News Archive

Thursday, April 27th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

Aqua Computer and Rockit Delidding Tools tested on Core i7-7700K

Intel mainstream CPUs have had a bottleneck in cooling due to poor heat transfer from the CPU die to the integrated heat spreader. Thanks to new de-lidding friendly tools released recently, it is now easier than ever before to handle this yourself and get a cooler running CPU. We examine two such solutions from Rockit Cool and Aqua Computer today, both of which promise fool-proof de-lidding and re-lidding.

be quiet! Pure Base 600

The be quiet! Pure Base 600 is aimed at the purists out there. There are no colored elements or a front door, just a clean and understated design. However, do not let that fool you as the chassis offers excellent liquid-cooling capability and a great amount of storage flexibility, all while being quiet, especially thanks to the built-in fan controller.

Intel Announces Record First-Quarter Revenue of $14.8 Billion

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter revenue of $14.8 billion, up 8 percent year-over-year on a GAAP basis and 7 percent on a non-GAAP basis. Operating income was $3.6 billion, up 40 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP operating income was $3.9 billion, up 20 percent. EPS was 61 cents, up 45 percent year-over-year, and non-GAAP EPS was 66 cents, up 22 percent.

The company also generated approximately $3.9 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.2 billion, and used $1.2 billion to repurchase 35 million shares of stock. Intel's board of directors has approved a $10 billion increase to Intel's share buyback program, which brings the amount currently available for future buybacks to approximately $15 billion.

Acer Unleashes Predator Triton 700 Compact Gaming Notebook

At Acer's next@acer global press conference in New York today, the company unveiled the powerful and thin Predator Triton 700 gaming notebook. The notebook's svelte 18.9 mm (.74 inch), 2.6kg (5.7 pound) aluminum chassis houses a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display and best-in-class computing technologies, striking just the right balance of size and performance without sacrificing thermals, features or rigidity.

"Building on the highly acclaimed Predator 21 X curved gaming notebook, Acer is proud to announce the new Predator Triton 700, an incredibly thin yet powerful gaming notebook," said Jerry Hou, General Manager, Consumer Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Our industry-leading AeroBlade 3D Fan with metal blades provides ultimate thermal performance, which allows us to pack massive computing power inside this ultrathin form factor without compromise."

Acer Also Announces Predator Z27 Series Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitors

Acer today announced two new 27-inch Predator gaming monitors that infuse the gaming experience with stunning visual clarity, vibrant colors, and remarkably smooth performance. The Predator X27 takes gaming to a new level with NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR at 4K resolution with a lightning-fast 144 Hz refresh rate, while the Predator Z271UV sports an 1800R curved panel and eye-tracking technology for intuitive gameplay.

Both monitors leverage Quantum Dot technology, offering a wider color range with higher brightness, deeper saturation and better accuracy to offer dramatically more vivid visuals with the Predator X27 supporting 99% of the Adobe RGB color space, and Predator Z271UV covering 130% of the sRGB color space. With a Quantum Dot film that is coated with nano-sized dots of various types that emit very specific colored lights, the new displays can produce a wider color gamut compared to standard monitors, increasing color purity and efficiency.

Acer Announces the Predator Helios 300 Gaming Notebook

At Acer's next@acer global press conference in New York today, the company debuted its new Predator Helios 300 gaming notebook line. Available with 15.6-inch or 17.3-inch displays, its matte black chassis incorporates tasteful red accents, providing a slightly edgy, fun design. Shipping with Windows 10, it offers powerful features and technologies at mid-range price points, making gaming notebooks more accessible than ever.

At the heart of the Predator Helios 300 is an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050Ti GPU combined with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 (7700HQ) or i5 processor (7300HQ) for outstanding performance. All of this processing power is supported with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory (upgradable to 32GB), a speedy SATA SSD and a 1TB HDD. An access compartment doors on the bottom of the notebooks makes it easy to upgrade memory and storage components.

Sharkoon Announces the B1 Stereo Headset

Sharkoon expands their range of gaming peripherals and introduces a solid stereo headset for demanding gamers. High quality 40 mm drivers win over not just computer gamers with its precise and powerfully specific audiophile sound. Optimum voice transmission is promised thanks to the pop filter microphone, which is also detachable.

The Sharkoon B1 Stereo Headset is all-black and leaves a solid, purist impression with its materials and workmanship. The reinforced headband, with synthetic leather and stylish stitching, is comfortably padded for optimum wear comfort. The massive height adjustors of the ear cups are made from brushed aluminium and promises corresponding longevity. Mesh metal covers decorate the outside of the matte finished ear cups. But it is the sound quality of the B1 which leaves a lasting impression. High quality, powerful 40 mm drivers are used, offering brilliant highs and sonorous bass with an audiophile sound.

Noctua Provides Free Mounting Upgrade for Intel's Upcoming LGA2066 Platform

Noctua today announced that it will continue its tradition of supplying customers with its premium-class SecuFirm2 mounting kits for novel platforms free of charge. While most current Noctua heatsinks support the new LGA2066 socket of Intel's 'Basin Falls' X299 platform for 'Skylake-X' and 'Kaby Lake-X' CPUs out of the box, older models can be upgraded with the NM-I2011 or NM-i20xx kits at no additional cost.

"We're determined to provide the best possible support to our customers and, over the years, we've sent many thousands of mounting kits free of charge to users who wanted to upgrade to new platforms", says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "With Skylake-X just around the corner, we're pleased to announce that we'll extend this offer for LGA2066. Owners of older Noctua retail heatsinks that don't support LGA2011/LGA2066 out of the box will be able to upgrade to the new socket free of charge!"

Asetek Receives Award of $600K After Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Asetek today announced that it has received payment of approximately $600 thousand as awarded in a patent infringement lawsuit against CMI USA, Inc. In December 2014, the U.S. District Court unanimously ruled in favor of Asetek on all claims in a patent infringement lawsuit against CMI USA, Inc. ("CMI") involving Asetek's U.S. Patents 8,240,362 and 8,245,764. The jury awarded Asetek damages representing a 14.5% royalty on CMI's infringing sales since 2012. After an appeal by CMI, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion in April 2017 affirming the prior rulings regarding infringement, validity, damages and injunction against CMI. Payment from CMI of approximately $600,000, including interest, was received by Asetek today.

"This award signifies another successful defense of Asetek's intellectual property," said André Sloth Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. "As part of efforts to build and maintain market share, we closely review and assess all competitive offerings for infringement of our patents. We are pleased with our success in defending them."

Razer Announces Lancehead Gaming Mice

Razer has announced the addition of two new gaming mice to their repertoire, with the Lancehead Wireless Gaming Mouse and the Lancehead Tournament Edition mice. These are both essentially the same, except that the Tournament Edition is wired, while the Lancehead Wireless gaming Mouse is... You guessed it. The wireless Lancehead makes use of something Razer calls Adaptive Frequency Technology (AFT) - frequency hopping that aims to avoid congested frequencies by setting up the optimal one each time the mouse is turned on, only changing it on a as-needed basis.

Synology Announces the FlashStation FS2017 NAS

Synology today launched FlashStation FS2017, a high-performance and scalable NAS designed for enterprise usage. Capable of handling over 90,000 IOPS in 4K random writing, FS2017 is perfect for big data analysis, video post-production, virtualization, and handling any demanding database application that requires high IOPS and low latency at the same time.

FS2017 is powered by an 8-core Intel Xeon D processor together with 16 Gigabytes of DDR4 ECC RDIMM that is expandable up to 128GB. The cutting-edge hardware delivers high performance and throughput even with multitasking and multiple virtual machines hosted. Four Gigabit ports allow simple plug-and-play into existing RJ45 based networks, ensuring continual network uptime. For higher bandwidth applications, the dual 10GBASE-T ports with the option of an additional 10GbE / 25GbE / 40GbE NIC can maximize throughput and meet data-intensive requirements.

X2 Announces the T6 ATX Chassis

The T6 computer case with a contemporary and all meshed front panel, based on the 0.5mm SGCC ATX chassis structure. The contemporary front panel is minimalistic and functional with USB2.0 | 3.0 and HD Audio on the top for easy reach. This well-designed tower structure provides sufficient space for hardware installation and component cooling. The chassis structure is prepared for adequate cooling, we have pre-assembled 1*120mm blue LED cooling fan in the front of the chassis and there is further space for another 1*120mm cooling on the front, 1* 120mm cooling fan on the rear and 2* 120mm fan on the side panel for additional VGA card and GPU cooling.

The internal space design is well thought out and supports a full drive bay rack for the installation of three drive bays 3.5 inch and two drive bays 5.25 inch, additionally you can mount two SDD drives 2.5 inch. There is room for the expansion of upgrade cards up to six units. Looking for a companion on one of your many computing adventures, well the luck is in your favor with the T6 ATX powerhouse which will help you lead to victory.

Thermaltake Intros the Pacific V-GTX 1080Ti Full-coverage Water Block

Thermaltake today introduced the Pacific V-GTX 1080Ti (model: CL-W183-CU00TR-A), a full-coverage water block designed for reference-design NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. Although not mentioned in its specs-sheet, the block could also work on TITAN X Pascal and TITAN Xp graphics cards, which use the same PCB. The block is made of nickel-plated copper with a mirror finish at its GPU base, and features a clear acrylic top. The block has standard G 1/4-inch threads, with inserts along its top for LEDs. Measuring 22.6 mm x 131.2 mm x 238.5 mm (HxWxL), the block weighs about 890 g. The block also includes a back-plate made of 4 mm-thick aluminium. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVIDIA's Pascal GP108-300 GPU Pictured, Benchmarked - Powers Upcoming GT 1030

We've already covered how NVIDIA is looking to take a slice of the IGP-replacement discrete GPU market after AMD brought it back to life with the RX 550 (of which you can see some examples here). Considering how the last NVIDIA entry into this market was the GT 730, it's safe to say a refresh is past due.

The most recent information points towards a chip sporting 512 CUDA cores and a 30W TDP - absent of any auxiliary power connectors. Pricing should be close to the RX 550's, though the performance difference between both parts is still up in the air - though an average 12 FPS in Ashes of the Singularity on 1080p is nothing to write home about, even if that is expectable given the GPU's price/performance bracket. The GT 1030 is currently expected to make landing on the second week of May.

Source: Expreview, Videocardz

MSI Intros the A320M Gaming Pro Motherboard

MSI today introduced its entry-level gaming-grade socket AM4 motherboard, the A320M Gaming Pro. This board is based on the same exact PCB as the A320M Grenade, but tops it up with slightly more premium black capacitors, a pitch-black PCB (compared to brown on the A320M Grenade) and MSI's signature dragon red color scheme for some of the slots and connectors. The board could be priced slightly above the A320M Grenade. The feature-set of the two boards, however, appears to be identical.

Built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor, the A320M Gaming Pro draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the SoC using a 6-phase VRM. Expansion slots include one reinforce PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two PCIe gen 2.0 x1. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. USB connectivity includes six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports. 6-channel HD audio (Realtek ALC887 controller) and gigabit Ethernet (Realtek RTL8111H controller) make for the rest of it. The board features red LED illumination and RGB LED headers, which can be controlled using the Mystic Light app. Expect a sub-$80 price.

AMD Releases Chipset Drivers 17.10 WHQL with Ryzen Balanced Power Plan

AMD today released its latest platform core-logic (chipset) drivers for Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. The new version 17.10 WHQL chipset drivers are particularly important for AMD Ryzen platform users, as it installs a new Windows power-management plan called "Ryzen Balanced Power." This plan is better than the "Balanced" power plan Windows ships with, in that it hands over more power-management from the OS over to the silicon-level SenseMI power-management logic of Ryzen processors, which has more fine-grained voltage and clock-gating over cores, and which would otherwise cause latency issues with OS-level power-management using P-state triggers. The power plan is detailed at length in our older article. The power-plan is installed on machines with AMD A320, B350, and X370 chipsets. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Chipset Drivers 17.10

Seagate Technology Reports Fiscal Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Seagate Technology plc today reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 ended March 31, 2017. For the third quarter, the Company reported revenue of $2.7 billion, gross margin of 30.5%, net income of $194 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.65. On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes the net impact of certain items, Seagate reported gross margin of 31.4%, net income of $329 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.10.

During the third quarter, the Company generated $426 million in cash flow from operations, paid cash dividends of $186 million, and successfully raised $1.25 billion in investment grade debt. Cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled approximately $3.0 billion at the end of the quarter. There were 297 million ordinary shares issued and outstanding as of the end of the quarter.

Seagate And DJI Announce New Portable Drive for Camera Drones

Drones are creating more content than ever before, and with the announcement of the Seagate DJI Fly Drive, managing that surge of data is about to get easier. The first data solution to come from Seagate and DJI's strategic partnership, Fly Drive will allow drone pilots to efficiently back up their photo and video content on location, thanks to its large storage capacity, integrated MicroSD card slot, quick transfer speeds and durable build. It also comes with a complimentary two-month subscription to Adobe Premiere Pro CC, part of Adobe Creative Cloud-placing the keys to creativity in the hands of drone enthusiasts everywhere.

Latest Unity Engine's Beta Supports NVIDIA VR Works

While the Unity Engine isn't one used for cutting-edge triple-A releases, its workflow is considered by many to be one of the most scalable and platform-adaptable there is. The engine can be scaled all the way from 2D, text-based mobile games all the way towards 3D, VR presentations, which makes it a popular choice - particularly, to Indie studios. A slight sideline here as NVYVE Studio's P.A.M.E.L.A. is powered by Unity, and I have high hopes for that one piece of 3D interactivity.

According to Nvidia, adding VRWorks to titles created with the Unity Engine will now be significantly easier thanks to the recently released Unity 2017.1.0 Beta 2. Unity now doubles down as one of the most popular game engines for VR development (SuperHot VR was powered by it, for example), with Nvidia also stating that the Unity Engine is an important tool for other interactive experiences such as film, medical, tourism, design, education, and training, as well, proving the engine's versatility. As to VRWorks, it functions much like GameWorks: it's a suite of developer tools, APIs, libraries, and engines that are now available as a plugin in the Unity 2017.1.b2 update. Nvidia said that this provides developers an easy path to taking advantage of the SDK in their games and VR experiences. Namely, Unity Engine now includes plugins for Nvidia VRWorks technologies such as Multi-Res Shading, Lens Matched Shading, Single Pass Stereo, and VR SLI, and you can download the latest Beta version of the engine right from NVIDIA.

Source: Tom's Hardware, NVIDIA

Intel Readies 34 Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum Processor Models

Intel is preparing a new nomenclature for its Xeon line of enterprise processors based on core counts. The Xeon Bronze-3000 series will consist of chips with less than 10 cores, Xeon Silver-4000 series with 10 to 12 cores, Xeon Gold-6000 series with 14 to 22 cores, and the top-dog Xeon Platinum-8000 series with 24 to 28 cores. The company will address a variety of enterprise workstation and server markets with these chips. All chips in this lineup will be built in the new LGA-2066 package, and the Xeon Bronze and Xeon Silver parts are confirmed to be based on the "Skylake" microarchitecture.

What is also characteristic of these chips is their vast memory controller with six memory channels, and support for three DIMMs per channel. The top-tier Xeon Platinum-8000 series 28-core chip features 1 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 38.5 MB of shared L3 cache. Its TDP is rated at 208W, and it will be built on Intel's 14 nm process. The 28-core parts come with clock speeds under 2.50 GHz. The 34 Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum series processors Intel plans to launch over the year are tabled below.

Source: ComputerBase.de

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4 Drivers

AMD today released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4, its fourth release for April. These drivers come with optimization for "Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III," with up to 7 percent performance improvement seen on a machine powered by a Radeon RX 580. It also fixes display corruption seen on some machines with HDMI scaling, incorrect HDR colors on "Mass Effect: Andromeda," DirectX 11 mode stuttering on CrossFire machines in "Battlefield 1," a hang noted on Radeon RX 550 machines that haven't been rebooted for a long time, and some UI improvements with Radeon Settings. The drivers also add a curious looking shortcut to your desktop (check out the image below). Grab the driver from the link below.

Edit: In case you are wondering where that Quake Champions Beta shortcut on your desktop comes from, AMD's 17.4.4 driver installation stealth-adds that to your desktop, with a bit.ly tracking link, instead of directly to the official page. Looks like AMD is making some $$ from it, a referral id is included in the final URL destination, too.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.4
Wednesday, April 26th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
PSUs
SSD

FSP Windale 6

FSP looks to break into the cooling market with their brand-new Windale 6 CPU cooler. Featuring a 240 W TDP rating, this sleek black tower cooler certainly looks the part. The question is whether it can stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

AZIO MK Retro Keyboard

The MK Retro is AZIO's take on the humble typewriter modernized to the mechanical keyboard experience. Featuring unique aesthetics, pillar-style feet, and two color options to choose from, it aims to introduce some much needed style to the sub-$100 keyboard market.

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #1: ASRock and ASUS Issue Updates

A new feature we are planning here on TPU is a post every so often with the latest Ryzen related bios updates. This will happen more or less as significant updates happen, starting today. This is a starting post and will list all bios updates as of today. Future posts will include only the latest releases and reference this post.

This post will include the latest bios updates, which ones are "hot off the press" (new as of the past 2 days) and links to where to get them. As for the rest, I assume you know how to flash a motherboard.

Kaspersky Backs Away From Threat of Antitrust Lawsuit against Microsoft / Win10

Russian-based Kaspersky Labs is backing away from its earlier threat of an antitrust case filing with the European Commission, instead opting for a "wait and see" approach with regards to its complaints with Microsoft over Windows 10 and its included security software "Windows Defender."

Kaspersky Labs has been threatening to press an antitrust action since November 2016, when in a November blog post titled "That's it. I've had enough!" Chief Executive Eugene Kaspersky complained that Microsoft did not give developers ample time to prepare for a new Windows release, and was using their "compatibility checker" tool to effectively remove competing software in favor of Windows Defender.

NSA's Windows Exploit "DoublePulsar" Being Actively Utilized in the Wild

The "DoublePulsar" exploit exposed recently as part of the leaked NSA-derived hacking toolkit posted online, is set to become one of the more significant issues related to the leak. Not because it is unpatched, because it has been patched for roughly a month, but rather because according to a threatpost.com report, few users are as up to date as they should be.

SteelSeries Announces the QcK Prism Mouse Mat - 360º RGB Illumination

If you've ever wondered if you could get even more bling for your wrist area, and an RGB-crazed playground for your hairless rodent of choice, you need not look any further. SteelSeries has just announced availability of their QcK Prism mouse mat, which offers a psychedelic 360º of RGB illumination. All of this is powered by USB, but we do have an abundance of those on the back of our rigs (and in some of our monitors as well.)

This is achieved by a total of 12 separate, RGB-lighted zones, which integrate a 356.71 x 292.4 mm area (with 8.68 mm height.) The mouse sports a dual-sided, reversible design, with premium micro-textured cloth on one side (for added friction) and a hard polymer surface for faster gliding movements on the other. Users can just flip the side they want on top, laying it over the RGB-illuminated base to play with the surface resistance type that they prefer. It is also controllable via the SteelSeries Engine software and supports SteelSeries GameSense which will allow the QcK Prism to react to in-game events such as low ammo, health, kills, cooldown timers and more. Interestingly, SteelSeries pits its QcK directly against Razer's Firefly (I really like the "intuitive cable placement" selling point.) The SteelSeries QcK will be available to light your world for $59.99, or a murderous 75€.

Source: SteelSeries, ETeknix

Microsoft Advises Against Installing The Creators Update Manually

Apparently, Microsoft is alerting would-be Creators Update takers that doing so manually (as in, before its automatic update roll-out through Windows Update itself) may result in a bad first experience. Microsoft is therefore suggesting that the majority of Windows 10 users should wait for the Windows Update version of the (ahem) update, due to concerns with some hardware compatibility problems.

In a blog post, Microsoft give the example of a user who reported issues between a Bluetooth connectivity accessory (Broadcom-based) for their PC and Windows 10 Creators Update, which resulted in Microsoft blocking all machines with similar hardware from being able to update until issues are solved. I for one must say I manually updated my system on April 7th and found nothing wanting, so these really do seem like hardware-specific snags. Microsoft is apparently doing everything in its power to make sure adopters of the latest version of Windows find a hassle-free experience on the other side of their screens, which is commendable. This does seem like a sensible solution to the problem, with power users (or simply users who don't care about warnings and are confident on their success and hardware compatibility) still being able to update, while less tech-savy customers are left waiting for a proven version for their hardware configuration. Here's hoping that doesn't take long, since the 3D-version of Paint really brought back childhood joy (for some of us, at least.)

Source: Blog.Windows.com, Tom's Hardware

Patriot's Viper V570 Hybrid FPS/MMO Mouse Available for Purchase

Patriot have announced retail availability for their Viper V570 gaming mouse. This is a clear case of a company attempting to appease two different demographics at the same time, with the Viper V570 delivering a a sniper button for FPS games, as well as 13 buttons for your MMO requirements. While the design is something to look at, the aggressiveness of some curves could mean some polarizing potential in regards to its comfort. Patriot said that 13 buttons on the mouse are programmable, although it's not certain if that count includes the multiple functions of the click-wheel.

HGST Ships Ultrastar He12 12TB Enterprise Hard Drives

Western Digital Corp. today announced that it has begun shipping its fourth-generation helium-based hard drive with its 12TB HGST-branded Ultrastar He12 hard drive. The Ultrastar He12 12TB hard drive is the next generation of the company's award-winning high capacity enterprise-class drive with HelioSeal technology, providing customers with a data storage solution addressing the expansive information management needs and demanding performance requirements of today's enterprise, cloud and hyperscale workloads.

"We have again raised the bar in enterprise storage with the industry's most advanced and cost-effective highest capacity helium HDD storage solutions," said Mark Grace, senior vice president of devices at Western Digital. "The Ultrastar He12 hard drive advances Western Digital's portfolio leveraging the HelioSeal platform to deliver industry-leading high capacity HDD storage with exceptional power efficiency. Western Digital has shipped over 15M helium-based high capacity drives to date and continues to support our customers with outstanding reliability and Quality of Service (QoS). Our industry-leading data center portfolio enables customers across the spectrum to meet their evolving and dynamic data center demand."

EK Water Blocks Releases Monoblock for ASUS Maximus IX Apex

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new monoblock for the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS IX APEX hardcore overclocking motherboard. The ROG MAXIMUS IX APEX motherboard features two EPS 12V 8PIN ATX power plugs which mean serious overclocking potential, so the EK-FB ASUS M9A Monoblock is up to the task of cooling that powerful VRM.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new Intel Z270 Express Chipset LGA-1151 ASUS ROG Maximus IX APEX motherboard that supports the latest 7th generation and 6th generation Intel Core Processors as well. Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Gets a Small Price Cut

AMD has given its flagship Ryzen processor, the Ryzen 7 1800X, a small price cut. The chip is now priced at USD $469 on leading online retailers in the US, down from its launch price of $499. This $30 cut, however, isn't spread over to AMD's other Ryzen 7 series parts. The Ryzen 7 1700X continues to go for $399, and the Ryzen 7 1700 (non-X) around $329. Prices of the Ryzen 5 series six-core and quad-core parts seem unaffected, too.

AMD's flagship processor, the Ryzen 7 1800X features eight cores, SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs for the software to deal with, 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. It is clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz TurboCore frequency, and XFR (extended frequency range) unlocking higher automated overclocks depending on the effectiveness of your cooler. The socket AM4 chip is built on the 14 nm process, and has a 95W TDP rating.

AMD Radeon Vega in the League of GTX 1080 Ti and TITAN Xp

In an AMA (ask me anything) session with Tom's Hardware community, AMD desktop processor marketing exec Don Woligrosky answered a variety of AMD Ryzen platform related questions. He did not shy away from making a key comment about the company's upcoming high-end graphics card, Radeon Vega, either. "Vega performance compared to the Geforce GTX 1080 Ti and the Titan Xp looks really nice," Woligrosky stated. This implies that Radeon Vega is in the same league of performance as NVIDIA's two top consumer graphics SKUs, the $650 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and the $1,200 TITAN Xp.

It is conceivable that AMD's desktop processor marketing execs will have access to some privileged information from other product divisions, and so if true, this makes NVIDIA's recent memory speed bump for the GTX 1080 a failed gambit. NVIDIA similarly bumped memory speeds of the GTX 1060 6 GB to make it more competitive against the Radeon RX 580. Woligrosky also commented on a more plausible topic, of the royalty-free AMD FreeSync becoming the dominant adaptive v-sync technology, far outselling NVIDIA G-Sync.

Source: Tom's Hardware

id Software Talks AMD Ryzen, Hints at Heavily Optimized New Game Engine

id Software, the pioneering game studio behind "Doom" and "Quake," in a marketing video about how its developers and gamers are benefiting from AMD Ryzen processors, hinted that it is working on a new next-generation game engine that succeeds idTech 6, which is heavily optimized for AMD Ryzen processors. id CTO Robert Duffy spoke at length about how Ryzen is putting more CPU capabilities in the hands of gamers at attractive price-points, which is letting game developers add that much more content and production design that benefits from this level of parallelism and performance.

The most interesting part about Duffy's comment comes later in the video, where he talks about a new game engine that id is working on, which will be "far more parallel than idTech 6" (far more multi-core and multi-thread friendly), and that it will be able to consume "all of the CPU [compute power] that Ryzen can offer." Duffy also confirmed that "Quake Champions," the studio's upcoming online hero-based FPS, will be optimized for both Ryzen and Radeon Vega.
The video follows.

NVIDIA to Give Away Three VR Games with GeForce GTX + Oculus Bundle

NVIDIA is giving away three VR games with bundles of Oculus Rift VR headset, Oculus Touch controller, and qualifying GeForce GTX graphics cards. Game codes to three of the hottest VR titles, "The Unspoken," "SUPERHOT VR," and "Wilson's Heart" will be given away for free when you buy bundles of the Rift VR headset, Touch controller, with GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards. The bundles will be sold exclusively through Amazon and Newegg.

On the special promotion pages of these stores, you can match an Oculus Rift headset and Touch controller with an applicable GeForce GTX graphics card of your choice. A typical GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB + Oculus Rift + Touch controller bundle is priced around US $850, a GTX 1070 based bundle around $980, a GTX 1080 based bundle around $1,090, and a GTX 1080 Ti based bundle around $1,300.
Tuesday, April 25th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD

Thecus N2810 Pro 2-Bay NAS

The N2810 Pro from Thecus uses an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core CPU, which offers sufficient computing power for entry level users who are on a tight budget. It also supports high-speed transfers using two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and comes with HDMI as well as DisplayPort connectivity.

FSP Announces the Windale 4 and Windale 6 CPU Coolers

Global power and cooling specialist, FSP, is pleased to announce the new Windale series of supremely effective, ultra-quiet, heat pipe equipped fan-cooled PC heatsinks. The Windale 6 (AC601) and Windale 4 (AC401) bring a combination of extreme cooling performance with very low noise and vibration to a huge range of Intel and AMD CPUs - including the newest Core i7 and Ryzen processors. These new PC coolers are ideal for gamers, performance enthusiasts, and overclockers, as well as for general users who need quiet, reliable cooling and long CPU life.

Both the Windale 4 and Windale 6 feature CPU direct contact technology to remove heat from the CPU with maximum efficiency, protecting the valuable CPU and extending its lifespan. As their names suggest, the Windale coolers feature four and six heat pipes respectively, to spread that heat through the cooling fins. These louver fins are assembled with a patented solder-less technique which ensures unhindered heat transfer, unlike traditional soldered fins. Finally, the large, quiet 120 mm cooling fan drives up to 60 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air through the fins to dissipate the heat and keep the CPU running safely at optimum speed.

Logitech Delivers Highest Retail Sales Growth in Six Years

Logitech International (SIX:LOGN) (Nasdaq:LOGI) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of Fiscal Year 2017. Q4 closed a strong fiscal year with sales for the quarter reaching $496 million. Q4 retail sales grew 17 percent in constant currency, GAAP operating income more than doubled to $22 million and non-GAAP operating income grew 61 percent to $36 million.

Bracken Darrell, Logitech president and chief executive officer, said, "Our FY 2017 performance demonstrates the strength of our strategy. For the fourth consecutive year, we accelerated growth in retail sales. We grew across almost all our product categories and in all our regions. Many categories - Video Collaboration, Mobile Speakers, Gaming, and Smart Home - grew double digits, and PC Peripherals saw solid growth too. And we're just getting started. I'm excited by our pipeline of innovative products and the amazing world of opportunities unfolding in front of us."

MSI Bundles Optane Cache SSDs with Select Motherboards

In what could be the first of many such bundles by motherboard manufacturers, MSI is preparing special SKUs of its motherboards that include Intel Optane cache SSDs. The drives won't be free, but the bundle would be slightly cheaper compared to buying the board and the drives separately. These bundles will be demarkated as variants of existing motherboards, and will come with the drives pre-installed on the boards' M.2 slots. MSI announced two such SKUs for now, the B250M Bazooka Opt Boost, and the Z270 Tomahawk Opt Boost, which come with 16 GB Intel Optane memory pre-installed and configured.

The 16 GB Intel Optane memory offers burst speeds that are 14X those of regular hard drives. The latest Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver, when configured for Optane caching, juggles "hot" data (most frequently accessed data) in and out of the drive from your main storage (HDD or even SSD), thereby boosting performance. MSI did not reveal pricing of the two SKUs, but they are expected to be nominally cheaper than purchasing the boards and drives separately.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 381.89 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today has released another one on their "Game Ready" driver suite releases. This one brings with it support for the PC-exclusive Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III and Heroes of the Storm 2.0, as well as for Batman: Arkham VR, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, and Wilson's Heart.

The driver also comes with a small list of fixed issues, as per the release notes:
  • [Sniper Elite 3]: The game crashes.
  • [Notebook][eDP panel]: Blue-screen (code 3B) occurs followed by the Recovery screen during software un-bundling process.
  • [GeForce GTX 1060]: Blue-screen crash occurs pointing to driver (Nvlddmkm.sys) after the system reboots from sleep mode.
  • GPU idling voltage has increased.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 381.89 Game Ready

SMART High Reliability Solutions Announces 8TB Ruggedized SSD

SMART High Reliability Solutions LLC ("SMART HRS"), a provider of current and next-generation solid-state storage solutions specializing in ruggedized, high-performance and high-capacity solid-state drives ("SSDs") for defense, aerospace and industrial markets, today announced its new 8TB HRS-M1HC 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD. The HRS-M1HC is the latest in a growing product portfolio of highly ruggedized, reliable and secure SSDs from SMART HRS. The M1HC is designed for land, air and sea applications where collecting and storing large amounts of mission critical information is essential.

SMART's new HRS-M1HC builds on its predecessor the HRS-M1, leveraging all of the ruggedness and performance features of the M-Series product line, and is available in capacities of 1, 2, 4 and 8 Terabytes. The 8TB drive comes in a high-strength industrial design 9.5 mm enclosure while the 1, 2 and 4TB drives are housed in the same but a more compact 7.0 mm enclosure that addresses the size, weight and density requirements of more standardized applications. It's fast sequential read speed of 520 GB/s and write speed of 500 MB/s makes it a perfect candidate for many demanding defense, industrial automation, transportation, medical and telecommunication applications.

BIOSTAR Announces its Radeon RX 500 Series Graphics Cards

BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce its latest lineup of graphics card for gamers featuring the 2nd-generation Polaris architecture from AMD coupled with excellent gaming performance and higher clock speeds. Introducing the new BIOSTAR RADEON RX 500 series GPUs designed to be the perfect graphics upgrade for those looking to play modern games and experience VR at compelling prices and the prodcuts will be exclusively for Asia Pacific and China region.

The new BIOSTAR RADEON RX 500 series GPUs include the latest flagship RX 580, together with the mainstream RX 570 and RX 550. The new GPUs feature support for DX12 and Vulkan API. Combined with technologies to help improve visual performance and display technologies to improve the overall gaming experience, gamers will fully enjoy their gaming experience with the new RADEON RX 500 series.

Tenda Unveils New USB 3.0 AC1300 Wireless Network Adapter

Tenda Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Shenzhen Tenda, is eager to announce its new U12 AC1300 Wireless Network Adapter. The U12 uses the faster USB 3.0 interface for better throughput on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Its an excellent companion for users not fully leveraging the bandwidth of their gigabit router, using dated built-in networking adapters with slower performance.

The U12 is a dual-band adapter with transfer speeds as fast as 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. It harnesses 256-QAM technology to break the limitations of the 802.11n protocol, achieving a higher 400Mbps throughput on the 2.4GHz band. Users can even select the specific operating frequency bands seldom used in their environment to avoid radio interference issues and network congestion.

Intel's Core i7-7740K Kaby Lake-X Benchmarks Surface

Two days, two leaks on an upcoming Intel platform (the accelerated release dates gods are working hard with the blue giant, it would seem.) Now, it's Intel's own i7-7740K, a Kaby Lake-X HEDT processor that packs 4 cores and 8 threads, which is interesting when one considers that AMD's latest mainstream processors, Ryzen, already pack double the cores and threads in a non-HEDT platform. Interesting things about the Kaby Lake-X processors is that they are rumored to carry 16x PCIe 3.0 lane from the CPU (which can be configured as a singularly populated 16x or as a triple-populated 1x @ 8x and 2x @ 4x PCIe ports. Since these parts are reported as being based of on consumer, LGA-1151 Kaby Lake processors, it would seem these eschew Intel's integrated graphics, thus saving die space. And these do seem to deliver a quad-channel memory controller as well, though we've seen with Ryzen R7 reviews how much of a difference that makes for some of the use cases.

AMD Confirms Vega is Launching this Quarter

Via Facebook, AMD has confirmed that Vega is nearly here - at least, as nearly here as a "this quarter" can be. This means Vega will launch in two-months time (Q2 extends through the months of April, May and June, after all.) Through a post on its Facebook page, AMD replied that Vega will be coming "when it's ready... And it will be this quarter."

According to previous leaks (and our own deep dive on Vega's architecture), Vega should go a long way towards bridging the power/performance gap between AMD and NVIDIA's GeForce series. It will be the first time since Fury that AMD will have a competitive, high-performance graphics design (expectedly, and hopefully, since no-one likes to buy over-priced graphics cards.) The fact that AMD has teased Vega in two different pieces of media that come out in May (Arkane Studios' Prey, which comes out on May 5th, and Alien: Covenant, which also comes out during the month of May.) I've previously posited that AMD wouldn't tease Vega's launch alongside one of the most promising games of the year without giving us the chance to power it through Vega come launch day, but as Prey's release date approaches and there is no more information on Vega (much less an announcement), it's looking increasingly likely that we'll have to wait until we can see that universe in all of its Vega-rendered glory.

Source: WCCFTech

You Can Now Purchase Intel's Optane Memory Accelerator

In case Intel's DC P4800X SSD (you know, the Optane-based SSD that sells for $1,520 for 375 GB) is too expensive for your wallet, Intel has now announced availability of the much more cost-effective Optane Memory accelerator, which is available in 16GB or 32GB single-sided M.2 2280 form factor drives. Just keep in mind that while you can order yours today, it's not meant to ship out until April 29th - but that's not too far off in any case.

If you're thinking of integrating one of these babies on your system (which actually do wonders for mechanical drives' performance, it seems, putting out 1.4GB/s data transfer speeds, as well as a 204MB/s low 4K read performance), just keep in mind compatibility is... iffy, as in, limited to the latest and greatest platform Intel has to offer. If you're not rocking something better than a Kaby Lake i3, and a 200 series chipset, you're out of luck. This seems like a strange occurrence, given that users with older, mechanical drive-based systems were looking to reap the greatest benefits from installing one of these puppies into their system, but this choice from Intel looks to stand more on platform support and the requirements of having such a technology in place than a way of artificially limiting compatibility. The 16GB model MEMPEK1W016GAXT starts at $45, and the 32GB model is expected to go for around $77.

Source: ETeknix
Monday, April 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium 11 GB

Palit's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium is the company's latest flagship card. It introduces a new fan design in which two stacks of two fans each operate in a counter-rotating fashion. Also, the card comes with a dual BIOS and a large overclock out of the box.

Windows 10 Creators Update Still Activates with "old" Windows 7/8 License Keys

Although Microsoft officially stopped offering free upgrades to Windows 10 back in the summer of 2016, it seems loophole after loophole keeps being discovered for those with a bit of computer knowledge to upgrade anyways. This latest loophole, which comes in the form of activating via an older Windows 7 or 8 key, is not exactly new. This method of upgrading was first released to ease free upgrades to Windows 10 during the official upgrade period, but was never switched off in the summer of 2016 as one would've expected. Nor was it switched off with the Anniversary Update, and now again, Microsoft seems content to leave it enabled even with its latest Creators Update.

Akasa Intros Newton S7 and Newton AC Fanless Cases

Akasa introduced a pair of fanless mini-PC cases for Intel's "Apollo Lake" and "Kaby Lake" NUC boards, the Newton S7 and Newton AC. The Newton S7 is designed to cope with the 15W TDP thermal loads of NUC boards with Core i3 and Core i5 "Kaby Lake" NUC boards, such as the NUC7i3BNK, NUC7i3BNH, NUC7i5BNK, and NUC7i5BNH. The Newton AC, on the other hand, is designed for Pentium and Celeron "Apollo Lake" based NUC boards, such as the NUC6CAYH and NUC6CAYS.

Measuring 176.5 mm x 200 mm x 53.5 mm (WxDxH), the Newton S7 features a chunky aluminium body that doubles up as a heatsink for the SoC. It offers one 9.5 mm-thick 2.5-inch drive bay. Its front-panel ports include two USB 3.0 type-A, HDA audio jacks, a hole for IR receiver, and two WLAN antenna holes at the rear end. The Newton AC, on the other hand, measures 140 mm x 111 mm x 51 mm, with one 2.5-inch drive bay, and cutouts for front IR receiver, USB type-A ports and HDA jacks. Both cases come with options for compatible power bricks.

Source: FanlessTech

EK Water Blocks Releases AM4 Monoblock for ASUS Crosshair VI Hero

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is proving its market leadership once again by releasing the first ever AM4 socket based monoblock tailor made for the ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard. The EK-FB ASUS C6H RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for the new AMD X370 Chipset AM4 socket based ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero gaming motherboard that supports the latest generation of AMD Ryzen and 7th Generation A-series/Athlon processors. Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools AMD AM4 socket type CPU, as well as the power regulation (MOSFET) module. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Like with every EK monoblock, EK-FB ASUS C6H features high flow design and this monoblock can be easily used with the system using a weaker water pump as well.

AMD Announces New Radeon Pro Duo - Polaris x2

Today AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced the world's first dual-GPU graphics card designed for professionals: the Polaris-architecture-based Radeon Pro Duo. Built on the capabilities of the Radeon Pro WX 7100, the Radeon Pro Duo professional graphics card is designed to excel at media and entertainment, broadcast, and design and manufacturing workflows, delivering outstanding performance and superior flexibility that today's creative professionals demand.

The Radeon Pro Duo is equipped with 32GB of ultra-fast GDDR5 memory to handle larger data sets, more intricate 3D models, higher resolution videos, and complex assemblies with ease. Operating at a max power of 250W, the Radeon Pro Duo harnesses a total of 72 compute units (4608 stream processors) for a combined performance of up to 11.45 TFLOPS of single-precision compute performance on one board, and twice the geometry throughput of the Radeon Pro WX 7100. The Radeon Pro Duo enables professionals to work up to four 4K monitors at 60Hz, drive the latest 8K single monitor display at 30Hz using a single cable, or drive an 8K display at 60Hz using a dual cable solution.

G-Technology Announces Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C Updates to its Product Lines

Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a global storage technology and solutions leader, today announced upgrades to its award-winning G-Technology product lines, including the addition of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity technologies. The upgrades optimize the speed and performance of these drives, meeting the growing needs of creative professionals who are capturing and transferring vast amounts of high-resolution content.

"G-Technology recognizes the need for a complete workflow solution that takes advantage of the power of Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing, Client Solutions, Western Digital. "The result is a substantial upgrade across several product lines that delivers reliable, fast, and easy-to-use storage solutions to fit the current and future needs of our customers."

HyperX Now Shipping Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse

HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today announced the US release of the HyperX Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse, designed to meet the needs of professional and aspiring competitive FPS gamers looking for a precise and consistent gaming mouse. To meet the performance requirements of gamers, a PixArt 3310 sensor was designed in for accurate tracking. Omron switches are used for fast response times, with 20M click reliability per switch. Winner of the prestigious 2017 RED DOT AWARD for design quality and craftsmanship, HyperX's first gaming mouse was designed by top engineers in the HyperX labs and with inputs from top professional gamers.

"HyperX is a great partner for over five years now and we are very happy to now game with the new Pulsefire FPS gaming mouse," said Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev, NAVI CSGO team member. "The Pulsefire FPS gaming mouse meets our performance needs and has a comfortable design for hours of practice and tournament gaming."

QNAP Announces TS-x53B Series NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the TS-x53B series NAS (available in 2-bay, 4-bay and 6-bay models) with a PCIe expansion slot to meet the growing performance and functional demands from SMB and SOHO users. "The TS-x53B is the first NAS in its class to provide PCIe expansion, which provides fantastic long-term potential for the NAS to be upgraded to include features such as SSD caching and 10GbE connectivity," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP. "For users who seek high productivity and smart workflows, the TS-x53B series offers a compelling choice in big features," Hsu added.

Powered by the 14 nm Intel Celeron J3455 quad-core 1.5GHz processor (burst up to 2.3GHz), dual-channel 4GB/8GB DDR3L RAM (upgradable to 8GB), SATA 6Gb/s drive support with integrated dual Gigabit LAN ports, the TS-x53B series delivers up to 224 MB/s read and write speeds while also maintaining the same outstanding performance with AES-NI accelerated encryption.

AOC Introduces the PDS241 and PDS271 Monitors - Designed by Porsche

AOC has partnered up with cr-designer extraordinaire Porsche to come up with sleek designs for two new monitors on its range. The PDS241 and PDS217 monitors both feature a (slightly yawn-inducing) 1080p AH-IPS panel, at 24 and 27" respectively. These come in thin as razors at 5.2mm, sporting a three-way-frameless design.

Apart from the sleek design and the stand (which is a hit-or-miss aesthetic choice from my perspective), there is nothing groundbreaking on offer here. You get technologies such as AOC's SuperColor WCG (100% sRGB coverage, and 90% coverage of the NTSC color space), flicker-free operation and low blue-light technology to help combat eyestrain. And these monitors won't set you back that much, at around $240 for the 24", and $330 for the 27", though you really are paying a pretty penny for that Porsche-christened design pedigree.

Source: TechRadar

Intel's Coffee Lake CPUs Likely Compatible With LGA 1151 Motherboards

Another interesting tidbit to have dropped from recent SiSotware leaks on Intel's upcoming Coffee Lake CPUs is that these could be backwards compatible with LGA 1151 motherboards that rock the 200 series chipset (and perhaps even the 100 series.) This last tidbit seems to be a bit of a stretch, even if it does end up being somewhat of a motherboard manufacturer's choice whether or not to issue updated, supporting BIOSes for the most recent Intel processors on their older boards. But why lose so many sales of motherboards equipped with Intel's upcoming, complimentary 300 series chipsets?

This piece of information comes courtesy of SiSoftware Sandra, again, where the 6-core Coffee Lake Intel chip, running @ 3.5 GHz, was tested in a Kaby Lake S platform - which features a 200 series chipset, no less. This means that there is a chance users will have a straight, drop-in upgrade path for Coffee Lake 6-core chips (seems Intel is no longer keeping all of those cores to themselves.) Doesn't that make the world seem a better place?

Source: WCCFTech

Intel's Six-core, Coffee Lake CPUs Surface in SiSoftware

Intel's upcoming Coffee Lake architecture, which is now all but confirmed to have been pulled forward by the company in an attempt to staunch the bleeding incurred from AMD's recently launched, table-turning Ryzen processors, has reared its head in SiSoftware. In some benchmarks, what is identified as a 6-core, 6-thread CPU from Intel surface, with a clockspeed @ 3.5 GHz, 1.5 MB L2 cache (256 Kb per core) and 9 MB L3 cache. This L3 cache is quite puzzling, considering how Intel's Kaby Lake architecture features 2 MB of L3 cache per core. If Coffee Lake were to keep most of Kaby Lake's design - which it will - then this chip should feature something along the lines of 12 MB L3 cache. The reduced amount of cache seems to scream at a disabled chip, but this could also be a case of a reporting error.

