TOP NEWS
Rumor: Acer Triton 700 may use an unreleased Pascal GPU
— 4:30 PM on April 28, 2017

When we wrote about Acer's Predator Triton 700 gaming laptops earlier today, we were somewhat taken aback by Acer's coyness about what Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series graphics chips were stuffed inside. The $3000 starting price suggests a GeForce GTX 1070 or better, but the press release was no more specific than saying that the laptops use a Pascal chip of some kind.

Acer shared some benchmark numbers with press conference attendees and even let them poke around with pre-release hardware. That's where the mystery takes an interesting turn. The folks at NotebookCheck were among the poke-and-prod crowd, and Acer's touted performance figures and the some time with the hardware prompted the site to reveal inside information about a "GTX 1080 Max-Q" chip set to release at Computex.

Acer was particularly proud of the Triton's score of 17,000 points in 3DMark 11. That particular benchmark rewards high-performance CPUs and graphics chips. Assuming the laptop is packing a high-end mobile Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NotebookCheck says that whatever graphics chip is inside the Triton 700 is performing just a bit better than a GeForce GTX 1070. The interesting bit is that mobile GTX 1070s are typically found in laptops a size class thicker than the Predator Triton's 0.75" (19 mm) thickness. Getting this level of performance usually requires a laptop at least 0.9" (23 mm) thick or more.

Notebookcheck's backstage poking and prodding revealed more interesting nuggets of info. The laptops' installed Nvidia Control Panel software revealed the presence of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with a "GP104M" chip. Thus far, all GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chips, mobile and desktop, have been designated GP104, no ifs, ands, or buts. The driver indicated a core clock of 1290 MHz, though Acer staff did note that the hardware specifications had not yet been finalized.

NotebookCheck goes on to say that the Predator Triton 700 will be offered in two different performance tiers. The author believes this could mean the mysterious GP104M chip could be used in both reduced-power-consumption GTX 1070s and GTX 1080s, in the same way that the standard GP104 chip is used in the standard GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards.

For now, these GTX 1080 Max-Q chips are simply a matter of speculation. Another possible explanation is better-than-expected cooling system efficiency that allows the standard mobile GeForce GTX 1070 into a smaller package. If Notebookcheck's sources are correct, we'll learn more at Computex.

16 comments — Last by ImSpartacus at 8:33 AM on 04/29/17

Silverstone Vital VT02 could hold a Core i7 in under two liters
— 3:30 PM on April 28, 2017

When we saw Silverstone's first Vital chassis at Computex last year, we commented that most of the Mini-STX enclosures we had seen were pretty similar. Fittingly, Silverstone's next Vital-series chassis is a bit different from its predecessor. The Vital VT02 is once again designed for motherboards in the Mini-STX form factor, but this time, the unit has room for a pair of 2.5" drives.

Two 2.5" devices may not seem like a lot of storage, but in a device that's under two liters in total volume it's pretty impressive. The Vital VT02 can also fit Intel's standard boxed cooler, so builders don't have to worry about shelling out for a low-profile heatsink. The case has USB Type-A and Type-C ports on the front, as well as your standard 3.5-mm headphone and mic jacks.

The actual dimensions of the case are 6.5" by 2.87" by 6.16" (16.5 by 7.3 by 15.6cm)—even smaller than a Nintendo Wii U. You won't be fitting a graphics card or a power supply in the VT02, but that's sort of missing the point anyway. Silverstone also includes a VESA mount for attaching the VT02 to a wall or the back of a monitor. Silverstone will sell the chassis for just $31.50, or 28.90€, when it goes on sale.

 Mini-STX is an Intel-driven standard, and as of yet, the only boards in that size are for LGA 1151 CPUs. AMD's upcoming Raven Ridge processors seem like an ideal fit for small form-factor applications like this, however, so hopefully some enterprising motherboard vendor steps up to the plate.

4 comments — Last by ChicagoDave at 8:10 PM on 04/28/17

G.Skill KM560 MX keyboard drops the numpad
— 2:30 PM on April 28, 2017

If you're one of the folks who likes a big mousing surface for low-sensitivity gameplay, you probably also have a tenkeyless keyboard. If not, maybe it's time to consider one. G.Skill is ready to serve with its latest finger-exerciser, the KM560 MX Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard.

G.Skill hasn't been selling peripherals all that long, so this is its very first tenkeyless keyboard. Aside from the chopped right side this keyboard appears to be fundamentally identical to the KM570, which we first saw back in October. That means you get genuine Cherry MX switches (in Red, Brown, or Blue varieties), red-only LEDs under each key, software-less macro programming, and n-key roll-over.

The issue of whether or not the numeric keypad is vital to the typing experience is a divisive one. The removal of that block allows a keyboard to be much narrower, freeing space for a larger mousepad or a bigger mug of coffee. Of course, it also makes typing numbers that much more tedious. G.Skill says the KM560 MX is already available in Asia, and that it will be available in the US and Europe in Q4 this year.

6 comments — Last by tsk at 8:16 AM on 04/29/17

Galax and KFA2 induct the GTX 1080 Ti into the Hall of Fame
— 1:00 PM on April 28, 2017

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is a standout performer. For some, the outrageous performance must be accompanied by ludicrous styling and over-the-top features. The Galax/KFA2 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti HOF was obviously created to cater to that market segment. The card sports a built-in LCD display that shows the frequency of the graphics core and memory or custom text by way of the company's Xtreme Tuner Plus Software.

The 1080 Ti HOF's two-and-a-half slot cooler is embossed with a crown design befitting the current single-card performance champion. The crown design and the three 8-pin PCIe power connectors are backlit with RGB LEDs. Sadly, the LCD display's backlight appears to be limited to a single bluish-white color.

The card's core base clock is 1569 MHz, up 89 MHz from the reference spec. The specified boost clock is 94 MHz higher than the Founder Edition, at 1683 MHz. The memory is the GTX 1080 Ti standard-issue 11 GB of 11 GT/s GDDR5X on a 352-bit bus.

Those who repeatedly plug and unplug monitors in a darkened environment will appreciate the lights built into the card's I/O bracket. The card augments the standard GeForce GTX 1080 Ti port configuration of three DisplayPorts and an HDMI 2.0 jack with a DVI-D connector, perfect for connecting that 19" TN display from 2005. The backplate also appears to sport a button. Galax didn't say what the button does, but we imagine it resets the graphics card's clock speeds back to the factory specifications.

The card's product page lists compatibility with Windows 7-10, Linux, and FreeBSD, though we aren't sure if software exists for control of the built-in LCDs in the open-source operating systems.

Galax did not provide pricing or availability information for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti HOF. Based on past experience, readers in North America will have to search pretty hard to be able to get their claws on one of these. In addition to an unspecified amount of money, prospective buyers will need a power supply with three 8-pin PCIe power connectors and a case capable of swallowing the card's bulky 12.9" x 6.0" x 2.2" (33 cm x 15 cm x 5.7 cm) dimensions.

19 comments — Last by Ninjitsu at 6:30 AM on 04/29/17

Acer's Aspire GX-281 lineup brings Ryzen to the masses
— 11:30 AM on April 28, 2017

Despite Ryzen CPUs roaring out of the gate a few weeks back, major PC makers haven't yet announced pre-built systems based around AMD's new chip. At least, not until now. Acer just let the world know that its Acer Aspire GX line of gaming desktops will pack Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 chips starting in May.

Although Acer has yet to add the new machines to its U.S. site, we dug up info on them courtesy of the company's Dutch page. The Ryzen-powered boxes are all labeled as Aspire GX-281 and come with a choice of AMD CPUs ranging from the Ryzen 5 1400 up to the mighty Ryzen 7 1700X. Graphics card options scale with the CPU offerings. The lowest-end model will apparently get a GeForce GTX 1050. The European site only lists graphics cards options up to the GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, but according to spec sheets captured by PCWorld and TrustedReviews from the company's next@Acer event, there will apparently be models with GeForce GTX 1070 or Radeon RX 480 cards available in the U.S.

Acer's American site says that the Aspire GX-281 with a Ryzen 5 1600 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and a GTX 1050 graphics card will ring in at $899. There's no U.S. pricing for the other models, but MediaMarkt's Dutch online store helpfully lists a handful of machines with price tags ranging from about $990 to $1530 after deducting the VAT. The European models all show storage combo setups with an SSD and a hard drive, though. Regional differences in availability aside, it's exciting to see Acer bringing Ryzen to the masses.

13 comments — Last by raddude9 at 2:00 AM on 04/29/17

Deals of the week: discounts on CPUs, mobos, and more
— 11:04 AM on April 28, 2017

Howdy, gerbils! You may be itching to upgrade your decade-old system, but the high prices of desirable CPUs and motherboards is possibly an issue. Fear not, for today there's a bounty of deals on that front. Let's get crackin'.

  • It's hardly a secret that AMD has priced its Ryzen CPUs quite aggressively. On top of that, deals are already running on some models. If you're itching to grab a Ryzen 7 1700X, today's the day. You can get your hands on its eight cores and 3.8 GHz turbo clock speed for only $364.99 at Newegg if you use promo code EMCRECJ22.
     
  • If you prefer to go with Intel, that's fine too. Newegg is running a combo deal with a super-fancy Gigabyte GA-Z270X-Gaming K7 motherboard stuffed to the gills with connectivity and RGB LED lighting, accompanied by a mighty Core i7-7700K CPU. The whole enchilada will set you back only $479.99. As if that price wasn't sweet enough, Newegg has another $20 available in the form of a mail-in rebate. Grab the deal while you can.
     
  • Today seems to a good day for motherboard deals. too. The MSI B350 PC Mate is a Ryzen-ready ATX mobo with four SATA ports, an M.2 slot, and a USB Type-C port. Its main PCIe slot is metal-reinforced, too. You can get one from Newegg for $84.99.
     
  • Just in case you prefer your PCs in ankle-biter size, here's a good choice for a motherboard. The ASRock H270M/ITX-ac, as its name implies, fits the ITX form factor and comes with built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. That's not all, though. There are two Intel Ethernet adapters and six SATA ports. That's a ton of hardware for something this size. This mighty mite is going for $94.99 at Newegg. A rebate card can chop another $5 off the price.
     
  • If you don't have a good power supply, your system sucks—period, full stop. Luckily, we can help. The Corsair RM1000x PSU will deliver a whopping 1000W of power, has modular cabling, semi-passive cooling, and carries an 80 Plus Gold certification. I'm currently running the 750W variant and I have absolutely nothing to say about it, which is the best possible compliment for a PSU. Grab one at Newegg for only $137.99.
     
  • Today's hard drive deal: the HGST Deskstar NAS drive with 6TB capacity. Very speedy, much cheap, such capacity, wow. Only $219.99 at Newegg if you use promo code EMCRECJ24.
     
  • Looking to step up from a dreadful, imprecise rubber-dome keyboard to something a bit more upmarket? Here's the Cooler Master Pro S RGB keyboard. We loved this stylish tenkeyless offering when we reviewed it, and today Newegg is running a sale on it. You can get one with Cherry MX Red or Brown switches for only $109.99. That's a darn good deal right there, but there's a $20 rebate card that can sweeten it further still.

There's a chance you're looking for something we haven't covered. If that's the case, you can help The Tech Report by using the following referral links when you're out shopping: not only do we have a partnership with Newegg, but we also work with Best Buy, Adorama, RakutenWalmart, and Sam's Club. For more specific needs, you can also shop with our links at the Microsoft Store and Das Keyboard's shop.

8 comments — Last by Kharnellius at 11:03 PM on 04/28/17

Asetek gets $600,000 from Cooler Master in AIO cooler patent spat
— 10:00 AM on April 28, 2017

Ever since Asetek received a patent in 2012 for its all-in-one liquid cooler design, it pursued legal action against CoolIt Systems and Cooler Master, who both made similar products. In 2015, Asetek won an injunction against Cooler Master's AIO coolers and settled with CoolIt. The Denmark-based company has now chalked up another legal victory. Asetek announced that it was awarded and received damage compensation from Cooler Master in the amount of $600,000.

Following the injunction, Cooler Master stopped selling its infringing liquid coolers in the United States. Cooler Master avoided the threat of patent infringement in its subsequent designs by using a two-chamber pump design. Cooler Master avoided patent infringement in its subsequent products by using a clean-sheet pump design, as seen in the MasterLiquid Pro 240 and Pro 280 we reviewed last November.

The legal battle raged on, though. As expected, Cooler Master appealed the injunction. Asetek informs us that the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled this month in Asetek's favor, reaffirming the ruling from a lower court. With the injunction affirmed and the damages paid, it appears that this chapter of the five-year-long patent dispute has largely come to an end. It's still possible that Asetek might pursue legal action against other makers of AIO coolers, though.

14 comments — Last by NovusBogus at 11:19 PM on 04/28/17

Acer Predator Triton and Helios laptops are ready for serious play
— 9:00 AM on April 28, 2017

With sales in traditional computer hardware categories seemingly shrinking every quarter, companies are trying harder to get into lucrative segments like specialty gaming hardware. Acer may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of performance gaming systems, but it's been growing its Predator gaming brand recently. At its next@Acer event yesterday, the company showed off a couple new families of high-end gaming laptops.

We're starting with the spiciest of the bunch, the Predator Triton 700 series. Acer says these laptops sport Intel seventh-generation Core processors and Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards—though it doesn't specifically state which varieties are available. The press release mentions VR capability, suggesting the minimum spec might be a Core i5 coupled with a GeForce GTX 1060. The display is a 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS number with support for G-Sync. The machine's memory and storage are decidedly high-spec, with support for up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory and two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0. For peripheral connnectivity, users can count on Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 outputs. A Killer DoubleShot Pro adapter handles both wired and wireless networking duties.

The laptops in the Triton 700 series have mechanical keyboards with RGB LED lighting mounted on the near side of the laptop's top. A glass touchpad between the screen and the keyboard shows off the machine's cooling system. Judging by the promo video, that's only pointing device in the system, so ergonomics freaks might feel their carpal tunnel syndrome flaring up from just looking at it. The machine's 5.7 lb. (2.6 kg) weight and 0.74" (1.9 cm) thickness shouldn't bother users too much when moving the machine around.

The company's Helios 300 family has more mainstream specs and designs. Models with 15.6" and 17.3" IPS 1920x1080 screens will be available with Intel Kaby Lake Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ CPUs along with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 graphics cards. The keyboards are standard membrane units with red backlighting. The standard opaque touchpad sits in front of the keyboard, where sensible laptop makers have been putting it since the mid-1990s.

Helios 300 systems ship with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory installed, upgradeable to 32 GB. Storage comes courtesy of a combo setup with a SATA SSD and a 1 TB hard drive. Peripheral connectivity options include a USB 3.0 Type-A port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 2.0 connectors, and an HDMI 2.0 output. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi let the laptops talk to other computers. 

Acer says the Predator Triton 700s will be available in August starting at around $3000. The Helios 300 laptops will start appearing on North American shelves in July. The 15.6" models are slated to start at $1300, while the 17.3" will go for at least $1400.

12 comments — Last by Stiqy at 9:33 AM on 04/29/17

Intel enjoys healthy revenue and profits for Q1 2017
— 4:18 PM on April 27, 2017

Intel reported healthy earnings and profits for the first quarter of this year as it continues its transition away from being the company that primarily powers PCs. The company took in $14.8 billion in revenue, up 8% year-over-year, and it made $3.6 billion in operating profit, up 40 percent from this time last year.

  Q1 2017 Q1 2016 Change
Revenue $14.8 billion $13.7 billion up 8%
Operating income $3.6 billion $2.6 billion up 40%
Net income $3 billion $2 billlion up 45%
Gross margin 61.8% 59.3% up 2.5%

The PC-focused Client Computing Group took in $8 billion of Intel's total revenue pie, up 6% year-on-year. Despite a 4% fall in platform volumes (a measure of processor and chipset sales as a whole), average selling prices rose 7% from this time last year. Desktop platform volumes fell 7%, but the average selling prices for those platforms rose 2%. The company's laptop platform volumes were up 1% from this time last year, and average selling prices were up 7%.

The Data Center Group took in $4.2 billion in revenue, up 6% year on year. Data center platform volumes fell by 1%, but average selling prices rose by 6%. The Internet of Things group took in $721 million in revenue, up 11% from this time last year. The Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group brought in $866 million, up 55% from the same time last year.

Finally, the Programmable Solutions Group enjoyed revenue of $425 million, up 18% year-on-year—at least before a $99 million "deferred revenue write-down in the first quarter of 2016" was accounted for. Had that write-off been considered, PSG revenue actually would have been down 7% year-on-year.

For the second quarter of 2017, Intel expects revenue of $14.4 billion, plus or minus $500 million, which would be an 11% year-on-year increase. Based on its strong first-quarter results, Intel is revising its fiscal 2017 outlook upward by $500 million to $60 billion. Intel expects that upward revision to be carried by increases in client platform average selling prices and strength in its memory business.

28 comments — Last by anotherengineer at 6:18 AM on 04/29/17

Acer Predator X27 and Predator Z271UV displays report in
— 4:00 PM on April 27, 2017

Acer held its 2017 next@Acer event in New York today, and that means we have the skinny on a whole pile of new products. We'll take a look at some of the other stuff here shortly, but the two most interesting products to us are a couple of gaming monitors: the Predator X27 and Predator Z271UV. Both are 27" LCD monitors that make use of quantum dot tech to improve their contrast and color gamut.

We've actually heard about the Predator X27 before, though we didn't know its name then. This beautiful piece of engineering will arrive with a 3840x2160 resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate. Acer specs it for a 4-ms response time and 1000 cd/m² peak brightness. As savvy gerbils are already guessing, this monitor is HDR-ready, and supports Nvidia's G-Sync HDR spec. Acer says the Predator X27 is able to reproduce 99% of the Adobe RGB color space, too.

Its cousin the Predator Z271UV has a resolution of "only" 2560x1440, but it still packs a few features to brag about. Its 1800R-curvature panel extends nearly to the edge of the display in what Acer calls a "ZeroFrame" bezel-less design. The company says this design should make it easy to use the Z271UV in multi-monitor setups. This display supports standard G-Sync and can hit refresh rates as high as 165 Hz. Acer says the response time is 3 ms natively and can go as low as 1 ms. While the Z271UV doesn't have the "HDR" label, it still reproduces 125% of the sRGB color space.

Both of these displays include eye-tracking hardware from Tobii. Acer says over a hundred games support the technology. Both displays include all of Acer's usual premium monitor features, like flicker-free operation, an optional low-blue-light mode, and integration with the Predator GameView software. Acer has yet to put up product pages for these displays, so this is all we know about them so far.

18 comments — Last by ronch at 4:47 AM on 04/29/17

Razer Lancehead wireless mouse is ready to stalk its prey
— 2:30 PM on April 27, 2017

It is a bit curious that Razer names its pointing devices after snakes, noted predator of mice and other rodents. If you think about it, it's stranger still that the naming convention also applies to wireless mice lacking the cord emulating a serpent tail. In any case, Razer says its Lancehead wireless gaming mouse uses the company's proprietary Adaptive Frequency Technology (AFT) to deliver a smooth, lag-free connection between the mouse and the included wireless dongle. The styling of the Lancehead's ambidextrous nine-button body appears to have been inspired by the rear diffusers on McLaren's line of sports and racing cars.

Razer says its AFT tech constantly scans available wireless communication channels 1000 times per second and switches to the clearest channel in order to avoid congestion. The device operates in the 2.4 GHz band used by 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and all kinds of consumer electronics devices like baby monitors and cordless telephones, so the scanning and switching can hopefully help the Lancehead work in that crowded space.

The Lancehead is made by Razer, so the inclusion of a ludicrous-overkill laser sensor with a claimed tracking sensitivity of up to 16,000 DPI and speed up to 210 IPS should come as no surprise. The manufacturer goes on to claim that the Lancehead can still track movements when under 50 G of acceleration. Razer couldn't possibly ship a product in 2017 without RGB LED illumination, and the Lancehead delivers on that front with onboard programmable lighting.

Lighting profiles are set up in the company's Synapse Pro software. Razer says the latest beta version of the software can store the Lancehead's settings in the mouse's internal memory in addition to its cloud service. That move is likely in response to Synapse outages that have left Razer customers without mission-critical macros and life-or-death lighting settings.

The Lancehead comes with a 7' (2.1 m) USB charging cable with braided sleeving. Buyers may need to keep that cable close at hand, as Razer lists the mouse's battery life as "approximately 24 hours," noting that illumination settings affect the actual time between charges. The mouse measures 4.6" x 2.8" x 1.5" (12 cm x 7.1 cm x 3.8 cm) and weighs a light-for-a-wireless-mouse 3.9 oz (110 g).

The Verge says the Lancehead will ship in May or June for $140. A wired version of the Lancehead called the Tournament Edition is available now for $80. The wired version's tracking speed is bumped up to 450 IPS (a bit over 25 MPH). The remaining specs are otherwise similar to those of its tail-less brother.

5 comments — Last by ronch at 9:18 AM on 04/28/17

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Shortbread
— 1:00 PM on April 27, 2017

PC hardware and computing

  1. EK Supremacy MX CPU waterblock review @ PC Perspective
  2. Synology DS216 [NAS] review @ bit-tech
  3. Team Group T-FORCE CARDEA M.2 480GB SSD review @ Guru3D
  4. NZXT Kraken X52 all-in-one CPU liquid cooler review @ HardOCP
  5. Gigabyte AX370-Gaming 5 AM4 motherboard review @ Hardware Canucks
  6. Nixeus NX-VUE27P 1440P IPS monitor review @ Hardware Canucks
  7. Review: Adata SC660H external SSD @ Hexus
  8. Micron 5100 ECO and MAX SSD review @ HotHardware
  9. Roccat Isku+ Force FX analog keyboard review @ KitGuru (I'll keep waiting for the Aimpad)
  10. Intel Core i7-7700K versus AMD Ryzen 1700X 14 game CPU showdown @ Legit Reviews
  11. AMD Ryzen 5 1400 review @ TechSpot
  12. Gigabyte Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 motherboard review @ Tom's Hardware

Games and VR

  1. Samsung's Facesense recognizes facial expressions for VR navigation @ Upload VR
  2. Super Mario Happy Meal toys now available at McDonald's in the US @ Nintendo Life
  3. Tiny Worlds In Flasks lets you make cute scenes! @ Rock Paper Shotgun
  4. Sonic Forces gameplay vid shows new 3D side-hogging @ Rock Paper Shotgun (the 'Green Hill Zone' music is already stuck in my head)

Science, hacks, makers and gadgets

  1. Artificial womb to give premature babies a better start @ New Atlas
  2. New evidence suggests humans arrived in the Americas far earlier than thought @ npr
  3. A vigilante is putting a huge amount of work into infecting IoT devices @ Ars Technica
  4. New drug-delivery method doubles duration of ibuprofen @ New Atlas (so much about modern medicine comes down to packaging)

Tech news and culture

  1. Silicon Valley security robot beat up in parking lot, police say @ Ars Technica
  2. Ask Slashdot: are accurate software development time predictions a myth? @ Slashdot
  3. Celebrating AnandTech's 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017 @ AnandTech (congrats guys!)

Cheese, memes, and RGB LEDs

  1. Cream cheese has a history wrapped in tin foil @ marketplace.org

15 comments — Last by anotherengineer at 6:20 AM on 04/29/17

Intel document confirms that Xeons will come in Gold and Platinum
— 11:30 AM on April 27, 2017

Rumors have circulated that Intel's next round of Xeons will shed their rather nondescript "E3" and "E5" model prefixes in favor of names based on luxurious precious metals. A document on Intel's website has confirmed that at least some upcoming chips will be branded as Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum.

The document is intended to inform customers of subtle changes to the way that markings will be inscribed on integrated heat spreaders, but it also includes a list of model numbers of as-of-yet unreleased processors. The table lists 20 different Xeon Gold 6100-series processors are listed, with clock speeds ranging from 2.0 to 3.6 GHz. Another 14 Xeon Platinum 8100-series chips are listed with the same frequency range.

Core counts are not given, but according to Anandtech, the Xeon Gold chips will work in dual-socket motherboards, while Xeon Platinum processors can be used in four-socket systems. The rumor mongers at WCCFTech are reporting that the new Xeons will be available with as many as 28 cores per socket. We tried searching for some of the product codes in the list but we didn't find any useful additional details.

42 comments — Last by Anonymous Coward at 3:32 AM on 04/29/17

Noctua confirms LGA 2066 will host Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X
— 10:09 AM on April 27, 2017

We've heard rumors from pretty reliable sources, but Noctua just gave us our first official confirmation that Intel's next high-end desktop platform will use the LGA 2066 socket. In a press release about heatsink support for the new socket, Noctua says that most of its current coolers support "the new LGA 2066 socket of Intel's 'Basin Falls' X299 platform for Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs out of the box," and that it will provide updated mounting hardware for older heatsinks at no additional charge.

This isn't exactly a surprise to anyone who's been keeping an eye out for rumors, but it's nice to have an official source. It's also great to see Noctua keeping up its strong post-sale support. Noctua even says the heatsink mounting mechanism on LGA 2066 is "identical" to that of LGA 2011. Going by that statement, even other companies' LGA 2011-compatible heatsinks are likely to fit LGA 2066, and the socket dimensions are likely very similar, too. If you need updated mounting hardware, just contact Noctua with your proof of purchase.

8 comments — Last by Shobai at 6:02 AM on 04/28/17

Radeon 17.4.4 drivers rise for Dawn of War III
— 10:00 AM on April 27, 2017

Just a week after the last release, AMD has another software update for Radeon users. The new version is predictably called Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.4, as it's the fourth release this April. This update offers game-specific support for Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III, which launches today. There's also the usual package of patched-up problems.

Game-specific support for Dawn of War III means an up-to-7% performance uplift according to AMD. Not a huge boost, but it should help smooth things out for folks excited about Relic's new RTS. Fixed issues in this release include display corruption when using HDMI scaling, incorrect colors in Mass Effect: Andromeda's HDR mode, and system hangs after long uptimes on machines with Radeon RX 550 cards. Battlefield 1 shouldn't stutter anymore when playing in Crossfire at 4K resolution, either. AMD also fixed up a couple of issues with the Radeon Settings app.

Remaining known issues include an intermittent signal on some HDTVs connected to a Radeon RX 480 via HDMI, hangs in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare when task switching, and Wattman misbehavior on some non-reference Radeon R9 390 cards. Two long-standing FreeSync issues are still around, too: no FreeSync available for games in Borderless Window mode when other apps are running on the same monitor, and flickering in CS:GO and WoW.

Despite the changes in this driver release, AMD has marked it as "Optional." If you haven't updated in a while, or if you're just keen to purge some xenos, pick up the new driver at AMD's download page.

14 comments — Last by Andrew Lauritzen at 3:38 PM on 04/27/17

AMD ships Ryzen Balanced power plan with latest chipset drivers
— 9:00 AM on April 27, 2017

A few weeks ago, AMD offered Ryzen CPU owners a new power plan option for Windows 10 that tweaked a few settings to better fit the processors' power-saving characteristics. General feedback on the plan seems to have been positive, as AMD has now officially packaged it with its latest chipset drivers.

When AMD first released Ryzen, it recommended that users set Windows to the High Performance power plan in order squeeze every last drop of performance they could out of their processors. Early reviews bore this recommendation out, as specific games didn't perform quite as well under Microsoft's default Balanced plan as they did under High Performance. Unfortunately, while the High Performance plan curtails the aggressive core parking behavior causing the drop in performance, it could also lead to higher power consumption.

AMD's new power plan tries to thread this needle by disabling core parking while retaining some of Microsoft's other power-saving tricks. Gamers and other users shouldn't need to worry about losing too much performance if they switch to the Ryzen Balanced power plan. AMD's internal data suggests that the performance difference between the High Performance and Ryzen Balanced modes is negligible—less than 1% apart in the games they tested.

Now that AMD has had its Ryzen Balanced plan in users' systems for a few weeks, it's made good on its promise to roll it out to general availability. Rather than downloading the plan separately, users can simply grab the latest version of AMD's chipset drivers, which includes the Ryzen Balanced power plan as part of the package. After installation, users will have a new option to select in Windows' power plan menu. Ryzen owners who missed out on the first announcement might want to check out the new update.

12 comments — Last by just brew it! at 5:56 AM on 04/28/17

Amazon's Echo Look uses machine learning to dress you up
— 5:15 PM on April 26, 2017

We're only just scratching the surface these days of how connected devices and machine learning can affect our lives. Some answers are subtle, some less so. I wouldn't have pegged "fashion guide" as the next step for machine learning, but Amazon says otherwise. Amazon just unveiled its new Echo Look "style assistant."

The Echo Look gives Alexa a set of eyes with the intent of helping users look their best. The included camera features depth-sensing and background blurring as well as built-in LED lighting. The device pairs with a companion app which includes a feature called Style Check. This feature uses machine learning algorithms combined with advice from fashion specialists to make a judgment call on the user's outfit. Amazon also claims the companion app will also suggest new brands and styles based on previously-captured images. The more information you give it in the form of outfit photos, the better the Echo Look's ideas should be.

In addition to these new fashion-forward functions, the Echo Look can perform many of Alexa's actions like setting alarms, checking the weather, and playing audio books. Amazon says it will continue to add additional Alexa functionality to the Look as time goes on.

The device is only available by invitation right now and costs $199. The Echo Look's current use-case seems to be pretty focused on getting people to spend more money on clothes on Amazon, but if the company builds more interesting functionality into the device, it could become an indispensable tool for other tasks.

33 comments — Last by Brainsan at 10:42 AM on 04/28/17

EK machines a waterblock for the ROG Maximus IX Apex
— 3:00 PM on April 26, 2017

EK Waterblock seems to be bent on producing a slab of machined metal for every high-end motherboard on the planet. That's not necessarily bad, though. The waterblock that the company is showing off today is the EK-FB ASUS M9A Monoblock and it'll fit the ROG Maximus IX Apex mobo. That overclocking-friendly board has a souped-up power-delivery subsystem that might benefit from being under water.

Like the Ryzen-cooling model we recently covered, this waterblock covers both the CPU and the motherboard VRMs. The slab is machined out of nickel-plated electrolytic copper, and the lid is made of acrylic glass. The clear acrylic shows that liquid does appear to reach all the important spots. EK promises that this block is a good fit for "high and stable overclocks," and that its design lets it be efficient even in conjunction with low-power pumps. There's no mention of RGB or LED lighting, something that'll deeply sadden more than few gerbils.

The EK-FB ASUS M9A Monoblock comes with the nickel-plated brass standoffs pre-installed and can be ordered from EK's online store for 120€ including VAT, or about $130.

2 comments — Last by Takeshi7 at 6:40 PM on 04/26/17

Microsoft describes how it uses telemetry data for smoother updates
— 1:23 PM on April 26, 2017

A vocal minority has up in arms about Windows 10's data collection ever since its release. The company's been making an effort towards being clearer about its data collection practices. Microsoft rolled out its second major update to Windows 10 a couple of weeks ago. Today, it's offering some insight into how it uses telemetry data to help find bugs and smooth out software update rollouts.


The most visible component of the Windows 10 Creators Update

In particular, the giant from Redmond says that the telemetry data and user input received through the Feedback Hub app has been used to adjust software updates in three different ways. In some cases, Microsoft documents the problem and offers potential workarounds if there's an issue with the update. In other cases, the company might update Windows itself or work with hardware and software vendors so they can produce patched drivers or applications. The third path is to use the data to block the installation of an update on a system with a troublesome piece of hardware or software.

To cite an example, Microsoft's blog post goes on to describe a particularly buggy Broadcom Bluetooth chip that caused multiple bug reports. Microsoft documented the issue and blocked the Creators Update from automatically installing on systems with the offending hardware until it's able to work with Broadcom to find a solution.

The company urges users without the technical expertise to troubleshoot issues to wait until the Creators Update pops up in Windows update, instead of manually installing it. Updating Windows by hand bypasses Microsoft's update curation efforts, thereby leaving the user tasked with any troubleshooting if something goes wrong.

On one hand, it's great that the company is doing something to prevent updates from causing problems on tricky systems. On the other hand, if a company is unwilling or unable to work with Microsoft to correct issues, users might find themselves out in the cold for future updates. Only time will tell how Microsoft uses this data in the future.

23 comments — Last by cygnus1 at 5:32 PM on 04/28/17

id software talks about Ryzen
— 11:30 AM on April 26, 2017

AMD posted up a video to its Youtube channel starring Robert Duffy, id Software's CTO. In the video, Duffy lavishes praise on AMD's Ryzen processors and speaks at length about how id's software performs on them—great, as we already knew—and also briefly about what's coming next from the company.

It's no secret the next game from id is Quake Champions. The game will be running on the next iteration of the company's "id Tech" engine. Duffy says that the upcoming version of the legendary game engine will be "far more parallel" than the id Tech 6 version powering Doom. He also says that id will be optimizing all of its software to make use of Ryzen CPUs' surplus of cores.

Duffy mentions AMD's upcoming Vega GPUs in passing too, stating simply that id is already optimizing for the new chips. Quake Champions is one of the first games to be developed targeting a 120 Hz refresh rate for "normal" gameplay. Hitting that target while maintaining all the eye candy we expect from a modern AAA fast-paced shooter will take all the optimizations id can manage.

93 comments — Last by YellaChicken at 5:16 AM on 04/29/17