Sapphire AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB Benchmarked at HEXUS

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2016 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, RX460, rx 460, graphics, gpu, gaming, benchmark, 1080p, 1920x1080, gtx 950, gtx 750 ti

HEXUS has posted their review of Sapphire's AMD Radeon RX 460 Nitro 4GB graphics card, pitting it against the NVIDIA GTX 950 and GTX 750 Ti in a 1920x1080 benchmarking battle.

rx460nitro.jpg

Image credit: HEXUS

"Unlike the two previous AMD GPUs released under the Polaris branding recently, RX 460 is very much a mainstream part that's aimed at buyers who are taking their first real steps into PC gaming. RX 460 uses a distinct, smaller die and is to be priced from £99. As usual, let's fire up the comparison specification table and dissect the latest offering from AMD."

rx460.PNG

Image credit: HEXUS

The results might surprise you, and vary somewhat based on the game selected. Check out the source link for the full review over at HEXUS.

Source: HEXUS

Microsemi Flashtec Controllers Offer PCIe 3.0 x8 NVMe SSDs up to 20TB

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2016 - 10:40 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, solid state drive, PCIe 3.0 x8, PCI-E 3.0, NVMe2032, NVMe2016, NVMe, Microsemi, Flashtec

Microsemi's Flashtec NVMe SSD controllers are now in production, and as Computer Base reports (Google-translated version of the page available here) these controllers use twice as many PCIe lanes than current offerings with a x8 PCI-E 3.0 connection, and can support up to 20 TB of flash capacity.

flashtec.jpg

Image credit: Computer Base

"The NVMe controller destined for the professional high-performance segment and work with PCIe 3.0 x8 or two x4 PCIe 3.0. The NVMe2032 has 32 memory channels (and) NVMe2016 (has) 16. When using 256-Gbit flash SSDs can be implemented with up to 20 terabytes of storage."

The 32-channel NVMe2032 boasts up to 1 million IOPS in 4K random read performance, and the controller supports DDR4 memory for faster cache performance. The announcement of the availability of these chips comes just before the start of Flash Memory Summit, which our own Allyn Malventano will be attending. Stay tuned for more flashy SSD news to come!

Sapphire's Custom Cooled Nitro+ RX 470 Available Now

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 6, 2016 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 470, polaris 10, dual x, amd

Following the official launch of AMD's Radeon RX 470 GPU, Sapphire has unleashed its own custom graphics card with the Nitro+ RX 470 in 4GB and 8GB factory overclocked versions. Surprisingly, the new cards are up for purchase now at various retailers at $210 for the 4GB model and $240 for the 8GB model (more on that in a bit).

The new Nitro+ RX 470 uses the same board and cooler design as the previously announced Nitro+ RX 480 which is a good thing both for Sapphire (less R&D cost) and for consumers as they get a rather beefy cooler that should allow them to push the RX 470 clocks quite a bit. The card uses the same Dual X cooler with two 95mm quick connect fans, three nickel plated copper heatpipes, and an aluminum fin stack. The card features the same black fan shroud and black and silver colored backplate. Out of the box this cooler should keep the RX 470 GPU running cooler and quieter than the RX 480, but it should also enable users to get higher clocks out of the smaller GPU (less cores means less heat and more overclocking headroom assuming you get a good chip from the silicon lottery).

Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470.jpg

Sapphire is using Black Diamond 4 chokes and a 4+1 power phase design that is driven by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector (and up to 75W from the motherboard slot). This mirrors the design of its RX 480 sibling.

Display outputs include a single DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and two DisplayPort 1.4 ports.

The chart below outlines the comparison between the Nitro+ RX 470 cards, RX 470 reference specifications, and the RX 480.

