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GDDR6's timing will be a little slower than we had hoped

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2016 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: gddr6, Samsung, delay

The Inquirer offered some sad news for anyone hoping to see GDDR6 next year as Samsung is now aiming to deliver in 2018.  The specifications remain the same, internal bandwidth topping out at 16Gbps, compared to GDDR5X at 12Gbps.  That will translate to a maximum of 512GBps on a 256-bit memory bus, 786GBps on a 384-bit bus.  Mobile devices will also appreciate the new standard as it should use around 20% less power, good news for those who buy gaming laptops.

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"SAMSUNG HAS ANNOUNCED that GDDR6 memory interface technology will be introduced in 2018, not 2017 as was previously expected."

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Source: The Inquirer

Hey Ken, print me out a shroud! ASUS introduces 3D printed parts for their motherboards, GPUs and peripherals

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2016 - 07:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, 3d printing

ASUS have just released FreeCAD and 3D source files for you to print out embellishments and useful add-ons for your ASUS motherboards, graphics cards and peripherals such as the ROG Spatha.  Below you can see a 3D-printed finger rest addition to the Spatha, just one of the possibilities this new program opens up.

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Certain motherboards such as the Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura sport mounting points specifically designed for 3D printed parts, or you can use empty M.2 mount points as the designs ASUS have made available use the same screws as you would use in an M.2 port. 

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You could add a nameplate, an additional fan mount or even extra plastic shielding, in whatever colours you have available to print with.  ASUS chose to use FreeCAD to design the parts so that you do not necessarily need a 3D printer yourself, services such as ShapeWays can print the parts out for you.

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If you have SLI or CrossFire bridges that need sprucing up, they have designed covers to snap over your existing parts as well as cable combs to keep your cables under control.  The current designs only scratch the surface of what you could create and add to your builds and you can bet ASUS will be adding more possibilities in the coming months.  You can just add a little something to make your machine unique or go all out with modifications, just check out the designs and see what grabs your attention.

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Source: ASUS

What dwells in the heart of HoloLens? Now we all know!

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2016 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: hololens, microsoft, Tensilica, Cherry Trail, hot chips

Microsoft revealed information about the internals of the new holographic processor used in their Hololens at Hot Chips, the first peek we have had.  The new headset is another win for Tensilica as they provide the DSP and instruction extensions; previously we have seen them work with VIA to develop an SSD controller and with AMD for TrueAudio solutions.  Each of the 24 cores has a different task it is hardwired for, offering more efficient processing than software running on flexible hardware.

The processing power for your interface comes from a 14nm Cherry Trail processor with 1GB of DDR and yes, your apps will run on Windows 10.  For now the details are still sparse, there is still a lot to be revealed about Microsoft's answer to VR.  Drop by The Register for more slides and info.

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"The secretive HPU is a custom-designed TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores. It has about 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM, and a layer of 1GB of low-power DDR3 RAM on top, all in a 12mm-by-12mm BGA package. We understand it can perform a trillion calculations a second."

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Source: The Register

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?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Creatively testing GPUs with Google's Tilt Brush

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2016 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, Tilt Brush, VR

[H]ard|OCP continues their foray into testing VR applications, this time moving away from games to try out the rather impressive Tilt Brush VR drawing application from Google.  If you have yet to see this software in action it is rather incredible, although you do still require an artist's talent and practical skills to create true 3D masterpieces. 

Artisic merit may not be [H]'s strong suite but testing how well a GPU can power VR applications certainly lies within their bailiwick.  Once again they tested five NVIDIA GPUs and a pair of AMD's for dropped frames and reprojection caused by a drop in FPS.

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"We are changing gears a bit with our VR Performance coverage and looking at an application that is not as GPU-intensive as those we have looked at in the recent past. Google's Tilt Brush is a virtual reality application that makes use of the HTC Vive head mounted display and its motion controllers to allow you to paint in 3D space."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Mozilla Publishes WebVR 1.0 to Nightly Releases

Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2016 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, webvr, Oculus

Earlier this month, the W3C published an Editor's Draft for WebVR 1.0. The specification has not yet been ratified, but the proposal is backed by engineers from Mozilla and Google. It enables the use of VR headsets in the web browser, including all the security required, such as isolating input to a single tab (in case you need to input a password while the HMD is on your face).

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Firefox Nightly, as of August 16th, now supports the draft 1.0 specification.

The browser currently supports Oculus CV1 and DK2 on Windows. It does not work with DK1, although Oculus provided backers of that KickStarter with a CV1 anyway, and it does not (yet) support the HTC Vive. It also only deals with the headset itself, not any motion controllers. I guess, if your application requires this functionality, you will need to keep working on native applications for a little while longer.

Source: Mozilla

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."

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Source: Slashdot

Fanatec Releases New CSL Elite Products - Affordable Racing!

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: wheel base, Thrustmaster, T500RS, T300, steering wheel, pedals, Fanatec, CSL Elite, ClubSport V2

This past Summer I was introduced to Fanatec products for the first time.  Before that I had only handled some lower end Genius products, as well as low end and midrange Thrustmaster units.  My review of the Fanatec setup will be posted here this next week, but my overall impressions of what Fanatec offers is overwhelmingly positive.  The only issue, and it is a glaring one, is the lack of an affordable setup based on their designs.  This past Friday Fanatec introduced a new series of products that aims to make their setups far more affordable than what we have seen so far.

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The new CSL Elite Series of products offer many of the same features of the higher end ClubSport series of products, but at a much more affordable price range.  This does not mean that they are skimping out on features and quality construction.  The CSL Elite Pedals with Loadcell Kit offer a full aluminum build with a three pedal setup and the load cell on the brake pedal.  This allows increasing resistance during braking that other spring loaded pedals may not offer.  Fanatec claims that up to 90kg of pressure can be applied to the load cell.  Having used their upper end ClubSport pedals, I can attest to what a difference such a load cell and a heavy aluminum base can do for the racing experience.  Fanatec includes three different types of anti-skid pads that can be swapped out on the pedals.

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The CSL Elite Wheel Base offers 6NM of force to the wheel.  This is more than the ClubSport V1 base, but slightly less than the V2.  In violent crashes, the wheel certainly can break the grip of the user’s hands.  The base accepts a wide variety of wheels from Fanatec, but the bundle comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One.  The base comes with the automotive grade quick release unit that easily swaps in and out wheels.  The base also includes an RPM LED display on the base that is not included in the ClubSport series.  The base also includes a built-in table clamp that is a $50 accessory for the ClubSport V2 setup.

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The smaller motor, single belt design, and plastic construction of the wheel base allows Fanatec to shave a big portion of the price off of this part.  It still features the metal drive shaft and metal quick release mechanism (something that Thrustmaster doesn’t have even on their high end T500RS base).  The base still allows the connections for the optional shifter and e-brake.

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Fanatec offers the bundle with a full version of Assetto Corsa for Xbox One for $639.85.  This is a tremendous price point that puts it in range of the T500RS.  Fanatec products have never been this reasonable for PC and Xbox One racers.  It is still a chunk of change, but it is nowhere near the $1800 range where a full ClubSport V2 setup can be bought for.

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The base can be upgraded with options such as a static paddle shifters.

I’m looking forward to seeing reviews of these parts and how they stack up to the V2 and other setups from competitors.

Click here to read the entire release and pricing.

Source: Fanatec

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