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AMD To Continue Offering Reference Design for RX 5700, RX 5700 XT

With the introduction of AMD's AIB partners' custom designs for the Navi-based RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards, rumors (ie, reports) started to float around of AMD's discontinuation of their reference designs. However, AMD's own Scott Herkelman confirmed via Twitter that the company isn't transitioning its reference designs to an EOL (End of Life) status, and that they will continue to be offered in the traditional venues.

However, Scott did say that AMD is in the stage of transitioning their AIB partners fully to their own custom designs. This means that AMD will likely keep the market cornered on blower-style designs, that can be bought by users planning to stick their own aftermarket cooling solution and just want the cheapest possible card. This way, AIB partners will always sell Radeon cards under their own brand names, instead of something like "ASUS Radeon RX 5700".

News of Lisa Su Leaving AMD Was an Exaggeration: "Zero Truth to This Rumor"

News made the rounds recently of AMD's Lisa Su's reported plans of leaving the company in favor of a #2 position at IBM. The report, which was broken by WCCFTech, pegged Lisa Su as already being sprucing up her successor in the form of Rick Bergman, who recently joined AMD after leaving his CEO position with Synaptics.

Now, Lisa Su herself has come out on Twitter to say that there was zero truth to the report, and that she plans to stay with AMD, where "the best is yet to come". Of course, no CEO would confirm such a report from a media outlet - these things take their time and are done in their own corporate way, and there's really no other response that Lisa Su could have given that wouldn't damage AMD's current outlook. Her presence and confidence in her delivery is part of the reason for investor confidence in AMD. That said, I doubt there would be a better time for Lisa Su to actually move higher up in her own career perspectives than from AMD's current state.

Cryorig Not Dead, But the US-China Trade-War Hurt It

There have been spectacular rumors flying around on Reddit that PC cooling components major Cryorig has shut down, with telltale signs being their telephone-support number going dead, their Newegg store being out-of-stock for months, and their Twitter account falling silent. We've reviewed close to a dozen Cryorig products, and our last review was dated October 2018. We reached out to Cryorig and one of their representatives was kind enough to respond to us with an update on what has happened at the company. Cryorig is impacted by the U.S.-China trade-war, as the high import tariffs affected the viability of its products. The company would earlier directly access the U.S. market through exclusive stores on Amazon and Newegg.

The company continues to have active market-presence elsewhere, including Asia and Europe. Cryorig clarified in unequivocal terms that it has not, and will not, exit the U.S. market. The company stated that it is merely waiting for respite from the crippling import tariff. In the meantime, it has sought out a new U.S.-based distributor who will import Cryorig products, and resell them. This distributor will also take over other aspects of the U.S. business, including aftersales support, RMA, etc.

AMD Confirms Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" Features Soldered IHS

AMD senior technical marketing manager Robert Hallock, responding to a specific question on Twitter, confirmed that the 3rd generation Ryzen processors do feature soldered integrated heatspreaders (IHS). Soldering as an interface material is preferred as it offers better heat transfer between the processor die and the IHS, as opposed to using a fluid TIM such as pastes. "Matisse" will be one of the rare few examples of a multi-chip module with a soldered IHS. The package has two kinds of dies, one or two 7 nm "Zen 2" 8-core CPU chiplets, and one 14 nm I/O Controller die.

The most similar example of such a processor would be Intel's "Clarkdale" (pictured below), which has its CPU cores sitting on a 32 nm die, while the I/O, including memory controller and iGPU, are on a separate 45 nm die. On-package QPI connects the two. Interestingly, Intel used two different sub-IHS interface materials for "Clarkdale." While the CPU die was soldered, a fluid TIM was used for the I/O controller die. It would hence be very interesting to see if AMD solders both kinds of dies under the "Matisse" IHS, or just the CPU chiplets. Going by Hallock's strong affirmative "Like a boss," we lean toward the possibility of all dies being soldered.
Image Credit: TheLAWNOOB (OCN Forums)

Announcing DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.5.0 with an Integrated Benchmark

Yuri "1usmus" Bubliy, who practically wrote the book on AMD Ryzen memory overclocking, presents DRAM Calculator for Ryzen v1.5.0, the latest version of the most powerful tool available to help you overclock memory on PCs powered by AMD Ryzen processors. The biggest feature-addition is MEMBench, a new internal memory benchmark that tests performance of your machine's memory sub-system, and can be used to test the stability of your memory overclock. Among the other feature-additions include the "Compare Timings" button, which gives you a side-by-side comparison of your machine's existing settings, with what's possible or the settings you've arrived at using the app.

Motherboards vary by memory slot topology, and DRAM Calculator for Ryzen can now be told what topology your board has, so it can better tune settings such as procODT and RTT. The author also de-cluttered the main screen to improve ease of use. Among the under-the-hood changes are improved SoC voltage prediction for each generation of Ryzen. The main timing calculation and prediction algorithms are improved with the addition of the likes of GDM prediction. Also added is support for 4-DIMM system configurations. A bug in which the imported HTML profiles were automatically assumed to be specific to Samsung b-die mode. A number of minor changes were made, detailed in the change-log below.

DOWNLOAD: DRAM Calculator for Ryzen by 1usmus

Fortnite is Being used as a Money Laundering Venue

The Independent has conducted an investigative report into the underwold's usage of Fortnite as a venue for money laundering. This likely won't come as a surprise - Fortnite has pretty lax acquisition restrictions for its in-game content and V-bucks, and the world's most popular multiplayer game moves millions of players through its servers daily. with such a deep pool of likely buyers for anything Fortnite at under Fortnite-store pricing, the stage is set for an almost untraceable money laundering scheme.

Final Season of The Walking Dead to be Finished by Skybound Games

It seems we've reached a final chapter (with two parts still missing) from the odyssey of The Walking Dead's final season. Born of a troubled studio with decreasing revenue even as it increased its staff and IPs, Telltale games has given the reins to the final two episodes in the final season to Skybound Games, a division of Skybound Entertainment - helmed by none other than Robert Kirkman, the original creator of the The Walking Dead franchise.

Skybound Games announced the news via Twitter, right after word of Telltale Games' severance with almost all remaining employees - without any sort of actual severance, as is being reported by numerous outlets. At least Clementine's story will get to a conclusion of sorts - whether proper or as envisioned by the original studio remains to be seen - and perhaps we'll never know. However, Skybound Games has more of a reason to deliver than any other studio that could pick up the game, and as it is, that's more than anyone expected. I'm crying for the second season of The Wolf Among Us, though, titled "The One that Will Never Be".

Intel: "If [AMD] Wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K CPU, [They] Could Have Just Asked Us"

Oh well, this almost makes us think of this industry as going hand in hand merrily, tongue-in-cheeking each other towards fulfilling, eternal happiness. It's a shame that this not usually the shape of our industry, but really, life isn't either, so let's keep our expectations in check. All in all, Intel's Twitter response to the viral, beautifully-crafted AMD initiative of exchanging one of Intel's commemorative 8086K CPUs for one of its Threadripper 1950X processors is equally satisfying - there's an unavoidable smile to be found while considering these two exchanges.

Kudos, Intel. Kudos for both companies for keeping it in a good spirit. If only we didn't have strange things such as Optane memory shenanigans going on concurrently...

The Rumor Mill Rolls: Bethesda to Announce Sequel to RAGE Soon?

The original RAGE may not have garnered the best critical or consumer reception - it did have some pacing and mechanics issues that deterred it from being a true genre-defining experience, alongside teetering (read: absent) story and character development. However, the games' setting and world was an interesting one, and it served as a showcase for the iD Tech 5 engine and its MegaTexture technology that made the game look rather impressive for its time.

