Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2015 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: snapdragon 810, qualcomm, LG, Samsung
There have been many stories about Qualcomm's difficulties lately, from the court case with NVIDIA to Samsung and LG not using their Snapdragon 810 for their new smartphones. Qualcomm has struck back at the speculations about problems with this chip that rose from these decisions, pointing out that Microsoft, Xiaomi, Motorola and Sony will all be releasing devices with the Snapdragon 810 in the near future. LG put in their two cents as well, pointing out their decision to use the 808 chip was made over a year ago and they are still planning on utilizing the next generation Snapdragon 820 in the future, not to mention that they use the 810 in their G Flex 2. Samsung has also shown their belief in Qualcomm's products considering they will be fabbing the 820. You can see a short video of an interview with Qualcomm about this topic over at The Register.
"QUALCOMM HAS DEBUNKED chatter that LG ditched its octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip for the G4 owing to overheating problems."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows 10 is now available for the Raspberry Pi 2 @ The Inquirer
- 'Android on Windows': Microsoft tightens noose around neck, climbs on chair @ The Register
- This is Spartan? No, it's Microsoft Edge, Son of Internet Explorer @ The Register
- IBM creates quantum super-conductor in square formation @ The Inquirer
- Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers @ Slashdot
- Using Asus Transfer Express: A Multi-Platform Control Hub @ Kitguru
Subject: Storage | April 28, 2015 - 12:44 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: TurboWrite, tlc, ssd, slc, Samsung, 840 evo
For those of you following the Samsung 840 EVO saga, last week we saw the release of Magician 4.6. Samsung was initially throttling downloads and firmware update rates, but those limits appear to have been lifted as of this morning. Another thing we noticed this morning was the inclusion of the standalone ISO updater for those who are otherwise unable to run the Magician software (i.e. Mac users):
For those on laptops or other devices with no optical drive, I've confirmed the ISO can be used via USB if placed there with a tool such as Rufus.
Note to Linux users:
There was an early report of complications from a user who was running a full disk fstrim during boot, where that operation was causing errors (corrected once that operation was disabled). It should be noted that full disk TRIM operations are redundant so long as the OS is issuing TRIM on-the-fly during regular file moves / deletions. This may be an issue with queued TRIM handling of the new 840 EVO firmware. If not reproduced / corrected by Samsung, the Linux devs may be able to add this firmware revision to the queued TRIM blacklist to possibly fix the problem on their end.
Note to mSATA 840 EVO users:
It appears the update does not currently apply to these. I've asked Samsung about this.
Subject: Mobile | April 23, 2015 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, Galaxy S6 Edge, lollipop
The physical difference between the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge are quite visible, but does the different body justify the price difference? The curved screen adds a bit of screen real estate and provides improved view angles compared to the base model but similar to the previous Galaxy Note Edge, there are not many apps designed to take advantage of the curve. The phone is 7mm thick and weighs slightly less than the base S6 at 132g, with a similar battery and the same TouchWiz overlay on top of Android Lollipop. You can check out what The Inquirer thought of Samsung's new premium phone here if you are considering purchasing the S6 Edge.
"THE GALAXY S6 EDGE will be seen by many as an expensive gimmick given that it's over £100 more expensive than the regular Galaxy S6, while others will see it as Samsung pushing the boundaries of design, and trumping its rivals by bringing something new to the smartphone market."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Camera Shootout : The Samsung Galaxy S6 & Galaxy S6 Edge Vs. The Apple iPhone 6 @ TechARP
- Xiaomi Redmi 2 @ Kitguru
- Blackview Breeze Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- OPPO R5 @ Kitguru
- Arion Bluetooth Mini Keyboard with Speakerphone @ eTeknix
- ASUS Republic of Gamers G751JY 17-inch Gaming Laptop Review @ Techgage
Subject: Storage | April 23, 2015 - 02:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
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:
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.
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 02:36 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x99-soc, video, Skylake, Samsung, podcast, nvidia, msi, motorola, Moto E, Intel, GTAV, gs30, gigabyte, Broadwell, amd, 840 evo
PC Perspective Podcast #345 - 04/16/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the MSI GS30 Shadow, Gigabyte X99-SOC, Skylake Leaks and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the 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
Program length: 1:20:07
Subject: Mobile | April 14, 2015 - 03:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, galaxy s6, Android 5.0
Samsung's new Galaxy S6 is unique in that it has metal sides and Gorilla Glass on both the back and front of the phone. The body is 143x71x6.8mm and it weighs a total of 138g, compared the the iPhone 6 at 138x67x6.9mm and 129g. The screen is 2560x1440, a density of 577PPI which compares favourably to the iPhone's 1334x750 at 326 PPI. The Inquirer was impressed by the quality of the screen as well as the colour calibration that they felt was significantly better than on the S5. As far as performance, the phone was tested by playing three hours of XCOM and it did so without stuttering or becoming uncomfortably warm. They tested the non-removable battery by looping a video, which the phone could manage for just over eight hours, slightly better than the competition though they lose the benefit of battery swapping thanks to the new design. Check out the images taken with the new camera and answers to other specific questions in their full review.
