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Gaming at the low end, checking out the Athlon X4 880K

Subject: Processors | April 26, 2016 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: Wraith, Godavari, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, FM2+, amd, X4 880K

Remember that FM2+ refresh which Josh informed you about back in March?  The APUs have started arriving on test benches and can be benchmarked independently to see what this ~$100 processor and the Wraith cooler are capable of.  Neoseeker compares the new 880K against the older FX-4350 in a long series of benchmarks which show the 880K to be the better part in most cases.  There are some interesting exceptions to this, in which the FX-4350's slightly higher frequency allows it to pull ahead by a small margin so there are cases where the less expensive chip would make sense.  Read the full review to see which chip makes more sense for you.

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"Today we take a look at the AMD Athlon X4 880K, a quad-core FM2+ processor with 4.0/4.2GHz base/Turbo clocks and unlocked multiplier priced at under $100 USD. It's designed for enthusiasts on a budget looking for the fastest multi-core Athlon processor yet without any integrated GPU to add to the cost. It even shares the 95W TDP of AMD's higher-end APUs for optimized power consumption that further leads to more overclocking headroom."

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Processors

Source: Neoseeker

Microsoft Floods Features into Insider Preview Build 14328

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2016 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

After the release of Windows 10 version 1511, Microsoft took a few months to refactor and otherwise update the deep-down chunks of their OS. After that was all settled, they started merging features from their many teams. For the last two builds, the amount of changes ramped way up, not all of which were announced at Build conference.

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These features have been merged without much bug-crushing, though. Microsoft knows this, and then talk about a “Bug Bash” event happening sometime this week. To get a feel for the state of this build's quality, though, you can check out WinBeta attempting to show off the new features. Note that some of the issues they were experiencing were actually in the known issues list, namely the crash attempting to pin Settings options, but the list is quite long.

A couple of new changes are interesting and surprising. First, long-time, multi-monitor users will like that the clock is now on all taskbars, not just the primary monitor. They acknowledge that this was driven by the gaming community, although they don't explicitly state that it's because our applications run in fullscreen mode so frequently (covering the main monitor clock). I don't exactly know why this slipped past the user experience people for so long, at least since the multi-monitor enhancements in Windows 8, but it did. It should be publicly available in July.

They will also allow desktop icons to have mini symbols (badges) attached to them. This could tell you how many unseen emails you have, whether your alarm is active, and probably many other features when it's in a publicly-accessible API. It's concerning that it's UWP-only, though. It shows that Microsoft wants to deprecate Win32 for new features, without migrating them into UWP containers, which further suggests that Microsoft intends to deprecate Win32 altogether. This is very concerning for several reasons, but I'm not going to reiterate them in this post.

The other cool feature, though, is a new interface to select between multiple sound cards. In my scenario, I have two main sound devices. When I listen to my headphones, I plug them into a USB sound card (technically a Blue Yeti). When I want to use speakers, I flip over to motherboard audio and turn on my sound system. This means that I need to go deep into the Sound preferences in the Control Panel, and it also means that some applications don't cleanly switch over (even locking up entirely). With this a front-and-center input menu of Windows 10, it should pressure developers to test whether their software can accept a sound device change on the fly, and fix accordingly.

So yeah -- those are the three features that spoke most to me. Again, the lack of innovation in native Win32 APIs is concerning. It reminds me of when browser vendors declared that certain new APIs would be artificially held back from non-secure HTTP contexts. In some cases, it makes sense -- an unsecure Web app accessing your webcam is a sign that they don't care about your privacy -- but it also means that software developers need to give up some level of their anonymity to acquire a certificate to access those features (unless offline sites are classified as secure in the user's browser, which Google Chrome does and others might too). Tangent aside, it feels like Microsoft is trying to apply the same level of pressure to push people away from bare Win32. That makes sense, they want to promote new platforms, but it also usually comes before the old one gets the guillotine.

Source: Microsoft

Coming up on electronic hoarders, the Seagate 8TB NAS drive

Subject: Storage | April 26, 2016 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, 8TB, NAS

Seagate is not to be outdone by Western Digital and their 8TB Red drive and have released their own 8TB NAS HDD. The model which eTeknix reviewed is designed for SMBs and users that have a huge amount of content they plan to store in the long term.  That results in a 3 year warranty, a limit of 8 drives in a NAS and rated workload of 180TB per year, somewhat less than the Enterprise model, however it is also less expensive.  eTeknix uses a different battery of tests than we do here at PCPer, you can see how the drive is rated in AIDA, Anvil, Crystaldisk and others over in their full review, the numbers are similar to the WD Red drive even with the lack of a rarefied atmosphere.

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"Just as you wouldn’t use a low-end graphics card for high-end usage, you shouldn’t use the wrong hard disk drive in your storage system either. There is a reason for every product and you should always pick the one suited for the task at hand, especially when you deal with your storage. Today I’m taking a closer look at Seagate’s impressive 8TB NAS HDD and we will take a look at how well it performs."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: eTeknix
Manufacturer: NZXT

Introduction and First Impressions

The NZXT Manta is a mini-ITX enclosure that boasts better than average room for components and cooling, and is packaged in a rather unusual, rounded design.

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There is a reason for the Manta's somewhat bulbous appearance, and it's part of a recent trend in mini-ITX enclosure design; bigger is better. While you might think that mITX is all about fitting components into the smallest enclosure possible, there have been some recent examples of cases which expand the chassis to micro-ATX sizes (or above).

The Manta from NZXT is actually large enough to be a micro-ATX case, and its total volume exceeds their S340 enclosure; a full ATX design (!). So why on earth would you want a mini-ITX enclosure with that much volume? Three words: cooling, cooling, and cooling.

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As you can see from NZXT's graphic above, the Manta's protruding top and front panels provide a the additional space needed to allow for thicker cooling setups.

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Before we dive in for a closer look at the new Manta enclosure, let's take a look at the full specs from NZXT:


Specifications:

  • Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Drive Bays
    • Internal 3.5”: 2 
    • Internal 2.5”: 3
  • Cooling System
    • Front: 2 x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included) 
    • Top: 2 x 140/120mm 
    • Rear: 1 x 120mm (Included)
  • Radiator Support
    • Front: Up to 280mm 
    • Top: Up to 280mm 
    • Rear: 120mm
  • Clearance
    • CPU Clearance: 160mm
    • GPU Clearance: 363mm 
    • PSU Length: 363mm
  • Power Supply Support: ATX
  • External Electronics:
    • I/O Panel LED On/Off
    • 1x Audio/Mic
    • USB 3.0
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
  • Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)

Our thanks to NZXT for providing the Manta enclosure for our review.

First Impressions

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At first glance the Manta is a departure from the typical enclosure design. The rounded panels are built around a standard rectangular frame, so it's really quite conventional underneath.

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The look from the front of the enclosure really shows off the rounded sides, and this will certainly not be everyone's favorite look - but anything beyond the norm tends be divisive in this market.

Continue reading our review of the NZXT Manta Mini ITX Enclosure!!

Microsoft announces Inky, no word on Blinky, Pinky nor Clyde

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2016 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

If you are in the Windows Insider program you will have a chance to check out the new build 14328 of Windows 10, which reveals many of the new features which will arrive in the so called Anniversary edition.  Once again they have chosen to change the Start menu, something which has always been well received by users, though perhaps this time it will not be so bad as the idea of a customizable Rail which always displays the power button and icons the user selects may be useful. 

They have also added Ink Workspace, aka Inky, which will make using a stylus in Windows 10 much easier, for those with touchscreens or tablets and a desire to draw or write by hand.  There are also quite a few things which sound less welcome, such as default save folders which vary from app to app and some odd behaviour from Cortana.  Read more about the new features over at The Inquirer.

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"Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 14328 to "Windows Insider" previewers. The build is available for both PC and mobile, and is described by VP Gabe Aul as a "MAJOR build, packed with lots of new features and improvements"."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Fnatic Gear RUSH G1, keys aglow all Cherry Red

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2016 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: input, fnatic gear, Rush G1, cherry mx red

The Fnatic Rush G1 features Cherry MX Red switches, with red backlighting that you can manually switch between three levels of brightness, a breathing mode and an off position for the old folks like myself.  For those who dislike the feel of a naked desk against your wrists  the inclusion of a wrist rest is a nice addition to the package.  The bundled Fnatic Rush Settings Software is somewhat limited compared to the competition, the five profiles are limited to ten macros apiece, if you need more than that you would have to use the Fn+Function key to switch between profiles on the fly which is not much help in the heat of a match.  Benchmark Reviews like more about this keyboard than they disliked, read through the review to see if you are in agreement.

