Tech News

  • Goodbye HardOCP - Hello Intel @ [H]ard|OCP

    Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | By: Dennis

    Well this is a bit of a surprise, Come April 1st HardOCP will be "mothballed" with the current Editor in Chief, Kyle Bennett, taking a position at Intel to be the Director of Enthusiast Engagement.

    When I first started getting into hardware one of the first sites I paid attention to was HardOCP.  At the time Kyle had been part of several "networks" that helped make early sites popular through advertising and promotions.  Of course, it also helped that the content Kyle posted was engaging and focused on the enthusiast PC world and I modeled much of what I did on Ninjalane.com after what I saw on HardOCP.

     Of course as website owners there comes a time when you have to ask yourself "What is my future?".  Lately the landscape of hardware review has quickly dried up.  Advertising dollars largely went away 8 years ago and the rise of Techutainment has really driven the audience away from "learning" about hardware to watching other people "play" with hardware (while also making silly faces.)  Over the past several years we have seen Scott from TechReport and Ryan from PC Perspective take on jobs in the industry while individual reviewers have been taking jobs with hardware makers for years.  Why not?, they are the defacto technical experts that can not only use the products but also talk about them.

    Hopefully, with Kyle helping Intel re-engage the enthusiast community we can start to see resurgence in PC Hardware which will lead to a reason to upgrade and a reason to build your PCs.  Many people forget that it has always been the vocal minority that drives what hardware makers do and when that voice is silenced we get things like gold motherboards, hard drive docks and RGB ecosystems.

    Effective April 1, 2019 I will be taking on the position of Director of Enthusiast Engagement for Intel’s Technology Leadership Marketing group. Intel wants to reconnect with the top of the high-performance consumer pyramid which contains hardware enthusiasts, overclockers, gamers, and content creators. This is the part of our community that has great influence through word of mouth and online engagement. I’ll be focusing on helping Intel get back in touch with this audience and re-establishing a voice and dialog on where the company is going with its future technologies. If you are reading this, you are very likely already part of this group.

    All the best Kyle! 

  • Cooler Master Releases New NR Series Cases

    Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | By: Dennis

    LOS ANGELES, CALIF., MARCH 19, 2019 – Cooler Master, an award-winning PC components company, today announces the release of the NR series with two new cases: The MasterBox NR400 and the MasterBox NR600. The NR series streamlines form and function to provide a minimalistic design and bold performance.



    Two models launch alongside each other, each supporting a different form factor. The smaller MasterBox NR400 supports up to mATX motherboards, while the larger MasterBox NR600 supports up to standard ATX motherboards. Marked only by the iconic solid stripe from the original N Series, the new NR Series applies modern technology to a timeless design by incorporating both filtration and airflow in the fine mesh front panel.

    • Minimalistic Mesh Design - Elegant design elements are applied to mesh for optimal thermal performance.
    • Optimal Thermal Performance – The full mesh front panel and ventilated top panel provide a high potential for thermal performance.
    • Flush Tempered Glass Side Panel – The tempered glass side panel, fastened by thumbscrews on the rear panel, keeps the surface completely flush.
    • Headset Jack – The single 4 pole headset jack features both audio and microphone capabilities simultaneously so separate jacks are not needed.
    • Graphics Card Support Up to 346mm (NR400) / 410mm (NR600) – Generous clearance space is provided to support the latest graphics cards.
    • Cable Management – High quality, longer length rubber grommets paired with generous clearance behind the motherboard offers ample room for cable management.



    “Keeping the NR Series minimal on the outside meant paying a keen attention to structural details. Two examples, in particular, are the mesh used in the front panel and the structure of the two-part side panel,” Said Matteo Stracciari General Manager of Cases at Cooler Master. “A single-layer, fine mesh makes up the entire front panel, achieving efficient airflow while also acting as a dust filter while the tempered glass side panel sits completely flush against the chassis and the PSU shroud to form a two-part showcase of tempered glass and steel.”

    Thermal performance is at the core of the NR Series, with the combination of two pre-installed fans for intake and exhaust and the fine mesh front panel. Generous support for radiator mounting and unrestricted ventilation on the top and front panel ensure that even the most demanding components are efficiently cooled while the two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports at the top of the case provide ample connectivity for everyday use.

    The NR Series challenges the stereotype of minimal cases by introducing bold performance to a pure and simple design.

    Pricing & Availability
    The MasterBox NR400 and NR600 will be available for pre-sale today for a starting MSRP of $59.99 and $69.99, respectively. Models vary per region, for more information please visit: http://us.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/MasterBox-Series/masterbox-nr400.html and http://us.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/MasterBox-Series/masterbox-nr600.html.

  • Funky Kit Review - Thermaltake WaterRAM RGB Liquid Cooling Memory

    Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | By: Dennis

    If the motherboard is the heart of a computer then the RAM it just attached 'cause computers are not body parts.

    Now, with that being said Thermaltake is a cooling, case, psu, keyboard, mouse, headset company that is now offering memory so they can pimp their RGB enabled memory cooling block.  This block only works on their memory and fits quite well into their cooling ecosystem.

    Its not "great" memory but in the world of "don't touch PCBs" I'm not sure anyone will care after seeting the amazing RGB light display.

    The Thermaltake WaterRam RGB is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re like me who loves RGB and to want to watercool your ram, then these are memory kits you want.

    I like how Funky Kit mentioned Tea in their "hook".  Other than that, its watercooled ram modules everybody!

  • CORSAIR Launches DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory

    Published: Thursday, February 28, 2019 | By: Dennis

    Latest Edition of CORSAIR’s Flagship DRAM Line Introduces New CAPELLIX RGB LED Technology

    Fremont, CA, February 21st, 2019 – CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory, raising the bar once again for premium, world-class DRAM. DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB delivers the high performance that custom PC enthusiasts demand for their cutting-edge systems, while renewing the celebrated and iconic design of DOMINATOR PLATINUM. A fully updated aluminum heatspreader, hand-sorted memory chips, frequencies up to a record-setting 4,800MHz, and individually addressable RGB lighting – a first for a DOMINATOR PLATINUM module – combine to create DDR4 memory that’s in a class of its own.

    Each module of DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB represents the pinnacle of premium craftsmanship, starting with a custom 10-layer PCB that guarantees signal quality and stability. Every memory chip is hand-sorted and tightly screened to ensure tight response times and high-frequency performance, with kits available from 3,000MHz to an incredible 4,800MHz, with ample headroom for overclocking. DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB stays cool even under extreme stress thanks to CORSAIR’s patented Dual-Path DHX cooling technology, which cools the module through both the anodized aluminum heatspreader and copper planes embedded directly into the PCB.



    A die-cast zinc-alloy top bar houses DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB’s 12 ultra-bright CAPELLIX RGB LEDs, the first time CORSAIR has used this all-new LED mounting method. At just 0.2mm³, CAPELLIX LEDs improve upon conventional LEDs in almost every measurable way, able to shine brighter and last longer, while using less power with higher energy efficiency. This results in more vivid, stunning lighting than with any other RGB memory currently available, without impacting performance or thermals thanks to their greatly reduced power consumption.

    CORSAIR iCUE software enables powerful control and customization over DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB. Make sure your memory is running at its full potential with real-time system monitoring that tracks temperature and frequency. iCUE’s dynamic RGB lighting customization lets you choose from dozens of pre-set lighting profiles, or create your own patterns and effects with complete control over each individual LED. iCUE can also synchronize lighting across all of your iCUE-compatible devices for truly intricate system-wide lighting effects.

    DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB is available in a wide array of capacities and frequencies and sold in kits of two, four, and eight modules. DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB also becomes the fastest air-cooled production memory kit available today with the 4,800MHz, 2 x 8GB kit, running on ASUS Z390 Maximus XI GENE and Z390 Maximus XI Apex motherboards and an Intel® Core i5 8600k CPU.

    For PC building enthusiasts who demand both uncompromising performance and gorgeous visuals to complement the look of their system, DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB is strictly in a class of its own.

    Availability, Warranty and Pricing
    CORSAIR DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory is available immediately from the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors, as well as direct from the CORSAIR webstore. Some select SKUs of CORSAIR DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR4 Memory are exclusive to the CORSAIR webstore.

  • OPPO Exec Questions Foldable Phone User Experience

    Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | By: Dennis

    With all the hype around the new foldable phone technology I am asking myself "why" and by the sounds of it so is this OPPO Exec.

    Oppo VP Brian Shen took to Weibo today to unveil the company’s foldable phone concept. It looks like the same kit used by Huawei and it’s unclear if Oppo will release the device. Shen notes the company doesn’t think a foldable phone improves the user experience, which is why the company is hesitant to move the device into production.

    This is a smart move from the Chinese phone company.

    While OPPO isn't a mobile device company in the US they are very popular in AsiaPacific and in a way I share his concerns.  For instance we have all witnessed "tech for the sake of tech", we had an entire year where motherboards were gold colored, and we’ve seen the rise and fall of the dedicated overclocking motherboard and the slowly escalating competition to add more stuff to motherboards including RGB and watercooling components.

