PC Components, Peripherals And Gadget Reviews And News

Dig into our deep-dive product reviews and news of PC components from processors, to motherboards, graphics cards (GPUs), sound cards, and storage, along with other gadgets and peripherals that complete the computing experience. Whether you're a DIY PC enthusiast builder or just looking to read-up on what should be inside or connected to your next pre-built PC, here's where you'll find all the nuts and bolts sorted on what makes modern computer systems tick, as well some of the best user interface devices to go with them.

The new iStorage diskAshur2 is a specialized, external hard drive geared toward security conscious consumers. The diskAshur2 is a little pricey, and although it's no slouch in the speed department (we'll get into that in a bit), it's certainly not going to compete with that shiny new internal SSD you've got your eye on in terms of transfer speeds either. But here's the thing: It's plenty fast enough for just about anything you'd want to do, and just as importantly, it's both rugged and secure. So, despite a somewhat lofty asking price, the diskAshur2 is actually a pretty good deal. If you need its feature-set, you'll be happy to have made the investment for the added security layer.The diskAshur2... Read more...
Intel announced its Xeon Scalable processor family based Skylake-SP a few weeks back, but today marks the official launch of the platform. These new processors feature a new microarchitecture versus previous-generation Xeons and Intel has revamped the naming convention and arrangement of the product stack as well. Whereas previous-generation Xeon processors carried version, class, and model number designations – for example, Xeon E5-2697 v4 – the Xeon Scalable processor family is now designated by Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze categories, with a single model number.The new naming convention will take some getting used to if you’re already familiar with Intel’s previous-generation Xeons,... Read more...
Much of the current excitement in the consumer storage space involves blazing-fast NVMe solid state drives, but there are still hundreds of millions (if not billions) of systems packing SATA hard drives that would benefit greatly from an SSD upgrade. As such, many manufacturers continue to introduce SATA-based offerings like the recently-launched Intel SSD 545s series, which feature newer technologies in an effort to drive costs down and capacities up. The Intel SSD 545s series is the first in the company’s SATA-based solid state storage line-up to feature 64-layer TLC 3D NAND. Though this first iteration of the 64-layer TLC 3D NAND features 256Gb die, similar to the previous-generation. Though... Read more...
Over the next few months, Intel will be releasing an array of new high-end desktop processors in the recently-announced Core X Series, based on the Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X micro-architectures. The first chips in the series to arrive in the lab are the 10-core Core i9-7900X and quad-core Core i7-7740X. We’ve got an array of benchmarks and overclocking data on tap with the processors, but due to some unexpected shipping issues, we weren't able to complete all of the test we would have liked. Rest assured, we’ll update this piece as soon as we can with a full set of numbers -- it will just take a few days. In any case, the Core i9-7900X will be the first of the high-end chips to arrive and it... Read more...
Intel announced its family of Xeon Scalable Processors in early May, featuring the Skylake-SP microarchitecture. Those processors haven’t officially launched just yet, but today the chip giant is revealing one of the key technologies being leveraged in the Xeon Scalable Processor family. A new mesh interconnect architecture has been designed to increase bandwidth between on-chip elements, while simultaneously decreasing latency, and improving power efficiency and scalability.In a blog post on the company’s website, Akhilesh Kimar, Skylake-SP CPU Architect explains, “The task of adding more cores and interconnecting them to create a multi-core data center processor may sound simple, but the interconnects... Read more...
We’ve heard rumors regarding Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X processors for the past few months, but today it's finally time for the official roll-out of these new flagship Intel CPUs. We were no doubt impressed by the initial specs that leaked (especially over the past week), but the final product may actually be a bit more impressive than we initially thought.Intel bills these new Core i5 X-Series, Core i7 X-Series, Core i9 X-Series, and Core i9 Extreme Edition processors as its “Most Powerful, Most Scalable” desktop processors to date. We’ve known for a few weeks now that Intel would surpass the current Core i7 line-up with a new Core i9 designation, but today we’re learning that... Read more...
Intel Optane Memory is designed to accelerate the storage subsystem on compatible machines, to improve transfer speeds and reduce latency. It is among the first products to leverage 3D XPoint memory technology that was co-developed by Intel and Micron. 3D XPoint offers many of the same properties as NAND flash memory, but with much higher endurance and certain performance characteristics that are similar to DRAM. We revealed many details regarding Intel Optane Memory a couple of weeks ago. To quickly reiterate, Intel Optane Memory products and their associated software are designed to cache the most frequently accessed bits of data on a compatible system, which can significantly increase... Read more...
Early last week, Intel revealed its Optane SSD DC P4800X featuring 3D Xpoint memory technology. The Optane SSD DC P4800X is an enterprise-class product, targeted at data centers and mission-critical applications where reliable, ultra-low-latency access to large amounts of data is paramount. Today, Intel is introducing another new product featuring 3D Xpoint memory, but this is one quite literally at the other end of the spectrum. The Intel Optane Memory devices we’ll be discussing here looks like other current generation 80mm M.2 “gumstick” type solid state drives. However, Intel Optane Memory is meant to be used as an accelerator for systems featuring relatively low-speed storage devices, like... Read more...
When Intel and Micron jointly announced 3D Xpoint memory technology a couple of years back, the two companies made some bold claims. 3D Xpoint is being positioned as a revolutionary non-volatile memory tier that can offer orders of magnitude better performance and endurance than traditional NAND flash memory, with much higher density than DRAM. Our original coverage of the 3D Xpoint announcement is available here if you’d like a quick refresher.Today we have some news regarding the first product that Intel will ship leveraging 3D Xpoint memory technology, the brand new Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X. The SSD DC P4800X resembles some of Intel’s previous enterprise storage products, but most assuredly,... Read more...
A few months back, Intel updated its enterprise-class solid state storage line-up with a new series of NVMe-based drives – the DC P3520 series -- featuring IMFT 3D MLC NAND flash memory. Like some of its other high-end offerings, the drives featured Intel’s native NVMe PCI Express controller, but the use of more affordable 3D MLC NAND allowed Intel to reduce costs, while keeping endurance relatively high.Since some of the first consumer-class solid state drives hit the scene, Intel has been known to push the envelope in the space, and ultimately drive prices down. Intel did it somewhat recently with the SSD 750 series for desktops, which made high-speed NVMe PCIe storage much more attainable... Read more...
We have covered Intel’s Kaby Lake microarchitecture on a few occasions already. We outlined the architectural details in this piece, and have evaluated a handful of mobile devices powered by Kaby Lake at this point, including the gorgeous Asus ZenBook 3 and updated Dell XPS 13. Today, however, Kaby Lake makes its official debut on the desktop, with a brand-new flagship quad-core processor – the Core i7-7700K – and newly refreshed 200 series motherboard chipsets.The Core i7-7700K has hardly been a secret. The processors actually went on sale at a couple of major on-line retailers recently and benchmark numbers have been trickling out for weeks now. We’ve got one in house for testing, along with... Read more...
A couple of weeks back, Intel announced a slew of new solid state drives, targeting a wide array of market segments, that leverage 3D TLC NAND. One of those offerings was a new series of M.2 NVMe drives, dubbed the SSD 600P. According to Intel, the SSD 600P series is “designed to deliver PCIe performance at near-SATA prices”. To date, most NVMe PCIe solid state drives are roughly 1.5 – 3x the cost per gigabyte of SATA based drives, due to the inherent performance benefits and likely the added cost of NVMe controllers. But, as the company has done a number of times in the past dating all the way back to the venerable X25, Intel is pushing hard to drive down prices in the segment. In fact, the... Read more...
Intel 7th Gen Core Series Kaby Lake WaferIntel is readying a new family of processors based on its next-gen Kaby Lake microarchitecture. We’ve heard quite a bit about Kaby Lake over the last few months, and were even able to show you it in action last week while covering IDF, but today we’ve got many more details to share on the microarchitecture that will be foundation of Intel’s upcoming 7th Generation Core processors.If you’re unfamiliar with Kaby Lake, it is the follow-up product to last year’s Skylake. Kaby Lake borrows heavily from Skylake; its CPU cores, cache structure, and graphics engine are similar, and Kaby Lake is still manufactured using a 14nm process. There have been a number... Read more...
Overwatch Running On Intel Kaby Lake-Based, Next-Gen Dell XPS 13 This morning’s opening keynote at the annual Intel Developers Forum was rather eventful. In addition to unveiling the Project Alloy merged reality headset, the Project Aero Drone platform, and a number of maker-oriented devices, Intel also showed off its next-generation Kaby Lake-based 7th Generation Core processors and some new virtual reality editing tools built into Epic’s Unreal Engine. Kaby Lake is the follow-up product to current, 6th Generation Skylake-based Core processors. With Kaby Lake, however, Intel is adding native support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, along with a more powerful graphics architecture for improved 3D performance... Read more...
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