The Intel Core i9-9980XE CPU Review: Refresh Until it Hertz

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It has been over a year since Intel launched its Skylake-X processors and Basin Falls platform, with a handful of processors from six-core up to eighteen-core. In that time, Intel’s competition has gone through the roof in core count, PCIe lanes, and power consumption. In order to compete, Intel has gone down a different route, with its refresh product stack focusing on frequency, cache updates, and an updated thermal interface. Today we are testing the top processor on that list, the Core i9-9980XE.

Why Intel Processors Draw More Power Than Expected: TDP and Turbo Explained

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One of the recent topics permeating through the custom PC space recently has been about power draw. Intel’s latest eight-core processors are still rated at a TDP of 95W, and yet users are seeing power consumption north of 150W, which doesn’t make much sense. In this guide, we want to give you a proper understanding why this is the case, and why it gives us reviewers such a headache.

The Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 750W PSU Review: Excellent Quality, But Not Quiet

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In today’s review we are taking a look at the latest Straight Power 11 series from Be Quiet!, a German manufacturer. The Straight Power 11 units are not the highest tier that the company currently offers, yet the company still rates them (and appraises them) as a premium series, boasting that they can deliver excellent overall performance, reliability, and, above all else, near-silent operation.

AMD Next Horizon Live Blog: Starts 9am PT / 5pm UTC

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AMD’s 2019 is set to be full of 7nm products, and on the back of AMD’s New Horizon event on 2016, today it is hosting part two: Next Horizon. In CEO Dr. Lisa Su’s welcome letter, it states that AMD is set to ‘enter a new chapter in [its] journey to deliver the datacenter of the future’. I’m here in San Francisco to get all the details on what appears to be discussions and presentations about the next generation EPYC and 7nm Vega, as well as customer responses and deployments about AMD’s current datacenter portfolio. 

Come back to this page at 9am Pacific Time when then event is set to start, and come follow our live blog.

The Google Pixel 3 Review: The Ultimate Camera Test

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The Pixel 3 is Google’s third generation in-house design, meant to showcase the company’s own view of what an Android device should be, whilst fully embracing Google’s first-party software applications and services.

The one thing Google’s Pixel phones have become synonymous with is the camera experience. The Pixel 3 continues this focal point of the line-up, and promises to be “the best smartphone camera”, period.

We’ll dive into the phone and verify Google claims, including an extensive camera comparison between all of this year’s major camera shooters.

The ASRock Z390 Taichi Review: Jack of All Trades, Master of None

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In the first of our new Z390 motherboard reviews, we’re taking a look at the ASRock Z390 Taichi. This model sits quite high up in the product stack and offers users 2x1G LAN, three PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 and a total of eight SATA ports. ASRock has taken the unique Taichi design and implemented the new Z390 chipset into the mix for a high-performance and feature-packed offering designed for enthusiasts looking to push the new Intel processors.

MyDigitalSSD M2X M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure Review – A PCIe to USB Storage Bridge

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Storage bridges come in many varieties within the internal and external market segments. USB has become the de-facto standard when it comes to external mass-market storage enclosures. But while there are plenty of options to bridge SATA devices in different form factors to USB, the rapid rise in popularity of NVMe drives has brought about a different challenge. In the premium market, we have many Thunderbolt 3 external SSDs with M.2 NVMe drives inside. However for various reasons, the development of NVMe-to-USB adapters has been another matter.

In fact it’s only recently that we’ve finally seen some progress on this front. JMicron’s introduction of a PCIe 3.0 x2 to USB 3.1 Gen 2 bridge chip (JMS583) has enabled Asian OEMs to introduce bus-powered NVMe SSD enclosures with a USB interface, finally enabling relatively cheap USB adapters for NVMe drives. MyDigitalSSD, in turn, is one of the first to bring such a device to the North American market with their M2X External USB 3.1 Gen 2 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure Adapter.

Apple Announces 2018 MacBook Air: Entry-Level Laptop Gets Essential Refresh

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This morning at a keynote in New York City, Apple took the wraps off of their latest notebook update, the 2018 MacBook Air. The entry-level member of Apple’s laptop lineup is finally getting a much-anticipated redesign, which is seeing the laptop adopt most of the same design characteristics and technologies as Apple’s other laptops, including TouchID and Apple’s T2 controller. Still coming in with a 13.3-inch screen – and now in Retina – the laptop will be shipping on November 7th.

