01:35 | New GamersNexus Side Channel
We'll leave this one to the video!
04:39 | ASRock Scams Users with NFT
When ASRock isn’t busy blacklisting GamersNexus and HUB for reviewing its motherboards, it’s working on the next get-rich-quick scheme.
The latest is in the form of the ASRock NFTs. ASRock’s new press release says that it is “joining the Metaverse” by selling 100 “special” NFTs that are small video clips of the ASRock logo evolution. The NFTs are sold for 0.1 ETH each, so about $255 at time of filming, and it’s basically a video file. The first 30 will be sold at that price, but we’re expecting ASRock intends to increase the price afterward.
ASRock says that the NFTs will fund a special account -- we’re assuming that’s the ASRock bank account.
06:23 | Intel DG2 GPU Memory Configuration Leak
A new leak by 9550pro on Twitter points toward an alleged Intel slide leak showing the memory configuration for Intel’s new DG2 GPUs.
As a reminder, the DG2 GPUs are the desktop consumer ones (although we may also see some dGPUs in the laptop lineup), whereas DG1 was the trial run card we acquired in an OEM prebuilt previously.
Quick disclaimer: We’re not sure if this slide is real. It doesn’t seem very Intel-like to refer to memory devices as “VRAMs,” rather than just VRAM or Memory Modules, so the quality of the information is suspect right now.
The slide suggests SKU1 (a 512 EU, or Execution Unit model) build with 8 memory modules at 16GB total, or 2GB each. The 16Gbps data rate is competitive with current lower-end or mid-range models, although the usefulness of the data rate is also contingent on the memory controller and memory subsystem. SKU2 presents at 384 EUs and 6 memory modules, or 12GB VRAM. SKU3 claims 256 EUs and 8GB VRAM.
09:16 | Kingpin Shows Off Images of Custom RTX 3090 Ti
EVGA’s own resident overclocker Vince Lucido, otherwise known as Kingpin, has offered a teaser via Facebook of his namesake RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin Edition graphics card. The images posted by Lucido don’t offer a whole lot in the way of actual specifications for the upcoming card, but do highlight a new two-tone color scheme, as well as a black and gold custom PCB.
The RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin Edition card will also retain the same Asetek-based AIO cooling solution as the previous RTX 3090 Kingpin Edition, though there are no shots of the radiator in the images shown. Additionally, it was previously mentioned in a rumor earlier this month that thanks to a new PCB design and a new cooling shroud, EVGA’s Hydro Copper water blocks that were previously compatible with the original RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin will not work with the new Ti variant.
There’s also no trace of what power connectors the RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin card will use, though there have been rumors of the card being equipped with dual 12-pin connectors, as opposed to the triple 8-pin affair used on the vanilla RTX 3090 version.
10:52 | EVGA Introduces Limited Edition E1 Gaming PC
Also in EVGA news, EVGA announced its new E1 pre-built gaming PC. The new E1 eschews the idea of a traditional chassis in favor of an open-air design, though there’s some extra touches, such as the frame being wrapped in carbon fiber. Additionally, the E1 also uses an independant cable suspension system that will suspend a central plate that houses all the components, such as the motherboard and PSU.
Speaking of the PSU, the E1 will use a limited edition 1600W Titanium-rated power supply that will also feature a carbon fiber finish to match the rest of the E1 aesthetic. The E1 PC will be built with EVGA’s Z690 Dark Kingpin motherboard, and what appears to be the new RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin Edition graphics card.
Rounding out the notables, there’s analog gauges for CPU and GPU temperature and EVGA’s 7th-gen AIO CPU cooler. As ever, EVGA is selling these in limited quantities and did not disclose any pricing or availability details at present.
13:02 | Valve Confirms First Wave of Steam Decks Will Ship on February 28
After a delay to the original Steam Deck launch date, Valve had previously stated that Steam Deck handhelds would ship within the February 2022 window. As we approach February, Valve has now officially offered some guidance on when its highly anticipated handheld gaming PC will ship.
According to Valve, the first batch of Steam Decks will ship to the first wave of pre-order customers on February 28th – that is, those who were lucky enough to be among the fist to pay the $5 pre-order prepayment back in July of last year. Furthermore, Valve noted that customers with an estimated shipping date of “Q1 2022” could also be included in this first wave of shipments.
Additionally, Valve stated that the remaining Steam Deck pre-order customers will receive an email notification alerting them to pay for the remainder of their Steam Deck configuration – which ranges from $400 to $650 – and will have 72 hours to do so. Otherwise, the Steam Deck units that had been reserved will be released to others in the queue.
Valve also confirmed that it is working to send out review units to the press “shortly,” and made note of the February 25 embargo date. However, Valve mentioned keeping an eye out for preview coverage ahead of the embargo lift date. We will have coverage up before this date.
15:03 | Crysis 4 Confirmed, In Early Development
At long last, Crytek has confirmed that the next game in the Crysis franchise – tentatively titled Crysis 4 – is in active development, albeit in the early stages of development. So, at some point this decade, users will, in fact, be able to ask that perennial question once more with renewed relevance.
“Right now the game is in the early stages of development so it will be a while yet, but we wanted to bring you the news at this time as we are so hyped for the future, and to let you know that we will be listening to our community,” said Crytek CEO Avni Yerli in a blog post.
The official announcement of Crysis 4 comes hot on the heels of the news leaking on Chinese social media site BiliBili, which was then picked up by the press. Regarding the title, the YouTube teaser video refers to the game as the “4th installment in the Crysis franchise” and Crytek has gone on record as far back as 2012 saying that the next Crysis game wouldn’t be titled Crysis 4. Aside from remasters, there hasn’t been a proper Crysis game since 2012.
16:15 | Intel Issues Warning Regarding Non-K CPU Overclocking
In the wake of substantial overclocks on select Intel non-K SKUs from Intel’s most recent Alder Lake-S family, Intel has issued something of warning regarding the (usually) forbidden practice of overclocking its locked CPUs.
"Intel’s 12th Gen non-K processors were not designed for overclocking. Intel does not warranty the operation of processors beyond their specifications. Altering clock frequency or voltage may damage or reduce the useful life of the processor and other system components, and may reduce system stability and performance,” Intel told Tom’s Hardware in a statement.
The statement follows the discovery of a workaround on certain Z690 motherboards that expose BCLK overclocking options for otherwise locked CPUs. Most of the time, the BCLK is explicitly tied to and drives other parts of the motherboard, such as the PCIe bus, memory, and storage subsystems, as well as the CPU itself. However, some Z690 motherboards have an external BCLK generator that is decoupled from the rest of the system, and generally avoids the instability and volatility of general BCLK overclocking.
For instance, esteemed overclocker Der8auer recently overclocked the 6-core i5-12400 to an all-core 5.2 GHz. Arguably more impressive is HiCookie taking the Pentium Gold G7400T to 5.8 GHz, although that feat was accomplished with the aid of a copious amount of liquid nitrogen.
This same scenario played out a few years ago, when motherboard makers exposed BCLK overclocking support on Z170 boards for Intel’s locked Skylake CPUs, but Intel eventually shut it down. And while Intel didn’t explicitly say it was going to shut it down this time, if the BCLK overclocking support trickles down to non-Z690 chipset boards (i.e., budget boards), Intel may shut it down via microcode in the not so distant future.
20:14 | Nvidia Reportedly Ready To Scrap $40B Arm Deal
According to a report from Bloomberg, it seems Nvidia could be preparing to walk away from its proposed Arm buyout. Nvidia announced its intent to buy Arm from Softbank back in September of 2020, and even then, Nvidia outlined an 18 month timeline for getting the deal approved, implying that the company understood that the deal would face no shortage of scrutiny from global regulators.
As we fast approach the 18 month mark, which would be March of 2022, it’s fair to say that the Nvidia-Arm deal has likely attracted far more attention than either party anticipated, despite the way Nvidia and Arm have continued to frame the deal as necessary and one that is good for the industry. From the onset, many consumers, competitors, and lawmakers the world over have feared it would give Nvidia an unfair amount of leverage, and a whole lot more room to act in a domineering fashion.
Per Bloomberg’s report, Nvidia is quietly telling its partners that it doesn’t expect the deal to be approved. Meanwhile, Bloomberg states that Softbank is preparing to take Arm public with an IPO, as its confidence in the deal is apparently faltering. Bloomberg is citing two sources familiar with the matter, and who have supposedly been close to the deal for some time. If the deal does fall through, it’s worth noting that Nvidia would lose its $1.25 billion deposit that it had prepaid Softbank ahead of the deal.
Most recently, the FTC officially sued to block the transaction last month, while the U.K. government is still probing the deal on grounds of antitrust and national security concerns. Nvidia and Arm haven’t really even begun in China yet, where it’s widely expected the deal will be rejected.
22:13 | TeamGroup Announces First PCIe 5.0 Client SSD
TeamGroup has announced not only the company’s first PCIe 5.0 SSD, but the industry’s first PCIe 5.0 SSDs for client machines. The TeamGroup T-Force Cardea PCIe Gen5 SSD, as it’s called, is a PCIe 5.0 x4 M.2 SSD. And while TeamGroup didn’t disclose all the details, we do know that the new SSD is NVMe 2.0 compliant, and will apparently ship with two different heatsinks.
There will be a raised aluminum heatsink meant for desktop users, while a smaller graphene heatsink is aimed at laptop users. Additionally, TeamGroup is citing maximum sequential read speeds of over 13,000 MB/s and write speeds of up to 12,000 MB/s. The new drives will also be offered in capacities of up to 4TB. TeamGroup didn’t share any details on the type of flash being used, or what controller is powering the new SSD.
TeamGroup notes that it’s aiming for mass production sometime in Q3’ 2022. PCIe 5.0 SSDs for client PCs, at this point, are being aimed at the upcoming AM5 platform, or Intel’s current Alder Lake platform.
23:19 | G.Skill: New DDR5-8888 Overclocking Record, New DDR5-6400 CL32 Kits
G.Skill has found itself in the news with a couple of highlights this week. First, the company announced that between itself and Asus, as well as with the help of some talented in-house overclockers, that a new world record for DDR5 frequency was achieved. Specifically, the record breaking overclock was done by "lupin_no_musume" using G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5 memory, an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 APEX motherboard, and an Intel i9-12900K CPU.
The record frequency achieved was DDR5-8888, with timings of CL 88-88-88-88, and takes the crown from the previous record of DDR5-8704 that was established last November. As ever, the record breaking overclock used plenty of liquid nitrogen, and has been verified by CPU Z.
Outside of extreme overclocking, but still within the realm of the nascent DDR5 memory, G.Skill announced some of its fastest kits yet in the form of its new Trident Z5 DDR5-6400 kits. The new kits will offer timings of CL 32-39-39-102, which is some of the tighter timings we’ve seen on new DDR5 kits. One issue with DDR5 compared to DDR4 – leaving aside supply and pricing – is the relatively high latency of DDR5 memory so far. As usual, timings and frequency should improve as the memory matures. The memory kits will use a voltage of 1.40V and will be offered in 32GB (2x16) kits.
G.Skill didn’t disclose pricing, but stated that its new DDR5 kits are available immediately via its retail and distribution partners.
25:17 | Intel Wins Appeal For Years Old $1.2B Antitrust Fine
Let it never be said that Intel isn’t persistent. Or that it doesn’t carry a grudge – or both. To the point, Intel has recently won its appeal against a $1.2B (€1.06-billion-euro) EU antitrust fine levied against the company back in 2009. The fine stemmed from what was deemed anticompetitive behavior on behalf of Intel against AMD, whereby Intel offered rebates to massive PC makers Dell, HP, and Lenovo for using Intel chips in 95% of their machines. At the time, the courts decided that Intel had blocked AMD from the market and penalized the company with the fine. However, after Intel has spent over 10 years fighting the ruling, it seems the EU courts have granted Intel its appeal. Furthermore, the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second-highest court, has annulled the fine.
"The (European) Commission's analysis is incomplete and does not make it possible to establish to the requisite legal standard that the rebates at issue were capable of having, or likely to have, anticompetitive effects," judges said in a statement.
It seems Intel has won the day for now, although the European Commission stated that it would reflect on the next steps.
Writer: Eric Hamilton
Host, Writer: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick