Tech News

  • WD Black PCIe NVMe SSD Review (512GB) – Does It Live Up To Its Lineage

    Published: Monday, April 03, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Seems like an interesting title.  I'll byte.

    WD Black hard drives have long been the go-to hard drive for many storage consumers. They satisfy the needs of those looking for fast, reliable storage and although they are priced on the high side, they come with a 5-year warranty, which is hard to beat. However, with the release of so many SSDs into the market, WD had been falling behind. Consumers now demand faster storage than what HDDs can offer. WD had no choice but to finally enter the SSD market. Due to this, WD acquired SanDisk, which in turn gave them the necessary tools to make their entrance.

    After some months of waiting, they finally released their first SSD, the WD Blue SSD. Similarly designed to that of a current generation SanDisk SSD, the WD Blue proved to be a good first go. For many enthusiasts, on the other hand, other SSD manufacturers are in the limelight. There is what seems to be a plethora of PCIe NVMe SSDs in the marketplace, but WD hasn't had anything to show, until now. Back at CES 2017, WD unveiled the latest edition to the WD Black family, the WD Black PCIe. With an M.2 2280 form factor and PCIe NVMe interface, this SSD delivers speeds that are more than three times faster than SATA SSDs and magnitudes faster than a typical HDD. But, will it stand out in the sea of NVMe SSDs or will it fall short of WD's Black brand lineage? Read on as we take a closer look at it in today's review.

    Western Digital is one of the big names in storage and I honestly figured they would be on the SSD bandwagon by now.  I guess it took a few generations before they decided that SSD technology has gotten mature enough to build a product for.

  • Thermalright True Spirit 140 Direct @ techPowerUp

    Published: Monday, April 03, 2017 | By: Dennis

    To be honest, I am suprised to see that Thermalright is still building coolers.  Back in the day the Thermalright Venomous X Heatsink was my all time favorite cooler.  It had a solid feel and excellent performance.  I like it so much in fact that I adapted it for use on X79 when it only had mounting hardware for X58.

    Thermalright looks to impress with the True Spirit 140 Direct; long name, exceptional results. This ultra-quiet tried and "True" design now utilizes HDT technology for improved cooling performance.

    By the looks of it the True Spirit is a tamed down version of their flagship mega coolers that were not only "kinda ugly" but also difficult to install due to their size.  This one is quite a bit smaller and more along the lines to what you would get with a Hyper 212 with a 140mm fan.

    It might be time to hit up Thermalright again and see what they can send over.

  • 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage support ends April 11

    Published: Monday, April 03, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Love it or hate it but PCMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage will fall off the supported list on April 11.  3DMark Vantage was one of my favorites back in the day as it was also really easy on hardware.  For instance you might need a certain clock to complete 3DMark 11 and then could raise that clock some 30Mhz+ when running vantage and have it complete.

    Plus boobs wink smile

    Vantage also had a dark side since it supported NVidia PhysX and when you were benching with a NVidia card you would get an invalid score and have to go again.  That was just one of the many rules of HWBOT to keep things fair when going after Records and Cups.

    Well, as it would seem when Windows Vista falls off the supported list so will the benchmark created for that generation.  That isn’t to say you cannot run it anymore but does mean it will no longer be guaranteed to run and you won’t be able to buy keys. 

    -- Snip --

    3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage support ends April 11
    Our Vantage benchmarks were designed for Windows Vista, an operating system that is over 10 years old and which is now used by only 1.12% of Windows users according to StatCounter.
    From April 11, 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage will:
    • No longer be sold on our website.
    • No longer receive updates, (other than SystemInfo).
    • No longer be guaranteed to work with our online services.
    • No longer be eligible for customer support.
    Alternatives to 3DMark Vantage
    3DMark Vantage is a benchmark for DirectX 10, an API which is now two generations old. For benchmarking modern gaming systems, we recommend using the latest 3DMark benchmarks:
    • 3DMark Time Spy for DirectX 12 systems.
    • 3DMark Fire Strike for high performance DirectX 11 PCs.
    • 3DMark Sky Diver for DirectX 11 laptops and mid-range PCs.
    Alternatives to PCMark Vantage
    PCMark Vantage is a system benchmark for Windows Vista. If your PC is less than seven years old, you will get more relevant results by using a more recent version of PCMark. We recommend:
    • PCMark 7 for Windows 7
    • PCMark 8 for Windows 8
    • PCMark 10, coming soon, for Windows 10.
    Legacy benchmarks are free to download
    All of our legacy benchmarks going back to 3DMark99 are available to download for free from our website. Each benchmark comes with a key to unlock the Advanced Edition features. 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage will be available for free from April 11.
  • EpicGear launches MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse

    Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 | By: Dennis

    This flagship product has taken gaming mouse customization to a new level by implementing MSC™ (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge) and MSS™ (Modular-Switch-Structure) Technology, as well as enhanced design using an adjustable weight & balancing system, and fully customizable RGB LED lighting and detachable mouse shells.

    Taipei, Taiwan – March 21, 2017 - EpicGear, the leading brand in professional gaming peripherals, today announced the latest innovation the MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse. Designed and based on feedback from the gaming enthusiast and community, MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse implements MSC™ (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge) for easy switching laser and optical sensor, as well as MSS™ (Modular-Switch-Structure) which enables the swapping of switches with different click resistance. MORPHA X, the flagship RGB modular gaming mouse redefines modular gaming mouse and further expands EpicGear’s range of gaming peripherals.

    MSC™ (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge) and MSS™ (Modular-Switch-Structure)
    Designed with MSC™ (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge), MORPHA X allows easy switching between optical and laser sensors. Using the included Modular Senor Cartridges, the MORPHA X equipped with an 8,200 DPI laser sensor and the latest 12,000 DPI IR LED sensor for improved accuracy and precision targeting, gamers can choose the sensor which is right for their game and handle any situation.

    Gamers with specific preferences on micro-switches will be impressed with the MSS™ (Modular-Switch-Structure) which allows the swapping of micro-switches including, EG Purple – Pro, Omron 50 million click lifespan and EG Orange - Medium, Omron 20 million click lifespan each with a different click resistance.

    Co-developed by pro gamers, every line and curve of the symmetrically shaped, right-handed MORPHA X, is designed for superior support providing a perfectly balanced grip. The separated button-cover design provides absolute clicking precision and feedback, while the adjustable weight system provides hassle-free flexibility and adjustment of the MORPHA X to the preferred weight and balance. A total of 20g across four 5g pieces can be placed in the four internal slots.

    MORPHA X also incorporates RGB customizable lighting color and brightness to match each gamer’s style, system or environment. Away-From-Mouse (AFM) Ambient Lighting is a programmable feature via GUI software. All lights start to glow in RGB radiance when being left stationary for 20 seconds. All lights will resume normal when movement is detected. MORPHA X can be tuned using the dedicated GUI software. Angle-snapping, lift-off distance, button assignment, DPI, profiles, and USB report rate, just to name a few. MORPHA X also offers detachable mouse shells with grey and white schemes.

    MORPHA X RGB Modular Gaming Mouse Specifications

    • MSC™ (Modular-Sensor-Cartridge): 12,000 DPI IR LED sensor cartridge and 8,200 DPI laser sensor cartridge
    • MSS™(Modular-Switch-Structure): EG Purple – Pro, Omron 50 million click lifespan and EG Orange - Medium, Omron 20 million click lifespan.
    • Adjustable lift-off distance with auto-calibration feature
    • Adjustable angle-snapping
    • Customizable RGB LED colors
    • On-the-fly sensitivity change
    • Adjustable report rate: 125~1000Hz
    • Optical sensor cartridge: Up to 250ips tracking speed & 50G acceleration
    • Laser sensor cartridge: Up to 150ips tracking speed & 30G acceleration
    • AFM Ambient Lighting mode
    • Lock-down function
    • 7 longevity buttons with 6 programmable
    • 5 gaming profiles with dedicated LED color assignment
    • Ultra-swift big-size PTFE mouse feet
    • 1.8 meter X-braided cable with gold plated USB connector
    • Approx. dimensions: 4.98inch(L) x 2.62inch(W) x 1.57inch(H) / 126.5mm(L) x 66.5mm(W) x 40mm(H)
    • Approx. weight: 3.27 oz / 92.6g excluding sensors, cable & weights
    • Adjustable weight & balance system: 5g x 4 weights, 20g in total / 0.177 oz x 4 weights. 0.70 oz in total.

    Availability and Pricing
    MSRP: $ 129.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

    For more information about the EpicGear MORPHA X RGB Fully Modular Gaming Mouse
    please visit

  • ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC 11 GB @ techPowerUp

    Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | By: Dennis

    For years ASUS was keen on letting you know that their coolers were core contact designs and it would seem they are now going with a more load efficient design with a cold plate instead of direct heatpipe contact. 

    You might be asking yourself, "What is the difference?"  Well core contact reacts extremely fast but comes with load limitations and if you exceed the designed heat load you can overheat.  With a cold plate you have more mass over the GPU allowing it to heat up more and thus makes the heatpipe cooler work more efficiently.  This design works well with Pascal since it is fairly low power and is designed to run hotter than we care to admit.

    The ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC is the first custom-design GTX 1080 Ti that we are reviewing. It comes with a newly designed thermal solution that no longer uses DirectTouch heatpipes. Also included is a generous overclock out of the box and a load of features for the enthusiast gamer.

    I'd like to eventually test one of these cards, they are not only extremely good looking but are designed to take some overclocking abuse.

  • Project Build: Crush – Part 6 – I can’t leave things alone @ LanOC Reviews

    Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | By: Dennis

    One thing is for sure, once a modder gets started on a project it is difficult to let go.  You know, unless you do it right the first time wink smile

    Well, things have been extremely busy and with that, I haven’t been able to follow up on the Crush project build recently. AMD and Intel both had big launches that pushed everything back and I just couldn’t fit these into the publishing schedule. That said I have still been working on things. More specifically I have been making a few tweaks after living with the build for a while. I said I was all finished a few articles ago then I just had to paint the cards. Well with them painted I had to do something about the Intel 750 Series drive to match and I also noticed just how much dust and dirt was in the case after a few weeks so today I’m going to deal with both of those issues.

    This isn't a bad little mod, be sure to check it out and click back through the project log to see how it all started.

  • Micron to Establish its Center of Excellence for DRAM in Taiwan

    Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | By: Dennis

    The newly acquired Cando Corporation assets will allow Micron to centralize fabrication and back-end in a single location

    TAIPEI, Taiwan, March 21, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU), a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, today announced that on March 14 it successfully won the auction for Cando Corporation assets, which will be utilized in establishing a back-end site for Micron Taiwan. Micron has now completed the title acquisition process for the new site.

    The acquisition includes the cleanroom and tools that are adjacent to Micron’s existing Taichung fab, bringing the company’s fabrication and back-end together in one location. The new site will be focused on establishing a centralized back-end operation.

    “This marks a significant step in our plan to create a center of excellence for leading-edge DRAM in Taiwan,” said Wayne Allan, VP, Global Manufacturing. “Bringing fabrication and back end together, all in one location, builds an efficient support structure for end-to-end manufacturing with quicker cycle times that benefit our business and customers.”

    The new back-end site is expected to begin production in August, and the new integrated center of excellence is expected to bring greater operational cost efficiency that will benefit Micron’s DRAM business on a global scale. These cost efficiencies are part of the overall US$500 million of ongoing operational enhancement opportunities cited at the company’s 2017 analyst conference.

    The strategic acquisition, with a winning bid of US$89.2 million, also highlights Micron's goal to grow its presence in Taiwan - where it is the largest foreign employer and investor - from its current wafer manufacturing function to a broader center of expertise in the global memory industry. The back-end site will further enhance the company’s strong presence on the island, which already includes state-of-the-art, 300mm wafer fabrication facilities in Taichung and Taoyuan, as well as sales and technical support offices in Taipei.

    The back-end operation will be led by site director Mike Liang, who joined Micron in November 2016 with more than 35 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. Having previously served in leadership roles at Ti-Acer, KYEC and Amkor Taiwan, Liang brings significant expertise in both front-end wafer fabrication and back-end assembly and test manufacturing.

  • Microsoft Will Block Windows 7/8.1 updates on Newer Hardware

    Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 | By: Dennis

    When Windows 10 launched there was an unerlying message claiming that Windows 10 would be the only OS supported on systems going forward.  Basically that means if you buy or build a new PC it will be harder to get systems with Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 installed and driver support would eventually dry up. 

    It would seem that a few updates came down last week to finally enforce that message by looking at what hardware you have and blocking any updates from being pulled down. 

    When you try to scan or download updates through Windows Update, you receive the following error message:

    Unsupported Hardware
    Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows  and you won’t receive updates.
    Additionally, you may see an error message on the Windows Update window that resembles the following:
    Windows could not search for new updates
    An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
    Error(s) found: Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.

    This error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:

    Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
    AMD “Bristol Ridge”
    Qualcomm “8996"

    Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.

    We recommend that you upgrade Windows 8.1-based and Window 7-based computers to Windows 10 if those computers have a processor that is from any of the following generations:

    Intel seventh (7th)-generation "Intel Core" processor or a later generation
    AMD seventh (7th)-generation (“Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation
    Qualcomm “8996" processor or a later generation

    We have known this day would come and it really shouldn't be a suprise to anyone.  In fact it is a trend I am calling "The Microsoft Intel Poison Pill"

    What this states is that Intel and Microsoft are working together to "force" users to upgrade their hardware.  That helps make the computing experence better, companies will make money and justify additional research to make better hardware.  It will also "force" people away from using a PC since phones and tables do 90% of what people want anyway.

    All of this started with the launch of Windows 8 along with a huge push from Intel and Microsoft to make monitors touch enabled.  The general public fought back and it soon died.  Microsoft even changed the start menu (in a general FU fashion) to make it better to use on a traditional desktop. 

    The next push was with the launch of Windows 10 followed by another ultimatium claiming that Skylake and Kaby Lake would only run on Windows 10.  There is nothing in the processor that is keeping it from physically running on an older OS.  Plus, you can physically install any operating system including Linux on a LGA1151 system.  The difference is that drivers are no longer being released for Windows 7/8/8.1 making it harder to run new hardware.  

    It would seem that now the poison pill is breaking and all with a simple Windows Update.  This won't disable your PC but does open it up to security issues and additional problems that Microsoft has traditionally addresed.  Though it would seem that we are holding on to things we like for too long and its costing the big three too much money.

    Of course, what really drives it home is that all Microsoft has to do is tell Windows Update "No More Windows" and we will have a real world "House of M" situation.

  • MSI Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM now available

    Published: Thursday, March 16, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Features TITANIUM backplate and Dual RTL1220 Audio processors

    MSI, the leading gaming motherboard brand, is proud to announce availability for its latest TITANIUM model, the Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM. This motherboard is set to deliver the best experience in audio, when gaming online and when using VR. Next to this, MPOWER is designed to deliver the best performance as well as the top-level overclocking.

    The Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM also features 3x Turbo M.2 with M.2 shield and steel armor, supporting NVMe SSDs and latest Intel® Optane™ Memory technology in order to give the gamers the best and fast experience. Using the unique and easy to BIOS function, M.2 Genie, to enable RAID 0, this allows the user to reach the insane SSD speed limitation. Besides featuring the latest Audio Boost 4 PRO technologies, the Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM also features dual independent audio processors to satisfy gamers’ ears with drumming their tympanum.

    With Audio Boost, powered by Nahimic 2, MSI motherboards deliver the highest sound quality through the use of premium quality audio components and an isolated audio PCB. Use Audio Boost 4 PRO to locate your in-game enemies with pinpoint precision to give you that competitive edge, whether you are using your front or rear audio output. Audio Boost 4 PRO comes with 2x dedicated HD audio processors with dedicated amplifiers so you can use headphones and speakers at the same time.

    The 20-pins front USB Gen2 Type-C is compatible with next generation PC chassis, perfect for the latest smartphones and great for next generation SSDs and other mobile storage devices. These devices require only the USB Type-C cable for both power and data transfer.

    Triple TURBO M.2, with M.2 Shield & U.2
    Enjoy a blazing fast system boot up and insanely quick loading of applications and games with MSI motherboards. Triple Turbo M.2 delivers PCI-E Gen3 x4 performance with transfer speeds up to 96 Gb/s for the latest SSDs. It also supports the all-new Intel® Optane™ technology. M.2 Shield (patent pending) is a thermal solution, which keeps the M.2 or Optane™ device safe and cool to prevent damage and thermal throttling. M.2 GENIE makes setting up RAID easy by taking less steps, using any M.2 or PCI-E SSD (even when used in a mixed configuration). The Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM supports the latest storage interface, U.2 as well.

    VR Boost is a smart chip that ensures a clean and strong signal to a VR optimized USB port located on the back, to reduce motion sickness caused by a bad signal. The One-Click to VR option in the MSI Gaming App gets your PC primed for VR use in just a single click by setting your components to max. performance and preventing other applications from impacting your VR experience negatively.

    By fully isolating the memory circuit design, DDR4 Boost ensures maximum performance and stability. The technical enhancements of DDR4 Boost allow for the best stability at higher memory speeds compared to other brands. On MPOWER, DDR4 Boost is accompanied by DDR4 Steel Armor to ensure the best memory performance beyond DDR4-4000. The Z270 MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM also supports Game Boost with eight gears to deliver up to 5.2GHz in just one-second-overlocking! This is the short cut for gamers to boost their gaming rigs to the professional overclocking levels.

  • Asus Crosshair VI Hero @ LanOC Reviews

    Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | By: Dennis

    More Ryzen based reviews.  It seems I'll have to get used to seeing AMD based news in the Hardware Asylum inbox again.  Honestly I'm still in shock over it.

    It’s crazy to look back at the original Crosshair and see just how much things have changed. Hell, the original was running on a Nvidia nForce 590 chipset, how many people even remember that Nvidia had their own chipsets! Anyhow, even all the way back to the original Asus has always packed the Crosshair boards full of features and from what I’ve seen of the new Crosshair VI Hero it looks like they have done the same thing again. This is one of the two boards that came with our initial review setup for the new Ryzen processors. So today I’m going to check out the new Crosshair VI Hero and see what it is all about and find out if it is a good option to consider for those of you excited to build a new high-end AMD build.

    I'm pretty sure I have a Crosshair stored away in the tech closet.  It should have gone away a LONG time ago but I had plans to put an 8-core AM3+ on LN2 and that board was the only one strong enough to really get the most from those processors.

    My Hero.  (sorry, couldn't resist)