CES 2019: Kingston A2000 NVMe SSD Aiming for Below SATA Pricing

Manufacturers of SSDs have traditionally sold drives with a PCIe interface at a premium when compared to devices featuring a SATA interface because of higher performance and despite of the fact that most SATA SSDs use drive form-factor and are more expensive to make than M.2 modules. Later this year Kingston plans to launch its A2000-series SSDs featuring a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface that will be priced below SATA SSDs.


The Kingston A2000-series drives will be offered in various controller/NAND configurations in a bid to be flexible in terms of BOM costs and ensure that the SSDs are consistently cheaper than solutions featuring a SATA interface. In particular, Kingston plans to use Silicon Motion’s SM2263-series and Phison’s low-cost controllers along with Toshiba’s BiCS4 3D TLC NAND memory for these drives.



Kingston’s A2000 SSDs will be offered in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB configurations, which is in line with other low-cost SSDs. As for performance, the manufacturer targets up to a 2000 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to a 1500 MB/s sequential write speed. A prototype Kingston A2000 512 GB SSD that Kingston demonstrated at CES offered up to a 1986 MB/s sequential read speed as well as an up to a 1572 MB/s sequential write speed. Such performance levels are typical for SMI’s SM2263XT/SM2263 controllers, so these results are not too surprising. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to see official test results of another version of the A2000.



Kingston says that performance of A2000 drives featuring different controllers will be consistent, so end-users will not have to wonder which SSD they are buying, but this claim will have to be verified by independent testing.












Comparison of Kingston’s Client NVMe SSDs
Capacity A2000 A1000 KC2000 KC1000
240 – 960 GB 240 – 960 GB 240 TB ~ 2 TB 240 – 960 GB
Controller Silicon Motion

Phison
Phison PS5008-E8 Silicon Motion Phison PS5007-E7
NAND Flash Toshiba’s 96-layer BiCS4 3D TLC Toshiba’s 256 Gb 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC 3D TLC Toshiba’s 128 Gb planar MLC
Form-Factor, Interface M.2-2280, PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2-2280, PCIe 3.0 x2, NVMe 1.2 M.2-2280, PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2-2280, PCIe 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.1
Sequential Read Up to 2000 MB/s Up to 1500 MB/s Up to 3000 MB/s Up to 2700 MB/s
Sequential Write Up to 1500 MB/s  Up to 1000 MB/s Up to 2500 MB/s Up to 1600 MB/s
Random Read IOPS ? Up to 120K IOPS ? Up to 290K IOPS
Random Write IOPS ? Up to 100K IOPS ? Up to 190K IOPS

While Kingston demonstrated prototypes of its A2000 -series SSDs at CES, it is not clear when the company intends to ship the final drives. While we do know for sure that Kingston wants to make its A2000-series PCIe SSDs cheaper than SATA SSDs, it still remains to be seen what they will be priced at, especially with NAND prices continuing to fluctuate as the weeks go by.



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Source: Kingston



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: Kingston A2000 NVMe SSD Aiming for Below SATA Pricing

CES 2019: Digital Storm Entry-Level Vanquish PC with Bespoke Chassis

Digital Storm is known for beautiful-looking gaming PCs semi-customized but mostly built from off-the-shelf components. In a bid to differentiate itself from other makers, as well as DIY builds, the company plans to move away from standard cases and use only unique build-to-order chassis for all of its systems, including the entry-level Vanquish series. The first of such PCs was demonstrated at CES earlier this month.



The new chassis for Digital Storm’s Vanquish computers is a dual-chamber PC case that can house an ATX motherboard, a custom or all-in-one liquid cooling system with a 360-mm radiator, multiple fans, several storage devices, programmable RGB lighting (which is generally designed into various components like coolers or motherboards), a tempered glass window, and so on. The front panel of the case carries Digital Storm’s logo, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports as well as 3.5-mm audio connectors.



A particularly noteworthy feature of the upcoming Vanquish PCs is a large PSU chamber that can accommodate a power supply of almost any length. This compartment enables Digital Storm or its customers to install a 1000+ W PSU for an ultra-high-end system.



Another interesting capability is built-in hardware monitor that displays temperature and other data about the status of the system.



Digital Storm’s upcoming Vanquish PCs will sustain their entry-level pricing that starts at $699, but will feature an exclusive design and features, a rare event in this price class. In total, the company will offer four versions of the Vanquish later this quarter.




Related Reading:


Source: Digital Storm



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: Digital Storm Entry-Level Vanquish PC with Bespoke Chassis

CES 2019: Deepcool Unveils 280W Capacity Assassin III Air Cooler

In a world where closed-loop liquid cooling systems have become a default choice for enthusiast-class PCs, the evolution of air coolers has inevitably slowed down. Nonetheless, there are manufacturers that keep introducing rather interesting air coolers that can cool down even high-end desktop processors. One of such devices is Deepcool’s Assassin III, which was demonstrated at this year’s CES.


The 165-mm tall Deepcool Assassin III is comprised of a massive aluminum radiator equipped with seven heat pipes and two 140-mm fans. According to the comapny, to optimize airflows and maximize performance the cooling system actually features spoilers on its top fins, a rather unusual engineering decision. The Assassin III is rated for up to 280 W of cooling, which is enough for any high-end workstation CPU at stock speeds, and also enough for most overclocked desktop processors.