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"The London-based company Fnatic currently offers four products: the Rush keyboard, the Flick mouse, and two types of mouse pad. Today Benchmark Reviews will look at the Fnatic Rush G1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard equipped with Cherry MX Red switches."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD Radeon Crimson Edition 16.4.2 hits the streets

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2016 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: graphics driver, crimson, amd

AMD's new Crimson driver has just been released with new features including official support for the new Radeon Pro Duo as well as both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets.  It also adds enhanced support for AMD's XConnect technology for external GPUs connected via a Thunderbolt 3 interface.  Crossfire profile updates include Hitman, Elite Dangerous and Need for Speed and they have also resolved the ongoing issue with the internal update procedure not seeing the newest drivers.  If you are having issues with games crashing to desktop on launch you will still need to disable the AMD Gaming Evolved overlay, unfortunately.

Get 'em right here!

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"The latest version of Radeon Software Crimson Edition is here with 16.4.2. With this version, AMD delivers many quality improvements, updated/introduced new CrossFire profiles and delivered full support for AMD’s XConnect technology (including plug’n’play simplicity for Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosures configured with Radeon R9 Fury, Nano or 300 Series GPUs.)  Best of all, our DirectX 12 leadership continues to be strong, as shown by the performance numbers below."

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Source: AMD

The enormous and flexible W100 Super Tower Chassis, some assembly required

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 25, 2016 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, W100 Super Tower Chassis

The new Thermaltake W100 Super Tower Chassis is not for the casual user.  Not only does it ship in a flatpack, which means you need to assemble the entire case yourself but it is also very large; that is a full ATX P6X58-E WS motherboard in that picture!  Once fully assembled the case measures an impressive 677x310x678mm (26.7x12.2x26.7") and can support up to nineteen 120/140mm fans or radiators of up to 600mm in size.  There are only a measly ten 2.5/3.5" internal bays and three external 5.25" bays, almost enough to satisfy Allyn's minimum storage requirements.  The locations you choose for these drive bays is flexible, thanks to the need to assemble the case you can place the internal bays in the configuration you prefer.  It will take a lot of work to get a system going in this case but your choices are almost without limit thanks to the sheer size of the case.  Check out [H]ard|OCP's full review right here.

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"The W100 Super Tower Chassis is not small and it is not cheap. It even comes fully unassembled. It does however look to fit the needs of the most hardcore water cooling enthusiasts however. The W100 is likely the most versatile case we have ever reviewed in terms of fan and radiator compatibility."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The RasPi gets better looking, or at least the camera does

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2016 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: IMX219, Raspberry Pi

The camera kit for the Raspberry Pi has just received an update, both the IR and visible light modules will now ship with an 8MP sensor, a nice jump from the current 5MP module.  Even better for a system designed specifically for low cost solutions is the news that the price will remain unchanged and the new camera will cost you the same as the previous.  The Inquirer reports that one of the main reasons for the change is that the OmniVision OV5647 sensor previously used can no longer be sourced.  If you use your Raspberry Pi for applications requiring a camera, you should look at your current projects to see if the jump in resolution provide by the IMX219 sensor will benefit you.

raspberry-pi-camera-580x358.jpeg

"Fortunately, we'd already struck up conversation with Sony's image sensor division, and in the nick of time we're able to announce the immediate availability of visible light and infrared cameras based on the Sony IMX219 8MP sensor at the same low price of $25.""

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction, Features and Specifications

Introduction

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The German manufacturer be quiet! is best known for their attention to silence. They are currently introducing four new models in their entry-level Pure Power series, which includes the Pure Power 9 400W, 500W, 600W, and 700W power supplies. Be quiet! is targeting these power supplies to budget-minded users for use in silent PC builds, office applications, multimedia and home theater systems. The new Pure Power 9 series will replace the Pure Power L8 series.

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All of the Pure Power 9 series power supplies are 80 Plus Silver certified for high efficiency (the L8 series is Bronze certified) and feature modular cables and a 120mm cooling fan. The power supplies are designed with dual +12V rails and incorporate a new active clamp and synchronous rectifier technology with zero voltage and zero current switching for increased efficiency. We will be taking a detailed look at the Pure Power 9 600W power supply in this review.

