Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2016 - 05:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: seti, science, radio telescope
The Chinese officially began searching the stars around noon local time on Sunday using the newly completed FAST radio telescope which has surpassed Arecibo in being the world's largest single aperture telescope. Nestled in the natural Dawodang (limestone) depression in the remote and mountainous Pingtang county, Guizhou province, the Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) will search the heavens to catalog pulsars, investigate dark matter, gravitational waves, and fast radio bursts, and assist in the search for extraterrestrial life and natural hydrogen in distant galaxies.
The $180 million project has been in development for 14 years with construction beginning in 2011. The massive scientific endeavor required the relocation of several villages and 10,000 people living in the vicinity. Further, the remote area required the telescope to be constructed without the use of heavy machinery and the dish had to be constructed manually. FAST is modeled after the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico and uses 4,450 triangular reflector panels supported by a steel mesh suspended over the limestone valley using large steel towers anchored to the surrounding hills. FAST deviates from Arecibo when it comes to reflecting and receiving radio signals, however. While Arecibo uses a 900 ton movable receiver with a complex set of mirrors that make up a sub reflector, FAST uses 2,250 actuators (winches) that pull on up to 300m sections of the dish to create a parabola that can move in real time to track signals as the Earth rotates and reflect them back to the receiver which is reportedly much lighter and can contain more instruments than Arecibo.
While Arecibo, with its 305 meter dish, can track signals up to 20° from the zenith, FAST can track signals up to 26° from the zenith at 300 meter parabola sizes and up to 40° with smaller parabola sizes making it rather versatile. The massive dish combines the benefits of a large single fixed dish and a smaller dish (or dishes which could be combined to provide higher resolution using interferometry) that can tilt and rotate.
Specifically, Dennis Normile quoted experts in saying:
Single dishes excel at observing point sources like neutron stars and at scanning a multitude of frequencies in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, says astronomer Li Di, a FAST project scientist, who previously worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Another advantage is that, compared with the multiple dishes in an array, single dishes are “relatively cheap and relatively straightforward to upgrade,” says George Hobbs, an astronomer at CSIRO. “You just keep building better receivers.” (Dennis Normile at Science Magazine)
FAST is quite the accomplishment and I am interested to see what the scientists are able to discover using the world's largest radio telescope. Hopefully it will continue to receive adequate funding!
- World’s largest radio telescope will search for dark matter, listen for aliens (Science Mag)
- Chinese FAST Telescope to Surpass Arecibo (infographic)
- FAST: China's great space telescope begins operations (close-up photos of reflector panels)
- Arecibo Observatory (Wikipedia)
Subject: Displays | September 27, 2016 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pimax, vr headset, steam vr
As Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN asks in the title, can the $300 Pimax VR headset be too good to be true? It ships without headphones, or you can buy the $350 which includes audio of moderate quality or provide your own if they fit comfortably under the headset. It also does not ship with any controllers, which means that Steam games which require anything other than a mouse and keyboard will simply not work; not an empty catalogue of games but definitely more limited than the two more expensive competitors.
The headset does offer better resolution, 1920x2160 per eye, which the reviewer noticed immediately as being clearer than the competition ... as long as you were looking directly at the text or object. There were issues at the edges of your view however, as well as with quickly turning your head which is likely due to the 60fps refresh rate. This is less than the 90fps the Vive or Rift can manage as well as creating concerns about reprojection and dropped frames. There were a few other concerns mentioned in the review which you should familiarize yourself with, but the Pimax is very interesting, a light VR headset with great resolution and only two connecting cord for $300.
"In the interim, here’s Chinese outfit Pimax, who are selling what they label as the first 4K VR headset for PC, which works with SteamVR. It’s also $350 (or $300 without headphones), compared to the Rift’s $599 and Vive’s $799"
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- From The Wirecutter: The best 4K monitors (so far) @ Ars Technica
- BenQ XR3501 Curved Gaming Monitor @ Kitguru
- Dell UltraSharp 24 InfinityEdge U2417H 24in Monitor @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 27, 2016 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VR, trickster vr, amd, nvidia, htc vive
[H]ard|OCP continues their look into the performance of VR games on NVIDIA's Titan X, GTX 1080, 1070, 1060 and 970 as well as AMD's Fury X and RX 480. This particular title allowed AMD to shine, they saw the RX 480 come within a hair of matching the GTX 1060 which is a first for them and shows that AMD can be a contender in the VR market. Pop by to see their review in full.
