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News Archives for September 2017

Hardware Roundup: Friday, September 1, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 1, 2017 @ time: 08:45AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is here, as is the first day of September. We have some items for you to check out, starting with a look at the ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER and Z270H4-I motherboards. Both run on Intel's latest consumer chipset, with each one offering plenty of options for whatever size build you have in mind. If you're more after an AMD build, perhaps the Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 motherboard is more for you, especially if it fits in the sweet spot between the high end and low-end chipsets. A couple of air coolers from FSP get tested, as both the Windale 4 and 6 are up for review. Destiny 2 is on its way, with the PC open beta recently wrapping up, and we have a benchmark to give you an idea what kind of performance you can get with a number of video cards. For those needing a new phone, perhaps the upcoming LG V30 just might hit all the right notes. We wrap up with a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Motherboards
ECS Z270-LIGHTSABER and Z270H4-I @ PC Perspective
Gigabyte AB350-Gaming 3 @ ThinkComputers

CPU Cooling
FSP Windale 4 and 6 @ PC Perspective

Gaming
Destiny 2 Benchmarked @ TechSpot

Mobile
LG V30 Hands-on @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Podcast #465 @ PC Perspective


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Bugged Gigabyte BIOS Overvolting Ryzen CPUs

Posted: September 4, 2017 @ time: 06:21AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you are running a Gigabyte motherboard for an AMD Ryzen-based build, you may want to avoid the latest BIOS update. User reports have been coming in to different forums that the BIOS is significantly overvolting the CPU. Apparently the voltage is jumping to 1.55 V, instead of the default 1.2 V. One user, the one who posted at the TechPowerup forums says it appears to be an issue with the voltage offsetting being added to base voltage, and that sum being considered the base voltage. Manually setting the voltage of using LLC to compensate appears to address the issue though.

Not all users are reporting this issue though, and some are saying the BIOS is working fine for them. Still, it seems a reasonable to hold off on updating the BIOS until this is resolved, and flash back to an older version if you are concerned and have already updated.

Source: Gigabyte Forums and TechPowerUp Forums


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, September 6, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 6, 2017 @ time: 05:30AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

I hope everyone who celebrated it enjoyed their Labor Day weekend! Coming back from it we have a number of things to check out including a review of the Cougar Immersa Pro Gaming Headset, the Shuttle XPC nano NC03U Barebone PC, the HP SSD S700 Pro 1TB drive, and the mid-2017 Razer Blade Stealth. There is also a review of the survival game Distrust, TechSpot's list of the Top 5 Worst CPUs and how to get more life out of your iPhone's battery, and a few more articles to take a look at. Perhaps the most interesting of the lot, at least for some of you, is Techspot's Upgrade My PC Please! first episode. Viewers can enter to have their PC be one of the five that could get an upgrade, based on community voting.

Headsets:
Cougar Immersa Pro Gaming Headset Review @ Neoseeker

Storage:
HP SSD S700 PRO 1TB Solid State Drive Review @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming:
Distrust Survival Game Review @ Benchmark Reviews

Prebuilt (Barebones):
Shuttle XPC nano NC03U Barebone Review @ Madshrimps

Laptops:
Razer Blade Stealth (Mid 2017) Review @ Techspot

Mobile:
How to Squeeze the Most Out of Your iPhone's Battery @ Techspot

Miscellany:
Upgrade My PC Please! Episode 1: The First 5 @ Techspot
Top 5 Worst CPUs @ Techspot


Complete Story


Unknown Semiconductor Behavior Discovered with Potential Efficiency Impact

Posted: September 6, 2017 @ time: 11:32AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When thinking about the semiconductors within our computers and other devices, as we surely do at times, chances are we just think about silicon, but there are more materials than that one involved. On its own, silicon actually will not conduct electricity, which is why other molecules called dopants are added to the material, but adding too many doping molecules will eventually block the electrical currents. The cause of this increased resistance is believed to be from the electrons bouncing off of the dopants, but now researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered another mechanism that increases resistance.

To make this discovery the researchers started with chips of cadmium sulfide for their semiconductor base and then used copper ions as the dopant. Instead of connecting the chips up run a current through them, the researchers instead shot a powerful blue laser at them, with the energy of the laser being enough to generate an electrical current. Very high energy X-ray images were taken at the same time just millionths of a microsecond apart to reveal what was going on. To the researchers' surprise, the copper ions were intermittently forming bonds with the semiconductor base, and these bonds were then impairing conduction.

This behavior has not been seen before and it would be impairing the speed and efficiency of the semiconductor computers it affects. Fortunately, now that we are aware of this dynamic it will be possible to create designs that minimize it.

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago


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Rockstar Stepping into VR with L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files

Posted: September 7, 2017 @ time: 06:17AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Originally released back in 2011, Rockstar Games has announced new versions of L.A. Noire are coming November 14, 2017. These new versions will bring the game to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One consoles, but also to the HTC Vive. L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is going to be Rockstar's first venture into VR and will feature seven cases from the original game, rebuilt for the Vive's VR experience.

L.A. Noire follows Cole Phelps, a decorated veteran who has recently become a detective in 1940's Los Angeles. He will be investigating an escalating series of cases, which are inspired by real-world crimes, ultimately leading him to the criminal heart of the city.

Come November 14, gamers will have their choice of experiencing L.A. Noire in VR, at 4K, or on the go thanks to the portability of the Switch, the power of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X, and the capabilities of the HTC Vive. The console versions will include all of the DLC from the original game, along with technical enhancements to improve the experience, while the Switch will also receive platform specific enhancements, such as a Joy-Con mode with gyroscopic and gesture-based controls.

Source: Rockstar Games


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G.Skill Announces DDR4 4600 MHz Memory Kits

Posted: September 8, 2017 @ time: 11:36AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you are looking to put together a new computer, or make some serious upgrades in the near future, G.Skill has announced new DDR4 memory kits that are tested at 4600 MHz. To achieve this high a speed without extreme cooling, hand selected Samsung B-die components are used for this new Trident Z series flagship. The timings are CL 19-23-23-43 at 1.5 V and the 8 GB x2 kits are targeting Intel's X299 platform.

The Trident Z DDR4-4600 MHz kits will be available later this month with either both a silver aluminum body with white accent bar, or with a black aluminum body and black accent bar.

Source: G.Skill


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, September 8, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 8, 2017 @ time: 12:27PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For this Friday's roundup we have a look at Intel's i7-7820X CPU by Think Computers, who also took looked at the Zotac 10 Year Anniversary Sonix 480 GB PCIe SSD. Over at PC Perspective the Clutch Chairz Throttle Series Gaming Chair was reviewed and NVIDIA WhisperMode was tested to see how much an impact it has on typically loud gaming laptops. PC Perspective also had it #466 podcast. TechSpot has a review of the Motorola Moto Z2 Play up if a new phone interests you and both Neoseeker and LanOC Reviews have been working on new builds. The Neoseeker build is destined for testing GPUs while the LanOC Reviews build, Project Iris, is for the writer's wife.

All the links are below for your enjoyment.

CPUs:
Intel Core i7-7820X 8-Core Processor Review @ Think Computers

Storage:
Zotac 10 Year Anniversary Sonix 480 GB PCIe SSD Review @ ThinkComputers

Gaming Chairs:
Clutch Chairz Throttle Series Gaming Chair Review @ PC Perspective

Laptops:
NVIDIA WhisperMode Tested - Quieter Gaming for Notebooks @ PC Perspective

Mobile:
Motorola Moto Z2 Play Review @ TechSpot

Podcasts:
Podcast #466 - ECS Z270, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, and more! @ PC Perspective.

Miscellany:
Neoseeker GPU Test Rig Upgrade @ Neoseeker

Project Build Iris – Part 2 @ LanOC Reviews


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AMD Places Packaging Order for Vega 11 GPUs and Vega 20 Rumors

Posted: September 8, 2017 @ time: 12:27PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

AMD just recently released its RX Vega GPUs, the RX Vega 64 and Vega 56, and both of these along with the Vega Frontier Edition are all based on the Vega 10 architecture. This would be the larger Vega chip with Vega 11 being the smaller, more mainstream-targeting design and it appears AMD has placed the order for packaging these. According to Digitimes, semiconductor packaging specialist Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL), which already is a packager for the Vega 10-based GPUs will get the order for packaging the Vega 11-based GPUs. Being the mainstream component, the Vega 11 GPUs will likely replace the RX 500 series, which uses the Polaris architecture, when the cards become available.

Globalfoundries is expected to be the fabricator for the Vega 11 dies, but Digitimes is suggesting this might change for the Vega 20 GPUs. The next-generation Vega 20 chips might be produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) with its 7 nm FinFET process, and they might be heading to supercomputers next year, when the process reaches volume production. Of course these are rumors, and there is plenty of time for these to change, but time will tell what the future for these architectures will be.

