Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2014 - 10:14 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Day For Night Games, The Black Glove, irrational, gaming
Watch the Kickstarter video from Day For Night Games and you will see a lot of Bioshock DNA in The Blck Glove, but not a lot of bloodshed. Instead of hordes of Splicers to take down in a variety of ways there are three artists whose creations you can improve by changing their past Muse, Medium or Message and instead of Big Daddy there is a ... Space Minotaur? You take the role of curator for The Equinox, a rather surreal 1920's theatre with three exhibits, the artist Marisol, the filmmaker Avery Arnault, and musical act Many Embers. By overcoming the Space Minotaur in a variety of minigames you can change the past of these three artists to completely change and hopefully improve their creations in the games present. The focus will be on the amount of times you can replay the game as each of the three categories will have three sub-categories which leads to many possible outcomes for the three artists creations. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN offers their thoughts on this project here.
This may not end up being as much of a hit as Bioshock multiplayer did with the Fragging Frogs but there will likely be a few members who do end up picking it up. In the meantime BF4, ARMA2 and 3, UT2K4 and a wide variety of other games remain popular and more importantly, populated with players. Check out what they will be up to tonight!
"The Black Glove is a new project from a selection of the developers who worked on Bioshock, from the first game right up until Burial at Sea and the winding down of Irrational. It has instantly become one of the games I’m most looking forward to seeing more of, although that’s partly because there’s not quite enough on show right now."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Styx: Master Of Shadows Launches Trailer From Darkness @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare @ The Inquirer
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare @ The Inquirer
- Wot I Think: Alien – Isolation @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Latest Far Cry 4 trailer gives an in-depth look at game weaponry @ HEXUS
- Wot I Think Now I’ve Finished Shadow Of Mordor @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Space 4X M.O.R.E. Double Dips On Kickstarter @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2014 - 09:28 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, linux, unified driver, pirate islands
AMD had some news at the 2014 X.Org Developer's Conference that concerns their strategy when it comes to providing open source drivers for Linux. To start off with the bad news, the new unified driver was prototyped on a not yet released Linux kernel and Sea Islands GPUs and will only work on the next generation of graphics cards, the Pirate Islands. That is not a terrible thing as backwards compatibility can be a Kong sized monkey on the back of a driver and a fresh start allows the incorporation of features that might be skipped if legacy support is a main focus. Only a small portion of the driver blob will be proprietary, the majority will be based on Catalyst but will be fully open source and editable. This means users of the X.Org Server or even just those playing with new versions of the Linux kernel will no longer have to wait for a new Catalyst to be released nor will those playing with OpenGL. Dive in deeper at Phoronix.
"Alex Deucher of AMD has taken the floor at XDC2014, which got underway today in France to provide an update on the company's new unified open-source driver strategy. Compared to what I originally reported earlier in the year when breaking the news, there's some notable changes but overall this is an exciting endeavor for AMD Linux customers with the open and closed source AMD GPU drivers going to share the same (open-source) Linux kernel driver."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HGST plans big data assault @ The Inquirer
- Galaxy Note 4 features Samsung's smallest ever NFC chip @ The Inquirer
- First gigabit-over-COPPER chipset lands @ The Register
- Shift up, gran! Microsoft turns living room into AR game 'space' @ The Register
- Countless Belkin routers go TITSUP in massive mystery meltdown @ The Register
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The ASUS Maximus VII Formula motherboard is one of the newest members of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) product line, integrating several new features to elevate the board to an entirely new level over is predecessor. From outward appearance the Maximus VII Formula looks very similar to its previous revision, the Maximus VI Formula. However, ASUS made some under-the-hood enhancements and minor layout adjustments to the board, utilizing the functionality of the integrated Intel Z97 chipset. The Maximus VII Formula comes with a premium MSRP of $369.00, but is well worth the cost given the premium feature set and performance potential of the board.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
ASUS designed the Maximus VII Formula motherboard with a top-rated 8-phase digital power delivery system, combining 60A-rated BlackWing chokes, NexFET MOSFETs with a 90% efficiency rating, and 10k Japanese-source Black Metallic capacitors, for unprecedented system stability under any circumstance. Additionally, ASUS integrate their updated SupremeFX Formula audio system for superior audio fidelity through the integrated audio ports. The Maximus VII Formula contains the following features integrated into its design: six SATA 3 ports; an M.2 (NGFF) 10 Gb/s port integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo III card; two SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; an Intel I218V GigE NIC; an AzureWave (Broadcomm chipset) 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controller integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo III card; three PCI-Express Gen3 x16 slots; three PCI-Express Gen2 x1 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, Keybot, MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, ROG Connect, and Sonic SoundStage buttons; Probelt voltage measurement points; OC Panel support; SupremeFX Formula 2014 audio solution; CrossChill Hybrid air and water cooled VRM copper-based cooling solution; ROG Armor overlay; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 7, 2014 - 02:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: seasonic, Platinum-1050, modular psu, kilowatt, hybrid silent fan, 80 Plus Platinum
Lee just wrapped up a review of Seasonic's 1050 and 1200W Platinum PSU's but why not revisit the powerful 1050W PSU in [H]ard|OCP's latest PSU review. Their testing methodology differs from Lee's as does the hardware used to test it. This way you get even more information about how this PSU functions under differing conditions and you will be more informed about your possible purchase. Reading the whole review is the best way to fully understand this fully modular PSU's strengths but if you insist on skipping to the conclusion then this PSU is both better than the competition and less expensive. The only constructive criticism that [H] could offer was that it does not really improve in any major way over Seasonic's previouslt released 1000W PSU.
"Seasonic is one of our long-time favorites when it comes to truly high-end power supplies. The new PLATINUM-1050 PSU claims to deliver excellent power efficiency and does so with a fully modular design. Seasonic is often known designing products with excellent sound profiles. Does the PLATINUM-1050 fit the profile?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Xilence Performance A Series 730W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec EDGE 750W @ Kitguru
- Rosewill Fortress 750 W @ techPowerUp
- Super Flower Leadex Gold 650w @ HardwareHeaven
- Chieftec A-80 Series 650W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Super Flower Leadex Gold 650W @ eTeknix
- Silverstone Nightjar 520W Passive @ eTeknix
- Seasonic Platinum Fanless 520W @ eTeknix
- Enermax Revolution X't 430 W @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! SFX Power 2 300W @ eTeknix
Quick Performance Comparison
Earlier this week, we posted a brief story that looked at the performance of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor on the latest GPUs from both NVIDIA and AMD. Last week also marked the release of the v1.11 patch for Sniper Elite 3 that introduced an integrated benchmark mode as well as support for AMD Mantle.
I decided that this was worth a quick look with the same line up of graphics cards that we used to test Shadow of Mordor. Let's see how the NVIDIA and AMD battle stacks up here.
For those unfamiliar with the Sniper Elite series, the focuses on the impact of an individual sniper on a particular conflict and Sniper Elite 3 doesn't change up that formula much. If you have ever seen video of a bullet slowly going through a body, allowing you to see the bones/muscle of the particular enemy being killed...you've probably been watching the Sniper Elite games.
Gore and such aside, the game is fun and combines sniper action with stealth and puzzles. It's worth a shot if you are the kind of gamer that likes to use the sniper rifles in other FPS titles.
But let's jump straight to performance. You'll notice that in this story we are not using our Frame Rating capture performance metrics. That is a direct result of wanting to compare Mantle to DX11 rendering paths - since we have no way to create an overlay for Mantle, we have resorted to using FRAPs and the integrated benchmark mode in Sniper Elite 3.
Our standard GPU test bed was used with a Core i7-3960X processor, an X79 motherboard, 16GB of DDR3 memory, and the latest drivers for both parties involved. That means we installed Catalyst 14.9 for AMD and 344.16 for NVIDIA. We'll be comparing the GeForce GTX 980 to the Radeon R9 290X, and the GTX 970 to the R9 290. We will also look at SLI/CrossFire scaling at the high end.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
be quiet! is a relative new comer to the US computer component market with an award-winning reputation for high quality power supplies and components in their native Germany. Recently, they have branched out into the highly competive cooling space with their Dark Rock and Shadow Rock cooler lines. The Dark Rock Pro 3 is the newest member of their Dark Rock cooler line, featuring a massive dual tower radiator and dual fan design. The Shadow Rock Slim is a recent addition to their Shadow Rock line, featuring a smaller footprint single radiator design to maximize motherboard compatibility with the cooler. The Dark Rock Pro 3 comes with a premium MSRP of $89.99, while the Shadown Rock Slim is available at an MSRP of $49.99.
Courtesy of be quiet!
Courtesy of be quiet!
As a flagship solution, the Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler has most of the nice to haves to find on top-end coolers from other manufactures - copper base plate and heat pipes, nickel plating on all copper surfaces, thick dual radiator construction, dual fans, and a massive amount of heat pipes to wick the heat away from the CPU surface as fast as possible. be quiet! developed the cooler using dual fans, a 120mm front fan and a 135mm inner fan. Heat is transfered from the copper base plate to the dual aluminum radiators by a dense array of seven copper heat pipes. All surfaces are nickel coated for corrosion protection and scratch resistance with the nickel plating black colored to give the cooler a sleek and menacing appearance.
Subject: Mobile | October 7, 2014 - 10:26 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, msi, maxwell, GTX 980M, GTX 970M, gt dominator, gs stealth, gs ghost
You've heard about NVIDIA's new GTX900M Series and MSI has released two new families of gaming laptops which contain the new GPU. The GS Stealth and Ghost series are the thinner, lighter more mobile of the laptops while the Dominator Series is more a desktop replacement and should also give you a good workout while you are carting them around. The base model will run you $1600, with more expensive options available such as the limited edition Crimson Red Stealth Pro model at the end. Before you ask, no the integral displays are not G-SYNC however since the mobile GPUs are based on Maxwell you may be able to output to a G-SYNC monitor with a variable refresh. Stay tuned for more.
City of Industry, Calif. – October 7, 2014 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, announces the immediate availability of the critically acclaimed GS Stealth/Ghost Series and GT Dominator Series gaming laptops with NVIDIA’s latest GTX 900M Series graphics. Armed with unprecedented power and an array of cutting-edge features, including MSI’s new SHIFT technology, the new gaming notebooks deliver up to 28% more graphics performance for a mobile gaming experience without barriers.
“MSI’s newest gaming laptops showcase breakthroughs in mobile gaming technology that improve graphics performance, increase gaming comfort, and transport gamers into an unbelievable gaming journey,” says Andy Tung, president of MSI Pan America. “NVIDIA’s GTX 900M Series GPU delivers mobile graphics that are up to par with desktop graphics card models and superior to anything we’ve ever seen.”
SHIFT Your Speed
MSI’s newest gaming laptops feature their exclusive SHIFT power adjustment technology that enables easy tweaking of CPU and GPU performance to best suit the gamers’ needs. SHIFT comes with three proprietary modes: Sport to maximize CPU and GPU usage for extreme performance, Comfort for a smooth and balanced ride, and Green, which enables the lowest power consumption of both CPU and GPU while maintaining the coolest constant temperatures for both.
MSI provides unprecedented customization in all NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900M Series graphics equipped laptops via the Dragon Gaming Center and SteelSeries Engine. Gamers can SHIFT CPU and GPU usage through the Dragon Gaming Center as well as monitor system performance, temperature, network speed, power consumption, fan speed and more. The SteelSeries Engine gives gamers the ability to personalize playing style with over a billion customization options, program individual keys for unlimited configurations, determine key color and lighting patterns, save and share configurations, and learn gaming patterns with key usage statistics.
Cutting Edge Components
All revamped gaming laptops come with 4th Gen Intel Core i7 processors, Killer E2200 Game Networking, Sound Blaster Cinema, Dynaudio Technology, XSplit Gamecaster, 4K HDMI Output, Matrix Display and NVIDIA Surround View. NVIDIA Surround is now supported on all next gen models, allowing gamers to immersive themselves in the ultimate gaming experience. Select models come with MSI’s Super RAID technology which supports up to 4x M.2 SATA SSD’s in RAID 0, ultra-high resolution 3K displays, and Killer DoubleShot Pro combining Killer E2200 Game Networking with Killer N1525 Wireless AC.
MSI’s latest update applies to the ultra-thin and light GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro models, and the potent GT72 Dominator, GT70 Dominator and GT60 Dominator gaming laptops. All GS and GT gaming laptops equipped with NVIDIA’s GTX 900M graphics are available now starting at $1,599.99.
In addition, MSI is launching a special edition GS70 Stealth Pro in Crimson Red, catering to the demands of gamers who want more choices in color and style. The GS70 Stealth Pro Crimson Red edition will be available through online retailers with next gen graphics.
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2014 - 09:57 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mobile apu, Excavator, Carrizo-L, carrizo, amd, 28nm
Kaveri, Beema and Mullins are on their way out to be replaced by the Excavator based Carrizo family towards the end of the year. We can hope they will appear in products in time for Christmas as the low power Carrizo-L, rumoured to be around 12-35W TDP, will arrive. In the new year the more powerful Carrizo, speculated at 45-65W TDP, will be available. It is unclear how long the delay will be between availability to system builders and the products appearing on the market. The chips will support DDR3, contain a GPU based on GCN 3.0 and stacked on-package memory which will be accessible by Through Silicon Via to act as a sort of L3 cache for HSA applications. DigiTimes also mentions it will run Win8 and Win10 as well as SLED.
"AMD is planning to announce next-generation Carrizo APUs in March 2015 to replace its existing Kaveri APUs for the mainstream performance notebook segment and will release Carrizo-L APUs for the entry-level notebook segment in December 2014 at the earliest to challenge Intel's Pentium and Celeron processors, according to sources from notebook players."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hard for Samsung to compete with TSMC for Apple A9 processor orders, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Hot DRAM! Samsung splurges $15 BILLION on Korean chip fab @ The Register
- Windows 10 Technical Preview hands-on review @ The Inquirer
- A Production-Ready Flying Car Is Coming This Month @ Slashdot
- Win an X99S Gaming 7 motherboard with KitGuru and MSI
If there is one message that I get from NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 900M-series announcement, it is that laptop gaming is a first-class citizen in their product stack. Before even mentioning the products, the company provided relative performance differences between high-end desktops and laptops. Most of the rest of the slide deck is showing feature-parity with the desktop GTX 900-series, and a discussion about battery life.
First, the parts. Two products have been announced: The GeForce GTX 980M and the GeForce GTX 970M. Both are based on the 28nm Maxwell architecture. In terms of shading performance, the GTX 980M has a theoretical maximum of 3.189 TFLOPs, and the GTX 970M is calculated at 2.365 TFLOPs (at base clock). On the desktop, this is very close to the GeForce GTX 770 and the GeForce GTX 760 Ti, respectively. This metric is most useful when you're compute bandwidth-bound, at high resolution with complex shaders.
The full specifications are:
|GTX 980M||GTX 970M||
|Memory||Up to 4GB||Up to 3GB||4GB||4GB||4GB/8GB|
|Memory Rate||2500 MHz||2500 MHz||7.0 (GT/s)||7.0 (GT/s)||2500 MHz|
As for the features, it should be familiar for those paying attention to both desktop 900-series and the laptop 800M-series product launches. From desktop Maxwell, the 900M-series is getting VXGI, Dynamic Super Resolution, and Multi-Frame Sampled AA (MFAA). From the latest generation of Kepler laptops, the new GPUs are getting an updated BatteryBoost technology. From the rest of the GeForce ecosystem, they will also get GeForce Experience, ShadowPlay, and so forth.
For VXGI, DSR, and MFAA, please see Ryan's discussion for the desktop Maxwell launch. Information about these features is basically identical to what was given in September.
BatteryBoost, on the other hand, is a bit different. NVIDIA claims that the biggest change is just raw performance and efficiency, giving you more headroom to throttle. Perhaps more interesting though, is that GeForce Experience will allow separate one-click optimizations for both plugged-in and battery use cases.
The power efficiency demonstrated with the Maxwell GPU in Ryan's original GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 review is even more beneficial for the notebook market where thermal designs are physically constrained. Longer battery life, as well as thinner and lighter gaming notebooks, will see tremendous advantages using a GPU that can run at near peak performance on the maximum power output of an integrated battery. In NVIDIA's presentation, they mention that while notebooks on AC power can use as much as 230 watts of power, batteries tend to peak around 100 watts. Given that a full speed, desktop-class GTX 980 has a TDP of 165 watts, compared to the 250 watts of a Radeon R9 290X, translates into notebook GPU performance that will more closely mirror its desktop brethren.
Of course, you probably will not buy your own laptop GPU; rather, you will be buying devices which integrate these. There are currently five designs across four manufacturers that are revealed (see image above). Three contain the GeForce GTX 980M, one has a GTX 970M, and the other has a pair of GTX 970Ms. Prices and availability are not yet announced.
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2014 - 08:50 PM | Morry Teitelman
Tagged: FinalWire, aida64
Courtesy of FinalWire
Today, FinalWire Ltd. announced the release of version 4.70 of their diagnostic and benchmarking tool, AIDA64. This new version updates their Extreme Edition, Engineer Edition, and Business Edition of the software.
The latest version of AIDA64 has been updated to work with the latest LCD and VFD screen-based devices as well as several of the newest SSD devices on the market. FinalWire also integrated support for CUDA 6.5, Mantle, and OpenGL 4.5 for testing with the newest AMD and NVIDIA graphics accelerators.
New features include:
- Support for new LCD and VFD devices: Acer Idea 500, Adafruit, Aquaero, AX206, BWCT, CH424, Crystalfontz, ct-Mausekino, Cwlinux, Dangerous Prototypes HD44780, Futaba DM-140GINK, Futaba MDM166A, GLCD2USB, IkaLogic, LCDInfo USB13700, LCDInfo USBD480, LPT, Matrix Orbital LK RS232, Matrix Orbital GLK RS232, Odroid-Show, Phidget, picoLCD, POS, Pyramid, Roccat Valo, Samsung SPF, SoundGraph iMon LCD, SpikenzieLabs MPTH, Sure Electronics, Trefon, USB2LCD+, Wallbraun LUI, Yoctopuce
- Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows Server 2015 Technical Preview support
- Advanced support for Razer SwitchBlade UI LCD
- Support for LGA2011-v3 motherboards
- CUDA 6.5, OpenGL 4.5 support
- AData SP610, AData SP910, Corsair Force LX, Corsair Neutron, Corsair Neutron GTX, OCZ Arc 100, Seagate 600, SanDisk Extreme Pro, SanDisk X300s SSD support
- GPU details for AMD Radeon R9 285
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce 900 Series
Software updates new to this release (since AIDA64 v4.00):
- Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update 1 support
- OpenCL GPGPU Benchmark Suite
- AMD Mantle graphics accelerator diagnostics
- Multi-threaded memory stress test with SSE, SSE2, AVX, AVX2, FMA, BMI and BMI2 acceleration
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD “Kaveri”, “Bald Eagle”, “Mullins”, “Beema” APUs
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Atom C2000 “Avoton” and “Rangeley” SoC
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel “Bay Trail” desktop, mobile and tablet SoC
- Full support for the upcoming Intel “Haswell Refresh” platform with Intel “Wildcat Point” PCH
- Support for new LCD and VFD devices: Abacom (ExpertProfi), AlphaCool, Digital Devices, LCD2USB, Mad Catz Venom, Matrix Orbital LK, Matrix Orbital GLK, Matrix Orbital GX, nMedia Pro-LCD, Pertelian X2040, SDC Megtron, SoundGraph iMon VFD, VL System LIS, VL System LIS 2
- Improved support for Intel “Broadwell” CPU
- Preliminary support for AMD “Carrizo” and “Toronto” APUs
- Preliminary support for Intel Quark X1000 “Clanton” SoC
- Preliminary support for Intel “Skylake”, “Cherry Trail”, “Denverton” CPUs
- Improved support for Intel “Haswell-E” CPU and DDR4 memory modules
- Support for DDR4 XMP 2.0 memory profiles
- Intel H97 and Z97 chipset based motherboards support
- SMTP SSL support
- Improved handling of XSL files
- Revamped Direct3D Compute Shader devices enumeration
- CUDA 6.0, OpenGL ES 3.1 support
- Improved support for OpenCL 2.0
- Support for VirtualBox v4.3 and VMware Workstation v10
- A-Data SP920, Crucial M550, Intel 730, OCZ Vector 150, OCZ Vertex 460, Plextor M6M, Plextor M6S, Samsung 845DC Evo, Samsung 850 Pro, Samsung XP941 SSD support
- GPU details for AMD Radeon R5, R7, R9 Series
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce 700 and 800 Series
FinalWire is the global leader in the development of diagnostic and network management software products for Windows based computers. The company's founding members are veteran software developers who have worked together on programming system utilities for almost two decades. For more information, visit www.aida64.com
Subject: General Tech, Systems | October 6, 2014 - 04:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: restructure, layoffs, hp inc, hp, hewlett-packard enterprise
HP's restructure initiative has been ongoing for years, leading to tens of thousands of layoffs. This occurred in several phases, with low-margin businesses grouped alongside highly profitable ones. Originally, HP considered spinning off PC devices but later paired it with its highly profitable printing products.
Today, HP announced plans to split into two companies: HP Inc., the aforementioned PC and printing division, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, which will handle servers, networking, and other infrastructure as well as enterprise software and services. Shareholders will receive stock in both companies in an "intended to be tax-free" transaction. Obviously, that may vary by jurisdiction.
The reasons are fairly straight-forward. Print and PC are not heavily growing markets, especially not compared to their enterprise division. These two companies are roughly equal in size, so separating them highlights each side's strengths and weaknesses, and allows new investors to bet on one without giving money to the other. While Hewlett-Packard Enterprise is expected to be the higher-growth company, HP Inc. is expected to get into 3D printing as a consumer service. It will also inherit the logo, likely because it is something that consumers still identify with.
Current CEO, Meg Whitman, will be CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Chair of HP Inc.
The "transaction" for shareholders is expected by the end of FY15. It will also align with the loss of 5000 jobs, resulting in 55,000 layoffs since Whitman joined the company. I have yet to hear anything about where these cuts will occur.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 6, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, Core V51, air cooling, water cooling
The Thermaltake Core V51 Mid-Tower does not have a flashy exterior but the simple aesthetics should appeal to certain segments of the population. At 540 x 236 x 560mm (21 x 9 x 22") it is smaller than many of the cases we have seen released to the market but still has room for an eATX board inside as well as a Morry sized cooler. The cooling design is quite flexible, in several places you can choose to mount multiple 120/140mm fans or a single monstrous 200mm if you possess one; those who prefer watercooling are able to place 420mm rads in two places or smaller ones in numerous other places. [H]ard|OCP loved the performance and flexibilty of this case, as well as the $110 asking price, which together were enough to win a coveted Gold Award.
"Thermaltake has some very lofty goals set for its new mid-tower case. Its primary goal is to deliver outstanding cooling performance which is always high on our priority list as well. Form and function both seem to be well served in this new Core V51 model as its performance profile is not hard on the eyes."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Xigmatek Aquila @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Review @ OCC
- AZZA ‘Z’ CSAZ-103 Mini-ITX Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Carbide 240 AIR Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Rosewill Legacy U3 Aluminum MicroATX @ Silent PC Review
- Alphacool NexXxoS Cool Answer 360 DDC/XT Watercooling Set Review @ NikKTech
- Gamer Storm Maelstrom 240 Review @ OCC
- Enermax Liqtech 240 @ techPowerUp
- Cooler Master Hyper 612 V2 Cooler @ HardwareHeaven
- Scythe Mugen Max Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Cooler Master Hyper D92 CPU Cooler Review @ Modders-Inc
- Coolermaster Hyper D92 Heatsink @ Frostytech
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 6, 2014 - 12:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, r9 290, hawaii, GTX 980, GTX 970, geforce, amd
On Saturday while finishing up the writing on our Shadow of Mordor performance story, I noticed something quite interesting. The prices of AMD's flagship Radeon products had all come down quite a bit. In an obvious response to the release of NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970, the Radeon R9 290X and the Radeon R9 290 have lowered prices in a very aggressive fashion.
UPDATE: A couple of individual cards appear to be showing up as $360 and $369 on Newegg!
Amazon.com is showing some R9 290X cards at $399
For now, Amazon.com is only listing the triple-fan Gigabyte R9 290X Windforce card at $399, though Newegg.com has a couple as well.
Amazon.com also has several R9 290 cards for $299
- Gigabyte R9 290 Windforce - $299
- Powercolor AX R9 290 - $299
- ASUS R9 290 DirectCU II - $329
- More R9 290 Card on Amazon.com
And again, Newegg.com has some other options for R9 290 cards at these lower prices.
Let's assume that these price drops are going to be permanent which seems likely based on the history of AMD and market adjustments. That shifts the high end GPU market considerably.
|GeForce GTX 980 4GB||$549|
|$399||Radeon R9 290X 4GB|
|GeForce GTX 970 4GB||$329|
|$299||Radeon R9 290 4GB|
The battle for that lower end spot between the GTX 970 and R9 290 is now quite a bit tighter though NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture still has a positive outlook against the slightly older Hawaii GPU. Our review of the GTX 970 shows that it is indeed faster than the R9 290 though it no longer has the significant cost advantage it did upon release. The GTX 980, however, is much tougher sell over the Radeon R9 290X for PC gamers that are concerned with price per dollar over all else. I would still consider the GTX 980 faster than the R9 290X...but is it $150 faster? That's a 35% price difference NVIDIA now has to contend with.
NVIDIA has proven that is it comfortable staying in this position against AMD as it maintained it during essentially the entire life of the GTX 680 and GTX 780 product lines. AMD is more willing to make price cuts to pull the Radeon lineup back into the spotlight. Though the market share between the competitors didn't change much over the previous 6 months, I'll be very curious to see how these two strategies continue to play out.
Subject: Storage | October 6, 2014 - 11:51 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, slc, mlc, micron, M600, Dynamic Write Acceleration
The Tech Report took a different look at Micron's M600 SSD than Al did in his review. Their benchmarks were focused more on a performance comparison versus the rest of the market, with over two dozen SSDs listed in their charts. As you would expect the 1TB model outperformed the 256GB model but it was interesting to note that the 256GB MX100 outperformed the newer M600 in many tests. In the final tally the new caching technology helped the 256GB model perform quite well but it was the 1TB model, which supposedly lacks that technology proved to be one of the fastest they have tested.
