the light of day. These are fully modular, highly efficient (80+ Gold), small form-factor PSUs, which look to deliver outstanding power quality to your small form factor experiments. The Dagger's platform uses DC-DC converters for the generation of the minor rails, and FSP announces the usage of Japanese electrolytic capacitors. Connector-wise, the Dagger PSUs deliver 1x EPS; 2x PCIe; 5x SATA, 2x Peripheral, and 1x Berg connectors, whose numbers are reasonable for a SFX PSU.

Dimension-wise, the Dagger PSUs come in at 125 mm (W) x 63.5 mm (H) x 110 mm (D), and both models are cooled by a 80 mm Dual Ball-Bearing Fan. The Dagger line of SFX PSUs will be embodied, at least at first, by the Dagger SDA500 ($99) and Dagger SDA600 ($109), both carrying 5-year warranties.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Futuremark Ends Support for 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage

Futuremark today announced that it is pulling the plug on its decade-old benchmark suites, 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage. Official support for the two products will end on the 11th of April, 2017. This would entail the two being removed from the Downloads section of Futuremark, a stoppage in software updates, and the all-important benchmark result validation service. The two will be relegated to the "legacy benchmarks" section, and will be available as free downloads. Incidentally, April 11 also happens to be the day Microsoft stops support for Windows Vista.

AMD 16-core Ryzen a Multi-Chip Module of two "Summit Ridge" Dies

With core performance back to competitiveness, AMD is preparing to take on Intel in the HEDT "high-end desktop" segment with a new line of processors that are larger than its current socket AM4 "Summit Ridge," desktop processors, but smaller in core-count than its 32-core "Naples" enterprise processors. These could include 12-core and 16-core parts, and the picture is getting clearer with an exclusive report by Turkish tech publication DonanimHaber. The biggest revelation here that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be multi-chip modules (MCMs) of two "Summit Ridge" dies. The 12-core variant will be carved out by disabling 1 core per CCX (3+3+3+3).

Another revelation is that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be built in a new LGA package with pin-counts in excess of 4,000 pins. Since it's an MCM of two "Summit Ridge" dies, the memory bus width and PCIe lanes will be doubled. The chip will feature a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, and will have a total of 58 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes (only one of the two dies will put out the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 A-Link chipset bus). The increase in core count isn't coming with a decrease in clock speeds. The 12-core variant will hence likely have its TDP rated at 140W, and the 16-core variant at 180W. AMD is expected to unveil these chips at the 2017 Computex expo in Taipei, this June, with product launches following shortly after.

Source: DonanimHaber (YouTube)

GIGABYTE Intros the Z270X-Designare Motherboard

GIGABYTE introduced the stunning-looking Z270-Designare motherboard. Featuring a white colored PCB with RGB LED elements and artistic diffusers, this socket LGA1151 board is packed with some premium features. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 7-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated). Other expansion slots include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (electrical x4, wired to the PCH), and three PCIe 3.0 x1.

Storage connectivity on the Z270X-Designare includes six SATA 6 Gb/s (from which four convert to two 16 Gb/s SATA-Express ports), one 32 Gb/s U.2 port, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (from which one is type-C), and six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports. Display connectivity includes DVI and HDMI. GIGABYTE deployed its Amp Up onboard audio solution featuring a 115 dBA SNR CODEC, headphones amp, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. One gigabit Ethernet interface driven by an Intel-made controller makes for the rest of it. We expect this board to be priced around the $170 mark.

Palit Announces its SSD Storage Business with Two New Product Lines

Palit Microsystems Ltd, the leading graphics card manufacturer, now is expanding a new product lineup-SSD storage business. SSDs are now considered essential components of any modern gaming rig. Adding SSD into Palit product line is aim to provide a total solution for computer users, who can not only enjoy GeForce graphics technologies, but also with faster storage processing. Installing OS/Apps/Games and stored on an SSD, Palit SSD will make your Windows boots faster and game levels load in a snap.

Palit's UV-S series SSD is equipped with a SATA III interface in a standard 2.5 inch form factor. The drive provides fast read speeds that can effectively shorten boot time and boost application launch speed, giving it an enormous advantage over traditional HDD. Palit UV-S SSD has a wide range of capacities, fast read/write performance and low energy consumption, making it the ideal storage solution to satisfy every need.

GIGABYTE-Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Pricing Surfaces

A GIGABYTE product manager revealed the MSRP pricing of the company's upcoming custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card lineup, including those of its Aorus branded cards. The lineup starts with the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC, a custom-design card with a WindForce 3X cooling solution and a custom-design PCB, besides a minor factory-overclock, priced at USD $699, the same price as reference-design GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. Next up, is the Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (non-Xtreme Edition), which has been detailed in our older article. This card is priced at $719, a mere $20 premium over NVIDIA's baseline pricing. You get significantly better cooling and OC headroom. Lastly, you have the range-topping Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition, priced at $749, a $50 premium over baseline. This card comes with GIGABYTE's highest factory-overclock for this GPU. All prices exclude taxes. The cards will start selling from the 31st of March.

Source: Reddit user USMC1237

ADATA Announces the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched the i-Memory AI920 Jet Black Flash drive for iOS devices. Featuring Lightning and USB 3.1 in one slim 6.9mm device, the AI920 delivers 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacity and up to 150MB/s read. The Jet Black color scheme has been added in order to better complement Apple devices with an exact color match with iPhone 7, giving consumer more choice. The AI920 is also Apple MFi certified, making it an official iOS accessory.

Finalwire Releases AIDA64 v5.90

FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme 5.90 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Engineer 5.90 software, a professional diagnostic and benchmarking solution for corporate IT technicians and engineers; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business 5.90 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Network Audit 5.90 software, a dedicated network audit toolset to collect and manage corporate network inventories.

The new AIDA64 release implements optimized benchmarks for AMD Ryzen Summit Ridge and Intel Apollo Lake processors, supports the upcoming Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update as well as the latest graphics and GPGPU computing technologies by both AMD and NVIDIA.
DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v5.90

ID-Cooling Intros the SE-903-R CPU Cooler with AMD Ryzen Support

ID-Cooling introduced the SE-903-R tower-type CPU cooler with support for AMD socket AM4 processors, such as Ryzen and 7th gen. A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The cooler is a variant of the SE-903, and comes with factory-fitted AM4 mounting clips and a red LED fan, compared to the blue LED the original SE-903 ships with. Its mounting clips easily hook on to the retention frames that come pre-installed on socket AM4 motherboards.

These aside, the SE-903-R is identical to the original. It is designed for thermal loads of up to 130W. It is a conventional tower-type heatsink featuring an aluminium fin stack, to which heat drawn directly from the base is fed by three 6 mm thick copper heat pipes, and ventilated by a 92 mm fan that spins up to 2,000 RPM, pushing 37.44 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 23.1 dBA. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it shouldn't be too far off from the $20 price tag of the original.

ASUS Intros the VG245Q Value Gaming Monitor

ASUS introduced the VG245Q, a 24-inch gaming-grade monitor targeting a sub-$250 price point. This monitor comes with 1 ms response time (GTG), and support for AMD FreeSync technology. Under the hood is a TN-film panel with Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution, 250 cd/m² maximum brightness, 170°/160° viewing angles (H/V), and flicker-free LED brightness adjustment. The monitor comes with display presets optimized for the various genres of gaming (racing sims, RTS, RPG, FPS, etc). Inputs include one DisplayPort 1.2a (required for FreeSync), two HDMI 1.4a, and one D-Sub.
Monday, March 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD
Storage

Intel's First Client Optane Product is a Cache SSD

Intel's first consumer (client) SSD based on its revolutionary new 3D Xpoint memory is an Optane branded cache SSD that improves the performance of slower local storage, such as hard drives, or even slower NAND flash based SSDs. On machines with larger hard drives, Intel claims that a 3D Xpoint based cache SSD could halve booting times, improve overall system performance by 28 percent, and lower game level load times by up to 65 percent. As a cache-SSD, it's also designed to be affordable, and that's because it's local storage is 16 GB or 32 GB.

The target consumer is one that which is transitioning from hard drives to SSDs, and is happy with a noticeable performance boost, as long as they don't lose the immense capacities of their HDDs. It also targets gamers with SSDs that are running out of space for multiple >50 GB games, so they could start installing some of those games on their larger/slower HDDs and get reasonably improved performance. As with all SSD caching technologies from Intel in the past, such as the ReadyBoost and Smart Response, Optane cache SSDs juggle "hot data" (frequently accessed data) in and out of their user-space from the host storage. On the software side of things, Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15.5 and later handles the caching tasks.

Team Group Announces the GO Card for Adventure Cameras

Team Group, the world's leading memory brand, today announced the release of Go Card, a memory card made especially for action cameras. Team Group is continuously dedicated to satisfying our customers' needs in every respect. And now, to meet the huge demand for memory cards brought about by smart mobile devices, and consumers' requirements for speed and versatile usages, Team Group released Go Card, a memory card that has great versatility, excellent transfer performance and UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3) compliant. Go Card is able to satisfy sports lovers by capturing and preserving all wonderful memories, while expanding the memory capacity of the action camera swiftly and easily.

Team Group's latest released GO Card is not only fast, high performance and rated UHS-I Speed Class 3 (U3), it is also the best companion for action camera users. With the performance Full HD and 4K high quality video needed, users are able to capture in 4K ultra high quality or 240 frames per second. The read speed of GO Card is up to 90MB/s, and the write speed is up to 45 MB/s. When using GO Card, you can immediately enjoy the smooth recording and video playback experience, freely capture wonderful moments in life.

Razer's Servers Fail for Second Time this Month, Forcing Profiles to Defaults

Razer's cloud storage servers failed for the second time this month, forcing user peripherals to use default settings across the globe. Worse yet, it came during the weekend, a time when many come home from a hard work-week to hope to have a gaming session. The worst part of all this? Apparently, the profiles are not only stored on the cloud, but also on your local machine, however, you must use a XML editing hack to get the software in offline mode to make it actually use the local profile on your machine. Otherwise, the software prefers to just go to defaults and give the end user an arguably irritable situation.

AMD Ryzen 12-Core, 24-Thread CPU Surges on SiSoftware Sandra

In an interesting report that would give some credence to reports of AMD's take on the HEDT market, it would seem that some Ryzen chips with 12 Cores and 24 Threads are making the rounds. Having an entire platform built for a single processor would have always been ludicrous; now, AMD seems to be readying a true competitor to Intel's X99 and its supposed successor, X299 (though AMD does have an advantage in naming, if its upcoming X399 platform really does ship with that naming scheme.)

Colorful iGame GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is a Graphics Card with a Display on it

Colorful made its mark on the industry with some of the most over-the-top designs, such as giving enthusiast-segment cooling on upper-mid range SKUs. With the iGame GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Colorful allowed its engineers to run amok with ideas. Just as other graphics card designers are beginning to add RGB LED lighting elements to the glowing company logos on the cooler shrouds, colorful went ahead and attached a multi-segment display directly on the graphics card, which reads out temperatures, clock speeds, and fan-speeds in real-time. Something like this came in cumbersome detachable external OC modules. The 3-slot thick graphics card features the heaviest air-cooling solution Colorful ever made, mated to a custom-design PCB with a gargantuan 18-phase VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The card is expected to come out some time in April.

Source: VideoCardz

AMD Ryzen Quad-Core 2+2 vs. 4+0 Core Distributions Compared

With AMD readying quad-core variants of its Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, the question on everyone's minds is whether the chip features two quad-core compute complexes (CCX) with two cores enabled, each, or just one CCX, given that the L3 cache amount being advertised by the company is 8 MB (that of one CCX), in comparison to 6-core Ryzen parts receiving the full 16 MB (8 MB per CCX) available on the silicon. While we will be able to definitively answer that question on the 11th of April, a new UEFI firmware by ASUS for its Crosshair VI Hero motherboard lets users not just disable cores, but also the distribution of the disabled cores.

CPU cores on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor are distributed in two groups of four cores, each, called the quad-core compute complex (CCX). Each CCX has an 8 MB L3 cache, and so the ideal way of distributing cores on lower core-count models would be to disable an equal number of cores per CCX. For 6-core chips, one core is disabled per CCX, resulting in a 3+3 configuration. For quad-core chips, however, you can either disable all four cores in a CCX (4+0 configuration), or do a purportedly more optimal 2+2 configuration, with two cores disabled per CCX. Hardware Unboxed took advantage of ASUS' new UEFI firmware to compare the 4+0 configuration to the 2+2 configuration. The results are somewhat surprising.

Intel X99 Chipset Successor is the X299, Spotted Alongside Core i7-7740K

Intel's next-generation HEDT processor platform, based on the "Kaby Lake" micro-architecture, is the 7th generation Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" family. The platform is based on the new LGA2066 CPU socket, and a new motherboard chipset, the Intel X299 Express. The platform builds on the strengths of the Intel HEDT (high-end desktop) market-segment, in offering double the memory bandwidth and PCIe lanes as the LGA1151 mainline desktop platform, and succeeds the current Core "Broadwell-E" family processors that run on socket LGA2011v3 motherboards, with Intel X99 Express chipsets.

The first chip on the X299 platform isn't a meaty two-figure core-count chip, but the 4-core Intel Core i7-7740K. This chip lacks an integrated graphics core. Its TDP has been increased to 112W from 91W of the i7-7700K. Someone with access to an i7-7740K sample paired it with an ASRock X299 Fatal1ty Gaming i7 motherboard, and posted SiSoft SANDRA processor arithmetic and multimedia performance scores of the chip. The chip performs close to the Ryzen 5 1600X six-core chip, but falls short of the Ryzen 7 1800X.

Source: VideoCardz

Gigabyte's AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11G Detailed

Gigabyte has just revealed the specs for their custom, AORUS-branded GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. This keeps the tradition of the AORUS line of products, where the AORUS GTX 1080 Ti features Gigabyte's Windforce (triple-slot, 3x 100 mm fans) cooler with RGB lighting (16.8 million colors). Aiding its triple-fan cooling prowess is a direct copper contact through a 6-heatpipe design, as well as a built-in backplate. Gigabyte is marketing this card as "Built for Extreme Overclocking", through its usage of 12+2 Power Phases. These help deliver substantial clock speed, in the form of two modes: an OC Mode, with boost clocks of 1708 MHz and base clocks at 1594 MHz; and a Gaming Mode, with 1683 MHz boost and 1569 MHz base.

The 1080 Ti AORUS only has a single VR-link HDMI port on its front corner (while the GTX 1080 had two). On the rear IO however, you'll find 2x HDMI ports (ideal for VR-link), 3x DisplayPort, and 1x DVI. The card is expected to hit shelves mid-April. And on another note and slight update, its more powerful sibling, the AORUS GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition, has had its clock revealed as well: its OC Mode shows boost speeds of 1746 MHz and 1632 MHz base; and its Gaming Mode lowers those to 1721 MHz boost, and 1607 MHz base clocks.

Source: Gigabyte

HyperX Expands Its Fury DDR4 Memory Product Line

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, today announced it is now expanding the HyperX FURY DDR4 memory product line with several new colors options - red and white - with frequencies up to 2666 MHz to support the demand of our gaming community. HyperX is the first company to offer plug and play memory to gamers and continues to develop industry leading gaming gear. FURY DDR4 memory is optimized to be compatible with Intel 200 series processors and X99 chipsets. Additionally, FURY DDR4 memory has been compatibility tested with AMD's new Ryzen processors, in the HyperX Labs and by our motherboard partners.

"FURY DDR4 memory is our most popular DDR4 memory range, and our new products offer more options to choose from", said Edward Baily, HyperX Business Manager, EMEA. "With three color options, builders and enthusiasts have more ways to customize their new PC's or upgrade the PC they use today."
Friday, March 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Monitors
Motherboards
Notebooks
Processors
SSD
Storage

Cougar Panzer Max

The Cougar Panzer Max is a full-tower representation of the Panzer chassis. It is larger, bulkier, has more space, and looks a lot more menacing to boot. It really does resemble a tank, which is what "Panzer'' means in German. So in this review, we take the Panzer Max for a joy ride, fill it with some ammunition, and see if it is a straight shooter.

Invading Subscriber Privacy - Senate Says ISPs Can Now Sell Your Data

The US Senate on Thursday passed a joint resolution to eliminate broadband privacy rules that would have required ISPs to get consumers' explicit consent before selling or sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other companies. This win was pulled by a hair - 48 Nay against 50 Yea - and went entirely through party lines, with Republicans voting Yea, and the Democrats voting Nay. The effects won't be immediate, mind you - the measure will have to pass the House and then be signed by President Donald Trump before it can become law.

Jailbreaking American Tractors with Ukrainian Firmware

Tractors are some of the most beloved and benign pieces of automotive technology, and some of the very first applications of the internal combustion engine, after cars. Tinkering with the classic free-breathing (natural aspiration) engines of old tractors is something arguably every mechanical engineer has ever done. Over the ages however, tractors and other farm equipment have gotten increasingly complex. The engines became smaller (and hence more fuel-efficient), and technologies such as turbochargers and electronic fuel injection shored power and torque back up to the levels of larger free-breathing engines. Running the engine is now handled by a small embedded computer called the ECU (engine control unit). Likewise, running the various ancillaries on farming equipment such as harvesters have been governed by electronics. The more there's electronics, the less there is that a spanner can fix, and that has become a big problem in America.

Some popular farm equipment manufacturers such as John Deere have taken greed cleverly disguised as "quality assurance" to the same levels as the Apple iPhone. On the iPhone, you can't just install third-party software that hasn't been vetted by Apple and distributed through the App Store. Free software activists have criticized this for stiffing innovation, because Apple's software doesn't give users unrestricted access to the hardware that they've paid for. John Deere and some of its competitors are in the same league. They've outfitted their tractors and farm equipment with electronics that make it practically impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair. If your crop is up for harvest and your harvester is throwing a fit, you have no option but to take it back to a John Deere service center, or other repair shops "authorized" by the company. If you've replaced a part yourself, a guy with a laptop has to come over to your farm, and "activate" that part. American farmers aren't taking kindly to this, and help is coming from the most unlikely of places.

Microsoft Lifts "Spying" Components in Windows 10 for Chinese Government Version

Reports have started coming in that Microsoft has finalized its special, "non-spying" edition of Windows 10 for the Chinese government. In a joint-venture with China's own CTEC (China Electronics Technology Group), the Redmond-based company has apparently managed to deliver what they themselves thought impossible: a version of their operating system that doesn't spy on its users.

China's government previously banned Windows 8 and its derivatives, citing security concerns, and later launched an anti-monopoly probe against Microsoft. This meant that Microsoft was largely left out of China's huge state-backed enterprises in China - and one can imagine how lucrative a market this one is. Microsoft surely wouldn't be willing to allow such a chance of revenue to just jostle over to the Linux field, following the Chinese government's attempts to craft a custom OS (Kylin, which failed) and recent efforts with new NeoKylin initiative. Microsoft isn't willing to relent so as to what and how were features cut from their Windows 10 version that leads it to continue normal functions even without the heavily baked-in, essential, flaunted telemetry features. What is true, though, is that the company did say telemetry and data collection was so deeply embedded on their operating system that removing them would break it at a fundamental level which is, apparently, only the case if you don't have the money (or potential revenue) to pony up for a custom edition.

Source: The Verge

AMD's Rumoured Upcoming 16-core Part to Reportedly Run at 3.1/3.6 GHz

Some rumors and whispers have been making the rounds lately, regarding a HEDT platform incoming from AMD. This platform (built upon a new X399 chipset planned exclusively for it) would use a cut-down version of the Naples-based server SP3 socket called SP3r2. SP3r2 and the new chip will reportedly offer quad channel memory support, pitting them directly in competition with Intel's HEDT lineup in terms of memory bandwidth.

Reportedly, engineering samples of the 180W 16-core Ryzen currently run at 3.1 GHz Base, 3.6 GHz Boost clocks, which leads towards performance in the level of two Ryzen 7 1700 chips. If the rumors are true and such a platform is in development, then we will surely hear of some more chips designed for it. Going through the trouble of creating a new chipset and platform for a single CPU model doesn't seem likely. Perhaps some 12-core and 20-core chips are lurking just below the surface?

MSI Lifts the Lid on Their GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X Graphics Card

MSI's top of the line take on the GTX 1080 Ti - The GAMING X - has just been detailed by the company, building upon the previously-released teasers. The GAMING X features MSI's two-and-a-half slot TWIN FROZR VI dual-fan cooling solution with Torx 2.0 fans, which have the ability to completely turn off in low-load scenarios through their Zero Frozr feature. The card comes with a custom PCB, equipped with dual 8-pin power connectors and 8+2 phase design.

AMD's Ryzen 5 Processors Already Out in the Wild

AMD's Ryzen 5 line-up is arguably the most interesting segment on AMD's product stack, purely from a price/performance point of view. And it would seem that some retailers have jumped the gun on the sales embargo for AMD's (apparently only partially upcoming) Ryzen 5 series of processors. Users around the globe (from Philippines to Brazil that we can confirm right now) have been posting pictures of their newly-arrived Ryzen 5 1600 processors. As such, it is only a matter of time until some non-NDA-constrained benchmarks arise. So hang onto your hats for some 6-core, 12-threads at $219 goodness!

Dell Starts Selling its 32-inch 8K UltraSharp Monitor

Dell today started selling its flagship 32-inch (31.5-inch viewable) 8K monitor on its website. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K boasts of "visuals that rival life," thanks to its gargantuan 7680 x 4320 pixels resolution, which is four times that of 4K Ultra HD, and sixteen times that of Full HD. At its size, the display offers a stellar pixel density of 279 ppi. Under the hood is an IPS panel with 178°/178° viewing angles, 60 Hz refresh rate, 6 ms response time (GTG), 1,300:1 static contrast ratio with dynamic mega-contrast, and 400 cd/m² maximum brightness. The display takes input from two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the UltraSharp UP3218K is priced at USD $5,000.

ASUS Announces the STRIX GD30 Gaming Desktop

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Strix GD30, a powerful gaming desktop featuring a sleek black-and-white design, with interchangeable front panels that allow gamers to customize the system to suit their unique style. Equipped with up to the latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics, ROG Strix GD30 delivers unrivaled performance for incredible gaming and multimedia experiences.

An advanced thermal system - featuring large air vents at the front and underside plus an isolated power supply chamber - provides improved airflow for better cooling and greater system efficiency. Exclusive ASUS Aegis III software enhances gaming experiences by allowing gamers to track CPU and memory usage, monitor networking status, and control fan speeds and ASUS Aura RGB lighting effects.

GIGABYTE Intros A320-DS3 and A320M-HD2 Socket AM4 Motherboards

GIGABYTE introduced one of the first ATX form-factor motherboard based on AMD's new entry-level chipset for socket AM4 processors, the A320-DS3. The company also launched the micro-ATX A320M-HD2. Besides a slim feature-set, the A320 chipset lacks support CPU overclocking, making these boards better suited for the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs than the unlocked Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors, although they do come with Ryzen support out of the box.

Besides one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, the A320-DS3 features a PCI-Express 2.0 x4 (x16) slot, and two each of gen 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI slots. You also get two DDR4 DIMM slots, two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 type-A ports, 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include DVI and D-Sub. The A320M-HD2, on the other hand, features two PCIe gen 2.0 x1 slots, besides a legacy PCI slot, and the gen 3.0 x16 slot. Most of its feature-set is similar to its ATX sibling, except it also offers an HDMI display output. Expect sub-$80 pricing for the two.
Thursday, March 23rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Rosewill EX-500 & EX-700

The recently launched Rosewill EX-500 and EX-700 aim to take on the usual brands that dominate the price range by offering high-quality craftsmanship coupled with a nice accessories pack and - of course - better sound. We listen closely to see whether they can hold up on these promises.

AMD Readies Ryzen 7 1800X and 1700X Packages with Wraith Max Coolers

AMD launched the retail versions of its flagship Ryzen 7 1800X and second-best Ryzen 7 1700X processors in WOF (without fan-heatsink) boxed packages, similar to how Intel sells unlocked "K" and "X" series processors, such as the Core i5-7600K and Core i7-7700K. The company is giving final touches to newer packages of the two chips that include a stock cooling solution, probably addressing markets in which socket AM4-compatible aftermarket cooling solutions aren't easily available. These packages will include AMD's largest Wraith-series cooler, the Wraith Max.

Wraith Max is the company's largest stock cooling solution, and is a slight upscale of the original Wraith cooler AMD introduced with the FX-8370. It is rated for CPUs with TDP of up to 140W, and so it could make short work of the 95W Ryzen 7 1800X and 1700X chips. It consists of a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink to which heat drawn from a copper base is conveyed by heat pipes, and ventilated by a large fan. PIB (processor in a box) retail packages of the two chips with Wraith Max will have clear markings on the box, including stylized artwork of the cooler, besides being noticeably heavier. According to ComputerBase.de, the Ryzen 7 1800X Wraith Max is priced at 579€, compared to the WOF (without fan-heatsink) package's 537€ price; while the Ryzen 7 1700X Wraith Max is priced at 460€, compared to the WOF package's 396€ price (all prices include taxes).

Source: ComputerBase.de

PC DRAM Pricing Increased 20% Sep-Oct 2016; Will Continue Rising in 2017 - TrendForce

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, today reported that the average contract price of 4GB PC DRAM modules increased over 20% between September and October of 2016 (jumping from US$14.5 to US$17.5) as DRAM suppliers completed their fourth-quarter contract negotiations with first-tier PC-OEMs.

These increases come as the result of production capacity gradually shifting from PC-centric DRAM towards mobile and server DRAM, which have seen tremendous growths in demand. In fact, PC DRAM memory accounts for less than 20% of overall DRAM production. The already low inventories of branded device makers go hand in hand with higher-than-expected demand for DRAM-carrying products. And this higher demand comes after the PC DRAM market being severely undersupplied in the second half of 2016. The result: an across-the-board price upturn for all types of DRAM.

ADATA Presents the UV310 USB Drive

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launchedthe compact and ultra-light UV310 USB Flash drive. Made using sturdy chip-on-board (COB), unibody (one-piece) construction, the UV310 employs zinc alloy and sandblasted textures to combine an alluring metallic look with a high degree of toughness. It weighs just 4.7g and is available in up to 64GB. Fashionable, sleek, and sophisticated, the UV310 re-affirms the ADATA commitment to producing the finest USB drives.

ADATA utilizes unibody COB construction with the UV310 to ensure a compact but durable product that minimizes weak points thanks to a seamless design. Material-wise, the UV310 consists of zinc alloy, sandblasted to create a textured surface that resists scratches and is immune to fingerprint smudges. The gold color scheme of the UV310 lends it a very elegant look, emphasized by its high resistance to everything from dust to shocks and water exposure. This durability means wherever consumers go, their data remains well protected - far beyond the norms of generic, plasticky USB drives.

Futuremark Releases 3DMark v2.3.3663 - Adds Vulkan Support

Futuremark has just released a major update to its 3DMark benchmarking suite, adding Vulkan support while simultaneously axing its cousin, Mantle. This means that the API Overhead test now uses a Vulkan path instead of its previous Mantle one, which is sure to lead several enthusiasts into a frenzy of benchmarking under the Khronos's API (which has just recently been announced will offer support for multi-GPU in Windows 10, 8.x, 7, and Linux operating systems.)

Check some of the new features, improvements and fixes on the new version right after the break. You can download this piece of software right here on TPU - just follow the link below.
Download: Futuremark 3DMark + TimeSpy v2.3.3663
Wednesday, March 22nd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks

Swiftech MCP655-PWM Pump

The Swiftech MCP655 is perhaps the most well-known retail option of the Laing D5 pump and is Swiftech's attempt at bringing to market a pump that is proven to be reliable, quiet, and high performing. The additional touches provided by Swiftech include a vibration dampening mounting kit and an acrylic top promising good performance and aesthetics alike.

Simulated AMD Ryzen 5 Series Chips as Fast as Ryzen 7 at Gaming

It's not rocket science to simulate smaller upcoming Ryzen series chips when you have a Ryzen 7 1800X. By disabling two out of its eight cores and adjusting its clock speeds, TechSpot simulated a Ryzen 5 1600X processor. While the Ryzen 5 1600X was a near-perfect simulation by TechSpot, the 1500X isn't entirely accurate. AMD is carving out the 1500X by disabling an entire CCX (quad-core complex), leaving the chip with just 8 MB of L3 cache, disabling four cores on the 1800X still leaves the full 16 MB L3 cache untouched. The Ryzen Master software lets you disable 2, 4, or 6 cores, but not specific cores, so it's entirely possible that disabling 4 cores using Ryzen Master turns off two cores per CCX. Nevertheless, the gaming performance results are highly encouraging.

According to the gaming performance figures for the simulated 1600X six-core and 1500X quad-core Ryzen chips put out by TechSpot, the 1600X barely loses any performance to the 1800X. Today's AAA PC games have little utility with 8 cores and 16 threads, and you'll hardly miss the two disabled cores when gaming on a 1600X powered machine. The simulated 1500X loses a bit more performance, but nothing of the kind between the quad-core Intel Core i7-7700K and the dual-core i3-7350K. When paired with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in "Mafia III," for example, you lose 12.8% performance as you move from the $499 1800X to the $189 1500X (simulated); but you lose 35% performance as you move from the $329 i7-7700K to the $189 i3-7350K. Find more interesting results in the source link below.

Source: TechSpot

AMD Preparing BIOS Update to Fix FMA3 Freezes on Ryzen CPU Family

AMD has acknowledged an issue in which applications utilizing FMA3 code (basically compute and floating point heavy applications) can freeze Ryzen-based desktops. According to AMD, a fix is already on the way in the form of a basic bios update that will be issued to motherboard vendors, who will then most assuredly update their boards with the fix. If you want to be sure your Ryzen based system is not affected by this or numerous other teething issues, making sure you are running the latest BIOS will go a long way towards easing your experience with your new platform.

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Overclocked to over 3 GHz under LN2

Overclocking prodigy k|ngp|n has managed what some thought impossible: he pushed a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti over the 3 GHz barrier. And this was done using a modded Founder's Edition card, no less, so chances are some AIB cards will be able to achieve even better overclocks.

The massive overclock on the core was accompanied by a massive memory overclocking as well, which pushed the graphics card to over 500 GB/s of bandwidth. At the time, it isn't known whether the overclock was stable enough for benchmarking - but if it were, this would surely be the fastest consumer-grade GPU on the planet. The overclock was confirmed using TechPowerUp's own GPU-Z.

Source: OC3D.net

Vulkan Multi-GPU Support to be Available in Windows 10, 8.x, 7, and Linux

Vulkan is arguably the API which has garnered the most positive reactions from enthusiasts. Its implementation in Doom, for example, brought about incredible performance improvements in a game that not only looked and played great, but also performed amazingly well. Vulkan's support for other operating systems other than Windows 10 (where Microsoft still has a lot of ground to cover in acquiring enthusiast trust and interest) is one of its greatest selling points, and the API has been gaining ever more traction in the market, with some developers even going so far as to axe DX12 support in favor of Vulkan.

Now, Khronos Group has come ahead and clarified that "(...) the Vulkan multi-GPU specification is very definitely NOT tied to Windows 10. It is possible to implement the Vulkan multi-GPU extension on any desktop OS including Windows 7, 8.X and 10 and Linux." Khronos also goes on to say that they are aware that some developers are already baking Multi-GPU support into their games in various platforms other than Windows 10. These are sure to come as good news - the fact that Vulkan is platform agnostic is great for consumers and developers alike. And maybe this support - which still depends on developers to implement it - will bring about the shot in the arm that multi-GPU implementations sorely need.

EK Announces a Revolutionary New Rotary Terminal

EK Water Blocks, the market leader in high-end liquid cooling for PC products, is releasing a new revolutionary terminal for their Full-Cover GPU water blocks. This, all new terminal has two G1/4" rotating 90° angled adapter fittings strapped to itself. It allows maximum flexibility with no boundaries since both ports allow a rotation of 360° full circle.

This terminal has an advantage whether you are building a system with hard tubing or soft tubing by letting you chose the desired angle for tube routing. The EK-FC Terminal Rotary 90° terminal is compatible with all of our Full-Cover GPU water blocks as a replacement for the stock terminal. The EK-FC Terminal Rotary 90° is made out of high-quality PTFE-coated forged brass. The black finish blends in beautifully with any build.

MSI Reveals Custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Cards

As the world's leading GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce a full line up of graphics cards based on NVIDIA's new flagship gaming GPU with fierce new looks and supreme performance to match. Building on the monumental success of MSI's award winning GAMING X series, the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X 11G uses the full force of the TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games.

The famous shapes of the eye-catching TWIN FROZR cooler are intensified by a fiery red GAMING glow piercing through the cover, while the MSI GAMING dragon RGB LED on the side can be set to any of 16.8 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely new custom 10-phase PCB design using Military Class 4 components with two 8-pin power connectors enables higher overclocking performance to push your graphics card to the max. The classy matte black solid metal backplate gives the card more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.

MSI Announces A-XMP for AM4 Motherboards

In news that would have been very well received some 5 years ago (but is still relevant today), MSI has announced an approximation (of sorts) of Intel's XMP Profiles. Named A-XMP (how clever), MSI has essentially adapted Intel's XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) for the AM4 platform. A-XMP enables support for higher rated DDR4 memory kits, enabling them to work without any hassle. You are probably reminded of AM4 and Ryzen's peculiarities when it comes to memory support. A-XMP aims to at least mitigate those issues, whilst allowing for increased performance in a platform which is particularly sensitive to memory performance.

MSI is calling A-XMP "the world's first 1-second DDR4 performance and stability feature", and has announced the feature will be rolled out in soon to be available BIOS updates for all MSI AM4 motherboards.

EpicGear launches Morpha X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse

EpicGear, the leading brand in professional gaming peripherals, today announced the latest innovation the MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse. Designed and based on feedback from the gaming enthusiast and community, MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse implements MSC (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge) for easy switching laser and optical sensor, as well as MSS (Modular-Switch-Structure) which enables the swapping of switches with different click resistance. MORPHA X, the flagship RGB modular gaming mouse redefines modular gaming mouse and further expands EpicGear's range of gaming peripherals.

Designed with MSC (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge), MORPHA X allows easy switching between optical and laser sensors. Using the included Modular Senor Cartridges, the MORPHA X equipped with an 8,200 DPI laser sensor and the latest 12,000 DPI IR LED sensor for improved accuracy and precision targeting, gamers can choose the sensor which is right for their game and handle any situation.

Manli Announces its GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card

Manli Technology Group Limited, the major Graphics Cards and other components manufacturer, today announced the most advanced graphics solution - Manli GeForce GTX 1080 Ti with Blower Fan.

Powered by the latest NVIDIA Pascal architecture, the Manli GeForce GTX 1080 Ti provides top tier gaming performance for gaming enthusiast. It built-in 3584 CUDA Cores, with core frequency is at 1480 MHz, which can boost up to 1582 MHz. The latest addition to the ultimate gaming platform, next generation 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and a massive 11 GB frame buffer.
Tuesday, March 21st 2017

UE BOOM 2 "Reka One - Lost Time" Edition

UE's newest artist version of the BOOM 2 is made in cooperation with Reka One. Street artist styling along with the original BOOM 2 performance should be a hit. We also get to play around with the multi speaker functionality of the UE BOOM 2.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.3 Drivers

AMD today released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.3 Beta drivers. These drivers come with optimization for "Mass Effect: Andromeda," including support for AMD CrossFire in DirectX 11 mode. To enable CrossFire, however, you need to input "-RenderDevice.AmdCrossfireEnable 1" as a command-line argument (set launch options in Origin). The drivers also fix a texture flickering issue noticed with the game. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.3

AMD Sends Required Patches for Vega Support in Linux

AMD has recently sent out around a hundred patches, which amount to over 40 thousand lines of code, so as to allow developers to integrate support for its upcoming Vega GPU architecture under Linux. The new code is essential towards baking support for Vega under Linux, considering the many changes this architecture entails over AMD's current-generation Polaris 10 (soon to be rebranded, if sources are correct, to the new RX 500 series.) Also of note is the existence of seven different device IDs for Vega-based products, though this really can't be extrapolated to the amount of SKUs under the Vega banner. For now, that really is just a number.

ARM Reveals Its Plan for World Domination: Announces DynamIQ Technology

ARM processors have been making forays into hitherto shallow markets, with it's technology and processor architectures winning an ever increasing amount of design wins. Most recently, Microsoft itself announced a platform meant to use ARM processors in a server environment. Now, ARM has put forward its plans towards achieving a grand total of 100 billion chips shipped in the 2017-2021 time frame.

To put that goal in perspective, ARM is looking to ship as many ARM-powered processors in this 2017-2021 time frame as it did between 1991 and 2017. This is no easy task - at least if ARM were to stay in its known markets, where it has already achieved almost total saturation. The plan: to widen the appeal of its processor design, with big bets in the AI, Automotive, XR (which encompasses the Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality markets), leveraged by what ARM does best: hyper-efficient processors.

