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Hier — 23 janvier 2021AnandTech

ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI Announced: A Motherboard for AMD Threadripper Pro

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

In the world of crazy motherboard names, I think ASUS might have won with this one. The new ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI is a motherboard built for AMD’s upcoming Threadripper Pro processors featuring enough added clout to make the most of 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0.

The extended-ATX (E-ATX) motherboard uses a transposed LGA4094 socket, capable of supporting the 64-core Threadripper Pro 3995WX at 280 W. The socket uses a 16 power stage VRM design with a massive finned heatsink designed to full air from the front of the motherboard to the back in line with the socket and the memory slots, ending in the rear panel which has its own air baffle. There are eight memory slots, enabling 512 GB or 1 TB of DDR4-3200.

The power delivery heatsink seems to be connected to the active chipset heatsink, which in turn has additional heatsinks for all three of the board’s PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots. Other storage options include two U.2 ports, eight SATA ports, and a bundled Hyper M.2 card capable of supporting another four M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 storage drives.

The board has seven full length supported PCIe 4.0 x16 slots for add-in cards, with these systems aimed at renderers and computational work that can add in additional compute cards. Additional controllers include an Intel X550-AT2 for dual 10 gigabit Ethernet, a baseband management controller (ASUS doesn’t say which one), and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, likely enabled through Intel’s AX201 or AX210.

Port wise there are nine USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports each with 10 Gbps, and a single USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port capable of 20 Gbps. For the front panel, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectors, as well as USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 2.0. Also on the board is BIOS flashback, CMOS reset, what looks like a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, a COM header, and a wide array of 5-pin fan headers. ASUS’ custom TPU chipset is also onboard.

Users should also be aware that this board appears to take three 12V CPU power connectors, whereas most power supplies only take two. There are also two additional 6-pin PCIe connectors to provide power to the PCIe slots. The rear of the board contains a backplate to assist with board rigidity.

The ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE Wi-Fi is expected to be available in North America from March. Price is as-yet unknown.

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À partir d’avant-hierAnandTech

The Google Pixel 5: A Mini-Review - Small Package, Small Value?

Par Andrei Frumusanu

The Pixel 5 is a change of tactic for Google, with the company opting to go the route of a lower-cost “premium” or high mid-range component configuration, rather than setting up the Pixel 5 as an all-out flagship phone. Given the company’s product release cadence over the years, always releasing new phones towards the end of the year, just around the corner of the spring next-gen releases. This schedule had always been a disadvantage for Pixel flagships, so maybe Google’s change of strategy here to go for the mid-range is a more sensible approach.

The Intel Z590 Motherboard Overview: 50+ Motherboards Detailed

Par Gavin Bonshor

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. 

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

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

Par E. Fylladitakis

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.

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

CES 2021: Dynabook Intros Satellite Pro L50 Laptop

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

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

Par Ganesh T S

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!

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

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

Par Gavin Bonshor

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!

Acer at CES 2021: Acer Aspires To Ryzen 5000

Par Brett Howse

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, 1920x1080 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

Akasa at CES 2021: Turing A50 Chassis for Fanless Ryzen and SOHO Series RGB Lighting Accessories

Par Ganesh T S

As part of the lead up to CES 2021, Akasa made a couple of interesting announcements related to its lineup of DIY fanless cases and a second family of RGB lighting accessories.

We have covered Akasa's Turing fanless cases in detail earlier - starting off as a complete reimagination of a fanless Bean Canyon NUC (delivering excellent results in our review), Akasa also created the Turing FX based on the same design for the Frost Canyon NUC. Now, they have set their sights on one of the popular consumer-focused Ryzen-based mini-PCs in the market - the Asus PN50.

The Asus PN50, based on the Ryzen 4000-series mobile APUs (Renoirs with a TDP of 15W), has a physical footprint similar to that of the NUCs (with a ~4in. x ~4in. motherboard). The I/Os are a bit different compared to the NUCs, but Akasa could easily rework that aspect of the Turing design to quickly turn around a chassis capable of operating the PN50 without fans. Given the success that the Akasa Turing had with the Bean Canyon NUCs sporting a processor with a sustained package power consumption of 30W, it is likely that cooling the PN50 board (sporting a processor with a configurable TDP between 10W and 25W) should be a walk in the park. That said, we will reserve our final judgement for a hands-on review.

In other news, Akasa is also following up on their VEGAS series of RGB lighting accessories (CPU fans, case fans, and a RGB controller card) with a new SOHO series. This is a new set of addressable RGB (aRGB) products including case fans, LED lighting strips, a CPU cooler, and a controller card.

Akasa claims that the SOHO series case fan (SOHO AR) includes a redesigned sickle blade design and rotor technology to improve airflow and cooling efficiency compared to its previous case fans. The controller card ties all these accessories together in order to create a unified RGB solution for gamers looking to jazz up their system appearance. The key to any set of RGB lighting accessories is compatibility with applications from different vendors - Akasa indicates that the SOHO series aRGB controller and accessories are compatible with applications from GIGABYTE, ASUS, Razer, ASRock, and MSI.

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

CES 2021: ASUS ROG Unveils Updated Zephyrus G14 for 2021

Par Gavin Bonshor

During CES 2021's all-digital trade show, ASUS has unveiled its updated ROG Zephyrus G14 model for 2021. The new Zephyrus G14 uses AMD's latest 5000 series mobile processor, with its ANiME Matrix LED display built into the lid. 

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA401), according to ASUS, is the world's most powerful 14-inch laptop, with AMD's next-generation Ryzen 5000 mobile processor and NVIDIA's GeForce RTX mobile graphics. It is available with a choice of two 14-inch displays, including a 2K 120 Hz DCIP-3 or 1080p 144 Hz adaptive sync panel. Designed for gamers on the go, it has a thickness of 17.9 mm, with a total weight of 1.6 KG. 


ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 in Moonlight White

Available in either Eclipse Gray or Moonlight White, the ROG Zephyrus G14 also includes an ANiME virtual panel integrated into the lid. This includes a new virtual pet that users can interact with. Some of the more technical specifications include up to 32 GB of DDR4-3200 memory, up to 1 TB of fast NVMe storage, and ASUS's 90 Wh battery with Type-C charging capabilities at 100 W. 


ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 ANiME panel on the lid in Eclipse Gray

Connectivity options include one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery function, with a further USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, and one HDMI 2.0b video output. ASUS also includes a Wi-Fi 6 interface for wireless and Bluetooth connectivity.

At this time, ASUS hasn't provided us with any pricing information.

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

CES 2021: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 With Next Gen AMD Ryzen Mobile

Par Gavin Bonshor

During the new CES 2021 digital event, ASUS lifted the lid on its new updated Zephyrus G15. Designed for gaming, the ROG Zephyrus G15 includes multiple configurations, with a 15.6" screen with either a 1080p 144 Hz IPS or 1440p 165 Hz panel AMD's next-generation Ryzen mobile processor.

ASUS has updated ROG Zephyrus G15 with some notable features, including a new 90 Wh battery with a 200 W AC charger. Still, it can be used with its 100 W Type-C charging adapter, which is available separately. ASUS advertises a 10-hour battery life. In terms of size, the ROG Zephrus has a depth of 19.9 mm and weighs just 1.9 KG, which is quite svelte for a gaming notebook.


ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 2021 in Moonlight White

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus can be had with up to 32 GB of DDR4-3200 SDAM, with AMD's upcoming next-generation Ryzen Mobile processors, and NVIDIA's next-generation RTX mobile graphics. Storage options include either a 512 GB or 1 TB NVMe based PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 drive, with a choice between a 1080p 144 Hz IPS or 1440p 165 Hz with 100% DCIP-3 color reproduction and up to 400 nits of brightness.

There are plenty of connections, including two USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, a DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0b video output pairing, as well as a single 3.5 mm combo port and an RJ45 port with an unspecific networking controller. ASUS does, however, include a Wi-Fi 6 capable interface with support for BT 5.0 devices. Built into the G15 is a trio of microphones with three modes (Cardioid, Omni, and Stereo), six integrated speakers, with a 20% bigger touchpad than the Zephyrus 2020 G15 model. 


ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 2021 in Eclipse Gray

ASUS hasn't said when it intends to launch the ROG Zephyrus G15 2021 model, but it's likely to coincide with an AMD announcement on its Ryzen 5000 H series mobile processors. The ROG Zephyrus G15 will also be available in two different colors, Eclipse Gray and Moonlight White.

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

CES 2021: ASUS Unveils New ROG Flow X13 Convertable Gaming Notebook

Par Gavin Bonshor

At the all-digital CES 2021 event, ASUS has unveiled a brand new convertible 14" gaming laptop, the ROG Flow X13. The Flow X13 can harness the power of AMD's Ryzen 9 5980HS mobile processor, with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, with a flippable 360° touch screen.

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 represents an interesting segue into the gaming capable convertible space. Some of its most notable design aspects revolve around the 13.4" display, which has a 16:10 aspect ratio, with support for both touch and stylus input. The screen is coated with robust Corning Gorilla Glass, supports adaptive sync, and includes Pantone color validation. In terms of specification, the panel will be available with either 1080p 120 Hz or at 4K.

One of the biggest features includes its ability to convert into four different configurations on the fly, including a regular laptop, tablet, tent, and stand modes. Looking at the internals, the ROG Flow X13 will support up to and including the Ryzen 9 5980HS mobile processor, with up to and including NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics. ASUS also states that it will be using AMD's top binned CPUs for this model to ensure the best performance and highest quality silicon.

Another claim from ASUS is that the ROG Flow X13's battery can hold out up to 18 hours, with 10 hours of expected battery life during continuous video playback. It comes supplied with its new 100 W USB Type-C PD charger that can charge an empty battery to 60% in around 39 minutes.

ASUS hasn't revealed when the ROG Flow X13 will be available to buy and hasn't supplied any pricing information.

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

Razer Updates Blade 15 & Blade Pro 17 For 2021, Adds GeForce RTX 30 GPUs & More

Par Ryan Smith

Following NVIDIA’s announcement of their new GeForce RTX 30 series mobile GPUs, Razer is among several laptop vendors today announcing new and updated laptops using the new hardware. Overall, the company is updating its Blade 15 and Blade Pro 17 laptop families to use the new GPUs, all the while the company is also making some updates to the other components they use, and even the Blades; chassis themselves.

Razer Blade 15 Base Model

We’ll start off with the 2021 Razer Blade 15, the latest iteration of Razer’s popular 15-inch gaming laptop.  As has been the case for a few years now, the Blade 15 is internally divided up into two models, the lower tier “Base Model” and higher tier “Advanced Model”, which in many respects are entirely different laptops. Along with the Advanced Model offering additional features, it also uses its own, typically thinner chassis, largely making it a separate model in its own right.

For the base model Blade 15, Razer is sticking with Intel’s 6-core i7-10750H processor as the heart of the machine. Graphics options for the laptop are either a GeForce RTX 3060 6GB or GeForce RTX 3070 8GB as an upgrade option, replacing the RTX 2070 used in the 2020 models. Meanwhile Razer is using DDR4-2933 memory for this laptop, and while 16GB is the only configuration they offer, the SO-DIMMs can be swapped out and the laptop supports up to 64GB of memory.

As for display options, Razer is now offering a new 144Hz 1080p panel as the minimum option for the 2021 models.  This IPS-type panel offers 100% coverage of the sRGB gamut (something the previous gen did not) and a matte finish. Meanwhile Razer also offers a 165Hz 1440p IPS-type panel which, along with the higher resolution, can also cover 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum.  All of these display options come factory calibrated as well, though it’s worth noting that none of the base model panels come with variable refresh support.

For storage, the 2021 base model SKUs all include a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD. This SSD is replaceable, and like last year’s version, well there’s a second open M.2 slot for adding a second drive altogether. If you need more storage past that, the laptops offer a Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port, along with another USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) port, and a trio of 3.2 Gen 1 USB-A ports.

Razer is also once again using one of their Chroma RGB keyboards. This is a single-zone (rather than per-key) affair, though according to Razer, it does use a new layout. This fits into Razer’s 19.9mm thick aluminum chassis, which has been carried over from their 2020 models. So has its 65Whr battery, which although won’t be enough for long gaming sessions away from a power outlet, is more than enough to drive the laptop for productivity tasks for quite some time.

Rounding out the package, Razer supports the usual networking standards. Along with Wi-Fi 6 support via an Intel AX201 adapter, the laptop also supports Bluetooth 5.1, and even comes with a Gigabit Ethernet jack for hardwired connections. Surprisingly, Razer also supports HDMI 2.1 out, indicating that even though the laptop is using NVIDIA’s Optimus technology, they’ve still hardwired the HDMI port directly to the NVIDIA GPU.

The 2021 Razer Blade 15 Base Model will start at $1699, with pre-orders starting today and will be on-sale/shipping on January 26th.

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model

Moving up a level, we have the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model. Which as alluded to earlier, is in several respects a significant step up from the base model in terms of features and performance.

The Blade 15 Advanced Model is built around a full 8-core 10th gen Intel processor, specifically the i7-10875H. Razer is pairing this with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 and 3080 laptop adapters, with the highest SKU going half a step further and offering a 16GB version of the 3080 rather than the standard 8GB version. This configuration replaces the RTX 2070 Super/2080 Super from the 2020 models.

Included memory will depend on the specific laptop SKU; the cheaper models come with 16GB in two DDR4-2933 DIMMs, while the higher-end models come with 32GB of that memory. As with the base model, the machine can be upgraded to hold 64GB altogether.

For display options, Razer is offering no less than three different choices here. The base option for the cheapest Blade 15 Advanced SKU is a 240Hz 1440p IPS-type panel, which can cover 95% of the sRGB spectrum. This also happens to be the only panel with G-Sync support among all of Razer’s options, giving this laptop the best chance to comfortably game at 1440p. Alternatively, Razer also offers a 360Hz 1080p panel for the very fastest refresh rates (G-Sync need not apply), or as a high-resolution option the company is once again offering a 4K OLED touch panel, which is capable of covering 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum and supports HDR as well.

All of this is going into a new chassis for the Blade 15 Advanced, which has seen Razer rework the laptop’s aluminum body to make it even thinner – now it’s just 16.99mm thick – while improving its expandability. The new chassis isn’t a remarkable departure from the old one, but it gives Razer claim to shipping the smallest 15-inch RTX gaming laptop, and more importantly, it opens up space for things like a second M.2 slot.

Which brings us to storage: the Blade 15 Advanced ships with a 1TB NVMe M.2 drive, and for the first time for the Advanced Model, also includes a second empty M.2 slot for another drive. To accomplish this, Razer has opted to stack the second SSD on top of the first one, owing to the space constraints of the laptop.

Fitting for the advanced model, this laptop comes with a per-key LED version of Razer’s Chroma RGB keyboard. And in case you like making faces at your laptop, it also packs in an IR camera for Windows Hello login support.

Rounding out the package, for wired connectivity the Advanced Model comes with a Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C port, a second USB-C port, and trio of USB-A ports. An HDMI 2.1 port is also present, and while the Advanced Model drops the Gigabit Ethernet port, it picks up an SD card reader instead. Meanwhile wireless support is provided via Intel’s new AX210 adapter, offering Wi-Fi6E as well as Bluetooth 5.2.

Finally, this is the only version of the Blade 15 family that supports charging over a USB-C port. To be sure, the entire Blade 15 family comes with a 230W proprietary adapter, so the max 100W offered by USB-C isn’t enough to charge the laptop at its full rate. But it’s more than enough to keep it powered under non-gaming scenarios, or charge the 80Whr battery in a reasonable period of time.

The 2021 Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model will start at $2499, with pre-orders starting today for shipment in February.

Razer Blade Pro 17

Last but not least, Razer is also updating their largest laptop, the Blade Pro 17. This is a slightly more straightforward update than the Blade 15 – there’s no new chassis involved – but it’s getting the same treatment in terms of upgrading the graphics and display options.

Built around the same 8-core i7-10875H as the 2020 model, the 2021 model replaces its GeForce RTX 2070/2080 graphics options with the new GeForce RTX 3060/3070/3080 adapters. As with the Blade 15 Advanced, the highest-end SKU gets 16GB of memory to go with its RTX 3080, while all the other SKUs come with 8GB or 6GB of VRAM respectively.

Meanwhile, memory and storage options remain virtually unchanged from the past generation. Lower-end SKUs come with 16GB of DDR4-2933 in two DIMMs, and higher-end SKUs come with 32GB. Similarly, storage is split between 512GB M.2 NVMe drives on some SKUs, and 1TB on others. And of course, the Blade Pro 17 features an open M.2 slot for another drive.

For display options, Razer is expanding their options on the Blade Pro 17 slightly, including a middle-tier 1440p display option to compliment their existing 1080p and 4K displays. At the lower-end is a 360Hz 1080p 17.3-inch IPS-type display, which can cover 100% of the sRGB spectrum. Above that is the 165Hz 1440p IPS-type display, which again offers 100% sRGB coverage. And finally, Razer will once again offer a 4K IPS-type panel, which unique among the options offers touch screen support as well as 100% Adobe RGB coverage.

All of the Blade Pro 17 SKUs will feature a per-key lighting version of Razer’s Chroma RGB keyboard, as well as an IR camera for Windows Hello. All models also feature Intel’s AX210 adapter, offering Wi-Fi6E as well as Bluetooth 5.2.

As for ports, the Blade Pro 17 offers a Thunderbolt-3 enabled USB-C port, another USB-C port, three USB-A ports, an HSMI 2.1 port, and a SD card reader. The laptop also surprisingly offers a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port for wired networking, and marking the first time I’ve seen a 2.5GbE port on a laptop.

The 2021 Razer Blade Pro 17 will start at $2299, with pre-orders opening up today and orders shipping sometime later in Q1.

Acer at CES 2021: Gaming Laptops Update With Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA Refreshes

Par Brett Howse

Today at CES, Acer is announcing some refreshes of their gaming lineup as well as a brand-new compact gaming notebook. Acer has been a close partner with AMD over the last several years, and they are one of the first to announce new devices based on the Ryzen 5000 laptop APU, as well as updates to their Intel fleet thanks to the launch of the new Tiger Lake H-Series. Finally, thanks to the launch of NVIDIA’s RTX 3000 series for notebooks, graphics are getting a refresh across the board.

Predator Triton 300 SE

First up is the all-new Acer Predator Triton 300 SE, with the SE standing for Special Edition. This is Acer’s first gaming laptop to offer a 14-inch display, fitting it under the Triton 500 and Triton 700 in their lineup. The SE is also Acer’s first laptop to feature a sandblasted and anodized aluminum exterior, devoid of the typical gaming accoutrements such as large logos and flashy colors. The Predator Triton 300 SE is a sleeper with very subdued styling, but still packing a punch.

Powering the latest in the Triton series of thin and light gaming laptops is the just announced Intel H35 Tiger Lake processors, with up to the Core i7 with 5.0 GHz on the latest 10 nm node from Intel. Acer offers up to 24 GB of RAM, with 8 GB soldered in and one free SODIMM for upgradable memory. For graphics, Acer has turned to the latest and greatest NVIDIA RTX 3060 which should be plenty to power the 14-inch 1920x1080 144 Hz IPS display. On storage, Acer will offer up to 1 TB of PCIe 3.0 NVMe.

The new Predator Triton 300 SE is also one of the first laptops on the market to support NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus, which means the display can offer variable refresh rates while still allowing the integrated GPU to be used for battery-sensitive workloads. Previously Acer supported a multiplexer on the Triton lineup, but users had to reboot to switch from Optimus to G-SYNC, so moving to Advanced Optimus is a big win for usability.

Despite the powerful internals, the Predator Triton 300 SE is not much larger than a typical 14-inch notebook, at just 0.7 inches thick and weighing just 3.75 lbs. Coupled with the subdued styling, and Acer is hoping to see a wider audience interested in their new design.

As far as cooling, which is always a challenge in a thin and light gaming system, Acer has moved to their fifth generation Aeroblade 3D fans, featuring thinner fan blades at just 0.8 mm, and 89 blades per fan, but to keep noise in check they have implemented a ring design to reduce turbulence. This is coupled with distinct heat zones, with foam insulation between them to keep the heat moving in the direction desired and out of the laptop. Acer’s Predator Sense software has a specific quiet setting as well to let the laptop be used in a productivity environment.

Rounding out the new laptop is Wi-Fi 6 based on the Killer (owned by Intel) NIC, and the Killer software is integrated into Acer’s Predator Sense suite. There is a Thunderbolt 4 port as well, and Acer has added a fingerprint reader into the glass trackpad.

The new Acer Predator Triton 300 SE will be available in March starting at $1399.99 USD.

Predator Helios 300

Getting a mild refresh is the Predator Helios 300, which is moving up to the latest NVIDIA GPUs, all the way to RTX 3080. Otherwise this 15.6-inch gaming notebook remains relatively unchanged, and still features the 10th Gen Intel Core H-Series processors, and a 144 Hz IPS 1920x1080 display.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 will be available in February, starting at $1249.99 USD.

Nitro 5

We’ve reviewed several of the Acer Nitro 5 models, and the latest featured the AMD Ryzen 4000 series “Renoir” processors. Although definitely in the budget space, the Nitro 5 delivered excellent performance for the money, and should be on the short list for anyone looking for a budget gaming laptop. At CES today, Acer is announcing a refresh of the Nitro 5 to now include the latest AMD Ryzen 5000 series APUs as well as Intel Tiger Lake based models.

The Nitro 5 lineup is also expanding, and Acer has seen strong demand for more powerful versions of their least-expensive gaming system. The Nitro 5 will be available in both 15.6 and 17.3-inch sizes, and both will offer a base 1920x1080 60 Hz display, with 144 hz and 360 Hz available, and there will also be a 2560x1440 144Hz offering.

On the graphics side, Acer is sticking with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 at the low end, but massively bumping the high end of the Nitro lineup all the way to the RTX 3080. On the CPU front, Ryzen 5 5600H will be the low end, with some Intel Tiger Lake in the middle, and the Ryzen 9 5900HX at the top.

Despite the powerful internals, Acer claims a 10-hour battery life on the 15.6-inch model, and a 9-hour battery life on the 17.3-inch.

The price range for the Nitro 5 is very wide too, with the base system featuring a Ryzen 5 5600H, 8 GB of RAM in single channel but with a free SODIMM slot, 256 GB SSD, and a GeForce GTX 1650 for $749, but the top of the range Nitro 5 will come in at a staggering $2299. Acer is hoping to capture interest in the crowd who cherish performance over a more expensive design, and it has worked well for them with Nitro 5 so far.

The refreshed Acer Nitro 5 will be available in some regions beginning in March.

Source: Acer

AMD Opens Up Threadripper Pro: Three New WRX80 Motherboards

Par Gavin Bonshor

Stepping out of its supposed 'exclusivity deal' with Lenovo, who had the first rights to Threadripper Pro in the ThinkStation P620, motherboard vendors have started showing off some of its WRX80 motherboard models designed for AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors. Some of the benefits of the new platform over standard Threadripper include eight-channel memory and up to 128 x PCIe 4.0 lanes, which is double that of the non-Pro variants. While this sounds like EPYC, it sits between the two with only 2 TB DRAM support. It's time to showcase what we know, including three new models based on the WRX80 chipset.

The AMD WRX80 chipset benefits from eight-channel memory for increased bandwidth when compared to quad-channel Threadrippers and dual-channel Ryzen configurations, with capacity for up to 2 TB when used with DDR4 LRDIMM memory. It also includes support for both ECC and non-ECC memory at DDR4-3200. The biggest jump in regards to specification compared to regular TR is in its PCIe support, with up to 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes available, which in turn increases the amount of PCIe slot real estate vendors can use. 

Patrick Kennedy from ServeTheHome has affectionately called this platform 'WEPYC', as in 'Workstation EPYC', as it is more like an EPYC than it is a Threadripper.

Supermicro M12SWA-TF

The Supermicro M12SWA-TF is dominated by its transposed sWRX8 socket (LGA 4094) and includes eight horizontal memory slots, with support for up to 1 TB of DDR4-3200. The Supermicro has support for AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors up to 64 cores, including the entry-level 16 core variant. It is using an all-black PCB, with a cooling fan attached to the heatsink, with HEDT chipsets having a tendency to run quite warm. This will be even more apparent with PCIe 4.0 lanes over passively cooled options that use PCIe 3.0. 

It is E-ATX in size, which is fully utilized with an impressive six full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slots. This includes support for two triple-slot or three dual-slot graphics cards, which will depend on the configuration a user opts for. For storage, the M12SWA-TF includes four SATA ports and four PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots that include support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays. Supermicro has also incorporated two PCIe 4.0 U.2 slots, with support for just RAID 0 and 1 arrays. The M12SWA-TF also uses an ASpeed's 7th generation AST2600 BMC controller with one D-sub video output on the rear for physical IPMI access. (Ian: Oooh, AST2600 is new, isn't it?)

The board also includes support for up to five USB 3.2 G2 ports, with four Type-A and one Type-C, and five USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports including a mixture of support on the rear panel and through internal headers. There's also two USB 2.0 ports available, with ten 4-pin fan headers, including two for CPU fans and eight for chassis fans. Supermicro is using Realtek's new and unannounced ALC4050 HD audio codec, with a secondary ALC1220 codec. Networking support includes two RJ45 ports, including one powered by an Aquantia AQC113C 10 GbE controller, with an Intel I120-AT Gigabit controller also allowing for IPMI access.

ASUS WRX80 Pro WS Sage SE WIFI

Another model expected for AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro is the ASUS WRX80 Pro Sage SE WIFI. While we don't have any technical information and specifications from ASUS itself, we do have an image of it that VideoCardz reported on. There's a lot to go on from just the image, and it looks as though ASUS will fully utilize all of the PCIe 4.0 lanes from Threadripper Pro.

The ASUS WRX80 Pro WS Sage SE WIFI is using seven full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, with eight memory slots in two banks of four flanking the transposed LGA 4094 socket. The design includes an all-black PCB, with contrasting black heatsinks for the chipset, M.2 slots, and power delivery. The memory will operate at 1PDC, with eight slots likely to offer similar memory support to Supermicro's M12SWA-TF model, although we will find out more when ASUS officially unveils it.

We do know that the WRX80 Pro will include Wi-Fi capabilities, most likely using one of Intel's Wi-Fi 6 interfaces. From the design, it looks like it will include eight SATA, three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2, and two PCIe 4.0 x4 U.2 ports for storage, but hopefully, ASUS will shed more light on the official specifications soon.

GIGABYTE WRX80 SU8

Based upon a leak from VideoCardz, GIGABYTE is also joining the fray with its WRX80 SU8 model. As it stands, we don't have official specifications or any details from GIGABYTE itself, it looks to be using a large PCB, likely EEB form factor from what we can see. Like the other WRX80 models, the GIGABYTE includes eight memory slots for eight-channel memory, with ECC and non-ECC types supported. The slots are split into two pairs of four and are horizontally aligned which surrounds the transposed LGA 4094 socket.

The GIGABYTE WRX80 SU8 includes seven full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slots, with a large chipset heatsink on the right-hand side. While it's difficult to determine a lot of the storage specifications from the image we have from VideoCardz, we can see it may include three to four Ethernet ports on the rear panel. 

Overall

In speaking with one of the vendors, their main market is going to be system integrators - people who build and sell workstations. I contacted a high-end system integrator and confirmed that they are building a TR Pro machine, although it is very much still a work in process. The vendor, when asked about on-shelf availability, said that they don't particularly plan on doing a full retail packaging, but should AMD push the TR Pro CPUs into the consumer channel, they will prepare the appropriate boxing. In that light, as it stands, it looks like it will depend on AMD to decide if they want to enable the regular consumer retail channel.

At this time, we don't have any information on pricing or when the aforementioned WRX80 models for AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro will be launched. 

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

Plugable Updates USB-C 7-in-1 Hub with Ethernet and 4Kp60 Display Support

Par Ganesh T S

A major issue faced by owners of notebooks and compact SFF PCs such as the NUCs is the paucity of USB ports or even the absence of often-needed functionality like SD /microSD card slots and RJ-45 ports. Multi-function USB hubs come to the rescue here (at the cost of physical system footprint). One of the well-reviewed low-cost offerings in this market segment is Plugable's 2020 USB-C 7-in-1 Hub. This offering allowed MFDP (multi-functional Display Port) USB-C ports in a host system to support a micro-SDXC, full-sized SDXC, HDMI 1.4 (4Kp30) display output, and three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports in a small rectangular unit. While capable of being bus-powered, the hub also includes a USB charging pass-through port, allowing for up to 87W of power delivery to the host system.

Plugable's 2020 USBC-7IN1 Multi-function Hub

At CES 2021, Plugable is updating the hub with new internals and I/Os. Thanks to the inclusion of a Parade PS186 DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 protocol converter, the HDMI 1.4 (4Kp30) port is now replaced by a HDMI 2.0 (4Kp60) port, enabling extended compatibility with DisplayPort 1.4 hosts that are becoming more common now. One of the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports is also being replaced by a RJ-45 Gigabit LAN port using a Realtek RTL8153 USB to GbE controller. The other ports and features (including the 87W pass-through charging port to which the host notebook's original charger can connect - enabled by a VIA Technologies VL103 PD controller) are retained. The USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports are enabled by the VIA Technologies VL817 hub chip, and the card readers have a Genesys Logic GL3224 chip behind them.

Plugable's New 2021 USBC-7IN1E Multi-function Hub

The new 2021 Plugable USBC-7IN1E multi-function USB-C hub is now available for $30 (after applying a $5 off coupon on the MSRP of $35).

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

Lenovo CES 2021 ThinkPad X1 Lineup: New Designs, New Displays for Flagship Laptops

Par Brett Howse

Today at CES, Lenovo is announcing updates to some of their most popular laptops in the ThinkPad X1 series. Lenovo is refreshing not just with the standard new CPUs, but also is following the industry trend of taller aspect ratio displays. The newest model to the lineup is the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, featuring a 3:2 aspect, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 and ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 are both getting 16:10 displays.  Finally, there is a new ThinkPad X12 Detachable 12.3-inch convertible tablet.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Lineup
  ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga ThinkPad X1 Carbon ThinkPad X1 Yoga ThinkPad X12 Detachable
CPU 11th Gen Intel Core
Up to i7 with vPro
GPU Up to Intel Iris Xe
Display 13.5-inch 3:2 IPS
2256 x 1504
450 nit 100% sRGB
14-inch 16:10 IPS
1920x1200 sRGB
Optional UHD 100% P3 HDR400
14-inch 16:10 IPS
1920x1200 sRGB
Optional UHD 100% P3 HDR400
12.3-inch 3:2 IPS
FHD+ 400 nit
RAM Up to 16 GB LPDDR4x Up to 32 GB LPDDR4-4267 Up to 32 GB LPDDR4-4267 Up to 16 GB LPDDR4x
Storage Up to 1 TB PCIe 3.0 Up to 2 TB PCIe 4.0 Up to 2 TB PCIe 4.0 Up to 1 TB PCIe 3.0
Networking Wi-Fi 6
Optional LTE
Optional 5G
Wi-Fi 6
Optional LTE
Optional 5G
Wi-Fi 6
Optional LTE
Optional 5G
Wi-Fi 6
Optional LTE
I/O 1 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C
1 x Nano SIM
1 x Headset
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB 3.2 Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x Nano SIM
1 x Headset
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB 3.2 Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x Nano SIM
1 x Headset
1 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB 3.2 Type-C
1 x Nano SIM
1 x Headset
Dimensions 297 x 233 x 11.5 mm
11.71 x 9.14 x 0.45 inches
314 x 222 x 14.9 mm
12.38 x 8.72 x 0.59 inches
314 x 223 x 14.9 mm
12.38 x 8.77 x 0.59 inches
283 x 203 x 8.8 mm
11.15 x 8.01 x 0.35 inches
Weight 1.15 kg / 2.54 lbs 1.13 kg / 2.49 lbs 1.39 kg / 3 lbs 760 g / 1.67 lbs
Price $1899 USD $1429 USD $1569 USD $1149 USD
Availability January 2021 February 2021 February 2021 January 2021

ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

Not just a special edition of the normal X1 Yoga, the new ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga is the thinnest ThinkPad ever produced at just 11 mm Z-height. With a weight starting at 1.15 kg / 2.54 lbs, it is also one of the lightest, making this new 13.5-inch laptop one of Lenovo’s most portable ThinkPads ever. Powered by 11th Gen Intel Core up to an i7 with vPro, and this business device will have plenty of grunt to churn through presentations. With up to 16 GB of LPDDR4x memory, and up to 1 TB of PCIe storage, the X1 Titanium Yoga should be more than ample for almost any business application.

Not just Titanium in name, this thin and light 2-in-1 laptop is actually skinned in titanium, giving a unique appearance and feel to the device. The convertible features a 3:2 aspect ratio 13.5-inch display which works enhances the usability in laptop mode, since there is more vertical real estate, but also makes it a much better convertible device for use in the hand.

Lenovo claims up to 10.9 hours of battery life from the 44.5 Wh battery, and the device charges over USB-C thanks to the two Thunderbolt 4 ports. There is no USB Type-A available though, so legacy devices will need to be plugged with an adapter, or through a dock.

Lenovo also offers Wi-Fi 6, and cellular connectivity with LTE and 5G options. There is an IR camera with a privacy shutter, and a fingerprint reader.

The new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga will be available this month, starting at $1899.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

One of the most popular ThinkPad designs around is the X1 Carbon series, which is a traditional clamshell laptop, and for 2021 the laptop has been completely redesigned and now features a 16:10 aspect ratio display meaning there is more vertical space. Lenovo has also added a wider trackpad, and a larger battery. This Intel Evo design also offers Wi-Fi 6 and optional LTE or 5G connectivity.

Powered by the latest 11th generation Intel core processors, aka Tiger Lake, the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon offers up to an i7 with vPro, up to 32 GB of LPDDR4x-4266 RAM, and up to 2 TB of PCIe 4.0 storage. Coupled with the new Tiger Lake Iris Xe graphics, and this 1.13 kg / 2.49 lb laptop offers a lot of performance in an elegant design.

The larger 57 Wh battery is rated for up to 16 hours of life, and the 65-Watt Type-C charger supports Lenovo’s Rapid Charge technology to get back up and running quickly.

The new 14-inch 16:10 display offers several variations, with 100% P3 gamut coverage and HDR 400 available. Lenovo is also upping the game in terms of communication, with Dolby Voice integrated which uses dynamic leveling to automatically adjust for voice levels and ambient noise levels. The integrated HD webcam also features IR, and the laptop includes a fingerprint reader which doubles as a wake-up button.

The new ThinkPad X1 Carbon will be available in February starting at $1429 USD.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6

Featuring much of the same features as the X1 Carbon, but with the added versatility of the 360° hinge Yoga design, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga also gets a new chassis this year and 16:10 display support.

Much of the internals are similar to the X1 Carbon, with 11th gen Intel Evo offering up to an i7 with vPro, Intel Xe graphics, and the same 32 GB of LPDDR4x-4266 and 2 TB of PCIe 4.0 storage. The battery capacity is the same, at 57 Wh, and it also features Thunderbolt 4 for charging and data.

The big change is again the move to a 16:10 aspect ratio display, adding more vertical room. The X1 Yoga offers the same display choices as the X1 Carbon, but with Touch being available across the board, as it is a convertible laptop.

The X1 Yoga does give up some weight over the X1 Carbon in exchange for more versatility with the Yoga hinge, and starting weight is 1.39 kg / 3 lbs. The aluminum laptop is offered in an attractive Storm Gray color.

For those looking at the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga, Lenovo expects availability in February, with prices starting at $1569.

ThinkPad X12 Detachable

For those that need the ultimate in portability, Lenovo is announcing the new ThinkPad X12 Detachable, which is a new take in the mold of the Microsoft Surface Pro. Featuring a 12.3-inch 3:2 display, and detachable keyboard, the new convertible tablet weighs in at just 760 grams / 1.67 lbs, or 1.1 kg / 2.42 lbs with the keyboard attached.

Despite the small size, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable still features up to a quad-core 11th gen Intel Core i7 with vPro, operating at up to 15 Watts and 4.3 GHz. It also features Intel Iris Xe graphics, and up to 16 GB of LPDDR4x memory. On the storage side, Lenovo has up to 1 TB of NVMe on tap.

The 42 Wh battery is rated for almost ten hours of battery life, and the 65-Watt adapter supports Lenovo’s Rapid Charge. The charger works over USB-C, and the ThinkPad X12 Detachable offers a single Thunderbolt 4 port, as well as a second USB-C port which offers USB 3.2.

The convertible tablet also offers LTE connectivity, up to CAT9, along with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

The new ThinkPad X12 Detachable will be available in January starting at $1149 USD.

Source: Lenovo

CES 2021: Qualcomm Announces 2nd Gen Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor

Par Andrei Frumusanu

Today Qualcomm is announcing the release of their new 2nd generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Back in 2019, the company had released its first-generation sensor, most notable for being used in Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S20 series of devices, offering an alternative and very different technology compared to the competition’s optical based fingerprint sensor solutions.

CES 2021: Dynabook Unveils Satellite Pro C50

Par Gavin Bonshor

During CES 2021, Dynabook has unveiled its Satellite Pro series of laptops. A blast from the past, the new Satellite Pro C50 includes a professional design with a 15.6-inch screen with a thin bezel and is aimed more at professionals and SMEs.

The Dynabook Satellite Pro C50 has a dark blue frame, which is basic yet elegant, with a coating of Ionpure antimicrobial designed to limit bacterial growth. It includes a large full-size keyboard including a numeric keypad, with an integrated HD webcam along the top of the bezel. It has a large 5.2 x 3.4-inch trackpad and has support for Windows Precision Touchpad. 

Some of the more technical specifications include an Intel 10th generation mobile processor, DDR4 memory, with a solid-state drive for storage. It includes a USB 3.2 Type-C port with charging support, an HDMI video output, with Gigabit and Wi-Fi 5 network connectivity. It weighs around 1.76 KG, with a slim 19.7 mm profile.

In terms of pricing, the Dynabook Satellite Pro C50 starts at just $499.

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

CES 2021: Dynabook Announces New Satellite C40 Pro Laptop

Par Gavin Bonshor

It's not often that the range becomes the brand, but in the case of Dynabook, which used to be an affordable range of laptops, has announced a couple of new models for 2021. The new Dynabook Satellite Pro C40 is powered by Intel's 10th generation processors, with a 14" screen and an integrated HD webcam.

The Dynabook Satellite Pro C40 includes a dark blue chassis, with a thickness of just 18.9 mm and a weight of 1.55 KG. Some of the main features include a full-sized keyboard, an internal HD webcam, with a dual array microphone. It is powered by an Intel 10th generation processor, with a 14 inch 1080p non-glare screen, with a USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port that supports charging, external displays, and data transfer. Networking capabilities include a Gigabit Ethernet port, Wi-Fi 5, with support for Bluetooth connectivity. 

Prices for the Dynabook Satellite Pro C40 will start at $499.

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

CES 2021: ADATA SE900G External SSD, With RGB

Par Gavin Bonshor

With a varied selection of announcements for CES 2021's new virtual format, ADATA has unveiled a new external solid-state drive with integrated RGB LEDs. The ADATA SE900G looks to redefine portable storage for all the RGB junkies that also require fast SSD performance, with support for up to USB transfers speeds up to 20Gbps via USB 3.2 G2x2.

The SE900G uses a back shell constructed from metal, which ADATA claims is durable and designed to look premium. On the front is a criss-cross design with an integrated RGB light plate, making it easy to spot with its soft textured neon glare. 

Looking to offer users the fastest possible performance from an external drive, ADATA has equipped the SE900G with a USB 3.2 G2x2 interface, which is backward compatible with older USB Type-C connections, albeit with lower bandwidth and ultimately lower speeds.  ADATA is also claiming peak read and write speeds of up to 2000 MB/s, which is at the high-end of USB 3.2 G2x2's specification. The USB 3.2 G2x2 interface is capable of up to 20 Gbps, which uses two lanes of 10 Gbps at once to deliver its throughput.

ADATA hasn't revealed any details about storage capacities or pricing at this time.

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

CES 2021: ADATA Announces New XPG Levante Pro 360mm AIO CPU Cooler

Par Gavin Bonshor

The XPG 'The Future Of Gaming' event at the all-digital CES 2021 trade show has given us an insight into what to expect from ADATA's gaming division. One of its announcements includes an update to its RGB-enabled Levante series of AIO CPU coolers. The new XPG Levante Pro includes a 2.1" LCD color display on the pump and is equipped with a 360 mm radiator.

The XPG Levante Pro is based on its previous Levante ARB 360 mm AIO cooler, with a couple of notable upgrades. It is now equipped with a 2.1 " LCD screen built into the pump cap, which users can customize to display images or text and display vital system information such as temperatures and voltages.


The previous generation XPG Levante 360 AIO CPU cooler

XPG states that the Levante Pro uses Asetek's 7th generation PWM pump and includes three XPG Vento Pro 120 mm ARGB cooling fans with support for PWM to keep the large 360 mm radiator cool. At this time, XPG hasn't provided us with any images of the new Levante Pro, any technical specifications, or what sockets it will support. Still, it's likely to include support for the latest Intel LGA1200 and AMD AM4 platforms.

XPG, at this time, hasn't provided details on availability or pricing.

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

CES 2021: Western Digital's Portable SSDs Get Capacity Upgrades: 4TB of TLC for $680

Par Ganesh T S

Western Digital markets portable SSDs under different brands, catering to different market segments. The flagships in each brand make use of of very similar platforms - a M.2 NVMe SSD behind an appropriate bridge chip. The industrial design varies from brand to brand to appeal better to the target market. The WD My Passport and SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs are USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) SSDs using an ASMedia ASM2362 bridge chip and a WD SN550E PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD. The WD_BLACK P50 and SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSDs are USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20Gbps) SSDs using an ASMedia 2364 bridge chip with a SN750E and a SN730E PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD respectively.

Under the WD branding, the My Passport SSD with its hardware encryption capabilities targets the average consumer who wants to back up work files, user-generated multimedia, and personal files securely. The SanDisk Extreme and Extreme PRO targets professional users creating content on-the-go outside a standard office environment with its IP55 rating and two different speed levels - 1GBps-class for the Extreme and 2GBps-class for the Extreme PRO. The WD_BLACK P50 is meant for gamers who need fast and high capacity storage for their games and do not mind paying a premium for a stylish device fulfilling those requirements.

Currently, all four families mentioned above top out at 2TB. Today, Western Digital is announcing 4TB versions in all four, with market availability slated before the end of February. Internally, the four portable SSDs are all moving to a double-sided SN750-class NVMe drive. This means the same BiCS4 3D TLC NAND flash along with an in-house SSD controller. 256-bit hardware AES support is built-in, and enabled on all but the WD_BLACK P50 drive.

In terms of pricing, the 4TB versions of the 10Gbps-class SanDisk Extreme and WD My Passport SSD are coming out with a MSRP of $700 and $680, while the 20Gbps-class SanDisk Extreme PRO and WD_BLACK P50 for the same capacity are priced at $750. The premium is not only for the bridge chip with better performance, but the premium industrial design with liberal aluminum usage also. Interestingly, the 4TB internal drive is priced at $800 on WD's site.

The physical dimensions of all the 4TB versions are similar to the lower-capacity ones in each family except for the WD My Passport SSD. The move to a double-sided NVMe drive forces the 4TB version of the My Passport SSD to become 0.8mm thicker (9mm to 9.8mm). The drive's sleek nature was noted in our review of the 1TB version, and this thickness increase is a small price to pay for the increased capacity.

At price points of $680 - $750, it is evident that these are premium portable SSDs. 4TB of high-performance flash storage in a compact bus-powered enclosure was pretty much unimaginable even 5 years ago, and as the technology makes its way into the market, the premium is only expected. Professionals may not balk at such price points, as they realize the benefits of such drives for their use-cases and be willing to treat them as business expenses. To note, these are not the first such 4TB drives in the market - In fact, Sabrent's Rocket XTRM-Q is available in capacities up to 8TB, and works with optimal performance in both Thunderbolt 3 (22Gbps) and USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) modes. The 4TB XTRM-Q is priced at $700, and the new 4TB portable SSDs from Western Digital straddle that price point. However, Western Digital's value proposition is in the use of mature and proven 3D TLC flash in the drive (compared to the QLC NAND used in the Rocket XTRM-Q). The Sabrent offering does have Thunderbolt 3 performance up its sleeve. But, this 3D TLC offering at very similar price points should help push the pricing of high-capacity QLC-based drives further down. And, that is definitely good news for consumers.

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

CES 2021: HP Elite Dragonfly Lightweight Laptops

Par Brett Howse

Today at CES, HP is announcing some updates to their Elite Dragonfly series, which are targeted at business users who need portability. Improving on the original Whiskey Lake based model is the new convertible HP Elite Dragonfly G2, powered by the latest Intel Tiger Lake platform with vPro, and the HP Elite Dragonfly MAX, built to be the ultimate for collaboration and conferencing.

HP Elite Dragonfly
  G2 MAX
CPU Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake
Core i3/i5/i7 (i3 only on G2)
Optional vPro
GPU Intel 11th Gen UHD or Iris Xe depending on CPU
RAM Up to 32 GB LPDDR4
Storage Up to 2 TB M.2 PCIe
Networking Wi-Fi 6
Optional LTE Intel XMM 7360
Optional 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon X55
I/O 1 x USB 3.1
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x Nano SIM
Display 13.3-inch IPS 400 nits Low Power
Optional 1920x1080 1000 nits HP Sure View Reflect
Optional 3840x2160 550 nits HDR 400
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS
1000 nits HP Sure View Reflect Anti-Sparkle
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Audio and Video HP Bang & Olufsen Speakers
1.2 MP Webcam with IR
2 user facing mics
1 world facing mic
HP Bang & Olufsen Speakers
5 MP Webcam with IR
2 user facing mics
2 world facing mics
Battery 56 Wh - battery life estimate not yet provided
Dimensions 304 x 198 x 16.1 mm
11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches
Weight Starting at 998 grams
2.2 lbs
Starting at 1.13 kg
2.49 lbs
Pricing and Availability Available January 2021 / Pricing TBD

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

Improving on the original in almost every way, yet without drastically changing the form factor, the new G2 version of the Elite Dragonfly maintains its ultraportable status with a starting weight up 989 grams. The CNC Magnesium comes in Dragonfly Blue, and moves from Intel’s 8th gen Core to the latest 11th gen Tiger Lake platform, bringing about significantly more performance, and much improved graphics. With LPDDR4 support, the new G2 model can also be outfitted with up to 32 GB up RAM, which as is likely expected on such a thin and light machine, is soldered down. Storage is M.2, up to 2 TB.

HP has stuck with the traditional 13.3-inch 16:9 aspect ratio for the displays, with both 1920x1080 and 3840x2160 offerings, with 400 or 1000 nits brightness on the lower resolution panels, and 550 nits along with HDR 400 certification on the UHD display.

The previous model was rated at 24 hours of battery life, and although HP has not yet rated this model, Tiger Lake has shown itself to be very efficient at idle, so expect another excellent result here.

Despite the 16.1 mm thickness, HP has still managed to fit in a keyboard with 1.3 mm of travel, which is also spill resistant, and of course backlit. Audio is powered by Bang & Olufsen, and HP has included three microphones, with two facing the user and a third facing out for noise cancellation. There’s a 720p webcam, with IR capabilities as well.

The new Dragonfly series also features cellular connectivity options, with LTE from an Intel XMM 7360 modem, or 5G with the Qualcomm X55 modem. There is a single USB 3.1 port, as well as two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and as a business device, there is also an HDMI 1.4 output for connecting to a projector.

Pricing has not been finalized yet, but the new Elite Dragonfly G2 will be available this month.

HP Elite Dragonfly MAX

Although in the same chassis as the G2, the Dragonfly MAX is targeted towards people who do a lot of video conferencing and collaboration. Powered by the same Intel Tiger Lake platform, the MAX model sticks with the 13.3-inch Sure Video Reflect IPS panel with 1000 nits of brightness and 1920x1080 resolution.

The MAX differs in that it includes a 5 MP webcam with IR, and adds a fourth microphone for even better noise cancellation. It also comes in both the same Dragonfly Blue as the G2, but also a Sparkling Black option.

The HP Elite Dragonfly MAX will be available this month as well, with pricing TBD.

Source: HP

CES 2021: HP ENVY 14 Refreshed

Par Brett Howse

One of the best value laptops in HP’s lineup is their ENVY series. Featuring premium materials, the ENVY lineup brings a lot of the best of HP, without the higher price tag of some of their higher end lineups such as the Spectre series. For 2021, HP has refreshed the ENVY 14 with the latest internals, but also added a 16:10 display.

HP ENVY Laptop
  ENVY 14
CPU Core i5-1135G7
Quad-Core
Up to 4.2 GHz
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q
4GB GDDR6
Display 14-inch 1920x1200 IPS
16:10 Aspect Ratio
400 Nits
100% sRGB
RAM 16 GB DDR4-3200 (not accessible)
Storage 256 GB M.2 PCIe
Networking Intel AX201 W-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
I/O 1 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB Type-A 5 Gbps
1 x Headset jack
1 x HDMI 2.0
Micro SD Reader
Dimensions 313 x 224 x 18 mm
12.33 x 8.82 x 0.71 inches
Weight 1.60 kg / 3.53 lbs
Price $999 USD
Availability January 2021

HP ENVY 14

Powered by the latest Intel Tiger Lake platform in the Core i5-1135 G7, the new 14-inch ENVY gets off on the right foot, but the new laptop also features the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics card, meaning this portable laptop has some very powerful graphics available in a non-gaming laptop. The laptop offers 16 GB of DDR4-3200, and a 256 GB M.2 SSD.

The biggest change for this year though is the introduction of a taller 16:10 display, similar to what we’ve seen in several laptops over the last few months. The 1920x1200 resolution IPS panel offers 400 nits of brightness, and covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut. It also includes touch, and the bezels offer an 87% screen to body ratio.

The laptop features a sandblasted anodized aluminium finish, meaning it should not be as big of a fingerprint magnet as some of the glossier finishes.

The ENVY 14 offers lots of connectivity, with one Thunderbolt 4 port, as well as two USB Type-A ports for legacy devices. There is an HDMI 2.0 output, as well as a Micro SD card reader.

Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX201 network adapter powers the wireless, and brings with it Bluetooth 5.0.

The ENVY 14 offers an above average battery capacity, coming in at 63 Wh, so battery life should be quite good. It also features a 135-Watt AC adapter.

The new ENVY 14 will be available in January on HP.com starting at $999.

Source: HP

 

CES 2021: Thermaltake Unveils Tower 100 Mini ITX Chassis

Par Gavin Bonshor

Thermaltake has announced a new compact chassis based on its monolithic sized Tower 900 chassis. The new Tower 100 includes support for mini-ITX form factor motherboards, with ample cooling capabilities and support for larger graphics cards such as the NVIDIA RTX 3080.

The Thermaltake Tower 100 includes filtered ventilation from top to bottom, with 4 mm thick tempered glass side panels which are intended to combine style with performance. It includes an angled top-mounted I/O panel which includes support for USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, with dual USB 3.0 Type-A and front panel audio inputs.

According to Thermaltake, these chassis are designed for optimal airflow, and include two 120 mm 1000 RPM cooling fans, with one preinstalled in the top, and another in the bottom. It has support for additional fans including one 120/140 mm in the top, one 120/140 mm in above the PSU cover, and one 120/140 mm in the rear. Users can also install a 120 mm AIO CPU cooler in the top, with maximum clearance for a CPU cooler standing at 190 mm. It also includes capabilities to install graphics cards with a maximum length of up to 330 mm, which is fine for cards such as the NVIDIA RTX 3080, but a little short for the top-spec RTX 3090.

The Thermaltake Tower 100 will be available in two colors, black, and a subtle Snow Edition. Thermaltake states that the Tower 100 mini-ITX chassis will include a 3-year limited warranty, with a release in the US and Canada expected in late January.

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

 

CES 2021: Thermaltake Launches TOUGHAIR Series Air Coolers

Par Gavin Bonshor

This year at CES, Thermaltake is unveiling three new air coolers, the Toughair 110, 310, and 510. Each model is aimed at a different CPU segment and looks to offer an affordable and supports most of the popular desktop chipsets, including Intel's LGA1150 and AMD's AM4 socket.

The Thermaltake Toughair series includes three different models, each with different levels of cooling capability. The smallest of the trio is the Toughair 110, which includes a horizontal low-profile single fan design for chassis with space restrictions and is capable of cooling CPUs with a TDP of up to 140 W.


The Thermaltake Toughair 110 Low Profile CPU Cooler

Moving up the series, the Toughair 310 and 510 share the same vertical fin stack array, with the 310 coming with one 120 mm PWM fan capable of variable speeds from 500 to 2000 RPM, while the 510 is supplied with two. The stack itself uses four 6 mm copper heat pipes with direct contact for more optimized heat dissipation and is compatible with Intel's latest LGA1200 and 115x, with support for AMD's AM4, AM3, and AM2 chipsets. The Toughair 310 can support CPUs up to 170 W, while the 510 with two 120 mm fans can support up to 180 W.


Toughair 310

The Thermaltake Toughair 110, 310, and 510 come with a 2-year manufacturer's warranty and are set to cost $35, $40, and $50, respectively. 

Toughair 510

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

CES 2021: Acer Touts Trio of 4K and 1440p High Refresh Rate Gaming Monitors

Par Brett Howse

Gaming monitors have tended to prefer lower resolutions and higher refresh rates, but catering to the wide variety of users in the market, Acer has also been developing monitors for gamers who want higher resolutions with those same high refresh rates. Set to be released under their Nitro and Predator families, for CES 2021 the company is promoting a mix of new and previously-announced (i.e. delayed) monitors, which will provide both high resolutions and the faster refresh rates that make gaming monitors so smooth. Plus, the pricing looks solid.

Acer Nitro XV282K KV – UHD and FreeSync with HDMI 2.1

First unveiled back in September in China, Acer is bringing its first HDMI 2.1 monitor, the Acer Nitro XV282K KV, over to North America. Although a handful of a name, it is clearly targeted at the latest generation of consoles, specifically the Xbox Series X, as this UHD display features both VESA Variable Refresh (FreeSync) and HDMI 2.1, making it a perfect choice for those looking to pair the console with a high-refresh rate UHD display.

The 28-inch panel offers 3840x2160 resolution, and up to 144 Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync support. Acer claims 1 ms response time as well. This IPS display also offers 90% of the P3 color gamut, and Acer claims 100,000,000:1 contrast. The display is rated for HDR 400, and it comes with an included HDMI 2.1 cable for easy connection.

The Acer Nitro XV282K KV will be available in the US in May, starting at $899.99 USD.

Acer Predator XB273U NX – QHD and G-SYNC

Second up is a totally new monitor from Acer, the 27-inch Acer Predator XB273U NX. The 2560x1440 display features Acer's Agile-Splendor IPS panel, and can achieve an impressive 275 Hz refresh when overclocked.

It also supports HDR, and up to 95% of the P3 gamut. Acer claims 0.5 ms response time in gray to gray transitions, and coupled with the high refresh rate, should make for a very smooth experience. This display offers NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate. It also features the new NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer, which measures the time between a mouse click and the pixel actually changing, and is a feature aimed at the pro-gamer crowd for gameplay analysis.

The Acer Predator XB273U NX will be available in May starting at $1099.99 USD.

Acer Predator XB323QK NV – UHD and G-SYNC

Finally, Acer is also offering an update on their 31.5-inch behemoth G-Sync monitor, the Acer Predator XB323QK NV. This monitor was first announced back in June of 2020 with a September ship date, but it has since been pushed out to May of this year.

Aimed at the high-end of the market, the Acer Predator XB323QK NV offers a high-refresh UHD display with 3840x2160 resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate. Sporting DisplayHDR 400 certification, the monitor can produce 90% of the P3 gamut.

Like the other monitors being promoted today, the Acer Predator XB323QK NV will also available in May. Pricing will start at $1199.99 USD.

Source: Acer

Lenovo Announces New IdeaPad 5 Laptops at CES: AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, and 5G

Par Brett Howse

Always one of the biggest set of announcements for CES is from Lenovo, with updates to a lot of their lineup being announced every January, as well as some very interesting new products being shown off most years. As we head into CES week, Lenovo is teasing us with some updates to their IdeaPad lineup, including a new 5G model. As tends to be the case, we don’t always have the full spec sheets for these announcements yet, but let’s dig in and see what Lenovo is planning for the start of 2021.

IdeaPad 5G

5G is still a buzzword, but it is nice to see the technology coming to laptops as well. Lenovo’s new IdeaPad 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor, and is coupled to the X55 modem to provide sub-6 GHz 5G capabilities for speedier networking in supported locations. Interestingly, the new laptop offers the fastest cellular connectivity, but only has Wi-Fi 5 support when you do connect to an access point. The 14-inch laptop offers a 1920x1080 16:9 display which can hit 300 nits in the sRGB gamut. RAM is up to 8 GB of LPDDR4X, and storage offerings will be up to 512 GB of PCIe SSD.

The IdeaPad, thanks to the 8cx platform, is able to go fanless, which is one of the benefits of the low-powered Arm platform. Another benefit is battery life, with Lenovo claiming up to 20 hours of video playback from just 51 Wh capacity is a strong showing, and the USB-C charging offers Rapid Charge Express. Lenovo hasn’t fixed a price yet, other than to say it will vary by market, and that it will not be released in North America at this time.

IdeaPad 5 Pro and 5i Pro

Back in the x86 world, Lenovo is releasing two new IdeaPad models powered by AMD Ryzen in the 5 Pro, and 11th Gen Intel Core in the 5i Pro. These new laptops have moved to a 16:10 aspect ratio, and will be available in both a 14-inch and 16-inch model. We have seen a lot of laptops make the jump to taller displays in the last year or two, and it is very nice to see Lenovo offer several models with the 16:10 ratio.

Lenovo is utilizing the IR sensor for time-of-flight, instead of just for Windows Hello login, which is a nice touch. The laptop will sense when you get up and walk away, and automatically pause video, as an example. Lenovo is also adding Amazon Alexa Show Mode, which lets you use your PC as an Alexa device when you want to.

The displays are not only 16:10 aspect, but the 14-inch model offers a 90 Hz refresh rate and 400 nits of brightness. The 16-inch offers 120 Hz and 350 nits, which is nice to see in a non-gaming laptop. Both the Intel and AMD models will also offer an NVIDIA MX450 graphics card as a bump over integrated graphics.

The 14-inch model will offer a 56.5 Wh battery, while the larger 16-inch model jumps to a very impressive 75 Wh unit, and all of them feature Rapid Charge Express for quicker charging over USB-C.

On the Intel model, Tiger Lake is paired with up to 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 1 TB of PCIe storage, and the 16-inch model features a Thunderbolt 4 port. Those opting for the next-generation AMD Ryzen H model lose access to the Thunderbolt 4, but the 16-inch IdeaPad 5 Pro can be outfitted with 32 GB of DDR4, rather than the 16 GB max in the smaller model.

Lenovo has also added a larger trackpad, and updated the keyboard with new keys and backlighting.

These devices, other than the 16-inch AMD powered model, will not initially be in the US market, but availability for all models will be in March, with prices as follows:

  • IdeaPad 5 Pro 16” AMD laptop starts at $1149.99 and is to be available starting May 2021.
  • IdeaPad 5 Pro 14” AMD laptop (not in the U.S.) available in EMEA March 2021, starts at €799.00
  • IdeaPad 5i Pro 16” Intel laptop (not in the U.S.) available in EMEA March 2021, starts at €899
  • IdeaPad 5i Pro 14” Intel laptop (not in the U.S.) available in EMEA March 2021 starts at €699

Source: Lenovo

GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master Motherboard Review: Clawing at the Competition

Par Gavin Bonshor

Throughout the majority of 2020, we saw an escalating war between AMD and Intel battling for supremacy in the desktop CPU market, which is an obvious win for the consumers. One of the side battles thus appeared in the motherboard market, with the Z490 chipset paving the way for Intel's 14 nm Comet Lake processors. One such model is the GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master, which is poisitioned in the mid-range segment's upper end with a premium feature set. Some of the most notable features include 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi 6 networking, triple PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, and plenty of rear panel connectivity.

Intel Begins End-of-Life Plan For Coffee Lake 300-Series Chipsets

Par Gavin Bonshor

Intel has begun plans to discontinue its 300-series chipsets, including the higher-end Z390, Z370 chipsets, as well as its longer life B and H series chipsets. The 300-series chipsets are based on the second revision of Intel's LGA1151 socket designed for its Coffee Lake processors.

In 2017, to complement the launch of its 8th generation Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron Coffee Lake processors, Intel unveiled its 300-series chipsets. This includes the Z390, Z370, B365, and H310 chipsets. The most notable processors for the 300-series are the Core i7-8700K and Core i9-9900K, with these chips serving as Intel's flagship desktop processors from the end of 2017 up through the spring of 2020.

But Coffee Lake's time on the market is getting ready to sunset, and thus so are the chipsets that support it.

Outlining its discontinuance plan until the last shipping date expected on or before January 28th 2022, Intel advises its customers to make its final orders by July 23rd 2021.

Perhaps one of the most critical elements of the end of life plan is the H310 chipset. This is a chipset designed for longevity with three variations, including H310 and H310D based on 14 nm and the H310C built on 22 nm. It could be that the H310 chipset wasn't as popular as expected, especially compared to the H81 chipset, which lasted over 7 years before it was discontinued.

The Intel 300-series chipset has since been replaced by the 400-series desktop chipset, including Z490, W480, H470, B460, and Q470. These chipsets introduced support for Intel's Comet Lake (10th gen Core) processors, and their associated LGA 1200 socket. There have also been many rumors circulating that Intel's latest 500-series chipsets will be announced during CES, with Intel finally offering PCIe 4.0 with its new 14 nm Rocket Lake processors are expected towards the end of Q1.

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Cost Increases and Tariffs: ASUS to Increase MSRP on Graphics Cards and Motherboards

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

It is fairly easy to state that 2020 has had a deep effect on the supply chain mechanics of creating electronics and electronic components. Not only have there been logistical challenges in meeting regular levels of production, but the increase in demand due to work-from-home measures is putting additional strain up and down the ecosystem. On top of this, continued volatility with regards to trade and tariffs have been leaving more questions unanswered as to how companies involved in the results of all of this should engineer their operations.

To that end, ASUS has put out a statement through its public Facebook group stating that it will be increasing MSRP on components, with graphics cards and motherboards being highlighted as the initial targets, with more to potentially follow. The reasons for this are described in the post, made by long-time ASUS employee Juan Jose Guerrero III, are due to ‘increases in cost for components, operating costs, and logistical activities plus a continuation of import tariffs’. Guerrero goes on to say that ASUS ‘worked closely with our supply logistic partners to minimise price increases’.  

The exact scale of the price increases will be borne through the next few weeks, as the price adjustments work their way through the supply chain to distributors and finally retailers. ASUS is a large scale production house for both AIB graphics cards and motherboards, and can often deal with economies of scale, so the fact that the company has chosen to be open about its MSRP increases should indicate that other similar businesses might have changes coming soon, if not already applied, given that the issue of component costs, logistics, and import tariffs are industry wide and not just limited to one company. ASUS highlights that these are two initial product lines, and ‘additional models may see an increase as we move further into Q1’.

Should an exact price differential list be made public, we will share it.  

Source: ASUS PC DIY Group (Facebook)

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The ASRock Rack B550D4-4L, a B550 Motherboard with BMC

Par Gavin Bonshor

ASRock Rack, the professional arm of ASRock, has launched an interesting B550 model which is aimed at the server and workstation market, but uses the mid-range chipset. The ASRock Rack B550D4-4L benefits from support for AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 series of processors, with a BMC controller, support for up to 128 GB of non-ECC DDR4-3200 memory, and includes a single PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot from the chipset.

The main feature on the ASRock Rack B550D-4L, which other B550 models do not have, is the inclusion of an ASPEED AST2500 BMC controller, which adds IPMI configuration access across a network. A Realtek RTL8211E provides connectivity for the IPMI management, and it also includes four more Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers with RJ45 ports on the rear. Also present on the rear panel is a pair of USB 3.2 G2 Type-A and two USB 3.2 G1 Type-A ports, with a single HDMI output for integrated graphics, a D-sub output for the BMC controller, and a DB9 serial port. 

Designed for use in a server and workstation environment, the ASRock Rack B550D4-4L uses a transposed AM4 PGA1331 socket with four memory slots located horizontally along the top. The memory slots allow for up to 128 GB of ECC and non-ECC UDIMM DDR4-3200 memory, while for storage, the board includes a single PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot with support for SATA drives too. For conventional storage drives, ASRock Rack also includes four SATA ports powered by the B550 chipset, which supports RAID 0, 1, and 10 arrays, while an ASMedia ASM1061 chip controls another two ports.

The board uses a simplistic design, with a green PCB, which is typical of server-grade and workstation models. Towards the center of the B550D4-4L is a full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot, with a half-length PCIe slot that runs in Gen4 x4 mode with a Ryzen 5000 processor installed. This board technically supports Ryzen 5000 (Gen 4), Ryzen 4000G APUs (Gen 3), and Ryzen 3000 CPUs (Gen 3), along with all Pro counterparts, but ASRock doesn't go into detail about how the PCIe is split with the other processors.

Located around the PCB is plenty of connectivity with a BMC_SMB header, a TPM header, a PMBus connector, as well as six 6-pin fan headers. It uses a conventional 24-pin 12 V ATX power input for power to the motherboard, with a single 8-pin 12 V EPS connector for the CPU. There is also a two-digit debug display for monitoring POST codes.

Although the ASRock B550D-4L will fit conventional chassis with its ATX size, it's primarily designed for 1U chassis and professional use cases such as server and workstation systems. ASRock hasn't unveiled any information about when it can be expected to launch at retail.

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Graphcore Series E Funding: $710m Total, $440m Cash-in-Hand

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

For those that aren’t following the AI industry, one of the key metrics to observe for a number of these AI semiconductor startups is the amount of funding they are able to generate. While funding is no explicit guarantee of success, it does indicate perhaps how much faith the venture capitalists (as well as OEMs and other silicon vendors) have in the technology. One of the most well-funded ventures in this space is Graphcore, and the company just announced its latest Series E funding round of $222 million, taking it to $710m total across the five rounds.

Graphcore, based in Bristol UK, is already on its second generation product, launching the Colossus MK2 GC200 in 2020. This chip contains 60 billion transistors, 900MB of built-in memory, is manufactured on TSMC’s N7 node at 823 mm2, and can achieve 250 TFLOPs of AI compute. Graphcore bundles four of them into a 1U chassis along with an Arm-based control chip and a crazy amount of networking to enable a network containing up to 64000 chips. Customers can order this IPU-M2000 unit, or 16 of them in a dedicated rack. Graphcore also provides the POPLAR software stack, with direct support for PyTorch, TensorFlow, ONNX, and PaddlePaddle machine learning frameworks.

The latest $222m Series E funding round was led by Ontario Teachers’ Pensions Plan Board (what?), with additional funds managed by Fidelity International and Schroders as new investors. Previous investors also participated, including Baillie Gifford and Draper Esprit. With the latest round of funding bringing the total up to $710m, this would put Graphcore at #2 in terms of AI Chip pure-play startups. This is just behind the $850m invested into Chinese semiconductor startup Horizon Robotics, founded by a CEO Yu Kai a Baidu veteran, of which the latest $150m round finished in December. SambaNova is #3 with $456m, and Nuvia has $293m. The latest round of funding brings Graphcore’s valuation to $2.77 billion.

With Graphcore’s first generation product, the company aligned with Dell to provide server units featuring eight add-in PCIe cards, each with two of its first generation IPUs. The company is claiming that the newest second generation MK2 is rolling out to more customers even during COVID times, especially to academic research such as UMass, Oxford, and ICL. Official details on its corporate customers seem somewhat thin, beyond an official tie-in with Microsoft, however Graphcore has said that they are currently working with hyperscalers and financial service companies.

This is perhaps why Graphcore also stating that it has $440m cash-in-hand is quite important. As every startup has an effective burn rate of capital, this should be sufficient for the company to also go out to enable more customers, as well as develop next generation products. Graphcore has already announced through TSMC that it is already scoping TSMC’s 3nm process for a future product line. Graphcore is also a member of the recently formed MLCommons, the governing body behind MLPerf, and expects to participate with its first submissions on MK2 in Q2 this year.

Source: Graphcore

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LG’s Latest Flex-OLED Display: Curved for Gaming, Flat for TV

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

Ever since LG displayed its first rollable OLED TV at CES 2019, and perhaps even before then, the vision of these flexible displays was that they could encompass any curved surface to provide a display with a vivid color profile in line with state-of-the-art OLED technology. At the time, this meant watches and other such wearables, but as LG has promoted these flexible displays a lot for TV, it made sense that at some point they would come up with a curved display for gaming. The trick is to make it work for both TV and gaming.

One of the first announcements for this year’s remote CES show is that LG’s latest flexible display is a 48-inch model that can be used flat for regular TV viewing, or as a 1000R curved display for gaming. This means that in both viewing modes, the display aims to offer a uniform viewing distance with comparable depth and quality, even with a curvature radius of 1000mm. This is a tighter curvature than a lot of gaming displays currently on the market, such as 1200R to 2000R models, and those only serve the curved display gaming community. LG doesn’t state what the resolution is, however they do confirm that the display has a variable refresh rate range from 40 Hz to 120 Hz, along with a supposed 0.1 millisecond response time.

Combined with this, the display implements LG’s CSO technology, which enables the display to vibrate to create sound, rather than have external speakers. This is down to a new thin film ‘exciter’ (the bit that actually vibrates), which LG states that they’ve managed to reduce down from a thickness of 9mm to 0.6mm. The display also has a low-blue-light mode to reduce eye strain.

As often with these promotions for CES, we expect LG to be around 3-9 months from actually launching the product commercially. LG did not go into detail about how the display transitions from curved to flat, for example, and nor did they mention price. Leading edge features like this will likely come at a premium.

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

 

Supermicro C9Z490-PGW Motherboard Review: Comet Lake with 32 CPU PCIe Lanes

Par Gavin Bonshor

More widely known for its server-grade models, Supermicro always launches a small number of consumer motherboards, sometimes with some extra flair and hardware we don't see from the regular vendors. This time around, Supermicro's top-tier C9Z490-PGW uses a PLX chip which enables the board to operate with dual PCIe 3.0 x16 or quadruple PCIe 3.0 x8 slots. This is combined with dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots from the chipset, a 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, and a Wi-Fi 6 interface which makes the C9Z490-PGW versatile for a wide array of users. 

The MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review: Testing The Waters Of Tiger Lake

Par Brett Howse

MSI is very well-known for their gaming products for the PC market, from motherboards, accessories, and right up to gaming laptops and desktops. The company was one of the first to focus almost exclusively on their gaming lineup, and that focus has made them very successful in that market. In the laptop space, MSI’s gaming lineup are some of the best systems around, even if they do often come with a price premium. But, while the gaming market has been strong even throughout some PC sales slowdowns, MSI is again dipping their toes in a wider market. The MSI Prestige series of laptops abstain from the gaming nomenclature, design, and marketing. The Prestige series targets a much more traditional Ultrabook buyer, with a thin, light design, quality materials, and less RGB.

The MSI Prestige 14 Evo, as the name suggests, is a 14-inch laptop which offers the modern design touches of an aluminum chassis, with thin display bezels, packing plenty of notebook into a smaller footprint. The 16 mm thick design weighs in at just 1.29 Kg, or 2.84 lbs, making it very portable for a 14-inch device.

Biostar Launches B550M-Silver: Micro-ATX with 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi 6

Par Gavin Bonshor

Biostar has launched its latest AMD B550-based board, the B550M-Silver. Aimed at gamers looking to use AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 processors, it brings a host of premium features to the micro-ATX form factor with USB 3.2 G2 connectivity, a Realtek 2.5 Gb Ethernet controller, Wi-Fi 6, and PCIe 4.0 support. 

Over the last couple of years, premium AMD micro-ATX boards have been few and far between, with the majority of vendors opting to release their micro-ATX models on the more budget-friendly chipsets such as AMD's A520. The micro-ATX form factor typically offers a convenient compromise, with more expansion slot support than the smaller mini-ITX form factor, but without the overall footprint of ATX. Based on the AMD B550 chipset, the Biostar B550M-Silver offers out of the box support for Ryzen 5000 processors, with support for Ryzen 3000 chips too.

Focusing on the design, the Biostar B550M-Silver uses a wave of silver heatsinks, including a large rear panel cover, which doubles up as one section of the power delivery heatsink. It includes no integrated RGB LED lighting nor any RGB headers, which is either quite strange or a welcome relief given how common RGB is these days in boards aimed at gamers.

The Biostar B550M-Silver includes dual PCIe M.2 slots, with the top slot capable of supporting up to PCIe 4.0 x4 2280 M.2 drives, while the second slot includes support for PCIe 3.0 x4; both of these slots can accommodate SATA based SSDs. For SATA, Biostar includes six SATA ports, with two straight-angled and four right-angled ports, with support for RAID 0, 1, 10 arrays. There are four memory slots with support for DDR4-4933, with a maximum capacity of up to 128 GB. 

There are two full-length slots at PCIe support, including a PCIe 4.0 x16 and a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot, with a PCIe 3.0 x1 slot sandwiched in between. Located under the full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slot is a Key-E 2230 slot, although the board already includes an integrated wireless module.

On the rear panel is a variety of connections, including a single USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 G2 Type-C, four USB 3.2 G1 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. There is a trio of video outputs including an HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI-D for use with AMD's 3rd gen APUs, while the board's three 3.5 mm audio jacks are powered by an older Realtek ALC1150 HD audio codec. A PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo port sits above the USB 2.0 ports, while a single RJ45 port is powered by a Realtek RTL8125B 2.5 GbE controller, while Biostar is using an unspecified wireless interface with support for Wi-Fi 6. 

At present, we don't know when the Biostar B550M-Silver will hit retail shelves, nor do we have information in regards to the pricing.

Update - Biostar has informed us that the B550M-Silver has an MSRP of $119, which represents fantastic value with 2.5 GbE and Wi-Fi 6 networking.

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Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q USB / Thunderbolt 3 Dual Mode External SSD Review: Yin and Yang

Par Ganesh T S

The external storage market has shown renewed vigor in recent years, thanks in part to growth fueled by bus-powered flash-based storage solutions. The introduction of 3D NAND, coupled with the increasing confidence of manufacturers in QLC (4-bits per cell) has brought down the cost of these drives to the point where even a reasonably spacious external SSD can be had for an equally reasonable price. And though this means that NAND manufacturers like Western Digital, Samsung, and Crucial/Micron have an inherent advantage in terms of vertical integration, the availability of cheap flash in the open market has also enabled other vendors to come up with innovative solutions.

Today, we're looking at a unique product in the external SSD market – the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q. A true dual-mode Thunderbolt 3/USB drive, the Rocket XTRM-Q can be natively used with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB hosts. This means that it can deliver speeds over 2GBps on a Thunderbolt 3 connection, or fall back to USB mode and still deliver 1GBps or more with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection. Compared to most external SSDs on the market, which are virtually always USB-only or Thunderbolt-only, this allows Sabrent's drive to offer USB-style universal compatibility while still making the most of the host it's connected to, using USB when it's available, or upgrading to Thunderbolt as appropriate to let the drive run as fast as it can.

Meanwhile, not unlike their efforts with internal (M.2) products, Sabrent is also at the leading-edge of storage capacity with the Rocket XTRM-Q, offering versions of the drive with up to 8TB of storage. Overall, the Rocket XTRM-Q is available in capacities ranging from 500GB up to 8TB, with Sabrent using QLC NAND across the family to hit their price and capacity goals.

For this review we're looking at two of the mid-tier Rocket XTRM-Q models – the 2TB and 4TB models – in order to size up the performance of the drives and see how they stack up against the other products in the market.

Supermicro X12SAE W480 Motherboard Review: For Xeon W-1200 Workstations

Par Gavin Bonshor

We have seen numerous Intel Z490 motherboards over the months since Intel's platform for Comet Lake was announced back in April. While the Z490 is designed for regular consumers and gamers who intend to use the desktop Intel Core i5/i7/i9 processors, Intel also launched its W480 chipset slightly later which is designed for its workstation orientated Xeon W-1200 series. One such board designed specifically for the Xeon W-1200 processors is the Supermicro X12SAE with support for up to 128 GB of DDR4-2933 of ECC and non-ECC UDIMMs. Also included in the feature set are two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, dual Ethernet including a 2.5 Gigabit controller, as well as a dedicated Intel PHY with Intel AMT and vPro support. 

SambaNova Breaks Cover: $450M AI Startup with 8-Socket AI Training Solutions (and more)

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

Users that follow the AI silicon space will have heard of SambaNova – a quiet company that has made very little noise but has racked up some serious backing. After three funding rounds, led by Google Ventures, Intel Capital, and Blackrock, and semi-hushhush deployments at the US Department of Energy at Laurence Livermore and Los Alamos, there is now a new product offering for limited customers. SambaNova is already making money, and the company is finally ready to break the crust on its very delicate crème brûlée and start talking about its new DataScale SN10-8R (catchy name) systems, built with its new Cardinal AI Processor.

The GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX Motherboard Review: All The Small Things

Par Gavin Bonshor

Sometimes less is more, and when it comes to motherboards the mini-ITX form factor has some of the most enthusiastic fan club members. Small form factor systems are becoming more widely used as we're ushered into a single graphics card setup dominated landscape. and in terms of features to price, the B550 chipset has some of the most cost-effective of any current desktop platform. One such board is the GIGABYTE B550I Aorus Pro AX which combines a wave of premium features combined with AMD's B550 chipset. It includes compatibility for PCIe 4.0 devices with supported processors, dual PCIe M.2 slots, and 2.5 gigabit Ethernet. It's time to give our verdict on it and see if it can cut it in a very competitive small is more market.

Qualcomm Tech Summit 2020: Day Two Live Blog (10:00 ET, 15:00 UTC)

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

With day one of Qualcomm's annual summit announcing its new Snapdragon 888 smartphone processor, today is the day where we get all those shiny technical details. Stick with us here at AnandTech from 10am ET to get the information as it is announced through our Live Blog!

New Second Gen EVE V 2-in-1: Tiger Lake 3840x2400 with Thunderbolt 4

Par Gavin Bonshor

Sometimes for a company to get its projects over the line, it requires the help of crowdsourcing ideas. One such company is Eve Tech, or EVE for short, and looking to build on the success of its first-generation EVE V 2-in-1 dubbed the "Surface Pro Killer". Today the company has officially lifted the lid on its second-generation EVE V. The new EVE V 2-in-1 includes a whole host of impressive features and specs including Intel's Tiger Lake mobile processors with Xe integrated graphics, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and a 13.4" 4K (3840 x 2400) with 10-point multitouch. The design of the device has been through deep interactions with interested end-user customers to build a device with the specifications that they want.

The EVE V 2nd generation has crammed all of its technology into a very high specification 2-in-1 with consultation of potential customers. For a convertible designed to compete with the latest and greatest, Eve Tech has lifted the lid on the EVE V 2nd Gen specifications, the technologies under the hood, as well as an impressive array of features.

Focusing on the screen, the EVE V is using a 13.4-inch Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) panel with a native 3840 x 2400 pixel (4K 16:10) resolution. This has a 16:10 aspect ratio, with two different variations including the higher-spec 4K resolution, or an FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 16:9. Some of the finer specifications of the screen include a 1500:1 contrast ratio, up to 500 nits of brightness, and is using edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Victus glass, announced recently as one of the most scratch resistant glass surfaces.

The Tiger Lake processor comes with four cores and eight threads, as well as Xe graphics and Thunderbolt 4 support. For a convertable, the EVE V uses a lot of that IO, with three Type-C ports, two of them Thunderbolt 4. The two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports also include DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 1.4b video support, with a power output of up to 5V or 15 watts as well as charging capabilities. Other connectivity includes a USB 3.2 G2 Type-C port, with a single 3.5 mm audio jack, a microSD reader with compatibility for SDXC up to a maximum of 2 TB. The sound capabilities are also impressive with dual 0.7-watt front-facing speakers, and a pair of 1 W front-facing low-frequency speakers that resemble subwoofer qualities. Some variations of the EVE V will come with a Nano Sim slot for 4G capabilities.

Eve Tech EVE V (2021) Specifications
Component EVE V Second Generation 2-in-1
CPU Intel Core i5 1135G7 (Tiger Lake)
4 Core / 8 Thread
2.4 GHz Base
4.2 GHz Turbo
8MB Cache
Intel Core i7 1165G7 (Tiger Lake)
4 Core / 8 Thread

2.8 GHz Base
4.7 GHz Turbo

12MB Cache
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
80 Execution Units
(up to 1.3 GHz)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
96 Execution Units
(up to 1.3 GHz)
Memory 16 GB DDR4-4266 LPDDR4X (dual channel)
32 GB DDR4-4266 LPDDR4X (dual channel)
Display 13.4 Inch 16:10 3840 x 2400 (4K)
13.4 Inch 16:9 1920 x 1080
IGZO IPS panel
AES 2.0 Touchscreen
HDR10, HDR400 certified

500 nit brightness
339 ppi Pixel Density
1500:1 Contrast ratio
Edge to Edge Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
10-point Multi-touch
Storage 512 GB or 1 TB NVMe SSD
Wireless 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 (2x2 MU MIMO)
Bluetooth 5.0
4G LTC (up to 150 Mbps) on selected models
GPS (Galileo/QZSS/BeiDou) on selected models
I/O 2 x USB4 Gen3 Type-C (Thunderbolt 4)
1 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-C
 1 x 3.5 mm audio jack (Texas Instruments Headphone Amp)
Micro SD card reader (micro SD, SDI, HC, SDXC up to 2 TB)
Nano Sim card slot (selected models)
Audio 2 x 0.7 W High-Frequency Speakers
2 x 1 W Low-Frequency Speakers
Dual noise-canceling Microphones
Battery Rechargeable 41.3 Wh Lithium-ion polymer
Dimensions ???
Pricing Starting from $1399
Availability ???

Included with the EVE V is its V pen, which has been upgraded over the EVE V 2016 model. It is based on Wacom's AES 2.0 technology and features 4096 pressure levels which is designed to benefit from the 10-point touchscreen. The new V keyboard supplied includes a folio cover with a soft touch feel, with a Windows Precision touchpad that includes a textured glass surface for optimal precision. It also includes an adjustable backlight for low light situations. There is a 5 Megapixel rear-facing camera, as well as a 720p front-facing camera for conference calls, as well as a fingerprint reader integrated into the power button.

Although Eve Tech hasn't fully announced the availability of the V, it estimates that it'll start shipping by the end of Q3 2021, and will be available globally across various retailers. Users can reserve the EVE V with a fully refundable down payment of $300, with the remaining expected to be paid prior to shipping.

The EVE V will start at $1399 for the base model with a Core i5, 16 GB of memory and a 512 GB NVMe SSD, with the top-spec model with the Core i7, 32 GB of RAM, and a 2 TB NVMe SSD for around $2000. This is inline with some of the premium Tiger Lake notebooks we have seen being launched recently with 3840x2400 screens, such as the Dell XPS13 and the Razer Book 13.

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Qualcomm Tech Summit 2020: Day One Live Blog (10:00 ET, 15:00 UTC)

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

The annual Qualcomm Tech Summit is upon us, and today is the first day of announcements. Cristiano Amon is expected to go into Qualcomm's successes this year as well as look forward to Qualcomm's upcoming roadmap. Starts soon, so follow with AnandTech!

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