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We really want the ASUS PG279Q - 2560x1440, IPS, G-Sync...165 Hz

Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg279q, gsync, g-sync, ips

Okay, we see a lot of monitors here at PC Perspective...but this is probably the current "most coveted" of them all. The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q looks nearly identical to the first generation ROG Swift display but with a couple of key modifications. Yes, this is still a 27-in 2560x1440 monitor but this time...oh this time...it holds a 165 Hz IPS screen.


Moving away from the world of TN screens and into the image-quality-improvement of IPS, the PG279Q not only brings ASUS' first G-Sync capable IPS 2560x1440 panel to the world but also ups the ante more than any other screen we have seen when it comes to the maximum refresh rate: this beast will top out at 165 Hz! High performance gamers that have taken to the 144 Hz market will surely see the advantages of stepping up yet again though I am curious how ASUS is able to drive an IPS screen at this speed without artifacts or issues. 


Interestingly, this panel not only includes a DisplayPort connection for 165 Hz 2560x1440 throughput but also an HDMI 1.4a input that can run 2560x1440 at 60 Hz, should you need that kind of thing. If you prefer ULMB over G-Sync, you have that option as well. 


I'm not sure yet, but I can feel Allyn's trigger finger on the BUY NOW button...if it existed. We don't have pricing and we don't have any update on availability, but if our past experiences with the ROG Swift line are any indication, I have a feeling this display is going to impress.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Officially Launches ROG Swift PG27AQ, 4K IPS G-Sync Monitor

Subject: Displays | October 9, 2015 - 06:13 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG, swift, pg27aq, 4k, g-sync, gsync

Back at CES we first got to see the ASUS ROG Swift PG27AQ, a 4K resolution IPS G-Sync enabled gaming monitor with all the fit and finish we came to love with the first ROG Swift display. Today, as part of the ROG Unleashed event being held in San Jose, the monitor has been officially unveiled.


The build and specifications remain pretty much unchanged though pricing and availability are still up in the air. 


The ASUS PG27AQ updates and changes the ROG Swift design and style in small areas including adding an illuminated Republic of Gamers logo to the base along with the red circle. The stand includes supports for height adjustment, rotation, and tilt - basically mirroring the capability of the original ROG Swift.


Seeing a 4K IPS G-Sync monitor warms my heart though I wonder if we will need the next generation of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs to be able to power it effectively with a single card. G-Sync variable refresh rate technology does mean that gamers will be able to run at lower frame rates without the worry of screen tearing or judder.

Finally, even though the display has support for HDMI, it will only run at 4K / 24 Hz or 1080p / 60 Hz - there is no true HDMI 2.0 support to be found. The full resolution and refresh rate, as well as G-Sync support, are enabled through the DisplayPort connection only.

Source: ASUS

Two new ROG desktops from ASUS, the G11CD and the G20CB

Subject: Systems | October 9, 2015 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, Intel H170, Intel H110, G11CDm G20CB, ASUS ROG, asus

ASUS has announced two new models of ROG Desktops for gamers based on Intel's new Skylake processors.  Both models offer a choice of i5 or i7 processors and a gamut of video cards including and AMD R9 380 and in the case of the G11CD/CB an NVIDIA GTX 745 up to a 980 Ti while the G20CB ranges from a GT740 to a TITAN X.

G11_ (6).jpg

The G11 is a full sized desktop, 176x440x442mm (6.9x17.3x17.4") and if you choose the CB model you will be able to have an H170 motherboard, a GTX 980Ti and up to a 512GB M.2 SSD.  The CD model does not support those features and is built on an H110 motherboard.  Both models off a choice between a DVD or Blu-Ray optical drive.

G11CD - Datasheet.png

The ROG G20 offers more power in a slightly smaller case, 104x340x358mm (4.1x13.4x14.1") which is achieved by using an external power supply and dropping the optical drive altogether.

yD4HwEid5yDfWP6Z_setting_000_1_90_end_1000 (1).png

ASUS has managed to offer a vertically mounted TITAN X in this form factor, which is no small achievement.  The ROG G20 also offers wireless connectivity in addition to a wired LAN Port, along with space for two internal drives. 