When it was introduced in 2008, the MacBook Air employed a then-unusual ultra-portable laptop design, most famously demonstrated by Apple’s equally unusual marketing gimmick of showing it easily fitting into a manila envelope. Since its introduction the MacBook Air paved the way for Ultrabooks as whole in the process, and within Apple’s lineup it eventually settled as the entry-level member of the MacBook family. However in more recent years the laptop ended up neglected, as Apple focused on integrating more expensive technologies into their laptops and with prices to match, which was counter to the MacBook Air’s entry-level nature. As a result, until today the last time the MacBook Air had been significantly updated was in early 2015. So today’s announcement marks the first big update for the laptop in almost 4 years.

2018 MacBook Air Specifications
Model 2018 (Base) 2017 (Base)
Dimensions 0.41 – 1.56 cm x 30.4 cm x 21.2 cm 0.30 – 1.7 cm x 32.5 cm x 22.7 cm
Weight 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg) 2.96 lbs (1.35 kg)
CPU 1.6GHz (3.6GHz Turbo)
Core i5
2 CPU Cores
1.8GHz (2.9GHz Turbo)
Core i5-5350U
2 CPU Cores
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 617 Intel HD Graphics 6000
Display 13.3-inch 2560×1600 IPS LCD 13.3-inch 1440×900 TN LCD
Memory 8GB LPDDR3-2133 8GB LPDDR3-1600
SSD 128GB PCIe SSD 128GB PCIe SSD
I/O 2x USB 3.1 Type-C
w/Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm Audio
Touch ID
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x Thunderbolt 2
SDXC Card Reader
3.5mm Audio
Battery Capacity 50.3 Wh 54 Wh
Battery Life 12 Hours 12 Hours
Price $1199 $999

In terms of design, the MacBook Air fits right in to Apple’s modern laptop families. In fact at first glance it’s not especially distinct from Apple’s other wedge-shaped laptop, the 12-inch MacBook. The vanilla MacBook itself essentially split the difference between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro – taking the size of the former and pairing it with the overall aesthetic design and some of the technologies of the latter – and while the MacBook itself was never a de-facto replacement for the Air, it’s now clear that this is the direction that Apple has wanted to take their laptop line as a whole.

The end result is that by and large, the MacBook Air is the 13.3-inch MacBook that never was. It employs the same wedge shape and aluminum body as the MacBook, and even comes in the same Gold/Silver/Space Grey color trio. In terms of dimensions the laptop is 30.41cm x 21.24cm – giving it a slightly smaller footprint than the previous MacBook Air – while the thickness at the largest point is down from 1.7cm to 1.56cm. Interestingly, the laptop is actually a bit less wedge shaped than its predecessor, as the thinnest point has increased from 0.3cm to 0.41cm. The laptop’s weight is also down a bit, from 1.35kg in the old model to 1.25kg on the new Air.

Meanwhile the focus on slimming the already small MacBook Air down means that the laptop has incorporated a number of technologies and design elements from Apple’s other laptops. This includes the move to exclusively using USB Type-C ports for all charging and data connectivity, with the new laptop getting two of these ports on its left side (versus 1 for the MacBook). Furthermore these are both Thunderbolt 3-capable ports, with all the features and bandwidth that entails, making the Air more like the Pros and less like the vanilla MacBook in this regard. Apple has also retained the 3.5mm audio jack, however the SDXC card slot is no more.

The slim design also means that Apple has integrated their modern butterfly-switch keyboard & Force Touch trackpad combination. First introduced on the MacBook back in 2015, the butterfly switch was designed to be thinner and more stable than contemporary switches, though the shallower key travel has received mixed feedback. Notably, this is now also the largest up-to-date laptop that Apple offers without a touch bar, as Apple stopped updating the touch bar-free 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year. Meanwhile like Apple’s other laptops, the Force Touch trackpad offers a solid-state trackpad that generates haptic feedback through a linear actuator, making the entire trackpad a single consistent device, and doing away with the diving-board effect of a pivoting trackpad.

Under the hood details are a little harder to come by. Curiously, Apple is only offering a single CPU option here, an Intel Core i5. And while the company never names the specific processor models they use, the specifications here – 3.6GHz turbo with Intel UHD Graphics 617 – do not match any known Intel chip, even when factoring in various cTDP options. We’ve heard rumors of Intel putting together a Core i5-8210Y, and we’ve reached out to Intel to try to confirm.

