Followers of PC Perspective have likely seen a pair of stories previewing the upcoming performance and features of USB 3.1. First we got our hands on the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK motherboard and were able to run through our very first hands-on testing with USB 3.1 hardware. The motherboard had built-in USB 3.1 support and a device that was configured with a RAID-0 of Intel SSD 730 Series drives.
We followed that up with a look at the ASUS USB 3.1 implementation that included a PCIe add-on card and a dual-drive mSATA device also in RAID-0. This configuration was interesting because we can theoretically install this $40 product into any system with a free PCI Express slot.
Performance was astounding for incredibly early implementations, reaching as high as 835 MB/s!
In that last article I theorized that it would be some time before we got our hands on retail USB 3.1 hardware but it appears I wasn't giving the industry enough credit. ASUS passed us a list of incoming devices along with release schedules. There are 27 devices scheduled to be released before the end of April and ~35 by the middle of the year.
It's a daunting table to look at, so be prepared!
The product categories are mostly dominated by the likes of the a USB 3.1 to 2.5-in adapter; that would be useful but you aren't going to top out the performance of the USB 3.1 with a single 2.5-in SATA device. Iomaster has one listed as a "USB 3.1 to MSATA & M2 SSD enclosure" which could be more interesting - does it accept PCI Express M.2 SSDs?
Minerva Innovation has a couple of interesting options, all listed with pairs of mSATA or M.2 ports, two with Type-C connections. What we don't know based on this data is if it supports PCIe M.2 SSDs or SATA only and if it supports RAID-0.
A couple more list dual SATA ports which might indicate that we are going to see multiple hard drives / SSDs over a single USB 3.1 connection but without RAID support. That could be another way to utilize the bandwidth of USB 3.1 in a similar way to how we planned to use Thunderbolt daisy chaining.
We don't have pricing yet, but I don't think USB 3.1 accessories will be significantly more expensive than what USB 3.0 devices sell for. So, does this list of accessories make you more excited to upgrade your system for USB 3.1?
Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2015 - 12:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fud, security, smartphone
Tracking your smartphones location via aggregate battery usage is not the most efficient or accurate method but it can be done and Samsung (and others) have not provided a switch which makes that particular data private. Researchers have shown that by tracking the battery drain of the 3G cellular radio on the battery one can determine distance from the cellular base station the phone is connected to and a coarse location based on interference environmental factors such as buildings which partially block the signal. It is only a very coarse locator but does give better information than just the base station the phone is connected to and as we are creatures of habit it allows tracking normal patterns of movement. This is nowhere near as accurate as GPS tracking and does require a bit of work to pull off but as battery usage and levels are sent by the phone in the clear with no method of preventing that it should cause some privacy concerns for users. You can read the research paper (in PDF) by following the link from The Inquirer.
"SCIENTISTS have warned of a new smartphone risk after discovering that battery power can be used to track a person's movements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon @ The Inquirer
- ARM and IBM bolster Internet of Things with cloud-based mbed starter kit @ The Inquirer
- May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0 @ The Register
- UK Scientists Claim 1Tbps Data Speed Via Experimental 5G Technology @ Slashdot
- Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm @ Slashdot
Quiet, Efficient Gaming
The last few weeks have been dominated by talk about the memory controller of the Maxwell based GTX 970. There are some very strong opinions about that particular issue, and certainly NVIDIA was remiss on actually informing consumers about how it handles the memory functionality of that particular product. While that debate rages, we have somewhat lost track of other products in the Maxwell range. The GTX 960 was released during this particular firestorm and, while it also shared the outstanding power/performance qualities of the Maxwell architecture, it is considered a little overpriced when compared to other cards in its price class in terms of performance.
It is easy to forget that the original Maxwell based product to hit shelves was the GTX 750 series of cards. They were released a year ago to some very interesting reviews. The board is one of the first mainstream cards in recent memory to have a power draw that is under 75 watts, but can still play games with good quality settings at 1080P resolutions. Ryan covered this very well and it turned out to be a perfect gaming card for many pre-built systems that do not have extra power connectors (or a power supply that can support 125+ watt graphics cards). These are relatively inexpensive cards and very easy to install, producing a big jump in performance as compared to the integrated graphics components of modern CPUs and APUs.
The GTX 750 and GTX 750 Ti have proven to be popular cards due to their overall price, performance, and extremely low power consumption. They also tend to produce a relatively low amount of heat, due to solid cooling combined with that low power consumption. The Maxwell architecture has also introduced some new features, but the major changes are to the overall design of the architecture as compared to Kepler. Instead of 192 cores per SMK, there are now 128 cores per SMM. NVIDIA has done a lot of work to improve performance per core as well as lower power in a fairly dramatic way. An interesting side effect is that the CPU hit with Maxwell is a couple of percentage points higher than Kepler. NVIDIA does lean a bit more on the CPU to improve overall GPU power, but most of this performance hit is covered up by some really good realtime compiler work in the driver.
Asus has taken the GTX 750 Ti and applied their STRIX design and branding to it. While there are certainly faster GPUs on the market, there are none that exhibit the power characteristics of the GTX 750 Ti. The combination of this GPU and the STRIX design should result in an extremely efficient, cool, and silent card.
Subject: Processors | February 24, 2015 - 06:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Puma+, Puma, Kaveri, ISSCC 2015, ISSCC, GCN, Excavator, Carrizo-L, carrizo, APU, amd
While it is utterly inconceivable that Josh might have missed something in his look at Carrizo, that hasn't stopped certain Canadians from talking about Gila County, Arizona. AMD's upcoming processor launch is a little more interesting than just another Phenom II launch, especially for those worried about power consumption. With Adaptive Voltage and Frequency Scaling the new Excavator based chips will run very well at the sub-15W per core pair range which is perfect for POS, airplane entertainment and even in casinos. The GPU portion speaks to those usage scenarios though you can't expect an R9 295 at that wattage. Check out Hardware Canucks' coverage right here.
"AMD has been working hard on their mobile Carrizo architecture and they're now releasing some details about these Excavator architecture-equipped next generation APUs."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD's new Carrizo: The x86 notebook processor that thinks it's a GPU @ The Register
- AMD Carrizo APU Details Revealed @ TechARP
- AMD FX-8320E Performance On Linux @ Phoronix
- Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux @ Phoronix
- Preliminary Tests Of Intel Sandy Bridge & Ivy Bridge vs. Broadwell @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | February 25, 2015 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VLAN party, kick ass, Homeworld Remastered, gaming, fragging frogs
That's right, for those of you who pre-ordered Homeworld Remastered and for anyone that pops by Steam to purchase it, your productivity is in for a serious hit as you try to guide your fleet to a new homeworld and then defend it. For those lucky and old enough to have played through it originally you will find the look vastly improved and from what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and other reviewers have found you will also love the improved interface. For those who have not had the pleasure of playing through these two games before, the $33 investment is more than worth it, especially with improved multiplayer coming in the near future. Check out the videos and overview of the poster child for revamped legacy games here.
You will have to take a break this Saturday though, as the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #9 kicks off at 10AM ET and will end when the last frog drops. You can check out the official thread in the forums right here to get all the information you need to participate. AMD and other mystery sponsors will be giving away prizes to those who log into and participate in the TeamSpeak channels; not to mention it is the best way to chat in game and in the general lobby. You can also check out the list of games that will be played as well as links to the mods and patches you will need, please download and install them before Saturday to maximize your playing time. See you there!
"In terms of strategy games which ‘need’ remastering, Homeworld was probably somewhere at the bottom of the list. But in terms of strategy games which really, truly benefit from remastering – well, this is a chart-topper."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Touch The Sky: Sid Meier’s Starships Release On March 12 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Order: 1886 – Round Table game's all right on the knight @ The Register
- Sunless Sea game review @ Bjorn3d
- Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell Review @ OCC
- What Evolve could learn from Monster Hunter @ Kitguru
- GTA V for PC launch re-scheduled to 14th April 2015 @ HEXUS
- Ziggy's Mod (Far Cry 3) @ Nexus
Subject: General Tech | February 26, 2015 - 02:07 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: pcper, podcast, video, usb 3.1, Broadwell, Intel, nuc, Samsung, 840 evo, asus, Strix Tactic Pro, GTX 970, directx12, dx12
PC Perspective Podcast #338 - 02/26/2015
Join us this week as we discuss more USB 3.1 Devices, Broadwell NUC, another 840 Evo fix and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:46:04
EVGA Contest Winner!
Week in Review:
News item of interest:
Question: Alex from Sydney
Just a quick question regarding DirectX 12. I’m planning to buy a new graphics card soon but I want a DirectX 12 card for all the fancy new features so I’m considering either the GTX 970 or 980, the question I have is are these real DirectX 12 cards? Since DirectX 12 development is still ongoing how can these cards be fully DirectX 12 complaint?
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Processors | February 26, 2015 - 10:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, 14nm, 10nm, 7nm
In the PC industry, our CPUs are beginning to appear at 14nm while graphics processors have been at 28nm for a few years. Smaller features allow for more complicated circuits in the same area, which allows for less power, less heat, and more products to be created from a single wafer (assuming you can keep defects to a minimum). Intel expects to release 10nm in late 2016 (possibly slipping into early 2017) and has just announced plans for 7nm in 2018.
According to Ars Technica, this 7nm process is expected to move beyond silicon FinFETs. At room temperature, a 7nm structure of Silicon is a lattice that is approximately 14 atoms wide. Intel was quiet with the details, but Ars expects that “III-V transistors” will be the next stage -- semiconductors made from alloys of Group III and Group V metals. One example of a III-V semiconductor is Indium Gallium Arsenic. Indium and Gallium are Group III while Arsenic is Group V. Apart from using a new material for transistors, it is speculated that Intel might change the way that they package chips into a 2.5D or 3D configuration (maybe even depending on the use case).
Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2015 - 01:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, wireless mouse, vertical mouse, Adesso E10
Vertical mice sometimes help those with issues with their cubital or carpal tunnels by relieving pressure due to repetitive arm and wrist movement. They have been around for a while but do not often get reviewed which is why it might be worth checking out eTeknix today. The Adesso E10 is wireless which is relatively uncommon un this type of mouse as is the DPI switch. In addition it has 4 buttons and a mouse wheel so it could still serve as a gaming mouse, at least for right handed gamers who prefer this style of mouse. Check it out if your mousing fingers get numb while you are sitting at your computer.
"The peripheral market is booming, there’s a huge range of products with a wide range of features available between each device, so finding something suitable for your needs shouldn’t be too difficult. Naturally, not all products are created equally and some are designed for a more niche part of the market than others, such as the iMouse E10 which we have in for review today."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cougar 200K Keyboard & 200M Mouse @ eTeknix
- EVGA Torq X5 Mouse Review: Ambidextrous Design Done Right @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA TORQ X5 USB Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Tesoro Excalibur RGB Mechanical Keyboard @ Kitguru
- Cougar 200K gaming keyboard @ Kitguru
- Cougar 500K Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Shows and Expos | February 24, 2015 - 11:14 PM | Morry Teitelman
Tagged: QuakeCon 2015, quakecon, id software
Courtesy of ZeniMax Media
The yearly gaming mecca known as QuakeCon, featuring the biggest BYOC (bring your own computer) LAN in the great state of Texas, is set to kick-off starting July 23 through the 26. What you didn't know is that the QuakeCon team announced the registration dates for the event. Like last year, all pre-registration spots in the BYOC will be pay-for only with no First-Come-First-Served spots available.
This year, there will be a total of five registration rounds offered:
- BYOC Select-a-Seat with UAC Command Center Seating
- 32 packages, $500 per package
- Wednesday, March 4 at 7pm CST / 8PM EST
- BYOC Select-a-Seat with QuakeCon done Quick
- 300 packages, $175 per package
- Wednesday, March 11 at 7pm CST / 8PM EST
- BYOC Select-a-Seat + Swag Pack
- 500 packages, $170 per package
- Wednesday, March 18 at 7pm CST / 8PM EST
- BYOC Select-a-Seat
- 1600 packages, $55 per package
- Wednesday, March 25 at 7pm CST / 8PM EST
- Swag Pack
- 50 packages, $125 per package
- Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm CST / 8PM EST
If you a familiar with the QuakeCon pay-for packaging strategies, most of the packages look familiar. The newest package offering is the UAC Command Center Seating package, featuring a VIP seat in the NOC with direct access for your system to the backbone and guaranteeing you the fastest network access at the event.
Subject: General Tech | February 26, 2015 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Gemalto, SIM, encryption, fud, security
In just under a week SIM card maker Gemalto claims to have done a complete security audit of their systems in 85 different countries and reports that "its office networks were compromised, the servers holding the SIM card encryption keys weren't." This is a record worthy of Guinness as most security audits take months or years to complete and the findings tend to discuss probabilities, not absolute certainties. As you might expect The Register and security experts everywhere are doubtful of the claims from a company that did not even know if was compromised less than a week ago that the UK based GCHQ and USA based NSA are unable to compromise your SIM cards encryption when they have the keys in hand. It has not been a good week for anyone who thinks about security.
"Six days ago Gemalto, the world's largest SIM card manufacturer, was told that back in 2010 it had been ransacked by NSA and GCHQ hackers. Today the company gave itself the all-clear: no encryption keys, used to secure phone calls from eavesdroppers, were stolen, it claims."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Solidfire offers unlimited SSD wear guarantee, punts software at market @ The Register
- Google updates: Android for Work launches with BlackBerry-backed encryption @ The Inquirer
- MWC: Microsoft tipped to unveil trio of cheap Lumias, but no Snapdragon 810 flagship @ The Inquirer
- Tech ARP 2015 Mega Giveaway
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 20, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: shieldtuesday, shield, Saints Row IV, nvidia, metro last light, gridtuesday, grid, alan wake
Once again, NVIDIA brings some really good games to their GRID service, which is currently free for all SHIELD owners. The concept is that NVIDIA will compute the graphics at their server farms, accept your input, and return an audio/video stream of the result. This is a very convenient way to access content, but it cannot replace actual ownership for guaranteed access to specific art that find intrinsically valuable. It can help you discover new content, though.
This week, Saint's Row IV is available to be played on the GRID gaming service. Its predecessor, Saint's Row: The Third, was published on GRID earlier this month. It would be good to play them in order, and they are both worth your time. I did find that the campaign of Saint's Row IV was a bit less unique because the majority of missions were a handful of side-missions strung together, while Saint's Row: The Third had more scenario-based objectives, with the side-missions as an option to build up stats (or just be fun) between these. On the other hand, the movement mechanics were genius in IV. Play them both.
Looking ahead, next Tuesday will be Alan Wake. This is a survival-horror title from Remedy that makes you appreciate just how long your batteries last in real life. Basically, electricity is light and light is a vulnerability for the monsters that want to destroy you. The week after, the third of March, is Metro: Last Light Redux. This is one of the most visually demanding games available, and it is still used as a GPU benchmark at this site.
Saint's Row IV went live last Tuesday, while Alan Wake arrives on the 24th and Metro: Last Light comes in last, on March 3rd.
Subject: Systems | February 23, 2015 - 03:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nuc5i5ryk, nuc, next unit of computing, Intel, Broadwell, 5i5ryk, 5250u
Ryan just polished off his review of the next generation of Intel NUC, the Broadwell powered NUC5i5RYK in both video and written form but perhaps you still have some questions. If so, or if you are wise enough to prefer a second opinion then you should make time to visit The Tech Report who also received a unit for review. They covered the performance of several indie games, which ran quite well as well as CS:GO which could handle 1600x900 at medium settings. Their conclusion matched Ryan's, not only is this a great HTPC and light gaming machine but for most office purposes this is a perfect solution to present to your users.
"Thanks to the Broadwell-U silicon inside, Intel's new NUC promises better performance and power efficiency than the previous generation. There are other improvements under the hood, too, including the addition of an M.2 storage slot and a built-in Wi-Fi controller."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- SteamBox – Building Your Own HTPC Gaming System @ eTeknix
- Chillblast Fusion Raptor Gaming PC @ Kitguru
- ASRock Vision X 471D Mini PC @ Kitguru
- ASUS Republic of Gamers G20 Gaming PC Review @ Techgage
- Shuttle XH97V w/ Pentium G3258 @ techPowerUp
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 26, 2015 - 05:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, Carbide Series, Air 240 High Airflow, MicroATX, mini-itx, SFF
Corsair designed the Carbide Series Air 240 High Airflow for small motherboards but left enough room to fit fair sized add in cards and coolers. The case is 397 x 260 x 320mm (15.6 x 10 x 12.6") and will hold GPUs up to 290 mm in length and a cooler of up to 120mm as well as a full sized ATX PSU. [H]ard|OCP installed two GTX 280's with no issues and had no problems installing several popular AiO watercoolers either. Even with just air cooling it would seem that Corsair's Direct Airflow Path is much more than just a marketing gimmick and kept the components at reasonable temperatures even after heavy loads. It certainly earned the Gold Award it received and for less than $100 it deserves to be on your short list of tiny cases to consider purchasing.
"Are you in the market of a case for that new Mini-ITX or MicroATX PC build? Corsair today shows off its Carbide Series Air 240 High Airflow MicroATX and Mini-ITX PC Case. It's big, it's black, and it will remind you the the Borg. OK, maybe it is not that big, but big enough to allow mATX fans plenty of room for cooling and hot dual GPUs."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Fractal Design's Define R5 case @ The Tech Report
- Raijintek Metis Classic Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Fractal Design Core 2300 @ techPowerUp
- In Win 703 @ Legion Hardware
- Thermaltake Core V51 Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks PH-TC14S Dual-Tower Review: Conflict-free CPU Cooling? @ Modders-Inc
- Phanteks PH-TC12LS CPU Cooler @ Modders-Inc
- Reeven Justice (RC-1204) @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2015 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s6, rumours
Gizmodo was kind enough to gather all the rumours and speculation about Samsung's unreleased phone into one article. We do know that Samsung has trademarked both Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, with the Edge expected to be a smaller Note 4 Edge perhaps with curves on both sides. For the interface they are expect to run their Touchwiz interface on top of Android Lollipop 5.0.2, with changes to the interface to make it much more like vanilla Android which will be very welcome if true. There is not a huge amount of information on the internals but what there is can be found in this rumour roundup.
"There are smartphones, and then there are smartphones. Phones that you pay attention to. Phones that are like whoa. The iPhone is one. Maybe the new Nexus. The Galaxy S3 was one. The S4 and the S5? Not so much. But the S6 looks poised to make a splash again. The S6 is looking serious."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Superfish: Lenovo ditches adware, but that doesn't fix SSL megavuln – researcher @ The Register
- IBM launches big data flash software-defined storage systems @ The Inquirer
- 3D TLC VIMMs could play Violin's music @ The Register
- SIM card security scare: Gemalto is investigating UK and US hack allegations @ The Inquirer
- Fixing Sega Cartridges With Old BIOS Chips @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | February 26, 2015 - 11:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, hearthstone, esports
Professional and amateur players of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft can compete for a share of the $25,000 prize pool and other perks, hosted by NVIDIA. Once the pool of players are whittled down to the sixteen invited pros and the top sixteen non-professionals, they will compete in a playoff format. The 32 players at that stage will each receive an NVIDIA Shield Tablet, the top 16 will receive money, and the top eight will get Blizzard World Championship qualifier points may either start their career or get them even closer to being invited to the autumn finals.
Breaking down the above into a little more detail:
|Prize Money||Qualification Points||Shield Tablet|
|3rd & 4th Place||$1,500||Some||✔|
|5th - 8th Place||$750||Some||✔|
|9th - 16th Place||$500||-||✔|
|17th - 32nd Place||-||-||✔|
NVIDIA will be streaming the event as a four-hour event every week, which consist of group-stage highlights. Registration will close on March 19th at noon (EST). The actual playoffs will take place on May 30th and May 31st, also streamed on NVIDIA's Twitch channel.
- 2 of 2