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i-Rocks' K70E gamign keyboard, rocking those capacitive switches

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2018 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: i-Rocks, K70E, capacitive switches, RGB, gaming keyboard, input

i-Rocks developed their own non-contact electro-capacitive switches for their new K70E keyboard, which will feel more like a membrane keyboard than a mechanical switch but offer you the choice of 2.2 mm (high) or 1.4 mm (low) actuation depths.  There are independent RGBs under each and every key which can display a variety of colours, programmed via their driver.  If you don't like the white fascia, there are various skins you can place over the keyboard and cap fetishists will appreciate the thick ABS plastic construction and doubleshot injected primary legends.  There is a full review typed out at TechPowerUp.

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"The i-Rocks K70E is a high-end keyboard with a feature set boasting configurable capacitive switches and per-key RGB backlighting, with software support backing onboard controls. At the same time, it retains the fun factor by using a transparent top plate and accessory paper skins for a high degree of customization."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TechPowerUp

The one, the only, Cooler Master's MASTERAIR MA621P air cooler for Threadripper

Subject: Networking | April 26, 2018 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, air cooler, cooler master, MASTERAIR MA621P, tr4, amd

So far we have mostly seen reviews of watercoolers for Threadripper but there is an air cooler designed to tame this multi-threaded beast.  The Cooler Master  MASTERAIR MA621P is one such heatsink, a 1.2kg beast with two fans.  [H]ard|OCP's testing shows this cooler to be capable of cooling your 1950X at stock speeds, but do not expect the overclocks an AiO watercooler allows.  The installation is a bit of a challenge but this is the least expensive cooler for Threadripper, as well as being the only air cooler for it.  Check the full review to get a closer look at this large chunk of metal.

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"The AMD Ryzen Threadripper is a beast when it comes to overclocking and cooling. Cooler Master steps into the ring with the first Threadripper-specific air cooler that we have come across. We have put it through the paces here on our highly overclocked and overvolted 1950X. Does the MasterAir MA621P have what it takes?"

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #497 - Ryzen X470 NVMe performance, Samsung 970 performance, and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2018 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, ryzen, rtx, philips, nvidia, logitech, K95, Intel, Hydro PTM, fsp, craft, corsair, Cannon Lake-U, battletech, amd, 970 PRO, 970 EVO, 8086K

PC Perspective Podcast #497 - 04/26/18

Join us this week for discussion on Ryzen X470 NVMe performance, Samsung 970 performance, and more!

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

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

Hosts:Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison,

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:39:00

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Thanks to Away for supporting PC Perspective. Go to https://www.awaytravel.com/pcper and use the promo code pcper to get $20 off a suitcase!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:27:00 Allyn: Cool USB external enclosure
    2. 1:30:30 Josh: I love this case.
    3. 1:32:15 Ken: CloudHQ
  5. Closing/outro
 
Source:

Jim Keller Leaves Tesla for Intel

Subject: Editorial | April 26, 2018 - 02:34 AM |
Tagged: Zen, tesla, raja koduri, Jim Keller, Intel, Conroe, Banias, amd

Update: The official Intel announcement can be found here.

For anyone that follows the twists and turns of the semiconductor world, the name “Jim Keller” is approaching legendary proportions. He was a driving force in AMD’s K7 and K8 development, he moved on to PA Semi which was acquired by Apple to produce their class leading SoC’s for the iPhone, and then went back to AMD to become lead architect of the Zen architecture which powers the latest Ryzen CPUs from AMD. He then moved on to Tesla to be in charge of chip development for their autonomous driving program.

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Very little has been heard from Jim Keller while he was at Tesla. The assumption was that he continued to do his job there and worked hard to innovate the potential chip designs that would power next generation Tesla vehicles to have fully autonomous driving capabilities. While that program has been in its infancy, we have not heard of custom chips being utilized by Tesla in the latest cars.

Now we have confirmation that Jim has left Tesla and has in fact been hired by Intel. Some months back Raja Koduri was hired by Intel to be in charge of all core development with a special interest in GPUs. It looks as if Raja has persuaded Jim to hop on board and help with what appears to be a stagnant core development team on the CPU side.

Intel has a history of “not invented here” mentality that has in previous years caused massive problems with the company. The reliance on the Pentium IV and its further development allowed their primary competitor to sneak up on them and shake up the marketplace. It took a design group out of Israel to set Intel onto a better path with the Banias/Conroe architectures which then lead to the Core architecture that we have seen iterated upon for the past decade.

The company has stagnated again. While the current Core architecture is faster in terms of IPC than Zen, it is a company that has not pursued innovation in a manner that has kept its competitor at bay. Jim Keller went back to AMD and architected what would become the Zen family of chips. In the space of those years he was there, he took the best technology AMD had to offer and built from the ground up a new architecture that could compete against Intel for a fraction of the R&D costs that the semiconductor giant typically spends. Intel stands to lose some significant marketshare in mobile, desktop, and server with the latest offerings from AMD. Combine this with the issues that the manufacturing group have run into with their development of the 10nm process, Intel seems to finally realize that design is really what matters when manufacturing issues hit. We can remember back in the Athlon 64/Pentium 4 days when AMD was 18 months behind on process technology, but still held a power/performance edge over Intel. While manufacturing can give a large advantage to any chip, a great design will not have to rely as heavily on cutting edge process tech to be competitive. Intel should hold all the keys to creating a truly overpowering series of products for their primary markets, but AMD has shown up with the plucky architecture that could cause some serious perturbations throughout the mobile, desktop, and server markets.

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It seems that Raja is “getting the gang back together” to revamp the design culture at Intel to more adequately deal with threats to their CPU dominance across the board. They also are probably looking more closely at the ultra-mobile market that ARM has dominated for the past decade. Previous Atom designs have not come close to the efficiency needed to address those markets, but perhaps with a change of leadership and architects we can see Intel successfully address this very important area with high performance/high efficiency chips that we honestly expect them to be able to design.

Jim Keller to Intel looks to be a transformational move. Not just because of his expertise in architecture, but also a shift in how Intel goes about its daily business. Bringing this kind of expertise into the company is a watershed moment that moves away from the “not invented here” mentality that seems to dictate decisions at the company when they are not facing serious competition. We will see what kind of power Raja and Jim can leverage in changing the culture of the company. What cannot be denied is that Intel has frittered away its advantages in core design by not implementing aggressive product and feature changes for the past decade to insure its dominance in the CPU world. Compound this situation with the manufacturing woes at 10nm and we can see that Intel needed a shakeup.

Consider Intel shook.

 

Source: Intel

AMD Announces Q1 2018 Results

Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: Zen+, Vega, TSMC, ryzen, Results, Q1 2018, Polaris, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, financials, amd, 7nm, 12nm

Today AMD announced their latest financial results for Q1 2018. We expected it to be a good quarter with their guidance earlier this year, but I doubt many thought it would be as strong as it turned out to be. AMD posted revenue of $1.65 billion with a net income of $81 million. This is up from the expected $1.57 billion that analysts expected from what is typically a slow quarter. This is up 40% from Q1 2017 and its $1.18 billion and up 23% from Q4 2017.

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There are multiple reasons behind this revenue growth. The compute and graphics segment lead the way with $1.12B of revenue. The entire year of 2017 AMD had released parts seemingly nonstop since March and the introduction of Ryzen. Q1 continued this trend with the release of the first Ryzen APUs with Vega Graphics introducing the 2000 series. AMD also ramped up production of the newly released Zen+ Ryzen chips and started shipping those out to retailers and partners alike. Initial mobile Ryzen parts were also introduced and shipped with SKUs being also shipped to partners who have yet to announce and release products based on these chips. Finally the strength of the Radeon graphics chips in both gaming and blockchain applications allowed them a tremendous amount of sellthrough throughout 2017 and into 2018. AMD estimates that 10% of the quarter was due to blockchain demand.

Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom had a revenue of $532 million, which is lower than most analysts expected. Semi-Custom in particular has seen a decline over the past few quarters with the release and saturation of the market of the latest console platforms utilizing AMD designed chips. It appears as though much of the contract is front loaded in terms of revenue with royalties tapering off over time as sales decrease. AMD did have some significant wins, namely providing Intel with Vega based GPUs to be integrated with Intel’s Kaby Lake-G based units. These declines were offset by the shipment of EPYC based processors that are slowly ramping and being shipped to partners to be integrated into server platforms later this year. We have seen a handful of wins from companies like Dell EMC, but AMD is still slowly re-entering the market that they were forced to abandon with their previous, outdated Opteron products. AMD expects to reach mid-single digit marketshare during 2019, but for now they are just getting off the ground with this platform.

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The company is not standing still or resting on their laurels after the successful and heralded launch of the latest Ryzen 2000 series chips based on the Zen+ architecture. It is aggressively ramping their mobile chips featuring the Zen/Vega combination and have some 25 product wins being released throughout late spring and summer. Overall partners have some 60 products either shipping or will ship later this year featuring Ryzen based CPUs.

There is some fear that AMD will see its GPU sales throughput be impacted by the recent drop of cryptocurrency value. Several years back with the Bitcoin crash we saw a tremendous amount of secondhand product being sold and GPU revenues for the company tanked. AMD is a bit more optimistic about the upcoming quarter as they expect the current cryptocurrency/blockchain market is much more robust and people will be holding onto these cards to mine other products/workloads rather than drop them on eBay. My thought here is that we will see a rise in cards available on the secondary/used market, but quite a bit might be offset by latent gaming demand that has been held back due the outrageous prices of GPUs over the past year. People that have been waiting for prices to get back to MSRP or below will then buy. This could be further enhanced if memory prices start to drop, providing more affordable DDR4 and flash for SSDs.

The company is also forging ahead with advanced process technology. They have recently received silicon back from TSMC’s 7nm process and it looks to be a Vega based product. The rumor surrounding this is that it will be more of a compute platform initially rather than gaming oriented. Later this year AMD expects to receive new EPYC silicon, but it looks as though this will be from GLOBALFOUNDRIES 7nm process. AMD wants to be flexible in terms of manufacturing, but they have a long history with GLOBALFOUNDRIES when it comes to CPU production. The two companies work closely together to make sure the process and CPU design match up as cleanly as possible to allow products such as Zen to reach market successfully. The GPU arm is obviously more flexible here as they have a history with multiple foundry partners throughout the past two decades.

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AMD has set an aggressive, but achievable, timetable of product releases that is initially focusing on the CPU side but would logically be transitioning to the GPU side. Zen+ is out on time and has met with acclaim from consumers and reviewers alike. The latest GPU products are comparable in performance to what NVIDIA has to offer, though they are less power efficient for that level of performance. The “pipecleaner” Vega on 7nm will pave the way towards Navi based products that look to be introduced next year. AMD could possibly refresh Vega on 12nm, but so far there has been no concrete information that such a product exists. They may very well continue to rely on current Polaris and Vega products throughout the rest of this year while focusing on Navi efforts to have a more competitive part come 2019.

Q2 2018 looks to be another successful quarter for AMD. The company’s outlook calls for revenue in the $1.725 billion range, plus or minus $50 million. AMD expects continued growth in all Ryzen product lines and greater throughput of EPYC based products as companies test and release products based on that platform. The GPU market could remain flat, but will most likely decline. That decline will be more than covered by the sell-through of the Ryzen line from top to bottom.

AMD improved their margin by an impressive 4%. Going from 32% to 36% showed the strength and higher ASPs of both CPU and GPU products. AMD expects another 1% increase over the next quarter. While these are good numbers for AMD, they do not match the 58%+ for NVIDIA and Intel when it comes to their margins. AMD certainly has a lot of room for improvement, and a richer product stack will allow them to achieve greater ASPs and see a rise in their overall margins. If EPYC becomes more successful, then we could see another significant improvement in margins for the company.

AMD is getting back to where they belong in terms of product placement, competitiveness, and financial performance. The company has seen a huge improvement year on year and hopes to continue that with a rich product stack that addresses multiple areas of computing. AI and machine learning is ramping up in the company in terms of software support as they feel their CPUs and GPUs are already good enough to handle the workloads. As more money comes in, they can afford to diversify and create a wider product base to compete in more markets. So far Lisa Su has been very, very successful in helping pull AMD from the ashes to the competitive situation that they currently find themselves in.

 

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 397.31. RTX for Developers.

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2018 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, rtx, Volta

It’s quite the jump in version number from 391.35 to 397.31, but NVIDIA has just released a new graphics driver. Interestingly, it is “Game Ready” tied to the Battletech, which I have been looking forward to, but I was always under the impression that no-one else was. Apparently not.

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As for its new features? The highlight is a developer preview of NVIDIA RTX Technology. This requires a Volta GPU, which currently means Titan V unless your team was seeded something that doesn’t necessarily exist, as well as 396.xx+ drivers, the new Windows 10 update, and Microsoft DXR developer package. Speaking of which, I’m wondering how much of the version number bump could be attributed to RTX being on the 396.xx branch. Even then, it still feels like a branch or two never left NVIDIA’s dev team. Hmm.

Moving on, the driver also conforms with the Vulkan 1.1 test suite (version 1.1.0.3). If you remember back from early March, the Khronos Group released the new standard, which integrated a bunch of features into core, and brought Subgroup Operations into the mix. This could allow future shaders to perform quicker by being compiled with new intrinsic functions.

Also – the standalone installer will apparently clean up after itself better than it used to. Often I can find a few gigabytes of old NVIDIA folders when I’m looking for space to save, so it’s good for NVIDIA to finally address at least some of that.

Pick up the new drivers on NVIDIA’s website or through GeForce Experience.

Source: NVIDIA

Windows 10 Lean for Devices with Small Drives

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2018 - 07:41 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, windows 10 lean, mean

A recent Insider build, from beyond the soon-to-be-released Windows 10 version 1803 feature update, added a new version of the OS: Windows 10 Lean. According to Windows Central, it is 2GB smaller than the typical versions, and is expected to target devices with 16GB of storage.

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That… is quite small for a device to have, especially when you consider patches.

And then there’s the way that they’re apparently doing it: dropping rarely-used applications. Internet Explorer? Gone. Reminds me of when I used to use nLite and vLite to make custom Windows installs back in the early-to-mid aughts. (I got Vista to boot in less than a minute on spinning rust before… whole lot of services to trim out of that one -- who knew? Okay… everyone did.)

What does this mean for us? Probably nothing. I expect that most of us will continue to use Windows 10 Home or Pro, even if Microsoft allows us to choose at install time. Still, I would expect that Microsoft has devices in mind when they created this initiative – God I hope they didn’t just do this on a whim – so we’ll need to see whether those are worthwhile for us.

Stomping from tabletop to desktop, Battletech is here

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2018 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: battletech, gaming, paradox, harebrained schemes

If you have played the tabletop version of Battletech before, then you have some idea how long a single turn can take.  Paradox and Harebrained have replicated that somewhat, much to the dismay of Alec over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN who found the pacing extremely slow even after turning off the closeup animation feature.  Having managed to steal an hour yesterday to try the new game I can understand why he feels this way, as there is a long waiting period for the sequential weapon animations.  For now it is enjoyable, watching PPCs and missiles impact an enemy but I can believe that after a dozen missions or more it will begin to pale. 

If you are easily bored by turn based games, and found the new X-Com incarnations to be paced too slow for enjoyment you might want to steer clear of this game.  If, on the other hand, you can't wait to teach those crunchies not to play with the big boys or engage in a bit of friendly death from above this is worth picking up.  The game manages to replicate the feeling of massive inertia from the tabletop and the battles are very satisfying.  I still haven't seen secondary ammo store explosions yet but here's hoping!

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"There was, for once, none of the thunderous din of new kitchens or loft extensions being built in one of the adjacent terraced houses, and nor was my own PC’s volume set high as I threw stompy tankbots at each other in XCOM-meets-Mechwarrior turn-based strategy game/boardgame adaptation BattleTech. "

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD Clarifies Warranty Terms for Ryzen CPU use with Third-Party Coolers

Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: ryzen 7, ryzen 5, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge, amd

For those of you that missed it, there was a bit of controversy this week, when a Reddit user found a support page on AMD's website which stated that use of any other "heatsink/fan" than the included one with AMD "Processor-in-Box" products would invalidate their warranty.

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As you might imagine, this caused some confusion and concern from owners and potential purchasers of Ryzen CPUs. How would AMD be able to tell if you were using a third-party cooler? What about the Ryzen 1000 series SKUs that didn't come with coolers?

As it turns out, this was an older support page that does not accurately reflect the warranty of modern AMD processors. AMD has since updated the warranty page to provide clarification.

Now, the page reads that the warranty shall be null and void if the processor "is used with any heatsink/fan (HSF) that does not support operation of the AMD processor in conformance with AMD’s publicly available specifications."

Kudos to the community who put the spotlight on this potentially misleading support page, and AMD for providing quick and decisive clarification on their actual warranty policies. 

Source: AMD

Oh Canada, you and your plastic semiconductors

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2018 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: Semiconductor, polymer, plastic, conjugated polymer

Researchers at the University of Waterloo are working on a way to mass produce conjugated polymers, which conduct electricity and can be coaxed into being a semiconductor.  The process sounds quite simple from The Inquirer's description, the polymers are created by dehydrating plastics which results in the poly(hetero)arenes currently used in products such as solar cells and LED displays.  As the byproduct of this process is water, any device created using this technique would have a significantly lower environmental impact than traditional techniques though it is unclear what plastics could be dehydrated.  There is a bit of the history of this process along with links to this specific research right here.

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"Professor Derek Schipper and his team said it could soon be possible to mass produce semiconductors made from conjugated polymer, which is a type of plastic that can conduct electricity in a similar way to metals."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

The Creative Craft

The Logitech Craft is an object lesson in not judging a book by its cover. By all appearances, it’s seems to be a standard chiclet keyboard with a volume wheel. Nothing impressive, though, sure, it looks sleek. For those willing to look just as little bit closer, you’ll find one of the most versatile keyboards on the market today. That “volume wheel” is more than meets the eye and has the potential to provide a more efficient workflow for creatives and business professionals alike.

Specifications and Design

  • MSRP: $199.99 (Amazon.com)
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 32 mm x 430 mm x 149 mm
  • Connectivity: Logitech Unifying 2.4GHz wireless technology, USB 2.0, Bluetooth Low Energy technology
  • Program Compatibility:
    • Microsoft Word®, Microsoft PowerPoint®, Microsoft Excel® 2010, 2013 and 2016 - Windows only
    • Adobe® Photoshop® CC, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® Classic CC, Adobe® Illustrator®CC, Adobe® Premiere® Pro CC 2017 and above – Windows and Mac, Adobe Reader DC
    • VLC Media Player - Windows
  • Preview, Quicktime, Safari® - Mac
  • Spotify™ - Windows and Mac
  • Additional Features:
    • 10m wireless range
  • Wireless encryption
  • On/Off power switch
  • 3 connection indicator lights
  • Caps lock indicator light
  • Battery indicator light
  • Rechargeable with USB type C
  • Compatible with Logitech Flow enabled mice
  • Weight: 960g
  • Warranty: 1-Year Limited Hardware Warranty

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Beginning with packaging, the Craft ships in a nice black box with a nice render of the keyboard on the front. It’s simple and elegant, matching the keyboard itself. Inside you’ll find the keyboard is wrapped in an adhesive dust-protective film. Underneath, we have the USB Type-C cable, 2.4GHz wireless USB insert, and our documentation.

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Taking it out of the box, we find what appears to be a standard 104-key chiclet keyboard with a large metal bar on the top. The Craft is slightly more compact than a traditional keyboard coming in at just under 17-inches wide. The keyboard is thin but surprisingly heavy with a solid 2.1 pounds to keep it stationary on your desk. Much of this seems due to the bar on the top; however, the chassis is also fairly rigid and angled to diminish any flex in normal use.

Continue reading our review of the Logitech CRAFT keyboard!

Philips Momentum 43" First Monitor Certified HDR1000

Subject: Displays | April 24, 2018 - 09:25 PM |
Tagged: philips, hdr, displayhdr1000

While Philips has been a bit quiet in the LCD space since they divested from LG.Philips, they are still in the market through their partner, EPI. Today’s news is that this duo has created the first monitor to be certified as compliant with VESA’s DisplayHDR 1000 standard: the Philips Momentum 43-inch (436M6VBPAB).

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The number in front of DisplayHDR comes from the brightness rating (measured in candela per square meter) that the specification demands for HDR content.

As for the rest of the monitor’s details? 4K, check. HDR, of course. 43-inch, could be very good for that resolution. Quantum dot, yup. $999.99 USD, very interesting price. It doesn’t list whether it is compatible with any variable refresh technology, though. G-Sync HDR is pretty much out of the question, but FreeSync would have completed this monitor’s checklist. It will still turn heads, but its omission will also raise a few questions.

Unless it has it but they just forgot to list it? Maybe?

Rumor: Intel 40th Anniversary CPU. Core i7-8086K

Subject: Processors | April 24, 2018 - 08:56 PM |
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake s, coffee lake, 8086

I kind-of hope that this is true… for the pun alone.

