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Last Build Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2018 05:34:38 +0100


Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, January 16, 2018, Edition

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:28:47 -0800

Tuesday is here, with a couple of items to greet you today. We have a review of the Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 and NH-L12s Low-Profile CPU coolers, with both offering a compact size to more easily fit in a small build while keeping everything nice and cool. Our other item for the day is a look at the Acer Predator X34P monitor, an upgraded version that gets a nice boost to 100Hz (and overclockable to 120Hz) on the panel.

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 and NH-L12s Low-Profile CPU Coolers @ Neoseeker

Acer Predator X34P @ TechSpot

Hardware Roundup: Monday, January 15, 2018, Edition

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 06:33:38 -0800

Monday is upon us, with a few items to start the week off or continue the last bit of the weekend if you happen to have the day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. There's a look at the ECS Z370-LIGHTSABER motherboard, which has better overclocking support and a retooled design to really help set your system up for success. We have a look at all the case mods and builds seen at CES 2018, with some truly impressive designs showcased. Things wrap up today with an article saying why it's a bad idea to build a gaming PC now, with the focus on expensive DDR4 memory.

ECS Z370-LIGHTSABER @ Madshrimps

The Case Mods and Builds of CES 2018 @ ThinkComputers
Why Building a Gaming PC Right Now Is a Bad Idea, Part 1: Expensive DDR4 Memory @ TechSpot

Circuit City Returning February 15

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:10:29 -0800

Do you remember Circuit City? It used to be the top big-box tech chain, but fell from that height. There was an attempt to bring it back as an online-only sister site to Systemax's TigerDirect, but that failed too. At CES 2018 though, Ronny Shmoel, the Circuit City CEO who bought the band back from Systemax in 2015, announced Circuit City is being resurrected again.

The new Circuit City will begin as an experiential website, followed by kiosks, store-in-stores, and finally showrooms. Supporting the site will be the commerce platform of the IBM Watson AI. Watson will learn customers' interests and then behave as a shopping assistant, attempting to put experience over product as you search for what you need and want.

Source: Twice

Cougar Announces Phontum Gaming Headset

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:09:36 -0800


Gaming headsets are a fairly common piece of equipment for many gamers today, as they can provide clear sound and a microphone to communicate with your allies, and taunt your enemies. For long gaming sessions though, the headset needs to be comfortable, and finding a headset that is not too expensive but you can wear for hours can be difficult. Cougar believes it has an answer for you with its Phontum headset.

The Phontum has a few features that make it stand out from other headsets, with perhaps the most apparent being its two earpad options. Instead of being forced to use the same earpads wherever you are, the Phontum comes with two pairs that can be swapped out. The thicker gaming/home use pair provide better comfort and sound quality, while the on-the-go earpads are thinner and lighter, making them better for travelling and outdoor use. Both share the same soft protein surface.

Inside the headset are large 53 mm drivers, larger than those in many other headsets, and a dual chamber structure. This structure will help differentiate the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. The diaphragms of the drivers are made of graphene, reducing distortion.

The Phontum will be available by the end of the month with a US MSRP of $54.99.

Source: Cougar Gaming

Hardware Roundup: Friday, January 12, 2018, Edition

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 06:33:43 -0800

January is rolling right along, with another week drawing to a close. We do have a couple items for you today, starting with a look at the Corsair Hydro H150i Pro RGB CPU Cooler. This liquid cooler features a large 360mm radiator, a first for Corsair, and a redesigned pump that should both work to keep your CPU cool when shooting for that high overclock. Our other item for the day revisits the Core i7 5820K, a six-core/12-thread Haswell-E processor from several years ago, to see just how it compares against some of the modern CPUs released lately.

6-core/12-thread Core i7 for $200, i7-5820K Revisited @ TechSpot

CPU Cooling
Corsair Hydro H150i Pro RGB CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews

Samsung Begins Mass Production of Improved HBM2

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:54:39 -0800

As graphics and other workloads move more and more to using large amounts of data, the need for faster memory and more efficient will grow. This is why new memory technologies have been and continue to be developed, such as High Bandwidth Memory, HBM, with HBM2 being used in some devices today. Samsung is among the companies developing and producing HBM2 and announced today it is starting mass production of its second generation HBM2, called Aquabolt.

Samsung's first generation HBM2 is called Flarebolt and is able to achieve 1.6 Gbps per pin at 1.2 V and 2.0 Gbps at 1.35 V. Aquabolt surpasses both values, reaching 2.4 Gbps pin speed at 1.2 V, which translates to 307 GB/s bandwidth for a single 8 Gb package on a 1024-bit bus. For comparison, an 8 Gb GDDR5 chip can provide 32 GB/s bandwidth, using a 32-bit bus.

Source: Samsung

Wi-Fi Alliance Announces WP3

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:41:35 -0800

A great deal of the information we consume and produce every day goes over wireless networks, especially Wi-Fi, which makes securing these transmissions of constant importance. To that end, the Wi-Fi Alliance has announced some of the new capabilities that will emerge this year as part of WPA3.

While WPA2 has been widely successful, is still being developed, and will continue to be deployed in future devices, WPA3 is going to bring new protections and features. Among these are means to ensure security for simple passwords and making it easier for devices with small or no display interface to connect. Individualized encryption is another feature that will strengthen privacy even on open networks and we will also see a 192-bit security suite created to protect networks with high security requirements.

Source: Wi-Fi Alliance

Retro FPS DUSK Arrives on Early Access

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 10:41:12 -0800


While I did not play them much, I do have fond memories of some of the FPS games from the nineties. I am not unique in having such memories, and developer New Blood Interactive is creating DUSK, a Quake-inspired game featuring a soundtrack by Andrew Hulshult, who also did the soundtrack for Rise of the Triad. With that music supporting you, you will encounter mystical backwater cultists, possessed militants, and still darker forces to kill by any means necessary.

The game is now available via Steam Early Access for $20 and includes Episodes 1 and 2 of the three episode campaign, and the open beta of DUSKWorld, the game's multiplayer component. Still to come to Early Access are Episode 3, Endless Arena 3, achievements, trading cards, leaderboards, and more. Post launch plans including the DAWN SDK, Steam Workshop support, co-op play, and Mac and Linux versions of the game.


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Source: Press Release

Dark Souls Remastered Coming May 25

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 08:20:17 -0800


Since its release, Dark Souls has received a lot of praise and built a following amongst its fans, helping to lead to the success of its sequels. The PC version is not so well respected, but the community has crafted a number of mods to improve the experience. Come May 25 though, Dark Souls: Remastered will be released, and it will bring support for 4K resolution at 60 FPS. It will also support up to six-person multiplayer via a dedicated game server.

Dark Souls: Remastered is also coming to Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and even the Nintendo Switch. If you have a PlayStation 4 and none of the games, there is also going to be a Dark Souls Trilogy Box that includes the three titles, their soundtracks, and more goodies.