Besides its cooling performance, Deepcool’s other key design choice with the Assassin III is its compatibility with high-end RAM modules. The high profile design of the cooler means that it can stay clear of DIMMs of up to 54 mm in height, up from 45 mm in case of the previous-gen model.


At this point Deepcool hasn’t nailed down all of the specifications of the cooler, as won’t hit the market until a bit later on. But expect the device to weigh around 1.5 kilograms, while the cooler’s acoustics should be favorably limited thanks to the two 140-mm fans. And of course, it will be compatible with all modern CPU platforms from AMD and Intel (though compatibility with TR4 is something that remains to be seen).


Deepcool intends to start selling its Assassin III mega cooler this May at an MSRP of $99.99. Traditionally for Deepcool, the device will be bundled with a screw driver and G-15 thermal compound.



Related Reading:


Source: Deepcool



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: Deepcool Unveils 280W Capacity Assassin III Air Cooler

CES 2019: Dell Alienware Area-51m DTR Laptop with Core i9-9900K & GeForce RTX

In the recent years a number of PC makers have introduced desktop replacement-class notebooks with processors originally developed for desktops. Meanwhile, large OEMs tend to be more conservative and kept using mobile CPUs for their high-end laptops. However, there is a first time for everything and this month Dell’s Alienware announced its first DTR notebook featuring Intel’s desktop six-core and eight-core processors. In fact, the Area-51m was specifically designed to offer high-end performance with few (if any) compromises.


Being a DTR machine, the Alienware Area-51m does away with any notion of “small.” This starts with the screen, which is based around a 17.3-inch IPS display panel featuring a Full-HD resolution, 300 nits max brightness, as well as a 60 Hz or 144 Hz refresh rates. Dell is even offering models with G-Sync variable refresh functionality, depending on the exact SKU (see the table below for details), and higher-end versions of the Area-51m displays also feature Tobii eye-tracking. Past that, since many DTRs are used with external monitors, Dell did not necessarily need to equip its flagship gaming notebook with an Ultra HD LCD, especially given the challenges in driving that kind of a resolution in many games.


 


As noted, Dell’s Alienware Area-51m R1 is based on Intel’s LGA1151 Core i7/i9 processor with six or eight cores as well as Intel’s Z390 chipset. On the graphics hardware side of things, the system is equipped with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060/2070/2080 graphics adapters in Dell’s proprietary form-factor, so while the graphics adapter can technically be upgraded, right now at least it can only be switched by the manufacturer itself.



To cool down the CPU and GPU, Dell uses its proprietary Cryo-Tech v2.0 cooling systems comprising of two fans featuring two intake and two exhausts as well as eight thick copper-composite heat pipes (four for the CPU and four for the GPU).



The system has four DDR4 SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. As for storage, the Area-51m can work with up to three M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 drives as well as a 2.5-inch HDD/SSD. So, depending on the exact model, the notebook can use one, two, or three storage devices.



As for connectivity, the Alienware Area-51m offers similar options as other notebooks from the brand. The laptop is equipped with a Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 controller, a Realtek-enabled 2.5 GbE jack, one Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two display outputs (mini DisplayPort 1.3, HDMI 2.0), 3.5-mm audio jacks, and an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port for proprietary external graphics solutions. The notebook also features an RGB-backlit keyboard with a numpad and a 2.2 mm travel distance, a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, and a microphone array.



Traditionally for Alienware laptops, they come in a very stylized chassis featuring a futuristic design. The Area-51m will come in Lunar Light as well as Dark Side of the Moon colors schemes, with both enclosures outfitted with an AlienFX customizable RGB lighting (power button, alien head, infinite loop in the back).


Being a DTR laptop, the Area-51m is not intended be lightweight and portable, so Dell comes in heavy at 3.87 kilograms (8.54 pounds), which despite the weight is actually lighter than some other machines of this class. The laptop is also up to 42 mm thick, considerably thinner than some of its rivals. And despite the (relatively) thin profile, the Area-51m still packs a 90 Wh battery; though Dell isn’t specifying just how long the laptop will actually last on a charge. Also of note: due to the sheer power requirements of the high-end laptop, Dell is actually splitting up its power consumption over two power adapters. Modest models will come with two 180 W PSUs, whereas high-end configurations will come with a 180 W PSU and a 330 W PSU.






























General Specifications of Dell’s Alienware Area-51m
  Area-51m

1080p 60 Hz
Area-51m

1080p 60 Hz G-Sync
Area-51m

1080p 144 Hz Tobii
Area-51m

1080p 144 Hz G-Sync + Tobii
Display Type  IPS
Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness 300 cd/m²
Color Gamut 72% NTSC (?)
Refresh Rate 60 Hz 144 Hz
CPU Intel Core i7-8700 – 6C/12T, 3.2 – 3.6 GHz, 12 MB cache, 65 W

Intel Core i7-9700K – 8C/8T, 3.6 – 4.9 GHz, 12 MB cache, 95 W

Intel Core i9-9900K – 8C/16T, 3.6 – 5.0 GHz, 16 MB cache, 95 W
Graphics Integrated UHD Graphics 620 (24 EUs)
Discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB GDDR6

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8 GB GDDR6

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 with 8 GB GDDR6
RAM 8 GB single-channel DDR4-2400

16 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400

32 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400

64 GB dual-channel DDR4-2400
Storage Single Drive 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD

512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD

1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD

1 TB HDD with 8 GB NAND cache
Dual Drive 128 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 1 TB (+8 GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD

512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD

116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 116 GB Intel Optane SSD
  Triple Drive 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 256 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive

512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive

1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive

116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 116 GB Intel Optane SSD + 1 TB Hybrid Drive
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0
Thunderbolt 1 × USB Type-C TB3 port
USB 3 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Display Outputs 1 × Mini DisplayPort 1.4

1 × HDMI 2.0
GbE Realtek 2.5 Gbps Ethernet controller
Webcam 720p webcam
Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jacks, trackpad, Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, etc.
Battery 90 Wh
PSU 180 W + 180 W

180 W + 240 W

180 W + 330 W
Dimensions Thickness 27.65 mm | 1.09 inch ~ 42 mm | 1.7 inch
Width 410 mm | 16.1 inch
Depth 402.6 mm | 15.85 inch
Weight (average) 3.87 kilograms | 8.54 lbs
Operating System Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro


The Alienware Area-51m DTR laptops are now available for pre-order and will ship later this month. The standard configurations cost from $2,520 to $4,220, but builds with all the bells and whistles will cost well beyond $5,000.



Related Reading:


Source: Dell



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: Dell Alienware Area-51m DTR Laptop with Core i9-9900K & GeForce RTX

Google Acquires Smartwatch Tech and R&D Personnel from Fossil

Google and watch marker Fossil on Thursday announced that Google would be acquiring smartwatch-related intellectual property and personnel from Fossil. The technology is currently under development and will only be used for future products. The acquisition means that Google now has IP and developers that will help the company more directly address the smartwatch and broader wearables industries..


Under the terms of the deal, Google will pay Fossil $40 million for IP that, unusually enough, has yet to see the light of day. As part of the agreement, some of Fossil’s engineers will also join Google to support the IP transfer, but the watch company will retain more than 200 R&D staff members to continue developing products and technologies.


“The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” said Stacey Burr, vice president of product management of Wear OS by Google.


The technology in question was developed on top of technologies that Fossil received as a result of its 260 million dollar Misfit take over in 2015. Fossil has said that the IP can enable features not supported by smartwatches today, but naturally did not elaborate about the nature of the tech or its ETA.


“We saw some technology that they were developing that we thought could be brought out in a more expansive way if Google had that technology, and was not only able to continue to use it with Fossil but bring it to other partners in the ecosystem,” said Ms. Burr in an interview with Wareable.


Tech companies tend not to share exclusive technologies with each other unless they know that they need support of the whole industry in order to make these technologies take off, or just need someone to share the heavy lifting on their project. Since Fossil uses Google’s Wear OS for its existing smartwatches, it certainly needed to add support for its upcoming tech to the platform. According to the two companies, as they worked together they concluded that they both could benefit if the IP was made available to other partners in the Wear OS ecosystem.


Fossil’s current plan is to incorporate the tech into its own smartwatches (thus still enjoying some exclusive benefits) while Google expands it across the industry over the longer term. For their part, the IP will enable Google to further improve its Wear OS platform and keep it competitive with Apple’s WatchOS, Samsung’s Tizen, and other ecosystems. As an added bonus, Fossil will get $40 million, a significant amount of money for a company that has been either losing money or earning miniscule profits for quite some time now.


Related Reading:


Sources: Fossil Group, Wareable



Source: AnandTech – Google Acquires Smartwatch Tech and R&D Personnel from Fossil

The Western Digital WD Black SN750 SSD Review: Why Fix What Isn't Broken?

Last year Western Digital overhauled their WD Black NVMe SSD with an upgrade to 3D NAND and a new in-house SSD controller, transforming the product line from one of the slowest NVMe drives to one of the top high-end competitors. Now the third generation WD Black SSD is here, with the model number SN750 to avoid confusion with its predecessors. (Internally, last year’s model was known as the SN700, and the OEM version was the SN720.) The new WD Black SN750 is an incremental update over last year’s model, keeping the same basic controller and 64L 3D NAND combination but refining the firmware and adding a 2TB option. Western Digital is also shifting their marketing efforts more toward gamers with the addition of SKUs featuring a large heatsink.



Source: AnandTech – The Western Digital WD Black SN750 SSD Review: Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?

Quick Look: Using WD's Black SN750 SSD as a Thunderbolt 3 External Drive

External SSDs with a Thunderbolt 3 interface are still the only option for users looking to get high-end performance in a bus-powered portable device. These SSDs have become possible due to the emergence of NVMe drives in the compact M.2 form-factor, which are fully capable of saturating the Thunderbolt 3 interface, never mind slower interfaces like 10Gbps USB 3.x.

The TEKQ Rapide was one of the first Thunderbolt 3 external SSD that we reviewed. Since it was fairly easy to disassemble, we also presented some benchmarks of a DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD using the TEKQ enclosure and a SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD. Now, since we happen to have Western Digital’s WD Black SN750 SSD in, we decided it would be interesting to take a look at the new drive in a similar scenario.



Source: AnandTech – Quick Look: Using WD’s Black SN750 SSD as a Thunderbolt 3 External Drive

CES 2019: ECS SF110-A320 Ultra-Compact PC using AMD Ryzen

One of the market segments that AMD has not yet established a meaningful presence in with its Ryzen processors is the ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) PC market. AMD’s limited progress here comes despite the fact that the company introduced suitable low-power Ryzen APUs for desktops a while ago. However things have finally begun to change as of late, after a number of PC makers introduced miniature systems featuring Ryzen chips. One of these companies is ECS, which announced its miniature SF110-A320 PC at CES.


Measuring 205×176×33 mm, the ECS SF110-A320 is based on AMD’s 35W quad-core Ryzen desktop processors with Radeon Vega graphics, and is paired with AMD’s A320 chipset. The APUs will be paired with two DDR4-2400 SO-DIMMs and an M.2-2280 slot for a PCIe or SATA SSD. The system will be equipped with a 90 W PSU, which is more than enough to feed an APU, memory, SSD, and various USB peripherals.



Connectivity-wise, the SF110-A320 UCFF PC offers an essential set of physical and wireless interfaces, including an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth controller, three display outputs (DisplayPort, D-Sub, and HDMI), one USB 3.1 Type-C port, and six USB 3.1 Type-A ports.


While ECS demonstrated its SF110-A320 at CES 2019, the company has not revealed much information about its positioning. On the one hand, the system lacks GbE, which is crucial for offices, but is not that important for living room HTPCs. On the other hand, the latter tend to feature hard drives in a bid to keep certain content locally without using expensive high-capacity SSDs. Keeping in mind that the product is an early prototype, ECS does have time to tweak their design if necessary. Either that, or it has a potential expansion market in digital signage.


 


Without any doubts, there is a growing interest in AMD Ryzen processors across all market segments, especially given the success of the desktop platform. So it is not surprising that companies like ECS are announcing UCFF systems featuring Ryzen APUs. In the coming months we will see more compact PCs powered by AMD’s latest APUs and CPUs.



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Source: ECS



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: ECS SF110-A320 Ultra-Compact PC using AMD Ryzen

CES 2019: ASUS Reveals StudioBook S W700 Workstation with Xeon & Quadro

At CES this year, ASUS introduced its first mobile workstation aimed at professionals who work with graphics applications. The new system can be equipped with six-core Intel Core or Xeon processors, NVIDIA’s Quadro GPUs, and a factory-calibrated 17-inch display panel validated by Pantone.


These days a leading supplier of premium laptops for consumers, gamers, and prosumers, ASUS inevitably needed a new market to enter in a bid to keep its PC market share growing. Mobile workstations are a relatively niche market controlled primarily by Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but it is very stable in terms of volumes and also offers rather lucrative margins. Since ASUS clearly knows how to build competitive PCs, it’s not surprising to see the company try its luck with mobile workstations.



The ASUS StudioBook S W700-series comes in a Turquoise Grey aluminum chassis and is based on Intel’s six-core Core i7-8750H or Xeon E-2176M processors, and are accompanied by NVIDIA’s Quadro P3200 GPU with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory. To cool down the powerful CPU and GPU, ASUS uses a cooling system featuring five heat pipes, and I suspect is similar to the coolers used for the company’s gaming notebooks.



Depending on exact model, the system may be equipped with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2667 memory (with or without ECC support in case of Xeon) and up to two M.2 PCIe/NVMe SSDs (2TB each), which can be further put RAID 0/1 mode.



One of the key components of any graphics workstation is of course its display. ASUS outfits its StudioBook S W700-series with its 17-inch NanoEdge anti-glare 8-bit display panel, which sports a 1920×1200 resolution and 178° viewing angles. The display has also been validated by Pantone; it can reproduce 97% of the DCI-P3 color space, and it is factory calibrated to Delta E < 2 color accuracy.


Moving on to connectivity, the StudioBook S has an 802.11ax + Bluetooth 5.0 controller, a Thunderbolt 3 port (enabled by Intel’s latest ‘Titan Ridge’ JHL7340 controller), three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, an SD 4.0/UHS-II card reader, and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. The laptop is also equipped with an HD webcam, a microphone array, a fingerprint reader, a keyboard with a 1.4 mm travel distance, and a touchpad with numbers that can be used like a numpad for the calculator app.


Courtesy of its relatively thin 5.3-mm LCD bezels, the 17-inch screen fits in a chassis that is comparable to those used for 15-inch mobile workstations (which tend to be pretty bulky anyhow). The z-height of the ASUS StudioBook S is 1.84 cm, whereas its weight is around 2.39 kilograms



















The ASUS StudioBook S General Specifications
  W700G3P
Display Diagonal 17″
Resolution 1920×1200
Color Gamut DCI P3: 97%
CPU Intel Xeon E-2176M processor: 6C/12T, 2.7 – 4.4 GHz, 12 MB

Intel Core i7-8750H processor: 6C/12T, 2.2 – 4.1 GHz, 9 MB
RAM Up to 64 GB DDR4-2667 with or without ECC
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P3200 with 6 GB of memory
Storage Up to two PCIe 3.0 x4 SSDs
Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi module
Bluetooth BT 5.0
General Ports 1 × Thunderbolt 3 for data, display output (DP 1.4)

3 × USB 3.1 Gen 2

1 × HDMI 2.0

1 × SD/UHS-II card reader
Other I/O HD webcam, TRRS connector for audio, speakers, microphone array
Dimensions (H × W × D) 38.2 × 28.6 × 1.84 cm

15.03 × 11.25 × 0.72 inches
Weight 2.39 kg | 5.27 pounds
Battery Life 57 Wh
Price ?

ASUS will start sales of its StudioBook S W700-series mobile workstations in the coming months. Prices and exact configurations will be disclosed at launch.



Related Reading:


Source: ASUS



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: ASUS Reveals StudioBook S W700 Workstation with Xeon & Quadro

CES 2019: A Monitor from GIGABYTE? The 1440p 144 Hz IPS FreeSync 'Aorus AD27QD'

Over the past few years GIGABYTE has expanded to a variety of new businesses. The company started to offer memory modules, SSDs, mice, keyboards, and a lot of other gear aimed at gamers. This year GIGABYTE enters the market of gaming displays with a rather interesting offering: the Aorus AD27QD. The monitor combines a 8-bit panel with a 10-bit scaler, and a 144 Hz IPS QHD panel with a plethora of features aimed at gamers, including FreeSync. The monitor also has its own active noise cancellation too.



GIGABYTE’s Aorus AD27QD features a very unusual chassis and stand that look like Martian invaders from Herbert Wells’ “War of the Worlds” or similar creatures from Valve’s Half-Life 2. Equipped with four programmable RGB bars on the sides and the Aorus-styled RGB-lit golden eagle in the middle, the stand and chassis look glittery gamerish. While virtually all gaming monitors use aggressively-styled chassis, GIGABYTE has probably outpaced everyone with its design.



Moving on to specs, which are far more important for gamers than the eye-catching design (which is something that the display definitely has), the Aorus AD27QD is based on a 10-bit 2560×1440 resolution IPS panel. Overall the display offers 178°/178° viewing angles, as well as a 144 Hz maximum refresh enabled by AMD’s FreeSync technology. The monitor can reproduce 95% of the DCI-P3 color space.



One of the selling points of the monitor is its software controls as well as an OSD that can display various important information like CPU temperature, fan speeds, mouse sensitivity and so on. The OSD also has a ‘dot sight’ functionality which shows a custom image in the center of the screen to help gamers aim in their first-person shooter of choice. This is being called a ‘gaming aid’.



Being designed for gamers, the Aorus AD27QD supports a number of features aimed directly at them, including GIGABYTE’s active noise cancelling technology as well as AMD’s FreeSync. The ANC feature is unique to the Aorus AD27QD display and will likely attract attention of team gamers who use voice communications to coordinate their actions. In this case GIGABYTE is using the ANC in conjunction with a gamers’ microphone to help their team mates hear them better.


GIGABYTE said that the monitor is expected to be available from the end of January, and will be priced around $699. A GSync enabled version should be available later in the year.



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: A Monitor from GIGABYTE? The 1440p 144 Hz IPS FreeSync ‘Aorus AD27QD’

CES 2019: $900 InWin 928 Chassis for Intel's 28-Core Xeon W-3175X

The emerging category of extreme workstations has brought with it a new market for larger PC cases better suited for housing this high-end equipment. To that end, at CES this year InWin demonstrated its new 928 chassis, which is specifically designed for machines using Intel’s Xeon W-3175X processors. The PC case can accommodate an Extended-ATX motherboard, two PSUs, and a sophisticated cooling system. And with a price tag of $900 – almost a complete mid-range PC –- it’s distinctly priced to go with Intel’s high-cost 28-core processor.


Like other modern high-end chassis, the InWin 928 ‘SuperTower’ case has side-by-side compartments to separate airflow. It features windows made of tempered glass to allow everyone to see the hardware inside inside. One of the chambers houses the system’s motherboard (e.g., the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme) with CPU (e.g., the Intel Xeon W-3175X), up to two graphics cards (up to 480 mm length), and various storage devices. Meanwhile the other compartment holds up to two high-wattage PSUs, which given the kind of heat those can produce, makes a lot of sense for why InWin would want to place them into a separate chamber.



When it comes to storage, the PC case can support up to two 3.5-inch HDDs as well as up to six 2.5-inch drives, which is somewhat unusually HDD-lite for a workstation. Meanwhile, following the latest trends, the InWin 928 does not support ODDs, so no Blu-ray movies for owners of Intel Xeon W-3175X-based workstations. Meanwhile, the InWin 928 has a USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and the usual audio jacks on the front.


On the cooling side of matters, the InWin 928 can accommodate two 420-mm radiators for liquid cooling systems on its top. Alternatively, it can support six 140-mm fans on top, three 140-mm fans at the front, and three 140-mm fans at the rear. Even if equipped purely for air cooling (12 fans in total), the case should provide enough cooling even for the Intel Xeon W-3175X and NVIDIA’s TITAN RTX.


Since the InWin 928 case is compatible with EATX (14×14-inches) motherboards and has two compartments, the chassis is huge: it is 668 mm tall, 582 mm deep, and 377 mm wide.
























InWin 928
Motherboard Size ATX, E-ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Drive Bays External
Internal 2 × 3.5″ and 6 × 2.5″
AIB Bays Internal 2, up to 480 mm graphics cards are supported
CPU Cooler Size Height up to 185 mm
Cooling Front 3 × 140 mm
Rear 3 × 140 mm
Top 3 × 140 mm
Middle
Bottom
Radiator Support Front
Rear
Top 2 × 420 mm
Middle
Bottom
I/O Port 1 × USB-C 3.1

2 × USB 3.0

1 × Headphone

1 × Mic
Power Supply Size Two PSUs, up to 250 mm
Dimensions W: 377 mm × H: 668 mm × D: 582 mm
Colors Grey with RGB ligthing
Features Aluminum and glass side panels
Price ~$900

Given its unique market, we expect InWin to start sales of its 928 PC case around the time when Intel releases its Xeon W-3175X processor. The price of the chassis is expected to hit $900, which is not exactly surprising given the low volume and the high margins that W-3175X systems will fetch.



Related Reading:


Source: InWin, PC Watch



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: 0 InWin 928 Chassis for Intel’s 28-Core Xeon W-3175X

CES 2019: GIGABYTE’s High-Performance Aorus PCIe and M.2 SSDs

Last year when GIGABYTE introduced its first SSDs, the company took a cautious approach only released entry-level drives. At this year’s CES the company finally unveiled its high-performance SSDs aimed at high-end PCs, which like other high-end GIGABYTE parts will be sold under the Aorus brand. Traditional and typical for GIGABYTE, the drives are based on controllers and reference designs developed by Phison.


GIGABYTE’s Aorus family of SSDs will include 512 GB and 1 TB models in both PCIe add-in-card and M.2 module form-factors. The AIC drives feature a large radiator to ensure consistent performance as well as programmable RGB LEDs. Meanwhile, the M.2 modules also come with a heat spreader featuring an RGB-lit golden eagle logo.



The new SSDs will be based on the Phison PS5012-E12 NVMe 1.3-supporting controller that has eight NAND channels with 32 CE targets, a DDR4/DDR3L interface for DRAM caching, and a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. Like most contemporary Phison-powered drives, the Aorus SSDs will use Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND flash memory. The drives will also come with a 512 MB DRAM buffer, with GIGABYTE using the same buffer size for both capacities.



When it comes to performance, GIGABYTE says that its Aorus SSDs will offer up to 3480 MB/s sequential read speeds, up to 2100/3150 MB/s sequential write speeds (512 GB/1 TB versions, respectively), as well as up to 610K/530K random read/write IOPS. As for power consumption, it is not going to exceed 2.2 W, the manufacturer says. Finally, for endurance, the drives are going to be rated for 1.8 million hours MTBF as well as up to 800 TBW (terabytes to be written).



GIGABYTE’s Aorus SSDs will hit the market in the near future, but the company has not yet disclosed the exact timeframes or MSRPs.



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Source: GIGABYTE



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: GIGABYTE’s High-Performance Aorus PCIe and M.2 SSDs

TSMC: 7nm Now Biggest Share of Revenue

As process node technology gets ever more complex, it costs big dollars to develop and then building chips on the process is also a very costly process. The big foundries often have many process nodes running in parallel across a wide range of price brackets in order to both diversify the revenue streams but also offer multiple competitive options for the market. The latest numbers out of TSMC are stating that in Q4, the revenue generated from their leading edge 7nm node family now takes the biggest percentage of revenue for the company.



Source: AnandTech – TSMC: 7nm Now Biggest Share of Revenue

The Microsoft Surface Go LTE Review: Unmatched Mobility

Microsoft’s Surface Pro lineup has been a design win for the company for several years now. The Surface Go was launched in July of 2018 as a lower-cost version of the Surface Pro, offering buyers a less expensive way to become a Surface customer, and by the nature of its smaller size compared to the Surface Pro, an even more portable convertible Surface tablet. When the device was initially announced, a model with LTE connectivity was also in the works, and the Surface Go LTE arrived in November 2018.



Source: AnandTech – The Microsoft Surface Go LTE Review: Unmatched Mobility

Intel’s Graphics-Free Chips Are Also Savings-Free: Same Price, Fewer Features

We recently reported on the fact that a range of new mainstream Intel desktop processors are coming onto the market without the integrated graphics enabled. This processors, indicated by the ‘F’ designation (not to be confused with Intel’s chips with an integrated fabric, also called ‘F’), have had their specifications released for a short while, except for the price. Intel is now happy to fill that part in.



Source: AnandTech – Intel’s Graphics-Free Chips Are Also Savings-Free: Same Price, Fewer Features

CES 2019: MSI PS63 Modern Notebook, a 15.6-inch with 16 Hours Battery Life

Designed with content creators and designers in mind, the new 15.6″ MSI PS63 Modern looks to make a bold statement. The key feature for this new notebook is the specifications: under the hood we get Intel’s latest Whiskey Lake processor, combined with a GTX 1050 Max-Q graphics card, a 15.6-inch 1080p display, and yet MSI claims that this system will hit 16 hours of battery life. That’s one hell of a combination.



Also included is Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 for quicker mobile device charging on supported devices. This is so with its ’16 hour battery life’, a user could be on the system for 12 hours and get a full charge of a smartphone in a day.


With a similar specification and feature set as the new Dell XPS 15, MSI’s model looks to be undoubtedly cheaper if their usual pricing model applies and could certainly turn a few heads with its touted 16-hour battery life and MSI True Color technology designed to produce close to near perfect sRGB (99.6%) color reproduction.



Some of the specifications of the MSI PS63 Modern include a 15.6″ 1080p IPS panel which is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti with Max-Q Design and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. Memory support is limited to DDR4-2400, but up to a maximum of 32 GB can be installed, if not provided as standard. Aimed more at professionals, there is no flashy RGB keyboards, but MSI does include one of its smooth glass touchpads and has room for up to two M.2 NVMe capable SSDs. There’s also a fingerprint reader too.



MSI’s Creator Center software is included which made its first appearance in the MSI P65 Creator model last year. The Creator Center looks to optimize and include adjustable system modes for creative applications including MAGIX Photostory, Adobe’s suite and even the Sony VEGAS Pro video editing software.


There are no details on the launch pricing or retail availability of the MSI PS63 Modern at present. The whole unit is built on a ’16 16 16′ principle: 16 hours battery life, 1.6 kg weight, and 16mm thick. This unit was easily one of the most impressive we saw at CES this year.




Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: MSI PS63 Modern Notebook, a 15.6-inch with 16 Hours Battery Life

CES 2019: MSI's Gaming Laptop Lineup With NVIDIA RTX Graphics

MSI is one of the latest manufacturers to launch a new range of gaming laptops with two new gaming models with upgraded graphics. Hitting the market is the slimline but powerful MSI GS75 Stealth, and the MSI GE75 Raider which is one of the first 17″ notebooks to harness the power of an RTX 2080. 


MSI GS75 Stealth



The newly revamped version of the MSI GS75 Stealth comes installed a new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card and an Intel 8th generation Core i7 processor. Not only that but the aluminium frame houses an impressive 17.3″ 1080p 144 Hz IPS screen suitable for gamers, an RGB keyboard that is customizable with the SteelSeries Engine software and a glass touchpad.


Under the hood, the MSI GS75 Stealth also has room for up to three M.2 drives with two of them having SATA and NVMe PCIe 3.0 support, while the third just supports SATA drives. On the networking front, MSI uses Killer NIC and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter which also includes Bluetooth 5 connectivity. 


One of the standout features of the GS75 Stealth is in its size; it packs a powerful component selection into an ultra-thin 18.95 mm thick frame and weights 2.25 kg with the battery installed. Not exactly light, but more svelte than most other gaming-focused notebooks on the market with similar specifications. According to the newly updated GS75 Stealth product page, a model with an RTX 2070 and the new RTX 2060 are also available; this is likely to be dependant on region.



MSI GE75 Raider




The previous Generation of MSI’s GE75 Raider Gaming Notebook


Slightly heavier and just under half a kilogram heavier is the new MSI GE75 Raider. The GE75 Raider is another of MSI’s notebook range overhaul to be paired up with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card. In fact, MSI is stating that this is the first 17″ laptop to use the new Ray Tracing enabled RTX 2080 model. On top of that, the GE75 Raider features a SteelSeries per-key RGB customizable keyboard, speakers powered by Dynaudio and incorporate a unique ‘3D Dragon Spine’ design with a red anodized finish.


There’s no information about availability or pricing on the MSI GE75 Raider currently, but we expect MSI to start revealing more soon.


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Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: MSI’s Gaming Laptop Lineup With NVIDIA RTX Graphics

CES 2019: Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan at 1.8 GHz GPU Clocks

Colorful has introduced its new limited-edition graphics card that will belong to its top-of-the-range Kudan* tier. The company plans to make only 1,000 of its iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan graphics cards, but those lucky who will lay their hands on one of these collectible boards will not only get an exclusive high-tech device, but will also get extreme performance right out of the box.


The Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan graphics card is powered by NVIDIA’s TU102 GPU (4352 cores) that runs at up to 1.8 GHz in burst mode (up from 1545/1635 MHz on reference/FE cards) paired with 11 GB of GDDR6 memory that sit on a custom PCB featuring a sophisticated multi-phase VRMs. Although Colorful does not disclose many details regarding this PCB and VRM, we do know that the card has three 8-pin auxiliary PCIe power connectors, which means that the card can potentially be fed with up to 525 W of power when adhering to PCIe specifications. 525 W of power is over two times higher than NVIDIA’s official TDP for its GeForce RTX 2080 Ti product.



To ensure that the monstrous graphics adapter is cooled properly, Colorful equipped it with a triple-wide hybrid air and liquid cooling system featuring five fans in total — three on the card itself and two on the LCS’ radiator. Even without the liquid part, the cooler on the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan card is already pretty sophisticated: it has five heat pipes, a massive aluminum radiator, three fans, and a backplate with an individual number of the board on it. Once the liquid part is attached, the whole cooling system gets even more potential to dissipate a massive amount of thermal power and therefore ensure some additional overclocking potential for the card. Meanwhile, the cooler is equipped with an LCD that displays real-time stats of the card (e.g., temperature) as well as RGB LEDs.



To celebrate 10 years of its iGame series, Colorful outfitted the cooling system with elements of fine watches, steampunk, and robotics, which are designed to make the look of the iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan card even more exquisite. These features may not exactly be a good fit for the name Kudan and martial arts, but since this is an anniversary edition product, there is a reason why cogwheels are there.



Colorful introduced its iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan in China earlier this month and is set to begin its sales in the near future. At some point, these cards will reach retail in other countries (e.g., Akihabara in Tokyo, Nanjing in Taipei, and similar places), but with only 1,000 units to be made, do not expect widespread availability.



*Kudan is the ninth-degree black belt in Japanese martial arts, the second highest rank after Judan (tenth-degree dan, the absolute top in modern martial arts). Kudan represents a rare top-grade master in martial arts that stands well above 99% of black belt holders. Only fifteen people in the worlds were ever promoted to Judan in Japan and there are only three living tenth-degree dan holders.



Related Reading:


Source: Colorful



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: Colorful iGame GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Kudan at 1.8 GHz GPU Clocks

CES 2019: ASRock's Five New B365 Motherboards

ASRock unveiled five new B365 motherboards at CES 2019 with a mixture of features similar to its Z390 offerings. The B365 Pro4 and B365M Pro are targeted towards professional users while B365 and B365M Phantom Gaming 4 mark a lower cost entry point onto the Intel 8th and 9th generation processors. The last of the five new models is the mini-ITX sized B365M-ITX/ac.




ASRock B365 Pro4 ATX Motherboard


In an effort to free up some capacity for the fabrication of their 14 nm silicon, Intel announced plans to add the B365 chipset to their line up last month which uses their 22 nm manufacturing process. ASRock has taken this new chipset and marketed their new range with added the moniker of ‘Power, Redefined’, but the five new models look targeted more to general consumers. Each of the five ASRock B365 models uses a single 8-pin 12 V ATX power connector to provide power to the CPU (which is ample given the B365 doesn’t officially support overclocking).


ASRock B365 Pro4 and B365M Pro4


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The B365 and B365M Pro4 models keep things basic visually, with no integrated RGB LEDs but instead offers users a more neutral-looking silver and black design throughout the heatsinks and PCB. Both the Pro4 models have four RAM slots with support for DDR4-2666 which will likely be higher when eventually released onto the market.




ASRock B365M Pro4 micro-ATX motherboard


The onboard audio is handled by a Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec, while the 1 Gb LAN port is controlled by an Intel I219V NIC. Storage capabilities consist of six SATA ports and dual M.2, even on the smaller B365M Pro4 micro-ATX sized model. Processors supported with integrated graphics can be used with HDMI 1.4, DVI-D and a D-Sub output.



ASRock B365 Phantom Gaming 4 and B365M Phantom Gaming 4




ASRock B365 Phantom Gaming 4 ATX motherboard


The design on the more gaming-centric B365 and B365M Phantom Gaming 4 models represent their new gaming range in the lower tier end of 8th and 9th generation chipsets, so these are likely to appeal to gamers on a budget. The general aesthetic of both the ATX and micro-ATX sized model is black and silver heatsinks, with black PCB and RGB LEDs integrated into the rear panel cover and right-hand edge of the boards.




ASRock B365M Phantom Gaming 4 micro-ATX motherboard


Like the B365/B365M Pro4 models, the new Phantom Gaming 4 models also share a similar controller set and PCIe layout. These include support for DDR4-2666 memory across four slots which is likely to be upgraded when the firmware and memory QVL lists are finalised. The audio controller of choice is the Realtek ALC1220 HD audio codec which has PCB isolate shielding included. Networking capability is provided by an Intel I1219V gigabit NIC and both models also share dual M.2 and six SATA ports. Compatible and supported processors with integrated graphics allow users to use either the HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 video outputs on the rear panel.



ASRock B365M-ITX/ac 




ASRock B365M-ITX/ac mini-ITX motherboard


In recent times, ASRock has made some impressive looking mini-ITX motherboards across various segments including the Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac model which we are currently working on for review. The B365M-ITX/ac looks to me a more bang for buck variation on the smaller form factor with the more budget Realtek ALC887 audio codec, but it does feature the same Intel I1219V 1 Gb LAN as the other ASRock B365 models. Unlike the other B365 models, ASRock has included an 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter which also supports Bluetooth 4.2 devices. Storage options are slightly lesser than the other four models with just four SATA ports and a single M.2 slot available.



It is worth noting that all the ASRock B365 product pages mention a maximum capacity for up to 128 GB of DDR4 memory, with the mini-ITX B365M-ITX/ac model offering up to 64 GB. This is a clear indication that all five of these models will support with the new Double Capacity DC 32 GB UDIMMs which G.Skill announced last year.




ASRock B365 Phantom Gaming 4 Rear Panel


ASRock hasn’t announced when these new B365 models will be available or pricing information as of yet, but we expect this information soon.



Source: AnandTech – CES 2019: ASRock’s Five New B365 Motherboards

The Snapdragon 855 Performance Preview: Setting the Stage for Flagship Android 2019

As we get ever closer to the releases of various Android vendor’s newest generation devices, Qualcomm continues its tradition of showcasing the performance of its newest generation SoC ahead of time, giving us a preview and a glimpse of what to expect of the upcoming commercial devices. This year, the company has shuffled the schedule around a bit, and instead of hosting the event at their San Diego headquarters, and we were able to get a hands-on with the Snapdragon 855 at CES before the show had started. Today we’re be looking in quite extensive detail on how exactly the new Snapdragon chipset performs, as well as shedding some light on some important unanswered technical questions on some aspects of the SoC.



Source: AnandTech – The Snapdragon 855 Performance Preview: Setting the Stage for Flagship Android 2019