SilverStone rolls out the Primera PM01, a new tower case that throws out the 5.25" drives to offer a meshed design with three 140mm LED fans for maximum airflow. The case is made from steel, it weighs 9kg and measures 220mm x 571mm x 560mm (W x H x D).
The interior fits four 2.5/3.5" storage devices as well as an additional five 2.5" SSDs. There's room for up to six 140mm fans (four are included with the case), as well as watercooling radiators of up to 360mm. Other features include removable dust filters, a 4-segment LED light controller with adjustable brightness and light modes, a front I/O panel, and a 10-in-1 fan hub for fan cable management.
A case window provides a nice look at your hardware and the case ships in four different versions: black with red LED, matte black with red LED, titanium with red LED and white with blue LED. The full specifications can be found at SilverStone.
The Primera PM01 is an incredible computer case that fuses eye-catching styling and functionality in a package rarely seen in the PC world. It utilizes high quality, piano-like finish with oversized intake mesh panel inspired by sports car intake grill for unusually sleek exterior. Paired with an elaborate lighting system consists of LED fans and built-in adjustable LED strips, the PM01 can project the feel of a luxurious supercar on a highly customizable computer case. The roomy interior layout supports a variety of large, high end components that are designed to be cooled efficiently and quietly by the included three 140mm LED intake fans and an 140mm exhaust fan. True to SilverStone tradition, the PM01 also has excellent dust protection thanks to implementation of easily removable filters and positive pressure airflow setup. Novice users will find this case a pleasure to build with and maintain while advanced users will find details such as support for two 360mm radiator mounting positions and water tank mounting holes to be highly useful for building beautiful liquid cooled PCs.
The case has a MSRP of $119.99 but can be found for as low as $98.99 after a rebate.
In 1980s, Andrew Tanenbaum said you should never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. Despite massive increases in Internet bandwidth over the last decades, it seems this still rings true as Amazon just rolled out the AWS Snowmobile, a new exabyte-scale data transfer service that uses a semi-trailer truck to move extremely large amounts of data to the Amazon AWS cloud.
Clients can transfer up to 100 petabytes per Snowmobile, which consists of a 45-foot long rugged sized shipping container that connects to your datacenter via a fiber cable. All data is protected using 256-bit encryption, as well as dedicated security personnel, GPS tracking, alarm monitoring, 24/7 video surveillance and an optional escort security vehicle while in transit.
With a maximum bandwidth of 1Tb/s, filling up the entire 100PB of storage capacity takes ten days, so the whole process takes just a couple of weeks at most. Amazon argues this is significantly faster than the 20 years it would take to upload the same amount of data via a 1Gbps connection.
AWS Snowmobile is an Exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move extremely large amounts of data to AWS. You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck. Snowmobile makes it easy to move massive volumes of data to the cloud, including video libraries, image repositories, or even a complete data center migration. Transferring data with Snowmobile is secure, fast and cost effective.
After an initial assessment, a Snowmobile will be transported to your data center and AWS personnel will configure it for you so it can be accessed as a network storage target. When your Snowmobile is on site, AWS personnel will work with your team to connect a removable, high-speed network switch from Snowmobile to your local network and you can begin your high-speed data transfer from any number of sources within your data center to the Snowmobile. After your data is loaded, Snowmobile is driven back to AWS where your data is imported into Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier.
Full details can be found at Amazon Snowmobile. A year ago, Amazon already revealed Snowball, a case that lets you transport up to 50TB of data in a secure way.
We're still not quite sure what to make of all these rumors, there are whispers that a Radeon RX 490 card will be released very soon but part of me feels there are way to little details to make this genuine. Either way, WCCF Tech claims the card is a go but is still not sure whether it's based on Polaris or the new Vega architecture. If it's real it's probably going to be a dual-GPU Polaris. Maybe we'll learn more at AMD's December 13 press event.
AMD Radeon RX 490 Expected Details:
The card will target the 4K resolution and be the go-to graphics card for VR.
Top cards will have a bus width greater than 256 bits.
It will be based on either a dual-GPU Polaris 10 design (rumor) or Vega 10.
Its going to be close to the price point of the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080.
Then there's also a rumor that AMD is working on a Radeon Pro 490, which is believed to end up in the next-generation Apple Mac Pro. It's a bit weird to have two products with such a similar name, but there seems to be clarity here that the Radeon Pro 490 will be based on the Vega architecture.
There are also some leaked Radeon Pro 490 performance figures, which are probably not too credible. The source claims the Pro 490 will be clocked lower than the RX consumer parts, so a best-case scenario is probably something close to GTX 1080 performance. So not that great really considering the rumored launch date is almost a year after the launch of the GTX 1080. Then again, I have my doubts about this leak.
Some details about Intel's 2017 SSD plans were published over at DigiTimes. Most of it focuses on the enterprise models so I'll just skip to the parts that contain interesting snippets for the consumer side of the market:
For the professional market, Intel will launch PCIe/NVMe-based Pro 7600P and SATA-based Pro 5450s in the fourth quarter. For the consumer market, following the release of the 600p in September 2016, the CPU giant will release a BGA-version 600p and SATA-based 545s in the third quarter of 2017.
For the embedded market, Intel has prepared the 5430S-series for April 2017 and an M.2 form factor-based version of the 5430S for July 2017. In the third quarter, Intel will release the 20nm MLC-based E 6500p, and existing E 5400s/5410-series will both enter EOL in the first quarter of 2018, while the E 6000p will stop supply in the third quarter of 2018.
The site notes Intel's SSD unit is still running at a loss, but that's expected to change in 2017 with the arrival of the 3D XPoint memory. Intel already provided clients with Optane SSD engineering samples in Q3 2016 and the SSDs are expected to enter mass production in Q2 2017. The Optane-based SSDs will target high-end servers and PC products.
The latest operating system marketshare data from NetMarketShare reveals Windows 10 is getting close to hit one quarter of the market. At the end of last month, Windows 10's marketshare stood ad 23.72 percent, a 1.13 percent gain versus the month before. Windows 7 still stands strong at 47.17 percent (-1.12) while Windows 8.x drops to 9.97 percent (-0.6). Even the ancient Windows XP is still used by 8.63 percent of web users.
Windows 10 goes up by not quite the same amount to 23.72 (+1.13). This is impressive. We can't lie. It means that if sales of Windows products were good on Black Friday, we could see Windows 10 with a quarter of the market by the end of 2016.
No one could deny that would make it a success, though we have to add the caveat that Windows 10 encompasses more device form factors than previous versions of Windows, whereas we don’t have stats included here for Android tablets or Chromebooks, for example.
If we look at gamers, Windows 10 adoption has hit much higher rates. The latest Steam survey reveals 49.6 percent of Steam gamers are now running Windows 10, versus 34.22 percent for Windows 7 and 10.18 percent for Windows 8.x.
A couple of new trademark registrations from AMD provide some clues about the marketing names of the company's upcoming products and technologies.
The most interesting perhaps is Ryzen, there's no hard evidence but the rumor mill believes there's reason to belief this may be the retail name of the first Zen processors. Perhaps we'll see something like the Ryzen SR7, Ryzen SR5 and Ryzen SR3 lineups.
Next is Threadstripper, this seems to be the marketing name for AMD's version of Hyper-Threading.
Other new trademarks include Vara, Joro, Jitzu and Grok. We have no idea what these will be used for.
Lastly, we have a few additional trademarks such as VARA, JORO, JITZU, and GROK. Joro and Jitzu sound somewhat asian which suggests they may be related to Zen in some manner. They obviously aren’t related to the GPU side of things which tends to use stars or constellations as their inspiration. Grok and Vara however are way out there and I honestly have no clue where these two fit. Hopefully, we will find out more information at AMD’s upcoming New Horizons event in under 2 weeks.
We've become accustomed to gradually declining prices for solid state disks but now the market hit a road bump as component shortages are pushing up prices. A report from DRAMeXchange indicates the average price of MLC SSD chips rose 6 to 10 percent this quarter, while TLC SSD chips also rose 6 to 9 percent. This will translates to even higher price hikes at the OEM and retail level.
The reason for the shortage is the increased demand from the smartphone market and the adoption of SSDs in laptops. This got further compounded by the slow transition to 3D NAND, Samsung is leading the market here but all others have suffered setbacks due to poor yields and production difficulties.
Tom's Hardware points out SSDs are a victim of their own success and unfortunately it looks like HDDs might enter a short-supply situation as well. In this case, it's because companies are cutting production to the bone and because companies are relocating resources to focus on the more profitable high-capacity enterprise segment. A combination of component shortages and production cuts will likely result in HDD supply that won't meet demand, and thus in higher prices.
SSDs to get 20-25 percent more expensive?
If you're planning to buy a solid state disk it may be a good idea to hurry up as analysts predict 20 to 25 percent increases in SSD pricing over the next few months. Many third-party SSD makers have build up big NAND stockpiles, which helped to cushion the recent price hikes. But with stockpiles running empty, consumers need to expect higher prices in the short run. It will likely take until the end of 2017 until the shortage situation is resolved.
Pricing of some memory products will increase harder than others. For example, less desirable customers like the USB flash storage segment are already seeing sharper than average increases as manufacturers are trying to flog the USB-class NAND as SSD worthy.
Watch out for the new, slow SMR HDDs
The site also issues a warning about the move to shingled magnetic recording (SMR) in the HDD market. This new technology makes hard disks cheaper to produce than normal perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) HDDs, but the downside is the SMR HDDs are significantly slower than PMR HDDs. The move to SMR HDDs makes the performance difference with SSDs even bigger than it already was, and worst of it all, some HDD vendors aren't even labeling these drives properly so you have no idea what you're buying:
It's easy to see why SSDs are winning in notebooks, and the HDD vendors are making matters worse by shipping 2.5" SMR HDDs for the "performance" laptop market. The short version: SMR is the slowest thing ever to happen to HDDs (and they were slow already). SMR HDDs are cheaper to produce than the speedier normal PMR HDDs, but the OEMs likely won't pass down those savings to the end user, and SMR is absolutely abysmal for running an operating system.
