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Gigabyte Fixes Major Gaming Problem On Intel Alder Lake

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Although Intel Alder Lake processors have been collecting stellar reviews, some games have had issues running on the new CPUs. The design of Intel’s 12th-Generation processors causes a number of games to be impossible to play.

Gigabyte joins the list of the best motherboard vendors, such as MSI, in providing a fix to these issues that will let users play some, if not all, of the affected titles through the use of its new DRM Fix Tool. Meanwhile, Intel continues working on its own solution alongside game developers.

Intel Corporation

Intel Alder Lake CPUs are generally powerful gaming beasts, in some cases outperforming their competitors by as much as 60%. Unfortunately, there is a fairly long list of games that simply don’t work on the new processors. The reason lies in the hybrid architecture of Intel’s 12th-Gen chips.

The issue is caused by DRM (Digital Rights Management) in these games. As Intel Alder Lake CPUs feature a mix of two types of cores: the Golden Cove P-cores (Performance) and the Gracemont E-cores (Efficiency). DRM identifies these two kinds of cores as two separate systems. This prevents the games from running, even though both the P-cores and the E-cores are all part of the same processor.

Depending on the game, this incompatibility with the latest hybrid CPU technology can either completely prevent it from running, cause crashes and bugs, or simply lower gaming performance. The fix, already utilized by MSI motherboards, is to temporarily disable Alder Lake’s efficiency cores. This is what Gigabyte is offering with its new DRM Fix Tool.

Gigabyte’s new software, targeted at the owners of the vendor’s new Z690 motherboards, switches off Alder Lake’s E-cores. This means that, while gaming, efficiency cores are disabled, and this allows these pre-Alder Lake games to run normally, as they once again recognize the processor as just one system.

Gigabyte motherboards that can use the new DRM Fix tool.

Gigabyte issued a press release to announce the launch of the new tool. The manufacturer promises that its new Windows-based software is easy to control and doesn’t require any complicated installation. Most users won’t have to tinker with their BIOS in order to run Gigabyte’s DRM Fix, but some motherboards may require it.

In the press release, Gigabyte invites customers to download the latest version of BIOS, which is required to run the new tool. A download link for DRM Fix Tool has also been provided, alongside a list of motherboards and the required BIOS version for each model.

Earlier this month, Intel acknowledged this gaming issue and posted a fix to enable Legacy Game Compatibility Mode. However, the solution requires entering the BIOS and covers a few steps, so it’s less than ideal — but it’s better than nothing, at least while more vendors, game devs, and Intel itself work on a permanent solution.

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Computing

Gigabyte Inadvertently Confirms 12GB Nvidia RTX 2060 Rumors

When rumors of a 12GB Nvidia RTX 2060 Super refresh started making the rounds, we said that they probably weren’t true. But it looks like we may have been wrong. Graphics card maker Gigabyte filed a new listing with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) that inadvertently confirms this card’s existence..

Twitter user @momomo_us uncovered the listing, which lists four Gigabyte graphics cards. Although the listing doesn’t call out the 12GB RTX 2060 Super by name, the model numbers all line up with previous Gigabyte RTX 2060 cards, with one notable change — 12GB of RAM. The GV-N2060WF2OC-6GD (Gigabyte’s Windforce RTX 2060), for example, is listed as GV-N2060WF2OC-12GD.

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

The listing comes amid mounting evidence for a refresh to Nvidia’s last-gen card. On November 14, a day before the listing went live, YouTube channel Gamers Nexus published a video saying that a 12GB RTX 2060 Super was on the way. This isn’t a channel that normally leaks new releases, but that, combined with the ECC filing and murmurs from around the community, has an 12GB RTX 2060 Super looking likely.

A dedicated leaking channel, Moore’s Law is Dead, revealed in October that the card would arrive in 2022 to take on low-end AMD RDNA 2 graphics cards. Rumors of Nvidia reintroducing the RTX 2060 in some form date back to January 2021, and they haven’t stopped since.

The question: Why? Nvidia released the RTX 3080 more than a year ago, so it’s a strange move to resurrect a GPU that’s more than two years old. There could be a good reason to bring it back, though. It’s no secret that graphics cards are tough to find right now, and Nvidia could be splitting its manufacturing efforts to get more cards out in the wild.

Evidence of the GPU shortage emerged when it was revealed that Nvidia was having manufacturing yield issues with its RTX 30-series graphics cards. Nvidia chose Samsung as its manufacturing partner, and reports circulating shortly after the launch showed that the manufacturer produced fewer usable chips than expected.

Samsung didn’t build the RTX 2060 Super — chipmaker TSMC did. TSMC is the semiconductor company behind AMD’s Ryzen 5000 processors and Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards, as well as a longtime partner for Nvidia. It looks like Nvidia could be splitting its manufacturing to bypass supply chain issues.

That’s something the company did with its GTX 10-series GPUs. The range started on TSMC’s 16nm manufacturing process, but Nvidia eventually moved to Samsung’s 14nm process. Reintroducing the RTX 2060 Super allows Nvidia to quickly produce new cards on a node the company is already familiar with.

The strange bit is the 12GB of video memory. The RTX 2060 Super originally launched with 6GB, and doubling that to 12GB probably won’t do much for gaming performance. That’s something Nvidia’s RTX 3060 proved — even with 12GB of video memory, which is more than the RTX 3080, it performs below other cards in the range.

Unfortunately, an RTX 2060 Super refresh may not be enough to alleviate supply chain issues. Nvidia has been clear that it expects the GPU shortage to continue throughout 2022, so hunting down a graphics card will continue to be a practice in patience.

It’s also possible that the 12GB RTX 2060 Super won’t ever see the light of day. Although multiple sources have confirmed the existence of the card, it’s possible that Nvidia has shelved the idea. That’s something Nvidia already did with the 20GB RTX 3080 Ti, which was reportedly canned earlier this year.

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Security

Hackers reportedly threaten to leak data from Gigabyte ransomware attack

Gigabyte has been the victim of a cyberattack, which was reportedly the work of a ransomware outfit called RansomEXX. According to The Record, the attack didn’t have an impact on any of the company’s production systems, but it did affect some internal servers. Currently, some parts of Gigabyte’s website, including its support section, are down, giving customers issues when trying to access warranty repair information and updates. The hackers who claim to have carried out the attack are reportedly threatening to release data from the company, including confidential documents from Intel, AMD, and American Megatrends.

Gigabyte is mainly known for its PC components such as motherboards and graphics cards, but it also has a line of laptops and peripherals like gaming monitors, which are often branded with the Aorus name.

According to a ransom note and dark web webpage, seen by Bleeping Computer and The Record, RansomEXX threatens to publish 112GB of data it got from Gigabyte and an American Megatrends Git repo. Bleeping Computer reports that the hackers also include screenshots of documents from Intel, AMD, and American Megatrends that are under an NDA. American Megatrends creates firmware for motherboard and computer manufacturers as well as for certain Chromebook manufacturers.

Various parts of Gigabyte’s website are nonfunctional.

PC manufacturers aren’t an uncommon target for hackers: earlier this year, Acer was reportedly hit with an attack by the REvil group, which would later go on to target one of Apple’s suppliers. In both cases, hackers threatened to release valuable data if the companies didn’t pay exorbitantly high ransoms of $50 million. The scourge of ransomware has also gone beyond traditional tech companies, affecting hospitals, fuel pipelines, insurance companies, and more.

In Gigabyte’s case, the sum that the hackers are seeking doesn’t yet appear to be public. Bleeping Computer reports, however, that RansomEXX’s ransom notes direct companies to contact an email address to start negotiations.

Gigabyte didn’t respond to a request for comment, but it told The Record that the company has isolated the affected servers, notified law enforcement, and is beginning an investigation. Gigabyte hasn’t publicly named RansomEXX as the responsible party.

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Computing

Gigabyte retools Aero and Aorus laptop lines with Comet Lake H and GeForce Super GPUs

Gigabyte is retooling its Aero and Aorus laptop lines with the latest Intel Comet Lake H CPUs and Nvidia’s GeForce Super GPUs, and clearing up some confusion about who should buy which product line. 

The Gigabyte Aorus line of laptops is aimed mostly at professional gamers (and likely aspiring pro gamers, too). On Thursday the company announced the Aorus line would offer Intel’s latest 10th-gen Comet Lake H CPUs and Nvidia’s GeForce Super GPUs.

Gigabyte’s famous Aero series is pitched mostly toward content creation professionals. Those Aero laptops also get Intel and Nvidia’s latest, along with premium OLED and HDR displays. 

aorus 17g p 44 Gigabyte

The Aorus features a privacy cover for the low-mount webcam. Sure, you’ll complain it’s low mount but then, “Hey look Asus, a webcam on a gaming laptop!”

Although both the Aero and Aorus lines offer high-performance laptops, they offer distinct differences for creators vs. gamers. The gaming-oriented Aorus 17X, Aorus 17G, and Aorus 15G use Omron mechanical keys, for one.

Mechanical keyboards aren’t new to laptops, but frankly, we’ve been mostly let down by those we’ve tried in the past. Gigabyte might be onto something with Aorus, though. We tried them at CES, and rather than our typical “is this really mechanical, because it doesn’t feel like it” reaction, we actually thought they were pretty, well, mechanical.

Some might be bummed that the Aorus screens’ refresh rates go “only” to 240Hz, but we suspect only truly insatiable gamers will care. Gigabyte doesn’t break out exact configurations and prices, but the Aorus 17X will range from $2,400 to $3,800, while the Aorus 17G will cost from $1,800 to $2,800. The smaller Aorus 15G starts at $1,700 and ranges up to $2,900.

aorus 17x vb p001 Gigabyte

Gigabtye’s new laptop lineup features Intel’s Comet Lake H CPUs and Nvidia’s GeForce Super GPUs.

Aero laptops rock HDR and OLED for creators

If a mechanical keyboard matters to a gamer, the very names of the new Aero 15 OLED and Aero 17 HDR should tell you their priority: visuals. Gigabyte wants content creators to know these laptops rock OLED and HDR displays, respectively. 

For the Aero 15 OLED XB, it’s the latest version of a laptop we’ve long loved. Featuring a 15.6-inch, 4K, factory-calibrated OLED, the laptop also comes standard with Windows 10 Pro, a 10th-gen 6-core Core i7-10875H, 16GB of DDR4/2933 RAM, GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, and a 512GB Intel H10 Optane hybrid SSD. The keyboard features per-key RGB lighting, and the laptop also rocks a giant 94-watt-hour battery. In all the laptop weighs 4.4 pounds.

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Computing

Gigabyte Aero 17 review: A gorgeous 4K laptop that finally makes sense

If you’re squinting at this review from your tiny 13-inch laptop screen, you may be like the many people who started working from home a few weeks ago and realized that portability means nothing if you’re going blind using a tiny screen.

Gigabyte’s Aero 17 has the answer, by offering superb performance and a gorgeous, 17.3-inch UHD 4K HDR 400 panel to boot. Never mind that the laptop also features Intel’s newest 10th-gen, 8-core, Core i7-10875H Comet Lake H CPU and Nvidia’s stellar GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GPU.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

A 4K laptop that makes sense

We haven’t been big fans of 4K displays on smaller laptops, as the hit on battery life typically hasn’t been worth the pixel-density tradeoff. With the Aero 17 though, we’re pleased to say battery life was far better than we expected for a 4K panel (more on that later).

aero 17 front Gordon Mah Ung

The 10th-gen Comet Lake H and GeForce RTX Super were supposed to be the stars, but the 10-bit, HDR 400 4K screen is what might convince you to ditch your tiny 13.3-inch laptop.

And yes, the 4K pixel density is far more useful on a 17.3-inch screen than a 13.3-inch panel. It’s enough resolution that you can tile multiple windows and they’re all still legible.

The Aero 17’s panel is also rated for VESA’s HDR 400 spec, which mandates such things as its name implies: a minimum of 400 nits’ peak-level brightness, and sRGB color gamut support.

We measured the Aero 17’s brightness peak at about 423 nits. While the HDR 400 rating is the entry level for HDR specs and mandates only 100 percent of sRGB, Gigabyte brings more to the table with 100 percent of Adobe RGB color gamut. The panel, an AU Optronics B173ZAN03.2, is a rated 10-bit panel, too which means it’ll push more than 1.07 billion colors.

Gigabyte continues to offer factory Xrite Pantone color calibration on every laptop panel. Gigabyte suggests, perhaps with some bias, that some of its competitors only do batch testing of panels.

Let’s just say if you’re going to go big, you might as well go with a panel with a lot of pedigree. Because the Aero 17 leans toward content creation professionals rather than gamers, the panel and hardware are really intended for workers, not players.

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Computing

The Gigabyte Aorus 15P is aimed at professionals

Gigabyte’s new Aorus 15P is for professionals. Professional gamers, that is.

As its name implies, the Aorus 15P features a 15.6-inch screen, as well a 10th-gen, 6-core Core i7-10750H and GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q or GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. The laptop is expected to be on sale immediately, with the price starting at $1,599.

The laptop’s configuration can have 8GB of RAM up to 64GB of DDR4/2666 RAM. Two M.2 slots handle storage, and the battery is a beefy 94-watt-hour cell. Because it’s for pro gamers, the keyboard is naturally per-key RGB.

What’s interesting to us is the choice of panels. Again, Gigabyte said the design is based on input from pro gamers, but the 15.6-inch 1920×1080 IPS panel with 144Hz refresh made us pause. We’ve already seen 300Hz panels in MSI’s GS66 Stealth, and this week Alienware announced it will use a 360Hz panel in its newest Area 51m. So yeah, count us among the underwhelmed on the 144Hz panel choice.

At least the port selection is healthy, with three SuperSpeed (5Gbps) USB-A ports, one SuperSpeed (5Gbps) USB-C, a full-size HDMI 2.0, and miniDisplayPort 1.4. You also get an analog combo jack and UHS-II card reader, plus a dedicated charging jack for the 180-watt or 230-watt power brick. Oddly, there’s no Thunderbolt 3 listed among its specs, which feels like another oversight.

The Aorus 15P is reasonably light at 4.4 pounds. That’s not as light, as say, the XPG Xenia 15, which is 4 pounds but comes with a 9th-gen Core i7 6-core chip, instead of the 10th-gen Core i7 6-core (not a huge deal.)

aorus 15vb p s002 1 Gigabyte

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