"Micron's new M600 SSD has a dynamic write cache that can treat any block on the drive as high-speed SLC NAND. This unique feature is designed to help lower-capacity SSDs keep up with larger drives that have more NAND-level parallelism, and we've tested the 256GB and 1TB versions to see how well it works."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- MyDigitalSSD BP4e mSATA SSD @ The SSD Review
- Top 10 SSDs: Price, performance and capacity @ The Register
- Micron M600 M.2 SATA SSD @ The SSD Review
- Some thoughts on the performance of SSD RAID 0 arrays @ Hardware Secrets
- Transcend SSD370 128GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Micron M600 SSD @ The SSD Review
- QNAP TS-653 Pro @ Legion Hardware
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-251 NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Mach Xtreme MX-ES Ultra SLC USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ The SSD Review
- Silicon Power Marvel M70 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2014 - 09:30 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, TSMC, 10nm, FinFET, armv8-a
ARM and TSMC are moving ahead at an impressive pace, now predicting 10nm FinFET designs taping out possibly in the fourth quarter of 2015. That could even be possible considering how quickly they incorporated FinFET to move from 20nm SoC to 16nm. The the ARMv8-A processor architecture will have a few less transistors than a high end CPU which does help their process adoption move more quickly than AMD or Intel but with AMD partnering up with ARM there is the possibility of seeing this new ARM architecture in AMD chips in the not too distant future. As DigiTimes points out, there are many benefits that have come from this partnership between ARM and TSMC.
"ARM and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) have announced a new multi-year agreement that will deliver ARMv8-A processor IP optimized for TSMC 10nm FinFET process technology. Because of the success in scaling from 20nm SoC to 16nm FinFET, ARM and TSMC have decided to collaborate again for 10FinFET."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Desktop, schmesktop: Microsoft reveals next WINDOWS SERVER @ The Register
- Apple updates malware definitions to protect OS X users from iWorm Botnet @ The Inquirer
- IBM goes gunning for Intel with Nvidia GPU-charged Power8 servers @ The Register?
- Android Wear can now boot Windows 95 @ The Inquirer
- A Look at Adobe’s Creative Cloud Fall 2014 Update @ Techgage
- Tech ARP 2014 Mega Giveaway Contest
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2014 - 12:45 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows, mozilla, firefox, 64-bit
If you had a reason, Mozilla has been compiling Firefox Nightly as a 64-bit application for Windows over the last several months. It is not a build that is designed for the general public; in fact, I believe it is basically only available to make sure that they did not horribly break anything during some arbitrary commit. That might change relatively soon, though.
According to Mozilla's "internal", albeit completely public wiki, the non-profit organization is currently planning to release an official, 64-bit version of Firefox 37. Of course, all targets in Firefox are flexible and, ultimately, it is only done when it is done. If everything goes to schedule, that should be March 31st.
The main advantage is for high-performance applications (although there are some arguments for security, too). One example is if you open numerous tabs, to get Firefox's memory usage up, then attempt to load a Web applications like BananaBread. Last I tried, it will simply not load (unless you clean up memory usage somehow, like restarting the browser). It will run out of memory and just give up. You can see how this would be difficult for higher-end games, video editing utilities, and so forth. This will not be the case when 64-bit comes around.
If you are looking to develop a web app, be sure to check out the 64-bit Firefox Nightly builds. Unless plans change, it looks like you will have even more customers soon. This is unless, of course, you are targeting Mac OSX and Linux, which already have 64-bit binaries available. Also, why are you targeting specific operating systems with a website?
In what can most definitely be called the best surprise of the fall game release schedule, the open-world action game set in the Lord of the Rings world, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has been receiving impressive reviews from gamers and the media. (GiantBomb.com has a great look at it if you are new to the title.) What also might be a surprise to some is that the PC version of the game can be quite demanding on even the latest PC hardware, pulling in frame rates only in the low-60s at 2560x1440 with its top quality presets.
Late last week I spent a couple of days playing around with Shadow of Mordor as well as the integrated benchmark found inside the Options menu. I wanted to get an idea of the performance characteristics of the game to determine if we might include this in our full-time game testing suite update we are planning later in the fall. To get some sample information I decided to run through a couple of quality presets with the top two cards from NVIDIA and AMD and compare them.
Without a doubt, the visual style of Shadow of Mordor is stunning – with the game settings cranked up high the world, characters and fighting scenes look and feel amazing. To be clear, in the build up to this release we had really not heard anything from the developer or NVIDIA (there is an NVIDIA splash screen at the beginning) about the title which is out of the ordinary. If you are looking for a game that is both fun to play (I am 4+ hours in myself) and can provide a “wow” factor to show off your PC rig then this is definitely worth picking up.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 4, 2014 - 08:43 PM | Tim Verry
Amazon launched a bevy of new tablets and eReaders late last month. An updated Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 will be available October 21st and replaces last year’s model as the flagship Kindle tablet.
Measuring 8.9” and weighing 13.2 ounces (13.7oz for the 4G model), the upcoming HDX 8.9” tablet retains the same form factor as its predecessor. The mobile device does pack in internal hardware improvements, updated software features, and an optional bluetooth Fire Keyboard accessory. The tablet features an 8.9” 2560x1600 (339 PPI) display, Dobly Atmos audio, an 8MP rear camera, and a 720p front-facing webcam. Amazon is using what it calls “Dynamic Light Control” which alters the display’s color temperature to match ambient light along with a dynamic backlighting.
With that said, the major changes between the previous model and the new Fire HDX 8.9 lie in updated internal hardware and Amazon’s latest operating system and UI features. Specifically, Amazon has upgraded to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 SoC and a faster (802.11ac) Wi-Fi radio. Last year’s tablet used the Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.2GHz with an Adreno 330 GPU. The new HDX 8.9’s Snapdragon 805 is clocked at 2.5GHz and features an Adreno 420 GPU. Both tablets feature 2GB RAM and 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB internal storage options. Amazon claims up to 12 hours of battery life when reading, browsing the web, and watching videos.
The new tablet with ship with Amazon’s latest Fire OS operating system known as Fire OS 4.0 “Sangria.” Sangria is a custom fork of Android 4.4 KitKat that features Amazon’s custom user interface in addition to ASAP predictive pre-loading, Smart Suspend technology, Family Library media sharing, device profiles, and Mayday help/support.
The Fire Keyboard is a 7oz, 4.8mm thin Bluetooth keyboard that can attach magnetically to the optional Origami tablet case. The keyboard features 74 keys (including shortcut and search keys), a small trackpad, Bluetooth 3.0, and a lithium ion battery that has a claimed battery life of two months of active usage. It has an MSRP of $59.99 and will begin shipping October 21.The Origami case is another optional accessory that can hold and protect both the keyboard and tablet. It will be available in black, blue, and red leather for $69.99 from Amazon.
The new Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is up for pre-order now but will officially be available on October 21st. Pricing and SKU data is listed in the table below. Needless to say, this is an overall minor upgrade over last year's model and it is not something existing HDX 8.9" users are likely excited about. However, on its own, the new model has decent specifications and if you are looking into a new Kindle Fire tablet, it is worth considering, especially if you plan to take advantage of the faster processor for activities such as gaming in addition to reading books and watching movies.
Pricing Information for Amazon's New Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" Tablet
Will you be picking up the latest Fire OS flagship?
Introduction and Test System Setup
A while ago, in our review of the WD Red 6TB HDD, we noted an issue with the performance of queued commands. This could potentially impact the performance of those drives in multithreaded usage scenarios. While Western Digital acted quickly to get updated drives into the supply chain, some of the first orders might have been shipped unpatched drives. To be clear, an unpatched 5TB or 6TB Red still performs well, just not as well as it *could* perform with the corrected firmware installed.
We received updated samples from WD, as well as applying a firmware update to the samples used in our original review. We were able to confirm that the update does in fact work, and brings a WD60EFRX-68MYMN0 to the identical and improved performance characteristics of a WD60EFRX-68MYMN1 (note the last digit). In this article we will briefly clarify those performance differences, now that we have data more consistent with the vast majority of 5 and 6TB Reds that are out in the wild.
Test System Setup
We currently employ a pair of testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Storage performance variance between both boards has been deemed negligible.
PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs.
|Hard Drive Test System Setup|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4770K|
|Motherboard||ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/TB / ASUS Z87-PRO|
|Memory||Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9|
|Hard Drive||G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD|
|Video Card||Intel® HD Graphics 4600|
|Power Supply||Corsair CMPSU-650TX|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 X64 (Update 1)|
- PCMark Vantage and 7
- HDTach *omitted due to incompatibility with >2TB devices*
- PCPer File Copy Test
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2014 - 12:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, Cherry Trail, Nolan, Amur
As usual neither AMD nor Intel had any comments to pass onto DigiTimes about processors they have yet to release but the chances are that this story is fairly accurate. In March we should start hearing more about Cherry Trail, Intel's 64-bit ultramobile CPU designed for the next generation of tablets. AMD will be working on two chips, Nolan which we know very little about apart from the fact that it will be used in tablets and a new chip called Amur. Amur is an HSA chip designed specifically for use in devices running Android and Linux and incorporates ARM architecture, specifically the Cortex A57. That puts it in the Seattle family which Josh went into detail about in his article here which will make it a rather interesting product.
"Intel's Cherry Trail CPUs will enter mass production in March 2015. Intel is also preparing the Atom Z3000 processor for the 64-bit tablet market. As for 4G chips, Intel is set to use SoFIA-series processors for the tablet market, the sources said."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft's Windows 10 Preview has permission to watch your every move @ The Inquirer
- One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App? @ The Register
- VMWare virtually in control of Shellshock @ The Register
- IBM teams with Nvidia to launch Power Systems server based on Openpower Foundation @ The Inquirer
- Assorted Fun Linux Command Line Hacks @ Linux.com