Source: Digitimes


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Ubisoft Announces Atomega FPS Coming Next Week

Posted: September 11, 2017 @ time: 09:36AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

From the developers of Grow Home and Grow Up comes Atomega, a new online multiplayer FPS from Ubisoft. In this game you play as an Exoform, a post-biological lifeform existing at the end of the universe, fighting over mass. When you enter the arena you start as the small Atom, but by collecting mass by finding it or fighting for it, you can gain enough to evolve into the powerful Omega form. The rounds last for ten minutes and those who earned the most points by collecting mass win.

Atomega releases September 19, as in next week, and will be available on Steam for just $9.99.

 

 

Source: Ubisoft


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SNES Classic Will Ship in High Numbers and NES Classic Returning in 2018

Posted: September 12, 2017 @ time: 05:35AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

This is some news that for anyone who wants an SNES Classic but did not secure a pre-order might be glad to hear. Today Nintendo has released a statement that the company will ship more units of the SNES Classic in the US on its September 29 launch date than it shipped NES Classic units all last year. Naturally these will not be the only shipments, with more to come regularly afterward. I would not be surprised if demand continues to exceed supply, but at least this should make it easier to find one at the $79.99 MSRP.

Speaking of the NES Classic, if you were not able to get one last year, you will be getting a second chance at one, without turning to Ebay. In the same press release Nintendo has also stated it will be returning with new shipments next summer.

Source: Nintendo


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AI Recreates Game Engine by Watching Gameplay Videos

Posted: September 12, 2017 @ time: 10:33AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Games and artificial intelligence are not exactly strangers as there have been various kinds of AIs in games for years. In the future though, we might see AI playing a role in creating the games and not just giving us opponents. This is thanks to researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology where they have made an AI that can recreate a game's engine after watching video of it.

As the AI watches video of a game, it studies the frames to construct a model of how the game works and how players will interact with it. The researchers started it on Super Mario Bros. with a speedrunner video, which would be a more difficult test for it as the player is focused just on the goal. One video was not enough to develop a model that will clone the original engine, but by providing the AI additional videos, it was able to create something accurate enough another AI could not distinguish between it and the original game.

Since working with Super Mario Bros., the researchers have moved on to experimenting with Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog. Ultimately we could see this turned into a tool to accelerate game development and to experiment with different kinds of gameplay.

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 12, 2017 @ time: 12:21PM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is rolling along, with several items for you to check out today. We have plenty of keyboard options for you, starting with the GAMDIAS HERMES P1 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. This model features switches from TTC, so a little different take than the typical Cherry MX offerings, but does have plenty to like in terms of features, starting with the RGB lighting and macro keys. The next keyboards up are the HyperX Alloy FPS and FPS Pro, with both featuring a minimalist style and Cherry MX switches, yet the FPS Pro sporting a tenkeyless design. Finishing up is the Drevo Calibur 71-key mechanical keyboard, which has an even smaller design than tenkeyless models to better fit when space is at a premium. There is one non-keyboard item for today, as it's a look at 20 of the worst PC setups seen during August.

Keyboards/Mice
GAMDIAS HERMES P1 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps
HyperX Alloy FPS and FPS Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ PC Perspective
Drevo Calibur 71-Key Mechanical Keyboard @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups – August 2017 @ ThinkComputers


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Galactic Civilizations III and Crusade Updated to Version 2.5

Posted: September 12, 2017 @ time: 12:46PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Today Galactic Civilizations III and its expansion, Crusade, have received the major v2.5 update. With this update come improvements to AI, UI, balance, and performance.

Some of these improvements you will see in GalCiv3 actually come from in Crusade being brought into the original game, but naturally not with the expansion's special features. Some UI changes, like the summary tab, come from Crusade, along with how galactic resources are accumulated, and even the performance improvement for AI. Now the AI system is run on a core-neutral engine in both the base game and expansion. Crusade's improvements to the Diplomacy system, including the very useful trade bar, have been brought to the base game too.

If you look at the release notes there are two that might be of particular interest to current GalCiv3 and Crusade players. Saves from earlier versions of the game are not supported, so if you want to continue playing them you will need to select "galcivclassic – v2.33 Release" under the Betas tab of the game's Steam properties. For those with Crusade but want to return to the base game without having to remove the files, you can add -DisableDLC "Crusade" as a launch flag. The release notes are fairly long but might be worth looking through to see what other handy enhancements have come, and what Crusade enhancements are now in the base game.

I want to share this quote from the CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell, concerning his view of the Crusade expansion and the future of it and the base game:

I view Crusade as practically a sequel to the base game, not just an expansion. We really don't want to get into the business of charging money for AI and engine upgrades, so we'll continue to improve both games in order to achieve the best possible results.

Source: Stardock and Press Release


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Raja Koduri Taking Sabbatical from AMD, Returning in December

Posted: September 13, 2017 @ time: 08:24AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

This news was somewhat surprising to see today as Raja Koduri, the head of Radeon Technologies Group, the GPU division of AMD, is going to be taking a sabbatical from September 25 into December. This follows closely behind the release of the RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 GPUs, but as Raja notes in the email he sent to RTG colleagues, the last quarter of the year is the best time to take off, before there is new excitement over what 2018 will bring. He also explains he has been considering taking this time off for a while, so he can spend more time with his family, instead of working on Vega.

Until Raja's return, Lisa Su, the President and CEO AMD, will be heading RTG. Interestingly, one line in the email does state he will be shifting his "focus more toward architecting" and "rebalancing my operational responsibilities," so perhaps when he returns his role might be different.

Here is the email for you to read:

RTG Team,

You haven't heard from me collectively in a while - a symptom not only of the whirlwind of launching Vega, but simply of the huge number of demands on my time since the formation of RTG. Looking back over this short period, it is an impressive view. We have delivered 6 straight quarters of double-digit growth in graphics, culminating in the launch of Vega and being back in high-performance. What we have done with Vega is unparalleled. We entered the high-end gaming, professional workstation and machine intelligence markets with Vega in a very short period of time. The demand for Vega (and Polaris!) is fantastic, and overall momentum for our graphics is strong.

Incredibly, we as AMD also managed to spectacularly re-enter the high-performance CPU segments this year. We are all exceptionally proud of Ryzen, Epyc and Threadripper. The computing world is not the same anymore and the whole world is cheering for AMD. Congratulations and thanks to those of you in RTG who helped see these products through. The market for high-performance computing is on an explosive growth trajectory driven by machine intelligence, visual cloud, blockchain and other exciting new workloads. Our vision of immersive and instinctive computing is within grasp. As we enter 2018, I will be shifting my focus more toward architecting and realizing this vision and rebalancing my operational responsibilities.

At the beginning of the year I warned that Vega would be hard. At the time, some folks didn't believe me. Now many of you understand what I said. Vega was indeed hard on many, and my sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you who endured the Vega journey with me. Vega was personally hard on me as well and I used up a lot of family credits during this journey. I have decided to take a time-off in Q4 to spend time with my family. I have been contemplating this for a while now and there was never a good time to do this. Lisa and I agreed that Q4 is better than 2018, before the next wave of product excitement. Lisa will be acting as the leader of RTG during by absence. My sincere thanks to Lisa and rest of AET for supporting me in this decision and agreeing to take on additional workload during my absence.

I am looking to start my time-off on Sept 25th and return in December.

Thank you, all of you, for your unwavering focus, dedication and support over these past months, and for helping us to build something incredible. We are not done yet, and keep the momentum going!

Regards, Raja

Source: Tweak Town


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, September 14, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 14, 2017 @ time: 11:24AM
Author: bp9801

Thursday is here, with several items for you to check out as we start to get ready for the weekend. We have a benchmark of some lower end video cards that just might be perfect for eSports, as the GeForce GT 1030 goes against the Radeon RX 550 to see which should be in your rig. If you're after a new case, perhaps the Raijintek Thetis is for you, as it features dual tempered glass side panels to give it a great look without breaking the bank. For some power needs, the Seasonic FOCUS Plus Platinum 550W model gets reviewed to show what it can do for keeping your computer running. There's a look at the Unitek 10-Port USB Charging Station that offers plenty of options to keep your devices powered up. Wrapping things up is a look at the best laptops you can get right now to suit whatever need you're after.

Video Cards
eSports Benchmark: GeForce GT 1030 vs. Radeon RX 550 @ TechSpot

Cases
Raijintek Thetis @ ThinkComputers

Power Supplies
Seasonic FOCUS Plus Platinum 550W @ PC Perspective

Laptops/Tablets
The Best Laptops @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Unitek 10-Port USB Charging Station @ ThinkComputers


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, September 15, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 15, 2017 @ time: 10:57AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is here, with several items to get your weekend started on the right foot. We have a look at a build with a Core i7 and with a Ryzen 5 paired with the Vega 64 and GTX 1080 video cards to give you an idea of where to go if you're unsure of your next build. If you want a PC already built and ready to go, perhaps the AVA Direct Avant is for you, especially when it has two GTX 1080 Ti video cards in SLI. If you're after something more portable, then the MSI GS63VR Gaming Notebook, with NVIDIA's Max-Q design, should take care of you. We wrap up with a podcast covering the latest news and reviews of the past week.

CPUs
Intel Core i7 vs. AMD Ryzen 5 with Vega 64 & GTX 1080 @ TechSpot

Prebuilts
AVA Direct Avant Mid-Size @ LanOC Reviews

Laptops/Tablets
MSI GS63VR Gaming Notebook @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Podcast #467 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Threadripper CPU Opened and Dies Examined

Posted: September 15, 2017 @ time: 12:21PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At this point, if you have been following what AMD has been doing with its CPUs, you may know the entire stack of CPUs, from Ryzen 3 to Threadripper and Epyc, are all using the same Zeppelin die, with binning deciding where the dies. Those Zeppelin dies feature eight cores between their two core complexes (CCXs), 32 PCIe 3.0 lanes, and dual-channel memory support. By disabling cores we get the six core and four core parts, but by leveraging Infinity Fabric, AMD is able to combine multiple dies to create the Threadripper and Epyc chips, with up to 32 cores, 128 PCIe 3.0, and eight-channel memory. Some quick math there shows the Epyc chips are using four Zeppelin dies, and with Threadripper having 16 cores, 64 PCIe lanes, and quad-channel memory support, it uses two dies. When it was discovered Threadripper chips are hiding apparently four dies under the IHS, there were questions about the status of those other two dies, so der8auer decided to take a (second) look on his YouTube channel.

Initially der8aurer had put up a video where he delidded a Threadripper to find these four dies, but was asked to take it down for a bit, as the chip he used was an engineering sample. Now he has a new video up because there have been some claims that two of those dies are 'dummies' and are just spacers, even blank silicon. This time, instead of just popping off the IHS, der8auer went further to remove the dies from the packaging and then remove layers from the die to see if there were circuits underneath.

It turns out those claims of the dummy or blank dies are apparently false, as all four dies der8auer pulled out did in fact have circuitry in them; they are not dummies. They are definitely disabled though and likely defective, because why would you waste a usable die or silicon?

 

 

Source: der8auer YouTube


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Wireless Data and Power Combined

Posted: September 18, 2017 @ time: 11:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In recent years there has been a trend for technologies to go wireless for both form and convenience. Wireless charging is among the advancements being added to technologies, but it often comes at increased cost and weight because it requires special components be added to the device. While there is a reason these parts need to be added, instead of using those already present, researchers at North Carolina State University decided to see if it was possible to work around this reason, and succeeded.

Wireless systems, for data or power, require the use of antennas and radios and typically these parts will be tuned design for their intended purpose for greatest efficiency. For wireless power the parts are tuned to a narrow bandwidth, which minimizes power loss but makes them unsuited for data transfer. What dawned on the researchers is that while the wireless power system does require narrow band antennas, the whole system bandwidth does not need to be so small. By combining narrow-bandwidth components with a wide-bandwidth system, the researchers were able to achieve both power and data transfer.

When the researchers tested this new design, they were able to transfer 3 W of power while transmitting 3.39 MB/s with only a 2.3% loss in efficiency due to the data transmission. If only 2 W of power was transferred though, the efficiency only dropped by 1.3%. These tests were not done with the device resting directly on the charging pad with, but a little more than six inches away, demonstrating that this system can work over a distance.

Source: North Carolina State University


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, September 18, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 18, 2017 @ time: 11:21AM
Author: bp9801

Monday is upon us, with a new week bringing several items for you to check out. We have a look at the GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming 8 motherboard, offering a hybrid water block for the VRM for better cooling and a ton of other high-end features to appeal to the enthusiast crowd. If you need something a little smaller, maybe the ECS Z270H4-I is more your style, as it's a mini ITX motherboard with plenty of support for storage, RAM, and even a powerful video card to make a small yet mighty build. If you happen to have a new AMD Ryzen CPU, yet are looking to go with it in a compact case, then, fortunately, we have a look at several ITX Ryzen coolers for just such an occasion. There's a review on the Kingston KC1000 960GB PCIe M.2 SSD, packing a gigantic capacity and fast speeds to be right at home in your system. Wrapping things up is a look at five of the worst video cards ever released.

Video Cards
Top 5 Worst GPUs @ TechSpot

Motherboards
GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming 8 @ PC Perspective
ECS Z270H4-I @ Madshrimps

CPU Cooling
Ryzen ITX Cooler Roundup @ LanOC Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Kingston KC1000 960GB PCIe M.2 SSD @ ThinkComputers


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 19, 2017 @ time: 10:15AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is upon us, with a few items along the way for you to check out. There is a review of the AMD A12-9800, a Bristol Ridge APU that offers plenty of performance and integrated video for not much more than $100. We have a look at an affordable RGB LED strip you can add to your monitor to help reduce eye strain and look pretty cool in the process. Wrapping things up is a new entry in a PC upgrade article, where five PCs are in dire need of an upgrade and you can decide which is more deserving.

CPUs
AMD A12-9800 @ TechSpot

Miscellany
The $12 RGB Strip For Your Monitor @ ThinkComputers
Upgrade My PC Please! Episode 3: Core Hi Five! @ TechSpot


Complete Story


RX Vega Custom Cards Might Not Be Coming Until October

Posted: September 19, 2017 @ time: 11:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Last month AMD launched the gamer-targeting RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 GPUs, which are currently only available as reference cards, when you can find them in stock. With various reports of the Vega 64 especially running hot, many are recommending and waiting for custom from various AIB manufacturers. To date though, only Asus has announced a custom Vega GPU, the STRIX Vega, and while initially available was said to be early-September, there is still no sign of it.

As reported by VideoCardz, Hardware.fr has been asking hardware partners about when we might see custom cards launched or even announced, and they were not able to get a solid answer. Apparently one of the manufacturers said it is waiting on the chips for a custom card to arrive yet. If you are hoping to pick up a custom card, the estimation is you might have to wait until mid-October or later.

On the bright side though, the manufacturers had engineering boards as early as June, so there has been time to prepare the custom designs.

Source: VideoCardz


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Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope Exits Early Access on Steam

Posted: September 20, 2017 @ time: 10:27AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Eleven months ago Croteam, put Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope on Steam Early Access and today the developer has fully launched it. To mark the occasion, it is 25% off on both Steam and the Oculus Store. Part of this final update is the addition of playable character Serious Sammy and randomly generated missions, providing limitless gameplay for the serious players.

With this game players can visit five different planets and try to survive the game modes with the various weapons, upgrades, and powerups. In the Arena mode you face 8 arenas that have 4 waves of randomly generated enemies, and if that sounds easy, you can always try increasing the difficulty, as there are 20 difficulty modes. Beating an arena difficulty gets you a weapon upgrade.

The Endless Wave game mode has you just trying to survive as long as possible, hoping to claim a spot on the global leaderboards. The Daily Challenge provides an endless wave scenario but on a specific arena map each day, for more direct competition between players.

 

 

Source: Croteam


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, September 20, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 20, 2017 @ time: 12:06PM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is upon us, with a few items for your viewing pleasure today. We have a look at the CHERRY B.UNLIMITED 3.0 Keyboard and Mouse Kit, which is a wireless kit so you can sit where you want while playing the latest games. If you're after a system already built for gaming, perhaps the AVADirect BattleBox Ultimate X370 Gaming System is for you, with its Ryzen 7 1700X, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and 16GB of DDR4, among others. Or perhaps you're after something different, something like the HP Omen, which can pack anything from a Ryzen 5 1600 to a Core i7 7700K and an RX 580 to GeForce GTX 1080 SLI.

Keyboards/Mice
CHERRY B.UNLIMITED 3.0 Keyboard and Mouse Kit @ Madshrimps

Prebuilts
AVADirect BattleBox Ultimate X370 Gaming System @ ThinkComputers
HP Omen @ TechSpot


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, September 22, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 22, 2017 @ time: 11:20AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is upon us, with several items for you to check out as the weekend starts off. We have a look at the ASUS ROG Strix XG27VQ monitor, sporting a 27" screen and a refresh rate of 144Hz with AMD FreeSync support. There are a couple of build logs today, with one being the Ultimate RGB Build that explores the beginning stages of the hardware gathering process and why certain items have been selected. The other build log is the third part of Carmine, with a custom water cooling loop getting added into it at long last. We wrap up with a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Monitors
ASUS ROG Strix XG27VQ @ TechSpot

Miscellany
The Ultimate RGB Build: The Hardware @ ThinkComputers
Project Build: Carmine - Part 3 – Custom all the things @ LanOC Reviews
Podcast #468 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Intel Core i9 7980XE and 7960X Edition

Posted: September 25, 2017 @ time: 09:34AM
Author: bp9801

Intel is pulling out the big guns, as it has finally taken its Core Series all the way up to the Core i9 nomenclature. These new processors offer a massive amount of cores, all the way up to 18, and can provide a massive boost to your build. If you want to spend the high cost to jump in, that is. The Core i9 7980XE and 7960X are the two new processors launching today, with the former offering 18 cores and 36 threads, and the latter only at 16 cores and 32 threads. Both are an insane amount of processing potential, and if you want that amount of cores, they can be yours. We have a selection of reviews of these two new processors to check out, so hit them up below to see what Intel has delivered.

Intel Core i9 7980XE & Core i9 7960X @ OCC
Intel Core i9-7980XE and 7960X @ PC Perspective
Intel i9-7980XE and i9-7960X - Core-X Again @ LanOC Reviews
Intel Core i9-7980XE & 7960X @ TechSpot
Intel Core i9-7980XE 18-Core Processor @ ThinkComputers


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G.SKILL Launching Trident Z RGB RAM for AMD Systems in October

Posted: September 25, 2017 @ time: 09:52PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you are looking to build a new computer using an AMD Ryzen CPU, G.SKILL is launching new RAM kits targeting the Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper platforms. These new kits are versions of the Trident Z RGB kits with enhanced compatibility for AMD's latest consumer platforms and come in 2, 4, and 8 module kits.

For the dual-channel Ryzen platform you can get a 2x8 GB RAM kit tested at 3200 MHz, CL14 or 2400 MHz, CL15, with the latter also available in a 2x16 GB kit. If you want more RAM than that, or are using a Threadripper CPU with quad-channel support, there are 4x8 GB and 4x16 GB kits at that same 2400 MHz, CL15 speed. Just targeting Threadripper though are the 8x8 GB and 8x16 GB 2400 MHz, CL15, 8x8 GB and 8x16 GB 2933 MHz with CL14 or CL16, and the 3200 MHz, CL14 4x8 GB kits.

These kits are differentiated from the original Trident X RGB kits that target Intel platforms, you can look for the X at the end of the model numbers. These new AMD-targeting models will be available in October.

Source: G.SKILL


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 26, 2017 @ time: 11:21AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is here, with a few items for you to check out. We have a look at the Marseille mCable Gaming Edition, an HDMI cable that says it can actually improve image quality, which could be interesting if it truly delivers. Apple recently unveiled some new iPhones with some pretty bold claims, and fortunately we have an article taking a look at 10 of the things Apple said about the new iPhone X, or rather things it skirted around that are ripe for figuring out separately. Finally, there's a chance to win a 10-port USB charging station from Unitek, so hit up the link below to find out how to win!

Mobile
Reality Distortion Field: 10 Things Apple Won't Directly Say But We'll Infer About the iPhone X @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Marseille mCable Gaming Edition @ PC Perspective
Win a Unitek 10-Port USB Charging Station! @ ThinkComputers


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Some Details of the Ataribox Revealed

Posted: September 26, 2017 @ time: 11:26AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With Nintendo's success with the NES Classic, and expected success with the SNES Classic that will be available the end of this week, it cannot be too surprising when other companies try replicating that success by rereleasing their own classic game libraries on specialized hardware. Atari, which has a back-catalog of many classic games, had previously stated it wanted to release an Ataribox console, that would let us enjoy some of those classic games again, and now we are learning a bit more about the hardware and the device's target, thanks to an interview by GamesBeat with the Ataribox creator and general manager, Feargal Mac.

The Ataribox is going to run a Linux-based OS and will be an open system, so others can access and customize it as they wish. Powering it will be an AMD CPU with Radeon graphics and the cost of the Ataribox will be between $250 and $300. That is definitely more than the MSRP of Nintendo's classic consoles, but it is not going to be so specialized. It will be capable of running the classic games and some modern games too, like Minecraft or Terraria, but not AAA titles that require much more powerful hardware. It will also be able to stream, run apps, browse the Internet, and play music.

Atari will start a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this fall with the Ataribox launching in Spring 2018.

Source: Venture Beat


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Improved Ryzen CPUs Might Launch in February 2018

Posted: September 27, 2017 @ time: 08:10AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

This would very much be classified as a rumor currently, but it is still an interesting one. According to Digitimes, citing motherboard manufacturers as its sources, we may see improved versions of the Ryzen CPUs from AMD launch in February. These new processors would be built on GlobalFoundries' 12 nm process, which would offer some improvements over the current 14 nm process. The codenames for these processors are Pinnacle 7, Pinnacle 5, and Pinnacle 3, following the same pattern as Ryzen 7, 5, and 3 for targeted markets.

Following shortly these CPUs would be the release of the 400 series chipset, with X470-based and B450-based motherboards coming in March. AMD has previously stated it will be sticking with the AM4 socket for multiple CPU generations, so if these rumors are true, current motherboards would be able to accept these new CPUs and the new motherboards would be able to take the current CPUs.

Of course, rumors are just rumors.

Source: Digitimes


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Assassin's Creed Origin to Feature Discovery Tour for Exploring Ancient Egypt

Posted: September 27, 2017 @ time: 10:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Historical fiction works, like the Assassin's Creed series of games, allow you to visit a completely different time, and while some of what is presented to you is fictitious, there remains some truth to what you discover. With Assassin's Creed Origins, however, Ubisoft is adding Discovery Tour, a feature that will allow you to explore Ancient Egypt without the concern of combat or story progress. Guided tours, curated by historians and Egyptologists, will allow the player to learn about the real history of the game's setting.

It may or may not surprise you that such an educational mode is actually something that was requested by teachers and institutions, so Discovery Tour is meant as an educative mode as it will present actual facts to the player. Subjects such as the Great Pyramids, Cleopatra, mummification and more will be covered in this mode, and without the game progression to be concerned with, players can also explore the re-created landscapes of Memphis, Alexandria, the Sand Sea, and the Giza Plateau as they wish.

Assassin's Creed Origins launches on October 27 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 but Discovery Tour will come as a free update in early 2018.

Source: Ubi Blog


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, September 27, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 27, 2017 @ time: 10:40AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with just a couple of items for you to check out. We have another look at the Intel Core i9 7960X processor, a 16 core monster that offers plenty of performance and a high price tag to boot. Our other item for the day is a review of the G.SKILL Trident Z RGB 32GB 3000MHz DDR4 Memory Kit, which has fully controllable RGB lighting to further enhance the look of your build.

CPUs
Intel Core i9 7960X @ ThinkComputers

Memory
G.SKILL Trident Z RGB 32GB 3000MHz DDR4 Memory Kit @ Madshrimps


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Red Dead Redemption 2 Gets Second Trailer

Posted: September 28, 2017 @ time: 08:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Back in October, Rockstar Games announced Red Dead Redemption 2 was coming. At the time it was expected this year, but its release has slipped to Spring 2018 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with no PC release announced. Today though we are getting the second trailer for the game, showing us some more of the outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang that will rob, right, and steal to survive across America.

 

 

Source: Rockstar Newswire


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, September 28, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 28, 2017 @ time: 10:15AM
Author: bp9801

The final week of September is starting to wind down, with a few items along the way before it happens. We have a review of the AZZA Storm 6000W case, which has a tempered glass side panel to show off your build and RGB lighting to really give it a unique style. If you're after something smaller, but no less impressive, then perhaps the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Shift case is for you, as it can stand vertically or lay horizontally depending on how your ITX build looks best. We wrap up with a look at the best graphics cards available today, based on what your budget is for the different ones.

Cases
AZZA Storm 6000W @ ThinkComputers
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Shift @ Benchmark Reviews

Video Cards
The Best Graphics Cards @ TechSpot


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, September 29, 2017, Edition

Posted: September 29, 2017 @ time: 12:02PM
Author: bp9801

The last Friday of September is here, with a couple of items for you to check out. We have a look at the EVGA X299 Micro, which packs a ton of features and performance potential in a micro ATX size for those wanting a small yet powerful build. In the mobile world, there's a review of the Apple A11 SoC that powers the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to see just what kind of performance you can get from it. It's also a nice preview of what to expect with the iPhone X, since the same A11 is in that one, too.

Motherboards
EVGA X299 Micro @ LanOC Reviews

Mobile
Apple A11 Performance Review with the iPhone 8 Plus @ PC Perspective


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