Tech News

  • Intel X99 Benchers Memory Battle @ Madshrimps

    I will be the first to admit that I suck at memory overclocking.  I have overclocked memory, tweaked timings and playing with frequency but for the most part that is the extent of what I do. 

    And, the reason?  Well, it takes a LONG time to fully overclock a memory module and unlike with motherboards where very little on the board will physically block you from overclocking a memory module depends on chip quality, CPU quality and CPU Memory Controller quality.  All of which can kill your overclock and you may not know which is the culprit.

    When you consider the "real world" benefits to memory overclocking some tweaks are difficult to attain and net you no benefit which is why you go after the big gains like frequency and tune from there.  The smaller tweaks are usually best served when doing competitive overclocking like what is being discussed over at MadShrimps.

    Since the launch of the Intel Sky Lake platform, we were being flooded with a multitude of different DDR4 memory ICs. After you finally decided to buy that particular tweakable kit, there were again screenshots popping up of something new and at first glance even better performing memory. At launch date Hynix was king of the hill for the X99 quad channel setups. however the latest memory architecture release for Sky and Kaby Lake are the Samsung B-DIE ICs. When tweaked, they are able to run at high speeds in combination with ultra tight timings. These are a real treat to gain them extra precious points to climb in the HWBOT ranking. Besides the fact that the latter are 8GB modules and thus a bit more pricey than the other 4GB variants, one drawback is that these B-DIE based memories are still pretty inconsistent in quality. Wading through different OC forums we noted DOA's, degraded sticks and even many sticks just failing to do tight timings at what we consider to be standard OC speeds, hence why memory binners jumped on the wagon and are selling, logically for a little extra margin, sticks that can truly deliver the goods. Today we explore what memory is great and which one is the best for your high end Intel LGA 2011-3 platform.

    Some good stuff over there be sure to check it out.

  • New Volta Architecture for Supercomputer GPU

    This is really exciting.

    SAN JOSE, Calif.—Nvidia refreshed its lineup of GPUs for deep learning and artificial intelligence applications on Wednesday with the new 5,120-core, 7.5 teraflop Tesla V100 Volta.

    The new processor is part of Nvidia's quest to come up with a new way to consistently improve computing performance in the aftermath of Moore's Law, which many industry leaders agree is pretty much dead. Instead of boosting processor speeds or cramming more transistors onto already-crowded silicon, Nvidia is championing GPU-accelerated computing, which the company's CEO Jensen Huang (pictured above) said can offer a 150 percent performance boost every year.

    The Tesla V100, with a brand-new architecture called "Volta," represents that latest boost. It's the "next giant leap into the new world" of AI and high-performance computing, Huang said at Nvidia's developers conference here. The V100 will start shipping by the end of the year to data centers owned by Amazon, Microsoft, and other cloud computing providers in several different configurations.

    Be sure to check out the entire story over at PCMag.  According to NVIDIA they are building a platform for deep learning which is the precursor to AI and other exciting and scary things.  From a hardware standpoint this new GPU is pretty amazing as it features HBM2 memory, 5120 CUDA cores and is built on a 12nm process.  All of that fits on a small board that can then be scaled in datacenter systems with no upper level.

  • Nvidia is on an all time high with no signs of stopping

    NVIDIA is on a roll these days.  First with the launch of Pascal, the new GPU architecture powering the GTX 1000 series GPUs and Titan Xp and now with a quarterly earnings revenue of $1.94 billion.

    Basically a 48% gain.

    I wouldn't expect every NVIDIA fanboi to follow the stock market but a revenue of almost 2 billion dollars tends to get investors excited and they immediately start dumping money into the stock.  That makes good sense for everyone including existing stock holders who are just watching the numbers go up.

    The result is something like this.

    Nvidia stock is soaring, up more than 14% in after-hours trading, beating Wall Street’s expectations for its first quarter.

    The graphics processing unit (GPU) company announced its first quarter earnings today with revenue of $1.94 billion, a 48% gain year over year. While gaming drives most of the company’s sales, its largest area of growth over the past year was selling GPUs that power the artificial intelligence and graphics processing in datacenters. That sector of business saw 186% growth year over year, just a dip below last quarter’s 205% growth.

    Lets hope that NVIDIA can keep this going.  I suspect things will slow down for awhile given that all of the major verticals have been released but, you never know. 

    Of course that doesn't include automotive and datacenter systems unless you count the $1200 Titan Xp and the Tesla V100 and variety of configurations you can buy it in.

  • AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor Review @ Madshrimps

    Ryzen 7 is a powerhouse of a processor, eight cores with sixteen threads makes it a perfect complement to any application where multi threading performance is important.  Thing is, that despite desktop PCs having multi core processors for YEARS the software used on those machines is still largely single threaded or optimized for dual core situations.

    This makes Ryzen 7 a little overkill and yet slower than what we have come to know.

    Madshrimps is taking a look at the lower end Ryzen 5 1600 series processor.  This is a slower version of the Ryzen 7 that draws less power and costs less as a result.

    The Ryzen 5 1600 CPU does arrive with notably lower core clocks and 30W lower TDP versus its 1600X brother, all other technical specifications remaining the same. While we can see a small performance drop with the Ryzen 5 1600, both CPUs seem to share similar overclock margins on AIO water cooling; however, we did manage to achieve 3.9GHz at a considerably higher voltage than on the 1600X, which tells us that the more expensive SKU did belong from a more capable batch.

    Like me the Madshrimps crew loves to overclock and likes to include overclocking scores in their reviews.  By the looks of it they seem to have done quite well with their Ryzen 5 1600 sample.

  • ASUS ROG STRIX Z270I GAMING ITX Review @ Hardware Canucks

    Overclocking and MiniITX, seems like a good combo.  Gigabyte did that back in the day and EVGA has always had a good board, Heck even MSI offered a good overclocker on the tiny form factor.

    The question is, can ASUS deliver on a platform designed by VIA and never intended for performance applications?

    They say good things come in small packages and ASUS' new ROG STRIX Z270I GAMING proves that.  This tiny ITX motherboard packs all the performance and overclocking chops of boards twice its size.

    It would seem that Hardware Canucks is asking the same question, but only because of click-bait.  So, the real question is...

    Did it work?

  • EpicGear Morpha X Gaming Mouse Wins Computex d&i Award

    Taipei, Taiwan – May 4, 2017 – EpicGear, the leading brand in professional gaming peripherals, today announces that they have won the prestigious Computex d&i Award (design and innovation) from Computex organizers TAITRA (The Taiwan External Trade Development Council) in conjunction with iF (International Forum Design).

    “We’re really honored to receive the Computex d&i Award” commented Jennifer Huang, Vice President of EpicGear. “EpicGear Morpha X Modular Gaming Mouse showcases our determination to offer innovative features and the absolute best gaming experience.”


    COMPUTEX d&i awards 2017 – Organized by TAITRA and iF
    The COMPUTEX d&i awards, hosted for the first time in 2008 by TAITRA in cooperation with iF have become a constant feature of the COMPUTEX TAIPEI trade fair and honored products that stand out through excellent design. In the Computex d&i award category of Gaming Devices + Content of Games, EpicGear won with their submission of the EpicGear Morpha X Modular Gaming Mouse. Learn more about Computex d&i Awards here: https://goo.gl/bUKNsf

  • Intel says to stop overclocking your Core i7-7700K to avoid high temps

    I love this.  And before people get all triggered let me explain. 

    A couple months ago I posted an article that detailed how to delid your Kaby Lake processor using a tool called the Rockit 88.  It made delidding your processor extremely easy and the benefits are quite good.

    Thing is some users really don't understand why someone would delid the processor, nor want to bother learning but, somehow listen to tech people saying.  "Monitor your temps!", "Burn in your processor for stability!", "Use only the best thermal paste!"  and.. the list goes on.  I'm a hardware enthusiast and know from my 20+ years building custom pcs that NONE of that really matters if you do things correctly.

    So, long story short, I was reading through the comments of my Delidding Video and noticed a user asking about temperature spikes on his 7700K and linked to the Intel Support forum post.  I knew that the spikes people were talking about where well within range and likely due to sudden spikes in processor activity.  That is just how Windows works, end of story.

    But, people seem to insist that it is an Intel problem and bring up complaints from Enthusiasts thinking that is going to change their mind.  Well.  Intel had this to say.

    "We appreciate the feedback you have provided, and your patience as we investigated this behavior. The reported behavior of the 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700K Processor, showing momentary temperature changes from the idle temperature, is normal while completing a task (like opening a browser or an application or a program).

    In our internal investigation, we did not observe temperature variation outside of the expected behavior and recommended specifications. For processor specifications, please refer to the Intel Core i7-7700K Processor Product Specifications. 

    Most motherboard manufacturers offer customizable fan speed control settings that may allow for smoother transition of fan revolutions per minute (rpm). Please consult your motherboard manufacturer’s manual or website for instructions on how to change default fan speed control settings.

    We do not recommend running outside the processor specifications, such as by exceeding processor frequency or voltage specifications, or removing of the integrated heat spreader (sometimes called 'de-lidding'). These actions will void the processor warranty."

    In a way this equates to what Microsoft did to the Windows 8 start menu when people started complaining.  Honestly Windows 8 was horrid but when Microsoft decided to address the issue by adding an icon to activate the start menu.  Not a button but an icon.  I think Penny Arcade said it best. "This is how UI Designers say 'Fuck You'" 

    Well in similar fashion Intel simply told everyone to stop overclocking. 

    I am in full agreement with Intel on this one, they have 0 liability to support anything outside the bounds of what they are offering which includes overclocking and anything a 3rd party motherboard maker enables or sets by default.  (*cough* BCLK over Voltage Adjustment */cough*)

    Be sure to check out my video on how to properly delid your Core i7 7700k on the Hardware Asylum YouTube channel and keep the enthusiast juices flowing.

  • Aqua Computer and Rockit Delidding Tools tested on Core i7-7700K @ techPowerUp

    How could you "not" give an editor's choice award to a delidding tool?? 

    A couple months ago I took on the Rockit Cool Rockit88 Delidding tool and found it to be extremely easy to use and the results were amazing.

    Be sure to check out the review and how-to video I posted on the Hardware Asylum YouTube Channel.

    Intel mainstream CPUs have had a bottleneck in cooling due to poor heat transfer from the CPU die to the integrated heat spreader. Thanks to new de-lidding friendly tools released recently, it is now easier than ever before to handle this yourself and get a cooler running CPU. We examine two such solutions from Rockit Cool and Aqua Computer today, both of which promise fool-proof de-lidding and re-lidding.

    There is a good chance that most every LGA 115x style processor coming from Intel will have the same TIM under the heatspreader so it will be interesting to see if they change the size of the CPU to battle "delidders"  happy smile

  • PrimoChill Praxis WetBench Review @ ThinkComputers

    Everyone has a different idea as to what a test bench is, what i needs to do and what kind of support it needs to have.  Personally I'm old school finding that a broken down chassis and using the motherboard tray.

    Of course with that said EVERYONE has tried to improve the simple design, so much in fact that some are just cases with the sides ripped off while others are super simple and giving you less than I have with a broken down case.

    PrimoChill has entered the test bench chassis world with their Praxis WetBench.  As the name suggests it is a test bench designed for watercooling.  Or, as I see it, a chassis with external watercooling support.

    Unlike typical PC cases where you have a wide variety of options to choose from the test bench category is very limited. Having a test bench is great, it allows you to easily switch out hardware, monitor components and much more. We have two different test benches here at ThinkComputers and when we were building out our Z270 test system it was time to get third. Both of our previous test benches got the job done, but had certain things that we did not like. After doing some research the PrimoChill Praxis WetBench was at the top of our list. The motto for the Praxis is “A testbench with watercooling in mind” which definitely caught our attention. The biggest thing about many test benches is that really do not have radiator support, which is very disappointing as we use AiO’s for our test systems. Let’s jump in and see if the Praxis is the perfect test bench for us!

    It is a self assembled chassis that has accessory storage underneath while the motherboard and cooling components sit topside at an angle for maximum viewing.  I can't diss, it looks good but cannot say if it is "my" type of bench.

  • Sound BlasterX Katana @ LanOC Reviews

    I joked after CES that everything was RGB and the one product that really drive it home was the new Sound BlasterX Katana.  This is a sound bar speaker solution that combines the features of the iRoar with a stand along 2.1 speaker system with triple amplifiers and patented Sound Blaster technology.

    For living rooms, it used to be a big push for multi-speaker configurations with a big receiver. For some people, this is still the goal, especially for surround sound. But recently there has been a trend where people have been moving to soundbars. They take up a lot less space while still being an audio improvement over your TVs speakers and they better fit with today’s ultra-thin TVs. There are some downsides though and performance can be a little limited. Well, Sound Blaster came out with the Sound BlasterX Katana and they don’t even like to put it in the same category as a traditional sound bar. They call it an Under Monitor Audio System aka a UMAS. This is because beyond having speakers under your monitor it has a built-in 224 bit DAC, a Dolby Digital 5.1 Decoder, and 5 drivers all with their own amps. With my wife getting a new desk, we started to look at her options and the Katana from Sound Blaster looked to be a good fit to keep the desktop footprint low by using unused space under her monitors. So today I’m going to check the Katana’s out and see just how they perform.

    Darren did an excellent review of the Sound BlasterX Katana so I urge you to check it out.