Manufacturer: PC Perspective

AMD and NVIDIA GPUs Tested

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 launched over the weekend and we've been testing it out over the past couple of days with a collection of currently-available graphics cards. Of interest to AMD fans, this game joins the ranks of those well optimized for Radeon graphics, and with a new driver (Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2) released over the weekend it was a good time to run some benchmarks and see how some AMD and NVIDIA hardware stack up.

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The Division 2 offers DirectX 11 and 12 support, and uses Ubisoft's Snowdrop engine to provide some impressive visuals, particularly at the highest detail settings. We found the "ultra" preset to be quite attainable with very playable frame rates from most midrange-and-above hardware even at 2560x1440, though bear in mind that this game uses quite a bit of video memory. We hit a performance ceiling at 4GB with the "ultra" preset even at 1080p, so we opted for 6GB+ graphics cards for our final testing. And while most of our testing was done at 1440p we did test a selection of cards at 1080p and 4K, just to provide a look at how the GPUs on test scaled when facing different workloads.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

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Washington D.C. is on the brink of collapse. Lawlessness and instability threaten our society, and rumors of a coup in the capitol are only amplifying the chaos. All active Division agents are desperately needed to save the city before it's too late.

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Developed by Ubisoft Massive and the same teams that brought you Tom Clancy’s The Division, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online open world, action shooter RPG experience set in a collapsing and fractured Washington, D.C. This rich new setting combines a wide variety of beautiful, iconic, and realistic environments where the player will experience the series’ trademark for authenticity in world building, rich RPG systems, and fast-paced action like never before.

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Play solo or co-op with a team of up to four players to complete a wide range of activities, from the main campaign and adversarial PvP matches to the Dark Zone – where anything can happen.

Continue reading our preview of GPU performance with The Division 2

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

Razer is never one to shy away from reinventing and refreshing its products. Every year or two, we find ourselves receiving a new press release on a familiar item that’s been updated or made new again with a fresh feature or new design. Today’s review is exactly one such item with the Razer Basilisk Essential. The design of the original Basilisk proved to be quite popular amongst gamers. Today’s update takes that same shape and intriguing multi-function paddle and trims it down to the titular essentials, landing at just under the fifty-dollar price point.

Is it worth adding to your Amazon wishlist? Join us as we find out!

Specifications

  • Current Pricing: $49.99
  • Sensor: 6400 DPI Optical Sensor
  • Gaming Grade Tactile Scroll Wheel
  • Multi-function paddle (single length)
  • Razer Mechanical Switches
  • 20 Million Click Lifespan
  • 7 programmable buttons
  • Customizable backlit logo
  • Weight: 95g

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Starting, as always, with packaging, Razer is keeping to the mold here. We have the usual high-end product shot on the front and the specific feature highlights on the back. Inside, we see the first hints of the budget-oriented nature of the mouse in that it ships in a brown cardboard tray and styrofoam sleeve. This kind of packaging is perfectly fine, and transports the mouse safely, but it doesn’t offer the same kind of presentation found on some of Razer’s more expensive products.

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Continue reading our review of the Razer Basilisk Essential gaming mouse

Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Turing at $219

NVIDIA has introduced another midrange GPU with today’s launch of the GTX 1660. It joins the GTX 1660 Ti as the company’s answer to high frame rate 1080p gaming, and hits a more aggressive $219 price point, with the GTX 1660 Ti starting at $279. What has changed, and how close is this 1660 to the “Ti” version launched just last month? We find out here.

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RTX and Back Again

We are witnessing a shift in branding from NVIDIA, as GTX was supplanted by RTX with the introduction of the 20 series, only to see “RTX” give way to GTX as we moved down the product stack beginning with the GTX 1660 Ti. This has been a potentially confusing change for consumers used to the annual uptick in series number. Most recently we saw the 900 series move logically to 1000 series (aka 10 series) cards, so when the first 2000 series cards were released it seemed as if the 20 series would be a direct successor to the GTX cards of the previous generation.

But RTX ended up being more of a feature level designation, and not so much a new branding for GeForce cards as we had anticipated. No, GTX is here to stay it appears, and what then of the RTX cards and their real-time ray tracing capabilities? Here the conversation changes to focus on higher price tags and the viability of early adoption of ray tracing tech, and enter the internet of outspoken individuals who decry ray-tracing, and more so DLSS; NVIDIA’s proprietary deep learning secret sauce that has seemingly become as controversial as the Genesis planet in Star Trek III.

  GTX 1660 GTX 1660 Ti RTX 2060 RTX 2070 GTX 1080 GTX 1070 GTX 1060 6GB
GPU TU116 TU116 TU106 TU106 GP104 GP104 GP106
Architecture Turing Turing Turing Turing Pascal Pascal Pascal
SMs 22 24 30 36 20 15 10
CUDA Cores 1408 1536 1920 2304 2560 1920 1280
Tensor Cores N/A N/A 240 288 N/A N/A N/A
RT Cores N/A N/A 30 36 N/A N/A N/A
Base Clock 1530 MHz 1500 MHz 1365 MHz 1410 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1785 MHz 1770 MHz 1680 MHz 1620 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1708 MHz
Texture Units 88 96 120 144 160 120 80
ROPs 48 48 48 64 64 64 48
Memory 6GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR6 6GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR5X 8GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR5
Memory Data Rate 8 Gbps 12 Gbps 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 10 Gbps 8 Gbps 8 Gbps
Memory Interface 192-bit 192-bit 192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit
Memory Bandwidth 192.1 GB/s 288.1 GB/s 336.1 GB/s 448.0 GB/s 320.3 GB/s 256.3 GB/s 192.2 GB/s
Transistor Count 6.6B 6.6B 10.8B 10.8B 7.2B 7.2B 4.4B
Die Size 284 mm2 284 mm2 445 mm2 445 mm2 314 mm2 314 mm2 200 mm2
Process Tech 12 nm 12 nm 12 nm 12 nm 16 nm 16 nm 16 nm
TDP 120W 120W 160W 175W 180W 150W 120W
Launch Price $219 $279 $349 $499 $599 $379 $299

So what is a GTX 1660 minus the “Ti”? A hybrid product of sorts, it turns out. The card is based on the same TU116 GPU as the GTX 1660 Ti, and while the Ti features the full version of TU116, this non-Ti version has two of the SMs disabled, bringing the count from 24 to 22. This results in a total of 1408 CUDA cores - down from 1536 with the GTX 1660 Ti. This 128-core drop is not as large as I was expecting from the vanilla 1660, and with the same memory specs the capabilities of this card would not fall far behind - but this card uses the older GDDR5 standard, matching the 8 Gbps speed and 192 GB/s bandwidth of the outgoing GTX 1060, and not the 12 Gbps GDDR6 and 288.1 GB/s bandwidth of the GTX 1660 Ti.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card

Manufacturer: Corsair

Corsair has launched a pair of new enclosures today including the Crystal Series 680X RGB, a roomy dual-chamber design with plenty of tempered glass and RGB to keep things visually interesting. And we just so happen to have procured one before release, preparing our launch-day review secretly, and in the dead of night. And so it is that today we can, should, and will share this with you - or as soon as you move past this rambling opening paragraph and on to the meat of the review itself.

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As you may know the Crystal Series is a line of premium cases featuring multiple tempered-glass panels and RGB fans, and going back to 2016 we have reviewed the Crystal Series 570X, the smaller Crystal Series 460X, and most recently the Crystal Series 280X, a dual-chamber micro-ATX design. The new 680X RGB is also a dual-chamber enclosure, but on a much larger scale with support for up to EATX motherboards. It is available in both black and white finishes, and we opted for the white version to help set off the RGB fans.

The CORSAIR Crystal Series 680X RGB is a dual-chamber tempered glass ATX smart case that keeps your system running cool with room for up to eight fans and four radiators, including one 360mm. Enjoy superb airflow and brilliant RGB lighting from three LL120 RGB fans, controlled by an included CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO and powered by iCUE software. Show off a stunning view of your PC’s components with three tempered glass panels on the front, roof, and hinged side door, while an optional vertical GPU mount allows you to put your graphics card center stage. Make your next custom build incredibly easy and undeniably cool with the 680X RGB.

One of the things that stands out immediately with the Crystal Series 680X RGB are the clear glass panels, which make this feel a little more contemporary after a few years of varying degrees of dark tinting in most cases we've seen implementing tempered glass. But this is far more than another cases with a glass side panel (it also has a glass front and top panel), as its dual-chamber design - which has origins dating back to Corsair's Air 540 which we reviewed way back in 2013 - offers a level of room and ease of build that is quite a departure from the typical mid-tower design.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Crystal Series 680X RGB case

Manufacturer: EVGA

The EVGA RTX 2060 XC Ultra

While NVIDIA’s new GTX 1660 Ti has stolen much of the spotlight from the RTX 2060 launched at CES, this more powerful Turing card is still an important part of the current video card landscape, though with its $349 starting price it does not fit into the “midrange” designation we have been used to.

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Beyond the price argument, as we saw with our initial review of the RTX 2060 Founders Edition and subsequent look at 1440p gaming and overclocking results, the RTX 2060 far exceeds midrange performance, which made sense given the price tag but created some confusion based on the "2060" naming as this suggested a 20-series replacement to the GTX 1060.

The subsequent GTX 1660 Ti launch provided those outspoken about the price and performance level of the RTX 2060 in relation to the venerable GTX 1060 with a more suitable replacement, leaving the RTX 2060 as an interesting mid-premium option that could match late-2017’s GTX 1070 Ti for $100 less, but still wasn’t a serious option for RTX features without DLSS to boost performance - image quality concerns in the early days of this tech notwithstanding.

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One area certainly worth exploring further with the RTX 2060 is overclocking, as it seemed possible that a healthy OC had the potential to meet RTX 2070 performance, though our early efforts were conducted using NVIDIA’s Founders Edition version, which just one month in now seems about as common as a pre-cyclone cover version of the original Sim City for IBM compatibles (you know, the pre-Godzilla litigation original?). LGR-inspired references aside, let's look at the card EVGA sent us for review.

Continue reading our review of the EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 XC Ultra graphics card

Introduction and Waterblock Overview

Swiftech took a major leap forward with the introduction of their Apogee SKF Heirloom Series bock which is the flagship of the Apogee SKF series. They worked to refine their existing designs with smaller micro-channels in the base plate, an RGB illuminated view port in the center of the block, and an all-metal construction.

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Courtesy of Swiftech

The metal construction was one of the nicer refinements, adding additional surface area for heat dissipation as well as reducing the likelihood of stripping the G1/4" fitting ports from over-tightening or switching out the block's barbs. With an MSRP of $94.95, the Apogee SKF Heirloom Series block comes at a premium price – well worth it given the block's performance and premium features.

Note that Swiftech used the same design refinements with all their Apogee SKF series water blocks. The Heirloom series block just offers an unprecedented level of customization that is only partially available with the other Apogee SKF series blocks.

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Courtesy of Swiftech

One of the nicest refinements Swiftech introduced with the Heirloom Series block was its vast amount of configurability. When ordered, Swiftech allowed for customization of the top block, the cover plate, the logo, and the mounting brackets, giving the user the ability to design a very unique and build-specific block. The block top was offered in a total of five different finishes, the cover plate in six different colors, the logo in eight different colors, and the mounting brackets in two different colors. While this level of customization was limited to the Heirloom Series block, Swiftech does allow some customization on its other Apogee SKF series blocks, like the Apogee SKF and Apogee SKF Prestige blocks.

Continue reading our review of the Swiftech Apogee SKF Heirloom Series water block!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

The Pint-Sized Flagship

In November 2017, Cooler Master released their flagship keyboard, the MasterKeys MK750. With its successor, the MK850, just around the corner, they’ve released its little brother, the MK730. It’s a tenkeyless version of the original, but when I saw that, one, it was only $119.99, and two, we’d never reviewed the original MK750, I knew that we had to take a look. Is this the small form factor keyboard you’ve been waiting for? Let’s dig in and find out.

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Specifications

  • Switch Type: CHERRY MX Red, Blue (reviewed), Brown
  • Material: Plastic / Aluminum / PU Leather
  • Color: Smoky Gunmetal Aluminum Brush
  • LED Color: RGB, 16.7 million colors
  • Polling Rate: 1000Hz
  • Response Rate: 1ms / 1000Hz
  • MCU: 32bit ARM Cortex M3
  • On board Memory: 512KB
  • On-the-fly system: Yes, for Multimedia, Macro Recording and Lighting Control
  • Multi-media Keys: Through Function (FN) Key
  • Smart cable manager: Yes, 3 Ways
  • Wrist rest: Removable magnetic with soft PU Leather
  • Cable: Detachable braided USB Type-C
  • Software Support: Yes, Portal
  • Connector Cable: USB 2.0
  • Cable Length: 1.8m
  • Dimensions: 360 x 192 x 41.5 mm, 360 x 183.5 x 41.5 mm (Without Wrist Rest)
  • Product Weight (without cable): 698g
  • Warranty: 2 years

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master MK730 TKL mechanical keyboard

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: ASUS

A Unique Blend of Lighting and Customization

The ROG Strix Flair is a mechanical gaming keyboard from the ASUS Republic of Gamers division that offers Cherry MX RGB switches, customizable lighting with underglow effects, a unique pop-out badge that can be swapped for a custom logo or text, dedicated media keys, USB passthrough, and programmable macro support. All of these features carry a premium price tag, and with a list price of $179.99 (though our Cherry MX Red version has been selling for quite a bit less) it sits in the upper range for gaming keyboards. Is it worth it? That is always the question, and we will try to answer it here.

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“Flare up your game with ROG Strix Flare – a mechanical gaming keyboard that's got everything you want and more. Feel the satisfaction of every keystroke with world-renowned Cherry MX switches. Enjoy instant access to dedicated media keys on the upper left while gaming. And experience an unparalleled level of personalization with a customizable badge illuminated by Aura Sync RGB lighting. Boast your gaming flair as you dominate the battlefield.”

Features from ASUS ROG:

  • German-made Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches that deliver satisfying mechanical feel with optimal actuation – The choice of professional gamers and enthusiasts
  • Customizable illuminated badge – Boast your ROG pride or show your flair with a personal or team insignia
  • Dedicated media keys and volume wheel positioned on the left for instant in-game audio control, a USB passthrough for easy connection and a detachable soft-touch wrist rest
  • Individually backlit keys and vibrant underglow powered by Aura Sync RGB lighting technology
  • Map macros on-the-fly to our fully programmable keys, adjust settings with enhanced ROG Armoury II software, and store profiles on the keyboard’s onboard memory

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The clear insert with the ROG badge can be swapped for additonal customization

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Strix Flare mechanical gaming keyboard

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Logitech Z606 Review

Logitech this week released a new model of affordable 5.1 surround sound speakers. Priced at $129.99, the Logitech Z606 is a 5.1 powered speaker setup aimed at users looking for a budget-minded upgrade to their home theater or PC audio experience.

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We got an early look at the Z606 and found that, despite some improvements over previous Logitech surround sound packages, its lack of digital inputs may limit its appeal. But if your specific audio setup conforms to the system’s limitations, you’ll end up with a nice sounding 5.1 system that’s hard to beat for the price.

Check out our complete quick look review to see if the Logitech Z606 is the affordable surround sound system you're looking for.

A New Take on the Budget Legend

It is not hyperbole to call Cooler Master’s Hyper 212 family some of the most important CPU air coolers in the industry, with the 212 EVO dominating sales in the DIY segment for years now based on Amazon rankings. In the last five years I have reviewed a number of coolers here at PC Perspective, and feedback from readers almost always includes mention of, and requests for comparison to, that Hyper 212 EVO. I have tested this venerable cooler more than once over the years, but it has proven to be such a vital part of any CPU air-cooling discussion that it demands to be part of every cooler review lineup. Today we will benchmark that cooler yet again using the current test platform, and compare it to a new generation of Hyper 212: the Black Edition.

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The Hyper 212 Black Edition coolers, available with or without an RGB fan, add a level of style that had been missing from the 212 EVO, trading exposed copper heat pipes and bare aluminum heatsink fins for a polished, all-black finish. Naturally style means nothing without performance, and with the RGB Black Edition we are still looking at a single tower heatsink design with four heat pipes that are designed to make direct contact with the CPU, and air is still being moved via a single 120 mm fan.

Features from Cooler Master:

  • Sleek Finishing - Anodized gun-metal black with brushed aluminum surface finish to the top cover for a more refined look
  • Precise Air Flow with Nickel Black - Stacked fin array ensures least airflow resistance which allows cooler air flow into the heatsink. The nickel plated jet black also enhances radiation cooling performance
  • Direct Contact Technology - 4 heat pipes with exclusive Direct Contact Technology providing effective and excellent heat dissipation
  • The New SF120R RGB Fan - Certified to sync with Motherboard RGB software or controlled by our controller. The wide speed range can be fine-tuned for maximum cooling performance or silent operation
  • Optional Push-Pull Fan Configuration - To avoid dynamic losses and help accelerate heat exhaust, an additional fan helps pulling heat away faster from heatsink
  • RGB in the Palm of Your Hand with Included Wired RGB Controller - A compact size RGB LED controller that allows you to easily customize your RGB devices without the need for either an RGB capable motherboard or software. You can have the colorful rig you’ve always wanted with just the touch of a button

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Continue reading our review of the Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition cooler!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction, Technical Specs, and Motherboard Overview

Introduction

Part of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) product line from ASUS, the Maximus XI Formula is a high-end Intel Z390 motherboard option that combines support for the latest Intel processors with a host of premium features.

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS used the Intel Z390 chipset launch to enhance the existing design of their Maximus Formula board, reconfiguring the board layout with dual NICs, a GigE NIC and a 5G NIC, and moved the location of the integrated M.2 slots for better access and cooling. Further, they enhanced the design of the armor overlay to integrate RGB LED effects into its surface.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Maximus Formula board line is considered a premium product by ASUS and comes with a premium price with an MSRP of $449.99. The premium price point is more than justified by its EK custom designed VRM cooler, integrated 5G NIC, and premium board design enhancements.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ROG Maximus XI Formula motherboard was designed to ensure you of the optimal gaming experience. Its 10-phase digital power delivery system helps to stabilize the board under any overclocking conditions. The board contains the following integrated features: six SATA 3 ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; an Aquantia AQC111C 5G NIC; Intel 9560 802.11 AC controller; three PCI-Express x16 slots; one PCI-Express x1 slots; an 8-channel audio subsystem with S/PDIF port support; integrated LiveDash OLED display panel; integrated HDMI port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula motherboard!

Manufacturer: NVIDIA

The TU116 GPU and First Look at Cards from MSI and EVGA

NVIDIA is introducing the GTX 1660 Ti today, a card build from the ground up to take advantage of the new Turing architecture but without real-time ray tracing capabilities. It seems like the logical next step for NVIDIA as gamers eager for a current-generation replacement to the popular GTX 1060, and who may have been disappointed with the launch of the RTX 2060 because it was priced $100 above the 1060 6GB, now have something a lot closer to a true replacement in the GTX 1660 Ti.

There is more to the story of course, and we are still talking about a “Ti” part and not a vanilla GTX 1660, which presumably will be coming at some point down the road; but this new card should make an immediate impact. Is it fair to say that the GTX 1660 Ti the true successor to the GTX 1060 that we might have assumed the RTX 2060 to be? Perhaps. And is the $279 price tag a good value? We will endeavor to find out here.

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RTX: Off

It has been a rocky start for RTX, and while some might say that releasing GTX cards after the fact represents back-peddling from NVIDIA, consider the possibility that the 2019 roadmap always had space for new GTX cards. Real-time ray tracing does not make sense below a certain performance threshold, and it was pretty clear with the launch of the RTX 2060 that DLSS was the only legitimate option for ray tracing at acceptable frame rates. DLSS itself has been maligned of late based on a questions about visual quality, which NVIDIA has now addressed in a recent blog post. There is clearly a lot invested in DLSS, and regardless of your stance on the technology NVIDIA is going to continue working on it and releasing updates to improve performance and visual quality in games.

As its “GTX” designation denotes, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti does not include the RT and Tensor Cores that are found in GeForce RTX graphics cards. In order to deliver the Turing architecture to the sub-$300 graphics segment, we must be very thoughtful about the types and numbers of cores we use in the GPU: adding dedicated cores to accelerate Ray Tracing and AI doesn’t make sense unless you can first achieve a certain level of rendering performance. As a result, we chose to focus the GTX 1660 Ti’s cores exclusively on graphics rendering in order to achieve the best balance of performance, power, and cost.

If the RTX 2060 is the real-time ray tracing threshold, then it's pretty obvious that any card that NVIDIA released this year below that performance (and price) level would not carry RTX branding. And here we are with the next card, still based on the latest Turing architecture but with an all-new GPU that has no ray tracing support in hardware. There is nothing fused off here or disabled in software with TU116, and the considerable reduction in die size from the TU106 reflects this.

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card!

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Subject: Memory
Manufacturer: Corsair

Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Memory Review

After first teasing the product last month at CES, Corsair today is officially launching the latest edition of the company's flagship memory. The Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB is not only a new model of high performance DDR4 memory, it's also the first product to feature Corsair's new Capellix LED technology.

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The Dominator Platinum RGB line will be rolling out in 22 SKUs of varying capacity and performance, with clocks ranging from 3000MHz to 4800MHz and capacities between 16GB and 128GB. We were supplied with early access to the CMT32GX4M4C3200C14 SKU, a 32GB (4x8GB) kit clocked at 3200MHz with timings of 14-14-14-34.

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Read on to see how this memory performs, how far we could overclock it, and how the new Capellix LEDs look and work outside of the Corsair showroom.

Introduction and Cooler Overview

Introduction

Aquacomputer's Cuplex Kryos Next water block is aptly named, in that it is the next evolution of their award winning Cuplex Kryos block. The biggest functional redesign was with the internal flow dynamics of the block, changing from a pin grid design to a micro-channel design on the base plate.

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Courtesy of Aquacomputer

Externally, they added the option of including their Vision display, which integrates into the front of the block and displays real-time statistics on coolant temperature and flow. The block we used for our tests did not include the Vision module but was an all copper design with nickel plating throughout. The base all metal version of the Cuplex Krynos Next comes at a price premium with an MSRP of around $100.00.

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Courtesy of Aquacomputer

Note that the Cuplex Kryos Next water block comes with a variety of different configurations, ranging from an acrylic top to an all silver design. Because of this variety, the price can vary quite bit from the above listed MSRP. Adding the Vision module to the block can increase the price even more.

Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer website)

Water Block Specifications
Dimensions Base 115x: 94 x 94 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
Base 2011: 98 x 98 x 22 mm (screws not included)
Base AM3: 116 x 68 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
Thread G1/4
Distance of connecting threads Models without VISION except acrylic version: 28 mm
Acrylic version without VISION: 27 mm
Models with VISION except acrylic version: 24 mm
Acrylic version with VISION: 23.5 mm

Continue reading our review of the Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos Next water block!

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Synology

Synology DS1019+ Review

Synology this week is launching the DS1019+, a 5-bay counterpart to last year's 4-bay DS918+. Like most of the company's "Plus" series devices, it is aimed at higher-end home users and small businesses with a price (without drives) of $649.99.

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Synology loaned us a review unit of the DS1019+ prior to launch, and after adding it to our growing shelf of network storage devices, we spent some time seeing how this new model compares to its predecessors and counterparts.

Specifications & Design

The design of the DS1019+ is virtually identical to that of the DS918+, with the same style of drive bays, same case material and color, same basic layout of ports and status lights, and even an almost identical list of technical specs. The biggest difference between the two by far is simply the addition of a fifth drive bay on the DS1019+. So, if you liked the look and feel of the DS918+, you should feel the same way about the DS1019+.

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Following the design trends of other Synology NAS devices in recent years, the DS1019+ is compact considering its capabilities. It measures in at 166mm x 230mm x 223mm (about 6.5 x 9.0 x 8.8 inches) and weighs about 5.6 pounds without drives. Included in the box is the power adapter with region-appropriate power cord, two five-foot Cat5e Ethernet cables, an accessory kit with two keys for the drive bay locks, 20 screws for mounting 2.5-inch drives in the 3.5-inch drive bays, and a quick installation guide.

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Like almost all Synology NAS devices, the DS1019+ ships without drives, so you'll need to add your own mechanical or solid state drives in order to use the device. If want to configure the NAS with a traditional RAID, you'll want to populate the drive bays with drives of the same capacity and ideally from the same vendor. If you need to mix-and-match drive vendors, at least aim to use drives with identical performance specifications. Similar in concept to Drobo, Synology also offers a "Hybrid RAID" (SHR) option that allows users to combine drives of different sizes or later expand the array by replacing smaller drives with larger ones. Depending on drive types and size mismatches, however, there is a performance penalty to going this route compared to a similar RAID configuration utilizing identical disks.

As alluded to, the 1019+ is powered by the same CPU found in the DS918+: the Intel Celeron J3455, a quad-core 10-watt Apollo Lake part. With base and boost clocks of 1.5GHz and 2.3GHz, respectively, the J3455 is more than powerful enough to accommodate the transfer and management of data on the NAS, and it also supports hardware video transcoding, which is a huge advantage for services like Plex.

Continue reading for our complete review of the Synology DS1019+!

Author:
Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

Introduction

During the past year we have seen a lot of interest in the SFX small form-factor power supply market with more and more big-name power supply manufacturers adding new products on a regular basis. EVGA’s SuperNOVA GM Series includes three SFX form-factor power supplies: 450 GM (450W), 550 GM (550W) and 650 GM (650W). We will be taking a detailed look at the SuperNOVA 650 GM in this review.

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All three SuperNOVA GM Series SFX power supplies are fully modular and certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold criteria for high efficiency. The GM Series power supplies use a 92mm cooling fan that operates in silent fan-less mode (below 30% load) thanks to EVGA’s Auto ECO Mode fan speed control. The compact SFX chassis measures a mere 100mm deep and they all come backed by a 7-year warranty.

•    EVGA SuperNOVA 450 GM ($109.99 USD)
•    EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GM ($119.99 USD)
•    EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GM ($129.99 USD)

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Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GM SFX power supply!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HyperX

Macros and RGB for $39

We’ve previously looked at the top of the HyperX mouse line with our Pulsefire Surge RGB review, and the Core model we're checking out today sits at the entry level in the HyperX lineup, though it still offers full customization for buttons and RGB lighting. Is this $39.99 wired gaming mouse a good value? We will try to answer that here.

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First we'll check out the specifications for the full HyperX mouse lineup:

  Pulsefire Core Pulsefire FPS Pulsefire FPS Pro Pulsefire Surge
Shape Symmetrical Ergonomic Ergonomic Symmetrical
Connection Type Wired Wired Wired Wired
Lighting RGB Red RGB RGB - 360
Buttons 7 6 6 6
Switch Reliability 20M Clicks 20M Clicks 20M Clicks 50M Clicks
Optical Sensor Pixart 3327 Pixart 3310 Pixart 3389 Pixart 3389
Max Resolution 6200 DPI 3200 DPI 16000 DPI 16000 DPI
Max Speed 220 IPS 130 IPS 450 IPS 450 IPS
Max Acceleration 30G 30G 50G 50G
Polling Rate 1000 Hz (1 ms) 1000 Hz (1 ms) 1000 Hz (1 ms) 1000 Hz (1 ms)
Cable Type Braided Braided Braided Braided
Weight (without cable) 87g 95g 95g 100g
Product Dimensions
(WxLxH)
64x119x41mm 71x128x42mm 71x128x42mm 63x120x41mm
NGenuity Software Enabled Yes No Yes Yes

Pricing and Availability: $39.99, Amazon.com

As you can see the Pulsefire Core offers a mix of features between the FPS and FPS Pro models, and still provides NGenuity software control. The first technical difference to point out is the optical sensor (Pixart 3327), which at a max of 6200 DPI sits between the FPS and Surge, and also provides a faster 220 IPS speed than the FPS models. Mouse switches are rated for the same 20 million clicks as the FPS as well, though you will need to move up to the Pulsefire Surge to get the Omron brand switches and their 50 million clicks.

Continue reading our review of the HyperX Pulsefire Core gaming mouse.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: iStorage

datAshur Pro Encrypted USB Flash Drive

Editor's Note: This review was originally published at TekRevue and is republished here with permission.

When it comes to protecting your data, there are options such as local encryption or using an online storage service that offers encryption in the cloud. But one major weakness that affects both businesses and consumers is the "sneakernet:" moving data physically between computers or users via mediums such as flash drives or external hard drives. For example, delivering the latest W-2 forms to the HR department or taking your yearly tax information to your accountant's office.

While it's possible to move data in this manner securely by using software-based encryption, the simple reality is that many users and employees don't take data security into consideration, or they just forget. The thought is "the data is in my hands, it's safe." But, of course, when that flash drive or hard drive gets left behind at the coffee shop, or the bag containing them gets swiped at the airport, this false notion crumbles immediately.

UK-based iStorage is one company that recognizes this issue, and the company has built its entire product line around hardware-based encryption for external storage devices. These are devices that automatically encrypt the data stored on them, completely preventing access to the data unless the correct PIN is physically entered on the device. As long as employees or family members use a device like this for their external data storage, they never need to "think" about encryption since the data is automatically secured as soon as it's unplugged from the computer.

While iStorage offers a range of devices including external hard drives, we spent some time with one of the company's flash drives. The datAshur Pro is a USB 3.0 drive that is available in capacities ranging from 4 to 64GB. We're reviewing the 32GB model, which has a current street price in the US of about $125.

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: EVGA

Dedicated 2-Channel Sound

In the audio realm something pretty special happens when you have the right mix of source material, digital-to-analog conversion, amplification, and transducers (headphones or loudspeakers). And I am just talking about stereo, as 2-channel audio has the potential to immerse as deeply, and even more so, than 3D positional audio can; but it does take more care in overall setup. Enter EVGA, a company famous for its video cards, power supplies, motherboards, etc., and no stranger to diversification in the enthusiast PC community. And while EVGA in recent years has expanded their offering to include cases, coolers, and even laptops, they have never attempted a dedicated sound solution - until now.

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Coming as a surprise as the featured product in their suite at CES 2019, EVGA’s introduction of the Nu Audio card was exciting for me as an audio enthusiast, and this is really an enthusiast-level card based on the pricing of $249 ($199 for EVGA ELITE members). The Nu Audio is an all-new, designed from the ground up sound card with a true hi-fi pedigree and a stated goal of high-quality stereo sound reproduction. Just hearing the words “two channel” in relation to the computer audio was music to my ears (literally), and to say I was intrigued would be an understatement. I will try to temper my enthusiasm and just report the facts here; and yes, I understand that this is expensive for this market and a product like this is not for everyone.

The Nu Audio was created in partnership with Audio Note, a UK-based hi-fi component maker with a solid reputation and a philosophy that emphasizes component selection and material quality. In breaking down the components selected for the Nu Audio card it is evident that a high level of care went into the product, and it is the first time that I am aware of a computer sound card having this much in common with dedicated audiophile components.

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Of course component choices are irrelevant if the Nu Audio doesn’t sound any better than what users already have, and proving the value of a quality 2-channel experience can be tricky as it generally requires the user to provide both source material and headphones (or amplifier/speakers) of sufficient quality to hear a difference.

Continue reading our review of the EVGA Nu Audio PCIe sound card!

Manufacturer: AMD

Overview and Specifications

After a month-long wait following its announcement during the AMD keynote at CES, the Radeon VII is finally here. By now you probably know that this is the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU, and it is launching today at a price equal to NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 at $699.

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The AMD Radeon VII in action on the test bench

More than a gaming card, the Radeon VII is being positioned as a card for content creators as well by AMD, with its 16GB of fast HBM2 memory and enhanced compute capabilities complimenting what should be significantly improved gaming performance compared to the RX Vega 64.

Vega at 7nm

At the heart of the Radeon VII is the Vega 20 GPU, introduced with the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 compute cards for the professional market back in November. The move to 7nm brings a reduction in die size from 495 mm2 with Vega 10 to 331 mm2 with Vega 20, but this new GPU is more than a die shrink with the most notable improvement by way of memory throughput, as this is significantly higher with Vega 20.

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Double the HBM2, more than double the bandwidth

While effective memory speeds have been improved only slightly from 1.89 Gbps to 2.0 Gbps, far more impactful is the addition of two 4GB HBM2 stacks which not only increase the total memory to 16GB, but bring with them two additional memory controllers which double the interface width from 2048-bit to 4096-bit. This provides a whopping 1TB (1024 GB/s) of memory bandwidth, up from 483.8 GB/s with the RX Vega 64.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon VII graphics card!