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Hier — 23 février 2020KitGuru

Microsoft updates Windows 10 desktop icons

Ever thought the Windows 10 desktop was looking a little tired or drab? Well, Microsoft obviously thinks so since the company announced this week that it is updating the appearance of the Windows 10 desktop with new icons.

Since Windows 10 launched it has featured icons that were a bit of a mixture between old and new. Microsoft has decided it is time to give the Windows 10 desktop a refresh and bring a fresh new appearance with some updated modern-looking desktop icons.

Microsoft has already updated the icons for applications such as Word and Excel from the Microsoft Office suite. The new Windows 10 desktop icons will attempt to replicate that style to bring the appearance of the operating system into the new decade, with a bold and more up to date, modern look.

To modernise the overall style of the Windows 10 desktop, Microsoft is updating all the default application icons bundled with Windows 10, such as Paint, Calendar, Calculator and Skype etc, as well as adding new desktop icons for folders, Windows store and more, to make the appearance of the operating system more streamlined and synchronised with the Office apps icons and the new Microsoft Edge browser icon.

The updated icons are already available in a Windows 10 preview 19569 build for Microsoft Insiders. Regular Windows 10 user can expect to receive the update featuring the new icons in the following months.

KitGuru says: how do you guys like the look of the Windows 10 desktop at the moment? Do you think it was time for a refresh of the appearance and what do you think of the new icons that Microsoft is bringing to Windows 10?

Intel collaborate with QuTech to outline new quantum control chip

Intel has collaborated with QuTech this week, to outline key technical features of a new cryogenic quantum control chip codenamed “Horse Ridge” through a research paper unveiled at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

The research paper released by Intel and QuTech details features of the Horse Ridge chip that addresses a number of challenges faced in building a quantum computer that is powerful enough to demonstrate practicality, flexibility, fidelity and scalability. The integrated SoC design uses Intel’s 22nm FinFET Low Power CMOS technology with four integrated RF channels in a single device.

Each channel is capable of controlling up to 32 qubits and divides the total bandwidth into a series of non-overlapping frequency bands, meaning Horse Ridge can potentially control up to 128 qubits in a single device for efficient scaling. Intel has also optimised the multiplexing technology, to enable the system to scale and reduce errors from “Phase Shift” which helps quantum systems to automatically adapt and correct when controlling multiple qubits with the same RF line to improve fidelity.

“Quantum researchers work with just a small number of qubits, using smaller, custom-designed systems surrounded by complex control and interconnect mechanisms. Intel’s Horse Ridge greatly minimizes this complexity. By systematically working to scale to thousands of qubits required for quantum practicality,” said Jim Clarke, director of quantum hardware, Intel Labs.

Horse Ridge is capable of covering a wide range of frequencies which means it can control both superconducting qubits and spin qubits. Intel is exploring ways to use silicon spin qubits that have the potential to operate at high temperatures up to 1 kelvin. This research will allow devices to integrate silicon spin qubits into Horse Ridge to create a solution that delivers the qubits and controls in one package for improved flexibility.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: This new technology from Intel could greatly simplify the complex electronics required to operate quantum computing systems in the future, allowing a faster setup time and improved efficiency. What do you guys think of Intel and QuTech’s Horse Ridge design?

TeamGroup introduce two new portable storage devices

TeamGroup has introduced two new storage devices that are being added to its portable storage range. The new devices include the multifunctional T183 Stationary Flash drive and the tough PD1000 Portable SSD.

The new T193 Stationary Flash drive from TeamGroup is equipped with multifunctional stationary features such as a 180-degree protractor, a magnifying glass and a magnet are all built into the device, which brought high praise from major design awards. The TeamGroup T193 Stationary Flash Drive is available in capacities ranging from 32GB up to 128Gb and includes an aluminium top that is dustproof, waterproof and shock-resistant. A USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface offers a high-speed connection to a large range of devices.

In addition to the T193 Stationary Flash Drive, TeamGroup has also launched a new tough portable SSD. The PD1000 uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2 ultra-high-speed interface that is capable of up to 1000/900 MB/s read and write speeds and is available in capacities of either 512GB or 1TB.

The TeamGroup PD1000 complies with IP68 certification, meaning the device is dustproof, water-resistant and pressure-proof up to 1600kg load. TeamGroup’s PD1000 is built to military-grade drop protection specification which prevents data loss when the device is accidentally dropped. Due to its USB 3.2 Gen2 interface, the PD1000 is compatible with a vast range of devices and operating systems including Android, Mac OS and Windows.

Both these new portable storage devices offer unique and innovative features to provide consumers with multifunctional uses and high-speed data transfer with high levels of protection from physical and data damage.

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KitGuru says: The T193 Stationary Flash drive offers an almost swiss army knife style in a USB flash drive. What do you guys think of these new portable storage solutions from TeamGroup?

Kioxia announce PCIe 4.0 SSDs for enterprise

Kioxia has announced that its CM6 and CD6 series of PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives for enterprise customers are now being shipped, this means that Kioxia is the first company to ship these next-generation PCIe 4.0 SSDs to enterprise and data centre partners.

Both the CM6 and CD6 SSDs are compliant with the latest NVMe specification, with key features built-in such as in-band NVMe-MI, namespace granularity, shared stream writes and persistent event log, as well as being SFF-TA-1001 (U.3) conformant, allowing the drives to be used in tri-mode enabled backplanes that can accommodate SATA, SAS or NVMe SSDs.

Kioxia CM6 series enterprise PCIe 4.0 SSDs provide best-in-class performance with sequential and random transfer speed of up to 6.9GB/s and up to 1.4M input/output operations per second (IOPS). This performance offers customers with bandwidth improvements of up to 2x PCIe Gen 3 device performance and is 12x faster than traditional SATA drives. The CM6 series is designed for enterprise applications such as AI, caching layer, data analytics, financial trading and is available in 800Gb to 30.72TB capacities.

The CD6 PCIe 4.0 SSD series from Kioxia are single-ported drives designed for data centre use, aimed at large-scale deployments and general use scenarios, such as cloud computing, web servers and media streaming. The CD6 PCIe Gen 4 (1×4) NVMe SSDs are available in capacities from 960GB up to 15.36TB with 6.2GB/s throughput and 1.0M IOPS.

“For more than a year, OEM customers have been providing cutting-edge storage performance to end-users thanks to KIOXIA’s CM5 and CD5 Series NVMe SSDs,” noted Alvaro Toledo, vice president of SSD marketing and product planning at KIOXIA America, Inc. “We’re continuing our commitment to lead in the NVMe space by delivering the fastest available 2.5-inch4 PCIe 4.0 SSD solutions.”

Both of Kioxia’s PCIe 4.0 enterprise SSD series include security and encryption features such as self-encryption and FIPS, as well as being on the UNH-IOL Integrator’s list for NVMe 1.4 device compatibility. The CM6 series also successfully passed PCI-SIG Workshop compliance.

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KitGuru says: Kioxia was the first company to demonstrate PCIe 4.0 SSD devices and has now become the first to ship next-generation SSDs to enterprise customers. What do you guys think of these CM6 and CD6 SSDs from Kioxia?

