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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specifications:

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

MSI announces accelerated GAMING X+ series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source: MSI

Windows 10 Releases Target ~September and ~March

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

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

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

Each version will be supported for eighteen months.

Source: Microsoft

Windows 3.11 in WebVR

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: Windows 3.11, webvr

One of the latest WebVR experiments puts an emulated Windows 3.11 terminal in a virtual space. In it, you can play Minesweeper, Solitaire, and generally mess around. Because it’s a WebVR demo, certain browser, OS, and VR headset combinations will also work, in case you wanted to feel like you were actually in front of a beige box.

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If you’re using it without WebVR, then it will appear as a static 3D scene. Make sure you enable mouse pointer lock, because you will need to use the virtual mouse pointer, not your actual mouse pointer. It will ask you when it’s loaded and focused, but your browser will probably require you to click allow or something.

Source: Metacade

Interesting Blender Updates for Upcoming Versions

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 02:49 AM |
Tagged: Blender

The Blender Foundation and volunteers have been quite busy, especially over the last few weeks. Two major changes that are prepared for Blender 2.79: near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL, and an implementation of the Disney PBR shader.

Aside: A physically-based (“PBR”) shader allows modeling a bunch of common materials, such as plastics, ceramics, metals, and so forth, using parameters that are independent of lighting. This means that you can reuse the same object and material in all of your scenes, and it will behave like we expect it would given the environment. For instance, PBR materials account for conservation of energy, so objects get shinier as they get smoother, but they also look darker off-axis because less light is being diffusely scattered.

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While it was always possible to render in Cycles with a PBR workflow, you needed to create your own node setup, which typically consisted of about seven or eight elements connected in a specific way. When this new version lands, you will just need to connect the appropriate textures and colors to their corresponding pins in this node. The Disney-based Principled BSDF accounts for albedo (base color), subsurface scattering, metallic, specular, roughness, anisotropic reflections, sheen, clearcoat, index of refraction, and transparency.

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Update (April 21st @ 5:35pm): Blah! I forgot to embed the chart. Here it is.
Image Credit: Blender Foundation

Now we get to “near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL”. According the Blender Foundation, OpenCL can support all features found on CUDA with the exception of correlated multi jitter. This is accompanied by a graph, embed above, showing the RX 480 beat the GTX 1060 in a variety of benchmark scenes. Unfortunately, at the same time, GPU-accelerated rendering in Cycles now requires GCN 2.0 and up, which is the AMD R9 290 and later. Blender will still work on older cards, like the R9 280 or, heck, probably even the Radeon HD 4890, but the final render will need to be done on the CPU.

Blender 2.79 doesn’t have a firm release date, but the code freeze schedule has it expected for some time in either May or June.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers

During the lull in game releases, AMD has released a new graphics driver with official, WHQL-certified support for Windows 10 Creators Update. As we’ve discussed in the past, I tend to err on the side of, “If you do a decent job at internal QA and the user can choose to skip a version or three, then rapid release is probably better than sitting around for a Microsoft certificate”. I mean, why not push out fixes as they are available if there’s no obvious downsides?

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Every so often, a WHQL version needs to be certified, though, if only to be accepted into Windows Update. Note that I don’t actually know whether this specific driver will be pushed by Microsoft after an update to the Creators Update – it’s just an example of a situation where WHQL matters.

That aside, the release notes for Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 do not state any specific fixes or changes. The main reason for this driver is to support the Creators Update for Windows 10, as well as add support for the new Radeon RX 570 and Radeon RX 580 graphics cards.

Source: AMD

Podcast #446 - Radeon RX 580, Open Benchtable, DAN Cases, Intel Rumors, and more!

Subject: Editorial | April 20, 2017 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: video, Z270X, tinker board, t-mobile, RX 580, radeon, podcast, Open BenchTable, mini-itx, logitech, keyboard, gigabyte, G413, DAN Cases, asus, A4-SFX

PC Perspective Podcast #446 - 04/20/17

Join us for Radeon RX 580 review, Open Benchtable and DAN cases,  Intel Rumors 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: 1:38:24

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  1. News items of interest:
    1. 1:11:00 ASUS Launches the Tinker Board in North America
  1. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Great deal on a modular Rosewill Glacier Series 500W
  2. Closing/outro
 

Source:

ASUS Launches the Tinker Board in North America

Subject: Systems | April 19, 2017 - 08:26 PM |
Tagged: tinker board, iot, asus

The ASUS Tinker Board is a full system in a tiny form factor, similar to Raspberry Pi or Arduino's products to name a few competitors in the now busy market.  At its heart is the Rockchip RK3288, four ARM Cortex-A17 CPU cores running at 1.8GHz with a Mali-T764 GPU at 600MHz.  They are available now for slightly more than the announced $54.99 and will run a Debian based OS called ASUS TinkerOS.

