Don't have a meltdown, pick up on Coffee Lake instead with the Gigabyte Aero 15Xv8

Subject: Mobile | April 4, 2018 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: Intel, gigabyte, gaming laptop, coffee lake h, coffee lake, aero 15Xv8, Aero

Intel have stated that their new Coffee Lake processors are immune to Spectre and Meltdown, which is one of the more compelling reasons to consider an upgrade in several generations of chips.  Gigabyte's new Aero 15Xv8 contains such a chip, the i7-8750H which runs at 2.2 GHz base and 4.2 GHz in Turbo Boost 2.0 mode.  Along with the new CPU is a GTX 1070 Max-Q which makes this 0.7" (18 mm) thick, 4.4lb (2 kg) laptop an impressively compact gaming machine.  Take a look at The Tech Report's review to see how this new CPU performs, as well as the laptop overall.

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"Gigabyte's Aero 15Xv8 mixes Intel's Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H and Nvidia's GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics card into a potent blend of gaming and productivity potential. We put those parts to the test to see whether the Aero 15X's thin-and-light chassis is up to the task of keeping all of that processing power in check."

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Huawei Unveils Flagship P20 Pro Smartphone With AI-Powered Triple Leica Cameras

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 4, 2018 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, p20 pro, Oreo, Leica, Kirin 970, Huawei, android 8.1

Huawei recently unveiled a slew of new smartphones and its new flagship P20 Pro is quite impressive and is the first smartphone to pack three rear cameras with Leica optics. The Huawei P20 Pro measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm, weighs in at 180 grams (0.0275 lbs), and comes in black, midnight blue, pink gold, or gradient twilight colors.

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The P20 Pro is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance and features soft rounded edges and flat faces. The front of the smartphone is dominated by an edge-to-edge 6.1’ FullView OLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2440 (408 PPI). a fingerprint sensor sits below the display and is the only hardware button on the front fact. While there is a notch (that is smaller than the iPhone X’s), Huawei offers a setting that will turn off the top of the display to the left and right of the notch to hide it if the notch is too annoying to you. The notch in the display is where the front facing camera with 24.8 MP CMOS sensor is located (the camera can be used for facial recognition to unlock the phone). External I/O includes a single USB-C port on the bottom (there is no 3.5mm headphone jack but Huawei does include the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter).

Around back is where things get interesting as Huawei has managed to pack three Leica cameras as well as an LED flash into the top corner. The rear cameras can be used alone or in combination and offer various forms of autofocus and depth detection along with bokeh portrait modes, improved low light and long exposure performance, and AI-powered image stabilization, scene detection, camera settings, and shot composition assistance. That's quite the run-on sentence, but in fact the P20 Pro managed to obliterate the DxOMark benchmark with an overall score of 109, a photo score of 114, and a video score of 98 which is very impressive! The NPU-powered AI is trained to recognize 500 scenarios in 19 categories and is able to assist the user in taking fast motion shots as well as night shots without flash using long exposures even when handheld, and looking at some of the night photos DxOMark was able to get seems to show it works well. Other camera features include 4D predictive focus, up to 102400 ISO, 960 FPS 720p video, and a 5-time hybrid zoom. Phase Detection Auto Focus is used in the main sensor and the cameras also support laser focus, deep focus, and contrast focus. Huawei claims that its "super snapshot" mode allows users to go from off to taking a photo in as little as 0.3 seconds.

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The three cameras include:

  • 20 MP Monochrome (1/2.78”) f/1.6 27mm equivalent
  • 40 MP RGB (1/1.73”) f/1.8 27mm equivalent (10 MP photos produced using quad bayer patterning)
  • 8 MP RGB (1/4.4”) f/2.4 80mm equivalent with optical image stabilization

Enough with the covers though, what's inside this smartphone? Well, Huawei has chosen the HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC which features four ARM Cortex-A73 cores at 2.36 GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.8 GHz, a "micro core i7" NPU (neural processing unit), and Mali G72 MP12 graphics. The SoC looks to be somewhere between the Snapdragon 820 and Snapdragon 835 in performance (according to AnandTech) is paired with 6 GB of  RAM and 128 GB of flash storage. Connectivity includes NFC, GPS, and LTE (oddly, they don't list any Wi-Fi information on the specifications page) and the P20 Pro has the usual sensor compliment (e.g. gravity, proximity, ambient light, hall, gyroscope, compass, color temperature sensor). A 4,000 mAh battery with Huawei supercharging powers the device. As of the time of writing the Huawei P20 Pro comes with Android 8.1 Oreo for the operating system.

According to Hexus.net, the Huawei P20 Pro will be available across the pond in both dual and single SIM versions starting at £799 RRP (recommended retail price) which comes out to about $1,230.93 in US dollars for those curious. Needless to say, the Huawei P20 Pro isn't going to be cheap when (or if) it hits the US but at least you get a of hardware packed into it!

I am interested to see the reviews on this one though I just recently bought the LG V30 due to my G3 dying so I'll likely be holding onto it for as long as possible as well (heh). I can't lie that I'm a bit jealous of the camera though; guess I should have waited – my corgi photos could have been so much better! (haha) What are your thoughts on the Huawei flagship?

Source: Huawei

Gigabyte's new 8th generation Core powered laptops

Subject: Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: aorus, gigabyte, gaming laptop, Aero, i7-8750h, Core i9-8950HK, X9 DT, X7 DT V8, X5 V8, 144hz

Gigabyte have updated their Aero and Aorus family of laptops with the new 8th generation Intel chips.  Depending on the model, you will find either a i7-8850H or i9-8950HK inside as well as a GTX 1080 or 1070.

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The Aero laptop has a 'bezel-less' 144Hz monitor, by which they mean a 5cm bezel surrounding the 15.6" 4k display.  The chassis is an impressively svelte 1.8cm thick, especially when you consider they squeezed a GTX 10X0 inside.  Audio is provided by Dolby Atmos and Sound Radar and of course there are RGBs below your keyboard which you can program, along with macro keys.  The 94.24 Wh battery will keep you gaming for quite a while, even when you are on the go.

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Also announced were the The Grand Trio, the X9 DT, X7 DT V8 and X5 V8 gaming laptops.  All three models feature a 144Hz IPS G-SYNC panels which have been X-Right Pantone corrected.  They sport the same Dolby Atmos audio as the Aero as well as RGB infested keyboards.  Storage is provided by a pair of M.2 PCIe SSDs as well as a 2.5" HDD for your larger files.  Connectivity includes a Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen.2 Type-C port as well as a USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen.2 Type-A ports, with both HDMI and DP video out. 

The basic specs of the laptops can be seen below. 

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Source: Gigabyte

ASUS Announces new ROG Zephyrus M GM501 Notebook

Subject: Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: zephyrus m, ROG, i7-8750h, gm501, coffee lake h

Along with the announcement of high-performance 8th Generation mobile processors from Intel today, comes plenty of announcements from partners about new gaming notebooks built around these processors.

One of the most appealing notebooks to be announced so far is the all-new ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GM501. 

Previously launched alongside NIVIDIA's Max-Q initiative, the first ROG Zephyrus served as ASUS's flagship thin-and-light gaming notebook. We were quite impressed with the performance in our review but had some qualms about the odd form-factor decisions, including keyboard placement. 

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The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M address these concerns, moving the keyboard and trackpad to a more traditional location along with a plethora of hardware changes. 

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM501)
MSRP $1499 (Best Buy Exlusive, coming 5/6) $1899 $2199
Screen 15.5" (1920x1080) IPS 120Hz 15.5" (1920x1080) IPS-Type 144Hz G-SYNC
CPU Core i7-8750H (6 core / 12 threads)
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1060 + Intel UHD 630 (Switchable) NVIDIA GTX 1070 + Intel UHD 630 (Switchable)
RAM 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage 128GB SATA + 1TB FireCuda SSHD 256GB PCIe + 1TB FireCuda SSHD
Network Intel 8265 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
Connectivity 1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Gen1
2 x USB 3.1 Gen2
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
Weight 5.5 lbs ( 2.45 kg)
Dimensions 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.7~0.78 inches
(304mm x 199mm x 8 -13.7 mm)
Battery 55 WHr

The biggest hardware change of course is the move to Intel's 6-core, 12-thread i7-8750H processor. 

Instead of the previous Max-Q GPU options (GTX 1070 and 1080), ASUS has opted for configurations up to a full GTX 1070, as well as the GTX 1060 on the lower end models.

In addition, the new iteration of the Zephyrus gains switchable graphics, which should help with battery life. ASUS says there will be a dedicated keyboard shortcut to manually switch between graphics modes, potentially alleviating some of the issues users have with Optimus technologies in certain applications.

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Battery capacity also sees a 10% bump to 55 WHr from the previous 50 WHr. Hopefully, these changes will provide a much-needed battery life improvement over the original Zephyrus notebook.

Storage options for all configurations of the GM501 will contain both an SSD and a 1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD hybrid drive for fast mass storage. The highest-end GM501s will be offered with 256GB NVMe drives, while the lower end will stick with just a 128GB SATA SSD.

Pricing for the new Zephyrus M is in line with the last generation, meaning that users looking for the ultimate marriage of gaming performance and portability will have to sacrifice a bit on price. However, I think the $1500 Best Buy exclusive SKU coming next month is a pretty compelling package for a lot of gamers. 

Expect these notebooks to start shipping on April 16th for the two highest configurations, with the lower end option coming in May.

 

Source: ASUS

Intel Unveils More 8th Generation Mobile Processors, 6-Core Mobile CPUs

Subject: Processors, Chipsets, Mobile | April 3, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: Intel, Core i9-8950HK, coffee lake h, 8th generation

Intel's rollout of their "8th Generation" processors has been glacial compared to other generations, and overall a bit confusing when it comes to trying to decode what processor belongs to what architecture. 

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Past the 8th generation Kaby Lake-R 15W quad-core mobile processors in August of last year, the Coffee Lake-S desktop CPU launch in October, and the recent Kaby Lake-G launch combining Intel processors with AMD graphics, there has still been one big missing market—high performance mobile processors.

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Today, Intel is finally rounding out it's 8th Generation Mobile processor line-up with the addition of Coffee Lake-H processors. 

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The biggest change with Intel's new mobile lineup is the delightful addition of more cores. All i7 and Xeon-based SKUs will now have 6 cores with Hyper-threading enabled for a total of 12 threads. In addition, the entire i5 lineup is gaining Hyper-threading support, bringing them to 4 cores and 8 threads. 

Coffee Lake-H also marks the introduction of Intel's first "i9" branded processor, the i9-8950HK. Taking the top spot of the mobile lineup previously held by the i7-7920HQ, the i9-8950HK is fully unlocked, with a turbo frequency of up to 4.8GHz. 

In addition, all of these new 8th generation mobile processors will bring support for Optane Memory caching to mobile for the first time.

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Intel is achieving the 4.8GHz single core turbo boost on the i9-8950HK through what they are calling "Intel Velocity Boost." While there aren't a lot of details about exactly how this technology will work yet, Intel has told us that essentially it's a way of providing extra frequency if there is thermal headroom on a given notebook design.

Below the 50 degrees C target temperature, we were told to expect about a 200MHz single-core boost and a 100MHz multi-core boost. With factory overclocking, Intel says they expect to see OEMs hit 5GHz and beyond, thanks in part to Velocity Boost.

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In addition to new processors, Intel is also unveiling their new 300-series mobile chipsets today. The major additions include the adoption of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports directly from the chipset, as well as the integration of an 802.11ac radio.

The all-new wireless radio is said to be capable of Gigabit speeds using 2x2 MIMO at 160MHz, which is part of the Wave 2 specification. While routers that support the 160MHz band are few and far between today, hopefully, Intel's adoption of this technology into its chipset will help spur faster adoption.

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In addition to the H-series processors, Intel also unveiled several new U-series parts today with Iris Plus graphics.

While the 28W notebook processors combining Intel U-series parts with Iris graphics containing 128MB of eDRAM have been available for generations, the only major customer for these parts historically is Apple. I fully expect these processors to make it into a revised 13" MacBook Pro later this year.

These new U-series parts will also be able to take advantage of the new 300-series chipsets with the integrated 802.11ac and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity. It will be interesting to see if Intel finally integrating Wi-Fi capability directly into the chipset will cause Apple to ditch Broadcom on their MacBook lineup.

Stay tuned for more announcements from Intel today, as well of announcements from notebook vendors utilizing these new processors!

Source: Intel
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

Since it's introduction in early 2015, the modern iteration of the Dell XPS 13 has been one of the most influential computers in recent history. An example of the rise of desirable Windows-based notebooks back into the premium market, the XPS 13 has done what only a few OEMs have been able to—inspire knockoffs. Now, the market is filled with similar designs including ultrathin bezels (and some even copying the compromises of webcam placement), at similar price points.

Even though it's been regarded as one of the best PC notebooks for its entire tenure, it was clear for a while that Dell must move the brand of their flagship notebook forward, and here it is, the redesigned XPS 13 9370 for 2018.

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From a quick glance, the 2018 XPS 13 is quite similar to the outgoing 9360 model from last year. Apart from this new, radical Alpine White and Rose Gold color scheme of our particular review unit, you would be hard-pressed to spot it as unique in public. However, once you start to dig in, the changes become quite evident.

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While the new XPS 13 maintains the same physical footprint as the previous iterations, it loses a significant amount of thickness. Still retaining the wedge shape, although much less exaggerated now, the XPS 13 9370 measures only 0.46" at its thickest point, compared to 0.6" on the previous design. While tenths of inches may not seem like a huge difference, this amounts to a 23% reduction in thickness, which is noticeable for a highly portable item like a notebook.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Dell XPS 13 9370 (2018)

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Huawei

A Snappy Budget Tablet

Huawei has been gaining steam. Even though they’re not yet a household name in the United States, they’ve been a major player in the Eastern markets with global ambitions. Today we’re looking at the MediaPad M3 Lite, a budget tablet with the kind of snappy performance and just better features that should make entry-level tablet buyers take notice.

Specifications

  • MSRP: $247.93
  • Size: 213.3mm (H) x 123.3 mm (W) x 7.5mm (D)
  • Color: White, Gold. Space Gray
  • Display:1920 x 1200 IPS
  • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8940, Octa-core
  • Operating System: Android 7.0/EMUI5.1
  • Memory: RAM+ROM 3GB+16GB (tested), 3GB+32GB, 4 GB+64 GB
  • Network: LTE CAT4/Wi-Fi 11ac 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz
  • GPS:Supports GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS.
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0, high-speed Features supported: charging, USB OTG, USB tethering, and MTP/PTP
  • Sensors: Gravity sensor, ambient light sensor, compass, gyroscope (only CPN-L09 support, CPN-W09 does not support)
  • Camera: Rear camera: 8 MP and auto focus Front camera: 8 MP and fixed focus
  • Audio: 2 Speakers+2 SmartPA Super Wide Sound (SWS) 3.0 sound effects, Harman Kardon tuning and certification
  • Video: Video file format: *.3gp, *.mp4, *.webm, *.mkv, .ts, .3g2, .flv, and .m4v,
  • Battery: 6600 mAh
  • In the Box: Charger, USB Cable, Eject tool, Quick start guide, Warranty card

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The tablet arrives well-packed inside a small but sturdy box. I’ve got to say, I love the copper on white look they’ve gone with and wish they’d applied it to the tablet itself, which is white and silver. Inside the box is the tablet, charging brick with USB cable, a SIM eject tool, and warranty card. It’s a bit sparse, but at this price point is perfectly fine.

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The tablet looks remarkably similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, only missing the touch controls on either side of the Home button and shifting the branding to the upper left. This isn’t a bad thing by any means but the resemblance is definitely striking. One notable difference is that the Home button isn’t actually a button at all but a touch sensor that doubles as the fingerprint sensor. 

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The MediaPad M3 Lite comes in at 7.5mm, or just under 0.3”, thick. Virtually all of the name brand tablets I researched prior to this review are within 0.05” of each other, so Huawei’s offering is in line with what we would expect, if ever so slightly thinner.

Continue reading our review of the Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite 10!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: CalDigit

More Ports!

One of the promises of moving to interfaces like USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 on notebooks is the idea of the "one cable future." For the most part, I think we are starting to see some of those benefits. It's nice that with USB Power Delivery, users aren't tied into buying chargers directly from their notebook manufacturer or turning to trying to find oddball third-party chargers with their exact barrel connector. Additionally, I also find it to be a great feature when laptops have USB-c charging ports on opposing sides of the notebooks, allowing me greater flexibility to plug in a charger without putting additional strain on the cable.

For years, the end-game for mobile versatility has been a powerful thin-and-light notebook which you can connect to a dock at home, and use a desktop PC. With more powerful notebook processor's like Intel's quad-core 8th generation parts coming out, we are beginning to reach a point where we have the processing power; the next step is having a quality dock with which to plug these notebooks.

While USB-C can support DisplayPort, Power Delivery, and 10 Gbit/s transfer speeds in its highest-end configuration, this would still be a bit lacking for power users. Thunderbolt 3 offering the same display and power delivery capabilities, but with its 40 Gbit/s data transfer capabilities is a more suitable option.

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Today, we are taking a look at the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus, a Thunderbolt 3-enabled device that provides a plethora of connectivity options for your notebook.

Continue reading our review of the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Dock!

Chuwi made a lot of friends, see if the SurBook 2 might convince you to count yourself among them

Subject: Mobile | March 5, 2018 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: chuwi, surbook, convertible, apollo lake

You may not have heard of Chuwi but they are not a new player, they have been around since 2004 and have been partnering with Huawei, Google, Microsoft and Intel to try to make it onto the world stage.  This recently cumulated in a successful IndieGoGo campaign and the release of the SurBook convertible laptop. Inside is an Intel Celeron N3450 with 6GB DDR3-1600 and 128 GB eMMC flash storage with a 2736x1824 IPS touchscreen.  The design which TechPowerUp tested cost a hair under $500, which is just about perfect for what you get.  It won't win any benchmarking awards but for what it is intended for it seems to do well; check it out for yourself.

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"Chuwi looks to conquer the convertible 2-in-1 market with their new SurBook. Featuring an all-aluminum shell and a rather large battery, it has the looks and specifications to turn a few heads, which may have something to do with its successful Indiegogo campaign in mid-2017."

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Source: TechPowerUp
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Razer

Overview

Compared to manufacturers like Dell, HP, and ASUS, Razer is a relative newcomer to the notebook market having only shipped their first notebook models in 2013. Starting first with gaming-focused designs like the Razer Blade and Blade Pro, Razer branched out to a more general notebook audience in 2016 with the launch of the Razer Blade Stealth.

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Even though Razer is a primarily gamer-centric brand, the Razer Blade Stealth does not feature a discrete GPU for gaming. Instead, Razer advertises using their Razer Core V2 external Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to add your own full-size GPU, giving users the flexibility of a thin-and-light ultrabook, but with the ability to play games when docked.

Compared to my previous daily driver notebook, the "Space Gray" MacBook Pro, the Razer Blade Stealth shares a lot of industrial design similarities, even down to the "Gunmetal" colorway featured on our review unit. The aluminum unibody construction, large touchpad, hinge design, and more all clearly take inspiration from Apple's notebooks over the years. In fact, I've actually mistaken this notebook for a MacBook Pro in a few quick glances around the office in recent weeks.

As someone who is a fan of the industrial design of the MacBook Pro lineup, but not necessarily Apple's recent hardware choices, these design cues are a good thing. In some ways, the Razer Blade Stealth feels like Apple had continued with their previous Retina MacBook Pro designs instead of moving into the current Touch Bar-sporting iteration.

Razer Blade Stealth (Early 2018)
MSRP $1499 $1699 $2099
Screen 13.3" QHD+ (3200x1800) IGZO Touch Screen
CPU Core i7-8550U
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM 16GB LPDDR3-2133MHz (non-upgradeable)
Storage 256 GB PCIe 512 GB PCIe 1 TB PCIe
Network Killer 1535 Wireless-AC (802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth® 4.1)
Display Output

1 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x HDMI 2.0b

Connectivity 1 x Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm headphone
2 x USB 3.0 (Type-A)
Audio Stereo Speakers, Array Microphone
Weight 2.98 lbs. / 1.35 kg
Dimensions 0.54” / 13.8 mm (Height) x 12.6” / 321 mm (Width) x 8.1” / 206 mm (Depth)
Battery 53.6 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home 

One of the things that surprised me most when researching the Razer Blade Stealth was just how equipped the base model was. All models include 16 GB of RAM, a QHD+ touch screen, and at least 256 GB of PCIe NVMe flash storage. However, I would have actually liked to see a 1080p screen option, be it with or without touch. For such a small display size, I would rather gain the battery life advantages of the lower resolution.

Continue reading our review of the Razer Blade Stealth (2018)!!