Samsung begins mass production of 7nm EVU chips at new production line

Samsung announced this week that mass production of 7nm extreme ultraviolet (EUV) chips for partners at its cutting-edge fabrication line at Hwaseong in Korea has begun, with its first batch of products produced at the fab expected to be delivered to customers in the first quarter of 2020.

The Hwaseong manufacturing line named V1 broke ground in 2018 and began testing wafer production during the second half of 2019. The V1 line will be Samsung’s first production line dedicated to manufacturing EUV chips using the company’s 7nm process node and below.

Currently, the V1 manufacturing line is producing 6nm mobile chips alongside the 7nm process. Samsung claims it will continue to invest in research to adopt finer circuitry and will manufacture products based on a 3nm process node at the Hwaseong V1 production line in the future.

“As we ramp up production, the V1 line will enhance our ability to respond to market demand and expand opportunities to support our customers,” said Dr. ES Jung, President and Head of Foundry Business at Samsung Electronics.

By the end of the year, Samsung will have invested $6 billion USD in the Hwaseong fab, according to the company’s plans and total capacity coming from 7nm and lower process node will be triple that from 2019. Combined with the S3 line in Hwaseong, the V1 line is expected to play a huge role in meeting the growing demand throughout the industry for 7nm and lower foundry technologies.

With its V1 line in Hwaseong now up and fully functional, Samsung has a total of six foundries in South Korea and the U.S, that includes five 12-inch lines and one 8-inch line.

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KitGuru says: The announcement of Samsung beginning mass production of 7nm EUV chips at its V1 line in Korea will be welcome news for the industry which has had shortage scares in the past, lets hope that the latest worry about the corona virus doesn’t affect the production of Samsung 7nm EUV chips.

Intel Comet Lake-S desktop processors spotted for sale

Earlier this week, details of Intel’s 10th generation desktop F-series processor SKUs were leaked out online and it seems that now there has even been listings of the new processors spotted for sale in some European online stores.

Even though Intel has still not officially given us a firm release date or a hint of pricing for its new 10th generation desktop processors codenamed Comet Lake-S, it is expected that they will hit the online shelves sometime within the next eight weeks. However, it seems as though a couple of Czech/Slovakian distributors may have jumped the gun and listed the new CPUs for sale already.

The listings were first noticed by serial CPU leaks specialist momomo_us on Twitter a couple of days ago and include new Pentium, Core i3 and Core i5 processors. Pricing in the premature sale listing didn’t include VAT and whether the prices accurately represent what they will be at the official launch remains to be seen.

However, it could give us an indication that when the processors finally release in the UK, the Intel Core i5 10600 non-K version may be priced around £260-£280, which is similar to how previous generation Coffee Lake processors were priced at launch. The most glaring omission from the listing was the missing core i7 and core i9 SKUs and there was no sign of any unlocked K series CPUs listed either.

We assume that the listing has now been taken down, but since a retailer has now actually listed them for sale, whether this was on purpose or not, it gives us a good indication that the official release is very close and could be a little earlier than some may have been expecting. Since this is still not an official listing, we could see prices adjust depending on the situation at launch.

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KitGuru says: What do you guys make of this potential listing of the new Intel 10th generation Comet Lake-S processors and how prices look compared to Coffee Lake or more importantly, how do they compare to current Ryzen offerings from AMD?

À partir d’avant-hierKitGuru

Gigabyte Brix now available with Intel Comet Lake mobile processors

Gigabyte’s line of Brix Mini-PCs has been treated to a refresh, the Brix series is being equipped with the latest Intel 10th generation Comet Lake mobile CPUs offering even more power inside the tiny form factor PC.

The Brix range of Mini-PCs from Gigabyte features an ultra-compact form factor measuring just 46.8 x 119.5 x 119.5 mm and an internal capacity of 0.6 litres, with the upgrade to 10th generation Intel Comet Lake mobile CPUs inside the Gigabyte Brix means even more processing power will now be available in this tiny package.

Gigabyte has equipped the Brix Mini-PC series with a range of different Intel processors in the past, with the likes of 6th generation Skylake and more recently Celeron J1900 CPUs offering a range of different configurations to suit the needs of various users. The latest Intel Comet Lake mobile processors seem like the ideal candidate for the Brix with their 15W TDP meaning they should be easy to keep cool and maintain optimal core frequencies.

New Gigabyte Brix devices will include anything from the dual-core Intel Core i3-10110U right up to the hexa-core Intel Core i7-10710U powerhouse, with memory support in the form of two SODIMM slots allowing for up to 64Gb RAM to be installed. The new Brix systems also include dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity with dual HDMI 2.0a output to support 4K/60 resolution.

I/O connectivity includes six USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, 3.5mm audio output, Gigabit Ethernet and a single RS232 COM port. The Brix supports add-in cards for an additional Ethernet port and second RS232 COM port to be added, as well as VESA wall mounting support via 75×75 or 100×100 wall mounting brackets.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: the Gigabyte Brix Mini-PC range already offered plenty of power in its tiny form factor, the addition of Comet Lake mobile CPU equipped Brix devices means even more productivity can be achieved from his tiny system now.

Sony announces a new Xperia L4 smartphone

Sony has announced a new handset is being added to its Xperia portfolio of entertainment based smartphones. The new Xperia L4 features a sleek 21:9 wide display, triple rear camera setup and a powerful 3,580mhA battery.

The new Xperia L4 handset from Sony is equipped with a 21:9 wide 6.2-inch display that the company claims to offer more browsability and multi-tasking productivity. The 6.2-inch display format provides a slender form factor that fits perfectly in the hand, with a 21:9 ratio allowing more content to display on the screen. The new Sony multi-window user interface allows two apps to be launched simultaneously and viewed on-screen at once.

A triple rear camera on the Xperia L4 is the first for a Sony Xperia L series handset. The main lens offers 13MP photo quality with a 5MP ultra-wide and 2MP depth lenses allowing users to capture creative photos of landscapes and close-ups which benefit from bokeh effect. An 8MP selfie camera is also located on the front of the handset.

Sony has outfitted the Xperia L4 with a powerful 3,580mhA battery that gives users enough power to stay connected all day long. As well as this powerful battery, the Xperia L4 also features fast charging via an optional USB Type-C UCH32C fast charger.

Dimensions of the Xperia L4 are 159 x 71 x 8.7mm and the device weighs in at 178g. It features dual sim support so you can keep work and personal calls separate and the handset is powered by a Mediatek MT6762 processor with 3GB RAM and 64Gb internal storage, with a built-in microSDXC slot supporting up to 512Gb additional storage capacity.

In terms of connectivity, the Xperia L4 includes 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB Type-C, with a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting headphones. The handset also features a fingerprint sensor, a display resolution of 1680×720 and comes pre-installed with Android 9.0 Pie operating system.