"Aware of customers' and reviewers' complaints, Samsung made a sweep of reforms in its smartphone division and "went back to the drawing board" with the 2015 Galaxy S6."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Asus ZenFone 5 LTE @ Kitguru
- Blackview Omega Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- Adam Elements Bella Power 6000mAh Portable Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- XMG A505 Gaming Laptop @ HardwareHeaven
- Razer Blade Pro @ Kitguru
The tale of the Samsung 840 EVO is a long and winding one, with many hitches along the way. Launched at the Samsung 2013 Global SSD Sumit, the 840 EVO was a unique entry into the SSD market. Using 19nm planar TLC flash, the EVO would have had only mediocre write performance if not for the addition of a TurboWrite cache, which added 3-12GB (depending on drive capacity) of SLC write-back cache. This gave the EVO great all around performance in most consumer usage scenarios. It tested very well, was priced aggressively, and remained our top recommended consumer SSD for quite some time. Other editors here at PCPer purchased them for their own systems. I even put one in the very laptop on which I'm writing this article.
An 840 EVO read speed test, showing areas where old data had slowed.
About a year after release, some 840 EVO users started noticing something weird with their systems. The short version is that data that sat unmodified for a period of months was no longer able to be read at full speed. Within a month of our reporting on this issue, Samsung issued a Performance Restoration Tool, which was a combination of a firmware and a software tool that initiated a 'refresh', where all stale data was rewritten, restoring read performance back to optimal speeds. When the tool came out, many were skeptical that the drives would not just slow down again in the future. We kept an eye on things, and after a few more months of waiting, we noted that our test samples were in fact slowing down again. We did note it was taking longer for the slow down to manifest this time around, and the EVOs didn't seem to be slowing down to the same degree, but the fact remained that the first attempt at a fix was not a complete solution. Samsung kept up their end of the bargain, promising another fix, but their initial statement was a bit disappointing, as it suggested they would only be able to correct this issue with a new version of their Samsung Magician software that periodically refreshed the old data. This came across as a band-aid solution, but it was better than nothing.
Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, arm, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, Kyro
Not only has the NVIDIA sueball pitch been judged to be in play and will continue to run but now according to news The Register has heard Samsung may be using their own in-house ARM processors for their next products. The rumour is that they have spend four years developing an ARM processor from the ground up which will make it much less likely that Qualcomm will be able to sell their next generation 64 bit Snapdragon Kyro processor to Samsung, which is after all a modified ARM v8-a chip as opposed to a custom built processor. Qualcomm does have other customers than Samsung, including HTC, Amazon and LG who might be interested in the new Snapdragon 820 but it does look bleak for their next generation processor. The only leverage Qualcomm has now is that Samsung will likely be the ones fabbing many of the new Snapdragon 820's, perhaps they can strike a deal for some lower cost mobile devices once Kyro matures.
"Samsung will join Apple and other mobile semiconductor rivals in producing chips powered by homegrown, proprietary application cores in 2016, according to a new report."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel outs updated Atom x3 chip destined for IoT devices @ The Inquirer
- Windows XP is still clinging on, one year later @ The Inquirer
- Surface tablet shipments expected to exceed 4 million units in 2015 @ DigiTimes
- Most top corporates still Heartbleeding over the internet @ The Register
- ONOS to SDN world: here's our numbers, show us yours @ The Register
Subject: Storage | April 7, 2015 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Plextor M6e, XP941, Samsung, DC P3700, Intel, PCIe SSD, M.2
The Tech Report have updated their storage testbed to properly benchmark PCIe SSDs, the M.2 versions as well as ones such as Intel's DC P3700 which takes up a full slot. They contrast the performance with 10 popular SATA drives to give you an idea of the difference performance a PCI SSD will give you. The rather expensive DC P3700 dominates almost every test they performed, apart from boot times in Windows 8.1 which are still well under 1 minute. Read through the review with your own usage patterns in mind, in many cases a SATA SSD is still a great choice for many gamers and are much more affordable. Then again, if you can afford a $2500 SSD, Intel's offering is definitely king.
"SSDs have been bumping up against the limits of the Serial ATA interface for a while, but they don't have to be stuck behind the 6Gbps link. Native PCIe drives with way more bandwidth have made their way onto the market over the past year. We've tackled a trio of them—Plextor's M6e, Samsung's XP941, and Intel's server-grade DC P3700—with a fresh slate of benchmarks to see how the new breed stacks up against the SATA incumbents."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel's 750 Series @ The Tech Report
- The Intel SSD 750 Series Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel 750 PCIe @ The SSD Review
- Intel SSD 750 Series 1.2TB PCIe NVMe @ Kitguru
- Samsung 850 EVO mSATA @ The SSD Review
- Samsung SSD 850 EVO mSATA @ Benchmark Reviews
- Silicon Power S80 240GB SATA @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Seven Steel External USB 3.0 Drive Review @ NikKTech