With the impending release of AMD Ryzen comes a wave of related product reveals. CyberPower is now offering preorders for several varieties of prebuilt PCs that take advantage of the new CPUs.
The four models below were described in CyberPower’s press release, and an additional four can be found on their website: the AMD Ryzen 7X Configurator, Mega Special III, Mega Special IV, and Winter Gaming Special II. Each of these configurations can be customized with alternate or additional parts, including “high-performance gaming memory, solid state drives, graphics cards, and gaming peripherals.” During the pre-sale, Corsair Hydro H60 AIO liquid coolers are included as a free upgrade, considering the limited launch-day support for AM4. CyberPower will in fact do a general “Pro OC” for a price, but there are plenty of free resources online for those interested.
MSI and system integrator CyberPower are selling the new GT83VR Titan SLI notebook, which sells with K-SKU Intel CPUs and dual GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 GPUs. The move away from M-suffixed cards means that these GPUs are effectively identical to their desktop counterparts, with the exception of the GTX 1070's core increase and clock reduction.
That difference, just to quickly clear it away, results in 2048 CUDA cores on the notebook 1070 (vs. 1920 on the desktop) and a baseline clock-rate of 1645MHz on the notebook (1683MHz on the desktop). Despite talk about the 1060, 1070, and 1080 model notebooks, we haven't yet gotten into the SLI models for this generation.
GN's embarking on its most ambitious trip yet: Taipei, then Shenzhen, China and neighboring countries, then back to Taipei. There are many reasons we're doing the Asia tour, but it's all rooted in one of the world's largest consumer electronics shows. Computex rivals CES in size, though arguably has a bigger desktop hardware / component presence than CES (hosted annually in Las Vegas). This year, we're attending – should be a good show.
Here's a quick recap of what PC hardware to expect at Computex 2016.
Gaming laptops have historically been synonymous with “cinder block” – particularly true for the GTX 980M, GTX 980, and GTX 970M units we've reviewed – but that isn't always the case. Still, slimming down the form factor comes at the substantial risk of increased thermals. Packing high-performance silicon densely into a small box is a breeding ground for poor dissipation potential, offset only by careful controls (throttles) and, normally, a hefty amount of copper. Thermals happen to be our test specialty; we're particularly interested in exploring the temperature readings of MSI's new GE62 Apache Pro 6QD laptop, a 15.6” portable with a GTX 960M and i7-6700HQ.
But it's not all about thermals. Our GE62 6QD Apache Pro ($1300) review benchmarks gaming (FPS) performance of the GTX 960M & i7-6700HQ, looks at thermals, and tests battery life. For a bout of fun, we threw in a battery life test with the keyboard backlight and background software disabled, just to see if it'd increase longevity. Games used for real-world benchmarking include GRID: Autosport (battery life analysis), DiRT Rally, The Witcher 3, GTA V, Metro: Last Light, and Shadow of Mordor.
The GTX 980's entry into laptops – without suffixed “M” demarcation – provided a look at the world of true desktop graphics as integrated on mobile devices. We reviewed MSI's GT72S Dominator Pro G ($2760) with its GTX 980, conducting additional overclocking tests to determine just how far the desktop part could be pushed when crammed into a laptop.
Turns out, it was pretty far. And we're revisiting the subject with Intel's new i7-6820HK and the GTX 970M. This benchmark looks at just how far a laptop CPU and GPU can be overclocked, then runs game FPS and Adobe tests to determine if OCing is worth it. We use The Witcher 3, DiRT, GTA V, Shadow of Mordor, and Metro for FPS tests, then run trace and automated testing for Photoshop and video editing software. A CyberPower Fangbook 4 SX7-300 was used for the benchmark, which is outfitted with the 6820HK unlocked CPU.
System Integrator (SI) CyberPower launched its new Two Computers, One Case gaming PC at CES 2016, dubbed the “Pro Streamer.” The multi-system amalgam is housed within the Phanteks Mini-XL enclosure, a case outfitted with dual-motherboard mounting points for single-PSU operation of two complete computers. Outside of building an internally-housed NAS, local media server, or streaming pre-buffer rig, use cases are relatively slim for the Mini-XL. In this instance, the streaming rig is a sensible fit.
Four SKUs of Pro Streamer boxes exist, but we’re mostly talking about the lowest SKU, as that’s generally the differentiating factor between system integrators; if there’s a weak point, it’s always the lower-end SKUs with haphazard specification listings. For the Pro Streamer 100, CyberPower’s equipped the primary gaming PC (micro-ATX) with a Z170 motherboard, GTX 970 4GB card, 2x8GB RAM, CLC, and an i5-6600K; the secondary buffer machine is outfitted with a more modest Core i3-6300 CPU and stock cooler, 2x4GB RAM, and AverMedia Live Gamer HD capture card (a $200 device). These two builds are installed in the same Phanteks Mini-XL, landing the final price at $1900.
That’s the point of pain: $1900. For a single PC, $1900 easily affords a GTX 980 Ti (or two) and Core i7 processor, but the Pro Streamer setup is a two-PC solution with an ancillary capture card, adding substantially to build cost. This is effectively two computers.
Graphics vendor nVidia today announced its plans for an upgrade program, active through December 4. The program is in partnership with system integrators (“SIs”) who sell pre-built, user-specified gaming PCs. We've reviewed a few, including one from CyberPower and one from iBUYPOWER, for the curious.
The limited step-up program, which is not open to DIY builders at this time, upgrades any GTX 750 Ti-equipped systems to a GTX 950. There is no additional cost for the upgrade.
When it comes to price, gaming laptops are the worst of all worlds: We lose the tremendous customization afforded by custom PC builds, but the sacrifice is made in return for portability and all-in-one versatility. Laptops use a “business triangle” as any other product would, generally forcing selection between size (portability), performance, and battery life; to get all three is possible, but maddeningly expensive.
Gaming laptops range from roughly $800 to more than $3000, in the case of the mechanical keyboard-equipped GT80 Titan. High-performance laptops are the worst of all worlds: Small size is expensive, high performing mobile components are expensive, battery life is expensive.
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.
In our review of Syber's new $1500 “PC console” pre-built machine, we criticized the box for using a loud, hot stock Intel CPU cooler in lieu of something higher-end. The unit exceeded TjMax when under 100% CPU load and regularly hit moderate to high temperatures while playing thread-intensive games. We complained that the system would be significantly quieter and cooler with better cooling options, and it looks like Syber listened to that feedback.
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