Computex 2017: EVGA Announces Intel X299 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: x299, motherboard, micro ATX, mATX, LGA 2066, Intel, evga, computex 2017, computex, atx

EVGA has announced their new X299 Series motherboard lineup, with two EATX models and a compact solution for Micro-ATX.

"Introducing the EVGA X299 motherboard lineup - built for the Next Generation Intel® X299 platform. The EVGA X299 motherboard lineup combines incredible features, overclocking and the latest SSD standards, including M.2, U.2 and Intel® Optane™ support. EVGA's GUI BIOS focuses on functionality and overclocking support to give you power and ease of use. With these features and more, it is easy to see how the EVGA X299 Motherboards are Built to Perfection."

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The first of these is the X299 DARK, an EATX motherboard that EVGA says is "designed from the ground up to be the best overclocking motherboard on the planet". The motherboard has an unusual PCB design as it is meant for serious overclocking, whittling memory support down to just 4 DIMM slots (overclocking of 4133MHz+ is supported) and EVGA includes a 'bench stand plate' for open test bench setups. The X299 DARK also features an integrated M.2 cooling solution that looks a little bit like a small GPU blower fan of old.

Features from EVGA:

  • Supports x16 PCIe Graphics with all CPUs
  • Audio – Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • 12 Layer PCB Design
  • Bundled Bench Stand Plate
  • Dedicated M.2 Cooling
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Triple BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • 10-zone Temperature Monitor
  • Onboard Voltage Display

Next up is the X299 FTW K, another EATX design that is a little more conventional as it offers 8 DIMM slots for up to 128GB of DDR4 memory, and less of the OC-specific design of the X299 DARK.

evga-x299-ftwk.jpg

Features for the X299 FTW K include:

  • RGB LED I/O and Heatsink
  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • Dual BIOS Support
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Last but not least (unless you're talking about size) is the X299 MICRO, which is EVGA's Micro-ATX X299 offering.

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Certain changes are necessitated by the mATX size contstraints such as 4 DIMM slots (though EVGA's X299 DARK shares this limitation) and fewer PCIe slots, but this is still a full-fledged enthusiast platform with many high-end features including an impressive 12-phase Digital VRM design.

Features for the X299 MICRO include:

  • RGB Fan Header Support
  • Audio – High Definition 8 Channel Audio + Optical
  • Highly-Efficient 12 Phase Digital VRM
  • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
  • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
  • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
  • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
  • Onboard CPU Temperature Monitor

Release dates and MSRPs for these motherboards have not been announced.

Source: EVGA

Computex 2017: ASRock Shows Mini-ITX Intel X299 with the X299E-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 31, 2017 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: x299, small form factor, SFF, motherboard, mini-itx, computex 2017, computex, asrock

ASRock was the only player in the mini-ITX Intel X99 motherboard space, and they are at it again with their X299E-ITX motherboard. This time around memory is not limited to a pair of desktop DIMMs as with the existing X99E-ITX/ac, as the new X299 board features quad-channel memory support thanks to a switch to SODIMMs.

ASRock X299E-ITX.jpg

The ASRock X299E-ITX Motherboard (Image credit: ComputerBase)

Among the specifications are support for 3200+ MHz DDR4, a PCIe Gen 3 x16 slot for graphics cards, networking via Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual Intel NICs, a pair of USB 3.1 ports (Type-A and Type-C), six SATA 3 ports and a PCIe Gen 3 x4 compatible M.2 slot, and premium 7.1-channel audio with Nichicon capacitors. The X299E-ITX board also offers ASRock's 'Super Alloy' design and offers a 7-phase 'Digi Power' array for the LGA2066 CPU.

No word on pricing or availablity just yet, but if it follows the X99E-ITX/ac launch it should be somewhere near the $300 range. If you need mini-ITX and fancy the latest Intel enthusiast platform, this might be your best - and only - option.

Source: ComputerBase

Computex 2017: Corsair K68 Spill-Resistant Mech. Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: spill resistant, mechanical keyboard, corsair, cherry mx red

I wish I could say that I have yet to destroy a keyboard with a spill, but it’s happened to me… twice. Once was a bowl of soup on a Logitech G15 as I was writing a paper for college, although that only really broke the backlight controls, and the other time was a bottle of water on a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, which completely wrecked it. That said, two in thirty years isn’t too bad, right? Right?

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Why am I saying this? Well, if you somehow are reading this without seeing the headline, Corsair has announced a dust- and spill-resistant keyboard, the K68. This peripheral is rated up to IP32, which means it’s resistant to small objects (larger than 2.5mm) and dripping water within 15 degrees of its “normal” position.

The device itself uses Cherry MX Red switches with full keyboard rollover. Once again, it’s branded as “100% anti-ghosting” but, really, it’s better than that – ghosting isn’t just blocked if it’s detected; the conditions that lead to ghosting cannot occur in the first place. As for the switch, the MX Red is Cherry's bumpless, low-resistance model. The keyboard has a red backlight.

The Corsair K68 is available now for $99.99 USD on their website.

Source: Corsair

Computex 2017: The ASUS ROG Swift PG35VQ Is an UltraWide, 200Hz Display With HDR and G-Sync

Subject: Displays | May 31, 2017 - 04:36 AM |
Tagged: ultrawide, hdr, gaming monitor, g-sync, computex 2017, ASUS ROG, asus

After first teasing HDR monitors earlier this year at CES, ASUS is using Computex to announce a new high-end gaming monitor that incorporates nearly all of the latest display technologies into one impressive package. The ROG Swift PG35VQ is a 35-inch curved UltraWide display with a 3440x1440 resolution, HDR support, a 200Hz refresh rate, and NVIDIA G-Sync technology.

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ASUS is using Quantum Dot technology to power the PG35VQ, which results in a display that handles the DCI-P3 color space, conforms to the HDR10 standard, and can reach a "retina-searing" 1000 nits maximum brightness. Thanks to an array of 512 individual LED backlights, the PG35VQ can also utilize local dimming for significantly better black levels than you'll find on previous generation displays. This is the same approach ASUS utilized on the 27-inch PG27UQ that it announced back at CES, there are just more LEDs to accommodate the larger screen area of the PG35VQ.

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Fans of RGB lighting will happy to hear that the PG35VQ also offers support for the ROG Aura lighting platform, allowing users to control and sync RGB lighting effects between all of their compatible devices. Want the RGB lights on your new UltraWide monitor to pulse in sync with your keyboard, motherboard, and headset? ASUS has you covered.

ASUS has not yet provided an official release date, but a blog post over at NVIDIA's website claims that the PG35VQ will hit retailers in the fourth quarter. As for pricing, don't expect this flagship display to come cheap. ASUS's current high-end UltraWide gaming monitor, the ROG PG348Q, retails for about $1200, but is an inch smaller diagonally, has half the refresh rate (100Hz), and lacks local dimming and HDR support. So plan accordingly and expect to pay a premium for these cutting edge features.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: ASUS, HP, Lenovo to Build Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 Machines

Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 31, 2017 - 03:30 AM |
Tagged: snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, Lenovo, hp, Gigabit LTE, asus

Back in December of 2016, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced a partnership to bring Windows to platforms based on the Snapdragon platform. Not Windows RT redux, not Windows mobile, not Windows Mini, full blown Windows with 100% application support and compatibility. It was a surprising and gutsy move after the tepid response (at best) to the ARM-based Windows RT launch several years ago. Qualcomm and Microsoft assure us that this time things are different, thanks to a lot of learning and additional features that make the transition seamless for consumers.

The big reveal for this week is the initial list of partners that Qualcomm has brought on board to build Windows 10 system around the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. ASUS, HP, and Lenovo will offer machines based around that SoC, though details on form factors, time frames, pricing and anything else you WANT to know about it, is under wraps. These are big time names though, leaders in the PC notebook space, and I think their input to the platform is going to be just as valuable as them selling and marketing it. HP is known for enterprise solutions, Lenovo for mass market share, and ASUS for innovative design and integration.

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(If you want to see an Android-based representation of performance on a mobile-based Snapdragon 835 processor, check out our launch preview from March.)

Also on the show floor, Qualcomm begins its marketing campaign aimed to show the value that Snapdragon offers to the Windows ecosystem. Today that is exemplified in a form factor difference comparing the circuit board layout of a Snapdragon 835-based notebook and a “typical” competitor machine.

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Up top, Qualcomm is showing us the prototype for the Windows 10 Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform. It has a total area of 50.4 cm2 and just by eyeballing the two images, there is a clear difference in scope. The second image shows only what Qualcomm will call a “competing commercial circuit board” with an area of 98.1 cm2. That is a decrease in PCB space of 48% (advantage Qualcomm) and gives OEMs a lot of flexibility in design that they might not have had otherwise. They can use that space to make machines thinner, lighter, include a larger battery, or simply to innovate outside the scope of what we can imagine today.

Continue reading about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform with Windows 10 announcement!

Source: Qualcomm

Computex 2017: The ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC Is the World's First 8-Core Laptop Powered by Ryzen 7

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 11:45 PM |
Tagged: strix, Ryzen 1700, ryzen, gaming laptop, computex 2017, ASUS ROG, asus, amd

AMD and ASUS have teamed up at Computex to announce the first laptop powered by Ryzen processors. The ROG Strix GL702ZC features up to an 8-core Ryzen 7 1700 CPU and 8GB Radeon RX 580 graphics, along with a 17.3-inch FreeSync 2.0-capable display at 1080p or 4K resolutions.

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The ROG Strix GL702ZC can be configured with up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and two storage drives: a 512GB NVMe SSD and a 2.5-inch SATA III SSD or HDD. Connectivity options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI 2.0, and an SD Card reader.

At 1.3 inches thick and weighing in at just under 7 pounds, the device is not as thin or light as the just-introduced Intel-based ROG Zephyrus with NVIDIA's "Max-Q" design, but the ROG Strix GL702ZC also isn't as large as some of the behemoth gaming laptops seen in recent years, especially considering its unique hardware.

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While most games won't yet be able to take full advantage of the GL702ZC's 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 1700 processor, those interested in productivity and media applications, or heavy multitasking, should see a significant performance advantage over competing Intel-based laptops, which are currently limited on the high end to 4 cores and 8 threads. As pointed out by ASUS ROG lead Derek Yu, the GL702ZC is the world's first consumer-targeted 16-thread laptop.

For AMD fans who don't need all those cores, the Strix GL702ZC will also be configurable with the 6-core Ryzen 5 1600 and, when it launches in the third quarter, the 4-core Ryzen 3 1200.

As usual, ASUS did not announce pricing or availability, other than to note that the Strix GL702ZC should hit retailers "later this summer."

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: AMD Threadripper will include 64 lanes of PCI Express 3.0, Demos with Quad Vega FE

Subject: Processors | May 30, 2017 - 10:49 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, ryzen, PCI Express, amd

During AMD’s Computex keynote, the company confirmed that the every one of the upcoming Threadripper HEDT platform first announced earlier in May, will include 64 lanes of PCI Express 3.0. There will not be a differentiation in the product line with PCIe lanes or in memory channels (all quad-channel DDR4). This potentially gives AMD the advantage for system connectivity, as the Intel Skylake-X processor just announced yesterday will only sport of 44 lanes of PCIe 3.0 on chip.

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Having 64 lanes of PCI Express on Threadripper could be an important differentiation point for the platform, offering the ability to run quad GPUs at full x16 speeds, without the need of any PLX-style bridge chips. You could also combine a pair of x16 graphics cards, and still have 32 lanes left for NVMe storage, 10 GigE networking devices, multi-channel SAS controllers, etc. And that doesn’t include any additional lanes that the X399 chipset may end up providing. We still can’t wait to see what motherboard vendors like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte create with all that flexibility.

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Holy hell.

On-stage, we saw a couple of demonstrations of what this connectivity capability can provide. First, a Threadripper system was shown powering Radeon RX Vega graphics cards running the new Prey PC title at 4K.

On-stage, we saw a couple of demonstrations of what this connectivity capability can provide. First, a Threadripper system was shown running the same Blender rendering demo used in the build up to the initial Ryzen CPU launch.

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Next, CEO Lisa Su came back on stage to demo AMD Threadripper running with a set of four Radeon Vega Frontier Edition cards running together for ray tracing.

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And finally, a gaming demo! AMD Ryzen Threadripper was demoed with dual Radeon RX Vega (the gaming versions) graphics cards running at 4K/Ultra settings on the new Prey PC title. No frame rates were mentioned, no FRAPS in the corner, etc.

(Side note: Radeon Vega FE was confirmed for June 27th launch. Radeon RX Vega will launch at SIGGRAPH at the end of July!)

We still have a ways to go before we can make any definitive comments on Threadripper, and with Intel announcing processors with core counts as high as 18 just yesterday, it’s fair to say that some of the excitement has been dwindling. However, with aggressive pricing and the right messaging from AMD, they still have an amazing opportunity to break away a large segment of the growing, and profitable, HEDT market from Intel.

Source: AMD

Computex 2017: AMD Demos Ryzen Mobile SoC with Vega Graphics

Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 10:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, mobile, Vega

As part of the company’s press conference from Computex 2017, AMD displayed for the first time to the public a working notebook utilizing the upcoming Ryzen SoC with on-die Vega graphics. The CPU is a 4-core / 8-thread design and the system was shown playing back some basic video.

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We don’t really have any more detail than that on the platform, other availability in second half of this year. The system being shown was impressively built, with a sub-15mm ultra-portable form factor, putting to rest concerns over AMD’s ability to scale Zen and Vega to the lower required power numbers. AMD claims that Ryzen mobile will offer 50% better CPU performance and 40% better GPU performance than the 7th Generation AMD APU. I can't wait to test this myself, but with a jump like that AMD should be competitive in the processor space again and continue its dominance in integrated graphics.

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The Vega on-die integration was first mentioned at the company’s financial analyst day, though if you were like me, it went unnoticed in the wave of Threadripper and EPYC news. This iteration is obviously not using a non-HBM2 memory implementation, but I don’t yet know if there is any kind of non-system-memory cache on the processor to help improve integrated graphics performance.

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For a product not slated to be released until the end of this year, seeing a low profile, high performance demo of the platform is a good sign for AMD and a welcome indicator that the company could finally fight back in the mobile notebook space.

Source: AMD

Need memory for that dream X299 build? Perhaps Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-3466 would do you

Subject: Memory | May 30, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: crucial, crucial ballistix elite, ddr4-3466

In amongst all the new kit announced at Computex that we can't test yet, it is nice to see a review or three.  With the move to DDR4 support, we need to look at what effect frequency has on the new chips; we have certainly learned that Ryzen prefers high frequency RAM but how about an i7-6700k?  Benchmark Reviews tested Crucial's Ballistix Elite kit, with timings of 16-18-18 @ 3466MHz with that chip and you can see the full results here.  The difference on the Intel system is nowhere near as pronounced as on an AMD system but there is another reason to consider this kit for an Intel build; no RGBs to speak of whatsoever!

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"In this article Benchmark Reviews examines Crucial’s Ballistix Elite DDR4 enthusiast memory, which runs at an eye-watering 3466Mhz. We’ll test it against “standard” DDR4 to see what difference this extra performance makes."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

 

AMD AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa

AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 1.0.0.6 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.

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The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 1.0.0.6 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 1.0.0.6 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.

Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.

ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!

Source: AMD

New X299 Gaming Motherboards from MSI

Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2017 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: msi, computex, GAMING M7 ACK, GAMING PRO CARBON AC, TOMAHAWK, x299

MSI is launching their X299 motherboard series with a trio of options, the X299 GAMING M7 ACK, GAMING PRO CARBON AC and a new TOMAHAWK motherboard.

MSI X299 GAMING M7 ACK.png

The X299 GAMING M7 ACK above is their current flagship model, designed with 10+1+1 phase DigitALL power, Loadline Calibration and MSI’s Turbo Socket which should give you some impressive overclocking ability.  The M.2 slots are covered by MSI's Shield FROZR which will keep the drives well within their temperature thresholds ensuring there is no performance hits because of excessive heat.  The board also features Killer Double Shot PRO technology, which allows you to combine the two Killer E2500 Ethernet NICs and the Killer 1535 Wi-Fi connections which will be interesting to see in action when we eventually get a chance to test it out.

MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC.png

The GAMING PRO CARBON AC is the pretty boy of the trio, it sports removable heatsinks and is compatible with any of their new X-Mounting accessories; fire up your 3D printer and create your own for a custom look.  Along with the interchangeable heatsink covers are MYSTIC LIGHT RGB LEDs spaced around the motherboard to highlight your system in the colours you choose.  The board features MSI's Game boost function, a one click overclocking solution to get you gaming as quickly as possible, though you can always disable it and manually tweak your settings.  With Turbo U.2 and M.2 slots you can run the latest NVMe drives at full speed, the M.2 sticks will be cooled by the M.2 Shield to ensure you don't see throttling.

MSI X299 TOMAHAWK.png

The newest incarnation of the TOMAHAWK series is designed to be sturdy, it features stainless steel heatsinks and MSI Steel Armor design; we still wouldn't recommend tossing it around but for a LAN machine you should be confident in transporting your system.  This motherboard also features the new M.2 Shield FROZR cooling for your M.2 SSDs the Turbo U.2 slot uses the Steel Armor design in a similar fashion.  The front USB Type-C port will make it easy to connect a VR headset to this motherboard to take advantage of MSI's VR Boost feature.

 

Source: MSI

MSI announces four new gaming laptops

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: gaming laptop, msi, computex, GT83VR Titan SLI, GT75VR, GT73VR, GT63VR, kaby lake

MSI announced four new laptops today; the GT83VR Titan SLI, the GT75VR, the GS73VR and GS63VR, the latter two also available in a Raider configuration.  Starting off with the most powerful of the quartet is the GT83VR Titan SLI.

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The Titan is not available with a Titan X, what it does offer is either a pair of GTX 1080s or 1070s in SLI along with a choice of high end Kaby Lake processors.  If you are looking to game at 4k or using a VR headset this is mobile solution for you.  You can still enjoy using this laptop without external peripherals, the keyboard is a Cherry MX Silver with RGBs programmable by individual key.  The audio is handled by a ESS Sabre Hi-Fi DAC feeding Dynaudio speakers and Nahimic 2+ software, with Nahamic VR 7.1 audio compatible with current VR headsets to help immerse you in your game.  It will be expensive.

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Next up is the GT75VR, very similar to the Titan SLI but with three GPU choices,  single GTX 1080, GTX 1070 or a pair of GTX 1070's in SLI.  The processor is an i7-7820HK which you can overclock, expect to break 4GHz Turbo with the Cooler Boost Titan system featured in these laptops.  MSI provided specifications for the screen, it is a 120Hz HDR display with a 3ms refresh rate.  It includes the same audio features as its more powerful sibling.

MSI GE73.png

The GT73VR and GT63VR are very similar, both powered by a GTX 1070 and sporting the aforementioned 120Hz, 3ms HDR display.  The two models feature a SteelSeries keyboard with SteelSeries Engine 3, ESS SABRE HiFi Audio and Nahimic 2 Audio Enhance.  These 15" laptops are 17.7mm at their thickest point and weigh 4.19lbs. 

MSI GS63.png

The Raider variant of the GT73VR and GT63VR are available in 15" and 17" models and have a more angular shell design, however they do retain the GTX 1070 GPU and the ability to overclock your system. 

Keep your eyes out for more products from MSI appearing here soon.

 

Source: MSI

Computex 2017: Acer Predator Triton 700 Gaming Laptop with NVIDIA GeForce GTX Max-Q Design

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: Triton 700, Predator, nvidia, notebook, max-q, laptop, GTX 1080, geforce, gaming, computex 2017, acer

Acer has introduced the Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop, which boasts a very thin and light design as it is built to NVIDIA's newly-announced Max-Q specifications. This allows the Triton to house a "standard-voltage" Intel Core i7 processor (overclockable, no less) and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU.

Predator_Triton_700_right facing.jpg

"The Predator Triton 700 utilizes Max-Q, NVIDIA’s innovative approach to designing the world’s thinnest, fastest, and quietest gaming laptops. Max-Q, an integral part of NASA’s mission to launch man into space, is defined as the point at which the aerodynamic stress on a rocket in atmospheric flight is maximized. Thus, the design of the rocket is precision-engineered around Max-Q. NVIDIA has applied a similar philosophy to designing gaming laptops, enabling Acer to build laptops that are thinner with more GPU performance of previous generation products."

Storage is just as impressive as the CPU/GPU tandem, with dual NVMe PCIe drives in RAID-0, just in case you would like to experience double to the speed of the fastest available type of solid-state storage (the benchmarks will probably be astonishing). Other specs include a 15.6 FHD display with NVIDIA G-SYNC, memory support for up to 32GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and Thunderbolt 3.

Predator_Triton_700_left facing.jpg

The design of the Predator Triton 700 is somewhat unusual for a laptop, with a mechanical keyboard that sits flush with the front edge of the palm rest, and a touch pad positioned above. But this is no ordinary touch pad, as Acer explains:

"A large Corning® Gorilla® Glass plate above the keyboard serves as a window into the notebook’s cooling system, showcasing the AeroBlade™ 3D Fan and five heat pipes, and also functions as a Precision Touchpad."

The Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop will be available beginning in August with an MSRP of $2999.

Source: Acer

We interrupt our Computex coverage to bring you Computex coverage

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: Intel, computex, core x, x299

To ensure we haven't missed anything in the hustle and bustle, perhaps sheer insanity, which is Computex here is a look at what The Tech Report garnered from Intel about their new chip and chipset.  They have also taken the path of least resistance and are reporting from a remote location as opposed to the front lines, which can make compiling information more effective.  The top question on peoples minds are the pricing of the new chips and we can now report them, starting with the most expensive part.  The Core i9-7900X will run $1000, significantly less than the i7-6950X, the i7-7820X will run $600 and the i7-7800X a cool $390.  It seems that AMD have succeeded at attracting Intel's attention and Intel has reduced their pricing for this generation of chips.  Let's hope AMD can continue to rip it up! 

More of TR's coverage can be found here and keep your eyes on this page as there will be much more of our coverage coming!

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"As Computex kicks off, Intel is refreshing its high-end desktop platform from top to bottom. We take a first look at the company's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs and the X299 platform."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Computex 2017: Toshiba Launches XG5 NVMe Client SSD With 64-Layer BiCS Flash

Subject: Storage | May 30, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, ocz, NVMe, nand, M.2, computex 2017, BiCS, 64-Layer

Last night we saw WD launch the first client SSDs with 64-layer NAND Flash, but recall that WD/SanDisk is in partnership with Toshiba to produce this new gen 3 BiCS memory, which means Toshiba is also launching their own product wrapped around this new high-density flash:

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Enter the Toshiba XG5. It is certainly coming on strong here, as evidenced by the specs:

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Unlike the WD/SanDisk launch, the BiCS flash on this Toshiba variant sits behind an NVMe SSD controller, with stated read speeds at 3GB/s and writes just over 2 GB/s. We don't yet have random performance figures, but we expect it to certainly be no slouch given the expected performance of this newest generation of flash memory. Let's take a quick look at some of the high points there:

BiCS.png

Alright, so we have the typical things you'd expect, like better power efficiency and higher endurance, but there is a significant entry there under the performance category - 1-shot, full sequence programming. This is a big deal, since writing to flash memory is typically done in stages, with successive program cycles nudging cell voltages closer to their targets with each pass. This takes time and is one of the main things holding back the write speeds of NAND flash. This new BiCS is claimed to be able to successfully write in a single program cycle, which should translate to noticeable improvements in write latency.

BiCS-FMS.png

Another thing helping with writes is that the XG5 will have its BiCS flash operating in a hybrid mode, meaning these are TLC SSDs with an SLC cache. We do not have confirmed cache sizes to report, but it's a safe bet that they will be similar to competing products.

We don't yet have pricing info, but we do know that the initial capacity offerings will start with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB offerings. The XG5 is launching in the OEM channel in the second half of 2017. While this one is an OEM product, remember that OCZ is Toshiba's brand for client SSDs, so there's a possibility we may see a retail variant appear under that name in the future.

Press blast after the break.

