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OWC Launches Aura Pro X2 NVMe SSD Upgrade For Macs

AnandTech - Tue, 2019-04-16 18:00

Other World Computing (OWC) has launched a new line of NVMe SSD upgrades for several Mac models that used Apple's custom not-quite-M.2 form factor. The new Aura Pro X2 is OWC's third generation aftermarket storage upgrade for Apple's custom SSD form factor.

Apple was an early adopter of PCIe SSDs in the consumer space, introducing them to several models in 2013. In recent years they have phased out the use of replaceable SSDs in favor of using their own SSD controller built in to the T2 security chip, but there is still a large install base of pre-TouchBar MacBook Pros and non-Retina MacBook Airs that can accept storage upgrades. Aftermarket upgrade options for these machines were initially very limited until macOS 10.13 added NVMe support, which allowed off the shelf M.2 NVMe drives to be used with a passive adapter—however, those adapters are a bit too thick for Apple's notebooks (they fit just fine in the cylinder Mac Pro).

Before macOS supported NVMe, OWC provided the Aura SSD, which was essentially two SATA SSDs in RAID-0 behind a Marvell controller that only supported a PCIe 2.0 x2 host interface. The Aura's performance was poor, but it did offer the option of upgrading storage capacity, which was particularly useful for the MacBook Air models that never offered a factory 1TB SSD option. The Aura was followed up by the Aura Pro X based on the Silicon Motion SM2260 controller, which meant OWC was still struggling to offer better performance than the Samsung and SanDisk drives Apple shipped. The new Aura Pro X2 uses the Silicon Motion SM2262EN and offers performance and power efficiency on par with current high-end SSDs in standard M.2 form factors, and includes the first 2TB SSD in Apple's form factor.

OWC Aura Pro X2 Specifications Capacity 240 GB 480 GB 1 TB
(960GB) 2 TB
(1920GB) Form Factor Apple custom, double-sided Interface NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.1 x4 Controller Silicon Motion SM2262EN NAND IMFT 64-layer 3D TLC Sequential Read 2989 MB/s 3282 MB/s 3194 MB/s 3194 MB/s Sequential Write 1208 MB/s 2432 MB/s 2488 MB/s 2488 MB/s Power Active 5.7 W Idle 0.3 W Endurance 150 TB
0.34 DWPD 225 TB
0.27 DWPD 450 TB
0.27 DWPD 900 TB
0.27 DWPD Warranty 5 years MSRP $119.99
(50¢/GB) $179.99
(37¢/GB) $299.99
(31¢/GB) $699.99 (
36¢/GB)

OWC sells the Aura Pro X2 as either a standalone drive or in an upgrade kit that includes their Envoy Pro USB enclosure for the stock SSDs the Aura Pro X2 replaces, and the necessary pentalobe and Torx screwdrivers to perform the upgrade. The upgrade kit is $70-80 more expensive than the bare drive.

Prices for the Aura Pro X2 are quite steep compared to retail M.2 NVMe SSDs—they're more like what the MLC-based Samsung 970 PRO sells for, rather than in line with other TLC-based NVMe SSDs.

We have a review sample of the 960GB Aura Pro X2 on hand. It has already completed most of our usual consumer SSD test suite and those results are available in our Bench database, but for the full review we'll also be doing some macOS testing.

(PR) MSI Issues Clarification on Next-Gen AMD CPU Support on 300-series Motherboards

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 17:52
It has come to our attention that MSI Customer Support has regrettably misinformed an MSI customer with regards to potential support for next-gen AMD CPUs on the MSI X370 XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM motherboard. Through this statement we want clarify the current situation.

At this point, we are still performing extensive testing on our existing lineup of 300- and 400-series AM4 motherboards to verify potential compatibility for the next-gen AMD Ryzen CPUs. To be clear: Our intention is to offer maximum compatibility for as many MSI products as possible. Towards the launch of the next-gen AMD CPUs, we will release a compatibility list of MSI AM4 motherboards. Below is a full list of upcoming BIOS versions which include compatibility for the next-gen AMD APUs for our 300-Series and 400-Series AM4 motherboards based on the latest AMD Combo PI version 1.0.0.0. These BIOS versions are expected to be released in May this year.

Capcom Home Arcade Is a Different Kind of Retro Console

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 17:26

As we all prepare for true next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5 and whatever this more powerful Nintendo Switch will be, the console war between little plug-and-play retro consoles rages on. Desperate to see the […]

The post Capcom Home Arcade Is a Different Kind of Retro Console appeared first on Geek.com.

Puppy Rescued From California Canyon Turns Out to Be… Not a Puppy

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 16:15

An abandoned puppy gave its would-be rescuers a surprise when it turned out it wasn’t a puppy at all — it was a coyote. Humane Society officers received a call last week from […]

The post Puppy Rescued From California Canyon Turns Out to Be… Not a Puppy appeared first on Geek.com.

Intel Acquires Omnitek: FPGA Video Acceleration and Inferencing

AnandTech - Tue, 2019-04-16 16:00

One of the characteristics of Intel is its investment into new IP. This usually takes several forms, such as internal R&D, investing in other companies through Intel Capital, or outright acquisitions. Today Intel is announcing that is has acquired Omnitek, a UK based company that has a portfolio of video acceleration and inferencing IP built for FPGAs, as well as a customer base built on vertical integrations and custom solutions.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ TV Spot Teases Superheroes’ Mission ‘To the End’

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 15:49

Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, and Marvel Entertainment’s latest TV spot for the film reveals all the fights, deaths, and efforts of the superheroes’ mission “to the end.” On Tuesday, Marvel […]

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Pepsi Abandons Dystopian ‘Space Billboard’ Plan for Russian Gamer Soda

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 15:19

The everlasting cola wars have gotten positively galactic over the past few days. First, we learned that Coca-Cola is preparing new sci-fi variant cans for the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme parks. […]

The post Pepsi Abandons Dystopian ‘Space Billboard’ Plan for Russian Gamer Soda appeared first on Geek.com.

Baby Tyrannosaurus Rex Fossil Goes on eBay for $2.95M, Sparks Outrage

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 15:00

A fossil hunter has listed a baby T.rex fossil on eBay, with a “Buy It Now” price of $2.95 million. The 68-million-year-old fossil, claimed to be the “world’s only juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex,” was […]

The post Baby Tyrannosaurus Rex Fossil Goes on eBay for $2.95M, Sparks Outrage appeared first on Geek.com.

GIGABYTE to Launch Aorus ATC800 CPU Cooler: A Beefy Tower

AnandTech - Tue, 2019-04-16 15:00

An element of GIGABTYE’s CES booth this year was the way the company is pushing the Aorus brand into many different segments that it hasn’t historically played in. We’ve seen Aorus memory, Aorus storage, and now we are getting Aorus CPU cooling. The ATC800 is the next step in GIGABYTE’s world domination – a massive tower cooler with plenty of heatpipes and RGB.

Sony Teases Next-Gen PlayStation: Custom AMD Chip with Zen 2 CPU & Navi GPU, SSD Too

AnandTech - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:45

After years of speculation about what could be and what Sony may be up to, the company is finally starting to ramp up the long launch cycle for their next-generation PlayStation console. In an exclusive article published this morning via Wired, Sony games guru and system lead system architect Mark Cerny laid out a few tantalizing tidbits about the still unnamed console, offering some basic information on the underlying system architecture while promising that it’s “no mere upgrade.”

The focal point of Wired’s article is, as many AnandTech readers would expect, on the chip at the heart of the system. Cerny and Sony (and AMD) are now confirming that yes, AMD is once again putting the console’s central processor together. The cutting-edge chip will be built on an unnamed 7nm process, and will incorporate all of AMD’s latest Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU technologies. And while neither Cerny nor AMD are going quite so far as to call it an APU – AMD’s favored name for a chip with CPU and GPU cores integrated – it’s clear that this is very much a single chip, and seemingly an APU in everything but name.

(PR) Razer Supercharges Windows Laptops and MacBooks with the New Core X Chroma

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:28
Razer , the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, announced today the latest external graphics enclosure (eGPU), the Razer Core X Chroma. The Razer Core X Chroma expands its features to now include a 700W power supply, USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports, and Razer Chroma lighting.

Designed to work with a wide array of Thunderbolt 3 Windows laptops and MacBooks, the Razer Core eGPU line will give mobile warriors the ability to tap into the massive graphics processing power of a desktop gaming machine with minimal hassle. This allows users to play the most demanding games and create world-class content at blazing speeds. The Razer Core X Chroma now includes a 700W power supply, USB and Gigabit Ethernet ports, and Razer Chroma lighting to meet the needs of the most hardcore gamers and creators. Read full story

SpaceX Loses Falcon Heavy’s Center Booster Due to Rough Seas

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:25

On April 11, SpaceX successfully landed the Falcon Heavy rocket’s three first stages during the launcher’s mission, however, choppy waters caused a slight problem after touchdown: The company’s team was not able to […]

The post SpaceX Loses Falcon Heavy’s Center Booster Due to Rough Seas appeared first on Geek.com.

Report: Sony Confirms First PlayStation 5 Details

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:05

Just because Sony isn’t putting on an E3 press conference this year doesn’t mean they aren’t dropping some bombshell video game announcements. In an interview with Wired Playstation 4 hardware architect and famous old teenager […]

The post Report: Sony Confirms First PlayStation 5 Details appeared first on Geek.com.

GoodOffer24 Announces the Big Easter Sale

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:00
GoodOffer24.com brings you The Big Easter Sale, a chance to pick up software and games at never before seen prices. These are genuine, globally-valid keys for software no PC is complete without, at prices to seldom see elsewhere, and give you the peace of mind that comes with genuine, lifetime-valid software. Take Office 2019 Professional Plus, for example: normally priced around USD $225, GoodOffer24 has it priced at $70.93. TechPowerUp users can have it for just $58.16 by applying an exclusive discount coupon at check-out. That's less than half the price you'd pay for an annually-recurring subscription to Office 365! Office 2016 Professional Plus can be had for even less, at just $30.82 after applying the coupon.

We use Windows 10 Pro ourselves (as opposed to the Home edition), since Pro unlocks more administrative tools every pro-sumer needs. Genuine, globally-valid licenses to Windows 10 Pro are now selling for $12.44 after coupon discount, which is less than most indie games. I recently set up a second desktop from scratch, and benefited from a combo offer for Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional Plus, which can be had for a stunning $36.83 after coupon discount! This package is ideal to get the software needs of your brand new gaming desktop build out of the way, so you could budget better for your hardware. While you're at it, do also check out GoodOffer24 for a large selection of heavily discounted games, DLCs, in-game items, subscription cards, and in-game currency. You might discover a way to save big on your monthly gaming expenses! GoodOffer24 takes PayPal, so your payment instruments are safe.

Buy Windows 10 Pro at $12.44 from GoodOffer24 | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus at $30.82 from GoodOffer24 | Buy Office 2019 Professional Plus at $58.16 from GoodOffer24 | Buy Windows 10 Pro + Office 2016 Professional Plus Combo at $36.83

TechPowerUp Exclusive Discount Coupon: Don't forget to use the coupon code LQEA18 at check-out for the prices you see above!

(PR) NZXT Releases H500 Vault Boy from its Shelter

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 14:00
NZXT and Bethesda Softworks , a ZeniMax Media company, team up again to bring you the fourth entry into NZXT's CRFT series of limited edition licensed gaming gear. Introducing the H500 Vault Boy PC gaming case and optional all-metal cover for the NZXT N7 Z390 motherboard based on the Fallout universe's iconic Vault-Tec mascot. With the H500 Vault Boy, it is even easier to show your Fallout fandom while you and your build weather the apocalypse in the confines of your gaming shelter.

"For our second Fallout entry for CRFT, it was an easy choice to have Vault Boy be the focus," says Johnny Hou, founder, and CEO of NZXT. "He is easily one of gaming's most respected icons and synonymous with the beloved Fallout franchise. This is why it was important we created a case worthy of his legacy and of the hard-earned caps of this dedicated community." Read full story

From 400 Feet Underwater, Seychelles President Urges Marine Protection

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 13:54

Sometimes love words just ain’t enough. Seychelles President Danny Faure on Sunday delivered a live address from more than 400 feet below the Indian Ocean surface. Surrounded by what he described as “the […]

The post From 400 Feet Underwater, Seychelles President Urges Marine Protection appeared first on Geek.com.

(PR) Cooler Master Introduces New Square Fan Series

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 13:28
Cooler Master, a global leader in PC component manufacturing, today, announces the launch of their new Square Fan (SF) series of PC fans. Introduced as part of the MasterFan family, the new SF series of fans are equipped not only with RGB lighting, but features designed to enhance user experience in installation and performance.

Three new fans are included in the new SF series, the MasterFan SF120R RGB, SF120R ARGB and the SF360R ARGB. All three fans feature Cooler Master's new square fan design, while the SF360R ARGB fan incorporates multiple fans in an All-In-One frame. The entire SF series features rubber pads around each point of connection to decreases vibration and reduce noise pollution. In addition, the SF series of fans are designed to be compatible with all current AIO liquid coolers and most computer cases. Read full story

(PR) TSMC Unveils 6-nanometer Process

techPowerUp - Tue, 2019-04-16 13:17
TSMC today announced its 6-nanometer (N6) process, which provides a significant enhancement of its industry-leading N7 technology and offers customers a highly competitive performance-to-cost advantage as well as fast time-to-market with direct migration from N7-based designs. By leveraging the new capabilities in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography gained from the N7+ technology currently in risk production, TSMC's N6 process delivers 18% higher logic density over the N7 process. At the same time, its design rules are fully compatible with TSMC's proven N7 technology, allowing its comprehensive design ecosystem to be reused. As a result, it offers a seamless migration path with a fast design cycle time with very limited engineering resources for customers to achieve the product benefits from the new technology offering.

Scheduled for risk production in the first quarter of 2020, TSMC's N6 technology provides customers with additional cost-effective benefits while extending the industry-leading power and performance from the 7nm family for a broad array of applications, ranging from high-to-mid end mobile, consumer applications, AI, networking, 5G infrastructure, GPU, and high-performance computing.Read full story

11 Marvel Characters That Deserve Their Own Streaming Shows

Geek.com - Tue, 2019-04-16 13:00

With Disney going whole hog on their new streaming service, smart money’s on the end of Marvel characters anywhere else in the digital ecosystem. We already saw Netflix’s gritty street-level Defenders suite put […]

The post 11 Marvel Characters That Deserve Their Own Streaming Shows appeared first on Geek.com.

Intel to Launch 8th Generation Intel Core vPro Notebook Processors

AnandTech - Tue, 2019-04-16 13:00

One of the bigger parts of Intel’s product portfolio that rarely gets a mention is the vPro product line. vPro consists of a specific combined processor and chipset portfolio that offers Intel’s commercial customers the ability for commercial stability, extra administration options, and extra hardware security. Today Intel is announcing its latest mobile vPro processors, which will form part of the company’s 8th Generation Intel Core line-up.

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