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PNY GTX 1650 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition

What is the PNY GTX 1650 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition?

The PNY GTX 1650 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition is a new graphics card based on Nvidia’s cheapest 16 Series GPU. With no Founders Edition model of the GPU, we’ve instead tested the third-party PNY variant. 

The 16 Series graphics cards are aimed at those not willing to shell a significant amount of cash on fancy features such as ray tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), but still want to see a decent performance for Full HD gaming. The GTX 1660 Ti is our current champion for that criteria, but the GTX 1650 here sees the price hammered down even further, consequently seeing a diluted performance.

The PNY GTX 1650 graphics card is absolutely tiny and will fit in almost any PC case

The GTX 1650 is effectively a replacement for Nvidia’s GTX 1050 graphics card, delivering boosted specs and performance without seeing a major price increase. The most notable difference between the GTX 1650 and its GTX 1050 predecessor though, is the jump to the new Turing architecture known as TU116.

This Turing architecture gives the GTX 1650 new Turing shader innovations, using the card’s GPU grunt more efficiently to drive up frame rates. But despite how impressive and effective these smart shading techniques are, they can’t quite make up for the underwhelming specs. 

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2019

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MSI RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio

What is the MSI RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio?

The MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio is a third-party version of Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Super card, a specced-up edition of the standard RTX 2070. 

With the older vanilla RTX 2070s being pulled from stores, new Super editions are filling the void it left behind, boasting superior specs – and slightly steeper prices. Nvidia has almost definitely made this move to counter the arrival of AMD’s new RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards, providing a blitzing performance and fancy features such as ray tracing, instead of offering bargain-tastic value. 

The MSI variant on test here further increases clock speeds, while also optimising overclocking potential with a triple-fan setup to prevent the GPU overheating. But with all of these modifications comes a hefty price, which could well be a deal breaker with its AMD rivals priced so competitively. 

Although, don’t forget, the MSI RTX 2070 Super Gaming X Trio is both more expensive and more powerful than the Founders Edition RTX 2070 Super, so don’t take this review as a complete reflection on Nvidia’s own vanilla version. 

Related: Best Graphics Card 2019

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Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO Review

What is the Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO?

The Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO is Asus’s third-party version of Nvidia’s RTX 2060 Super, an upgraded edition of the original RTX 2060. 

Coming in the wake of AMD’s new Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 TX, the new RTX 2060 Super very much feels like a reaction from Nvidia, possibly spooked by the excellent value the new Navi-based graphics processors offer. 

The new RTX 2060 Super should offer performance that not only supersedes the previous RTX 2060 from six months ago, but also sees off the fresh challenge from AMD. 

The Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO is an incredibly large graphics card, so it might not be the best fit for small cases

While the only version we’ve been able to get our mitts on so far is the Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO, it shares the same design and many of the core specs announced by Nvidia, and supports Nvidia’s current trump card feature – real-time ray tracing. 

Of course, be aware the Asus Dual RTX 2060 Super O8G-EVO is more powerful and more expensive than the Founders Edition RTX 2060 Super, so don’t take this review as a complete reflection on Nvidia’s own vanilla version. 

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AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT Review

What is the AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT?

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT is one of the very first graphics cards to launch with AMD’s long awaited Navi architecture, which uses 7nm process technology. With the AMD Navi architecture touted to be the foundation of the custom-built GPUs for the PS5 and Xbox 2 next-gen consoles, this is an extremely exciting addition to AMD’s graphics card lineup. 

AMD has positioned the RX 5700 XT graphics card as a competitor for Nvidia’s RTX 2070 graphics card, with similar specs and performance for Full HD and Quad HD gaming despite being £70 cheaper.

The one massive issue for AMD’s RTX alternative though, is that it lacks the technology required to enable ray tracing, which sees games treated to stunning and more realistic lighting and reflection effects. 

The ‘Radeon’ lettering glows red when plugged into a motherboard and turned on

To compensate, AMD has added a slew of extra features to its RX 5000 Series cards, including Radeon Image Sharpening and Radeon Anti-Lag. The former feature looks to restore clarity to in-game images that have been negatively impacted by other post-process effects, while the latter claims to reduce the time between player input and display response by up to 31% which should please competitive gamers. 