Yeston Announces the Triple-fan RX 580 GameAce

Yeston, the Chinese manufacturer of graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD alike, has announced what is one of the (as of yet) few triple-fan takes on the recently-released RX 580 graphics card. Yeston increased the graphics card's footprint by adding that third fan, which partially settles against a protrusion added by the card's backplate.

The center fan is 10 cm wide, while the outer fans are 9 cm - all temperature-level controlled, which means they remain idle until a certain temperature threshold is reached. There is a LED-backlit RX 580 logo on the side of the card, as well as Radeon RX branding on the backplate. The RX 580 GameAce is clocked at 1340 MHz, which probably means a Polaris 20 XTX chip. This model will not be sold outside China, which is a downer, since its cooling system seems interesting enough, and the card is pleasing in aesthetics. However, some of you might find a way to get them shipped to your doorstep if you so wish.

Source: Videocardz

Aorus Intros the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Xtreme Edition with 9 Gbps Memory

GIGABYTE today launched its second custom-design GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB graphics card that features faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 memory, the Aorus GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB Xtreme Edition 9 Gbps (model: GV-N1060AORUS X-6GD). The company had last week announced the triple-fan WindForce OC variant of this SKU. The Xtreme Edition card features a triple-slot, dual-fan cooler that features the signature X-shaped lighting ornament on the cooler shroud, sitting between the two 100 mm fans. Under this shroud is an aluminium fin dual-stack heatsink that draws heat from a copper base-plate that covers not just the GPU, but also the memory and VRM. A back-plate is included. The cooler shroud features RGB LED illumination.

The Xtreme Edition is positioned a notch above the card GIGABYTE launched last week, in featuring higher factory-overclocked speeds of 1620 MHz core, 1847 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 9026 MHz (GDDR5-effective) memory clock, against 1607/1835 MHz (core/boost) of the WindForce 3X, and 1506/1709/8008 MHz (core/boost/memory) NVIDIA-reference clocks. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe connector, display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0b and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GALAX and KFA2 Intro GeForce GTX 1080 Ti EXOC White Graphics Card

GALAX today introduced its more affordable custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the EXOC White. The card combines an NVIDIA reference-design PCB with a custom-design cooling solution that's characterized by its milky white shroud and fan impellers, and a white back-plate. Under the shroud is a strong aluminium fin dual-stack heatsink that employs five 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes to distribute heat drawn directly from the GPU die, to two aluminium fin-stacks, which are ventilated by a pair of 90 mm fans, which stay off when the GPU is idling. The cooler also features white LED illumination.

The GALAX GTX 1080 Ti EXOC White ships with factory-overclocked speeds of 1531 MHz core, 1645 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 11 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, against NVIDIA reference speeds of 1480/1582 MHz (core/boost). Galaxy's EU-specific brand, KFA2, also unveiled an identical version of this card under its name. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Source: VideoCardz

Akitio Announces the Node Lite Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure

AKITIO today unveiled their new Thunderbolt 3 PCIe box, the Node Lite. The new Node Lite is an upgraded version of their popular Thunder2 PCIe Box. The Node Lite features PCIe Gen 3, which provides much improved performance when using new PCIe cards such as video capture cards, RAID cards, NVMe SSD storage, 10G and even 40G network cards. The Node Lite is compatible with both macOS and Windows computers, making it the ideal companion for the new 2016 MacBook Pro as well as new Thunderbolt 3 Windows PC's.

The Node Lite features the same compact, tool-less design as the Thunder2 PCIe Box in a stylish new space gray outer case. Inside the case, the Node Lite features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can be used to daisy chain other Thunderbolt 3 devices as well as USB 3 Type-C devices. Another new addition is a DisplayPort version 1.2 port which can be used to connect an additional 4K@60Hz monitor.

Patriot Announces the Viper V760 RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

Patriot Memory announced its latest flagship gaming keyboard, the Viper V760 RGB. This full-size keyboard with a detachable soft-touch palm-rest features a standard 104-keyset with Kailh Brown mechanical switches, and 16.7 million-color RGB illumination. The keyboard's electronics offer N-key rollover and anti-ghosting. The included software lets you set macro functions and illumination color for each of the keys. The keyboard measures 510 mm x 200 mm x 72 mm, weighing about 1.6 kg. The company didn't reveal pricing.

NVIDIA Demonstrates GameWorks Flow Tech Under DirectX 12

NVIDIA Flow, was previously announced by the company in 2016's GDC as the new GameWorks implementation for combustible fluid, fire and smoke simulation (superseding NVIDIA's Turbulence and FlameWorks.) It makes use of an adaptive sparse voxel grid for maximum flexibility with the least memory impact, being optimized for use of Volume Tiled Resources when available. With this technology being implemented on the Unreal Engine 4 soon, the company is now looking to increase developer awareness of the tool by showcasing its capabilities.

In the video below, the company is showing off its DirectX 12 implementation of the technology, which showcases gas combustion that results into real-time simulation of fire and smoke in the air.


Source: Developer.Nvidia.com

HP Unleashes the World's Most Secure Mobile Workstations for Digital Reinventors

HP Inc. today announced its most secure and manageable HP ZBook Mobile Workstations to-date. The new solutions-packed devices include award-winning display technology, 3D graphics and server-grade processing power -- all in a compact, mobile design. With its new workstation line up, HP continues to offer world-class innovation to power filmmakers, designers, artists, explorers and other visionary thinkers.

"As a longtime partner to the creative industry, Z Workstations have earned their position as the ultimate innovative and reliable technology for creators," said Josh Peterson, vice president of product management for Z Workstations. "Our fourth generation ZBook Mobile Workstations are the most secure and manageable mobile workstations in the industry. By protecting the intellectual property of digital creators everywhere, HP enables the creative industry to focus on bringing their best work to-life without the worry of IP theft or breaches."

HP Announces New DreamColor Series Displays

Today at NAB, HP Inc. announced a true Cinema 4K display, arming color professionals with new features, like color-critical accuracy and automatic calibration, to produce the films and animations of tomorrow. Designed in collaboration with top visual effects and animation studios, the new HP DreamColor Z31x Studio and HP DreamColor Z24x G2 displays are enabling artists, photographers and filmmakers to do what they do best -- create -- without having to worry about lackluster display performance.

"From the purest black to the most vivid rainbow of colors, our new DreamColor display for Cinema sets the gold standard for color accuracy and ease-of-use at a disruptive price point to outshine the competition," said Josh Peterson, vice president of product management for Z Workstations. "The new DreamColor Z Displays will be a gamechanger for studios and digital creatives who rely on color-critical accuracy and extreme performance."
An early pioneer in the color-critical display market, HP DreamColor Displays, for PCs and Mac computers, have been an integral technology for major movie production and visual effects studios around the world. Since 2011, 80 percent of Academy Award Nominees for Visual Effects have used HP DreamColor displays. In 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored the HP DreamColor Display and its developers with the Scientific and Engineering Award.

ZOTAC Announces its ZBOX Desktops with Celeron "Apollo Lake" SoCs

ZOTAC announced a product update to its iconic ZBOX mini-PCs with new-generation Celeron "Apollo Lake" SoCs. The new ZOTAC Nano CI327 mini-PC is driven by a Celeron N3450 chip built on the 14 nm process, which embeds a quad-core "Goldmont" CPU clocked at 2.20 GHz, 2 MB of L2 cache, and Intel HD 500 graphics based on the Gen 9 LP architecture.

Measuring 127.8 mm x 126.8 mm x 56.8 mm, the ZBOX CI327 features two SO-DIMM slots that support up to 8 GB of memory, a 9 mm-thick 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gb/s interface, a 3-in-1 card reader, a 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 type-C port, two USB 3.0 type-A ports, 802.11ac WLAN with Bluetooth 4.0, and gigabit Ethernet. Display outputs include D-Sub, HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Source: FanlessTech

VisionTek Announces Its RX 500 Series Graphics Cards

VisionTek, a company whose last graphics card announcement we've posted here was on June 2015 with its Fury X and R9 300 line of graphics cards, has announced its vision for the RX 500 series graphics cards. This one seems a throwback to the RX 400 series, though, with Visiontek's "Overclocked Edition" GPUs carrying clockspeeds more in line with the prevous AMD series: 1,366 MHz for the RX 580, and 1264 MHz for the RX 570, respectively.

The VisionTek Radeon RX 580 8 GB comes with a slightly unoriginal take on the AIB partner design, sporting custom dual-fan cooler with a black-nickel aluminum shroud with 2x 8 mm and 2x 6 mm heatpipes for increased cooling capacity. The Radeon 570 4GB makes use of what is basically AMD's RX 480 reference design cooler, with a blower-style fan that ensures the GPU's heated air output exits the back of your case instead of lingering inside your system. VisionTek's Radeon RX 500 Series cards are now available through the company's website, with retailer availability to follow.

Source: Tom's Hardware

SK Hynix Announces its 8Gb GDDR6 Memory Chips

SK Hynix Inc. today introduced the world's fastest 2Znm 8Gb (Gigabit) GDDR6 (Graphics DDR6) DRAM. The product operates with an I/O data rate of 16 Gbps (Gigabits per second) per pin, which is the industry's fastest. With a forthcoming high-end graphics card of 384-bit I/Os, this DRAM processes up to 768 GB/s (Gigabytes of graphics data per second). SK Hynix has been planning to mass produce the product for a client to release high-end graphics card by early 2018 equipped with high performance GDDR6 DRAMs.

GDDR is specialized DRAM for processing an extensive amount of graphics data quickly according to what graphics cards command in PCs, workstations, video players and high performance gaming machines. Especially, GDDR6 is a next generation graphics solution under development of standards at JEDEC, which runs twice as fast as GDDR5 having 10% lower operation voltage. As a result, it is expected to speedily substitute for GDDR5 and GDDR5X. SK Hynix has been collaborating with a core graphics chipset client to timely mass produce the GDDR6 for the upcoming market demands.
Friday, April 21st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus 11 Gbps 8 GB

The MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus is built around the updated GTX 1080 NVIDIA announced recently. It comes with faster 11 Gbps memory chips and a decent GPU overclock, which results in a significant performance improvement. The cooler is also extremely quiet and runs very cool.

Digital Purchases Make Up Majority of US Video Game Sales, and Other ESA Stats

In the latest edition of "RTB's Obvious News," I present you with an alarming statistic:

Digital purchases make up most video game sales in the United states at around 74% of purchases, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

I know, I can hear it now: "Obvious news is obvious, R-T-B. Why'd you post this? Your news sucks!" etc etc. Believe it or not, I have a reason for bringing this seemingly lame study to your attention, and that's because despite the headline being lame, the study actually contains some interesting tidbits about the gaming market in general.

Microsoft Confirms Windows, Office 6-Month Update Cycle

Microsoft has been steadily increasing stability, features and, the company hopes, attractiveness of its latest Windows 10 operating system. Recently, its Creator's Update has brought, among other features, a performance-boosting Game Mode, a 3D version of the popular and (respectably ancient) Paint app, as well as increased privacy control, something users clamored for. Now, the Redmond company has confirmed that it's looking towards a six month update cycle for Windows 10 (thus aligning it with Office 365 ProPlus), looking to streamline and increase predictability of its support.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August 2016, and the Creators Update made its public debut on April 11 2017, which is already close to the six-month update cycle the company is now confirming (seven months, in this case.) Now the company has confirmed that it plans to release its next step on the Windows 10 operating system on September 2017. From then on, updates should arrive in a steady cadence, on every subsequent March and September. Each Windows 10 feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months, as is currently the case, and the company has also added that its System Center Configuration Manager will support this new aligned update model for Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10, "making both easier to deploy and keep up to date."

Source: Blogs.Windows.com, Tom's Hardware

Intel's X299 Platform to Counter AMD's X399 with 12-core CPUs

Intel's X299 HEDT platform, whose launch we recently covered as having been pushed forward by the company so as to better compete against AMD's upcoming X399 HEDT platform, has some new, juicy rumors floating about it. Namely, Bench.Life has reported that Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X lines of high performance CPUs will also feature 12-core offerings on its Skylake-X materialization, instead of just the previously reported 6, 8, and 10-core designs.

This really looks like an Intel that's stretching its manufacturing and chip design prowess so as to prevent itself from being buried in higher-performing, higher core and thread count offerings from its rival AMD, which has turned Intel's line-up in the mainstream consumer market head-over-heels already. Latest reports peg the new series as being presented on Computex 2017 (specifically, on may 30th), with availability being expected on June 26th. Which platform are most interested in, and what do you think of this move from Intel?

Source: Bench.life, Videocardz

PowerColor Announces the Radeon RX 550 RedDragon

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has released a new PowerColor Red Dragon RX 550 2GB GDDR5 added in the line of RX 500 series. It is based on AMD's latest GCN 4 architecture designed for GloFo 14nm FinFET that delivers premium VR capability, increased level of performance, smooth VR, seamless support for next-gen gaming monitors and CPU-free game streaming or recording.

Furthermore, the model also supports AMD's optimized DirectX 12,Vulkan Gaming, Radeon FreeSync, and Liquid VR. It has the features of AMD's newest technology called Radeon ReLive which supports 4K, 30 & 60FPS, HEVC & H.264 providing you smooth recording on lower power systems, and Radeon Chill which is an intelligent power-saving feature that regulates dynamically frame rate based on your movement's in-game.

XFX Launches its RX 550 Full and Low-Profile Graphics Cards

XFX has launched three variants of the RX 550 graphics cards, the tiny GPU that could, which AMD launched so as to bridge the enormous gap between IGP and its previous entry-line RX 460 (now RX 560) series of graphics cards. There are two low-profile versions of the RX 550, packing either 2GB or 4 GB of memory (whose amounts can be justified or not,) both with boost clocks set at 1203 MHz and 7000 MHz GDDR5 memory over a 128-bit bus. There is also a full-profile, dual slot RX 550, dubbed the Core Edition, and another Core Edition, though this one is a full-profile, single-slot solution.

All of these pack the same 1203 MHz boost clocks, so XFX is basically telling you to pick and choose the size of the graphics cards that best fits your use case, with improvements on cooling and sound profile that come with the larger, beefier cooling solutions. Display outputs stand the same among all the different cards, with 1x DVI-I Dual-Link, 1x DisplayPort, and 1x HDMI 2.0.

Source: Videocardz

HIS Launches Radeon RX 500 Series IceQX2 Graphics Cards

HIS has added two RX 500 series cards to its portfolio, one of which has one of the highest factory-overclocked boost clocks we've seen yet. The RX 580 XTR IceQX2 Roaring Turbo carries a 1430 MHz boost clock in Turbo Mode, as well as a 1411 MHz (at the level of Sapphire's Nitro+ Limited Edition RX 580) in OC Mode. The memory clock is set to a standard 8 Gbps (which is something I really don't understand, with the amount of headroom these usually have.) The board has one each of a 6+8pin power connectors so as to power this power-hungry card (relative to its performance, at least.)

ENERMAX Launches the D.F. STORM 3500 RPM, Self-Cleaning Fan

ENERMAX releases D.F. STORM fan, the new flagship 120mm fan which can operate at 3500RPM. The D.F. Storm can generate strong airflow up to 155.08(CFM) and static pressure as high as 11.131(mm-H2O). Furthermore, the high-speed fan includes the latest DFRTM technology for self-cleaning and the patented APS PWM design, which makes this fan an excellent cooling choice for servers, industrial applications or high-performance gaming rigs.

This super high-speed fan employs the Storm-Flow blades specifically designed to be used under extreme conditions. The solid design and the special shape of the fan blades will ensure low-vibration during operation. Unlike other high-RPM fans using two-ball bearing, D.F. STORM utilizes the ultra-silent Twister Bearing technology to deliver silent operation; moreover; its high-quality and heat-resistant components ensure 160,000 hours MTBF, even at high operating temperature.

Latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Introduces per Process "Power Throttling"

With its latest Insider Preview build of Windows 10 (Build 16176), Microsoft has introduced a feature known as "Power Throttling," which is essentially per-process power management leveraging the Intel Speed Shift technology available in 6th-gen and newer Intel processors. According to Microsoft, although Power Throttling currently requires Intel's "Speed Shift" tech, it will be expanded to earlier generation Intel processors that lack the feature in coming months.
Thursday, April 20th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking

iFi Audio nano iDSD LE

iFi Audio's nano iDSD LE is a little DAC/amp with big ambitions. It packs all the knowledge from the bigger DAC/amps in iFi's huge portofolio of products into a small package. Despite being small, it still features RCA line-outs, a very respectable headphone amplification circuit, and a 1000 mAh battery.

ASUS Brings "Tinker Board" Raspberry Pi 3 Competitor to North America

ASUS is bringing its higher-performing Raspberry Pi 3 competitor, the "Tinker Board" to markets in North America. Priced at a nice easy 54.99, ASUS touts the machines horsepower as being nearly double that of a Raspberry Pi 3 and says it is "capable of powering all of your projects from robots to media boxes to coding machine for budding programmers."

The machine's specifications are certainly more capable than a Raspberry Pi 3, and being it is Linux based there will certainly be a plethora of community support for this device. Interestingly enough, Android Support is a bit behind (being only on Marshmallow at the moment), but ASUS has a pledge for Nougat support in place.

Specifications are listed below, and I have also kindly provided a link to the products amazon page for those interested.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06VSBVQWS/

PS: Yes, I am aware this is not exactly "PC Hardware" but I felt enough of us might have some use for a cheap Single Board Computer to find this interesting.Source: HotHardware

StarCraft Available For Free From Blizzard, Nearly 20 Years After Launch

In 1998, I wasn't a StarCraft guy. My Packard Bell 486DX 8MB wonder that my parents refused to upgrade couldn't run it. That thing wouldn't do a merciful "fall-on-its-sword" act like all the other Packard Bells in the neighborhood either. The thing insisted on surviving until almost 2004 when my parents finally took it to the dump. I personally, got out of that hell in 2001 when I built my own system with an Athlon Thunderbird 1Ghz chip and a lofty 512MBs of ram, but StarCraft was never really my thing.

Now, the jokes on you, suckers, cause I can download it for free!

Samsung, Amazon Unveil Yet Another HDR Standard

And here I was thinking the whole point of having standards was to homogenize offerings for a given feature, ensuring the same minimal requirements were met by anyone (or any product) looking to carry a sticker emblazoning its capabilities. Yet here it is, another HDR standard, which Samsung and Amazon are calling HDR10+.

The HDR10+ standard looks to slightly bridge the gap between the HDR10 standard as certified by the UHD Alliance, and the Dolby Vision one, which boasted better HDR reproduction whilst carrying higher specifications to be adhered to. The greatest change in HDR10+: the adoption of Dynamic Tone Mapping, which stand upon variable dynamic metadata to help adjust brightness and contrast in real time, optimized on a frame-by-frame basis, a feature present in Dolby Vision but lacking on the UHD Alliance's HDR10, which resulted in some overly darkened bright scenes.

Dell Announces the UltraSharp UP2718Q: 27", 4K, HDR

Dell, which makes some of the best computer monitors around (though they really don't tend to be the most cost-effective), has announced a new addition to its line of monitors. The UP2718Q is a 27" monitor which boast of 4K (3140* 2160) resolution, and supports the UHD Alliance's HDR10 standard. Its peak brightness of 1,000 nits ensures its adherence to the HDR standards (which backs up to 400 nits brightness on non-HDR material), while the 100% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, 100% REC 709, 97.7% DCI-P3, and 76.9% REC2020 color coverage ensures this is a panel best used by professionals who need extreme color accuracy. Connectivity wise, we find 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x mini-DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0a ports, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and a hub of 4x USB 3.0 ports, two of which are capable of charging.

ZOTAC Also Intros GeForce GTX 1060 6GB AMP+ with 9 Gbps GDDR5 Memory

In addition to the GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme 11 Gbps, ZOTAC introduced the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB AMP+ graphics card with faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 memory (model: ZT-P10600G-10M). The card comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 1607 MHz core, 1835 MHz GPU Boost, and 9.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, which now churns out 216 GB/s of memory bandwidth; against NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 1506/1709/8008 MHz. The card features a short-length custom-design PCB that draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector, and keeps cool with a compact rendition of ZOTAC's IceStorm cooling solution, featuring two 90 mm fans, and a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ZOTAC Intros the GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme with 11 Gbps GDDR5X Memory

ZOTAC today introduced the GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme with faster 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory (model: ZT-P1080I-10P). The card is nearly identical to the GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme the company launched its GTX 1080 lineup with, but features 10% faster memory, which is factory-overclocked even further. The card ships with clock speeds of 1771 MHz core, 1911 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.2 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, against NVIDIA reference speeds of 1607/1733/10008 MHz (core/boost/memory).

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme 11 Gbps features a custom-design PCB with a strong VRM that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, to support the massive factory-overclock. It features a triple-slot IceStorm cooling solution by ZOTAC, which features a trio of 100 mm fans that ventilate a large dual-stack aluminium fin heatsink. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it is expected that this card replaces the older 10 Gbps memory-equipped AMP! Extreme.

Inno3D Announces GeForce GTX 1080 11 Gbps and GTX 1060 9 Gbps Graphics Cards

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of high-end hardware components and computer utilities, expands its portfolio with the new GeForce GTX 1080 11Gbps and GTX 1060 9Gbps graphics cards. The new entries will become available in the premium iChiLL range of products.

The new INNO3D GeForce GTX 1080 11 Gbps and GTX 1060 9 Gbps iChiLL gaming cards draw everything out of NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture and leave nothing go to waste. All power and cooling efforts are perfectly tuned making them the perfect choice to run the latest games, the most demanding design suites and last but not least Virtual Reality applications.

GALAX GeForce 1080 Ti Hall of Fame Poses for the Camera - 16+3 Phase Design

This here is probably the most beautiful AIB partner card I've ever seen (and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you are naturally free to disagree with me.) The pristine color scheme and subdued backplate design really stand out for me, as does the white PCB. Nitpicking, I hoped the power cables would not be color coded as they are, but I guess that would invite disaster.

CORSAIR Launches the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the release of the new CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti all-in-one liquid cooled graphics card. Combining the extreme gaming horsepower of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU with world-renowned CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti delivers the phenomenal performance of an overclocked GTX 1080 Ti with all the benefits of liquid cooling. Cooler temperatures, lower noise, higher clock speeds, and easy installation combine to allow the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to offer all the performance, with none of the compromises.

Developed in partnership with the expert graphics team at MSI, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the most advanced NVIDIA GeForce GPU ever made. Boasting an irresponsible level of graphics processing performance, the GTX 1080 Ti features 11GB of GDDR5X memory, 3,584 CUDA Cores and a massive 352-bit memory bus, allowing it to drive today's most demanding games and graphics applications at not just ultra-detail settings and high frame-rates, but stunning 4K resolution; it's the ultimate GeForce GPU for PC enthusiasts who demand nothing but the best. The Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti pushes that performance even further, with a factory overclocked GPU core frequency of 1,506 MHz, boost frequency of 1,620 MHz and a memory frequency of 11,124 MHz, squeezing every frame per second, polygon and pixel out of the GTX 1080 Ti GPU.

NVIDIA's Volta Reportedly Poised for Anticipated, Early Q3 2017 Launch

According to a report from Chinese website MyDrivers, NVIDIA is looking to spruce things up on its line-up with a much earlier than expected Q3 Volta Launch. Remember that Volta was expected, according to NVIDIA's own road-maps, to launch around early 2018. The report indicates that NVIDIA's Volta products - apparently to be marketed as the GeForce 20-series - will see an early launch due to market demands, and NVIDIA's intention to further increase pricing of its products through a new-generation launch.

These stand, for now, as only rumors (and not the first time they've surfaced at that), but paint a pretty interesting picture, nonetheless. Like Intel with its Coffee Lake series, pushing a product launch to earlier than expected has consequences: production, logistics, infrastructure, product roadmaps, and stock of existing previous-generation products must all be taken into account. And with NVIDIA just recently having introduced its performance-champions GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp graphics cards, all of this seems a trigger pull too early - especially when taking into account the competition landscape in high-performance graphics, which is akin to a single green-colored banner poised atop the Himalayas. And NVIDIA must not forget the fact that AMD could be pulling a black swan off its engineering department with Vega, like it did with its Ryzen series of CPUs.

TechPowerUp Announces MemTest64 - Test Memory from Within Windows

TechPowerUp today announced MemTest64, our lightweight, standalone utility that lets you test your system memory for hardware faults and other errors. The application has a graphical user interface (GUI), and can be run from within Windows, without needing any administrator privileges. MemTest64 can also be used to test the stability of your memory performance tuning, such as overclocks and tight timings. The utility puts your memory through a battery of test patterns, while juggling data from the memory to the page file. The app is portable, and does not require any installation. This is our first public release of MemTest64, after thorough internal testing. We welcome your feedback in the app's dedicated forum on TechPowerUp Forums.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp MemTest64 1.0

BIOSTAR Launches Two New Mini-ITX Motherboards for AMD Ryzen

BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the growing mini-ITX family of BIOSTAR motherboards with the introduction of the world's first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform and the first mini-ITX RGB LED-capable motherboards with AMD X370 and AMD B350 chipsets. BIOSTAR is pleased to welcome the new BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN mini-ITX motherboards into the RACING Series family. Both motherboards aim to deliver the best balance of form and function, delivering the full potential that the AMD AM4 platform offers especially with AMD RYZEN CPUs, all in a small package.

The BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN comes equipped with BIOSTAR 2nd-gen RACING features like 5050 LED Fun Zone with dual 5050 LED header for DIY customization, the BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ with full RGB LED control that lets enthusiasts design their own system lighting with precise control. Together with that, BIOSTAR also adds performance and quality features for maximum system performance and stability.

ADATA Launches ISDD361 Industrial-Grade SD Cards

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products,today launched industrial-grade ISDD361 SD cards. The cards employ meticulously-sorted and tested SLC NAND flash, and feature a hardened design optimized for extreme cold, heat, shock, and vibration. ISDD361 cards are meant for deployment in manufacturing, professional camcorder use, travel, photography, and military applications. They deliver up to 90 MB/s read and are available in capacities ranging from 256 MB to 16 GB.

ADATA uses only the best single-level cell Flash on industrial-grade SD cards. ISDD361 models employ SLC, which surpasses MLC and TLC (multi-level cell and triple-level cell) NAND flash in durability, longevity, and reliability. With ADATA A+ Testing methodology in place, users get SD cards with guaranteed quality, backed by a 3-year warranty.

NVIDIA Readies the GeForce GT 1030 to Compete with Radeon RX 550

With the Tuesday (18/04) launch of the Radeon RX 550 at US $79, the market for IGP-replacement discrete GPUs sprung back to life. NVIDIA is preparing to address the market with the new GeForce GT 1030 graphics card, based on its "Pascal" architecture. The SKU will be based on the new 14 nm "GP108" silicon, and could feature up to 512 CUDA cores, and up to 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit wide interface.

With tiny board and electrical footprints, one can expect the chip to rely on the PCI-Express slot entirely for its power, and come in low-profile and fan-less designs. It could feature an up-to-date I/O, including HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4, which its predecessor, the GT 730 lacks. The company could formally announce the GT 1030 around mid-May, 2017.

Source: Expreview

User Patch Unlocks Windows 7 and 8.1 Updates for Core "Kaby Lake" and Ryzen

Microsoft, in a bid to ensure users of 7th generation Intel Core "Kaby Lake," AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge," and AMD Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors stick to Windows 10, ensured that the three platforms don't receive software updates when running older Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 operating systems. A new user-made patch removes this draconian restriction, letting you install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on your new-generation CPU powered machine, and receive regular software updates through Windows Update.

The patch is open-source, so you can inspect its code, and available on GitHub. The author of the patch, Zeffy, discovered two new functions to system file wuaueng.dll after the March 2017 update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, labeled "IsCPUSupported(void)" and "IsDeviceServiceable(void)." This library is patched to toggle those two functions "1," telling Windows Update that the CPU is "supported" and that the platform is "serviceable," making it eligible to receive updates.

DOWNLOAD: New-gen CPU Windows Update Unlocking Patch for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 by ZeffySource: Github

Phanteks Announces the Enthoo Evolv MATX Tempered Glass Edition

Phanteks, award-winning case manufacturer, today proudly announced the successor to the very first Evolv case. The renowned Evolv MATX now sports luxurious hinged glass doors, RGB illumination and easy to access front I/O.

The latest installment to the Evolv family now sports magnetic tempered glass on hinges for easy and convenient accessibility on both sides. The silk screen printed glass panels and 3mm anodized aluminium exterior retains the sleek mimimalistic design that the Evolv is known for. Many enhancements to the internal layout provide support for long GPU's and extreme cooling with two mounting locations for radiators (up to 360mm in front and 280 mm on top).

GIGABYTE Intros Core i3 "Kaby Lake" Based BRIX IoT

GIGABYTE today introduced a powerful variant of its BRIX IoT fanless node. In contrast to its Pentium "Apollo Lake" SoC based siblings, the new GB-EKi3A-7100 ships with a Core i3-7100U "Kaby Lake" processor. The unit is also slightly larger, measuring 180 mm x 117 mm x 36 mm (LxWxH). You get two DDR4 SODIMM slots, besides a 32 Gbps M.2-2280 slot with NVMe support, so you can add your own memory and SSD. Connectivity includes 802.11ac WLAN with Bluetooth 4.0, gigabit Ethernet, RS232 serial COM, two 5 Gbps USB 3.0 type-A ports, and two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 ports, of which one is type-C. Display outputs include HDMI 2.0 and mini-DisplayPort 1.2 (driven by the integrated Intel HD 620 graphics core).

Source: FanlessTech

Samsung Announces Galaxy Book 12 Enterprise 2-in-1 Solution

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced pre-order sales and availability of Samsung Galaxy Book 12 with Windows 10 Pro, a 2-in-1 device that offers highly mobile workforces style, performance and productivity. Galaxy Book will be available for pre-order through select resellers beginning April 21 for $1429, which includes an S Pen and Keyboard Case, as well as Samsung's enterprise solutions, services and support. Device shipments will begin May 23.

"We see tremendous growth and potential for 2-in-1s in the enterprise, particularly in vertical markets like sales, finance, healthcare and retail industries where users move frequently between collaboration and productivity mode," said Kevin Gilroy, executive vice president of enterprise mobility at Samsung Electronics America. "Galaxy Book helps Windows 10 Pro users make an impression with a stylish and flexible device that's backed by the power, security and reliability of our Galaxy foundation."
Wednesday, April 19th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs

Phanteks Glacier 1080 GPU Waterblock

The Glacier GTX 1080 waterblock is among Phanteks' first ever offerings to the DIY watercooling market. It features integrated RGB lighting, an acrylic top with aluminum side covers, nickel-plated copper cold plate, and a split central flow design scheme for low coolant flow restriction.

ASUS Announces its Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 STRIX and Dual-X Graphics Cards

ASUS is excited to launch the RX 500 Series, an all-new line-up of gaming graphics cards powered by the latest AMD Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 GPUs. These new graphics cards are capable of delivering HD+ resolution gaming with ultra-settings, bringing new levels of performance to the market at an affordable cost. The ROG Strix RX 580 and Strix RX 570 are engineered with advanced cooling and reliability features to deliver superb gaming performance, plus Aura Sync illumination for the best in PC personalization.

The new models include the high-performance ROG Strix RX 580 series with higher clock speeds, MaxContact cooling, and FanConnect II technologies along with Aura Sync illumination for building a personalized high-performance gaming PC. The ASUS Dual RX 580 Series provides "sweet spot" graphics performance that is ideal for both VR and eSports gaming. Both RX 580 series cards feature 0dB wing-blade fans that spin down completely when the cards are idling or under lighter loads for blissful silence when you're surfing the web, watching movies, and even playing less-demanding games. You also get dual HDMI 2.0 ports, which is perfect for connecting a VR headset and monitor simultaneously.

ASUS VR-Ready VivoPC X Now Available

ASUS today announced the availability of the VivoPC X, an elegant and compact desktop PC designed for immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences. The VivoPC X is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core processor with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series graphics, and is fully compatible with the latest VR headsets. Its compact 5-liter chassis can be placed anywhere in the home, and has extensive connectivity features including four USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 2.0 ports for VR peripherals and controllers. The VivoPC X is designed for general consumers who are looking for a VR-ready PC that meets the hardware demands of VR tasks and entertainment.

From April 25 to June 13, users can purchase the Oculus Rift + Touch and ASUS VivoPC X Bundle at select resellers. ASUS, Oculus, and NVIDIA have partnered to bring you a complete package with everything needed to experience an immersive VR experience right out-of-box: an Oculus-Ready Desktop PC, Oculus Headset, and Touch Controller at a discounted price. In addition, users will receive 4 of the latest VR titles for free: Insomniac Games' The Unspoken, Superhot VR, Twisted Pixel's Wilson's Heart, and Oculus' VR Sports Challenge.

Intel Atom-based Puma 6 Modem Chipset has Severe Latency Issues, Many Cable Modems Affected

Sometimes as a news reporter, a story drops right into your lap. That was the case with me and my latest experience with my ISP rented modem, which I recently upgraded to support higher speeds.

The modem I got was based on the Puma 6 chipset, which is an Atom based chipset from Intel. I immediately noticed a more sluggish web experience, despite the bandwidth nearly doubling (going from 8 downstream pipes to 24 will do that). I began to google this issue, and came up with a much-underreported issue from a thread on dslreports.com where the dedicated members there have extensively documented the issues with the Puma 6 chipset, and Intel's apparent inability to patch them.

Cherry Announces B.Unlimited 3.0 Wireless Desktop

CHERRY, the specialist for computer input devices, presents a high-quality desktop set for everyday use with the B.Unlimited 3.0. The benefits of this completely redesigned keyboard-mouse combination are a high reliability, wireless operation, and an encrypted transmission of data signals. Through the abrasion-resistant laser inscription of key caps, the new B.Unlimited 3.0 is extremely durable.

The new B.Unlimited 3.0 desktop set consists of a high-quality keyboard and mouse and is designed for continuous use. CHERRY has opted for robust materials which hold even under daily office operations. The characters on the key caps are laser-etched, resulting in an abrasion-resistant label. The keyboard itself features SX keys with scissor technology that are guaranteed to last over 20 million actuations. The desktop set is rounded off by a symmetrical three-button mouse with an infrared sensor that can be switched between 1,000 and 2,000 DPI.

Samsung Completes Qualification of its 2nd Generation 10nm Process Technology

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, announced today that its second generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology, 10LPP (Low Power Plus), has been qualified and is ready for production. With further enhancement in 3D FinFET structure, 10LPP allows up to 10-percent higher performance or 15-percent lower power consumption compared to the first generation 10LPE (Low-Power Early) process with the same area scaling.

Samsung was the first in the industry to begin mass production of system-on-chips (SoCs) products on 10LPE last October. The latest Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphones are powered by some of these SoCs. To meet long-term demand for the 10nm process for a wide range of customers, Samsung has started installing production equipment at its newest S3-line in Hwaseong, Korea. The S3-line is expected to be ready for production by the fourth quarter of this year.

DeepCool Announces the Gammaxx 400 Blue CPU Cooler with AM4 Support

DeepCool today updated its Gammaxx 400 cooler with AMD socket AM4 support. The new Gammaxx 400 Blue is practically identical to the original DeepCool launched way back in 2012, but now comes with retention modules for socket AM4 motherboards. The cooler can handle thermal loads of over 130W, making it ready for 95W AMD Ryzen 7 series and 5 series chips that feature XFR (extended frequency range), which rewards effective CPU cooling with automatic CPU overclocks beyond the rated maximum TurboCore frequency of the processor. The "Blue" moniker in the name refers to the included blue LED-illuminated 120 mm fan.

The Gammaxx 400 Blue is a tower-type CPU cooler, in which four 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes make direct contact with the CPU at the base, conveying heat to an aluminium fin-stack, which is narrower at the bottom to yield clearance around the CPU socket, for VRM heatsinks and memory. The included fan takes in 4-pin PWM input, spins between 900-1,500 RPM, pushing up to 74.34 CFM of air, with a noise output ranging between 17.8-30 dBA. The cooler measures 135 mm x 80 mm x 154.5 mm (WxDxH), weighing 670 g (including the fan). The included socket AM4 retention module lets you orient the cooler such that it exhausts out of the rear of the case. Available now, the cooler is priced at USD $25.

Thermaltake eSPORTS Ventus X Plus Smart Gaming Mouse Announced

Yes, you read the title right. This is it, folks; it's arrived. The "smart" craze started with your "smart"phones and that has, in the meantime, risen to global domination in all kind of think-tanks and sci-fi scenarios has also arrived, quite literally, towards your gaming hands. The eSPORTS Ventus X Smart Gaming Mouse succeeds Thermaltake's previous Ventus X rodent, forgoing its ambidextrous design for one that's now definitely righter. It packs smart sensors that "track key mouse usage statistics such as click, movement and liftoff, which can be saved onto the cloud with social media integration for information sharing and review of these key performance criteria." (This also seems to me like a sensible way for someone to know whether you are on your PC or not simply through the mouse's feedback on these metrics, but I digress.) With Bluetooth support, the Ventus X Plus Smart (smarter) syncs this data with "mobile devices (iOS/Android) & PC via the Tt eSPORTS PLUS+ application and the Tt eSPORTS PLUS+ Community & Data Management Platform."

Logitech G Announces the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, today announced the launch of an addition to its mechanical gaming keyboard lineup with the Logitech G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. Engineered for precision and performance, the keyboard delivers unrivaled performance in a thoughtfully balanced, modern design. The Logitech G413 features Logitech's exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches, offering 25 percent faster actuation than standard mechanical keys, as well as a brushed anodized aircraft-grade aluminum top case, USB passthrough port and precision key backlighting for an affordable price. The Logitech G413 comes in two versions - the Logitech G413 Carbon featuring elemental red backlighting and the Logitech G413 Silver featuring iconic white backlighting, sold exclusively at Best Buy.

"We spent a lot of time carefully designing and engineering this keyboard to deliver advanced performance with just the right feature set, at the right price point," said Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech G. "We created this keyboard with features like USB passthrough, backlit keys and a metal finish. With the G413 we believe we've achieved the perfect balance of high-performance features and attractive design."

Radeon RX 480 Cards Can Successfully be Flashed to RX 580

User TonybonJoby in our own forums has successfully flashed his XFX RX 480 graphics card with the BIOS from a Sapphire RX 580 Limited Edition (the one that runs at 1411 MHz Boost clocks, yes.) Having obtained the Sapphire's BIOS right here on TPU, he then flashed it onto his graphics card (which possesses a dual-BIOS setup; this is an important point which you should consider, as it gives you an extra safety net should anything go wrong) through ATIFlash. The newly-christened RX 580 thus smiles for the screenshot, with a stock clock of 1411 MHz, higher than most overclocks possible with the RX 480 cards, probably due to increased voltages on the BIOS level. The user then tested the card on The Witcher 3 and Furmark, with no problems having been reported. Just remember to back-up your BIOS with GPU-Z and make sure to peruse our forums for some details on this flashing process before you get the proverbial grease on your elbows.

Essentially, this may allow you to bypass some artificial overclocking limitation with your graphics card, probably by increased voltages on different power states of the card. You should do this at your own risk, and remember, the only guaranteed way of getting an RX 580 is... you guessed it, buying an RX 580. However, this might also give you an extra performance boost, and free performance is always good, right?

Source: TechPowerUp ForumsThanks for sharing @TonybonJoby!

EK Releases Full-Coverage Blocks for ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 Ti

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix water blocks that are compatible with the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under full load and high overclocks. EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix water block features a central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

Radeon RX 540 Surfaces on AMD Website

It isn't unusual for AMD or NVIDIA to launch OEM-specific graphics chips, and it would seem that AMD is doing just so with its rebranded yet improved RX 500 series. Now, it's time for the RX 540 to surface, which, like the name implies, flies right below the RX 550 in terms of specs, though you wouldn't know it without a closer look.

The chip packs the same 8 CUs as the RX 550 (512 stream processors), but its memory bandwidth (in 2 GB or 4 GB flavors) peaks at 96 GB/s (lower than the RX 550's 112 GB/s.) However, its core clocks see an interesting boost from the RX 550's 1183 MHz boost clocks to a "up to 1219 MHz" value, which should alleviate the performance impact from the stunted memory bandwidth. This is a GPU that's likely to be used by OEMs and system integrators, whether on desktop computers or in laptops, though I do have to wonder regarding this configuration. I'd expect higher clocks on the core to increase power consumption more than the offset allowed by the reduced memory clocks, but then again, I'm not an AMD engineer.

Intel to Accelerate Basin Falls Unveil, Coffee Lake Launch

According to DigiTimes, sources among Taiwan-based PC vendors have indicated that Intel's upcoming Basin Falls platform, which includes Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors on a new X299 chipset, will be unveiled at Computex 2017 (May 30th, June 3rd), in Taipei - two months earlier than expected. This move comes accompanied by an accelerated launch of the Coffee Lake microarchitecture, which still uses the 14 nm process, to August 2017 from an initial January 2018 launch. If true, this is big in a number of ways - that Intel would bring forward a product launch 4 months has some interesting implications - or at least, confirmations.

Remember that Coffee Lake is supposed to carry an increased number of cores in its mainstream designs. And we all know how Intel's line-up has almost been torn apart by Ryzen's aggressive core and thread-count, with AMD offering more cores and threads than Intel at virtually all price-points. And even if an argument is made regarding Intel's better gaming performance, that's one scenario out of many. Future proofing, professional work, multimedia, all of these assert AMD's dominance in a pure price-performance ratio. I, for one, would gladly give up some FPS in some games and accept an increased number of cores than go the other way around (especially with AMD's platform support and the number of patches that have increased game performance on Ryzen CPUs.)

AOC Launches the C4008VU8: 40", Curved, 4K, 10-bit Color

AOC has been one of the most aggressive companies when it comes to launching new displays, with its gaming "AGON" series seeing the addition of multiple monitors in the past few months. The new C4008VU8 doesn't quite tick the gaming aesthetics box, however, which isn't all that bad. Personally, I much prefer its clean, no-frills design, absent of some over-design features.

The panel seems to be an interesting one, nonetheless, with its 40" size, 16:9, 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution on a 10-bit MVA panel, with a 60 Hz refresh rate. Its 5 ms response time is relatively good, though the absence of any VRR (variable refresh-rate) technology such as AMD's FreeSync or NVIDIA's G-SYNC is puzzling. The lack of HDR support, however, is kind of a downer, but a necessity when one considers the display's maximum 300 cd/m² brightness. The panel boasts an 85% NTSC wide color gamut with 1.07 billion colors, with 178º horizontal and vertical viewing angle on a 1800R curved display. As for adjustments, the monitor can only be tilted: 5 degrees down, and 13.5 degrees up. Connection-wise, the AOC C4008VU8 boasts 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4, 2x DisplayPort 1.2, and 1x VGA connector (only 8 months ago I would be using such a connection myself, so I really shouldn't judge. There are legacy use cases, after all, and more options are always better.) There are also 4x USB 3.0 ports available, one of which can be used for fast charging devices. The AOC is available with a MSRP of $899, though you may find some retailers selling these for less already.

Source: ETeknix
Tuesday, April 18th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
SSD

Sapphire Radeon RX 580 Nitro+ Limited Edition 8 GB

The Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ Limited Edition is a highly overclocked custom variant of the just-launched AMD Radeon RX 580. Performance now beats the NVIDIA GTX 1060, and in the box, Sapphire has bundled two user-replaceable semi-transparent fans with blue LEDs, if you want a little bit more bling.

Sapphire Radeon RX 570 Pulse 4 GB

Pulse is a new graphics card series by Sapphire, which does away with some rarely needed features in order to achieve better pricing. The Radeon RX 570 Pulse we review today is only $10 more expensive than the RX 570 base price and still comes with a backplate and an overclock out of the box.

MSI Also Announces the GP62X GP72X Leopard Pro Gaming Notebooks

MSI, a world leader in gaming hardware, continues to innovate its critically-acclaimed gaming laptops with the announcement of the new GP62X GP72X Leopard series. MSI continues to redefine gaming performance in a portable gaming laptop with a 120Hz 5ms screen, a NVMe M.2 solid state drive that breaks the current bandwidth limitation, and updated SteelSeries RGB keyboard with Silver Lining print.

Screen tearing and jitters are a thing of the past with the all new full HD 120 Hz panel with 5ms response time. The ultra-fast refresh rate lets you react instantly to your game, giving you a true MSI gaming experience. The GP62X and GP72X Leopard series gaming laptops use a NVMe solid state drive so gamers can experience full performance potential of the latest SSD technology with extreme read speeds up to 2,200MB/s. The line includes an Intel 7th Generation KabyLake processor, one stick of 16GB DDR4 RAM (upgradeable to 32GB) and up to a GeForce GTX1060 graphics card.

Razer Announces the Hammerhead V2 BT In-ear Gaming Headset

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today, unveiled two new headsets: the Razer Hammerhead BT and the Razer Hammerhead for iOS Lightning. Engineered to deliver clear and cordless audio, the new Razer Hammerhead BT is a Bluetooth 4.1 in-ear headset that features the Qualcomm aptX codec for low-latency, high-quality audio. Mobile users may enjoy uninterrupted listening and calls with a battery life of up to eight hours per charge. The Razer Hammerhead BT comes with an in-line remote and microphone that is compatible with iOS or Android devices, providing easy call pick-up or music track navigation.

Making full use of the Lightning Connector capabilities, the Razer Hammerhead for iOS delivers clean digital audio through a custom-tuned, digital-to-analog converter (DAC). Through the Razer Hammerhead iOS companion app, users can personalize listening experiences with customizable or pre-configured equalizer settings.

Sapphire Announces the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 NITRO+

SAPPHIRE Technology has bolstered the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Gaming Series lineup with the new SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition graphics card. With a cherry-picked Polaris GPU made in an enhanced FinFET 14 nm process, extra LED fans for swap and unique shroud, it's the best performing and the best-looking SAPPHIRE NITRO+ card to date. Along with the limited-quantity, ultra-overclocked model, SAPPHIRE also introduces new SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards.

Thanks to continuous streamlining of FinFET 14 nm production process, the latest Polaris GPUs that power SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards are even more energy-efficient. This allowed SAPPHIRE to crank up the clocks and reach up to 10% better performance compared to previous series. To add even more headroom for overclocking, SAPPHIRE is cherry-picking Polaris chips for the SAPPHIRE NITRO+ Radeon RX 580 Limited Edition.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 Drivers

AMD today released the latest version of Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition. The new Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 WHQL drivers add official support for the newly launched Radeon RX 500 series GPUs, such as the RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, and RX 550; besides support for Windows 10 Creators Update (v17.4.2 already added WDDM 2.2 support). Grab the drivers from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 WHQL

AMD's RX 500 Series AIB Cards Announcements, Pricing Surface

The floodgates have opened on AMD's recently-launched RX 500 series, which features a more polished, revised, 3rd-gen 14 nm FinFet process. Graphics cards based on the new GPUs will, as such, feature higher clocks than their RX 400 series counterparts, even if the number of graphics processing resources remains relatively unchanged. PowerColor (with its Red Devil and Red Dragon RX 580 and RX 570 graphics cards), ASUS, Sapphire, Gigabyte, and MSI have all announced their take on the new GPUs, with distinct enterprise identity, cooling solutions and audio profiles - as well as VRM and power delivery subsystems - competing for your money.

MSI Announces its Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 Graphics Cards

MSI is proud to present brand new graphics cards based on AMD's upgraded Polaris architecture. The new Radeon RX 580 GAMING X+, Radeon RX 580 GAMING X and Radeon RX 570 GAMING X cards equip the unmatched TWIN FROZR VI thermal design to keep the 14 nm FinFET GPU cooler than ever before. This remarkable cooling power allows for higher core and memory speeds, providing increased performance in games.

The recognizable 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 16.7 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely custom PCB design featuring enhanced power design with Military Class 4 components enables higher stable performance to push your graphics card to the max. A classy matte black metal backplate gives the RX 580-based cards more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.

GIGABYTE Announces the Aorus Radeon RX 500 Series Graphics Cards

GIGABYTE, the world's leading gaming hardware manufacturer, expands its AORUS graphics card portfolio with the announcement of the AORUS Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 lineup. Powered by the third-generation Polaris architecture, the new AORUS graphics cards provide excellent power switching and thermal efficiency thanks to the GPU Gauntlet Sorting technology. Combining faster clock speeds with the highly-acclaimed WINDFORCE cooling solution and customizable RGB illumination, the AORUS RX 500 Series graphics cards together deliver outstanding performance on both gaming and style to gamers seeking a significant upgrade at a great value.

The AORUS RX 580 XTR is the top-of-the-line model that boasts the WINDFORCE 2X cooling system, featuring dual 100mm fans paired with 4 composite copper heat pipes which directly touch the GPU to keep the card cool under load. Excessive heat from GPU can also be dissipated through the back side with the advanced copper back plate. The airflow is enhanced by the unique blade fan with an alternate spinning mechanism for minimal turbulence. The fans are also semi-passive for keeping the operation silent along with a Fan Stop indicator. The card is backed by a 6+2 power phase design for greater overclocking capability and reliability, reinforcing higher, stable boost clocks at heavy load.

NZXT Announces the S340 Elite Hyper Beast

NZXT today announces the S340 Elite Hyper Beast Limited Edition, a monstrous psychedelic evolution of the popular S340 Elite mid-tower. Following up on last year's highly sought after H440 Hyper Beast, NZXT and graphic artist Brock Hofer have again joined forces to deliver a case crafted for the dedicated CS:GO player. This new chassis features the breathtaking Hyper Beast weapon skin found on CS:GO's infamous AWP sniper rifle.

PowerColor Also Announces the Radeon RX 570 Red Devil and Red Dragon

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has released a new PowerColor Red Devil RX 570 4GB GDDR5 in Devil series. It is powered by AMD's 4th generation GCN 4 architecture featuring asynchronous shaders. The PowerColor RX 570 is designed for more smooth game playing and video performace in the latest DirectX 12 and Vulkan, and e-Sports game titles.

PowerColor Red Devil RX 570 4 GB GDDR5 utilizes 4GB of GDDR5 memory with 2,048 stream processors, ships with 1320 MHz core clock speed, and has 1750 MHz memory clock speed which is connected via a new high speed 256-bit memory interface. It has the capability to switch from Ultra Overclocking to Silent Overclocking or vice versa for choosing the BIOS fitting your need, faster clocks or more balanced overclock with quiet operation. Therefore, on Silent BIOS, it ships with 1270 MHz. PowerColor Red Devil RX 570 4GB GDDR5 equips an 8 pin power connector with superior 6+1 multi-phases board design enhances the power efficiency and also stabilizes the voltage precisely.

PowerColor Announces the Radeon RX 580 Red Devil and Red Dragon Graphics Cards

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has added a new PowerColor Red Devil Golden Sample RX 580 8GB GDDR5 and Red Devil RX 580 8GB GDDR5 in the Devil series. It is powered by AMD's 4th generation GCN 4 architecture featuring asynchronous shaders. The PowerColor RX 580 is designed for more smooth game playing and video performance in the latest DirectX 12 and Vulkan, and AAA game titles.

Both PowerColor Red Devil Golden Sample RX 580 and Red Devil RX 580 utilize 8GB of GDDR5 memory with 2304 stream processors and have 2000 MHz memory clock speed which is connected via a new high speed 256-bit memory interface. They have the capability to switch from Ultra Overclocking to Silent Overclocking or vice versa for choosing the BIOS fitting your need, faster clocks or more balanced overclock with quiet operation. On the OC BIOS, Red Devil Golden Sample RX 580 ships with 1425 MHz core clock speed and on the other hand Red Devil RX 580's core clock speed is 1380 MHz. On the Silent BIOS, Red Devil Golden Sample RX 580's core clock is 1411 MHz and Red Devil RX580 is 1355 MHz.

AMD Announces the Radeon RX 500 Series

AMD today announced the Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards. The lineup is based on a "refined" variants of the "Polaris" family of GPUs that power the RX 400 series. These include manufacturing-level refinements on the 14 nm FinFET process, which enable higher clock speeds; lower idle and multi-monitor power draw, and a host of software features. The lineup consists of four SKUs, beginning with the Radeon RX 550 at a sub-$79 price point, followed by the Radeon RX 560, which succeeds the RX 460 at $99; the RX 570, which starts at $169, and the RX 580, which is priced at $199 for the 4 GB variant, and $229 for the 8 GB variant.

The RX 580 and RX 570 are based on the 14 nm "Lexa" Polaris20 silicon. This chip is nearly identical to the "Ellesmere" Polaris10, except for the manufacturing-level improvements that enable higher clock speeds. The RX 580 features 2,304 stream processors across 36 compute units, 144 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and 8 GB or 4 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface. The core is clocked at 1257 MHz, with 1340 MHz boost, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. The RX 570, on the other hand, features 2,048 stream processors across 32 compute units, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and clock speeds of 1168 MHz core, 1244 MHz boost, and slightly faster 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. Although available in 4 GB and 8 GB variants, 8 GB appears to be the most common memory amount for the RX 580, and 4 GB for the RX 570.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 1.20.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the ubiquitous graphics subsystem information and diagnostics utility. Version 1.20.0 comes with a few critical updates that make come in handy to users of upcoming graphics cards. To begin with, a bug was fixed that caused video BIOS extracted from AMD Radeon RX 500 series graphics cards to be corrupted. GPU-Z now correctly extracts the BIOS. Grab it from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 1.20.0

KFA2 Intros GeForce GTX 1070 Single-slot Graphics Card

Galaxy's EU-based subsidiary KFA2 introduced its single-slot GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card in the old continent. A re-brand of the Galax GTX 1070 Katana, the KFA2 GeForce GTX 1070 Katana features a dense aluminium fin-channel cooling solution that's reminiscent of the GeForce 9800 GT glory days. The card sticks to NVIDIA reference clock speeds of 1506/1683 MHz (core/GPU Boost), with 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, and dual-link DVI. Available now in the EU, the KFA2 GeForce GTX 1070 Katana is priced at 419€ (incl. MWST).

EIZO Announces the ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 Monitor

EIZO Corporation today announced the new ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 - a 31.1-inch reference monitor with DCI-4K resolution (4096 x 2160) for the professional HDR post production workflow. HDR (high dynamic range) approximates the human perception of color and light as content is shown on a display device. ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 is able to correctly show both very bright and very dark areas on the screen without sacrificing the integrity of either - a process which cannot be achieved with SDR (standard dynamic range) monitors.

The monitor achieves the 1000 cd/m2 (typical) high brightness level needed for HDR content display. It is also the world's first LCD monitor to achieve a typical contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 for displaying true blacks. The name "PROMINENCE" refers to the phenomenon known as a solar prominence - a flame-like eruption which extends from the Sun's surface. This image of the bright sun shining against the deep black of space lends to the monitor's ability to accurately display both bright and dark content.

Intel Cancels Intel Developer Forum, Including IDF17

In what amounts to a surely shocking bit of news for the PC hardware industry, Intel has announced it has cancelled IDF17, and terminated the Intel Developer Forum program altogether. Intel had previously announced there would not be an IDF in China this year, but now the cancellation appears to have gone global and permanent. From the horse's mouth, if one were to consider Intel a horse (would it be a fast one? My mind wanders):

"Intel has evolved its event portfolio and decided to retire the IDF program moving forward. Thank you for nearly 20 great years with the Intel Developer Forum! Intel has a number of resources available on intel.com, including a Resource and Design Center with documentation, software, and tools for designers, engineers, and developers. As always, our customers, partners, and developers should reach out to their Intel representative with questions."
Monday, April 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

MSI GS73 STEALTH PRO-009 (GTX 1050 Ti)

MSI looks to offer something new with the GS73 Stealth Pro 009 with its unique 120Hz 1080p display paired with high-end components. This sleek and powerful unit seeks to stealthily dispatch its opponents. The question is does it succeed?

Amidst Production Woes, Pricing of DDR4 DRAM to Climb 12.5% on 2Q17 - Trendforce

Continuing the trend of previous reports, DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports the general price increase in the PC DRAM market is growing larger than anticipated as the already tight supply situation is compounded by quality problems with products made on the leading-edge processes. Based on a preliminary survey of completed contracts for the second quarter, DRAMeXchange estimates that the average contract price of 4GB DDR4 modules will go up by about 12.5% compared with the first quarter, from US$24 to around US$27.

"PC-OEMs that have been negotiating their second-quarter memory contracts initially expected the market supply to expand because Samsung and Micron have begun to produce on the 18 nm and the 17 nm processes, respectively," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "However, both Samsung and Micron have encountered setbacks related to sampling and yield, so the supply situation remains tight going into the second quarter and PC DRAM prices will continue to rise through this three-month period."

PowerColor Teases RX 500 Series Red Devil's Upgraded VRM Circuitry

Marketing rebranded cards is a much greater effort than selling the achievements and improvements of a fully new product launch. And word on the street is AIB partners that have to deal with rebrands don't really enjoy doing so. Having to sell the old as new is a tough sell, especially so when virtually no extra features seem to have been implemented. AMD itself is marketing their new RX 500 series as worthy improvements to its R9 390 graphics cards, for what it's worth. And as such, AIB's have to come up with original, out-of-the-box ways of peddling what is pretty much their old stuff as if it was new.

Recently, we've seen MSI showcasing a "3rd Gen FinFet 14" production process for its RX 570 Gaming X; now, PowerColor is looking to increase the attractiveness factor on its RX 580 Red Devil and Red Devil Golden Sample graphics cards (of which we've seen a teaser here and there) by showcasing an improved, reinforced VRM design for its upcoming graphics cards, with a "Platinum Power Kit", which includes Dr.Mos and a top-of-the-line Digital Power delivery system. Its VRM, however, keeps the 6-phase design that was already present on the RX 480. Here's hoping that the additions to PwerColor's card, alongside the Red Devil's purported 8+6-pin power delivery, will allow for higher overclocks, perhaps making this card a prime candidate for more efficient, exotic cooling solutions.
Source: Videocardz

AMD Radeon RX 580 Overclocking and Benchmarks Surface

Some photos, screenshots and benchmarks of what appears to be an XFX RX 580 graphics card are doing the rounds, courtesy of overclocker Lau Kin Lam, who shared them (alongside a three-hour log video) on his Facebook page. Apparently, this is a special, China-only edition of the card, which is a shame, considering the great-looking waterblock that is smiling for the camera. The fact that this card is using a reference board with one 8-pin power connector may prove relevant to its overclocking efforts (and those of other, non-reference boards that we've seen carry both the 8-pin and an extra 6-pin power connector.

Scythe Intros Mugen 5 Rev. B with AM4 Support

Scythe today introduced a revision of its Mugen 5 tower-type CPU cooler, which adds support for the new AMD socket AM4. The new Mugen 5 Rev. B includes a mounting kit for AM4 motherboards that lets AMD Ryzen processor users take advantage of Scythe's premium air cooler. The company could be working on similar revisions of its other coolers, which include the AM4 mounting kit. The company recently announced standalone mounting kits for AM4.

Besides AM4 support, the Mugen 5 Rev. B is identical to the original Scythe launched in December 2016. It consists of a large aluminium fin-stack heatsink, in which heat drawn from a nickel-plated copper base is drawn from six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes, and run through a thick aluminium fin-stack, which is ventilated by an included Kaze Flex 120 mm fan, although it supports up to two fans in push-pull configuration. Pricing of the Mugen 5 Rev. B could be unchanged from the original's 40€ (including taxes).

Palit Introduces GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Series

Palit Microsystems Ltd, the leading graphics card manufacturer, releases the brand new GameRock series in Palit GeForce product line-up, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock. The revolutionary GameRock series provides the best gaming features, the best thermal solution and the best graphics card quality to deliver gamers the ultimate gaming experience.

Palit invented the new 4 Fans Solution called "TurboJET4" (patent pending). on the new GameRock series. The TurboJET4 fabricates dual Double-Fans with the anti-vortex design. It offers the high-centralized air volume and provides much more efficient on heat dissipation. This design even generates lower acoustic level than normal dual-fan design.

COLORFUL Officially Announces the iGame GTX 1080Ti Vulcan X OC

Colorful Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, announces the most powerful GeForce graphics card ever created just got better with the latest member of the iGame family of graphics cards from COLORFUL. Introducing the COLORFUL iGame GTX 1080 Ti Vulcan X OC featuring the most advanced cooling on a graphics card for the best overclocking experience.

Equipped with the latest GPU from NVIDIA, the COLORFUL iGame GTX1080Ti Vulcan X OC features 3584 CUDA Cores and 11GB of GDDR5X memory. The GPU is faster than a TITAN X and ensures incredible gaming performance in 4K or VR-supported titles making it the ultimate Geforce. Out of the box the card sports up to 2Ghz clock speed with a 1.6Ghz base frequency, the 3584 CUDA Cores deliver excellent performance complemented by the 11GB of GDDR5X wired to a 352-bit bus giving an incredible amount of memory bandwidth designed to deliver uncompromising performance in any title at Ultra HD 4K resolution or a smooth VR experience.

MSI Radeon RX 570 Gaming X Pictured

Someone got lucky with an early purchase of an MSI Radeon RX 570 Gaming X graphics card, ahead of its April 18th launch, and wasted no time in posting pictures of it, before selling it off on eBay for $329. Pictures reveal the card to look not much different from the RX 470 Gaming X, given that it features the same TwinFrozr VI cooling solution. This particular card features 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. While the box doesn't reveal clock speeds, it highlights "3rd gen FinFET 14" technology, proving that AMD is building the RX 570 and RX 580 chips on a newer, more advanced 14 nm FinFET node than the one it built Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" on.

Source: VideoCardz
Sunday, April 16th 2017

G.SKILL Announces Trident Z DDR4-4333MHz 16GB (2x 8GB) Kit

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is delighted to announce a new extreme speed memory kit running at DDR4-4333MHz at 16GB (8GBx2) capacity. And continuing with the pursuit of extreme memory speeds on the latest hardware, G.SKILL has reached an extreme DDR4-4500MHz speed on the Intel Z270 platform, achieving a stunning bandwidth write speed of 65GB per second in dual channel mode.

The latest addition to the Trident Z series of extreme performance memory kit is the DDR4-4333MHz CL19-19-19-39 timing in 16GB (8GBx2) at 1.40V. This is the first DDR4-4333MHz memory kit on the market in the 8GBx2 configuration for a total of 16GB. The stress test screenshot below displays the DDR4-4333MHz memory kit validated on ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex motherboard and Intel Core i5-7600K processor.
Friday, April 14th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
NAS
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

Synology Introduces DiskStation DS1517+, DS1817+, and Expansion Unit DX517

Synology Inc. launched DiskStation DS1517+ and DS1817+ together with the Expansion Unit DX517 today. These powerful and scalable 5-bay and 8-bay tower servers offer a high-performance, reliable, and versatile network-attached storage solution for tech enthusiasts and small/medium-sized businesses. The exciting new feature in DS1517+ and DS1817+ is the inclusion of a PCIe slot, which allows users to install an optional 10GbE network interface card or Synology's new M2D17 M.2 SATA SSD adapter. In addition, DS1517+ and DS1817+ both come in 2GB and 8GB memory configurations, which can be upgraded to 16GB thanks to the easily accessible memory compartment.

Installing an additional network interface card allows enthusiasts and businesses to take advantage of up to two 10GbE ports to boost maximum throughput. When combined with the Intel Atom quad-core 2.4GHz processor and equipped with optional dual channel memory, DS1517+ and DS1817+ can deliver sequential throughput performance up to 1,179 MB/s reading and 542 MB/s writing speeds. With the introduction of Synology's new M2D17 PCIe adapter card, DS1517+ and DS1817+ can be equipped with dual M.2 SATA SSDs, allowing users to enhance performance and latency using SSD caching without occupying the front drive bays.

MSI Expands AM4 Motherboard Lineup with New Models

MSI, world leading in motherboard design, launches five new ATX GAMING motherboards based on the AMD AM4 X370 and B350 chipset. These new GAMING models are positioned in the Performance GAMING segment, a series all about Gaming In style. Its new flagship is the X370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC with Mystic Light RGB, to fully customize its looks, but now also available with Intel WIFI AC. The new X370 and B350 GAMING motherboards all support the upcoming AMD RYZEN Series processors and 7th Gen A-series / Athlon Processors and are ready to fully utilize performance on AM4 with the exclusive MSI A-XMP feature, maximizing DDR4 speed & stability.
Thursday, April 13th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
Storage

noblechairs EPIC Series Gaming Chair

A good chair is the ideal piece of equipment for every hardcore gamer or users who spends lots of hours in front of their PC. The noblechairs EPIC series looks quite interesting for the money it asks, offering good quality and great comfort.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 1.19.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of TechPowerUp GPU-Z, the graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility that no PC enthusiast can leave home without. Version 1.19.0 adds support for new GPUs and improves some features. To begin with, GPU-Z 1.19.0 supports upcoming AMD Radeon RX 500 series, new NVIDIA TITAN Xp, Quadro M600M, and M1200. It also adds the ability to extract video BIOS from GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. It also improves NVIDIA driver version detection on Windows 8, and a new vendor ID for Sapphire Technology was added. Grab it from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 1.19.0

The change-log follows.

Dell Begins Selling the 30" Ultrasharp UP3017Q - 4K, OLED, $3500

Here it is. The OLED monitor to beat all others. Sate your image quality needs with the new, $3500, 4K OLED monitor from Dell. Its 30" displays a 3840 x 2160 resolution, and presents a response time of just 0.1ms at a 60 Hz refresh rate - with no support for Freesync, sadly. It can 1.07 billion colors (Anandtech assumes it's probably a 10-bit presentation), and covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color space, 97.8% of the DCI-P3 color space (which is expected to be adopted in home movies and cinema in the future), as well as 85.8% coverage of Rec2020. Dell declares a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, which is basically only truly achievable on OLED displays, due to their ability to turn off individual pixels.

When it comes to inputs, the Dell Ultrasharp UP3017Q features 1x mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connector,1x HDMI 2.0 port, and 1x USB type-C port, which is compatible with video and data connectivity as well as power delivery up to 100W. The monitor's stand supports Tilt (5~21°), Pivot (+90°, -90°), and Height (100 mm) adjustments. AnandTech reports that Dell has implemented a special pixel-shifting technology to try and inhibit the possibility of static image burn-in, which is one of the drawbacks of this panel technology, and perhaps one of the reasons its transition towards a desktop environment wasn't made sooner. What do you think of this? Are you looking forward to having an OLED monitor in front of you, or would you prefer to keep high-frequency monitors?

AMD's RX 500 Series Specifications, Performance Leaked

A leak of what appears to be AMD's presentation on the Radeon RX 500 series has brought confirmation on specifications and details of the new line-up - which includes the RX 580, RX 570, the (until now) missing RX 560, and the RX 550. It would seem AMD has now opted for a new, dual-fan reference design, instead of their usual single-fan, blower-style coolers.

The RX 580 has a base clock of 1257 MHz, and a boost clock of 1340 MHz (74 MHz greater than the RX 480's 1266 MHz). It's a Polaris chip alright, packing the same 36 Compute Units (2304 Stream Processors, and up to 8 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit interface. AMD apparently decided to compare the RX 580 to the R9 380, which allows the company to show some relevant performance improvements (which wouldn't be possible with the RX 480, now would it.)

HIS Radeon RX 570 IceQ X2 Pictured, Detailed

More and more AIB cards from AMD's upcoming RX 500 series are letting themselves be seen in the wild as we approach the official release date (April 18th) of the new series. However, as usual, sellers are already stocking up on new cards for sale, and some of them jump the gun on sale of new products.

Such was the case with the HIS Radeon RX 570 IceQ X2 - apparently, a vietnamese retailer is already shipping the cards as we speak. The card is based on the new Polaris 20 XL GPU, packs the same 2048 Stream Processors as the RX 470, and is clocked at 1266 MHz, with 4GB GDDR5 memory @ 7 GHz. Compared with the previous series' RX 470 IceQ X2, which had a GPU clock of 1244 MHz, the clock increase stands at 22 Mhz, which should yield a comparably tiny increase in overall performance.

Source: Videocardz, Genk

NVIDIA Teases Something New, Announcement on April 29th

NVIDIA has been on a roll with product launches lately, with the new GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp launches, and it would seem the company isn't putting on the brakes just yet. NVIDIA Italy, through its Facebook page, has put up a teaser which points towards April 29th as being the day of a new showcase or announcement - the nature of which is as yet unclear. However, I think it's safe to rule out a new high-end GPU (rest easy, early Titan Xp users, it's unlikely NVIDIA would supersede their highest-performance GPU so soon after launch... Again.)

A Volta announcement is unlikely at this time, at least on the consumer side of the equation; however, the door is open towards the workstation and server side of the equation. NVIDIA does have other lines of consumer products that aren't graphics cards, though, so a Shield announcement, or even a new materialization of the company's expertise in a new product, are possible.

Source: NVIDIA Italy Facebook, Videocardz

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Overclocked to 5.90 GHz

New processor launches are closely followed by clock-speed and benchmark records, and that applies to even AMD's Ryzen 5 1600X six-core processor. Professional overclocker Der8auer succeeded in overclocking the chip to 5905.64 MHz without having to disable any cores. The feat was possible due to liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooling. The clock was made possibly by running the chip with a base-clock of 129.79 MHz, and a multiplier of 45.5X. The core-voltage is unclear. The processor was paired with an ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard, and G.Skill Trident Z memory.

Source: CanardPC CPU-Z Validation, DigiWorthy

Colorful Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iGame Vulcan AD

Colorful today introduced the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iGame Vulcan AD graphics card. The card combines a custom-design PCB that features pure silver contacts, with a triple-slot cooling solution. The card draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and conditions it using an 8+2 phase VRM. The company didn't reveal the factory-overclocked speeds.

The cooling solution consists of a dual aluminium fin-stack heatsink with five 6 mm thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes cooling the GPU, and a base-plate conveying heat from the memory and VRM to the heatsink. This heatsink is ventilated by three fans, two larger 100 mm fans along the ends, and a smaller 80 mm fan in the center. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0b and DVI. Other features include dual-BIOS and idle fan-stop. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Wednesday, April 12th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Input Devices
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Processors
Speakers
SSD
Storage

Bitspower Summit EF-X CPU Waterblock

Bitspower has not enjoyed much success in the sector of CPU waterblocks, owing to average performance and high product cost with limited customization. They aim to change this in 2017 with the new Summit EF that promises to run at up to 6°C less than before; it will also come with top options in acrylic, nickel-plated copper, and a special gold-plated copper edition.

Microsoft Posts Guide to Windows 10 Creators Update Gaming Features

With the recent launch of the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft decided to make a quick reference guide to the gaming related features on one of its employee blog sites, majornelson.com. Of the things covered, streaming features via it's Beam game recording service (a recent Microsoft acquisition) took the front stage. Also covered was Game Mode, that mode that promises to eek more performance out of your video game of choice via shuffling around of processes and prioritization changes. Of course, the numerous sub-settings and other little gaming related features in the update are covered in the blog entry as well.

MSI Intros B350 Gaming Plus Motherboard

MSI today introduced the B350 Gaming Plus, a gaming-grade socket AM4 motherboard based on the mid-range AMD B350 chipset. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board is based on the same PCB as the B350 Tomahawk, and draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the AM4 SoC with a 6-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, with a metal reinforcement brace. The second x16 slot is electrical x4, and wired to the B350 chipset. Two each of PCIe x1 and legacy PCI make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity on the MSI B350 Gaming Plus includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 ports (six on the rear panel including a type-C port, and two via headers). Display outputs include one each of DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC892 8-channel HD audio CODEC with ground layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors. Gigabit Ethernet is handled by a Realtek RTL8111H controller. We expect the board to be priced around the $120 mark.

GALAX GeForce GTX 1070 KATANA Revealed - Single Slot, Vapor Chamber

GALAX is marketing the KATANA as the world's first single-slot GTX 1070 single-slot graphics card with a maximum thickness at just 16 mm, which is an engineering feat in itself. The card leverages a "legendary turbo radiator" (it's funny how the renders show a white warning sign next to the cooling fan with a "CAUTION Hot Surface" warning, though that's probably needed there to avoid any lawsuits from burns resulting from touching the card while gaming.)

The card features a RazorX cooling technique, with copper fins and a vapor chamber that "maintain cooling performance even in thermally challenging scenario(s)". The GALAX GTX 1070 KATANA uses a single 8-pin connector, and video output is taken care of by 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, and a single DL-DVI-D connector. Clocks on the card are reported at 1518 MHz base, and 1708 MHz boost clocks. I wince at the noise and heat this baby must put out, and wonder how much it's going to be thermally throttled, but I guess those are necessary drawbacks for what is otherwise an interesting single-slot design.

Upcoming XBOX "Project Scorpio" to Support Freesync 2, HDMI 2.1 VRR

In what could spell very interesting things for the uptake of the Freesync 2 open-standard, Digital Foundry has confirmed that Microsoft's upcoming "Project Scorpio" console will leverage AMD's FreeSync 2 standard so as to improve fluidity of frames. The objective is, as usual, to eliminate tearing and reduce stutter, allowing the GPU to trigger the display refresh rate at exactly the same frequency as it can churn out frames. The FreeSync 2 revision of the open standard is HDR-compatible, which means it supports what is being touted as The Next Big Thing™ in image quality. Like always, the available FreeSync-supported band will still depend on the panel's actual specifications. Additionally, the Scorpio is going to offer support for the upcoming VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) implemented within the HDMI 2.1 specifications.

Though TV panels don't support either of those standards currently, AMD has teased that FreeSync support on TVs would be possible - and upcoming. If true, and if this FreeSync support were to take off, this might spell an increased uptake on AMD's open standard implementation of VRR over NVIDIA's G-SYNC. The adoption of these VRR technologies would also allow developers to perhaps change their performance targets (say, from 60 FPS to 45 FPS), while also increasing fluidity of games that struggle to maintain their target frame rate. The Scorpio could be the first mainstream piece of tech to offer widespread support for VRR standards, thus increasing the user base and industry adoption rate of this technologies, which can only be good. To say that this adoption spells the death of NVIDIA's proprietary G-SYNC is nothing more than wild, boastful speculation; saying it could drive FreeSync and HDMI's VRR implementation towards mainstream usage is not. And that could mean a slow push of G-SYNC towards a niche PC-monitor solution with reduced uptake from monitor manufacturers.

Source: EuroGamer

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Cutting Staff Through Earlier Retirements

It would seem business is not as usual for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, which started as the spin-off from AMD's manufacturing arm way back on March 2, 2009. Blaming the capricious chip market's fluctuations, the company is looking to divest longtime employees in all three of its U.S. semiconductor manufacturing plants, including Essex Junction, which it acquired from IBM in 2015 by... receiving a $1.5 billion payment from the company. And as part of the deal, GLOBALFOUNDRIES agreed to be IBM's exclusive provider of semiconductor chips through 2025.

"We go through these ebbs and flows," Spokesman Jim Keller said Wednesday. "Right now we're at a point where some customers delayed their orders. We're in a period where we don't have as much business." The "voluntary separation" program is part of a larger cost cutting initiative that will look for other efficiency savings as well, though "layoffs are also a possibility". Keller would not say how many of GLOBALFOUNDRIES' 2,800 employees at Essex Junction are eligible for the early retirement program. Most of the workers eligible are in "support roles," such as administrative, sales or finance.

Source: USAToday, VTDigger

AMD's RX 500 Series Launch Confirmed on April 18th

AMD is on a roll with product launches lately, having just pushed out what is probably the most significant update in mainstream CPUs in years: the Ryzen 5 line of desktop processors. You can look over TPU's review of the 1500X and 1600X here and here. AMD is looking towards powering another central part of your desktop processor, though, with the impending launch of the RX 500 line of GPUs.

Confirmed as rebrands of previous-generation Polaris 10, the new RX 500 series will carry the new Polaris 20 XTX and Polaris 20 XL chips, which are expected to feature higher clocks (in the range of 1300-1400 MHz) from AIBs, before your own overclocking. PowerColor has officially confirmed the launch date as April 18th through social media with a tease for their new Red Devil graphics card. Now if only we could see Vega on this new horizon...

Source: Videocardz

Silicon Power Introduces the Superior Pro and Elite Series SDXC and microSDXC

Sometimes bigger is better, especially when it comes to storage space. That is why SP/ Silicon Power, a leading provider of memory storage solutions, has added higher capacity memory cards with up to 256GB to its Superior Pro SDHC/SDXC UHS-I (U3) and Elite microSDHC/microSDXC UHS-I series. The latter one is for the mobile photo and video "junkies" among us. With 256GB extra storage, it's the perfect companion for Android smartphones and tablets, as it keeps them well equipped for storage devouring high-quality photo shooting or video recording on the go.

The Superior Pro SDXC UHS-I (U3) is indispensable for high-performance video and photography use and its 256GB capacity caters for the particularly high demand in storage space for 4K high-resolution Ultra HD video recording. UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) ensures smooth performance for the capture of excellent image quality.

NZXT Announces the Kraken G12 AIO Liquid VGA Cooling Adapter

NZXT announces today the Kraken G12 kit, allowing users to use their liquid AIOs to better cool their GPUs. Lower temperatures at lower noise improve both gaming performance and experience. By mounting an AIO, like the NZXT Kraken Series, users can significantly lower their GPU's temperatures compared to its stock cooling, increase overclocking performance, and reduce noise output for an improved gaming experience. An update to the previous Kraken G10, the Kraken G12 allows for easier installation and wider compatibility with more than 30 popular liquid AIOs on the market.

"Being able to play the latest games at the highest settings, without sacrificing performance is something all gamers want. While aftermarket graphic cards have improved lately, most stock cooling systems still can't reach the performance level of liquid cooling. That's why we decided to design the updated Kraken G12 to be easier to install and support the latest liquid AIOs" says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO.

EVGA Announces the B3 Series Power Supplies

EVGA Bronze power supplies have become synonymous with industry-leading stability, performance, and value. With the B3 power supplies, EVGA now adds fully modular cables, the ECO Intelligent Thermal Control System, even tighter voltage regulation (<2%), and a Hydraulic Dynamic Bearing Fan for ultra-quiet performance with an increased lifespan. Even more impressive, these power supplies continue to get shorter compared to its predecessors. Backed by EVGA's 5 Year Global Warranty, the EVGA B3 lineup will give you peace of mind for years to come.

No, it's not magic. Despite adding more features and increased performance, the EVGA B3 lineup is shorter than most of its competitors. At only 150mm long (450B3, 550B3, 650B3) and 160mm long (750B3, 850B3), you'll notice the extra space in your case, but you won't miss any performance or functionality. The EVGA B3 power supplies feature a Sleeved Bearing Fan, resulting in a quieter operation and a longer lifespan. Alternatively, flip on the EVGA ECO mode for fully silent operation at low to medium loads.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2

AMD today released the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2 drivers, its second release this month. The drivers are important if you've updated Windows 10 to the latest "Creators Update" (version 1703), since it supports the new WDDM 2.2 driver model. In addition, the drivers fix bugs related to SteamVR asynchronous reprojection, poor multi-GPU scaling for "Battlefield 1" in DirectX 11 mode, flickering noticed on ReLive running on Windows 7, and a bug with Radeon Settings that removes application profiles upon logout. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.2
Tuesday, April 11th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

AMD Ryzen 5 1500X 3.5 GHz

Today, AMD launched their Ryzen 5 processors. We review the $190 Ryzen 5 1500X, which promises to be a cost-effective alternative to sub-$200 Intel models. Thanks to integrated SMT-multithreading and various Boost technologies, overall performance is quite good.

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 3.6 GHz

The Ryzen 5 1600X is AMD's flagship Ryzen 5 processor model. It comes at an affordable $250, with a base clock of 3.6 GHz. Thanks to AMD XFR, it will boost up to 4.1 GHz, which helps gain single-threaded performance over Intel's offerings. It looks like Core i5-7600K is in trouble.

Unigine Superposition 1.0 Benchmark Released

(Re)member that dazzling-looking Superposition benchmark from Unigine - the one that was supposed to have arrived late 2016? The one that apparently wasn't good enough for Steam? Well it has been released, and you can now gobble up all of those realistic graphics for yourself and your GPU of choice. Some standout features include the ability to scale rendering resolution all the way up to 8K, so... Go on ahead, click that link below, make your graphics cards scream, and elbow one another for the top result. I will be with you in a little while. Go on after the break for some more features and a little teaser on what the benchmark is all about.

Download Link: Unigine Superposition Benchmark 1.0Can I just say I love me some Nicola Tesla on the walls?

AMD Starts Selling the Ryzen 5 Processor Family

AMD Ryzen 5 series desktop processors are officially available from today. The lineup is designed to compete with Intel's Core i5 quad-core "Kaby Lake" processor family, and consists of 6-core and 4-core parts carved out of the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon. The lineup begins with the $169 Ryzen 5 1400 and $189 Ryzen 5 1500X quad-core parts, featuring SMT that enable 8 logical CPUs, 8 MB of L3 cache, unlocked multipliers, and XFR on the 1500X. The 1400 is clocked at 3.20 GHz with 3.40 GHz boost, while the 1500X ticks at 3.50 GHz with 3.70 GHz boost, and XFR enabling higher automatic overclocks.

While the Ryzen 5 1400 and 1500X compete with Core i3 and Core i5 "Kaby Lake" models under $200; the $219 Ryzen 5 1600 and $249 1600X six-core parts target the Core i5-7600K, with their 6 cores, 12 threads, 16 MB of L3 caches, and unlocked multipliers. The 1600 is clocked at 3.20 GHz with 3.60 GHz boost, while the 1600X ticks at 3.60 GHz core and 4.00 GHz boost. All four chips are available immediately.

BIOSTAR Introduces A320 PRO Series of AM4 Motherboards

BIOSTAR is thrilled to present the latest addition to its AM4 product line-up with the debut of the 2nd-generation of the highly-acclaimed BIOSTAR PRO Series motherboards. The new BIOSTAR A320 PRO series features new and improved features that focus on reliability, stability whilst providing top-of-the-line performance. The 2nd-generation PRO Series motherboards featuring A320 chipset supports AMD RYZEN CPU and upcoming APUs for the AM4 socket. The board will support up to DDR4-2667 memory up to 32GB in capacity.

Pre-orders Available for LG's 32UD99 Display: 4K, HDR10, Freesync for $999

The 32UD99 is to be LG's flagship consumer monitor, if its specs are anything to go by. And while it isn't mainly marketed towards gamers, it seems to be a good bet for image quality enthusiasts, ticking the 4K, HDR10, and Freesync (between 40 and 60 Hz via DisplayPort) boxes in a 32" panel. The LG 32UD99 carries a IPS panel with a native 3840×2160 resolution, and its 1.07 billion colors cover more than 95% of the DCI-P3 color space, and 100% of the sRGB gamut - with factory calibration to boot. The panel features 350 nits typical brightness, a neither great-nor-bad 5 ms response time, a 60 Hz refresh rate for those who don't need a million frames in a microsecond, and the 178° viewing angles that are par of the course for IPS.

The monitor's stand supports Tilt (2~15°), pivot (90°) and height (110 mm) adjustments. Input-wise, it features 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0a (HDCP 2.2), 1x USB Type-C (with DP 1.2 support), and a 2-port USB 3.0 hub with support for Quick Charging. There is also a pair of 5 W speakers. Availability is expected in late May. And it's a good thing this monitor is such a looker up-front, because its profile somewhat reminds me of Quasimodo.
Source: AnandTech

Intel's Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X Rumored to Arrive Ahead of Schedule

The rumor mill turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. However, some of those really do turn to reality, like recent accounts of an AMD Polaris 20 chip surfacing in the latest RX 500 series. This time, Intel is in the crosshairs, with the company's high-performance Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X desktop components being pegged for release between June 19th and July 9th. This would place an announcement on the new chipset and CPUs debut to drop around Computex 2017, which kicks off on May 30 and runs through June 3 in Taipei.

Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X parts are supposed to use the same LGA 2066 socket, with Skylake-X said to include anywhere between six to 10 cores, support quad-channel DDR4 memory and have a metric ton of PCIe 3.0 lanes. Kaby Lake-X parts, meanwhile, are reportedly limited to just four cores, dual-channel memory and just 16 PCIe lanes from the CPU - which gives an impression of a simple, Kaby Lake desktop CPUs being repackaged for the new socket.
(And yes, inquisitive readers, that was a random reference to Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" in the first line of this article.)Source: BenchLife, TechSpot, TechReport

ASUS Intros GeForce GTX 1060 3GB Phoenix Graphics Card

ASUS introduced the GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB Phoenix graphics card. Designed with low cost in mind, this card is 18.3 cm long, and combines a custom-design PCB that draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector, with a simple monolithic aluminium fan-heatsink cooler. The heatsink features a copper core, which dissipates heat to an aluminium block with spirally projecting fins; which is ventilated by a single 80 mm dual ball bearing fan. The GPU is clocked at NVIDIA reference speeds of 1506 MHz core, 1708 MHz GPU Boost, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. As the 3 GB variant of the GTX 1060, the chip features just 1,152 CUDA cores. Display outputs include two each of DisplayPort and HDMI connectors, and a DVI port. ASUS didn't reveal pricing.
Monday, April 10th 2017

Today's Reviews

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Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
SSD

ASRock X370 Taichi (AMD AM4)

With AMD's new processors out now, ASRock has taken their Taichi design and applied it to AMD's X370 chipset. Ready for SLI and dual M.2 drives along with a huge list of other features, ASRock's X370 Taichi motherboard is definitely ready to bring a calming moment to your AMD Ryzen experience.

MSI Intros the A320 Grenade Socket AM4 Motherboard

MSI today introduced the A320 Grenade, an entry-level yet gaming-grade socket AM4 motherboard based on AMD's basic A320 chipset. Built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A simple 5-phase VRM conditions power for the AM4 SoC. The socket is wired to a pair of DDR4 DIMM slots, and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area.

Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gbps ports, from which two are wired to the SoC, and one 32 Gbps M.2 slot. USB connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two via headers). Gigabit Ethernet (driven by Realtek RTL8111H controller) and 6-channel HD audio (Realtek ALC887 CODEC), make for the rest of it. We expect it to be priced around the $75 mark.

AMD Acquires Wireless Virtual Reality IP from Nitero

AMD today announced it has acquired intellectual property (IP) and key engineering talent from Nitero, a pioneer in millimeter wave solutions capable of enabling future generations of wireless Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets. The acquisition provides AMD with a broader portfolio of IP capable of enabling VR headset and solution providers with key technology required to create more immersive computing experiences.

"Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR," said Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president. "Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences."

SK Hynix Introduces Industry's Highest 72-Layer 3D NAND Flash

SK Hynix Inc. today introduced the industry's first 72-Layer 256 Gb (Gigabit) 3D (Three-Dimensional) NAND Flash based on its TLC (Triple-Level Cell) arrays and own technologies. The company stacks 1.5 times more cells for the 72-Layer 3D NAND than it does for the 48-Layer 3D which is already in mass production. A single 256Gb NAND Flash chip can represent 32 GB (Gigabytes) storage. SK Hynix launched 36-Layer 128 Gb 3D NAND chips in April 2016, and has been mass producing 48-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND chips since November 2016. In just 5 months, the company has developed the 72-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND chips, securing the industry's finest product portfolio.

The technological achievement of this 72-Layer 256 Gb 3D NAND compares figuratively to the difficulty of approximately 4 billion 72-storied skyscrapers on a dime. The chip also achieves approximately 30 percent more manufacturing productivity over its predecessor 48-Layer by stacking 1.5 times more cells and utilizing existing mass production facilities. Also by bringing high-speed circuit design into the new chip, its internal operation speed is two times faster and read/write performance is 20 percent higher than a 48-Layer 3D NAND chip.

Sapphire, MSI AIB RX 500 Series Cards Listed Online; Polaris 20 on Special, "GHz" Edition Cards

Vendor lists for RX 500 series cards keep popping up, and this time, it's Sapphire and MSI's time. And it would seem that Sapphire has just seen the entirety of its RX 500 series lineup leaked (sans the still absent in battle RX 560.) Apparently, Sapphire will launch a new PULSE line of graphics cards, in addition to its already known NITRO series. This new PULSE line of graphics cards will likely carry previous-gen Polaris 10 chips, judging from the difference in pricing between the top of the line RX 580 PULSE (20G) model and its NITRO (40G) counterpart: a 40€ premium can't really justify a differentiation in overclocking alone. A similar situation is seen in regards to the RX 570 cards, with a NITRO-branded, 8 GB RX 570 (40G) being priced higher than a 4 GB, PULSE-branded RX 570. Looking at the model numbers, it would seem differentiation between the Polaris 10 chips and the Polaris 20 XTX and XL is done by the last characters in the product number, with the "40G" products carrying a hefty premium over the "20G" parts.

If the PULSE series are based on the Polaris 10 chips, and the NITRO are based on the newer, freshly confirmed Polaris 20 XTX, the expected difference in clock speeds (with overclocked variants of the RX 500 reaching 1500 MHz) and the newer, as-of-yet-unconfirmed LPP fabrication process would go a long way towards justifying such a premium. This could speak for an approach on clock-speeds towards differentiating the multiple RX 580 price-points, akin to the 7970's GHz Edition - likely, top-of-the line Polaris 20 XTX and XL chips will board higher-tier graphics cards, marketed at exceedingly high clock-speeds.

AMD Polaris 20 XTX, XL Chips Powering the RX 500 Series Confirmed

Videocardz has gotten their hands on the launch driver for the RX 500 series of graphics cards, and it would seem that previous rumors have indeed been vindicated: the revised RX 500 series features new code names for the chips that tick at its very heart. The RX 580, according to this report, will feature a Polaris 20 XTX chip (oh ATI X1950 XTX, how I remember you from staring in awe at your price and performance in computer magazines...), while the Radeon RX 570 will be equipped with a Polaris 20 XL part. And while the RX 560 is lacking from the list, the little chip-that-probably-will, the Polaris 12, makes a cameo under the RX 550 series and a "Lexa Pro" GPU code name... Which is just so different from all others, both in form and content, that one must wonder where it is its real name or a simple placeholder.

Source: Videocardz

PowerColor RX 580 Red Devil Golden Sample Pictured With 6-pin, 8-pin Connectors

Remember that PowerColor Red Devil teaser from a few days back? While the source link is no longer available, it would seem that someone has gotten their hands on a (golden) sample, one of the two different SKUs that PowerColor is expected to launch around the RX 580. This Golden Sample edition sports a beefier, higher-performing 2.5-slot cooling solution, compared to the expected RX 580 Red Devil's 2.0-slot one. This sample, however, sports something unusual for a card with the power envelope expected from the RX 580: two auxiliary power cables, one 6-pin, as is par of the course with previous-generation RX 480 cards of which the RX 580 is a rebrand; and another, 8-pin one.
Friday, April 7th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors

X2 i5

The X2 i5 is a compact chassis with a nice white paint job, while advertising liquid-cooling compatibility for up to 280 mm radiators alongside a metal shroud to hide your PSU. We will take a closer look to see how a case with such an affordable price point delivers on all these promises.

Palit Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Ti JetStream and Super JetStream

Palit introduced two of its premium custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, the GTX 1080 Ti JetStream, and the faster GTX 1080 Ti Super JetStream. Both cards are based on an identical board design, featuring a custom PCB that draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe connectors, and a triple-slot cooling solution with a dual-stack aluminium fin heatsink that uses 8 mm thick copper heat pipes, ventilated by a pair of fans that stay off when the GPU is idling. The cards are also outfitted with RGB LED illumination for the fans and glowing Palit logos on top of the cooler shroud. The GTX 1080 Ti JetStream comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 1630 MHz GPU Boost, and untouched 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory; while the SuperJetstream ships with 1531/1645 MHz (core/GPU Boost), out of the box. Palit left the memory untouched with this card as well. The company didn't reveal pricing.

AMD Releases Balanced Power Plan for Windows; Optimized for Ryzen Processors

In another Community Update from Robert Hallock, some more developments on the platform have been announced, after the last one's commitment to upcoming updates. AMD has done good on their promise for an optimized power profile for Windows systems that better leverages Ryzen's design and features.AMD's SenseMI technology allows the processor to fine-tune voltages and frequency on-the-fly, with a much higher granularity and lower latency than any software-based solution - such as Windows 10's power plans. These transitions between frequencies and voltages are governed by "P-States", which are frequency/voltage combinations requested by the operating system.

It so happens that Windows 10's Balanced power plan delays changes towards faster P-states - which bring increased frequency and voltage and hence, power consumption - so as to save more power. However, this means that there is an increased delay (latency) between the moment more processing power is required of the Ryzen processor and the moment the processor is allowed to change P-states to deliver it. Add to this the fact that Ryzen takes a significant performance hit with core-parking enabled, and Windows 10's balanced power plan attempts to park all logical processors beyond the first 10% whenever possible means that most of Ryzen's cores will have to be unparked before they can process any kind of workload - and this in itself incurs in an increased latency and, therefore, performance penalty.

AIDA64 Beta Adds Support for Upcoming RX 500 Series

As we inch ever closer to what is seemingly one of tech's least well-kept secrets (the launch of the RX 500 series), trickles of information keep appearing in various forms. Now, a Beta version of AIDA64 (version 5.90.4208 Beta for those of you keeping tabs) has added official support for AMD's upcoming RX 570 and RX 580 graphics cards.

These new cards are reported to be higher-clocked versions of the proven RX 480 and RX 470 graphics cards. There is some talk regarding how AMD is now employing a new, higher-efficiency LPP (Low Power Performance) process, which would allow this increase in clocks to fit around the same power envelope of their lower-clocked precursors, the RX 480 and RX 470. It may not mean much to either argument, but the fact that these chips are apparently still code-named Polaris 10 on AIDA64 could mean that no relevant changes in the production process have occurred.

The cards are expected to launch either on April 11th or April 18th, depending on whether previous rumors about a delay do materialize as truth. You can check the full release notes on this version of AIDA64 after the break.

G.SKILL Announces Trident Z RGB DDR4-3333 MHz 128 GB (16 GB x8) Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to release new ultra-high capacity Trident Z RGB DDR4 memory kits based on 16 GB modules designed for Intel X99 and Z270 platforms.

Since the widely-acclaimed launch of Trident Z RGB memory series in December 2016, G.SKILL focused heavily on bringing high performance DDR4 16 GB RGB modules to the Intel X99 platform. Now, the Trident Z RGB is available in full sets of 8 modules for a total of 64 GB (8 GB x8) or 128 GB (16 GB x8) capacity, along with lighting control software support for the Intel X99 platform from most major motherboard vendors.

MSI Intros X370 Gaming Pro Socket AM4 Motherboard

MSI now has three "X370 Gaming Pro" motherboards. The first one is the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon, which the company launched its socket AM4 lineup with, then the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, released earlier this month, which is its variant with 802.11ac WLAN; and now we have the X370 Gaming Pro (without the "Carbon" moniker). This board is based on a different PCB, and has a lighter feature-set than the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon series. The board features the same 10-phase CPU VRM as the Pro Carbon boards. The expansion slot layout is identical, too, with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated) wired to the CPU, a third x16 (electrical x4) slot wired to the X370 chipset, and three other x1 slots.

The differences kick in with the storage options. You get six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, but just one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with MSI M.2 Shield (the Pro Carbon boards have two M.2 slots). Another major difference is the lighting. The chipset heatsink, audio ground-layer isolation strip, and various other areas on the board have red LED illumination, in place of RGB LED on the Pro Carbon boards. You can still control the brightness and illumination of these red LEDs using the Mystic Light Sync software. Another area of cost-cutting is the gigabit Ethernet. This board features a Realtek RTL8111H controller, while the Pro Carbon boards feature Intel I211AT controllers. The rest of the board's feature set is the same as the Pro Carbon, including two USB 3.1 ports (with one typc-C port), VR Boost USB ports. The MSI X370 Gaming Pro goes on sale on the 11th of April, at a price we expect to be around USD $150.
Thursday, April 6th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Notebooks

Roccat Suora FX Keyboard

The Suora FX is Roccat's answer to those who said their Ryos series was too big and "gamery". It features a minimal bezel, metal housing, new TTC mechanical switches, and full 16.8M RGB backlighting. Roccat has also added in support with their software driver Swarm and is aiming to take on the larger gaming keyboard brands with it.

QNAP Rolls Out New TVS-1282T3 Thunderbolt 3 NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced its new powerful Thunderbolt 3 NAS - TVS-1282T3 that features 7th Generation Intel 14nm multi-core processors, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI output, and higher transfer speeds than its previous generation. Providing superior functionality and huge storage potential, the TVS-1282T3 is a perfect match for the Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro, and is backward-compatible with Thunderbolt 2-enabled devices by using a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 converter. The high-bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 connection provides great advantages for video editing and sharing, making the TVS-1282T3 highly suited for Thunderbolt 3-enabled Mac and Windows users for 4K media workflows, file storage, and high-speed sharing.

"We are very excited to offer the pioneering Thunderbolt 3 NAS to the market," said David Tsao, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "with more Windows devices featuring Thunderbolt 3 and the latest Final Cut Pro X 10.3 adding support for the SMB protocol, the TVS-1282T3 empowers cross-platform file sharing while greatly improving teamwork and workflows between Mac and Windows users."

Linksys Ships Entry Level New Tri-Band MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router

Linksys, a leader in networking solutions for the home and business and the first to ship 100 million routers, today announced, it is shipping its new 802.11ac Tri-Band MU-MIMO Router. The Linksys Max Stream EA8300 is an AC2200 Tri-Band MU-MIMO router priced under $200, giving users MU-MIMO technology and up to double the performance of a dual-band router* for even faster speeds for downloading, streaming, gaming and surfing. Offering MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output), the next generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, helps improve overall performance and efficiency of a Wi-Fi network while providing dedicated bandwidth to MU-MIMO capable client devices as if they have their own dedicated router. Linksys offers the largest and broadest portfolio of MU-MIMO home Wi-Fi solutions on the market.

According to a white paper by ABI Research The Importance Of MU-MIMO In The Wi-Fi Ecosystem more than 84% of all wireless 5GHz chipsets will be MU-MIMO enabled by 2019. To keep up with the speeds and performance of client devices coming to market such as 4K TVs, laptops, smart phones, tablets and game consoles, consumers will want to make sure they have the latest Wi-Fi router that can support all the latest devices that have come into the home.

Western Digital Unveils Its First WD Portable SSD

Western Digital Corporation, a global storage technology and solutions leader, today introduced its fastest WD brand portable drive yet, the My Passport SSD. Featuring blazing-fast speeds and award-winning design, the new My Passport SSD compliments the company's leading portfolio of My Passport palm-sized storage devices. Designed for content creators and tech enthusiasts, the new My Passport SSD combines exceptional speed and portability to manage massive files on the go.

"The WD brand is focused on delivering fresh, new personal storage devices that offer amazing performance in a beautiful, yet durable design," said Sven Rathjen, vice president of marketing, Client Solutions, Western Digital. "Our fastest portable drive yet, the My Passport SSD is a powerful solution for people who need to move content quickly and easily wherever life takes them."

Samsung Investing in DFHD (Double Full HD) 32:9, 29:9 Ultra-wide Panels

"All hail the ultra-wide gods." This must've been the mantra going on when Samsung execs gave the okay for development of what are being called Double Full HD monitors. This is the new way to have your field of vision almost as filled with screen real estate as when wearing one of those pesky VR headsets. Though with 21:9 support for gaming being spotty as it is, these should lend themselves more as work monitors than for gaming setups - I can definitely see some traders running this kind of screens.

One of these panels will be a 49" wide, 32:9, 3840x1080 resolution beast. The panel will feature a 1800R curvature, higher than the usual curvature on 21:9 aspect ratio displays, but this may well make sense given the horizontal size of the panel. Higher curvature means better coverage of your peripheral vision, and Samsung has enough engineers and research to believe this is the right amount of curvature. This panel will support G-Sync and Freesync (on differing models, surely), and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz on the VA panel with a 3-side frameless design. The panel will offer a high 5000:1 static contrast ratio - ahead of current contrast ratio on Samsung panels, according to TFT Central, so there is some new tech at play here. These panels are planned for mass production on September 2017.

Windows 10 Creators Update to Feature New Levels of Privacy Control

Developing on the latest Creator's Update release version of Windows 10 being available from Microsoft's Update Tool, there is a feature that needs further addressing: the new privacy settings. Microsoft is well aware (as well it should be, given the public outcry at its telemetry features) that Windows users were not happy with the fact that the company seemed to be trading their privacy for increased information - and ad revenues - in their new "Windows as a service" approach. Even though some of this telemetry and usage reports are essential towards achieving a good user experience in later updates, the general opinion was that Microsoft collected too much, with too little information being shared with users about what, when, and why. Now, Microsoft is looking to clean up its act without the obfuscation of hiding privacy setting in endless sub-menus.

There are now three levels of diagnostic information collecting being done at the OS level: Basic, Enhanced, and Full. Notice the absence of an "off" mode, which is something Microsoft likely will never budge on this new "Windows as a service" approach. However, the Basic mode now collects almost half of all the information that was previously collected. Users installing new versions of Windows will see a screen upon the configuration stage where they will be able to toggle privacy settings with a more refined filter than before, and your privacy settings will now (finally) carry over between major Windows updates, which means they won't reset without your knowledge. The same will happen with users that simply upgrade their Windows version with the new Creators Update.

Source: Windows Blogs, Tom's Hardware

Windows 10 Creators Update Available for Download

Even though the awaited Creators Update for Windows 10 is only set to arrive on April 11th, users who want to get ahead of the launch - and maybe themselves - can now update their version of Windows. Through the Windows 10 Update Assistant, Microsoft has made it possible for users to update to the latest version of windows ahead of time. After downloading and running the tool from Microsoft's website, it should display that Build 15063 is available - the official build number for the Creators Update.

The most awaited feature for the upcoming Windows update should be the Game Mode, though Beam live-streaming (which some say is better than Twitch) from the Game Bar, a PiP (picture-in-picture) mode for streaming videos while working on those pesky Excel budget .xlxs, and improved privacy settings (which aren't at the same level as the special edition built for the chinese market, though.) Microsoft's Edge is also seeing performance and security improvements, and Windows will now integrate a night mode that reduces blue light emissions - and thus the strain in your old eye globes. You can now also lock your Windows 10 PC at a distance through Windows Hello on your smartphone of choice, and can partake on some crazy Paint marathons with its improved 3D tool, which should elevate it to new, never before seen heights - maybe in the next update you can use the new Paint with Mixed-Reality products?

Source: Tom's HardwareSource: Microsoft Blogs

NVIDIA Announces the TITAN Xp - Faster Than GTX 1080 Ti

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cannibalized the TITAN X Pascal, and the company needed something faster to sell at USD $1,200. Without making much noise about it, the company launched the new TITAN Xp, and with it, discontinued the TITAN X Pascal. The new TITAN Xp features all 3,840 CUDA cores physically present on the "GP102" silicon, all 240 TMUs, all 96 ROPs, and 12 GB of faster 11.4 Gbps GDDR5X memory over the chip's full 384-bit wide memory interface.

Compare these to the 3,584 CUDA cores, 224 TMUs, 96 ROPs, and 10 Gbps GDDR5X memory of the TITAN X Pascal, and 3,584 CUDA cores, 224 TMUs, 88 ROPs, and 11 GB of 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory across a 352-bit memory bus, of the GTX 1080 Ti. The GPU Boost frequency is 1582 MHz. Here's the catch - the new TITAN Xp will be sold exclusively through GeForce.com, which means it will be available in very select markets where NVIDIA's online store has a presence.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 381.65 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released GeForce 381.65 WHQL "Game Ready" drivers. The drivers come with optimization for "Quake Champions" closed beta. This isn't, however, the biggest change with these drivers. These are the first WHQL-signed drivers from NVIDIA to support WDDM 2.2, and with it, the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update, due for April 11th. The drivers also add DTS X and Dolby Atmos support for 5.1.2 speaker configuration through the GPU's in-built audio controller (which outputs from the HDMI and DP connectors). Also added is support for Dolby Vision. Games "Snake Pass" and "Kona" get support for NVIDIA Ansel. There's also the curious case of the driver's release-notes mentioning "Added support for the NVIDIA TITAN Xp." Could this indicate a new TITAN SKU being on the horizon?
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 385.65 WHQL

Futuremark Releases 3DMark v2.3.3682

Futuremark today released an update to 3DMark benchmark suite. Version 2.3.3682 resolves a critical bug in the API overhead test, which causes the test to fail on some machines, towards the end of the DirectX 12 API test. The API overhead benchmark tests the amount of API draw-calls your machine can handle, over popular 3D graphics APIs, including DirectX 11 (single-threaded and multi-threaded), DirectX 12, and Vulkan. The rest of the feature-set is consistent with the older version 2.3.3663, in which the company introduced a brand new Vulkan API overhead test, replacing the Mantle API test. Grab the update from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: Futuremark 3DMark + Time Spy v2.3.3682

InnoDisk Announces the iSLC 3IE4 SSD

To meet the ever growing demands of the embedded and industrial storage market, Innodisk is launching the SATA 3IE4 series with integrated Marvell controllers. Running on Innodisk's proprietary iSLC technology, it provides performance equal to that of SLC at a much lower cost. The iSLC technology in combination with integrated LDPC error correcting code ensures an extended lifespan; upward to seven times that of standard MLC products.

Traditional MLC flash boasts high capacity, but often falls short with regards to product lifespan. SLC is a better choice for performance and longevity; however the cost is comparatively high. This is where iSLC comes in as a golden mean with a drastic increase in lifespan compared to MLC products, while sporting SLC like performance at a much lower price. This makes iSLC SSDs the perfect choice for industrial and embedded applications where MLC often do not meet longevity demands and SLC are seen as too costly.

ADATA Launches the XPG SX7000 PCI Express 3.0 x4 M.2 2280SSD

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched theSX7000 SSD as part of its growing XPG gaming brand. The SX7000 uses an M.2 2280 form factor and carefully-sorted 3D TLC NAND Flash, paired with an SMI controller. The SX7000 interfaces with motherboards via PCI Express 3.0 x4 and meets NVMe 1.2 specifications to deliver 1800MB/s read, 850MB/s write, and 130K/140K IOPS. The SX7000 is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB, making the most of the flexibility of 3D NAND to present consumers with greater choice based on budget and need.
Wednesday, April 5th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Processors

Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Gaming 11 GB

The Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Gaming comes with the largest out-of-the-box overclock we've seen so far. At 33 dBA, it's also running much quieter than the Founders Edition and includes the highly popular idle-fan-stop feature. Pricing is very reasonable too, with a pre-order price of $750.

Toshiba Launches 8TB Enterprise Capacity HDD

Toshiba Corporation's Storage & Electronic Devices Solutions Company today announced the addition of an 8 TB SATA model to its MG05 series of 3.5-inch form-factor, enterprise capacity class of hard disk drives (HDD). Shipments start from today. Alongside the expansion of IoT (Internet of Things) and the spread of cloud services, the volume of data generated and accumulated continues to increase, and higher-capacity, higher-performance HDDs are constantly required in cloud data centers and their storage systems.

To meet these requirements, the new 8 TB model offers an approximately 33% increase in maximum capacity from the 6 TB of the prior MG04 series. It also delivers an approximately 12% increase in sustained data rate to 230 MB/s and an approximately 42% improvement in MTTF to 2,000,000 hours. These improvements in capacity, speed and reliability can contribute to the reduction of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the system.

AMD's RX 580, 570 and RX 550 Specifications and 3D Mark Results Leak

So, it would appear that rumors and leaks about the RX 500 series being simple rebrands of AMD's RX 400 line were true. Recent leaks point to no more changes and performance increases than those achieved through higher base clock speeds on the graphics cards' GPU and memory. The architecture is the same, and the process seems to have followed the same path - as of yet, no confirmation regarding whether or not these cards do use a newer, leaner LPP process for higher clocks and less power consumption.

EK Water Blocks Announces GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Full Coverage Blocks

EK Water Blocks, Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing EK-FC1080 GTX Ti water blocks that are compatible with multiple NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti based graphics cards. Customers will be able to transform their GPU into a stunningly beautiful single slot graphics card and the block will allow reaching higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

This water block directly cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) as water flows directly over these critical areas, thus allowing the graphics card and it's VRM to remain stable under full load and high overclocks. EK-FC1080 GTX Ti water block features a central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

Apple to Update its Mac Pro Line of Desktop Computers

For some users, it's been a long time coming. For others, it just meant that Apple had given up entirely on the desktop ecosystem, choosing to focus on its "mainstream luxury" approach towards selling phones with a BOM of $219 for $1000. Most others, though, will probably look at this update as more of a passing shot than an actually thought-out product development.

For now, Apple is going to update the innards of its Mac Pro line with some pretty interesting (if expectable) hardware: the $2,999 model sees a two-core bump from the quad-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor towards a six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.5 GHz. The same path will be followed by the $3,999 model, bumping towards an eight-core Intel Xeon E5 3 GHz processor from the six-core Intel Xeon E5 3.7 GHz processor that just kept on giving since 2013. Both models have also been updated with dual AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs. The $2,999 model also sees an increase in its available memory, from 12GB of DDR3-1866 memory to 16GB.

Bioware Commits to Mass Effect: Andromeda Support; Will Act on Feedback

Mass Effect Andromeda was one of the most awaited launches of 2017, though an argument can be made that the game is currently in beta. The Mass Effect trilogy was one of the best-realized trilogies in gaming - let down, in the eyes of some users, by its ending; but if the indoctrination theory has something to go for it, I think it's one of the best endings that ever took form in this media. The original trilogy really went to show how a universe steeped in narrative, with an overarching plan already aligned for its trio of games, could deliver an intense, high-quality sci-fi experience.

Taking on a whole new galaxy should have been a time to improve and rebuild old systems, not breaking what was so very well done before. Even if the game is a looker, with the Frostbite 3 engine bringing graphics to the forefront, some things have taken a turn for the worst in a bid to save development time and resources. Mass Effect: Andromeda came out in what is an almost universally agreed unfinished state, with facial animations and overall writing suffering in quality compared to the previous installments, and a plethora of bugs fitter to an early access release than a AAA game. Now, Bioware has come forward, committing to act on fans' feedback and making up for the deficits that have no place in a Bioware game.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Specifications Surface

Following its launch of the Ryzen 5 series performance-segment six-core and quad-core processors later this month, AMD could launch entry-level quad-core chips based on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon in the second half of 2017. This lineup will be called the Ryzen 3 series, and will occupy several sub-$150 price points.

The Ryzen 3 series parts will compete with Intel's Core i3 dual-core "Kaby Lake" processors, and will offer four cores, even if lacking SMT (that's 4 cores, 4 threads), and up to 8 MB of L3 cache, making for a compelling deal against Core i3 "Kaby Lake" dual-core parts that have 2 cores and 4 threads enabled through HyperThreading, and just 3-4 MB of L3 cache. What's more, the Ryzen 3 series chips will come with unlocked base-clock multipliers. One of the prominent Ryzen 3 series SKUs revealed by leaky taps among the motherboard industry is the Ryzen 3 1200.

Western Digital Announces a 10TB Variant of WD Purple Surveillance-class HDDs

Western Digital Corporation, a storage industry leader, today announced the availability of the WD Purple 10 TB HDD, the newest member of its high-capacity hard drive line for surveillance applications. According the IHS Markit, anticipated growth of 4K-compliant and high-resolution network cameras over the next few years is driving higher demand for surveillance-class storage to support systems featuring these technologies. With increased capacity and proven leading-edge technology, the WD Purple 10 TB HDD is optimized for 24x7 video surveillance systems and up to 64 high-definition (HD) cameras in home and small business security environments.

"Advanced imaging technology advancements are expanding the value that video surveillance provides for applications ranging from retail and public safety monitoring to smart-city infrastructure, all of which are driving new storage needs," said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing. "Our new 10 TB drive inherits the high performance, reliability and endurance qualities of our WD Purple family, with maximum capacity to offer VARs, integrators and consumers a 4K-ready solution for current and next-generation surveillance systems."
Tuesday, April 4th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Gaming PC
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Mouse
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

FinalMouse Scream One Second Edition

The Scream One is the first mouse by FinalMouse to sport the PixArt 3360 sensor. It is a lightweight mouse meant for the E-Sports enthusiast who doesn't care about software settings, RGB lights, or weight-tuning systems. The Scream One prides itself with great performance and response times at a relatively hefty price tag of $80.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1 Drivers

AMD today released its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.1 drivers. These drivers add support for Oculus Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) on Radeon R9 Fury series, Radeon R9 390 series and Radeon R9 290 series graphics cards; and support for SteamVR Asynchronous Reprojection on Radeon RX 480 and Radeon RX 470 (requires Windows 10). The drivers also enable DisplayPort 1.4 HBR3 mode on GPUs based on the "Polaris" architecture, letting you run 8K @ 60 Hz over a dual-cable connection, and 8K @ 30 Hz over a single cable. The drivers also fix display fickering noticed on AMD FreeSync setups running 3D applications in borderless-fullscreen mode, and bad multi-GPU scaling in "Ghost Recon: Wildlands." Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1

Full Review of AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Surfaces

Ahead of its April 11th launch - and before the NDA lifting - AMD's Ryzen 5 1600 has already been put through its paces in a review, courtesy of website ElChapuzasInformatico.

Some memory compatibility problems seemed to surface during the review (the website used a MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium paired with four modules of G.Skill TridentZ DDR4 3600 MHz @ 2400 MHz.) Other specs for the test system include a Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1200W PSU, a Kingston SSDNow KC400 128 GB SSD, another SSD in the form of a Corsair LX 512 GB, and a 64-bit version of Windows 10. The six-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5 1600 acts as was already being predicted - namely, as an equivalent to the more expensive, media-powerhouse Ryzen 7 1800X and the other 8-core, 16-thread processors in the AMD lineup. Other workloads will, however, be affected, due to the 2 less physical (and 4 logical) cores grunting away at any given task. I'll leave you with the pretty pictures, so you can get an early impression for yourselves.

Akitio Gearing up for NAB with New Thunderbolt 3 Devices

Akitio continues to lead the way in Thunderbolt technology and has several new product releases planned for the 2017 National Association of Broadcasters show (NAB) later this month. Akitio, which already has more Thunderbolt products on the market than any other brand will be adding to their already impressive Thunderbolt product lineup that currently includes 1Bay, 2Bay and 4Bay Thunderbolt storage products, the extremely affordable Node eGPU Box as well as several other products such as their popular Thunderbolt2 and 3 PCIe boxes, docking stations, Thunderbolt3 cables and 10 Gig Network Adapter.

New products that Akitio plans to introduce at NAB include a long PCIe box, a Thunderbolt3 10G Network Adapter, a Thunderbolt3 docking station as well as revised versions of their popular Thunderbolt3 storage products that will be compatible with both Windows and the new 2016 MacBook Pro line-up of computers.

TRENDFOCUS Reports SSD Pricing Increases up to 36%, YoY; 2018 to Offer Respite

Market intelligence analysis company TRENDFOCUS revealed in its latest blog post how SSD market has increased by up to 36% in the last four quarters, with price hikes after prices hikes accompanying increasing demand (and sales) of the speedy storage media. And TRENDFOCUS warns that these price hikes are like here to stay until 2017 has run its course, with projections of price reductions only materializing in early 2018. This should put some brakes towards the trend of including SSD storage on mainstream OEM computers and laptops, as the price increase from adding this type of storage would bring prices beyond the mainstream. Likewise, the aggressive ratio at which SSDs were replacing HDDs as storage media as correspondingly declined a bit, though this move still stays strong and isn't likely to (nor should it) fully subside.

The company also sees an increasing pricing delta between conventional SATA-based solutions and their higher-performing PCIe counterparts, with the pricing of PCIe-based SSDs increasing more than those that leverage SATA connections. TRENDFOCUS reports how 2017 pricing hinges on 3D NAND ramping as predicted this year, with higher prices in the demand-heavy back-to-school season) if this ramp fails. The company still feels confident about an eventual return to quarterly takedowns on SSD pricing, coeteris paribus, come 2018.

Source: TrendFocus

PowerColor Teases New Red Devil Graphics Card - Probably RX 580

PowerColor has pulled some images out of its teaser hat, bringing us some classy, though ultimately uninformative pics of an upcoming Red Devil card. The details that can be gleaned point to a dual-fan design and some semblance of LED illumination (which should always be expected in any recent product launch).

Though we can't know for sure what graphics card this Red Devil tease refers to, logic would dictate that it's the best-performing, upcoming card that we know off. Pulling a publicity stunt for the second-fastest card to arrive (RX 570) just wouldn't make sense, and the timing puts this teaser much closer to (what is expected to be) the rebranded RX 500 line than to the much-awaited RX Vega line of graphics cards. The latter will probably drop in around the same time as Arkane's Prey, which launches on the fifth of May.

Source: Videocardz

EK Launches Full-Cover Water Blocks for EVGA FTW2 Graphics Cards

EK Water Blocks, Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing two EK-FC1080 GTX FTW2 water blocks that are compatible with multiple EVGA GeForce GTX FTW2 1080 and 1070 series graphics cards. This kind of efficient cooling will allow your high-end graphics card to reach higher boost clocks, thus providing more performance during gaming or other GPU intense tasks.

Outertech adds AMD Ryzen Processor Optimization to Cacheman 10.10

Outertech has released Cacheman 10.10, a Windows performance enhancement software that uses one-click optimization in order to improve responsiveness, privacy, and the security of a PC. The new Cacheman version introduces support for the recently released AMD Ryzen 7 1700, 1700X, 1800X and Ryzen 5 1400, 1500X, 1600, 1600X processors. A free test version is available from the Outertech website.

The AMD Ryzen 7 processors consist of 16 CPU cores - 8 physical and 8 virtual (emulated) cores. The physical processor cores are placed on the CPU die in two groups of 4 cores each, the so called CCX (CPU Complex). The two groups are interconnected with a 256-bit wide bi-directional crossbar. The speed of the crossbar is linked to the speed of the system memory. Within a CCX group, CPU cores can communicate very quickly with each other. Communication between cores that sit on separate CCX groups is significantly slower (by the factor of 2 and more).
DOWNLOAD: Outertech Cacheman 10.10

Turtle Beach Introducess New Recon Chat Gaming Headsets

If you're a gamer looking to replace the chat headset that came with your Xbox One or PlayStation4, then it's time to get more for your money with the all-new RECON CHAT from Turtle Beach Corporation. The RECON CHAT headsets for Xbox One and PS4 are the latest entries in Turtle Beach's family of award-winning gaming audio products, and deliver a host of innovative features and functionality that raise the bar for what gamers should expect from a chat headset.

Not only is the RECON CHAT lightweight and reversible, but it's a significant upgrade over standard chat headsets, featuring a large 40mm speaker and Turtle Beach's glasses friendly design inspired by the ELITE PRO's ProSpecs Glasses Relief System, Turtle Beach's signature high-sensitivity microphone, and a unique open ear-cup which allows players to hear game audio from their TV or home entertainment system through both ears (in stereo). Additionally, the RECON CHAT has convenient in-line controls that place Chat Volume and Mic Mute right at your fingertips.

ECS Intros the Z270-Lightsaber Motherboard

ECS introduced its premium socket LGA1151 motherboard, the Z270-Lightsaber. A successor to the Z170-Lightsaber the company unveiled way back in January 2016, the board is packed to the brim with features. To begin with, it draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 14-phase VRM. The socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated). The third x16 slot is electrical gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the Z270 PCH, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of its expansion.

Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, and a 32 Gb/s U.2 port, with NVMe booting and Intel Optane support. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports, both of which are type-A, and eight 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (six on the rear panel, two via headers). The onboard audio solution includes a 115 dBA SNR CODEC sitting on an elevated PCB of its own, besides ground layer isolation for the audio circuit that includes a replaceable TI NE5532AP OPAMP, and audio-grade capacitors. The gigabit Ethernet connection is driven by Killer E2500 controller. The board also features standardized RGB LED headers over two zones. The board also features dual-BIOS with manual switching between two EEPROMs. The company didn't reveal pricing.

id Software Readies Quake Champions with Vulkan Support and Ryzen Optimization

With the success of Blizzard's "Overwatch," it's only natural for game studio Bethesda to develop the oldest, most successful hero-based FPS brand from the early 2000s, "Quake III Arena," into a brand-new title that keeps up with the times, and perhaps even sets new standards. That title is "Quake Champions," and Bethesda is tapping into big id Software talent in its development.

"Quake Champions" will by driven by a proprietary engine that's not id Tech 6. This game will take advantage of the Vulkan API, besides an OpenGL fallback, and as part of an agreement between Bethesda and AMD, it could feature optimization for AMD Ryzen processors. "Quake Champions" will build on the things that made Quake III Arena a cult-classic, besides featuring a cutting-edge production design. Besides PC, the game will launch on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 platforms.

Source: PCGH

Various Radeon RX 500 Series Graphics Cards Start Getting Listed

It looks like AMD Radeon RX 500 series SKUs, such as the RX 580, RX 570, and RX 550, will launch later this month after all, with various ASUS and Sapphire branded SKUs getting listed on popular online stores. While predictably, these SKUs are overpriced on account of pre-launch orders, these are widely expected to be re-brands of the RX 480, RX 470, and RX 460, with slightly higher reference clock speeds, and improved power delivery.

ASUS is readying at least six SKUs based on this series, including two RX 580 8 GB STRIX models, two RX 570 4 GB STRIX models, and two RX 550 SKUs with 4 GB and 2 GB memory amounts. Sapphire, on the other hand, has a gargantuan 12 SKUs based on the three chips, including 8 GB and 4 GB variants of both the RX 580 and RX 570, both 4 GB and 2 GB variants of the RX 550, and two new brand extensions - Pulse and Mini, besides its iconic NITRO+ series.
The list of SKUs follows.
Monday, April 3rd 2017

Today's Reviews

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

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11 GB

MSI's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X comes with a decent overclock out of the box and uses the company's signature TwinFrozr thermal solution which promises good temperatures and low noise at the same time. It's also priced significantly lower than the competing card from ASUS.

Rumored Intel Kaby Lake-G Series: Modular, Multi-Die, HBM 2, AMD Graphics IP?

Rumors have been making the rounds about an as-of-yet unannounced product from Intel: a Kaby Lake-G series which would mark Intel's return foray to a multi-chip module in a singular package. The company has already played with such a design before with its Clarkdale family of processors - which married a 32 nm CPU as well as a 45 nm GPU and memory controller in a single package. Kaby Lake-G will reportedly make away with its simple, low-data rate implementation and communication between two parts, instead carrying itself on the shoulders of Intel's EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge), which the company claims is a "more elegant interconnect for a more civilized age."

Instead of using a large silicon interposer typically found in other 2.5D approaches (like AMD did whilst marrying its Fiji dies with HBM memory), EMIB uses a very small bridge die, with multiple routing layers, which provide a good measure of price/data paths for the interconnected, heterogeneous architecture. This saves on the costly TSV (Through-Silicon Vias) that dot the interposer approach.

Creative Assembly Announces Total War: Warhammer II

Creative Assembly is one of the biggest players in the RTS genre - a genre that is exclusive to our platform of choice. You do have leave out some outliers like Halo Wars - of which its second installment was indeed developed by Creative Assembly itself - and Command & Conquer 3, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule: the PC is the place to strategize.

Now, Creative Assembly has announced yet another iteration on their Total War series of game, which borrow from Civilization's "just one more turn" addictiveness. And this one is set on one of the most cherished IPs in gaming: the Warhammer universe. The first Total War: Warhammer was a poster child for DX 12 integration and performance improvements (at least on the AMD side of the equation). Total War: Warhammer II should also carry some of those optimizations with it, and the second installment in a planned trilogy of RTS titles on the receiving end of the Total War treatment.

AMD's Ryzen 5 1400 Gaming Performance Leaked by Early Adopter

Even though the NDA still isn't up on AMD's second volley of Ryzen-based CPUs, some lucky buyers are already running some of the upcoming Ryzen 5 processors after some sellers jumped the gun. Now, a YouTube video by user "Santiago Santiago." is making the rounds in which he compares gaming performance between the Ryzen 5 1400 (4-core, 8-thread part @ 3.2 GHz base, 3.4 GHz boost), Intel's i5 7400 (4-cores @ 3.0 GHz base, 3.5 GHz boost), and the Pentium G4560, a Kaby Lake dual-core CPU with Hyper Threading @ 3.5 GHz base clocks. The user even snapped a picture proving he has his hands on this chip.

JEDEC Says DDR5 Standard Development Rapidly Advancing: ETA, 2018

JEDEC Solid State Technology Association, responsible for creating the standards on which all of your versions of DDR memory are based upon, recently announced that development of the DDR5 memory standard is well underway, and in time for a 2018 release. The standards body said DDR5 memory will provide double the bandwidth and density versus current generation DDR4. along with delivering improved channel efficiency. Though considering the rate at which DDR4 prices have been increasing as of late, we really should fell a little uneasy at what this new memory standard's adoption will entail.

The current highest base clock that JEDEC allows in their DDR4 memory standard before "overclocking" takes over is DDR4-2400 - with timings ranging from 15~18 for the CAS latency, as well as tRCD, and tRP. And if, as JEDEC says, DDR5 is to be "twice as fast", that could imply that we could end up seeing DDR5-4800. Consider that for a moment: DDR4 kits today only go so far as DDR4-4266, and those are so few and far between that they'll cost you a singular kidney.

MSI Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk Gaming Graphics Card

MSI announced its flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk Gaming graphics card. The card is characterized by a modified version of the company's lateral-flow Aero series cooling solution, with an all-in-one liquid cooling loop over the GPU and a base-plate cooling its surrounding memory. This liquid-cooling component has been designed by Corsair. The loop features a pump+block under the card's cooler shroud, plumbed to a 120 mm x 120 mm radiator, with an included fan.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Sea Hawk Gaming comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 1493 MHz core, 1607 MHz GPU Boost, and 11016 MHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory, out of the box, compared to NVIDIA reference speeds of 1480/1584/11010 MHz, which isn't a big difference. The MSI Gaming app gives you the OC Mode preset that runs the card at 1506/1620/11018 MHz. The card draws power from a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connectors; display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4 besides one each of HDMI 2.0 and DVI connectors. The company didn't reveal pricing.

MSI Intros X370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Motherboard

MSI today introduced the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC socket AM4 motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors and 7th generation A-series APUs. A variant of the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon the company launched its X370 motherboard lineup with, this board includes support for 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth 4.2 using a PCI-Express x1 add-on card. The card features an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 controller, which supports Dual Band 2x2 802.11ac and MU-MIMO Rx, and a maximum bandwidth of 867 Mbps. The card takes up a PCI-Express slot on your motherboard, and has a small riser cable that plugs into your motherboard for low-level wake-on-LAN functions, and the Bluetooth connection. The included MSI Gaming LAN app lets you run your machine with two Internet connections (one over the WLAN card, and the other over the wired gigabit Ethernet port), and lets you assign specific applications to the two connections. The rest of the board's feature-set is identical to that of the original X370 Gaming Pro Carbon.

Mad Catz Makes Voluntary Assignment in Bankruptcy

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (the "Company") (OTC Pink:MCZAF) announced that, with the authorization and approval of its Board of Directors, it and its subsidiary, 1328158 Ontario Inc., made a voluntary assignment in bankruptcy on March 30, 2017, pursuant to the provisions of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada). Pursuant to the assignment in bankruptcy, PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. ("PWC") has been appointed as the trustee in bankruptcy of the Company's estate.

The Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Mad Catz, Inc., ceased operations and also has filed a voluntary petition for relief under chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code to initiate an orderly liquidation of the assets of the Company. In addition, certain of the Company's other subsidiaries have filed or will file for liquidation under comparable legislation in their countries of origin. The Company also announced that all of the directors and officers of the Company have resigned effective as March 30, 2017.

ASUS Unveils the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ROG Poseidon Graphics Card

ASUS at a media event, unveiled its latest GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ROG Poseidon graphics card. The company's pioneering Poseidon series graphics cards are characterized by air+liquid hybrid cooling solutions that both work as conventional air-cooled graphics cards, or can be plumbed to a liquid-cooling loop to vastly improve cooling performance. With the GTX 1080 Ti Poseidon, ASUS innovated a new DirectCU H2O technology that passes a copper coolant tube directly over the cooler's base, besides a copper base-plate, which conveys heat to an aluminium fin-stack. The air-cooling component of the ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Poseidon features a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink ventilated by a pair of IP5X-Certified fans. The company did not reveal clock-speeds, pricing, or availability information.

Source: Kitguru

Aorus Also Intros GeForce GTX 1060 6GB with Faster 9 Gbps GDDR5 Memory

In addition to a new pair of GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards with faster 11 Gbps memory, GIGABYTE, through its Aorus brand, introduced a new custom-design GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB graphics card featuring faster 9 Gbps (GDDR5-effective) memory. The faster memory lends the GTX 1060 a memory bandwidth of 216 GB/s over its 192-bit wide interface.

The Aorus GTX 1060 6GB 9Gbps Edition (model: GV-N1060AORUS-6GD) features a premium-looking custom board design with a 2-slot thick triple-fan WindForce 3X cooling solution, mated to a custom-design PCB that draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; and a back-plate. The card comes with factory-overclocked speeds of 1607 MHz core, 1835 MHz GPU Boost, and 9.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, against reference speeds of 1506/1708/8008 MHz. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Aorus Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Cards with 11 Gbps GDDR5X Memory

GIGABYTE brand Aorus introduced a pair of custom-design GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards featuring faster 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory. At its given memory clock, the GPU is endowed with 352 GB/s of memory bandwidth. The two cards are demarcated from their older 10 Gbps memory-equipped siblings with clear "11 Gbps GDDR5X" markings below the prominent GTX 1080 label on the box.

The lineup consists of two identical-looking graphics cards, a base model (GV-N1080AORUS-8GD) with clock speeds of 1708 MHz core, 1847 MHz GPU Boost, and 11.00 GHz (GDDR5X-effective) memory; and a faster Xtreme Edition variant (GV-N1080AORUS X11-8GD), with 1759 MHz core, 1898 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 11.00 GHz memory. Both cards feature GIGABYTE's latest WindForce 3X triple-fan, 2.5-slot thick cooling solution, featuring a trio of 100 mm fans, ventilating a dual-stack heatsink with copper heat pipes. The middle fan hub has four RGB LED lighting elements mated to GIGABYTE's RGB Fusion software. Aorus is offering a 4-year warranty with these cards.

MSI Announces Optane Genie Software for 200 Series Motherboards

With Intel launching its new Optane memory technology boosting HDD and SSD performance, MSI introduces a new feature to support its speed enhancing capabilities to the maximum. Optane Genie is an easy and smart installation tool found in the latest BIOS, which enables the use of Optane memory with just 1-click, while normally users would have to go through several challenging steps to successfully configure and enable Optane memory boosting. Just click Optane Genie and follow the instructions to finish the easy setup, making Optane easy to use for anyone. All MSI 200 series motherboards already support Intel Optane Memory but we strongly recommend updating to the latest version for the best performance regarding Optane and inclusion of the new and exclusive MSI Optane Genie feature.
Sunday, April 2nd 2017

Aqua Computer Also Announces the kryoM.2 EVO Performance SSD Cooler and Riser

Almost one year ago Aqua Computer launched the kryoM.2 for the first time: an adapter card with passive heat sink for M.2 SSDs. The popularity of M.2 SSDs continues to grow and the thermal problems of these small ultrafast drives will continue too. Aqua Computer has put a lot of development energy into an improved version: the kryoM.2 evo.

The kryoM.2 evo is a high-quality PCIe card that is capable of maximizing the performance of M.2 SSDs. To achieve this, Aqua Computer drastically increased the size of the main heat sink. A second smaller heat sink has been integrated to the backside of the board. This patent-protected system encloses the SSD between these two heat sinks and also cools it from both sides.

Aqua Computers Introduces the kryoM.2 Micro M.2 SSD Cooler

Aqua Computers kryoM.2 micro is a passive heatsink for M.2 SSDs which is simply clipped onto the SSD with the enclosed stainless steel clips. Before this, the enclosed thermal pad for the front and an isolation sticker for the back must be applied. The cooling performance is sufficient for many applications and due to the compact dimensions, the SSD with kryoM.2 micro fits almost all M.2 slots on mainboards.

During assembly, the SSD is not subjected to mechanical stress. The clips are slid on from the sides and then clamped onto the edge of the heat sink. The clamp does not touch the edge of the SSD board while doing this.