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This channel features the latest computer hardware related articles.
  1. Corsair on Wednesday introduced its new quad-channel 32 GB DDR4-4000 SO-DIMM kit designed specifically for ASRock’s X299E-ITX/ac platform and Intel’s latest Core i7/Core i9 processors. The kit hits the psychologically important DDR4-4000 interface speed and enables enthusiasts and system builders to put together higher-performance Mini-ITX builds. Meanwhile, as a rather unique SO-DIMM kit, Corsair's new kit won't come cheap.

    The Corsair Vengeance 32 GB quad-channel SO-DIMM DDR4-4000 DRAM kit (CMSX32GX4M4X4000C19) consists of four 8 GB DRAM modules based on pre-binned Samsung’s B-die ICs made using the company’s 20 nm process technology. The modules are designed to operate with CL19 23-23-45 latencies at 1.35 V. The kit is only compatible with the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac motherboard and therefore its XMP 2.0 profiles in SPD are tailored for Intel’s Core i7/Core i9 (Skylake-X) processors.

    The new Vengeance SO-DIMM memory kit complements Corsair’s 32 GB quad-channel DDR4-3800/CL18 kit the company launched after ASRock initiated sales of its unique Mini-ITX motherboard based on Intel’s X299 PCH and compatible with the latest enthusiast-class Core i7/Core i9 CPUs in late October. The new DDR4-4000 SO-DIMM kit for the X299 platform can increase memory bandwidth by 5% to 128 GB/s when compared to the DDR4-3800 kit, which is hardly signigicant, but DDR4-4000 is an important milestone in general, if only for bragging rights. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised to see G.Skill and possibly other suppliers of high-end memory modules to introduce their own DDR4-4000 SO-DIMM kits in the future.

    Corsair's DDR4 SO-DIMM Kits for Intel X299 SFF PCs
    Speed Sub-Timings Voltage Kit
    Config.
    Kit
    Capacity
    PN
    DDR4-3800 CL18 19-19-39 1.35 V 4×8 GB 32 GB CMSX32GX4M4X3800C18
    DDR4-4000 CL19 23-23-45 CMSX32GX4M4X4000C19

    The Corsair Vengeance 32 GB quad-channel SO-DIMM DDR4-4000 memory kit is now available directly from Corsair and from select resellers. Enthusiast seeking for maximum performance out of their Mini-ITX rigs will have to pay $595 in the U.S. and €615 in the E.U. to install the kit into their systems. It is noteworthy that at press time neither Amazon nor Newegg carried the kit.

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  2. Iiyama has announced the G-Master G3266HS-B1, its first curved monitor for gamers. The new display belongs to entry-level class and offers an FHD resolution along with dynamic refresh rate of up to 144 Hz enabled by AMD’s FreeSync technology. Pricing of the LCD looks rather competitive in Europe, but the U.S. MSRP remains to be seen.

    The Iiyama G-Master G3266HS-B1 monitor is based on a 31.5” VA panel with a 1920×1080 resolution, a 144 Hz refresh rate, a 3 ms response time as well as a 1800R curvature. Brightness, contrast and viewing angles offered by the monitor are typical for modern inexpensive VA panels: 400 nits, 3000:1, and 178°/178°, nothing unexpected. The display supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, but Iiyama does not disclose its ranges. The manufacturer says that the G-Master G3266HS-B1 can display 16.7 million colors, but remains tightlipped about supported color spaces. Since the monitor is aimed at gamers, it is safe to say that it will be used with Windows-based PCs, which is why it has to support sRGB.

    When it comes to connectivity, the monitor features everything an inexpensive LCD has to: a D-Sub and a DVI-D for legacy systems, as well as DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI for modern computers. In addition, the monitor has 3.5-mm audio-in/out connectors, and two integrated speakers. As for ergonomics, the G-Master G3266HS-B1 has a fixed stand and cannot regulate its height, tilt, swivel, but can be attached to a VESA wall mounting that supports appropriate adjustments.

    Iiama G-Master 31.5" Curved Gaming Monitor
      G-Master G3266HS-B1
    Panel 31.5" VA
    Native Resolution 1920 × 1080
    Refresh Rate Range 144 Hz
    Dynamic Refresh Rate AMD FreeSync
    G-Sync Range unknown
    Response Time 3 ms (gray-to-gray?)
    Brightness 300 cd/m²
    Contrast 3000:1
    Pixel Pitch 0.3632 × 0.3632 mm²
    Pixel Density 69.93 PPI
    Viewing Angles 178°/178°
    Curvature 1800R
    Inputs HDMI 1.4
    DisplayPort 1.2
    D-Sub
    DVI-D
    Audio 3.5 mm audio in/out jacks
    Stereo speakers
    Detailed Information Link

    The G-Master G3266HS-B1 is listed on Iiyama’s website, but is not yet available for sale or pre-order anywhere in the U.S. Meanwhile, a number of stores in Austria and Germany offer the monitor for €390 - €400 ($461 - $473), which is lower compared €485 that Acer charges for its XZ321Q (with similar specs) in Germany. We are not sure about the MSRP of the G3266HS-B1 in the USA, where it has not been officially announced yet, but it is logical to expect Iiyama to maintain a similar pricing policy as in Europe.

