Tuesday, March 9th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards

MSI Released AGESA COMBO PI V2 Beta BIOS for AMD 500 Series Motherboards

MSI, a world-leading motherboard manufacturer, announces the release of AGESA COMBO PI V2 beta BIOS for its AMD 500 series motherboards to add SMART ACCESS MEMORY support to AMD RYZEN 3000 desktop processors. Now both RYZEN 5000 and RYZEN 3000* desktop processors support SMART ACCESS MEMORY. AGESA COMBO PI V2 BIOS also improves L3 Cache bandwidth in AIDA64 for RYZEN 5000 desktop processors.

SMART ACCESS MEMORY is an innovative feature that allows the system to access the full capacity of the VRAM on the graphics card. Compare to the current solution which has a 256 MB access limitation, this feature will provide the users a better gaming experience.

NVIDIA Unveils AI Enterprise Software Suite to Help Every Industry Unlock the Power of AI

NVIDIA today announced NVIDIA AI Enterprise, a comprehensive software suite of enterprise-grade AI tools and frameworks optimized, certified and supported by NVIDIA, exclusively with VMware vSphere 7 Update 2, separately announced today.

Through a first-of-its-kind industry collaboration to develop an AI-Ready Enterprise platform, NVIDIA teamed with VMware to virtualize AI workloads on VMware vSphere with NVIDIA AI Enterprise. The offering gives enterprises the software required to develop a broad range of AI solutions, such as advanced diagnostics in healthcare, smart factories for manufacturing, and fraud detection in financial services.
NVIDIA AI Enterprise Software Suite

be quiet! Announces Pure Rock Slim 2 CPU Cooler and MC1 Series M.2 SSD Heatsinks

be quiet!, market leader for PC power supplies in Germany since 2007, is expanding its portfolio with the revised Pure Rock Slim 2 CPU cooler and the MC1 and MC1 Pro SSD coolers suitable for M.2 2280 modules. With its reliable and quiet 92-millimeter Pure Wings 2 PWM fan and three 6 mm heat pipes, the Pure Rock Slim 2 can reliably dissipate waste heat of up to 130 W TDP. Thanks to its small dimensions the cooler is especially suitable for cases with limited space, while compatibility with AMD sockets has been improved over its predecessor. The new MC1 and MC1 Pro M.2 coolers reliably prevent modern SSDs from throttling due to excessive temperatures. Both models are equally suitable for single- or double-sided modules and feature an elegant black design that perfectly fits into any hardware layout.

The new be quiet! Pure Rock Slim 2 is a processor cooler with compact dimensions that dissipates waste heat of up to 130 watts thanks to its sophisticated design. With its optimized mounting system, the compact tower cooler's installation is child's play, even in tight spaces, and makes airflow-aligned installation on AMD sockets even easier. The single-tower cooler features a single Pure Wings 2 92 mm PWM fan. Thanks to its airflow-optimized fan blades this ensures that the cooler does not get louder than 25.4 dB(A) during operation.

Sharkoon Announces RGB Slider White Case

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of high-performance, quality PC components and peripherals. Sharkoon has now widened its product range with a white edition of its popular RGB Slider PC case. The RGB Slider White has a simple and minimalistic design, but the case still comes with features which are special for its price range, such as a side panel made of tempered glass and the RGB LED strip integrated in the front panel.

With its new white finish, the RGB Slider presents itself again with a minimalist and unobtrusive look. The restrained presentation is only interrupted by the RGB-LED strip, which provides visual variety on the white front panel. Part of the strip has a subtle form which seems to slide across its otherwise straight line, thus giving the PC case its name. Using the built-in RGB controller, the front of the case can be illuminated in fourteen preset color modes. It can also be freely adjusted using the software of compatible mainboards with the support of Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light Sync, Gigabyte Fusion and ASRock Polychrome Sync. Additional RGB components with a 5 V-D-coded-G or 5 V-D-G pinout can be connected in the case using the installed RGB controller.

Apple is Discontinuing Intel-based iMac Pro

According to the official company website, Apple will no longer manufacture its iMac Pro computers based on Intel processors. Instead, the company will carry these models in its store, only while the supplies last. Apple will be replacing these models with next-generation iMac Pro devices that will be home to the custom Apple Silicon processors, combining Arm CPU cores with custom GPU design. Having a starting price of 4990 USD, the Apple iMac Pro was able to max out at 15000 USD. The most expensive part was exactly the Intel Xeon processor inside it, among the AMD GPU with HBM. Configuration pricing was also driven by storage/RAM options. However, even the most expensive iMac Pro with its 2017 hardware had no chance against the regular 2020 iMac, so the product was set to be discontinued sooner or later.

When the stock of the iMac Pro runs out, Apple will replace this model with its Apple Silicon equipped variant. According to the current rumor mill, Apple is set to hold a keynote on March 16th that will be an announcement for new iMac Pro devices with custom processors. What happens is only up to Apple, so we have to wait and see.

AAEON Announces BOXER-8253AI: Flexible AI Edge Platform Powered by NVIDIA Jetson Xavier

AAEON, a leading manufacturer of AI Edge computing solutions, announces the BOXER-8253AI, the latest in AAEON's lineup of compact rugged platforms powered by the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX SoC. The BOXER-8253AI builds on the popular BOXER-825x Series to deliver a flexible platform designed to connect and power even more applications with HDMI input, PoE PSE ports, and flexible storage options.

The BOXER-8253AI features an I/O loadout designed to provide users and developers flexible deployment for any application. The BOXER-8253AI brings new capabilities to the platform with HDMI input, allowing developers and users to quickly add AI powered visual analysis to a broad range of applications from NVR surveillance systems to security checkpoint X-ray scanners and medical devices. Additionally, the BOXER-8253AI features two PoE PSE ports (802.3af) delivering up to 60 W total power to connect and power devices such as PoE cameras or even PoE PD devices.

Intel Prepares 19 Alder Lake Processors for Laptops Ranging from 5-55 Watts

As we are getting closer to the launch of Intel's next-generation Alder Lake processors, more information is getting leaked. Today, thanks to the leaked presentation slide, we have some more details regarding Intel's Alder Lake offerings in the laptop sector. As a reminder, Alder Lake uses a hybrid approach to core configuration with the similar mindset Arm's big.LITTLE works. There are a few smaller cores for processing smaller tasks that don't need much power and, of course, there are a few big cores that are used for heavyweight processing as some advanced applications require. The small cores are going to be based on the Gracemont microarchitecture, while the big one will use the Golden Cove design.

Thanks to @9550pro on Twitter, we have a slide that showcases 19 different Alder Lake configurations for the laptop segment. At the very bottom, there are configurations with a TDP of just five Watts. That is achieved by having just one big, four smaller cores, 48 EU Gen 12 GPU and that is meant for the tablet segment. Going up, we have different ranges depending on the application device, and the highest end is a chip with 55 Watts of power. That model has eight small and eight big cores, combined with 32 EUs of Gen 12 graphics. All models include integrated graphics. The variations of big and small cores have allowed Intel to have as many as 19 different SKUs, that cover every segment needed, by simply balancing the core count. You can check out the rest of the models below for yourself.
Intel Alder Lake Intel Alder Lake Mobile Configurations
Monday, March 8th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Desktop PC
Graphics Cards
ASUS ROG Keris Wireless Review

ASUS ROG Keris Wireless Review

The right-handed ergonomic ROG Keris Wireless aims to be ASUS's most accomplished mouse yet: PixArt's PAW3335 sensor, a 79 g lightweight design, hot-swappable main button switches, triple connectivity (wired, wireless, and Bluetooth), main button switches rated for 70 million clicks, pure PTFE mouse feet, and up to 78 hours of battery life.
Marsback M1 Keyboard Review - Custom Switches, Custom Keycaps

Marsback M1 Keyboard Review - Custom Switches, Custom Keycaps

Marsback brought us the Zephyr mouse with the bult-in fan, and today, we take a look at their first keyboard in the Marsback M1. Will it continue the trend of wacky and novel? Read more to see how this enthusiast-grade high-end keyboard, up on Kickstarter now, fares in our detailed review.

Microsoft's Acquisition of ZeniMax Media Has Been Approved by Regulators

Microsoft announced their plans to purchase ZeniMax Media last year in a deal valued at 7.5 billion dollars which would give them 8 new game studios including Bethesda, id Software, Arkane Studios, and MachineGames. The deal is the largest acquisition by Microsoft yet increasing their game studio count from 15 to 23 and are adding several notable game series to their collection including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Prey, Dishonored, and Wolfenstein. Microsoft has announced that all these titles will be made available as part of Xbox Game Pass which will make the service even more compelling to gamers. The European Commission has approved the purchase without conditions and pending approval in the US the acquisition looks likely to complete in the coming months. Microsoft has confirmed that the existing Deathloop timed PlayStation exclusive deal will continue and major leadership changes within the company are not expected.

Cloud Gaming Company Shadow Files For Bankruptcy

Cloud gaming companies have had limited success with Google recently shutting down Stadia game studios and NVIDIA having trouble getting games for their platform. Shadow, the cloud gaming service operated by Blade looked promising with high-end hardware and a large wait-list of customers however it all appears to have come to an end after the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. The Paris Commercial Court ruled that the server provider 2CRSi used by Shadow retains the right to take 30.2 million EURO worth of hardware to pay debts owed. The US branch of the company also filed for bankruptcy in the California Northern Bankruptcy Court with similar debts owed to 2CRSi. Blade issued a statement claiming that their Shadow game streaming service had been a victim of its own success and that they hope to find a new investor for the company so that they can keep it's hardware.

Transcend Announces MTE240S PCIe Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD

Transcend today announced the MTE240S, a mid-range SSD built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, with PCI-Express 4.0 x4 host interface, which boasts of some stellar manufacturer-rated endurance numbers. The drive uses an unknown 4-channel controller, and while its rated sequential speeds fall well below what the bus is capable of, they're higher than most PCIe Gen3 drives. The MTE240S is available in 500 GB and 1 TB capacity variants. Both come with graphene-coated copper heatspreaders.

The 500 GB variant offers sequential speeds of up to 3800 MB/s reads, with up to 2800 MB/s sequential writes, up to 190,000 IOPS 4K random-reads, and up to 540,000 IOPS 4K random-writes. The 1 TB variant, on the other hand, clocks up to 3800 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 3200 MB/s sequential writes; up to 370,000 IOPS 4K random-reads, and up to 560,000 IOPS 4K random-writes. Transcend claims that the 500 GB variant can handle 850 TBW endurance, and the 1 TB variant 1,700 TBW. The company is backing them with 5-year warranties.

AMD Acknowledges USB Connectivity Issues on 500 Series Chipset Motherboards

Users have recently been reporting various intermittent USB connectivity errors on AMD 500 series motherboards. AMD has acknowledged these issues in a recent Reddit post where they have asked affected users for more information to help them resolve the issues. The issues appear to be most commonly found when using VR headsets on X570 motherboards where intermittent connectivity issues are most noticeable. Some of the affected users report that the issues are most common when using a PCIe 4.0 GPU and that switching to PCIe 3.0 can sometimes resolve the issue. AMD is asking affected users to submit reports through their Online Service Request platform and will also contact users directly on Reddit to request detailed information.

Update Mar 9th:

AMD has provided some official guidance for affected users asking them to follow the solutions provided by Reddit such as disabling global C-States and switching to PCIe 3.0 mode if general troubleshooting has failed. AMD has reaffirmed that they were aware of the issue and that their engineers are actively working on a fix.

Thermaltake Outs ToughRAM XG RGB DDR4 Memory

Thermaltake today introduced the ToughRAM XG RGB line of DDR4 memory kits. The series debuts in 16 GB (2x 8 GB) dual-channel memory kits, with frequency-based variants of DDR4-3600, DDR4-4000, DDR4-4400, and DDR4-4600. The top DDR4-4600 kit (R016D408GX2-4600C19A) does its rated frequency with timings of 19-26-26-45, and 1.5 V DRAM voltage. The DDR4-4400 kit (R016D408GX2-4400C19A) runs at slightly tighter timings of 19-25-25-45, and 1.45 V. The DDR4-4000 kit (R016D408GX2-4000C19A) ticks at 19-23-23-42, with 1.35 V. At the same voltage, the DDR4-3600 kit (R016D408GX2-3600C18A) does 18-19-19-39.

Visually, the ToughRAM XG RGB module features a chunky aluminium heatspreader design with three distinct design tones, and three silicone addressable-RGB diffusers that hide 16 ARGB diodes. You can control the lighting using Thermaltake's NeonMaker app, or pretty much any ARGB control software, including Razer Chroma. Thermaltake guarantees advertised speeds on Intel X299, Z490, Z390, Z370, Z270, and Z170 chipset motherboards when paired with K-series processors; or AMD X570 and B550 motherboards with Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" or 5000 "Vermeer" processors. The modules are backed by lifetime warranties. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Fujitsu Completes Development of World's Fastest Supercomputer

Fugaku is Japan's supercomputer that has been developed as a core system for the innovative High-Performance Computing Infrastructure (HPCI) promoted by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). In 2014, RIKEN and Fujitsu began joint development of Fugaku and completed delivery of all racks in May 2020. Since then, they have developed and optimized the user environment in preparation for the commencement of shared use.

In the meantime, Fugaku has claimed the world's top spot for two consecutive terms in June and November 2020 in four categories on the major high-performance computer rankings: the TOP500, HPCG, HPL-AI, as well as the Graph 500, and has been used on a trial basis under the "Program for Promoting Research on the Supercomputer Fugaku", "research projects aimed to combat COVID-19", etc. since April 2020. In these trials, two projects, "Study on Large-Scale Numerical Fluid Simulation" and "Largest Ever Meteorological Calculation" have already been selected as the ACM Gordon Bell Prize finalists. In addition, research on "Prediction and Countermeasures for Infection by Virus Contaminated Droplet in Indoor Environment" has led to changes in people's lifestyles, and Fugaku is already making steady progress toward becoming a key technological platform for science and for building Society 5.0.

Intel "Lunar Lake" Microarchitecture Hits the Radar, Possible "Meteor Lake" Successor

Intel published Linux kernel driver patches that reference a new CPU microarchitecture, codenamed "Lunar Lake." The patch comments refer to "Lunar Lake" as a client platform, and VideoCardz predicts that it could succeed "Meteor Lake." the microarchitecture that follows "Alder Lake," which was recently announced by Intel.

Targeting both mobile and desktop platforms, "Alder Lake" will herald a new 1,700-pin LGA socket for the client desktop, and debut hybrid CPU cores on the form-factor. Expected to be built on a newer silicon fabrication node, such as the 10 nm SuperFin, the chip will combine high-performance "Golden Cove" big cores, with "Gracemont" low-power cores. Its commercial success will determine if Intel continues to take the hybrid-core approach to client processors with future "Meteor Lake" and "Lunar Lake," or whether it will have sorted out its foundry woes and build "Lunar Lake" with a homogeneous CPU core type. With "Alder Lake" expected to debut toward the end of 2021 and "Meteor Lake" [hopefully] by 2022, "Lunar Lake" would only follow by 2023-24.

MSI Intros GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Z Trio and RTX 3080 Gaming Trio Plus

MSI expanded its custom-design GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card lineup with the new RTX 3080 Gaming Z Trio and the RTX 3080 Gaming Trio Plus. Both cards are based on a common design that slightly varies from the original RTX 3080 Gaming Trio and Gaming X Trio, in featuring a slightly different-looking backplate with slits toward the tail-end. The new card's backplate appears to be made of aluminium from the looks of the screw mounting positions, while the original RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio uses a plastic backplate with graphene coating.

The new MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Z Trio comes with slightly higher factory-overclocked speeds, with the core clocked at 1835 MHz GPU Boost, compared to 1815 MHz of the Gaming X Trio. The RTX 3080 Gaming Trio Plus, on the other hand, features identical clock speeds to the original RTX 3080 Gaming Trio, with 1755 MHz GPU Boost frequency, but with the refreshed backplate design of the Gaming Z Trio. It's unclear at this point if MSI is planning to replace the RTX 3080 Gaming Trio and Gaming X Trio with these new cards, or whether they'll be integrated into the product-stack, with the Gaming Z Trio being squeezed between the company's RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio and RTX 3080 SUPRIM.

AMD to Launch 3rd Gen EPYC Processors on March 15

AMD today announced that its 3rd generation EPYC enterprise processors will launch on March 15, 2021. Codenamed "Milan," these processors are expected to leverage the company's latest "Zen 3" CPU microarchitecture to significantly increase IPC (single-threaded performance), and retain compatibility with the the SP3 socket. AMD set up a micro-site where it will stream the 3rd Gen EPYC processor launch event on March 15, at 11 ET (16:00 UTC). "Milan" is rumored to be AMD's final processor architecture on this socket, before transitioning to SP5 and the next-gen processor codenamed "Genoa," sometime in 2022. "Genoa" marks a switch to next-gen I/O such as DDR5 memory and PCIe gen 5.0, along with an increase in CPU core counts.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Memory-Modded with 16GB

PC enthusiast and overclocker VIK-on pulled off a daring memory chip mod on his Palit GeForce RTX 3070 GamingPro OC graphics card, swapping its 8 GB of 14 Gbps GDDR6 memory with 16 GB of it, using eight replacement 16 Gbit chips. The modded card is able to recognize the 16 GB of memory, is able to utilize it like other 16 GB graphics cards (such as the Radeon RX 6800), and is fairly stable with benchmarks and stress tests, although not initially stable. It did spring up some black-screens. VIK-on later discovered that locking the clock-speeds using EVGA Precision-X stabilizes the card, so it performs as expected.

The mod involves a physical replacement of the card's stock 8 Gbit memory chips with 16 Gbit ones; and shorting certain straps on the PCB that let it recognize the desired memory chip brand and density. After the mod, the GeForce driver and GPU-Z are able to read 16 GB of video memory, and the card is able to handle stress tests such as FurMark. The card was initially underperforming in 3DMark, putting out a TimeSpy score of just 8356 points; but following the clock-speed lock fix, is able to score around 13000 points. The video presentation can be watched from the source link below. Kudos to VIK-on!

Intel to Collaborate with Microsoft on DARPA Program

Intel today announced that it has signed an agreement with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to perform in its Data Protection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program. The program aims to develop an accelerator for fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). Microsoft is the key cloud ecosystem and homomorphic encryption partner leading the commercial adoption of the technology once developed by testing it in its cloud offerings, including Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft JEDI cloud, with the U.S. government. The multiyear program represents a cross-team effort across multiple Intel groups, including Intel Labs, the Design Engineering Group and the Data Platforms Group, to tackle "the final frontier" in data privacy, which is computing on fully encrypted data without access to decryption keys.

"Fully homomorphic encryption remains the holy grail in the quest to keep data secure while in use. Despite strong advances in trusted execution environments and other confidential computing technologies to protect data while at rest and in transit, data is unencrypted during computation, opening the possibility of potential attacks at this stage. This frequently inhibits our ability to fully share and extract the maximum value out of data. We are pleased to be chosen as a technology partner by DARPA and look forward to working with them as well as Microsoft to advance this next chapter in confidential computing and unlock the promise of fully homomorphic encryption for all," said Rosario Cammarota, principal engineer, Intel Labs, and principal investigator, DARPA DPRIVE program.

Intel Plans a Sizable 11th Gen Core "Tiger Lake-H" Mobile Processor Lineup

Intel's new 8-core "Tiger Lake" silicon will play a major role in holding the company's dominance in the mobile processor space, with plans for new 6-core and 8-core SKUs being in motion. OneRaichu on Twitter, a reliable source with Intel leaks, points to several unreleased model numbers. The 8-core "Tiger Lake-H" die is expected to be built on the same 10 nm SuperFin process as the "Tiger Lake-U" silicon. The lineup is led by the Core i9-11980HK, an 8-core/16-thread processor that uses eight "Willow Cove" CPU cores, 2.60 GHz nominal- and 5.00 GHz max-Turbo frequency, and 3.30 GHz AVX512 frequency. This chip will be in a class of its own, as its TDP is rated at 65 W, significantly above the 35-45 W TDP range that constitutes the H-segment. It will likely power large gaming notebooks with elaborate cooling solutions. It will also come with an unlocked base-clock multiplier.

The Core i9-11900H is the next chip in the lineup, with slightly lower clock speeds of 2.50 GHz base, 4.90 GHz max-Turbo, and 2.10 GHz AVX512. This chip features a much lower 35 W TDP, and will come with aggressive power management compared to the i9-11980HK. The Core i7-11800H will be the slowest 8-core part, with clock speeds of 2.40 GHz nominal, 4.60 GHz max-Turbo, and 2.00 GHz AVX512. It comes with the same 35 W TDP as the i9-11900H. Next up, are 6-core/12-thread parts, likely under the Core i5 brand. These include the i5-11400H, clocked at 2.70 GHz nominal, 4.50 GHz max-Turbo, and 2.20 GHz AVX512. At the bottom of the pile is the i5-11260H, clocked at 2.60 GHz, with 4.40 GHz max-Turbo, and 2.10 GHz AVX512. Both Core i5 parts are 35-Watt.

Globalfoundries Investing $1.4 billion in Fabrication Capacity Expansion, Anticipate IPO

Globalfoundries has announced they are in the early stages of a massive $1.4 billion investment in their manufacturing capabilities, which aims to increase overall production of semiconductor chips. One third of this development investment will be pre-paid by Globalfoundries' customers, who by investing this way, are also pre-allocating Globalfoundries' future supply - it's a way for the company to receive funds for not-yet-produced wafers, enabling it to proceed with these expansion plans. The company usually reserves $700 million yearly for capacity expansions and technology improvements, so this $1.4 billion figure essentially doubles that.

That doubling comes at a time where existing capacity throughout the semiconductor industry is showing not to be sufficient for global demand. The plans will see Globalfoundries increase its wafer production capability by 13% this year, and 20% in 2022. The increased funding for developmental expenses will be allocated equally between the company's three manufacturing plants already installed in Dresden, Malta (New York) and Singapore. Globalfoundries' 2020 revenue ended up at $5.7 billion, a cutback from 2017's $6.176 billion. The company, however, projects its revenue to increase 9-10% in 2021 due to the current unprecedented demand for its fabrication technologies. The company is also looking to capitalize on this demand in another way: by bringing its IPO forward. Where before the company planned to go public in 2022 or even 2023, the increased current demand and prospective YoY growth places the company in a good place for such a move.

NVIDIA Wins $1 Billion Lawsuit by a Class of Investors

Last year, we found out that a group of investors has accused NVIDIA that the company has misled its investors by reporting crypto revenue as gaming revenue numbers and making its gaming revenue seem much bigger than it is. The original lawsuit was filed in 2017 and it demanded that NVIDIA should pay one billion US Dollars to investors shall they be proven right. In 2017, cryptocurrency mining was at the same craze it is today, with people buying every possible card that exists and consumers having a hard time upgrading their PCs. Investors in NVIDIA corporation have believed that in 2017, the company has presented its cryptocurrency earning figures as a part of the gaming figures, thus giving misleading information about the company's success in the gaming market.

Today, we have information that NVIDIA has won this lawsuit. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam has dismissed the case and ruled that investors were unable to provide any significant evidence that the company has used such practices and misled investors. By taking this case off the company, NVIDIA will not be paying one billion USD to the accusing investors and the company continues operations as normal.

AMD is Preparing RDNA-Based Cryptomining GPU SKUs

Back in February, NVIDIA has announced its GPU SKUs dedicated to the cryptocurrency mining task, without any graphics outputs present on the chips. Today, we are getting information that AMD is rumored to introduce its own lineup of graphics cards dedicated to cryptocurrency mining. In the latest patch for AMD Direct Rendering Manager (DRM), a subsystem of the Linux kernel responsible for interfacing with GPUs, we see the appearance of the Navi 12. This GPU SKU was not used for anything except Apple's Mac devices in a form of Radeon Pro 5600M GPU. However, it seems like the Navi 12 could join forces with Navi 10 GPU SKU and become a part of special "blockchain" GPUs.

Way back in November, popular hardware leaker, KOMACHI, has noted that AMD is preparing three additional Radeon SKUs called Radeon RX 5700XTB, RX 5700B, and RX 5500XTB. The "B" added to the end of each name is denoting the blockchain revision, made specifically for crypto-mining. When it comes to specifications of the upcoming mining-specific AMD GPUs, we know that both use first-generation RDNA architecture and have 2560 Stream Processors (40 Compute Units). Memory configuration for these cards remains unknown, as AMD surely won't be putting HBM2 stacks for mining like it did with Navi 12 GPU. All that remains is to wait and see what AMD announces in the coming months.
Sunday, March 7th 2021

Intel Rocket Lake Early Gaming Benchmarks Show Incremental Improvements

We have recently received some early gaming benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Core i7-11700K after German retailer MindFactory released the chip early. The creator of CapFrameX has managed to get their hands on one of these processors and has put it to the test comparing it with the Intel Core i9-10900K in some gaming benchmarks. Intel has promised double-digit IPC improvements with the new Rocket Lake generation of processors however if the results from this latest benchmark are representative of the wider picture those improvements might be a bit more modest then Intel claims.

The processors were paired with an RTX 3090 and 32 GB of 3200 MHz memory as this is the new stock maximum speed supported versus 2933 MHz on the Core i9-10900K. The two processors were put to the test in Crysis Remastered, Cyberpunk 2077, and Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, with the i7-11700K coming ahead in all three tests by ~ 2% - 9%. These tests are unverified and might not be fully representative of performance but they give us a good indication of what Intel has to offer with these new 11th generation chips.

EK Announces Classic Water Block for Radeon RX 6800, 6800 XT, & 6900 Graphics Cards

EK Water Blocks, the leading computer cooling solutions provider, is ready to offer a new Classic line GPU water block for graphics cards based on the latest AMD RDNA2 architecture. It fits most reference PCB designs of the Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800XT, and RX 6900 GPUs. Minimalistic design with fewer details makes this EK-Classic Line water block more affordable while still offering all the qualities of an EK product, such as high performance, excellent customer support, and a comprehensive installation manual.

The EK-Classic GPU Water Block RX 6800/6900 D-RGB directly cools the GPU, VRAM, and the VRM (voltage regulation module) as a cooling liquid is channeled right over these critical areas. The water block is in contact with power stages as well as Inductor chokes to maximize cooling and minimize the chances of coil whine. It boasts some new features, already previously introduced in the EK's Quantum line, such as the optimized flow paths that reduce hydrodynamic instabilities and vortexing (dead spots) inside of them.

XIGMATEK Intros the Aquarius Plus Queen Case

XIGMATEK today introduced the Aquarius Plus Queen, a color variant of the Aquarius Plus wide-format ATX mid-tower case from 2019. The case swaps out the white interior of the original with pink, the front- and left-side facing black metal bits with white; and the right-side and rear-facing metal exteriors with pink. The two-sided glasshouse continues to be clear tempered glass. The case is otherwise identical to the original.

The Aquarius Plus Queen features a vertically-partitioned interior, with the left compartment holding the spacious motherboard tray; and the right compartment holding the PSU- and drive bays. The motherboard tray serves up room for graphics cards up to 36 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 15.8 cm in height. Up to ten 120 mm fans can be mounted at various locations, including three-each along the top- and bottom panels, three along the vertical partition, and one rear exhaust. An optional vertical mount adapter lets you tilt the expansion area sideways, to show off your graphics card. The case measures 415 mm x 280 mm x 427 mm (LxWxH). The company didn't reveal pricing.

SK Hynix Begins Mass-Production of 18-Gigabyte LPDDR5 Mobile DRAM Chips

SK hynix Inc announced that it has started mass-production of 18 GB (gigabyte) LPDDR5 mobile DRAM, which offers the largest capacity in the industry. This product will be equipped in premium smartphones to support an optimal environment for games with high resolution image and also high quality videos. SK hynix also expects that application will continue expanding to include the latest technologies, including ultra-high-performance camera applications and artificial intelligence (AI).

"This product will improve the processing speed and image quality by expanding the data temporary storage space, as the capacity increases compared to the previous 16 GB product," an official from the company said. The new product runs at up to 6,400 Mbps (megabits-per-second), around 20% faster than the mobile DRAM (LPDDR5 with 5,500 Mbps) for existing smartphones, a data rate that is capable of transferring ten 5 GB FHD (Full-HD) movies per second.
Friday, March 5th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards
Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Master Review

Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Master Review

Intel's 11th Generation Core Processors are right around the corner, and with them a whole host of new motherboards. The Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Master boasts a massive VRM with 90 A power stages, dual BIOS, and even 10 Gb/s LAN. Let's see how the new Gigabyte Z590 AORUS Master performs!
Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 AMP Holo Review

Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 AMP Holo Review

The GeForce RTX 3080 AMP Holo is Zotac's flagship variant of the RTX 3080. It comes overclocked out of the box and has a powerful 16+3 VRM design. Temperatures and noise levels are slightly better than the Founders Edition, and idle-fan-stop is included, too.

Razer Unveils Anzu Smart Glasses with Open-Ear Wireless Audio

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers (Hong Kong Stock Code: 1337), today announced the Razer Anzu Smart Glasses, its first ever eyewear product. Razer Anzu combines the valuable protection of 35% blue light filtering lenses, 99% UVA/UVB protective polarized sunglasses, touch controls, and open-ear audio for a one-of-a-kind wearable. Razer Anzu seamlessly enhances the experience of working from home, and makes digital entertainment or outdoor activities another opportunity to demonstrate your style.

Open-ear wireless sound and the use of Razer's low-latency Bluetooth technology offer consumers greater immersion and convenience to enjoy work-play lifestyles. A less-than 48 g light weight and ergonomic design delivers a comfortable fit for extended use, particularly during work-from-home sessions. Razer Anzu will be available from Best Buy and Razer.com in fashionable rectangular or round frame designs, each in two sizes with subtle branding adorning the durable and flexible frame hinges meant for easy storage.

GoodOffer24 Unveils March Carnival Promotion: New Low Prices on Genuine Software

GoodOffer24 brings you the March Carnival promotion event. Get Genuine Windows 10 Pro for as little as 11€, and have more budget to spare toward your hardware. Windows 10 Enterprise 2019 LTSC can be had for as little as 9.86€. No home gaming desktop is complete without the mighty Office 2019 productivity suite. Get the top-spec Office 2019 Professional Plus for as little as 34.29€. Better yet, combine it with your Windows 10 Pro purchase for as little as 41.99€ to save even more. GoodOffer24 accepts PayPal, so your purchase and payment instruments are secured.

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Buy Windows 10 Pro at 11.47€ | Buy Windows 10 Enterprise 2019 LTSC at 9.86€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro 2-PC at 16.79€ | Buy Windows 10 Home at 11.01€ | Buy Office 2019 Home and Business at 41.31€ | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus at 33.17€ | Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus at 34.29€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2019 Professional at 41.99€ | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional at 42.69€ | Buy Windows 10 Home + Office 2016 Professional at 39.69€

NVIDIA Outs GeForce Hotfix 461.81 Driver

NVIDIA today released the GeForce Hotfix 461.81 drivers to expeditiously fix bugs discovered with the previous driver. Based mostly on the GeForce 461.72 WHQL, the drivers come with shader cache optimizations for "Fortnite," which work to reduce stutter on certain PC configurations. A display flickering issue on some machines with GeForce GTX 1660 Super, has been fixed. Pixellated black dots noticed in "Red Dead Redemption II" has been fixed. Stuttering noticed with moving windows of certain desktop applications, has been fixed. NVIDIA Surround failing with 4K HDMI 2.1 TVs has been fixed. "Detroit: Become Human" crashing with image sharpening enabled, has been fixed. Also fixed, is long game loading times with "Rocket League." Grab the hotfix from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce Hotfix 461.81

NordVPN Birthday Offer: Get 2 Years Secure VPN Service at 68% Off and Extra Months

NordVPN is a multinational virtual private network (VPN) service provider with direct presence in over 59 counties and regions. It provides fast and secure VPN services to not just businesses and enterprises, but also individuals and small-businesses, like you. You probably didn't even think you needed a VPN, but there's no better time to get one, as we'll explain below. NordVPN is celebrating its Birthday by offering 2-year subscriptions to its service at a deep discount of 68% off. You also get to try your luck with a return gift, which adds anywhere between 1 month to 2 years in addition to the subscription you've paid for!

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Still not convinced? Read on.
Thursday, March 4th 2021

Today's Reviews

CPU Coolers
Graphics Cards

GALAX GeForce RTX 3090 Hall Of Fame (HOF) Edition GPU Benched with Custom 1000 W vBIOS

GALAX, the maker of the popular premium Hall Of Fame (HOF) edition of graphics cards, has recently announced its GeForce RTX 3090 HOF Edition GPU. Designed for extreme overclocking purposes, the card is made with a 12 layer PCB, 26 phase VRM power delivery configuration, and three 8-pin power connectors. Today, we have managed to get the first comprehensive review of the card by a Chinese YouTube channel 二斤自制. However, this wasn't just regular testing being conducted on a card with factory settings. The channel has applied 1000 Watt vBIOS to the GPU and ran it all on the air cooler the GPU comes with.

In the default 420 Watt setting, the card has been running with a GPU clock of 1845 MHz and a temperature of 69 degrees Celsius. However, when the 1000 Watt vBIOS was applied to the card, the GPU core has managed to ramp to 2000 MHz and consume as much as 630 W of power. If you were wondering if the stock cooler was able to handle it all, the answer is yes. The card has reached a toasty 96 C temperature. While GALAX doesn't offer BIOS like this, the ID of the BIOS corresponds to that of a custom XOC 1000 W BIOS for EVGA Kingpin GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, which you can find in our database. When it comes to performance, the gains were very minimal at only 2-3%. That must have been due to the insufficient cooling, and the card could have done much better on water or LN2. The Firestrike Ultra and Firestrike Extreme results are displayed below.

AMD Confirms Radeon RX 6000 Series Laptop GPUs are "Coming Soon"

AMD has just announced its Navi 22 RDNA 2 devices, spanning the middle-end gaming sector. The Radeon RX 6700 XT, which is the latest addition to the 6000 series of Radeon graphics cards, is carrying the Navi 22 chip inside it. However, AMD GPUs need to satisfy another sector in addition to the desktop market and that is the laptop/mobile market. With the past 5000 series of laptop GPUs, AMD has made a bit of a disappointing launch. Given the availability of the first-generation RDNA GPUs in mobile devices, many gamers were unable to find 5000 series Radeon GPUs in laptops, as it was rarely a choice. MSI and Dell have carried a few models with the Radeon RX 5500M and RX 5600M, and the highest-end Radeon RX 5700M availability was limited to Dell Alienware Area-51m R2 laptop.

During the announcement of Radeon RX 6700 XT, Scott Herkleman (CVP & GM AMD Radeon) has announced that AMD is preparing the launch of the next-generation RDNA 2 based RX 6000 series of graphics cards for mobile/laptop devices. While there should be a range of models based on Navi 22, Navi 23, and Navi 24, the availability is unknown for now. The only information we have so far is that it is "coming soon". The exact configurations of these chips remain a mystery until the launch happens, so we have to wait to find out more.

Samsung 980 is a Cost-Effective, DRAM-less PCIe Gen 3.0 M.2 SSD

In a move that could confuse some of the lesser informed buyers, Samsung is ready with the new 980 M.2 NVMe SSD (not to be confused with the 980 PRO). Unlike the 980 PRO, the 980 is a cost-effective drive that uses PCI-Express 3.0 x4 host interface, and a DRAM-less controller. Luckily, Samsung didn't take the QLC route with these drives, as they feature 136-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory of the same kind used in the 980 PRO.

The Samsung 980 offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s reads, with up to 3,000 MB/s writes, and comes in capacities of 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. It offers 4K random access performance in the neighborhood of 500,000 IOPS reads (4K, QD32), with up to 480,000 IOPS random writes (4K, QD1). Samsung is expected to formally launch the 980 on March 30, 2021.

GPU Shipments Soar Once More in Q4: Jon Peddie Research

According to a new research report from the analyst firm Jon Peddie Research, the growth of PC-based Graphics Processor Units (GPU) shipments of all types worldwide reached 20.5 percent in Q4 2020 and 12.4 percent year over year. Overall, the installed base of GPUs will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7 percent during 2020-2025 to reach a total of 419 million units at the end of the forecast period. Over the next five years, the penetration of discrete GPUs (dGPU) in the PC will grow to reach a level of 21 percent.

As part of its ongoing research on the PC graphics market, Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has released its Market Watch report for the fourth quarter of 2020. Before 2020, the PC market was showing signs of improvement and settling into a new normal. The pandemic has distorted all models and predictions, as has the gold-rush in Ethereum. JPR's Market Watch report confirms that trend for the fourth quarter of 2020, but with cautious guidance for next year.

Intel 670p SSD Pricing Slashed Just Two Days After Official Announcement

Intel announced their 'mainstream' 670p PCIe 3.0 QLC SSD family earlier this week with pricing more in line with what you would expect for PCIe 4.0 drives. Intel announced three 670p models with 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities, the advertised speeds varied with sequential reads of 3500 MB/s on the 1/2 TB models and 3000 MB/s for the 512 GB variant. Sequential write speeds were quoted as 1600 MB/s for the 512 GB, 2500 MB/s for the 1 TB, and 2700 MB/s for the 2 TB model. The latest QLC memory also brought a write endurance increase of 23% and the SSD's all came with a five-year warranty.

While these drives all offered respectable performance their pricing did not reflect their 'mainstream' target market with the drives priced at 90 USD, 155 USD, and 330 USD for the 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB models respectively. It would appear that retailers are taking it upon themselves to correct this by reducing prices by up to 24% on the new drives. Newegg currently has the drives listed for 69.99 USD, 129.99 USD, and 249.99 USD which represents a price drop of 20 USD for the 512 GB, 25 USD for the 1 TB, and 80 USD for the 2 TB version. These new prices make the 670p series a much more viable PCIe 3.0 SSD however, it is yet to be seen if these are the new official prices or just a discount from an individual retailer.

Thermalright Intros Venomous Plus CPU Cooler

Thermalright today introduced the Venomous Plus, its latest tower-type CPU cooler and a re-take on the 10+ year old Venomous X. Designed to tackle thermal loads of up to 240 W, the Venomous Plus features a classic aluminium fin-stack design. Six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes make indirect contact with the CPU at the mirror-finished base made of the same material; passing through the aluminium fin-stack that's ventilated by a TL-C12S 120 mm fan. The heatsink by itself measures 127 mm x 60 mm x 158 mm (WxDxH), weighing 660 g, and holding 51 fins. The fan adds about 25-27 mm in width.

The included TL-C12S fan is one of the key things setting this apart from the Venomous X. It's a modern unit that takes in 4-pin PWM for its main function, 3-pin ARGB for illumination, and features ARGB illumination through diodes studded in the impeller hub. The fan features fluid-dynamic bearing, turns up to 1,500 RPM (±10%), pushing up to 66.17 CFM of air-flow with static pressure of 1.53 mm H?O; and has a maximum noise output of 25.6 dBA. Among the CPU socket types supported are AM4, LGA1200, LGA115x, and LGA2066.

Next-Gen Nintendo Switch Rumored to Feature 7" 720p OLED Screen & Docked 4K DLSS 2.0 TV Support

Nintendo is reportedly preparing to unveil an updated Nintendo Switch console later this year featuring a larger Samsung OLED display. The upcoming model is rumored to feature a 7-inch 720p rigid OLED screen from Samsung Display Co with an initial monthly production target of just under one million units. The screen would be significantly larger than the 6.2-inch screen currently found on the Switch, if Nintendo is to keep the same form-factor the bezels will be significantly thinner. The new model is also likely to feature an upgraded NVIDIA Tegra chip with support for 4K DLSS 2.0 when docked, this will introduce further difficulty for developers who have struggled with the difference between resolutions.
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