Tech News

  • Motherboard players act passively about outcome of the market

    Here is an interesting editorial about how motherboard makers are reacting to the current state of the PC Market.

    With PC demand remaining weak and the PC DIY channel continuing to experience decreased sales in the first quarter of this year, motherboard and graphics card players pointed out that the market is already in a phase of decline and most players are mainly waiting for competitors to quit the market or turning to focus on other applications in order to survive.

    The PC DIY channel has seen dropping sales during the past two years and the situation is especially worsening in China and this has greatly impacted motherboard players. To maintain their profits, most players have turned to focus on the gaming sector to push mid-range and high-end motherboards.

    They go on to talk about what companies have prepared for the remainder of the year and even mention how NVIDIA seems to be doing well despite the decline in demand.  This is likely due to the success of Pascal and the demand that has been created with the new GPU.

    However, Nvidia has greatly benefited from the graphics card market during the past two years despite the market also seeing falling demand. Since Nvidia has a dominant share in the market, it has gradually become influential with its downstream graphics card player partners in terms of giving supply priority, pricing, marketing and product designs.

    Motherboard and graphics card players are also concerned about Nvidia's Founder Edition product line and believe the GPU giant is looking to compete against them for the most profitable sector, despite Nvidia having refused such a claim.

    It isn't likely that NVIDIA will go back to building motherboard chipsets again.  Personally I believe their next step will be expanding their mobile market share and offering more in the way of small device processing and whatever it is they do for gaming.  Honestly I'm having trouble following what NVIDIA is doing on the gaming side and the ecosystem they are creating around shield.

    One thing is for certain, RGB might be easy to market but, I believer real enthusiasts are getting a little tired of it.

  • Next-Generation Memory Standard Earns Lukewarm Reception @ Extremetech

    Maybe the best quote I can find about Intel Optane comes not from a professional review site but rather a long standing technology site that started as a lackluster review site.  (go figure how that transformation happened, oh wait, money happy smile

    Anyhow Extremetech has posted a little editorial about Intel Optane that pulls in results from other review sites and has this to say.

    One issue no one’s happy with is Intel’s decision to limit Optane to Kaby Lake CPUs in 200-series chipsets. SSD caches (and Optane caches) would be most effective if deployed as acceleration in lower-cost systems or older hardware. Intel’s decision to sandbox their platform to only the latest motherboards and CPUs means the computers that could benefit the most from Optane acceleration aren’t eligible to use it.

    It’s also telling the platforms Intel shipped for Optane testing literally preclude comparing it with its most logical competitor. As we’ve previously stated, Optane should be compared against SSD drive caching, but the B250 motherboards that Intel provided literally only support Optane caching. If you try to configure the software to cache via SSD instead, it refuses to do so. For that, you need a Z270 motherboard, and that’s one reason we don’t have Optane figures ourselves today. The appropriate configuration to test against is the configuration that should serve as Intel’s primary competitor.

    There is some "emphasis" that gets lost in the Hardware Asylum quote system BUT, it pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Optane.  Basically, it makes things fast but only on systems that are already fast with no chance of making older systems fast using the new fast technology.

    Or in other words.  Intel is forcing obsolensense on its own hardware to get people to buy new hardware and use technology they don't really need,  #smart

    Be sure to check out the full article.

  • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium 11 GB @ techPowerUp

    GAME ROCK!! 

    Or rock game? gamez rox?  Meh, product names these days.  Whatever happened to logical names like "Golden Sample" or "Inferno Katana"?  Those seem good but, don't have the same POP on the retail shelves that Game Rock does.

    Palit's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium is the company's latest flagship card. It introduces a new fan design in which two stacks of two fans each operate in a counter-rotating fashion. Also the card comes with a dual BIOS and a large overclock out of the box.

    I was a little curious about the video card so I will admit, I clicked the review link and have to say.  The logo looks great however, the card is like flat.  For one it is a dual fan cooler design with a blue shroud and triple slot spacing.  However, remove the cover and you get a pretty amazing PCB with extra large VRM. 

    Almost inspired by the MSI GamerX series. #justsayin

  • Intel's 32GB Optane Memory Storage Accelerator - Launch Day

    Storage has always been a choke point in the modern PC and while storage systems like RAID, SSDs and PCI Express SSDs have made things better there is always room for improvement.

    Intel has included a new storage technology called Optane into the new Z270 chipset and several sites have posted their review of the new technology just to see if it lives up to the hype.  Given that this is an Intel tech, maybe?

    Web Reviews
    - Intel's 32GB Optane Memory @ TR
    - The Intel Optane Memory Module Review @ Hardware Canucks
    - Intel Optane Memory With 3D XPoint Review: Easy, Robust PC Acceleration @ Hardware of Hottnessnesses
    - Intel Optane Memory Review - 1.4GB/s Speed & 300K IOPS for $44

    I find it funny that all of the review titles are super clickbait esq and yet say the same thing.  Its almost like they are trying to make it a "meh" tech but sound awesome at the same time.

  • Throwback Time: Freeway Design FWD-P3C4XD

    Back in late November 2000 I took a massive step forward and started doing product reviews.  Before that, the site that would eventually become Hardware Asylum, was dedicated to casemodding, system building and other enthusiast PC activities long before it was cool and commercialized.  At the time there were a handful of hardware review sites and only a few of them exist today.  (badge of honor)

    The first product I ever professionally reviewed was from a company called Freeway Design.  They were a Japanese based manufacturer that built and distributed products out of Taiwan.  During that time I was on the hunt for a dual CPU motherboard using the new Pentium III socket 370.  I was a veteran user of SMP systems and wanted something special for my next build.  Well, special is what I got.

    I believe the original press release was posted on Digitimes and showed a bright red dual socket motherboard built on the VIA VT82C694X chipset.  What was different about this motherboard wasn’t so much support for dual CPUs but that both CPU sockets were vertical along the motherboard whereas other boards of the time positioned them around the chipset making the board look cluttered.

    The problem was, Freeway Design only sold in APAC (Asia Pacific) Region meaning that there were no retailers in the US where I could buy the board.  On a whim I emailed the contact listed in the press release asking if I there was a chance to buy the board directly

    What happened next floored me (click bait anyone?)

    Freeway Design offered to send me the board in an exchange for doing a review for my website.  It seemed crazy at the time but, they were a fairly new company looking to get some exposure and to this day I think I was one of three sites in the world to actually review a Freeway Design motherboard.

    Of course, the rest is history.

    The motherboard shown above is still fully operational and has two Pentium 3 800Mhz processors installed with Alpha heatsinks on each CPU.  This unique heatsink design used a series of extruded pins and instead of blowing air through the heatink it was designed to have air drawn up and away.  It was actually proven to be more efficient and still stands as one of the best bi-metal based heatsinks you could by.  The only downside was noise driven the high speed 60mm YSTech fans I had mounted on top.

    So, what happened to Freeway Design?  A couple years after my FWD-P3C4XD review went live the company changed their focus and started building “white box” laptops and OEM style PCs and later leased out time in their factories to build a variety of different hardware similar to what Foxconn does.

  • MSI announces accelerated GAMING X+ series

    Play Hard, Stay Silent

    As the world’s leading GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce a new line of graphics cards based on the award-winning GAMING X series. Loaded up with faster graphics memory, the new GAMING X+ series provide an additional boost to graphics performance for smooth gameplay. Built around NVIDIA’s GeForce® GTX 10 series GPUs, the MSI GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G and GeForce® GTX 1060 GAMING X+ 6G use the full force of the TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games. The well-known shapes of the stunning TWIN FROZR cooler are intensified by a fiery red GAMING glow piercing through the cover, while the MSI GAMING dragon RGB LED on the side can be set to any of 16.8 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely new custom PCB design using Military Class 4 components enables higher overclocking performance to push your graphics card to the max. The classy matte black solid metal backplate gives the card more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.

    TWIN FROZR VI Thermal Design
    As MSI’s best thermal design to date, TWIN FROZR VI has raised the bar of Graphics Card air cooling. TORX Fan 2.0 is the enhanced version of the patented TORX Fan technology which generates 22% more air pressure for better cooling performance while further reducing noise levels. On the GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+, the new fans are equipped with Double Ball Bearings to ensure lasting smooth and silent operation. Connected to the huge heatsink are 8mm copper heat pipes with a squared shape at the bottom for optimal heat transfer from the solid nickel-plated copper baseplate combined with Premium Thermal Compound X to keep the Pascal powerhouse cool.

    MSI Gaming App
    The MSI Gaming App allows gamers to quickly switch between OC, Gaming and Silent performance modes, depending on their needs. The latest version of MSI Gaming App features One-click to VR, which instantly optimizes your PC for the best Virtual Reality experience. It also includes host of premium features like EyeRest to improve image quality and Dragon Eye which allows you to watch a YouTube video or stream while gaming. Last but not least, the Gaming App features a LED control tab, allowing gamers to choose from 5 unique lighting modes to set the right ambience for their gaming sessions with just one click.


    GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G
    GPU    GP104-400
    Core Clock (OC Mode)    1911 / 1771 MHz
    Memory size/type    8GB GDDR5X
    Memory speed    11 Gbps
    Thermal design    TwinFrozr VI w/ ZERO FROZR
    Dimensions    279 x 140 x 42 mm
    Connectivity    DisplayPort x 3 / HDMI / DL-DVI-D

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2/SC2 - Now with 11GHz Memory

    April 20th, 2017 - The award winning EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 and SC2 are now upgraded to 11GHz memory giving a full 352GB/s of memory bandwidth for improved performance. In addition, this update is available as a free performance upgrade for existing card owners. More details on how existing card owners can update here.

    Of course, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 and SC2 also comes loaded with EVGA iCX Technology, which gives you:

    • iCX has 9 Thermal Sensors & Multiple MCUs
    • Asynchronous fan control
    • Full Control with EVGA Precision XOC
    • Interactive Cooling with thermal display system
    • Optimized airflow with new heatsink design.

    Learn more at

  • Phanteks Glacier 1080 GPU Waterblock @ techPowerUp

    These blocks were announced during CES 2017 and I'm glad to see they are hitting the review sites.  Their kits include more than just GPU blocks and feature a full line of fittings and CPU blocks.

    The Glacier GTX 1080 waterblock is among Phanteks' first ever offerings to the DIY watercooling market. It features integrated RGB lighting, an acrylic top with aluminum side covers, nickel-plated copper cold plate, and a split central flow design scheme for low coolant flow restriction.

    Low restriction usually means lack luster cooling so it will be interesting to see how these blocks do in terms of temperature performance and if fully parallel loops are now a viable option.

  • Bitspower Summit EF-X CPU Waterblock @ techPowerUp

    For those of you exploring the world of watercooling your choice in waterblock can either make you a performance stud in the gaming room or the limp noodle of shame in your favorite online forum.  Because of this you need to make for certain that your waterblock choice is not only socially acceptable but impressionable on the opposite sex.

    According to TechPowerUp the Bitspower Summit EF-X and pretty darn limp with a few perks to help you get the performance numbers up.

    or something like that wink smile

    Bitspower has not enjoyed much success in the sector of CPU waterblocks, owing to average performance and high product cost with limited customization. They aim to change this in 2017 with the new Summit EF that promises to run at up to 6°C less than before; it will also come with top options in acrylic, nickel-plated copper, and a special gold-plated copper edition.

    So, you wanna know a secret about CPU waterblocks?

    They are all about the same, they all are using microfin construction these days so the trick is to pick one that not only looks good but is also friendly on the pocketbook.  If you are dead set on making sure you have the best performance you'll want to not only look at reviews but also inspect the construction because some designs perform better simply due to how water is routed through the block.

  • Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Review: A Custom, Overclocked Beast

    During the Aorus launch event at CES Gigabyte was showing some pretty amazing video card designs including the Aorus Gaming edition with a new triple fan cooler and copper heatsink embedded in the video card backplate.

    A very cool design and it works quite well too.  Another cool feature of the Aorus gaming cards is their dedication to VR with the inclusion of an internal HDMI port you can route to the front of your case for a VR headset.

    NVIDIA shook up the top of the graphics card market a couple of weeks back with the release of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. In its stock, Founder’s Edition form, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti proved to be the fastest consumer-class graphics card available, but that didn’t stop NVIDIA’s board partners from quickly announcing custom versions packing even more horsepower. Case in point: The beastly Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB we will be showing you here. The Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB is the first, fully-custom, factory-overclocked (and ready to rock) GTX 1080 Ti to hit the lab, and we’ve just finished putting it through its paces.

    This is just the start of the new GTX 1080 Ti video card launches and I fully expect there to be some monster cards on the horizon.