Intel Skylake-X 18-core Die Pictured. It's Massive.

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2017 - 11:16 AM |
Tagged: skylake-x, Intel

We are just starting to ramp back up here after the long holiday weekend, so let's start with something that is both interesting and easy to absorb. High-profile overclocker Der8auer has gotten his hands on an 18-core Skylake-X processor and did exactly what you would expect - delidded it. 

The takeaway from this is two-fold. First, the die appears very clean, indicating that Intel has still not decided to solder these high-end processors and is going with a standard thermal interface between the die and the heat spreader. 

18c-die.jpg

Source: Der8auer

Also...it's friggin huge. Look at the 10-core die from the Core i9-7900X that was observed earlier this year and compare it to the image above. 

10c-die.jpg

Though the camera angles aren't ideal, comparing the layout of the die to the physical substrate, which IS the same size between all the Skylake-X processors, you can see how much larger this 18-core die truly is. Expect to see the 18, 16, 14, and even the 12-core processors to use the same physical die. 

Source: Der8auer

ZTE Axon 7 (US) Update Available

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2017 - 10:39 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7

It’s been a while since ZTE has released an update for their Axon 7, but it looks like they’re still supporting the device with both security updates and new features. The Android version number is still 7.1.1, but 7.1.2 was mostly for Pixel phones, and it would be a little eager to expect Android 8.0. While all cellphone manufacturers should push security updates as quick as possible, because particularly nasty issues can be exploited within hours of a patch being publicly available, not months, at least they are still doing them at all.

zte-2017-axon7-septupdate.png

The ZTE Axon 7 was released a little over a year ago.

The most noticeable update is the multi-user support, which adds a colorful icon to your lock screen. When you click it, you’re able to choose the user to login as, create a new one, or create a guest account. I have noticed that the phone is also significantly more responsive, especially when rotating the display, but they might have just shortened the animation. Either way, it feels a lot faster, which is good, regardless of where that performance comes from.

If you're considering a phone from ZTE, then this should give clues about their intended update schedule. It's not Google-level, but it's at least a year, if the Axon 7 is any indication.

Source: ZTE

Games Done Quick Impromptu Marathon Now!

Subject: General Tech | September 2, 2017 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gdq

Sorry that I wasn’t able to put up a post when it started on Friday, but Games Done Quick set up a two-day marathon in support of the Houston Food Bank. Harvey Relief Done Quick is, as you would expect, intended to benefit those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. They have currently raised almost $110,000 USD.

gdq-2016-sgdq logo.png

The current game, as I write this post, is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all dungeons and Ganon -- they’re just wrapping it up. It will be be followed by a six-hour run of Chrono Trigger, 100% glitchless (all quests). Tomorrow night ends with a 100% map race of Super Metroid, and a three-and-a-half hour run, give or take, of Final Fantasy IV. As usual, they are streaming around the clock until then.

The next scheduled Games Done Quick is Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 in January.

The cutest little GTX 1080 you'll see; Gigabyte's GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 1, 2017 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G, gigabyte, GeForce GTX 1080

Gigabyte have shrunk the GTX 1080 into a tiny little package 17cm long, retaining the dual slot design to ensure you still have the connectivity options you expect.

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Even with its small stature and 90mm fan, the card is no slowpoke.  Setting it to Gaming Mode gives the standard 1733/1607MHZ Boost/BAse and there is an OC mode which will raise those clocks to 1771/1632MHz.

2017082816545657_big.png

There is no stock at the moment, which is also true the GTX 1070 and 1060 models which have already been released.  Those two are not sold at a large premium over their bigger twins so once prices have descended from the stratosphere and supply begins to accumulate again the tiny 1080 shouldn't carry a large premium.

 

Source: Gigabyte

Look who's selling SSDs! The HP S700 Pro 1TB

Subject: Storage | September 1, 2017 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: hp, ssd, 1TB, S700 PRO

This drive might not be the best choice for an upgrade to a machine you build yourself, however as it is compatible with HP's Software Pre-installation Environment it makes a great deal of sense for an HP owner.  Benchmark Reviews tested the drive out and were impressed with the performance they saw; it did not match the somewhat inflated claims made below but it performed in line with the majority of the competition out there.  Take a look at the specific results in the full review.

1TB-HP-SSD-S700-PRO-Solid-State-Drive-Angle-Label.jpg

"HP suggests top speeds up to 570 MB/s for reads and 525 MB/s writes from their 1TB SSD S700 PRO, which utilizes 3D NAND to deliver impressive storage density and reliability. In this article for Benchmark Reviews, we test the 1TB HP SSD S700 PRO (2.5″ SATA model 2LU81AA#ABL) against other solid state drive competition."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Feel good Friday post; a troll pays a toll

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2017 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: Kaspersky Labs, patent troll, kick ass

Kaspersky Labs used a portion of US case law to demand a patent troll fork over money before they would agree to drop the lawsuit Wetro Lan filed against them.  Wetro Lan picked up a patent with a somewhat famous pasts as being used in numerous dubious lawsuits filed by what are politely known as patent trolls.   The patent is a ridiculously vague description of a firewall and trolls have used it in the past to sue companies in the hopes of a payout to prevent the case from going to court.  Not only did Kaspersky go to court to fight; instead of waiting for the amount of money demanded to drop to zero they launched a counter-suit and refused to end the litigation until they received $10,000.  This meant that Wetro Lan had to continue to pay to continue the case and once they realized they were stuck they acquiesced to Kaspersky's demands, after talking them down to $5000.  Check out The Register for more information.

Nelson_Ha-Ha.jpg

"The Russian antivirus vendor said that it collected a $5,000 payment to agree to drop a patent infringement case where it was the defendant, after the litigator agreed they had no hope of winning their claim."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

PCPer Mailbag #7 - 9/1/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 1, 2017 - 10:24 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series where Ryan and the team answer YOUR questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

  • 00:38 - The future of Vulkan?
  • 05:00 - The end of Moore's Law?
  • 07:57 - Is 4GB VRAM enough for future 1080p gaming?
  • 09:33 - RX Vega64 for triple-monitor gaming?
  • 11:28 - Why do we need 4K displays on 15-inch laptops?
  • 13:27 - Watching 4K UHD Blu-rays on a PC?
  • 15:04 - Why don't GPU makers build super expensive, power hungry mega GPUs
  • 18:45 - Monitor refresh rates: 60Hz vs. 144Hz vs. 165Hz vs. 240Hz?
  • 22:14 - How to allocate component costs when building a PC?

IFA 2017: Lenovo Announces Yoga 920 and 720 2-in-1 Laptops

Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2017 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: Yoga 920, Yoga 720, yoga, watchband, Star Wars, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, ips, Gorilla Glass, digitizer, Active Pen 2, 4k, 2-in-1

The Yoga 920 is Lenovo’s new “flagship consumer 2-in-1”, and features 8th-generation quad-core processor and a big emphasis on voice control with what Lenovo describes as “far-field microphones for Cortana which will recognizes voice commands in standby mode and from up to 4 meters away”.

YOGA920_Hero_Family_Silver.jpg

There is also optional digitizer/pen capability with the Yoga 920, featuring Lenovo’s Active Pen 2:

“In the case of the Yoga 920, an optional Lenovo Active Pen 2 with 4,096 levels of pen sensitivity dramatically expands the creative and cross-application potential of the PC. Offering pen-on-paper precision designed to give you no discernible lag, the Lenovo Active Pen 2 with Windows Ink lets you sketch and paint original schematics or annotate existing graphics and documents on the fly. Working on a presentation? Use the pen’s shortcut button to open and check email for any last-minute contributions from the team, sketch them into the presentation, add some color and annotations, then send – all without setting down the pen.”

YOGA920_Hero_Tent_Front_facing_right_Copper.jpg

The display is ‘nearly bezel-less’ and offers a 13.9-inch 4K IPS panel. The familiar ‘watchband’ hinge is back for this new model, and the machine is quite thin at 13.95 mm (0.55 inches), weighing in at 3.02 lbs.

SW_920_Laptops.jpg

Special Star Wars designs are also going to be available with the Yoga 920, as Lenovo explains:

“We are particularly excited to bring to customers limited edition Gorilla Glass cover designs: Yoga 920 Vibes, Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Rebel Alliance and Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Galactic Empire.”

The Yoga 720 is a compact 12-inch design which will be offered at a significantly lower price than the 920, and it is also digitizer/pen capable and offers a fingerprint reader as well.

17a_YOGA_720_Hero_Family_Iron_Grey.jpg

The Yoga 920 will be offered with a starting price of $1329.99, while the Yoga 720 will start at $649.99.

Source: Lenovo

Threadripper 1900X makes it official today

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, 1900x, X399

We knew about the Threadripper 1900X back in July, but it did not arrive at the same time that the other two models did; AMD waited until today.  The official specifications do not differ from the pre-launch specifications, though we have confirmation the TDP is 180W and the cache is 20MB.  [H]ard|OCP describes it as a Ryzen 7 with the benefits of the X399 platform, a good way to quickly understand what this processor is.  [H] posted the slideshow as well as positing some usage scenarios in their article, which you can see here.

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"Today AMD rolls out what is not a very well kept secret, the Ryzen Threadripper model 1900X CPU. There is no doubt that Threadripper has already been a success for AMD, but how exactly does does an 8-core Threadripper fit into High End Desktop (HEDT) world of processors and platforms? The user profile is fairly skinny."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #465 - Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: podcast, ZenBook Flip S UX370, Switch 7, Seasonic PRIME, RX Vega 56, mining, logitech, Koolance, Intel Xeon Workstation, IFA 2017, hero, fsp, Fanatec, dell xps 13, CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara, BeQuiet, b250, asus, acer, video

PC Perspective Podcast #465 - 08/31/17

Join us for continued discussion on Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops 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

Program length: 1:28:57

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:12:25 Ryan: Logitech G613
    2. 1:16:05 Jeremy: Steam library growing in girth? 850 EVO 500GB
    3. 1:18:45 Josh: Damn nice keyboard
    4. 1:21:05 Allyn: My first game mod: Manifolds for Factorio (and 0.15 is stable)
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Logitech CRAFT Keyboard adds input dial to wireless connectivity and advanced feature set

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech, keyboard, craft

Yesterday it was the gaming division pushing out the release of its brand new wireless gaming keyboard, and today, the consumer side of Logitech has its own new pretty item to wave in front of us. The CRAFT keyboard is a unique option that combines wireless connectivity with up to three devices, smart backlight illumination, and a new input dial that helps creative and productivity users get more out of their applications.

High_Resolution-Craft-TopDown.jpg

Let’s start with that knob in the top right – the crown as Logitech calls it. This crown is an input dial that adapts and changes functions as you switch between applications. On a global scale it can be used to control volume, move between application windows, and change desktops. You can access that functionality by physically pushing down on the dial and rotating it to the left or right.

More interestingly, the crown adjusts its function based on the application you are in. In Excel, for example, you can toggle font sizes, move between cells, select tables and graph formats, and much more, all with the dial and click functionality. You switch between these different functions by tapping on the dial itself, as the entire surface is capacitive. There are functions for PowerPoint and Word as well, offering similar levels of integration.

High_Resolution-Craft PKG BOB Inset1.png

The Adobe software suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro CC 2017 also has pre-built functionality with the Logitech CRAFT keyboard. In Photoshop you can select and adjust image brightness, change the stroke weight in Illustrator or navigate and scrub through the timeline in Premiere Pro. There are many options and capabilities that the Logitech software installer offers out of the box and you have the ability to adjust these capabilities through custom integrations as well.

Explaining in text how this dial works and how it could potential change your workflow is difficult to do. Logitech does provide a set of videos running through some examples of the keyboard in and the dial in use, and they are worth checking out to get a sense of how it functions.

This capability works across both Windows 10 and Mac OS.

The CRAFT keyboard is built with a high quality scissor key switch design that is close in typing feel to some of the best notebook keyboards we have had our hands on. The typing is relatively quiet and the dished keys help you find the proper finger placement for eye-free typing.

Backlighting a battery powered keyboard is always tricky as you balance illumination and battery life. Logitech has created a system that intelligently determines when to light up the keyboard based on your hands approaching the keyboard itself. Logitech won’t share the secret here but it’s likely they are using some kind of proximity sensor similar to what is used on smartphones. We do know the CRAFT integrates an ambient light sensor as well, dimming or turning off backlight when in a well-lit environment.

High_Resolution-Craft-Lifestyle-5.jpg

Above the Insert/Home keys rests three buttons that allow you to easily switch between controller one of three connected systems or devices. The CRAFT supports the Logitech unifying receiver as well as Bluetooth, allowing you to connect to a notebook or even your phone or tablet for advantages when replying to those text messages from mom.

Logitech claims the CRAFT should last an entire week on a single charge, though that will vary based on bright and often the backlights get used. The internal rechargeable battery gets juice via a USB Type-C connection and a Type-C to Type-A cable is included in the box.

The CRAFT isn’t cheap at $199 but the creation and use of the input dial, or crown, is definitely a value add for creatives and productivity users that see the benefit of a two handed input interface. We are still working through a couple of things on our end before doing a review (including a squeaky space bar that Logitech claims was fixed in final production and some last minute software bugs), but I am impressed with Logitech has built. If you frequently spend your time in Microsoft Office or Adobe CC software suites, you should definitely give the CRAFT keyboard a try.

Source: Logitech

New GPU Launch, New Attempt to Unlock Stuff

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 30, 2017 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, vega 56, vega 64

Because so many different video cards are made from a handful of chip designs, there is a group of people who like to see whether a lower-end SKU can be unlocked to behave like a higher-end one. In this case, kdtree on the ChipHell forums has apparently flashed the new AMD RX Vega 56 with the vBIOS from an AMD RX Vega 64. Personally, I would find that a little sketchy, given the difference in stream processor count, but they’re the one with the graphics card.

amd-2017-vegabiosflash-chiphell-kdtree.jpg

Image Credit: kdtree from ChipHell forums

Turns out, it did something, but it did not magically create an RX Vega 64. The extra 512 shaders are probably disabled at the hardware level, such as with a laser. Your first reaction is probably “well, of course it is...” but, if you remember Polaris, users have software-modified 4GB cards into 8GB cards... so there is some precedence for “maybe AMD put more on the card than they said on the box”.

Oh right, so what did it do? It apparently gave the card a significant overclock. It’s hard to tell under the watermark, but the modified Vega 56 was just a percent or so away from the Vega 64 on 3DMark. I’m guessing a conventional overclock might do the same, but who knows.

Benchmarking a beast of a box, a dual Xeon Scalable Gold Server

Subject: Systems | August 30, 2017 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: linux, xeon, Xeon Gold 6138, dual cpu, LGA-3647, Intel

The core counts and amount of RAM on enthusiast systems is growing quickly, especially with Threadripper, but we won't be seeing a system quite like this one under our desks in the near future.  The server which Phoronix tested sports dual Xeon Gold 6138 for a total of 40 physical cores and 80 threads, with each CPU having 48GB of RAM for a total of 96GB of DDR4-2666.  Not only did Phoronix run this system through a variety of tests, they did so on eight different Linux distros.   Can any benchmark push this thing to its limits?  Was there a clear winner for the OS?  Find out in the full review.

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"While we routinely run various Linux distribution / operating system comparisons at Phoronix, they tend to be done on desktop class hardware and the occasional servers. This is our look at the most interesting enterprise-focused Linux distribution comparison to date as we see how Intel's Xeon Scalable platform compares on different GNU/Linux distributions when using the Tyan GT24E-B7106 paired with two Dual Xeon Gold 6138 processors."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Phoronix

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Blazkowicz

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: Wolfenstein 2, gaming, Blitzmensch

Here is one of the best advertisements for a game you will see all day.  It might be light on the gameplay, but one could forgive them due to the sheer campy beauty of it all. The game will not be out until October 27th; we suggest you use this video to tide you over until the release.  Remember, only you can prevent pre-order exclusive deals and Day 1 DLC ... and defeat Blitzmensch as well.

"Adam West has passed away, but now we get to see him impact on today's game marketing. Godspeed Adam! I still have that signed Batman picture you gave me when I was seven years old."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

IFA 2017: Acer announces passively-cooled Switch 7 Black Edition

Subject: Mobile | August 30, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: switch 7 black edition, Surface Pro, IFA 2017, ifa, acer, 8th generation core

Today at IFA 2017, Acer's keynote was full of new products arriving in the coming year. The most remarkable product of the bunch is their Switch 7 Black Edition 2-in-1.

switch7-be.jpg

While the Switch 7 Black Edition may not look different than other 2-in-1 devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro initially, there are some surprises underneath the hood.

8thgen-i7.png

First is Acer's innovative cooling solution which they are calling "LiquidLoop." Essentially this is a heatpipe system which circulates through the chassis to cool both the Quad-Core 8th Generation Core processor, as well as a dedicated GPU in the form of the NVIDIA Geforce MX150.

liquidloop.png

Omitting the use of any fans in the chassis, Acer claims they can properly cool both the 15W processor and the 25W GPU with this heatpipe system.

As for the GPU, the Geforce MX150 is the Pascal-based successor to the 940MX, which saw popularity in many of these thin and light form-factor devices. While it won't play the latest titles at native resolution, you should expect to be able to play less demanding titles and older games at modest image quality settings. Personally, the idea of a passively cooled computer that can play Rocket League on the go excites me.

Beyond the innovative thermal design, Acer has some more tricks up their sleeve with the Switch 7 Black Edition. 

autostand.png

Acer AutoStand is a kickstand system designed to operate with one hand, like a traditional notebook hinge. This could be a huge benefit to Acer over the more cumbersome competitors like the Surface Pro where you have to hold the tablet in place as you deploy the kickstand.

windowshello.png

The Switch 7 Black Edition supports Windows Hello through the use of a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the glass of the screen bezel. This sensor also supports Power on Authentication (POA) so that a single press will turn on the device and log into Windows Instantly.

These features combined with the 12.5-in 2256x1504 IPS display make the Switch 7 Black Edition an attractive alternative to 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro. 

All of these cool features come with a steep price tag though. The Acer Switch 7 Black Edition is expected to ship in December in North America for prices starting at $1,699.

Source: Acer

Logitech is your new HERO: G613 Wireless Keyboard and G603 Wireless Mouse

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, hero, g613, g603

Logitech continues to push forward with innovation after innovation in the world of gaming accessories. Most recently we discussed the PowerPlay technology, a new combination of mouse pad and mouse that charges wirelessly, creating a gaming configuration that never needs charging. Jim’s review left an impression on all of us at the office – this was something that could be life changing for gamers and enthusiasts.

both.jpg

Today Logitech continues down that road with a handful of key technologies that will drive the company forward in ways we don’t yet foresee. As the title will reveal, Logitech is launching a new wireless mouse as well as its first wireless mechanical gaming keyboard. If that wasn’t enough, a new mouse sensor is at the heart of the G603. The HERO sensor is what allows this mouse to offer the same performance capability as the G900 but with 18 months of battery life on a pair of AA batteries.

The HERO Sensor

Let’s quickly talk about the new Logitech HERO sensor (High Efficiency Rating Optical). It combines performance that is nearly identical to the much adored PMW3366 sensor used in the Logitech G900 (among other devices) but offers 10x the power efficiency, allowing for incredibly long battery life. Everything from the lens design to the pixel surface area to the analog-to-digital conversion on the controller has been tweaked to improve performance efficiency.

HERO Sensor_Architecture.jpg

The mouse sensor system starts with the front-end, a portion that covers the imaging and CMOS detector that produces the images provided to the back-end for processing. With HERO, Logitech is using an IR LED system along with large pixel surface area to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio, improving the data that tracking is computed on. A big shift with this sensor is based on the analog-to-digital conversion that can typically be very power demanding when operating at the speeds required by gamers. On HERO, efficiency is increased by processing blocks of pixels at a time, but at different rates depending on the movement rate of the mouse itself. This gives Logitech’s newest sensor the perfect balance of performance and efficiency.

Specular Optic System_HERO Sensor.jpg

There is a lot more technology to dive into around the sensor of this new mouse, and we will see it in other devices coming out later. I am working with Logitech for a deep dive with its engineers on HERO, as the topic is more complex and more intriguing than you would ever have believed.

The Logitech G603 Mouse

The first mouse to use this new sensor is the G603, a wireless mouse that utilizes Logitech’s LightSpeed technology for fast and accurate wireless gaming capabilities. It offers a host of compelling features, at a cost of just $70, that I think will instantly propel it to the top of many gamers’ must-have lists.

mouse1.jpg

First and foremost, because of the new HERO sensor in use, the G603 gets up to 18 months of battery life with gaming usage. That is with two AA batteries and with the mouse set in the “low” LightSpeed setting. The “low” setting offers a response time of 8ms while the “high” setting will run at a 1ms response time. If you are a dedicated gamer that will demand the mouse be in the “high” setting, Logitech still claims to get 4-6 months of battery life on a single set of batteries. Should you only have a single AA battery at your disposal, the mouse will work with a single installed, but at half the rated battery life.

In another scale, with the G603 running in “high” mode, it will run for 500 hours of gaming. Compare that to the 24-36 hours of gaming that my G900 offers and you can see the compelling difference this new controller and sensor technology makes.

mouse2.jpg

The LightSpeed wireless technology (that utilizes a Logitech USB dongle) is supplemented by support for Bluetooth. Though not ideal for hardcore gaming, the ability to support BT gives the G603 a lot of flexibility for connecting you to other machines. Battery life is rated at 18 months in Bluetooth mode.

Even better, you can have the mouse connected to one system with the LightSpeed dongle and to another machine or even your smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth. You can instantly switch the mouse between BT and LightSpeed devices with the touch of a button, allowing you to jump between platforms easily.

The Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

The Logitech G613 doesn’t use a fancy new sensor, but it does mark the first time that Logitech has offered a wireless gaming keyboard. With a price tag of $150, using the Romer-G switches designed and exclusively integrated in Logitech keyboards, the G613 utilizes the same LightSpeed technology that recent Logitech mice use for wireless connectivity.

Just like the mouse above, the G613 keyboard allows you to connect to both a Bluetooth and a LightSpeed dongle and use a button on the keyboard to switch between the two platforms. This is an awesome feature for people that would like to use their keyboard to type out long text messages on their smartphone without having to have a second device or accessory on your desk. I am looking forward to capturing all my text recipients’ attention going forward with much longer and more dramatic messages.

kb1.jpg

The LightSpeed wireless technology has already been proven with the mice Logitech has dropped on the market in recent months, but this does mark the first time a keyboard has integrated it. It maintains a 1ms report rate and offers better performance than many competing wired keyboards.

