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Samsung Magician 4.6 and 840 EVO Firmware Released - Downloads Throttled

Subject: Storage | April 23, 2015 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: TurboWrite, tlc, ssd, slc, Samsung, 840 evo

For those who watched last night's podcast live, I predicted that Samsung would be posting their 840 EVO Firmware and new Magician 4.6 software 'soon'. Turns out that 'soon' was actually this morning, but there's a catch - Samsung decided to limit the daily downloads:

magician download error.png

If you went to the Samsung SSD Download Page and got the above error, don't fret, there are a few mirrors out there:

I downloaded from these three sources and at the time of this posting can confirm all three are identical to the Magician 4.6 download available from Samsung.

Once installed, you *should* be able to use Magician to update the firmware on your 840 EVO and (hopefully) see its performance come back to where it should be. There have been some reports of users unable to update, but that appears to be Samsung's servers being hammered and Magician's default / timeout is to report that you are on the latest firmware. Restarting Magician may force it to re-check and get the update.

Linux and Mac users are not yet able to update as the ISO updater has not been released for the new firmware. Those capable can update their Linux or Mac 840 EVOs connected as a secondary drive under Windows with Magician 4.6 installed. Also, if you're running Linux and happen use fstrim during boot, read this post prior to updating.

Source: Samsung
Author:
Subject: Systems, Mobile
Manufacturer: Intel

Specifications

When I first was handed the Intel Compute Stick product at CES back in January, my mind began to race with a lot of questions. The first set were centered around the capabilities of the device itself: where could it be used, how much performance could Intel pack into it and just how many users would be interested in a product like this? Another set of questions was much more philosophical in nature: why was Intel going in this direction, does this mean an end for the emphasis on high performance componentry from Intel and who comes up with these darned part numbers?

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I have since settled my mind on the issues surrounding Intel’s purpose with the Compute Stick and began to dive into the product itself. On the surface the Intel Compute Stick is a product entering late into a potentially crowded market. We already have devices like the Roku, Google Chromecast, the Apple TV, and even the Amazon Fire TV Stick. All of those devices share some of the targets and goals of the Compute Stick, but the one area where Intel’s product really stands out is flexibility. The Roku has the most pre-built applications and “channels” for a streaming media box. The Chromecast is dirt cheap at just $30 or so. Even Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is clearly the best choice for streaming Amazon’s own multimedia services. But the Intel Compute Stick can do all of those things – in addition to operating as a standalone PC with Windows or Linux. Anything you can do I can do better…

But it’s not a product without a few flaws, most of which revolve around the status of the current operating system designs for TVs and larger displays. Performance obviously isn’t peeling the paint off any walls, as you would expect. But I still think at for $150 with a full copy of Windows 8.1 with Bing, the Intel Compute Stick is going to find more fans that you might have first expected.

Continue reading our review of the Intel Compute Stick!!

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and First Impressions

The ASUS X205 offers the full Windows 8.1 notebook experience for the cost of a Chromebook, and the design offers a surprising amount of polish for the price. Is this $199 Atom-powered notebook a viable solution as a daily driver? We're about to find out.

Introduction

What do you use a laptop for? A thoughtful answer to this question can be the most important part of the process when selecting your next notebook PC, and if your needs are modest there are a growing number of very low-cost options on the market. For example, I personally do not play games on a laptop, typically alternating between web, email, and Microsoft Office. Thus for myself the most important aspects of a notebook PC become screen quality, keyboard, trackpad, and battery life. High performance is not of utmost importance, and I assure myself of at least speedy load times by always choosing (or installing) a solid-state hard drive. For those reasons when I first read the description and specifications of the ASUS X205 notebook, I took notice.

X205_Cover.jpg

The X205 is a small notebook with an 11.6” display and 1366x768 resolution, essentially matching the form-factor of Apple's 11.6" MacBook Air. It is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM, and onboard storage is solid-state - though limited to 32GB and of the slower eMMC variety (which is in keeping with many Chromebooks). There is adequate connectivity as well, with the expected wireless card and two USB 2.0 ports. One aspect of this design that intrigued me was the trackpad, which ASUS claims is using "smartphone technology", indicating a touchscreen digitizer implementation. Smoothness and accuracy are the biggest problems I find with most inexpensive notebook trackpads, and if this turns out to be a strong performer it would be a major boon to the X205's overall usability. I opted for the Microsoft Signature Edition of the X205TA, which carries the same $199 retail price but does not come preloaded with any trialware or other junk software.

At the outset this feels like a compelling product simply because it retails for the same price as an average Chromebook, but offers the flexibility of a full Windows 8.1 installation. Granted this is the “Windows 8.1 with Bing” version found on low-cost, low-power devices like this, but it offers the functionality of the standard version. While Chrome OS and Google's productivity apps are great for many people, the ability to install and run Windows applications made this highly preferable to a Chromebook for me. Of course beyond the operating system the overall experience of using the laptop will ultimately decide the viability of this inexpensive product, so without further preamble let's dive right into the X205TA notebook!

Continue reading our review of the ASUS EeeBook X205TA $199 Notebook!!

AMD's Lisa Su Expects Windows 10 to Launch in July

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft, amd

The CEO of AMD is an unexpected, but probably very accurate, source when it comes to knowing the Windows 10 release date. First off, the news broke on a quarterly earnings call. When you make a statement on those, you have a strong legal obligation to be telling the truth according to the knowledge that you have at the time. Also, as a major hardware vendor of CPUs and GPUs, her company would have been notified by Microsoft so that they could plan development of graphics drivers and so forth. It also aligns with the “Summer” announcement made last month by Microsoft.

She believes that Windows 10 is set to launch in July.

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Of course, this led to a flurry of comments that claim three months will not be enough time to bake a successful product. Others, naturally, claim that Microsoft has been developing software for long enough to know that they can finish their product in three months. Still others shrug and say, “Yeah, you both make sense. I'm going to go play some Grand Theft Auto.”

One aspect that I don't see mentioned enough is that Microsoft has multiple projects and teams on the go, and we only see a fraction of what is being done in our Insider branch. Despite the narrative that Microsoft wishes to avoid another Windows 8 fiasco and they want their users to guide development, they have alluded that a major reason for the Insider program is to test their build delivery system. While I am having a bit of a hard time finding the supporting quote, I did find one reference to it being the reason for ISOs being delayed.

And finally – we heard from you loud and clear you want ISO images of the new builds we release. We felt it was important to listen to that and give you what you want – but there’s a catch. Getting the update & install data from our Preview Builds mechanism is super important for us. It helps us ensure smooth ESD distribution, download, and upgrade success for this program going forward, and also will help us ensure great upgrades for people once we release Windows 10. So we’re going to release the ISOs at the same time as we publish to the Slow ring. That means if you want to be FIRST and FASTEST to get the build, you’ll need to use our Preview Builds mechanisms (either automatic or Check Now in PC Settings to download.) If you must have an ISO you’ll have to be a bit more patient. I hope that you’ll consider that a fair tradeoff.

So what is my point? Basically, it is difficult for us to make assumptions about how baked Windows 10 is from our standpoint. They are being more open with us than ever about their development methods, but we don't know certain key things. We don't know what final feature set they plan. We don't know how much work has been done on any individual feature since it was merged into a build that we saw. We also don't know how much has been done by third parties. In some cases, a release in three months could equate to like, six months of work for a specific team since their last contribution was merged. I do think that any major feature we see at BUILD will pretty much be the last additions to the OS before it launches though, unless they have a surprise that will surface at E3 or something.

Also, remember that the things they show us are slanted to what they want feedback about.

Source: Thurrott.com

Moore's Law Is Fifty Years Old!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 19, 2015 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: moores law, Intel

While he was the director of research and development at Fairchild Semiconductor, Gordon E. Moore predicted that the number of components in an integrated circuits would double every year. Later, this time-step would slow to every two years; you can occasionally hear people talk about eighteen months too, but I am not sure who derived that number. In a few years, he would go on to found Intel with Robert Noyce, where they spend tens of billions of dollars annually to keep up with the prophecy.

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It works out for the most part, but we have been running into physical issues over the last few years though. One major issue is that, with our process technology dipping into the single- and low double-digit nanometers, we are running out of physical atoms to manipulate. The distance between silicon atoms in a solid at room temperature is about 0.5nm; a 14nm product has features containing about 28 atoms, give or take a few in rounding error.

Josh has a good editorial that discusses this implication with a focus on GPUs.

It has been a good fifty years since the start of Moore's Law. Humanity has been developing plans for how to cope with the eventual end of silicon lithography process shrinks. We will probably transition to smaller atoms and molecules and later consider alternative technologies like photonic crystals, which routes light in the hundreds of terahertz through a series of waveguides that make up an integrated circuit. Another interesting thought: will these technologies fall in line with Moore's Law in some way?

Source: Tom Merritt

Need more Star Wars? Check out the Battlefront trailer

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2015 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront, frostbite 3

December is a long way off but November 17th is a little bit closer and will give you something to stave off your impatience as that is the release date for the new Star Wars Battlefront.  The Frostbite based game will support up to 40 players in a battle with all your favourite locations, characters, weapons, and vehicles; from various eras in the Star Wars galaxy from what we can gleam.  There will also be a single player mode consisting of what EA is referring to as crafted missions, which may be playable in co-op mode aas well as solo. 

This being an EA game they have already coated it with the repulsive substances, In Game Footage, Pre-Order and DLC.  They claim in this article at HEXUS that "the amount of content in the game has absolutely zero to do with DLC. I can say that with all honesty.", undermined by the fact that if you pre-order you get access to a map called "Battle of Jakku" on December 1st instead of the 8th.  This of course smacks of future preferential treatment for those willing to pay for early access to content everyone else has to wait for.  The trailer below is referred to as being in game footage but we are all smart enough to know that while it is certainly rendered with the game engine it is not representative of what your game will look like while you are playing it.  Can EA do more harm to the series than Jar Jar or is this just a minor inconvenience at the release of a game that will prove to be a fan favourite?

"It’s got all your favourites: the robocow, crossjets, hoverbikes, the notorious Crumpet Eagle, Johnny Rockets, and even that mean black Cylon with his lasersword. I am far more interested in the unreal possibilities of sci-fi face-shooting than humdrum real-world jazz."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

AMD and QNAP get NASty

Subject: Storage | April 23, 2015 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: TVS-463 8G, qnap, NAS, amd

The QNAP TVS-463 8G is powered by an AMD GX-424CC, part of the Steppe Eagle family of SoCs which includes a Mullin's based Radeon R5E GPU.  There are several models ranging from the entry level which sports only 4GB of RAM, which can be expanded to 16GB with the review model TechPowerUp recieved sitting in the middle at 8GB.  You can install up to four 2.5" or 3.5" SATA3 disks in a variety of RAID configurations, the NAS ships empty so you will need to provide your own drives.  It is a little expensive, just over $800, which includes the internal PSU and the built in OS to allow you to activate your NAS via the web with a simple command.  It has two Gigabit ports with LACP support and you can even pick up an expansion card to increase it to 10GbE, read the full review to get an idea just how capable this NAS is.

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"QNAP has for the first time used an AMD CPU with one of their NAS offerings. The new series is codenamed TVS-x63, and today, we will evaluate the TVS-463, which, as its model number implies, can take up to four HDDs. It is also 10GbE ready through an optional expansion card."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: techPowerUp

Lost Your Phone? Try Googling For It!

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 12:37 AM |
Tagged: remote access, gps., google, Android

Looking for your phone? Well, Google will now let you literally search for it. A recent update to its Android Device Manager service, the search giant now allows users to type "find my phone" into Google search. So long as you have Android Device Manager turned on (and some sort of network connection) and you have the latest version of Google's Search application installed on your Android phone, you will be presented with the phone's location on Google Maps along with options to ring the device at the loudest volume, remotely lock the device with a new password, or remotely wipe it altogether. Note that you will need to be signed into your Google account on the PC to access these options, and you may need to re-enter your password. Hopefully you have a trusted PC (or backup codes) available that you will not have to authenticate with your, well, (lost) phone if you have two factor authentication turned on.

Android Device Manager Find My Phone Search.png

If your smartphone is nearby you can have Google ring the device at its loudest volume for up to five minutes (once you find it you can stop the ringing by pressing the power button).

Android Device Manager Find My Phone Search Ring Device.jpg

The remote lock is handy if it appears the phone has simply been left behind somewhere relatively secure while the erase option is handy if the phone is on the move and appears to be stolen. If you don't have a backup of your data, you might try calling it first to see if you can get it back, otherwise it is best to erase it, report it stolen to the authorities and chalk it up to a lesson learned (backup, backup, and backup again! Bittorrent Sync makes this easy, btw).

On the phone side of things, you will get a notification card along with a timestamp of when the device was located by ADM. This locate, ring, lock, and erase functionality has been around for a couple of years now, but it is now even easier to use and all you have to do to get to it is run an intuitive Google search of "find my phone". It works well and is definitely a welcome update. More information can be found here.

This has been a public service announcement from PC Perspective. Stay vigilant out there folks!

Source: PC Mag

Thermaltake Launches New Fan Controller With Touchscreen

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 20, 2015 - 11:50 PM |
Tagged: touchscreen, thermaltake, fan controller, bling, 5.25-inch bay

Looking to ditch that DVD drive that hasn't powered up in three years for something with a bit more bling? Thermaltake is hoping that you will look no further than their new Commander FT fan controller. Slotting into a 5.25-inch drive bay, the Commander FT is dominated by a large 5.5-inch touchscreen display and allows you to control up to five case fans.

Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Installed In Mid-Tower PC Case.jpg

The Commander FT is a five channel, 50W design (10W per channel) design powered by a single Molex connector. Fan support includes 3-pin or 4-pin (PWM) fans. The touch panel is laid out with large on screen buttons. The capacitive screen shows temperature and fan RPM speeds and allows users to engage automatic or manual control modes. Thermaltake includes two automatic presets called performance and silent which perform how one would expect – the performance mode ramps all connected fans to their highest speeds while the silent mode keeps fans spinning as slowly as possible while keeping the case temperature in check. When it comes to manual mode, users can choose individual fan channels and adjust their speeds using an on-screen slider.

Although it is not the most powerful fan controller (only 10W/channel) on the market, it sure looks sharp. If you are looking for a high end fan controller, the Commander FT will be available soon for $37 from online retailers (such as Newegg). 

Source: Thermaltake

The brithing of a little silicon baby

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: silicon, manufacturing

Over at The Tech Report a guest writer will walk you through on overview of the steps taken to go from block architect's design process straight through to the final product.  If you have never really thought how the magic underneath that heatsink comes about this is a good starting place to understand how semiconductors are made.  If you are somewhat familiar with the process, there is still a lot to be gleaned from the article as it covers a wide breadth of topics and some of the newer procedures.  If you have strong opinions in the debate over the superiority of Verilog or VHDL then you may just want to skip straight to the comments.

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"Have you ever wondered how the chips in PCs, smartphones, and other devices go from initial ideas to final products? Rys Sommefeldt walks us through the entire process, from conception through mass production."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ECS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ECS

The ECS Z97-PK motherboard is the company's mATX solution for their Intel Z97 Express chipset-based product line. Similar to other boards in their Z97 series, the Z97-PK is simplified to include what you need for a working mATX system without compromising on component or build quality. With an MSRP of $79.99, the Z97-PK is a very approachable solution for any use, including those budget-constrained HTPC builds.

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Courtesy of ECS

The ECS Z97-PK motherboard was designed to be an affordable solution packed with lots of performance potential. ECS constructed the board with around a 4-phase digital power deliver system and high quality solid capacitors to keep the board running stable. The Z97-PK board offers the following in-built features: six SATA 3 ports; a Realtek GigE NIC; one PCI-Express Gen3 x16 slot; one PCI-Express Gen2 x16 slot (x4 maximum bandwidth); Realtek audio solution; integrated VGA, DVI, and HDMI video port support; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the ECS Z97-PK motherboard!

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: GameBench

Battle of the Sixes, they call it

GameBench is a low-level application released in 2014 that attempts to bring the technical analysis and benchmarking capability of the PC to the mobile device. You might remember that I showed you some early results and discussed our use of the GameBench testing capability in my Dell Venue 8 7000 review a few months back; my understanding and practice of using the software was just beginning at that time and continues to grow as I spend time with the software.

The idea is simple yet powerful: GameBench allows Android users, and soon iOS users, the ability to monitor frame rates of nearly any game or 3D application that you can run on your phone or tablet to accurately measure real-world performance. This is similar to what we have done for years on the PC with FRAPS and allows us to gather average frames per second data over time. This is something that was previously unavailable to consumers or press for that matter and could be a very powerful tool for device to device comparisons going forward. The ability to utilize actual games and applications and gather benchmark data that is accurate to consumer experiences, rather than simply synthetic graphics tests that we have been forced to use in the past, will fundamentally change how we test and compare mobile hardware.

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Image source: GameBench.net

Today, GameBench itself released a small report meant to showcase some of the kinds of data the software can gather while also revealing early support for Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. Primary competitors for the comparison include the Apple iPhone 6, the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and Motorola Nexus 6.  I was able to get an early look at the report and offer some feedback, while sharing with our readers my views on the results.

GameBench tested those four devices in a total of 10 games:

  • Asphalt 8: Airborne
  • Real Racing 3
  • Dead Trigger 2
  • Kill Shot
  • Modern Combat 5: Blackout
  • Boom Beach
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  • GTA: San Andreas
  • Marvel: Contest of Champions
  • Monument Valley

These games all vary in price and in play style, but they all are in the top 50 games lists for each platform and are known for their graphically intense settings and look.

Continue reading our story on GameBench's new benchmarking capability for Android and iOS devices!!

ARM's chips are flying off the shelves in Q1

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2015 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: arm, Q1 2015

ARM seems to be completely ignoring the sales downturn that almost every single component manufacturer has seen in this quarter, as well as previous ones, turning in on increase of 14% on revenue and 24% on profit in Q1 of 2015.  As The Register points out that equates to 450 chips selling every second, something even automated stock trading algorithms have to be impressed by.  Royalty revenue increased by 31% thanks to Mali, regardless of Apple's decision not to use that chip in their iPhone 6.  You can expect to see more news on ARM from us in the near future and you can expect the news to be good for their investors and users.

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"The first three months of 2015 have been good to ARM, which saw revenues of $348.2m and pre-tax profits of $120.5m in the first quarter, with 3.8 billion ARM-based chips shipped - or more than 450 chips per second."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Red Hat Joins Khronos Group

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 20, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: Red Hat, Khronos

With a brief blog post, Red Hat has announced that they are now members of the Khronos Group. Red Hat, one of the largest vendors of Linux software and services, would like to influence the direction of OpenGL and the upcoming Vulkan API. Also, apart from Valve, they are one of the only Linux vendors that contributes to the Khronos Group as an organization. I hope that their input counter-balances Apple, Google, and Microsoft, who are each members, in areas that are beneficial to the open-source operating system.

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As for now, Red Hat intends to use their membership to propose OpenGL extensions as well as influence Vulkan as previously mentioned. It also seems reasonable that they would push for extensions to Vulkan, which the Khronos Group mentioned would support extensions at GDC, especially if something that they need fails to reach “core” status. While this feels late, I am glad that they at least joined now.

Source: Red Hat

AMD is making SeaMicro walk the plank

Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2015 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: amd, seamicro, HPC

Just over three years ago AMD purchased SeaMicro for $334 million to give them a way to compete in HPC applications against Intel who had recently bought up QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology.  The purchase of SeaMicro included their Freedom Fabric technology which was at that time able to create servers which could use Atom or Xeon chips in the same infrastructure.  AMD developed compatibility with their existing Opteron chips and it was thought that this would be a perfect platform to launch Seattle, their hybrid 64bit ARM chips on.  Unfortunately with the poor revenue that AMD has seen means that the SeaMicro server division is being cut so they can focus on their other products.  Lisa Su obviously has more information that we do on the performance of AMD but it seems counter-intuitive to shut down the only business segment to make positive income, but as The Register points out the $45m which they made is down almost 50% from this time last year.  AMD will keep the fabric patents but as of now we do not know if they are looking to sell their server business, license the patents or follow some other business plan.

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"Tattered AMD says it's done with its SeaMicro server division, following a grim quarter that saw the ailing chipmaker weather losses beyond the expectations of even the gloomiest of Wall Street analysts."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Podcast #346 - Intel Compute Stick, ASUS X205TA, Samsung PCIe SSDs and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2015 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, compute stick, baytrail, asus, x205ta, SM951, NVMe, XP941, windows 10, SSD 750, acer, XR341CKA, gamebench, ios, Android

PC Perspective Podcast #346 - 04/23/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel Compute Stick, ASUS X205TA, Samsung PCIe SSDs 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak

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

 

The Linux AMDGPU for R9 285 arrives

Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2015 - 03:07 PM |
Tagged: tonga, linux, carrizo, AMDGPU, amd

It will not be officially rolled in until kernel 4.2 but you can currently grab the new binary blob by following the links from Phoronix.  This new AMDGPU kernel driver will be used by both the full open-source driver and the Catalyst driver provided officially by AMD and provide support not only for the R9 285 but upcoming families as well.  There is still some development to be done as AMD's Alex Deucher told Phoronix that this initial code lacks power management features for Tonga but that will be addressed shortly.

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"At long last the source code to the new AMDGPU driver has been released! This is the new driver needed to support the Radeon R9 285 graphics card along with future GPUs/APUs like Carrizo. Compared to the existing Radeon DRM driver, the new AMDGPU code is needed for AMD's new unified Linux driver strategy whereby the new Catalyst driver will be isolated to being a user-space binary blob with both the full open-source driver and the Catalyst driver using this common AMDGPU kernel driver."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

GTA V: The GPU review

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2015 - 04:07 PM |
Tagged: GTA5, gaming, titan x, GTX 980, R9 290X, r9 295x2

Some sort of game involving driving stolen prostitutes into cars in an open sore world has arrived and the questions about what it takes to make the game look good are popping up like pills.  [H]ard|OCP seems to have heard of the game and tested out its performance on the top performing video cards from AMD and NVIDIA in both single and doubles.  You will get more out of a double but unfortunately only around a 50% improvement so obviously that second shot is watered down a bit.  In the end the GTX TITAN X was the best choice for those who want to crank everything up, with the 980 tasting slightly better than the 290X for those that actually have to ask the price.  Check the full review here.

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"Grand Theft Auto V has finally been released on the PC. In this preview we will look at some video card comparisons in performance, maximize graphics settings at 1440p and 4K. We will briefly test AMD CHS Shadow and NVIDIA PCSS shadow and talk about them. We will even see if SLI and CrossFire work."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Windows 10 Internal Builds "Jump" from 1006x to 101xx

Subject: General Tech | April 20, 2015 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

According to WinBeta, the internal builds of Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system have jumped from the 10060s-range to the 10100s. This mirrors the activity before January's consumer event, which led to the release of 9926. What this likely means is that Microsoft has forked internal development ahead of their BUILD 2015 conference, which takes place between April 29th and May 1st.

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I expect that they will release a new, highly-tested build in the 1006x-1008x range to both Fast and Slow rings, like 9926 was, at or around the time of the event. Meanwhile, new and experimental features will land on the 10100 branch. The interesting question is: when will we see that later fork?

If Microsoft dedicates themselves to rapid releases, it might not be too long for users in the Fast ring, or a faster-than-Fast ring that they could potentially announce at the event. With the visibility of BUILD, it would be a good time for them to shake up their release cycle. They really cannot afford to relax quality control any more significantly than they did with 10041 without assurance that Insiders get the message. The journalist attention of the conference would likely do it though.

Alternatively, the released build might be classified as a developer preview that is expected to stick around for a while. If I needed to guess though, I doubt it. As stated earlier, it will probably be a highly QA-tested build for Slow ring users, but I see little reason for Microsoft to throttle down the more enthusiastic users. When 10049 was the last build for Fast users, you could say that they were not wanting to overshadow BUILD. That obviously does not apply after the conference is over, and I cannot see anything else further on the horizon.

That is, of course, unless they are getting cold feet about releasing not-fully-baked builds to the public.

Source: WinBeta

MSE the next generation; Windows 10 Device Guard

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, Device Guard, security, microsoft, IOMMU

The Register gleaned some details about Windows 10 Device Guard at RSA but there is still a lot we do not know about it.  It is an optional service that can be enabled by an administrator and it checks every application launched to see if it has been signed by Microsoft as a trusted binary before letting it run.  While certainly good for security it may cause some issues for developers who have not gone through the vetting process to have your app approved for the Microsoft Store.  Device Guard is also separated from the WinX kernel, if your machine does become infected, Device Guard will still not allow unsigned apps to run.  You will need hardware which supports input/output memory management unit (IOMMU) to use Device Guard, thankfully that technology is present on most current PC hardware, though not so prevalent on the mobile front.

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"The details are a little vague – more information will emerge at the Build event next week – but from what we can tell, Device Guard wraps an extra layer of defense around the operating system to prevent malware from permanently compromising a PC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register