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Subject: General Tech | July 23, 2015 - 01:53 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, r9 nano, Fiji, Samsung, 4TB, windows 10, acer, aspire V, X99E-ITX/ac, TSMC, 10nm, 7nm
PC Perspective Podcast #359 - 07/23/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD R9 Nano, 4TB Samsung SSDs, Windows 10 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
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:10:31
Subject: General Tech | July 23, 2015 - 01:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tricorder, spectrometer, SCiO
If you are leery of building your own Tricorder and need more that just biometric information about yourself then check out SCiO, unless you contributed to the Kickstarter and already have one. It is a tiny
mass near-infrared spectrometer which will allow you to scan objects to determine their chemical makeup and transmit the information to your phone; finally a way to compare apples and oranges! The site also suggests you should be able to monitor the health of plants, get nutritional information on food items and even prove that there is absolutely nothing in that homeopathic snake oil other than C6H12O6 and H2O. Other uses just suggest themselves, such as determining if jewellery is authentic or how degraded the rubber on your tires is. Scanning an item will add it to a database hosted at SCiO, they describe it as "the world's first database of matter" others might use the phrase baseline sample. Check it out right here if you use an iOS or Android device and there are educational kits for schools as well.
"SCiO is the world's first molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand. Scan physical objects and receive instant and relevant information to your smartphone."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel preparing to release notebook Skylake in October @ DigiTimes
- Skype Translate Reportedly Has a Swearing Problem In Chinese @ Slashdot
- Microsoft previews Exchange 2016 with a gentle steer towards the cloud @ The Inquirer
- Silicon-happy ARM engorges its profits by a third – so its shares dip @ The Register
- Universal Pictures Wants To Remove Localhost and IMDB Pages From Google Results @ Slashdot
- Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet @ The Register
- How To Stop Facebook Apps Posting To Your Facebook Wall @ TechARP
- Piper nv iControl security network @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 23, 2015 - 10:52 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, gtx, bundle, metal gear solid, phantom pain
NVIDIA continues with its pattern of flagship game bundles with today's announcement. Starting today, GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 980, 970 and 960 GPUs from select retailers will include a copy of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, due out September 15th. (Bundle is live on Amazon.com.) Also, notebooks that use the GTX 980M or 970M GPU qualify.
From NVIDIA's marketing on the bundle:
Only GeForce GTX gives you the power and performance to game like the Big Boss. Experience the METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN with incredible visuals, uncompromised gameplay, and advanced technologies. NVIDIA G-SYNC™ delivers smooth and stutter-free gaming, GeForce Experience™ provides optimal playable settings, and NVIDIA GameStream™ technology streams your game to any NVIDIA SHIELD™ device.
It appears that Amazon.com already has its landing page up and ready for the MGS V bundle program, so if you are hunting for a new graphics card stop there and see what they have in your range.
Let's hope that this game release goes a bit more smooth than Batman: Arkham Knight...
Subject: Processors | July 22, 2015 - 09:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, APU, Godavari, a8, a8-7670k
AMD's Godavari architecture is the last one based on Bulldozer, which will hold the company's product stack over until their Zen architecture arrives in 2016. The A10-7870K was added a month ago, with a 95W TDP at a MSRP of $137 USD. This involved a slight performance bump of +200 MHz at its base frequency, but a +100 MHz higher Turbo than its predecessor when under high load. More interesting, it does this at the same TDP and the same basic architecture.
Remember that these are AMD's benchmarks.
The refresh has been expanded to include the A8-7670K. Some sites have reported that this uses the Excavator architecture as seen in Carrizo, but this is not the case. It is based on Steamroller. This product has a base clock of 3.6 GHz with a Turbo of up to 3.9 GHz. This is a +300 MHz Base and +100 MHz Turbo increase over the previous A8-7650K. Again, this is with the same architecture and TDP. The GPU even received a bit of a bump, too. It is now clocked at 757 MHz versus the previous generation's 720 MHz with all else equal, as far as I can tell. This should lead to a 5.1% increase in GPU compute throughput.
The A8-7670K just recently launched for an MSRP of $117.99. This 20$ saving should place it in a nice position below the A10-7870K for mainstream users.
Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2015 - 04:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, saitek, X-55 Rhino, Mad Catz
With the revival of space sims recently, joysticks and HOTAS peripherals are once again being updated and selling. If you are looking for more than just a joystick then check out Nikktech's review of the Saitek X-55 Rhino. Not only do you get a joystick you also get a nifty looking dual throttle with seven 3-way toggle switches and a pair of rotary buttons and to top it off they use separate USB cables so you can put one away when not in use to save on desk space. The joystick ships with four removable springs to allow you to choose the relative stiffness of your stick, or you can pull the spring out completely if you happen to swing that way. At $160 is for those who really do plan to get a lot of use out of it but many people have already paid far more than that to get a fancy ship in Star Citizen so the market is certainly there.
"If you were a teenager in the 90's then you probably know that compared to that time combat flight and space simulators are almost non-existent today mainly because this particular genre doesn't have as many fans as it used to (perhaps age has something to do with that). You see back then we had the joy of playing not one but several space simulators like the entire Wing Commander series (I/II/III/IV/V/Privateer), Frontier: Elite II and Frontier Wars, Tie Fighter, X-Wing, X-wing VS Tie Fighter, Starlancer, Freelancer and Decent: Freespace I/II along with many regular combat flight simulators like Strike Commander, F-14 Fleet Defender, Jane's ATF, Jane's IAF: Israeli Air Force and of course Falcon 4.0."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Azio MGK1 Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Fast, Simple, Solid: CHERRY MX Board 6.0 Keyboard Review @ Techgage
- Ozone Strike Pro Backlit Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2015 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, elder scrolls, skywind, skyblivion
While Morrowind is obviously superior to Oblivion there are those who would rather explore Cyrodiil in the middle of Tamriel. Either way, it will be more pleasant to explore your old hunting grounds with the improvements to the engine made in Skyrim. Not only are we now waiting on the brilliant modders behind Skywind to wrap up now the same group are also getting tantalizingly close to wrapping up Skyblivion. If you don't have both games in your Steam inventory yet you should keep an eye out for deals. There is a second trailer you can watch over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.
"Recent videos show many, many minutes of progress on Skyblivion, trotting around the province of Cyrodiil, leaping into Oblivion gates, and pottering about the Shivering Isles. It looks a lot like Oblivion but in Skyrim, which is sort of the goal of the whole thing. Skyblivion!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Sorcerer King Review @ OCC
- Baldur’s Gate: Siege Of Dragonspear On Mods, Publishers And The Future Of Baldur’s Gate @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- EA Accounts to replace Origin Accounts in the coming weeks @ HEXUS
- Imperial: Total Warhammer’s First In-Engine Video @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- AMD rumoured to be supplying the Nintendo NX console chip @ HEXUS
- City Of Heroes Reborn @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 just got a huge update 10 years later @ Polygon
- Civilization turns again with Beyond Earth Rising Tide @ Polygon
Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2015 - 12:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, google drive, microsoft, office
As has happened recently with Dropbox, Box and Apple iCloud, Google Drive has adopted the Microsoft Office API which was released not to long ago, bringing Office Suite compatibility to their cloud. As anyone who has actually tried it knows, the compatibility between Google's applications and Microsoft's Office Suite was more theory than fact. This new plug-in will allow you to save Office files on your Google Drive and open and edit them from within your browser, as long as you are not using the Office 2016 preview which is not compatible. If this interests you then follow the links from The Inquirer to learn more.
"GOOGLE HAS BECOME the latest big player to integrate with rival Microsoft's Office suite."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How Two Bored 1970s Housewives Helped Create the PC Industry @ Slashdot
- Hacking Team's RCS Android May Be the Most Sophisticated Android Malware Ever Exposed @ Slashdot
- 10 Things to Do After Installing Linux Mint 17.2 @ Linux.com
- Microsoft has RECORD quarter, in a BAD way - Sad Nad slashes phone biz @ The Register
- Microsoft open sources software-defined radio code @ The Inquirer
- Are You Ready For Windows 10? @ Tech ARP
- AKRACING AK-6014 Black/Blue Gaming Chair Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: Systems | July 21, 2015 - 03:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: recommedations, system build
While the PC Perspective Hardware Leaderboard is a great resource for those looking to build a new system sometimes a second opinion is warranted, especially if you are looking for a workhorse instead of a gaming rig. The Tech Report just published their current recommendations for system builds, updating the Budget, Sweet Spot and High End suggestions as well as offering sample builds at the end. Feel free to mix and match recommendations from TR and our own but make sure to do a bit of homework if you do to make sure your components are compatible.