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Inside are an array of options for add-ins, including a 40-pin GPIO header, a 15-pin MIPI DSI and a15-pin MIPI CSI as well as a2-pin contact point for PWM or S/PDIF signals.  Externally you will have four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack to give you flexibility in how you utilize your Tinker Board.  For connectivity there is a wired NIC as well as 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.  You can read the full PR below.

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Fremont, CA (April 19, 2017) -- ASUS, maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning motherboards, is excited to launch the ASUS Tinker Board in North America today. Imagine the freedom to make your ideas come alive, the ability to invent an IoT device for a connected home or just having fun creating an entertainment hub for the family or powering your DIY robot project at school. With Tinker Board, the possibilities to create personalized devices are endless. Tinker Board is a single-board computer (SBC), which makes it the ideal foundation for makers, hobbyists, educators, and electronic DIY enthusiasts to develop and build low-cost, great-performing computers.

Features & Functionality
ASUS Tinker Board offers class-leading performance, robust multimedia support, IoT connectivity, and enhanced DIY design and compatibility with a wide range of leading SBC chassis and accessories. The result is a near credit card sized computer that offers people the freedom to tinker and apply their ingenuity to create platforms for a wide variety of uses.

Key features of Tinker Board include:

  • CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip RK3288 SoC quad-core processor
  • GPU: Mali-T764 GPU Video:
  • HD/UHD video playback support – including H.264/H.265 decoding Audio: 192kHz/24-bit audio support
  • Memory: 2GB of dual-channel LPDDR3
  • Storage: Micro SD(TF) slot features SD 3.0 support
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth° 4.0 + EDR and on-board 802.11b/g/n WiFi
  • Networking: 1Gb Ethernet
  • Ports: (4) USB2.0 ports, (1) HDMI 1.4 out port, (1) 3.5mm audio jack
  • I/O Ports: (1) 40-pin GPIO interface header, (1) 15-pin MIPI DSI, (1) 15-pin MIPI CSI, (1) 2-pin contact point for PWM and S/PDIF signals
  • Power: Suggested 5V/2A AC adaptor via the micro-USB port (power adaptor not included)
  • OS: (Debian-based Linux) & Android Support
  • Dimensions/Weight: 85.60mm x 56mm x 21mm, 45g without included heatsink
Source: ASUS

Joe Macri on Ryzen

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 08:05 PM |
Tagged: video, amd, Joe Macri, ryzen

TechARP just posted a video of AMD's Joe Macri discussing the new Ryzen processors from AMD.  It is not quite 20 minutes long which gives you a chance to quickly hear from AMD about what they feel the new architecture means for the company, as well as the impact it will have on gamers and enthusiasts.  He does mention the HSA Foundation and how AMD is working towards a basic change in how PCs utilize resources. They also embedded a link to a video featuring AMD's Radeon Product Marketing Manager, Adam Kozak, on the new 500 series if you have time.

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"AMD Corporate Vice President, Product Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Fellow, Joe Macri, flew in to brief us on the disruptive nature of the new AMD Ryzen processors. Join us for his full tech briefing!"

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Tech Talk

Source: TechARP

Rumor: Intel Expects Coffee Lake and Basin Falls Early

Subject: Processors | April 19, 2017 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: skylake-x, ryzen, kaby lake x, Intel, Core, coffee lake, amd

According to DigiTimes, Intel is expecting to release several new processors earlier than they had originally planned. That said, there are two issues with this report. The first point, which should be expected, is that it compares internal dates that were never meant to be public. It is not like Intel has changed their advertised roadmap.

The second problem is that it’s somewhat contradicted by Intel’s earlier, public statements.

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Their rumor claims that Intel will push up the launch of Basin Falls, which is Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X, and X299, by about two months (around June). It also claims that Coffee Lake, which was originally scheduled for January 2018, will be released in August 2017. Both of these moves are being attributed to AMD’s new products.

The potential, somewhat, sort-of contradiction comes from a tweet that Intel made back in February. In it, they said that the 8th generation of Core processors are expected for 2H’17. This time frame doesn’t include January, although it only barely includes August, too. If Intel was always planning on launching Coffee Lake for the “back to school” season, then at least that half of DigiTimes’ story would be completely incorrect. On the other hand, if Intel’s tweet was talking about a sampling / paper launch in December, with volume shipment soon to follow, then DigiTimes would be fairly accurate.

