PC PowerPlay #264 News

PCPP 264 NEWS

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New high-end desktop platform CPUs and chipset, including flagship i9-7900X

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Intel has updated their high-end desktop (HEDT) platform, superseding the X99 chipset with the X299 and taking the Skylake and Kaby Lake CPU micro-architectures to new levels of performance. There are three Skylake-X CPUs: i7-7800X (6C/12T, 3.5GHz/4GHz, 140W TDP), i7-7820X (8C/16T, 3.6GHz/4.3GHz, 140W TDP), i9-7900X (10C/20T, 3.3GHz/4.3GHz, 140W TDP) and four Kaby Lake-X CPUs: i7-7740X (4C/8T, 4.3GHz/4.5GHz, 112W TDP), i7-7700K (4C/8T, 4.2GHz/4.4GHz, 91W TDP), i5-7640X (4C/4T, 4.0GHz/4.2GHz, 112W TDP), i5-7600K (4C/4T, 3.8GHz/4.2GHz, 91W TDP). All the X parts use a new LGA2066 socket, with the others remaining LGA1151. There’s support for up to DDR4-2666/DDRR-2400 RAM, loads of L3 cache and on the i9-7900X, a whopping 44 PCIe lanes heaps of I/O options. All CPUs are unlocked too, perfect for overclocking. Even faster (and more expensive) 12, 14, 16 and 18 core i9 CPUs that use the LGA2066 socket will be out later this year.

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Apple introduces a workstation class iMac dubbed iMac Pro[BODY]

At their recent Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple revealed the iMac Pro, a beefed-up iMac with workstation guts. Apple will provide options for up-to 18-core Xeon CPUs, Radeon Pro Vega GPUs, up to 128GB of ECC RAM, 4TB PCIe SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, 10Gb Ethernet and an improved quality 27″ 5K Retina display. To differentiate the iMac Pro from the regular iMac, it comes in a Darth Vader-esque, all black finish, including the keyboard and mouse. To get all those power hungry, heat spewing parts into the iMac’s slim chassis, Apple engineered a new cooling system that they reckon dissipates 80% more heat than the existing iMac. Unusually for Apple, they’ve announced it months in advance. The iMac Pro isn’t coming out until December 2017. It won’t be cheap either, with the base model pricing starting at US$4999.

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Ultrawide 49-inch, Samsung C49HG90 QLED gaming monitor

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Samsung has announced a massive 49-inch gaming monitor using its popular quantum dot technology. The Samsung C49HG90’s display features an ultra-wide 32:9 aspect ratio, 3840 x 1080 resolution, VA-type panel with an 1800R curvature, so you can see the whole damn thing while sitting at a desk. This 49-inch monitor is essentially, the same as placing two 27-inch 1920 x 1080 monitors side by side and removing the bezel from the middle. It’s got all the goods you expect in a gaming monitor too, like 1ms response time, 144 Hz refresh rate and importantly, AMD’s upcoming FreeSync 2 tech. The C49HG90 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to colour reproduction either, with 95% DCI-P3 colour gamut support. Samsung also announced smaller size monitors featuring the same specs, but smaller screens (the 31.5-inch C32HG70 and 27-inch C27HG70), but we all know you want the 49-inch big boy.

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ASUS releases no-frills graphics cards specifically for cryptocurrency mining

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If you’ve tried to buy a graphics card lately, you probably noticed that many are out of stock. Why is this? People using them to mine cryptocurrencies like Ethereum that have shot up in value. This, unsurprisingly, frustrates customers that simply want a single graphics card to place in their rig for gaming, but can’t get one due to these industrial scale cryptocurrency minters. To address this, ASUS has come up with cryptocurrency specific graphics cards, the Mining RX 470 (based on AMD’s RX 470 GPU) and Mining P106 (based on Nvidia’s GTX1060). The RX 470 has a single DVI port, whereas the P106 has none – don’t need them! Both have IP5X certified dust resistant fans and higher durability components for solid 24/7 operation at 100% utilisation. ASUS hopes cryptocurrency miners will pick these cards, leaving the traditional cards for gamers.

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Never recharge your wireless mouse again with the Logitech Powerplay system

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Sick of having to recharge or swap the batteries in your wireless mouse? Logitech’s new Powerplay system removes that burden from your life. The first part of the system is a 280mm x 340mm mousepad that plugs into a USB port and sends the power from that USB port to compatible Logitech mice (so far, the G903 and G703), via a proprietary magnetic resonance wireless power transfer system. The second part is a little disc Logitech calls a Powercore, which goes into the compatible mice and acts as a receiver of this wireless electricity and delivers that to the battery inside the mouse. Unlike other wireless charging systems (e.g: Qi), you don’t have to keep the mouse in a single spot. As long as the mouse is on the pad, it’ll charge, even whilst in use. Cool huh? The Powerplay system will be available late August.

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Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 relives the Sound Blaster glory days

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SoundBlaster, the name synonymous with sweet ear tingling audio back in the 90s, has a brand new professional grade soundcard. The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 uses a low noise 122dB DNR, 32-bit/384kHz ESS Sabre DAC that connects to a 600-ohm discrete headphone amplifier for “audiophile grade” sound. Inside the headphone amp are German-made WIMA film/foil capacitors. The Sound Core3D DSP and BlasterX Acoustic Engine software feature Crystal Voice, improving the quality of in-game voice communications and the ability to enhance in-game audio like footsteps and gunshots. The BlasterX AE-5 also supports Scout Radar 2.0, a first-person shooter game companion that allows you to visualise and see where enemies are on your smartphone based on the audio the game produces. If you’re into a bit of bling, the BlasterX AE-5 features the Aurora Reactive Lighting System compatible RGB LEDs capable of over 16 million colours and programmed to display a multitude of patterns.