Hardware Giveaway
Wednesday, February 26th 2020

SAPPHIRE Announces New Family of Compact AMD Ryzen Embedded Motherboards

SAPPHIRE Technology builds on the reputation and strength of its embedded systems business division by announcing a new series of embedded motherboards with a compact footprint that deliver improved levels of performance, features and stability to customers. Powered by the latest AMD Ryzen Embedded Processor which feature the AMD Radeon "Vega" graphics combined with the high-performance "Zen" CPU, the BP-FP5 and NP-FP5 embedded platforms provide a stable balance of low power consumption and optimized performance for the embedded markets.

According to Paul Smith, Director of SAPPHIRE's Embedded Business Division, "the versatile and effective design of these boards with low power compute and high-resolution multimedia display capability make them perfect for a wide variety of industry applications in the Embedded space such as industrial PC, interactive digital signage, thin clients and POS terminals".

Lexar Presents the Professional SL100 Pro Portable SSD

Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory solutions, is pleased to announce the Lexar Professional SL100 Pro Portable SSD is currently available at major US retailers. There is no doubt that users need larger storage devices for transferring and storing all types of data from audio, photos, and videos to office files and programs. The Lexar SL100 Pro Portable Solid-State Drive (SSD) is crafted for on the go (laptop and tablet) users who need high transfer speed and excellent reliability. The pocket-size drive comes wrapped in a brushed aluminum housing and features a shock and vibration resistant design for ultra protection. The SL100 Pro provides users the blazing-fast data transfer speed of up to 950 MB/s read and 900 MB/s write.
Tuesday, February 25th 2020

Today's Reviews

CORSAIR Hydro X Series XD3 Pump/Reservoir Combo

CORSAIR Hydro X Series XD3 Pump/Reservoir Combo

CORSAIR adds to their Hydro X series of custom watercooling products with their second pump/reservoir combo. The all-new Hydro XD3 uses a Xylem DDC and a lower profile form factor to complement the taller Hydro XD5 that used the Xylem D5, and adds more RGB while sticking with the same excellent installation options.

NZXT Introduces the H1 Mini-ITX Case and NZXT BLD H1 Mini PC Pre-Build

NZXT, a leading developer of software-powered hardware solutions for PC gaming, today announces the NZXT H1, a small form factor Mini-ITX case that includes an SFX-L 650w 80+ Gold PSU, 140 mm AIO, and PCIe riser card pre-installed for a simple building experience. In addition, the NZXT H1 is the focal point for a new high-end pre-build option for NZXT BLD called H1 Mini PC.

"Creating a small form factor case is something we have always wanted to improve upon because they are often challenging to build in and can hinder the performance of high-end hardware." says Johnny Hou, Founder and CEO of NZXT. "That is why we simplified the building process and focused on performance when designing the NZXT H1. We set out to make this one of the easiest builds you can undertake while leaving no compromises when gaming."

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and GlobalWafers Sign MOU to Increase Capacity, Supply of 300mm SOI Wafers

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ), the world's leading specialty foundry, and GlobalWafers Co., Ltd. (GWC), one of the top three silicon wafer manufacturers in the world, today announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a long-term supply agreement for 300 mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers.

GWC is one of the world's leading manufacturers of 200 mm SOI wafers, and has a long and ongoing relationship with GF for supplying 200 mm SOI wafers. GWC also manufactures 300 mm SOI wafers, and under the anticipated supply agreement, GWC and GF will collaborate closely to significantly expand GWC's 300 mm SOI wafer manufacturing capacity.

Apple to Launch Arm-Powered MacBook in the next 18 Months

Apple is currently designing a custom series of CPUs, for its Macbook laptop lineup, based on the Arm Instruction Set Architecture. Having designed some of the most powerful mobile processors that are inside the iPhone series of devices, Apple is preparing to make a jump to an even more powerful device lineup by bringing custom CPUs for MacBook. Tired of the speed by which Intel replaces and upgrades its Core lineup of CPUs, Apple decided to take the matter in its own hands and rumors about the switch to a custom solution have been going on for a while. However, we now have some information about when to expect the first wave of Arm-powered Macs.

According to the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is a well-known insider in the Apple industry, we can expect the first wave of the Arm-powered Macbook in the next 18 months, precisely in the first half of 2021. Supposedly, the first chips for these new Macs are going to be manufactured on a 5 nm manufacturing process, possibly over at TSMC since Apple had a long-lasting history of manufacturing its chips at TSMC foundries. In the meantime, we can expect to see Apple providing developers with tools to transition their x86-64 software to the new Arm ISA. Without a software ecosystem, the hardware platform is essentially worthless. And Apple knows this. We will see how they plan to play it and will report as soon as there is more information.

CORSAIR Offers Additional Cooling Components Now in White

CORSAIR, a world leader in high-performance gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today launched new versions of several popular cooling products in a beautiful white finish, perfect for builders looking to create a PC with a head-turning white aesthetic. White CORSAIR iCUE QL RGB Series fans, lit by a stunning 34 RGB LEDs across four distinct light loops, will elevate the look of any build. For custom cooling enthusiasts seeking the lower temperatures and unmatched visuals of the CORSAIR Hydro X Series, the CORSAIR XC7 RGB CPU Water Block and XD5 RGB Pump/Reservoir Combo are now also available in white. Finally, a new small-form-factor Pump/Reservoir Combo, the Hydro X Series XD3 RGB, unlocks a new world of possibilities for installing Hydro X Series custom cooling in smaller, more compact cases.

CORSAIR iCUE QL RGB Series PWM fans launched in 2019 as the definitive RGB cooling fan on the market, with 34 RGB LEDs illuminating each fan. Four light loops - two in front and two in back - put your lighting on display, whether the fan is used for intake or exhaust. Now available in white, QL RGB Series fans can be purchased in single or multi-fan kits of either 120 mm or 140 mm sizes. Multi-fan kits come bundled with a CORSAIR iCUE Lighting Node CORE RGB Lighting Controller to fully customize and synchronize the fans' impressive lighting through iCUE software. With leading RGB lighting, great PWM-controlled airflow, and a new pristine white look, white QL RGB Series fans offer spectacular lighting from any angle.

CORSAIR Announces RGB Lighting Control for ASUS Aura Sync RGB Motherboards in iCUE Software

CORSAIR, a world leader in high-performance gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced that the extensive RGB lighting customization in CORSAIR iCUE software now extends to ASUS Aura Sync compatible motherboards. With both iCUE and the latest version of ASUS' Aura Sync Utility installed, users can now fully control the RGB lighting on their ASUS motherboard through iCUE, as well as synchronize lighting with every iCUE-compatible CORSAIR device throughout their setup, from high-performance DRAM and CPU coolers to keyboards and mice.

CORSAIR iCUE software already offers the most robust system-wide RGB lighting control available, enabling users to customize all their CORSAIR product lighting in just a few clicks, or create complex multi-layer lighting effects and synchronize them across CORSAIR components and peripherals. With the addition of ASUS Aura Sync motherboard compatibility, iCUE can now control the lighting for nearly every component in a PC, all consolidated into a single interface, for incomparable system-wide light shows.

Lenovo Updates ThinkPad Laptop Portfolio with AMD Ryzen 4000 Series Mobile CPUs

Lenovo announced today the latest additions to the ThinkPad portfolio: the new T series, X series and L series are built leveraging the core tenets of design, innovation and quality. Focused on providing a broad customer choice and a smarter workforce experience, the updated ThinkPad portfolio delivers modern IT solutions with emerging technology features to meet the needs and desires of end users. Innovations across the range include Modern Standby, Wake on Voice, WiFi 6, Dolby Audio Speaker System and Dolby Vision, plus customers can optimize select models with either 10th Gen Intel Core vPro processors or the next generation AMD Ryzen 4000 PRO Mobile processors. Lenovo will be the first PC vendor to offer the AMD Ryzen PRO 4000 Mobile processors.

