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Intel Core i9-10900K Review- Why It is Too Little, Too Late for Intel

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review

Are you looking for the best gaming CPU out there? Then the Intel Core i9-10900K is definitely the one to get.

Intel is still the king when it comes to creating processors that are intended for gaming, though its latest CPU does more things than that.

Read our Intel Core i9-10900K review to find out more.

What is It?

The Intel Core i9-10900K is Intel’s latest flagship desktop processor that is the successor to the Intel Core i9-9900K released in 2018.

It is a 10-core, 20-thread processor that comes with Turbo Boost 2.0 and a new Thermal Velocity Boost feature that boosts a single core up to 5.3GHz.

The processor is slated to become the best gaming CPU on the market, but how does it fare to its main rival, the AMD Ryzen R9 3900?

What is MCE?

Intel’s newest processor also comes with a new feature known as the MCE or the Multi-Core Enhancement. This is basically the company’s own sanctioned overclocking feature that can be toggled on or off on the motherboard’s BIOS.

What this essentially does is that it enables the processor’s turbo-boosting functionality, allowing the CPU to run at its rated boost speeds at all times. Of course, this comes at the cost of increased power draw, as well as increased thermal output, so you need to have a beefier cooler if you want to enable this feature.

Specifications

  • No. of Cores: 10
  • No. of Threads: 20
  • Lithography: 14nm++
  • Base Frequency: 3.70GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency (TB and TVB): 5.3GHz (only on the best core)
  • Cache: 20MB Intel Smart Cache
  • TDP: 125W
  • Bus Speed: 8GT/s
  • Max Memory Size Support: 128GB
  • Memory Type: DDR4
  • Maximum Memory Channels: 2
  • Max Memory Bandwidth: 45.8GB/s
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630

So, what are the differences between the 10900K and its predecessor? Well, the core count is bumped up by 2 and with hyperthreading, that means that the newest processor has a total of 20 threads.

Aside from that, if your CPU’s cooling capacity is competitive, you should be able to enjoy its thermal velocity boost or TVB functionality.

TVB is basically where the processor improves its best core out of the bunch and bumps its speed to 5.3GHz.

Keep in mind that your cooler should be good enough to keep the processor’s temperature running relatively low, otherwise, the feature will not kick in.

That also means that even using a high-end air cooler is out of the picture. To get the best possible performance, you will need to use an all-in-one liquid cooler, preferably a 280mm or 360mm AIO.

Overclocking

Yes, the Intel Core i9-10900K processor is an overclockable CPU, though keep in mind that you will definitely need an adequate cooler for this.

Overclocking is where you will increase the CPU multiplier, as well as the voltage, to run the processor higher than its advertised clock speed.

Because of how these chips are created, the binning process might give people better overclockable processors than others (that is why it is called the silicon lottery).

What that means is that the overclocking capability of the processor might be slightly different than other chips. For example, if one is able to overclock the CPU to 5.4GHz at 1.4 volts, you might not be able to reach that on your own chip even if you feed the same voltage to it.

If you want to try overclocking, you have to read up on resources on how to do it safely. To give you an idea, since the Intel Core i9-10900K is still a processor using the Skylake architecture, you should start using 1.3v as a base voltage and go up from there.

The idea of overclocking is that you want to bump up the clock speed in small increments and adding a bit of voltage until everything is stable (using stability tests to verify).

Since you will effectively be raising the voltage, it is important to note that overclocking does increase thermal output and that is why it is imperative that you only do this if your CPU’s cooling system is more than adequate.

Chipset

Intel Core i9-10900K Specs

The Intel Core i9-10900K uses the new LGA-1200 socket which means that you are forced to buy a new Z490 motherboard.

At the time of writing, there is no news regarding cheaper motherboards out there that support the new Comet Lake S processors which means that you will have to spend more or less $200 for a cheap LGA-1200 motherboard.

That is also the reason why people do not like Intel because, in every new CPU, they are forced to buy another motherboard mainly because the previous-generation ones are rendered obsolete.

Aside from the chipset, the Z490 motherboards will come with the MCE feature mentioned above. 

People that want to grasp an overclocked processor but do not want to tinker with the settings themselves can just toggle the feature on or off to unlock the CPU’s full performance.

Aside from that, the chipset also now supports 2.5GHz internet connectivity, though the motherboard must come with the said feature (and, only expensive motherboards have them).

Performance

Intel still holds the crown when it comes to gaming performance as it is 18% faster than the AMD Ryzen 3900X CPU.

Why Intel is better than AMD when it comes to that is thanks to the former’s focus on better single-core performance.

Evidently so, the 10900K fared better in Cinebench R20’s single-core performance benchmark, though it is trampled upon by Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance.

If you intend to buy this processor solely for gaming, there is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-10900K is an obviously good choice.

Since most games rarely utilize more than 4 cores, you are still going to get more than adequate performance across the board.

However, keep in mind that that is the only strongest suit of the processor as AMD CPUs completely obliterate the said processor in multi-core and multi-threaded workloads.

For instance, firing up a game such as Metro Exodus makes the 10900K the king. But, when you play a CPU-intensive game such as Assassin’s Creed  Odyssey, its subpar multi-core performance definitely shows.

Power Consumption and Heat

Intel Core i9-10900K Heat and Power Consumption

Because the processor is still using the 14nm process node, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs hotter than its main competition (that uses 7nm nodes).

Despite the fact that it is using a much bigger node than its competitor, the Intel Core i9-10900K is still surprisingly cool nevertheless.

If you run the processor completely at stock, its power consumption is 205 watts at full load. However, when overclocking, it could potentially go as high as 300+ watts and that is concerning from a pure power consumption standpoint.

However, even though the product is power-hungry, the CPU still runs relatively cool and that is thanks to how the heat spreader is laid out.

You see, Intel employs what the company calls ‘STIM’ or Solder Thermal Interface Material. What this basically means is that Intel has managed to make the die thinner to incorporate more physical cores into the processor.

They’ve also managed to use copper instead of silicon. The former is touted to be better in heat transfer than the latter, so more copper is used as a means of keeping the processor cool.

In most of the games I’ve tested, the processor managed to run only at 70-75C at a room temperature of 24C.

When overclocked, the CPU is still somewhat cool at 86C at full load, though power consumption ramped up to 336W. Keep in mind that it was the maximum recorded power draw but the average remains relatively constant at 280-300 watts.

Now, you also have to take note that I did use a 360mm AIO which means that it is a beefy cooler that can tame even the hottest CPUs on the market.

While my processor is not as toasty as was perceived before the release of this CPU, it is worth remembering that you will need a competent cooler (an AIO or a custom cooling kit is recommended; high-end air coolers and lower need not apply).

The Z490 Platform

Z490 Motherboards

As mentioned earlier, the processor will require a new motherboard and that is because the CPU uses a different socket. That is why you will need a Z490 motherboard if you want to run an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU.

Now, what makes the Z490 platform different? Well, it is nearly identical to its predecessor with some welcome additions.

First is its support for 2.5GB Ethernet connectivity. As the world is now going towards faster internet connections, it would be nice for a motherboard to support the fastest one available to date.

The newest motherboards also come with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology support for both RAID and PCIe configurations. Plus, you can also use the company’s Extreme Tuning utility as well.

Other than that, the Z490 is a minor update in terms of features, though it is also the first LGA12xx motherboard that is released on the market.

Despite its new socket, all 115x coolers are still supported, so if you happen to have one on your old rig, you will be happy to know that it will still work on the newest platform.

Intel Z490 Chipset Block Diagram

Price and Availability

Intel’s newest flagship desktop processor costs $488 SRP. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies are going to be scarce which means that prices can go higher than its suggested retail price.

You also have to factor in a new motherboard since the CPU will require one. The cheapest Z490 motherboard that you can find costs a little under $200 so if you factor the total cost, you will spend more than $700 on the mobo and the CPU package.

The new processors from the company should be available on the market, though keep in mind that the supply might not be able to meet the demand.

Verdict

If you want the best possible PC gaming experience, you will not only need a gaming keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but you will also need a really good CPU as well.

To tell you the truth, the newest flagship desktop processor from Intel is somewhat disappointing. Sure, it has the best possible single-core performance and it is definitely great for gaming, but for all other tasks, it is middling at best.

Its main competitor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, is priced below $410 and the motherboards that support it have also had their prices cut considerably. That is definitely quite tempting to get, seeing that AMD’s processors are great for multi-core workloads.

With Intel’s lack of innovation as it is still using a 14nm process node and the fact its performance is middling in all other things, you could say that the Intel Core i9-10900K is too little, too late.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review- Why It is Too Little, Too Late for Intel

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Intel Core i9-10900K Review

Are you looking for the best gaming CPU out there? Then the Intel Core i9-10900K is definitely the one to get.

Intel is still the king when it comes to creating processors that are intended for gaming, though its latest CPU does more things than that.

Read our Intel Core i9-10900K review to find out more.

What is It?

The Intel Core i9-10900K is Intel’s latest flagship desktop processor that is the successor to the Intel Core i9-9900K released in 2018.

It is a 10-core, 20-thread processor that comes with Turbo Boost 2.0 and a new Thermal Velocity Boost feature that boosts a single core up to 5.3GHz.

The processor is slated to become the best gaming CPU on the market, but how does it fare to its main rival, the AMD Ryzen R9 3900?

What is MCE?

Intel’s newest processor also comes with a new feature known as the MCE or the Multi-Core Enhancement. This is basically the company’s own sanctioned overclocking feature that can be toggled on or off on the motherboard’s BIOS.

What this essentially does is that it enables the processor’s turbo-boosting functionality, allowing the CPU to run at its rated boost speeds at all times. Of course, this comes at the cost of increased power draw, as well as increased thermal output, so you need to have a beefier cooler if you want to enable this feature.

Specifications

  • No. of Cores: 10
  • No. of Threads: 20
  • Lithography: 14nm++
  • Base Frequency: 3.70GHz
  • Max Turbo Frequency (TB and TVB): 5.3GHz (only on the best core)
  • Cache: 20MB Intel Smart Cache
  • TDP: 125W
  • Bus Speed: 8GT/s
  • Max Memory Size Support: 128GB
  • Memory Type: DDR4
  • Maximum Memory Channels: 2
  • Max Memory Bandwidth: 45.8GB/s
  • Integrated Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630

So, what are the differences between the 10900K and its predecessor? Well, the core count is bumped up by 2 and with hyperthreading, that means that the newest processor has a total of 20 threads.

Aside from that, if your CPU’s cooling capacity is competitive, you should be able to enjoy its thermal velocity boost or TVB functionality.

TVB is basically where the processor improves its best core out of the bunch and bumps its speed to 5.3GHz.

Keep in mind that your cooler should be good enough to keep the processor’s temperature running relatively low, otherwise, the feature will not kick in.

That also means that even using a high-end air cooler is out of the picture. To get the best possible performance, you will need to use an all-in-one liquid cooler, preferably a 280mm or 360mm AIO.

Overclocking

Yes, the Intel Core i9-10900K processor is an overclockable CPU, though keep in mind that you will definitely need an adequate cooler for this.

Overclocking is where you will increase the CPU multiplier, as well as the voltage, to run the processor higher than its advertised clock speed.

Because of how these chips are created, the binning process might give people better overclockable processors than others (that is why it is called the silicon lottery).

What that means is that the overclocking capability of the processor might be slightly different than other chips. For example, if one is able to overclock the CPU to 5.4GHz at 1.4 volts, you might not be able to reach that on your own chip even if you feed the same voltage to it.

If you want to try overclocking, you have to read up on resources on how to do it safely. To give you an idea, since the Intel Core i9-10900K is still a processor using the Skylake architecture, you should start using 1.3v as a base voltage and go up from there.

The idea of overclocking is that you want to bump up the clock speed in small increments and adding a bit of voltage until everything is stable (using stability tests to verify).

Since you will effectively be raising the voltage, it is important to note that overclocking does increase thermal output and that is why it is imperative that you only do this if your CPU’s cooling system is more than adequate.

Chipset

Intel Core i9-10900K Specs

The Intel Core i9-10900K uses the new LGA-1200 socket which means that you are forced to buy a new Z490 motherboard.

At the time of writing, there is no news regarding cheaper motherboards out there that support the new Comet Lake S processors which means that you will have to spend more or less $200 for a cheap LGA-1200 motherboard.

That is also the reason why people do not like Intel because, in every new CPU, they are forced to buy another motherboard mainly because the previous-generation ones are rendered obsolete.

Aside from the chipset, the Z490 motherboards will come with the MCE feature mentioned above. 

People that want to grasp an overclocked processor but do not want to tinker with the settings themselves can just toggle the feature on or off to unlock the CPU’s full performance.

Aside from that, the chipset also now supports 2.5GHz internet connectivity, though the motherboard must come with the said feature (and, only expensive motherboards have them).

Performance

Intel still holds the crown when it comes to gaming performance as it is 18% faster than the AMD Ryzen 3900X CPU.

Why Intel is better than AMD when it comes to that is thanks to the former’s focus on better single-core performance.

Evidently so, the 10900K fared better in Cinebench R20’s single-core performance benchmark, though it is trampled upon by Ryzen 3900X superior multi-core performance.

If you intend to buy this processor solely for gaming, there is no doubt that the Intel Core i9-10900K is an obviously good choice.

Since most games rarely utilize more than 4 cores, you are still going to get more than adequate performance across the board.

However, keep in mind that that is the only strongest suit of the processor as AMD CPUs completely obliterate the said processor in multi-core and multi-threaded workloads.

For instance, firing up a game such as Metro Exodus makes the 10900K the king. But, when you play a CPU-intensive game such as Assassin’s Creed  Odyssey, its subpar multi-core performance definitely shows.

Power Consumption and Heat

Intel Core i9-10900K Heat and Power Consumption

Because the processor is still using the 14nm process node, the Intel Core i9-10900K runs hotter than its main competition (that uses 7nm nodes).

Despite the fact that it is using a much bigger node than its competitor, the Intel Core i9-10900K is still surprisingly cool nevertheless.

If you run the processor completely at stock, its power consumption is 205 watts at full load. However, when overclocking, it could potentially go as high as 300+ watts and that is concerning from a pure power consumption standpoint.

However, even though the product is power-hungry, the CPU still runs relatively cool and that is thanks to how the heat spreader is laid out.

You see, Intel employs what the company calls ‘STIM’ or Solder Thermal Interface Material. What this basically means is that Intel has managed to make the die thinner to incorporate more physical cores into the processor.

They’ve also managed to use copper instead of silicon. The former is touted to be better in heat transfer than the latter, so more copper is used as a means of keeping the processor cool.

In most of the games I’ve tested, the processor managed to run only at 70-75C at a room temperature of 24C.

When overclocked, the CPU is still somewhat cool at 86C at full load, though power consumption ramped up to 336W. Keep in mind that it was the maximum recorded power draw but the average remains relatively constant at 280-300 watts.

Now, you also have to take note that I did use a 360mm AIO which means that it is a beefy cooler that can tame even the hottest CPUs on the market.

While my processor is not as toasty as was perceived before the release of this CPU, it is worth remembering that you will need a competent cooler (an AIO or a custom cooling kit is recommended; high-end air coolers and lower need not apply).

The Z490 Platform

Z490 Motherboards

As mentioned earlier, the processor will require a new motherboard and that is because the CPU uses a different socket. That is why you will need a Z490 motherboard if you want to run an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU.

Now, what makes the Z490 platform different? Well, it is nearly identical to its predecessor with some welcome additions.

First is its support for 2.5GB Ethernet connectivity. As the world is now going towards faster internet connections, it would be nice for a motherboard to support the fastest one available to date.

The newest motherboards also come with Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology support for both RAID and PCIe configurations. Plus, you can also use the company’s Extreme Tuning utility as well.

Other than that, the Z490 is a minor update in terms of features, though it is also the first LGA12xx motherboard that is released on the market.

Despite its new socket, all 115x coolers are still supported, so if you happen to have one on your old rig, you will be happy to know that it will still work on the newest platform.

Intel Z490 Chipset Block Diagram

Price and Availability

Intel’s newest flagship desktop processor costs $488 SRP. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies are going to be scarce which means that prices can go higher than its suggested retail price.

You also have to factor in a new motherboard since the CPU will require one. The cheapest Z490 motherboard that you can find costs a little under $200 so if you factor the total cost, you will spend more than $700 on the mobo and the CPU package.

The new processors from the company should be available on the market, though keep in mind that the supply might not be able to meet the demand.

Verdict

If you want the best possible PC gaming experience, you will not only need a gaming keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but you will also need a really good CPU as well.

To tell you the truth, the newest flagship desktop processor from Intel is somewhat disappointing. Sure, it has the best possible single-core performance and it is definitely great for gaming, but for all other tasks, it is middling at best.

Its main competitor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, is priced below $410 and the motherboards that support it have also had their prices cut considerably. That is definitely quite tempting to get, seeing that AMD’s processors are great for multi-core workloads.

With Intel’s lack of innovation as it is still using a 14nm process node and the fact its performance is middling in all other things, you could say that the Intel Core i9-10900K is too little, too late.

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Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service

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Amazon Luna

It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.

Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.

Channel-based Platform

Amazon Luna Platform

Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.

Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.

Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.

It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).

That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).

With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.

Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.

Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.

1080p and 4K Gaming

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.

Cross-Platform Support

Amazon Luna Cross-Platform

Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.

Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.

You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.

NVIDIA Hardware Use

According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.

That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).

Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.

Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites

Amazon Luna Controller

Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.

The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.

This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.

New Controller with Alexa Support

Amazon Luna Controller 2

Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.

What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.

According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.

Conclusion

Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.

Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99

If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.

Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500

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Acer Nitro XV340CK Review

Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.

Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.

Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively. 

Design

Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.

The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.

Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.

It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.

I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.

The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.

For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.

The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.

Display

Acer Nitro XV340CK Review 2020

The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.

You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.

Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.

However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.

It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.

I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.

Performance

Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.

Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.

How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.

It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.

This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.

Acer Nitro XV340CK

Verdict

With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.

The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.

Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.

Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

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HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review

As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.

In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.

Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.

Design

The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.

I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.

Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.

There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.

This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup. 

While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.

All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.

The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.

Audio Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S Review 2020

There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.

Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.

That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.

I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.

Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.

As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.

Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.

Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.

Microphone Quality

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.

Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.

The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.

Verdict

For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.

I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.

I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.

Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.

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