Honey, I Shrunk The NES

Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2016 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: Nintendo, nes, gaming, !console

Fans of the 90s (and late 80s) will be happy to know that Nintendo is bring back the Nintendo Entertainment System in the form of a modern and miniaturized package. The NES Classic Edition is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and offers up 30 built in classic NES games! It will be available for the holiday season at $59.99 sans old school RCA jacks and finicky cartridges!

nes-classic-edition.png

Nintendo has not provided details on the internals of the console, unfortunately, but it seems to be using a low power SoC that runs emulated versions of the games. That is to say that it is likely Nintendo is using modern components rather the original hardware. One clue is that Nintendo states that gamers will be able to use multiple suspend points on each game and will not have to worry about using continue passwords each time they load up a game. A poster over at Ars Technica suggests that Nintendo may be using the guts of an existing or new 3DS handheld console to power the NES Classic Edition, but we'll have to wait for someone to get thier hands on it to know for sure what is going on under the hood.

On the outside, the NES Classic Edition looks nearly identical to the NES many gamers (myself included) grew up with except for the controller ports being different and of course the physical size! There is even a cartridge slot cover though it is only there for aesthetics and does not actually open (it would have been awesome if it opened to reveal an SD card slot!). Around the back you will find the AC power input and an HDMI video output which is great to see in this age where hooking up an old school console can be a pain (or a chain of adapters heh). There is no word on what resolution the console will output at or if there will be any upscaling...

Speaking of controllers, Nintendo has brought back the old school rectangular gray controller from the original NES which it is calling the NES Classic Controller. This controller plugs into the NES Classic Edition console using the same proprietary port found on the bottom of Wii Remotes (because going with a USB port would have been too easy heh), and users can plug up to two NES Controllers into the console to play with a friend or plug the controller into a Wii Remote in order to play classic games found on the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles.

The NES Classic Edition comes with a single controller. Additional controllers will have a MSRP of $9.99. Alternatively, gamers can plug their Wii Classic Controller or Wii Classic Controller Pro game pads into the mini NES.

The bite-sized NES will come with 30 built in games. This number is sadly not expandable as there is no external memory or internet connection on the console (modders would have loved this thing...).

The list of games is as follows:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts N' Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

I am excited to see the Castlevania and Zelda games on here along with, of course, the Super Mario Bros. games. I do remember playing Dr. Mario and Ninja Gaiden as well, but there are several games that I have fond memories of playing that did not make the cut! For example, I remember playing a lot of Super Off Road, Duck Hunt (how do they not have this? I guess the old gun wouldn't work with new TVs so they would have to figure something else out though), RC Pro-Am which I loved, and a few others I can't remember the names of anymore).

I have no doubt that this is going to be an extremely popular seller and a great gift idea for the gamer in your life (or yourself! hehe). I wish that it had more games or at least ROM support so that it had a bit more life, but for what it is it is not a bad deal. After all, the original NES launched at $199.99 in 1985 which would make it almost $450 in today's dollars! For those interested, it should be up for pre-order at some point, but for now it is still notify only at Amazon US.

Are you excited for the tiny NES Classic Edition or is your trusty NES and cartridges collection still kicking? What were your favorite NES games growing up (if any)?

Source: Nintendo

RetroArch Announces Vulkan API Support (& Async Compute)

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: n64, dolphin, libretro, retroarch, vulkan, async shaders, asynchronous compute, amd

While the Dolphin emulator has a lot of mind share, and recently announced DirectX 12 support, they have only just recently discussed working on the open alternative, Vulkan. It looks like the LibRetro developer community will beat them with an update to RetroArch and the LibRetro API. The page for RetroArch 1.3.5 exists as of (according to Google) yesterday, but 404s, so it should be coming soon. It is still in experimental mode, but it's better than nothing.

retroarch-2016-plain-logo.png

Interestingly, they also claim that their Vulkan port of Angrylion makes use of asynchronous compute. It's unclear what it uses that for, but I'm sure it will make for interesting benchmarks.

ZoeMatrope Blends Shaders with Strobe Lights

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 06:07 PM |
Tagged: Blender, ishikawa watanabe laboratory

This is definitely tangential to our typical coverage, but I came across an interesting research project from the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory. A common trick that physicists use to measure rotating objects is to shine a strobe light at it. When the object seems to stop in space, your strobe light frequency is some multiple of the object's RPM (assuming the object doesn't have identical sections within a single cycle -- you'll need to go into fractions in that case).

This is another trick in the same family. Basically, they load a carousel of the same object with all possible material components. Then, in a darkened room, they flash a strobe light on it to instantaneously illuminate just the portions they want, at the intensity that it contributes to the final material. So, when you adjust the material on the computer, which they demoed with Blender, the object appears to adjust along with it, letting you see what it should look like in the real world. They can even apply a mask in front of it to allow some level of texturing.

zoematrope-2016-aparatus-utokyo.png

This should be useful for product design, once a library of materials are captured and stored in the CAD software. They claim that 3D printing allows it to be applied to any object, but I'd assume there's some limits regarding how structurally stable the object is. I'm imagining a technician wondering why their metal channel doesn't seem to be applied, only to turn on the light and see their intern knocked out on the floor with a bruise on their forehead. It all depends on what their apparatus is running at and how big it is. Ideally, they would be above the upper range of photosensitive epilepsy is about 30Hz, or 1800 RPM, but I don't have the required info to calculate how that maps to structural integrity of models.

Mozilla to Publish First Rust-based Module in Firefox 48

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 05:41 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, Rust, firefox

Mozilla has been working on the Rust language for several years now. It is designed to be extremely fast, memory-safe, and easy to parallelize on multi-core processors, doing so by having a compiler that's not afraid to tell you “Nope.” Mozilla (and others, like Samsung) want a language with those characteristics because it will make an extremely fast, yet secure, web browser (although there's a lot of single-threaded design choices tangled in the Web specifications).

mozilla-rust.png

The first example will arrive next month for Windows, though (64-bit OSX and Linux already had it). Firefox 48 will replace a small portion of the code, originally written in C++, with a Rust-based equivalent. The affected component parses media files, getting values like track id, duration, resolution, and so forth. Because it's written in Rust, this ingestion should be resilient to memory-based vulnerabilities.

This probably will not be noticeable to end-users, but it's a few thousand less lines of code that Mozilla should need to worry about hijacking the browser. Mozilla is also planning on bringing URL parsing to Rust, and has already done so with Servo. You would think that the C++ code has been battle-hardened by now, but, I mean, 15-year-old open-source bugs do exist, hiding in plain sight.

Source: Mozilla

Details Emerge On Intel's Upcoming Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake Powered NUCs

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: nuc, kaby lake, iris, Intel, baby canyon, arches canyon, apollo lake

According to Olivier over at FanlessTech, Intel will be launching two new small form factor NUC PCs later this year. The new NUCs are code named Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon and will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U and Apollo Lake processors respectively. Baby Canyon will occupy the high end while Arches Canyon is aimed at low power and budget markets.

Intel 2017 NUCs Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon.jpg

Left: Intel NUC Roadmap. Middle: Intel Baby Canyon NUC. Right: Intel Arches Canyon NUC.

First up is the “Baby Canyon” NUC which will come in five SKUs. Featuring aluminum enclosures, the Baby Canyon NUCs measure 115 x 111 x 51mm for models with a SATA drive (models without SATA drive support are shorter at 35mm tall). The PCs will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U processors up to a 28W quad core i7 chip with Iris graphics. There will also be 15W Core i5 and i3 models. Kaby Lake is the 14nm successor to Skylake and features native support for USB 3.1, HDCP 2.2, and HEVC. Further, Kaby Lake chips will reportedly utilize an improved graphics architecture. While Kaby Lake chips in general will be available with TDPs up to 95W, the models used in Baby Canyon NUCs top out at 28W and are the Kaby Lake-U mobile variants.

Baby Canyon NUCs will pair the Kaby Lake-U CPUs with dual channel DDR4 SODIMMs (up to 32GB), a M.2 SSD, and SATA hard drive (on some models). Networking is handled by a soldered down Intel’s Wireless AC + BT 4.2 WiFI NIC and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC.

Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports (one charging), a Micro SDXC card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and an IR port on the front. Rear IO is made up of two more USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 video output, Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB 3.1 (Gen1 5Gbps) Type-C port with support for DisplayPort 1.2 (DisplayPort Alt Mode). Finally, users can get access two USB 2.0 ports via an internal header.

Arches Canyon will be the new budget NUC option in 2017 and will be powered by Intel’s Apollo Lake SoC. Arches Canyon is the same 115 x 111 x 51mm size as the higher end Baby Canyon NUC, but the reference Intel chassis will be primarily made of plastic to reduce cost. Moving to the lower end platform, users will lose out on the USB 3.1 Type-C port, M.2 slot, and DDR4 support. Instead, the Arches Canyon NUCs will use dual channel DDR3L (up to 8GB) and come in two models: one with 32GB of built-in eMMC storage and one without. Both models will support adding in a SATA SSD or hard drive though.
External IO includes four USB 3.0 ports (two front, two rear, one charging), two 3.5mm audio jacks (the rear port supports TOSLINK), one Micro SDXC slot, one HDMI 2.0 video output, a VGA video out, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Internally, Arches Canyon is powered by Celeron branded Apollo Lake SoCs which are the successor to Braswell and feature Goldmont CPU cores paired with Gen 9 HD Graphics. Intel has not announced the specific chip yet, but the chip used in these budget NUCs will allegedly be a quad core model with a 10W TDP. Apollo Lake in general is said to offer up to 30% more CPU and GPU performance along with 15% better battery life over current Braswell designs. The battery savings are not really relevant in a NUC, but the performance improvements should certainly help!

One interesting contradiction in these Intel slides is that the Baby Canyon slide mentions Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) support for the USB Type-C connector but in the connectivity section limits the USB 3.1 Type-C port to Gen 1 (5Gbps) and no mention of Thunderbolt support at all. I guess we will just have to wait and see if TB3 will end up making the cut!

The new NUCs look promising in that they should replace the older models at their current price points (for the most part) while offering better performance which will be especially important on the low end Arches Canyon SKUs! Being NUCs, users will be able to buy them as barebones kits or as systems pre-loaded with Windows 10.

If the chart is accurate, both Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon will be launched towards the end of the year with availability sometime in early to mid 2017. There is no word on exact pricing, naturally.

Are you still interested in Intel’s NUC platform? Stay tuned for more information as it comes in closer to launch!

Also read:

Source: FanlessTech

The winnowing begins; move what you want to keep off of OneDrive

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2016 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, onedrive

Starting today and wrapping up by the 27th of July, Microsoft will be deleting files from your free OneDrive accounts until you are under the 5GB limit.  If you did follow our previous coverage and grandfathered your storage you will keep your 30GB but it would not be a bad plan to keep an eye on your account over the next few weeks.  The Register reminds us that we are all suffering because of a tiny minority of users who abused the storage policy, instead of Microsoft deleting files from users such as the one who had 75TB of files stored on the service they decided to delete everyone's storage.

As I remind my users when the network drives get full, you will be much happier if you chose the files which are deleted as I am more than happy to hit CTRL-A and Delete to make space.

OneDrive.jpg

"Microsoft is cutting its free 15GB OneDrive cloud storage space down to 5GB, and eliminating the 15GB free camera roll for many users. Files will be deleted by Redmond until your account is under the free limit."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Ansel arrives and NVIDIA holds a celebration in their VR Funhouse

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, vr funhouse, ansel, vrworks

A while back Scott wrote about NVIDIA's Ansel, a screenshot application on performance enhancing drugs.  Today it arrives, paired with their new driver and adds support for Mirror's Edge Catalyst to the list of supported games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Unreal Tournament, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and No Man’s Sky just to name a few.  The tool allows you to take 360 degree screen captures, allowing you to completely rotate around the image on a 2D screen or with VR headsets like the Vive or Rift.  Just trigger the recording while you are in game, the game will pause and you can roll, zoom, and position your focus to get the screenshot you want.  From there hit the Super Resolution button and your screenshot will be of significantly greater quality than the game ever could be.  The thumbnail below is available in its original 46080x25920 resolution by visting NVIDIA's Ansel page, it is a mere 1.7GB in size.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080-nvidia-ansel-super-resolution.png

NVIDIA also released their first game today, a VR Funhouse available on Steam for no charge ... apart from the HTC Vive and minimum hardware requirements of an GTX 1060 and i7 4790 or the recommended GTX 1080 and i7 5930, which are enough of an investment as it is.  There are seven games to play, expect skeet shooting, whack a mole and other standard carny games.  At the same time it is a showcase of NVIDIA's VR technology, not just the *Works which we are familiar with but also VR SLI support for those with multiple GPUs and VRWorks Multi-res Shading which reduces processing load by only rendering full detail to objects within your field of view.  If you have the hardware you should check out the game, it is certanly worth the admission price.

ss_71e15985dcdd6aa6ae3f83dfa661df7a18887085.600x338.jpg

 

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #408 - RX 480 Conclusions, GTX 1060 Preview, 4TB Samsung 850 EVO and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: video, Samsung, rx 480, radeon, Primochill, praxis, power consumption, podcast, phononic, gtx 1060, amd, 850 EVO, 4TB

PC Perspective Podcast #408 - 07/14/2016

Join us this week as we discuss a conclusion to the RX 480 power issue, the GTX 1060, a 4TB Samsung 850 EVO 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:36:40
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope (hackable and overclockable!)
  4. Closing/outro

Linux on a highway, I wanna ride it all night long

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, iot, security, Automotive Grade Linux

Has the almost obscene lack of security in automobile software made you somewhat paranoid, even if you trust the Tesla autopilot?  Has the fact that a mere attempt to access your cars software could land you in jail turned you completely off of buying a car less than 10 years old?

How would you feel about a version of Linux controlling some of the features of your car?  That is exactly what the Linux Foundation is working on with the AGL project.  The hardware used will include DragonBoard, Wandboard, and Raspberry Pi and automobile manufacturers joining the project include  Ford, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover.  So far the project only encompasses in-car entertainment but it does have the potential to grow beyond that.  Check out the story on Linux.com for more.

Automotive-Grade-Linux.jpg

"The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project, which is developing a “Linux-based, open platform for the connected car,” announced the release of the second version of its Unified Code Base (UCB) distribution for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Linux.com

Asynchronous Atomic Ghandi coming in Civ VI

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2016 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dx12, civilization VI, asynchronous compute, amd

AMD, 2K and Firaxis Games have been working together to bring the newest DX12 features to Civilization IV and today they have announced their success.  The new game will incorporate Asynchronous Compute in the engine as well as support for Explicit Multi-Adapter for those with multiple GPUs.  This should give AMD cards a significant performance boost when running the game, at least until NVIDIA can catch up with their support for the new technologies ... HairWorks is not going to have much as effect on your units as Async Compute will.

If you haven't been keeping an eye out, we have seen the video of Egypt's leader which also talk about terrain adjacency bonuses and England's leader and civilization specific units and buildings.

civ6.jpg

"Complete with support for advanced DirectX 12 features like asynchronous compute and explicit multi-adapter, PC gamers the world over will be treated to a high-performance and highly-parallelized game engine perfectly suited to sprawling, complex civilizations."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Radeon.com

CryptoDrop, an early warning system against ransomeware

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2016 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: ransomware, CryptoDrop

Given the choice between a confirmation pop up every time you zip numerous files simultaneously or add encryption to a folder or being infected with ransomware; which would you choose?  Researchers at the University of Florida and Villanova University have developed software called CryptoLock which scans your systems for bulk modification of file types, a significant change in the contents of those files and an increase in the Shannon Entropy of the files.  All three of those indicate a file is being encrypted and if it is happening to numerous ones in a very short period of time then the software will put a halt to it until you confirm that this is expected behaviour.  You get a quick overview over at The Register as well as a link to the PDF of the researchers work.

Sounds like a pop up we can live with, considering the alternative.  Hopefully this will arrive on the market soon.

Capture.PNG

"Taking a “save what you can” approach, the authors of this PDF reckon in their tests they were able to lower the boom on ransomware when it had encrypted just 0.2 per cent of files on their test setup."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Microsoft finally puts a price on the Enterprise version of Windows 10

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2016 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, enterprise

Thought that Microsoft did a poor job on the consumer side of Windows 10, you haven't being watching the absurdity which is the Enterprise version.  They took putting the cart in front of the horse to new levels but as of today we finally have a monthly price for a user.  This announcement comes several months after they removed the ability of system admins to block installation of random apps from the Windows Store for those using Windows 10 Professional.  It is also a week after they announced the removal of two popular components of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, App-V and UE-V. 

Today we have received word that the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 version will be $7 per user per month, though we have yet to hear any pricing on the E5 version which includes Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.  You can read more at Slashdot while you laugh about Microsoft's apparent confusion as to why businesses are not yet willing to adopt their new OS.

windows-10-logo-2-760x500.jpg

"Microsoft plans to make its recently renamed Windows 10 Enterprise product available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year. Microsoft took the wraps off the pricing of one of the two renamed versions of Windows 10 Enterprise at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on July 12."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

DOOM comes to Vulkan; or vice versa

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2016 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, doom, bethesda

*** Update *** an asute reader spotted some quick and dirty benchmarks over at Guru of 3D.  It looks like the RX480 does indeed benefit from Vulkan, the GTX 1070 not so much.

While this does not mean that the new DOOM will run on Linux, today does see Vulkan support arriving for the new FPS.  As we have seen with titles such as BF4 this is not going to benefit users of high end GPUs in any great way, however gamers on a budget should see improvements.  Bethesda did not update their minimum specs but do anticipate older cards being able to maintain more respectable framerates; the current minimum specs are a GTX 670 or HD 7870.  Expect to see some bugs as this their first shot at the Vulkan API, but do check it out if you have a lower end card or are simply curious how well it works. Handy links for drivers and more info over at Bethesda.

"At id Software, we’ve always pushed technology. With DOOM we let the game drive the technology decisions from early on. This has continued even in post-release, with new updates and more. Today we’re excited to share another big technology push: Vulkan support is now live on PC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Bethesda

DRAM just doesn't have the torque to compete in the future

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2016 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: STT-MRAM, nifty

Good news has arrived for those watching the development of the next type of storage medium, there has been new information about Spin Transfer Torque MRAM published.  One of the major hurdles in the development of the new type of memory, apart from yields, has been predicting the performance of MRAM cells.  The Register have linked to an article on IEEE, jointly published by IBM and Samsung, which details how new STT-MRAM materials fabbed at the 11nm behave.  We are still a while off of STT-MRAM hitting the market but it continues to draw closer as researchers try to bring us the next generation of storage media.

M397SFig1.jpg

"IBM and Samsung scientists have published an IEEE paper demonstrating switching MRAM cells for 655 devices with diameters ranging from 50 down to 11 nanometers in just 10 nanoseconds using only 7.5 microamperes. They say it is a significant achievement towards the development of Spin Torque MRAM."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

When is a headset not simply a headset? When it is the Avegant Glyph Mobile Personal Theater

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2016 - 07:18 PM |
Tagged: audio, Avegant Glyph, headset

Why is the AVEGANT Glyph headset referred to as a personal theatre you may ask?  That would be because these are headphones and a head mounted display in one package, unfortunately they launched while everyone was gazing at their Vives and Rifts.  Instead of providing a VR experience, this headset is intended to give you the view of a  55-60" TV as if you were sitting 3 to 4 meters away.  The headset uses a microUSB for power and microHDMI for signal and provides a resolution of 1280x720p per eye and even supports 3D-movies and 3D-Vision when gaming.  Unfortunately as Bjorn3D discovered, you need a 720p source, it cannot downscale from 1080p or other resolutions.  Check out their full review here.

avegant_glyph-700x503.jpg

"So what is the Avegant Glyph? Quite simply it is a headset that can be used as a regular audio headset but also comes with lenses to allow you to use it as your own mobile personal theater. And regardless of some issues it actually works great for this purpose."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Bjorn3D

Podcast #407 - RX 480 Power Concerns, X1 Yoga, Thrustmaster, Micron 9100 MAX, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2016 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: xbox play, video, Thrustmaster, technology, Samsung 840, rx 480, review, radeon 490, radeon, power, Polaris, podcast, pcper, news, Micron 9100 MAX SSD, lenovo thinkpad x1 yoga, Kinetic, gtx 1060, EVO, cooler, coolchip, alcantera

PC Perspective Podcast #407 - 07/07/2016

Join us this week as we discuss RX 480 Power Concerns, X1 Yoga, Thrustmaster, Micron 9100 MAX, 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Kaspersky! (promo code pcper)

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:47:16
  1. Week in Review:
  2. AD BREAK
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Canuck with no patience? Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming
  5. Closing/outro

microSD was just a flash in the pan; meet your new tiny storage overlord, Samsung's UFS cards

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2016 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: UFS, Samsung, microSD

Samsung just announced the first product based on the new Universal Flash Storage standard which will be making microSD cards as obsolete as your old mix tape.  They will come in sizes from 256GB down to 32GB but it is the speed of these new storage devices that will impress, not the density.  Samsung tells of sequential read speeds of up to 530MB/s, allowing you to dump HD quality video to a PC and random reads of 40,000 IOPS if you have a usage scenario which would read in such a manner.  For recording video you can expect up to 170MB/s sequential write speed or 35,000 random IOPS; 4K drone recordings won't be limited by bandwidth anymore. 

Unfortunately, as The Inquirer points out, no one can use these yet as we haven't a place to stick them.

UFS_02-0.jpg

"What UFS does mean already is that we'll start to see a bottleneck lifted in storage speeds in phones and tablets. As we've already seen, MicroSD doesn't cut it in the speed stakes, and it doesn't seem so long ago that we reported on torn down phones with 'internal' memory that was really just an SD card hidden away."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Valve Announces TF2 "Meet Your Match" Update

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2016 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: valve, tf2

Conveniently just after Overwatch received its Competitive Play update, Valve has announced the Meet Your Match update to Team Fortress 2. This update includes Competitive Mode, which is a ranked, 6v6 gametype, which sounds even more like Overwatch. Only the first day has been revealed thus far, as Valve likes to break update posts into chunks and release them over the course of a week, but it includes three maps, two achievements, and the official launch of the PASS Time game mode. The second part of the update is coming soon.

PASS Time was originally announced last year, in collaboration with Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams' production company) and Escalation Studios. While I've never played it (yes, I pretty much only play 2Fort...) it sounds similar to game modes like Bombing Run or Grifball. Obviously, those game modes are typically for more individual shooters, not TF2's class system, so it's interesting to see how, for instance, a Level 3 Sentry plays into it.

Source: Valve

Saturday July 9 10:00 AM ET - Fragging Frogs VLAN #13 is right around the corner

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2016 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, vlan, kick ass, gaming, fun, fragging frogs

That's right, it is time for another Fragging Frog VLAN, this time lucky number 13, kicking off this Saturday morning.  If you are at all interested in having the best possible Saturday ever then head to the forums and put your name in the list of attendees.  If you are not a member of the Forums for some bizarre reason you need to sign up ASAP as it is members and contributors of PCPer and the Fragging Frogs who are given first shot at games and prizes.  To that end you will need to post at least 5 times to our Forums between now and Saturday; pictures of SPAM not included.

FraggingFrogs.jpg

The list of possible games is already quite long, from UT2K4 up to the newly released Overwatch, by way of Battle both field-ish and Front-ian with many more on the list.  If you don't see one of your favourites post it to the thread and we will add it on.  Before joining in, make sure to check out this thread here for the information you need to hop onto the TeamSpeak server so you can chat with your fellow gamers.  You also need to join into the channel if you want to win any of the prizes which will be given away during the event.

2832655240977272601.jpeg

That's right, prizes and gaming!  The wonderful folks at AMD have sent over some mysterious parts for you to have a chance to win and several of the staff of PCPer have dug through their closets and sent out some of the gear we have reviewed recently.  What could these be?  Only one way to find out; see you on Saturday!

That ThinkPwn vulnerability extends beyond Lenovo as the fault is with the motherboard

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2016 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPwn, Lenovo, gigabyte, 68-UD3H, z77x-ud5h, Z87MX-D3H, Z97-D3H, Intel, SMM

The ThinkPwn vulnerability which has been in the news lately, which allows attackers to disable Secure Boot and bypass Virtual Secure Mode on Win10 Enterprise as well as disabling flash write protection turns out not to be yet another questionable Lenovo feature.  Instead the problem lies with the motherboards UEFI, specifically the Intel System Management Mode implemented on Gigabyte motherboards.  So far the issue has been located on Z68-UD3H, Z77X-UD5H, Z87MX-D3H, and Z97-D3H but it is possible that the vulnerability exists on far more motherboards, perhaps even beyond Gigabyte as the flaw is in the Intel code.  The Register also postulates this could effect HP Pavilion machines as they use these boards as well.

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"Gigabyte has been swept into turmoil surrounding low-level security vulnerabilities that allows attackers to kill flash protection, secure boot, and tamper with firmware on PCs by Lenovo and other vendors."

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Source: The Register