MSI Unveils New Vortex Desktop Workstation and Updated Mobile Workstations

MSI has announced updates to its mobile workstation lineup infusing them with Coffee Lake CPUs and Quadro based graphics cards as well as introducing a new pint-sized (Liter size, 2.5L to be exact) desktop named the Vortex W25. The Vortex W25 is based off the Vortex PC G25 desktop using the same chassis but with different lighting schemes externally and different hardware internally to set it apart from its gaming DNA.


Vortex W25


The Vortex W25 will use one of the latest Intel 8th Generation Core processors in the i7-8700. This 6C/12T processor will run up to 4.6 GHz maximum turbo frequency on a base of 3.2 GHz. Xeon CPUs are not offered and with that ECC memory support is non-existent. The unit is kept cool by MSI’s Cooler Boost Titan thermal solution with copper heatpipes and multiple fans to remove the heat from the system. The Z370 based motherboard inside has four SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB DDR4-2400 memory as well as two M.2 slots supporting both NVMe or SATA based devices. There is a 2.5-inch hard drive bay for additional mass storage.



The W25 has three video card options, all NVIDIA Quadro based cards. There are three options, P3200, P4200, and the P5200. The P3200 uses 6 GB GDDR5 across a 128-bit bus while the P4200 ups that to 8GB and 256-bit bus. The P5200, like the others, is based on the Pascal architecture and is the successor to the Quadro P5000 – it is a higher clocked variant. The P5200 will have 16 GB GDDR5 clocked at 3.6 GHz also using a 256-bit bus.


The Vortex W25 has much of the I/O one may expect from a semi-portable and compact workstation. Ports include four USB 3.0 Type-A,  two Type-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 3 support), Gigabit Ethernet, and dual HDMI 2.0 jacks. For wireless connectivity, all variants use the Intel-based 9260 802.11ac 2×2 card with speeds up to 1.73 Gbps as well as Bluetooth 5.0 support.



MSI says the Vortex W25 is available now from Amazon with prices starting at $2049. That said, we were unable to find a listing on Amazon at the time of this writing so we are not sure what hardware configuration that pricing will fetch.

















MSI Vortex W25 Workstation
  W25 (8SL-060, 8SK-059, 8SK-061)
Type Desktop Workstation
Processors i7-8700 (2.8 GHz base, 4 GHz Turbo)
Maximum Memory 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 2400
Network Connectivity Intel 9260 802.11ac 2×2 up to 1.73 Gbps w/Bluetooth 5.0

Qualcom QCA8171 Gigabit Ethernet
Internal Storage SSD 2 x NVMe PCIe / SATA 
HDD 1 x 2.5″ HDD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P3200 6GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P4200 8GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P5200 16GB GDDR5
Expansion Slots N/A
Ports and Connectors 1 x USB Type-C – (Thunderbolt 3/USB3.1/DP)

4 x USB 3.0

1 x USB 3.0 Type-C

2 x HDMI (2.0)

1 x Headphone/Mic/SPDIF out

1 x RJ-45
Power 330W Adapter (Quadro P5200/4200)

230W Adapter (Quadro P3200)
Dimensions

(W x D x H) 
10.98″ x 1.69″ x 13.03″
Weight 5.5 lbs
Price (Starting) $2049

 


WE, WS, WT Series Workstation Laptops


MSI has also shoe-horned in Intel eight-generation processors into its existing WE, WS, and WT-series of workstation laptops. The laptops will use Intel’s HM370 and CM246 chipsets with the HM370 pairing with Coffee Lake-mobile processors and the CM246 will match up with Xeon mobile processors. To that end, we reached out to MSI to see which specific 8th Gen Core and Xeon processors are available, but they did not mention any specifics. Along with the latest Intel processors, MSI is also including NVIDIA Pascal based Quadro professional cards for the portable workstations. 


WE63/WE73


The WE-series laptops with 17.3-inch screens (WE73) are available with Quadro based video cards, up to the P3200 with 6GB GDDR5, while the 15.6-inch (WE63) versions will max out with a P2000 and 4GB GDDR5. I/O on all WExx workstation laptops are the same with a USB3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI (2.0) headers, individual headphone and microphone jacks, and an SD card reader. MSI has also added a fingerprint reader that is Windows Hello certified for increased security.


 


Both the WE73 and WE63 have two monitor options, a 4K UHD option, or an FHD option. The WE73’s 4K UHD IPS-level option supports 100% AdobeRGB while the WE63’s UHD panel, also IPS-level supports 72% of NTSC color gamut.


The WE63/73 will be available this summer – pricing was not listed. 




















MSI WE63 and WE73 Mobile Workstations
  WE63 WE73
Type Mobile Workstation
Processors Intel 8th Generation Core i7 / Xeon Processors
Maximum Memory 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 SO-DIMMs
Network Connectivity Intel 802.11ac 2×2 up to 1.73 Gbps w/Bluetooth 5.0
Internal Storage SSD 1 x NVMe PCIe / SATA  1 x NVMe PCIe / SATA

1 x NVMe PCIe only (WE73 8SK)
HDD 1 x 2.5″ HDD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB GDDR5
NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P3200 6GB GDDR5
Expansion Slots N/A
Display 15.6″ – UHD, IPS-level, NTSC 72%

15.6″ – FHD, Wide-view, NTSC 94%
17.3″ – UHD, IPS-level, AdobeRGB 100%

17.3″ – FHD, Wide-view, NTSC 94%
Ports and Connectors 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C

1 x USB 3.1 Type-A

2 x USB 3.0 Type-A

1 x Mini-DisplayPort (1.2)

1 x HDMI (2.0)

1 x Headphone

1 x Microphone

1 x SD card reader
Input Device Single white LED keyboard

Fingerprint with Windows Hello Certified
Camera HD webcam with array mic
Power 6-Cell, 135W Adapter (WE63 8SI)

6-Cell, 150W Adapter (WE63 8SJ)
6-Cell, 150W Adapter (WE73 8SJ)
6-Cell, 180W Adapter (WE73 8SK)
Dimensions

(H x W x D) 
1.08″ x 15.08″ x 10.24″ 1.12″ x 16.5″ x 11.22″
Weight 5.05 lbs 6.04 lbs
Price (Starting) N/A

WS63


The WS63 is a bit smaller than the WExx series of laptops and is said to be a good balance between portability and performance. Its design looks more like a business/professional laptop as opposed to a gaming device without the flare. Inside the WS63 will also be an unnamed Intel 8th Gen Core processor or Xeon based processors. The WS63 is able to support up to 32 GB DDR4 RAM (two SO-DIMM slots) as well as a 2.5-inch HDD bay and a single M.2 slot supporting both NVMe PCIe and SATA based modules.



There are two panels available – a 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840×2160) IPS-level with 72% NTSC color gamut support or an FHD (1920×1080) wide-view panel with 94% NTSC coverage. Driving the panels are NVIDIA Quadro cards in the P2000 4 GB GDDR5, P3200 6 GB GDDR5, or the P4200 8 BG GDDR5. The CM246 chipset only supports the P3200/4200 while the HM370 for Coffee Lake CPUs will support all three options.


I/O on the WS63 also has a nod towards all the modern amenities and includes a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port, three USB 3.1 ports and a single USB 2.0 port. For video outputs, there are a Mini-DisplayPort (1.2) and HDMI (2.0) jacks along with an RJ-45 port and an SD card reader. Wireless functionality is handled by an IIntel-based design supporting speeds up to 1.73 Gbps and Bluetooth 5.0. The WS63 also integrates a Windows Hello certified fingerprint lock for biometric security as well as Intel’s vPro technology for enterprise-level security management.


The WS63 will be available this summer – pricing was not listed. 




















MSI WS63 Mobile Workstation
  WS63
Type Mobile Workstation
Processors Intel 8th Generation Core i7 / Xeon Processors
Maximum Memory 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 SO-DIMMs
Network Connectivity Intel 802.11ac 2×2 up to 1.73 Gbps w/Bluetooth 5.0

Gigabit Ethernet
Internal Storage SSD 1 x NVMe PCIe / SATA
HDD 1 x 2.5″ HDD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P4200 8GB GDDR5
Expansion Slots N/A
Display 15.6″ – UHD, IPS-level, NTSC 72%

15.6″ – FHD, Wide-view, NTSC 94%
Ports and Connectors 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Thunderbolt 3

3 x USB 3.1 Type-A

1 x USB 2.0

1 x Mini-DisplayPort (1.2)

1 x HDMI (2.0)

1 x Headphone

1 x Microphone

1 x RJ-45

1 x SD card reader
Input Device Single white LED keyboard

Fingerprint with Windows Hello Certified
Camera HD webcam with array mic
Power N/A (65Whr + 180W Adapter in the previous generation)
Dimensions

(W x D x H)
14.96″ x 9.80″ x 0.69″
Weight N/A
Price (Starting) N/A

WT75


The WT75 is MSI’s flagship workstation laptop, taking the chassis from the GT73 series gaming laptops losing the gaming aesthetics and going with black chassis color and dropping in a mix of Xeon/Quadro hardware for a powerhouse workstation laptop. The internals a is based on the C246 chipset and supports both Coffee Lake-S i7’s and Xeon (w/ vPro support). The larger laptop has four SO-DIMM slots and can support DDR4 up to 64 GB (ECC support on Xeon processors only). The WT75 is able to support three M.2 based devices (2 x NVMe PCIe/SATA, 1 x NVMe/PCIe only) along with two 2.5-inch bays for SATA HDDs.


 


The WT75 has two 17.3-inch panel options – a 4K UHD (3840×2160) IPS-level with 100% AdobeRGB coverage, or a FHD (1920×1080) option with wide-view supporting 94% of NTSC color gamut. Putting an image on these panels are NVIDIA Quadro cards, the P3200, P4200, or the P5200 16 GB GDDR5 found in the Vortex W25.


As far as I/O on the WT75, we will find a couple more options than what we have seen on the smaller devices. Here we have a single USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port and five USB 3.0 Type-A ports for USB. Like its workstation brothers, there is a Mini-DisplayPort (1.4) as well as an HDMI (2.0) port for video. Additionally, there are separate microphone and headphone jacks, along with an S/PDIF output. There is an RJ-45 port for wired networking while wireless is again handled by one of the latest Intel devices with speeds up to  1.73 Gbps and Bluetooth 5.0 support. Additionally, we can find a smart card reader and SD card reader rounding out the I/O. The WT75 also integrates a Windows Hello certified fingerprint lock for biometric security as well as Intel’s vPro technology for enterprise-level security management.



The WT75 will be available this summer – pricing was not listed. 




















MSI WT75 Mobile Workstation
  WE63
Type Mobile Workstation
Processors Intel 8th Generation Core i7 / Xeon Processors
Maximum Memory 64GB (4x16GB) DDR4 SO-DIMMs

ECC Support on Xeon Processors)
Network Connectivity Intel 802.11ac 2×2 up to 1.73 Gbps w/Bluetooth 5.0

Gigabit Ethernet
Internal Storage SSD 2 x NVMe PCIe / SATA 

1 x NVMe PCIe (only)
HDD 2 x 2.5″ HDD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro P3200 6GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P4200 8GB GDDR5

NVIDIA Quadro P5200 16GB GDDR5
Expansion Slots N/A
Display 17.3″ – UHD, IPS-level, AdobeRGB 100%

17.3″ – FHD, Wide-view, NTSC 94%
Ports and Connectors 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Thunderbolt 3

5 x USB 3.0

1 x Mini-DisplayPort (1.4)

1 x HDMI (2.0)

1 x Headphone

1 x Microphone

1 x S/PDIF

1 x RJ-45

1 x Smart card reader

1 x SD card reader
Input Device Single white LED keyboard

Fingerprint with Windows Hello Certified
Camera FHD with array mic
Power N/A
Dimensions

(H x W x D) 
1.93″ x 16.85″ x 11.3″
Weight 9.12 lbs
Price (Starting) N/A

 


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Source: AnandTech – MSI Unveils New Vortex Desktop Workstation and Updated Mobile Workstations

The AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Deep Dive: The 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600 Tested

With 2017 finished, and Ryzen being very successful for AMD, the inevitable question was due: what happens next? Early in 2018, the plans were laid bare: a second generation Ryzen processor was set to come in mid-year, followed by a second generation Threadripper, using GlobalFoundries’ 12nm process. This is not AMD’s next big microarchitecture, which we know is called Rome (or Zen 2) on 7nm, but an opportunity to launch a wave of components with minor improvements and take advantage of a manufacturing process that gives more frequency and more performance. Today AMD is launching four CPUs, and we have tested them all.



Source: AnandTech – The AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Deep Dive: The 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600 Tested

ASUS Introduces “AREZ” Brand for Radeon Cards as AMD Discusses New Consumer-Friendly AIB Branding

This week, ASUS introduced new “AREZ” branding for their AMD Radeon video cards. This announcement comes in conjunction with an AMD ‘freedom of choice’ initiative for consumers and gamers. Unmentioned, but inextricably intertwined, is NVIDIA’s highly controversial and recently-announced GeForce Partner Program (GPP), of which there’s little first-hand information, but is widely perceived as being a consumer-unfriendly project.


NVIDIA describes GPP as a consumer transparency program with partners and OEMs that include incentives such as early access to new technologies, engineering support, and joint marketing (though the distinction between market development funds and co-operative funds was not made), types of programs that are common in the industry. However, unique to GPP and key to today’s announcements is that Partners are required to place NVIDIA cards under their own brand, as opposed to the status-quo of both AMD and NVIDIA products showing up under the same brand (e.g. ASUS’s Republic of Gamers).


In practice this has meant that Partners have booted AMD off of their existing brands. And with few verifiable facts about how these decisions were made, they’ve been subject to heavy speculation, ranging from Partners keeping their existing brands for their highest volume products – NVIDIA typically outsells AMD at around 3:1 in the GPU market – to NVIDIA secretly requiring that Partners only use their existing brands for this endeavor. (ed: officially, NVIDIA says that they don’t care as long as it’s a GeForce-only brand, but the general secrecy around GPP means that they have a public credibiltiy problem right now).



As for ASUS, the new “AREZ” brand supersedes the previous vendor-agnostic branding of “Republic of Gamers” and “ROG STRIX,” existing sub-brands that includes both systems and computer components such as discrete graphics cards. In practice, “ROG Strix” tier Radeon products have now been shuffled into it’s own branding without any further official details, while AMD motherboards have been untouched. Though it’s interesting to note that even with this latest development, AREZ isn’t strictly a new brand for ASUS. Ultra high-end dual-GPU Radeon solutions have classically fallen under the “Ares” label in the past. So the name isn’t completely detached from video card history; rather it’s had a Z bolted on to the end.


For ASUS’ Republic of Gamers, the brand was originally created as a halo brand oriented for enthusiast-class products, offering higher quality (and more profitable) components and specialty community support. Long time readers may recall that an ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboard received a very rare AnandTech Editors’ Choice Gold Award back in 2012, where we had said, “Users who participate in the Republic of Gamers are well catered for, and get the best ASUS has to offer in terms of help, information, previews, experience.” If these changes are representative of the brand as a whole, than this experience will be only offered for GeForce owners. And likewise, consumers will only be exposed to GeForce products through ROG.


The affected products appear to have only undergone rebranding, rather than any specification changes. The cutover is not complete, as equivalent listings still appear to exist under the ROG category, and a look through the AREZ video card specifications show some products still list ROG branded accessories, such as the “ROG velcro strap.”



Meanwhile, AMD connected the “AREZ” brand to new upcoming brands, announcing that “over the coming weeks, you can expect to see our add-in board partners launch new brands that carry an AMD Radeon product.” In their blogpost titled “Radeon RX Graphics: A Gamer’s Choice”, the company expounded on the idea of consumer “freedom of choice,” explicitly connecting certain values with these new brands. Of these, AMD brought up FreeSync as opposed to “penalizing gamers with proprietary technology ‘taxes’ and limiting their choices in displays,” as well as “no anti-gamer / anti-competitive strings attached” in their relationships with board partners.


All-in-all, AMD is drawing a line here, focusing on consumer awareness and industry ‘values’ rather than dragging in AIB partners into a straight-up internal AMD/NVIDIA fight. Leveraging and expanding their traditional open ecosystem strategy, AMD is emphasizing its efforts with JEDEC HBM standards, work with the Vulkan API, and initiatives with GPUOpen. These ‘values’, so to speak, are already technologies that AMD pushes, and so the company is doubling-down in how they communicate these aspects to enthusiasts when they look at these new AIB brands.


In other words, the wording is clearly aimed at, but refrains from specifically mentioning, the recent controversies with NVIDIA GPP. Likewise, AMD’s description of “AREZ” does not specify whether their announcement is a reactive reframing of board partner rebranding, or a proactive creation of a particular initiative. Across the add-in board partner environment, it’s been reported that other partners have been dropping brands from Radeon products here and there, though none as prominant or wholesale as AREZ.


Given the nature of NVIDIA GPP, conclusive details will likely be impossible to retrieve. But we can say that the new AMD Radeon sub-brands in the coming weeks will greatly elucidate the exact relationship with NVIDIA GPP.



Source: AnandTech – ASUS Introduces “AREZ” Brand for Radeon Cards as AMD Discusses New Consumer-Friendly AIB Branding

Western Digital Launches Ultrastar DC HC530 14 TB PMR with TDMR HDD

On Wednesday, Western Digital introduced its highest capacity hard drive based on conventional magnetic recording to date. The HGST Ultrastar DC HC530 can store 14 TB of data and uses perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) with two-dimensional magnetic recording (TDMR) read heads to ensure consistent read performance. Because of extremely high areal density, the new HDDs offer up to 267 MB/s sustained transfer rate, slightly higher when compared to previous-gen drives. The new hard disks will be available in high volumes later this year.


The HGST Ultrastar DC HC530 hard drive is based on Western Digital’s latest helium-filled HelioSeal platform (5th generation) featuring eight 1.75 TB PMR platters and TDMR heads with two readers to ensure predictable read performance by mitigating effects of inter-track interference. The new platform not only packs eight 3.5-inch platters and features new heads, but also uses revamped (3rd generation) dual stage microactuators to improve head positioning and rotations vibration robustness, thus, advancing reliability of the datacenter-grade HDD in general. Other ingredients of the new HelioSeal platform include a top and bottom attached motor (with a 7200 RPM spindle speed), top and bottom attached disk clamps, RVFF sensors, humidity sensors, and so on. The new datacenter-grade Ultrastar DC HC530 HDDs are rated for a 550 TB/annual workload, a 2.5 million hours MTBF, and are covered by a five-year limited warranty.


The Ultrastar DC HC530 will be available only in 14 TB capacity with 4Kn and 512e sectors. The hard drive will feature a 7200 RPM spindle speed, a 512 MB buffer, and a SATA or SAS interface. The manufacturer will offer Ultrastar DC HC530 HDDs with hardware self-encryption capability, instant secure erase feature, TCG encryption, and TCG FIPS encryption to various parties. When it comes to performance, HGST declares up to 267 MB/s sustained transfer rate, a 4.16 ms average latency, a 7.5 ms seek time.




























HGST Ultrastar DC HC530 General Specifications
  SATA SAS
Capacity 14 TB
RPM 7200 RPM
Interface SATA 6 Gbps SAS 12 Gbps
DRAM Cache 512 MB
Format: Sector Sizes 4Kn: 4096

512e: 512
4Kn: 4096, 4112, 4160, 4224

512e: 512, 520, 528
Helium-Filling Yes
Areal Density 904 Gbit/inch2
Sustained Transfer Rate 267 MB/s
Average Latency 4.16 ms
Seek Time (read/write) 7.5 ms
Acoustics 2.0/3.6 Bels
Power Rating Idle 5.6 W 6.3 W
Operating 7.6 W 10.2 W
Power consumption efficiency at Idle 0.4 W/TB 0.45 W/TB
MTBF 2.5 million hours
Warranty 5 Years
P/Ns, Features 4Kn Instant Secure Erase WUH721414ALN6L0 WUH721414AL4200
Secure Erase WUH721414ALN6L4 WUH721414AL4204
TCG Encryption WUH721414AL4201
TCG w/FIPS Encryption WUH721414AL4205
512e Instant Secure Erase WUH721414ALE6L0 WUH721414AL5200
Secure Erase WUH721414ALE6L4 WUH721414AL5204
TCG Encryption WUH721414AL5201
TCG w/FIPS Encryption WUH721414AL5205

HGST’s Ultrastar DC HC530 14 TB HDD will not be the only datacenter-grade 14 TB CMR hard drive on the market: it will be challenged by Seagate’s Exos 14 featuring eight platters (PMR+TDMR) as well as Toshiba’s Toshiba’s MG07ACA featuring nine platters (PMR only). All of these drives are drop-in compatible with existing backplanes and provide a 40% more storage than their 10 TB predecessors, enabling datacenter operators to store 3360 TB of data per rack (compared to 2440 TB with 10 TB HDDs). This naturally increases storage capacity per square meter and per watt, which is what companies who run large datacenters want.


Meanwhile, there is one thing to keep in mind about contemporary high-capacity hard drives. While datacenter-grade HDDs have been steadily increasing their capacity over the recent years (capacity of PMR HDDs has nearly doubled in just three years), their IOPS performance stayed flat at around 80 IOPS random reads, which means that their IOPS-per-TB performance declined from 10 IOPS per TB on an 8 TB nearline HDD to 5.7 IOPS per TB on a 14 TB nearline HDD. IOPS-per-TB is a critical performance metrics for cloud datacenters that deserves a separate coverage (so stay tuned), but in a nutshell, if IOPS-per-TB drops below a certain level, datacenter operators cannot guarantee time to data for their customers on a particular drive. Various datacenters have different performance requirements, but 5.7 IOPS per TB is considered to be the lowest viable performance for a nearline HDD (at least based on one of Seagate’s presentation that uses data from operators of massive scale-out datacenters). There are applications that need a higher random performance and they will not be able to use these 14 TB drives. There are, of course, other applications that will use the new 14 TB HDDs perfectly (after all, many of HGST’s customers can use SMR-based Ultrastar Hs14 HDDs), but a lower IOPS-per-TB performance means a somewhat smaller addressable market.


Western Digital has already begun to ship samples of the HGST Ultrastar DC HC530 14 TB HDDs to select hyperscale cloud clients for qualification. Volume shipments of the drives will commence in the second half of the year. 




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Source: AnandTech – Western Digital Launches Ultrastar DC HC530 14 TB PMR with TDMR HDD

Cooler Master Announces ML120R/240R AIO Liquid Coolers: Addressable RGB

Cooler Master has unveiled new coolers in their MasterLiquid line of closed loop AIO cooling that was released in late 2017. The MasterLiquid ML240R RGB (240mm) and ML120R RGB (120mm) feature a newly designed pump along with 12 addressable RGB LEDs on the water block and eight addressable RGB LEDs on each fan. Users are able to customize each LED individually through RGB lighting software through select ASUS, MSI, and ASRock motherboards as well as Cooler Master’s MasterPlus+ software (in beta testing, due out in May) for complete control over your lighting and cooling ecosystem.





The outside of the pump has a gloss finish around the outside along with a ring of 12 addressable RGB LEDs with 16.7 million colors surrounding the cylinder-shaped CPU block/pump. The RGB LEDs shine through a frosted plastic diffuser in an effort to provide uniform color. In the middle of the circle is the Cooler Master logo, also illuminated. Both the ML120R and ML240R are equipped with an addressable RGB LED controller for use with non-addressable RGB components and easy lighting and mode control. Connecting the pump to the radiator is sleeved, double-layer FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) tubing which is said to be durable and flexible as well as giving it a more premium aesthetic than those without the additional sleeving.



The internals on the newly redesigned pump is a low-profile dual chamber unit constructed from PPS (Polyphenylene Sulfide) and glass fiber said to resist chemicals and remain unaffected by moisture or immersion in water. Cooler Master also says it is impervious to oxidation and corrosion. The pump itself uses a tri-phase motor intended to help keep power use and noise level down (less than 15 dBA). In addition, the pump is also dual chambered and keeps the cooled and warmed water separate. The cold plate uses machined microchannels for additional water contact surface to help get rid of the heat while the base of the cold plate has a brushed finish.



The matte black aluminum radiators are custom designed low resistance radiator said to allow for a higher flow rate and heat exchange efficiency for good cooling performance. Fin density is not listed in the specifications. Airflow through the radiator is handled by the MasterFan MF120R ARGB fans Cooler Master says are designed to maximize air pressure for AIO liquid cooling. Each 4-pin PWM controlled fan has eight ARGB LEDs able to be controlled through MasterPlus+ or motherboard software. These are the same fans used on the previous ML liquid coolers.


The MasterLiquid ML120R/ML240R RGB are available for purchase today. The 240R is priced at $119.99 and the 120R is $99.99. The Cooler Master MasterPlus+ lighting software should be available in May. Users are still able to use the provided addressable RGB controller for lighting mode control through the compatible RGB Sync Motherboards. These are not quite as inexpensive as the ML120L we saw a few months ago using the same radiator and fans, but still pretty inexpensive with ARGB LEDs and control through the included controller and motherboard software. 




















MasterLiquid ML120R / ML240R
CPU Socket Compatibility Intel-  LGA 2066/ 2011-3 / 2011 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366 / 775

AMD – AM4 / AM3+ / AM3 / AM2+ / AM2 / FM2+ / FM2 / FM1
Radiator Material Aluminum
Dimensions ML120L – 157 x 119.6 x 27mm

ML240L – 277 x 119.6 x 27mm
Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 25mm
Speed 650 ~ 2000 RPM (PWM) +/- 10%
Air Flow 66.7 CFM (Max)
Air Pressure 2.34 mmH2O (Max)
MTTF 160,000 Hours
Noise Level 6 ~ 30 dBa
Connector 4-Pin (PWM)
Pump Dimensions 83.6 x 71.8 x 52.7mm
MTTF 70,000 Hours
Noise Level < 15dBa
Connector 3-Pin
Price ML120R RGB – 

ML240R RGB – 
Warranty 2 Years
Motherboard Compatibility ASUS

ROG Maximus X Formula

ROG Maximus X Code

ROG Maximus X Hero (Wi-Fi AC)

ROG Maximus X Hero

ROG Strix Z370-E Gaming

ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming

ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming

Rampage VI Extreme

Prime X299-Deluxe

ROG Strix X299-E Gaming

ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

ROG Zenith Extreme

ROG Strix X399-E Gaming

ROG Strix X370-I Gaming

ROG Crosshair VI Extreme

MSI

Z370 Godlike Gaming

Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon

Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC

ASRock

(Launches in April)

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Source: AnandTech – Cooler Master Announces ML120R/240R AIO Liquid Coolers: Addressable RGB

Lenovo Lists ThinkPad E485/E585: AMD’s Ryzen Mobile Land in Business PCs

Lenovo has quietly published specifications of its ThinkPad E485 and ThinkPad E585 laptops based on AMD’s Ryzen Mobile processors on its website. Coming in classic black chassis and featuring ergonomic keyboards, the new notebooks are the first Ryzen Mobile-powered PCs aimed at the SMB market segment. The new ThinkPads are equipped with a dTPM 2.0 chip and are offered with various Lenovo services not available with consumer computers.


Lenovo’s ThinkPad E485 and ThinkPad E585 notebooks will be offered in various configurations targeting different a wide range of price points. Different configs will be based on AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700U with the Radeon Vega 10, Ryzen 5 2500U with the Radeon Vega 8 or Ryzen 3 2200U with the Radeon Vega 3 APUs. The laptops can be equipped with up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory using two SO-DIMMs likely running at 2400 MT/s. As for storage, the systems may feature a 512 GB PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD, a 500 GB HDD, a 1 TB HDD or a combination of an SSD and a hard drive.



The new AMD Ryzen Mobile-based ThinkPads are generally identical, but as their model numbers suggest, the model E485 has a 14-inch screen, whereas the model E585 features a 15.6-inch display. Speaking of displays, the manufacturer plans to offer two antiglare LCD options with its ThinkPad E485 and E585 laptops: one with a 1366×768 resolution, another with a 1920×1080 resolution. Apart from monitors, the laptops feature slightly different keyboards. The 15.6-inch versions feature a full-sized keyboard with a numpad, whereas the 14-inchers come with a classic notebook keyboard layout. Like other ThinkPads, the new models E485 and E585 are equipped with ergonomic keyboards featuring trackpoints and trackpads.



Moving on to connectivity of Lenovo’s ThinkPad E485/E585 notebooks. The notebooks are outfitted with a 1×1 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 controller, a GbE port, a USB 3.1 Type-C header (that is used for data, power, display, and docking connectivity), two USB Type-A (3.0 and 2.0) headers, an HDMI output, a micro SD card reader, a 720p webcam, a TRRS audio jack for headsets, Dolby Advanced Audio-badged speakers, a microphone array, and so on. The systems are outfitted with a discrete TPM 2.0 chip to enable support for various security applications. Meanwhile, only select ThinkPad E485/E585 SKUs will feature fingerprint readers, so biometric security will not be pervasive across the whole range of these laptops.



Lenovo says that both AMD Ryzen Mobile-based laptops come equipped with a 45 Wh battery rated for 9-hour operation. With its larger display I would expect the E585 to consume more power than the E485 and therefore offer a shorter battery life, but interestingly Lenovo rates both at 9 hours. The good news is that the E585 can accommodate a larger battery pack and therefore offer a longer battery life.


Next up are dimensions and weight. At 21.9 mm z-height, the 14-inch ThinkPad E485 appears to be slightly thicker than the 15.6-inch ThinkPad E585 that has a 19.95 mm z-height. As for the weight, the smaller E485 weighs 1.75 kg and is noticeably lighter than the E585 that weighs 2.1 kg. Neither of the Ryzen Mobile-based ThinkPads can be called thin-and-light, yet keep in mind that these systems feature metallic skeletons and come in chassis made of thick plastics, so they are pretty rugged (not ThinkPad X1 kind of rugged though).



If you want to get a thin-and-light laptop featuring an AMD Ryzen Mobile, you should probably take a look at the Ideapad 720S that comes in a 13.6-mm thick aluminum chassis and weighs around 1.14 kilograms (since this is a consumer model it comes with Windows 10 Home and without dTPM 2.0 though).





























General Specifications of Lenovo’s ThinkPad E485 and E585 Laptops
  ThinkPad E485 ThinkPad E585
Display Diagonal 14″ 15.6″
Resolution 1366×768 or 1920×1080
Type IPS
CPU AMD Ryzen 3 2200U

2C/4T

2.5 – 3.4 GHz

mXFR Support

1 MB L2 + 4 MB L3

Vega 3 iGPU

15 W
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U

4C/8T

2.0 – 3.8 GHz

mXFR Support

2 MB L2 + 4 MB L3

Vega 8 iGPU

15 W
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U

4C/8T

2.2 – 3.8 GHz

mXFR Support

2 MB L2 + 4 MB L3

Vega 10 iGPU

15 W
GPU AMD Vega 3

192 stream processors

1100 MHz
AMD Vega 8

512 stream processors

1100 MHz
AMD Vega 10

640 stream processors

1300MHz
RAM Capacity up to 32 GB
Type DDR4
Storage SSD up to 512 GB PCIe/NVMe SSD
HDD 500 GB HDD (7200 RPM) or 1 TB HDD
Hybrid SSD and HDD on select SKUs
Wi-Fi 1×1 802.11ac Wi-Fi module (unknown vendor)
Bluetooth 4.1
USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A

1 × USB 2.0 Type-A

1 × USB 3.0 Type-C (power, data, DP 1.2)
Ethernet GbE
Other I/O HDMI, 720p webcam, TRRS connector for audio, speakers, microphone, microSD card reader
Figerprint Reader on select SKUs
Security discrete TPM 2.0 chip
Dimensions Width 329.3 mm | 12.96 inches 369 mm | 14.53 inches
Length 242 mm | 9.53 inches 252 mm | 9.92 inches
Thickness 21.9 mm | 0.83 inches 19.95 mm | 0.78 inches
Weight 1.75 kg 2.1 kg
Battery Capacity 45 Wh (9 hours) 45 Wh (? 13 ? hours)
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Support & Services

Premier Support by ‘advanced-level technicians with the expertise’ by phone.

Accidental Damage Protection (ADP) – a fixed-cost, fixed-term protection plan.

Warranty extensions.

Price ? ?

The new Lenovo ThinkPad E485 and ThinkPad E585 notebooks are expected to be available in the coming weeks. When it comes to pricing, it is set to vary greatly. There will be very affordable laptops powered by AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200U APU and featuring hard drives along with ‘HD’ displays that will probably retail for ~$600 or less, whereas the premium machines based on AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700U and accompanied by UHD panels and dual-drive storage subsystems will cost considerably higher.



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Lenovo Lists ThinkPad E485/E585: AMD’s Ryzen Mobile Land in Business PCs

AOC Announces AGON AG322QC4 32-Inch Curved LCD with FreeSync 2 & DisplayHDR 400

AOC on Wednesday introduced its first gaming display that supports AMD’s FreeSync 2 technology, making this just the second line of FreeSync 2 monitors to be announced thus far. The curved 32-inch AGON AG322QC4 monitor has a QHD resolution as well as a 144 Hz refresh rate, which is in line with other gaming monitors these days. The monitor also carries DisplayHDR 400 certification, meaning it falls under the VESA’s entry-level HDR tier.


The AOC AGON AG322QC4 is based on a 32-inch VA panel featuring a 2560×1440 resolution, a 400 nits peak brightness, a 2000:1 static contrast ratio, a 144 Hz refresh rate, a 4 ms GtG response time, and a 1800R curvature. The key selling points of the AGON AG322QC4 are of course AMD’s FreeSync 2 with Low Framerate Compensation technology as well as the DisplayHDR 400 badge. AOC yet has to reveal the FreeSync 2 range supported by the display, but since the monitor is a couple of months away, its firmware may still be in development. Meanwhile, since AMD mandates all FreeSync 2 displays to support LFC, which requires the maximum framerate to be at least 2x the minimum framerate, the FreeSync range of the AG322QC4 should be pretty wide (from at least 72 Hz to 144 Hz).



AOC itself does not define color gamuts supported by the AGON AG322QC4, so the only thing that is safe to say here is that it does support the sRGB for Windows and something more than that because of its key features. AMD’s FreeSync 2 requirements include mandatory support for a wider-than-sRGB color range, but does not include specifics (e.g., mandatory 95% of the DCI-P3). Meanwhile, the DisplayHDR 400 spec only mandates 95% of the sRGB-like BT.709 color space for the color gamut. In other words, nothing about this HDR monitor specifically requires a DCI-P3 color gamut. So if the AG322QC4 can support a wider color gamut, then it’s not in any of the specificiations at this time.


Moving on, as a gaming monitor AOC’s AGON displays not only support premium features, but are also outfitted with the company’s proprietary firmware-based technologies aimed at the target audience. Therefore, the AG322QC4 supports various Game Mode presets for different types of genres, the Shadow Control function to quickly brighten dark areas, Low Input Lag mode for fast-paced games (not sure whether the LIL will be needed for FreeSync 2-supporting games), and some other features. The monitor uses AOC’s Ergo Base stand that can adjust height, tilt, and swivel. As a bonus capability, the AGON AG322QC4 display has LEDs (red, green or blue) on the lower bezel and the back of the chassis with three intensity levels for personalization, and to emphasize the gaming nature of the product.


As for connectivity. The AGON AG322QC4 is equipped with DisplayPort and HDMI inputs, a dual-port USB 3.0 hub as well as 3.5-mm audio jacks for headphones and a mic.























The AOC AGON AG322QC4
  General Specifications
Panel 31.5″ VA
Native Resolution 2560 × 1440
Maximum Refresh Rate 144 Hz
Response Time 4 ms GtG
Brightness 400 cd/m² (peak)
Contrast 2000:1
Backlighting LED
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
Curvature 1800R
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Color Gamut >95% sRGB/BT.709
DisplayHDR Tier 400
Dynamic Refresh Rate Tech AMD FreeSync 2
Pixel Pitch 0.2767 mm²
Pixel Density 91.79 PPI
Inputs DP

HDMI
Audio 3.5 mm input and output
USB Hub 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A connectors

1 × USB 3.0 Type-B input
MSRP EU: €599

UK: £529

US: ~$600 (not confirmed)


AOC plans to start selling its AGON AG322QC4 display in Europe this June. The LCD will be priced at £529 in the U.K. and €599 in mainland Europe. At this point we do not have any information regarding availability and pricing of the AG322QC4 in the U.S., but it is safe to say that it will hit North America this summer and judging by its MSRP in the EU, it is highly likely that AOC’s 32-inch FreeSync 2-supporting LCD will carry a ~$600 price tag without taxes in the U.S.



AMD introduced its FreeSync 2 technology in early 2017. Samsung was the first to support the technology with its Quantum Dot-enhanced displays in early June last year and has been enjoying its FreeSync 2 monopoly since then. Initially, Samsung’s C49HG90, C32HG70, and C27HG70 suffered from teething problems — their FreeSync range was limited to 120 – 144 Hz at launch, but an updated firmware decreased the minimum to 72 Hz later on. Since the 32-inch FreeSync 2 monitor has been available on the market for a while, Samsung’s partners are offering it below its MSRP of $699. For example, the 32-inch FreeSync 2 supporting C32HG70 is now available for $616 – $646 from Amazon. With the arrival of other FreeSync 2-compatible displays, such as the AGON AG322QC4, prices of such LCDs will inevitably drop.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – AOC Announces AGON AG322QC4 32-Inch Curved LCD with FreeSync 2 & DisplayHDR 400

The Emperor of Efficiency: Corsair's AX1600i PSU Rules Alone (Review)

In today’s review we are taking a look at Corsairs AX1600i, the company’s new flagship PSU. Although it is physically smaller than its predecessor, the AX1600i brings higher-than 80Plus Titanium efficiency levels and a maximum output of 1600 Watts. Its retail price of $500 is forbidding for most users, but the Gallium-Nitride MOSFETs and other innovations at the heart of Corsair’s new bruiser paint an incredible picture of what we can expect for the future of PSUs.



Source: AnandTech – The Emperor of Efficiency: Corsair’s AX1600i PSU Rules Alone (Review)

The ASRock X370 Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

With high performance desktop ITX options appearing more frequently with each new generation of chipset, ASRock released a pairing of AM4 offerings to satisfy small form factor enthusiasts. Although the ASRock X370 Gaming-ITX/ac is one of the most expensive AMD Ryzen compatible motherboards on the market, it tries to offer more than the standard mini-sized motherboard.



Source: AnandTech – The ASRock X370 Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

Intel Announces Chip-Level Security Initiatives, iGPU-Based Malware Scanning

Taking place this week is the annual RSA conference, which has evolved to become a major trade show for security products and technologies. As one might expect, it’s also frequently used as a springboard for security-related announcements, and this year is no exception.


Of particular interest here is Intel, who is making two announcements regarding silicon-level technologies designed to improve the security of modern computers. The first one is for what Intel is calling Threat Detection Technology (TDT), a package of capabilities that can be used by software for security screening and threat detection. The second one is the Security Essential framework that includes a consistent set of root-of-trust hardware security capabilities supported across Intel’s CPU product stack.


Intel’s Threat Detection Technology comes in two parts: Accelerated Memory Scanning, and Intel Advanced Platform Telemetry. AMS, arguably the most interesting aspect of today’s announcement, is a means to use the company’s iGPUs to accelerate memory scanning for malware, with the goal of reducing the CPU performance impact and scanning in a more energy-efficient manner overall. Currently anti-virus/anti-malware programs use the CPU to scan memory and storage for malicious applications, and while multi-core CPU designs mitigate the worst system impacts of AV scanning, there’s still a potential hit to responsiveness. So Intel is looking to address this by moving parts of AV scanning off of the CPU entirely and in to their often underutilized integrated GPUs.


The focus of Intel’s efforts here is on one specific aspect of AV scanning: in-memory (resident) malware, which doesn’t get caught in transnational disk I/O checks and instead requires scanning a system’s complete memory to check for. The entire process is essentially little more than pattern matching – something GPUs are proving good at – so Intel believes that GPUs would be a good fit. Meanwhile the idea that this is also a more energy-efficient method is an interesting one, albeit one where it would be nice to see some data, but it’s conceptually sound.


Intel’s AMS will be first supported by Microsoft’s enterprise-focused Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection software, which will be rolling out support for the feature later this month. On the hardware side of matters AMS is supported on Intel’s current-generation Gen 9/9.5 iGPUs, meaning that it will be available on 6th Gen Core (Skylake) and newer processors. Intel says that usage of AMS reduces CPU load during memory scan by an order of magnitude (from 20% to 2%) in Windows Defender ATP, which looks significant.



Meanwhile, the second part of Intel’s TDT is Intel Advanced Platform Telemetry (IAPT), which uses Intel’s existing platform telemetry hardware capabilities combined with machine learning algorithms to speed up the detection of advanced threats that may not be documented. Specifically, Intel is using low-level performance counters and other telemetry as a canary for potential issues; a sudden, irregular change in the counters may indicate that malware is present, particularly exposing anything that’s actively trying to use side-channel attacks (e.g. Spectre) and which take constant prodding to utilize.


As this isn’t signature based it’s instead triggered on the basis of broader behavior patterns, which is where machine learning comes in. Essentially the idea is for AV software vendors to compile telemetry from multiple machines, giving them an evolving baseline to work from and making unusual patterns and machines stick out. Intel isn’t saying very much about this capability, but according to The Register Intel has said that “In general, data is anonymized and generalized.” IAPT will initially be supported by the Cisco Tetration platform for datacenters that protects cloud workloads.


Finally, Intel is also introducing Intel Security Essentials — a consistent set of security-related capabilities to be supported by the Atom-, Core- and Xeon-branded products. The feature set will encompass a number of Intel’s existing security features under a single name, including secure boot, hardware protections (for data, keys, etc.), cryptography accelerators and trusted execution enclaves. Overall Intel is aiming to include all of its advanced security technologies across its entire product stack to improve security of PCs in general, so combining these features into a single, common package helps to promote that change and clarify that the same base features are supported everywhere. The move makes a great sense as it means that software makers will be able to support a unified set of security capabilities, knowing that all of them will be supported by all PCs running Intel’s up-to-date processors.



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Intel Announces Chip-Level Security Initiatives, iGPU-Based Malware Scanning

Toshiba Launches S300 and V300 HDDs for Surveillance and Video Applications

Toshiba introduced two new families of retail 3.5-inch hard drives designed for surveillance and video streaming applications. The S300 lineup will offer high performance and up to 10 TB capacity, whereas the V300 is focused on energy efficiency and quiet operation with capacities of up to 3 TB. Both families of HDDs will be available in retail starting this month.



The Toshiba S300 series of hard drives includes models featuring 4 TB, 5 TB, 6 TB, 8 TB and 10 TB capacities. The latter three products belong to the MD06ACA-V lineup introduced in October, the former two probably rely on a different platform, but support the same feature set. The 6 TB, 8 TB and 10 TB drives feature a 7200 RPM spindle speed, a 256 MB cache buffer, and a SATA 6 Gbps interface. All of the Toshiba S300 series HDDs support ATA streaming technology, and with their intended market in mind, can record data from up to 64 HD cameras at once, quickly wake up from idle and resume work, etc. These drives are prepared to work in vibrating multi-drive environments of video surveillance applications (SDVR, SNVR, Hybrid SDVR) and therefore support a number of specific enhancements, including top and bottom attached motors, RVFF sensors, second-generation dual-stage actuators. As for endurance, the S300 series are rated for 180 TB per year and one million hours MTBF.


When it comes to performance, the top-of-the-range S300 10 TB supports up to 248 MB/s media to buffer transfer speeds due to its very high areal density (it is based on seven 1.42 TB 3.5-inch platters). Other HDDs in the series use fewer platters with a lower areal density and therefore their performance is slightly lower as well. As for power consumption of the S300-series HDDs, it varies between 7.88 W and 9.48 W (operating power), depending on the model.



Moving on to the Toshiba V300 family of hard drives. These HDDs are entry-level consumer drives aimed at video streaming applications and featuring a 5000 RPM-class spindle speed and up to 64 MB buffers. The V300 HDDs can quickly resume work from sleep, they support the ATA streaming technology, and they can record data from up to four HD cameras at once. These drives are based on 1 TB platters, so expect their performance to be in line with similar products from Toshiba released earlier. As for power consumption, it varies between 4.2 W and 5.7 W, depending on the SKU.


Toshiba stresses that the V300 series HDDs are mostly aimed at consumers who want inexpensive 3.5-inch HDDs for their HTPCs and similar applications. They can also be used for various home security applications, provided that four cameras are enough.

















Specifications of Toshiba’s S300 and V300 HDDs
  S300 V300
AnandTech.com 10 TB 8 TB 6 TB 5 TB 4 TB 3 TB 2 TB 1 TB
Spindle Speed (RPM) 7200 unknown 5940 5700 5400
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
DRAM Cache 256 MB unknown      
ATA Streaming Supported
Sequential Data Transfer Rate (host to/from media) 249 MB/s 241 MB/s          
MTBF 1 million unknown
Rated Annual Workload 180 TB 72 TB
Acoustics (Seek) 34 dBA unknown
Power Consumption Random read/write 9.48 W 8.61 W 7.88 W unknown up tp 5.7 W
Idle 7.15 W 6.33 W 5.59 W unknown down to 4.2 W
Warranty 3 Years 2 years
MSRP $350 $250 $190 $150 $120 $90 $70 $50

Toshiba will begin shipments of its S300 and V300 HDDs this month, the company said. The V300 series will be officially priced between $49.99 and $89.99, whereas the S300 drives carry MSRPs between $119.99 and $349.99. Bear in mind that recommended prices tend to be higher than the retail prices, so don’t be surprised if the new hard drives end up with lower, more competitive street prices.



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Toshiba Launches S300 and V300 HDDs for Surveillance and Video Applications

StarTech’s New Adapter Brings eSATA Storage to Thunderbolt 3 PCs

Alternative headline: StarTech’s New Adapter Weds MacBook Pro and eSATA Storage


StarTech has expanded its lineup of Thunderbolt 3 adapters with a rather extravagant solution that features an eSATA port and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector. The dongle allows attaching previous-gen DASes to modern laptops, extending their life, and protecting their owner’s investments.


As the name suggests, Startech’s Thunderbolt 3 to eSATA and USB 3.1 Adapter (TB3ESATU31) has an eSATA port and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A connector. The eSATA header supports up to four eSATA drives through a port multiplier, allowing to use various external storage devices with new PCs. The dongle requires a standard TB3 port, meaning one that can supply up to 15 W of power and features bandwidth of at least 20 Gbps.


The Thunderbolt 3 to eSATA and USB 3.1 adapter is based on the Intel Alpine Ridge TB3 controller as well as the ASMedia ASM1061 PCIe-to-eSATA bridge. Judging by dimensions of the unit, its internal architecture is hardly very complex. The addition of the USB 3.1 port makes a lot of sense as it makes life easier for owners of products like the LaCie Rugged eSATA that use power from a nearby USB port. Meanwhile, owners of advanced eSATA DAS devices, such as storage arrays with multiple HDDs inside, will keep using their regular power bricks.



StarTech.com’s Thunderbolt 3 to eSATA and USB 3.1 dongle is available for $98.99 from Amazon and for $134.99 from StarTech.com, a price of an external hard drive (keep in mind that some of them are SMR-based and their performance is unpredictable at times). The MSRP may not be exactly a disadvantage of the product. The eSATA standard has never gained much traction outside of the market of professional-grade storage devices. Therefore, most of the eSATA storage that people would like to keep are likely professional-grade storage arrays. If someone is satisfied with performance of such an array and want to keep using it with their shiny new laptop (perhaps, not even for everyday work, but for archival purposes), they are unlikely to be concerned about the price of the Thunderbolt 3 to eSATA dongle.




Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – StarTech’s New Adapter Brings eSATA Storage to Thunderbolt 3 PCs

US Cuts off ZTE From American Tech Suppliers

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has announced the activation of a denial order against ZTE, banning the company from US technologies covered under Export Administration Regulations (EAR).


The ban follows an investigation and follow-up guilty-plea in March 2017 that ended with a civil and criminal penalty imposed on ZTE for illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea. On top of the $892M monetary penalty, the settlement agreement put ZTE on “probation”, with the company agreeing to forfeit their export privileges for seven years and paying the remaining $300M of the original $1.19B fine in case of a breach or further misconduct.


The Department of Commerce has now determined that ZTE has breached the settlement agreement by giving false statements and failing to enact disciplinary actions to parties originally identified as responsible for engaging in the illegal conduct. Instead of reprimanding the employees, the company is stated to have rewarded them with full bonuses.


The activation of the Denial Order has broad consequences for ZTE as it blocks the company in participating in any transaction of “technology” that is subject to the EAR.


What the EAR covers is extremely precise and fine-grained as it tries to characterise military-grade equipment technology. The categories that would most impact ZTE are items falling under categories 3, 4 and 5; Electronics Design Development and Production, Computers, and Telecommunications & Information Security. The telecommunications document is particularly interesting as it covers ubiquitous technologies in use in today’s networking and mobile devices. The EAR makes clear exceptions to radio technologies covered by ITU standards, however then goes on to more specific items which possibly apply to cellular modems and base stations.


ZTE’s main business is networking equipment where they are a major player alongside other mentionable companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Cisco. Category 3 covering Electronics Design Development has a lot more broad implications for this business as it covers semiconductor components that not only can be present in US exported products but may be IP that ZTE licenses to use in-house in their custom networking chipsets. If this is the case, there are wider implications at play as it would severely block the company from developing equipment.


On the consumer devices side ZTE makes heavy reliance on Qualcomm SoCs to power their smartphone products. We briefly talked with ZTE during last MWC about their partnership with Qualcomm and were told that the relationship is very strong and ZTE had continued plans to use Qualcomm chipsets in the future. We have reached out to Qualcomm for comment but haven’t had a response yet, however we see on Qualcomm’s Export Control Assurance (ECA) form the following confirmation of company’s products being subject to the regulation:


Qualcomm Incorporated, its subsidiaries and affiliates’ (“Qualcomm”) hardware, software, source code and technology (collectively, “Products”) are governed by the export laws of the US and other countries where we do business.  Products obtained from Qualcomm, are subject to the US Government (“USG”) export control and economic sanctions regulations, including the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”, 15 CFR 730 et seq.)


The BIS denial order specifically prohibits ZTE under section “FIRST A”:


  1. Applying for, obtaining, or using any license, license exception, or export control document;


While I’m not too clear on the exact legal ramifications here and this is just my interpretation, it seems that if Qualcomm would be outright blocked from issuing ZTE an ECA, which is essentially an EAR waiver, and thus not able to sell any of its products to ZTE anymore.


The ramifications could go even further because seemingly the EAR applies to re-exports as well, so any other company using US IP would in theory be blocked from selling to ZTE. Semiconductor companies such as SoC vendors make wide use of common foundation IP which often can come from US vendors, say from Cadence or Synopsys. If such products fall under the EAR, then the regulations could have a domino effect on the product chain and also involve non-US silicon vendors such as MediaTek or Samsung.


ZTE’s only comment on the story comes as a short press release on its website:


ZTE is aware of the denial order activated by the United States Department of Commerce.  At present, the company is assessing the full range of potential implications that this event has on the company and is communicating with relevant parties proactively in order to respond accordingly.


Seemingly in tandem with the US BIS announcement, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre issued an advice statement to the UK telecommunications sector highlighting the potential national security risk from using ZTE equipment or services cannot be mitigated.


Following the announcements ZTE has suspended trading in the company’s shares.



Source: AnandTech – US Cuts off ZTE From American Tech Suppliers

Dell Launches AMD Ryzen-Based Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 Convertible, Starts at $700

When AMD announced its Ryzen Mobile processors last October, it had three launch customers with three laptop models. Back in early March this year Dell joined the Ryzen Mobile party with its Inspiron 17 5000 and this month the company expanded its Zen-based offerings with its convertible Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 notebook.


Dell currently offers two models of the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1, one based on AMD’s Ryzen 5 2500U with the Radeon Vega 8 iGPU, and the other on the more powerful Ryzen 7 2700U with the Radeon Vega 10 iGPU (see exact SKUs that Dell offers in the table below). The systems are equipped with 8 GB or 12 GB of DDR4-2400 memory (can be expanded to 16 GB in built-to-order configurations) as well as a 256 GB SSD, which is fairly standard for mainstream laptops nowadays. The notebook has a 13.3-inch IPS TrueLife-branded glossy LED-backlit touch display with brightness and viewing angles that is normally expected from mainstream IPS LCDs. The display lid features a wide viewing angle webcam with IR, so the machine supports facial recognition and Windows Hello.


I/O capabilities of the Ryzen-powered hybrid Inspiron 13 are the same for all models: a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 module, a USB 3.0 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 headers, an HDMI output, a webcam, an SD-card reader, a microphone array, stereo speakers with the Waves MaxxAudio Pro enhancements, a TRRS audio connector, and a backlit keyboard.


The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 laptop comes in 19.2-mm (0.76-inch) thick chassis made of brushed aluminum and weighs up to 1.75 kg (3.86 lbs) depending on the configuration. Metal enclosure should give the Inspiron 13 7000 a premium feel and provide some rigidity to the construction. Meanwhile, the weight of the laptop is a bit too high for a 13-incher (and higher when compared to Lenovo’s Ryzen Mobile-based Ideapad 720s).



Dell does not publish battery life of the laptop, but only says that it is equiped with a 42 Wh battery pack. The capacity of the battery is ~10% lower when compared to other Ryzen Mobile-based 13-inch notebooks, so it remains to be seen how long the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is going to last on one charge and how it compares to rivals featuring the same APUs.
























Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 Convertible Laptops
  Good
I7375-A439GRY-PUS
Better
I7375-A446GRY-PUS
Best
Display Diagonal 13.3″
Resolution 1920×1080
Type IPS
CPU AMD Ryzen 5 2500U

4C/8T

2.0 – 3.8 GHz

mXFR Support

2 MB L2 + 4 MB L3

Vega 8 iGPU

15 W
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U

4C/8T

2.2 – 3.8 GHz

mXFR Support

2 MB L2 + 4 MB L3

Vega 10 iGPU

15 W
Graphics AMD Vega 8

512 stream processors

1100 MHz
AMD Vega 10

640 stream processors

1300MHz
RAM Capacity 8 GB (up to 16 GB) 12 GB (up to 16 GB)
Type DDR4-2400
Storage 256 GB SSD
Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wi-Fi module (unknown vendor)
Bluetooth 4.2
USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A (one with PowerShare)

1 × USB 3.0 Type-C
Other I/O HDMI 1.4, webcam with IR, TRRS connector for audio, speakers, microphone, SD card reader
Dimensions Width 322.4 mm | 12.69 inches
Length 224 mm | 8.82 inches
Thickness 18.7 – 19.2 mm | 0.74 – 0.76 inches
Weight 1.75 kg | 3.86 lb
Battery Capacity 42 Wh
Support 1 Year Mail In Service Includes 24×7 direct access to expert hardware and software support with 1 year Premium Support and Accidental Damage Service.
Price Dell.com $730 $880 $1,019
BestBuy $700 $850

Dell’s Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 convertibles featuring AMD’s Ryzen Mobile APUs are already available directly from Dell starting at $730 as well as from leading retailers like BestBuy starting at $700. The latter apparently sells base configurations at slightly lower prices than the manufacturer does.



Related Reading:


Sources: AMD, Dell



Source: AnandTech – Dell Launches AMD Ryzen-Based Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 Convertible, Starts at 0

Overclocking The AMD Ryzen APUs: Guide and Results

With AMD’s new launch of Raven Ridge APUs, the Ryzen 3 2200G ($99) and Ryzen 5 2400G ($169), AMD holds the current integrated graphics apex when directly compared against Intel’s current SKU list. One of the most intriguing aspects of AMDs new Ryzen 2000 series desktop APU solutions is the fact that they are unlocked, offering a potential performance boost to both the core, the graphics, and the memory. In this article, we examine overclocking both our launch CPUs, a pair of retail CPUs, as well as going through each of the methods to overclock from each motherboard vendor.



Source: AnandTech – Overclocking The AMD Ryzen APUs: Guide and Results

StarTech Launches Thunderbolt 3 USB Hub with 3 USB 3.1 Controllers & Power Delivery

StarTech has released a new Thunderbolt 3 USB hub that features three dedicated USB controllers and provides up to 20 Gbps of aggregated bandwidth to USB devices. The company aims the device at users of various bandwidth-demanding professional equipment that uses a USB 3.1 Gen 1 or Gen 2 interface. Since we are dealing with a device for specialized equipment, its price appears to be rather high.


StarTech’s Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 Controller Adapter (TB33A1C) is based on Intel’s JHL6540 TB3 controller (Alpine Ridge, so it cannot work with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C hosts) and is outfitted with two ASMedia’s ASM1042A (PCIe 2.0 x1 to USB 3.0) ICs and one ASM1142 (PCIe 3.0 x1 to USB 3.1 Gen 2) USB controller to ensure maximum performance for its ports.


The USB hub features one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, with oneof the Gen 1 ports supporting the USB Battery Charging 1.2 spec. In addition, the hub has two Thunderbolt 3 port to support daisy chaining or to connect another USB 3.1 Gen 2 device. The hub also comes with a power brick that can deliver 65 W of power to host laptop via a TB3 interface, or USB devices that need more than 15 W provided by Thunderbolt 3 ports by default.



The aggregate bandwidth guaranteed by the StarTech Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 controller adapter is 20 Gbps, and for people who need to ensure that they have the highest USB performance possible on their TB3-only laptops this is its key value (enabled by three USB controllers and multiple ports). There is a catch though. In order to connect two USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices at ~10 Gbps each one will have to use one of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and the second TB3 port, but not both USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports. This is because both Gen 2 ports share one ASM1142 controller and the aggregate bandwidth it supports is limited to 8 ~ 10 Gbps (depends on its implementation) for both headers.







The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 Controller Adapter at a Glance
Controller Intel JHL6540 ASMedia ASM1142 2 × ASMedia ASM1042A
Port 2 × Thunderbolt 3 1 × USB-C 3.1 Gen 2

1 × USB-A 3.1 Gen 2
2 × USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 20V/1.35A DC-IN
Bandwidth 40 Gbps 10 Gbps 5 Gbps + 5 Gbps
Notes To connect two USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices at ~10 Gbps each, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 header and the second TB3 connector have to be used. Can be used to charge laptop or USB devices

StarTech positions this TB3 USB hub for connecting various bandwidth-demanding devices, such as 3D scanners, storage arrays, audio-video capture, and broadcast equipment. To guarantee their fast and flawless operation, the adapter features maxed-out USB bandwidth, which comes at a price. The Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 Controller Adapter is available for $199.99 from Amazon, and for $263.99 directly from the manufacturer.


StarTech.com is one of the leading suppliers of various adapters and hubs, so it is not surprising that it is gradually expanding its collection of Thunderbolt 3 products with new adapters for customers requiring very specific needs. The Thunderbolt 3 to USB 3.1 Controller Adapter is clearly one of such products that is not designed for everyone, but for people who need USB bandwidth to connect high-end scanners, storage arrays (or external SSDs), A/V, and broadcast equipment. Such clients demand maximum performance and are generally used to significant investments in hardware.




Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – StarTech Launches Thunderbolt 3 USB Hub with 3 USB 3.1 Controllers & Power Delivery

Acer’s Chromebox CXI3 Available in Four Configs: Up to Core i7-8550U, Up to $777

Acer has quietly started to sell its Chromebox CXI3 UCFF desktop, which it formally introduced earlier this year. The minuscule 0.9-liter system runs Google’s Chrome OS and the manufacturer originally positioned it for education market, but the actual configurations of these PCs and their prices indicate that they may be aimed at other kinds of markets too.


Announced earlier this year, the Chromebox CXI3 systems run Intel’s Kaby Lake processors (most of which belong to the 8th Gen Core family) with two or four cores, thus offering a decent level of performance for UCFF desktops. The key selling point of the Chromebox CXI3 besides its compact dimensions is connectivity. The system is outfitted with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port along with five USB 2.0/3.0 Type-A ports (depending on the model), a GbE connector, an HDMI output, and a microSD card reader. On the wireless side of things, it has a 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi controller that also supports Bluetooth 4.2 LE.



Acer’s Chromebox CXI3 recently started to sell at NextWarehouse and TigerDirect in four configurations running quad-core Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U CPUs as well as dual-core Core i3-7130U or Celeron 3865U processors. The low-end Celeron-based version is equipped with 4 GB of DDR4 memory and 32 GB of solid-state storage, whereas higher-end variants are outfitted with 8 – 16 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Prices of the systems range from a rather democratic $308 to a rather tangible $777. While schools and libraries can afford sub-$500 systems, it is extremely unlikely that they will invest nearly $800 in a Chromebox.



















General Specifications of Acer’s Chromebox CXI3
  DT.Z0NAA.001 DT.Z0RAA.001 DT.Z0SAA.001 DT.Z0TAA.001
CPU Intel Celeron 3865U

2C/2T

1.8 GHz

2 MB

15 W
Intel Core i3-7130U

2C/4T

2.7 GHz

3 MB

15 W
Intel Core i5-8250U

4C/8T

1.6 – 3.4 GHz

6 MB LLC

15 W
Intel Core i7-8550U

4C/8T

1.8 – 4 GHz

8 MB LLC

15 W
iGPU HD Graphics 610

12 EUs

300 MHz – 900 MHz
HD Graphics 620

24 EUs

300 MHz – 1 GHz
UHD Graphics 620

24 EUs

300 MHz – 1.15 GHz
Memory 4 GB DDR4-2133 8 GB DDR4-2133 16 GB DDR4
Storage SSS 32 GB 64 GB
Other microSD
Wireless 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2
Ethernet 1 × Gigabit Ethernet with RJ45 connector
Display Outputs HDMI
Audio 1 × TRRS connector
USB 1 × USB 3.1 Type-C

5 × USB 2.0/3.0 Type-A
Dimensions Width: 5.8 inches | 15 cm

Depth: 5.9 inches | 15 cm

Thickness: 1.6 inches | 4 cm
Extra 100 × 100 mm VESA mount
PSU External
OS Google Chrome OS
Price

(NextWarehouse)
$308 $478 $535 $777

Google and its partners are pushing the Chrome OS to various unconventional mobile PCs (such as tablets, convertibles, and 2-in-1s), possibly to tap into markets where the operating system (and Android) was not present before (or has been unsuccessful). Meanwhile, Acer appears to see Chrome’s potential on the desktop, a market segment that Dell, HP, and Samsung considered irrelevant for the OS. Bearling in mind configurations and prices of the new Chromebox CXI3, it is evident that the systems are positioned not only for schools and libraries, but rather for more demanding customers. Furthermore, the fact that they have popped up in retail indicates that Acer is looking at consumers.


A big question is whether they latter are going to bite at Chromebox that costs nearly $800. For around $700 it is possible to get a Core i7-8250U- and Windows 10-based laptop. On the desktop side of things, there is a wide choice of SFF desktops priced at around $800 (1, 2).



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Acer’s Chromebox CXI3 Available in Four Configs: Up to Core i7-8550U, Up to 7

MSI Upgrades Budget Laptops with Intel’s CFL-H: Six-Core Notebooks Start at $1,099

Traditionally, PC makers tend to upgrade their premium product series with the latest CPUs or GPUs first and only then expand usage of new chips to more affordable product lineups. This was not the case with MSI this month, which is introducing a variety of relatively inexpensive laptops running Intel’s Coffee Lake-H CPUs with up to six cores. Many of these models are already available


We have already observed MSI’s premium GT Titan, GS Shadow, and GE Raider gaming laptops updated with Intel’s six-core Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs, but MSI also installed new chips into considerably more affordable GP-, GL-, GF-, and GV-series notebooks. These mobile PCs are basically “working horses” tailored for gaming and multimedia applications aimed at those who would like to have some extra CPU and GPU oomph (when compared to mainstream designs), but who are not ready to invest massive amounts of money in premium machines. For example, MSI’s GV62 8RD-034 laptop based on Intel’s six-core Core i7-8750H and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050-series GPU is now available starting at $1,099.



Buy MSI GV62: 15.6-inch/60Hz, i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1050-Series for $1099 on Amazon.com


MSI’s GP-, GL-, GF-, and GV-series notebooks use very similar 15.6-inch/17.3-inch chassis and platforms, so their differences are mostly cosmetic and limited to exact configurations (e.g., different GPUs, storage options, USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, etc.), keyboard backlighting, battery capacity, weight and so on. The new MSI GP, GL, GF, and GV laptop families are based on the Intel HM370 PCH and therefore support the key features of Intel’s 300-series mobile platforms (e.g., integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, etc.) albeit not on all SKUs. The systems can house up to 32 GB of DDR4-2666 memory, one or two M.2 slots for SSDs, a 2.5-inch bay for DFF storage devices and so on. Premium versions of MSI’s GP-, GL-, GF-, and GV-series notebooks with Intel’s six-core Core i7 processors feature 15.6- or 17.3-inch IPS FHD display panels with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a 3 ms response time, others come with standard FHD LCDs. Check out the spec list in the table below.



Buy MSI GP63: 15.6-inch/60Hz, i7-8750H, GTX 1050 Ti, 16 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 1 TB HDD on Amazon.com


































General Specifications of MSI’s 2018 GP, GL, GF, and GV Laptops
  GP GL GF GV
LCD Diagonal GP63: 15.6″

GP73: 17.3″
GL63: 15.6″

GL73: 17.3″
GF62: 15.6″

GF72: 17.3″
GV62: 15.6″

GV72: 17.3″
Resolution 1920×1080
Features Standard: IPS

Option 1: 120 Hz refresh rate, 3 ms response time

Option 1: IPS/VA with 94% NTSC coverage (15.6″ models only)
CPU Up to Intel Core i7 8750H with six cores
PCH Intel HM370
Graphics Integrated HD Graphics 630 (24 EUs)
Discrete GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB

GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB

GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB
GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB

GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB

GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB

GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB
RAM 32 GB DDR4-2400/2667

2 SO-DIMM slots
Storage SSD 2 × M.2-2280 slots on select SKUs 1 × M.2-2280 slot supporting PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA
HDD/SSHD 1 × 2.5-inch bay
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
USB USB 2.0 Type-A: supported on select SKUs

USB 3.0 Type-A: supported on all SKUs

USB 3.1 Type-A: supported on select SKUs

USB 3.1 Type-C: supported on select SKUs
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 1.4 (on SKUs featuring GeForce GTX 1050/1050 Ti)

1 × HDMI 2.0 (on SKUs featuring GeForce GTX 1060)

1 × mDP with DP 1.2
Gigabit Ethernet Killer E2400 Intel I219-LM Killer E2400 Intel I219-LM
Card Reader SD card reader
Webcam 720p camera
Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack
Keyboard Backlighting RGB Red RGB Red
Battery 51 Wh 41 Wh
Dimensions 15.6″ Width 383 mm
Depth 260 mm
Thickness 29 mm 22 – 29 mm
17.3″ Width 419 mm 419 mm 419.9 mm
Depth 287 mm 287 mm 287.8 mm
Thickness 32 mm 33 mm 29.8 – 32 mm
Weight 15.6″ 2.2 kg
17.3″ 2.7 kg 2.7 – 2.8 kg
Starting Price

(among systems available today)
15.6″ $1,299 $929 unknown $1,099
17.3″ $1,349 $1,149 unknown $1,499

MSI’s new GP-, GL-, GF-, and GV-series laptops are starting to hit the market in the U.S. right now, availability of their configurations will expand in the coming weeks and months. Their presence on other markets depends on MSI’s plans for these markets, supply of components, and other factors.




Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – MSI Upgrades Budget Laptops with Intel’s CFL-H: Six-Core Notebooks Start at ,099

MSI GT63/GT83 Titans Upgraded with Six-Core CPUs, Samsung’s PCIe SSDs

Among the many laptops getting a refresh this month alongside Intel’s new 8th gen Core processors are the 15.6-inch GT63 and the 18.4-inch GT83 desktop replacement laptops, both of which are receiving hex-core CPUs along with faster Samsung SSDs and DRAM. Designed to offer ultimate performance at any cost, these laptops are MSI’s no-compromises devices, meaning the best CPUs, the best GPUs, and the best storage that can be reasonably fit into a luggable computer.


Before we proceed to the details regarding the upgrade, it is necessary to note that while the MSI GT83 Titan is up updated version of the MSI GT83VR Titan released last year, the situation is a bit different with its younger brother, the MSI GT63 Titan. The latter builds upon the MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro laptop that was positioned a bit below MSI’s Titans. With the new generation, MSI decided to simplify its branding, and instead of releasing another Dominator Pro, it moved the GT63 to its higher-end Titan category. In addition to repositioning, the GT63 Titan have got a new keyboard featuring per-key RGB lighting, jut like its higher-end GT83 Titan and GT75 Titan brethren, so from the styling perspective MSI’s Titans have a number of similarities.



MSI reserved the “fully unlocked” Core i9-8950HK CPU (six cores, 2.9 – 4.8 GHz, 12 MB LLC) for its flagship GT83 Titan and GT75 Titan notebooks, so the GT63 Titans will be equipped with up to Core i7-8850H (six cores, 2.6 – 4.3 GHz, 9 MB LLC) processors. There is a rationale behind such move. The MSI GT63 Titan is positioned below the GT75 Titan and must be significantly cheaper, which is why MSI did not equip it with a top-of-the-range CPU.


Intel’s Coffee Lake-H processors officially support DDR4 memory at 2666 MT/s, therefore the GT83 Titan and the GT63 Titan notebooks come with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2666 memory. MSI says that all of its GT-series DTR machines are equipped with Samsung memory, so we can expect it to be made using one of the latest process technologies and offer a certain level of overclocking headroom.


Moving on to storage sub-system upgrades of the MSI GT Titan laptops. From now on, all the GT Titan-series PCs will use Samsung’s “latest” SSDs with a PCIe interface. Considering the fact that computer makers equip their systems with OEM drives, it is safe to assume that the higher-end versions of the GT63/GT83 laptops use Samsung’s PM981-series SSDs. The higher-end MSI GT83 Titan features three M.2 slots (two supporting PCIe and SATA, one supporting only SATA), so it will be able to run two fast SSDs in RAID 0 mode and thus offering very high read and write speeds. Meanwhile, all MSI GT Titans have a 2.5-inch bay for DFF storage devices for high-capacity drives.



With its Spring update for its Titans, MSI focused primarily on CPU and memory/storage, but not display panels. The MSI GT83 Titan still comes with an 18.4-inch FHD IPS panel featuring a 60 Hz refresh rate that the company introduced in 2018. Meanwhile, the MSI GT63 Titan can be equipped with a 15.6-inch FHD panel with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a 3 ms response time. Alternatively, the GT63 Titan can be outfitted with a 15.6-inch UHD panel with a 60 Hz refresh rate.































MSI’s 2018 GT63 Titan and GT83 Titan Laptops
  GT63 Titan GT83 Titan
Display Diagonal 15.6″ 18.4″
Resolution 1920×1080

3840×2160
1920×1080
Type IPS
Refresh 120 Hz

60 Hz
60 Hz
Response Time 3 ms

unknown
unknown
CPU Up to Intel Core i7-8850H

6C/12T

2.6 – 4.3 GHz, 9 MB LLC
Up to Intel Core i9-8950HK

6C/12T

2.9 – 4.8 GHz, 12 MB LLC
PCH HM370 CM246
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB GDDR5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8 GB GDDR5X
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB GDDR5 in SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8 GB GDDR5X in SLI
RAM Up to 64 GB DDR4-2666
Storage M.2 1 × M.2-2280 slot supporting PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA 3 × M.2-2280 slots (two supporting PCIe 3.0 x4, one supporting SATA)
DFF One 2.5″ bay
ODD Blu-ray burner
Wi-Fi Killer 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5
Ethernet Killer 1 GbE controller
USB 3 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A

1 × USB 2.0 Type-A

1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A

3 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A

1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (via TB3)
Thunderbolt 1 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 1 × Mini DisplayPort 1.4

1 × HDMI 2.0b
Audio 4 × 2 W speakers

1 × 3W subwoofer

Microphones

3.5-mm audio jack for headset

3.5-mm audio jack for microphone
4 × 3 W speakers

1 × 3W subwoofer

Microphones

3.5-mm audio jack for headset

3.5-mm audio jack for microphone
Keyboard RGB-backlit keyboard with per-key RGB lighting
Other I/O HD webcam, card reader
Battery 75 Wh
Dimensions Width 39 cm | 15.35″ 45.8 cm | 18″
Depth 26.6 cm | 10.47″ 33.9 cm | 13.34″
Thickness 4 cm | 1.57″ 42 – 69 mm | 0.16″ – 2.7″
Weight 2.94 kg | 6.48 lbs 5.5 kg | 12.12 lbs
Price Depends on configuration

Leading retailers already sell MSI’s GT63 Titan and GT83 Titan DTR laptops. The entry-level Titan is available starting at $2,133, whereas the highest-end MSI gaming notebook is sold for $5,699 in a beefy configuration.



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Source: AnandTech – MSI GT63/GT83 Titans Upgraded with Six-Core CPUs, Samsung’s PCIe SSDs

Corsair Unveils "Pearlescent White" Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast DIMMs

Corsair this week introduced its new Dominator Platinum series memory modules designed for modders and enthusiasts primarily interested in style. The new Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast DDR4 DIMMs (ed: yes, that’s really the full name) don’t boast extreme data transfer rates out of the box, but the manufacturer says that they will offer a decent overclocking headroom.


The Corsair Dominator Platinum SE Contrast memory kits will be available in 32 GB density, in dual-channel (2×16 GB) and quad-channel (4×8 GB) versions. The modules are speced for 3466 MT/s data transfer rate with CL16 18-18-36 timings at 1.35 V. The new Dominator Platinum SEC DIMMs are based on Samsung’s hand-picked DRAM ICs, are built on Corsair’s specially-designed 10-layer PCBs, and feature XMP 2.0 profiles to automatically set their frequencies and latencies when they are installed into compatible PCs (and appropriate BIOS settings are activated).



The main selling point of the Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast memory kits are their highly-contrast DHX cooling systems featuring pearlescent white heat spreaders and glossy black light bars with white LEDs on top. The DHX cooling system were designed specifically to maximize heat dissipation and therefore improve overclocking potential of DIMMs. According to Corsair, the Dominator Platinum SEC can “push the latest Intel platforms to their limits”, which is not surprising as memory modules based on Samsung’s B-die DRAM devices can easily run at 4000 MT/s data transfer rates and higher even without sophisticated cooling.



All Corsair Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast memory kits will be individually numbered and will be initially available exclusively from Corsair’s online stores in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. In the U.S., the new dual-channel and quad-channel kits will retail for $440 and $480, respectively.






Corsair’s Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast
Speed Sub-Timings Voltage Kit

Config.
Kit

Capacity
PN Price
DDR4-3466 CL16 18-18-36 1.35 V 4×8 GB 32 GB CMD32GX4M4C3466C16W $480 Exc Tax

£435 Inc. VAT

€475 Inc. Tax
2×16GB CMD32GX4M2C3466C16W $440 Exc Tax

£400 Inc. VAT

€435 Inc. Tax

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Source: AnandTech – Corsair Unveils “Pearlescent White” Dominator Platinum Special Edition Contrast DIMMs