It looks as if Bethesda has looked back on this IP and decided to give it a new breath of life, though, hopefully building upon the first games' shortcomings. The rumor trail started with a Walmart Canada slip-up, where the company posted a placeholder product in the form of Rage 2. Rather than take it negatively, Bethesda took to the (then unconfirmed) leak and seemingly made it legit, by posting, via Twitter, a humorous message disparaging the errors in the placeholder title: absent capitalization of RAGE, inexistent box art, and the series' recognizable "Anarchy" symbol. Bethesda's Pete Hines has since commented on the development, saying that "This is why we can't have nice things", and Bethesda's official Twitter tweeted a picture of the Big Ben with a smear of the same pink ink they used to correct Walmart Canada's mistakes. All in all, it seems the rumor mill is getting this one right, and that we might be looking at an impending announcement. Here's to a game that delivers exotic technology and engine capabilities once again.

Twitter Reportedly Looking Into Banning Cryptocurrency-Related Ads as Well

After Google has actually announced a change to their financial services-related ad policies that will ban all cryptocurrency-related ads that run through its advertising platform, reports now place Twitter as the next major service to follow suit. According to Sky News, the banning will affect the majority of ads relating to cryptocurrency products, services, and advice, cutting it diagonally and indiscriminately if services are actually legit or fakes. The publication says the decision comes "amid looming regulatory intervention in the sector."

Sky's sources say this ban will enter into effect within the next two weeks. If so, this is now the third major servie (after Facebook and Google) to ban all crypto-related content form its advertisements. That regulatory intervention is looming on the sector is putting it mildly; and it's high time that happened. The cryptocurrency market really is "being chilled", to quote Mike Lempres, chief legal and risk officer at Coinbase. And it's coming from all sides: regulatory bodies, general services, John Oliver shows, mainstream media, and even investors' own risk-assessment. It was bound to happen - the frenzy was getting quite old, really - and is an expected development. Let's hope this is just the beginning of a renewal of sorts for the cryptocurrency and blockchain world.

Next Major AMD Driver Release, ReLive Redux, to Include Performance OSD

Every year, AMD regales its users with a new major version of their driver suite, with added features and, usually, increased performance. In 2015, AMD introduced the Radeon Crimson driver release, which included a hefty performance package for some major titles, the new Radeon Settings design interface, and increased stability over the previous mega-release, Catalyst Omega. Last year, we were treated to the introduction of the ReLive, LiquidVR, and Radeon Chill features. AMD is keeping up with its annual overhauls, even after former RTG head, Raja Koduri, left the company for bluer pastures.

Twitter user Blaze #BlazeK_AMDRT shared some screenshots over Twitter which show that the new driver release will, among other things, include an OSD for performance metrics - not unlike what NVIDIA is offering with its GeForce Experience suite. However, AMD will likely keep ringing the "no registration necessary" bell to increase attractiveness of its software suite over NVIDIA's. From the screenshots, however, it seems that AMD's suite will offer more registers than NVIDIA, to polls like VRAM, CPU usage, among others. AMD's track record with software and drivers has been much improved since Raja Koduri took the helms of RTG, with a much steadier driver release schedule, and pre-emptive releases introducing support for the latest and greatest games. It's at least comforting to see that there's no sign of that reverting after he left the company.

AMD's James Prior Clarifies Threadripper's "Dummy Dies"

Much has been said regarding AMD's Threadripper CPUs, particularly when it comes to how they are manufactured. At first, we thought Threadripper was actually EPYC in disguise, due it having what appeared to be four full-fledged 8-core modules - the same design as AMD's server-bound 32-core EPYC chips. The presence of gold-plating under all four dies seemed to confirm that these were in fact four full Threadripper dies, instead of two dies and two spacers (as AMD's statements led us to believe) for even IHS pressure on the four dies, instead of the uneven pressure that would result from the chip only having two physical dies present.

Intel Coffee Lake CPUs Will Require New Motherboards

A motherboard maker's official Twitter feed has just confirmed what we all had an inkling to believe already: Intel's upcoming Coffee Lake architecture, which promises the first major change in Intel's line-up strategy, won't be compatible with existing motherboards and chipsets. Now, granted, companies' official Twitter feeds may sometimes be open to failures or miscommunication from the account operator at the time of writing, but still, the company hasn't doubled back on the original posting.

This does make slightly more sense than other times where Intel didn't offer support for a new generation of its processors in a past chipset. However, this does confirm that Intel users are again left without an upgrade path for the top-of-the-line Intel solutions they may have acquired already. If you purchased an i7-7700K and were expecting to upgrade to an Intel six-core next round, you'll have to rethink that strategy, and your budget, to include a new motherboard with a new chipset (expectedly, Z370.)

AMD Raja Koduri Confirms RX Vega Die Size at 484 mm²

AMD's Raja Koduri, leader of the company's Radeon Technologies Group, has somewhat informally confirmed on Twitter the overall die size of AMD's Vega chips. After PC Perspective updated their prognosis regarding Vega's die-size to a beefier 512 mm², Twitter users plied Raja Koduri with questions regarding this subject. Koduri declined to answer directly, actually opting for a somewhat cryptic response, in that " (...) the answer [to Vega's die-size] is the closest perfect square number actually:)".

For the math-savvy around here (or even just for those of you who have read the headline), that particular equation should solve towards a perfect 484 mm² die area. Good news for AMD: this isn't the company's biggest die-size in consumer GPUs ever. That dubious honor goes to the company's Fiji XT silicon which powered the company's R9 Fury X, coming in at a staggering 596 mm² in the 28 nm process. For comparison, AMD's current Polaris 20 XTX-based RX 580 chip comes in at slightly less than half the confirmed RX Vega's die-size, at a much more yield-friendly 232 mm². NVIDIA's current top-of-the-line Titan Xp comes in at a slightly smaller 471 mm² die-size.

AMD Confirms Radeon RX Vega is Launching at SIGGRAPH 2017

In a series of tweets, the official Radeon RX Twitter (and AMD employees) have confirmed what we were already told: that the gaming version of the company's Vega architecture would make its debut at this year's SIGGRAPH. Also, when asked about the Frontier Edition's (lacking) gaming chops, AMD's Jason Evangelho has come out with the warning that we all expected, and that we ourselves conveyed here: "it's premature to worry about a product's gaming performance by judging a different product NOT optimized for gaming."

We've waited a long time already, why not just a few more days? SIGGRAPH will take place between July 30th and August 3rd.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Spotted in AMD's Labs

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

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

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

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

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

EVGA Teases GTX 1080 FTW2 With iCX Cooling

Looks like EVGA is putting the issues with the GTX 1080/1070/1050 FTW line of cards behind them, after handling the issue the best way they could. The company has now begun teasing a new addition to their GeForce product stack, with the company's Product Manager, Jacob Freeman, publishing a tease on Twitter regarding an upcoming GTX 1080, the FTW2, which features iCX cooling.

MSI to Host US$200,000 Masters Gaming Arena 2015

MSI MGA (Masters Gaming Arena), a globally renowned eSports tournament formerly known as MSI Beat IT and hosted by the leading gaming brand, MSI, has partnered with ESL and will be ready to launch its 6th culmination as the months approach. Eric Kuo, MSI Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, talks about renaming the annual gaming tournament from Beat IT to Masters Gaming Arena, "The rename marks our determination to evolve and do even better as one of the world's leading gaming brands. Years of MSI Beat IT gaming legacy will be carried on in the name of Masters Gaming Arena. MSI's gaming spirit and unflinching devotion to eSports live on. MSI MGA will continue to bring global players together and hand in hand we'll write thrilling chapters in the gaming history!"

MSI MGA will kick off with regional qualifiers for the United States, Europe and Asia. The first qualifier will start in June for Asia, with subsequent weeks covering the rest of the regions across the globe. The 4-day Grand Finals will be held in late August in the United States, where the best gamers from all around the world will compete over more than $200,000 USD in cash prizes and travel support.

Muzik Announces the First Socially-Aware Headphones

Today is the day the headphone becomes "smart" with the launch of Muzik, an innovative company inspired to transform the way music is experienced. Muzik, founded by disruptive innovator, Jason Hardi, is pioneering a new space called Social Smartware, coined to describe the seamless connection of consumer electronic devices, content and social media platforms to make music instantly discoverable and shareable in an effortless way. Muzik is launching a full line of smart audio products synced to their mobile Muzik ecosystem that will activate a new wave of innovation in the headphone space.

Muzik's game-changing lineup includes their marquee product: the smart, on-ear wireless headphone that combines high-fidelity audio in a simple, elegant sleek design with groundbreaking capacitive touch controls. They are the first headphones in the world that allow users to natively share what they are listening to on Facebook and Twitter or instantly send a song anywhere in the world.

Genius Announces Ultra Wide Angle WideCam 320

Genius announces an ultra wide angle webcam for conference calls - WideCam 320. With its 100° view angle the entire boardroom can be captured in a single frame.

The ultra wide 100° angle view ensures that everyone around the conference table can be seen without any crowding together. The high-quality manual focus lens ensures well-defined video of the entire room. Everyone can be heard clearly around the room as well. The WideCam 320 has a built-in sensitive microphone that picks up the speaker's voice clearly while filtering out any background noise.

Presenting NextPowerUp

Presenting NextPowerUp, our sister tech-publication in the works, designed with a bigger canvas. TechPowerUp established itself as one of the top PC hardware publications thanks to our pursuit for quality reviews and relentless news delivery. We decided it was time to put these core ideals to use, in addressing the much larger consumer electronics and gadgets markets, without disturbing TechPowerUp's focus on PC enthusiast content, one of its hallmarks.

NextPowerUp is designed to keep you up to speed on the latest in over 20 markets (and growing), each with its own content channel, and editors hand-picked for them. These include Audio (personal, home, professional, concert), Business, Cinema (filming, production, exhibition), Desktops (pre-built desktop PCs), Displays (signage, projectors), Gadgets, Gaming (games, game development, gaming industry, consoles), Internet (the business of WWW), Networking (social networking), Notebooks (notebooks, Ultrabooks, netbooks), Phones (of all shapes and sizes), Photo & Video (cameras of all shapes and sizes), Politics (industry soap-opera), Robots (outside assembly lines), Science (popular science, space exploration), Software, Storage, Tablets, Televisions (TVs and technologies built around them), Transportation (wheels that don't run on fossil fuels), and Wireless (Cellular carriers, commercial WiFi).

Belkin Announces Availability of WeMo

Belkin today launched WeMo, a line of modular, Wi-Fi-based products that turn an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a remote control for household devices. Consisting of two initial products, the WeMo Switch and the WeMo Motion, WeMo works with the free WeMo app to create a scalable, customizable home control system designed to provide added safety, convenience, and peace of mind.

"WeMo uses familiar technology to create a plug-and-play solution for controlling gadgets and appliances remotely," said Jamie Elgie, senior director of product management for Belkin. "Designed to address simple automation needs without the hassle or expense of whole home automation, WeMo is an easy and fun way to put your home at your fingertips."

Cooler Master Announces March Madness 2012

Cooler Master, an industry leading chassis, thermal solution, peripheral, and accessory manufacturer today announced the beginning of the ultimate March Madness sales event.

Just as March Madness brings about exciting new match-ups between the finest players in college basketball, Cooler Master's HAF Time Showdown unveils never before seen deals that will border on madness all throughout the month of March. Get some of the best parts for a computer build by following our deals.

Ubisoft DRM Server Downtime Causes A Lockout

If you are trying to play Might and Magic: Heroes VI, The Settlers 7 and Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 or are trying to activate Assassin's Creed Revelations, Anno 2070 and or Driver: San Francisco don't bother. Ubisoft has announced a server migration this week that will block all access from players validating their legitimate purchases via Ubisofts DRM "always on" model. The original plan was to allow some of these games to remain playable. However it didn't seem to work. Some DRM schemes are more intrusive then others but the Ubisoft "always on" DRM has come under heavy fire this week from players turned critics via Twitter. One is quoted as saying, "Dear @Ubisoft I am totally unimpressed with your server upgrade strategy."

Ubisoft has yet to give a specified time when the servers will be re-launched and players can regain access to their games.
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