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So Long, Battery Stress
Wireless peripherals can be stressful. Sure, we all love being free from the tether, but as time goes on worries about responsiveness linger in the back of the mind like an unwelcome friend. Logitech is here with an impressive answer: the G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and the G603 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse. This pair of peripherals promise an astounding 18-months of battery life with performance that’s competitive with their wire-bound cousins. Did they succeed?
G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
- MSRP: $149.99
- Key Switch: Romer-G
- Durability: 70 million keypresses
- Actuation distance: 0.06 in (1.5 mm)
- Actuation force: 1.6 oz (45 g)
- Total travel distance: 0.12 in (3.0 mm)
- Keycaps: ABS, Pad Printed Legends
- Battery Life: 18 months
- Connectivity: Wireless, Bluetooth
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 8.5 inches
G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse
- MSRP: $69.99 ($59.97 on Amazon as of this writing)
- Sensor: HERO
- Resolution: 200 – 12,000 dpi
- Max. acceleration: tested at >40G3
- Max. speed: tested at >400 IPS3
- USB data format: 16 bits/axis
- USB report rate: HI mode: 1000 Hz (1ms), LO mode: 125 Hz (8 ms)
- Bluetooth report rate: 88-133 Hz (7.5-11.25 ms)
- Microprocessor: 32-bit ARM
- Main buttons: 20 million clicks with precision mechanical button tensioning
- Battery life: HI mode: 500 hours (non-stop gaming), LO mode: 18 months (standard usage)
- Weight: 3.14 oz (88.9 g) mouse only, 4.79 oz (135.7 g), with 2 AA batteries
Starting with the G613, we find a full-size keyboard that is both longer and wider than average. This is due to a set of six programmable macro keys (highlighted in blue, G1-G6, assignable in Logitech’s Gaming Software) along the left side. There is also a non-detachable wrist rest along the bottom made of hard plastic.
The overall footprint isn’t much larger than a standard full-size keyboard with a wrist rest, it's 18.8 x 8.5 inch dimensions, but it’s definitely something to consider if you’re space constrained. I appreciate that Logitech included the wrist rest but with more comfortable padded options out there, it would have been nice to be able to swap it out.
It's clear by now that AMD's latest CPU releases, the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G are compelling products. We've already taken a look at them in our initial review, as well as investigated how memory speed affected the graphics performance of the internal GPU but it seemed there was something missing.
Recently, it's been painfully clear that GPUs excel at more than just graphics rendering. With the rise of cryptocurrency mining, OpenCL and CUDA performance are as important as ever.
Cryptocurrency mining certainly isn't the only application where having a powerful GPU can help system performance. We set out to see how much of an advantage the Radeon Vega 11 graphics in the Ryzen 5 2400G provided over the significantly less powerful UHD 630 graphics in the Intel i5-8400.
|Test System Setup|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
Intel Core i5-8400
|Motherboard||Gigabyte AB350N-Gaming WiFi
ASUS STRIX Z370-E Gaming
|Memory||2 x 8GB G.SKILL FlareX DDR4-3200
(All memory running at 3200 MHz)
|Storage||Corsair Neutron XTi 480 SSD|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon Vega 11 Graphics
Intel UHD 630 Graphics
|Graphics Drivers||AMD 17.40.3701
|Power Supply||Corsair RM1000x|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64 RS3|
Before we take a look at some real-world examples of where a powerful GPU can be utilized, let's look at the relative power of the Vega 11 graphics on the Ryzen 5 2400G compared to the UHD 630 graphics on the Intel i5-8400.
SiSoft Sandra is a suite of benchmarks covering a wide array of system hardware and functionality, including an extensive range of GPGPU tests, which we are looking at today.
Comparing the raw shader performance of the Ryzen 5 2400G and the Intel i5-8400 provides a clear snapshot of what we are dealing with. In every precision category, the Vega 11 graphics in the AMD part are significantly more powerful than the Intel UHD 630 graphics. This all combines to provide a 175% increase in aggregate shader performance over Intel for the AMD part.
Now that we've taken a look at the theoretical power of these GPUs, let's see how they perform in real-world applications.
Delivering on the Promise of Thunderbolt 3
Despite the greatly increased adoption of Thunderbolt 3 over the previous 2 Thunderbolt standards, the market is still lacking actual devices that take advantage of the full 40Gbps bandwidth that Thunderbolt 3 offers.
External storage seems like a natural use of this PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface available with the Thunderbolt 3 standard, but storage devices that take advantage of this are few and far between. Most of the devices in the market currently are merely bridges for SATA M.2 drives to Thunderbolt 3, which would be limited by the SATA 6Gb/s interface.
However, this market gap seems poised to change. Today, we are taking a look at the TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD, which advertises sequential transfer speeds up to 2.3 GB/s Read and 1.3 GB/s Write.
Introduction and Features
BitFenix is a relatively new player in the PC power supply market. 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 Whisper M series includes five models ranging from 450W up to 850W. We will be taking a detailed look at the BitFenix Whisper M 850W power supply in this review.
The BitFenix Whisper M Series power supplies are all modular and certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold standards for high efficiency. They feature all Japanese made capacitors, a 135mm fan with a FDB, and come backed by a 7-year warranty.
BitFenix Whisper M 850W PSU Key Features:
• 850W Continuous DC output at up to 50°C
• 80 PLUS Gold certified for high efficiency
• Fully-modular cables
• Dedicated quad +12V rails
• 135mm Cooling fan with FDB
• Intelligent Fan Control for quiet operation
• Japanese made capacitors
• Complies with Intel ATX12V v2.4 and Haswell C6/C1
• 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
• 7-Year warranty
• MSRP: $119.99 USD
A Different Kind of Productivity Mouse
Logitech has been a major player in the world of computer mice for years. In fact, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve used one yourself. Never one to rest on their laurels, one of Logitech’s latest entries, the MX Master 2S, puts creatives and professionals square in its sights and aims to change the way you compute.
Through a suite of interesting control features, a high precision Darkfield sensor, three-system connectivity, and the unique functionality afforded by Logitech’s Options software, the MX Master 2S is more than a little interesting. Read on to see exactly what this mouse has to offer.
- MSRP: $99.99
- Connectivity: Wireless Receiver, Bluetooth
- Sensor technology: Darkfield high precision
- Nominal value: 1000 dpi
- DPI: 200 to 4000 dpi (can be set in increments of 50 dpi)
- Battery life: up to 70 days on a single full charge
- Battery: rechargeable Li-Po (500 mAh) battery
- Number of buttons: 7
- Gesture button: Yes
- Scroll Wheel: Yes, with auto-shift
- Standard and Special buttons: Back/Forward and middle click
- Wireless operating distance: 10m
- Wireless technology: Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless technology
- Optional software: Logitech Options and Logitech Flow
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 3.4 in (85.7 mm) x 5.0 in (126.0 mm) x 2.0 in (48.4 mm)
- Weight: 5.1oz (145g)
- Warranty: 1-year
The MX Master 2S features retail packaging common to Logitech mice, with the book-like cover and inner display bubble. Behind the tray holding the mouse, you’ll also find the micro-USB cable for charging and some brief documentation. Here you’ll also the features spotlighted, and Logitech makes a special point to showcase the software suite. Right away, it’s clear how important the software package is to the 2S.
Taking the mouse of its packaging, the first thing you’ll notice is how large it is. The main body is wider and suited to palm and claw grips. The left side also features a textured wing for a thumb rest and access to the gesture button. The mouse is heavier than many, coming in at 145g, so gamers will want to take note: it’s not the best for rapid response gaming. For productivity and creative work, I found this weight to be a good compromise between functionality and holding an expansive battery without negatively impacting the smooth glide of its teflon feet.
Memory speed is not a factor that the average gamer thinks about when building their PC. For the most part, memory performance hasn't had much of an effect on modern processors running high-speed memory such as DDR3 and DDR4.
With the launch of AMD's Ryzen processors, last year emerged a platform that was more sensitive to memory speeds. By running Ryzen processors with higher frequency and lower latency memory, users should see significant performance improvements, especially in 1080p gaming scenarios.
However, the Ryzen processors are not the only ones to exhibit this behavior.
Gaming on integrated GPUs is a perfect example of a memory starved situation. Take for instance the new AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and it's Vega-based GPU cores. In a full Vega 56 or 64 situation, these Vega cores utilize blazingly fast HBM 2.0 memory. However, due to constraints such as die space and cost, this processor does not integrate HBM.
Instead, both the CPU portion and the graphics portion of the APU must both depend on the same pool of DDR4 system memory. DDR4 is significantly slower than memory traditionally found on graphics cards such as GDDR5 or HBM. As a result, APU performance is usually memory limited to some extent.
In the past, we've done memory speed testing with AMD's older APUs, however with the launch of the new Ryzen and Vega based R3 2200G and R5 2400G, we decided to take another look at this topic.
For our testing, we are running the Ryzen 5 2400G at three different memory speeds, 2400 MHz, 2933 MHz, and 3200 MHz. While the maximum supported JEDEC memory standard for the R5 2400G is 2933, the memory provided by AMD for our processor review will support overclocking to 3200MHz just fine.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
The newly released Vue Coolant is the latest coolant product from Primochill, offering one of their most unique products to date. Their Vue Coolant shows as a solid color at rest and fractalizes when in motion, creating a random visualization with your water loop under power. The coolant is water based and tested by Primochill as safe for any same metal copper based loops, as well as safe to use with acrylic components. Currently, Primochill offers Vue coolant in a large variety of colors all with an MRSP of $24.95 for a 1 quart container.
Courtesy of Primochill
One of the coolest properties of Primochill's Vue coolant is its fractalization properties when in motion. The fluid shown is at rest on the left and in motion on the right. Notice how random patterns emerge in the right bottle, forming unique visuals. The visualizations are caused by particles in suspension in the coolant itself.
Courtesy of Primochill
Primochill currently offers their Vue coolant in the 18 colors shown, ranging from dark red (Crimson) to Yellow with even more colors promised in the future. They have ensured that the Vue coolant will fit in almost any system build imaginable with their broad color palette.
Courtesy of Primochill
To best prep an existing system and cooling loop for use with their Vue coolant, Primochill developed System Reboot. You simply add the bottle's contents to a gallon of distilled water and run it through your loop for up to 24hrs. It was designed to remove any residue or staining from your system components, leaving them like new. Primochill designed this cleaning agent specifically for Vue system preparation because of the Vue coolant's fragile nature when exposed to other coolant compounds.
Cherry is one of the most well-known brands in the mechanical keyboard industry. The company, based in Germany, is best known for their MX key switches, which have become the gold standard in the premium keyboard market. As a result of their high standards, tight quality control, and even the occasional scarcity, “genuine Cherry key switches” has become a veritable marketing point on more than a few features lists.
Since they make their own switches, it should come as no surprise that Cherry also produces their own keyboards. Today, we’re looking at the G80-3494, a new entry in the G80-3000 line and one of the few keyboards in the United States to feature Cherry MX Silent Black key switches. Do their full-fledged boards live up to the lofty standards of their switches?
- MSRP: $149.99 (currently sale price: $111.56)
- Layout: ANSI, 104-key
- Key Switch: Cherry MX Silent Black (linear)
- Key Lifespan: 50M keystroke
- Actuation Force: 60cN
- N-Key Rollover: 14-key simultaneous
- Cable: 1.75m, non-detachable, PVC coated
- Dimensions: 470 x 195 x 44 mm
- Weight: 935g
Addressing New Markets
Machine Learning is one of the hot topics in technology, and certainly one that is growing at a very fast rate. Applications such as facial recognition and self-driving cars are powering much of the development going on in this area. So far we have seen CPUs and GPUs being used in ML applications, but in most cases these are not the most efficient ways of doing these highly parallel but relatively computationally simple workloads. New chips have been introduced that are far more focused on machine learning, and now it seems that ARM is throwing their hat into the ring.
ARM is introducing three products under the Project Trillium brand. It features a ML processor, a OD (Object Detection) processor, and a ARM developed Neural Network software stack. This project came as a surprise for most of us, but in hindsight it is a logical avenue for them to address as it will be incredibly important moving forward. Currently many applications that require machine learning are not processed at the edge, namely in the consumer’s hand or device right next to them. Workloads may be requested from the edge, but most of the heavy duty processing occurs in datacenters located all around the world. This requires communication, and sometimes pretty hefty levels of bandwidth. If neither of those things are present, applications requiring ML break down.
Introduction and First Impressions
NZXT has proven to be willing to adapt and innovate in the competitive DIY PC space, introducing their own software control suite (CAM) to control cooling and lighting effects in 2014, and this year launching their first motherboard. We have have seen CAM in action with products like the Kraken AiO liquid CPU coolers, which required the software to fully unlock their potential - both thermally and visually (RGB) speaking, and it's an integral part of the new H700i enclosure.
“The H700i showcases NZXT’s vision for modern PC building. This premium mid-tower case features a unique CAM Powered Smart Device that digitally drives RGB lighting and fan performance. You can effortlessly control RGB lighting and fans, while Adaptive Noise Reduction optimizes your build’s acoustics through machine learning and ideal fan settings. Includes four integrated Aer F fans and two RGB LED to enhance the aesthetics of your build as seen through the H700i’s stunning tempered glass panel.”
Now that NZXT has brought that CAM software feature-set to enclosures beginning with the H700i mid-tower we have for you today, we will pay close attention to the way the integrated "Smart Device" - a module that controls fans and lighting - fits into the usual thermal/noise equation. OEM systems from the likes of Dell with their Alienware desktops have used similar dedicated hardware for cooling and lighting control, and it's interesting to see this enter the DIY space. How important is software control of cooling and RGB effects to you? That depends, of course, and partly on how easy it is to use.
We will take a close look in and around this new enclosure, and while it’s on the test bench we will see how the stylish H700i stacks up with thermal and noise results vs. some other recent cases - and test the H700i both with and without CAM software optimization to see what sort of difference it makes in practice. Let’s get started!
Raven Ridge Desktop
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the release of the Ryzen family of processors, the full breadth of the releases AMD put forth inside of 12 months is more apparent than ever. Though I feel like I have written summations of 2017 for AMD numerous times, it still feels like an impressive accomplishment as I reflect for today’s review. Starting with the Ryzen 7 family of processors targeting enthusiasts, AMD iterated through Ryzen 5, Ryzen 3, Ryzen Threadripper, Ryzen Pro, EPYC, and Ryzen Mobile.
Today, though its is labeled as a 2000-series of parts, we are completing what most would consider the first full round of the Ryzen family. As the first consumer desktop APU (AMD’s term for a processor with tightly integrated on-die graphics), the Ryzen 5 2400G and the Ryzen 3 2200G look very much like the Ryzen parts before them and like the Ryzen mobile APUs that we previously looked at in notebook form. In fact, from an architectural standpoint, these are the same designs.
Before diving into the hardware specifications and details, I think it is worth discussing the opportunity that AMD has with the Ryzen with Vega graphics desktop part. By most estimates, more than 30% of the desktop PCs sold around the world ship without a discrete graphics card installed. This means they depend on the integrated graphics from processor to handle the functions of general compute and any/all gaming that might happen locally. Until today, AMD has been unable to address that market with its currently family of Ryzen processors, as they require discrete graphics solutions.
While most of our readers fall into the camp of not just using a discrete solution but requiring one for gaming purposes, there are a lot of locales and situations where the Ryzen APU is going to provide more than enough graphics horsepower. The emerging markets in China and India, for example, are regularly using low-power systems with integrated graphics, often based on Intel HD Graphics or previous generation AMD solutions. These gamers and consumers will see dramatic increases in performance with the Zen + Vega solution that today’s processor releases utilize.
Let’s not forget about secondary systems, small form factor designs, and PCs design for your entertainment centers as possible outlets for and uses for Ryzen APUs even for the most hardcore of enthusiast. Mom or Dad need a new PC for basic tasks on a budget? Again, AMD is hoping to make a case today for those sales.
The SDM845 Reference Platform and CPU Results
The Snapdragon 845 is Qualcomm’s latest flagship mobile platform, officially announced on December 6 and known officially as the SDM845 (moving from the MSMxxxx nomenclature of previous iterations). At a recent media event we had a chance to go hands-on with a development platform device for a preview of this new Snapdragon's performance, the results of which we can now share. Will the Snapdragon 845 be Qualcomm's Android antidote to Apple's A11? Read on to find out!
The SDM845 QRD (Qualcomm Reference Design) Device
While this article will focus on CPU and GPU performance with a few known benchmarks, the Snapdragon 845 is of course a full mobile platform which combines 8-core Kryo 385 CPU, Adreno 630 graphics, Hexagon 685 DSP (which includes the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine), Spectra 280 image processor, X20 LTE modem, etc. The reference device was packaged like a typical 5.5-inch Android smartphone, which can only help to provide a real-world application of thermal management during benchmarking.
Qualcomm Reference Design Specifications:
- Baseband Chipset: SDM845
- Memory: 6 GB LPDDR4X (PoP)
- Display: 5.5-inch 1440x2560
- Front: IMX320 12 MP Sensor
- Rear: IMX386 12 MP Sensor
- No 3.5 mm headset jack (Analog over USB-C)
- 4 Digital Microphones
- Connector: USB 3.1 Type-C
- DisplayPort over USB-C
At the heart of the Snapdragon 845 is the octa-core Kryo 385 CPU, configured with 4x performance cores and 4x efficiency cores, and offering clock speeds of up to 2.8 GHz. In comparison the Snapdragon 835 had a similar 8x CPU configuration (Kryo 280) clocked up to 2.45 GHz. The SDM845 is produced on 10 nm LPP process technology, while the SD835 (MSM8998) was the first to be manufactured at 10 nm (LPE). It is not surprising that Qualcomm is getting higher clock speeds from this new chip at the same process node, and increases in efficiency (the new 10nm LPP FinFET process) should theoretically result in similar - or possibly even lower - power draw from these higher clocks.
For the first time in several years, the notebook market has gotten very interesting from a performance standpoint. First, we had Intel’s launch of its Kaby-Lake Refresh 8th Generation processors which packed a true quad-core CPU into a 15W package. Then, we heard about AMD’s Raven Ridge which aimed to combine a quad-core mobile CPU with Radeon Vega graphics into that same 15W power target.
Even though the excitement over Raven Ridge may have subsided a bit after Intel and AMD’s joint announcement of Vega graphics combined with Intel CPUs in the Kaby-Lake G platform, that is still yet to be released and will reside in a significantly higher class of power usage.
So today we are taking a look at AMD’s Raven Ridge, what may be AMD’s first worthy entry into the thin-and-light notebook market.
For our Raven Ridge testing, we are taking a look at the HP Envy x360, which at the time of writing is the only machine to be shipping with these Ryzen Mobile processors (although more machines have been announced and are coming soon). Additionally, we also wanted to wait a while for the software ecosystem on this new platform to stabilize (more on that later).
Beating AMD and Analyst Estimates
January 30th has rolled around and AMD released their Q4 2017 results. The results were positive and somewhat unexpected. I have been curious how the company fared and was waiting for these results to compare them to the relatively strong quarter that Intel experienced. At the Q3 earnings AMD was not entirely bullish about how Q4 would go. The knew that it was going to be a down quarter as compared to an unexpectedly strong third quarter, but they were unsure how that was going to pan out. The primary reason that Q4 was not going to be as strong was due to the known royalty income that AMD was expecting from their Semi-Custom Group. Q4 has traditionally been bad for that group as all of their buildup for the holiday season came from Q1 and Q2 rampings of the physical products that would be integrated into consoles.
The results exceeded AMD’s and analysts’ expectations. They were expecting in the $1.39B range, but their actual revenue came in at a relatively strong $1.48B. Not only was the quarter stronger than expected, but AMD was able to pull out another positive net income of $61M. It has been a while since AMD was able to post back to back profitable quarters. This allowed AMD to have a net positive year to the tune of $43M where in 2016 AMD had a loss of $497M. 2017 as a whole was $1.06B more in revenue over 2016. AMD has been historically lean in terms of expenses for the past few years, and a massive boost in revenue has allowed them to invest in R&D as well as more aggressively ramp up their money making products to compete more adequately with Intel, who is having their own set of issues right now with manufacturing and security.
Introduction and Features
Small size, big performance – the new Supernova G3 Series power supplies are based on EVGA’s popular G2 series but come in a smaller chassis measuring only 150mm (5.9”) deep. The G3 Series uses a 130mm cooling fan with a hydraulic dynamic bearing for quiet operation and EVGA claims the G3 units offer even better performance than the original G2 models. The Supernova G3 Series is available in five different models ranging from 550W up to 1000W. We will be taking a detailed look at the Supernova 750W G3 power supply in this review.
• EVGA SuperNOVA 550W G3 ($99.99 USD)
• EVGA SuperNOVA 650W G3 ($109.99 USD)
• EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G3 ($129.99 USD)
• EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G3 ($149.99 USD)
• EVGA SuperNOVA 1000W G3 ($199.99 USD)
The Supernova G3 series power supplies are 80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency and feature all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors, and EVGA’s ECO Intelligent Thermal Control System which enables fan-less operation at low to mid power. All G3 series power supplies are NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire Ready and are backed by either a 7-year (550W and 650W) or 10-year (750W, 850W and 1000W) EVGA warranty.
EVGA SuperNOVA 750W G3 PSU Key Features:
• 750W Continuous DC output at up to 50°C
• 10-Year warranty with unparalleled EVGA Customer Support
• 80 PLUS Gold certified, with up to 90%/92% efficiency (115VAC/240VAC)
• Highest quality Japanese brand capacitors ensure long-term reliability
• Fully modular cables to reduce clutter and improve airflow
• Quiet 130mm hydraulic dynamic bearing fan for long life
• ECO Intelligent Thermal Control allows silent, fan-less operation at low power
• NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire Ready
• Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
• Heavy-duty protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, SCP, and OTP
Another Strong Quarter for the Giant
This afternoon Intel released their Q4 2017 financial results. The quarter was higher in revenue than was expected by analysts. The company made $17.1B US in revenue and recorded a non-GAAP net of $1.08 a share. On the surface it looks like Intel had another good quarter that was expected by the company and others alike. Underneath the surface these results have shown a few more interesting things about the company as well as the industry it exists in.
We have been constantly hearing about how the PC market is weak and it will start to negatively affect those companies who's primary products go into these machines. Intel did see a 2% drop in revenue year on year from their Client Computing Group, but it certainly did not look to be a collapse. We can also speculate that part of the drop is from a much more competitive AMD and their strong performing Ryzen processors. These indications point to the PC market still being pretty stable and robust, even though it isn't growing at the rate it once had.
The Data Center Group was quite the opposite. It grew around 20% over the same timespan. Intel did not provide more detail but it seems that datacenters and cloud computing are still growing at a tremendous rate. With the proliferation of low power devices yet increased computing needs, data centers are continuing to expand and purchase the latest and greatest CPUs from Intel. So far AMD's EPYC has not been rolled out aggressively so far, but 2H 2018 should shed a lot more light on where this part of the market is going.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Intel has been doing great with their Optane / 3D XPoint products lately, but what about NAND? Samsung had been leading the pack with their VNAND for a few years now, forcing competitors to struggle to keep up on the capacity, performance, and endurance fronts. Intel's 3D NAND production (announced in 2015) is finally starting to come into its full stride, with 64-layer TLC NAND shipping in their 545S in mid 2017. With SATA essentially covered, PCIe NAND solutions have been a bit rough for Intel. The SSD 600p was their first M.2 PCIe product, launching over a year ago. While it was cost-effective, it was not a stellar performer. This left the now extremely dated SSD 750 as their flagship NAND product. It was great for its time, but was only available in HHHL and U.2 form factors, precluding any possibility of mobile use. With their 3D NAND finally in a good position, what Intel really needed was a truly solid M.2 product, and I'm happy to report that such a thing has finally happened:
Behold the Intel SSD 760p Series, currently available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, with 1TB and 2TB coming later in Q1 2018. Today we will be reviewing all currently available capacities.
This chart makes me happy. Finally, an Intel M.2 SSD with competitive specs! Note that the performance specs all come in at 2x the 600p, all while consuming half of the power of the older model. Endurance remains the same, but the 600p's problems were with performance, not endurance.
Packaging was very similar to that of the 600p and other Intel products. Simple and no frills. Gets the job done.
You know you want to see how these perform, right? Read on to find out!
Intro, Goals, and Hardware
Regular PC Perspective readers probably know that we're big fans of Plex, the popular media management and streaming service. While just about everyone on staff has their own personal Plex server at home, we decided late last year to build a shared server here at the office, both for our own day-to-day use as well as to serve as the backbone of our recent cord cutting experiment.
You can run a Plex server on a range of devices: from off-the-shelf PCs to NAS devices to the NVIDIA SHIELD TV. But with many potential users both local and remote, our Plex server couldn't be a slouch. So, like the sane and reasonable folks we are, we decided to go all out and build a monster Plex server on AMD's Ryzen Threadripper platform. With up to 16 cores and 32 threads, a Threadripper processor would give us all of the transcoding horsepower we'd need.
It's now been several months since our Plex server was brought online, and so we wanted to share with you our build, along with some discussion on why we chose certain hardware and software.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Samsung launched their 850 line of SSDs in mid-2014 (over three years ago now). The line evolved significantly over time, with the additions of PRO and EVO models, capacity expansions reaching up to 4TB, and a later silent migration to 64-layer V-NAND. Samsung certainly got their money's worth out of the 850 name, but it is now time to move onto something newer:
Of note above is a significantly higher endurance rating as compared to the 850 Series products, along with an update to a new 'MJX' controller, which accounts for a slight performance bump across the board. Not mentioned here is the addition of queued TRIM, which is more of a carryover from the enterprise / Linux systems (Windows 10 does not queue its TRIM commands).
Aside from some updated specs and the new name, packaging remains very much the same.
Read on for our review of the Samsung 860 PRO and EVO SSDs (in multiple capacities!)
(Those of you interested in Samsung's press release for this launch will find it after the break)
Introduction and First Impressions
The Define R6 marks the sixth generation of the Define series, and Fractal Design’s flagship ATX case now sports a cleverly-designed tempered glass side panel and a redesigned interior. Does the new R6 again define the ATX mid-tower market? We’re about to find out!
Looking at the front panel alone it would be very difficult to tell the Define R6 from its predecessors, as it still has the trademark solid front door panel, nicely finished here with aluminum. 5.25-inch drive support is down to a single bay, but it is there if you need it for an optical drive or fan controller - though the Define R6 also includes a new PWM fan hub (more on that later on).
The most obvious change to the design is the tempered glass side panel, which makes sense considering that has been the biggest industry trend of the past couple of years. Fractal Design does it a little differently than you’ll see elsewhere, however, with a pop-in design that makes screws optional. The Define cases were already very clean and simple externally, and this implementation of a glass side panel fits that aesthetic perfectly.
Improvements such as the third-gen ModuVent top panel and additional storage and cooling capacity from the redesigned interior make this release a bigger upgrade than it might at first appear, and in this review we’ll go over the case inside and out to see how this latest Define enclosure stacks up in this ever-crowded market.