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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.

Western Digital WD Black SN750 is a High-end NVMe SSD with a Chunky Heatsink

Western Digital over the weekend refreshed its high-end client-segment SSD lineup with the WD Black SN750. Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface and support for the NVMe 1.3 protocol, the drive combines a refreshed in-house developed controller with SanDisk-made 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory, cushioned by up to 2 GB of DRAM cache. The biggest change this drive offers over last Summer's WD Black 3D series, however, is the optional aluminium heatsink originally made by EK Waterblocks, which improves the drive's thermals and possibly sustained performance. You can opt to buy the drive without this heatsink.

Available in capacities of 250 GB for $80, 500 GB for $130, 1 TB for $250, and 2 TB for $500, the WD Black SN750 offers sequential transfer rates of up to 3470 MB/s reads on the 500 GB and 1 TB models. The 250 GB model reads at up to 3100 MB/s, and the 2 TB model up to 3400 MB/s. Sequential write speeds, too, are improved across the board, with up to 3000 MB/s for the 1 TB model, up to 2900 MB/s for the 2 TB model, up to 2600 MB/s for the 500 GB model, and up to 1600 MB/s for the 250 GB model. 4K random-access numbers can be as high as 515,000 IOPS reads. All models are backed by 5-year product warranties.

Intel "Ghost Canyon" High-end NUC Pictured

Intel plans to put an 8-core "Coffee Lake" CPU into a chassis with no more than 5 liters volume. Detailed earlier this month, the "Ghost Canyon" is a high-end NUC (next unit of computing) desktop which features the company's premium "Coffee Lake-HR" SoC. This chip features an 8-core/16-thread CPU and Intel UHD 620 graphics, and a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot.

Since "Ghost Canyon" is positioned above the "Hades Canyon" NUC in Intel's product stack, Intel isn't bothering to build another MCM with an 8-core CPU and an AMD discrete GPU. It could instead let the NUC feature a faster discrete GPU over an MXM slot. FanlessTech caught the first glimpse of "Ghost Canyon," a matte black box with clear Intel Extreme branding. Apart from its star attraction, "Ghost Canyon" offers up to three HDMI 2.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, M.2-2280 NVMe storage, and either PCI-Expresss 3.0 x16 interface for graphics. FanlessTech mentions this product won't be out before early-2020.

GIGABYTE Intros C246-WU4 Motherboard for Xeon E-Series and Core Processors

GIGABYTE today introduced the C246-WU4, a workstation-grade socket LGA1151 motherboard based on Intel C246 chipset, with support for the recently announced Xeon E-2100 series, in addition to 8th and 9th generation Core processors. With Xeon processors installed, it supports up to 128 GB ECC memory. 9th Generation Core processors let you use up to 128 GB non-ECC memory. 8th generation ones cap out at 64 GB non-ECC. The board also supports many of the vPro enterprise features that the Q370 Express chipset offers.

Built in the standard ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and optional 4-pin ATX, and uses an 8+2 phase VRM to condition power for the CPU. Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which slots 1 and 3 are wired to the CPU, and share an x16 link (x16/NC or x8/x8), while slots 2 and 4 are gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the PCH. There's also a legacy PCI slot driven by a bridge chip. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 PCIe with gen 3.0 x4 wiring, each; and ten SATA 6 Gbps ports, from which eight are driven by the PCH, and two from an ASMedia ASM1061 chip. Network connectivity includes two 1 GbE interfaces, one driven by an Intel i219-V, and the other by i211-AT, with vPro support. USB connectivity includes USB 3.1 gen 2, including type-C rear-panel ports. The onboard audio features a Realtek ALC1220VB, which is EMI shielded, and wired to WIMA capacitors. Expect this board to be priced around $350.

BIOSTAR Announces M500 Series M.2 NVMe SSDs

BIOSTAR today introduced the M500 line of solid-state drives in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with PCI-Express 3.0 x2 interface. These were first shown off at Computex 2018. The drives take advantage of the NVMe 1.2 protocol. Available in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB; the drives feature DDR3L DRAM caches of 256 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB, and 1 GB, respectively. Sequential performance numbers put out by the company are up to 1,700 MB/s reads, with up to 1,100 MB/s writes.

The drives pack a couple of handy innovations, beginning with the integrated metal heatspreader, which wraps around three sides of the drive. Near the end of the drive are two indicators - one is a green link/activity LED and the other is an RGB LED that indicates real-time temperature measured at the controller, with red being the hottest, green being the coolest, and yellow~amber indicating typical/normal temperature. The company didn't reveal pricing.

GIGABYTE Intros X299-WU8 Motherboard Capable of 4x PCIe x16

GIGABYTE introduced the X299-WU8, a high-end desktop motherboard being sold as a quasi-workstation-class board, in the CEB form-factor (305 mm x 267 mm). Based on Intel X299 Express chipset, it features out-of-the-box support for Intel's socket LGA2066 Core X 9000-series processors, in addition to existing Core X 7000-series. A design focus with this board is on PCIe connectivity. The board employs two PLX PEX8747 PCIx gen 3.0 x48 bridge chips, which convert two gen 3.0 x16 links from the processor to four downstream x16 links, which can further be switched to x8. All seven expansion slots are PCI-Express 3.0 x16 physically, which are electrically "x16/NC/x16/NC/x16/NC/x16" or "x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8." The topmost slot stays x16, while the other six share three x16 links depending on how you populate them. The board has certifications for 4-way SLI and CrossFireX.

The GIGABYTE X299-WU8 draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and two 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with an 8+1 phase VRM. An additional 6-pin PCIe power input, which is optional, stabilizes slot power delivery to the graphics cards. The CPU socket is flanked by eight DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 128 GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. Storage connectivity is surprisingly sparse, with just one M.2-2280 slot that has PCIe 3.0 x4 wiring, and eight SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes USB 3.1 gen 2 (including a type-C port), a number of USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, both on the rear panel and via headers; high-end onboard audio including an ALC1220 CODEC and headphones amp; and two 1 GbE networking interfaces. Expect this board to be priced around $600, given that the PEX8747 isn't cheap these days, and this board has two of it.
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