News Archive

Thursday, May 25th 2017

Attacks Discovered that can Corrupt MLC-based SSD Data

It appears that although MLC NAND-based SSDs have many advantages to HDD's from a physical-reliability point of view, the old spinning rust drives might still have one advantage over SSDs: A specially crafted write operation can't corrupt your data.

That's what a new report from Carnegie Mellon University, Seagate, and ETH Zürich is showing: That MLC-based SSD Drives are vulnerable to data-corrupting attacks as simple as a specially crafted write operation.

Samba at Risk from Wormable Bug Similar to WannaCry: Present on Many NAS boxes

Samba, the open source implementation of the Windows CIFS file sharing protocol found on Linux and many home NAS-systems, now has its own version of a "WannaCry" grade bug ready to cause users grief. Like WannaCry, Sambas bug enables remote code execution and is totally wormable. Unlike WannaCry however, it does require write access to the SMB share, limiting it's effect unless you run an unauthenticated share on the internet.

So why is this newsworthy at all? It is of course newsworthy in its own right because of bad security practices that run rampant in our industry, I would argue, but that's not really why I posted this, I will confess. Yes, I'm trying to make a point again with that blunt instrument we call "editorial." I do apologize for the inconvenience (not really).

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #5

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

NVMe 1.3 Specification Published

NVM Express, the special interest group behind the NVMe protocol, which enables significantly higher performance on flash-based storage devices, compared to the AHCI protocol, published the NVMe 1.3 specification. This is the most significant update to the protocol since the NVMe 1.2 specification released in 2014. NVMe 1.3, which could be implemented in SSDs, motherboards, and HBA cards starting late-2017 or 2018, introduces several major features that increase performance, endurance, and manageability of flash-based storage devices, such as SSDs.

To begin with, NVMe 1.3 introduces a drive self-test feature similar to SMART. The host machine can now command the drive to perform a self-test without having to mount volumes and expose their contents to OS-based utilities. The self-test parameters could be left up to the drive vendor, and could include hardware tests in addition to data integrity tests. The protocol also adds much needed support for boot-partitions, without needing the motherboard UEFI firmware to store it. The current implementation of motherboards with NVMe booting support involves storing a tiny boot partition with the bootloader on the SPI flash chip of the motherboard which stores the UEFI firmware.

MSI To Launch GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z, USB Type-C 1080 Ti Gaming X at Computex

MSI is set to make a debut of their top-tier, latest-generation graphics card under the Lightning branding, the GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z, at this year's Computex. The new Lightning Z makes use of three TorX 2.0 (the same the company uses on its TWIN FROZR VI cooling solutions) fans, though the tripled configuration is set to use the TriFrozr moniker. This generation of the Lightning line of graphics cards sheds its iconic yellow streaks, however, in favor a RGB-capable LED lighting which supports MSI's own Mystic Light. This graphics card also makes use of MSI's Military Class 4 components.

The next MSI graphics card, however, promises to be the most interesting product. Even though MSI's Gaming X lines of graphics cards and Twin Frozr VI coolers are already well-known, those are not the highlights of the 1080 Ti Gaming X the company will be presenting at Computex. Rather, it's its adoption of a USB Type-C connector that's worth talking. This is something that is long overdue, with some monitors already offering this choice of interface, which promises to be the end-all be-all of display protocols, since it can leverage DisplayPort, Thunderbolt and HDMI. Let's see if this move by MSI sets off a trend. We suppose it will, considering how the industry works

Source: Videocardz

Samsung Announces Comprehensive Process Roadmap Down to 4 nm

Samsung stands as a technology giant in the industry, with tendrils stretching out towards almost every conceivable area of consumer, prosumer, and professional markets. It is also one of the companies which can actually bring up the fight to Intel when it comes to semiconductor manufacturing, with some analysts predicting the South Korean will dethrone Intel as the top chipmaker in Q2 of this year. Samsung scales from hyper-scale data centers to the internet-of-things, and is set to lead the industry with 8nm, 7nm, 6nm, 5nm, 4nm and 18nm FD-SOI in its newest process technology roadmap. The new Samsung roadmap shows how committed the company is (and the industry with it) towards enabling the highest performance possible from the depleting potential of the silicon medium. The 4 nm "post FinFET" structure process is set to be in risk production by 2020.

This announcement also marks Samsung's reiteration on the usage of EUV (Extreme Ultra Violet) tech towards wafer manufacturing, a technology that has long been hailed as the savior of denser processes, but has been ultimately pushed out of market adoption due to its complexity. Kelvin Low, senior director of foundry marketing at Samsung, said that the "magic number" for productivity (as in, with a sustainable investment/return ratio) with EUV is 1,500 wafers per day. Samsung has already exceeded 1,000 wafers per day and has a high degree of confidence that 1,500 wafers per day is achievable.

Enermax Launches NEOChanger, the RGB Pump-Reservoir Combo

ENERMAX introduces NEOChanger, the world's leading RGB pump reservoir combo. NEOChanger is ENERMAX's 1st DIY liquid cooling product, featuring incredible RGB LED lighting that is designed to be controlled via either RGB-sync-ready motherboards or the included 3-in-1 remote control, which enables users to create their personalized lighting themes. Furthermore, NEOChagner incorporates the digital pump speed meter for users to easily identify the real-time speed in use and make adjustment via the remote control.

Compatible with RGB-sync-enabled motherboards with 4 pin header(s), NEOChanger allows its RGB lighting to be synchronized and controlled by motherboard's lighting control software or app, for users to customize their own favorite lighting styles. Moreover, NEOChanger also includes a remote control for users to choose and adjust RGB colors and lighting effects, which is the best solution for those who use standard motherboards without the RGB-sync support.

Acer Introduces the Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop for Budget-minded Gamers

In a bid to increase options for budget-minded gamers, Acer has introduced the Nitro 5 gaming laptop, whose wealth of configurations start at a respectable $800. Choosing any kind of gaming-focused laptop over building your own desktop will always look like bad business, but how much one values mobility mays edge the decision towards one side or the other.

Specs-wise, it's a mix of respectable with the bare minimum: it features a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, up to 32 GB of DDR4 2400 MHz memory, and is available in configurations featuring Intel's Core i5 or Core i7 processors paired with an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, or your choice of an AMD 7th-gen A-series FX, A12 or A10 APUs, paired a Radeon RX550 GPU. Some models will include PCIe SSDs (up to 512GB) with up to 2TB of optional HDD storage. Ports include 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 ports, and 1x HDMI output. The Nitro 5 also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with a 2x2 MIMO antenna. The Nitro 5 will be available in North America starting July 1. Acer did not release detailed pricing, so there's no idea of what the $800 configuration will net you spec-wise (though an AMD and RX 550 are pretty much guaranteed). The Nitro 5 will also be available in the EMEA in August, starting at a much less interesting €1,139.

Source: Tom's Hardware

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Arctic Storm Mini Pictured, Too

Besides the most compact GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card in its GTX 1080 Ti Mini, ZOTAC is planning to launch its liquid-cooled sibling at Computex 2017. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti combines the 21.8 cm (8.3-inch) long super-compact, custom-design PCB of the GTX 1080 Ti Mini, with a factory-fitted, full-coverage water block, which you plumb to your own liquid-cooling loop.

The block cools the GPU, memory, and VRM, and is made of nickel-plated copper, with a tinted acrylic top, which has a mirror-finish aluminium top-plate along the end as an accent. The card also features a back-plate, just like the GTX 1080 Ti Mini. It's unknown at this point if the card is factory-overclocked, but it draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors, so there must be some VRM muscle behind the connectors. The card also appears to ship with fittings.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini Pictured

Here are some of the first images of ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini, which could go down in history as the most compact GTX 1080 Ti graphics card (besides cards with factory-fitted water blocks, of course). The card features a PCB that's under 20 cm in length, mated to a 21.8 cm (8.3-inch) long cooler. What's more, the card isn't taller than ISA spec. It relies on an aluminium fin-stack cooler with a pair of 90 mm spinners, to stay cool. Such a diminutive heatsink size could mean that the card may lack idle fan-off. The card sticks to NVIDIA reference speeds, and draws power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0b and dual-link DVI. The card could be formally launched at Computex 2017.

Intel to Make Thunderbolt Royalty-Free; Looking to Increase Adoption

Thunderbolt is one of the most flexible data delivery mechanisms ever developed: it boasts of both enormous versatility and performance. These connectors have seen increasingly higher adoption rates due to these characteristics, but are still to trickle down towards mid-range and entry-level offerings, which would be certainly some of the products to benefit the most, allowing them to substitute numerous, costly ports for a single jack-of-all-trades connection.

Intel is looking to solve this problem by removing royalties from Thunderbolt, further increasing adoption by integrating controllers within its own processors. The first Thunderbolt 3 "Alpine Ridge" chips, introduced in the third quarter of 2015, were manufacturer's only solution to implement Thunderbolt in their products; an extra chip which added costs and complexity to designs, which ended up limiting adoption to only higher-margin products. With Thunderbolt 3 an integrated part of the processors, those issues largely evaporate, with system builders being freed of having to design accommodations for an extra chip. Intel did not specify which processors would include the controllers or when they will ship, but the company says that it is going to make the Thunderbolt 3 specification available on a non-exclusive, royalty-free basis. Intel could have played towards eliminating the royalties on Thunderbolt 3 but only supporting it on its own processors, but the company has chosen not to do that: the door will be open for AMD and other companies to bake in support for the interface on their own solutions, spurring innovation and, more importantly, driving down costs of adoption.

Source: ArsTechnica

Kingston Intros the SSDNow KC1000 Line of M.2 NVMe SSDs

Kingston introduced the SSDNow KC1000 line of PCI-Express SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor. The drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interfaces, and take advantage of the NVMe protocol. They combine MLC NAND flash memory with Phison PS5007-E7 controller, and come in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB.

All three variants read at speeds of up to 2,700 MB/s; the 480 GB and 960 GB variants write at speeds of up to 1,600 MB/s, while the 240 GB up to 900 MB/s. 4K random read performance is rated at 290,000 IOPS for the 480 GB and 960 GB variants; and 225,000 IOPS for the 240 GB variant. 4K random writes, on the other hand, are chalked at up to 190,000 IOPS for all variants. Kingston is selling the KC1000 are both standalone M.2 drives, and in combination with a PCIe x4 to M.2 adapter add-on card. The drives are backed by 5-year warranties.
Wednesday, May 24th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
PSUs
Storage

EVGA Hydro Copper GTX 1080 Waterblock

The EVGA Hydro Copper GTX 1080 is a full-cover waterblock that offers integrated lighting with no cable management needed, a six-port I/O port manifold, and an aluminum front cover for aesthetics and rigidity alike. It also aims to simplify installation by incorporating pre-installed thermal pads out of the box.

Fractal Design Announces the Focus G Series Cases

Let your hardware shine with the new Focus G series chassis. The new Focus G series from Fractal Design is the cornerstone for your PC build, showcasing the hardware aesthetics at the heart of your system with elegant accents and sophisticated style.

Contemporary ATX (Focus G) and Micro ATX (Focus G Mini) case designs accommodates high-performance components with smart and efficient space utilization for a compact footprint. Extensive cooling options are available with support for tall CPU heatsink/fan combos and water cooling with multiple radiator configurations.

Phanteks Announces Glacier C350a CPU Water block for AMD Platforms

Phanteks today introduced its top of the line Glacier C350a CPU water-block for AMD platforms. It comes with retention modules for AM4, AM3(+), and FM2(+) sockets. The blocks feature nickel-plated copper as their primary material, with acrylic tops, and anodized aluminium cover plates, available in either matte black or mirror-finished chrome. The block embeds RGB LED lighting elements, which plug into your motherboard or LED controllers using standardized 4-pin headers, and supports most common RGB lighting standards, including ASUS Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light, and GIGABYTE RGB Fusion.

The block features 0.4 mm-thick fins that run along almost the entire area, which are 5 mm high, for improved heat dissipation to the coolant. Its base features a mirror finish. The block is mated with the top using aerospace-grade viton rubber sealing. Measuring 109 mm x 42.5 mm x 70 mm (W x H x D), the block weighs in at 330 g. A tube of Phanteks PH-NDC thermal compound comes included. Available now, the Phanteks Glacier C350a is priced at USD $79.99.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming Motherboard

ASUS today introduced its RGB LED-rich implementation of AMD's mid-tier B350 chipset, with the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming motherboard. This socket AM4 motherboard built in the ATX form-factor, this is one of the rare few B350 chipset based boards to feature two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots wired to the AM4 SoC, and x8/x8 lane switching, something B350-based boards generally lack. Don't expect SLI support, though. You can still install CrossFireX with not just these two slots, but also the third x16 (electrical x4) slot wired to the chipset. Three x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the SoC using an 8-phase VRM.

Storage connectivity on the ROG STRIX B350-F Gaming includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (both type-A, rear panel), and six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). Networking is care of an Intel I211-AT gigabit Ethernet controller. The ROG SupremeFX onboard audio solution is powered by a Realtek ALC1220 CODEC (up to 120 dBA SNR), mated with two headphones amplifiers, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Besides the RGB LED-lit ornament on the chipset heatsink, the board features two RGB LED headers, controlled by the ASUS Aura Sync RGB software. The company didn't reveal pricing, although we expect it to be around the $140 mark.

MSI Intros the Core Frozr XL CPU Cooler

MSI expanded its Gaming series CPU cooler family with the new, larger, Core Frozr XL CPU cooler. This tower-type air cooler features a simple aluminium fin-stack heatsink covered by an ABS plastic shroud, and two 120 mm fans in push-pull configuration. The cooler features a nickel-plated copper base, from which eight 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes pass, conveying heat to the aluminium fin-stack. MSI innovated in giving the cooler motherboard clearance on two fronts - the heatsink itself is off-center, so it adds clearance to the topmost expansion slot on the motherboard.

Further, the fan can be elevated slightly, to add clearance to the memory slots or large VRM heatsinks. The fin-stack is capped off by a detachable cooler shroud, with an MSI Gaming dragon logo that's lit by RGB LED, controllable using MSI Mystic Light RGB software. The included fans feature 4-pin PWM inputs, fluid-dynamic bearings, spin between 500 to 1,500 RPM, pushing 19.79 to 71.27 CFM of air, with a noise output ranging between 17.2 and 33.6 dBA. The cooler supports all modern CPU socket types, including AM4, AM3(+), FM2(+), LGA2011(v3), LGA115x, LGA1366, and LGA775. Measuring 150.4 mm x 170.0 mm x 129.8 mm (WxHxD), the cooler weighs about 1,295 g. It is designed for thermal loads of up to 250W. The company didn't reveal pricing or availability information.

New Details On Intel's Upcoming 10-core Skylake-X i9 7900X Surface

SiSoft Sandra is one of the best (and more common) sources for details on upcoming, as-of-yet-unreleased hardware details and characteristics. Now, details on one of Intel's upcoming Skylake-X parts have surfaced, which gives us some details on what are likely final specifications, considering how close we are to X299's accelerated release.

The processor in the spotlight is one of Intel's 10-core processors, the Core i9 7900X (which is erroneously reported by the software as the Core i7 7900X), Intel's 10-core CPU. While initial reports pegged this CPU at as running at clock speeds of 3.30 GHz base and with 4.30 GHz Turbo Boost, it would seem Intel's release silicon will leverage much higher stock speeds, with the reported values on this SiSoft report being a staggering 4.0 GHz base, and 4.5 GHz Turbo Boost. These are extremely high clock speeds for a ten-core part, but all the other details about the Core i9 7900X check out: there are 14,080 KB (13.75 MB) of shared L3 cache, 1 MB L2 cache per core (for a total of 10 MB), as well as a 175 W TDP. This difference in clock speeds (especially when you compare it to Ryzen's much lower clock speeds) are probably an indicator of not only architectural differences between both designs, but a statement on Intel's fabrication process capabilities. And as an added bonus, check the motherboard that was used: a juicy, as-of-yet-unknown, X299 Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 7. Two details of this magnitude in a single screenshot? It's clearly a case of having your cake and eating it too.

Source: Overclockers UA

ADATA To Launch Marvell Equipped SX9000 M.2 NVMe SSD

ADATA is set to officially unveil its new SX9000 line-up of high-performance M.2 SSDs on Computex 2017, but the company has already taken to social media to tease and sort of pre-announce some of the products they will be showcasing. The teaser photo shows the 1TB version of the XPG SX9000 drive in an M.2 2280 form-factor featuring a red PCB. The company says the drive's name "sounds like that car from RoboCop", though if they're referencing the 6000 SUX, well... I hope the similarities aren't as great as they claim to be.

These new SSDs come with a Marvell 88S1093 controller (the company's first NVMe-geared solution), probably paired with 3D TLC NAND for higher capacities and lower cost. This means the company is eschewing the Silicon Motion controllers previously used on their SX7000 and SX8000 SSDs. ADATA certainly wouldn't be putting their stock behind a new controller if they didn't think it was worth it cost or performance-wise, so let's wait and see what comes of this pairing.

Source: ADATA Twitter, ETkenix

Microsoft Officially Announces the Windows 10 "China Government" Edition

Remember that piece regarding Microsoft's Windows 10 for the chinese government? Well, Microsoft has just officially announced it in its Shanghai presentation today. In a joint-venture with China's government, CETC (China Electronics Technology Group), CMIT (a conglomerate of China-based manufacturers), and Lenovo, the Redmond-based company has apparently managed to deliver what they themselves thought impossible: a version of their operating system that doesn't spy on its users. Lenovo, as you might have guessed already, will be one of the first OEM partners to preinstall Windows 10 China Government Edition on new devices.

Based on Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, the Windows 10 China Government Edition ironically ticks all the boxes for what enthusiasts would like to see from their OS: it's a modular approach to Windows, where users (read, in this case, government entities) can remove features they aren't looking to take advantage of (like OneDrive), whilst giving the capability to "manage all telemetry and updates." Aren't those just great features to have?

NVIDIA Quietly Launches its MX150 GPU for Mobile Solutions

NVIDIA has quietly added a new product to its mobile catalog, the MX150. This tiny GPU is apparently based on the company's desktop GP108-based GT 1030, which has been recently launched in a bid to bridge the gap between IGP solutions and discrete-class graphics processors. In fact, this product looks to serve the ultrabook market with its modest power requirements, offering system integrators a new GPU which packs a lot more "oomph" than Intel's integrated graphics chips, while ensuring a considerable battery life.

This means that the MX150 is being geared not towards gamers (as the lack of a GeForce moniker already implies), but media consumption enthusiasts who demand more flexibility from their graphics adapters. For now, the only confirmed spec is a 2 GB GDDR5 memory pool, which is in line with the desktop GT 1030.

Source: Videocardz

MSI Announces the Z270 GODLIKE Gaming Motherboard

MSI, the leading gaming motherboard brand, is proud to announce the all-new Z270 GOLDIKE GAMING motherboard. As the pinnacle of GAMING in terms of design, performance and features, the new Z270 GODLIKE GAMING raises the bar once again for motherboard development. With plenty of world's first and exclusive technologies such as Killer xTend and the new ASMedia 3142 USB 3.1 Gen2 controller, the new Z270 GODLIKE GAMING motherboard closely follows the GODLIKE standard.

With our continuous strive to push the gaming industry forward, we are excited to once again work close with Rivet to be world's first motherboard brand to launch Killer xTend on our new Z270 GODLIKE GAMING. With GODLIKE at the heart of a gaming rig, it allows it to act as a Killer fueled router to pass on and strengthen the internet signals, with lower latency, offering the best online experience when gaming on LAN or WIFI. Like GODLIKE GAMING, Killer's new technology is packed with new cutting-edge technologies, such as their exclusive gaming bandwidth management. The MSI and Killer gaming experience has now been expanded throughout the complete household.

TechPowerUp and G.Skill Announce the Ryzen-ready Flare X Memory Giveaway

TechPowerUp and G.Skill Memory bring you three more reasons to take the AMD Ryzen leap, with the "Game Faster with Flare X" Giveaway. Up for grabs are three G.Skill Flare X 16 GB (2x 8GB) dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory kits, which are based on Samsung b-die DRAM chips, and are recommended by AMD for the best performance on its Ryzen series desktop processors. The Flare X series kits are renowned for reliably sustaining DDR4-3200 speeds on Ryzen machines, which have a direct impact on their performance, since DRAM clock is synced with the clock speed of the Infinity Fabric interconnect between the two CCX quad-core units on Ryzen processors. The giveaway is open worldwide.

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

SAPPHIRE Introduces GPRO E-Series Professional Graphics

SAPPHIRE Technology is launching its new GPRO E-Series graphics cards series for professional and industrial usage. A comprehensive lineup of models, ranging from the best-performing to most compact and power-efficient units, will suit the varying needs of businesses. Increased computational through put and further power optimizations allow for more immersive visuals and sophisticated applications - from digital gaming and casinos to industrial automation, medical, aerospace, and defence.

Available starting in Q3 2017, the SAPPHIRE GPRO E-Series includes 4 models with different power levels and outputs. The E-Series lineup starts with the SAPPHIRE GPRO E9260, the fastest of the debuting cards, with 2.5 TFLOPS of computing power in single precision operations. SAPPHIRE has included 8 GB of GDDR5 memory and 4 DisplayPort 1.3 outputs. Thanks to the latest generation of Polaris GPU architecture, with updated display engine, the card can drive up to 2 screens in 5K resolution and 60 Hz refresh rate or up to 4 screens in 4K and 60 Hz. The applied thermal solution is active, with a single efficient, dual ball bearing fan. The GPRO E9260 model is dedicated to the most graphically-demanding and compute-heavy scenarios such us high-end digital gaming, advanced Real-time medical imaging as well as military.

CRYORIG Reveals New R5 Cooler, "Cu" Line Performance Coolers

PC Cooling innovator CRYORIG, is announcing two new CPU cooling projects ahead of Computex 2017. The CRYORIG R5 high-end single tower and the Cu Series of Copper Fin enhanced coolers. The R5 and Cu Series will both make their debut in the coming Computex 2017 from May 30th to June 3rd.

The R5 is the second cooler in CRYORIG's R series of flagship coolers. The R5 is the missing piece to CRYORIG's PC cooling lineup. It is a high-end dual-fan single tower that is designed to stay within the mainboard's CPU Keep-Out-Zone. This means that the CRYORIG R5 has Zero RAM Interference, even on Intel's X99/X299 based platforms. Made with performance in-mind the R5 contains multiple CRYORIG cooling innovations including: Convex-Align cooler base optimization, Multi-Seg Quick Mount System, 6 CRYORIG High-end Copper Heatpipes, CRYORIG Dual Fan Fin Optimizations and more. Dual XF140 800-1400 rpm PWM fans will be attached front and back for enhanced performance. The R5 will also see the debut of CRYORIG's brand new Quick Lock Mounting, that promises to simplify the way coolers are mounted.

Raijintek Intros the Aura 12 RGB Case Fans

Raijintek today introduced the Aura 12 RGB case fans. These 120 mm fans are characterized by RGB LED lighting projected onto the impeller by an LED diffuser running along the bore of the frame. The RGB LED setup can produce up to 256 colors, which can be configured using the included control module. This module can also set lighting modes.

The impeller of the Raijintek Aura 12 RGB features a variable angle fan-blade design that is said to improve airflow. The fan features hydraulic bearing. The fan takes in input from the control module over a proprietary 6-pin connector, and spins at speeds of up to 1,200 RPM, with up to 39.8 CFM airflow, and a maximum noise output of 24.8 dBA. The frame features rubber padding along the mount holes to absorb vibration. The fan is also available in packs of three, sold as the Aura 12 RGB-3. This package includes a control module with three outputs. The company didn't reveal pricing.

TechPowerUp Rosewill Cullinan Giveaway: The Winners

TechPowerUp and Rosewill brought you the Rosewill Cullinan Giveaway, your chance to win one of two gorgeous Rosewill Cullinan cases with 5 mm-thick tinted tempered glass body panels. We've chose two lucky winners who will receive one of these stylish ATX cases, each. Without further ado, the winners:
  • Gabe from the United States
  • Walter from the United States
  • Francis from the United Kingdom
A huge congratulations to you, Francis, Gabe, and Walter! TechPowerUp and Rosewill will return with more such interesting giveaways!
Tuesday, May 23rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
SSD
Storage

Cougar Megara

The Cougar Megara is a portable in-ear gaming headset with a boom microphone for those wanting all the functional benefits of larger gaming headset without the bulk. You can even take it on the road or use it with your mobile phone thanks to the in-line microphone, controller, and detachable boom microphone.

Cooler Master Cosmos II 25th Anniversary

The Cooler Master Cosmos II was launched in 2012 and became one of the brand's most recognizable enclosures. Now, half a decade later, Cooler Master presents the Cosmos II 25th Anniversary edition to celebrate a quarter century in business and to bring the iconic chassis back to a new generation of enthusiasts and gamers.