We don’t know unless someone at Intel confirms either-or.

As for Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X, it would be interesting to see them launch at Computex / E3. Previous rumors (also from DigiTimes) that place it in the Gamescom, which is a huge gaming conference in Cologne. Interestingly, this rumor claims that only the four-, six-, eight-, and ten-core models will arrive at the time, with a twelve-core model waiting until the whole line was supposed to launch.

This omission makes me wonder if, in fact, Intel are rushing the launch, but they realize that they cannot get enough good chips to fill out the top-end SKU. In that case, it would make sense to push the smaller and partially-disabled chips out the door, while banking the big chips that can run all twelve cores at a reasonable voltage for some clock rate.

If so, that would, in fact, speak volumes about AMD’s roadmap (and Intel’s opinion of it).

Source: DigiTimes

There are a couple of ways to enjoy Dawn of War III

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 07:57 PM |
Tagged: dawn of war III, open beta, giveaway, relic, gaming

Dawn of War III will not be released until the 27th of this month but you can take a look at it already.  Relic are hosting an open beta which kicks off this Friday and encompasses the whole weekend.  You will be able to play as any of the three races, with a somewhat shortened line up, in 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 multiplayer games.  You will not be able to play on your own against an AI player and there are only three maps but if you can't wait until the launch or desire a closer look at the game before deciding to pick it up on release day you can get a quick peek.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have posted a video of gameplay you can check out, with a commentary track.

Also worth noting is that recent NVIDIA cards coming from Amazon, at least of the ASUS STRIX variety, now include a game key for DoW 3 as opposed to the For Honor or Ghost Recon: Wildlands offer currently advertised.

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"The multiplayer open beta test for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is starting Friday but ugh, waiting! For those who want to see 40K real-time strategy action right now, Relic have released a video of a full 3v3 match with commentary from some of the folks who made the game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Logitech Announces the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: romer-g, mechanical, magnesium, logitech, keyboard, gaming, aluminium

Logitech has announced the G413, a mechanical gaming keyboard with the company's exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches and premium construction (including an aluminum-magnesium upper panel).

Logitech G413 Carbon Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.jpg

"Engineered for precision and performance, the keyboard delivers unrivaled performance in a thoughtfully balanced, modern design. The Logitech G413 features Logitech’s exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches, offering 25 percent faster actuation than standard mechanical keys, as well as a brushed anodized aircraft-grade aluminum top case, USB passthrough port and precision key backlighting for an affordable price."

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Logitech lists these features for the G413 mechanical gaming keyboard:

  • Romer-G Mechanical Switches: Logitech’s exclusive Romer-G mechanical switches are purpose-built for professional-grade performance, responsiveness and durability. With a short-throw actuation point of 1.5 mm, Romer-G switches register key presses up to 25 percent faster than standard mechanical switches, so you can get your shots off faster than your opponent. Designed to enhance gameplay, Romer-G switches offer the perfect blend of speed, precision and quiet performance.
  • Precision Key Lighting: Romer-G mechanical switches are also purpose-designed for precise and clean lighting through the keycaps. This means keys are always visible and never distracting, especially during late night gaming sessions. The Logitech G413 Carbon features elemental red backlighting and the Logitech G413 Silver features iconic white backlighting, for a premium, focused look.
  • Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Alloy: A brushed 5052 aluminum-magnesium alloy top case serves as the keyboard’s backbone. The result is a minimal design balanced with a full set of features. With a focus on high-end finish and performance, the Logitech G413 is crafted from the highest-grade materials.
  • USB Passthrough: Convenience and speed are directly within reach. The additional, dedicated USB cable connects the USB passthrough port to its own input for full power throughput and data speed. 
  • Full Function Keys: Media control is built-in so you can use the FN key to control volume, play and pause, mute, game mode, lighting, etc. The FN toggle feature in the Logitech Gaming Software (LGS) configure the keys to perform media commands by default.  
  • Programmable Macros: Use LGS to program custom functions and macro commands on F1-F12 buttons. Execute complex commands, or unleash a timed series of actions or spells with the press of a button.
  • Performance Keycaps: Laser-etched cylindrical keycaps come standard plus a set of 12 optional performance faceted keycaps designed by esports pros are included.

High_Resolution-G413 BTM Carbon.jpg

With an MSRP of $89.99 the G413 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard goes on sale this month in two versions, with a black finish (shown here) and a silver finish that is exclusive to Best Buy.

Source: Logitech

Lenovo Announces the Flex 11 Chromebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 19, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: notebook, Lenovo, laptop, Flex 11, convertible, Chromebook, 2-in-1

Lenovo’s Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 convertible notebook design powered by a 2.1 GHz quad-core ARM processor and running Google’s Chrome OS. It features an 11.6-inch IPS multi-touch HD display, up to 10-hour battery life, and a weight under 3 lbs.

Flex 11 01.jpg

"Packing the fun of a tablet with the power punch of a PC, and designed with Android apps in mind, the Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 laptop optimized for entertainment and productivity. Its 360° hinge and 11.6" multi-touch display gives users the flexibility to shift between four dynamic modes (watch, tent, laptop, and tablet) for any combination of work and play activities."

Lenovo says the Flex 11's hardware is designed to be rugged, with drop and liquid spill resistance including a water-resistant keyboard (up to 1 cup) with “channels beneath the keyboard to drain liquid, keeping it away from sensitive electrical components”. In addition to Chrome apps the Flex 11 will support the Google Play store (Lenovo says this is "coming soon").

Flex 11 02.jpg

I/O includes USB 3.0, USB Type-C, HDMI, a mic/audio jack, and an SD card slot. As to pricing/availability, the Flex 11 Chromebook starts at $279 and will be available this month.

Source: Lenovo

Sounds like a roundup, headphones and speakers galore

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2017 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, Fugoo, sennheiser, jabra

Over at The Inquirer is a roundup of new audio devices they have seen and were impressed by.  They cover headphones, bookshelf speakers and wireless speakers with interesting features that might tempt you to open your wallet.  If you are planning an outdoor party now that the weather is starting to change, the Fugoo XL speaker offers waterproofing to ensure a shower won't ruin your day as well as a reinforced casing if you tend to be hard on your electronics.  They also list several in-ear headphones, including a wireless model from Sennheiser which might attract fans of a certain phone.

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"IT'S BACK for 2017, our never quite ending (that is to say regularly updated) guide to the best speakers and headphones that you can get your paws on, including some familiar names and some that could save you a ton by being awesome noobs. Keep checking back, we'll be adding more as the year progresses."

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Source: The Inquirer

Teaching an old star new tricks, the Radeon RX 580

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2017 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: RX 580, radeon, Polaris, amd, powercolor, red devil

Ryan covered the improvements over the previous Polaris based cards the RX 580 offers, a higher Rated Clock and standardizing memory frequency of all RX 580 models to 8GHz.  That lead to the expected increase in performance compared the the RX 480, in a marketplace somewhat different than what the first Polaris chips arrived in.  Consumers now know what NVIDIA's current generation cards provide in performance and prices have settled as much as can be expected in the volatile GPU market.  Those using cards several generations old may be more receptive to an upgrade than they were with the previous generation, especially as the next large launches are some time off; we shall see if this is true in the coming months.

One particular reason to consider upgrading is VR support, something [H]ard|OCP covers in their review.  The improved speeds do not provide miracles in their VR Leaderboard however they do show improvements in some games such as Serious Sam, with reprojection rates dropping markedly.

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"AMD is launching the AMD Radeon RX 500 series today, and we lead with a custom retail Radeon RX 580 GPU based video card from PowerColor. We’ll take the Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample video card through the paces and see how it compares to the competition at the same price point."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

I knew him; IDF, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf

It is not a post-PC world but it is now officially a post-IDF world as Intel announces they are too diverse to host such a PC-centric conference.  It was 20 years ago today that the first IDF was held in Beijing and Intel announced some time ago the cancellation of this years event in China, however until today they had still planned to hold their scheduled event in San Francisco.  The rationale offered is Intel's expansion into FPGAs, Optane storage, IoT devices, wireless communications and other fields pushes them beyond the scope traditionally represented at the IDF.  Why cancellation of the event in preference of broadening the scope is not explained in their announcement.  Ars Technica has related links here.

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"While the company earlier said that it would not have a Chinese event, the San Francisco IDF was still being planned, albeit with a "new format," in the early months of 2017. It appears now that this 'new format' is in fact 'non-existence.'"

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Source: Ars Technica

Syberia II Is "On The House"

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2017 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, microids, ea

I’m apparently about a month late on this one, but it’s better than never for those who, like me, missed the news the first time around. Syberia II is a point-and-click adventure title from 2004 and it is currently “On The House” through EA’s Origin service. These promotions would be the same as if EA had a timed, 100%-off sale: claim it before it’s over and it’s yours for free, permanently.

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It might not be around for long, though. I’m guessing this deal is to promote the upcoming Syberia III, which was originally announced in 2009 and should launch in about a week or two (depending on your region). If this sort of game interests you in any way, and especially if you have an active Origin account, then it’s a good idea to add Syberia II to your games library, even if you don’t plan on installing it right away.

Source: EA (Origin)

T-Mobile promises expanded LTE coverage to all with $8 billion purchase of 600 MHz spectrum

Subject: Mobile | April 13, 2017 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: X20, t-mobile, spectrum, qualcomm, LTE, Gigabit LTE, FCC, Carrier Aggregation, 600mhz, 5G

This afternoon, T-Mobile's ardent CEO John Legere announced the results of the FCC's recent spectrum auction concerning the low-band 600MHz range. In a $7.99 Billion deal, T-Mobile is set to gain 45% of all of the low-band spectrum being auctioned.

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T-Mobile is quick to point out that the spectrum they purchased covers 100% of the United States and Puerto Rico, with a nationwide average of 31 MHz of spectrum acquired. Having this wide of a range of spectrum available nationwide will help T-Mobile with their rollout of Carrier Aggregation, on the road to Gigabit-Class LTE and 5G.

This acquisition wasn't without help from the FCC however. In 2014, when the FCC decided to auction off the spectrum that was previously used for broadcast TV, they decided to set aside 30MHz of the available 70MHz specifically for carriers that did not currently have large holdings in low-band spectrum. This means that ATT and Verizon, who both operate large LTE networks in the 700MHz range were excluded from part of the spectrum being auctioned off.

Low-band spectrum in strategically important for LTE rollouts in particular as it can travel further and works better indoors than high-band offerings like Sprint's large available spectrum in the 2.5GHz 

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While it usually takes a significant amount of time to see the results of newly acquired spectrum, T-Mobile promises significant network expansion by the end of 2017. Legere claims that over 1,000,000 square miles of the newly acquires spectrum will be cleared for use by the FCC by the end of this year, and put into production by T-Mobile. T-Mobile plans to use this spectrum to both expand LTE coverage into new markets as well as strengthening their coverage in existing markets to provide more speed and greater density of coverage.

However, there is one side of the 600MHz equation that is out of the hands of T-Mobile, the user equipment. Currently, there are no shipping LTE radios capable of operating in the 600MHz range. Qualcomm has announced that their in-development X20 LTE modem will work with 600MHz, but we have no timeline as to a possible release of devices with the X20.

Hopefully, we don't have to wait too long for user devices capable of 600MHz LTE operation, it would be a real shame to have a newly expanded T-Mobile network that no one can connect to!

The road to Gigabit-class LTE and subsequently 5G seems to be a fierce one, and we look forward to seeing developments from competing carriers.

Source: T-Mobile

Spring has sprung, the system guide is riz

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2017 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: system guide

Sebastian posted a systems guide to inspire you this spring and the HWLB is slowly getting a refresh but we are not the only ones who are twitterpated.  The Tech Report also published a brand new System Guide, timed to include Ryzen in their picks.  As is their habit, they've broken the recommendations int Budget, Sweet Spot and High end systems, with a couple of bonus system builds at the end of the article.  Get some great ideas for your next system right here.

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"AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card have arrived, and that means it's time for a new edition of The Tech Report's System Guide. Join us as we explore how to build the best PCs with these shiny new components."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Cloudy with Microsoft; the new Chrome OS competitor?

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2017 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface 3, Project Scorpio, windows 10 cloud

From what The Inquirer has been able to find out, the Microsoft event taking place next month will not herald the release of the Surface Book 2, Surface Pro 5 nor the Surface Phone. 
It is quite likely we will see a new low cost Surface 3 device announced as well as more information on Project Scorpio.  This should also offer the first details on the new OS that Microsoft has been working on to challenge ChromeOS in low cost devices.  Windows 10 Cloud, also known as Bespin, will be a low cost OS which runs Windows Universal apps and will be aimed at students and those who want small inexpensive devices for light computing usage.  Check out more details here.

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"Microsoft sent out cryptic invites on Wednesday (we're still waiting for ours) which suggests there will be an education focus at the event, with the invite sporting 'Learn what's next' caption and '#MicrosoftEdu' hashtag."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer