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YMTC Announces PC005 M.2 NVMe and SC001 SATA SSDs

Yangtze Memory Technology Company (YMTC), China's ambitious new memory manufacturer specializing in NAND flash, launched the first client-segment SSDs under its own brand, the PC005 Active series and the SC001 Active series. Rumors of YMTC developing its own brand SSDs surfaced first in June. Prior to that in May, it was reported that Phison could add support for YMTC NAND flash chips to variants of its existing SSD controllers, and so it's highly likely that the new YMTC SSDs use Phison-sourced controllers. Interestingly, the company deployed its first-generation Xtracking 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash chips instead of its 2nd generation 128-layer QLC chips.

The PC005 Active comes in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, leveraging the NVMe 1.3 protocol. The drive is available in 1 TB. 512 GB, and 256 GB capacities. All three variants read sequentially at speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s, wiring at up to 2,900 MB/s, up to 2,500 MB/s, and up to 1,200 MB/s, respectively. Their endurance is rated at 640 TBW for the 1 TB version, 320 TBW for the 512 GB, and 200 TBW for the 256 GB variant. All three are backed by 5-year warranties.

Intel 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" & Xe Graphics Launch Event: Live Blog

Intel today launches its 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake" mobile processors that introduce several new technologies on the backs of new IP. As described in the Architecture Day, "Tiger Lake" is built on the 10 nm SuperFin process, and combines new "Willow Cove" CPU cores with the first commercial debut of the Xe Gen12 graphics architecture that Intel is betting big on, to make a stab at the consumer graphics and scalar compute markets. Join us in this live-blog.

Update 16:00 UTC: GB (Gregory Bryant, EVP Client), leads the event from the comfort of his home.
Update 16:04 UTC: Here it is, the "world's best processor for thin and light laptops. You'll notice that like most Intel U-segment chips, this is an MCM of the processor and PCH die. Intel bases its "world's best" claims on a per-segment basis.

MSI Rolls Out Creator P100X 10th Desktop

MSI today rolled out the Creator P100X 10th, a console-looking premium pre-built desktop targeted at creators. Available in two color trims - matte white with gold accents, and gray with silver accents; the desktop measures 131.85 mm x 372.2 mm x 408.88 mm (WxDxH). Under the hood, you get an Intel Core i9-10900K processor, an Intel Z490 chipset motherboard, up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2933 memory, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super graphics. There are lower options of processor, memory, and graphics. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots (both with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring); and two 2.5-inch SATA HDDs. Connectivity includes one Thunderbolt 3 port (40 Gbps, 15 W power delivery, USB 3.1 10 Gbps-capable), three other USB 3.1 type-A ports, 8-channel HD audio, 802.11ac WLAN, and 2.5 GbE wired LAN. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros IMB410TN Thin Mini-ITX Motherboard

GIGABYTE today introduced the GA-IMB410TN, a Thin Mini-ITX Socket LGA1200 motherboard based on the Intel H410 chipset. Designed for compact desktops and all-in-one desktops, the IMB410TN is designed to draw power from a 2-pin external DC power source. It supports processors with TDP of up to 65 W (and perhaps power limited to 65 W). The processor is wired to a pair of DDR4 SODIMM slots for up to 64 GB of dual-channel memory; and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

Storage connectivity includes an M.2-2280 slot, and two SATA 6 Gbps port. Other slots include an mPCIe 3.0 x1, an mSATA 6 Gb/s, and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Other connectivity relevant to the board's AIO desktop credentials include LVDS connectors, GPIO, and a suite of jumpers, sensors, and headers meant for all-in ones. Networking is care of two 1 GbE connections driven by Intel-made controllers, and a 6-channel HD audio solution driven by a Realtek ALC887 codec. The company didn't reveal pricing.

