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October 2020 top product alerts: Radeon 6000 GPUs, Zen 3 CPUs & more


October may not have matched September’s deluge of product announcements, but it still brought a couple of zingers. We’ve highlighted the best of the bunch, along with a few items that launched this month so you don’t miss out. (Shortages are a real thing these days.)

At this point, we’re starting to move past announcements into product arrivals. Still, a couple of major reveals happened. The biggest is AMD’s Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards—and the bold claim that its top-end card matches (and sometimes even beats) Nvidia’s beefy RTX 3090.

October 2020’s top product announcements

AMD Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards

radeon 6000 series AMD

AMD’s Big Navi graphics cards look like they’ll give Nvidia a run for its money.

Turns out that Big Navi is pretty huge. In its October 28 announcement, AMD unveiled its first RDNA2 graphics cards—along with benchmarks showing the RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT holding their own against Nvidia’s monster RTX 30-series GPUs. Moreover, the two highest-end cards undercut Nvidia’s offerings in price, with the RX 6900 XT costing a whopping $500 less than the RTX 3090. We’re looking forward to what our own benchmarks will reveal when these cards launch on November 18 (RX 6800, RX 6800 XT) and December 8 (RX 6900 XT).

Alienware AW2521H 360Hz Gaming Monitor

Alienware AW2521H 360Hz gaming monitor Dell

You don’t have to be a competitive gamer to appreciate the fluidity of a 360Hz monitor.

Finding the perfect gaming monitor for your tastes used to be harder, even if you had ready cash to blow—but nowadays, companies push out more and more panels with a range of resolutions, dimensions, and features. Alienware’s newest boasts an ultra-high refresh rate, providing a 360Hz 1080p IPS display with a 1ms gray-to-gray response time and G-Sync. Come November, you’ll be able to pick up this 24-inch monitor and its promised liquid smoothness for a cool $900.

New WD Black PCIe SSDs

en us wd black an1500 hero smaller cropped WD

WD’s Black AN1500 PCIe card pairs two Gen 3 NVMe drives in RAID 0 to deliver speeds nearly on par with a Gen 4 NVMe SSD.

The selection of Gen 4 SSDs continues to gradually expand, with WD among the vendors adding to their lineup. The WD Black SN850 will come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities starting at $150, with a read speed of 7,000MBps and write speed of 5,300MBps for its 1TB model. Availability begins now (end of October), with an RGB model following in early 2021.

Got a PC without PCIe 4.0 support? The WD Black AN1500 pairs two SN750 Gen 3 NVMe SSDs on a RAID 0 PCIe card to provide blistering speeds that come close to those of a Gen 4 drive. In our review of the 2TB model, we found it reached a 6,500MBps read speed and a write speed exceeding 4,000MBps—not bad if you have a spare PCIe x8 (or x16) slot available.

Google Pixel 5

pixel 5 Google

Google’s Pixel 5 may share the same processor with the Pixel 4a, but it still packs in enough features to avoid feeling cheap.

Google’s latest iteration of its premium Android phone costs hundreds of dollars less than rival flagship phones, with a greater focus on features than raw specs. (It shares the same processor with the cheaper Pixel 4a; upgrades focus on other specs like RAM, battery capacity, and display refresh rate.) Our early impressions of the Pixel 5 indicate that, as usual, its camera and stock Android experience are its primary advantages.

AMD Ryzen 5000 processors

dr lisa su 8 AMD

With Zen 3, AMD seeks to stand toe-to-toe with Intel in games.

Each generation of Zen processors has shown steady improvement. But instead of core count increases this time around, AMD has focused on eliminating Intel’s last advantage. In its reveal of four new Zen 3 CPUs—the 5950X, 5900X, 5800X, and 5600X—the company touted gaming performance that matches or beats those of rival chips. We’ll find out if that’s true when these CPUs launch on November 5…as well as whether they’re worth the increase in price.

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