Subject: Storage | July 9, 2015 - 04:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, 850 EVO, 850 PRO, M600, micron, Sandisk Extreme Pro, ssd, roundup, sata
[H]ard|OCP has just posted a roundup of four affordable SATA SSDs to show which would be the best one to pick up as the majority of users are not able to afford an NVME PCIe SSD. The drives are all within $50 above or below $200, with the 850 PRO having the highest cost per gigabyte and the EVO the least. They test content creation and moving large files as well as synthetic benchmarks to come out with a ranking of the four drives which you can refer to if you will be shopping for storage in the near future. In comparison they use the G.SKILL Phoenix Blade to show off what the new technology can do, for those that can afford it.
"Despite the performance benefits, PCIe SSDs remain an expensive niche market. That means that most of us are not going to be loading up a high end system with PCIe SSDs. Most of us mere mortals will be using SATA SSDs. We tested some of the best SATA drives with enthusiast-friendly price tags."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Trion 100 Series Entry Level SSD @ [H]ard|OCP
- OCZ Trion 100 @ The SSD Review
- OCZ Trion 100 SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ Trion 100 240GB and 480GB @ Kitguru
- OCZ Trion 100 480GB & 960GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ Trion 100 480 GB @ techPowerUp
- ASUSTOR AS-5102T 2-bay NAS Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | July 9, 2015 - 03:02 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Samsung, 850, 2TB, amd, Fury, catalyst, 15.7, logitech, G230, G35, Intel, Braswell
PC Perspective Podcast #357 - 07/09/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Samsung 850 Series 2TB, AMD Fury, Catalyst 15.7 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, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:33:09
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Since their acquisition by Toshiba in early 2014, OCZ has gradually transitioned their line of SSD products to include parts provided by their parent company. Existing products were switched over to Toshiba flash memory, and that transition went fairly smoothly, save the recent launch of their Vector 180 (which had a couple of issues noted in our review). After that release, we waited for the next release from OCZ, hoping for something fresh, and that appears to have just happened:
OCZ sent us a round of samples for their new OCZ Trion 100 SSD. This SSD was first teased at Computex 2015. This new model would not only use Toshiba sourced flash memory, it would also displace the OCZ / Indilinx Barefoot controller with Toshiba's own. Then named 'Alishan', this is now officially called the 'Toshiba Controller TC58'. As we found out during Computex, this controller employs Toshiba's proprietary Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) error correction technology:
Error correction tech gets very wordy, windy, and technical and does so very quickly, so I'll do my best to simplify things. Error correction is basically some information interleaved within the data stored on a given medium. Pretty much everything uses it in some form or another. Some Those 700MB CD-R's you used to burn could physically hold over 1GB of data, but all of that extra 'unavailable' space was error correction necessary to deal with the possible scratches and dust over time. Hard drives do the same sort of thing, with recent changes to how the data is interleaved. Early flash memory employed the same sort of simple error correction techniques initially, but advances in understanding of flash memory error modes have led to advances in flash-specific error correction techniques. More advanced algorithms require more advanced math that may not easily lend itself to hardware acceleration. Referencing the above graphic, BCH is simple to perform when needed, while LDPC is known to be more CPU (read SSD controller CPU) intensive. Toshiba's proprietary QSB tech claims to be 8x more capable of correcting errors, but what don't know what, if any, performance penalty exists on account of it.
We will revisit this topic a bit later in the review, but for now lets focus on the other things we know about the Trion 100. The easiest way to explain it is this is essentially Toshiba's answer to the Samsung EVO series of SSDs. This Toshiba flash is configured in a similar fashion, meaning the bulk of it operates in TLC mode, while a portion is segmented off and operates as a faster SLC-mode cache. Writes first go to the SLC area and are purged to TLC in the background during idle time. Continuous writes exceeding the SLC cache size will drop to the write speed of the TLC flash.
Subject: General Tech | July 9, 2015 - 02:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
The heavy hitting partnership of IBM, Samsung and GLOBALFOUNDRIES have designed and created the first chip built on a 7nm process using Silicon Germanium channel transistors and EUV lithography. Even more impressive is their claim of 50% area scaling improvements ovver 10nm, a very large step in such small processes. IBM told PC World that they will be able to fit 20 billion transistors on a 7nm chip which is a tenfold increase over Braswell as an example of current technology. The Inquirer reports that this project also cements the deal between GLOFO and IBM; GLOFO will be the exclusive provider of chips for IBM for the next decade.
"IBM'S RESEARCH TEAM has manufactured functional test chips using a 7nm production process, making it the first in the industry to produce chips with working transistors of this size."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BlackBerry updates BES12 with Samsung Knox and Android for Work support @ The Inquirer
- Android 5.1.1 starts rolling out to Galaxy Note 4 owners @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment @ The Register
- Office 365 prices 'to rise by up to 13 per cent' @ The Register
- PAPAGO! GoSafe 520 Dashcam @ Bjorn3d
- How to Market Your Linux SysAdmin Skills @ Linux.com
- Show Us Your Human Interface; Win Laser Cutting Time @ Hack a Day
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 8, 2015 - 05:52 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Win 10, whql, drivers, catalyst, amd, 15.7, 15.20
Sadly, it is not every month that we see a new AMD WHQL driver release. Several years back AMD made the promise that they would release WHQL drivers on a monthly basis, and for quite a while they kept to that promise. Engineering cuts, new architectures, and more challenges than ever with new technologies have essentially ended the monthly model. AMD does their best by putting out beta drivers when major titles are released, but it has been quite some time since we last saw a full WHQL.
Today we finally see the release of the very latest branch of the Catalyst drivers. Last month we saw the 15.15 drivers that were released with the AMD FuryX. We also had a fair share of beta drivers to keep users updated on the latest game profiles. The version that has been released today is based on the 15.20 code path and is officially known as Catalyst 15.7.
There are a lot of new features and support in this driver, which makes it a pretty big deal. I am guessing that it seems like such a big deal because major updates have been few and far between. This is AMD's first driver to support the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
The next set of features is very exciting for anyone who has any GCN based card, no matter the age. Virtual Super Resolution is enabled for all GCN 1.0 cards and above. The same goes for Frame Rate Target Control. AMD has included new CrossFire Profile Enhancements for many of the latest games and top sellers. The only new feature that does not support all GCN cards is that of AMD FreeSync with CrossFire support. As readers may remember, FreeSync did not previously work in a CrossFire solution. FreeSync itself is relegated to the newer members of the GCN family. The only other potential disappointment (and not new news at all) is still the lack of CrossFire support (much less FreeSync with CrossFire support) in DX9 titles.
AMD promises performance improvements as compared to the previous Omega drivers released last year. This is fairly typical, but people are already reporting some better performance and CPU usage in WinX previews based on the latest build. It is great to see AMD releasing a new set of drivers, but just like any addict... we can't wait for our next hit and what new features and performance they may bring.
If you live somewhere you can visit or order from a Microcenter and consider a great value enough reason to use a TN based display then check out this deal on an AOC U2870VQE 28" 4K LED display. Currently only $349+taxes you can get a 4k display for your computer or to stream to from your mobile device. Again, at this price you cannot expect either adaptive refresh rate technology but for roughly the same price to pick up an IPS based FreeSync or G_SYNC monitor of comparable size you can grab three of these displays. Connectivity includes VGA, DP, Mini-DP and HDMI (MHL), the latter of which is compatible with mobile devices.
The display is sold as a 10-bit panel, in fact it is an 8bit panel which uses Frame-Rate-Control to up the number of colours to 1.07 billion but frankly unless you are using this for professional purposes you are not going to notice any difference; except the price of course. You can see the full news release below the fold, or just click on that link to order one for as you might expect, the supplies at this price are limited. Otherwise you can keep saving your pennies for a 4k IPS display with true 10bit colour and one of the two adaptive refresh rate technologies.
Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2015 - 02:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, gaming, early access, chaos reborn
Julian Gollop was involved in the original X-COM and recently completed a successful Kickstarter for Chaos Reborn, a single and multiplayer turn-based games of wizards warring for supremacy. It is now available for both Windows and Linux on Steam Early access and you can visit the official site of you are interested in picking up extras on top of the game itself. One of the more interesting features is the in game gold, which is earned while playing single player but is spent on upgrades for multiplayer and is not available for purchase outside of the game. There will be no pay to win, instead it is a play to win model that those familiar with multiplayer FPS games such as Battlefield are familiar with. If that style of game holds any attraction to you and you loved X-COM then head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look.
"What the singleplayer ‘Realms’ mode does, at least in this earliest, unfinished incarnation, is both encourage you to experiment with different gear in order to gain an edge over tougher or specialised enemy, and give you a way to get hold of new gear without having to repeatedly brave (or beat) multiplayer opponents."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How to play Shadow of Mordor like an evil Pokémon trainer @ Polygon
- Rock, Paper, Shot Takes: The Arkham Knight Debacle
- Minecraft: Story Mode plus Windows 10 Editions announced @ HEXUS
- The Talos Principle’s Road To Gehenna Opens In Two Weeks @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Team Fortress 2 Gun Mettle Campaign arrives @ HEXUS
Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2015 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb, DIY
Bask in the glory that is this hacked together 33 port USB charger, created in the Netherlands as a workaround to connet the charges to the three rounded prongs used in Schuko sockets common in Europe. This would of course work with NEMA plugs, just line the welding rods up appropriately and connect your USB chargers up to it. Keep in mind that they use 220-240V whereas we use 110-120V so your total workable amount of plugs will vary. If you are considering building your own version of this massive USB charger, you might want to seriously consider installing some sort of circuit breaker in addition to the non-conductive cowling unless you are a fan of dead devices and house fires. Check Hack a Day for other projects from this event and others around the world.
"The Hack42 hackerspace in Arnhem, The Netherlands had collected a large number of TP-Link 5V USB chargers – but all of them had the North American NEMA plug (flat, 2 pin) which wouldn’t fit the Schuko sockets prevalent in The Netherlands. [Simon “MacSimski” Claessen] decided to whip out his giant soldering iron and use it to solder two long pieces of welding filler metal rods to 33 of the chargers, effectively wiring them up in parallel."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Crypto experts slam government encryption backdoor demands @ The Inquirer
- We tried using Windows 10 for real work and ... oh, the HORRORS @ The Register
- Nokia purchase with massive layoffs ahead of Windows 10 @ The Inquirer
- Adobe, Windows, Flash KILLER! Adobe Flash, Windows zero-day vulns leak from Hacking Team raid @ The Register
- The sad song Samsung's sung: SEVENTH quarterly fail in a row @ The Register
- AMD vs. NVIDIA Price Comparison Table – July/2015 @ Hardware Secrets
Logitech Focuses in on Gaming
Logitech has been around seemingly forever. The Swiss based company is ubiquitous in the peripherals market, providing products ranging from keyboards and mice, to speakers and headsets. There is not much that the company does not offer when it comes to PC peripherals. Their 3 button mice back in the day were considered cutting edge that also happened to be semi-programmable. Since that time we have seen them go from ball mice, to optical mice, to the latest laser based products that offer a tremendous amount of precision.
Gaming has become one of the bigger movers for Logitech, and they have revamped their entire lineup as well as added a few new products to hopefully cash in on the popularity of modern gaming. To further address this market Logitech has designed and marketed a new batch of gaming headsets. These promise to be moderately priced, but high quality products that bear the Logitech name. We go from the very basic up to the top 7.1 wireless products. Originally these covered a pretty significant price range, but lately the discounts have been extremely deep. The lowest end gaming headset is at $40US while the 7.1 wireless model comes in around $90 US.
I am looking at two models today that span the lowest end to the 2nd highest. The first headset is the G230 analog set. The second is the G35 wired 7.1 USB with Dolby Headphone technology. I have never been a fan of wireless headphones, but the G35 should be a fairly good approximation of the performance of that part.
My goal is to look at these two wired units and see what Logitech can offer at these two very affordable price points.
Subject: Mobile | July 7, 2015 - 07:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, snapdragon 810, opengl es 3.1, oneplus 2, oneplus
OnePlus is a Chinese smartphone company founded by Pete Lau, formerly the Vice President at Oppo. Their first phone was basically invite-only for most of its lifespan, but that was justified for a flagship-quality phone at $299 USD. The OnePlus One was first available in April 2014. Their follow-up is the OnePlus 2, go figure, which will be formally announced on July 27th.
Several announcements lead up to that date, though. One day, OnePlus stated that the announcement will be done in VR, and they are selling Google Cardboard for “free” outside of the $5 shipping fee. Another day, they announced that the price will be “under $450 USD”. Today, they announced that the OnePlus Two will have 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, matching the capacity of the ASUS ZenPhone 2. It will also contain the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, which should be able to support OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan (whenever that arrives).
It makes you wonder what's left for July 27th, besides the release date. My guess is that day.
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2015 - 04:21 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Z3735F, ubuntu 14.04, SFF, linux, Intel, compute stick
Intel is giving Linux some love with a new Compute Stick equipped with Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS coming out this week for $110. This new model comes with less RAM and intrernal storage along with a $40 price cut versus the previous Compute Stick (which comes with Windows 8.1 With Bing).
On the outside, the new Linux-equipped Compute Stick (STCK1A8LFC) is identical to the existing SKU (read our review here) with its flash drive form factor, Intel logo, and small vents along the top and sides. Ports on the Intel STCK1A8LFC include one HDMI, one Micro USB port for power, one Micro SD card slot for storage, and a single full size USB 2.0 port for peripherals.
The Compute Stick is powered by an Intel Z3735F processor that is actively cooled by a tiny fan. This chip is a 22nm Bay Trail part with four CPU cores and Intel HD Graphics. The CPU has a base clock of 1.33 GHz and a maximum turbo clockspeed of 1.83 GHz. This SoC is paired with 1GB of DDR3L memory and 8GB of internal flash eMMC storage. There is also an 802.11b/g/n wireless radio with Bluetooth. The table below compares these specifications to the alternative Compute Stick with Windows.
|Compute Stick (Ubuntu)||Compute Stick (Windows)|
|RAM||1 GB||2 GB|
|Storage||8 GB||32 GB|
The STCK1A8LFC with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS will be available later this week from all the usual online retailers with an MSRP of $110.
It would have been nice to keep the 2GB of RAM even if Intel could not cut the price as much. There is always Micro SD for more stoage, but the 1GB of RAM is going to be somewhat limiting even for a Linux OS which typically can be made to run much leaner than Windows. It is nice to see Linux getting a design win and being bundled with the portable PC. If you need more RAM from your Compute Stick, you will need to buy the more expensive Windows version – at $150 – and install Linux yourself, however.
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2015 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kaby lake, Skylake, Cannonlake, Intel, delay
Last week Scott shared all that we can find out about Kaby Lake, Intel's asynchronous Tock between Skylake and Cannonlake. Don't hold your breath for their release, nor for Cannonlake if DigiTimes sources are accurate. If true, consumers will not see Kaby Lake for at least a year with enterprise waiting even longer which will push back the scheduled release of notebooks and PCs using the processors likely not showing up for a month or so afterwards. Skylake should be finally appearing in time for Fall and in theory products using it should be available at that time as Skylake's delay was the initial cause of these delays. As for Cannonlake; it is going to be a while.
"Following the delay of Skylake processors, Intel's next-generation Kaby Lake processors, which were originally scheduled for early 2016, reportedly will be pushed back until September 2016 for the consumer version and January 2017 for the enterprise one."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD looks at sinking sales, gulps: It's worse than we thought @ The Register
- Science Boffins demo 'memcomputer', plot von Neumann's retirement @ The Register
- Ferroelectric capacitor goes flexible @ Nanotechweb
- Awoogah: Get ready to patch 'severe' bug in OpenSSL this Thursday @ The Register
- Nvidia updates Digits and cuDNN GPU-accelerated deep learning software @ The Inquirer
- Complete Guide To Speeding Up Your PC's Boot Time - Under 10 Seconds is Possible @ The SSD Review
- Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router Review @ NikKTech
- How to Best Manage Encryption Keys on Linux @ Linux.com
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2015 - 11:59 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Radeon Fury, radeon, HBM1, amd
As reported by VideoCardz.com the upcoming Radeon Fury card specs have been leaked (and confirmed, according to the report), and the air-cooled card is said to have 8 fewer compute units enabled and a slightly slower core clock.
The report pictures a pair of Sapphire cards, both using the Tri-X triple-fan air cooler. The first is a reference-clocked version which will be 1000 MHz (50 Hz slower than the Fury X), and an overclocked version at 1040 MHz. And what of the rest of the specs? VideoCardz has created this table:
The total number of compute units is 56 (8 fewer than the Fury X), which at 64 stream cores per unit results in 3584 for the non-X GPU. TMU count drops to 224, and HBM1 memory speed is unchanged at 1000 MHz effective. VideoCardz is listing the ROP count at an unchanged 64, but this (along with the rest of the report, of course) has not been officially announced.
The board will apparently be identical to the reference Fury X
Retail price on this card had been announced by AMD as $549, and with the modest reduction in specs (and hopefully some overclocking headroom) this could be an attractive option to compete with the GTX 980, though it will probably need to beat the 980's performance or at least match its $500 price to be relevant in the current market. With these specs it looks like it will only be slightly behind the Fury X so pricing shouldn't be much of an issue for AMD just yet.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | July 7, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: earnings, amd
The projections for AMD's second fiscal quarter had revenue somewhere between flat and down 6%. The actual estimate, as of July 6th, is actually below the entire range. They expect that revenue is down 8% from the previous quarter, rather than the aforementioned 0 to 6%. This is attributed to weaker APU sales in OEM devices, but they also claim that channel sales are in line with projections.
This is disappointing news for fans of AMD, of course. The next two quarters will be more telling though. Q3 will count two of the launch months for Windows 10, which will likely include a bunch of new and interesting devices and aligns well with back to school season. We then get one more chance at a pleasant surprise in the fourth quarter and its holiday season, too. My intuition is that it won't be too much better than however Q3 ends up.
One extra note: AMD has also announced a “one-time charge” of $33 million USD related to a change in product roadmap. Rather than releasing designs at 20nm, they have scrapped those plans and will architect them for “the leading-edge FinFET node”. This might be a small expense compared to how much smaller the process technology will become. Intel is at 14nm and will likely be there for some time. Now AMD doesn't need to wait around at 20nm in the same duration.
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: square enix, pc gaming, mac os x, final fantasy xiv, final fantasy
When Final Fantasy 14 launched on the PC, it was plagued with bugs and gameplay problems. It led to Square basically remaking the game and relaunching it as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. The relaunch was highly successful, as Square learned from their inexperience with the PC. They recently decided to expand to the Mac alongside the release of their new expansion pack, Heavensward, for the PC. The published system requirements for the Mac version were later retracted by Square... and you can see where this is going.
They have since temporarily pulled game sales and offered full refunds. The game will go back on sale when they update “information on the product, system requirements, and screen resolution”.
The Mac will get the MMO, but Noctis time. Ignis wasn't in the cards.
I guess you could say they'll get on it Prompto? Yes I know I'm punning the wrong title...
In the forum post, Square lists a few reasons for the error. First, a handful of customers were accidentally provided a pre-release build ahead of the official launch, due to a “miscommunication with retailers”. As mentioned though, the official release had performance issues and Square blames that on OpenGL and how it tied into their project. They claim that Final Fantasy 14 developed for Mac OSX's implementation of OpenGL would perform 30% worse than Microsoft's DirectX counterpart. They quickly clarify that OpenGL is not 30% slower than DirectX, but that factor applies to OpenGL on Mac, DirectX on Windows, and specifically for Final Fantasy 14.
An interesting note is that Square claims to have outlined several system requirement candidates, and was waiting on QA and final engineering to “select the correct one”. Yikes. Talking about software coming in hot, they did not even know their target hardware until into the shipping process, if you take their word at face value.
Square intends to ship a functional Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn to OSX at some point.
Subject: Storage | July 6, 2015 - 03:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, 850 PRO, 850 EVO, 2TB
Samsung is extending their 850 EVO and Pro lineups to include 2TB versions of the popular SSDs thanks to the use of 3D-VNAND; three bit memory on the EVO and two bit on the Pro. They are rated at the same speeds as their 500GB and above counterparts and The SSD Review had a chance to test that. Interestingly they did indeed find performance differences between the 1TB and 2TB model of the same design, which you can check out in the full review. Their results were not quite the same as Al's review which was just posted, you should compare the two reviews as well as the systems used for theories on why that is. You can expect to pay ~$1000 for the 850 Pro 2TB and ~$800 for the 850 EVO 2TB.
"If you look back over the past several years, there have always been three constants that needed to be addressed in order for SSDs to become a viable consumer solution to storage; value, reliability and capacity. One of our first SSD reviews was on an MTron 32GB SSD with a whopping price tag of more than $1500…and they sold!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vector 180 (480GB) @ Bjorn3d
- Kingston HyperX Savage SSD 240GB Review @ Neoseeker
- VisionTek 240GB Go Drive Review, Tough On The Go @ Bjorn3d
- Crucial BX100 256GB @ Bjorn3d
- Samsung SM951 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD @ Custom PC Review
- QNAP TVS-871U-RP-i3-4G NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- WD My Cloud EX4100 4-Bay Expert Series 16TB NAS @ eTeknix
- Toshiba AL13SXB60EN 600GB SAS 12Gb/s HDD Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2015 - 01:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, r9 390x, overclocking
Now that [H]ard|OCP has had more time to spend with the new R9 390X they have managed to find the overclocks that they are most comfortable running on the card they used to test. They used MSI Afterburner 4.1.1 and first overclocked the card without changing voltages at all, which netted them 1150MHz core and 6.6GHz effective on the RAM. From there they started to raise to Core Voltage, eventually settling on +50 as settings higher than that resulted in lower maximum observed voltages due to the TDP being reached and the card throttling back. With that voltage setting they could get the card to run at 1180MHz, with the memory speed remaining at 6.6GHz as it is not effected by the core voltage settings, with the fan speed set 80% they saw a consistent 67C GPU temperature. How much impact did that have on performance and could it push the card's performance beyond an overclocked GTX 980? Read the full review to find out in detail.
"We take the new MSI Radeon R9 390X GAMING 8G video card and overclock it to it fullest and compare it with an overclocked GeForce GTX 980 at 1440p and 4K in today's latest games. Find out how much overclocking the R9 390X improves performance, and which video card is best performing. Can R9 390X overclock better than R9 290X?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- XFX R9 380 4G DD, XFX Rocks the DD Coolers Again! @ Bjorn3d
- Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8GB @ Kitguru
- Sapphire R9 390X Tri-X 8GB @ Kitguru
- Visiontek Radeon R9 Fury X 4GB @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 Fury X @ Legion Hardware
- PowerColor Radeon R9 390 PCS+ 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD R9 Fury X 4GB Graphics Card Crossfire @ eTeknix
- XFX R9 290 Double Dissipation @ Bjorn3d
- NVIDIA GeForce Chips Comparison Table (desktop) @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G Review @HiTech Legion
- Gigabyte G1 Gaming Geforce GTX 980 Ti Review @HiTech Legion
- MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6 GB @ techPowerUp
- EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked @ Bjorn3d
- EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- EVGA GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ ACX 2.0+ Review @ Hardware Canucks
Introduction and Test Hardware
The PC gaming world has become divided by two distinct types of games: those that were designed and programmed specifically for the PC, and console ports. Unfortunately for PC gamers it seems that far too many titles are simply ported over (or at least optimized for consoles first) these days, and while PC users can usually enjoy higher detail levels and unlocked frame rates there is now the issue of processor core-count to consider. This may seem artificial, but in recent months quite a few games have been released that require at least a quad-core CPU to even run (without modifying the game).
One possible explanation for this is current console hardware: PS4 and Xbox One systems are based on multi-core AMD APUs (the 8-core AMD "Jaguar"). While a quad-core (or higher) processor might not be techincally required to run current games on PCs, the fact that these exist on consoles might help to explain quad-core CPU as a minimum spec. This trend could simply be the result of current x86 console hardware, as developement of console versions of games is often prioritized (and porting has become common for development of PC versions of games). So it is that popular dual-core processors like the $69 Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition (G3258) are suddenly less viable for a future-proofed gaming build. While hacking these games might make dual-core CPUs work, and might be the only way to get such a game to even load as the CPU is checked at launch, this is obviously far from ideal.
Is this much CPU really necessary?
Rather than rail against this quad-core trend and question its necessity, I decided instead to see just how much of a difference the processor alone might make with some game benchmarks. This quickly escalated into more and more system configurations as I accumulated parts, eventually arriving at 36 different configurations at various price points. Yeah, I said 36. (Remember that Budget Gaming Shootout article from last year? It's bigger than that!) Some of the charts that follow are really long (you've been warned), and there’s a lot of information to parse here. I wanted this to be as fair as possible, so there is a theme to the component selection. I started with three processors each (low, mid, and high price) from AMD and Intel, and then three graphics cards (again, low, mid, and high price) from AMD and NVIDIA.
Here’s the component rundown with current pricing*:
- AMD Athlon X4 860K - $74.99
- AMD FX 8350 - $165.93
- AMD FX 9590 (with AIO cooler) - $259.99
- Intel Core i3-4130 - $118
- Intel Core i5-4440 - $184.29
- Intel Core i7-4790K - $338.99
Graphics cards tested:
- AMD Radeon R7 260X (ASUS 2GB OC) - $137.24
- AMD Radeon R9 280 (Sapphire Dual-X) - $169.99
- AMD Radeon R9 290X (MSI Lightning) - $399
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti (OEM) - $149.99
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 (OEM) - $235
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (ASUS STRIX) - $519
*These prices were current as of 6/29/15, and of course fluctuate.
Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2015 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, rtm, build 10176
Windows Insider members are currently on 10162, the third release in four days. This new release offers you a chance to download an ISO to test a completely fresh install although you can install it as an in place update as well. The new version also allows you to buy WiFi from the Microsoft Store as well, you may start to see WiFi networks in the USA and perhaps North America wide which you will be able to connect to after buying time and perhaps data from the Microsoft Store.
We've also heard rumours via Slashdot that build 10176 will be the RTM version which may be sent out as soon as Thursday. This implies that there will not be many changes to the new OS between now and the release date, as providing differing versions to the manufacturers and current customers would not be a good business decision. As well, if purchasers of new hardware will form a very negative opinion if they have to go through a long series of updates simply to be able to use their new machine. Ready or not, Windows 10 is just about ready to go.
"Mark Wilson reports that the first RTM candidate for Windows 10 has been spotted: build 10176. Leaks and sources have suggested the company intends to finalize the operating system later this week, perhaps as early as July 9th. This would give Microsoft almost three weeks to distribute it to retailers and devicemakers before the July 29th launch date."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Storage upstart: Our flashy gear is WAY faster than slow old DRAM @ The Register
- Firefox 39 arrives with sharing integration and four major bug bashes @ The Inquirer
- Galaxy S3 and Note 2 owners won't get Android 5.0 Lollipop update @ The Inquirer
- Laser Engraving in Color? @ Hack a Day
- Did a SUPER RARE Sony-Nintendo PlayStation prototype just pop up online? Possibly, maybe @ The Register
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Where are all the 2TB SSDs? It's a question we've been hearing since they started to go mainstream seven years ago. While we have seen a few come along on the enterprise side as far back as 2011, those were prohibitively large, expensive, and out of reach of most consumers. Part of the problem initially was one of packaging. Flash dies simply were not of sufficient data capacity (and could not be stacked in sufficient quantities) as to reach 2TB in a consumer friendly form factor. We have been getting close lately, with many consumer focused 2.5" SATA products reaching 1TB, but things stagnated there for a bit. Samsung launched their 850 EVO and Pro in capacities up to 1TB, with plenty of additional space inside the 2.5" housing, so it stood to reason that the packaging limit was no longer an issue, so why did they keep waiting?
The first answer is one of market demand. When SSDs were pushing $1/GB, the thought of a 2TB SSD was great right up to the point where you did the math and realized it would cost more than a typical enthusiast-grade PC. That was just a tough pill to swallow, and market projections showed it would take more work to produce and market the additional SKU than it would make back in profits.
The second answer is one of horsepower. No, this isn't so much a car analogy as it is simple physics. 1TB SSDs had previously been pushing the limits of controller capabilities of flash and RAM addressing, as well as handling Flash Translation Layer lookups as well as garbage collection and other duties. This means that doubling a given model SSD capacity is not as simple as doubling the amount of flash attached to the controller - that controller must be able to effectively handle twice the load.
With all of that said, it looks like we can finally stop asking for those 2TB consumer SSDs, because Samsung has decided to be the first to push into this space:
Today we will take a look at the freshly launched 2TB version of the Samsung 850 EVO and 850 Pro. We will put these through the same tests performed on the smaller capacity models. Our hope is to verify that the necessary changes Samsung made to the controller are sufficient to keep performance scaling or at least on-par with the 1TB and smaller models of the same product lines.