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Podcast #414 - AMD Zen Architecture Details, Lightning Headphones, AMD GPU Market Share and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2016 - 10:51 AM |
Tagged: Zen, video, seasonic, Polaris, podcast, Omen, nvidia, market share, Lightning, hp, gtx 1060 3gb, gpu, brix, Audeze, asus, architecture, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #414 - 08/25/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the newly released architecture details of AMD Zen, Audeze headphones, AMD market share gains and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:37:15
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

The new solid state standard for laptop vendors?

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2016 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: ssd, laptop, ultraportable

The increasing use of on-board memory by OEMs in ultraportables has some enthusiasts unhappy, however the trend that DigiTimes mentioned today should cheer them up somewhat.  It is predicted by DRAMeXchange that over half of all laptops will use an SSD for storage by 2018.  There are some rather interesting bits of data in the post, for instance the pricing of SSDs for OEMs have reportedly stabilized for the first time, with a quoted rise in prices of 0-0.5% for MLC and 0-1% TLC based models compared with the prior quarter.  These numbers seem in direct opposition to the retail market where not only have we seen a steady decline in SSD prices, the change has been much greater than 1%.

There is a shadow cast by this silver lined cloud; with more demand by OEMs for NAND there will be more pressure on manufacturers and so it is predicted that supply will be unable to meet demand in Q3 of this year.  One would expect manufacturers to produce for the market segment that offers a greater profit margin and if the pricing mentioned previously is accurate, that is not retail.  It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens to SSD pricing in the fall.

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"DRAMeXchange has maintained its estimate given earlier in 2016 that the adoption of SSDs in notebooks would exceed 30% in 2016. The proportion is forecast to reach 56% in 2018, according to the research firm."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Battlefield 1 Beta is out, as is the GeForce 372.70 driver

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 30, 2016 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce 372.70, driver

NVIDIA continues with their Game Ready driver program, releasing the GeForce 372.70 driver, hand crafted in the new world by artisanal engineers to bring enhanced support to World of Warcraft: Legion, Battlefield 1: Open Beta, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Quantum Break.  There is not much to see in the release notes, although you can now enjoy Deus Ex in glorious 3D vision assuming you have the monitor and glasses.

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If you are testing the new Battlefield you should consider updating, one would suppose the bug reports submitted using this driver will be more beneficial to the developers than an older release.  You know the drill, grab them from GeForce.com or NVIDIA.com.

Source: NVIDIA
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

What's new and what's not

While spending time learning about upcoming products and technologies at the Intel Developer Forum earlier this month, I sat down with the company to learn about the release of Kaby Lake, now known as the 7th Generation Core processor family. We have been seeing and reporting on the details of Kaby Lake for quite some time here on PC Perspective – it became a more important topic when we realized that this would be the product that officially killed off the ‘tick-tock’ design philosophy that Intel had implemented years ago and that was responsible for much of the innovation in the CPU space over the last decade.

Today Intel released new information about the 7th Gen CPU family and Kaby Lake. Let’s dive into this topic with a simple and straight forward mindset in how it compares to Skylake.

What is the same

Actually, quite a lot. At its core, the microarchitecture of Kaby Lake is identical to that of Skylake. Instructions per clock (IPC) remain the same with the exception of dedicated hardware changes in the media engine, so you should not expect any performance differences with Kaby Lake except with improved clock speeds we’ll discuss in a bit.

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Because of this lack of change many people will look down on the Kaby Lake release as Intel’s attempt to repackage an existing product to make sure it meets a financial market required annual product cadence. It is a valid but arguable criticism, but Intel is making changes in other areas that should make KBL an improvement in the thin and light ecosystem.

Also worth noting is that Intel is still building Kaby Lake on 14nm process technology, the same used on Skylake. The term “same” will be debated as well as Intel claims that improvements made in the process technology over the last 24 months have allowed them to expand clock speeds and improve on efficiency

What is changed

Dubbing this new revision of the process as “14nm+”, Intel tells me that they have improved the fin profile for the 3D transistors as well as channel strain while more tightly integrating the design process with manufacturing. The result is a 12% increase in process performance; that is a sizeable gain in a fairly tight time frame even for Intel.

That process improvement directly results in higher clock speeds for Kaby Lake when compared to Skylake when running at the same target TDPs. In general, we are looking at 300-400 MHz higher peak clock speeds in Turbo Boost situations when compared to similar TDP products in the 6th generation. Sustained clocks will very likely remain voltage / thermally limited but the ability spike up to higher clocks for even short bursts can improve performance and responsiveness of Kaby Lake when compared to Skylake.

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In these two examples, Intel compares the 15 watt Core i7-6500U (a common part in currently shipping notebooks) and the upcoming 15 watt Core i7-7500U, both with dual-core HyperThreaded configurations. In SYSmark 2014 a 12% score improvement is measured while WebXPRT shows a 19% advantage. Double digit performance increases are pretty astounding for a new generational jump that does not include a new microarchitecture or a new process technology (more or less) though we should temper expectations for other applications and workload profiles like content creation.

Continue reading our overview of Intel's Kaby Lake processors!

Honey I shrunk the PSU, 700W of SFX-L sized power from Silverstone

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 24, 2016 - 06:43 PM |
Tagged: SX700-LPT, small form factor, SFX, 80 Plus Platinum, modular psu

Do you recall the new long playing version of the SFX PSU form factor; specifically Lee's review of the SilverStone SFX-L 700W PSU?  Perhaps you have forgotten about the new form factor of PSU that offers similar cooling to a full ATX PSU but takes up a lot less room.  Not to fret, [H]ard|OCP is here to remind you with a fresh review of the PSU.  Their tests revealed the same strengths as Lee's, perhaps not outstanding but certainly a very good choice for a PSU.   They did dock more points for the lack of an included adapter for ATX mounting, they are available but it does seem worth mentioning SilverStone's oversight.

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"SilverStone has a new take on small form factor power supplies it is calling "SFX-L." This new form factor extends the standard SFX size by 30mm allowing SilverStone to install a quieter 120mm fan than the usual higher speed and noisier 80mm and 92mm fans. How does all this work out?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Samsung's 256GB Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD card, for your 4K recording pleasure

Subject: Storage | August 29, 2016 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: microSD, Samsung, evo plus, U3, UHS-I

A while back Al broke down the specifications of SD cards and what each class meant and the proper usage for them.  The top class is U3 and it offers transfer speeds high enough to support recording 4K video on your devices and that happens to be the rating on the new 256GB Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD.  Legion Hardware just tested this MicroSD card and it now holds the title of best performing SD card they have tested.  The performance does come at a premium, the MSRP of the card is $250 and even with a 10 year warranty this is still an expensive purchase.  If you need the ability to record 4K video immediately this is the fast solution available but if you are still in the planning stages, remember that there is a new standard, UFS, which is due to hit the market soon and impact pricing of older products.

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"Running out of storage on your smartphone, tablet or 4K video camera? Well the good news is SD cards have never been more affordable and crucially offered such huge storage capacities. In fact, Samsung recently announced the availability of a 256GB version of their popular EVO Plus MicroSD card series"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Qualcomm and OSIsoft Announce Snapdragon-Powered Smart Ballpark

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2016 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: utilities, SoC, snapdragon, Smart Ballpark, San Diego, qualcomm, Padres, OSIsoft, iot, industrial, baseball

Ever wonder how efficiently a major venue operates when it's only full of fans on game days? It turns out they don't operate all that efficiently, and the overhead is very expensive. This is where Qualcomm and OSIsoft step in, collaborating on a new “Smart Ballpark” project for San Diego's Petco Park.

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“The San Diego Padres are utilizing edge intelligence gateways, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, to collect data from critical infrastructure systems and stream it in real-time to OSIsoft’s PI System in order to monitor utilities, improve operating efficiencies and drive sustainability across the team’s entire Petco Park ballpark.”

With usage monitoring for utilities (electrical and gas energy, potable and non-potable water) the Padres - San Diego’s Major League Baseball team that calls Petco Park home - see the potential to save more than 25% in the next five years.

“The edge intelligence gateways, using Snapdragon processors, connect to sensors and legacy systems throughout the ballpark using a broad range of communication methods, including wired and wireless technologies, analog and digital inputs and multiple communication protocols. These edge intelligence gateways acquire, store and stream data in real-time to the OSIsoft PI System which then presents the data to the Padres’ facilities managers using OSIsoft’s Visualization Suite and analytics, providing the operations team with deep situational awareness of everything happening in the venue.”

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This is a mammoth implementation of IoT (Internet of Things), with OSIsoft’s PI system a major player on the industrial side. Qualcomm naturally needs no introduction, as the smartphone SoC maker found in so many devices across virtually all brands. Qualcomm has also worked on improving mobile data performance in large venues such as ballparks, with products like the X16 modem (expected in products starting in the second half of 2016) offering improved connections via carrier and link aggregation, and use of unlicensed spectrum.

Full press release after the break:

Source: Qualcomm

Faster WiFi is great but ... MegaMIMO 2.0; really?

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2016 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: MegaMIMO 2.0, wireless router, wifi, mu-mimo

Multi-In Multi-Out routers are a wonderful thing, not only are the routers far more tentacular than before, the technology also make our unwired lives better as Sebastian explained.  The only thing that could make it better is a bandwidth boost, which is what these researchers at MIT have been working on.  In an experiment involving laptop bearing Roombas they showed a increase of 330% in transfer speeds thanks to synchronized phases allowing multiple signals to be sent on the same frequency.  Pop on over to Slashdot to learn more about their research.

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"Scientists at MIT claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the system will shortly enter commercialization and could ease the strain on our increasingly crowded wireless networks."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

From now on you will refer to this mouse as Master! Cooler Master's new mouse

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2016 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterMouse Pro L, ambidextrous

Rejoice computer users as you will no longer be a slave to chirality thanks to your new rodent overlord, Cooler Master's MasterMouse Pro L!  This mouse is properly ambidextrous, both sides of the mouse have the same buttons and fancy RGB lighting and the DPI button is equally inconvenient for everyone as it is located on the bottom of the mouse.  For hardware it uses a Avago PMW-3360 IR optical sensor which can be set up to a sensitivity of 12,000 DPI.  The mouse also comes with two swapable shells for the top of the mouse and CM plans on releasing the specifications so you can print your own if you so desire.

It is currently $60 on NewEgg, you can see more information on the mouse and software over at KitGuru.

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"Today, we are taking a look at the Cooler Master ‘MasterMouse Pro L’, a true ambidextrous mouse with modular covers for the body and side grips, allowing users to make physical changes to the mouse to better suit them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru