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Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | July 11, 2014 - 01:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, VIA, isaiah II, Intel, centaur, arm, amd
There might be a third, x86-compatible processor manufacturer who is looking at the mobile market. Intel has been trying to make headway, including the direct development of Android for the x86 architecture. The company also has a few design wins, mostly with Windows 8.1-based tablets but also the occasional Android-based models. Google is rumored to be preparing the "Nexus 8" tablet with one of Intel's Moorefield SoCs. AMD, the second-largest x86 processor manufacturer, is aiming their Mullins platform at tablets and two-in-ones, but cannot afford to play snowplow, at least not like Intel.
VIA, through their Centaur Technology division, is expected to announce their own x86-based SoC, too. Called Isaiah II, it is rumored to be a quad core, 64-bit processor with a maximum clock rate of 2.0 GHz. Its GPU is currently unknown. VIA sold their stake S3 Graphics to HTC back in 2011, who then became majority shareholder over the GPU company. That said, HTC and VIA are very close companies. The chairwoman of HTC is the founder of VIA Technologies. The current President and CEO of VIA, who has been in that position since 1992, is her husband. I expect that the GPU architecture will be provided by S3, or will somehow be based on their technology. I could be wrong. Both companies will obviously do what they think is best.
It would make sense, though, especially if it benefits HTC with cheap but effective SoCs for Android and "full" Windows (not Windows RT) devices.
Or this announcement could be larger than it would appear. Three years ago, VIA filed for a patent which described a processor that can read both x86 and ARM machine language and translate it into its own, internal microinstructions. The Centaur Isaiah II could reasonably be based on that technology. If so, this processor would be able to support either version of Android. Or, after Intel built up the Android x86 code base, maybe they shelved that initiative (or just got that patent for legal reasons).
But what about Intel? Honestly, I see this being a benefit for the behemoth. Extra x86-based vendors will probably grow the overall market share, compared to ARM, by helping with software support. Even if it is compatible with both ARM and x86, what Intel needs right now is software. They can only write so much of it themselves. It is possible that VIA, being the original netbook processor, could disrupt the PC market with both x86 and ARM compatibility, but I doubt it.
Centaur Technology, the relevant division of VIA, will make their announcement in less than 51 days.
Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2014 - 11:36 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, hsa, amd, open source
Open source HSA has arrived for the Linux kernel with a newly released set of patches which will allow Sea Islands and newer GPUs to share hardware resources. These patches are both for a sample driver for any HSA-compatible hardware and the river for Radeon GPUs. As the debut of the Linux 3.16 kernel is so close you shouldn't expect to see these patches included until 3.17 which should be released in the not too distant future. Phoronix and Linux users everywhere give a big shout of thanks to AMD's John Bridgman for his work on this project.
"AMD has just published a massive patch-set for the Linux kernel that finally implements a HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) in open-source. The set of 83 patches implement a Linux HSA driver for Radeon family GPUs and serves too as a sample driver for other HSA-compatible devices. This big driver in part is what well known Phoronix contributor John Bridgman has been working on at AMD."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Things that make you go hmm: GlobalFoundries hires ex-IBM chip fabber @ The Register
- Microsoft uncovers bogus SSL certificates, urges users to beware of cyber attacks @ The Inquirer
- Gameover Zeus malware returns stronger than ever @ The Inquirer
- How to Operate Linux Spycams With Motion @ Linux.com
- PAPAGO! Dashcam P2PRO 1080p Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2014 - 11:30 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: market share, desktop pc
There has been a 2 year slump in PC sales due to a number of reasons, from a lack of attractive system upgrades to the increasing capabilities of mobile devices but according to Gartner this is coming to an end. While Acer and the smaller brands and no-name systems continue to see sales declines the major players such as Lenovo HP, Dell, and Asus have all seen increases in the amount of systems they have sold in this past quarter. The Register quotes Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa in their article, "... we expect to see slow, but consistent, PC growth" as emerging markets augment their low cost tablets with purchases of full PCs.
"By Gartner's estimates, worldwide PC shipments were essentially flat for the second quarter of 2014, growing just 0.1 per cent when compared to the same period a year ago. But even that is encouraging, the analyst firm points out, because shipments have declined for the last eight consecutive quarters."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CHIPS DOWN. IBM spends $3bn on its FU-TURE-TURE-TURE @ The Register
- Apple Gets Its First Batch of iPhone Chips From TSMC @ Slashdot
- Snapdragon 805 benchmarks slightly outperform the Galaxy S5, One M8 @ The Inquirer
- Linksys WRT1900AC Router Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Homebrew NSA Bugs @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2014 - 10:17 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, Mantle, amd, nvidia, XSPC, quantum dots, western digital, My Cloud Mirror, A10-7850K, Kaveri, arm, quakecon
PC Perspective Podcast #308 - 07/10/2014
Join us this week as we discuss Intel using Mantle, XSPC Watercooling Kits, Quantum Dots, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Tietelman
Subject: Processors | July 9, 2014 - 02:42 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: nvidia, msi, Luxmark, Lightning, hsa, GTX 580, GCN, APU, amd, A88X, A10-7850K
When I first read many of the initial AMD A10 7850K reviews, my primary question was how would the APU act if there was a different GPU installed on the system and did not utilize the CrossFire X functionality that AMD talked about. Typically when a user installs a standalone graphics card on the AMD FM2/FM2+ platform, they disable the graphics portion of the APU. They also have to uninstall the AMD Catalyst driver suite. So this then leaves the APU as a CPU only, and all of that graphics silicon is left silent and dark.
Who in their right mind would pair a high end graphics card with the A10-7850K? This guy!
Does this need to be the case? Absolutely not! The GCN based graphics unit on the latest Kaveri APUs is pretty powerful when used in GPGPU/OpenCL applications. The 4 cores/2 modules and 8 GCN cores can push out around 856 GFlops when fully utilized. We also must consider that the APU is the first fully compliant HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) chip, and it handles memory accesses much more efficiently than standalone GPUs. The shared memory space with the CPU gets rid of a lot of the workarounds typically needed for GPGPU type applications. It makes sense that users would want to leverage the performance potential of a fully functioning APU while upgrading their overall graphics performance with a higher end standalone GPU.
To get this to work is very simple. Assuming that the user has been using the APU as their primary graphics controller, they should update to the latest Catalyst drivers. If the user is going to use an AMD card, then it would behoove them to totally uninstall the Catalyst driver and re-install only after the new card is installed. After this is completed restart the machine, go into the UEFI, and change the primary video boot device to PEG (PCI-Express Graphics) from the integrated unit. Save the setting and shut down the machine. Insert the new video card and attach the monitor cable(s) to it. Boot the machine and either re-install the Catalyst suite if an AMD card is used, or install the latest NVIDIA drivers if that is the graphics choice.
Windows 7 and Windows 8 allow users to install multiple graphics drivers from different vendors. In my case I utilized a last generation GTX 580 (the MSI N580GTX Lightning) along with the AMD A10 7850K. These products coexist happily together on the MSI A88X-G45 Gaming motherboard. The monitor is attached to the NVIDIA card and all games are routed through that since it is the primary graphics adapter. Performance seems unaffected with both drivers active.
I find it interesting that the GPU portion of the APU is named "Spectre". Who owns those 3dfx trademarks anymore?
When I load up Luxmark I see three entries: the APU (CPU and GPU portions), the GPU portion of the APU, and then the GTX 580. Luxmark defaults to the GPUs. We see these GPUs listed as “Spectre”, which is the GCN portion of the APU, and the NVIDIA GTX 580. Spectre supports OpenCL 1.2 while the GTX 580 is an OpenCL 1.1 compliant part.
With both GPUs active I can successfully run the Luxmark “Sala” test. The two units perform better together than when they are run separately. Adding in the CPU does increase the score, but not by very much (my guess here is that the APU is going to be very memory bandwidth bound in such a situation). Below we can see the results of the different units separate and together.
These results make me hopeful about the potential of AMD’s latest APU. It can run side by side with a standalone card, and applications can leverage the performance of this unit. Now all we need is more HSA aware software. More time and more testing is needed for setups such as this, and we need to see if HSA enabled software really does see a boost from using the GPU portion of the APU as compared to a pure CPU piece of software or code that will run on the standalone GPU.
Personally I find the idea of a heterogeneous solution such as this appealing. The standalone graphics card handles the actual graphics portions, the CPU handles that code, and the HSA software can then fully utilize the graphics portion of the APU in a very efficient manner. Unfortunately, we do not have hard numbers on the handful of HSA aware applications out there, especially when used in conjunction with standalone graphics. We know in theory that this can work (and should work), but until developers get out there and really optimize their code for such a solution, we simply do not know if having an APU will really net the user big gains as compared to something like the i7 4770 or 4790 running pure x86 code.
In the meantime, at least we know that these products work together without issue. The mixed mode OpenCL results make a nice case for improving overall performance in such a system. I would imagine with more time and more effort from developers, we could see some really interesting implementations that will fully utilize a system such as this one. Until then, happy experimenting!
Subject: Shows and Expos | July 9, 2014 - 02:27 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: workshop, quakecon, contest, byoc
Are you interested in attending Quakecon 2014 next weekend in Dallas, TX but just can't swing the BYOC spot? Well, thanks to our friends at Quakecon and at PC Part Picker, we have two BYOC spots up for grabs for fans of PC Perspective!
While we are excited to be hosting our PC Perspective Hardware Workshop with thousands of dollars in giveaways to pass out on Saturday the 19th, I know that the big draw is the chance to spend Thursday, Friday and Saturday at North America's largest LAN Party.
The giveaway is simple.
- Fill out the form below with your name and email address.
- Make sure you are able and willing to attend Quakecon from July 17th - July 20th. There is no point in winning a free BYOC spot that you cannot use!
- We'll pick a winner on Friday, July 11th so you'll have enough time to make plans.
There you have it. Get it to it guys and we'll see you in Dallas!
Subject: General Tech | July 9, 2014 - 11:45 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: skywind, skyrim, morrowind, gaming, elder scrolls, !console
It has been a long time coming and unfortunately it isn't quite here yet but sometime in the not too distant future Skywind will be opened up to the public for testing. If you do not own Skyrm then you probably have no interest in this mod but you may need to ensure you have a copy of Morrowind, including both Tribunal and Bloodmoon addons. You will need both games installed as well as the soon to be released assets from TESRenewal.com to try out Skywind for yourself. If your head is about to explode from the excitement and anticipation you probably shouldn't watch the video below nor read more about it at the equally excited Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.
"Skywind, the total rebuild of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind in Skyrim’s engine, continues to play sweet melodies on my heart strings. They’re nostalgic tunes that lull me like the most charming of snake charmers. There’s a new trailer out, and I can practically feel the Balmoran cliff racers pecking at my back, making me invent new deities just so I can use their names as curse words."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Civilization: Beyond Earth Making Planetfall In October @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dwarf Fortress Gets Biggest Update In Years @ Slashdot
- Custom Controllers For Kerbal Space Program @ Hack a Day
- Battle ready: Valiant Hearts and Company of Heroes: Western Front @ The Register
- Penny For Your BioShocks: The Humble 2K Bundle Is A Steal @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Demo Forces Us To Accept Meridian: New World Is Real @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | July 9, 2014 - 10:38 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cellphone, lcd, quantum dots
Research into using quantum dots in LCDs has been ongoing and several breakthroughs at research laboratories have proven that they can provide much a much wider and more accurate colour spectrum than conventional backlit LCDs. The size of the dot effects the colour, with larger dots fluoresce red, mid-sized dots green and the smallest blue, emulating the familiar spectrum of pixels at a lower energy cost and greater accuracy. DigiTimes is reporting on the predictions of DisplaySearch which feel that quantum dots will be the next step forward for LCD technology and could represent up to a quarter of the smartphone display market by 2020.
The technology to incorporate quantum dots into displays is currently available but there are several hurdles which need to be overcome before you can expect to see them in your next mobile device. First and foremost is the price of manufacturing, as with any new process the first generations are quite expensive to manufacture, even if it is ways to molecularly seed a panel with a tailored particles to produce quantum dots succeeds in large quantities. Current mass production relies mostly on heavy metals such as Cadmium which are strictly regulated when used in commercial products and would likely not be approved for use in the production of mobile phones in the amounts currently required. It won't happen in the next few generations of phones but keep your eyes peeled for greatly enhanced LCD panels by the end of the decade.
"The firm said that the penetration of quantum dots in smartphone TFT LCDs will be 3% in 2015, growing to 26% in 2020. Penetration in tablets will also be relatively high, with nearly 2% penetration in 2015, growing to 15% in 2020. The quantum dot penetration in LCD TVs is expected to be lower, due to the large area of TV displays. DisplaySearch forecasts that less than 1% of LCD TV screens will use quantum dots in 2015, growing to 9% in 2020."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC to speed up development of 10nm process @ DigiTimes
- Break Your Frames? Print Some New Ones! @ Hack a Day
- Adobe issues critical Flash Player update for Windows and Mac @ The Inquirer
- Teensy card skimmers found in gullets of ATMs @ The Register
- It's finally happened: Bloke builds BOFH-style goofing-off cattle prod @ The Register
- Panic like it's 1999: MS Office macro viruses are BACK @ The Register
Subject: Processors | July 8, 2014 - 04:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: intel atom, Pentium G3258, overclocking
Technically it is an Anniversary Edition Pentium processor but it reminds those of us who have been in the game a long time of the old Celeron D's which cost very little and overclocked like mad! The Pentium G3258 is well under $100 but the stock speed of 3.2GHz is only a recommendation as this processor is just begging to be overclocked. The Tech Report coaxed it up to 4.8GHz on air cooling, 100MHz higher than the i7-4790K they tested. A processor that costs about 20% of the price of the 4790K can almost meet its performance in Crysis 3 without resorting to even high end watercooling should make any gamer on a budget sit up an take notice. Sure you lose the extra cores and other features of the flagship processor but if you are primarily a gamer these are not your focus, you simply want the fastest processor you can get at a reasonable amount of money. Stay tuned for more information about the Anniversary Edition Pentium as there are more benchmarks to be run!
"This new Pentium is an unlocked dual-core CPU based on the latest 22-nm Haswell silicon. I ran out and picked one up as soon as they went on sale last week. The list price is only 72 bucks, but Micro Center had them on sale for $60. In other words, you can get a processor that will quite possibly run at clock speeds north of 4GHz—with all the per-clock throughput of Intel's very latest CPU core—for the price of a new Call of Shooty game.
Also, ours overclocks like a Swiss watchmaker on meth."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Pentium G3258 Dual Core Processor Gaming Performance @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Pentium G3258 Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Core i7 4790K @ eTeknix
- Devil's Canyon Intel Core i7-4790K @ Legion Hardware
- Overclocking the Core i7-4790K @ The Tech Report
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 8, 2014 - 02:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PSU, antec, 750w, 80 Plus Gold, TruePower Classic
[H]ard|OCP reviewed the highest powered model of the new TruePower Classic lineup, the 750W non-modular 80 Plus Gold rated PSU which has a lot of advertising hype to live up to. Inside it is a highly modified Seasonic G-Series with quality capacitors, though the fan is only of middling quality. This PSU did pass every test that was thrown at it bit did not quite provide the same high performance as other PSUs [H] tested that used the same design. On the other hand at $103 it does not cost as much either making it a good example of compromise between extreme performance and extreme cost.
"Antec comes to us today with a mid-level 750 watt enthusiast computer power supply that touts Gold efficiency. This PSU is somewhat light on marketing and heavy on features such as Japanese capacitors, "unprecedented tight voltage regulation," and low ripple and noise to "maximize your system's performance."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Antec High Current Pro Platinum 850 W @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! TFX Power 2 300W Gold @ Kitguru
- Seasonic Platinum-1200 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Deepcool Quanta DQ1250 1250 W @ techPowerUp
- eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Update
Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2014 - 10:40 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SoC, Panasonic, Intel, arm
Intel has been fabbing ARM chips for Altera since the end of last year after their unprecedented move of allowing non-Intel designs into their fabs. This decision allowed Intel to increase the percentage of time the fabs were active, as they are no longer able to keep them at full capacity with their own chips and have even mothballed the new Fab 42 in Arizona. Altera is a good customer, as are Tabula, Netronome and Microsemi but together they are still not enough to bring Intel's capacity close to 100%. The Register has reported on a new contract with the ink still wet from signing; Panasonic will now be using Intel's Fabs for their ARM based SoCs. The immense size of Panasonic should keep Intel busy and ensure that they continue to make mountains of money licensing their 14nm-process tri-Gate transistors as well as the Fab time.
"Intel has notched up another customer for its fledgling Foundry business as it tries to make money out of its manufacturing and engineering expertise besides x86 processor sales.
The world's most valuable chip manufacturer said on Monday that Panasonic's audio-visual gear will make future system-on-chips (SoCs) in Intel's factories."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fridge hacked. Car hacked. Next up, your LIGHT BULBS @ The Register
- RS Components shows off 3D printer line-up @ The Inquirer
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 reaches general release @ The Inquirer
- Meet Xiki, the Revolutionary Command Shell for Linux and Mac OS X @ Linux.com
- Anime Expo 2014 – Part 3: Next-Level Cosplays @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Motherboards | July 7, 2014 - 04:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asrock, Fatal1ty Z97 Killer, budget
The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer can be yours for $135, much less than many previous motherboards bearing that famous name and [H]ard|OCP has a good idea why after reviewing the board. The build quality of the board is rather cheap, as in the PCB is "as straight as undercooked bacon and feels more prone to breakage than the crispiest strips of bacon" and there was also mention of blood spilled. However you should not judge the board by its cover as [H] soon found out, 8 phase power and sold caps provided a solid performance experience with no problems installing the OS or during their benchmarking process. Their i7-4770K hit 4.7GHz with almost no effort whatsoever and can be coaxed higher if you have the time and skill. This mix of low price, cheap build and stellar performance for a budget board earned this Killer a Gold Award and a place on the short list for economical enthusiasts.
"The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer offers very little frills and boasts tons of performance at a very low cost. ASRock with us has been hit and miss in the past in terms of reviews. This $125 has all the features though that are needed to get you overclocking though. We put the ASRock Z97 Killer Fatal1ty to the test."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE Z97X-UD5H Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK Intel Z97 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 @ Phoronix
- BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z97WE LGA1150 Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 @ Kitguru
- ASUS MAXIMUS VII HERO @ techPowerUp
- ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2014 - 02:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: riot games, moba, lol, free to play
MOBAs are known to be intricate, unforgiving PC games. League of Legends is one of the most popular at the moment (#1 PC game in terms of hours played for May 2014 according to Raptr). It is free to install and play, with small purchases to unlock more content ("microtransaction"). The free-to-play business model is quite interesting, albeit polarizing, because your commitment starts when your users installs your title, not ends. This often leads to one of two outcomes: abusers of human psychology or constantly developed, great games that strive to never get boring.
Now you can see why it is polarizing (or just read our impending comments).
The business model does permit games that are deep in gameplay mechanics, however, if it keeps a core user base playing (and buying additional content) forever. Unfortunately, this also makes it difficult for new players to join -- especially when it is competitive and multiplayer.
Riot Games noted that they were uncomfortable with how many of their players lose "Battle Training", which is supposed to be a tutorial. Some even prove to have significant skill later on. They interpret this as the problem being how they educate new players. There is high complexity that is fair, and then there is just bad user experience.
"Intro Bots" is designed to be a mode which adjusts its difficulty to match the player currently, and as they progress. Hopefully it works. Obviously that is the limiting factor. It does seem to be designed reasonably. It teaches with repetition and in realistic scenarios.
Intro Bots is coming soon, after a brief stop in public beta. Ironically, the public beta realm was refered to as "PBE"... in a press release for a feature intended to be easier for new players. You know, the people who might not know the game's vocabulary. Just saying.
Subject: Storage | July 7, 2014 - 12:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vertical, V-NAND, ssd, sata, Samsung, 850 PRO, 3d
As you saw in Al's review, the Samsung 850 drive is more than just a small bump in model number and performance, it is the stellar introduction to 3D NAND. The Tech Report is likely having nightmares from the drives reported longevity which is expected to be up to 10 times the cycles of current drives and means an update to their long running endurance test could see them testing into the 2020's. While they haven't yet added the 850 to that particular test they did post a review which starts out with a comprehensive look at the history of Flash technology and why 3D NAND is faster and more resilient than previous types; read on to get a better understanding of the fastest consumer SATA drive on the market.
"Most flash memory is limited to a single layer, but the V-NAND chips in Samsung's new 850 Pro SSD stack 32 layers on top of each other. This is next-level stuff, literally, and it's supposed to make the 850 Pro the fastest SATA drive around. We investigate."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung SSD 850 PRO @ Benchmark Reviews
- Samsung SSD 850 Pro @ Legion Hardware
- Samsung 850 PRO 512GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Samsung 850 Pro SSD Review - Showing Off With 3D V-NAND @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 845DC EVO 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Samsung 845DC EVO 240GB, 960GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Crucial MX100 512GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480 GB Review @ OCC
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCIe SSD @ Custom PC Review
- ADATA XPG SX300 SATA 6Gb/s mSATA SSD Review @ Modders-Inc
- Seagate Laptop SSHD 1 TB Solid State Hybrid Drive @ TechARP
- Synology DS414slim 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID5 Edition Review - Speed, Capacity and Data Security @ The SSD Review
- Samsung Pro microSDXC UHS-1 U1 Card @ The SSD Review
Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2014 - 11:34 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: internet of things, MIPS, prpl, linaro
Imagination Technologies is reinvigorating their MIPS architecture by collaborating with Oracle and Qualcomm on MIPS-focused Java and OpenWRT Linux as well as continuing older partnerships with Ingenic and Ineda Systems. MIPS has been a large player in low power WiFi enabled SoC's for quite a while with three billion MIPS-based products shipped in set-top boxes, mobile phones and wearable tech but have seen ARM take the lead and continue to garner more market share along with Intel's Quark. These new partnerships may help MIPS based devices become more popular as some of the projects being developed are quite interesting, for instance Linux.com mentions the Dhanush Wearable Processing Unit which will run Linux and is aiming for a battery life of 30 days.
"Imagination Technologies has launched a campaign to turn the 30-year-old MIPS architecture into an Internet of Things platform.
The IP designer's recent moves include the establishment of a Linaro-like "Prpl" industry group for MIPS, as well as collaborations with Oracle and Qualcomm on MIPS-focused Java and OpenWRT Linux development, respectively."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cisco, Dell may shift server ODM orders from Foxconn @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft and Nokia tipped to launch an Android-powered Lumia smartphone @ The Inquirer
- Mains Power Detector For A Thing For Internet @ Hack a Day
- TSA Prohibits Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes @ Slashdot
- Kiss my DRaaS: Actifio reckons its virty gear will shrink your storage @ The Register
- Anime Expo 2014 – Part 1: A Quick Live Look @ Legit Reviews
- Anime Expo 2014 – Part 2: Panels, Exhibits and Cool Things @ Legit Reviews
- Win a Cooler Master HAF Stacker Mega Upgrade Bundle @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | July 7, 2014 - 01:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tegra k1, OpenGL ES, opengl, Khronos, google io, google, android extension pack, Android
Sure, this is a little late. Honestly, when I first heard the announcement, I did not see much news in it. The slide from the keynote (below) showed four points: Tesselation, Geometry Shaders, Computer [sic] Shaders, and ASTC Texture Compression. Honestly, I thought tesselation and geometry shaders were part of the OpenGL ES 3.1 spec, like compute shaders. This led to my immediate reaction: "Oh cool. They implemented OpenGL ES 3.1. Nice. Not worth a news post."
Image Credit: Blogogist
Apparently, they were not part of the ES 3.1 spec (although compute shaders are). My mistake. It turns out that Google is cooking their their own vendor-specific extensions. This is quite interesting, as it adds functionality to the API without the developer needing to target a specific GPU vendor (INTEL, NV, ATI, AMD), waiting for approval from the Architecture Review Board (ARB), or using multi-vendor extensions (EXT). In other words, it sounds like developers can target Google's vendor without knowing the actual hardware.
Hiding the GPU vendor from the developer is not the only reason for Google to host their own vendor extension. The added features are mostly from full OpenGL. This makes sense, because it was announced with NVIDIA and their Tegra K1, Kepler-based SoC. Full OpenGL compatibility was NVIDIA's selling point for the K1, due to its heritage as a desktop GPU. But, instead of requiring apps to be programmed with full OpenGL in mind, Google's extension pushes it to OpenGL ES 3.1. If the developer wants to dip their toe into OpenGL, then they could add a few Android Extension Pack features to their existing ES engine.
Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 "Rivalry" Demo from Google I/O 2014.
The last feature, ASTC Texture Compression, was an interesting one. Apparently the Khronos Group, owners of OpenGL, were looking for a new generation of texture compression technologies. NVIDIA suggested their ZIL technology. ARM and AMD also proposed "Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression". ARM and AMD won, although the Khronos Group stated that the collaboration between ARM and NVIDIA made both proposals better than either in isolation.
Android Extension Pack is set to launch with "Android L". The next release of Android is not currently associated with a snack food. If I was their marketer, I would block out the next three versions as 5.x, and name them (L)emon, then (M)eringue, and finally (P)ie.
Would I do anything with the two skipped letters before pie? (N)(O).
Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2014 - 01:08 AM | Scott Michaud
After 17 years at Blizzard, the developers of the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft franchises, Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo resigned on July 3rd. He was credited as the lead designer of StarCraft: Brood War, Warcraft III and its Frozen Throne expansion, and World of Warcraft and its Burning Crusade expansion. He has not announced any future plans, except to be a better Twitter user.
Of course, several projects that he influenced are still on their way, even after he leaves the company. Beyond the games, he notes that eSports and the upcoming Warcraft movie are initiatives that he looks back on with pride, in terms of his contributions.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Memory | July 6, 2014 - 12:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclocking, memory, gigabyte
About a week ago, HWBOT posted a video of a new DDR3 memory clock record which was apparently beaten the very next day after the movie was published. Tom's Hardware reported on the first of the two, allegedly performed by Gigabyte on their Z97X-SOC Force LN2 Motherboard. The Tom's Hardware article also, erroneously, lists the 2nd place overclock (then 1st place) at 4.56 GHz when it was really half that, because DDR is duplex (2.28 GHz). This team posted their video with a recording of the overclock being measured by an oscilloscope. This asserts that they did not mess with HWBOT.
The now first place team, which managed 2.31 GHz on the same motherboard, did not go to the same level of proof, as far as I can tell.
This is the 2nd fastest overclock...
... but the fastest to be recorded with an oscilloscope that I can tell
Before the machine crashes to a blue screen, the oscilloscope actually reports 2.29 GHz. I am not sure why they took 10 MHZ off, but I expect it is because the system crashed before HWBOT was able to record that higher frequency. Either way, 2.28 GHz was a new world record, and verified by a video, whether or not it was immediately beat.
Tom's Hardware also claims that liquid nitrogen was used to cool the system, which brings sense to why they would use an LN2 board. It could have been chosen just for its overclocking features, but that would have been a weird tradeoff. The LN2 board doesn't have mounting points for a CPU air or water cooler. The extra features would have been offset by the need to build a custom CPU cooler, to not use liquid nitrogen with. It is also unclear how the memory was cooled, whether it was, somehow, liquid nitrogen-cooled too, or if it was exposed to the air.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | July 5, 2014 - 01:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: oculus vr, oculus rift, Oculus
The popular VR headset development kit, Oculus Rift DK2, is no longer available for order in China. The reason, according to their subreddit, is due to "extreme reseller purchases". In other words, because too many were purchased with the intention of selling them at a markup. They, then, ask enthusiasts to wait for the consumer version. These are for developers to develop.
Reselling product happens frequently. You see it at big sales, when a retailer sells product near (or under) cost to lure people into their stores. Unless they have a quantity-per-purchase limit, that is enforced, you will see the occasional person buying obscene amounts. Some will even tell the cashier that they intend on reselling it elsewhere.
Oculus is "looking into alternative ways to make sure that our development kits are getting into legitimate developer hands in China". Also, they claim to have not canceled all orders in China., because, "that would be messed up".
Yes, Oculus, that would be.
The Oculus Rift DK2 is still available in the other regions.
Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2014 - 12:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, gaming headset, Almaz, Attitude One
Attitude One joins the crowded headset market with their new foldable Almaz headset with a detachable microphone which is designed to be lightweight enough to carry with you everywhere. The bundled cables are compatible with both Android and Apple devices as well as one you can plug into your PC and simply leave for when you arrive home. The price of €110 quoted by TechPowerUp seems a bit high but the two year warranty somewhat alleviates that investment. If you need a portable lightweight headset with earcups this might be worth investigating as an option.
"Attitude One is a new player on the gaming scene, and today, we take a close look at their first headset, the Almaz. The Almaz can be configured to act as either a headphone or headset because of its detachable microphone and multiple cables."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- thinksound On1 Monitor Series HD Headphones Review @ NikKTech
- ASUS STRIX Pro gaming headset @ Kitguru
- Gamdias Hephaestus Multi-Sensorial PC Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Sirus-C 2.2 PC & PlayStation 4 Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 External Sound Card Review @ Hardware Asylum
- ARCTIC S113BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review @ NikKTech
- Edifier Luna Eclipse 2.0 Speaker Set Review @ Madshrimps
- Luxa2 GroovyT Magic Boom Box Review @HiTech Legion
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