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Jeff Bezos Steps Down as Amazon CEO, AWS Head Andy Jassy to Take Over

In a move comparable to that of Bill Gates and Brin & Page disconnecting themselves from micro-managing the companies they co-founded; Jeff Bezos announced stepping down as CEO of Amazon. He has handed over reins of the company to Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon Web Services (AWS). He "leaves" Amazon as a corporate colossus, valued at $1.6 trillion. Bezos will remain as the Executive Chair of Amazon. He stated that he will remain "engaged in important Amazon initiatives." One of these is the Bezos Earth Fund, the aerospace company Blue Origin, and give more attention to "The Washington Post," which Amazon owns. In this regard, Bezos's retirement from the CEO's chair looks like a cross between the lives of Bill Gates and Elon Musk.

Arctic MX-5 Thermal Compound Listed Ahead of Launch

Arctic is readying its first new high-performance thermal compound in over a decade, the MX-5. 4-gram syringes of the compound started surfacing on Amazon UK, where it's listed for £13.59 (includes UK VAT). The listing does not mention the all-important thermal conductivity or viscosity figures for the compound, but mentions that it is not metal-based (doesn't contain metal particles), is electrically non-conductive (so you can use it on bare FCBGAs/FCPGAs without an IHS) and is designed to hold integrity up to 8 years after an application. The listing mentions a "ships by" date of March 15, 2021, which is also its release date.

Update Jan 25th: Arctic released a statement on Twitter regarding the availability of the MX-5.
The ARCTIC MX-5 will be officially released on March 15. Since there are only a few quantities at the beginning, a pre-sale will be done via Amazon and our website. Unfortunately, we cannot predict Amazon availability, so please check Amazon availability on your own.

Microsoft is Engineering Custom Processors for Servers and Surface PCs

Designing a custom processor can be a rewarding thing. You can control your ecosystem surrounding it and get massive rewards in terms of application-specific performance uplift, or lower total cost of ownership. It seems like cloud providers have figured out that at their scale, designing a custom processor can get all of the above with the right amount of effort put into it. If you remember, in 2018, Amazon has announced its Graviton processor based on Arm instruction set architecture. Today, the company has almost 10% of its AWS instances based on the Graviton 1 or 2 processors, which is a massive win for a custom design.

Following Amazon's example, the next company to join the custom server processor race is going to be Microsoft. The Redmond based giant is looking to build a custom lineup of processors that are meant to satisfy Microsoft's most demanding sector - server space. The company's Azure arm is an important part where it has big and increasing revenue. By building a custom processor, it could satisfy the market needs better while delivering higher value. The sources of Bloomberg say that Microsoft is planning to use Arm ISA, and start building independence from the x86 vendors like Intel and AMD. Just like we saw with AWS, the industry cloud giants are starting to get silicon-independent and with their scale, they can drive the ecosystem surrounding the new processors forward rapidly. The sources are also speculating that the company is building custom processors for Surface PCs, and with Windows-on-Arm (WoA) project, Microsoft has laid the groundwork in that field as well.

New Philips In-Ear True Wireless Premium Headphones

[Editor's note: This press release is from the Philips US division, regional applicability may vary. Street pricing is already down to $149.]

Envision Peripherals, Inc. (EPI) today debuts a new pair of premium, true wireless ear buds, the Philips In-Ear True Wireless Headphones TAT8505BKs. The True Wireless version of the popular Philips Wireless Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphone TAPH805BK earbuds feature classic minimalist design and boast Hybrid Active Noise Canceling and Awareness Mode for control over what is heard, letting users sink into rich, detailed sound or tune into the world around them. The Philips TAT8505BKs are available on Amazon, for $199.99 USD, starting December 15, 2020 at 12:01 AM PST.

Love What You Hear
The perfectly tuned 13mm neodymium drivers ensure a detailed, expansive sound with rich, powerful bass and thrilling clarity for every track. When an earbud is taken out, the music pauses. Put the earbud back in, and the music starts up again. The Philips TAT8505BKs have a refined geometric design creating a comfortable in-ear fit. The circular earbud housing is tactilely pleasing and is designed to subtly catch the light, creating an elegant, understated look.

AWS Arm-based Graviton Processors Sees the Biggest Growth in Instance Share

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's largest cloud services provider, has launched its Graviton series of custom processors some time ago. With Graviton, AWS had a plan to bring down the costs of offering some cloud services both for the customer and for the company. By doing that, the company planned to attract new customers offering greater value, and that plan seems to be working out well. When AWS launched its first-generation Graviton processor, the company took everyone by surprise and showed that it is capable of designing and operating its custom processors. The Graviton series of processors is based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and the latest Graviton 2 series uses Arm Neoverse N1 cores as the base.

Today, thanks to the data from Liftr Insights, we get to see just how many total AWS instances are Graviton based. The data is showing some rather impressive numbers for the period from June 2019, to August 2020. In that timeframe, Intel with its Xeon offerings has seen its presence decrease from 88% to 70%, while AMD has grown from 11% to 20% presence. And perhaps the greatest silent winner here is the Graviton processor, which had massive growth. In the same period, AWS increased Graviton instance number from making up only 1% of all instances, to make up 10% of all instances available. This is a 10-fold increase which is not a small feat, given that data center providers are very difficult when it comes to changing platforms.

AWS and Arm Demonstrate Production-Scale Electronic Design Automation in the Cloud

Today, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company, announced that Arm, a global leader in semiconductor design and silicon intellectual property development and licensing, will leverage AWS for its cloud use, including the vast majority of its electronic design automation (EDA) workloads. Arm is migrating EDA workloads to AWS, leveraging AWS Graviton2-based instances (powered by Arm Neoverse cores), and leading the way for transformation of the semiconductor industry, which has traditionally used on-premises data centers for the computationally intensive work of verifying semiconductor designs.

To carry out verification more efficiently, Arm uses the cloud to run simulations of real-world compute scenarios, taking advantage of AWS's virtually unlimited storage and high-performance computing infrastructure to scale the number of simulations it can run in parallel. Since beginning its AWS cloud migration, Arm has realized a 6x improvement in performance time for EDA workflows on AWS. In addition, by running telemetry (the collection and integration of data from remote sources) and analysis on AWS, Arm is generating more powerful engineering, business, and operational insights that help increase workflow efficiency and optimize costs and resources across the company. Arm ultimately plans to reduce its global datacenter footprint by at least 45% and its on-premises compute by 80% as it completes its migration to AWS.

AWS Implements High-Performance EPYC and Radeon Pro Processors for Graphics Optimized Workloads

AMD announced Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) has expanded its AMD-based offerings with a new cloud instance for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2): Amazon EC2 G4ad instances for graphics-optimized workloads. With this new instance, AMD now powers eight Amazon EC2 instance families across 20 global AWS Regions. AMD also announced that Amazon GameLift, a fully managed dedicated game server hosting solution, is now providing its video game hosting customers access to AMD EPYC processor-based Amazon EC2 C5a, M5a and R5a instances.

"Today we build on the strong collaboration between AMD and AWS, which started in 2017. This expansion of our cooperation is a proof point of the continued performance and capabilities that AMD provides its customers," said Forrest Norrod, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center and Embedded Solutions Group, AMD. "Amazon EC2 G4ad instances are the first powered by both AMD EPYC CPUs and Radeon Pro GPUs, and adding to the existing EPYC processor-based instances, they exemplify the ways in which AMD CPUs and GPUs provide fantastic performance and price/performance for AWS customers."

"The high-performance capabilities of the AMD EPYC CPUs and Radeon Pro GPUs are enabling AWS to create a new graphics-focused instance that help us keep our leadership price/performance offerings that our customers expect," said David Brown, Vice President, Amazon EC2, Amazon Web Services, Inc. "We're delighted to continue this great collaboration with AMD, enabling the Amazon EC2 G4ad instances to provide the industry's best price performance for graphics-intensive applications."

