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A keyboard joins the G.SKILL Ripjaws family; meet the colourful KM780

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx brown, G.Skill, ripjaws, KM780, input, mechanical keyboard

G.SKILL has extended their Ripjaws family beyond RAM with the introduction of the KM780, a mechanical keyboard sporting some unique features.  For lighting enthusiasts the Cherry MX Brown keys are clear instead of black which allows the backlighting to show through significantly more than on other boards.  There is a bar at the back of the keyboard which adds an interesting aesthetic and allows for a cord holder to be incorporated into the design.  As well, not only can you program macros using the software there are keys which can be depressed to allow you to program a macro on the fly while playing a game.  The lighting is perhaps a bit much for some but if you are a fan of keyboards that are seen and not heard you should check out the full review at Overclockers Club.


"Upon first look at the KM780, I was taken aback by the design. The bars looked odd to me, but in use they didn't bother me, in fact I had many ideas as to possible uses for them including using them as tie downs for traveling, such as to LAN parties, and for locking the keyboard down to a surface using clamps on the bars – great for systems where the keyboard will move a lot such as gaming PC chair rigs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Subject: Editorial, Storage
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

What you never knew you didn't know

While researching a few upcoming SD / microSD product reviews here at PC Perspective, I quickly found myself swimming in a sea of ratings and specifications. This write up was initially meant to be a explain and clarify these items, but it quickly grew into a reference too large to include in every SD card article, so I have spun it off here as a standalone reference. We hope it is as useful to you as it will be to our upcoming SD card reviews.

SD card speed ratings are a bit of a mess, so I'm going to do my best to clear things up here. I'll start with classes and grades. These are specs that define the *minimum* speed a given SD card should meet when reading or writing (both directions are used for the test). As with all flash devices, the write speed tends to be the more limiting factor. Without getting into gory detail, the tests used assume mostly sequential large writes and random reads occurring at no smaller than the minimum memory unit of the card (typically 512KB). The tests match the typical use case of an SD card, which is typically writing larger files (or sequential video streams), with minimal small writes (file table updates, etc).

Speed Class


In the above chart, we see speed 'Class' 2, 4, 6, and 10. The SD card spec calls out very specific requirements for these specs, but the gist of it is that an unfragmented SD card will be able to write at a minimum MB/s corresponding to its rated class (e.g. Class 6 = 6 MB/s minimum transfer speed). The workload specified is meant to represent a typical media device writing to an SD card, with buffering to account for slower FAT table updates (small writes). With higher bus speed modes (more on that later), we also get higher classes. Older cards that are not rated under this spec are referred to as 'Class 0'.

Speed Grade

As we move higher than Class 10, we get to U1 and U3, which are referred to as UHS Speed Grades (contrary to the above table which states 'Class') in the SD card specification. The changeover from Class to Grade has something to do with speed modes, which also relates with the standard capacity of the card being used:


U1 and U3 correspond to 10 and 30 MB/s minimums, but the test conditions are slightly different for these specs (so Class 10 is not *exactly* the same as a U1 rating, even though they both equate to 10 MB/sec). Cards not performing to U1 are classified as 'Speed Grade 0'. One final note here is that a U rating also implies a UHS speed mode (see the next section).

Read on as we decrypt all of the many specs and ratings present on SD and microSD cards!

Podcast #370 - Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, gigabyte, z170x gaming g1, Skylake, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, Android, ios, iphone 6s, Samsung, 840 evo, msata, dell, UP3216Q, nvidia, pascal

PC Perspective Podcast #370 - 10/08/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming G1, New Microsoft Surface products, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:31:05

  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:30:00 This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Audible, the world's leading provider of audiobooks with more than 180,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature including fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals. For your free audiobook, go to audible.com/pcper
  3. News item of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: iPhone 6s Stallion
  5. Closing/outro

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

Reeven gets heavy, the Ouranos heatsink

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 8, 2015 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: reeven, ouranos

The previous models of Reeven we have seen reviewed were for SFF systems, the Steropes and Brontes.  The Ouranos that Modders-Inc recently reviewed is somewhat larger, though nowhere near the mass of the serious coolers which Morry prefers.  It stands at 143x161x95mm (5.6x6.3x3.7") and weighs just over a kilogram at 1030g.  The design allowed for the heatsink to be installed in any orientation without interfering with RAM or components close to the socket and the adjustable fan speed lets you chose your own balance between noise and cooling performance.  Read on to see the full review.


"There was a time when the prevalent design philosophy for CPU cooler design was "the bigger, the better". That is no longer the case as users now look for smarter implementations that are much more convenient and functional than simply brute-force cooling. Smaller coolers present the advantage of better compatibility with various components so the latest generation of large CPU …"

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


Source: Modders Inc

Soft Machines' VISCy business

Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: VISC, Soft Machines, Shasta

A year ago The Tech Report talked with a representative from a company called Soft Machines who were designing processors using their new VISC architecture.  We are all familiar with CISC and RISC based designs, this new Virtual Instruction Set Computing is a new architecture designed after multicore processors became the norm.  The architecture is designed from the ground up to take advantage of multiple cores and is able to virtualize both cores and threads across multiple physical cores.  That means a demanding process that is still only a single thread could be run on a virtual core across multiple hardware cores, increasing the speed at which that task can be completed. 

Their current design, named Shasta is fabbed on a 16nm FinFET process, uses a generic 256-bit interconnect bus for compatibility with a wide variety of infrastructures and currently runs at 2GHz.  The Tech Report doesn't have any benchmarks per se, but you can read more about how this new architecture works here.


"Soft Machines presented details about its intriguing VISC CPU architecture, along with a roadmap for VISC CPUs and SoCs, at the 2015 Linley Processor Conference today. We spoke with Soft Machines founder and CTO Mohammad Abdallah and the company's VP of marketing and business development, Mark Casey, to learn more about these chips."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Dell Releases Redesigned XPS 15 Laptop with InfinityEdge Display

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 8, 2015 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: dell, XPS 15, InfinityEdge, laptop, notebook, Skylake, i3-6100H, i5-6300HQ, i7-6700HQ, GTX 960M

The redesigned Dell XPS 15 is here, now a larger clone of the popular XPS 13 including the same minuscule “InfinityEdge” display and featuring optional 4K resolution.


Image credit: Engadget

The XPS 13 is among the highest-rated Windows laptops of the past year, and the preferred notebook of our own Ryan Shrout. Dell certainly had a big design win with a 13-inch screen on a laptop that would normally only house an 11.6-inch display, thanks to the razor-thin bezel surrounding the LCD panel. This InfinityEdge display makes a lot of sense for the larger XPS 15, and the newly redesigned notebook now occupies the space of a mere 14-inch notebook, while offering both FHD and UHD/4K screen resolutions.

What good would a beautiful screen be without the horsepower to drive it? For this Dell has implemented the latest 6th Generation Intel Skylake mobile processors, namely the Core i3-6100H, Core i5-6300HQ, and Core i7-6700HQ. Graphics duties are performed either by the integrated Intel HD 530 or an NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU, and 8GB of DDR4 memory comes standard with options up to 32GB available (and this is SoDIMM memory so users can upgrade later as well).


Image credit: Windows Central


  • Processor:
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i3-6100H (3M Cache, up to 2.7 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display or 15.6" UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB DDR4 at 2133 MHz (32GB post-RTS) (2 x SoDIMMs)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5
  • Storage: 500GB HDD + 32GB Flash or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash
  • 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, or 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Camera: Widescreen HD (720p) webcam
  • Ports and Connectors: HDMI, USB 3.0 (x2), Headset Jack, SD card reader, Kensington Lock slot, Thunderbolt 3
  • Dimensions: 11-17mm x 357mm x 235mm
  • Weight: Non-touch, starting at 3.9 lbs; Touch, starting at 4.4 lbs

The new Dell XPS 15 is available today and prices start at $999.

Far Cry Primal will be released ... eventually

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: gaming, far cry primal, ubisoft

Far Cry Primal was announced and it is even more console-centric than the previous release, seeing as how the PC launch will be a month after its initial release.  We can only hope that Ubisoft does spend time making sure that high end PCs do have graphic features that take advantage of the power provided by new GPUs.  As for the gameplay it should be interesting as there will be no more machine guns and fancy pistols, you will be stabbing mammoths with pointy sticks and running for your life from sabretooth tigers.  It also sounds as though eating enough food and other features common to the plethora of survival sims will be included, making this very different from previous games.  Check out the trailer and screenshots at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you haven't seen them yet.


"Ubisoft attempted to announce Far Cry Primal [official site] with a tantalising livestream, which was rather spoiled by a brief leak of the game’s name and basic details. Now we know more, including proper trailers, screenshots, and a release date… which will see the game land on PC the month after it’ll arrive on console."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


NVIDIA Releases 358.50 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: opengl es 3.2, nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce

The GeForce Game Ready 358.50 WHQL driver has been released so users can perform their updates before the Star Wars Battlefront beta goes live tomorrow (unless you already received a key). As with every “Game Ready” driver, NVIDIA ensures that the essential performance and stability tweaks are rolled in to this version, and tests it against the title. It is WHQL certified too, which is a recent priority for NVIDIA. Years ago, “Game Ready” drivers were often classified as Beta, but the company now intends to pass their work through Microsoft for a final sniff test.


Another interesting addition to this driver is the inclusion of OpenGL 2015 ARB and OpenGL ES 3.2. To use OpenGL ES 3.2 on the PC, if you want to develop software in it for instance, you needed to use a separate release since it was released at SIGGRAPH. It has now been rolled into the main, public driver. The mobile devs who use their production machines to play Battlefront rejoice, I guess. It might also be useful if developers, for instance at Mozilla or Google, want to create pre-release implementations of future WebGL specs too.

Source: NVIDIA

On-die watercooling

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, nifty

These researchers are skipping the waterblock altogether and have made channels in surface of the die its self for de-ionized water to flow through and cool the chip.  The 28-nanometer Altera FPGA they tested this cooling method on had numerous channels cut into it which were then sealed up with a layer of silicon.  With a flow rate of 147 ml/minute they kept the chip to a comfortable 24C, a mere 4C higher than the temperature of the water and significantly lower than the 60C the chip would run at using air cooling.  Neither Hack a Day nor PCPer encourage you to try to cut micron sized channels in your brand new processor, however we all hope to see this cooling technique incorporated into heatspreaders in future generations of processors.


"Researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on cutting fluid channels directly into the back of commercial silicon die (an Altera FPGA, to be exact). The tiny channels measure about 100 micron and are resealed with another layer of silicon. Water is pumped into the channels to cool the device efficiently."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

MSI Releases GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: msi, GK-701, gaming keyboard, cherry mx brown

MSI has a new mechanical gaming keyboard available, and the GK-701 features MSI’s black and red "Dragon" styling with red LED backlighting for each key, and uses Cherry MX Brown switches.


MSI is emphasizing the quality of their build with this new keyboard, stating that each key “is created with precision laser etching for extra resistance to wear and tear”, and the red LED backlight for each key is rated for “over 50 million key presses”. Additionally, the GK-701 offers a braided USB cable with a 18K gold plated connector, and there is a set of multimedia hotkeys and a game mode that disables the Windows Key. As this is a mechanical keyboard one of the biggest aspects is of course key switch selection, and the Cherry MX Brown switches MSI has chosen for the GK-701 offer a tactile “non-clicky” feel that some prefer.

GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard specs from MSI:

  • Cherry MX Brown switches
  • Red LED Backlight
  • Windows Key Lock
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Multimedia Hotkeys
  • Anti-slip Rubber Feet
  • Ergonomic Design
  • USB 2.0 connection
  • Braided wire and gold-plated connector
  • Switches lifetime: 50 Million Clicks
  • Dimensions: 450 x 165 x 38mm, 1200g weight


The MSI GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now and currently selling on Newegg.com for $119.99.

Source: MSI

Who Decided to Call a Lightweight API "Metal"?

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: opengl, metal, apple

Ars Technica took it upon themselves to benchmark Metal in the latest OSX El Capitan release. Even though OpenGL on Mac OSX is not considered to be on par with its Linux counterparts, which is probably due to the driver situation until recently, it pulls ahead of Metal in many situations.


Image Credit: Ars Technica

Unlike the other graphics APIs, Metal uses the traditional binding model. Basically, you have a GPU object that you attach your data to, then call one of a handful of “draw” functions to signal the driver. DirectX 12, Vulkan, and Mantle, on the other hand, treat work like commands on queues. The latter model works better in multi-core environments, and it aligns with GPU compute APIs, but the former is easier to port OpenGL and DirectX 11 applications to.

Ars Technica notes that faster GPUs, such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX, show higher gains than slower ones. Their “best explanation” is that “faster GPUs can offload more work from the CPU”. That is pretty much true, yes. The new APIs are designed to keep GPUs loaded and working as much as possible, because they really do sit around doing nothing a lot. If you are able to keep a GPU loaded, because it can't accept much load in the first place, then there is little benefit to decreasing CPU load or spreading out across multiple cores.

Granted, there are many ways that benchmarks like these could be incorrectly used. I'll assume that Ars Technica and GFXBench are not making any simple mistakes, though, but it's good to be critical just in case.

Source: Ars Technica

NVIDIA Announces New "Bullets or Blades" GeForce Bundle

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 01:51 AM |

The latest game bundle for NVIDIA GPU customers offers the buyer a choice between Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege or Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.


To qualify for the free game you need to purchase a GTX 980 Ti, GTX 980, or GTX 970 graphics card. On the mobile side of things purchasing a laptop with GTX 970M or above graphics earns the game.

"It’s the final few months of the year, and as always that means a rush of new triple-A games that promise to excite and delight over the Holiday season. This year, Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed Syndicate andTom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege are vying for glory. And to ensure the definitive versions are found on PC we’ve teamed up with Ubisoft once again to add NVIDIA GameWorks effects to each, bringing richer, more detailed experiences to your desktop."

The Bullets or Blades bundle is already underway as of 10/06/15, and to qualify for the game codes purchases require the retailer to be participating in this program. Full details are available from NVIDIA here.

Source: NVIDIA

Quick! Win 1 of 20 Star Wars Battlefront Beta keys from Logitech G and LucasArts!

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 10:53 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gleam, giveaway, contest

Look, time is short, and we want to get you these keys SOON!

Sign up using the form below to enter to win 1 of 20 keys for the PC version of Star Wars Battlefront beta on-going RIGHT NOW. I played for a couple of hours today and I have to say the game is looking very impressive - both visually and in terms of fun gameplay.


Our thanks to Logitech G and LucasArts for the key for our readers!!

SW Battlefront Keys

StarCraft II 3.0 Patch Is Released

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 08:20 PM |
Tagged: Starcraft II, starcraft, blizzard, pc gaming, legacy of the void

And oh boy is it a big one. Turning on the Battle.net launcher automatically downloads about 14GB worth of StarCraft II code and content. The patch includes the new user interface that we reported on earlier, but it also opens the Whispers of Oblivion prequel campaign for Legacy of the Void to the masses, changes the file format of game content to CASC, which might explain the huge download, and gives the option of a 64-bit game executable, and more.


About the CASC format, it was introduced in Heroes of the Storm and Warlords of Draenor as a method of storing content. It should be faster, more error resistant, easier to patch, and easier to extend the functionality of. I'm not sure how this will affect modders, authorized or otherwise, but I'm guessing that Blizzard is happy to deprecate a 20 year-old format. I'm not sure if they're migrating the content from MPQ to CASC on the client machine, or just re-downloading the content in the new format, but a 14GB patch is doing something. Lastly, this new format and the 64-bit launcher might even allow for bigger games and mods. If anyone has any experience with modding Blizzard games, be sure to leave a note in the comments, even anonymously.

Legacy of the Void will arrive on November 10th.

Source: Blizzard

Centon drops SandForce in favour of Phison

Subject: Storage | October 6, 2015 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: Phison PS3110-S10, centon, C-380

The last time we heard from Centon they were using the SandForce 2281 SSD controller, which they have dropped in preference to a Phison controller in their new C-380 series of SSDs.  Benchmark Reviews recently reviewed their 480GB model, using MLC NAND and sporting a 4Gb cache of DDR3-1600.  The benchmark results were quite varied, sometimes the drive came in at the top of the pack yet other times it was well below average, especially writing to the drive.  There is a 1 year warranty on the drive and currently it is on sale at $219 for the 480GB model, down from the list price of $399.99 ... perhaps not a drive to recommend to your friends.


"Centon isn’t a name many enthusiasts will know. I’d never heard of the company myself until this review sample; apparently, they’ve been in business for over 35 years manufacturing DRAM and flash memory products, and have only recently entered the consumer marketplace. The Centon C-380 480GB SSD SATA-III Solid State Drive, part of the “Enthusiast Solutions” series, is the focus of what Benchmark Reviews will be putting through our test suite."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


4K performance when you can spend at least $1.3K

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 6, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: 4k, gtx titan x, fury x, GTX 980 Ti, crossfire, sli

[H]ard|OCP shows off just what you can achieve when you spend over $1000 on graphics cards and have a 4K monitor in their latest review.  In Project Cars you can expect never to see less than 40fps with everything cranked to maximum and if you invested in Titan X's you can even enable DS2X AntiAliasing for double the resolution, before down sampling.  Witcher 3 is a bit more challenging and no card is up for HairWorks without a noticeable hit to performance.  FarCry 4 still refuses to believe in Crossfire and as far as NVIDIA performance goes, if you want to see soft shadows you are going to have to invest in a pair of Titan X's.  Check out the full review to see what the best of the current market is capable of.


"The ultimate 4K battle is about to begin, AMD Radeon R9 Fury X CrossFire, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SLI, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X SLI will compete for the best gameplay experience at 4K resolution. Find out what $1300 to $2000 worth of GPU backbone will buy you. And find out if Fiji really can 4K."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft Surface Book 2-in-1 with Skylake with NVIDIA Discrete GPU Announced

Subject: Mobile | October 6, 2015 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: video, surface book, surface, Skylake, nvidia, microsoft, Intel, geforce

Along with the announcement of the new Surface Pro 4, Microsoft surprised many with the release of the new Surface Book 2-in-1 convertible laptop. Sharing much of the same DNA as the Surface tablet line, the Surface Book adopts a more traditional notebook design while still adding enough to the formula to produce a unique product.


The pivotal part of the design (no pun intended) is the new hinge, a "dynamic fulcrum" design that looks great and also (supposedly) will be incredibly strong. The screen / tablet attachment mechanism is called Muscle Wire and promises secure attachment as well as ease of release with a single button.

An interesting aspect of the fulcrum design is that, when closed, the Surface Book screen and keyboard do not actually touch near the hinge. Instead you have a small gap in this area. I'm curious how this will play out in real-world usage - it creates a natural angle for using the screen in its tablet form but also may find itself "catching" coin, pens and other things between the two sections. 


The 13.5-in screen has a 3000 x 2000 resolution (3:2 aspect ratio obviously) with a 267 PPI pixel density. Just like the Surface Pro 4, it has a 10-point touch capability and uses the exclusive PixelSense display technology for improved image quality.

While most of the hardware is included in the tablet portion of the device, the keyboard dock includes some surprises of its own. You get a set of two USB 3.0 ports, a full size SD card slot and a proprietary SurfaceConnect port for an add-on dock. But most interestingly you'll find an optional discrete GPU from NVIDIA, an as-yet-undiscovered GeForce GPU with 1GB (??) of memory. I have sent inquiries to Microsoft and NVIDIA for details on the GPU, but haven't heard back yet. We think it is a 30 watt GeForce GPU of some kind (by looking at the power adapter differences) but I'm more interested in how the GPU changes both battery life and performance.

UPDATE: Just got official word from NVIDIA on the GPU, but unfortunately it doesn't tell us much.

The new GPU is a Maxwell based GPU with GDDR5 memory. It was designed to deliver the best performance in ultra-thin form factors such as the Surface Book keyboard dock. Given its unique implementation and design in the keyboard module, it cannot be compared to a traditional 900M series GPU. Contact Microsoft for performance information.


Keyboard and touchpad performance looks to be impressive as well, with a full glass trackpad integration, backlit keyboard design and "class leading" key switch throw distance.

The Surface Book is powered by Intel Skylake processors, available in both Core i5 and Core i7 options, but does not offer Core m-based or Iris graphics options. Instead the integrated GPU will only be offered with the Intel HD 520.


Microsoft promises "up to" 12 hours of battery life on the Surface Book, though that claim was made with the Core i5 / 256GB / 8GB configuration option; no discrete GPU included. 


Pricing on the Surface Book starts at $1499 but can reach as high as $2699 with the maximum performance and storage capacity options. 

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Includes Skylake, Iris Graphics

Subject: Mobile | October 6, 2015 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: video, surface pro 4, surface, Skylake, microsoft, iris, Intel, edram

Microsoft has finally revealed the next product in the Surface Pro tablet lineup, skipping the Broadwell processor generation and jumping straight to the latest Intel Skylake processors. The design is very similar to previous Surface Pro tablets but the upgrades and changes made for the Surface Pro 4 are impressive.


The kickstand design that has made the Surface recognizable remains the same but there is a solid collection of new features including a fingerprint reader and Microsoft Hello support for security and login. The new Pro 4 model is only 8.4mm thick (coming in just about 1mm thinner than the Pro 3) and is also lighter at 1.73 lbs.

The screen size is 12.3-inches with a 2736 x 1824 3:2 resolution for a pixel density of 267 PPI. It has a 10-point touch interface with drastically improved latency, palm detection and pressure sensitivity for the included Surface Pen. Even better, that improved Surface Pen will have a full year of battery life along with magnetic attachment to the tablet rather than relying on a elastic loop!

The Surface keyboard sees improvements as well including better spacing on the keys, quieter and more reliable typing and it also becomes the thinnest type cover MS has yet to build for the Surface line. A 5-point touch glass trackpad is now part of the deal, 40% larger than the one found on the Pro 3 - a welcome modification for anyone that has used the type cover in the past. 


In terms of computing horsepower, the Surface Pro 4 will be available with a Core m3, Core i5 or even a Core i7 processor. It will ship with 4GB, 8GB or 16GB of system memory and internal storage capacities as high as 1TB. Microsoft hasn't posted any more details about the clock speeds of these CPUs but if you look at the awesome hype video MS made for the Pro 4 launch, you'll notice an interesting thing in the exploded view: an Intel processor with three dies on a single package.


What you are seeing is the Skylake CPU, chipset and an eDRAM package. This tells us that at least one of the available options for the Surface Pro 4 will ship with Iris graphics and 64MB or 128MB of L4 cache / eDRAM - a first for this form factor! This should help improve performance for graphics as well as other specific CPU compute workloads.

Other highlights for the Surface Pro 4 include front facing stereo speakers, 8MP rear-facing camera and a fancy-ass Windows 10 logo.

Pricing will START at $899 but will spike to as high as $2699 if you max out the processor and storage options. 


We are working on getting a unit in for testing as the devices are going up for presale today and should arrive by October 26th.

Source: Microsoft

Google your local nuclear plants infrastructure? That's not terrifying at all.

Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: nuclear, security

Stuxnet hit the news five years ago when it was discovered infecting the industrial Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition systems of factories all across the world, up to and including nuclear plants.  The breadth of the attack was a bit more than what Israeli intelligence and the NSA originally intended but they did succeed in severely damaging their actual target which was an Iranian uranium enrichment plant.  Unfortunately it seems the development of Stuxnet might have been somewhat of a waste of resources as they could probably have achieved the same results with a simple man in the middle attack. 

The  Chatham House recently released a report on the state of security in nuclear power plants and facilities across the globe and the results are horrifying to say the least.  From the overview that The Register provides the level of security present in many of these facilities is commensurate with your average high school.  The idea that these plants are air-gapped is a fallacy and the code for the control systems can be easily altered remotely without the need to design a complex virus to infect them.  Thankfully it is very difficult to cause a nuclear plant to go critical but these vulnerabilities can still cause damage to machinery and interfere with the plants ability to provide power to customers.  You may not want to read the whole story if you want to sleep well tonight.


"The report adds that search engines can "readily identify critical infrastructure components with" VPNs, some of which are power plants. It also adds that facility operators are "sometimes unaware of" them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: The Register

Ars Technica Reviews Android 6.0 (Marshmellow)

Subject: Mobile | October 6, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: google, android 6.0, Android

Android 6.0 was launched yesterday, and Ars Technica has, so far, been the only outlet to give it a formal review. That said, it is a twelve-page review with a table of contents -- so that totally counts for five or so.


The main complaint that the reviewer has is the operating system's inability to be directly updated. There is a large chain of rubber stamps between Google's engineers and the world at large. Carriers and phone manufacturers can delay (or not even attempt to certify) patches for their many handsets. It is not like Windows, where Microsoft controls the centralized update service. In the beginning, this wasn't too big of an issue as updates were typically for features. Sucker, buy a new phone if you want WebGL.

Now it's about security. Granted, it has always been about security, even on the iPhone, we just care more now. If you think about it, every time a phone gets jailbroken, a method exists to steal admin privileges away from Apple and give them to... the user. Some were fairly sophisticated processes involving USB tethering to PCs, while others involved browsing to a malicious website with a payload that the user (but not Apple) wanted to install. Hence why no-one cared: the security was being exploited by the user for the user. It was only a matter of time before either the companies sufficiently crush the bugs, or it started to be tasty for the wolves.

And Google is getting bit.

Otherwise, Ars Technica mostly praised the OS. Be sure to read their review to get a full sense of their opinion. As far as I can tell, they only tested it on the Nexus 5.

Source: Ars Technica