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Updated 2018-05-27 21:15
Cambricon, Makers of Huawei's Kirin NPU IP, Build A Big AI Chip and PCIe Card
Cambricon Technologies, the company in collaboration with HiSilicon / Huawei for licensing specialist AI silicon intellectual property for the Kirin 970 smartphone chipset, have gone solo and created their own series of chips for the data center.The IP inside the Kirin 970 is known as Cambricon-1A, the company’s first licensable IP. At the time, finding information on Cambricon was difficult: its website was a series of static images with Chinese embedded into the image itself. Funnily enough, we used the AI-accelerated translate feature on the Huawei Mate 10 to translate what the website said. Fast forward 12-18 months, and the Cambricon website is now interactive and has information about upcoming products. A few of which were announced recently.The Big Chip: Going for Data CenterBuilt on TSMC’s 16FF, the MLU-100 is an 80W chip with a capability of 64 TFLOPS of traditional half-precision or 128 TOPS using the 8-bit integer metric commonly used in machine learning algorithms. This is at 1.0 GHz, or the ‘standard’ mode – Cambricon’s CEO, Dr Chan Tianshi, stated that their new chip has a high-performance mode at 1.30 GHz, which allows for 83.2 TFLOPS (16-bit float) or 166.4 TOPS (8-bit int) but rises to 110W. This technically decreases performance efficiency, but allows for a faster chip. All this data relies on sparse data modes being enabled.The technology behind the chip is Cambricon’s latest MLUv01 architecture, which is understood to be a variant of the Cambricon-1A used in the Kirin chipsets but scaled to something bigger and faster. Obviously additional rules have to be implemented for data and power management compared to the mobile IP. Cambrian also has its 1H architecture and newly announced 1M architecture, although there is no disclosure as to how these might relay to the chip.David Schor from WikiChip (the main source of this article) states that this could be NVIDIA’s first major ASIC competition for machine learning, if made available to commercial partners. To that end, Cambricon is also manufacturing a PCIe card.Specification ComparisonAnandTechCambricon
Two New 35W Raven Ridge Parts: AMD Athlon 200GE and Athlon Pro 200GE
In this interesting world where processors are released but not formally announced, it means that when diving through the lists of supported CPUs on certain motherboards, we might find processors we have never heard of before. Thanks to some sleuthing on Twitter by one of our followers, we can detail that AMD has two new 35W Ryzen processors that we previously did not know about.Over on the ASUS Crosshair VII Hero CPU supported list, the two new processors are listed, supported as of BIOS 0509:Traditionally AMD uses the Athlon name for its combined CPU/GPU processors that have the GPU disabled (which AMD calls its NPUs, or non-accelerated processing units). What makes this interesting is that based on Geekbench data already submitted to the results database (on an ASUS B350M motherboard), these parts both have integrated graphics.Between the two sources, it shows that the processors are essentially identical, with the difference in the Pro variant being that it falls under AMD’s commercial brand for customer support. The part then is a dual core processor with hyperthreading, running at a base frequency of 3.2 GHz, at a 35W TDP, and either 2 MB or 4 MB of L3 cache (both sources state something different: ASUS lists 4 MB, which is usually more accurate). Neither source states a turbo frequency, so it might come to pass that the Athlon processors do not have any turbo, but also missing is the information about the integrated graphics. Neither ASUS’ support list nor Geekbench traditionally lists this data. Geekbench does list it as a Raven Ridge part (which makes sense, being a CPU+GPU design), which would also mean it is built on 14nm.Ryzen APUsAnandTechCoresBaseTurboGPUTDPMobileRyzen 7 2700U4C / 8T2.5 GHz3.4 GHzVega 1015 WRyzen 7 2700UPro4C / 8T2.2 GHz3.8 GHzVega 1015 WRyzen 5 2500U4C / 8T2.0 GHz3.6 GHzVega 815 WRyzen 5 2500UPro4C / 8T2.0 GHz3.6 GHzVega 815 WRyzen 3 2300U4C / 4T2.5 GHz3.4 GHzVega 315 WRyzen 3 2300UPro4C / 4T2.5 GHz3.4 GHzVega 615 WDesktopRyzen 5 2400G4C / 8T3.6 GHz3.9 GHzVega 1165 WRyzen 5 2400GPro4C / 8T3.6 GHz3.9 GHzVega 1165 WRyzen 5 2400GE4C / 8T3.2 GHz3.8 GHzVega 1135 WRyzen 5 2400GEPro4C / 8T3.2 GHz3.8 GHzVega 1135 WRyzen 3 2200G4C / 4T3.5 GHz3.7 GHzVega 865 WRyzen 3 2200GPro4C / 4T3.5 GHz3.7 GHzVega 865 WRyzen 3 2200GE4C / 4T3.2 GHz3.6 GHzVega 835 WRyzen 3 2200GEPro4C / 4T3.2 GHz3.6 GHzVega 835 WAthlon 200GE
Arctic Unveils Alpine AM4 Passive CPU Cooler
Arctic this week added its first passive cooler that is compatible with AMD’s AM4 processors into its lineup of products. The Alpine AM4 was designed for APUs and CPUs that dissipate no more than 47 W, which is common for modern mainstream chips that feature reduced TDP.The Arctic Alpine AM4 passive cooler is made of black anodized aluminum, features 21 rather thick fins, and weighs 557 grams. The heat sink has a z-height of 81 mm and measures 100 × 100 mm on its sides, so it has to be installed into relatively spacious cases. Speaking of installation, it is worth mentioning that the Alpine AM4 ships with four screws with springs, so the installation of the device is fairly simple. To further things simplify, the cooling system comes with pre-applied MX-2 thermal compound. As a small bonus feature for those who want peace of mind, the passive cooler is covered by a six-year warranty as if a solid piece of aluminum could break down.Arctic recommends to use the Alpine AM4 with AMD’s energy efficient APUs, such as the AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200 GE and Ryzen 5 2400GE, but the cooler will also handle AMD’s 65 W APUs and CPUs that can be programmed to limit their TDP to 46 W (at the cost of their frequency). Therefore, it is now possible to build a fanless PC based on a fairly wide range of AMD’s Ryzen 1000-series and 2000-series CPUs.Arctic will start selling the Alpine AM4 passive coolers in the coming weeks. Pricing is not yet known, but judging by the simplistic construction of the product, do not expect it to cost significantly more than $20. In fact, Arctic’s currently-available Alpine passive coolers for Intel processors retail for €12.99 ($15.2) in Europe.Gallery: Arctic Unveils Alpine AM4 Passive CPU Cooler for AMD’s CPUsBuy Arctic MX-2 on Amazon.comRelated Reading
QNAP Launches 16-Bay AMD Ryzen-Based TS-1677X NAS with 10 GbE
QNAP this week introduced its new family of 16-bay enterprise-class NAS based on AMD’s Ryzen processors. The new TS-1677X devices support Qtier automatic data tiering and SSD caching technology as well as 10 GbE and Multi-Gig Ethernet connectivity. Interestingly, QNAP ships the NAS with with its QuAI developer package that can be used to optimize the NAS for AI, ML, and DL applications.The QNAP TS-1677X is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 1000-series processors with up to eight cores & AES-NI encryption engine, as well as up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory. The NAS features 12 3.5-inch hot-swappable bays for high-capacity hard drives, and four 2.5-inch hot-swappable bays for SSDs to be used for caching. In addition, the NAS has three PCIe expansion slots (one PCIe 3.0 x8, one PCIe 3.0 x4, one PCIe 2.0 x4) that can be used to install additional high-performance M.2 SSDs using special add-on adapter cards, additional 10GbE/40GbE networking card(s), or a GPU to accelerate highly-parallel workloads such as those used for AI, ML, and DL applications. For connectivity, the device uses two 10GBASE-T network controllers (presumably from Aquantia) that support 10 GbE, 5 GbE, 2.5 GbE, 1 GbE, and 100 MbE speeds over conventional cables (so presumably a controller from Aquantia, unless Intel has something unannounced). In addition, the system has two GbE headers, and eight USB 3.0 Type-A/Type-C ports.The key feature of the QNAP TS-1677X is the combination of formidable compute performance (a CPU with up to eight cores and a GPU for highly-parallel apps) and storage capabilities (12 3.5-inch 14 TB HDDs can store 168 TB of data) that can be used for traditional NAS use-models as well as emerging applications, including but not limited to video streaming, video surveillance, AI, ML, DL and so on.Like other Ryzen-based NAS from QNAP, the the QNAP TS-1677X runs the company’s QTS 4.3 operating system that supports a variety of storage specific functionality, including RAID (RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60, JBOD), Qtier technology that routinely arranges regularly used file/data into tiers (by moving repeatedly used data to SSDs), encryption, snapshots, Qsync cross-platform file sharing (for Apple, Windows, and Linux machines), one touch copy, and so on. The QTS 4.3 also supports first-party and third-party apps that further enhance functionality of the product.Meanwhile, the QTS Virtualization Station can run multiple virtual Windows/Linux/Unix machines on a NAS (the QNAP TS-1677X is VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Hyper V, and Microsoft Windows Server 2016 ready). Moreover, the new NAS supports vQTS that allows to run multiple virtual QTS systems on one NAS.QNAP TS-1277, TS-877 and TS-677 SpecificationsTS-1677X-
Streacom DA2: Small Form Factor, Big Possibilities
Streacom has announced a new Small Form Factor (SFF) PC chassis named the DA2. In their own words, the DA2 is a 'compact ITX case designed to strike a balance between size and compatibility, allowing high-performance components to fit comfortably in a small form factor space'. The DA2 doesn’t claim to be the smallest case, but one whose focus is on cooling performance and compatibility while still sticking with the size principles of a small form factor design. In other words, design and cooling are more important than size and RGB LED lighting.The DA2 measures in at 13.3” x 7” x 11.2” (LxWxH) and from the outside and has a very unassuming aesthetic with its aluminum alloy (6063) chassis. The case comes in two colors, silver or black, with a sandblasted finish. The two side panels and back panels are vented using over 2000 holes while the top and bottom panels feature mesh grills. The power button is made from glass and uses a tiny pinpoint of white light at the center for the only integrated LED on the chassis. The front IO is milled for a solid block of aluminum and includes a single USB Type-C connector. Notable about this front panel is its ability to be replaced. Streacom says they can simply fabricate an updated panel if there is a demand for it.Internally, the DA2 is where it really sets itself apart from other cases. While the vast majority of cases have dedicated bays for components which makes builds fast and easy, it tends to limit the usable space and limit flexibility. The DA2 uses what they call a ‘universal bracket’ with a track that is integrated into the frame. This design allows the brackets to fit anywhere along the sides of the frame. Other than the motherboard and expansion card (able to be flipped) components are able to be repositioned anywhere along the tracks improving customization and flexibility. Streacom says if it physically fits inside the case, there is going to be a way to mount it.So what can fit inside of it? We know a Mini-ITX sized motherboard is the only option on that front. As far as cooling support, the DA2 is able to fit a CPU cooler with a maximum height of 145mm. Video card support is up to a dual slot cooling solution measuring in at 12.9” x 5.9” x 1.9” (LxWxH) which should fit most full-length GPUs. Water cooling support ranges from 120mm to 280mm sized radiators with some flexibility in mounting locations. Fan support ranges from 40 to 180mm, and a 92mm mount on the rear (no fans are included). The DA2 will hold up to three 3.5-inch drives or eight 2.5-inch drives for storage needs while power supply support ranges from SFX to ATX.Streacom DA2ModelDA2Case TypeSFF Mini TowerDimensions (LxWxH)13.3" x 7" x 11.2"ColorSilver or BlackMaterialAluminumNet Weight3.9kgExternal Drive BaysNoneHDD/SSD Bays3 x 3.5" or 8 x 2.5"Expansion Slots2 (for GPU)Motherboard TypeMini-ITXSystem FanFront: 8x 120mm
Acer Nitro VG0 and RG0 Series Monitors: Freesync, IPS, Up to 144Hz
Along with Acer’s new Nitro 50 Series gaming desktop PCs, the company has announced new Nitro Series monitors to compliment those devices. The new VG0 and RG0 monitors use an IPS panel and support AMD's FreeSync technology for smooth gameplay, with Acer adding 'without breaking the bank'. The Nitro VG0 series is available with 27-inch, 23.8-inch, and 21.5-inch panels with resolutions of 4K UHD (3840x2160), WQHD (2560x1440), or Full-HD (1920x1080). The RG0 is offered in two sizes, 27- and 23.8-inch models in Full-HD, and feature a thin profile of 0.27-inch making for a very sleek and sophisticated appearance along with its thin surrounding bezels.Both monitors use AMD FreeSync technology to sync frames between the graphics card and monitor to eliminate screen tearing and minimize lag for smooth gaming. In order to utilize this feature, one must be using an AMD Radeon based graphics card. Acer uses their Visual Response Boost (VRB) to decrease blur in fast-moving images to achieve the effect of a 1ms MPRT, with maximum refresh rates of up to 144 Hz on the VG0 models and 75 Hz for RG0s. The panels both have integrated 6-axis color adjustments to fine-tune color, hue and saturation along with a built-in black boost allowing users to select from 11 black level options.
The Windows 10 April Update (1803): The Littlest Big Update
We’re about three years into Windows 10, and we’ve seen a lot of changes to the OS, as well as the servicing model, in those three years. The move to no longer offering major OS updates every couple of years with a new name, and requirement for purchase, is very welcome, and has likely been the biggest success of the Windows 10 launch. Microsoft has also refined the servicing model to a more consistent pattern of two updates per year, and while that can either be a pro or a con depending on where you stand, they’ve met that over the last couple of updates. With the Windows 10 April Update, which is version 1803, we’ve got arguably the smallest update yet in terms of new features, but that’s really a bad thing. Three years in, the OS is mature enough that it’s good to see the company dialing back on the major interface changes, and hopefully focusing more on consistency, and reliability.
Leading DRAM Makers Release Modules Validated with AMD Ryzen 2000 CPUs
G.Skill and Team Group have released new high-performance DDR4 memory modules that the firms are guaranteeing to be compatible with AMD’s latest Ryzen 2000-series CPUs. The modules operate at up to 3600 MT/sec and are currently the fastest DIMMs compatible with AMD's Ryzen 2000-series processors and X470 platforms.Modern CPUs have integrated memory controllers and the latter have rather unique peculiarities that affect their work, particularly when operating at overclocked frequencies above the JEDEC standards. For example, AMD’s original Ryzen processors are incompatible with high-performance memory modules designed primarily for Intel’s Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs. Meanwhile, Intel’s Coffee Lake processors require different sub timings at DDR4-4000 and higher speeds than Kaby Lake CPUs. In general, AMD’s Ryzen 2000-series processors are compatible with modules designed for the original Ryzen 1000-series chips, but at least two makers of high-end DIMMs released memory specifically validated with AMD’s latest platforms.G.Skill, which supplies DDR4 DIMMs for AMD’s reference platforms, offers seven dual-channel kits for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 processors rated for DDR4-3200, DDR4-3400, DDR4-3466, and DDR4-3600 at 1.35 V (see precise specs in the table below). For those who need RGB lighting, G.Skill offers Trident Z RGB for AMD modules, whereas for users who do not need lighting effects the company has Sniper X for AMD DIMMs. The modules use well-known cooling systems and are based on hand-picked DRAM chips.Team Group’s T-Force Dark Pro DDR4 lineup validated with AMD’s 2 Generation Ryzen CPUs includes multiple SKUs operating at DDR4-3000 to DDR4-3466 at 1.35 V. The DIMMs are based on hand-selected memory chips and feature the company’s proprietary five-piece cooling systems. The company offers the T-Force Dark Pro DDR4 modules in two color schemes: with white and red inlays.Memory Modules Validated for AMD's 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUsSpeedCL TimingsVoltageKit Config.Kit CapFamilyG.SkillDDR4-3200CL16-18-18-381.35 V2×8 GB
NVIDIA Releases 397.93 WHQL Game Ready Driver: Telemetry Changes for GDPR
Today, NVIDIA released driver version 397.93 WHQL, featuring Game Ready support for the recently-launched State of Decay 2 and the upcoming closed beta of The Crew. Additionally, the release brings a healthy amount of bugfixes, as well as CUDA 9.2 support. Also tucked in the 393.97 release notes is the removal of the “Experience Improvement Program” from the NVIDIA Control Panel, and as the GDPR takes into effect tomorrow NVIDIA is rolling out the new privacy center and requisite changes to their new privacy policy. Both of these indicate that telemetry will return to being solely a GeForce Experience feature rather than being part of the standard display drivers.Given the recent frenzy of GDPR notifications ahead of tomorrow’s enforcement date (5/25/18), the “Experience Improvement Program” data collection for NVIDIA’s display drivers was more of a recent development. A few years ago, it was noticed that a number of auto-running telemetry functions had silently found its way into NVIDIA’s standard display drivers with 368.25, where previously it was only coupled with GeForce Experience; later, 381.65 added an opt-out option by unticking an “Allow Experience Improvement Program” option in the Help menu of NVIDIA Control Panel. Looking at NVIDIA’s new GDPR-compliant privacy policy and privacy center, these data collection functionalities will now be present only in GFE, GeForce NOW, and SHIELD TV.In terms of bug fixes, 397.93 lists the following resolved issues:
16GB NVIDIA Tesla V100 Gets Reprieve; Remains in Production
Back in March at their annual GPU Technology Conference, NVIDIA announced the long-anticipated 32GB version of their flagship Tesla V100 accelerator. By using newer 8-Hi HBM2 memory stacks, NVIDIA was able to double the accelerator’s previous 16GB of VRAM to a class-leading 32GB. Meanwhile, at the time company representatives told us that the launch of the 32GB model would be a wholesale replacement of the 16GB model, with the smaller version to be phased out and all future cards to go out as the 32GB model.However, this week NVIDIA has reached out to inform us that this will not the case, and that the 16GB model is being continued after all.In a somewhat odd exchange, the official line from the company is that the previous statement – made in the heat of a pre-briefing Q&A session – was in error, and that the 16GB model was never being discontinued. Instead, NVIDIA’s plan has always been to sell the two models side-by-side. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t been able to make it clear why that information wasn’t presented at the show instead; though what I do know is that this wasn’t caught until customers recently started asking questions.NVIDIA Tesla/Titan Family Specification ComparisonTesla V100
Cryorig Set to Reveal the Dual Heatpipe Frostbit M.2 SSD Cooler
With the ever-raging debate about the correlation of high thermals and the performance throttling of M.2 SSDs being a hot topic, Cryorig intends to unveil an interesting and aggressive styled M.2 SSD based cooling solution at Computex 2018: the Frostbit M.2 SSD Cooler.The Cryorig Frostbit M.2 SSD Cooler is the first mass-manufactured M.2 cooler to feature a dual stacked heatpipe design and carries a weight of 56 g and a maximum thermal dissipation rating of 12 W. 12W is well past what any conventional SSD is capable of outputting, so with good contact this cooler will certainly be overkill. Those worried about obstruction from large GPUs especially the ones directly slotted above the M.2 slot, the larger copper heatpipe on the Frostbit allows for adjustment (as displayed in the below graphic). The second and smaller heatpipe is integrated into the base of the cooler meaning the larger 6 mm heatpipes job is to relocate and direct the heat into the passive cooled 38 fin arrayed cylindrical end.To function effectively, some degree of passive airflow will be required to ensure optimal operation, especially during long and arduous tasks such as large data transfers.The actual size of the heatsink measures at a svelte 72 x 27.3 x 57 mm (L x W x D) which only presents a problem to M.2 SSDs with a length of 110 mm and beyond. This is due to the core design as the Frostbit is designed to only cover the components on the M.2 SSDs PCB as to not interfere with the mounting screw or the interface featured at either end of a 2280 drive.The specific details regarding the availability and pricing of the Cryorig Frostbit are currently unknown, although more details are expected to be announced at the upcoming Computex 2018 show in Taipei Taiwan which runs from 5th June - 9th June 2018.Gallery: Cryorig Frostbit M.2 Cooler GalleryBuy Cryorig C7 Cu on Amazon.comRelated Reading
Acer Predator Helios 300 SE: White and Gold Gaming Laptop
Acer has announced its new 15.6-inch gaming laptop that brings together performance and style. The Predator Helios 300 Special Edition uses Intel’s latest six-core processors as well as NVIDIA’s discrete graphics, yet one of the main selling points of the notebook besides performance is its white chassis with gold trim. If you want some laptop bling, Acer has you covered.The Predator Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) is based on Intel’s 8 Generation Core i7 processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. The chips are cooled down using Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D cooling system featuring heat pipes and metallic fans that dissipates heat better than traditional coolers, according to Acer. The manufacturer stresses that the graphics processor can be overclocked, so a highly-efficient cooler is an advantage here.
ASUS’ ROG Swift PG27UQ G-Sync HDR Display Due in Late June For $1999
ASUS this week announced the final specs, official price, and launch timeframe for its highly-anticipated ROG Swift PG27UQ monitor that supports NVIDIA’s G-Sync HDR technology and features a 4K Ultra HD resolution as well as a 144 Hz maximum refresh rate. The display will hit the market in late June and will cost nearly $2000.As reported, both the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ and the Acer Predator X27 displays are use the same principle components as NVIDIA’s reference design for G-Sync HDR monitors and therefore offer very similar general specs (keep in mind that they are not the same monitors and the differences are noteworthy). Acer intends to ship its top-of-the-range Predator monitor on June 1 and Newegg is already taking pre-orders on the product. The ASUS display will ship a bit later, so it cannot be pre-ordered right now.As readers interested in the NVIDIA G-Sync HDR technology already know, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is based on AU Optronics’ 10-bit AHVA panel featuring a 3840×2160 resolution, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 178°/178° horizontal/vertical viewing angles, a 4 ms response time, an "up to" 144 Hz refresh rate (native refresh rate is 120 Hz), and a 1000 nits peak luminance. One of the most important features of the monitor is its 384-zone FALD backlight to offer the necessary localized contrast ratios, which is enhanced with quantum dots to ensure the DCI-P3 color gamut. Meanwhile ASUS emphasizes that its PG27UQ monitor will ship calibrated to Delta E<3 accuracy and can display 99% of the AdobeRGB and 97% of the DCI-P3 color ranges. The display is VESA DisplayHDR 1000-certified and UltraHD Premium branding is pending.One of the interesting features that the ROG Swift PG27UQ supports is ambient light sensor that is used to adjust brightiness depending on ambient light conditions.When it comes to connectivity, the PG27UQ has a DisplayPort 1.4 input (which is required to display 4K content with a 144 Hz refresh rate and 4:2:2 chroma subsampling) as well as an HDMI 2.0 header (that can handle 4Kp60). In addition, the monitor has a dual-port USB 3.0 hub as well as a 3.5-mm audio jack.Since we are dealing with an ASUS ROG monitor, it supports various gaming specific display modes tailored for various genres. In addition, like all modern gaming LCDs, the PG27UQ comes with programmable LED RGB lighting. In particular, it supports the ASUS Aura Sync technology, two projectors (one projects lighting effects onto a desktop surface, another projects them onto a wall) and one LED zone on the back.ASUS currently intends to ship its top-of-the-range gaming monitor in late June at an MSRP of $1999.Specifications of ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ Gaming MonitorPG27UQPanel27" IPS (AHVA)Resolution3840 × 2160Refresh RateNative: 120 Hz
The Plextor M9Pe NVMe SSD Review: Teaching An Old Chip New Tricks
The M9Pe is Plextor's first NVMe SSD to use 3D NAND, replacing the previous flagship's planar MLC with Toshiba 3D TLC NAND but keeping the same aging Marvell controller. The M9Pe family offers form factors with and without heatsinks, but from our testing we can show that performance and power efficiency lag behind other recent high-end SSDs.
Samsung Foundry Roadmap: EUV-Based 7LPP for 2018, 3 nm Incoming
Samsung Foundry this week updated its fabrication technology roadmap, introducing a number of changes and announcing the first details about its 3 nm manufacturing process that is several years away. The company also reiterated plans to start risk production of chips using its 7LPP process technology and extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) later this year.Samsung is accelerating its foundry roadmap in a bid to not only keep up with rivals in the foundry industry, but also to enable its SoCs to take advantage of the leading-edge process technologies and offer higher performance or lower power consumption than competing chips. Higher performance and/or lower power allows Samsung to build better mobile devices, such as smartphones, which are the company’s bread and butter. Therefore, being a vertically-integrated company, it makes a great sense for Samsung to stay ahead of any other maker of semiconductors.Samsung Foundry Lithography Roadmap, HVM Start
Acer Unveils New Nitro 50 Series Gaming Desktop PCs: Affordable Gaming
This week Acer has also announced their new Nitro 50 Series gaming desktop PCs, further expanding its Nitro product family. Acer says that they created the Nitro 50 Series for those seeking the processing power and capabilities only a desktop PC can offer. They will be powered by 8 Gen Intel Core processors, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series or AMD Radeon RX5xx series video cards for solid gaming performance and other graphics-intensive tasks.The new Nitro series 50 desktops are enclosed in a black chassis with the vents and IO area on the front in red. Below the Acer name up top, there is a “V” shaped LED light bar adding additional visual cues and separating itself a bit from the more mundane looking desktops, yet not outlandish. That chassis measures a small 6.4” x 13.7” x 13.3” taking up less space than many gaming desktops.Specification-wise, the Nitro 50 supports 8 Gen Intel Core processors ranging from a quad-core i3-8100 (3.6 GHz), a hex-core i5+ 8400 (2.8 GHz / 4 GHz Turbo), up to a 6 core, 12 thread i7+ 8700 (3.2 GHz / 4.6 GHz Turbo). Memory support is up to 64 GB of Dual-channel DDR4-2666 Memory as well as Intel Optane Memory support. Graphics options are from both sides of the fence with the Nitro 50 offering options from NVIDIA as well as AMD. From team Green options include the GTX 1050, 1050 Ti, 1060, up to the GTX 1070, while AMD has one option an RX 580X. The lower-end NVIDIA GPUs may struggle driving a high refresh rate monitor, but from the 1060 on up it should have few issues keeping the frame rates high.On the storage side of the house, like the Predator Orion series, drive options are up to a 3TB 3.5-inch HDD and up to a 512GB PCIe NVMe based M.2 SSD. The Nitro 50 sticks with Creative audio and uses the Creative Sound BlasterX 360° audio engine and software. Networking duties are handled by a Realtek RTLE811AS GbE (Dragon LAN) found in the Orion 3000 series. It also includes 802.11ac 2Tx2R Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth 5.0. The Acer Nitro 50 gaming desktops will be available in North America in June starting at $799; EMEA in May starting at €999; in China in July starting at ¥5999.Acer Predator Orion 3000 and 5000 Series Gaming DesktopsNitro 50CPUi7+ 8700 - (6C/12T, 4.6 Ghz Turbo)
Synology Introduces DiskStation DS1618+ with Intel Denverton
Synology recently introduced their much-awaited hardware platform upgrade in the DS1618+. Over the last several years, Synology has introduced a number of SMB NAS units with the Intel Rangeley SoCs (Atom C2xxx). Even though other vendors (such as Netgear) moved to the Denverton (Atom C3xxx) platform in early 2017, Synology continued to introduce Rangeley models. This is changing today with the introduction of the DS1618+, a 6-bay NAS in a tower form-factor (usual DiskStation) targeting the SMB and enthusiast market.Synology is using the quad-core Intel Atom C3538 SoC in the DS1618+. It comes with a 4GB non-ECC DDR4 SODIMM, but, users can potentially upgrade it to 32GB with ECC support. The unit is also compatible with up to two DX517 units, allowing for a total of 16 bays. The unit also comes with a PCIe 3.0 x8 expansion slot (operating at x4) that supports either a Synology M2D17 dual M.2 SATA SSD adapter, or, a network interface card. Natively, the NAS comes with 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 3x USB 3.0 ports, and 2x eSATA ports (for chaining the DX517 expansion units). The table below summarizes the specifications of the DS1618+.Synology DS1618+ SpecificationsProcessorIntel Atom C3538 (4C/4T Goldmont x86 Cores @ 2.10 GHz)RAM1x 4GB DDR4 SODIMM (2x 16GB max. supported, with ECC)Drive Bays6x 3.5"/2.5" SATA II / III HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)Network Links4x 1 GbEExternal I/O Peripherals4x USB 3.0, 2x eSATAExpansion SlotsPCIe 3.0 x8 (link is x4)VGA / Display OutNoneFull Specifications LinkSynology DS1618+ SpecificationsPrice$800Given the rapid market penetration of NBASE-T, we would have liked Synology to include NICs on the board with support for multi-gig datarates. Given the SMB focus, that would have been an attractive feature to put in what is essentially a much-awaited platform upgrade from Synology. That said, the expansion slot allows users to install their own NICs, if needed. The NAS is priced at $800 and available for purchase now.Co-incidentally, Synology also announced the official release of DSM 6.2 earlier today. This release brings in a Storage Pool feature, along with a new iSCSI LUN option supporting btrfs-based instant snapshots. The Synology High Availability 2.0 feature is now more user-friendly. Updates have also been made to the network security aspects (including a revamped 'Security Advisor' that attempts to detect abnormal login attempts, and different TLS / SSL profiles for each network service).
Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 710 Platform
Today Qualcomm announces a new entry to the Snapdragon lineup with the first 700-series SoC platform. The Snapdragon 710 is a direct successor to the Snapdragon 660 but comes with a new branding more worthy of the increased performance characteristics of the SoC. The higher-end 600 series SoCs such as the Snapdragon 650 and 660 were among the first non-flagship SoCs that used big CPU cores, which brought a significant jump in terms of performance to the mid-range.While we haven’t seen that many design wins with the Snapdragon 650/660’s, they are increasingly becoming popular among Chinese vendors for example. The Snapdragon 710 fixes this branding issue of having quite capable SoCs with large CPU cores grouped together as the 700 series, while the lower tiered SoCs such as the Snapdragon 625 or 635 remain in the 600 series .Qualcomm Snapdragon Upper Mid-Range SoCsSoCSnapdragon 710Snapdragon 660CPU2x Kryo 360 (CA75)
AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 WHQL: Official Unified Driver for APUs & dGPUs, with PlayReady 3.0
Today, AMD released Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 WHQL, bringing official support for Windows 10 April 2018 Update, as well as official PlayReady 3.0 support for desktop Polaris products. 18.5.1 also happens to succeed last week's Adrenalin Edition Q2 2018 as AMD's fully unified graphics driver across desktop/mobile and integrated/discrete graphics products. Informally speaking, while the Q2 2018 driver package itself supported other graphics products, as an official release only the Raven Ridge APUs were on the compatibility list. As AMD's unified graphics drivers launch periodically, the last two being 18.2.1 and 17.12.1, 18.5.1 finally pulls Raven Ridge APUs into the mainstream branch, though there was no mention on notebook Raven Ridge APUs.Meanwhile, for "Day 0" driver support for games, AMD cited performance gains in Ancestors Legacy compared to 18.4.1, claiming up to 6% 1080p framerate uplift on the Radeon RX Vega 56 and up to 13% uplift on the RX 580 (8GB).As for PlayReady 3.0, Microsoft’s video playback DRM solution, 18.5.1 follows up on 18.4.1's beta level support as AMD's promised production-ready WHQL driver, but for the time being, only desktop Radeon RX 400 and 500 series cards are supported. In other words, Netflix 4K/HDR can now be streamed on desktop Polaris cards, though having the appropriate graphics driver and hardware is only a small piece of the Netflix 4K/HDR pre-requisites list:
Acer Unleashes Predator Helios 500 Gaming Notebook: Up to Core i9+, GTX 1070
Acer on Wednesday introduced its new 17.3-inch gaming notebooks based on Intel’s 8 Gen Core processors. Dubbed the Predator Helios 500, these notebooks feature Intel's latest hex-core Coffee Lake CPUs as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Meanwhile, unlike the relatively thin and light Predator Triton mobile gaming machines released last year, the Predator Helios 500 laptops are designed for people looking for the highest performance possible in a clamshell form-factor, so, they are rather thick, heavy and expensive.The flagship versions of Acer’s Predator Helios 500 notebooks are based on Intel’s overclockable six-core Core i9+8950HK processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1070 video card. Both key chips are cooled down using Acer’s Dual AeroBlade 3D cooling system that uses all-metal fans offering improved cooling performance and therefore ensures that end-users can overclock their mobile PCs efficiently. Acer will preinstall its PredatorSense app that can control and monitor the notebook’s vitals to avoid overheating.Moving on, Acer intends to equip its flagship gaming notebooks with up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory, in line with mobile workstations. And in a bid to speed up storage sub-system of the Predator Helios 500 to the max without using RAID (and doubling the storage costs), the systems will come with Intel Optane Memory caching SSDs as well as high-end drives with a PCIe interface. As for connectivity, the Predator Helios 500 comes with a rather standard set of features and connectors: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, GbE, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB Type-A headers, a DisplayPort 1.4, and an HDMI 2.0 output.Various versions of the Predator Helios 500 will be equipped with display panels featuring a Full HD or an Ultra HD resolution and the G-Sync technology with up to a 144 Hz refresh rate. As for audio, like many other 17.3-inch class gaming notebooks, the Predator Helios 500 feature a 2.1-channel audio subsystem (with a built-in subwoofer) with Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio software enhancements.A particularly interesting feature of the Predator Helios 500 is that it will be shipped in an optional rugged case (just like the ultra-exclusive Predator 21 X was last year) that can be reused to transport the device to LAN parties and other eSports events safely.The Acer Predator Helios 500 will be available in the USA this June and will start at $1,999. In Europe, the product will start from €1,999, whereas in the U.K. it will be priced at £1,799.Related Reading:
Acer Unveils Ultralight 15.6-Inch Swift 5 Laptop: Less than 2.2 Lbs
Acer announced one of the company's thinnest and lightest 15.6-inch class laptops at its annual Next@Acer event. The laptop packs Intel’s latest Core CPU and can work for a day on a single charge. Meanwhile, it weighs less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and is comes in a relatively thin chassis made of rather rare alloys.The Acer Swift notebooks are aimed primarily at road warriors who value portability and low weight above many other things, but also still care about performance to a degree. The new Acer Swift 5 comes in a specially-designed chassis featuring top and bottom covers made of magnesium-lithium alloys to ensure a low weight and the palm rest cover made of a magnesium-aluminum alloy to make it sturdy, the manufacturer says.The new Acer Swift 5 is equipped with a 15.6-inch IPS display panel featuring a Full HD resolution and 5.87-mm (0.23-inch) bezels, which are rather tiny. As for internal hardware, the new Swift 5 is based on Intel’s "latest" Core processors accompanied by up to 16 GB DDR4 memory, and SSDs up to 1TB in size.When it comes to connectivity, the Swift 5 comes with Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 2x2 802.11ac + Bluetooth 5 controller that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput (when used with appropriate Wi-Fi networks). As for physical connectors, the system is equipped with one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Type-A headers, an HDMI output, an SD card reader, and a TRRS audio jack. Since the Swift 5 is intended to be ultralight, Acer has cut usage of discrete components to a minimum, which is why the PC comes with a fairly simple webcam without IR sensors to support Windows Hello facial recognition. Meanwhile, the system is equipped with a fingerprint reader that is compatible with Windows Hello.The new Acer Swift 5 will be released later this year. Acer has not disclosed pricing of the ultralight laptop and since it also has not released its final specs (and even refused to disclose the CPU family), so expect that that MSRPs will depend on CPUs used for particular models.Related Reading:
Acer Announces Predator Orion 3000/5000 Series Gaming Desktops
As part of their pre-Computex Global Press Conference, Acer today has unveiled a pair of new SKUs for their Orion Series of Gaming Desktops, filling out the series with the new 3000 and 5000 series machines. The 5000 series Acer says is designed for gamers who require superior performance and an adaptable chassis for future expansion. Meanwhile the mid-range 3000 series sports the same design and slightly different hardware inside. Acer’s goal was to provide a “…full lineup of gaming desktops able to cater to a wide range of needs.” The new Predator Orion 5000 series gaming desktops will use up to an 8 Gen Intel Core i7+ 8700K processor riding on an Intel Z370 chipset based board as well as supporting up to 2-way SLI and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti video cards. In these maxed-out configurations Acer is going after 4K gaming as well as VR gaming, both of which can easily put such a high-end video card to useThe Orion 5000 series allows up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4-2666 MHz memory and supports Intel Optane Memory. On the storage front, users are able to select up to a 3TB 3.5-inch HDD or up to a 512 GB PCIe NVMe based M.2 SSD for plenty of mass and fast storage options. For networking, both the 5000 and 3000 series will use Killer brand components with the Killer Ethernet 2400 for wired Gigabit Ethernet and a Killer 802.11ac wireless adapter running 2Tx2R and supporting Bluetooth 4.2LE (ed: Acer hasn't specified the exact model adapter they're using). Audio duties are handled by the Creative Sound BlasterX 720° audio engine.The Predator 5000 series chassis looks similar to the flagship 9000 series, with several features carrying over. The case includes a transparent side panel to show off the internals as well as being what Acer is calling "EMI-compliant", presumably alluding to the use of a metal mesh along the window. The side panels are easy-open helping users to swap out components and cables quickly when upgrading. Keeping the hardware cool is Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0 airflow management which segments the system into different thermal zones Acer says will provide each sector with its own airflow tunnel to expel heat. The case intakes air through a front mesh/dust filter and moved into the case with dual 120mm LED fans. The chassis also includes predator lighting bars for internal case illumination as well as headset cradles to hold on to your cans when not in use.
