CES 2016: LG Upgrades webOS for TVs

Subject: Shows and Expos | December 28, 2015 - 08:18 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, LG, webOS, smart tv

webOS was the final attempt by Palm to regain the smartphone market. It launched with the Palm Pre in 2009, but it failed to attract any consumer attention away from Android and iOS. It did catch HP's eye, though. Palm was purchased by that company for just over a billion dollars, which we would call “half of a Minecraft” today. After a series of unsuccessful products, they started licensing it to LG, who eventually purchased the project (minus patents).

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

Ahead of next month's CES, LG announced that a new version will be released at the show. It will be present on their new smart TVs at the show. Some sources claim that the new OS version would also be upgraded on their existing TVs. Unfortunately, this also comes alongside a wave of layoffs at the OS' development group. Former employees claim this was for cost-cutting, while LG says that they intend to consolidate user interface and product management.

We don't typically report on smart TVs, but its heritage as a mobile OS makes it interesting. It has also been used on smart watches, although that area has been silent so-far.

HAMR strike delayed until 2018

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 28, 2015 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: HAMR, delay

We had hoped to see Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording sometime in 2017 but that goal has proved to be optimistic and 2018 is now the current expectation for its arrival.  This technology will allow storage densities higher than 1.5 Tb/in2 but is not quite ready for primetime at the moment.  Prototypes do exist and some are being sent to customers to test the reliability and performance of drives in real life test scenarios.  The drives will be slower than flash based storage of course, however when it comes to storage density spinning rust still holds the crown and will continue to do so for some time.  You can refresh yourself on the technology by following the links in this post and read more about the delays over at Slashdot.

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"Unfortunately the hard disk drive industry is not ready to go live with Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). The technology is yet not reliable enough for mass production. Over the years, producers of hard drives, platters and recording heads have revealed various possible timeframes for commercial availability of drives with HAMR technology. Their predictions were not accurate."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

OWC Announces External Optical Drive

Subject: Storage | December 28, 2015 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: owc, dvd, blu-ray, m-disc, external drive

The idea of an external optical drive is not new by any means, but they can be useful. This is especially true if you have multiple computers. I would argue that average users should still have a CD, DVD, and potentially Blu-ray drive, maybe even one with writing capabilities, but I think we're long past the point of needing a dedicated one for each PC.

owc-2015-dvdburnerpro.jpg

OWC has just announced two new models, one with a 24x DVD burner, and another with a 16x Blu-ray burner (I think this is the right link???). Interestingly, the press release states that they are compatible with USB 3.1 although a 16x Blu-ray transfers at 72 MB/s, which isn't even close to USB 3.0, let alone 3.1. I should note that the product pages seem to state USB 3.0, though. It seems a little silly to go for the higher-end link, but maybe it didn't cost them anything, so why not? They also supports the M-DISC format, which uses a high-durability medium (instead of the typical metal foil) that is supposed to not degrade for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years.

OWC also sells a 3-pack of 25GB M-DISC discs for about $15, which works out to about 20c/GB. This isn't too bad but, with cloud storage being in the ~3c/GB range and external harddrives in the ~4c/GB range, it might be of limited use since you could just make like 5-6 copies per M-DISC copy. You will also need to consider whether you will have the ability to read these discs in the future, although similar considerations must be made for all storage archival solutions (will AWS be around in 50 years, etc.). It might make sense for some, especially enterprises, though.

These drives are available now.

Source: OWC

Plextor to Introduce Company's First NVMe SSD at CES 2016, the M8Pe

Subject: Storage | December 28, 2015 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plextor, PCIe SSD, NVMe, M8Pe, M.2, CES 2016

Plextor is set to announce their first NVMe SSD at CES 2016, and the new M8Pe uses 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 to provide up to 270,000 IOPS read and 150,000 IOPS write performance (4K random). Throughput numbers were not revealed.

plextor.jpg

Image credit: PC World

The drive is in the M.2 form factor though the image indicates it will include a PCIe adapter and heat sink.

"The new drives also feature Plextor’s specialty features, such as PlexTurbo RAM caching, compression technology for maximizing storage capacity, and PlexVault, which allows you to hide private data from others on a shared computer."

No details have been announced yet on capacity, release date, or (of course) pricing. We'll have to wait until CES to find out more.

Source: PC World

Intel Adds New Processors to Broadwell and Skylake Lineups

Subject: Processors | December 28, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: skylake-u, Skylake, mobile cpu, Intel, desktop cpu, core i7, core i5, core i3, Broadwell

As reported by CPU World Intel has added a total of eight new processors to the 5th-gen “Broadwell” and 6th-gen “Skylake” CPU lineups, with new mobile and desktop models appearing in Intel’s price lists. The models include Core and Celeron, and range from dual core (five with Hyper-Threading) to a new quad-core i5:

CPU_World_chart.png

Chart of new Intel models from CPU-World

“Intel today added 8 new Broadwell- and Skylake-based microprocessors to the official price list. New CPUs have unusual model numbers, like i5-6402P and i5-5200DU, which indicates that they may have different feature-set than the mainstream line of desktop and mobile CPUs. Intel also introduced today Celeron 3855U and 3955U ultra-low voltage models.”

It is unclear if the desktop models (Core i3-6098P, Core i5-6402P) listed with enter the retail channel, or if they are destined for OEM applications. The report points out these models have a P suffix “that was used to signify the lack of integrated GPU in older generations of Core i3/i5 products. There is a good chance that it still means just that”.

Source: CPU-World

Microsoft to Reclassify Certain Ad-Injectors as Malware

Subject: General Tech | December 24, 2015 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows defender, adware, Malware, superfish

The Microsoft Malware Protection Center has announced that, on March 31st, 2016, certain types of advertisement-injection will be reclassified as malware. This does not include all forms of ad-injection, just ones which use confusing, difficult to remove, or insecure methods of displaying them. Specifically, adware must use the browser's default extension model, including their disable and remove functions. Recent adware has been known to modify DNS and proxy settings to force web traffic through a third party that injects ads, including secure websites using root certificates.

In other words, Superfish.

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An interesting side-story is that, while Microsoft requires that adware uses default browser extensions, Microsoft Edge does not yet have any. Enforcement doesn't start until March 31st, but we don't have a date for when extensions arrive in Microsoft. I seriously doubt that the company intends to give Edge a lead-time, but that might end up happening by chance. The lead time is probably to give OEMs and adware vendors a chance to update their software before it is targeted.

The post doesn't explicitly state the penalties of shipping adware that violates this blog post, but the criteria is used for antimalware tools. As such, violators will probably be removed by Windows Defender, but that might not be the only consequence.

Source: Microsoft

Razer Expands the Forge TV with OUYA Acquisition

Subject: Systems | December 24, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: razer, ouya

We knew that Razer was buying the software and team of OUYA, since the peripheral company announced the acquisition in July. I don't think we did a post on it at the time, mostly because Windows 10 was launching two days later and a couple of DirectX 12 editorials kept my attention. At the time, the press release mentioned that the OUYA store would be “re-launched” as Cortex for Android TV, and that users would be able to bring their games, controllers, and accounts over. They would end support for OUYA's weaker hardware, though. Current owners of OUYA would receive “deep discounts” instead.

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Now, several months later, Cortex has relaunched. It has over 240 titles, many of which from the OUYA store, including Sonic CD and Machinarium. This doesn't have the same punch as, for instance, when NVIDIA ported several Valve games to SHIELD, and it's a far cry from what's available to a Windows-based PC. On the other hand, the Forge TV is just $99.99, or $149.99 with a controller.

As far as I can tell, Razer hasn't updated their comment (from the July press release) about controller support and hardware discounts for OUYA customers. It might be coming, or maybe they reached out to OUYA customers privately and we've just missed it. No idea.

Source: Engadget

Holy Canola-ie

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 24, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: canola oil

ASCII.jp has been immersing computing devices in canola oil, because I guess mineral oil is too safe or something. While the article is not very receptive to automatic translation, from what I gather, they've already toasted a couple devices. This time, they took an ECS LIVA Core to the dunk tank and filled it with about four liters of said canola oil, which is about a US gallon.

Again, if you're looking to do oil cooling yourself, just use mineral oil.

ecs-2015-liva-core.jpg

Image Credit: ASCII.jp

The PC was passively cooled, using just the circulation caused by currents of relatively warm oil. I say relatively warm, because the Core M has a single-digit expected wattage. They allowed OCCT to run for eight hours, which yielded a stable temperature of about 44C in a 24C room. Again, this is without pumps or radiators or anything like that. The only difference between this and passive air cooling is how effective oil is at absorbing heat, in speed and capacity, compared to air. That said, air is a fairly good insulator, so that should imply that oil has a better chance.

Source: ASCII.jp

Podcast #380 - Microsoft's Surface Devices, the ASUS X99-E WS. HTC Vive and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2015 - 11:23 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, X99-E WS, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, htc, vive, ECS, LIVA, vulkan, dx12, Mantle, nvidia, shield tablet k1

PC Perspective Podcast #380 - 12/24/2015

Join us this week as we discuss Microsoft's Surface Devices, the ASUS X99-E WS. HTC Vive and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Morry Tietelman, and Sebastian Peak

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

DDR3 versus DDR4; the Skylake showdown

Subject: Memory | December 22, 2015 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: Z170, ddr4, ddr3

In Hardware Canucks recent review, they delve into the differences between running DDR3 versus DDR4 on Intel Z170 boards, which come in two versions each of which is compatible with one of the two types of memory.  They start out with a high level overview of the differences between the two memory technologies as there is more than just a simple difference in frequencies.  After covering some of the specifications which might influence your decision they then delve into the performance numbers.

One system is based on the Gigabyte Z170-HD3 with 8GB of Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3 while the second system uses an ASUS Maximus VIII Impact with Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, both systems use the Core i7 6700K processor.  The middle of the chart is the most interesting feature, where both memory kits are running at 2400MHz albeit at different timings.  DDR4 does come out on top but the margins are so close that if you need to shave some money off of your planned build you should definitely at least consider DDR3.

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"Intel's Skylake architecture is the only one that supports both DDR3 and DDR4 memory. But with all other things being equal, is one really "better" than the other on the Z170 platform?"

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

The silence of the keyboards, a different type of feature from the Corsair Strafe RGB MX

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2015 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: input, corsair, Strafe RGB MX Silent, gaming keyboard, Cherry MX RGB red

In a world once again dominated by clicky keyboards a new marketing gimmick has emerged, silent keyboards.  The Corsair’s Strafe RGB MX Silent keyboard still uses Cherry switches but these particular switches are linear and so do not make noise when depressed.  If you like Cherry Red switches this keyboard will still feel comfortable as the keys still require 45g of actuation pressure, though they will feel different at the end of the stroke.  The keyboard still retains the LED backlighting of other Corsair Strafe keyboards and you can control your display with the Corsair Utility Engine.  Check out Benchmark Reviews for more on this hybrid mechanical keyboard.

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"The glut of mechanical keyboards with per-key RGB lighting continues with the release of Corsair’s Strafe RGB Cherry MX Silent series. In addition to features such as extremely versatile programmable lighting, a pass-through USB port, optional textured key caps, and a detachable wrist rest, Corsair adds a unique to them (for now) “silent” version of the Cherry MX Red key switch."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Now Receiving Android 6.0 OTA Update

Subject: Mobile | December 22, 2015 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, shield tablet k1, android 6.0, marshmallow, Android M, ota update

NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet K1 Software Upgrade 1.0 brings Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the gaming tablet, and the OTA update is being pushed to devices now.

new-shield-tablet-k1.jpg

NVIDIA listed some benefits to the updated OS on the tablet K1:

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Upgrades

  • Now on Tap – This new feature from Google anticipates what you need, the moment you need it. With a simple tap, you’ll be able to quickly find information related to what you are seeing on the screen, as well as inside an app.
  • Adoptable Storage – Expandable storage moves internal. MicroSD cards can now be integrated with main internal storage, auto managed by the system, cutting out the need to manage where apps and files are stored. This replaces SHIELD’s move to SD functionality.
  • Improved App Permissions – Permissions are now managed centrally, meaning you have more freedom to grant access as you wish.
  • App Standby – Battery life is a big factor when choosing a device. App Standby can improve it in a big way. App Standby will automatically put an app into a standby state based on when you last used it, pausing network access and sync; it ends once the tablet starts charging. You’ll also get improved Bluetooth Low Energy scanning power efficiency.

More Upgrades from NVIDIA

  • New NVIDIA SHIELD Camera – We’re adding a new camera app to SHIELD tablet K1, with a user interface inspired by Material Design. It brings improved burst photo functionality and adds new real-time HD image effects, accelerated by Tegra K1’s Kepler-based GPU.
  • Fallout Shelter and Bonus Lunchboxes – Bethesda’s acclaimed post-apocalyptic world, Fallout Shelter, is part of the upgrade. As a bonus, the first 50,000 SHIELD tablet K1 gamers can score five free lunchboxes, each containing four Fallout Shelter cards for in-game currency, consumables and more. Click here to learn more.
  • User Interface Upgrades – Personalize Home and Lock screens with different wallpapers, including new NVIDIA wallpapers. You can launch Google Now voice commands from the lock screen. And you can personalize your Quick Settings menu, adding, removing or rearranging toggles.

The update was released yesterday to SHIELD tablet K1 users, and  it appears that it will be available for the original SHIELD tablet soon according to a post by a Customer Care rep on NVIDIA’s Official SHIELD Tablet K1 OTA 1.0 Feedback Thread.

Source: NVIDIA

Samsung adding AMD to their customers?

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2015 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: amd, Samsung, 14nm, rumour

The talk around the watercooler includes a rumour that AMD may use Samsung to produce at least some of their 14nm chips in the coming year.  If true this has been a huge year for Samsung who produce NVIDIA chips as well as recently picking up a contract with Apple to produce some of their A9 SoCs.  The rumour still includes GLOBALFOUNDRIES as a source for APUs and GPUs so this would make Samsung a second source for working silicon, which we can hope will alleviate some of AMD's difficulty in maintaining supplies of products.  This could also help fund Samsung's development of their 10nm FinFET node which the claim should be in production by the end of 2016.  As always, take the rumour for what it is but if you want to learn more about what is being said you can pop over to The Inquirer.

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"A report in South Korea's Electronic Times, which cited unknown sources, said that Samsung Electronics will start making new chips for AMD sometime next year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

MSI Releases Intel C236 Workstation Motherboards for Xeon E3-1200 v5

Subject: Motherboards | December 22, 2015 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: Xeon E3-1200 V5, workstation, msi, motherboard, Intel C236, C236M Workstation, C236A Workstation

MSI has launched a pair of workstation motherboards based on Intel's C236 chipset, with support for the new 6th-gen "Skylake" Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors.

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With the C236A Workstation (ATX) and C236M Workstation (Micro-ATX) boards potential system builders will have a lot of flexibility with enclosure size, and both motherboards support ECC DDR4.

"MSI C236 WORKSTATION motherboards are optimized for professional and industrial use. Advanced PCB design, engineered using industry leading standards and the use of the highest quality components passing the most extreme quality validation, the C236A WORKSTATION and C236M WORKSTATION motherboards guarantee the best in performance and reliability. Designed and optimized for NVIDIA® Quadro® and AMD® FirePro graphics cards multi-GPU setups, equipped with unique Steel Armor and optimal PCI Express slot placement ensure great efficiency and perfect stability for heavy duty computing."

c236a.jpg

The MSI C236A Workstation Motherboard

The specifications of the two motherboards differ in more ways than form-factor, with the biggest feature set coming from the ATX model (C236A):

  • Supports Intel Xeon E3 v5 series / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports ECC DDR4 Memory
  • Supports Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro professional graphics cards
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C port, ASMedia ASM1142 Chipset)
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s
  • Multi-GPU with Steel Armor PCI-E slots (Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire)
  • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Military Class 4
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • Windows 10 Ready

c236m.jpg

The C236M Workstation Motherboard

The Micro-ATX model (C236M) looks to be more of a budget option, with differences including lack of M.2 support, no USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN instead of the larger board's Intel NIC. As this is mATX there are only two PCIe slots, which are configured x16/x4.

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: MSI

MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 Series offers some attractive pricing

Subject: Storage | December 21, 2015 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: MyDigitalSSD, BP5e Slim 7, Phison S10, toggle NAND, tlc

At a mere $240 for the 960GB model, all the way down to $65 for the 240GB drive, the pricing on the MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 Series is very attractive.  The drives use the Phison S10 controller, which is quad-core and 8-channel design, with Toshiba’s TLC Toggle 2.0 NAND.  The NAND is the key factor in lowering the cost of the drives and may sour some prospective buyers.  The SSD Review's testing showed decent performance, even in the write tests although not quite good enough to unseat Samsung's 850 EVO.  There are some features lacking, such as AES encryption and the 2 year warranty is somewhat worrying.  As always, you get what you pay for and at these discounted prices the BP5e Slim series is certainly a interesting choice for those on a limited budget.

MyDigitalSSD-BP5e-960GB-Exterior.jpg

"The competition between value based SSDs is getting ever more fierce this holiday season. Comparing back to just a few weeks ago we see most manufacturers offering great prices to entice more sales before year’s end. Building upon this steam is MyDigitalSSD with their latest model, the BP5e Slim 7 Series. BP5e stands for Bullet Proof 5 Eco, which is the latest variant of their Bullet Proof SSD products."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

NVIDIA GameWorks VR 1.1 arrives with support for OpenGL VR SLI support and the Oculus SDK

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 21, 2015 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: GameWorks VR 1.1, nvidia, Oculus, opengl, vive

If you are blessed with the good fortune of already having a VR headset and happen to be running an NVIDIA GPU then there is a new driver you want to grab as soon as you can.  The driver includes a new OpenGL extension that enables NVIDIA SLI support for OpenGL apps that display on an Oculus or Vive.  NVIDIA's PR suggests you can expect your performance to improve 1.7 times, not quite doubling but certainly offering a noticeable performance improvement.  The update is for both GeForce and Quadro cards.

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They describe how the update will generate images in their blog post here.  They imply that the changes to your code in order to benefit from this update will be minimal and it will also reduce the CPU overhead required to display the images for the right and left eye.  Read on if you are interested in the developer side of this update, otherwise download your new driver and keep an eye out for application updates that enable support for SLI in VR.

Source: NVIDIA

Bradbury would approve of HTTP Error Code 451

Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2015 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: censorship, error 451

After several years of debate, we will now have a new HTTP error specifically for sites that have been taken down due to court orders and other legal actions.  Error 451, of which you can see an example of here, will contain information on where the page is blocked, the law against which it transgressed and a link to the court case and other pertinent information such as when the court order expires.  451 Unavailable will keep a record of the sites which are blocked if you are curious about what sites are being blocked around the world.

barron-storey_fahrenheit-451_ny-ballantine-1983_29234.jpg

"The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) has finally approved the new 451 status code for HTTP error messages involving web pages which have been repressed or removed for legal or political reasons. The initiative was proposed in 2013, and gained interest from various groups, such as Lumen (formerly Chilling Effects), who see the potential of the Bradbury-inspired code to help develop comprehensive indexes of censorship on the internet."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Vulkan API Slips to 2016

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 21, 2015 - 07:25 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, Mantle, Khronos, dx12, DirectX 12

The Khronos Group announced on Friday that the Vulkan API will not ship until next year. The standards body was expecting to launch it at some point in 2015. In fact, when I was first briefed on it, they specifically said that 2015 was an “under-promise and over-deliver” estimate. Vulkan is an open graphics and compute standard that was derived from AMD's Mantle. It, like OpenCL 2.1, uses the SPIR-V language for compute and shading though, which can be compiled from subsets of a variety of languages.

khronos-vulkan-logo.png

I know that most people will be quick to blame The Khronos Group for this, because industry bodies moving slowly is a stereotype, but I don't think it applies. When AMD created Mantle, it bore some significant delays at all levels. Its drivers and software were held back, and the public release of its SDK was delayed out of existence. Again, it would be easy to blame AMD for this, but hold on. We now get to Microsoft. DirectX 12, which is maybe even closer to Mantle than Vulkan is due to its shading language, didn't roll out as aggressively as Microsoft expected, either. Software is still pretty much non-existent when they claimed, at GDC 2014, that about 50% of PC games would be DX12-compatible by Holiday 2015. We currently have... ... zero (excluding pre-release).

Say what you like about the three examples individually, but when all three show problems, then there might just be a few issues that took longer than expected to solve. Again, this is a completely different metaphor of translating voltages coming through a PCI Express bus into fancy graphics and GPU compute, and create all of the supporting ecosystems, too.

Speaking of ecosystems, The Khronos Group has also announced that Google has upgraded their membership to “Promoter” to get more involved with Vulkan development. Google has been sort-of hostile towards certain standards from The Khronos Group on Android in the past, such as disabling OpenCL on Nexus devices, and trying to steer developers into using Android Extension Pack and Renderscript. They seem to want to use Vulkan proper this time, which is always healthy for the API.

I guess look forward to Vulkan in 2016... hopefully early.

ASUS Introduces E3 Pro Gaming V5 Motherboard for Intel Xeon E3-1200 CPUs

Subject: Motherboards | December 19, 2015 - 11:09 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1200, Intel C232, E3 Pro Gaming V5, ATX motherboard, asus

ASUS has introduced a new ATX gaming motherboard for Intel's 6th-generation Xeon E3-1200 server processors, offering premium desktop gaming features on a board built with Intel's C232 chipset.

e3_pro_gaming_v5_asus.jpg

The board is built with Intel's C232 chipset, needed to support the Xeon E3-1200 processors (not compatible with desktop chipsets). Intel's C232 product page lists a maximum of only 8 PCI Express lanes, so (as pointed out in the comments) the E3-1200 and desktop Skylake processors will provide 16 lanes to the first PCIe slot, with the C232 providing up to 8 more for the other slots. (Intel's C236 chipset, the other chipset supporting these new Skylake Xeon CPUs, supports 20 PCIe lanes.)

The E3 Pro Gaming V5 supports not only E3-1200 series Xeon processors, but 6th-generation Intel Core and Pentium/Celeron CPUs as well with its LGA1151 socket. Why exactly would a server CPU be an attractive option for a gaming rig anyway? For one thing the 4 core/8 thread Skylake desktop CPU (the i7-6700K) is difficult to find and currently $419.99 on Newegg (and out of stock). A Skylake Xeon E3-1230 v5 on the other hand (all models above E3-1220/1225 are 4 core/8 thread) starts at $274.99 (Newegg).

E3PGV5.jpg

Here are some of the specifications from ASUS:

  • CPU: Intel Socket 1151 for Xeon E3-1200 v5 and 6th genereation Core, Pentium and Celeron Processors 
  • Chipset: Intel C232
  • Memory: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual-Channel Memory Architecture 
  • Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
  • Expansion Slots:
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 mode) 
    • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
    • 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
    • 2x PCI
  • Multi-GPU Support: Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
  • Storage: (Intel C232 chipset) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD), 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise support
  • LAN: Intel I219LM, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller, GameFirst technology, Anti-surge LANGuard
  • Audio: SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
  • USB Ports:
    • (ASMedia USB 3.1 controller) 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
    • (Intel C232 chipset) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • Form Factor: ATX (12 inch x 9.6 inch)

Availability for the U.S.A. was not specified, but according to the press release (accessed via Vortez here) it will be offered in the UK with an MSRP of £118.10, or approximately $175 US.

Source: ASUS

HTC Vive Headset and Controllers Allegedly Leaked

Subject: General Tech | December 18, 2015 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: valve, htc, vive, vive vr

A grain of salt is needed for this one. Users on Reddit claim to have found a pair of renders, one of the headset and one of the controllers, for the HTC Vive VR system. They also have a screenshot of the page, although the first words you see are “This Is Real,” which are the most sketchy, ironic, and unfortunate words to be greeted with in a product leak.

valve-2015-htc-vive-allegedheadset.jpg

The current HTC Vive prototype looks like a rough version of this. There are some significant differences, though. My major concern is at the front of the headset. You can clearly see a front-facing camera as well as two nubs below it, one to the bottom-left, and one to the bottom-right. If those two nubs are also cameras, then that makes a bit more sense.

valve-2015-htc-vive-allegedcontroller.jpg

If those two nubs are not cameras, then Valve would have downgraded from a two-camera system, in the original prototype, to a single camera. Valve has already claimed that the Vive will have front-facing cameras, plural, to track objects (like pets) for safety reasons. I can see them adding an extra camera, but I doubt that they would use just a single one. Two cameras allow more accurate depth tracking at low distances, which is when you risk... interacting... with the user. That sounds unlikely.

If it's three cameras? That makes sense.

valve-2015-htc-vive-kyle-orland-ars.jpg

Kyle Orland of Ars Technica is using the original prototype during GDC 2015.
Image Credit: Ars Technica

The controllers are also interesting, but mostly from an aesthetic standpoint. The hexagonal plates, which apparently functioned as sensors, seem to have been changed into circular rings (if the hole goes all the way through). They retain their thumb trackpads, triggers, and a couple of buttons. It's unclear whether each controller is identical, or if there's a difference between the intended-left and intended-right models. Being a lefty, I hope not.

At roughly the same time, Cher Wang, the CEO of HTC, announced that the HTC Vive will be unveiled at CES (in January). It won't be available until around April, but we should know basically all there is to know about the system at next month's trade show. Given this timing, and that multiple users have been posting the leak seemingly independently, it sounds valid. The camera configuration, on the other hand, takes a bit away from that.

Source: Reddit