Coffee Lake in September is a lovely sight

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake, asus, acer

DigiTimes have broken the news that Coffee Lake powered laptops will be arriving in September.  ASUS and Acer are mentioned by name but you can bet that you will see models released by all major manufacturers.  This upgrade will be a refinement of Kaby Lake, both generations will be fabbed on a 14nm process; Cannon Lake will be Intel's first 10nm chip and should be released close to the end of this year.  Intel is very hopefully that Coffee Lake will sell well, their representative mentioned a study which found that 450 million PCs still use chips rolled out five years ago.  While enthusiasts are unlikely to jump on Coffee Lake, there is a large market for 4k laptops with better battery life among casual users and businesses.

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"Leading notebook vendors, such as Taiwan's Asustek Computer and Acer, and many other international brands, will roll out their new 2-in-1 and ultra-thin notebook models utilizing Intel's eighth-generation Coffee Lake mobile CPUs starting September, to grab a larger market pie in the coming peak season, according to industry sources."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Details Upgrade Options For Xbox One X Including Network Transfer Of Games and Settings

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 12:13 AM |
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one, microsoft, console, 4k

Microsoft’s next generation Xbox One X gaming console is expected to launch on November 7th, 2017 and the Redmond-based company is making it as easy as possible to upgrade from current Xbox One and One S consoles. Specifically, Microsoft’s Xbox Program Management Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra revealed that gamers would be able to prepare for the switch to the new console by downloading 4K game updates ahead of time and making the transfer process simple by using a wizard and either an external hard drive or network transfer to move console settings and game data over from their old console to the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X Network Transfer.png

So far, Microsoft has announced that approximately 100 games from its existing catalog will have 4K updates available including Halo 5, Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorspot 7, Fallout 4, NBA 2K18, Project Cars 2, Rocket League, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Gamers will be able to pre-load 4K updates for their existing games onto their Xbox One or Xbox One S console. Once the Xbox One X launches, gamers will be able to transfer and keep most of their Xbox settings to the new console along with apps, games, and game save data. The data can be transferred by hooking up an external hard drive or by connecting both gaming consoles to the same LAN and starting the home network transfer by adding both consoles to your Xbox home and copying what you want between consoles.

I am interested to see if the Xbox One X is really able to live up to the claims of 4K60 gaming as well as the promised supersampling and anti-aliasing for gamers playing on 1080p displays (including older backwards compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles).

Are you planning on upgrading to the XBOX? What are your thoughts on the $499 console and its performance promises?

Also read: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained @ Screen Rant

Source: eTeknix

A Chunk of Servo Comes to Firefox: Quantum CSS

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, servo, Rust

If you’re on Firefox Nightly, you are able to enable their new CSS engine with an about:config flag, called layout.css.servo.enabled. For a few years now, Mozilla has been working on a separate rendering engine, aided by Samsung, which was called Servo. Browsers are very single-threaded, so there was a lot of room for improvement, especially on devices that can afford more cores than per-core performance, like mobile. It is also more secure, as its programming language, Rust, is more strict with data accesses than C/C++, which is also great for a web browser.

mozilla-rust.png

Eventually, Mozilla decided to, instead of replacing Gecko, replace chunks of it with tech derived from Servo. Up to now, it’s been mostly security-related components, like the parsing of untrusted media headers. This one is about speed. I'm curious to see how it feels to our readers. I know that, personally, going from Firefox 54 to Firefox 55 was a significant difference, although that was due to other changes.

If you’re interested, download Firefox Nightly. I mean, it’s free.

Source: Mozilla

HTC Vive Price Drops to $599

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, vive, htc vive, valve, htc, price cut

While it looked like HTC and Valve wouldn’t budge on their launch price, the Vive has just been reduced $200 USD, from $799 down to $599. This is still significantly above the $399 USD price tag during their competitor’s summer sale, but it might be close enough for those who prefer the Vive for one reason or another.

I should note that their website still has payment plans through PayPal, which breaks up the $599 price tag into, they say, twelve chunks.

For me? This price cut came just a week and a bit late. I already picked up the Oculus. For us Canadians, it looks like the Vive sale price is $800 CDN on Amazon, versus the $550 mark for the Rift with Touch and two sensors. That said, if I didn’t jump on the Oculus... would I consider the Vive? At this price, I’m still not sure. I’m wary of a hardware refresh, now that these devices are hitting the one-and-a-half year mark. The Oculus, during its sale, is priced in the “Meh” territory. It would have served its purpose until it’s replaced. The extra couple hundred dollars on the Vive might just push it out of the “eh, if it’s replaced, so what” range.