What do you get when the following three things happen: the 40th anniversary of your introductory part, a product line that can contain your original products model number, and, of course, strong competition from your primary competitor? Maybe the Intel Core i7-8086K. Maybe an elaborate internet hoax.

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Image Credit: DDAA117 via WCCFTech

The rumor claims that it will be a slightly up-clocked Core i7-8700K. It will retain the 6 cores, 12 threads, 12MB of L3 cache, and 95W TDP, but the core will be clocked at 4.0 GHz (up from 3.7) and it can boost on a single core up to maybe 5.1 GHz. Basically, if true, it sounds like Intel cherry-picked a few high-performing dies out of Coffee Lake-S and set them aside for a promotion around the Computex or E3 time frame.

From a consumer standpoint? The last anniversary processor was a great deal, so pricing will become the deciding factor. If you were interested in the Core i7-8700K, then you might want to wait and see whether this slight notch above is true.

Source: WCCFTech

Roccat's new headset is perfect to watch the second Star Trek movie

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2018 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: roccat, swarm, Khan AIMO, virtual 7.1, RGB, gaming headset, audio

Roccat's new Khan Aimo bears a similar design to the Khan Pro, with a subdued colour scheme, apart from the garish RGB infection.  The pair of 50mm neodymium drivers offer true 2.0 audio however with the help of the Roccat Swarm software these headsets are able to deliver virtual 7.1 sound well enough to satisfy Benchmark Reviews.  The headset's High Resolution Audio badge is apparently well deserved, with incredible good playback thanks  to the  10 – 40000Hz response range and the microphone also earned tacit approval.  Check out the full review here.

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"Roccat has added a splash of intelligent RGB lighting to their new HiRes audio headset and given it a new name: the Khan Aimo. More than just a name change and some lighting, this update of the Khan Pro keeps the HiRes designation but swaps the 3.5mm cable for USB to add some new capabilities."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

See spring outside your windows? You might be seeing it on your Windows as well

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, spring update

The rumours are flying that the Windows 10 April Update might start arriving on machines today.  The root of this rumour is a large update released today for those running the last major update and it is not alone.  The Inquirer also spotted some information suggesting the Surface Phone may be launching soon as well as Windows Lean, a slimmed down OS for hybrid tablets which will hopefully be better than Windows 10 S.  The last bit of speculation has to do with how Windows will update.  This could be the last large update Microsoft pushes out and we may start to learn more about how they intend to move their OS into a service model instead of a product. 

None of this has been confirmed, so keep your eyes peeled for official announcements. 

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"A cumulative update (KB4093105) for the previous Fall Creators' Update (1709) was pushed through this morning and we'd bet it probably readies the ground for the big update."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

We have been overdue for a Samsung NVMe SSD refresh, and with the launch of their 860 PRO and EVO back in January, folks have been itching for the 970's to come out. The 950 and 960 (PRO) lines were separated by about a year, but we are going on 18 months since the most recent 960 EVO launch. Samsung could afford to wait a bit longer since the 960 line already offered outstanding performance that remained unmatched at the top of our performance charts for a very long time. Recently, drives like the WD Black have started catching up, so it is naturally time for Samsung to keep the competition on their toes:

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Today we will look at most of the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO lineup. We have a bit of a capacity spread for the EVO, and a single PRO. Samples are hard to come by so far since Samsung opted to launch both lines at the same time, but we tried to get the more common capacities represented. EVO 2TB and PRO 1TB data will have to come at a later date.

Specifications:

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Specs come in at just slightly higher than the 960 lines, with some welcome additions like OPAL and encrypted drive (IEEE1667) support, the latter being suggested but never making it into the 960 products. Another welcome addition is that the 970 EVO now carries a 5-year warranty (up from 3).

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The 970 EVO includes 'Intelligent TurboWrite', which was introduced with the 960 line. This setup maintains a static SLC area and an additional 'Intelligent' cache that exists if sufficient free space is available in the TLC area.

Packaging:

Packaging is in line with the previous 960 series parts. Nice packaging. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Read on for our full review of the Samsung 970 PRO and EVO!