ASRock Rack Intros W480M WS Motherboard

ASRock Rack today introduced the W480M WS socket LGA1200 motherboard targeted at workstation builds, in the Micro-ATX form-factor. This board should appeal greatly to those wanting a very conservative-looking motherboard with a green PCB and conventional-finned aluminium heatsinks cooling the CPU VRM and PCH. Based on the Intel W480 chipset, the board not only supports all 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" processors, but also Xeon W-1200 series processors based on the silicon, including support for ECC memory when paired with Xeon processors. The board draws power from a combination of a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin+4-pin EPS connectors; conditioning it for the CPU with a 6+2 phase VRM.

Expansion slots on the ASRock Rack W480M WS include a PCI-Express 3.0 x16, an open-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x8 (which splits lanes from the x16 slot), and an open-ended PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slot that's wired to the PCH. Storage connectivity includes two M.2-2280 slots with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each, and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports, one of which has reinforced power delivery for SATA DOMs. The onboard audio solution is simple ALC892 fare, but the networking on offer consists of two 1 GbE ports driven by Intel i210 series controllers. There's quite some legacy connectivity, including COM and SGPIO. The board offers a large number of 4-pin PWM fan headers so it could be used in 2U rack chassis with server ventilation. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Addlink Debuts the S68 M.2 NVMe SSD Series

Addlink today debuted its S68 line of mainstream M.2 NVMe SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor and taking advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, the S68 comes in 512 GB and 1 TB capacities. The drives combine a Phison E13T-series controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The 1 TB variant offers sequential read speeds of up to 2,500 MB/s with up to 2,100 MB/s sequential writes; while the 512 GB model offers up to 2,100 MB/s reads with up to 1,700 MB/s writes. 4K random access for both drives are vaguely stated as up to 295,000 IOPS reads, and up to 430,000 IOPS writes. Write endurance of the two are rated at 400 TBW for the 512 GB model, and 800 TBW for the 1 TB model. The company is backing these drives with 5-year warranties. It didn't reveal pricing or availability information.

KLEVV Introduces the CRAS C710 M.2 NVMe SSD

KLEVV today introduced the CRAS C710 line of mainstream M.2 NVMe SSDs, in 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB capacities. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, the drives combine a Silicon Motion SM2263XT DRAMless controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, offering intelligent SLC caching. Performance figures put out by the company read as up to 2,100 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1,650 MB/s sequential writes for the 1 TB variant. The 512 GB variant offers up to 2,050 MB/s reads, with up to 1,650 MB/s writes. The 256 GB model does up to 1,950 MB/s reads, with up to 1,250 MB/s writes. The company didn't reveal pricing information.

ADATA Announces the Falcon M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen 3 SSDs

ADATA today announced the Falcon line of SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with NVMe 1.3 protocol support, leveraging PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface. The drives are characterized by an aluminium heatspreader on top of the NAND flash chips and controller, which isn't just an adhesive metal peal, but a 1 mm-thick metal plate. The Falcon comes in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB; and uses 3D NAND flash memory (likely QLC).

The ADATA Falcon offers sequential speeds of up to 3,100 MB/s reads, with up to 1,500 MB/s writes; and up to 180,000 IOPS 4K random access. The 2 TB variant offers 1,200 TBW endurance, the 1 TB variant offers 600 TBW, the 512 GB variant 300 TBW, and the 256 GB variant 150 TBW. ADATA is backing the drives with a 5-year warranty. The company didn't reveal pricing.
ADATA Falcon

EVGA Announces Z490 DARK and Z490 FTW Motherboards

EVGA today announced its flagship socket LGA1200 motherboard, the Z490 DARK, aimed at PC enthusiasts and professional overclockers. The company also announced its Z490 FTW and Z490 FTW WiFi motherboards targeted at high-end gaming PC builds. The Z490 DARK leads the pack with a 90° CCW rotated compute stage, which sees its memory area moved to the northern side of the PCB; and the CPU VRM to its west and south, cooled by elaborate heatsinks. There is only one DIMM slot per memory channel, so you don't bother about memory slot topology affecting your memory overclock.

The LGA1200 package is wired to two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated). Storage connectivity includes two M.2 NVMe slots, and one U.2 port (some lane sharing involved). The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and a 6-pin PCIe power connectors. The EVGA Z490 FTW (and its WiFi) variant feature a more conventional ATX layout, and targeted at conventional gaming PC builds. A premium 11-phase VRM powers the processor, which is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a pair of PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots. Both boards offer dual-BIOS, and elaborate onboard diagnostics.

Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake Desktop Processors and 400-Series Chipsets Announced, Here's what's New

Intel today launched its 10th generation Core desktop processor family and its companion Intel 400-series chipsets. Based on the 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process and built in the new LGA1200 package, the processors are based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture. The core design of "Comet Lake" and its IPC are identical to those of "Skylake," however Intel brought significant enhancements to the processor's clock-speed boosting algorithm, increased core- or thread counts across the board, and introduced new features that could interest enthusiasts and overclockers. The uncore component remains largely unchanged from the previous-generation, with support for DDR4 memory and PCI-Express gen 3.0. Use of these processors requires a new socket LGA1200 motherboard, they won't work on older LGA1151 motherboards. You can install any LGA115x-compatible cooler on LGA1200, provided it meets the thermal requirements of the processor you're using.

At the heart of the 10th generation Core processor family is a new 10-core monolithic processor die, which retains the same basic structure as the previous-generation 8-core "Coffee Lake Refresh" die, and 4-core "Skylake." The cores are arranged in two rows, sandwiched by the processor's uncore and iGPU blocks. A ring-bus interconnect binds the various components. The cache hierarchy is unchanged from previous generations as well, with 32 KB each of L1I and L1D caches; 256 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 20 MB of shared L3 cache. The iGPU is the same Gen 9.5 based UHD 630 graphics. As we mentioned earlier, much of Intel's innovation for the 10th generation is with the processor's microcode (boosting algorithms).
Intel Core i9-10900K 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup

MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk and MEG Z490 ACE Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of the MAG Z490 Tomahawk and MEG Z490 ACE motherboards by MSI. The Tomahawk brand of motherboards by MSI strike a chord with value-conscious gaming PC builders, and the MAG Z490 Tomahawk appears to live up to that. The board offers an impressive 14-phase CPU VRM that pulls power from a 8+4 pin EPS power input. The CPU socket is wired to one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot. Other expansion slots include an x16 (gen 3.0 x4 electrical) slot, and a couple of x1 slots. You get two M.2 slots, both with heatsinks. The enlarged PCH heatsink on the MAG Z490 Tomahawk is studded with RGB LEDs, while it also includes a few upscale features such as a rear I/O shroud and an integrated I/O shield. On the connectivity front, we spy two wired networking interfaces, from which one is 2.5 GbE and the other 1 GbE, and an ALC1200-class CODEC based audio solution.

The MEG Z490 ACE is positioned at least two segments above the Tomahawk (it's positioned higher than the entire MPG family, including the Gaming Pro Carbon), and only a notch below the MEG Z490 GODLIKE. An elaborate 17-phase VRM powers the CPU, pulling power from a pair of 8-pin EPS connectors. Unless we're horribly mistaken, the board appears to feature PCI-Express gen 4.0 preparation (switches, re-drivers). It won't give you gen 4.0 with 10th generation "Comet Lake" processors, but perhaps you'll have better luck with its 11th gen successor. There are at least three M.2 slots, reinforced DIMM and PCIe x16 slots, and metal shrouds that span not just the front, but also the back of the PCB. Connectivity includes 802.11ax WLAN, two wired interfaces that include a 2.5 GbE, USB 3.2x2, etc.
MSI MEG Z490 ACE MSI MEG Z490 ACE MSI MEG Z490 ACE MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk MSI MAG Z490 Tomahawk

Plextor at CES 2020: M9P Plus AIC SSD and its M.2 Twin

Plextor showed off its very recently announced M9P line of premium PCI-Express NVMe SSDs at CES 2020. The M9P Plus comes in both half-height add-in card (AIC) form-factor, and a more conventional M.2-2280 form-factor. In both, it leverages PCI-Express 3.0 x4 along with the NVMe 1.3 protocol. At the heart of these drives is the Marvell 88SS1092 "Eldora Plus" controller that has 8 flash channels. This controller is paired with Kioxia 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash (BiCS 4), and a DDR4 DRAM cache.

With capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the M9P offers sequential reads of up to 3,400 MB/s, with up to 2,200 MB/s writes (up to 1,700 MB/s writes for the 256 GB variant). Endurance (TBW) for the three models are proportionately rated at 160 TB, 320 TB, and 640 TB. The 256 GB variant of the M.2-2280 model is priced at $51, the 512 GB variant at $81, and the 1 TB variant at $135. The AIC equivalents are priced at roughly $15 premiums over these prices, and in addition to the convenience of AIC (easier to swap in a test bench), they feature some RGB LED embellishments.

ECS Shows Off 10th Gen Comet Lake-based Liva Z3 Plus Series Compact Desktops at CES 2020

ECS unveiled its latest generation Liva Z3 Plus and Z3E Plus compact desktops. The two implement 15-Watt Intel Core i7 "Comet Lake-U" 6-core/12-thread processors. The only thing setting the two apart from each other is the addition of a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay on the Z3E Plus. Both models support an M.2-2280 SSD with both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring. An M.2 E-key slot lets you drop in 802.11ax or 802.11ac WLAN cards. Other networking options include two 1 GbE interfaces, one of which is driven by an Intel i219-V controller.

The Liva Z3 Plus series come with Amazon Alexa built in, with four A4PC (Alexa for PC) microphones listening for natural voice input, while a headset combi-jack handles the rest of the audio. USB connectivity includes three USB 3.1 gen 1, and a USB-C 3.1 gen 1. HDMI 2.0 and mini-DisplayPort 1.2 display outputs make for the rest of them.

Western Digital Unveils WD Blue SN550 M.2 NVMe SSD

Western Digital unveiled the WD Blue SN550 line of M.2 NVMe SSDs. A successor to the WD Blue SN500, the SN550 is updated with a new controller that utilizes PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (compared to just x2 on the SN500). Designed in-house by WD and SanDisk, the controller is based on the same architecture as the one that drives the WD Black SN750, but is DRAM-less, and has fewer flash channels. Speaking of which, WD deployed 96-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and wants the drive to compete in pricing with QLC NAND-based drives such as the Crucial P1. The 250 GB variant is priced at USD $54, the 500 GB variant $65, and the 1 TB variant $99.

All three variants take advantage of the increased PCIe bandwidth to offer sequential read speeds of up to 2,400 MB/s (the SN500 capped out at 1,700 MB/s). Write speeds vary, with the 250 GB variant offering up to 950 MB/s, the 500 GB variant up to 1,750 MB/s, and the 1 TB variant up to 1,950 MB/s. Endurance figures (TBW) of the three variants are rated at 150 TB for the 250 GB variant, 300 TB for the 500 GB variant, and 600 TB for the 1 TB variant. An interesting design choice with these drives is pushing the NAND flash chip and the controller as far apart on the PCB as possible, for less concentration of heat. All three models are backed by 5-year warranties.

ASUS Rolls Out Pro WS X299 SAGE II Motherboard

ASUS today rolled out the Pro WS X299 SAGE II, a redesign and refresh of its WS X299 SAGE series quasi-workstation motherboards, designed for those who want to use Intel's 10th generation Core XE "Cascade Lake-X" HEDT processors in a workstation-like environment (CEB form-factor) and can make do without ECC memory. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS power connectors, along with an optional 6-pin PCIe power input to stabilize add-on card power delivery. An 8-phase VRM conditions power for the socket LGA2066 processor. The board employs PLX PEX8747 bridge chips to convert two x16 PCIe gen 3.0 links from the LGA2066 processor to four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots with full bandwidth, or seven slots with x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 wiring.

Storage options on the ASUS Pro WS X299 SAGE II include three U.2 ports, two M.2 slots (one right below the PCH heatsink, and the other vertical); and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. Network connectivity includes two 2.5 GbE interfaces driven by a pair of Intel i225-LM controllers. USB connectivity includes two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports driven by an ASMedia controller (from which one is type-C), a second such controller driving an internal port, and eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports from the X299 PCH. A high-grade onboard audio solution featuring Realtek S1220A HDA codec, headphones amp, ground-layer isolation, and audio-grade capacitors, make for the rest of this board. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Patriot Viper Gaming Announces the VPR100 RGB M.2 NVMe SSD

Patriot Memory, under its Viper Gaming brand announced the VPR100 RGB line of M.2 NVMe SSDs. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drive features a wide heatspreader with RGB LED embellishments. You can play with the lighting not just with the Viper RGB app, but also popular lighting software such as ASUS Aura Sync RGB, MSI MysticLight, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, etc. The drive takes advantage of the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface with NVMe 1.3 protocol. Patriot is kind and brave enough to disclose that enabling RGB LED sync lighting can decrease read/write speeds by up to 20-30 percent. Leaving them unsynchronized (following a preset) leaves drive performance untouched.

Available in 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities, the VPR100 RGB combines a Phison E12-series controller with 3D TLC NAND flash memory, cushioned by a DRAM cache. All four capacity variants offer sequential read speeds of up to 3,300 MB/s, but write speeds vary. The 256 GB model offers up to 1,000 MB/s, the 512 GB model up to 2,100 MB/s, and the 1 TB and 2 TB models up to 2,900 MB/s. Endurance figures (TBW) for the four models are 380 TB, 800 TB, 1,600 TB, and 3,115 TB, respectively. Backed by 5-year warranties, the 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB variants of the VPR100 RGB are priced at 74.90€, 119.90€, 189.90€, and 379.90€, respectively (including VAT), in the EU. Across the big pond, they're priced at USD $94.99, $134.99, $229.99, and $399.99, respectively.

Intel Launches SSD 665p "Neptune Harbor Refresh" Line of M.2 NVMe SSDs

Intel late Monday released its SSD 665p "Neptune Harbor Refresh" line of client-segment M.2 NVMe SSDs. The series was announced in September at the company's Storage Day event in South Korea. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface. They combine a Silicon Motion SMI2263 series controller with Intel's new 96-layer 3D QLC NAND flash memory. The previous-generation SSD 660p series use 64-layer chips. The SMI2263 controller is cushioned by an LPDDR3 DRAM cache.

Intel is debuting the SSD 665p series with just two models, 1 TB and 2 TB, skipping sub-terabyte capacities such as 500 GB. The 2 TB variant offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 2000 MB/s reads and up to 2000 MB/s writes; and random access speeds of up to 250,000 IOPS on both reads and writes. The 1 TB variant offers up to 2000 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1925 MB/s sequential writes, up to 160,000 IOPS random reads, and up to 200,000 IOPS random writes. The company didn't reveal endurance ratings for the drives. The 1 TB variant is priced at USD $125, while the 2 TB variant hasn't yet been priced. Both drives are backed by 5-year warranties.

BIOSTAR Rolls Out M700 Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

BIOSTAR today rolled out the M700 line of SSDs in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, taking advantage of the NVMe 1.3 protocol. The drive combines a Silicon Motion SM2263XT DRAM-less controller with 3D NAND flash, and comes in 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. The 256 GB model offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 1,850 MB/s reads with up to 950 MB/s writes, while the 512 GB model offers up to 2,000 MB/s reads, with up to 1,600 MB/s writes. The controller features native AES 256-bit encryption. The company didn't reveal pricing.

MSI Unveils Comet Lake Powered Cubi 5 10M Mini-PC

MSI updated its Cubi line of NUC-like mini-PCs with the new Cubi 5 10M, powered by 10th generation Core "Comet Lake" mobile processors. Measuring 124 mm x 124 mm X 53.7 mm (WxDxH), and weighing 550 g (excluding the power-brick), the Cubi 5 10M is powered by a Core i7 "Comet Lake-U" SoC (either i7-10510U quad-core or i7-10710U six-core), with its integrated UHD Graphics putting out pixels. Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots let you drop in up to 64 GB of dual-channel memory, while your storage options are an M.2-2280 slot with both PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring, and a 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gbps. Connectivity includes USB 3.2 gen 1 type-C and type-A ports along the front panel, next to the audio jacks; additional type-A gen 1 ports at the rear; DisplayPort and HDMI making up the display outputs; a gigabit Ethernet interface driven by an Intel i219-V controller, and Intel AX201 WLAN card that provides 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.0. The company didn't reveal pricing.

AMD B550 and A520 Lack PCIe Gen 4 Capabilities?

Last Friday, we reported ASMedia working on new-generation socket AM4 motherboard chipsets that succeed the AMD B450 and A320, which could hopefully offer significantly cheaper alternatives to boards based on the feature-rich AMD X570 chipset. The DigiTimes story we cited was updated to clarify that the chipset only supports PCI-Express gen 3.0, and not the newer PCI-Express gen 4.0. There are two distinct ways of interpreting this information.

One, that motherboards based on B550 and A520 completely lack PCIe gen 4.0, including the main PCI-Express x16 (PEG) slot and the M.2 slot wired to the AM4 SoC; and two, that only the downstream PCIe lanes and the chipset bus are PCIe gen 3.0, while the main PEG slot and M.2 slot from the SoC remain gen 4. We lean toward the latter interpretation being more plausible, that AMD B550 and A520 motherboards will at least feature one PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot, and one M.2 slot that has PCI-Express 4.0 x4 wiring from the AM4 SoC; while the ASMedia chipset is connected to the SoC over PCI-Express 3.0 x4, and downstream PCIe lanes put out by the chipset are gen 3.0, too. These ASMedia-sourced AMD 500-series chipset motherboards could also implement the latest PCB, CPU VRM, and memory wiring specifications released by AMD that enable CPU and memory overclocking levels unattainable on motherboards based on older chipsets.

AMD Announces the Radeon Pro Vega II and Pro Vega II Duo Graphics Cards

AMD today announced the Radeon Pro Vega II and Pro Vega II Duo graphics cards, making their debut with the new Apple Mac Pro workstation. Based on an enhanced 32 GB variant of the 7 nm "Vega 20" MCM, the Radeon Pro Vega II maxes out its GPU silicon, with 4,096 stream processors, 1.70 GHz peak engine clock, 32 GB of 4096-bit HBM2 memory, and 1 TB/s of memory bandwidth. The card features both PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and InfinityFabric interfaces. As its name suggests, the Pro Vega II is designed for professional workloads, and comes with certifications for nearly all professional content creation applications.

The Radeon Pro Vega II Duo is the first dual-GPU graphics card from AMD in ages. Purpose built for the Mac Pro (and available on the Apple workstation only), this card puts two fully unlocked "Vega 20" MCMs with 32 GB HBM2 memory each on a single PCB. The card uses a bridge chip to connect the two GPUs to the system bus, but in addition, has an 84.5 GB/s InfinityFabric link running between the two GPUs, for rapid memory access, GPU and memory virtualization, and interoperability between the two GPUs, bypassing the host system bus. In addition to certifications for every conceivable content creation suite for the MacOS platform, AMD dropped in heavy optimization for the Metal 3D graphics API. For now the two graphics cards are only available as options for the Apple Mac Pro. The single-GPU Pro Vega II may see standalone product availability later this year, but the Pro Vega II Duo will remain a Mac Pro-exclusive.

KLEVV Shows Off New Flash Drives, SSDs and Memory with Copious Amounts of RGB

KLEVV at its Computex 2019 booth unveiled a new line of high-performance USB flash drives. It also brought along its latest variants of CRAS series M.2 NVMe SSDs and DDR4 memory, which come with a dazzling/blinding (take your pick) amount of RGB LED embellishment. We begin with the Portable Ghost, branded as a "portable SSD" and not a flash-drive. This is because the USB 3.1 gen 2 type-C connection pulls a PCIe/NVMe internal SSD. When plugged into a PC or a USB charger, the drive can also work as a wireless drive to your other devices over Bluetooth 4.2. The drive comes in two variants based on capacity, which significantly differ in hardware. The 240 GB variant is pulled by a JMicron JM5583 controller, while the 480 GB variant has a Silicon Motion SM2263EN. Both models use 72-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, and have the same on-paper performance figures, with up to 1,250 MB/s reads/writes. The drive isn't without two RGB LED diffusers.

The Blu RC30 is another fascinating, albeit slower drive, that's properly marketed as a flash drive. Built in the conventional 2-piece capped form-factor, the drive features a USB 3.1 gen 1 (5 Gbps) type-A connection. An internal battery which soaks up power when plugged in, lets the drive function wireless over Bluetooth 4.2, and also be used as a wireless presentation tool (a clicker), with capacitive touch surface and a couple of buttons, which imitate a mouse. Built in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB, the Blu RC30 offers sequential transfer-rates of up to 250 MB/s reads on all three models, and write-speeds rated at 40 MB/s for the 32 GB model, 50 MB/s for 64 GB, and 90 MB/s for the 128 GB model. Transfer rates are severely throttled in wireless mode. We then moved on to its SSD and memory products.

GIGABYTE Rolls Out AORUS RGB AIC NVMe SSD

GIGABYTE today rolled out the Aorus RGB AIC NVMe SSD series. Built in the full-height single-slot AIC form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, the card combines a Phison PS5012-E12 NVMe 1.3 controller with Toshiba BiCS3 TLC NAND flash, and comes in capacities of 512 GB and 1 TB, which are equipped with 512 MB and 1 GB of DRAM cache, respectively. The 1 TB variant offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 3,480 MB/s reads, with up to 3,080 MB/s writes; up to 610,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 530,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The 512 GB variant, on the other hand, gives you up to 3,480 MB/s sequential reads, up to 2,100 MB/s sequential writes; up to 360,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 510,000 IOPS random writes.

GIGABYTE deployed a passive cooling system, consisting of a thermal pad that makes contact with the controller, NAND flash chips, and DRAM chips on one side, and on the other side the card's top aluminium shroud that doubles up as a heatspreader. There's an equally thick aluminium back-plate which holds the card's acrylic RGB LED diffuser that runs along the top edge. You use GIGABYTE RGB Fusion software to control the lighting on this card. Both cards are backed by 5-year warranties, provided the card stays below their rated endurance of 800 TBW for the 512 GB model, and 1600 TBW for the 1 TB model. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Intel Unveils Wi-Fi 6 AX200 "Cyclone Peak" WLAN NIC

Intel formally launched the Wi-Fi 6 AX200 client-segment WLAN card for notebooks and PC motherboards in the M.2-2230 and M.2-1216 form-factors, based on the "Cyclone Peak" PHY powering the Wireless AX-22260 NIC family. The card interfaces with its host over PCI-Express 3.0 x1 and USB 2.0, for the Wi-Fi and integrated Bluetooth interfaces, respectively. As a Wi-Fi 6 adapter, it supports 802.11ax over 2x2 MU-MIMO antennae, and peak bandwidth of 2.4 Gbps, with support for both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands. The Bluetooth interface is version 5.0.

Micron Unveils 2200 Client-segment SSD, Ditches SMI for In-house Controller

Micron has curiously been releasing client-segment SSDs these recent weeks. The company's main brand was focused on enterprise products, while subsidiary brands Crucial and Ballistix catered to the client-segment. Following up on its late-February launch of the 1300-series client-segment SSDs, Micron unveiled the even faster 2200-series. These drives ditch Silicon Motion-sourced controllers in favor of a new controller Micron designed in-house. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface, taking advantage of the NVMe protocol. This in-house controller is mated with Micron's 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash, cushioned by its own LPDDR4 DRAM cache.

Available in capacities of 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, the Micron 2200 is rated to offer sequential transfer rates of up to 3000 MB/s reads, with up to 1600 MB/s writes, up to 240,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 210,000 IOPS 4K random writes, with an endurance rating of 75 TB, 150 TB, and 300 TB, for the 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB variants, respectively. Micron-exclusive features also make their way, such as native power-loss data-protection, and TCG Opal SED. The company hasn't revealed pricing or availability for these drives.
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