    Iiyama is a bit late to the curved displays party that began in 2014 – 2015, but it definitely needed to get there to stay relevant on the market of gaming monitors. The G-Master G3266HS-B1 seems like as good start as any to see whether its clients bite a curved gaming display. The company went with rather moderate specs, and judging by the price of the product in Europe, it wanted to make its monitor competitive in terms of affordability.

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  3. LG on Thursday formally announced its next-generation LG gram ultra-thin notebooks. The new laptops will be as sleek as their predecessors, but will get a more durable chassis, Intel’s latest quad-core 8th generation Core i5/i7 processors, optional Thundebolt 3 connectivity and a higher-capacity accumulator that enables 19 – 22.5 hours battery life.

    The new LG gram 2018 notebooks will continue to be offered with 13.3”, 14”, and 15.6” display panels with optional touch support. LG does not disclose resolution, but it looks like it is going to remain at 1920×1080 pixels, unchanged from the current-generation LG gram and standard for laptops with an ultra-long battery life. The upcoming LG gram PCs will come in a new Carbon Magnesium alloy chassis that visually resembles the current-gen LG gram notebooks, but has one important difference. LG moved the webcam along with a light sensor and microphones from the bottom of the display bezel to its top (where they should be). The display hinge remains the same, just like the overall look of the chassis: smooth rounded edges and no sharp corners. Meanwhile, LG used a new alloy for the chassis and also redesigned internals of its gram laptops to make them more rugged and durable to survive improper handling and unfriendly environments. The manufacturer says that its 2018 LG gram notebooks have passed U.S. military MIL-STD 810G durability tests for resistance to impact, pressure and temperature, but does not elaborate. Back in the past LG’s Gram PCs were criticized for being too fragile, so the new systems apparently address this drawback.

    LG does not share all technical specifications of its next-gen gram laptops, but only says they are based on Intel’s 8th generation Core i5/i7 processors that have four cores and therefore offer better performance than predecessors in applications that can take advantage of additional parallelism. Beyond CPU specs, we know almost nothing. It is logical to expect that some variants of the systems will feature 8 GB of memory, others will be outfitted with 16 GB, but larger options remain to be seen. When it comes to storage, the new systems will come equipped with SSDs of regular capacities you expect from modern notebooks (256 GB – 512 GB), but will also feature an additional M.2 slot for an extra drive. As for connectivity, the notebooks will also feature an 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT module, two USB 3.0 Type-A headers, a USB Type-C connector that can serve either as a Thunderbolt 3 port, or a USB 3.0 port (depending on the SKU), an HDMI output and a mini-jack for headphones.

    Another key improvement of the next-gen LG gram laptops over predecessors will be a new battery featuring 72 Wh capacity that enables 19 – 22.5 hours of battery life (based on MobileMark 2014 criteria) depending on the model. It is unknown whether LG tailored its systems to run longer by using more energy efficient components (e.g., LPDRR3 instead of DDR4, etc.) and tweaking settings, but this is something we are going to learn in the future. In any case, the new LG gram laptops might be not only one of the most compact mobile PCs around, but also among the longest-lasting ones.

    The LG Gram 2018 Brief Specifications
      13.3"
    13Z980
    14"
    14Z980
    15.6"
    15Z950
    Screen Resolution 1920×1080?
    Touch Support Optional, LG's IPS In-Cell Touch technology
    CPU Family 8th generation Core i5/i7 processors
    Model Core i5-8250U - 4C/8T, 1.6 - 3.4 GHz, 6 MB cache, HD Graphics 620 at 1.1 GHz, 15 W
    Core i5-8350U - 4C/8T, 1.7 - 3.6 GHz, 6 MB cache, HD Graphics 620 at 1.1 GHz, 15 W
    Core i7-8550U - 4C/8T, 1.8 - 4.0 GHz, 8 MB cache, HD Graphics 620 at 1.15 GHz, 15 W
    Core i7-8650U - 4C/8T, 1.9 - 4.2 GHz, 8 MB cache, HD Graphics 620 at 1.15 GHz, 15 W
    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
    RAM 8 GB
    16 GB
    Storage 256 GB SSD
    512 GB SSD
    1 TB SSD (?)
    + 1 extra M.2 slot for SSD
    Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with BT
    USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A
    1 × USB 3.0 Type-C or Thunderbolt 3
    Thunderbolt 3 Optional
    Fingerprint Sensor Optional
    Audio Microphone, 1.5 W stereo speakers with DTS Headphone: X enhancement
    Other I/O MicroSDXC card reader
    Battery 72 Wh
    Battery Life 22.5 hours 21.5 hours 19 hours
    Thickness Thin
    Weight 965 grams
    2.12 lbs
    995 grams
    2.19 lbs
    1095 grams
    2.41 lbs

    LG plans to start selling its 2018 gram laptops sometimes next month in the U.S. Pricing is not announced at this time.

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  4. Our first look at the Intel Optane SSD 900p only included the smaller 280GB capacity. We now have added the 480GB model to our collection, and have started analyzing the power consumption of the fastest SSDs on the market.

  5. DeepCool recently started selling the QuadStellar four-lobed chassis on the market nearly a year after it made its debut at CES 2017 in January. The QuadStellar design follows its predecessor, the TriStellar, with its lobed design looking more like a high-tech black drone than a traditional PC case. The lobes each hold a different heat producing component - for example Storage, Power, and Video cards while the central hub houses the motherboard. The QuadStellar integrates a tasteful RGB LED design on the front of the case; a line between the lobes which connect to a hub of other LEDs. Deep Cool is marketing the Quadstellar as the world's first smart PC case as the RGB lighting, as well as fans/thermals, are controlled by the QuadStellar App. It is a unique looking case with what looks like plenty of internal design flexibility as well as a unique exterior.

    The chassis is crafted using cast aluminum to ensure rigidity and quality while trying to keep the weight down. The exterior uses a combination of aluminum and the magnet mounted tempered glass. Also, magnet-mounted dust filter at the front panel to keep the making those easier to remove and clean. The front of the chassis contains the front panel IO consisting of two USB 3.0 ports, microphone and headphone jacks, as well as the power and reset buttons. Meanwhile, the back panels have triangular vents for air to flow through in a front to back configuration.  

    Inside the main chassis, there is room for up to sized E-ATX motherboards with a maximum length of 330mm down the ladder to Micro-ITX. The QaudStellar supports two radiators; the front mount up to 3x120mm and up to 2x120mm on the bottom. If air cooling is the method of choice, the maximum cooler height is 110mm which will eliminate a few of the larger choices available on the market. The expansive sections do yield a lot of freedom in motherboard choices as well as options for air, custom water cooling, or AIO/CLCs. Unique to the QuadStellar is a proprietary cable tie design in order to keep the cables well hidden. They are routed through a choice of several holes, most of which have grommets, to route the cables out of the way.  

    The GPU lobe is able to hold up to three full-sized cards to 380mm length maximum for SLI or Crossfire setups. If housed in the lobe, they are connected to the motherboard via riser cards. Otherwise, up to Quad-SLI/Crossfire can fit in the main section. The storage compartment is equipped with eight 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch drive bays with an additional three 2.5-inch bays inside the case. Many will run out of motherboard SATA ports before the drive bays are all occupied. The power supply is also housed in an independent lobe and is able to fit longer ATX power supplies, up to 300mm in length. Being in its own lobe also gives the benefit of seeing fewer wires in the main chamber. For cooling, the QuadStellar includes five pre-installed 120mm fans, four located on the front and one at the back, for cooling all the parts inside. There are additional spaces for two more fans on the front (totaling six), and two on the sides. The fans all plug into an included hub mounted on the back of the motherboard panel and can be controlled through the App. 

    DeepCool stated the MSRP price in the US will be $399 and will launch globally at the end of December.  

    DeepCool QuadStellar
    Model QuadStellar
    Case Type E-ATX Full Tower
    Dimensions (L)538 x (W)483 x (H)493mm (21.18 x 19.01 x 19.4-inches)
    Color Black
    Body Material SPCC, Aluminum, Tempered Glass
    Net Weight 14.5kg(33.95lbs)
    External Drive Bays None
    HDD/SSD Bays 8 x 3.5" and 2 x 2.5" (Storage Compartment)
    and 3 x 2.5" (Bays in the Case)
    Expansion Slots 8+6
    Motherboard Type Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX, E-ATX (to 330mm)
    System Fan Front: 6 x 120mm (4 x included)
    Rear: 1 x 120mm or 2 x 80mm (1 x 120mm included)
    Side: 2 x 120mm
    I/O Ports 2 x USB3.0
    3.5" HD Audio/Mic
    VGA Card Support 380mm
    CPU Cooling Support 110mm
    PSU Support ATX (to 300mm)
    Radiator Support Front: 120/240/360mm
    Bottom: 120/240mm

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