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Subject: General Tech, Processors | August 23, 2014 - 01:38 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: X99, Intel, Haswell-E
Haswell-E, with its X99 chipset, are expected to launch soon. This will bring a new spread of processors and motherboards to the high-end, enthusiast market. These are the processors that fans of Intel should buy if they have money, want all the RAM, and have a bunch of PCIe expansion cards to install.
If you count the PCIe x1 slots, the table would refer to the first, third, fifth, and seventh slots.
To me, this is not too bad. You are able to use three GPUs with eight-lane bandwidth and stick a four-lane PCIe SSD on the last slot. Considering that each lane is PCIe 3.0, it is similar to having three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots. While two-way and three-way SLI is supported on all CPUs, four-way SLI is only allowed with processors that provide forty lanes of PCIe 3.0.
Gigabyte also provides three PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, which are not handled by the CPU and do not count against its available lanes.
Since I started to write up this news post, Gigabyte seems to have replaced their manual with a single, blank page. Thankfully, I was able to have it cached long enough to finish my thoughts. Some sites claim that the manual failed to mention the 8-8-8 configuration and suggested that configurations of three GPUs were impossible. That is not true; the manual refers to these situations, just not in the most clear of terms.
Haswell-E should launch soon, with most rumors pointing to the end of the month.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 22, 2014 - 05:32 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows 8.1, notebook, netbook, Mullins, hp, amd, A4 Micro-6400T
According to internal support documents unearthed by Liliputing, HP is preparing to launch a new budget notebook powered by an AMD "Mullins" APU. The HP 14Z-z000, which will also be known as the HP Stream Notebook, is a 14-inch netbook running the full version of Windows 8.1 weighing 3.9 pounds and measuring 13.5" x 9.5" x 0.7". The Stream will be the second device from HP to utilize AMD's latest mobile "Mullins" APUs (the first device being the $250 10-inch Pavilion 10z).
HP's Stream notebook is a traditional laptop-style design that uses a hinged 1366x768 display, full keyboard, trackpad, 720p webcam, and four Beats Audio speakers. However, internally, the Stream resembles tablet hardware more than laptops because the internal storage, processor, and RAM are not upgradeable. Physical IO ports include one HDMI, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and a SDXC card slot.
Internally, the Stream uses an AMD A4 Micro-6400T processor, 2GB of RAM, either 32GB or 64GB of eMMC storage, a 802.11n+Bluetooh 4.0 radio, and a 32Whr battery. The A4 Micro-6400T processor is the interesting bit here, as it is a solution that has not seen many design wins yet. This APU is part of AMD's "Mullins" family which is the successor to Temash. The 28nm HKMG chip features four Puma+ cores (improved Jaguar) clocked at 1.6GHz, a 128 core GCN GPU clocked at 350MHz, 2MB of L2 cache, and support for DDR3L 1333MHz memory. The Micro-6400T is rated at 2.8W SDP (Scenario Design Power) and 4.5W TDP (Thermal Design Power). Further, it features TrustZone technology and new power management features that allow it to boost (or downclock) clockspeeds in certain situations with an emphasis on extending battery life.
HP is bundling the Stream with 100GB of Microsoft OneDrive which is free for two years.
The Stream should be available shortly with a starting price of $199 from HP. I do wish HP was less stingy with batteries in these low power systems (here's looking at you HP X360), but this Mullins-powered netbook should at least be performance competitive with existing Bay Trail based notebooks according to these Mullins APU benchmarks. I would like to see how this midrange APU (The Micro 6700T is actually the top end Mullins) stacks up to the newer Z3770 Atom.
Are you interested in this new generation of budget notebooks?
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 22, 2014 - 04:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: richard huddy, kick ass, amd
Join AMD’s Chief Gaming Scientist, Richard Huddy on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM EDT/7:00 AM PDT to celebrate 30 Years of Graphics and Gaming. The event will feature interviews with Raja Koduri, AMD’s Corporate VP, Visual Computing; John Byrne, AMD’s Senior VP and General Manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group; and several special guests. You can also expect new product announcements along with stories covering the history of AMD. You can watch the twitch.tv livestream below once the festivities kick off!
There is also a contest for those who follow @AMDRadeon and retweet their tweet of "Follow @AMDRadeon Tune into #AMD30Live 8/23/14 at 9AM CT www.amd.com/AMD30Live – Follow & Retweet for a chance to win! www.amd.com/AMD30Live"
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2014 - 01:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: byod, security, Android
In the new BYOD corporate crapshoot Android devices are frequently connecting to secure resources which raises security concerns for many IT workers. The OS is not as secure as many would like it to be; good enough for home use but not for those who truly want to keep their data secure. The majority of the exploits come from insecure apps as opposed to an inherent problem with the OS which has lead to a group proposing an Android Security Module Framework. Root the phone once to add these to Android and enable the ability to restrict the capability of apps to share unnecessarily while not preventing the apps from running. The example offered to The Register was the ability to stop Whatsapp from uploading contact information without preventing the app from functioning. This could also allow you to configure a phone in a way similar to Blackberry's Balance feature, segregating work data from personal.
"An international group of researchers believes Android needs more extensible security, and is offering up a framework they hope either Google or mobe-makers will take for a spin."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Acer unveils 8-core 4G LTE smartphone in Taiwan @ DigiTimes
- Cyber security experts find 92 percent successful Gmail hack @ The Inquirer
- TELEPORTABLE storage? Atlantis Computing's PR bods jump the shark @ The Register
- Microsoft ropes in Opera Mini as default Nokia dumbphone browser @ The Register
- NETGEAR EX6200 @ Hardwareheaven
Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2014 - 11:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, Surface Pro 3, peripherals, microsoft, docking station, dock
Earlier this year, Microsoft took the wraps off of its latest Surface tablet: the Surface Pro 3. The new tablet comes with several peripherals including a keyboard, stylus, and a docking station that was recently made available for purchase from the Microsoft Store for $199.99.
The docking station measures 12.9" x 3.8" x 4.4" and weighs 1.43 pounds. It acts as a stand for the Surface tablet and adds a number of full sized ports. Specifically, the dock includes the following I/O options.
- 3 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
The docking station also has a security lock slot and power input port. Speaking of power, it is driven by a 48W power supply which Microsoft says provides ample power for charging the Surface Pro 3 and any USB attached devices.
With the dock in play, the Surface Pro 3 becomes much more business and productivity focused and may well replace desktops in some shops as supporting one device per worker should be bother easier and cheaper than supplying and supporting a desktop and laptop (and possibly a tablet). Users can attach up to two external displays by utilizing the daisy chaining feature and the single mini DisplayPort output. In total, users will have access to six USB ports (five on the dock and one available on the tablet itself).
The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is available now from the Microsoft Store and retailers with a MSRP of $199.99.
The price does seem a bit steep, but is in line with other Surface accessories and is not likely to get much cheaper any time soon. Will you be picking up a dock for your Surface?
Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2014 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win9, microsoft
Windows 8.1 has not quite been kicked to the curb yet but it has been told to start packing its bags and to look for a job. On September 30th the rumour is that we will see a teaser of a work in progress version of the new OS. The build is nowhere near complete and The Register expects changes from the reveal at the BUILD Conference and even more changes before the RTM version arrives. We can be fairly certain of a less charming desktop which should have something resembling the familiar Start button, although it is quite likely to be somewhat different from the previous incarnations. Win 8.1 will continue to receive small updates as opposed to a Service Pack, hopefully with less BSoD's than the last batch produced.
"MICROSOFT WILL REPORTEDLY REVEAL the successor to its Windows 8 operating system on 30 September."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES? @ The Register
- Samsung to produce DRAM chips at Line-17 fab, causes concerns of oversupply @ DigiTimes
- Linux Growth Demands Bigger Talent Pool @ Linux.com
- Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year @ Slashdot
- Foxconn looking to step into medical equipment, says chairman @ DigiTimes
- Can it be true? A BIG DATA benchmark? Yes, says TPC @ The Register
- AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Capture Device Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2014 - 12:50 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, corsair, angelbird, wrk, ddr4, freesync, gsync, nvidia, amd, Intel, titan-z, VIA, video
PC Perspective Podcast #314 - 08/21/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair Air 240 Case, Angelbird SSD wrk, DDR4 Pricing, 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
NVIDIA Live Stream Friday at noon
Week in Review:
Last Weeks Winner: Brian H.
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Josh: Just a nice, solid LCS.
Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2014 - 09:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wow, MMO, blizzard
World of Warcraft, the popular MMO from Blizzard Entertainment, once had 12 million subscribers registered and paying. Last month, it was down to 6.8 million. Sure, that is a lot of people to be giving you about $13 to $15 USD per month, each and every month. It is a decline, though. According to an interview with Tom Chilton, lead designer of WoW, it is, also, not expected to rebound.
We really don't know if it will grow again, (...) It is possible, but I wouldn't say it is something that we expect. Our goal is to make the most compelling content we can.
He also notes that expansion packs are barriers for entry and reentry. A quick, single-character increase to level 90 is expected to bring players straight into "the new content". Note that, prior to the upcoming expansion, this was the maximum possible level (Warlords of Draenor increases this to 100). Blizzard will also sell you, for $60, level-90 jumps for your other characters.
Or, you can just play the game.
If the trend continues to slip, at what point do you think that Blizzard will pull the plug? 1 million, active subscribers? 3.14159 million subscribers? Or, will they let World of Warcraft keep going as long as it is technically feasible? This is the company that still sells the original StarCraft, from 1998, at retail (unless something happened just recently).
Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2014 - 08:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, reverse-consolitis, steam, GOG, free to play, dlc
So PC gamers rarely go to the store to buy a disk anymore. According to DFC Intelligence, via PCR-Online, 92% of sales for the PC gaming platform were online. This number seems to be based on revenue, rather than units sold. It includes both full games purchased from Steam, GoG, and other distribution services. It, also, probably includes free-to-play revenue, DLC, and so forth.
Of course, this also suggests that retail sales of PC games has quite a bit of money floating around still. While sources lump several categories together, we could still be talking about a hundreds-of-millions or low-billions order of magnitude (USD). Of course, these are personal, mental math estimates. A grain of salt is required and, in this case, probably good for your (mental) health.
Watch your cholesterol, though.
Again, this is one of the advantages of open architectures. Companies and organizations are allowed, because no-one can tell them otherwise, to try new things. Sometimes, they end up being gold mines that lead to industry revolution, whether we consider the specific positive or negative. However long it takes, it wins. It eventually finds a way, and then the blob tumbles along.
Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2014 - 07:35 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: x10, Torq, podcast, giveaway, evga, contest
A big THANK YOU goes to our friends at EVGA for hooking us up with a couple of hardware items to give away for our podcast listeners and viewers this week. First, if you watch tonight's LIVE recording of Podcast #314 (10pm ET / 7pm PT at http://pcper.com/live) you'll be able to win an EVGA Torq X10 mouse! (See our review of the mouse here.)
For everyone that can't make the live version of the show, you'll have a week to enter to win another EVGA EVGA Torq X10 mouse!
How do you enter? Well, on the live stream (or in the downloaded version) we'll give out a special keyword during our discussion of the contest for you to input in the form below. That's it!
We'll draw a random winner next week, anyone can enter from anywhere in the world - we'll cover the shipping. We'll draw a winner on August 27th and announce it on the next episode of the podcast! Good luck, and once again, thanks goes out to EVGA for supplying the prizes!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Memory | August 20, 2014 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Haswell-E, G.Skill, ddr4-2800, ddr4-2666, ddr4-2400, ddr4-2133, ddr4, crucial, corsair
DDR4 is starting to arrive at NewEgg and some kits are actually in stock for those who want to be the first on their block to have these new DIMMs and can remortgage their home. The price of Haswell-E CPUs and motherboards is as of yet unknown but looking over the past few years of Intel's new processors you can assume the flagship processor will be around $999.99 with the feature rich motherboards starting around $200 and quickly raising from there.
At the 16GB mark you have more choices with Corsair joining in and a range of speeds that go up to DDR4-2800 as well as your choice of a pair of 8GB DIMMs or four 4GB DIMMs. Corsair was kind enough to list the timings, the DDR4-2666 @ 15-17-17-35 and the DDR4-2800 @ 16-18-18-36 though you will certainly pay a price for the RAM with the highest frequencies.
For those on a budget it would seem like waiting is your best choice, especially as Amazon is offering a limited selection of the new kits, as there is only a single 8GB kit from Crucial although you can buy two of the single DIMMs without heatspreaders for $110.
Intel product releases are always dearly priced, the introduction of a new generation of RAM is both exciting and daunting. You will see power reductions, base frequencies that were uncommon in DDR3 and very likely an increase in the ability to overclock these DIMMs but it is going to cost you. If Haswell-E is in your sights you should start planning on how to afford replacing your CPU, motherboard and RAM at the same time as this is no refresh this is a whole new product line.
Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2014 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, watch_dogs, 4k
After three months, two patches, driver updates and many a flamewar, [H]ard|OCP has posted their complete performance review of Watch_Dogs. From the mighty Titan to the much more reasonably priced R9 270 almost a dozen cards performance is tested on this much hyped game. The high end cards were paired and tested in 4k resolution with the R9 290X CrossFire setup coming out on top and holding that lead when tested in single GPU configurations at 2560x1600. Indeed even at 1080p AMD was able to provide higher quality settings with an acceptable price in performance. Read the full review to see the visual effects of the various graphics settings as well as the preferred cards at the various resolutions.
After the podcast tonight, or indeed just about any night, you can find some of the Fragging Frogs online playing a variety of games. If you haven't checked them out yet you can learn all you need to know about joining up with one of the most fun group of gamers online right here.
"We published a preview of Watch Dogs performance when it was released back in May this year. We have given this game time to mature. Now that a couple of game patches have been released, along with newer drivers from NVIDIA and AMD, it is time for our full performance and image quality comparison review."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptrap Gameplay Video @ [H]ard|OCP
- Risen 5-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Oculus Rift and STEMs make the ultimate lightsaber game possible @ Geek.com
- Presenting Exhibit A In The Witcher 3 Trial @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hands On: Dead Island 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- GPU App Showdown: AMD Gaming Evolved vs Nvidia GeForce Experience @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2014 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: galileo, Intel, windows, SoC
Intel's first generation low powered SoC which goes by the name of Galileo and is powered by a 400MHz Quark X1000 is now capable of running Windows with the help of the latest firmware update. Therefore if you are familiar enough with their tweaked Arduino IDE you should be able to build a testbed for low powered machines that will be running Windows. You will want to have some time on hand, loading Windows to the microSD card can take up to two hours and those used to SSDs will be less than impressed with the boot times. For developers this is not an issue and well worth the wait as it gives them a brand new tool to work with. Pop by The Register for the full details of the firmware upgrade and installation process.
"Windows fans can run their OS of choice on Intel’s counter to Raspberry Pi, courtesy of an Intel firmware update."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung Smartcam HD Pro @ The Inquirer
- Netgear R8000 Nighthawk X6 AC 3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- Chinese Linux Trojan makes the jump to Windows @ The Inquirer
- Tech patent hoarder Intellectual Ventures to lose a fifth of its trolls @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 19, 2014 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: jon peddie, gpu market share, q2 2014
Jon Peddie Research's latest Market Watch adds even more ironic humour to the media's continuing proclamations of the impending doom of the PC industry. This quarter saw tablet sales decline while overall PCs were up and that was without any major releases to drive purchasers to adopt new technology. While JPR does touch on the overall industry this report is focused on the sale of GPUs and APUs and happens to contain some great news for AMD. They saw their overall share of the market increase by 11% from last quarter and by just over a percent of the entire market. Intel saw a small rise in share though it does still hold the majority of the market as PCs with no discrete GPU are more likely to contain Intel's chips than AMDs. That leaves NVIDIA who are still banking solely on discrete GPUs and saw over an 8% decline from last quarter and a decline of almost two percent in the total market. Check out the other graphs in JPR's overview right here.
"The big drop in graphics shipments in Q1 has been partially offset by a small rise this quarter. Shipments were up 3.2% quarter-to-quarter, and down 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Open Source GPU Released @ Hack a Day
- BlackBerry slices off juiciest bits, bottles them in 'Tech Solutions' @ The Register
- LinuxCon and CloudOpen This Week in Chicago @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 10:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: corsair, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx rgb
So I actually did not see this until after I published the Razer story. Just a few hours ago, Corsair posted an announcement to their Facebook page that claimed a "cbange" in launch date for their Cherry MX RGB-based keyboards. I actually forgot that the K70 RGB Red was supposed to be out already, with availability listed as "late July" (the rest were scheduled to arrive in "late August"). Corsair does not yet have a new date, but will comment "in a few weeks".
Got to say, that does look nice.
While, again, no further details are given, it sounds like a technical hurdle is holding back the launch. Corsair claims that they want the product to live up to expectations. This, of course, chips further at the company's exclusivity window and could put them in direct competition with Razer's custom design, and may even be available second, almost in spite of the exclusivity arrangement.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2014 - 09:17 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, mechanical keyboard
Earlier in the year, we reported on Corsair's exclusivity over Cherry MX RGB-based mechanical keyboards. The thing is, Razer develops their own switches and is not reliant on ZF Electronics (Cherry Corporation). The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma mechanical keyboard uses their own switches, not Cherry's, and is not subject to Corsair's exclusivity. The keyboard can be ordered now for $179.99 USD and will be available in September.
I contacted Razer and asked them about their technology. They could not provide any direct comparison between their design and the Cherry MX RGB, but they were able to add a few details to their offering. The BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma was designed with its LEDs positioned away from moving parts and lined up with the keycap imprint. The LEDs are pointed upward for brightness.
Razer will be providing developers with Chroma SDK, allowing games and applications to control the Chroma-enabled device lighting to assist or immerse their users. I say "Chroma-enabled device" rather than "Chroma keyboards", because they already have plans for mice and headsets with the same technology. At the very least, they expect that users will appreciate coordinated colors across their gaming peripherals.
The Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma is available to order, for $179.99 USD ($199.99 CDN), and ships in September. A Chroma-enabled mouse, based on the DeathAdder design, and a Chroma-enabled headset, based on the Kraken model, are announced but do not yet have pricing or availability information.
Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2014 - 05:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mouse, wireless gaming mouse, SteelSeries Sensei
Gaming mice have wires as it reduces input lag that would otherwise be the death of you while gaming. Unfortunately for some this means they cannot sit on the couch streaming YouTube to their TVs since the wire on their mouse just isn't long enough. SteelSeries claims to have overcome the technical problems of gaming wirelessly with their SteelSeries Sensei. The software is definitely aimed at gamers, with an impressive array of settings to tweak and an impressive macro editor but that is not enough to solve the performance issues. Believe it or not when TechGage compared it to a wired mouse they could not detect any difference whatsoever. I would still recommend wearing pants while frying bacon regardless of your final mouse choice.
"Want a high-performance wireless gaming mouse that doesn’t have its battery-life measured in seconds? Well, SteelSeries has released its renowned Sensei into the wild, free to run and frolic in grassy meadows, without the need of being tethered to unsightly cables. Does the result live up to our high expectations? There’s only one way to find out."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- EVGA TORQ X10 Gaming Mouse – A Big Contender In a Big Market @ Techgage
- Aorus Thunder M7 MMO Gaming Mouse and Thunder P3 Gaming Mouse Pad Review @HiTech Legion
- Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury @ HardwareHeaven
- XTracGear Ripper Mouse Pad @ Benchmark Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS POSEIDON Z Illuminated Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Roccat ISKU FX Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2014 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, Extreme Overclocking Competition, overclocking
The weapons this year at Gigabyte's EOC were a Core i5-4690K and Core i7-4790K, Gigabyte Z97X-SOC FORCE LN2, Gigabyte HD7790, G.Skill TridentX F3-2933C12D-8GTXDG
and a Seasonic SSX-1200 Platinum PSU. Team Awardfabrik hit 6578MHz on the i7-4790K with a mix of luck and skill while Team Switzerland took top spot for memory at 2106.3MHz. Raw speed of one component is not enough to win this competition and when the nitrogen fog lifted it was Team HardwareLuxx with the overall win. Check out what benchmarks were run and pictures and video from the event on MadShrimps.
"Each year Gigabyte Germany organizes the Extreme Overclocking Competition. At the EOC the best overclocking teams of Germany have a chance to prove who is still king. The main organizer behind each event is Germany’s finest Roman Hartung also known as der8auer at HWBot.org. This year besides Gigabyte also G.Skill, Intel, Seasonic and Gelid solutions provided the required hardware and funds to allow this clash of the titans to take place at the Know Cube at the Heilbronn Tech University."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 159: Kaveri returns, Shield delivers, and Brix gets game @ The Tech Report
- How to Encrypt Email in Linux @ Linux.com
- Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death @ The Register
- HTC One W8 leak reveals Windows Phone 8.1, Blinkfeed app @ The Inquirer
- Boffins find hundreds of thousands of woefully insecure IoT devices @ The Register
- LUXA2 PL2 6000mAh Leather Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- NikKTech & Thermalright Worldwide Summer Giveaway
- Gamescom 2014 Gallery @ Kitguru
Falcon Northwest Tiki-Z Special Edition Crams Titan Z And Liquid Cooled i7-4790K CPU Into A Stylish Micro Tower
Subject: General Tech, Systems | August 16, 2014 - 01:40 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: titan z, tiki-z, gtx titan z, gk110, falcon northwest, dual gpu
The Tiki-Z Special Edition is the latest custom PC from boutique vendor Falcon Northwest. This high-end enthusiast system, which starts at $5,614 manages to pack a dual GPU graphics card, liquid cooled CPU, 600W power supply, and up to 6TB of storage into a stylish micro tower that measures a mere 4” wide and 13” tall.
Falcon Northwest has taken the original Tiki chassis and made several notable tweaks to accommodate NVIDIA’s latest dual GPU card: the GeForce GTX TITAN Z which we reviewed here. The case has a custom (partial) side window that shows off the graphics card. This window can be green glass or smoke tinted acrylic with customizable laser cut venting. A ducted intake feeds cool air to the graphics card and vents at the rear and front of the case exhaust hot air. The exterior of the case can be painted in any single color of automobile paint for free or with a fully customized paint scheme with artwork at an additional cost.
In addition to the Titan Z with its 5,760 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory, and 8.1 TFLOPS of peak compute power, Falcon Northwest has packed a modular small form factor 600W PSU from SilverStone, an ASUS Z97I Plus motherboard, Intel Core i7-4790K “Devil’s Canyon” CPU with liquid cooler, up to 16GB of DDR3 1866MHz memory from G.Skill, and up to 6TB of storage (two 1TB SSDs and one 4TB Western Digital Green hard drive). The i7-4970K comes stock clocked at 4GHz (4.4GHz max turbo), but can be overclocked by Falcon Northwest upon request.
Needless to say, that is a lot of hardware to cram into a PC that can easily sit next to your monitor at your desk or in your living room!
The engineering, artwork, and support of this high end system all come at a price, however. The new Titan Z powered boutique PC starts at $5,614 USD and is available now from Falcon Northwest. To sweeten the deal, for a limited time Falcon Northwest is including a free ASUS PB287Q 4K monitor (3820x2160, 60Hz, 1ms response time, see more specification in our review) with each Tiki-Z purchase.
This system is an impressive feat of engineering and it certainly looks sharp with the artwork, custom side panel, and compact form factor. My only concern from a usability standpoint would be noise from the cooling systems for the GPU, CPU radiator, and PSU. One also has to consider that the Titan Z graphics card by itself is priced at $3,000 which puts the Tiki Z pricing back into the somewhat sane world of boutique PC pricing (heh at about $2,600 for the system minus the GPU). No question, this is not going to be a system for everyone and will even be a niche product within the niche market of those enthusiasts interested in pre-built gaming systems. Even so, if noise levels can be held in check it will make for one powerful little gaming box!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | August 15, 2014 - 08:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: siggraph 2014, Siggraph, OpenGL Next, opengl 4.5, opengl, nvidia, Mantle, Khronos, Intel, DirectX 12, amd
Let's be clear: there are two stories here. The first is the release of OpenGL 4.5 and the second is the announcement of the "Next Generation OpenGL Initiative". They both occur on the same press release, but they are two, different statements.
OpenGL 4.5 Released
OpenGL 4.5 expands the core specification with a few extensions. Compatible hardware, with OpenGL 4.5 drivers, will be guaranteed to support these. This includes features like direct_state_access, which allows accessing objects in a context without binding to it, and support of OpenGL ES3.1 features that are traditionally missing from OpenGL 4, which allows easier porting of OpenGL ES3.1 applications to OpenGL.
It also adds a few new extensions as an option:
ARB_pipeline_statistics_query lets a developer ask the GPU what it has been doing. This could be useful for "profiling" an application (list completed work to identify optimization points).
ARB_sparse_buffer allows developers to perform calculations on pieces of generic buffers, without loading it all into memory. This is similar to ARB_sparse_textures... except that those are for textures. Buffers are useful for things like vertex data (and so forth).
ARB_transform_feedback_overflow_query is apparently designed to let developers choose whether or not to draw objects based on whether the buffer is overflowed. I might be wrong, but it seems like this would be useful for deciding whether or not to draw objects generated by geometry shaders.
KHR_blend_equation_advanced allows new blending equations between objects. If you use Photoshop, this would be "multiply", "screen", "darken", "lighten", "difference", and so forth. On NVIDIA's side, this will be directly supported on Maxwell and Tegra K1 (and later). Fermi and Kepler will support the functionality, but the driver will perform the calculations with shaders. AMD has yet to comment, as far as I can tell.
Image from NVIDIA GTC Presentation
If you are a developer, NVIDIA has launched 340.65 (340.23.01 for Linux) beta drivers for developers. If you are not looking to create OpenGL 4.5 applications, do not get this driver. You really should not have any use for it, at all.
Next Generation OpenGL Initiative Announced
The Khronos Group has also announced "a call for participation" to outline a new specification for graphics and compute. They want it to allow developers explicit control over CPU and GPU tasks, be multithreaded, have minimal overhead, have a common shader language, and "rigorous conformance testing". This sounds a lot like the design goals of Mantle (and what we know of DirectX 12).
And really, from what I hear and understand, that is what OpenGL needs at this point. Graphics cards look nothing like they did a decade ago (or over two decades ago). They each have very similar interfaces and data structures, even if their fundamental architectures vary greatly. If we can draw a line in the sand, legacy APIs can be supported but not optimized heavily by the drivers. After a short time, available performance for legacy applications would be so high that it wouldn't matter, as long as they continue to run.
Add to it, next-generation drivers should be significantly easier to develop, considering the reduced error checking (and other responsibilities). As I said on Intel's DirectX 12 story, it is still unclear whether it will lead to enough performance increase to make most optimizations, such as those which increase workload or developer effort in exchange for queuing fewer GPU commands, unnecessary. We will need to wait for game developers to use it for a bit before we know.
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