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Preview and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
With the release of Intel's lastest consumer-oriented chipset, the Z390, GIGABYTE released the details of their Z390 board line. GIGABYTE's initial sampling to PC Perspective was their Z390 AORUS Pro motherboard, featuring a matte black PCB and an armored rear panel assembly and an integrated rear panel shield. In keeping with their previous AORUS series board designs, GIGABYTE spread RGB LEDs throughout the board's surface, configurable via the Windows applet. The board offers support for the latest Intel 9th genation processors (as well as maintaining support for the 8th generation processors) and Dual Channel DDR4 memory via the Intel Z390 chipset.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
- Supports 9th and 8th Intel® Core™ Processors
- Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
- Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
- 12+1 Phase Digital VRM Solution with DrMOS
- Advanced Thermal Design with Screw mounted Heatsinks and Heatpipe
- ALC1220-VB Enhance 114dB(Rear)/ 110dB(Front) SNR in Microphone with WIMA Audio Capacitors
- Intel® Gigabit LAN with cFos Speed
- RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone LED Light Show design, support Addressable LED & RGB LED strips
- Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
- Front USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™ Header
- Dual Ultra-Fast NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 with Thermal Guards
- CEC 2019 Ready, Save the Power as Easy as One Click
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
The following features have been integrated into the board: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports; an RJ-45 port featuring an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220-VB Audio CODEC; an integrated HDMI video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated integrated a 13-phase (12+1) digital power delivery system into the Z390 AORUS Pro board's design. The digital power system was designed with an IR Digital PWM Controller and DrMOS ICs, high grade choke, and all-metal long-life capacitors. The power circuitry and board trace design works together to give the board its excellent overclockability when used in combination with the Intel 9th generation processors.
Introduction and Features
Gigabyte recently introduced two new power supplies to their premium AORUS line of gaming products. The AORUS P850W and AORUS P750W are both fully modular power supplies and certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold certifications for high efficiency. The power supplies use a 135mm smart ball bearing fan for cooling that turns off during system idle or under low loads. Both power supplies feature high-quality components including 100% Japanese made capacitors and come backed by a 10-year warranty!
We will be taking a detailed look at the Gigabyte AORUS P850W power supply in this review.
Gigabyte AORUS P850W PSU Key Features:
• 850W Continuous DC output
• Fully modular cable system
• 80 PLUS® Gold certified for high efficiency
• Quiet double ball bearing fan
• Semi-fanless operation (below 20% load)
• 100% Japanese made capacitors
• Six 6+2 pin PCI-E connectors for high-end GPU support
• Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input (100 to 240 VAC)
• Safety protections: OVP, OPP, SCP, UVP, OCP, and OTP
• 10-Year warranty
• MSRP: $149.99 USD
Here is what Gigabyte has to say about their new AORUS power supplies:
“The new P850W and P750W bring up 80 PLUS® Gold power efficiency silent operation, as well as modular customization, and enhanced durability for gaming enthusiasts, especially those with multiple-GPU builds focused on VR gaming. 80 PLUS® Gold certified, the AORUS PSU delivers superior electrical performance at a minimum of 90% energy efficiency, ensuring power waste is kept at a minimum. With less heat and reduced fan noise, gamers with AORUS PSUs can enjoy cool and quiet gaming environment. With optimal support for Intel® processors, the power supply is also ideal for achieving reduced energy.
Using 100% Japanese capacitors and premium internal components throughout the design, the AORUS PSU provides users with extended product reliability and lifespan. The single +12V rail ensures the best power output with stability for the hardware, making this power supply ideal for overclocking. The 135mm temperature-controlled smart fan is automatically adjusted according to the actual power usage so even when the power usage is lower than 20%, the fan will automatically activate the stop function to ensure energy saving and stable power supply. The fan uses an ultra-durable double ball bearing design, which offers prolonged product life over 50,000 hours.”
Razer’s Blackwidow might be the most iconic mechanical gaming keyboard ever made. It’s dominated electronics store displays since it was first introduced and, as a result, few gamers don’t know the Blackwidow by name alone. Understandably, the Blackwidow series has been Razer’s flagship keyboard line since its debut with everything else coming second. All of that changes this week as the company introduces a second flagship keyboard. Today, we’re looking at the Razer Huntsman Elite, a premium keyboard with an exciting set of features and a brand new in-house key switch. But is it worth the ultra-premium $199 price tag? Let’s find out.