AOC Introduces 16T2 15.6" Portable USB-C Touchscreen Monitor with Smart Cover

[Editor's note: This press release is specific to a US product announcement, and it may have been released in other regions before.]

Display specialist AOC announces the AOC 16T2, a new portable touchscreen monitor with USB-C connectivity. The 39.6 cm (15.6") IPS display 16T2 comes with Full HD resolution and can be connected to a laptop, desktop/server or a smartphone through its two USB-C ports (utilizing DisplayPort alternate mode) or its Micro HDMI port. Thanks to the built-in 8000 mAh battery, the 16T2 can be used on-the-go without requiring a power outlet and can even act as a power bank and charge a smartphone. Less than a centimeter in thickness, a featured smart, foldable cover for portrait and landscape orientations and VESA wall mount option make this monitor a great tool for mobile business users as well as mobile gamers, students, IT administrators, small businesses, DIYers, and more. The AOC 16T2 is available on Amazon starting November 9, 2020, for $249.99.

Microsoft xCloud May Bypass Apple App Store with Web App

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a "direct browser-based solution" to bring their Xbox Game Pass xCloud streaming service to iOS and iPadOS devices targeting a 2021 launch according to sources familiar with the matter. Microsoft has faced numerous issues with bringing the service to Apple devices due to App Store policies requiring each game to be uploaded as a separate application for review. Microsoft has previously stated that this solution is unacceptable and they would be investigating other options, they seem to have concluded that a web app would be the best route forwards. This approach is very similar to Amazon's Luna game streaming service which will also utilize a web app for access on Apple devices.

Cooler Master Introduces New Blue Steel and Wilderness Colorways for the Lightweight MM711 Gaming Mouse

[Editor's note: This press release is from Cooler Master USA, and other regions may not be covered by it.]

Cooler Master, a global leader in designing and manufacturing innovative gaming peripherals and computer components, has announced a series of new, limited edition colorways for the MM711 RGB ultra-lightweight gaming mouse. These new colors include:
  • Blue Steel - a stunning metallic blue color scheme, available now at MicroCenter.
  • Wilderness - an eye-catching metallic forest green colorway, available on October 15, 2020 on Amazon.
One of Cooler Master's most innovative gaming mice to date, the MM711 weighs approximately 53g thanks to a durable, perforated honeycomb shell. It is among the lightest pro-grade gaming mice on the market today. In conjunction with a lightweight ultra-weave cable for virtually no drag, PTFE feet for effortless glide, and top-of-the-line pro-grade internals, the MM711 allows for longer gaming sessions and quicker response time with minimal fatigue and reduced wrist strain. These newest color variants add vibrant personality to an already unique gaming mouse - providing aesthetic options that appeals to all users.

Amazon Launches Luna Cloud Gaming Service

Amazon has joined the ranks of fellow tech giants in launching their very own cloud game streaming service. Luna is a cloud gaming service that lets you play games on compatible Fire TV, PC, and Mac devices as well as through web apps on iPhones and iPads. The new service will compete with Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud, NVIDIA GeForce Now, SONY PlayStation Now, and more boutique services such as Shadow or Vortex. Luna is currently in an invitation-only stage with initial pricing of 5.99 USD per month for Luna+ while in early access. Luna+ supports gameplay on two devices at once with resolutions of up to 1080p 60 FPS with 4K support coming in the future for select titles.

Luna offers game channels which grant access to a specification selection of games for a monthly fee currently, only Luna+ is offered with a Ubisoft channel coming soon. Luna+ features a variety of action, adventure, platformer, indie, shooter, RPG, racing, and classic games from Ubisoft, Capcom, 505 Games, and Team 17 with more games to be added over time. Some of the major games on the platform include Control, Grid, Resident Evil 7, Metro Exodus, ABZÛ, Overcooked 2, and Two Point Hospital. The Ubisoft channel will include a variety of games including Watch Dogs: Legion with all DLC unlocked for play on a single device for an as of yet unannounced monthly fee.

GUNNAR Optiks Launches The "Holy Grail" Of Gaming Glasses, Lightning Bolt 360

GUNNAR Optiks, the preeminent force and No. 1 brand in gaming glasses, today announced the launch of Lightning Bolt 360 (LB360). Infusing 15 years of advanced lens technology, frame design experience and gamer feedback, the LB360 delivers the most versatile pair of gaming glasses ever created to players worldwide.

One of the key innovative design features of LB360 is the lightning bolt shaped temple which relieves pressure at the front of the head. It also comes with three different interchangeable temples, standard, post and a strap option for the ultimate comfort while wearing a headset, two interchangeable lens options (Amber for indoor gaming and Sun for outdoor use) and three nose bridge sizes to choose from.

Amazon Games Studios Signs Publishing Agreement With Smilegate RPG

Amazon Games today announced it has reached an exclusive publishing agreement for North America and Europe with Korean developer Smilegate RPG. They will collaborate to publish a game releasing next year, with specific details to be revealed at a later date. Founded in 2002, Smilegate (parent company of Smilegate RPG) is the creator of CROSSFIRE and the Lost Ark MMORPG. CROSSFIRE is the world's largest first-person online shooter game and one of the most played online games in the world, with over 670 million registered users and more than 8 million concurrent players globally.

The Amazon Games leadership team includes veteran developers and publishing executives who helped deliver some of the world's most popular games. In addition to its publishing agreement with Smilegate RPG, Amazon Games is internally developing New World, the massively multiplayer online PC game releasing in Spring 2021, online multiplayer shooter Crucible, an original AAA online game based on the literary works of The Lord of the Rings, and several unannounced projects.

SK hynix to Expand United States Market Presence with the Launch of the World's First 128-Layer NAND Consumer PCIe NVMe SSD

SK hynix Inc., a global semiconductor supplier based in Korea, announced today the release of its newest PCIe SSD: the SK hynix Gold P31. The latest edition is the world's first 128-layer NAND flash-based consumer SSD and the company's first consumer-facing PCIe SSD launched in the United States under the SK hynix brand.

The Gold P31 is intended for all PC users with a particular focus on gamers, designers, and content creators. The drive supports the PCIe NVMe interface based on 4D NAND flash technology and is now available for purchase in 1 TB and 500 GB capacities on Amazon U.S. The Gold P31 offers best-in-class read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of up to 3,200 MB/s. The drive is a reliable choice for gamers whose PCs must support long hours of play, as well as professional creators and designers for whom performance and stability is essential. The Gold P31's reliability has been tested and validated through 1,000 hours of high-temperature operating life tests (HTOL) with mean time between failures (MTBF) reaching 1.5 million hours. The SSD also comes with a five-year warranty.

Amazon Renames Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming

Amazon Prime Gaming is the new name for Twitch Prime, the new program offers the same benefits first introduced with Twitch Prime back in 2016. Amazon Prime Gaming which is included with an Amazon Prime membership offers free in-game loot every month for a variety of titles including League of Legends, Apex Legends, Grand Theft Auto Online, FIFA20, and DOOM Eternal. Prime Gaming also comes with a collection of free indie games that can be downloaded through the desktop app. Amazon Prime subscribers will continue to receive Prime Status on Twitch which includes a free channel subscription, and virtual chat items. Amazon Prime gaming is now available in over 200 countries.

Sony Announces WH-1000XM4 Industry-leading Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony today announced the WH-1000XM4, the 4th generation over-ear wireless noise cancelling headphones in Sony's award-winning 1000X family. The latest headphones offer all the much-loved technology from the hugely popular WH-1000XM3, with additional intelligent features that allow you to personalise and control your music, improve noise cancellation and adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences for a superior sound experience.

Whether you're flying long haul or relaxing in a café, the WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver Sony's best ever noise cancelling performance, reducing high and mid frequency sounds. With two microphones on each earcup, being used for noise cancelling, our Dual Noise Sensor technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the trusted HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Then a new BLUETOOTH Audio SoC (System on Chip) senses and adjusts to music and noise at over 700 times per second. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 applies noise cancelling processing in real time. This allows the user to focus more on the music they love and blur out the chaos of the outside world.

Kitler Films Partners with Amazon Studios to Develop Series Based On Fallout

Amazon Studios has licensed the rights to the Fallout game series from Bethesda Game Studios and plans to create a new TV series with acclaimed producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's Kilter Films attached to produce the project. Amazon Studios has committed to develop the entire techno-thriller drama series which is currently in pre-production. Kilter Films also produces HBO's Westworld which has been well received and was recently picked up for a fourth season.
Kilter Films
Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time. Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we're incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios.

Tencent Preparing to Launch Live Streaming Platform Partner Program to Compete with Twitch

Tencent is getting ready to roll out their new live streaming platform across the US as a direct competitor to Amazon's Twitch. The Tencent live streaming platform has been in testing since March, initially called Madcat, and now branded as Trovo Live. Trovo Live's interface closely resembles that of Twitch and has a large emphasis on mobile gaming which makes sense given that Tencent owns Fortnite and PUBG Mobile.

Tencent has recently plans on the Trovo Live website on its 30 million dollar program to entice creators to the site. Tencent dominates the Chinese game streaming market but has had trouble breaking into Western markets. The Trevo Live Partnership program is set to go live in July and aims to attract 500 influential streamers to the platform. Trovo Live has already attracted some streamers from Mizer and Twitch so it will be interesting to see if it succeeds.

Corsair iCUE LT100 Lighting Towers + Headset Stand Add Ambient Lighting to Your Desk

Corsair is readying the iCUE LT100 Lighting Towers, accessories that add ARGB bling to your desktop. These devices are also capable of projecting ambient lighting on surroundings behind your monitor. These devices first came to light on the company's product page for the Corsair ONE a100 gaming desktop. A little digging across e-tailers for the latest Corsair products revealed an Amazon advance listing for these devices, called the iCUE LT100 Lighting Towers. The listing does not mention pricing or detailed specs, but lists out key features of the device. Its design involves a cuboidal base that has its own ARGB diffuser from which a 400+ mm stock emerges perpendicularly, which has its own row of 46 ARGB LEDs. An external power adapter keeps it powered. It probably takes input via USB. Behind the ARGB diffuser is what looks like a headset stand.
The list of features from the Amazon listing follows.

AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT and Ryzen 9 3900XT Listed on Amazon Italy, Release Dates Revealed

Amazon Italy listed two of AMD's three upcoming 3rd generation Ryzen XT series desktop processors. The listings also reveal tentative product announcement and availability dates. According to the listings, the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 3600XT, with its maximum boost frequency at 4.50 GHz, is priced at 285€ including VAT, while the 12-core/24-thread 3900XT with 4.70 GHz boost frequency, goes for 570€ (including VAT). The 3600XT includes a Wraith Spire cooler in the box, while the 3900XT lacks any cooler in the box (unlike the 3900X, which includes a Wraith Prism).

The listings also reveal key dates for the 3rd gen Ryzen XT series desktop processors. Apparently, AMD will announce these processors tomorrow (June 16), possibly opening them up for pre-orders worldwide. Availability of the processors is slated for July 7, which is when the pre-orders will begin shipping. AMD is refreshing its 3rd gen Ryzen processor series with the 3600XT, 3800XT, and 3900XT, in a bid to make its product stack more competitive against the Core i5-10600K, i7-10700K, and i9-10900K.

King of Consumer Solid State Storage: Amazon Lists 8 TB Samsung 870 QVO-Series SATA III SSD

For users that want to fully migrate their HDD storage towards a speedier SSD-option, Samsung's QVO series has usually been one of the more interesting prospects. Built solely with the intention of offering some of the best performance/$ metrics in the SSD storage space, the QVO series keeps Samsung's quality track record when it comes to NAND production but aims to reduce pricing as much as possible.

Amazon has now listed an 8 TB, consumer-available Samsung 870 QVO SSD. This SSD won't win any speed contests: it's built on the 2.5" form-factor and features a SATA III interface, but then again, this isn't meant to be used as users' fastest storage solution - it's meant to replace high-capacity HDDs while offering a notable performance improvement. It's very likely the QVO 870 is using Samsung's QLC (quad level cell) 3D V-NAND tech - which is still fine for most use-cases where you'll be mostly reading from the disc (and honestly, it's likely that most users would never even see performance degradation over the lifetime of the SSD, should they have a typical usage scenario). The 8 TB Samsung 870 QVO is currently listed on Amazon for a relatively steep $899.99 - which still amounts to some 11 cents per GB, so not a bad deal at all. Remember that pricing is currently slightly on the high side following the COVID-19 pandemic, though.

2nd Gen AMD EPYC Processors Now Delivering More Computing Power to Amazon Web Services Customers

AMD today announced that 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor powered Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) C5a instances are now generally available in the AWS U.S. East, AWS U.S. West, AWS Europe and AWS Asia Pacific regions.

Powered by a 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor running at frequencies up to 3.3Ghz, the Amazon EC2 C5a instances are the sixth instance family at AWS powered by AMD EPYC processors. By using the 2nd Gen AMD EPYC processor, the C5a instance delivers leadership x86 price-performance for a broad set of compute-intensive workloads including batch processing, distributed analytics, data transformations, log analytics and web applications.

Hunt. Level. Adapt. Amazon Games Launches Crucible

Crucible, the free-to-play competitive team-based shooter from Relentless Studios, an Amazon Games development studio, is now available to download for PC. In Crucible, players work with teammates to hunt their opponents and take down hostile creatures on a lush rogue planet in pursuit of Essence, a valuable resource that amplifies hunters' powers.

At launch, players can choose from a diverse roster of 10 hunters, including Earl, an interstellar trucker, Summer, a dual-flame-thrower-wielding former welder, and Bugg, a robot botanist. Each hunter in Crucible has their own unique weapons and abilities, and as they defeat opponents and the planet's flora and fauna, they level up, gaining strength and enhancing their abilities. Crucible's fast-paced combat challenges players to constantly re-evaluate and adjust their strategies, adapting to their opponents' moves and the deadly planet itself.

Amazon Releases Gameplay Videos for Upcoming Crucible Game

Amazon Game Studio's Crucible is a free-to-play team-based action shooter that's set for release on Steam May 20th. Crucible is an interesting-looking game with MOBA and hero shooter elements where you fight enemy players and AI enemies with your team while adapting to the map. When playing the game you gather Essence the in-game currency to help level up your character. The game will come with three game modes at launch Heart of the Hives a two teams of four first to three game, Alpha Hunters a eight teams of two last team standing game, and Harvester Command a two teams of eight game. You can view the gameplay trailers and more information below.

ENERMAX Launches LIBLLUSION LL30 RGB Case

ENERMAX, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance PC hardware products, announces the new addressable RGB ATX computer case, LIBLLUSION LL30 is available in Europe. LIBLLUSION LL30 comes with one SquA RGB fan at the rear; the built-in integrated hub can support up to 6 addressable RGB devices lighting in sync with an ARGB-ready motherboard software or the lighting control through this computer case.

Utilizing the line element, the front panel of LIBLLUSION LL30 is embellished by the multiple lighting strips which part of them is the reflection of the light from the interior system through the vents on the top and bottom of the front panel. The clever vent design on the front panel combines the in-take airflow efficiency and the beauty of light.
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