NVMe testing, torturing both the drives and the reviewer

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, 9100, micron

Testing out twelve 9100 NVMe flash drives is not easy as it requires some interesting configurations to make the testing worth while, sticking them all in a box and running ATTO is not going to create valuable information.  Those custom configurations revealed some interesting limitations, such as Windows' RAID having an upper limit of 385K IOPS and the Linux flavours tested topped out at 400K IOPS. 

Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 turned out to be more stable than Server 2012 R2; somehow using Resource Monitor managed to crash hard enough to break the Server install in one case.  2016 also had that upper IOPS limit which was far below the drives actual capabilities.  Drop by The Inquirer for look at the work which was done to set up for testing as well as the results.

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"I have spent the past TWO months testing these cards, the past month of which has involved truly tormenting them. I've learned a lot of things. There's the basic "NVMe is faster" that you can get from reading about the theory behind the drives, but there have also been a lot of little practical tidbits that you only get to find out when you run face first into problems."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Keep an eye out for big Toshiba NVMe drives

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2016 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, toshiba, ZD6000

Apeiron is a supplier of  NVMe over fabric links for businesses and will be releasing products based on a Toshiba NVMe SSD, which was being kept quiet until now.  You will not see these coming to a desktop near you but the announcement contains a very interesting tidbit.  The two ZD6000 drives being sold are 1.6TB and 3.2TB in size.  While that 3.2TB drive is attractive, Aperion suggests that there will be higher capacity drives released after these models, with The Register speculating on doubling, which would give us some impressively sized drives.  The technology used to stack this memory will eventually spill over to the consumer side so you can expect capacities to continue to grow and for prices to steadily decline.

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"Toshiba has quietly made 1.6TB and 3.2TB dual-port ZD6000 NVMe SSDs available to OEMs, and we know this because Apeiron says it has certified them."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

PCPer Live! Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 24, 2016 - 09:59 PM |
Tagged: video, rx 480, raja koduri, radeon, Polaris, live, giveaway, amd

When it comes to GPU releases, we at PC Perspective take things up a level in the kind of content we produce as well as the amount of information we provide to the community. Part of that commitment is our drive to bring in the very best people from around the industry to talk directly to the consumers, providing interesting and honest views on where their technology is going. 

With the pending release of the Radeon RX 480 based on AMD's latest Polaris architecture on Wednesday, June 29th, I am excited to announce that Raja Koduri, SVP and Chief Architect of the Radeon Technologies Group will be joining us in studio to talk about the RX 480 and AMD's plans moving forward.

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The AMD Radeon RX 480 Graphics Card

There is much to discuss. AMD and the RTG have promised that the RX 480 will be a revolutionary product, improving on performance per watt and performance per dollar in a way that no other AMD architecture has done. And the drive to include dramatically more gamers in the rising world of VR gaming will be an impressive feat as well, if they can pull it off. Topics like architectural improvements, asynchronous compute, multi-GPU and more are on the docket. You definitely won't want to miss it.

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Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri and Ryan Shrout

10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET - June 29th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live stream notification list!

The event will take place Wednesday, June 29th at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Raja to answer live. 

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Raja is one of the more open and honest people in this highly competitive landscape and every time we have had the ability to do an interview he has provided insightful, and sometimes very new, information. 

As a price for hosting AMD in the offices, we demanded a sacrifice: in the form of hardware to giveaway to our viewers! We'll have at least two Radeon RX 480s to giveaway during the live stream but I am pushing  to get a bump in that count; we'll see if I am persuasive enough. All you have to do to win on the 29th is watch the live stream!

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Some Radeon RX 480s will be up for grabs!!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Raja or me?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Wednesday at 1:30pm ET / 10:30am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live notification list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

Steam Summer Sale Has Started!

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 07:27 PM |
Tagged: steam, sale, sales, steam sale, pc gaming

You probably already know this at this point, but the Steam Summer Sale has begun. The theme, this year, is Steam Summer Picnic Sale. As far as I can tell, it has no relevance other than it ends on July 4th. They do claim to have 12785 titles on sale, though, and filtering all on-sale software by Windows lists 12595 of them.

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Some interesting deals include 40% off DOOM, 50% off Fallout 4, 35% off Rise of the Tomb Raider, and 50% off Just Cause 3. The Witcher 3 is also 50% off, although it was like that before the sale and its DLC are still basically full price if you want the both of them. If you're looking for older titles, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is 75% off, as is Civilization V and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition. As always, have a browse if you are okay with tempting your credit card.

If not? ... ... Sorry.

You were to bring balance to the ads, not leave us in darkness HTML5

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: VPAID, VAST, security, Malware, javascript, html5, flash

Upsetting news today from GeoEdge, not only is HTML5 not going to prevent drive by infections from ads but it also turns out that Flash was nowhere near as responsible for these infections as we thought.  Hard to say which of those two facts is more upsetting but don't worry, you can still malign JavaScript.  The security problems actually stem from the two advertising standards used on the web, VAST and VPAID which are the vector of infection of the JavaScript code which runs to display the ad on your browser.  Follow the link from Slashdot for a detailed explanation of what is happening. 

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"A study from GeoEdge, an ad scanning vendor, reveals that Flash has been wrongly accused of being the root cause of today's malvertising campaigns, but in reality, switching to HTML5 ads won't safeguard users from attacks because the vulnerabilities are in the ad platforms and advertising standards themselves."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

3DMark Sale and a brand new DX12 benchmark, Time Spy

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 10:37 PM |
Tagged: Futuremark. Time Spy, 3dmark

A new version of DirectX hitting the market means we need a new benchmark and once again Futuremark has delivered, with the Time Spy benchmark.  Right now 3D Mark is 80% off on Steam and if you pick it up you will get access to the new Time Spy Basic benchmark when it is released.

Time Spy uses the new DirectX 12 API and supports new features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.  It will have reviewers digging out hardware they thought they had already tested to provide you with new benchmark data points that will apply to the currently available DX12 games as well as those which will be released.

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This is also a great opportunity to pick up the full version of the benchmark for your own usage, even if you have yet to upgrade to DX12 hardware.  You should check out the teaser trailer if you are familiar with past 3D Mark versions as you will see a few glimpses at benchmark screens that caused you mental raster burn in years past.

3DMark-Time-Spy-screenshot-2.jpg

 

 

Source: Futuremark

Check out the impressive work done for the Computex GIGABYTE Case Mod Show

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: case mods, gigabyte, computex 2016

Gigabyte hosted a showcase of impressive case mods from all across the planet at Computex and TechARP posted a slideshow of the best of them.  They are all quite incredible, going beyond basic modding to the creation of truly unique enclosures, from Gatling guns to Ghostbusters.  It is a pity the forklift wasn't powered by a Steamroller or Bulldozer though.  Check out the full slide show and videos of the cases here.

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"The GIGABYTE case mod showcase featured incredible case mods by top case modders from around the world, including Maciel Barreto from Brazil and Suchao Prowphong from Thailand."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechARP

Podcast #405 - AMD RX 480 Hands-on, 32-core Zen rumors, VBIOS scandal and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: Zen, western digital, video, vbios, SM961, sli, Samsung, rx 480, radeon, podcast, My Passport Wireless Pro, msi, GTX 1080, evga, drobo, be quiet, asus, amd, 960 PRO

PC Perspective Podcast #405 - 06/23/2016

Join us this week as we discuss an AMD RX 480 hands-on, 32-core Zen rumors, the ASUS/MSI VBIOS scandal 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 Labs!

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

Program length: 1:33:07
  1. Week in Review:
  2. This episode is sponsored by Kaspersky Labs!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: devCalc Pro - Engineering Mode calculator for iOS
  5. Closing/outro

Dennaton Games Releases Hotline Miami 2 Level Editor

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, hotline miami, devolver digital, dennaton games

The (Edit June 26th: latest entry in the) Hotline Miami franchise was released a little over a year ago, and it was quite popular with both fans and critics. It is a fast-paced, top-down action game that is unforgiving enough that it tends to feel a little bit like a puzzle game as well, at least to me, in the sense that you need to figure out how to catch enough NPCs off-guard to easily and quickly take them out. As such, level design should have a huge impact on gameplay.

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And now users can make their own maps. Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital have released the level editor in today's patch. If you don't like user-generated fun, or you experience bugs or something, then you can stay on Hotline Miami 2 version 1.05.

Hotline Miami 2 and Hotline Miami 1+2 combo are both 75%-off for the rest of today.

Dawn of War III is looking ... different

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 06:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dawn of war III, warhammer 40k

Relic was showing off what DoW III will look like in the usual E3 tradition, with an enhanced 'game play' video.  Heroes are somewhat different than in the previous game, instead of leading a squad they operate on their own, however Gabriel does have an impressive upgrade to his Thunder Hammer.  Also featured is something which is totally not a warjack; an Imperial Knight which is a scaled down Titan with a single pilot.  Generally found guarding Ag. worlds they are the first of the Super Units to be revealed.  Heroes will be Elite Units, faster but somewhat squishier than Super Units which will be much slower, vulnerable to anti-vehicle attacks but able to shrug off most other attacks.  They can be chosen at the beginning of a mission and then deployed with Elite Points which you gain during the mission.  The quotes over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN don't have a lot of detail about how the game will play but the video sure is pretty.

"For the benefit of good warboys and wargirls, here’s the not-really-gameplay-despite-what-Relic-say look at a grizzled Gabriel Angelos duffing up some Eldar with the help of his Space Marine chums and a 14-metre mech named Imperial Knight Solaria"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Intel still hasn't paid AMD the 1.2 billion USD anti-trust fine

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, antitrust

This is a saga for the ages and a snit worthy of any 2 year old child.  11 years ago AMD filed suit against Intel citing questionable business tactics Intel had been using worldwide.  Intel was offering discounted parts to retailers if they would use Intel chips exclusively.  For instance, if a company like Dell offered an AMD alternative then Intel would raise the price of every Intel component sold to Dell across the board.  This is, of course, illegal. 

The court cases were settled in 2009, in the US Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion USD to settle all outstanding court cases in the US and several overseas.  In the UK there was a seperate court case which also went against Intel, the courts there requiring Intel to pay AMD  €1.06bn, the largest ever fine in the UK.  Since then Intel has been fighting tooth and nail to find a way not to pay the fine and while they have not succeeded in their legal battle they have succeeded in not paying AMD one single cent.  Their initial appeal was dismissed in 2014 but that has not stopped Intel from delaying the payment and as of today that fine still remains unpaid.  The Inquirer posted today about their latest challenge to the ruling, Intel's legal team claims that it somehow unfair to be punished for unfair business practices.

Six years on and over 1 billion dollars that should be AMDs is still under a couch cushion in Intel's offices somewhere.

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"CHIPMAKER Intel ain't giving up and continues to fight the €1.06bn (around £815m) antitrust fine levied on the firm six years ago."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Issues with ASMedia and Zen, or much ado over nothing?

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2016 - 10:33 PM |
Tagged: amd, asmedia, Zen, usb 3.1

DigiTimes has heard rumours of a possible defect with the ASMedia USB 3.1 controller which will appear on motherboards for AMD's upcoming Zen, which ASMedia have denied and AMD ignored.  The supposed issue stems from increased degradation of transmission speeds over distance which requires the inclusion of additional retimer and redriver chips.  If the issue does exist the worst repercussion will be an increase in manufacturing costs of $2 to $5 per board; even when that charge is passed on to the consumer it will have a very small impact on MSRP and is not likely to raise prices to the realm of Intel motherboards.  As with all rumours take this with a grain of salt, even if it is true it is unlikely to have any major effect on pricing.

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"Commenting on the news, AMD said it is pleased that Zen is on track and will not comment on customer specific board-level solutions., while ASMedia clarified that this is purely a market rumor and its product's signal, stability and compatibility have all passed certification."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Looking to build your first PC this summer? We have a guide for you!

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2016 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged:

We don't usually do this, but I have been getting a lot of emails and messages on social media from gamers looking to build their first PC this summer. With the release of the high end GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 cards this month, and the pending release of the Radeon RX 480 for more budget-minded gamers, there will likely never be a better time to get into PC gaming than now!

Back in February my nephew wanted to undertake building his own gaming PC for the first time. I took that opportunity to build an article and three video series for enthusiasts and DIYers that were either new to the game or needed a refresher on how to put screws to PCB, so to speak. With the numerous emails and messages I've been getting, I thought now would be a great time to bump our story back here and showcase to everyone how easy it can be to build your own PC, whether it be for gaming, VR, productivity or anything else.

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You can find the original story right here, sponsored by Gigabyte, but I have also re-embedded the videos below. Yes, the component selections we used in February could use some updating on the graphics card, monitor and maybe power supply, but the rest of the build summary is spot on and the build process remains unchanged.

Good luck to all the budding enthusiasts out there!

Allyn isn't the only one with a Lapdog on his couch

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2016 - 09:40 PM |
Tagged: RGB, mouse, lapdog, keyboard, gaming control center, couchmaster, Couch, corsair

The Tech Report would like to back Al up in saying that gaming on a TV from the comfort of your couch is not as weird as some would think.  In their case it was Star Wars Battlefront and Civilization V which were tested out, Battlefront as it is a console game often played on a TV and Civ5 as it is not a twitch game and the extra screen real estate is useful.  They also like the device although they might like a smaller version so that keyboards without a numpad did not leave as much room ... perhaps a PocketDog?  Check out their quick review if Al's review almost sold you on the idea.

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"Corsair's Lapdog keyboard tray is built to bridge the gap between the desk and the den by giving gamers a way to put a keyboard and mouse right on their laps. We invited the Lapdog into our living room to see whether it's a good boy."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

If you bought directly from Acer over the past year, double check your spam and email

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2016 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: acer, security

North American customers of Acer who bought directly from them between May 12, 2015 and April 28, 2016 may have had their credit card numbers compromised.  Their less than secure customer database contained customer names, addresses, card numbers, and three-digit security verification codes all of which have been siphoned off at least once.  If this breach effected your account Acer will be sending a notification to you, you can see an example at The Register if you want to be sure you are receiving a valid notification.  For those who have seen fraudulent charges already this will be too late to mitigate their pain but anyone who used Acer's online shop during that time period would do well to get their cards changed.

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"Acer's insecure customer database spilled people's personal information – including full payment card numbers – into hackers' hands for more than a year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Must have been a good Computex

Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2016 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: computex 2016, gx700, avalon, asus

The Tech Report must have been a little worn down by Computex, which is not uncommon as that week long show will take out even the heartiest of individuals.  Nevertheless they have managed to compose both themselves and a roundup article of everything they officially witnessed during the show.  They did pick up some unique photos such as the innards of the ASUS Avalon modular desktop PC as you can see below.  They also snapped a photo of the twin 330W power supplies required for the watercooled ASUS GX700 gaming laptop.  There are seven pages in total so grab a beverage and peruse at your leisure.

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"A couple weeks ago, we trekked all over Taipei to take in everything that Computex 2016 had to offer. Come with us and see the state of the PC in 2016, as interpreted by dozens of companies both small and large."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Podcast #404 - Crucial MX300, E3 hardware news, GTX 1080 Shortages and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2016 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, xbox one, void, video, Strider, Silverstone, rx 480, rx 470, rx 460, podcast, PHAB2, Optane, MX300, Lenovo, GTX 1080, Egil, crucial, corsair, asus, arm

PC Perspective Podcast #404 - 06/16/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the new Crucial MX300 SSD, news on upcoming Xbox hardware changes, GTX 1080 shortages 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: 1:48:30
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:39:00 Xbox E3 Hardware Discussion
    2. 0:49:50 GeForce GTX 1080 Shortages?
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Trackr
    2. Allyn: Safely Remove USB devices (or figure out what’s stopping them)
  4. Closing/outro

Skyrim Special Edition Announced (now with 64 bits!)

Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2016 - 02:01 AM |
Tagged: skyrim, bethesda

On Sunday, Bethesda had their E3 2016 press conference, where they announced a bunch of content that are relevant to PC gamers. One of them was Skyrim: Special Edition. It hasn't been added to their website yet, but it updates The Elder Scrolls V with new assets, shaders, and effects. On the PC, it will be free to anyone who has purchased the base game and all of its expansions.

Even better: it is also compiled as a 64-bit application.

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One of the original Skyrim's limits, specifically for modders, was that it could only address a little over 3GB of system memory before crashing. Worse: RAM usage was interconnected with GPU memory usage, which further limits the number of assets you can actually load. While there are probably still plenty of ways for Skyrim to crash, especially when third-party content is injected, Skyrim: Special Edition will move the solid, 3GB wall.

DigitalFoundry also claims that the engine itself is updated to a newer branch itself, like what was used for Fallout 4. This makes sense, because several effects would be difficult to do on DirectX 9 (like volumetric god rays). Despite the newer engine version, Pete Hines of Bethesda said “basically, yes” when asked whether existing Skyrim mods would be compatible. This suggests that the internal API would be the same for at least the majority of cases. Interesting!

Skyrim: Special Edition will be available on October 28th.

Source: PCGamer

New from the creator of X-COM; Phoenix Point

Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2016 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, xcom, phoenix point

The turn based strategy and base management of X-COM will survive in Phoenix Point but from what was revealed by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN you may not survive that long.  It is not just the mutated victims of the alien virus you need to be wary of but also your fellow surviving humans as there are several faction with very different and incompatible survival strategies.  The mutated enemies will not be broken down into distinct and repetitive races, instead they will evolve as you try to defeat them.  Sniper heavy tactics could result in aliens with reinforced front facing armour the next time you deal with them, use grenades and the next wave you face may be resistant to fire.  The game sounds very complex but it is not due for release until 2018 so there is plenty of time for them to make this game work.  Check out more by following the link.

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"One of the most exciting games in Los Angeles this week won’t be featured at press conferences or on the showfloor. Phoenix Point [official site] is the new tactical-strategy hybrid from Julian Gollop, the creator of the original X-COM, and we met yesterday to discuss its procedurally generated alien threats, simulated human factions and much more."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

A sneak peek at two RX 470 benchmarks

Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2016 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: rx 470, amd, leak, RX 480M

Sharp eyes over at The Guru of 3D spotted some information in a recent press release from AMD that might have been unintentionally released; performance numbers and mention of a AMD Radeon RX 480M.  These benchmarks are internal and so should be taken with a grain of salt but they do offer a glimpse at how the RX 470 will perform. The benchmarks were run on a system comprised of ab i7 5960X, 16GB memory and Radeon 16.20, showing better performance than a R9 270X on three games as well as Firestrike below.  Follow the link for the results they gleaned from the footnotes.

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"In the slide-deck that was released yesterday some benchmark numbers have been, well almost hidden. But they are there. I added them into two charts to check out.

Let me clearly state that the benchmarks have been performed by AMD so we cannot verify quality settings. The scores have been derived from the footnotes of the PDF"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Guru of 3D