ROG G20 - Datasheet.png

All models share the familiar black and red ROG colour scheme, a nice mix of  USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 7.1 audio.  There is no word on the pricing for either of these desktops, keep an eye out for updates as we learn more.

Source: ASUS

ASUS RT-AC88U MU-MIMO Router with 8-Port Switch

Subject: Networking | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: wireless router, RT-AC88U, router, mu-mimo, asus, 802.11ac, 8-port switch

ASUS has announced an impressive new MU-MIMO wireless router that provides up to 3100 Mbps of Wi-Fi bandwidth, and the RT-AC88U also features an 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch.



  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MU-MIMO
  • Data rate: 3100 Mbps
  • Chipset: BCM47094, BCM4366, BCM4366
  • Flash: NAND 128 MB
  • RAM: DDR3 256/512 MB
  • WAN: GbE x 1
  • LAN: GbE x 8
  • Giga switch: 8365
  • PA: 2G:sky2623 5G:sky85405
  • LNA: 2G: BGU7224/LXS5563 5G:MAAL011078
  • Antenna: Detachable dual band x 4
  • USB: 3.0 x1, 2.0 x1
  • Applications: ASUSWRT, AiCloud, AiProtection, high-power mode, Download Master, VPN server, guest network, DLNA server, automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE (MPPE support), PPTP, L2TP, IPv4, IPv6


Pricing and availability are not yet known.

Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Z170 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, ROG, overclocking, motherboard, Maximus VIII Extreme, lga1151, asus

While a little less flashy looking than some of the performance motherboards we’ve seen lately, opting for an understated gray/red color scheme over a black PCB, there is nothing subtle about the new Maximus VIII Extreme. From the specs it looks to be the most overbuilt gaming/overclocking motherboard possible for the Intel Z170 chipset, and that’s exactly what the ROG Extreme motherboards are made for.

Maximus VIII Extreme_3D-3.jpg

Here are the (very lengthy) specifications:

  • CPU: LGA1151 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron®
    • CPU Cache Ratio Tuning
    • Turbo Ratio OC
    • BCLK OC (Pro-Clock)
    • iGPU OC
  • DRAM: Spec supported 4x DIMM, max. 64GB
    • DDR4 3866(O.C.) non-ECC, un-buffered memory, XMP 2.0
  • Extreme Overclocking   
    • OC Zone: Retry button, Safe Boot button, LN2 mode, Slow Mode switch, Probelt, PCIe x16 lane switch, DRAM channel jumper
    • OC Gadget: OC Panel II
    • OC Design: ASUS PRO Clock Technology
  • Optimize System             
    • Power Design: Extreme Engine Digi+
    • DRAM Layout: 2nd Generation T-Topology
  • Performance Optimization          
    • Intel® Quick Sync Video
    • Intel® Smart Response Technology
    • USB 3.1 Boost
    • HW Fast Boot support
  • Network: Intel® I219-V NIC with LANGuard Anti-surge
    • Network bandwidth management: GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta)
  • Intel® Rapid Start Technology
  • Intel® Smart Connect Technology
  • Expansion Slots:
    • PCIex16 @ x16 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x8/x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
    • PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3 via PCH
    • PCIex1 @ x1 - 2x Max. @Gen3

OC Panel II_4.jpg

The included OC Panel II fits in an open 5.25” bay

  • BIOS: CPU-Free Update/USB BIOS Flashback/UEFI Level Update/EZ Flash 3/BIOS Flash Protection/CrashFree BIOS 3
  • BIOS feature:
    • All fans including pump header are DC and PWM mode compatible
    • Wizard for simple OC and RAID
    • SSD Secure Erase
    • My Favorite & Shortcut
    • Boot Logo Size Adjustment
    • F12 BIOS Print
  • Power Solution:
    • Full Digital 8 Phase CPU Power Design
    • 4 Phase for iGPU
    • 2 Phase Digital DRAM Power Design with ASUS DRAM Power Utility
    • System Agent Power: 1 Phase for VCCSA
  • Extreme Engine Digi+     
    • Dual PWM Controllers, 1 for Vcore, 1 for VGT
    • 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
    • MicroFine Alloy Chokes
    • OptiMOS™ MOSFET
  • Real-time adjustment: ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility
  • Anti-Surge Protection
  • Mass Storage:
    • 1x M.2 socket 3 with M Key; Supporting form factor 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110, PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA mode, PCIe RAID
    • 1x U.2 connector (sharing PCIe with M.2)
    • 2x SATA Express via PCH (SATA-E 1 share SATA with M.2)
    • 8x SATA 6Gbps (2 via PCH native; 4 via SATA-E; 2 via ASM1061)
    • RAID: RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 via iRST 14
  • USB Support:
    • 4x 3.1 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C via Intel Alpine Ridge; 2 Type-A via Asmedia USB 3.1 controller)
    • 4x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 4 mid) via PCH
    • 6x USB 2.0 - 6 mid via PCH, two shared with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port
  • Bundled Software           
    • AI Suite 3 (Real-Time OC); ROG GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta); ROG Keybot II; RAMCache; ROG RAMDisk; USB 3.1 Boost; ROG CPU-Z; ROG MemTweakIt; Lighting Control

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Impact Mini-ITX Z170 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, SFF, ROG, motherboard, mini-itx, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, asus

ASUS has announced their latest mini-ITX offering in the Republic of Gamers series, and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard packs an outrageous number of features into one formidable little 6.7-inch square. In fact, short of the second PCIe slot afforded the larger mATX form-factor, the newest Impact board looks to be every bit as powerful as the recently released Maximus VIII Gene motherboard.

Maximus VIII Impact_3D-1.jpg

Let’s check out the specs on this new Impact board:

  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors
  • Chipset: Intel Z170 Express
  • Memory: Dual-channel memory architecture
    • 2x DIMM, max. 32GB DDR4-4133(OC) non-ECC, un-buffered memory
  • PCIe Slot: 1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (supports x16 mode)
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics Processor
    • HDMI 1.4b
    • Intel InTru 3D/Quick Sync Video/Clear Video HD Technology/Insider
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac supports dual frequency band 2.4/5GHz; MU-MIMO
  • Bluetooth: V4.1, 4.0LE
  • USB: 2x USB 3.1 ports (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C) powered by Intel USB 3.1 controller; 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 at mid-board)
  • Storage: 1x U.2 port (PCIe x4, 32Gb/s), 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports. Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
  • LAN: Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN with Anti-surge LANGuard, ROG GameFirst Technology
  • HD Audio: SupremeFX Impact III
    • ROG SupremeFX 2015 High Definition Audio Codec
    • ESS® ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream™ Architecture
    • 2Vrms Headphone Amp into 32-600 Ohms
    • SupremeFX Shielding Technology
    • Optical S/PDIF output at back panel
    • Sonic Studio II; Sonic Radar II; Sonic SenseAmp; DTS Connect
  • Fan headers: 2x 4-pin onboard; 3x 4-pin on daughter card
  • Form Factor: Mini-ITX, 6.7" x 6.7" (17 cm x 17 cm)

Maximus VIII Impact_2D Front.jpg

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: ASUS

ASUS ROG GX700 Water Cooled Gaming Laptop Specs Revealed

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, NVIDIA GTX 980, liquid cooled, i7-6820HK, gx700, gaming laptop, g-sync, ASUS ROG, asus


We already saw an announcement from ASUS (at IFA 2015) for their water-cooled Republic of Gamers GX700 gaming laptop, and now we have more details about this unique product, though some are still pending. The specifications (including the full version of the NVIDIA GTX 980) would make a great gaming desktop system, and that's kind of the idea as the performance increases substantially when the laptop is docked in its liquid-cooling base.

There are certainly questions about this concept that won't be answered until hardware in hand, but it's going to be interesting to see just how well a liquid cooling system will work in a dockable format like this.