Corsair Announces Vengeance RGB DDR4 Memory

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components, today announced the immediate availability of CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB DDR4 memory. VENGEANCE RGB brings vibrant RGB lighting to the DIMM slot, with high luminosity RGB LEDs integrated into every module, all controlled by CORSAIR LINK. CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB's wire-free integration enables software RGB lighting control without additional wires (patent pending) for a sharp, clean look and providing an instant visual upgrade to any system build.

Equipped with a precision-engineered light bar and an all-new perforated CORSAIR logo, each LED generates vibrant and rich RGB lighting. With four customizable lighting modes; static, rainbow, breathing and color shift, it's simple to color match your system's build or put on a dazzling light show, and with specifically designed lighting circuitry, there's zero impact on DDR4 performance. With CORSAIR LINK, users can set up a temperature alert that automatically changes each memory module's LED color based on system temperatures, as well as monitor and control a wide variety of CORSAIR components, from case fans, lighting, DRAM and compatible CORSAIR power supplies to Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, providing a complete PC monitoring experience.

MSI Also Unveils the B350 Tomahawk Arctic and B350M Mortar Arctic Motherboards

In addition to the X370 Krait Gaming, MSI announced two other white-themed socket AM4 motherboards, with the B350 Tomahawk Arctic, and the B350M Mortar Arctic. As their names suggest, the two MSI Arsenal Gaming series motherboards are nearly identical to the original B350 Tomahawk and B350M Mortar, respectively, except for the white PCBs, silvery white VRM/chipset heatsinks, and white PCI-Express and DDR4 DIMM slots. The two are also studded with white LEDs that put up a bright colored light-show, and which can be controlled with the MSI Mystic Light application (brightness, lighting programs, etc.). The two could hence be sold at tiny ($15-20) premiums over the originals.

MSI Announces the X370 Krait Gaming Motherboard

MSI today announced the X370 Krait Gaming socket AM4 motherboard. Based on AMD's highest-grade X370 chipset, and ready for its Ryzen processor family, this ATX form-factor motherboard appears to be based on the same exact PCB as the X370 SLI Plus, with a few added features, such as higher grade capacitors, VR Boost specialized USB ports, a higher SNR audio CODEC with Nahmic 2 and EM shielding, white LED lighting, and of course the signature white+black color scheme of the Krait series.

Like the X370 SLI Plus, the X370 Krait Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the processor with an 8+2 phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated), besides two each of the board's USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s ports. In all, storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support, while the USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each type-A and type-C), and six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it. We expect this board to be priced at a $20-30 premium over the X370 SLI Plus.

ADATA XPG Launches the SD700X External 3D NAND SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launchedthe XPG SD700X external SSD. Built tough to IEC IP68 dust and water proofing standards, the drive is also military-grade shockproof. Available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of 3D TLC NAND, the gaming-styled SD700X works in plug n play via USB 3.1 with Windows, Xbox One, PS4, and Android to provide instant access to additional storage. At 440MB/s read and write it is over four times faster than an external HDD, resulting in shorter game load times and smoother gameplay.

The SD700X is based on the ADATA SD700 external SSD, which has won a prestigious iF Design Award. It likewise meets IEC IP68 standards for complete dust-tight protection and withstanding 60 minute immersion in 1.5m-deep water. For gamers on the go or at home, the SD700X offers a rugged but stylish storage option that keeps precious games safe even in the event of spills, dust exposure, or drops, as it also meets US Army MIL-STD-810G 516.6 requirements.

Kingston Digital Ships Second-most SSDs in Channel Worldwide in 2016

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced it owns 16 percent of the global channel SSD unit market share for 2016. Data was compiled by the research firm, Forward Insights, which has been analysing the non-volatile semiconductor industry since 2008. Forward Insights has been at the forefront of providing independent market analysis and information to many manufacturers including Kingston.

According to Forward Insights, a total of 63 million SSDs were shipped worldwide in the channel in 2016 with Kingston accounting for nearly 10.1 million units. The amount represented 16 percent or second-most in the global market, showing Kingston's growth as one of the top suppliers of SSDs. The sales channel is comprised of distributors, resellers, retail/e-tail, system builders and solutions providers.

TechPowerUp WCG Team Announces Spring 2017 Crunching Challenge

TechPowerUp and its leading World Community Grid (WCG) team announces the Spring 2017 Crunching Challenge, inviting crunchers from all over the world to crunch for the cause - and some really cool prizes. These include donated PC hardware such as CPU and motherboard combos, graphics cards, new gift cards, and game keys. The giveaway is open from the 22nd March (0:00 UTC), so fire your engines!

For more information, and to participate, visit this page.
Monday, March 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Mouse
Networking
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

Das Keyboard 4 Professional

Das Keyboard is a company synonymous with high build quality and clean aesthetics when it comes to keyboards for the professional typist. This flagship product features dedicated media buttons, their trademark volume wheel, genuine Cherry MX switches, and even an integrated ruler.

AMD May Have Ryzen 16-Core Version and New Chipset in the Works for June

AMD may be preparing a true silicon monster to compete directly with Intel's HEDT line, a dual octo-core-die based 16 core, 32 thread processor under the Ryzen branding, if a leak from ChipHell is to be believed.

According to the leak (and my rough google translate interpretation of both it and a German version kindly provided by Heise.de) the processor will not use the current dual channel AM4 socket. Rather, it will use a cut down version of the Naples based server SP3 socket called SP3r2. SP3r2 and the new chip would be quad channel, putting it in direct memory bandwidth competition with Intel's HEDT lineup.

AMD's Elusive Polaris 12 Makes an Appearance on CompuBench

Reports are going around that AMD's smallest-ever Polaris chip has been seen on the OpenCL pages of CompuBench. Based on a new Polaris 12 GPU (or should it be Polaris 22?), this is a chip which is likely to power an even lower-end of the spectrum than what AMD's RX 460 (and upcoming RX 560 rebrands) already does.

Polaris 12 apparently features 10 Compute Units, which amounts to 640 Stream Processors. Remember that AMD's Polaris 11 chip which powers the RX 460 actually has 1024 stream processors, though only 896 are available for access on retail versions of the card (though some magickery can unlock those latent stream processors.) This means that Polaris 12 essentially packs half as many shaders as Polaris 11 does. The 640 Stream Processors are expected to be clocked at 1302 MHz, and the cards will reportedly ship with up to 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. Expect cards based on this GPU to sell below the RX 460's $99.

Source: Videocardz

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AORUS Xtreme Edition Graphics Card Detailed

It was only a matter of time before Gigabyte applied its custom works to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The company has released some pictures of its upcoming AORUS Xtreme Edition - the company's take on what is the world's most powerful gaming graphics card ever released. As an AORUS branded card, the AORUS Xtreme will feature Gigabyte's Windforce (triple-slot, 3x 100mm fans) cooler with RGB lighting (16.8 million colors). Aiding its triple-fan cooling prowess is a direct copper contact with a 6-heatpipe design, as well as a built-in backplate.

The 1080 Ti AORUS Xtreme Edition only has a single VR-link HDMI port on its front corner (while the GTX 1080 had two). On the rear IO however, you'll find 2x HDMI ports (ideal for VR-link), 3x DisplayPort, and 1x DVI. No information on pricing or clock speed is available at the moment, though the card is expected to hit shelves mid-April.

Update: Clock speeds have been revealed by Gygabyte itself, and the card's OC Mode shows boost speeds of 1746 MHz and 1632 MHz base; while its Gaming Mode lowers those to 1721 MHz boost, and 1607 MHz base clocks.

Samsung's Z- SSD Featuring Z-NAND Makes a Physical Appearance

NAND has come here to stay, and it's market penetration still has a lot of leeway. Samsung, bar none the biggest and best player in the NAND field, is in a uniquely privileged position to develop new technologies and capitalize on them. Remember that Samsung has so many distinct product lines on which to monetize its advancements that any new investment is hardly a make it or break it affair.

Z-NAND is Samsung's answer to other developing technologies such as 3D XPoint, of which Intel has just announced the first commercial product. Z-NAND looks to stand at the intersection between NAND and DRAM, and is more of an evolution of the NAND design than it is a totally new technology (thus distancing itself from the likes of 3D XPoint.)

AMD's Upcoming RX 500 Rebrands to use LPP Process - Higher Clocks, Lower Power

AMD's upcoming RX 500 series of graphics cards is not going to set the world on fire with its feature-set. Essentially rebrands of AMD's mainstream Polaris GPUs used in current-generation RX 400 series, these have recently seen a slight delay on its time to market - now set at April 18th.

While architecture-level adjustments to this new series of cards so as to improve performance seem to be off the table, AMD is apparently looking to take advantage of manufacturing maturing and process improvements. The original Polaris 11 and Polaris 10 chips were manufactured using the Low Power Early (LPE) process, which looks to balance availability, yields, and time-to-market with performance and power. New reports peg the new dies to carry the Polaris 21 and Polaris 20 monikers, and will feature higher clocks on account of the new Low Power Performance (LPP) process.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 378.92 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the GeForce 378.92 WHQL drivers. These drivers are game-ready for "Mass Effect: Andromeda," which includes optimization, GeForce Experience optimal settings, and an SLI profile. NVIDIA is recommending SLI configurations as the game engine can take advantage of it. In addition, the drivers are also game-ready for "Rockband VR." Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 378.92 WHQL

BIOSTAR Announces the M200 Series M.2 SSD

BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce its latest addition to its great line-up of products with its newest offering from its storage family of products with the new BIOSTAR M200 Series solid-state drives. Designed for high-performance, low-profile applications, the BIOSTAR M200 Series SSD is intended for systems that require high-speed storage in a low-profile form factor like notebooks, SFF PCs and HTPCs. Available in 120GB and 240GB capacity, the BIOSTAR M200 SSD is perfect for those looking to upgrade their system with a new SSD or speed-up their mobile device for better performance and battery life.

New-generation systems come with M.2 slots that utilize high-speed connection to your system which is the best interface when you want the most from your system. M.2 form factor storage like the BIOSTAR M200 M.2 SSD come in low-profile designs which allow users to insert them in most devices that support M.2 2280. M.2 also has the benefit of zero noise, low heat output and low power draw making them an ideal upgrade for the power user looking to step-up their system performance while gaining the advantage of M.2 storage.
Sunday, March 19th 2017

Intel Debuts its 3D XPoint Technology with Optane DC P4800X Datacenter SSD

Today, Intel unveiled the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series and Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series with Intel Memory Drive Technology, enabling new possibilities to transform storage and memory architectures for the data center. Deployed as blazing fast storage or caching tier, Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X breaks the confines of traditional storage to significantly increase scale per server and accelerate applications. When deployed as extended memory, this drive expands the system memory pool, creating bigger, more cost-effective memory to gain higher quality insights.

An industry-leading combination of high throughput, low latency, high quality of service and high endurance enable the creation of solutions that remove data bottlenecks, unleash CPU utilization and deliver unprecedented insights. Intel Optane SSDs offer unrivaled performance at low queue depth, where the vast majority of applications generate storage workloads, which means CPUs are more active and more fully utilized. Intel Optane SSDs for the data center let users do more work with the same servers, improving TCO or expanding capabilities. And because the drive is extremely responsive under any load, it is highly predictable and delivers ultra-fast service, consistently.
Friday, March 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
PSUs
SSD

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X 3.6 GHz

Arguably the most important product launch for AMD as a processor company, Ryzen 7 1800X is an attempt to get back into the big league with the Intel Core i7 series in what is a textbook David vs. Goliath battle. Besides CPU tests, we also included 14 games tested at 1080p and 1440p.

AMD's Upcoming RX Vega Card Pictures Surface

It would seem that AMD has been making internal, top-secret demonstrations of its upcoming RX Vega GPUs. The company was in Beijing, China yesterday, sowing some thoughts and knowledge on its upcoming Ryzen 5 line of processors. Yet AMD apparently also found the time to tease its upcoming high-performance GPU (which apparently, and unlike it's competitors GPUs, also carries a soul.)

From what can be gleaned from the pictures, this physical manifestation of Vega does away with AMD's Fury X small size (achieved through water cooling). Instead, the coolers seems to be a monolithic piece which totally encloses the card, in an attractive, white and red color scheme with AMD's Vega branding etched on for good measure. We can also glean from the pics that AMD's RX Vega doesn't drop the tachometer feature that allows you to look at the operating LED's to glean the amount of workload on the GPU, with switches that are likely to allow for "OFF/ON" positions for the LED's and for "RED/BLUE" coloring.

Source: ChipHell

SilverStone Releases the TP01-M2 Thermal Pads for Your M.2 SSD

That some M.2 SSDs throttle their speeds because of increased operating temperatures has already been demonstrated. Some companies, like Plextor, have even launched M.2 SSDs with specifically-developed heatsinks to reduce operating temperatures and thus reduce performance degradation. Other companies, Like MSI, have started incorporating M.2 heatsinks on their motherboard design, looking to attract more customers on the prospect of increased SSD performance - though some say the merits of MSI's approach are debatable.

Now, SilverStone has announced a more cost-effective - and compatible - way of improving thermals of your M.2 SSD of choice, by introducing its TP01-M2 thermal pads. These pads are colored blue (because blue means cool, see?), and the company claims their usage on a Samsung SM951 SSD brought about improvements of around 15ºC in the operating temperatures, down to 71ºC from the 86ºC sans thermal pads. These go for around 5€ a pack, which comes with two 20 mm (W) x 100 mm (D), one with 0.5 mm thickness, and another with improved cooling capabilities but a greater 1.5 mm thickness.

Source: Silverstonetek

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Pictured

Feast your eyes on the first pictures of MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X graphics card. The card features the thickest (2.5 slots thick) and bulkiest version of MSI's iconic TwinFrozr VI cooling solution. The company is gunning for making this the quietest air-cooled GTX 1080 Ti money can buy, and so it invested "heavily" on beefing up the heatsink, the underlying heatspreaders, and tuning the fans to focus on low-noise, while keeping the GPU far away from the 82°C thermal-throttle. The muscular cooler shroud has an RGB LED-lit "GeForce GTX" badge besides the MSI dragon badge. The underlying PCB has a strong VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. We expect the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X to be launched around mid-April.

AMD's Radeon Memory Business at a Standstill

AMD's Radeon branded memory business appears to be at a standstill, with no new product launches since 2015, and Radeon memory products out of stock (or nearly out of stock) at key retailers across North America.

When AMD was asked if it was planning to exit the memory business altogether, a company spokesperson replied that the memory is still being sold but is "mostly distributed in Eastern Europe, only small quantities are diverted to North America."

AMD Ryzen Infinity Fabric Ticks at Memory Speed

Memory clock speeds will go a long way in improving the performance of an AMD Ryzen processor, according to new information by the company, which reveals that Infinity Fabric, the high-bandwidth interconnect used to connect the two quad-core complexes (CCXs) on 6-core and 8-core Ryzen processors with other uncore components, such as the PCIe root-complex, and the integrated southbridge; is synced with the memory clock. AMD made this revelation in a response to a question posed by Reddit user CataclysmZA.

Infinity Fabric, a successor to HyperTransport, is AMD's latest interconnect technology that connects the various components on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, and on the upcoming "Vega" GPU family. According to AMD, it is a 256-bit wide bi-directional crossbar. Think of it as town-square for the chip, where tagged data and instructions change hands between the various components. Within the CCX, the L3 cache performs some inter-core connectivity. The speed of the Infinity Fabric crossbar on a "Summit Ridge" Ryzen processor is determined by the memory clock. When paired with DDR4-2133 memory, for example, the crossbar ticks at 1066 MHz (SDR, actual clock). Using faster memory, according to AMD, hence has a direct impact on the bandwidth of this interconnect.

Source: CataclysmZA on Reddit

ZOTAC Reveals a Host of Innovations at CeBIT 2017

ZOTAC International, a global manufacturer of innovation, is pleased to announce more innovation ahead of CeBIT 2017 from March 20 to 24 in Hannover. Incorporating exciting technologies in the new products that will revolutionize homes and businesses. A new ZBOX lineup containing next generation processors and features including Thunderbolt 3 dominate the Mini PC side, and the new ZOTAC flagship graphics completes the tour.

ZOTAC has a new generation of ZBOX Mini PCs for both gaming and business. Each Mini PC in the lineup features Intel Kaby Lake processor and provides DDR4 memory support as the foundation. "The Mini PC is replacing the traditional desktop at a rapid pace with their identical capabilities and space saving features, and we want to inject even more features so it is even more accessible to users," says Jacky Huang, Director of Products (Mini PC), ZOTAC International.
Thursday, March 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
Speakers

Mad Catz RAT 8 Gaming Mouse

The Mad Catz RAT 8 is the new flagship mouse for Mad Catz's line of ergonomic mice. It offers a lot of customization options to make it a perfect fit for your hand and comes equipped with a best-in-class sensor and well-rounded software suite for a price of $100.

EVGA Announces SC17 Gaming Notebook with NVIDIA G-SYNC Technology

The EVGA SC17 1070 G-SYNC Gaming Laptop has arrived. Sporting a 4K-ready IPS panel with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, this high performance laptop was meticulously crafted from the ground up for hardcore gamers, performance enthusiasts, and even overclockers. No shortcuts here. This new EVGA SC17 1070 laptop also features NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, which provides you more of what you want in a gaming experience with smooth, tear-free gameplay.

EVGA is known for performance hardware, and the EVGA SC17 1070 laptop is no exception. An Intel Core i7 6820HK Unlocked Process combined with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics gives you unbelievable performance in the latest games. An aluminum unibody design and thin 1.07in thickness makes this one of the sleekest laptops around. An IPS display capable of delivering up to 4K resolution for crystal clear graphics and wide viewing angles. When its time to game, the GTX 1070 will take full advantage of the display's integrated G-SYNC technology to make your gaming smooth and beautiful.

Streacom Announces the F12C Optical Chassis

Streacom is pleased to announce the F12C Optical, an addition to the F12C product line that adds Optical drive and front USB 3.0 support to the case. As with the original F12C, its built using the same high quality 4mm thick extruded materials, CNC processing and meticulous sandblasted anodising finish. These premium processes along with our innovative and flexible approach to hardware mounting sets this case apart from the competition, and make it the ideal choice for high end living room systems.

MSI Announces the Z270 MPOWER Gaming Titanium Motherboard

MSI, the leading gaming motherboard brand, is proud to announce availability for its latest TITANIUM model, the Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM. This motherboard is set to deliver the best experience in audio, when gaming online and when using VR. Next to this, MPOWER is designed to deliver the best performance as well as the top-level overclocking.

The unique TITANIUM motherboards based on the critically acclaimed and award-winning TITANIUM concept, introduced first in the motherboard industry by MSI in 2015. The Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM features a unique silver metallic color PCB design and matching heavy plated heatsinks & covers. The addition of a TITANIUM backplate adds to the boards strength while matching the titanium look & feel.

Windows 10 Creators Update Might Force Updates Even on Metered Connections

A wording change in the latest build of the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 has users on metered connections worried. In previous Microsoft Insider's builds of the Creators Update, the section of the license agreement pertaining to automatic updates said "updates will be downloaded and installed automatically, except over metered connections (where charges may apply)."

In this latest build, the wording has been changed to a more worrisome version implying updating may still happen for important updates: "We'll automatically download and install updates, except on metered connections (where charges may apply). In that case, we'll automatically download only those updates required to keep Windows running smoothly."

Alphacool Debuts its First Compressor Cooler - The $1000 Eiszeit 1500 W

Alphacool is putting its hands on more exquisite - for the CPU cooling market - forms of cooling. The company has now launched their first foray into the compressor-based cooling market, with the Eiszeit 1500 W. As the name suggests, the Eiszeit delivers up to 1500 W cooling capability, much higher than most ordinary cooling solutions can handle. That is a mammoth cooling capacity, equaled by the Eiszeit's weight, which comes in at 29 Kg. But neither of these figures holds a candle to the Eiszeit's price - 960€, or around $1000.

The Eiszeit makes do with a pump of greater endurance and capacity than the usual D5 or DDC pumps, delivering a maximum flow-rate of 600 liters per hour from its 9-liter reservoir. The Eiszeit was designed to integrate well with Alphacool's existing cooling solutions. The Eiszeit uses standard G1/4" threads, also making it compatible with most liquid cooling setups in the market. The outgoing water temperature can be adjusted in 0.3 degrees Kelvin increments through the front display. There is also a built-in alarm, as well as a normal function indicator. The Eiszeit also features a convenient alarm for when temperatures fluctuate outside the normal parameters or when flow rate drops below a set minimum threshold.

Source: eTeknixSource: AlphacoolThanks @Hood

Thermaltake Introduces Wall-Mountable Core P1 mITX Chassis

Thermaltake is consistently increasing its offers in the wall-mountable chassis portion of its business. Now, the company is introducing a mITX chassis that's supposed to appeal to wall-mounting users who prefer a lither system with a smaller footprint.

As is the hallmark of the P series, the P1 offers support for your choice of AIO or custom loop liquid coolers. It's open-frame design and 5 mm thick tempered glass will make sure to showcase all your components and bling properly. The Core P1 features three setup choices - vertical, horizontal, and wall-mounted. The chassis allows for three 2.5" drives and an extra 2.5" or 3.5". The case features five expansion slots, looking to offer more flexibility in the installation. The Core P1 allows 2x 120 mm fans to be installed, or 1x 240 mm radiator. The clearance for the CPU cooler is 170 mm, the graphics card can be up to 380 mm with a radiator thinner than 30 mm (without fans), and the PSU length sits at to 180 mm.

Source: eTeknix

Microsoft Locks System Updates for Windows 7, 8.1 on Ryzen, Kaby Lake Systems

It would seem Microsoft is ever looking for more creative ways of pushing its Windows 10 operating system towards the masses. Some Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have apparently encountered one of these: a lock on system updates. The error message, which reads "Your PC uses a processor that isn't supported on this version of Windows", points towards a hardware lock-in in exchange for added security and updates.

A Microsoft Support page sheds some light on this issue: that Windows 10 is the only Microsoft operating system to support particular hardware configurations. Namely, systems based on Intel's "seventh (7th)-generation processors or a later generation" (Kaby Lake); "AMD seventh (7th)-generation ("Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation"; and "Qualcomm "8996" processor or a later generation". This move on Windows 7 might make some sense; however, Windows 8.1 is still in its lease of life (and Microsoft support) until at least 2018.

Source: Microsoft Support

Silicon Power Intros the xDrive Z50 Flash Drive

SP/ Silicon Power, a leading provider of memory storage solutions, launches its latest addition to its Apple solution portfolio - the SP xDrive Z50. With its effortless Apple-matching design, this fully MFi certified dual interface Lightning and USB 3.1 Gen 1 drive is the perfect complement to MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones. To preserve its good looks, a sandblasting surface treatment and embossed pattern keep the drive's classy metal casing well-protected from scratches, fingerprints and dirt.

Its highly elastic yet sturdy cap is firmly attached to the drive, ready to be snapped open over 10,000 times. Plugging the drive is hassle-free - it has an extended Lightning connector that makes taking off iPhones cases a thing of the past. Through a small hole in the cap, the tiny lightweight is attachable to keyrings or bags, so that users will always have it to hand when needed.

Corsair Announces New Tenkeyless K63 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the new K63 mechanical gaming keyboard. Continuing the CORSAIR legacy of top-quality, high-performance gaming keyboards, the K63 combines tenkeyless design, precision CHERRY MX Red mechanical keyswitches, a full complement of media keys and per-key red LED illumination. What's more, K63 offers all this at a price that puts mechanical performance within reach of gamers wanting to step up their game to the next level. The result is a perfect combination of mechanical precision, advanced gaming features and a space-saving design that makes it ideal for compact desktops or gamers on-the-go.

Packing the best of CORSAIR keyboards into a new compact size, the K63 boasts a host of features ready to match the most demanding games. Beneath its sleek exterior and gold-contact CHERRY MX Red key switches, per-key red LED backlighting vibrantly illuminates each key. With the power of CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) software, every key's lighting can be controlled individually, allowing for virtually unlimited lighting customization and control. CUE software also allows for near endless programmability, with every key individually reprogrammable with alternative commands, custom macros or dynamic lighting effects.

Zalman Intros the ZM-K900M White Edition Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Zalman today introduced the ZM-K900M White Edition mechanical gaming keyboard. Based on the same platform as the original ZM-K900M, this keyboard features Kailh Brown mechanical switches, compared to the Kailh Blue switches the original comes with; and a white-colored front bezel. Kailh Brown switches offer a soft and bumpy tactile feedback. The Zalman ZM-K900M White Edition also features RGB LED illumination with on-the-fly settings, an onboard memory to store macro maps, N-key rollover, and 1 ms response time. Backed by a 1-year warranty, the keyboard is priced at USD $99.99, although from its 24th March launch, it can be had on Newegg at a special price of $79.99, until stocks last.

Silicon Motion Announces SATA FerriSSD Single-chip 3D NAND SSD

Silicon Motion Technology Corporation, a global leader in designing and marketing NAND flash controllers and solid-state storage devices, today announced that it has extended its popular family of SATA 6 Gb/s FerriSSD Industrial BGA SSDs to support the latest 3D NAND with end-to-end data path protection, NANDXtend ECC, and IntelligentScan feature - delivering unsurpassed data reliability for embedded storage applications. The new FerriSSD products offer flexible data capacity options up to 256GB and feature proprietary data protection technologies that eliminate drive downtime and extend the service life of these SSDs. FerriSSD products offer customized solutions for various end-market demands and are optimized to meet the specific needs of the customer.

EVGA Readies a Trio of Custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Cards

EVGA today unveiled a trio of custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, besides the reference-design "Founders Edition" SKU already in its product stack. These include the range-topping GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 (model: 11G-P4-6696), the GTX 1080 Ti SC3 (model: 11G-P4-6593), and the GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition (model: 11G-P4-6393). Of these, the FTW3 and SC3 offer a full-featured iCX Technology cooling solution, complete with 9 thermal sensors, and RGB LED lighting preparation. The two feature EVGA's triple-fan version of the iCX cooler.

The FTW3 features the highest factory-overclock, followed by the SC3. The SC Black Edition features a simpler dual-fan version of EVGA's iCX cooler, which has some of the heatsink-specific iCX innovations, but not the 9 onboard thermal sensors. This card could be priced closest to the $699 baseline, at which the company will sell the "Founders Edition" reference-design card. The company didn't reveal the all-important clock speeds, or pricing information.

AMD Ryzen Machine Crashes to a Sequence of FMA3 Instructions

An AMD Ryzen 7-1800X powered machine was found to be crashing upon execution of a very specific set of FMA3 instructions by Flops version 2, a simple open-source CPU benchmark by Alexander "Mystical" Yee. An important point to note here is that this little known benchmark has been tailored by its developer to be highly specific to the CPU micro-architecture, with separate binaries for each major x64 architecture (eg: Bulldozer, Sandy Bridge, Haswell, Skylake, etc.), and as such the GitHub repository does not have a "Zen" specific binary.

Members of the HWBot forums found that Ryzen powered machines crash on running the Haswell-specific binary, at "Single-Precision - 128-bit FMA3 - Fused Multiply Add." The Haswell-specific binary (along with, we imagine, Skylake), adds support for the FMA3 instruction-set, which Ryzen supports, and which lends some importance to the discovery of this bug. What also makes this important is because a simple application, running at user privileges (i.e. lacking special super-user/admin privileges), has the ability to crash the machine. Such a code could even be executed through virtual machines, and poses a security issue, with implications for AMD's upcoming "Naples" enterprise processor launch.

Seasonic Embraces New Cybenetics Ratings

In the wake of many years of getting comfortable with 80 plus efficiency ratings of PC power supplies, in the past year a new company has emerged with the aim to take the testing of power supplies to the next level. Cybenetics has devised a revolutionary testing system where power supplies are examined under even more stringent circumstances than previously. This rating system renders all power supplies easily comparable and it also has added a crucial element to the process - the testing of the sound output of the power supplies.

Seasonic was glad to jump on board to assess the performance of their PRIME units to see how they fare against the new Cybenetics test parameters. Seasonic was even happier to receive back the first test results of its flagship units, which without exception have demonstrated that they have passed the highest level of certifications with flying colors.
Wednesday, March 15th 2017

Bitfenix Portal

The Bitfenix Portal is a refreshing, cool-looking case with that elusive mass-market appeal. It aims to marry design, quality, compatibility and ease of assembly into a compact chassis. With its round looks, use of aluminum pieces, near-immaculate engineering and a design that separates the shell from the case frame, Bitfenix manages to check all the boxes required for a great case.

ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC 11 GB

The ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC is the first custom-design GTX 1080 Ti we are reviewing. It comes with a newly designed thermal solution that no longer uses DirectTouch heatpipes. Also included are a generous overclock out of the box and a load of features for the enthusiast gamer.

AMD Announces the Ryzen 5 Series 6-core and 4-core Desktop Processors

Following the successful introduction of AMD Ryzen 7 desktop processors including record pre-orders and award-winning performance, AMD today announced Ryzen 5 desktop processors will launch worldwide on April 11, 2017, offering disruptive price-to-performance for gamers and creators. With end users at the heart of everything AMD does, the new Ryzen 5 processors feature the powerful and efficient "Zen" architecture in 6-core,12-thread as well as 4-core, 8-thread options, to deliver enhanced performance, immersive experiences and high performance innovation to gamers and consumers worldwide with a price range of $169 to $249 USD SEP.

"Ryzen will ultimately bring innovation and competition to virtually every segment of the PC market, and Ryzen 5 is the next big step on that journey, designed to achieve new levels of compute performance for millions of PC users," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Group, AMD. "AMD reinvigorated the high-performance desktop market with Ryzen 7 earlier this month, and AMD Ryzen 5 now brings the power and efficiency of the 'Zen' core to users in the highly popular sub-$300 segment of the market."

AMD Releases the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.2 Beta Drivers

AMD today released the 17.3.2 Beta version of its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive. This release features official support for the upcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda space opera, and a 12% performance boost in the game for RX 480 graphics cards compared to results obtained under the previous driver release.

This driver release also sees some fixed issues with texture corruption on some surfaces of The Division under DX12. In addition, this driver release features a fix for what could only have been a rare issue with texture flickering while task-switching on For Honor, considering it only affected 4x Multi-GPU system configurations. This release also features long lists of Known Issues, which you can take a look at after the break.

As always, you can grab the drivers right here at TPU, through our revamped downloads section. Just follow the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.2 Beta

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z v1.18.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostic utility. Version 1.18.0 adds support for new GPUs, and comes with several improvements. To begin with, GPU-Z v1.18.0 adds support for AMD Radeon RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, and RX 550; and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Quadro P4000, P1000, P600, and P400. Support is also added for Intel "Apollo Lake" Pentium N4200 integrated graphics. In terms of user-interface improvements, GPU-Z v1.18.0 now displays the latest version number for update checks. An error message when uploading the graphics BIOS is also addressed. Also fixed is clock-speeds being read as -1 on Pascal cards with overclocking disabled.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v1.18.0

The change-log follows.

On In-Game Advertising, or the Invasion of Your $60 Space

This piece is intended to present a short thought-experiment in regards to the ever-increasing prevalence of ads in our lives. With their ubiquitous presence and the development of ever more complex ways of ad targeting and display technologies, ads have become a part of our lives. From million dollar spots in the Super Bowl towards content-locks happening unless we allow ads to be forced upon us, ads will eventually become more of an issue than they already are.

This issue in itself isn't much attractive at the outset - ads are naturally (and correctly) viewed as intrusions in our choice of content. I know how much I loathe using any ad-imbibed products. But the key point here isn't the fact that ads exist - they will always do so. It's the way they are delivered.
There are some situations where ads make sense, and are even a vital component of a product's marketing and monetization. Free-to play smartphone games and services such as Spotify or YouTube have to find ways of delivering content free of charge while achieving business sustainability. That "there are no free meals" is true for almost every aspect of our lives; but such a mantra is the lifeblood of companies. However, in some cases, ads are jarring, obtrusive, and can ruin an experience. Enter ads in computer games.

AMD Ryzen 5 Series Lineup Leaked

Over 12 hours ahead of its unveiling, Guru3D accidentally (timezone confusion) posted some juicy details about AMD's exciting Ryzen 5 desktop processor lineup. What makes these chips particularly exciting is that they occupy several sub-$250 price points, and offer the kind of gaming performance you'd expect from the larger 8-core Ryzen 7 series chips, since not a lot of games need 8 cores and 16 threads. The Ryzen 5 series will launch with two 6-core, and two 4-core SKUs, all four of which feature SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), and unlocked base-clock multipliers.

The Ryzen 5 series is topped by the Ryzen 5-1600X, priced at USD $249. This 6-core/12-thread chip features the full 16 MB of L3 cache available on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon, and backs it with clock speeds of 3.60 GHz core and 4.00 GHz TurboCore, with the XFR (extended frequency range) feature enabling higher clocks depending on the effectiveness of your CPU cooling. This chip could be AMD's power move against the Intel Core i5-7600K. Next up, is the Ryzen 5-1600 (non-X), priced at $219. This chip lacks the XFR feature, and comes with slightly lower clocks out of the box, with 3.20 GHz core, and 3.60 GHz TurboCore. You still get an unlocked base-clock multiplier, which Intel's $220-ish competitor to this chip, the Core i5-7500, sorely lacks.

AMD Shares Details on Ryzen DDR4 Memory Support and Upcoming AM4 Updates

In a blog post titled "Tips for Building a Better AMD Ryzen System", AMD has shed some light on the current memory support quirks with their Ryzen CPUs. First interesting detail: Ryzen processors do not offer memory dividers for DDR4-3000 or DDR4-3400. As such, AMD recommends that users looking to use higher memory speeds with their Ryzen processors instead look towards 3200 or 3500 MT/s. Due to Ryzen's preferences when it comes to memory, AMD also recommends that users pay particular attention to motherboard vendor's memory QVL lists for speeds greater than DDR4-2667.

Remember RAM importance on Ryzen processors' performance, which is given newfound importance in alleviating possible bottlenecks related to AMD's Data Fabric, the interconnect technology being used to communicate between different CCX's in AMD's 8-core Ryzen 7 and upcoming 6-core Ryzen 5 processors. Higher data rate of your memory subsystem should better help Ryzen's inter-core communication, and thus allow for higher performance in multiple scenarios, more so than with any other current CPU architecture.

BitFenix Announces the Portal Chassis

As a brand always striving to create unique products, BitFenix has provided some of the most eye catching chassis over time. Today, BitFenix is proud to announce the latest addition to its line-up, the BitFenix Portal. Transcending from traditional boxy cases, the Portal was designed to balance the aesthetics of the outside shape with the functionality of the unique interior structure.

Going beyond specification and functional design, the Portal's elegant appearance with compact outer dimensions blend well into any environment. Premium grade aluminum molded into clear lines and discreet curves form a chassis that blends perfectly well into any environment. Despite the compact form factor, the Portal provides a versatile scope. Mainly designed as a Home Theater PC chassis, the Portal can still be utilized as gaming system if equipped with a 120mm radiator in combination with AIO or custom water cooling solutions. Designed for ITX Motherboards, the striking key component of the interior is the Dual Frame Design. The inner chamber, equipped with enough space for a high-end system, slides into the housing via a ball bearing runner design.

ADATA XPG DDR4 Officially Validated by AMD as Ryzen Compatible

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories is proud to share that all DDR4 offerings from its XPG high performance hardware brand have been officially certified by AMD as compatible with the AM4 socket and accompanying processors, namely the recently-launched Ryzen range. XPG memory was validated while installed on MSI motherboards, signaling major cooperation between ADATA and MSI.

With formal AMD approval, customers know they are purchasing a fully compatible product when selecting XPG DDR4 to be used on AMD AM4-based motherboards. As XPG DDR4 has been added to the AMD QVL (qualified vendor list), customers can rely on seamless compatibility without having to worry about POST or other conflict issues.

NVIDIA to Build "Volta" Consumer GPUs on TSMC 12 nm Process

NVIDIA's next-generation "Volta" GPU architecture got its commercial debut in the most unlikely class of products, with the Xavier autonomous car processor. The actual money-spinners based on the architecture, consumer GPUs, will arrive some time in 2018. The company will be banking on its old faithful fab TSMC, to build those chips on a new 12 nanometer FinFET node that's currently under development. TSMC's current frontline process is the 16 nm FFC, which debuted in mid-2015, with mass-production following through in 2016. NVIDIA's "GP104" chip is built on this process.

This could also mean that NVIDIA could slug it out against AMD with its current GeForce GTX 10-series "Pascal" GPUs throughout 2017-18, even as AMD threatens to disrupt NVIDIA's sub-$500 lineup with its Radeon Vega series, scheduled for Q2-2017. NVIDIA's "Volta" architecture could see stacked DRAM technologies such as HBM2 gain more mainstream exposure, although competing memory standards such as GDDR6 aren't too far behind.
Sources: Commercial Times (Taiwan), TechReport

ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti STRIX Specifications Surface

Ahead of its launch, specifications of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti STRIX graphics card by ASUS, appeared on the web thanks to a leaked press-deck. The one spec on most people's minds is the factory-overclock. Out of the box, in the so-called "gaming mode," the card is clocked at 1569 MHz core, 1683 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 11 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory. The "OC Mode," a clock-speed preset that you activate with the included GPUTweak II software, runs the card at 1594 MHz core, 1708 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.1 GHz memory.

It turns out that the DirectCU III cooler deployed on the GTX 1080 Ti STRIX is indeed beefier than the one found on the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 STRIX cards; with ASUS claiming up to 30% lower temperatures, thanks to a 40% increase in surface area of the heatsink. ASUS took advantage of the heavier heatsink to lower fan-noise, which it claims to be significantly lower than the reference-design card. The company is also using a newer thermal interface material (TIM) called "MaxContact," which due to its particle density, can get up to 10 times flatter than conventional TIMs, for lower thermal resistance posed by the TIM, and higher conductivity. Display outputs of this card include two each of HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4 ports.

Source: VideoCardz

Arctic Announces Free AM4 Retention Modules for Liquid Freezer Series Coolers

For the all-in-one water coolers Liquid Freezer 120, Liquid Freezer 240 and Liquid Freezer 360, ARCTIC now offers a retention ring for the new AMD Ryzen processors with AM4 socket. Therefore all already acquired Liquid Freezers can be upgraded with the AM4 kit. The retention module can be ordered directly from ARCTIC support and is free of charge upon presentation of the invoice copy. The bulk of our CPU-coolers, including the new Freezer 33 series, is already compatible to the AM4-socket and needs no further adaption. An overview is available here.

Eurocom Launches Sky X9E3 VR Ready Notebook

Eurocom is proud to announce the launch of the EUROCOM Sky X9E3 Supercomputer laptop. This new platform has support for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Pascal SLI graphics, powerful Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700K Desktop Processor, up to 64GB of DDR4 3000MHz memory and up to 14 TB of RAID storage via five drives, including three NVMe based M.2 SSDs.

The Sky X9E3 is an SLI Ready and VR capable super high-performance supercomputer laptop. With an upgradeable desktop CPU and two upgradeable desktop GPUs cooled with high-quality copper heatsinks and IC Diamond thermal paste, and controlled by an unlocked system BIOS for the ultimate in overclocking capability.

QNAP Showcases New Thunderbolt NAS Lineup

QNAP Systems, Inc. will be exhibiting at the Photography Show taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, from March 18th to March 21st, 2017. Visitors heading to QNAP's stand C51 will have the chance to get hands on with QNAP's latest NAS solutions for all image creators, including the industry-leading Thunderbolt 3 NAS and many other models of the feature-rich NAS series.

QNAP will present amateur and professional photographers a variety of QNAP NAS solutions designed to suit their needs in image production. With live demos, visitors will see how QNAP NAS can help optimise their workflows. The TVS-882T Thunderbolt 2 NAS is a perfect match for Mac users. The TVS-882T features up to 20Gb/s bandwidth to deliver high-speed file transfers and to boost the 4K video editing process, making it ideal for 4K image production workflow. For image creators with multiple needs in backup, the TVS-473, equipped with the powerful AMD R-Series APU, is the perfect NAS solution to build a private cloud.
Tuesday, March 14th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs

Microsoft Ending Vista Support April 11th, Says Few Older Computers Ready for 10

Windows Vista, an OS that faced large amounts of criticism in life, is finally being laid down to die. Whether the criticism was fair, whether it was a victim of its own faults or the faults of simply being too ahead of its time (a question that is still being hotly debated to this day), it matters not now: it's done. On April 11th, Microsoft is ending Windows Vista support.

If you still happen to be using the OS, you may want to consider upgrading. Running an older, unsupported OS is not recommended for general security reasons. The latest bugfixes and exploit patches will simply no longer be issued, and Microsoft will have nothing to do with the OS from this point forward.

AMD's RX 500 Series Reportedly Delayed

We've previously covered how AMD's RX 500 series is to be a rebrand of the company's successful RX 400 series. Previous reports pegged the RX 500 series' launch on April 11th; now, it would seem that there has been a slight, one-week delay on the launch date, with it having been pushed back to April 18th. Apparently, this delay is looking to allow more time to "fine-tune the drivers".

The RX 500 series are purportedly straight rebrands from equivalent RX 400 series GPUs (RX 580 will be a rebrand of the RX 480, and so on down the ladder). The need for driver fine-tuning seems a little baffling considering these straight rebrands, but may have more to do with the reported Polaris 12 chips that are expected for launch than any other metric. Remember, RX 500 chips are expected to carry somewhat higher clock-speeds than their RX 400 originals, with some improved power/performance ratio being derived from improvements in foundry processes. But if the rebranding scheme holds up, don't expect these to bring in any meaningful changes towards these cards' performance. AMD is hoping Polaris tides them over through the mainstream market until it can introduce its Vega-based, high-performance GPUs, which are heralded to mark AMD's return to the high-performance consumer graphics segment in a while. Fingers crossed.

Source: eTeknixSource: Thanks @TheMailMan78!

Phanteks Introduces the Glacier G1080 Ti Founders Edition

With the release of Nvidia's newest flagship gaming GPU, the GTX 1080 Ti, Phanteks is excited to introduce the Glacier Series G1080 Ti. The full cover waterblock from Phanteks are designed to work seamlessly with Nvidia's new GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition and Titan X cards, which allows serious overclocking and extreme performance.

Made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks, the G1080Ti water block delivers extreme cooling and improve stability under high overclocks for the enthusiasts. VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity. The Glacier Series features RGB lighting to let you synchronize lighting patterns and effects from our RGB motherboard and Phanteks RGB products. Phanteks Glacier G1080 Ti will be available in April, 2017 with two color options: Mirrored Chrome and Satin Black, with pricing set at €149,90 / £129.99.

Microsoft Introducing Playable Ads on its Windows Store

Windows store and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps have received a lukewarm response from users (to put it mildly). That said, Microsoft has been taking strides so as to lend credibility to its app store and increase awareness towards its apps, looking to garner the public's - and therefore, the developers' - attention. However, it's obvious that there is still a long way to go.

Now, Windows is looking to introduce Playable Ads on the Windows store. These aren't quite like what they sound - they aren't "playable" in the gaming sense of the word. What this is, is a renewed way for Windows users to try out the ads that Microsoft relentlessly pushes on its Windows Store, by allowing users to test apps through the Windows Store interface without having to go through the hassle of downloading them, testing them, being left wanting, and uninstalling them. With Playable Ads, users will be able to try out apps in the Windows Store interface, bypassing the need for downloads.

EK Releases EK-FB ASUS Z270E Strix RGB Monoblock for ASUS Z270 Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the world leading premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is proud to release a monoblock liquid cooling solution for several ASUS Z270 motherboards. EK-FB ASUS Z270E Strix RGB Monoblock is compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, thus offering a full lighting customization experience!

Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses the award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling performance. This water block directly cools Intel LGA-1151 socket type CPU and power regulation (MOSFET) module as water flows directly over all critical areas. It is a very high flow water block that can be easily used with the system using weaker water pumps.
Monday, March 13th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

Aerocool Aero-1000

The Aerocool Aero-1000 takes the same sturdy frame we have seen in the flashy and colorful DS 200, but wraps it in a clean and understated design with a solid use of materials as well as a set of good functional features. We take a closer look at the black variant to see if the clean-up makes sense.

Hype Trains and You: A PSA

Hype Trains are bad. They are not just bad because a random frog on the internet told you so either, they are bad because they build upon themselves to the point that you would believe a random frog on the internet if he said something beneficial about your chosen product.

It's not just technology either. It can happen in politics, religion, whatever. But they are bad, and not to be trusted. They aren't just bad for humanity and all that, they are bad for the products they represent. Yes, they actually hurt what they are hyping. Ryzen didn't benefit from the hypetrain anymore than Trump benefited from the "Trump Train." Allow me to explain (and please, put the foam back in your mouth for me uttering "Trump" in a tech article. That's the only time I promise).

Vega Shows Up Beating a GTX 1080 in CompuBench, But Hold the Hypetrain

The Vega based line of AMD GPUs are definitely a big unknown at this point, so any sightings or benchmarks of it are highly sought after by the rumormill. Well, here is another one to add to your pile of rumor-material folks: AMD has posted a card benchmark to Compubench that bests even the GTX 1080.

Why hold the hype?

There are two obvious issues. One, this is a compute only benchmark, and has little relevance to the average gamer. Two, in the same benchmark, a 980TI also beats the 1080. Stranger yet, the 1080 is also beaten by its little brother, the 1070. Take this one with a grain of salt, for the obvious reasons. It won't stop the the hypetrain from using this info to its own end, but maybe you can avoid being smashed by it by using some critical thinking.

AMD Says Ryzen 1700X, 1800X Have a Temperature Reporting "Offset"

AMD is now saying reports of poor thermal performance from the flagship Ryzen products can be attributed to a simple thing: Temperature Offsets. Apparently, to keep a "consistent fan policy," AMD has placed a 20C offset on the Ryzen 1700X and 1800X products, making them report temperature a good 20C above what the sensor reads. This interesting design choice may most assuredly be confusing to end users, but AMD is confident software will soon automatically adjust for this offset and report the true temperature when required.

In the same blog post detailing the changes on the 1700X and 1800X, AMD claims that temperature reporting "may be offset on certain CPU models so that all models on the AM4 Platform have the same maximum tCTL value." This could mean other future models would utilize a similar setup, so remember that moving forward with AMD's Zen-based lineup.

Source: AMD

AMD Says The Windows Thread Scheduler is "operating properly" for Ryzen.

In a blog post that is sure to stun many users expecting a "thread scheduler patch" in modern Windows versions for AMD Zen-based CPUs, AMD has apparently investigated the reports of thread scheduling issues and found that "the Windows 10 thread scheduler is operating properly for "Zen," and we do not presently believe there is an issue with the scheduler adversely utilizing the logical and physical configurations of the architecture."

So, if you were expecting a Windows 10 or maybe even 7 patch to address some performance concerns, don't hold your breath. The company notes that they tested both Windows 10 and Windows 7 and they "do not believe there is an issue with scheduling differences between the two versions of Windows." In other words, 7 is already ok as far as scheduling, no patch required.

Intel Dips Its Toes on the Automotive Industry - To Acquire Mobileye

Intel and Mobileye announced on March 13 that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Intel will acquire Mobileye. Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of Intel will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash, representing a fully-diluted equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.

The acquisition will couple the best-in-class technologies from both companies, including Intel's high-performance computing and connectivity expertise and Mobileye's leading computer vision expertise to create automated driving solutions from the cloud through the network to the car.

HyperX Announces Cloud Revolver S Gaming Headset with Dolby Surround

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced it is now shipping the HyperX Cloud Revolver S with plug-and-play Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. HyperX has integrated Dolby Headphone technology into a new USB dongle that delivers immersive audio at the touch of a button. HyperX's signature memory foam and new wide headband design brings comfort for endless hours of gameplay. Designed for use by professional gamers and eSports teams globally, the premium headset also features multi-platform support, 50mm drivers and a noise-cancelling microphone.

Cloud Revolver S continues the HyperX tradition of award-winning comfort and competitive audio performance, while adding Dolby Headphone surround sound realism with a new HyperX audio dongle that is included with each headset. The Dolby Headphone 7.1 channel surround sound environment provides an immersive gaming experience - putting gamers right in the middle of the action for gameplay advantage.

ZOTAC Pushes Pure Performance With GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

ZOTAC International, a global manufacturer of innovation, is pleased to raise the stakes once more with ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, pushing the limits ever higher on speed and power with the NVIDIA Pascal Architecture. Like with other ZOTAC flagship graphics card series, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti will be available in AMP Extreme, AMP Edition and the Founders Edition.

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme and AMP Edition feature improved ZOTAC elements, emphasizing user experience befitting of a flagship product. From the tradition of quality hardware components to unique features, the ZOTAC AMP line of graphics cards bring much more than smooth frame rates and next generation immersion.
Friday, March 10th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
PSUs

The Carmack-ZeniMax Odyssey Carries On - Carmack Files $22.5 Million Lawsuit

Tough breakups aren't easy by definition, and the breakup between legendary programmer John Carmack and former employer ZeniMax has probably been one of the most worded of all. Now, Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack has filed a lawsuit against ZeniMax for $22.5 million, money he claims ZeniMax still owes him from id Softwares' $150 million sale to ZeniMax back in 2009. Carmack says the amount he is filling for is part of the $45 million owed to him for the sale, of which he has already been able to convert 22.5 million (the non-missing half) in ZeniMax shares. However, Carmack says ZeniMax is unlawfully withholding the remaining $22.5 million because of "sour grapes".

Carmack claims ZeniMax is holding back the payment as payback for "a series of allegations regarding claimed violations of Mr. Carmack's Employment Agreement", referencing the Zenimax/Facebook lawsuit over the supposed theft of trade secrets. However, Oculus was recently found not guilty of stealing trade secrets, though the court ordered the company to pay $500 million for copyright infringement, false designation and the violation of Palmer Luckey's NDA. Oculus is appealing the case, calling the prior ruling "legally flawed and factually unwarranted."

You Really Shouldn't Delid AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs

Power users sometimes really go the extra mile towards achieving the best performance on their hardware. And sometimes, this process includes delidding, as in, removing the processor's Integrated Heatspreader (IHS). This would allow for users to sometimes replace less than perfect TIM (Thermal Interface Material) companies use, achieving lower operating temperatures, and possibly even higher overclocks.

Well, you really shouldn't try to do so with AMD's Ryzen 7. The reason: attempting to delid said processors cost overclocking genius der8auer a grand total of 3 (three!) Ryzen 7 samples before he managed to do it without damaging the processor. This happens because contrary to other CPUs, AMD's Ryzen 7 IHS comes soldered to the chip, which obviously increases difficulty and risk of such a delidding process. Apparently, AMD did a pretty good job with the thermal interfaces of Ryzen 7 anyway - der8auer achieved only a 2ºC decrease in operating temperatures on the delidded Ryzen sample. Long story short: maybe it's not worth it. Especially if your cooling solution of choice isn't able to achieve proper contact with the CPU after the process. You can see a video of the direct cooling test, after the break.

OSVR Gets Sensics Home Suite - Proximity Alert System, Dedicated Home Screen

One of the things keeping OSVR from becoming a de facto platform for VR is that its software stack, being open source, still hasn't received as much development as Facebook's Oculus or HTC's Vive platforms. However, Sensics, one of the players which has put its stock on the OSVR ecosystem from the beginning, is aiming to gradually change that. Its recent introduction of the Sensics Home Suite brings, in itself, some much-needed quality of life improvements for any VR platform.

MSI Announces the Z270 Gaming M6 AC Motherboard

MSI is proud to announce a brand new Enthusiast GAMING motherboard, the Z270 GAMING M6 AC. Inspired from a futuristic armored spaceship, the Z270 GAMING M6 AC design with multilayer plating, wings and armaments emphasize an ultramodern style.

The complete motherboard and heatsink design offers a strong look and feel and uses heavy quality components to deliver the best performance and stability as the base of any gaming rig. Added features such as Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2, Twin Turbo M.2 with M.2 Shield, VR Boost, Killer LAN & Intel WIFI AC, and the option to fully customize the RGB LEDs to any color using Mystic light, makes the Z270 GAMING M6 AC one of the most high-end and desirable Z270 motherboards to build a gaming rig with.
Thursday, March 9th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Speakers
Storage

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11 GB

Today, NVIDIA released the GTX 1080 Ti, which is the company's fastest graphics card ever. It conclusively beats the much more expensive GTX Titan X in our testing. While the NVIDIA reference cooler looks amazing, its cooling potential could be improved, as our review shows.

SoftBank to Sell 25% Stake on ARM to Saudi Investment Group

After pulling off one of the highest-value acquisitions ever in the tech world through its purchase of ARM for $31 billion in September 2016, SoftBank is now looking to sell 25% of the company to a Saudi investment group. The $8 billion stake in ARM is being sold to Vision Fund, a $100 billion technology fund created by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. Six months later, SoftBank is in the final-stage talks towards conclusion of the sale.

This seems like an overly fast negotiation time towards the selling of such a large stake on ARM - especially considering the companies' increasing importance in the technology sector. ARM designs power more than 90% of the world's smartphones, and recent announcements of companies such as Microsoft in increasing ARM's presence in the server space point only to increased growth of the company. A sale in this state of affairs (and with such admittedly little information) seems a little... untimely.

Source: Techspot, New York Times

BIOSTAR Announces the RACING B350GT3, RACING B350ET2 AM4 Motherboards

BIOSTAR is proud to introduce new additions to its growing AMD RYZEN motherboard lineup designed with the perfect balance of cost and performance with the new RACING B350GT3 and RACING B350ET2 motherboards, the first micro-ATX motherboards for AMD RYZEN. Featuring support for AM4 socket processors including AMD RYZEN which deliver incredible multithreaded performance at less price than its competitor, the BIOSTAR RACING B350GT3 and RACING B350ET2 allows users who want to unleash the power of AMD RYZEN without spending too much.

BIOSTAR sets the stage for the micro-ATX AM4 market as the pioneer in including RGB LED function in its micro-ATX B350 motherboards. The BIOSTAR RACING B350GT3 is ideal for system builders and gamers that want an RGB lighting-capable system with the latest AMD B350 chipset. In addition to this, the BIOSTAR RACING B350ET2 sets itself apart from the competition by introducing 1.5V USB charger functionality and SATA POWER characteristics, perfect for iCafe owners who want to feature LED-equipped gaming headphones from the USB.

ADATA Releases the SD600 External 3D NAND SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules, NAND Flash products, and mobile accessories today launched the SD600 external SSD, which uses high quality 3D TLC NAND to offer 256GB and 512GB variants. The drive reaches speeds of 440MB/s read and 430MB/s write, easily outpacing external HDDs. It weighs a mere 90g for convenient portability, and works driver-free with Windows PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Android. The SD600 is available in all-black and red-black color schemes, and employs impact-resistant materials in its sporty design to support active lifestyles.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 378.78 Drivers

Remember that NVIDIA driver update that I mentioned yesterday? NVIDIA has just released into the wild. Version 378.78 of its GeForce driver suite provides the optimal gaming experience for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands and includes DirectX 12 optimizations which provide additional performance increases for a variety of titles. This release also adds official support for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and updates the SLI profiles for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Titanfall 2, and Tom Clancy's The Division. ANSEL support for Ghost Recon Wildlands is also baked into this update, which joins the likes of Dishonored 2, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Watch Dogs 2, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and The Witness, with Mass Effect: Andromeda support coming in at the game's launch.

Update: According to NVIDIA, average performance gains across all titles stands at around 16%. NVIDIA boasts of a 33% (no, that isn't a typo) on Tomb Raider; 16% on Hitman; Gears of War 4 sees a boost of 10%; Ashes of the Singularity makes do with 9%; and Tom Clancy’s The Division will get a 4% increase.

As always, you can get your driver fix right here on TPU. Just follow the download link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 378.78 Drivers

AMD Collaborates with Microsoft to Advance Open Source Cloud Hardware

At the 2017 Open Compute Project U.S. Summit, AMD announced their collaboration with Microsoft to incorporate the cloud delivery features of AMD's next-generation "Naples" processor with Microsoft's Project Olympus -- Microsoft's next-generation hyperscale cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development with the OCP community.

Through Microsoft's contribution of the Project Olympus design much earlier in the cycle than many OCP projects, AMD was able to engage early on in the design process and foster a deep collaboration around the strategic integration of AMD's upcoming "Naples" processor. The performance, scalability and efficiency found at the core of Project Olympus and AMD's "Naples" processor means the updated cloud hardware design can adapt to meet the application demands of global datacenter customers.
Wednesday, March 8th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Processors
PSUs
SSD

FSP Twins 500 W Redundant PSU

The FSP Twins 500 W is a digital redundant server-type PSU that can be housed inside a normal ATX chassis. It offers the hot-swap and redundancy features, but comes at a very high price, and with increased output noise.

EK Water Blocks Introduces Sleeved EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM pumps

EK Water Blocks, the world renowned premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is announcing the release of two new EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM units that include sleeved cables. The very popular and successful EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM pumps are getting a version with dense high-quality PET black sleeving on both the PWM and power cables as well.

Both the Acetal and Plexi EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM pump units are available with sleeved cables. Both the 50cm long power cable and 60cm long PWM signal cable are equipped with black high-quality dense PET sleeving. EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM is a high-performance liquid cooling pump, built around the market-proven Xylem D5 PWM water pump and revolutionary EK-XTOP Revo D5 pump volute/body with the revolutionary vibration-reducing mounting clamp.

NVIDIA Announces Continued Support for Ghost Recon Wildlands - Ansel Support

Slight heads-up: NVIDIA has announced that it is committed to providing gamers the best possible experience in the recently released - and TPU reviewed - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands. The company reiterated its complete support for the game with its Game Ready drivers (version 378.66). However, NVIDIA is counting on launching a new Game Ready driver later this week, which will "introduce Ansel support for Ghost Recon Wildlands as well as some other surprises for gamers."

NVIDIA, Microsoft Launch Industry-Standard Hyperscale GPU Accelerator

NVIDIA with Microsoft today unveiled blueprints for a new hyperscale GPU accelerator to drive AI cloud computing. Providing hyperscale data centers with a fast, flexible path for AI, the new HGX-1 hyperscale GPU accelerator is an open-source design released in conjunction with Microsoft's Project Olympus.

HGX-1 does for cloud-based AI workloads what ATX -- Advanced Technology eXtended -- did for PC motherboards when it was introduced more than two decades ago. It establishes an industry standard that can be rapidly and efficiently embraced to help meet surging market demand. The new architecture is designed to meet the exploding demand for AI computing in the cloud -- in fields such as autonomous driving, personalized healthcare, superhuman voice recognition, data and video analytics, and molecular simulations.

Microsoft Distances Itself from Intel - Announces ARM Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft is looking to reduce costs in its Azure cloud computing platforms for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data. And after having developed a version of Windows for servers that use ARM processors, in a joint work with Qualcomm and Cavium, Microsoft seems to also be looking forward to leave its dependency on Intel products as nothing but a memory. Microsoft's ARM server design, dubbed Project Olympus, looks to hardware innovations so as to reduce costs, boosting competitiveness and flexibility in regards to other big players in the cloud space, like Amazon and Alphabet. That the design is open source is also a boon to other businesses and Microsoft partners.


Though the design isn't "deployed into production yet (...) that is the next logical step," said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something (...) if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our roadmap."

NVIDIA Announces the Jetson TX2 IoT System

NVIDIA today unveiled the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, a credit card-sized platform that delivers AI computing at the edge -- opening the door to powerfully intelligent factory robots, commercial drones and smart cameras for AI cities. Jetson TX2 offers twice the performance of its predecessor, or it can run at more than twice the power efficiency, while drawing less than 7.5 watts of power. This allows Jetson TX2 to run larger, deeper neural networks on edge devices. The result: smarter devices with higher accuracy and faster response times for tasks like image classification, navigation and speech recognition.

"Jetson TX2 brings powerful AI capabilities at the edge, making possible a new class of intelligent machines," said Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "These devices will enable intelligent video analytics that keep our cities smarter and safer, new kinds of robots that optimize manufacturing, and new collaboration that makes long-distance work more efficient."

Arctic Announces the Freezer 33 Series CPU Coolers

ARCTIC announces its new Freezer 33 Series. The high-performance semi passive CPU coolers Freezer 33, Freezer 33 CO and Freezer 33 Plus are the successor models of the Freezer 32 series. They are equipped with PWM controlled 120 mm cooling fans and offset heat pipes to ensure optimal heat dissipation. The low footprint of the Freezer 33 avoids interference with the RAM, even if there are two fans used. Fast and easy to install and extremely reliable, the mounting system is compatible with Intel and the new AMD Ryzen AM4 socket.

Semi passive cooling makes the Freezer 33 coolers very efficient and extra quiet. During simple applications, such as creating documents, the CPU is cooled passively. The F12 PWM fan only powers up at a higher load, starting at 40 % PWM. In this way, an optimal cooling capacity at a low noise level is guaranteed.
Tuesday, March 7th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Processors

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Performance Analysis

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands is Ubisoft's latest open-world tactical shooter. We test this highly demanding game on a wide selection of graphics cards at full HD, 1440p, and 4K, at Ultra and Very High settings. We also took a look at VRAM usage using the GeForce Titan X Pascal.

Pioneer Unveils the BDR-211UBK Blu-ray XL Writer

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today unveiled its new internal BD/DVD/CD writer, the BDR-211UBK. The new model supports Ultra HD Blu-ray1 playback using bundled CyberLink PowerDVD14 software. The market for 4K resolution is expected to expand significantly as demand increases for definition higher than full HD. The BDR-211UBK meets that need, enabling PC users to enjoy 4K content via a PC, as well as providing up to 16x² maximum BD-R writing speed (BD-R: SL 25GB) and the ability to read and write a variety of BD (SL 25GB/DL 50GB) and BDXL (BD-R XL: TL 100GB/ QL 128GB, BD-RE XL: TL 100GB) discs.

AMD "Naples" is a 32-core Zen Based Monstrosity

AMD today unveiled the "Naples" enterprise processor, and it is big. The chip could mark AMD's return to competitive enterprise CPUs after years. The first "Naples" based part has some staggering specifications - 32 CPU cores spread across eight CCX units, SMT enabling 64 threads, an octa-channel (yes, eight channels) DDR4 integrated memory controller, an industry-leading 64-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, and AMD's new Infinity Fabric interconnect, which lets it talk to the neighboring CPU, in a 2P system. The IMC supports up to 2 TB of memory.

AMD will competitively price "Naples" against Intel's Xeon E5-2600 series 2P chips, offering more cores, wider memory interfaces, more memory support, and more PCIe lanes. AMD will tap into the good energy-efficiency of its "Zen" architecture to clock these chips competitively higher than Intel chips, to churn out more overall performance. AMD is scheduled to launch the first processors based on the "Naples" silicon, within Q2-2017.

MSI Unveils Camo Squad Limited Edition Products with Ghost Recon: Wildlands

MSI, world leader in gaming hardware, announces the Camo Squad Limited Edition series! Selected from MSI's powerful gaming lineup, the series include supreme gaming laptops, compact gaming desktops, heavy-duty gaming motherboards and high-performance gaming graphics cards. The military-themed collection is designed to make combat feel more visceral and is definitely an array that hardcore FPS fans wouldn't want to miss!

From March 7th until June 30th 2017, fans who buy selected MSI Camo Squad series products get the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands Game or Season Pass for FREE! The game, developed by Ubisoft, is scheduled to be released on March 7. In Wildlands, you are part of The Ghosts, an elite spec ops team, sent behind the enemy lines to break drug cartels in Bolivia, South America. Your task: take down the vicious criminal organizations in mind-blowing landscapes like mountains, rainforests and deserts. Moreover, in the MSI Camo Squad version of Ghost Recon Wildlands, a unique in-game T-Shirt with MSI logo is selectable for elite operatives in character customization. (Note: the game bundle deal is not available in China).

CRYORIG Readies Full AM4 Line Up and Free Upgrade Kit

With the much-anticipated release of the AMD Ryzen CRYORIG prepares to launch a full line of AMD Ryzen dedicated coolers as well as simple upgrade kits for existing AMD compatible CRYORIG cooling products. Beginning from Type A to Type D, there will be a total of 4 different AM4 upgrade kits depending on the corresponding CRYORIG product. Natively supporting Ryzen dedicated version models will begin to release later in Q2 2017 and will consist of the full CRYORIG cooling portfolio.

COLORFUL Unleashes the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition

COLORFUL Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, announces the most powerful GeForce graphics card ever created with the latest GPU from NVIDIA, the COLORFUL GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. Featuring 3584 CUDA Cores and 11GB of GDDR5X memory, the COLORFUL GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition is faster than a TITAN X and ensures incredible gaming performance in 4K or VR-supported titles. This is the Ultimate Geforce, made for the ultimate gamers.

be quiet! Announces the Pure Base 600 Window

be quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for eleven consecutive years, announced its latest ATX case, the Pure Base 600 Window. Meeting customer requests, be quiet!'s new all-rounder case includes a detachable tempered glass side panel and is available in an all-black design, as well as black with orange highlights. The stylish windowed side panel is also available separately for those who previously purchased a Pure Base 600 case and want to upgrade the case's design.

NZXT Announces Its Aer Series F of Cooling Fans

After announcing its Aer Series RGB fans, NZXT has now announced the Aer F series, which parts with the RGB lighting for a more subdued design. The press release reads:

"Continuing to deliver increased performance for PC gamers and builders everywhere, NZXT today announces the newest member of its Aer family of fans with Aer F. Designed to maximize airflow, Aer F is engineered to move air efficiently, letting even the most powerful systems breath with ease. Featuring the same chamfered intake and exhaust and winglet-designed fan blades found in Aer P radiator fans, Aer F delivers powerful airflow with reduced drag, minimizing resistance and vibration. Like its Aer family counterparts, Aer F is made with long-lasting fluid dynamic bearings further enhancing their durability and cooling performance."

Cooler Master Announces the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ Power Supply

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer power supply, case, thermal solution and peripherals, today announces the launch of the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ. Through its Japanese and German made components, this power supply will deliver the performance, reliability and quality you never thought possible. Sometimes good is just not good enough and with the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ, Cooler Master has spent over 165,000 hours with 40 Murata engineers to create what might very well be the last power supply you'll ever buy.

The MIJ part of the MasterWatt Maker 1200 MIJ name stands for Made in Japan, but it wasn't just made there, it was also designed in co-operation Murata, which is a well-known local electronics and components manufacturer, providing parts to clients active in the fields of robotics, communications, automotive, data center, security and space exploration.

Cougar Launches the "Revenger" RGB Optical Gaming Mouse

Cougar has now launched their "Revenger" optical gaming mouse, which features a fine-adjustment 100-12,000DPI ( PMW 3360) optical sensor and a 1,000Hz polling rate and 1ms response time. The Revenger packs six programmable buttons that promise to offer easy access to over 21 different functions. The mouse's internal 512 KB memory will allow you to store up to three different configuration profiles. All of these are managed by Cougar's own software solution, the UIX System.

Thermaltake Intros the Core P7 Tempered Glass Chassis

Thermaltake today introduced the Core P7 TG (tempered glass), a premium quasi-open-air chassis for premium, liquid-cooled builds. This tower-type chassis features a motherboard tray with dual orientation. You can orient your motherboard such that it is perpendicular to the plane of the base with its I/O area pointing upwards; or along the plane of the base (pedestal), with its I/O pointing towards the rear. The main frame holding the motherboard tray has two ends that turn 180° along hinges, so it can create "enclosures" around two sides of the tray.

The case features a multitude of radiator mounts, including 140 mm x 420 mm mounts along the two folding sides of the tray, and mounts for reservoirs and pumps in the reverse side of the motherboard tray. You also get multiple 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drive mounts, depending on how you orient the motherboard tray. The case features 5 mm-thick tempered glass panels. Available now, the Core P7 TG is priced at US $299.

PNY Intros the CS1311b Entry-level SSD Series

PNY today introduced the CS1311b line of entry-level SSDs in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, featuring SATA 6 Gbps interface. Available in capacities of 128 GB and 256 GB, the drives feature 3D TLC-NAND flash memory made by Micron Technology. The 128 GB variant offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 510 MB/s reads with up to 410 MB/s writes, and up to 42,000 IOPS 4K random reads, with up to 82,000 IOPS 4K random writes; while the 256 GB variant is slightly faster, with up to 560 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 510 MB/s writes; with up to 80,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 81,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The drives are backed by 3-year product warranties. Acronis True Image data migration software comes included. The company didn't reveal pricing.

DeepCool Announces Readiness for AMD Socket AM4 Ryzen Processors

In early 2017, what excites gamers is AMD brings innovation and competition back to the gaming world with the Ryzen 7. Along with this exciting news, end users are concerned about the cooler compatibility issue with the new AM4 socket. Deepcool, being a market-oriented professional thermal solution provider, is proud to show you a current list of AM4 compatible CPU coolers, including Gammaxx Series, ICE BLADE 200M, ICE BLADE 100, ICE EDGE MIDI FS V2.0, GAMMA ARCHER and etc.

Based on AM4 compatible solution, liquid cooling chassis like Genome II, Genome ROG Certified Edition, as well as high-end Aio liquid cooler Captain EX Series will be launched after the end of March, closely followed by many other featured coolers. Another great news is the specifically designed AM4 mounting kit for Captain EX series will be firstly available at Amazon US around Mid-March. For other countries and regions, upgraded kits will be arriving after the end of March.

ATP Reveals 3D NAND SSD Product Line at Embedded World 2017

ATP Electronics Inc reveals its new 3D NAND based SATA product line up on the Embedded World 2017 in Nuremberg. The products have gone through stringent chip as well as module level validation tests and will be manufactured using ATP's in-house self-packaging technology. Available form factors include 2.5", mSATA, SlimSATA and M.2 in various capacities, including intermediate densities such as 192 GB, 384 GB and 768 GB. The products will be showcased at ATP's booth in Hall 1, Booth #1-655.
Monday, March 6th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Processors

The Truly Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard

The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard in its current revisions 227 and 229 aims to get past the issues that plagued the predecessors to re-establish a loyal customer base. It features all new switches, updated firmware, support for niche keyboard layouts, full programmability and more in a form factor smaller than most keyboards.

Windows 10 Build 15048 Brings Mixed Reality Support and Demo

The latest Insider build of Windows 10 (Build 15048 for the curious) appeared at first to be a simple bugfix release. But hidden inside was a neat little gem for Mixed Reality developers: Support for the technology complete with a demo.

For most of us, this means little. Attempting to run the demo without a pricey Mixed Reality developers kit will only unlock a simulation of the demo, not an actual Mixed Reality experience. You will also need to enable "Developers Mode" on Windows 10's settings panel to enable the "Mixed Reality Portal" that leads to the demo in the first place.

GALAX Details Their GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition

GALAX has detailed their Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, "packed with extreme gaming horsepower, next-gen 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and a massive 11 GB frame buffer." As a casual reminder, the GTX 1080 Ti packs 3584 CUDA Cores, and runs at a 1480 MHz Base Clock and a 1582 MHz Boost Clock. The 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory chips deliver 484 GB/s memory bandwidth over a 352-bit bus. The GTX 1080 Ti's most interesting details, aside from its performance metrics and its $699 price tag, are the upgrade to a 2x dual-FET design, alongside a vapor-chamber cooling solution

All in all, there isn't much that differentiates the "Founders Edition" graphics cards from NVIDIA's AIB partners, save for the box art. I for one don't find my confidence and enthusiasm renewed by the clown's sight, but... Your mileage may vary?

Microsoft Windows 10 "Game Mode" Further Detailed

At GDC 2017, Microsoft trickled out a few more details regarding its upcoming "Game Mode" for Windows 10. If you remember, "Game Mode" is an upcoming Windows feature which is currently going through its "Beta" phase on Windows 10's Creators Update, which will purportedly improve performance in games or similar full-screen applications.

According to the details Microsoft let out, Game Mode will ultimately dive deeper than the simple attribution of higher priority to a game's process. Instead, "Game Mode" will be able to allocate entire CPU cores (whether there is any distinction between physical or logical cores wasn't disclosed) solely to the purpose of processing your game of choice. This will probably end the dynamic allocation of threads that currently occurs, where game processing can jump around in the cores employed, while also looking to ensure that the entirety of the CPU and cache is dedicated to the game. This could, theoretically, aid performance in some more exotic core complexes (I'm looking at you, CCX).

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.1

AMD has released the latest version of its Radeon driver package, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.1. The changelog indicates an improvement of up to 6% Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, as well as a new CrossFire profile for the same game. Also included is a big list of fixed issues, which we have included below for your examination.

You can download the drivers straight from TPU using the link below:

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.1

Reference GeForce GTX 1080 Ti PCB Compared with TITAN X Pascal

Feast your eyes on the first image of a reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, compared side by side with the PCB of the company's flagship (still) TITAN X Pascal. As you can see, the GTX 1080 Ti is based on the same PCB as the TITAN X Pascal, since the two cards are based on the same "GP102" chip (albeit with different core configurations). To begin with, the GTX 1080 Ti features 11 memory chips, compared to 12 on the TITAN X Pascal, on account of its narrower 352-bit GDDR5X memory interface. It makes up for the narrower memory bus with faster 11 Gbps memory chips, than the 10 Gbps chips found on the TITAN X Pascal.