According to the Sony website, the Xperia L4 will be available to purchase soon, in a choice of either black of Blue colours, however, no price has been announced just yet.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: The 21:9 ratio display on the Xperia L4 looks great for multitasking and viewing those landscape photos. What do you guys think of the new Xperia L4 smartphone from Sony?

AMD B550 motherboard with PCIe 4.0 support spotted online

AMD’s previous B350 and B450 motherboards gave savvy PC gamers and enthusiast a more cost-effective way to migrate to the AM4 platform compared to X370 and X470 with the first two generations of Ryzen processors. Since Ryzen 3000 launched in the middle of 2019, very little has been officially revealed about the specification of a potential budget B550 platform.

Even though the B550A platform has been available to OEM system builders for some time, there is still quite a bit of mystery surrounding retail B550 motherboards and just what spec they will arrive in when they become available to consumers. B550A officially supports the Latest 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors and to reduce cost, some of the new specifications that arrived with Ryzen 3000 are missing from the B550A OEM motherboards.

The most noticeable omission in B550A motherboards is PCIe gen 4 support. All B550A motherboards are supposed to feature PCIe 3.0 and obviously the lower bandwidth that it provides. However, a recently leaked document on Twitter, found by Komachi Ensaka from an ASRock motherboard tells us a different story.

pic.twitter.com/iTa76ymJPj

— 比屋定さんの戯れ言@Komachi (@KOMACHI_ENSAKA) February 13, 2020

It is a little uncertain whether this B550AM Gaming motherboard is an OEM system builder only B550A motherboard or a new mainstream B550 motherboard that would be a welcome addition for retail customers. One thing that isn’t uncertain is that the leaked user manual for this ASRock B550AM Gaming motherboard clearly states PCIe 4.0 support in the specifications for ASRock Hyper M.2 (PCIe Gen4x4) and shows a PCIe 4.0 x16 expansion slot for AMD Ryzen Matisse, Summit Ridge and Pinnacle Ridge processors.

As well as posting the B550AM Gaming user manual on Twitter, Komachi Ensaka also posted an image of the motherboard in question. Since AMD’s Robert Hallock officially confirmed on Reddit back in October 2019 that B550A motherboards will not feature PCIe 4.0, it is likely that this ASRock B550AM Gaming motherboard could be one of the first B550 motherboards available for consumers and the fact that PCIe 4.0 is present, will make potential customers very happy.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: Although PCIe 4.0 support in the cost-effective B550 platform will be welcomed by many, early adopters to the X570 platform may feel a little hard done by if the cheaper platform does support the premium features of the more expensive X570 motherboards. What do you guys think?

EK Water Blocks introduce the EK-Loop Connect hub

EK Water blocks has announced a new addition to its water-cooling products line up with the introduction of a control hub capable of providing the user information from all relevant parameters of a liquid-cooled system. The EK-Loop Connect can control RGB lighting effects, fan RPM and pump speed all in one compact unit.

With the EK-Loop Connect, custom water cooling enthusiasts can keep a keen eye on all aspects of the cooling system via a single module. The control hub allows for customisation of RGB lighting effects, as well as complete control over PWM fan/pump speeds and noise levels, with a total power output of 170W able to deliver 20W per 4-pin fan header and industry-standard addressable D-RGB headers receiving 8W of power each.

The EK-Loop Connect is equipped with six 4-pin PWM fan headers meaning that users can connect PWM fan splitter cables to allow for dozens of fans to be connected. The same can be applied to the D-RGB headers since there is a total of 50W available for RGB, which is enough power for up to 20 EK-Quantum Vector D-RGB water blocks.

EK-Loop Connect technical specifications:

  • Dimensions (L x H x W): 126 x 18 x 70mm
  • Power Output for Fans: 20W per header
  • Power Output for LEDs: 8W per header
  • Mounting Holes: 2.5″ drive mounting holes

Ports

  • 1x (PWR) 4-Pin Female Molex (2x Female SATA to 1x Male Molex Adapter Included)
  • 6x (F1-F6) Standard 4-pin PWM Fan Header
  • 6x (L1-L6) D-RGB Header 3-Pin 5V Digital LED Header (Pinout: +5V, D, Blocked, Ground)
  • 3x (T1-T3) Temperature Probe Headers
  • 1x (FLO) Flow Meter Connection (upcoming product)
  • 1x (LVL) Coolant Level Indicator (upcoming product)
  • 1x USB 2.0 Data Header
  • 1x (EXT) Data Header for Daisy Chain (upcoming product)

EK-Loop Connect Software features:

  • Fan Speed PWM Curve Control
  • PUMP Speed PWM Curve Control
  • Addressable D-RGB Lighting Control
  • Physical Thermal-Probe Readouts
  • Hardware Temperature Readouts
  • Manual Air Bleeding Activation
  • Safety Coolant-Level Sensor (upcoming feature)
  • Coolant Flow Readout (upcoming feature)
  • Coolant Replacement Reminder (upcoming feature)

In case of the unlikely event of connecting too many components, EKWB has included an overpower protection system to make sure you will not damage the controller or your RGB components. If the system is overloaded, all LEDs will be set to a static red colour as a visual warning and also because static red will only use 1/3 of the power, which will avoid damaging the controller. The EK-Loop Connect is powered by a single Molex connection and is hooked up to the motherboard via a USB 2.0 header cable.

EK-Loop Connect is available to purchase via the EK webstore and from official EK Water Blocks retailers now, priced at €55.36.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: The new EK-Loop Connect controller looks like a handy bit of kit for easily controlling all the parts of a water-cooling setup via a single unit. What do you guys think of this new control hub from EK Water Blocks?

Deepcool launch the Matrexx 30 SI Micro-ATX case

Deepcool has rolled out a new Micro-ATX desktop PC case this week, designed for users that don’t need to show off the internal components of their pc and prefer the more understated appearance of a small form factor system.

The Deepcool Matrexx 30 SI is a reworked version of the cost-effective Matrexx 30, with the only real noticeable visual change in the Matrexx 30 SI being the black steel side panels that replace the tempered glass side panels in the Matrexx 30. The SI features the same front panel combination of a machined line effect with mesh ventilation for optimal airflow.

Inside the Matrexx 30 SI has a spacious feel to it with an open style layout, an ODD bay is present but only makes a minimal intrusion into the top of the case. There are no luxuries like a power supply shroud so the majority of cable management will need to take place behind the motherboard tray, however, Deepcool has designed the steel side panels to allow for extra cable management space.

In terms of hardware support, the Matrexx 30 SI has space for the installation of either Mini-ITX or M-ATX form factor motherboards. Graphics cards up to 250mm long fit inside the case and CPU coolers up to 151mm tall can also be installed. Space for storage devices includes a 3.5-inch drive cage that can house up to three 3.5-inch HDDs with two mounting locations for 2.5-inch drives available, along with the 5.25-inch ODD bay.

To keep system temperature under control, Deepcool has pre-installed a 120mm rear exhaust fan with space available at the front of the case to install a second 120mm fan, 120mm radiator or all-in-one CPU cooler behind the honeycomb style mesh vent. The top of the case doesn’t include any ventilation, so all warm air is exhausted from the rear.