    These I would view as advances for the sake of advancement.  They do nothing to improve the user experience of a motherboard beyond the niche market for which they are designed and most of them ended up being partially responsible for the downfall of the custom enthusiast motherboard market.

    Will foldable phones meet the same end??  I think yes.

    Thing is, right now companies are dealing with the peer pressure from "vocal" consumers who are attacking companies who haven't been playing follow the leader.  It will be interesting to see how this situation "unfolds" and if we are lucky Oppo VP Brian Shen can say "Told you so".

  • MSI MEG X299 CREATION @ TechPowerUp

    Published: Monday, February 18, 2019 | By: Dennis

    Have to admit I'm a little jealous here.  When I was at Computex 2018 MSI had just launched the X399 MEG for Threadripper and I was very impressed with not only the motherboard but the pack of accessories.  One notable is the M.2 expansion board allowing you to run M.2 drives and not impact board locations for other expansion cards like the all important 4-Way graphic card setups that NVIDIA refuses to support and capture cards.

    From the elite family of products dubbed MEG (MSI Enthusiast Gaming) comes another cutting-edge board with unique features and accessories. The MEG X299 CREATION is yet another board that promises to go above and beyond, so I took the review and turned it to 11.

    MSI has been really good about including "auto overclocking" support with all of their motherboards with the latest version being a performance dial which, you guessed it, goes to 11.

  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB NVMe Linux SSD Benchmarks @ Phoronix

    Published: Monday, February 18, 2019 | By: Dennis

    Given that we live in a Windows world it is sometimes easy to forget that there is another OS popular with PC Enthusiasts.

    Linux

    Guess what? Linux can use NVMe SSDs too!

    Announced at the end of January was the Samsung 970 EVO Plus as the first consumer-grade solid-state drive with 96-layer 3D NAND memory. The Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSDs are now shipping and in this review are the first Linux benchmarks of these new SSDs in the form of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB MZ-V7S500B/AM compared to several other SSDs on Linux.

    96-Layer NAND is the new corner stone of affordable SSD storage allowing you to pack more data into less space.  But, what does it do to the performance?

  • ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP Extreme @ Funky Kit

    Published: Monday, February 18, 2019 | By: Dennis

    There comes a time when you sometimes regret reviewing something.  Don't get me wrong I have reviewed my fair share of bad hardware, some of it has been published though most just gets abandoned.  The ZOTAC AMP Extreme is "not" ono of them.  In fact my only regret is the deal I had to strike to get one AND the fact there hasn't been one since.

    You see sometimes hardware leaves an imprint and no volume of drink or juicy apple can fill the void.  Well, Funky Kit knows my pain and given their proximity to ZOTAC HQ and ability to barge into Computex meetings with cameras blazing which totally distracts the people I'm talking two has likely secured their place in the linup to get a RTX 2080 Ti AMP Extreme.

    The ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080 Ti AMP Extreme is truly a beast of a graphics card, and is more than worthy of our Editor’s Choice award based on its phenomenal performance. If you have really deep pockets, and money is no object … then this is one of the fastest graphics card you’ll ever get.

    Ok, #rant over, time to get back to work happy smile

  • NVIDIA DLSS Test in Battlefield V

    Published: Thursday, February 14, 2019 | By: Dennis

    Battlefield V is finally supporting DLSS on GeForce RTX enabled video cards, increasing performance and making environment look much more realistic.  This is something that was mentioned during CES with the RTX2060 launch is that enabling one technology caused a perfornance hit but the Tensor cores were there to "restore performance"

    This is how they justified the low-end card being faster than a 1080 and is what will give you a refund to the RTX Tax in BattleField V

    NVIDIA purports DLSS to be an important feature for RTX 20-series users because it lets them make up a big chunk of performance lost by turning on RTX real-time raytracing. Despite all its refinements, Battlefield V ended up imposing a 20-30 % performance penalty (dubbed "RTX tax") for turning on DXR Reflections. DLSS lets you file returns on that tax. In this review, we explore the image quality obtained by turning on DLSS and its impact on performance. The comparison only includes numbers for the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and we tested with both RTX and DirectX 12 enabled, using today's GeForce 418.91 driver and today's Battlefield V update on our VGA review test system.

    TechPowerUp has a great article on the update with screenshots!  Honestly I'm not sure I would have noticed any difference but the performance boost is nice.

  • Introducing the EVGA Z390 DARK - Revolutionary Design

    Published: Sunday, February 03, 2019 | By: Dennis

    "The EVGA Z390 DARK is a 3rd generation model built exclusively for ultimate performance with improved and upgraded component selections, VRM, NVMe I/O, and PCB layout, compared to the flagship X299 DARK."

    - Illya "TiN" Tsemenko

    The power of the DARK side of EVGA's Z390 motherboards is now available! After setting the bar with the X299 DARK, EVGA went back to work to design the next generation of motherboards designed exclusively for the world's top overclockers... or those looking to become one of the world's top overclockers. No effort was spared to improve the power design, layout, or features of the Z390 DARK.



    The Z390 DARK is the first motherboard to feature both the 24-pin power connector alongside both 8-pin CPU power connectors as right-angle connectors on the side of the board. Not only does the layout give the DARK a stunning look but the layout also provides a very friendly design for cable-management enthusiasts. This revolutionary design features:

    • The CPU Socket is turned 90-degrees, which allows the memory to run parallel to the top of the chassis
    • The entire VRM is cooled with a large passive heatsink.
    • This design allows for chassis airflow to pass unimpeded over the top of the power connectors, across the cpu and memory, and through the rear-panel heatsink.

    The DARK comes fully equipped with useful LEDS of all types...for monitoring system and component status, and displaying temperatures and voltages.  Additional must-have features include:

    • USB BIOS Flash Without a CPU - The dedicated internal USB port on the motherboard allows you to update your motherboard BIOS even if you don't have a CPU or cannot boot into the motherboard BIOS.
    • Multi-Function POST Indicator - Fully configurable in BIOS, these LEDs can be configured to show temperatures, voltages or cycle both in real-time.
    • Right Angle Headers - 24-pin power, both 8-pin CPU power, Fan, Probe-It, and USB 3.1 Gen1 headers – Hand-crafted design to provide clean system assembly without cable clutter.
    • Visual Guide / Bench Table - Every EVGA Z390 Dark is packed with a printed PCB showing components, LEDs, PCIe lane breakdowns, and other helpful information. More importantly, this PCB with included standoffs doubles as an open-air testing or benching station, providing clearance for heaters, condensation isolation, and storage devices.
    • PCIe / DIMM Status LEDs - PCIe / DIMM status LEDs allow for easy system assembly and troubleshooting at a glance.

    The EVGA Z390 DARK is finally here to convince you to give yourself to the DARK side of the EVGA Motherboard lineup. Go on, the DARK is waiting.

    Specification

    • Chipset: Intel Z390
    • Socket: Intel Socket LGA1151, 8th and 9th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7/i9 Coffee Lake-S Processors
    • Form Factor: E-ATX
    • SLI: 2-Way SLI
    • Memory: 2 DIMM Dual-Channel (up to 32GB) DDR4 4600MHz+
    • Display Outputs: 1x mDP
    • USB: 4x USB 2.0 (4 Ports from 2 Internal Headers)
    • USB 3.1 (Rear I/O): 4x USB3.1 Gen2 Type-A, USB3.1 Gen2 (From ASM3142) 1x Type-A/1x Type-C, 2x USB3.1 Gen1
    • USB 3.1 (Internal Header): 1x USB3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 2x USB3.1 Gen1 (2 from Internal Header) with USB Power Delivery Support
    • SATA: 6 Native SATA 6.0Gbps Ports / 2 ASMedia SATA 6.0Gbps Ports
    • M.2 Key-M: 2x 110mm Slots (Up to 32Gb/s) / M.2 Key-E 1x 32mm Slot
    • U.2: 1x U.2 PCIe NVMe port
    • Ethernet: 2x Intel® Gigabit NIC
    • Audio: Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor
    • Fan Headers: 8 (2 CPU PWM, 6 PWM/DC)

    Key Features

    • Highly-Efficient 17 Phase Digital VRM
    • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
    • New Integrated EVGA Wireless Module with Intel Dual-band WiFi / BT5.0 with external antenna
    • Reinforced PCIe slots
    • EVGA's Latest GUI BIOS Featuring OC Robot and In-BIOS Stress Testing
    • SafeBoot button to reset the motherboard and go into the BIOS with last known good settings without clearing CMOS
    • Slow Mode switch locks CPU multiplier to lowest possible setting to allow users to switch between max OC and low speeds in real-time.
    • SPI flashing via USB allows you to flash your BIOS without a CPU
    • Onboard Temperature and Voltage Monitoring
    • Onboard Clear CMOS, Power and Reset Buttons
    • Triple BIOS Support
    • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Support

    Now Available!

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