MediaTek Announces Dimensity 1100 & 1200 SoCs: A78 on 6nm

Today MediaTek announced two new top-end SoCs in the form of the new Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200. The two new designs are a follow-up to last year’s Dimensity 1000 SoC which marked the company’s return to the high-end in 2020, with a relatively solid SoC design.



Source: AnandTech – MediaTek Announces Dimensity 1100 & 1200 SoCs: A78 on 6nm

The Intel Z590 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Detailed

At the start of 2021, Intel has unveiled its latest desktop platform, designed primarily for its Rocket Lake 11th generation processors. Intel is officially moving to PCIe 4.0, with the top SKU Core i9-11900K supposedly offering a large jump in IPC performance compared to the previous generation. The new chipset moves to double bandwidth to the CPU, allowing for more hardware to make the most of the chipset at once. It also moves to DDR4-3200 support, a new peak in a product line that was previously on DDR4-2933. The new Z590 chipset is Intel’s flagship, designed for Rocket Lake, but offering backward compatibility with Comet Lake processors. We take a closer look at the large variety of new motherboards set to come to market. 



Source: AnandTech – The Intel Z590 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Detailed

Samsung Introduces 870 EVO SATA SSDs: 128L TLC With an Updated Controller

Samsung is launching the latest iteration of their mainstream consumer TLC-based SATA SSDs. The new 870 EVO brings the same generational updates to Samsung’s 3D NAND and SSD controller that we saw with last year’s 870 QVO. The updated EVO SATA SSD arrives three years after the launch of the Samsung 860 EVO and 860 PRO.


The 870 EVO uses the same sixth-generation Samsung V-NAND (3D NAND) that debuted in the high-end 980 PRO NVMe SSD. Officially, this is “1xx layers”, but all signs point to it being 128L 3D NAND. This may sound unimpressive when Micron and SK hynix have already announced their 176-layer 3D NAND, but Samsung’s NAND manufacturing process is arguably more advanced: they’re still able to manufacture all 128L in one batch, while the competition have all long since adopted string stacking to split the process into two batches (eg. two groups of 88 layers).


The 870 EVO uses the same Samsung MKX controller we first saw with the 870 QVO. Samsung still hasn’t shared what’s improved with this generation of controller, but we get a bit of a hint from the fact that they claim the 870 EVO offers a 38% improvement to queue depth 1 random read latency compared to the 860 EVO. Since Samsung has previously shared that their 128L 3D TLC only offers a 10% improvement in raw read latency, it looks like the updated controller may be a bigger factor in the drive’s overall performance increase. Either way, a 38% improvement in one of the few performance metrics that SATA SSDs have any room to improve on is a bold claim.

















Samsung 870 EVO Specifications
Capacity 250 GB 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Form Factor 2.5″ 7mm SATA
Controller Samsung MKX
NAND Flash Samsung 512Gbit 128L 3D TLC
LPDDR4 DRAM 512MB 1 GB 2 GB 4 GB
Sequential Read 560 MB/s
Sequential Write 530 MB/s
Random Read 98k IOPS
Random Write 88k IOPS
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 150 TB

0.3 DWPD
300 TB

0.3 DWPD
600 TB

0.3 DWPD
1200 TB

0.3 DWPD
2400 TB

0.3 DWPD
Launch MSRP $49.99

(20¢/GB)
$79.99

(16¢/GB)
$139.99

(14¢/GB)
$269.99

(13¢/GB)
$529.99

(13¢/GB)


Samsung didn’t give us the full detailed spec sheet, but among the basic specifications there are no surprises. Peak throughput is as usual limited by the SATA interface. Write endurance is still 0.3 drive writes per day with a five year warranty. The capacity options still run from 250GB to 4TB. Launch MSRPs are substantially higher than current street prices for the 860 EVO and are well into NVMe price territory, but we expect the 870 EVO’s prices to come down fairly soon given the overall state of the market with a bit of an oversupply for NAND flash memory.


We don’t have a full review of the 870 EVO ready today because the timing is rather awkward. It’s a bit cheeky of Samsung to launch this drive just two business days after the end of CES, and with only a week of advance notice. We also hadn’t started running SATA drives through our new 2021 SSD test suite, so the past several days have kept our new testbeds busy testing the 870 EVO and various other SATA drives to compare against. Preliminary results show that the 870 EVO improves performance across the board for our AnandTech Storage Bench trace tests, though with slight increases in power consumption. Samsung’s claim of 38% better QD1 random read performance also looks to be an exaggeration, but we’ll be back later this week with a full analysis of the test results.


We also haven’t heard any new official information from Samsung about an 870 PRO to round out this generation of SATA drives, but they did mention an 870 PRO in passing in a newsletter last fall. Since their consumer NVMe line has switched over to using TLC NAND for the 980 PRO, there’s some uncertainty whether an 870 PRO will continue using MLC NAND. If it does, that will be the first appearance of 128L MLC from Samsung.




Source: AnandTech – Samsung Introduces 870 EVO SATA SSDs: 128L TLC With an Updated Controller

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 870: An 865++?

Today Qualcomm is making a rather unexpected SoC announcement in the form of the new Snapdragon 870. The chip is a rather odd release in Qualcomm’s chipset line-up in that this is actually a part derived from last year’s Snapdragon 865 series, with the new model being a new silicon bin that ups the clock frequencies for a small boost in performance, even though it’s getting a model name that would indicate more substantial changes (of which there aren’t).



Source: AnandTech – Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 870: An 865++?

Intel Unveils Panther Canyon NUC11 Family: Tiger Lake Comes to NUCs

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, Intel officially unveiled a number of NUCs based on their Tiger Lake SoCs. Intel’s initial NUCs were all based on 100mm x 100mm (4in x 4in) boards, kickstarting the UCFF craze that contributed to revitalizing the PC market. Over the last few years, we have seen Intel expand the NUC to encompass multiple other form-factors, while keeping compactness in mind:


  • Performance: The original 4×4 UCFF units
  • Pro: 4×4 UCFF units with expansion support and vPro capabilities
  • Compute Elements: Add-in Card form factor with carrier boards for system design
  • Extreme: Compute Elements using a 45W TDP processor with a base board hosting up to three PCIe expansion slots (inclusive of a M.2 22110 NVMe slot) and a 5L chassis enabling compact gaming and workstation PCs
  • Rugged: NUCs designed for operation in industrial and factory-floor type environments, sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Essential: 4×4 NUCs sporting processors based on the Atom microarchitecture
  • Laptop Kit: Reference design / whitebook models for OEMs to bring notebooks to market faster
  • Enthusiast: Compact PCs with a 5.5in. x 8in. motherboard sporting a discrete GPU (either soldered or in-package)


The Panther Canyon NUCs are the Tiger Lake-based “Performance-class” units, with eleven different SKUs based on three different boards.



All the models operate the Tiger Lake processors (Core i7-1165G7, Core i5-1135G7, or the Core i3-1115G4) with a TDP of 28W. The K and H kits are the usual ones we have seen in previous generations – the latter has support for the installation of a 2.5″ drive. Panther Canyon also has a Q SKU that adds a wireless charging lid (up to 15W) on top of the H chassis. The specifications are summarized in the table below.






















Intel Panther Canyon NUC (Tiger Lake-U) Lineup
Model NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i3 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i5 NUC11PA{K/H/Q}i7
CPU Intel Core i3-1115G4

2C/4T

1.7 – 4.1 GHz (3.0 GHz)

12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i5-1135G7

4C/8T

0.9 – 4.2 GHz (2.4 GHz)

12 – 28 W (28W)
Intel Core i7-1165G7

4C/8T

1.2 – 4.7 GHz (2.8 GHz)

12 – 28 W (28W)
GPU Intel® UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel® Processors (48EU) @ 1.25 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (80EU) @ 1.3 GHz Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics (96EU) @ 1.3 GHz
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots

Up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard 4.13″ x 4.16″ UCFF
Storage SSD 1x M.2-2280 (PCIe 4.0 x4 (CPU-direct) or SATA III)
DFF 1 ×  SATA III Port (for 2.5″ drive)
Card Slots Full-sized SDXC UHS-II
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201

2×2 802.11ax Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1 module
Ethernet 1 × 2.5 GbE port (Intel I225-V)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A

1 x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C
Rear 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A

1 × Thunderbolt 3
Display Outputs 1 × HDMI 2.0b

1 x mini-DP 1.4a

2 × DisplayPort 1.4 (using Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports)
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek)
PSU External (90W) External (120W)
Dimensions Length: 117 mm

Width: 112 mm

Height: 38mm (K), 51mm (H), 56mm (Q)
MSRP ? ? ?


Intel’s technical product specifications provide additional details on the I/Os. We see the front and rear Thunderbolt ports (curiously, marketed as Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4) are enabled directly from the TGL-U processor. Two display outputs (DP 1.4a) are also routed through these Thunderbolt ports within the processor itself.



Interestingly, a protocol converter is still needed on the board to convert the DP 1.4a display output to HDMI 2.0b. There is a PCIe 4.0 x4 lanes set for attaching a NVMe SSD. The high-speed I/O lanes are multiplexed with a SATA port allowing the installation of a M.2 SATA SSD in the same slot. The LAN port is enabled by the i225-V 2.5 Gbps controller, while the SDXC card slot on the side requires an additional SDXC bridge chip. The Wi-Fi 6 capabilities are enabled by the soldered Intel AX201 CNVi card.


Panther Canyon looks to be a solid upgrade over the Frost Canyon NUC despite the loss of a couple of cores (the Frost Canyon NUC was a hexa-core affair), thanks to the improved CPU microarchitecture and a host of system-level upgrades. On the latter front, we have an additional Thunderbolt port, a 2.5 Gbps LAN port (compared to the regular Gigabit port in the Frost Canyon NUC), ability to install a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, and the ability to drive up to four 4Kp60 displays. Additionally, we also some of the Panther Canyon SKUs sporting a 15W wireless charging lid.


Various reseller listings have come up for the Panther Canyon NUCs in Europe. However, Intel has not provided a concrete launch date or pricing details for any of the SKUs yet.



Source: AnandTech – Intel Unveils Panther Canyon NUC11 Family: Tiger Lake Comes to NUCs

HP at CES 2021: New ProBook 635 Aero G8 With Ryzen 5000 Mobile

HP has updated its ProBook series with new models based on AMD’s latest mobile processors, with a sleek and professional design. The HP ProBook 635 Aero G8 now features AMD Ryzen 5000 processors, with a slimline design and weight of just under 1 kg.


Based on the previous ProBook 635 Aero G7 (2020) model, the new ProBook 635 G8 follows a similar design, with a 13.3-inch 1080p display, with support for up to 32 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage. It also weighs just shy of 1 kg, making it a lightweight and portable option for professionals.




The HP ProBook 635 Aero G7 (2020) for reference


The feature set includes a dual-array microphone built into the chassis, with a top-mounted 720p webcam with an additional IR camera. The HP ProBook 635 Aero G8 uses AMD’s latest Ryzen 5000 mobile processors, with integrated AMD Radeon graphics, with Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0 connectivity, USB Type-A, and Type-C, with a headphone and microphone combo port. Included is a 53 Wh Li-ion polymer battery.


The HP ProBook Aero G8 is expected to be available from May, with prices are set to start at £849.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – HP at CES 2021: New ProBook 635 Aero G8 With Ryzen 5000 Mobile

The Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer II 240 & 420 AIO Coolers Review: Big and Effective

Today we are taking a look at a couple of Arctic Cooling’s Liquid Freezer II all-in-one CPU coolers: the Liquid Freezer II 240, and the Liquid Freezer II 420. Based on the same core design, the coolers are two of several models that Arctic Cooling offers across the spectrum, from a single 120mm fan up to the massive, triple 140mm fan 420 model. Of course, we’re going to be diving into the behemoth 420 AIO cooler, but we’re also taking a look at the much more sensible 240mm version of the cooler. How well does such a large cooler perform with regards to thermals and noise? And just how much better does that make the super-sized cooler over the more normal, widely compatible version of the same cooler? Let’s find out.



Source: AnandTech – The Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer II 240 & 420 AIO Coolers Review: Big and Effective

CES 2021: ASUS Updates TUF Gaming A15 & A17, Adds Ryzen 5000 & GeForce RTX 30 Series Hardware

Among several of their laptop lines receiving updates at this year’s CES are ASUS’s TUF Gaming A15 and A17 family of laptops. Intended as a midrange portable gaming option – a step below ASUS’s ROG parts, but still plenty capable – the 2021 edition of the laptop is getting upgraded to the latest and greatest processors from AMD and NVIDIA.


The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 and A17 have been updated for 2021 with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 5800H mobile processor and include options for either NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 3070 or RTX 3060 mobile graphics. Both models also allow for up to 32 GB of DDR4-3200 and up to 1 TB of NVMe M.2 storage.


Being that these are gaming laptops, a big focus is on the displays, and fittingly ASUS is only using fast panels here. The top A15 SKUs come with a quick 240 Hz 1080p 15-inch display, while the other models use a 144 Hz panel. Meanwhile, the A17 comes with a 144 Hz 1080p 17-inch display, and all variants support VESA Adaptive-Sync in order to eliminate frame tearing.




The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 gaming laptop


Other notable features of the TUF A15/A17 include orange backlighting on the keyboard, with ASUS opting for a similar to a desktop keyboard with highlighted WASD keys. ASUS also includes an integrated 720p webcam on the top bezel, with a built in mic-array which offers noise cancellation properties. Some of the connectivity on offer includes one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C with support for DisplayPort alt mode, an HDMI 2.1 video output, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. Wi-Fi 6 connectivity is included with a Kensington lock for extra security. The A15 weighs in at 2.3 kg, with a medium-sized frame measuring in at 359.8 x 256 x 24.9 mm, and is available in metal or plastic.




The ASUS TUF Gaming A17 gaming laptop


The A17 is essentially a 17-inch variant and shares the same core hardware specifications. It is larger than the A15 with dimensions of 399.2 x 268.9 x 22.1/24.8mm: the depth of the A17 is dependant on the plastic or metal version. It is also slightly heavier than the A15, with a weight of 2.6 kg.


Both the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 and A17 come with a 90 Wh battery, preinstalled with ASUS’s Armory Crate software with drivers, with both including support for Dolby DTS: X Ultra audio. Both models also use Wi-Fi 6 interfaces for connecting to a network, with additional support for BT 5.2 devices. 


ASUS hasn’t provided any information about availability or pricing.



Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: ASUS Updates TUF Gaming A15 & A17, Adds Ryzen 5000 & GeForce RTX 30 Series Hardware

Kingston at CES 2021: New NVMe SSDs and a USB 3.2 Portable SSD

Kingston introduced a variety of new storage products at CES 2021, announcing new NVMe SSDs ranging from entry-level to high-end consumer and enterprise drives, plus new portable storage products.


NV1 SSD: Entry-Level Consumer NVMe


Kingston’s new entry-level consumer NVMe drive will be the NV1, possibly ushering in a new naming scheme for their consumer NVMe lineup. The product strategy for the NV1 was likened to their A400 SATA SSD: the NV1 will probably be competing to be one of the cheapest NVMe drives from a recognizable brand. The hardware used in the NV1 will fluctuate based on market conditions. Initially, we should see a mix of DRAMless controllers (Phison E13T, SM2263XT) paired with TLC NAND for lower capacities and QLC NAND for at least the highest 2TB capacity. This means the NV1 will be more low-end than their current A2000, which straddles the line between low-end and mainstream NVMe SSDs by using TLC NAND and a SM2263 controller with DRAM, albeit only four NAND channels. Kingston is planning for the NV1 to be ready to hit the market around the end of Q1 or early in Q2.


High-End Consumer NVMe, Codenamed Ghost Tree


At the high end, Kingston is working on a PCIe 4.0 SSD based on the Phison E18 controller. This is currently codenamed “Ghost Tree”, and a more conventional product name will be chosen before release. This drive will take over the flagship position from their current KC2500, their second product based on the Silicon Motion SM2262EN controller. The Ghost Tree product will offer capacities up to 4TB. Kingston didn’t disclose what NAND will be used, but given the timing we would expect to see Micron’s 176L TLC rather than the 96L TLC used by the Phison E18 drives that are already on the market.


XS2000 USB 3.2 Portable SSD


In the second half of the year, Kingston will introduce the XS2000 high-end portable SSD. This will support USB 3.2 Gen2x2 to provide speeds of up to about 2GB/s, and capacities will range from 500 GB to 2 TB. Kingston hasn’t officially decided which controller the XS2000 will be based on, but they want to use a native USB controller rather than a NVMe controller behind a bridge chip. That means the newly-announced Phison U18 controller should be one of the leading candidates.


Enterprise SSD Updates


Last year, Kingston released the DC1000M, their first U.2 SSD. This year, they’re replacing it with the DC1500M, a fairly straightforward update to 96L 3D TLC from Kioxia that should bring some performance and power improvements. The DC1500M will still be using the Silicon Motion SM2270 16-channel enterprise NVMe controller, and this time they’ve added multiple namespaces support to the firmware. The DC1500M is currently in qualification and will be available around the end of Q1.


Kingston’s other enterprise NVMe product line is the DC1000B server boot drive, based on the Phison E12DC controller. Currently, the DC1000B is offered in 240G B and 480 GB capacities, but Kingston will soon be adding a 960 GB model.


Kingston is also starting to plan for a PCIe 4.0 U.2 drive, but this is in very early stages; they haven’t decided on a controller yet, so we won’t be seeing this launch any time soon. Kingston didn’t share any plans for their enterprise SATA products, but they’re still selling more of those drives than their enterprise NVMe products. (Kingston’s enterprise/datacenter customer base tends to be less aggressive about migrating to newer platforms than the top hyperscalers that have been the primary drivers of NVMe adoption in datacenters.) Kingston’s DC450/DC500 family will probably be getting the occasional NAND updates for another few years.


 


Workflow Station and Card Readers


For content creators that juggle a lot of memory cards and USB storage devices, Kingston is introducing a new series of card readers and a 4-bay dock for those readers. The dock uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) host interface and acts as a USB hub providing USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) connectivity to four modules. One module is bundled with the dock, providing one each of USB-C and USB-A ports. Two other modules are sold separately: a two-port SD reader and a two-port microSD reader, both supporting UHS-II. All three types of modules are capable of operating separately from the Workflow Station using a USB-C cable.



Kingston’s Workflow Station is a similar concept to the Workflow HR1 and HR2 hubs formerly offered by Lexar. Kingston’s system is more modern (USB-C support) and cheaper, but doesn’t support as many different memory card formats. This is mainly because Kingston isn’t interested in making a reader module for a format they’re not currently selling cards for, ruling out CFast and all the newer PCIe-based standards that are trying to gain a foothold in the market.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – Kingston at CES 2021: New NVMe SSDs and a USB 3.2 Portable SSD

CES 2021: Dynabook Intros Satellite Pro L50 Laptop

Dynabook has announced a new laptop based on the fabled Satellite series, a mainstay for Toshiba for many years, at CES 2021. The Satellite Pro L50 includes Intel’s 10th generation mobile processor, with NVIDIA’s GeForce MX250 discrete graphics, and is designed for productivity on the go. 


The Dynabook Satellite Pro L50 is based on Intel’s 10th generation mobile processor and includes NVIDIA’s GeForce MX250 graphics for handling more demanding tasks. It features a 15.6-inch 1080p screen with anti-glare technology and includes an integrated HD webcam at the top. The webcam itself has a privacy shutter for added security in today’s online world, where privacy is a key factor for many users, including SMEs. There’s a dual array microphone setup built-in, with background reduction technology.



For connectivity, the Satellite Pro L50 includes one USB Type-C, with three USB Type-A ports, an HDMI video output, Gigabit LAN Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 6 for networking. It weighs 1.85 KG, with a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad, and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.


Dynabook says pricing for the Satellite Pro L50 with the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics will start at $900.



Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: Dynabook Intros Satellite Pro L50 Laptop

CES 2021: OWC Introduces 3.5" U.2 SSD Carrier

OWC is introducing the U2 Shuttle, a novel carrier module that packs four M.2 NVMe SSDs into a 3.5″ U.2 form factor. The U2 Shuttle includes a PCIe switch to allow the four M.2 drives to share the bandwidth of the U2 Shuttle’s PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. OWC will be selling the U2 Shuttle as either an empty carrier to be populated by the user, or with their own Aura Pro NVMe SSDs pre-installed for up to 32TB of storage.


There’s hardly any ecosystem around 3.5″ U.2 drives as opposed to the vastly more common 2.5″ U.2 size, but OWC provides support with several of their Thunderbolt-attached storage products. Their new Mercury Pro U.2 Dual enclosure can accommodate two U.2 drives (2.5″ or 3.5″) and consequently with a pair of U2 Shuttles installed can hold up to 8 M.2 SSDs. OWC’s Thunderbay Flex 8 can accommodate U.2 SSDs in four of its eight drive bays. OWC is also introducing a 3.5″ U.2 retrofit kit for their Mercury Helios 3S PCIe expansion chassis. The U2 Shuttle can also be installed in ordinary 3.5″ internal hard drive bays and connected with a U.2 cable, provided there’s adequate cooling—four NVMe SSDs plus a PCIe switch can potentially add up to quite a bit more power than a typical 7200RPM hard drive.


The U2 Shuttle is marketed primarily as fast portable storage for professional media workflows, where a sneakernet solution may be the most straightforward way to transport many TBs of media from the set to the editing room. The U2 Shuttle doesn’t have any RAID functionality of its own, but it can be used along with OWC’s SoftRAID software RAID system. When used in the Thunderbay Flex 8 or an appropriate workstation or server setup, RAID functionality can also be provided through a tri-mode SAS/SATA/NVMe controller card.



U2 Shuttle with Mercury Pro U.2 Dual enclosure


The U2 Shuttle’s PCIe switch is ASMedia’s 12-lane ASM2812X, so each of the four M.2 SSDs in the U2 Shuttle only gets a PCIe 3.0 x2 connection to the switch. This makes a RAID configuration highly recommended, because no single M.2 SSD inside the U2 Shuttle will be able to use the full 4-lane throughput.


The OWC U2 Shuttle is available for purchase direct from OWC. Pricing starts at $149.99 for the empty U2 Shuttle with no SSDs, and goes up to $5299 for the 32TB configuration. For the smaller capacities, buying the U2 Shuttle with OWC’s SSDs pre-installed isn’t necessarily any cheaper than just purchasing a typical 2.5″ U.2 enterprise SSD. However, 32TB U.2 drives aren’t exactly a commodity product yet, and going the DIY route with the empty U2 Shuttle and cheaper consumer-grade TLC SSDs can be a more affordable way to pack several TB of NVMe storage into one device.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: OWC Introduces 3.5″ U.2 SSD Carrier

CES 2021: Zotac MAGNUS ONE Gaming mini-PC Flagship Charges Up Coffee Lake with Ampere

Zotac’s mini-PC lineup received a new flagship as part of its CES 2021 announcements – the MAGNUS ONE. It features a Coffee Lake CPU (Core i7-10700) along with NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 GPU. The new model is a natural evolution of features from the previous MAGNUS PCs like the EK71080 and the EN1080K before it, with a heavy dose of inspiration from Intel’s Ghost Canyon NUC. The EK71080 moved to a discrete GPU from a MXM-type one in the EN1080K. The new MAGNUS ONE continues that trend with the inclusion of a user-replaceable Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge in the system. Gone, however, is the humongous external power brick – Instead, we have a 500W 80+ Platinum internal PSU. The new 8.3L model is also meant to be oriented vertically. The last two aspects provide a distinct ‘Ghost Canyon NUC’ feel to the new MAGNUS ONE.



The motherboard in the MAGNUS ONE uses a H470 PCH. The CPU’s integrated GPU display output (HDMI 1.4a) is also available in the rear panel. The RTX 3070 Twin Edge features four display outputs, and either set can be active for up to four simultaneous display streams. The PC also includes Killer AX1650 Wi-Fi and dual LAN ports (1x 1Gbps + 1×2.5Gbps)




















ZOTAC’s ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with Coffee Lake
  ZBOX MAGNUS ONE with 10th Generation Core i7 CPU
CPU Intel Core i7-10700

8C/16T

2.9 – 4.8 GHz

16 MB

65 W
GPU Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge

5888 CUDA Cores

8 GB GDDR6
Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM slots,

up to 64 GB of memory
Storage M.2 1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA SSD

1x M.2 2280 slot for PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD (incl. Optane)
DFF 1 × 2.5″ SSD/HDD
Card Reader 1x SDXC Slot
Wireless Killer Wireless AX1650 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5 controller
Ethernet 1 × Gigabit Ethernet

1 × Killer Ethernet E3000 2.5Gbps controller
Display Outputs 3 × DisplayPort 1.4a (dGPU)

1 × HDMI 2.1 (dGPU)

1 × HDMI 1.4a (iGPU)
Audio 3.5 mm audio-in

3.5 mm audio-out
USB 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Front)

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Front)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Rear)

4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
PSU Internal 500W 80+ Platinum
OS Microsoft Windows 10 or none (barebones)
Pricing $1899

(16GB DDR4 DRAM + 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD + 1TB 2.5″ HDD + Windows 10 Home)


A key difference between the new MAGNUS ONE and the previous flagships from an upgradability viewpoint is the user-replaceable discrete GPU. As long as the GPU to be installed consumes 220W at the maximum and is not longer than 230mm (9.06 in.) and takes up only two slots at the maximum, it is for end users to upgrade the pre-installed RTX 3070 a year or two into the system’s service lifetime.


At 8.3L, the system is not as compact as the 5L Ghost Canyon NUC. However, the larger size and the honeycomb chassis should allow for more airflow and easier access to components. The MAGNUS ONE can also accommodate larger GPUs (the Ghost Canyon NUC tops out at 8in.)


The pricing for the MAGNUS ONE ECM73070C with Windows 10 (the ‘PLUS’ model in Zotac’s earlier terminology) is on par with the flagship MAGNUS pricing of previous years. Given the use of the H470 PCH, it appears that Zotac has made optimal use of all the available I/O to deliver a compelling platform for consumers looking at a compact alternative to pre-built PCs from boutique vendors.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: Zotac MAGNUS ONE Gaming mini-PC Flagship Charges Up Coffee Lake with Ampere

CES 2021: MSI Announces GE76 Raider 17-inch Gaming Laptops, Dragon Tiamat Design

Not to be left out of the crowd, MSI was among several laptop vendors to unveil its next generation of laptops at the show. Leading the charge for MSI is the company’s 17-inch gaming laptop, the GE76 Raider. Replacing 2020’s GE75 Raider, the GE76 has been refreshed with NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX 30 series graphics adapters, which are paired with Intel’s Comet Lake (10th Gen) Core processors. MSI also announced the GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat, a version of the laptop with a unique Babylonian-inspired chassis.


The new MSI GE76 Raider (and Dragon Edition Tiamat) allow users to select among NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX 3080, 3070, or 3060 laptop graphics adapters, which NVIDIA also unveiled at CES 2021. Across the family there are three different 17.3-inch displays to select from: a 60 Hz 2160p display, 300 Hz 1080p display, or a 240Hz 1080p display, all of which are “IPS-Level” panels and offer thin, 5mm bezels, according to MSI.




The MSI GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat


Under the hood of the GE76 Raider is an Intel Comet Lake processor, with the highest-end configurations using the unlocked octo-core Core i9-10980HK. The laptops with support for up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 memory and include space for two NVMe M.2 SSDs. It uses a per-key RGB LED keyboard designed by SteelSeries, with a four-speaker system including 2 x 1 W and 2 x 2 W woofers and an integrated 1080p 30 fps webcam. 




The MSI GE76 Raider


For connectivity, the GE76 Raiders include one USB 3.2 G2x2 Type-C port, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C with support for DisplayPort alt mode, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-A port, and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports. Networking capabilities include the Intel’s latest AX210 Wi-Fi 6E controller, as well as a Killer E3100 2.5 GbE controller. It weighs just under 3 kg, with a dimension of 397 x 284 x 26 mm (WxDxH), with a 4-cell Li-Polymer 99.9 Wh battery (the largest battery that can fly).


The GE76 Raider will begin shipping on February 5th, according to the pre-order infromation that has already been posted. The pre-orders are not an exhaustive list of SKUs, but of the two models showing up over at Newegg, the cheapest model will be $2300.



Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: MSI Announces GE76 Raider 17-inch Gaming Laptops, Dragon Tiamat Design

Samsung Announces Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Ultra: Cheaper Baseline, Higher High-End

Today, Samsung is taking the virtual stage to release the new Galaxy S21 series of devices, including the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. In a time where smartphones become more and more expensive, Samsung is attempting a different approach this year, and instead of increasing device prices, actually reduces them – at least for the baseline S21 and S21+ models.



Source: AnandTech – Samsung Announces Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Ultra: Cheaper Baseline, Higher High-End

Phison at CES 2021: New USB SSD Controllers, Adds E21T For Low-End NVMe

At CES 2021, Phison gave us the usual updates on their SSD controller roadmap. The most significant new products coming this year are a pair of USB flash drive controllers for high-end portable SSDs, designed to compete against current solutions that combine a USB to NVMe bridge chip with a standard NVMe SSD controller. Phison is also planning to introduce a new entry-level DRAMless NVMe SSD controller later this year.



Phison U17 and U18 USB 3.2 SSD Controllers


For portable SSDs, Phison is introducing the U17 and U18 controllers. The U17 uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10Gb/s) host interface and a two-channel NAND interface running at up to 1200 MT/s. The U18 doubles these: USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gb/s) and a four-channel NAND interface. The performance specs may look lackluster compared to Phison’s NVMe SSD controllers, but they are pretty close to saturating what their respective USB host interfaces can handle, and performance will be competitive with NVMe+USB bridge based portable SSDs. However, the U17 and U18 will have a significant power efficiency advantage, lower cost and smaller PCB footprint than existing portable SSDs. Phison will also be providing TCG Opal encryption support on the U18, enabling a level of security they say is impossible to achieve with NVMe+USB bridge solutions.
















Phison USB 3.2 SSD Controller Comparsion
  PS2251-17

U17
PS2251-18

U18
Host Interface USB 3.2 Gen2x1 USB 3.2 Gen2x2
NAND Interface 2ch, 1200 MT/s 4ch, 1200 MT/s
Max Capacity 1 TB 4 TB
Error Correction 4th Gen LDPC
DRAM No
TCG Opal Support No Yes
Sequential Read 1000 MB/s 1900 MB/s
Sequential Write 800 MB/s 1700 MB/s
4KB Random Read (TLC) 185 MB/s 260 MB/s
4KB Random Write (TLC) 260 MB/s 330 MB/s


Phison expects to finish qualification of the U17 and U18 controllers later this month. We’re hoping to get a performance preview shortly thereafter by testing their reference designs, and retail products should be showing up within the next several months.


 


Phison E21T: Low-End NVMe Moves to 12nm


For NVMe SSDs, the only new controller Phison is talking about this year is the E21T, their latest DRAMless NVMe controller. This is a follow-up to the E19T controller, which has seen very little use in retail consumer SSDs but has actually been outselling their high-end E16 PCIe 4.0 controller due to strong demand from OEMs (especially from an unnamed customer with a very popular gaming product). With the E21T, Phison is finally moving this product segment from 28nm to 12nm fabrication, which allows for performance and power improvements of about 25% compared to the E19T. The basic architecture hasn’t changed much for the E21T: it’s still a 4-channel controller managed by a single ARM core plus Phison’s proprietary coprocessors. Performance has increased significantly, with peak throughput now rivaling the high-end E16 controller (though real-world performance on heavy workloads may still be slower due to the downsides of a DRAMless controller design).


Phison is planning to start sampling the E21T to customers around June of this year with mass production ramping up in Q4—around when we should start seeing PCIe 4.0 SSDs catching on with notebook OEMs. Most of the drives using the E21T will probably pair it with QLC NAND, and Phison has performance projections for what we can expect when using Micron’s 176L QLC.













Phison E21T QLC SSD Performance Projections
Capacity 512 GB 1 TB 2 TB 4 TB
Form Factor, Interface M.2 2280, PCIe 4.0 x4
Controller Phison E21T
NAND Flash Micron 176L 3D QLC
Sequential Read 4.5 GB/s 4.8 GB/s
Sequential Write 1.65 GB/s 3.3 GB/s 4.5 GB/s
Random Read IOPS (4kB) 250k 500k 780k
Random Write IOPS (4kB) 350k 700k 800k


It’s likely that many of the product lines currently using the E16 controller with QLC NAND will switch over to using the E21T in future generations, since the DRAMless E21T will be a cheaper overall solution. However, the 4TB limitation will be an issue for the handful of companies that have already started shipping 8TB QLC SSDs. Those 8TB M.2 SSDs currently use the E12 controller and its PCIe 4.0 successors are not available in a reduced-size package like the E12S variant. So 8TB PCIe 4.0 SSDs will probably have to push the limits of NAND packaging by stacking 16 dies per package in order to leave enough PCB space for an E16 or E18 controller plus DRAM.






















Phison NVMe SSD Controller Comparsion
  E13T E19T E21T E12 E16 E18
Market Segment Mainstream Consumer High-End Consumer
Manufacturing

Process
28nm 12nm 28 nm 12 nm
CPU Cores 1x Cortex R5 1x Cortex R5 1x Cortex R5 2x Cortex R5 3x Cortex R5
Error Correction 4th Gen LDPC 3rd Gen LDPC 4th Gen LDPC
DRAM No DDR3/4 DDR4 DDR4, LPDDR4
Host Interface PCIe 3.0 x4 PCIe 4.0 x4 PCIe 3.0 x4 PCIe 4.0 x4
NVMe Version NVMe 1.3 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.3 NVMe 1.4
NAND Channels, Interface Speed 4 ch,

800 MT/s
4 ch,

1200 MT/s
4ch,

1600 MT/s
8 ch,

667 MT/s
8 ch,

800 MT/s
8 ch,

1200 MT/s
Max Capacity 2 TB 2 TB 4 TB 16 TB 16 TB 16 TB
Sequential Read 2.5 GB/s 3.75 GB/s 5.0 GB/s 3.4 GB/s 5.0 GB/s 7.4 GB/s
Sequential Write 2.1 GB/s 3.75 GB/s 4.5 GB/s 3.2 GB/s 4.4 GB/s 7.0 GB/s
4KB Random Read IOPS 350k 440k 780k 700k 750k 1M IOPS
4KB Random Write IOPS 450k 500k 800k 600k 750k 1M IOPS
Controller Power 1.2 W 1.6 W   2.1 W 2.6 W 3.0 W
Sampling Q2 2019 Q4 2019 Q3 2021 Q2 2018 Q1 2019 Q1 2020
Retail SSD

Availability
Q4 2019 Q1 2020? Q4 2021? Q4 2018 Q3 2019 Q4 2020


For high-end NVMe SSDs, Phison’s E18 finally started shipping in late 2020. Phison is pretty proud of this controller, and makes much of the fact that they’re the only ones so far hitting at least 7GB/s for both reads and writes. Phison plans for the E18 to be their last flagship PCIe 4.0 controller; they’re already looking forward to PCIe 5.0, and the E18 will remain their top of the line controller for probably another two years. This doesn’t mean Phison is entirely done with the E18. They’re still working on firmware tuning, especially around thermal management and trying to squeeze out a little bit more performance at low queue depths. There will also be continuing firmware updates to support newer generations of 3D NAND flash memory. Current E18 drives are using Micron 96L TLC, but Micron has started production of their 176L NAND. Phison expects to finish qualification with that NAND in March, so a second round of E18 drives should start arriving in April with 10-15% performance improvements.


Phison’s older E13T controller is also still around as a low-cost and low-power solution for entry-level NVMe applications. It’s particularly popular as a controller integrated into BGA SSDs, where it helps displace eMMC storage is devices like Chromebooks, tablets, and maybe even some smartphones.


 


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – Phison at CES 2021: New USB SSD Controllers, Adds E21T For Low-End NVMe

CES 2021: HP EliteBook 805 G8, With Ryzen Pro 5000

Not to be left out of the party for new laptops, HP has unveiled its latest series of AMD Ryzen 5000 powered notebooks. The HP EliteBook 805 G8 features AMD’s Ryzen Pro 5000 mobile processors, with multiple screen size options available.


The HP EliteBook 805 G8 will be available in three different screen sizes, with 15.6, 14, and 13.3-inch variants. Designed for productivity on the go, HP includes Wi-Fi 6, with a model that includes an optional 4G LTE modem and SIM card slot. According to HP, the EliteBook 805 G8 also includes HP Sure View Reflect, which lets users work discreetly, with a copper sheen viewable when looking at the laptop from a side angle.



HP informs us that the outer box packaging is 100% sustainably sourced, for those that care about recyclable packaging. There’s a clear focus on SME’s, with access to HP QuickDrop for quick and easy file sharing, as well as HP’s Tamper Lock system, which locks the system down if it has been physically opened or compromised.


HP hasn’t provided any more on the technical specifications to us at this moment, nor has it said when the EliteBook 805 G8 with Ryzen Pro 5000 will be available.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: HP EliteBook 805 G8, With Ryzen Pro 5000

CES 2021: OWC Envoy Pro FX – A Dual Mode (Thunderbolt / USB) IP67 External SSD

As part of its CES 2021 announcements, OWC provided details of the Envoy Pro FX – an IP67-rated dual-mode SSD capable of operating optimally with both Thunderbolt 3 / 4 and USB hosts. We have generally been impressed with the industrial design of OWC’s external SSD offerings – in fact, the OWC Envoy Pro EX USB-C was one of the top performers when we compared the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSDs last year. The Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 was based on a standard Phison reference design (also shared with the Plugable TBT3-NVME drives) with a rugged industrial design.


The new Envoy Pro FX combines the best of both SSDs – enabling 2GBps+ performance with Thunderbolt 3 hosts and 1GBps-class performance with USB 3.2 Gen 2 hosts. OWC carries forward its sleek premium aluminum housing from the Envoy Pro EX line. The FX is IP67-rated for usage in dirty and wet environments – even allowing for submersion in water at depths of 1m for up to 30 minutes, and also carries MIL-STD810G certification for ruggedness. The SSD is bus-powered, and also has non-skid rubber feet.



The OWC Envoy Pro FX is available in four capacities – 240GB ($169), 480GB ($199), 1TB ($299), and 2TB ($479). Given the capacity points, these drives are unlikely to be using QLC NAND. The IP67 rating and likely usage of 3D TLC are potential justification points for the ~$130 premium over other dual-mode SSDs like the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q we reviewed recently.


Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!




Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: OWC Envoy Pro FX – A Dual Mode (Thunderbolt / USB) IP67 External SSD

CES 2021: ASUS Unveils ROG Strix Scar 15 Gaming Laptop, Ryzen 5000 Mobile

Following AMD’s announcement of its new next-generation Ryzen 5000 mobile processors at CES 2021, vendors have been quick to unveil its laptops. ASUS has seen a busy CES 2021 so far, including its announcement of new Strix laptops, designed for gaming on the move. One of these is the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15, which is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 5000 H processor and is paired up with NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX mobile graphics.


The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 (G533) includes a 15.6-inch 1440p DCIP-3 display with a 165 Hz refresh rate and has support for VESA Adaptive Sync. It has a thin bezel design with an 85% screen to body ratio, which ASUS claims is an improvement over its 2020 model. The basis of the design is around Cyberpunk, with ASUS looking to capitalize on the launch of game developer and publisher CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077.



Designed with Esports in mind, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 uses AMD’s latest Ryzen 5000 H mobile processor alongside NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 and 3080 mobile graphics, and it will be available with up to 64 GB of DDR4-3200 memory. It includes Dolby Atmos support with four integrated speakers with an internal microphone with noise cancellation assistance. There’s a 90 Wh Type-C charger, with Wi-Fi 6, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C with support for DisplayPort, three USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and an RJ45 port powered by an unspecified Ethernet controller.


ASUS hasn’t currently provided pricing on the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15, but we expect to hear more soon.



Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: ASUS Unveils ROG Strix Scar 15 Gaming Laptop, Ryzen 5000 Mobile

CES 2021: ASUS ROG XG Mobile, An External Graphics Dock For ROG Flow X13

Alongside ASUS’s announcement of its latest ROG Flow X13 13-inch gaming notebook, it has also unveiled an interesting new external graphics dock to go with that notebook. Dubbed the ROG XG Mobile GV301, the external graphics dock is designed to augment the ROG Flow X13’s capabilities, turning it into a powerful and lightweight portable gaming rig. And though graphics docks themselves are nothing new, this one stands out due to its portability, with the dock being similar in size to a second laptop.


From a high-level perspective, the graphics dock lives up to its name. At its heart, of course, is a high-performance GPU, with ASUS tapping NVIDIA’s new laptop-grade RTX 3070 and 3080 adapters, both of which will be a significant step up from the Flow X13’s built-in GeForce GTX 1650 graphics adapter. Along with this, the dock can power the Flow X13 – thanks to its integrated 280W power supply – and offers several ports including HDMI and DisplayPort, a Gig Ethernet jack, 4 USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, and an integrated SD card reader.



Notably, like some past efforts to provide graphics docks for thin & light laptops, ASUS is going with a proprietary connection here rather than relying on Thunderbolt. The unnamed connector is split intwo two segments, with one carrying PCIe 3.0 x8 data while the other segment is a USB-C connector for carrying power and USB data. This significantly limits the compatibility of the dock, but it does provide twice as much PCIe bandwidth as Thunderbolt 3 or 4 otherwise would.



As previously mentioned, one of ASUS’s design goals for the ROG XG Mobile is portability, so that it can be carried around with the Flow X13 rather than serving as a relatively static dock at home. To that end the dock is 29.6mm thick, with a 208mm x 155mm footprint, making it comparable in size to a second laptop. It also weighs similar (if a bit denser) at a flat 1kg (2.2lbs). Fittingly, ASUS is supplying a sleeve with the Flow X13 to carry both the laptop and XG Mobile, simplifying this process some.




The thermal solution on the ASUS ROG XG Mobile


The ROG XG Mobile is due this quarter, with pricing to be announced.



Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!



Source: AnandTech – CES 2021: ASUS ROG XG Mobile, An External Graphics Dock For ROG Flow X13

Acer at CES 2021: Acer Aspires To Ryzen 5000

As part of Acer’s CES launch, the company is announcing updates to both the Acer Aspire 5 and Acer Aspire 7, bumping both models to the latest AMD Ryzen 5000 series of processors. The new models are aimed at creativity, without breaking the bank.


Acer Aspire 7



The 15.6-inch Acer Aspire 7 targets creators who need the extra performance of a dedicated graphics card, and Acer has paired Ryzen 5000 APUs with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1650. The Aspire 7 can be specified with up to 32 GB of DDR4, and a 1 TB PCIe SSD. There will be an extra 2.5-inch drive slot as well, for additional storage.


Although not as cutting edge as some other models in Acer’s lineup, the Aspire 7 still features an 81.6% screen to body ratio on the 15.6-inch display, and Acer is calling for accurate color representation thanks to Acer Color Intelligence and Acer ExaColor to adjust gamma and saturation on the fly to avoid clipping and over-saturation.



The starting configuration will offer the Ryzen 5 along with 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD and the GeForce GTX 1650 for just $749. Availability is March 2021.


Acer Aspire 5



Also featuring a 15.6-inch FHD display, the Acer Aspire 5 hits an even lower price bracket, pairing the Ryzen 5000 with an optional AMD Radeon RX 640 GPU, up to 24 GB of memory, and up to a 1 TB M.2 SSD.


The base configuration is especially price-conscious, with a Ryzen 5 5500U, 1920×1080 60Hz IPS display, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD for just $549.



The Acer Aspire 5 is also targeting a March release date.


Source: Acer



Source: AnandTech – Acer at CES 2021: Acer Aspires To Ryzen 5000