Intel SSD 750 Series PCIe Compatibility Tested

Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 16, 2015 - 06:47 AM |
Tagged: uefi, SSD 750, PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, Intel, ACHI, 750 series

UPDATE: ASUS has pointed us towards a poll they are running to gauge what platforms people are most anxious for NVMe Boot support on. So if you have an ASUS board and are interested in buying an Intel SSD 750 Series, head to their poll to voice your opinion!

Last week, the Intel 750 Series SSD was unveiled the the public as the first consumer SSD to feature the NVMe or Non-Volatile Memory Express interface. NVMe was designed from the ground up for flash storage, and provides significant advantages in latency and potential top transfer rates over the aging AHCI standard. Check out our review of the Intel SSD 750 Series to find out why this is such an important step forward for storage technology.

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Even if you aren't necessarily concerned about the merits of a new storage interface, the throughput numbers from the 750 series are hard to ignore. With peak speeds over 2.5GB/s read and 1.5GB/s write, it's hard not to be interested in this new drive.

However, all this new speed doesn't come without a few complications. NVMe is an all-new standard which means it might not be supported on all platforms. Intel themselves only point to official support for Z97 and X99 chipsets. In order to get a better idea of the landscape of NVMe compatibility, I took it amongst myself to start testing the add-in card version of the 750 Series in just about every modern motherboard I could get my hands on at the office.

Continue reading our testiof Intel SSD 750 Series Compatiblity!!

Rumor: 2K Australia Shuts Down

Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2015 - 12:04 AM |
Tagged: take-two, layoffs, 2k games, 2k australia

UPDATE (April 16th, 4:12pm EDT): Within an hour of publishing, IGN received a statement from 2K Games confirming the studio closure. Thanks to Penterax in the comments for the tip.

According to a tip sent to Kotaku Australia, and currently no other source, 2K Australia has been closed down. The studio is most recently known for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but they have also contributed to all three BioShock titles and, when they were a formal division of Irrational Games, worked on SWAT 4 and Tribes: Vengeance. And yes, it is very tempting to call it “Police Quest: SWAT 4”.

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At the time of writing, we are still waiting on an official statement from 2K Australia or its parent companies, 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive. The source claims that all staff members will lose their jobs and the entire studio will be closed. There are also not too many alternatives in the continent. EA has a subsidiary that develops mobile titles, Firemonkeys Studios, which has about 60 employees. They are about 400 miles away from where 2K Australia was though. A Google Doc is being maintained with many prospects, although about half of the openings are in North America and New Zealand.

Latest Trillian Beta Fixes Windows 10 (Build 10041+)

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, build 10041, build 10049, microsoft, trillian, cerulean studios

Since the release of Windows 10 Build 10041, Trillian, the instant messenger client, suffered some issues regarding window sizing (along with Firefox, Chrome, and a few other applications). Basically, the window would progressively shrink every time you type and the resize controls would hang about five pixels outside the window edge. Some windows would also “be open” but cannot be unminimized, requiring you to close them in the task bar and reopen them by double-clicking on the contact.

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Cerulean Studios has just released Trillian 5.6 Beta, along with its associated release notes, which seem to address both of these issues. I say seem because the latter issue (chat windows staying minimized forever) was intermittent, so I can't tell whether my testing is simply luck. That said, I tried to make it happen and I couldn't. Either way, the chat window shrinking bug was vastly more annoying.

Before this update, Trillian was just about useless on Windows 10. The only way to get it somewhat function was to maximize the window to a full monitor. Even snapping it to the left side of the screen would not prevent it from slowly shrinking itself.

I hope this news helps some of our readers as much as it helps me!

Source: Trillian

My that's a big world you have there, CD Projekt RED's new Witcher 3 trailer

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED

Every trailer of the Witcher 3 so far has made the game look larger and more complex and the latest trailer continues along that vein.  Some scenes will be familiar, such as a certain griffin's head but others are completely new, especially the in town scenes.  The voiceover implies a much greater breadth of choice in how you play the story than the binary elves or humans choice of Witcher 2 but we have been disappointed by other franchises in the past.  Hopefully this game will not disappoint, it has a very devoted team who are not afraid to include uncomfortable choices or nasty dialogue in the world they have created.  It will also be interesting to see how the size of the open world translates into interesting gameplay, especially once you have cleared an area and civilians move in to settle it.  Check out the trailer below and catch additional coverage at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN ... and maybe even here, you never know.

"Hi, you. That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Watch this new trailer, it’ll explain.  This shiny new five-minute trailer’s a broad overview of the game, its basic premise, the lay of its land, a few japes, and the sort of larks you’ll get up to."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

HD video streaming drone with autopilot; have fun with the 3DR Solo

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: drone, linux, 3DRobotics, Cortex A9, solo

The 3DR Solo drone is powered by a Cortex A9 processor running at 1GHz which gives the Pixhawk 2 autopilot feature some power to work with, a good thing as some pilots will be too busy watching the HD video stream.  If you buy the model with the GoPro gimbal or knock one up yourself, the Solo is capable of wireless streaming 720p video up to a distance of 1.2 miles (1.9km) with a delay of about 180ms.  You will have a flight time of 25 minutes unladen, 20 minutes if you are hauling a GoPro or any other equivalent payload.  It will not be cheap, it is being released on May 29th at a price of $1000 or $1400 with a GoPro gimbal, but you can check out more of the stats at Linux.com if you are still interested.

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"3DRobotics today announced its first Linux-based drone, a Solo quadcopter touted as the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to support full control of GoPro cameras and deliver live-streaming HD video to mobile devices."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Linux.com

Logitech G Intelligent Illumination Shown Using Battlefield Hardline

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, gaming, battlefield hardline

Logitech has created an SDK to bring a new concept to PC gaming: in-game illumination integration with G series gaming peripherals. Logitech is calling this "Intelligent Illumination", and they have created a video to show off the new tech from their work with EA on Battlefield Hardline.

Switching sides in the game alternates the keyboard color, and the lights blink when taking damage. It's certainly a novel concept, and in this instance adds additional user feedback by taking advantage of the RGB color capabilities of a modern gaming keyboard (this is the G910 Orion Spark). The possibilities seem endless, but a simple idea like context-specific keyboard mapping through custom illumination would make the controls for some games much easier to learn.

Source: Logitech

Forcing HTTPS Is Being Discussed

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, http, https, firefox

On the Mozilla Dev-Platform Newsgroup, hosted at Google Groups, a proposal to deprecate insecure HTTP is being discussed. The idea is that HTTPS needs to be adopted and organizations will not do it without being pushed. The plan is to get browser vendors to refuse activating new features, and eventually disable old features, unless the site is loaded as a “privileged context”.

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This has sparked a debate, which was the whole point of course, about how secure do we want the Web to be. What features should we retroactively disable unless it is done through HTTPS? Things that access your webcam and microphone? Things that write to your hard drive? Then there is the question of how to handle self-signed certificates to get encryption without verification, and so forth.

Note: Websites cannot access or create files on your hard drive, but standards like localStorage and IndexedDB allow websites to have their own spaces for persistence. This is to allow, for instance, a 3D game to cache textures (and so forth) so you don't need to download them every time.

Personally, this concerns me greatly. I started helping Mozilla a couple of years ago, a few weeks after I saw Microsoft's Windows 8 developer certification program. I do not like the thought of someone being able to stifle creation and expression, and the web was looking like it might be the last bastion of unrestricted development for the general public.

In the original Windows Store requirements, no browser could exist unless it was a skin of Trident. This meant that, if a site didn't work in Internet Explorer, it didn't exist. If you didn't want to play by their rules? Your app didn't get signed and your developer certificate could even be revoked by Microsoft, or someone with authority over them. You could imagine the problems a LGBT-focused developer might have in certain countries, even if Microsoft likes their creations.

This is obviously not as bad as that. In the Windows Store case, there was one authority whereas HTTPS can be authenticated by numerous providers. Also, if self-signed certificates are deemed “secure enough”, it would likely avoid the problem. You would not need to ask one of a list of authorities permission to exist; you could secure the connection yourself. Of course, that is a barrier of skill for many, and that is its own concern.

So we'll see, but I hope that Mozilla will take these concerns as a top priority in their decisions.

Source: Mozilla

A philosophical look at SSD benchmarking

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: ssd, benchmarking, synthetic

[H]ard|OCP will be resuming their benchmarking of SSDs in the near future and wanted to introduce both their new contributor and his thoughts on benchmarking SSDs.  These drives offer several challenges when comparing performance that are not present when benchmarking spinning rust.  For instance some controllers use compression to increase IOPS whenever possible but slow down when incompressible data is passed through the drive, providing a challenge to properly show performance comparisons to similar drives with difference or no compression whatsoever.  Read through the article to see which synthetic benchmarks will remain as well as Chris' thoughts on new tests to accurately contrast the performance of SSDs.

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"Many of our readers embrace our "real world" approach with hardware reviews. We have not published an SSD review for almost 2 years while we have been looking to revamp our SSD evaluation program. Today we wanted to give you some insight as to how we learned to stop worrying and love the real world SSD benchmark."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

USB Type C for you and me

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, dell, asus

DigiTimes has seen evidence that non-Apple fanatics will have a chance to get their hands on USB 3.1 Type C connectors in the near future.  Dell will be releasing a Windows 10 powered, 11" LCD Venue 11 Pro in the fall which will sport Type-C connectors for the new USB standard.  ASUS will also be releasing gaming laptops with Type-C connectors this year as well although we do not have a specific date nor do we know when they will be included on less expensive models.  If you are wondering when we will start to see USB 3.1 devices on the market you can check the list that ASUS provided The Tech Report here.

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"After Apple's adoption of the USB Type-C port on its 12-inch MacBook, Dell also recently announced to use the technology for its 11-inch tablet and Asustek Computer is planning to launch gaming notebooks with USB Type-C support in the second half at the earliest, according to a Chinese-language Apply Daily report."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Move over Fatal1ty, the cool kids want ocelote peripherals now

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: ocelote, input, gaming mouse

Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez was a competitive LoL player who recently retired from competition but is using his fame to promote a gaming mouse and mat from Ozone.  You will recognize the shell of the mouse from previous links to reviews of the Argon, with a new colour scheme and logo.  It uses an ADNS 9800 laser sensor that can be adjusted from 800 to 8200 DPI and sports 128kb of memory onboard to help you program those 9 OMRON buttons in different profiles.  The weight is adjustable thanks to the four 4.5g weights which ship with the mouse and lefties will be glad to know this mouse goes both ways.  Also make sure to check out the rather unique aluminium mouse mat in KitGuru's review found here.

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"Even though a lot of pro-gamers are endorsing gaming peripherals these days, it is rare that you see one named after a particular player. Still, that is exactly what has happened with Ozone’s latest hardware, which is named after one of the highest earning eSports gamers in the world: Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: KitGuru

A quiet upgrade to Linux 4.0

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2015 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, Linux 4.0

The upgrade to version 4.0 of the Linux kernel happened quietly over the weekend, less a huge step forward than an incremental improvement.  The most interesting feature for those who support Linux boxes will be the non-disruptive kernel patching, allowing you to apply patches without causing downtime; assuming you properly tested the patches that is.  As well support for Intel's new Quark processor has been added and support for the Z13 found in IBM machines has also been improved.  It was hinted to The Inquirer that version 4.1 is likely to see far more changes incorporated in its release.

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"The new number isn't a sign of a major upgrade. As we've chronicled, Torvalds thinks that it looks a bit silly when version numbers go beyond x.19. He therefore decided it would be best to tick over from 3.19 to 4.0 for the sake of neatness, rather than to celebrate any particular milestone in the kernel."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Stacking NAND higher means stacking prices higher

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: 3d nand

SSDs using traditional planar NAND have seen a nice price reduction curve over the years with costs per gigabyte often well under $0.50.  This may not hold true for 3D NAND if the number crunching over at The Register is accurate.  The scaling is quite intense when fabbing 3D NAND, planar NAND can require up to three deposition layers for charge trap or four for floating gate style flash.  Multiply those numbers by the 128 layers present on Intel's 3D NAND and you can see why the fabrication is going to be more expensive, be produced more slowly and be more prone to errors.  That will all add up to expensive SSDs whose price is unlikely to fall as quickly as did planar.  Currently about 5% of NAND produced is 3D but Sandisk is quoted as expecting that to climb to 50% by 2018, hopefully the process will have matured significantly by then.

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"Stifel MD Aaron Rakers bas been crunching numbers and comparing foundry capital costs for NAND over the next few years with those for disk drive fabs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Windows 10 Build 10056 Leaks

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft, build 10056

Moving up five steps from the 10051 leak that was published just a few days ago, another build was leaked: 10056. The first thing Neowin, who reported on the WZor leak, noticed is the new Recycling Bin icon. People were not a fan of the change that occurred with 10041, which honestly looked like it was out of a Mike Judge cartoon. It is now a semi-transparent, almost prism-shaped bin from a dimetric viewpoint. That should make some people happy.

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Also visible is a new “Virtual Desktop” icon and a relocation of the power menu button from the top right to the bottom left. This shift puts it alongside every other control except the Start menu's fullscreen button, which remains in the corner. To me, this looks a lot more organized.

On the topic of future builds, Gabe Aul seems to be implying that Slow Ring users would not get 10049. This likely means that Fast will get another build soon, which we would expect to trickle down to the “Slow” users on 10041. The proximity to Build confuses that slightly though. It is possible that Microsoft will do what they did with 9926 and delay Fast builds so they can have a highly-tested preview build (“Technical Preview 3” or something) pushed to both Fast and Slow rings to surprise attendees of the conference. Well, as much as they can hide stuff given that every few builds are being dissected online. I'm sure they have a lot of work being done in external branches though.

Either way, we'll find out soon... even if that's by not finding out soon.

Source: Neowin

Square Enix Announces Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: tressfx, square enix, eidos montreal, dx12, DirectX 12, deus ex: mankind divided, deus ex

Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out in 2011 as a prequel to Ion Storm's Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. Human Revolution was made after Warren Spector left the company and Eidos closed down the Austin, Texas developer, leaving the franchise to Eidos Montreal. By the time of Human Revolution's release, Eidos was already purchased by the Japanese publisher, Square Enix. Deus Ex was set in 2052 and Invisible War was set in 2072. Human Revolution, being a prequel as mentioned earlier, rewound the clock to 2027 and introduced a new main character, Adam Jensen. It explored the rise of machine-human augmentations that formed much of the lore in the original titles.

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Timeline and theme established, Square Enix has just announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to the prequel with a great looking (albeit a little bloody) trailer. It is set in 2029, which is just two years after events of Human Revolution. It will be coming to the PC, as well as the two most-next-gen consoles. As expected, Adam Jensen returns as the main character. Now that Square Enix and its subsidiary, Eidos, spent so much to build him up as a brand, it makes sense that they would continue with the consumer recognition. Makes sense from a business perspective, although it probably means the franchise will meander less through time. I will leave that up to the reader to decide whether that's good or bad.

AMD Gaming has also tweeted out that Mankind Divided, or its PC version at the very least, will utilize both DirectX 12 and TressFX. I am curious whether TressFX has been updated to take advantage of the new API, given how important GPU compute is to the new graphics standards. No release date has been set.

Source: Square Enix

Would you pay Youtube to remove its ads?

Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: youtube, subscription, google, adblock

YouTube sent out an announcement to official YouTube Partners informing them of a new program they will be rolling out on June 15th of this year.  While they failed to specify two key points, the gist of the announcement is that a new advertisement free subscription service will be offered to YouTube users.  Unfortunately we do not know if this will be offered to a small group initially or to all YouTube users and more importantly there was no mention of what the monthly fee will be.  What was revealed was the benefit to content creators, YouTube will pay them 55 percent of the total net revenues from these new ad free subscription fees.

This being the internet the initial reaction will of course be to similar to the comments on Slashdot; to consider this a stupid move since ad blocking plugins are free and for the most part effectively remove any ads on YouTube.  The use of those plugins means that for all the hard work that goes into the content on our page, we receive absolutely no revenue from your views.  Using this service would give you the same experience but at the same time increase our revenue stream to allow us to continue to produce our reviews, news and videos. 

If you do not wish to see ads and for whatever reason do not want to participate in the program perhaps you could consider reaching out to Ryan to discuss other ways of contributing directly to PC Perspective's continued existence or maybe even subject yourself to ads once and a while to provide us with the associated micropayments?

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"YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Podcast #344 - Intel SSD 750 Series, NZXT S340, an ASUS FreeSync Monitor and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2015 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: video, podcast, nvidia, mg279q, Intel, gsync, gigabyte, freesync, ddr4-3400, corsair, compute stick, asus, amd, 750 series

PC Perspective Podcast #344 - 04/09/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 750 Series, NZXT S340, an ASUS FreeSync Monitor 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

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

Cooler Master updates their headset lineup with the CM Storm Sirus-C

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: Sirus, headphones, gaming headset, cooler master, CM Storm, audio

Many, many moons ago Josh reviewed the CM Storm Sirus Surround headphones, the first of their line and good for gaming, if not for music.  Cooler Master have released an updated version called the Sirus-C which keep the infamous gold plated USB plug while shrinking the inline sound card and reducing the number of drivers in the earcups to two, a 44 mm full range and 40 mm sub. TechPowerUp provided an overview of the new headset and came to the conclusion that these would better serve a console gamer looking for a good plug and play audio solution, but feel there are better choices for the PC gamer.  This especially holds true with the current asking price of $156 on Amazon, as there is a lot of competition at that price point.

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"CM Storm's newest do-it-all headset is put to the test. The Sirus-C is compatible with all major console systems and features its own in-line USB sound card. The design is like previous Sirus headsets on the outside, but it now uses a dual-driver setup on the inside."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: techPowerUp

If you already own S.T.A.L.K.E.R. you can get it for free from GOG

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, GOG, DRM, stalker

That title and the offer it describes might sound dumb at first glance, but if you happen to have a retail copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that isn't so scratched it is unusable, go ahead and try to install it.  Didn't work very well now did it? If you were savvy enough to Google through the various tips on making it work you might now understand why GOG reviving old games which no longer work because the company that managed the DRM no longer exists or that have languished because of lack of support.  GOG is working on creating a library of old games which you can install DRM free, if you have a valid serial number from your old retail copy.  As is usual you can choose between a download and a Steam version, with community support and a very good chance that it will run immediately after installation; unlike when it was first released perhaps?  The question that not many ask anymore is what will happen if Steam ends, will GOG be the ones to save our libraries of 100s of unplayed games?

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"Starting today, owners of several retail titles originally sold with DRM can get a digital copy of their game completely free at GOG.com: with no DRM as always, compatible with modern operating systems, and with plenty of goodies to boot."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

It is a bad week for Qualcomm

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 12:46 PM |
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.

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"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:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

The NVIDIA, Samsung and Qualcomm saga has been cleared to continue

Subject: General Tech | April 7, 2015 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, qualcomm, Samsung, patents, sueball

A judge has ruled that six of the seven patent disputes that NVIDIA has filed are valid and will proceed to court for judgment.  These patents involve the use of graphics coprocessors in mobile devices and have been judged to be worded in such a way that it does not matter if those GPUs are ARM, Imagination Technologies or Qualcomm.  This is not the end of the dispute, merely a pretrial to see if the claims are valid and worth going to trial.  Of course Qualcomm and Samsung dispute NVIDIA's claims and in Samsung's case they have already launched a counter suit claiming NVIDIA has violated six of their own patents.  You can read about the history of the latest legal battle in the tech world as well as today's judgment over at The Register.

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"Nvidia has won an important early victory in its ongoing patent litigation against Qualcomm and Samsung, with a judge in the US International Trade Commission ruling in Nvidia's favor as to the language of the disputed patents."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register