Google has finally put an end to the rumours surrounding the name of its next Android operating system update. Android Q is no more, and there's no Quinoa, Quiche, or Quesadilla anymore either, as the tech giant has done away with food-based names completely due to the following reasoning:
First, we’re changing the way we name our releases. Our engineering team has always used internal code names for each version, based off of tasty treats, or desserts, in alphabetical order. This naming tradition has become a fun part of the release each year externally, too. But we’ve heard feedback over the years that the names weren’t always understood by everyone in the global community
In addition to the name change, Google has also updated the mobile platform's logo. The colour of the text has been changed from green to black, the font has also changed, and a close-up of the Android robot is now coloured a different shade of green.
It’s a small change, but we found the green was hard to read, especially for people with visual impairments. The logo is often paired with colors that can make it hard to see—so we came up with a new set of color combinations that improve contrast
Do you think Google should have adopted more global food names instead of going the numeric route? Let us know below.
Ultra-wide monitors have become more and more popular in today’s market, with sizes ranging from 30” to a massive 49”. However, do we really need this much screen estate for gaming? Are there other uses for a gaming monitor that promises the best ultra-wide experience? Well, we were able to get our hands on the MSi Optix MPG341CQR, only recently released in SA, and wondered, “okay, but what else can it do”?
we were able to get our hands on the MSi Optix MPG341CQR, only recently released in SA, and wondered, “okay, but what else can it do”?
PANEL SIZE: 34"
PANEL RESOLUTION: 3440 x 1440
REFRESH RATE: 144Hz
RESPONSE TIME: 1ms
PANEL TYPE: VA
BRIGHTNESS (NITS): 400
VIEWING ANGLE: 178° / 178°
ASPECT RATIO: 21:9
CONTRAST RATIO: 3000:1
DCR: 100 000 000:1
ACTIVE DISPLAY AREA (MM): 797.22(H) x 333.72(V)
PIXEL PITCH (H X V): 0.23175(H)X0.23175(V)
SURFACE TREATMENT: Anti-Glare
DISPLAY COLORS: 1.07 B
DCI-P3 / SRGB: 84% / 105%
VIDEO PORTS: 1x DP(1.4), 2x HDMI (2.0), 1x USB Type C (DisplyPort Alternate)
USB PORTS: 3x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type B (PC to Monitor)
AUDIO PORTS: 1x Earphone out, 1x Mic in, 1x Combo Jack (PC to Monitor)
KENSINGTON LOCK: Yes
VESA MOUNTING: 100 x 100mm
CONTROL: 5-way OSD navigation Joystick
POWER TYPE: Internal Adaptor
POWER INPUT: 100~240V, 50~60Hz
POWER CONSUMPTION: 90W
SIGNAL FREQUENCY: 70.56 to 214.56KHz(H}, 48 to 144Hz(V)
ADJUSTMENT (TILT): -5° ~ 15°
ADJUSTMENT (SWIVEL): -30° ~ 30°
ADJUSTMENT (HEIGHT): 0-100mm
DIMENSION (W X H X D): 810.6 x 324.2 x 563mm /31.9” x 12.76” x22.17”
WEIGHT (NW / GW): 9.6kg / 13.51kg, 21.16lbs/ 29.76lbs
NOTE: Display Port:3440 x 1440 (Up to 144Hz), HDMI:3440 x 1440 (Up to 100Hz), Type C: 3440 x 1440 (Up to 144Hz)
The MSi Optix MPG341CQR monitor features a 34” curved ultra-wide panel, supporting a 3440 x 1440p resolution size. The VA panel type prevents reflections from interrupting any sort of viewing or display on the monitor, and combined with the 144Hz refresh rate - and the 1ms response time - the Optix MPG341CQR ensures a buttery smooth experience.
The panel itself produces 400 nits of brightness, provides a viewing angle of 178 degrees/178 degrees, with an aspect ratio of 21:9. However, you can adjust the aspect ratio to suit your needs, such as a traditional 16:9 for platforms that cannot support 21:9, such as a PS4. The Optix MPG341CQR also features HDR 400 functionality, which is supported by both PC and console.
The MSi Optix MPG341CQR monitor features a 34” curved ultra-wide panel, supporting a 3440 x 1440p resolution size.
The 1800R curved panel improves immersion in any scenario, while reducing eye strain, as 1800R has been proven to be the best curvature ratio. The monitor also features GameSense from SteelSeries, which allows in-game notifications to be displayed through the RGB LED at the bottom of the panel. Speaking of RGB, the MSi Optix MPG341CQR features MSi’s patented Mystic Light RGB system, allowing the lighting on the monitor to sync with other Mystic Light supported components.
The MSi Optix MPG341CQR offers less blue light over other monitors in its category, with Anti-Flicker technology, as well as an anti-glare coating on the surface of the panel, to ease the strain on your eyes as much as possible - which is further bolstered by the 1800R curvature. Finally, the MSi Optix also features Adaptive Sync, as well as a frameless design.
The monitor also features GameSense from SteelSeries, which allows in-game notifications to be displayed through the RGB LED at the bottom of the panel.
The MSi Optix MPG341CQR was a fantastic monitor, especially for those looking for a multi-purpose solution in terms of gaming and work performance. Thanks to the UWQHD panel, we were able to work on multiple projects at the same time, as well as access multiple Google Chrome windows while working on content. Multi-tasking, as we touched on, was a breeze thanks to the extra screen real estate, and even something as simple as editing sound was easier, thanks to the ability to pull in new resources without leaving tabs.
Even if you aren’t doing something as exciting as editing videos, sounds, or creating content in general, accessing more traditional work performance tasks, such as Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations, were easier to work on as well. On the other hand, if you enjoy having access to Spotify, iTunes, or other musical platforms, while you work, the MSi Optix handled this - as with all other multitasking - beautifully.
In terms of gaming (the stuff that actually matters), the MSi Optix MPG341CQR is a powerhouse. The contrast ratio of 3000:1 and DCR of 100 000 000:1 displayed most titles exceptionally well, with crystal clear distinctions in colours and detailing. For those titles that support a 21:9 aspect ratio - which, thankfully, is most titles these days - the enhanced immersion really elevated the experience.
For example, CS:GO, I was able to see enemy players a few moments earlier than usual, thanks to the extra rendering space. This was, of course, supported by the 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, competitive gaming was a whole new ball-game. The GameSense by SteelSeries was odd to begin with, but it doesn’t take long for it to become second nature. Rather than set my health to the lighting, I used the GameSense to track my ammo expenditure, which gave me almost real-time indications to reload. While this may not turn you into a pro overnight, it will definitely make managing ammo inventory much easier.
For non-competitive gaming, however, the biggest improvement to the gameplay element was the ultra-wide panel. As we spoke about before, the enhance immersion made titles such as Monster Hunter: World that much more amazing. However, one genre that benefitted the most outside of competitive gaming, were racing games, such as F1 2019 and Project Cars 2. We were fortunate enough to have access to a steering wheel as well, and the combination of the ecosystem - mainly down to the monitor - made us feel as if were actually on the racetrack.
One feature that impressed us was the auto aspect ratio adjustment, which allowed us effortlessly switch between an ultra-wide PC experience, and a traditional 16:9 console experience, simply by switching inputs. Speaking of, the MSi Optix MPG341CQR offers one DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0, and one USB-C - or DisplayPort Alternate - inputs, allowing you to connect up to four inputs at a single time. Managing everything was super easy thanks to 5-way navigation joystick, as well as the seamless Gaming OSD .
One feature that impressed us was the auto aspect ratio adjustment, which allowed us effortlessly switch between an ultra-wide PC experience, and a traditional 16:9 console experience, simply by switching inputs.
The design of the MSi Optix MPG341CQR is pretty simple - a black colour scheme makes the RGB lighting at the bottom pop, even in daytime conditions. The front portion of the panel features the frameless design with a larger bezel at the bottom of the panel. The rear side of the monitor features some edgier design implementations, with RGB lightings and super-sexy goldish MSi badge, and a brushed aluminum finish. All of the input connections are on the rear side of the monitor, with the 5-way navigation joystick, and two USB 3.0 slots on the left side.
Overall, the MSi Optix MPG341CQR sports a tonne of features into a pretty optimal viewing experience. The 1800R curvature, 34” panel size, and 3440 x 1440p resolution size made multitasking flawless and easy on the eyes. The multiple input sources make switching between platforms effortless, as well as the auto aspect-ratio adjustments. Finally, the Mystic Light and GameSense RGB management give you customisation, as well as game-critical information that is always visible to you. All of this at a price point of R 9 799,00, makes the MSi Optix MPG341CQR a fantastic, and attainable, investment.
A motherboard, a critically overlooked piece of hardware - misunderstood, more so - is the Central Nervous System of the PC. Higher-end motherboards are often scoffed at, labelled as just for PC enthusiasts who spend more time in the BIOS than actually using it. However, the MSi MEG X570 ACE shows that a high-end motherboard should be in everybody's PC.
SOCKET: AM4CPU (MAX SUPPORT): Ryzen 9CHIPSET: AMD X570 ChipsetDDR4 MEMORY: 1866/ 2133/ 2400/ 2667/ 2800/2933 /3000 /3066 /3200 /3466 /3600 /3733 /3866 /4000 /4133 /4266 /4400 /4533 /4600 + Mhz by JEDEC and A-XMP OC MODEMEMORY CHANNEL: DualDIMM SLOTS: 4MAX MEMORY (GB): 128PCI-E X16: 2PCI-E X4: 2PCI-E X1: 3SATAIII: 4M.2 SLOT: 3RAID: 0/1/10TPM (HEADER): 1LAN: 1x Intel® WGI211AT Gigabit LAN controller, 1x Realtek® RTL8125 2.5 Gbps LAN controllerUSB 3.2 PORTS (FRONT): 1(Gen2, Type C), 4(Gen1, Type A)USB 3.2 PORTS (REAR): 1(Gen2, Type C), 3(Gen2, Type A), 2(Gen1, Type A)USB 2.0 PORTS (FRONT): 4USB 2.0 PORTS (REAR): 2AUDIO PORTS (REAR): 5+ Optical S/PDIF (Realtek® ALC1220 Codec)DIRECTX: 12FORM FACTOR: ATXSLI: YesCROSSFIRE: YesOPERATING SYSTEM: Support for Windows 10 64-bit
The MSi MEG X570 ACE is dedicated to supporting the new Ryzen 3000 chips, but unfortunately, we were not able to secure a chip for testing at the time of writing this review. However, we thought this would be a great opportunity to see what the new line MSi motherboards can offer current Ryzen 2000 users - like myself - and if it would be worth our time.
The MSi MEG X570 ACE offers a redesigned heatsink design over the previous X470 generations, as well as its own fan for cooling. Furthermore, it offers a built-in I/O shield, making installation easier, and safer as well. Adding to convenience, the X570 offers an internal Wi-Fi 6 solution, so that you don't need to worry about pesky network adapters, with an antenna to aid in the edgy aesthetic, rather than the traditional two rods - giving you up to 2400Mbps network speed.
The X570 offers Core Boost technology, which regulates power delivery to the CPU, ensuring that every drop of performance can be squeezed from your CPU.
The X570 ACE offers two 8-pin CPU connectors to meet the TDW needs of the Gen-3 Ryzen chips, but separate connectors also mean support for the older Ryzen 2000 chips, as well as low TDW Ryzen 3000 chips. Thanks to the server-grade PCB and the IR Digital PWM, as well as the enhanced power delivery throughout the board, the X570 ensures stable and durable power delivery to all components for optimal performance. Also, the X570 offers Core Boost technology, which regulates power delivery to the CPU, ensuring that every drop of performance can be squeezed from your CPU.
One of the most exciting innovations brought in with the new Ryzen 3000 chips is the support for PCIe Gen 4, offering faster transfer speeds and more stable connections. Thankfully, MSi has also included PCIe Gen 4 support on their X570 ACE, giving you up to 64 GB/s maximum transfer speed through M.2 drives.
As we touched on very briefly earlier, the MEG X570 ACE offers a through, and redesigned, cooling solution, using MSi's staple Frozr technology system, along with a new Frozr Heatsink design, to actively remove heat generated by the motherboard, through the built-in fan. The heat pipe has always been enlarged, extending from the MOS heatsink to the chipset heatsink, providing superior cooling, compared to the previous X470. The cooling extends to the three M.2 slots on the board, offering MSi's patented Shield Frozr thermal solution, boosting performance through preventing thermal throttling.
Thankfully, MSi has also included PCIe Gen 4 support on their X570 ACE, giving you up to 64 GB/s maximum transfer speed through M.2 drives.
The first thing we looked at was the performance gain from the PCIe Gen 4 support in the M.2 drives. We used the recently released Seagate FireCuda 510 2TB NVMe SSD in the upper slot, and the Seagate BarraCuda 510 512GB NVMe SSD in the second. Transferring between the drives was almost instantaneous, and transferring between one of these and a standard SATA SSD, maxed out at the 500mb read/write of the SSD's, but the stability in large files was the impressive part.
The support for 2nd Gen Ryzen chips was equally impressive, as the Ryzen 2700 we tested was a simple drop-and-go. There were no drivers needed to get things working, but we did update drivers - as you should - to ensure that the board and CPU communicated effectively. It is somewhat sad to see that the new X570 chipsets don't support Gen 1 Ryzen chips, and I hope that AMD add that support in at a later stage, but it does also make sense.
The support for 2nd Gen Ryzen chips was equally impressive, as the Ryzen 2700 we tested was a simple drop-and-go.
In terms of overclocking, the Ryzen series of CPU's never really offered that much overclocking headroom, but that's down to AMD making extra performance readily available for everyone. However, I was able to push the Ryzen 2700 to 4.3GHz stable, and while I could have attempted to push further, I didn't feel it was worth the performance gain for possible crashing. Pushing the DRAM was super easy, as all I needed to do was activate the X-AMP profile -of which there were two; one for 2933MHz, and the other for 3200MHz - which boosted RAM frequencies to a stable 3200MHz. For this test, we used the G. Skill Trident Z RGB 16GB kit, and thanks to the stability of the RAM, the X570, and the CPU support, I was able to push past this on manual overclocking to a cool 4000Mhz with some slight performance drops, and a stable 3600Mhz at peak performance. However, the X570 ACE does support up to 4600Mhz RAM frequency, and 128GB capacity.
When it comes to design, the X570 ACE conforms to a more elegant and upper echelon appeal, with a smooth black finish across the board, with gold/brown trim, accents, and decals around the board. Further adding to the design is the Inifinity mirror on the I/O heatsink to give the board that extra sense of depth.
The layout remains the same from models before, and I welcome this with open arms, because there is nothing worse than having to redo cable management when upgrading a motherboard. However, the standard layout made it easy to re-install cables from the front I/O, SATA drives, and, of course, all the millions of fans we usually have in our cases.
The RGB support through MSi's Mystic Light software offers the chance for your to make the lighting your own, as well as synchronising your lighting across all supported devices. Thankfully, the RGB wasn't intrusive, as the only real source of light that you will see is the gorgeous infinity mirror, as well as other lighting you have in your system.
Further adding to the design is the Inifinity mirror on the I/O heatsink to give the board that extra sense of depth.
Overall, The MSi MEG X570 ACE is a perfect entry for those looking to enter the extreme motherboard ecosystem, but thanks to MSi's simplification of the BIOS, the layout, and the beautiful design, it's isn't intimidating to newcomers. The support for Ryzen 2nd Gen is excellent, with a simple drop-and-go system, and the convenience of built-in I/O shields and WiFi solutions makes setup a breeze. Lastly, the build quality offers the piece of mind that no matter what component you put on the X570 ACE, you are getting the most out of it.
For the last week, I’ve had my hands on the ASUS’ Republic of Gamers upcoming “PNK LTD” range, an aesthetic overhaul of their existing products, which looks way more stylish in action than I thought it would. By far the most striking of the peripherals I got to play with was the Strix Flare PNK LTD mechanical keyboard.
Connectivity: WiredOS Support: Windows® 10/7Dimensions: 454 x 155 x 31 mmWeight: 1256 g with cableColour: Pink, GreySwitch Type: Cherry MX Mechanical SwitchInterface available: Keyboard : USBContents: 1 x Flare Keyboard, 2 x ROG Logo Stickers, 1 x Blank Customizable Badge, 1 x Wrist Rest, Quick Start Guide
The Strix Flare PNK LTD is a full-sized, wired mechanical keyboard (with a Numpad) that uses Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches to provide a distinctive mechanical feel, with relatively light actuation pressures. The switches require a 0.45 N actuation force (~45 g), with a total of 4 mm travel - the preferred configuration for E-sports professionals. As someone more comfortable with switches that require a higher operating force, I’d occasionally depress the wrong key while speed-typing, but each key offers 2 mm of pre-travel, greatly reducing the chance of this happening while working or gaming. Thankfully, the Strix Flare PNK LTD is not covered in dozens of macro of shortcut buttons, rather relying on several Fn+ keys, which I personally consider a big plus when it comes to stylish design.
The Strix Flare PNK LTD is a full-sized, wired mechanical keyboard (with a Numpad) that uses Cherry MX RGB mechanical key switches to provide a distinctive mechanical feel, with relatively light actuation pressures
In terms of software features, ASUS' ROG Armoury II software allows you to program dozens of macros and store them in the onboard memory. By default, the keyboard offers several media and gaming shortcuts, such as the dedicated volume roller on the top-left and the ability to lock Windows shortcuts while gaming. The frame itself is made of sturdy plastic, coming in at 454 x 155 x 31 mm, and weighs just over 1.2 kg with the cable attached. For those that want to add their own visual flair, a detachable clear acrylic badge – which slots into the top-right of the keyboard - can be decorated with a decal of your choice and will always be illuminated. For those who have their desktop PC or gaming notebook out of reach, the keyboard also offers a USB-passthrough for additional peripherals or USB hubs.
In terms of software features, ASUS' ROG Armoury II software allows you to program dozens of macros and store them in the onboard memory
The Strix Flare PNK LTD is a great, if no-frills, mechanical gaming keyboard, but the new range is clearly about the aesthetics.
There’s no doubt the Strix Flare PNK LTD mechanical keyboard will make a statement on any desk, combining a dusty pink frame with pink and grey keys supporting a full-range of RGB lighting effects. Despite my initial reservations, the colour combination looks great (I wore dusty pink and grey to my wedding, so I’ve got no grounds to complain). By default, the pink and grey design is complemented by white-blue or white-pink backlighting, and it looks incredible. Using the same Aura Sync technology as ASUS’ other keyboards, you can use either the ROG Armoury II software to customise your lighting scheme (and sync it with your mouse) or use the simple keyboard shortcuts to cycle quickly between colours, patterns, and brightness.
By default, the pink and grey design is complemented by white-blue or white-pink backlighting, and it looks incredible
The PNK LTD peripherals look great when paired together, but their distinctive colour present one big issue – integrating them into your existing setup. The bulk of modern notebooks and PC towers are black, a colour that contrasts nicely with the extensive RGB-lighting offered by many peripherals and hardware components. Opinions will vary, but I found black doesn’t gel well with the grey and pink design, even after setting every RGB component I had to pink.
If you’re just looking for both a no-frills but functional and stylish keyboard, the Strix Flare PNK LTD is a great choice. However, if you’re looking to build an aesthetically-cohesive setup, you might incur extra expense reskinning your notebook or investing in a new desktop tower.
If you’re just looking for both a no-frill but functional and stylish keyboard, the Strix Flare PNK LTD is a great choice