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Source: Dark and Steam News

Deepcool Shows Off New Cases and Coolers at CES 2018

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:02:19 -0800

If you are looking to put together a new build, or transplant an old one to a new case, Deepcool has a couple cases to consider. First up is the QUADSTELLAR with its interesting four-compartment design. This allows components to be separated, preventing heat dissipation interference. It is also a smart PC case, allowing its RGB lighting and heat dissipation system to be controller through an APP. It supports up to an E-ATX motherboard and will be available in an Electro Limited Edition. This limited edition will only see 100 units made available in May. A more conventional looking case, the ARK 90 is meant to make custom water-cooling easier as it supports E-ATC motherboards and has a variety of mounting options for your cooling system. Its front panel features an external transparent water-tube with flow rotor, so you can easily observe the dynamic flow rate. Its front and top panels have tempered glass sections while the whole left side panel is tempered glass, and all with a black obsidian texture. The integrated RGB lighting system makes showing off your components easier. Like the QUADSTELLAR, there will be an Electro Limited Edition and only 100 of them will be available in May. If you have or a building an AMD Ryzen Threadripper build, Deepcool has also announced a pair of coolers targeting this large and powerful processor. A TR4 (the Threadripper socket) version of the Captain 240EX RGB AIO cooler has been launched, and the company states it is compatible with other processors as well. As the name suggests it also features an RGB lighting system and it can be controlled with a connected controller or through software via a motherboard header. An Electro Limited Edition will be available in May. If all you want is an air cooler, the FRYZEN air cooler is going to be available in April, supporting all AMD sockets, including TR4 and the AM4 socket of the consumer Ryzen processors. With an ultra large copper base featuring mini-bumps and a parallel arrangement of six heat pipes, it will cover Threadripper processors to dissipate the heat they can put out. With inverse double-bladed fans it offers double the air pressure and double the performance of other coolers. It too has an RGB lighting system and it supports Addressable RGB for sync-control with motherboard lighting, but has built-in effects as well. Source: Deepcool[...]

Mushkin Announces Multiple New Products at CES 2018

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 12:45:45 -0800

Mushkin has announced a number of products at CES 2018, so it is probably best to just jump right into them.

Three new M.2 2280 SSDs are coming from Mushkin: the Pilot; Pilot-E; and Helix-L. The Pilot has capacities ranging from 120 GB and 2 TB with max sequential read of 3.2 GB/s and sequential write of 1.9 GB/s. The Pilot-E SSDs cover from 250 GB to 2 TB and have a max sequential read of 3.5 GB/s and sequential write of 3 GB/s. The Helix-L is a lower cost SSD as it drops DRAM from its build, improving the price to GB ratio. Its capacities reach from 120 GB to 1 TB and the drives have a max sequential read of 2.4 GB/s and max write of 1.7 GB/s. All three of these SSD series offer end-to-end data path protection, LDPC ECC, global wear-leveling, and a 3-year warranty backing them.

Also in the M.2 2280 form factor are new Triactor SSDs, which target more budget-conscious consumers. The Triactor 3DL M.2 2280 SSDs will come in capacities from120 GB to 1 TB and have a max sequential read of 550 MB/s and sequential write of 505 MB/s. These SSDs uses the SATA Revision 3.1 interface and not NVMe 1.3 like the three mentioned above.

Mushkin is also launching it first external SSD, the CarbonEXT. It will use the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and achieves a maximum throughput of 450 MB/s over its ASMedia ASM1153E USB controller. Both Type-A and Type-C cables are included with the drives that will come in capacities from 120 GB to 1 TB.

They will not offer the same capacity, but Mushkin is also launching new SWAP OTG USB 3.1 flash drives. These will be available in both 32 GB and 64 GB capacities and use USB 3.1 to connect with the ability to swap between Type A and Type C connectors. They are USB On-The-Go compatible, which means supporting smartphones and tablets can directly connect to them. The read speeds can reach up to 225 MB/s and write up to 65 MB/s.

In addition to all of these SSDs and flash drives, Mushkin has also revealed a new, refreshed Silverline DDR4 heatsink. The new heatsink uses aircraft-grade aluminum to dissipate heat and features a diamond cut design to offer a refined, industrial look that will still turn heads. You can expect to see it on new Silverline DDR4 memory SKUs in Q2 2018.

Source: Press Release


The Red Strings Club Launching January 22 on Steam

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 11:58:18 -0800


Taking a break from all of the CES 2018 news, later this month a new game from developer Deconstructeam, published by Devolver Digital, will be launching. The Red Strings Club is a cyberpunk narrative experience concerning fate and happiness that uses pottery, bartending, and impersonating people over the phone to collapse a corporate conspiracy. A bartender, freelance hacker, rogue empathy android, and unwitting company employees will pull all the strings until the scheme falls apart.

The Red Strings Club launches on January 22, but if you pre-order now you can save 20% and get the developers' first game, Gods Will Be Watching. If you already have a copy of the earlier title, you will receive a giftable copy to share with a friend.


