Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2014 - 11:31 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: enclosure, computex 2014, computex, cases, bitfenix pandora, bitfenix atlas, bitfenix aegis, bitfenix
Yes, Computex is over - and in its wake we’re still left with a ton of new product announcements. Three of these come from BitFenix, who unveiled new enclosures at their booth in Taipei last week.
The first is the BitFenix Atlas, which has incorporated some interesting design features including what they are calling “swappable chambers” and a “test-mode motherboard tray”. (Could this be an open test-bench feature?)
The design is very interesting (a bit along the lines of the Corsair Carbide Air 540), and the extra width allows for no less than ten 3.5” hard drive bays behind the motherboard tray! The Atlas also has six 2.5” bays for SSDs, and features a full array of dust filters and nifty RGB lighting.
Next we’ll look at the Aegis, a sleek minitower enclosure.
The Aegis supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards and features water cooling support and a built in fan controller. In addition to 240/280mm radiator support on the top, the Aegis also boasts 360mm radiator support up front.
Finally we have the Pandora, which in addition to streaming music (as I’ve been informed) is also apparently a PC case that looks like part of a stormtrooper’s armor.
Besides protecting imperial troops from rebel attacks, the Pandora offers a stylish take on a mini-ITX tower design and offers support for full-size ATX power supplies and (presumably) liquid cooling via two pairs of 120mm fan mounts.
No specifics on pricing or availability from BitFenix on these three new enclosures just yet, but expect them this year as they are part of the 2014 BitFenix catalog.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 8, 2014 - 10:58 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, SFX PSU, PSU, Fortress, computex 2014, computex, atx case, aluminum case, 1500W PSU
Computex may be over but SilverStone had enough new product announcements to last us for a while! Among the many offerings there were a number of highlights, including new enclosures and power supplies. We'll check out a few of the new PSUs here.
The first is a new 1500-watt PSU with a smaller size.
ST1500-GS 1500W 180mm ATX PSU
At 180mm deep the most powerful Strider Gold S-series PSU isn't small, but compared to other 1500-watt options (including SilverStone's ST1500 at 220mm) the shorter depth promises some additional chassis options for a high-power build. The ST1500-GS is fully modular and also features all flat cabling.
New SFX Options!
The smallest PSUs in the SilverStone lineup also have new models, with two new SFX power supplies for mini-ITX builds. The first is a more powerful version of the popular 450-watt ST45SF-G, now in a 600-watt flavor in the SX600-G.
SX600-G SFX PSU
Next we have the SX500-LG, and perhaps more exciting to mini-ITX enthusiasts the new 500-watt option in the SFX lineup features a 120mm fan!
SX500-LG "SFX-L" PSU with 120mm fan
The SX500-LG's 120mm "ultra-quiet" fan adds a bit to the depth of the PSU, which is 130mm compared to the 100mm of the ST45SF-G and SX600-G, and it is classified as an "SFX-L" form factor - with only the length being non-standard for SFX. This new fan implementation should really help reduce some additional load noise from a small high-powered system. Both of the announced additions to the SFX family will also feature all flat cabling this time.
There are new models across all of SilverStone's lineup coming up, so stay tuned. No pricing or availablity just yet, but there's a lot to look forward to from SilverStone this year in the cases and cooling department!
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2014 - 07:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, roccat, tyon
So this mouse has many buttons. It even has not-buttons. The ROCCAT Tyon has 31 user-customizable functions mapped over 16 buttons. The "Tyon Xcelerator", near its thumb buttons, is an analog switch designed for functions such as throttle or vertical movement. The "Dorsal Fin" is a switch that tilts left and right, like a tilt wheel, except that it also has a tilting mouse wheel.
I guess you can never have too many tilt functions.
Yo Cat, Heard You Like Buttons...
In short, ROCCAT has basically put as many functions on that mouse as they believe comfortable. Personally, I think the "Xcelerator" could be quite useful for games, like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 with its UAV, where you need to move in three dimensions and rotate in two dimensions, at the same time. That just leaves about 30 other functions to think about.
The ROCCAT Tyon is "coming soon" for 99.99 Euros (~$136 USD).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 5, 2014 - 07:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, gaming keyboard, cooler master, computex 2014, computex, cherry mx red, 80 Plus Titanium, 1200W PSU
Cooler Master has been showing off a number of new products at Computex this year, and among the new announcments are a hybrid-switch keyboard and ultra-efficient (and ultra powerful) power supply.
NovaTouch TKL Hybrid Switch Keyboard
First up is the NovaTouch TKL mechanical keyboard, which Cooler Master has outfitted with their exclusive Hybrid Capacitive switches. Cooler Master claims these are "exceptionally quiet and suitable for heavy-duty typing or gaming," and the NovaTouch TKL offers support for Cherry MX switches (though it was not clear if they will be offering it with that option upon release). Another area of interest: the NovaTouch TKL has both a standard USB and microUSB connector!
Hmm... microUSB connector, eh?
Next we have a 1200W PSU with 80 PLUS Titanium certification (which you might remember calls for 90%+ efficiency at only 10% load!).
Titanium certification makes power supplies look super awesome
The power supply is Cooler Master's first "foray into digital" PSU design, and there is even a companion app with bluetooth control and monitoring functions. Finally! Now you can while away the afternoon checking and re-checking the efficiency of your PSU from your phone...
Not surprisingly, pricing and availablity are not yet available for these new products.
Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2014 - 02:39 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, podcast, p3700, mx100, intel ssd, gsync, fx-7600p, freesync, corsair, computex 2014, computex, asus, adaptive sync, acer, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #303 - 06/05/2014
Special guest Austin Evans joins us this week to discuss news from Computex 2014, Crucial MX100 SSD, Intel SSD DC P3700, and much more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Maleventano, and Austin Evans
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Computex 2014: Cooler Master Introduces Low-Noise Nepton 120XL, 140XL, 240M, 280L Liquid CPU Coolers
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 5, 2014 - 11:28 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Nepton 240M, Nepton 120XL, liquid cooler, cpu cooler, cooler master, computex 2014, computex, AIO
Cooler Master has announced their revised Nepton self-contained liquid CPU cooler lineup, and the existing models have been renewed with lower-noise designs.
The Nepton 240M
The revised versions seem to be using the the same radiators but employ new improvements in the pump/waterblock, as well as new low-noise fans. Cooler Master says the “Advanced Silent Driver” in the Nepton pumps will offer extremely low vibration levels, providing a120 L/hr flow rate at 11dBA. The units feature a Cooler Master-designed water block with a “large microchannel surface area and a high-efficiency jet impingement system to optimize hotspot cooling performance”.
New waterblock and fan designs
Cooler Master says their manufacturing process “eliminates microchannel imperfections in the waterblock to prevent blockage and allows for an increased surface area over 4 times greater than the competition, resulting in an extremely high performance waterblock.” The Nepton series also uses all-new “Silencio” fans, which Cooler Master claims will offer 11dBA noise levels and air pressure rated at 1.2 mmH2O. The cooling performance of previous Cooler Master self-contained liquid coolers has been dependent on some pretty loud fans, and while the stated 11dbA fan noise is likely based on the lowest PWM fan speed improvements in this area are welcome.
The Nepton 120XL
Cooler Master has not announced pricing or availability of the new Nepton 120XL, 140XL, 240M, or 280L models yet, but we should expect these products later this year.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 4, 2014 - 07:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex 2014, computex, tlc, ssd, Samsung, 845DC EVO
Well that was an alphabet soup of a title.
Samsung has just announced a new line of SSDs, based on three bit per cell (TLC) memory, for enterprise customers. The Samsung 845DC EVO is rated at 530MB/s reads with 87,000 IOPS. The company will also cover up to 600TB of writes under its warranty (no mention of length in years, though). The drive will be available "later this month" in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB models. Samsung did not mention price in their press release, but Anandtech claims the 240GB will be $250, the 480GB will be $490, and the 960GB will be $969.
Samsung's SSDs will give you some TLC???
This is basically $1/GB scaling, plus $10. I must admit, this is getting pricy. In the consumer space, we have recently seen 512GB for $199. That said, SSDs are not known for sticking to their MSRP. Also, these are enterprise-rated drives. Being TLC-based, I wonder how much (if any) SLC-style write cache was included, as per the consumer 840 EVO.
Lastly, Samsung claims that these drives use around 4W under load. This is much lower than hard drives but a little high for SSDs, according to benchmarks that I have seen. That said, there are a few ways to parse that (for example, if they mean that its peak is typically 4W, which would be pretty good for a 960GB drive).
The Samsung 845DC EVO will be available later this month for a little over $1/GB.
Subject: Memory, Storage | June 4, 2014 - 11:15 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ssd, solid state drive, pcie, pci-e ssd, memory, M.2, ddr4, computex 2014, computex, adata, 2tb ssd
ADATA has been showing off some upcoming products at Computex, and it's all about DRAM.
We'll begin with an upcoming line of PCIe Enterprise/Server SSDs powered by the SandForce SF3700-series controller. We've been waiting for products with the SF3700 controller since January, when ADATA showed a prototype board at CES, and ADATA is now showcasing the controller in the "SR1020" series drives.
The first is a 2TB 2.5" drive, but the interface was not announced (and the sample on the floor appeared to be an empty shell). The listed specs are performance up to 1800MB/s and 150K IOPS, with the drive powered by the SF-3739 controller. Support for both AHCI and NVMe is also listed, along with the usual TRIM, NCQ, and SMART support.
Another 2TB SSD was shown with exactly the same specs as the 2.5" version, but this one is built on the M.2 spec. The drive will connect via 4 lanes of Gen 2 PCI Express. Both drives in ADATA's SR1020 PCIe SSD lineup will be available in capacities from 240GB - 2TB, and retail pricing and availability is forthcoming.
Continuing the DRAM theme, ADATA also showed new DDR4 modules in commodity and enthusiast flavors. Both of the registered DIMMs on display (an ultra-low profile DIMM was also shown) had standard DDR4 specs of 2133MHz at 1.2V, but ADATA also showed some performance DDR4 at their booth.
A pair of XPG Z1 DDR4 modules in action
No pricing or availability just yet on these products.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 4, 2014 - 11:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, arm, cavium, thunderx
While much of the news coming from Computex was centered around PC hardware, many of ARMs partners are making waves as well. Take Cavium for example, introducing the ThunderX CN88XX family of processors. With a completely custom ARMv8 architectural core design, the ThunderX processors will range from 24 to 48 cores and are targeted at large volume servers and cloud infrastructure. 48 cores!
The ThunderX family will be the first SoC to scale up to 48 cores and with a clock speed of 2.5 GHz and 16MB of L2 cache, should offer some truly impressive performance levels. Cavium claims to be the first socket-coherent ARM processor as well, using the Cavium Coherent Processor Interconnect. The I/O capacity stretches into the hundreds of Gigabits and quad channel DDR3 and DDR4 memory speeds up to 2.4 GHz keep the processors fed with work.
Here is the breakdown on the ThunderX families.
ThunderX_CP: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, dual socket coherency, multiple 10/40 GbE and high memory bandwidth. This family is optimized for private and public cloud web servers, content delivery, web caching, search and social media workloads.
ThunderX_ST: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, multiple SATAv3 controllers, 10/40 GbE & PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. This family includes hardware accelerators for data protection/ integrity/security, user to user efficient data movement (RoCE) and compressed storage. This family is optimized for Hadoop, block & object storage, distributed file storage and hot/warm/cold storage type workloads.
ThunderX_SC: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric for east-west as well as north-south traffic connectivity. The hardware accelerators include Cavium’s industry leading, 4th generation NITROX and TurboDPI technology with acceleration for IPSec, SSL, Anti-virus, Anti-malware, firewall and DPI. This family is optimized for Secure Web front-end, security appliances and Cloud RAN type workloads.
ThunderX_NT: Up to 48 highly efficient cores along with integrated virtSOC, 10/40/100 GbE connectivity, multiple PCIe Gen3 ports, high memory bandwidth, dual socket coherency, and scalable fabric with feature rich capabilities for bandwidth provisioning , QoS, traffic Shaping and tunnel termination. The hardware accelerators include high packet throughput processing, network virtualization and data monitoring. This family is optimized for media servers, scale-out embedded applications and NFV type workloads.
We spoke with ARM earlier this year about its push into the server market and it is partnerships like these that will begin the ramp up to wide spread adoption of ARM-based server infrastructure. The ThunderX family will begin sampling in early Q4 2014 and production should be available by early 2015.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 4, 2014 - 12:40 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: gsync, g-sync, freesync, DisplayPort, computex 2014, computex, adaptive sync
AMD FreeSync is likely a technology or brand or term that is going to be used a lot between now and the end of 2014. When NVIDIA introduced variable refresh rate monitor technology to the world in October of last year, one of the immediate topics of conversation was the response that AMD was going to have. NVIDIA's G-Sync technology is limited to NVIDIA graphics cards and only a few (actually just one still as I write this) monitors actually have the specialized hardware to support it. In practice though, variable refresh rate monitors fundamentally change the gaming experience for the better.
At CES, AMD went on the offensive and started showing press a hacked up demo of what they called "FreeSync", a similar version of the variable refresh technology working on a laptop. At the time, the notebook was a requirement of the demo because of the way AMD's implementation worked. Mobile displays have previously included variable refresh technologies in order to save power and battery life. AMD found that it could repurpose that technology to emulate the effects that NVIDIA G-Sync creates - a significantly smoother gaming experience without the side effects of Vsync.
Our video preview of NVIDIA G-Sync Technology
Since that January preview, things have progressed for the "FreeSync" technology. Taking the idea to the VESA board responsible for the DisplayPort standard, in April we found out that VESA had adopted the technology and officially and called it Adaptive Sync.
So now what? AMD is at Computex and of course is taking the opportunity to demonstrate a "FreeSync" monitor with the DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive Sync feature at work. Though they aren't talking about what monitor it is or who the manufacturer is, the demo is up and running and functions with frame rates wavering between 40 FPS and 60 FPS - the most crucial range of frame rates that can adversely affect gaming experiences. AMD has a windmill demo running on the system, perfectly suited to showing Vsync enabled (stuttering) and Vsync disabled (tearing) issues with a constantly rotating object. It is very similar to the NVIDIA clock demo used to show off G-Sync.
The demo system is powered by an AMD FX-8350 processor and Radeon R9 290X graphics card. The monitor is running at 2560x1440 and is the very first working prototype of the new standard. Even more interesting, this is a pre-existing display that has had its firmware updated to support Adaptive Sync. That's potentially exciting news! Monitors COULD BE UPGRADED to support this feature, but AMD warns us: "...this does not guarantee that firmware alone can enable the feature, it does reveal that some scalar/LCD combinations are already sufficiently advanced that they can support some degree of DRR (dynamic refresh rate) and the full DPAS (DisplayPort Adaptive Sync) specification through software changes."
The time frame for retail available monitors using DP 1.2a is up in the air but AMD has told us that the end of 2014 is entirely reasonable. Based on the painfully slow release of G-Sync monitors into the market, AMD has less of a time hole to dig out of than we originally thought, which is good. What is not good news though is that this feature isn't going to be supported on the full range of AMD Radeon graphics cards. Only the Radeon R9 290/290X and R7 260/260X (and the R9 295X2 of course) will actually be able to support the "FreeSync" technology. Compare that to NVIDIA's G-Sync: it is supported by NVIDIA's entire GTX 700 and GTX 600 series of cards.
All that aside, seeing the first official prototype of "FreeSync" is awesome and is getting me pretty damn excited about the variable refresh rate technologies once again! Hopefully we'll get some more hands on time (eyes on, whatever) with a panel in the near future to really see how it compares to the experience that NVIDIA G-Sync provides. There is still the chance that the technologies are not directly comparable and some in-depth testing will be required to validate.
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