Hardware

Samsung's recent 850 Pro SSD launch debuted VNAND, a new approach to Flash memory that aims to improve overall capacity in a small space. The 850 Pro SSD is targeted at professional users, as evidenced by a focus on encryption, endurance (at 150 TBW), and high speeds across the board.

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AMD is slated for a new GPU release in August, Chinese leak-monger VR-Zone reported. Somewhat similar to nVidia's GTX 750 / 750 Ti launch, it appears that AMD plans to plant its impending 28nm " Tonga" GPU in a rebuild of the R9 280 and R9 280X video cards.

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First SSD Using VNAND: Samsung 850 Pro Specs

By Published June 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Conveniently, we recently published an article and accompanying video exploring the future of Flash technology: 3D V-NAND Flash memory. VNAND stands as the next step in the SLC/MLC/TLC progression, except instead of primarily adding additional bits per cell, it's beginning to stack cells in 3-dimensional space -- similar in concept to Intel's 3D transistor architecture. This allows higher cell density in the same square area, but reduces the granular voltage requirements introduced by incrementing the cell levels (an exponential voltage level requirement with each level, from SLC to TLC).

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Samsung showcased some of its VNAND concept just before CES, but we didn't have reason to believe it'd make it to market so quickly. The first consumer product to use VNAND, a type of Flash fabricated internally at Samsung, will be the company's 850 Pro. The 850 Pro champions the 840 Pro, released just before CES 2013.

Gigabyte first debuted its Brix Pro Steambox at CES 2014, where we got a powered-down hands-on with the device. Steam's recent delay in the SteamBox -- a result of a major controller redesign -- has caused manufacturers to reconsider branding of their pending devices. Because Steam has to give the green light on licensing its name for system makers, and because Steam machines have been delayed, manufacturers are stuck with products that can't be sold until an unset date. That's a huge risk, and so we're seeing these companies rebrand their products as "MiniPCs" and HTPCs. Case and point: Zotac's EN760 was originally slated to be a Steam Box of sorts, but ended up shipping as a mini gaming PC.

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Corsair's New Force LX SSD - 512GB at $260

By Published June 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

After writing about SSD architecture just a few weeks ago, following-up with an SSD AMA and news on PNY's controller change, it feels like all eyes are on SSDs right now. Corsair just recently announced its new 512GB Force LX SSD, following-up on the announcement of the 128GB and 256GB models just recently. The announcement comes at a time when new SSDs are being unveiled monthly, all leading into an impending price war in the solid-state drive market.

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The new Force LX SSD operates on SATA III and brushes against the throughput limitations of the interface, hovering at around 560MB/s max sequential read. The LX hosts a Silicon Motion (SMI) four-channel controller and 256MB of DRAM, used to cache I/O for accelerated transactions. Corsair is sourcing MLC ONFI NAND for its Flash, though we're not yet sure of the current supplier.

AMD has been teasing a new FX processor with a bundled liquid cooler, instilling hope that AMD would be releasing an updated -- or even completely new -- FX-series enthusiast CPU. To the disappointment of the enthusiast community, myself included, the release was just an FX-9590 with a bundled Asetek AIO CLC.

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Intel's Haswell-E and X99 platform have been in development for a while now, and after several months of cloudy release schedules, it looks like Intel is sticking to the original 3Q14 timeline. X99 will be the world's first consumer-ready platform to support DDR4 memory and eliminate traditional channeled architecture, making it appealing for enthusiasts and development rigs. Haswell-E will be the first line of CPUs on the platform, continuing the last-gen -E suffix for extreme-series CPUs.

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"Scam," "fraud," "shadiness," and "lawsuit" are all words that have been somewhat haphazardly plastered across forums and websites this past week, with particular disdain expressed toward SSD makers Kingston and PNY. The internet's bandwagon mentality almost mandates a perpetuity of rage without necessitating a fundamental understanding of the industry toward which that rage is directed. It is an unfortunate side effect of social media that 'shares' and 'likes' will undoubtedly be attributed toward advocacy campaigns without the sharers ever reading accompanying links -- let alone clicking them.

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That's an awful big statement to make without even introducing the topic.

We called NZXT's H440 enclosure an "innovator" and "the reason we review cases" after benchmarking the product. The H440 ships with a built-in PSU shroud, a side window that obscures the drive bays, and a complete lack of 5.25" external optical drive bays; along with these risks taken by the company, the enclosure uses sound-damping foam and locking thumb screws to mitigate noise and streamline installation.

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The company has now partnered with Razer, in a somewhat shocking turn of events, who are now offering their own "NZXT H440 Designed by Razer." The core specs of the case remain the same, but changes to the aesthetic have been made by Razer.

Last year's fly-by over North Carolina's Maker Faire featured 3D printing company Fusion3 Designs, and it looks like the 3D printing crowd has returned again for 2014's Faire. The NC Maker Faire is an extension of the "Maker Faire" franchise, which hosts its largest event annually in the Bay area. Mythbuster Adam Savage is often sighted at the Bay event, usually speaking in front of panel audiences or providing key notes.

maker-faire-1I don't know what it is, but it has lots of red wires and is driving straight at me...

The NC Maker Faire is, understandably, much smaller than what's offered in the Bay area -- but it is growing. This year's NC Maker Faire saw expansion into a larger exhibition space at the NC Fairgrounds, with the event reportedly surpassing previous attendance in presales alone.

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