At a minimum, it’s clear that this is one of Intel’s 5 Watt Y-series chips – almost certainly Amber Lake.  Launched back in August, Amber Lake is Intel’s latest-generation 5W chips and goes under the 8th Gen Core branding. Compared to the Broadwell (5th Gen Core) chips in the previous MacBook Air, these chips represent a big step up in capabilities and performance, incorporating a newer CPU core design as well as a new

The ASRock X399 Taichi Motherboard Review: Cost-Effective Threadripper

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In this review we are having a look at the ASRock X399 Taichi, one of the few motherboards for Ryzen Threadripper processors that retails for less than $300. Despite the significantly lower retail price, its features and specifications are impressive. We thoroughly examine the motherboard and identify the adaptions that led to the low retail price.

The Biostar X470GTN Motherboard Review: AM4 ITX Revisited

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Last year Biostar released the first mini-ITX AM4 motherboard and it did its utmost to impress us without too much fluff or unnecessary features – it was a simple yet sophisticated runner. With the release of the second generation of Ryzen processors, Biostar has released a refreshed mini-ITX for the X470 platform, called the X470GTN which looks again to target the budget-conscious users looking for Ryzen in a smaller form factor. 

The Corsair SF450 (2018) SFX PSU Review: Corsair’s Best SFF PSU Gets Even Better

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Today we are having a look at the refreshed SF PSU series from Corsair. The company upgraded their popular SFX PSUs that now come with an 80Plus Platinum certification and are boasting even better overall performance. With a retail price under $100 and very impressive specs, the SF450 seems ideal for compact, high-performance living room gaming PCs.

The Intel 9th Gen Review: Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K Tested

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Intel’s newest line of desktop processors bring with them a number of changes designed to sway favor with performance enthusiasts. These new parts bring Intel’s consumer processors up to eight cores, with higher frequencies, better thermal connectivity, and extra hardware security updates for Spectre and Meltdown. The only catch is that you’re going to need a large wallet and a big cooler: both price and power consumption hit new highs this time around.

Arm TechCon 2018 Keynote Live Blog (Starts at 1pm ET)

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We’re here at the San Jose Convention Center for Arm’s annual developer conference and tech showcase, TechCon. Arm of course needs no introduction, and while the company is an IP provider rather than a hardware manufacturer, the net result is that they have their finger in everything from servers to embedded devices. Which has presented the company with a lot of growth opportunities, but also no shortage of competition as everyone works to grab a piece of these markets.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition Review: Mid-Range Turing, High-End Price

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When NVIDIA first announced their Turing based GeForce RTX 20 series, they unveiled three GeForce RTX models: the 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070. As we’ve seen earlier, Turing and the GeForce RTX 20 series as a whole are designed on a hardware and software level to enable realtime raytracing for games, as well as other new specialized features, though all of these are yet to launch in games. Nevertheless, last month’s release of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 finally revealed their places on the traditional performance spectrum. As the ‘value’ oriented enthusiast offering, the RTX 2070 is arguably the more important card for most prospective buyers. And so, ahead of tomorrow’s launch, today we take a look at the GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition.

Huawei Launches the Mate 20 Series: Kirin 980 7nm SoC Inside

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New to the market is the latest flagship smartphone from Huawei. Following the Mate series, last year’s Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are succeeded by the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro, featuring the 7nm Hisilicon Kirin 980 chipset and whole new design with added features. Out of the two, the Mate 20 Pro is aiming for the upsell, with new features such as reverse wireless charging, an OLED HDR display, an IP68 rating, a larger battery, and support for a 40W Supercharge.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review: More Than A Color

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Microsoft is in a bit of a unique place in the PC space compared to other manufacturers. Other than Apple, Microsoft is the only company that controls both the hardware and software sides, and when the Surface lineup launched way back in 2012, Microsoft’s goal was to showcase the advantages of their platform with a premium hardware lineup. On October 2nd 2018, the company unveiled their sixth iteration of what is now a staple in the PC space, the Surface Pro 6.

The MSI B350M Gaming Pro Review: Micro Size, Micro Price

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Although most manufacturers have a primary focus on X470 chipset motherboards, AMD has made it clear that the B350 chipset will be sticking around for a long time. The MSI B350M Gaming Pro aims to offer gamers a lot cost option on the smaller mATX form factor, without all the glitz and glamour of RGB LEDs and over zealous power delivery configurations.

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