- MSRP: $199.99 (Huntsman Elite, reviewed), $149.99 (Huntsman)
- Switch Type: Razer Opto-Mechanical Switch
- Actuation Force: 45g
- Actuation Point: 1.5mm
- Travel Distance: 3.5mm
- Lifespan: 100 million clicks
- Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
- 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
- Gaming mode
- Braided fiber cable
- Aluminum matte black top cover
- 4-sided underglow lighting with 38 customization zones
- Ergonomic wrist rest with 24 underglow lighting customization zones
- Dedicated media controls
- Multi-functional digital dial
- Chroma game integration
Beginning with packaging, Razer continues their long tradition of over-delivering. When you open the box, you’ll find the keyboard well presented with a nice plastic cover to keep it dust free. You also find a letter from Min-Liang Tan, telling you what an amazing buying choice you’ve made and welcoming you to the Cult of Razer. Behind the letter, you’ll find the instruction manual, warranty information, and a sticker sheet with a handful of case badges.
With the release of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti just last week, the graphics card vendors have awakened with a flurry of new products based on the Turing GPUs.
Today, we're taking a look at ASUS's flagship option, the ASUS Republic of Gamers STRIX 2080 Ti.
|ASUS ROG STRIX 2080 Ti|
|Base Clock Speed||1350 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1665 MHz|
|Memory Clock Speed||14000 MHz GDDR6|
|Outputs||DisplayPort x 2 (v1.4) / HDMI 2.0b x 2 / USB Type-C x1 (VirtualLink)|
12 x 5.13 x 2.13 inches (30.47 x 13.04 x 5.41 cm)
For those of you familiar with the most recent STRIX video cards, the GTX 1080 Ti, and the RX Vega 64, the design of the RTX 2080 Ti will be immediately familiar. The same symmetric triple fan setup is present, contrasted against some of the recent triple fan designs we've seen from other manufacturers with different size fans.
Just as with the STRIX GTX 1080 Ti, the RTX 2080 Ti version features RGB lighting along the fan shroud of the card.
Our First Look
Over the years, the general trend for new GPU launches, especially GPUs from new graphics architecture is to launch only with the "reference" graphics card designs, developed by AMD or NVIDIA. While the idea of a "reference" design has changed over the years, with the introduction of NVIDIA's Founders Edition cards, and different special edition designs at launch from AMD like we saw with Vega 56 and Vega 64, generally there aren't any custom designs from partners available at launch.
However with the launch of NVIDIA's Turing architecture, in the form of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, we've been presented with an embarrassment of riches in the form of plenty of custom cooler and custom PCB designs found from Add-in Board (AIB) Manufacturers.
Today, we're taking a look at our first custom RTX 2080 design, the MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio.
|MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio|
|Base Clock Speed||1515 MHz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1835 MHz|
|Memory Clock Speed||7000 MHz GDDR6|
|Outputs||DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4) / HDMI 2.0b x 1 / USB Type-C x1 (VirtualLink)|
12.9-in x 5.5-in x 2.1-in (327 x 140 x 55.6 mm)
|Weight||3.42 lbs (1553 g)|
Introduced with the GTX 1080 Ti, the Gaming X Trio is as you might expect, a triple fan design, that makes up MSI's highest performance graphics card offering.
Intel just sent over a note that they have officially launched the 1.5TB capacity for the Optane SSD 905P (for both HHHL and U.2 form factors). We'd been expecting this for a while now, considering we had tested a full system incorporating the U.2 version of this very capacity two months ago. That system has now been given away, but I borrowed the SSD while Ken was tearing down the system for his review. With the product now officially launched, I thought it appropriate to take a quick look at this higher capacity part, both inside and out.
7 packages on one side of a single PCB. This is unexpected for a U.2 SSD since there is usually some sort of folded-over PCB sandwich, which doubles the available area for packages. Odd finding a single PCB here given the large 1.5TB capacity combined with XPoint dies only holding 16GB each.
7 more packages along with the now standard XPoint controller. No DRAM necessary because, well, XPoint can easily pull double duty in that respect. Alright, so we have 1.5TB spread across only 14 packages. Throughout every Intel SSD we have ever laid our hands on for review, we've never seen *any* product (NAND or 3D XPoint) stack more than 4 dies per package. Had Intel stuck with that limit here, we would only have a maximum raw media capacity of 896GB. This is a 1.5TB SSD, so the only possible answer here is that we apparently have the first 8-die-per-package SSD to come out of Intel.
New Generation, New Founders Edition
At this point, it seems that calling NVIDIA's 20-series GPUs highly anticipated would be a bit of an understatement. Between months and months of speculation about what these new GPUs would be called, what architecture they would be based off, and what features they would bring, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti were officially unveiled in August, alongside the Turing architecture.
We've already posted our deep dive into the Turing architecture and the TU 102 and TU 104 GPUs powering these new graphics cards, but here's a short take away. Turing provides efficiency improvements in both memory and shader performance, as well as adds additional specialized hardware to accelerate both deep learning (Tensor cores), and enable real-time ray tracing (RT cores).
|RTX 2080 Ti||Quadro RTX 6000||GTX 1080 Ti||RTX 2080||Quadro RTX 5000||GTX 1080||TITAN V||RX Vega 64 (Air)|
|Base Clock||1350 MHz||1455 MHz||1408 MHz||1515 MHz||1620 MHz||1607 MHz||1200 MHz||1247 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1545 MHz/
1635 MHz (FE)
|1770 MHz||1582 MHz||1710 MHz/
1800 MHz (FE)
|1820 MHz||1733 MHz||1455 MHz||1546 MHz|
|Ray Tracing Speed||10 GRays/s||10 GRays/s||--||8 GRays/s||8 GRays/s||--||--||--|
|Memory Clock||14000 MHz||14000 MHz||11000 MHz||14000 MHz||14000 MHz||10000 MHz||1700 MHz||1890 MHz|
|Memory Interface||352-bit G6||384-bit G6||352-bit G5X||256-bit G6||256-bit G6||256-bit G5X||3072-bit HBM2||2048-bit HBM2|
|Memory Bandwidth||616GB/s||672GB/s||484 GB/s||448 GB/s||448 GB/s||320 GB/s||653 GB/s||484 GB/s|
260 W (FE)
|260 W||250 watts||215W
|230 W||180 watts||250W||292|
|Peak Compute (FP32)||13.4 TFLOPS / 14.2 TFLOP (FE)||16.3 TFLOPS||10.6 TFLOPS||10 TFLOPS / 10.6 TFLOPS (FE)||11.2 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS||14.9 TFLOPS||13.7 TFLOPS|
|Transistor Count||18.6 B||18.6B||12.0 B||13.6 B||13.6 B||7.2 B||21.0 B||12.5 B|
|MSRP (current)||$1200 (FE)/
As unusual as it is for them NVIDIA has decided to release both the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti at the same time, as the first products in the Turing family.
The TU102-based RTX 2080 Ti features 4352 CUDA cores, while the TU104-based RTX 2080 features 2944, less than the GTX 1080 Ti. Also, these new RTX GPUs have moved to GDDR6 from the GDDR5X we found on the GTX 10-series.
Introduction and Features
SilverStone Technology Co. has been a pioneer in promoting both fan-less and Small Form Factor power supplies for PC enthusiasts. Now they have combined these two features in the new Nightjar Series 450W silent power supply. The NJ450-SXL power supply is fan-less and comes housed in an extended length SFX chassis.
Most fan-less PC power supplies incorporate an open design to allow airflow in through all sides but the NJ450-SXL is unique in that it uses a closed chassis with thick extruded aluminum sides to dissipate waste heat. The target audience is people who want a silent power supply (no fan noise and any potential high frequency coil whine or other electrical noises are sealed off) in small enclosure. This design could also be of interest to someone who needs a SFX-L power supply for use in a dirty-dusty environment that might quickly choke a standard fan-cooled unit.
(NJ = Nightjar Series, 450 = 450W, SXL = SFX-L Form Factor)
(Courtesy of SilverStone)
As you might expect, the SilverStone NJ450-SXL power supply features high efficiency (80 Plus Platinum certified) and comes with all modular flat ribbon-style cables.
SilverStone NJ450-SXL PSU Key Features:
• Fan-less power supply (0 dB noise)
• Small Form Factor (SFX-L) design
• 450W continuous power output up to 40°C
• 80 Plus Platinum certified for high efficiency
• Powerful single +12V rail with 37.5A capacity
• All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
• Support for high-end GPUs with four PCI-E 8/6-pin connectors
• Safety Protections: OCP, OPP, OVP, OTP, and SCP
• Compatible with ATX 12V v2.4
• MSRP $189.99 USD
A Look Back and Forward
Although NVIDIA's new GPU architecture, revealed previously as Turing, has been speculated about for what seems like an eternity at this point, we finally have our first look at exactly what NVIDIA is positioning as the future of gaming.
Unfortunately, we can't talk about this card just yet, but we can talk about what powers it
First though, let's take a look at the journey to get here over the past 30 months or so.
Unveiled in early 2016, Pascal marked by the launch of the GTX 1070 and 1080 was NVIDIA's long-awaited 16nm successor to Maxwell. Constrained by the oft-delayed 16nm process node, Pascal refined the shader unit design original found in Maxwell, while lowering power consumption and increasing performance.
Next, in May 2017 came Volta, the next (and last) GPU architecture outlined in NVIDIA's public roadmaps since 2013. However, instead of the traditional launch with a new GeForce gaming card, Volta saw a different approach.
Retesting the 2990WX
Earlier today, NVIDIA released version 399.24 of their GeForce drivers for Windows, citing Game Ready support for some newly released games including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout Beta, and Assetto Corsa Competizione early access.
While this in and of itself is a normal event, we shortly started to get some tips from readers about an interesting bug fix found in NVIDIA's release notes for this specific driver revision.
Specifically addressing performance differences between 16-core/32-thread processors and 32-core/64-thread processors, this patched issue immediately rang true of our experiences benchmarking the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX back in August, where we saw some games resulting in frames rates around 50% slower than the 16-core Threadripper 2950X.
This particular patch note lead us to update out Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX test platform to this latest NVIDIA driver release and see if there were any noticeable changes in performance.
The full testbed configuration is listed below:
|Test System Setup|
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme - BIOS 1304|
16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200
Operating at DDR4-2933
|Storage||Corsair Neutron XTi 480 SSD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB|
|Graphics Drivers||NVIDIA 398.26 and 399.24|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM1000x|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64 RS4 (17134.165)|
Included at the end of this article are the full results from our entire suite of game benchmarks from our CPU testbed, but first, let's take a look at some of the games that provided particularly bad issues with the 2990WX previously.
The interesting data points for this testing are the 2990WX scores across both the driver revision we tested across every CPU, 398.26, as well as the results from the 1/4 core compatibility mode, and the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X. From the wording of the patch notes, we would expect gaming performance between the 16-core 2950X and the 32-core 2990WX to be very similar.
Grand Theft Auto V
GTA V was previously one of the worst offenders in our original 2990WX testing, with the frame rate almost halving compared to the 2950X.
However, with the newest GeForce driver update, we see this gap shrinking to around a 20% difference.
Do You Have a Need for Kailh Silver Speed?
HyperX has launched the Alloy FPS RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring Kailh Silver Speed switches. The keyboard has a more compact design than the Alloy Elite RGB keyboard I reviewed back in June, and carries a price tag $50 lower than that model thanks in part to the lower-cost Kailh switches employed. Is the quality of this new keyboard up to the high standards of previous HyperX designs? How do these Kailh Silver Speed key switches feel compared to Cherry MX switches? I will try to answer both of these questions in this review, so let's get started!
- Type: Mechanical
- Keyswitches: Kailh Silver Speed, Linear, 40cN actuation force
- Backlight: RGB (16,777,216 colors)
- Light effects: Per key RGB lighting and 5 brightness levels.
- On board memory: 3 profiles
- Connection type: USB 2.0 (2 USB connectors)
- USB 2.0 Pass-through: Yes (mobile phone charging only)
- Polling rate: 1000Hz
- Anti-ghosting: 100% anti-ghosting
- Key Rollover: N-key mode
- Media control: Yes
- Game Mode: Yes
- Cable Type: Detachable, braided. Length: 1.8m
- Dimensions Width 442.26 Depth 129.81 Height 35.59 mm
- Weight (with cable): 1100g
- OS compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
Pricing and Availability: $109.99 MSRP (currently available direct from HyperX)
Previously all HyperX keyboards were built with Cherry MX keyswitches, so the move to Kailh with this new keyboard is interesting - though it does allow for a lower MSRP with the same per-key RGB lighting of the Elite model. And while Kailh switches are less expensive to buy (about a third of the cost of a Cherry MX key switches), that does not mean the performance is inferior - though I have previously found Kailh switches to feel a little different.
Introduction and Case Exterior
It has been almost three years since we reviewed the original Silent Base 600 enclosure, and today we have the brand new Silent Base 601 from be quiet! in for review. Launching this week, the latest case from the German manufacturer combines a noise-reducing interior with a no-frills exterior. Gone are its predecessor's optical drive bays and hinged front panel door, allowing for a wide-open internal layout, and overall this is a thoroughly modern enclosure design.
The Silent Base 601 enclosure also marks this reviewer's first experience with a be quiet! product (Lee handled the Silent Base 600 review), so I came into the this with zero expectations - and was honestly pretty surprised by the case overall. My findings (and many photos) are documented in this review, so let's get started!
Features from be quiet!:
- Noise dampening vents provide excellent air permeability with maximum silence
- Extra thick insulation mats of 10mm in the front, top and sides
- Two preinstalled Pure Wings 2 140mm fans
- 3-step fan controller caters for up to three fans
- The PSU shroud provides a neat interior
- Ready for radiators up to 360mm
- Three years manufacturer’s warranty
- Product conception, design and quality control in Germany
The Silent Base 601 is available in both the standard version (as reviewed) or a windowed version for $10 more, and with the option of three different front accent colors - orange, black, or silver.
Today we take a quick look at an update to Toshiba's line of OEM SSDs. The first product to employ 96-layer 3D TLC NAND, the XG6:
I'm going to keep this one brief since this is to be an OEM-only product that is not expected to be available in retail channels. It's good to have some results out there since it will appear in many laptops and may result in the creation of a parallel retail product at some point in the future.
XG6 at the top. XG5 at the bottom. Pretty much identical with the labels removed, the major exception being the flash memory, which is now 96-layer BiCS.
Synology DS1618+ Review
Synology's 2018 product lineup includes a new network-attached storage device that merges a prosumer price point with an enterprise-level (albeit entry-level enterprise) feature set. The Synology DS1618+ is a six-bay NAS sporting a quad-core Intel processor, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, and, most importantly, a PCIe expansion slot.
It's that last key feature -- a PCIe 3.0 x8 (x4 link) slot -- that really makes the DS1618+ interesting, as it lets users optionally expand the capabilities of the device with add-ons like NVMe flash adapters or 10GbE ports. Synology has long offered PCIe expansion capabilities in their products, but they've generally been limited to the much costlier enterprise models. With the costs of 10-gigabit networking continuing to fall, however, the DS1618+ is perfectly timed to bring ultra-fast networked storage to home power users.
Synology loaned us a DS1618+ for review, and we've spent the last few weeks testing it with our existing 10GBase-T network.
Introduction and Features
Earlier this year we looked at the BitFenix Whisper M 850W power supply and today we are taking a detailed look at the BitFenix Formula Gold 750W unit. With a lower price point the Formula Gold Series is targeted towards mainstream consumers. The most obvious difference between these two units is the Formula God Series has all fixed cables while the Whisper M Series comes with modular cables. The Formula Gold power supplies use a 120mm cooling fan that spins all the time while the Whisper M units incorporate a 135mm fan with semi-fanless operation. And last but not least is a difference in warranty period. The Formula Gold Series are backed with a 5-year warranty while the Whisper M units come with a 7-year warranty.
Formed in 2014 and based in New Taipei, Taiwan, BitFenix started their PC hardware business with a focus on power supplies, cases, lighting accessories, and LED fans targeted towards enthusiasts, gamers and modders. They currently have four different power supply lines: the Formula Gold, BitFenix BPA, Whisper M, and the Fury. The Formula Gold series includes four models: 450W, 550W, 650W and 750W.
The BitFenix Formula Gold Series power supplies are certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold standards for high efficiency and feature Japanese made capacitors. All of the Formula Gold power supplies use a multi-rail delivery system with four dedicated +12V outputs: MB-PH, CPU, VGA1, and VGA2.
BitFenix Formula Gold 750W PSU Key Features:
• 750W Continuous DC output at up to 50°C
• 80 PLUS Gold certified for high efficiency
• Dedicated quad +12V rails
• 120mm Cooling fan with FDB
• Intelligent Fan Control for quiet operation
• Japanese made capacitors
• Complies with Intel ATX12V v2.4
• Active Power Factor correction with Universal AC input (100 to 240 VAC)
• Safety protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, OPP, SCP, OTP, and SIP
• No Load Operation (NLO)
• 2013 ErP Lot 6 ready
• 5-Year warranty
• MSRP: $89.95 USD
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Samsung has been in the portable SSD business for a good while now. They released their T1 back in 2015, with the T3 and T5 coming in at a yearly cadence. Keeping with tradition, today we see the release of a new model on a new interface - Samsung's new Portable SSD X5:
(970 EVO included for scale)
While the 'T' branded predecessors were USB 3.0 and 3.1 (Gen1 - limited to 5Gbps), Samsung has now jumped onto the Thunderbolt 3 bandwagon, taking a firmware-tweaked (for encryption) 970 EVO and placing it behind an Intel Alpine Ridge DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller.
Specs of note are the nearly 3GB/s sequential read speed. 2.3GB/s writes are nothing to sneeze at, either. No random performance noted here, but we will fix that with our test suite later on in the article.
Nice packaging and presentation.
Read on for our review of the Samsung Portable SSD X5!
We aim to find out
Back in April of this year we first took a look at the storage performance of the then-new X470 chipset for the 2nd generation of Ryzen processors. Allyn dove into NVMe RAID performance and also a new offering called StoreMI. Based on a software tiered storage solution from Enmotus, StoreMI was a way for AMD to offer storage features and capabilities matching or exceeding that of Intel’s mainstream consumer platforms without the need for extensive in-house development.
Allyn described the technology well:
AMD has also launched their answer to Intel RST caching. StoreMI is actually a more flexible solution that offers some unique advantages over Intel. Instead of copying a section of HDD data to the SSD cache, StoreMI combines the total available storage space of both the HDD and SSD, and is able to seamlessly shuffle the more active data blocks to the SSD. StoreMI also offers more cache capacity than Intel - up to
512 256GB SSD caches are possible (60GB limit on Intel). Lastly, the user can opt to donate 2GB of RAM as an additional caching layer.
We recently did some testing with StoreMI after the release of the 2nd generation Threadripper processor evaluation was out of the way, just to get a feel for the current state of the software offering and whether or not it could really close the gap with the Optane caching solutions that Intel was putting forward for enthusiasts.
Your Mileage May Vary
One of the most interesting things going around in the computer hardware communities this past weekend was the revelation from a user named bryf50 on Reddit that they somehow had gotten his FreeSync display working with his NVIDIA GeForce GPU.
For those of you that might not be familiar with the particular ins-and-outs of these variable refresh technologies, getting FreeSync displays to work on NVIDIA GPUs is potentially a very big deal.
While NVIDIA GPUs support the NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate standard, they are not compatible with Adaptive Sync (the technology on which FreeSync is based) displays. Despite Adaptive Sync being an open standard, and an optional extension to the DisplayPort specification, NVIDIA so far has chosen not to support these displays.
However, this provides some major downsides to consumers looking to purchase displays and graphics cards. Due to the lack of interoperability, consumers can get locked into a GPU vendor if they want to continue to use the variable refresh functionality of their display. Plus, Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync monitors, in general, seem to be significantly more inexpensive for similar specifications.
Introduction, Specifications, and Design
Azulle's Inspire Barebone Mini PC offers a range of processor options and is, in all but the Intel Core i7 variant, a fanless system. The Inspire supports up to 32GB of DDR4 across two SoDIMMs, and supports both 2.5-inch SATA and M.2 storage. We had a chance to test out a Core i5-powered variant, and we'll explore both the design and performance in this review.
As this is a barebone system, the Inspire - like Intel NUC computers - requires users to supply memory and storage, leaving only the processor to be selected when you order. Four Intel platform options are available, with Apollo Lake ($169.99), Core i3 ($269.99), Core i5 ($334.99), and Core i7 ($449.99) CPUs. Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U, which is the $334.99 configuration, and Azulle sent over NVMe storage and DDR4 memory to make this a complete system.
Specifications from Azulle:
- Intel Apollo Lake J4205
- Intel Kaby Lake i3-7100U
- Intel Kaby Lake i5-7200U
- Intel Kaby Lake i7-7500U
- RAM: Up to 32 GB DDR4
- Storage: MMC Optonal, SSD supported
- M.2. Slot: x1
- SATA: x1
- GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 620
- Wi-Fi: 2.4g/5.0g Dual-Band
- Ethernet: 1x Gigabit
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
- DisplayPort: x1 Port, 4K @ 60 FPS
- HDMI: x1 Port, 4K @ 60 FPS
- USB: x3 3.0 Port, x1 Type-C
- SD Card Slot: x1
- IR: IR Control
- Audio Output: 3.5 mm Jack
- BIOS: Wake On LAN/ PXE/Auto Power
- Power Supply: 12V/3A
- Dimensions: 4.9 in x 4.9 in x 1.9 inches
Pricing and Availability:
- Inspire Mini PC Barebone - Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7200U: $334.99, Amazon
Evolution of a Pro Mouse
Logitech’s original G Pro mouse quickly became a fan favorite among competitive gamers and, with the introduction of the new HERO16k sensor, it was only a matter of time before we saw an updates trickling into their existing lines. Well, now is that time and we actually find ourselves with two new G Pro mice to test today: the updated wired G Pro and the LIGHTSPEED equipped G Pro Wireless. Let’s dig in and see if they deliver!
Before we get to packaging, let’s have a look at the specs:
- Sensor: HERO16K™
- Resolution: 100-16,000 DPI
- Max. acceleration: tested at > 40G
- Max. speed: tested at > 400 IPS
- USB data format: 16 bits/axis
- USB report rate: 125Hz (8ms) - 1000 Hz (1 ms)
- Microprocessor: 32-bit ARM
- Main buttons: 50-million clicks with precision mechanical button tensioning
- Feet: tested at > 250-km range
- Physical specifications:
- G Pro Wireless: 4.92in (H) x 2.50in (W) x 1.57in (D)
- G Pro: 4.59in (H) x 2.44in (W) x 1.50in (D)
- G Pro Wireless: 2.8oz/80g
- G Pro: 2.93oz/83g (mouse only)
- Cable length:
- G Pro Wireless: ~6 ft (charging)
- G Pro: ~6.5 ft
- Illumination: Yes, dual zone
- Pricing and Availability:
- G Pro Wireless: $149.99 at LogitechG.com
- G Pro: $69.99 at LogitechG.com
As you can tell, when it comes to performance, these mice are almost identical. That’s no surprise given that they’ve been developed in collaboration with top e-Sports pros over the last two years. Whether you’re wired or cable-free, if you’re in the middle of a tournament, you need your mouse to be reliable and on the cutting edge of tracking, so we wouldn’t expect to see a performance difference between the two, particularly when LIGHTSPEED has so narrowed the gap between wired and wireless performance. Instead, the differences come down to physical design.
The packaging on each of the mice is very similar. The Pro Wireless is clearly more premium, however, coming apart in two pieces to showcase the mouse underneath.
The G Pro Wireless comes with a few accessories, including a 6-foot USB cable, USB dongle and extender, and plates to block the side buttons on either side. Conveniently, the wireless receiver can be stored in a compartment in the bottom of the mouse. The wired G Pro is much simpler, including only the mouse and some basic documentation.