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be quiet! Pure Power 9 600W PSU Key Features:

•    Exceptionally quiet operation (be quiet! silence-optimized 120mm fan)
•    80 Plus Silver certified with up to 91% power conversion efficiency
•    Two +12V rails and four PCI-E connectors for multi- GPU systems
•    Active Clamp + Synchronous Rectification circuit design
•    Modular cable management with flat ribbon-style peripheral cables
•    Meets latest Intel C6/C7, ErP and Energy Star guidelines
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Product conception, design and QC in Germany, manufactured in China
•    3-Year warranty

Please continue reading our review of the be quiet! Pure Power 9 600W PSU!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

The Dual-Fiji Card Finally Arrives

This weekend, leaks of information on both WCCFTech and VideoCardz.com have revealed all the information about the pending release of AMD’s dual-GPU giant, the Radeon Pro Duo. While no one at PC Perspective has been briefed on the product officially, all of the interesting data surrounding the product is clearly outlined in the slides on those websites, minus some independent benchmark testing that we are hoping to get to next week. Based on the report from both sites, the Radeon Pro Duo will be released on April 26th.

AMD actually revealed the product and branding for the Radeon Pro Duo back in March, during its live streamed Capsaicin event surrounding GDC. At that point we were given the following information:

  • Dual Fiji XT GPUs
  • 8GB of total HBM memory
  • 4x DisplayPort (this has since been modified)
  • 16 TFLOPS of compute
  • $1499 price tag

The design of the card follows the same industrial design as the reference designs of the Radeon Fury X, and integrates a dual-pump cooler and external fan/radiator to keep both GPUs running cool.

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Based on the slides leaked out today, AMD has revised the Radeon Pro Duo design to include a set of three DisplayPort connections and one HDMI port. This was a necessary change as the Oculus Rift requires an HDMI port to work; only the HTC Vive has built in support for a DisplayPort connection and even in that case you would need a full-size to mini-DisplayPort cable.

The 8GB of HBM (high bandwidth memory) on the card is split between the two Fiji XT GPUs on the card, just like other multi-GPU options on the market. The 350 watts power draw mark is exceptionally high, exceeded only by AMD’s previous dual-GPU beast, the Radeon 295X2 that used 500+ watts and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z that draws 375 watts!

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Here is the specification breakdown of the Radeon Pro Duo. The card has 8192 total stream processors and 128 Compute Units, split evenly between the two GPUs. You are getting two full Fiji XT GPUs in this card, an impressive feat made possible in part by the use of High Bandwidth Memory and its smaller physical footprint.

  Radeon Pro Duo R9 Nano R9 Fury R9 Fury X GTX 980 Ti TITAN X GTX 980 R9 290X
GPU Fiji XT x 2 Fiji XT Fiji Pro Fiji XT GM200 GM200 GM204 Hawaii XT
GPU Cores 8192 4096 3584 4096 2816 3072 2048 2816
Rated Clock up to 1000 MHz up to 1000 MHz 1000 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz 1000 MHz 1126 MHz 1000 MHz
Texture Units 512 256 224 256 176 192 128 176
ROP Units 128 64 64 64 96 96 64 64
Memory 8GB (4GB x 2) 4GB 4GB 4GB 6GB 12GB 4GB 4GB
Memory Clock 500 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 5000 MHz
Memory Interface 4096-bit (HMB) x 2 4096-bit (HBM) 4096-bit (HBM) 4096-bit (HBM) 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit 512-bit
Memory Bandwidth 1024 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 224 GB/s 320 GB/s
TDP 350 watts 175 watts 275 watts 275 watts 250 watts 250 watts 165 watts 290 watts
Peak Compute 16.38 TFLOPS 8.19 TFLOPS 7.20 TFLOPS 8.60 TFLOPS 5.63 TFLOPS 6.14 TFLOPS 4.61 TFLOPS 5.63 TFLOPS
Transistor Count 8.9B x 2 8.9B 8.9B 8.9B 8.0B 8.0B 5.2B 6.2B
Process Tech 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
MSRP (current) $1499 $499 $549 $649 $649 $999 $499 $329

The Radeon Pro Duo has a rated clock speed of up to 1000 MHz. That’s the same clock speed as the R9 Fury and the rated “up to” frequency on the R9 Nano. It’s worth noting that we did see a handful of instances where the R9 Nano’s power limiting capability resulted in some extremely variable clock speeds in practice. AMD recently added a feature to its Crimson driver to disable power metering on the Nano, at the expense of more power draw, and I would assume the same option would work for the Pro Duo.

Continue reading our preview of the AMD Radeon Pro Duo!!

