Alien organics displaying on scan! Alienware's 13 R3 gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | July 28, 2017 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: alienware, Alienware 13 R3, oled, 1440p, gtx 1060, Tobii

Alienware is continuing to provide impressive hardware in their high end laptops, along with a price tag to match.  The new R3 model contains impressive hardware, a Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB DDR4-2400MHz, a GTX 1060 and a 256GB Toshiba XG3 NVMe.  Those components are not what makes this laptop stand out however, it is the 1440p OLED touch screen and Tobii Aware eye tracking software which make this laptop interesting.  Kitguru did have some issues with the screen brightness adjusting during usage however "the OLED screen is absolutely amazing."  Check out the review but remember, if you have to ask you can't afford it.

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"Thankfully the review sample we were sent by Alienware is the Big Kahuna with the OLED screen and a mighty QHD resolution of 2,560×1,440 which is a heck of a lot of pixels packed into a 13.3-inch screen. The screen brightness is 400 nits and it has touch control."

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Source: Kitguru

Conduct Psychic Warfare with MSI's new gaming mice

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: msi, clutch, Clutch GM60, Clutch GM70, gaming mouse, wireless mouse, ambidextrous

MSI's Clutch GM 60 and Clutch GM70 gaming mice are almost twins, the difference being the GM70's support for wireless usage and a slight weight gain thanks to the required hardware.  Both of these mice are somewhat modifiable, you can switch out the wings as well as a portion of top shell; they are also symmetrical so can be used in either hand comfortably.  The mice contain a PMW 3360 optical sensor with sensitivity adjustable between 1000-3600 Hz in 100Hz steps.  Neoseeker tested out the performance of the mice for gaming and as a source for a funky light show in their recent review.

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"The Clutch GM 60 and Clutch GM70 gaming mice are essentially the same mouse design, with the GM70 model being a few grams heavier when calculating the added internal wireless hardware. Both mice come with two sets of side grips to allow the user to configure their mouse choice to fit their hand with a "dragon scale" pattern on the sides to facilitate a firm grip, improving movement precision during use."

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Source: Neoseeker

... and the crowd goes mild. Microsoft's Android integration starts out with a whimper

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Android

Can you imagine a world in which you're able to share links between your phone and computer?  This is the brave new frontier which Microsoft is exploring in Version 16251 of Win10 which will allow you to link to an Android phone via a app for Android on the Windows Store.  Mind you there are a variety of programs out there which already fulfill this purpose, The Inquirer offers an example here,  and if you sign into Chrome it will happily sync itself on all your devices.

On the other hand this is a first step towards admitting that Windows Mobile is not the success they had dreamed.  Microsoft does see this as a much a larger project and taking the initial steps slowly could help in the long run; as long as they can get people to notice what they are doing and attract at least some attention.

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"But it does lay foundations, and it does show intentions. It's hugely unlikely that Windows Mobile is ever going to claw its way back to the levels to compete with iOS and Android, so it is important that as it approaches its second birthday, Windows-as-a-Service is approachable from other mobile operating systems."

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Source: The Inquirer

Adobe Flash Is End of Life in 2020

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2017 - 10:13 PM |
Tagged: Adobe

It’s been a long time in the making, but Adobe, Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others will completely end-of-life Flash Player by the end of 2020. Adobe will not update or even distribute the player after that point, and the browser vendors will block the plug-in. Until then, however, Adobe will continue to ship updates that improve security, fix bugs, and even possibly add features.

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Tilt your head 90-degrees left and you'll see why I chose this icon.

On the content creation side of things, Adobe rebranded Flash Professional into Animate CC about a year ago (February 2016) to signify its decoupling from the Flash platform. That was also around the time that they discontinued Adobe Edge, which was similar to Flash Professional but designed around HTML5 publishing, and pushed all of that work into Animate CC. If you’re into the Flash Professional workflow, then you will continue to use it, just with JavaScript instead of ActionScript (unless Adobe makes it compile down into WebAssembly or JavaScript at some point) and targeting Web technologies directly (or, of course, just export to linear, non-interactive video).

Interesting, it looks like Mozilla has stopped developing Shumway, which was a platform that ingested SWF files and executed them as JavaScript, about a year ago. Since it would only use web technologies, it wouldn’t have the security concerns that Flash Player would (because if someone knew how to use Shumway to exploit a browser, they could just make a malicious website that did it directly). That would have been an interesting way to preserve old Flash movies and games, without the original author converting it, but I guess it didn’t take off.

Now if only we could agree on a date for IPv6.

Source: Adobe

The best processor for under $150? Ryzen 3 shines on the testbed

Subject: Processors | July 27, 2017 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: 1200, 1300x, amd, ryzen, ryzen 3, Zen

Two Ryzen CPUs have been revealed and tested today, opening a new battle at the lower end of the market.  These CPUs will not take any performance crowns, instead they are battling for domination in a market extremely sensitive total cost and to performance per dollar.  The Ryzen 3 1300X at $129 and 1200 at $109 need are competing against the lower end of Intel's SKUS, like the ~$80 Pentium G4560, the $165 Core i3-7350K and the i3-6100 or i3-7100 at ~$115.

The Tech Report found similar results to Ryan's testing, with performance right in line with pricing; not faster but not lagging behind by much.  In many cases the decision as to which chip to get could lie in the future of the system being built.  If you are not worried about highly parallel software which requires more cores nor planning to get a discrete GPU then Intel's offerings make sense.  On the other hand if you see multi-threaded applications as vital and plan to purchase a GPU as opposed to relying on a CPU with an iGPU then a Ryzen 3 chip could last you quite a while.  TR's full review is here and there are plenty more below the fold.

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"AMD's Ryzen 3 CPUs bring the Zen architecture to its most affordable price point ever. Join us as we dive into gaming and productivity workloads with these new chips to see whether they can unseat Intel's evergreen Core i3s."

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AMD Releases Radeon GPU Profiler

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 27, 2017 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: amd

Alongside the big Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 release, AMD pushed out a new developer tool to profile performance on AMD GPUs. First and foremost, it’s only designed to work with the newer graphics APIs, DirectX 12 and Vulkan, although it supports many operating systems: Windows 7, Windows 10, and Linux (Ubuntu 16.04). It doesn’t (yet) support Vega, so you will need to have a 400-, 500-, or Fury series GPU. I expect that will change in the near future, though.

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So what does it do? These new graphics APIs are low-level, and there’s a lot going on within a single frame. Other tools exist to debug thing like “which draw call is painting a white blotch over part of my frame”, with AMD recommending RenderDoc. Radeon GPU Profiler is more for things like “did I feed my GPU enough tasks to mask global memory access latency?” or “what draw call took the longest to process?” Now that a lot of this is in the hands of game developers, AMD wants them to have the tools to efficiently load their GPUs.

While the software is freely available, it’s not open source. (You will see a “Source code” link in the release section of GitHub, but it’s just a Readme.)

Source: AMD

Podcast #460 - ASUS Max-Q, Surface vs. iPad, AMD Q2 Results, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2017 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: ZM-K900M, Zephyrus, zalman, XG5, x370, video, usb 3.2, toshiba, Threadripper, Surface Pro, ryzen, ROG, RGB, podcast, max-q, ipad pro, GX501, EKWB, Crosshair VI, crimson relive, asus, AMD4, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #460 - 07/27/17

Join us for ASUS Max-Q, Surface vs. iPad, AMD Q2 Results, 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous

Program length: 1:37:41

 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:27:00 Allyn: Damn cheap 8TB drives (8TB Helium filled Reds!) ($160)
    2. 1:32:46 Alex: Bullet Bouquets - now with engraving!
  4. Closing/outro
 

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

HTC Vive Standalone VR Headset to expand VR market with low cost, dedicated hardware

Subject: Mobile | July 27, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: htc, vive, VR, virtual reality, qualcomm, snapdragon, snapdragon 835

This article first appeared on MarketWatch and Shrout Research.

During the ChinaJoy 2017 event in Shanghai, VR pioneer HTC announced its standalone VR headset aimed at the China market. This marks the first major player in the virtual reality space to officially reveal a standalone product intended for the broad consumer market that requires a more affordable, portable VR solution.

Standalone VR headsets differ from the current options on the market in two distinct ways. First, they are disconnected from a PC and don’t require attachment to a desktop for processing or display output. The current HTC Vive product that ships in the market, as well as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, require a high-end PC to play VR games and use HDMI and USB connections to power the headsets. This new standalone design also moves away from the slot-in design of the Samsung Gear VR and doesn’t require the user to monopolize their smartphone for VR purposes.

Though mobile-first VR solutions like Gear VR have existed for several years, selling on the market before the PC-based solutions were released, the move of HTC from tethered virtual reality to a wireless standalone unit signals a shift in the market. Consumers see the value and quality experiences that VR can provide but the expense and hassle of in-place configurations have stagnated adoption.

Caption - VIVE Standalone VR headset designed for the Chinese market and....jpg

HTC is using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform to power the Vive Standalone VR Headset, the same chipset used in many high-end smartphones on the market today. Qualcomm and HTC can modify traits of the processor to improve performance without worrying about the sensitive battery life of a consumer’s phone. Though we don’t know the specifics of what HTC might have modified for the configuration of this standalone unit, it likely is a mirror of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR hardware development kit that was announced in February. That design includes the capability for six degrees of freedom tracking (moving around a space accurately without external sensors), high resolution displays for each eye, and a full suite of graphics and digital signal processors to handle the complex workloads of VR experiences.

Though HTC is the first to announce and a complete standalone VR product, HTC and others announced their intent to release standalone units in the US later this year through Google’s Daydream program. Lenovo plans to build a VR headset using the same Qualcomm reference design for the Daydream platform.

Facebook-owned Oculus has not officially announced its intent but rumors in July point us to another Qualcomm-powered headset that will sell for around $200. Facebook plans to reveal the hardware in October.

HTC’s decision to target the China market first is driven by its ability to promote its custom Viveport software store in a region that does not offer Google services like the Android Play Store or Daydream. HTC will leverage a customer base that is larger than North America and Western Europe combined, and one that is expected to grow rapidly. IDC statistics show VR headset shipments reaching 10.1 million units this year and target 61 million units by 2020 worldwide. iResearch Consulting estimates Chinese VR market revenues to reach $8.1B in that same time frame.

Growth in VR and AR (augmented reality) is driven by the consumer markets but it is the enterprise implementations that provide the push for expanded usage models. Medical professionals already utilize VR technology to analyze data and mechanical engineers can dissect and evaluate models of products in a virtual space to improve and speed up workflows. Target fields also include factory workers, emergency personnel, the military, delivery drivers, and nearly all facets of business. As VR technology improve usability, comfort, and general societal acceptance, the merger of virtual and augmented reality hardware will create a new age of connected consumers.

Stupid sexy Shelob?

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2017 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: weird, gaming, middle-earth, shadow of war

In the most bizarre departure from Tolkien's world yet, Shelob the child of Ungoliant now takes on a human form to help out the already strange pair of the undead Ranger Talion and his see through ringmaker buddy Celebrimbor. Apart from that, take a gander at the trailer which shows off what Shadow of War looks like and see if you can remember the Orc's which were your worst enemies as you may be meeting them again soon.  The trailer and more information can be yours by visiting Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

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"Middle-earth: Shadow of War is due October 10th, made by Monolith and published by Warner Bros. If you’d like, you can prepare for the launch by importing your Nemesis and dearest friend from Shadow of War."

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Just what we weren't asking for, a new USB standard

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.2, Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C

Thanks to the USB Promoter Group we will soon be able to type out USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C when talking about new systems, which should not be confused with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C.  The bandwidth will double to 20Gbps which is a good thing and shows that USB can continue to be a less expensive alternative to Thunderbolt which currently runs at 40Gbps.  The increase comes from a change in the way USB can connect, previous generations utilized only two pairs of wires unlike DisplayPort or TB3 which can use all four.  With the new standard, the USB protocol will also take advantage of all four pairs.  

If you managed to get hold of high quality Type-C cables which do not have a desire to start fires you will be able to take advantage of the new standard ... once you pick up new devices which support the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C as Ars Technica reminds us.

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"If you've invested heavily in USB Type-C cables, the USB Promoter Group has some good news for you. The next version of USB, USB 3.2, will double the speed of existing Type-C cables. Cables currently qualified for USB 3.1 generation 1's 5Gbps will be able to operate at 10Gbps; those qualified for generation 2's 10Gbps will be able to run at 20Gbps"

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Source: Ars Technica

AMD Reports Q2 2017 Results

Subject: Editorial | July 25, 2017 - 10:48 PM |
Tagged: Vega, Threadripper, ryzen, RX, Results, quarterly earnings, Q2 2017, EPYC, amd

The big question that has been going through the minds of many is how much marketshare did AMD take back and how would that affect the bottom line?  We know the second half of that question, but it is still up in the air how much AMD has taken from Intel.  We know that they have, primarily due to the amount of money that AMD has made.  Now we just need to find out how much.

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Q2 revenue surpassed the expectations of both the Street and what AMD had predicted.  It was not a mind-blowing quarter, but it was a solid one for what has been a slowly sinking AMD.  The Q2 quarter is of course very important for AMD as it is the first full quarter of revenue from Ryzen parts as well as the introduction of the refreshed RX 500 series of GPUs.

The Ryzen R7 and R5 parts have been well received by press and consumers alike.  While it is not a completely overwhelming product in every aspect as compared to Intel’s product stack, it does introduce an incredibly strong dollar/thread value proposition.  Consumers can purchase an 8 core/16 thread part with competitive clock speeds and performance for around $300 US.  That same price point from Intel will give a user better single threaded and gaming performance, but comes short at 4 cores/8 threads.

The latest RX series of GPUs are slightly faster refreshes of the previous RX 400 series of cards and exist in the same price range of those previous cards.  These have been popular with AMD enthusiasts as they deliver solid performance for the price.  They are also quite popular with the coin miners due to the outstanding hash rate that they offer at their respective price points as compared to NVIDIA GPUs.

AMD ended up reporting GAAP revenue of $1.22B with a net income of -$16M.  Non-GAAP net income came in at a positive $19M.  This is a significant boost from Q1 figures which included a revenue of $984M and a net income of -$73M.  The tail end of Q1 did include some Ryzen sales, but not nearly enough to offset the losses that they accumulated.  These beat out the Street numbers by quite a bit, hence the uptick in AMD’s share price after hours.

The server/semi-custom group did well, but is still down some 5% as compared to last year.  This is primarily due to seasonal weaknesses with the consoles.  Microsoft will be ramping up production of their Xbox One X and AMD will start to receive royalties from that production later this year.  AMD has seen its marketshare in the data and server market tumble from years past to where it is at 1% and below.  AMD expects to change this trend with EPYC and has recorded the initial revenue from EPYC datacenter processor shipments.

We cannot emphasize enough how much the CPU/GPU group has grown over the past year.  Revenue from that group has increased by 51% since last year.  We do need to temper that with the reality that at that time AMD had not released the new RX series of GPUs nor did they have Ryzen.  Instead, it was all R5/R7 3x0 and Fury products as well as the FX CPUs based on Piledriver and Excavator cores.  It would honestly be hard for things to get worse than that point of time  Still, a 51% improvement with Ryzen and the RX 5x0 series of chips is greater than anyone really expected.  We must also consider that Q2 is still one of the slowest quarters in a year.

AMD expects next quarter to grow well beyond expectations.  The company is estimating that revenue will grow by 23%, plus or minus 3%.  If this holds true, AMD will be looking at a $1.5B quarter.  Something that has not been seen for some time (especially post foundry split).  The product stack that they will continue to introduce is quite impressive.  AMD will continue with the Ryzen R7 and R5 parts, but will also introduce the first R3 parts for the budget market.  RX Vega will be introduced next week at Siggraph.  Threadripper will be released to the wild as well as the x399 chipset.  EPYC is already shipping and they expect that product to grow steadily.  Ryzen Pro and then the mobile APUs will follow up later in the 2nd half of the year.  Semi-custom will get a boost when Microsoft starts shipping Xbox One X consoles.

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What a change a year makes.  Lisa Su and the gang have seemingly turned the boat around with a lot of smart moves, a lot of smart people, and a lot of effort.  They are not exactly at Easy Street yet, but they are moving in the right direction.  Ryzen has been a success with press and consumers and sets them on a level plane with Intel in overall performance and power.  The RX series continues to be popular and selling well (especially with miners).  AMD still has not caught up with demand for those parts, but I get the impression that they are being fairly conservative there by not flooding the market with RX chips in case coin mining bottoms out again.  The demand there is at least making miners and retailers happy, though could be causing some hard feelings among AMD enthusiasts who just want a gaming card at a reasonable price.

AMD continues to move forward and has recorded an impressive quarter.  Next quarter, if it falls in line with expectations, should help return AMD to profitability with some real momentum moving forward in selling product to multiple markets where it has not been a power for quite some time.  The company has been able to tread water for the past few years, but has planned far enough ahead to actually release competitive products at good prices to regain marketshare and achieve profitability again.  2017 has been a good year for AMD, and it looks to continue to Q3 and Q4.

Source: AMD

Introducing the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti K|NGP|N

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2017 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: evga, Kingpin, 1080 ti, nvidia

A fancy new card with a fancy way of spelling K|NGP|N has just been announced by EVGA.  It is a rather attractive card, eschewing RGBitis for a copper heatsink peeking through the hexagonal grill and three fans.  The only glowing parts indicate the temperature of the GPU, memory and PWM controller; a far more functional use.

kingpin.PNG

As you would expect, the card arrives with default clocks, a base clock of 1582MHz and boost of 1695MHz, however the card is guaranteed to hit 2025MHz and higher when you overclock the cards.  The base model ships with a dual-slot profile, however EVGA chose to move the DVI port down, leaving the top of the card empty except for cooling vents, this also means you could purchase a Hydro Copper Waterblock and reduce the cards height to a single slot.

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The card currently holds several single GPU World Records:

  • 3DMark Time Spy World Record – 14,219
  • 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme World Record – 19,361
  • 3DMark Fire Strike World Record – 31,770
  • UNIGINE Superposition – 8,642

July 25th, 2017 - The GeForce® GTX™ 1080 Ti was designed to be the most powerful desktop GPU ever created, and indeed it was. EVGA built upon its legacy of innovative cooling solutions and powerful overclocking with its GTX 1080 Ti SC2 and FTW3 graphics cards. Despite the overclocking headroom provided by the frigid cooling of EVGA's patented iCX Technology, the potential of the GTX 1080 Ti still leaves room for one more card at the top...and man is it good to be the K|NG.

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Source: EVGA

Your Roomba is spying on you and that fridge sure looks suspicious

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2017 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: security, roomba, irobot, greed

It should be obvious to most that the new generation of Roombas builds up and saves a map of your house, that is how it memorizes how to navigate your floors to vacuum them.  One would also think it was obvious that this information should remain private; unfortunately iRobot does not seem to understand this.  They are in discussion with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet to determine a price at which iRobot will sell them the map of the parts of your house which your Roomba has traversed.  This should be somewhat disturbing to Roomba owners and likely very exciting to anyone who likes to wander univited into other people's homes.  The security of the data is not likely to be difficult to overcome for a motivated and skilled individual so keep that in mind if you are shopping for a robot vacuum.  You can pop by The Inquirer to read iRobot chief executive Colin Angle's bizarre response to tweets from concerned customers.

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"VACUUM CLEANER COMPANY iRobot, responsible for the 'smart' Roomba vacuum, is considering doing something really dumb - selling user mapping data to companies that would hand over how your house is laid out."

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Source: The Inquirer

Asus Unveils Flagship X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme AMD AM4 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 25, 2017 - 12:16 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, RGB LED, overclocking, e-atx, asus, AM4

Asus recently took the wraps off of its X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme E-ATX motherboard which is the company’s new flagship motherboard for the AMD Ryzen platform. The new board is packed with features and is aimed at extreme overclockers and gaming enthusiasts.

The massive board surrounds the AMD AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, a 12 phase Digi+ VRM, and a plethora of expansion and storage connections including two PCI-E 3.0 x16, one PCI-E 2.0 x16, three PCI-E 2.0 x1, two M.2 slots, and 8 SATA 6Gbps ports. One of the M.2 slots sits under the passive PCH heatsink and connects directly to the CPU while the other M.2 slot does not benefit from the passive heatsink and shares bandwidth with the PCI-E 2.0 lanes coming from the chipset.

Asus X370 Crosshair VI Extreme.png

The board has a massive VRM heatsink that can also be swapped out for a monoblock that can be integrated into a custom water cooling loop with ASUS partnering with Bitspower for a monoblock that will be sold separately (the board will also work with monoblocks from other manufacturers) and will include sensors to measure flow rate, temperature, and leak detection. The board also has a header that will allow you to attach those same sensors to another point in your loop with all the sensor data being available through ASUS’ Fan Xpert 4 software. There are 13 fans headers on board (16 with fan extension card) with one dedicated pump header and two groups of four fan headers that are placed closed together to make wiring up radiators a bit cleaner. The X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme also sports multiple RGB LED lighting zones and two headers that will allow users to extend the lighting to RGB LED strips, fans, and cases (one header is for addressable LEDs and the other is for standard LED strips up to 3A). The on board lighting zones include the IO and VRM cooler, the two SafeSlot (metal-reinforced) PCI-E x16 slots, the chipset heatsink, and the right edge of the board. The audio jacks are also LED color coded which is actually kind of cool since it can be hard to see what colors the jacks are when the case is under a desk! Other useful features include an ROG backplate and a right angle 24-pin power connector to make cable management a bit easier. There are also the usual overclocker friendly error code display, power and reset buttons, and voltage read points for multimeters. Further, the board features a dedicated base clock generator and a “TPU” (TurboV Processing Unit) that helps manage voltage to the VRMs and controls the clock generator. The external clock generator is important when overclocking Ryzen and hitting extremely high memory frequencies.

Asus is using an Intel I211-AT Gigabit Ethernet controller for the wired networking and there is also support for Intel 8265-powered 802.11 ac Wi-Fi. Sound is handled by a SupremeFX  S122 codec paired with ES9023P ESS Sabre DAC with high end capacitors and TI op-amps for a 113 dB line in (for recording) and 120 dB output.

Rear I/O is where the Extreme board is a bit wanting with:

  • 2 x Antenna connectors
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 5 x Gold plated 3.5mm jacks
  • 1 x S/PDIF (Optical)
  • 2 x Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons

On one hand, I am not sure what else they could have included (Thunderbolt is really the only missing thing and not strictly needed), but it does look a bit barren even compared to the Crosshair VI Hero.

Asus’ flagship AMD AM4 motherboard will be available in early August with an MSRP of $349.

I am interested to see if the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme really does up the ante especially in the overclocking department versus the ROG Crosshair VI Hero which seems to be a popular choice for overclockers aiming to break records. I am looking forward to reviews to see whether the $100 premium is worth it (the Crosshair VI Hero is $245 or $270 with AC Wi-Fi).

Personally, I think I would rather go with a cheaper motherboard and better graphics card or SSD, but for those not on a budget I can see them opting for the board with all the bells and whistles (and RGB)!

Source: Asus

A new challenger appears; Toshiba's XG5 is hot on Samsung's heels

Subject: Storage | July 24, 2017 - 05:01 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, ocz, NVMe, nand, M.2, XG5, BiCS, 64-Layer

We first saw Toshiba's XG5 M.2 SSD at Computex this year but as of yet we have not had a chance to review it.  The Tech Report on the other hand did get their mitts on the 512GB model of this drive and they put it through its paces in this review right here.  Their results show a drive that beats OCZs' RD400 across the board and is impinging on Samsung's 960 Pro and EVO, though they are not quite there yet.  The next generation will improve on performance which should spur Samsung to new heights with their next NVMe product.  At the start of the article is some history on the current state of Toshiba which is worth checking out if you are not familiar with what is going on there.

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"Toshiba's XG5 NVMe SSD is shipping to the company's OEM partners now. We run it through our test suite to see if the company's newfangled 64-layer BiCS NAND helps it compete with the best in the business."

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Build your own watercooling loop with the EKWB L360 2.0 Kit

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 24, 2017 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: watercooler, EKWB, EK-KIT

EKWB's L360 2.0 Kit is a ~$250 pre-compiled watercooling kit which includes a EK-Supremacy MX waterblock, EK-CoolStream PE 360mm radiator with three EK-Vardar F3-120mm fans, EK-XRES 100 DDC MX 3.1 PWM pump and reservoir, 2m of tubing plus compression fittings and a container of EK-Ekoolant EVO Clear coolant concentrate, good for 1l of coolant once diluted. All you need to do is assemble the kit and install it in your system.  Modders-Inc did just that, the installation process was enjoyable and far more effective than air cooling.  If you did plan to add in a GPU waterblock EKWB recommends adding in another radiator which should make your cooling even more effective. 

Check out the full review here.

ek_img_md00031.jpg

"EKWB has been in watercooling since its meager beginnings in 1999. Every package, every kit, every block advancing the genre of watercooling. As the critical mass for watercooling began to grow, and the knowledge barrier for putting these kits into your system began to fall, companies have been putting together pre-compiled kits of components to make it easier on the …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Mark Papermaster on AMD's tiny things

Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2017 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: amd, 7nm

Over at The Inquirer you can read a condensed version of AMD's Mark Papermaster discussion about the challenges of moving to a 7nm process node.  The size of AMD's design team have prompted them to take a modular approach to design so that circuits can be reused across CPU, GPU and semi-custom designs.  That allows the the same teams to work on multiple projects and for design successes to improve products across multiple lines, a must for a small team with such diverse products.

He also talks about "2.5-D chip stacks", using silicon interposers to connect processors and memory stacks side-by-side as a way to work on reducing to the 7nm node while waiting for foundries like GLOFO to retool to EUV lithography. He ends with a familiar request; that developers switch their focus to taking advantage of high core counts and parallel threads and away from single cores running at high frequencies.

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"Speaking to the EE Times, Papermaster said that, while AMD planned to run its second and third generation Zen architecture x86 microprocessors on 7nm, it would likely be a 'long node', like the 28nm process, "and when you have a long node it lets the design team focus on micro-architecture and systems solutions", rather than simply redesigning standard ‘blocks'."

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Source: The Inquirer

AMD Teases Ryzen Threadripper Packaging, Lisa Su for Scale

Subject: Processors | July 24, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, Threadripper, lisa su

The AMD social teams have been had at work this morning, teasing out images of the packaging for its upcoming Ryzen Threadripper retail processor.

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The first image shows a window into the packaging with the Threadripper processor clearly visible behind it. The Ryzen logo dominates the plastic cover though there is a scene of "space" or maybe the Eye of Sauron in the background. The black construction looks to be foam that opens by splitting in half, across the Ryzen logo.

The second image shows the relative size of it all, with AMD CEO Lisa Su for scale. It looks kind of like an old-time portable TV and the depth of the packaging is definitely more substantial from the first image. 

We are getting closer and closer to the official unveiling of this product family and AMD is doing a fantastic job of pulling the community along for the ride.

Source: AMD

CRYORIG's A40; two heads are better than one?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 21, 2017 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: CRYORIG, CRYORIG A40, AIO, water cooler

The CRYORIG A40 is not a new cooler but its unique design is worth revisiting for those who have forgotten about its existence.  Instead of having a single area in which to dump heat, the pump assembly mounted to the CPU also has its own fan.  That fan did not not noticeably decrease the CPU temperatures when TechPowerUp tested it, however for SFF systems and other builds with components which could benefit from airflow inside the case that fan is more than just a gimmick.  Check out the full review here.

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"The A40 by CRYORIG is the company's entry level offering in their all-in-one hybrid liquid CPU cooler lineup. It lacks the size of the A80 and the radiator thickness of the A40 Ultimate. However, unlike the others, it offers a more affordable price point with all the same features."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Won't someone think of the children? Corsair will!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2017 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: corsair, gaming, charity, Save the Children

Corsair will be hosting a Charity Gaming Marathon on July 29th, livestreamed on Twitch and kicking off at 9AM Pacific.  All donations will go to the Save the Children, an international charity which helps children across the globe get off to a healthy start in life.  Corsair will be matching every dollar donated, up to a total of $25,000.  The event will pit two teams against each other in a variety of MOBA, RTS and first person shooters; when donating you can chose which team you support and can cheer them on and choose some challenges they need to overcome.

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During the event there will be giveaways of gear as certain donation goals are reached including GLAIVE RGB mice, VOID USB headsets, and MM800 RGB POLARIS mouse mats.  If the $25K mark is reached Corsair will be giving away a ONE SFF gaming machine. 

You can learn more about Save the Children on Twitter and Facebook.

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Source: Corsair