Never mind the 7nm chips, let Intel show your their perfected 10nm

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2019 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 10nm, Sunny Cove, Project Athena, ice lake

If physically imposing 7nm chips aren't your thing, Intel did present their keynote yesterday which partially focused on their upcoming 10nm chips but once again included a refresh of your Coffee.  As far as actual products go, they announced a half dozen chips with a new suffix , i9-9900KF, i7-9700KF, i5-9600KF, i5-9400, i5-9400F and i3-9350KF.  The K still indicates the chip can be overclocked while the F indicates a lack of a working GPU on the die. 

Ars Technica also posted what they could glean about Project Athena, Intel's new proposed standard for laptops, simlar to the highly successful and not at all self contradictory Ultrabook standard from years back. 

Intel-News-Event-2-620x414.jpg

"This year's presentation was very different. The company's 10nm process is finally due to achieve volume production this year, and late last year the company told us that 10nm was bringing with it a new architecture named Sunny Cove, a new, much faster GPU, and new manufacturing techniques with 3D die stacking."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Ars Technica

AMD live at CES

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2019 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: amd

If you weren't already aware, Dr. Lisa Su is presenting AMD's CES keynote right now, which you can watch here.

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Hear about the last 50 years of AMD's history and what is in store for the future.

Source: AMD

be quiet! Dark Rock Slim CPU Cooler, Shadow Wings 2 and Dark Wings 2 Fans

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2019 - 03:27 AM |
Tagged: Shadow Wings 2, Dark Wings 2, Dark Rock Slim, cooling, cooler, ces 2019, CES, be quiet!, air cooler

The Dark Rock 4 from be quiet! is their highest-end air cooler, with a large footprint and distinctive sleek all-black aesthetic that has been a welcome alternative to more ostentatious designs on the market. But be quiet! is aware that this large heatsink, like many of this type on the market, can present clearance issues for taller RAM. Enter the Dark Rock Slim, a more compact single-tower cooler design that offers better RAM compatibility while still maintaining powerful cooling capabilities, handling up to a 180W TDP processor. The same stealthy aesthetic from the other Dark Rock coolers is retained with the new slim model, including a black brushed aluminum top cover and black heatsink fins and heat pipes.

dark_rock_slim.jpg

The Dark Rock Slim poses for the camera (via be quiet! on Twitter)

Features from be quiet! include:

  • 180W TDP
  • Slim heat sink design for maximum RAM compatibility
  • Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM funnel shaped front fan: Airflow-optimized blades, six-pole fan
    motor and fluid dynamic bearing (FDB)
  • Decoupled fan mounting
  • Four advanced high-performance copper heat pipes maximize heat conductance
  • Small dots on the fin surface increase cooling area
  • Special black coating with ceramic particles for perfect heat transfer
  • Brushed aluminum top cover with high-grade diamond cut finish
  • Convenient top mounting
  • Support for an additional 120mm fan – installation clamps for standard fans included

The Dark Rock Slim launches in Q2 2019 with a retail price expected to be around $50.

Also shown at the be quiet! suite was Shadow Wings 2, which are low-RPM case fans that feature a decoupled mounting system, airflow optimized fan blades, and a rubber frame and mounting system with optional push-pin installation. There is also a white version on the way which is made of white plastic, and not simply painted, and provides a unified look inside white enclosures such as the Dark Base 700 White Edition.

bequiet_fans.jpg

The Shadow Wings 2 fans launch this month beginning with the black version, with the white version slated for Q2 2019. Pricing will range from $15.90 - $18.90.

And finally we have the Pure Wings 2 high-speed fans, which spin at up to 2000 RPM in the 120 mm version, and 1600 RPM in the 140 mm version. The fans offer a rifle bearing with 80,000 hour operating life, and are available in both PWM and 3-pin versions. The fans will be available this month at prices ranging from $12.50 - $13.90.

Source: be quiet!

be quiet! Dark Base 700 White Edition Enclosure at CES 2019

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2019 - 03:24 AM |
Tagged: white, RGB, mid-tower, limited edition, inverted motherboard, enclosure, Dark Base 700, case, be quiet!

be quiet! has a limited-edition white version of their Dark Base 700 enclosure on display at CES 2019, combining high style and plenty of practical functionality in a premium mid-tower design.

