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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Now Available
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card is now available for purchase. The reference cards from partner companies such as EVGA start at $499, whereas Nvidia’s tuned-up Founder’s Edition variant is $599. (The tuned-up versions from partner companies fetch around that price, too.) The RTX 2070 is considered an enthusiast-level performer and is situated below the RTX 2080 ($699; Founder’s Edition $799) and the flagship RTX 2080 Ti ($1,099; Founder’s Edition $1,199) in Nvidia’s RTX 20 series lineup.
Benchmark results around the web report the RTX 2070 has performance in line with the outgoing circa-2016 GeForce GTX 1080. That is, of course, with current-generation games, as no games are yet available that support Nvidia’s DLSS or ray tracing technologies, paramount features of the RTX 20 series. (DLSS is designed to improve performance in games, and ray tracing improves visual shading.) Nvidia’s RTX 20 technology briefs are convincing enough, but those of you waiting for iron-clad evidence that the graphics cards are worthwhile investments may be waiting a little while.
We also may be waiting a little while for the mobile variants of the RTX 20 series to appear. There’s not even a whisper on the Internet about when they’ll be available. It reasonable to expect them, and Intel’s 9th generation Core processors, to appear in next-generation gaming notebooks at CES 2019 in January. With any luck, you’ll be able to get your hands on one by Q2 2019.
Intel Core 9th Generation Reviews Embargo Lifted
The embargo on Intel’s 9th generation Core desktop processors is up. The TLDR versions of the reviews is that they’re fast, but you’ll probably pay a premium for them, at least at the moment. The flagship model is the 8-core, 16-thread Core i9-9900K. (Acute observation: that’s a lot of 9’s.) It’s priced at $488 in 1000-unit trays, but I didn’t find the chip selling below $530-540 as I wrote this. Amazon had it for a scorching $579. A scan of the reviews published online shows it to be a beast to keep cool, especially if overclocked north of 5GHz.
The Core i9-9900K is joined by the 8-core, 8-thread Core i7-9700K ($374) and the 6-core, 6-thread Core i5-9600K ($262). The latter is probably your best bet if you’re not interested in breaking benchmark records, but want the best all-around value. It’s an excellent chip for gaming; use the cash you’ll save versus the Core i9-9900K to get a more powerful graphics card.
The 9th generation Core processors are joined by the Intel Z390 chipset for enthusiast motherboards. However, Z370-based board owners aren’t out of luck, as the 9th generation chips are backwards-compatible with a BIOS update.
The new processors continue to be based on Intel’s 14nm fabrication technology. The company has struggled to produce chips on its smaller 10nm process. The 9th generation Core processors instead rely on increased clockspeeds and core count to achieve most of their performance gains versus the 8th generation Core processors.
In the notebook world, select Clevo desktop-replacement models are likely to feature the 9th generation Core chips. However, the normal notebook market will be waiting for the mobile-specific chips to arrive, of which I haven’t even seen preliminary models leaked, so it may be a while. It’s likely they’ll debut at CES 2019 in January.
Our forum members have done their own analysis of the reviews and posted their thoughts in this thread, page 63 and beyond. It’s a great read.
Razer Phone 2 Released
Gaming on phones isn’t new, but phones designed for gaming are still a niche market. Razer is already on its second generation with the announcement of the Razer Phone 2. Razer says the new one is completely redesigned on the inside.
Key features include a vapor chamber cooling system for better sustained performance, customizable RGB LED lighting on the back and the wireless charging stand, and an upgraded Snapdragon 845 processor. The latter is said to have a 30 to 40 percent performance advantage over the Snapdragon 835 processor in the original model, some of that gain coming from cooling improvements. The Razer Phone 2 also has a 120Hz display that’s 50 percent brighter and supports HDR content.
You can pre-order the Razer Phone 2 now for $799. That’s the glass-backed version, anyway; Razer says it will also be launching a more durable satin-finished version later. One way or another, the Razer Phone 2 looks much more exciting than the new iPhones.