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Subject: Displays | June 25, 2016 - 06:23 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, oculus rift, Oculus, htc vive
Facebook has disabled their software check that prevents Oculus Store games from running without an Oculus Rift being connected. Further, Motherboard has directly quoted an Oculus spokesperson as saying “We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future”. This check prevented these games from running on the HTC Vive using the user-created tool, Revive, until the creator of Revive disabled the DRM in response.
Oculus will continue to develop their DRM itself, of course. They have also been approaching developers to make Oculus-exclusive content, and I expect that will continue. This is where we get into a little bit of a debate that has been brewing online. Some believe that, due to the size of the potential market, exclusivity could bring content to life that otherwise would not be viable. While that does have some merit to muse over, I cannot see how that would be any better (for society) than all the platform holders pitching in to an open incubation fund. This way, art will not locked away unless it absolutely requires a specific feature that some platforms cannot provide, and consumers will have a larger pool of content to justify the initial purchase.
That topic aside, Oculus has not pledged that they won't interfere with third-parties that want to support Oculus-exclusive titles on other headsets. A hardware check will not be involved, now or in the future, though.
Subject: Processors | June 25, 2016 - 03:15 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, kaby lake, iGPU, h.265, hevc, vp8, vp9, codec, codecs
Fudzilla isn't really talking about their sources, so it's difficult to gauge how confident we should be, but they claim to have information about the video codecs supported by Kaby Lake's iGPU. This update is supposed to include hardware support for HDR video, the Rec.2020 color gamut, and HDCP 2.2, because, if videos are pirated prior to their release date, the solution is clearly to punish your paying customers with restrictive, compatibility-breaking technology. Time-traveling pirates are the worst.
According to their report, Kaby Lake-S will support VP8, VP9, HEVC 8b, and HEVC 10b, both encode and decode. However, they then go on to say that 10-bit VP9 and 10-bit HEVC 10b does not include hardware encoding. I'm not too knowledgeable about video codecs, but I don't know of any benefits to encoding 8-bit HEVC Main 10. Perhaps someone in our comments can clarify.
Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 07:27 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Storage | June 24, 2016 - 05:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Mushkin, Triactor, SM2256, tlc
At about $0.23/GB for the 480GB model it would be hard to find a less expensive SSD without waiting for a sale. There are those who will refuse the drive because of the use of 256Gbit TLC SanDisk flash and the Silicon Motion SM2256K controller but those on the lookout for bargains should pop by The SSD Review for a look at the full performance review. Apart from the expected poor performance with large constant write transfers this drive runs at a respectable pace when performing the common tasks you would require.
"We've tested quite a few TLC based SSDs as of late, will the Mushkin Triactor show up the competition? Or will it lag behind in all its TLC "glory?" So far all we can say is that it sure does look cool. Read on as we analyze the new Mushkin Triactor 480GB in today's review!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ RD400 PCIe NVMe SSD @ Benchmark Reviews
- Intel 535 Series 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- WD My Cloud Expert Series EX2100 8TB NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung Portable SSD T3 500GB USB 3.1 Gen 1 Drive Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 04:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
"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:
- Revive revived: Oculus DRM push shattered as DIY devs strike back @ The Register
- AMD Radeon RX 480 Hands-On Preview @ TechARP
- Remote-code execution flaw identified in OpenAPI framework @ The Inquirer
- SoftIron Overdrive 1000 is a £400 64-bit ARM server for developers @ The Register
- Chrome Bug Makes It Easy To Download Movies From Netflix and Amazon Prime @ Slashdot
- BlackBerry's turnaround stalls @ The Register
- RFC gives route leaks names, to help netops explain why traffic goes missing @ The Register
- Malware Can Use Fan Noise To Steal Data From Air-Gapped Systems @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 10:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Intel Security: Connecting with strangers on LinkedIn puts firms at risk of phishing attacks @ The Inquirer
- Huawei Is Working On Its Own Mobile OS In Case Things Sour With Google @ Slashdot
- Microsoft has released another bloody Windows 10 preview build @ The Inquirer
- Intel still chip, chip, chippin' away at the European Commission's anti-trust fine @ The Register
- Fear them: Robot Wars revival introduces two tonnes of retooled house robots @ The Inquirer
- Books You Should Read: The Car Hacker’s Handbook @ Hack a Day
- Holy kittens! YouTube screens go blank @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:02 PM | Ryan Shrout
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Kaspersky Labs!
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath
Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 02:35 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2016 - 08:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xfx, sapphire, Radeon RX 480, powercolor, gigabyte, asus, amd
An astute reader spotted several more RX 480's on Newegg, lacking clock speeds but providing physical dimensions, albeit with what looks to be a stock image. All three cards seem to be dual slot designs, XFX's card measuring 10" x 5", ASUS' at 11.8" x 5.4" and Sapphire's a wide bodied 11.8" x 6.5". This could indicate a custom cooler or merely that the cards have rough dimensions listed as opposed to the exact size.
Unfortunately the comparison and details page is unavailable so we don't have a way to see the listed clock speeds but we can be sure that they will have three DP 1.2 ports and an HDMI out. We will keep an eye out for any more leaks we can share with you.
Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 06:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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:
- Map Modes, Nomads & Wargoals: Stellaris Patch @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- It’s All Relative – An In-depth Look At Paradox’s Stellaris @ Techgage
- Fallout 4’s Contraptions Workshop DLC Released @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Homefront: The Revolution Tweaking Guide @ OCC
- Civilization VI Trailer Demonstrates Unstacked Cities @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ars’ favorite games of E3: From dueling VR wizards to calm underwater dives @ Ars Technica
- Best Total War: Warhammer Mods @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble 25th Anniversary Sonic the Hedgehog Bundle launched @ HEXUS
- Frags For The Memories: Quake Is Twenty Today @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 05:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Intel's Knights Landing: Fresh x86 Xeon Phi lineup for HPC and AI @ The Register
- Supercomputers in 2030: Lots of exaflops and LOTS of DRAM @ The Register
- Online Backup Firm Carbonite Tells Users To Change Their Passwords Now @ Slashdot
- 7 new-generation programming languages you should get to know @ The Inquirer
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2016 - 06:40 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SLI HB, nvidia, EVGA SLI HB
Earlier this month we reported that EVGA would be producing its own version of Nvidia's SLI High Bandwidth bridges (aka SLI HB). Today, the company unveiled all the details on its new bridges that we did not know previously, particularly pricing and what the connectors look like.
EVGA is calling the new SLI HB bridges the EVGA Pro SLI HB Bridge and it will be available in several sizes to accommodate your particular card spacing. Note that the 0 slot, 1 slot, 2 slot, and 4 slot spacing bridges are all for two graphics card setups; you will not be able to use these bridges for Tri SLI or Quad SLI setups. While Nvidia did not show the underside of the HB bridges when it first announced them alongside the GTX 1080 graphics card, thanks to EVGA you can finally see what the connectors look like.
As many surmised, the new high bandwidth bridges use both fingers of the SLI connectors on each card to connect the two cards together. Previously (using the old-style SLI bridges), it was possible to connect card A to card B using one set of connectors and Card B to Card C using the second set of connectors for example. Now, you are limited to two card multi-GPU setups. That is the downside; however, the upside is that the HB bridges promise to deliver all of the necessary bandwidth to allow for high speed 4K and NVIDIA Surround display setups. While you will not necessarily see higher frame rates, the HB bridges should allow for improved frame times which will mean smoother gameplay on those very high resolution monitors!
The new SLI bridges are all black with an EVGA logo in the middle that is backlit by an LED. Users are able to use a switch along the bottom edge of the pcb to select from red, green, blue, and white LED colors. In my opinion these bridges look a lot better than the Nvidia SLI HB bridge renders from our computex story (hehe).
Now, as for pricing: EVGA is pricing its SLI HB bridges at $39.99 with the 2 slot spacing and 4 slot spacing bridges available now and the 0 slot and 1 slot spaced bridges set to be available soon (you can sign up to be notified when they are available for purchase). Hopefully reviews will be updated shortly around the net with the new bridges to see what impact they really have on multi-GPU gaming performance (or if they will just be better looking alternatives to the older LED bridges or ribbon bridges)!
- GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 3-Way and 4-Way SLI will not be enabled for games
- EVGA Forum Discussion on Pro SLI HB Bridges
Subject: Processors | June 22, 2016 - 02:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Update (June 22nd @ 12:36 AM): Errrr. Right. Accidentally referred to the CPU in terms of TFLOPs. That's incorrect -- it's not a floating-point decimal processor. Should be trillions of operations per second (teraops). Whoops! Also, it has a die area of 64sq.mm, compared to 520sq.mm of something like GF110.
So this is an interesting news post. Graduate students at UCDavis have designed and produced a thousand-core CPU at IBM's facilities. The processor is manufactured on their 32nm process, which is quite old -- about half-way between NVIDIA's Fermi and Kepler if viewed from a GPU perspective. Its die area is not listed, though, but we've reached out to their press contact for more information. The chip can be clocked up to 1.78 GHz, yielding 1.78 teraops of theoretical performance.
These numbers tell us quite a bit.
The first thing that stands out to me is that the processor is clocked at 1.78 GHz, has 1000 cores, and is rated at 1.78 teraops. This is interesting because modern GPUs (note that this is not a GPU -- more on that later) are rated at twice the clock rate times the number of cores. The factor of two comes in with fused multiply-add (FMA), a*b + c, which can be easily implemented as a single instruction and are widely used in real-world calculations. Two mathematical operations in a single instruction yields a theoretical max of 2 times clock times core count. Since this processor does not count the factor of two, it seems like its instruction set is massively reduced compared to commercial processors.
If they even cut out FMA, what else did they remove from the instruction set? This would at least partially explain why the CPU has such a high theoretical throughput per transistor compared to, say, NVIDIA's GF110, which has a slightly lower TFLOP rating with about five times the transistor count -- and that's ignoring all of the complexity-saving tricks that GPUs play, that this chip does not. Update (June 22nd @ 12:36 AM): Again, none of this makes sense, because it's not a floating-point processor.
"Big Fermi" uses 3 billion transistors to achieve 1.5 TFLOPs when operating on 32 pieces of data simultaneously (see below). This processor does 1.78 teraops with 0.621 billion transistors.
On the other hand, this chip is different from GPUs in that it doesn't use their complexity-saving tricks. GPUs save die space by tying multiple threads together and forcing them to behave in lockstep. On NVIDIA hardware, 32 instructions are bound into a “warp”. On AMD, 64 make up a “wavefront”. On Intel's Xeon Phi, AVX-512 packs 16, 32-bit instructions together into a vector and operates them at once. GPUs use this architecture because, if you have a really big workload, you, chances are, have very related tasks; neighbouring pixels on a screen will be operating on the same material with slightly offset geometry, multiple vertexes of the same object will be deformed by the same process, and so forth.
This processor, on the other hand, has a thousand cores that are independent. Again, this is wasteful for tasks that map easily to single-instruction-multiple-data (SIMD) architectures, but the reverse (not wasteful in highly parallel tasks that SIMD is wasteful on) is also true. SIMD makes an assumption about your data and tries to optimize how it maps to the real-world -- it's either a valid assumption, or it's not. If it isn't? A chip like this would have multi-fold performance benefits, FLOP for
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2016 - 12:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: rx 480, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, Polaris, amd
The AMD Radeon RX 480 is set to launch on June 29th, but a VisionTek model was published a little early (now unpublished -- thanks to our long-time reader, Arbiter, for the heads up). Basically all specifications were already shared, and Ryan wrote about them on June 1st, but the final clock rates were unknown. The VisionTek one, on the other hand, has it listed as 1120 MHz (5.16 TFLOPs) with a boost of 1266 MHz (5.83 TFLOPs).
Granted, it's possible that the VisionTek model could be overclocked, even though the box and product page doesn't mark it as a factory-overclocked SKU. Also, 5.16 TFLOPs and 5.83 TFLOPs align pretty close to AMD's “>5 TFLOPs” rating, so it's unlikely that the canonical specifications slide underneath this one. Also, TFLOP ratings are basically a theoretical maximum performance, so real-world benchmarks need to be considered for a true measure of performance. That said, this would put the stock RX 480 in the range of a GTX 980 (somewhere above its listed boost clock, and slightly below its expected TFLOP rating when overclocked).
There is no price listed for the 8GB model, but the 4GB version will be $199 USD.
Subject: Mobile | June 21, 2016 - 10:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Chromebook, Chromebook Flip
ASUS' new Chromebook Flip convertible laptop can be yours for about ~$250, not too shabby for a tablet, let alone a laptop. However for this price a few sacrifices must be made, including the use of Chrome OS as it is a Chromebook after all. The hardware is a quad-core, 32-bit ARM chip from Rockchip called the RK3288C which can reach up to 1.8GHz. It also has 4GB of RAM and 16GB of local storage using eMMC flash and a two year subscription to Google drive to give you 100GB of additional storage. The Tech Report were quite enamoured of this little 10.1", 1280x800 IPS touch screen device, it may not be the fastest machine out there but for the price they felt it to be quiet impressive.
"Asus' Chromebook Flip is an all-aluminum convertible PC that runs Google's Chrome OS. Its $240-ish price tag puts it in contention with the budget Windows PCs we usually suggest in our mobile staff picks. We put the Flip to the test to see whether it's a worthy Windows alternative."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Dell XPS 13 Gold Edition Review – Worlds Best Ultra Puts MBA In Its Place @ The SSD Review
- Vodafone Smart Platinum 7 Phone @ KitGuru
- The Ditto – Cell Phone Alert @ Hardware Secrets
- GELID ZenTree USB Docking Station @ TechARP
- DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2016 - 10:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- HP warns users to check laptop battery as it may be on fire @ The Register
- All aboard the PCIe bus for Nvidia's Tesla P100 supercomputer grunt @ The Register
- Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive, which should you buy? @ Kitguru
- Inotera dismisses report about Micron seeking to lower acquisition price @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft: Nearly One In Three Azure Virtual Machines Now Are Running Linux @ Slashdot
- Brutal Water Cannon Defeats Summer Heat; Kills it on Documentation @ Hack a Day
- Intel-supported Open HPC stack to land in Q4 @ The Register
- AORUS Computex 2016 Tech Overview @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 21, 2016 - 09:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, fermi, kepler, maxwell, pascal, gf100, gf110, GK104, gk110, GM204, gm200, GP104
Techspot published an article that compared eight GPUs across six, high-end dies in NVIDIA's last four architectures: Fermi to Pascal. Average frame rates were listed across nine games, each measured at three resolutions:1366x768 (~720p HD), 1920x1080 (1080p FHD), and 2560x1600 (~1440p QHD).
The results are interesting. Comparing GP104 to GF100, mainstream Pascal is typically on the order of four times faster than big Fermi. Over that time, we've had three full generational leaps in fabrication technology, leading to over twice the number of transistors packed into a die that is almost half the size. It does, however, show that prices have remained relatively constant, except that the GTX 1080 is sort-of priced in the x80 Ti category despite the die size placing it in the non-Ti class. (They list the 1080 at $600, but you can't really find anything outside the $650-700 USD range).
It would be interesting to see this data set compared against AMD. It's informative for an NVIDIA-only article, though.
Subject: Storage | June 21, 2016 - 08:02 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: V-NAND, SM961, Samsung, PM961, 960 PRO, 960 EVO, 48-layer
We've known Samsung was working on OEM-series SSDs using their new 48-layer V-NAND, and it appears they are getting closer to shipping in volume, so here's a peek at what is to come:
First up are the SM961 and PM961. The SM and PM appear to be converging into OEM equivalents of the Samsung 'PRO' and 'EVO' retail product lines, with MLC flash present in the SM and TLC (possibly with SLC TurboWrite cache) in the PM. The SM961 has already been spotted for pre-order over at Ram City. Note that they currently list the 1TB, 512GB, and 256GB models, but at the time of this writing, all three product titles (incorrectly) state 1TB. That said, pricing appears to be well below the current 950 PRO retail for equivalent capacities.
These new parts certainly have impressive specs on paper, with the SM961 claiming a 25-50% gain over the 950 PRO in nearly all metrics thanks to 48-layer V-NAND and an updated 'Polaris' controller. We've looked at plenty of Samsung OEM units in the past, and sometimes specs differ between OEM and retail parts, but it is starting to make sense for Samsung to simply relabel a given OEM / retail part at this point (minus any vendor-requested firmware detuning, like reduced write speeds in favor of increased battery life, etc).
With that are the other two upcoming parts that do not appear on the above chart. Those will be the 960 PRO and EVO, barring any last second renaming by Samsung. Originally we were expecting Samsung to add a 1TB SKU to their 950 PRO line, but it appears they have changed gears and will now shift their 48-layer parts to the 960 series. The other big bonus here is that we should also be getting an EVO, which would mark Samsung's first retail M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 part sporting TLC flash. That product should come in a lot closer to 850 EVO pricing, but offer significantly greater performance over the faster interface. While we don't have specs on these upcoming products, the safe bet is that they will come in very close (if not identical) to that of the aforementioned SM961 and PM961.
All of these upcoming products are based on Samsung's 48-layer V-NAND. Announced late last year, this flash has measurably reduced latency (thanks to our exclusive Latency Percentile testing) as compared to the older 32-layer parts. Given the performance improvements noted above, it seems that even more can be extracted from this new flash when connected to a sufficiently performant controller. Previous controllers may have been channel bandwidth limited on the newest flash, where Polaris can likely open up the interface to higher speed grades.
We await these upcoming launches with baited breath. It's nice to see these parts inching closer to the saturation point of quad lane PCIe 3.0. Naturally there will be more to follow here, so stay tuned!
Subject: Storage | June 21, 2016 - 06:43 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: usb 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, raid, hdd, drobo, DAS, BeyondRAID, 5Dt, 5D
Today Drobo updated their 5D, shifting to Thunderbolt 2, an included mSATA caching SSD, and faster internals:
The new 5Dt (t for Turbo Edition) builds on the strengths of the 5D, which launched three years ago. The distinguishing features remain the same, as this is still a 5-bay model with USB 3.0, but the processor has been upgraded, as well as the USB 3.0 chipset, which was a bit finicky with some earlier implementations of the technology.
The changes present themselves at the rear, as we now have a pair of Thunderbolt 2 (20 Gb/s) ports which support display pass-through (up to 4k). Rates speeds climb to 540 MB/s read and 250 MB/s write when using HDDs. SSDs bump those figures up to 545 / 285 MB/s, respectively.
Another feature that has remained was their Hot Data Cache technology, but while the mSATA part was optional on the 5D, a 128GB unit comes standard and pre-installed on the 5Dt.
The Drobo 5Dt is available today starting at $899. That price is a premium over the 5D, but the increased performance specs, included SSD, and Thunderbolt connectivity come at a price.
The current (updated) Drobo product lineup.
Full press blast after the break.