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Don't have two M.2 slots? No problems!

Subject: Storage | November 26, 2015 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: M.2, pcie, sata 6Gbs, Silverstone, ECM20

That's right, no matter if you run iOS, Linux or Windows if you have an M key style M.2 port the Silverstone ECM20 add-on card will give you both a PCI-e M.2 slot and a SATA 6Gbs M.2 slot.  The board itself is a mounting point, no controller but simply a way to transfer data from a PCI-e M.2 card or a mount for a SATA style card, you provide the cable.  The simplcity ensures that your transfer speeds will match what you would expect from a native slot as the tests at Benchmark Reviews show.  At less than $20 it is a great way to expand your high speed storage capacity.


"The m.2 form factor is becoming popular for SSDs due to its small size, and, in PCI-E guise, superior performance. As our recent test of the Samsung 950 Pro m.2 SSD has shown, PCI-E m.2 SSDs offer performance many times that of the very best SATA SSDs, so if you’re looking for a storage upgrade, m.2 is definitely the way to go."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


Giving the R9 Nano some breathing space

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2015 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, mini ITX, amd, obsidian 250d, corsair

When Ryan tested out how the R9 Nano performs in tiny cases he chose the Cooler Master Elite 110, the Raijintek Metis, the Lian Li PC-Q33BL and their PC-Q30X.  The card did slow down somewhat because of a lack of airflow in the case but that was quickly remedied with a drill press and we saw vast improvements in the in-game frequencies.  [H]ard|OCP performed a similar experiment with the Cooler Master Elite 110 as well and found similar results.

They are now back at it again, this time testing in a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX case, which is large enough to accommodate a full sized GPU and provide improved airflow.  They tested the Nano against a GTX 980 Ti and a R9 Fury X as they cost a similar amount to the tiny little Nano.  They tested the cards at both 1440p and 4K resolutions and as you might reasonably expect the Nano fell behind, especially at 4K.  If you have a case which can fit a full sized GPU then the Nano does not make sense to purchase, however in cases in which the larger cards will not fit then the Nano's performance is unmatched.


"Our second installment covering our AMD Radeon R9 Nano in a Small Form Factor chassis is finally done. We will upgrade the case to a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX PC Case and compare the R9 Nano to price competitive video cards that can be installed. We game at 1440p and 4K for the ultimate small form factor experience."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Rdio Slowly Shutting Down Starting November 23rd

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2015 - 12:35 AM |
Tagged: rdio

I say slowly shutting down because the service will remain active for a little while, letting users finish their subscriptions or use the free option. As of now, the only announced date is that Rdio will no longer renew subscriptions (or accept new paying customers) on November 23rd.


The company recently filed for bankruptcy, after trying to raise more capital and find other ways to keep the business running. Pandora will pay $75 million for the remnants of the service, although that could change if a better offer surfaces or an issue arises in bankruptcy protection. The press release states that “many members of the Rdio team will continue to shape the future of streaming music, applying our tradition of great design and innovative engineering on an even larger stage with Pandora.” It further states “Pandora is not acquiring the operating business of Rdio,” but rather just “the technology and talent.”

Rdio has not given a date that their service will end. This news is disappointing for me, because Rdio was the first music streaming service in Canada, at least that I found out about, which led me to choose it.

Source: Rdio

The Internet of Things loves to share

Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2015 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: idiots, iot, security

You would think people would be be taken aback if someone suggested saving money by using the same key on every new house built in a neighbourhood, if so you don't work for companies developing hardware for the Internet of Things.  In a recent survey of  4,000 embedded devices from 70 hardware makers, Sec Consult found that many had the same hardwired SSH login keys and server-side SSL certificates.  The numbers they provided The Register were a total 580 private keys were found distributed over all the analyzed devices, of which at least 230 are in already in use on the internet.  To be fair this is not uncommon in consumer level firmware as companies do not even bother to check over the source code let alone change the security keys held within but it is a huge security risk.  For a glimpse at how bad some of these supposedly secure certs and keys are read on at The Register.


"Lazy makers of home routers and the Internet of Things are reusing the same small set of hardcoded security keys, leaving them open to hijacking en masse, researchers have warned."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Raspberry Pi Zero Released for $5

Subject: Systems | November 26, 2015 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, raspberry pi zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a new version that lowers the cost of gigahertz-class computing devices to just $5. It is based on a 1.0 GHz ARM11 core from Broadcom that is about 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi. It also has 512MB of RAM, which is a lot for embedded or hobbyist applications. In fact, it doubles the original Raspberry Pi Model A (and is on part with the Model B). Storage is handled by a microSD card slot, as is the case with every previous Raspberry Pi except the Compute Module.


They also offer an alternative to the $5 price tag. If you pick up the print edition of MagPi magazine #40, which is the Christmas 2015 issue, you will receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that they printed 10,000 copies of this magazine. This is probably much more interesting than a CD-ROM demo of Battlezone II.

Due to high demand, I'm not sure when you can expect to get one though.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Samsung Announces Mass Production of 128GB DDR4 Sticks

Subject: Memory | November 26, 2015 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: TSV, Samsung, enterprise, ddr4

You may remember Allyn's article about TSV memory back from IDF 2014. Through this process, Samsung and others are able to stack dies of memory onto a single package, which can increase density and bandwidth. This is done by punching holes through the dies and connecting them down to the PCB. The first analogy that comes to mind is an elevator shaft, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.


Anyway, Samsung has been applying it to enterprise-class DDR4 memory, which leads to impressive capacities. 64GB sticks, individual sticks, were introduced in 2014. This year, that capacity doubles to 128GB. The chips are fabricated at 20nm and each contain 8Gb (1GB) per layer. Each stick contains 36 packages of four chips.

At the end of their press release, Samsung also mentioned that they intend to expand their TSV technology into “HBM and consumer products.”

Source: Samsung

ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti Announced

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 26, 2015 - 09:42 PM |
Tagged: asus, 980 Ti

As most of our readers are well aware, the graphics market is dominated by two GPU vendors, both of which sell chips and reference designs to add-in board partners. ASUS is one of the oldest add-in board partners. According to their anniversary website, ASUS even produced a card that was based on the S3 ViRGE/DX graphics chipset all the way back in 1996.


To celebrate their 20th anniversary, although they don't exactly state when they start counting, ASUS has released a few high-end versions of Maxwell-based graphics cards. This one is the ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti. It comes with a base clock speed of 1266 MHz, which boosts up to 1367 MHz as needed. This is quite high, considering the reference card is clocked at 1000 MHz and boosts to 1189 MHz, although overclocking the 980 Ti is not too difficult to begin with. Ryan got up to 1465 MHz with a reference card. The Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti might go even higher with its enhanced cooling and power delivery, and it's designed for liquid nitrogen if you're that type of enthusiast.


Speaking of liquid nitrogen features, the card advertises a “Memory Defroster” feature that looks rather extreme. I can't say that I've ever seen a graphics card get covered in a visible layer of ice, but I've also never attached it to a reservoir of liquid with a temperature that's easier to write in Kelvin than Celcius.

Is this a legit problem? Or does this seem like “anti-dust shield” to everyone else too?

The ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti ships this month.

Source: ASUS