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MSI & Thermaltake Make Motherboard-Specific Water Block

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 29, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: thermaltake, msi, CPU Water Block, cooler

Normally a water block presses against the CPU heatspreader, but this one is a bit different. MSI and Thermaltake decided to team up and make a motherboard-specific cooler that pulls heat away from the CPU and the motherboard's VRM MOSFETs. This way, water chills both the CPU and its power delivery, which could be a bottleneck when overclocking.


Specifically, the Thermaltake Pacific M3 motherboard water block is designed to be used with the MSI Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard. This is a Skylake / DDR4 platform with USB 3.1 and SATA Express.

Note that this is not a closed-loop cooler. It is designed to be embedded in a custom cooling loop, which means that the user (or a small business computer store that maintains their PC) is responsible for routing water and preventing leaks. That said, users who are looking for a high-quality cooler for their power delivery system should expect a little commitment to their build (and a little risk).

Also, since the product is designed for a specific motherboard, the user shouldn't expect to keep it hanging around from build to build. You will almost definitely use it while you have it and leave it when you move on. On the other hand, you shouldn't worry about it covering your RAM or anything -- you can be reasonably assured that it's built for your setup. (That is, unless you buy the wrong motherboard or something... d'oh!)

Source: Thermaltake

Shame about the name but power over WiFi would be nice

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2015 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: poWiFi, wireless power, iot

It is going to take some work as it is not currently that impressive but the experiment at Cornell University shows that power over WiFi is not impossible.  The experiment was not all that impressive, they charged a Jawbone headset @ 2.3mA and after 2.5 hours which they managed to charge the battery to 41% over a distance of 5-7cm.  Those results are poor compared to Qi and other wireless charging solutions on the market but are promising.  The power is transmitted by a wireless router that can also send and receive data so for wireless cameras and other low powered devices which transmit data this could be quite useful.  You can read the research paper by following the links from Hack a Day.


"There have been a few reports of power over WiFi (PoWiFi) on the intertubes lately. If this is a real thing it’s definitely going to blow all of the IoT fanboys skirts up (sorry to the rest of you *buzzword* fanboys, the IoT kids flash-mobbed the scene and they mean business)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

Bringing mods to the post-nuclear wastelands of Massachusetts

Subject: General Tech | November 25, 2015 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: fallout 4, mod, gaming

The modders over at the Nexus community are already hard at work creating mods for Fallout 4 and Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have compiled a list of the best ones currently out there.  After a quick tutorial on how to apply mods they jump into the list and of them all the first one may be the most useful as it allows you to tweak your display resolution, mouse sensitivity, field of view and the many other settings you might have expect to be changeable in the game itself.  From there they move onto improved lighting, longer death cam viewing, a higher settlement budget and even dialogue expansion.  Check out what is there or head over to Nexus Mods to see what others catch your interest.


"While official mod support for Fallout 4 [official site] hasn’t arrived just yet, Nexus Mods have opened their proverbial gates. Their community is fast at work creating handy customisations and helpful leg-ups to see you right as you dive head first into the irradiated unknown."

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The Internet of Things loves to share

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2015 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: idiots, iot, security

You would think people would be be taken aback if someone suggested saving money by using the same key on every new house built in a neighbourhood, if so you don't work for companies developing hardware for the Internet of Things.  In a recent survey of  4,000 embedded devices from 70 hardware makers, Sec Consult found that many had the same hardwired SSH login keys and server-side SSL certificates.  The numbers they provided The Register were a total 580 private keys were found distributed over all the analyzed devices, of which at least 230 are in already in use on the internet.  To be fair this is not uncommon in consumer level firmware as companies do not even bother to check over the source code let alone change the security keys held within but it is a huge security risk.  For a glimpse at how bad some of these supposedly secure certs and keys are read on at The Register.


"Lazy makers of home routers and the Internet of Things are reusing the same small set of hardcoded security keys, leaving them open to hijacking en masse, researchers have warned."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Mobile VR at high Noon

Subject: Displays | November 26, 2015 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: noon, virtual reality

Similar in looks to Oculus Gear VR the Noon VR headset is compatible with more than just Samsung phones, any iOS or Android device between 4.7 inches to 5.7 should be supported.  At 230g naked, plus the weight of your phone the Noon felt a bit heavy to Hardware Canucks, a lot of that weight is balanced on your nose.  The 95 degree viewing angle is impressive and there is a focus dial on the headset for fine tuning but the latency and resolution are up to your phone, not the Noon.  As of yet there is little content for the Noon VR headset but the price is decent, currently it retails for $90 which makes it an interesting option for those who want to experiment with a VR device.


"With the big divide in computing power between desktops and smartphones, are we ready for mobile VR? The Noon VR headset is an attempt to answer that question."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:


Giving the R9 Nano some breathing space

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2015 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, mini ITX, amd, obsidian 250d, corsair

When Ryan tested out how the R9 Nano performs in tiny cases he chose the Cooler Master Elite 110, the Raijintek Metis, the Lian Li PC-Q33BL and their PC-Q30X.  The card did slow down somewhat because of a lack of airflow in the case but that was quickly remedied with a drill press and we saw vast improvements in the in-game frequencies.  [H]ard|OCP performed a similar experiment with the Cooler Master Elite 110 as well and found similar results.

They are now back at it again, this time testing in a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX case, which is large enough to accommodate a full sized GPU and provide improved airflow.  They tested the Nano against a GTX 980 Ti and a R9 Fury X as they cost a similar amount to the tiny little Nano.  They tested the cards at both 1440p and 4K resolutions and as you might reasonably expect the Nano fell behind, especially at 4K.  If you have a case which can fit a full sized GPU then the Nano does not make sense to purchase, however in cases in which the larger cards will not fit then the Nano's performance is unmatched.


"Our second installment covering our AMD Radeon R9 Nano in a Small Form Factor chassis is finally done. We will upgrade the case to a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX PC Case and compare the R9 Nano to price competitive video cards that can be installed. We game at 1440p and 4K for the ultimate small form factor experience."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Raspberry Pi Zero Released for $5

Subject: Systems | November 26, 2015 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, raspberry pi zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a new version that lowers the cost of gigahertz-class computing devices to just $5. It is based on a 1.0 GHz ARM11 core from Broadcom that is about 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi. It also has 512MB of RAM, which is a lot for embedded or hobbyist applications. In fact, it doubles the original Raspberry Pi Model A (and is on part with the Model B). Storage is handled by a microSD card slot, as is the case with every previous Raspberry Pi except the Compute Module.


They also offer an alternative to the $5 price tag. If you pick up the print edition of MagPi magazine #40, which is the Christmas 2015 issue, you will receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that they printed 10,000 copies of this magazine. This is probably much more interesting than a CD-ROM demo of Battlezone II.

Due to high demand, I'm not sure when you can expect to get one though.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Samsung Announces Mass Production of 128GB DDR4 Sticks

Subject: Memory | November 26, 2015 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: TSV, Samsung, enterprise, ddr4

You may remember Allyn's article about TSV memory back from IDF 2014. Through this process, Samsung and others are able to stack dies of memory onto a single package, which can increase density and bandwidth. This is done by punching holes through the dies and connecting them down to the PCB. The first analogy that comes to mind is an elevator shaft, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.


Anyway, Samsung has been applying it to enterprise-class DDR4 memory, which leads to impressive capacities. 64GB sticks, individual sticks, were introduced in 2014. This year, that capacity doubles to 128GB. The chips are fabricated at 20nm and each contain 8Gb (1GB) per layer. Each stick contains 36 packages of four chips.

At the end of their press release, Samsung also mentioned that they intend to expand their TSV technology into “HBM and consumer products.”

Source: Samsung

Lenovo and Razer Announce Partnership for New Gaming PCs

Subject: Systems | November 27, 2015 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: y-series, razer, Lenovo, gaming pc, gaming desktop

Lenovo has partnered with Razer for co-branded Razer Edition computers, which will be special versions of Lenovo’s Y series gaming systems. Lenovo says the first device will be officially announced at CES, with a prototype on display at DreamHack Winter 2015 in Sweden.


The prototype Razer Edition desktop (featuring Skittles-inspired ground effects)

These upcoming products will clearly add some style (and color) to Lenovo's gaming computers, and while thus far only this desktop concept has been shown the Y-series from Lenovo includes gaming laptops as well, which presumably will receive the Razer treatment going forward. It is notable that the concept incorporates multiple colors with its lighting effects (which should be customizable) considering Razer is known for a black and green color scheme.

"PC gaming today offers a rich and immersive experience – thanks in part to cutting-edge graphics performance, superior processing power, and peripherals designed specifically for gaming. Lenovo will employ its system design and engineering expertise, while Razer will enhance the immersive experience for gamers. All forthcoming Lenovo Razer Edition products will be co-branded and reflect the edgy Lenovo Y series look and feel with iconic Razer elements like customizable Chroma lighting effects."


The details as far as specs and configuration options for the desktop shown are not known, and this seems to be primarily a new branding/style for the Y-series line. More might be known after DreamHack, the event which calls itself "the world's largest digital festival", which runs November 26 - 29 in Jönköping, in the south of Sweden.

Source: Lenovo