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Nvidia addresses rumors about RTX 40 GPUs’ power consumption

The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 lineup includes some of the most power-hungry graphics cards on the market. Because of that, you may be wondering if you’ll need a new power supply (PSU) in order to support the borderline monstrous capabilities of the RTX 4090.

To answer some of these concerns, Nvidia released new information about the power consumption of its new GPUs. The conclusion? Well, it’s really not all that bad after all.

Nvidia

Prior to the official announcement of the RTX 40-series, the cards have been the subject of much power-related speculation. The flagship RTX 4090 received the most coverage of all, with many rumors pointing toward insane requirements along the lines of 800-900W. Fortunately, we now know that those rumors weren’t true.

The RTX 4090 has a TGP of 450W, the same as the RTX 3090 Ti, and calls for a minimum 850W PSU. The RTX 4080 16GB takes things down a few notches with a 320W TGP and a 750W power supply. Lastly, the RTX 4070 in disguise, also known as the RTX 4080 12GB, draws 285W and calls for a 700W PSU.

Nvidia claims that this is not an increase from the previous generation, but it kind of is — after all, the RTX 3090 had a TGP of 350W. With that said, it’s not as bad as we had thought, but many are still left to wonder if they need to upgrade their existing PSUs or not.

Nvidia has now assured its customers that they can stick to the PSU they currently own as long as it meets the wattage requirements for that given card.

Similarly, Nvidia doesn’t expect there to be any problems when it comes to 8-pin to PCIe Gen 5 16-pin adapter compatibility. As said by Nvidia on its FAQ page: “The adapter has active circuits inside that translate the 8-pin plug status to the correct sideband signals according to the PCIe Gen 5 (ATX 3.0) spec.”

There’s also another fun little fact to be found in that FAQ: Nvidia confirms that the so-called smart power adapter will detect the number of 8-pin connectors that are plugged in. When four such connectors are used versus just three, it will enable the RTX 4090 to draw more power (up to 600 watts) for extra overclocking capabilities.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang with an RTX 4090 graphics card.

There have also been questions about the durability of the PCIe 5.0 connectors, which are rated at 30 cycles. Some might consider that to not be much, but Nvidia clears this up by saying that this has almost always been the case, or at least has been over the past twenty years.

Lastly, Nvidia clarified the matter of the possibility of an overcurrent or overpower risk when using the 16-pin power connector with non-ATX 3.0 power supply units. It had, indeed, spotted an issue during the early stages of development, but it has since been cleared up. Again, seemingly nothing to worry about there.

All in all, the power consumption fears have largely been squelched. Nvidia did ramp up the power requirements, but not as significantly as expected, so as long as your PSU matches what the card asks for, you should be fine. Let’s not breathe that sigh of relief yet, though — the RTX 4090 Ti might still happen, and that will likely be one power-hungry beast.

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The rumors about the Surface Pro 9 may have been true

Details of Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro 9 have finally emerged via documents the company submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It looks like it may be a successor to the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, complete with 5G capabilities.

Spotted by Windows Central and Notebookcheck, the FCC documentation references a “portable computing device.” The filing itself doesn’t contain any specific specs, but Windows Central believes it may be the Surface Pro 9 5G.

There are references to the numerous radios on the device, including 4G and 5G cellular radios. The FCC tests devices to ensure the radio wave emissions are within safe limits, however the tests done on this new device do not involve the head, which eliminates phones.

There’s also a strong possibility that the chip inside is a Qualcomm one (likely the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) given references to the company’s “Smart Transmit” technology. Windows Central also notes that Intel-based laptops with 5G radios usually use Intel’s own radios.

Qualcomm Smart Transmit explanation from the FCC.

The Surface Pro 9 is rumored to have the same 13-inch 2880 x 1920 display as the Surface Pro 8, as well as a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also suggested that the Surface Pro 9 will have more rounded edges and a thinner frame.

Microsoft has been slowly pushing Windows on ARM, though not as aggressively as Apple. Many early gripes with using Windows on an ARM device have largely been fixed as developer tools such as Project Volterra are pushed.

Microsoft initially tried to delve into ARM with the original Surface RT, but it ended up becoming quite a flop. The company was attempting to compete with the iPad, but failed to attract high-quality apps to the platform.

Fortunately, the landscape is very different with more manufacturers opting to release ARM versions of their devices, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X13. A new first-party Surface Pro 9 may help Microsoft continue on the path of success and give consumers more choices in the computing landscape.

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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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MacBook Air 2022: News, Rumors, Price, and Release Date

The buzz has slowly been building for Apple’s next MacBook Air. That’s because the next iteration of the ultra-lightweight laptop won’t just be a simple run-of-the-mill update. No, according to many well-placed sources and analysts, Apple is working on something big for its littlest laptop.

We’ve rounded up all the news, rumors, and leaks we can get our hands on to bring you this one-stop guide to all things MacBook Air. Want to know what to expect when Apple overhauls one of its most popular Macs? Read on to find out.

Release date

Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

When momentum started to gather around the MacBook Air’s upcoming update, the initial projections were for a launch in late 2021. It was a no-show at the ‘Unleashed’ MacBook Pro event, which was likely Apple’s final event of the year.

From there, the consensus around the MacBook Air’s release date seems to have now settled around the middle of 2022. For instance, Twitter leaker Dylandkt, who has a fairly solid track record when it comes to Apple leaks, says we can expect the new MacBook Air “in the first half of 2022.”

However, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated in September that the MacBook Air would enter mass production either late in the second quarter of 2022 or early in the third quarter. That suggests a timeline of roughly June to July. If that’s when the MacBook Air is entering mass production, a launch in late summer or fall might be in the cards. If Apple intends to continue leaving MacBook launches for the fall, it could be as late as September or October before these laptops finally launch.

Price

It’s beginning to look like the new MacBook Air may come in at a slightly higher price when it launches. Most recently, Twitter leaker Dylandkt has reported that the redesigned MacBook Air will be priced higher than the current $999 MacBook Air.

That lines up with an earlier report from Ming-Chi Kuo, who stated that we could see a price drop on the current M1 MacBook Air. Reporter Mark Gurman also believes the new MacBook Air could be positioned as a high-end alternative to the M1 model.

The rise in price of the new MacBook Pro, which now starts at $1,999, could indicate that Apple is increasing prices across the board.

A bold new design

Jon Prosser's render of the new MacBook Air.
Jon Prosser

One thing we are certain of, based on the breadth and depth of rumors doing the rounds, is that the MacBook Air’s iconic design is set for a big shake-up. Take Mark Gurman. The Bloomberg reporter has shared his belief that Apple is working on a “Thinner and lighter version of the MacBook Air” compared to the current iteration. He also shared that Apple was considering a 15-inch MacBook Air at one point, but the company “isn’t moving forward with this for the next generation.”

Leaker and YouTuber Jon Prosser has gone further regarding the upcoming MacBook Air’s design. He claims Apple is working on a MacBook Air with bright, fun colors like those seen in the new 24-inch iMac. Like the iMac, the MacBook Air will also have white screen bezels and keys on its keyboard, Prosser contends.

Twitter leaker Dylandkt has agreed with Prosser, tweeting in July that the upcoming MacBook Air will have “The same colors as the iMac, including the same bezel color as the iMac.” Later, Dylandkt stated that the MacBook Air may lose its iconic wedge shape and could even drop the “Air” name altogether.

Interestingly, Prosser’s renders, which he claims are based on actual photos of the upcoming laptop, show a device that omits the tapered frame that the MacBook Air is most famous for. Prosser says that it will instead feature a flat-edged chassis, much like the rumored design of the 14-inch MacBook Pro. That’s something Ming-Chi Kuo has also claimed, and like Prosser, the analyst also believes the MacBook Air will come in a range of colors.

Could we see a mini-LED display?

The M1-powered Macbook Air, open on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

One of the most important upgrades of any laptop is the screen. When Mark Gurman stated his belief that the MacBook Air would be thinner and lighter, he elaborated a little on the ‘thinner’ aspect, explaining that the laptop’s screen bezels would be reduced in size.

However, do not expect to see something similar to what Apple did to the MacBook Pro 15, when the device’s bezels were shrunk so much the laptop could be transformed into a 16-inch MacBook Pro. No, Gurman says that despite the narrower bezels, Apple will stick to the tried-and-true 13-inch screen for the MacBook Air.

Kuo, on the other hand, seems less certain the display will be “tried-and-true” in every way. No, he believes Apple could outfit it with mini-LED technology, something we have seen already in the iPad Pro (and something that is heavily rumored to feature in the MacBook Pro coming at Apple’s October event). DigiTimes has also backed up Kuo on this count.

We consider it unlikely, though, at least for now. That’s because Apple seems to be limiting this tech to its Pro products, helping to distinguish them as high-end devices with the most forward-thinking features available. The 24-inch iMac, which is not a “pro” device, did not get a mini-LED screen, for example. Consumer products like the iMac and the MacBook Air might have to miss out for now, especially as their price points are lower than their Pro siblings and mini-LED panels are likely very expensive for Apple.

Twitter leaker Dylandkt recently stated that although mini-LED is still a possibility, the 120Hz ProMotion feature will be reserved for the MacBook Pro only.

The next-gen M2 chip

The Apple M1 chip sitting on a circuitboard.

What about the chip that will power the MacBook Air? Could it be the same M1 Pro or M1 Max chips that showed up in the MacBook Pro? Not likely, especially considering the proposed size of the MacBook Air — and the fact that it’s rumored to still be fanless. The enhanced graphics performances of those models are likely to be reserved for the thicker “Pro” models only.

Instead, the next-generation chip, the M2, seems to be a more likely possibility.

That’s because of one key reason: Timing. If Kuo’s production schedule is correct, we will probably see the new MacBook Air in late summer 2022 at the earliest. That will be almost two full years since the device’s last update, which brought the M1 chip to the MacBook Air in November 2020.

The M1 Pro/Max are souped-up siblings of the M1 rather than an entirely new generation, much like how Apple used to equip its iPad Pro models with X versions of its iPhone chips (the A12X to the iPhone’s A12, for instance). The M2, however, will be a big step up over the M1. Given the lengthy gap between the upcoming MacBook Air and its last iteration, we can’t see Apple equipping it with a half-generation chip.

The return of MagSafe

A close-up of the MagSafe port on a MacBook, as well as a MagSafe cable.

One of the most welcome changes rumored to be coming to the MacBook Air is the return of MagSafe. No, not Apple’s magnetic iPhone charging tech. The original MagSafe featured a charging cable that magnetically attached to your MacBook, meaning it would snap free if it was accidentally yanked, preventing your laptop from smashing onto the floor. It’s been absent from the MacBook Air since Apple discontinued the last MagSafe MacBook Air in 2019.

Now, Mark Gurman says it’s making a happy return. That will follow on from the MacBook Pro’s October relaunch, which is also set to include a MagSafe port.

Aside from that, Gurman believes the MacBook Air will come with two USB4 ports. Prosser simply states it will have two USB-C ports, although he hasn’t outlined whether they will be USB4.

However, what Prosser has stated is that he is uncertain whether the MacBook Air will indeed come with a MagSafe port. He explained that, based on the images he has seen of the chassis, he was not able to confirm this point either way.

Meanwhile, Dylandkt claims that the MacBook Air will not have the HDMI and SD card slot that the MacBook Pro includes.

Everything else we expect to see

A close-up of the M1 Macbook Air showing its display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Prosser has claimed the new MacBook Air’s keyboard will feature full-sized function keys, as opposed to the squat versions on the current model. That will push the rest of the keyboard down, which in turn means the trackpad will be slightly smaller. That’s a shame, as one of the strengths of Apple’s laptop trackpads is their large size, which makes them perfect for the many great MacOS gestures.

We are hoping the MacBook Air will feature an upgraded 1080p webcam, which would be an increase on its current miserly 720p version. There are reasons to be optimistic here, as the iMac and the MacBook Pro just got this exact upgrade in April. Furthermore, Twitter leaker Dylandkt has stated that we can expect the bump to 1080p on the next MacBook Air.

One feature that would be tightly linked to the webcam setup is Face ID. We’ve been wanting it to make the jump from iPhones to Macs for ages now, and we know Apple is working on doing just that, but it seems we are going to have to wait a little longer. Back in January 2021, Mark Gurman said both Face ID and cellular connectivity would be absent from the next MacBook Air, as they simply aren’t ready yet.

Since Face ID was a no-show on the new MacBook Pros, it feels unlikely that Apple will bring it to the MacBook Air first.

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AMD Ryzen 6000: News, Rumors, Release Date, and More

AMD took a year off in 2021, so all eyes are focused on 2022 and the hotly anticipated Ryzen 6000 processors. Built using the Zen 4 architecture, these chips are rumored to be up to 40% faster than the previous generation and feature an entirely new socket design — one that breaks with decades of tradition at AMD.

There’s a lot riding on Ryzen 6000, and the generation could finally cement AMD as the CPU market leader against Intel. After gaining parity with its rival in 2021, AMD is on track to overtake the former desktop ruler. Intel also has some exciting products coming up, and we don’t know if AMD is content to rest on its laurels.

We’re still about a year away from Ryzen 6000 launching, but we have learned a lot about the upcoming generation. Here’s everything you need to know to get up to speed on the price, release date, and performance.

Pricing and availability

Although AMD has announced its Zen 4 architecture, it hasn’t announced next-gen desktop chips yet. We’re not sure if they will fall under the Ryzen 6000 or Ryzen 7000 banner, as AMD skipped Ryzen 4000 on desktop and jumped straight to Ryzen 5000. It could do the same with Zen 4 CPUs, too, reserving Ryzen 6000 for mobile.

Regardless, the CPUs are rumored to arrive in 2022. Astute PC builders built a timeline out of disparate pieces of a leaked AMD road map, which points to Zen 4 coming in 2022. AMD CEO Lisa Su also confirmed that the chips are set to come out in the second half of 2022 in a recent investors call.

We expect AMD to stick with the prices from the previous generation. AMD raised the price of the Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X, and Ryzen 9 5950X by $50 each compared to their Ryzen 3000 counterparts. Given Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake processors and the pressure they could put on Team Red, we don’t expect AMD to raise prices again.

It’s possible, though. The chip shortage has raised prices of components across the board, so we might be entering a time when CPUs are more expensive in general. For Ryzen 6000, it’s going to come down to how Intel prices its Alder Lake chips and how well Zen 4 chips perform compared to them.

For reference, here are the prices of Ryzen 5000 chips now:

  • Ryzen 5 5600X: $300
  • Ryzen 7 5800X: $450
  • Ryzen 9 5900X: $550
  • Ryzen 9 5950X: $800

Architecture

AMD Ryzen 5000 with no lid.

As mentioned, the Ryzen 6000 chips are based on the Zen 4 architecture. This is a continuation of the Zen microarchitecture that AMD has been using since Ryzen 1000, but it uses a much smaller manufacturing process.

AMD has confirmed that Zen 4 will use a 5nm manufacturing process, and it will likely continue using chipmaker TSMC. Ryzen 5000 chips currently use TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process.

The 5nm node — known as N5 at TSMC — is said to offer a 15% boost in speed and 1.8X transistor density over N7. TSMC also says the node consumes 30% less power. That’s not to say Zen 4 will match those improvements, though. In reality, AMD can likely achieve a larger boost in speed through chip design.

The big deal is the 1.8X boost to transistor density. Although AMD hasn’t announced anything yet, Zen 4 chips will likely use a single-core design. That puts more focus on transistor density, essentially allowing AMD to squeeze more into the same die space.

These improvements are rumored to offer up to a 25% boost in single-core performance.

It’s possible AMD could take some inspiration from Intel Alder Lake processors as well. Intel is using a hybrid architecture with two core types, unlike AMD, which appears to be sticking with a single-core type. The company has been open about the fact that it thinks hybrid architectures aren’t ready for desktop yet.

Performance

AMD Ryzen processor going into a socket.
AMD

This far out from launch, it’s too soon to say how Ryzen 6000 chips will perform. The only report we have comes from the Chips and Cheese blog, which claims Zen 4 chips could see an overall boost of 40% compared to the previous generation and a 25% boost in single-core performance. The rumor also alleges 5GHz speeds across all cores.

Those kinds of gains aren’t out of the question, optimistic as they may be. AMD is doing a full node transition to N5, which represents a massive boost in density — 1.87X over N7, to be exact. It seems AMD is focusing on making the best cores for Ryzen 6000, not packing more of them into the chip. Although we don’t have any rumors to back up core counts yet, that seems like the approach.

A 20% gain in single-core performance has become the norm for each generation, so if AMD is able to boost instructions per clock (IPC) by 25% with Zen 4, that will be a big deal.

Although we’ve pointed to Alder Lake as the competitor, Intel is set to launch its Raptor Lake chips in 2022 as well. This generation will also bring a full node transition for Intel, and it will feature the same hybrid architecture as Alder Lake. We’re still a year or so away, but the battle of architecture designs will be interesting in 2022.

New chipset and a new socket

Render of an AMD Zen 4 processor.

With the next generation of CPUs, AMD is retiring the AM4 socket that it has used since the launch of first-generation Ryzen chips. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the socket will be some five years old by the time next-gen Ryzen chips show up. AMD is using the AM5 socket for these new chips — that much we know — and rumors suggest it could feature a radical redesign.

Rumors point to AMD using an LGA1718 socket design. Land Grid Array, or LGA, sockets put the CPU pins on the motherboard instead of on the CPU. Intel has used LGA sockets for several generations, while AMD has stuck with the older Pin Grid Array (PGA) socket design.

As the name suggests, LGA1718 is said to feature 1,718 pins on the motherboard. LGA designs can support a higher pin density, and that’s clear to see comparing AM5 to AM4. The PGA AM4 socket comes with 1,331 pins.

Although AMD looks to be moving to a new socket design, Ryzen 6000 chips will reportedly use the same socket size — 40mm x 40mm. AMD has confirmed that coolers that are compatible with the AM4 socket will also work with the AM5 socket.

With a new socket, AMD is expected to release a new 600-series chipset, likely X670 if past generations are anything to go by. In a recent celebration of Ryzen’s fifth anniversary, AMD announced that the new chipset will support DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0.

Integrated graphics and APUs

The AMD RX 6700 XT sitting on a table.

Like previous generations, AMD will likely launch a range of APUs with Zen 4 chips that feature integrated graphics. However, some rumors suggest that AMD will pack integrated graphics into its chips across the board. A series of leaked documents from Gigabyte showed that AMD plans on adding “hybrid GFX support” on its upcoming processors.

These documents confirm earlier rumors of AMD including integrated graphics on its processors. Together, they all but confirm that Ryzen 6000 chips will come with integrated graphics.

Moreover, rumors point to AMD using its RDNA 2 GPU architecture for the integrated graphics. This is the same architecture AMD is currently using on its Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards, as well as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

Originally, rumors pointed to AMD using 12 RDNA 2 compute units (CUs) on Ryzen 6000 mobile chips. It seems some wires may have gotten crossed with this rumor, though. AMD allegedly canceled a Zen 3+ generation — originally named Ryzen 6000 — to focus on the new architecture.

That hopefully means 12 RDNA 2 CUs is the minimum for Zen 4 chips, which would offer a huge boost over the APUs AMD offers today.

You might be able to increase the performance of the integrated graphics, too. AMD is apparently working to include USB 4 support, opening up the possibility of using external graphics cards with Ryzen 6000 chips. Most eGPUs require Thunderbolt, which has been exclusive to Intel platforms since its launch. USB 4 supports the standard, opening up the floodgates for Team Red.

3D V-Cache

AMD CEO holding 3D V-Cache CPU.

AMD hasn’t announced if Zen 4 processors will come with its 3D V-Cache technology, but they could. The company says that AM4-based processors with 3D V-Cache are set to launch in 2022. We’re not sure if these processors will live under the Ryzen 5000 banner or not. Given that AMD has said 3D V-Cache can offer up to a 15% improvement in games, the company could launch these chips as a new processor generation.

For now, we suspect that the chips will be a refresh to Ryzen 5000, with Ryzen 6000 coming later in the year. AMD’s 3D V-Cache design looks to stack cache on top of the compute die. By utilizing the extra space, AMD is able to stack a massive amount of cache, which should translate into higher gaming performance.

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Surface Book 4: Rumors, News, Price, Release Date, and More

Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 unleashed powerful graphics in the convenient 2-in-1 form factor, but it is starting to become a dated piece of hardware for the price. The Surface Book lineup is overdue for a refresh, and many believe one could finally be coming soon by way of a new “Surface Laptop Pro” or “Surface Laptop Studio.”

Such a new Surface could launch alongside the Surface Pro 8 and maybe even the Surface Duo 2. Microsoft hasn’t said much to support an impending launch, but we have gathered up all the rumors in one place, speculating on what could end up happening later this year.

Price and release date

There are still doubts if Microsoft is planning to release a Surface Book 4. According to a report from Windows Central, it is looking more as though Microsoft might end up replacing the expected device with a new flagship Surface Laptop or Surface Laptop Studio.

We’re uncertain if the product will actually come to life under the Surface Book 4 name. However, since this is just a rumor, we’ll keep referring to the product as “Surface Book 4” throughout this piece for that reason.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t guess a price and release date based on the company’s last flagship, the Surface Book 3. Like other technology giants, Microsoft usually refreshes Surface devices in the fall, around October. The Surface Book 3, however, was quietly announced on May 6, 2020. Judging from that, there’s the small chance Surface Book 4 could come in the late summer. But don’t take that too seriously.

The main Surface lineup is refreshed toward the end of the year. You should look for a potential release around October or November. The later time frame is looking like a better option, especially since Microsoft could want to time the launch of a flagship device with its Windows 11 operating system, which is scheduled for release this holiday season. Chip shortages, though, could change that.

As far as pricing goes, there are two things to think about: Size and graphics. The Surface Book 3 comes in a base 13-inch model, as well as a larger 15-inch model. The 13-inch model is the more affordable option and has Intel’s integrated graphics or the GTX 1650 on other SKUs. The 15-inch Surface Book 3 models, meanwhile, are higher-end. The larger models step things up to the GTX 1660 Ti and even Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 graphics.

Judging from that, you can expect the Surface Book 4 to be a bit of the same. A base 13-inch model could come in at around $1,600. Then, adding in additional graphics for the 15-inch model could step things up closer to $2,300 and even $3,000 if Microsoft opts for higher-end studio graphics once again.

A new design going the way of the iPad?

Surface Book 3 detached from the base.

While the detachable screen on the Surface Book was a revolutionary idea when initially announced, it has now become quite a rinse-and-repeat design over the past few generations. Microsoft hasn’t changed the display bezels or the overall design of the Surface Book lineup much. But that might now change for Surface Book 4.

According to Windows Central, Microsoft is looking into using a non-detachable display on the Surface Book 4. A Microsoft patent for Computing Devices Hinges suggested this back in July. So, a future Surface Book 4, Surface Laptop Pro, or Surface Laptop Studio might look and feel a bit different.

Indeed, it could go the way of the iPad Pro and even the HP Elite Folio. After years of the same design, Microsoft is playing with the idea of cramming the CPU, GPU, and other components into the lower half of a Surface computer, with a screen floating in the air and supported by a hinge.

This would let the display pull forward and rest at different angles via a stabilizing hinge. More importantly, it also could keep the more powerful GPU and other components away from the screen. You can see this in the patent diagram below.

A Microsoft patent showing a screen floating over a computer.
Microsoft

This idea is something that Apple has adopted. If you look at the iPad Magic Keyboard, the keyboard magnetically attaches to the iPad’s screen, with the tablet “floating” in the air. The HP Elite Folio also has this design, letting you move the screen down toward the keyboard. Even the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel has a similar design.

It’s likely that Microsoft has some of the same thoughts in mind for the Surface Book 4, even if the patent doesn’t mention it by name. As always, though, patents don’t make it to the final product, but they could shape the future.

We do want to mention some more practical design rumors, though. A marketing image made many believe that that a new black model of the Surface Book could be released with the addition of some new ports. There’s no indication that this is real, however, and many have dismissed the image as fake.

Intel 11th-generation CPU and RTX 30-series graphics?

Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 shipped with Intel’s 10th-generation processors and Nvidia’s GTX  or Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics. Since then, Intel’s latest has gone up to 11th-generation Tiger Lake processors. Nvidia, meanwhile, has the RTX 30-series mobile GPUs. Look out for these more powerful chips and graphics cards in Surface Book 4.

The Nvidia GTX 1600-series chips in the Surface Book 3 performed very well in our tests, but when we reviewed the device, we didn’t like the Intel processor performance due to the 15-watt limit. Intel’s 11th-generation chips flip that with boosts for light gaming and photo editing with Iris Plus integrated graphics, so there’s the chance this might improve.

As far as the GPU support, cramming an RTX 30-series processor into a mobile form factor like the Surface Book 4 could be quite problematic for Microsoft. There’s only so much room in the chassis. But granted the rumors of a design change, this could be more likely for the Surface Book 4. The 2-in-1 could turn into more of a studio-quality machine than the older base RTX graphics could allow.

We also hope the RTX 30-series could help stabilize the price. The older Nvidia Quadro RTX graphics model was quite expensive and well into the $3,000 price range.

Given the global chip shortage, it won’t be too surprising if we end up seeing these chips in the Surface Book 4 instead of the next-generation Alder Lake processors that Intel is currently working on. Microsoft is also known to play it safe and go with processors that are a generation old. We can hope that Microsoft managed to jump to the more exciting 12th-gen chips in time, but only time will tell.

And don’t count out AMD, either. Microsoft already refreshed the Surface Laptop lineup with new AMD Ryzen processors, and some benchmarks hint that a new Surface Book could also have Ryzen 5 4500U inside.

Wishlist

For all these rumors, there’s still a lot that we’re wishing for in a Surface Book 4. Microsoft has been hesitant to adopt Thunderbolt in its products for security reasons, but a powerful device like the Surface Book 4 could benefit from support. You could easily buy a budget model and then add your own GPU externally later on.

Seeing as though the Surface Pro X and even the Surface Go 2 have slim bezels, it’d be nice to see slimmer bezels on the Book 3, too. Other items on our wishlist include improved speakers, USB-C for charging, a larger touchpad, and a more affordable price range.

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Game

Konami and Bloober Team Partner, Fueling Silent Hill Rumors

Legendary game studio Konami and Bloober Team, the developer behind horror games like Layers of Fear, The Medium, and Blair Witch, officially announced a “strategic cooperation agreement.” This new game development contract has fans jumping back to the rumors that there is a new Silent Hill game on the horizon amid tons of rumors.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Bloober Team was hard at work on a horror game with a famous publisher and today’s announcement finally revealed exactly which one. According to Video Games Chronicle, which broke the news, Konami stated it was “excited to work with Bloober Team and other highly regarded development partners to produce games from existing and new IPs.”

While all signs are pointing directly to a new Silent Hill game from Bloober Team, there have been reports that Konami has outsourced the IP to a prominent Japanese developer. It is still plausible that Bloober Team could be working on a second Silent Hill project alongside that rumored one.

There have been tons of rumors surrounding Konami, including that it is looking to outsource more IPs like Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania. It also gives more weight to the 2020 rumor that there are apparently two new Silent Hill games in the pipeline for the longtime publisher.

Only time will truly tell if fans will be returning to Silent Hill any time soon. Until then, there are many more horror games to explore, like the flood of recent Resident Evil games that have been dominating the genre.

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Computing

iMac Pro (2021): Rumors, News, Price, and Release Date

When Apple killed off the iMac Pro, we thought that was the end of the road for the high-end all-in-one computer. Yet when the iMac was completely revamped earlier this year, Apple only revealed the smaller 24-inch version. That left a very obvious question hanging in the air: What about the pro-level iMac to replace the current 27-inch iMac?

It could be that Apple decides to leave the iMac Pro dead and buried and instead just offer a more powerful all-in-one under the regular iMac branding. But considering Apple’s other product lines, it makes sense to offer an iMac Pro that offers a greater level of performance than the 24-inch iMac. Regardless of what the name ends up being, here’s everything we know about the next pro-level iMac.

Price and release date

Apple has been coy about when the top-end iMac will hit the shelves, but we can make some inferences based on other product news and rumors. For one thing, we know Apple delayed the larger model in order to get the 24-inch iMac ready for its April 2021 launch date. While we do not know how far along the larger model was, putting it on hold like that undoubtedly stymied its development and production.

We also know an all-new MacBook Pro 14 and a refreshed MacBook Pro 16 are due out this summer or fall, but there has been very little word of the iMac amid all the MacBook Pro rumors. That suggests that the iMac’s release date is a little later, potentially slipping into 2022.

As for the price, we think that hinges on what form the high-end iMac takes. If it is just a larger version of the current 24-inch iMac, a starting price of $1,799 (the current cost of the 27-inch iMac) would be expected. If it is a true successor to the iMac Pro, however, don’t be surprised if it hovers somewhere around the $4,999 Apple used to charge for that device.

Design: Bright colors or muted tones?

The webcam on the 24-inch iMac has been vastly improved.

When Apple redesigned the iMac in April 2021, it brought back the classic, colorful look of the iMac G3 from 1998. The new iMac is kitted out in a range of snazzy colors, from pinks to yellows to blues, giving it a playful vibe that Apple hopes will make it down-to-earth and approachable, just like its G3 inspiration.

Will the high-end iMac get the same treatment? As with the price, that likely depends on how Apple positions it. If it brings back the iMac Pro nomenclature, then we would consider it unlikely. Apple’s Pro devices usually come in muted, “professional” colors like gray and silver. A pro-grade machine clad in bright pink or yellow shades would feel out of place, for instance.

However, if Apple drops the Pro moniker and makes the larger iMac a variant of the 24-inch model, we could see the colors sticking. It would simply be an extension of the existing model, so maintaining the color continuity would make sense.

A colorful outlook was not the only makeover the iMac got in April — it was also made radically thinner. Will this slimline design remain with the iMac Pro? We think there is a good chance. Now that Apple has switched to Apple Silicon chips, it has started mounting everything together — the CPU, the GPU, the memory — into a single system-on-a-chip (SoC) unit. Given how efficient Apple Silicon chips are, and how little space the SoC will take up compared to a system that uses discrete GPU and memory modules, it’s possible the iMac will not need to beef up to accommodate it.

Bet on Apple Silicon

The M1 is Apple's first attempt at Mac chips using Apple Silicon.

Still, the iMac Pro’s shape depends a lot on the chip that powers it. The 24-inch iMac felt like the first Mac that was designed around the benefits of Apple Silicon, but that does not mean its higher-end sibling will go the same way.

We know Apple is working on monstrous 32-core chips, which could make it into the high-end iMac or iMac Pro. Would a chip of this power need a large cooling system? And would Apple opt for discrete graphics, or will its upcoming SoC be enough to satisfy pro users? These are unanswered questions for now, especially since we have not yet seen any high-end Macs that traditionally have separate graphics cards (like the MacBook Pro 16) kitted out with Apple Silicon chips to learn Apple’s preferred approach.

If Apple does not go quite so high-end, it could update the M1 to its next generation (dubbed M1X or M2). Benchmarks of this chip have apparently leaked out, pegging it at 12 CPU cores (up from the four in the M1), although we will have to see if they prove to be real.

There is one other possibility: Apple could stick with Intel chips for a little longer. This would allow developers of professional apps more time to port their products across to the Apple Silicon architecture. If that happens, Apple will surely need a chunky chassis for the iMac Pro to house the cooling system and discrete GPU that will almost certainly be included. Yet given the expected 2022 release date — and Apple’s commitment to a two-year transition to Apple Silicon chips from 2020 — this prospect seems unlikely.

An XDR display seems probable

Apple's XDR technology debuted on the Pro Display XDR.
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The current iMac sits at 24 inches across, up from the 21.5-inch model it replaced. That increased size came from Apple reducing the bezels around the edge of the screen. You can still buy a version with a 27-inch display, but it is almost certain this will get the same treatment as its 21.5-inch counterpart and have its screen size shifted up a notch. Our money is on something in the 30- to 32-inch range.

Along with this amplified screen size will be a greater screen resolution. The 24-inch iMac comes with an impressive 4.5K resolution, while the current 27-inch iMac sits pretty at 5K. As with the screen size, though, we would expect the resolution to move up, again because that’s exactly what happened to the smaller iMac, which went from 4K to 4.5K. Apple’s Pro Display XDR (the monitor made for the Mac Pro) has a 6K resolution, so we think that’s what Apple will be targeting for the top-end iMac or iMac Pro.

But to truly earn that “Pro” name, the larger iMac will need a display that clearly differentiates it from the 24-inch iMac, and a higher resolution might not be enough. To augment the increased pixel count, we would not be surprised if Apple brought its XDR brand name into play like it did for the latest iPad Pro. This brings a huge contrast ratio and peak brightness, as well as key techs like True Tone, the P3 color gamut, and HDR support. That would really set the iMac Pro apart.

Everything else we expect to see

The 24-inch iMac's peripherals were redesigned and color-matched.

Touch ID has been around on Macs for years, but it only came to the iMac’s Magic Keyboard in April 2021 as part of the midrange $1,499 offering. That makes it a dead cert for the iMac Pro or higher-end iMac when it releases, giving the quick convenience of logging in and verifying purchases with a touch of your finger.

Alternatively, Apple could supersede Touch ID with something even better: Face ID. We know the company is working on adding this secure login tech to the Mac because of a smattering of patents — the only question is whether it is ready. Given the chaos that the coronavirus has caused in the industry, Face ID might not be quite ready, but we have our fingers crossed. With the projected 2022 release date, that might be just enough time for Apple to make it a reality, and reliable reporter Mark Gurman agrees, predicting it could arrive as soon as next year.

There has also been a lot of talk of the 2021 MacBook Pro getting much more port variety, including the return of the HDMI slot and SD card reader. Given the iMac Pro’s demanding professional audience — and the variety of peripherals and devices they use — the next top-end iMac is likely to have many more ports than just the USB-C slots offered on the current entry-level iMac. Keep an eye on the upcoming MacBook Pro models when they launch for what might be a sneak peek at the ports offered on the iMac Pro.

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Computing

Microsoft Surface Duo 2: Rumors, Specs, Design, and More

In 2020, Microsoft released the Surface Duo, and it didn’t end up being as popular as the company had hoped. Reviewers and early adopters of the device mentioned issues with the software, the cameras, and even performance.

One year later, Microsoft is apparently working on a follow-up to the device, code-named Zeta. It is believed to address a lot of problems from the first Surface Duo and could be coming at the end of this year. Here’s a look at everything we currently know about the device so far.

Price and release date

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Microsoft has largely been quiet about the Surface Duo 2, and there is no official word yet on when it can be expected. However, since Microsoft usually releases new Surface hardware in the fall, you can expect Surface Duo 2 around the same time the original Surface Duo released. That would be around late October, just in time for the holiday season. But take that with a fine grain of salt. The pandemic has had an impact on the mobile phone chip industry, and a Duo 2 might be delayed because of it.

Microsoft also has a “flash sale” on the Duo at the moment, selling it for more than half off, suggesting a new model could be released soon. When it comes to pricing on the Duo 2, though, we expect Microsoft to keep the same price range as the original Surface Duo. Many had said the device was too expensive to begin with, but coming from the Surface range, it will again be an expensive venture. You can expect the Duo 2 to be around $1,400.

Specs and performance

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

One of the biggest criticisms of the original Surface Duo was the fact that it featured “last year’s” Qualcomm Snapdragon processor under the hood. It also lacked many features like NFC, a rear-facing camera, and wireless charging. A lot of that is expected to change in the Surface Duo 2, according to rumors from Windows Central.

Surface Duo 2 could come with the “latest flagship from 2021.” If that holds up to be true, it will likely be the Snapdragon 888 processor, which can be found in other phones like the Galaxy S21 5G. That means the Duo will finally get 5G support for faster connectivity to the internet. It will also pick up support for NFC, allowing for contactless payments at subways, restaurants, and other places — a feature that is becoming common to use during the pandemic.

You can also expect the same amount of RAM and storage as the original. Those included 6GB of RAM as well as 128GB or 256GB of storage on the original Duo. A bump in RAM would be respectable, but it doesn’t appear likely at the moment.

But a jump in the processor won’t be too bad, either. Since the Surface Duo has two screens and is all about multitasking, a newer processor could help boost the responsiveness of the device. Opening apps side by side would be even faster and leave you more room to play. Even gaming might see some boosts, especially since Microsoft has worked to improve Xbox Game Pass for the Duo, allowing you to use the second screen as a controller.

Camera

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Rumor has it that the Surface Duo 2 could come with a better camera, as seen on an earlier prototype device for the original Duo. There could be a camera bump on the exterior, which would allow for world-facing photography.

Coming in at 11 megapixels, the camera on the original Duo isn’t necessarily bad, but the performance in low-light conditions made it hard to use for some. The fact that the screen had to be turned around each time the camera was needed for a world-facing photo also complicated things. Sometimes, the software was buggy, and the camera or the screen would not activate.

With a dedicated camera on the rear, the Duo 2 could end up more like a traditional phone, where you can use the external camera for photos of you around the world instead of depending on your selfie camera for everything. This is important at a time when other phone makers are including dual-, triple-, or even quad-camera setups on their devices.

Software

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

As far as the software goes, you can expect the Duo 2 to ship with Android 11. The original Surface Duo came with Android 10, and, as of writing, still hasn’t gotten the Android 11 update. The reason for the delay could be the fact that Microsoft is working with Google to tweak Android on the Duo 2 first. But that’s just a rumor.

Android 11 comes with improvements for dual-screen devices and foldables, so don’t count it out for the Duo 2. Other dual-screen phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 have already gotten Android 11 updates, and Google is already working on beta testing Android 12 on Pixel phones. So even if the Duo 2 launches with Android 11, it might still be a year old. However, Microsoft did say it was committed to three years of updates for the original Duo, so if the phone comes with Android 11, then it will eventually get Android 12, too.

Design

Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Along with the camera changes, the design might get a bit of a tweak on the Duo 2. There could be more rounded corners with bigger displays as well as slimmer bezels. This is “for a more streamlined fit and finish,” according to Windows Central. At the same time, the dimensions of the Duo won’t change from the original. The device was already plenty thin and light, coming in at 0.19 inches in thickness and a little under half a pound in weight.

There’s even the chance that Microsoft’s Duo 2 could go the way of the Surface Pro lineup. Microsoft had filed a patent for a kickstand on a hinged device, which the Duo just so happens to be. The word wasn’t mentioned in the patent, but rather “integrated support,” suggesting that it might not really be for the Duo after all.

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Game

Square Enix pumps the brakes on buyout rumors

It’s been a very up and down day for rumors regarding Square Enix. First, we heard a report claiming that multiple buyers were potentially interested in buying Square Enix – a rumor that’s particularly easy to believe in a world where Microsoft can drop $7.5 billion to acquire Bethesda and all of its subsidiaries. Now, Square Enix has issued a statement on those rumors, attempting to pump the brakes on any speculation that it might soon be bought out by another company.

In that statement (PDF), Square Enix insists that it does not have have any plans to sell and, indeed, hasn’t received any offers. “Bloomberg has reported today that there is interest from several buyers to acquire Square Enix,” the company said. “However, this report is not based on any announcement by Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. We do not consider selling off the company or any part of its businesses, nor have we received any offer from any third party to acquire the company or any part of its businesses.”

The Bloomberg report Square Enix references appeared earlier today on Bloomberg Japan. The report is short and to the point, citing two bankers familiar with the matter who said that several potential buyers had shown interest in buying the company while also noting that it was unclear if those buyers were looking to purchase the company as a whole or just its gaming segments.

It isn’t hard to imagine some larger companies targeting a potential acquisition of Square Enix. Microsoft and Sony both seem to be on buying sprees at the moment, and for Sony in particular, buying Square Enix could be a suitable answer to Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda earlier in the year.

For now, however, Square Enix remains an independent company, and it sounds like it won’t become anyone’s subsidiary anytime soon. It seems those buyers cited in Bloomberg Japan’s report today will have to turn their attention to other massive game companies if they want to make a purchase.

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