Source: Toshiba

Computex 2017: ASUS Details the ROG Zephyrus, Its First Max-Q Gaming Laptop

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 08:18 AM |
Tagged: max-q design, max-q, gaming laptop, computex 2017, ASUS ROG, asus

First teased during NVIDIA's event late Monday, ASUS provided more information on its upcoming high performance gaming laptop, Zephyrus, during its ROG Computex keynote this morning.

rog-zephyrus-front.jpg

Based on NVIDIA's new "Max-Q" design specifications, the Zephyrus is a 15.6-inch laptop targeted at what ASUS is calling its "AAA" gaming audience. It packs up to a Kaby Lake i7-7700HQ CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics, up to 24GB of DDR4 memory, and up to 1TB of NVMe flash storage into relatively thin 17.9mm chassis weighing just under 5 pounds.

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ASUS engineers were able to accommodate these high performance components with an "Active Aerodynamic System" (AAS) design, which exposes additional cooling area beneath the hinge when the laptop is open. This design approach slightly increases the thickness of the rear of the device while in use, but keeps it as thin as possible for easier mobility while closed. ASUS claims that the AAS design improves the overall airflow of the Zephyrus by 32 percent, allowing it to run cooler than competing gaming laptops equipped with the same, or even lower-end, components.

rog-zephyrus-noise.jpg

This design also means that the Zephyrus can run quieter than many of its competitors, with ASUS claiming significant improvements in the "noise generated per Watt" among gaming laptops.

Beyond the pure hardware capabilities, the ROG Zephyrus includes a full RGB-backlit keyboard with support for the ROG Aura lighting platform and a right-aligned gaming trackpad that can double as a touch-sensitive numeric keypad. The device's 15.6-inch display has a resolution of just 1080p, but is clocked at 120Hz and supports G-Sync. It includes one USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, along with four USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack for additional connectivity.

rog-zephyrus-ports.jpg

Finally, while the ROG Zephyrus looks more like an ultrabook than a gaming laptop, its on-the-go running time will be more in line with the latter rather than the former. While ASUS did not release specific battery life estimates, its thin and lightweight chassis means that the Zephyrus will ship with only a 4 cell, 50 watt-hour battery

ASUS has yet to announce specific pricing or availability, other than to promise that the ROG Zephyrus will hit retailers "soon."

We have information on both pricing and availability to share! The GX501VI model, which includes the GTX 1080 and a 512GB SSD, is priced at $2699 and will be available at the end of June. The GX501VS model, which has a GTX 1070 and a 256GB SSD, is going to be priced at $2299 with availability in July.

Source: ASUS ROG

Computex 2017: ASUS Announces Prime and TUF Intel X299 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 30, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, skylake-x, raid, NVMe, LiveDash, kaby lake-x, Intel, HEDT, computex 2017, asus, 802.11ad

Alongside the announcement of Intel's Core i9 Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs, ASUS has unveiled details of their X299 motherboards. While we've already taken a look updates to the Republic of Gamers line of products, ASUS also released details about their "Prime" and "TUF" X299 products.

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ASUS PRIME

The Prime line of motherboards from ASUS are their entry-level options for any given platform. However just because they are the lowest cost boards doesn't mean that they are lacking in features.

All X299 Prime motherboards feature 3-way SLI thanks to the additional PCIe lanes available in the X299 platform (supported 44 lane CPUs are required). These available x16 slots are all reinforced with ASUS SafeSlot technology to help prevent heavy GPUs from damaging your motherboard.

The new Prime motherboards also feature the Realtek S1220A which we first saw on ASUS's Z270 products. ASUS claims that the S1220A paired with high-quality audio components on board help produce an onboard sound that rivals some dedicated sound cards.

Additionally, all X299 boards feature RGB LED headers with Aura Sync compatibility for maximum customizability. 

For the storage-focused, Intel VROC technology found on ASUS's X299 boards will allow for high-speed M.2 NVMe SSD RAIDs without being bottlenecked by chipset bandwidth, unlike on the Z270 platform.

Though the use of an add-in card users will be able to RAID multiple M.2 SSDs into a bootable array, utilizing full bandwidth from the available CPU PCIe lanes. ASUS even says that you can link multiple of these VROC cards together! 

In addition to these features, the Prime X299-Deluxe adds some very exciting features

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Wireless networking has seen an enhancement with the adoption of integrated 802.11ad Wi-Fi. This brand new wireless technology capable of 4.6Gbps transfer speeds uses spectrum in the 60Ghz range. While these high-speed radio waves cannot penetrate surfaces like walls, for applications like super fast file transfer between PCs in one room, or high-quality video streaming to wireless displays this should be ideal.

Along with Intel VROC support, the Prime X299-Deluxe has dual onboard M.2 Slots and a single U.2 Slot for high-speed storage options.

The new LiveDash display is a small OLED panel on the motherboard that allows you to display system statistics as well as custom animations and text for additional customization.

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In addition to the features on the motherboard, ASUS is including their ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card with the Prime X299-Deluxe so that owners can utilize Thunderbolt 3 technology with up to 40Gbps of bandwidth.

ASUS TUF X299

The TUF line has always been focused on ultimate reliability and durability. This is accomplished with high-quality components and more stringent testing standards than other products. 

