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    #7471

    Anandtech: Giveaway: Toshiba TR200 240GB, 480GB, & 960GB SSDs

    In the mood for some free hardware? Well then you're in luck: our awesome community team in conjunction with Toshiba is holding a giveaway for a trio of the company’s new TR200 SATA SSDs. Altogether we’re giving away one of each capacity: 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB.
    Toshiba TR200 Specifications
    Capacity 240GB 480GB 960GB
    Controller Toshiba TC58NC1010 (Phison S11)
    NAND Toshiba 256Gb 64L BiCS3 3D TLC Toshiba 512Gb 64L BiCS3 3D TLC
    Sequential Read 555 MB/s 555 MB/s 555 MB/s
    Sequential Write 540 MB/s 540 MB/s 540 MB/s
    4KB Random Read 79k IOPS 82k IOPS 81k IOPS
    4KB Random Write 87k IOPS 88k IOPS 88k IOPS
    Write Endurance 60 TB 120 TB 240 TB
    Form Factor SATA
    Warranty Three Years
    Our SSD-meister, Billy Tallis, took a look at Toshiba’s new TR200 drives earlier this month. As Toshiba’s newest generation of entry-level SATA drives, the drives are solid, but performance of the drive is understandably bounded by the limitations of the SATA interface and TLC NAND. However the drives also feature great idle power management, making them particularly useful as a laptop upgrade.
    The giveaway is running through November 13th and is open to all US and UK residents. You can find the full details for entering the giveaway over on the storage section of our forums.


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    #7472

    Anandtech: MACOM Sells AppliedMicro’s X-Gene CPU Business

    MACOM last week announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the microprocessor-related assets it bought from AppliedMicro to Project Denver Holdings, a new company backed by The Carlyle Group asset management company.
    MACOM closed the acquisition of AppliedMicro early in 2017. Back then, the company made no secret that it was primarily interested in Applied Micro’s MACsec and 100G to 400G solutions, but not in the company's X-Gene server CPUs. MACOM’s plan was to become a leader in datacenter communication technologies with a focus on optical networks in particular (analog, photonic and mixed-signal PHYs). That said, the X-Gene business was not exactly the best fit for MACOM and the future of the CPU division has been unclear.
    The X-Gene 3 server platform looked promising when it was introduced last November. The CPU has 32 custom ARMv8 cores running at up to 3 GHz, with 32 MB of L3 cache, eight DDR4-2667 memory channels with ECC, and 42 PCIe 3.0 lanes. MACOM started to sample the X-Gene 3 among interested parties this March and Kontron even demonstrated a server based on the CPU at MWC 2017. MACOM has not started commercial shipments of the X-Gene 3 yet, nonetheless the X-Gene 3 and its possible successors were impressive enough for The Carlyle Group to establish a new entity that will finalize the X-Gene 3 and continue development efforts.
    Neither MACOM nor Carlyle have disclosed the financial terms of the deal, but MACOM will get a minority stake in Project Denver Holdings. Speaking of the latter, it is necessary to say that the new company has its own leadership team and a strong financial backing from Carlyle Partners VI (which is a $13 billion U.S. buyout fund). Assuming that Project Denver Holdings will keep AppliedMicro’s development team and will invest sufficient amount of money in the X-Gene in general, the new company will have chances to remain a leading supplier of ARMv8-based server CPUs. At the moment, the X-Gene is used by over half of a dozen server makers, so Project Denver Holdings is getting a business with existing, incoming and future products as well as customers.
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    #7473

    Anandtech: Razer Launches Core v2 TB3 eGFX Enclosure: Dual TB3 Controllers

    Razer has launched a new version of its Thunderbolt 3 external graphics enclosure for video cards, the Core v2. The new Core v2 chassis uses dual Thunderbolt 3 controllers and a USB-C/USB PD controller for easier routing of traffic to/from GPU and other components located in the box. In addition, the Core v2 can support larger graphics adapters than the Core v1, according to the company. As for the price, it remained the same as in the case of the first-gen Razer Core.
    The new Razer Core v2 looks exactly the same as the predecessor from the outside: it has the same design, dimensions, two zone RGB Chroma lighting, the same card mounting mechanism, one Thunderbolt 3 input, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a GbE connector and so on. Meanwhile, the internal architecture of the Razer Core v2 has been revamped to include two TB3 controllers in order to “ensure fluid gameplay”, as Razer puts it. While two TB3 controllers and one TB3 connector seem a little odd, the two Intel DSL6540 controller chips actually make sense in case of this box.
    Every Thunderbolt 3 controller has one or two input/output ports used to connect to external device(s) as well as four PCIe 3.0 x1 input/output lanes to connect to the host and/or to other devices. Each TB3 controller is paired with a USB Type-C and Power Delivery (PD) controller that detects cable orientation, negotiates USB PD, and configures alternate mode settings for internal and external multiplexers, and virtually all eGFX enclosures use Texas Instruments TPS65982 or TPS65983 controllers for this. (The TI controllers are slightly different, with varying Mac compatibility depending on which one is used given macOS does not officially support eGFX at the moment, but this is an entirely different conversation).
    In the first generation of the Razer Core the company used one Intel DSL6540 controller coupled with one TI TPS65982 to connect the PCIe GPU slot, a GbE controller, and a USB controller/hub to the external TB3 output (multiplexing all the clients across the PCIe lanes). When all three were used at the same time (when a mouse and a keyboard are plugged to USB Type-A ports and the GbE is used instead of Wi-Fi), they naturally fought for bandwidth and latency, which affected real-world performance, Razer says.
    With its second generation Razer Core, the company uses two dual-port Intel DSL6540 ICs coupled with the newer TI TPS65983 controllers. The primary TB3 controller now uses all four PCIe lanes to connect the GPU to the host PC. The secondary TB3 controller is connected to the primary one using the downstream TB3 port of the primary DSL6540 (essentially creating an internal daisy chain) and uses its PCIe lanes for the GbE and the USB controllers (basically, the DSL6540 is used like a PCIe switch). In this scenario, the GPU always gets a priority and the traffic from the other clients is always routed properly. As a bonus, the Core v2 does not have compatibility problems because they now use the newer TI TPS65983 controller.
    Razer Core v2 Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Chassis Specifications
    Max Video Card Size Double-Wide, 12.2" Long
    (312 x 145 x 43 mm)
    Max Video Card Power 375W
    Connectivity 4x USB 3.0
    1x Gigabit Ethernet
    Laptop Charging via Thunderbolt 3
    Chassis Size 4.13 x 13.9 x 8.66 inches
    (105 x 353 x 220mm)
    Internal PSU 500W
    System Requirements Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Certified PC
    Thunderbolt 3 w/Active Cable
    Windows 10
    Compatible Graphics Cads AMD Radeon RX-series and later
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-series and later
    Shipping Date Q4 2017
    Price $499
    When it comes to compatibility with video cards, the Razer Core v2 supports all graphics adapters that consume no more than 375 W and have appropriate driver support. Razer claims that the optimized internal designs now allows installation of larger adapters with custom PCBs, but the difference with the v1 is not that significant.*
    Comparison of Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Chassis
    ASUS ROG XG Station 2 AKiTiO
    Node
    PowerColor
    Devil Box
    Razer
    Core
    Razer Core V2
    Chassis Dimensions Length 45.6 cm
    17.95 in
    42.8 cm
    16.85 in
    40 cm
    15.748 in
    34 cm
    13.38 in
    Height 27.8 cm
    10.94 in
    22.7 cm
    8.94 in
    24.2 cm
    9.52 in
    21.84 cm
    8.6 in
    Width 15.8 cm
    6.22 in
    14.5 cm
    5.71 in
    17.2 cm
    6.77 in
    10.5 cm
    4.13 in
    Max Dimension of Compatible Graphics Card Length 31.2 cm
    12.2 in
    Height
    (PCB+Cables)
    over 14 cm
    over 5.51"
    17 cm
    6.7 in
    14 cm
    5.51 in
    13 cm
    5.12 in
    14.5 cm
    5.71 in
    Width 4.4 cm
    1.73 in
    5 cm
    1.96 in
    4.3 cm
    1.69 in
    Maximum GPU Power 500 W (?) 300 W (?) 375 W
    PSU Wattage 600 W 400 W 500 W
    Form-Factor internal proprietary SFX internal proprietary
    Cooling Fans (mm) 3 × 80 120 unknown 3 × 80 3 × 80 (?)
    Connectivity Thunderbolt 1 × TB3 1 × TB3 1 × TB3
    Ethernet 1 × GbE - 1 × GbE
    USB 4 × USB 3.0
    1 × USB-B
    - 4 × USB 3.0
    SATA 1×SATA 6Gb/s - 1×SATA 6Gb/s -
    DisplayPort - - -
    Availability 1/2017 12/2016 10/2016 4/2016 Q4 2017
    Price $? $299 $379 $499
    Razer intends to ship the Core v2 Thunderbolt 3 eGFX enclosure in the coming weeks in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, and Germany. The MSRP of one unit for the U.S. market is $499.
    *Note that at some point Razer has changed internal specs of the Core v1 compared to the originally declared.
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    #7474

