Introduction and Exterior
Corsair has just dropped a trio of new cases into the market, and I happen to have all of them in my secret enclosure testing bunker. While reviews for the other two are in the pipeline, the first of these to be completed is this impressive new Crystal Series 570X. Not only does this case have tempered glass galore (and an ultra-premium look and feel), but it also features customizable RGB lighting effects.
Glass has clearly (pun intended) been trending in the case world of late, and there are more tempered glass options at affordable price points than ever. There is still room for a premium option or two, and Corsair joins the ranks of In Win for a high-style enclosure with this Crystal 570X. At first glance the case looks like it's mostly tempered glass, and for the most part the exterior is just that. Glass panels comprise front and back sides, as well as the front and top of the case. In fact, only the back and bottom panels of the Crystal 570X are steel.
Here are some key points for the Crystal 570X from Corsair:
- Four tempered glass panels on the sides of the case: Possibly the most beautiful case CORSAIR has ever made. With tempered glass enclosing the entire chassis, every component of your build is on display.
- Customizable lighting: Light up your build with brilliant LED effects. Three included SP120 RGB LED fans and included LED controller keeps your components running cool. Each fan is equipped with vivid, configurable LED lights, enabling you to personalize your build.
- Room for virtually anything: Mounting points for 6 case fans and fully compatible with 360mm, 280mm, and 120mm radiators. Removable fan trays in the front and top of the chassis allows for additional space or mounting cooling outside of the chassis.
- Cable management made simple: Cable routing channels with included velcro cable straps for clean cable management.
- Easy to clean: Easily access dust filters on front, top, and bottom mean you’ll never spend more than a minute getting dust out of your system.
Subject: Storage | November 18, 2016 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SM2258, 3d nand, adata, Ultimate SU800
Adata's Ultimate SU800 512GB SSD is somewhat of a mixed bag, at $0.27/GB it is not exactly inexpensive nor does it take advantage of some of the SM2258 controllers advanced features, on the other hand it does use Micron's 3D NAND, offer a dynamic SLC cache and is overprovisioned by 64GB. The Tech Report put this SATA SSD to the test in a barrage of benchmarks to see how its performance compared to other SSDs, both SATA and PCIe. Check out their results right here.
"Adata's first 3D NAND SSD, the Ultimate SU800, uses the same Micron flash memory that company deployed in its appealing Crucial MX300. We tested and dissected the SU800 to see whether it lives up to its Ultimate billing."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD @ Kitguru
- Apacer Z280 240GB M.2 PCIe NVMe @ eTeknix
- Kingston HyperX Savage USB 3.1 Flash Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The Z170X-Ultra Gaming motherboard is among the latest offerings from GIGABYTE in their G1 Gaming product line, introducing Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1, and LED enhancements to thier Z170 boards. The board features a base black aesthetic with integrated red LEDs spread throughout its surface for a sleek look. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset gives the board support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. The Z170X-Ultra Gaming has a base sellng price of $160, a more than reasonable price for the integrated features and the board's performance.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the Z170X-Ultra Gaming mortherboard: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; 2x2 802.11ac WiFI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; Realtek 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated mini-DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2016 - 12:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: apple, iphone 6 plus
There are quite a few Apple iPhone 6 Plus owners who are having troubles with the multi-touch functionality, or even with serious screen flickering and today Apple announced what causes it. They have decided that blaming their customers is the best way to deal with this issue and they will fix it for you, if you give them $150. Their justification is that this issue could only be caused by multiple drops onto hard surfaces, even if the screen has not cracked Apple has decreed that there is still damage being done internally and you need to pay to have it repaired. The Inquirer has a different solution, buy a different phone. That might be hard for some people to do, even if Apple devices are not as stable as the competition.
"Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or Multi-Touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device," said the Apple Multi-Touch programme information."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Qualcomm taps Samsung to make next-gen 10nm Snapdragon @ The Register
- Microsoft Replaces Command Prompt with PowerShell in Latest Windows 10 Build @ Slashdot
- British banks chuck smartphone apps out of Windows @ The Register
- iPhone NVMe Chip Reversed with Custom Breakout Boards @ Hack a Day
- Go Beyond Local with Secure Shell @ Linux.com
- Dune HD Solo 4k UHD HEVC Enabled Media Player Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2016 - 12:12 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: wheel base, wheel, TX, Thrustmaster, T500, T300, racing, force feedback, Alcantara
Thrustmaster is announcing today the upcoming availability of their latest PC focused racing wheel and base. The TS-PC is a brand new design that integrates many new features as compared to their previous offerings. The press release did not mention compatibility on consoles, but it seems for now that it is aimed squarely at the PC (hence the name).
The big improvement from past part is the inclusion of a 40 watt motor providing more force than what we had seen previously in the T500, T300, and TX series of wheel bases. I do not know how it compares to the Fanatec CSL’s 6 Nm of force, or the higher end ClubSport V2’s 8 Nm. My guess is that it could very well be somewhere between those two options.
The motor needs some extra cooling so that apparently has received a pretty good upgrade. Thrustmaster seems to like their acronyms, so they are calling this cooling system the MCE. This stands for Motor Cooling Embedded. Few details were provided, but this system is in place to keep the motor at peak efficiency even at high transient levels of force. It does this without ramping up the speeds of the fans in the base. Hopefully soon we can find out how Thrustmaster was able to increase the thermal capacity in a base that is not all that much larger than previous products.
Thrustmaster is also implementing what they call a F.O.C algorithm (Field Oriented Control) that supposedly boosts the already impressive precision of the H.E.A.R.T. system (Hall Effect AccuRate Technology). I told you they like acronyms. This features the same 16 bit resolution of the T500 and T300 products, but it seems the new software reading the values is able to do a better job at it than previous parts.
Powering all of this is an external power supply that supports up to 400 watts of peak power. This is a peak number and not what it can do under constant load. That number is probably closer to 100 watts, but the specifics have not been released yet. The motor in the wheel base does not pull a constant amount of current, so its needs are varied depending on the type of inputs required by the application. When more force is required, it typically is not for extensive periods of time. It seems that the power supply that Thrustmaster is using is going to be quite a bit more powerful than those that were integrated into the T500/T300/TX wheel bases.
The open wheel itself is a new design. It features suede grips, an aluminum plate, and aluminum paddles. Thrustmaster claims that it has optimized stiffness and weight to give it the best overall response for the size of the product. More mass is never a good thing when trying to transmit small or subtle variations of force feedback, so the less mess in a wheel while maximizing rigidity gives the best overall experience no matter how strong the motor is.
The TS-PC is compatible with the entire Thrustmaster ecosystem of parts. This includes the 599XX Alcantara wheel that I reviewed some months back. Wheels, pedals, and shifters are all compatible with the new base so users can customize their experience as needed.
The TS-PC will be available on Dec. 5, 2016 for $499.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2016 - 08:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
The fourth Radeon Software Crimson Edition graphics driver to be released this month, dated November 15th, was just published on their website. These have not been WHQL certified, like the previous ones, but that might actually be for the best. Rapid graphics driver releases, not throttled by Microsoft red tape, probably increases driver quality over this busy time of year. Also, I recently found out that WHQL certification is not a requirement for clean installed Windows 10 Anniversary Edition systems with Secure Boot Enabled. Both AMD and NVIDIA sign their hotfix drivers in a way that satisfies this check, without going through the entire WHQL process.
That aside, Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.4 rolls in additional fixes to Civilization VI. AMD isn’t saying what these fixes are, such as whether they are for general performance optimizations or stability issues that we haven’t heard about yet, but it’s out now so you should probably update if you are currently playing the game. The driver also fixes problems when attempting to watch web video and play a game simultaneously, which is actually something I do frequently. (Don’t knock listening to podcasts while playing StarCraft II Arcade until you try it...) Thirdly, 16.11.4 also fixes rendering issues in Titanfall 2 that occur while piloting a Titan.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2016 - 07:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Update, November 17th @ 7:21pm: NVIDIA has released 375.95 Hotfix to fix this issue. They are working on getting it WHQL certified for their website and GeForce Experience. You can download and install it directly, though.
Update, November 16th @ 12:56pm: NVIDIA has reproduced the low memory clocks issue, found its cause, and are working on a fix. They believe it only affects certain factory-overclocked cards. It is obviously a high priority, so a hotfix driver will likely be issued (unless they can get it WHQL certified quick enough that it would be pointless).
Original post below:
NVIDIA has just released a new graphics driver. GeForce Game Ready 375.86 provides optimized support for Ubisoft's Steep, which is an open-world game with wingsuiters, skiers, snowboarders, and paragliders. It also rolls in extra optimizations for previous game ready games that are receiving patches: Battlefield 1, Civilization VI, and Tom Clancy's The Division.
Before you install, though, there is one particularly annoying issue that is being reported on GeForce forums. NVIDIA is currently investigating reports that certain, but not all, Pascal GPUs are having their video memory stuck at 810 MHz, leading to (as you would expect) severe performance loss. It's possible that the affected users are all running a specific overclocking application or something. If you are in a bit of a rush and don't want to put up with potentially rolling back, then you might want to skip the version.
Thankfully, both discrete graphics vendors have been releasing multiple versions per month. The wait shouldn't be too long.
Podcast #425 - Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2016 - 03:53 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, VR, video, valve, TPCAST, tempered glass, steam, serious sam, Samsung, S340, podcast, nzxt, linux, htc, 960 EVO, 375.86
PC Perspective Podcast #425 - 11/17/16
Join us this week as we discuss new Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:13:46
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Motherboards | November 17, 2016 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170, ECS, LEE7 Z170-Lightsaber, Intel, LGA 1151
ECS have upgraded their lineup of Z170 motherboards with the LEE7 Z170-Lightsaber, using improved capacitors and offering some new features. The back panel offers a pair of USB 3 ports which receive a steady 5V, perfect for a USB DAC as well as a pair marked in yellow with a polling rate of 1000Hz for your mouse and keyboard, unless you prefer the PS/2 port. There are an additional four USB 3.0 ports and a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports as well; the LAN is powered by a Killer E2400 NIC. Drop by Modders Inc for a full review and yes, before you ask, it does have RGB disease.
"The ECS Z170-Lightsaber is a significantly upgraded version of the Z170-Claymore, bringing more competitive features on-board, literally. Buttons directly on the Z170-Claymore motherboard PCB are designed to give users once click access to automatic overclocking, BIOS update, BIOS backup, clear CMOS, UEFI shortcut and more."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X99A Workstation @ Kitguru
- ASRock X99 Taichi (with Broadwell-E) @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming LGA2011-3 @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2016 - 12:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, nvidia, jon peddie, q3 2016
Compared to Q2 2016, total GPU shipments including discrete and integral chips in the mobile and desktop markets increased by 20%; good but not enough to recover to the volume we saw in Q3 2015. Indivdually, total AMD sales increased by 15% and but Intel 18% but it was NVIDIA that was the most successful with a 39% increase. In AMD's case they saw sales of their aging desktop APUs drop by 10% but that was more than offset by a jump in discrete GPU sales of 34.7% and an increase in laptop demand by 19.1% . The discrete GPU market as a whole has grown by 35.6% from the last quarter and by 10.1% when compared to last year. This is not bad news for AMD or Intel but it is certainly NVIDIA who has the most to celebrate. Pop over to Jon Peddie Research for a look at their overview, or check out the full report if you subscribe to them.
Obviously the PC is still dead ... right?
