Not white nor silver, it's Titanium! The new MSI X370 XPower Gaming motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | April 25, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: x370 XPower Gaming Titanium, x370, msi

If you are searching for a unique looking motherboard to build a system with, the X370 XPower Gaming Titanium will certainly stand out in a lit system.  As for the technical details, the board will handle up to DDR-3200 and supports CrossfireX and SLI on its pair of 16x PCIe 3.0 slots, with an additional four PCIe 2.0 slots for other peripherals, a single 4x and three 1x.  You can install two M.2 SSDs, either SATA or NVMe and there is a U.2 slot as well in addition to a half dozen bog standard SATA ports. 

The Guru of 3D delves deep into this new motherboard in their full review.

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"For our next X370 review we move on-wards to MSI with their grand X370 XPower Gaming Titanium. This top of the line Ryzen motherboard is stylish alright, wrapped in that Titanium look and feel the motherboard has a feature set that impresses, this motherboard might be a very nice match for your Ryzen series 5 or 7 processor."

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Motherboards

Source: Guru of 3D

Move over Razer Blade, we want to see the Razer Core

Subject: Mobile | April 25, 2017 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: external gpu, razer, razer blade, Razer Core

Razer updated their Blade gaming laptop with a GTX 1060 and i7-7700HQ along with a bump in the 16GB of memory to DDR4-2400 and an 256GB M.2 Samsung PM961 SSD.  That is not what makes this review from Kitguru interesting, it is the additional product which came with the Blade that does.  The Razer Core is a housing for an external GPU which connects over Thunderbolt 3.  You can install either an AMD or NVIDIA GPU which 310mm or less in length which can be powered by a 500W PSU, which is pretty much any GPU on the market.  Kitguru installed a GTX 1080 and compared the performance of the integrated GTX 1060 to the higher end card; you can see the results here.

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"We began our recent review of the 2017 Razer Blade by telling you that Razer had updated the graphics chip from GTX 970M to GTX 1060. The laptop has continued to evolve and now it’s the turn of the CPU which has been changed from Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake to Core i7-7700HQ Kaby Lake."

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Source: Kitguru

Photonic computing is extremely cool right now

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2017 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: photonics, nanowires

Confining light in a small enough space to fit on a chip is not an easy task.  Infrared wavelengths tend to be many times larger than the desired width of the nanowires that the light is transmitted over.  The researchers in this story from Nanotechweb were working on a way to transmit a 1342 nm IR signal over a 100nm nanowire and came up with a successful solution.  By placing their nanowire in a silicon photonic crystal which has periodic holes that can slow or trap light they have been able to transmit data over that nanowire at speeds of up to 10 billion bits per second.  There is a catch though, the continuous-wave lasing which they use creates an impressive amount of heat, which at such small sizes will create serious interference.  Currently they are running their tests at temperatures as low as 4 Kelvin to prevent heat from interfering; it will be a while before we see room temperature applications but they are getting ever closer.

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"They have shown that a photonic crystal/nanowire hybrid can sustain telecom-band lasing stable enough to transmit a high-frequency data signal, and believe that the platform’s advantages for component integration could enable them to build an on-chip photonic network."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Nanotechweb

Sapphire Launches New Pulse Series of Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2017 - 03:11 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, RX 580, RX 550, pulse, Polaris, nitro+, GCN

Earlier this month Sapphire announced a new budget-oriented series of graphics cards it calls PULSE. The new series slides in below the premium Nitro+ series to offer cheaper graphics cards that retain many of the high-quality hardware components but lack the flashy extras on the coolers, come in at lower factory overclocks, and have fewer PCI-E power inputs which, in theory, means lower overclocking headroom. The new graphics cards series is currently made up of five Polaris-based GPUs: the Sapphire Pulse RX 580, RX 570, RX 570 ITX, and RX 550.

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According to Sapphire, Pulse graphics cards use many of the high-end components as the Nitro+ cards including Black Diamond Chokes 4, long lasting capacitors, fuse protection. And intelligent fan control. The new graphics cards have aluminum backplates, removeable Quick Connect fans with semi-passive cooling technology that allows the fans to turn off when the card is under light load. The RX 580 and RX 570 use Dual-X coolers and the RX 570 ITX and RX 550 use single fan shrouded coolers.

Compared to Nitro+, the coolers are a bit less flashy and there are no Nitro+ Glow LEDs. If you are not a fan of bling or do not have a windowed case, the Pulse cards might save you a bit of money while getting you most of the performance if Sapphire’s claims are accurate.

Speaking of performance, the Pulse branded graphics cards are factory overclocked, just not as much. The Sapphire Pulse RX 580 with its 2,304 cores comes with a boost clock of 1366 MHz, the RX 570 and RX 570 ITX come with GPU boost clocks of 1,284 MHz and 1,244 MHz respectively, and the RX 550 has a boost clock of 1,206 MHz. Memory clocks sit at 8,000 MHz for the RX 580 and 7,000 MHz for the remaining Pulse cards (RX 570, RX 570 ITX, and RX 550).

Along with the introduction of its new Pulse series of graphics cards, Sapphire has entered a “strategic partnership” with motherboard manufacturer Asrock. The new graphics cards are shipping now and will be available at retailers shortly. Pricing for the RX 550 isn’t available, but prices for the other cards has appeared online as follows: Pulse RX 580 8GB for $229.99, Pulse RX 580 4GB for $199.99, Pulse RX 570 for $179.99, Pulse RX 570 ITX for $169.99.

In all, the Pulse cards appear to be about $20 cheaper than the Nitro+ variant. We will have to wait and see if those prices hold up once retailers get stock in.

Also read:

Source: Sapphire

BIOSTAR Launches First Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 24, 2017 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: X370GTN, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, biostar, B350GTN, amd, AM4

We covered news of BIOSTAR's upcoming mini-ITX motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors at the beginning of March, and now the company has made them official. The RACING X370GTN and B350GTN are "the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform", and both support up to 95W AM4 processors and DDR4 speeds up to 3200 MHz - though officially only up to 2667 MHz for Ryzen CPUs.

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"BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the growing mini-ITX family of BIOSTAR motherboards with the introduction of the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform and the first mini-ITX RGB LED-capable motherboards with AMD X370 and AMD B350 chipsets. BIOSTAR is pleased to welcome the new BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN mini-ITX motherboards into the RACING Series family.

Both motherboards aim to deliver the best balance of form and function, delivering the full potential that the AMD AM4 platform offers especially with AMD RYZEN CPUs, all in a small package.  The BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN comes equipped with BIOSTAR 2nd-gen RACING features like 5050 LED Fun Zone with dual 5050 LED header for DIY customization, the BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ with full RGB LED control that lets enthusiasts design their own system lighting with precise control. Together with that, BIOSTAR also adds performance and quality features for maximum system performance and stability."

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Both motherboard models are identical (other than the chipset, of course)

The full specs from BIOSTAR for both motherboards are reproduced below:

BIOSTAR Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboard Specifications
Model X370GTN B350GTN
Form Factor Mini-ITX (170 mm x 170 mm)
Chipset AMD X370 AMD B350
CPU Support AMD A-series APU / Ryzen CPU / NPU for Socket AM4
Maximum CPU TDP (Thermal Design Power) : 95Watt
Memory Support Dual Channel DDR4 3200(OC)/ 2933(OC)/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133/ 1866 MHz
Support Non-ECC & ECC Un-buffered DIMM Memory modules
2 x DDR4 DIMM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 32GB Memory
* DDR4 2667 for AMD Ryzen CPU
Storage 4 x SATA3 Connector
Support SATA RAID: 0,1,10
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
* M.2 (32Gb/s) : The bandwidth is depended on CPU, Ryzen is 32Gb/s ; APU & NPU is 16Gb/s
LAN Realtek RTL8118AS - 10/100/1000 Controller
Support Super LAN Surge Protection
Audio Realtek ALC892 8-Channel Blu-ray Audio
Support BIOSTAR Hi-Fi
USB 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-C port (1 on rear I/Os)
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-A port (1 on rear I/Os)
6x USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gb/s) port (4 on rear I/Os and 2 via internal header)
2x USB 2.0 port (2 via internal header)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCI-E x16 3.0 Slot (x16 for Ryzen CPU only, NPU/APU run at x8 speed)
Rear I/O 1 x PS/2
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C Port
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Port
4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Port
1 x HDMI Connector, resolution up to 4096 x 2160 @24Hz or 3840 x 2160 @30Hz
1 x DVI-D Connector, resolution up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz
1 x RJ-45 Port
5 x Audio Connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Port
Internal I/O 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Header
1 x USB 2.0 Header
4 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x CPU Fan Header
1 x System Fan Header
2 x 5050 LED Header
OS Support Windows 7 (x64), Windows 10 (x64)

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The rear I/O for both the X370 and B350 versions

As to pricing, BIOSTAR has set the MSRP for the RACING X370GTN at $129, with the RACING B350GTN at $109. A search of Amazon and Newegg does not show results for either board at time of press, but we should expect these in the retail pipeline soon.

Source: BIOSTAR

The RX 580 on Linux, locked stock and overclock

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2017 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: linux, RX 580, amd, overclocking, Polaris

Phoronix have had a chance to test out the refreshed Polaris RX 580 on the Linux 4.11 kernel and Mesa 17.1-devel, initially the AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver update was not included thanks to interesting timing.  The performance deltas are as you would expect, a slight increase in performance that is relative to the increased clock speeds, just as when run on Windows.  They also had a chance to try overclocking the new card, AMD added support for overclocking GCN 1.2 and newer cards on their proprietary Linux driver in 2016.  They managed to increase the core by 6% without running into stability issues however when they overclocked the memory, they saw serious performance decreases.  Check out the steps they tried along with the results from the overlocked GPU here.

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"Yesterday I posted the initial Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks while now with having more time with this "Polaris Evolved" card I've been able to try out a bit more, like the AMDGPU Linux overclocking support. Here are the ups and downs of overclocking the Radeon graphics card under Linux."

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Graphics Cards

Source: Phoronix

Spent all your money on a new CPU and couldn't afford an SSD? Intel Optane Memory is here

Subject: Storage | April 24, 2017 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, srt, rst, Optane Memory, Optane, Intel, hybrid, CrossPoint, cache, 32GB, 16GB

At $44 for 16GB or $77 for a 32GB module Intel's Optane memory will cost you less in total for an M.2 SSD, though a significantly higher price per gigabyte.  The catch is that you need to have a Kaby Lake Core system to be able to utilize Optane, which means you are unlikely to be using a HDD.  Al's test show that Optane will also benefit a system using an SSD, reducing latency noticeably although not as significantly as with a HDD.

The Tech Report tested it differently, by sourcing a brand new desktop system with Kaby Lake Core APU that did not ship with an SSD.  Once installed, the Optane drive enabled the system to outpace an affordable 480GB SSD in some scenarios; very impressive for a HDD.  They also did peek at the difference Optane makes when paired with aforementioned affordable SSD in their full review.

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"Intel's Optane Memory tech purports to offer most of the responsiveness of an SSD to systems whose primary storage device is a good old hard drive. We put a 32GB stick of Optane Memory to the test to see whether it lives up to Intel's claims."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Snapdragon for Windows 10; in time for Christmas?

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2017 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, snapdragon 835, qualcomm

Qualcomm have provided an updated estimate for when we might expect to see Windows 10 running on Snapdragon 835 devices, moving it very close to the end of the second half of 2017.  Having a product launch in December is risky if Qualcomm had hoped to see sales for the holiday season, especially for a type of product we have not seen since Microsoft released ARM powered Surface devices.  It is possible that the price may be attractive enough to entice some users into purchasing the devices but we likely won't see much action until the beginning of 2018.  The Register could not glean any more information beyond the updated release date from the call, we are still somewhat in the dark as to what Snapdragon powered Win 10 devices we will see.

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"But in last week's Q2 2017 earnings call, CEO Steve Mollenkopf said “Our Snapdragon 835 is expanding into Mobile PC designs running Windows 10, which are scheduled to launch in the fourth calendar quarter this year.”

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Microsoft Plans to Throttle Background Processes

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2017 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Pre-release builds of the next major update to Windows 10, planned for the September time frame, give or take, introduce a new power management feature. Starting with Intel’s sixth-generation Core processors, with support for other vendors planned in the coming months, Windows 10 will be able to prevent background apps from forcing high-power states. This will keep the CPU at a voltage and frequency that gets more work done per watt, even if it takes a little longer, which should result in longer battery life.

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There will be (and currently is) an override available for end-users, as well as an API for developers to suggest which processes can be throttled, and under what circumstances. This entire feature will also be disabled when the device is plugged in. I wonder if we’ll see that characteristic change a little in Windows Server, though, since it might be useful for data centers to throttle some maintenance tasks to cut down on the power and cooling bills for their many, many machines. Currently, it’s designed for battery life.

You can play around with this feature in the new Insider build, but, again, not while plugged in.

Source: Microsoft

PCPer Meetup in London! Sponsored by ARM! Win a FREE Chromebook!

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2017 - 10:27 AM |
Tagged: meetup, london, giveaway, contest, Chromebook, arm

For a short romantic summer trip, Josh Walrath and I (Ryan Shrout) will be heading across the pond to London, England! With the primary goals of technology education and beer consumption, we thought it would be prudent to invite any and all PC Perspective fans in the area to join us for a night of talking tech, comparing beer preferences and just saying hello!

On Thursday April 27th starting 7:30pm, you will find Josh and me sitting in a dimly-lit booth at the Momentus Bar inside The Cumberland Hotel located at Great Cumberland Place London W1H 7DL. We have no specific agenda but will probably be there until at least midnight, hamming it up with anyone that walks over.

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Yes, it looks fancy, but you're talking to some fancy lads, right!?!

As if hanging with your favorite hosts of the PC Perspective Podcast wasn't enough, I was able to coherce our good friends at ARM to sponsor the event and handing us a couple of Chromebooks to give away as well! That's right - come meet Josh and me at The Cumberland Hotel and have a couple of drinks!

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On display at the event in London will be two ARM-powered Chromebooks: the Acer R13 and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus!

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The Samsung Chromebook Plus powered by ARM

The Samsung Chromebook Plus is powered by the OP processor...a curious part with an even more curious website: www.whatisop.com.

Even though only those in attendance will be able to get hands-on with the two Chromebooks, we are offering the giveaway of the units to our global fan base! All you have to do is enter via the Gleam competition below for your chance to take home one of these two devices!

ARM-powered Chromebook Giveaway!

So, here's the summary: if you are in the London area on April 27th and want to come hang out with Josh and me at Momentus Bar at The Cumberland Hotel, we would love to see you at 730pm! If you aren't in the London area on April 27th, enter the contest above for your chance to win an ARM-powered Chromebook!

PC Perspective London Meetup! Sponsored by ARM!

7:30pm - 12:00am on April 27th

Momentus Bar at The Cumberland Hotel

Great Cumberland Pl, Marylebone, London W1H 7DL, UK

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A HUGE THANKS to our friends at ARM for sponsoring these events and paying for Josh's excuse to drink! Hopefully we will see a lot of you in person very soon!

G.Skill Releasing DDR4 4333 MHz Memory Kit, Working on DDR4 4500 MHz

Subject: Memory | April 22, 2017 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: z270, G.Skill Trident Z, G.Skill, dual channel, ddr4

For enthusiasts with a need for speed, G.Skill unleashed a new DDR4 memory kit recently that ratchets up two 8GB modules to 4333 MHz out of the box. The new 16GB kit will soon take the top spot in the company’s Trident Z series and will come with the traditional brushed metal heat spreader with red accent.

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The new 16 GB (2 x 8GB sticks) Trident Z memory kit was validated on Intel’s Z270 platform using an Asus ROG Maximus IX Apex motherboard and an overclocked Intel Core i5-7600K. (The processor was clocked at 4200.20 MHz on a x40.0 multiplier and 104.98 MHz bus speed.) The DDR4 kit is running with CAS latencies of 19-19-19-39 and is needs 1.40 volts.

Not content to sit on its laurels, G.Skill is reportedly also working on cranking speeds up even further with a prototype DDR4 kit running at 4400 MHz and a “proof of concept” test of a 16 GB kit running at 4500 MHz. The DDR4-4500 kit is being stress tested while specifications are still under development and it will be “some time” before it is ready for market. G.Skill did manage to at least run Windows and some benchmarks at those RAM clock speeds though using the same Z270 platform listed above (with the Core i5 7600K clocked at 4360.36 MHz on a 108.98 MHz bus and x40.0 multiplier). The benchmark runs reported up to 65 GB/s write speeds, 55 GB/s read speeds, and 52 GB/s copy speeds specifically. DDR4 has come a long way in the speed department to where it is today and apparently still has room to grow.

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Unfortunately, as is the case with most announcements of this nature, no official pricing and availability was mentioned. Looking around online, I would expect the 16GB DDR4-4333 kit to come in somewhere around $280 and be available within the next month or so.

I would love to see what a kit this fast would do for Ryzen as far as alleviating the CCX-to-CCX bottleneck over the Infinity Fabric assuming the Ryzen memory controller can handle those speeds! Also, faster memory has helped AMD’s APUs in the past, so these extremely fast kits that are coming out should pair well with AMD's upcoming Raven Ridge though they will need to come down in price a lot to actually meet the budget of a good budget gaming build (right now with the kits in the $250+ range it would be better to just put the premium into a graphics card – though that kind of defeats the purpose of using the APU heh).

Source: G.Skill

Windows 10 Cloud ("S"?) Performance Targets Leaked

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2017 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: windows 10 cloud, windows 10, uwp, microsoft

The upcoming version of Windows that can only install applications from the Windows Store, Windows 10 Cloud, will be Microsoft’s latest attempt at locked-down devices, like Windows RT was back in the Windows 8.x days. The goal is to take on the Chromebook market, which is similarly locked down to Google Chrome and Google Play Store apps (although Google allows developer sideloading). To be fair to Windows 10 Cloud, it can be upgraded to Home or Pro to run Win32 applications for a fee, although that somewhat flies in the face of “streamlined, simpler experience” if you acknowledge a monetary value in unlocking the features you claim those users theoretically don’t want.

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Image Credit: Windows Central

Preamble and opinion aside, it would seem that Microsoft is hoping to push OEMs into making decent devices. They are recommending a minimum specification of quad-core Celeron, 4GB of RAM, >40 Wh battery, and “fast eMMC or SSD” storage. This last note about “fast” eMMC amuses me, because it not-so-subtly telegraphs that cheap laptops, despite having technically solid state memory, don’t have a noticeably better experience than typical hard drives.

Microsoft is expected to discuss the initiative on May 2nd at their #MicrosoftEDU event.

Oculus App Version 1.14 Released

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2017 - 02:37 AM |
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift

Oculus has updated their Oculus App to version 1.14. This release has two noteworthy features: full support for 360-degree tracking with three sensors, and the Touch controller can now be used with some, but not all, games that were previously gamepad-exclusive. For the latter, you will need to check with each specific game in the Oculus store, where it will be listed with a “Touch (as gamepad)” tag.

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As for the former, Oculus has been allowing 2- (like the Vive) and 3-sensor setups for 360-degree tracking for a while, but experimentally. They have apparently settled on the three-sensor setup for final support, though. According to their documentation, they recommend that two of the sensors are plugged into USB 3.0 or higher, while leaving the third on USB 2. Specifically, the USB 2-connected sensor will be the one behind the user, with the two USB 3.0 sensors sitting out in front; to visualize this, imagine stereo speakers sitting on either side of your TV, with only one surround sound speaker behind the user. It will be interesting to see how Oculus two-sensor, Oculus three-sensor, and Vive two-sensor compares, especially since the last two are (in the case of Oculus, now) officially supported, but the first one isn’t.

While I don’t currently have a Rift, Oculus apparently delivers updates on a staggered schedule. Don’t be surprised if your system isn’t pushed to the new version immediately.

Source: Oculus

Rumor: GeForce GT 1030 Planned, Potentially with GP108

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 22, 2017 - 12:53 AM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, gt 1030, gp108

Expreview.com (machine-translated from Chinese) believes that NVIDIA will launch the GeForce GT 1030 to compete in the low-end. It’s difficult to tell how confident they are about this next part, due to the translation, but they believe that it will be based on a new Pascal design, GP108, rather than a further-disabled GP107 (as seen in the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti). Those parts have 640 and 768 CUDA cores, respectively, which might be where their estimate of 512 CUDA cores for GP108 comes from.