Currently, the Deepcool Matrexx 30 with a tempered glass side panel is available on Amazon UK for under £30, so we expect the SI version to be very similarly priced, maybe even a little cheaper.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: production of new Micro-ATX cases has become pretty scarce in recent years, so its good to see a manufacturer making new options available. What do you guys think of this new, understated Micro-ATX case from Deepcool?

Intel Comet Lake-S 10th Gen F-series processor specs revealed

Even though there has still been no official word from Intel regarding a firm date for when its 10th generation Comet Lake-S series desktop processors will finally launch, it feels as though it is getting ever closer as each day passes, more specifications and sightings of the CPUs leak out in the media.

One of the latest 10th gen Intel desktop processors leaks to surface this week was the news of the return to F series SKUs. Intel used the F marque on its previous generation of desktop CPUs to describe a processor that has its iGPU chopped off, with processors such as the Coffee Lake Core i3-8100KF, i7-9700KF, i9-9900KF and so on. It looks as though Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake-S F-series will include the 65W Core i5-10400F, i7-10700F, i9-10900F and 125W Core i5-10600KF, i7-10700KF and i9-10900KF SKUs.

This was first picked up on by Informatica Cero who published an image of an Intel 10th Gen Core presentation slide which was actually part of a presentation in December 2019, however, this slide has only just surfaced online this week. Usually, these F series processors would be gobbled up by gamers and enthusiasts who use a discreet graphics card in their systems and therefore wouldn’t necessarily need a CPU with a built-in iGPU, saving a little on the cost of the processor.

Image credit: Informatica Cero

According to Intel, the F-series processors use exactly the same quality silicon to the non-F processors, the iGPU has been chopped off simply because there would have been some kind of fault in the iGPU during manufacture that rendered it useless. Rather than just throwing the processors with a faulty iGPU in the bin, Intel sells them at a slightly reduced price. According to an Overclock3D report, 9th generation F series processors sold for $25 less on average compared to non-F variants.

According to the recently leaked presentation slide, it seems as though this strategy will be implemented again by Intel since the F series processors are listed as having the same core frequencies and core/thread counts as non-F models. However, Intel has still not yet released official price information, so for now, we are not sure how much will be saved by purchasing a 10th generation F series processor.

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KitGuru says: Intel is expected to release 10th generation Comet Lake-S processors along with the new 400 series socket LGA 1200 platform next month. Are you guys looking forward to getting the chance to see what kind of performance improvements they will bring over the previous generation?

Crytek and Star Citizen devs reportedly settle legal dispute

Over the last couple of years, Crytek has been suing Cloud Imperium Games over a license dispute. Just last month, Crytek attempted to have the case temporarily dismissed, allowing the company to come back and re-file its complaint once Star Citizen and its single-player component, Squadron 42, were released. CIG called for the whole case to be dismissed permanently. Now, both parties have settled. 

After plenty of hearings and arguments between lawyers, Crytek, Cloud Imperium Games and Robert Space Industries have reached a settlement, as noted in new court filings spotted by Gamasutra. Full details on the settlement remain thin but money almost certainly changed hands. The case is due to be dismissed within 30 days of the settlement agreement.

star_citizen-e1479566161435.jpg

Crytek began suing the Star Citizen studio back in 2017, shortly after CIG switched from CryEngine over to Amazon Lumberyard, an engine that was built based on CryEngine code after Amazon struck its own deal with Crytek.

Crytek argued that Star Citizen was contractually obligated to use CryEngine and that the additional development of Squadron 42 broke the Game License Agreement initially signed by both parties. Cloud Imperium Games has repeatedly denied that it broke any agreements and has also attempted to have Crytek’s case thrown out on different occasions.

KitGuru Says: A judge still needs to sign off on the case dismissal due to the proposed settlement, so there is still some news to come on this. For now though, it looks like the several year-long legal battle is finally coming to an end. 

 

PlayStation hosts ‘Essential Picks’ sale offering up to 90% off

The PlayStation store is currently having a sale which sees some of the console’s premier titles being offered for much lower prices. Dubbed the ‘Essential Picks’ sale, titles such as The Outer Worlds, Days Gone, and A Plague Tale: Innocence –to name a few– are all heavily discounted allowing you to play more for less. Almost 150 titles are being offered, meaning there’ll be something for everybody.

One of the titles on sale is The Outer Worlds. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, who are known best perhaps for Fallout: New Vegas, this RPG serves as a spiritual successor. The Outer Worlds takes all of the mechanics of a Fallout game and refines it. The game was nominated for 4 awards at the 2019 Game Awards, including Best Narrative and Game of The Year. The Outer Worlds can currently be had for £24.99 (50% off).

Another of 2019’s biggest games on sale is Days Gone. Releasing earlier in the year, this open world action-adventure zombie-esque thriller served as one of PlayStation’s major first-party offerings. Though initial reviews were mixed the game’s developers, Sony Bend, have worked tirelessly over the year in order to improve the experience though bug fixes, tweaks and new additions meaning that now is the best time to jump in. Days Gone is currently available for £24.99 (54% off) though PS Plus members get an additional 10% off, reducing the price further to £19.49.

A Plague Tale: Innocence is another one of 2019’s heavy hitters currently on sale. Developed by Asobo Studio, who in the past has worked on a number of movie tie-in titles, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a big departure from their previous works – and is also their best. This stealth title has you “follow the grim tale of young Amicia and her little brother Hugo, in a heartrending journey through the darkest hours of history. Hunted by Inquisition soldiers and surrounded by unstoppable swarms of rats, Amicia and Hugo will come to know and trust each other”. A Plague Tale: Innocence is currently 64% off, allowing you to pick it up for only £15.99.

These are but 3 of almost 150 titles on sale. Some other notable games on sale include, Metro Exodus (£17.24 – 68% off), Detroit: Become Human (£9.99 – 71% off), Blood and Truth (£15.99 – 54% off), and Bloodborne: Game of the Year Edition (£10.49 – 65% off). The full list of titles on sale can be found HERE.

KitGuru says: What do you think of the ‘Essential Picks’ sale? Will you be picking any games up? What was your favorite game from 2019? Let us know down below.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons won’t feature cloud saves

Recently, Nintendo hosted a 27 minute Direct dedicated to the upcoming life-sim Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Set to be released on the 20th of March, the Direct gave fans further insight into the changes and additions that will come with the release of the Switch exclusive title. Though some of the news was welcome, other announcements were much less so, including the fact that New Horizons will not feature cloud saves.

The Direct lasted for roughly 27 minutes and brought with it a great deal of information. Some of the biggest takeaways however were as follows: The deserted island which you arrive on will truly be deserted. While other Animal crossing titles have had you arrive at an already existing community which you could then expand further, when you start up New Horizons, you and two other residents will be the only sign of civilisation – aside from the airport which is used to access multiplayer…and Tom Nook’s facility of course.

The game will also feature a more direct progression system. While Animal Crossing has typically been about expansion for expansion’s sake, the new system will see players earn rewards through a number of quests. This gives the game a greater sense of direction, and will be beneficial, especially to those new to the series who are unsure of what to do next.

New Horizons also features expanded multiplayer options. The game has up to 8 player local play, with all 8 living on the same island. The game also features a 4 player party mode where all 4 can play concurrently together. Online, players will be able to visit others’ islands, and in ‘party play’ up to 4 people can play together at the same time.

It’s not all good news however. In order to use voice chat, players will still be reliant on Nintendo’s smartphone app. The same is required for text chat, meaning that there’s no way to communicate through the Switch itself.

Furthermore, despite it being a feature of Nintendo Switch Online’s subscription, Animal Crossing: New Horizons won’t feature cloud saves, meaning that if something happens to your Switch, then there is no easy way to recover the data. There is one way to recover a lost save file, but a great number of restrictions apply and it can also only be done once. The full 27 minute long Direct can be found HERE.

KitGuru says: What did you think of the Direct? Did it make you more excited for Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Between this and Doom Eternal, which game will you be picking up on the 20th of March? Let us know down below.

Metro Exodus considered a success on Steam with 200K copies sold already

Metro Exodus is finally on Steam after a 1-year exclusivity period on the Epic Games Store. While there were questions about how well the game would do one year later, Steam users were quick to buy, with 200,000 copies sold already, in part thanks to a 40% off sale. 

Metro Exodus was review-bombed at one point by those who managed to get the game on Steam before the game was pulled prior to launch. Now, the game has close to 10,000 reviews on Steam with a ‘Very Positive’ overall rating, which is quite the turn around.

Embracer Group, the parent company of Metro Exodus publisher, Deep Silver, recently said during an earnings report that the game is “performing well” on Steam, selling “about 200,000 copies already”. The company was also surprised to see that Asia has been one of the most popular markets for the game on Steam so far.

The Metro Exodus 40% off sale has since ended on Steam, so sales may slow down a bit. However, so far, the game appears to be successful on the platform.

KitGuru Says: I’ve been playing Metro Exodus through Xbox Game Pass on PC, but if that wasn’t an option, I’d probably be one of those people picking it up on Steam this week. Have any of you grabbed this since its launch on Steam? 

Valve will have ‘far fewer units’ of Index available as coronavirus slows production

Following the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx last year, Valve quickly sold 100,000 Index VR headsets before the end of 2019 and was on track to keep selling at a high rate into early 2020. Unfortunately, stock shortages hit early and while Valve initially anticipated to get on top of the situation before HL:A’s release, the coronavirus is making that outcome seem unlikely.

At the moment, the Valve Index is still sold out in most regions, just as it has been since January 15th 2020. Those looking to buy can turn to the expensive second-hand market, or you can click the ‘notify me’ button on the Index store page to get an email as soon as a headset is there for you to purchase. Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak is slowing the process of obtaining new stock.

In a statement given to UploadVR this week, Valve assures that it is still “working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index” in time for the release of Half-Life: Alyx on March 23rd. Apparently, there will actually be systems available to buy prior to release, but production schedules have been impacted to the point where there will be far fewer units than hoped.

“With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch. However, the global Coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned.”

KitGuru Says: I’ve been waiting to get hold of an Index myself but unfortunately, it looks like getting hold of one is going to be quite difficult. It is really unfortunate timing but Valve can’t be blamed here, after all, there is an unexpected global health crisis. Did many of you pick up a Valve Index before they went out of stock? Or are you trying to get hold of one in time for Half-Life: Alyx next month? 

THQ Nordic is working on a full remake for Gothic after demo success

Back in late 2019, THQ Nordic released a surprise demo for a Gothic remake. The idea was to use the demo to gauge fan interest in a full game and it would seem that enough people gave positive feedback to warrant a full release. 

This week, THQ Nordic announced that it would be going ahead with a full Gothic remake after 180,000 people played the teaser, with 94.8 percent of players being ‘in favour’ of a full version.

The Gothic remake won’t be ready to release this year, but it is going to be developed at a new studio being set up in Barcelona. The developers will use feedback gathered from the playable teaser, including calls to make the visuals grittier and less colourful.

The Gothic remake will be coming to PC and next-gen consoles, a release window has not been set just yet but it won’t be coming this year, so we’ll be looking at 2021 at the earliest.

KitGuru Says: Releasing a playable teaser is an interesting way to promote a remaster or remake of an older classic. Did many of you play the teaser in December? Are you looking forward to the full release? 

Gigabyte vs Aorus RX 5700 XT – head to head comparison!

Today we are back with a look at not one, but two RX 5700 XT graphics cards. In this review, we are directly comparing the Gigabyte RX 5700 XT Gaming OC to the Aorus RX 5700 XT. For those that don’t know, Aorus is Gigabyte’s premium sub-brand, and today we see what differences there are between the two cards, and whether or not it is worth paying the extra money for an Aorus model.

Watch video via Vimeo (below) or over on YouTube at 2160p HERE

The prices of these two graphics cards immediately reflects the different product positioning for each model. The Gigabyte RX 5700 XT Gaming OC is currently £374.99 while the flagship Aorus RX 5700 XT retails for £409.99. That £35 increase over the Gaming OC is almost a 10% price jump for the Aorus model.

So what do you get for that extra money? Well, we won’t spoil everything for you here, but the Aorus comes with a higher boost clock, larger cooler and dual-BIOS support. Over the next two pages we take a close look at the difference in design between these two models, before extensively testing the two GPUs in over 10 games to see if there’s any meaningful difference in performance.

RX 5600 XT  RX 5700 RX 5700 XT   RX Vega 56 RX Vega 64 
Architecture Navi Navi Navi Vega 10 Vega 10
Manufacturing Process 7nm 7nm 7nm 14nm 14nm
Transistor Count 10.3 billion 10.3 billion 10.3 billion 12.5 billion 12.5 billion
Die Size  251mm² 251mm² 251mm² 486mm² 495mm²
Compute Units  36 36 40 56 64
Stream Processors  2304 2304 2560 3584 4096
Base GPU Clock n/a Up to 1465MHz Up to 1605MHz 1156 MHz 1274 MHz
Game GPU Clock 1375MHz Up to 1625MHz Up to 1755MHz n/a n/a
Boost GPU Clock Up to 1560MHz Up to 1725MHz Up to 1905MHz 1471 MHz 1546 MHz
Peak Engine Clock n/a n/a n/a 1590 MHz  1630 MHz
Peak SP Performance Up to 7.19 TFLOPS Up to 7.95 TFLOPS Up to 9.75 TFLOPS Up to 10.5 TFLOPS Up to 12.7 TFLOPS
Peak Half Precision Performance Up to 14.4 TFLOPS Up to 15.9 TFLOPS Up to 19.5 TFLOPS Up to 21.0 TFLOPS Up to 25.3 TFLOPS
Peak Texture Fill-Rate Up to 224.6 GT/s Up to 248.4 GT/s Up to 304.8 GT/s  Up to 330.0 GT/s  Up to 395.8 GT/s
ROPs 64 64 64 64 64
Peak Pixel Fill-Rate Up to 99.8 GP/s Up to 110.4 GP/s Up to 121.9 GP/s Up to 94.0 GP/s Up to 98.9 GP/s
Memory 6GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB HBM 8GB HBM
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 410 GB/s 483.8 GB/s
Memory Interface  192-bit 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit 2048-bit
Board Power  150W 185W 225W 210W 295W

Gaming OC (left) compared with Aorus (right

For just a quick recap over the core spec of the RX 5700 XT GPU, this Navi chip is built on TSMC’s 7nm process and has a total of 40 Compute Units (CU). Each CU houses 64 stream processors, giving the GPU a total of 2560. 8GB of 14Gbps GDDR6 memory is also supplied, using a 256-bit bus for total memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s.

