Gigabyte's Aero 15-X9, RTX on the go

Subject: Mobile | February 12, 2019 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, gaming laptop, aero 15-X9, 8750H, 4k, 2070 Max-Q

Gigabyte's Aero 15-X9 gaming laptop will set you back $2800, if you want the full 4K display and there is a more expensive model with an i9-8950HK if you feel the i7-8750H is underpowered.  Kitguru reviewed the i7 model, with an RTX 2070 Max-Q, a 1TB Intel 760p M.2 NVMe SSD and 16GB of DDR4-2666MHz and the slightly less expensive 1080p 15.6" display with a top refresh of 144Hz. 

Unfortunately this review was completed before the newest GeForce driver dropped, so Kitguru couldn't test DLSS, however the comparative performance scores are still valid.  Take a peek right here.

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"The combination of Intel 6-core CPU and RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics was always going to work well but the thing that makes this potentially the single most interesting laptop that was launched at CES was the inclusion of a Microsoft Azure AI feature."

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Source: Kitguru

Do you change your Razer Blade once a year?

Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2019 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: razer, razer blade stealth, gaming laptop, whiskey lake

Razer have released an updated Blade Stealth for 2019, with a few base upgrades and a wide variety of upgrades to choose from.  All will have a Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U, though the 13.3" display can be 1080p or 4K depending on your preference.  You can have either 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 and a choice of a 256GB SATA SSD, or if you prefer a PCIe SSD you can choose 256GB or 512GB.  Not all models will have a discrete GPU, but those that do will have an MX150.  As far as peripherals go, you get a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-C 3.1 port and two USB 3.1 Type-A ports plus a headphone jack; at the cost of a full sized HDMI port.

TechSpot published a review, covering the additional features Razer included as well as the performance.

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"The new Razer Blade Stealth uses an all-new design with new hardware. Powered by a Core i7-8565U processor, the 13.3" ultraportable offers models with and without discrete graphics, 8 or 16GB of RAM and two performance levels of 256GB SSDs running on a 53 Wh battery."

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Source: TechSpot

He's got the whole world (wide web) in his phone

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 30, 2019 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: Terabyte, Samsung, eUFS, 1TB, smartphones

Samsung wants to make sure you don't run out of space on your phone by upping their game and providing 1TB of embedded Universal Flash Storage on a single chip.  The new chip is physically similar to the current 512GB version, so you won't have to buy a phablet to download all your 4K cat videos for offline viewing.  They have also increased speeds at the same time, as we have become accustomed to with other flash storage, with Ars Technica reporting sequential reads of up to 1,000Mbps

Rumour has it we might see this as a choice in the upcoming Galaxy S10.

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"The 1TB eUFS is expected to play a critical role in bringing a more notebook-like user experience to the next generation of mobile devices," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales and Marketing at Samsung."

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Source: Ars Technica

Looking at Chromebooks now that we know Ryzen will soon be an option?

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2019 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: Chromebook, guide

During AMD's CES keynote they mentioned that their new Ryzen chips will be appearing in some models of Chromebook, which might create some new interest in these mobile devices.  Ars Technica recently published an in depth guide walking you through the important features to look for if you are shopping for a Chromebook.  They also offer quick overviews of the best models currently available, if you weren't going to wait for the new ones to be released.

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"All of those factors, plus the recent introduction of Android apps into the ecosystem, have made Chromebooks popular with younger users, teachers, and anyone who works and plays primarily within the confines of the Chrome Web browser."

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Source: Ars Technica

Looking for an inexpensive laptop for a friend or your family?

Subject: Mobile | December 31, 2018 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: dell, inspiron 15 3000

At first glance the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is rather boring, a Core i3-8130U, a single 8GB stick of DDR4-2800, a 1TB drive and a 1366x768 15.6" display as standard equipment.  TechPowerUp made one simple change to the standard model, upgrading to a 250GB Silicon Power Ace A55 SSD, taking the price from $337.59 to $375.79 with tax included.  Now, for a very low price you have a laptop which will meet the needs of many casual users, including those still used to optical media as it sports a DVD drive.

If you know someone who doesn't ask for much out of a laptop and could use a newer machine, this is defintitely something to consider.

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"Dell's Insprion 15 3000 is an entry-level notebook that remains not only highly affordable after a quick upgrade to an SSD, but feels quick and responsive. Take that into account, along with the surprisingly good battery life, and you have a decent system for on-the-go that won't break the bank."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Samsung Refreshes 2-In-1 Lineup With New Notebook 9 Pen Models

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2018 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: windows hello, windows, Samsung, s pen, notebook 9 pen, convertible tablet, convertible, 2-in-1

Samsung is updating its laptop lineup to include the new Notebook 9 Pen which is a 2-in-1 convertible with built-in S Pen that comes in 13.3-inch and 15-inch form factors. Featuring full body aluminum frames, diamond cut edges, and narrow display bezels, the Notebook 9 Pen weighs in at 2.47 pounds and 3.44 pounds for the 13-inch and 15-inch models respectively. The new “Notebook 9 Pen” PCs should not be confused with the existing Notebook 9 Pen notebooks which were released earlier this year. The new models which are slated for a 2019 release introduce a 15” model to the lineup as well as more memory, brighter (500 nits) displays with narrower bezels, and two new colors and designs.

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Available in Ocean Blue or Platinum WHite, the Notebook 9 Pen includes a full HD display with very small bezels and a HD webcam paired with a backlit keyboard and decently sized trackpad joined by a 360-degree rotating hinge. The convertible laptop also has dual 5W AKG speakers with ThunderAmp technology. External I/O includes two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C, one combo headphone/microphone, and one UFS/microSD port. As far as wireless connectivity, the notebook supports 802.ac Wave 2 2x2 WiFi.

The modern I/O is supported by modern internal hardware including up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB LPDDR3, and a 512GB PCI-E NVMe SSD. The Notebook 9 Pen with 13.3” display uses Intel UHD graphics, but the 15” model can be equipped with a NVIDIA MX150 GPU with 2GB memory. Both models are powered by a 54 Wh battery that supports fast charging and allegedly offers up to 15 hours of battery life.

Of course, the interesting aspect of the Notebook 9 Pen is the S Pen which Samsung as reportedly improved to be more responsive with up to a 2x reduction in latency to 7ms. The S Pen comes with three different pen tips so that artists can get the feel they want when drawing on the screen. The S Pen can do the usual things its smartphone counterparts can like drawing and writing and it can also be used to control media playback, advance slides, and record voice notes with its built-in microphone.

First impressions look promising, but pricing is going to be key as well as build quality and feel and with this year’s model starting at $1,400 MSRP ($1,000+ on Amazon for the 8GB RAM version) the updated 2019 Notebook 9 Pen isn’t going to be cheap! Unfortunately, exact pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.

With that said, assuming rewiews hold up, it looks sharp and for artists and designers that like to work on the go it may be worth checking out!

Source: Samsung

Intel Plans Ghost Canyon X NUC With Discrete Graphics Support In 2020

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 13, 2018 - 01:02 AM |
Tagged: Intel

Slated for an early 2020 release, Intel is planning a new larger (but still) small form factor NUC system dubbed Ghost Canyon X according to a report by FanlessTech. Ghost Canyon X will feature a larger 5 liter form factor that will be able to accomodate a discrete graphics card along with both M.2 and SATA 3 storage.

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The Ghost Canyon X NUC will be powered by 9th Generation Coffee Lake HR processors that will come in i5 and i7 flavors. The chips have a 45W TDP and will come in quad core i5-9XXXH, six core i7, or eight core i7-9XXXH configurations (with HyperThreading) and will be paired with two DDR4 DIMMs (up to 64GB DDR4 2400 MHz or 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz). Ghost Canyon X NUCs will have three HDMI 2.0 video outputs, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a SD card slot for external I/O (likely along with USB 3.1 and audio outputs though those are not pictured). Internal storage includes up to 3 M.2 drives (two M.2 2242 80/110 and one 80mm) using PCI-E 3.0 x4 links and SATA 3 for standard hard drives and SATA SSDs. The biggest change with the NUC platform is the inclusion of a single PCI-E x16 slot which can be used to add a discrete graphics card to the system. While 5 liters is quite a jump up from the 0.7L standard NUCs and the 1.2L of the Kaby Lake-G powered Hades Canyon gaming NUC, it is still a fairly small system so not all graphics cards are going to fit but enthusiasts should be able to use GPUs that have shorter Mini ITX designs easily enough.

FanlessTech notes that the reference Ghost Canyon X NUC will most likely be actively cooled, but third party fanless cases from makers like Akassa, Streacom, Tranquil PC and others should be achievable with a 45W TDP CPU (and even GPU if you go with a lower end model).

Further details are still unknown and the pictured case design is still subject to change as the system gets further along in the design process and closer to launch. Curiously, that expected early 2020 Ghost Canyon X launch would coincide with Intel’s plans for launching its own discrete graphics solution so an Intel NUC with an Intel graphics card would be an interesting system to see!

Stay tuned for updated NUC information as we get closer to Computex 2019 and CES 2020!

Source: FanlessTech

NVIDIA Rumored To Launch RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Max-Q Mobile GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 12, 2018 - 10:04 PM |
Tagged: turing, rumor, RTX 2070, RTX 2060, nvidia

Rumors have appeared online that suggest NVIDIA may be launching mobile versions of its RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 GPUs based on its new Turing architecture. The new RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 with Max-Q designs were leaked by Twitter user TUM_APISAK who posted cropped screenshots of Geekbench 4.3.1 and 3DMark 11 Performance results.

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Allegedly handling the graphics duties in a Lenovo 81HE, the GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design (8GB VRAM) combined with a Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake six core CPU and 32 GB system memory managed a Geekbench 4.3.1 score of 223,753. The GPU supposedly has 36 Compute Units (CUs) and a core clockspeed of 1,300 MHz. The desktop RTX 2070 GPU which is already available also has 36 CUs with 2,304 CUDA cores, 144 texture units, 64 ROPS, 288 Tensor cores, and 36 RT (ray tracing) cores. The desktop GPU has a 175W reference (non FE) TDP and clocks of 1410 MHz base and 1680 MHz boost (1710 MHz for Founder's Edition). Assuming that 36 CU number is accurate, the mobile (RTX 2070M) may well have the same core counts, just running at lower clocks which would be nice to see but would require a beefy mobile cooling solution. 

As far as the RTX 2060 Max-Q Design graphics processor, not as much information was leaked as far as specifications as the leak was limited to two screenshots allegedly from Final Fantasy XV's benchmark results page comparing a desktop RTX 2060 with a Max-Q RTX 2060. The number of CUs (and other numbers like CUDA/Tensor/RT cores, TMUs, and ROPs) was not revealed in those screenshots, for example. The comparison does lend further credence to the rumors of the RTX 2060 utilizing 6 GB of GDDR6 memory though. Tom's Hardware does have a screenshot that shows the RTX 2060 with 30 CUs which suggest 1,920 CUDA cores, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores though with clocks up to 1.2 GHz (which does mesh well with previous rumors of the desktop part).

Graphics Card Generic VGA Generic VGA
Memory 6144 MB 6144 MB
Core clock 960 MHz 975 MHz
Memory Clock 1750 MHz 1500 MHz
Driver name NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with Maz-Q Design
Driver version 25.21.14.1690 25.21.14.1693

Also, the TU106 RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design reportedly has a 975 MHz core clock and a 1500 MHz (6 GHz) memory clock. Note that the 960 MHz core clock and 1750 MHz (7 GHz) memory clocks don't match previous RTX 2060 rumors which suggested higher GPU clocks in particular (up to 1.2 GHz). To be fair, it could just be the software reporting incorrect numbers due to the GPUs not being official yet. One final bit of leaked information included a note about 3DMark 11 performance with the RTX 2060 Max Q Design GPU hitting at least 19,000 in the benchmark's Performance preset which allegedly puts it in between the scores of the mobile GTX 1070 and the mobile GTX 1070 Max-Q. (A graphics score between nineteen and twenty thousand would put it a bit above a desktop GTX 1060 but far below the desktop 1070).

As usual, take these rumors and leaked screenshots with a healthy heaping of salt, but they are interesting nonetheless. Combined with the news about NVIDIA possibly announcing new mid-range GPUs at CES 2019, we may well see new laptops and other mobile graphics solutions shown off at CES and available within the first half of 2019 which would be quite the coup.

What are your thoughts on the rumored RTX 2060 for desktops and its mobile RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Max-Q siblings?

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Source: GND-Tech

Developers! Developers! Developers! ... might just prefer an Ubuntu powered Dell XPS laptop

Subject: Mobile | December 12, 2018 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: dell, linux, ubuntu 18.04, XPS developer edition, Kaby Lake R

Dell have updated their Linux powered XPS Developer's Edition laptop with a Kaby Lake R processor, up to a 2TB PCIe SSD, 4-16GB of RAM and either a 1080p screen or a 4K touchscreen depending on how much you are willing to pay.  Dell included all the latest features, including a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as a Type C 3.1 port; there is even an SD card reader. 

Apart from the webcam and the lack of older style USB ports, Ars Technica gives this new Linux power laptop top marks.

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"Recently, Dell finally sent Ars the latest model of the XPS 13 DE for testing. And while Dell did put a lot of work into this latest iteration, the biggest upgrade with the latest Developer Edition is the inclusion of Ubuntu 18.04."

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Source: Ars Technica

Snapdragon 8cx is Qualcomm’s answer to higher-performance for Windows PCs

Subject: Mobile | December 6, 2018 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon x24, snapdragon, qualcomm, NVMe, kryo 495, adreno 680, 8cx

While yesterday was all about Snapdragon 855, and the enhancements it will bring to mobile devices, Qualcomm’s focus today at their Snapdragon Tech Summit was all about the “Always on, Always connected” (AOAC) PC.

Announced almost exactly a year ago, AOAC is the term that Qualcomm uses to brand Snapdragon devices featuring the Windows operating system.

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In the past year, Qualcomm has shipped PCs based on both the Snapdragon 835 and well as the PC-only Snapdragon 850 SoCs.

Today, Qualcomm is taking the wraps off of their higher-performance Snapdragon option for PCs, Snapdragon 8cx.

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From the start, Qualcomm assures us that Snapdragon 8cx won’t be completely replacing Snapdragon 850 in the marketplace, pointing to it being a more upmarket solution.

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Kryo 495

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Unlike the Prime Core design on the Snapdragon 855, the 8cx platform is sticking with a more traditional BIG.little design with four performance and four efficiency cores. However, we do see larger cache sizes than previous Snapdragons, with a total of 10MB system cache.

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Qualcomm did make a few performance claims against Intel's notebook parts, but they are a bit confusing.

While they did compare the Snapdragon 8cx to Intel's mainstream 15W U-series quad-core mobile CPUs, the performance numbers Qualcomm showed were for both CPUs running at 7W. 

Qualcomm says this is because of the thermal constraints of a fanless design, of which all the Snapdragon PCs are, but looking at the thermal performance of real-world fanless PCs with Intel U-series processors like the Surface Pro 6 with a Core-i5, 7W seems to be a lower power level than that PC ever actually sees.

As always, only time and independent performance analysis will tell the true competitive nature of these CPUs.

Adreno 680

Also all-new for Snapdragon 8cx is the Adreno 680 GPU, what Qualcomm is touting as their fastest GPU ever with a 2x performance improvement and 60% greater power efficiency over Snapdragon 850.

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On the connectivity side, Adreno 680 will provide desktop-level outputs, including support for up to two simultaneous 4K HDR displays.

Despite the significant performance increases on the GPU side, Qualcomm is claiming that the Adreno 680 GPU in Snapdragon 8cx is 60% more efficient than the Adreno GPU in their current lead PC platform, Snapdragon 850.

Snapdragon X24

Snapdragon 8cx will sport the same X24 modem we saw announced alongside the Snapdragon 855 yesterday.

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This new modem will enable both LTE connections up to 2Gbps as we saw with Snapdragon 855, but judging from the specification sheet that was provided, 8cx seems to lack the ability for Wifi-6 (802.11ax) and 802.11ay.

In addition, Qualcomm also teased that 5G-enabled 8cx devices (likely with the Snapdragon x50 modem) will also be coming in 2019.

Connectivity

One of the most significant downsides for the current generation of Snapdragon-powered PCs has been the carryover of UFS storage from the mobile phone side. While UFS can provide a sufficient experience on Android devices, it became a significant bottleneck on Windows-based devices.

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Thanks to an available four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 connectivity, the Snapdragon 8cx will provide support for NVMe SSDs. While Qualcomm still hasn’t implemented a native NVMe controller into their SSD like Apple, this will at least enable the option for faster storage coming from OEMs.

However, it remains to be seen how many OEMs adopt NVMe SSDs in their Snapdragon 8cx products, due to the added cost, and potential thermal issues with higher performance, PCIe SSD in a fan-less form factor.

Software

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Another pain point for Snapdragon PCs has been software support. While the initial Windows on Snapdragon releases were able to run native ARM 32bit applications as well as emulate 32bit x86 applications, software support has come a long way for this platform in the past year.

One of the biggest areas of concern has been native browser support. Currently, the only native ARM browser on Windows is Edge. With Microsoft's announced move of Edge to the Chromium rendering system, we will now gain an implementation of the open source engine that power Google Chrome, but not the Chrome browser itself yet.

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Mozilla however, is set to ship a native ARM64 version of Firefox in the coming months, which will be the first high-performance answer to Edge for the Windows on Snapdragon platform.

Microsoft was also on stage today discussing how they are bringing Windows 10 Enterprise to Snapdragon devices, allowing for more wide deployments of these machines in large corporations.

Pricing and Availability

Despite bringing Lenovo on stage at the event to talk about their partnership with Qualcomm, no actual devices or even manufactures of 8cx devices were officially announced today.

Due to that, we have no real information on pricing or availability on Snapdragon 8cx-powered systems besides that they are coming in 2019, at some point.

That being said since Snapdragon 850 is still sticking around as an option in the marketplace, expect Snapdragon 8cx devices to be more expensive than the current crop of Snapdragon-enabled PCs.

Snapdragon 8cx Chip Comparison, US Coin.jpg

We expect more information to come on Snapdragon 8cx in the coming months at CES and MWC, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

Source: Qualcomm