Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2019 - 11:47 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: computex, oc world cup, Extreme Overclocking Competition, G.Skill
Memory and computer peripheral maker G.Skill is already announcing Computex news with the reveal that its sponsored extreme overclocking competition -- the OC World Cup -- will take place at the company's booth at Computex 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan. Further, G.Skill is expanding the sixth annual competition to include nine contestants at its live qualifier (up from six in previous years) and upping the total cash prize amount to $25,000 total with $10,000 going to the first place grand prize winning overclocker.
There are reportedly three rounds to the competition with the first online qualifier taking place between March 13 and April 16 on hwbot.org where participants with a qualifying Intel platform and G.Skill DDR4 memory will compete for benchmark wins when overclocking and tweaking memory timings. The benchmarks used include raw memory speeds, SuperPi 32M, Geekbench 3 Memory Performance Single Core, and 3DMark11. G.Skill will award one random participant a Trident Z Royal DDR4 3600MHz (CL16) memory kit (2x8GB) and the top 9 particpants will progress and be offered a spot to compete at the live qualifier and then the grand final during Computex where the overclockers will be set loose with LN2 and grit to attempt world records and winning scores (last year G.Skill announced the overclockers beat 13 world overclocking records).
Cash prizes for contestants works out to $10,000 for first place, $3,500 for second, $2,500 for third, and $2,000 for fourth place with the prize amount decreasing in two hundred dollar increments down to the ninth place winner getting $1,000.
The live extreme overclocking competition at last year's Computex. (Image courtesy G.Skill)
I am looking forward to seeing the extreme overclocking action and how far they are able to push the hardware as well as all the other Computex news!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2018 - 07:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thermoelectric, TEC, liquid cooling, cooler master, computex 2018, computex, AIO
In addition to cases and massive amounts of RGB Cooler Master had a prototype closed loop cooler on display at Computex that combines an all in one liquid cooling loop with a TEC element that cools the water to sub-ambient temperatures.
TechPowerUp snapped photos from the show floor.
Thermoelectric coolers aren't anything new (and this isn't Cooler Master's first foray with TECs), but the hybrid approach is an interesting one. The AIO loop appears to work like a water chiller cooler would with the TEC not having direct contact with the processor but rather it is used to give the single 120mm liquid loop radiator a boost by pulling lots of heat out of the water before hitting the radiator. According to Computex attendees the loop order flows from the CPU block to the TEC element where water is passed across one side of the side and the other hot side is cooled by a large heatsink which uses four heatpipes and dual fin stacks along with two fans in a package about the size of a 240mm radiator. From there, the chilled water passes through a traditional water cooling radiator and then the cool water goes to the CPU block.
The thermoelectric cooler uses the Peltier effect where electricity (DC) is passed between an array of thermocouples that sit between two layers (usually ceramics) creating an effect where heat is drawn from one side to the other with the cool side able to be cooled below ambient temperatures while the hot side needs to be cooled by a heatsink to prevent it from overheating and reducing efficiency and/or damaging the materials.
According to PC World, Cooler Master has stated that their prototype TEC will be rated at 300W TDP which is quite a bit higher than the approximately 180W of a 240mm traditional AIO. Gordon Mah Ung was able to perform some cursory testing with a FLIR camera attached to his smartphone where he saw the cooler demonstrate its ability to cool the water used in the loop 10 to 15-degrees below ambient where it was around 80°F (~26.7°C) in the packed Computex show floor and 64 to 70°F for the water as measured by the FLIR when pointing at the radiator and tubing. Further, Cooler Master had a temperature probe at the CPU block where it measured 20°C (likely no heat load as no processor was hooked up heh). This boosted cooling performance does come with a tradeoff, however. The TEC's hot side will need to be cooled (noise) and the TEC itself will draw as much as 150W of power (it will use standard connectors that a PC PSU can drive) in order to work its cooling magic (so higher electricity usage/cost).
My first thought was that the hybrid cooler could prove useful in a SFF system by offering cooling potential that would just otherwise not be possible in the form factor with the thinking that the cooler would not need to cool to crazy low temperatures, but just enough to match the performance of a much larger water cooling loop. Gordon Mah Ung from PC World also posits that the cooler would be useful in situations where ambient temperatures are very high (say, summer months in the south with no or underpowered AC) as the TEC would be able to keep processor temperatures in check (allowing enthusiasts to maintain their overclock or at least keep stock clocks and Turbo Boost without thermal throttling) where air cooling or water cooling cannot as the best they can do is cool to ambient.
Apparently, the hybrid cooler will also be able to push things if you do want to go for higher overclocks for benchmarking runs or improved gaming performance.
One concern with thermoelectric and other sub-ambient cooling methods is condensation which can build up on the outside of cool parts like the tubing and blocks and can potentially cause instability or damage to PC components. Traditionally, the tubing and area around the CPU socket would need to be insulated to protect from this. Cooler Master's design, I don't think, is immune to this but by moving the TEC away from the processor and using it to cool the water (so no direct contact), it is allegedly much less of an issue and if the TEC is just used to provide a bit of a boost to the water loop rather than going for as low temperatures as possible the risk should be minimal.
There is no word on specific pricing or release dates, but several sites are reporting that it will be available later this year with "competitive pricing". I would guess this cooler is going to be at the high end of water cooling AIOs and expandable kits at minimum which is to say probably around $300+. (Looking on Amazon, EKWB kit with 360mm radiator is $370, you can find kits with 240mm radiators for between two-to-three hundred dollars, and a used custom loop starts around there if you find a forum deal.)
What do you think about this cooler? I am interested in seeing the reviews on this and whether it is able to combine the best of both water and TEC cooling worlds.
- CoolIt Systems Freezone Peltier CPU Cooler Review (2006) by Lee Garbutt @ PC Perspective
- Phononic's New Hex 2.0 TEC Is CPU Cooling Alternative For SFF Systems
- It's been a long time since we've seen a Peltier cooler
Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2018 - 11:25 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Trident Z RGB, samsung b-die, overclocking, msi, LN2, liquid nitrogen, Intel, G.Skill, ddr4, computex 2018, computex
G.Skill held its annual extreme overclocking competitions (the OC World Cup Competition and OC World Record Stage) at Computex 2018 in Taipei where the overclockers managed to break 13 world records including the two highest DDR4 clockspeeds and the fastest Core i7-8700K clockspeed.
Overclocking teams from around the world using Intel processors, G.Skill DDR4 memory, and motherboards from MSI, EVGA, and ASRock along with extreme cooling methods (de-lidding and loads of LN2) were used to set the world records in 3DMark Fire Strike, SuperPi, Maxxmem, Geekbench 4, GPUPi for CPU, WPrime, and PiFast benchmarks along with hardware records of DDR4 5543 MHz and an Intel Core i7-8700K at 7409.03 MHz.
On the memory front, G.Skill notes that Toppc is now the world record holder with the DDR4-5543 MHz overclock achieved using an Intel i7-8700K, MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC, and G.Skill Trident Z RGB memory. Following Toppc’s overclock Kovan Yang managed to achieve the second highest DDR4 clockspeed record at DDR4-5541 MHz on the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard and Intel Core i7-7740X processor which is an interesting feat on the HEDT platform.
Other notable benchmark world records include a 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Single score of 20,320 (i9-7980XE and EVGA X299 Dark platform), Geekbench4 Single Core score of 9842 points (i7-8700K on an ASRock Z170M OC Formula), WPRIME -32M score of 1.937 seconds, and a SuperPi 32M score of 4 minutes and 8.922 seconds.
Interestingly, G.Skill’s video coverage (embedded below) shows both manual full pot cooling as well as the automated Roboclocker LN2 cooler being used. The video jumps from scene to scene quickly but it does give you some glimpses at the process and the pots/heatsinks used with the RAM and processor to keep things cool even when cranking up the voltage and clocks!
- Computex 2018: CaseKing and Der8auer Debut Phase Shift Cooler AIO Prototype
- G.Skill Overclocks Dual Channel Trident Z RGB Memory to 5,000 MHz On Air Cooling
- ADATA Overclocks XPG Spectrix D41 RGB Memory to 5 GHz
- Extreme Overclockers Fill Coffee Lake With Liquid Nitrogen
Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2018 - 07:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, liquid cooling, Eisbaer, computex 2018, computex, Alphacool, AIO
During Computex last week Alphacool showed off an interesting customizable all in one (AIO) liquid cooler called the Eisbaer Extreme. The new cooler blurs the lines between a closed loop AIO and a custom loop with a radiator, pump, reservoir, CPU block, and tubing coming together and hooked up out of the box but with two built in quick disconnect fittings that can be used to expand the loop to include other Eisbaer equipment or your own custom loop tubing and blocks as the Eisbaer parts use G1/4” fittings.
[H] has photos of the prototype cooler as well as a video from Alphacool touring their booth.
The Eisbaer Extreme houses the radiator, pump, and 200 ml reservoir inside a thick shroud that features a fill port on the top of the radiator which should make filling and bleeding easier. Two 140mm Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 fans cool the radiator and the power cables are routed out through a single port on the shroud to make cable management easier. The current radiator option is a 280mm model but 240mm and 360mm version are reportedly also in the works. Because the reservoir and D5 pump are housed within the radiator shroud, the radiator portion is quite thick and much longer than a normal 280mm radiator which is an important consideration for SFF builds which may not have enough clearance for it depending on the case. On the other hand, because Alphacool is using a traditional CPU block (no pump top), the CPU block is much lower profile.
Speaking of the CPU block, Alphacool is using a flat black CPU block from its XPX series with a nickel plated copper base. The Eisbaer Extreme AIO that Alphacool showed off at Computex lacked the RGB LEDs that were part of the model it showed off at CES which was a bit confusing when writing this up (heh). However, as it turns out, Alphacool will be offering both models with the non-RGB all black version coming out first and a version with RGB LEDs along the sides of the radiator and surrounding the CPU block coming later. On the latter model a ring of RGB LEDs can be fitted around the clear acrylic top block to illuminate it. (The RGB LED ring will also be sold separately as it is compatible with Alphacool’s other CPU blocks including the Eisblock XPX according to Think Computers).
Alphacool is apparently not quite finished with the Eisbaer Extreme AIO which was first demoed at CES 2018 and was still in an early prototype state at Computex where Alphacool indicated to Optimum Tech that it intends to refine the design a bit more by tweaking things such as the quick disconnect fittings which are now flat black rather than red and blue as in previous iterations. Alphacool is also not yet talking pricing or release dates, but the AIO cooler(s) should be available sometime later this year. You can see videos of the non RGB cooler at Computex by Optimum Tech or the RGB-ified cooler at CES by Think Computers and Joker Productions.
I am curious how it will perform and what price point it will hit as it tries to straddle the line between sealed AIOs that are install and go and fully custom loops that require much more research, effort, maintenance, and most importantly money to get done correctly (though don’t get me wrong it can be done on the cheap if you are willing to buy used as I did). It is in kind of an odd place though there is not as much competition here either.
What are your thoughts, is the Eisbaer Extreme cool enough for you?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 11, 2018 - 01:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: noctua, air cooling, chromax, computex, computex 2018
While AMD’s reveal of its 32 core Threadripper 2 was quite surprising, Noctua may have had the most shocking news at this year’s Computex with the announcement of all black air coolers and fans for the consumer market Yes, you read that correctly; Noctua will be expanding its Chromax lineup to include alternative versions of its traditionally brown and beige air coolers clad almost completely in black with everything except the part of the block that contacts the processor IHS covered in a powder coat-esque finish (as noted by OC3D TV [video]).
OC3D got hands on with the new coolers.
Apparently, the blacked out versions of Noctua coolers have the caveat of a slight performance hit versus the normal SKUs (likely due to the coating on the fins), but in exchange they will more easily blend in with the rest of your build. Noctua had all black versions of its NH-D15, NG-U12S, and the extremely low profile NHL9i cooler on display at its Computex booth.
As part of the Chromax series, the new coolers can be customized with bits of color accents by switching out pieces if you want as well including cables, rubber fan mounts, and fan shrouds in black, white, blue, green, yellow, and red colors.
PC Gamer (Maximum PC) also has some photos of the new coolers if you are curious.
The sleek new coolers which notably also lack any RGB LEDs will reportedly be available late this year or early next year with additional alternative black versions of other coolers to follow though these models will trail the release of the traditional Noctua style SKUs – which is to say that the newest coolers and fans will be available in brown and beige first. That’s okay though because I think the new black coolers are something that enthusiasts will be willing to wait for.
What are your thoughts on the new blacked out Chromax designs?
Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2018 - 05:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: zotac, zbox, SFF, fanless, computex 2018, computex
First spotted at last year’s Computex, Zotac’s smallest ZBOX PC made an appearance again this year - and this time around it is actually available for sale and with detailed specifications available.
