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Updated 2019-01-20 10:15
CES 2019: Kingston A2000 NVMe SSD Aiming for Below SATA Pricing
Manufacturers of SSDs have traditionally sold drives with a PCIe interface at a premium when compared to devices featuring a SATA interface because of higher performance and despite of the fact that most SATA SSDs use drive form-factor and are more expensive to make than M.2 modules. Later this year Kingston plans to launch its A2000-series SSDs featuring a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface that will be priced below SATA SSDs.The Kingston A2000-series drives will be offered in various controller/NAND configurations in a bid to be flexible in terms of BOM costs and ensure that the SSDs are consistently cheaper than solutions featuring a SATA interface. In particular, Kingston plans to use Silicon Motion’s SM2263-series and Phison’s low-cost controllers along with Toshiba’s BiCS4 3D TLC NAND memory for these drives.Kingston’s A2000 SSDs will be offered in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB configurations, which is in line with other low-cost SSDs. As for performance, the manufacturer targets up to a 2000 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to a 1500 MB/s sequential write speed. A prototype Kingston A2000 512 GB SSD that Kingston demonstrated at CES offered up to a 1986 MB/s sequential read speed as well as an up to a 1572 MB/s sequential write speed. Such performance levels are typical for SMI’s SM2263XT/SM2263 controllers, so these results are not too surprising. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to see official test results of another version of the A2000.Kingston says that performance of A2000 drives featuring different controllers will be consistent, so end-users will not have to wonder which SSD they are buying, but this claim will have to be verified by independent testing.Comparison of Kingston's Client NVMe SSDsCapacityA2000A1000KC2000KC1000240 - 960 GB240 - 960 GB240 TB ~ 2 TB240 - 960 GBControllerSilicon Motion
CES 2019: Digital Storm Entry-Level Vanquish PC with Bespoke Chassis
Digital Storm is known for beautiful-looking gaming PCs semi-customized but mostly built from off-the-shelf components. In a bid to differentiate itself from other makers, as well as DIY builds, the company plans to move away from standard cases and use only unique build-to-order chassis for all of its systems, including the entry-level Vanquish series. The first of such PCs was demonstrated at CES earlier this month.The new chassis for Digital Storm’s Vanquish computers is a dual-chamber PC case that can house an ATX motherboard, a custom or all-in-one liquid cooling system with a 360-mm radiator, multiple fans, several storage devices, programmable RGB lighting (which is generally designed into various components like coolers or motherboards), a tempered glass window, and so on. The front panel of the case carries Digital Storm’s logo, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports as well as 3.5-mm audio connectors.A particularly noteworthy feature of the upcoming Vanquish PCs is a large PSU chamber that can accommodate a power supply of almost any length. This compartment enables Digital Storm or its customers to install a 1000+ W PSU for an ultra-high-end system.Another interesting capability is built-in hardware monitor that displays temperature and other data about the status of the system.Digital Storm’s upcoming Vanquish PCs will sustain their entry-level pricing that starts at $699, but will feature an exclusive design and features, a rare event in this price class. In total, the company will offer four versions of the Vanquish later this quarter.Related Reading:
CES 2019: Deepcool Unveils 280W Capacity Assassin III Air Cooler
In a world where closed-loop liquid cooling systems have become a default choice for enthusiast-class PCs, the evolution of air coolers has inevitably slowed down. Nonetheless, there are manufacturers that keep introducing rather interesting air coolers that can cool down even high-end desktop processors. One of such devices is Deepcool’s Assassin III, which was demonstrated at this year's CES.The 165-mm tall Deepcool Assassin III is comprised of a massive aluminum radiator equipped with seven heat pipes and two 140-mm fans. According to the comapny, to optimize airflows and maximize performance the cooling system actually features spoilers on its top fins, a rather unusual engineering decision. The Assassin III is rated for up to 280 W of cooling, which is enough for any high-end workstation CPU at stock speeds, and also enough for most overclocked desktop processors.Besides its cooling performance, Deepcool's other key design choice with the Assassin III is its compatibility with high-end RAM modules. The high profile design of the cooler means that it can stay clear of DIMMs of up to 54 mm in height, up from 45 mm in case of the previous-gen model.At this point Deepcool hasn't nailed down all of the specifications of the cooler, as won't hit the market until a bit later on. But expect the device to weigh around 1.5 kilograms, while the cooler's acoustics should be favorably limited thanks to the two 140-mm fans. And of course, it will be compatible with all modern CPU platforms from AMD and Intel (though compatibility with TR4 is something that remains to be seen).Deepcool intends to start selling its Assassin III mega cooler this May at an MSRP of $99.99. Traditionally for Deepcool, the device will be bundled with a screw driver and G-15 thermal compound.Related Reading:
CES 2019: Dell Alienware Area-51m DTR Laptop with Core i9-9900K & GeForce RTX
In the recent years a number of PC makers have introduced desktop replacement-class notebooks with processors originally developed for desktops. Meanwhile, large OEMs tend to be more conservative and kept using mobile CPUs for their high-end laptops. However, there is a first time for everything and this month Dell’s Alienware announced its first DTR notebook featuring Intel’s desktop six-core and eight-core processors. In fact, the Area-51m was specifically designed to offer high-end performance with few (if any) compromises.Being a DTR machine, the Alienware Area-51m does away with any notion of "small." This starts with the screen, which is based around a 17.3-inch IPS display panel featuring a Full-HD resolution, 300 nits max brightness, as well as a 60 Hz or 144 Hz refresh rates. Dell is even offering models with G-Sync variable refresh functionality, depending on the exact SKU (see the table below for details), and higher-end versions of the Area-51m displays also feature Tobii eye-tracking. Past that, since many DTRs are used with external monitors, Dell did not necessarily need to equip its flagship gaming notebook with an Ultra HD LCD, especially given the challenges in driving that kind of a resolution in many games. As noted, Dell’s Alienware Area-51m R1 is based on Intel’s LGA1151 Core i7/i9 processor with six or eight cores as well as Intel’s Z390 chipset. On the graphics hardware side of things, the system is equipped with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060/2070/2080 graphics adapters in Dell’s proprietary form-factor, so while the graphics adapter can technically be upgraded, right now at least it can only be switched by the manufacturer itself.To cool down the CPU and GPU, Dell uses its proprietary Cryo-Tech v2.0 cooling systems comprising of two fans featuring two intake and two exhausts as well as eight thick copper-composite heat pipes (four for the CPU and four for the GPU).The system has four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. As for storage, the Area-51m can work with up to three M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 drives as well as a 2.5-inch HDD/SSD. So, depending on the exact model, the notebook can use one, two, or three storage devices.As for connectivity, the Alienware Area-51m offers similar options as other notebooks from the brand. The laptop is equipped with a Killer Wireless 1550 2x2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 controller, a Realtek-enabled 2.5 GbE jack, one Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two display outputs (mini DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0), 3.5-mm audio jacks, and an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for proprietary external graphics solutions. The notebook also features an RGB-backlit keyboard with a numpad and a 2.2 mm travel distance, a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, and a microphone array.Traditionally for Alienware laptops, they come in a very stylized chassis featuring a futuristic design. The Area-51m will come in Lunar Light as well as Dark Side of the Moon colors schemes, with both enclosures outfitted with an AlienFX customizable RGB lighting (power button, alien head, infinite loop in the back).Being a DTR laptop, the Area-51m is not intended be lightweight and portable, so Dell comes in heavy at 3.87 kilograms (8.54 pounds), which despite the weight is actually lighter than some other machines of this class. The laptop is also up to 42 mm thick, considerably thinner than some of its rivals. And despite the (relatively) thin profile, the Area-51m still packs a 90 Wh battery; though Dell isn't specifying just how long the laptop will actually last on a charge. Also of note: due to the sheer power requirements of the high-end laptop, Dell is actually splitting up its power consumption over two power adapters. Modest models will come with two 180 W PSUs, whereas high-end configurations will come with a 180 W PSU and a 330 W PSU.General Specifications of Dell's Alienware Area-51mArea-51m
Google Acquires Smartwatch Tech and R&D Personnel from Fossil
Google and watch marker Fossil on Thursday announced that Google would be acquiring smartwatch-related intellectual property and personnel from Fossil. The technology is currently under development and will only be used for future products. The acquisition means that Google now has IP and developers that will help the company more directly address the smartwatch and broader wearables industries..Under the terms of the deal, Google will pay Fossil $40 million for IP that, unusually enough, has yet to see the light of day. As part of the agreement, some of Fossil’s engineers will also join Google to support the IP transfer, but the watch company will retain more than 200 R&D staff members to continue developing products and technologies.“The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” said Stacey Burr, vice president of product management of Wear OS by Google.The technology in question was developed on top of technologies that Fossil received as a result of its 260 million dollar Misfit take over in 2015. Fossil has said that the IP can enable features not supported by smartwatches today, but naturally did not elaborate about the nature of the tech or its ETA.“We saw some technology that they were developing that we thought could be brought out in a more expansive way if Google had that technology, and was not only able to continue to use it with Fossil but bring it to other partners in the ecosystem,” said Ms. Burr in an interview with Wareable.Tech companies tend not to share exclusive technologies with each other unless they know that they need support of the whole industry in order to make these technologies take off, or just need someone to share the heavy lifting on their project. Since Fossil uses Google’s Wear OS for its existing smartwatches, it certainly needed to add support for its upcoming tech to the platform. According to the two companies, as they worked together they concluded that they both could benefit if the IP was made available to other partners in the Wear OS ecosystem.Fossil’s current plan is to incorporate the tech into its own smartwatches (thus still enjoying some exclusive benefits) while Google expands it across the industry over the longer term. For their part, the IP will enable Google to further improve its Wear OS platform and keep it competitive with Apple’s WatchOS, Samsung's Tizen, and other ecosystems. As an added bonus, Fossil will get $40 million, a significant amount of money for a company that has been either losing money or earning miniscule profits for quite some time now.Related Reading:
The Western Digital WD Black SN750 SSD Review: Why Fix What Isn't Broken?
Last year Western Digital overhauled their WD Black NVMe SSD with an upgrade to 3D NAND and a new in-house SSD controller, transforming the product line from one of the slowest NVMe drives to one of the top high-end competitors. Now the third generation WD Black SSD is here, with the model number SN750 to avoid confusion with its predecessors. (Internally, last year's model was known as the SN700, and the OEM version was the SN720.) The new WD Black SN750 is an incremental update over last year's model, keeping the same basic controller and 64L 3D NAND combination but refining the firmware and adding a 2TB option. Western Digital is also shifting their marketing efforts more toward gamers with the addition of SKUs featuring a large heatsink.
Quick Look: Using WD's Black SN750 SSD as a Thunderbolt 3 External Drive
External SSDs with a Thunderbolt 3 interface are still the only option for users looking to get high-end performance in a bus-powered portable device. These SSDs have become possible due to the emergence of NVMe drives in the compact M.2 form-factor, which are fully capable of saturating the Thunderbolt 3 interface, never mind slower interfaces like 10Gbps USB 3.x.The TEKQ Rapide was one of the first Thunderbolt 3 external SSD that we reviewed. Since it was fairly easy to disassemble, we also presented some benchmarks of a DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD using the TEKQ enclosure and a SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD. Now, since we happen to have Western Digital's WD Black SN750 SSD in, we decided it would be interesting to take a look at the new drive in a similar scenario.
CES 2019: ECS SF110-A320 Ultra-Compact PC using AMD Ryzen
One of the market segments that AMD has not yet established a meaningful presence in with its Ryzen processors is the ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) PC market. AMD's limited progress here comes despite the fact that the company introduced suitable low-power Ryzen APUs for desktops a while ago. However things have finally begun to change as of late, after a number of PC makers introduced miniature systems featuring Ryzen chips. One of these companies is ECS, which announced its miniature SF110-A320 PC at CES.Measuring 205×176×33 mm, the ECS SF110-A320 is based on AMD’s 35W quad-core Ryzen desktop processors with Radeon Vega graphics, and is paired with AMD’s A320 chipset. The APUs will be paired with two DDR4-2400 SO-DIMMs and an M.2-2280 slot for a PCIe or SATA SSD. The system will be equipped with a 90 W PSU, which is more than enough to feed an APU, memory, SSD, and various USB peripherals.Connectivity-wise, the SF110-A320 UCFF PC offers an essential set of physical and wireless interfaces, including an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth controller, three display outputs (DisplayPort, D-Sub, and HDMI), one USB 3.1 Type-C port, and six USB 3.1 Type-A ports.While ECS demonstrated its SF110-A320 at CES 2019, the company has not revealed much information about its positioning. On the one hand, the system lacks GbE, which is crucial for offices, but is not that important for living room HTPCs. On the other hand, the latter tend to feature hard drives in a bid to keep certain content locally without using expensive high-capacity SSDs. Keeping in mind that the product is an early prototype, ECS does have time to tweak their design if necessary. Either that, or it has a potential expansion market in digital signage.Without any doubts, there is a growing interest in AMD Ryzen processors across all market segments, especially given the success of the desktop platform. So it is not surprising that companies like ECS are announcing UCFF systems featuring Ryzen APUs. In the coming months we will see more compact PCs powered by AMD’s latest APUs and CPUs.Related Reading:
CES 2019: ASUS Reveals StudioBook S W700 Workstation with Xeon & Quadro
At CES this year, ASUS introduced its first mobile workstation aimed at professionals who work with graphics applications. The new system can be equipped with six-core Intel Core or Xeon processors, NVIDIA’s Quadro GPUs, and a factory-calibrated 17-inch display panel validated by Pantone.These days a leading supplier of premium laptops for consumers, gamers, and prosumers, ASUS inevitably needed a new market to enter in a bid to keep its PC market share growing. Mobile workstations are a relatively niche market controlled primarily by Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but it is very stable in terms of volumes and also offers rather lucrative margins. Since ASUS clearly knows how to build competitive PCs, it's not surprising to see the company try its luck with mobile workstations.The ASUS StudioBook S W700-series comes in a Turquoise Grey aluminum chassis and is based on Intel’s six-core Core i7-8750H or Xeon E-2176M processors, and are accompanied by NVIDIA’s Quadro P3200 GPU with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory. To cool down the powerful CPU and GPU, ASUS uses a cooling system featuring five heat pipes, and I suspect is similar to the coolers used for the company’s gaming notebooks.Depending on exact model, the system may be equipped with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2667 memory (with or without ECC support in case of Xeon) and up to two M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSDs (2TB each), which can be further put RAID 0/1 mode.One of the key components of any graphics workstation is of course its display. ASUS outfits its StudioBook S W700-series with its 17-inch NanoEdge anti-glare 8-bit display panel, which sports a 1920×1200 resolution and 178° viewing angles. The display has also been validated by Pantone; it can reproduce 97% of the DCI-P3 color space, and it is factory calibrated to Delta E < 2 color accuracy.Moving on to connectivity, the StudioBook S has an 802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.0 controller, a Thunderbolt 3 port (enabled by Intel’s latest ‘Titan Ridge’ JHL7340 controller), three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, an SD 4.0/UHS-II card reader, and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. The laptop is also equipped with an HD webcam, a microphone array, a fingerprint reader, a keyboard with a 1.4 mm travel distance, and a touchpad with numbers that can be used like a numpad for the calculator app.Courtesy of its relatively thin 5.3-mm LCD bezels, the 17-inch screen fits in a chassis that is comparable to those used for 15-inch mobile workstations (which tend to be pretty bulky anyhow). The z-height of the ASUS StudioBook S is 1.84 cm, whereas its weight is around 2.39 kilogramsThe ASUS StudioBook S General SpecificationsW700G3PDisplayDiagonal17"Resolution1920×1200Color GamutDCI P3: 97%CPUIntel Xeon E-2176M processor: 6C/12T, 2.7 - 4.4 GHz, 12 MB
CES 2019: A Monitor from GIGABYTE? The 1440p 144 Hz IPS FreeSync 'Aorus AD27QD'
Over the past few years GIGABYTE has expanded to a variety of new businesses. The company started to offer memory modules, SSDs, mice, keyboards, and a lot of other gear aimed at gamers. This year GIGABYTE enters the market of gaming displays with a rather interesting offering: the Aorus AD27QD. The 27-inch monitor combines a 8-bit panel with a 10-bit scaler, and a 144 Hz IPS QHD panel with a plethora of features aimed at gamers, including FreeSync. The monitor also has its own active noise cancellation too.GIGABYTE’s Aorus AD27QD features a very unusual chassis and stand that look like Martian invaders from Herbert Wells’ “War of the Worlds” or similar creatures from Valve’s Half-Life 2. Equipped with four programmable RGB bars on the sides and the Aorus-styled RGB-lit golden eagle in the middle, the stand and chassis look glittery gamerish. While virtually all gaming monitors use aggressively-styled chassis, GIGABYTE has probably outpaced everyone with its design.Moving on to specs, which are far more important for gamers than the eye-catching design (which is something that the display definitely has), the Aorus AD27QD is based on a 10-bit 2560×1440 resolution IPS panel. Overall the display offers 178°/178° viewing angles, as well as a 144 Hz maximum refresh enabled by AMD’s FreeSync technology. The monitor can reproduce 95% of the DCI-P3 color space.One of the selling points of the monitor is its software controls as well as an OSD that can display various important information like CPU temperature, fan speeds, mouse sensitivity and so on. The OSD also has a 'dot sight' functionality which shows a custom image in the center of the screen to help gamers aim in their first-person shooter of choice. This is being called a 'gaming aid'.Being designed for gamers, the Aorus AD27QD supports a number of features aimed directly at them, including GIGABYTE’s active noise cancelling technology as well as AMD’s FreeSync. The ANC feature is unique to the Aorus AD27QD display and will likely attract attention of team gamers who use voice communications to coordinate their actions. In this case GIGABYTE is using the ANC in conjunction with a gamers' microphone to help their team mates hear them better.GIGABYTE said that the monitor is expected to be available from the end of January, and will be priced around $599. A GSync enabled version should be available later in the year.UPDATE 4PM 1/17: The official MSRP of the Aorus AD27QD is $599.Buy GIGABYTE Aorus AD27QD on Amazon.comRelated Reading:
CES 2019: $900 InWin 928 Chassis for Intel's 28-Core Xeon W-3175X
The emerging category of extreme workstations has brought with it a new market for larger PC cases better suited for housing this high-end equipment. To that end, at CES this year InWin demonstrated its new 928 chassis, which is specifically designed for machines using Intel’s Xeon W-3175X processors. The PC case can accommodate an Extended-ATX motherboard, two PSUs, and a sophisticated cooling system. And with a price tag of $900 – almost a complete mid-range PC –- it's distinctly priced to go with Intel's high-cost 28-core processor.Like other modern high-end chassis, the InWin 928 'SuperTower' case has side-by-side compartments to separate airflow. It features windows made of tempered glass to allow everyone to see the hardware inside inside. One of the chambers houses the system’s motherboard (e.g., the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme) with CPU (e.g., the Intel Xeon W-3175X), up to two graphics cards (up to 480 mm length), and various storage devices. Meanwhile the other compartment holds up to two high-wattage PSUs, which given the kind of heat those can produce, makes a lot of sense for why InWin would want to place them into a separate chamber.When it comes to storage, the PC case can support up to two 3.5-inch HDDs as well as up to six 2.5-inch drives, which is somewhat unusually HDD-lite for a workstation. Meanwhile, following the latest trends, the InWin 928 does not support ODDs, so no Blu-ray movies for owners of Intel Xeon W-3175X-based workstations. Meanwhile, the InWin 928 has a USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and the usual audio jacks on the front.On the cooling side of matters, the InWin 928 can accommodate two 420-mm radiators for liquid cooling systems on its top. Alternatively, it can support six 140-mm fans on top, three 140-mm fans at the front, and three 140-mm fans at the rear. Even if equipped purely for air cooling (12 fans in total), the case should provide enough cooling even for the Intel Xeon W-3175X and NVIDIA’s TITAN RTX.Since the InWin 928 case is compatible with EATX (14×14-inches) motherboards and has two compartments, the chassis is huge: it is 668 mm tall, 582 mm deep, and 377 mm wide.InWin 928Motherboard SizeATX, E-ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITXDrive BaysExternal-Internal2 × 3.5" and 6 × 2.5"AIB BaysInternal2, up to 480 mm graphics cards are supportedCPU Cooler SizeHeightup to 185 mmCoolingFront3 × 140 mmRear3 × 140 mmTop3 × 140 mmMiddle-Bottom-Radiator SupportFront-Rear-Top2 × 420 mmMiddle-Bottom-I/O Port1 × USB-C 3.1
CES 2019: GIGABYTE’s High-Performance Aorus PCIe and M.2 SSDs
Last year when GIGABYTE introduced its first SSDs, the company took a cautious approach only released entry-level drives. At this year’s CES the company finally unveiled its high-performance SSDs aimed at high-end PCs, which like other high-end GIGABYTE parts will be sold under the Aorus brand. Traditional and typical for GIGABYTE, the drives are based on controllers and reference designs developed by Phison.GIGABYTE’s Aorus family of SSDs will include 512 GB and 1 TB models in both PCIe add-in-card and M.2 module form-factors. The AIC drives feature a large radiator to ensure consistent performance as well as programmable RGB LEDs. Meanwhile, the M.2 modules also come with a heat spreader featuring an RGB-lit golden eagle logo.The new SSDs will be based on the Phison PS5012-E12 NVMe 1.3-supporting controller that has eight NAND channels with 32 CE targets, a DDR4/DDR3L interface for DRAM caching, and a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. Like most contemporary Phison-powered drives, the Aorus SSDs will use Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The drives will also come with a 512 MB DRAM buffer, with GIGABYTE using the same buffer size for both capacities.When it comes to performance, GIGABYTE says that its Aorus SSDs will offer up to 3480 MB/s sequential read speeds, up to 2100/3150 MB/s sequential write speeds (512 GB/1 TB versions, respectively), as well as up to 610K/530K random read/write IOPS. As for power consumption, it is not going to exceed 2.2 W, the manufacturer says. Finally, for endurance, the drives are going to be rated for 1.8 million hours MTBF as well as up to 800 TBW (terabytes to be written).GIGABYTE’s Aorus SSDs will hit the market in the near future, but the company has not yet disclosed the exact timeframes or MSRPs.Related Reading:
TSMC: 7nm Now Biggest Share of Revenue
As process node technology gets ever more complex, it costs big dollars to develop and then building chips on the process is also a very costly process. The big foundries often have many process nodes running in parallel across a wide range of price brackets in order to both diversify the revenue streams but also offer multiple competitive options for the market. The latest numbers out of TSMC are stating that in Q4, the revenue generated from their leading edge 7nm node family now takes the biggest percentage of revenue for the company.
The Microsoft Surface Go LTE Review: Unmatched Mobility
Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has been a design win for the company for several years now. The Surface Go was launched in July of 2018 as a lower-cost version of the Surface Pro, offering buyers a less expensive way to become a Surface customer, and by the nature of its smaller size compared to the Surface Pro, an even more portable convertible Surface tablet. When the device was initially announced, a model with LTE connectivity was also in the works, and the Surface Go LTE arrived in November 2018.
Intel’s Graphics-Free Chips Are Also Savings-Free: Same Price, Fewer Features
We recently reported on the fact that a range of new mainstream Intel desktop processors are coming onto the market without the integrated graphics enabled. This processors, indicated by the ‘F’ designation (not to be confused with Intel’s chips with an integrated fabric, also called ‘F’), have had their specifications released for a short while, except for the price. Intel is now happy to fill that part in.
CES 2019: MSI PS63 Modern Notebook, a 15.6-inch with 16 Hours Battery Life
Designed with content creators and designers in mind, the new 15.6" MSI PS63 Modern looks to make a bold statement. The key feature for this new notebook is the specifications: under the hood we get Intel's latest Whiskey Lake processor, combined with a GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics card, a 15.6-inch 1080p display, and yet MSI claims that this system will hit 16 hours of battery life. That's one hell of a combination.Also included is Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 for quicker mobile device charging on supported devices. This is so with its '16 hour battery life', a user could be on the system for 12 hours and get a full charge of a smartphone in a day.With a similar specification and feature set as the new Dell XPS 15, MSI's model looks to be undoubtedly cheaper if their usual pricing model applies and could certainly turn a few heads with its touted 16-hour battery life and MSI True Color technology designed to produce close to near perfect sRGB (99.6%) color reproduction.Some of the specifications of the MSI PS63 Modern include a 15.6" 1080p IPS panel which is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti with Max-Q Design and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. Memory support is limited to DDR4-2400, but up to a maximum of 32 GB can be installed, if not provided as standard. Aimed more at professionals, there is no flashy RGB keyboards, but MSI does include one of its smooth glass touchpads and has room for up to two M.2 NVMe capable SSDs. There's also a fingerprint reader too.MSI's Creator Center software is included which made its first appearance in the MSI P65 Creator model last year. The Creator Center looks to optimize and include adjustable system modes for creative applications including MAGIX Photostory, Adobe's suite and even the Sony VEGAS Pro video editing software.There are no details on the launch pricing or retail availability of the MSI PS63 Modern at present. The whole unit is built on a '16 16 16' principle: 16 hours battery life, 1.6 kg weight, and 16mm thick. This unit was easily one of the most impressive we saw at CES this year.Gallery: MSI P63 Modern Creator Laptop Gallery
CES 2019: MSI's Gaming Laptop Lineup With NVIDIA RTX Graphics
MSI is one of the latest manufacturers to launch a new range of gaming laptops with two new gaming models with upgraded graphics. Hitting the market is the slimline but powerful MSI GS75 Stealth, and the MSI GE75 Raider which is one of the first 17" notebooks to harness the power of an RTX 2080.MSI GS75 StealthThe newly revamped version of the MSI GS75 Stealth comes installed a new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card and an Intel 8th generation Core i7 processor. Not only that but the aluminium frame houses an impressive 17.3" 1080p 144 Hz IPS screen suitable for gamers, an RGB keyboard that is customizable with the SteelSeries Engine software and a glass touchpad.Under the hood, the MSI GS75 Stealth also has room for up to three M.2 drives with two of them having SATA and NVMe PCIe 3.0 support, while the third just supports SATA drives. On the networking front, MSI uses Killer NIC and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter which also includes Bluetooth 5 connectivity.One of the standout features of the GS75 Stealth is in its size; it packs a powerful component selection into an ultra-thin 18.95 mm thick frame and weights 2.25 kg with the battery installed. Not exactly light, but more svelte than most other gaming-focused notebooks on the market with similar specifications. According to the newly updated GS75 Stealth product page, a model with an RTX 2070 and the new RTX 2060 are also available; this is likely to be dependant on region.Gallery: MSI GS75 Stealth Gaming Laptop GalleryMSI GE75 Raider
CES 2019: Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan at 1.8 GHz GPU Clocks
Colorful has introduced its new limited-edition graphics card that will belong to its top-of-the-range Kudan* tier. The company plans to make only 1,000 of its iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan graphics cards, but those lucky who will lay their hands on one of these collectible boards will not only get an exclusive high-tech device, but will also get extreme performance right out of the box.The Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan graphics card is powered by NVIDIA’s TU102 GPU (4352 cores) that runs at up to 1.8 GHz in burst mode (up from 1545/1635 MHz on reference/FE cards) paired with 11 GB of GDDR6 memory that sit on a custom PCB featuring a sophisticated multi-phase VRMs. Although Colorful does not disclose many details regarding this PCB and VRM, we do know that the card has three 8-pin auxiliary PCIe power connectors, which means that the card can potentially be fed with up to 525 W of power when adhering to PCIe specifications. 525 W of power is over two times higher than NVIDIA’s official TDP for its GeForce RTX 2080 Ti product.To ensure that the monstrous graphics adapter is cooled properly, Colorful equipped it with a triple-wide hybrid air and liquid cooling system featuring five fans in total — three on the card itself and two on the LCS’ radiator. Even without the liquid part, the cooler on the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan card is already pretty sophisticated: it has five heat pipes, a massive aluminum radiator, three fans, and a backplate with an individual number of the board on it. Once the liquid part is attached, the whole cooling system gets even more potential to dissipate a massive amount of thermal power and therefore ensure some additional overclocking potential for the card. Meanwhile, the cooler is equipped with an LCD that displays real-time stats of the card (e.g., temperature) as well as RGB LEDs.To celebrate 10 years of its iGame series, Colorful outfitted the cooling system with elements of fine watches, steampunk, and robotics, which are designed to make the look of the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan card even more exquisite. These features may not exactly be a good fit for the name Kudan and martial arts, but since this is an anniversary edition product, there is a reason why cogwheels are there.Colorful introduced its iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan in China earlier this month and is set to begin its sales in the near future. At some point, these cards will reach retail in other countries (e.g., Akihabara in Tokyo, Nanjing in Taipei, and similar places), but with only 1,000 units to be made, do not expect widespread availability.*Kudan is the ninth-degree black belt in Japanese martial arts, the second highest rank after Judan (tenth-degree dan, the absolute top in modern martial arts). Kudan represents a rare top-grade master in martial arts that stands well above 99% of black belt holders. Only fifteen people in the worlds were ever promoted to Judan in Japan and there are only three living tenth-degree dan holders.Related Reading:
CES 2019: ASRock's Five New B365 Motherboards
ASRock unveiled five new B365 motherboards at CES 2019 with a mixture of features similar to its Z390 offerings. The B365 Pro4 and B365M Pro are targeted towards professional users while B365 and B365M Phantom Gaming 4 mark a lower cost entry point onto the Intel 8th and 9th generation processors. The last of the five new models is the mini-ITX sized B365M-ITX/ac.
The Snapdragon 855 Performance Preview: Setting the Stage for Flagship Android 2019
As we get ever closer to the releases of various Android vendor’s newest generation devices, Qualcomm continues its tradition of showcasing the performance of its newest generation SoC ahead of time, giving us a preview and a glimpse of what to expect of the upcoming commercial devices. This year, the company has shuffled the schedule around a bit, and instead of hosting the event at their San Diego headquarters, and we were able to get a hands-on with the Snapdragon 855 at CES before the show had started. Today we’re be looking in quite extensive detail on how exactly the new Snapdragon chipset performs, as well as shedding some light on some important unanswered technical questions on some aspects of the SoC.
Micron Exercises Option to Buyout Intel's Share of IMFT
Micron is following through with the next step in the breakup of their long alliance with Intel for storage technology. As announced last October, Micron is exercising their call option to buyout Intel's share of IM Flash Technologies, the joint venture in Lehi, UT where several generations of flash memory were developed and the current center of R&D and production for 3D XPoint memory.The public acts of the Intel/Micron breakup began a year ago with the announcement that the two companies would no longer co-develop NAND flash memory, going their separate ways after the completion of R&D for their 96-layer design. The companies have for several years been manufacturing their own supplies of NAND flash each at their own fabs, and they have rather different priorities so that part of the split is neither surprising nor will it have a huge impact on the storage market in the short term. Several months later, they announced a similar split for 3D XPoint memory development. With 3D XPoint R&D for the two companies set to diverge, it is natural that they would not continue to share the IMFT fab. Since IMFT is the only place currently manufacturing 3D XPoint, Micron's buyout of Intel's 49% stake in IMFT will likely force Intel to buy 3D XPoint memory from Micron until Intel can spin up production elsewhere.Intel and Micron are expecting to wrap up development of their second generation of 3D XPoint memory in the first half of this year. Neither company has provided any updates on this recently, and Intel has continued to announce new Optane products using their first-generation 3D XPoint. Micron has yet to publicly announce any 3D XPoint products, though they have announced that such products will be under their QuantX brand.Though their intentions have been public for months, Micron could not actually exercise their call option until the beginning of 2019. Intel now has the option of postponing the closing of Micron's purchase for up to one year from today, and Micron doesn't expect the deal to be finalized for at least six months. Micron expects to pay about $1.5 billion for Intel's stake in IMFT. Intel has issued a statement reiterating their earlier statement that today's action from Micron was expected and that Intel has been planning for this for some time. They have not yet disclosed when or where they expect to begin manufacturing 3D XPoint at one of their own fabs, but in the meantime Intel maintains that their plans to continue expanding the Optane product family will continue uninterrupted.
Intel Core i9-9990XE : Up to 5.0 GHz, Auction Only
AnandTech has seen documents and supporting information from multiple sources that show that Intel is planning to release a new high-end desktop processor, the Core i9-9990XE. These documents show that the processors will not be sold at retail; rather they will only be sold to system integrators, and then only through a closed online auction.
CES 2019: ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399 Motherboard
At CES 2019, ASUS showed off its new top tier X399 model with support for the 2nd generation Threadripper processors, the ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha. The new model has some striking differences to the ROG Zenith Extreme model including a new design, dual LAN (with an Aquantia 10G NIC) and an ASUS AURA Sync LiveDash 1.3 inch OLED screen built into the rear IO cover.The ROG Zenith Extreme AlphaThe ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha has a very clean and neutral look with the majority of the PCB covered with extensive heatsinks, an IO panel cover, and a new PCB cover around the PCIe slots. Another major visual update to the Zenith range is the rear panel cover has an integrated ASUS AURA Sync LiveDash 1.3 inch OLED screen which is also featured on the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme model announced for Intel's 28-core Xeon W-3175X which was announced late last year.The ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha features an 8-phase power delivery made up of a total of 16 power stages. The power delivery heatsink extends around the power stages from the rear panel cover all the way to the two 8-pin 12 V ATX power connectors which allows AMD Threadripper processors to tap into as much power as it needs.ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha SpecificationsCPU SocketAMD Socket TR4ChipsetAMD X399Form FactorEATXMemory Support8 x DDR4 (Max 128 GB)
CES 2019: GIGABYTE Aorus RGB Memory Hits DDR4-4000 with SK Hynix ICs
GIGABYTE last year entered the memory market with its Aorus RGB and GIGABYTE-branded DIMMs, designed for enthusiasts. To some degree the project was experimental with conservative DDR4-2666 and DDR4-3200 speed bins built on Samsung B-die ICs, typically known for much higher performance. At CES the company introduced faster Aorus RGB DIMMs that not only top at DDR4-4000, but do so using SK Hynix C-die ICs..In the near future GIGABYTE plans to add DDR4-3600 at CL18 and DDR4-4000 16 GB (2 × 8 GB) dual-channel kits to its Aorus RGB Memory lineup. The modules feature regular 1.35 V voltage for enthusiast-class DIMMs, they are also outfitted with XMP 2.0-enabled SPDs for one-click overclocking beyond JEDEC specifications, and they are equipped with aluminum heat spreaders with addressable RGB lights.The most interesting information about the new memory sticks is that they are based not on Samsung’s 8 Gb B-die memory chips that are traditionally used for enthusiast-class DIMMs, but on SK Hynix’s 8 Gb C-die DDR4 devices. C-Die DRAMs from SK Hynix have existed for at least a couple of years and numerous shipping DDR4-3600 (and lower) DIMMs use these chips. Meanwhile, GIGABYTE seems to be the first supplier of memory modules which has managed to overclock them to a DDR-4000 speed for a retail product.Overclocking potential of SK Hynix C-die-based DDR4-3600 and DDR4-4000 DIMMs beyond their stock speeds is something that remains to be seen, but with new Aorus RGB Memory modules hitting the market shortly, we will certainly learn more about it in the coming months.Related Reading
CES 2019: ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega X299 Motherboard
At CES 2019 ASUS is looking to push the boundaries of Intel Skylake-X processors even further than ever before with the announcement its ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega X299 motherboard. This board features dual LAN, four M.2 slots and support for 3-way SLI and Crossfire setups.The ROG Rampage VI Extreme OmegaThe new ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme follows the release of the goliath ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme model announced for Intel 28-core Xeon W-3175X late last year. The Omega, however, is a little lighter on the surface than the Dominus Extreme and is aimed more at enthusiasts. The board has a solid feature set such as quad M.2, an Aquantia ACQ107 10G NIC, and an Intel I211AT gigabit NIC. Wi-Fi is also a notable feature, with the board supporting 802.11ac Wave2.Visually, the majority of the bottom half of the board is covered by ROG shielding. The IO cover has an integrated ASUS AURA Sync LiveDash 1.3 inch OLED screen which allows users to monitor various elements of system performance such as core clock speed. There is also plenty of RGB too for those looking to create a unique look. The onboard RGB is located from the rear panel cover and the large ROG logo on the bottom right hand corner of the board.ASUS has gone with a solid 8-phase power delivery consisting of 16 power stages. Providing power to these is two 8-pin 12 V ATX power connectors which are more than enough to allow maximum power than potentially needed; this is more so for extreme overclockers and those looking to push more ambitious core clock speeds.ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega SpecificationsCPU SocketIntel LGA 2066ChipsetIntel X299Form FactorEATXMemory Support8 x DDR4 (Max 128 GB)
CES 2019: ADATA Spectrix Memory & SSDs Get More RGB
RGB lighting has become a major selling point for hardware aimed at gamers and performance enthusiasts. After all, since modern CPUs, GPUs, DRAMs, SSDs, and other components offer plenty of compute horsepower and high data transfer rates, why not make everything look gaudy good as well? Being one of the leading suppliers of high-end memory modules and SSDs, ADATA is very serious about RGB and at CES it introduced two products with extensive RGB lighting.ADATA’s new XPG Spectrix-branded DDR4 memory modules come with programmable RGB LEDs located nearly all over the surface of both sides of their heat spreaders. Since the product is still in development, ADATA does not share actual technical specifications. The company has demonstrated modules capable of supporting DDR4-4600 to DDR4-5000 speeds, so ADATA could build fast memory. It remains to be seen how the extensive number of LEDs affect thermals and other characteristics of the modules, but we will certainly learn more information about these products in the coming months.Next up is ADATA’s first XPG Spectrix-branded SSDs, featuring RGB LEDs located on the M.2-2280 module itself. The drive has a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and is rated for up to 3500 MB/s sequential read speed as well as 3000 MB/s sequential write speed. Based on declared performance levels, the Spectrix SSD is based on Silicon Motion’s SM2262EN controller and is therefore a version of the XPG Gammix S11 Pro and SX8200 Pro with a new PCB and a heat spreader.We expect ADATA to release its XPG Spectrix SSDs in the foreseeable future, though there is no a firm launch date just yet. MSRP wise, the drives will naturally sit above the XPG Gammix S11 Pro and will be priced accordingly.Related Reading
CES 2019: ASUS' Chromebook Tablet CT100 for Education
Designed primarily for education use, the Chromebook Tablet CT100 has a rubberized chassis and is powered by an ARM-based SoC, essentially bringing together rugged design and low cost. As the device can run applications developed for Android and Chrome OS, the CT100 may become a viable option for those planning to buy an inexpensive Android tablet.The ASUS Chromebook Tablet CT100 is powered by the Rockchip OP1 processor which packs two high-performance Arm Cortex-A72 cores, four energy-efficient Cortex-A53 cores, Arm Mali-T864 graphics, supports hardware decode/encode for Ultra-HD 4K video, and has a number of Chrome OS-specific optimizations brought-in by Google and designed to improve user experience. The tablet is equipped with 4 GB of LPDDR3-1866 memory and 32 GB of eMMC storage (which can be enhanced with a microSD card), which is standard for education-oriented Chrome OS-based devices.The Chromebook Tablet CT100 has a rather typical 9.7-inch touch-enabled LCD with a 2048×1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch covered by tempered glass. Imaging capabilities of the slate include a 2 MP user-facing webcam as well as a 5 MP camera on the back. As for connectivity, the tablet features 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 4.1 controlled by the Qualcomm QCA6174 silicon. It has a USB 3.0 Type-C connector for data, charging, and display connectivity, as well as a TRRS audio jack for headsets. Battery capacity is rated as a 35 Wh lithium-polymer battery, a standard capacity for 9.7-inch tablets.Moving on to dimensions. The tablet comes in a reinforced and rubberized chassis, so it is slightly bigger and thicker (at 9.9 mm) than typical slates with a 9.7-inch display. The good thing about the CT100 is that it is rated for drops up to 1 meter, which is a typical height of tables and desks. As for mass, the tablet weighs 568 grams.The ASUS Chromebook Tablet CT100CT100DisplayDiagonal9.7"Resolution2048×1536PD264 PPISoCRockchip OP1
Corsair One Pro i180: New Flagship Mini-PC with i9-9920X and RTX 2080 Ti
Corsair has expanded its Corsair ONE line of mini-PCs, aiming for the higher end of the market. The Corsair One Pro i180 is equipped with Intel’s 12-core high-end desktop processor as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, which is why the manufacturer calls it a compact workstation. In addition, the company has also introduced new variants under the Corsair One i140 and Corsair One i160 naming system.Corsair launched its first own-brand Corsair One systems in early 2017. The concept of the system was to take advantage of the company’s know-how: Corsair knows how to build cases with good ventilation, it produces SFF PSUs, it produces custom liquid cooling, and other components. With the Corsair ONE, the company managed to create a Mini-ITX platform capable of handling high-performance components. This year at CES, the system is getting a refresh and expanding into several different variants.The dark grey Corsair One Pro i180 is based on ASRock’s X299E-ITX/ac motherboard, Intel’s 12-core Core i9-9920X processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. The CPU and the GPU are cooled using separate AIO implementations, dissipating a total of ~400 W of thermal power, which is a notable achievement as we are talking about a 12-liter PC.Being aimed at prosumers, the Corsair One Pro i180 comes equipped with 32 GB of quad-channel DDR4-2667 memory, a 960 GB M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSD, and a 2 TB 2.5-inch HDD. As for connectivity, the compact PC features everything that the X299E-ITX/ac motherboard and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti have, including Intel’s Wireless-AC 8265 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2 controller, two GbE ports (driven by Intel’s I219-V and I211-AT), six USB 3.0 Type-A connectors, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C receptacle, a TRRS audio jack, and four display outputs (three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b).It is important to note that due to customer feedback, the front panel for this version of the Corsair One has been moved to the bottom, rather than staying at the top.Along with its top-of-the-line Corsair One Pro i180, the manufacturer also released its Corsair One i140 and Corsair One i160 systems. The One i140 is powered by Intel’s eight-core Core i7-9700K processor accompanied by NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080, whereas the One i160 is based on Intel’s eight-core Core i9-9900K CPU paired with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Both PCs come with 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4-2667 memory, a 480 GB PCIe/NVMe, a 2 TB HDD, and I/O capabilities similar to those of the high-end HEDT machine.Specifications of Early-2019 Corsair ONE Gaming PCsModelCorsair One
AMD Comments on Threadripper 2 Performance and Windows Scheduler
Users may have been following Wendell from Level1Tech’s battle with researching the reasons behind why some benchmarks have regressed performance on quad-die Threadripper 2 compared to dual-die configurations. Through his research, he found that this problem was limited to Windows, as cross-platform software on Linux did not have this issue, and that the problem was not limited just to Threadripper 2, but quad-die EPYCs were also affected.At the time, most journalists and analysts noted that the performance was lower, and that the Linux/Windows differences existed, but pointed the finger at the reduced memory performance of the large Threadripper 2 CPUs. At the time, Wendell discovered that removing CPU 0 from the thread pool, after the program starts running, it actually regained all of the performance loss on Windows.After some discussions about what the issue was exactly, I helped Wendell with some additional testing, by running our CPU suite through an affinity mask at runtime to remove CPU 0 from the options at runtime. The results were negative, suggesting that the key to CPU 0 was actually changing it at run time.After this, Wendell did his testing on an EPYC 7551 processor, one of the big four-die parts, and confirmed this was not limited to just Threadripper – the problem wasn’t memory, it was almost certainly the Windows Scheduler.'Best NUMA Node' and Windows Hotfix for 2-NUMAThe conclusion was made that in a NUMA environment, Windows’ scheduler actually assigns a ‘best NUMA node’ for each bit of software and the scheduler is programmed to move those threads to that node as often as possible, and will actually kick out threads that also have the same ‘best NUMA node’ settings with abandon. When running a single binary that spawns 32/64 threads, every thread from that binary is assigned the same ‘best NUMA node’, and these threads will continually be pushed onto that node, kicking out threads that already want to be there. This leads to core contention, and a fully multi-threaded program could spend half of its time shuffling around threads to comply with this ‘best NUMA node’ situation.The point of this ‘best NUMA node’ environment was originally meant to be for running VMs, such that each VM would run in its own runtime and be assigned different ‘best NUMA nodes’ depending on what else was currently on the system.One would expect this issue to come up in any NUMA environment, such as dual processors or dual-die AMD processors. It turns out that Microsoft has a hotfix in place in Windows for dual-NUMA environments that disables this ‘best NUMA node’ situation. Ultimately at some point there were enough dual-socket workstation platforms on the market that this made sense, pushing the ‘best NUMA node’ implementation down the road to 3+ NUMA environments. This is why we see it in quad-die Threadripper and EPYC, and not dual-die Threadripper.Wendell has been working with Jeremy from BitSum, creator of the CorePrio software, in developing a way of soft-fixing this issue. The CorePrio software now has an option called ‘NUMA Disassociator’ which probes which software is active every few seconds and adjusts the thread affinity while the software is running (rather than running an affinity mask which has no affect).This is a good temporary solution for sure, however it needs to be fixed in the Windows scheduler.AMD Comments On The FindingsThere have been questions about how much AMD/Microsoft know about this issue, who they are in contact with, and what is being done. AMD was happy to make some comments on the record.AMD stated that they have support and update tickets open with Microsoft’s Windows team on the issue. They believe they know what the issue is, and commends Wendell for being very close to what the actual issue is (they declined to go into detail). They are currently comparing notes with Bitsum, and actually helped Bitsum to develop the original tool for affinity masking, however the ‘NUMA Disassociator’ is obviously new.The timeline for a fix will depend on a number of factors between AMD and Microsoft, however there will be announcements when the fix is ready and what exactly that fix will affect performance. Other improvements to help optimize performance will also be included. AMD is still very pleased with the Threadripper 2 performance, and is keen to stress that for the most popular performance related tests the company points to reviews that show that the performance in rendering is still well above the competition, and is working with software vendors to push that performance even further.Relevant Links:
The $60 CPU Question: AMD Athlon 200GE or Intel Pentium Gold G5400? A Review
In the course of our reviews, when we get a chance to get hands on with random processors, we run our test suite and add the data to our database. Sometimes that doesn’t materialize directly into a review, but at least we have the data. Two very similar CPUs have come across my desk recently: AMD’s dual core Athlon 200GE, and Intel’s Pentium G5400. Both chips are around the $60 mark, have some form of integrated graphics, and are aimed at the cheapest systems.
ASUS at CES 2019: ProArt PA32UCX 4K Monitor with 1000-Zone FALD Unveiled
ASUS introduced its new flagship professional display at CES. The ProArt PA32UCX supports everything that one might expect from a 2019 professional monitor, including a 4K Ultra-HD resolution along with support of the DCI-P3 and Rec. 2020 color spaces as well as Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, but its key feature is a unique FALD backlighting with 1000 zones.The ASUS ProArt PA32UCX monitor is based on a 10-bit 32-inch IPS panel that can reproduce 1.07 billion colors and features a 3840×2160 resolution presumably at 60 Hz. The custom panel is outfitted with an exclusive Mini LED-based backlighting that enables 1200 nits peak brightness as well as a 1000-zone full array local dimming (today’s leading-edge LCDs feature a 384-zone FALD) as well as 0.003 - 0.001 nits lowest luminance. To control the backlighting, ASUS had to order a custom display scaler and then test it for months to hit the right contrasts, color uniformity, and other targets it needed.The manufacturer says that the ProArt PA32UCX display covers 97% of the DCI-P3 as well as 89% of the Rec. 2020 color spaces used for video post-production nowadays. Besides, it supports HDR10 as well as hybrid log gamma (HLG) HDR formats, but ASUS says nothing about Dolby Vision support. Since the monitor is only announced formally, ASUS does not disclose any details regarding its internal 3D LUT (look-up table) for HDR color gradations, but I would expect something very professional grade (e.g., 24-bit, which is more accurate than 14-bit). Meanwhile, ASUS says that the ProArt PA2UCX not only meets, but exceeds requirements for VESA’s DisplayHDR 1000 logo.As far as connectivity is concerned, the monitor has one DisplayPort capable of DCI-4K with 4:4:4 chroma subsampling at 50/60 Hz, two Thunderbolt 3 ports capable of the same capability (and supporting daisy chaining), as well as an HDMI 2.0 input capable of DCI-4K with 4:2:2 at 50/60 Hz.Specifications of the ASUS ProArt Mini LED DisplayProArt PA32UCXPanel32" IPSNative Resolution3840 × 2160Maximum Refresh Rate60 HzResponse TimeunknownBrightness1200 cd/m² (typical)ContrasthighViewing Angles178°/178° horizontal/verticalHDRHDR10, HLGBacklightingMini-LED-based 1000-zone FALDPixel Pitch0.1845 mm²Pixel Density138 ppiDisplay Colors1.07 billionColor Gamut SupportDCI-P3: 98%
CES 2019: MSI Unveils GUNGNIR 100 Chassis and Vigor GK60 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
MSI has added to its ever-growing range of peripherals with the new Vigor GK60 gaming keyboard. CES 2019 also marks the unveiling of its Norse mythology inspired GUNGNIR 100 chassis aimed at gamers looking to add some RGB sparkle to their system.MSI GUNGNIR 100 ChassisMSI's new GUNGNIR 100 case is named after the Norse God Odin's legendary spear and looks to wield plenty of RGB LED lighting. The GUNGNIR 100 allows users to install motherboards up to E-ATX and is 510 x 227 x 525mm (DxWxH) in size; it also weighs 9.3 Kg. The weight is likely a consequence of MSI opting to use a 4 mm thick tempered glass side panel. Users looking for cooling options will be happy to know the GUNGNIR 100 has an ample cooling layout internally with space for three 140/120 mm fans in the front, three 120 mm or two 120 mm fans in the top, a single 140/120 mm in the rear and comes pre-installed with three 120 mm RGB fans.On the front panel IO, MSI has included two USB 3.0 ports but given that this is 2019, there is no mention or scope of USB 3.1 Gen2 or even front panel Type-C connectivity available. The current availability and pricing are unknown as of yet, but we expect MSI to unveil these details shortly.MSI Vigor GK60 Gaming KeyboardThe new MSI Vigor GK60 gaming keyboard uses Cherry MX Red mechanical switches which is a linear switch and has an actuation force of 45 cN. Surrounding the keys is an aluminium frame and key count is dependant on which region and language are purchased; 104, 105 and 109 key variants for reference. The MSI Vigor GK60 has red LED backlighting underneath the keys and offers users a variety of customizable lighting effects from steady, wave and horizon, all the way to radar and reactive. These can be customized through the MSI Gaming Center application but it should be noted that the Vigor GK60 does not support RGB.Supplied with the Vigor GK60 gaming keyboard is a two metre long USB cable and comes pre-installed with four metal WASD keycaps. This includes a keycap puller to allow users to install their own. As it stands there is no information available in regards to pricing and availability, but the MSI Vigor GK60 is expected to hit retail channels shortly.
Samsung at CES 2019: 219-Inch and 75-Inch Micro LED Ultra-HD TVs Demonstrated
Samsung showcased its new ultra-large television with a 219-inch diagonal at CES 2019. Dubbed “The Wall”, the TV uses the company’s Micro LED technology that offers very high brightness and deep inky blacks, essentially competing against OLED TVs when it comes to picture quality. Separately, Samsung introduced its 75-inch Micro LED Ultra-HD TV aimed at general consumers.The new 219-inch “The Wall” TV features an unknown resolution that is higher than 4K as well as 2,000 nits brightness. The television runs an unknown Samsung processor (presumably a version of the company’s Quantum Processor 8K that powers QLED-based Q900-series 8K UHDTVs) that supports the manufacturer’s AI upscaling tech along with other premium capabilities. Just like the Q900, “The Wall” can blend with surroundings to match style of the interior, a feature that Samsung is especially proud of. The TV can be controlled using a special tablet.Meanwhile, the company’s prototype 75-inch Ultra-HD TV called “The Window” features a 4K resolution as well as a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. When “The Window” hits the market, its peak brightness will be increased to 4,000 nits, which is in-line with the Q900-series.As the name implies, televisions based on the Micro LED technology use tens of millions of individually-controlled tiny LEDs (25M in case of “The Window”) that do not require any backlighting, which is why they can offer a very high contrast ratio. Samsung hopes that its Micro LED technology will be free of issues that OLEDs are known for (including off-axis color shifting, ghosting, burn-in, etc.), but will retain all of their advantages (brightness, contrast, fast response time, wide viewing angles, etc). As an added bonus, Micro LED screens do not need any bezels and can be made incredibly thin.Samsung demonstrated its first 146-inch “The Wall” TV featuring 1,600 nits brightness at last year’s CES and released in mid-2018. The price of the device is unknown and it is believed that it is available to select customers only.Related Reading:
CES 2019: PowerColor & VisionTek Launch Compact eGFX Solutions
The majority of Thunderbolt 3-enabled external chassis for video cards are rather big in order to accommodate high-end graphics adapters that tend to feature large PCBs and cooling systems. Meanwhile, not everyone needs a 300 W GPU and has enough space for a large box on their desk, but finding a compact and suitable eGFX enclosure may be problematic as the choice is very limited. Fortunately, PowerColor and VisionTek have just released three of such products.While we are talking about three different SKUs, PowerColor’s Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 180F and Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 240F as well as VisionTek’s Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX (240 W) enclosures actually rely on the same TBX-180/240FU chassis developed by PowerColor and originally showcased at Computex in June, 2018. There are important differences though: PowerColor sells its boxes outfitted with its Radeon RX 560 and Radeon RX 570 graphics adapters, whereas VisionTek offers just an enclosure.Measuring 215×153×68 mm, the said eGFX chassis can accommodate double-wide video cards that feature a 175 mm length and a 131 mm height, which generally limits compatibility to mainstream and Mini-ITX graphics adapters that have appropriate power ratings.PowerColor’s Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 240F (with Radeon RX 570 inside) and VisionTek’s Thunderbolt 3 Mini eGFX boxes equipped with a 240 W PSU feature a GbE connector and a dual-port USB 3.0 hub. To provide dedicated lanes for GPU as well as USB and GbE controllers, these chassis feature two Thunderbolt 3 controllers. Meanwhile, the Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box 180F does not feature any additional ports and therefore uses a simpler architecture.Compact eGFX Enclosures from PowerColor & VisionTekPowerColor Mini
AMD: “No Chiplet APU Variant on Matisse, CPU TDP Range same as Ryzen-2000”
One of the big questions coming out of AMD’s CES announcements was if its new CPU design, codenamed Matisse and which enables two chiplets and an IO die on a single package, would support one of those chiplets being graphics based in order to make an APU. In our discussions with AMD, we received confirmation that this will not be the case.The new Matisse design is the platform for AMD’s next generation of desktop processors. The layout shown at CES this year represented the design as having a single IO die, about 122.6 mm2 and built on GlobalFoundries 14nm, paired with a chiplet die, about 80.8 mm2, containing eight cores and built on TSMC’s 7nm. There is obviously space on that package for another CPU chiplet, and there has always been questions if the chiplet design is amenable to using a graphics chiplet instead.AMD stated that, at this time, there will be no version of the current Matisse chiplet layout where one of those chiplets will be graphics. We were told that there will be Zen 2 processors with integrated graphics, presumably coming out much later after the desktop processors, but built in a different design. Ultimately APUs are both mobile first as well as lower cost parts (usually), so different design decisions will have to be made in order to support that market.This doesn't rule out a future processor using chiplet graphics, this is just for Matisse.Our contacts at AMD also discussed the TDP range of the upcoming range of Matisse processors. Given AMD’s definition of TDP, relating to the cooling performance required of the CPU cooler, the range of TDPs for Matisse will be the same as current Ryzen 2000-series processors. This means we could see ‘E’ variants as low as 35W TDP, all the way up to the top ‘X’ processors at 105W, similar to the current Ryzen 7 2700X. We were told that the company expects the processors will fit within that range. This should be expected on some level, given the backwards compatibility with current AM4 motherboards on the market with a BIOS update.Read our announcement on the early preview of the Matisse processors here:https://www.anandtech.com/show/13829/amd-ryzen-3rd-generation-zen-2-pcie-4-eight-core
Dell at CES 2019: Alienware 55-Inch 4K 120 Hz OLED Gaming Monitor Showcased
In a surprising move Dell demonstrated a prototype of its Alienware 55 OLED display for gamers at CES. The 55-inch OLED monitor features a 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate and because of high contrasts that the OLED technology provides, the display promises to be one of the most impressive displays released this year. In the meantime, it is still in development and its price will likely be well beyond reach of most gamers.The Alienware 55 display relies on an Ultra-HD (3840×2160) OLED panel that boasts with vivid colors, deep inky blacks, an extremely high contrast ratio (~100,000:1), fast response time (~0.1 ms), wide horizontal viewing angles, and an up to 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate (which is what sets the monitor apart from OLED UHDTVs). The display can reproduce up to 95% of the DCI-P3 color space, which is oddly low for an OLED monitor, but which is explainable as the device is still in development.(Photo from Engadget)In fact, while Dell says that the Alienware 55 display is set to support an adaptive refresh rate technology, the manufacturer does not disclose whether it will eventually support AMD’s FreeSync/FreeSync 2 or NVIDIA’s G-Sync/G-Sync HDR when it is finalized. As for connectivity, the monitor features DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.1 (with the latter possibly pointing not only to a new cable requirement, but also to variable refresh rate (VRR) and other HDMI 2.1 features support).It is noteworthy that to make design of the Alienware 55 attractive for gamers (if a 4K 120 Hz OLED panel is not enough), the monitor has programmable RGB lighting on the back.Dell currently expects to start sales of its Alienware 55 gaming OLED monitor sometimes in the second half of the year. Pricing of the device is currently unknown, yet one can guess that because it uses a 55-inch Ultra-HD OLED panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate, this is going to be an ultra-premium product competing against NVIDIA’s BFGD (Big Format Gaming Display) LCDs.What is notable is that Dell no longer sells its UltraSharp UP3017Q OLED monitor, so the company might be reviewing its OLED offerings in general and the 55-inch panel could be used not only for the company’s gaming solution.Related Reading:
Dell at CES 2019: Alienware m17 Packs Core i9, GeForce RTX into 17.3-Inch Chassis
Having launched Alienware m15 ultra-thin gaming laptops last year and updated them this week, Dell is rolling out more notebooks for gamers concerned about compact dimensions. The new Alienware m17 machines feature a 17.3-inch display and pack six-core processors paired with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPUs into a chassis that is up to 0.91 inch (23 mm) thick.It goes without saying that the key feature of Alienware’s m17 laptop is its 17.3-inch display with a 1920×1080, 2560×1440, or 3840×2160 resolution. The Full-HD and Ultra-HD IPS panels feature a 60 Hz refresh rate, whereas the QHD TN panel features a 120 Hz refresh rate. Meanwhile, the higher-end 4K and QHD screens boast with 400 nits brightness, whereas the entry-level LCD is only rated for 300 nits brightness.As far as internal hardware is concerned, the Alienware m17 notebook will use exactly the same components and configurations as the updated Alienware m15 introduced earlier this week. So, the the machine is powered by Intel’s latest mobile processor – including its six-core Core i9-8950HK CPUs – that are paired with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, GeForce RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, or 2080 Max-Q GPUs. Various Alienware m17 configs will feature from 8 to 32 GB of DDR4 memory and from 256 GB to 2 TB of PCIe/NVMe storage (see exact specs in the table below).One important thing to note is that since the Alienware m17 notebook is bigger than the Alienware m15, it can be equipped with a larger and better cooling system. The latter enables the laptops to work at Turbo frequencies longer and thus provide higher performance in games.When it comes to connectivity, the Alienware m17 copies its smaller brother too. The notebook has 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth (from Qualcomm or Rivet Networks), a Killer E2500-enabled GbE port, one Thunderbolt 3 header, three USB 3.0 Type-A connectors, two display outputs (mini DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0), a 3.5-mm TRRS audio jack, and an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for proprietary external graphics solutions. Besides, the Alienware m17 laptop features an RGB-backlit keyboard with a numpad, a 1080p webcam, stereo speakers, and a microphone array.Just like the Alienware m15, the 17.3-inch notebook comes in Epic Silver or Nebula Red chassis that are from 18.5 to 23 mm thick (0.727 – 0.91 inches) thick. As for the weight, the Alienware m17 weighs 2.63 kilograms (5.79 pounds) when equipped with a 60 Wh battery or more when outfitted with a 90 Wh battery in a build-to-order configuration.Sales of the Alienware m17 are set to begin on January 29, 2019. The price of the laptops will start at $1,650.General Specifications of Dell's Alienware m17Alienware m17
Mushkin at CES 2019: Carbon X100 & Carbon Z100 External SSDs at Up to 2.2 GB/s
Mushkin introduced its new external SSDs featuring USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 interfaces and powered by desktop-class controllers. The Carbon X100 and the Carbon Z100 drives offer performance akin to that of internal SSDs and their sequential read and write speeds to some degree are limited by their interfaces.Both the Carbon X100 and the Carbon Z100 external drives essentially integrate a desktop-class SSD featuring 3D NAND memory and an appropriate interface controller — a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C for the former as well as a Thunderbolt 3 for the latter. Meanwhile, Mushkin's new SSDs are considerably faster than the company's previous-generation external storage solutions.We are going to start with the value Carbon X100, which external design looks surprisingly similar to that of MyDigitalSSD’s M2X enclosure. The Mushkin Carbon X100 is based on Silicon Motion’s SM2263XT controller and is equipped with 500 GB or 1 TB of 3D TLC NAND memory (so, think about Mushkin’s Helix-L SSD inside the chassis). The manufacturer rates their sequential performance at 1000 MB/s both for reads and writes, whereas random speeds are quoted at 115K/88K IOPS for reads and writes. The drives use a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C interface, which probably limits performance of the SSD. The Carbon X100 is still faster than all SATA 6 Gbps internal drives, yet its speeds are considerably slower than those of PCIe 3.0 x4-based solutions powered by the same controller.The Carbon X100 SSDs will be available in Q2 2019, but Mushkin does not specify MSRPs as they will depend on market price of 3D NAND memory.Moving on to the faster Mushkin Carbon Z100 SSDs positioned as extreme performance solutions for computers featuring Thunderbolt 3 ports. In fact, since the storage solutions use Intel's Alpine Ridge TB3 controllers, their compatibility with USB 3.1 Type-C computers is not guaranteed.These drives use Silicon Motion’s top-of-the-range SM2262EN controllers as well as 250 GB – 2 TB of 64-layer 3D TLC NAND flash memory (perhaps, integrating Mushkin’s Pilot-E M.2 SSDs). The Carbon Z100 are rated for up to 2210 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 1355 MB/s sequential write speed, thus being significantly slower than the SM2262EN-powered Pilot-E. As for random performance, we are talking about 263K/180K read/write performance levels, which is quite fine for an external single-drive solution.Mushkin expects Z100 SSDs to hit the market sometimes in the second quarter (i.e., after the Pilot-E drive will be finalized and launched). Meanwhile, MSRPs are undecided since they will depend on price of 3D NAND memory.Brief Specifications of Mushkin's High-Performance External SSDsFamilyCarbon Z100Carbon X100CarbonEXTVentura UltraInterfaceThunderbolt 3USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C or USB Type-AUSB 3.0 Type-A or
Mushkin at CES 2019: SSDs With 96L 3D NAND in Q2
At CES, Mushkin provided their usual roadmap update detailing the next several SSDs they plan to release. There aren't any big surprises: several of the products have been mentioned previously, and they all fit the general pattern of a vendor building off of Silicon Motion's reference designs. But for that same reason, Mushkin's plans also give us insight about what to expect from several other brands that are also reliable partners for Silicon Motion.Mushkin's flagship SSD for 2019 will be the Pilot-E M.2 NVMe, replacing the Pilot. This is a transition from the Silicon Motion SM2262 controller to the SM2262EN, a transition that ADATA and HP have already made or announced with the SX8200 Pro and EX950 respectively. We previewed the SM2262EN controller last year and will have our first review of a final retail product up later this month. Last year's SM2262 drives were the clear winners of the high-end SSD product segment, with performance that generally rivaled top drives like the Samsung 970 EVO, but with prices low enough to ruin most attempts to introduce a separate entry-level NVMe product segment. The Pilot-E will still be using the same Micron 64-layer 3D TLC NAND as the original Pilot, so all the performance improvements will be a result of controller and firmware changes.The Mushkin Helix-L was announced last year but never actually hit the market. The specs are unchanged: it's a low-end NVMe SSD with the DRAMless Silicon Motion SM2263XT controller that uses the NVMe Host Memory Buffer feature. Silicon Motion's low-end NVMe controllers are somewhat unusual in still having four PCIe lanes instead of just two, but peak sequential access performance still isn't expected to break 2GB/s.The most interesting drive is the new entry-level Source 2 SATA SSD. We found the Mushkin Source to be a decent DRAMless SATA SSD (subject to the usual performance caveats for this product segment), and it has generally been very well priced. The Source 2 will update to Micron's 96-layer 3D TLC and the Silicon Motion SM2259XT controller. The NAND flash upgrade was sure to appear somewhere on this year's roadmaps, but Mushkin is planning to start shipping it in the second quarter of 2019, which is a little sooner than we were expecting. Toshiba kicked off the 96-layer transition last year with the XG6 but has made no move to introduce 96L flash to the retail SSD market, and the best we've heard from their partners is to expect products in the second half of 2019. Samsung announced their 96L transition plan including a 970 EVO Plus, but didn't give a detailed timeline. Intel and Micron have been pretty quiet, but based on Mushkin's plans it looks like many Micron-based drives will probably switch to 96L NAND before their Toshiba-based competitors.The switch to the SM2259XT controller is a bit unexpected. The only drive we've encountered with the SM2259 is the Intel 545s, and we haven't run across anything else with the DRAMless -XT variant. Most vendors seem to view the SM2259(XT) as offering few advantages over the SM2258(XT), since the upgraded error correction and end to end data path protection it offers are not seen as strictly necessary for consumer drives and are more about increasing the controller's appeal for datacenter applications. Mushkin's decision to move to the SM2259XT for a low-cost drive like the Source 2 indicates that it doesn't cost any more than the SM2258XT.
Lenovo at CES 2019: ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gets Thinner Aluminum Body, 4K HDR LCD
Lenovo has announced its fourth generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertible laptop. The new notebook will come in thinner all-aluminum chassis and will also get lighter than ever when it hits the market several months down the road. In addition, the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertibles will be offered with the same display options as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which means a 4K Dolby Vision-supporting LCD panel in case of the range-topping SKUs.Despite being a part of the ThinkPad X1 product family, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon clamshell and ThinkPad X1 Yoga convertible have always had many differences when it came to design and dimensions. To a large degree this happened because Lenovo wanted to build MILSPEC-graded convertibles and offer some extra graphics performance with its 1 Gen and 2 Gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga laptops. Last year Lenovo decided to cease using Intel’s processors with Iris Pro Graphics for its ThinkPad X1 Yoga notebooks and thus ended up using the same platform both for clamshell and convertible ThinkPad X1 machines. This year the company switches to usage of CNC-machined aluminum chassis for its ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which enables it to make the system considerably more compact and bring it closer to carbon fiber-based ThinkPad X1 Carbon.The 2019 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga comes in an enclosure that is 15.2 mm thick (down from 17.05 mm) and weighs 1.35 kilograms (2.99 lbs). Because of thinner display bezels, the new convertible 4 Gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga is 17% smaller than its 3 Gen predecessor, Lenovo says. The chassis are MILSPEC-graded and has passed all the tests that Lenovo puts its ThinkPad X1 laptops through to ensure their maximum durability. The company claims that it was particularly challenging to design an aluminum enclosure this strong and light because aluminum has to be thick to retain its strength.When it comes to internal hardware, the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga will be powered by Intel’s 8 Gen Core i5/i7 processors (think Whiskey Lake) accompanied by 8 or 16 GB of DRAM and a PCIe SSD featuring an up to 2 TB capacity. As for connectivity, the new convertible features Wi-Fi + Bluetooth featuring an improved antenna design, an optional 4G/LTE-A Cat16 modem, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB 3.0 Type-A connectors, GbE with a dongle, an HDMI output, a TRRS audio connector, etc. Multimedia capabilities of the new X1 Yoga are also similar to those of X1 Carbon: the convertible has Dolby Atmos-badged speaker system, multiple far-field microphones, and a 720p webcam with or without IR sensors that can be covered using Lenovo's ThinkShutter. Besides, it is important to note that the new X1 Yoga supports all docking solutions, including Lenovo’s ThinkPad Mechanical Dock.Last but not least, display options. The manufacturer will offer its premium 14-inch 10-bit Ultra-HD display panel with a 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR support with advanced SKUs, other systems will come a Full-HD panel featuring a 400 nits brightness and the ThinkPad Privacy Guard, whereas entry-level models will be equipped with a Full-HD panels featuring a 300 nits brightness.Just like its ThinkPad X1 Carbon brother, the 4 Gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga is half a year away and will hit the market only sometimes in June, 2019. Starting price of the convertible laptop will be $1,929.Related Reading:
Lenovo at CES 2019: 43.4-Inch Curved Monitors for Gaming and Work
Large-sized curved displays with a 32:10 aspect ratio have been gaining traction in the recent years both among gamers and professionals. At CES Lenovo introduced its own Legion Y44w and ThinkVision P44w ultra-wide LCDs aimed at gaming and professional applications. Both monitors have a number of similarities, yet are tailored for the said market segments.Lenovo’s Legion Y44w and ThinkVision P44w displays use curved 43.4-inch panels featuring a 3840×1200 resolution as well as 450 nits brightness. The LCDs carry VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 badge and therefore support HDR10 format. The two monitors come equipped with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 & Gen 2 Type-C ports with 90 W power delivery (across two ports) to connect two PCs, something that might be useful both in home and office environments, as well as a pop-down dual-port USB hub to connect to peripherals.The gaming-oriented Legion Y44w supports AMD FreeSync 2 HDR-focused dynamic refresh rate technology with a maximum refresh rate of up to 144 Hz along with a 4 ms response time. Additionally, it has a detachable Harman Kardon-certified speaker and an aggressive-looking stand.By contrast, the productivity-focused ThinkVision P44w monitor has an integrated KVM switch and supports picture-by-picture capability, essentially allowing to use two PCs seamlessly on one display. Lenovo points out that one 43.4-inch panel with a 3840×1200 resolution provides the same amount of screen real estate (as well as the number of pixels) as two 24-inch monitors with a 1920×1200 resolution. The LCD uses a rather conservatively-designed stand in a bid to match designs of office environments.Lenovo’s Legion Y44W display is set to hit the market this April at a price of $1,200. The ThinkVision P44w will be available around the same time, but will be priced higher at $1,300.Related Reading:
CES 2019: Colorful’s New Watercooled iGame GeForce RTX 2070 Neptune OC
The market for pre-overclocked graphics cards is quite strong. But taking the leap into providing water-cooling for GPUs at retail has only been attempted by a few vendors, and usually at the high-end only. To start the new year, Colorful are getting one of its products this game, but they are going with a non-halo card based around a GeForce GTX 2070, creating the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Neptune OC.This card starts life as an RTX 2070, which Colorful then straps an AIO water cooling solution to it, based on a 240mm radiator. The card's clockspeed is then boosted to improve its performance, and thanks to the combination of the cooler and the factory overclock, Colorful is promoting the card as both extreme and quiet. I particularly like the Neptune naming though for a watercooled card, that makes plenty of sense.Colorful is proud of the watercooling design, which the company states has a high-efficiency pump at the center for 115% more static pressure than traditional pumps due to its internal blade design. The tubing is listed as FEP double tubing, which the company promises is durable yet flexible. The 240mm radiator is designed with a low resistance and high flow rate in mind, albeit with good heat-exchange characteristics. This is paired up with Air Balance RGB fans.For the card, Colorful lists extended durability Hi-C capacitors, DrMOS technology, and Silver Plating Technology to help with heat dissipation. The water block is under a shroud on the design, which also has a blower-style fan to reduce the temperature of the components not cooled by the water block.For the overclock, we see a base frequency of 1410 MHz and a turbo frequency of 1620 MHz, which jumps up to 1815 MHz when the OC Button on the side of the card is pushed.Pricing and availability were not disclosed, although given the time of the announcement it’s likely to be on display at Computex, so it should be launched before then.Gallery: CES 2019: Colorful’s New Watercooled iGame GeForce RTX 2070 Neptune OC
Lenovo at CES 2019: Yoga C730 Gets AMOLED Display
Lenovo at CES announced a new version of its Yoga C730 convertible laptop featuring a 4K Ultra-HD AMOLED monitor. The revamped Yoga C730 also uses Intel’s Whiskey Lake processors, but otherwise the new PCs are similar to the Yoga 730 launched last year.The key feature of the new Lenovo Yoga C730 is of course its 15.6-inch AMOLED display featuring a 3840×2160 resolution along with a very high contrast ratio (100,000:1), wide horizontal viewing angles, deep blacks, ultra-fast response time (e.g., 0.1 ms) as well as all the other advantages and disadvantages that the technology has to offer. The touch-sensitive monitor fully supports Windows Ink and comes bundled with Lenovo’s Active Pen 2 stylus that has 4,096 levels of sensitivity.Internal hardware wise, the Yoga C730 with AMOLED generally resembles the product released several months ago. The laptop is powered by Intel’s quad-core 8 Gen Core i7 processor that belongs to the Whiskey Lake family accompanied by up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. The notebook also has an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth controller, a Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C connectors, an HDMI display output, and a 3.5-mm TRRS audio jack, JBL-badged speakers, a fingerprint reader, a 720p webcam, and so on. The laptop can work for eight hours on one charge and comes in Iron Grey.Lenovo has multiple Yoga-branded convertible notebooks in its lineup, most notably the higher-end and more compact Yoga C930 (14.5 mm z-height, 3.04 lbs/1.38 kg weight) as well as the somewhat less expensive yet more bulky Yoga 730 (~17 mm z-height, 4.16lbs/1.89 kg weight). For some reasons Lenovo decided to equip the latter with a premium monitor and rename it to Yoga C730. Evidently, an AMOLED screen will make the new Yoga C730 more attractive to those who value good displays, but it is still a bit surprising that Lenovo decided not to upgrade its flagship consumer convertible.Lenovo’s Yoga C730 with AMOLED will be available starting March or April at an MSRP of $1,649. The Yoga C730 will not be the only 15-inch class convertible with an AMOLED screen as HP also introduced its Spectre 15 x360 with a 15.6-inch AMOLED monitor a couple of days ago.Related Reading:
Intel’s Core i5-9400F Hits Amazon
Amazon has started to list Intel’s six-core Core i5-9400F desktop processor that lacks integrated graphics, belongs to the Coffee Lake Refresh family, and is produced using the company’s 14 nm process technology. The CPU is aimed at mainstream PCs and generally expands availability of Intel’s six-core processors.The Core i5-9400F CPU features six cores without Hyper-Threading operating at 2.9 – 4.1 GHz, packs 9 MB of L3 cache, supports DDR4-2666 memory, and is rated for a 65 W TDP. The Core i5-9400F is one of Intel’s entry-level six-core processor for desktops and will therefore be among the cheapest CPUs with six cores. At press time, Amazon offered the CPU for $208.38, but the chip is said to be temporarily out of stock.Back in October, Intel officially announced three 9 Gen Core processors for desktops: the eight-core Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K, as well as the six-core Core i5-9600K. Priced at $488, $384, and $262, these CPUs feature an unlocked multiplier and are aimed at enthusiasts who tend to spend hefty sums on hardware in general. By contrast, the Core i5-9400F comes with a locked multiplier and a 65 W TDP, thus aiming mainstream desktops with discrete graphics cards.Intel 9th Gen Core CPUsAnandTechCoresBase
Lenovo at CES 2019: 7th Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gets Thinner
Lenovo this week introduced its 7 Generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops. The new notebooks got a number of tangible improvements when compared to their predecessors. The latest ThinkPad X1 Carbon come in a thinner chassis and integrate latest-gen processors from Intel. In addition, higher-end versions of the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon will come equipped with a 4K LCD featuring a 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR support.Being Lenovo’s flagship notebooks, ThinkPad X1 Carbon support the company’s latest technologies and business features as the manufacturer naturally wants to create a product that will stand out from the crowd. The new ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes in a new chassis that is 14.95 mm thick (down from 15.95 mm before) and weighs 1.08 kilograms (down from 1.13 kilograms before). Traditionally, ThinkPad X1 Carbon features ultra-thin display bezels that enable to install a 14-inch LCD into 13.3-inch-class chassis. Speaking of monitors, it is necessary to note that the new laptops will be outfitted either with a premium 10-bit Ultra-HD display panel with a 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR support, or a more conservative Full-HD panel with a 400 nits brightness and the ThinkPad Privacy Guard.The new ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops are based on Intel’s quad-core 8 Gen Core i5/i7 processors based on the Whiskey Lake microarchitecture and featuring Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 iGPU. Just like in case of previous-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon machines, the CPU will be paired with LPDDR3 (presumably) DRAM, and a PCIe SSD. Since the laptop is about half of a year away, Lenovo does not disclose its exact specifications, possibly because some things may change.Connectivity wise, the 7 Gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon seems to be generally similar to its predecessor albeit with some improvements: it is going to support Wi-Fi + Bluetooth featuring an enhanced antenna design, an optional 4G/LTE-A Cat16 modem, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB 3.0 Type-A connectors, a GbE with a dongle, an HDMI output, a TRRS audio connector, and so on.One of the important improvements of the upcoming ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops over the current-gen laptop is a revamped Dolby Atmos-badged audio subsystem with four speakers and four far-field microphones. As for webcam, Lenovo will offer both regular as well as IR-equipped 720p cameras both of which can now be covered with the company’s ThinkShutter privacy cover.Lenovo says that its next-gen Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon notebooks will work for up to 15 hours, but does not mention its exact capacity. Based on previous-gen flagship Lenovo laptops, it is highly likely that only Full-HD model will operate for up to 15 hours on one charge, whereas Ultra-HD SKUs will work for around 12 hours, depending on the usage model.The 7 Generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptops will not be available for quite a while. Lenovo promises to start their sales only in June, 2019, at an MSRP starting from $1709.Related Reading:
ASRock at CES 2019: DeskMini A300, World’s First AMD Ryzen Mini STX PC Launched
ASRock has introduced its miniature DeskMini A300-series desktop PC barebones that are powered by AMD AM4 processors with integrated graphics. The world’s first Mini STX platform supporting AMD Ryzen CPUs is just 1.9 liters in volume, though it supports everything systems of this class can offer, including multiple storage drives, display outputs, and so on.ASRock’s DeskMini A300-series systems are based on AMD’s A300 chipset and support AMD’s AM4 APUs, including Ryzen and Athlon-branded Raven Ridge processors as well as A-series Bristol Ridge processors with up to 65 W TDP. It is noteworthy that the barebones come without a CPU cooler, which has to be bought separately (cooling systems with up to 46 mm z-height are supported).The DeskMini A300 barebones are equipped with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 or DDR4-2933 memory depending on the APU used (Ryzen or A-series). As for storage, the DeskMini A300 feature two M.2-2280 slots for SSDs (PCIe 3.0 x4 and x2/x4) as well as two 2.5-inch bays for SATA SSDs or HDDs that can be RAIDed (0 and 1 modes are supported).Unlike some of ASRock’s Intel-based DeskMini systems, the A300 does not support discrete graphics in MXM form-factor, so it relies solely on iGPUs. Speaking of graphics, it is necessary to note that the A300 supports three display outputs (DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, D-Sub).As for general connectivity, ASRock’s DeskMini A300 has a GbE (controlled by the RealtekRTL8111H), USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A and Type-C ports, a USB 2.0 Type-A connector, one M.2-2230 slot for a Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module (the DeskMini A300W SKU comes with a preinstalled Intel AC-3168 wireless module), audio connectors, and so on.ASRock’s DeskMini A300-series systems come with external 120 W power bricks, which should be more than enough for PCs that do not use a discrete GPU and support only 65 W AMD APUs.ASRock has not announced any information about pricing of its DeskMini A300-series barebones, but keeping in mind that they are powered by AMD’s entry-level A300 chipset and even come without a CPU cooler, it is logical to assume that they will be priced very reasonably.Related Reading:
CES 2019: Cooler Master Announces Three New Wireless Mechanical Keyboards, SK621, SK631 And SK651
Cooler Master has announced its first range of wireless mechanical keyboards, the SK621, the SK631 and SK651 models. All three models feature Bluetooth 4.0 functionality and have a slimline profile with Cherry MX low profile switches.
CES 2019: FSP's Cannon 2000 Watt Power Supply
When you build a cannon of a system, perhaps with dual processors and four graphics cards and lots of RGB, then something needs to power it. FSP has just the product for you: the Cannon 2000W power supply.We've seen power supplies this high in the consumer market before, and this is FSP's take. They originally built it for the mining market, and since that market has essentially dried up in recent months, the company is pitching it further afield. The unit is built on a single rail design, and adheres to ATX spec (210mm long), and has passed certification for 80 PLUS Gold, which guarantees 87% efficiency at 20% load, 90% efficiency at 50% load, and 87% efficiency at 100%. That last figure means that at a full 2000W, the system could be losing as much as 260W due to power losses. The power supply needs good cooling too.The Cannon 2000W is already available in some markets, priced at $400.
CES 2019: TeamGroup And ASRock Release Phantom Gaming Branded Memory and SSD
One of the leading players in memory Team Group has joined forces with ASRock to release the Phantom Gaming branded T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSD and T-FORCE XCALIBUR Phantom Gaming RGB memory.At the launch of Intel's Z390 chipset, ASRock dropped its Fatal1ty gaming branding and introduced the more premium Phantom Gaming series of motherboards to the market. Phantom gaming towards the top end of the product stack benefits from features such as 2.5 G Realtek Gaming NIC and good quality VRMs for better performance. To further enhance the Phantom gaming series, ASRock has teamed with TeamGroup to produce two new gaming-centric ranges of memory and storage devices.T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSD (5 V)Team Group and ASRock's partnership brings a new SSD to the market via the T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSD and it's available in three different capacities; 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB models. The new T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSD has a unique design which integrates addressable RGB LEDs which allows users to customize the look. To use the addressable features a motherboard with 5 V ADD headers are required.The T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSDs are derived from the original DELTA RGB that we reviewed last year and the performance specifications are unchanged, so the new variants are probably still using last-generation 32-layer 3D NAND.In terms of availability, the T-FORCE DELTA Phantom Gaming RGB SSDs is currently unknown although the 250 GB has an MSRP of $72 USD, the 500 GB $112 USD and the 1 TB model with an MSRP of $202.T-FORCE XCALIBUR Phantom Gaming RGB DDR4The T-FORCE XCALIBUR Phantom Gaming RGB DDR4 memory is certified and tested to work with ASRock's Phantom Gaming motherboard range. Integrated into the aluminium heatsinks is RGB LEDs which offer an ultra wide 120° viewing angle. These RGB LEDs can be synchronised with compatible motherboards for a uniformed aesthetic.XMP 2.0 profiles are supported with the T-FORCE XCALIBUR Phantom Gaming RGB DDR4 in three different configurations. These include three 2x8GB kits in DDR4-3200 CL16 18-18-38, DDR4-3600 CL18 20-20-44 and DDR4-4000 CL18; all three kits have an operating voltage of 1.35 V.Availability is currently unknown, but we know the DDR4-3200 2x8 GB kit has an MSRP of $175 USD and the DDR4-3600 2x8 GB kit has an MSRP of $215 USD. There is currently no pricing information available for the DDR4-4000 2x8 GB kit, but it's not expected to be cheap if priced in line with other DDR4-4000 kits currently on the market.
Lexar at CES 2019: 1 TB SDXC UHD-I Memory Card Announced
Lexar has announced the industry’s first commercial SD memory card featuring a 1 TB capacity. The SDXC card is designed for photo and video professionals who require massive capacities for their work. Despite offering record capacity, the card cannot boast with leading-edge performance.The new Lexar Professional 633x 1 TB SDXC card uses the UHS-I bus and is rated for up to 95 MB/s read transfer speed (633x speed) as well as up to 70 MB/s write speed. The card supports the Video Speed Class 30 specification and therefore provides at least 30 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as simultaneous interleaving of eight different files (useful for 360° videos). When it comes to operating temperature range, the Professional 633x SDXC cards are designed to work in the range between 0° and 70° C (32°F to 158°F), which is a narrower when compared to cards designed to work in harsh environments.Lexar does not disclose which memory it uses to build its Professional 633x SD cards. The brand is currently controlled by Longsys, which works with multiple suppliers of memory. Meanwhile, keeping in mind high densities required by high-capacity SD and microSD cards, it is likely that the 1 TB cards from Lexar uses leading-edge 3D NAND memory devices, most likely 512Gb 3D TLC dies.Lexar Professional 633x 1 TB SDXC Card1 TBSequential Read Speedup to 95 MB/sSequential Write Speed70 MB/sMinimum Sequential Write Speed30 MB/sRandom Read Speed?Random Write Speed?Operating Temperatures0° and 70° C (32°F to 158°F)InterfaceUHS-IAvailabilityQ1 2019SDA LabelsV30, U3, Class 10The new card is already listed at Lexar’s website, so it is logical to expect it to be released commercially in the coming weeks. Obviously, a unique product that does not have direct rivals is priced accordingly: the 1 TB SDXC card carries an MSRP of $499.99.It is interesting to note that the Lexar’s first SD card featuring a 1 GB capacity was introduced around 15 years ago. As it turns out, it has taken Lexar about 1.5 decades to increase capacity of its SD cards by 1000 times.Related Reading: