HyperX types again, the Alloy Elite

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: input, hyperx, Alloy Elite, cherry mx red, cherry mx brown, cherry mx blue, mechanical keyboard

As with the previous model, HyperX has chosen a metal body for the Alloy Elite.  This one is larger than that model, at 17.5" x 6.6" which leaves space for a light bar containing 18 red LEDs as well as media keys.  HyperX offers you the choice between MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, optional silvery WASD keycaps and a removable wrist rest.  The Tech Report had a good experience with the keyboard, however if you consider custom macros, profiles, and lighting features to be critical then perhaps this board is not for you.

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"HyperX has made a name for itself with gaming gear that forgoes frills in favor of function. Its Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard takes a different tack by adding flourishes and dedicated controls to the formula. We got the Alloy Elite under our fingers to see whether HyperX struck the right balance."

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Move over HoloLens, enterprising new Glassholes are on the scene

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: hololens, AR, google glass, alphabet

Google Glass is back, but this time the users should be safely contained in manufacturing facilities and corporate buildings.  The initial launch lead to what many felt was a breach of public etiquette as there were many people who did not like the idea of being recorded with the AR glasses.  The new incarnation, Glass Enterprise Edition has an improved 8MP camera and a new red light that turns on when the glasses are recording video.  The WiFi bandwidth has been increased but Alphabet has not yet released the technical specifications publicly.  The Inquirer has a bit more information but nothing on the price, you will need to negotiate with Alphabet or one of it's partners to find that out, but you can expect it to be similar to the price of Microsoft's HoloLens.

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"This is good news, as it means you won't see glassholes wandering the streets in the space-age spectacles. Instead, Google Glass Enterprise Edition is being used by more than 50 businesses in the US, including AGCO, DHL, Dignity Health, NSF International, Sutter Health, The Boeing Company and Volkswagen. "

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Source: The Register

Rumor: Intel to Launch Quad Core Kaby Lake-R CPUs for Ultraportables

Subject: Processors, Mobile | July 17, 2017 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, quad core, Intel, i5-8520u, i5-7200u, hyperthreading, dell xps 13, acer swift 3, 15w

A few days ago, laptopmedia.com uncovered some listings for an unannounced revision to the Acer Swift 3 notebook.

swift-3.jpg

In addition to the new Pascal-based NVIDIA MX150 GPU announced just before Computex, astute readers will also spot an unannounced CPU from Intel – the Core i5-8250U. While the model number itself doesn't tell us much other than it's a next generation CPU, the description in the Acer product listings notes it as a quad core CPU.

Following Intel's history with the U-series parts, the 8250U would traditionally be a 15W, dual core CPU with hyperthreading enabled, with the true quad core parts starting with the 35W TDP options

We've had an indication that a quad core U-series processor was coming in the second half of this year from Intel's performance claims presented at Computex this year, but we weren't quite sure what form it would take.

Doing some additional research, we can see several results from this processor in the Geekbench database from various notebook manufacturers – including devices we would expect to be refreshed like the Dell XPS 13 and ASUS Zenbook UX490.

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From the Geekbench results of the XPS 13 with the i5-8520U compared to the current generation i5-7200U, we see a 54% increase in multi threaded CPU performance while only a 7% increase in single threaded performance. Keep in mind that these leaked benchmarks should be taken with a grain of salt, but we would be very impressed with these numbers in a shipping notebook.

Geekbench's processor profiler also reveals the i5-8250U to be a 4 core/8 thread processor, pointing to hyperthreading being enabled on the i5 processors as well as the i7's, like we currently see in the U-series.

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Some people have been theorizing that this 8000 series processor is from the upcoming Coffee Lake release. However, based on some of the Intel roadmap leaks from late last year, I think that this is actually a Kaby Lake-R CPU. The leaked roadmap suggests that Kaby Lake-R will launch as the 8th generation processor family, to be released in the second half of 2017.

Either way, I am excited to finally see some push forward in the 15W CPU space, which I consider to be the sweet spot between battery life and performance for most users.

Stay tuned for more information on these new Intel processors and these new notebooks as we get out hands on them!