On the other hand, the Vive can be upgraded with a wireless kit, and I do have issues with the Oculus sensors being obstructed. It’s an interesting move for sure.

Source: Vive

HyperX Announces the Cloud Alpha Headset

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: audio, hyperx, cloud alpha, gaming headset

HyperX have just announced a new headset, the Cloud Alpha, which will be available for purchase on September 25th for $100.  The headset sports the standard 50mm neodymium magnets that are expected on a gaming headset however the design of the earcups is different than most on the market.  You can see the dual chamber design below.

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High and mid-range frequencies are sent directly through the the earcups while bass is directed out towards the edges which should allow finer control over the balance, however the proof will have to wait until we can get our hands on them.  The aluminium frame helps keep the weight under 300g while the leatherette ear padding should ensure they are comforatable even after a long session. 

The condenser microphone should allow you to be heard clearly when you are gaming or be removed if you don't need it for the moment.  The Cloud Alpha will be compatible with any system that accepts a 3.5mm jack, so you will be able to use the headset on all of your devices.  Full PR below the glamour shot.

HyperX Cloud Alpha_Image 1.jpg

Source: HyperX

Listen to the Void long enough and you become a Pro

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: wireless headset, VOID PRO RGB, virtual 7.1, gaming headset, corsair, audio

The new Corsair Gaming VOID PRO RGB Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset is a reasonable $80 and contains a battery which should be good for around 15 hours of usage.  As the headset contains two 50mm neodymium drivers, the 7.1 surround sound is virtual and the Guru of 3D found that while it opened up the sound somewhat it was not particularly good at enhancing your situational awareness in games.  Thankfully the RGBs are limited to the Corsair logos on the ear cups and not spread across the headband.   Drop by for their full review.

You can also see what Sebastian thought of this headset in his recent review.

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"Corsair today launches their headsets with a new PRO line of the VOID RGB headsets, we test the wireless version. The Dolby headphone certified VOID comes with updated software as well, and manages to seriously impress me in terms of audio quality and sure, build quality as well."

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Source: Guru of 3D

It's good to be making NAND right now, not so good to be buying

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: nand, bad news

The trend we have seen over 2017 is predicted to continue, with the price of NAND steadily increasing thanks to the limited supply.  Over the first two quarters we have seen prices rise between 3-10% and this trend is expected to continue.  The two driving factors are the coming launch of a new generation of smartphones from most manufacturers, all of which are purchasing NAND in large volumes as well as Enterprise class SSDs which are starting to see more adoption.  At the same time, all manufacturers are seeing an impressive increase in their profitability, even those which are having production issues.  You can see the breakdown in the article posted by Trendforce.

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"We expect supply to be under strain for the rest of 2017. Relief will come later in 2018, when the manufacturing of 64- and 72-layer 3D-NAND Flash reaches maturity."

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Tech Talk

Source: TrendForce

Linksys Announces WRT32X Gaming Router with Killer Prioritization Engine

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: WRT32X, router, networking, linksys, Killer Prioritization Engine, Killer Networking, gaming, AC3200

Linksys has announced a router that they say is 'built purely for gaming' with the WRT32X, an AC3200 router with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and built-in Killer Prioritization Engine.

WRT32X.jpg

"The WRT32X takes gaming to the next level. The router built purely for gaming features AC3200 speed and the Killer Prioritization Engine. The Killer Prioritization Engine identifies, prioritizes and accelerates gaming network traffic above all other devices in your home to deliver a faster, superior gaming experience. The Killer-enabled WRT32X also synchronizes with Killer-enabled PCs to give gaming traffic the highest priority on your network. Turning the Killer Engine on protects from extreme lag spikes and reduces lag by 77%, delivering consistent and superior reaction time during intense gaming scenarios."

Linksys lists the features of the WRT32X as follows:

  • 1.8 GHz CPU: Dual-Core promotes simultaneous high-speed data processing.
  • Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet Switch: Gigabit (10/100/1000) is 10X faster than Fast Ethernet.
  • Dual-Band (2.4 + 5 GHz): N600 + AC2600 Mbps.
  • Killer Prioritization Engine: The first router that prioritizes gaming.
  • Advanced Security: WPA2 encryption and SPI rewall help keep your network safely connected.
  • Customized Gaming Interface: Custom-built interface and firmware for gaming traffic control.
  • 256MB Flash and 512MB of RAM Memory: Handle more without delay for optimal performance.
  • 4 High-Performance Antennas: Engineered to enhance dual-band communication; four external, adjustable antennas ensure supreme Wi-Fi signal strength.
  • eSATA, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 Ports: Share content via an external storage device with ultra-fast data transfer speeds. USB 3.0 delivers enhanced performance over USB 2.0; eSATA delivers optimal data transfer speeds from external SATA drives and accommodates USB 2.0.

WRT32X_2.jpg

The WRT32X carries an MSRP of $329.99, with availability TBA.

Source: Linksys

Acer Announces Nitro 5 Spin With Intel 8th Generation Processors

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2017 - 09:03 PM |
Tagged: quad core, Intel, gaming laptop, acer, 9th generation core, 2-in-1

Following the reveal of Intel’s “8th Generation Core” refreshed Kaby Lake processors, Acer has announced its upcoming 15.6” Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming laptop. Sporting a black aluminum shell with red accents the Nitro 5 Spin features a 360-degree hinge with multiple locking positions, a backlit keyboard and large trackpad, front firing speakers with a subwoofer, and a large 15.6” IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Acer claims that the convertible notebook is aimed at casual gaming and the specifications seems to back that up (at least on paper).

acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible 2-in-1.jpg

Acer has opted for refreshed Kaby Lake processors which means a quad core CPU with HyperThreading at up to 1.9GHz base and 4.2 GHz turbo clocks at the high end with the Intel Core i7-8650U along with Intel “UHD Graphics” which is simply a rebrand of its HD Graphics 620 iGPU. Gamers will be happier to see the inclusion of a dedicated graphics card although it is only a midrange NVIDIA GTX 1050. Storage is handled by a PCI-E SSD up to 512 GB. As far as connectivity goes, the Acer Nitro 5 Spin offers 802.11ac MU-MIMO along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD, HDMI, and a headphone/mic jack.

According to Tech Radar Acer claims that the gaming laptop is rated at up to 10 hours of gaming usage (though that’s probably a casual title with brightness all the way down heh).

Surprisingly, the Nitro 5 Spin will be available as soon as October with a starting price of $999 (though the top end i7-8650U plus 512GB SSD option is obviously going to cost a lot more).

Acer did not weigh in on just how heavy the gaming PC is, but if they can keep the weight down it might be a decent PC for college kids to play games on (I mean, uhm, do homework!) and consume media. What do you think, does a convertible gaming notebook make sense?

Source: TechRadar

AMD's HBCC for you and me

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2017 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: Vega, amd, raja koduri, HBCC

Techgage has posted a look at what AMD's new HBCC feature in Vega is and how it will help you run games faster.  HBCC allows your GPU to treat VRAM as a last-level cache, so that a request for data not currently located in VRAM can be pulled into Vega's HBC for immediate access while simultaneously flushing out data which is no longer needed.  In addition to describing how the feature functions they also did quite a bit of testing to determine the real world effect of enabling HBCC in games and benchmarks.  Drop by for a look.

AMD-HBCC-Memory-Allocation.png

"AMD’s Vega GPU architecture brings many notable features to the table, but the one to find its way into Radeon chief Raja Koduri’s heart is HBCC – or “high-bandwidth cache controller”. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what HBCC is, why it offers no benefit right this moment, and talk about what it could offer in the future."

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Graphics Cards

 

Source: Techgage

Back to school or just the beach, the best mobile devices to drag with you

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 21, 2017 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: laptop, cellphone

The Tech Report have polled their crew to build a list of the best mobile devices on the market to help you enjoy your summer.  Amazon's tablets were a top pick thanks to the reasonable prices you can purchase them at; they won't be able to play Crysis but there are plenty of other things you can do.  For those who need a bigger screen without overly increasing the price you can peruse the Chromebooks or you could just head straight to the big ticket items in the gaming laptop section.  Drop by for a look at what you might be interested in over at TR.

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"It's time for another edition of The Tech Report's mobile staff picks, where we comb the worlds of tablets, laptops, and phones to separate the best from the rest."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Vulkan Support Soon

Subject: General Tech | August 19, 2017 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, oxide, Oxide Games, vulkan

Oxide Games has been mentioned all throughout the development of the next-generation graphics APIs, DirectX 12, Mantle, and Vulkan. Their Star Swarm “stress test” was one of the first practical examples of a game that desperately needs to make a lot of draw calls. Also, their rendering algorithm is very different from the other popular game engines, where lighting is performed on the object rather than the screen, which the new APIs help out with.

stardock-2016-ashes-logo.png

Currently, Ashes of the Singularity supports DirectX 11 and DirectX 12, but Vulkan will be added soon. Oxide will be pushing the new graphics api in the 2.4 update, bringing increased CPU performance to all OSes but especially Windows 7 and 8 (neither of which support DirectX 12), and a free DLC pack that contains nine co-op maps. They also plan to continue optimizing Ashes of the Singularity for Vulkan in the future.

All of this will be available on Thursday, August 24th.

Fishing for Ice Lake rumours

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2017 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: rumours, Intel, ice lake, coffee lake, 9th generation core

It's Friday so why not engage in some speculation with us about Intel's upcoming new chips?  We will start off by confusing the issue with a post detailing Intel's naming conventions that The Inquirer found.  It would seem that not only is the "Ice Lake processor family is a successor to the 8th generation Intel Core processor family" but it is also described as an "“8th generation Intel Core Processor Family” and available only to early access users.  One can only hope that there is a typo in Intel's decoder ring as the current naming schemes are already confusing enough between AMD and Intel without adding more levels of complexity.

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That makes the above a little more interesting than unannounced low power parts usually are.  AnandTech recently learned of these two new families of 8th gen chips, the i7-8xxx and i5-8xxx, both of which offer double the amount of cores as their 7th gen processors.  The base frequencies are lower than the previous generation, perhaps to remain inside the 15W TDP with double the amount of cores, with the turbo frequencies remaining a mystery for now.  With the aforementioned confusion, it is possible these could be Ice Lake based, though it is far more likely that they are indeed caffeinated instead.

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The final rumour for you to look at this morning is the above screenshot from Chiphell.  You will need to zoom and enhance to get the full story, however there are some interesting reveals in the legible parts of the slide.  Enjoy.

"More news from Intel this morning, this time published directly on their website. With the upcoming announcement of the 8th Generation Core next week to which Intel has already posted teasers to the media, it would seem that someone at Intel decided to add processor details and pricing into Intel’s official Price List today."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: AnandTech

Vulkan Renderer for Doom 3 BFG Source Code Published

Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2017 - 09:41 PM |
Tagged: id software, vulkan, doom, Doom 3

Over the last few days, Dustin Land of id Software has been publishing commits to his vkDOOM3 GitHub repository. This project, as the name suggests, adds a Vulkan-based renderer to the game, although it’s not really designed to replace the default OpenGL implementation. Instead, the project is a learning resource, showing how a full application handles the API.

id-logo.jpg

This is quite interesting for me. While code samples can show you how a chunk of code is used in rough isolation, it’s sometimes good to see how it’s used in a broader context. For instance, when I was learning Unreal Engine 4, I occasionally searched into the Unreal Tournament repository for whatever I was learning about. Sometimes, things just don’t “click” until you see the context, especially when your question starts with “why”.

If you’re interested, check out the GitHub repo. You will need to own Doom 3 BFG Edition to actually play it, though.

Source: GitHub

Cooler Master's MasterPulse MH320, bargain or bust?

Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2017 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: audio, cooler master, masterpulse MH320, gaming headset

The MasterPulse MH320 gaming headset is a mere $40 on Amazon right now and TechPowerUp wanted to determine if it was a bargain or not.  The specifications are reasonable, 40mm neodymium drivers and a 20-20,000Hz frequency response, a bi-directional microphone and 3.5mm plugs, sans USB.  In testing they found spatial positioning to be a weakness, if you depend on audio clues to detect your enemies you will be disappointed but for games which do not require this feature as well as for listening to music the MH320's are a good deal.  They were also a big fan of CM utilizing a dual headband design on a budget level headset.  For more details head on over and read the full review.

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"By releasing the MasterPulse MH320, their least-expensive gaming headset to date, Cooler Master tries to grab the attention of gamers on a very tight budget. Even though it costs a mere $40, it offers a dual-headband design, a foldable bi-directional boom microphone, and a few other interesting features."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: TechPowerUp

NVIDIA's Quadro vDWS creates Tesla powered servers

Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2017 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, grid, tesla, Quadro vDWS

NVIDIA have updated their GRID virtual PC architecture to allow up to 24 virtual desktops, each with a 1GB desktop, doubling the previous capacity of their virtual machine tool.  Along with this increase comes a new service called Quadro vDWS which allows you to power those virtual desktops with one of their HPC cards like their Pascal-based line of Tesla GPU accelerators.  For workflows which incorporate things such as VR or photorealism this will offer a significant increase in performance; unfortunately Minesweeper will not see any improvements.  NVIDIA accompanied this launch with a new blade server, the Tesla P6 which has 16GB of memory which can be split down to 16 1GB virtual desktops.   Drop by The Inquirer for more information including on where to get this new software.

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"NVIDIA has announced a new software suite which will allow users to virtualise an operating system to turn the company's ridiculously powerful Tesla GPU servers into powerful workstations."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #463 - AMD VEGA 64, Flash Memory Summit, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2017 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: video, T5, Samsung, RX VEGA 64, qualcomm, podcast, PC-Q39, P4800X, NX500, NGSFF, micron, Lian Li, Intel, EK Supremacy EVO, EDSFF, corsair, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #463 - 08/17/17

Join us for AMD Threadripper, Intel Rumors, 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, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison, Sebastian Peak

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:37:18

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:26:30 Jeremy: caveat emptor
    2. 1:32:30 Ken: Prusa i3 MK2S 3D Printer (NOW IN STOCK!)
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Only 10 days to train up for the Fragging Frogs VLAN #16

Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2017 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: vlan, fragging frogs, gaming, kick ass

That's right fellow gamers, in just over a weeks time you will be able to once again dedicate your Saturday to a truly noble effort, fragging friends, family and strangers in the 16th Fragging Frogs VLAN party.  It kicks off at 10AM EDT and goes until the last player succumbs to weakness and falls asleep.  Lenny is hard at work organizing the event as well as gathering hardware and other goodies for the giveaways.

You can't win unless you let him know you are coming by posting to this thread and if you don't set up Teamspeak then you'll never know if you won or not, not to mention that the day is a lot more fun when you are chatting with your fellow Frogs.  The thread also lets you suggest games as well as providing valuable information on the event and getting your mods and patches set up.

Be there or be a pixellated block!

FraggingFrogs.jpg

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Gaming

 

Source: PCPer Forums

Well that's not good, VGA RAM prices spike 30%

Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2017 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, SK Hynix, micron, EVGA G3 850W

DigiTimes is the bearer of bad news for fans of GPUs, as the supply challenges which have marked 2017 are now spreading to GDDR5(x).  This month the price has spiked up just over 30% and that trend is going to continue into September and perhaps beyond.  This will not have an immediate effect on the MSRPs of graphics cards, not that we would notice due to the price inflation from the current mining craze however it will reduce the margins that NVIDIA and AMD receive from sales.  They do not specifically mention AMD in the article, nor HBM2, however the same companies fabricate both so there are likely to be repercussions felt by both technologies.  On the positive side, flash storage prices are reported to have stabilized; so we have that going for us.

nvidia1.jpg

"August quotes for RAMs used in VGA graphics cards have risen to US$8.50, up by 30.8% from US$6.50 in July. Both RAM industry leaders Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have allocated part of their VGA RAM production capacities to producing memories for servers and handsets, fueling the price rally."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Patriot’s Viper V570 RGB, a mouse for bargain hunting gamers

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2017 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: patriot, Viper V570 RGB, gaming mouse, RGB

For a $50 mouse, the Patriot Viper V570 RGB has a lot going for it.  There are weights you can use to adjust the heft of your rodent, an Avago 9800 sensor which can be adjusted from 800 to 3200 DPI and eight programmable buttons without counting the right, left and scroll wheel.  Techgage found the materials used in the mouse felt a little lower quality than other mice but not enough to overly concern them, especially considering the price though Patriot did not skimp on the feet.  Check out the full review, including the RGB, over at Techgage.

Patriot-Viper-V570-Gaming-Mouse-Weight-System-680x410.jpg

"Have just 50 bucks to spend on a new gaming mouse, but feel anxious about the features you may have to give up? With its Viper V570 RGB, Patriot has your back. Despite its modest price, the V570 sports a weight system, RGB lighting (as its name suggests), awesome macro support, and even a solid software solution."

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Source: Techgage