Mirror's Edge Catalyst System Requirements Revealed

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2016 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

Before I begin, I should note that the release date for Mirror's Edge: Catalyst has been pushed back two weeks. It will now launch on June 7th in North America, and June 9th in Europe. DICE claims that the reason for this delay is to work on “Social Play,” which allows users to create their own time trial events, and to integrate feedback that they will receive from the Closed Beta. The beta starts the day after that reason was announced... so it can't logically be the whole truth.

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Anywho, the specifications.

First, Mirror's Edge Catalyst requires at least four “logical” cores. They list the minimum as the Intel Core i3-3250 or the AMD FX-6350. A dual-core, HyperThreaded processor should work, but it would need to be as fast as the i3-3250. EA does offer refunds through Origin, however, so, if you're interested but not quite sure, you could just try it and see.

Second, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti and the Radeon R9 270x are listed as the minimum GPUs, with the GeForce GTX 970 and the Radeon R9 280x (3GB) recommended. Especially on AMD's side, there really isn't a whole lot of difference between these parts. The R9 270x has 2.5 TeraFLOPs of performance, and the R9 280x has 3.5 TeraFLOPs. Over on NVIDIA's side, the GTX 650 Ti has about 1.5 TeraFLOPs of compute, while the GTX 970 goes up to 3.5 TeraFLOPs. They seem to be targeting about twice-the-PS4 for their benchmark of high-end performance, but it looks like they aren't willing to scale back too far to be smooth. This could be caused by one of three issues:

  • The gameplay requires a fairly high and consistent framerate
  • They didn't put a lot of effort in downscaling and/or
  • It can go lower and/or higher, but DICE/EA just doesn't want to officially support it

Third, despite being an open-world title, the game isn't too tough on hard drive space. It only requires about 25GB of space, which is about half of a typical, large title these days. That said, the art style also doesn't really require too many textures. Basically everything is colored by its lighting engine, because the environment is supposed to give a sterile feel.

Fourth, and more interesting, the game requires a heck of a lot of RAM. At a bare minimum, it requires 6GB of memory, which also means that it will not run on a 32-bit operating system. Their recommended RAM goes way up from there, requesting 16GB for that level of experience. Yes, RAM usage doesn't really correlate with assets, but that is almost the entire install size of the game, which (again) is 25GB. That's a lot, but it will hopefully cut down on the load times that people have been complaining about in the console pre-release builds. To be clear, I don't mind and it could be a very good thing, but it's definitely a noteworthy amount.

If you're interested, check out the various streams and videos that should be popping up. The full game arrives on the first full week of June.

Source: EA

SEGA Lets Console Games Get a Mod Community... on PC

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2016 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

I joke of course, because Unreal Tournament 3 had the option to cook mods for the PlayStation 3. Modding console games isn't a mainstream practice, though, especially since the hardware vendors tend to be afraid of what users will put into their systems. Third-party content is pushed into the realm of hacked consoles or emulators.

In this case, SEGA, over a decade after they made their last console, has decided to allow Steam Workshop with their SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub (which corresponds to the SEGA Genesis for North Americans). The purpose of this is “allowing you to share modified versions of your favourite retro SEGA titles”. Sonic the Hedgehog is featured prominently in the promotional video, but will not be available at launch. The list is fairly long, however, and includes games like Ecco the Dolphin, Vectorman, Golden Axe, and so forth.

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I am a big fan of long-term support, especially for user-created content. Video games are an excellent way for people to express themselves, be it with ridiculous and cruel Sonic levels, or with something more abstract. Regardless of their reasons, I'm glad that SEGA is giving a part of their platform to their fans (and society as a whole).

FSP on the inside and outside, the Hydro G 650W PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 22, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: fsp, HYDRO G, 650W, modular psu, 80 Plus Gold

FSP provides the insides to many of the PSUs you see sold from Corsair, Zalman, Antec and just about every other provider at some point in the past.  They also occasionally sell them under their own brand name, which brings us to the Hydro G 650W fully modular PSU that was recently reviewed at [H]ard|OCP.  The PSU has a single 12V rail capable of providing 649W @ 54.16A, with the four 6+2 PCIe connectors it will handle many dual GPU systems.  It comes with 80 PLUS GOLD certification and a five year warranty and is available for around $75.  FSP's experience shows in the design and performance of this PSU as it walked away with a Gold Award and hearty recommendations.

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"While FSP may not be a PSU brand that is on the tip of your tongue, we have been reviewing FSP computer power supplies now for 8 years, and the fact of the matter is that these units have been getting better and better over time. Where does the new Hydro G 650W fit into that progression?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

What do you mean the battery is immune to capacity degradation? Someone shoot that researcher!

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2016 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: happy mistake, battery, nanowires

A very happy accident occurred during Mya Le Thai's doctoral thesis research, which will greatly upset replacement battery suppliers everywhere.  Lithium-ion batteries slowly lose the ability to charge fully and to hold that charge as they are used and recharged multiple times.  There are several reasons why this occurs and her team of researchers were trying to find a way to avoid some of those reasons by using nanowires to store and transfer electrons.  This method has not been very successful in the past as nanowires are very brittle and would degrade over time in the same way other solutions did.  However, in what The Inquirer refers to as an accident, the team discovered that coating gold nanowires in a manganese dioxide shell and then placing it in a Plexiglas-like gel resolved that problem, their test battery has now been recharged over 200,000 times in the space of three months, with no measurable loss of total capacity or power delivery.  Hopefully this technology does not end up patented and sitting on a shelf unused to ensure we still need to continually replace the batteries we use.

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"RESEARCHERS AT the University of California at Irvine (UCI) have accidentally - yes, accidentally - discovered a nanowire-based technology that could lead to batteries that can be charged hundreds of thousands of times."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

AMD Expands Wraith Air Cooler Lineup With More CPUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Processors | April 22, 2016 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: Wraith, quiet computing, heatsink, cpu cooler, cpu, AMD Wraith, amd, air cooling

AMD has expanded the CPU lineup featuring their high-performance Wraith air cooling solution, with the quiet cooler now being offered with two more FX-series processors.

amd_wraith.jpg

Image credit: The Tech Report

"AMD has heard the feedback from reviewers and PC users everywhere: the near-silent, capable AMD Wraith Cooler is a resounding success. The question they keep asking is, 'When will the Wraith Cooler be available on more AMD Processors?'

We’re pleased to announce that the wait is over. The high-performance AMD FX 8350 and AMD FX 6350 processors now include a true premium thermal solution in the AMD Wraith Cooler, and each continues to deliver the most cores andthe highest clock rates in its class."

8350-FX.jpg

The lineup featuring AMD's most powerful air solution now includes the following products:

  • AMD FX 8370
  • AMD FX 8350
  • AMD FX 6350
  • AMD A10-7890K

The Wraith cooler initially made its debut with the FX-8370 CPU, and was added to the new A10-7890K APU with the FM2+ refresh last month.

Source: AMD

Report: NVIDIA GP104 Die Pictured; GTX 1080 Does Not Use HBM

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 22, 2016 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: rumor, report, pascal, nvidia, leak, graphics card, gpu, gddr5x, GDDR5

According to a report from VideoCardz (via Overclock.net/Chip Hell) high quality images have leaked of the upcoming GP104 die, which is expected to power the GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.

NVIDIA-GP104-GPU.jpg

Image credit: VideoCardz.com

"This GP104-200 variant is supposedly planned for GeForce GTX 1070. Although it is a cut-down version of GP104-400, both GPUs will look exactly the same. The only difference being modified GPU configuration. The high quality picture is perfect material for comparison."

A couple of interesting things have emerged with this die shot, with the relatively small size of the GPU (die size estimated at 333 mm2), and the assumption that this will be using conventional GDDR5 memory - based on a previously leaked photo of the die on PCB.

NVIDIA-Pascal-GP104-200-on-PCB.jpg

Alleged photo of GP104 using GDDR5 memory (Image credit: VideoCardz via ChipHell)

"Leaker also says that GTX 1080 will feature GDDR5X memory, while GTX 1070 will stick to GDDR5 standard, both using 256-bit memory bus. Cards based on GP104 GPU are to be equipped with three DisplayPorts, HDMI and DVI."

While this is no doubt disappointing to those anticipating HBM with the upcoming Pascal consumer GPUs, the move isn't all that surprising considering the consistent rumors that GTX 1080 would use GDDR5X.

Is the lack of HBM (or HBM2) enough to make you skip this generation of GeForce GPU? This author points out that AMD's Fury X - the first GPU to use HBM - was still unable to beat a GTX 980 Ti in many tests, even though the 980 Ti uses conventional GDDR5. Memory is obviously important, but the core defines the performance of the GPU.

If NVIDIA has made improvements to performance and efficiency we should see impressive numbers, but this might be a more iterative update than originally expected - which only gives AMD more of a chance to win marketshare with their upcoming Radeon 400-series GPUs. It should be an interesting summer.

Source: VideoCardz

Acer Debuts Liquid-Cooled Switch Alpha 12 Convertible Tablet

Subject: Mobile | April 21, 2016 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, tablet, switch alpha 12, liquid cooling, convertible tablet, acer, 2-in-1

Acer has unveiled their latest detachable 2-in-1 tablet/laptop with the Switch Alpha 12, and this device features some impressive specs - not the least of which is a liquid-cooling loop for the CPU.

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According to Acer, the Switch Alpha 12 "is the industry’s first fanless 2-in-1 notebook to use a 6th Generation Intel Core i7, Core i5 or Core i3 processor," and these Intel offerings power a 12-inch 2160x1440 resolution IPS display.

Acer offers this video to showcase the device's features, including the water cooling loop:

Storage will range from 128GB - 512GB, with memory available in either 4GB or 8GB capacities. The magnetically attached keyboard offers full-sized keys with 1.4mm travel, and a full touchpad, and overall battery life is said to be 8 hours. The unit is 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.62 inches, and weighs 2.76 pounds (with keyboard connected).

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The CPU cooling loop (Image taken from Acer promo video)

As to pricing and availability, Acer states that the "Switch Alpha 12 will be available in North America in June starting at $599".

Source: Acer

AMD licenses server processor technology to Chinese companies

Subject: Processors | April 21, 2016 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, Zen, China, chinese, licensing

As part of its earnings release today, it was announced that AMD has partnered with a combination of public and private Chinese companies to license its high-end server architecture and products. The Chinese company is called THATIC, Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd., and it will license x86 designs and SoC technology providing all the tools needed to make a server platform including CPUs, interconnects and controllers.

This move is important and intriguing in several ways. First, for AMD, this could be a step to get the company and its products some traction and growth after falling well behind Intel's Xeon platforms in the server space. Increasing the market share of AMD technology, in nearly any capacity, is a move the company needs to have any chance to return to profitability. For the Chinese government, it finally will get access to the x86 architecture, though not in the form of its own license.

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By licensing the x86 designs to THATIC, AMD could create an entire host of competitors for itself as well as for Intel, which won't help Intel's in-roads into the Chinese markets for enterprise tech. Intel does not license out x86 technology at all, deciding instead to keep it completely in-house in hopes of being the single provider of processors for devices from the cloud to the smartphone.

The first products built by THATIC will likely use the upcoming Zen architecture, due out in early 2017. AMD creates an interesting space for itself with this partnership - the company will sell its own Zen-based chips that could compete with the custom designs the Chinese organization builds. It's possible that a non-compete of sales based on region is part of the arrangement.

Out of the gate, AMD expects to make $293 million from the deal as part of the joint-venture and also will make money based on royalties. That's great news for a company just posted another net loss for Q1 2016. 

Source: Forbes

Fastest switch in the west, Corsair and Cherry reveal the Cherry MX Speed switch

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2016 - 05:14 PM |
Tagged: RapidFire, K70 RGB, K70, K65 RGB, corsair, Cherry MX Speed, cherry

Corsair announced three new keyboards, the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE, K65 RGB RAPIDFIRE and K70 RAPIDFIRE all of which use Cherry's new MX Speed switches which have an actuation distance of 1.2 millimeters and and activation force of 45 cN(centinewtons, or 45.887229584 gram force). 

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All three keyboards have a brushed aluminium shell, the two RGB models are capable of producing almost any colour on the spectrum with the remaining model featuring red backlighting.  All three are compatible with CUE LINK, you can synchronize the LEDs of your Corsair keyboard, mouse and headset to compliment each other and perhaps as a distraction tactic during LAN parties.  100% Anti-ghosting and full key rollover over USB mean even in the heat of battle your death will not be caused by a keypress not registering.  Touch typists should also enjoy benefits when using the new keyboards, a light touch is all that is required for the keyboard to register a character, though the tiny amount of travel required may take some getting used to.  Many will be please to note that these keyboards do ship with a wrist rest.

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They are available as of today, MSRPs are $169.99 for the K70 RGB RAPIDFIRE, $139.99 for the K65 RGB RAPIDFIRE and $129.99 for the K70 RAPIDFIRE.

Click to read the PRs, but do it lightly and quickly.

Source: Corsair