Courtesy of JPR
"AMD's overall unit shipments increased 15.38% quarter-to-quarter, Intel's total shipments increased 17.70% from last quarter, and Nvidia's increased 39.31%."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel announces US$250 million investment for autonomous driving @ DigiTimes
- Seagate plans to bring down the 16TB HAMR... soon(er) @ The Register
- Fujitsu: Rumours of our PC demise have been greatly exaggerated @ The Register
- Dune HD Solo 4k UHD HEVC Enabled Media Player Review @ NikKTech
- Aw, snap: Independent disk drive failure rates from Backblaze @ The Register
- Pixel phone resellers banned from using Google accounts @ The Guardian
Introduction and Features
SilverStone has been busy this year expanding their power supply lineup. With a continued focus on smaller physical size and support for enthusiasts in the small form factor arena, SilverStone now offers seven power supplies in the SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 700W. Earlier this year we looked at the SX700-LPT, which sits at high end of the SFX Series. In this review we are going to look at the two entry level models, the new ST30SF (V2.0) and the ST45SF (V3.0).
Both of the SilverStone SFX power supplies were designed for mainstream use in small form factor cases but they can also be used in place of a standard ATX power supply (in small enclosures) with the included adapter bracket. As entry level units they forgo some features like modular cables, Platinum or Gold efficiency certification, and fan-less operation. However, in addition to their compact size, the ST30SF and ST45SF incorporate a quiet 92mm fan (instead of the 80mm fans used in previous models), fixed cables, and come with 80 Plus Bronze efficiency certification.
SilverStone ST30SF & ST45SF PSU Key Features:
• Small Form Factor (SFX) design (63x125x100mm HxWxD)
• 300W or 450W continuous power output rated for 24/7 operation
• Very quiet with 92mm cooling fan
• 80 Plus Bronze certified for high efficiency
• Powerful single +12V rail operation
• Fixed cables
• Active power factor correction
• MSRP: ST30SF - $$49.99 USD
• MSRP: ST45SF - $69.99 USD
• 3-Year warranty
Subject: Processors, Mobile | November 17, 2016 - 07:30 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: snapdragon, Samsung, qualcomm, FinFET, 835, 10nm
Though we are still months away from shipping devices, Qualcomm has announced that it will be building its upcoming flagship Snapdragon 835 mobile SoC on Samsung’s 10nm 2nd generation FinFET process technology. Qualcomm tells us that integrating the 10nm node in 2017 will keep it “the technology leader in mobile platforms” and this makes the 835 the world's first 10nm production processor.
“Using the new 10nm process node is expected to allow our premium tier Snapdragon 835 processor to deliver greater power efficiency and increase performance while also allowing us to add a number of new capabilities that can improve the user experience of tomorrow’s mobile devices.”
Samsung announced its 10nm FinFET process technology in October of this year and it sports some impressive specifications and benefits to the Snapdragon 835 platform. Per Samsung, it offers “up to a 30% increase in area efficiency with 27% higher performance or up to 40% lower power consumption.” For Qualcomm and its partners, that means a smaller silicon footprint for innovative device designs, including thinner chassis or larger batteries (yes, please).
Other details on the Snapdragon 835 are still pending a future reveal, but Qualcomm says that 835 is in production now and will be shipping in commercial devices in the first half of 2017. We did hear that the new 10nm chip is built on "more than 3 billion transistors" - making it an incredibly complex design!
Keith Kressin SVP, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc and Ben Suh, SVP, Foundry Marketing, Samsung, show off first 10nm mobile processor, Snapdragon 835, in New York at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Technology Summit.
I am very curious to see how the market reacts to the release of the Snapdragon 835. We are still seeing new devices being released using the 820/821 SoCs, including Google’s own flagship Pixel phones this fall. Qualcomm wants to maintain leadership in the SoC market by innovating on both silicon and software but consumers are becoming more savvy to the actual usable benefits that new devices offer. Qualcomm promises features, performance and power benefits on SD 835 to make the case for your next upgrade.