Dark Base 700 marks one of the most critically acclaimed cases be quiet! ever designed. As a way to thank the loyal fans, the case is released in a white edition, limited to 3,000 pieces worldwide. The technical details remain untouched but be quiet! took great care to have a unified white finish on the different materials. For aesthetic reasons, the side window of the white edition is clear and not tinted.”

bequiet_700_white.jpg

This white version of the case offers the same features of the standard Dark Base 700, including a modular construction with a removable motherboard tray which can be inverted, and the tempered glass panel can be installed on either side based on standard/inverted configuration. The case also features a subtle RGB lighting integration that can be controlled manually or via motherboard header, and comes with a pair of Silent Wings 3 140 mm PWM fans pre-installed.

The Dark Base 700 White Edition features from be quiet! include:

  • Tempered glass side panel with rubber seal
  • Integrated RGB LEDs in the front with RGB controller and motherboard control option
  • State-of-the-art I/O panel with USB 3.1 Gen. 2 type C connector
  • High grade of versatility and modularity
  • Mainboard tray can be inverted
  • Motherboard tray can be used as a bench table
  • Side window can be installed on both sides as well
  • Removable fan bracket in the top for easy installation of fans or radiators
  • PSU shroud to hide cables and drives
  • Up to seven single HDD cages (three included)
  • Slot covers for unused HDD slots
  • Vertical GPU installation possible (riser not included)
  • Impeccable cooling and silence
  • Intelligent airflow with noise-dampening vents
  • Decoupled mainboard tray and hard drives
  • Sound insulation foam
  • Integrated 4-step dual-rail fan controller for up to 6x PWM fans

Launch timeframe is February 2019, with a retail of $189.

Source: be quiet!

ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY Laptops Powered by AMD Ryzen 3000 Series

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2019 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, RX 560X, radeon, notebook, mobile, laptop, gaming, asus, amd

ASUS had a pair of AMD-powered gaming laptops to announce at CES 2019, with the TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY, both of which feature the latest Ryzen 3000-series mobile CPUs as well as discrete Radeon RX 560X graphics.

FX705DY_1.png

“Experience smoother, more immersive gameplay with the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 AMD Edition. Featuring a cutting-edge IPS-level NanoEdge display with AMD® FreeSync™ technology and a refresh rate up to 120Hz, and armed with the latest AMD Ryzen™ processor and discrete Radeon™ graphics, it delivers high-performance gaming at an affordable price. It’s also tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so you’re guaranteed toughness and durability that’s second to none.”

The CPU powering these systems is the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with clock speeds ranging from 2.1 GHz up to 3.7 GHz and a 35W TDP.

"AMD’s Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn’t compromise battery life.

Vega-based integrated graphics allow the APU to power the laptop all on its own, which helps conserve power and extend battery life to over seven hours of 1080p video playback on FX705DY and nearly six hours on FX505DY. Discrete GPUs are where it’s at for proper gaming so when it’s time to play, AMD Switchable Graphics tech automatically activates the laptop’s discrete Radeon RX 560X. The GPU pumps out smooth frame rates in mainstays like Fortnite and Overwatch, as well as esports classics like League of Legends and Dota 2."

Both models have NanoEdge displays with thin bezels and wide viewing angles and variable refresh rates, and while the larger FX705DY provides a FreeSync range of 40-60Hz, the FX505DY offers 48-120Hz capability.

FX705DY_Red Matter.png

Specifications from ASUS for the TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY include:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
  • Display:
    • 15.6" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display up to 120Hz
    • 17.3" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X
  • Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Up to 1TB FireCuda SSHD
  • Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Connectivity:
    • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1
    • 1x USB 2.0
    • 1x HDMI 2.0
    • 1x RJ-45 jack
    • 1x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
    • 1x Kensington lock
  • Keyboard and touchpad  : 1.8mm key travel
  • Customizable RGB or red backlighting
  • Audio: DTS Headphone: X
  • Battery: 48Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX505DY), 64Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX705DY)
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs (FX505DY), 5.73 lbs (FX705DY)

Official pricing was not revealed in the press release, but we should be able to expect some fairly agressive sub-$1000 pricing with these at the base configuration level.

Source: ASUS

ASUS ProArt PA32UCX 4K HDR Monitor with 1000 Zone Backlight, 1200 nits

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2019 - 10:17 PM |
Tagged: ProArt, mini led, monitor, local dimming, hdr, FALD, display, ces 2019, CES, asus, 4k, 1200 nits, 1000 zone

ASUS has their most advanced HDR monitor so far on display at CES 2019, and the ProArt PA32UCX combines a 4K resolution panel with a mini-LED backlighting system offering a whopping 1000 individual lighting zones. Another advantage of the powerful backlighting system is overall brightness, and this can reach a maximum of 1200 nits and exceeds VESA DisplayHDR 1000 requirements.

pa32ucx.jpg

The very best LED-backlit LCDs employ a technology called full-array local dimming to improve their contrast ratios. The LEDs are arranged in zones, with each zone corresponding to part of the screen, and dimming individual LEDs makes it possible to display an image with bright and dark areas while preserving detail in both.

Our ProArt PA32UCX expounds on this technology with Mini LEDs. These physically smaller LEDs are packed in more densely, which increases the granularity of our brightness control. Less space between the LEDs means small details, like a white cursor on a black background, can be illuminated more precisely. The halo effect that’s common with coarser LED arrays normally manifests as light bleed around bright points, but that’s minimized when there’s a higher number of smaller LEDs.

The ProArt PA32UCX packs 1,000 zones into its 32” form factor, compared to other monitors that use 384 local dimming zones. This is no small achievement, and we had to work closely with the panel and scaler manufacturers on a custom design for controlling all those lighting zones. This technology didn’t exist before, and it took months of testing different proposed solutions before it could be perfected. As a result, the PA32UCX is one-of-a-kind. It offers 1,200 nits of luminance and offers improved whiteness and color uniformity compared to larger OLED panels.

The ProArt PA32UCX, which supports the HDR10 standard, also offers 97% DCI-P3 and 89% Rec. 2020 color space coverage, connecting via USB Type-C as well as the conventional DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0. Pricing and availability have not been announced.

Source: ASUS

I'll get you next time gadget! Corsair's new rodent with the Ironclaw

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 8, 2019 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: corsair, ironclaw, gaming mouse, PMW3391

Yellow alert!  Corsair has released a trio of new peripherals and a playmat for them to roam on, as you saw in Jim's review.  He wasn't the only one to take a look at the new mice, The Tech Report also received a Corsair Ironclaw mouse.   It houses a PMW3391 sensor, a max polling at 1000Hz and Omron sensors.  The mouse is compatible with iCUE, allowing you to modify the lightshow, if you can catch it over at The Tech Report

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"One of a trio of fresh Corsair mice, the Ironclaw has an ample body that will especially appeal to palm grippers who want to keep things light."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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VisionTek Unveils Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX External Graphics Enclosure

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 8, 2019 - 05:46 PM |
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. 

mini_egpu4.jpg

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.

 

Source: VisionTek

CES 2019: Lenovo Yoga S940, Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED, Lenovo Yoga A940, Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2019 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: yoga, Lenovo, ces 2019, CES

Lenovo has also unveiled a new Yoga line of four very different products: two laptops, an all-in-one PC, and a mouse that is designed for presentations.

lenovo-2019-ces-yoga-s940.png

Up first is the Lenovo Yoga S940. This is an ultra-slim, 14-inch laptop with a 4K, HDR screen and up to 1TB of PCIe SSD storage. The processor is an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 backed by an Intel UHD 620 GPU, which seems to narrow down the possibilities to either the Core i7-8650U, the Core i7-8565U, or the Core i7-8550U. Each of these are quad-core, HyperThreaded processors, although the frequency changes quite a bit from model to model, so which one they actually chose could matter a bit.

Users can choose between 8GB and 16GB of RAM, although all three CPUs could have allowed 32GB – CPU support and “being able to actually fit it inside a tiny laptop” are two different things, however. In terms of connectivity, it has two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as a single USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port. That’s a bit light on the USB side of things, but the ability to attach two separate Thunderbolt 3 devices might make up for that. They do not list a 3.5mm audio jack, though.

The Lenovo Yoga S940 will be available in May for $1499 USD.

lenovo-2019-ces-yoga-c730amoled.png.jpg

Next is the Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED. As the name suggests, it’s a laptop with an AMOLED screen, which supports 4K. They also say that the screen supports “100% color gamut” although they don’t claim what gamut that is. They don’t seem to make any HDR claims, either.

