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ASUS Unveils GeForce RTX 2060 DUAL Mini, Possible RX 5600 XT and EVGA KO Competitor

ASUS unveiled the GeForce RTX 2060 DUAL Mini series, a new pair of RTX 2060 graphics cards purpose-built to compete with AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT, and possibly priced to match the EVGA RTX 2060 KO. The series consists of two otherwise identical looking cards differentiated with clock speeds - the reference speed "DUAL-RTX2060-6G-MINI," and the slightly overclocked "DUAL-RTX2060-O6G-MINI." The DUAL Mini common board design measures 19.7 cm in length, 12.1 cm height, and is strictly 2-slot thick. Under the hood is PCB that's built to cost, and probably repurposing the company's GTX 1660 Ti series PCBs, since the TU116 and TU106 are pin-compatible.

The cooling solution of the ASUS RTX 2060 DUAL Mini features an aluminium fin-stack heatsink that makes direct contact with the GPU at the base; ventilated by a pair of 90 mm Axial-Tech fans that are designed to guide all their airflow axially. The impellers of these fans feature IP5X dust-resistance coating. The card also offers idle fan-stop feature. As mentioned earlier, the base RTX 2060 DUAL Mini ticks at NVIDIA reference clock speeds, while the DUAL Mini O6G offers overclocked speeds of 1365 MHz base and 1725 MHz GPU Boost (vs. reference speeds of 1365/1680 MHz). The memory clock is untouched on both cards, at 14 Gbps (GDDR6 effective). The card draws power from a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. Display outputs include one each of dual-link DVI-D, HDMI 2.0b, and DisplayPort 1.4 connectors. The cards don't appear to feature a back-plate. We expect the DUAL Mini to be priced at USD $299, and the DUAL Mini O6G at a $20-30 premium.

Memory Chip Swap Mod SUPERcharges an RTX 2080 Ti

Overclocking the memory clock of a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti to 2000 MHz (16 Gbps) isn't difficult, but most custom-design RTX 2080 Ti cards cap out at that, and so the enthusiasts over at TecLab took matters into their own hands by pulling off a daring memory chip replacement mod, by installing 16 Gbps-rated memory chips onto a Galax RTX 2080 Ti HOF graphics card. In a 16-minute video presentation, they detail the process of soldering a component as delicate and sensitive as GDDR6 memory chips, and 45 times over. The team had to sacrifice not one, but two Galax GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics cards, which feature 16 Gbps-rated memory chips to support the SKU's 15.5 Gbps memory clock. A total of 33 manual solder operations had to be performed (removing the 15 stock chips from the RTX 2080 Ti, removing 11 chips from the two RTX 2080 Super cards, and soldering them onto the RTX 2080 Ti).

The group detailed the process of removing the memory chips under hot air, giving the extracted chips fresh ball-grids, and placing the chips onto the RTX 2080 Ti PCB. No BIOS modding was required, as the RTX 2080 Ti card's video BIOS was able to auto-detect the chips and run them at 14 Gbps. From here on, manual overclocking easily runs the card at 2000 MHz (16 Gbps) memory, with overclocking headroom to spare. The memory clock could now be dialed all the way up to 2150 MHz (17.2 Gbps), something that's close to impossible with 14 Gbps chips. TecLab is calling their creation the world's first RTX 2080 Ti Super, which could very well be true. Last we heard, the RTX 2080 Ti Super could get more CUDA cores, and not just faster memory. Nevertheless, this mod blew our minds, and provides valuable pointers on how to solder dense BGA components without a multi million-dollar placer. We tip our hats to TecLab.
Watch the TechLab video presentation here.

Moore's Law - Is it Really Dead ?

"Moore's Law" is a term coined in 1965 by Gordon Moore, who presented a paper which predicts that semiconductor scaling will allow integrated circuits to feature twice as many transistors present per same area as opposed to a chip manufactured two years ago. That means we could get same performance at half the power than the previous chip, or double the performance at same power/price in only two years time. Today we'll investigate if Moore's Law stayed true to its cause over the years and how much longer can it keep going.

GIGABYTE Launches X570 Aorus Master Motherboard

GIGABYTE today officially launched its latest addition to the Aorus series of motherboards, made for the new generation of Ryzen 3000 series processors. The "Master" as it is called, is an impressive feat of engineering designed to handle even the most power-hungry Ryzen CPUs like the 16 core Ryzen 9 AMD recently showcased.

For starters, the board is featuring twice the amount of copper wires usually needed to implement a PCIe connection, which means less information loss on PCB. It has a 14 direct phases of Infineon digital IR 3556 PowIRstage MOSFETs VRMs that are capable of delivering 50A each, which means that the VRM is capable of delivering up to 700A of current, providing additional headroom for CPU overclock. To handle the large amount of VRMs effectively, the board is equipped with beefy heatsinks and a heat pipe that has direct contact with VRMs. Sandwiches between the heatsink and the board is a new generation of thermal pads designed by LAIRD, with 1.5 mm thickness and 5 W/mK thermal conductivity.

ASUS Unveils the Prime X299 Edition 30 and Prime Utopia Concept Desktop

ASUS is commemorating its 30th year in the motherboard industry with the Prime X299 Edition 30 motherboard and Prime Utopia reference desktop platform. The Prime X299 Edition 30 is a premium LGA2066 motherboard with support for Core i9-9000X series processors out of the box. It is based on a familiar-looking PCB layout, mated to a new mostly-white composite heatsink/shroud over the rear I/O, the M.2 slots, and the chipset heatsink. The VRM heatsink is active and has a concealed 40 mm spinner ventilating the metal. Three each of PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and M.2 NVMe slots, an integrated rear I/O shield, premium connectivity that includes 802.11ac WLAN, and a high-end onboard audio solution, make for the rest of it.

The Prime Utopia is something else. It's a concept high-end desktop built around a motherboard that has slots, headers, ports, and connectors on both sides of the PCB. Its "obverse side," if you can call it that, has a shroud that conceals the memory slots, most controllers, chipset, and a 7-inch USB display that puts out real-time system monitoring data, or pretty much anything you want it to display. The CPU socket is on the other side of the PCB, and the processor and CPU VRM are liquid-cooled. An angled PCI-Express slot holds the graphics card along the plane of the motherboard. It all comes together on a CM Cosmos-like chassis frame that lets you show the innards off.

ASUS Clears the Air on Missing Fan Connect Case-Fan Headers on GeForce RTX 2080 Ti STRIX

ASUS ROG Fan Connect is a feature that allows you to connect up to two of your case-fans to two standard 4-pin PWM fan headers present on an ASUS ROG Strix series graphics card, letting you synchronize your case's front intake and rear exhaust fans to the temperature of the GPU, and control them using the GPUTweak software. ASUS has introduced the feature with the Pascal and Vega architecture, and has since included it with its ROG Strix series graphics cards.

When we published our reviews of the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and its sibling based on the RTX 2080, we noticed something curious, and our readers were quick to spot it as well. ASUS did not add the Fan Connect 4-pin PWM case-fan headers on its GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Strix card, while the company's RTX 2080 card had them. Adding to the confusion, the PCB of our review sample had blank traces where the headers are supposed to be. This got our readers asking if the final product has those headers. The box doesn't advertise those headers anywhere, neither does the ASUS website, so it isn't a case of false-marketing yet.

ASUS Intros GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Phoenix Graphics Card

ASUS today introduced its GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB Phoenix graphics card, based on the same cost-effective design as the GTX 1060 3 GB Phoenix it launched last year. The card features a compact 18.3-inch long custom-design PCB, mated to a simple aluminium fan-heatsink, with spirally-projecting heatsink fins, ventilated by an 80 mm double ball-bearing fan. The card comes with NVIDIA-reference speeds of 1506 MHz core, 1708 MHz GPU Boost, and 8.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory.

Based on the 16 nm GP106 silicon, the GTX 1060 features 1,280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 192-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 6 GB of memory. The card draws power from a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. Outputs include dual-link DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 connector. In the wake of the crypto-plague, its price is constantly changing.

ASUS Quietly Revises ROG Strix 1080 Ti PCB Design, EKWB Warns

ASUS has seemingly revised the PCB design of their ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti graphics card in such a way that it has introduced compatibility issues with already-released custom waterblocks. The warning from Ek WaterBlocks (a silent one as well) comes via an update to their EK-MLC Phoenix GPU Module FC1080 GTX Ti, and EK-FC1080 GTX Ti waterblock modules product pages, where EK wrote that "Due to changes in the PCB design, ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in the following S/N range are not compatible with EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Strix full cover water blocks: HBYVCM064817- HBYVCM999999; HCYVCM000001- HCYVCM059975".

Product revisions are a dime a dozen (particularly in motherboards). However, it's relatively rare that changes are enough to render cooling solutions completely incompatible with the new design. Granted, ASUS saw something worth some additional engineering, and went on to do it, so users looking towards the acquisition of a new GPU waterblock for their ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti graphics card should just look closely to the serial numbers on their graphics card packaging. Based on the range of serial numbers, graphics cards manufactured on or after November 2017 are the ones rendered incompatible with EKWB's purpose-built GPU waterblocks, so users purchasing graphics cards after this time-frame should take particular heed.

Not Too Cool to Rule: One of NVIDIA's Most Coveted Products is a Ruler

"This is super cool;" "I've never seen anything like it;" "How do I get my hands on one?" Talk to NVIDIA recruiter Lisa Calderon and she'll tell you she has a secret weapon when it comes to getting tech's top talent talking to her. It's a foot long, one-and-a-half inches wide and covered with - to the uninitiated - strange gold markings. "Everyone asks the same thing," Calderon says. "'Can I have one?' And, of course, 'can I take another one for my 'friend'?'"

It's the NVIDIA ruler. And, as many NVIDIANs have learned, taking this modest slab of PCB board to the right place - and showing it to the right people - gets an immediate reaction. "Every electrical engineer that I've showed it to has instantly said 'I need one of these right now,'" says Josh, an NVIDIA ASIC architect, who has mailed bunches of them to contacts around the industry. Each time the ruler appears at NVIDIA's internal company store - which has sold 5,000 of these rulers so far - it sells out in minutes. Thousands more have been snatched up at industry conferences such as NIPS - the long-running deep-learning conference - where its appearance created a social media sensation. Employees at competitors will sidle up to our booth at industry events to trade bundles of their swag for it. It's never been made available to the public. But, if you're quick, you can find one on eBay for 10 times its modest employee-only price of $3.50 (when it's available). The only sure to way to get one: make friends with someone at NVIDIA.
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