Tech News

  • Some Thoughts On Intel’s ‘Core X-Series’ Processor Branding @ Techgage

    Published: Thursday, June 08, 2017 | By: Dennis

    This might be one of the most rational posts addressing the new X299 chipset and Core X-Series processors from Intel.

    One thing that works to Intel’s favor is that its IPC (instructions per clock) performance is better than AMD’s, which means single-threaded performance will generally be better on its chips. In many scenarios (like general computing), that’s important. In situations where more cores benefits a task, processors (like Threadripper) that can offer more cores for less money can come well ahead.

    Whether you’re an AMD or Intel fan, hopefully you’re enjoying the show. There is so much good stuff going on right now, it feels like we’re trying to make up for an entire decade all at once.

    Be sure to check out the article if anything for the handy chart showing the current Core X-Series line of processors and their assoicated names, PCI Express counts and memory channel support.  I'm still scratching my head on a Core i5 in the Core X-Series lineup. 

    I mean... wow.

  • Phanteks Enthoo Evolv mATX Tempered Glass Case Review @ ThinkComputers

    Published: Tuesday, June 06, 2017 | By: Dennis

    One of the most impressive cases I have ever reviewed was the Enthoo Evolv Tempered Glass Edition.  What made the case so great wasn't so much the tempered glass side panels but how everything inside the case was configured along with a good amound of actual mods that you can do.

    The MicroATX version doen't have the same level of modifications but you can still build a pretty good machine inside.

    Phanteks’ line of Enthoo Evlov cases has been one of our favorites over the past couple of years. This year they are giving the tempered glass treatment to many of the models in the series. Today we are going to be checking out the tempered glass version of the Evolv Micro-ATX case. This is the successor to the first ever Evolv case and combines 3mm aluminum with dual tempered glass side panels. This case has already proven to be one of the best out there and adding tempered glass panels is going to make it even better. Phanteks has also added RGB LEDs to the front of the case and around the power button, which you can sync with your motherboard software. Let’s take a closer look at all this tempered glass and see if the Enthoo Evolv remains to be one of the best choices for Micro-ATX system builders.

    Of course the real problem these days is finding a MicroATX motherboard.  It seems most mobo makers are going full and extended ATX and MiniITX and passing over the Micro despite it being the superior platform.

  • X299 Aorus Gaming 9 and X299 Aorus Gaming 7 - First Look!

    Published: Thursday, June 01, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Gigabyte is one of those companies that LOVES to change their mind and when they do watch out because they will go all in to make their vision happen.  Case in point EVERYTHING is going to change and they .  Case in point in 2011 Gigabyte decided to taking on the overclocking niche with a full line of overclocking motherboards.  Custom colors, custom designs dedicated overclockers any and everything they needed to make it work they did.

    Before overclocking motherboards everything was built on blue PCBs and there was a time that color coding was used to help OEMs build PCs.  If you step back much of this is creative marketing but instead of addressing the problem they take the opportunity to highlight the situation and their solution best they can.

    This year overclocking has fallen by the wayside in favor of a new niche, gaming.  The Gigabyte OC Lab is now the Aorus Gaming Lab and while you can still overclock on Aorus motherboards the marketing message has changed to focus on gaming and esports.

    During Computex the Intel X299 chipset was announced and Gigabyte (Aorus) launched three new board designs following their Aorus Gaming brand and yet still retaining some of the Ultra Durable nomenclature.  I wanted to take a closer look at the X299 Gaming 7 and X299 Gaming 9 motherboards.  If history holds true the Gaming 7 will be the high-end mainstream board while Gaming 9 will most likely be limited edition, cost prohibitive and generally unavailable.

    Looking at the boards side by side they look virtually identical.  In fact the only difference I see is the lack of M.2 covers and a few slight changes to the onboard heatsinks.  Looking at the feature list tells a similar story. 

    Gaming 9: Intel X299 Gaming motherboard with RGB Fusion, Digital LED, Triple M.2 with Thermal Guard, ESS SABRE 9018K2M DAC, Killer DoubleShot™ Pro, Front & rear USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C

    Gaming 7: Intel X299 Gaming motherboard with RGB Fusion, Digital LED, Triple M.2 with Thermal Guard, ESS SABRE 9018 DAC, Killer DoubleShot™ Pro, Front & rear USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C

    The only major difference is the DAC processor.

    Key Features

    • Supports Intel® Core™ X-series Processor Family
    • Quad Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 8 DIMMs
    • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
    • ASMedia 3142 USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C™ and Type-A
    • Front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Header
    • 3-Way Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable™ Design
    • Ultra Durable™ Base Plate Armor and Integrated I/O Shield Armor Design
    • Server-Class Digital Power Design
    • 127dB SNR AMP-UP Audio with High-End ESS SABRE 9018K2M DAC, LME 49720 and OPA1622 OP-AMP, WIMA audio capacitor
    • Sound BlasterX 720°, the top-of-the-line audio engine solution for 4K gaming and entertainment
    • Killer DoubleShot™ Pro and Intel® GbE LAN for the best gaming networking experience possible
    • Killer 2x2 802.11ac Wireless – AC 1535
    • RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone Digital LED Light Show design, support digital LED & RGB LED strips
    • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
    • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
    • Triple Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 interface and Thermal Guard
    • PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Add-In Card with Thermal Guard
    • NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 adaptor
    • USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
    • Precise Digital USB Fuse Design for Stronger Protection
    • Anti-Sulfur Resistor Design
    • Ultra Durable™ 25KV ESD and 15KV Surge LAN Protection
    • Lightning-Fast Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 support by option AIC
    • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS™ with Q-Flash Plus USB port

    Both motherboards are designed for 3-way graphics support and include a High Bandwidth bridge for SLI.  As you can assume Fusion RGB is a standard feature with lighting support everywhere including on the I/O shields, expansion slots, memory slots, heatinks and audio controller.  

    DDR4 memory support is limited to 2666Mhz and I find it interesting that memory density is dictated by the PCI Express Lane support in your CPU.  That makes sense given that the 16-Lane CPUs only have a dual channel memory controller while the 44-Lane and 28-Lane CPUs support quad channel memory like they should.

    I doubt anyone will load up a Gaming 7 or Gaming 9 with a 16-Lane CPU but stranger things have happened.  Sadly, it would seem the SOC (Super OverClock) versions of the X299 were not released during Computex however I did see some photos of the X299 SOC Champion.  So I'll be crossing all of my body parts in anticipation. wink smile

  • EVGA GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin Edition Video Card - First Look!

    Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 | By: Dennis

    There is plenty of hot Computex news coming out of Taiwan and in following with my evaluation of the EVGA X299 Dark I figured it was time to look at the new GTX 1080 TI Kingpin edition.

    For those of you who don’t know the Kingpin edition cards are specially designed “Classified” cards that were tweaked for LN2 Extreme overclocking.  They work perfectly well on air however memory timings and the onboard VRM have been adjusted for high frequency overclocking and work better under those conditions.  Of course to get the most from your Kingpin edition card you also had to find the special “unlocked” BIOS along with using an EVBot or the special voltage software used to control the power delivery.  Neither were available direclty from EVGA.

    Thing is with Pascal based chips the internal voltage controller limited how much you could do with the GPU and is one reason why we never saw a GTX 1080 Ti Classified, until now. 


    The 1080 Ti KPE features an all new design with a revised 10-phase VRM, PCI Express power connections on the back edge of the PCB (something we talked about in the Hardware Asylum Podcast), voltage test points, EVBot connector and a couple of new things including an SLI Style finger at the top and a pin block at the bottom.  They are claiming that every card is guaranteed to overclock to 2025Mhz out of the box meaning that the GPUs have been prequalified to run a certain speed.  I would fully expect that to warrant a price premium similar to what EVGA did with the 980 Ti KPE cards.

    Of course the photo I found is of a bare PCB.  Final versions will feature a triple fan cooler like on the FTW3, copper plated heatsink (like on previous KPE cards), ICX cooling technology so you can monitor temps of everything on the board, and cast style backplate for that added EVGA style.

    Funny thing about the backplate.  They were always “hop up” parts before everyone started making them standard and now that every card is expected to have a backplate EVGA has gone over the top with a cast style plate with even more thermal contacts.

    Current rumors are that this card will be available in July so get your LN2 containers ready.  

  • EVGA X299 Dark Overclocking Motherboard - First Look!

    Published: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 | By: Dennis

    A close look at the EVGA X299 Dark

    Computex 2017 is in full effect and while I was unable to attend this year there is still plenty to talk about and do some armchair analysis.

    The first up is the new X299 Dark from EVGA.  As many of you may have noticed the X299 is the chipset supporting the new generation of Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors which promises more PCI Express lands, More Cores and generally more performance.  The EVGA Dark has traditionally been a  ultra high-end motherboard design that sits above the Classified with a unique spin on how Overclocking and Multi GPU configurations are handled. 

    I’m sure some more accurate information will be available as reports from Computex get released but, until this let's speculate.

    The first thing you will notice is the large MCP/Chipset cooler with a very large blower style fan.  It is unlikely that the X299 chipset will require any cooling however M.2 drives typically do.  By the looks of it exhaust air from the blower will pass over the M.2 drives to help regulate their temperature.

    VRM is located at the top of the motherboard between the banks of DDR4 memory.  This motherboard only comes with four memory slots and as we have learned from past motherboard designs, if you want high speed memory you have to drop the extra “crybaby” DIMM  slots.  As a result 4133Mhz is supported.

    Along all of the sides you will notice every connector is set at 90 degrees with several of them “cut” into the motherboard making them slightly recessed.  You’ll notice dual debug LEDs,  I suspect dual temperature montitors OR,  maybe a selectable display where it would show everything from POST codes to CPU temp, CPU voltage, VRM temp and maybe even frequency.  Once we see the X299 Dark in action that speculation should become clear.

    I also see triple BIOS, PCI Express disable switches, dual U.2 connectors, onboard power and reset and two very strange connectors located under the last PCI Express slot. 

    Key Features

    • Form Factor – Optimized EATX for clean cable management
    • Supports x16 PCIe Graphics with all CPUs
    • Audio – Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor + Optical
    • Highly-Efficient 14 Phase Digital VRM
    • 12 Layer PCB Design
    • Bundled Bench Stand Plate
    • Dedicated M.2 Cooling
    • Onboard Power, Reset and Clear CMOS
    • EVGA E-LEET X Tuning Utility
    • Triple BIOS Support
    • M.2 NVMe PCI-E SSD Support
    • U.2 NVMe SSD Support
    • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
    • Switchable DC / PWM Fan Control
    • 10-zone Temperature Monitor
    • Onboard Voltage Display


    • Intel® X299 Express Chipset
    • SLI – Up to 4-Way
    • Memory Support – 4 DIMM Quad-Channel DDR4 4133MHz+ (Up to 64GB)
    • Ethernet – 2x Intel® Gigabit NIC

    Saying I am excited to see this motherboard in action is an understatement!

  • G.SKILL Organizes OC World Record Stage and OC World Cup at Computex 2017

    Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | By: Dennis

    One of the coolest things to watch during Computex is the GSKill world stage overclocking demonstrations.  It really serves no purpose than to draw in crowds and give the press something to take pictures of BUT, it is still fun to watch.


    Taipei, Taiwan (19 May 2017) – G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world’s leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is thrilled to announce its largest annual LN2 extreme overclocking events at Computex – the 6th Annual OC World Record Stage 2017 and 4th Annual OC World Cup 2017. In addition, an Extreme OC Workshop event co-hosted with at the G.SKILL booth this year. These 3 events will be held throughout Computex week at the G.SKILL Computex booth in the Nangang Exhibition Hall, 1F, Booth J0806.

    6th Annual OC World Record Stage 2017
    The G.SKILL OC World Record Stage event has reached its 6th year in the running and has become one of the biggest annual overclocking events in the community. This year, 18 world-class professional overclockers will be attending and aim to break as many benchmark records as possible, showing off the astounding performance of the latest hardware from Intel, leading motherboard vendors, and G.SKILL.

    4th Annual OC World Cup 2017 – $10K USD for the Champion
    G.SKILL OC World Cup awards the highest single cash prize in overclocking competition history. The contest rules and format are specifically designed for extreme memory overclockers. The top 6 extreme overclockers qualified from the online qualifier competition stage on HWBOT will compete live at the G.SKILL booth and demonstrate advanced LN2 overclocking skills at its finest. The Grand Final OC Champion will be walking away with the ultimate $10,000 USD cash prize.

    Extreme Overclocking Workshop
    This year, in addition to the two G.SKILL annual overclocking events, G.SKILL joins forces with HWBOT and co-hosts a LN2 extreme OC workshop at the G.SKILL booth. This workshop gives Computex visitors the rare opportunity to experience LN2 overclocking and try to achieve record-breaking high-speed CPU frequency or DDR4 frequency, guided step-by-step by professional overclockers.

  • Cooler Master Cosmos II 25th Anniversary @ techPowerUp

    Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | By: Dennis

    One of the biggest cases I ever reviewed was the Cooler Master Cosmos II.  The thing was huge and did plenty of things right from the outward styling, retention of what made the Cosmos such a popular case and the ability to hold just about any system you could think of.

    To help mark their 25th birthday Cooler Master has re-released the Cosmos II 25th Annivesary edition and while it looks almost identical there are some rather dramatic changes to help make the design a little more modern.

    The Cooler Master Cosmos II was launched in 2012 and became one of the brand's most recognizable enclosures. Now, half a decade later, Cooler Master presents the Cosmos II 25th Anniversary edition to celebrate a quarter century in business and to bring the iconic chassis back to a new generation of enthusiasts and gamers.

    I think I know what my Throwback Thursday will be  happy smile  That is asuming I can get back to where the Cosmos II is currently chillin.

  • FSP CMT210 Mid-Tower ATX PC Case Review @ ModSynergy

    Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Everyone loves an inexpensive chassis proof of that can be seen in the steady declining PC component sales and the endless number of reddit threads asking for help building a "budget pc".

    For a hardware enthusiast budget is often secondary over component choice which doesn't necessarily remove cost from the equation but brings style, features and compatibility forward to ensure the selected product will match the need.

    ModSynergy is taking a look at the CMT210 case from FSP.  It isn't a bad looking case but does seem to be "sampled" from a few older Cooler Master designs.  Maybe that is what CMT stands for.

    I’ll be reviewing FSP’s first ever PC chassis with their CMT210 gaming oriented ATX mid-tower PC case.  The CMT210 aims to provide those on a budget a modern PC chassis with lots of cooling capabilities, a sleek interior layout providing lots of expansion abilities including showcasing your SSDs up front, support for both tall air coolers and water cooling, support for lengthy high-end graphics cards, and closing it up with a clear side panel.  All of this can be had for a competitive $59.99 USD and I’ll be testing the FSP CMT210 to see if it makes your money go the extra mile and is a worthy platform to invest in.

    Even if this case is not for you, you cannot fault them for the lack of photos.

  • Lian Li’s PC-O12 Mid-tower Case is Now Available

    Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 | By: Dennis

    Gorgeous Tempered Glass Case, space for two vertical graphics cards, featuring USB 3.1 Type-C

    May 18, 2017, Keelung, Taiwan - Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd launches the PC-O12; a compact mid-tower chassis that combines sleek tempered glass panels with strong, but lightweight, steel and aluminum. This new addition to Lian Li’s latest generation O-series chassis range offers unsurpassed style, plus slim design with ample space for a powerful but compact PC build. Thanks to its unique design, it offers space for two vertically placed graphics cards in a separate compartment for gorgeous PC builds.

    Tempered glass adds a touch of class
    The PC-O12’s flawless tempered glass front and side panels make it a sleek and sophisticated showcase for the latest cutting edge computing technologies. Tempered glass is tough, safe and very durable, providing a ‘fresh from the showroom’ appearance indefinitely. The PC-O12’s alluring black aluminum outer body and panels complete the picture. Internally, a rigid steel frame provides a firm foundation for state of the art features.

    Ideal balance of chassis size and features
    Despite it’s space-saving format, this mid-tower enclosure offers plenty of room for the most powerful hardware. The 440mm full bandwidth PCI Express 16x riser cable allows flexible vertical graphics card mounting to enhance cooling and to show off the latest graphics technology through the tempered glass side panel. The roomy case interior fits graphics cards up to 340mm long and CPU coolers up to 75mm high.

    There’s internal space for up to eight hard disk and SSD drives for terabytes of fast storage capacity. In addition, the newest ultra speedy, powerful external USB 3.1 type C devices are supported, and there are a total of four external USB connectors as standard.

    A case with great low-noise cooling performance
    With up to five large-format fans, this chassis ensures valuable PC components keep running cool, prolonging life, enhancing performance and reducing noise. There’s space for three 120mm fans at the top of the case, plus two 140mm or 120mm fans at the front. With so many airflow options, users are able to reduce fan speed and reduce noise.

    In addition, removable mesh dust filters cover the primary fan mounts. The drive cages and PSU mount include rubber vibration dampeners to minimize noise.

    Price and Availability
    The PC-O12 is now available at Newegg for $399.99

    Additional PCI Express riser cables are available at Performance PC starting in June 2017

    About Lian Li
    Lian Li Industrial Co. Ltd is an Aluminum Chassis and Chassis peripheral manufacturer and provider of industrial wholesale as well as OEM & ODM services for the PC industry as required. With over 20 years of service excellence, ISO 9001 certification and a team of professional staff willing to do the utmost to deliver durable, superior quality products, all backed by a *2 year guarantee; your satisfaction is guaranteed (*conditions apply). To learn more about Lian Li, please visit the official website: You can also visit Lian Li on Facebook or follow Lian Li on Instagram: @LianLiHQ

  • Specifications of Intel’s Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X i9 and i7 series leaked

    Published: Monday, May 15, 2017 | By: Dennis

    This information has been making the rounds today after having been posted in the Anandtech forums last Friday.  It would seem that Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processor specs have been "leaked" and instead of keeping with the familiar Core i7 name they changed it to.

    Core i9

    Now, if memory serves Intel swore up and down and even sent some "thumb breakers" to editors claiming that Core i9 was going to happen. 

    The Intel response was "Stop trying to make Core i9 happen, its not going to happen"

    Well, the joke is on 'cause we got screenshots claiming otherwise.  Here is the breakdown.

    Oh, and a photo of a screen showing a powerpoint slide with all of the info.

    I would say that this is rumor mill at best.  In the photo we can see a rather messy "desktop",  I mean who moves their icons away from the start shortcut (it’s not a button, at least anymore) and still retains credibility in their intelligence?.  On top of that, who actually uses an ACER monitor(s) anymore??  Maybe some engineer in Taiwan but you'd think that one of the largest chipmakers in the world could spring for a decent panel.

    Of course, the last and final clue is the Core i9 name.  Let us assume that Intel is keeping with their tagline that Core i9 isn't going to happen so, why release it now?  I can see where it might work with the top end chips given that it is 12 cores and comes with 44 PCI Express lanes but, everything else on that list currently has a Core i7 counterpart.

    Then again, maybe this is how Intel will regain some of their consumer cash by saying Core i7 is "Consumer" while Core i9 is "Professional".  If that was their play then Intel could jack up the price and effectively stop consumers from using anything based on the X299 chipset in the retail space.

    I suspect we will find out more come Computex when the first X299 motherboards are released along with processor details.