Subject: Mobile | November 17, 2016 - 07:30 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: snapdragon 835, quick charge 4, Quick Charge, qualcomm
Along with the reveal of the Snapdragon 835 today and its production on Samsung’s 10nm FinFET process technology, Qualcomm is also announcing the release of Quick Charge 4, an upgrade to the company’s successful fast charging solution that improves both efficiency and performance. Based on the information provided by Qualcomm, Quick Charge 4 will offer “premium phone users” some impressive charging rates.
- 5 hours or more of use in 5 minutes of charging
- 50% battery charge in 15 minutes or less
Those time metrics are based on talk time, not VR playback or gaming or browsing, meaning you can get 5 hours of additional talk time in 5 minutes of Quick Charge 4 charging time. While I think other battery life metrics (like browsing time, idle time) would provide additional context for these claims, even these numbers should impress potential buyers.
Using an updated version of its voltage negotiation protocol INOV 3.0 (intelligent negotiation for optimal voltage), Quick Charge 4 will intelligently determine what voltages are available from the compatible charger and which voltage is the most appropriate based on temperatures and current battery state. QC 4 will offer 5V, 9V and 12V charging options at 3-5A!
Quick Charge 4 will offer 30% higher efficiency along with the 20% faster charging and integrates support for USB Type-C connections and USB-PD support. (Which is important based on the noise Google has been making recently.) New PMICs (power management ICs) from Qualcomm, the SMB1380 and SMB1381, will be shipping this year and deliver low impedance peak efficiency of up to 95%.
And of course, no smart phone platform launch will go by for the foreseeable future that doesn’t mention safety.
In addition to providing the most consistent in-box and out-of-box charging experience, Quick Charge 4 comes with advanced safety features for both the adapter and mobile device. Protection is implemented at multiple levels and throughout the entire charging process to more accurately measure voltage, current, and temperature while protecting the battery, system, cables and connectors. An additional layer of protection is also being added to help prevent battery over-charging and regulate current throughout every charge cycle.
It’s worth noting that Quick Charge 4 won’t be limited to only the Snapdragon 835 processor, though other integrations haven’t been announced just yet. I have a feeling we will hear more at CES in January. The Quick Charge ecosystem has been steadily growing with hundreds of charging accessories and devices shipping today with QC3/QC2 and I expect that will continue with Quick Charge 4.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 16, 2016 - 04:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, MasterLiquid Pro 240, MasterLiquid Pro 280, AIO
As the somewhat repetitive name suggests, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro series are all in one watercoolers for your CPU. The MasterLiquid Pro 240 is a one inch thick 240mm rad with a pair of 120mm MasterFan Pro Air Balance fans, the 280 model is also one inch thick but uses a pair of 140mm MasterFan Pro 140 Air Pressure fans to push air through the tighter fins. The Tech Report tested these coolers out and were pleased with the performance of both coolers, giving higher marks to the Pro 280 for providing both more effective cooling and lower noise levels when under load. Check out their full review here.
"Cooler Master's MasterLiquid Pro 240 and MasterLiquid Pro 280 CPU coolers bring fresh thinking to nearly every part of the closed-loop liquid cooler. We put them on the bench to see if those new ideas translate into chillier CPUs."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid Maker 92 @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master's MasterLiquid Maker 92 @ The Tech Report
- Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 120mm and 140mm @ Kitguru
- CRYORIG A40 Ultimate @ techPowerUp
- X2 Rindja 8020 PC Gamer Chassis Review @ NikKTech
- Aerocool DS230 Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Anidees AI Crystal Mid-Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2016 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VR, nvidia, gaming, amd
VR offers a variety of new creative opportunities, not simply a new way to make games. For instance StudioDisrupt has created a VR movie called Please State Your Name about a decapitated robot's head in a garbage dump. While the movie has a script which it runs through, you have the freedom to move your perspective around the world. While this may not sound overly interesting, Kyle over at [H]ard|OCP has watched this movie 25 or 30 times this week even before embarking on this review so there must be something to it. Check out their full look at the performance of AMD and NVIDIA cards in this VR movie by following that previous link. A second version of the movie is available for those using their cellphone as a VR headset, somewhat more limited but seeing as how the movie is free you should take the opportunity.
"Please State Your Name is not a game, it is not really an "experience" either, but rather a short film done in a Virtual Reality world, which puts you right in the middle of the story. This genre of VR is where AMD has been putting a lot of its resources. Can we expect the Radeon RX 480 to show us its VR prowess once again?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dishonored 2 review: Simply stunning @ Ars Technica
- Wot I Think: Dishonored 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dishonored 2: PC VGA performance @ Guru of 3D
- Dishonored 2: Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- EVE Online Is Now Free To Play @ [H]ard|OCP
- Ark: Survival Evolved adding Iron Man suits, cyberdinos @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- PlayStation 4 Pro Review: Is This “4K” Machine Worth An Upgrade? @ Techgage
- Tyranny Is Quite Good At Letting You Be Extremely Bad @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hitman First Season Review @ OCC
- Battlefield 1’s Fall Update rolling out like autumn mist @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Quick Look: Watch Dogs 2 @ Giant Bomb
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2016 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, linux
Microsoft is obviously serious about its new found support of Linux, having just joined the Linux Foundation at the top tier of membership. Already, we have seen the bash shell integrated with Windows 10, with familiar commands such as grep, sed, and awk as well as scripting support. After that somewhat surprising development Microsoft once again made the unexpected move of offering eight different Linux server images on Azure. Their newfound interest in the open source OS expands today, with their membership in the Linux Foundation they can continue to integrate more open source tools and projects into their current offerings. You can pop by The Inquirer to read more about this unexpected turn of events.
"The non-profit group advances open technology development and promotes Linux, and Microsoft has signed up as a Platinum member, the highest-ranking option that comes with a $500,000 annual fee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ZapBox: $30 'mixed reality' headset sets sights on Microsoft HoloLens @ The Inquirer
- Monitoring Network Load With nload: Part 1 @ Linux.com
- Is that your television? Or a zero client running a virtual desktop? @ The Register
Introduction and First Impressions
The Source S340 from NZXT has been one of my favorite enclosures since I reviewed it early in 2015, offering a fantastic price/performance proposition with a street price between $69 and $79. Fortunately, this outstanding compact ATX design isn't going anywhere, and since my original review NZXT has introduced a premium Designed by Razer version, and this new S340 Elite was released just last month.
What makes the Elite so, well, elite? There are some key changes with this new version, including a tempered glass side panel, VR support from an external HDMI port and an included puck for storing a VR headset and cables, as well as new plastic cable management clamps behind the motherboard tray, an extra SSD mount up front, and a pair of USB 2.0 ports along with the previous USB 3.0 ports up top. While the VR support won't be required for everyone, the tempered glass panel alone makes this an attractive option at its $99.99 retail price, which is a very modest $20 premium over the standard version's $79.99 MSRP.
This review will be a little less in-depth compared to the usual review, as the S340 chassis is unchanged internally from our full review last April. Still, there is enough new here to take a fresh look at the S340 Elite, and it will be good to test it again with the current testbench components and see how it has held up.
The tempered glass side panel is the star of the 340 Elite
Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2016 - 06:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, ue4, pc gaming, epic games
Every couple of months, Epic Games drops a new version of Unreal Engine 4 with improvements all over. As such, you should check the full release notes to see all of the changes, including the fifty-one that Epic thinks are worth highlighting. Here are some that I think our readers would enjoy, though.
First, Vulkan support for mobile devices has apparently moved out of experimental. While this will not be enabled for desktop applications, it's interesting to note that DirectX 12 is still in experimental. Basically, if you squint and put blinders on, you could sort-of see some element of Vulkan beating DirectX 12 to market.
Second, Unreal Engine 4 has significantly upgraded their forward renderer. In a lot of cases, a deferred renderer is preferable because it's fast and consistent; the post-process shader only run once per output pixel, ignoring lighting triangles that are covered by other triangles. The way this is structured, though, makes multisample anti-aliasing impossible, which is slightly annoying on desktop but brutal in VR. As an added benefit, they're also using forward shading to help the deferred renderer with translucent materials.
Unreal Engine typically uses a lot of NVIDIA SDKs. This version updates PhysX up to 3.4, which allows “continuous collision detection” on rigid bodies. This means that fast moving object shouldn't pass through objects without colliding, because the collision occurred between two checks and was missed, if this feature is enabled. They are also adding the Ansel SDK, which allows players to take high-detail screenshots, as a plug-in.
Skipping down the release notes a bunch, Unreal Engine 4.14 also adds support for Visual Studio 15, which is the version after Visual Studio 2015 (Visual Studio 14.0). Both IDEs are, in fact, supported. It's up to the developer to choose which one to use, although Visual Studio 15 makes a lot of improvements regarding install and uninstall.
Finally, at least for my brief overview, Unreal Engine 4.14 begun to refactor their networking system. It sounds like the current optimizations are CPU-focused, but allowing more network-capable objects is always a plus. Epic Games claims they are benchmarking about 40% higher performance in this area.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 15, 2016 - 02:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rx 480, nvidia, GTX1060, amd
On one side of the ring is the RX 480, with 2304 Stream Processors, 32 ROPs and 144 Texture Units. In the opposite corner, at 1280 CUDA Cores, 48 ROPs and 80 Texture Units is the GTX 1060. The two cards retail for between $200 to $250 depending on the features present on the card as well as any sales. [H]ard|OCP tested the two cards head to head, not just raw performance numbers but also the stability of the GPU frequencies. power draw and temperatures. All games were tested at base clocks and at the highest stable overclock and the results were back and forth, in some games AMD pulled ahead while in others NVIDIA was the clear winner. It is worth keeping in mind that these results do not include VR results.
"We take GIGABYTE’s Radeon RX 480 G1 GAMING video card and pit it against a MSI GeForce GTX 1060 GAMING X video card in today’s evaluation. We will overclock both video cards as high as possible and compare performance and find out what both video cards have to offer in the upper $200 price range for gaming."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper Review @ OCC
- Zotac GeForce GTX 1050 @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte GTX 1050 Ti G1 Gaming 4 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Gaming X 4G @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2016 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MasterPulse Pro Gaming Headset, coolermaster, audio, 7.1 headset
Cooler Master's MasterPulse Pro Gaming Headset offers virtual 7.1 surround, with 44mm drivers which have a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. All software duties are performed by the fairly large sized inline controls; the headset will not work on a phone or plane but will work on anything with USB audio capabilities. Overclockers Club tried the headset out and they discovered these things are incredibly loud, even when the volume on the headset is turned down as far as possible. This is somewhat of a negative when listening to media as you need to adjust your system volume down significantly, however for gaming they found it to be beneficial when listening for directional clues such as footsteps. Take a read through the full review to see what you think about the MasterPulse Pro.
"This is where the CM MasterPulse Pro set really stands out: gaming. The extensive bass response along with the ability to go LOUD allows you to crank up the volume to hear the details while still getting rocked with crystal clear and thunderous explosions. Because of the prodigious output, it's very easy to hear quiet sounds you might normally miss, while also placing things quite easily in terms of direction."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterPulse Pro Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
- HiFiMAN HE-1000 V2 Planar Magnetic Headphones @ techPowerUp
- Allocacoc audioCube Portable WOOD Edition Review @ NikKTech
- Sennheiser GSP 300 Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- SteelSeries Arctis 5 7.1 Surround Sound RGB Headset Review @ Techgage