"Arm yourself with a bow and arrows, a magic sword that flies, or if you prefer, a handful of throwing darts. Then get ready to take on the procedurally generated fantasy world full of cartoonish Orcs, and more Orcs, and some other Orcs. Headshots count as well as chaining your shots so aim is critical. Did I mention the Orcs?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Comparison @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 27, 2016 - 10:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, pascal, hybrid cooler, gtx 1070, GP104, evga
EVGA is preparing to launch the GTX 1070 FTW Hybrid which is a water cooled card that pairs NVIDIA's GTX 1070 GPU with EVGA's Hybrid cooler and custom FTW PCB. The factory overclocked graphics card is currently up for pre-order for $500 on EVGA's website.
The GTX 1070 FTW Hybrid uses EVGA's custom PCB that features two 8-pin power connectors that drive a 10+2 power phase and dual BIOS chips. The Hybrid cooler includes a shrouded 100mm axial fan and a water block that directly touches both the GPU and the memory chips. The water block connects to an external 120mm radiator and a single fan that can be swapped out and/or powered by a motherboard using a standard four pin connector. Additionally, the cooler has a metal back plate and RGB LED back-lit EVGA logos on the side and windows on the front. Display outputs include one DVI, one HDMI, and three DisplayPort connectors.
As far as specification go, EVGA did not get too crazy with the factory overclock, but users should be able to push it quite far on their own assuming they get a decent chip from the silicon lottery. The GP104 GPU has 1920 CUDA cores clocked at 1607 MHz base and 1797 MHz boost. However, the 8 GB of memory is clocked at the stock 8,000 MHz. For comparison, reference clock speeds are 1506 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost.
Interestingly, EVGA rates the GTX 1070 FTW Hybrid at 215 watts versus the reference card's 150 watts. It is also the same TDP rating as the GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid card.
The table below outlines the specifications of EVGA's water cooled card compared to the GTX 1070 reference GPU and the GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid.
|GTX 1070||GTX 1070 FTW Hybrid||GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid|
|Rated Clock||1506 MHz||1607 MHz||1721 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1683 MHz||1797 MHz||1860 MHz|
|Memory Clock||8000 MHz||8000 MHz||10000 MHz|
|TDP||150 watts||215 watts||215 watts|
|MSRP (current)||$379 ($449 FE)||$500||$730|
According to EVGA, the Hybrid cooler offers up GPU and memory temperatures to 45°C and 57°C respectively compared to reference temperatures of 80°C and 85°C. Keeping in mind that these are EVGA's own numbers (you can see our Founder's Edition temperature results here), the Hybrid cooler seems to be well suited for keeping Pascal GPUs in check even when overclocked. In reviews of the GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid, reviewers found that the Hybrid cooler allowed stable 2GHz+ GPU clock speeds that let the card hit their maximum boost clocks and stay there under load. Hopefully the GTX 1070 version will have similar results. I am interested to see whether the memory chips they are using will be capable of hitting at least the 10 GHz of the 1080 cards if not more since they are being cooled by the water loop.
You can find more information on the factory overclocked water cooled graphics card on EVGA's website. The card is available for pre-order at $500 with a 3 year warranty.
Pricing does seem a bit high at first glance, but looking around at other custom GTX 1070 cards, it is only at about a $50 premium which is not too bad in my opinion. I will wait to see actual reviews before I believe it, but if I had to guess the upcoming card should have a lot of headroom for overclocking and I'm interested to see how far people are able to push it!
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, headphones
There will be an improvement in audio support on Type-C USB connections which will decrease power demands, as USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specifications have just been announced. When compared to the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB audio is a power hog which will shorten the amount of time your battery will last on a phone or other mobile device but it seems that the USB-IF have been working to overcome this issue. Product manufacturers are looking forward to this as USB can be isolated from other internals far more effectively than the 3.5mm jack which would allow them to waterproof their devices.
Hopefully the new compliance testing regime brought about after the consequences of using a bad cable to charge your laptop will ensure we do not have any related problems with audio devices. The Register does remind us that Bluetooth 5 is yet to be commonly found on mobile devices and could offer yet another 3.5mm nail in the coffin.
"Hear that, children? That's the sound of another set of nails in the coffin of headphone jacks in mobile devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BlackBerry throws in the towel on building its own smartphones @ The Inquirer
- Official: Windows 10 has hit the 400 million device mark @ The Register
- Microsoft makes massive changes to MCSE and MCSD @ The Register
Introduction and Specifications
The Primera Series PM01 is a new tower enclosure from SilverStone which combines sleek looks and integrated LED lighting.
It's been a little while since we've taken a look at a new case from SilverStone, and the company has certainly not been idle during this time. The case we have for you today is the first model from the new Primera Series, which offers "the feel of a luxurious supercar" from its angular lines and mesh grills, and it features an impressive piano black high gloss finish (a white version is also available).
The PM01 is also equipped with a trio of 140 mm intake fans, which in our black review sample are outfitted with red LED lights (the white version contains blue lighting). In addition to the front fans, the case has integrated LED lighting strips above and beneath the large side panel window, and the lighting effects can be controlled with a 4-position selector button on the top of the case.
SilverStone lists these features for the PM01 enclosure:
- Includes three 140mm LED fans and built-in LED strips for stunning visual impact
- Oversized front panel mesh design inspired by supercar intake grill
- Support two 240/280/360mm radiator for AIO liquid cooler or custom water cooling
- Reserved water tank mounting holes for water cooling setup
- Removable filters with positive air pressure design for dust reduction
- Built-in 4-segment LED light controller to adjustable brightness and modes
- Super clean internal look with PSU and drive bay cover
- Includes 10-in-1 fan hub for fan cable management
The metal mesh front and rear exhaust suggest excellent airflow, and we will find out just how effectively this new case can cool a gaming build - and how quietly it does so.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 28, 2016 - 11:16 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: tempered glass, S340 Elite, S340, nzxt, enclosure, case, atx
NZXT has released a new, premium version of their excellent S340 mid-tower enclosure (which we reviewed last year), and the S340 Elite features a tempered-glass side panel, while case I/O now offers an HDMI port for VR builds.
"Expanding on the S340’s renowned durability, the S340 Elite features a tempered glass panel to showcase builds with crisp clarity. The top IO panel has been optimized with an HDMI port and additional USB ports for a streamlined VR experience. It includes a magnetic cable management puck to conveniently store VR or audio headsets with fast and flexible mounting access. The S340 Elite is strong, compact, and takes the S340 chassis to new heights."
NZXT lists the S340 Elite's main features, all new with this version of the enclosure:
- Tempered glass side panel: showcase your build
- VR cable management puck: move freely & clean cables
- Front VR accessibility: plugging your VR headset is easy & convenient
- Interior cable management clamps: easy cable management
- Additional SSD tray: increase storage options
As strong a performer as the original S340 was considering its affordable $69.99 price tag, and for a case with a full tempered-glass side panel the Elite version is priced very competitively at $99.99. A $30 premium for the added features seems like a very good tradeoff, and we already have one of these new S340 Elite enclosures in for testing, so expect a full review soon!
Subject: Memory | September 28, 2016 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition, corsair, ddr4, ddr4-3200, DHX
Corsair's DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition series comes in 32GB kits, either four 8GB DIMMs or a pair of 16GB DIMMs, in your choice of Chrome or Blackout finishes. All kits are DDR4-3200MHz but with the 10-layer PCB and DHX heatsinks Corsair feels that reaching 3600MHz will be trivial and higher frequencies possible for talented tweakers. They will be available directly from Corsair, $330 for the quad-channel kit and $300 for the dual channel.
You can read the full PR by clicking below.
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 01:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VR, sword master vr, htc vive, gaming
With the amount of VR benchmarks coming out of [H]ard|OCP lately we wonder if they are in danger of becoming the worlds first VR addicts. They tested the usual suite of two AMD cards and five NVIDIA to determine the amount of dropped frames and average render times in this particular game. As it turns out the game is harder on the player than it is the GPU, all were able to provide decent experiences when swashbuckling. The developer recommends you clear a 2x1.5m area to play this game and from what [H]ard|OCP experienced while playing this is no joke; you will get exercise while you are duelling some of the harder opponents.
"Do you want to fight the Black Knight in a sword fight? There is not exactly a "Black Knight" in Sword Master VR, but you can certainly get that feeling. In fact, you can fight him and a couple of his friends at the same time if you are up to the challenge. Just pull the sword from the stone for $10."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Electric Heart: Deus Ex Story DLC System Rift Released @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Battlefield 1 single player uses a 'war story' anthology format @ HEXUS
- Erected: Civilization VI System Requirements Finalised @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Respawn provides detailed Titanfall 2 PC specs @ HEXUS
- For The Emp, Er, Uh: WH40k Eternal Crusade Released @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wasteland 3 will have multiplayer, XCOM-style cinematic camera @ Polygon
- Back to school sale @ GOG
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War 3 Shows Off Eldar @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
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