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The ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 is the all-new flagship motherboard for the TUF line. Redesigned Thermal Armor design helps to streamline airflow across the motherboard while also providing cooling to the onboard M.2 slot.

The Fortifier backplate uses a carefully shaped metal plate to stiffen the board to prevent warping. A removable GPU holder is also supplied to help support the weight of heavy graphics cards.

The new version of ASUS TUF Detective software allows users to perform diagnostics wirelessly over an included USB Bluetooth adapter rather than depending on a wired connection like the previous implementation.

TUF X299 MARK2_2D_AURA.png

The TUF X299 Mark 2 removes the Thermal Armor and Fortifier, but retains all of the great reliability and durability aspects of the TUF Mark 2,

ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe, Prime X299-A and TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboards will be available at leading resellers in North America starting in late June

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: ASUS Announces Republic of Gamers, STRIX X299-based Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | May 30, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: x299, VROC, Strix X299-E, ROG, Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex, raid, NVMe, LiveDash, Intel, computex 2017, asus, 802.11ad, 10G

Hot on the heels of Intel's Core i9 Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X announcements today, ASUS has released details on its X299 offerings. While you can find details on the more Prime and TUF ASUS Motherboards here, we're taking a look at the flagship Republic of Gamers products in this post.

Today ASUS is taking the wraps off of 3 X299 ROG Motherboards, the Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex, and Strix X299-E.

One of the interesting features ASUS is talking about with these X299 boards is Intel VROC technology. While we'll have a post with some more details about VROC soon, essentially it allows for a bootable M.2 NVMe RAID to exist from the CPU PCIe lanes.

While NVMe RAID is supported on the Z170 and Z270 platforms, it depends on all data going through the chipset to function which creates a bottleneck. Using an add-in card in the PCIe slot of your motherboard, VROC claims to allow NVME SSDs to operate in a RAID away from the chipset, while still being bootable.

ROG Rampage VI Extreme_2D.png

Rampage VI Extreme

As we've historically seen with ASUS ROG Motherboards, the "Extreme" model tends to be where we see innovative new features that will later find their way into the rest of ASUS's motherboard lineup, and the Rampage VI Extreme seems to be no different.

ROG Rampage VI Extreme_3D.png

Networking seems to be a big focus for the Rampage VI Extreme, with the addition of 802.11ad wireless networking. While 802.11ad devices are just starting to come out, it's use of 60GHz wireless in order to hit speeds of up to 4.6GBps is very compelling. However, by using such high-frequency wireless technology, 802.11ad signals will not penetrate surfaces like walls and mostly depend on line of sight. This is more for fast file transfers within one room, with the rest of your house still utilizing 802.11ac.

Wired networking sees an upgrade too on the Rampage VI Extreme, with the addition of a 10 Gigabit NIC. We saw ASUS integrate 10G networking on the X99-E WS 10G late last year, and it's great to see continued commitment to bringing 10G to consumers.

In addition to the VROC add-in card for NVMe SSDs that we mentioned previously, the Rampage VI Extreme features 3 onboard M.2 slots (2 slots come from the use of the DIMM.2 module in one of the memory slots). ASUS says this will help clean up your chassis while still giving you maximum storage options. It's unclear if these SSDs are being routed through the chipset, or are going directly to the CPU using Intel's VROC technology which would provide more throughput.

For users looking for a bit of flair on their motherboard, in addition to built-in RGB lighting, the Rampage VI Extreme features a new LiveDash OLED display for displaying real-time system information on your motherboard. You can also customize this display to offer custom messages and graphics to complement your case mod.

Rampage VI Apex

A newer addition to the ROG family, the Apex motherboards are meant for maximum overclocking and performance. This means that you'll actually sacrifice some features from other X299 boards in order to get a lean product you can push to the edge.

For instance, the Rampage VI Apex only provide 1 DIMM slot per memory channel, which ASUS claims allows the optimal trace routing to improve performance and stability with the fastest memory kits. In addition, you'll also find 2 DIMM.2 slots to add a total of 4 PCIe M.2 SSDs to your system.

While it may not be meant for gamers, the Rampage VI Apex is sure to set some records in the high-end overclocking realm.

Strix X299-E

Unlike the uncompromising motherboards we've talked about so far, the Strix X299-E aims to bring a more entry-level motherboard to the ROG line. 

ROG Strix X299-E Gaming_2D.png

Keeping the same design cues as the other ROG motherboards, the Strix X299-E also keeps a lot of the same features. Users can expect the same PCIe slots and headers as other ROG boards. Additionally, features like onboard RGB lighting with Aura Sync Software, USB 3.1 Gen2, SupremeFX audio, and Intel Gigabit networking make the Strix X299-E a compelling product that should suit the needs of most users.

ROG Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex and ROG Strix X299-E motherboards will be available at leading resellers in North America starting in late June with the STRIX series arriving first.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2017: Killer xTend Turns a PC into a Switch and Wi-Fi Extender

Subject: Networking | May 30, 2017 - 05:00 AM |
Tagged: wireless, wifi extender, wi-fi, Rivet Networks, network, msi, lan, Killer xTend, Killer Networking, gigabyte, Ethernet, computex 2017, computex

Rivet Networks has a new Killer Networking product, but it isn't a line of NICs or Wireless adapters; it's actually a combination of both interfaces (including a minimum of three Gigabit Ethernet ports) that combine to turn your PC into switch and a Wi-Fi extender. They call the new product Killer xTend, and Rivet Networks has partnered with MSI and GIGABYTE to bring the new technology to market.

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"Killer xTend delivers powerful network extension capabilities to your computer by integrating a network switch that includes at least three Killer Ethernet ports and using a Killer Wireless-AC module as a Wi-Fi extender. This allows your computer to share its network access with other nearby wired and wireless devices with a strong, powerful network connection.

Consumers no longer need to mess with switches and network extenders that are expensive and difficult to configure. Instead, they can use Killer’s innovative new xTend Technology to connect devices such as gaming consoles, smart phones and tablets directly to their gaming PCs. Killer xTend keeps your games, voice, and video fast and smooth because high priority traffic on the Killer PC is prioritized above the traffic from connected devices. Killer xTend also delivers amazing speeds – with potential throughput up to 1 Gbps for each Killer E2500 plus another 867 Mbps for the Killer Wi-Fi module."

The first motherboard launching with Killer xTend is the MSI Z270 GODLIKE GAMING, with three Killer E2500 NICs and a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 module onboard.

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"...the new GODLIKE adapts the Killer™ xTend technology as well and delivers powerful network extension capabilities by integrating a network switch that includes 3 Killer Ethernet ports and a Killer Wireless-AC module as a Wi-Fi extender. This allows the GODLIKE GAMING to provide the network access to other nearby wired and wireless devices with a strong, powerful network connection. Gamers no longer need to mess with switches and network extenders that are expensive and difficult to configure – instead they can use Killer’s innovative new xTend Technology to connect devices such as gaming consoles, smart phones, and tablets directly to your gaming PC. The Killer xTend keeps your games, voice, and video fast and smooth because high priority traffic on the Killer PC is prioritized above the traffic from connected devices. Killer xTend also delivers amazing throughput to your home – with potential throughput up to 1 Gbps for each Killer E2500 plus another 867 Mbps for the Killer Wi-Fi module."

GIGABYTE's AORUS Gaming Series will include Killer xTend, though no specific models were mentioned in the press release from Rivet Networks.

Full press release after the break.

Computex 2017: Intel 8th Gen Core Processors 30% Faster than 7th Gen

Subject: Processors | May 30, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: Intel, computex 2017, computex, coffee lake, 8th generation core

During it's keynote at Computex today, Intel announced the high performane Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X platforms with CPU core counts as high as 18 (!!) but also gave a brief mention of its upcoming Coffee Lake product, the 8th Generation Core product family.

To quote directly from the Intel press information:

"As we move toward the next generation of computing, Intel also shared its commitment to deliver 8th generational Intel® Core™ processor-based devices by the holiday season, boasting more than 30 percent improvement in performance versus the 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processor."

That is quite the claim, but let's dive into the details.

Based on SYSmark* 2014 v1.5 (Windows Desktop Application Performance). Comparing 7th Gen i7-7500U, PL1=15W TDP, 2C4T, Turbo up to 3.5GHz, Memory: 2x4GB DDR4-2133, vs. Estimates for 8th Gen Core i7: PL1=15W TDP, 4C8T, Turbo up to 4 GHz, Memory: 2x4GB DDR4-2400, Storage: Intel® SSD, Windows* 10 RS2. Power policy assumptions: AC mode. Note: Kaby Lake U42 performance estimates are Pre-Silicon and are subject to change. Pre-Si projections have +/- 7% margin of error.

In a more readable format:

  8th Gen
Core i7
7th Gen
Core i7-7500U
Code name Coffee Lake Kaby Lake
Process Tech 14nm Double Plus Good 14nm+
Cores/Threads 4/8 2/4
Base Clock ? 2.7 GHz
Turbo Clock 4.0 GHz 3.5 GHz
TDP 15 watt 15 watt
Memory 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 2400 MHz 2133 MHz

The 30% performance claim comes from both a doubling of core and thread count (2- to 4-cores) but also a 500 MHz higher peak Turbo Clock, going from Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake. The testing was done using SYSmark 2014 v1.5, a benchmark that is very burst-centric and is comparable to common productivity tasks. Even with a 15% increase in peak clock speed and a 2x core/thread count, Intel is still able to maintain a 15 watt TDP with this CPU.

intelcoffeelake.jpg

While we might at first expect much larger performance gains with those clock and core count differences, keep in mind that SYSmark as a test has never scaled in such a way. We don't yet know what other considerations might be in place for the 8th Generation Core processor platforms, and how they might affect performance for single of multi-threaded applications.

Intel has given us very little information today on the Coffee Lake designs, but it seems we'll know all about this platform before the end of the year.

Source: Intel