KeysWorld Spring Sale 2020: Lowest Ever Prices on Genuine Software

KeysWorld announced the site-wide 2020 Spring Sale, with heavy discounts on genuine software, and exclusive discounts on popular software for TechPowerUp readers. Get genuine Windows 10 Pro operating system for as little as USD $9.95 so you can spend more on your hardware or upgrade your Windows 7 PC on the cheap. Also available are several editions of Office, the productivity suite no home desktop is complete without. Get Office 2016 Professional Plus for as little as $23.46, or the very latest Office 2019 Professional Plus for lowest-ever $35.50. Save even more when you combine your favorite edition of Windows 10 with Office. Get complete peace of mind when shopping on KeysWorld, with the safety of PayPal, securing not just your payment instrument, but also your purchase.

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ZALMAN Rolls Out CNPS16X CPU Cooler and New Thermal Pastes

ZALMAN today announced market availability of its new CNPS16X tower-type CPU cooler and three new STC-series thermal compounds. The CNPS16X features an aluminium fin-stack tower-type heatsink that's ventilated by a pair of 120 mm fans in push-pull configuration, held together by an ABS shroud. The top-plate of this shroud features an addressable RGB embellishment with the ZALMAN logo at the center. Besides this, both fans feature ARGB diffusers along the bore of their frames. ZALMAN has two color variants of the CNPS16X depending on the color of the shroud - black and white. Splitter cables are included so the ARGB connections of both fans and the shroud are combined to a single 3-pin connection.

The design of the CNPS16X involves a direct-touch heatpipe base, from which four 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes pull heat, spreading it through the aluminium fin-stack. This stack features wave-shaped fins that make hexagonal patterns when viewed from the side. This design helps with increasing turbulence and heat-dissipation to the air-flow. Each of the two included 120 mm fans takes in 4-pin PWM, spins up to 1,500 RPM, together pushing around 75-90 m³h of air, with 25-29 dBA of noise output. ZALMAN rates the thermal capacity of this cooler at 150 W. Among the CPU socket types supported are AM4, LGA115x, and LGA2066. The CNPS16X is priced at 59.90€ (including taxes).

Samsung Begins Mass Production of Industry's First 16GB LPDDR5 DRAM

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's first 16-gigabyte (GB) LPDDR5 mobile DRAM package for next-generation premium smartphones. Following mass production of the industry-first 12 GB LPDDR5 in July, 2019, the new 16 GB advancement will lead the premium mobile memory market with added capacity that enables enhanced 5G and AI features including graphic-rich gaming and smart photography.

"Samsung has been committed to bringing memory technologies to the cutting edge in allowing consumers to enjoy amazing experiences through their mobile devices. We are excited to stay true to that commitment with our new, top-of-the-line mobile solution for global device manufacturers," said Cheol Choi, senior vice president of memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. "With the introduction of a new product lineup based on our next-generation process technology later this year, Samsung will be able to fully address future memory demands from global customers."

Cloudflare Deploys AMD EPYC Processors Across its Latest Gen X Servers

The ubiquitous DDoS-mitigation and CDN provider, Cloudflare, announced that its latest Gen X servers implement AMD EPYC processors ditching Intel Xeons with its older Gen 9 servers. Cloudflare uses multi-functional servers (just like Google), in which each server is capable of handling any kind of the company's workloads (DDoS mitigation, content delivery, DNS, web-security, etc.). The company minimizes server hardware configurations so they're easier to maintain and lower TCO. The hardware specs of its servers are periodically updated and classified by "generations."

Cloudflare's Gen X server is configured with a single-socket 2nd gen AMD EPYC 7642 processor (48-core/96-thread, 256 MB L3 cache), and 256 GB of octa-channel DDR4-2933 memory, along with NVMe flash-based primary storage. "We selected the AMD EPYC 7642 processor in a single-socket configuration for Gen X. This CPU has 48-cores (96 threads), a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz, and an L3 cache of 256 MB. While the rated power (225 W) may seem high, it is lower than the combined TDP in our Gen 9 servers and we preferred the performance of this CPU over lower power variants. Despite AMD offering a higher core count option with 64-cores, the performance gains for our software stack and usage weren't compelling enough," Cloudflare writes in its blog post announcing Gen X. The new servers will go online in the coming weeks.
Many Thanks to biffzinker for the tip.

SilentiumPC Announces Signum SG1V Evo TG ARGB Case

SilentiumPC today rolled out the Signum SG1V Evo TG ARGB case. This ATX mid-tower implements the hottest design trend - airy, mesh front panels. The 3-sided front panel features large hexagonal perforations along the sides with fine wire meshes inside; and a central portion with hexagonal outer perforations that combine with a finer inner mesh. Tempered glass makes up the left side panel. Together, these let the case's three included 120 mm front intake fans breathe easy. Other fan mounts include two 120 mm top exhausts, two 120 mm intakes along the horizontal partition, and a 120 mm rear exhaust (fan included).

All four included fans are the company's Stella HP ARGB 120 CF units, which offer addressable-RGB lighting (3-pin ARGB), detachable impellers, hydraulic bearings, 4-pin PWM input for the motors, and a speed range of up to 1,200 RPM, with up to 66.3 CFM of airflow. A 4-channel PWM splitter is included with the case. Storage features of the Signum SG1V Evo include two 3.5-inch trays that can each hold 2.5-inch drives, and two additional 2.5-inch mounts. The upper compartment serves up room for graphics cards up to 32.5 cm in length, and CPU coolers up to 16 cm in height. Front panel connectivity include two USB 3.x type-A ports, and HDA jacks. The company didn't reveal pricing.

Raijintek Unveils Antila D5 EVO RBW Pump+Reservoir

Raijintek today unveiled the Antil D5 EVO RBW, a contraption that combines a reservoir with a pump into a single device. It features an aluminium frame, POM acetal ends for the reservoir, and a 6 mm-thick tempered glass cylindrical reservoir. Fittings are mounted along either ends of the reservoir. Addressable RGB LED strips line the inner sides of the aluminium frame. The bottom end houses the pump unit.

The unit measures 305 mm x 95 mm x 80 mm (HxWxD), with brackets included that let you orient it in two ways (standing or sideways). The pump unit features a ceramic bearing motor (50,000-hour MTBF), offers 1,500 l/h discharge rate, and 4 m head, with 50 psi maximum pressure. Although it takes in 4-pin Molex, the pump has five speeds - 1,800 RPM, 2,500 RPM, 3,300 RPM, 4,000 RPM, and 4,800 RPM. The company didn't reveal pricing.

CD Projekt Red Now Second Largest Gaming Company in Europe

CD Projekt Red has to be the most renowned games developer in the world, due to its consumer-friendly policies and overall posture when it comes to creating and maintaining their game worlds. The company has always given gamers more than the average company, with free DLCs being delivered throughout the first year of support for a given title (looking at you, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt), and added goodies to packages that from most other companies usually only feature the plastic packaging around the game disk. Their GOG games platform is also one of the most well-established out there, and has helped build the company's image due to its DRM-free approach.

All of this, alongside the fact that The Witcher series has seen a resurgence with the release of the Netflix series, and expectations on their upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 title, have led the company towards tremendous growth, with it now ranking as second largest European gaming company, second only to Ubisoft - and the difference is still tremendous. Ubisoft has around 16,000 employees (as of 2019), and is home to some of the world's most historic franchises, while CD Projekt Red counts more than 900 employees (as of 2018), with that number having certainly increasing in size in preparation for, and in continued development, of the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

Microsoft Confirms Xbox Series X Specs - 12 TFLOPs, Custom APU With Zen 2, RDNA 2, H/W Accelerated Raytracing

Microsoft has confirmed the official specs for the Xbox Series X games console, due Holiday 2020 (think November). The new specs announcement confirms the powerhouse of a console this will be, with its peak 12 TFLOPs compute being 8 times that of the original Xbox One, and twice that of the Xbox One X, which already quite capable of powering true 4K experiences. This 12 TFLOPs figure is a mighty impressive one - just consider that AMD's current highest-performance graphics card, Radeon VII, features a peak 13.4 TFLOPs of computing power - and that's a graphics card that was launched just a year ago.

The confirmation also mentions support for Hardware-Accelerated raytracing, something that all but confirms the feature being built into AMD's RDNA 2 microarchitecture (of which we are expecting news anytime now). this, alongside Variable Rate Shading (VRS) support, brings AMD to feature parity with NVIDIA's Turing, and should allow developers to optimize their performance and graphical targets without any discernible quality loss.
Monday, February 24th 2020

Today's Reviews

Deepcool Gamer Storm Assassin III

Deepcool Gamer Storm Assassin III

Deepcool has delivered a monster with the Gamer Storm Assassin III. This latest air cooler is comprised of two 140 mm fans and a massive dual-stack heatsink, leaving the ARGB lighting craze behind. Instead, Deepcool has focused on offering users maximum performance, which the cooler handily delivers.

ASUS Announces Exclusive Power Balancer Technology and Servers with New 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable

ASUS, the leading IT Company in server systems, server motherboards, workstations and workstation motherboards today announced exclusive Power Balancer technology to support the new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor (extended Cascade Lake-SP refresh SKUs) across all server product lineups, including the RS720/720Q/700 E9, RS520/500 E9 and ESC8000/4000 G4 series server systems and Z11 server motherboards.

In complex applications, such as high-performance computing (HPC), AI or edge computing, balancing performance and power consumption is always a challenge. With Power Balancer technology and the new 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processor, ASUS servers save up to 31 watts power per node on specific workloads and achieve even better efficiency with more servers in large-scale environments, significantly decreasing overall power consumption for a much lower total cost of ownership and optimized operations.

Intel Announces Unmatched Portfolio for 5G Network Infrastructure

Unlocking the full potential of 5G requires transforming network infrastructure from core to edge. As the world's leading network silicon provider, Intel is at the forefront of driving this transformation. Today, the company made a sweeping set of hardware and software announcements, including the launch of the new Intel Atom P5900, a 10 nm system-on-chip (SoC) for wireless base stations, which is a critical early deployment target for 5G networks.

"As the industry makes the transition to 5G, we continue to see network infrastructure as the most significant opportunity, representing a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023," said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms Group at Intel. "By offering customers the fastest and most effective path to design, deliver and deploy 5G solutions across core, edge and access, we are poised to expand our leading silicon position in this growing market."

PCI-Express Gen 6 Reaches Development Milestone, On Track for 2021 Rollout

The PCI-Express gen 6.0 specification reached an important development milestone, with the publication of its version 0.5 first-draft. This provides important pointers to PCI-SIG members on what features and design changes gen 6.0 hopes to bring, and what its all important number is - bandwidth. PCIe gen 6.0 quadruples per-lane bandwidth over gen 4.0 to 64 GT/s (double that of gen 5.0), resulting in bi-directional bandwidth of 256 GB/s in an x16 configuration.

The spec also introduces a new physical layer change, with PAM4 (pulse amplitude modulation) signaling replacing NRZ (non-return to zero), a key ingredient in the generational bandwidth doubling effort. Despite this, PCIe gen 6.0 retains backwards-compatibility with all older generations of PCIe, which could mean the PCIe slot on motherboards may not look any different. PCIe gen 6.0 also introduces FEC (forward error-correction), and has similar per-channel reach as PCIe gen 5.0. Our older article on Intel's proprietary CXL outlines a key feature of PCIe gen 5.0 besides its bandwidth doubling over gen 4.0 - scalability. Although targeting completion in 2021, it could take several more years for the technology to transcend enterprise computing segments and reach the client. PCI-SIG anticipates the need for gen 6.0 kind of bandwidth in the industry by 2025.

Ruijie RG-CT7800 Mini-PC Among First Zhaoxin KaiXian Designs, Tip of China's 3-5-2 Spear

With a 2.4-liter volume, a conventional black plastic body, and essential connectivity, the Ruijie RG-CT7800 may come across as a run-of-the-mill mini-PCs for small businesses or those who do precious little offline, except what's under the hood. This humble compact desktop is among the first design wins of China's ambitious effort at having an x86 processor built entirely on Chinese soil, the Zhaoxin KaiXian. This processor is making its way to products, and was recently pictured on an embedded motherboard. The KaiXian, along with the notebooks, motherboards, micro-servers, and mini-PCs that implement it, form the tip of China's 3-5-2 policy, an ambitious plan to rid all state- and state-owned institutions of "foreign hardware."

The numerals in "3-5-2" are supposed to correspond to foreign hardware replacement targets set by the country's Central Government - 30% by the end of 2020, an additional 50% by the end of 2021, and the remaining 20% by the end of 2022. To support this plan, the Chinese electronics industry, flush with state investment, has indigenized several key components of the modern PC, including DRAM, NAND flash, and now CPU. The country already dominates the global electronic components market. The RG-CT7800 implements The KaiXian KX-U6780A SoC that sports eight x64 CPU cores running at 2.70 GHz. Interestingly, the chip is manufactured on TSMC's 16 nm FinFET node (a de facto "foreign" source, but one that's de jure China from Beijing's perspective). Ruijie is equipping the RG-CT7800 with 8 GB of DDR4 memory, and 256 GB of SSD-based storage. One can make out industry-standard USB, Ethernet, 3.5 mm audio jacks, etc., from the pictures. The box will be compatible with UOS and NeoKylin (Linux distros built under scrutiny of the Chinese Government). With state institutions being on the clock to implement their 3-5-2 targets, it's possible that the first volumes of RG-CT7800 will be sold exclusively to state customers.

GDC 2020 On Schedule Despite COVID-19 Concerns, No Change in Computex Schedule, Either

The 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC), the largest annual gathering of the video game and interactive art industry, is on schedule for its mid-March unveiling despite concerns over the COVID-19 global epidemic (aka novel-Coronavirus outbreak). The epidemic is believed to be largely responsible for the cancellation of the 2020 edition of MWC (Mobile World Conference) held in Barcelona, Spain. GDC 2020 will hit the road on March 16th, with its seat at Moscone Center in San Francisco, USA. Unlike MWC, which is fueled primarily by large mobile firms based out of Asia, GDC is a bit more democratized, and largely attended by independent (indie) game developers. Indie delegates use GDC mainly as a networking platform.

In related news, the 2020 Computex expo, the largest annual gathering of the PC and allied electronics industries, is on schedule for its June 2nd unveiling. This is particularly important as Computex is held in Taipei, situated in proximity to South- and Central Mainland China, which have the biggest clusters of COVID-19 cases, with its epicenter in Wuhan, Hubei province. The last major epidemic to ravage this part of the world, the 2003 SARS outbreak, had forced a postponement of the year's Computex to late-September. Organizers TAITRA will institute special measures for the show in compliance with local regulations, which include a mandatory requirement for on-site workers to wear face masks capable of filtering out NoCV, a "no handshake" policy, easy access to hand-sanitizers, possible medical outposts and additional presence of emergency personnel.

Bethesda Removes Games from GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service

NVIDIA's GeForce NOW game-streaming service had been hit or miss lately depending on how you look at its current situation, given the fact that Activision-Blizzard removed its game catalog from the GeForce NOW service and the fact that CD Projekt RED announced that Cyberpunk 2077 will be present on the platform. Some moves like the one coming from Activision-Blizzard are taking a tole on the new game streaming platform, while others like the addition of Cyberpunk 2077 are giving the platform users hope to see it become a viable option.

To add to the pain, Bethesda Softworks, a maker of many popular titles such as the DOOM, Fallout, Wolfenstein, and The Elder Scrolls series, has decided to pull a big part of its game library from the NVIDIA GeForce NOW game streaming service. In another surprising turn of events, a part of NVIDIA staff announced that Bethesda Softworks will pull most of its games form the GeForce NOW platform, excluding Wolfenstein Youngblood, which will remain playable to give users a chance to experience it with "RTX on". We do not know why big publishers are pulling their game libraries form this platform, so we have to wait for more information in the future.

Western Digital Announces iNAND EU521 Fast UFS 3.1 Storage for 5G Devices

With its new Western Digital iNAND MC EU521, an embedded Universal Flash Storage (UFS) device, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) equips mobile developers to enhance the 5G smartphone user experience. An early supporter of JEDEC's implementation of WriteBooster under the UFS 3.1 standard, Western Digital is among the first in the industry to deliver commercial storage solutions optimized for UFS 3.1 5G applications and capabilities.

The Western Digital iNAND MC EU521 embedded flash device allows mobile developers to take full advantage of UFS 3.1 high-interface bandwidth (Gear 4 / 2 Lanes) as well as SLC (single-level cell) NAND caching. It also offers turbo sequential write speeds up to 800 MB/s to better enable enhanced user experiences for applications such as downloading 4K and 8K media, large file transfers from the cloud, and gaming. The iNAND EU521 will be available in March in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities.

TechPowerUp and Montech Announce Mega Spring Giveaway: Cases and Gaming Gear

TechPowerUp and Montech bring you a chance to refresh your battlestation this Spring with our latest Giveaway. Open to our readers in the Continental United States (excluding Alaska), eighteen lucky winners stand to win from a motherlode of Montech hardware that includes cases, case-fans, and mouse-mats. The first three lucky winners each get a set that includes a Montech Air 900 Mesh Black case, a Montech Z3 ARGB fan, and an ML900 gaming mousepad. The next five lucky winners get a Montech Fighter 400 case, each. The following ten lucky winners get an ML900 mousepad, each! To participate, simply fill up a short form that helps us get back to you if you've won. Good Luck!

For more information and to participate, visit this page.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Eurocom Crams 16TB of Solid-state Storage Into a 2.5kg Laptop

With the launch of 4 TB M.2 NVMe SSDs now being available in all Eurocom models, Eurocom has once again altered the laptop storage landscape. Eurocom uses blazing-fast Sabrent Rocket 4 TB M.2 NVMe SSDs (sized 22 mm x 80 mm), that are small enough to fully meet the size and heat requirements of today's thin-and-light laptops. While the majority of laptop manufacturers today offer a maximum SSD storage capacity of only 8 TB in their laptops, such as the non-NVMe SSD storage in Apple's 16" Macbook Pro, Eurocom offers double the total capacity along with six times faster read and write speeds in its laptops.

It is important to note that Eurocom uses Sabrent Rocket 4 TB M.2 NVMe SSDs, where NVMe SSD read and write speeds are over 30 times faster than the more commonly-used and lower cost 2.5" SATA3 SSDs. In general, 2.5" SATA3 SSDs have a read and write speed of about 500 MB/s while NVMe SSDs read and write speeds are about 3000 MB/s, or 6 times faster than 2.5" SATA3 SSDs, such as the storage drives used in the 16" Macbook Pro. This large difference in read and write speeds between NVMe and non-NVMe SSDs is shown in the chart below.
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