Here are the specifications we know so far:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6820HK
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 980, 8GB GDDR5
  • Display: 17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920x1080) G-SYNC / Optional 4K/UHD G-SYNC
  • RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD (2 x 512GB)
  • Optical: Blu-ray 6x RW
  • Card reader: SDXC
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Keyboard: Anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-key rollover; 2.5mm travel; Illuminated
  • Ports:     
    • 3 x USB 3.0 
    • 1 x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3
    • 1 x USB Type-C / USB 3.1     
    • 1 x mini-DisplayPort
    • 1 x HDMI
  • Audio: 1x Headphone/mini-Optical S/PDIF, 1x Microphone input
  • Webcam: 1.2MP HD camera


A look inside at the GX700 cooling system

Exact numbers on battery capacity, dimensions, and weight are not yet available, and pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

Source: ASUS

MSI shows off their Tetris skills with the GS60 6QE gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: msi, GS60 6QE, gaming laptop, 4k

Inside the impressively thin 15.6" GS60 6QE, 390x266x20mm is a Skylake based i7-6700HQ, a 3GB GTX970M and 16GB of DDR4-2133 along with a 256GB M.2 SSD for your OS plus a 1TB HDD for long term storage.  The integral display does indeed have a resolution of 4K, for external connectivity you can use either the HDMI v1.4b which supports 4Kx2K output or the Mini-Display port that supports 1080p @ 120Hz or 4K @ 60Hz.  For fans of gaming in the dark it sports  SteelSeries FULL back lit keyboard, programmable with the SteelSeries Engine and there is a single USB 3.1 Type C connector if you happen to have a compatible peripheral.  Check out the performance at Kitguru but only if you can stomach the $1800 price tag and the fact that Norton comes pre-installed.


"There is no doubt that MSI have been releasing some of the most exciting, feature-laden laptops in the last 24 months. Today we take a look at the new GS60 6QE which incorporates a Intel Core i7 6700HQ Skylake processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, Nvidia GTX970m, M.2 SSD and 4K Ultra HD panel. MSI have managed to cram all this tasty hardware into a chassis that measures only 20mm at the thickest point."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:


Source: KitGuru

Another hard quarter for PC sellers

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: pc sales, Q3 2015

73.7 million units, including desktops, laptops and ultrabooks were sold in the third quarter of 2015, down 7.7% from this time last year.  In the EMEA, Japan and Latin America this could be in part because prices have risen by about 10% but is also likely due to a lack of any convincing reason to upgrade.  The recent security problems revealed on Lenovo machines do not seem to have hurt their sales in North America , they saw a 22% increase in sales with the launch of their various 2 in 1 portable devices.  Gartner feels this may change in the latter half of the year as many companies do not get out of the red until holiday sales start driving consumers, but also because machines shipping with Windows 10 will start to hit the markets.  Skylake product refreshes should also help out and we can all hope to see bargains on older kit that distributors want off their shelves as well as the numerous holiday sales start to ramp up.  You can follow the links from The Inquirer for more detailed information.


"FIGURES FROM GARTNER show that PC shipments declined a further 7.7 percent year on year during the third quarter of 2015, despite the release of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system during the period."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: The Inquirer

A keyboard joins the G.SKILL Ripjaws family; meet the colourful KM780

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx brown, G.Skill, ripjaws, KM780, input, mechanical keyboard

G.SKILL has extended their Ripjaws family beyond RAM with the introduction of the KM780, a mechanical keyboard sporting some unique features.  For lighting enthusiasts the Cherry MX Brown keys are clear instead of black which allows the backlighting to show through significantly more than on other boards.  There is a bar at the back of the keyboard which adds an interesting aesthetic and allows for a cord holder to be incorporated into the design.  As well, not only can you program macros using the software there are keys which can be depressed to allow you to program a macro on the fly while playing a game.  The lighting is perhaps a bit much for some but if you are a fan of keyboards that are seen and not heard you should check out the full review at Overclockers Club.


"Upon first look at the KM780, I was taken aback by the design. The bars looked odd to me, but in use they didn't bother me, in fact I had many ideas as to possible uses for them including using them as tie downs for traveling, such as to LAN parties, and for locking the keyboard down to a surface using clamps on the bars – great for systems where the keyboard will move a lot such as gaming PC chair rigs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Subject: Editorial, Storage
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

What you never knew you didn't know

While researching a few upcoming SD / microSD product reviews here at PC Perspective, I quickly found myself swimming in a sea of ratings and specifications. This write up was initially meant to explain and clarify these items, but it quickly grew into a reference too large to include in every SD card article, so I have spun it off here as a standalone reference. We hope it is as useful to you as it will be to our upcoming SD card reviews.

SD card speed ratings are a bit of a mess, so I'm going to do my best to clear things up here. I'll start with classes and grades. These are specs that define the *minimum* speed a given SD card should meet when reading or writing (both directions are used for the test). As with all flash devices, the write speed tends to be the more limiting factor. Without getting into gory detail, the tests used assume mostly sequential large writes and random reads occurring at no smaller than the minimum memory unit of the card (typically 512KB). The tests match the typical use case of an SD card, which is typically writing larger files (or sequential video streams), with minimal small writes (file table updates, etc).

Speed Class


In the above chart, we see speed 'Class' 2, 4, 6, and 10. The SD card spec calls out very specific requirements for these specs, but the gist of it is that an unfragmented SD card will be able to write at a minimum MB/s corresponding to its rated class (e.g. Class 6 = 6 MB/s minimum transfer speed). The workload specified is meant to represent a typical media device writing to an SD card, with buffering to account for slower FAT table updates (small writes). With higher bus speed modes (more on that later), we also get higher classes. Older cards that are not rated under this spec are referred to as 'Class 0'.

Speed Grade

As we move higher than Class 10, we get to U1 and U3, which are referred to as UHS Speed Grades (contrary to the above table which states 'Class') in the SD card specification. The changeover from Class to Grade has something to do with speed modes, which also relates with the standard capacity of the card being used:


U1 and U3 correspond to 10 and 30 MB/s minimums, but the test conditions are slightly different for these specs (so Class 10 is not *exactly* the same as a U1 rating, even though they both equate to 10 MB/sec). Cards not performing to U1 are classified as 'Speed Grade 0'. One final note here is that a U rating also implies a UHS speed mode (see the next section).

Read on as we decrypt all of the many specs and ratings present on SD and microSD cards!

Podcast #370 - Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, gigabyte, z170x gaming g1, Skylake, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, Android, ios, iphone 6s, Samsung, 840 evo, msata, dell, UP3216Q, nvidia, pascal

PC Perspective Podcast #370 - 10/08/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:31:05

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:30:00 This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Audible, the world's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 180,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature including fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals. For your free audiobook, go to audible.com/pcper
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: iPhone 6s Stallion
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Reeven gets heavy, the Ouranos heatsink

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 8, 2015 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: reeven, ouranos

The previous models of Reeven we have seen reviewed were for SFF systems, the Steropes and Brontes.  The Ouranos that Modders-Inc recently reviewed is somewhat larger, though nowhere near the mass of the serious coolers which Morry prefers.  It stands at 143x161x95mm (5.6x6.3x3.7") and weighs just over a kilogram at 1030g.  The design allowed for the heatsink to be installed in any orientation without interfering with RAM or components close to the socket and the adjustable fan speed lets you chose your own balance between noise and cooling performance.  Read on to see the full review.


"There was a time when the prevalent design philosophy for CPU cooler design was "the bigger, the better". That is no longer the case as users now look for smarter implementations that are much more convenient and functional than simply brute-force cooling. Smaller coolers present the advantage of better compatibility with various components so the latest generation of large CPU …"

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


Source: Modders Inc

Soft Machines' VISCy business

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: VISC, Soft Machines, Shasta

A year ago The Tech Report talked with a representative from a company called Soft Machines who were designing processors using their new VISC architecture.  We are all familiar with CISC and RISC based designs, this new Virtual Instruction Set Computing is a new architecture designed after multicore processors became the norm.  The architecture is designed from the ground up to take advantage of multiple cores and is able to virtualize both cores and threads across multiple physical cores.  That means a demanding process that is still only a single thread could be run on a virtual core across multiple hardware cores, increasing the speed at which that task can be completed. 

Their current design, named Shasta is fabbed on a 16nm FinFET process, uses a generic 256-bit interconnect bus for compatibility with a wide variety of infrastructures and currently runs at 2GHz.  The Tech Report doesn't have any benchmarks per se, but you can read more about how this new architecture works here.


"Soft Machines presented details about its intriguing VISC CPU architecture, along with a roadmap for VISC CPUs and SoCs, at the 2015 Linley Processor Conference today. We spoke with Soft Machines founder and CTO Mohammad Abdallah and the company's VP of marketing and business development, Mark Casey, to learn more about these chips."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Dell Releases Redesigned XPS 15 Laptop with InfinityEdge Display

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 8, 2015 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: dell, XPS 15, InfinityEdge, laptop, notebook, Skylake, i3-6100H, i5-6300HQ, i7-6700HQ, GTX 960M

The redesigned Dell XPS 15 is here, now a larger clone of the popular XPS 13 including the same minuscule “InfinityEdge” display and featuring optional 4K resolution.


Image credit: Engadget

The XPS 13 is among the highest-rated Windows laptops of the past year, and the preferred notebook of our own Ryan Shrout. Dell certainly had a big design win with a 13-inch screen on a laptop that would normally only house an 11.6-inch display, thanks to the razor-thin bezel surrounding the LCD panel. This InfinityEdge display makes a lot of sense for the larger XPS 15, and the newly redesigned notebook now occupies the space of a mere 14-inch notebook, while offering both FHD and UHD/4K screen resolutions.

What good would a beautiful screen be without the horsepower to drive it? For this Dell has implemented the latest 6th Generation Intel Skylake mobile processors, namely the Core i3-6100H, Core i5-6300HQ, and Core i7-6700HQ. Graphics duties are performed either by the integrated Intel HD 530 or an NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU, and 8GB of DDR4 memory comes standard with options up to 32GB available (and this is SoDIMM memory so users can upgrade later as well).


Image credit: Windows Central


  • Processor:
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i3-6100H (3M Cache, up to 2.7 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display or 15.6" UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB DDR4 at 2133 MHz (32GB post-RTS) (2 x SoDIMMs)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5
  • Storage: 500GB HDD + 32GB Flash or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash
  • 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, or 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Camera: Widescreen HD (720p) webcam
  • Ports and Connectors: HDMI, USB 3.0 (x2), Headset Jack, SD card reader, Kensington Lock slot, Thunderbolt 3
  • Dimensions: 11-17mm x 357mm x 235mm
  • Weight: Non-touch, starting at 3.9 lbs; Touch, starting at 4.4 lbs

The new Dell XPS 15 is available today and prices start at $999.

Far Cry Primal will be released ... eventually

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: gaming, far cry primal, ubisoft

Far Cry Primal was announced and it is even more console-centric than the previous release, seeing as how the PC launch will be a month after its initial release.  We can only hope that Ubisoft does spend time making sure that high end PCs do have graphic features that take advantage of the power provided by new GPUs.  As for the gameplay it should be interesting as there will be no more machine guns and fancy pistols, you will be stabbing mammoths with pointy sticks and running for your life from sabretooth tigers.  It also sounds as though eating enough food and other features common to the plethora of survival sims will be included, making this very different from previous games.  Check out the trailer and screenshots at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you haven't seen them yet.


"Ubisoft attempted to announce Far Cry Primal [official site] with a tantalising livestream, which was rather spoiled by a brief leak of the game’s name and basic details. Now we know more, including proper trailers, screenshots, and a release date… which will see the game land on PC the month after it’ll arrive on console."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


NVIDIA Releases 358.50 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: opengl es 3.2, nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce

The GeForce Game Ready 358.50 WHQL driver has been released so users can perform their updates before the Star Wars Battlefront beta goes live tomorrow (unless you already received a key). As with every “Game Ready” driver, NVIDIA ensures that the essential performance and stability tweaks are rolled in to this version, and tests it against the title. It is WHQL certified too, which is a recent priority for NVIDIA. Years ago, “Game Ready” drivers were often classified as Beta, but the company now intends to pass their work through Microsoft for a final sniff test.


Another interesting addition to this driver is the inclusion of OpenGL 2015 ARB and OpenGL ES 3.2. To use OpenGL ES 3.2 on the PC, if you want to develop software in it for instance, you needed to use a separate release since it was released at SIGGRAPH. It has now been rolled into the main, public driver. The mobile devs who use their production machines to play Battlefront rejoice, I guess. It might also be useful if developers, for instance at Mozilla or Google, want to create pre-release implementations of future WebGL specs too.

Source: NVIDIA

On-die watercooling

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, nifty

These researchers are skipping the waterblock altogether and have made channels in surface of the die its self for de-ionized water to flow through and cool the chip.  The 28-nanometer Altera FPGA they tested this cooling method on had numerous channels cut into it which were then sealed up with a layer of silicon.  With a flow rate of 147 ml/minute they kept the chip to a comfortable 24C, a mere 4C higher than the temperature of the water and significantly lower than the 60C the chip would run at using air cooling.  Neither Hack a Day nor PCPer encourage you to try to cut micron sized channels in your brand new processor, however we all hope to see this cooling technique incorporated into heatspreaders in future generations of processors.


"Researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on cutting fluid channels directly into the back of commercial silicon die (an Altera FPGA, to be exact). The tiny channels measure about 100 micron and are resealed with another layer of silicon. Water is pumped into the channels to cool the device efficiently."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

MSI Releases GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: msi, GK-701, gaming keyboard, cherry mx brown

MSI has a new mechanical gaming keyboard available, and the GK-701 features MSI’s black and red "Dragon" styling with red LED backlighting for each key, and uses Cherry MX Brown switches.


MSI is emphasizing the quality of their build with this new keyboard, stating that each key “is created with precision laser etching for extra resistance to wear and tear”, and the red LED backlight for each key is rated for “over 50 million key presses”. Additionally, the GK-701 offers a braided USB cable with a 18K gold plated connector, and there is a set of multimedia hotkeys and a game mode that disables the Windows Key. As this is a mechanical keyboard one of the biggest aspects is of course key switch selection, and the Cherry MX Brown switches MSI has chosen for the GK-701 offer a tactile “non-clicky” feel that some prefer.

GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard specs from MSI:

  • Cherry MX Brown switches
  • Red LED Backlight
  • Windows Key Lock
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Multimedia Hotkeys
  • Anti-slip Rubber Feet
  • Ergonomic Design
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Braided wire and gold-plated connector
  • Switches lifetime: 50 Million Clicks
  • Dimensions: 450 x 165 x 38mm, 1200g weight


The MSI GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now and currently selling on Newegg.com for $119.99.

Source: MSI

Who Decided to Call a Lightweight API "Metal"?

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: opengl, metal, apple

Ars Technica took it upon themselves to benchmark Metal in the latest OSX El Capitan release. Even though OpenGL on Mac OSX is not considered to be on par with its Linux counterparts, which is probably due to the driver situation until recently, it pulls ahead of Metal in many situations.


Image Credit: Ars Technica

Unlike the other graphics APIs, Metal uses the traditional binding model. Basically, you have a GPU object that you attach your data to, then call one of a handful of “draw” functions to signal the driver. DirectX 12, Vulkan, and Mantle, on the other hand, treat work like commands on queues. The latter model works better in multi-core environments, and it aligns with GPU compute APIs, but the former is easier to port OpenGL and DirectX 11 applications to.

Ars Technica notes that faster GPUs, such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX, show higher gains than slower ones. Their “best explanation” is that “faster GPUs can offload more work from the CPU”. That is pretty much true, yes. The new APIs are designed to keep GPUs loaded and working as much as possible, because they really do sit around doing nothing a lot. If you are able to keep a GPU loaded, because it can't accept much load in the first place, then there is little benefit to decreasing CPU load or spreading out across multiple cores.

Granted, there are many ways that benchmarks like these could be incorrectly used. I'll assume that Ars Technica and GFXBench are not making any simple mistakes, though, but it's good to be critical just in case.

Source: Ars Technica