In terms of specs, once again we get an unnamed eighth-generation Core i7 processor and an Intel UHD 620 GPU, which could be one of the three processors that I listed in the S940 section, above. Also, the RAM is still limited to 16GB. Unlike the S940 that offered 1TB of PCIe SSD, this one maxes out at 512GB, although that should be a lot for most use cases. It would be a little low for the stuff I do with my work PC, though, such as multiple side-by-side installations of Visual Studio to handle multiple different projects. The S730 has just one Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, but two USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 ports, as well as an HDMI port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The Lenovo Yoga C730 with AMOLED will be available in April for $1649.99 USD.

lenovo-2019-ces-yoga-a940.png.jpg

Up next is… not a laptop. The Lenovo Yoga A940 is an all-in-one pen-input device like the Microsoft Surface Studio. It also comes with the Lenovo Precision Dial and the Lenovo Active Pen 1 AES 1.0, which should also be familiar to those who are interested in the Microsoft Surface Studio.

The entire device is powered by an again unnamed Intel eighth-generation Core i7 processor, but this time it comes with an AMD RX 560 GPU to help with content creation tools (and games of course). Users can choose between 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB of RAM. Storage is a choice between 128GB PCIe SSD, 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, 1TB SATA HDD, and 2TB SATA HDD. They don’t say whether a PCIe SSD can be installed alongside a SATA HDD, but I certainly hope so.

The Lenovo Yoga A940 launches in March for $2199.99 USD.

lenovo-2019-ces-yoga-mouse.png

Last up is the Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter. It’s an ultra-thin mouse with a laser pointer built into it. The center can buckle to make an arc-shaped mouse, or it can be pushed flat. The whole device is 1.4cm thin, which is a little over half of an inch. Its sensor tops out at 1600 DPI, which can be reduced to 1200 DPI and 800 DPI if you are more comfortable at one of those speeds. It also has a built-in red laser pointer.

The Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter will be available in June for $69.99 USD.

Source: Lenovo

Hey AT&T, what's the word for when you say something that doesn't even come close to reflecting reality?

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2019 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: AT%26T, 5GE, dirty pool, 256-QAM, MIMO

AT&T is terribly fond of Kurt Vonnegut's doodles, as they append them to numerous words to indicate that those words do not mean anything close to what they imply.  Previously it was there Unlimited* data plan which, in their own words actually means " If you use more than 22GB in a bill period, speeds may slow in congested areas".  This is actually an improvement over the previous blanket slow down, which was modified after they lost a court case

Yesterday they picked a new thing to lie about, as well as a new symbol to indicate that their statement does not actually represent reality.  Some users may now see a 5GE symbol on their phones, which indicates you have a 4G connection with a tiny boost in theoretical bandwidth.  The actual 5G standard will offer 20Gbps while AT&T's 5GBS offers a paltry 1Gbps theoretical top speed, a slight boost but nothing close to what the new network technology will offer.  If they had been even slightly more honest, the inclusion of 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM to enhance 4G connectivity would have received a far friendlier welcome from review sites like The Register and others.

Thats7.jpg

"Think of the "E" as an asterisk, slumped under the desk in hope of avoiding being spotted, on its 5G coverage. A stop gap. A stepping stone. 4G with go-faster stripes."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

EVGA Introduces Nu Audio for Life Like Sound from your PC

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2019 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: sound card, pcie, evga, DAC, ces 2019, CES, Audio Note, audio, amp, AK4493

EVGA has announced a brand new product offering for enthusiasts, but this PCI Express device is not a graphics card - it's a premium sound card. And yes, I know that many people have written off audio boards in the era of ubiquitous motherboard audio, but if you are at all interested in quality audio and have ever looked into external DACs and headphone amps the Nu Audio card is shaping up to be a fantastic alternative to external component solutions.

nu_audio_side.png

The product is a result of a partnership with UK-based Audio Note, a high-end audio equipment manufacturer that emphasizes technology and internal component quality in their designs, and the design of the Nu Audio card was made to those standards. EVGA says that is the pursuit of life-like sound that inspired this card, and their efforts have resulted in something that would be completely at home in an audiophile setting, RGB effects notwithstanding (yes, it has RGB!).

nu_details_section.jpg

Ok, so what is this exactly, and why is it any different from other PCIe sound cards? This is not your typical DSP-driven surround audio solution, and truly the emphasis is on 2-channel stereo audio reproduction. Reading over the specs this begins to look more like an audiophile product, with native DSD support and PCM audio up to 24-bit 384 kHz - and dual clock generators for native 44.1 and 48 kHz-based sample rates. Component choices were made to improve audio quality through the signal chain and to the output, with some impressive specs:

Premium Components:

  • DAC: AKM AK4493
  • ADC: AKM AK5572
  • OP-AMP (Headphone): ADI OP275
  • OP-AMP (Line Out): ADI AD8056
  • Capacitors: WIMA, Audio Note(UK), Nichicon
  • Power Regulators: Texas Instruments TPS7A47/TPS7A33 ultralow-noise power solution

capacitors_resistors.png

The demo in the EVGA suite featured a nice setup featuring some of the entry-level Audio Note components, showcasing hi-fi music playback from lossless files on a PC. It was quite impressive considering the sound card was fed directly into the integrated amp, and on display were also such features as separate analog control of the volume output (the internal amp can be controlled independently of the sound level in Windows), and the integrated RGB lighting that dynamically respond to music playback.

The Nu Audio sound card will retail for $249 when it launches, specifics on release date to follow.

Source: EVGA

Rivet Networks Launches the Killer E3000 2.5Gbps Gaming Ethernet Controller

Subject: Networking | January 8, 2019 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: Rivet Networks, rivet, NiC, networking, killer e3000, killer, Ethernet, ces2019

Rivet Networks, maker of the Killer line of gaming-focused networking products, has announced the Killer E3000, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet controller that Rivet is calling the “world’s first” such product designed for gaming.

killer-e3000.jpg

The Killer E3000, launching today in select Dell-Alienware and Acer gaming laptops, features the same kind of gaming-prioritized traffic management found on Killer’s other products, but breaks the longstanding gigabit barrier to make the jump to 2.5Gbps.

Why 2.5Gbps? First, the increasing ubiquity of greater-than-gigabit networking technology for businesses and prosumers means that more and more routers and switches are supporting the faster speeds. Increases in WiFi performance, such as those introduced in the upcoming “WiFi 6” standard (a.k.a. 802.11ax), also means that wireless devices will be able to achieve real-world speeds in excess of 1Gbps in many cases, making the once-state-of-the-art wired gigabit Ethernet connection the new bottleneck.

One solution to impending limitations of gigabit Ethernet, including one we’ve pursued here at PC Perspective, is to adopt 10Gbps. And while prices for 10Gbps-capable equipment have fallen significantly in recent years, it’s still quite expensive, both for manufacturers and end users, compared to traditional gigabit options.

killer-e3000-laptop.jpg

2.5Gbps, however, can keep up with the forthcoming faster WiFi speeds, provide a boost in performance that is noticeable to many users, and is compatible with ubiquitous Cat5e networking cables, all for a cost that is about the same as a standard gigabit NIC.

Killer Control Center 2.0

On the software side of things, Rivet is also announcing an update to Killer Control Center, the company’s software utility that allows users to monitor their network traffic and configure prioritization profiles for certain games and applications. New features in Killer Control Center 2.0 include:

  • Killer GameFast Technology: this new feature in Killer Control Center 2.0 can automatically pause processes that are not needed when gaming. The software detects when a game is launched and pauses Windows and other application services that aren’t essential to system operation, unpausing them once the game is closed. Rivet says that this can free up to 10 percent of your CPU cycles and 20 percent of memory, helping to ensure that as much of your PC’s performance as possible is available to your games. Users can of course customize the list of paused processes so that an important app or background task isn’t affected.
  • Killer Intelligence Engine: this feature scans your current network settings and status and can automatically change network settings — bandwidth limits for certain devices, reprioritizing download vs. streaming traffic, etc. — for optimal performance. And if it can’t automatically fix a problem, such as intermittent wireless connectivity, it can explain the problem to the user and recommend potential solutions.

The Killer E3000 is initially launching in select Alienware and Acer gaming laptops, and will soon be available in additional laptop models as well as high-end gaming motherboards.

HyperX Announces Cloud Orbit Gaming Headsets with Audeze Planar Drivers

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2019 - 11:05 PM |
Tagged: hyperx, CES, ces 2019, gaming, headset, Audeze, planar magnetic, Waves Nx

HyperX has announces the Cloud Orbit and Cloud Orbit S gaming headsets, produced in collaboration with Audeze to incorporate the company's planar magnetic driver technology.

"Cloud Orbit headsets are based on the ground-breaking Audeze Mobius Platform that features 100mm planar magnetic driver technology for clear and realistic spatial audio. Audeze planar magnetic designs utilize extremely thin-film speakers and powerful custom magnets, allowing you to accurately hear where your opponent is located. Feel completely immersed in the field of play with high resolution audio clarity and wide sound stage."

HyperX Cloud Orbit.jpg

In addition to the use of these 100 mm planar drivers the new headsets also feature Waves Nx 3D audio technology for a 360-degree audio experience.

"The Cloud Orbit S includes Waves Nx head tracking technology to deliver a stable hyper-realistic 360-degree audio environment where the users head movements bring the room to life 1,000 times a second. HyperX gaming headsets paired with Audeze and Waves technology bring audio quality to the next level with audio technology previously found only in audiophile headsets."

Cloud Orbit & Cloud Orbit S Specifications

Headphone

  • Driver: Planar transducer, 100 mm
  • Type: Circumaural, Closed back
  • Frequency response: 10Hz–50,000Hz
  • Sound pressure level: 120 dB
  • T.H.D.: < 0.1% (1 kHz, 1 mW)
  • Weight: 350g
  • Cable length:
  • 3.5mm (4-pole): 1.2m
  • USB Type C to Type A: 3m
  • USB Type C to Type C: 1.2m

Boom Microphone

  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Microphone type: Noise-cancelling
  • Battery life: 10 hours (Tested at 50% headphone volume)

The new headsets will be on the premium end of the market with MSRPs of $299.99 for the HyperX Orbit and $329.99 for the Orbit S. A release date has not been announced just yet.

Source: HyperX

CES 2019: Lenovo "Legion" Peripherals: H500 7.1 Pro & H300 Gaming Headsets, K500 RGB Mechanical Keyboard, M500 RGB Mouse

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2019 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: RGB, mechanical keyboard, Lenovo, Legion, headset, gaming mouse

Lenovo has just announced two new gaming headsets, a gaming mechanical keyboard, and a right-handed gaming mouse.

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The Lenovo Legion H500 7.1 Pro Gaming Headset is the high-end of the two announced. For $99.99 USD, the headphones have 50mm drivers in an all-black with black anisotropic metal highlight design. It supports virtual 7.1 surround sound via its USB sound card, although it can also be plugged into 3.5mm analog jacks. The microphone is retractable.

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For $59.99 USD, the Lenovo Legion H300 Gaming Headset still has 50mm drivers although it loses the USB sound device with 7.1 surround; it can only attach by 3.5mm, stereo. The headset design is somewhat similar, though, including the retractable microphone.

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Moving on to the Lenovo Legion K500 RGB Mechanical Keyboard. This device is based on Cherry MX Red switches, which means you will not feel a click or a bump as the key passes it actuation point. I personally don’t like linear keys, because I don’t like having no feedback until I bottom out, but that is 100% user-preference. The bottom of the keyboard has a full palm rest, which is detachable if you want to save that little bit of room. Its media keys are standard buttons on the top-left of the keyboard. I like how it contributes to the overall simple, clean design, although I would prefer a volume roller or dial. The price is listed as “starting at $99.99” (USD) although I don’t see any upsells listed.

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The Lenovo Legion M500 RGB Gaming Mouse uses a 16,000 DPI Pixart sensor and Omron mechanical switches. It also had three-zone RGB lighting and seven programmable buttons. There is also a 10g adjustable weight to customize how it feels to move. It is expected to cost $59.99 USD.

All peripherals are available in April 2019.

Source: Lenovo

CES 2019: New Lenovo "Legion" Displays: Y44w & Y27gq

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2019 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lenovo, g-sync, freesync 2, display, ces 2019, CES, amd

Lenovo has added two monitors to their Legion line of gaming devices.

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The Lenovo Legion Y44w is a 43.4” gaming display. Most of that size is horizontal, however, because it has a 32:10 aspect ratio. If you have ever used a 1920x1200 monitor, which was the PC equivalent of 1080p while PC manufacturers believed that 16:9 was too wide so they settled on 16:10 for the Windows Vista era, then you should imagine two of them side-by-side in a single monitor. In fact, the Y44w supports two separate video inputs if you wish to split the monitor down the middle into two side-by-side 1920x1200 displays. It can also operate as a single, 3840x1200 display, of course. This resolution is a little over half of a 4K panel, so it should be easier for second-tier GPUs to feed.

Beyond the resolution, the color gamut is listed as “99% sRGB, BT.709, DCI-P3” and it is certified as VESA HDR400. If the slide deck is correct and it can do 99% DCI-P3 at HDR400, then it should have an amazing picture. It can also do 144 Hz with FreeSync 2, so you do not need to compromise refresh rate to get those beautiful colors. The also have an optional speaker from Harman Kardon that can be attached to the display.

The Lenovo Legion Y44w will be available in April 2019 for $1199.99 USD.

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Lenovo also announced the Legion Y27gq gaming monitor. This one is a standard 16:9, 1440p, TN panel that can be driven up to 240 Hz. It supports G-Sync, but not HDR. Despite not supporting HDR, it still covers 90% of DCI-P3, which is quite wide for a TN panel. Lenovo is listing it as an “eSport gaming monitor”… so you can probably guess that high refresh rate and G-Sync are the focus.

If you gotta go fast, then the Lenovo Legion Y27gq is available in April 2019 for $999.99 USD.

Source: Lenovo

CES 2019: New Lenovo "Legion" Gaming Laptops Announced. 15-inch Y740, 17-inch Y740, 15-inch Y540

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2019 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lenovo, Legion, Intel, geforce, gaming laptop, ces 2019, CES

Three new laptops have been added to Lenovo’s portfolio under their “Legion” gaming brand. All three of them will contain “Unannounced NVIDIA GeForce GPUs”.

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The Lenovo Legion Y740 comes in two sizes: 15-inch and 17-inch. Based on the slide deck, both models have the choice between the Intel Core i5-8300H and the Intel Core i7-8750H. The Core i5-8300H is a quad-core CPU with HyperThreading (eight threads) that can turbo up to 4 GHz. The Core i7-8750H is a six-core CPU with HyperThreading (twelve threads) that can turbo up to 4.1 GHz. This can be paired with 8, 16, or 32GB of RAM at 2666MHz, or “8GB + 8GB 3200MHz Corsair Overclocked Memory”.

As for storage, both models can have up to 512GB of PCIe SSD, 512GB of SATA SSD, or 2TB of spinning metal. The 17-inch model can also have an Intel Optane drive added to it, although they don’t list a specific size. Both models also have 1x USB-C connector with support for Thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1. Alongside the USB-C is, also, HDMI, LAN, three standard USB 3.1 Gen 2, and a mini-DisplayPort connector. They also have an RGB keyboard, which, from the picture, appears to be tenkeyless. Both have Dolby sound, but only the 17-inch model also has a subwoofer. They do not list an audio jack, although I see a hole on the left side that could be either audio or a power plug. I think I also see power on the back, so I assume that it is audio on the side. Mobile phones are one thing, but a laptop better have a headphone jack.

The built-in displays are 1080p, which is a good size for a laptop, and support 144 Hz G-Sync @ 300nit. There is also an upsell to a 500nit panel that has been certified for Dolby HDR400. They don’t say whether the upsell also supports 144Hz G-Sync, but I would assume that they do. Check before you buy, though.

Both sizes will be available in February 2019. The 15-inch starts at $1749.99 USD and the 17-inch starts at $1979.99 USD.

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The third model is the Lenovo Legion Y540. This one will be available a little bit later – May 2019. Interestingly, the CPU is listed as “Intel Core processors”. As such, I would assume that this laptop will use a new, unannounced processor alongside the unannounced GeForce GPU. Lenovo does mention that the laptop can be paired with up to 32GB of RAM at 2666MHz.

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The battery is listed as “52.5Wh & 57Wh (Configuration dependent)”. Since an extra 4.5Wh seems like a tough upsell, I am guessing that battery you receive will be tied to the chosen display, but Lenovo doesn’t say so I don’t know. It looks like there will be a choice between three displays: a 60Hz 1080p IPS panel at 250nits with “45%” color, a 60Hz 1080p IPS panel at 300nits with “72%” color, and a 144Hz IPS panel at 300nits with “72%” color. I put each of the color space percentages in quotations because they don’t list which color space. Since one of them is an HDR panel, I’m going to assume that they don’t mean sRGB… because that would be awful. I am hoping that they are referring to the DCI-P3 color space. They could mean NTSC 1976, although that would be a bit low for an HDR panel.

The laptop has a USB-C port but, unlike the Y740, it can only be used for USB 3.1. There are also three standard USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, one mini-DisplayPort, an Ethernet jack, and a 3.5mm audio jack, so you can still attach external monitors to it without the USB-C. They keyboard is backlight, but not RGB – just white.

As mentioned, the Lenovo Legion Y540 will be available in May 2019. It will start at $929.99 USD.

Source: Lenovo

Build MEG's new Ripping Threads

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2019 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, 2950x, MEG X399 Creation

If you haven't seen a Threadripper in person, or are just looking to sit back and enjoy watching someone set up a system then head over to [H]ard|OCP.  They've just posted a video showing the construction of a Threadripper 2950X on a MEG X399 Creation motherboard.  For those who haven't built a system recently or who are just curious how the pros do it this is a hour well spent.

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"Building a new computer for yourself is always fun. We had the chance to do it ourselves recently, and we decided to document the entire process on video. We use the MSI MEG X399 Creation motherboard and the MSI RTX 2080 Sea Hawk as the backbone of our system along with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Is it midrange or not? Meet the RTX 2060

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2019 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: video card, turing, tu106, RTX 2060, rtx, nvidia, graphics card, gpu, gddr6, gaming

After months of rumours and guesses as to what the RTX 2060 will actually offer, we finally know.  It is built on the same TU106 the RTX 2070 uses and sports somewhat similar core clocks though the drop in TC, ROPs and TUs reduces it to producing a mere 5 GigaRays.  The memory is rather different, with the 6GB of GDDR6 connected via 192-bit bus offering 336.1 GB/s of bandwidth.  As you saw in Sebastian's testing the overall performance is better than you would expect from a mid-range card but at the cost of a higher price.

If we missed out on your favourite game, check the Guru of 3D's suite of benchmarks or one of the others below. 

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"NVIDIA today announced the GeForce RTX 2060, the graphics card will be unleashed next week the 15th at a sales price of 349 USD / 359 EUR. Today, however, we can already bring you a full review of what is a pretty feisty little graphics card really."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: Guru of 3D

NVIDIA adapts to the market and frees their displays

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2019 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, g-sync, freesync, benq, asus, AOC, amd, adaptive sync, acer

G-SYNC is showing some signs of defeat as today NVIDIA announced that several Adaptive Sync monitors have been tested and rated as G-SYNC compatible.  Adaptive Sync is the official VESA technology which is present in AMD's FreeSync monitors and it offers a definitive financial advantage over NVIDIA's G-SYNC as the module required for G-SYNC can add hundreds of dollars to the price.

So far only a dozen monitors out of around 400 tests have been rated as G-SYNC compatible, so don't expect to be mixing your monitors quite yet but it does imply in some cases the extra controller is not required for variable refresh rates with either NVIDIA's or AMD's GPUs.   The results of this test give AMD bragging rights for implementing adaptive sync in the most attractive way but this change could hurt GPU sales as users can now opt for an GeForce card paired with a FreeSync display.

Even if your display is not listed in those models, you can try enabling adaptive sync over DisplayPort and see if it works, though your results may vary. Ars Technica lists the models here.

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"Besides being unexpected good news for gamers who already own one of these FreeSync monitors, this is also great news for gamers that want to add VRR to their Nvidia graphics card setup without breaking the bank."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

NVIDIA Announces GeForce RTX Mobile, Available January 29th on 40+ Gaming Laptops

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2019 - 02:46 AM |
Tagged: rtx mobile, RTX 2080, RTX 2070, RTX 2060, rtx, nvidia, max-q, gaming laptop, ces2019

NVIDIA just wrapped up its CES keynote, and in addition to the expected unveiling of the RTX 2060, the company announced new mobile GeForce RTX options. More than 40 upcoming laptops, including 17 sporting NVIDIA’s Max-Q design, will offer RTX 2080, RTX 2070, and RTX 2060 graphics options.

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NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang likened GeForce RTX-powered laptops to a gaming console platform, pointing out multiple times performance comparisons to traditional game consoles like the PlayStation 4.

Laptops are the fastest growing gaming platform — and just getting started. The world’s top OEMs are using Turing to bring next-generation console performance to thin, sleek laptops that gamers can take anywhere. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide — an entire generation — are growing up gaming. I can’t wait for them to experience this new wave of laptops.

New GeForce RTX laptops will continue to support features like WhisperMode, which paces frame rates for AC-connected laptops to reduce heat and therefore fan noise, NVIDIA Battery Boost, which uses GeForce Experience to optimize performance for longer battery life, and of course G-SYNC.

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Beyond gaming, NVIDIA is touting the benefits of the RTX platform for content creators, such as real-time video encoding for live streamers, faster rendering for video editors, and accurate interactive lighting, reflections, and shadows for animators.

Laptops sporting GeForce RTX cards will be available starting January 29th from NVIDIA partners including Acer, Alienware, ASUS, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, and Samsung. Pricing, detailed configuration options, and exact availability will vary and is not yet available for all manufacturers.

Source: NVIDIA