 

Nitro+ RX 470 4GB

Nitro+ RX 470 8GB RX 470 Reference RX 480
Stream Processors 2048 2048 2048 2304
Compute Units 32 32 32 36
TMUs 128 128 128 144
ROPs 32 32 32 32
GPU Clock (Base) 1143 MHz 1121 MHz 926 MHz 1120 MHz
GPU Clock (Boost) 1260 MHz 1260 MHz 1206 MHz 1266 MHz
Memory 4GB GDDR5 @ 7 GHz 8GB GDDR5 @ 8 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ 6.6 GHz 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 @ up to 8 GHz
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP <225W <225W 120W 150W
GPU Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 10
Price $210 $240 $180+ $200+ ($240+ for 8GB)

The RX 470 GPU is only slightly cut down from RX 480 in that it features four fewer CUs though the processor maintains the same number of ROP units and the same 256-bit memory bus. Reference clocks are 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost. Memory can be up to 8GB of GDDR5 with reference memory clocks of 6.6 GHz (effective). Sapphire has overclocked both the GPU and memory with the NItro+ series. The Nitro+ RX 470 with 4GB of GDDR5 is clocked at 1143 MHz base, 1260 MHz boost, and 7 GHz memory while the 8GB version has a lower base clock of 1121 but a higher memory clock of 8 GHz.

The 8GB model having a lower base overclock is a bit strange to me, but at least they are rated at the same boost clock. These specifications are very close to the RX 480 actually and with a bit of user overclocking beyond the factory overclock you could get even closer to the performance of it.

The problem with this RX 470 that gets so close to the RX 480 though is that the price is also very close to reference RX 480s! The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 470 4GB is priced at $209.99 while the Nitro+ RX 470 8GB is $239.99.

These prices put the card well into RX 480 territory though not quite up to the MSRPs of factory overclocked RX 480s (e.g. Sapphire's own Nitro+ RX 480 is $219 and $269 for 4GB and 8GB respectively). The company has a nice looking (and hopefully performing) RX 470, but it is going to be tough to choose this card over a RX 480 that has more shaders and TMUs. One advantage though is that this is a card that will just work without having to manually overclock (though where is the fun in that? heh) and it is actually available right now unlike the slew of RX 480 cards that have been launched but are consistently out of stock everywhere! If you simply can't wait for a RX 480, this might not be a bad option.

EDIT: Of course the 8GB model goes out of stock at Newegg as I write this and Amazon's prices are higher than MSRP! hah.

Source: Sapphire

Podcast #411 - Live from Quakecon 2016!!

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2016 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: video, quakecon, podcast

PC Perspective Podcast #411 - 08/05/2016

Join us this week as we discuss our new Titan X review and talk with the fans at Quakecon 2016!!

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!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:23:59
  • No show notes today, enjoy the free flow discussion!

Dell Releases the SE2717H Display: 27-inch IPS and FreeSync for $249

Subject: Displays | August 4, 2016 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: vrr, variable refresh rate, SE2717H, monitor, ips, freesync, display, dell, 27-inch

Dell's newest monitor is the SE2717H, a 27-inch display with AMD's FreeSync technology and an IPS panel - all for just $249.

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The matte-finish display offers 1920x1080 resolution, with a variable refresh-rate range from 48 Hz - 75 Hz, with a 6 ms response time. The 6-bit panel achieves 16.7 million colors via FRC (frame rate control, A.K.A. dithering), so it perhaps wouldn't be appropriate for color-accurate work, but just fine for gaming.

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Dell SE2717H Specifications:

  • Display Size: 27 Inches
  • Aspect Ratio: (16:9)
  • Backlight Technology: LED
  • Display Screen Coating: Antiglare with 3H hardness
  • Panel Type: In-Plane switching Technology
  • Panel Bits: 6-bits + FRC panel
  • Maximum Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Viewing Angle: 178° vertical / 178° horizontal
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000: 1 (typical), 8 Million: 1 (Dynamic)
  • Pixel Pitch: 0.3114 mm
  • Pixel Per Inch (PPI): 82
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m2 (typical)
  • Response Time: 6ms (gray to gray)
  • Free Sync support frame frequency: Yes, 48-75Hz
  • Color Support:
    • Color Gamut (typical): 84% (CIE 1976), 72% (CIE 1931)
    • Color Depth: 16.7 Million colors
  • Narrow Bezel (Edge of Monitor to Edge of viewable screen) 11mm
  • Stand
    • Tilt (-5° to 21°)
    • Built in cable-management

The Dell SE2717H montitor is priced at $249.99 and available now on Dell's website, with the Amazon listing live, but not in stock yet.

Source: Dell

Thecus Announces N4810 4-Bay NAS with 4K Video Output

Subject: Storage | August 3, 2016 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: UHD, Thecus, storage, NAS, N4810, N2810PRO, htpc, hdmi, DisplayPort, 4k, 4-Bay

Thecus has announced their newest NAS with the N4810, an 4-bay design based on the existing N2810PRO 2-bay model. The N4810 offers up to 40 TB of hard drive storage support, and an Intel Celeron N3160 (quad-core) processor with 4GB of RAM, which can be expanded to 8GB.

N4810_ANGLE_LARGE1.jpg

Image credit: Thecus

"With the N4810 built on the hardware of its little brother, the N2810PRO, users are equipped with the same immersive multimedia experience. Delivering superb sharpness and colour contrasts in 4K resolution playback, accessed through the HDMI output or DisplayPort output, guaranteeing that the picture quality from movies is just as the director envisioned.

Connection to your digital sound system via a SPDIF output is available, providing crystal clear audio for music and movies. A new USB 3.0 Type-C port has been added to the three already equipped USB 3.0 ports. This Type-C connector is the size of a microUSB and has a reversible plug allowing cables to be conveniently plugged in either direction."

4K_Fea_N4810.jpg

Image credit: Thecus

The NAS is geared toward the living room, with HDMI output along with DisplayPort, and display output up to UHD/4K. We took a look at the 2-bay N2560 NAS a couple of years ago, and on paper this new model offers a substantial upgrade as an entertainment/HTPC solution. Availability is set for this month.

Source: Thecus

High-End CPU Cooling Roundup: 5 Water Blocks Compared at ComputerBase

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 3, 2016 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: XSPC, water cooling, water block, roundup, raijintek, Phobya, liquid cooling, Heatkiller, cpu cooler, Alphacool

Computer Base (German language, Google-translated link here) has rounded up five CPU water blocks to see which might offer the highest performance on their Intel Core i7 3960X-equipped testbed.

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Image credit: Computer Base

The tested water blocks include:

  • Alphacool NexXxos XP3 Light V.2
  • Phobya UC-2 LT
  • Raijintek CWB-C1
  • Heatkiller IV Pro Pure Copper
  • XSPC Raystorm Pro

The review offers an thorough look at the design of each water block, as well as an interesting look at the effects of flow-rate on performance:

"The test has been shown that with increasing flow rate decreases the temperature difference of the water before and after heat sinks. However, the question arises whether a higher flow also has a positive effect on the cooling performance itself. A negative effect of increasing flow as well: Most pumps are unthrottled very loud to work, so that a reduced pump capacity is useful for a silent water cooling."

Read more at the source link (translated).

Cooler Master Releases MasterKeys Pro L and M Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2016 - 05:49 PM |
Tagged: MasterKeys Pro M, Masterkeys Pro L, MasterKeys, LED keyboard, keyboard, gaming keyboard, cooler master, Cherry MX

Cooler Master has released a pair of new gaming keyboards with the MasterKeys Intelligent White series Pro L and Pro M, both of which feature Cherry MX switches and LED backlighting.

cm_k_01.jpg

The keyboards are differentiated by size, with the Pro L a full-sized model, and the Pro M a 90% design. Both feature a hybrid anti-ghosting implementation which begins with 6-key, and automatically switches to N-key rollover if 6+ buttons are pressed simultaniously. A 32-bit ARM Cortex processor is onboard to control all functionality, from macros to illumination.

"The MasterKeys Pro White utilizes the on board memory and processor for its advanced On-the-fly System. LED lighting modes, repeat rate adjustment, multimedia keys, macro recording, combined with four profile keys, enable you to control all aspects of the keyboard right at your fingertips."

cm_k_02.jpg

The Pro L and Pro M are available with Cherry MX Brown, Blue, and Red switches. The USB 2.0-connected keyboard offer a 1000 Hz polling rate, and 1 ms response time.

Full press release after the break.

MSI Announces the X99A TOMAHAWK Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 2, 2016 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: X99A TOMAHAWK, msi, motherboard, Intel X99, gaming, atx, armor

MSI has announced their newest X99 motherboard, the X99A TOMAHAWK, a premium design with a stealthy black and gray color scheme, and boasting several new features according to MSI.

x99a_tom.jpg

"The X99A TOMAHAWK has been designed from the ground up as completely new X99 GAMING model. It comes packed with several new and unique MSI features and a fully armored IO and audio cover, harnessing optimized gaming audio and industries’ highest quality components, providing gamers with best-in-class features and protection.

Besides its stunning looks, the cover labeled with TOMAHAWK also protects against Electro Magnetic Interference and ensures pure performance and the best audio signal for your gaming rig. Heavy plated heatsinks with MSI’s unique styling, make sure your system can handle anything when and runs cool when racking up frags and climbing the leaderboards when gaming for longer periods of time."

x99a_tom_02.jpg

Here's the rundown of features for the X99A TOMAHAWK, which include dual Intel NICs and USB 3.1 Gen2 support (full specs and more info available on the product page):

  • Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 processors Extreme Edition in LGA 2011-3 socket
  • Supports Quad Channel DDR4-3333+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • Support lntel® Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0.
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 32Gb/s + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A+C + SATA 6Gb/s
  • TWIN GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
  • XSplit Gamecaster v2.5: 1 year free premium license to show off your skills and achievements to the world
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
  • USB Speed Up: for up to 30% performance improvement on USB devices

Pricing and availablity for the X99A TOMAHAWK has not been announced.

Source: MSI

Microsoft Publishes HLSL Shader Model 6.0 MSDN Docs

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 07:37 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, vulkan, microsoft, DirectX 12

Update (August 3rd @ 4:30pm): Turns out Khronos Group announced at SIGGRAPH that Subgroup Instructions have been recently added to SPIR-V (skip video to 21:30), and are a "top priority" for "Vulkan Next". Some (like WaveBallot) are already ARB (multi-vendor) OpenGL extensions, too.

Original post below:

DirectX 12's shading language will receive some new functionality with the new Shader Model 6.0. According to their GDC talks, it is looking like it will be structured similar to SPIR-V in how it's compiled and ingested. Code will be compiled and optimized as an LLVM-style bytecode, which the driver will accept and execute on the GPU. This could make it easy to write DX12-compatible shader code in other languages, like C++, which is a direction that Vulkan is heading, but Microsoft hasn't seemed to announce that yet.

microsoft-2015-directx12-logo.jpg

This news shows a bit more of the nitty gritty details. It looks like they added 16-bit signed (short) and unsigned (ushort) integers, which might provide a performance improvement on certain architectures (although I'm not sure that it's new and/or GPUs exist the natively operate upon them) because they operate on half of the data as a standard, 32-bit integer. They have also added more functionality, to both the pixel and compute shaders, to operate in multiple threads, called lanes, similar to OpenCL. This should allow algorithms to work more efficiently in blocks of pixels, rather than needing to use one of a handful of fixed function calls (ex: partial derivates ddx and ddy) to see outside their thread.

When will this land? No idea, but it is conspicuously close to the Anniversary Update. It has been added to Feature Level 12.0, so its GPU support should be pretty good. Also, Vulkan exists, doing its thing. Not sure how these functions overlap with SPIR-V's feature set, but, since SPIR was original for OpenCL, it could be just sitting there for all I know.