Hello X470, how do you do ... at benchmarks

Subject: Motherboards | April 23, 2018 - 07:58 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen 2, msi, x470 Gaming M7 AC, Pinnacle Ridge

The reviews for AMD's new chipset are starting to appear, for instance the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC over at Guru of 3D. The new chipset brings support for DDR4-2933 and 3200 which is worth the investment for Ryzen chips.  The board supports two full speed M.2 4x PCIe slots, with SATA trimmed down to a half dozen.  Of the eight USB ports only one is Type-C but all support 3.1 transfer speeds according to Guru of 3D.  The single LAN connection is backed up by dual WiFi antenna and there is even optical audio out for those special people who make use of it. 

Check out the overclocking results and the fine details right here.

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"We review the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC. With the release of Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X AMD decided to add a new chipset as well, X470 offers a more fine-tuned experience for your Ryzen processor. And this MSI board, well it is just loaded with features."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: Guru of 3D
Author:
Manufacturer: FSP Group USA Corp.

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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The latest Hydro PTM power supply lineup sits right in the middle of FSP’s top-tier Premium Series and currently includes three models: 750W, 650W, and 550W. FSP Group Inc. has been designing and building PC power supplies under their own brand since 2003 and they are the OEM for many other big name brands. The three standard Hydro PTM power supplies are not water-cooled as the Hydro name might imply, but the FSP Hydro PTM+ 1200W PSU is. We will be taking a detailed look at the PTM 650W Platinum model in this review.

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FSP designed the Hydro PTM Series to operate cool and quiet thanks to Platinum level efficiency and a high-quality 135mm FDB (Fluid Dynamic Bearing) fan. The units feature all modular cables and are designed to deliver tight voltage regulation with excellent AC ripple and noise suppression. All Hydro PTM Series power supplies incorporate high-grade components like all Japanese made electrolytic capacitors and come with changeable side stickers (Blue, Red, or Green) and they are backed by a 10-year warranty!

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FSP Hydro PTM Series PSU Key Features:

•    550W, 650W or 750W continuous DC output @ 50°C
•    High efficiency, 80 PLUS Platinum certified =92%
•    Complies with newest ATX12V v2.4 & EPS12 v2.92 standards
•    100% Japanese made electrolytic capacitors
•    Quiet 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
•    Powerful single +12V rail design
•    Fully modular with flat ribbon-style cables
•    Multiple 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors and VR ready
•    Protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP and OTP
•    10-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    MSRP: $124.99 USD

 

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Here is what FSP has to say about the Hydro PTM 650W PSU:

FSP’s Hydro PTM power supply series features 80 Plus Platinum rated efficiency and are fully modular. They are an excellent choice for high-performance PCs, thanks to the fluid dynamic bearing (FDB) fan and Japanese electrolytic capacitors. These highly reliable power supplies are perfect for gaming enthusiasts and overclockers.

Please continue reading our review of the FSP Hydro PTM 650W PSU!!!

Is that a Samsung charging antenna in your pocket or ...

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2018 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: wireless charging, Samsung, far field

Wireless charging is fun, but the limited range and speed of induction charging makes it more of a gimmick than a useful tool for the moment.  Samsung is looking to resolve one of those limitations by using far field energy transfer; their current prototypes are able to reliably transfer power over 40cm but they intend far more.  The Register describes the major hurdle for transferring power this way, interference between the antennas because of motion or signal interference significantly reduces the efficiency of power transfer.  Take a look at how they propose to solve this issue as well as alternate suggestions from different researchers.

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"An alternative approach is far-field energy transfer, which requires two antennas, one sending electromagnetic waves to the other. The receiving antenna then converts this radiation into electric currents."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Friday storage roundup

Subject: Storage | April 20, 2018 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: round up, ssd, hdd, external drive, NAS

The SSD market is somewhat daunting to a newcomer, not just the various interfaces and technology but also the huge selection of models from the various suppliers.  HDDs and NAS devices are a little less so, but there is still a large variety to choose from. TechSpot offer their advice, with a round up of what they consider the best of the best in six categories of storage devices.  Quickly take a look to see if you agree, as it is all likely to change again very soon.

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"With solid state drives now fully mainstream and hard drives being more affordable than ever, there is a broad a mix of high-performance and high-capacity options to choose from in a range of form factors. Fortunately for you, we have spent dozens of hours testing storage devices, so we have a pretty clear idea about what devices are worth buying."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechSpot