USB superfriends ... Intel, Thunderbolt and the USB Promoters Group are here to save us from the USB-IF!
Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2019 - 02:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb-if, usb 4, thunderbolt 3, open source, Intel
Intel has made good on their promise from 2017 to release the Thunderbolt specifications to the industry so that upcoming products can offer that connection without being tied to an Intel license and the possible limitations included therein. Today Thunderbolt 3 was released to the USB Promoter Group, who promptly undid the insanity that the USB-IF released upon us last week by promptly announcing it will be the basis of USB 4.
Thanks to their lack of an obsession over stringing letters and numbers to the back of USB 3 we will end up with a certified standard that provides "two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables" (pdf link). It will maintain backwards compatibility with previous Thunderbolt generations as well as the various flavours of USB 2 and 3. It may or may not be compatible with the new ones, such as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ... indeed one might hope they refuse to accept such things into their specifications.
Considering that the USB-IF and USB-PG are closely related, this new nomenclature will be the new standard and last weeks announcement just a memory.
"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD Ryzen 3000 CPU specs and prices outed by Singaporean retailer @ The Inquirer
- The Current Spectre / Meltdown Mitigation Overhead Benchmarks On Linux 5.0 @ Phoronix
- Microsoft will use Google's Retpoline to mitigate Spectre in Windows 10 @ The Inquirer
- WannaCry-hero Hutchins' trial date set, Microsoft readies Google's Spectre V2 fix for Windows 10, Coinhive axed, and more @ The Register
- Get your first look at the OnePlus 7 and its crazy pop-up camera @ Ars Technica
- Facebook is using your 2FA phone number for 'look up' search feature @ The Inquirer
- DRAM price falls to slow, says Nanya @ DigiTimes
- Sony Officially Ends Production of PS Vita @ Slashdot
- Are Quad-core CPUs Finally Dead in 2019 @ Techspot
- Nvidia RTX 2050 mobile graphics card shows up on Dell website @ The Inquirer
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 8, 2019 - 05:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: visontek, thunderbolt 3, external gpu, ces 2019
VisionTek announced a new external GPU enclosure today at CES, costing $350 for the enclosure and 240W power (cinder) block. The dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers provide enough bandwidth for your GPU as well as a pair of USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit ethernet and a SATA III port.
At 8.5x6x2.75" it is small enough to be easily accomodated on a desk whle still able to hold a variety of cards, up to about the size of an AMD Vega 56 8GB. It is compatible with Windows 10 and OS X and will let you string together up to six 4K displays @ 60fps. You can see the full PR below.
The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure is ideal for creative professionals, IT/enterprise power users, professional users in healthcare, finance, scientific research labs, etc., and gaming enthusiasts seeking the ultimate GPU performance improvement to Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops. Delivering up to 40Gbps of bandwidth, Thunderbolt 3 is the industry’s fastest interface that is rapidly becoming popular on new generation of laptops and mini PCs. VisionTek’s Mini eGFX combined with a graphics add-in card significantly boosts the GPU performance of a Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptop, via a plug and play connection to the enclosure.
Sleek, Portable, and Future Proof for the Most Demanding Applications
The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure combines a sleek and portable design that easily fits discretely on a desk, or hidden away, to handle all your graphic intensive applications. VisionTek’s Mini eGFX Enclosure can be plugged into any Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptop or mini-PC to accelerate the most demanding 3D intensive software programs. Best of all, the Mini eGFX enclosure can be upgraded to perfectly match the application’s performance requirements. Consumers have the option of selecting from many mini ITX cards or standard compatible graphic card models for the Mini eGFX to optimize GPU processing requirements for each user’s specific needs.
"With the launch of the Mini eGFX external enclosure, users can turbocharge their Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptops with cutting edge discrete GPU add-in cards on the fly," said Michael Innes, President, VisionTek Products, LLC. “VisionTek embraces technology innovations from Intel that enhance the way we utilize our GPU technology to increase the efficiency, performance, and resolution of 3D visual PC applications.” “The VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX enclosure is one of the most compact, yet flexible eGFX enclosures available in the market today,” said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. “With this solution, VisionTek can broadly address the many professional graphics verticals, enterprise and consumer gaming markets as it can be easily configured to fit the needs of the customer with many inter-changeable graphic cards available.”
Expansive Selection of Laptop Compatibility
Thunderbolt 3 enabled laptops and mini-PCs connected to the new VisionTek Mini eGFX dock enclosure drives the most demanding 3D graphic intensive applications. Visiontek is proud to announce compatibility and availability with many new Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops and mini-PCs in 2019. The speed, reliability, efficiency and compact size of VisionTek’s Mini eGFX Enclosure eliminates limitations of a laptop or mini-PC environment and opens possibilities for the perfect combination of portability and performance when required.
Select from a wide performance range of add-in graphics cards certified by VisionTek to improve 3D imaging rendering, 4K HD applications, video editing, run multi-monitor displays, improve PC gaming, and more. The VisionTek Mini eGFX is design to fit most mini ITX discrete graphics cards, as well as select reference card designs. Visit VisionTek’s product page for the most current list of graphics cards recommended. Benefits of the VisionTek Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX Enclosure for external GPUs include:
- Compact Design – Form & function collide to create one of the most compact and flexible enclosure designs in the industry to accommodate a variety of graphics cards (enclosure dimensions: 8.5” x 6” x 2.75”)
- 3D Graphics Performance – Whether you’re rendering complex 3D images or playing intense first-person shooters, the eGFX enclosure supports a wide range of mini ITX size graphics cards.
- Power – 240W of dedicated power is provided with the VisionTek Mini eGFX Enclosure.
- Multiple Displays – Supports up to six 4K displays @ 60fps from laptops & mini PC’s. Scalable to the needs of the user with the addition of a graphics card to fit the application’s needs.
- Maximum 3D Resolution Control –Set limits using the GPU’s proprietary firmware controls to customize resolution settings, enhance 3D performance, and assign multi-monitor layouts.
- Additional High-Speed USB 3.0, Ethernet Connection, and SATA III Port – The design uses a second Thunderbolt controller with PCIe-to-USB and PCIe-to-LAN controllers to provide Two (2) additional USB 3.0 ports that are conveniently accessible on the front panel of the eGFX enclosure and one (1) RJ45 ethernet Gigabit LAN connection located on the back side of the enclosure.
It has been 9 years since I reviewed the DroboPro. For its time, that product was a beast of a device, with the closest to a 'set it and forget it' RAID implementation I had ever seen. It was also robust enough to shrug off any combination of power loss and pulling (failing) disks that I could throw at it. The ease of use/durability combination was a good formula for Drobo that has now lasted over a decade. The main hurdles over the years have been more on the performance side of things. The original DroboPro was indeed quicker than previous Drobos and other competing models, but competition quickly surpassed them in performance. Later Drobo models brought decent performance and capabilities for competitive prices (like the Drobo 5C), but we haven't had a worthy successor to the original DroboPro. They came close in the form of the B810 series, but those were still limited by Gigabit links. We needed the 8-bay form factor to have a larger pipe - and now we do:
Subject: Storage | October 15, 2018 - 03:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: patriot, evlvr, thunderbolt 3, external ssd, 1TB, phison e8
Patriot's external SSD is available for about $200 less than Samsung's, though it's warranty is a year shorter at two and it doesn't feature hardware encryption acceleration. On the other hand it also contains the brand new Phison E8 controller and 64-layer BiCS 3D TLC NAND which might make the drive more interesting than it appears at first glance. The Tech Report put the drive through its paces, comparing it to Samsung's X5 as well as other USB drives; check out the results right here.
"We were floored by the performance—and price tag—of Samsung's Portable SSD X5. Patriot's Evlvr 1 TB promises some of the same Thunderbolt 3 goodness without asking the buyer to take out a second mortgage. We ran Patriot's TB3 external through our test suite to see whether it captures lightning in a bottle."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Western Digital Black NVMe – WD’s Acquisition of Sandisk Made This Possible Review @ Bjorn3d
- Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB @ TechPowerUp
- TeamGroup MP32 M2 NVMe 480GB SSD @ Guru of 3D
- QSAN XN3002T 2-bay NAS @ TechPowerUp
- QSAN XCubeNAS XN5008T NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Terra Master F4-220 4 bay NAS @ Guru of 3D
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Samsung has been in the portable SSD business for a good while now. They released their T1 back in 2015, with the T3 and T5 coming in at a yearly cadence. Keeping with tradition, today we see the release of a new model on a new interface - Samsung's new Portable SSD X5:
(970 EVO included for scale)
While the 'T' branded predecessors were USB 3.0 and 3.1 (Gen1 - limited to 5Gbps), Samsung has now jumped onto the Thunderbolt 3 bandwagon, taking a firmware-tweaked (for encryption) 970 EVO and placing it behind an Intel Alpine Ridge DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller.
Specs of note are the nearly 3GB/s sequential read speed. 2.3GB/s writes are nothing to sneeze at, either. No random performance noted here, but we will fix that with our test suite later on in the article.
Nice packaging and presentation.
Read on for our review of the Samsung Portable SSD X5!
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2018 - 03:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xenbook, UX580, thunderbolt 3, pantone, asus
ASUS revealed their new Xenbook, with its new ScreenPad and NanoEdge bezels, which give this laptop an 83% screen-to-body ratio. You will be able to get a variety of models, including a 4k alternative for those who can't stand 1080p anymore.
Inside you will find a processor of up to an i9-8950HK, 16GB of DDR4-2400, a GTX 1050 Ti and a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. The 15.6" screen is PANTONE vaildated with guaranteed Delta-E colour difference of less than 2.0 for the 4K display model and less than 3.0 for the 1080p, as well as 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB coverage.
The ScreenPad is a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, replacing a standard touchpad with support for up to to four finger gestures. As it is more capable than the run of the mill touchpad, ASUS included a configureable menu at the top of the ScreenPad, which can perform a variety of tricks. If you are using a compatible Microsoft Office product the menu will offer you various ribbon commands, or you can control your YouTube and Spotify sessions. If you prefer you can also use it as a secondary monitor or use the ASUS Sync app to display and control your smartphone.
This adds up to a powerful little machine, with a reported MSRP of $2300. Now have some PR ...
Since it's introduction in early 2015, the modern iteration of the Dell XPS 13 has been one of the most influential computers in recent history. An example of the rise of desirable Windows-based notebooks back into the premium market, the XPS 13 has done what only a few OEMs have been able to—inspire knockoffs. Now, the market is filled with similar designs including ultrathin bezels (and some even copying the compromises of webcam placement), at similar price points.
Even though it's been regarded as one of the best PC notebooks for its entire tenure, it was clear for a while that Dell must move the brand of their flagship notebook forward, and here it is, the redesigned XPS 13 9370 for 2018.
From a quick glance, the 2018 XPS 13 is quite similar to the outgoing 9360 model from last year. Apart from this new, radical Alpine White and Rose Gold color scheme of our particular review unit, you would be hard-pressed to spot it as unique in public. However, once you start to dig in, the changes become quite evident.
While the new XPS 13 maintains the same physical footprint as the previous iterations, it loses a significant amount of thickness. Still retaining the wedge shape, although much less exaggerated now, the XPS 13 9370 measures only 0.46" at its thickest point, compared to 0.6" on the previous design. While tenths of inches may not seem like a huge difference, this amounts to a 23% reduction in thickness, which is noticeable for a highly portable item like a notebook.
One of the promises of moving to interfaces like USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 on notebooks is the idea of the "one cable future." For the most part, I think we are starting to see some of those benefits. It's nice that with USB Power Delivery, users aren't tied into buying chargers directly from their notebook manufacturer or turning to trying to find oddball third-party chargers with their exact barrel connector. Additionally, I also find it to be a great feature when laptops have USB-c charging ports on opposing sides of the notebooks, allowing me greater flexibility to plug in a charger without putting additional strain on the cable.
For years, the end-game for mobile versatility has been a powerful thin-and-light notebook which you can connect to a dock at home, and use a desktop PC. With more powerful notebook processor's like Intel's quad-core 8th generation parts coming out, we are beginning to reach a point where we have the processing power; the next step is having a quality dock with which to plug these notebooks.
While USB-C can support DisplayPort, Power Delivery, and 10 Gbit/s transfer speeds in its highest-end configuration, this would still be a bit lacking for power users. Thunderbolt 3 offering the same display and power delivery capabilities, but with its 40 Gbit/s data transfer capabilities is a more suitable option.
Today, we are taking a look at the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus, a Thunderbolt 3-enabled device that provides a plethora of connectivity options for your notebook.
Compared to manufacturers like Dell, HP, and ASUS, Razer is a relative newcomer to the notebook market having only shipped their first notebook models in 2013. Starting first with gaming-focused designs like the Razer Blade and Blade Pro, Razer branched out to a more general notebook audience in 2016 with the launch of the Razer Blade Stealth.
Even though Razer is a primarily gamer-centric brand, the Razer Blade Stealth does not feature a discrete GPU for gaming. Instead, Razer advertises using their Razer Core V2 external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to add your own full-size GPU, giving users the flexibility of a thin-and-light ultrabook, but with the ability to play games when docked.
Compared to my previous daily driver notebook, the "Space Gray" MacBook Pro, the Razer Blade Stealth shares a lot of industrial design similarities, even down to the "Gunmetal" colorway featured on our review unit. The aluminum unibody construction, large touchpad, hinge design, and more all clearly take inspiration from Apple's notebooks over the years. In fact, I've actually mistaken this notebook for a MacBook Pro in a few quick glances around the office in recent weeks.
As someone who is a fan of the industrial design of the MacBook Pro lineup, but not necessarily Apple's recent hardware choices, these design cues are a good thing. In some ways, the Razer Blade Stealth feels like Apple had continued with their previous Retina MacBook Pro designs instead of moving into the current Touch Bar-sporting iteration.
|Razer Blade Stealth (Early 2018)|
|Screen||13.3" QHD+ (3200x1800) IGZO Touch Screen|
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR3-2133MHz (non-upgradeable)|
|Storage||256 GB PCIe||512 GB PCIe||1 TB PCIe|
|Network||Killer™ 1535 Wireless-AC (802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth® 4.1)|
1 x Thunderbolt 3
|Connectivity||1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.0 (Type-A)
|Audio||Stereo Speakers, Array Microphone|
|Weight||2.98 lbs. / 1.35 kg|
|Dimensions||0.54” / 13.8 mm (Height) x 12.6” / 321 mm (Width) x 8.1” / 206 mm (Depth)|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
One of the things that surprised me most when researching the Razer Blade Stealth was just how equipped the base model was. All models include 16 GB of RAM, a QHD+ touch screen, and at least 256 GB of PCIe NVMe flash storage. However, I would have actually liked to see a 1080p screen option, be it with or without touch. For such a small display size, I would rather gain the battery life advantages of the lower resolution.
Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2018 - 12:54 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: western digital, video, TS-PC, thunderbolt 3, Thrustmaster, tekq, snapdragon 700, SN720, SN520, Samsung, Ryzen 5 2400G, qualcomm, podcast, logitech, Huawei, galaxy s9, g613, g603, bitmain
PC Perspective Podcast #489 - 03/01/18
Join us this week for Ryzen 5 2400G Compute, Thrustmaster TS-PC Wheel, 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Program length: 1:29:41
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Picks of the Week: