Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

Overview

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.

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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).

Continue reading our look at the new HP notebook powered by AMD Ryzen Mobile!

Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: AMD

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.

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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.

Click here to continue reading about AMD's Q4 2017 Earnings analysis!

Author:
Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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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)

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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.

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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

Please continue reading our review of the EVGA 750W G3 PSU!!!

Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: Intel

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.

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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.

Click to continue reading about Intel's Q4 2017 earnings!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

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:

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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.

Specifications

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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:

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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!

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer:

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.

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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.

Read on for our overview of building a kick-ass Plex server.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

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:

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Specifications:

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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).

Packaging:

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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)

Manufacturer: Fractal Design

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!

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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.

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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.

Continue reading our review of the Fractal Design Define R6 case!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

The sub-$1000 notebook market is one that we rarely cover here at PC Perspective. It's not due to a lack of interest from us, but rather from notebook manufacturers.

Generally, companies are only interested in sending out their latest flagship products, which leaves us without much of an opinion on the notebooks that most people actually walk into a brick and mortar retailer to purchase.

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Today, we're looking at one of these more mainstream notebooks which can be found with a quad-core 8th generation Intel processor for under $900—the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1.

Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1 
MSRP $879 (Configuration as reviewed) $1049 $1149 $1299
Screen 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touch display
CPU Core i5-8250U Core i7-8550U
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM 8GB 16GB
Storage 256GB SATA 512GB SATA
Network Intel 7265 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2, Dual Band 2.4 & 5 GHz, 2x2
Display Output

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
1 x HDMI 2.0

Connectivity

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0
3.5mm headphone
SD Card Reader

Audio (2) tuned speakers; audio processing by Waves MaxxAudio® Pro 
Weight 3.2 lbs ( 1.45 kg)
Dimensions 12.91-in x 8.5-in x 0.61-in
(309.6mm x 215.7mm x 15.51mm)
Battery 38 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home

It's worth noting that while writing this review, these notebooks have been consistently available for under MSRP. The base configuration we are reviewing of the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 is remarkably well equipped and at the time of writing was available for $749. Considering that the $999 entry level model of the 2018 XPS 13 still comes with a paltry 4GB of system memory and 128GB SSD, this is a great value. For most consumers, including myself, I look at the 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD option as the sweet spot price comparison point between notebooks.

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Continue reading our review of the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1!

Author:
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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SilverStone’s Strider Titanium Series is designed for PC enthusiasts who are looking for a very high efficiency power supply, meeting the top-tier 80 Plus Titanium certification. Starting at 600W and going up to 1500W, the Strider Titanium Series includes six different models. The three lower output models (600W, 700W, and 800W) feature a compact chassis measuring only 150mm deep, while the three high output models (1100W, 1300W and 1500W) forgo the small enclosure and step up to a larger chassis, which measures 180mm deep. Another minor difference is the three lower output models use a 120mm fan while the three higher output models use a 140mm cooling fan.

All of the SilverStone Strider Titanium power supplies incorporate semi-fanless operation (up to 20% load) and come with fully modular cables. Each power supply is built using all Japanese made capacitors and is rated for 24/7 continuous operation at up to 50°C ambient temperature. In this review, we will be taking a detailed look at the Strider Titanium Series ST1300-TI power supply.

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SilverStone Strider Titanium Series ST1300-TI Key Features:
 
•    1300W DC power output up to 50°C
•    Top level efficiency with 80 Plus Titanium certification
•    24/7 Continuous power output
•    100% Modular cables
•    Dual EPS 8-pin and eight PCI-E 6+2 pin connectors
•    Intelligent semi-fanless operation
•    Quiet 140mm cooling fan with ball bearings
•    FF141 dust filter included
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple
•    Dedicated single +12V rail (108A/1296W)
•    Universal AC input (90-264V) with Active PFC
•    DC Output protections: UVP, OVP, OPP, SCP, OCP, and OTP
•    Dimensions: 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 180mm (L)
•    5-Year warranty
•    MSRP : $299.99 USD

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Here is what SilverStone has to say about the high efficiency Strider Titanium Series PSUs: “The 80 PLUS Titanium certification represents the pinnacle of power supply efficiency with requirement of at least 90% conversion efficiency even at the very low 10% loading condition.

For SilverStone, achieving the highest efficiency is just one aspect to what makes for a technically advanced power supply. The available power also needs to be condensed into a physical package as small as possible so that users can freely utilize it in any case or system with minimal interference. For the Strider Titanium series power supplies, all models are among the smallest in size for their wattage levels.

As befitting of being in the Strider series, abundant enthusiasts features are included such as all Japanese capacitors, ±3% regulation, powerful single +12V rail, 24/7 continuous power output at 50°, and dual EPS 8pin with multiple PCI-E 8 / 6pin connectors support. For those looking to build the most efficient systems possible with multiple GPUs for gaming, folding, mining, scientific calculations, or machine learning, the 1100W / 1300W / 1500W Strider Titanium series power supplies are definitely the top choices.

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone 1300W Titanium PSU !!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

The end of the world as we know it?

A surprise to most in the industry that such a thing would really occur, AMD and Intel announced in November a partnership that would bring Radeon graphics to Intel processors in 2018. The details were minimal at the time, and only told us specifics of the business relationship: this was a product purchase and not a license, no IP was changing hands, this was considered a semi-custom design for the AMD group, Intel was handling all the integration and packaging. Though we knew that the product would use HBM2 memory, the same utilized on the RX Vega products released last year, it was possible that the “custom” part was a Polaris architecture that had been retrofitted. Also, details of the processor side of this technology was left a mystery.

Today we have our answers and our first hands-on with systems utilizing what was previously known as Kaby Lake-G and what is now officially titled the “8th Generation Intel Core Processors with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics.” I’m serious.

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For what I still call Kaby Lake-G, as it easier to type and understand, it introduces a new product line that we have not seen addressed in a very long time – high performance processors with high performance integrated graphics. Even though the combined part is not a single piece of silicon but instead a multi-chip package, it serves the same purpose in the eyes of the consumer and the OEM. The marriage of Intel’s highest performance mobile processor cores, the 8th Generation H-series, and one of, if not THE fastest mobile graphics core in a reasonable thermal envelope, the Vega M, is incredibly intriguing for all kinds of reasons. Even the currently announced AMD APUs and those in the public roadmaps don’t offer a combined performance package as impressive as this. Ryzen Mobile is interesting in its own right, but Kaby Lake-G is on a different level.

From a business standpoint, KBL-G is a design meant to attack NVIDIA. The green giant has become one of the most important computing companies on the planet in the last couple of years, leaning into its graphics processor dominance and turning it into cash and mindshare in the world of machine learning and AI. More than any other company, Intel is worried about the growth and capability of NVIDIA. Though not as sexy as “machine learning”, NVIDIA has dominated the mobile graphics markets as well, offering discrete GPU solutions to pair with Intel processor notebooks. In turn, NVIDIA eats up much of the margin and profitability that these mainstream gaming and content creation machines can generate. Productization of things like Max-Q give the market reason to believe that NVIDIA is the true innovator in the space, regardless of the legitimate answer to that question. Intel see that as no bueno – it wants to remain the leader in the market completely.

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Continue reading our overview of the new Intel 8th Gen Processors with Vega M graphics!

Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: Various

Quirks, Savings, and Conclusions

Welcome back to the third and final chapter in our recent cord cutting saga, in which the crew here at the PC Perspective office take a fresh look at dumping traditional cable and satellite sources for online and over-the-air content. We previously planned our cord cutting adventure with a look at the devices, software, and services that will replace our cable and satellite subscriptions, and then put that plan to action by deploying an NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Plex, and an HDTV tuner with antenna.

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Now, several weeks into this experiment, we wanted to take a step back to evaluate how the process went in practice, including a look at some of the challenges we failed to initially anticipate, projections of the increased Internet bandwidth usage that accompanies cord cutting (especially important for the many of you with home broadband usage caps), and finally a calculation of the initial and ongoing costs associated with cord cutting in order to determine if this whole process actually saves us any money.

Read on for our debriefing of PC Perspective ’s 2017 cord cutting guide!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard features a black PCB with carbon fibre overlay accenting it's chipset heat sinks and rear panel cover. MSI also placed RGB LED-enabled components across the board's surface and under the board for an interesting ground effects type look. The board is designed around the Intel Z370 chipset with in-built support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Coffee Lake processor line and Dual Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2667MHz speed. The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon can be found in retail with an MRSP of $209.99.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI integrated the following features into the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard: six SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports with Intel Optane support built-in; an RJ-45 Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; an Intel 8265 802.11ac WI-FI adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a Realtek ALC1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

To power the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, MSI integrated a 10 phase (8+2) digital power delivery system dubbed Military Class V. The Military Class V components include Titanium chokes, 10 year-rated Dark capacitors, and Dark chokes.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Specifications and Design

With all of the activity in both the GPU and CPU markets this year, it's hard to remember some of the launches in the first half of the year—including NVIDIA's GTX 1080 Ti. Maintaining the rank of fastest gaming GPU for the majority of the year, little has challenged NVIDIA's GP102-based offering, making it the defacto choice for high-end gamers.

Even though we've been giving a lot of attention to NVIDIA's new flagship TITAN V graphics card, the $3000 puts it out of the range of almost every gamer who doesn't have a day job involving deep learning.

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Today, we're taking a look back to the (slightly) more reasonable GP102 and the one of the most premiere offerings to feature it, the ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti.

Hardware Specifications

While the actual specifications of the GP102 GPU onboard the ASUS Strix GTX 1080 Ti hasn't changed at all, let's take a moment to refresh ourselves on where it sits in regards to the rest of the market.

  RX Vega 64 Liquid RX Vega 56 GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070
GPU Cores 4096 3584 3584 2560 2432 1920
Base Clock 1406 MHz 1156 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1677 MHz 1471 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz
Texture Units 256 256 224 160 152 120
ROP Units 64 64 88 64 64 64
Memory 8GB 8GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 1890 MHz 1600 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz
Memory Interface 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 484 GB/s 410 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP 345 watts 210 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts
Peak Compute 13.7 TFLOPS 10.5 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 7.8 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $699 $399 $699 $499 $449 $399

If you'd like some additional details on the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti, or it's GP102 GPU, take a look at our review of the reference Founder's edition.

The GTX 1000 series of products from NVIDIA has marked a consolidation in ASUS's GPU offerings. Instead of having both Strix and Matrix products available, the Strix has supplanted everything to be the most premium option from ASUS for any given GPU, and the Strix GTX 1080 Ti doesn't disappoint.

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While it might not be the largest graphics card we've ever seen, the ASUS Strix GTX 1080 Ti is more massive in all dimensions compared to both the NVIDIA Founder's Edition card, as well as the EVGA ICX option we took a look at earlier this year. Compared to the Founder's Edition, the Strix GTX 1080 Ti is 1.23-in longer, 0.9-in taller, and takes up an extra PCIe slot in width.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Seasonic

Introduction and Features

Introduction                  

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Sea Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd has been designing and building PC power supplies since 1981 and they are one of the most highly respected manufacturers in the world. Not only do they market power supplies under their own name but they are the OEM for numerous big name brands. One of their latest power supply offerings is the new PRIME Ultra Titanium Series, which currently includes four models: 650W, 750W, 850W and 1000W. Seasonic has tweaked their current PRIME Titanium lineup to create the new Ultra Series.

The PRIME Ultra Series power supplies incorporate top-notch components and have been designed to deliver the highest level of electrical performance. They feature Titanium level efficiency (80 Plus Organizations highest rating), fully modular cables, and they come backed by a 12-year warranty! We will be taking a detailed look at the new PRIME Ultra 850W Titanium power supply in this review, which Seasonic had shipped to us directly from amazon.com.

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The PRIME Ultra Series builds upon the PRIME Titanium platform by delivering extremely tight voltage regulation on the three primary rails (+3.3V, +5V and +12V) and providing superior AC ripple and noise suppression with an extended hold-up time. They feature an new super-quiet, low-speed 135mm cooling fan with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing and come with Seasonic’s premium Hybrid Fan Control that offers fanless operation at low to mid power. The PRIME Ultra Series power supplies also include SATA 3.3 adapters with support for the “power disable” (PWDIS) feature of some newer, high-capacity HDD, a PSU tester, and flexible cables without the little built-in filter capacitors found on previous models.

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Seasonic PRIME Ultra Titanium Series PSU Key Features:

•    1000W, 850W, 750W or 650W continuous DC output
•    Ultra-high efficiency, 80 PLUS Titanium certified
•    Micro-Tolerance Load Regulation (MTLR)
•    Top-quality 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
•    Premium Hybrid Fan Control (allows fanless operation at low power)
•    Superior AC ripple and noise suppression (under 20 mV)
•    Extended Hold-up time (above 30 ms)
•    Fully modular cabling design (without line capacitors)
•    Multi-GPU technologies supported
•    Gold-plated high-current terminals
•    SATA 3.3 adapters (PWDIS)
•    Included PSU tester supports quick and easy testing before installation
•    Protections: OPP,OVP,UVP,SCP,OCP and OTP
•    12-Year Manufacturer’s warranty

Please continue reading our review of the PRIME Ultra 850W Titanium PSU!!!

How deep is your learning?

Recently, we've had some hands-on time with NVIDIA's new TITAN V graphics card. Equipped with the GV100 GPU, the TITAN V has shown us some impressive results in both gaming and GPGPU compute workloads.

However, one of the most interesting areas that NVIDIA has been touting for GV100 has been deep learning. With a 1.33x increase in single-precision FP32 compute over the Titan Xp, and the addition of specialized Tensor Cores for deep learning, the TITAN V is well positioned for deep learning workflows.

In mathematics, a tensor is a multi-dimensional array of numerical values with respect to a given basis. While we won't go deep into the math behind it, Tensors are a crucial data structure for deep learning applications.

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NVIDIA's Tensor Cores aim to accelerate Tensor-based math by utilizing half-precision FP16 math in order to process both dimensions of a Tensor at the same time. The GV100 GPU contains 640 of these Tensor Cores to accelerate FP16 neural network training.

It's worth noting that these are not the first Tensor operation-specific hardware, with others such as Google developing hardware for these specific functions.

Test Setup

  PC Perspective Deep Learning Testbed
Processor AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
Motherboard GIGABYTE X399 AORUS Gaming 7
Memory 64GB Corsair Vengeance RGB DDR4-3000 
Storage Samsung SSD 960 Pro 2TB
Power Supply Corsair AX1500i 1500 watt
OS Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
Drivers AMD: AMD GPU Pro 17.50
NVIDIA: 387.34

For our NVIDIA testing, we used the NVIDIA GPU Cloud 17.12 Docker containers for both TensorFlow and Caffe2 inside of our Ubuntu 16.04.3 host operating system.

AMD testing was done using the hiptensorflow port from the AMD ROCm GitHub repositories.

For all tests, we are using the ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Challenge 2012 (ILSVRC2012) data set.

Continue reading our look at deep learning performance with the NVIDIA Titan V!!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Crucial

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Crucial and their parent company Micron have certainly launched their share of SSDs over the years. Product launches have effectively toggled back and forth between both names, with Crucial handling the upgrade market while Micron proper handles the OEM side of things. Both sides have one thing in common - solid performing SSDs at a budget-friendly price point. Having the best performing SSD on the market is great, but does nobody any good if the majority of purchasers can't afford it.

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We had Micron out to discuss the MX500 before we completed our testing. Here is the full discussion video:

Specifications:

  • Micron® 3D TLC NAND Flash
    • RoHS-compliant package
    • SATA 6 Gb/s interface
    • TCG/Opal 2.0-compliant self-encrypting drive (SED)
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive®
    • Hardware-based AES-256 encryption engine
  • Performance (ALL CAPACITIES):
    • Sequential 128KB READ: Up to 560 MB/s
    • Sequential 128KB WRITE: Up to 510 MB/s
    • Random 4KB READ: Up to 95,000 IOPS
    • Random 4KB WRITE: Up to 90,000 IOPS
  • Power consumption:
    • 250GB: <3.5W
    • 500GB: <4.5W
    • 1000GB/2000GB: <5.0W
  • Endurance – total bytes written (TBW):
    • 250GB: 100TB
    • 500GB: 180TB
    • 1TB: 360TB
    • 2TB: 700TB

A few points from these impressive specs:

  • Performance specs are common across *all* capacities. Yes, even the smallest model is rated to perform as well as the largest.
  • Endurance is very high, especially for TLC NAND. Samsung's 850 EVO 500GB and 1TB models are rated at 150TB. Heck, the 850 PRO 1TB is only rated at 300TBW. Sure that's the same rating carried up from the 512GB model of the same, but it's not Micron's fault that Samsung opted to capacity-bracket their endurance ratings.

Packaging:

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No frills here. Quick start guide contains a link to crucial.com/support/ssd to get you started.

Read on for our full review of the Crucial MX500 1TB SSD!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: AUKEY

Confronting the growing lack of laptop I/O

The trend with laptops in the past couple of years has been to drop many of the inputs that were once standard. Ethernet was an early casualty of the Ultrabook design, and now even standard USB ports are missing from the thinnest designs. USB Type-C does offer an all-in-one solution, but laptops with no other connectivity require dongles and adapters to be practical. AUKEY’s USB C Hub is one option to add I/O back to your machine in a single package, and they sent one over so we could check it out.

DSC_0152.jpg

In case you haven’t heard of them, AUKEY is a common sight when browsing Amazon, offering a wide range of adapters and accessories. This CB-C55 has now been superceded by the "improved" version which offers media card slots on the side as well, but we are looking at the standard version today.

DSC_0153.jpg

Continue reading our review of the AUKEY CB-C55 Multiport USB-C Hub!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Looking Towards the Professionals

This is a multi-part story for the NVIDIA Titan V:

Earlier this week we dove into the new NVIDIA Titan V graphics card and looked at its performacne from a gaming perspective. Our conclusions were more or less what we expected - the card was on average ~20% faster than the Titan Xp and about ~80% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080. But with that $3000 price tag, the Titan V isn't going to win any enthusiasts over.

What the Titan V is meant for in reality is the compute space. Developers, coders, engineers, and professionals that use GPU hardware for research, for profit, or for both. In that case, $2999 for the Titan V is simply an investment that needs to show value in select workloads. And though $3000 is still a lot of money, keep in mind that the NVIDIA Quadro GP100, the most recent part with full-performance double precision compute from the Pascal chip, is still selling for well over $6000 today. 

IMG_5009.JPG

The Volta GV100 GPU offers 1:2 double precision performance, equating to 2560 FP64 cores. That is a HUGE leap over the GP102 GPU used on the Titan Xp that uses a 1:32 ratio, giving us just 120 FP64 cores equivalent.

  Titan V Titan Xp GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070 RX Vega 64 Liquid Vega Frontier Edition
GPU Cores 5120 3840 3584 2560 2432 1920 4096 4096
FP64 Cores 2560 120 112 80 76 60 256 256
Base Clock 1200 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1406 MHz 1382 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1582 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1677 MHz 1600 MHz
Texture Units 320 240 224 160 152 120 256 256
ROP Units 96 96 88 64 64 64 64 64
Memory 12GB 12GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB
Memory Clock 1700 MHz MHz 11400 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz 1890 MHz
Memory Interface 3072-bit
HBM2
384-bit G5X 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 653 GB/s 547 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s
TDP 250 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts 345 watts 300 watts
Peak Compute 12.2 (base) TFLOPS
14.9 (boost) TFLOPS
12.1 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 7.8 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 13.7 TFLOPS 13.1 TFLOPS
Peak DP Compute 6.1 (base) TFLOPS
7.45 (boost) TFLOPS
0.37 TFLOPS 0.35 TFLOPS 0.25 TFLOPS 0.24 TFLOPS 0.17 TFLOPS 0.85 TFLOPS 0.81 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $2999 $1299 $699 $499 $449 $399 $699 $999

The current AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, and the Vega Frontier Edition, all ship with a 1:16 FP64 ratio, giving us the equivalent of 256 DP cores per card.

Test Setup and Benchmarks

Our testing setup remains the same from our gaming tests, but obviously the software stack is quite different. 

  PC Perspective GPU Testbed
Processor Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E
Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme X99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4-3200
Storage OCZ Agility 4 256GB (OS)
Adata SP610 500GB (games)
Power Supply Corsair AX1500i 1500 watt
OS Windows 10 x64
Drivers AMD: 17.10.2
NVIDIA: 388.59

Applications in use include:

  • Luxmark 
  • Cinebench R15
  • VRay
  • Sisoft Sandra GPU Compute
  • SPECviewperf 12.1
  • FAHBench

Let's not drag this along - I know you are hungry for results! (Thanks to Ken for running most of these tests for us!!)

Continue reading part 2 of our Titan V review on compute performance!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A preview of potential Volta gaming hardware

This is a multi-part story for the NVIDIA Titan V:

As a surprise to most of us in the media community, NVIDIA launched a new graphics card to the world, the TITAN V. No longer sporting the GeForce brand, NVIDIA has returned the Titan line of cards to where it began – clearly targeted at the world of developers and general purpose compute. And if that branding switch isn’t enough to drive that home, I’m guessing the $2999 price tag will be.

Today’s article is going to look at the TITAN V from the angle that is likely most interesting to the majority of our readers, that also happens to be the angle that NVIDIA is least interested in us discussing. Though targeted at machine learning and the like, there is little doubt in my mind that some crazy people will want to take on the $3000 price to see what kind of gaming power this card can provide. After all, this marks the first time that a Volta-based GPU from NVIDIA has shipped in a place a consumer can get their hands on it, and the first time it has shipped with display outputs. (That’s kind of important to build a PC around it…)

IMG_4999.JPG

From a scientific standpoint, we wanted to look at the Titan V for the same reasons we tested the AMD Vega Frontier Edition cards upon their launch: using it to estimate how future consumer-class cards will perform in gaming. And, just as we had to do then, we purchased this Titan V from NVIDIA.com with our own money. (If anyone wants to buy this from me to recoup the costs, please let me know! Ha!)

  Titan V Titan Xp GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070 RX Vega 64 Liquid Vega Frontier Edition
GPU Cores 5120 3840 3584 2560 2432 1920 4096 4096
Base Clock 1200 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1406 MHz 1382 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1582 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1677 MHz 1600 MHz
Texture Units 320 240 224 160 152 120 256 256
ROP Units 96 96 88 64 64 64 64 64
Memory 12GB 12GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB
Memory Clock 1700 MHz MHz 11400 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz 1890 MHz
Memory Interface 3072-bit
HBM2
384-bit G5X 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 653 GB/s 547 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s
TDP 250 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts 345 watts 300 watts
Peak Compute 12.2 (base) TFLOPS
14.9 (boost) TFLOPS
12.1 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 7.8 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 13.7 TFLOPS 13.1 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $2999 $1299 $699 $499   $399 $699 $999

The Titan V is based on the GV100 GPU though with some tweaks that lower performance and capability slightly when compared to the Tesla-branded equivalent hardware. Though our add-in card iteration has the full 5120 CUDA cores enabled, the HBM2 memory bus is reduced from 4096-bit to 3072-bit and it has one of the four stacks on the package disabled. This also drops the memory capacity from 16GB to 12GB, and memory bandwidth to 652.8 GB/s.

Continue reading our gaming review of the NVIDIA Titan V!!