Apple sells its billionth iPhone
— 5:36 PM on July 27, 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced to his employees today that the company had recently sold its billionth iPhone. Tim had some unsurprisingly flowery things to say about the iPhone, claiming that the handset is "one of the most important, world-changing, and successful products in history." Heady words, but he probably isn't wrong. Steve Jobs famously described the iPhone as "an iPod with touch controls, a mobile phone, and an Internet communications device", and Apple's little three-in-one hand-held computer is commonly credited with the proliferation of the modern smartphone.

Tim also subtly acknowledged the competition in his remarks. "We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products," said the CEO this morning. Sales of handsets featuring Google's Android operating system hit 1.4 billion by September of last year, according to Google. The comparison isn't really fair, because there are a bewildering array of Android devices at all price points, while the iPhone was (until recently) a single device at a premium price. In the light of that, the iPhone's landmark is all the more impressive. Either way, congratulations to Apple on its achievement.

16 comments — Last by JosiahBradley at 1:25 AM on 07/28/16

TT Premium Edition RGB LED radiator fans play better together
— 3:16 PM on July 27, 2016

If you'd like to replicate the wall of RGB LED fans Thermaltake had on display at Computex this year, the company can now make it happen for you. The Thermaltake Riing LED RGB Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition spinners (yes, seriously) are described as Thermaltake's first "digital radiator fans." That's because they plug into a proprietary USB fan hub that allows software control over the color of the RGB LEDs in each connected fan along with fan speeds. By daisy-chaining fan hubs, users can create an array of up to 48 fans across 16 controllers.

The TT Premium Edition radiator fans themselves are 120-mm spinners with hydraulic bearings and rubber noise reduction pads on each corner. The RGB LED ring that gives these fans their name is visible from both inside and outside the fan housing, which we have to admit is a rather cool effect. These spinners will be sold as sets of three with a fan hub in the box. Thermaltake didn't indicate a price for the RGB LED goodness, but a similar set of Riing 12 RGB fans on Newegg goes for $65. We'd expect a premium over that figure for these spinners.

4 comments — Last by Neutronbeam at 6:22 PM on 07/27/16

Toshiba's latest BiCS flash is stacked 64 layers high
— 2:54 PM on July 27, 2016

Toshiba is stacking its 3D flash ever higher. In tandem with Western Digital (who now owns former Toshiba partner SanDisk), the company announced its third generation of BiCS flash chips today. These new TLC NAND devices maintain the same 256-gigabit capacity as their predecessors, but they stack those bits across 64 layers instead of the 48 in the last generation of BiCS flash. In time, the company expects to use this technology to deliver 512 gigabits (64GB) on a single chip.

On top of the expected density increase, stacking flash higher has other benefits. Toshiba says the technology reduces the cost per bit of flash and increases the amount of memory it can etch onto each wafer. Toshiba will make the new flash at its New Fab 2 facility in Yokkaichi, Japan. Samples of the new NAND are already on their way to manufacturers, and Toshiba expects mass production of BiCS 3 in the first half of next year.

11 comments — Last by Waco at 10:28 PM on 07/27/16

Xiaomi breaks into ultrabooks with Mi Notebook series
— 10:40 AM on July 27, 2016

Xiaomi had another announcement today besides the Redmi Pro handsets: it's getting into the notebook game. The Chinese phone vendor's first portable PCs—two models, both called "Mi Notebook Air"—premiered on the company's Twitter feed this morning. Xiaomi is clearly going after Apple's MacBook Air with the machines, as the all-aluminum chassis,  uncluttered design, and even the name all evoke Apple's premium image.

The Mi Notebook Air comes in 13.3-inch and 12.5-inch varieties. The smaller of the two places the greatest emphasis on being thin and light, and has modest specifications as a result. The 12.5-inch machine comes with an Intel Core m3 processor served by 4GB of memory and a 128GB SATA SSD. The screen in this model is a 1920x1080 unit, although there's no word on what type of panel it uses. All that comes in a package weighing slightly over 2.3 lbs, and it's about a third of an inch thick. Xiaomi says the battery should last 11.5 hours.

The 13.3-inch model is a little beefier, with a sixth-generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. This machine is equipped with a GeForce 940MX discrete chip, so it should handle some lightweight gaming, too. At around 2.8 lbs and 0.38" thick, the 13.3-inch Mi Notebook Air is a little bulkier than its smaller sibling, but still very sleek. We don't know the screen resolution for this model, but we suspect it is 1080p as well. Xiaomi claims the battery on this model should last 9.5 hours.

Both machines have an extra M.2 socket for further solid-state storage expansion, and they also feature backlit keyboards. Xiaomi includes Windows 10 Home on the notebooks. The ultrabooks are competitively priced, with the 12.5-inch model expected to sell for RMB 3499 ($525), and the 13.3-inch model for RMB 4999 ($750), but don't pull out the Mastercard just yet unless you're in China. These notebooks probably aren't coming to US shores anytime soon.

6 comments — Last by JosiahBradley at 7:38 PM on 07/27/16

Redmi Pro phone offers a metal body and dual cameras on a budget
— 9:22 AM on July 27, 2016

Chinese up-and-comer Xiaomi introduced an impressive new budget smartphone today. The Redmi Pro boasts dual cameras, a brushed-aluminum body, and a 5.5" OLED display for RMB 1499 (or $225) and up.

The Redmi Pro comes in three basic configurations. The most expensive Pro, at RMB 1999 (or about $300) is powered by a Mediatek Helio X25 SoC comprising two Cortex-A72 cores and eight Cortex-A53s in a big.LITTLE arrangement. According to Mediatek, the big cores in this arrangement runs at up to 2.5GHz, while four of the A53s run at 2GHz and the remaining four run at 1.55GHz. Graphics power comes courtesy of an ARM Mali-T880 GPU. The SoC is backed with 4GB of RAM, and the device has 128GB of onboard storage.

The RMB 1699 ($255) Pro uses the same SoC, but it loses a gigabyte of RAM and drops to 64GB of storage. The base RMB 1499 ($225) model uses the older Helio X20 SoC, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

The dual-camera arrangement on the Redmi Pro is a first for a device in this price range, as far as we know. Xiaomi uses a 13MP Sony main sensor for image capture and a 5MP Samsung unit for depth information. With those two inputs, the Redmi Pro can modify depth-of-field effects after the fact with a dedicated image signal processor.

Xiaomi curiously doesn't list the resolution of the Redmi Pro's display in its press materials, but Engadget confirms it's a 1920x1080 unit. The Pro is powered by a 4,050mAh battery, and it has a front fingerprint sensor for easy unlocking. Charging and connectivity are both handled by a USB Type-C port. The Redmi Pro will doubtless be available in China soon, but we wouldn't expect this phone to come to the USA.

29 comments — Last by ronch at 1:07 AM on 07/28/16

iPad sales stabilize in Apple's fiscal 2016 third quarter
— 4:15 PM on July 26, 2016

After last quarter's iPhone sales appeared to reach a peak, Apple watchers were curious to see what the company's performance in the following quarter would look like, and now we know. The company released its results for the third quarter of its fiscal 2016 today. Apple raked in $42.4 billion in revenue, down 15% from a year ago, and it made $7.8 billion in net income, down 27% from a year ago.

iPhone sales declined less on a year-on-year basis than they did last quarter. Apple sold 40.4 million of its handsets, down 15% from a year ago. iPad sales appear to be stabilizing, however—though unit shipments were down 9% from a year ago, revenue from the slates was up 7% at $4.8 billion. Apple CEO Tim Cook says that result is thanks to the introduction of the 9.7" iPad Pro, and it breaks a trend of double-digit sales declines for the product family. Mac unit sales shrank 11%, however, producing revenue of $5.2 billion. That figure is a 13% decline from this time a year ago.

Even if its hardware isn't producing the same skyrocketing growth it once was, Apple's services business is on a tear. That part of the company took in $6 billion in revenue, up 19% from a year ago. The "Other Products" category, which partially comprises the company's sales of the Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats gear, the iPod, and accessories, didn't have as good a result—its $2.2 billion in revenue is down 16% from a year ago. Cook says the Apple Watch remains the best-selling smartwatch in the world, however, and he cites high customer satisfaction ratings and watchOS 3 as reasons to be optimistic about the product.

For its fiscal fourth quarter, Apple expects revenue between $45.5 billion and $47.5 billion and a gross margin between 37.5 and 38 percent.

41 comments — Last by oldog at 6:48 PM on 07/27/16

Asus brightens up its Z170 Pro Gaming mobo with Aura RGB LEDs
— 3:01 PM on July 26, 2016

Asus's Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard made regular appearances in our system guides this last year, showing up in our coveted "sweet spot" category as a solid choice for builders working with Intel's Skylake processors. Asus has announced that board's successor today: the Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura. The updated motherboard retains the features that caught our attention last year while adding some novel aesthetic options.

Like last year's model, the Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura is an ATX motherboard with an LGA 1151 socket. Gamers living the multi-GPU dream can mount up to three graphics cards on the motherboard (even if Nvidia is moving away from the technology), and they can also trust Asus's SafeSlot metal-reinforced PCIe connectors to keep the cards upright and secure. The motherboard supports DDR4-3466 RAM, a slight increase from the last model, and it ditches the older board's SATA Express connector for six regular SATA ports. It also houses Intel's latest I219-V Ethernet controller, four USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-A and one Type-C).

While Asus didn't change the basic hardware much, it did add some options for customizing the motherboard's looks. First is Asus's Aura RGB LED lighting control system, which offers twelve different lighting schemes that can be run in sync with other Aura-compliant devices. More intriguing is the suggestion that users can 3D print their own parts for the motherboard. For example, Asus will provide the template needed to 3D-print a nameplate that can be mounted in the board's M.2 socket. This option does prevent the socket from being used for an actual M.2 drive, of course, but there are bound to be builders interested in placing a personalized logo in a novel location.

Asus hasn't indicated when the motherboard will be available, but did state that the board is currently in production. Last year's Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard sold in the neighborhood of $150, so the Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura will likely find a home in the same pricing tier.


17 comments — Last by slowriot at 12:46 PM on 07/27/16

Seagate Nytro family now includes a 2TB M.2 SSD
— 1:52 PM on July 26, 2016

When Seagate purchased LSI's flash business, it acquired a range of PCI Express SSDs wearing "Nytro" branding. Those drives currently come in PCIe add-in card, M.2 stick, and U.2 2.5" form factors, and today Seagate is announcing that it is releasing 2TB drives in that family. The company says this announcement marks an industry first in that the 2TB Nytro XM1440 M.2 NVMe SSD is "the highest-capacity enterprise-class" drive of its type.

The Nytro family encompasses a bunch of drives, but the news today primarily concerns the XF1440 and XM1440. The XF1440 is a 2.5" NVMe SSD that connects to the host with a U.2 connector, while the XM1440 is essentially the same thing in an M.2 gumstick. Both drives are available as either "endurance-optimized" or "capacity-optimized" models.

The capacity-optimized models come in 480GB, 960GB, and 1920GB sizes. Meanwhile, the endurance-optimized versions trade a bit of storage for a three-full-drive-write-per-day rating ten times the 0.3-drive-write-per-day rating of the capacity-optimized models. Those disks come in 400GB, 800GB, and 1600GB sizes. The same drives are also available for systems lacking U.2 or M.2 connectors as the Nytro XP7102, a PCIe add-in card only available in 800GB or 1600GB endurance-optimized flavors.

Like most NVMe SSDs, the drives offer impressive performance, at least on reads. Sequential reads scale up to 2500 MB/s, while Seagate rates the drives at up to 240,000 IOPS for random reads. Write performance is less inspiring, at "only" 900 MB/s sequential and 40K IOPS on the endurance-optimized models, or 15K IOPS on the capacity-optimized drives. Seagate warranties the drives for 5 years in either case.

17 comments — Last by derFunkenstein at 2:44 PM on 07/27/16

Crucial fills out MX300 SSDs with 275GB, 525GB, and 1TB models
— 11:25 AM on July 26, 2016

Crucial's MX300 SSD impressed us with a solid blend of performance and capacity for its price. That drive was the first to use Intel and Micron's jointly-produced 3D NAND chips.

Now, Crucial is rounding out the MX300 lineup as promised with 275GB, 525GB, and 1TB drives to go with the 750GB model. While it's not announcing it today, Crucial also appears to have a 2TB MX300 drive in the works. Here's how the lineup looks today:

Crucial MX300
Capacity Suggested
Max sequential (MB/s) Max random (IOps)
Read Write Read Write
275GB $69.99 530 500 55k 83k
525GB $129.99 530 510 92k 83k
750GB $189.99 530 510 92k 83k
1TB $259.99 530 510 92k 83k
2TB ??? 530 510 92k 83k

Crucial says the MX300 capacities it's announcing today should be available immediately. The company also has M.2 SATA versions of the MX300 coming in 275GB, 525GB, and 1TB form factors. Those drives' performance figures are identical to their 2.5" cousins', and they should be available in late August. Each drive is backed by a three-year warranty. Crucial includes a copy of Acronis True Image HD migration software with each drive, too.

32 comments — Last by AbRASiON at 11:38 PM on 07/27/16

Nvidia and AMD ease 360-degree video production with new APIs
— 10:46 AM on July 26, 2016

360-degree video streaming is shaping up as a major application for VR headsets, and both Nvidia and AMD are working on ways to help content producers accelerate the production of those streams. Both companies revealed software packages that will let companies use GPUs to stitch and output 360-degree video in VR-ready formats at SIGGRAPH this week.

Nvidia's VRWorks 360 Video SDK makes it possible for content providers to take input from up to 32 cameras and perform 360-degree video stitching in both offline and real-time workflows. It lets creators account for custom camera positions and lens types in their 360-degree rigs, and it accelerates the "decode, equalization, calibration, stitching, and encode" portions of the 360-degree video workflow. The 360 Video SDK is also compatible with Nvidia's GPUDirect API for low-latency processing direct from video I/O cards.

AMD's 360-degree video solution (can we just call them video spheres?) is called Project Loom. The company unveiled this tech at its Capsaicin SIGGRAPH event last night. Not to be confused with Google's Project Loon, this software can accept input from four to 24 1080p input streams. It then stitches those streams into a 4K sphere at 30 FPS for both desktop and mobile HMDs. Similar to Nvidia's solution, Loom lets Radeon Pro graphics cards work directly with video capture hardware using AMD's Direct GMA protocol. Loom will be made available as an open-source solution through GPUOpen later this summer, according to AMD's presentation slides.

18 comments — Last by cynan at 12:37 PM on 07/27/16

AMD FireRender is now the open-source Radeon ProRender
— 10:15 AM on July 26, 2016

The professional content creation software industry is dominated by Nvidia's CUDA libraries, and as a result, a large number of professional applications won't run on Radeon GPUs without some serious trickery. AMD has been trying to court the developers of these programs for some time with the GPUOpen initiative and its FireRender SDK. In further news from SIGGRAPH, AMD has dropped its "Fire" branding and renamed FireRender to Radeon ProRender.

For those who aren't already familiar—and we reckon that's most of you—Radeon ProRender is AMD's OpenCL photorealistic offline 3D renderer. Since it uses OpenCL, the renderer can run on CPUs, GPUs, or any combination thereof, although obviously ProRender is optimized for Radeon GPUs. Example plugins are available for Autodesk's 3D Studio Max and Dassault's Solidworks, and ProRender is also available as a C++ library ripe for integration into your software of choice.

AMD also announced last night that Radeon ProRender is joining the GPUOpen initiative, which means the library is now free, open-source, and supposedly vendor-neutral. With that move, ProRender joins other AMD libraries including TressFX and LiquidVR (among many others) in AMD's open-source push.

9 comments — Last by Puiucs at 7:47 AM on 07/27/16

AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards bring Polaris to content pros
— 9:13 AM on July 26, 2016

Along with its innovative Radeon Pro SSG card, AMD unveiled three new workstation graphics cards under that same new Radeon Pro brand. The Radeon Pro WX series takes Polaris GPUs to the workstation market across three different cards targeted at distinct use cases.

We're working on getting all the details of these cards, but for now, AMD classifies the Radeon Pro WX 7100 as "fully capable for design engineering and media and entertainment." It's also the company's "workstation solution for professional VR content creation." It's a single-slot card with four DisplayPort outputs.

The Radeon Pro WX 5100 is targeted at users of "real-time content engines" and "immersive real-time design and manufacturing." This card is barely longer than the PCIe slot, and it offers four DisplayPort outputs, as well.

The Radeon Pro WX 4100 is a half-height card with four Mini DisplayPort outputs. AMD says this card is aimed at small-form-factor workstations. AMD expects to begin shipping these cards in the fourth quarter of this year.

56 comments — Last by Andrew Lauritzen at 6:32 PM on 07/27/16

Radeon Pro Solid State Graphics keeps big data close to the GPU
— 11:00 PM on July 25, 2016

AMD threw the latest in its series of Capsaicin events at the SIGGRAPH conference this evening. At the show, the company announced the Radeon Pro SSG, for "solid state graphics"—a new kind of graphics card that's meant to keep large amounts of data close to the GPU. This card has what AMD calls a "one-terabyte extended frame buffer" that relies on non-volatile memory to store all those bits—presumably NAND. In turn, the GPU is connected to that memory using a dedicated PCIe bus. For perspective, consider that AMD's previous capacity champ, the FirePro W9100, only has 32GB of GDDR5 RAM on board.

To demonstrate the benefits of keeping large data sets close to the GPU, AMD showed off a demo where an 8K file was scrubbed in the timeline in a pro video app. Without the Pro SSG card, that demo only ran at 17 FPS. Throw in that huge chunk of flash storage, however, and the app could churn through the same video while updating at more than 90 FPS. AMD also envisions the card changing the way pros work with big data sets and GPU computing in the medical, scientific, and petrochemical industries. Interested developers can apply for a beta version of the Radeon Pro SSG hardware now, assuming they're willing to pony up $10k for a card if they're approved.

We're sadly not at SIGGRAPH this year, but I'm working on setting up a briefing with AMD this week so we can learn more about how the Radeon Pro SSG works. Stay tuned.

111 comments — Last by the at 11:29 PM on 07/27/16

Pascal powers up pro graphics with Nvidia's new Quadros
— 4:33 PM on July 25, 2016

Just a couple days after it announced the next Titan X, Nvidia is extending the reach of its Pascal GPUs to even greater heights. The company revealed its Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 graphics cards today at SIGGRAPH 2016.

The Quadro P6000 is the more powerful of the two cards. It packs 3840 stream processors hooked up to 24GB of GDDR5X memory through a 384-bit bus. Given those core counts, it's highly probable this chip uses the GP102 GPU. Apparently, the just-announced Titan X doesn't use all of the SPs that GP102 has to offer. Nvidia rates this card's FP32 performance at 12 TFLOPS. Anandtech notes that the P6000's memory will run at 9 GT/s, although Nvidia is remaining mum about the card's clock speeds for now. The P6000 also has a board power of 250W.

The Quadro P5000 has a spec sheet similar to that of a GeForce GTX 1080, so it appears to be powered by the GP104 GPU. It has 2560 SPs paired with 16GB of GDDR5X memory, presumably across the same 256-bit bus. This card should deliver 8.9 TFLOPS of FP32 performance, and it'll dissipate 180W in operation. According to Anandtech, both of these cards will be available starting in October.

33 comments — Last by beck2448 at 2:08 AM on 07/27/16

Phanteks breaks into custom liquid cooling with its Glacier G1080
— 2:29 PM on July 25, 2016

Phanteks is probably best known for its wide-ranging line of computer cases, but the company has a full folio of cooling products as well. Recently, that folio has expanded to include custom liquid cooling parts with the Glacier G1080. This water block is a full-coverage unit for the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition. It features configurable RGB LED lighting that can be linked into the lighting system on a compatible Phanteks case. Phanteks also has an adapter to connect the lighting to some system boards.

The block itself is made from black and clear acrylic, with an aluminum backplate and a nickel-plated copper cold plate. Phanteks used DuPont Viton in the gaskets, which it says will hold up better to temperature variations in the cooling fluid compared to other companies' silicone rubber gaskets. The Glacier G1080 isn't available yet, but you can pre-order the block at Phanteks' online store for $129.99.

19 comments — Last by cynan at 12:30 PM on 07/27/16

Adata covers all of its bases with fast, durable external SSDs
— 1:01 PM on July 25, 2016

Samsung isn't the only company on the market with a portable SSD to its name. The folks at Adata are taking a couple different approaches to providing portable yet super-speedy storage. The SE730, SV620, and SC660 drives each offer a distinct approach to the external SSD concept.

The SE730 is a 250GB drive that measures just 2.8" by 1.7" by 0.4" (72.7 x 44 x 12.2 mm), and it weighs just 33 grams. On top of the inherent durability of flash memory, Adata claims this drive meets IP68 standards for water- and dust-proofing. The drive offers a USB 3.1 Gen2 connection through a Type-C port, a setup that's claimed to deliver 500 MB/s sequential speeds for both reads and writes. That may be thanks in part to the fact that the SE730 uses MLC flash, rather than the more common TLC. Adata says this drive will be available through Amazon and Newegg for $140 in red and gold finishes.

The SV620 and SC660 are more affordable drives in larger enclosures that use the USB 3.0 interface. Each can deliver speeds up to 410 MB/s for sequential reads and writes. The SV620 has an aluminum case with raised edges that Adata says are meant to protect its finish, while the SC660 uses a more rugged-looking casing. Both drives are inherently shock-resistant. A 240GB SV620 will run buyers $95, while a 480GB version will go for $169.99.

2 comments — Last by taisserroots at 1:00 PM on 07/26/16

MSI's Radeon RX 480 Gaming family will arrive in mid-August
— 12:16 PM on July 25, 2016

Announcements of non-reference Radeon RX 480 cards are finally making their way through the grapevine to us, and today's comes from the Dragon Army. MSI is strapping its Twin Frozr VI cooler on AMD's Polaris 10 GPU to produce a family of Radeon RX 480 Gaming cards. These custom-designed Radeons each have an 8-pin PCIe connector and use eight power phases to feed their GPUs. Meanwhile, the Twin Frozr cooler lends them all of the same heatpipe goodness and RGB LED accents of their cousins in the other recent Gaming X families.

That big, fancy cooler allows MSI to push the Polaris GPU's boost clock from the reference 1266 MHz up to 1316 MHz on the Gaming X variants. If you'd prefer silence over speed, the Gaming (non-X) cards have a more modest 1292-MHz boost clock and should be whisper-quiet, although they lack the backplate included on the Gaming X cards. All of the Radeons in MSI's new Gaming series come with an extra HDMI port over the reference design, giving them a pair each of HDMI and DisplayPort. A single DVI-D port is also included for those of us clinging to older displays. MSI says the Gaming and Gaming X series cards will be available in 4GB and 8GB versions in the middle of August.

20 comments — Last by DoomGuy64 at 11:53 PM on 07/26/16

Verizon nabs most of Yahoo for $4.8 billion
— 11:31 AM on July 25, 2016

Yahoo's long-running struggle to reinvent itself is coming to an end today. Telecom giant Verizon is taking most of the iconic internet company under its wing for $4.8 billion, and it plans to meld the property with its AOL subsidary when the acquisition is complete. That means popular websites like Flickr, Tumblr, and a variety of Yahoo-branded portals will now be under the same roof as Engadget, the Huffington Post, and TechCrunch.

According to Yahoo Finance, Verizon isn't getting Yahoo's 15% stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, its shares of Yahoo Japan, its patent portfolio, or its cash on hand as part of the bargain. Those parts of the business will remain with the shell of Yahoo after the transaction closes, and that portion of the business will continue as a "registered, publicly traded investment company" under a new name once the Verizon deal is complete. That business will distribute the cash of the former Yahoo back to investors at some point after the deal is done.

For its billions, Verizon is getting a basket of sites that still attracts over a billion active users per month. Users also maintain over 225 million email accounts through Yahoo Mail. Yahoo Finance reports that CEO Marissa Meyer will stay on the company's board after the acquisition.

19 comments — Last by Concupiscence at 10:48 AM on 07/26/16

We beat the heat for food and fun at the "second-10th" TR BBQ
— 10:02 AM on July 25, 2016

TR gerbils from around the country scurried to Holland, Michigan this past weekend to take part in the "second-10th" TR BBQ. Though this was only my second time at the event, Colton "drfish" Westrate and his family are battle-hardened veterans at showing the rest of us a good time, and the BBQ is already a high point of my year. While a few regulars couldn't make it this time, it was great to hang out with some new blood. Hopefully we didn't scare those folks away with our antics.

All told, I'd guess that over 50 people braved the 90-degree-plus heat to eat zgirl's sublime ribs with us at the BBQ's busiest point, making the second-10th BBQ one of the better-attended ones yet. drfish really pulled out all the stops this year to ensure that TR readers could join us virtually, as well—his Ricoh Theta S 360-degree camera saw to that. We've already reviewed the excellent wireless networking gear that Asus sent us to provide coverage across the entire BBQ site, and I can confirm that it was up to the task of keeping us wired into the outside world even when cellular connectivity failed.

I was too busy tearing into ribs to take pictures of the food, but our former editor-in-chief Scott "Damage" Wasson was on site and had the presence of mind to get some snaps (and video) of the grilling and the resultant ribs.

Once we were all suitably full of ribs, we kicked off the traditional cornhole tournament. I was destroyed in the first round of the event—so much the better for taking pictures. I really need to haul my set of boards out of the shed and actually practice some for next year.

Some of our competitors intently focus on putting beanbags in holes.

The final four duke it out

After a grueling march through the brackets, Josh S. emerged victorious over frequent champion zgirl and took home a sweet set of G.Skill DDR4 memory.

zgirl got one of the awesome 3D-printed trophies that drfish whipped up for this event, but she graciously gave up her spot in the prize order so that TR forum mod Dposcorp and fourth-place winner idchafee could have their pick of keyboards from Corsair and Cooler Master.

Thanks to our sponsors for those great prizes. We also ensured that newcomer chubbyhorse would be back next year by awarding him the prestigious Wasson Cup. We look forward to seeing where his travels take him with this prized trophy.

Once the cornhole championship concluded, we moved to the beach overlook for the traditional firing of potatoes into Lake Michigan, courtesy of Captain Ned's sophisticated spud delivery device.

Dposcorp hauled out a palletload of new and pre-loved hardware for gerbils' perusal during our traditional swap meet.

Since we had a bubble machine and a large-scale bubble-maker at hand, the only logical thing to do was combine those two things to put bubbles inside a bigger bubble.

As the sun set, we watched a huge thunderstorm roll in over Lake Michigan. Despite some intermittent rain showers, we forged ahead and carted Shoes' gigantic fireworks haul down to the beach for a quick show before breaking camp.

Our thanks once again to drfish and family for the tons of prep work and opening their lakeside cabin to the masses, to zgirl for feeding us with her delicious ribs, and to all the TR community members who made the trip. It was great hanging out and talking with all of you. Thanks also to Corsair, G.Skill, and Cooler Master for sending us prizes for our cornhole tournament, and to Asus for sending us that awesome wireless networking gear. We hope to see everybody again next year.

15 comments — Last by chubbyhorse at 11:41 AM on 07/26/16

TR BBQ Day Shortbread
— 8:37 AM on July 23, 2016

The Pick 6

  1. DigiTimes: MSI becomes the largest gaming
    notebook vendor worldwide, says paper
  2. AnandTech: Samsung's SSD 850 EVO 4TB
    now available from major retailers
  3. WCCFtech: AMD may ship limited volume of Zen FX
    processors in late Q4 2016, full volume availability in
    Q1 2017
  4. 9to5Mac: Deutsche Bank claims iPhone 7 will ship with
    Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle, not Lightning EarPods
  5. Ars Technica: Cyanogen, Inc. reportedly fires
    OS development arm, switches to apps
  6. Neowin: Here's what's fixed and
    improved in Windows 10 build 14393.3


32 comments — Last by Krogoth at 8:45 PM on 07/27/16