HP Announces The Pavilion Wave And Elite Slice Desktops

HP has announced two mini PCs today, but unlike some of the small boxes we’ve seen, HP has created a couple of stylish cases which fit in well with the new design language HP has been going for over the last couple of years.

First is the HP Pavilion Wave, which is a pretty unique looking PC. First of all, it’s a triangular design, and the top of the unit features a parabolic reflector and speaker, and it features dual-microphones to allow voice interaction with the PC over Cortana, or to assist with voice chats and the like. The finish on the Wave is very interesting, but it doesn’t compress well so please check out the full size image. The unit itself is a bit larger than it appears, and it has support for up to quad-core desktop processors, 2 TB of HDD, and 128 GB SSD with 16 GB of DDR4 memory. Optionally, it can be equipped with a Radeon R9 M470 for some light gaming or compute.

The HP Pavilion Wave starts at $549.99 with expected availability on September 23rd. We don’t have the full specifications yet but will reach out to HP for more information.

The second desktop is more in the NUC form factor, but with the same color scheme as the latest HP laptops with a dark finish and copper accents. The HP Elite Slice is a modular desktop aimed at the commercial buyer, but with a form factor and price that would certainly appeal to consumers as well. The unit can be connected and powered over a single USB 3.1 cable, and HP is announcing a corresponding QuadHD EliteDisplay S240uj monitor which offers USB 3.1 connectivity.

Being modular, HP is offering several stackable options to expand the capabilities including an audio module with Bang & Olufsen speakers, wireless charging cover, collaboration cover for use as a conference phone, and even an optical disk drive which can still be required in a lot of business PCs.

The Elite Slice is 6.5” on both sides and 1.38” thick, and weighs 2.31 pounds. It is powered by up to 35-Watt quad-core i7-6700T CPU, 512 GB of NVMe storage, 802.11ac, Gigabit, USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI. As with the Wave, we don’t have the full specifications, but it’s expected to be available in September starting at $699.

HP is also announcing the HP Elite Slice for Meeting Rooms which combines the Slice with the Collaboration Cover and Audio Module and software features to offer one-touch meetings. This version will be available from $949 in September.

The EliteDisplay starts at $429 with an October availability.

I think it would be hard to argue that HP has really turned a corner, with some innovative designs that stand out from the desktop crowd.

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Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus: Snapdragon 652, 10-Inch 2K Display, JBL Speakers and USB-C

Lenovo has introduced a new member to its Yoga Tab 3 product family this week at IFA. The new Yoga Tab 3 Plus tablet runs Google Android 6.0 and is aimed at demanding consumers. The novelty comes with a number of features previously only available on the Yoga Tab 3 Pro, including a higher-end octa-core SoC, a 2K 10” display, a lot of RAM, plenty of storage as well as Wi-Fi 802.11 ac connectivity. Surprisingly, the Yoga Tab 3 Plus will not be too expensive and will be available starting from $299.

When Lenovo introduced its Yoga Tab 3 family of products last year, the company drew a clear line between its mainstream Yoga Tab and considerably more advanced Yoga Tab 3 Pro tablets. The former were based on entry-level SoCs and were equipped with relatively low-res screens and limited amount of DRAM/NAND, whereas the latter were powered by Intel’s Atom SoC, were equipped with 2560×1600 displays and featured considerably better specs in general, but at a much higher price ($499/$599 for Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi+LTE model). Today, the Yoga Tab 3 closes the gap between the two product lines and attempts to wed the best of both: affordable price and high-end specs.