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As for the merits as a product, it seems a little odd to me. There is some room for it in terms of performance, sliding between the GTX 1050 and integrated graphics with a GTX 750-class part, just with higher clocks and/or lower power due to the Pascal architecture. It does seem risky, though, considering the GTX 1050 already occupies the $110 USD price point.

The post also suggests that the cards will have 1 GB and 2 GB variants.

Twitch Announces New Affiliate Program

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: twitch, pc gaming, amazon

While Twitch had quite a large lead as a streaming service, it had a fairly large gap between its regular creators and their “Twitch Partners”. If you weren’t a Twitch partner, you couldn’t directly monetize your stream, guarantee that your stream would be transcoded, and so forth.

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That isn’t changing, but they are introducing an easier to obtain, middle tier that will have some, but not all, of the Partner perks. “Twitch Affiliate” is this middle-ground, and, while it is invite-only, it is open to pretty much anyone who intends to stream on a regular basis. Specifically, the threshold is about 500 online minutes in a month, spread out over at least seven days, and an average of at least three viewers at the same time; you will also need at least 50 followers. If you stream a few times per week, this is not a very high bar, but it’s still not automatic.

I should note that Twitch will only consider the previous 30 days, rolling.

The goal of this new tier is to provide some support for streamers, as they try to find their on-ramp to being a Twitch partner. At first, only the (relatively controversial) “Bits” system will be available for monetization, but other revenue streams, like video ads, should follow. Also, while you’re not guaranteed to receive video transcodes, Affiliates get priority access to whatever is left over from the Partners.

Personally, I’d like a guarantee that transcodes would be available, because I don’t want to occasionally alienate some viewers by sending Twitch too high of a bitrate for the, let’s say even just 10% of the time, that lower-quality versions would be unavailable. It still puts pressure on me to lower the quality that I send Twitch, which will often result in worse VOD quality. (I realize that you can use multiple encodes… and I currently do… but certain things, like frame rate, need to be consistent – at least with the current version of OBS Studio.)

Twitch should begin to contact eligible streamers soon, and will continue rolling in new users as they become eligible. Even then. it's not an immediate, automatic thing, though.

Source: Twitch

Modulate all the things! EpicGear's Defiant modular gaming keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: modular, mms, mechanical keyboard, input, epicgear, defiant

Move over modular PSUs and mice, the Epicgear Defiant is a modular keyboard.  What that actually means is that you can swap the actual switches on the keyboard, as long as they are Modular Matrix Structure switches.  The MMS switches as described as analogous to Cherry MX switches, though the colours do not translate directly and The Tech Report found them to be of equivalent quality.  In their testing they found that gaming with mismatched switches was somewhat unpleasant, so make sure to get a full set of the ones you plan to use.  The full review can be found here.

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"Some gaming keyboards offer customizable backlighting and key caps to change up the feel of the keys underneath one's fingers. EpicGear's Defiant keyboard goes one better and lets gamers change out its key switches themselves for a different tactile experience. We switched around the Defiant's clickers to see if the feature upped our game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Be Quiet's hefty Dark Base 900 cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 21, 2017 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: XL-ATX, e-atx, dark base pro 900, Dark Base 900, be quiet!

The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 is impressively large, standing 577x243x585mm (22.7x9.6x23"), supporting even the largest of motherboard model.  That size also allows for some impressive cooling options, radiators of up to 420mm in length can be installed in both the front and top of the case.  The case ships with three be quiet! SilentWings 3 fans installed, for those who opt to forego watercooling and it is also worth mentioning the filter on the bottom of the case slides out from the front.  The side panel is made of tempered glass on the $250 Pro model, the non-Pro has a steel side panel which reduces its cost to $200 and both feature a Qi wireless charging area.  Drop by Modders-Inc for a closer look.

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"When it comes to system building, size equals convenience with large full-tower cases offering plenty of room to work with. Since the case market is extremely crowded and competitive however, simply creating a large case for the sake of creating a large case is not enough. If it does not have the right set of features and is not designed …"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: Modders-Inc

Cooler, Quieter, Faster - CORSAIR Launches the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: corsair, msi, gtx 1080 ti, nvidia, factory overclocked

Corsair partnered with MSI to produce the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti, which has integrated watercooling based around the Corsiar H55 AiO cooler.  That cooler is used to support a factory overclock of 1,506 MHz Core, 1,620 MHz Boost and a memory frequency of 11,124MHz, though with the watercooling many will seek to find exactly how much more they can squeeze out of the silicon.

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According to their own testing, the GPU barely breaches 40C under load which translates into a higher sustained boost clock.  The ML120 LED PWM fan attached to the radiator can be manually set to run between 400-2,400 RPM to allow users to better control how the card operates.  This release adds to Corsair's previous offering, a GTX 1080 cooled with the same H55.

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FREMONT, CA – April 20th, 2017 - CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the release of the new CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti all-in-one liquid cooled graphics card. Combining the extreme gaming horsepower of the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti GPU with world-renowned CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti delivers the phenomenal performance of an overclocked GTX 1080 Ti with all the benefits of liquid cooling. Cooler temperatures, lower noise, higher clock speeds, and easy installation combine to allow the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to offer all the performance, with none of the compromises. Developed in partnership with the expert graphics team at MSI®, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the most advanced NVIDIA GeForce GPU ever made. Boasting an irresponsible level of graphics processing performance, the GTX 1080 Ti features 11GB of GDDR5X memory, 3,584 CUDA Cores and a massive 352-bit memory bus, allowing it to drive today’s most demanding games and graphics applications at not just ultra-detail settings and high frame-rates, but stunning 4K resolution; it’s the ultimate GeForce GPU for PC enthusiasts who demand nothing but the best. The Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti pushes that performance even further, with a factory overclocked GPU core frequency of 1,506 MHz, boost frequency of 1,620 MHz and a memory frequency of 11,124 MHz, squeezing every frame per second, polygon and pixel out of the GTX 1080 Ti GPU.

The improvements aren’t just in MHz; with the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti, CORSAIR takes NVIDIA’s best and makes it better. By equipping the GPU with a CORSAIR Hydro Series H55 liquid cooler, the heat produced by the GTX 1080 Ti GPU is efficiently channelled away by a micro-fin copper base to a 120mm radiator, allowing heat to be rapidly dissipated and exhausted out of your PC rather than build up inside. The result is up to 50 percent lower GPU temperatures, which in turn allows the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to boost its GPU clock speeds higher for longer, producing up to ten percent faster performance versus a stock GTX 1080 Ti. What’s more, with quick and easy installation into most 120mm case fan mounts, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti and its radiator are easy to fit into almost any PC case.

To cool the fastest GeForce GPU ever, CORSAIR selected its most advanced 120mm cooling fan, the ML120 LED. CORSAIR ML Series fans harness magnetic levitation technology to physically suspend the fan rotor away from the fan motor when in operation. This greatly reduces friction and fan noise, allowing the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to run cool while the ML120 spins at incredibly low noise levels, even with the GPU at full load. What’s more, with 4-pin PWM fan control and a 400-2,400 RPM range, you can tweak and tune the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti’s cooling to suit your system – cool and quiet, or maximum airflow for the lowest temperatures and highest overclocks.

Combining the very best of NVIDIA Pascal GPU architecture, MSI graphics card design and both CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is the GTX 1080 Ti, but cooler.

Specifications:

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • CUDA Cores: 3,584
  • Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Boost / Base Core Clock: 1,506 MHz / 1,620 MHz (OC Mode) 1,493 MHz / 1,607 MHz (Gaming Mode) 1,480 MHz / 1,582 MHz (Silent Mode)
  • Memory Clock: 11,124 MHz (OC Mode) 11,016 MHZ (Gaming Mode) 11,016 MHz (Silent Mode)
  • Memory Size: 11,264MB
  • Memory Type: 11GB GDDR5X
  • Memory Bus: 352-bit
  • Output: 3x DisplayPort (Version 1.4), 1x HDMI (Version 2.0), 1x DL-DVI-D
  • Power Connector: 1x 8-pin, x 1x 6-pin
  • Power Consumption: 250W Recommended
  • PSU: 600W
  • SKU: CB-9060010-WW
  • Dimensions: Card - 269 x 111 x 35 mm, Cooler - 151 x 120 x 52 mm Weight: Card - 1,363g, Package - 2,318g
Source: Corsair

MSI announces accelerated GAMING X+ series

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: msi, nvidia, GAMING X+, Twin Frozr VI, GTX 1080, factory overclocked

MSI have announced a new family of GTX 1080s to the market, dubbed the GAMING X+ series.  There are four models, two with 8GB of RAM and two with 6GB, all with respectable factory overclocks.  All of the cards have a Twin Frozr VI cooler with double bearing TORX fans offering quiet performance as well as the capacity to allow you to push a bit more out of the card if you so desire.  They also contain the mysteriously named Premium Thermal Compound X.

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The MSI Gaming App has been update with a One-click to VR app that should make switching between your head mounted display and your desktop monitors quicker and easier.  It also lets you switch your RGBs between 5 different patterns for those who like their GPU illuminated.  Full PR below.

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As the world’s leading GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce a new line of graphics cards based on the award-winning GAMING X series. Loaded up with faster graphics memory, the new GAMING X+ series provide an additional boost to graphics performance for smooth gameplay. Built around NVIDIA’s GeForce® GTX 10 series GPUs, the MSI GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G and GeForce® GTX 1060 GAMING X+ 6G use the full force of the TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games. The well-known shapes of the stunning TWIN FROZR cooler are intensified by a fiery red GAMING glow piercing through the cover, while the MSI GAMING dragon RGB LED on the side can be set to any of 16.8 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely new custom PCB design using Military Class 4 components enables higher overclocking performance to push your graphics card to the max. The classy matte black solid metal backplate gives the card more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.

Thermal Design
As MSI’s best thermal design to date, TWIN FROZR VI has raised the bar of Graphics Card air cooling. TORX Fan 2.0 is the enhanced version of the patented TORX Fan technology which generates 22% more air pressure for better cooling performance while further reducing noise levels. On the GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+, the new fans are equipped with Double Ball Bearings to ensure lasting smooth and silent operation. Connected to the huge heatsink are 8mm copper heat pipes with a squared shape at the bottom for optimal heat transfer from the solid nickel-plated copper baseplate combined with Premium Thermal Compound X to keep the Pascal powerhouse cool.

MSI Gaming App
The MSI Gaming App allows gamers to quickly switch between OC, Gaming and Silent performance modes, depending on their needs. The latest version of MSI Gaming App features One-click to VR, which instantly optimizes your PC for the best Virtual Reality experience. It also includes host of premium features like EyeRest to improve image quality and Dragon Eye which allows you to watch a YouTube video or stream while gaming. Last but not least, the Gaming App features a LED control tab, allowing gamers to choose from 5 unique lighting modes to set the right ambience for their gaming sessions with just one click.

Prepare for VR with MSI
To fully enjoy the immersive worlds of Virtual Reality, high-performance hardware is required. MSI GeForce GTX 1060 and above graphics cards deliver perfect performance for a smooth VR experience. The MSI Gaming App now features a function to optimize the user’s PC for VR performance.

 

Source: MSI

Windows 10 Releases Target ~September and ~March

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Now that Microsoft has pushed their third major version of Windows 10, the Creators Update, the company has decided to settle on a six-month rotation. This is similar to how the Ubuntu distribution of Linux pushes updates, although Windows 10 will be targeting September and March rather than Ubuntu’s October and April (and Ubuntu has a different long-term support model, as we’ll discuss below). More importantly, it’s designed to occur at the same time as Office 365 ProPlus updates, so IT departments can certify and roll out both at the same time.

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The previous release cycle was a little… chaotic. The November Update occurred about three and a half months after the initial release, followed almost nine months later by the Anniversary Update. Seven months after that, the Creators Update landed, which brings us to today.

Each version will be supported for eighteen months.

Source: Microsoft