Tuesday deals: an NVMe SSD, RAM, awesome laptops, and more
— 10:26 AM on June 19, 2018

Howdy, gerbils! At last the good weather's arrived around here (for the most part), except I'm stuck at home working instead of out there enjoying the sun. You gerbils' thirst for hardware deals cannot be easily quenched, and I'm sure that most of you are looking forward to buy an NVMe solid-state drive, some fast RAM, or maybe a gaming laptop. As it happens, we have those items today in our picks. Check them out.

  • Speaking of stuff that's dropped in price in recent months, the Adata Gammix D10 16-GB kit with two 3000 MT/s DIMMs is just the ticket for any new PC, or perhaps an upgrade. The low-profile heatsinks should ensure these DIMMs can easily go under just about any heatsink. Get the pair for only $135.99 from Rakuten. You'll need to add the promo code SAVE15 in the second step of checkout.

  • There are many frivolous gaming-related items that one can buy, but a well-shaped mouse with a proper sensor is a basic necessity. Those mice tend to be dear, but today we have the Logitech G Pro on offer. This rodent can track terrain at up to 12,000 DPI thanks to its PixArt PMW3366 sensor. The report rate is 1 KHz (as well it should be), and the mouse body is simply designed, with a couple of thumb buttons besides the usual clickers. There's also RGB LED lighting on tap. Hunt this rodent down for only $29.99 at Best Buy.

  • Over the years, we've become good fans of some gaming laptop series. One of them is the Acer Nitro 5, and the version we have today packs a Core i5-8300H processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card with 4 GB of its own RAM. Storage comes by way of a 256-GB solid-state drive, and the 15" display uses an IPS panel with a resolution of 1920x1080. We call specs like these "perfectly balanced," and the pretty-low price is just the cherry on top. Best Buy will let you take this machine home for just $679.99.

  • If the machine above doesn't have enough punch for you, we have an alternative: the modern-looking Dell G5 15 gaming laptop. Our pick includes a high-end six-core Core i7-8750H processor accompanied by 16 GB of RAM at 2666 MT/s. The real highlight here, though, is the Max-Q GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB graphics card that slaps pixels onto the 15" 1920x1080 IPS display. Those with large game libraries will also appreciate the storage combo setup with a 128-GB solid state drive in tandem with a 1-TB spinner. Rakuten will hand this machine over for just $969.99 with the checkout code DELL180.

  • Last but by no means least, we have a mobile workhorse. The Dell Inspiron 13 (i5379-7302GRY-PUS) 13" convertible comes with a Core i7-8550U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB solid-state drive. The machine is pretty darn slick, and Dell says the battery on it should be good for 10 hours of use. Unlike many portables, though, the Inspiron 13 has a generous complement of ports—USB 3.1, USB 3.0, and an HDMI output are part of the package. The Microsoft Store is running a sale on this 2-in-1, and you can obtain it for just $649. As an added bonus, a nice active pen comes in the box.

That's all for today, folks! 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 and Amazon, 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 Das Keyboard's shop.

Nvidia unveils Super SloMo deep learning-powered motion interpolation
— 9:02 AM on June 19, 2018

I'm sure that, like me, you probably smirk or roll your eyes when you see a TV investigator confidently command a subordinate to "enhance" a low-resolution image. Well, we live in the future, folks. Nvidia's just demonstrated a similar sort of technology for slowing down standard-speed video. Check out this video of what the company calls Super SloMo.

Nvidia says that the system runs on Tesla V100 GPUs and uses the Pytorch deep-learning framework. Apparently, the team that created this technology trained their system on over 11,000 videos shot at 240 FPS. Once it was trained, the neural network was able to take a regular video and create completely realistic-looking intermediate frames to produce a higher-speed version.

That higher-frame-rate video can then be played back at the original speed to produce a slow-motion effect, even when the video was originally recorded using a low frame rate. Alternatively, you could watch the high-speed video in its new frame rate—assuming you have the display to reproduce it, of course.

The effect, at least as demonstrated in the video above, is incredibly realistic. It's easy to envision folks making use of this technology on a future GeForce product. If we step a bit into the realm of fantasy, it's also easy to imagine this technology—perhaps along with a fixed-function accelerator—being used to improve the smoothness of movies, TV shows, or games.

If you're a developer looking to learn exactly how Super SloMo works, you'll have to wait until Thursday. Nvidia's researchers will be talking about the technique in a presentation at the 2018 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City, UT.

20 comments — Last by ptsant at 10:42 AM on 06/19/18

Deal of the day: an EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB for $250
— 3:33 PM on June 18, 2018

The fever in the video card market hasn't entirely broken, but there are many encouraging signs that we're getting there. Today's signal comes courtesy of EVGA's GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB Gaming. Amazon will sell you this compact yet powerful card for $250, or right at its suggested price. Yes, this is a bit underwhelming, but we haven't seen cards like this one selling without a markup in ages. As far as we can tell, this is the lowest price on a GTX 1060 6 GB you'll find anywhere right now.

The GTX 1060 6 GB Gaming isn't the hottest-clocked compact GTX 1060 in EVGA's stable—that honor goes to the Editor's Choice-winning SC edition—but this card still offers a 1506-MHz base clock and a 1708-MHz boost clock that's likely to be quite a bit higher in practice. Its 6 GB of GDDR5 RAM should still have quite a bit of life in it, and its 6.8"-long (172.7 mm) cooler will fit into most any case, big or small. Best of all, the GTX 1060 6 GB's impressive power efficiency means you'll probably never hear this card in operation. If you've been sitting on a new build because of a lack of affordable video cards, this one is just the ticket for a midrange PC.

19 comments — Last by 223 Fan at 11:12 AM on 06/19/18

Intel document confirms eight-core Coffee Lake-S Xeons
— 2:00 PM on June 18, 2018

In case you needed further evidence that an eight-core Coffee Lake CPU would be hitting Intel's desktop platform eventually, there's a new piece of data supporting that supposition. Over at Intel's site, you can find a Dear Customer Letter (DCL) that advises the company's partners regarding sample identification and usage guidelines for a "Xeon E Coffee Lake-S 8C Processor ES." That'd be an engineering sample for an eight-core LGA 1151 Xeon.

No, the eight-core Coffee Lake CPU rumors we've been hearing about weren't specifically about Xeons, but then they also weren't necessarily about Core processors either. This document at least confirms the existence of such a processor die. Aside from a couple of mobile chips, Intel hasn't even officially launched the Coffee Lake Xeon E-series yet. Given the existence of these engineering samples, it seems we can probably expect that series to include eight-core CPUs at some point.

Historically speaking, the baseline Xeon series—known as Xeon E3 in recent years—has shared the overwhelming majority of its DNA with Intel's desktop CPUs. Thinking along those lines, we can probably expect this eight-core processor to show up on Intel's regular old LGA 1151 desktop platform at some point. The rest of the details are all up in the air even, though we've been hearing about this particular chip since September of last year.

In previous generations, we might have told you to pick up one of the Xeons when they come out and throw it in a low-cost B360 motherboard. That's not going to work anymore, though. Ever since Skylake, Intel has been forcibly segmenting its desktop Xeons onto motherboards bearing C200-series chipsets. Hopefully the consumer version of this chip isn't far behind. Hat tip to HotHardware for pointing out the story at WCCFTech.

10 comments — Last by blastdoor at 9:32 AM on 06/19/18

AMD offers i7-8086K winners a Threadripper 1950X trade-in
— 11:54 AM on June 18, 2018

If you signed up for Intel's Core i7-8086K giveaway, won one, and have no intent of actually using it, you've got another option open to you now. AMD will be offering US residents a trade-in deal: give us the i7-8086K that you won, and we'll give you a 16-core Threadripper 1950X in return.

To make good on the deal, you will have to have won Intel's sweepstakes—this isn't a way to save $375 on a Threadripper 1950X for the general public. AMD says it has 40 of its flagship CPUs ready for folks who would rather give up the i7-8086K's 5-GHz single-core clock for the many-core grunt and quad-channel memory of the massive TR4 CPU.

If you qualify for the trade-up, why didn't you tell us you won? Kidding aside, if you're really interested, you'll have to head over to this page and "complete certain steps." What exactly those steps are won't become clear until June 25, so watch that page on that date to find out what you need to do.

37 comments — Last by Srsly_Bro at 9:36 AM on 06/19/18

Samsung ordered to pay $400 million in FinFET licensing case
— 11:07 AM on June 18, 2018

Bloomberg reports that Samsung Electronics has been ordered to pay $400 million to KAIST IP, the patent-licensing sister company to Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), by a federal jury in Marshall, Texas. The patent in question involves FinFET fabrication technology, a transistor type Samsung started using in products like the 14-nm Exynos 7 Octa 7870 SoC released in early 2016.

The jury said Samsung's infringement was "willful," a remark that means the judge could increase the amount Samsung has to pay KAIST IP to as much as $1.2 billion. Qualcomm and GlobalFoundries were also found to have infringed on the patent, but were not ordered to pay any penalties. Rival silicon maker Intel is one of KAIST IP's licensees and has been using FinFETs since 2012's 22-nm Ivy Bridge CPUs.

FinFETs are one of the fundamental structures silicon manufacturers have begun employing in the last few years to help achieve better performance and power efficiency in finished chips, especially as feature sizes have shrunk towards the limits of silicon. Samsung unsuccessfully argued that it worked with KAIST to develop the technology and challenged the validity of the patent. KAIST's lawyers charged that Samsung was dismissive of the FinFET technology until the company got wind of Intel's plans to use FinFETs in its own designs. The Korean manufacturer said it "will consider all options to obtain an outcome that is reasonable, including an appeal."

The US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, the location for the lawsuit, is widely accepted as a litigation venue friendly to patent holders. KAIST IP is based in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, despite the university's home in Daejeon, South Korea, over 6400 miles away (11,000 km). Patently Apple reported back in December 2016 that KAIST IP could target TSMC as an additional infringer for FinFET-related litigation, but at the time had "yet to secure enough evidence to proceed." With that in mind, we may not have seen the end of the FinFET IP wars.