Assessing Cavium's ThunderX2: The Arm Server Dream Realized At Last
A little less than 2 years ago, we investigated the first Arm server SoC that had a chance to compete with midrange Xeon E5s: the Cavium ThunderX. The SoC showed promise, however the low single-threaded performance and some power management issues relegated the 48-core SoC to more niche markets such as CDN and Web caching. In the end, Cavium's first server SoC was not a real threat to Intel's Xeon.But Cavium did not give up. The new creation of underdog Cavium deserves the benefit of the doubt. Much has changed – much more than the name alone lets on – as Cavium has bought the "Vulcan" design from Avago. Vulcan is a rather ambitious CPU design which was originally designed by the Arm server SoC team of Broadcom. Based on its experience from the ThunderX, Cavium was able to take what they've learned thus far and have introduced some microarchitectural improvements to the Vulcan design to improve its performance and power.As a result, ThunderX2 is a much more "brainiac" core than the previous generation. While the ThunderX core had a very short pipeline and could hardly sustain 2 instructions per clock, the Vulcan core was designed to fetch 8 and execute up to 4 instructions per clock. It gets better: 4 simultaneous threads can be active (SMT4), ensuring that the wide back-end is busy most of the time. 32 of those cores at clockspeeds up to 2.5 GHz find a home in the new ThunderX2 SoC.To that end, today we are comparing this new contender for the server CPU market with the mighty Xeon Platinum 8176 as well as AMD's EPYC. Can Cavium finally deliver on the promise of a performant and efficient Arm CPU for servers? Let's find out!
The New HTC U12+ Smartphone Hands On
After the latest deal with Google on personnel, the next flagship out from HTC is the U12+, succeeding the squeeze-focused U11 and U11+ from 2017. For this generation HTC will only launch a single model called the U12+, rather than a U12 now and another one later, with the company citing that it felt too many of its enthusiast users would wait for the plus model, so instead they have decided to just go with a singular unit with the upgraded name. The headlines on the U12+ include a quad camera design, an upgraded Edge Sense detection system, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, an IP68 ingress rating, and an upgraded BoomSound experience. We had the chance to get a hands-on with the device at a briefing last week.
Toshiba Ships dynaEdge AR Smart Glasses Powered by Intel Core M & Windows 10 Pro
Toshiba this month started selling its first wearable AR smart glasses designed for business and industrial applications. The Toshiba dynaEdge AR is a highly-integrated solution comprising of a head mounted display, a PC module, and software that are designed to work in concert offering out-of-box functionality and supporting custom applications. From some points of view, Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR is a realization of Microsoft’s HoloLens concept.Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses solution consists of two key pieces — the Toshiba AR100 HMD and the Toshiba dynaEdge DE-100 miniature PC interconnected using a USB Type-C cable. The HMD is outfitted with a small 0.26-inch screen featuring a 640×360 resolution that can display content with a 1280×720 resolution, a 5 MP camera with a flash, a speaker, two microphones, and a variety of sensors (accelerometer, gyro, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, compass, and GPS). The HMD has three control buttons and a touchpad.As for the miniature PC, the Toshiba dynaEdge DE-100 is based on Intel’s Core m5/m7 ‘Skylake-Y’ ULV SoC that is outfitted with 4 – 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory, and a 128 – 512 GB M.2 SSD. The system features Intel’s Wireless-AC 8260 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 controller, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, a USB 3.0 Type-A header, a microSD slot, and a TRRS audio connector. To ensure proper security, the dynaEdge DE-100 is equipped with a TPM 2.0 module as well as a fingerprint reader. Finally, the PC has five navigation buttons.The augmented reality glasses from Toshiba are aimed at enterprise customers that will use them in various areas, including manufacturing, services and other. Out of box, the dynaEdge AR smart glasses can take pictures, record and stream live video, open documents, communicate using Skype and do typical operations that any Windows 10-based computers can perform. Meanwhile, Toshiba encourages develops to build application-specific software for its smart glasses.Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses (with the miniature PC and the Vision DE Suite) solutions are available directly from Toshiba’s Client Solutions Division (CSD) starting at $1,900 (with an entry-level SoC/RAM/SSD configuration). Interested parties are advised to contact their sales representatives of Toshiba, or contact the company at smartglasses@toshiba.com. In addition to the dynaEdge AR, Toshiba also sells various accessors for the devices, including glasses, headbands, helmet mounts, safety frames, and other.Those who want to develop products based on Toshiba’s dynaEdge AR smart glasses can obtain appropriate development kits (hardware and software) for $2,400 – $2,900 as well as optional accessories.Related Reading:
ARM Details "Project Trillium" Machine Learning Processor Architecture
Arm first announced Project Trillium machine learning IPs back in February and we were promised we’d be hearing more about the product in a few months’ time. Project Trillium is unusual for Arm to talk about because the IP hasn’t been finalised yet and won’t be finished until this summer, yet Arm made sure not to miss out on the machine learning and AI “hype train” that has happened over the last 8 months in both the semiconductor industry and as well as particularly in the mobile industry.Today Arm details more of the architecture of what Arm now seems to more consistently call their “machine learning processor” or MLP from here on now. The MLP IP started off a blank sheet in terms of architecture implementation and the team consists of engineers pulled off from the CPU and GPU teams.With the MLP Arm set out to provide three key aspects that are demanded in machine learning IPs: Efficiency of convolutional computations, efficient data movement, and sufficient programmability. From a high level perspective the MLP seems no different than many other neural network accelerator IPs out there. It still has a set of MAC engines for the raw computational power, while offering some sort of programmable control flow block alongside a sufficiently robust memory subsystem.Starting off at a more detailed view of the IP’s block diagram, the MLP consists of common functional blocks such as the memory interconnect interfaces as well as a DMA engine. The above graphic we see portrayal of the data flow (green arrows) and control flow (red arrows) throughout the functional blocks of the processor. The SRAM is a common block to the MLP sized at 1MB which serves as the local buffer for computations done by the compute engines. The compute engines each contained fixed function blocks which operate on the various layers of the neural network model, such as input feature map read blocks which pass onto control information to a weight decoder.At the heart the actual convolution engine which does the computations is a 128-wide MAC unit operating on 8-bit integer data storing the quantised weights of the NN model.Arm recognises that the future of neural network models is relatively uncertain and we haven’t really seen any sort of “standard” model emerge. It is most certain that in the coming years we’ll see different kind of model architectures improve on existing neural networks, and this means that any kind of hardware implementation today will need to provide sufficient flexibility that it will be able to be compatible with eventual future models. The MLP thus offers a “programmable layer engine” which is a specialised processing unit with vector and NN specific instructions that are able to operate on different pooling or other layer operations with enhanced flexibility and programmability compared to a fixed function block.Important for efficient convolutions is how data is handled through the IP block as data-flow and bandwidth requirements easily overshadow any computational unit power. Again, the MLP operates on 8-bit quantized data and Arm states that the internal precision is varied, however without further detailing more on this aspect of the architecture.Another important feature unique to the MLP is the inclusion of compression capability on the part of the data set / feature map.Arm’s compression algorithm is lossless and promises an up to 3x compression ratio which reduces the bandwidth to external DRAM and thus having a very large impact on overall system power.While the compression of weights and feature maps happen on the MLP losslessly at runtime, another important optimisation for memory bandwidth is the actual training and optimisation of the neural network model. This happens offline through Arm’s software tools which are then able to optimise the data for better compression ratio as well as prune irrelevant connections to save on the computation requirements on the MACs – further improving both power efficiency as well as performance.I’ll admit that Arm’s MLP architecture disclosure might seem interesting on paper – how it will actually perform in terms of actual performance as well as efficiency versus other architectures from other vendors is still something we won’t know until we actually have silicon back and can run some real world workloads. This seems to be an issue that other vendors also have recognised and why many of them have actually decided against divulging more in-depth architectural characteristics such as presented by Arm today.Arm proclaims target metrics such as >3TOPs/W on 7nm implementations with absolute throughputs of 4.6TOPs (deriving target power of ~1.5W). Again these metrics are relatively ephemeral in their meaning as actual performance of inferencing work will also strongly depend on additional characteristics such as overall MAC utilisation or performance of the IP fully-connected layers.In terms of scalability the MLP is meant to come with configurable compute engine setups from 1 CE up to 16 CEs and a scalable SRAM buffer up to 1MB. The current active designs however are the 16CE and 1MB configurations and smaller scaled down variants will happen later on in the product lifecycle. Arm wasn’t ready to note exact area figures for the MLP but generally we’ll be looking at around larger than an A55.As I’ve noted in past releases from competitor neural network IPs – we’re still very early on in the ecosystem so to give any actual judgment on the competitiveness or how good a certain IP is against the other is something that’s essentially impossible to predict. The more obvious aspect we can talk about is timelines – ARM’s MLP and project Trillium does lag behind in terms of availability as we won’t be seeing finalisation of the RTL until sometime this summer, which means we won’t be seeing silicon until around mid- to late 2019 at the earliest meaning the MLP will likely have to face off competitor IP such as the third-generation NPU from HiSilicon.On the high-end there’s seemingly also not that many prospective customers for the MLP as many are opting for their own solutions – it’s on the low- and mid-range where we might see more success for Project Trillium but also that will be a tough uphill battle against the quite varied IP offerings from competitors and Arm’s best chance for success here is to really emphasize on its CPU-GPU-MLP software ecosystem advantage.Related Reading
Razer Launches Core X TB3 eGFX Enclosure: Cost-Down Version Complements Core v2
Razer launched the Core v2 eGFX enclosure in Q4 2017. It came with a unique industrial design and dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers that justified its price premium over other eGFX enclosures. Today, coinciding with the introduction of the Razer Blade 15.6, Razer is launching the Core X eGFX enclosure.The Razer Core X does away with the bells and whistles of the Core v2 - the chassis is more economical to manufacture, thanks to a simpler industrial design. The second Thunderbolt 3 controller is gone, as are the I/O extension ports - the Core X serves as a eGFX enclosure and supports only a PCIe 3.0 x4 peripheral. That said, the Core X supports larger graphics cards compared to the Core v2. The internal power supply is also an ATX 650W one (compared to the 500W Flex-ATX PSU in the Core v2). This allows the Thunderbolt 3 port to support power delivery up to 100W (compared to the 65W in the Core v2). The Core X also uses the Alpine Ridge C-stepping, unlike the Core v2 which used an older stepping of the controller. The Core X doesn't support Razer Chroma (the RGB lighting feature common across various Razer peripherals). All these changes allow Razer to price the Core X at $299 compared to the Core v2's $499.The Core X launch also brings Mac support to Razer's family of eGFX enclosures (Core v2 and Core X only). Similar to the Core v2, the Core X is designed with open vents to support adequate airflow for the installed GPUs and aid in optimal thermal performance. Razer also touts easy installation of GPUs - a rear panel that slides out and a thumb-screw that allows for tool-less installation - as a major selling point for the Core X. macOS compatibility is advertised only with AMD GPUs. On the Windows side, a wide variety of GPUs ranging from the NVIDIA GTX 750 to the GTX 1080 Ti and GTX Titan XP. NVIDIA Quadro GPUs are also supported. On the AMD front, all XConnect GPUs are supported.The table below presents the specifications of various eGFX enclosures currently announced / available in the market.Comparison of eGFX EnclosuresAspectRazer Core XRazer Core XPowerColor Gaming StationRazer Core v2PowerColor Devil BoxAKiTiO NodeZotac AMP BoxAsus ROG XG Station 2Asus XG Station ProZotac AMP Box MiniChassis Dimensions14.72" x 6.61" x 9.06"14.72" x 6.61" x 9.06"Max. GPU Dimensions12.99" x 2.36" x 6.29"12.99" x 2.36" x 6.29"Max. GPU Power500W500WPSU650W ATX650W ATXCooling Fans1x 120mm (Chassis)
Razer Launches The Razer Blade 15.6
Today Razer is taking the wraps off a new model in their lineup. The Razer Blade 15.6 slots in as a replacement for the 14, and boasts some features we’ve not seen in the rest of their lineup yet. They’ll be offering it in a variety of configurations, with different displays, and either a NVIDIA GTX 1060 Max-Q, or GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU.Razer has done a fantastic job of taking their best-in-class CNC aluminum chassis and evolving it to keep it fresh. With the 15.6, it’s what you’d expect in a Razer Blade: thin and light. It also boasts some very narrow bezels, at just 4.9 mm, but with the top bezel slightly larger to accommodate the webcam in the correct location. Razer has moved to a clickable touchpad, letting them add a slightly larger one as well, and it ships with Precision drivers. And to fit in with the rest of the thin lineup, the GTX 1060 model is just 16.8 mm thick, while the GTX 1070 is only a half millimeter thicker. Weight is 2.07 – 2.15 kg (4.56 – 4.73 lbs) depending on the specs.Let’s talk about specs. The Razer Blade 15.6 is shipping with the Intel Core i7-8750H CPU as the only processor option. This offers six cores, twelve threads, and up to 4.1 GHz of turbo. It’s shipping with 16 GB of DDR4, although the system will be offered with32 GB as well. The base SSD is a 512 GB PCIe model, with up to 2 TB available. GPU options, as mentioned, are either GTX 1060 or 1070 Max-Q models, which should offer good performance but thermals that this thin laptop can support.Razer Blade 15.6ModelsGTX 1060GTX 1070CPUIntel Core i7-8750H
NVIDIA Releases the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB: More RAM, Fewer ROPs?
Adjusting their GeForce GTX 1050 Family info page over the weekend, NVIDIA quietly announced that the expansion of the GeForce 10-series of cards with another entry: the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB. Slotting between the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and original GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB), the GTX 1050 3GB is, despite the name, not actually equal to the original GTX 1050 2GB. Instead it features 768 CUDA cores but on a smaller 96-bit memory bus.If this story sounds familiar, it’s because it is. After launching the GTX 1060 in July 2016, NVIDIA followed up with the GTX 1060 3GB, which featured 1152 CUDA cores to the GTX 1060 6GB’s 1280.NVIDIA GPU Specification ComparisonGTX 1060 3GBGTX 1050 TiGTX 1050 3GBGTX 1050 (2GB)GT 1030 GDDR5CUDA Cores1152768768640384Texture Units7248484024ROPs483224?328Core Clock1506MHz1290MHz1392MHz1354MHz1227MHzBoost Clock1709MHz1392MHz1518MHz1455MHz1468MHzMemory Clock8Gbps GDDR57Gbps GDDR57Gbps GDDR57Gbps GDDR56Gbps GDDR5Memory Bus Width192-bit128-bit96-bit128-bit64-bitVRAM3GB4GB3GB2GB2GBFP641/321/321/321/321/32TDP120W75W75W75W30WGPUGP106GP107GP107GP107GP108Transistor Count4.4B3.3B3.3B3.3B1.02BManufacturing ProcessTSMC 16nmSamsung 14nmSamsung 14nmSamsung 14nmTSMC 16nmLaunch Date08/18/201610/25/20165/201810/25/20165/2017Launch Price$199$139-$109$80Going down to the silicon, the GeForce GTX 1050 3GB does indeed feature 3GB of VRAM, an extra GB over the original GTX 1050, which in turn only ever came in a 2GB version in the desktop space. But ultimately, the GTX 1050 3GB is another GPU configuration: the card has an extra enabled SM – now matching the GTX 1050 Ti at 6 SMs/768 CUDA cores – while also equipped with a cut-down 96-bit bus as opposed to the 128-bit bus of its other desktop GTX 1050 series siblings. In actual memory bandwidth numbers, this translates to 84 GB/s as opposed to 112 GB/s.Otherwise, the raster engine and TMU counts are presumably identical to the GTX 1050 Ti, as the SM count requires the frontend to be a fully enabled GP107 part. As for clockspeeds, the GTX 1050 3GB features faster base and boost than both GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050 2GB.Things get a bit trickier on the backend though. While NVIDIA's published specifications don't offer clarity on this, the company's designs normally have a 1:1 ratio between ROP partitions and memory controllers. Meaning that as this configuration has a 96-bit memory bus – and thus only 3 out of 4 memory controllers are enabled – then it has almost certainly lost a ROP partition as well. This also means that a quarter of the GPU's L2 cache (256KB) has also been shut off, leaving the chip with just 768KB of L2.This is a prime example of why unusual memory configurations are more important than they may seem at first, as several parts of the GPU are strongly bound to the size of the memory bus. It also means that estimating the card's performance based on just clockspeeds and functional block counts is harder than it may seem, as now one needs to take into account memory bandwidth, ROP throughput, and cache hits.
Intel And Micron Launch First QLC NAND: Micron 5210 ION Enterprise SATA SSD
Intel and Micron are announcing today that their jointly-developed QLC NAND flash memory is now available, and Micron is now shipping the first solid state drive based on QLC NAND: an enterprise SATA drive branded the 5210 ION series. This will join the TLC-based 5200 family as a lower-cost tier with reduced write performance and endurance.QLC NAND flash memory stores four bits of data per memory cell, providing a 33% capacity boost over three bit per cell TLC NAND, which is now used in almost all SSDs. The downsides are that QLC NAND has lower write endurance on the order of 1000 program/erase cycles, and lower write performance. Both of these are consequences of the difficulty of discriminating between 16 possible voltage levels within a memory cell, as compared to the 8 voltage levels required to store three bits per cell.The cost reduction brought by QLC NAND is a much-awaited advance for enterprise storage. Most NAND flash manufacturers have started sampling QLC NAND within the past year, generally built on the same 64-layer 3D NAND processes that current-generation TLC NAND uses. Micron has previously shown wafers of 512Gb 64-layer QLC when announcing the addition of QLC to their roadmap, but today they are also announcing a 1Tb 64L QLC part—the first 1Tb memory chip to hit commercial availability. That 1Tb part is organized as four planes that can be processing I/O commands in parallel, compared to two planes for previous Intel/Micron NAND parts. This helps offset most of the performance loss associated with increasing per-die capacity. Thanks to the "CMOS under the array" design of Intel/Micron 3D NAND, the extra peripheral circuitry requried by doubling the number of planes doesn't add much to the overall die size.It was initially feared that QLC write endurance would be low enough that drives would need to be treated more or less as write-once, read-many (WORM) devices, requiring careful handling on the software side. With multiple manufacturers now rating their QLC NAND for around 1k P/E cycles, it is clear that QLC-based SSDs aren't too fragile and can handle many existing workloads without needing major software changes to reduce writes.Micron is primarily marketing the 5210 ION SSDs as replacement for hard drives, rather than replacements for any existing tier of enterprise SSD products. In this role, the 5210 ION will have clear advantages in density (with 2-8TB per 2.5" drive) and performance. QLC NAND only provides incremental improvements to cost, so the 5210 ION won't be matching 7200RPM hard drives for price per GB, but 10k RPM drives will probably be feeling the pressure, especially from TCO calculations that take into account the power efficiency advantages of SSDs.Micron isn't providing detailed specifications for the 5210 ION series at this time, but we can read between the lines. The 5210 ION series is based on the same controller and firmware platform used for the 5200 and 5100 families. That means a Marvell 88SS1074 controller, and Micron-written firmware with features like their FlexCapacity configurable overprovisioning to trade capacity for performance and endurance.Write Endurance
The ASUS Z370-I Gaming Review: Mini-Me Mega Motherboard
The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming is one of the major Mini-ITX options for Intel's latest Coffee Lake processors. ASUS has a good history of building substantial Mini-ITX offerings, particularly with the ROG Impact line, however it is the Z-series mainstream Mini-ITX models that are the more cost effective option. For this generation, ASUS is combining dual M.2 slots, USB 3.1, EMI shielded audio and Wi-Fi on this small square platform. In this review we put it through its paces.
Acer To Roll Out Amazon Alexa To All PCs
This morning Acer announced that it’s the first PC maker to ship Alexa on its PC lineup, and the company has plans to bring the popular assistant across its lineup of devices. Amazon has broadened the reach of Alexa across many device types over the last couple of years, and while Microsoft has shipped Cortana in Windows 10 since launch, it’s failed to gain much traction outside of the PC.Acer will leverage Intel’s Smart Sound Technology with an integrated Digital Signal Processor to handle audio, and voice commands. Some models, such as the Acer Spin 5 will offer four digital microphones as well for far-field voice recognition, while others will only support the more common two microphone setup for near-field.It remains to be seen whether voice control on the PC is going to be a make or break feature, but the simplicity of voice control for some tasks is undeniable. With the inclusion of Intel Smart Sound Technology, it also brings additional features such as being able to wake a PC that’s in Modern Standby as well, and with the far-field microphone, accessing Alexa on the PC should be the same as using it in your living room or kitchen.Alexa will be available on the Acer Spin 5 on May 23, and the Spin 3 on May 26, with other models gaining support over the next few weeks.Source: Acer
AMD Releases Unified Graphics Driver for dGPUs & Desktop APUs: Radeon Software Q2 2018
Although AMD’s Ryzen desktop APUs released back in February with the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G, official driver support has been limited to the inaugural WHQL launch drivers for quite some time. Finally, late this week AMD has released Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition Q2 2018 WHQL, featuring support for not only the Ryzen desktop APUs but also for the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. Originally teased by AMD’s James Prior during his AMA hosted on the AnandTech forums, it also appears that this release is a unified driver for APUs and discrete GPUs.That being said, AMD is being somewhat inconsistent about whether Adrenalin Q2 2018 is to be considered a unified graphics driver applying to discrete Radeon products. The official release notes and desktop APU drivers index indicate compatibility only with the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G. Meanwhile, AMD has offhandedly referred to Q2 2018 package as a unified driver, and users elsewhere have reported successful installation of the driver on other APUs and discrete GPUs; the driver INF file itself shows support for a range of processors, including Carrizo, Polaris, and desktop Vega graphics. And to that end we've had no problem installing it alongside parts like the RX Vega 64.In any case, an official 18.5.1 release might yet be pending; an Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 release notes page remains reserved on the AMD site, while an earlier version of the Q2 2018 page referred itself as 18.5.1. As Adrenalin Q2 2018 is a WHQL certified driver with support for the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, which contrasts to 18.4.1’s beta support for the April Update, this would be a useful distinction for those who keep to WHQL packages.Moving onto the driver itself, the documentation only notes three bugfixes:
Acer’s Predator X27 G-Sync HDR Display Listed in the USA, to Ship on June 1
After previously being listed in Europe last month, G-Sync HDR monitor listings are finally showing up in the US, answering by far the biggest outstanding question on the new monitors: pricing. As of today, Newegg has started to take pre-orders on Acer’s Predator X27 G-Sync HDR display, listing the monitor at $1,999.99. Meanwhile, Acer has introduced a couple of last-minute changes to the specs of the monitor.Pre-orders on the highly-anticipated G-Sync HDR-supporting Acer Predator X27 were previously expected to start at the end of this month, but it look like Newegg and Acer have moved things forward a bit. Since the announcement of the monitor and its prototype nearly a year and a half ago at CES, we were given a $2000 ballpark figure for the monitor. However there has been some doubt about that given the nature of the technology, production yields, and what kind of profit margins NVIDIA plus its partners were after. All of which were amped up when the monitor was first listed in Europe last month at the equivalent of about $2500. So with retail US prices at merely $2000, it looks like pricing will be right where we expected it to be at; which is to say that it's very much an ultra-high-end monitor for a niche group of gamers with deep pockets, but also one that stands to greatly exceed anything else currently on the market.At any rate, in case you were rich enough to try buying multiple monitors, it's worth noting that Newegg limits availability of the display to one unit per customer, which may indicate that the number of monitors that Acer allocated to the reseller is limited. Otherwise, for gamers who do throw down two grand on the monitor, they are expected to ship on June 1st, according to Newegg.For those who wonder what kind of gaming display you can get for $2,000 let us remind you the basic specs of the product. The Acer Predator X27 is based on an AHVA panel with a 3840×2160 resolution, 178°/178° horizontal/vertical viewing angles, a 4 ms response time, an "up to" 144 Hz refresh rate (native refresh rate is 120 Hz), and 600 nits native luminance with 1000 nits peak. Critically, the monitor uses a a 384-zone FALD backlight to ensure the necessary localized contrast ratios, which is further enhanced with quantum dots to offer a wider-than-sRGB color gamut.One interesting item however is that when Acer originally introduced its Predator X27 a year ago, it said that the unit could display 96% of the DCI-P3 color range. But right now the company's product page only indicates that the monitor can cover 99% of the AdobeRGB color gamut (which is similarly wide to DCI, but not covering the same gamut). This is likely a product page oversight – this being an industry that regularly lists NTSC gamut ranges for no good reason – but not a appreciable one all the same.Meanwhile, according to product specifications, it appears that Acer has also removed the Tobii eye-tracking sensors that were present on early prototypes (keeping in mind that far not all games support the tech, it will hardly be missed by many). Meanwhile, not in the prototype but now appearing in the final version are an adjustable stand a light shielding hood (like professional monitors) to prevent glare caused by ambient lighting as well as to ensure accurate colors.Obviously, playing games in a 4K resolution with HDR and dynamic refresh rates should be quite a good experience. In the meantime, there are a couple of things to keep in mind here. To take full advantage of the Predator X27 monitor, gamers are going to need an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-series (or better) graphics card with a DisplayPort 1.4 output. NVIDIA & Acer are using every bit of bandwidth offered by DisplayPort 1.4 here, but that is not enough as the X27's bandwidth requirements actually exceed what DisplayPort can provide today. Consequently, to stay within the bandwidth confines of the interface, the monitor (like all monitors based on the NVIDIA’s G-Sync HDR prototype) will either be limited to a 98Hz refresh rate with full 4:4:4 chroma subsampling, or use 4:2:2 subsampling to get to 120Hz+. Meanwhile as you might expect, the display's lone HDMI 2.0 port is limited to 60 Hz operation.Finally, like some other high-end gaming monitors, the Acer Predator X27 has a quad-port USB 3.0 hub for peripherals and two 4 W speakers that gamers typically use for operating system sounds.Specifications of Acer Predator X27 G-Sync HDR Gaming MonitorPredator X27 bmiiphzx
Intel Discloses Plans to Spend $5 Billion on Fab 28 Expansion in Israel
Intel and two Israeli ministries this week announced that the chip giant plans to invest $5 billion in its Kiryat Gat fab complex – Fab 28 – through 2020. Under the plan, Intel is expected to buy various products from local suppliers and hire additional personnel. In return, Israel will provide the processor maker a tax rebate and a government grant. Furthermore, Intel will receive another grant if it upgrades its manufacturing in Israel further.Under the terms of the investment plan, Intel will invest $5 billion (NIS 18 billion) in its Kiryat Gat ventures until 2020. The chip giant is expected to buy $838 million (NIS 3 billion) worth of local goods and add 250 people to its workforce, reports The Times of Israel citing the Finance Ministry. If the plan is approved by the Israeli authorities, Intel will get a 5% tax rebate till 2027, as well as a $195.5 million (NIS 700 million) government grant. Additionally, if Intel decides to “significantly upgrade” its fab “technologically”, the company will get another $195.5 million grant.Haaretz newspaper reports that the new $5 billion investment plan focuses on production expansion, but not on manufacturing technology upgrades. This is not be the first announced expansion of Fab 28 in the recent years. Intel took over Micron’s 200-mm fab in Kiryat Gat in 2013 (after transferring its Fab 18 to Numonyx in 2008 and then selling its stake in the company to Micron in 2010), then disclosed plans to convert it to 300 mm wafers and make it a part of the Fab 28 complex. It is unknown whether all the conversions/upgrades have been completed.Back in 2014, Intel and Israel's ministries of economy and finance agreed to a plan under which Intel would invest $6 billion in Fab 28 in a bid to prepare it to produce CPUs using its 10 nm process technology. Since the latter has been delayed to the 2018 – 2019 timeframe, it is likely that the new production lines that went online in late 2016 are using Intel's 14nm process, though Intel has not officially confirmed this. Meanwhile, it is unclear where Intel's progress stands on installing the latest DUV equipment needed to produce 10 nm CPUs at the fab, which is a prerequisite to upgrading to future process nodes.On a final note, after reaching out to Intel to get more details on their current and future investment plans for Fab 28, we did eventually receive the following statement from Intel:“Intel has submitted a business plan to the Israeli Government for a project to expand its manufacturing facilities at Kiryat Gat. The project is being undertaken to meet future manufacturing needs. [...] It is a usual part of the investment and upgrade cycle. [...] I can also confirm that in 2014 Intel started a project to upgrade the fab.” Related Reading:
HP Unveils EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Convertible: Quad-Core CPU, 700-Nits LCD, 18 Hrs
HP has announced its new high-end 13.3-inch convertible aimed at demanding consumers, enterprises, and government agencies. The third-generation EliteBook x360 1030 hybrid notebook got more compact yet more powerful and longer lasting than predecessors (at least on paper). Premium models will feature displays with up to 4K Ultra HD resolution as well as up to 700 nits brightness. Furthermore, the convertible has a number of exclusive features, such as a proximity sensor for optional stylus that sends visual and audio alerts if the pen gets too far from the PC.HP’s EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is the company’s new flagship 13.3-inch convertible that packs virtually all premium technologies that HP has to offer and brings together performance and compactness. From a hardware point of view, the third-gen EliteBook x360 1030 is based on Intel’s 8 Gen Core i5/i7 processors with four cores accompanied by 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory, and a PCIe/NVMe SSD of up to 2 TB capacity (select configs for government agencies use encrypted drives). As for portability, the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 comes in CNC-machined aluminum unibody, it is 15.8 mm thick and weighs 1.25 kilograms, which is thinner and lighter than most popular 13.3-inch convertibles (the only viable competitor for the EB x360 1030 G3 is Lenovo’s ThinkPad Yoga 3 Gen and it is still not as portable). In addition to keeping the third-gen EliteBook x360 1030 thin and light, HP also shrunk its LCD bezels, effectively shrinking its footprint size by 10% when compared to the second-gen EliteBook x360 1030. In fact, HP goes so far as to say that the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 integrates a 13.3-inch display into a 12-inch chassis.Speaking of displays, HP offers rather unique touch-supporting LCD panels covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 with its EliteBook x360 1030 G3. The flagship models are equipped with a glossy 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) screen featuring a 500 nits brightness and covering 100% of the sRGB color gamut. Other high-end models are outfitted with glossy or anti-glare Full HD (1920×1080) displays featuring HP’s Sure View privacy screen, and a 700 nits luminance that can be used even under direct sunlight. HP claims that the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is the first notebook to use a display panel with brightness that is comparable to that of high-end smartphones. The rather extreme luminance will be appreciated by people working from cafes in southern countries and usually find it uncomfortable. Meanwhile, such a bright screen will inevitably affect battery life of the machine (more on that later). Meanwhile, entry-level SKUs of the EB x360 1030 G3 come with glossy or anti-glare Full HD LCDs featuring a 400 nits brightness. All versions of HP’s new convertibles are outfitted with an ambient light sensor to automatically regulate brightness depending on lighting conditions.Apart from performance, portability and display options, another strong selling point of the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is connectivity. The new convertibles are equipped with Intel’s dual band Wireless-AC 8265 module supporting 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, a 4G/LTE modem with or without GPS, as well as NXP’s NPC300 I2C NCI NFC controller. As for physical ports, the system has two Thunderbolt 3 connectors, one USB 3.0 Type-A header (for data and charging), an HDMI 1.4 output, and a TRRS audio jack.Despite its small footprint, the system integrates four Bang & Olufsen-badged speakers with amplifiers and a microphone array with noise cancellation software capability. In addition, the convertible has a Full HD webcam with IR sensors for Windows Hello facial recognition. Since the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 can work in both laptop and tablet modes, it naturally also features an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and a Hall effect sensor.One of the not-so-strong sides of thin and light 13.3-inch laptops is their battery. In a bid to make the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 system as portable as possible, HP had to use a 56.2 Wh Li-ion battery (in line with other notebooks of the same dimensions). HP rates the battery for 18 hours of life on one charge (according to MobileMark 2014), up from 16.5 hours in case of the EB x360 1030 G2. Obviously, for its battery tests, HP used a model featuring a Full HD/400-nits display with lowered brightness that only used Wi-Fi for comms. A high-end EliteBook x360 1030 G3 with an Ultra HD/500-nits or a Full HD/700-nits screen with upped brightness to see things clearly when working on a sunny day in a café over 4G/LTE will clearly not live for 18 hours on one charge. But while the battery life is a potentially weak side of premium versions of HP’s EliteBook x360 1030 G3, competing ultra-thin 13.3-inch notebooks from Apple and Lenovo with high-res/high-luminance displays have the same issue because there is always a tradeoff between portability and battery capacity.Last but not least, like all model HP Elite-branded systems, the third-generation EliteBook x360 1030 comes with robust security and reliability features. For example, it can support three-factor authentication (face, fingerprint, password), features TPM 2.0, and supports HP’s proprietary technologies like Sure Start, Sure Recover and others.HP’s EliteBook x360 1030 G3 laptop will hit the market in June at prices starting from $1,449.Specifications of the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3EliteBook x360 1030 G3LCDDiagonal13"Resolution | Brightness | Features3840×2160 | 500 cd/m² | Glossy
EVGA Forgoes Driver DVDs: It’s All About The USB Flash Drive
Driver disks of some sort have been part of a PC enthusiast's life as far back as I can remember. Before Windows included drivers, they all came from media included with the motherboard. I first recall them on floppies then once optical media took hold, moved to CDs. As the number of drivers and included software increased in both quantity and size, it outgrew the capacity of CDs and board partners moved to DVDs offering more capacity and faster read speeds. For example, a board partner's driver disk from a Z370 based board weighs in at 6.57GB on the disk, far eclipsing the capacity of a CD (~700MB) and that of a single-sided DVD (4.7 GB).To that end, yesterday on Twitter, EVGA’s Global Product Management Director Jacob Freeman announced that in the future, EVGA motherboards will not come with driver disks, but USB Flash which contains all the needed drivers and software. This includes H370 based boards now and others moving forward. Instead of a DVD we are used to seeing, EVGA will include a small 8GB USB flash drive with the EVGA logo printed on it instead. While this isn’t a first (a high-end Asus board in the past included one), it certainly is welcome, if only for the quick installation from USB versus CD/DVD installs. The drive is also re-writeable so it can be used for other purposes as well. Buy EVGA Z370 FTW on Amazon.comOverall, it is good to see EVGA embrace what we feel is the modern, and faster, medium for base driver and software installations, and hope other board partners follow suit. I do wonder a bit about the cost, but even if it adds $1 more, it is worth it (to me). No more whirring from the optical drive to install drivers with H370 and future EVGA motherboards. It’s about time!Editor's Note: EVGA has confirmed the drive is USB 2.0 based and costs about twenty times more than an optical disk would. Thankfully, EVGA says that significant cost increase will not trickle down to the consumer, which we all appreciate.
PowerColor Confirms Plans for Mini-ITX Radeon RX Vega: Due Next Month
Over the past few months, we have seen two makers of video cards laying the groundwork for Mini-ITX graphics adapters based on the Radeon RX Vega GPU. This week PowerColor confirmed that its small form-factor Radeon RX Vega is incoming and will be showcased next month at Computex.PowerColor’s RX Vega 56 Nano Edition will be based on a PCB that resembles the one used for the Red Dragon RX 56 card introduced in late March. The new graphics adapter will feature four display outputs: three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b. As for power connectors, it will have one 8-pin and one 6-pin header.The board will be outfitted with a dual-slot cooler featuring one large fan and heat pipes. Keeping in mind that the main draw of AMD’s original Radeon R9 Nano was its compact size as well as lower TDP, we certainly expect PowerColor's Mini-ITX RX Vega 56 to go the same direction. AMD's reference Vega 56 has a 210 W TDP, so PowerColor would need only to turn the card down to 175W to match AMD's previous card and similarly keep heat dissipation in line with what AMD's cooler could do.The biggest differences/unknowns right now are that whereas AMD's Radeon R9 Nano used a fully-enabled Fiji GPU - fully embracing the idea of going wide and slow - PowerColor is using a cut-down Radeon RX 56-class Vega GPU. So it will be interesting to see what actual performance is like; PowerColor faces a smaller need for power savings, and there are numerous signs that AMD pushed the reference Vega voltages a bit hard to hith higher clockspeeds, so PowerColor may only need to back off clockspeeds slightly to hit their goals.Production of AMD’s Radeon RX Vega GPU is in full swing, so expect PowerColor to start sales of the product shortly after its first demonstration at Computex. Pricing of the RX Vega 56 Nano Edition adapter is unknown and given the market situation, it is not a good business to make predictions here.Buy PowerColor Red Dragon Radeon RX Vega 56 on Amazon.comSpecifications of PowerColor and Reference Radeon RX Vega CardsPowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX Vega 64
ASUS Unveils Ultra-Thin ZenBook Pro 15 with Six-Core Core i9, GTX 1050, Calibrated 4K LCD
ASUS has introduced a new version of its ultra-thin 15.6-inch ZenBook Po 15 laptop that offers higher performance than predecessors while retaining a very thin z-height as well as a rather low weight. The notebook features Intel’s latest 8 Generation Core processors with six cores as well as a standalone GPU, a rare combination found in an 18.9-mm thick laptop. To make the PC even more unique, ASUS offers it with a factory-calibrated monitor.The new ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX550GD comes in ‘Deep Dive Blue’ aluminum unibody with rose gold edges to emphasizes its premium nature and positioning. The top-of-the-range model is based on Intel’s unlocked six-core Core i9-8950HK processor, though it is unclear whether ASUS lets owners of the notebook overclock this chip. Other SKUs are powered by the six-core Core i7-8750H or the quad-core Core i5-8300H processors. The CPU is accompanied by NVIDIA’s discrete GeForce GTX 1050 graphics processor with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, 8 or 16 GB of DDR4-2400 DRAM, and an SSD with up 1 TB capacity (PCIe 3.0 x4/NVMe). To cool the CPU and the GPU down, ASUS uses a special cooling system featuring three heat pipes and two fans.High-performance internals and a luxurious chassis are not the only first-class features offered by the ZenBook Pro 15 UX550GD. The manufacturer offers two premium 15.6-inch IPS multi-touch LCD options with the machine. One of the display panels has a 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) resolution, covers 100% of the AdobeRGB as well as 95% of the NTSC color spaces, and is factory-calibrated to DeltaE ≤ 2 accuracy. Another option features a Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, covers 100% of the sRGB color space, and is factory-calibrated to DeltaE ≤ 3 accuracy. Not a lot of Windows-based laptops are outfitted with AdobeRGB-capable displays and even fewer come with pre-calibrated LCDs, so ASUS clearly deserves praise here.On the wireless side of things, we see Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi solution featuring 802.11ac Wi-Fi (with up to 1.73 Gbps throughput) and Bluetooth 5.0. As for physical connectors, the notebook is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 headers, an HDMI display output, a microSD card reader, a TRRS audio jack, and a proprietary jack for charging. When it comes to conferencing, the laptop has a VGA webcam, Harman Kardon-badged stereo speakers, and a microphone array.Just like other ZenBook Pro 15 models, the UX550GD features an 18.9-mm z-height and weighs 1.86 kilograms, thus being thinner and lighter than most 15.6-inch laptops. To retain portability, ASUS equipped the notebook with a 71 Wh Li-Poly battery that enables it to work for up to 9.5-hours on one charge (according to MobileMark 2014), which is below what one might expect from a premium PC. Keeping in mind that there is always a tradeoff between weight, display quality, and battery life on new higher-end notebooks, the relatively limited battery life of the US550GD is not really surprising and will not scare people off who need to have a good display on a 15.6-inch laptop that is barely thicker than many 13.3-inch models.The ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX550GD laptops will be available in the coming weeks. ASUS has not published prices of these notebooks, but it is logical to expect the manufacturer to charge a premium for a rather unique combination of features (an unlocked Core i9 CPU, factory-calibrated 4K display, thin-and-light form-factor, etc.). Meanwhile, a version with a Core i5 processor and a Full HD LCD will likely be offered at a more democratic price.General Specifications of the ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX550GDUX550GDLCDDiagonal15.6"Resolution/
StarTech Launches ‘Affordable’ Thunderbolt 3 ‘Mini Docks’: USB-A, GbE, DP or HDMI
StarTech on Thursday announced two new Thunderbolt 3 miniature docking stations that the company made more affordable than existing 4-in-1 docks. The Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks feature two 4Kp60-capable display outputs, a USB Type-A header, and a Gigabit Ethernet controller.StarTech’s family of Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks consists of two models: the TB3DKM2DP with two DisplayPort 1.2 outputs enabled by the TI TPS65983 controller and the TB3DKM2HD with two HDMI 2.0 outputs enabled by the Parade PS176 controller. In addition to display outputs, the mini docks feature one USB 3.0 connector driven by ASMedia’s ASM1042A as well as a GbE header controlled by Intel’s WGI210AT chip.Unlike higher-end Thunderbolt 3 docking solutions from StarTech and other suppliers like OWC and Promise, the TB3DKM2-series cannot charge notebooks (which means that these laptops will need to use an extra TB3 port for charging). Furthermore, since the mini docks are based on Intel’s Alpine Ridge controllers, it's also worth noting that they only compatible with TB3 host ports and can't fall back for pure USB Type-C hosts.A clear advantage of StarTech’s Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks over full-fledged docking stations are their miniature sizes as well as lower prices. Their obvious disadvantages are a limited number of USB-A ports and the lack of a model featuring both DisplayPort and HDMI outputs in the lineup (both limitations are conditioned by BOM and production costs).StarTech's Mini Thunderbolt 3 Docks at a GlanceTB3DKM2DPTB3DKM2HDThunderboltControllerIntel Alpine Ridge JHL6540Port1 × TB3 connector (input)USBControllerASMedia ASM1042APort1 × USB 3.0 Type-AEthernetControllerIntel WGI210ATPort1 × GbE portDisplay OutputControllerTexas Instruments TPS65983Parade PS176Port2 × DisplayPort 1.2
ZOTAC Launches ZBOX CI329 Nano: Fanless Quad-Core Gemini Lake
ZOTAC has introduced its new affordable miniature PCs based on Intel’s Gemini Lake platform. Designed for office and media streaming applications, the new ZBOX CI329 Nano are powered by a quad-core SoC, featuring 4Kp60-capable DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0a outputs, and are equipped with two GbE ports.ZOTAC’s ZBOX CI329 Nano comes in a black enclosure with a rather distinctive look featuring the manufacturer’s renowned honeycomb openings that enable passive cooling of the system’s key component — the Celeron N4100 SoC (four cores, 1.1 – 2.4 GHz, 4 MB cache, UHD Graphics 600 with 12 EUs, 6.5 W). The chip supports H.264 and H.265 hardware decoding and the Clear Video HD tech, making it a viable choice for multimedia enthusiasts looking for a low-power system for streaming. The PC is outfitted with a DDR4 SO-DIMM slot supporting up to 8 GB modules as well as a 2.5-inch bay with a SATA connector for an HDD or an SSD.When it comes to connectivity, the ZBOX CI329 Nano comes with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 wireless module, two GbE controllers (particularly important for enterprises), three USB-A 3.0 ports, one USB-C 3.0 header, one USB-A 2.0 connector, one HDMI 2.0a output, a DisplayPort 1.4, a D-Sub port, an SD card reader, and two 3.5-mm audio connectors.ZOTAC ZBOX CI329 NanoAspectZBOX CI329 NanoZBOX CI329
Mining Can Be Fashionable? Biostar Wants to Sell Millenials its New iMiner Systems
Biostar has this week released new iMiner systems specifically designed for crypto coin mining. The systems are stuffed with AMD RX 500-series video cards in a "space black" server-like chassis. Biostar positions the iMiner Multi-GPU Mining rigs as "fashionable and easy" along with dapper-looking young gentlemen in the promotional materials who look like they cashed in on the bitcoin bubble already.The new devices include an aluminum chassis with a “space black” coating along with all the necessary hardware already inside needed to start mining crypto coins such as ETH, ETC, XMR, and ZEC among others. The iMiner lineup will include Biostar's esoteric mining motherboards - the ones that have 9-12+ PCIe slots for as many GPUs as you can physically fit with riser cables. Also included in the pre-built systems is an Intel CPU with DDR4 RAM, an SSD, a power supply, and exclusive Mining Doctor software. Biostar's intent here is to plug and play these devices to get users up and mining quickly by providing an ecosystem driven off of consumer level parts as opposed to dedicated ASICs. Apparently an expensive suit and a rough shave is part of the culture Biostar is hoping to cultivate.Biostar has released a total of three iMiners - the A564X12, A578X6, and the A578X8D, each with their own different parts and hash rates. The A564X12 and A578X6, for example, will use the Biostar TB250-BTC Pro motherboard able to support up to 12 video cards through its 12 PCIe slots coming from the chipset. The motherboard is based on the B250 chipset making all the slots from the chipset without additional switches, which Biostar asserts as being more stable for mining.The slots are arranged in a manner to use PCIe to USB risers and that different arrangement is said to also avoid potential short circuits. The board includes two Molex and two PCIe 12V 4-pin power connectors in order to handle the power draw of multiple GPUs. Buy Biostar TB250-BTC Pro on NeweggThe A578X8D, on the other hand, uses Biostar’s latest mining board, the TB250-BTC D+. The D+ board doesn’t offer users quite as many PCIe slots (total of 8), but they are full-length slots and forgoes the need for riser cards saving a bit of money and potentially lowering the ROI time. The board has a total of 16 6-pin PCIe power connectors in order to handle the power draw of multiple video cards. Buy Biostar TB250-BTC D+ on NeweggWith a board of this length, ensuring tracing integrity is a key factor, so it is likely that these slots will run in PCIe 2.0 mode which affords a longer trace length without repeaters.All boards include 4GB of DDR4-2400 (D+ board uses a SO-DIMM) and an Intel Celeron 3930 dual-core processor running at 2.9 GHz with a 51W TDP. The A564X12 and A578X6 include a 90GB SSD while the while the A578X8D comes with a 120GB SSD for storage.The A564X12 comes with 12 AMD Radeon RX560 4G cards with ethOS preinstalled on the drive, good for around 148 MH/s on ETH. This system comes witha 1200W >88% power supply using a single rail design, and five fans for airflow.The A578X6 includes six Radeon RX570 8G cards (with the necessary risers cards), with ethOS, and is good for 165 MH/s on ETH. The power supply for this is 1300W, again with five fans for airflow.The flagship A578X8D includes eight Radeon RX570 8G cards along with a 1600W power supply that Biostar states was designed for crypto mining. This model is able to reach an ETH hash rate of 220 MH/s (±5%). In other words, the A578X8D will get users 'fashion forward' and buying skinny jeans by earning cryptocurrency the quickest of the bunch. Cooling this unit is a total of seven fans with four intake and three on exhaust duty.Pricing nor availability was listed, but we do expect to see these on the market soon.Biostar iMinerA564X12A578X6A578XDMotherboardTB250-BTC ProTB250-BTC D+CPUIntel Celeron G3930
HP 13-inch Elite x2 1013 2-in-1 PC: Quad-Core, Thunderbolt 3
HP has announced its third-generation Elite x2 2-in-1 hybrid PCs for enterprise and government clients. The new Elite x2 1013 systems received faster quad-core processors along with a larger display while retaining approximate weight and dimensions when compared to previous-gen convertibles released a year ago.When HP introduced its first-gen Elite x2 2-in-1 two years ago, the company revealed its “power of a notebook, flexibility of a tablet” design philosophy and has been following it since then. The first-gen Elite x2 was powered by a Skylake-Y ULV SoC and outfitted with as 12.1-inch display. By contrast, HP’s third-gen Elite x2 1013 2-in-1 hybrid computers are based on Intel’s 8 Generation Core processors with two or four cores and are equipped with a larger 13-inch LCD with a 3000×2000 resolution and a 450 bits brightness or a 1920×1280 resolution with a 700 nits brightness as well as HP’s Sure View privacy screen. When it comes to memory and storage, the system features 16 GB of LPDDR3-2133 memory, and a 128 GB – 512 GB SSD (SED or FIPS 140-2 encrypted for models aimed at government agencies). Essentially, HP’s latest Elite x2 2-in-1s offer performance of 13-inch high-performance laptops, but in a modern form-factor.When it comes to wireless connectivity, the HP Elite x2 1013 G3 is equipped with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module, and a 4G/LTE modem with GPS. Unlike the previous-gen model, the new Elite x2 does not support WiGig, so the new hybrid is not compatible with wireless docks developed for earlier PCs. As for wired I/O, the Elite x2 1013 G3 comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C connector, eliminating a USB Type-A header and an SD card reader featured on the previous-gen Elite x2 machine. Apparently, HP believes that two TB3 ports are enough for docking and connecting to necessary devices (e.g., an external graphics subsystem).Moving on to other features of the HP Elite x2 1013 G3. Since this is a hybrid PC, it is equipped with all the sensors found in modern tablets, including an accelerometer, a gyro, an ambient light sensor, a magnetometer, a proximity sensor, and a Hall sensor. Obviously, the system also has a triple-microphone array, stereo speakers co-developed with Bang & Olufsen, a 5 MP front-facing webcam with IR sensors for Windows Hello, and an 8 MP back-facing camera on the rear.Now, time to talk about portability and battery life of the Elite x2 1013 G3. The tablet itself weighs 820 grams and is 7.9 mm thick, in line with the previous-generation product (in fact, it is ~1 mm thinner). When equipped with a keyboard the weight increases to 1.17 kilograms, whereas the thickness rises to 1.33 cm (lower than the previous-gen Elite x2). Due to space constraints, HP could only squeeze a 50 Wh battery into the new hybrid PC and this battery pack enables 10.5 hours of work on one charge.HP’s Elite x2 1013 G3 2-in-1 convertible computers will hit the market this June with prices starting at $1,499, which is considerably higher than $1,099, the starting price of the Elite x2 1012 G2.Specifications of the HP Elite x2HP Elite x2
Intel Shows Xeon Scalable Gold 6138P with Integrated FPGA, Shipping to Vendors
Part of the story behind the Xeon Scalable platform, built upon server-level Skylake processing cores with AVX-512 and a new mesh topology, was that the CPU was designed to be partnered with additional silicon in the same package. Out of the gate immediately were versions bundled with Intel’s OmniPath controller, allowing for networking fabric connections. There has always been expectation that Intel will launch a Xeon Scalable processor with an integrated Intel Altera FPGA on the same package, and now that expectation has become reality. Intel is now shipping its Xeon Gold 6138P processor with a built-in Altera Arria 10 GX 1150 FPGA.Back at Supercomputing 2016, Intel demonstrated what supposed to be a Broadwell-based Xeon system with a built in FPGA into the same package, however no real details were given and the chip itself was not on display. This year, at Mobile World Congress (of all places), Intel had a demonstration system showing a Xeon Scalable processor with a built in FPGA into the same package, but again the chip was not on display, only a processor that supposedly had the chip in. I was not allowed to use my screwdriver to open the system up. The Intel attendant next to the system was discussing that the platform would help accelerate Edge Computing for data used by 5G networks, although discussions about the finer details of how many SKUs, the size of the FPGA, and other elements were met with a refusal to answer. As a result, I didn’t post anything at MWC; I could not confirm anything that was being said and Intel was not prepared to say any more.
Cooler Master Announces TUF Gaming Alliance with ASUS
Cooler Master recently announced a partnership with ASUS to produce a new line of TUF Gaming-branded products in collaboration with ASUS’ TUF Gaming initiatives. TUF Gaming is a product series from ASUS that is focused on durable and reliable gaming products. ASUS’ TUF Gaming Alliance, in turn, is a joint effort between Cooler Master, ASUS, and others in order to create a line of products for ‘an aesthetically cohesive gaming PC’.Cooler Master’s role in this collaboration is to provide select chassis, cooling, and power supply options with three main design concepts: functionality, reliability, and visual consistency. In essence, we are looking at multiple partners rebranding products under a common aesthetic umbrella in order for a PC builder to more easily find and build a themed PC with quality products.As far as which Cooler Master products will get the new digs, users will see the Masterbox MG500 mid-tower case, the MasterAir MA620P and MA410M heatsinks, and the MasterWatt power supply range in 450W, 550W, 650W, and 750W capacities. These specific components, Cooler Master says, were ‘specifically chosen because of their ability to run your games smoothly and reliably’.The Masterbox MB500 incorporates the TUF Gaming camouflage/military styling with greyscale camouflage on the top, front, and on the edge-to-edge tempered glass side panel. The other difference is on the inside where the PSU shroud is cut out in order to display the PSU underneath (no doubt a MasterWatt TUF is what they are thinking). Otherwise, the case itself is the same allowing up to an ATX sized motherboard, 160mm clearance for CPU heatsinks, 400mm for video cards, and a maximum PSU length of 180mm. The MB500 case is able to house up to 3 120mm fans (2x 140mm), or up to a 360mm radiator in the front panel, 120mm radiator or fan in the back, and two 120mm fans up top.The MasterWatt series of power supplies available for this endeavor comes in four wattage choices - 450W, 550W, 650W, and 750W models all receiving the same TUF Gaming treatment with the digital camouflage. We can see the same design on all sides except for where the specifications table is printed. The MasterWatt lineup is 80 Plus Bronze rated and offers users semi-fanless operation, modular cabling (outside of ATX/EPS cables) that is said to be thicker than standard market cables at 16AWG, and a 5-year warranty. In order to keep the CPU cool, Cooler Master has selected two air cooling options in the MasterAir MA620P dual tower heatsink and the MasterAir MA410M single tower heatsink. Like the other products in the TUF Alliance, these get the TUF Gaming treatment as well with the camouflage on the top of the tower(s) a TUF Gaming Alliance sticker on the fan hub as well as the TUF ‘yellow’ color on the fan mounts. Both coolers include MasterFan MF120R RGB fans (one with the single tower MA410M) able to be controlled through motherboard software or using the included wired RGB LED controller. Both coolers use Cooler Master’s Continuous Direct Contact Technology (CDC 2.0) that is said to increase the contact surface area of heat pipes by 45% thus enhancing heat transfer. Each cooler is said to be tool-free mounting and the universal retention brackets support Intel LGA 115x, 1366, and 775 sockets, while on AMD it is compatible with AM4, AM3+, AM3, AM2, FM2+, FM2, and FM1.Buy MasterAir MA620P TUF on Newegg
HP Upgrades EliteOne 1000 All-In-Ones with Coffee Lake CPUs
HP has introduced new versions of its EliteOne 1000 business All-In-One (AIO) PCs that are based on Intel’s Coffee Lake processors with up to six cores. The EliteOne 1000 G2 systems feature detachable displays, allowing them to be upgraded and once the monitor or other components no longer offer relevant performance.HP’s EliteOne 1000 G2 lineup consists of four base models featuring 23.8-inch FHD displays (with and without touch), a 27-inch UHD display option, and the more premium 34-inch curved WQHD LCD. The new all-in-ones are based on Intel’s 8th Generation Core CPUs as well as the Q370 chipsets with premium SKUs outfitted with AMD’s Radeon RX 560 discrete GPU with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory.As for memory and storage, the EliteOne 1000 G2 AIOs can be equipped with up to 32 GB of DDR4-2666 memory, a 2.5-inch hard drive (with 500 GB to 2 TB capacity) and a 128 GB to 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD. Since HP’s Elite-branded systems are used by enterprises and various government agencies, such PCs are offered with FIPS and Opal 2 encrypted storage devices. Select configurations will feature hybrid storage subsystems consisting of a hard drive and an Intel Optane Memory caching SSD.Moving on to connectivity offered by the EliteOne 1000 G2 AIO PCs. Wireless technologies supported by the new all-in-one systems include 802.11ac Wi-Fi (with gigabit speeds on select SKUs) as well as Bluetooth 5.0. As for wired connectors, the computers feature Gigabit Ethernet, four USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A), a USB 3.1 Gen 1 header, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a DisplayPort input, a DisplayPort output, an HDMI connector, a 3.5-mm audio jack and so on.Just like HP’s 34-inch Envy-branded AIO, the EliteOne 1000 G2 systems are equipped with a pop-up webcam with a 1080p RGB sensor as well as IR sensors for Windows Hello. An interesting feature of the webcam used with the EliteOne AIOs is backwards-facing RGB sensor for easier conferencing involving multiple people in the same room. In addition, the new all-in-one PCs feature integrated dual-array microphone and a 2W speaker.HP EliteOne 1000 G2 AIO Brief SpecificationsHP EliteOne 1000 G2Display23.8" IPS WLED-backlit anti-glare (1920×1080)
NVIDIA Updates on G-Sync HDR: 4Kp144 Monitors On Sale at End of May, Other Models Coming Later This Year
While NVIDIA's upcoming ultra-premium G-Sync HDR monitors have been in the public eye for some time now, the schedule slips have become something of a sticking point, prompting the company in March to state that 27” 4K 144 Hz models would be shipping and on the market in April. Needless to say, those displays are yet to launch, though preorders for the Acer Predator X27 and ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ were listed in Europe in mid-April.Putting some amount of speculation to rest, NVIDIA has indicated the end of May for shipping and e-tail availability of the Acer Predator X27 and ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ, though ultimately this decision is in the hands of Acer and ASUS. On that note, Acer stated that they had no updates on availability at this time. Both models were first showcased as reference prototypes during CES 2017, and as part of the larger G-Sync HDR lineup, the Predator X27 and PG27UQ will be the first monitors on the market.NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR 2018 Monitor LineupAcer
New $196 AOC Portable Type-C Monitor: 15.6-inch 1080p IPS, 1.71lbs
AOC has added another portable monitor to its lineup, this time powered by a USB Type-C connection. The 15.6-inch I1601FWUX has a Full-HD (1920x1080) resolution and is designed for portable users to be able to expand available screen area and quickly connecting through a single USB Type-C cable.The case is made of a die-cast metal alloy with a silver backing with the AOC name emblazoned on the back. AOC says the chassis is '...precision machined to provide a functional display that is both elegant and durable'. The portable monitor includes a fold up stand with the height of the holder allowing for the display to be around the same height as the laptop. The single USB Type-C connection carries both video and power which keeps the extra dongles down to the bare minimum while reducing clutter in the workspace. There is also an additional battery to help reduce the power drain from the connected device. The AOC panel is rated for 8W typical and less than 0.5W while in standby. Compared to the S14 HP 14" portable monitor just announced, it uses a lot more power (5W typical on the HP). Buy AOC 16-inch USB-C Monitor on Amazon.comSpecification wise, the AOC monitor features a slim design measuring in at 8.5mm thick and weighing 1.71 lbs. The external dimensions come in at 14.8” x 9.25” x 0.33”. Compared to the USB attached 16” monitor (model I1659FWUX), it is a bit larger around, but thinner and lighter. Neither the color gamut coverage, nor the specific IPS panel type, were listed in the specifications but it appears to be a different panel inside this monitor compared to the 16-inch as the color depth and viewing angles are different with the new model actually having less color depth at 262K (vs 292K) and lower viewing angles available.We do know the panel is an IPS LED-backlit display with 160° horizontal and vertical viewing angles with a native Full-HD (1920x1080) resolution at 60 Hz refresh rate (5ms GTG). Brightness comes in at 220 nits with a 700:1 static contrast ratio. The AOC display features a slim profile, lightweight, includes a foldable magnetic stand, and uses AOC’s LowBlue Mode Technology to decrease blue light via controlling color temperatures, although this will adjust the color accuracy. The monitor also has automatic pivoting and will adjust automatically when the display is set up on its side. With only the power button available, any interaction with the menu is handled through that single interface.AOC 15.6" USB Type-C Portable MonitorI1601FWUXPanel15.6" IPSNative ResolutionFHD 1920 × 1080Maximum Refresh Rate60 HzResponse Time5 ms GtGBrightness220 cd/m² (typical)Contrast700:1Viewing Angles160°/160° horizontal/verticalDisplay Colors?Color Gamut Support?Inputs1 x USB Type-CStandMagnetic FoldableAudioNoneVESANoneWeight1.71 lbPricing on the AOC I1601FWUX comes in at $196 at Amazon and is available now.Related Reading:
Hands On with the OnePlus 6
The latest device to come from OnePlus is the new OnePlus 6, heralded as ‘their greatest smartphone’. OP smash in some high profile specifications, such as a 6.28-inch 2280x1080 AMOLED display in a 19:9 aspect ratio, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, a dual camera solution featuring a Sony IMX363 sensor for a full minute of 480 FPS slo-mo video, and OP’s first all-glass Corning Gorilla Glass 5 design.
Logitech Unveils G305 Mouse with Lightspeed Wireless, ‘Hero’ 12,000 DPI Sensor
Logitech this week introduced its new entry-level gaming mouse that uses its proprietary Lightspeed wireless interconnection technology as well as its latest HERO sensor. The Logitech G305 mouse uses a proven ambidextrous form-factor but does not offer features like adjustable weight or RGB lighting.The G305 is Logitech’s second mouse to feature the company’s latest HERO (high efficiency rated optical) sensor with 12,000 DPI sensitivity, up to 400 inches per second detection speed, and up to 40G acceleration. In addition, the mouse uses the proprietary Lightspeed wireless interconnection technology that allegedly cuts the input lag by improving the internal architecture, reducing the polling rate of wireless receivers to 1 ms, rising signal strength, applying a proprietary frequency hopping mechanism that uses the strongest interference-free channel, and optimizing software.One of the advantages of Logitech’s HERO sensor (and to a degree Lightspeed technology) is a very long battery life. The manufacturer promises that the G305 mouse can last for 250 hours on one AA battery and up to nine months when its polling rate is reduced to 8 ms.The Logitech G305 is outfitted with six programmable buttons, in line with other entry-level gaming mice. As for weight, it weighs only 99 grams, which some gamers might find too light, but which becomes an advantage when the mouse is used when travelling.Buy Logitech G603 on Amazon.comLogitech’s G305 Lightspeed wireless gaming mouse will be available in black and white later this month for a suggested retail price of $59.99. This price is a little bit lower when compared to Logitech’s G603 mouse featuring the HERO sensor as well as the Lightspeed technology ($69.99), but which is more expensive than the price of Logitech’s G502 (starts at $49.99) that has a previous-gen 12,000 DPI sensor, adjustable weight, 11 programmable buttons, and RGB lighting.Buy Logitech G502 on Amazon.comRelated Reading