Word is going around that NVIDIA is preparing to launch a new GeForce GTX 1060 3GB variant that will be based on the GP104-140 GPU. These cards will not be faster than the current GTX 1060 models and will likely have a poorer power efficiency.
It's really an old tactic being used here, the main reason for the new SKU is because NVIDIA is sitting on a lot of GP104 chips that did not make the cut to be sold as a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080. This means these parts don't have 1920 working CUDA cores, so instead of letting them go to waste NVIDIA will be selling these chips as GTX 1060 parts.
Those cards will most likely have higher power requirements than normal GP106-based GTX 1060’s. For such reason, to avoid any ambiguity with power-efficiency claims they will not be advertised worldwide. From what’ve heard those cards could be China-exclusive.
So to be clear, this is not a rumor, we just don’t know all the details yet. In fact, there’s even a new entry in the latest driver, revealing the ID of this card (1B8_ family means GP104):
Analysts from research firm IDC claim things are starting to look a bit better for the PC market. The number of PCs sold this year is expected to come in at 258.2 million units, which is better than expected. In the third quarter of this year, sales fell 4.6 percent year-over-year, which is more than 2 percent better than what IDC expected. For the full year, unit sales are expected to come in 6.4 percent lower than in 2015, which is more optimistic than the August projection of a 7.2 percent decline.
While market conditions are not expected to improve next year, the decline will not be as bad as in 2016 and 2015. IDC estimates the total volume of PC shipments will fall by about 2.1 percent in 2017. While sales of laptops are expected to remain relatively stable, desktop PCs will fall further.
Based on the current trends, IDC estimates desktop PC sales will fall from 103.5 million units in 2016 to 93.1 million units in 2020, a negative cumulative growth rate of 2.6 percent per year. Laptops on the other hand are expected to grow 0.4 percent a year from 154.7 million units to 156.9 million units in the same timeframe.
The expected growth will be realized entirely in emerging markets. In mature markets, sales of desktop PCs are expected to fall from 39.1 million units in 2016 to just 30.6 million units in 2020, a yearly decline of 5.9 percent! Laptops are expected to do better, but are still projected to fall from 87.0 million units a year in mature markets this year to 83.5 percent in 2020, a fall of 1 percent a year.
Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to decline by 6.4% year over year in 2016, according to an updated forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. This is an improvement over August's projection for a decline of 7.2% in 2016. While IDC's outlook for 2017 remains at -2.1% year-over-year growth, the absolute volumes are slightly higher based on stronger 2016 shipments.
The third quarter of 2016 (3Q16) saw a year-over-year decline in shipments of 4.6%, more than 2 percentage points ahead of expectations. Although factors such as the transition to Windows 10 played a role, the 3Q16 gains came largely as a result of stronger momentum in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, and were driven by channel build up in anticipation of component shortages in areas such as display panels and storage. This is expected to slightly boost shipments into early 2017, but will not carry into later periods.
Beyond 2016, the PC shipment outlook has been raised slightly, and continues to trend toward stabilization with modest commercial growth starting in 2018. Commercial notebook shipments are expected to grow during 2016 and throughout the forecast, with a peak at 3.7% in 2019. Commercial desktop growth is expected to be effectively flat by 2018, while consumer notebook and desktop shipments are expected to decline slightly throughout the forecast.
Competition from tablets and smartphones continues to ease as those markets mature. Nevertheless, overlap in usage and converging designs is accelerating the shift in notebooks to ultra slim and convertible designs, which are now expected to account for almost 63% of notebook shipments by 2020. Combining detachable tablets with PCs, the market is projected to decline by 3.2% in 2016 with small positive growth in later years.
"The PC market continues to perform close to expectations," said Loren Loverde, vice president, Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research. "Some volatility in emerging regions is being offset by incremental gains in larger mature markets while the interaction with tablets and phones is stabilizing. We continue to see steady progression toward smaller desktops and notebooks as replacement buying helps stabilize overall shipments in the coming years."
"Despite continued weakness in the consumer segment, the U.S. PC market is showing some signs of stability in the near future with some sources of optimism for the long haul," said Neha Mahajan, senior research analyst, Devices & Displays. "Backed by early Windows 10 transitions that are expected to boost commercial PC shipments in the next couple of years, and steady growth of PCaaS (PC as a Service) which should help shorten refresh cycles of commercial systems in the long-term, the overall U.S. PC market sentiment certainly seems to be improving."
Those who've been following NVIDIA closely for a while know the company is seeing big growth outside of its traditional PC-based video card market. Last decade the arrival of GPGPU computing kicked off a revolution as it enabled many workloads to be accelerated at a tremendous rate versus. Now the focus is on machine learning, with self-driving cars being one of the many focal points.
For example, all new cars from Tesla feature the NVIDIA Drive PX 2 system. According to NVIDIA, you really need a lot of computing power for a self-driving car, a vision that's shared by AMD as CEO Lisa Su referred to autonomous cars as "high performance servers on wheels".
For those interested in learning more about the latest trends in artificial intelligence, NVIDIA kicked off a new podcast that focuses on AI. You can listen to the first podcast over here, it focuses on the history behind the current AI boom and the key concepts you need to know to understand it.