5 comments — Last by fyo at 5:31 PM on 06/18/18

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 moves from Rockchip to Kaby Lake
— 4:00 PM on June 15, 2018

Samsung has been on board with Google's Chromebook platform since the first round of retail PCs running the browser-based OS began to ship. The Korean manufacturer has shown no CPU architecture allegiance in that time, being the first major manufacturer to offer an ARM-based Chrome OS portable but also offering plenty of Intel-powered Chromebooks over the years. The company just announced its Chromebook Plus V2, a thin-and-light convertible that tosses out the Rockchip OP1 from the previous-generation machine in favor of an Intel Kaby Lake Celeron 3965Y.

That Celeron two-core, two-thread processor isn't the fastest thing on the block, but it's an upgrade from the Cortex-A72 Rockchip 3399 found in the first-generation Chromebook Plus. The CPU gets 4 GB of memory and is connected to 32 GB of integrated storage. The microSD slot can read and write on cards as large as 400 GB. The 12.2" touchscreen has a resolution of 1920x1080 and claims 300 cd/m² brightness when cranked all the way up. That content-consumption-biased panel still has a fairly high pixel density at 181 PPI, but it nevertheless represents a downgrade from the old model's 2400x1600 screen with a more productivity-friendly, Surface-style 3:2 aspect ratio. 

Samsung's latest machine has a 2-in-1 hinge design that lets the device dress up like a tablet. The Chromebook Plus V2 comes with front and rear cameras as well as a built-in pen that can detect 4096 levels of pressure. The user-facing camera is a one-megapixel unit, but the (sometimes) rear-facing unit has a 13-MP lens and an f/1.9 lens. That snapper is poised to provide high-resolution photos of the interiors of the user's nostrils when the machine is in traditional clamshell laptop mode, since the lens is positioned just above where the F2 and F3 keys would be on a Windows laptop.

Chrome OS devices started getting access to Android Apps from Google's Play Store a couple years ago, and some Chromebooks have been steadily blurring the line between the two operating systems ever since. Samsung didn't specifically mention Chrome OS's new ability to run containerized Linux applications in an integrated fashion, but we would be surprised if that capability didn't eventually make it to the Chromebook Plus V2.

The machine measures 11.3" wide (28.8 cm), 8.2" deep (20.8 cm), and 0.7" thick (1.8 cm) and weighs in at 2.93 lb (1.3 kg). Samsung says the Chromebook Plus V20's curved-cap keyboard can withstand spills of up to 2 oz (60 cc) of liquid, about 10% of a full venti cup of coffee. The sides of the machine sport a USB 3.0 Type-A connector, an audio combo jack, a microSD card reader, and two USB-C ports that can also serve as 4K display outputs. Samsung didn't provide any battery capacity information, but the internal pack is replenished through the USB-C connectors and has "all-day" life. 

Samsung says the Chromebook Plus V2 will hit store shelves on June 24. Buyers will be expected to hand over $500 in order to leave the store with one.

7 comments — Last by Eversor at 7:57 AM on 06/18/18

Lenovo ThinkPad P52 can swallow a whole 128 GB of RAM
— 2:00 PM on June 15, 2018

I was actually working at Dell way back in 2001 when the very first Precision mobile workstation came out. At that time, I sneered at the idea of a "mobile workstation." To me, workstations were massive machines with dual CPUs, SCSI HBAs, and one of these ridiculous things. These days, the mobile workstation is a thriving market segment, and I've seen few laptops that exemplify it better than Lenovo's new ThinkPad P52.

The latest ThinkPad can be configured with both Core i-family and Xeon CPUs. Lenovo doesn't note specifically which chips are on offer, but does say that six-core models will be available. We'd expect this bad boy to make an appearance, along with perhaps this beast. You can pair a Core processor with up to 128 GB of DDR4 memory or slap 64 GB of ECC RAM in a Xeon-based machine.

Lenovo says the standard graphics configuration on the ThinkPad P52 is Nvidia's Quadro P3200. Don't let the relatively low model number fool you; the GP104 chip onboard is just slightly cut down from its full form and packs 1792 shaders. It's connected to 6 GB of GDDR5 memory running at a hair under 9 GT/s across a 192-bit bus. Despite the low board power of 78 W, we expect that the Quadro P3200 should be an impressive performer for its intended tasks.

That Quadro chip will end up connected to 15.6" displays in 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 resolution. The lower-resolution monitor will splash color on your face at up to 300 cd/m². That display should be able to reproduce 72% of the NTSC color space, a figure that translates to around 100% of sRGB. The fancier 4K UHD screen can get brighter at up to 400 cd/m², and Lenovo says it can light up the entire Adobe RGB color space.

Notably, the P52 only supports solid-state storage. Prospective buyers can purportedly configure it with up to 6 TB of flash, although Lenovo doesn't explain how many devices that requires. If that's not enough, you can hook up external storage to the three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, the two Thunderbolt 3 connections, or use the SD card reader as an impromptu floppy drive. A full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, a mini-DisplayPort 1.4 jack, a 3.5-mm combo audio jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet connector comprise the rest of the external ports.

Given the specs on offer, it's no surprise Lenovo proudly trumpets the ThinkPad 52's VR-readiness. You'll probably want to have it plugged in for that usage, though. While the machine comes with a 90-Whr battery, Lenovo wisely makes no claims about its battery life. The company is also shy about talking prices right now, but we'll find out soon, as the ThinkPad P52 will be available at the end of the month.

14 comments — Last by thecoldanddarkone at 8:19 PM on 06/18/18

Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 breathes deep
— 12:08 PM on June 15, 2018

I'm a big fan of the looks of Cooler Master's MasterCase H500P. However, I'm not a huge fan of its cooling performance. The H500P's updated version eventually solved that problem with a mesh front panel. Now, Cooler Master is making sure it's not repeating the same mistake with its new case. The MasterBox MB511 is an entry-level ATX mid-tower that wraps the front of the case in a fine mesh grille tuned for high airflow.

On either side of said grille are large, similarly-filtered intakes surrounded by colored accents. With all those mesh surfaces, we reckon the MB511 should be able to offer plenty of airflow for cooling hot systems. Builders can mount a trio of 120-mm fans or a 360-mm radiator up front. Folks who prefer wider fans can use a pair of 140-mm fans or a 280-mm radiator. The top of the case can take two fans of either size, but is limited to 240-mm radiators. A further 120-mm fan or radiator can go in the back, and Cooler Master helpfully includes one of its own fans there.

Aside from the high-airflow design in the front, this case is pretty much what you expect from an entry-level chassis in 2018. The acrylic panel spanning the breadth of the left side is held on by four thumbscrews, and a partition separates the bottom-mounted power supply from the motherboard. The MB511 doesn't have any RGB LEDs, but that's to be expected given its affordable positioning. Builders can mount two 3.5" drives, five 2.5" drives, and seven slots' worth of expansion cards in the MasterBox MB511.

When the case hits the market, it'll offer red, white, blue, and black options for the colored accents on the front. Only the red option is currently up for pre-order, though. If this looks like the basic case of your dreams, head on over to Newegg where you can pick up one or two for $60 each. Newegg says the case will begin shipping on July 9.

1 comment — First by Chrispy_ at 11:14 AM on 06/19/18

Intel "lazy FP state restore" vunerability could expose privileged data
— 10:02 AM on June 15, 2018

Security researchers have uncovered a new microarchitectural vulnerability in some Intel processors. Called "Lazy FP State Restore," this vulnerability relies on a side channel to leak potentially privileged data after the processor performs a context switch from an unprivileged process to a privileged kernel function, according to security analysis from Red Hat. Both Intel and Red Hat classify the potential impact of this vulnerability as "moderate." AMD CPUs are not affected.

As with Spectre and Meltdown, the vulnerability stems from efforts to improve performance. Context switches are microarchitecturally expensive, and the less data that needs to be moved around during such a switch, the better. The leak relies on the fact that the processor can defer saving and restoring of FPU state until a new process actually uses the CPU's floating-point unit after a context switch (hence "lazy"). An attacker can apparently use another process to reveal or infer this lazily-restored data from target processes, although full details of the exploit are not yet available. Since the CPU's floating-point registers are often involved in cryptographic calculations, the ability to read data from them is bad news, according to The Register.

The choice to use lazy FPU save-and-restore is an operating-system-and-software-level one, so microcode updates won't be required to mitigate it, according to a statement provided to The Register by Red Hat. The issue apparently doesn't affect Intel processors uniformly, either—Red Hat says newer Intel CPUs implement instructions that make the potential performance benefits of the lazy FP state restore mostly irrelevant, so the technique isn't used on those chips.

The Linux vendor says that operating systems using the lazy method of FPU restore should be configured to use "eager" FPU restore instead, in which the entire FPU state is swapped on every context switch, although a list of affected CPUs is not yet available. Given that Red Hat says version 7 of its Enterprise Linux OS uses this "eager" technique by default on Sandy Bridge and newer Intel architectures, the issue is likely confined to pre-Sandy Bridge chips.

Red Hat says it will be issuing an update to versions 6 and earlier of its operating system to expose a flag to configure eager FPU restore in the kernel. The company says enabling the parameter will not affect performance on vulnerable systems. The Register says Microsoft also has patches for affected systems in the works. As always, we advise TR readers to enable automatic updates on their systems and use supported versions of their operating system of choice.

Intel provided TR with the following statement on the vulnerability:

This issue, known as Lazy FP state restore, is similar to Variant 3a. It has already been addressed for many years by operating system and hypervisor software used in many client and data center products. Our industry partners are working on software updates to address this issue for the remaining impacted environments and we expect these updates to be available in the coming weeks. We continue to believe in coordinated disclosure and we are thankful to Julian Stecklina from Amazon Germany, Thomas Prescher from Cyberus Technology GmbH, Zdenek Sojka from SYSGO AG, and Colin Percival for reporting this issue to us. We strongly encourage others in the industry to adhere to coordinated disclosure as well.

31 comments — Last by Redocbew at 12:23 PM on 06/18/18

Bourbon Day Shortbread
— 4:00 PM on June 14, 2018

Not shown: one scotch and one beer

PC hardware and computing

  1. Alienware wireless gaming headset: AW988 review @ HardOCP
  2. Intel Core i7-8086K (14 nm) review @ Hexus
  3. Toshiba OCZ RC100 SSD review @ HotHardware
  4. Samsung 970 Pro 1TB SSD review @ KitGuru
  5. Toshiba OCZ RC100 SSD review - M.2 2242 PCIe NVMe @ Legit Reviews
  6. G.Skill Sniper X 3600 MHz DDR4 review @ TechPowerUp
  7. Adata XPG SX8200 480GB M.2 NVMe solid state drive review @ ThinkComputers
  8. The BitFenix Formula Gold 650W PSU review @ AnandTech

Games, culture, and VR

  1. Overhauled Steam chat open beta @ Blue's News
  2. FREE 3: A trio of free games as an antidote to E3 hype @ Rock Paper Shotgun
  3. Sony is blocking Fortnite cross-play between PS4, Nintendo Switch players @ Slashdot

Hacks, gadgets and crypto-jinks

  1. Poetry is the fruit of this loom @ HackADay
  2. Ava makes travel-friendly ukulele even more portable @ New Atlas

Science, technology, and space news

  1. MIT trains AI to track people's movements through walls @ New Atlas
  2. The internet is finally going to be bigger than TV worldwide @ Slashdot
  3. Massive Martian dust storm has put Opportunity rover in a low-power sleep @ Ars Technica

Cheese, memes, and shiny things

  1. Corsair Void Pro RGB wireless gaming headset review @ PC Perspective
  2. Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R RGB review @ bit-tech
  3. Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Rapidfire review @ Guru3D
  4. Doritos made giant nacho cheese chips—here's how to get them @
  5. Moo-ve it to solve this dairy mystery. Hilmar Cheese opens new ag-based escape room @

40 comments — Last by blastdoor at 9:44 AM on 06/17/18

Thursday deals: a combo deal with a Core i5-8600K and more
— 2:27 PM on June 14, 2018

Hi there, gerbils. We know that news is slow as heck today, and that's why we have more than a few reviews for you to read through. We recently took a look at the Corsair Strafe RGB MK.2 keyboard, HyperX's Pulsefire Surge RGB gaming mouse, and wrote more than a few words about Microsoft's Windows 10 April Update. Meanwhile, you can ease your Gear Acquisition Syndrome issues by checking out the deals below.

  • Combo packages tend to be the leading items in our deals, and we have such an offer for you today. If you're looking to get started on a new machine, you could do worse than picking up a package containing a six-core, six-thread Intel Core i5-8600K processor, 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance 3000 MT/s DDR4 across two sticks, and an ASRock Z370 Killer SLI/ac motherboard. The mobo comes with Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi controllers. Newegg will hand you the whole caboodle for the amount of $509.99, about $63 off the regular total. You can get another $10 back by way of a rebate card, too.

  • Intel's eighth-gen mobile CPUs are inside pretty much every new Windows laptop on the planet, and for good reason. Their combination of low power draw and high performance is an intoxicating one, as proven by the Acer Aspire A515-51-596K. This functional lappie has a four-core, eight-thread Core i5-8250U processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256-GB solid-state drive, and a 1920x1080 display. This kind of specs is usually tied to a price tag at least as large as seven benjamins, but you can get your hands on this machine today for $499.99 from Newegg

  • Judging by the way that every manufacturer under the sun is now doing RGB LED-lit mice and keyboards, it's clear that these accessories are selling like mad. We figure that more than a few gerbils will want to take a look at the G.Skill Ripjaws KM570 RGB keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches. This keystroke-slinging device has a minimalist chassis, per-key RGB LED lighting, and dedicated volume control keys. You can grab one from Amazon for a mere $72.88 with the promo code 11KEYS.

  • You might have ordered the keyboard above, and now it's time for the accompanying mouse. The Razer DeathAdder Chroma has an ergonomic shape, a 10,000-DPI optical sensor, and RGB LED lighting in any color of the rainbow. A nice gaming mouse usually goes for well north of $60, but this one right here will only set you back $37.99 at Newegg Flash while stocks last. Get going!

  • Up next, something that will have more than a few gerbils drooling. The Acer XB271HU gaming display has an IPS panel with resolution of 2560x1440 and a 144-Hz maximum refresh rate (overclockable to 165 Hz), along with Nvidia G-Sync variable refresh rate support. Additional accoutrements include a height-adjustable stand and a USB hub. It wasn't rare to see this display command $700 back in the day, but you can currently have one for just $549.99 at Newegg if you use the promo code EMCXPVET2. Note that you'll need to be a Newegg newsletter subscriber to take advantage of this deal.

  • Our out-of-left-field deal today is an extremely enticing one. What do you think about a set containing two Polk Signature S50 tower speakers, two Polk S10 surround speakers, a Polk S30 center unit, all topped off with a rather-powerful Yamaha RX-V685 7.2-channel receiver? I bet that you're wondering how many thousands you'll have to spend for this setup, but the answer is that Adorama will happily sell you the whole kit-and-caboodle for just $799.99. That's a darn cheap price to buy nearly everything you need for a pretty-impactful home theater setup.


That's all for today, folks! 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 and Amazon, 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 Das Keyboard's shop.

12 comments — Last by abiprithtr at 12:01 AM on 06/16/18

Asus WS X299 Sage/10G packs double-barreled 10 GigE
— 10:42 AM on June 14, 2018

Gerbils with deep pockets will surely recall Asus' WS X299 Sage motherboard from late last year. High-end workstations these days are all but required to have 10-Gigabit Ethernet, though, and the pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports on the WS X299 Sage may have disappointed some buyers. For those folks, Asus has a new version of that board called the WS X299 Sage/10G that upgrades both RJ-45 jacks to 10-GbE sockets. The newer revision also packs an upgraded VRM heatsink.

The new network connections are powered by an Intel X550-AT2 chip codenamed Sageville. Because of all the high-speed PCIe connectivity the fast NICs require, the WS X299 Sage/10G loses a few of its connections compared to the original board. It still comes equipped with a full suite of 7.1-capable analog audio connections, four USB 3.0 ports, and a pair of USB 3.1 connections (one of which is a Type-C port.) There are also onboard headers for two more USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.1 front-panel jack. The second U.2 port also goes bye-bye on the revised board.

This board's only other change from the original version is an upgraded VRM heatsink. The difference isn't stark, but part of the heatsink now extends to the back panel, likely to cool the Sageville network chip. The secondary VRM heatsink is also a bit longer. The changes could help cool power-thirsty X299 CPUs, although the extant WS X299 Sage board already has one of the densest fin stacks we've seen on a motherboard's power-delivery circuitry. Rumor has it that Intel has 22-core CPUs on the way in September for LGA 2066, so it's also possible this change is to help prepare for those CPUs' likely prodigious power draw.

If you're curious about further details, you can check out the product page or our coverage of the original WS X299 Sage. Since Asus just put up the product page, we don't know how much the new board will cost. You can probably figure on a premium of at least $100 over the $529 price of the original board, though.

28 comments — Last by curtisb at 11:45 AM on 06/17/18

Radeon Software 18.6.1 gets vermin running faster with Adrenalin
— 9:00 AM on June 14, 2018

 AMD showed off a Radeon Instinct card using a version of its Vega graphics chip built on a 7-m fabrication process at Computex last week, but it didn't say much about when that tech might trickle down to gamers. In lieu of new hardware, the company is pumping up performance for some Radeon owners by improving its drivers. Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.6.1 claims to increase frame rates by up to 10% in Warhammer: Vermintide 2 on systems with Radeon RX 580 8 GB graphics and up to 9% on PCs with Radeon RX Vega 56 cards compared to the same systems running the 18.5.2 drivers.

AMD promises blazing performance increases in Warhammer: Vermintide 2

In addition to the performance boost for Vermintide 2, the new driver fixes some problems. The driver team says it squashed game-specific bugs in Subnautica, Sea of Thieves, World of Tanks, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, and World of Warcraft. Problems displaying the Windows desktop on Radeon Pro Duo cards at ludicrous 8K resolutions have also been fixed.

This Vermintide 2 screenshot would be perfect for an Nvidia driver update post, wouldn't it?

Any gerbil knows that problems with graphics drivers spring eternal. Today's release leaves unresolved issues with stuttering when Frame Rate Target Control and Radeon ReLive are both turned on at the same time and incomplete Radeon Overlay output in borderless fullscreen mode. Some OpenGL and Vulkan applications could display corrupted output on Hybrid Graphics configurations. Radeon Chill can drop frame rates below the target if a game is left idle for a long time. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt can have some stuttering when running in borderless fullscreen mode, and Sea of Thieves can have corrupted ropes and sails when the player is standing on a boat.

Users of systems with supported AMD graphics silicon can read the release notes here. The same page has links to download the new Radeon Software for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and Windows 10. Apple Boot Camp users and the few folks trying to use a Vega card on a 32-bit version of Windows should not pass Go or install the drivers.

10 comments — Last by Shobai at 7:08 AM on 06/18/18

Vivo Nex full-screen handset kisses notches goodbye
— 3:51 PM on June 13, 2018

A few folks like to have meat around their phone screen for gripping, but the the majority of the market for high-end phones has pronounced that display bezels are terrible and must be eliminated at all costs. So far, that has mostly meant re-positioning things like fingerprint sensors and sticking front-facing sensors into notches carved into the display. Chinese phone maker Vivo has gone a different route for its flagship Nex phone, relegating the self-portrait camera to a flip-out pod and equipping the device with a novel "Screen SoundCasting" ear speaker and a stuff-of-legends in-display fingerprint reader.

All of these technological hijinks allow the 6.6" Super AMOLED display to cover over 91% of the Nex's body. That screen's 2316x1080 resolution isn't setting any records in the segment, but its still good for just over 400 PPI. The 193:90 aspect ratio doesn't reduce well, so it's probably just easier to say 2.14:1. A fingerprint scanner is hidden beneath the bottom section of the screen, unlike some recent phones that have moved biometric authentication to the side or the back of the body.

The Screen SoundCasting tech uses the entire screen as a speaker in a fashion similar to a bone-conduction speaker. Vivo says this technology provides better bass response than regular speakers, along with allowing for more room on the phone's face for the display. Vivo didn't talk about battery life, though the 4000-mAh battery is rather capacious. However, it also has its work cut out for it powering such a large screen.

The insides of the Nex are typical 2018 Android flagship, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 calling the shots and peeking and poking at 8 GB of memory. The company didn't detail the storage options, but TechRadar says the Nex gets 256 GB of onboard storage and the less-expensive Nex S gets 128 GB. The outlet says the company will make a similar model called the Nex A that swaps out the top-shelf Snapdragon 845 in favor of the spanking-new midrange Snapdragon 710 SoC paired with 6 GB of RAM. None of the Nex handsets get a microSD card slot.

The front-facing camera is an eight-megapixel unit with an f/2.0 aperture that pops up when the user activates it, and slides back in automatically within a couple seconds of closing the camera app. The rear camera has a 12-MP main sensor with an f/2.0 lens working in conjunction with a 5-MP, f/2.4 unit. It's possible that the packaging of the user-facing camera could preclude face-recognition technology for user identification. The Nex has a headphone jack on the top and a USB Type-C connector on the bottom. The company didn't make any claims regarding dust and water intrusion resistance, though.

Vivo probably isn't a familiar brand name to most gerbils, but its parent company BBK Electronics counts OnePlus and Oppo among its marques. BBK is the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world and also makes products sold under the Philco and Memorex names in the US.

We aren't so sure if the Vivo Nex can handle the dusty lunar environment

Ars Technica reports that Vivo will sell the Nex in China for ¥4,498, a figure that comes out to around $700. The Snapdragon 710-powered Nex A will reportedly cost the equivalent of about $600.

18 comments — Last by juampa_valve_rde at 9:03 AM on 06/16/18

AOC Gaming G1 monitors offer high refresh rates, FreeSync, and low prices
— 10:48 AM on June 13, 2018

Getting into the game has been most every PC enthusiast's goal since all the way back in the 8-bit days. The rise of powerful 3D accelerators and large displays has certainly made it easier to feel like you're immersed compared to when blocky sprites ruled the day. AOC's latest G1-series gaming displays are designed for immersion with their curved VA panels, slim bezels on three sides, claimed 1-ms response times, and rapid, 144-Hz refresh rate capability. FreeSync support is the cherry on top for users with compatible graphics cards or game consoles. The series' first members are the 24" C24G1, the 27" C27G1, and the 32" C32G1.


All three displays share the same 1920x1080 resolution, a figure that will be great news for some and a bummer for others. On the positive side, the limited pixel count should make the G1 monitors work well with game consoles and let PC gamers with relatively meager hardware enjoy high frame rates. The downside of these displays is their low pixel density. The C24G1 offers 92 PPI, while the 70 PPI of the 31.5" C32G1 is downright coarse.

All three displays claim 250 cd/m² brightness, a 3000:1 static contrast ratio, and 178° viewing angles. Unfortunately, AOC didn't provide any information about color space coverage or FreeSync range. Since these are 144-Hz displays, our bets are that the FreeSync range is probably generous and that there's LFC support.


The C24G1 has the tightest curvature we can recall seeing on a gaming display at 1500 R. The C27G1 and C32G1 have the much more common 1800-R curvature. The big C32G1 is only adjustable for tilt, but its two lighter siblings get stands with height adjustment. All three models have HDMI 1.4, VGA, and DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, plus a headphone output.

AOC posted some UK prices on Twitter. The C24G1 should go for £179 (around $199 without VAT), the C27G1 ought to set buyers back £219 (or $244), and the bigger C32G1 will be priced at £259 ($289).  The company's Twitter announcement lead us to believe the G1 monitors should be in stores relatively soon.

20 comments — Last by Chrispy_ at 5:34 AM on 06/16/18

New Noctua fans and heatsinks take a turn at Computex
— 9:10 AM on June 13, 2018

Naturally, Noctua also attended Computex and showed off an array of new products. After launching the NF-A12 fan last month, the company produced a pair of coolers based on the new fan. The company also also showed off revisions of most of its classic heatsink series, color-customizable versions of the Chromax series coolers, and the a helping of A-series fans.

Image: Noctua

Starting off at the top, Noctua announced the fifth-generation U12-series cooler. This single-stack 120-mm tower cooler will use seven heatpipes running through its fin stack, which Noctua claims has 37% more surface area than that of its predecessor. Combined with the pair of NF-A12 fans strapped to it, Noctua says this little 120-mm tower can deal with a 220-W thermal load "nearly" as well as the legendary (and ludicrously large) NH-D15.

Image: Noctua

Possibly the most unusual product that Noctua showed off at Computex was the Noctua Desk Fan. The company's prototype appears to be an NF-A12 fan bolted to a 3D-printed air-shaping apparatus that itself is attached to a desk mount using a hinge. Noctua says the plastic part attached to the fan's face is called the Airflow Amplification System, and that the fan can be felt more than two meters away despite being completely silent. I'd sure like one for these Texas summers.

Image: Noctua

Intel's exhibition of 5-GHz, 28-core overclocking prowess certainly raised quite a bit of buzz at the show. Noctua is bringing out air coolers for socket LGA3647 that will come in 140-mm, 120-mm, and 90-mm versions. The company says it will have models available for chassis with 1U and 2U height, as well versions for both the standard and narrow socket mounting profiles. Unusually for Noctua, the Xeon coolers will come with thermal paste pre-applied.

Images: Noctua

Folks who fancy their cooling will no doubt be familiar with (or have used) one of Noctua's NH-L9, NH-C14, NH-U14, or NH-D14 coolers. All of those models are being revised, although the company says it isn't sure which revisions will actually make it to the market. We expect that the new coolers will come with A-series fans, which the company demoed at Computex in sizes ranging from 50 mm to 200 mm.

Image: Noctua

Finally, Noctua has a few additional products on the way. An eight-port fan hub that can be powered off a PWM socket or a SATA power plug is is coming up. The hub has magnets on the back so that you can stick it to your case. There's also a 24 V-to-12 V step-down converter, likely of little interest to PC builders but of great use to makers and other electronics hackers. This tiny adapter will allow those folks to run any Noctua 12-V fan in a 24-V environment.

There were a few other announcements at the show that I didn't have the space to cover here, so you can check out Noctua's blog post for pictures and more details. The new Xeon coolers will be released "shortly," according to Noctua. The rest of the products will be on the way late this year or next year.

13 comments — Last by DavidC1 at 12:51 AM on 06/14/18

Deal of the day: a Radeon RX 580 4 GB for $210
— 7:01 AM on June 13, 2018

Cryptocurrency prices are crashing, and graphics-card prices seem to be coming down with them—at least for the moment. A good example is Asus' Dual Radeon RX 580 O4G, on sale today at Newegg for just $210 after promo code EMCSPVER3. That's just $10 above the Radeon RX 580 4 GB's $199 suggested price. We haven't seen prices like this on a Radeon RX 580 for ages, and it's cheaper than most RX 570s on the 'egg at the moment.

The Dual RX 580 O4G has a twin-fan cooler, slightly-warmed-up 1380-MHz boost clocks in its "OC mode," 4 GB of GDDR5 RAM clocked at 7 GT/s, two HDMI ports, two DIsplayPorts, and a DVI output. None of this really matters, because if you need a midrange graphics card and have been holding off on buying because of inflated prices, you should be checking out with this one by the time you read this.

39 comments — Last by anotherengineer at 5:03 PM on 06/14/18

Intel's discrete graphics products will begin appearing in 2020
— 5:28 PM on June 12, 2018

Ever since Intel added former Radeon honcho Raja Koduri to its bench of semiconductor talent, the company has been clear that it intends to make a renewed attempt to compete in the discrete graphics card market for both gamers and data centers alike.

New product development cycles in the industry begin years before shipping products appear, so it wasn't clear when the first fruits of Intel's newfound interest would arrive. Thanks to a report by analyst Ryan Shrout, we now know that Intel will begin shipping its next discrete graphics products in 2020. Intel itself confirmed the news in a separate tweet.

Shrout learned of Intel's plans during an analyst briefing conducted by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Navin Shenoy, executive vice president of the company's data center group. Shenoy acknowledged that the company will be introducing GPU products for both the data center and the client markets. We still don't know how broad a range of products the company intends to introduce when it does re-enter the market, but Intel has at least put AMD and Nvidia on notice for when they can expect fresh competition in the graphics space.

145 comments — Last by Sahrin at 1:12 PM on 06/18/18

Red Rose Day Shortbread
— 3:00 PM on June 12, 2018

Morbotron has this to add.

PC hardware and computing

  1. Accelerating secondary storage with Intel Optane memory @ PC Perspective
  2. ASRock X470 Taichi review @ Guru3D
  3. Asus Crosshair VII Hero AM4 motherboard review @ HardOCP
  4. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless headset review @ Hexus
  5. AMD Ryzen 7 2700 and Ryzen 5 2600 review @ HotHardware
  6. ASRock H370M-ITX/ac motherboard review @ KitGuru
  7. Reeven NAIA 240 review @ TechPowerUp
  8. We tried the world's first analog mechanical keyboard @ TechSpot
  9. Synology DiskStation DS1618+ review @ ThinkComputers
  10. The Intel Core i7-8086K review @ AnandTech

Games, culture, and VR

  1. Rollcage successor Grip flips out of early access this autumn @ Rock Paper Shotgun
  2. Halo Infinite announced, returning to PC @ Rock Paper Shotgun
  3. Maneater is Jaws: The Game, and we're Jaws @ Rock Paper Shotgun

Hacks, gadgets and crypto-jinks

  1. Japanese fire-fighting dragon rides water jets @ HackADay
  2. Apple just banned cryptocurrency mining on iOS devices @ Ars Technica
  3. SpaceX package will add "small rocket thrusters" to 2020 Tesla Roadster @ New Atlas

Science, technology, and space news

  1. Tesla's Autopilot to get 'full self-driving feature' in August @ Slashdot
  2. Ultra-capacitor hybrid radically boosts power and efficiency of lithium batteries @ New Atlas

Cheese, memes, and shiny things

  1. The Yakima Valley's giant, doughy grilled cheese @
  2. Kraft will carve your dad's head into a giant block of cheese for Father's Day @

19 comments — Last by rwburnham at 8:49 AM on 06/14/18