We recently reported on G.SKILL’s announcement of the new Trident Z RGB series of memory. G.SKILL has now announced their high-end Trident Z DDR4 DIMMs designed for Kaby Lake CPUs and Z270 chipset motherboards.

For the launch of Kaby Lake and the Z270 chipset, G.SKILL will offer various dual-channel kits in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB options. The modules themselves will only come in 8 or 16GB densities; a rejoinder of sorts on behalf of G.SKILL, pertaining to their claims of  mainstream popularity for 16GB and 32GB memory kits. As seen below, kits clocked at 4000MHz and beyond will only be offered in configurations of 8GB modules.

Following suit with our CES coverage, which is sure to remain incessant throughout the next few days, we have Acer’s prize announcements. Acer pulled the curtain back on several products, but the showcase is undoubtedly the expansion of the Predator product family. Both highly sought (and priced), the Predator series is the zenith of Acer’s gaming offerings.

Below we have a few SKUs to overview. The Predator line up will see the inclusion of three new displays: the flagship Z301CT, the XB252Q, and XB272. Also announced were two gaming notebooks, the Predator 21X and 17X.

As the pre-CES hardware news keeps pouring in, HyperX has announced new products today that will further their peripherals and components aimed at the gaming market. HyperX has introduced two new Alloy keyboards, a Pulsefire Gaming Mouse, a new Cloud Revolver S Headset, and HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB LED Memory.

We will be visiting HyperX and Kingston this week, and hope to have more in-depth, on-site coverage from the show floor. For now, we’ve got the basic specs and introductory information for each new peripheral and memory kit.

Starting with the audio gear, HyperX has announced the new headset that will be showcased at CES 2017 -- the Cloud Revolver S. The new gaming headset will feature plug-and-play Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound via a connected USB dongle. HyperX claims no additional software or audiobox will be needed to get the Dolby 7.1 surround sound functional. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an implementation of 7.1 surround in this fashion -- Turtle Beach and Plantronics have done this for ages -- but it’s the first major noise HyperX is making about Dolby Surround.

More unique to the unit, the HyperX Cloud Revolver S will have a condenser microphone with a bi-directional pattern; the condenser mic, although we’ll have to test it, could be promising for streamers and video casters who’d rather not use standalone input hardware. The HyperX Cloud Revolver S will be available February of 2017 for $150 USD.

NVidia has added to our pile of pre-CES hardware news with the announcement of GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti-equipped laptops. 30+ models from various OEMs will be arriving in Q1 2017, including several using Intel’s new Kaby Lake CPUs this week at CES. Confirmed manufacturers include Acer, Alienware/Dell, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and MSI.

As mentioned in our laptop 1060/1070/1080 benchmark, improvements to power management mean that nVidia’s 10-series notebook GPUs are the real deal, rather than the neutered “-M” versions that laptops have gotten in the past. The specs listed for the notebook GPUs confirm this, with the only major difference being higher core clock speeds in the notebook 1050 and 1050 Ti. This doesn’t indicate a change in the physical hardware, it mostly seems that nVidia has increased the clock-rate given the high thermal headroom (room to increase heat) as a result of the efficient 1050/Ti GPUs. Like other 10-series laptops, OEMs will probably be allowed an additional +/-10% for overclocking their GPUs.

Just a heads-up for regular readers: We’ll be at CES next week, where Intel and AMD are likely to each be sharing news of their new processor architectures. As always, we’ll be covering any events or information stemming from CES, including possible architectural deep-dives and any on-site demonstrations. They’re not the only companies at the show, of course.

We’ve got plans to revise our SSD testing methodology (again) through meetings with major controller and SSD manufacturers, hopefully paving the way for more automated testing under the GN banner in 2017. Meetings include the usual suspects: Samsung, Kingston/HyperX, Plextor, and possibly a few others.

Plextor has been making SSDs since 2008, but their presence in the PC gaming market is nearly unrecognized. They are the third-largest OEM SSD manufacturer behind only Samsung and SanDisk, and Plextor's drives are used in Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, Microsoft, and Samsung computers. The company is working to change its consumer recognition as it continues to manufacture high-throughput PCI-e and SATA SSDs. At CES 2016, Plextor announced the M8Pe on the PCI-e side and the M7V on the SATA side, two drives which we think are of serious note for the consumer and gaming audiences.

The M8Pe is a PCI-e Gen 3 x4 M.2 SSD running the NVMe protocol. The drive will be available in the 2280 form factor or as an M.2 stick, then mounted on an HHHL PCB with a styled heatsink (similar to the HyperX Predator). The new M8Pe uses the Marvell 88SS1093 controller to handle Toshiba 15nm MLC NAND. The M8Pe will have 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of flash memory with up to 1GB of DDR3 for caching, which acts as a sort of pre-buffer to speed-up storage transactions. The drive is a welcomed competitor in a market which consists of a whopping 3 competing companies: Intel (750 SSD), Kingston (HyperX Predator), and Samsung (950 Pro). At the moment, Samsung is king according to published, raw numbers. These numbers aren't really representative of all aspects of drive performance, though, and that's for a number of reasons we define in our SSD Architecture & Anatomy article. There are other discrepancies as well, but we'll look into those in future posts.

CES serves as a means to introduce some of the year's biggest product announcements. At last week's show, we saw new GPU architectures, virtual reality 'jetpacks,' Star Wars Destroyer case mods, and a dozen or more cases. Although by no means a definitive listing of all the year's cases, CES 2016 offers a look at what to expect for the annual computer hardware and technology trends and announcements. In the world of cases, it seems that's the trend of power supply shrouds.

This round-up lists the best gaming cases of 2016, including products from NZXT, Corsair, In-Win, Thermaltake, Phanteks, EVGA, and SilverStone. We look at the top PC cases from $50 to $400+, all shown at CES 2016, to best span all major budget ranges for PC builds.

Rosewill had a subtle offering at CES 2016. The case & power manufacturer brought along its recently released full-tower, the Nighthawk 117, and announced the release of a new mid-tower case, the Gungnir. There were also a few minor updates with fans and power supplies that we'll mention at the end of the post.

Released 12/14, the Nighthawk 117 ($115) is the full-tower hybrid of the Throne and the Thor v2. The prominent, adjustable ventilation on those two cases is carried over to the Nighthawk 117. On this new case, Rosewill chose to go with two “click-type,” integrated fan controllers versus the rheostat-types after listening to user input. Other measureables include a top-mounted hot-swap drive bay, 4 x 5.25" drive bays, and 8 x 3.5" drive bays. All of the the 3.5" bays are oriented left-to-right for easy access. The top five 3.5" drive bays can be removed via two thumb screws to increase air flow. The Nighthawk 117 fits any ATX form factor motherboard and has the standard bottom-mounted PSU location. For cooling, the Nighthawk comes with 5 x 140mm fans: 2 blue LED fans in the front, 2 non-LED fans in the top, and 1 non-LED in the rear.

Phanteks introduced several new products at CES 2016, additionally implementing a few variations on existing cases. The new gear included a large addition to the Enthoo Primo line-up, a new series of cases for beginning system builders (dubbed 'Eclipse'), and a power product aimed at simplifying multi-PSU installations. The existing product updates came to the Evolv ATX, Pro M, and Primo.

The biggest new product in the Phanteks suite is still a work in progress. At the moment it's being called “Project 916” or, as noted on the back of the name card, the “Primo Pro.” The design has deep channels along the outside that mirror the other Primo series cases, but P916 adds more LED lighting, thick aluminum and steel, and tempered glass that separate it from the others.

Thermaltake greeted us this year with a steel tank packing two mini-guns. It was the winner of the X9 modding competition and was created by Jesse Palacia, a case modder prolific in the Dirty South PC Mods group on Facebook. The Core X9 was hardly recognizable as the top had been cut down at about a 45-degree angle and the side panels had been sawed through and made into hinged, steel covers. Even though the mod wasn't currently powered, it was still eye catching.

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