Battery life on the G613 is a staggering 18 months on just two AA batteries, thanks to an optimized microcontroller and the distinct lack of LED lighting. While RGB lighting has become a staple of gaming keyboards, Logitech tells us that a wireless keyboard with a backlight would last only 40 hours. That is quite a difference and it’s easy to see why Logitech made the decision it did.

You still get the full suite of features and capabilities that we love with Logitech keyboards including access to Logitech Gaming Software to store and save macros, programmable keys, profiles per-application, and more. The Romer-G switches are unique in the industry (they aren’t a standard Cherry or knock-off) but I have been using them on my G913 keyboard for nearly two years doing a combination of gaming and productivity and have never had the desire to revert.

Initial Thoughts

I have only had the G603 and G613 mouse and keyboard in our office for a few days of use, and a full review is pending. I can already tell you that the devices feel and act exactly as I have come to expect from Logitech hardware – and that’s a great thing! The G603 feels great in the hand and the performance in everyday tasks, as well as the gaming I have been able to do thus far, is superb. Time will tell how the battery life reality matches expectations, but I have yet to find any instance of Logitech holding back on accurate technical information - I don’t suppose they’ll start now.

The new HERO mouse sensor could be a drastic shift for gamers. A sensor that is both high performance and highly efficient, coupled with proven wireless technology that is better than most wired offerings, means that long-lasting, wireless gaming is here to stay and available to all.

Source: Logitech G

Sixth of its name, the new CM MasterCase Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 29, 2017 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: coolermaster, MasterCase Pro 6

The MasterCase Pro 5 was released a few years back which is why it is time for a MasterCase Pro 6 review.  CoolerMaster kept the modular design, making the installation of fans or radiators much easier as well as allowing you to remove drive cages you do not require.  The difference between this model and its predecessor are the design of the top and front panels, the similarity is the slightly imperfect mating of various parts of the case.  The Tech Report did still find the case easy to work with, take a closer look here to see if its style matches yours.

mastercasepro6-innards-2.jpg

"Cooler Master's MasterCase Pro 6 puts a sharp new face on the company's tried-and-true modular chassis. We popped in our test system to see whether this case's pop-out vents are a cool new idea in case design."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

An expensive failure to launch; Llano's fine

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd

***Update***

Having spoken with representative from AMD, we can confirm those in the comments were correct and that "the settlememt is coming from our insurance carrier....So there is no financial impact to AMD."  

Good news for AMD and enthusiasts!

***Update***

Those indignant souls for whom the recent issues with Vega's launch represent the worst thing to happen ever in the history of the world may be somewhat discombobulated to learn that worse happened a mere eight years ago.  It was a heady time for AMD, three years previous to these events they had just purchased ATI and were excited about the growth potential offered from having two types of products.  Bright minds at AMD realized there was a different potential for growth; synergistic in nature.   Why limit yourself to just selling GPUs and CPUs when you could combine the two in a silicon version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?  Thus was born Llano, a chip touted to rival Sandy Bridge in computational power with an APU more powerful than any which had existed before.

Things did not go according to plan.

The launch of Llano was delayed several times and when it finally arrived in 2011, two years after the initially planned release date, it did not outperform Sandy Bridge as advertised.  Instead the A8-3850 could mostly hold its own against the Core i3-2100 in multi-threaded tasks but fell far behind in single threaded performance.  This was a major issue as there were even less applications taking advantage of multithreaded processors than there are today. 

The graphics portion of the chip was very impressive, offering the first APU which you could actually use to game and watch HD video; perhaps not Crysis but certainly many online games were well within Llano's grasp.  This was not enough to save Llano in the marketplace and set the stage for the following years in which AMD has struggled.

Today we learn of the final penalty AMD must endure as a result of Llano, a $29.5 million payout to anyone who purchased AMD shares between April 4, 2011 and October 18, 2012.  This is not the best timing for AMD to dig into their pockets, their budget is already stretched and we would all prefer to see that money going into R&D for their next generation of products.  However, the lawsuit is no longer hanging over their heads and they can now budget for the coming quarters without having an unknown expense in the ledgers.

Hopefully AMD's fortune will reverse in the near future, as Threadripper, Epyc and Vega all show very good signs compared to the state of AMD six years ago.

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"Advanced Micro Devices has agreed to pay out $29.5m to settle a class action lawsuit its shareholders filed after the disastrous Llano chip rollout."

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Source: The Register

Intel Announces Xeon W and Xeon Scalable Workstation Processors

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: Xeon W, xeon scalable, xeon, workstation, processor, Intel, cpu

Intel has officially announced their new workstation processor lineup, with Xeon Scalable and Xeon W versions aimed at both professional and mainstream workstation systems.

"Workstations powered by Intel Xeon processors meet the most stringent demands for professionals seeking to increase productivity and rapidly bring data to life. Intel today disclosed that the world-record performance of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors is now available for next-generation expert workstations to enable photorealistic design, modeling, artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, and virtual-reality (VR) content creation."

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The first part of Intel’s product launch announcement are the new Xeon Scalable processors, first announced in July, and these are dual-socket solutions targeting professional workstations. Versions with up to 56 cores/112 threads are available, and frequencies of up to 4.20 GHz are possible via Turbo Boost. Intel is emphasising the large performance impact of upgrading to these new Xeon processors with a comparison to older equipment (a trend in the industry of late), which is relevant when considering the professional market where upgrades are far slower than the enthusiast desktop segment:

“Expert workstations will experience up to a 2.71x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system and up to 1.65x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

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The second part of announcement are new Xeon W processors, which will be part of Intel’s mainstream workstation offering. These are single-socket processors, with up to 18 cores/36 threads and Turbo Boost frequencies up to 4.50 GHz. The performance impact with these new Xeon W CPUs compared to previous generations is not as great as the Xeon Scalable processors above, as Intel offers the same comparison to older hardware with the Xeon W:

“Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4 and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

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Full PR is available from Intel's newsroom.

Source: Intel

IFA 2017: Dell announces refreshed Quad-Core XPS 13 Notebook

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 28, 2017 - 10:20 PM |
Tagged: ifa, IFA 2017, dell, XPS 13, 8th generation core, i7-8550U, i5-8250U

As expected, this year's IFA trade show in Berlin is proving busy for notebook manufacturers. Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of 15W 8th Generation quad-core processors in the Kaby-Lake refresh family earlier in the month, we are starting to see some announcements of actual products utilizing these new processors.

Not to be left behind, Dell has officially announced the refreshed version of their well-received XPS 13 notebook. 

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It appears that there has been little physical change to the XPS 13 centered around these new processor options. Customers will still find 2 USB-A Ports upgraded to USB 3.1 Gen 2, a Thundebolt 3 Port, full-size SD card slot, a standard headphone jack, and a power connector (although charging over Thunderbolt 3 is supported). There's no indication yet as to the Thunderbolt 3 implementation, but we hope Dell has gone with the full PCIe x4 bandwidth instead of x2 as found on the current XPS 13.

Same as the current XPS 13, customers will be able to choose from a 1080p non-touch display or a 3200x1800 touchscreen, up to 16GB of RAM, and SSD options including SATA and NVMe.

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Battery size remains at 60Wh, which Dell claims has a MobileMark battery life score of 22 hours on the 1080p display model and 12 hours with the 3200x1800 QHD+ Touchscreen option.

Expect a longer rollout than usual with these new 8th generation parts from Dell, with the highest end i7-8550U to be available starting September 12th, and the i5 parts coming later in October. We have no current indications of pricing, but I would expect it to fall along the current XPS 13 models, in which the i7 model starts at $1349 along with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and the 1080p display.

Source: Dell