Patent Trolls to Lose their "Homefield" Advantage Thanks to Supreme Court

Thanks to a ruling from the Supreme Court, patent trolls could see their designs being thwarted more often than they have until today. Patent trolls stand as a scourge of the industry, ie, companies and even individuals that hold intellectual property with the sole purpose of levying infringement lawsuits against other companies - without producing anything themselves. They're kind of the leeches of the tech and business worlds, without some of the benefits their biological counterparts manage to deliver.

AOC Introduces the AGON AG251FG - 24.5", 1080p 240 Hz or 1440p 144 Hz, TN, G-SYNC

Update: It would seem reservations regarding the monitor's conservative resolution were right in the money. New details have come to light in that this monitor from AOC apparently supports two display modes: a 1440p, 144 Hz presentation, favoring resolution and graphics quality, or the aforementioned 1080p 240 Hz. This is interesting, offering a solution for gamers who play both competitive shooters and eye-candy-filled games, opting for blazing fast refresh rates or a higher resolution. It remains to be seen whether graphics quality takes a bigger hit than is solely limited to the decreased resolution: using a monitor ona non-native resolution decreases graphical quality, sometimes noticeably so. Still, this is a flexible solution, and I wouldn't be surprised to see users choosing this solution exactly because of the two different modes of operation.

AOC has added a new monitor to its line-up, which seems to be especially geared towards competitive gamers in twitch-shooters. Its astonishing 240 Hz refresh rate, 1 ms response time, and G-SYNC support are its greatest selling points, I would wager, though I bid you good luck in running most modern games at such frame-rates. To achieve this kind of screen refresh rates, AOC had to compromise in other areas, though: the AG251FG's 1080p resolution seems somewhat limited, as does the usage of a TN panel.

Acer Announces the Predator Z35P - 35", 1800R, 3440x1440, G-SYNC

Acer has added another entry to their Predator line of gaming monitors. The Z35P comes in to replace the company's now aging Z35, which boasted of a 2560x1080 resolution (which while relatively low for today's standards, I have to say I really enjoy.) The Z35P brings the specs up to speed with today's standards, with a higher resolution and a better contrast ratio than its predecessor. Its design reminds me of a running Flood infection form, honestly, but that may be just me.

The Z35P is based on a 35" AMVA panel with a 3440x1440 resolution (2.39:1 aspect ratio and 106 PPI), has a relatively low maximum brightness of 300 nits (no HDR support here I'm afraid), a 2500:1 contrast ratio, a 100 Hz refresh rate, 178°/178° viewing angles, a 4 ms response time, and a 1800R curvature. Reports indicate the refresh rate can be overclocked from 100 Hz to 120 Hz (with G-SYNC to boot), which isn't all that shabby. Connectivity-wise, the Predator Z25P features 1x HDMI 1.4 port, 1x DisplayPort 1.2, 4x USB Type-A headers (with 1x USB-B input) and 1x 3.5-mm audio jack which drives the two 9 W integrated speakers. While in operation, the panel consumes up to 65 W of power. The Acer Predator Z35P is expected to be available in the U.S. in the coming weeks for $1099.99.

Corsair Announces New LINK Fan and Lighting Controllers

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the launch of the Commander PRO and Lighting Node PRO fan and lighting controllers, alongside the new HD140 RGB series of RGB cooling fans. Controlled by CORSAIR LINK software, Commander PRO is the ultimate in system control, providing complete command of up to six 4-pin PWM fans, two RGB lighting channels, four temperature sensors and two USB 2.0 headers.

Lighting Node PRO lights up your PC like never before, with two CORSAIR LINK controlled RGB lighting channels and four included individually addressable RGB LED light strips, each equipped with ten RGB LEDs for brilliant, customizable, system illumination. Finally, HD140 RGB joins the award-winning range of CORSAIR RGB cooling fans. Each 140mm fan boasts twelve vibrant, individually addressable LEDs, software controllable in CORSAIR LINK using either Commander PRO or Lighting Node PRO.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.1.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released GPU-Z 2.1.0, a major update to the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostic utility. Version 2.1.0 introduces the new Advanced tab, which gives you in-depth information related to your installed graphics hardware and software related to graphics and GPU compute, such as API-level features available to you. Information is presented as drop-down lists in the new Advanced tab. API features of DirectX, OpenCL, CUDA, and Vulkan are added.

In addition to the groundbreaking Advanced tab, GPU-Z 2.1.0 adds support for EVGA iCX technology, and can put out live sensor data from various parts of your EVGA iCX graphics card. There's also the usual addition of new GPU support, which now includes NVIDIA Tesla P100 PCIe, Tesla M10, Quadro P5000, Intel HD Graphics 615, and AMD Radeon HD 8350G. In addition, there are various user-interface bug fixes and improvements.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.1.0
The change-log follows.

ASUSTOR Announces Intel Core i5-powered AS7004T-i5 and AS7010T-i5 NAS

ASUSTOR Inc., a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has announced that it has added two new models to its 70 series NAS devices with the AS7004T-i5 and AS7010T-i5. These two new models utilize powerful Intel Core i5 quad-core processors and feature 8GB of built-in memory with mixed capacity expansion support up to a maximum of 16GB for enhanced flexibility.

When compared to ASUSTOR's previous generation of Core i3 models, the AS7004-i5 and AS7010-i5 provide significantly enhanced performance, especially with regards to multimedia playback, transcoding and the processing of large volumes of files. The AS7004-i5 and AS7010-i5 are both equipped with 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports which can provide balance and stability under high loading and heavy network traffic. This provides increased efficiency for multi-tasking and multi-user access. Additionally, the AS7010-i5 also comes equipped with a 10GbE network card expansion slot, allowing users to flexibly upgrade their equipment to operate under high speed network access environments.

Cooler Master Announces COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition Case

Cooler Master, a leader in design and manufacturing computer components and peripherals, today announced the launch of a new model in the COSMOS line. To celebrate Cooler Master's quarter-century birthday, the brand introduces the COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition. A tribute to Cooler Master's original and iconic COSMOS case.

Ever since the launch of the original COSMOS II, fans all over the World have been asking, or even making their own, windowed side panel for the COSMOS II. Well, Cooler Master heard you and we wanted to add a little flourish: the COSMOS II 25th Anniversary Edition comes with two curved tempered glass side panels out of the box.

FSP Introduces the New Hydro PTM+ Liquid Cooled PSU

Electrical circuits and water have never liked to be the closest friends. However, computer hardware enthusiasts - and even the simply hardware curious - have been able to leverage liquid cooling solutions' higher thermal dissipation capabilities to reduce temperatures of their operating hardware. Now, FSP is looking to introduce something that has been seldom seen in other power supply units: liquid cooling.

Created in cooperation with Bitspower so as to meet the highest security and safety standards, the Hydro PTM+ is a unique, patented liquid cooled PSU. FSP claims that the the Hydro PTM+ is the world's first 80 Plus Platinum-certified, mass-produced liquid cooled PSU. It features LED lighting, which FSP says achieves a combination of great looks with amazing performance. The unique liquid cooling system, once enabled, increases the power rating from 1200W to 1400W. But, with an array of integrated sensors, the Hydro PTM+ also excels at efficiency, when running in silent mode (below 50% load) it still delivers 600W without the use of a fan for cooling, thus remaining in complete silence. Expect to see more of these units at Computex, where we'll perhaps learn about this unit's pricing. I assure you, however, that these won't come cheap.

Could This be the NVIDIA TITAN Volta?

NVIDIA, which unveiled its faster "Volta" GPU architecture at its 2017 Graphics Technology Conference (GTC), beginning with the HPC product Tesla V100, is closer to launching the consumer graphics variant, the TITAN Volta. A curious-looking graphics card image with "TITAN" markings surfaced on Reddit. One could discount the pic for being that of a well-made cooler mod, until you take a peak at the PCB. It appears to lack SLI fingers where you'd expect them to be, and instead has NVLink fingers in positions found on the PCIe add-in card variant of the Tesla P100 HPC accelerator.

You might think "alright, it's not a fancy TITAN X Pascal cooler mod, but it could be a P100 with a cooler mod," until you notice the power connectors - it has two power inputs on top of the card (where they're typically found on NVIDIA's consumer graphics cards), and not the rear portion of the card (where the P100 has it, and where they're typically found on Tesla and Quadro series products). Whoever pulled this off has done an excellent job either way - of scoring a potential TITAN Volta sample, or modding whatever card to look very plausible of being a TITAN Volta.
Sources: Reddit, VideoCardz

HighPoint Intros SSD7101 Series PCI-Express 3.0 x16 NVMe RAID SSDs

HighPoint, known for its enterprise storage RAID HBAs, has a thriving portfolio of workstation-grade storage solutions, such as Thunderbolt enclosures. The company developed a new line of NVMe RAID solutions beginning with its RocketRAID 3800 PCIe x16 HBA, and now the SSD7101 series PCIe solid-state drives. The drives are built in the full-height PCI-Express add-on card form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x16 host interface. The card combines a number of M.2-2280 SSD subunits wired to an NVMe RAID controller, and either striped in user-transparent RAID 0 for maximum performance, or RAID 1 and RAID 5 modes, for data redundancy. The resulting volume exposed to the OS has full NVMe protocol and TRIM support.

The SSD7101 comes in two variants, the SSD7101A featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 EVO sub-units, and the faster SSD7101B featuring factory-fitted Samsung 960 PRO series sub-units. The card features four 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, the SSD7101A comes in capacities of 500 GB (2x 250 GB), 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), and 4 TB (4x 1 TB); while the SSD7101B comes in capacities of 1 TB (4x 250 GB), 2 TB (4x 500 GB), 4 TB (4x 1 TB), and 8 TB (4x 2 TB). The SSD7101A offers sequential transfer rates of up to 13,000 MB/s reads, with up to 7,500 MB/s writes; while the SSD7101B offers up to 13,500 MB/s reads, with up to 8,000 MB/s writes, and 33 percent higher endurance. You can halve the capacity and double the endurance by running the drives in RAID 1 mode. Both drives feature an aluminium fin-channel cooling solution, with heatsinks over each of the four M.2 subunits, and the NVMe RAID controller. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Monday, May 22nd 2017

Today's Reviews

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

Bitfenix Shogun

The Bitfenix Shogun may not look the part when it comes to its naming, but it does offer a nice and mostly functional feature set coupled with great overall build quality. It also sets itself apart by allowing the user to expand the motherboard tray for an E-ATX board.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released its latest GeForce "Game Ready" drivers. The new GeForce 382.33 WHQL drivers come game-ready for the week's big game releases - "Tekken 7," and "Star Trek Bridge Crew." It also addresses bugs such as Windows Store not opening on Windows 10 Creators Update with 3D Vision enabled on TITAN X; stuttering noticed in "Prey" with GTX 1080 Ti, extended monitors not drifting into Sleep in Windows 10 Creators Update with GTX 1070, and GTX 970 SLI machines not being able to toggle SLI unless Norton 360 is disabled or Windows is booted into "Safe Mode." Grab the driver from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 382.33 Game Ready Drivers

The change-log follows.

EK Announces GeForce GTX FE Full-Cover Water Blocks

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing several new EK-FC GeForce GTX FE water blocks that are compatible with multiple reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. All the water blocks feature recently introduced aesthetic terminal cover as well! FE blocks come as a replacement to current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks.

All current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks are going to be discontinued after the stock runs out and FE blocks come as a complete replacement. FE blocks are designed to fit all reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. The current compatibility list rounds up a total of 106 graphics cards that are on the market, but as always, we recommend that you refer to the EK Cooling Configurator for a precise compatibility match.

SilentiumPC Intros Vero L2 Bronze Series PSUs

SilentiumPC today introduced the Vero L2 Bronze series of mainstream power-supplies (PSUs). Available in two models - 500W and 600W, the PSUs offer low-noise fans, fixed cabling, and boasts of 80 Plus Bronze switching efficiency, besides an up to date standards compliance (ATX 12V 2.31, and Intel Core new C6/C7-states support). Under the hood, the Vero L2 Bronze features a single +12V rail design, a resonant LLC converter, active PFC, and most common electrical protections, including over/under-voltage, overload, input surge, and short-circuit protection.

Both variants of the SilentiumPC Vero L2 Bronze offer the same connector loadout - a 24-pin ATX, a 4+4 pin EPS, two 6+2-pin PCIe power, seven SATA power, three 4-pin Molex, and one 4-pin Berg (floppy). Besides the 24-pin ATX, all connectors feature flat ribbon-type cables. The units are cooled by a 120 mm PWM fan that's been optimized for low noise, and stays at 20% of its rated 1,800 RPM speed up to 30% of load. The units are backed by 3-year "door to door" warranty. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Plextor Announces M8Se Series SSD Availability

Plextor today announced retail availability of its M8Se series of PCI-Express solid-state drives (SSDs). Designed to compete with Samsung 960 EVO series, the drives use Toshiba-made TLC NAND flash memory, mated to a Marvell 88SS1093 controller. Available in M.2-2280 and half-height PCI-Express 3.0 x4 add-on card form-factors, the drives take advantage of PCI-Express gen 3.0 x4 interface, and the NVMe protocol.

The M8Se lineup are available in three distinct variants based on form-factor, M8Se-Y (PCIe add-on card), M8Se-G (M.2-2280 with heatsink), and M8Se-GN (M.2-2280 without heatsink, ideal for notebooks); the three further consist of variants based on capacity - 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB. Performance ratings are the same on all variants - up to 2,450 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1,000 MB/s sequential writes, up to 210,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 175,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The M8Se-Y and M8Se-G series drives feature chunky aluminium heatsinks which make contact with the NAND flash, DRAM, and main controller. Prices start at 83€ for the 128 GB variant, and go all the way up to 494€ for the 1 TB variant.

MSI Intros Five Additional GT 1030 Graphics Cards

Taking a blanketing approach to the GT 1030 market, MSI has announced a further five SKUs based on NVIDIA's GT 1030 silicon, which will join the company's already announced full height, passive-cooled GT 1030 2GH OC offering. MSI is catering to one and every need their users could possibly have with this line-up: from a half-height, passive-cooled solution, passing through a full-height, still passively-cooled solution, and a full-height, actively-cooled one. The only thing missing seems to be a water-cooled version.

MSI's line of GT 1030 graphics cards are available now from various retailers at around the $75 price-bracket.

Inno3D Intros Single-slot GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Graphics Cards

INNO3D, one of the leading brands in high-end graphics cards and high quality 3D printers, expands its GPU portfolio with the new Single-Slot edition of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and 1050. By designing a powerful video card in a thin and elegant form factor, performance that usually finds itself in dual-slot space, you can now get the same experience in smaller PCs that usually were lacking that graphics power.

NVIDIA's new Pascal architecture fuels the new INNO3D GeForce GTX 1050 Ti / 1050 single slot graphics cards and deliver fast & smooth gameplay, supporting the latest DirectX 12 features in both classic and modern games at even 1080p @ 60 fps. The ultimate & affordable upgrade is here; INNO3D GeForce GTX 1050 Ti/ 1050 series.

Alphacool Intros the Eisblock XPX CPU Water Block

Alphacool proudly presents the XPX Eisblock clear and satin versions. As with the other versions of the XPX, Alphacool relies on their specially developed and patented ramp technology. This innovation significantly improves the cooling performance, which has already been shown in tests with the normal Eisblock XPX. It allows the water to flow evenly over all the cooling fins instead of just rushing through the middle section and nearly standing still at the edges. Additionally, the Eisblock XPX boasts a large bottom surface of 34 x 32mm, perfect for CPUs with 8 or more cores, and a very fine fin structure of 0.2mm.


Alphacool is also the first water cooling manufacturer worldwide to dispense with Plexiglas and instead use transparent nylon, the material of the future, for both coolers. Nylon is a much more robust material than Plexiglas, meaning that the danger of cracks in the cooler is drastically reduced. Cracks can occur due to connectors being fastened too tightly or some other uneven strain on the Plexiglas.

HIS Intros Single-slot Radeon RX 550 Graphics Card

HIS today introduced a single-slot Radeon RX 550 graphics card. The new HIS Radeon RX 550 Green iCooler Slim graphics card comes in two variants based on memory size - 2 GB and 4 GB. Both cards are factory-overclocked, shipping with core clocks of 1183 MHz, with 1203 MHz boost, and an untouched 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory.

The cards combine a close-to-reference full-height PCB with a single-slot cooler featuring an aluminium base-plate with a copper core over the GPU, and aluminium channels for heat dissipation, from the air pushed by a 70 mm fan. The card relies on the PCI-Express slot for all its power, display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

AMD Ryzen-optimized C and C++ Compilers Improve Performance

AMD followed up its Ryzen processor launch with support for the software development ecosystem by releasing special C and C++ compilers that let you make software that can fully take advantage of the "Zen" micro-architecture. The new AOCC 1.0 C/C++ compilers by AMD are based on LLVM Clang, with "Zen" specific patches. AMD claims AOCC offers improved vectorization and better code generation for "Zen" based CPUs. It also includes a "Zen" optimized linker.

Phoronix benchmarked AOCC against other more common compilers such as GCC 6.3, GCC 7.1, GCC 8, LLVM Clang 4.0, and LLVM Clang 5.0 using a Ryzen 7-1700 eight-core processor powered machine, running on Ubuntu 17.04 Linux, and found that AOCC offers higher performance than GCC in most cases, LLVM Clang in some cases, and marginally higher performance than LLVM Clang in some cases. Find more results in the link below.

Source: Phoronix.org
Friday, May 19th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Vertagear Triigger 275 Gaming Chair

We take a look at another high-end gaming chair, this time from Vertagear. It promises to take you through comfortable, hour-long gaming sessions and looks nice; however, its price is quite steep.

AMD Ryzen 2000 Series Processors Based on Refined 14 nm Process

At its Analyst Day follow-up conference call, AMD confirmed that the company could build a new generation of Ryzen processors on 14 nm (albeit refined 14 nm) process, before transitioning to "Zen2," which will be built on the 7 nm process. As the first "Zen" based products built on the 14 nm process, the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors are based on the current-generation 14 nm FinFET process. AMD hopes to tap into a more refined version of this process before moving on to "Zen 2."

This could indicate that AMD's next generation of Ryzen processors, likely the Ryzen # 2xxx series, could be minor incremental updates to the current product stack, likely in the form of higher clock speeds or better energy-efficiency facilitated by the refined 14 nm process, but nothing major in the way of micro-architecture. Assuming the current Ryzen product stack, which will be augmented by Ryzen 3 series, Ryzen Pro series, and Ryzen APUs in the second half of 2017; last till mid-2018, one could expect a follow-up or refreshed Ryzen # 2xxx series run up to another year, before AMD makes a "leapfrog" upgrade to the 7 nm process with "Zen2," in all likelihood, by 2019.

Threadripper a Brand, not Codename: AMD, More Details

At its follow-up conference call for its Analysts Day presentation, AMD clarified that Threadripper is a brand, and not a codename to its upcoming line of HEDT processors. This effectively implies that the chips will be called either Threadripper (followed by a model number), or Ryzen Threadripper, but not "Ryzen 9." Responding to questions by TechPowerUp, AMD also mentioned that it will put out more details about Threadripper in its May 29th pre-Computex event in Taipei.

AMD also confirmed that Threadripper is very much a client platform product and not enterprise; although its target audience is "a bit of both" power-users looking for a huge amount of CPU power, and high-end gamers. The Epyc line of processors are firmly in the enterprise domain. Finally, AMD confirmed that motherboard manufacturers will show off Threadripper motherboards at Computex 2017. AMD hopes to launch Threadripper within Summer 2017 (that's before September end). Wake me up when September ends.

Intel to Introduce 3D XPoint DIMM Tech to the Market on 2018

Early on in Intel's 3D XPoint teasers and announcements, the company planned to have this memory integrated not only as a system cache solution or SSD replacement, but also as a potential substitute for DRAM memory. The objective: to revolutionize the amount of DRAM memory a given system can carry, at a much lower price per GB, with a somewhat acceptable performance penalty. Intel describes the current DRAM implementation as too small, too expensive, and too unstable (read: data loss on power loss) to continue being on top of the memory food chain. This is where the 3D Xpoint DIMM implementation can bear fruits, by offering significantly higher amounts of storage at much lower pricing, while keeping attractive bandwidth and latency performance. DRAM will still be used for system-critical operations and booting, albeit in lower capacities, and will be used side by side with these 3D XPoint DIMM slots, which will take in the bulk of the work.

This kind of usage for Intel's 3D XPoint also delivers an interesting side-effect: since this memory is persistent (which means that data isn't lost when the power is turned off,) interruption or loss of power won't erase the work in memory. At the same time, this means that this kind of DRAM-substitute memory requires some security precautions DRAM doesn't, since anyone with direct physical access to the stick could just remove one and take it with all the data inside. Even though a 2018 time to market seems a little to optimistic, considering all the changes this implementation would require from adopters, the technology is definitely promising enough to tempt users to make the jump.

Source: EXPreview

ASUS Teases Ryzen-based ROG Laptop

ASUS, through its ROG (Republic of Gamers)brand, has started teasing what is to be one of the first Ryzen-powered gaming laptops. Other than Ryzen's circular orange logo and the ROG brand, the video doesn't offer any specifics of what hardware rests under the hood. The clip includes the words "something has awakened," and the post is accompanied by the hashtag #Computex2017.

G.SKILL Organizes OC World Record Stage and OC World Cup at Computex 2017

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to announce its largest annual LN2 extreme overclocking events at Computex - the 6th Annual OC World Record Stage 2017 and 4th Annual OC World Cup 2017. In addition, an Extreme OC Workshop event co-hosted with HWBOT.org at the G.SKILL booth this year. These 3 events will be held throughout Computex week at the G.SKILL Computex booth in the Nangang Exhibition Hall, 1F, Booth J0806.

The G.SKILL OC World Record Stage event has reached its 6th year in the running and has become one of the biggest annual overclocking events in the community. This year, 18 world-class professional overclockers will be attending and aim to break as many benchmark records as possible, showing off the astounding performance of the latest hardware from Intel, leading motherboard vendors, and G.SKILL.

MSI Intros Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX Series Graphics Cards

MSI today introduced the Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX series graphics cards. These factory-overclocked cards are available in two identical looking variants that differ by memory size - 2 GB and 4 GB. The cards are characterized by a short-length PCB measuring 15.5 cm, making it ideal for cubical ITX cases; mated to a 2-slot thick cooler. This cooler features a simple aluminium monoblock heatsink ventilated by a 90 mm fan. The card draws all its power from the PCI-Express bus. The MSI RX 560 Aero ITX features factory-overclocked speeds of 1196 MHz core, 1320 MHz boost, and 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. Display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

PowerColor Intros Radeon RX 570 4GB Red Devil Graphics Card

PowerColor announced market availability of its Radeon RX 570 4 GB Red Devil graphics card. The company had announced the card at the RX 570 SKU launch. It is Positioned above the RX 570 Red Dragon, and is characterized by a high-end looking product design, featuring a long custom-design PCB, mated with an equally long 2-slot, triple-fan cooling solution, which features an aluminium dual-fin-stack heatsink ventilated by a trio of 70 mm fans, which stay off when the GPU is idling. PowerColor also included a back-plate to add to its premium appeal.

The Radeon RX 570 4 GB Red Devil features factory-overclocked speeds of up to 1320 MHz GPU (boost), compared to reference frequencies of 1275 MHz; and its memory is left untouched at 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective). Based on the 14 nm "Lexa" silicon, the Radeon RX 570 features 2,048 stream processors across 32 GCN compute units, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The RX 570 Red Devil draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector; display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, and one each of HDMI 2.0 and dual-link DVI.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Spotted in AMD's Labs

AMD's senior marketing director Chris Hook has taken to Twitter to tease AMD's recently-revealed, non-gaming oriented Vega Frontier Edition graphics card. According to the man, he's testing the Frontier Edition's lighting system, which, as we've seen in renders, is supposed to bring in that yellow shade to the Frontier Edition's brushed aluminum, "Pro Blue" furnishings.

What we should be paying more attention to, though, is the partial graphics card that stands to the frontier Edition's right side. It's only a partial, granted, but the black and red color scheme is reminiscent of... well... AMD's gaming Radeon graphics cards. Could this actually be meant as a tease for one of the gaming-oriented RX Vega graphics cards?

Source: Twitter, ETeknix

AMD Talks Improved Ryzen Memory Support, Ryzen 3, and Game Optimization

AMD, in an interview with Forbes, confirmed that it is working to improve DDR4 memory support of its Ryzen series processors, to enable higher memory clocks. AMD Ryzen users find it difficult to get DDR4 memory clocks to run above 3000 MHz reliably. With memory clock being linked with the chip's Infinity Fabric clock (the interconnect between two CCX units on the "Summit Ridge" silicon), the performance incentives for higher memory clocks are just that much more.

AMD confirmed that its AGESA update for May improves DDR4 memory compatibility, although it also stressed on the need for motherboard manufacturers to improve their board designs in the future, with more PCB layers and better copper traces between the DIMM slots and the SoC socket. The company assures that more updates to AGESA are in the pipeline, and would improve performance of Ryzen processors at various levels. The AGESA updates are dispensed through motherboard vendors as BIOS updates.

Bungie's Destiny 2 to Offer 4K, 21:9, Uncapped Framerate Support on PC Version

Bungie's space-opera extraordinaire (well, let's hope it is so) Destiny 2 will apparently offer a great level of support for us PC enthusiasts. It has been confirmed through the hands-on portion after yesterday's live-stream that the game will offer some PC-centric features, including support for up to 4K resolutions, ultra-widescreen support, an adjustable FOV, and uncapped frame-rates for those of you who like to live on the edge. These features, however, make it likely that cross-play between PC, XBOX and PlayStation versions of the game won't be possible, if the added speed and precision of the mice and keyboard options over their gamepad counterparts wasn't enough already. Additionally, it has been confirmed that the game will be distributed through Blizzard (formerly Battle.net), which makes a resounding business sense. Why would Activision distribute its game through Steam, having its profits capped by 30%, when they already have the infrastructure to support a game of this magnitude? Sadly, it has been confirmed that the PC version will be delayed, not being launched on September 8th like the console versions.

There was already some hands-on time with Destiny 2's PC version yesterday. While the PC requirements for the game have not yet been released, I think we can interpret the systems on offer at the stage as an overkill approach to it: the systems featured an Intel Core i7-7700K, 16 GB of Ram, an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, a 500 GB SSD, and Windows 10, which powered an Acer Predator XB271HK monitor (4K, IPS, G-Sync screen.) Though the fact the game was running at over 60 FPS on 4K with the above configuration does speak to relatively mild performance requirements.

Gigabyte Offers up to 60€ in Steam Wallet With Select Aorus Motherboard Purchase

In a bid to increase attractiveness of its offerings even further, Gigabyte has recently announced via a forum post that it's offering up to 60€ in Steam vouchers to consumers who purchase a select Aorus motherboard. This promotion is available for both Intel and AMD Aorus-branded motherboards, and will be open until June 30th 2017 or while stock lasts. Intel customers seem to be getting the bulk of the promotion though, with AMD users only getting 20€ in Steam Wallet vouchers.

Something that we don't see everyday is that this promotion is particularly focused on the EU. Gigabyte states it's only open to residents of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal (yay!), Serbia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuanian, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, Croatia and Slovenia. Check the list of featured motherboards and respective voucher value eligibility after the break.

Shuttle Unveils XC60J IPC Powered by Intel "Apollo Lake" Celeron SoC

Shuttle Inc., the global leader in small form factor computer technology, announces the latest Intel Apollo lake platform, XC60J support with 8 COM ports to power highly interactive Kiosk, vending machine, POS and more. The XC60J is the first 3-liter model with fanless design, powered by Intel Celeron J3355. With built-in Intel HD Graphics and processor, the XC60J can support 4K/Ultra HD video playback and HEVC/H.265 high definition video playback.

With one built-in M.2 2280 Type M and one M.2 2230 Type A/E expansion slots, you can easily install an M.2 SSD, Wi-Fi module or other compatible devices. The XC60J is highly connectable with multiple I/O: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, SATA 6Gbps, COM, and Intel Dual Gigabit LAN ports. Seven RS232 and one RS232/RS422/RS485 ports which support 0V/5V/12V. Connect to barcode scanners, receipt printers, keypads, and other peripherals makes XC60J easily configured into peripheral-heavy POS, Kiosk, and Digital Signage systems.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX X370-F Gaming Motherboard

ASUS today introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) STRIX X370-F Gaming motherboard, positioned below its flagship ROG Crosshair VI Hero, but above its Prime X370-Pro upper mid-range motherboard. Based on the AMD X370 chipset, and ready for socket AM4 Ryzen processors, the board is characterized by its RGB LED lighting chops. The VRM and chipset heatsinks feature RGB LEDs with diffusers, the board is peppered with status LEDs, and features RGB LED headers. The included ASUS Aura Sync RGB lets you orchestrate your LED setup.

Built in the ATX form-factor, the STRIX X370-F Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A 10-phase VRM conditions power for the AM4 SoC, which is wired to four reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 with both populated), with NVIDIA SLI support. The third x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the chipset. Three other x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion.

AMD Confirms Radeon RX Vega Soft-launch at Computex

AMD Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) head Raja Koduri, responding to questions on a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session, confirmed that while the company will launch the consumer-graphics variant of "Vega," the Radeon RX Vega graphics card, at its 2017 Computex event, availability of the card won't follow immediately after, making it a soft-launch. "We'll be showing Radeon RX Vega off at Computex, but it won't be on store shelves that week. We know how eager you are to get your hands on Radeon RX Vega, and we're working extremely hard to bring you a graphics card that you'll be incredibly proud to own," Koduri said.

The first consumer graphics card based on the "Vega 10" ASIC will be the Radeon RX Vega Frontier Edition. This card will be armed with 8 GB of HBM2 memory spread across two 16 Gbit HBM2 8-Hi stacks, with its combined memory bandwidth around 480 GB/s. From the words of Koduri, we can deduce that AMD is still finding the right clocks to make Vega Frontier Edition a competitive product. Koduri confirmed that there will be faster/bigger implementations of Vega. "Consumer RX will be much better optimized for all the top gaming titles and flavors of RX Vega will actually be faster than Frontier version," he said. In the meantime, check out some groovy concept renders of RX Vega reference board by VideoCardz. Our money is on the one below.

Source: Reddit
Thursday, May 18th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Graphics Cards
Memory
Motherboards
Networking
Processors
SSD
Storage

Palit GTX 1050 Ti KalmX 4 GB

Palit's GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX is the fastest passively cooled graphics card on the market. It also runs on PCI-Express slot power only; no additional power connector is needed, which makes the card an excellent candidate for a media PC or quiet small-form-factor system.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2 Drivers

AMD released the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.5.2 drivers. These drivers improve performance of "Prey" a further 4.5 percent, compared to 17.5.1 drivers, as tested on a Radeon RX 580 8 GB graphics card. The drivers also address some critical bugs, beginning with random hangs or application crash noticed on "NieR: Automata," excessive level load times noticed on "Forza Horizon 3," a bug related to multi-GPU setups where displays plugged into the second graphics cards where the first (primary) graphics card disappears from the device list; and a bug with Radeon RX 550 which causes the system to hang when entering sleep or hibernate states. Grab the drivers from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2

WannaCry: Its Origins, and Why Future Attacks may be Worse

WannaCry, the Cryptographic Ransomware that encrypted entire PCs and then demanded payment via Bitcoin to unlock them, is actually not a new piece of technology. Ransomware of this type has existed nearly as long as the cryptocurrency Bitcoin has. What made headlines was the pace with which it spread and the level of damage it caused to several facilities dependent on old, seldom-updated software (Hospitals, for example). It's not a stretch to say this may be the first cyberattack directly attributable to a civilian death, though that has not been concluded yet as we are still waiting for the dust to settle. What is clear however is WHY it spread so quickly, and it's quite simple really: Many users don't have their PCs up to date.

Sharkoon Announces the SKILLER SGS3 Premium Gaming Seat

With the SKILLER SGS3 Gaming Seat, Sharkoon introduces their very first gaming seat. Combining sporty-sleek design with the ergonomic requirements of persistent gamers and streamers, Sharkoon utilizes a robust steel frame construction and extra-large 75 mm wheels. Thanks to the integrated locks, the SGS3 is perfectly suitable for fans of racing games, who, for example, like to press the pedals while using a racing wheel.

The Sharkoon SKILLER SGS3 Premium Gaming Seat base color is predominately black, and made from nonslip synthetic leather. Within the different color versions, stitching and design element accents are highlighted in the colors blue, red, green, black or white. Visually, the high quality embroidered logos stand out.

Intel Pushes Motherboard + Optane Bundles, "Coffee Lake" in August

Back in April, we reported motherboard manufacturer MSI bundling Intel's Optane cache SSD with a few of its mid-range motherboards. While not free, the bundle would be slightly cheaper than the sum of its parts (buying the board and SSD separately). At the time we predicted that other motherboard vendors could launch similar bundles. It turns out that Intel is indeed coordinating motherboard + Optane SSD bundles.

In a bid to boost sales of its 200-series chipset motherboards and Core "Kaby Lake" processors, Intel is coordinating bundles of motherboards across brands with its Optane cache SSDs. Analysts predict that this could be an inventory-clearing exercise by Intel, because it plans to launch its next-generation Core "Coffee Lake" processors by late-August, 2017. "Coffee Lake" will see the introduction of six-core processor SKUs to Intel's mainstream-desktop platform, which is currently led by the quad-core i7-7700K "Kaby Lake."

Manli Announces its GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card

Manli Technology Group Limited, the major Graphics Cards and other components manufacturer, today announced the GT series graphics solution, Manli GeForce GT 1030 Heatsink with fan version. Manli GeForce GT 1030 delivers a perfect DirectX 12 gaming experiences, and powered by the NVIDIA Pascal architecture. It is equipped with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, 64-bit memory controller, memory clock is at 6008 MHz, and the default GPU clock appears to be 1227 MHz.

Sapphire Announces the Radeon RX 560 Pulse Series Graphics Cards

Sapphire announced the Radeon RX 560 Pulse series graphics cards. Available in 2 GB and 4 GB variants; and in sub-variants of reference-clocked and factory-overclocked; the RX 560 Pulse combines a PCB that closely resembles AMD reference PCB for the RX 560; with a fan-heatsink cooler. The cooler features a simple aluminium monoblock heatsink with a copper core, and spirally-projecting, forked aluminium fins; ventilated by a 70 mm spinner. Both the reference and OC variants come with a baseline core clock of 1175 MHz, but while the reference-clocked variant boosts to 1275 MHz, the OC variant touches 1300 MHz. The memory ticks at 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) on all four cards, producing a memory bandwidth of 96 GB/s. Pricing starts at $99 for the 2 GB variant, and $119 for the 4 GB variant.

Khronos Group to Merge OpenCL With Vulkan API

In a blog post detailing the release of OpenCL 2.2 with SPIR-V 1.2 integration today, Khronos put in an interesting tidbit, saying that "we are also working to converge with, and leverage, the Khronos Vulkan API - merging advanced graphics and compute into a single API." PC Perspective understandably found this worth further looking into, since as it is phrased, it seems as if OpenCL and Vulkan are going to be slowly developed towards parity (until eventually merging with it.)

Khrono's response to PC Perspective's inquiry was clear enough: "The OpenCL working group has taken the decision to converge its roadmap with Vulkan, and use Vulkan as the basis for the next generation of explicit compute APIs - this also provides the opportunity for the OpenCL roadmap to merge graphics and compute."

Western Digital Introduces 10 TB RED, RED PRO HDDs

Western Digital has introduced new models to its RED and RED PRO line-up of HDDs. The RED series is oriented more towards a NAS environment, though nothing is really stopping you from putting on of these into your system. These use the same HelioSeal technology that WD uses on their enterprise-class drives, which allows the company to increase the capacity of the RED and RED PRO drives by 25%.

The normal RED drive is built for systems with up to 8 drive bays, while the RED PRO is built for systems with up to 16 drive bays. The RED series is more silent, with an internal spindle speed of 5400RPM, while the RED PRO series comes with a 7200RPM speed. This means the PRO series is louder while operating, but also that is has better performance and faster data access times.

Intel Denies Graphics IP Licensing Deal with AMD

You must've read recent reports on the web about an AMD-Intel licensing deal. We purposefully didn't cover that information, spread on May 15th, based on an expiring graphics IP licensing deal between NVIDIA and Intel. The initial report said that since that deal was expiring, Intel was now turning to its x86 arch-enemy, AMD. It would seem those reports weren't based on facts, having since been denied by Intel, who told Barron's Tiernan Ray that "the recent rumors that Intel has licensed AMD's graphics technology are untrue."

Investors and speculators are an attentive bunch, and jumped at the original rumor, expecting another million-dollar licensing deal. As a result of the Intel-AMD licensing deal rumor, AMD's stock soared by 12% even before AMD's Financial Analyst day. Naturally, after Intel rectified the story, AMD's stock proceeded to correct the speculative bubble, dropping back to previous levels. AMD could have denied the deal as much as Intel could (it takes two to tango), but chose not to. The company played smartly, keeping its cards close to its chest with a "no comment" posture regarding the rumor. This let AMD AMD play on it, seeing their stock increase (even if it was a short-lived scenario, now rectified in its stock value.)

Source: Barrons, Seeking Alpha, Investors Hub, Fudzilla, Google Finance

Raja Koduri: You Can Use Vega Frontier Edition for Gaming; But You Should Wait

In a blog post detailing AMD's Vega Frontier Edition graphics card, which we covered in-depth at the time of its announcement in AMD's Financial Analyst Day 2017, AMD's Radeon Technologies Group head Raja Koduri clarified that current machine learning poster child, the Vega Frontier Edition GPU, can also be used for gaming (who's to say some researchers, or pioneers, as AMD is so fond of calling them, won't be visiting Talos 1 themselves between coffee breaks?)

However, it is Raja Koduri's opinion that you should wait for Vega's gaming GPUs, since the Frontier Edition is "optimized for professional use cases (and priced accordingly)", and that if you want to game on AMD hardware, you should wait "just a little while longer for the lower-priced, gaming-optimized Radeon RX Vega graphics card." He then threw in a free "You'll be glad you did," as if Vega hasn't been a long, long time coming already.

Source: AMD Vega Frontier Edition

Lian Li Launches the PC-O12 WX Mid-Tower Case

Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd launches the PC-O12, a compact mid-tower chassis that combines sleek tempered glass panels with strong, but lightweight, steel and aluminum. This new addition to Lian Li's latest generation O-series chassis range offers unsurpassed style, plus slim design with ample space for a powerful but compact PC build. Thanks to its unique design, it offers space for two vertically placed graphics cards in a separate compartment for gorgeous PC builds.

ADATA Launches ISSS333 Industrial-Grade Solid State Drives

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of highperformance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products,today launched industrial-grade ISSS333 solid state drives in 3D MLC and 3D TLC versions. The ISSS333 range offers robust temperature, vibration, and shock tolerance as required in commercial and industrial applications. At the same time, users tap fast performance via universally-compatible SATA 6Gbps in a standard 2.5" form factor. Compared to mechanical storage, ISSS333 drives deliver vastly increased reliability, speed, and power efficiency.

While SSDs become more popular as industrial and commercial storage, demand diversifies. Consequently, ADATA offers the ISSS333 range in 3D MLC and 3D TLC (multi-level cell and triple-level cell) versions. The use of 3D NAND ensures improved reliability and efficiency compared to older 2D NAND, with the MLC models ranging in capacity from 120GB to 1TB while TLC ISSS333 drives ship in 128GB to 1TB.

EK is Releasing New Gaming Series Kits

EK Water Blocks, Ljubljana based premium water cooling gear manufacturer, is excited to introduce a new line of EK Kits. Gaming Series kits or in short G Kits are a great choice for every liquid cooling beginner and users want to take advantage of their 5.25" bays.

The G kits are EK's fifth lineup of kits, joining the existing Slim, Liquid, Performance and Xtreme Series. Gaming kits come in three different versions, where the size of the radiator and number of fans is the only difference between them. As with all other EK kits, G series kits are named after the radiator size that comes with each kit. Hance, EK-KIT G240, EK-KIT G280 and EK-KIT G360.

Reeven Introduces the Kiran RGB LED Fan Series

Reeven, which has done some of the best price/performance air coolers in the market, has done the unthinkable: they've abandoned their yellow fan-blade design in favor of a RGB solution. Their Kiran RGB series ups their offerings in this field to five different products. Reeven is apparently (and smartly) covering all its bases with a product for every consumer, so let's hope this is just that and not a departure from their bold aesthetics choice.

The Kiran RGB LED fans sport eleven blades, in a design reminiscing of their Coldwing series. The Kiran RGB LED fits standard 120mm fan mounts, with its rounded frame and impeller blades made in a translucent white so as to diffuse the RGB LED lighting across the surface. The RGB LED Kiran fans will most likely be available with PWM and non-PWM options, and Reeven has stated that the price for each fan is set at $16.99 USD, which should place it as a sleeve-bearing fan. Expect more details to be revealed at Computex 2017, Reeven will have a presence to showcase its latest products.

Source: ETeknix
Wednesday, May 17th 2017

Today's Reviews

Accessories
Cases
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Notebooks
Processors
Speakers
SSD

1MORE Capsule Dual Driver In-ears

1MORE is a brand to look out for on the in-ear scene. Their designs look great and have become increasingly ambitious in terms of sound quality. 1MORE prides itself on providing good bang for the buck, and today, we take a look at their Capsule dual driver in-ear, which is priced at just $89. 1MORE's approach to a dual-driver design is the hybrid one where you combine a dynamic and balanced armature driver.

MSI Teases X299 Gaming Pro Motherboard

MSI posted its third teaser pic for one of its upcoming socket LGA2066 motherboards, which is likely the X299 Gaming Pro. Designed for Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" and Core i9 "Skylake-X" processors, the board appears to feature eight DDR4 DIMM slots (four slots on the left side of the socket). The teaser also gives us a glance of the LGA2066 socket, which could feature a similar retention mechanism to the current LGA2011v3 socket, even if the cooler support isn't consistent, given that some cooler manufacturers such as Noctua are already giving away LGA2066 brackets. The teaser pic also reveals two CPU power inputs, an 8-pin EPS and 4-pin ATX. This is unusual for a "mid-range" brand extension such as Gaming Pro, unless some of the Core i9 "Skylake-X" chips really do have >140W TDPs that demand more power inputs than your run of the mill single 8-pin EPS.

Source: MSI (Facebook)

Intel Shows 1.59x Performance Improvement in Upcoming Intel Xeon Scalable Family

Intel today unveiled significant performance advances in its upcoming Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family. At the SAP Sapphire NOW conference, Intel showed up to 1.59x higher Intel Xeon processor performance running in-memory SAP HANA workloads over the generation it replaces, demonstrating what the new products will deliver to help meet the increasingly complex demands of big-data, in-memory workloads in the modern data center.

Diane Bryant, group president of the Data Center Group at Intel, outlined how the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family - available in mid-2017 - will provide enhanced performance to in-memory applications like SAP HANA. This will provide customers faster time-to-insight and allow organizations to rapidly respond to change.

Noctua Introduces New A-series Fans and Accessories

Noctua today expanded its award-winning A-series of premium-quality quiet cooling fans with new 200mm, 120mm and 40mm models. Thanks to the series' signature features such as Flow Acceleration Channels and AAO (Advanced Acoustic Optimisation) frames, the new NF-A20, NF-A12x15 and NF-A4x20 provide outstanding performance and superb quietness of operation. All models come with Noctua's trusted SSO2 bearings and a full 6-year manufacturer's warranty. In addition to the new fans, Noctua introduced the new NA-FC1 fan controller, NA-SAV3 and NA-SAV4 anti-vibration mounts and NA-SAC5 S-ATA power adaptor cable.

"Customers have been asking us for 20cm and slim 12cm fans for years, but meeting the quality standard users have come to expect from Noctua fans in these form factors has proven very challenging, so it took us quite some time to make sure that these fans live up to our name", explains Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "The NF-A4x20 has been conceived following requests by our industrial clients who are looking for a 40mm fan that provides superior performance in pressure-demanding applications as compared to the existing NF-A4x10."

MSI Rolls Out a Passive Cooled GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card

MSI rolled out a full-height, passive-cooled GeForce GT 1030 graphics card. The MSI GT 1030 2GH OC features a large, 2 slots-thick monoblock aluminium heatsink cooling the GPU and memory. Armed with 2 GB of memory, it features factory-overclocked speeds of 1265 MHz core, 1518 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 6.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. With a typical board power of 30W, the card relies on the PCI-Express bus for all its power. Based on the GP108 silicon, the GeForce GT 1030 features 384 CUDA cores, 24 TMUs, 16 ROPs, and 64-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 382.23 WHQL Graphics Driver - For GT 1030

NVIDIA today released an updated version of their GeForce graphics drivers, version 382.23 WHQL, which brings with it support for the company's GT 1030 entry-level graphics cards. Strangely, the drivers' supported products only register as the GT 1030 itself, which is a little unusual, to say the least.

Follow the link here to grab the drivers directly from NVIDIA. Note that since these drivers ONLY support NVIDIA's new GT 1030, you shouldn't upgrade to these if you have any other NVIDIA card. To download the drivers, you'll have to choose the GT 1030 from the drop-down menu on NVIDIA's site, as well as the proper OS version for your use case.

Source: GeForce Forums

QNAP Unveils the Industry-leading Thunderbolt 3 NAS: TVS-1582TU

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released the TVS-1582TU - a pioneering 19-inch rack-mountable Thunderbolt 3 NAS that is suited for moving vehicles and outdoor media editing environments. The TVS-1582TU includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two 10GbE ports, and can utilize its Thunderbolt 3 ports to have USB-C 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) connections for high-speed data transfer and backups. The collection of high-speed connections provides an ideal 4K solution for SNG/OB van live productions in the fast-paced media industries.

"TV and film production and outdoor broadcasting require on-location recording and editing, and need their videos to be backed up immediately to prevent file loss," said David Tsao, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "The TVS-1582TU is designed for this environment, and its 19-inch rack form factor makes it especially usable for SNG/OB van live media production that requires frequent relocation."

CRYORIG Releases NZXT CAM Powered H7 Quad Lumi RGB Cooler

PC cooling and peripherals innovator CRYORIG announces their collaboration project with NZXT, the software controlled RGB LED H7 Quad Lumi will be releasing this June. The H7 Quad Lumi is based on CRYORIG's award winning H7, the H7 Quad Lumi features a total of four 6 mm high-end copper heatpipes, NZXT CAM Powered Lumi Lighting System as well as a new QF120 1.600 RPM LED fan. Co-developed with NZXT, CRYORIG has managed to add a built-in RGB LED controller directly into the H7 Quad Lumi. Running on NZXT's CAM, the H7 Quad Lumi can independently control the logo and base lighting of the heatsink through CAM software and smartphone app.

INNO3D Launching New GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Family

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of awesome high-end hardware components and computer utilities, presents its new family of GEFORCE GT 1030 graphics cards. This family has been built in a half-height form factor, a carefully designed 100% silent heatsink and keeps the power consumption at ultra low levels while providing a performance boost of up to a massive 11x opposed to integrated graphics.

The new INNO3D GEFORCE GT 1030 graphics card throws in its powerful graphics engine to give the user that extra 'umpffhh' that today's demanding applications need. The completely silent heat sink has been designed to optimize cooling performance allowing NVIDIA's Pascal architecture to come to its full potential and have graphics flourish like never before.
Tuesday, May 16th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Mouse
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
SSD

AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz

AMD's Ryzen 5 1600, a six-core processor with twelve logical cores, turns out to be a cost-effective alternative to the only marginally faster Ryzen 5 1600X. The Ryzen 5 1600 even offers good overclocking potential, going beyond the clock limits of AMD Precision Boost and XFR.

Palit Intros GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile Graphics Card

Palit Microsystems Ltd, the leading graphics card manufacturer, today released the Pascal-based GT series - Palit GeForce GT 1030. It's powerful graphics engine and state-of-the-art technologies provide a performance upgrade to drive today's most demanding PC applications. Speed up your PC experience when you upgrade from integrated graphics to the new Palit GeForce GT 1030 graphics card. Unleash your creativity with stunning photo and video editing. The Palit GeForce GT 1030 is based on the Pascal GP108 ASIC, featuring 384 Pascal CUDA cores, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. And it consumes up to 30 watts of power, performs the most power saving features to PC user.

Palit GeForce GT 1030 is equipped with DVI and HDMI 2.0b which can support up to 4K@60Hz resolution and can upgrade the entire PC multimedia experience with 2X faster performance than the Intel Core i5. With the latest ultra-Efficient next-gens Pascal architecture support, Palit GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile enables to let graphics users to go faster and enjoy a premium PC experience.

ZOTAC Accelerates Your Entire PC Experience With Geforce GT 1030

ZOTAC is excited to introduce the ZOTAC GeForce GT 1030, powered by the award-winning NVIDIA Pascal architecture. ZOTAC continues to realize the potential in compact graphics engines, integrating the new energy efficiencies of NVIDIA Pascal with subtle design.

Enjoy faster performance with high quality settings without additional hardware upgrades. Simply drop it in your PC, secure it down, and power up.

EVGA Introduces the GeForce GT 1030

Accelerate your entire PC experience with the fast and powerful EVGA GeForce GT 1030 graphics card. Its award-winning NVIDIA Pascal architecture, powerful graphics engine, and state-of-the-art technologies give you the performance upgrade you need to drive today's most demanding PC applications.

Unleash your creativity with stunning HD video and picture editing and enjoy incredible gaming. Now, you can do it all 2X faster than with Intel Core i5 integrated graphics.* You can even get easy driver updates and one-click game optimization with GeForce Experience.

AMD to Continue Working With TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES on 7 nm Ryzen

In the Q&A section of their 2017 Financial Analyst Day, AMD CEO Lisa Su answered an enquiry from a Deutsche-bank questioner regarding the company's aggressive 7 nm plan for their roadmap, on which AMD seems to be balancing its process shrinkage outlook for the foreseeable future. AMD will be developing their next Zen architecture revisions on 7 nm, alongside a push for 7 nm on their next-generation (or is that next-next generation?) Navi architecture. This means al of AMD's products, consumer, enterprise, and graphics, will be eventually built on this node. This is particularly interesting considering AMD's position with GLOBALFOUNDRIES, with which AMD has already had many amendments to their Wafer Supply Agreement, a remain of AMD's silicon production division spin-off, the latest of which runs from 2016 to 2020.

As it is, AMD has to pay GLOBALFOUNDRIES for its wafer orders that go to other silicon producers (in this case, TSMC), in a quarterly basis since the beginning of 2017, based on the volume of certain wafers purchased from another wafer foundry. In addition, AMD has annual wafer purchase targets from 2016 through the end of 2020, fixed wafer prices for 2016, and a framework for yearly wafer pricing in this amendment, so the company is still bleeding money to GLOBALFOUNDRIES. However, AMD is making the correct decision in this instance, I'd wager, considering GLOBALFOUNDRIES' known difficulties in delivering their process nodes absent of quirks.

AMD Announces Radeon Vega Frontier Edition - Not for Gamers

Where is Vega? When is it launching? On AMD's Financial Analyst Day 2017, Raja Koduri spoke about the speculation in the past few weeks, and brought us an answer: Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is the first iteration of Vega, aimed at data scientists, immersion engineers and product designers. It will be released in the second half of June for AMD's "pioneers". The wording, that Vega Frontier Edition will be released in the second half of June, makes it so that AMD still technically releases Vega in the 2H 2017... It's just not the consumer, gaming Vega version of the chip. This could unfortunately signify an after-June release time-frame for consumer GPUs based on the Vega micro-architecture.

This news comes as a disappointment to all gamers who have been hoping for Vega for gaming, because it reminds of what happened with dual Fiji. A promising design which ended up unsuitable for gaming and was thus marketed for content creators as Radeon Pro Duo, with little success. But there is still hope: it just looks like we really will have to wait for Computex 2017 to see some measure of details on Vega's gaming prowess.

AMD Ryzen Mobile Solutions to Launch at the End of 2017

Today on their Financial Analyst Day 2017, AMD's Mark Papermaster confirmed the existence of Ryzen mobile products. Namely, Papermaster said "(...) with Ryzen mobile coming out at the end of the year." These will launch on the second half of 2017, in two-in-1 systems, ultraportable, and gaming products. These will have integrated Zen cores and, for the first time-ever announcement, Vega graphics cores integrated into the processor. This looks to be a very, very interesting APU solution from AMD. These Zen and Vega foundations should deliver 50% more CPU performance and 40% more GPU performance, help AMD achieve an up to 50% increase in power efficiency on their mobile platformcompared to their 7th Gen APU solutions.

There really aren't that many details more to share, and this was to be expected given Ryzen's power efficiency. Expect this story to be updated.

AMD Announces High Performance Computing Platform - "Naples" is EPYC

Today on their Financial Analyst Day 2017, AMD has taken the lid off their "Naples" Zen implementation. The balanced Zen core in its unrestrained, server-grade level has become EPYC, with AMD CEO Lisa Su holding the silicon in her bare hands. The new EPYC platform with its I/O performance improvements allows more GPUs to be connected to a CPU than any other platform, with up to 128 PCIe lanes being expected on these server-grade chips.

AMD Intros the Radeon RX 560 Graphics Card

AMD today announced availability of the Radeon RX 560 upper-mainstream graphics card, "completing" the RX 500-series family. The company had launched the RX 500 family with the RX 550, the RX 570, and the RX 580. The RX 560 is based on the 14 nm "Polaris 11" silicon, and features 1,024 stream processors across 16 GCN compute units, 64 TMUs, 16 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB or 4 GB of memory. The card is clocked at 1175 MHz core, with 1275 MHz boost, and 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, working out to 96 GB/s of memory bandwidth. It starts at $99.

QNAP Launches the TVS-882ST3 8-bay 2.5-inch Thunderbolt 3 NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released the new TVS-882ST3, a 2.5" 8-bay Thunderbolt 3 NAS. Powered by an energy-efficient 6th Generation Intel 14nm Core i7/i5 quad-core processor with AES-NI encryption, the TVS-882ST3 includes dual Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, 10GbE 10GBASE-T dual networking ports, USB 3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A ports, and 4K HDMI output to exclusively provide a Thunderbolt/NAS/iSCSI SAN triple solution. The TVS-882ST3 is a compact NAS that can greatly boost workflow collaboration between Thunderbolt 3-enabled Mac and Windows users. It is also ideal for an all-SSD configuration to provide the utmost performance.

The TVS-882ST3 combines versatile high-speed interfaces including Thunderbolt 3, 10GbE, and USB 3.1 (Gen2 10Gbps Type-C and Type-A) in a powerful NAS solution to realize optimized data transfer in different applications," said Jason Hsu, Product Manager of QNAP, adding "with its compact frame and eight 2.5" bays that are ideal for SSDs, the TVS-882ST3 is perfect for small offices and teams looking for a NAS with performance and functionality that is normally reserved for high-end servers."

CORSAIR Launches T1 RACE Gaming Chair

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the launch of its first gaming chair, the T1 RACE. Inspired by racing, crafted for comfort and built to last, the T1 Race joins CORSAIR's award-winning range of mice, keyboards, headsets and mousepads to complete the ultimate gaming experience. Built using a solid steel skeleton and dense foam cushions, the T1 RACE has the strength to ensure a lifetime of sturdiness, while it's 4D-movement armrests raise, lower, shift and swivel to put gamers in the most comfortable position every time. Styled to turn heads and finished with immaculate attention to detail, the T1 RACE is the gaming chair your desk deserves.

Upholstered in luxurious PU leather on seating surfaces and available in five different colors, T1 RACE lets you choose your seat to match your style, in either Yellow, White, Blue, Red or Black trim, finished with automotive color-matched stitching and base accents. Nylon caster wheels, often an optional upgrade on office and gaming chairs, are included with T1 RACE as standard, ensuring stability and smooth movement on any surface.

VR is Dead? UK Firm "Improbable" Raises $500m

Improbable, which was founded five years ago by Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead, has achieved a Softbank (the company that purchased ARM backing in a funding round that values the business at more than $1bn. >Despite this cash injection, it looks like Improbable will stay independent to work on their purported aim: to build large-scale virtual worlds and simulations. These could be leveraged by games developers, or some other, non-gaming investments and applications, such as transport systems modelling, virtual couch-travelling, and military applications.

Founder Herman Narula said that Improbable's vision "is to create completely new realities, massive virtual worlds that can change the way we live and work and can impact the way we understand some of the hardest problems." The company believes it has developed revolutionary technology with its Spatial OS operating system, which it has recently opened up to other developers. A Google partnership to put its system on the search giant's cloud, thus allowing small developers to create massive simulations without much infrastructure of their own, means real business for this company, and the backing of one of tech's giants lends credence to their ambitions. Let's see where this leads, but it seems that tales of VR's death were greatly exaggerated. You can discuss these finding here, on our very own TPU Virtual Reality Club.

Source: BBC News, Improbable, Thanks @ dorsetknob!

Original Xbox Game Phantom Dust Re-Releases Today - Available for Free

The original Xbox's Phantum Dust was an original, striking game, which carved itself a cult following for its original gameplay. The re-release has had a troubled development, being downgraded from full remake towards a remaster of sorts, though Microsoft says the game's assets will scale up with your system up to 4K resolution. One interesting tidbit regarding this re-release is that the original game's source-code was apparently nowhere to be found, and Microsoft thus had to reverse engineer the engine so as to be able to carry this re-release torch forward. Interesting that Microsoft would go to all this work for a game it is now releasing for free. Looks like the Redmond company really is looking out after its image in gamers' eyes.

The game is now available for the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms, through Microsoft's UWP. This might sour the release for some of you, but why not give it a go? It's free, and it's kind of a throwback Tuesday - and the game is only 3.4 GB in size, so you won't have to be staring at Microsoft's storefront for that long. Phantom Dust is an Xbox Play Anywhere title (with cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One,) complete with progression syncing and roaming in-app purchases (so, Microsoft is looking to recoup some of the investment made on bringing this game back from the dead.) The game's ability system revolves around deck building mechanics, with each card representing a different skill in your character's load-out, which you can customize as you see fit.

Source: Twitter

Intel's Upcoming Core i9 Skylake-X CPU Benchmarks Surface

It seems that Intel's accelerated released schedule for its upcoming HEDT platform is starting to slowly bear fruits, with many details leaking through the cracks almost non-stop during the last few days (and before you ask, yes, I did have more links to show you.)

These should be two of the top performing processors in Intel's line-up, and the i9 7900X (10-core) and 7920X (12-core) have been tested on integer and floating point calculations. The 10-core i9-7900X (3.1 GHz base frequency, no Turbo listed)) scores 107 points in single-core benchmarks, and 1467 points in the multi-core test. The 12-core, 2.9 GHz base frequency 7920X, however, scores a head-scratchingly-higher 130 points in the same single-threaded benchmark, despite carrying the same architecture at... hmm... lower clocks. Maybe this processor's Turbo is working as expected, up to 3.25 GHz (average), and that's the factor for the higher single-core performance?

Microsoft to Launch First-Party Titles for Its Mixed Reality HMDs?

Microsoft has been slowly building up its mixed reality endeavor, by baking in support for the platform in its latest Windows 10 updates, as well as the recent announcements of actual HMDs from hardware partners like HP and Acer. Acer's solution, their Mixed Reality HMD, will ship to developers and customers with a $400 price-tag for both the headset and a pair of 6 DoF controllers, which easily remind users of HTC's Vive and Oculus's Rift controllers. Microsoft's implementation, however, makes away with the Rift's and Vive's ouside-in trackers, only needing to be within "sight" of the sensors on the front of the HMD to which they're connected, thus making them truly world-scale (if at the expense of some sweet swordplay moves, but I digress.)

Turtle Beach Intros XO Three and Recon 150 Wired Gaming Headsets

Turtle Beach Corporation today revealed two new models for its 2017 lineup of acclaimed gaming headsets for Xbox One and PlayStation4. Similar in style to the company's best-selling XO FOUR STEALTH, the new XO THREE officially licensed gaming headset for Xbox One and RECON 150 offer the same rugged and robust design as their predecessor, with large 50mm speakers and Turtle Beach's renowned high-sensitivity mic to deliver the unbeatable game and chat audio needed to secure victory on the multiplayer battlefield.

The XO THREE and RECON 150 are planned to launch at participating retailers this July for a MSRP of $69.95, with the RECON 150 headset available only at Best Buy in the U.S., and at participating retailers in the UK and Australia, and in select territories across Europe. Additionally, last month Turtle Beach redefined what gamers should expect from a chat headset with the all-new RECON CHAT for Xbox One and PS4, which are now available globally at participating retail outlets for a MSRP of $19.95.

HGST Announces the Ultrastar SS300 Series SAS SSDs

Western Digital Corp., a global data storage technology and solutions leader, today announced the HGST-branded Ultrastar SS300, the company's highest-performing SAS SSD to date. It is the latest addition to the company's family of Ultrastar 12Gb/s SAS SSDs, which are used to meet the rigorous data demands of many of the world's largest companies today. Developed in partnership with Intel, the new Ultrastar SS300 delivers best-in-class random performance, offering speeds of up to 400,000 IOPS random read and up to 200,000 IOPS random write.

"Today, we raise the bar with our newest 12 Gb/s SAS SSD, the Ultrastar SS300," said Ulrich Hansen, vice president of SSD product marketing at Western Digital. "Built with high-endurance 3D NAND flash memory, the Ultrastar SS300 offers best-in-class speed, outstanding capacity and intelligent power options that enable customers to tailor storage systems and server solutions that are just right for their demanding needs. These benefits are delivered with the same tremendous reliability that has helped to make Ultrastar 12 Gb/s SAS SSDs popular around the globe."

ASUS Leaks Specifications on AMD's Upcoming Ryzen 3 CPUs

We expect to know a little more about AMD's Ryzen 3 processors soon, which are expected to compete against Intel's Core i3 processors while offering a full-blown, true quad-core design against Intel's dual-core + HyperThreading solutions. However, it would seem that ASUS itself has given up a little of the game away, through a processor compatibility list for its upcoming Crosshair VI Hero WIFI AC motherboard.

The processor specifically detailed is AMD's Ryzen 3 1200 CPU. We already know this to be a quad-core part (and ASUS notes it as a 4C processor, so, four cores), but ASUS' misstep tells us this one will carry a base clock speed of 3.1GHz, with 8 MB of L3 cache and a 65 W TDP.

Source: ASUS Crosshair VI Hero Product Page

AMD Ryzen 9 Series "Threadripper" CPU Socket Detailed

AMD Ryzen 9 "Threadripper" series 12-core, 14-core, and 16-core client desktop processors, which will form the company's next-generation high-end desktop (HEDT) lineup, which goes against Intel Core i9 "Skylake-X" series, could come in a brand new socket. This shouldn't come as a surprise because the chips have higher electrical requirements, besides double the I/O of socket AM4 Ryzen processors, such as a 44-lane PCIe gen 3.0 root complex, quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, and more. This socket, according to a "HotHardware" report, is an LGA (land-grid array) with 4,094 pins.

The new LGA-4094 socket, so-called SP3r2, will be slightly scaled up from the SP3 socket AMD has been selling enterprise Opteron-brand multi-socket CPUs on (pictured below). The consumer version of this socket could feature a more user-friendly retention mechanism that shouldn't require a screwdriver to fasten. Motherboards based on this distinctively rectangular socket will feature up to eight DDR4 DIMM slots to hold quad-channel DDR4 memory, and over four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, with support for 3-way and 4-way multi-GPU solutions. The motherboards will also feature copious amounts of onboard devices, M.2 slots, and other storage connectivity. Since "Threadripper" is rumored to be a multi-chip module of two 14 nm "Summit Ridge" dies linked together on-package with with an Infinity Fabric interconnect, only one of the two dies links to the motherboard chipset (AMD X399 chipset), while all the PCIe lanes of the second die (including those which would make up the chipset bus) are freed up.
Source: HotHardware

Lian Li Announces the PC-T70 Open-Bench Chassis

Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd is eager to announce the PC-T70 test bench. After productive collaboration, taking feedback from high-end PC hardware reviewers, Lian Li sought to create a test bench that could both provide unhindered access for enthusiasts who want to rapidly swap hardware, and those who like to use their test benches as a workstation. Lian Li's latest test bench is its most flexible yet - a sleek, minimal platform for easy hardware swapping, with an optional kit that encloses the bench with radiator mounts and an acrylic cover.

"Testing on an open bench requires careful planning, else it leads to misguided results. Most gamers have closed cases, affecting thermal, acoustic, and even performance results compared to exposed hardware. I'm working to represent that more accurately. While my measurements are easier to collect, more applicable, and completely objective, it was the close cooperation with Lian Li that helped move this project forward. The closed case gave me the platform I've been needing, and that readers have been asking for, to facilitate more realistic reviews." - Igor Wallossek - Senior Contributing Editor Tom's Hardware.

AMD Executives Tease Vega Reveal On Today's Event

We've recently covered how AMD was going to have a full day today, with the company's top executives present on a meeting that is expected to build on AMD's product portfolio inflection point. This meeting will bring together most of AMD's higher-ups - namely, CEO Lisa Su, head of Radeon Technologies Group Raja Koduri, and AMD's CTO Mark Papermaster. The purpose of this meeting seems to be to discuss AMD's inflexion point, and lay out a vision for the company's future, supported on its upcoming products: the too-long-awaited Vega, its successor Navi, and the natural evolution of the company's current Zen processors, tentatively identified as Zen+.

Don't expect this to be a full-blown, specification-laden, performance-benchmarks-driven presentation, though. That honor is probably reserved to AMD's Computex 2017 event, scheduled for May 31st from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Source: WCCFTech

SK Hynix Updates Memory Catalog to Feature GDDR6 and HBM2

South Korean DRAM and NAND flash giant SK Hynix updated its product catalog to feature its latest GDDR6 memory, besides HBM2. The company had April announced its first GDDR6 memory products. The first GDDR6 memory chips by SK Hynix come in 8 Gb (1 gigabyte) densities, and data-rates of 14 Gbps and 12 Gbps, with DRAM voltages of 1.35V. The company is giving away small quantities of these chips for product development, mass production will commence soon, and bulk availability is slated for Q4-2017. This would mean actual products implementing these chips could be available only by very-late Q4 2017, or Q1-2018.

A graphics card with 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory across a 256-bit memory bus (8 chips) features 448 GB/s of memory bandwidth. A card with 384-bit (12 chips), should have 672 GB/s at its disposal. Likewise, the 12 Gbps memory chips offer 384 GB/s in 256-bit (8-chip) setups, and 576 GB/s in 384-bit (12-chip) setups. Meanwhile, SK Hynix also updated its HBM2 catalog to feature a 32 Gb (4 gigabyte) HBM2 stack, with a clock speed of 1.60 Gbps. The 2.00 Gbps stack which featured in the Q4-2016 version of this catalog is no longer available. At 1.60 Gbps, a GPU with four stacks has 819.2 GB/s of memory bandwidth. A chip with two stacks, such as the purported "Vega 10" prototype that has made several media appearances, hence has 409.6 GB/s.

Source: SK Hynix

Swiftech Intros a Pair of GTX 1080 Ti Water Blocks

Swiftech introduced two new full-coverage water blocks for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti under its Komodo brand. These include the Komodo NV-LE GTX 1080 Ti, and the Komodo NV-ECO GTX 1080 Ti (pictured in that order). The Komodo NV-LE GTX 1080 Ti features a chrome-plated copper base, with a clear acrylic top, that is further topped off by a matte-black aluminium plate with diamond-cut edges. The block includes RGB multi-color LED lighting elements, with a standardized 4-pin LED header. The block features standard G1/4" threading for your fittings.

The Komodo NV-ECO GTX 1080 Ti is a "lite" version of the NV-LE. It features the same exact block base made of chrome-plated copper, but features a clear acrylic top, which lacks the aluminium top-plate featured on the NV-LE. It also lacks the RGB LED elements and Iris-Eco lighting controller, but features preparation for them, so you can optionally order them, or add them later down the line. Both blocks are also compatible with NVIDIA TITAN Xp. The Komodo NV-LE GTX 1080 Ti is priced at USD $169.95, while the Komodo NV-ECO GTX 1080 Ti goes for $119.95.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 Specifications Revealed

Ahead of its launch on 17th May, specifications of NVIDIA's entry-level implementation of the "Pascal" GPU architecture, the GeForce GT 1030, were leaked to the web. This tiny GPU, with a TDP of just 35W, will power entry-level graphics cards of all shapes and sizes, including half-height (low profile) cards with passive cooling. NVIDIA could set the baseline price of the SKU as low as USD $59.99, given that in China, it is expected to start at RMB ¥450.

Based on the GP108 silicon, the GT 1030 will be endowed with 384 CUDA cores across three streaming multiprocessors holding 128 CUDA cores, each. In essence, the GP108 is half the chip the GP107 is, which powers the GTX 1050 Ti. With its three SM units, the GP108 features 24 TMUs, and 16 ROPs. It features a 64-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 2 GB of memory. The host interface is narrow, too, with the chip featuring a PCI-Express 3.0 x8 bus (cards will fit in x16 slots). The chip will be clocked at 1227 MHz core, 1468 MHz GPU Boost, and 6.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, working out to a memory bandwidth of 48 GB/s. Below is a quick block diagram we made.
Monday, May 15th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Game Controllers
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
SSD

Biostar Z270GT8

Biostar's Z270GT8 is more than just a full-size version of the Z270GT4 we looked at earlier. It includes everything the Z270GT4 board did, but adds in Intel Optane functionality and a few other things. The Biostar Z270GT8 is a big departure from past Biostar products and isn't your everyday entry-level board.

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #4

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. There have been a lot of updates this week corresponding with manufacturers still catching up with the AGESA 1.0.0.6 update. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

ASUS Intros Crosshair VI Hero Wi-Fi AC Motherboard

ASUS today introduced a variant of its flagship socket AM4 motherboard, the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Crosshair VI Hero, featuring an onboard WLAN module. The new Crosshair VI Hero Wi-Fi AC, as its name suggests, features 802.11ac WLAN. The module also features MU-MIMO, and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. ASUS includes a dual-MIMO antenna the company bundles with several of its Wi-Fi enabled motherboards. Besides the wireless networking module, the board is identical to the original ASUS launched its socket AM4 motherboard lineup with. The included ASUS GameFirst IV software lets you distribute Internet connectivity between two interfaces, the WLAN, and the wired gigabit Ethernet connection, letting you task latency-sensitive tasks such as your game and video stream to the wired network, and low-priority background Internet tasks to the WLAN. The Crosshair VI Hero Wi-Fi AC could be priced at a $25 premium over the original's list price of $249.

AMD Ryzen 9 "Threadripper" Lineup Leaked

Today is an eventful day in the tech world, with two high-impact leaks already offering themselves up to our scrutiny. We had previously covered AMD's upcoming HEDT platform, based on the company's new X399 chipset, as having a quite distinctive lineup of processors, with not only 16 and 12-core offerings hot on foundries presses', but also some 14-core, 28-thread chips as well. Now, a leak has apparently revealed the entire Ryzen HEDT platform, whose processor marketing name, Ryzen 9, sounds really close to Intel's Core i9.

AMD's offerings look to offer an edge at least on core-count, with the Red team's top offerings, the Ryzen 9 1998X and Ryzen 9 1998, bringing in a game-changer 16 cores and 32 threads to the table. Perhaps even more importantly, we have to mention that the 1998X (these names, if true, are quite a mouthful, though) achieves a 3.5 GHz base, 3.9 GHz boost clock, which owes nothing to AMD's Ryzen 7 1800X consumer flagship CPUs. Rumors of AMD's frequency demise on higher core-count Ryzen CPUs have been greatly exaggerated, it would seem. And did I mention that these chips are coming with a TDP of 155 W - 5 W lower than Intel's purported 12-core, i9-7920X offering? Consider that for a moment.

MSI Continues Teasing High-End, X299 Motherboard - It's GODLIKE

The folks at MSI seem to be particularly fond of puzzles at this point in time, for no discernible reason. I say so because they've been giving us snippets of an upcoming high-end motherboard, which we have previously covered. At the time, we posited it would fall somewhere along the X299-end of the spectrum, considering the huge amount of PCIe x16 ports on-board.

It would seem those suspicions were founded, since MSI's other GODLIKE branded motherboards (which means they have all the bells & whistles available on time of their release) were X99-based, so it would follow that the new GODLIKE would usher in their footsteps as well. From the new piece of the puzzle, we can glean that this motherboard will offer, in addition to its 4x PCIe x16 ports and 3x M.2 slots over the X299's 44 PCIe lanes, 3x Ethernet connectors, 6x USB 3.1, and 2x Wi-Fi antennas. Expect this motherboard to be one of the most feature-packed offerings for Intel's expected ninth coming (of their Core i9-branded HEDT processors, that is.)

Source: MSI via Facebook

Roccat Announces the Leadr Wireless Gaming Mouse

During CES 2017, ROCCAT introduced its new almighty wireless mouse, the ROCCAT Leadr. Today, ROCCAT announces its availability across all the relevant channels at the retail price of $149.99. Setting new standards for wireless gaming mice, the ROCCAT Leadr heaves expectations onto a higher level, true to its motto "No compromises."

The Leadr comes packed with the new Pixart 3361 Optical Sensor which has been tailored to ROCCAT's high standards of quality. The Owl-Eye offers the most natural feel ever experienced with gaming mice. No other device on the market translates with similar accuracy the responsiveness of the Owl-Eye sensor. All inputs convert directly onto the screen with unrelenting precision offering up to 12,000 DPI.

AMD Vega Makes an Appearance on CompuBench

An AMD RX Vega video card has apparently made its way towards CompuBench. Granted, the no-name AMD graphics card could be an Instinct accelerator instead of AMD's consumer-oriented RX Vega graphics cards. However, the card did appear on CompuBench under the 6864:00 device ID, which had already appeared under a Vega Linux patch issued by the company. granted, this doesn't necessarily make it a consumer graphics product, so we'll have to look into this with some reservations.

Entire AMD Vega Lineup Reportedly Leaked - Available on June 5th?

Reports are doing the rounds regarding alleged AMD insiders having "blown the whistle", so to speak, on the company's upcoming Vega graphics cards. This leak also points towards retail availability of Vega cards on the 5th of June, which lines up nicely with AMD's May 31st Computex press conference. An announcement there, followed by market availability on the beginning of next week does sound like something that would happen in a new product launch.

On to the meat and bones of this story, three different SKUs have been leaked, of which no details are currently known, apart from their naming and pricing. AMD's Vega line-up starts off with the RX Vega Core graphics card, which is reportedly going to retail for $399. This graphics card is going to sell at a higher price than NVIDIA's GTX 1070, which should mean higher performance. Higher pricing with competitive performance really wouldn't stir any pot of excitement, so, higher performance is the most logical guess. The $399 pricing sits nicely in regards to AMD's RX 580, though it does mean there is space for another SKU to be thrown into the mix at a later date, perhaps at $329, though I'm just speculating on AMD's apparent pricing gap at this point.

Intel Readies the Core i9 Brand Extension

Intel is reportedly giving final touches to a new line of high-end desktop processors under the Core i9 brand extension. Until now, the company used the Core i7 brand extension broadly, to cover both the top-end parts of the mainstream-desktop (LGA115x) segment, and the high-end desktop (HEDT) segment, consisting of the LGA1366 and LGA2011-series sockets. With the advent of the new LGA2066 socket, Intel will be launching two distinct kinds of products - the Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" quad-core series; and the Core i9 "Skylake-X" 6-core, 8-core, 10-core, and 12-core processors.

The Core i7 "Kaby Lake-X" will include the much talked about Core i7-7740K and i7-7640K quad-core processors (there's no Core i5 Kaby Lake-X). These chips will feature up to 1 MB of dedicated L2 cache per core, which is four times that of the existing i7-7700K chip. The i7-7740K features 8 MB of shared L2 cache; while the i7-7640K features just 6 MB. Interestingly, the i7-7640K also happens to lack HyperThreading, while the i7-7740K features it. The i7-7740K will ship with higher clock speeds than the i7-7700K, with 4.30 GHz core, and 4.50 GHz Turbo Boost. The i7-7640K features 4.00 GHz core, with 4.20 GHz Turbo Boost. The Core i9 series is a whole different beast.

Western Digital SanDisk Subsidiaries Initiate Arbitration with Toshiba at ICC

Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ:WDC) today announced that several of its SanDisk subsidiaries have filed a Request for Arbitration with the ICC International Court of Arbitration related to three NAND flash-memory joint ventures ("the Flash JVs") operated with Toshiba Corporation ("Toshiba

The arbitration demand seeks among other things an order requiring Toshiba to unwind the transfer to Toshiba Memory, and injunctive relief preventing Toshiba from further breaching the Flash JV agreements by transferring its Flash JV interests, or any interest in an affiliate that holds its Flash JV interests, without SanDisk's consent. Per the provisions of the joint venture agreements, the arbitration will take place in San Francisco, California.

Western Digital chief executive officer Steve Milligan stated, "The Flash JVs have been operated with Toshiba for the past 17 years and have been highly successful for the JV partners and for Japan. We continue to be actively engaged in discussions with Toshiba's stakeholders to ensure that they are fully aware of our joint venture rights and of our desire to work with Toshiba to achieve a favorable outcome for all parties. We firmly believe that we provide Toshiba with the optimal solution to address its challenges, and that we are the best partner to advance its legacy of technology innovation in Japan."

BIOSTAR Releases Accessory to Convert Your Gaming PC into a Pro Mining Rig

BIOSTAR is proud to introduce the first ever Crypto Mining Card for graphics card expansion to fully convert your gaming PC to a professional cryptocurrency mining rig that can handle up to 8 graphics cards (the motherboard requires 6 PCI-e slots). The new BIOSTAR Crypto Mining Card allows BIOSTAR's hot selling gaming motherboards, like RACING H170GT3, GAMING H170T, Hi-Fi H170S3H, Hi-Fi B150S1, Hi-Fi B150S1 D4, or TB150 PRO to be used for crypto mining applications and expand on its primary function as an entertainment, workstation or gaming machine.

This makes it easy to explore the growing market of cryptocurrency mining and avail of your existing gaming system. By extending support for 8 graphics cards to the max (the motherboard requires 6 PCI-e slots), the Crypto Mining Card can return your investment on your system by giving you the flexibility to create a mining rig to generate income from mining popular cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum or Zcash.

Spire Announces the Curvature III Ergonomic Keyboard

Spire pleased to introduce the Spire CURVATURE lll, a fully ergonomic keyboard which definitely has its benefits due to its outstanding ergonomic design. It's ability to reduce muscle strain through its extensive design in a shape of a V form, allows the left arm to be positioned in such a way that is natural to the human posture.

Tired of have muscle pain, or do you feel like you are sitting in an unnatural position when typing on your computer, then this product is specifically the solution for you! Including multimedia and internet hotkeys features which make this keyboard the convenient tool to master your computer without overloading your arm-muscles and tendons.
Sunday, May 14th 2017

On Elmor's Open Letter, or The State of the Industry

A post on Reddit is doing the rounds from user elmor, a well-renowned enthusiast overclocker who works for ASUS' ROG Motherboard R&D - specifically, in the development of overclocking and enthusiast features. In his post, he talks about the posture of some motherboard makers, as well as about the state of the market as is, with some interesting tidbits thrown in.

One of the most interesting tidbits to be gleaned from his post is that from his perspective, overclocking's biggest supporters are Intel and AMD, who "seriously love overclocking and have excellent people pushing it internally"? AMD I understand - two generations now they've graced us with unlocked-multiplier processors. Intel, on the other hand, has locked-in overclocking efforts with their K-series processors, and have recently told enthusiasts that they should stop overclocking their i7 7700K CPUs, so... I'm a bit on the fence with the blue giant on that specific regard, at least when it comes to mainstream overclocking. My locked i5 6400 is doing just great in the overclocking department, mind you - just not thanks to Intel. Interestingly, Elmor also sets NVIDIA "in the corner of shame" because of their "reluctance to help us push the limits of PC hardware and locking things down more and more."
Friday, May 12th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
SSD

Scythe Fuma

The Scythe Fuma might be quite small for a dual tower design, but should not be looked down upon, offering exceptional performance and little noise. It has all the right attributes to sneak up on and dispatch the competition.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 382.19 Hotfix Driver - Absent from GFE

NVIDIA has silently made available a new hotfix driver which improves (you read that right: doesn't fix) stuttering issues on the new Arkane immersive-sim Prey. NVIDIA's previous "Game Ready" drivers, version 382.05, have been reported as being somewhat jerky, and considering NVIDIA has released a hotfix whose notes specifically refer a "stutter issue" with Prey, all NVIDIA users who are playing this game should update their drivers to this new hotfix version, which isn't available through NVIDIA's GeForce Experience app.

You can grab the drivers right here from NVIDIA.

ASUS Announces a Pair of ROG STRIX Mini-ITX Motherboards: H270I and B250I

ASUS has further increased its Intel 200-series chipset-based motherboards with the addition of two Mini-ITX motherboards. The H270I and B250I join the ROG staple of motherboards from ASUS, which means these come packed with features and are being marketed for gamers. Though the features are looking a bit thin, which was to be somewhat expected given the lack of PCB real-estate to house them.

These two motherboards do not support any kind of OC, and memory speeds are thus limited to the stock Intel 2400 MHz (and further limited to two sticks of memory up to a 32 GB total.) Furthermore, there is a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, a gaping absence of PCI ports, but a saving grace of two M.2 ports in each motherboard. Which are, yes, very hard to see: one of them fits in the front of the PCB, under the double-decker heatsink design over the PCH that allows an M.2 drive to be stacked on top of it, which means the PCH and the M.2 drive are cooled by the top of the heatsink. The other, which we can't see in the pictures, is located on the back of the motherboard. Both M.2 connectors can handle full-speed PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, as well as Intel Optane Memory, but only one of them supports SATA-based M.2 solid state drives.

Microsoft Announces New Fall Creators Update With Fluent Design System

After announcing its plan for a new, six-month update cycle for Windows 10, which Microsoft is treating as the last, monolithic release of Windows, the Redmond company has now announced its plans for the forthcoming Fall Creators Update (aherm) update.

Microsoft also announced the adoption of a new, Fluent design language, which strikes me as aesthetically pleasing, and a far cry from the Metro interface we've been saddled with since Windows 8. It carries on the bold color schemes, but marries it with a more subdued, less in-you-face style of user interface, and is supposed to encourage developers to design their apps in a way that makes sense on a variety of platforms - which, considering the advent of the Universal Windows Platform, makes all kinds of sense, doesn't it?

ZOTAC Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm With Integrated Waterblock

ZOTAC, one of the most regarded AIB partners of NVIDIA, has announced their new take on the GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, offering a waterblock-integrated version of it. This looks to be a gorgeous graphics card, with LED illumination that I can get behind of: ZOTAC has what it calls SPECTRA lighting on this GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm, though sadly, only a few renders were liberated, so to speak.

Other than the integrated waterblock and the new SPECTRA lighting system, this is a GTX 1080 Ti as they come: it features the same 3584 CUDA cores and 11GB of GDDR5X memory. The clocks aren't pushing any boundaries either: the core will carry a 1506 base, 1620 MHz boost clock, while the memory clock stays untouched at the stock 11 GHz. However, it's likely you'll be able to push these cards much higher than that, considering the usage of a 16+2 phase design and a pair of 8-pin connectors. No pricing or availability were revealed, but expect to pay a pretty, pretty penny for this graphics card.

Source: Videocardz

Fedora, Ubuntu, and SuSE Linux Available from Windows Store

That's right, Microsoft could soon distribute Linux. Popular PC Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Fedora, and SuSE, could soon be available through the Windows Store. Microsoft made this startling announcement at its Build 2017 keynote. The idea here is to make Linux distributions available to power-users who want to run the operating systems in virtual machines, or install the OS in a manner that lets you run Linux applications directly on Windows 10.

There are still limits to what you can do with Linux you get from the Windows Store. For starters, the OS can't be installed on the host machine, in say, a separate partition/volume, which you can choose to boot from, using a bootloader such as GRUB. The download also doesn't directly expose the .iso installer disk image of your Linux distro. It could still be useful for developers seeking a turnkey Linux environment instantly for development or testing, or for schools to teach Linux.

Source: The Verge

Raijintek Intros the Leto Tower-type CPU Cooler

Raijintek today introduced its Leto line of tower-type CPU coolers. Available in three variants based on the color of the LED illumination - Leto W (white LED), Leto R (red LED), and Leto B (blue LED), the cooler features a conventional tower-type design, with a matte black anodized aluminium fin-stack. The base is made of anodized aluminium too, although three 8 mm-thick copper heat pipes make direct contact with the CPU. The heat pipes feature black nickel-plating, and are pressed against the aluminium fins using a patented process that lacks solder.

The included 120 mm fan features a custom-design frame, and sleeve-bearing. It takes in 4-pin PWM input, spins between 800 to 1,800 RPM, pushing up to 67 CFM of air, with a noise-output of up to 29 dBA. Rubber mounts hold the fan onto the heatsink, which supports a second 120 mm fan for push-pull ventilation. Measuring 122 mm x 76 mm x 157 mm, the heatsink weighs 570 g. The Raijintek Leto supports most modern CPU socket types, including AM4, AM3(+), FM2(+), LGA2011/v3, LGA115x, and LGA1366. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Linksys Announces the EA9300 Tri-band MU-MIMO 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 EA9300 is an AC4000 MU-MIMO Tri-Band router delivering wireless speeds up to 4 Gbps for simultaneous 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 Wi-Fi solutions on the market.

"Our latest AC4000 Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-band router features blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds up to 4 Gbps, MU-MIMO technology, six high-gain antennas and three radios (one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz) which helps eliminate buffering or lag for movie streamers and gamers when everyone in the household is on the Wi-Fi network," said Justin Doucette, senior director, product management at Linksys. "With upcoming new features such as Dual WAN capabilities, Link Aggregation or DFS, this router can work well for the most demanding home networks for super-fast video streaming and data backup or for work from home users that need a VPN connection to the office network for a more secure remote access connection."

BIOSTAR Intros Radeon RX 580 8GB Dual Cooling Graphics Card

BIOSTAR introduced its first custom-design Radeon RX 580 graphics card, the RX 580 8 GB Dual Cooling (model: VA5805RV82). The company had announced its foray into AMD Radeon graphics cards with a reference-design RX 580, in April. The new RX 580 Dual Cooling combines an AMD-reference design PCB with a custom-design cooling solution. This cooler features an aluminium heatsink with a copper core over the GPU; ventilated by a pair of 80 mm fans, which stay off when the GPU is idling.

The card sticks to AMD reference clock speeds of 1257 MHz core, 1340 MHz boost, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. It features 8 GB of memory over a 256-bit wide memory interface. Based on the 14 nm "Lexa" (Polaris 20) silicon, the Radeon RX 580 features 2,304 stream processors, 144 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0, and a dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.
Thursday, May 11th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
Storage

Roccat Kone Pure Owl-Eye

Roccat's Kone Pure Owl-Eye can be considered a revamped Kone Optical or Military, using an updated PixArt 3361 sensor and more compact dimensions. This $70 mouse is also lighter and delivers outstanding precision and tracking performance. The mouse wheel is probably the best we ever used, both for scrolling and clicking.

Inno3D Intros GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Single-slot Graphics Card

Inno3D rolled out a single-slot GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card (model: N105T2-1SDV-M5CM). The card combines NVIDIA reference PCB for the GTX 1050 Ti, with a single slot cooling solution. This cooler consists of a lateral-blower which pushes air through a dense aluminium channel heatsink, with copper base-plate over the GPU. The card relies on the PCI-Express slot for all its power.

Based on the 16 nm GP107 silicon, the GTX 1050 Ti features 768 CUDA cores, 48 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The Inno3D GTX 1050 Ti single-slot card sticks to NVIDIA-reference clock speeds of 1291 MHz core, 1392 MHz GPU Boost, and 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. Display outputs include one each of DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, and dual-link DVI. The company didn't reveal pricing.

RAIDON Announces the SR4-TB2 and SR8-TB2 Thunderbolt 2 RAID Enclosures

RAIDON announces new Thunderbolt RAID storage - SR4-TB2 and SR8-TB2 at NAB show 2017, not only comes with Thunderbolt interface but with Hardware RAID chip inside!

STARDOM SR4-TB2 supports four 3.5" or 2.5" hard drive or SSD (Solid State Drive) and SR8-TB2 supports eight drives. Both models come with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, the data transfer rate will be 4x faster than USB3.1. It also supports daisy chain to let you connect up to six Thunderbolt devices through one cable. Embedded one Hardware RAID chip inside, SR4-TB2 supports the RAID level - RAID 0,1,5,6,10 and JBOD, and SR8-TB2 supports RAID 0,1,5,6,10,50,60 and JBOD.

Valve and Pixvana bring Quality VR Video Content to Steam

Pixvana, makers of the cloud-based 360 video creation studio SPIN, today announced a partnership with Valve to integrate their software services into the greater Steam platform. A beta version of the SPIN software will now let users directly publish 360 video content directly to the Steam Store, which will allow Steam VR enabled headset users to browse a new huge library of high quality (up to 12k according to Pixvana) 360-degree video content.

AMD Confirms Press Conference for Computex 2017 - Vega is (Almost) Here

AMD today has confirmed a highly-awaited, long-time-coming, almost too-late-to-be-true press conference on Computex 2017. Via email, the company announced their intention to share a save-the-date announcement for AMD's press conference, scheduled for May 31st from 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.

The conference will be hosted by AMD's CEO Lisa Su and other key executives, and will serve as a venue to "hear more about the latest products and leading-edge technologies coming from AMD in 2017." AMD is apparently "looking forward to providing new details on 2017 products and the ecosystems, both OEM and channel, that will support them." So yeah, this is probably it. A shame about that May 25th Easter Egg with Vega's location on the star charts, but maybe we shouldn't really be complaining, or else AMD might cancel this announcement altogether. And we've waited for Vega long enough, haven't we?

Source: Videocardz

MSI Shows Upcoming High-End Motherboard, Likely X299-based

Recent reports mentioned Intel's moves to bring forward the launch of their Basin Falls HEDT platform, which succeeds their X99 platform. Intel is doing this in hopes to hold the blue flag against AMD's upcoming X399 Ryzen-based HEDT platform (there's seemingly a war in numbers here), pitting 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12-core CPUs against AMD's expected 12-core and 16-core processors.

As such, it's only natural motherboard makers would also have to expedite their work on X299-based motherboards, and it would seem that MSI has done just that, simultaneously advancing their marketing campaign. A teaser image from the company showcases an as-of-yet unreleased motherboard (not just any motherboard, but the "Best. Motherboard. Ever") which boasts of a trio of M.2 slots (with MSI's M.2 Shield thermal solution), and four PCIe x16 slots. Are you still counting the number of PCI lanes needed to drive all these slots? Well, it just so happens Intel's Basin Falls is expected to deliver up to 44 PCIe 3.0 lanes, so those should be enough to at least make this ridiculous amount of slots worthwhile... For some use cases. There's also an additional power-supply connector on top of the first PCIe slot, which should increase power delivery for these. It's almost open season on these HEDT platforms, kind sirs.

Source: ETeknix

Corsair Launches Dominator Platinum Special Edition Torque DDR4 Memory

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the immediate availability of its new DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque DDR4 memory. Inspired by those for whom speed is an obsession, each module features a uniquely heat-treated effect top bar, combining the iconic DOMINATOR PLATINUM design with the aesthetic of high-performance engines.


Completed by a brushed black aluminum heatsink, stunning built-in lighting and orange accents, each kit is individually numbered using high precision laser engraving, guaranteeing exclusivity. Available in limited quantities, DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque DDR4 memory is built for speed - inside and out.

Mass Effect Franchise "On Ice," Bioware's New IP Release Delayed

Mass Effect: Andromeda was met with a lukewarm reception from reviewers and users alike (even if there was just a smidge of overblown issues,) and it would seem this has made EA cautious regarding this IP. Make no mistake: Mass Effect still lines up alongside EA's biggest franchises, and it's almost guaranteed the publisher will want to return to it at some point in time. It just so happens that its less than stellar reception has seemingly put further plans on the IP on hold. Bioware Montreal, the studio behind Andromeda's push, as apparently been relegated to a "support studio" role, with staff being channeled towards the new Star Wars Battlefront 2 game and other projects. Part of the staff will still be working on Mass Effect: Andromeda, looking to work through patches and multiplayer support, though it would seem that there are now no plans for eventual Andromeda DLC. This is a sad development, all in all, as Mass Effect counts one of the most interesting settings - and the most potential - among game franchises

On to Bioware's new original intellectual property, codenamed "Dylan", Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson revealed during a recent call with investors that its launch has been postponed. Originally scheduled to launch by the end of March 2018, the not-yet-named title has been pushed back to EA's 2019 fiscal year (April 2018 through March 2019.) This game looks to be EA's take on the kind of "live" game that is Bungie's Destiny and upcoming Destiny 2 (under Activision's supervision), and Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division, being built around a live service and a "disruptive" new social design which was, according to Andrew Wilson, the reason for the delay.

Linux Drivers Point to Upcoming AMD RX Vega Liquid-Cooled, Dual-GPU Solution

Linux patches have already given us a "lot" of information (using "lot" generously there) on AMD's upcoming Vega graphics cards. I'd wager few enthusiasts would be looking towards a dual-GPU solution anymore - not with the mostly absent support from most recent games, of which Prey is a notable exception. Not unless there was some sort of hardware feature that exposed both dies as a single GPU for games and software to handle, but I'm entering the realm of joyous, hopeful thinking here.

Back to the facts, a May 10th Linux patch has added two more device ID's to a Vega family of products: 0x6864 and 0x6868. These additions bring the total number of Vega device ID's to a healthy 9, which is still less than Polaris' 12. This is in-line with the expected number of SKUs for Vega, which should be less than those available for Polaris.

Lian Li ROG-Certified PC-O11WGX Now with Accessory Bundle and PCIe Riser

Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd is proud to announce the PC-O11WGX, certified by Asus Republic of Gamers and updated with USB 3.1 Type-C connector on the front panel. The new PC-O11WGX also comes with the popular O11-1 accessory kit with PCI-E riser cable for vertical graphics card mounting in the box! Furthermore, the front panel features exquisite ROG silk screen detailing and improved liquid cooling compatibility.

The ROG branded PC-O11WGX has been built with feedback from Lian Li PC-O11 users. This is evident by optimized layout for disks on the rear of the chassis, it can fit three 2.5" drives. This puts more focus on liquid cooling and with space for three 360mm radiators for liquid cooling (or three 120mm fans) there is enough capacity for any thermal challenge inside the PC-O11WGX.

EVGA Gives Away Unigine Superposition Advanced to ELITE Members

For a limited time, EVGA ELITE Members who own an EVGA GeForce 10-Series graphics card purchased on or after March 1st, 2017 will get a FREE copy of UNIGINE Superposition Advanced Edition, a $19.95 USD value! UNIGINE Superposition is an extreme performance and stability test for PC hardware, including video card, power supply, and cooling system. Test your rig in stock and overclocking modes with real-life load! Also includes an interactive experience in a beautifully detailed environment.

Arctic Announces the Freezer 33 Series Semi-Passive CPU Coolers

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

Semi passive cooling makes the Freezer 33 Series very efficient and extra quiet. During simple applications, such as creating documents, the CPU is cooled passively. The F12 PWM fan only powers up at a higher load, starting at 40 % PWM. In this way, an optimal cooling capacity at a low noise level is guaranteed. The Freezer 33 CO is specifically designed for continuous operation. The Japanese dual ball bearing, used in the "CO" version, reduces rotational friction considerably, is significantly less sensitive to dust and high temperature and hence up to 5 times more durable than other bearings.

Fractal Design Announces the Celsius Series AIO Liquid CPU Coolers

Fractal Design today announced the Celsius line of all-in-one, closed-loop, liquid CPU coolers. The lineup consists of two models based on radiator size, the Celsius S24 featuring a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator, and the Celsius S36, featuring a 360 mm x 120 mm radiator. The cooler features a slew of design refinements over the company's previous-generation Kelvin-series of coolers. It features a quieter pump-block, standardized G1/4" fittings between the block and the radiator, and discrete cabling for the radiator fans, with two or three 4-pin PWM fan headers on the radiator, with source cabling discretely attached on one of the coolant tubes.

The included Dynamic X2 fans take in 4-pin PWM input, spin between 500 to 2,000 RPM, pushing up to 87.6 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 32.2 dBA. The Celsisus series comes with out of the box support for two of the latest CPU socket types, LGA2066 and AM4, besides LGA115x, LGA2011/v3, AM3(+), and FM2(+). The coolers are backed by 5-year warranties, and are priced at USD $109.99 for the Celsius S24, and $129.99 for the Celsius S39.

NVIDIA GV100 Silicon Detailed

NVIDIA at the GTC 2017 event, announced its next-generation "Volta" GPU architecture. As with its current "Pascal" architecture, "Volta" was unveiled in its biggest, most feature-rich implementation, the Tesla V100 HPC board, driven by the GV100 silicon. Given the HPC applications of NVIDIA's Tesla family of products, the GV100 has certain components that won't make it to the consumer GeForce family. Despite these, the GV100 is the pinnacle of NVIDIA's silicon engineering. According to the GPU block diagram released by the company, the GV100 has a similar component hierarchy to previous-generation NVIDIA chips, with some major changes to its basic number-crunching machinery, the streaming multiprocessor (SM).

The "Volta" streaming multiprocessor (SM) on the GV100 silicon features both FP32 and FP64 CUDA cores. Consumer graphics implementations of "Volta" which drive future GeForce products could lack those specialized FP64 cores. Each SM features 64 FP32 CUDA cores, and 32 FP64 cores. The FP64 cores can handle 32-bit, 16-bit, and even primitive 8-bit operations. The GV100 features 80 SMs, so you're looking at 5,120 FP32 and 2,560 FP64 CUDA cores. In addition, Volta introduces a component called Tensor cores, specialized machinery designed to speed up deep-learning training and neural net building. An SM has 8 of these, so the GV100 has 640. As with FP64 cores, Tensor cores may not make it to consumer-graphics implementations. Given its SM count, the GV100 features 320 TMUs. NVIDIA clocked the GV100 to run at 1455 MHz boost.
Wednesday, May 10th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
PSUs
SSD
Storage

HyperX Alloy FPS Mechanical Keyboard

The Alloy FPS is the first keyboard to come out of Kingston's gaming brand, HyperX. It has a minimalist bezel design, features a thick steel frame for rigidity, floating keycaps, backlighting, and the use of Cherry MX switches in various layouts for customers around the world. To help sweeten the deal, HyperX includes a travel sleeve, a USB pass-through, and replacement keycaps as well.

