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Computex 2016: Here It Is! Your Moment of Zen!

Subject: Processors | June 1, 2016 - 03:57 AM |
Tagged: Zen, computex 2016, computex, amd

At the end of the AMD Computex 2016 keynote, Lisa Su, President and CEO of the company, announced a few details about their upcoming Zen architecture. This will mark the end of the Bulldozer line of architectures that attempted to save die area by designing cores in pairs, eliminating what AMD projected to be redundancies as the world moved toward multi-core and GPU compute. Zen “starts from scratch” and targets where they now see desktop, server, laptop, and embedded devices heading.

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They didn't really show a whole lot at the keynote. They presented an animation that was created and rendered on the new architecture. I mean, okay, but that's kind-of like reviewing a keyboard by saying that you used it to type the review. It's cool that you have sample silicon available to use internally, but we understand that it physically works.

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That said, Lisa Su did say some hard numbers, which should be interesting for our readers. AMD claims that Zen has 40% higher IPC from their previous generation (which we assume is Excavator). It will be available for desktop with eight cores, two threads per core, on their new AM4 platform. It also taped out earlier this year, with wide sampling in Q3.

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I'm curious how it will end up. The high-end CPU market is a bit... ripe for the picking these days. If AMD gets close to Intel in performance, and offers competitive prices and features alongside it, then it would make sense for enthusiast builds. We'll need to wait for benchmarks, but there seems to be low-hanging fruit.

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD gets aggressive

At its Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei today, AMD has announced the branding and pricing, along with basic specifications, for one of its upcoming Polaris GPUs shipping later this June. The Radeon RX 480, based on Polaris 10, will cost just $199 and will offer more than 5 TFLOPS of compute capability. This is an incredibly aggressive move obviously aimed at continuing to gain market share at NVIDIA's expense. Details of the product are listed below.

  RX 480 GTX 1070 GTX 980 GTX 970 R9 Fury R9 Nano R9 390X R9 390
GPU Polaris 10 GP104 GM204 GM204 Fiji Pro Fiji XT Hawaii XT Grenada Pro
GPU Cores 2304 1920 2048 1664 3584 4096 2816 2560
Rated Clock ? 1506 MHz 1126 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz up to 1000 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz
Texture Units ? 120 128 104 224 256 176 160
ROP Units ? 64 64 56 64 64 64 64
Memory 4/8GB 8GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz 6000 MHz 6000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 4096-bit (HBM) 4096-bit (HBM) 512-bit 512-bit
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 224 GB/s 196 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 384 GB/s 384 GB/s
TDP 150 watts 150 watts 165 watts 145 watts 275 watts 175 watts 275 watts 230 watts
Peak Compute > 5.0 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 4.61 TFLOPS 3.4 TFLOPS 7.20 TFLOPS 8.19 TFLOPS 5.63 TFLOPS 5.12 TFLOPS
Transistor Count ? 7.2B 5.2B 5.2B 8.9B 8.9B 6.2B 6.2B
Process Tech 14nm 16nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
MSRP (current) $199 $379 $499 $329 $549 $499 $389 $329

The RX 480 will ship with 36 CUs totaling 2304 stream processors based on the current GCN breakdown of 64 stream processors per CU. AMD didn't list clock speeds and instead is only telling us that the performance offered will exceed 5 TFLOPS of compute; how much is still a mystery and will likely change based on final clocks.

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The memory system is powered by a 256-bit GDDR5 memory controller running at 8 Gbps and hitting 256 GB/s of throughput. This is the same resulting memory bandwidth as NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.

AMD also tells us that the TDP of the card is 150 watts, again matching the GTX 1070, though without more accurate performance data it's hard to assume anything about the new architectural efficiency of the Polaris GPUs built on the 14nm Global Foundries process.

Obviously the card will support FreeSync and all of AMD's VR features, in addition to being DP 1.3 and 1.4 ready. 

AMD stated that the RX 480 will launch on June 29th.

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I know that many of you will want us to start guessing at what performance level the new RX 480 will actually fall, and trust me, I've been trying to figure it out. Based on TFLOPS rating and memory bandwidth alone, it seems possible that the RX 480 could compete with the GTX 1070. But if that were the case, I don't think even AMD is crazy enough to set the price this far below where the GTX 1070 launched, $379. 

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I would expect the configuration of the GCN architecture to remain mostly unchanged on Polaris, compared to Hawaii, for the same reasons that we saw NVIDIA leave Pascal's basic compute architecture unchanged compared to Maxwell. Moving to the new process node was the primary goal and adding to that with drastic shifts in compute design might overly complicate product development.

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In the past, we have observed that AMD's GCN architecture tends to operate slightly less efficiently in terms of rated maximum compute capability versus realized gaming performance, at least compared to Maxwell and now Pascal. With that in mind, the >5 TFLOPS offered by the RX 480 likely lies somewhere between the Radeon R9 390 and R9 390X in realized gaming output. If that is the case, the Radeon RX 480 should have performance somewhere between the GeForce GTX 970 and the GeForce GTX 980. 

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AMD claims that the RX 480 at $199 is set to offer a "premium VR experience" that has previously be limited to $500 graphics cards (another reference to the original price of the GTX 980 perhaps...). AMD claims this should have a dramatic impact on increasing the TAM (total addressable market) for VR.

