G.Skill Embraces AMD Ryzen With Flare X And Fortis Series DDR4

Another manufacturer has latched itself on to the AMD Ryzen hype train. This time it’s G.Skill with two new DDR4 product lines, the Flare X series for general consumers and the Fortis series for budget gamers, that the company “designed and tested specifically for” AMD’s latest processor platform.

The new products will be available in kits ranging from 2 x 8GB up to 4 x 16GB with clock speeds ranging from 2,133MHz to 3,466MHz. The Flare X series covers the entire spectrum, while the Fortis series is restricted to 2,133MHz and 2,400MHz. (More on the available configurations below.)

The Flare X series runs on 1.2V (2,133MHz and 2,400MHz) or 1.35V (3,200MHz and 3,466MHz) depending on frequency. Everything in the Fortis series run on 1.2V due to the limited frequencies. G.Skill said the AMD-Tuned DDR4-3466MHz CL16 16GB ( 2x 8GB) is “the fastest G.SKILL memory kit that’s been designed for AMD thus far.” The company tested the kit with the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor and the Asus ROG Crosshair VI Hero motherboard:

Other configurations boasted memory speeds of 15-15-15-35 for the 2,133MHz; 15-15-15-39 or 16-16-16-39 for the 2,400MHz; 14-14-14-34 for the 3,200MHz; and 16-16-16-36 for the 3,466MHz. (All of these figures were provided by the company and have not been independently confirmed.) G.Skill said the Flare X series and Fortis series would be available in March, but did not provide an exact release date or price for the various configurations.

Series Frequency Timing Voltage Configuration
Flare X / Fortis 2,133MHz 15-15-15-35 1.2V 2 x 8GB
4 x 8GB
2 x 16GB
4 x 16GB
Flare X / Fortis 2,400MHz 15-15-15-39 1.2V 2 x 8GB
4 x 8GB
2 x 16GB
4 x 16GB
Flare X / Fortis 2,400MHz 16-16-16-39 1.2V 2 x 8GB
4 x 8GB
2 x 16GB
4 x 16GB
Flare X 3,200MHz 14-14-14-34 1.35V 2 x 8GB
4 x 8GB
4 x 16GB
Flare X 3,466MHz 16-16-16-36 1.35V 2 x 8GB
4 x 8GB

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Toshiba 1.6TB SSD

Solid state drives (SSDs) with high capacities are become ever more prevalent these days, and Toshiba has continued this trend with its THNSN1Q60CSE 1600GB hard drive – which for the sake of brevity and sanity, we’ll refer to as the Toshiba 1.6TB SSD.

Large capacity SSDs such as the Toshiba 1.6TB SSD have meant that in recent years we’ve not had to sacrifice capacity for the speeds SSDs provide – we can now have the best of both worlds. 

Unfortunately, SSD prices are still much higher than traditional hard drives, and the Toshiba 1.6TB SSD costs £883 at its cheapest (around $1100, AU$1400), though we’ve seen it selling for over £1000 in some places ($1200, AU$1600). 

For comparison, a traditional Western Digital Red 2TB drive can be had for around £70 ($90, AU$110). Of course the performance of the Toshiba 1.6TB SSD is going to be far faster than that of a traditional hard drive with comparable storage space, which accounts for some of the difference in price.

At such a high price, the Toshiba 1.6TB SSD is firmly in the realm of enterprise customers, rather than regular users looking to upgrade their laptop. Because its aimed at enterprise and professional users, it comes with a number of features designed for those use cases, which further justify the high price.

Specifications and features

The Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD is SATA 3 6Gbs compatible, capable of speeds of up to 500MB/s read, 480MB/s write. These are speeds provided by Toshiba – its real-world speeds may be different – as we’ll find out in a bit. Still, these projected speeds show why you’d want to consider the Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD despite its price – this is a very fast SSD, able to achieve higher transfer rates than those of a traditional hard drive.

It has a power consumption of 4.5W when reading and writing. This means it could actually save money in the long run when used in always-on situations, as its energy consumption is quite low. The low power draw also means that it will emit less heat, so your NAS/PC/data centre or wherever you install it won’t need to kick its fans into overdrive when in use.

The Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD has a MTBF (mean time between failures) of 2 million hours – so you can be pretty confident that any data you store on this drive will be safe – making this a viable option for NAS devices used to back up important files.

Despite the high capacity of the drive, it’s housed in a standard 2.5-inch drive case, which means it can easily be installed in most devices – including laptops – which is a nice feature that gives you flexibility when installing the drive.

Performance

In our CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests, which sees how fast data and be written and read, the Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD actually surpassed Toshiba’s stated speeds- a welcome surprise!

It scored 541MB/s read speeds and 523.1MB/s write. There’s usually a discrepancy between read and write speeds (with read speeds being faster), however in this case the gap is pretty small, which makes the Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD a more consistent performer than its competitors.

So how does this stack up to its competitors? The Crucial MX300 SSD 1050GB is another large capacity SDD, though with a much lower price tag (£229, $249, around AU$390), and scores read speeds of 534.1MB/s and write speeds of 517.4MB/s  – so not quite as fast as the Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD. It will be your call if that speed (and capacity) difference is worth the extra cash.

The Integral SVR Pro 100 SRI 8TB SSD is another enterprise-grade hard drive with a huge capacity – this time 8TB, and scored 549MB/s sequential read, and 513.4MB/s write in our tests, around the same speeds as the Toshiba 1.6TB THNSN1Q60CSE SSD – though it’s almost three times the price of the (already quite expensive) Toshiba.

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Lenovo Y27G Curved Monitor

Lenovo’s Y27G monitor is a high-end offering into the world of gaming monitors. The Y27 series makes good on gamer’s desires with a 144hz refresh rate, frame rate smoothing tech and a big, angular design that cuts sharp lines. If you really want to go wild, Lenovo even offers a version with Razer’s Chroma lighting technology.

Pricing and availability

Available with either NVIDIA G-Sync or AMD FreeSync anti-screen tearing technology and plenty of inputs, the 27-inch Y27 is a worthy gaming monitor, but technical shortcomings keep it from reaching its full potential. 

If you run with AMD graphics, the FreeSync Y27f will set you back $399 (£349, about AU$520). The NVIDIA G-Sync enabled Y27G, which Lenovo sent us for review, carries an MSRP of $599 (£599, about AU$785), and the Chroma-enabled Y27G RE comes in at $649 (£649, AU$1,299).

Other than the anti-screen tearing tech and 144Hz refresh rate, the rest of the specs aren’t nearly as exciting. It’s rated for a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, response rate of 4ms, and max resolution is a standard 1,920 x 1,080 for Full HD gaming. For $599, those specs should be better. At the very least, a 1440p option would help justify the huge price tag.

Design

The Y27 follows the same design cues as the rest of Lenovo’s gaming line, such as the IdeaCentre Y900 desktop computer. Sharp angles with deep red highlights are the name of the design game here. The boomerang-shaped base shoots outward, keeping the monitor stable and allowing it to swivel.

Hash marks etched along the circumference of the stand, as well as the tilting hinge, give it the look of a precision instrument. Turning the Y27G is practically effortless and it just as easy to adjust the display’s height, as well. The monitor can move up and down with a feather touch, and once it’s in place, it stays in place. There’s no “slop” to it at all.

Tilt isn’t as easy to adjust, requiring a firm grip in the base. It’s not a difficult adjustment to make, but the monitor feels like it might tip over when angling the screen back. 

The mechanical pieces involved in the swivel, height, and tilt adjustments operate smoothly and easily, while maintaining a reassuring heft. All the adjustments are really generous, too. Swivel goes 30 degrees in either direction while you can tilt the monitor from -5 degrees to 30 degrees. Height adjustment offers around 4 inches to stretch.

Features

There aren’t any speakers in the Y27G, a weird omission for a monitor of this caliber and price point. Even though most monitor speakers sound like glorified iPhone speakers, it’s nice to at least have the option.

Lenovo almost makes up to the lack of built-in speakers with a pair of USB ports and headset jack on the left side. Further sweetening the deal is a fold-out hanger for storing your headset. When not in use, it folds up and disappears from view entirely. It’s a handy touch and one of the side USB ports is always-on, too. It’s the perfect place to hang a wireless headset and charge it in one convenient location. 

There are two more USB ports on the back of the Y27G, grouped in with the HDMI, DisplayPort, and power ports. The USB ports on the back aren’t easy to get to, even with the monitor turned completely to its side. All the ports face down, rather than out, which saves on room, but the Y27G is such a beast of a monitor anyway, it’s more annoying than it is space-saving.

The box includes a DisplayPort cable and an install disc for Lenovo Artery software, along with a power cable and USB cable. Artery lets you make adjustments to the monitor without needing to navigate Window’s Display and Appearance options. Settings like refresh rate and resolution can also be changed quickly and painlessly with the Artery software.

Menu diving

Not so painless are the on screen menus. The buttons are front-facing, and labeled, which is helpful, but the menu structure is labyrinthine in nature. We found ourselves accidentally pressing the wrong buttons and undoing display changes, or entering the wrong sub-menus, or going back when we meant to go forward.

Shortcuts assigned to the buttons, like accessing the Y27G gaming presets with one button should be helpful. Unfortunately, trying to use any of these presets drops you back into Lenovo’s messy menus. Instead of accessing the sub-menu, the button would work better if it cycled through the presets.

Not that the presets are great. The Gaming modes make pre-programmed adjustments to color, overdrive, brightness and contrast. We found the best picture came from turning the presets off. The FPS1 preset makes everything too blue and the FPS2 preset makes everything too red. The Racing preset turns overdrive to its highest setting, and that’s where the monitor runs into big problems.

There are three overdrive options in the menu: Off, Normal, and Extreme. Both Normal and Extreme introduce unacceptable levels of ghosting. Playing Dirt Rally, the fans on the sides of the road smeared the screen with a glowing ghost.

Everything else looked doubled, like watching a 3D movie without 3D glasses. It wasn’t just a fast game like Dirt Rally, either. Walking around in Hitman brought out the same awful ghosting. The best option is to turn the overdrive off completely.

G-Sync and 144Hz makes for some really smooth gaming. It’s easy to overlook the shortcomings of a monitor when games flow like waves on the sea. Getting the monitor adjusted in the on-screen display is cumbersome and prone to mistake, and the overdrive option should never be turned on for any reason. 

Final verdict

Ultimately, the Y27G succeeds in its industrial design, with smooth, easy adjustments to height, tilt, and swivel, USB ports and a smart headset hanger built into the screen. Where it falters is its lack of high resolution options, cumbersome menu design and low contrast and response time. 

It’s heartbreaking to see a monitor do so well in some categories yet fail to excite in others. As a result, the Lenovo Y27G balances out to a disappointingly average monitor.

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New iPhone SE | iPhone SE 2 UK release date rumours

New iPhone SE | iPhone SE 2 UK release date rumours

If you want a new 4in iPhone you want the iPhone SE. We explain all you need to know about the iPhone SE, and look to the future: When is the iPhone SE 2 coming out?

The 4in iPhone SE is rumoured to be updated in 2017, possibly adding 128GB of storage to the small smartphone.


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The iPhone SE went on sale on 31 March 2016, and since the iPhone 7’s launch it has been the only 4in iPhone you can buy new direct from Apple. We explain all you need to know about the iPhone SE, and look to the future: When is the iPhone SE 2 coming out? Also see: iPhone SE review

iPhone SE UK release date: When is the new iPhone SE coming out?

iPhone SE UK release date: 31 March 2016

iPhone SE 2 UK release date: March 2017 (TBC)

The iPhone SE costs £379 with 16GB of storage (up £20 since its launch), or £429 with 64GB of storage, and is available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold. That’s cheap for an iPhone, admittedly, but still pretty pricey when you consider that an iPhone SE costs only $160 to make.

Many people have speculated that Apple will announce the successor to the iPhone SE, the iPhone SE 2, approximately one year after its launch in March 2017, as is the case with its flagship iPhone updates.

Until now, it seemed the iPhone SE would follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 5C as a potential one-off, with trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities stating that no new iPhone SE will arrive in 2017 (via Pocket-Lint).

According to Kuo, this is because the launch of a new iPhone SE will impact iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sales, which are already down.

However, a new report from Mac Otakara says that a source claims there will be an update to the original phone. Whether it gets any upgrades beyond the rumoured increase to 128GB storage is unknown, but the report also states that we’ll see new iPads at an Apple launch in March.

Following the report from Mac Otakara, MacRumours claims that US retailer Target has been ordered to return a number of unsold iPhone SE models to Apple by 1 March 2017, only weeks before the rumoured announcement of the second-generation iPhone SE. The list of phones includes six 16- and 64GB SE models in Gold, Silver, Rose Gold and Space Grey, along with two Sprint models. 

Of course, there are other reasons as to why Target is returning the stock – bad sales, for example – but it seems, to both us and Macrumours, that the timing is a little too coincidental. While we assume a 128GB iPhone SE 2 will make an appearance at the rumoured March event, we’ve only got a few weeks left until we know for sure. 

See also: iPad Air 3 release date, price and specs rumours.

Best places to buy iPhone SE in the UK: Where to buy iPhone SE

You can buy the iPhone SE direct from Apple now. It’s available in Silver, Gold, Space Grey and Rose Gold. The 16GB option is £379 while the larger 64GB option is £429. If you buy direct from Apple, the phone will come unlocked so you can use it on any UK network.

EE says all handsets bought from EE direct channels will support EE’s WiFi Calling service and 4G Calling (VoLTE), and you can order it here.

Vodafone says customers who opt for the iPhone SE on Vodafone’s ultrafast 4G network can also enjoy Vodafone’s Data Test Drive for the first two months of their contract, meaning they can get to grips with their new iPhone SE without any limitations on their UK data usage. Furthermore, Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Calling service will be available on the iPhone SE, making it possible to stay connected anywhere there is Wi-Fi – from a basement flat to the London Underground. Order here.

O2 is offering the iPhone SE on multiple contract plans here.

Three is offering the iPhone SE on several pay monthly plans, including a massive 30GB per month. View all the plans here. It also points out that those who buy the iPhone SE from them will benefit from its Feel At Home policy (no roaming charges in selected countries), 4G at no extra cost, and a six-month free Deezer subscription.

Carphone Warehouse allows you to order here, while you can do the same at Mobiles.co.uk here.

You can also buy official accessories for the iPhone SE including leather cases in black and midnight blue (£29 inc VAT), and Lightning Docks in colour-matched metallic finishes for £39 inc VAT, both from Apple’s retail stores and Apple.com/uk.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

iPhone SE new features and specification: What’s new in the iPhone SE?

The iPhone SE looks very much like an iPhone 5s with the familia 4in Retina (326ppi) display, but with a new rose gold option, matt chamfered edges and a stainless steel Apple logo. On the inside, though, it’s very much a smaller iPhone 6s and, according to Apple, it’s the most powerful 4in phone ever.

With the same 64-bit Apple A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor as the iPhone 6s, the iPhone SE is twice as fast as the iPhone 5s on raw performance, and three times as fast for graphics.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

And that’s not all that’s fast. With the addition of 802.11ac Wi-Fi the iPhone SE can support download speeds up to 433Mbps. It also supports faster 150Mbps LTE with more bands, plus Wi-Fi calling. 

There have also been some improvements to battery life, with the iPhone SE beating the iPhone 5s’ runtime for audio (50 hours vs 40 hours), video (13 hours vs 10 hours), Wi-Fi- and LTE browsing (13 hours vs 10 hours), and 3G talk time (14 hours vs 10 hours).

With a new NFC chip inside and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner the iPhone SE also supports Apple Pay for making mobile payments. Read more about how you can take advantage of this in our Apple Pay guide.

iPhone SE Apple Pay

iPhone SE Apple Pay

In common with its bigger brother, the SE features a 12Mp iSight camera with Focus Pixels and a True Tone flash. There’s a new image signal processor and support for 4K video recording and panoramic images up to 63Mp, plus Apple’s Live Photo feature.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

The photo below will give you some idea of what the iPhone SE’s camera is capable of.

iPhone SE camera

iPhone SE camera

At the front the iPhone SE has a Facetime HD camera with a new Retina Flash, that lights up the screen three times brighter for taking the ultimate selfie.

The iPhone SE runs the new iOS 9.3 operating system.

iPhone SE performance benchmarks: How fast is the iPhone SE?

We should make it clear that we have not yet benchmarked the iPhone SE. However, it has the same hardware as the iPhone 6s, and according to Apple should perform the same (therefore we assume the iPhone SE must have 2GB of RAM like the 6s, although Apple has not confirmed this). Below are our benchmark results from our iPhone 6s review.

The iPhone 6s scored 2511 in single-core mode and 4404 in multi-core mode in Geekbench, putting it just behind the processing power of the Galaxy S6, which scored 4438 points. It beat the HTC One M9 by a whopping 626 points, scoring 3778 points, which would normally be an acceptable score.

However, it’s in the graphics department that the iPhone 6s really flexes its muscles. We ran two GFXBench tests – T-Rex and Manhattan, the same tests that our colleagues use when testing Android devices, and compared the results. Samsung’s Galaxy S6 managed a respectable 30fps in T-Rex and 14fps in Manhattan, while the iPhone 6s scored a whopping 59fps in T-Rex and 56fps in Manhattan.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

iPhone SE full specifications: What’s inside the iPhone SE?

Colours: Silver, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold

Display: 4in Retina (1136×640, 326ppi) LED-backlit widescreen Multi-Touch display, 800:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness, fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating

Processor & graphics: 64-bit Apple A9 processor with M9 motion co-processor

Storage: 16GB/64GB

Operating system: iOS 9.3

Primary camera: 12Mp iSight camera with five-element lens, sapphire crystal lens cover, f/2.2 aperture, Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photo, Panorama up to 63Mp, Auto HDR for photos, 4K video recording at 30fps, slow-mo and time-lapse recording

Selfie camera: 1.2Mp Facetime HD camera with f/2.4 aperture, Retina Flash, 720p video recording

Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (up to 433Mbps), 4G LTE (19 bands, up to 150Mbps), Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS and GLONASS, NFC (for Apple Pay)

Battery life: Up to 14 hours 3G talk time, 13 hours 4G/Wi-Fi internet, 13 hours video, 50 hours audio, 10 days standby

Sensors: TouchID fingerprint scanner, three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor

Dimensions: 123.8×58.6×7.6mm

Weight: 113g

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017

iPhone SE launch as it happened

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iPhone 8 latest rumours: release date, UK price and features

iPhone 8 latest rumours: release date, UK price and features

When will Apple launch the iPhone 8? Read the latest rumours about the 2017 iPhone specs, price and UK launch date, celebrating 10 years of the iPhone.

10 years of iPhone mean one thing: the iPhone 8 should be the best iPhone update yet


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The iPhone 7 has only been on sale for a while, but all we seem to be hearing are rumours about the iPhone 8. We think Apple might well be holding back some major updates and improvements for the iPhone 8, which – if the rumours are true – will be launched on the 10th anniverary of the first iPhone. Here we round up the rumours about the iPhone 8 release date, price, features and specifications. See also: Best phones 2016.

Hang on a minute, shouldn’t the next iPhone be the iPhone 7s? It still could be. Leaks and more rumours are pointing to not one but three new iPhones, two of which may well be branded as iPhone 7s and 7s Plus models. The main launch, though, would be the flagship, 10th anniversary iPhone ‘8’.

We’d be surprised if Apple goes for that naming convention, however, and other rumours say it  could even be called simply ‘The iPhone’, or iPhone Pro, but for now we’ll stick to calling it the iPhone 8 for simplicity.

Update 3 March: A new report from analysts at TrendForce – and another from AppleInsider – says that the iPhone 8 won’t have two heavily rumoured features: wireless charging and a screen with curved edges. Based on information from the iPhone supply chain, TrendForce said, “Apple will not implement the curved display design for the high-end iPhone because there are issues with the 3D glass in terms of production yield and drop test results. Thus, the next high-end iPhone is expected to have the same 2.5D glass for display cover as the current models.”.

On wireless charging, AppleInsider obtained information from Cowen and Company which reckons that the long-range wireless charging system which Apple is working on won’t feature in the iPhone 8. What’s more likely – as  detailed below – is that the phone will use a similar system to current phones that support Qi wireless charging. This means you’ll have to put the phone on a charger, just as with the Apple Watch.

The third new piece of news is that KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo refutes other reports saying Apple will use USB-C instead of Lightning on the iPhone 8 in order to introduce fast charging. Via TechTimes, he says that Apple will make a few power-management tweaks to enable the battery to be charged faster when using a Lightning cable.

Here’s a summary of what to expect from the iPhone 8:

That’s the main specs covered, but here are the other rumours:

  • The main logic board will be in two pieces instead of the traditional one
  • Apple may move the SIM tray to the bottom edge (this could be to allow room for other internal components or to include a Smart Connector)
  • Quick charging will be supported when using a cable
  • New speaker design could make the phone the thinnest ever
  • It will use an OLED screen from Samsung – read more.
  • Facial recognition in addition to fingerprint scanner
  • Laser sensor for gesture recognition – read more.

The latest video from ConceptsiPhone does a decent job of showing what the iPhone 8 might look like. It’s interesting to see an idea of how the bottom of the display might be used, similar to the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.

Find the best Apple deals.

When is the iPhone 8 UK release date?

iPhone 8 UK release date: September 2017 (TBC)

Although still months away, we can fairly confidently predict the iPhone 8 release date. Assuming the annual September announcement tradition continues, the iPhone 8 release date will be in September 2017. However, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone launch, so we wouldn’t be too surprised if Apple mixed things up a bit (it launched the SE – pictured below – in March).

According to Tech Trader Daily (via MacRumours), Apple might be putting the iPhone 8 into production in June, sooner than expected. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the launch will be earlier than September given the potentially radical design change.

It’s not necessarily going to be called the iPhone 8, of course, but that’s the name we’re using to keep things simple.

What will the 2017 be called?

It seems the name may have been confirmed with an Apple employee referring to the new device by the name ‘iPhone 8’ unprompted when speaking to Business Insider. However, there is another suggestion as Apple Insider claims that Apple could call this year’s iPhone the iPhone X.

As we’ve mentioned, the iPhone for 2017 is slightly harder to predict because it will mark a big anniversary for the smartphone.

The latest rumours are that Apple will release three new iPhone models as part of the main lineup. This could well be the ‘S’ versions of the 7 and 7 Plus, and the extra ‘iPhone 8’, an even more premium flagship with ‘revolutionary’ features.

The Wall Street Journal says: “Apple plans bigger design changes for 2017, the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone. Those changes could include an edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screen and eliminating the home button by building the fingerprint sensor into the display, according to people familiar with the matter.

“At a meeting with an Apple executive, one of the company’s China-based engineers asked why this year’s model [the iPhone 7] lacked a major design change in keeping with Apple’s usual two-year cycle. The answer, one person at the meeting recalled, was that the new technology in the pipeline will take time to implement. People familiar with the matter said some features that Apple hopes to integrate into iPhones, such as curved screens, weren’t ready for this year’s models,” it added.

If Apple follows the usual pattern, the iPhone 7 that launched this year will be followed by the iPhone 7S in 2017. The fact that it’s 10 years since the original iPhone means this could all go out the window. Apple will want to do something special to celebrate the occasion so an ‘S’ model, which usually just brings small tweaks, won’t suffice.

It’s pretty much anyone’s guess at the moment, hence, we’re calling the 2017 model the iPhone 8 at the moment but it’s perfectly plausible that the new phone won’t conform to the traditional naming system at all. The iPhone SE (special edition) is already a thing, so perhaps Apple will go with ‘iPhone Pro’, iPhone Anniversary Edition’ or even just ‘iPhone’ – although naming the iPad 3 as ‘the new iPad’ didn’t go down too well.

A report from Nikkei suggested that in 2017 there would be three new iPhone models. It sounded as though we were in for the usual 4.7- and 5.5in models (the regular and Plus), plus a third new ‘Pro’ model with a 5.5in or above curved screen. Its source said the screen would be “bent on the two sides” making it sound like a Galaxy Note 7 rival. Of course, this didn’t happen with the iPhone 7, though it doesn’t mean we won’t see a curved-screen iPhone 8.

Vote in our poll to let us know what you think Apple will name the anniversary iPhone.

How much will the iPhone 8 cost in the UK?

We’re speculating for now, of course, as the iPhone 7 has only recently gone on sale. Whether Apple will introduce a price increase for the potentially special iPhone 8 is anyone’s guess. However, the iPhone 7 price jumped up to £599 in the UK thanks to Brexit and we hope that it will stay the same with next year’s anniversary model. However, in light of the latest leaks, the ‘anniversary’ model seems to be an ultra-premium device that could cost more than any iPhone yet. At least one report claims it will be more than $1000 in the US. 

Although one analyst predicts the iPhone 8 will be the best selling model ever – with up to 150m sales – another is worried that following the anniversary edition, Apple will see a possible 10 year slump afterwards.

It is believed that moving to OLED for the iPhone 8 will push up costs as much as $50m for Apple, eating into the firm’s profit margin. Whether the firm takes the hit and keeps the price of the phone the same or not remains to be seen.

What are the rumoured new features?

If Apple does indeed do something special for the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, which is ever more likely from all the leaks, the iPhone 8 will be one which fans will no doubt want to upgrade to on launch day. Could we see the biggest queues ever?

A combination of design and hardware changes will make the iPhone 8 the most radical new iPhone to date, if we are to go by the rumours and leaks.

OLED screen: Will the iPhone 8 feature a next-gen display?

It seems certain that the iPhone 8 will have an OLED screen – like the Samsung Galaxy S7 – rather than the traditional IPS tech Apple has used previously. 

A recent KGI report says that it will be a 5.8in screen which will fit into a chassis a similar size to the current 4.7in iPhone and that the phone will have a significantly higher capacity battery.

Here’s a diagram from the report which illustrates how the iPhone 8 will slot into the range:

iPhone 8 rumours - screen OLED

iPhone 8 rumours - screen OLED

As you can see, the screen will have two parts. A 5.15in ‘main’ screen with a resolution of 2,436 x 1,125 pixels and a separate ‘function area’ across the bottom. This is likely to be where the integrated fingerprint scanner will live, and it may operate like the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro laptops.

Whatever turns out to be the case, the screens are coming from Samsung. The Korean Herald reported that a source confirmed the order from Samsung and that – like the screen on the Galaxy S7 Edge – it will be made from plastic and not glass. Typically glass is only used for flat screens, so this is not too surprising.

And  now according to GSMarena, the deal between Apple and Samsung for the screens is now finalised.

The iPhone 8 won’t be the first to have a bezel-less screen. Xiaomi has already launched the Mi Mix, reviewed. It’s a stunning device and the first of a new category of phones with it’s 91.3 percent screen-to-body ratio, according to the firm.

Xiaomi Mi Mix

Xiaomi Mi Mix

Facebook post by Robert Scoble – a well-known tech strategist – reveals new details about the next iPhone. In the lengthy post Scoble claims to have been told that it will be “a clear piece of glass… which will put holograms on top of the real world like Microsoft HoloLens does”. He also says the phone will have an OLED screen and that Apple has 600 engineers working on a next-generation 3D sensor and that the phone will have eye sensors. These will bring “a new kind of interface”. He also says that you’ll “pop it into a headset which has eye sensors on it, which enables the next iPhone to have a higher apparent frame rate and polygon count than a PC with a Nvidia 1080 card in it.”

Plus, he says that new sources revealed we can “expect battery and antennas to be hidden around the edges of the screen, which explains how Apple will fit in some of the pieces even while most of the chips that make up a phone are in a pack/strip at the bottom of the phone.”

These sound like ridiculous predictions, especially the part about the phone being transparent – battery tech is not yet good enough to make one small enough to “hide” – but if true, the iPhone 8 will be a revolution rather than the evolution we’ve seen with the iPhone 7 this year. We’ll continue to update this article as new information appears, but here’s how things stand right now.

This concept image via ConceptsiPhone shows what an edge-to-edge OLED display iPhone might look like:

iPhone 8 concept

iPhone 8 concept

Glass frame: Will the iPhone 8 feature Gorilla Glass?

Jony Ive has wanted to introduce an iPhone which resembles a single sheet of glass for a long time and the 2017 anniversary iPhone could be the one. It’s rumoured that at least one iPhone in 2017 will use a glass body, according to Apple supplier Catcher Technology. Glass on the front and back would make it like a hugely updated version of the iPhone 4S.

This, combined with the rumour that the iPhone 8 will sport an edge-to-edge OLED screen makes things rather interesting.

Allen Horng, chairman and chief executive of Catcher Technology, a key supplier said: “As far as I know, only one [iPhone] model will adopt glass casing next year. I don’t think this move will have an impact on Catcher’s revenue as glass casing still needs a durable metal frame which requires advanced processing technology and would not be cheaper than the current model.”

However, don’t get your hopes up. Although Foxconn – the manufacturer of iPhones in China – has been experimenting with building a glass chassis for around a year, it is likely too early to put it into mass production. Current tooling is all for aluminium chassis and that’s where the expertise and investment is. A switch to glass – or ceramic or some other material – would be such a massive change that there would be far more leaks backing up these rumours. Put simply, we don’t believe that the iPhone 8 will be an all-glass machine.

Touch ID: Will the iPhone 8 have a home button integrated to the screen?

What’s much more likely is that the home button will be ‘virtual’ in the iPhone 8.  This makes sense, and is surely one of the features of the ‘function area’ in the diagram earlier.

But will Apple ditch Touch ID? Previous rumours say no but another new Apple patent for an “Acoustic Imaging System Architecture” suggest otherwise.

It’s impossible to know what Apple will do, since there are so many patents. One Apple patent shows that the new iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is usually situated beneath the Home button, could be built-in to the entire display, eliminating the need for a Home button and making room for a larger display without enlarging the overall size of the smartphone.

These rumours seemed pretty far fetched to begin with, but it might just happen. Sonavation recently announced that it has found a way to insert ultrasonic biometric sensors underneath a Gorilla Glass display, still being able to read a user’s fingerprints.

The newly developed tech is “well suited for through-the-glass fingerprinting and specifically architected to deliver advanced security

 and ease-of-integration into mobile and IoT devices” Sonavation’s CTO Rainer Schmitt said.

The company claims that it can even do one better than the existing Touch ID (and most other fingerprint scanners on the market) by being able to scan fingerprints on a finger that’s wet, dirty or oily. Though it’s not clear which devices will be the first to feature this new technology, but we assume it’d either be the iPhone or a flagship Android smartphone.

Another patent has been awarded to Apple for a button which places the fingerprint sensing technology underneath the screen. Named a ‘capacitive fingerprint sensor including an electrostatic lens’, it means the Touch ID fingerprint sensor can work through various layers of the display. 

Apple fingerprint sensor patent

Apple fingerprint sensor patent

Yet another patent, via Apple Insider, deals with the light sensor – the one which adjusts the screen brightness automatically. It’s called ‘Electronic Devices With Display-Integrated Light Sensors’ and explains that having a light sensor can result in an increase in the size and weight of the device so “it would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved electronic devices with light sensors and displays.”

iPhone 8 light sensor

iPhone 8 light sensor

Face-recognition: Will the iPhone 8 feature a 3D camera?

However, Macrumours says that a JP Morgan analyst claims there will be no fingerprint recognition at all, and that Apple will instead embed a front-facing 3D laser scanner that will be able to accurately recognise your face. This will avoid the problem where Touch ID doesn’t work if you have wet fingers – or the sensor has water on it. He says it will also be more secure, which could lead to more companies – including banks – supporting Apple Pay.

This theory is backed up by Kuo of KGI Securities whose latest report, via 9to5Mac, says Apple will put an enhanced front camera and an IR sensor in order to build up a 3D model of the user’s face.

The report also says that Apple’s 3D algorithms are “years ahead” of Android, and such a feature could be an iPhone exclusive for a couple of years before Android phone makers catch up.

As pointed out by Patently Apple, yet more patents suggest a curved-glass design and also that the sides of the phone could be used for virtual buttons. For example, this could be used for certain controls when the camera app is in use. If true, the phone would rival Samsung’s edge screen features.

iPhone 8 2017 patent curved glass body

iPhone 8 2017 patent curved glass body

iPhone 8 2017 patent active virtual buttons

iPhone 8 2017 patent active virtual buttons

There were also some rumours we heard about the iPhone 7’s screen that never made it to fruition. It’s possible that they could see daylight with the iPhone 8.

Economic Daily News speculated that the iPhone 7 could feature a 3D display, and one that doesn’t require the use of those annoying 3D glasses. The website claimed at the time that Apple supply chain partner TPK is working on a project that could produce a glasses-free 3D display, though we’re not holding out much hope for this as its been done before (remember the LG Optimus 3D?) and has never done well.

There were also some rumours to suggest that the iPhone 7 could have a sidewall display, similar to that found on the Galaxy S7 edge and Note 7. This came from an Apple patent that was published in 2015. The patent hints at a future iPhone with a display that extends onto the sides of the device, providing interactive or touch sensitive portions that give access to slide-to-unlock functionality, music player controls, messaging readout, called ID, system controls and more.

One of Apple’s partners, Japan Display, is working in flexible an foldable screens similar to Samsung and LG. Whether this will end up in the iPhone 8 remains to be seen – it’s unlikely but still interesting. Apple has plenty of patents describing bendable and folding devices, according to TechnoBuffalo.

More details on the screen tech include that Apple is supposedly working on a new generation of 3D Touch. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the firm will make it from a thin film in order to introduce enhanced sensitivity – via AppleInsider.

Above concept by Michael Shanks

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Best CPUs and processor deals from AMD and Intel in 2017

What makes a processor the best? Some would say it’s the price tag, and if money were no object this might hold weight. Others suggest that it’s the number of cores or overclockability that determine how high a particular central processing unit (CPU) ranks in a price/performance chart.

In reality, it’s simply a matter of taste, only made worst by the plethora of other variables to be taken into consideration. Which is why this list contains a bit of everything; older processors, AMD APUs and even the odd Pentium.

You would be disappointed after handing over a small fortune to build a machine used exclusively for cranking out documents. At the same time, it would be an equally misguided decision to skimp on the CPU in your gaming rig just to save money.

In the end, it’s not about achieving the best performance possible, but to do so and still meet a personalized budget. Certainly, if funds were limitless, we would all be rocking supercomputers.

Fortunately, there are plenty of less expensive options from both AMD and Intel focused on everything from word processing to gaming. With its latest 14nm Ryzen CPUs now released, AMD will look to shrink the price performance gap with Intel in what is shaping to be a vintage year for hardware fans.

With this list, we’re focused purely on readily available desktop and server processors; laptop CPUs and non-x86 parts will be ignored. So without further ado, here are our pick, in no order of preference, of the best processors you can buy right now for your desktop PC.

best processor

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Finally! A worth rival to Intel’s best

Processor Cores: 8 | Thermal Design Power: 95W | Clock Speed: 3.6GHz | Processor Socket: AM4 | Cache: 20.8MB

Stunning multi-core performance
Insane Price
Overclocking is touch and go
Temperatures are ‘unique’

If you are an AMD enthusiast (or just prefer rooting for the underdog), these are interesting times indeed. AMD has launched a series of processors – Ryzen – based on a new architecture (Zen) and obliterates its current generation of CPUs.

Ryzen finally moves AMD into the 14nm era making it far more competitive with Intel’s Kabylake family. The fastest of the lot is the Ryzen 7 1800X which packs a whopping eight cores with 16 threads and a base clock speed of 3.6GHz. 

Its maximum turbo core speed is rather low at 4GHz which makes it unattractive should you want to push it further out of the box. However, with a low TDP, it has all the hallmarks of a great CPU, one that Intel’s HEDT family firmly in its crosshair.

best processor

Intel Core i3-7100

Heavy lifting on the cheap

Processor Cores: 2 | Thermal Design Power: 51W | Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 630 | Clock Speed: 3.9GHz | Processor Socket: LGA 1151 | L2 Cache: 3MB

Cheapest Kabylake Core chip
Supports faster memory
Best paired with newer board

If you want to do some heavy lifting but don’t want to blow your savings on a piece of silicon, then check out this chip. The Intel Core i3-7100 is the cheapest Core processor based on the new KabyLake architecture, and you don’t have to fork out a fortune for it.

Using a 14nm node, it reaches 3.9GHz with a 51W TDP; its dual-core/4-thread configuration should make for a decent gaming rig, and the 4K-capable Intel HD 630 GPU is clocked at 350MHz. Oh and it should make a fairly good overclocker as well.

True, you’ll want to pair it with a motherboard with a decent chipset (Z170) in order to run faster memory (DDR4-2400), but that isn’t necessary. It is not a K-model, and there are two SKUs, the 7100 (higher TDP and higher clock speed) and the 7100T (lower TDP, lower clock speeds) so make sure you choose the right one.

best processor

Intel Pentium G4560

Kabylake on a budget

Processor Cores: 2 | Thermal Design Power: 54W | Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 610 | Clock Speed: 3.5GHz | Processor Socket: FCLGA1151 | L2 Cache: 3MB

Four threads rather than two!
Stunning value for money
May require new motherboard

Its predecessor, the Pentium G4400, was one of the best options at the lower end of the market, and the G4560 is a shoe-in replacement offering Kabylake architecture on a budget. The laws of supply and demand means that it is actually retailing for cheaper than the G4400 or the slower Celeron parts.

This chip sports 3MB of L2 cache, hits 3.3GHz on its dual-core, two-thread setup with a TDP of 54W. It doesn’t have an unlocked multiplier like the G3258 though but its improved processor graphics (HD510) can support DirectX 12, 4K resolutions at 60Hz over DisplayPort which makes it great for a home theatre PC.

Note that there is a slower version (G4400TE, with a much lower TDP), which is great if you want an even quieter model to build your rig on. Costing less than half the price of a Core i3, it is a decent alternative if you’re trying to put together a system without breaking the bank.

best processor

Intel Core i7-7700K

This quad-core one’s a bit different

Processor Cores: 4 | Thermal Design Power: 91W | Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 630 | Clock Speed: 4.2GHz | Processor Socket: LGA 1151 | L2 Cache: 8MB

14nm goodness
Opens up overclocking
Still just four cores
No vPro support

This is KabyLake, Intel’s seventh Core generation, at its best and the one that AMD’s Zen will have to contend with. The i7-7700K is the company’s most powerful model set to replace the Skylake-based desktop processors in the short term.

We’ve got a pretty powerful processor boasting four cores, eight threads, 8MB cache, a base clock speed of 4.2GHz, a turbo-boost of 4.5GHz and an Intel HD Graphics 630 subsystem inside. 

All are step changes from the 6600K but at least the price didn’t go up significantly. Overclocking is what may get some of us excited, however, as it’s the distinguishing feature of the “K” models such as itself.

Pair that with a decent 100-series chipset, an oversized HSF and a couple of overclocker-friendly DDR4 memory modules, and watch it fly. 

And, although you’ll want to pay close attention to that 91W TDP, 5.0GHz isn’t a lofty goal with the 6700K.

best processor

Intel Core i5-7500

Expect this to be a best seller

Processor Cores: 4 | Thermal Design Power: 65W | Graphics Controller: Intel HD Graphics 630 | Clock Speed: 3.54Hz | Processor Socket: LGA 1151 | L2 Cache: 6MB

Supports vPro
Easy to overclock
No hyper-threading

There is a good reason why this Intel Core i5-7500 is likely to become one the best-selling processors in the Kaby Lake family.

It manages to deliver most of the performance/feature set of the Core i7-7700 at with a massive 40% discount.

Don’t expect the performance delta to be that big though, more likely to be around 20% in most cases.

The three big differences are in hyper-threading support, in the base/turbo frequencies and in the amount of cache.

Manufactured using a 14nm process, the 7500 has four cores clocked at 3.4GHz with 6MB cache and a 65W TDP. It shares the same HD 630 graphics subsystem as the i7-7700 and offers support for vPro, something its bigger brother surprisingly doesn’t.

best processor

AMD FX-8300 Black Edition

The cheapest octa-core chip around

Processor Cores: 8 | Thermal Design Power: 95W | Graphics Controller: None | Clock Speed: 3.3GHz | Processor Socket: AM3+ | L2 Cache: 8MB

Great price
Pretty high TDP
Easily surpassed by Core i3
Old, 32nm process

Meet the AMD FX-8300, one of the cheapest eight-core processors on the market. Built on a mature 32nm node, it’s clear why the FX-8300 has such a high TDP (95W).

Then again, maybe it’s not an unusual spec given the 3.3GHz clock speed. Plus, when needed, it can even boost all the way to 4GHz.

But don’t get your hopes too high, though. On single-thread, the FX-8300 will be outperformed even by a modest Core i3. 

Where it truly shines is when you throw multi-threaded jobs (encryption, encoding etc) at it, where it can beat even the more expensive Core i5 parts. 

What’s more, many users have been able to overclock the chip easily using a non-stock heatsink fan, some all the way up to 4.8GHz.

best processor

AMD Athlon x4-860K

Ideal for upgrading an existing AMD rig

Processor Cores: 4 | Thermal Design Power: 95W | Graphics Controller: None | Clock Speed: 3.7GHz | Processor Socket: FM2+ | L2 Cache: 4MB

Highly overclockable
Cheap as chips
Still lags the competition

Like most other AMD CPUs in this list, this is an old CPU which managed to remain relevant by combining decent performance with a superbly low price. Since this is an Athlon model, it doesn’t come with a GPU. It does however offer an unlocked clock multiplier which means that it is ideal if you want to overclock it.

It has all the necessary ingredients to be at the core of a great entry level computer. It is cheap, has four cores clocked at 3.6GHz (4GHz turbo) and, thanks to its 28nm manufacturing process, has a rather reasonable 95W TDP.

Expect it to roughly match a Skylake-based Core i3-6100T CPUs albeit with a far higher TDP (three times) but almost half the price.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

best processor

Intel Xeon E5-2660

Best for tinkerers

Processor cores: 8 | Thermal Design Power: 115W | Graphics Controller: None | Clockspeed: 2.2GHz | Processor socket: FCLGA1011 | Cache: 20MB

Blazingly fast for certain tasks
Cheap as chips
Power guzzler
Xeon motherboards are pricier

There are many little-known secrets in the world of computer hardware. One of the best-kept is that, occasionally, data centers – globally operated by some of the biggest tech companies in the world – dump their processors as they upgrade to newer models. In effect, you probably can’t help but wonder what they do with all of their used-up goods. 

In most cases, they wind up on eBay or Amazon from second-hand sellers. From there, you can purchase these older, “slower” CPUs for a fraction of their going rate. 

The Intel Xeon E5-2660 v1 is one of them. Based on the tried (and still very much trusted) Sandy Bridge architecture, it is one of the best processors Intel has launched in the past decade. You can nab it for one-twentieth of what it would have cost to buy them new. 

Snag a pair of Xeon twins (you can get two for less than £100 from eBay) and you’ll be ready to assemble a hardy workstation rig like this one, complete with 16 cores, 32 threads and a whopping 40MB cache.

Sure, the technology is now obsolete and there’s plenty to rile about. But if you’re looking for the absolute bargain of the century and you know your way around, then, this CPU is probably the best Intel has to offer.

best processor

AMD APU Sempron 3850

Its most affordable quad-core chip

Processor Cores: 4 | Thermal Design Power: 25W | Clock Speed: 1.3GHz | Processor Socket: AM1 | L2 Cache: 2MB

Integrated graphics
Ideal for lower-power systems
One memory channel

At the other end of the spectrum is the Sempron 3850, one of AMD’s cheapest quad-core processors. It sports a Kabini core and is built on a 28nm process, which explains why its TDP only reaches 25W, almost one seventh of the FX-9590.

Obviously, the fact that it runs at only 1.3GHz also helps a lot. Add in the fact that it comes with an integrated AMD Radeon HD 8280 GPU (basic, but decent) and you get something that’s better than most Baytrail-based systems at least. 

The best part though has to be the price; it is cheap especially, as it includes the heat sink and the fan; that means that you can envisage getting a motherboard bundle for less than Intel’s cheapest CPU. A shame that it has only one memory channel though.

Note that the Athlon X2 340, a different beast altogether (a different socket and no GPU), is AMD’s next cheapest processor, costing about 10 percent more.

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The Ryzen Review And A Gaming Giveaway: Community Roundup

The Tom’s Hardware Community is constantly busy. Whether our members are discussing the site’s latest articles and reviews, providing tech support and building advice, or playing the latest PC Games, we have so much great stuff going on that it could make your head spin! Not to worry — Community Roundup is here to let you know the best of what’s going on in the Tom’s Hardware forums on a regular basis.

  • There are few hours left in our latest Steam giveaway. We’re giving away three copies of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons to three lucky members of our community. Experience co-op in a single player game as you guide two brothers through an epic fantasy journey. For your chance to win, head to the giveaway thread in the Tom’s Hardware PC Gaming Forum and enter the raffle or answer the discussion prompt. The Steam Giveaway will run until 6pm ET on Friday, February 24. The game will be awarded to the winners as a Steam gift. A Steam account is required to receive and play the game.

  • AMD’s Ryzen is here, and the official Tom’s Hardware review for the flagship R7 1800X is in. Check out the review for our in-depth analysis on its performance across a multitude of single- and multi-thread benchmarking applications and games. The Community Team is happy to report that the price to performance ratio for 1800X is nearly two times greater than its Intel competitor, the Core i7 6900K. The 1800X retails for $500; the 6900K is nearly double that. What does this mean for Intel and the CPU market writ large? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain: Consumers are winning a price war is likely just around the corner between these two behemoths of x86 architecture. To discuss this review and the rest of the Ryzen lineup, head over to our MegaThread located in the Tom’s Hardware CPU forums.
  • Ever wanted to ask one of the big hardware or software giants something directly? How did you design that? Where did that feature come from? What’s in store next? Well, now you have the chance! The Community team is proud to announce a Q&A and XPS 13 Laptop Giveaway with our friends at Dell. Donnie Oliphant, Director of the XPS Product Group, as well as other members of the XPS Product Team, will be joining us in our next community Q&A. He’ll be answering your in-depth questions about all of Dell’s current XPS line up. The Q&A starts Friday, March 3 at 2pm EST, but we’re collecting questions ahead of time. Please submit all questions to our Q&A thread.

Know of something awesome going on in the Tom’s Hardware community? Brag about it in the comments!

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