NVIDIA Announces Its Volta-based Tesla V100

Today at its GTC keynote, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang took the wraps on some of the features on their upcoming V100 accelerator, the Volta-based accelerator for the professional market that will likely pave the way to the company's next-generation 2000 series GeForce graphics cards. If NVIDIA goes on with its product carvings and naming scheme for the next-generation Volta architecture, we can expect to see this processor on the company's next-generation GTX 2080 Ti. Running the nitty-gritty details (like the new Tensor processing approach) on this piece would be impossible, but there are some things we know already from this presentation.

This chip is a beast of a processor: it packs 21 billion transistors (up from 15,3 billion found on the P100); it's built on TSMC's 12 nm FF process (evolving from Pascal's 16 nm FF); and measures a staggering 815 mm² (from the P100's 610 mm².) This is such a considerable leap in die-area that we can only speculate on how yields will be for this monstrous chip, especially considering the novelty of the 12 nm process that it's going to leverage. But now, the most interesting details from a gaming perspective are the 5,120 CUDA cores powering the V100 out of a total possible 5,376 in the whole chip design, which NVIDIA will likely leave for their Titan Xv. These are divided in 84 Volta Streaming Multiprocessor Units with each carrying 64 CUDA cores (84 x 64 = 5,376, from which NVIDIA is cutting 4 Volta Streaming Multiprocessor Units for yields, most likely, which accounts for the announced 5,120.) Even in this cut-down configuration, we're looking at a staggering 42% higher pure CUDA core-count than the P100's. The new V100 will offer up to 15 FP 32 TFLOPS, and will still leverage a 16 GB HBM2 implementation delivering up to 900 GB/s bandwidth (up from the P100's 721 GB/s). No details on clock speed or TDP as of yet, but we already have enough details to enable a lengthy discussion... Wouldn't you agree?

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang: "Competitive Position to Remain Unchanged in 2017"

NVIDIA has been posting tremendous financial results, beating analysts' expectations on an almost quarterly basis. This stems from NVIDIA's privileged position in the graphics and computing market, with their GeForce series of consumer graphics cards having reigned almost virtually unchallenged by AMD's offerings. This happens even more distinctively on the high end of the market, where NVIDIA's halo products systematically wow consumers on a pure performance basis, and improve the company's image and market awareness absent of any competition from AMD. At the same time, the company's strong position on the AI, Deep Learning, and general computing markets ensure a strong footing should something go awry in a single market.

All of this seems to have grounded NVIDIA CEO's Jensen Huang confident posture on the company's outlook for 2017. At yesterday's earnings call, Jensen Huang was questioned whether NVIDIA's competitor's "new platform" elicited some thoughts on NVIDIA's competitiveness outlook in the second half of 2017. To this, Jensen Huang replied, in no uncertain terms, that "the competitive position is not going to change." Now naturally, a company CEO wouldn't be saying on his own company's earnings call something along the lines of "AMD's Vega platform is going to totally invert the competitive landscape and we at NVIDIA are scrambling and screaming internally at the disaster." Still, NVIDIA is probably the company that knows more about AMD's second-half 2017 efforts in the graphics space in 2017 other than AMD themselves, so this answer could also include some of Jensen's thoughts regarding that - and Volta. What do you think? Bullish posturing, or deserved confidence?

Source: DV Hardware

You Love Microtransactions: EA Earns $1.297 billion in FY 2017

EA has reported its FY 2017 results (from April 1st 2016 through March 31st 2017), and the results are astonishing: for all the outcry from the gaming community, it would seem that users really like microtransactions, season passes, and the "games as a service" conundrum. Some might be amazed at how a company makes more money from services, DLC and microtransactions associated with their games than through the sale of games themselves, but alas, that is the world we live in. This year alone the company pulled in $1.297 billion solely via digital content (excluding full game downloads) for their PC and console platforms.

EA has been known for their studios' season passes and DLCs - one of the biggest offenders when it comes to DLC was Dragon Age: Inquisition, as well as most recent Bioware games, while the verdict is still on the table regarding Mass Effect: Andromeda's DLC efforts. These and other microtransactions, such as "packs" and other shenanigans in FIFA and other IPs, have helped bring in the bulk of the money. Truth be told, EA isn't the only publisher that's aggressively pushing for micro-transactions in its games (Microsoft and Ubisoft come to mind), though an argument can be made in how these microtransactions based on packs and other cosmetic elements can be an attractive prospect when coupled with free game updates and additional, free content. Some users will rush in and acquire these, in turn putting the proverbial coal on developer's coffers to pump out additional content which everyone can enjoy. But for all the people saying "No" to DLC and microtransactions, I'd say wallets speak louder than words.
Source: EA

Various GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Cards Leaked to the Web

We got whiff of NVIDIA working on the GeForce GT 1030 close to a month ago. The smallest implementation of the "Pascal" GPU architecture is NVIDIA's answer to the AMD Radeon RX 550, and targets the entry-level graphics segment. It looks like product launches of the GeForce GT 1030 are just around the corner as pictures and specifications of various GT 1030 cards were leaked to the web. Below you'll see pictures of a selection of GIGABYTE and MSI GT 1030 graphics cards.

According to VideoCardz, the GT 1030 are based on the GP108-300 ASIC, featuring 384 CUDA cores, 24 TMUs, 8 ROPs, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 64-bit wide memory bus. With a TDP of just 35W, the GPU can power low-profile and completely fanless graphics cards, although for those who prefer their cards with elaborate fan-heatsink cooling solutions, there will be full-height cards as well.

Source: VideoCardz

BYKSKI Announces Sapphire RX 580 NITRO+ Water Blocks

BYKSKI, Known as one of the leader brands of the water blocks in Asia, released the A-SP58PLAT-X water block for Sapphire RX580 NITRO+ edition. The A-SP58PLAT-X full cover water block is based on pure copper of the metal part. With the nickel-plating technics, it allows the water block longer lifespan and excellent corrosion resistance with the coolant soaking. By the precision cutting of the copper base, the space between the fins of Micro-Flow system is only 0.5mm, which makes the water blocks more efficiency. High quality acrylic is used to cover the water blocks and let use could see the coolant flow of the water block.

Gigabyte is Recalling Its Aero 15 Gaming Laptops (Update: False Alarm)

Update: Apparently, there was a miscommunication between Gigabyte and user Treebsquire's Aero 15 seller, Scan. The nature of this miscommunication - and how this would lead to a report on battery issues - is still up in the air, but it would seem that Gigabyte isn't recalling their Aero 15 laptops after all, so rest easy if you have one of these.

Gigabyte has recently launched the Aero 15, a gaming laptop which really does bring some value to the wording "Aero" through some interesting aesthetics and an amazing thickness (1.9 cm) for the hardware under the hood: packed inside the AERO 15 is the latest 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 GDDR5 6GB graphics, DDR4 ram, as well as a PCIe M.2 SSD (through different configurations.)

It's apparently a good product, having received some respectable reviews, and its 94Wh battery was being touted as a distinguishing feature, as being up to 2x larger than average battery sizes for laptops, which was able to power the laptop through 10 hours of Mobilemark's 2014 Productivity Mode. However, it would seem that this battery is capable of bringing problems to the user, and potentially put their safety at risk. Just one week after release, Gigabyte is recalling their Aero 15 laptops. A user on Reddit brought the issue to the community, saying that a Gigabyte rep he contacted informed him the Aero 15's have a battery fault.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce Experience 3.6; Support for Vulkan, OpenGL

NVIDIA has released an update to its GeForce Experience application that is sure to be loved by streamers and gamers alike who previously found ShadowPlay support on Vulkan and OpenGL games to be lacking. Version 3.6 of the program adds official support to games that make use of these renderers. Screenshot, video, and broadcast functions that Shadowplay enables are enhanced by the addition of support for these APIs, which means you can now use ShadowPlay with a press of a hotkey to record and stream your Doom and Minecraft gameplay at 4K 60fps.

Other improvements include a unified Broadcast screen and a newly revamped Video and Screenshot upload interface: YouTube and Twitch streamers can now control broadcast options from a unified screen, and log in to all services from there as well. NVIDIA has also worked some improvements to its GeForce Experience Gallery, by adding an upload history screen that displays all prior uploads and locations. You now also have the option of instantly jumping to the file location of a screenshot or video in Windows Explorer through a new button.

Source: Tom's Hardware

ASUS Intros the VG275Q 27-inch Gaming Monitor

ASUS introduced the VG275Q, a "cost-effective" 27-inch gaming-grade monitor. Its Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) native resolution and TN-film panel are nothing to write home about, but you get 1 ms response time, 75 Hz refresh-rate, game-type display presets, and AMD FreeSync support. Other panel specs include 170°/160° (H/V) viewing angles, 300 cd/m² maximum brightness, rheostatic (non-PWM) method of controlling LED brightness, making it flicker-free, blue-light reduction, and a maximum power draw of just 40W. Inputs include one DisplayPort 1.2a (needed for FreeSync), two HDMI 1.4a, and D-Sub. The stand allows height, tilt, and 90° rotation. The monitor is expected to be priced around $300.

ASUS Announces the ROG Gladius II Gaming Mouse

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced Gladius II, the successor to the popular ROG Gladius optical gaming mouse. Gladius II features an ergonomic right-handed design that is optimized for first-person shooter (FPS) games. It has an exclusive push-fit switch socket design for varied click resistance, and durable switches rated to at least 50 million clicks. In addition, it features a dedicated DPI target button for more accurate sniping, an advanced 12000 DPI optical sensor and ASUS Aura RGB lighting technology with Aura Sync support.

ROG Gladius II was designed with input from professional gamers to ensure the right look and feel. The result is a comfortable gaming mouse that's optimized for FPS shooters and designed for right-handed gamers and all grip types. It features the ASUS-exclusive push-fit switch socket design that allows gamers to vary click resistance, and extend the lifespan of the mouse by replacing worn switches. Gladius II uses durable Omron mouse switches that are rated to at least 50 million clicks, and is bundled with an additional pair of high-quality Japanese-made Omron switches should gamers want a different click feel.

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #3

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. There have been a lot of updates this week corresponding with the AGESA 1.0.0.6 update. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not include change logs. You can find it all below.
Tuesday, May 9th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
PSUs
SSD

Brainwavz B200 In-ears

Brainwavz is known for their high quality mid-end in-ears and headphones. Today, we take a look at their most ambitious in-ear to date called the B200. The B200 is a dual balanced armature design that sells for $199 online.

NVIDIA Announces Financial Results for First Quarter Fiscal 2018

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) today reported revenue for the first quarter ended April 30, 2017, of $1.94 billion, up 48 percent from $1.30 billion a year earlier, and down 11 percent from $2.17 billion in the previous quarter. GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $0.79, up 126 percent from $0.35 a year ago and down 20 percent from $0.99 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.85, up 85 percent from $0.46 a year earlier and down 25 percent from $1.13 in the previous quarter.

The AI revolution is moving fast and continuing to accelerate," said Jensen Huang, founder and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. "NVIDIA's GPU deep learning platform is the instrument of choice for researchers, internet giants and startups as they invent the future. "Our Datacenter GPU computing business nearly tripled from last year, as more of the world's computer scientists engage deep learning. One industry after another is awakening to the power of GPU deep learning and AI, the most important technology force of our time," he said.

NVIDIA Showcases Multi-User VR Concept at GTC

At GTC (GPU Technology Conference) today, NVIDIA has gone on to show how much VR is in the company's cards for future expansion. After giving us a ray-tracing solution for gaming audio with their VRWorks Audio SDK, and a VR stitching solution via their 360 Video SDK, NVIDIA has now showcased a system capable of running what could be defined as a "local VR party". I would like to point out, however, that such a system may find itself of much more use to businesses, education, and the military segments than local LAN parties, though I wouldn't mind embracing the skin of a VR-driven Darth Vader.

NVIDIA's proof-of-concept system can drive four different VR headsets. It makes use of four of the company's Quadro P6000 GPUs running four virtual machines on a PC server, which are paired with four HTC Vive Business Edition headsets and HTC's Lightroom tracking system. The system appears to be tiny for such a powerful configuration, though having a system powered by four video-cards shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone at this point in time - even if such an approach is now bordering on virtual impracticality for most consumers. NVIDIA is offering a look at the design guide technical document for such a system, though, which can prove an interesting read, right here.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs

ROCCAT Dips Its Paws on Game Development, Presents Sick City

ROCCAT is moving deeper into the gaming sphere with its very first in-house developed title, Sick City, a Real Time Tactical Combat game which ROCCAT says "Breaks with both conventional genre and developmental norms." The newly founded "ROCCAT Games Studio" looks to not only create a unique interpretation of action-based tactical combat, but more importantly, deeply integrate player feedback into core development decisions.

ROCCAT presents this close proximity relationship between developer and community as the future of gaming, saying that "No other early access title integrates its players and prospective buyers so thoroughly in production." This means players will have the opportunity to actively participate in decisions that will shape the retail version of Sick City. Features such as new maps, factions, game types, campaigns, even the future of Sick City in eSports - these decisions will be placed in the hands of the player, in what ROCCAT envisions as a truly collaborative project.

VESA Forms Working Group Towards XR Standards

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has recently announced plans to form a special working group within its ecosystem, whose mission will be to develop standards for XR (eXtended Reality) products and development. XR envelops both VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), and VESA has apparently had enough of differing vendor implementations. According to VESA, "the lack of standardization is causing compatibility issues between products from different vendors, as well as increasing the complexity and cost of development, ownership and replacement. Lack of compatibility can also create confusion for end users and impede broader acceptance of AR/VR products."

Considering the XR market's value is expected to hit roughly $162 billion dollars by 2020, we can certainly see how "compatibility issues" and "lower acceptance of AR/VR products" could affect what is looking to be an extremely lucrative market. Let's just gloss over the fact (slightly paradoxical, actually) that we're now looking at two different XR standards groups, VESA's newly-announced initiative, and Khrono's OpenXR.

Test Your Mettle - Quake Champions Large-Scale Test Starts May 12

If you are feeling nostalgic or want to see what all the fuss was about regarding those legendary Quake games, id Software has you covered. In looking for extra knowledge on how to fine-tune its game and servers, the game developer is asking that you sign up for the challenge, which you can do on the game's website. Even though there has been a closed beta already for close to a month, if you didn't make it, now is your chance.

The tech test will start on May 12 and run through May 21, during which time you'll be able to play anytime throughout the testing period. In the game, you'll find three game modes the Beta testers have already driven into their minds and quick trigger fingers - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Duel. However, id Software is debuting another, fourth mode, Sacrifice, which pits two teams with four players each. Expect some nuances on the details of this game mode's workings, but if an image is worth a thousand words, a trek through the game should be worth slightly more than that.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Cooler Master Announces the MasterBox Lite 5 Chassis

Cooler Master, a leading manufacturer of desktop components and peripherals, today announced the release of the MasterBox Lite 5, a high performance ATX mid-tower case with DarkMirror front panel and external customization. The MasterBox Lite 5 case is a straightforward choice for a PC build that looks good and has ample space. The case is armed with full black coating and a PSU cover to make your configuration pop against the black background.

The customizable trim allows users to choose from three different colors to suit their taste accordingly. The four 120mm fans, front and rear watercooling support ensure that performance will not be compromise performance. Harboring up to 400mm of graphic card space, fitting your graphic card won't be an obstacle. Finally, it comes with an edge to edge transparent acrylic side panel to show your internal components while the DarkMirror front panel tings the case with an attractive look, providing full visibility. Choose Your Style, with the MasterBox Lite 5.

TechPowerUp and Rosewill Announce the Rosewill Cullinan Giveaway

TechPowerUp, in partnership with Rosewill announce the Rosewill Cullinan Giveaway! We are giving away three gorgeous Rosewill Cullinan cases with tinted tempered glass panels all around. Rosewill Cullinan lets you "shine bright and unleash the gamer within," according to its makers. This richly crafted ATX mid-tower features tempered glass panels that let you revel on your creation, and put up your own RGB light-show. To participate, simply fill up a short form with details that let us get back to you if you're one of the three lucky winners. Good Luck!

For more information and to participate, visit this page.
Monday, May 8th 2017

Today's Reviews

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

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme 11 GB

The AMP! Extreme is ZOTAC's flagship GTX 1080 Ti. It comes with a large GPU overclock out of the box; the GDDR5X memory is overclocked, too. Thanks to its large triple-slot, triple-fan thermal solution, temperatures are excellent, and the 16-phase VRM is impressive as well.

AMD Vega May Launch with Less Than 20,000 Units Available

Fresh from the rumor-mill comes a report that low HBM2 availability may cripple the Vega launch that is expected to happen in the next few weeks, if a report from TweakTown is to be believed. As far as sources, there isn't much other than TweakTown's news report and their article claiming they had been told this by an "exclusive industry source." Apply your usual grain of salt here vigilant reader, but its certainly interesting speculation, if nothing else. It may turn out to be FUD, or it may turn out to be truth. Only the coming weeks will reveal the truth.

Source: TweakTown

Google Project Zero Finds Windows Vulnerabilty, "Worst in Recent Memory"

Google's Project Zero has found yet another critical Windows Vulnerability, this time going so far as to call it "Crazy Bad" in a lone tweet by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy. Tavis went on to elaborate that the vulnerability "works against a default install, [you] don't need to be on the same LAN, and it's wormable."

Sounds like the stuff of nightmares from a security perspective, right? The good news is Google's policy is to give companies 90 days to patch bugs like this before revealing the exploits details. The idea is to pressure developers to fix vulnerabilities before the reveal, so users remain protected and companies are forced to act rather than adopt a "wait and see" approach. Microsoft however, does not have the best follow-up reputation, having left at least two major security bugs unpatched for the entire 90-day security-flaw reveal window as recently as this year.

MSI and SteelSeries Partner in Lighting Up Your World - Sync RGB

It would seem like companies MSI and SteelSeries are reaching a somewhat strategic partnership when it comes to lighting up your PC and peripherals of choice. As you are all well aware, most companies now offer products with RGB lighting, from motherboards to AIOs and RAM. We covered SteelSeries' own QcK Prism mouse mat some days ago, and you would think the folks at MSI were impressed by SteelSeries' RGB "savoir-faire."

MSI is allowing you to control LED lighting on only one of their motherboards for now - the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon. This looks like a tentative partnership, for now, but could soon be expanded to more RGB-equipped MSI motherboards. SteelSeries' Engine 3 (SSE3) is the application, developed by SteelSeries, that will allow you to sync your motherboard's lighting with that of your other SteelSeries peripherals, ensuring a single "LED lighting language" across your desk space. The two main lighting features of SSE3 are PrismSync and GameSense. PrismSync controls all the lighting effects in the usual "choose your own color" metric, while GameSense dynamically adjusts lighting effects according to what's happening on your games of choice, like syncing colors to your in-game health or other metrics. This is yet another step towards the integration of LED lighting in our daily computing lives. At least now you can control all LED lighting from different manufacturers (well, just two manufacturers, really) through a single application. Exciting times.

Source: MSI News, Tom's Hardware

NVIDIA Releases VRWorks Audio and 360 Video SDKs at GTC

Further planting its roots on the VR SDK and development field, NVIDIA has just announced availability of two more SDK packages, for their VRWorks Audio and 360 Video suites. Now a part of NVIDIA's VRWorks suite of VR solutions, the VRWorks Audio SDK provides real-time ray tracing of audio in virtual environments, and is supported in Epic's Unreal Engine 4 (here's hoping this solution, or other solutions similar to it, address the problem of today's game audio.) The VRWorks 360 Video SDK, on the other hand, may be less interesting for graphics enthusiasts, in that it addresses the complex challenge of real-time video stitching.

Traditional VR audio ( and gaming audio, for that matter) provide an accurate 3D position of the audio source within a virtual environment. However, as it is handled today, sound is processed with little regard to anything else but the location of the source. With VRWorks Audio, NVIDIA brings to the table considerations for the dimensions and material properties of the physical environment, helping to create a truly immersive environment by modeling sound propagation phenomena such as reflection, refraction and diffraction. This is to be done in real time, at a GPU level. This work leverages NVIDIA's OptiX ray-tracing technology, which allows VRWorks Audio to trace the path of sound in real time, delivering physically accurate audio that reflects the size, shape and material properties of the virtual environment.

LucidSound Announces the Officially Licensed LS35X Wireless Gaming Headset

LucidSound, innovators of premium gaming audio hardware, announced today the LS35X Wireless Gaming Headset, the first in a new range of licensed Xbox products from LucidSound, and the first headset to connect directly to Xbox One consoles, with no cables and no base station.

Expected to ship for Holiday 2017, the LS35X connects directly to Xbox One consoles using the same wireless technology as an official controller, automatically configuring for hassle-free set-up. No base station or chat cable is needed, simply pair the LS35X directly with the Xbox One as you would a controller. The LS35X will feature continuous compatibility with past and future Xbox One consoles. Windows 10 users can connect the LS35X directly to new PCs that include built-in Xbox Wireless technology or by using the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows.

BenQ Announces the PD2500Q Professional Monitor

BenQ, internationally renowned provider of digital lifestyle devices, today introduced the PD2500Q designer monitor, the first of its displays to be individually calibrated by factory engineers to produce 100% sRGB and Rec. 709 color precision. Furthermore, BenQ announced that all PD Series designer monitors will be professionally factory-calibrated going forward.

"PD2500Q is a declaration of BenQ's commitment to optimize professional display performance,"" said Conway Lee, President of BenQ Corporation. "Our significant resource investment to individual color calibration ensures PD Series monitors provide precise details to enable designers to create perfection."

Acer Announces the ProDesigner BM320 4K Ultra HD Monitor for Professionals

Acer, a global leader in computer monitors, today announced the U.S. availability of the Acer ProDesigner BM320, a large 32- inch monitor producing brilliant 4K UHD (3840x2160@60Hz) visuals with professional-grade color. "We're pleased to offer this cutting-edge monitor primed to meet the high demands of graphic designers, film and video producers, animators and others who require optimum color precision and image quality," said Ronald Lau, director - stationary computing.

Outfitted with the Acer ColorPlus technology suite, the Acer ProDesigner BM320 ensures consistent color output in addition to sharper and clearer visuals. These technologies include built-in 100 percent Adobe RGB and 100 percent sRGB coverage for storing, producing and presenting a wide and accurate range of hues required for color matching across applications and print output. Providing the ability to adjust hue and saturation, 6-axis color adjustment lets professionals obtain the exact shade they prefer. In addition, super sharpness technology optimizes the quality of even low resolution images by slightly enhancing the edges.

Transcend Announces Industrial-Grade SSD430 Solid-State Drive

Transcend Information Inc., a leading manufacturer of storage and multimedia products, is proud to introduce the SSD430, an industrial-grade solid-state drive. Compatible with SATA III 6Gb/s specifications, the SSD430 delivers impressive transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s read and 490MB/s write. In addition to blazing speed, Transcend's SSD430 features excellent reliability and comes in a small, stylish case. The drive is loaded with low-density parity check (LDPC) error-correction code (ECC) and advanced protective technologies, making it an excellent choice for industrial needs.

The industrial-grade SSD430 solid-state drive is constructed of 3D MLC NAND flash chips. 3D engineering has increased SSD430's speeds to an incredible sequential 560MB/s read and 490MB/s write; the random transfer efficiency is also boosted to 310MB/s read and 350MB/s write. Low power consumption and high reliability are also hallmarks of 3D NAND. Transcend's SSD430 is manufactured for a long-term, stable operation for various types of data and application, and is suited for industrial PCs, automated machinery, and fanless industrial systems.

PNY Releases On-the-Go ELITE Portable SSD

PNY Technologies (PNY) considered one of the worldwide leaders in consumer electronics market and flash memory products, has launched one of the smallest, pocket-sized design SSD product to enter the global tech market, the ELITE Portable Solid State Drive (SSD). The ELITE Portable SSD drive is faster, more reliable and much more efficient than normal hard drives (HDD) available in the market. It transfers and stores large files quickly with incredible read speeds up to 430MB/s and write speeds up to 400MB/s, so you can boot up almost instantly, reduce load times, and accelerate demanding applications with ease. Get more out of your computer by boosting nearly every aspect of performance. Users can push the boundaries of their storage needs and ensure that they have more than enough space to store their video, photos and files.

The ELITE Portable SSD is manufactured in high-quality and smooth aluminum housing. It is more durable than a hard drive and contains no small moving parts that are prone to failure delivering long-lasting performance and product satisfaction. With 2.36" x 1.4" x 0.35" dimensions, the ELITE Portable is one of the smallest and most compact SSD released on the global market compared to other portable SSD and external hard drive solutions. It is powered with latest TLC flash technology and is backed with USB 3.0 specifications. The drive is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports, so you can use it with any laptop or desktop model.

AMD Vega 10 3DMark Fire Strike Results Surface

Another day, another set of Vega results see the light of it. It would seem like this saga has been going on for ages, ever since we've seen AMD showcase its prototype Vega cards running Star Wars Battlefront (4K, Ultra settings at over 60 FPS) and Doom (4K, Vulcan render path at over 60 FPS on pre-production hardware). But with the lack of official information coming from AMD (let's hope this changes on May 16th), it would seem the company is content to see us hardware news sites jumping at every detail and offering free publicity.

This is known to be Vega because the device ID, 687F:C1, was spotted on AMD's own hands while running that Doom demo in 4K. The device clocks seem to be in line with previous leaks: a 1200 MHz core clock and 8GB of video memory running at 700 MHz memory clocks. With these clocks (which are expected to be extremely conservative when we take into account what we know of Vega), the Vega video card manages to deliver a 17,801 points graphics score, approximately 1,400 points more than your average Fury X, but some hundreds less than your average, current-generation GTX 1070. Remember: AMD's MI25 is expected to come in at 1,500 MHz core clocks, and this is a professional, passively-cooled graphics card. This means that unless AMD greatly overestimated the clock capability of its Vega cards, the consumer version of Vega will have necessarily higher clocks. But we'll stay here, waiting for some more details to pour our way, as always.

Source: WCCFTech

AMD to Detail Vega, Navi, Zen+ on May 16th - Laying Out a Vision

Reports are circling around the web regarding an AMD meeting featuring some of its higher ups - namely, CEO Lisa Su, head of Radeon Technologies Group Raja Koduri, and AMD's CTO Mark Papermaster happening on the 16th of May. The purpose of this meeting seems to be to discuss AMD's inflexion point, and lay out a vision for the company's future, supported on its upcoming products: the too-long-awaited Vega, its successor Navi, and the natural evolution of the company's current Zen processors, tentatively identified as Zen+.

Naturally, a company such as AMD has its roadmap planned well in advance, with work on next-generation products and technologies sometimes even running in parallel with current-generation product development. It's just a result of the kind of care, consideration, time and money that goes into making new architectures that makes this so. And while some would say Vega is now approaching a state akin to grapes that have been hanging for far too long, AMD's next graphics architecture, Navi, and its iterations on Zen cores, which the company expect to see refreshes in a 3-to-5-year period, are other matters entirely. Maybe we'll have some more details regarding the specific time of Vega's launch (for now expected on Computex), as well as on when AMD is looking to release a Zen+ refresh. I wouldn't expect much with regards to Navi - perhaps just an outline on how work is currently underway with some comments on the expectations surrounding Global Foundries' 7 nm process, on which Navi is expected to be built. And no, folks, this isn't a Vega launch. Not yet.

Source: WCCFTech

AMD Readies Ryzen AGESA Update to Improve DDR4 Memory Support

AMD is giving final touches to the latest update of AGESA micro-code of its Ryzen processors, which will improve DDR4 memory support, enabling higher memory clocks and tighter timings. The new AGESA 1.0.0.6 micro-code will be deployed through motherboard vendors as motherboard BIOS updates. It will add over 20 new registers for the "Summit Ridge" integrated memory controllers, to improve compatibility with "Intel-friendly" DDR4 memory brands.

Until now, AMD recommended PC builders to opt for only certain brands of DDR4 memory for best performance. These included memory modules with Samsung "B die" DRAM chips, such as the G.Skill Flare X series. The new AGESA update will let AMD Ryzen processor users to manually dial up DRAM clocks and tighten timings of a broader range of DDR4 memory kits, more reliably, and hopefully iron out a lot of stability issues associated with memory overclocking.

Source: Tweaktown

Intel Could Launch Core i7-7740K and "Basin Falls" Platform at E3

Intel's immediate answer to AMD's Ryzen challenge, the Core i7-7740K processor and "Basin Falls" platform, could launch on the 12th of June, 2017. Intel is the main sponsor of the PC Gaming Show hosted by PC Gamer magazine, in the backdrop of E3-2017, and we expect it to launch its first product, the Core i7-7740K on the occasion. Intel could announce retail availability of the chips immediately after. The Core i7-7740K launch will be accompanied by a more cost-effective Core i5-7640K, and the X299 Express chipset. Motherboard vendors could announce their first waves of socket LGA2066 motherboards based on this chipset.

Built on the 14 nm "Kaby Lake-X" silicon, the Core i7-7740K is a quad-core processor featuring higher clock speeds than the current i7-7700K. It features a dual-channel integrated memory controller, and lacks integrated graphics. It could feature a 28-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root-complex. The only ace up its sleeve is the X299 platform itself, which could be ready for bigger six-, eight-, and ten-core processors with more PCIe lane budgets.Source: PC Gamer
Friday, May 5th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Networking
PSUs
Speakers

Zalman ZM-K650-WP Keyboard

The Z-Machine K650WP from Zalman is a membrane keyboard that comes in at a price point where there is really no competition from branded mechanical keyboards. At the same time, it offers a waterproof design, dedicated volume-control buttons, and an internal aluminum plate for structural rigidity, making it great value for the money.

Blizzard Pays Generous Bounty for Original Starcraft "Gold Master" Source CD

It's never fun to be contacted by a legal department and be told that something you bought online is not rightfully yours. Still, this occasionally does happen in the case of intellectual property that has been misplaced and is not supposed to be resold. Example: The case of Reddit user Khemist49, who found himself in possession of a CD-ROM claiming to be the original source code for the game "StarCraft." Where did he get said disc? A box of "old Blizzard-related stuff" he bought on Ebay in April. Thinking he had something special, he posted on Reddit asking what to do with it.

Oculus Shuts Down Its VR-driven Story Studio - The Empire Falters

VR is one of the most important buzzwords in tech, not only for current development, but also for what studios and tech insiders deem to be our entertainment future. Oculus, which paved the way for VR with its Rift headset concept (before being snagged by Facebook), is one of the biggest, most recognizable players in this space. Now, after a series of hurdles such as the Oculus-ZeniMax sonata, which saw the former facing payments of $500 million, and Oculus' founder Palmer Luckey abandoning the company, a house of cards is crumbling. Namely, Oculus' VR-driven Story Studio.

Deepcool Releases the Captain EX RGB CPU Coolers

Deepcool has announced a new line of CPU coolers which partake in the current RGB LED craze so as to induce crazed disco-dancing from whoever puts eyes on your glorious rig. there are apparently no differences in cooling performance from Deepcool's previously-released Captain EX, apart from the RGB lighting. The lighting on Deepcool's Captain EX RGB can be controlled through software available in some motherboard manufacturer's systems, such as ASUS' Aura, or through an included wired controller. Where these coolers deviate from the norm is that they not only include RGB lighting integrated onto the waterblocks, they also come bundled with an additional LED strip for your case.

The Deepcool Captain EX RGB comes in in 120 mm or 240 mm sized radiators, with one or two fans according to the model. They are compatible with all modern processors from AMD (including AM4) and Intel (including LGA2011-v3 and LGA1151), with both parts being rated for the same 150 W TDP. Tubing length comes in at 310~315 mm, and the fans are rated for 500 RPM at the lowest end (±200 RPM) to 1800 RPM on max speed (±10% RPM). The noise profile oscillates between a 17.6 dBA minimum and a 31.3 dBA maximum. The Captain 120EX RGB and the Captain 240EX RGB from Deepcool will be available starting next month for $99.99 and $129.99, respectively.

Source: AnandTech

INNO3D Presents Its New Outlined Logo and Slogan

INNO3D, a leading manufacturer of high-end hardware components and computer utilities, presents its new outlined logo and slogan. The logo has been updated with a few changes that bring it right into today's modern gaming world and trends. Its new slogan adds strong positioning and attitude to its brand identity.

The new logo INNO3D has been designed in all capitals, creating a strong and unified look & feel that represents a tightly integrated and strong organization. The new design brings a much stronger impact and has a fresh look taking its own place in a modern and highly competitive world. INNO3D's global team is highly committed to bring the greatest computer hardware products to customers and with a 'lean & mean' attitude the company will continue to bring them to market at a very competitive and fair price.

Gigabyte Teases AORUS M.2 Thermal Guard - Upcoming Motherboard Pictured

M.2 thermal guards, heat spreaders, and heat sinks are all the rage nowadays, with some companies releasing standalone solutions - like Aqua Computers and SilverStone. Other manufacturers opt for bundling built-in solutions with their motherboards, like MSI's M.2 Shield. The efficacy of these solutions is sometimes put into question - we all remember the reports of MSI's solution being snake-oil that doesn't really contribute to better heat dissipation.

However, a feature is a feature is a feature, and motherboard makers don't look well towards other manufacturers offering something they don't. As such, Gigabyte is now teasing its own AORUS-branded M.2 Thermal Guard, through the company's Twitter. The finned design should allow the Thermal Guard to better partake on your system's airflow. What seems interesting is how close this M.2 slot is located to the motherboard's bottom, close to USB headers. The fact that this motherboard also includes what seems to be a debug port places this as probably a top-of-the-line offering. It would make sense for Gigabyte to debut another piece of tech on their top-end motherboards rather than on a middling or budget offering, so, we should be looking at an incoming announcement for a new AORUS-branded mobo.

Source: Gigabyte's Twitter, ETeknixThanks @ Chaitanya!

Manli Announces the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gallardo Graphics Card

Manli Technology Group Limited, the major Graphics Cards and other components manufacturer, today announced the brand new overclocking solution, Manli GeForce GTX 1080Ti Gallardo. The name of Gallardo is in Italian, and represents "elegant" and "bravery."

The golden and soldier elements are exactly as "elegant" and "bravery" image which Gallardo Series would like bring the luxurious gaming experience to gamers. Manli GeForce GTX 1080Ti Gallardo equipped with triple 9cm fan to improve cooling performance, meanwhile, clock increases up to 4% compared with standard version. Clock speeds are 1531 MHz, 1645 MHz GPU Boost, compared to 1480 MHz core, 1582 MHz GPU Boost reference.
Thursday, May 4th 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Motherboards
Mouse
Notebooks
Processors
Sound Cards
SSD

Prey Performance Analysis

We test Prey on 14 graphics cards at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K using the highest settings available and also take a look at VRAM usage, which is surprisingly modest. The article also describes how to adjust the field of view (which can't be changed in-game), how to remove the hidden FPS cap, and how to skip the intro.

AMD Releases the Radeon Crimson Relive 17.5.1 Beta Drivers

Not to let itself be outshined by arch-rival NVIDIA, AMD today released a new driver suite that introduces support for the impending release of Arkane Studios' Prey. A totally new IP in an era of sequels and re-releases, which has been paired - even if only so slightly - with AMD's own Vega teaser campaign, Prey promises to offer a mix of Bioshock and System Shock, with Arkane's own peculiar blend of game mechanics and art direction. Go on ahead fighting the invasion - I'll be joining you shortly.

These drivers promise an up to 4.7% performance improvement measured on Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics when compared to Radeon Software Crimson ReLive edition 17.4.4, as well as multi GPU profile support. As always, you can grab these right here on your favorite hardware site on the universe. Just follow the link below, and catch some more details like fixed and current issues after the break.
Download: AMD Radeon Crimson Relive 17.5.1 Beta Drivers

TSMC Trade Secrets Stolen - Former Engineer Arrested In China

In the highly competitive, high-stakes scene of the business world - and particularly so in the silicon giants of the era - trade secrets, specifications, and protecting one's intellectual property that give the leg-up on competitors is key towards success. And while most companies work within the meanders of law (even if sometimes skirting it ever so lightly), some don't. And things like this happen: the steal (or purported steal, because no one has been convicted yet) of trade secrets by former employees is one of the most dreaded occurrences in the tech world - remember Zenimax and Carmack's "dovetailing"?

Chinese manufacturers are looking to enter the high-performance computing market with their own products, designs, and manufacturing capability. In this case, former TSMC engineer Hsu is being accused of stealing proprietary information and other materials related to the foundry's 28 nm process technology. The goal would be to pass them to China-based Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC), with which he accepted a job offer, according to the Hsinchu District Prosecutors Office. Digitimes reports that HLMC had been aggressively headhunting for talent to kick start its 28 nm manufacturing process, though if true, this sound like a little too aggressive of a headhunting.

Source: Digitimes, WCCFTech

Cooltek Announces the NC-Series Gaming Cases

Cooltek announces the NC-series premium gaming PC cases. With the cases of the new NC-series we present two elegant midi towers with aluminum decorative elements in the front. The cases distinguish themselves by their modern design and the particularly appealing price/performance ratio. The NC-01 and NC-02 are available both with window side panels made from "tempered glass" and closed standard side panels.

The NC-01 offers a very elegant front panel with two aluminum rails at both sides of the MESH front. One 5.25 inch bay is available for the installation of an optical drive. Silver HiFi-style case feet underline the classic look of the case. At the front of the top panel 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, a two channel fan control and the HD audio connectors are located. Power- and reset button can be found here as well, just like the HDD- and Power-led.

Temperature Spikes Reported on Intel's Core i7-7700, i7-7700K Processors

Reports around the web (and posts on Intel's forums) speak in hushed, strained and horrified voices at how some users with Intel's Core i7-7700 processors are seeing strangely random temperature spikes on their processors, which prompts their cooling solutions to spin to the rescue. The report only mentions Intel's 7700 (non-K) processor; though it would seem this issue is more prone to happen with the K version of the processor, according to Intel's forums.

Apparently, some users are seeing temperature spikes that reach as high as as high as 90°C (out of a recommended 100ºC.) Some users even go as far as admitting to have replaced Intel's fabled TIM, and running the CPU under a water cooling solution, only to find those temperature spikes still happening - and their cooling solutions rev up in response. "My own chip suffers from it, (without any overclocking) which is quite an annoyance," a user wrote. "This despite a delid modification and a proper water loop, resulting in the fans ramping up and down very frequently, and the temperature appearing to frequently spike near the danger zone." Intel, naturally, deployed a sanitized response, saying that "the reported behavior of the 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700K Processor, showing momentary temperature changes from the idle temperature, is normal while completing a task (like opening a browser or an application or a program)." Business talk all the way, but to be honest, we don't even know if there is a real problem here, though there are so pretty interesting OCCT graphs being posted on the forum page. What do you say? Any of our users have seen similar issues?

Source: Communities @ Intel, The Register

Corsair Announces the GLAIVE RGB Gaming Mouse

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware, today announced the immediate availability of the new CORSAIR GLAIVE RGB gaming mouse. Combining the latest in precision 16,000 DPI optical sensor technology with unmatched comfort thanks to its trio of interchangeable thumb grips and contoured shape, GLAIVE RGB adapts to players' gameplay and grip, delivering a new level of comfort and precision.

When it comes to gaming mice, there is no one-size-fits-all. GLAIVE RGB combines a sweeping contoured shape with three interchangeable magnetic grips, allowing it to adapt in seconds for a customized fit. Choose between smooth curves, a rubberized grip or a wide thumb rest to find your peak comfort, with each grip sculpted to put GLAIVE RGB's six programmable buttons within easy reach.

Intel Announces the Xeon Processor Scalable Family

The Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family is the new foundation for secure, agile, multi-cloud data centers. It represents the biggest platform advancements in this decade. The processor family is architected for exceptional workload-optimized performance and hardware-enhanced security. Designed for trusted data service delivery, the processor family is fueled by significant leaps in I/O, memory, storage and network technologies.

Sampling today, and with broad availability in mid-2017, the Intel Xeon Processor Scalable family has the design flexibility to thrive across common applications and mission critical operations or to harness actionable insights from advanced real-time analytics and emerging imperatives like artificial intelligence. This agility enables customers to seize new business opportunities from our increasingly data-fueled smart and connected world.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 382.05 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the GeForce 382.05 WHQL drivers. These drivers come "Game Ready" for the week's hottest game launches, beginning with "Prey" (2017). "Prey" is the season's most anticipated first-person survival horror, and releases this Friday (5th May). In addition, the drivers also come with optimization for the indie tank shooter "Battlezone," and the latest "Gears of War 4" multi-GPU update, by including an NVIDIA SLI profile for the game. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 382.05 WHQL

MSI Intros GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SeaHawk EK X Graphics Card

MSI today introduced its flagship GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, the GTX 1080 Ti SeaHawk EK X. Unlike the GTX 1080 Ti SeaHawk series, which come with factory-fitted AIO liquid cooling solutions, the SeaHawk EK X comes with a factory-fitted full-coverage water block made by EK Water Blocks, which you plumb to your own liquid cooling loop. In theory, this card can have superior cooling to its AIO liquid cooling siblings. The underlying PCB between the two cards is different, too. Whlie the SeaHawk EK X comes with the same PCB as the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Plus, the SeaHawk comes with a slightly shorter PCB that's derived from NVIDIA reference PCB, found on the company's GTX 1080 Ti Aero series.

Interestingly, the MSI GTX 1080 Ti SeaHawk EK X comes with the same factory-overclocked speeds out of the box, as the SeaHawk series - 1544 MHz core, 1657 MHz GPU Boost, and an untouched 11 GHz (GDDR5X-effective). The "OC Mode," enabled using the included MSI Gaming app, runs the card at 1569/1683 MHz core/boost, with 11.12 GHz memory. The company didn't reveal pricing, although we expect this card to be priced around $850.

Gigabyte Announces Its RX 550 Line of Graphics Cards

Gigabyte has thrown its hat on the RX 550 line of graphics cards, offering two 2 GB versions of the cards. These sport slight overclocks on their core clock speed, at 1,219MHz (for the OC 2G version) and 1,195MHz (for the D5 2G version.) Like all other RX 550, these carry a 128-bit bus and lack any auxiliary power connectors.

Being entry-level, IGP-substitute cards does not mean AIBs can skimp on cooling - especially not considering these graphics cards now carry more performance (and higher TDP) than some aeons-old enthusiast-level GPUs. As such, these include Gigabyte's Windforce cooler with a patented Blade Fan design and 3D active fan functionality. The company claims an air flow improvement of 23% over traditional fans due to the 3D stripe curve on the fan surface. The semi-passive feature, which is something most AIBs now include in their designs (even if these do somewhat impact the longevity of the fans, due to higher pressure on their mechanisms whenever they start spinning again) allows the fans to remain off at lower temperatures and spin when the GPU is under heavy load. Both cards feature Gigabyte's Ultra Durable construction, which includes solid capacitors and metals chokes. As for software and user control, Gigabyte is bundling the Aorus Graphics Engine software utility with both cards, allowing for one-click overclocking as well as the ability to control clock speeds, voltage, power target, and fan profiles. The Radeon RX 550 D5 2G and the Radeon RX 550 Gaming OC 2G are available now for $80 and $90, respectively.
Source: Tom's Hardware

ASUS Announces the ROG Maximus IX Extreme Motherboard - Monoblock Preinstalled

I'll turn the table on its head with this article, and start by its ending: if you are one of those users willing to spend $629 on a motherboard that carries all the bells and whistles and then some, the ROG Maximus IX Extreme is probably the product for you. And the opposite is also true. This is as premium a Z270-chipset motherboard gets, I'd wager. The integrated monoblock - which covers the CPU, VRM, and M.2 slot - was designed in collaboration with Bitspower, and features embedded temperature and flow-rate sensors as well as a built-in leak detector. It joins the usual staple of Z270 features: DDR4 support up to 4,133MHz, dual PCIe 3.0 x16 slots for SLI and CrossFireX, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-A/C, and the aforementioned M.2 socket, which is Intel Optane-ready.

The monoblock, IO cover, logo, and RGB headers feature RGB lighting effects such as breathing, strobing, pulsing, music effect, rainbowy, and... more. The RGB lighting can even be set to change color to reflect CPU temperature and load. Even the 3.5mm audio connectors are LED-illuminated. A sparkly Christmas tree finds itself floating through my mind, for some totally unrelated reason. ASUS' exclusive (well, "exclusive-ish") features make their way to this premium motherboard, such as the pre-mounted I/O shield, strengthened SafeSlot PCI Express slots, SafeDIMM memory slots, and a copper-plated PCB edge. Asus' Extreme Engine Digi+ is composed of NexFET MOSFETs, MicroFine alloy chokes, Digi+ PWM controller, and 10K black metallic capacitors. The Maximus IX Extreme also features 12 fan headers throughout its PCB are, as well as additional temperature and flowrate sensors for anyone who wishes to use two distinct cooling loops.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Colorful Announces iGame GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Vulcan X OC

Colorful Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards and motherboards, is pleased to announce the release of the world's first graphics card with built-in LCD display: the iGame GTX1080Ti Vulcan X OC. Finally ready for release, the card will be initially sold in China and COLORFUL will share more details about it afterwards.

The iGame GTX1080Ti Vulcan X OC features a factory overclock of 1620 MHz on the core frequency and has a boost clock of 1733 MHz thanks to GPU Boost. The card runs 11GB GDDR5X memory wired to a 352-bit bus. The card features a 16+2 phase digital power supply reinforced by IPP (iGame Pure Power) and is equipped with the SWORIZER cooler with built-in iGame Status Monitor as well as 1.68 million color-capable RGB lighting.

AMD Works on At Least Three Radeon RX Vega SKUs, Slowest Faster than GTX 1070?

AMD could be working on at least three SKUs based on its upcoming "Vega 10" silicon to make up its Radeon RX Vega series. Leaked 3DMark validations point to a device ID that's third in a series of possible device IDs of graphics cards based on the "Vega 10" silicon, the 687F:C1, 687F:C2, and 687F:C3. All three SKUs feature 8 GB of HBM2 memory, and according to leaked 3DMark TimeSpy scores, the "slowest" SKU is faster than NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. The fastest SKU is in the same league as the GTX 1080 Ti.

The three SKUs could differ with core-configuration and clock speeds. AMD carved four SKUs out of its "Fiji" silicon, the liquid-cooled R9 Fury X, the air-cooled R9 Fury (with 12.5% fewer shaders), the SFF-friendly R9 Nano (full core-config, but aggressive power-management), and the halo dual-GPU Radeon Pro Duo (1st gen). AMD could take a similar approach with "Vega 10." AMD is expected to launch its Radeon RX Vega series within Q2-2017.

Source: Guru3D Forums

Micron Announces SolidScale Platform Architecture for NVMe SSDs

Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:MU) today introduced the Micron SolidScale architecture, an integrated platform that delivers breakthrough low-latency and high performance access to compute and storage. The Micron SolidScale architecture provides customers with the agility to deploy next-generation, cloud-native applications while supporting legacy applications that run the enterprises of today - and tomorrow. From online transaction processing, to virtual platforms and analytics, to machine learning, Micron's innovative architecture not only delivers data quickly due to its extremely high throughput, but it delivers faster time to results because of its unprecedented low latency.

"We estimate that companies using NVMe SSDs deployed in application servers today are on average using less than 50% of their IOPS and capacity. With the new Micron SolidScale architecture, capacity is shared across application servers, unlocking capacity customers have already paid for so that they can do more with less and unleash flash's true performance," said Darren Thomas, vice president, Storage Business Unit, Micron Technology, Inc. "At Micron, we consider the impact of every workload, application and environment as we design the technology, products and systems that allow our customers to deploy applications faster and scale without limits."
Wednesday, May 3rd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Graphics Cards
Harddisks
Headphones
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Notebooks

Raijintek Asterion Classic

Built with thick steel, solid aluminium, and glass, the Raijintek Asterion Classic manages to combine the trifecta of interesting materials, resulting in excellent build quality. On top of clean, understated and, yes, classic looks, it also manages to walk the line between offering a simple yet functional interior with excellent compatibility and easy assembly.

Samsung Could Become Top Chipmaker in 2Q17, Dethrone Intel

Samsung could be on the verge of a historic dethroning of Intel as the dominant chipmaker in the IC world, if a recent report from IC Insights is to be believed. The report shows Samsung actually exceeding Intel's semiconductor sales in 2Q 2017, no doubt spurred on by mobile market growth and the proliferation of ARM based SOCs manufactured by Samsung.

Intel has held the dominant position for nearly a quarter century as its x86 architecture powered most PCs and notebooks/netbooks since 1993. The number of components they sell is not just limited to CPUs either: Intel is a provider of chips for everything from networking to thermal sensors, for Samsung to compete with such a giant in the semiconductor market at all (let alone exceed their sales) is quite a feat indeed.

Intel Announces Leadership Changes

In an email today, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced changes to the company's leadership team: "Today I'm writing to share two important leadership transitions on our executive leadership team. Diane Bryant has made the difficult decision to take a leave of absence from Intel to tend to a personal family matter. She is stepping away for the next six to eight months. Given the extended duration, an interim leader for the Data Center Group (DCG) is not possible. As a result, I have asked Navin Shenoy to take the position of general manager of DCG.

DCG is a central part of our transformation and corporate strategy to make Intel the driving force of the data revolution. Over the past five years, Diane has transformed DCG from a server-centric group to a business that spans servers, network and storage across all end-user segments, and with product lines and business models that extend beyond the traditional. DCG's leading products and strategies - driving industry transformations' to pervasive cloud computing, virtualization of network infrastructure, and adoption of artificial intelligence solutions - have positioned the business to be the growth driver for Intel. I want to thank Diane for her outstanding leadership and I will announce her next role upon her return.

Meet Microsoft's New Take on Windows: The Windows 10 S

The "RT" ghost is still alive in people's minds, as is particularly fluent on people's tongues whenever someone brings up Microsoft's new Windows 10 S OS. The one that limits the scope and variety of applications you can run on your own system. That forces you to go through Windows' still lackluster Store (sorry, but I've never seen such bad flow, bugs and hiccups on an app as I do in that one.)

It's only right, really - the reduced compatibility and walled-garden approach is there still, even if this one OS now isn't limited to ARM - or to x86, for that matter. This new approach now allows both UWP apps and Win32 apps which have been ported using Desktop Bridge from the store to work. However, expect Win32 apps with a native, non-ported installer to fail. Not all is bad, though: Windows has an amazing backlog for legacy hardware, software and applications, but that same legacy means it's more opened up to security vulnerabilities, and even applications which can wreak havoc on the system with excessive permissions, and unpatched issues.

AMD "Vega 10" Bears Core-Config Similarities to "Fiji"

A Linux patch for AMD's GPU drivers reveals that its upcoming "Vega 10" graphics processor bears numeric core-configuration similarities to the "Fiji" silicon which drives the enthusiast-segment Radeon R9 Fury series graphics cards. The patch bears configuration values which tell the software how to utilize the resources on the GPU, by spelling them out. The entry "gfx.config.max_shader_engines = 4," for example, indicates that "Vega 10" features four shader engines, like "Fiji." Another entry "Adev-> gfx.config.max_cu_per_sh = 16" signifies the number of GCN compute units (CUs) per shader engine. Assuming the number of stream processors per CU hasn't changed from 64 in the "Vega" architecture, we're looking at a total stream processor count of 4,096. This could also put the TMU count at 256.

At earlier reveals of the "Vega 10" package, you notice a large, somewhat square GPU die neighboring two smaller rectangular memory stack dies, which together sit on a shiny structure, which is the silicon interposer. The presence of just two memory stack dies sparked speculation that "Vega 10" features a narrower 2048-bit memory interface compared to the 4096-bit of "Fiji," but since the memory itself is newer-generation HBM2, which ticks at higher clocks, AMD could run them at double the memory clock as "Fiji" to arrive at the same 512 GB/s bandwidth. The 4,096 stream processors of "Vega 10" are two generations ahead of the ones on "Fiji," which together with 14 nm process-level improvements, could run at much higher GPU clocks, making AMD get back into the high-end graphics segment.
Sources: aceCrasher (Reddit), ComputerBase.de

SilverStone Launches the ET-550B, ET-650B Essential Series PSUs

SilverStone has announced new models for its Essential series of PSUs, which aim to bring quality to a lower pricing level than the more premium offerings, and allow SilverStone to cater to the high-volume market at the same time. These PSUs are Sirtec-made, and do cut some corners in order to address some aggressive pricing targets. Case in point: SilverStone rates these PSUs for 40ºC operation, a full 10ºC lower than the ATX specification defines, and includes only a few protections, namely Over Power, Over Voltage, and Short Circuit. The lacking OTP (Over Temperature Protection) would seem to be the best feature for such a model with a lower-rated operating temperature, but alas, this is what SilverStone offers.

The ET-550B, ET-650B are 80 Plus Bronze certified, and their +12V rails can deliver 504 and 600 W respectively. Their combined +3.3, +5V rating stands at 110 W for the 550B, and 120 W for the 650B. The cabling is fixed on both options, black-braided, and cooling is taken care of by tour average 120 mm Sleeve Bearing Fan. The PCIe connectors stand at 2x PCIe (1x 6+2 pin, 1x 6 pin) for the ET-550B, while the ET-650B doubles that amount to two of each. The dimensions stand at 150 mm (W) x 86 mm (H) x 140 mm (D). European pricing seems to be the sweet spot for these PSUs, with the 550B coming in at around 53,50€ and the 650B upping the ante to 60,60€ (prices excluding VAT, however.) In the US, I don't expect these to sell well if they keep their pricing, where the 650B currently retails for $90.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Announcing Cybenetics Power Supply Rating and Certification Agency

Cybenetics announces its arrival as a cutting-edge computer power supply rating and certification agency, which tests and certifies power-supply units (PSUs) beyond switching efficiency. Cybenetics was formed with one purpose in mind; to introduce new efficiency and noise certification standards for personal computer power supply units (PSUs). As compared to the currently available programs, the volunteered certification program offered by Cybenetics aims to add greater accuracy to efficiency testing and at the same time to provide an authentic verification of the PSU's operational noise level.

Beyond efficiency and noise certifications, Cybenetics also offers PSU Beta testing and evaluation reports which can lead to significant time and money savings in the process of increasing the quality and the performance of the tested products. The Cybenetics test procedure has been developed through many years of PSU evaluation experience. The methodologies in place, have been forged after numerous hours of testing and experimentation to obtain accuracy and reliability. Cybenetics' highly experienced personnel uses exclusively top-notch, state of the art equipment for its certifications. For further information, please visit the Cybenetics homepage.

ECS Unveils "Kaby Lake" Based Liva Z and Liva ZE Mini PCs

ECS is glad to introduce a new generation of LIVA Z family, which can provide a series of all-round more diversified choice for mini PC enthusiasts. We are constantly striving for perfection all the time and in pursuit of perfection in innovation, efficiency and product design. At the same time, we spare no effort to provide the best experience for consumers with superior quality and excellent performance. A new generation of LIVA Z family series products will appear at Booth: L0318, TWTC NangGang Exhibition Hall, Upper Level Exhibition Hall Plan(4F) from May 30 to June 3.

The brand new LIVA Z mini PC can meet all of your home computing demand. Equipped with the latest 14 nanometer Intel Apollo Lake quad-core processor, it owns rich I/O connection ability and 4K/UHD ultra HD display support and is the perfect choice of the home entertainment center. LIVA Z passes through the built-in digital microphone, and support Windows10. With the perfect combination of hardware and software, it can have remote control of Windows 10 Cortana voice secretary and enjoy efficient and convenient performance no matter in work or entertainment. It is undoubtedly the most ideal solution in home entertainment center. In addition, it is characterized by quietness and energy-conservation, so that you can enjoy music and movies without interference of noise while running your computer.

LG Introduces the 43UD79-B Display - 43", 4K, IPS, 60 Hz, Freesync

LG is looking to launch what seems to me one of the most well-rounded monitors for our use cases, with the LG 43UD79-B. Barring the enormous size of the monitor (I for one don't think a 43" on my desk would be the best way of going around computing), this monitors ticks almost all the boxes. It features 4K resolution (3840 x 2160) and an IPS panel with non-glare coating, which delivers a peak brightness of 350 cd/m2, a contrast ratio of up to 1000:1, and an 8 ms gray-to-gray (GTG) response time, which is the only sour point I see here (though it's still miles ahead of most 4K television sets.) The panel ticks on at 60 Hz, which, let's face it, is probably right for the resolution your graphics card will have to be driving anyway. The presence of Freesync here is mighty welcome indeed, ensuring you can make the most of those 60 FPS. LG mention support for 1.07 billion colors which come factory-calibrated, but the absence of any information regarding this being a 10-bit panel (which manufacturers naturally jump towards marketing) probably indicates this is actually an 8-bit panel using A-FRC to achieve a 10-bit color depth.

AMD Stock Nosedives to Biggest Loss in 12 Years

In the wake of its Q1-2017 financial results, AMD stock on NASDAQ went belly-up, posting its biggest single-day crash in 12 years. At the time of writing, the stock fell 24.22 percent, down to $10.30 per share, which is rivaled only by the 26.2 percent plummet of 11th Jan, 2005. According to Analyst Christopher Rolland at Susquehanna Financial, only a "near-perfect" Q1 results by AMD could have prevented this crash from happening. In a letter to his clients, Rolland writes that "AMD's new products are beginning to accelerate growth, but perhaps without all the gross margin benefits [they] had hoped for."

Susquehanna Financial is keeping its rating of AMD neutral, hoping that the upheaval will settle down at $12 (a recovery from its current $10.3). UBS analyst Stephen Chin is a little more grim, after posting a sell rating, with a price target of $9 (a further 13 percent selloff). "We keep our sell rating on the stock as we see limited EPS growth near term to support its high multiple as it need to invest heavily to keep pace with Intel and NVIDIA," Chin wrote. "We also estimate limited operating margin expansion in the near term," he added. To dig itself out of this, AMD needs to successfully sell a quantitative amount of products with high margins, and post good results over the next quarters.

Source: Marketwatch
Tuesday, May 2nd 2017

Today's Reviews

Cooling
Desktop PC
Gaming PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Motherboards
Mouse
Processors
Speakers
Storage

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 11 GB

EVGA's GTX 1080 Ti SC2 comes with nine thermal sensors spread around the PCB for a complete overview of the card's thermal state. Also included is an overclock out of the box and a much better cooler than on the Founders Edition, which results in temperatures below 70°C.

TPU's Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #2: MSI and ASUS Updates

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have last week's latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. Our usual format has undergone some tweaks, but it's for the better. For one, we list beta BIOSes as well now. We also only list BIOSes now that have been updated since the last digest, to avoid redundancy.

ASUS Intros the Prime B350M-E Motherboard

ASUS today introduced the Prime B350M-E, an entry-level socket AM4 motherboard in the micro-ATX form-factor, based on the AMD B350 chipset. Built in the narrow micro-ATX form-factor, this board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the AM4 SoC with a simple 6-phase VRM. The SoC is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory. Expansion slots include one reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two PCI-Express x1 slots.

Storage connectivity on the Prime B350M-E includes one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support, and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (both type-A), and six 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). Display outputs include one each of DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. Gigabit Ethernet and 6-channel HD audio make for the rest of it. The board features red LEDs, and RGB headers that let you plug in third-part RGB LED lighting, and control it using the ASUS Aura Sync software. The company didn't reveal pricing.

EVGA Launches the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 HYBRID

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 GAMING HYBRID w/ iCX Technology combines the cooling advancements of the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid cooler with EVGA's exclusive iCX Technology. Featuring a total of 11 global patents, iCX is the very definition of Interactive Cooling. With EVGA's iCX Technology, users will have a better understanding of their graphics card's operation. This includes temperature monitoring on key components (not just GPU) and targeted cooling, which provides better overclocking capabilities.

On top of that, we took our award-winning HYBRID solution and cranked it up a notch by including a dedicated memory cooling plate that makes direct contact with the cooling block. The VRM area of the card is covered by a dedicated heatsink/fan that keeps the power areas of the card cool, even during a long gaming session. Of course, the HYBRID water cooling solution gives you unbelievable GPU temperatures, sometimes cutting your GPU load temperatures in half! Best of all? The water cooler is completely self-contained, with an included 120mm radiator and fan, no filling, no custom tubing, and no maintenance. Just plug and play! All backed by EVGA's legendary Warranty. The choice is simple: EVGA HYBRID products are truly water-cooled perfection.

Microsoft Announces the New Generation Surface Laptop

Earlier today, we shared our vision for empowering today's students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow. This is a vision that resonates deeply with us on the Surface team because it taps directly into why we created Surface - to empower people to bring their ideas to life. To bring hardware and software together to transform the way people learn and create. This is what Surface has always been about. We built Surface Laptop to do two things: refresh the classic laptop form factor that our customers, especially college students, have been asking for; and make a Surface that works seamlessly to showcase the best of Windows 10 S.

The result is the most personal and balanced Surface we've ever made. This Surface perfectly blends fabric and function, power and portability, beauty and performance. It does all of this without compromising on the things we know are important to higher education students: battery life, display quality, storage, and portability.

AMD Says Vega is "On Track" for Q2 2017 Release

During its Q1 reports for fiscal year 2017 (which saw AMD's stock tumbling about, even if this Q1 only considers a single Ryzen sales-month on its accounts), AMD CEO Lisa Su referred that AMD's high-performance Vega architecture is still on track for a Q2 2017 release. The words, specifically, are these: "AMD's "Vega" GPU architecture is on track to launch in Q2, and has been designed from scratch to address the most data- and visually-intensive next-generation workloads with key architecture advancements including: a differentiated memory subsystem, next-generation geometry pipeline, new compute engine, and a new pixel engine."

So yes, AMD confirms what we suspected. This leaves a launch time-frame for Vega products until, at most, the end of June. Confirmation after confirmation, it's still a long time to wait, if you'll ask me, with little to no information in the last few months. But it's better than nothing, and I'd much prefer a real launch with retail availability than a glorified paper launch. Here's hoping Vega answers our questions and our needs. It's been a long time coming already.

AMD Increases Its Market Share on the Back of Strong Ryzen Sales

There have been some reports that Intel's CPU division has gotten a sales decline of about $150 million, and that AMD has, conversely, seen its processor sales increase by around the same amount. This would seem to beget a straight, logic leap - that AMD was calling to itself sales that would have belonged to Intel. With Ryzen, AMD did make a great product that consumers are looking to buy, and if recent Passmark statistics are anything to go by, it would seem that yes, AMD achieved its sales increase on the back of Intel sales.

EK WaterBlocks Announces the CPC Quick-Disconnect Couplings

Ek WaterBlocks has just announced the standalone availability of its much sought-after CPC Quick-Disconnect couplings, which you may wish to integrate into your custom water loops for ease of use and quality-of-life improvements. To release them, a quick button press on the female side of the connector and a slight pull should bring the parts apart. Although the purpose of these connectors is really to stop the flow so you can change parts from your loop, you can't disconnect them while the loop is running (well, you shouldn't because you know, sparkly fireworks might ensue due to spillage.) These also don't work as a drain port.

The EK-QDC 10mm couplings work with soft tubing that has an inner diameter of 10 mm and outer diameters of either 13 mm or 16 mm, and includes clamps for both sizes. The CPC Quick-Disconnect couplings' U.S. pricing comes in at $33, and are now available for purchase directly from EKWB.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Corsair Launches New Carbide Series SPEC-04 Mid-Tower Gaming Case

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the newest addition to the Carbide series of mid-tower gaming cases, the CORSAIR Carbide Series SPEC-04. With unmistakable styling, a large tinted side panel window and roomy interior, the Carbide Series SPEC-04 is ready-to-build a system as bold as it looks.

With its asymmetrical, hard-edged exterior, the SPEC-04 is ready to stand out, with three different color options to match your system, Black and Yellow, Black and Red or Black and Grey. The angular styling isn't just there for looks, it hides a side-mounted front panel equipped with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports and a huge ventilated section to provide excellent Direct Airflow Path airflow.

ASUS Announces Its Take on the RX 550 Graphics Cards

ASUS has announced its take on the RX 550, the graphics card that is meant to bridge the gap between IGPs and the power reserved to discrete GPUs. Not much differs from other AIB offerings, since this is the same GPU paired with either 2 or 4 GB of GDDR5 memory ticking at 7,000 MHz over a 128-bit memory bus, but ASUS dis manage to add an IP5X-certified dust-proof fan. According to ASUS, this fan design extends the lifespan of the graphics card by 25% through increased dust and particle resistance, as well as efficient heat dissipation. The cards will come clocked at 1,100 MHz stock, and 1,183MHz boost clocks, with no auxiliary power connectors.

The ASUS Radeon RX 550 is a dual-slot design measuring 182 (length) x 112 (height) x 43mm (width), which delivers 1x Dual-Link DVI-D, 1x HDMI, and 1x DisplayPort connectors. These cards are produced using ASUS' Auto-Extreme manufacturing technology, which fully automates every step of PCB manufacturing and dispenses with human intervention. ASUS also bundles its GPU Tweak II and Xsplit Gamecaster software suites with the Radeon RX 550. These include the new "Gaming Booster"for automated overclocking, while XSplit Gamecaster lets gamers stream or record gameplay right from the in-game overlay. The ASUS Radeon RX 550 2GB / 4GB are available now from a variety of retailers for $90 / $100, respectively.

Source: Tom's Hardware

Intel Patches Remote Execution Flaw on Its CPUs - Active Since 2008

A bug in Intel's AMT (Active Management Technology), ISM (Standard Manageability) and SBT (Small Business Technology) firmware versions 6 to 11.6 sits unpatched since 2008 - a bug which allows "an unprivileged attacker to gain control of the manageability features provided by these products." Potentially, this could have led systems to be exploited for remote control and spyware infection (and maybe it did lead to that, and we just don't know about it.) Through this flaw, hackers could log into a vulnerable computer's hardware - outside the security features of the OS and any anti-virus suites - and silently install malware and other thriving pieces of malevolent coding. AMT having direct access to the computer's network hardware ensures this could have been done outside of local tampering. The vulnerable AMT service is part of Intel's vPro suite of processor features, so it's catering more to businesses and server boxes than for the usual consumer-based products - though we all know some hardware enthusiast's usage of this kind of processors in their personal rigs. If you don't have vPro or AMT present at all, you are in the clear. However, some outlets report that Intel systems are vulnerable to direct hardware access even if their AMT, ISM, or SBT implementations aren't provisioned - it's just the network access that doesn't work.

These insecure management features have been available in various Intel chipsets for nearly a decade, starting with the Nehalem Core i7 in 2008, all the way up to this year's Kaby Lake Core parts. Luckily, this "feature", which is present in millions of Intel chips and potentially provides a "backdoor-esque" entry point to equal millions of systems, appears to be able to be addressed through a microcode update. However, this update will have to be pushed by your system manufacturer, and you can probably begin to imagine by now how such a process will linger on, and how hard it will be for this to happen to every affected system.

EVGA Teases GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid

EVGA is innovating a "Hybrid" version of its iCX cooling solution, which combines the best of air cooling with an all-in-one liquid cooling loop; and one of its first implementations will be the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Hybrid, pictured below. As with the air-cooled SC2 with iCX, this card will feature 9 thermal sensors on the PCB. The cooler features an AIO liquid cooling pump-block over the GPU and a base-plate. The base-plate runs over the memory and VRM, and is ventilated by a 90 mm fan. Given its SC2 (SuperClocked 2) brand extension, this card could come with the same factory-overclock profile as the air-cooled GTX 1080 Ti SC2, with 1556/1670/11011 MHz (core/GPU Boost/memory effective); but with higher overclocking headroom thanks to the more effective cooler. The company didn't reveal availability or pricing.

ASUSTOR Launches AS6302T and AS6404T NAS

ASUSTOR Inc., a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has announced the launch of two new tower NAS models, the AS6302T and AS6404T, that utilize the new Intel Apollo Lake platform Celeron processor. Both models feature hot-swappable hard disks. The AS6302T is equipped with a dual core processor, 2GB of built-in RAM and 2 disk bays while the AS6404T is equipped with a quad-core processor, 8GB of built-in RAM and 4 disk bays. These two new models provide better performance than previous generation ASUSTOR NAS models with RAID 1 read and write speeds of 216.14 MB/s and 218.25 MB/s (Link Aggregation). Additionally, dazzling 4K multimedia processing and remarkable streaming playback fluidity provide prosumers and medium sized businesses with the advantage of having high performance cloud storage combined with multimedia applications.

Both the AS6302T and AS6404T support the popular HDMI 2.0 playback function, allowing users to play ultra high resolution 4K @60Hz videos. Furthermore, the built-in USB Type-C connector lets users to conveniently connect Type-C external storage devices for data access. Also, with the release of these two new NAS models, ASUSTOR becomes the first vendor in the NAS industry to offer Wake-on-WAN support. This function allows users to remotely power on and shut down their NAS via the Internet, providing added convenience for managing energy consumption while adding access security as well.

ASUS Intros the ROG STRIX H270I Mini-ITX Motherboard

ASUS today introduced the Republic of Gamers (ROG) STRIX H270I socket LGA1151 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor. The board offers most of the feature-set of its more expensive sibling, the STRIX Z270I, minus some of its CPU overclocking features, and should hence be perfect for SFF gaming PC builders who don't intend to overclock their CPUs. It is based on a different PCB from its Z270-based sibling. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU using a simple 7-phase VRM (compared to the 9-phase setup on the STRIX Z270I). The CPU is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and the board's lone expansion slot, a PCI-Express 3.0 x16.

Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots (stacked on top of each other), one which has 32 Gb/s PCIe-only wiring with NVMe support, and another with 32 Gb/s PCIe plus SATA 6 Gb/s wiring; and four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking is another interesting mix, with two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219V controller, and the other by a Realtek RTL8111H; and a WLAN card with 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth 4.1, driven by an Intel-made controller. Audio is care of ASUS SupremeFX solution, which combines a Realtek ALC1220 (120 dBA SNR) CODEC with two headphones amplifier circuits, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board also features an RGB LED lighting element in addition to RGB LED headers, driven by its Aura Sync RGB software. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Transcend Announces Four SSD Product Lines Based on 3D NAND

Transcend Memory announced four client SSD product lines based on 3D NAND flash memory. The lineup begins with the new MTS810 and MTS420 lines of mainstream SSDs built in the M.2-2280 and M.2-2242 form-factors, respectively, which take advantage of the SATA 6 Gb/s interface. The MTS810 succeeds the MTS800 series the company launched in 2016. It is based on a newer TLC NAND flash memory, and a more compact SSD controller made by Silicon Motion. The drive puts out up to 560 MB/s of sequential transfer rates. The MTS420 is its miniaturized version in the M.2-2242 form-factor. Both drives will be available only in 128 GB capacities.

Next up, is the SSD230 series. The company already announced this drive back in November 2016. Built in the 7 mm-thick 2.5-inch form-factor, it comes in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB capacities, and offers sequential transfer rates of up to 560 MB/s reads, with up to 520 MB/s writes. Lastly, Transcend unveiled its latest high-performance M.2-2280 SSD, which takes advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface with NVMe 1.2 protocol, the MTE850 series. Available in 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB capacities, the drive belts out sequential transfer rates of up to 2,500 MB/s reads, with up to 1,100 MB/s writes. It features 3D MLC NAND flash memory.

AMD Reports First Quarter 2017 Financial Results - 18% Increased Revenue

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2017 of $984 million, operating loss of $29 million, and net loss of $73 million, or $0.08 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, operating loss was $6 million, net loss was $38 million, and loss per share was $0.04. "We achieved 18 percent year-over-year revenue growth driven by strong demand for our high performance Ryzen CPUs as well as graphics processors," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We are positioned for solid revenue growth and margin expansion opportunities across the business in the year ahead as we bring innovation, performance, and choice to an expanding set of markets."
Monday, May 1st 2017

Today's Reviews

Cases
Cooling
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
Keyboards
Memory
Monitors
Motherboards
Mouse
NAS
Networking
Notebooks
Processors
PSUs
Speakers
SSD
Storage

ECS LIVA Z

It would seem ECS is looking to corner the mini-PC market with their LIVA offerings. The LIVA Z is a continuation of that effort. Utilizing an ultra small form factor at an extremely affordable price, this palm-sized unit delivers more than you might have bargained for.

BIOSTAR Intros a Pair of AM4 Motherboards for Bitcoin Mining Rigs

BIOSTAR expanded its niche line of motherboards for Bitcoin-mining rigs, with two boards for the socket AM4 platform, the TA320-BTC, and the TB350-BTC. These boards feature a minimalist layout so you can drop in as many PCI-Express GPU or ASIC Bitcoin-mining cards as possible. As their names suggest, the TA320-BTC is based on the entry-level AMD A320 chipset, and the TB350-BTC the mid-range AMD B350. Both boards share an identical PCB, and barring for some chipset-level features, their feature-sets are largely identical.

The boards are built in the narrow ATX form-factor, and draw power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 4-pin Molex (optional), and 8-pin EPS power connectors. A 6-phase VRM conditions power to the SoC, which is wired to two DDR4 DIMM slots, besides a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and six other PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slots. Storage options are limited to four SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Connectivity includes 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, DVI and D-Sub display outputs, six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 high-power ports (1.5 A current). Both boards support Ryzen processors (up to 95W TDP), and 7th gen A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Available now, the TB350-BTC is priced at USD $84.99.

ASUS Launches CM-32 AC2600 Cable Modem Router

Ditch the monthly cable modem rental fees with the new ASUS CM-32, an all-in-one DOCSIS 3.0 compatible cable modem plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi router designed for today's gigabit cable speeds. With a best-in-class Wi-Fi design featuring MU-MIMO support, 4x4 antenna for extended range and 1734Mbps of bandwidth on the 5GHz band plus 796Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, the CM-32 is perfect for 4K streaming, online gaming, video conferencing, live broadcasting, and more

Powered by an Intel Puma processor with certification for Comcast XFINITY and Spectrum networks, the CM-32 ensures worry-free compatibility right out of the box. ASUS CM-32 is available now at Amazon and other leading resellers with a suggested MSRP of $249.99.