On December 5, we broke news on Asetek's Cease & Desist order sent to AMD, pursuant to the sale of its liquid-cooled R9 Fury X video card. Asetek previously won a suit against Cooler Master USA for its closed-loop liquid cooler products (CLCs), to include the Seidon, Nepton, and Glacer (Swiftech-supplied) lines. The patents primarily discussed are 8,240,362 and 8,245,764.
By judge and jury, CMI USA (Cooler Master USA) was found guilty of patent infringement of the pump-on-coldplate design and ordered to pay 14.5% royalties. Inability to pay-out on its ruled dues ultimately saw a royalties percentage increase to 25.375%, followed by banishment of all affected Cooler Master CLCs from US markets.
This article fully details the relevant legal history of liquid cooling companies, including the rise of Asetek & CoolIT, their patent lawsuits against one another, the recent lawsuit against Cooler Master, and the C&D against AMD's R9 Fury X.
Considering the year is coming to a close, this past week has been one of the most active weeks for hardware news in recent months. Intel's alleged Broadwell-E CPU SKUs were leaked, EVGA's GTX 970 Hybrid – using a CLC like the 980 Ti – was announced, Asetek issued C&Ds to AMD & Gigabyte, AMD moved FreeSync to HDMI, and Corsair shipped its 600C case.
A lot going on, then.
The hot topic has been the Asetek v. AMD C&D, something to which both AMD and Cooler Master have officially responded (emailing us direct statements). We've been following the story closely as it has developed and are actively speaking with involved parties to better understand the full scope of action. Broadwell-E, of course, is big news for enthusiast desktop users, as is the 970 Hybrid's $400 launch.
Learn about all the major stories from the week in the below video:
Friday saw the publication of our report on Asetek’s newly-issued Cease & Desist orders, targeting AMD for its R9 Fury X and Gigabyte for its GTX 980 Waterforce. Asetek, a CLC OEM known best for its provision of Corsair and NZXT CLCs, alleges that the R9 Fury X infringes upon Asetek’s patent for its inclusion of a Cooler Master CLC. The patent, boiled down to its most basic elements, primarily governs Asetek’s ownership of the IP pertaining to pump-on-coldplate configurations.
AMD’s AM4 platform sees the convergence of FM and AM# platforms, known to carry Carrizo APUs and the future’s Zen CPUs. German site Planet3DNow spoke to motherboard manufacturers about scheduling for AM4 motherboard launches and learned that March, 2016 is the earliest targeted availability. The site goes on to conclude an ahead-of-schedule Zen launch, though we believe it is almost certainly the case that Carrizo/Excavator moves to desktop at this time, with Zen CPUs remaining targeted to EOY 2016.
Liquid cooler supplier Asetek revealed to GamersNexus that the cooling manufacturer has expanded its legal pursuit of products allegedly infringing upon patents. The company has now issued Cease & Desist orders to AMD over the sale of its liquid-cooled R9 Fury X. This news coincides with additional Asetek-dispatched C&Ds that AIB partner Gigabyte halt sales of its WaterForce video cards, a development we predicted would happen in a previous write-up.
AMD issued a statement moments ago pertaining to the Radeon Software (see also: Radeon Settings, Crimson, former Catalyst) fan speed configuration causing GPU overheating issues. Some users have reported GPU death resultant of excessive thermals, which correlate with inadequately low fan speeds for the current heat generation.
If our recent Star Wars Battlefront CPU benchmark is anything to go by, the days of dual-threaded CPUs appear to be numbered when it comes to gaming. The G3258 – a $60 powerhouse in its own right – is now encountering limitations to the extent of inability to play some games without hacks. We've found the Core i3 to be consistently performant and, although it's not on our current bench, the Athlon X4 860K seems to be the only reasonable option in the sub-$100 price-point at this time. This was preceded by the 760K, another popular chip, both of which took the same approach: Take an APU and disable the IGP, then just sell it as a CPU.
This guide rounds-up the best gaming CPUs on sale for Black Friday, ranging from $70 to $300 at the high-end. The CPUs here are built for different tasks, but will play LOL, DOTA2, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Battlefront, Fallout 4, Black Ops III, and other games to varying degrees. See what we have to say below before buying.
We've opted to exclude the X99 CPUs from this list, under the premise that these are primarily meant for production and enthusiast rigs. If you are interested in such a CPU, the i7-5930K is currently selling for $460.
This article specifically looks at single-GPU solutions to gaming at various price-points. We scale our GPU search from $100 to $600, covering PC builders across budget, mid-range, and high-end configurations. We've had extensive hands-on testing with the cards below, a fact accentuated by the burst of game launches in the past few weeks. Most of these cards have been tested in Battlefront, Fallout 4, AC Syndicate, Black Ops III, and the year's earlier titles, like The Witcher 3 and GTA V.
Black Friday starting to hit full swing, we found some of the best graphics cards of the year on sale for – in some cases – significant discount. The GTX 970 at $290, R9 380 at $143, and GTX 980 at $400 are just a few of the finds below.
Software doesn't normally warrant a standalone review on this site; we'll review the hardware and, as an accompaniment, talk about the software's ability to adequately enable that hardware. AMD's newest “Radeon Settings – Crimson Edition” (introduced here) supersedes its long-standing Catalyst Control Center, which has been retired from service. Radeon Settings, which we'll interchangeably refer to as “Crimson,” is a complete overhaul of the AMD control interface. This, we think, warrants more of an in-depth tear-down than a simple news post.
There shouldn't be major performance updates included in the preview package we were provided; at least, not any more than what we've found in 15.11.1 benchmarking. This is largely an interface improvement, moving to a minimalistic UI – the trend of late – and attempting to improve ease-of-use for anyone with AMD Radeon hardware.
Joining us for this weekend's hardware news recap is Lyndell Chase, a new host for GN's weekend news segments and forthcoming feature videos. We couldn't have picked a more news-packed week to introduce a new co-host: AMD launched the R9 380X (reviewed), nVidia posted a Pascal update and virtual reality push, overvolting support was added for the Fury GPUs, and AC Syndicate / Battlefront launched.
The R9 380X was clearly the biggest news item of the week, something we spent a considerable amount of hours testing and reviewing. We remarked that the R9 380X would be a good buy at its price-point, proving a direct challenge to nVidia's GTX 960 mainstay. The rest of the news – Pascal especially – is all worth paying attention to, even if it's a little way out.
Here's the video recap!
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