But let’s be honest, the contest between graphics cards is largely going to come down to raw performance and value for money, both of which AMD seems confident as it faces off against Nvidia’s RTX range. 

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AMD Radeon RX 5700 Review

What is the AMD Radeon RX 5700?

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 is currently the cheapest graphics card sporting AMD’s new Navi architecture, offering a budget alternative to the rest of the line up. 

Like the RX 5700 XT, the more powerful sibling, the RX 5700 is capable of playing modern AAA games in Quad HD at 60fps. That said, by opting for this cheaper model, you may struggle to consistently hit that target frame rate for the most demanding of titles, such as The Division 2, but a little fiddling in the graphics setting will certainly amend that. 

The RX5700, sat in our test rig and paired with a Ryzen 9 3900X, with a Wraith Prism fan sat on top

But while you might have to sacrifice a bit of performance power by picking the RX 5700 over the more powerful XT model, you’re not losing out on any of the features. The likes of Radeon Image Sharpening, Radeon Anti-Lag and Radeon Chill are all present and accounted for, but sadly there’s still no ray tracing in sight. 

Such an omission may well swing the advantage over to Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards, especially following the launch of the RTX 2060 Super card, which inhabits the same price point. However, if you’re not bothered about the new light rendering technology, the AMD Radeon RX 5700 looks to be our top recommended Quad HD card. 

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2019

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Asus ROG Maximus XI Extreme

What is the Asus ROG Maximus XI Extreme?

The Asus ROG Maximus XI Extreme is one of the more expensive motherboards around, with a price of £430 – and for that price you get a product absolutely packed with features.

While that’s a huge amount to pay for a motherboard, it isn’t the most expensive slab of PCB I’ve seen recently. The MSI MEG Z390 Godlike and Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme occupy the same sort of territory as the Asus, and they arrived at £530 and £500 respectively.

Related: Best Motherboards 2019

Asus ROG Maximus XI Extreme – Design and features

Shell out for this pricey Asus board and the one thing you can be sure of is a decent physical design. The rear I/O and the adjacent chokes and VRMs are covered with monolithic heatsinks in different shades of grey, and the southbridge has similar hardware.

A large portion of the rear is covered with even more metal. It has two roles: it helps with heat dissipation, and is home to a strip of RGB LEDs that stretches along the entire right-hand side of the board.

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Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC

What is the Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC?

The Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC is a custom-built gaming PC configured specifically to get incredible value for HD gaming.

While you have the option of mixing and matching various other components and cases on offer, computer retailer Cyberpower has cherry picked what it believes to be the best components to perfectly balance performance and price.

Those components include the Gigabyte GTX 1660 graphics card, AMD Ryzen 5 2500X processor and Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR4 RAM for the best assemble since the Avengers.

There’s no question that the Cyberpower Ultra 5 GTX Gaming PC is a very capable gaming computer, but does it offer good value for the £725 price, or are you better off building a PC yourself?

Related: Best Gaming PC 2019

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Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) Review

What is the Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi)?

The Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero is one of two boards in this Z390 group that fall right into the mid-range of the modern Intel motherboard market – and this board is £15 more expensive than the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9.

Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) – Design and Features

The Hero’s core specification is well set up for single and dual-GPU PCs with some CPU overclocking.

It’s got three PCI-E x16 slots, and the top two have steel supports and can run at 8x speed – so, along with both AMD and Nvidia dual-graphics capability, you could easily slot two GPUs into this motherboard. The third slot is locked to 4x, so it’s fine for other expansion cards.

That PCI-E x16 configuration matches the cheaper ASRock board, although the Asus product does have three PCI-E x1 slots – one more than the Phantom Gaming 9.

The Asus pairs its solid PCI allocation with better aesthetic design than the ASRock. The Asus board has dark, brushed metal heatsinks on its north and south bridges alongside a chunky rear IO cover, and the board itself is entirely black. It’s certainly sleeker and more mature than the lighter metal and red and white streaks on the ASRock – and the Asus has more extensive rear IO covering, too.

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Asus TUF Z390-PLUS Gaming

What is the Asus TUF Z390-PLUS Gaming?

Asus’ TUF-branded components are designed for extra durability – and they’re also put together with entry-level builders in mind, which means features that should support easy construction and compatibility with other components.

What does that mean in practice, though, and does this board justify its £161 price in a market packed with rivals that don’t cost much more?

Asus TUF Z390-PLUS Gaming – Design and Features

The TUF Z390-PLUS Gaming certainly looks like a board that’s been built for durability. The southbridge heatsink and pre-installed rear IO cover are made from dark grey metal and have yellow accents, and those yellow accents continue across the black PCB. It almost looks like the board is made from survival gear, or that it’s wearing hi-vis.

Get beyond the eye-catching looks and you do get several features that improve this affordable board’s durability.

Many of the tiny components that make up the board, like the chokes, VRMs and capacitors, are designed to have up to five times the lifespan that you’d find in similar parts on other affordable motherboards. You get extra chips to guard against electrostatic discharge, and the DRM has over-voltage protection.

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ASRock Z390 Extreme4

What is the ASRock Z390 Extreme4?

The ASRock Z390 Extreme4 is a mid-range motherboard that’s designed to work with 8th-gen and 9th-gen Intel CPUs. As such, while on paper it can support high-end CPUs such as the Intel Core i9-9900K, it’s better suited to housing a less demanding processor. 

ASRock Z390 Extreme4 – Design and features

The ASRock’s higher price does buy you a good set of features for a board at this end of the market.

For instance, there are three PCI-E x16 slots. Two of them have steel supports, and two can be used at 8x speed – so, along with support for AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI, you have full support for dual-graphics in this machine. ASRock even includes an SLI bridge in the box.

That’s better than the £140 MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk and £161 Asus TUF Z390-Plus Gaming boards, and level with the £173 Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro. 

Related: Best motherboard 2019

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Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme

What is the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme?

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme is a hugely expensive motherboard, at £500, and it’s only around thirty pounds cheaper than its key Z390 rival – the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike.

Get closer to the two boards, though, and you’ll find that they have very different uses. The MSI board was built for work and creative tasks – while the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme is a pure gaming product.

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme – Design and Features

The Gigabyte board certainly has more outrageous physical design than the MSI product, which is no surprise considering that it’s aimed at gamers. 

The rear IO shield and the north and southbridge heatsinks are made of lighter metal, and the trio of M.2 heatsinks have a camouflaged pattern. They’re all covered with perspex, and RGB LEDs are installed in the M.2 heatsinks, the southbridge and the rear IO cover. Lighting is even installed into the audio cover, and you get four on-board connectors for adding light strips.

The back of the board is covered with a huge slab of metal that makes the Aorus heavier and thicker than the MSI – and almost any other motherboard. That metal cover allows Gigabyte to install a plastic band of RGB LEDs that extend down the entire right-hand side of the board.

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MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk

What is the MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk?

The MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk is the cheapest motherboard in this group of eight Z390 slates – and its £140 price offers a significant discount on rivals that all arrive at £160 or more.

MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk – Design and Features

The low price doesn’t mean that you get a plain-looking slab of PCB. This board is called the Tomahawk, and the design is full of military imagery: the southbridge heatsink and the heatsink above the LGA 1151 CPU socket are made from dark grey metal and are decorated with faux screws to make them look like weapons containers.

The same motif – along with the Tomahawk brand in military-style, stencilled lettering – is used on the chunky cover that’s used for the rear IO and the capacitors at the top of the board. It event extends to the small heatsink on top of the bottom M.2 slot.

The Tomahawk looks aggressive, and its feature set is reasonable.

You get the usual 64GB of DDR4 support across four DIMM slots, and there are two M.2 slots for storage. Interestingly, there’s a third M.2 slot on this board – but it only works with wireless cards. Still, it’s a potentially better option than occupying a PCI slot or a USB port with a wireless adapter.

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Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro

What is the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro?

The Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro is the most expensive of the four more affordable boards in this Z390 group test, but there are small margins at place here – its £173 price makes it only seven pounds more expensive than the ASRock Z390 Extreme4 and twelve pounds more than the Asus TUF Z390-PLUS Gaming, but not quite as cheap as the £140 MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk.

Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro – Design and Features

The Z390 Aorus Pro goes some way to justifying its cost with excellent aesthetic design.

The rear IO cover, the heatsink at the top of the board and the southbridge heatsink have brushed metal and dramatic angles, and you get more RGB LEDs on this board than in any of its affordable rivals – they’re in the two major heatsinks, the audio circuitry and between the memory slots.

Gigabyte’s board looks good, and it ticks more specification boxes than most of its slightly cheaper rivals.

It has three PCI-E x16 slots, with one at full speed, a second capable of 8x speed and a third at 4x speed alongside three PCI-E x1 slots. The Gigabyte also supports dual-graphics systems from AMD and Nvidia. That’s the same situation as the ASRock, and a better PCI bill of health than the Asus and MSI boards.

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ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9

What is the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9?

The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 sits in the middle of the range of Z390 motherboards here – and it’s also the more affordable model of the two mid-range options included. The competing Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi) costs £286.

ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 – Design and features

While it can’t compete with super-expensive slabs of PCB, the ASRock’s £271 price does mean that is has a tempting specification with plenty of high-end features.

For instance, networking is one area that’s got a huge boost in more affordable motherboards. The ASRock has Ethernet, which works at speeds of up to 2.5Gbps. It’s managed by the new Realtek Dragon RTL8125AG chip, and is one of the first boards on the market to offer this feature.

There are also two ports that support Gigabit Ethernet, and the ASRock also has dual-band 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 5.0.

This is better than the competing Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero (Wi-Fi), which costs £286 but only includes standard Gigabit Ethernet alongside 802.11ac wireless and Bluetooth 5.0.

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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660

What is the Gigabyte GTX 1660?

The Gigabyte GTX 1660 is Nvidia’s new mid-range graphics card. While top-tier GPUs are now hurtling past the £1000 price point, the GTX 1660 offers an impressive Full HD performance for just £199.

Like its slightly more powerful sibling the GTX 1660 Ti, the GTX 1660 uses Nvidia’s new TU116 architecture instead of the older Pascal design used for the GTX 1050 and GTX 1060 cards. Nvidia has developed this architecture to achieve a calculated balance between performance, power and cost. Chuck in the exciting Turing shader innovations, which intelligently optimises the GPU’s efficiency, and you’ve got a excellent graphics performance for a very good price.

The GTX 1660 has a very relatable issue though – the more powerful 1660 Ti is hogging the spotlight. With just a £70-odd price difference separating the two, the GTX 1660 is under a lot of pressure to deliver a comparable performance in order to be deemed a worthwhile alternative.

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2019

Gigabyte GTX 1660 – Specs and technology

The following table displays all the specs for the GTX 1660 and how it compares to Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060 6GB, GTX 1660 Ti, GTX 1070 and RTX 2060 graphics cards. I chose these cards because they’re the most comparable Nvidia GPUs in terms of both price and specifications. 

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

Updated: Still a great choice for £140

What is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti?

The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is the card that perhaps best represents the progress that Nvidia has made with its Pascal architecture this year. A supremely efficient yet Full HD-capable card for under £150 represents incredible value and will slot nicely into pretty much any system that needs an affordable gaming performance boost.

While it might not have the outright power of the more exciting GTX cards released in 2016, its bang-for-buck ratio is undeniable.

Updated: Since our original review, Nvidia has launched the GTX 1660 Ti. While it’s approximately £100 more expensive, the price jump is justified with the graphics card being optimised for modern gaming as well as battle royale titles such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. If you’ve got the extra money, Trusted Reviews recommends going for the GTX 1660 Ti, but the GTX 1050 Ti remains a fine choice at its current price of around £140.

Related: Best graphics card deals

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PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

What is the PNY GTX 1660 Ti?

The PNY GTX 1660 Ti is a new a mid-range graphics card capable of running all the latest video games in Full HD at a budget price. With no Founders Edition models being released for the GTX 1660 Ti, I’ve got my hands on a third-party version by PNY instead.

Despite having GTX affixed to its name, the 1660 Ti doesn’t use the Pascal architecture found in Nvidia’s 10-Series cards such as the GTX 1060 or GTX 1070. Instead, the GTX 1660 Ti uses Nvidia’s new Turing architecture known as “TU116”.

Despite its tiny size, the GTX 1660 Ti gives one hell of a powerhouse performance

There’s no fancy features here like what you’d find with RTX graphics cards such as ray tracing and DLSS. Instead, the GTX 1660 Ti focuses entirely on performance, with Nvidia attempting to find the perfect balance between performance, power and cost. Nvidia hasn’t just crammed the card with more powerful components though. There are some fancy tricks at work behind the scenes here, with new Turing shader innovations contributing towards a more efficient performance.

Nvidia claims this new-found efficiency results in such a performance boost that the GTX 1660 Ti boasts speeds 1.5 times faster than the GTX 1060 6GB. If true, GTX 1660 Ti may well be the best graphics card option for budget buyers with a Full HD setup.

Related: Best Graphics Cards 2019

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Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070 Review

What is the Asus ROG Strix RTX 2070?

The ROG Strix RTX 2070 graphics card is an Asus alternative to the Founders Edition supplied by Nvidia. While Asus’s GPU and design tweaks will slightly affect performance, the card still shares the same architecture as Nvidia’s original.

Sandwiched between the recently released RTX 2060 and the ultra-powerful RTX 2080 Ti, the RTX 2070 is one of two mid-range options in the Turing family. This creates a bit of an issue. It’s no longer the cheapest RTX card available, nor does it offer the smoothest frame rates.

The triple-fan design ensures top-notch airflow for the ROG Strix RTX 2070

So what’s the ROG Strix RTX 2070 good for? Well it’s one of the best-value graphics cards for Quad HD I’ve seen yet, offering a smooth 60fps performance for some of the most intensive titles. It also offers the very best features of the RTX lineup, including real-time ray tracing and DLSS – both of which have been earmarked as revolutionary rendering techniques.

So if you’ve got a Quad HD setup and fancy being among the first to witness the future of video game visuals, but can’t quite stretch their budget to an RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti card, this Asus option may just offer the best balance between performance and price.

Related: Best Graphics Card

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Nvidia RTX 2060 review: The cheapest Turing card is an affordable wonder

What is the Nvidia RTX 2060?

The Nvidia RTX 2060 is the latest graphics card using Nvidia’s spiffy new Turing architecture. It sits below the more expensive RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti in Nvidia’s current lineup.

With pricing starting at £329 for the Founders Edition model, it’s still well in mid-range GPU territory and over £100 more expensive than its predecessor, the GTX 1060, when it launched.

This has led many – including some in Trusted towers – to question why the new card costs so much. More so when you consider that only a couple of games take advantage of Turing’s unique ray tracing and DLSS technologies, which do cool things like letting the cards render more realistic lighting effects.

Thankfully, the Nvidia RTX 2060 manages to silence these naysayers by easily matching the performance of equivalently priced cards, such as the now defunct GTX 1070. This, plus the future-proofing that Turing offers, makes the RTX 2060 a solid choice for 1080p gamers who can’t afford, or don’t need, the top specs offered by Nvidia’s more expensive 20-series cards.

Related: Best graphics card

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Nvidia GTX 1060

What is the Nvidia GTX 1060?

The Nvidia GTX 1060 offers the best value performance for HD gaming. Unlike the Nvidia GTX 1050, you won’t need to compromise the graphics settings to get a silky smooth performance in Full HD for some of the most demanding games available. In fact, this card is so beefy that it can even muster a resolution of 1440p at around 60fps with the likes of GTA V.

This is the graphics card that PC builders on a budget have been waiting for. Unlike Nvidia’s more expensive GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 cards, however, the GTX 1060 faces competition from AMD in the form of the Radeon RX 480.

With competition comes aggression, and the GTX 1060 is far closer to the RX 480 in terms of price than most were imagining. It’s more expensive and more powerful – but is it worth it? As it turns out, if you have the extra cash then, yes, it is.

Related: Best graphics card deals

Update: Since my original review of the GTX 1060, Nvidia quietly launched a 3GB, slightly less powerful version of the card. The 3GB GTX 1060 still uses the same GP106 GPU as the most expensive version but with slightly slower clock speeds and fewer CUDA cores. I have started to test two models that are physically identical (but with the different number of CUDA cores and memory) and so far the results are largely as expected.

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Latest Article Comments

tynmanz Monthly Studio Report: May 2017
11 June 2017
I don't think they should continue to put features into it. They can add them later.

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