Reference RX 5700 XT has a rated game clock of 1755MHz, meaning both the Gigabyte and Aorus cards are factory overclocked. The Gaming OC has a 1795MHz game clock, while the Aorus is clocked even higher with a 1905MHz game clock.

Thermaltake partners with Ubisoft for Rainbow Six Siege Tournament

Thermaltake’s esports gaming division the Thermaltake Esports League has announced it will partner up with Ubisoft to host this year’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Tournament in Taiwan. The Thermaltake Esports League is planning to host tournaments across the globe and will start from its base in Taiwan hosting the Rainbow Six Siege Tournament from 2nd March.

The Thermaltake Esports League was established in 2019 and will be hosting this year’s Rainbow Six Siege tournament in partnership with Ubisoft. The event will be broadcast live on the Thermaltake Gaming Twitch channel from 2nd March, full details of the event can be found on the newly launched Thermaltake Esports League website.

Registration to participate in the Thermaltake Esports League ‧ Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Tournament is currently only available to contestants in the Taiwan region. However, Thermaltake is planning to bring future tournaments to worldwide regions, something which will be announced on the Thermaltake Facebook page in the near future.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Tournament schedule and format:

Schedule

  • 18th Feb to 1st March – Online Registration
  • 2nd March – 16 teams announcement & Group draw results
  • 7th March to 28th March – 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Online Qualifiers
  • 11th April to 12th April – 1:00pm – 5:00pm Quarterfinals
  • 25th April – 12:00pm – 8:00pm Semi-finals & Grand Finals

Location: Thermaltake LCGS Flagship Store in Taipei, Taiwan, All times listed in GMT+8.

Tournament format

  • 16 to 8; BO3 Single Elimination
  • 8 to 4; BO3 Single Elimination
  • Top 4; BO3 Single Elimination
  • Grand Finals; BO3 Single Elimination

The tournament has a total prize pool of $7,800 USD plus premium gaming equipment. The winner will take home £4,500 with second place receiving $1,6655, $1,000 for finishing in third place and fourth place will net $665. Teams that advance into the semi-finals will receive five Level 20 RGB Gaming Keyboards, five Level 20 RGB Gaming Mice, five Level 20 RGB Extended Gaming Mouse Pads, five E1 RGB Headset Stands and five Riing Pro 7.1 Gaming Headsets per team.

KitGuru says: Any Rainbow Six Siege fans out there looking forward to tuning in on Twitch and watching the action at the Thermaltake Esports League ‧ Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Tournament?

Apple expects to miss Q2 revenue goal as health concerns impact supply chain

We’ve already discussed how the coronavirus outbreak has been impacting supply chains for a lot of tech companies, but now we have a rough idea of the financial impact involved. Recently, Apple sent out a note to investors warning that it won’t hit its revenue estimates in Q2, as the company expects to lose out on at least $4bn. 

The update says that while the company made revenue estimates between $63bn and $67bn for Q2 on the 28th of January, Apple is experiencing “a slower return to normal conditions” than anticipated and as a result, the company no longer expects to hit even the lower end of its revenue estimate.

Apple says this is caused by two main factors, the first being a temporary constraint in the global iPhone supply chain. The key facilities that Apple partners with have re-opened in China but production is ramping up slower than hoped due to continued concerns around the coronavirus. Apple is donating to the public health effort to fight the virus but patience needs to be exercised while people unfortunately continue to fall ill and require treatment.

The second main factor is that demand for Apple products in China has obviously been affected. Many retail stores remain closed and those that remain open are “operating at reduced hours”, so a loss in sales is expected. Apple plans to update with more information in April during its next earnings call, at which point, we’ll know more about this evolving situation.

KitGuru Says: Apple shares did take a slight dip after this news but it is still in a strong position with a value of $320 per share. Of course, this is an unexpected situation that is having a global impact, so it is going to be significant for many other companies too, including the likes of Sony, which is cancelling event appearances, and Nintendo, which is facing Switch supply constraints. 

A Borderlands film adaptation is in the works from notable horror director Eli Roth

It would appear as though we are beginning to enter the age of video game film adaptations. Shortly after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog’s live-action film, another video game is set to be adapted for film. This time, the game which will see its silver screen debut is Borderlands. Interestingly, the film is said to be directed by Eli Roth, known best for his work in the horror genre.

Reported by The Hollywood Reporter, it was announced that Eli Rother would serve as Director for this film adaptation. Eli Roth is a director who is most familiar with the horror genre, having directed well known titles such as Cabin Fever, Hostel, and The Green Inferno. Speaking on the film, Roth stated “I’m so excited to dive into the world of Borderlands, and I could not be doing it with a better script, producing team and studio. I have a long, successful history with Lionsgate — I feel like we have grown up together and that everything in my directing career has led to a project of this scale and ambition.”

The film will be distributed by Lionsgate and produced by Avi and Ari Arad, who have produced a large number of Marvel films. Nathan Kahane, president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group claimed that “with Eli’s vision and Craig’s screenplay, we believe we have cracked the code on bringing the anarchic world of Borderlands to the big screen in a big way that will be a fresh, compelling and cinematic event for moviegoers and fans of the game.”

Video game film adaptations have had a tumultuous history with some, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Detective Pikachu being embraced by fans, while others are shunned by them. Hopefully Borderlands will land in the former, especially as Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford, and Strauss Zelnik, CEO of Take-Two will serve as executive producers to the project.

KitGuru says: What do you think of a Borderlands film being in the works? Do you think Eli Roth is the right director for the Job? What’s your favorite video game film adaptation? Let us know down below.

Jaybird introduce special edition Vista True Wireless headphones

Since Apple introduced the Air Pod Pro wireless earbuds last year, we have seen a stack of manufacturers bringing similar true wireless earbuds to market. Companies such as Razer, 1MORE and Master & Dynamic have launched their own True wireless earbuds over recent months and now Jaybird has a new set of True Wireless earbuds available.

Jaybird is best known for its range of sporty headphones aimed at runners and adventurers. The company has announced a new special edition of its Totally Wireless Sport Headphones this week sporting a Planetary Green appearance. The special edition Jaybird Vista Planetary Green wireless headphones have been launched to celebrate their EarthProof best-in-class durability.

The Vista headset series from jaybird is the company’s first True Wireless headphones designed to meet U.S Military MIL-STD 810G rugged compliant standards, which means they passed repeated shock, vibration, drop and crush tests. They are also capable of withstanding high humidity levels, Hurricane-force water and desert sandstorm conditions to make them the ultimate companion for adventurous sporting lifestyles.

Jaybirds new Planetary Green special edition pattern is inspired by the planet and the places we explore. The headphones feature IPX7 water and sweat resistance with high-quality 6mm milled drivers to produce excellent audio, with a comfortable and secure fit for sports use. The battery inside the headphones is able to achieve up to 16 hours use, the Jaybird app offers a personalised listening experience and the headphones can be stored away in a matching USB Type-C charging case.

Special edition Planetary Green Jaybird Vista Totally Wireless Sport headphones are available to purchase from the Jaybirdsport website store now, priced at £159.

KitGuru says: The Jaybird Vista true wireless headphones offer rugged construction for sports use in harsh environments while looking great at the same time. What do you guys think of the Jaybird Vista Totally Wireless Sport headphones in the new Planetary Green camo?

MSI offering cashback on AMD Ryzen motherboard and CPU bundles

During the next few weeks, MSI will be running a promotion that offers customers cashback on purchases of participating AMD motherboards, AMD Ryzen CPUs and/or MSI PC cases. Depending on the combination of components purchased, customers will be eligible for up to £86 cashback via a refund process.

Customers who purchase a qualifying MSI motherboard and AMD Ryzen CPU combination in a single transaction throughout the promotional period will be eligible for a cashback reward of varying value. Additionally, customers who also add a qualifying MSI PC case to their basket with a motherboard and AMD Ryzen CPU could be entitled to an increased cashback reward.

The promotion is only available to customers in the UK, with multiple retail outlets participating in the cashback reward deal. Those retailers include Overclockers UK, Ebuyer, Scan, Currys PC World, CCL, Box, AWD-IT and Flacon Computers.

The promotion started on 17th February and will run until 17th March 2020. For customers to claim their cashback reward, they must visit the MSI cashback promotional page between 17th March and 30th April to fill in the claim form online. Customers will need to keep their invoice of the qualifying purchase as it will be required to claim the cashback reward.

All of the qualifying motherboards are for the AMD Ryzen platform and include the MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE, MPG X570 GAMING PRO CARBON WIFI, X470 GAMING PRO MAX as well as many more. Qualifying AMD Ryzen CPUs in the cashback promotion include the whole series, so anything from the Ryzen 5 3600, right up to the flagship Ryzen 9 3950X will qualify for cashback. All full and comprehensive list of included motherboards and CPUs in the promotion can be found on the MSI page.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: Who doesn’t love a bit of discount on PC parts? Well if you are looking to build an AMD Ryzen powered PC in the next few weeks, then check out what’s available in the MSI cashback promotion to save a few quid!

PlayStation and Facebook cancel their GDC appearances due to further Coronavirus concerns

Though it was only yesterday that we reported on PlayStation’s decision to withdraw from PAX East due to concerns regarding the potential danger of Coronavirus, the company has now announced that it will also be removing itself from the upcoming Game Developers Conference due to the exact same reason. In this instance, Facebook And Oculus have decided to follow in PlayStation’s footsteps, and will also not be present.

Making a statement to Gamesindustry.biz, PlayStation said “We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus). We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.”

Facebook (who owns Oculus) also claimed similarly, saying “Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community, Facebook will not be attending this year’s Game Developer Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19,” though the company offered some solace in saying that “[w]e still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show through videos, online Q&As, and more, and will plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks.”

As of writing, Coronavirus has infected over 75,000 people, leading to over 2000 deaths. Though only 15 cases of the virus have been reported in the US (where GDC takes place) companies seem to have decided to take an extra careful approach to the virus – especially due to its contagious nature. GDC is set to take place between the 16th and 20th of March.

KitGuru says: What do you think of all these companies withdrawing from events due to fears over Coronavirus? Are you disappointed? What do you think the best solution and compromise would be? Let us know down below.

ADATA announces the ISSS333 3D TLC SSD

ADATA has launched the ISSS333, a 2.5in 3D TLC SSD with power loss protection (PLP). Designed for “applications that require durability, reliability, and high capacities”, the ISSS333 SSD uses a SATA III 6Gb/s interface to deliver transfer speeds of up to 560/520MBps.

With capacities ranging from 64GB to 2TB and an extensive set of security and durability features, this SSD is targeted at transportation, personal computing, server, networking, medical, aerospace, and military applications.

Featuring PLP, the ISSS333 SSD protects the user’s data when power fails. This feature is useful for applications that are more exposed to a power loss, namely “outdoor environments, such as base stations, surveillance systems, and transportation facilities”. It also features a temperature resistance ranging from -40°C to 85°C, enough for the “harshest environments”, and polymer capacitors to protect against short circuits.

ADATA also claims that, thanks to the support for Low-Density Parity-Check, this ADATA SSD can detect and fix data errors, resulting in “more accurate data transfers and a longer SSD lifespan”. ADATA also implemented the company’s A+SLC technology, meaning the SSD uses a custom NAND Flash firmware with an “A+ sorting algorithm to emulate SLC performance”.

The rated 3000 P/E cycles also help to increase the lifespan, as well as reliability and stability, which according to ADATA, is on the same level as 2D MLC SSDs. Additionally, this SSD supports Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) and NCQ and Windows TRIM Command. ADATA also provides the SSD Toolbox to monitor and manage SSDs with indicators, such as drive status, wear level, and lifespan information.

This 2.5-inch drive measures 100.25×69.85x7mm and has an average power consumption of 3.96W. The estimated MTBF for this SSD is >2,000,000 hours. All drives “undergo ADATA’s SSD validation process” to ensure the functionality and reliability of each drive.

If you want to learn more about the ISSS333 SSD from ADATA, click HERE. Pricing and availability vary between regions.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: Are you interested in the ADATA ISSS333 SSD? Is power loss protection a necessary feature for your needs?

MetallicGear launches the Neo Qube, a dual-chamber case

MetallicGear, a sub-brand of Phanteks, has launched a new dual-chamber chassis called Neo Qube. Designed to showcase your system, the dual tempered glass panels (front + side) with integrated Digital-RGB gives a clear view of the case’s interior.

The dual-chamber design allows for the installation of not one but two motherboards – a primary motherboard which can be E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, or Mini-ITX, while the secondary board must be Mini-ITX. The spacious interior allows for an extensive combination of cooling hardware, that alongside the mesh on the top, side, and back of the case, delivers “the next level of cooling for even the most demanding dual system setups”.

On the side, the Neo Qube can house up to 3x 120mm fans and a 360 radiator (140 and 280 not compatible). On the top, besides supporting up to 2x 140mm fans, it’s also possible to mount up to 3x 120mm fans and a 360 radiator. The bottom supports up to 3x 120mm fans or 2x 140mm fans, and a 360 radiator (140 and 280 not compatible).

The D-RGB lighting integrated into the panel can synchronise with most D-RGB components and motherboards, including RGB Fusion 2.0, MSI Mystic Light Sync, ASRock Polychrome Sync, Razer Chroma RGB, and Asus Aura Sync.