The Yoga Tab 3 Plus is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC (4×A72 1.8 GHz, 4×A53 1.4 GHz, Qualcomm Adreno 510 graphics) and comes equipped with 3 GB of LPDDR3 DRAM as well as 32 GB of NAND flash storage (it also has a microSD card slot). The tablet uses USB Type-C (operates in USB 2.0 mode) connector for charging and connectivity and also supports WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and LTE (optional) wireless technologies.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Family  
Model Yoga Tab 3 8” Yoga Tab 3 10" Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10” Yoga Tab 3 Plus 10”
SoC Snapdragon 212
4×Cortex-A7 at 1.3GHz
Adreno 304 graphics
Intel Atom x5-Z8500
Quad core, 2.24GHz
Snapdragon 652
4×Cortex-A72 at 1.8GHz
4×Cortex-A53 at 1.4 GHz
Adreno 510 graphics
RAM, NAND 1GB, 16GB NAND + MicroSD 2GB RAM, 16/32GB
NAND + MicroSD
NAND + MicroSD
Display 8" 1280x800 IPS LCD 10.1" 1280x800 IPS LCD 10.1" 2560x1600 IPS LCD
299 ppi, 70% Color Gamut
Dimensions 210 x 146 x 3 to 7mm 253 x 185 x 3.5 to 9.5mm
179 x 247 x 4.6mm at thinnest point, 665g 179 x 247 x 4.68mm at thinnest point, 637-644g
Camera 8MP Rotatable Camera 13MP Rear-facing
5MP Front-facing
Battery 6200mAh (23.56Wh) 8700mAh (33.06Wh) 10200mAh (38.76Wh) 9300mAh
OS Android 5.1 Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop Android 5.1 Lollipop Android 6.0
Connectivity 802.11b/g/n + BT 4.0, microUSB 2.0, Optional LTE SKU 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0,
microUSB 2.0, Optional LTE
2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0,
USB-C, Optional LTE

Lenovo positions its Yoga Tab 3 Plus tablet for those, who want to have enhanced multimedia experience on-the-go, which is why its 10-point multitouch 10.1” WQXGA (2560×1600) IPS display comes with Technicolor’s color enhance software technology. In addition, the device is equipped with four front-facing speakers (made by JBL) and supports Dolby's Atmos 3D surround sound processing. Now, unlike the Yoga Tab 3 Pro, the Tab 3 Plus does not feature a pico projector, but just like the aforementioned model, it has two cameras.

Battery capacity of the novelty is 9300 mAh and Lenovo claims that the Yoga Tab 3 Plus will last up to 18 hours on its battery. As it turns out, slightly lower battery capacity of the Yoga Tab 3 Plus compared to the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is offset by better energy efficiency of its SoC, which is why it promises to deliver similar battery life. Besides long battery life, the Yoga Tab 3 Plus also inherited premium chassis featuring metal, plastic and leather from the Pro model.

Lenovo will start shipments of its Yoga Tab 3 Plus this October. The MSRP for the Wi-Fi-only model will be $299, but the recommended price of the LTE SKU is currently unknown.

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Motorola Adds The Moto Z Play Droid, Reveals Pricing For Unlocked Versions

Motorola’s modular Moto Z family gets a new member today. The Moto Z Play Droid costs less than the Moto Z Droid and Moto Z Force Droid, both of which went on sale just over one month ago, and while it maintains full compatibility with Motorola’s Moto Mods and retains the same design language, there are some interesting hardware differences.

The Moto Z Play Droid still uses a 5.5-inch Samsung AMOLED display like its brothers, but resolution drops to 1920x1080. Because of the PenTile subpixel layout, the effective pixel density is less than a 1080p LCD of the same size. For this reason, we prefer a 1440p (QHD) resolution for phablet-sized displays to mitigate the loss in sharpness and color artifacts caused by PenTile’s diamond layout. To my aged eyes, the difference between the Moto Z Play Droid’s 1080p display and the Moto Z Droid’s 1440p display is small but noticeable.

Fortunately, the Moto Z Play comes with two user-selectable color modes: a “Standard” mode calibrated for the sRGB color space and a “Vibrant” mode that takes advantage of the AMOLED panel’s wider color gamut to display more vivid colors. While we have not tested the Moto Z Play, the other two Moto Zs performed pretty well in our display performance tests apart from a cool white point that reduced grayscale accuracy.

Motorola Moto Z Droid Family
  Moto Z Play Droid Moto Z Droid Moto Z Force Droid
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 625

8x Cortex-A53 @ 2.0GHz
Adreno 506 @ 650MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

2x Kryo @ 2.15GHz
2x Kryo @ 1.59GHz
Adreno 530 @ 624MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820

2x Kryo @ 2.15GHz
2x Kryo @ 1.59GHz
Adreno 530 @ 624MHz
RAM 3GB LPDDR3-1866 4GB LPDDR4-3188 4GB LPDDR4-3188
NAND 32GB (eMMC 5.1)
+ microSD
32GB / 64GB (UFS 2.0)
+ microSD
32GB / 64GB (UFS 2.0)
+ microSD
Display 5.5-inch 1920x1080 SAMOLED
Corning Gorilla Glass
5.5-inch 2560x1440 SAMOLED
Corning Gorilla Glass
5.5-inch 2560x1440 SAMOLED
Moto ShatterShield
Dimensions 156.4 x 76.4 x 6.99 mm
165 grams
153.3 x 75.3 x 5.19 mm
136 grams
155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99 mm
163 grams
Modem Qualcomm X9 (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 7)
Qualcomm X12 (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 12/13)
Qualcomm X12 (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 12/13)
SIM Size NanoSIM NanoSIM NanoSIM
Front Camera 5MP, 1/4" OmniVision OV5693, 1.4µm pixels, f/2.2, Auto HDR, LED flash 5MP, 1/4" OmniVision OV5693, 1.4µm pixels, f/2.2, Auto HDR, LED flash 5MP, 1/4" OmniVision OV5693, 1.4µm pixels, f/2.2, Auto HDR, LED flash
Rear Camera 16MP, 1/2.4" OmniVision OV16860, 1.3µm pixels, f/2.0, PDAF + Laser AF, Auto HDR, dual-color LED flash 13MP, 1/3.06" Sony IMX214 Exmor RS, 1.12µm pixels, f/1.8, Laser AF, OIS, Auto HDR, dual-color LED flash 21MP, 1/2.4" Sony IMX338 Exmor RS, 1.12µm pixels, f/1.8, PDAF + Laser AF, OIS, Auto HDR, dual-color LED flash
Battery 3510 mAh
2600 mAh
3500 mAh
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0 LE, NFC, GPS/GNSS, USB Type-C, Moto Mods connector 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, BT 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS/GNSS, USB Type-C, Moto Mods connector 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, BT 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS/GNSS, USB Type-C, Moto Mods connector
Launch OS Android 6.0.1 Android 6.0.1 Android 6.0.1
Launch Price
(No Contract)
$408 ($17/mo) $624 ($26/mo) / $674 $720 ($30/mo) / $770

There are differences inside the Moto Z Play too. Most significantly is a switch from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC to the Snapdragon 625, which includes eight ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores running at up to 2.0GHz and a slimmed down Adreno 506 GPU that supports the latest OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan graphics APIs. The SoC is paired with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM that should provide sufficient bandwidth for this SoC and enough room for efficient multitasking with the Moto Z Play’s near-stock Android OS.

The Qualcomm X9 modem that comes integrated within the Snapdragon 625 SoC supports 2x20 MHz carrier aggregation on both the downlink and uplink, providing up to 300 Mb/s and 150 Mb/s, respectively. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, and Wi-Fi, although the latter option receives a downgrade relative to the other Moto Zs. Instead of 802.11ac and 2x2 MIMO, the Moto Z Play only supports 802.11n over 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Moto Z Play Droid (left) and Moto Z Force Droid (right)

The Moto Z Play also packs in a 3510 mAh battery, basically the same size as the Moto Z Force, that when combined with the relatively low-power A53 CPU cores in the Snapdragon 625—manufactured on Samsung’s 14nm LPP FinFET process—should result in good battery life. It also includes Motorola’s TurboPower rapid charging technology and ships with the same 15W charger with permanently attached cord as the Moto Z Droid.

All three Moto Zs use the same 5MP front-facing camera with automatic HDR imaging and a dedicated LED flash. The rear cameras are all different, however. The Moto Z Play’s rear camera looks like an upgrade over the standard Moto Z’s and is very similar to the Moto Z Force’s camera, at least on paper. The 16MP OmniVision PureCel Plus-S sensor includes a buried color filter array and deep trench isolation (DTI) technology to reduce electrical crosstalk and improve color fidelity. The stacked die uses larger 1.3µm pixels that improve full-well capacity too. It uses the same hybrid autofocus system as the Moto Z Force that combines laser AF, phase detect AF (PDAF), and standard contrast AF to improve focusing speed and accuracy over a broad range of lighting conditions. The Moto Z Play does give up OIS, however, and its f/2.0 aperture has 13% less area than the Moto Z Force, but 31% more area than the Moto Z.

Moto Z Play Droid (left) and Moto Z Force Droid (right)

The Moto Z Play looks very similar to the other two Moto Zs with a few minor differences. It has the same thickness and nearly the same dimensions as the Moto Z Force, but its smooth metal sides, which lack the Force’s double taper, make it just a little more difficult to pick up from a table. A combination NanoSIM and microSD card tray and one of three microphones are located on the top edge, while a USB Type-C port is centered on the bottom edge. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, an analog port the other Moto Zs lack.

The back of the phone is still flat with a proprietary connector near the bottom to accommodate Motorola’s Moto Mod accessories. The same raised, circular camera module is also present, but the back appears to be made entirely out of plastic now, which really is no big deal. It also has a more prominent Motorola logo and a subtle circular pattern centered around the camera module instead of the horizontal lines like the other Moto Zs. Despite Motorola’s attempt to dress it up, the phone really looks naked without something attached to the back. Fortunately, a Charcoal Ash wood Style Shell is included in the box.

There’s a few changes on the front too. Up top the Moto Z Play uses a different earpiece/speaker that’s less prone to collecting crud, and the front-facing camera and LED flash switch sides. The first two Moto Zs have large, ugly lower bezels, a byproduct of using a square fingerprint sensor and placing the display circuitry below the screen. For the Moto Z Play, Motorola moves the display circuitry up top, allowing for a more reasonably sized lower bezel. This does mean that the upper bezel is now larger, although this does not negatively affect one-handed use like the previous model’s larger lower bezel.

In addition to authenticating purchases and signing into apps, the fingerprint sensor also instantly wakes and unlocks the phone, or turns off the display and locks the phone, after enrolling one or more fingers, a nice convenience feature that’s similar to double-tapping the screen to wake or lock the phone. One thing it does not do, however, is function as a home button, which takes a little getting used to. Instead of physical navigation buttons, the Moto Zs use onscreen controls.

The Moto Z Play is an interesting addition to the Moto Z lineup. It sacrifices display resolution and some performance for better battery life and a lower price. It fixes some of the first Moto Z’s flaws—missing headphone jack, awkward lower bezel, small battery—and retains its more unique features—Moto Mod functionality, water repellant coating, front-facing LED flash. The rear camera also has flagship-caliber specs, OIS the only omission.

Like the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, the Moto Z Play will initially be a Verizon exclusive. The Moto Z Play Droid Edition will be available for sale on September 8 online at motorola.com or in Verizon stores for $408 or $17 per month for 24 months using the Verizon device payment plan. Color choices include silver with black front and back or gold with white front and “Sugar White” back.

Unlocked versions of the Moto Z and Moto Z Play will also be available for presale in the US on September 15 with shipments beginning in October. The unlocked Moto Z will cost $699.99 and the unlocked Moto Z Play will cost $449.99, a small price premium over the Verizon Droid Editions. The Moto Z Play will also be available globally starting in September.

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Hands On With the Samsung Gear S3

For a while now the smartwatch market has been developing in fits and starts. One of the more interesting developments in this space isn’t Android Wear and watchOS, but Tizen and webOS as both Samsung and LG have turned to their own homegrown OSes in cases where Android Wear wasn’t necessarily the best fit. It seems that OEMs have increasingly decided that it is necessary to control both hardware and software to better differentiate their offerings. In the case of LG we saw the Urbane LTE which necessitated webOS to enable cellular functionality, while Samsung in most cases has been pushing hard on Tizen in just about every case for their smartwatches rather than Android Wear.

With the Gear S3, Samsung is continuing to push ahead with their Tizen smartwatches, and this time the Gear S3 is intended as a sort of companion to the Gear S2 as the Gear S2 is closer to 40 or 42mm in size while the Gear S3 is a 46mm watch with a 360x360 circular AMOLED display which makes for 278 PPI. The display itself is covered by Gorrilla Glass SR+ which is said to improve scratch resistance although sand is probably still going to scratch the cover lens. The big jump in size basically rules out this watch for roughly half of the population, but the jump in size comes with a fairly significant bump in battery. Like the Gear S2, this is IP68 rated but I wouldn't actually try to use the device in a pool or shower as water damage isn't covered and the IP68 rating is basically only for distilled still water for a depth beyond 1m for at least 30 minutes, which really isn't enough to do much other than washing your hands with the watch still on your wrist.

There are also extra features like a speaker, and the Frontier model offers an LTE variant. While the Gear S2 has an Exynos 3250, the Gear S3 also gets a bump up to the Exynos 7270 but both US and Korean PR on-site were unable to answer what differentiated the two as both are 28nm SoCs with dual core 1 GHz CPUs. I would guess that the 7270 gets a bump to Cortex A35 or A53 but is still built on 28nm planar HKMG as it seems that it is difficult to justify the increased costs associated with either 28FDS or 14LPP/14LPC when volumes are not necessarily guaranteed in the same way that a smartphone is. Battery life with 28nm planar is said to be somewhere in the 3-4 day range for this watch, so I’m not sure people will really care all that much anyways. This battery life claim is with the always-on display feature, which is an innovation carried over from the Galaxy S7 and Note7.

In addition to the SoC, size, speaker, and other changes, the Gear S3 adds the ability to use Samsung Pay via either MST or NFC. In both cases it was noted that the phone itself much generate the token, so if you lose connection to a paired phone Samsung Pay will only work for one transaction on the watch. Authentication is done by entering a PIN when you first put on the watch and Samsung Pay is automatically disabled if the watch is removed similar to how Apple Pay works on the Apple Watch. Charging is still wireless. WiFi support is going to be limited by the nature of the device but 802.11b/g/n are supported as well as Bluetooth 4.2.

If you already know how the Gear S watches work there’s not much else to talk about, but this is actually my first encounter with the Gear S line of watches in any serious capacity. The Gear S3 in person is large, and basically is the same size as the Moto 360 in its first generation which was fairly large, but those with larger arms won't have any issues. I haven’t really used a watch that big since then so wearing one again was a bit of a shock for me. The Gear S3 as a result feels a bit awkward and ungainly in size relative to the smaller Gear S2, but if your arms are larger than mine it should fit without issue. The design of the watch itself is impressive though, with delicate detailing that makes both the Frontier and Classic variants of the watch fit in with existing analog watch designs.

Other than this size issue the thickness of the watch is fairly respectable. The sheer size of the watch allows for the circular display to display a reasonable amount of information, and the rotating bezel remains a great way of navigating through the UI with a solid click between each detent. The side home and back buttons are a bit of a mystery when you first use them, but after pressing them once or twice you’re probably going to remember which is which. The watch is also fairly performant compared to something like the Apple Watch which is just slow by any measure. The Gear S3 also includes GPS and GLONASS support which is useful for things like turn by turn navigation and services like Uber. Where the Gear S3 allows for precise location setting and map zoom using the bezel, the Apple Watch version of this application is basically just a button with no real way to know what the pickup point is. I did notice some frame drops here and there but it’s hard to say if this was really the case without much closer examination and it’s likely that this isn’t final software.

Other than this, the only thing I was really cognizant of was the band design. Generally speaking these are generic 22mm bands, but Samsung by default seems to favor very thick bands for demonstration purposes, and due to the traditional band mechanisms I found the band to be somewhat uncomfortable compared to something like the Milanese Loop bands seen in the Apple Watch. Of course, due to the standardized 22mm design anything is possible for band design, but generally speaking this is something that OEMs should really be taking care of.

The Gear S3 comes in two designs, known as the Classic and Frontier, and of the two designs the Frontier will be the only one that will come with a cellular variant. Both will come with a Bluetooth variant designed to be paired to a phone. LTE variants will only be available through operators, which are currently AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon.

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IFA 2016: Panasonic Press Event

We're here with Panasonic!

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The LG X Power Review

In the mid-range segment of the smartphone market you really have two types of products. The first are smartphones like the Moto G, which try to provide a good all-around experience. They aren't really exceptional in any respect, but the hope is that providing a decent experience in every respect will lead to a good overall user experience. The second type of device is one that really sells itself on a single feature. Whether it be a great camera, or a great display, the phone's identity is based on this one aspect. That doesn't necessarily mean that the other aspects of the phone are bad, but there may not be the same balance as there is with a good all-around performer.

The smartphone I'm reviewing today falls into that second camp. It's the LG X Power, a device that really sells itself on being a smartphone that will last far longer than any other. The LG X Power is just one device in LG's line of smartphones that all focus on being the best at a single thing, with some other devices in the line being named the LG X Style, LG X Mach, LG X Max, and LG X Screen. The LG X Power is the first device I've ever reviewed that really ties itself to a single feature, so read on for the full AnandTech review.

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Qualcomm Details Snapdragon 821: Clocks, Efficiency, and IP

While Qualcomm already announced the Snapdragon 821, with the announcement details were rather sparse. Fortunately, today Qualcomm followed up with more details. Those that followed the announcement might recall that the only information disclosed at the time was that the CPU big cluster was now at 2.4 GHz. Today, we also get a GPU clock disclosure, with full details as seen below.

  Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
CPU Perf Cluster 2x Kryo 2.15 GHz 2x Kryo 2.34 GHz
CPU Power Cluster 2x Kryo 1.59 GHz 2x Kryo 2.19 GHz
GPU Adreno 530 624 MHz Adreno 530 653 MHz

Interestingly enough, Qualcomm is also claiming a 5% bump in power efficiency, which sounds like it’s actually referring to platform power but could just be overall SoC efficiency. Other marketing bullet points include support for Snapdragon VR SDK which allows for Daydream support as well as dual phase detection. I’m not sure what this is unless this is referring to support for two separate phase detect auto focus systems similar to the Sony Alpha SLT-A99, but Qualcomm is claiming that this will improve autofocus speed compared to a traditional PDAF solution. The ISP also now supports extended ranges for laser AF, so systems like those seen in the LG G5 and HTC 10 will be able to better guide contrast AF for devices where PDAF isn’t available or can’t be used.

Qualcomm is also citing some interesting statistics for user experience with the Snapdragon 821, such as 10% faster boot speed, 10% faster app loads, and some BSP changes combined with faster processing to enable smoother scrolling and improved web browsing performance. The Snapdragon 821 SoC is already shipping in devices like the ASUS ZenFone 3, so we shouldn’t be far off from seeing major launches using this SoC. It's interesting to note here that last year we got details of Snapdragon 820 by September but we have yet to see what Qualcomm plans to launch for next year's flagships. It'll be interesting to see whether they stay with a custom CPU core or elect to go with an ARM Cortex big.LITTLE configuration similar to the Kirin 950.

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NVIDIA Releases 372.70 WHQL Game Ready Driver

It’s driver update time again. This time with a small list of fixes and a relatively large list of game ready titles. Though the list is a bit inflated with Deus Ex: Mankind divided sitting in a second time and Quantum break not seeing release for two more weeks, luck and users favor the prepared.

With this driver update continuing 370 driver branch, we start with a short list of fixes including issues in Windows 7 through 10 with Fallout 4 where enabling SSAO instead of HBAO+ would cause your Pipboy to go black and unreadable. Another issue resolved is high deferred Procedure Call latency in driver version 368.69 when upgrading to a GeForce GTX 1080, and the last fix listed only under Windows 10 was video corruption found when certain standard definition videos were up-scaled to full screen after a driver update.

The big reason most will be interested in this driver are the game ready updates. Key among these is World of Warcraft: Legion, the 6th and latest Expansion to what's still the most popular MMORPG out there. Following WoW: Legion we have the Battlefield 1 open beta starting, and NVIDIA has made sure that their GPU’s are ready as part of this week’s driver update. Meanwhile, Quantum Break, which saw release earlier this year on both the Xbox One and the Windows 10 store as a DX12 title, will be released on Steam with DX11 support, allowing more people to enjoy the game. Steam currently lists the release date as September 14th, making NVIDIA ready a head of the games (re) release. Lastly, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is listed again under game ready this week. While I’m unsure of why it’s game ready again, NVIDIA does state in the release notes that Deus Ex’s 3D Vision profile has been upgraded from fair to excellent, for those still sporting the specs (read: spectacles) to play in 3D.

Anyone interested can download the updated drivers through GeForce Experience or on the NVIDIA driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the 372.70 release notes.

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Acer Predator 21 X: Notebook with Curved Display, Kaby Lake and GeForce GTX 1080 SLI

As part of the IFA event this week in Berlin, Acer is announcing its Predator 21 X, the industry’s first desktop replacement notebook with a curved display. The laptop is aimed at gamers without budget constraints and packs high-end gaming hardware, such as Intel’s 7th Generation Kaby Lake processors, two NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards in SLI and even a mechanical keyboard. The system can hardly be called a mobile computer because it is very large and heavy, but it still comes in clamshell form-factor and can be transported relatively easily. One of the key features is the display.

The Acer Predator 21 X will be the company’s new flagship gaming notebook, which will feature a plethora of technologies that we have not seen in laptops so far. The machine will be based on Intel’s upcoming 7th generation Core processors codenamed Kaby Lake. Acer does not reveal exact CPU models or their specifications, but given the positioning of the notebook, expect the company to use chips designed for gaming PCs (45W+, one would imagine). For graphics, Acer plans to offer up to two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs, but other options will probably be available as well. The company does not specify storage capabilities of the Predator 21 X, but chassis designed to fit a 21” display panel can integrate a number of M.2 and 2.5” drives.

To cool down the CPU as well as up to two GPUs, Acer uses a specially designed cooling system with five fans and multiple heat-pipes. Three out of five fans are ultra-thin and are made of metal (the manufacturer calls them AeroBlade).

While the performance of the Predator 21 X promises to be high, the key feature of the notebook is its 21” curved IPS display panel with 2560 × 1080 resolution and NVIDIA’s G-Sync dynamic refresh rate technology. In addition to curvature, Acer also added Tobii infrared eye-tracking sensors to the display, which opens up different user experiences in games that support the appropriate tech. To further appeal to gamers, the DTR laptop comes with four integrated speakers and two built-in subwoofers (the audio sub-system carries the SoundPound 4.2+ brand name).

For input, the Acer Predator 21 X uses a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches (just like MSI’s GT80 Titan) with five programmable buttons. The numeric keypad does not feature mechanical switches, but a good news is that it can be flipped and turned into a touchpad (a device that some DTR gaming laptops lack).

For connectivity, the Predator 21 X has one GbE port as well as a 2T2R 802.11ac + Bluetooth Wi-Fi module with two physical antennae on the rear side. In addition, the machine sports two USB Type-A ports, at least one USB Type-C receptacle, audio in/out as well as three display outputs (two DP, one HDMI).

Since the Acer Predator 21 X seems to be based on Intel’s yet unannounced 45W+ 7th generation Core chips for gaming machines, it will not be available for purchase for at least several months from now. For this reason, Acer does not unwrap all of its specifications just yet because the spec is hardly final at this time. That said, it is impossible to even estimate an approximate price of the machine. Yet, it is safe to say that it will cost more than average gaming laptops not only because of two high-end graphics cards but also due to the unique display and form-factor.

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