As we settle into 2021, hardware news continues apace. Intel has remained ever in the headlines, as CEO-elect Pat Gelsinger is set to take over, and is already bringing former Intel talent back with him. Intel also disclosed full-year earnings for 2020 and offered some clarity on the future of its process technology and manufacturing plans. Nvidia is also in the news, both with a new Pascal-based GPU and updated G-Sync Ultimate marketing language.
There’s more, of course -- Seagate, Samsung, and Arctic are all in the news this week, as well. Within GN, we recently demonstrated the fire hazard that NZXT’s H1 case poses, revisited the GTX 980 in 2021, and made an appearance over at ArsTechnica.
This round of HW News comes as an all digital CES 2021 comes to a close, so we’re focusing mostly on non-CES news here. We say mostly, because a couple of stories do have a bit of overlap as it relates to what was announced at CES 2021.
At any rate, most notably we have more confirmed price adjustments regarding graphics cards, with EVGA, Zotac, and MSI all joining Asus in raising prices due to expired tariff exemptions. There’s interesting news in Qualcomm acquiring Nuvia, and what it could mean long-term for Qualcomm’s CPU design ambitions. We also have news on TSMC possibly already receiving orders from Intel for non-CPU products, and how TSMC may be making some of Intel’s Core i3-series chips this year.
There’s more of course, so hit the article and video embed below.
As we enter 2021 and head towards CES, the pace of news has picked up considerably. To start 2021 of in earnest, we have Linus Torvalds with one of his classic diatribes, this time targeting Intel and ECC memory. Rising cryptocurrency prices are also cause for concern, as they could be forecasting a GPU market like that of 2018. Admittedly, the GPU market already isn’t in a great place, but skyrocketing Bitcoin and Etherum prices won’t help that.
We also have AMD news on a new patent as well as new AGESA microcode updates. There’s an inderting blunder on Gigabyte’s part that seemingly outed Intel’s Rocket Lake release date, NZXT revising its recalled H1 case, and more.
As we begin the new year, GN is easing back into our more regular content schedule after an end-of-year respite. We recently reviewed the Scythe FUMA 2, Fractal Meshify 2 XL case, and you can find our coverage of the big Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA news from this week on our channel.
We started testing the Meshify 2 XL even before our Meshify 2 review went up, which should give some idea of how busy the last few months have been. The Meshify 2 XL is to the Define 7 XL what the Meshify 2 was to the Define 7: essentially the same case, but with redesigned outer panels. We’ve never reviewed a Fractal XL case before, though, so this model is all new to us.
We’re keeping the build section relatively brief this time to avoid repeating information from our Meshify 2 non-XL review. Check that content for basic information on elements that the two cases share, like cable management and the front panel design--this review fills in the blanks and adds additional information, so the original content is must-see for anyone considering buying one of these cases.
Hardware news starts in 2021 with some concluding storylines from 2020, but there are also a few new items -- mostly end-of-year stuff -- that popped-up to be covered this week. Among those, Steam has released its list of most played (by peak concurrent players) and highest grossing (revenue) PC games for 2020. We'll also be talking about Class Action complaints emerging surrounding CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077, thus far related to securities law, then PlayStation 5 sales volume, NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti and 3050/3060 leaks from Lenovo, and more.
As always, the video embed and show notes both follow. We'll have an additional embedded video from our Disappointment PC 2020 video. You should watch at least the first 5 minutes of it for the special intro we made -- it was a huge amount of work.
If you’ve missed the YouTube uploads lately, we’d recommend taking a look at the RX 6900 XT from AMD, as well as our tear-down of the Lian Li Galahad AIO. Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention that we took Cyberpunk 2077 through our GPU bench and CPU bench (and an updated CPU bench with 1.05).
Regarding news, we have some interesting commentary following hardware and component shortages and how they’re affecting segments outside of the DIY scene. Seagate has also gone the route of custom, specialized silicon to address future storage needs. We’re also seeing China’s biggest chipmaker, SMIC, added to the DoD blacklist.
There’s more to cover, of course, so find the article and video embed below.
As the end of the year approaches, things remain busy as ever with yet more GPU launches, Cyberpunk 2077 coming out, and plenty of cooler reviews. However, we’ve managed to scrape a few interesting stories together, amidst all of the end-of-year content (GN’s included).
We have the most recent Steam Hardware Survey, which continues the trend of AMD snatching up CPU market share, but getting beaten 18 times in the top 20 GPU rankings. There’s also a minor update on Nvidia’s supply woes, as it relates to the RTX 30-series drought.
We also have a bit more to go over, as you’ll find the usual article and video embed below.
It’s been another insanely busy two weeks for us here at GN, sandwiched between various product launches. Of course, this week has been anchored by the arrival of AMD’s RX 6000-series RDNA 2 GPUs. As ever, you can find our RX 6800XT and RX 6800 reviews, as well as our usual teardowns, on our YouTube channel. We’ll briefly recap them below, but you’ll need to watch the reviews for the full scope and context.
Outside of consumer GPUs, there’s also new GPUs from both AMD and Nvidia this week aimed at HPC and supercomputing. There’s also news of a new security co-processor from Microsoft, developed in collaboration with partners such as AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm. There’s also an interesting prospect of using supercomputers to help fuel progress in silicon manufacturing.
As usual, article and video embed follow below.
We’re back for our annual “Best Of” series. We’ve already published a buyer’s guide for the Best CPUs of 2020 (for gaming, workstation tasks, video editing, and more), and now we’re back with the Best & Worst PC Cases of 2020. This coverage provides a flyby overview of the best cases we’ve reviewed or worked on in the past year, but keep in mind that cases don’t age like CPUs or GPUs -- many good cases from 2019 are still available, and in some instances, the pricing has improved. We’ll talk about some of those, too, like the Phanteks P400A.
Each case will be accompanied with a link to our review and to the product listings. We often earn a commission from the retailer (not from the manufacturer and not from your purchase) if you click on the links. This does not influence our decision to choose one case over another -- we’re choosing based on our empirical testing data from the last year or so.
We’ll embed a few charts occasionally, but to get the full charts, you’ll want to check the individual case reviews for each enclosure. The target audience for this piece is either people returning to PC building for the first time in a while -- those who might be out of the loop -- or people who haven’t had time to watch or read every single one of our case reviews over the past year. We don’t blame you, if so.
Hardware news this week has been busy, once again, slotting right in between silicon product releases. Our AMD Ryzen 5000 coverage is mostly done, but we're now ramping into RX 6000 GPU coverage. While preparing work for the RX 6800 XT (and subsequent) GPU launches, we opened a dialogue with NVIDIA to ask about a potential PCIe resizable BAR implementation as a counter to AMD's SAM. That's our leading story for this one, followed-up by some coverage of the Zen 3 delidding work done recently, Intel's add-in GPU for servers, and more.
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