NZXT Debuts H1 Mini-ITX Case for Big Gaming Rigs & NZXT BLD H1 Mini PC

Small form-factor gaming PCs are on the rise these days, but because leading-edge components like CPUs and GPUs tend to produce a lot of heat and therefore require bulky cooling systems, it is not easy to build a truly compact PC with top-of-the-range components. Some makers of chassis attempt to design compact cases for gaming desktops, and this week NZXT introduced its Mini-ITX case for systems with leading-edge hardware. Alongside the Mini-ITX case, the company also unveiled its NZXT BLD H1 Mini PC that packs Intel’s Core i9-9900K and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2070 Super.

The NZXT H1 Mini-ITX case is dual-chamber 13.6-liter vertical chassis made of stainless steel and tempered glass that can house a Mini-ITX motherboard, an up to 305-mm long 2.5-wide graphics card, and two 2.5-inch storage devices. The case measures 187 mm × 387.7 mm × 187.6 mm, which is a little bit larger than one comes to expect from a Mini-ITX chassis, but which is still considerably more compact than almost any Micro-ATX case. The chassis has air intakes on two sides out of four, to ensure proper cooling for the internal hardware.

NZXT’s H1 comes with a pre-installed 140-mm closed-loop CPU liquid cooling system, a PCIe 3.0 x16 riser card, filters on air intakes, and a 650 W SFX-L 80 Plus modular PSU. The upper panel has a USB Type-A and a USB Type-C connector as well as a 3.5-mm combo audio jack. As the case — set to be available in black or white — is stuffed by default with a PSU and a cooler, the product will retail for a higher $349 price.

In addition to the case itself, NZXT will offer its pre-built BLD H1 Mini PC that is based on Intel’s Core i9-9900K CPU as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founder’s Edition graphics card. The system uses the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I motherboard and is equipped with Team Group’s 16 GB of DDR4-3200 memory, and Intel’s 1 TB 660p SSD. The system costs $1,999.

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Source: NZXT

Source: AnandTech – NZXT Debuts H1 Mini-ITX Case for Big Gaming Rigs & NZXT BLD H1 Mini PC

LG’s V60 ThinkQ 5G Debuts: 6.8-Inch Display, Snapdragon 865, 8 GB RAM

Although Mobile World Congress has been cancelled, companies still have their product cycles and have to reveal new devices ahead of launch in the coming months. LG today announced its new high-end smartphone, the V60 ThinQ 5G, which is based on Qualcomm’s newest flagship platform, features a new camera setup, and has one of the largest displays on the market.

As one would expect from a premium 2020 Google Android smartphone, the LG V60 ThinQ 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 SoC alongside the Snapdragon X55 modem as well as the FastConnect 6800 subsystem that supports Wi-Fi 6. Meanwhile, the device also has 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM as well as 128 GB of NAND flash storage (expandable with a microSD card).

The LG V60 ThinQ 5G comes equipped with a 6.8-inch FullVision P-OLED display featuring a 2460×1080 resolution along with a 20.5:9 aspect ratio (which reminds us of Sony’s Xperia 1 with its distinguished 21:9 screen), one of the largest smartphone display around as far as high-end handsets are concerned. It’s a bit odd to see LG use a lower resolution screen than the V50 last year, even at such a large device size and certainly won’t be optimal for some users.

Meanwhile, for those who feel that one monitor is not enough, LG will offer a new Dual Screen accessory (featuring a similar size and resolution) for the new phone.

One of the key improvements that the LG V60 ThinQ 5G has over its predecessor is without any doubts its new main camera setup comprising of a 64 MP main sensor, a 13 MP module with a 117º super-wide-angle lens, a 3D time-of-flight (ToF) sensor, and a dual-LED flash. The main camera supports 8K (and 4K60) with HDR10+ video recording, along with various modes to make proper photographs in various conditions. On the front, the smartphone has a 10 MP camera housed inside a dewdrop notch design.

On the audio side of matters, the LG V60 ThinQ 5G comes equipped with stereo speakers, 32-bit quad DACs, and a quad-microphone array. Meanwhile the handset has a 3.5-mm audio jack, making this one of the last Android flagships with the feature, as well as a dedicated Google Assistant button.

Yet another prominent advantage of the new V60 ThinQ 5G is its massive 5000 mAh battery that promises a 21-hour talk time as well as a 590-hour standby time on one charge. The battery can be charged using a Qi wireless charger supporting Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0+ or a USB-C wired charger.

Traditionally for numerous modern high-end handsets, the LG V60 ThinQ 5G features an aluminum frame with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 on the front as well as Gorilla Glass 6 on the back. Meanwhile, the device is MIL-STD-810G tested as well as IP68 dust and water resistant (up to 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes). The product weighs a quite heavy 219 grams (7.72 ounces) and will be available in Classy Blue as well as Classy White finishes.

Other notable hardware features of LG’s latest smartphone are Bluetooth 5.1, an under-display fingerprint reader, and a host of sensors.

LG V60 ThinQ 5G

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865

1x Cortex A77 @ 2.84GHz

512KB pL2

3x Cortex A77 @ 2.42GHz

3x 256KB pL2

4x Cortex A55 @ 1.80GHz

4x 128KB pL2

4MB sL3

GPU Adreno 650 @ 587 MHz
Storage 128 GB

Display 6.8″ FullVision AMOLED

2460 x 1080 (19.5:9)
Size Height 169.3 mm
Width 77.6 mm
Depth 8.9 mm
Weight 218 grams (7.69 ounces)
Battery Capacity 5000 mAh (Typical)
Wireless Charging Qi
Rear Cameras
Main 64 MP 1/7″ 0.8µm

f/1.8 w/OIS
Wide 13 MP 1/3.4″ 1µm


117° super-wide angle
ToF HQVGA 1/4″ 14µm


117° super-wide angle
Front Camera 10 MP 1/3.1″ 1.22μm

I/O USB 2.0 Type-C

Fingerprint reader
Wireless (local) Wi-Fi 6

Bluetooth 5.1
Cellular GSM, CDMA, HSPA, 4G/LTE, 5G
Splash, Water, Dust Resistance IP68
Dual-SIM nano-SIM
Launch OS Android 10
Launch Price ?

The LG V60 ThinQ 5G will be available from AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon in the coming weeks. Pricing is something that has yet to be disclosed.

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Source: LG

Source: AnandTech – LG’s V60 ThinkQ 5G Debuts: 6.8-Inch Display, Snapdragon 865, 8 GB RAM

The MSI Creator TRX40 Motherboard Review: The $700 Flagship for Threadripper

The TRX40 chipset is designed to support all the current generation AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors including the 3990X which has 64-cores and 128-threads of processing power. On the test bench today is the MSI Creator TRX40 which is its current top-tier offering with a high-end feature set including four full-length PCIe 4.0 slots and supports up to three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 drives. With a feature set led by an Aquantia AQC107 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 wireless adapter, MSI opts for a more content creator and professional theme for its flagship.

Source: AnandTech – The MSI Creator TRX40 Motherboard Review: The 0 Flagship for Threadripper

A Custom Loop LCS for a Compact PC? Corsair Floats Hydro X XD3 Pump/Reservoir

Corsair has unveiled its new Hydro X XD3 RGB pump/reservoir combo, which is designed for building ultra-compact custom loop liquid cooling systems for smaller enthusiast-class PCs. As SFF gaming rigs are getting rather popular these days, Corsair’s pump/reservoir is poised to become a success among the target audience.

The Corsair Hydro X series XD3 RGB pump/reservoir combo measures 114 mm × 114 mm × 58 mm, allowing it to fit easily into many form-factor PC cases, such as Corsair’s own 280X. The device uses the Xylem DDC 3.2 PWM9 pump and includes standard G1/4-inch BSPP ports, a 180 ml reservoir, an integrated temperature sensor that measures coolant temperatures and allows automatic cooling control when working with an iCUE Commander Pro controller.

The XD3 device can be paired with Corsair’s CPU and GPU water blocks as well as various radiators (preferably compact ones). Like other pieces of hardware for enthusiasts from the company, the XD3 pump/reservoir has 16 addressable RGB LEDs that can be controlled using Corsair’s iCUE software.

Corsair’s Hydro X series XD3 RGB pump/reservoir combo will be available shortly. Corsair has not announced pricing at this time.

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Source: Corsair

Source: AnandTech – A Custom Loop LCS for a Compact PC? Corsair Floats Hydro X XD3 Pump/Reservoir

Sapphire Announces Two 4×4 AMD Ryzen Embedded Motherboards

Sapphire has introduced two new miniature motherboards based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 APUs. The new platforms are designed for the most compact highly-integrated machines for industrial and commercial applications.

Sapphire’s NP-FP5 and BP-FP5 compact motherboards feature a 4×4-inch footprint and are based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 or R1000 APUs, which offer up to four Zen cores, an integrated Radeon Vega GPU, and a TDP of up to 25 W. The actively cooled systems support up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 memory using two SO-DIMMs, feature one M.2 slot for an SSD with a PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA interface, and one M.2-2230 slot for a Wi-Fi module.

The basic NP-FP5 supports two display outputs (using two mDP 1.4 connectors), one GbE port, and two USB 3.1 connectors (other USB ports can be supported using headers). Meanwhile, the more advanced BP-FP5 also has one SATA 6 Gbps + a SATA power connector, three display outputs (using two DP 1.4 and an HDMI connector), two USB 3.1 ports, two GbE connectors, one header for a RS232/422/485 port and Infineon’s SLB9670 TPM 2.0 on board.

One of the first systems that will use Sapphire’s BP-FP5 and NP-FP5 compact motherboards will be SimpleNUC’s Post Oak (with AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B or R1606G APU) and Red Oak (AMD Ryzen Embedded R1505G or R1305G APU) UCFF PCs. The company will be offering PCs in various configurations to meet different price and performance targets.

Sapphire’s 4×4 Motherboards w/AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 APUs

(Soldered Down)
AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 with up to four AMD Zen cores
Graphics AMD Radeon Vega (integrated)
Display Outputs 2 × Mini DisplayPort 1.4 2 × DisplayPort 1.4

1 × HDMI 2.0
Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 SDRAM
Ethernet 1 × GbE 2 × GbE
Storage 1 × M.2-2242/2260 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA) 1 × M.2-2242/2280 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)

1 × SATA 6 Gbps + SATA Power
Audio 3.5-mm combo audio jack
USB 1 × USB 3.1 Type-A (front)

2 × USB 3.1 Type-A (back)

internal headers
2 × USB 2.0 Type-A (front)

2 × USB 3.1 Type-A (front)

2 × USB 3.1 Type-A (back)

internal headers
Serial Port 1 × RS232/422/485 header
Wi-Fi M.2-2230 slot
TPM Infineon SLB9670 TPM2.0 on board
Form-Factor 4 inch × 4 inch

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Source: Sapphire

Source: AnandTech – Sapphire Announces Two 4×4 AMD Ryzen Embedded Motherboards

A 27-Inch 240 Hz 2560×1440 Monitor: AOC Reveals Agon AG273QZ

For gamers who demand the maximum refresh rate and the lowest Moving Picture Response Time (MPRT) possible, AOC has introduced its new 27-inch display. The Agon AG273QZ happens to be among the first 27-inch monitors that combine a 240 Hz maximum refresh rate and a QHD resolution for those who need performance and higher-than-Full-HD resolution.

AOC’s Agon AG273QZ uses a new generation 27-inch TN panel of a 2560×1440 resolution that promises a wider color gamut and other improvements compared to regular TN panels (a claim that, frankly speaking, needs verification). Specification wise, we are talking about a monitor with 400 nits peak brightness, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, 170º /160º viewing angles, a 0.5 ms MPRT response time, and a 240 Hz maximum refresh rate.

Because of the improved panel, the Agon AG273QZ LCD can display 16.7 million colors and reproduce 126.4% of the sRGB, 93.7% of the AdobeRGB, and (at least) 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamuts. Meanwhile, the monitor is AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified.

When it comes to connectivity, the Agon AG273QZ has two DisplayPort 1.4 and, a D-Sub, and two HDMI 2.0 inputs, enough to connect a gaming PC (or three) as well as a couple of modern game consoles. In addition, the monitor has a quad-port USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A hub. The audio department of the display includes two 5W speakers, a microphone in, and a headphone out.

Like the vast majority of gaming displays, the Agon AG273QZ comes with a stand that can adjust height, tilt, and swivel. Also, the monitor can work in portrait mode. Alternatively, it is possible to attach the LCD to a VESA 75×75 arm. Meanwhile, to add some bling, the LCD has an RGB ring on the rear.

AOC’s 27-Inch QHD 240 Hz Display
  Spectrum 240 Hz 1440p
Panel 27-inch class TN
Native Resolution 2560 × 1440
Maximum Refresh Rate 240 Hz
Dynamic Refresh Technology VESA Adaptive Sync

(AMD FreeSync Premium Pro Certified)
Range 48 Hz – 240 Hz
Brightness 400 cd/m² peak
Contrast 1000:1
Viewing Angles 170°/160° horizontal/vertical
Response Time 0.5 ms MPRT

DisplayHDR 400
Pixel Pitch 0.2334 mm²
Pixel Density ~109 PPI
Color Gamut Support 90% DCI-P3

126.4% sRGB

93.7% Adobe RGB
Inputs 2×DP 1.4 input/output


2×HDMI 2.0
USB Hub Quad-port USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Audio headphone out

microphone in

5W stereo speakers
Stand Swivel:  32° ~ 32°

Tilt: 5.5° ±1° ~ 21.5° ±1.5°

Height: 110mm
Warranty 3 years
MSRP UK: £659

AOC will start sales of its Agon AG273QZ monitor in February, months before 27-inch Fast IPS panels with a 240 Hz refresh rate will hit mass production. In the UK, the product will carry an RRP of £659, so expect an MSRP of around $700 in the USA.

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Source: AOC

Source: AnandTech – A 27-Inch 240 Hz 2560×1440 Monitor: AOC Reveals Agon AG273QZ

HTC Expands Vive Cosmos VR Family Offerings

When HTC introduced its Vive Cosmos VR headset with modular front panel last year, it was pretty much evident that the company will use this capability to address specific use cases and expand its product lineup. This month HTC finally introduced several new products in the Vive Cosmos ecosystem that complement the original headset.

The External Tracking Faceplate

The Vive Cosmos VR head mounted display is equipped with a built-in inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) positional tracking enabled by six cameras, a G-sensor, a gyroscope, and therefore does not need any external sensors for tracking. There are games that rely on SteamVR tracking base stations and controllers and there will be owners of the new HMD do not want to miss them, especially if they already own trackers and original Vive controllers (which they bought the first-gen Vive or Vive Pro HMD).

Specially for such customers, HTC will offer the External Tracking Faceplate that enables Lighthouse stations 1.0 and 2.0 to work with the latest VR headset. The device will be available in the second quarter for $199.

Ready: The Vive Cosmos Elite

For those who begin their VR career and would like to enjoy content developed for the original Vive VR headset and controllers as well as the new Vive Cosmos VR platform, HTC plans to offer the Vive Cosmos Elite bundle.

The Vive Cosmos Elite package contains the Vive Cosmos VR headset, the External Tracking Faceplate, two SteamVR base stations, and two Vive controllers. The whole bundle is priced at $899 and will be available later in Q1 with pre-orders staring on February 24th.

Steady: The Vive Cosmos XR

Next up is the Vive Cosmos XR that is meant for those working on eXtended Reality (XR) content. The device adds two more cameras to the faceplate in a bid to enable ‘a near-complete passthrough field of view that uses the majority of the VR display (up to 100º FOV)’ thus allowing to blend virtual content with the real world.

The product will be described at GDC and will be available later this year.

Go: The Vive Cosmos Play

Last but not least, HTC also announced plans for a cheaper version of the Vive Cosmos with four cameras on the faceplate instead of six. The Vive Cosmos Play device is aimed at novice and casual users as well as for public VR experiences.

The Vive Cosmos Play with its four cameras will naturally offer a lower-precision positional tracking than the original model with six cameras, so HTC recommends using the device with basic VR content. Owners of the product will be able to upgrade it anytime with a required faceplate and get new experience.

Pricing of the product is unknown, but quite naturally, HTC will  want the Vive Cosmos Play to become a mass product and will likely price them accordingly.

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Source: HTC Vive

Source: AnandTech – HTC Expands Vive Cosmos VR Family Offerings

Samsung Starts Production of 16 GB LPDDR5-5500 for Smartphones

Samsung has begun mass production of the industry’s first 16 GB LPDDR5 memory for upcoming smartphones, such as the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G handsets. The new DRAM devices not only offer higher capacity, but they are also 30% faster than previous-generation LPDDR4X-4266 used for previous-generation cellphones.

Samsung’s latest 16 GB LPDDR5 package consists of eight 12 Gb chips and four 8 Gb chips featuring a 5500 MT/s data transfer rate that can provide bandwidth of up to 44 GB/s. The very complex 12-device assembly is called a ‘mixed mode package’ because it contains DRAM devices that are accessed differently in different ranks. Samsung does not publish voltages of the new multi-chip 16 GB DRAM assembly, but only claims that it delivers more than 20% energy savings when compared to an 8 GB LPDDR4X package. Meanwhile, we do know that LPDDR5 memory chips feature a variable voltage that is up to 1.1 V.

The 12 Gb LPDDR5 devices are made using Samsung’s 2nd Generation 10 nm-class fabrication technology (also known as 1y nm), but the company does not disclose which manufacturing process is used to build 8 Gb LPDDR5 devices (though we are probably talking about 1y nm here as well).

Typically, DRAM makers make mass production announcements after they ship the first batch of products to a client. Considering that Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra features 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory, it is more than reasonable to assume that it uses the company’s latest 16 GB LPDDR5-5500 DRAM package.

In the second half of this year Samsung plans to start production of 16 Gb LPDDR5 devices using its 3rd Generation 10 nm-class fabrication process (aka 1z). These chips will support speeds up to 6400 MT/s, but to take advantage of them Samsung will have to develop an SoC that supports such a high data transfer rate. Meanwhile, capacities of these upcoming LPDDR5 assembles remain to be seen.

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Source: Samsung

Source: AnandTech – Samsung Starts Production of 16 GB LPDDR5-5500 for Smartphones

Honor Magicbook 14-inch and 15-inch Notebooks with AMD APUs: Coming Worldwide

Last November, Huawei subsidiary honor launched a new line of notebooks inside China. The Magicbook line consisted of several models built on Intel, AMD, and offered a variety of memory and capacity variants, as well as choices in operating system. For the worldwide market, honor is simplifying its selection for expediency, and is set to offer AMD Ryzen 5 systems globally from as low as £650 (estimated).

Source: AnandTech – Honor Magicbook 14-inch and 15-inch Notebooks with AMD APUs: Coming Worldwide

Microsoft Drops More Xbox Series X Tech Specs: Zen 2 + RDNA 2, 12 TFLOPs GPU, HDMI 2.1, & a Custom SSD

For the past several months both Microsoft and Sony have been slowly but steadily trickling out additional details about their forthcoming gaming consoles. And now this morning we’re getting our next bit of information from Microsoft, who has released a few more nuggets of information on their forthcoming Xbox Series X console.

When the console was first formally announced at the end of 2019, the company revealed that it would be using AMD’s Zen 2 CPU cores, but they were a bit cagier about the GPU specifications. Now the company has opened the door just a bit more on those, giving us some performance and feature information – and by and large confirming earlier theories about what the hardware would entail.

First and foremost, Microsoft is now confirming that the console’s APU is using AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture for the integrated GPU. Information about this architecture is still limited, but AMD previously disclosed that RDNA 2 would include hardware ray tracing functionality – something not present in RDNA (1) – and Microsoft in turn will be tapping this for their next game console. Microsoft, of course, already has significant experience with hardware ray tracing thanks to DirectX’s own ray tracing functionality (DXR), so the company will be able to hit the ground running here, albeit with AMD hardware for the first time.

Microsoft’s announcement also confirms for the first time that we’re getting Variable Rate Shading (VRS) support. This is another feature that has been supported in DirectX for a bit now (and in rivals Intel & NVIDIA’s GPUs), but isn’t currently available in AMD’s RDNA (1) lineup. A sampling optimization of sorts, variable rate shading allows for the shading rate for an area of pixels to be increased or decreased from the normal 1:1 ratio. The net impact is that an area can be oversampled to produce finer details, or undersampled to conserve resources. As the former is more of a niche use case for VR, we’re far more likely to see undersampling in day-to-day usage. Especially with complex pixel shaders, when used correctly VRS is intended to give developers a way to improve the performance of their games for little-to-no perceptible impact on image quality.

VRS: Visually Represented (Image Courtesy NVIDIA)

Finally, as far as overall GPU performance is concerned, Microsoft’s latest revelation finally gives us a performance estimate: 12 TFLOPs. While the company doesn’t break this down into clockspeed versus compute units, this is none the less twice the GPU performance of the Xbox One X. Or for a more generational comparison, more than 9x the GPU performance of the original Xbox One.

Even at just 2x the performance of the Xbox One X, this is by all objective measures quite a bit of GPU horsepower. To put things in perspective, AMD’s current fastest RDNA-based video card, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, only offers 10 TFLOPs of GPU performance. So the Xbox Series X, a device with an integrated GPU, is slated to offer more graphics performance than AMD’s current flagship video card. Which, to be sure, doesn’t mean the Xbox Series X is going to be more powerful than a PC (there’s no getting around the fact that AMD has been trailing NVIDIA here), but it’s clear that Microsoft has great ambitions for the console’s graphics performance.

Tangential to this, Microsoft has also finally confirmed that the console will support HDMI 2.1. This has long since been a given, as the time frame and Microsoft’s own resolution goals pretty much require HDMI 2.1 to begin with, but none the less we finally have confirmation. The company’s announcement also confirms that along with variable refresh rate support (first introduced on the Xbox One X), the console’s HDMI connection will also support HDMI’s auto low latency mode, which tells a display to switch to low latency mode. Depending on just how fine-grained Microsoft’s implementation is, there’s room here for nuance; for example only engaging low latency mode for gaming, but leaving it off when watching videos so that a display can apply extra processing.

Finally, while Microsoft had previously disclosed that the console would use a “next generation” SSD, it’s interesting to note that the company is now calling it a “custom built” SSD. Absent more details, I’d hesitate to read too much into this, but at a minimum it means Microsoft is not using an entirely off-the-shelf SSD. Whether that means they’re using commercial silicon with different firmware, or ordering their own silicon entirely, remains to be seen. And perhaps the bigger question is whether this is an all-flash setup, or if the console will be running some kind of tiered storage with an SSD and an HDD? Given that even when SSD prices were at their historical lows, a large enough SSD to hold several AAA games could easily run for $100 or more, a pure SSD setup stands to be an expensive venture.

But whatever the storage architecture is, it sounds like Microsoft is putting it to good use. On top of the previously mentioned loading benefits, the company is touting a feature they’re calling “Quick Resume”, which allows for several games to be suspended at once. Since suspending multiple games in this fashion all but requires evicting them from RAM and sending them to non-volatile storage, Microsoft will need a high performance (and reasonably spacious) SSD to power this feature.

As always, expect to hear a lot more about the Xbox Series X over the next several months, as Microsoft ramps up to launch it for Holiday 2020.

Source: AnandTech – Microsoft Drops More Xbox Series X Tech Specs: Zen 2 + RDNA 2, 12 TFLOPs GPU, HDMI 2.1, & a Custom SSD

Slim, Powerful, Aggressive Pricing: New Lenovo ThinkPad X13

Known for its light weight and portability, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 also happens to be a halo product with a price to match. Demand for ultra-portable notebooks is high these days, so Lenovo has developed its ThinkPad X13, something that combines portability of a laptop that is up to 16.9 mm thick and 1.3 kilogram heavy (2.85 pounds),  along with the performance of Intel’s 10th Generation Core processors, for a price that starts at $849.

Lenovo itself calls its new ThinkPad X13 – which also happens to exist in a hybrid version called ThinkPad X13 Yoga – a ‘premium mobile workhorse’. Housed in a black carbon fiber or carbon fiber with magnesium/aluminum chassis, the ThinkPad X13 can be equipped with a Full-HD (for a long battery life) or an Ultra-HD OLED touch-enabled display panel. Customers who need privacy can also opt for Lenovo’s Privacy Guard screen with 500 nits brightness.

As noted above, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X13 notebooks are based on Intel’s 10th Generation Core processors with up to six cores and UHD Graphics. Depending on configuration, the laptops may be equipped with 4 GB – 32 GB of DDR4 RAM as well as an up to 2 TB SSD.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the new ThinkPad X13 has Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-A, microSD, and HDMI. Premium versions will also come equipped with a 4G/LTE CAT16/CAT9 modem.

With its aggressive pricing strategy, Lenovo plans to charge $849 for an entry-level ThinkPad X13 and $1099 for an entry-level convertible ThinkPad X13 Yoga.

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Source: Lenovo

Source: AnandTech – Slim, Powerful, Aggressive Pricing: New Lenovo ThinkPad X13

Intel Launches Atom P5900: A 10nm Atom for Radio Access Networks

Continuing Intel’s run of Mobile World Congress-released announcements this morning, the chip maker is also announcing an interesting product in the form of a mobile-related Atom. Dubbed the Atom P5900, according to Intel the new chip has been designed specifically for radio access networks, wireless base stations, and similar devices, incorporating Intel’s Tremont Atom cores along with a series of hardware accelerators.

Formerly known as Snow Ridge, the Atom P5900 is one of the first chips based on Intel’s Tremont Atom cores. Designed around Intel’s 10nm process, Tremont is the next-generation Atom, designed to be wider and more performant than any Atom CPU core before them. But more interesting and relevant to the market at hand, the new chip also has several network acceleration functions, including integrated packet processing, which help to make it a specialized chip for networking deployments. The chip is by and large the successor to the previous Atom C-series, though with even more of a networking focus.

Intel’s primary market for the chip is for operating cellular base stations, where the company thinks they can win off a combination of high power efficiency and high throughput, especially when the accelerators can be used. That said, Intel also has significant edge computing ambitions in general, so depending on just how flexible the chip is and what markets Intel decides to chase, it could pop up in more places.

According to Intel, base stations using the new Atom will begin to be deployed this year. With deals already lined up with Ericsson, Nokia, and ZTE, the company is hoping to make a quick-but-lasting impact on the radio access network market.

Source: AnandTech – Intel Launches Atom P5900: A 10nm Atom for Radio Access Networks

New Intel Cascade Lake Xeon 'Performance' CPUs: Cutting Prices Too

While this year’s official Mobile World Congress event may have been canceled, a number of vendors are still going ahead with their previously scheduled product announcements and launches. Among them is Intel, who decided to use the time to announce a major expansion/realignment of their second-generation Xeon Scalable processors. With 18 new CPUs ranging from $306 to $3950, Intel is undertaking a significant shift in their Xeon Gold, Silver, and Bronze lineups, claiming to lift performance, but also rather obviously cutting prices.

Coming into 2020, Intel’s server saga continues to be an odd one, even by the sometimes wild fluctuations of the tech industry. In terms of sales, Intel has seen tremendous success with their data center product portfolio, growing revenue by 19% in a capacity constrained environment. Intel still can’t make enough 14nm chips – server processors included – to fully meet market demands, which is a very profitable problem to have.

However, Intel’s technology situation doesn’t reflect their sales situation: rival AMD’s second-generation EPYC processors have Intel beat in almost every metric, offering better performance and greater energy efficiency, all at lower prices. AMD has been able to offer more cores than Intel both on an absolute basis and per-dollar, giving AMD the stronger hand. The silver lining for Intel, at least, is that they are able to thrive on sheer momentum, as enterprise IT decisions are made on the scale of years. But there’s no escaping the fact that AMD’s EPYC processors are going to continue to chip away at Intel’s Xeon market share. Intel has to respond to AMD.

To that end, today Intel is launching 18 new “performance- and performance-per-dollar-optimized” Xeon Scalable processors. Based on the same Cascade Lake silicon as Intel’s existing parts, the updated CPUs cover the Gold, Silver, and Bronze tiers (there are no new Platinum chips). The updated SKUs are set to deliver sizable performance bumps, effectively replacing some of the already available Xeon Scalable SKUs.

Depending on the specific SKU, Intel is offering more cores, higher clockspeeds, or more cache than earlier chips – and often, all three at once. Ultimately, depending on if you view the glass as half-full or half-empty, Intel is either boosting Xeon Scalable performance by upwards of 33%, or cutting prices by even more (50-60%+ in some cases). But either way, it’s a big change for the Xeon family.

Officially, Intel is focused on comparing the new SKUs to the first-generation Skylake-SP based Xeon Scalables, where they are touting an average performance gain of 36% for a total increase in perf-per-dollar of 42%. This is a little bit of a misnomer, as these new SKUs aren’t a new generation in and of itself, and Intel has already publicised the 1st Gen to 2nd Gen benefits at the 2nd gen launch.

As far as Intel is concerned, these are all still part of the second-generation family. And while we’ve seen the name “Cascade Lake Refresh” unofficially thrown about, Intel didn’t use this name in our briefings, at least as far as their official press releases and other communiques are concerned, however most of the new parts have the letter ‘R’ to designate them from the rest.

For their refreshed chips, most of these chips are getting the R suffix, indicating it’s a faster refresh chip. Intel is also introducing a single socket U series chip, and a single high temperature T series chip.

Intel is also introducing a pair of non-suffixed high frequency chips: the Gold 6250 and Gold 6256. With 8 and 12 cores respectively, both of these chips are rated to turbo up to 4.5 GHz, which is 100MHz higher than Intel’s best existing Xeon, and 400 MHz higher than anything else being introduced today. These parts are being specifically flogged at customers who need maximum performance in single/lightly-threaded workloads, and represent one of the few remaining technological edges that Intel has over AMD’s EPYC chips. We might have heard rumors that some of the big hyperscalers love these chips, as they fit their needs combining performance and TCO.

Intel Second Generation Xeon Scalable Family

(Cascade Lake)

New SKUs in Bold
  Cores Base




Optane Price
Xeon Gold 6200
6262 V 24 1.9 3.6 33.00 135 Yes $2900
6258 R 28 2.7 4.0 38.50 205 Yes $3950
6256   12 3.6 4.5 35.75 205 Yes $3900
6254   18 3.1 4.0 24.75 200 Yes $3803
6252   24 2.1 3.7 35.75 150 Yes $3665
6252 N 24 2.3 3.6 35.75 150 Yes $3984
6250   8 3.9 4.5 35.75 185 Yes $3400
6448 R 24 3.0 4.0 35.75 205 Yes $2700
6248   20 2.5 3.9 27.50 150 Yes $3072
6246 R 16 3.4 4.1 35.75 205 Yes $3286
6244   8 3.6 4.4 24.75 150 Yes $2925
6242 R 20 3.1 4.1 35.75 205 Yes $2529
6242   16 2.8 3.9 22.00 150 Yes $2529
6240 R 24 2.4 4.0 38.50 165 Yes $2445
6240   18 2.6 3.9 24.75 150 Yes $2445
6240 Y 18 2.6 3.9 24.75 150 Yes $2726
6238 R 28 2.2 4.0 38.50 165 Yes $2612
6238   22 2.1 3.7 30.25 140 Yes $2612
6238 T 22 1.9 3.7 30.25 125 Yes $2742
6234   8 3.3 4.0 24.75 130 Yes $2214
6230 R 26 2.1 4.0 35.75 150 Yes $1894
6230   20 2.1 3.9 27.50 125 Yes $1894
6230 N 20 2.3 3.5 27.50 125 Yes $2046
6230 T 20 2.1 3.9 27.50 125 Yes $1988
6226 R 16 2.9 3.9 22.00 150 Yes $1300
6226   12 2.8 3.7 19.25 125 Yes $1776
6222 V 20 1.8 3.6 27.50 115 Yes $1600
6208 U 16 2.9 3.9 22.00 150 Yes $989
Xeon Gold 5200
5222   4 3.8 3.9 16.50 105 Yes $1221
5220 R 24 2.2 4.0 35.75 150 Yes $1555
5220   18 2.2 3.9 24.75 125 Yes $1555
5220 T 18 2.2 3.9 24.75 105 Yes $1727
5220 S 18 2.7 3.9 24.75 125 Yes $2000
5218 R 20 2.1 4.0 27.50 125 Yes $1273
5218   16 2.3 3.9 22.00 125 Yes $1273
5218 N 16 2.3 3.9 22.00 105 Yes $1375
5217   8 3.0 3.7 16.50 115 Yes $1522
5215   10 2.5 3.4 16.50 85 Yes $1221
Xeon Silver 4200
4216   16 2.1 3.2 16.50 100 $1002
4215 R 8 3.2 4.0 11.00 130 Yes $749
4215   8 2.5 3.5 16.50 85 Yes $794
4214 R 12 2.4 3.5 16.50 100 Yes $694
4214   12 2.2 3.2 16.50 85 $694
4214 Y 12 2.2 3.2 16.50 85 $768
4210 R 10 2.4 3.2 13.75 100 Yes $501
4210   10 2.2 3.2 13.75 85 $501
4210 T 10 2.3 3.2 13.75 95 $554
4209 T 8 2.2 3.2 11.00 70 $501
4208   8 2.1 3.2 11.00 85 $417
Xeon Bronze 3200
3206 R 8 1.9 11.00 85 $306
3204   6 1.9 8.25 85 $213

Officially, Intel hasn’t cut prices on anything. The new chips come in at the same price as their direct predecessor; for example the new Gold 6242R has a list price of $2,529, the same price as the existing Gold 6242. However as I mentioned before, with Intel increasing core counts and clockspeeds across the board, if you look at things from a fixed performance perspective, then the new SKUs are a de-facto price cut. Otherwise, for the same price you’re now getting more cores, more cycles, and more cache for the price.

In fact, the cache may be the most interesting but least visible part of this change. Whereas many of the existing Xeon Gold parts only ship with 25 to 30 MB of L3 cache – consistent with their core counts – a significant number of the new parts ship with well over 30 MB of cache. So along with the raw core counts and clockspeed changes, the larger cache will be helping Intel to boost its overall performance and competitive positioning.

Otherwise, left out in all of this is Intel’s Xeon Platinum line of chips, which remain unchanged. The Platinum chips remain the only way to get a Xeon that’s capable of running in an 8 socket configuration, but the new Xeon Gold SKUs put a lot of pressure on those chips. With Intel offering up to 28 cores and 38.5 MB of L3 cache on a Xeon Gold now, the Platinum chips don’t have the same advantage they once did. So the net result is that unless you need the extra sockets, chips like the Gold 6258R are offering everything that the Platinum 8280 offers at 39% of the price. Unofficial price cuts indeed!

Alternatively, if we compare the Xeon Gold 6252 to the Xeon Gold 6230R, these two chips have the same core count and base frequency, but the 6230R is about half the price. The 28-core Xeon Platinum 8276, compared to the 28-core 6238R, has the same base frequency and cache size, but the price is $8719 to $2612, which is a 70% price differential. That’s a lot cheaper if you do not specifically need 8-socket support offered by the Platinum.

Platinum 8276 vs Gold 6238R

AnandTech Gold

$8719 Price $2612
28C / 56T Cores/Threads 28C / 56T
2.2 GHz Base Frequency 2.2 GHz
4.0 GHz Turbo Frequency 4.0 GHz
38.5 MB L3 Cache 38.5 MB
165 W TDP 165 W
8 MP Sockets 2

Also interesting is that Intel has cut MP socket support on the new CPUs. These new CPUs only support dual socket operation, making the Xeon Gold series a complicated mess of 4-socket box, 4-socket all-to-all, 2-socket 2-UPI and 2-socket 3-UPI MP configurations. There have been some suggestions that Intel wants to regress back to the E5 (2-socket) and E7 (4 and 8-socket) product segmentation but in the new naming scheme, but this just makes it all the more complicated for no obvious reason.

Wrapping things up, the new chips are set to be available today. Intel’s press release specifically focuses on OEMs/ODMs, so it’s not clear when any of these chips will show up on the open market. But if the manufacturers already have them, then for those chips that are available far and wide (i.e. not going to a handful of vendors like Facebook), then we should expect to see them soon,

Source: AnandTech – New Intel Cascade Lake Xeon ‘Performance’ CPUs: Cutting Prices Too

New Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops: AMD Ryzen 4000 Pro or Intel 10th Gen

Lenovo’s ThinkPad T-series are arguably one of the most popular business-class notebooks combining performance and utility. Today, Lenovo introduced its new ThinkPad T14, T14s, and T15 laptops featuring the latest processors from AMD and Intel. Lenovo’s new machines are the first laptops to be announced to have AMD’s Ryzen 4000 Pro-series mobile processors.

The new ThinkPads come in traditional black or silver chassis that pack a 14-inch or a 15.6-inch Full-HD or Ultra-HD display. The most advanced versions feature IPS screens with 500 nits brightness and Dolby Vision HDR support. To complete the multimedia experience, the PCs will come with a Dolby Audio-badged speaker system. The T14s and the T14 are 17.2 and 17.9 mm thick, whereas the T15 has a 19.1 mm z-height.

At the heart of the new ThinkPad laptops are AMD’s Ryzen 4000 Pro CPUs or Intel’s 10th Generation Core processors (some are with vPro technology) paired with up 48 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM as well as up to 2 TB of SSD storage. Premium variants of the ThinkPad T14 and T15 machines will feature NVIDIA’s GeForce MX 330 GPU with 2 GB of memory, whereas the slimmer T14s will rely on Intel’s integrated graphics.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the new ThinkPads feature Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and all the other things you come to expect from a 2020 laptop. Advanced versions of the laptops will come with a 4G/LTE CAT16/CAT9 modems.

The new ThinkPad T will be available in Q2 starting at $849 for a 14-inch model, $1029 for a slimmer 14s version as well as $1079 for a 15.6-inch model.

Related Reading:

Source: Lenovo

Source: AnandTech – New Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops: AMD Ryzen 4000 Pro or Intel 10th Gen

Huawei Announces MateBook X Pro New Edition, New MateBook D Laptops

Today Huawei is announcing a refresh of its popular MateBook X Pro laptop line, upgrading the internals to the newest Intel Comet Lake CPUs as well as introducing new colours, as well as officially launching the new MateBook D line in western markets with configuration options such as AMD’s Ryzen 5 3500U CPU.

Source: AnandTech – Huawei Announces MateBook X Pro New Edition, New MateBook D Laptops

Huawei Announces The Mate Xs – Revised 2nd Gen Foldable

Today Huawei is announcing the successor of one of 2019’s most talked about devices: the new Mate Xs. The successor to the Mate X refines the design of the predecessor, introducing a new more durable hinge as well as a new display protection material, as well as updating the internals of the phone to include the newer generation Kirin 990 5G SoC.  

Source: AnandTech – Huawei Announces The Mate Xs – Revised 2nd Gen Foldable

Huawei Announces New MatePad Pro 5G High-End Tablet

Today Huawei is announcing the launch of its newest high-end tablet: The MatePad Pro 5G. The device isn’t exactly a new product as the company had launched the 4G version in China back in November, but it is now also launching in the western markets as 5G variant and we’ve had some hands-on experience with the new unit.

Source: AnandTech – Huawei Announces New MatePad Pro 5G High-End Tablet

Sony Announces New Xperia 1 II Flagship, Teases Xperia PRO

Today Sony announces the successor to last year’s Xperia 1 flagship phone, the new Xperia 1 II, as well as teasing a new interesting device in the form of the Xperia PRO, aimed at professional photographers.

The Xperia 1 was the first Sony flagship device that followed the company’s mobile division reshuffle under the head of Kimio Maki, former head of Sony’s Alpha mirrorless camera success. The new Xperia 1 II further embraces this new merging of product lines within Sony as we’re seeing new synergies between features that made the Alpha line-up of devices popular.

The Xperia 1 II also upgrades its hardware to be on par with what you’d expect in 2020: Powered by a new Snapdragon 865 SoC, brand-new camera sensors, as well as a seemingly 90Hz screen, all while packing a bigger battery, the new device on paper looks to be an upgrade in the right places, all while retaining the signature characteristics that made the Xperia 1 a differentiating device in 2019. There are also some surprises in the mix, some good, and some possibly bad. We see the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack, but an odd lack of 5G in the US variants of the phone. We’re be going over the specifications in more detail:

Sony Xperia 1 Series

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 1
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 

1x Cortex-A77 @ 2.84GHz

3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.42GHz

4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 650 @ 587MHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 

1x K485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.84GHz

3x K485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.42GHz

4x K485 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 640 @ 585MHz

Display 6.5″ AMOLED

3840 x 1644 (21:9)

90Hz (Interpolated?)


3840 x 1644 (21:9)


Size Height 166 mm 167 mm
Width 72 mm 72 mm
Depth 7.9 mm 8.2 mm
Weight 181 grams 178 grams
Battery Capacity 4000mAh

18W USB-PD Adaptive Charging


18W USB-PD Adaptive Charging

Wireless Charging Yes
Rear Cameras
Main 12MP 1.8µm Dual Pixel PDAF

1/1.7″ sensor

24mm / 

f/1.7 with OIS

12MP 1.4µm Dual Pixel PDAF

1/2.6″ sensor

26mm / 78°

f/1.6 with OIS

Telephoto 12MP 1.0µm PDAF

1/3.4″ sensor

70mm /  / 3x zoom

f/2.4 with OIS

12MP 1.0µm PDAF

1/3.4″ sensor

52mm / 45° / 2x zoom

f/2.4 with OIS

Wide 12MP 1.4µm Dual Pixel PDAF

1/2.6″ sensor

16mm / 130°


12MP 1.0µm PDAF

1/3.4″ sensor

16mm / 130°

f/2.4 fixed focus

Extra 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF)
Front Camera 8MP 1.12µm

8MP 1.12µm

Storage 256GB 128GB UFS 2.1
3.5mm headphone jack
no 3.5mm headphone jack
Cellular 4G (US)

5G (Depending on market)

Wireless (local) TBC 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 5.0 LE + NFC
IP Rating IP65 & IP68
Other Features Dual Speakers
Dual-SIM 1x nanoSIM + microSD 

2x nanoSIM
Launch Price $1099 / £ / € $949 / £849 / €949

Starting off with the hardware, as expected we see the use of a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC which puts the Xperia 1 II at the same level as other 2020 flagship devices. Sony has raised the RAM and storage configuration of the X1II, bumping it up to 8GB and 256GB by default (with no other options); the storage increase is particularly welcome.

Amongst the internal hardware improvements is a much bigger battery capacity, alleviating one of the Xperia 1’s largest weaknesses, upgrading from a 3330mAh unit to a 4000mAh new design, a 20% generational uplift.

The increased battery capacity didn’t have any large impact on the form-factor of the phone, as the new unit is only 3g heavier at 181g, and Sony even managed to reduce the thickness by 0.3mm down to 7.9mm. The width of the phone remains the same at a 72mm which is a sweet-spot in terms of ergonomics and usability, and Sony even shaved off 1mm in length down to 166mm. Sony even managed to add in wireless charging without any impact to the dimensions of the phone, also addressing the previous generation’s lacking thereof.

Characteristic Design, 90Hz Screen*, But Still 4K Resolution

In terms of design, the phone unmistakably follows its predecessor, characterised by the squared off corners of the 21:9 aspect ratio screen. The display panel unfortunately remains a 4K resolution panel – we deemed this feature to be a massive waste of battery life with little to no real-world benefits in terms of viewing experience. I hope Sony here at least is using a newer generation panel that’s able to increase the power efficiency of the display.

A new feature to the new screen though is what Sony calls “Motion Blur Reduction” feature that it advertises as equivalent to 90Hz displays. What I think this is a 90Hz panel which interpolates 60Hz rendering to create smoother content, which would be an interesting take on the high-refresh rate feature that we’ve seen being popularised over the last year by various vendors.

Sony has slightly changed the bezel / frame design of the new Xperia 1 II, which is now features a chamfer design and flat side-frame compared to the round frame of the Xperia 1 – we’ll have to see how this change affects the ergonomics of the phone.

The phone still has a dual-speaker setup with a bottom firing speaker as well as the earpiece serving as a stereo pair.

3.5mm Headphone Jack Resurrection

The most surprising feature change of the Xperia 1 II is the re-introduction of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Sony has said it’s seen bad feedback and a backlash from users on the Xperia 1 due to its headphone jack removal, and frankly, it’s was very much deserved. Sony is not only backtracking on the removal of the headphone jack, but it’s claiming to have improved the quality of the new 3.5mm output. Sony advertises its 360 Reality Audio processing engine being implemented in hardware, and I have to wonder if this means that the DAC of the phone is Sony’s own QN1 chipset (or similar), the same hardware that powered Sony’s popular WH-1000XM3 headphones.

Whatever the hardware may be, the fact that Sony is bringing back the headphone jack is a huge story in itself as it just proves how stupid the industry trend of removing the 3.5mm connector has been. Props to Sony for bringing it back – I hope other vendors follow suit.

New Camera Hardware – But Still Confused About What’s a Smartphone Camera?

The Xperia 1 II majorly upgrades its camera hardware. Starting off with the main unit, Sony has upgraded its sensor from a 1/2.6” unit to a much larger 1/1.7” sensor, this results in a pixel pitch upgrade from 1.4µm to 1.8µm, resulting in a 65% increase in light capture ability. The resolution has remained static at 12MP but I’m not too worried about that as what matters is the effective spatial resolution the sensor and optics can capture. The optics are now slightly wider at 24mm equivalent instead of 26mm equivalent on the Xperia 1, and the aperture is now at f/1.7 and OIS is maintained on the sensor.

The telephoto module seemingly hasn’t changed the sensor, which remains at 12MP with 1.0µm pixels, but sees a change in the optics which are now at 70mm equivalent, or 3x optical zoom compared to the main camera, a longer focal length than the 52 / 2x zoom equivalent on the Xperia 1. I do think this is a nice change as I find it such a focal length more useful. OIS is of course also integrated in the f/2.2 optics.

Finally, the ultra-wide-angle module remains the same in its field-of-view, but sees a huge upgrade in the sensor as it’s upgraded from a 1/3.4” sensor to an 1/2.6” unit, meaning pixel pitches have increased from 1µm to 1.4µm, all while retaining the 12MP resolution. The sensor is also PD-PDAF which is interesting, we haven’t had confirmation yet if this means the module now has variable focus – a feature that was lacking in the fixed focus optics of the Xperia 1 UWA module.

Sony discloses that they’ve partnered with Zeiss to be able to bring to market the optics of the new Xperia 1 II. If this is an improvement remains to be seen; the Xperia 1’s optics sharpness was amongst one of the best on the market, and actually its one major strengths, with only the barrel distortion of the UWA being something to complain about, maybe Sony opted to go more rectilinear this generation?

Sony put a lot of emphasis on the autofocus capabilities of the new camera. The sensor is a dual-pixel PDAF unit and claims it covers 70% of the sensor, which is a bit odd as I thought PD-PDAF units had 100% sensor coverage. Sony also employs some of its AF knowledge from the Alpha 9 line-up to achieve 60fps autofocus and autoexposure calculations, and the phone is able to capture burst photos at 20 frames/second. It also includes the Alpha’s known eye-AF algorithms for humans and animals.

Sony integrates a new “Photo Pro” interface that aligns with what we’ve seen from the Alpha camera UIs.

Honestly, I feel that while all these feature additions are great, Sony’s largest problem historically is that they’ve been very bad at smartphone photography. Autofocus accuracy and speed matters very little in a smartphone if the image processing just isn’t up to standards, and the Xperia 1 last year showcased amongst the worst results of any phone we’ve tested in 2019. So, while the new Xperia 1 II looks good on paper, we’ll have to wait and see how the cameras perform in the real-world.

Launching in June for $1099 – With No 5G in the US?

Arguably there’s no bad products, only bad prices, and the fact that the Xperia 1 II is launching in the US at $1099 without featuring any 5G connectivity is quite disappointing, and the company is off to a bad start versus the competition. I’m not sure exactly what Sony did here in terms of hardware design, Qualcomm had confirmed the Snapdragon 865 is paired with the 5G capable X55 modem, so for a device to lack 5G means that Sony must have omitted the 5G RF in the design. I understand if it might have lacked mmWave, but also lacking sub-6GHz means it won’t be a future-proof device. Sony did say it will have 5G variants for other markets, but we don’t have further information on the matter at the time of writing.

Xperia PRO – a mmWave 5G Professional Photographer Oriented Phone That Makes Sense?

Alongside the Xperia 1 II, Sony also announced, or better say, pre-announced another new smartphone. The new Xperia Pro represents a new type of device that is targeted at professional photographers.

Hardware wise, the Xperia Pro shares almost all the specifications of the Xperia 1 II, with the difference of 512GB storage as default as well as the inclusion of 5G sub-6Ghz and mmWave connectivity.

Design wise, it’s a bit of a departure as it instead of the glass back and sleek metal frame it comes in a much more rugged casing that you’d expect from professional grade gear.

I said that the Xperia Pro makes a lot of sense, and the sole reason for that being is that the phone features an HDMI input port alongside its USB-C port. This is extremely unique in a smartphone and what this enables, is for photographers to connect their camera gear to the phone, and have the phone’s high-quality screen be used as a monitor.

Sony didn’t go into more details into the exact capabilities of the Xperia Pro’s HDMI input, but using the phone as a screen is merely just the starting point of what such a setup can bring – if the phone is able to record video off the camera source, this effectively then acts as an external video recorder, a piece of hardware that typically goes into the hundreds of dollars anyhow. Furthermore, if one can live-stream video content off your large professional camera and use the Xperia Pro as essentially a tethering device, it again opens up a lot of possibilities, and I think this is exactly Sony’s angle here with the 5G connectivity of the phone.

It’s a very interesting synergy for professional photographers who very well might justify whatever crazy price the Xperia Pro might end up at. For now, we’ll have to wait on Sony to divulge further information as the device isn’t due to launch till later in the year.

Source: AnandTech – Sony Announces New Xperia 1 II Flagship, Teases Xperia PRO

AOC Launches Their Flagship G-Sync Ultimate Gaming Monitor: The Ultrawide 35-Inch Agon AG353UCG

AOC has formally unveiled its long-awaited Agon AG353UCG curved gaming display. The high-end display offers a 200 Hz maximum refresh rate with VESA Adaptive-Sync VRR technology, a 1000 nits peak brightness, as well as a Quantum Dot-enhanced full areal local dimming (FALD) backlighting. The display will be the company’s new flagship curved offering, offering a plethora of features with a hefty price tag to match.

AOC says that when it designed its Agon AG353UCG monitor (and other forthcoming members of the 3rd Generation Agon family), it wanted to build a product that would offer the most immersion possible today with an LCD. To do so, the company took a 37.5-inch 10-bit VA panel featuring a 1800R curvature, a 3440×1440 resolution, a 2 ms GtG response time, a 200 Hz maximum refresh rate, and equipped it with an advanced FALD backlighting. All told, the AG353UCG’s backlighting system contains 512 local dimming zones, which have been further enhanced with Quantum Dots for a wider color gamut, offering a very bright and high-contrast HDR experience. As a result, AG353UCG can claim DisplayHDR 1000 compliance – indicating, among other things, a peak brightness of 1000 nits in HDR mode – while being able to display 1.07 billion colors across 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

Like many other flagship HDR gaming displays, the Agon AG353UCG is a G-Sync Ultimate monitor. This means it meets NVIDIA’s specifications for response times, color spaces, and backlighting. And it also means that the monitor is almost certainly using NVIDIA’s G-Sync HDR scaler as well.

On the connectivity side of matters, the monitor has a DisplayPort 1.4 input, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a Mini DisplayPort input. In addition, the unit has audio connectors (line out, microphone upstream, microphone downstream), and a quad-port USB 3.0 hub with a Type-B upstream port.

For gamers who find ergonomics and looks to be as important as performance, the monitor comes with an aggressive-looking stand that can adjust height and tilt, as well as sporting an RGB LED ring on the back. Meanwhile the sizable display offers a carrying handle and supports cable management, making it a bit easier to move and setup the monitor.

The AOC Agon AG353UCG will be available in Europe this month. In the UK, its RRP will be £2,159, while in mainland Europe it will cost €2,509. So expect it to carry an MSRP of around $2,300 in the USA. At present, the only rival for the Agon AG353UCG is the Acer Predator X35, so the rather high price tag is nothing to be surprised about.

AOC’s 35-Inch 3rd Gen Agon Gaming Display
  Agon AG353UCG
Panel 37.5-inch VA
Native Resolution 3440 × 1440
Maximum Refresh Rate 200 Hz
Response Time 2 ms GtG
Brightness up to 1000 cd/m² in HDR mode
Contrast up to 2500:1
Backlighting FALD with 512 zones & Quantum Dots
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
Curvature 1800R
Aspect Ratio 21:9
Color Gamut sRGB: ?%

DCI-P3: 90%

Adobe RGB: 95%
Dynamic Refresh Rate Tech NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate
Pixel Pitch 0.2554 mm²
Pixel Density 99.45 PPI
Inputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.4

1 × Mini DisplayPort 1.4

1 × HDMI 2.0b
Audio 3.5 mm microphone upstream

3.5 mm microphone downstream

3.5 mm headphone out

2 x 8 W speakers
USB Hub 4 × USB 3.0 Type-A connectors
Stand Height: 120 mm

Swivel: 32° ~ 32°

Tilt: -5 ~ 21.5±1.5°
Launch Price RRP in the UK: £2,159

MSRP in EU: €2,509

Related Reading:

Source: AOC

Source: AnandTech – AOC Launches Their Flagship G-Sync Ultimate Gaming Monitor: The Ultrawide 35-Inch Agon AG353UCG

MSI Intros Modern 15 Laptop: An Inexpensive Laptop for Content Creators

MSI has been actively targeting content creators with its laptops as of recently, so it’s only fitting that this week the company introduced its Modern 15 notebook, aimed at the entry-level content creation market. Powered by Intel’s 10th Generation Core (Comet Lake) processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce MX330 discrete graphics chip, the Modern 15 mobile PC promises to offer decent performance as well as a relatively low weight in a reasonably priced package.

The MSI Modern 15 laptop currently exists in only one configuration (A10RAS-061JP) which is powered by Intel’s quad-core Core i7-10510U ‘Comet Lake-U’ processor. This is accompanied by 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory, a 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and NVIDIA’s GeForce MX330 graphics chip with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM. According to MSI, the CPU and the GPU are cooled via MSI’s Cooler Boost 3 cooling system, which uses two fans and three thick heat pipes. Within MSI’s laptop lineup, this places the Modern 15 at essentially a tier below their Prestige series notebooks, giving up features such as hex-core CPUs and GeForce GTX graphics in exchange for a lower price.

As far as connectivity is concerned, MSI’s Modern 15 is equipped with a Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 6 adapter, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port (with DP Alt mode support), three USB Type-A connectors (one USB 3.2 Gen 1, two USB 3.2 Gen 2), an HDMI output, a 3.5-mm audio connector for headsets, and a microSD card reader. When it comes to multimedia capabilities, MSI’s Modern 15 laptops are equipped with a webcam with IR sensors, stereo speakers, and a microphone array.

The Modern 15 system comes in a black or silver chassis with brushed aluminum elements that is 15.9 mm thick. The enclosure accommodates a 15.6-inch Full-HD panel, but because of thin bezels, the dimensions of the chassis are close to those of traditional 14-inch notebooks. As for weight, the Modern 15 weighs 1.6 kilograms.

MSI says that the laptop will last for nine hours on one charge (according to JEITA 2.0), which is good enough for a laptop that is more likely to be used as a semi-fixed (and frequently plugged in) device to begin with.

Specifications of MSI’s Modern 15 Laptop
LCD Diagonal 15.6-inch
Resolution 1920×1080
Brightness ?
Contrast Ratio ?
Color Gamut
Touch Support
Protective Glass
CPU  Intel Core i7-10510U (Comet Lake-U)
Graphics Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
Discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX330 with 2 GB GDDR5
RAM 16 GB dual-channel DDR4
Storage SSD 1 × 5120 GB M.2 NVMe SSD
Card Reader MicroSD Card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5.0
USB Type-C 1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
Type-A 1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A

2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Cameras Front HD webcam with IR sensors
Other I/O Microphone, 2 stereo speakers, audio jack
Battery 9 hours
Dimensions Width 35.7 cm | 14.05 inches
  Depth 23.4 cm | 9.2 inches
  Thickness 1.59 cm | 0.63 inches
Weight 1.60 kilograms | 3.52 pounds
Launch Price Japan: ¥165,000

MSI intends to start selling the Modern 15 laptop in Japan on February 27, with a price of ¥165,000. It is unclear at this time whether the company intends to bring the product to Europe or the US.

Related Reading:

Source: MSI Japan (via Hermitage Akihabara)

Source: AnandTech – MSI Intros Modern 15 Laptop: An Inexpensive Laptop for Content Creators