The main difference between the GTX 1080 Ti and TITAN X Pascal, however, is NVIDIA bolstering the VRM with a 2x dual-FET design. NVIDIA basically placed an additional set of MOSFETs and capacitors along all the blank traces of the reference PCB. This approach lowers the load on each individual MOSFET, in turn lowering VRM temperatures. It probably also enables a higher power-limit. NVIDIA also updated the reference design cooling solution with a new vapor-chamber base-plate. The cooler also exhausts through the entire width of the second slot in the card's I/O shield. This meant sacrificing the DVI connector. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti goes on sale later this month, priced at US $699.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Overclocked Beyond 2 GHz Put Through 3DMark

An NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti reference-design graphics card was overclocked to 2062 MHz core, and 11404 MHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, and put through the 3DMark suite. The card was able to sustain its overclock without breaking a sweat, with its core temperature hovering around 63°C. Apparently, the card's power-limit was manually set to 122%, to sustain the overclock. In the standard FireStrike benchmark (1080p), the card churned up graphics scores of 31,135 points, followed by 15,093 points in FireStrike Extreme (1440p), and 7,362 points in the 4K Ultra HD version of the benchmark, FireStrike Ultra. The card also scored 10,825 points in the TimeSpy DirectX 12 benchmark. Overall, the card falls within 30-40% performance of an overclocked GTX 1080.
Sources: ChipHell, VideoCardz

AMD's Ryzen Cache Analyzed - Improvements; Improveable; CCX Compromises

AMD's Ryzen 7 lower than expected performance in some applications seems to stem from a particular problem: memory. Before AMD's Ryzen chips were even out, reports pegged AMD as having confirmed that most of the tweaks and programming for the new architecture had been done in order to improve core performance to its max - at the expense of memory compatibility and performance. Apparently, and until AMD's entire Ryzen line-up is completed with the upcoming Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 processors, the company will be hard at work on improving Ryzen's cache handling and memory latency.

Hardware.fr has done a pretty good job in exploring Ryzen's cache and memory subsystem deficiencies through the use of AIDA 64, in what would otherwise be an exceptional processor design. Namely, the fact that there seems to be some problem with Ryzen's L3 cache and memory subsystem implementation. Paired with the same memory configuration and at the same 3 GHz clocks, for instance, Ryzen's memory tests show memory latency results that are up to 30 ns higher (at 90 ns) than the average latency found on Intel's i7 6900K or even AMD's FX 8350 (both at around 60 ns).

AMD Ryzen 7-1800X Cracks Cinebench R15 World Record at 5.36 GHz

AMD Ryzen 7-1800X scored a Cinebench R15 world record, surpassing even the fastest overclocked Core i7-6950X 10-core processor based bench, in the multi-threaded benchmark. The eight-core Ryzen 7-1800X was overclocked by Swedish overclocker Elmor, to 5.36 GHz with all its cores and threads enabled, scoring 2,454 points in Cinebench R15, surpassing the previous world record on the HWBot leaderboard held by a Core i7-5960X overclocked at 6.00 GHz, by 9 points.

This feat also proves that at high frequencies, the "Zen" architecture exhibits higher IPC than Intel architectures such as "Haswell-E" and "Broadwell-E." Elsewhere in the world, German overclocker Der8auer successfully overclocked the Ryzen 7-1800X to 5.80 GHz (5802.93 MHz), with a base-clock of 130.4 MHz, and a multiplier of 44.5x, and an insane 1.97V core voltage. The best part? None of the 8 cores or SMT needed to be disabled.

Source: DigiWorthy
Saturday, March 4th 2017

MSI Unveils the TORX 120 mm Case Fan

MSI wants to monetize its innovations made in graphics card cooler fan designs. The company rolled out a "TORX" branded case fan that is based on the same design as the fans found in the company's TwinFrozr-series VGA coolers, first as part of its Core Frozr series CPU coolers, and now as in a standalone package. The unique selling point of these fans are the patented impeller design, which has two sets of blades in an alternating arrangement - the first kind of blades are traditional in design, which create a steady air-flow, while the second kind are called "dispersion" blades, which have a steeper curvature, that accelerates airflow.

The first TORX branded fan in a standalone package is 25 mm-thick 120 mm, with a conventional square frame, and rubberized mounts. It takes in 4-pin PWM power input, and spins between 500-1,800 RPM, with airflow ranging between 19.79-71.27 CFM, and a proportionate output noise range of 17.2-33.6 dBA. The fan hub features a fluid-dynamic bearing, and has a rated MTBF of 150,000 hours. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Friday, March 3rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
PSUs

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 with iCX Cooling Solution Pictured

EVGA is giving final touches to its premium custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3. This card features one of the largest VGA air-cooling solutions ever deployed by the company, its new large variant of the iCX cooler it introduced with the GTX 1080 FTW2. Three 100 mm fans are suspended along an industrial-looking frame-like cooler shroud, which holds an illuminated company branding on top. The card draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and as our EVGA iCX reveal article details, the cooling solution goes beyond the heatsink and its fans; and includes 9 (or more) temperature sensors located at various points of the card, not to mention asynchronous fan-control, which lets you tweak the speeds of individual fans.

BIOSTAR and TechPowerUp Racing GT Giveaway: The Winners

Here are the winners of the TechPowerUp and BIOSTAR Racing GT giveaway. Three lucky winners from the United States and Mexico, win one of BIOSTAR's finest socket LGA1151 Racing GT series motherboards, which includes one winner for the Racing Z270GT6 and two winners that get a Racing B250GT5, each. These motherboards feature powerful CPU VRM, RGB LED lighting preparation, and BIOSTAR's Puro Hi-Fi onboard audio solutions. Without further ado, the winners:
  • Daniel from the United States, wins a Racing Z270GT6
  • William and John, both from the United States, win a Racing B250GT5, each
TechPowerUp will return with more such interesting giveaways.

BIOSTAR Shows off First Mini-ITX Socket AM4 Motherboard

BIOSTAR showed off the industry's first socket AM4 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor, the Racing X370-GTN, based on AMD's top of the line X370 chipset. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 4-pin CPU power connectors, and supports all models of Ryzen processors, although we're curious how XFR will work with such slim power inputs. The board conditions power for the SoC using a 7-phase VRM.

The socket AM4 chip is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory; the PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and since this is an SoC, most of the board's connectivity comes from the processor, too. This includes two out of the board's four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot (reverse side, unseen), 2-4 USB 3.0 ports, and the display I/O. The X370 chipset puts out two additional SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and wires out the HD audio (115 dBA SNR CODEC), and a Realtek DragonLAN GbE controller. The company didn't reveal availability details.

G.SKILL Announces Flare X Series and FORTIS Series DDR4 Memory for AMD Ryzen

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is announcing two new DDR4 memory series, the Flare X series and FORTIS series, designed and tested specifically for the new AMD Ryzen processor platform. With a brand new architecture, processor, and chipset from AMD, high performance overclocking memory kits must be validated for optimized compatibility and stability for the new hardware.

Designed for the latest AMD Ryzen processor, the Flare X series DDR4 memory kit marks the return of the legendary G.SKILL Flare series that provided awesome performance in the previous generation of DDR3 memory. Built with carefully selected IC chips specifically tested and validated on the AM4 platform, the Flare X series will provide the best compatibility and stability for systems with the AMD Ryzen CPU.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti PGF Edition Graphics Card Pictured

ZOTAC released renders of its upcoming GeForce GTX 1080 Ti PGF Edition graphics card, its most premium offering based on NVIDIA's new enthusiast-segment GPU. The card has a design focus on both aesthetics and top-grade overclocking capability. It begins with a gargantuan triple-slot cooling solution that features a dual split aluminium fin-stack heatsink that's ventilated by a trio of 100 mm spinners. The cooler is outfitted with multiple diffused RGB LED lighting elements, along the top side, around the fan intakes, and towards the bottom. Even the back-plate has an acrylic layer that doubles up as an LED diffuser. Not much is known about the PCB, except that it draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and features a strong VRM, including a multi-phase capacitor; and support for the ZOTAC OC+ external overclocking module.

Inno3D Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChill Graphics Card

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of high-end hardware components and computer utilities, introduces its new flagship INNO3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. The new range will be available in Founder Edition and the premium iChiLL series. Designed on NVIDIA's Pascal architecture, INNO3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChiLL X3 and X4 simply own the concept of performance tops the previous flagship by no less than 35%. This makes it even faster in games than the world-famous TITAN X also built on NVIDIA's architecture. The new hero GPU comes packed with extreme gaming horsepower, utilizing next-gen 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and a massive 11GB frame buffer.

The new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChiLL X3 and X4 GPUs also come equipped with INNO3D's unmatched iChiLL cooling solution -awarded for better performance at lower noise levels- improves the overall active temperature control. The Herculez Armor back-plate protects the cards from outer damages as well and puts it way at the top of Ultra High End graphics cards in the world.

Fractal Design Announces Free AM4 Upgrade Kits for its Kelvin Series Coolers

Fractal Design has announced the immediate availability of free AM4 upgrade kits to Kelvin series customers ensuring that owners wanting to upgrade to the latest AMD line of processors will be able to continue to use their multi award-winning All in One Water Cooling unit.

Owners of the Kelvin T12, S24 and S36 choosing to update to the new AM4 socket processor from AMD will be able to apply online via our Support Ticket System. Kelvin users requesting an upgrade kit will be required to upload a copy of their AMD Ryzen CPU or AM4 supported motherboard receipt via "attach a file."

Apacer Announces the Panther Rage DDR4 Memory

After the huge success brought by PANTHER DDR4 released earlier, Apacer is ready to introduce the next-generation desktop gaming memory module, PANTHER RAGE DDR4 Illumination Gaming Memory Module, perfectly for gaming, overclocking, and M.O.D enthusiasts. Built with advanced technologies and a top-quality heat spreader, PANTHER RAGE DDR4 Illumination Gaming Memory Module comes with more cutting-edge designs and features, even including an LED lighting to mimic the glistening teeth of a panther to make the name more literal.

The PANTHER RAGE DDR4 Illumination Gaming Memory Module is designed to be compatible with the latest platform of Intel, offering clock rate options in 2400/2666/2800/3000MHz, with latencies of 16-16-16-36(2400/2666MHz), 17-17-17-36(2800MHz), and 16-18-18-38(3000MHz). It supports overclocking on Intel XMP2.0 without requiring manual adjustments on BIOS parameters to achieve maximized performances.

AMD Responds to Ryzen's Lower Than Expected 1080p Performance

The folks at PC Perspective have shared a statement from AMD in response to their question as to why AMD's Ryzen processors show lower than expected performance at 1080p resolution (despite posting good high-resolution, high-detail frame rates). Essentially, AMD is reinforcing the need for developers to optimize their games' performance to AMD's CPUs (claiming that these have only been properly tuned to Intel's architecture). AMD also puts weight behind the fact they have sent about 300 developer kits already, so that content creators can get accustomed to AMD's Ryzen, and expect this number to increase to about a thousand developers in the 2017 time-frame. AMD is expecting gaming performance to only increase from its launch-day level. Read AMD's statement after the break.

AMD's Ryzen Launch Processors Sold Out at Major Retailers

AMD's Ryzen launch may have been marred only by some unrealistic expectations on what is really an excellent all-around chip, which apparently prompted some knee-jerk pre-order cancelations and a stock tumble for AMD. However, it would seem AMD built-up enough momentum with its Ryzen launch so as to provoke some shortages in major retailers, despite the company announcing a million-strong launch stock for Ryzen.

All in all, Amazon and Fry's have no more stock of any Ryzen 7 processor and Newegg, which was supposed to carry boxed versions of the processor, is only selling it as part of a number of pre-built rigs. Demand has been higher than supply when it comes to Ryzen ever since AMD opened pre-orders for its prodigal child. Let's hope these are sorted out, and that AMD can feed the consumers' hunger for a long-time coming viable (as in, mesmerizingly great) alternative to Intel.

Seasonic Increases PRIME Series PSU Warranty to 12 Years

In early 2003 the ATX Mainboard 20-Pin connector was upgraded to the current ATX 24-Pin connector. Although rumors for another change have since been around, the 24-Pin standard continues and there is still no significant change in sight. Even as CPU speed, system components evolve, we still see many of our customers holding on to the most basic and important of their components, the power supply. We have end users reporting to us that their 10 years old Seasonic power supply is still running strong and we are so happy to hear this because this affirms that we have done what we set out to do; provide a long term, cost effective, and environmentally sustainable solution to our customers.
Thursday, March 2nd 2017

AMD Talks Zen 3, "Raven Ridge," and More at Reddit AMA

AMD, at its post-Ryzen 7 launch Reddit AMA, disclosed some juicy details about its other upcoming socket AM4 chips, beginning with the rest of the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 "Summit Ridge" processor roll-out, and a little bit about its 8th generation socket AM4 APU, codenamed "Raven Ridge." To begin with, AMD CEO Lisa Su stated that "Raven Ridge" will also be sold under the Ryzen brand. This would mark a departure from the less-than-stellar A-series branding for its performance APUs. "Raven Ridge" likely combines a "Zen" quad-core CPU complex (CCX) with an integrated GPU based on one of AMD's newer GPU architectures (either "Polaris" or "Vega").

The range-topping Ryzen 7 series will lead the company's lineup throughout Q1, with six-core and quad-core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 series launches being scheduled for later this year. Our older reports pinned Ryzen 5 series rollout for Q2, and Ryzen 3 series for the second half of 2017. This is likely also when the company rolls out "Raven Ridge" initially as mobile Ryzen products (BGA packages, which will likely also be used in AIOs), and later as desktop socket AM4 parts.

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Teased

It looks like NVIDIA's add-in card (AIC) partners have been given a free hand to put out teaser images of their upcoming custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. Earlier today, we caught the ASUS GTX 1080 Ti ROG STRIX, and now we get a glimpse of MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X. There's not much to see in the teaser-image, except the company's racy TwinFrozr VI cooler strapped on to what we spy to be a custom-design PCB. This appears to be MSI's topmost trim of the TwinFrozr VI, given that NVIDIA put in some work on improving its reference-design NVTTM (NVIDIA Time-to-market) cooler, with a vapor-chamber plate, and a dual-FET VRM design the lowers VRM temperatures. If there's a Gaming X card, then there is bound to be a pricier Gaming Z in the works, and a slightly affordable Gaming (non-X).

ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ROG STRIX and Turbo Pictured

Besides the NVIDIA reference-design $699-ish GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, which doesn't come with a $100 Founders Edition sucker-tax, ASUS is giving final touches to at least two custom-design models, the GTX 1080 Ti ROG STRIX, and the GTX 1080 Ti Turbo, pictured in a leaked press image, below. The GTX 1080 Ti Turbo is positioned to be the more affordable of the two, and it won't surprise us if ASUS prices it cheaper than even its reference-design SKU. The card features a lateral-flow cooling solution strapped onto a PCB that closely resembles the reference-design.

Next up, is the company's Republic of Gamers (ROG) STRIX card, which could likely come in two variants, an OC variant with factory-overclocked speeds, and a standard variant that either ticks at reference speeds, or close-to-reference speeds. These cards feature a beefier variant of the DirectCU III cooling solution the company launched with its GTX 1080 STRIX cards, which comes with ASUS Aura Sync RGB LED lighting. The cooler will be mated to a custom-design PCB with a strong VRM, multiple case fan-headers (yes, case fan headers), and preparation for front-panel VR HMD connectivity.

Source: Guru3D

Scythe Confirms AM4 Compatibility and Announces AM4 Mounting Kits

Japanese cooling expert Scythe confirms compatibility to the new socket AM4 and announces availability of AM4 mounting kits for it's CPU cooler product range. There are more than a handful of CPU cooler models, which are already compatible to the new Ryzen CPUs. Other models, such as the Scythe Mugen 5, can be easily upgraded thanks to the new AM4 mounting kit.

Antec Introduces the CUBE Special Edition Gaming Chassis

In the year of their 31st anniversary, Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, has announced the release of a new mini-ITX gaming case. The Antec Cube - Special Edition combines e-sports design elements with the reliability and build quality of Antec, into a small form factor case for gamers. The Antec Cube - Special Edition is now available in retail with a MSRP of 279 Euros.

The efficient interior layout of the Cube - Special Edition features one 3.5" HDD drive bay, up to four 2.5" SDD bays, three expansion slots, and accommodates graphics cards of up to 330 mm in length. To allow for a seamless building experience, the Antec Cube - Special Edition features a basement compartment that separates the PSU and allows for easy cable management. The side and top panels are fitted with darkened acrylic windows and an innovative, click system which enables users to open and close the case in a quick and easy way. This thought-out case could serve as a conventional PC, gaming rig, or home theatre device and media center, but is also well-suited for professional users.

NZXT Delivers AM4 Support for its Kraken Range

Coinciding with the new AMD Zen-based Ryzen CPUs, and the new AM4 socket, NZXT will be providing a free retention bracket for all current Kraken users. NZXT believes in providing high-quality components to our customers, in addition to exceptional customer service no matter where they reside and we will continue that support alongside the launch of Ryzen. All current Kraken users can request the free AM4 Kit using this page today. The AM4 Kit will allow current NZXT Kraken users to upgrade their coolers to support AMD's newest released AM4 Socket (Ryzen) Motherboards.

Sharkoon Announces the Shark Zone M52 Gaming Mouse

Sharkoon expands their lineup within the SHARK ZONE gaming series and introduces a new laser mouse with an RGB illuminated bottom. The integrated Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor offers a maximum 8,200 DPI and the sensitivity is individually customizable in 100 DPI increments within the included gaming software. The Sharkoon SHARK ZONE M52 Gaming Laser Mouse comes in a symmetrical design with a rubber, black surface and eight total programmable buttons. Omron switches in the left and right mouse buttons promise a long operating life cycle of at least 10 million clicks. The Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor achieves up to 8,200 DPI.

Sensitivity can be individually adjusted, by increments of 100 DPI, within the software from 100 DPI up to 8,200 DPI. Four DPI steps are factory preset and are conveniently selected via the DPI switch on the surface. Visually, the DPI steps are displayed through the white illuminated SHARK ZONE logo, in which the brightness changes per selected step. As an optical contrast, the M52 has an RGB illuminated bottom. Within the included gaming software, individual lighting effects can be selected from a total of 32 preset colors. In addition, the brightness can be adjusted in three steps to include pulsating illumination on the bottom.

MSI Releases Complete AM4 Motherboard Lineup to Harness Ryzen

Almost three years ago, MSI introduced the world's first AMD-based GAMING motherboard. Today, together with AMD, MSI sets a new standard for AMD-based GAMING motherboards with the launch of Ryzen. Based on the new AM4 platform, MSI unleashes a complete lineup of game-changing motherboards, ready to cater to gamers worldwide. Available in three GAMING segments: Enthusiast GAMING, Performance GAMING and Arsenal GAMING, there's a motherboard for every type of gamer.

Enthusiast gamers are looking for the absolute best in terms of performance, style and pushing the limits. To satisfy even the most demanding enthusiast, the X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is built on MSI's award-winning TITANIUM concept, using only the best components. Introduced in the industry in 2015, TITANIUM models inherit a sleek and unique silver design, beefed up with solid silver heatsinks and enough power to break world records when overclocking. The X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM is the first of its kind based on an AMD platform. For gamers looking to top the ranks in the world of eSports and enjoy the most immersive gameplay, this motherboard offers performance-oriented gaming features like: Audio Boost 4, GAMING LAN, Turbo U.2/M.2, M.2 Shield and VR Boost.

AMD's Ryzen Debut: Onwards to the HEDT Market or The Stumbling Hype Train

I should break down the bad news first: we here at TechPowerUp won't be able to provide you with a timely, straight-from-the-oven Ryzen review. Like some other publications, our Ryzen review sample failed to arrive on time. And trust us - we did will it to do so as much as we could, risking a Stranger-Things-esque nosebleed. Alas, to no avail.

The good news is that while we won't be able to offer you our own review of AMD and Jim Kellers' latest high-performance x86 brainchild, we will still strive to bring you meaningful coverage on it. This article aims to make an overall aggregation on review consensus, benchmarks and capabilities of the newest AMD CPU. Trying to add something, we'll also try and evaluate whether AMD learned - or didn't learn - something from its Bulldozer launch fiasco, in a pure marketing perspective. This will justify the editorialized nature of this article, but only after we dive straight to the numbers. Without further ado, follow on to the numbers.

Oculus Slashes Rift Pricing

After introducing Rift at a less than amenable price-point, consumers with an eye for VR have been left with the slight hope of decreasing product prices over time (I know I have). Now, Oculus has announced a "slash" in the Oculus Rift pricing - though this isn't as much a straight-up price slash as it is a bundle deal. Case in point: Oculus appears to have stopped selling standalone Oculus Rifts.

Before, you had to pony up 600$ for the Oculus package, with an extra $199 cost for the Touch controller package. After Oculus has moved an estimated 200,000 units, apparently the company is willing to entice more users by now selling a complete Oculus Rift + Touch controllers package for the same price as a standalone Oculus Rift would go for - $600. The company also slashed the price of the standalone Touch controllers to $99 (from the $199 they launched at) and dropped the price of the extra Constellation cameras from $79 to $59.

AMD's RX 500 Series of Graphics Cards Rumored as Rebrands of RX 400 Series

The folks at Heise online have put forward a report on how AMD's RX 500 series of graphics cards will be little less than direct rebrands of the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 GPUs that AMD introduced with its RX 400 series of graphics cards. Apparently, a straight rebrand is in order, with the RX 580 entering the fray in the place of the RX 480, the RX 570 substituting the RX 470, and so on. Heise reports that the Polaris 10-based RX 500 should see the light of day as soon as April 4th, with Polaris 11-based solutions coming in a little later, on April 11th.

Videocardz, however, reports that these will be slightly more than a straight rebrand - if you can call a slight bump in clockspeeds as trumping a rebrand. The RX 580 is supposed to ship with base clocks ar 1340 MHz (74 MHz more than the reference RX 480), with the RX 570 carrying a much less significant 38 MHz increase over its RX 470 counterpart. Videocardz also reports on the possibility of AMD introducing a new Polaris 12 GPU with the RX 500 series, which will apparently be an even lower-end part than even Polaris 11.

Team Group Announces the All New Compact & Solid L5 LITE Solid State Drive

Team Group, the world's leading memory brand, today announces the launch of the all new L5 LITE solid state hard drive. Using SATA III 6Gbps transfer interface, L5 LITE solid state hard drive is both lightweight and has a powerful read/write performance. The sequential read/write speed is up to 500 and 400 MB/s. It can help you improve your work efficiency quickly by save time and storage space, so your purpose for upgrading can be perfectly satisfied. L5 LITE offers consumers the best solution in entry level solid state drives. It not only greatly improves the performance of the computer, but also the best bargain for upgrading your desktop computer or laptop.

ENERMAX Intros ETS-N31, Compact CPU Cooler With a 92mm Fan

ENERMAX announces a new compact CPU cooler ETS-N31 for mainstream processors. With TDP capacity up to 130W, ETS-N31 is a budget friendly CPU cooler with effective cooling performance for entry-level and mid-range systems, such as budget workstations or gaming PC with a dedicated video card.

Compatible with mainstream sockets, including the latest AMD AM4
ETS-N31 comes with flexible mountings for Intel LGA 775/1366/1150/1151/1155/1156, and AMD AM4/AM3/AM3+/AM2/AM2+/FM1/FM2/FM2+. Furthermore, ETS-N31 also includes 1-clip fan bracket to help facilitate the installation.

Proven cooling techniques included & perfect RAM compatibility
ETS-N31 harnesses proven cooling techniques, VGF (Vortex Generator Flow, patented), VEF (Vacuum Effect) and HDT (Heat-pipe Direct Touch) to enhance cooling performance. Besides, this compact side flow cooler featuring asymmetric heat pipe design offers best possible RAM compatibility.
Wednesday, March 1st 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
Notebooks
Storage

Last Chance to Grab One of Three BIOSTAR Racing GT 200-series Motherboards

Did you sign up for our BIOSTAR Racing GT 200-series Motherboard Giveaway yet? Well, why didn't you? Win one of these three premium socket LGA1151 motherboards, one BIOSTAR Racing GT Z270GT6, or one of two Racing B250GT5, armed with BIOSTAR's most premium VRM implementation, and its PuroHiFi onboard audio solution, and preparation for RGB LED lighting. The giveaway ends tomorrow (3rd March), and is open to residents of the United States and Mexico.

For more information, and to participate, visit this page.

Rosewill Announces the EX-500 and EX-700 In-Ear Headphones

Rosewill announces its entry into high end audio devices with the EX-500 and EX-700 in-ear headphones with hybrid dual driver support. Engineered for those who seek astounding audio reproduction of their favorite music in high-resolution audio format or individuals who thrive for rich sounds, a wide soundstage, and crisp digital audio reproduction.

Both EX-500 and EX-700 were designed to deliver full range sound using state-of-the art technology, materials, and design. In order to produce a high-quality audio experience, Rosewill developed the EX-500 and EX-700 with oxygen-free copper (OFC) and durable, gold-plated 3.5mm plugs to maximize conductivity and keep sounds distortion-free.

NVIDIA Working on a Major DirectX 12 Focused Driver Update

NVIDIA is reportedly working on a major driver update that improves performance across the board on games that take advantage of DirectX 12. The company is working with major game studios to improve DirectX 12 performance by up to 16 percent on recent AAA titles, such as "Gears of War 4," "Hitman" (2016), "Rise of the Tomb Raider" and "Tom Clancy's The Division." Even "Ashes of the Singularity" is getting a performance improvement.

At its GeForce GTX 1080 Ti launch event, NVIDIA revealed that its "Pascal" and "Maxwell" GPU architectures are capable of tile-based rendering, a feature that significantly improves video memory bandwidth utilization. With the GTX 1080 Ti going on sale later this month, one can expect NVIDIA to release new drivers.

Source: OC3D

Gainward Intros the GeForce GTX 1060 IceSoul 6GB Liquid Cooled Graphics Card

Gainward introduced the GeForce GTX 1060 IceSoul graphics card, prepped out of the box for DIY liquid-cooling, with a factory-fitted full-coverage water block. This nickel-plated copper block with its clear acrylic top features LED mounts. The block is mated to a custom-design PCB that draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and employs a strong 8-phase VRM to drive out of the box clocks of 1620 MHz core, and 1847 MHz GPU Boost (vs. 1506/1709 MHz reference), with an untouched 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. This is the 6 GB variant of the GTX 1060, with 1,280 CUDA cores. The card features dual-BIOS, with a push-type toggle at the rear I/O. Outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0b and DVI. Launched in the mainland Chinese market, the card is priced at RMB ¥2,399.

Source: Expreview

Whatever Happened to the GTX 980 Ti to GTX 1080 Ti Step-up Programme

Just before Holiday 2016 (December), we were intrigued by a curious line in a LinkedIn job-posting, which at the time confirmed that NVIDIA is working on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and more importantly, that existing users of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti would have a priority in a pre-order queue, or a "Step Up Offer." A step-up offer is that in which GTX 980 Ti users would have the ability to trade-in their GTX 980 Ti cards for new GTX 1080 Ti cards, at a price significantly lower than buying a brand-new GTX 1080 Ti card. From the looks of it, there is no sign of such an offer.

The other, more scary detail about the GTX 1080 Ti, which was doing rounds at the time, was its fabled $999 price-tag, with fears of NVIDIA price-gouging with the new card so as to not cannibalize inventory of premium GTX 1080 cards in stock, some of which are still priced over the $700 mark. Alas, the GTX 1080 Ti launched at $699, a price we're sure NVIDIA partners with unsold super-premium GTX 1080 cards won't take kindly, and the GTX 1080 got its price cut to $499. NVIDIA is taking no chances with its market preparation for AMD's next-generation Radeon RX Vega.

EK Water Blocks Announces GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Compatibility

EK Water Blocks, the world renowned premium liquid cooling manufacturer, is pleased to announce that the existing EK-FC Titan X Pascal series water blocks are compatible with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA's new flagship gaming GPU. In order to simplify the search for suitable and compatible water block EK has already added NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card to EK Cooling Configurator database.

These water blocks are made in Slovenia, Europe and are available for purchase through EK Webshop. Aesthetic retention backplates, which also cool the backside (memory IC and VRM) of the circuit board, are also available.

QNAP Announces the Robust TS-1685 16-bay Tower NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced the new business-class TS-1685 desktop 16-bay Xeon D Super NAS that supports twelve 3.5" hard drives and four 2.5" SSDs, provides six M.2 SSD slots, and features a powerful Intel Xeon D processor to deliver outstanding performance with high-capacity storage. Designed to optimize enterprise IT infrastructure, the TS-1685 comes with three PCIe slots that support 10GbE/40GbE NIC, PCIe NVMe SSD, graphics cards, and USB 3.1 expansion cards to provide a complete business-ready storage solution incorporating security and scalability.

The TS-1685 leverages the high-performance Intel Xeon D multi-core processor and up to 128 GB DDR4 RAM to reach read speeds up to 2,339 MB/s with a dual 10GbE configuration. The dedicated four 2.5" SSD slots and six M.2 SATA 6Gb/s SSD slots excel in cache acceleration, and coupled with Qtier Technology the TS-1685 can continuously optimize storage efficiency across M.2 SSD, SSD, high-capacity SATA drives, and the optional PCIe NVMe SSD.

BIOSTAR Announces AMD B350 RACING Series Lineup

BIOSTAR is proud to announce its expanded AMD AM4 motherboard series lineup as it welcomes the new AMD B350 products in the RACING Series family of motherboards. Offering an amazing balance of value, features, quality and performance, the BIOSTAR RACING Series B350 motherboard lineup is designed for gamers who want a jump-off point for their gaming system using the latest AMD RYZEN processors at an affordable price.

Featuring support for the latest AMD RYZEN processors, the BIOSTAR RACING Series B350 motherboard will deliver performance for the next-generation of games while providing a quality platform for unhindered gaming. The BIOSTAR RACING B350 motherboards come with BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ and 5050 LED Fun Zone customization feature as well as FLY.NET network optimization software for maximum gaming fun with less lag. The RACING B350GT5 comes bundled with a free BIOSTAR VIVID LED Fan and will have an MSRP of $129. The RACING B350GT3 will have an MSRP of $109.

Khronos Group Announces OpenXR Initiative - Bridging Virtual Reality

The OpenXR working group - previously known as the Khronos VR Initiative - is creating an open and royalty-free standard for VR and AR applications and devices.

The Problem:
Without a cross-platform standard, VR applications, games and engines must port to each vendors' APIs. In turn, this means that each VR device can only run the apps that have been ported to its SDK. The result is high development costs and confused customers - limiting market growth.

The Solution
The cross-platform VR standard eliminates industry fragmentation by enabling applications to be written once to run on any VR system, and to access VR devices integrated into those VR systems to be used by applications.

NVIDIA's AIC Partners to Launch GTX 1080, 1060 With Faster GDDR5, GDDR5X Memory

At their GDC event yesterday, NVIDIA announced a change to how partners are able to outfit their GTX 1080 and GTX 1060 6 GB models in regards to video memory. Due to improvements in process and scaled-down costs, NVIDIA has decided to allow partners to purchase 11 Gbps GDDR5X (up from 10 Gbps) and 9Gbps (up from 8 Gbps) GDDR5 memory from them, to pair with the GTX 1080 and GTX 1060 6 GB, respectively. These are to be sold by NVIDIA's AIB partners as overclocked cards, and don't represent a change to the official specifications on either graphics card. With this move, NVIDIA aims to give partners more flexibility in choosing memory speeds and carving different models of the same graphics card, with varying degrees of overclock, something which was particularly hard to do on conventional 10 Gbps-equipped GTX 1080's, which showed atypically low memory overclocking headroom.

Antec to Offer Cooler Upgrade Kits For AMD's Ryzen and AM4 Platform

Antec Inc., a leading provider of high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself market, officially announced that they will provide users of their CPU coolers with mounting upgrade kits for the new AM4 socket of AMD's upcoming Ryzen architecture.

The upgrade kits will be available for Antec's CPU cooler models H600 Pro, H1200 Pro, C400, C40 as well as A40 Pro and will be part of the scope of delivery with all new and coming CPU coolers. In order to obtain the kits via Antec's Support Team (Europe.RMA@antec.com), users are required to fill in a form, upload a proof of purchase (electronic version, scan or photo of the invoice) of an AM4 motherboard or AM4 CPU as well as an eligible Antec retail CPU cooler.

On NVIDIA's Tile-Based Rendering

Looking back on NVIDIA's GDC presentation, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects approached was the implementation of tile-based rendering on NVIDIA's post-Maxwell architectures. This has been an adaptation of typically mobile approaches to graphics rendering which keeps their specific needs for power efficiency in mind - and if you'll "member", "Maxwell" was NVIDIA's first graphics architecture publicly touted for its "mobile first" design.

This approach essentially divides the screen into tiles, and then rasterizes the entire frame in a per-tile basis. 16×16 and 32×32 pixels are the usual tile sizes, but both Maxwell and Pascal can dynamically assess the required tile size for each frame, changing it on-the-fly as needed and according to the complexity of the scene. This looks to ensure that the processed data has a much smaller footprint than that of the full image rendering - small enough that it makes it possible for NVIDIA to keep the data in a much smaller amount of memory (essentially, the L2 memory), dynamically filling and flushing the available cache as possible until the full frame has been rendered. This means that the GPU doesn't have to access larger, slower memory pools as much, which primarily reduces the load on the VRAM subsystem (increasing available VRAM for other tasks), whilst simultaneously accelerating rendering speed. At the same time, a tile-based approach also lends itself pretty well to the nature of GPUs - these are easily parallelized operations, with the GPU being able to tackle many independent tiles simultaneously, depending on the available resources.
Tuesday, February 28th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Sound Cards
SSD
Storage

Rosewill RK-9300 Keyboard

The RK-9300 is Rosewill's latest keyboard built with function, form, and pricing all kept in mind. It uses genuine Cherry MX mechanical switches mounted on an aluminum plate and has a minimal bezel incorporating a clean look on to a sturdy peripheral. Add in dynamic backlighting, doubleshot ABS keycaps, and a sub-$100 price point and the RK-9300 is an attractive package to consider.

NVIDIA Announces Public Ansel SDK, Developer Plugins

NVIDIA, Ansel, a framework for doing real-time screenshot filters and photographic effects, has seen the release of a public SDK and a few developer plugins to boot. Unreal Engine and Unity have both gained plugins for the technology, and the tech is reportedly coming to Amazon's Lumberyard engine as well. This should most assuredly aid in the adoption of the technology, as well as open it up to new markets where it was previous unavailable, such as indie game development. The public SDK is presently available for download from NVIDIA directly at developer.nvidia.com/ansel

NVIDIA Announces DX12 Gameworks Support

NVIDIA has announced DX12 support for their proprietary GameWorks SDK, including some new exclusive effects such as "Flex" and "Flow." Most interestingly, NVIDIA is claiming that simulation effects get a massive boost from Async Compute, nearly doubling performance on a GTX 1080 using that style of effects. Obviously, Async Compute is a DX12 exclusive technology. The performance gains in an area where NVIDIA normally is perceived to not do so well are indeed encouraging, even if only in their exclusive ecosystem. Whether GCN powered cards will see similar gains when running GameWorks titles remains to be seen.

Shadowplay Now Automagically Records Your Greatest Moments

NVIDIA has announced a new SDK for its products known as Shadowplay Highlights. Shadowplay Highlights augments the existing recording game technology of NVIDIA Shadowplay to automatically capture hot moments in your favorite videogame. Whether it's your latest Triple Kill or a particular daring jump on the race track, if the game engine tells the SDK it's significant, Shadowplay spins up, combining previously recorded gameplay with live recordings, to create a perfect video of your glory moment. You can then edit the footage from within the game and directly upload it to a number of social networks.

The technology includes many options for quality or diskspace saving, and anything in-between. Of course, as with all things Shadowplay, the technology certainly will require a GeForce branded graphics card and support from game developers as well. A video demonstrating the technology follows after the break.

NVIDIA Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card at $699

NVIDIA today unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, its fastest consumer graphics card based on the "Pascal" GPU architecture, and which is positioned to be more affordable than the flagship TITAN X Pascal, at USD $699, with market availability from the first week of March, 2017. Based on the same "GP102" silicon as the TITAN X Pascal, the GTX 1080 Ti is slightly cut-down. While it features the same 3,584 CUDA cores as the TITAN X Pascal, the memory amount is now lower, at 11 GB, over a slightly narrower 352-bit wide GDDR5X memory interface. This translates to 11 memory chips on the card. On the bright side, NVIDIA is using newer memory chips than the one it deployed on the TITAN X Pascal, which run at 11 GHz (GDDR5X-effective), so the memory bandwidth is 484 GB/s.

Besides the narrower 352-bit memory bus, the ROP count is lowered to 88 (from 96 on the TITAN X Pascal), while the TMU count is unchanged from 224. The GPU core is clocked at a boost frequency of up to 1.60 GHz, with the ability to overclock beyond the 2.00 GHz mark. It gets better: the GTX 1080 Ti features certain memory advancements not found on other "Pascal" based graphics cards: a newer memory chip and optimized memory interface, that's running at 11 Gbps. NVIDIA's Tiled Rendering Technology has also been finally announced publicly; a feature NVIDIA has been hiding from its consumers since the GeForce "Maxwell" architecture, it is one of the secret sauces that enable NVIDIA's lead.

NVIDIA Cuts Price of its GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Card: $499

In the wake of its $699 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti enthusiast-segment graphics card launch, NVIDIA lowered the pricing of its previous GeForce "Pascal" flagship, the GeForce GTX 1080, which is now down to USD $499, from its launch price of $599 (custom-design baseline pricing). The GTX 1070 is unflinched for now, from its $349 baseline pricing. This launch should turn up the heat on AMD, with its HBM-powered Radeon RX Vega pricing, much in the same way the GTX 980 Ti steered pricing of the Radeon R9 Fury X.