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A quiet upgrade to Linux 4.0

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, Linux 4.0

The upgrade to version 4.0 of the Linux kernel happened quietly over the weekend, less a huge step forward than an incremental improvement.  The most interesting feature for those who support Linux boxes will be the non-disruptive kernel patching, allowing you to apply patches without causing downtime; assuming you properly tested the patches that is.  As well support for Intel's new Quark processor has been added and support for the Z13 found in IBM machines has also been improved.  It was hinted to The Inquirer that version 4.1 is likely to see far more changes incorporated in its release.

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"The new number isn't a sign of a major upgrade. As we've chronicled, Torvalds thinks that it looks a bit silly when version numbers go beyond x.19. He therefore decided it would be best to tick over from 3.19 to 4.0 for the sake of neatness, rather than to celebrate any particular milestone in the kernel."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and First Impressions

SilverStone has another contender for a budget ATX build with the Kublai KL05 enclosure, and today we’ll take a look at the windowed variant of this mid-tower design.

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What would life be like without computer cases? Various components strewn about on desks, tables, and floors, creating headaches and tripping hazards everywhere. Fortunately, they exist, and I'm thankful for this every day. However there are now so many that scrolling down the list on any site in any price range is like shopping for RAM or power supplies these days: endless selection of similar things. But it's not enough to make sure the specs match your build as enclosures can vary a great deal even with the same component support. So, when looking for a good case for a build or upgrade you just end up reading a review like this. I hope I don't disappoint you, and we have a pretty interesting offering from SilverStone here to consider.

I've been enamored of late with lower-priced components. Sure, I've reviewed $300 cases but as cool as the high end can be it's not realistic for a lot of people (myself included). Finding great value has always been kind of fun, and to me a great value for a PC enclosure is something well under the $100 mark. I had the pleasure of reviewing NZXT's excellent S340 enclosure recently, and the SilverStone Kublai we're about to take a look at carries the same $69.99 MSRP. A larger case than the NZXT, the Kublai retains support for 5.25" optical drives and makes use of this added space up front for plenty of hard drives. The case looks and it sounds like a good value, but there's only one way to find out (and it involved actually reviewing it).

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Continue reading our review of the SilverStone Kublai KL05-W Case!!

3D displays go professional; HP's Zvr

Subject: Displays | April 10, 2015 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: hp, 3d display, Zvr

3D displays have had limited success in the gaming market, while interesting most gamers have instead opted for high resolution and high refresh rate monitors over 3D.  However there is great potential for 3D displays in professional applications such as CAD/CAM and medicine; imaging actually seeing a 3D representation of a model or organ instead of trying to visualize it from a 2D screen.  NitroWare.net had a change to see the HP Zvr 23.6-inch Virtual Reality Display in action and you can too by following the link.

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"HP Australia gave NitroWare.net an exclusive preview in Sydney of its new zSpace powered 3D Virtual Reality Monitor aimed to complement its professional desktop and mobile workstation line. The Zvr Display introduces head-tracking and an interactive stylus to enable 3D/VR interactivity and manipulation via an off-the-shelf product from a mass-market OEM."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The X99-SOC Champion is GIGABYTE's Intel X99-based answer for the extreme overclocking crowd, over-engineered to take the abuse that extreme overclockers punish their boards with. The board supports all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. As a member of their Overclocking series of boards, the X99-SOC Champion board enjoys the series-specific orange and black aesthetics. With an MSRP of $299.99, the board remains an approachable product for most enthusiasts.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE designed the X99-SOC Champion with overclockers in mind, starting with its 8+4-phase digital power system. Its power circuity was built using International Rectifier Gen 4 digital PWM controllers and Gen 3 PowIRstage controllers, Cooper Bussmann Server Level chokes, and long life Durable Black Solid capacitors. Overclocker-friendly features include a CPU Mode switch, enabling enhanced voltage settings for the processor, the OC Trigger switch specifically for LN2-based overclocking, and a plethora of on board voltage measurement points.

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion motherboard! 

Stacking NAND higher means stacking prices higher

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: 3d nand

SSDs using traditional planar NAND have seen a nice price reduction curve over the years with costs per gigabyte often well under $0.50.  This may not hold true for 3D NAND if the number crunching over at The Register is accurate.  The scaling is quite intense when fabbing 3D NAND, planar NAND can require up to three deposition layers for charge trap or four for floating gate style flash.  Multiply those numbers by the 128 layers present on Intel's 3D NAND and you can see why the fabrication is going to be more expensive, be produced more slowly and be more prone to errors.  That will all add up to expensive SSDs whose price is unlikely to fall as quickly as did planar.  Currently about 5% of NAND produced is 3D but Sandisk is quoted as expecting that to climb to 50% by 2018, hopefully the process will have matured significantly by then.

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"Stifel MD Aaron Rakers bas been crunching numbers and comparing foundry capital costs for NAND over the next few years with those for disk drive fabs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Windows 10 Build 10056 Leaks

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft, build 10056

Moving up five steps from the 10051 leak that was published just a few days ago, another build was leaked: 10056. The first thing Neowin, who reported on the WZor leak, noticed is the new Recycling Bin icon. People were not a fan of the change that occurred with 10041, which honestly looked like it was out of a Mike Judge cartoon. It is now a semi-transparent, almost prism-shaped bin from a dimetric viewpoint. That should make some people happy.

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Also visible is a new “Virtual Desktop” icon and a relocation of the power menu button from the top right to the bottom left. This shift puts it alongside every other control except the Start menu's fullscreen button, which remains in the corner. To me, this looks a lot more organized.

On the topic of future builds, Gabe Aul seems to be implying that Slow Ring users would not get 10049. This likely means that Fast will get another build soon, which we would expect to trickle down to the “Slow” users on 10041. The proximity to Build confuses that slightly though. It is possible that Microsoft will do what they did with 9926 and delay Fast builds so they can have a highly-tested preview build (“Technical Preview 3” or something) pushed to both Fast and Slow rings to surprise attendees of the conference. Well, as much as they can hide stuff given that every few builds are being dissected online. I'm sure they have a lot of work being done in external branches though.

Either way, we'll find out soon... even if that's by not finding out soon.

Source: Neowin

Square Enix Announces Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: tressfx, square enix, eidos montreal, dx12, DirectX 12, deus ex: mankind divided, deus ex

Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out in 2011 as a prequel to Ion Storm's Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. Human Revolution was made after Warren Spector left the company and Eidos closed down the Austin, Texas developer, leaving the franchise to Eidos Montreal. By the time of Human Revolution's release, Eidos was already purchased by the Japanese publisher, Square Enix. Deus Ex was set in 2052 and Invisible War was set in 2072. Human Revolution, being a prequel as mentioned earlier, rewound the clock to 2027 and introduced a new main character, Adam Jensen. It explored the rise of machine-human augmentations that formed much of the lore in the original titles.

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Timeline and theme established, Square Enix has just announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to the prequel with a great looking (albeit a little bloody) trailer. It is set in 2029, which is just two years after events of Human Revolution. It will be coming to the PC, as well as the two most-next-gen consoles. As expected, Adam Jensen returns as the main character. Now that Square Enix and its subsidiary, Eidos, spent so much to build him up as a brand, it makes sense that they would continue with the consumer recognition. Makes sense from a business perspective, although it probably means the franchise will meander less through time. I will leave that up to the reader to decide whether that's good or bad.

AMD Gaming has also tweeted out that Mankind Divided, or its PC version at the very least, will utilize both DirectX 12 and TressFX. I am curious whether TressFX has been updated to take advantage of the new API, given how important GPU compute is to the new graphics standards. No release date has been set.

Source: Square Enix

This is your Steampunk on DARKCOOL

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 9, 2015 - 06:25 PM |
Tagged: Deepcool

If slanted faux vents with LED lights in them and a front grill say Steampunk to you then the DEEPCOOL Steam Castle might just be up your alley.  On the other hand if sturdy construction, colour matching and a design which is ornate yet functional is closer to your preference then this might not be the case you are looking for.  Style design aside, the case does sport well designed filters, large fans to lower the noise generated and providing cooling performance that was far better than [H]ard|OCP is used to seeing.  The MSRP is also under $100, giving you a unique looking and well performing enclosure without a large investment.

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"It is one of those moments that you go, "Uh, what?" Deepcool Industries comes to us today with its Steam Castle micro-ATX and mini-ITX computer case for smaller system configurations. While your definition of "steam-punk" may differ from Deepcool's, one thing for sure is this case is unique in its look. How does it perform however?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Notebooks Specifications

Way back in January of this year, while attending CES 2015 in Las Vegas, we wandered into the MSI suite without having any idea what we might see as new and exciting product. Besides the GT80 notebook with a mechanical keyboard on it, the MSI GS30 Shadow was easily the most interesting and exciting technology. Although MSI is not the first company to try this, the Shadow is the most recent attempt to combine the benefits of a thin and light notebook with a discrete, high performance GPU when the former is connected to the latter's docking station.

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The idea has always been simple but the implementation has always been complex. Take a thin, light, moderately powered notebook that is usable and high quality in its own right and combine it with the ability to connect a discrete GPU while at home for gaming purposes. In theory, this is the best of both worlds: a notebook PC for mobile productivity and gaming capability courtesy of an external GPU. But as the years have gone on, more companies try and more companies fail; the integration process is just never as perfect a mix as we hope.

Today we see if MSI and the GS30 Shadow can fare any better. Does the combination of a very high performance thin and light notebook and the GamingDock truly create a mobile and gaming system that is worth your investment?

Continue reading our review of the MSI GS30 Shadow Notebook and GamingDock!!

Would you pay Youtube to remove its ads?

Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: youtube, subscription, google, adblock

YouTube sent out an announcement to official YouTube Partners informing them of a new program they will be rolling out on June 15th of this year.  While they failed to specify two key points, the gist of the announcement is that a new advertisement free subscription service will be offered to YouTube users.  Unfortunately we do not know if this will be offered to a small group initially or to all YouTube users and more importantly there was no mention of what the monthly fee will be.  What was revealed was the benefit to content creators, YouTube will pay them 55 percent of the total net revenues from these new ad free subscription fees.

This being the internet the initial reaction will of course be to similar to the comments on Slashdot; to consider this a stupid move since ad blocking plugins are free and for the most part effectively remove any ads on YouTube.  The use of those plugins means that for all the hard work that goes into the content on our page, we receive absolutely no revenue from your views.  Using this service would give you the same experience but at the same time increase our revenue stream to allow us to continue to produce our reviews, news and videos. 

If you do not wish to see ads and for whatever reason do not want to participate in the program perhaps you could consider reaching out to Ryan to discuss other ways of contributing directly to PC Perspective's continued existence or maybe even subject yourself to ads once and a while to provide us with the associated micropayments?

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"YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Podcast #344 - Intel SSD 750 Series, NZXT S340, an ASUS FreeSync Monitor and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: video, podcast, nvidia, mg279q, Intel, gsync, gigabyte, freesync, ddr4-3400, corsair, compute stick, asus, amd, 750 series

PC Perspective Podcast #344 - 04/09/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 750 Series, NZXT S340, an ASUS FreeSync Monitor and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes 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

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Cooler Master updates their headset lineup with the CM Storm Sirus-C

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Sirus, headphones, gaming headset, cooler master, CM Storm, audio

Many, many moons ago Josh reviewed the CM Storm Sirus Surround headphones, the first of their line and good for gaming, if not for music.  Cooler Master have released an updated version called the Sirus-C which keep the infamous gold plated USB plug while shrinking the inline sound card and reducing the number of drivers in the earcups to two, a 44 mm full range and 40 mm sub. TechPowerUp provided an overview of the new headset and came to the conclusion that these would better serve a console gamer looking for a good plug and play audio solution, but feel there are better choices for the PC gamer.  This especially holds true with the current asking price of $156 on Amazon, as there is a lot of competition at that price point.

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"CM Storm's newest do-it-all headset is put to the test. The Sirus-C is compatible with all major console systems and features its own in-line USB sound card. The design is like previous Sirus headsets on the outside, but it now uses a dual-driver setup on the inside."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: techPowerUp

If you already own S.T.A.L.K.E.R. you can get it for free from GOG

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, GOG, DRM, stalker

That title and the offer it describes might sound dumb at first glance, but if you happen to have a retail copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that isn't so scratched it is unusable, go ahead and try to install it.  Didn't work very well now did it? If you were savvy enough to Google through the various tips on making it work you might now understand why GOG reviving old games which no longer work because the company that managed the DRM no longer exists or that have languished because of lack of support.  GOG is working on creating a library of old games which you can install DRM free, if you have a valid serial number from your old retail copy.  As is usual you can choose between a download and a Steam version, with community support and a very good chance that it will run immediately after installation; unlike when it was first released perhaps?  The question that not many ask anymore is what will happen if Steam ends, will GOG be the ones to save our libraries of 100s of unplayed games?

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"Starting today, owners of several retail titles originally sold with DRM can get a digital copy of their game completely free at GOG.com: with no DRM as always, compatible with modern operating systems, and with plenty of goodies to boot."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the enthusiast market for highly efficient, low-noise CPU cooling solutions. The latest additions to their lineup, the NH-D9L and NH-U9S, are smaller than the typical coolers we've reviewed here at PC Perspective in recent times. However, Noctua again proves their design prowess with the fact that these coolers held up to the rigorous demands of our testing at both stock and overclocking settings. And we all know that the Haswell and Haswell-E processors put major pressure on the cooling solution as the core speed and voltage is increased. Both coolers come standard with Noctua's SecuFirm2™ mounting mechanism, ensuring a secure mount between the cooler and CPU.

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D9L CPU cooler is a dual tower cooler with a single included fan sandwiched between the two cooling towers. The unit can support up to three fans if desired. Noctua designed the cooler with their typical hybrid approach, combining a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. At an MSRP of $59.90, the Noctua NH-D9L offers puts a premium cooler within reach of the majority of computer enthusiasts.

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-U9S CPU cooler is single tower cooler with a single included fan, whose radiator is about double the thickness of a standard 25mm fan. The unit offers support for up to two fans if desired. Like the NH-D9L, the NH-U9S combines a copper base plate and heat pipes with aluminum finned cooling towers for an optimal hybrid cooling solution. The base plate and heat pipes are nickel-plated for looks and to prevent corrosion. The NH-U9S also retails at an MSRP of $59.90, giving potential users another affordable choice for cooling their processor.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua 9 series CPU coolers!

Dell Announces the P2416D, a 24-inch WQHD IPS Monitor for $369

Subject: Displays | April 8, 2015 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged:

Last Friday Dell announced a new 2560x1440 monitor in an official blog post, and while it won’t compare to the variable refresh gaming monitors we’ve been talking about quite a bit lately it’s still impressive considering the price. (Here’s hoping the lower-cost WQHD trend continues!)

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The P2416D is a 24-inch 2560x1440 display that Dell will offer for $369.99. The Tech Report linked to specifications published internationally pointing to an IPS panel, a detail that was not mentioned in Dell’s blog post. This would be in keeping with other panels in Dell’s P and U series, but is significant for the $369.99 price at 1440p. This will be a conventional 60 Hz panel of course, but represents a lower cost than other entry level IPS monitors at this resolution from Dell, and is the only option at this compact 24-inch size.

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The current Dell WQHD lineup

A competing low-cost QHD monitor, the Acer G257HU, is much more aggressively priced at $279.99, and Acer lists IPS as the panel type for this 25-inch display. How might Dell help justify the $90 premium over a monitor like the Acer? The P2416D monitor is covered by Dell’s “Premium Panel Guarantee” that Professional/UltraSharp monitor customers are likely familiar with, which provides free panel exchanges for “even one bright pixel” at any time during the 3-year warranty period. The Dell 24-inch monitor also offers their usual tilt/pivot/rotate/height adjustable stand, DisplayPort (1.2) and HDMI (1.4) input along with VGA, plus a 4-port USB 2.0 hub.

The Dell P2416D is not listed on Dell’s U.S. site just yet but will be available in May.

Source: Dell

It is a bad week for Qualcomm

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, arm, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, Kyro

Not only has the NVIDIA sueball pitch been judged to be in play and will continue to run but now according to news The Register has heard Samsung may be using their own in-house ARM processors for their next products.  The rumour is that they have spend four years developing an ARM processor from the ground up which will make it much less likely that Qualcomm will be able to sell their next generation 64 bit Snapdragon Kyro processor to Samsung, which is after all a modified ARM v8-a chip as opposed to a custom built processor.  Qualcomm does have other customers than Samsung, including HTC, Amazon and LG who might be interested in the new Snapdragon 820 but it does look bleak for their next generation processor.  The only leverage Qualcomm has now is that Samsung will likely be the ones fabbing many of the new Snapdragon 820's, perhaps they can strike a deal for some lower cost mobile devices once Kyro matures.

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"Samsung will join Apple and other mobile semiconductor rivals in producing chips powered by homegrown, proprietary application cores in 2016, according to a new report."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

AMD’s FX-8320E; get in the game for $138?

Subject: Processors | April 7, 2015 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: amd, FX-8320e

Over at Techgage one of the writers recently updated their system, due to budget constraints they needed to stay in the $600-700 range all told which of course indicates an AMD build.  They chose the $138 FX-8320E for their processor, along with a pair of GTX 760s, the ASUS M5A99FX Pro R2.0, 8GB of DDR3-1866 and with storage, power, cooling and case they managed to keep within the ir budget.  The question remain is if it is powerful enough for reasonable gaming duties such as Borderlands 2.  Read on to see if the recommendation is to go with AMD or the i3-4330 and a low end H97 board.

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"Released this past fall, AMD’s FX-8320E processor promises to deliver a lot of processing power for those on a budget. It sports eight cores, and as a Black Edition, its overclocking capabilities are unrestricted. But is that enough to make this the best go-to budget processor, especially for gamers?"

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Techgage

Checking out PCIe SSDs, both the full sized version and the bite sized ones

Subject: Storage | April 7, 2015 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: Plextor M6e, XP941, Samsung, DC P3700, Intel, PCIe SSD, M.2

The Tech Report have updated their storage testbed to properly benchmark PCIe SSDs, the M.2 versions as well as ones such as Intel's DC P3700 which takes up a full slot.  They contrast the performance with 10 popular SATA drives to give you an idea of the difference performance a PCI SSD will give you.  The rather expensive DC P3700 dominates almost every test they performed, apart from boot times in Windows 8.1 which are still well under 1 minute.  Read through the review with your own usage patterns in mind, in many cases a SATA SSD is still a great choice for many gamers and are much more affordable.  Then again, if you can afford a $2500 SSD, Intel's offering is definitely king.

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"SSDs have been bumping up against the limits of the Serial ATA interface for a while, but they don't have to be stuck behind the 6Gbps link. Native PCIe drives with way more bandwidth have made their way onto the market over the past year. We've tackled a trio of them—Plextor's M6e, Samsung's XP941, and Intel's server-grade DC P3700—with a fresh slate of benchmarks to see how the new breed stacks up against the SATA incumbents."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

The NVIDIA, Samsung and Qualcomm saga has been cleared to continue

Subject: General Tech | April 7, 2015 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, qualcomm, Samsung, patents, sueball

A judge has ruled that six of the seven patent disputes that NVIDIA has filed are valid and will proceed to court for judgment.  These patents involve the use of graphics coprocessors in mobile devices and have been judged to be worded in such a way that it does not matter if those GPUs are ARM, Imagination Technologies or Qualcomm.  This is not the end of the dispute, merely a pretrial to see if the claims are valid and worth going to trial.  Of course Qualcomm and Samsung dispute NVIDIA's claims and in Samsung's case they have already launched a counter suit claiming NVIDIA has violated six of their own patents.  You can read about the history of the latest legal battle in the tech world as well as today's judgment over at The Register.

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"Nvidia has won an important early victory in its ongoing patent litigation against Qualcomm and Samsung, with a judge in the US International Trade Commission ruling in Nvidia's favor as to the language of the disputed patents."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

ASUS MG279Q Monitor Now Officially a FreeSync Monitor

Subject: Displays | April 7, 2015 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: variable refresh rate, mg279q, freesync, asus, amd

If you remember back at CES in early January, we got hands-on with an upcoming monitor from ASUS, the MG279Q. Unlike the company's other G-Sync enabled displays, this monitor was unique in that offered support for the Adaptive Sync portion of the DisplayPort 1.2a standard but was also not a part of AMD's initial wave of FreeSync monitors.

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The ASUS MG279Q from CES 2015

The screen technology itself was impressive: a 2560x1440 resolution, IPS-style implementation and a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz. (Note: the new marketing material indicates that the panel will have a 144 Hz maximum refresh rate. Maybe there was a hardware change since CES?) During a video interview with ASUS at the time it was labeled as having a minimum refresh rate of 40 Hz which is something we look forward to testing if and when we can get a sample in our labs.

At the time, there was some interesting debate about WHY this wasn't a FreeSync branded monitor. We asked AMD specifically about this monitor's capability to work with capable Radeon GPUs for variable refresh and they promised there were no lock-outs occurring. We guessed that maybe ASUS' deal with NVIDIA on G-Sync was preventing them from joining the FreeSync display program, but cleary that wasn't the case. Today on Twitter, AMD announced that the MG279Q was officially part of the FreeSync brand.

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I am glad to see more products come into the FreeSync monitor market and hopefully we'll have some solid gaming experiences with the ASUS MG279Q to report back on soon!

Source: AMD Twitter