In a notable market survey, price was a leading barrier to adoption of VR. The $199 SEP for select Radeon™ RX Series GPUs is an integral part of AMD’s strategy to dramatically accelerate VR adoption and unleash the VR software ecosystem. AMD expects that its aggressive pricing will jumpstart the growth of the addressable market for PC VR and accelerate the rate at which VR headsets drop in price:

  • More affordable VR-ready desktops and notebooks
  • Making VR accessible to consumers in retail
  • Unleashing VR developers on a larger audience
  • Reducing the cost of entry to VR

AMD calls this strategy of starting with the mid-range product its "Water Drop" strategy with the goal "at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to support continued market share growth for Radeon GPUs."

So what do you guys think? Are you impressed with what Polaris looks like its going to be now?

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Bristol Ridge Takes on Mobile: E2 Through FX

It is no secret that AMD has faced an uphill battle since the release of the original Core 2 processors from Intel.  While stayed mostly competitive through the Phenom II years, they hit some major performance issues when moving to the Bulldozer architecture.  While on paper the idea of Chip Multi-Threading sounded fantastic, AMD was never able to get the per thread performance up to expectations.  While their CPUs performed well in heavily multi-threaded applications, they just were never seen in as positive of a light as the competing Intel products.

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The other part of the performance equation that has hammered AMD is the lack of a new process node that would allow it to more adequately compete with Intel.  When AMD was at 32 nm PD-SOI, Intel had introduced its 22nm TriGate/FinFET.  AMD then transitioned to a 28nm HKMG planar process that was more size optimized than 32nm, but did not drastically improve upon power and transistor switching performance.

So AMD had a double whammy on their hands with an underperforming architecture and limitted to no access to advanced process nodes that would actually improve their power and speed situation.  They could not force their foundry partners to spend billions on a crash course in FinFET technology to bring that to market faster, so they had to iterate and innovate on their designs.

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Bristol Ridge is the fruit of that particular labor.  It is also the end point to the architecture that was introduced with Bulldozer way back in 2011.

Click here to read the entire introduction of AMD's Bristol Ridge lineup!

Report: AMD's Top Polaris GPU Will Cost Just $199

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 1, 2016 - 12:23 AM |
Tagged: video card, rumor, report, Radeon RX 480, radeon, Polaris, graphics card, gpu, amd

Update: It's official. AMD Polaris Radeon RX 480 will launch for $199, > 5 TFLOPS of compute.

(Original post:)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AMD's upcoming Polaris graphics cards will be priced no higher than $199, a startling move to say the least.

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The report arrives via VideoCardz.com:

"According to WSJ article, Polaris GPUs will cost no more than 199 USD. First systems equipped with Polaris GPUs will be available end of June:

'Advanced Micro Devices Inc. is angling to lower the cost of virtual reality, targeting the field with a new line of graphics hardware priced at $199—half or less the cost of comparable products.

AMD said the first chips based on its new Polaris design are expected to arrive in graphics cards for personal computers at the end of June. The company aims to help push the starting cost of PCs that can deliver VR experiences as low as $799 from above $1,000.'"

The report lists the high-end Polaris card as the "RX 480", which would be a departure from the recent nomenclature (R9 290X, R9 390X). Pricing such a card this aggressively not only creates what one would hope to be an incredible price/performance ratio, but is likely an answer to NVIDIA's GTX 1080/1070 - especially considering NVIDIA's new GTX 1070 is as fast as a GTX 980 Ti.

Is the Radeon RX 480 really the top end card, or a lower-cost variant? Will there be a 490, or 490X? This report certainly doesn't answer any questions, but the possibility of a powerful new GPU for $199 is very appealing.

Source: VideoCardz

Check out what EVGA has in store for you

Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2016 - 11:22 PM |
Tagged: supernova, SLI HB, gtx 1080 FTW, GTX 1080 classified, gtx 1070 SC, evga, Dawn, computex 2016, 850GS, 1000GX

Earlier in the week you saw a sneak peek at EVGA's GTX 1080 SC and now we can confirm there will indeed be a GTX 1070 version, bearing the same custom ACX 3.0 cooler which Al proved to be an improvement over the Founders Edition, especially when you consider the price to performance equation.

1070SC.jpg

That is not the only new card announced, there is also a brand new GTX 1080 Classified with the ACX 3.0 cooler, the specific overclock is not yet known but you can bet it should be more a handful of megahertz more than the base.  We know that this card will have 14 power phases, full RGB LEDs and those ACX fans are 10cm in size.

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The more curious of you might have noticed there is something odd about the back end of the card and the location of the PCIe power plugs and you are absolutely right.  The EVGA Power Link adapter can be plugged into any card to move the position of the power plugs to give you better cable management abilities.  It also sports an LED light on one side, as you can see in the picture of the GTX 1080 Classified card.

poweradapter.jpg

To round out the usual suspects, here you can see the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Edition with some fancy LEDs.  Those lights match the CPU waterblock in evidence just above the card, we didn't hear anything official about it but perhaps that is yet another thing to look forward to in the coming year.