    Anandtech: Arm Announces New Mali-D71 Display Processor and IP Blocks

    Today, Arm is announcing their Mali-D71 display processor and two closely-related IP blocks, CoreLink MMU-600 and Assertive Display 5, angling for 4K VR and HDR implementations on mobile displays. Previewed earlier in May under the codename Mali-Cetus, the D71 introduces the new Komeda display architecture, and combined with the new memory management unit (MMU) offers up to 4K120fps real-time performance. Meanwhile, Assertive Display 5 brings HDR capabilities and improved color and gamut management, adding onto the sunlight compensation and power-saver featureset of previous Assertive Display technologies.
    All three blocks were developed together, and in turn they possess mutual optimizations in order to achieve VR-capable performance and HDR functionality. The D71 and MMU-600 are tightly coupled to target high resolution and frame rates, while Assertive Display 5 enables HDR capabilities and adaptation to panel variety. Whether alone or together, premium smartphones and tablets are the most straightforward application, but previous display processors and IP blocks have been used for VR headsets and TVs/STBs.
    As mentioned in the Mali-Cetus overview, the D71 represents a clean architectural break from the Mali-DP650 and older display processors, which were more targeted for efficient sub-4K performance. In terms of generational uplift, Arm cites double the area efficiency and four times the latency tolerance, with a new side-by-side mode able double DP-650’s pixel throughput. The new fixed function hardware, covered in May, offloads work from the GPU and in turn saves power. Of those units, the new composition unit can handle and scale more display layers, functionality that works well in supporting multi-window on Android. For that purpose, the D71 has been optimized for the Android Hardware Composer HAL (HWC) and more for Android multi-window.
    Where the Mali-Cetus was described more in terms of 4K90, Arm commented that due to the improvements of the specialized D71-specific MMU-600, particularly the latency reduction, they were able to “guarantee” 4K120 for the D71 + MMU-600. Area-wise, that combination is 55% smaller than a DP650 + MMU-500. The MMU-600 also includes TrustZone Media Protection (TZMP).
    Assertive Display 5 represents the latest iteration of Assertive Display, and the first to be under the Arm umbrella since the acquisition of Apical, the original developers. Previously, Assertive Display revolved around a combination of tone-mapping, pixel processing, and adaptive screen brightness to save power or compensate for outdoor lighting, typically sunlight. These capabilities are extended into the HDR content that Assertive Display 5 supports.
    Assertive Display 5 brings HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) support, as well as HDR-to-SDR and HDR-to-HDR capabilities. Powered by an iridix8-HDR local tone-mapping engine, Assertive Display 5 can map content for the particular specifications of a display. Assertive Display also includes improved color and gamut management, particularly complementing HDR content.
    Additionally, Assertive Display 5 has blue light filtering. With all these features, Arm is aiming at keeping uniform color and lighting quality across HDR and SDR panels, and ideally compounding the advantages of HDR.
    The D71, MMU-600, and Assertive Display 5 are available now to partners, with the technology expected to appear in devices around early 2019.


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    Anandtech: Microsemi Introduces New SAS/SATA HBAs And RAID Cards

    Today Microsemi is announcing the availability of a new generation of SAS/SATA adapters and RAID cards under their Adaptec brand. The new cards are based on the 28nm SmartIOC and SmartROC controller chips that Microsemi announced in May of this year. Those controller ICs are available for third parties to build products around, but Microsemi is now also selling their own branded solutions. The new adapters and RAID cards all use a PCIe 3 x8 host interface and support between 4 and 24 SAS/SATA ports.
    The Microsemi Adaptec HBA 1100 family is the entry-level tier implementing basic host bus adapter functionality using the SmartIOC 2100 controller. Microsemi claims aggregate performance can reach up to 6.6 GB/s sequential and 1.7M 4kB IOPS, a substantial improvement over the 1.3M IOPS from the previous-generation HBA 1000 series. (1100 series HBAs with 8 ports or fewer are rated for only 1.5M IOPS.) With the switch from a 40nm controller fabrication process to 28nm, Microsemi also claims these are the lowest-power 12Gb/s SAS adapters on the market. All the expected features of a SAS controller are present, including support for enclosure management, multi-initiator support for high-availability clustering, and support for port multipliers allowing up to 238 drives to be connected to each HBA. Microsemi has added support for the command set extensions used by host-aware and host-managed Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) hard drives.
    The Microsemi Adaptec SmartHBA 2100 family expands upon the features of the HBA 1100 family by enabling basic hardware RAID functionality, including RAID 0,1,10 and 5 modes. RAID arrays can span up to 32 drives, and drives not configured in a RAID array can continue to be accessed individually.
    The Microsemi Adaptec SmartRAID 3100 family includes all the features of the 1100 and 2100 families, including compatibility with the RAID metadata format of the 2100 series. The 3100 series adds DDR4 caches ranging from 1GB to 4GB, with optional power loss protection support on most models through the addition of an external capacitor module to power the card long enough to save the contents of its DRAM to the card's flash memory. With the availability of a DRAM cache, the 3100 series can offer higher RAID 5 performance than the 2100 series plus support for more advanced RAID modes including RAID 6, 50 and 60. Models with power loss protection also support Microsemi's maxCache SSD caching feature, allowing up to 1TB of SSD cache in front of hard drive arrays, with write-through and write-back caching modes supported and mirroring supported for the cache drives. Microsemi claims a 40% power reduction compared to their older Series 8 12Gb/s RAID adapters.
    Most models of the new generation of Microsemi HBAs and RAID controller cards are available now. Models with a mix of internal and external ports, and models with 16 external SAS ports will be available in early 2018. Pricing has not been annnounced.
    Next year, Microsemi plans to add models supporting controller-based drive encryption, offering an alternative to the use of self-encrypting drives or host-based software managed encryption.


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    Anandtech: Western Digital Now Shipping 14 TB HDDs: HGST Ultrastar Hs14 with 1000 Gb/

    Western Digital has started to ship its new HGST Ultrastar Hs14 hard drives, promoted as being suitable for cloud datacenters and for hyperscale developments. The capacity increase from its predecessor, the Ultrastar Ha10, from 10TB to 14 TB offers a significant performance improvement. The new 14 TB HDD is based on shingled magnetic recording technology, which is a system that naturally focuses more on sequential write performance. These drives will only be available with host management, which means it will not be available to general consumers, but only to select customers of HGST.
    The HGST Ultrastar Hs14 relies on Western Digital’s fourth-generation HelioSeal enterprise platform which integrates eight platters and features various internal components specially designed for such hard drives. The new helium-filled HDD has a 7200 RPM spindle speed, a 512 MB cache. and numerous enhancements when it comes to reliability and durability of the drive. As with other HGST enterprise-class HDDs, the Ultrastar Hs14 is rated for 2.5 million hours MTBF and comes with a five-year warranty.
    Unlike the Ultrastar He12, which is based on the same fourth-gen HelioSeal platform, the Ultrastar Hs14 uses shingled magnetic recording (SMR) and thus has a number of peculiarities when it comes to re-writing. As described numerous times here at AnandTech, HDDs featuring SMR increase their bit density by recording new magnetic tracks and partly overlapping the previously recorded tracks in a 'shingle' fashion. This process is usually suitable for sequential writes, but as multiple tracks need to be adjusted when re-writes occur, this will slow down the rewriting process
    Unlike its rival Seagate, Western Digital does not incorporate any special features into the SMR-based HDDs that mitigate peculiarities of the recording technology, but requires their hosts to manage writing process on such drives. This naturally reduces addressable market of such HDDs to a relatively limited number of companies who run cloud and hyperscale datacenters and which can optimize their software for particular hardware. When it comes to the HGST Ultrastar Hs14, Western Digital explicitly says that the drive was designed specifically for sequential write environments, such as archives and content delivery networks: basically data that is not updated frequently (if at all).
    The Ultrastar Hs14 drive comes with 1.75 TB platters and therefore can offer a significantly higher sustained transfer rate than its predecessor, the Ultrastar Ha10, which relied on 1.42 TB platters. Meanwhile, the improvements offered by the Hs14 vs. the Ha10 are not limited to higher areal density.
    First off, the Ultrastar Hs14 comes with a 512 MB DRAM buffer for indirection table management, which is double the size of the Ha10. For sustained performance, HGST claims that the new Ultrastar Hs14 drive offers 233 MB/s read/write performance, which is a 48% increase over the Ha10 when it comes to reads and nearly 3.5x increase when it comes to writes (note that the areal density of the Hs14 increased by 24%). The manufacturer does not want to share all of its secrets but claims that with its first-gen host-managed SMR drive it had to make a tradeoff between performance and reliability which resulted in a rather low read and write speeds. In particular, the Ultrastar Ha10 performs 100% read verify of previous track after all write commands to ensure that the previous tracks was not destroyed at sequential write (due to a narrower track than a conventional PMR HDD). Therefore each write operation requires several revolutions to complete. The company called this tech “Write Verify”. Meanwhile, the new Ultrastar Hs14 no longer does 100% verification, but only does read verify a previous track when the drive sees a failure at write command. So, if there are no write failures, the drive moves to next track write and therefore has an improved write performance (and since it does not have to perform a read operation, its read speeds are also higher). The company calls the new tech “Intelligent Write Verify”. Since the Ultrastar Hs14 works differently than the predecessor, the new drive also reduces average read seek time to 7.7 ms, down from 8.5 ms in case of its predecessor.
    With the new Ultrastar Hs14 design characteristics, the company is shipping with an MTBF of 2.5 million hours at sustained performance levels that people expect from enterprise-class drives. Operating power consumption of the Ultrastar Hs14 (SATA) was reduced to 6.4 W, down from 7.6 W in case of the Ultrastar Ha10.
    HGST Ultrastar Hs14 General Specifications
    HSH721414ALE6M0
    HSH721414ALE6M4
    HSH721414ALN6M0
    HSH721414ALN6M4
    HSH721414AL52M0
    HSH721414AL52M4
    HSH721414AL42M0
    HSH721414AL42M4
    Capacity 14 TB
    RPM 7200 RPM
    Interface SATA 6 Gbps SAS 12 Gbps
    DRAM Cache 512 MB
    Format: Sector Sizes 4Kn: 4096
    512e: 512
    4Kn: 4096, 4112, 4160, 4224
    512e: 512, 520, 528
    Helium-Filling Yes
    Areal Density 1034 Gbit/inch2
    Sustained Transfer Rate 233 MB/s
    Average Latency 4.16 ms
    Seek Time (read/write) 7.7/12 ms
    Acoustics 2.0/3.6 Bels
    Power Rating Idle 5.2 W 6.2 W
    Operating 6.4 W 8.3 W
    MTBF 2.5 million hours
    Warranty 5 Years
    Since the HGST Ultrastar Hs14 HDDs are aimed at customers with software optimized for SMR, the first clients to be interested in the new drives will be operators of cloud and hyperscale datacenters who already run the Ultrastar Ha10 hard drives. For them, the new drives open up an opportunity to increase their storage capacity by 40% without increasing their power consumption, without expanding the footprint of the datacenter, and changing other hardware.
    Performance Specifications of HGST Ultrastar Hs14 vs. Ultrastar Ha10
    Ultrastar Hs14 Ultrastar Ha10
    Capacity 14 TB 10 TB
    RPM 7200 RPM
    Interface SATA 6 Gbps
    DRAM Cache 512 MB 256 MB
    Helium-Filling Yes
    Areal Density 1034 Gbit/inch2 830 Gbit/inch2
    Sustained Transfer Rate Read 233 MB/s 157 MB/s
    Write 233 MB/s 68 MB/s
    Average Latency 4.16 ms
    Seek Time (read/write) 7.7/12 ms 8.5/? ms
    Power Rating Idle 5.2 W 5.1 W
    Operating 6.4 W 7.6 W
    Power consumption efficiency at Idle 0.37 W/TB 0.57 W/TB
    MTBF 2.5 million hours 2 million hours
    Warranty 5 Years
    Western Digital is currently sampling its HGST Ultrastar Hs14 with select OEMs and is qualifying them with customers. It will ship them commercially when its clients demand the new 14 TB HDDs. Regular consumers will not be able to buy the new Ultrastar Hs14 HDDs and will not be able to take advantage of it until mainstream operating systems learn how to 'host-manage' SMR drives. In the meantime, WD Gold drives of 12 TB and 10 TB capacities are available from retailers like Amazon and Newegg.
    Buy WD Gold 12TB on Amazon.com
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    Anandtech: Seagate Launches SkyHawk AI HDDs for Intelligent NVRs

    Seagate has released a new family of hard drives for intelligent network video recorders (NVRs) with 'AI capabilities'. The new Skyhawk AI HDDs are built to simultaneously record footage from dozens of HD cameras and provide data for multiple streams used for deep learning, machine learning, and video analytics applications.
    The Seagate Skyhawk AI family consists of 8 GB and 10 TB models featuring a 7200 RPM spindle speed, 256 MB cache buffers and a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The new hard drives rely on Seagate’s seven-disk enterprise-class helium-filled platforms featuring top and bottom attached motors, RVFF sensors, and other enhancements to handle heavy workloads (up to 550 TB per year) in vibrating machines featuring 16 or more drives. Typical Seagate Skyhawk drives used for surveillance systems are rated for 180 TB per year and are not designed for NVRs featuring more than 16 drives (formally, they are rated for systems with 8+ bays).
    The heart of the SkyHawk AI drives is their ImagePerfect AI firmware that builds upon the original ImagePerfect technology from Seagate but has several important enhancements. All higher-end SkyHawk drives support ATA streaming technology and can record data from up to 64 HD cameras. It also allows the HDDs can quickly wake up from idle and resume work. What the ImagePerfect AI adds on top of that is a special caching algorithm that enables “low latency and excellent random read performance to quickly locate and deliver video images and footage analysis.” As a result, each SkyHawk AI HDD can record footage from 64 cameras while providing enough read performance for 16 AI streams (8 AI channels).
    When it comes to raw performance numbers, Seagate declares 214 MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate, 4.16 ms average latency and up to 7.2 W power consumption for the SkyHawk AI drives. By contrast, the original SkyHawk 8 TB and 10 TB featured up to 210 MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate and 4-4.16 ms average latency (keep in mind that the Skyhawk 8 TB was not helium-filled). Therefore, from a performance point of view, the new AI drives are not tangibly faster than the regular ones and all the improvements are there due to the firmware.
    Seagate SkyHawk AI HDDs
    ST10000VE0004 ST8000VE0004
    Capacity 10 TB 8 TB
    HD Cameras Supported Up to 64
    AI Streams (AI Channels) 16 (8)
    RPM 7200 RPM
    Interface SATA 6 Gbps
    DRAM Cache 256 MB
    Peak Sustained Transfer Rate 214 MB/s
    Average Latency 4.16 ms
    Rated Workload Equivalent of 550 TB of Writes per Year
    Power Rating Idle 4.9 W
    Operating 7.2 W
    MTBF 2.0 million hours
    Warranty 5 Years
    Since the SkyHawk AI drives are based on enterprise-grade platforms, they are also covered by a five-year warranty. In addition, the drives are bundled with Seagate’s two-year Seagate Rescue Services. The SkyHawk AI 10 TB will be available in the U.S. for $449.99, whereas the 8 TB model will cost $349.99.
    Buy Seagate SkyHawk 10TB on Amazon.com
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    #7478

    Anandtech: Razer Smartphone Launch Event Live Blog (8pm UTC)

    Razer is in London to launch a new smartphone (as shown by the launch photo above) for gamers. We're here ready to follow the keynote headed by Razer CEO, Min-Liang Tan. The event is set to start at 8pm local time (8pm UTC, 4pm Eastern US) and I'm waiting to get inside. The Live Blog will start close to 8pm UTC.

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    Anandtech: Razer Enters The Smartphone Arena With The Razer Phone

    Earlier this year, Razer bought the smartphone company Nextbit, so it should perhaps not come as much of a surprise to see the gaming-focused company step into the smartphone market, but Razer wants to bring more than just another 'me too' Android phone. Today the company is launching the Razer Phone with a couple of industry firsts, which is impressive considering the competition in the smartphone space.
    One of the first questions we asked the Razer engineers is 'how can one design a phone specifically for gaming - what features would it have over and above other devices out there?'. This seems like an obvious question, however it was greeted with a good answer: Razer has designed the phone for prolonged use to maintain high frame rates. Most modern smartphones that use either the Snapdragon 835 (like the Razer), an Exynos 8890, a Kirin 960/970 or a MediaTek chip will have an immediate turbo profile for the CPU and GPU, and depending on the design, will at some point jump to a lower frequency in order to maintain an appropriate thermal profile. Razer has stated that they have built their design to maintain the top frequencies for as long as possible: where other devices throttle after 2-10 minutes, Razer's engineers say that their device should have a much better frequency response to external thermals - we're invited to test when we get a sample to see how long it can sustain those higher clocks.
    Razer Phone, aka 'Project Cheryl'
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    RAM 8GB dual-channel LPDDR4-1600
    Storage Internal: 64GB UFS
    External microSD class 10 2TB max
    Display 5.7" IGZO LCD 2560x1440
    120 Hz Ultramotion
    Wide Color Gamut
    Corning Gorilla Glass 3
    Rear Cameras 12MP AF f/1.75 Wide
    12MP AF f/2.6 Zoom
    Dual PDAF
    Dual-tone, dual-LED Flash
    Front Camera 8MP f/2.0
    Sound Stereo front facing speakers
    Dual amplifiers
    USB-C Audio Adapter with THX certified DAC
    Power 4000 mAh battery
    Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+
    Wireless 802.11ac
    Bluetooth 4.2
    NFC
    Bands GSM: Quad-band GSM UMTS: B1/2/3/4/5/8
    LTE:B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
    TDD LTE: B38/39/40/41 TD-SCDMA: B34/39
    Dimensions 158.5 x 77.7 x 8 mm
    6.24 x 3.06 x 0.31 in
    Weight 197 grams
    OS Android Nougat 7.1.1
    Price $699
    Availability Pre-orders on Nov-1
    Shipping from 17-Nov
    The Razer Phone will feature a 5.72-inch display, but with Razer’s roots, it shouldn’t be a big surprise to see them wanting to one-up the competition here. Razer has long used Sharp IGZO LCD panels in its laptops, and the Razer Phone continues that trend with a 5.72-inch IGZO LCD with a 2560x1440 resolution, which works out to just over 500 pixels per inch. That should be plenty sharp for almost any application, and due to it being LCD there shouldn’t be any issues with subpixels like you see in OLED. Also to appeal to gamers, the Razer Phone is the first shipping smartphone to have a screen that can run a 120 Hz refresh rate. The faster refresh rate should help smooth out animations, and gameplay, but because 120 Hz would be a power draw if used all the time, it also supports variable refresh to lower the refresh rate down to 30 Hz. The display also supports a wide color gamut, and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 from Corning.

    Powering the Razer Phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which we’ve seen in most of the high-end smartphones this year. Razer is turning up the notch a bit though, with 8 GB of LPDDR4 1600 MHz RAM. The combination should provide plenty of performance, as well as great multitasking. There’s 64 GB of UFS internal storage, and microSD support for an additional 2 TB of storage. Implementation of the SoC, including the power profiles, and cooling capabilities, can all play into how the phone performs, so we'll hopefully get a chance to review this and see how they did.
    Just over a year ago, Razer also acquired the majority of THX assets, and Razer has been applying their audio knowledge to some of their products already, but the Razer Phone is the first smartphone to bear the THX certification. In this case, Razer is offering a THX certified DAC for external audio, which will be available as a USB-C adapter since the Razer phone doesn’t offer a headset jack. Apparently, this is the new normal now, so RIP 3.5mm on phones. But the company also wanted to provide a great sound experience for local playback, and they’ve included stereo front-facing speakers, which feature dual-amplifiers. The company said on the briefing that they wanted to provide the best audio experience from a phone, so we look forward to checking it out.
    Smartphones have to also be great cameras to even be considered at the high-end of the market, and Razer has chosen to ape the camera hardware from the iPhone, with dual 12 MP rear cameras. One offers a f/1.75 wide angle, and the other offers a f/2.6 zoom lens. It offers phase-detection auto-focus, and a dual-tone dual-LED flash. The front camera is an 8 MP f/2.0 camera.
    Razer wanted great battery life as well, so they packed in a 4000 mAh battery, and to get it charged quickly, they are the first smartphone to offer Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+. The phone is shipping with Android 7.1.1, although not much was said about Android 8in the future.
    Despite offering a premium smartphone in 2017, Razer is actually coming in with a price under what some of the competition is asking. The Razer Phone is available for pre-order today for $699, and shipments will start on November 17th. They'll also be offering a special edition model, replacing the muted gray Razer logo with the more customary green version.
    Source: Razer


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    #7480

    Anandtech: For Super Fans: The HTC U11+ with a 6-inch display, 3930 mAh and IP68

    Today HTC is expanding its U11 series from one member into three, with the introduction of the U11 life and the U11+. The two new parts are designed to sit above and below the current standard U11 model, with the U11 life aiming at a more price competitive ‘lifestyle’ market, while the U11+ (U11-plus) sits at the top of the pile and is being touted for HTC super-fans who want a little bit more from their U11.
    The HTC U11+: Bigger Display, More Battery

    So where the U11 life has a few reduced features to bring down the price, the U11+ puts in more of the premium. Over the original U11 it moves up from a 5.5-inch 16:9 2560x1440 SLCD5 display to a 6.0-inch 18:9 2880x1440 SLCD6 display, as well as increasing the environmental resistance rating from IP67 to IP68. The battery also gets a sizeable boost from 3000 mAh to 3930 mAh, which HTC is quoting for an additional 4 hours of video playback and an additional four hours of LTE data use.
    [
    With the original HTC U11, we were told that it was color calibrated out of the factory, although we were not told to what degree. For the U11+, we are told that it supports HDR10 and DCI-P3, although we were not told how much of the color space the display covers (we did ask, waiting to hear back). HDR10 will be officially supported by the end of the year – the hardware is capable but the software is still catching up. We asked about the official brightness of the display, how that compares to the 1000 nit ideal for HDR10, although that data wasn’t immediately available. We compared the U11+ and U11 life side-by-side at maximum brightness, and it was clear the U11 life was brighter, which was an interesting result.
    The U11+ retains the same storage configurations (6/128 and 4/64) with support for a microSD card, and retains the connectivity: 802.11ac, USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) Type-C, and support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. The SoC is the same with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, and the cameras are still the 12MP UltraPixel 3 with OIS+EIS, f/1.7 and HDR Boost with support for 120fps video at 1080p. The front-facing camera has a change, down from a 16MP to a wide-angle 8MP version but with a f/2.0 aperture and an 85º field-of-view. Other features of the U11+ include the HTC USonic audio and 24-bit wireless audio support. The U11+ will ship with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa where supported, and Edge Sense as the headline feature.
    Edge Sense gets a slightly different implementation, this time opening up the HTC Sense Companion from the main screen to give an overlay for quick access to all the common apps.
    The U11+ will be shipping with Android 8 as standard, and will only be available in Ceramic Black to begin with. We were shown a prototype for a Translucent Black color that they have been considering, which shows off the NFC coil and some minor details around the camera (if you look hard enough).
    We were quoted a price of £699 for the UK on the Ceramic Black model with 6 GB DRAM and 128GB of storage, which will also be available throughout the EU. A 4/64 model will also be available in Asia. No details were given about a US release, although at that UK price (which includes 20% tax), it will likely be around $770.
    HTC U11 Family
    HTC U11 life HTC U11 HTC U11+
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
    4 x A53 @ 2.2 GHz
    4 x A53 @ 1.8 GHz
    Adreno 508
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    4x Kryo 280 Perf @ 2.45 GHz
    4x Kryo 280 Eff @ 1.90 GHz
    Adreno 540 @ 653 MHz
    Display 5.2-inch SLCD
    1920x1080
    5.5-inch SLCD5
    2560x1440
    6.0-inch SLCD6
    2880x1440
    Dimensions 149.9 x 72.9 x 8.1 mm
    142 grams
    153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm
    169 grams
    158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5 mm
    188 grams
    Waterproof Yes (IP67) Yes (IP67) Yes (IP68)
    RAM 3 GB 4 GB 4 GB 6 GB 4 GB 6 GB
    NAND 32 GB 64 GB 64 GB
    UFS 2.1
    128 GB
    UFS 2.1
    64 GB
    UFS 2.1
    128 GB
    UFS 2.1
    MicroSD Yes Yes Yes
    Rear Camera 16MP, f/2.0 12MP "UltraPixel 3"
    OIS, f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels
    Front Camera 16MP, f/2.0 16MP 8MP, f/2.0,
    85º wide angle
    Battery 2600 mAh
    non-replaceable
    3000 mAh
    non-replaceable
    3930 mAh
    non-replaceable
    Modem Qualcomm X12 (Integrated)
    Category 11 LTE
    Qualcomm X16 (Integrated)
    2G / 3G / 4G LTE
    LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28, 66 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28 (U11+), 32
    38, 39, 40, 41
    SIM Size 1 x NanoSIM 1x or 2x NanoSIM
    Wireless 802.11ac, BT4.2, NFC
    GPS / GLONASS / BDS
    802.11ac, BT 4.2, NFC,
    GPS / GLONASS
    Connectivity USB 2.0 Type-C USB 3.0 (5 Gbps), Type-C, Quick Charge 3.0
    3.5mm TRRS No No No
    Launch OS Android 7.0 w/ HTC Sense (US)
    Android 8.0 w/ AndroidOne (RoW)
    Android 7.1 with HTC Sense Android 8.0 with HTC Sense
    Cost From £349 (~$385) 4 + 64GB: £649 From £699 (~$770)
    Buy HTC U11 256 GB International on Amazon.com
    Related Reading


    Gallery: For Super Fans: The HTC U11+ with a 6-inch display, 3930 mAh and IP68



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