Last seen at CES 2014, AMD's FreeSync demo went live shortly after nVidia's fanfare about G-Sync, a technology we overviewed here (read this content if you're unfamiliar with frame synchronization). FreeSync and G-Sync are both adaptive refresh rate technologies that effectively ensure the display slaves to the GPU, allowing for a smoother frame output by eliminating both tearing and stuttering (V-Sync on).
Thermaltake released their latest trio of cases at CES 2015 yesterday: the Core X9, Core X2, and Core X1. The cases are designed to be stackable and, when stacked, they have enough room for even the largest liquid cooling systems. The Core X series cases houses its motherboards horizontally and can be almost completely disassembled to the builder’s liking, allowing for complete customization. The other thing that really pops out during the first impression is that they are large, and in the Core X9’s case, really large. Here are some of the measurables:
AMD may have just given the nod of recognition to overclockers looking for a more aptly-priced APU. The company just provided the information at CES 2015 that they are set to release the A8-7650K, providing an unlocked SKU among the A8s. At an MSRP of $105, the A8-7650K is only $6 more than the A8-7600, which is not unlocked. We believe that the small step in price difference was done to address community complaints about larger price differences between regular and unlocked versions of the A10 APUs. The 7650K will come with 10 compute cores (4 CPU + 6 GPU) and have a base frequency of 3.3 GHz with the ability to turbo up to 3.7 GHz. Like the other Kaveri APUs, there is full support for Mantle and OpenCL 2.0.
Among the final pieces of our coverage from MSI, the GS30 Shadow laptop and its accompanying docking system remind us of a SilverStone/ASUS creation from last year: The XG02 external video card enclosure for laptops.
MSI's GS30 Shadow 13.3" gaming laptop includes a PCI-e enabled dock for external graphics card hardware, supporting AMD & nVidia devices. The GS30 can fit everything up to a Titan Black, hosts a 3.5" HDD bay for games storage, and pushes all video content to an external display once docked. This means that the external video card does not re-pipe the graphics back into the 13.3" screen, instead requiring a peripheral monitor. It's a normal docking station in this fashion, it just includes external GPU support for high-end gaming at home.
German case, cooler, & PSU manufacturer "Be Quiet!" made an appearance at CES this week, where they spotlighted two new air coolers and the Silent Base 800 enclosure we previously wrote about.
Be Quiet! expanded its cooler line with the Dark Rock TF -- a black monolith with two top-down fans -- and the Shadow Rock LP. The Dark Rock TF (TF initializes "Top Flow" air direction, or top-down) is the larger, more powerful cooler rated for 220W TDP. It sports six nickel-plated copper pipes with a two-tiered aluminum fin design. The CPU block is not direct contact, but does appear solid and well-machined with its smooth coldplate.
Computer cases are exciting up until a point -- a point of 90 degree angles. There are only so many rectangular pieces of metal you can get excited about each year. Case manufacturers change up the game to get coverage at tradeshows -- often leveraging case modders to modify existing enclosures -- but innovation occasionally shows itself.
Cooler Master showed off their HAF Stacker at PAX Prime a few years ago, reviving a decades-old concept of vertically stacking multiple systems. Alienware showed off its Area 51 case last year, a tiltable enclosure to allow easier access to the I/O panel. At CES 2014, Razer showcased "Project Christine" (either in limbo or now-defunct), a modular approach to system assembly.
During our visit to the MSI Suite at this year’s CES, we were pleased to find two things that we’ve been waiting on for a long time: USB 3.1 and the USB 3.1 type-C interface. The latter appeared on a soon-to-be available Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard. The receptacle is small and close in size to a micro USB connector. Its contacts are inside, mounted on a central piece of molded plastic. The difference between these contacts and those of a micro USB receptacle is that they appear on both sides of the central piece of plastic. This means that when you connect the cable to the receptacle, it works the first time, every time.
It’s CES time again and, after hopping on planes and braving Southern California traffic, we safely arrived in Las Vegas. Our first stop this year was at the MSI suites, where we already wrote about a gaming laptop equipped with a mechanical keyboard. Associate Marketing Manager David Chang started our tour and was even kind enough to showcase the benchmarking of the USB 3.1 interface in one of our upcoming videos.
Case mods are easily some of the most exciting content at tradeshows. Although they're generally commissioned for suites and booths, case mods ultimately provide a content opportunity that's strictly centered around what got us all interested in system building: beautiful design and assembly. It feels more neutral to cover a case mod.
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