FTW.jpg

Speaking of adapters, here you can see EVGA's custom SLI HB bridges in three different sizes, especially of importance to those who plan on using a code to enable more than two Pascal cards to run in SLI.  They will connect the cards at up to 650MHz and will sport LEDs which can be toggled between red, green, blue or white via a switch on the bridge.

slihub.jpg

Next up is an EVGA Gaming chassis bearing the names DG-87 and Dawn, hinting that there may be more than model arriving in the near future.  As you can see in the picture the front panel, up to and including the power and reset buttons, has been moved to the side.  USB including a Type-C plug, HMDI and audio are all available at the sides as well as a LCD which can display the speeds of two of your fans, as well as allowing you control over their speeds.  You can also set it to display a temperature, although it is unlikely you can reduce it the same way you can your fan speed.  The case also obviously handles watercooling setups as stylishly as Jacob sports those jeans.

dawn.jpg

Along with the case comes two new PSUs, the successors to the G2 models.  The EVGA Supernova 1000GX not only provides 1000W of 80 PLUS Gold power, it will also the smallest kilowatt class PSU available at launch.  It looks to have single 12V rail which will provide up to 999.6W @ 83.3A.

1000GX.jpg

If that is a little more power than you need the Supernova 850GL might be more to your taste.  It is also 80 PLUS Gold and fully modular, with up to 849.6W @ 70.8A, which should handle all but the most extreme GPU setups.  That picture also shows off the certain glow your system will feel when powered by one of these PSUs.

850gl.jpg

With all these lights and features it would be a shame to have boring PSU cables, now wouldn't it?  That is why EVGA is also releasing PSU cables in a wide variety of colours.  The ones shown below are only a small sampling of what you can choose from, more will be available from EVGA once they launch.

psu cables.jpg

That is all from EVGA so far but stay tuned for more from Computex here at PC Perspective!

Source:

Patriot at Computex, a new SODIMM and SSD

Subject: Memory, Storage, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2016 - 08:19 PM |
Tagged: patriot, sodimm, viper ddr4, spark, ssd

Patriot unveiled the Viper DDR4 SODIMM series, with frequencies ranging from 2400MHz to 2800MHz in both single and dual kits.  Available in 8GB and 16GB capacities the prices start at $34.99U for a single 2400HMz 8GB SODIMM to $169.99US for dual 16GB DDR4-2800MHz kit.

viper.jpg

They also announced a new series of SSDs called Spark which use the Phison S11 controller and TLC NAND.  They will be available in Q3 and come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities with prices of $34.99, $56.99 and $104.99US respectively.

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You can read more below the fold.

Source: Patriot

Samsung Crams Entire 512GB NVMe SSD Into Single BGA Chip Package

Subject: Storage | May 31, 2016 - 07:38 PM |
Tagged: TurboWrite, Samsung, PM971-NVMe, BGA, 512GB, 48-layer, 32GB, 256Gbit

Have you ever checked out one of those laptops with the soldered-on eMMC SSD, where the manufacturer was basically checking the 'SSD' box for forgetting the 'Performance' box entirely? What if I told you that it was possible to fit an entire PCIe NVMe SSD with performance comparable to a 950 Pro into a package similar to those eMMC parts?

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Source: Samsung
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Broadwell-E Platform

It has been nearly two years since the release of the Haswell-E platform, which began with the launch of the Core i7-5960X processor. Back then, the introduction of an 8-core consumer processor was the primary selling point; along with the new X99 chipset and DDR4 memory support. At the time, I heralded the processor as “easily the fastest consumer processor we have ever had in our hands” and “nearly impossible to beat.” So what has changed over the course of 24 months?

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Today Intel is launching Broadwell-E, the follow up to Haswell-E, and things look very much the same as they did before. There are definitely a couple of changes worth noting and discussing, including the move to a 10-core processor option as well as Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, which is significantly more interesting than its marketing name implies. Intel is sticking with the X99 platform (good for users that might want to upgrade), though the cost of these new processors is more than slightly disappointing based on trends elsewhere in the market.

This review of the new Core i7-6950X 10-core Broadwell-E processor is going to be quick, and to the point: what changes, what is the performance, how does it overclock, and what will it cost you?

Go.

Continue reading our review of the new Core i7-6950X 10-core processor!!

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: ARM

New Products for 2017

PC Perspective was invited to Austin, TX on May 11 and 12 to participate in ARM’s yearly tech day.  Also invited were a handful of editors and analysts that cover the PC and mobile markets.  Those folks were all pretty smart, so it is confusing as to why they invited me.  Perhaps word of my unique talent of screenshoting PDFs into near-unreadable JPGs preceded me?  Regardless of the reason, I was treated to two full days of in-depth discussion of the latest generation of CPU and GPU cores, 10nm test chips, and information on new licensing options.

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Today ARM is announcing their next CPU core with the introduction of the Cortex-A73. They are also unwrapping the latest Mali-G71 graphics technology.  Other technologies such as the CCI-550 interconnect are also revealed.  It is a busy and important day for ARM, especially in light of Intel seemingly abandoning the sub-milliwatt mobile market.

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Cortex-A73

ARM previously announced the Cortex-A72 in February, 2015.  Since that time it has been seen in most flagship mobile devices in late 2015 and throughout 2016.  The market continues to evolve, and as such the workloads and form factors have pushed ARM to continue to develop and improve their CPU technology.

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The Sofia Antipolis, France design group is behind the new A73.  The previous several core architectures had been developed by the Cambridge group.  As such, the new design differs quite dramatically from the previous A72.  I was actually somewhat taken aback by the differences in the design philosophy of the two groups and the changes between the A72 and A73, but the generational jumps we have seen in the past make a bit more sense to me.

The marketplace is constantly changing when it comes to workloads and form factors.  More and more complex applications are being ported to mobile devices, including hot technologies like AR and VR.  Other technologies include 3D/360 degree video, greater than 20 MP cameras, and 4K/8K displays and their video playback formats.  Form factors on the other hand have continued to decrease in size, especially in overall height.  We have relatively large screens on most premium devices, but the designers have continued to make these phones thinner and thinner throughout the years.  This has put a lot of pressure on ARM and their partners to increase performance while keeping TDPs in check, and even reducing them so they more adequately fit in the TDP envelope of these extremely thin devices.

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Click here to continue reading about ARM's Tech Day 2016!

Pascal on a budget, GTX 1070 reviews for your perusal

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2016 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: geforce, GP104, gtx 1070, nvidia, pascal

If we missed your favourite game, synthetic benchmark or a specific competitors card in our review of the new GTX 1070 then perhaps one of the sites below might satisfy your cravings.   For instance, if it is Ashes of the Singularity or The Division which you want to see benchmarked the [H]ard|OCP has you covered.  They also had a go at overclocking, with the new software they tweaked the card's fan speed to 100%, power target at 112%, and GPU Offset overclocking at +230.  That resulted in a peak GPU speed of 2113MHz although the averaged frequency over a 30 minute gaming session was 2052MHz, they will revisit the card to overclock the memory in the near future.  Check out their full review here.

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"The second video card in the NVIDIA next generation Pascal GPU architecture is finally here, we will explore the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card. In this limited preview today we will look at performance in comparison to GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some preview overclocking."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Phanteks Glacier G1080 Water Block

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 30, 2016 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: G1080, phanteks, computex 2016

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Walnut, California, May, 30 th , 2016 - Phanteks a leader in thermal cooling, is excited to launch their very first water block designed for the new Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition. The G1080 is made from premium materials and finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks.

From military standard Viton O-ring to the RGB LED lighting, all of our exceptionally high-quality materials are carefully selected. The water block features a nickel-plated copper cold plate, acrylic top and sandblasted cover plates for an elegant look.

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The G1080 uses military class Viton O-ring compared to silicone O-rings used by other manufacturers, well known for its excellent heat resistance and its durability. The G1080 also features RGB LED lighting that can sync with Phanteks cases that supports RGB lighting or motherboards’ RGB software by using our Phanteks RGB adapter.

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Available at most local retailers - MSRP: $129.99 / €129,90 / £99.99 (VAT included)

Source: Phanteks

RIOTORO Unveils New PC Gaming Hardware Lines at Computex 2016

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 30, 2016 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: uruz, riotoro, onyx, ghostwriter, enigma, computex 2016, bifrost

Riotoro is a relatively recent arrival to the market, formed in 2014 by several former employees of Corsair and NVIDIA.  They have released a new watercooler, keyboard, mouse and a pair of PSUs, hopefully we will soon get our hands on some products to test their abilities.

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Computex 2016, Taipei — May 31, 2016 — California based RIOTORO ® today announced they are expanding their PC hardware line with the addition of three new categories – gaming keyboards, PC power supplies, and liquid CPU coolers – to the company’s existing lines of PC case, mouse, and fans.

The expanded lineup will give PC gaming enthusiasts a comprehensive range of products to build and customize their high-performance dream PC.

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RIOTORO Ghostwriter Gaming Keyboards
RIOTORO is debuting prototypes of its two new Ghostwriter gaming keyboards at Computex — one with mechanical switches and one with membrane keys. Both models feature a unique and aggressive “stealth” exterior that reflects the serious game-tuned precision and performance of the new keyboards.

RIOTORO’s flagship, the Ghostwriter RGB mechanical keyboard, is built with proven Kailh brown switches and features 16.8 million color per key animated backlighting programmable via keyboard controls or with included software. The Ghostwriter standard gaming keyboard is based on traditional membrane keys and features static 8 color backlighting. Both models include USB pass-through, full n-key rollover, 1 millisecond response time, dedicated media keys and volume roller.

Ghostwriter RGB Mechanical Keyboard

  • Quiet, tactile mechanical brown Kailh switches \
  • 16.8 million color RGB lighting per-key with animated effects programmable via keyboard and software
  • Brushed aluminum faceplate
  • Easy access media controls and volume roller
  • USB pass-through
  • Braided cord
  • Detachable magnetic wrist rest
  • Available 2H 2016, price to-be- announced at launch

Ghostwriter Standard Keyboard

  • Membrane keys
  • Global backlighting customizable to any of 8 colors
  • Easy access media controls and volume roller
  • Detachable magnetic wrist rest
  • Available 2H 2016, price to-be- announced at launch

RIOTORO Uruz V2 Gaming Mouse
The latest evolution of RIOTORO’s bestselling mouse, the Uruz V2 optical gaming mouse has been reforged with improved styling and build quality with an upgraded polymer shell, aluminum scroll wheel, and low-resistance cord.

Uruz V2 Optical Gaming Mouse

  • 4000 DPI optical sensor with on-the- fly DPI adjustment
  • 16.8 million color RGB lighting
  • 6 programmable buttons
  • Aluminum scroll wheel
  • 1000Hz poll rate
  • Ultra-durable soft-touch coating
  • Available Q3 2016 Suggested retail price: $39.99

RIOTORO Onyx and Enigma PC Power Supplies
Developed in partnership with leading power supply maker Great Wall, RIOTORO’s Onyx and Enigma are based on a new platform designed to hit the sweet spot for practical real-world performance, reliability, and price. The Onyx line 80 PLUS Bronze PSUs are available in 450, 650, and 750 watt capacities, and the Engima 80 PLUS Gold is available in 850 watt. For maximum efficiency and safety the PSUs are fully 80 Plus certified and feature over voltage, under voltage, over current, over power, and short circuit protections.

Onyx ATX Power Supplies

  • 80 PLUS Bronze certified efficiency
  • 450, 650, and 750 watt
  • Semi-modular cable system
  • 100% Japanese primary capacitors
  • Rifle bearing fan
  • Warranty 3 years
  • Available Q3 2016 Price to-be- announced at launch

Enigma ATX Power Supplies

  • 80 PLUS Gold certified efficiency
  • 750 watt Semi-modular cable system
  • 100% Japanese primary capacitors
  • Hydro bearing fan
  • Warranty 5 years
  • Available Q3 2016 Price to-be- announced at launch

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RIOTORO Bifröst Liquid CPU Coolers
Available in 120mm and 240mm versions, the RIOTORO Bifröst all-in- one liquid CPU coolers combine top enthusiast-class CPU cooling performance with an easy-to- install mounting system and wallet-friendly price point.

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Bifröst 240

  • 240mm radiator deliver enhanced heat dissipation
  • Dual 120mm RIOTORO static pressure PWM fans for efficient cooling and low noise
  • New generation copper cold plate for improved heat transfer from CPU to water block
  • Long, flexible braided tubing for easy installation
  • Simple tool-free mounting bracket for quick and easy installation
  • 5-year warranty
  • Suggested retail price: $99.99 USD

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Bifröst 120

  • 120mm 45mm thick radiator for high efficiency cooling in nearly any PC case size
  • 120mm RIOTORO static pressure PWM fans for efficient cooling and low noise
  • New generation copper cold plate for improved heat transfer from CPU to water block
  • Long, flexible braided tubing for easy installation
  • Simple tool-free mounting bracket for quick and easy installation
  • 5-year warranty
  • Suggested retail price: $84.99 USD

Source: Riotoro

ASUS Announces Zenfone 3 Smartphone Family

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2016 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: zenfone 3, snapdragon 820, Snapdragon 625, smartphone, ips, computex 2016, computex, asus, Android, AMOLED

The Zenfone 3 family has been officially announced, and ASUS has provided all of the details of these new Android smartphones from Computex 2016.

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The Zenfone 3 family is comprised of three phones; the Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and the massive Zenfone 3 Ultra. The first of these is the standard Zenfone 3, which replaces the Zenfone 2 not only in number, but architecture. While the previous version was powered by an Intel SoC, this new Zenfone contains a conventional ARM-based SoC; the Snapdragon 625.

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A 5.5-inch device with a FHD (1920x1080) IPS display protected by Gorilla Glass 4, the 7.69 mm thick Zenfone 3 also boasts a 16MP “PixelMaster” camera with OIS and “ultra-fast 0.03s instant focus” for clear photos. Other features include a sizable 4GB of RAM, a “5-magnet” speaker design and 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio support, and a 3000 mAh battery. The phone uses USB Type-C connectivity, and arrives with Android 6.0 with ZenUI 3.0.

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Moving to the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, this higher-end model offers a slightly larger 5.7” FHD AMOLED display (rather than IPS), and adds Quick Charge 3.0 for the 3000 mAh, and USB 3.0 speed to the Type-C connector. The SoC powering the Deluxe is the biggest upgrade over the standard Zenfone 3, with the powerful Snapdragon 820 replacing the base model’s Snapdragon 625.

If you enjoy a more tablet-like experience, the 6.8-inch (!) Zenfone 3 Ultra might be for you!

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While still FHD at this tablet-like size, the rear camera on the Ultra is a big upgrade, with a 23MP PixelMaster Camera (via the Sony IMX318 sensor). The battery is also a big upgrade over the smaller phones, as the larger chassis allows a 4600 mAh capacity. The big question (pun intended) becomes, will people want to use a 6.8-inch smartphone? To which the answer must be, no, we will hold out for the 7+ inch phones! (Or not.)

As to pricing, the Zenfone 3 is nearly as aggressive as the previous version, with an MSRP of $249. The Deluxe version is priced much more like premium handset at $499, and the Ultra is just behind it at $479. Availablity has not been announced.

Source: ASUS

CORSAIR Debuts 'Build It Better' at Computex 2016

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Memory, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 05:46 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Vengeance LED, Dominator Platinum SE, ML PRO, ML PRO LED, 400C, bulldog, laptop

As the specifications are sparse as of yet, we will let Corsair tell you about their products in their own words.  Start off looking at this fancy setup and carry on through new fans, DIMMs and SFF systems built with VR in mind.

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Build it Brighter - Faster, Brighter, Better DRAM
The heart of the CORSAIR Product range, Computex 2016 sees the first showing of two new ranges of high-performance DDR4 memory – CORSAIR Vengeance LED and CORSAIR Dominator Platinum Special Edition. Vengeance LED brings integrated lighting and an aggressively styled new heat-spreader design to the award-winning CORSAIR Vengeance range of XMP 2.0 certified DDR4, allowing enthusiasts to light up their system with vibrant LED lighting in either red or white. Vengeance LED will also be the fastest CORSAIR DDR4 memory kit ever, with specially selected Samsung ICs driving kits to 4,333MHz and beyond.

Dominator Platinum Special Edition takes premium DDR4 to the next level, adding two unique finishes to CORSAIR Dominator Platinum’s unmistakable industrial design and aluminum finish. Shown in both Blackout brushed aluminum and dazzling Chrome finishes, Dominator Platinum Special Edition is built using top bin Samsung ICs, rigorously tested to ensure ample overclocking headroom on X99 and 100 Series platforms. The result is stunning memory that offers both premium looks and premium DDR4 performance.

Vengeance LED and Dominator Platinum Special Edition will launch in Q3.

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Build it Cooler - A Revolutionary New Range of Magnetic Levitation Technology Fans
CORSAIR’s range of cooling fans have long been favourites of enthusiasts, matching performance with low noise and a wide choice of customisation options. The new CORSAIR ML PRO and ML PRO LED are much more than just a new range of fans – they include an entirely different kind of bearing that will change what enthusiasts expect from a high-performance cooling fan.

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Harnessing patented Magnetic Levitation bearing technology and custom rotor designs, CORSAIR ML PRO fans offer both high static pressure and high air flow, with an ultra-low friction magnetic bearing that simultaneously generates lower noise and provides higher performance. Offered exclusively with PWM speed control over a huge 2,000 RPM range, CORSAIR ML PRO fans mean users don’t have to choose between low-noise and high airflow; one fan can deliver both silence and absolute performance. Customisable with swappable, color co-ordinated corners and available in both 120mm and 140mm models, the ML PRO series is also available in ML PRO LED versions, adding integrated lighting into the fan’s hub, radiating light out through the frosted translucent blades for a vivid, striking look.

The CORSAIR ML PRO and ML PRO LED range of fans will launch in Q3.

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Build it Faster – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 comes to CORSAIR with MSI
A modern gaming PC is nothing without a powerhouse of a graphics card, and CORSAIR is proud to once again partner with MSI in the development of its Hydro GFX GeForce GTX 1080. Featuring an integrated closed-loop CORSAIR liquid cooler and PCB design by MSI, the Hydro GFX pushes the GTX 1080 to the limit thanks to its greatly increased GPU core cooling capacity, allowing the GPU to reach higher boost clock frequencies for longer. The result is a quieter, cooler, faster GeForce GTX 1080 right out of the box, ready to conquer even the most demanding of modern games and settings with ease.

The Hydro GFX GeForce GTX 1080 will launch in Q3.

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Build it Your Way - 400C Gets a Clean New Look
Building a high-end PC is all about building it your way – your style, your choice of parts, your color. That’s why CORSAIR is bringing a new look to the multi-award winning Carbide 400C Case, the Carbide 400C White. Retaining everything that made the 400C a huge hit with enthusiasts when launched in January 2016, including a stunning full size windowed side panel, minimalist, drive-bay-free front panel and integrated PSU cover, the 400C White swaps ends of the color spectrum for a clean, cool new look.

The CORSAIR Carbide 400C White will launch in June 2016

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Build it in the Living Room – BULLDOG and LAPDOG go VR
Celebrating the launch of the CORSAIR BULLDOG and LAPDOG last week, CORSAIR will also be showing the latest application for its living room gaming system and control center, Virtual Reality. By combining the performance of the liquid-cooled, living room friendly BULLDOG system, couch-comfortable LAPDOG and the latest in VR technology from Oculus and HTC, Gamers can experience all that VR has to offer, right from the comfort of their chair.

Here is the Laptop in action.

Followed up by the Bulldog

Source: Corsair

ECS launches brand new LEET GAMING motherboard & LIVA mini PC

Subject: Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: ECS, leet gaming, liva pro, Z170-LIGHTSABER, computex 2016

It must have been quite a fight for ECS to be able to call their new motherboard the Z170-LIGHTSABER but that is exactly what they have done.  The motherboard features the usual lineup of Z170 features, three 16x PCIe 3.0 slots with an additional 1x, 7.1 sound from an onboard ALC1150 codec and an OPAMP, a pair of USB 3.1 ports along with over a dozen legacy USB ports and support for an M.2 drive.  In addtion higher end Nichicon caps were used, there is an E2400 Killer NIC onboard and seven colour LEDs to make it shine.  They also discuss a brand new USB power supply for use with devices that draw a lot of power, it will be interesting to see if this has the impact on VR devices they imply.

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They have also announced the new LIVA Pro based on the new SFX motherboard standard.  The brochure has a good example of what this new form factor is and how it compares to others.

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The LIVA Pro will support any 6th generation Skylake Intel processor with a TDP of 65W or less and a pair DDR4 SO-DIMMs of up to 32GB.  Internal storage is handled by an M.2 drive and the 1.3L case has an external 2.5" drive dock built into it for additional storage.  For external interfaces you have a USB 3.0 Type C port, three USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0, HDMI and DisplayPort.  There is a second M.2 port which is populated by a WiFi/Bluetooth combo card.

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Click on through to read the PR.

Source: ECS

ASUS Avalon concept PC merges desktops and DIY with cable-free mindset

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: crazy people, concept, computex 2016, computex, avalon, asus

If you expected Computex to be bland and stale this year, ASUS has something that is going to change your mind. During the company's Republic of Gamers press conference, it revealed a concept PC design it has been working on dubbed Avalon. The goal of this project was to improve on the fundamental design of the PC; something that hasn't changed for decades. ASUS wanted to show that you could build a platform that would allow DIY machines to be "more modular, easier to build, and more tightly integrated."

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The result is a proof of concept design that looks more like a high end turntable than a PC. In reality, you are looking at a machine that has been totally redesigned, from the power supply to motherboard and case integration to cooling considerations and more. ASUS has posted a great story that goes into a lot of detail on Avalon, and it's clear this is a project the team has been working on for some time.

The brainchild of Jonathan Chu, the Avalon concept takes a notebook-like approach to desktop design. The motherboard is designed in conjunction with the chassis to enable more seamless cooperation between the two.

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The first example of changes to Avalon is something as simple as the front panel connectors on a case. Connecting them to your motherboard is the same today, basically, as it has ever been. But if you are the manufacturer or designer of both the chassis and the motherboard itself, it is trivial to have the buttons, lights and even additional capabilities built into a specific location on the PCB that matches with access points on the case. 

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Re-thinking the rear IO panel was another target: making it modular and connected to the system via PCI Express means you can swap connectivity options based on the user's needs. Multiple Gigabit NICs a requirement? Done. Maximum USB capability? Sure. Even better, by making the back panel IO a connected device, it can host storage and sound controllers on its own, allowing for improved audio solutions and flexible data configurations. 

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ASUS even worked in a prototype power supply that is based on the SFX form factor but that uses a server-style edge connector, removing wires from the equation. It then becomes the motherboard's responsibility to distribute power through the other components; which again is easy to work through if you are designing these things in tandem. Installing or swapping a power supply becomes as simple as pulling out a drive tray.

This is all made possible by an internal structure that looks like this:

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Rethinking how a motherboard is built, how it connects to the outside world and to other components, means that ASUS was able to adjust and change just about everything. The only area that remains the same is for the discrete graphics card. These tend to draw too much power to use any kind of edge connector (though the ASUS story linked above says they are working on a solution) and thus you see short run cables from a break out on the motherboard to the standard ROG graphics card.

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The ASUS EdgeUp story has some more images and details and I would encourage you to check it out if you find this topic compelling; I know I do. There are no prices, no release dates, no plans for sampling yet. ASUS has built a prototype that is "right on the edge of what’s possible" and they are looking for feedback from the community to see what direction they should go next.

Will the DIY PC in 2020 be a completely different thing than we build today? It seems ASUS is asking the same question.

Source: ASUS EdgeUp

Computex 2016: ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10: Extreme-performance gaming motherboard

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 11:18 AM |
Tagged: ROG, rampage v edition 10, computex 2016, computex, asus

In celebration of 10 years of ASUS ROG motherboards, the company today revealed the new Rampage V Edition 10, an X99 motherboard targeting the release of the Intel Broadwell-E processors that are also set to be announced this week at Computex. This new board has basically every feature and capability an ROG product and buyer could ask for, including more LED and LED control than I know what to do with.

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Some more detail from the ASUS press release:

The Rampage V Edition 10 is a celebratory refresh of ROG’s flagship extreme-performance motherboard designed to let gamers and overclockers break every limit.

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Based on the Intel® X99 chipset, the new motherboard sets new industry standards. It features the ultimate RGB lighting scheme with five independently-controlled onboard LED areas plus one 4-pin 5050 RGB header, and all can be synchronized by the all-new Aura software for stunning aesthetics. ROG has also teamed up with well-known RGB strip-makers and case manufacturers, including CableMod, IN WIN, Deepcool, BitFenix, and Phanteks — helping simplify RGB lighting compatibility and control.

The new motherboard is equipped with multiple ASUS exclusive features to aid extreme overclockers. These include Extreme Engine Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) for the cleanest, smoothest power, ASUS-exclusive T-topology technology for maxed-out DDR4 performance, and 5-Way Optimization for easy overclocking and fan tuning with one click.

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The Rampage V Edition 10 also includes multiple technologies to deliver the best gaming experience. The included SupremeFX Hi-Fi audio amplifier ensures flawless audio, dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet and GameFirst combine forces for low-latency networking, and ASUS Safe Slot reinforcement for PCIe connectors to prevent damage from heavy graphics cards. The new board introduces a patent-pending integrated I/O shield for style, easier construction, and enhanced durability.  There’s also a slew of onboard storage and connectivity options, including U.2, M.2, USB 3.1, and 3x3 Wi-Fi.

According to a post on an ASUS sub-site, the board will retail for $599 and should be on the market very soon!

Computex 2016: ASUS Announces ROG Swift PG248Q 180Hz G-Sync Monitor

Subject: Displays | May 30, 2016 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: computex, asus, ROG, swift, pg248q

During the company's Republic of Gamers event at Computex 2016, ASUS officially announced the release of the ROG Swift PG248Q monitor. Though we have seen it teased previously, today's information release has some interesting new details.

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Based on a 24-inch 1920x1080 TN panel, the PG248Q was specifically built for gamers that desire a smaller display, to avoid being forced to move their head to find a specific target. The idea here is that eSports players, and those aspiring, need to have the entire monitor in their field of view at all times. 

The small size and 1080p resolution don't mean the display is devoid of impressive features though. It is a G-Sync monitor, so gamers can enjoy tear-free, smooth gaming with GeForce graphics cards as well as a 180Hz refresh rate! Add to that combination a rated response time of 1ms (grey to grey) and you have an incredibly high performance gaming panel.

The PG248Q will be the official display of some impressive gaming events including the ESL One 2016 and The International 2016, so I expect ASUS to have a ground swell of interest in this model.

No specifics on pricing or availability quite yet, but I've put in the requests accordingly.

Source: ASUS
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GP104 Strikes Again

It’s only been three weeks since NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 graphics cards at a live streaming event in Austin, TX. But it feels like those two GPUs, one of which hasn't even been reviewed until today, have already drastically shifted the landscape of graphics, VR and PC gaming.

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Half of the “new GPU” stories are told, with AMD due to follow up soon with Polaris, but it was clear to anyone watching the enthusiast segment with a hint of history that a line was drawn in the sand that day. There is THEN, and there is NOW. Today’s detailed review of the GeForce GTX 1070 completes NVIDIA’s first wave of NOW products, following closely behind the GeForce GTX 1080.

Interestingly, and in a move that is very uncharacteristic of NVIDIA, detailed specifications of the GeForce GTX 1070 were released on GeForce.com well before today’s reviews. With information on the CUDA core count, clock speeds, and memory bandwidth it was possible to get a solid sense of where the GTX 1070 performed; and I imagine that many of you already did the napkin math to figure that out. There is no more guessing though - reviews and testing are all done, and I think you'll find that the GTX 1070 is as exciting, if not more so, than the GTX 1080 due to the performance and pricing combination that it provides.

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX  1070 8GB Founders Edition!!

MSI Announces Four Custom GTX 1080s (Six SKUs)

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 29, 2016 - 09:46 PM |
Tagged: msi, GTX 1080, sea hawk, gaming x, armor, Aero, nvidia

Beyond the Founders Edition, MSI has prepared six SKUs of the GTX 1080. These consists of four variants, two of which have an overclocked counterpart to make up the remaining two products. The product stack seems quite interesting, with a steady progression of user needs, but we'll need to wait for price and availability to know for sure.

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We'll start at the bottom with the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AERO 8G and MSI GeForce GTX 1080 AERO 8G OC. These are your typical blower designs that pull air in from within the case, and exhausts it out the back after collecting a bunch of heat from the GPU. It will work, it should be one of the cheapest options for this card, and it will keep the GTX 1080's heat outside of the case. It has a little silver accent on it, too. The non-overclocked version is the standard 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz that NVIDIA advertises, and the OC SKU is a little higher: 1632 MHz / 1771 MHz.

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Next up the product stack are the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G and MSI GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G OC versions. This uses MSI's aftermarket, two-fan cooler that should provide much lower temperatures than AERO, but they exhaust back into the case. Personally? I don't really care about that. The only other thing that heats up in my case, to any concerning level at least, is my CPU, and I recently switched that to a closed-loop water cooler anyway. MSI added an extra, six-pin power connector to these cards (totaling 8-pin + 6-pin + slot power = up-to 300W, versus 8-pin + slot power's 225W). The non-overclocked version is NVIDIA's base 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz, but OC brings that up to 1657 MHz / 1797 MHz.

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Speaking of closed-loop water coolers... The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 SEA HAWK takes the AERO design, which we mentioned earlier, and puts a Corsair self-contained water cooler inside it, too. Only one SKU of this is available, clocked at 1708 MHz base and 1847 MHz boost, but it should support overclocking fairly easily. That said, unlike other options that add a bonus six-pin connector, the SEA HAWK has just one, eight-pin connector. Good enough for the Founders Edition, but other SKUs (including three of the other cards in this post) suggest that there's a reason to up the power ceiling.

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We now get to MSI's top, air-cooled SKU: the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. This one has their new TWIN FROZR VI, which they claim spins quieter and has fans that drag more air to spin slower than previous models. It, as you would assume from reading about ARMOR 8G, has an extra, six-pin power connector to provide more overclocking headroom. It has three modes: Silent, which clocks the card to the standard 1607 MHz / 1733 MHz levels; Gaming, which significantly raises that to 1683 MHz / 1822 MHz; and OC, which bumps that slightly further to 1708 MHz / 1847 MHz.

Currently, no pricing and availability for any of these.

Source: MSI