Motherboards are not always your friend

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2017 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: pain

Over at [H]ard|OCP is a painful walk down memory lane for those who have been working with computer components for the last few decades, specifically the worst five motherboards they have reviewed.  It is a reminder to those who lived through this time and perhaps an eye opener for those who are only now encountering things such as RAM incompatibility.  It is somewhat of a surprise that the ALi based A7A-266, with its hybrid RAM controller which allowed you to have issues with both SDRAM and DDR as well as the need to use a graphite pencil or conductive ink to adjust settings as the DIP switches were not present on all boards.

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"We have been reviewing motherboards here at HardOCP for about 20 years now. And in that time, many have been flush with horrible features and bugs of all kinds. Dan takes a stroll down a very painful memory lane and rehashes his top five..as instructed by his therapist. Let it out Dan...let it out."

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Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Counting Cores ... Intel on the Bench

Subject: Processors | July 14, 2017 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, i7-7700k, i7-7800x, kaby lake, skylake-x

There is a $50 difference in price between these two chips, $390 versus $340, which will be within the price range of many of enthusiasts.  The i7-7700K's cores run at a higher frequency but there are only four whereas the i7-7800X has a half dozen.  The memory configuration is also a factor, with the Skylake chip offering quad channel memory while the Kaby Lake only offers dual channel.  The size of the cache may not have a huge impact on gaming performance but you need to consider the number of PCIe lanes; is 16 sufficient or will you need 28?

Techspot seeks to answer this question with a large number of gaming benchmarks, including PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

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"Although we consider the Ryzen 5 1600 to be the sweet spot for building a new high-end gaming rig, many of you interested in going Intel want to know whether it makes more sense to buy the Core i7-7700K or the new 7800X?"

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Processors

Source: Techspot

Thermaltake's $25 Contac Silent 12 heatsink for Ryzen

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 14, 2017 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, Contac Silent 12, ryzen, AM4, amd, heatsink, air cooler

Thermaltake has a new cooler for those planning a Ryzen build on a budget, or for quiet system builds.  The Contac Silent 12 is a mere 153x12x100.3mm in size, with the fan attached, and weighs a paltry 700g however it is capable of almost matching the performance of AMD's Wraith cooler while operating at a noticeably quieter level.  In addition to the heatsink you will find a 'low-noise cable' which changes the fans RPM span from 500-1500 RPM to 400-1100 RPM however in their tests The Tech Report found it had little effect on the noise produced by a system under load.  See the full results here.

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"Thermaltake's Contac Silent 12 relies on an established design and a simple mounting system to get AMD Socket AM4 builders up and running as quickly as possible. We tested this cooler at stock and overclocked speeds to see how it stacks up for just $25."

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CASES & COOLING

 

The Oculus Pacific, bringing VR to the masses?

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: oculus rift, VR, Pacific, xiaomi, snapdragon

Coming right after the announced reduction in the price of the Oculus Rift is a rumour about a new VR headset from the company which will cost significantly less than the current model.  The Oculus 'Pacific' will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon of some description and will be manufactured by Xiaomi.  The smaller headset will sell for around $200, and be announced in October, likely during the Oculus Connect 4 event.  From what The Inquirer has learned, the headset will not require additional hardware to run which will make this VR headset much more accessible to the average consumer.

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"FACEBOOK-OWNED Oculus is reportedly working on a standalone virtual reality (VR) headset that'll cost just $200 (around £155)."

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Source: The Inquirer

A splash of water can open it up; ASUS' ROG Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti Platinum

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2017 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: ROG Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti Platinum, gtx 1080 ti, asus, water cooling, factory overclocked

We have seen the test results that ASUS' Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti can manage on air cooling and now it is time to revist the card when it is watercooled.  [H]ard|OCP attached the card to a Koolance Exos Liquid Cooling System Model EX2-755 and fired up the system to benchmark it.  The difference is immediately noticeable, the minimum clock on watercooling almost matches the highest clock seen on air cooling, with an average observed frequency of 2003MHz, 2076MHz once they manually overclocked.  This did translate into better gameplay and significantly lower operating temperatures which you can see in detail here.

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"It’s time to let the liquid flow and put the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti Platinum Edition to the ultimate test. We will connect a Koolance Liquid Cooling System and test GPU frequency, gaming performance, and push the video card as hard as possible for its best overclock. Let’s find out what a little liquid can do for a GTX 1080 Ti."

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Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

You can now get a Dell laptop that charges wirelessly, but it will cost you

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: dell, Latitude, Latitude 7285, wireless charging

It will set you back $1800 or more once you have purchased the requisite extra components but once set up your Latitude 7285 will charge.  The wireless charging mat puts out 18.5V which will keep you going even when working hard.  They specifically mention that it is not for use on metal desks, so keep that in mind unless you really need a jolt to wake you up.  The 2880 x 1920 12" tablet and comes with an i7 or i5 processor, an SSD of 128GB or 256GB and your choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM.  Keep in mind the price estimate above would be for the low end model.  Pop by The Register to see more.

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"Which is where things get a bit weird, because the Latitude 7285 starts at US$1,199, but the Wireless Charging Keyboard costs $379.99 and the Charging Mat is another $199.99. That's an extra $579.98 for the convenience of wireless charging (with a wire for the charging mat)."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #458 - Intel Xeons, ThunderBolt 3 GPU chassis, Affordable 10GbE, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xeon, x299, video, thunderbolt 3, sapphire, RX470, rift, radeon, podcast, nand, Intel, HDK2, gigabyte, external gpu, asus, 10GbE

PC Perspective Podcast #458 - 07/13/17

Join us for Intel Xeon launch, external ThunderBolt3 GPUs, 10Gb Ethernet, 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: 1:38:08
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: ASUS XG-C100C lol
    2. Jeremy: Um, well I keep meaning to play Deserts of Kharak
  4. Closing/outro

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

Source:

Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2, build your own headset

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: audio, fnatic gear, Duel TMA-2, headset

Fnatic Gear found something unique to offer with their new headset, swappable components to let you assemble the headset you want.  It comes with both on-ear cups and over-ear cups and you get to choose which you prefer to use, or one supposes you could have different cups on each ear if you so choose. You can also choose between a 2m boom mic cable or a 1.2m cable with an in-line mic.  As to how they sound?  Drop by Kitguru to look over what they thought about the quality and the differences between the cups.

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"The Fnatic Gear Duel TMA-2 headset is pretty unique for a gaming headset as it is actually modular. This means it comes disassembled and you can put it together yourself using different combinations of the supplied components to create a headset that best suits you."

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Source: Kitguru

Give Me retro Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2017 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex, mod, GMDX

Like many gamers you likely have very fond memories of the original Deus Ex and have replayed the first level in the last few years, only to abandon it because it really isn't that pretty compared to what you are used to.  This could change as of today, with the official release of the Give Me Deus Ex mod.  Not only do the textures and lighting effects look much better, there are a variety of bug fixes and AI enhancements to make the game more interesting.  You will need the GoTY Edition of the first Deus Ex, grab it from Steam or GOG depending on your preference.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has links to the ModDB download page as well as a link to the Deus Ex: Revision mod, a different non-compatible projects which adds extra gameplay features.

Take a peek at the Humble Bundle link just below the video as well, it is a decent bargain and you help us keep the lights on too!

"After years of development, the overhaul mod Give Me Deus Ex has launched its final version. GMDX shakes things up with more-advanced AI for a tougher challenge, improved mantling for agile Dentons, expanded physics for fancier mayhem, and new textures and bits for people who say “Ew, is that a pixel?”"

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The Dark Knight returns, the ASUS RT-AC1900P wireless router

Subject: General Tech, Networking | July 12, 2017 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: RT-AC1900P, asus, wireless router

If you are more interested in quick wireless networking than you are in upgrading to a 10Gbps wired network then perhaps this review over at The Tech Report will catch your fancy.  It is similar in design and size to the RT-AC68U, at 6.2x8.6x3.2" but it hides some upgrades inside.  The processor has been upgraded to a dual core Broadcom BCM4709C0 running at 1.4 GHz and the internal memory has been doubled to 256MB though the radio remains the same with rated transfers of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band.  Testing showed some improvements compared to the previous model when it came to range and broadcasting through obstacles, with some increase in transfer speeds as well.  Check it out here.

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"Asus' RT-AC1900P carries on the legacy of the company's popular RT-N66U "Dark Knight" router. This time around, the unit comes armed with an 802.11ac radio for faster performance on the 5GHz band. We fired up this router in our crowded wireless airspace to see whether it can stand above the rest."

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The Surface doesn't have a ghost of a chance against HP's new convertible

Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2017 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: spectre x2, hp, convertible tablet

HP's Spectre x2 ships with the keyboard and pen, unlike the competition who only sell you the tablet and charge extra for the two best features of a convertible tablet.  The prices are also more competitive, ranging from the $1150 base model with a Core i5-7260U, 8GB DDR3 and a 128GB PCIe SSD to the $1970 top of the line model with a Core i7-7560U, 16GB DDR3 and a 1TB PCIe SSD.  The IPS touchscreen is 12.3" with a 3000 x 2000 resolution which translates to 293ppi and though the bezel is thinner than previous models it is still quite large.  Ars Technica examines the Spectre x2's performance and aesthetics right here.

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"HP's updated Spectre x2 fine-tunes the original device's design while giving the internals a power boost from Core M to Core i5/i7 for better productivity. The Spectre x2 is also more affordable than the Surface Pro and includes its keyboard and pen in the box rather than forcing customers to pay extra for them."

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Source: Ars Technica

The ultimate in SSDs? Adata's new SU900

Subject: Storage | July 11, 2017 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: SU900, adata, 256GB, mlc, SM2258, sata ssd

Adata have added a new series of SSDs to their Ultimate lineup, the SU900, which ranges from the 256GB model sent to The Tech Report to review straight through to a 2TB model.  This incarnation uses 3D MLC flash but retains the Silicon Motion SM2258 controller which was used on the SU800s. In testing the drive surpassed the previous Ultimate drive but did not quite reach the performance levels of the Samsung 850 EVO in some benchmarks, however it did in the actual usage testing.  If you are looking for a drive in that class and have concerns about the longevity of TLC flash, this drive is worth a look.

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"Adata has issued an update to its Ultimate line of SSDs with its SU900 family. Join us as we find out how much of an upgrade 3D MLC flash brings to the company's Ultimate drives versus its past forays with 3D TLC NAND."

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Storage

Tease us once, shame on us. Tease us twice, shame on you Gaben. Tease us thrice ...

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: half life 3, valve, Gabe Newell

If you haven't spotted it yet, prepare to have your hopes dashed once again for there is a new Half-Life ... patch.  Yes, the original game, which is old enough to drink in all of Canada, just received some patches to fix gameplay bugs and save issues.  To add salt to the wound, most who want to revist the original will do so with Black Mesa which uses the updated Source engine.  Considering that the original Half-Life was done on the Goldsource engine, it is hard to lend credence to the theories that this is in preparation for a launch of the third chapter of Gordon Freeman's really long and bad day.  If you wish to torment yourself you can drop by The Inquirer for a link to the comment thread under the patch notes on Steam.

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"LEGENDARY GAME Half-Life has just got an update, but naturally, users are not entirely satisfied and many would have preferred Half-Life 3 apparently. Valve announced the update on the Steam Blog and it is in the comments that the calls for the third version of the game come to life. We will come back to that though"

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Rumor: Intel May Discontinue Pentium G4560 Processor

Subject: Processors | July 10, 2017 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: value, rumor, report, processor, pentium, kaby lake, Intel, G4560, cpu, budget

Update 07/11/17: We have now heard from Intel on this subject, and they provided this statement regarding the availability of the Pentium G4560 processor:

"We continue to offer the Intel Pentium SKU referenced. What you have observed on websites are possibly part of a normal demand fluctuation."

(The original post follows.)


Cannibalization of its Core i3 sales might have Intel quietly killing off its best value CPU, if unnamed sources in a DigiWorthy report (via TechPowerUp) can be believed.

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Image credit: ComputerBase via DigiWorthy

Sound far-fetched? It seems at least plausible that Intel might consider some sort of CPU-related moves to maintain profit margins with Ryzen providing some very real competition after several years of Intel dominance. The popularity of the 2-core/4-thread Pentium G4560 - a (theoretically) ~$60 Kaby Lake part that provides a very nearly Core i3-level experience (some features are missing) is not at all surprising, and the current lack of availability and subsequently higher pricing (lowest in-stock price at around $80 at time of publication) suggests that something is up with this CPU.

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Chart via PCPartPicker

A low of $78.89 for the CPU with an MSRP of $64 is about a $15 markup, but this price is just going to increase if no fresh stock hits the market as these sell out.

Now some editorial: Why would Intel introduce what is essentially a slightly hobbled Core i3 into the market at half the cost of their cheapest Core i3 to begin with? I enthusiastically endorsed this seemingly questionable business decision (along with all of the buyers of this often out-of-stock CPU) when it first hit the market a few months ago, and now - if rumors are to be believed - the company might just be killing it off. This would be a move reminiscent of Nintendo's recent NES Classic, which was apparently too popular for its $59.99 price tag (and scalpers worldwide rejoiced). Nintendo, of course, killed the NES Classic when it was at its height of popularity, perhaps as it was just not profitable enough to justify continued production? (And besides, a soon-to-be-$300-on-eBay SNES Classic was in the works.)

Might the Pentium G4560 be Intel's NES Classic? It seems a little too likely for comfort.

Source: TechPowerUp

Razer HDK2 Is $399 (and Even Less for Some)

Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2017 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: VR, razer, osvr

Last night, we reported on Oculus dropping the price of their Rift + Touch being reduced to $399 USD ($549 CDN). In the comments of that story, mLocke, who is a regular in our IRC chat, mentioned that Razer’s HDK2 is also $399. Even better, if you are a developer or involved in an educational institution, you can also apply to receive an addition 20% discount, which would bring the cost down to about $319 USD. There is also something about a “2 for 1 promotion” for academics and researchers, but you need to email them for that.

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That said, the OSVR HDK2 doesn’t come with a controller, unlike the Oculus Rift + Touch. Also, while OSVR is expected to form the basis of OpenXR, because Razer donated the API to the Khronos Group, it doesn’t support as much as Oculus or the HTC Vive. That said, if you’re a developer that only cares about your own content, it works with Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, and you can probably add support to other engines yourself. (Update @ 7:47pm: I just realized that this previous sentence doesn't mean what I intended it to. There's a lot of engines that already support OSVR, including Lumberyard and CryEngine. I meant that if you're working on your own, then the SDK is available as well. I didn't mean that Unity and Unreal Engine were the only ones with available plug-ins.)

So, for a consumer that is torn between both deals, I would probably point you to the Oculus one. If you’re a developer, educator, or researcher, then you might want to reach out to OSVR and see. It might be your best option.

Source: Razer

As cheap as Mortar? MSI's new B350 motherboard for Ryzen

Subject: Motherboards | July 10, 2017 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, b350, B350 Mortar, msi, AM4, mATX

MSI's B350 Mortar comes in the model you see below as well as an Arctic version if you prefer a different colour scheme.  AMD's B350 chipset carries a lower cost than the X370 series but retains most of the features enthusiasts delight in, such as M.2, support for DDR4-3200MHz, a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C plug and a Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec for audio.  Indeed about the only thing you lose is the ability to run multiple GPUs, which is not exactly a common need on an mATX build.  Modders-Inc were taken with this low cost motherboard, especially the amount of customization available in the UEFI to adjust your fan speeds ... and yes it has your RGBs.

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"AMD's B350 chipset is challenging Intel's market dominance in a different subset that the chip giant did not expect: affordability. If AMD's Ryzen product releases sound too familiar with that of Intel's line, that is because it is deliberate. It is basically an aggressive move by AMD, challenging Intel directly that they can take over the naming scheme and do …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Affordable luxury, Viewsonic's XG2703-GS display

Subject: Displays | July 10, 2017 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: AHVA, ips display, viewsonic, XG2703-GS, 1440p, 165hz, g-sync

ViewSonic's 27" XG2703-GS display hits at least three of the four marks that high end users are looking for; it is 1440p, it does not have a curve and the maximum refresh rate is 165Hz.  The disagreement on the perfection of the display will come from those who prefer Freesync to G-SYNC, for this monitor only supports NVIDIA's adaptive sync technology. The panel is an Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle (AHVA) IPS screen from AU Optronics, the standard for displays with a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz and higher.  Techspot ran this monitor though a few games to see what kind of performance you can expect on this display, check out their results here.

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"There is one type of monitor that ticks nearly every box for high quality PC gaming. One that provides a good mix of resolution and high refresh rate, while still being realistically usable on today's most popular gaming hardware. I'm talking about the latest 27-inch 1440p IPS monitors that hit a whopping 165 Hz with support for adaptive sync."

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Displays

Source: Techspot