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Manufacturer: Various

Competition is a Great Thing

While doing some testing with the AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini APU to determine it's flexibility as a low cost gaming platform, we decided to run a handful of tests to measure something else that is getting a lot of attention right now: AMD Mantle and NVIDIA's 337.50 driver.

Earlier this week I posted a story that looked at performance scaling of NVIDIA's new 337.50 beta driver compared to the previous 335.23 WHQL. The goal was to assess the DX11 efficiency improvements that the company stated it had been working on and implemented into this latest beta driver offering. In the end, we found some instances where games scaled by as much as 35% and 26% but other cases where there was little to no gain with the new driver. We looked at both single GPU and multi-GPU scenarios on mostly high end CPU hardware though.

Earlier in April I posted an article looking at Mantle, AMD's answer to a lower level API that is unique to its ecosystem, and how it scaled on various pieces of hardware on Battlefield 4. This was the first major game to implement Mantle and it remains the biggest name in the field. While we definitely saw some improvements in gaming experiences with Mantle there was work to be done when it comes to multi-GPU scaling and frame pacing. 

Both parties in this debate were showing promise but obviously both were far from perfect.

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While we were benchmarking the new AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini based APU, an incredibly low cost processor that Josh reviewed in April, it made sense to test out both Mantle and NVIDIA's 337.50 driver in an interesting side by side.

Continue reading our story on the scaling performance of AMD Mantle and NVIDIA's 337.50 driver with Star Swarm!!

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

AM1 Walks New Ground

After Josh's initial review of the AMD AM1 Platform and the Athlon 5350, we received a few requests to look at gaming performance with a discrete GPU installed. Even though this platform isn't being aimed at gamers looking to play demanding titles, we started to investigate this setup anyway.

While Josh liked the ASUS AM1I-A Mini ITX motherboard he used in his review, with only a x1 PCI-E slot it would be less than ideal for this situation.

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Luckily we had the Gigabyte AM1M-S2H Micro ATX motherboard, which features a full length PCI-E x16 slot, as well as 2 x1 slots.

Don't be mistaken by the shape of the slot though, the AM1 chipset still only offers 4 lanes of PCI-Express 2.0. This, of course, means that the graphics card will not be running at full bandwidth. However, having the physical x16 slot makes it a lot easier to physically connect a discrete GPU, without having to worry about those ribbon cables that miners use.

Continue reading AMD AM1 Platform and Athlon 5350 with GTX 750 Ti - 1080p at under $450!!

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Released.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 18, 2014 - 02:39 AM |
Tagged: canonical, ubuntu, ubuntu 14.04

Ubuntu, the popular Linux distribution, has been on a steady six-month release schedule for eight years. Every four versions, that is, once every two years, one is marked as Long Term Support (LTS). While typical (non-LTS) releases are supported for around 9 months, LTS versions are provided with five years of updates. Of course, each version, LTS or not, is free. The choice to stay on a specific branch is something else entirely.

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For most home users, it will probably make sense to pick up the latest version available on your update manager. Of course, each new release will change things and that can be a problem for some users. That said, given that releases come in six-month intervals, it does make sense to keep up with the changes as they happen, rather than fall behind and have a real shock in five years. Enterprise customers, on the other hand, would love to adopt an operating system which never changes, outside of security updates. Windows XP is a recent example of where enterprise customers will actually pay to not upgrade. These customers will benefit most from LTS.

So, why 14.04 LTS?

First and foremost, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, wants to catch the wave of PC users who are looking to upgrade from Windows XP and Windows 7. It is free, it has a web browser and an office suite, it is stable and secure, and they suggest that it will be easy to deploy and manage for governments and other institutions.

The interface is Unity7, although users will have the option to try Unity8. The latter version is Canonical's attempt to cover all form factors: phones, tablets, TVs, and desktops.

They probably could have chosen a different number, if only for the jokes.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is available now at their website. It is free. If you want it, go get it unless you already have it.

Source: Canonical

Amazon Gold Box Deal Titanfall for just $36

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2014 - 07:37 AM |
Tagged: amazon, gold box, titanfall

If you haven't yet picked up Titanfall, the next multiplayer shooter from many of the creators of the Call of Duty series, today is your chance to do so at a discounted price. Amazon.com is pushing Titanfall with its daily Gold Box deal, which as the name suggests, is good for today only: Tuesday, April 22nd.

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And hey, buying your Origin game key through the link above also happens to support PC Perspective!

If you are looking at building a low cost gaming PC to play games like Titanfall, we did write an article on that exact subject back in March.

Source: Amazon

Nope, Never Settling... Forever. More Bundles.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 21, 2014 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: radeon, never settle forever, never settle, amd

AMD has been taking PC gaming very seriously, especially over the last couple of years. While they have a dominant presence in the console space, with only IBM in opposition, I believe that direct licensing revenue was not their main goal, rather that they hope to see benefits carry over to the PC and maybe mobile spaces, eventually. In the PC space, Never Settle launched as a very successful marketing campaign. While it had a stutter with the launch of the R9 (and R7) product lines, it is back and is still called, "Never Settle Forever".

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Keeping with Forever's alteration to the Never Settle formula, the type of card that you purchase yields a Gold, Silver, or Bronze reward. Gold (the R9 280 and R9 290 series, and the R9 295X2) gets three free games in the Gold tier, Silver (R9 270 and R7 260 series) gets two in the Silver tier, and Bronze (R7 250 and R7 240 series) gets one free game in the Bronze tier. By and large, the tiers are the same as last time plus a few old games and one upcoming Square Enix release: Murdered: Soul Suspect. They have also made deals with certain independent developers, where two indie titles bundled together count as one choice.

The complete breakdown of games is as follows:

 
Gold
(Choose 3)
Silver
(Choose 2)
Bronze
(Choose 1)
Murdered: Soul Suspect (June 3, 2014) Yes Yes No
Thief Yes Yes No
Tomb Raider Yes Yes No
Hitman: Absolution Yes Yes No
Sleeping Dogs Yes Yes No
Dungeon Siege III Yes Yes Yes
Dirt 3 Yes Yes Yes
Alan Wake Yes Yes Yes
Darksiders Yes Yes Yes
Darksiders II Yes Yes Yes
Company of Heroes 2 Yes Yes Yes
Total War: Shogun 2 Yes Yes Yes
Titan Quest (Gold Edition) Yes Yes Yes
Supreme Commander (Gold Edition) Yes Yes Yes
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Yes Yes No
Payday 2 Yes Yes No
Just Cause 2 Yes Yes Yes
Banner Saga + Mutant Blobs Attack (indie combo) Yes Yes Yes
Guacamelee + DYAD (indie combo) Yes Yes Yes
Mutant Blobs Attack + DYAD (indie combo) Yes Yes Yes
Banner Saga + DYAD (indie combo) Yes Yes Yes
Mutant Blobs Attack + Guacamelee (indie combo) Yes Yes Yes

Oddly enough, there does not seem to be a Banner Saga + Guacamelee combo...

... the only impossible combination.

AMD has also announced that Never Settle will continue for more "additions" in 2014. Which ones? Who knows. It is clear that they have a great working relationship with Square Enix Europe, including basically their last six major titles in Never Settle and keeping them there, but there is not really anything from them on the horizon (at least, not announced). AMD does sound confident in having other deals lined up this year, however.

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Never Settle Forever graphics cards are available now "at participating retailers". Bundle codes can be redeemed any time between now and August 31st.

There is some regional variance in game availability, however. Read up before you purchase (especially if you live in Japan). You should be fine if you live in North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America, though, at least where AMD products are available. Still, it is a good idea to check.

Source: AMD

How long since you read a joystick review?

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2014 - 06:39 PM |
Tagged: Speedlink Black Widow, Saitek X52 Pro, Phallusometer, Logitech Extreme 3D Pro, joystick, input, hotas

One of the contributors at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have rekindled their love of space sims thanks to being in on the Elite: Dangerous alpha which has precipitated a quest to find the best joystick currently on the market.  Three contenders appear in this review, the Saitek X52 Pro, the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro and the Speedlink Black Widow which refer to themselves as Hands On Throttle-And-Stick or flight sticks and the innuendo is as thick as you might expect.  Read the full review in all its smutty glory right here.

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"I’ve spent far too long thinking about and researching joysticks lately, primarily as a result of playing Elite: Dangerous. One thing I haven’t established during all that time is whether ‘joystick’ is the right word for a genre of game controller which also throws out terms like ‘flight stick’ and ‘HOTAS.’"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Corning USB 3.Optical Cables Now Available

Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2014 - 03:59 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, optical cable, corning

USB 3.Optical is a cable technology by Corning to extend the range of USB 3.0 while maintaining high bandwidth. Like the eventually realized promise of Thunderbolt, the cable is a stretch of fiber-optics between the two end points. The currently available SKU is a 10m male-to-female USB 3.0 A to A cable (a ten meter USB 3.0 extension cord). The idea is that users will plug their intended cable to the female end, as if it were the actual socket on the computer.

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The cable is actually currently available, right now, on Amazon. The catch? A 10m cable is $110 USD. This is around three-to-four dollars per foot. Needless to say that it is probably a bit too expensive for a "just in case" purchase. However, if you have a significant need for it, a cable now exists. The company also expects to ship 20M and 30M cables at some point this year.

One thing that is not clear is whether these cables are powered. I do not see anywhere which claims that it can transmit power. There is little reason why not, you could fit two extra little wires and put a 5V drop between them pretty easily over those ranges, but I expect that they did not.

Corning USB 3.Optical cables are available now on Amazon although eAccutech seems to be cheaper (I have not heard of the latter but they are mentioned in the Corning press release).

Source: Corning

NZXT Introduces the New Phantom 240

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 22, 2014 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, Phantom 240

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Los Angeles, CA – The classic Phantom styling you’ve come to love at its lowest price point yet.

Since the first Phantom was launched in 2010, NZXT has continued to bring aggressive designs and innovative feature sets to all of its chassis. Over the years, the original Phantom and Phantom 410 quickly became NZXT’s signature cases. Now, NZXT is happy to introduce its latest addition to the family, the Phantom 240.

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A product designed with several years of feedback in mind, the Phantom 240 brings a refreshing new style and full-view window to the table while keeping its signature asymmetrical shape. Included with the chassis are two of NZXT’s recently redesigned standard case fans, the 120mm FN V2, bringing additional cooling and lower noise levels.

The Phantom 240 features support for 2x 120mm fans in the front 1x 120mm fan in the rear and 2x 140mm or 120mm fans up top. Additionally, a removable hard drive cage allows for the installation of full-sized graphics cards with ease. Complete with modern external USB 3.0 and audio headers, the highly affordable Phantom 240 takes an admired design and makes it accessible for all.

Coming soon in NZXT’s signature Phantom White, the Phantom 240 will be available for just $69.99 with other colours following soon after.

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Source: NZXT

Podcast #297 - AMD AM1 Platform, AMD Never Settle Forever, 15nm Flash Memory and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2014 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, AM1, Athlon 5350, evga, EVGA SuperNOVA, ubuntu, 14.04 LTS, catalyst 14.4, never settle forever

PC Perspective Podcast #297 - 04/24/2014

Join us this week as we discuss gaming on the AMD AM1 Platform, AMD Never Settle Forever, 15nm Flash Memory 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

Program length: 1:08:24
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Battlezone II - still being patched!
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

Kingston Digital Releases Larger Capacity mSATA Drives

Subject: Storage | April 22, 2014 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: kingston, msata, ssdnow, SandForce SF-2241, SandForce SF-2281, ssd

Fountain Valley, CA – April 21, 2014 – Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the addition of 240GB and 480GB capacities to the existing SSDNow mS200 mSATA SSD line. Kingston’s SSDNow mS200 mSATA solid-state drive allows system builders and enthusiasts a cost-effective performance boost with quicker boot time and application loads while requiring less power than HDDs.

The mS200’s small-form factor is perfect for notebook, tablet and Ultrabook PCs, as well as a variety of embedded systems. It can also be used as a caching device with motherboards that support Intel Smart Response Technology (SRT) to improve system performance. mS200 has read speeds up to 550MB/s and write speeds up to 520MB/s.

The 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB mS200 mSATA SSDs have a caseless, PCB-only design with no moving parts and are backed by a two- or three-year warranty, free technical support and legendary Kingston reliability. For more information visit www.kingston.com.

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Features & Specifications:

  • LSI SandForce 2241 (30GB, 60GB, 120GB) and 2281 (240GB, 480GB) controller with SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface: twice as fast as the previous generation, yet more cost-efficient 
  • mSATA interface: fully compliant with industry standard, easy to fit, guaranteed to work 
  • NAND Flash memory based: shock-resistant with low power consumption
  • Supports Intel’s SRT: combines capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.: monitors the status of your drive
  • Supports TRIM: maintains maximum performance on compatible operating systems
  • Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s), SATA Rev. 2.0 (3Gb/s), SATA Rev. 1.0 (1.5Gb/s) ·
  • Capacities1: 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB
  • Automatic Encryption (AES 128-bit):Password at the drive level ensures secure data protection
  • Sequential Read/Write2:
    • 30GB – 550 MB/s / 510MB/s
    • 60GB – 550 MB/s / 520MB/s
    • 120GB – 550MB/s / 520MB/s
    • 240GB – 540MB/s / 530MB/s
    • 480GB – 530MB/s / 340MB/s ·
  • Maximum 4k Read/Write2:
    • 30GB – up to 86,000/ up to 77,000 IOPS
    • 60GB – up to 86,000/ up to 79,000 IOPS
    • 120GB – up to 86,000/ up to 48,000 IOPS
    • 240GB – up to 72,000/up to 40,000 IOPS
    • 480GB – up to 72,000/up to 18,000 IOPS ·
  • Random 4k Read/Write2:
    • 30GB – up to 7,500/71,000 IOPS
    • 60GB – up to 14,000/77,000 IOPS
    • 120GB – up to 17,000/45,000 IOPS
    • 240GB – up to 21,000/41,000 IOPS
    • 480GB – up to 21,000/13,000 IOPS
  • PCMARK® Vantage HDD Suite Score: 60,000
  • Power Consumption: 0.4W Idle / 1.2 (TYP) Read / 1.8W (TYP) Write
  • Storage temperature: -40°C ~ 85°C
  • Operating temperature: 0°C ~ 70°C
  • Dimensions: 50.88mm x 30mm 
  • Weight: 6.86g
  • TRIM Supported
  • Vibration operating: 2.17G
  • Vibration non-operating: 20G
  • MTTF: 1,000,000 Hrs
  • Warranty/support:
    • 30GB – two-year warranty with free technical support
    • 60GB, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB – three-year warranty with free technical support 
  • Total Bytes Written (TBW)3:
    • 30GB: 121TB 3 DWPD4
    • 60GB: 218TB 3 DWPD4
    • 120GB: 337TBW 2 DWPD4
    • 240GB: 585TBW 2 DWPD4
    • 480GB: 1562TBW 2 DWPD4

1 Some of the listed capacity on a Flash storage device is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage. As such, the actual available capacity for data storage is less than what is listed on the products. For more information, go to Kingston's Flash Memory Guide.
2 Based on “out-of-box performance.” Speed may vary due to host hardware, software and usage.
3 Total Bytes Written (TBW) is derived from the JEDEC Workload (JESD219A).
4 Drive Writes Per Day (DWPD)

Source: Kingston

Skip PCIe SSDs and jump into ULLtraDIMMs

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: mcs, ULLtraDIMM, diablo, PCIe SSD

Memory Channel Storage is exactly what it sounds like, non-volatile flash storage that is placed into DIMM slots to take advantage of the low latency connection between the CPU and more traditional DIMMs.  This may not help gamers to rack up higher scores but for server applications which have large queue depths resulting in very large IOPS.  This setup also allows for workload to be shared across memory channels, as opposed to a PCIe solution which is only able to connect to the lanes accessible to that particular slot.  There is a link to the white paper on The Register for those who wish to delve deeper.

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"Diablo provides Memory Channel Storage (MCS) technology to SanDisk’s subsidiary SMART Storage. It’s OEMed on to Supermicro and also IBM (soon to be Lenovo) for its x86 servers as ULLtraDIMM technology."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Great news Civ fans, Steamworks has your back

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: civ4, steamworks, gamespy

The death of GameSpy was a long time coming but unfortunately the demise has called into question the ability to continue to play multiplayer matches on a long list of legacy games such as Civilization 4.  A list of older 2K games were released, whose fate was undetermined until now when it was announced that Borderlands and Civ3 and 4 will be migrated to Steamworks to allow continued multiplayer support.  At the end of May we will see these games go offline, hopefully for a very short time, as they are migrated.  Follow the link to 2K support on Hexus for the list of games which will not be saved.

images.jpg

"Beginning May 31, 2014, Borderlands 1 and select tiles from the Civilization catalogs will temporarily go offline while service is transitioned to Steamworks. During the transition, players will experience interruption of several features, including online play, matchmaking and voiceover Internet protocol (VOIP). Players will not experience interruptions to offline play."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Hexus

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Is, Today, Free Forever

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: steam, Red Orchestra 2

Yes, the title makes sense... with some explanation. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is free forever, if you add it to your Steam account at some point today. Once it is in your account, it is yours. The price will return to a non-zero value at 10AM tomorrow, April 24th, 2014 (I assume PDT). Of course, you should just launch Steam and add it to your account as soon as possible. The button suggests that you need to install it to your computer immediately, but you don't; it will just add it to your library.

This does not include Rising Storm, except the "rifle-only" access that has been available for Hereos of Stalingrad customers. To get the rest of Rising Storm, it will need to be purchased and, go figure, it is scheduled for a "free weekend" and a discount, this weekend. Clearly, Tripwire is hoping to increase sales of Rising Storm through the sum of these promotions.

To summarize the entire promotion:

  • Hereos of Stalingrad can be added to your Steam account (if claimed before 10AM).
  • With this, you can access "rifle-only" content for Rising Storm.
  • This weekend, the full version of Rising Storm will be free until the end of the weekend.
  • During that free weekend, Rising Storm will be discounted.

Honestly, there is little reason to not just add it to your Steam library as soon as you get a chance. From there, you can sit on it if you do not have time for it. It is such a small commitment.

Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

Introduction

Back in March, EVGA announced the pending arrival of two new power supplies in their popular SuperNOVA line, the 750G2 and 850G2. Both new power supplies are 80Plus Gold certified and feature all modular cables, high-quality Japanese brand capacitors, a single high-power +12V rail, and a 140mm dual ball bearing cooling fan (with the ability to operate in silent, fan-less mode at low power levels). The 750G2 and 850G2 are also backed by a 10-year warranty (with registration). And last but not least, many PC PSU enthusiasts will be happy to know the new 750G2 and 850G2 are built on the successful Superflower Leadex Gold platform. Superflower is the same OEM that EVGA uses for several of their popular higher output, premium power supplies!

EVGA was founded in 1999 with headquarters in Brea, California. They continue to specialize in producing NVIDIA based graphics adapters and Intel based motherboards and keep expanding their PC power supply product line, which now includes fourteen models ranging from the high-end 1,500W NEX1500 Classified to the budget minded EVGA 430W power supply.

2-G2-Banner.jpg

(Courtesy of EVGA)

In this review we will be taking a detailed look at both the EVGA SuperNOVA 750G2 and 850G2 power supplies.

Here is what EVGA has to say about the new SuperNOVA G2 Gold PSUs: “Unleash the next generation in power with the EVGA SuperNOVA 850G2 and 750G2 Power Supplies. Based on the award winning G2 series Power Supplies from EVGA, these PSUs features 80 PLUS Gold rated efficiency, and clean, continuous power to every component. This provides improved efficiency for longer operation, less power consumption, reduced energy costs and minimal heat dissipation. The new ECO Thermal Control Fan System offers fan modes to provide zero fan noise during low load operations. Backed by a 10 year warranty and Japanese capacitor design, the EVGA SuperNOVA G2 is not only the right choice for your system today, it is also the best choice for your system tomorrow."

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3b-850G2.jpg

EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 and 750 G2 Gold PSU Key Features:

•    10-Year Warranty and unparalleled EVGA Customer Support
•    80PLUS Gold certified, with up to 90% efficiency under typical loads
•    Tight voltage regulation (2%), stable power with low AC ripple and noise
•    Highest quality Japanese brand capacitors ensure long-term reliability
•    Fully modular cables to reduce clutter and improve airflow
•    Quiet dual-ball bearing fan for exceptional reliability and quiet operation
•    ECO Intelligent Thermal Control allows silent, fan-less operation at low power
•    NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire Ready
•    Intel 4th Generation CPU Ready (Haswell, C6/C7 sleep modes)
•    Compliance with ErP Lot 6 2013 Requirement
•    Active Power Factor correction (0.99) with Universal AC input
•    Heavy-duty Protections: OVP, UVP, OCP, OPP, and SCP
•    MSRP for the 750 G2 PSU : $129.99 USD (119.99 after mail-in rebate)
•    MSRP for the 850 G2 PSU : $159.99 USD ($149.99 after mail-in rebate)

Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 750/850 G2 Gold PSUs!!!

Toshiba 15nm Flash Memory in Mass Production

Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 23, 2014 - 08:57 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, 15nm

While we often see smaller fabrication nodes discussed in terms of faster and more power efficient processors, it also increases storage density for memory circuits. In fact, it is probably easier to visualize how a process shrink will increase memory capacity than it is to ponder the benefits for CPUs and GPUs. Smaller features in the same area gives more places to cram data. Toshiba is starting to mass produce 15nm NAND Flash at Fab 5 in Yokkaichi.

Toshiba_15nm_NAND_Flash_Memories.jpg

While not mentioned in the press release, I believe that SanDisk and Toshiba are still in a partnership. The facility being discussed was actually a $4 Billion USD joint-venture between these two companies. I, reasonably, expect that SanDisk will also see some benefits from today's announcement. According to the press release, 15nm MLC is already in mass production with TLC following in June.

I brought up this story to Allyn, to see if he had any insights on it. He noted that 15nm is getting quite small. I asked about its implications in terms of write longevity, as that is has been the biggest concern in previous node shrinks. He guesses that the flash should be able to handle around 1,000 writes on average, compared to ~3,000 writes on IMFT's 20nm process. Keep in mind, IMFT prides itself on enterprise longevity and so, at least to me, it sounds fairly reasonable. Toshiba also mentions that they will have products for the high reliability market, such as enterprise SSDs.

The announcement does not mention anything that you can go out and buy yet, though. At the moment, it is behind-the-scenes stuff. It should be soon. I doubt that Toshiba would mass produce components like this without products or OEMs lined up.

Source: Toshiba

AMD AM1 Retested on 60 Watt Power Supply

Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2014 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: TDP, Athlon 5350, Asus AM1I-A, amd, AM1

If I had one regret about my AM1 review that posted a few weeks ago, it was that I used a pretty hefty (relatively speaking) 500 watt power supply for a part that is listed at a 25 watt TDP.  Power supplies really do not hit their efficiency numbers until they are at least under 50% load.  Even the most efficient 500 watt power supply is going to inflate the consumption numbers of these diminutive parts that we are currently testing.

am1p_01.jpg

Keep it simple... keep it efficient.

Ryan had sent along a 60 watt notebook power supply with an ATX cable adapter at around the same time as I started testing on the AMD Athlon 5350 and Asus AM1I-A.  I was somewhat roped into running that previously mentioned 500 watt power supply due to comparative reasons.  I was using a 100 watt TDP A10-6790 APU with a pretty loaded Gigabyte A88X based ITX motherboard.  That combination would have likely fried the 60 watt (12v x 5A) notebook power supply under load.

Now that I had a little extra time on my hands, I was able to finally get around to seeing exactly how efficient this little number could get.  I swapped the old WD Green 1 TB drive for a new Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB SSD.  I removed the BD-ROM drive completely from the equation as well.  Neither of those parts uses a lot of wattage, but I am pushing this combination to go as low as I possibly can.

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The results are pretty interesting.  At idle we see the 60 watt supply (sans spinning drive and BD-ROM) hitting 12 watts as measured from the wall.  The 500 watt power supply and those extra pieces added another 11 watts of draw.  At load we see a somewhat similar numbers, but not nearly as dramatic as at idle.  The 60 watt system is drawing 29 watts while the 500 watt system is at 37 watts.

am1p_02.jpg

So how do you get from a 60 watt notebook power adapter to ATX standard? This is the brains behind the operation.

The numbers for both power supplies are both good, but we do see that we get a nice jump in efficiency from using the smaller unit and a SSD instead of a spinning drive.  Either way, the Athlon 5350 and AMD AM1 infrastructure sip power as compared to most desktop processors.

Source: AMD
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction

GIGABYTE is doing some interesting things with their next generation line of boards, offering support for current and next generation Intel Haswell processors. Additionally, these next generation boards will offer support for SATA 3 and next generation SATA storage solutions.

The biggest difference between their new board lines and existing Intel Z87 motherboard lines is how they are differentiating the different board series. GIGABYTE will have a total of four board series in their new product line:

  • Normal series motherboards
  • Gaming series motherboards
  • Overclocking series motherboards
  • Black Edition series motherboards

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Normal Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Normal Series boards encompass their channel boards for mainstream consumers and system builders.

z97x-gaming-g1-wifi.jpg

Gaming Series motherboard

The Gaming Series boards are geared more towards enthusiast and gamers users, featuring a black and red color scheme for eye-catching appeal.

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Overclocking Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Overclocking Series boards are geared towards hard-core enthusiasts and the LN2 record setting crowd with features and designs specifically oriented to eeking out that last bit of speed and performance from the board.

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Black Edition Series motherboard
Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Black Edition Series boards build on several products from the other board lines, ensuring the utmost stability and performance through a specialized factory-performed testing regimen.

Continue reading our introduction of the GIGABYTE next generation motherboards!

The FCC's gaff and Verizon's pebble are on track to derail Net Neutrality

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2014 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: net neutrality, legal, FCC

In a wonderful display of ignorance the FCC seems to be on course to end any hope of US citizens actually receiving the bandwidth they pay for and major corporations are in danger of breaking their wrists because of too many high 5's.  With one ingenious move they have made over 100 years of common carriage laws designed to allow enforcement of fair business practices obsolete as far as providers of "information services" are concerned. 

Today we will we see some of the the results of their utter failure to protect the interests of US citizens as Net Neutrality will be redefined to allow providers to throttle or increase the available bandwidth to online media companies based on how much dosh those aforementioned companies are willing to shell over.  This means that while you may have a connection rated at 100Mbps download, that will no longer have anything to do with the actual speed you receive; that speed is dependent on how much bandwidth the provider makes available to the media service you are using.

The ruling is not yet released; keep an eye for updates here and on The Inquirer ... or just skip down to the new Gigabyte boards if you don't want to be depressed.

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"IN A MOVE designed to serve corporate America and raise the hackles of almost everyone else, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed to redefine net neutrality."

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Source: The Inquirer

OCZ Launches the RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | April 24, 2014 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: RevoDrive 350, PCIe SSD, ocz, SF-2282

OCZ has announced the release of the RevoDrive 350, a PCIe SSD using the SandForce 2282 controller and available in 240, 480 and 960GB models which should be priced at  $530, $830 and $1300 respectively.  This is certainly more expensive than SATA SSDs but then again if you check out the three reviews you can see that this drive is also significantly faster than SATA drvies.

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SAN JOSE, CA – April 24, 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions - a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the RevoDrive 350 Series with workstation-grade design capabilities and maximum performance for professional content creation, multimedia, and extreme gaming applications. Achieving three times the performance of SATA-based SSD solutions, RevoDrive 350 is based on proven performance architecture and features 19nm Toshiba NAND to complete OCZ’s portfolio transition to in-house flash, offering a high-performance yet cost-efficient SSD solution for bandwidth-intensive client applications.

Using the PCI Express Gen. 2 x8 interface and up to four LSI SF-2282 processors to offer more available bandwidth than the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features up to 1.8GB/s sequential speeds and up to 140,000 4K random write IOPS, delivering SSD RAID performance without the hassle in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution. Enabling both performance and functionality for applications ranging from scientific computing to extreme gaming systems, this workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, supporting up to 50GB of host writes per day for 3 years to provide leading endurance for media professionals over less robust consumer SSDs.

“The new RevoDrive 350 is built using proven technology with the added benefit of utilizing in-house premium Toshiba flash and OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 to deliver highly efficient performance aggregation while reducing the burden on host resources,” said Daryl Lang, Senior Vice President of Product Management for OCZ Storage Solutions. “This next generation PCIe SSD is the ideal solution for performance-minded users looking to maximize both bandwidth and density for the complete gamut of gaming, content creation and workstation applications.”

VCA 2.0 effectively makes the RevoDrive 350’s multi-controller design appear and act as a single drive to the host system to enable drive-level management features such as secure erase, SMART, and TRIM. In addition to mass data storage, the RevoDrive 350 can also be used as bootable device, promoting ultra-fast system boot-ups.

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Improving on the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features a sleek integrated heatsink that provides a more stable and cooler thermal SSD environment, and includes optimized drivers redesigned from the ground up with new Linux support in addition to Windows® OS. Available in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities, RevoDrive 350 provides ample space, and comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

Source: OCZ

Check out these inventive hacks for a Sci-Fi themed contest

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: hack, valve, glados, tf2, kick ass

Hack a Day have been accepting entries to their Sci-Fi contest for long enough that they have a few worth showing off before the entry deadline of April 29th, specifically the Valve themed ones.  A table top sized level 1 sentry gun from TF2 is being entered, perhaps not as heavy duty as  the one currently guarding Valve HQ but destined to be able to fire paint balls if all goes to plan.  There is a French team who are modifying some personal assistant software called RORI into a replica of GLaDOS, hopefully a version at least slightly less murderous than the original while another team is going about creating a physical version of the homicidal AI complete with a camera to allow face tracking.  Check these entrants and other in the full Hack a Day post.

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"While most of the entries to our Sci-Fi contest come from movies and TV shows, a select few are based on the Valve universe, including a few builds based on Portal and Team Fortress 2."

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Source: Hack a Day