There are 8x PCI-E expansion slots for the main system and an extra 2x half-height slots for the secondary system. The I/O panel has 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen2, 1x 3.5mm audio + microphone jack, a power button, a button to enable D-RGB and another for D-RGB colours.

Measuring 270x450x460mm, the case’s maximum supported GPU length is 425mm, the maximum supported PSU length is 275mm, and the maximum supported CPU cooler height is 148mm. There’s 90mm of clearance for cable management and 4x removable dust filters, two on the side, one on the bottom, and one on the top.

According to Guru3D, both variants of the MetallicGear Neo Qube are available now for €109.90/£89.90. If you want to learn more about the Neo Qube, click HERE.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: What do you think of the MetallicGear Neo Qube? Which colour looks better to you?

HTC reveals ‘Project Proton’, an early look at next-gen VR headsets

Aside from revisions to the Vive Cosmos lineup, HTC has also begun showing off ‘Project Proton’, which is intended to be an early look at the true next generation of VR headsets. There are two key headband designs, one that closer resembles traditional glasses with stems, and another that uses a full wraparound headband with a tracking puck on the back. 

As previously mentioned, there are two different forms of Project Proton. The ‘Proton AIO’ is the more traditional looking headset design, albeit with a much slimmer and lighter display unit. Meanwhile, ‘Proton Glass’ are focused on XR or augmented reality, made to look more traditionally like glasses.

As Engadget points out, there are no specification details to speak of so far, but there is plenty of design innovation on display. The display units/visors are vastly slimmer than those found on current generation headsets and as a result, they should be a lot lighter too.

Judging by the mounting design, that light weight will be a necessity too, in order to avoid the display shifting and users losing focus without the additional stability of an over-the-head strap.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: These are concept designs for the time being, so HTC’s next headsets to hit the market will likely look a bit different to what we see here. Still, this is an interesting look at the potential next step for VR. What do you all think of these new designs from HTC? 

AOC set to enter the peripheral market with new keyboards and mice

Earlier today KitGuru was invited to have a look at AOC’s newest monitors at an event in London. We weren’t expecting, however, to also get a look at the first peripherals from the company, as AOC is now making keyboards, mice and mouse mats.

Diving right into it, you did read that correctly: AOC – the monitor manufacturer – is now making keyboards and mice. We saw two keyboards and two mice from the company at this event, and here’s what we know so far.

Starting with the keyboards, up first we have the GK500. This is set to retail for 69.90 Euros (we’ve not yet heard about UK pricing) and it is a full-size board. Offering a detachable plastic wrist rest alongside RGB illuminated keys, what helps set this board apart from the competition is its use of Outemu switches. Keyboard enthusiasts may have heard of Outemu but many people won’t have – in a nutshell, they offer Cherry MX clones at a lower price, which is likely part of the reason AOC can offer this board for 70 Euros. It also sports an aluminium top plate and will support AOC’s new G-Tools software.

The AGON AGK700 is a definite step up from the GK500. This is a more expensive board, expected to retail at 149.90 Euros, and it offers a few extra features to justify the higher price. These include Cherry MX switches – currently just the Blue variety, but we’re told Red switches are coming soon – as well as dedicated macro buttons down the left-hand side. Additionally, while I’m not sure if the AGK700 is entirely made of metal (that would be very impressive), it definitely has a bit more heft to it than the GK500.

The AGK700 also sports a plush leatherette wrist rest and a fancy red dial at the top of the board. This is designed to be a multi-function dial in that it can control things like system volume or LED brightness. This model also uses a braided black and red cable, with support for G-Tools software as well.

Onto the mice, we will start with the GM500. This is a relatively simple-looking mouse which uses PixArt’s PMW 3325 sensor, so it’s certainly not a high-end model. That, however, is reflected in the price tag as the GM500 is set to cost just 27.90 Euros, so it’s certainly a budget offering. It also features Omron switches, a 1.8m braided cable and a single on-the-fly DPI button. AOC didn’t tell me the exact weight of this mouse, but it is relatively heavy – I’d guess around the 120-130g mark.

Next we come to the AGON AGM700. This is a higher-end mouse than the GM500 but it’s still less than 50 Euros according to AOC. This features the top-end PMW 3389 sensor which is great to see, and it also sports a weight-adjustment system where you can tinker with 5x 5g weights to increase the overall weight depending on your preference. The AGM700 uses Omron switches and has one DPI and one Sniper button. The primary buttons also sport a brushed metal look which certainly adds a unique design aesthetic, while the mouse features on-board memory for up to three profiles.

Rounding everything off is the AMM700 RGB mouse mat. Set to cost 32.90 Euros, this is a relatively simple mouse mat, with a ‘micro textured cloth surface’ and a rubber anti-slip base. Users can tinker with the RGB lighting using the new AOC G-Tools software.

Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.

KitGuru says: It’s not every day a monitor manufacturer starts making peripherals, so we look forward to seeing what AOC can do in this market segment.

HTC launching three new Vive VR headsets

Towards the end of last year, HTC released the VIVE Cosmos, a wireless, standalone VR headset to compete with the Oculus Quest. Now for 2020, HTC is rolling out three more headsets, including the higher end Cosmos Elite, a cheaper version of the standard Vive Cosmos and an all new Cosmos XR. 

The Cosmos Elite comes with Steam VR tracking stations, so you can use it to replace the original HTC VIVE completely. It also comes with the HTC external tracking plate pre-installed, which is a £200 upgrade over the original Cosmos headset. Aside from the addition of Steam VR tracking, the headset remains the same, so you won’t be getting much in the way of visual or audio upgrades.

The external tracking plate will also be sold as a standalone product, so if you buy the entry-level Cosmos, you can get the tracking upgrade later on.

With the Cosmos Elite being the new flagship, a new version of the standard Vive Cosmos is now the entry-level headset. Like the Rift S, it uses ‘inside out’ tracking via six cameras on the headset itself. You still get the same screen as the Elite, so if you can live with lower-end tracking but high-end visuals, then this is the headset to grab. You can always upgrade to the full high-end experience later on by picking up the external tracking plate add-on.

The HTC Vive Cosmos XR does things a bit differently by adding additional cameras to support Augmented Reality content in addition to VR. The extra two tracking cameras allow for a 100-degree field of view in AR. HTC’s first demonstration of this technology comes in the form of VIVE SYNC, software that allows you to bring virtual items into your real-world surroundings. This headset is primarily geared towards developers though, similarly to Microsoft’s Hololens.

The HTC VIVE Cosmos Elite is going to cost $899 in the US, which should roughly translate to £750 here in the UK. The standard VIVE Cosmos will be $699, or roughly £650 in the UK. We currently don’t have pricing information on the XR edition but we’ll update when those details come through.

Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.

KitGuru Says: Steam VR tracking does seem like a significant upgrade, although I’m not sure many will want to spend an extra £200 for it. What do you all think of the VIVE Cosmos lineup? Is this something you would consider over something from Oculus or Valve? 

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