The ZBOX Pico PI225 is a miniature computer approximately the size of a 2.5” SSD (it is a hair thicker though) measuring 95.4mm x 63mm x 8mm (3.76”x2.58”x0.31”) powered by a passively cooled dual core Intel processor. The all black PC features two USB Type-C ports, one micro USB port for power, and a micro SDXC card reader around the edges.the USB Type-C ports support USB 3.0 and DisplayPort with one display output adapter included in the box to drive a HDMI display. Speaking of displays, the PI225 can reportedly drive a single display at up to 4k@30Hz.
Internally the ZBOX PC is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron N3350 clocked at 1.1 GHz, Intel HD Graphics 500, 4GB LPDDR3 memory, and 32GB eMMC storage. While it would have been nice to see a refresh at this year’s Computex to Gemini Lake or something this older Intel SoC is based on the Apollo Lake architecture. Also note that it comes with Windows 10 Home x64 pre-installed so most of that 32GB internal storage will not be available out of the box. Further, the mini PC has an internal antenna and radios for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2.
This small form factor PC is aimed at digital signage and kiosks, but at a current price of $179 including a valid Windows license it is within reach of consumers as well. The passively cooled PC could be useful as Plex endpoints for media streaming or a very cheap portable, and silent audio recording PC (don’t expect any fancy audio editing on this dual core heh but it may be just enough to work with your usb mixer and other accessories and record onto a SDXC card. I’m sure there are plenty of other possible uses for such a small PC that is a full x86-64 PC alternative to single board computers like the Raspberry Pi, odroids, et al.
What are your thoughts on Zotac’s Zbox Pico?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 8, 2018 - 11:39 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: cooler master, amd, Threadripper, threadripper 2, Zen+, computex, computex 2018, tr4
In an interview with AMD Senior Vice President Jim Anderson, PC World's Gordon Mah Ung got the chance to discuss and get hands on with second generation Threadripper as well as AMD's new Wraith Ripper air cooler. Developed in partnership with Cooler Master, the Wraith Ripper is a massive air cooler capable of keeping even the upcoming 32 core Threadripper processor cool (allegedly a 250W TDP part!) which, as Jim Anderson notes, has all four dies on the package being used (first generation Threadripper used two hot dies and two spacers).
The behemoth features a full cover block for Threadripper that connects to a very dense aluminum fin stack using 14 nickel plated copper heatpipes. There is a single fan in the center of the fin stack hiding under a black fan shroud that covers the top and left and right sides. The black shroud also holds the customizable RGB lighting which lights up the logo and outline around the edges of the shroud. The fan is allegedly rated at 39 dBa which is pretty good considering the amount of heat it needs to dissipate from Threadripper CPUs. Likely due to the HSF's sheer size Cooler Master was able to go with a larger and slower spinning fan.
Other details like weight, cost, and release date are still unknown though it does appear to have some heft to it! It should be available later this year following the Q3 launch of second generation Threadripper though it will work fine with first generation Threadripper processors as well as they use the same TR4 socket.
- Computex 2018: AMD previews 32-core Threadripper CPUs for Q3
- Computex 2018: MSI Unleashes X399 MEG Creation Motherboard for Threadripper 2
Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 10:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: X399, tr4, threadripper 2, Threadripper, msi, computex 2018, computex, amd
Following AMD’s reveal of a 32 core Threadripper 2 (12nm Zen+ not Zen 2) processor using all four dies coming in Q3, it is only natural that new TR4 socket motherboards would emerge. MSI was well prepared for the reveal with its upcoming X399 MEG Creation motherboard on display at Computex. The massive E-ATX motherboard features a black PCB with silver accents and two huge heatsinks covering the VRMs in the top left and the chipset and three M.2 slots in the bottom right. The TR4 socket sits between eight DDR4 DIMM slots and is topped by a ludicrous 16+3 power phase (doubled eight for vCore, the remaining phases for vSoC) cooled by a large heatsink. The board takes power from two 8-pin and one 24-pin power connector.
TechPowerUp got hands on with the new board at Computex.
Below the processor sits four PCI-E x16 slots (wired x16/x8/x16/x8) and a single PCI-E x1 slot. There are eight SATA 6 Gbps ports along the right edge of the board and below the L shaped heatsink users can install three M.2 solid state drives. MSI claims that enthusiasts can install up to seven M.2 drives using the 3 M.2 slots on the motherboard as well as four slots provided by a PCI-E add-on card (e.g. MSI Xpander AERO PCIe).
Around back the X399 MEG Creation offers up 10 USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C), two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two Wi-Fi antenna connectors for the 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and BT 5.0 radios, and six audio outputs (5 analog, one optical).
The massive Threadripper motherboard reportedly has 10 PWM fan connectors and three temperature sensors to aid in cooling and overclocking. The board also has handy BIOS flashing and overclocking features galore.
The X399 MEG Creation supports Threadripper as well as the upcoming Threadripper 2000 series processors and should make for an interesting setup for enthusiasts! The lack of 10 Gigabit Ethernet is dissapointing, but at least the two gigabit NICs are Intel based (MSI is using Intel for the Wi-Fi as well). If you are curious about the new X399 board, Tom's Hardware and TechPowerUp managed to snap several photos of the high-end motherboard at the MSI booth. If you prefer video, Gamer's Nexus has a short clip of it here.
KitGuru is reporting that the massive motherboard will cost upwards of $500. MSI has not yet revealed a launch date. Presumably we can expect the X399 MEG Creation to be available sometime in Q3 just in time for the Threadripper 2000 series availability.
Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 09:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen 2000, ryzen, msi, computex 2018, computex, b450, APU, amd, AM4
One of the motherboards on display at the MSI booth was an updated AM4 socket Tomahawk series board that uses the new AMD B450 chipset. The MSI B450 Tomahawk is a refreshed motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors. The motherboard pairs the AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, two PCI-E x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, and a single M.2 slot.
The B450 Tomahawk is powered by an 8-pin and 24-pin power connector and appears to have a 4+2 power phase design which matches that of the current B350 Tomahawk. One thing that MSI has changed in that department is the heatsink over the VRMs which has been beefed with an "extended heatsink design" that up an extends to partially cover the rear I/O ports now. Other updates versus the B350 Tomahawk include the removal of two legacy PCI slots in favor of adding a third PCI-E x1 slot and the addition of two additional SATA ports in the lower left corner.
It is not clear what the board specifically has as far as rear I/O, but from the photos and press release it appears as though the VGA port may have been removed versus the previous generation board and it does have USB 3.1 Gen 2 along with Gigabit Ethernet and analog audio outputs (looking at the photos the audio hardware has slightly changed as well though it's hard to say to what extent).
MSI is not yet talking pricing or availability, but more information should be available soon. TechPowerUp has a hands on photo of the board here as well as a cheaper and cut down B450-A Pro motherboard.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2018 - 08:22 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Vega Nano, SFF, RX Vega 56, powercolor, mini ITX, computex 2018, computex, amd
PowerColor’s new small form factor RX Vega 56 based graphics card was shown off at Computex 2018 and finally made the card official with more information provided on it following the rumors and official teaser last month. The PowerColor RX Vega 56 Nano Edition is the spiritual successor to AMD’s Fiji XT-based R9 Nano from 2015 and features an AMD RX Vega 56 GPU with 8GB HBM2 memory in a short dual slot graphics card measuring 170mm x 95mm x 38mm. In fact, PowerColor’s RX Vega 56 Nano Edition has a PCB that is only 5mm longer (according to TechPowerUp) than AMD’s previous Nano card and including the cooler is less than 2 cm longer.
PowerColor’s new SFF graphics card is a dual slot design with a single 80mm fan and dense aluminum heatsink covered by a black plastic shroud providing cooling. The card is powered by 8-pin and 6-pin power connectors and the card offers three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b display outputs.
The RX Vega 56 GPU features 56 CUs (compute units) with 3,584 shader processors and 224 texture units. PowerColor has kept the GPU at reference clockspeeds of 1,156 MHz base and up to 1,471 MHz boost. The 8GB of HBM2 memory is stock clocked at 800 MHz and connects to the GPU via a 2048-bit bus.
The PowerColor RX Vega 56 Nano Edition will reportedly be available shortly with a $449 MSRP. The new small form factor Nano Edition card offers an interesting proposition for gamers wanting to build in Mini ITX systems. So long as PowerColor can get the card out at close to MSRP and performance is still there without too much thermal limitations I think there is a definite niche market for it. (Note that the R9 Nano debuted at $650 MSRP!)