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Dolphin 5.0 Released

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 06:02 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, Nintendo

Okay, so I'm a week late on this, but what the heck. Dolphin 5.0 was released on their website. The project is a Wii and GameCube emulator that is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This version focuses on compatibility. They claim that about 85% of titles, including WiiWare and virtual-console games, can be played from start to finish, with about 14% of all titles doing so flawlessly.

That said, it also adds several performance features. They improved the JIT compiler, added texture pooling to prevent reloading the same texture over and over, and even added DirectX 12 support, although they don't elaborate on why that would be useful for this workload. While they have not extended support to Vulkan, they do use the “Approaching Zero Driver Overhead (AZDO)” features of OpenGL and its extensions to raise performance on other platforms.

The emulator is available at their website.

Source: Dolphin

Windows 10 Anniversary Edition Arrives August 2nd

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2016 - 04:39 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Going by what we've seen, the general public should expect a new build of Windows 10 about once or twice a year. The OS launched on July 29th of last year, and it received its first update on November 12th. The next one is called Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, which launches on... July August 2nd. Thankfully, it's not a wedding anniversary, otherwise Microsoft would be sleeping outside for a couple of nights.

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The cake is a... oh never mind.

I'm kidding about the date of course. Honestly, with the state that Windows 10 has been in lately, I'm glad that Microsoft decided to take the extra handful of days for a little extra quality control, rather than push the update a few days early. At the same time, though, it is interesting that Microsoft's Get Windows 10 initiative wants people to update to build 10586, and then update again to whatever build number this ends up being. You would think that they would extend the free offer until at least a few days after they release their latest, and presumably best in their eyes, version. Yes, it does feel odd to point out an area where Microsoft should be more aggressive with their free update promotion.

In terms of what's different, the Anniversary Update makes a handful of nice changes across a wide variety of areas. The desktop clock will now be available on any taskbar. Microsoft Edge, which receives its updates with new Windows builds, will receive extension support and a bunch of new Web APIs. They also updated the Japanese IME, which is used to input Japanese characters without a dedicated Japanese keyboard. I'm also interested in the new dark theme.

Windows 10 Anniversary will arrive on August 2nd.

Source: Microsoft

Get your RX 480 reviews while they're hot!

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 29, 2016 - 09:26 PM |
Tagged: rx 480, radeon, Polaris, amd, 8gb

Having already read through Ryan's review of the RX 480 while listening to Raja on the live stream you might be curious what others thought of the card.  Perhaps there was one of your preferred configurations or games we did not cover or maybe you just love to read.  Do not worry as there are plenty of reviews to test out.  You could start over at [H]ard|OCP, who test power usage and performance with a different technique, before moving on to other hardware sites.

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"AMD's next generation GCN GPU is here! We review the AMD Radeon RX 480 and find out what kind of gaming experience it provides at 1080p and 1440p. We compare apples-to-apples with four other video cards to find out how it compares at both resolutions. We even find out how high it will overclock! Waited for benchmarks, right?"

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

A new card, a new driver - Crimson Edition 16.6.2 is here

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 06:54 PM |
Tagged: radeon, amd, Crimson Edition 16.6.2

The labelling might be a bit confusing but this new driver is for all AMD cards from the Radeon HD 7700 series and higher, including the brand new RX 480.  It adds the Radeon WattMan overclocking tool, a Crossfire Toggle for easily switching between multiple GPU and single GPU mode as well as numerous other new features which arrive with the card.  The Release Notes do not detail too many game fixes, this release is more about adding new features to the software suite.

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You can grab them right here.

Source: AMD

I see there's still an insect loose in my station ... Terri Brosius returns as SHODAN

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: gaming, system shock, Kickstarter

The System Shock reboot kicks off today in the usual place for such things and a pre-alpha demo has appeared on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store.  Chris Avellone will be a part of the project, along with several members of the Fallout New Vegas team and as mentioned, Terri Brosius will be reprising her role as SHODAN.  The $900K goal is halfway finished already but it will take $1.7M before the real game can be realized with ammo types, RPG elements and other fun things such as dismemberment.  You can take a peek at the gameplay over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN before you grab the free demo, if you so desire.

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"A modern take on System Shock, a faithful reboot; it’s not Citadel Station as it was, but as you remember it. Many improvements, overhauls and changes are being implemented to capture the spirit of what the original game was trying to convey, and bring it to contemporary gamers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Kickstarter

Doctor, treat thyself .. or at least the hospital please

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2016 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: hospital, security, winxp, Malware

For the past few years we have heard about some rather horrific security vulnerabilities in hospitals and sadly this has not changed at all.  Indeed many hospitals are still on older, unsupported OSes such as WinXP that most security software no longer protects against the malware which was used.  In one case a hospital using centralised intrusion detection software, updated endpoint protection, and new model firewall was still compromised using very old malware. In most of the cases described by The Register it was personal data and medical records which were compromised but that doesn't mean the medical appliances and physical security systems are not also vulnerable to attack.

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"Attackers have popped three prominent US hospitals, using deliberately ancient malware so old that it slips under the radar of modern security controls to compromise Windows XP boxes and gain network beacheads."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

PCPer Live! Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 29, 2016 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: video, rx 480, raja koduri, radeon, Polaris, live, giveaway, amd

When it comes to GPU releases, we at PC Perspective take things up a level in the kind of content we produce as well as the amount of information we provide to the community. Part of that commitment is our drive to bring in the very best people from around the industry to talk directly to the consumers, providing interesting and honest views on where their technology is going. 

With the pending release of the Radeon RX 480 based on AMD's latest Polaris architecture on Wednesday, June 29th, I am excited to announce that Raja Koduri, SVP and Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group will be joining us in studio to talk about the RX 480 and AMD's plans moving forward.

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The AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card

There is much to discuss. AMD and the RTG have promised that the RX 480 will be a revolutionary product, improving on performance per watt and performance per dollar in a way that no other AMD architecture has done. And the drive to include dramatically more gamers in the rising world of VR gaming will be an impressive feat as well, if they can pull it off. Topics like architectural improvements, asynchronous compute, multi-GPU and more are on the docket. You definitely won't want to miss it.

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Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri and Ryan Shrout

10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET - June 29th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live stream notification list!

The event will take place Wednesday, June 29th at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Raja to answer live. 

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Raja is one of the more open and honest people in this highly competitive landscape and every time we have had the ability to do an interview he has provided insightful, and sometimes very new, information. 

As a price for hosting AMD in the offices, we demanded a sacrifice: in the form of hardware to giveaway to our viewers! We'll have at least two Radeon RX 480s to giveaway during the live stream but I am pushing  to get a bump in that count; we'll see if I am persuasive enough. All you have to do to win on the 29th is watch the live stream!

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Some Radeon RX 480s will be up for grabs!!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Raja or me?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Wednesday at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live notification list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Polaris 10 Specifications

It would be hard at this point to NOT know about the Radeon RX 480 graphics card. AMD and the Radeon Technologies Group has been talking publicly about the Polaris architecture since December of 2015 with lofty ambitions. In the precarious position that the company rests, being well behind in market share and struggling to compete with the dominant player in the market (NVIDIA), the team was willing to sacrifice sales of current generation parts (300-series) in order to excite the user base for the upcoming move to Polaris. It is a risky bet and one that will play out over the next few months in the market.

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Since then AMD continued to release bits of information at a time. First there were details on the new display support, then information about the 14nm process technology advantages. We then saw demos of working silicon at CES with targeted form factors and then at events in Macau, showed press the full details and architecture. At Computex they announced rough performance metrics and a price point. Finally, at E3, AMD discussed the RX 460 and RX 470 cousins and the release date of…today. It’s been quite a whirlwind.

Today the rubber meets the road: is the Radeon RX 480 the groundbreaking and stunning graphics card that we have been promised? Or does it struggle again to keep up with the behemoth that is NVIDIA’s GeForce product line? AMD’s marketing team would have you believe that the RX 480 is the start of some kind of graphics revolution – but will the coup be successful?

Join us for our second major graphics architecture release of the summer and learn for yourself if the Radeon RX 480 is your next GPU.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB Graphics Card!!

AMD Lists Radeon RX 490 Graphics Card, New APUs in Gaming Promo

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | June 29, 2016 - 11:27 AM |
Tagged: RX 490, radeon, processors, Polaris, graphics card, Bristol Ridge, APU, amd, A12-9800

AMD's current "We're in the Game" promotion offers a glimpse at upcoming product names, including the Radeon RX 490 graphics card, and the new Bristol Ridge APUs.

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Visit AMD's gaming promo page and click the link to "check eligibility" to see the following list of products, which includes the new product names:

amd_product_listing.png

It seems safe to assume that the new products listed - including the Radeon RX 490 - are close to release, though details on the high-end Polaris GPU are not mentioned. We do have details on the upcoming Bristol Ridge products, with this in-depth preview from Josh published back in April. The A12-9800 and A12-9800E are said to be the flagship products in this new 7th-gen lineup, so there will be new desktop parts with improved graphics soon.

Windows 10 Upgrade Prompt Changes This Week

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 11:52 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet is reporting that the “Get Windows 10” window will be redesigned to make it easier to reject. The option will now have the button “Upgrade now” right beside two obvious link inputs, “Choose time” and “Decline free offer”. The close button will also dismiss the notification without accepting it.

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Image Credit: ZDNet

Of course, this is what they should have done a year ago, and it probably doesn't matter by now. At this point, I'm not sure how many people who need this change are still fighting Get Windows 10. Most have probably been tricked into upgrading, or have already figured out the direct way to disable it. I tend to encourage companies when they do the right thing, but this just seems too late to even approach its intended effect.

Also, this change occurred a few days after Microsoft decided to not appeal a lawsuit, brought about a woman whose business, a travel agency, suffered downtime related to the OS update. Windows 10 apparently did not work well with her system, causing it to slow down and crash. She won $10,000 in damages. Personally, I know how much Windows 10 can mess up certain devices. While I run Windows 10 on my production machine, and prefer it over Windows 7, a family member's laptop would turn its display's backlight off when brightness is set to 100% (which was default when plugged in). To a general PC user, that would look like Windows 10 upped and killed the device. Worse, rolling back to Windows 8.1 wasn't a sign to stop trying to update -- it wanted to put Windows 10 right back on it!

So yeah, Microsoft is doing the right thing... after about a year.

Source: ZDNet

Cherry's MX RGB Speed swiches in the wild, the Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 08:30 PM |
Tagged: input, RapidFire, K70 RGB, corsair, Cherry MX Speed, cherry

We heard about the new Rapidfire switches from Cherry back in April and today we get a glimpse at how they perform.  The Tech Report tested out this rather expensive keyboard and noticed an immediate difference from the Cherry switches they used previously.  In fact the reviewer even had issues with accidental keypresses while typing when they first started using the Rapidfire; after some usage that was no longer and issue.  That sensitivity translated into gaming well, they rather enjoyed the responsiveness in Overwatch and Battleborn.  The board is $170 on Amazon though if you can live without the RGB lighting you can pick up the red model for a mere $130.

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"Corsair's K70 RGB Rapidfire is the first keyboard on the market with Cherry's MX Speed switches, a new type of clicker that offers shorter travel and a higher actuation point than the wildly popular MX Red. We got these switches under our fingers to see whether they make a real difference in the heat of battle."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Cooler Master MasterBox 5, Canada Model because that makes it cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 28, 2016 - 05:57 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterBox 5

The Cooler Master MasterBox 5 is not a small case, at 450x220x440mm it will fit up to eATX motherboards, radiators of up to 280mm on the front, or 360mm with an adapter.  The lower price point means that there is a lack of grommets, however the empty spaces in the backplate allow you a lot of flexibility for cable management and watercooling paths.  The size will also allow you to install any GPU or CPU cooler on the market, not to mention making installation of your system easier.  You can see Modders Inc's full review here.

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"Cooler Master's current chassis line prioritize function and its design aim is to provide users with the flexibility to make any system they want inside. As part of Cooler Master's massive streamlining process beginning from last year, the simplified look is a distillation of what a Cooler Master case is at its core."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: Modders Inc

NVMe testing, torturing both the drives and the reviewer

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, 9100, micron

Testing out twelve 9100 NVMe flash drives is not easy as it requires some interesting configurations to make the testing worth while, sticking them all in a box and running ATTO is not going to create valuable information.  Those custom configurations revealed some interesting limitations, such as Windows' RAID having an upper limit of 385K IOPS and the Linux flavours tested topped out at 400K IOPS. 

Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 turned out to be more stable than Server 2012 R2; somehow using Resource Monitor managed to crash hard enough to break the Server install in one case.  2016 also had that upper IOPS limit which was far below the drives actual capabilities.  Drop by The Inquirer for look at the work which was done to set up for testing as well as the results.

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"I have spent the past TWO months testing these cards, the past month of which has involved truly tormenting them. I've learned a lot of things. There's the basic "NVMe is faster" that you can get from reading about the theory behind the drives, but there have also been a lot of little practical tidbits that you only get to find out when you run face first into problems."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Report: Image of Reference Design NVIDIA GTX 1060 Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2016 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce GTX 1060, GTX1060, rumor, report, leak, pascal, graphics card, video card

A report from VideoCardz.com shows what appears to be an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with a cooler similar to the "Founders Edition" GTX 1080/1070 design.

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Is this the GTX 1060 reference design? (Image via VideoCardz.com)

The image comes via Reddit (original source links in the VideoCardz post), and we cannot verify the validity of the image - though it certainly looks convincing to this writer.

So what does VideoCardz offer as to the specifications of this GTX 1060 card? Quoting from the post:

"NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 will most likely use GP106 GPU with at least 1280 CUDA cores. Earlier rumors suggested that GTX 1060 might get 6 GB GDDR5 memory and 192-bit memory bus."

We await official word on the GTX 1060 from NVIDIA, which VideoCardz surmises "is expected to hit the market shortly after Radeon RX 480".

Source: VideoCardz
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Huawei

A new competitor has entered the arena!

When we first saw the announcement of the MateBook in Spain back in March, pricing was immediately impressive. The base model of the tablet starts at just $699; $200 less than the lowest-priced Surface Pro 4, with features and performance that pretty closely match one another.

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The MateBook only ships with Core m processors, a necessity of the incredibly thin and fanless design that Huawei is using. That obviously will put the MateBook behind other tablets and notebooks that use the Core i3/i5/i7 processors, but with a power consumption advantage along the way. Honestly, the performance differences between the Core m3 and m5 and m7 parts is pretty small – all share the same 4.5 watt TDP and all have fairly low base clock speeds and high boost clocks. The Core m5-6Y54 that rests in our test sample has a base clock of 1.1 GHz and a maximum Turbo Boost clock of 2.7 GHz. The top end Core m7-6Y75 has a base of 1.2 GHz and Boost of 3.1 GHz. The secret of course is that these processors run at Turbo clocks very infrequently; only during touch interactions and when applications demand performance.

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If you work-load regularly requires you to do intensive transcoding, video editing or even high-resolution photo manipulation, the Core m parts are going to be slower than the Core i-series options available in other solutions. If you just occasionally need to use an application like Photoshop, the MateBook has no problems doing so.

Huawei MateBook Tablet PC
MSRP $699 $849 $999 $1199 $1399 $1599
Screen 12-in 2160x1440 IPS
CPU Core m3 Core m3 Core m5 Core m5 Core m7 Core m7
GPU Intel HD Graphics 515
RAM 4GB 8GB
Storage 128GB 256GB 256GB 512GB 256GB 512GB
Network 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.1
Gigabite Ethernet (MateDock)
Display Output HDMI / VGA (through MateDock)
Connectivity USB 3.0 Type-C
3.5mm headphone
USB 3.0 x 2 (MateDock)
Audio Dual Digital Mic
Dual Speakers
Weight 640g (1.41 lbs)
Dimensions 278.8mm x 194.1mm x 6.9mm
(10.9-in x 7.6-in x 0.27-in)
Battery 33.7 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home / Pro

At the base level, both the Surface Pro 4 and the MateBook have identical specs, but the Huawei unit is priced $200 lower. After that, things get more complicated as the Surface Pro 4 moves to Core i5 and Core i7 processors while the MateBook sticks with m5 and m7 parts. Storage capacities and memory size scale though. The lowest entry point for the MateBook to get 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory is $999 and comes with a Core m5 processor; a comparable Surface Pro 4 uses a Core i5 CPU instead but will run you $1199. If you want to move from 256GB to 512GB of storage, Microsoft wants $400 more for your SP4, while Huawei’s price only goes up $200.

Continue reading our review of the Huawei MateBook convertible PC!!

Frame Time Monday; this time with the GTX 1080

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 27, 2016 - 08:55 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx, GP104, geforce, founders edition

You have already seen our delve into the frame times provided by the GTX 1080 but perhaps you would like another opinion.  The Tech Report also uses the FCAT process which we depend upon to bring you frame time data, however they present the data in a slightly different way which might help you to comprehend the data.  They also included Crysis 3 to ensure that the card can indeed play it.  Check out their full review here.

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"Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 is the company's first consumer graphics card to feature its new Pascal architecture, fabricated on a next-generation 16-nm process. We dig deep into the GTX 1080 to see what the confluence of these advances means for the high-end graphics market."

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

Graphics Cards

The impact of your CPU on gaming, Intel's 6700K verus 6950X

Subject: Processors | June 27, 2016 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: dx12, 6700k, Intel, i7-6950X

[H]ard|OCP has been conducting tests using a variety of CPUs to see how well DX12 distributes load between cores as compared to DX11.  Their final article which covers the 6700K and 6950X was done a little differently and so cannot be directly compared to the previously tested CPUs.  That does not lower the value of the testing, scaling is still very obvious and the new tests were designed to highlight more common usage scenarios for gamers.  Read on to see how well, or how poorly, Ashes of the Singularity scales when using DX12.

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"This is our fourth and last installment of looking at the new DX12 API and how it works with a game such as Ashes of the Singularity. We have looked at how DX12 is better at distributing workloads across multiple CPU cores than DX11 in AotS when not GPU bound. This time we compare the latest Intel processors in GPU bound workloads."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Keep an eye out for big Toshiba NVMe drives

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2016 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, toshiba, ZD6000

Apeiron is a supplier of  NVMe over fabric links for businesses and will be releasing products based on a Toshiba NVMe SSD, which was being kept quiet until now.  You will not see these coming to a desktop near you but the announcement contains a very interesting tidbit.  The two ZD6000 drives being sold are 1.6TB and 3.2TB in size.  While that 3.2TB drive is attractive, Aperion suggests that there will be higher capacity drives released after these models, with The Register speculating on doubling, which would give us some impressively sized drives.  The technology used to stack this memory will eventually spill over to the consumer side so you can expect capacities to continue to grow and for prices to steadily decline.

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"Toshiba has quietly made 1.6TB and 3.2TB dual-port ZD6000 NVMe SSDs available to OEMs, and we know this because Apeiron says it has certified them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Oculus Backs Down on Hardware Check

Subject: Displays | June 25, 2016 - 06:23 AM |
Tagged: valve, oculus rift, Oculus, htc vive

Facebook has disabled their software check that prevents Oculus Store games from running without an Oculus Rift being connected. Further, Motherboard has directly quoted an Oculus spokesperson as saying “We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future”. This check prevented these games from running on the HTC Vive using the user-created tool, Revive, until the creator of Revive disabled the DRM in response.

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Oculus will continue to develop their DRM itself, of course. They have also been approaching developers to make Oculus-exclusive content, and I expect that will continue. This is where we get into a little bit of a debate that has been brewing online. Some believe that, due to the size of the potential market, exclusivity could bring content to life that otherwise would not be viable. While that does have some merit to muse over, I cannot see how that would be any better (for society) than all the platform holders pitching in to an open incubation fund. This way, art will not locked away unless it absolutely requires a specific feature that some platforms cannot provide, and consumers will have a larger pool of content to justify the initial purchase.

That topic aside, Oculus has not pledged that they won't interfere with third-parties that want to support Oculus-exclusive titles on other headsets. A hardware check will not be involved, now or in the future, though.

Source: Motherboard

Rumor: Intel Adds New Codecs with Kaby Lake-S iGPU

Subject: Processors | June 25, 2016 - 03:15 AM |
Tagged: Intel, kaby lake, iGPU, h.265, hevc, vp8, vp9, codec, codecs

Fudzilla isn't really talking about their sources, so it's difficult to gauge how confident we should be, but they claim to have information about the video codecs supported by Kaby Lake's iGPU. This update is supposed to include hardware support for HDR video, the Rec.2020 color gamut, and HDCP 2.2, because, if videos are pirated prior to their release date, the solution is clearly to punish your paying customers with restrictive, compatibility-breaking technology. Time-traveling pirates are the worst.

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According to their report, Kaby Lake-S will support VP8, VP9, HEVC 8b, and HEVC 10b, both encode and decode. However, they then go on to say that 10-bit VP9 and 10-bit HEVC 10b does not include hardware encoding. I'm not too knowledgeable about video codecs, but I don't know of any benefits to encoding 8-bit HEVC Main 10. Perhaps someone in our comments can clarify.

Source: Fudzilla