DOTA 2: The International 6 Begins Monday

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2016 - 07:08 AM |
Tagged: valve, pc gaming, esports, DOTA 2

Every year, Valve hosts a giant gaming event called “The International”. While the prize pool is still being increased through purchases of the The International 2016 Battle Pass DLC bundle, it currently rests just below $19.4 million USD. The way previous years worked is that about a third went to first place, and the rest trickled down. Keep in mind that DOTA 2 is a team sport, though, so winnings don't all go to a single person.

valve-2016-the-international-6-logo.png

Anywho, it will be a five-day event broadcasted on Twitch, Steam Broadcasting, WatchESPN, and YouTube. Owners of a SteamVR-compatible headset will also be able to view the broadcast in VR (which isn't just for The International, but this is the first The International to support it). It's not just projecting you into the stadium, either; it gives you a command center to see stats around you, or you can jump down into the map to see the battle around you “human scale”.

The International 6 begins on Monday.

Source: Valve

Sapphire Will Release Custom Radeon RX 460 Nitro OC Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 03:50 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 460, polaris 11, nitro, amd

AMD and its board partners will officially launch the first Polaris 11 GPU and the Radeon RX 460 graphics cards based around that processor on August 8th. Fortunately Videocardz.com got a hold of an image that shows off Sapphire's take on the RX 460 in the form of a factory overclocked and custom cooled RX460 Nitro OC. This gives us a hint at the kinds of cards we can expect and it appears to be good news for budget gamers as it suggests that there will be several options around this firm $100 price point that are a bit more than the bare necessities.

In the case of Sapphire's RX 460 Nitro OC, it uses a custom dual fan cooler with two copper heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack (that is much larger than reference), and two 90mm fans. Display IO includes one DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort. The card itself uses a physical PCI-E x16 connector that is electrically PCI-E 3.0 x8. The x8 connection will be more than enough for this GPU though it also enables partners to cut costs.

Sapphire Nitro RX 460 OC.jpg

Clockspeeds are not yet known, but the Polaris 11 GPU (896 cores, 56 TMUs, 16 ROPs) will be paired with 4GB GDDR5 memory.

It is encouraging to me to see custom cards at this price point out of the gate with the full 4GB of memory (AMD allows 2GB or 4GB versions). Gamers that simply can't justify spending much more than a hundred dollars on a GPU should have ample options to choose from and I am looking forward to seeing what all the partners have to offer. 

Are you looking at Polaris 11 and the RX 460 for a super budget gaming build? What do you think about Sapphire's card with the company's custom cooler? 

Source: Videocardz

Samsung PM1633a: 15.36TB SSD for $10,000 USD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2016 - 11:03 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, enterprise ssd

Allyn first mentioned this device last year, but they're apparently now shipping for a whopping $10,000 USD. To refresh, the PM1633a is an SSD from Samsung that packs 15.36TB into a 2.5-inch form factor. According to Samsung, it does this by stacking 16 dies, each containing 48 layers of flash cells, into a 512GB package. It's unclear how many packages are installed in the device, because we don't know how much over-provisioning Samsung provides, but the advertised capacity equates to exactly 30 packages. Update @ 11:30pm: Turns out I was staring right at it in the old press release. The drive has 32 packages, so 16384 GB, once you account for over-provisioning.

samsung-2016-1536tbssd-samsungsource.png

Image Credit: Samsung

Down at CDW, they are selling them for $10,311.99 USD with the option to lease for $321.73 / month. That's only 2.1c/GB... per month... for probably three whole years. No Ryan, that doesn't count. The warranty period doesn't seem to be listed, but Samsung will cover up to 15.36TB per day in writes. I mean, we knew it would be expensive, given its size and performance. At least it's only ~65c/GB.

Source: CDW

GamersNexus Disassembles an EVGA Hybrid Liquid Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 1, 2016 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: evga, asetek, liquid cooler, closed-loop

Well this is interesting. GamersNexus has about a twenty minute video (and a couple-page editorial) where they disassemble an Asetek / EVGA liquid cooler for GPUs. He spends the first half of the video with a discussion of previous videos, an overview of the industry and its split between vendors and manufacturers, and an explanation of various components including the difference between CPU and GPU plates. The second half of the video disassembles the cooler, talking about it as he goes.

The disassembly begins at ~9 minutes.

The availability of closed-loop coolers introduced me to water cooling. While I could be very careful to do everything right, I just don't trust myself to assemble a liquid-filled (non-conducting or otherwise) component that close to electronics. Part of that could be attributed to my childhood, where a dead PC meant no computer for x number of weeks, or months, because we could barely afford one at all. An assembled (and warrantied) cooler, though, while still intimidating when the tubes get even slightly torqued, is clearly designed to go in hassle-free and remain working without maintenance. That's a good part of why, while it's pretty obvious what is inside these units, seeing it first-hand is fascinating (at least for me).

Source: GamersNexus

Rumor: GTX 980 and GTX 960 Lawsuits???

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lawsuit, GTX 980, gtx 960

Update @ 9:45pm: I heard that some AMD users were notified about their R9 purchase as well, calling it simply "R9". Since I didn't see concrete proof, I omit it from the post in case it was a hoax (as the story is still developing). I have since been notified of a tweet with an email screenshot.

Original post below:

Apparently, Newegg is informing customers that NVIDIA has settled a class action lawsuit with customers of the GeForce GTX 960 and GTX 980 cards, along with the GTX 970. It's currently unclear whether this is an error, or whether this is one of the sibling class action lawsuits that were apparently bundled together with the GTX 970 one. Users on the NVIDIA Reddit are claiming that it has to do with DirectX 12 feature level support, although that seems like knee-jerk confirmation bias to me.

bitcoinexhaust.png

Regardless, if you purchased a GeForce 900-series graphics card from Newegg, maybe even including the 980 Ti, then you should check your email. You might have a settlement en-route.

That's all we know at this point, though. Thanks to our readers for pointing this out.

Source: PCInvasion

Windows 10 Version 1607 Changes Driver Signing Policy

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2016 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Remember, folks, that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Microsoft has been trying to shed their stigma as a giant source of malware, but all solutions have side-effects, and those side-effects can have damaging consequences. When you believe that you or someone else is doing good, that is when you should be extra cautious, not less. It's a source of complacency.

microsoft-2015-windows-10-10159-upgrade.png

With tomorrow's Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft will require kernel-mode drivers to be signed by them on systems with Secure Boot enabled. This change will not affect PCs that have been upgraded from a previous version of Windows, including Windows 10 1507 and Windows 10 1511. That said, this could be a concern for those (like me) who are planning to clean install soon.

To me, this doesn't look like it will be that big of a deal. Hobbyists should be able to manage with either disabling Secure Boot, if their system allows it, or by fitting their driver around the user-mode framework. It might cause an issue with hotfix graphics drivers, though, which are pushed out before getting signed by Microsoft.

Also, if Microsoft changes their driver signing policy in the future, then this is could be (Update @ 7:30pm ET: original verbage was a little too strong) huge leverage against anyone attempting to circumvent it (such as implementing a graphics API that outperforms whatever DirectX version they have at the time -- see how Vulkan is not allowed on MacOSX). Even if you trust Microsoft now, you need to think about what Microsoft in 10+ years can do if they choose to.

Source: Microsoft

Report: NVIDIA to Announce Mobile Pascal Graphics at Gamescom

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, notebooks, mobile gpu, mobile gaming, laptops, GTX 1080M, GTX 1070M, GTX 1060M, discrete gpu

VideoCardz is reporting that an official announcement of the rumored mobile GPUs might be coming at Gamescom later this month.

NV_logo.jpg

"Mobile Pascal may arrive at Gamescom in Europe. According to DigiTimes, NVIDIA would allow its notebook partners to unveil mobile Pascal between August 17th to 21st, so just when Gamescom is hosted is hosted in Germany."

We had previously reported on the rumors of a mobile GTX 1070 and 1060, and we can only assume a 1080 will also be available (though VideoCardz is not speculating on the specs of this high-end mobile card just yet).

videocardz_chart.PNG

Rumored NVIDIA Mobile Pascal GPU specs (Image credit: VideoCardz)

Gamescom runs from August 17 - 21 in Germany, so we only have to wait about three weeks to know for sure.

Source: VideoCardz

Plextor's Upcoming M8Pe M.2 SSD Previewed at Computer Base

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: M8PeG, ssd, solid state drive, preview, plextor, nand, M8Pe, M.2, CES 2016, M8PeY

Plextor announced their first M.2 SSD at CES 2016, and now the M8Pe series is officially set for a release this month. Computer Base (German language) had a chance to preview the new drive, and supplied a detailed look at the M.2 version (this is model M8PeG, and the version with a riser card is M8PeY).

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The Plextor M8PeG SSD (Image credit: Computer Base)

Even the M.2 form-factor version of the SSD includes a heatsink, which Plextor warns creates incompatibility with notebooks as the M8PeG is 4.79 mm in height with the heatsink in place.

Specifications for the drives are as follows:

  Plextor M8PeG Plextor M8PeY
Controller Marvell 88SS1093 (8-Channel)
DRAM 512MB LPDDR3 (1024MB variant)
Capacity 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
NAND Toshiba 15nm Toggle 2.0 MLC
Form Factor M.2 (80 mm) PCIe card (HH, HL)
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Warranty 5 years

So what did Computer Base have to report with their hands-on preview of the new drive? Here's their CrystalDiskMark result:

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(Image credit: Computer Base)

Naturally we'll have to wait for a full-scale AllynReview™ to get a better idea of performance in all situations, but until then it's good to know we'll soon have another option to consider in the M.2 SSD market. As to pricing, we don't have anything just yet.

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The M8Pe SSD lineup (Image credit: Computer Base)

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon software, Crimson Edition 16.7.3, driver, graphics, update, rx480, rise of the tomb raider

AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 driver, with improved performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider for Radeon RX 480 owners, as well as various bug fixes.

crimson_logo.png

From AMD:

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD's revolutionary new graphics software that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphics performance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines the overall user experience. Every Radeon Software release strives to deliver new features, better performance and stability improvements.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Highlights

Performance Improvements:

Rise of the Tomb Raider performance increase up to 10% versus Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.2 on Radeon RX 480 graphics

For a full list of bug fixes and known issues, you can visit AMD's release notes page for 16.7.3. The new driver is available now from this link.

Source: AMD

Custom Cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 Graphics Card Revealed

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 30, 2016 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: xfx, rx 470, polaris 10, Double Dissipation Edition, amd

AMD's budget (under $200) Polaris-based graphics cards are coming next week, and the leaks are starting to appear online. In the case of the Radeon RX 470, AMD is expecting that most (if not all) of its board partners will be using their own custom coolers. Thanks to Chinese technology site EXPReview, we finally have an idea of what an RX 470 will look like – or at least what an XFX-branded RX 470 will look like!

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation.jpg

The website posted several photos of the alleged (but likely legitimate) XFX RX 470 "Black Wolf" graphics card which will probably be branded as the XFX RX 470 Double Dissipation in North America. This is a dual slot card with dual fan cooler that measures 9.45 inches long. Three copper heat pipes pull heat into an aluminum heatsink that is cooled by two 80mm fans that can reportedly be removed by the user for cleaning (and maybe user RMA replacement like Sapphire is planning). The card also features a full backplate and LED-backlit XFX logo along the side of the card. The design is all black with a white XFX logo.

Video outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI which seems about right for this price point.

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation Backplate.jpg

The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and the card will use AMD's RX 470 GPU and 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The RX 470 features 2048 cores, 128 texture units, and 32 raster operators, This is essentially a RX 480 GPU with four less Compute Units though it maintains the same number of ROPs and the same 256-bit memory bus. We do not know clockspeeds on this custom cooled XFX card yet, but overclockers may well be able to push clocks further than they could on RX 480 (there are less cores so the chips may be able to be pushed further on clocks), but it is hard to say right now. I would expect out of the box clocks to be a bit above the reference RX 470 clocks of 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost.

You can check out all of the photos of this card here.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more RX 470 and RX 460 news as we near the official launch dates!

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Source: EXPReview