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Source: Press Release

Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, January 10, 2018, Edition

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 06:49:29 -0800

The middle of the week is upon us, with a few items along the way. We have a look at the Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega case, a uniquely styled model capable of holding a 360mm radiator inside to help keep your components cool. Speaking of keeping things cool, there's a review on the Corsair H150i Pro Liquid CPU Cooler, which sports Corsair's first ever 360mm radiator and an all-new pump design that should provide some exceptional cooling performance. We finish things up with a large GPU test for Fortnite to see what will give you the best results while playing Battle Royale.

Corsair Carbide Spec-Omega @ Benchmark Reviews

CPU Cooling
Corsair H150i Pro Liquid CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers

44 GPU Fortnite Benchmark: The Best Graphics Cards for Playing Battle Royale @ TechSpot

MSI Shows Off New Monitors, Desktops, Motherboard, GPU, and Laptop at CES 2018

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:03:04 -0800

MSI is at CES 2018 as well and brought a number of products with it, including two new Optix gaming monitors. These are the Optix MPG27C and MPG27CQ, with the difference being the 27C is 1080p while the 27CQ is 1440p. What they have in common though is an 1800R curved VA panel with a 1 ms response time and 144 Hz refresh rate. These are the first gaming monitors with Steel Series GameSense built in, which means they have five RGB zones on the front that can be configured to notify you of various events, such as in-game times, Discord notifications, and more. The backs of the monitors also have RGB lighting. The VA panels off 100% coverage of the NTSC gamut and 115% coverage of sRGB. For ports the monitors have two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2, one USB 3 Type B, a headphones out, mic in, audio combo jack, two USB 3 Type A ports, and a Kensington lock. If the adjustability of the stand is not enough, the monitors support VESA mounting. Coming to the desktops, the Trident 3 Arctic has been upgraded to include an Intel 8th Generation CPU and NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU. The Infinite X desktop uses a more traditional case design than the Arctic and has either dual steel or dual tempered glass side panels along with Mystic Light RGB LEDs. Inside you can find MSI GPUs, an Intel 8th Generation CPU, and MSI's Silent Storm Cooling 3 Pro liquid cooling. The Aegis Ti3 desktop will also be available later this year. If you would rather build your own desktop, the Z370 Godlike Gaming motherboard was shown off with features like Killer xTend for improved connectivity. Killer xTend combines a built-in switch and wireless extend. The motherboard also has support for Triple Turbo M.2 with M.2 Shield V2, Turbo U.2 with Steel Armor, Xtreme Audio DAC with Nahimic 2, and Steel Armor for its DDR4 RAM slots. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z is also at CES with its Tri-Frozr thermal design using three TORX 2.0 fans. Between the fans and close quarters heat pipe cooling, with those heat pipes infused into the heatsink and backplate, the GPU should stay cool as you play. Finally, MSI is also unveiling a new GT75VR Titan Pro laptop, which features the new Killer Wireless-AC 1550. Developed with Intel, this is the world's fastest 2x2 11ac wireless adapter as it reaches 1.73 Gbps throughput. It features 160 MHz channel support, allowing it to double the throughput of standard 2x2 11ac adapters. Source: MSI[...]

PowerColor Reveals Gaming Station External Graphics Card Chassis

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 11:39:29 -0800


Back in 2016 the PowerColor Devil Box was released, an external graphics card chassis to bring the power of discrete GPUs to smaller computers and laptops with Thunderbolt 3. Now the company has announced a new version called the Gaming Station. This new eGPU chassis uses AMD XConnect Technology to connect a GPU to a system over Thunderbolt 3. It also has a variety of ports on it, including five USB 3.0 Type-A ports (two on the front and three on the back), a Gigabit ethernet port, and the Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C) port to actually connect it to a computer. The internal power supply can provide 550 W for the GPU and 87 W can be sent over the Thunderbolt 3 port to power compatible laptops.

Source: PowerColor [1] and [2]