"In this edition of our System Guide, we update our recommendations to account for Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980 Ti and AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X graphics cards. The Breadbox Mini-ITX build makes a return for the college-bound."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Turning Up The Dials On Intel’s NUC – Overclock And Overpower @ Techgage
- ASRock Beebox @ Hardware Secrets
- Small & Mighty - Intel NUC5i5RYK Mini PC Review @ Techgage
- Chillblast Fusion Scythe 2 mini-ITX @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2015 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: smartphone, marshall, flac
Marshall has managed to do something almost no other company has been able to recently, kept a brand new product completely secret. They have just released a brand new Android smartphone with an internal soundcard which allows you to play lossless FLAC audio files, something not common amongst the smartphones on the market. The branding is immediately obvious and there are some unique additions such as the use of brass on the two headphone jacks and a volume wheel as opposed to a rocker switch. The hardware is not terribly impressive, a 720p 4.7" display powered by a Snapdragon 410 with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of local storage. This phone is more about the audio, how high a resolution do you want for your equalizer anyways? Check out more at The Register.
"The iconic guitar amplifier outfit''s headphones division managed something that Apple hasn't: it's developed a smartphone without having it leaked to a fan-site. So the launch of the London smartphone managed to catch the world somewhat by surprise."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- What's dying on the vine and rhymes with IBM? @ The Register
- Norton for Windows 10 is NOT a box-borking beta, insists firm @ The Register
- Windows 10 will reach end of life on 14 October 2025 @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft hurls out Visual Studio 2015, .Net 4.6 ahead of Windows 10 @ The Register
- Buckyballs exist in space @ Nanotechweb
- Remote Exploit On a Production Chrysler To Be Presented At BlackHat @ Slashdot
- “Drones” Endanger Airborne Wildfire Fighting @ Hack a Day
Subject: Editorial | July 20, 2015 - 08:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows 10
As we've been saying for several months now, Windows 10 is coming in a handful of days. Naturally, Microsoft is trickling out information and marketing material leading up to it. Some of the interesting ones we can talk about. I'd normally consider a one-minute TV spot as “not very interesting”, and it probably isn't for our audience, but there was one thing that I wanted to say about it.
The ad looks through an international cast of children, and of course an adorable puppy, describing how their technology life will evolve with Windows 10. The premise is that the OS will empower everything that they do, and grow with them because of automatic updates. Of course, young children and a puppy does a lot to sell a consumer product in itself. The video currently has over 200,000 views on YouTube with an almost 20:1 like-to-dislike ratio.
But the part that interested me was the quote “for them, every screen is meant to be touched”.
In a direct way, yes. Once you provide someone with a touch screen, especially a young child, they instantly want to touch every screen in their life. This has actually led to schools refusing to install touch-based all-in-one PCs because they were worried about kids ruining the non-touch monitors.
It is odd that Microsoft would focus on “touch” in the ad, though. This leads me to the point that I want to bring up. Nowhere in the ad is “familiar” or similar verbiage used. Each example is touch, stylus, or voice. You would think that Microsoft wants to draw in the audience who avoided Windows 8.x, and yet the tone sounds identical to what they've been saying for years.
It's just a TV spot, but it sounds a bit out of tune with the last year.
Subject: Processors | July 20, 2015 - 05:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, i7-5775C, LGA1150, Broadwell, crystalwell
To keep it interesting and to drive tech reviewers even crazier, Intel has changed their naming scheme again, with C now designating an unlocked CPU as opposed to K on the new Broadwell models. Compared to the previous 4770K, the TPD is down to 65W from 84W, the L3 cache has shrunk from 8MB to 6MB and the frequency of both the base and turbo clocks have dropped 200MHz. It does have the Iris Pro 6200 graphics core, finally available on an LGA chip. Modders Inc. took the opportunity to clock both the flagship Haswell and Broadwell chips to 4GHz to do a clock for clock comparison of the architectures. Check out the review right here.
"While it is important to recognize one's strengths and leverage it as an asset, accepting shortcomings and working on them is equally as important for the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Celeron N3050 Braswell Linux Performance @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i7-5775C @ Legion Hardware
- AMD vs. Intel Price Comparison Table – July/2015 @ Hardware Secrets
- Comparing Today's Modern CPUs To Intel's Socket 478 Celeron & Pentium 4 NetBurst CPUs @ Phoronix
- AMD A10-7870K Godavari: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Linux Drivers @ Phoronix
- AMD A10-7870K Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 20, 2015 - 02:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, linux, CS:GO
Thankfully it has been quite a while since we saw GPU driver optimization specific to .exe filenames on Windows, in the past both major providers have tweaked performance based on the name of the executable which launches the game. Until now this particular flavour of underhandedness had become passé, at least until now. Phoronix has spotted it once again, this time seeing a big jump in performance in CS:GO when they rename the binary from csgo_linux binary to hl2_Linux. The game is built on the same engine but the optimization for the Source Engine are not properly applied to CS:GO.
There is nothing nefarious about this particular example, it seems more a case of AMD's driver team being lazy, or more likely short-staffed. If you play CS:GO on Linux then rename your binary, you will see a jump in performance with no deleterious side effects. Phoronix is investigating more games to see if there are other inconsistently applied optimizations.
"Should you be using a Radeon graphics card with the AMD Catalyst Linux driver and are disappointed by the poor performance, there is a very easy workaround for gaining much better performance under Linux... In some cases a simple tweak will yield around 40% better performance!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Open-Source Linux Graphics: A10-7870K Godavari vs. i7-4790K Haswell vs. i7-5775C Broadwell @ Phoronix
- 12K (Triple 4K Monitor) Graphics Test Bench Upgrade @ eTeknix
- MSI R9 390X GAMING vs ASUS STRIX R9 Fury @ [H]ard|OCP
- Asus Strix R9 390X Gaming OC 8G @ Bjorn3d
- Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury 4GB @ eTeknix
- AMD R9 Fury X CrossfireX 12K Eyefinity @ eTeknix
- HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 OC 8GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- XFX R9 380 4G DD, XFX Review, XFX Rocks the DD Coolers Again! @ Bjorn3d
- Asus Radeon R9 Fury Strix DC3 OC @ Kitguru
- Sapphire Tri-X Radeon R9 Fury Review @ Modders-Inc
- AMD's Latest Open-Source Driver On Linux Is Getting Competitive With Catalyst 15.7 @ Phoronix
- Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Palit GeForce GTX 980Ti Super Jetstream @ Kitguru
- Intel Iris Pro 6200 Graphics Are A Dream Come True For Open-Source Linux Fans @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2015 - 01:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, lisa su
It has not been a pretty year for AMD with overall sales of $942m representing 34.6% drop from this time last year and even the graphics portion seeing a 54.2% drop which resulted in loss of $147 million. In part this is because all PC component companies have been suffering recently; in part because of a lack of incentive to upgrade high end components and to a larger extent because the general public is not going to pick up a new machine just before the release of a new Windows version. Lisa Su did have some good news, sales of FX processors and A-series APU have been increasing and the second half of the year is historically better for sales. It was suggested to The Register that AMD is not currently planning on reducing their workforce even more at this time but the possibility of future cuts was not completely ruled out.
"AMD has confirmed it is slipping back into cost-cutting mode after its annus horribilis, caused by tanking demand for consumer PCs in a quarter described by CEO Lisa Su as the “revenue trough” for 2015."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Stephen Hawking and Russian Billionaire Start $100 Million Search For Aliens @ Slashdot
- Microsoft to spoofed Skype users: Change your account passwords NOW @ The Register
- Samsung sets sights on the iPad Air with 5.6mm thick Galaxy Tab S2 @ The Inquirer
- Everything You Need to Know About the Thunderbolt Connection @ Hardware Secrets
- DXRacer OH/IS166/NB Iron Series Gaming Chair Review @HiTech Legion
- Windows 10: Xbox One games streaming now open to all @ The Inquirer
Subject: Storage | July 20, 2015 - 01:01 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: vnand, ssd, SM863, sata, Samsung, PM863
...you get the Samsung PM863 and SM863 lines of enterprise SSDs! These 2.5" SATA units were just announced, and as we suspected after reviewing the new 2TB 850 EVO and Pro, these new models can include even more flash packages, dramatically increasing the flash capacity. Here is a breakdown of the launch pricing and capacities:
SM863 (2-bit MLC VNAND):
- 120GB - $140 ($1.17/GB)
- 240GB - $180 ($0.75/GB)
- 480GB - $330 ($0.69/GB)
- 960GB -
$870 ($0.91/GB) < possible typo$640 ($0.67/GB)
- 1.92TB - $1260 ($0.66/GB)
PM863 (3-bit MLC VNAND):
- 120GB - $125 ($1.04/GB)
- 240GB - $160 ($0.67/GB)
- 480GB - $290 ($0.60/GB)
- 960GB - $550 ($0.57/GB)
- 1.92TB - $1100 ($0.57/GB)
- 3.84TB - $2200 ($0.57/GB)
These are some very competitive prices for enterprise SSDs, and the fact that the TLC version can cram just under 4TB into a 7mm 2.5" form factor is just astounding. The MLC version capacities appear to still follow that of the 850 Pro, minus a bit of available capacity due to higher levels of over-provisioning.
More impressive is the endurance ratings of these SSDs. The SM863 line is rated (varying by capacity) from 770 Terabytes Written (TBW) to an astonishing 12,320 TBW for the 1.92TB model! That's over 12 Petabytes! The PM863 is rated lower as it is TLC based, but is still no slouch as it ranges from 170 to 5,600 TBW for the 3.84TB capacity. The SM863 carries a 5-year warranty, while the PM863 drops that to 3-years.
We've been waiting to see Samsung's 32-layer VNAND appear in enterprise units for some time now, and look forward to testing them just as soon as we can get our hands on them!
Full press blast after the break.
Subject: Mobile | July 19, 2015 - 06:43 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Android, microsoft, windows, windows 10, cortana
When it graduated from high school, Microsoft was voted “least likely to have an open relationship with itself”. Well who's laughing now, member of the Yearbook Committee? You thought you were so clever, sitting in the back of the late bus for students in extra-curricular activities, giggling as you doodled in your Five Star binder. Even though they always hogged the Windows seat, maybe they would have opened it up for a little fresh air in the Summer time had you taken the time to ask.
Image Credit: Ars Technica
While Cortana is first and foremost a Windows 10 feature, it will appear on iOS and Android as well. Peter Bright of Ars Technica got in on the pre-release, invite-only beta and walked through the features. He notes that, while many have complained about crashes, his experienced wasn't marred with stability issues. On the other hand, because Cortana is not as deeply integrated into the operating system, despite the laundry list of permissions it requests, he expects that most users looking for a digital assistant will look to Google Now on their Android devices, even if they use Cortana on Windows 10.
Image Credit: Ars Technica
There really wasn't a whole lot of note in the article though, at least in my opinion. There are a few interesting screenshots, but it basically looks like someone grafted the Cortana fly-out menu from Windows 10 onto a fullscreen mobile device. Even though I already saw the similarities in the Windows 10 Technical Previews, it is funny to see it so explicit.
No release date has been set for Cortana on Android or iOS.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | July 19, 2015 - 06:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Zen, TSMC, Skylake, pascal, nvidia, Intel, Cannonlake, amd, 7nm, 16nm, 10nm
Getting smaller features allows a chip designer to create products that are faster, cheaper, and consume less power. Years ago, most of them had their own production facilities but that is getting rare. IBM has just finished selling its manufacturing off to GlobalFoundries, which was spun out of AMD when it divested from fabrication in 2009. Texas Instruments, on the other hand, decided that they would continue manufacturing but get out of the chip design business. Intel and Samsung are arguably the last two players with a strong commitment to both sides of the “let's make a chip” coin.
So where do you these chip designers go? TSMC is the name that comes up most. Any given discrete GPU in the last several years has probably been produced there, along with several CPUs and SoCs from a variety of fabless semiconductor companies.
Several years ago, when the GeForce 600-series launched, TSMC's 28nm line led to shortages, which led to GPUs remaining out of stock for quite some time. Since then, 28nm has been the stable work horse for countless high-performance products. Recent chips have been huge, physically, thanks to how mature the process has become granting fewer defects. The designers are anxious to get on smaller processes, though.
In a conference call at 2 AM (EDT) on Thursday, which is 2 PM in Taiwan, Mark Liu of TSMC announced that “the ramping of our 16 nanometer will be very steep, even steeper than our 20nm”. By that, they mean this year. Hopefully this translates to production that could be used for GPUs and CPUs early, as AMD needs it to launch their Zen CPU architecture in 2016, as early in that year as possible. Graphics cards have also been on that technology for over three years. It's time.
Also interesting is how TSMC believes that they can hit 10nm by the end of 2016. If so, this might put them ahead of Intel. That said, Intel was also confident that they could reach 10nm by the end of 2016, right until they announced Kaby Lake a few days ago. We will need to see if it pans out. If it does, competitors could actually beat Intel to the market at that feature size -- although that could end up being mobile SoCs and other integrated circuits that are uninteresting for the PC market.
Following the announcement from IBM Research, 7nm was also mentioned in TSMC's call. Apparently they expect to start qualifying in Q1 2017. That does not provide an estimate for production but, if their 10nm schedule is both accurate and also representative of 7nm, that would production somewhere in 2018. Note that I just speculated on an if of an if of a speculation, so take that with a mine of salt. There is probably a very good reason that this date wasn't mentioned in the call.
Back to the 16nm discussion, what are you hoping for most? New GPUs from NVIDIA, new GPUs from AMD, a new generation of mobile SoCs, or the launch of AMD's new CPU architecture? This should make for a highly entertaining comments section on a Sunday morning, don't you agree?
Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2015 - 09:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zenfone2, zenfone, asus
So this is kind-of cool. The ASUS ZenFone 2 is based around an Intel Atom processor, which uses an x86 processor. Its performance is not comparable to a Haswell PC with discrete graphics, but the machine language will correctly guide voltages through the appropriate logic and end up in the proper memory locations. This means software that doesn't require high performance (or access to more advanced hardware) can run without translating the instruction set, which is harsh on performance.
Note that “more advanced hardware” could refer to something as simple as a floppy drive, which is not required to be classified as an x86 device but might be required for seemingly trivial software.
In this case, someone decided to load Windows 7 on ASUS' smartphone. It technically runs in an emulator but, as stated before, it does not need to translate the underlying instruction set. Even though it's a cute project, I wonder if it's possible to boot some version of Windows on an Intel mobile platform. Of course, it's not enough curiosity to make me research the BIOS standards and make an actual informed statement.
Subject: General Tech | July 17, 2015 - 09:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
Microsoft announced the upgrade strategy of Windows 10 in their January consumer press conference. If the promotion is claimed within the first year, the new operating system would be a free upgrade to users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.x “for the supported lifetime of the device”. The internet combined “the first year” with “for the supported lifetime of the device” to speculate that Microsoft would charge a license or subscription from then on.
The bandaids will keep coming until 2020 (features) or 2025 (security)
Now, less than two weeks before launch, Microsoft has released an official statement on the matter. Windows 10 will be supported until 2020 with extended support reaching out to 2025.
This does not mean that every device will be supported until then, though. In order to receive new updates, the user needs to install every update prior to that update, because they are cumulative. If a device is incompatible with an update, and the affected manufacturer is not willing to fix the problem, then Microsoft will not make a special support branch just for you.
But if an OEM has stopped supporting a device, yet Microsoft updates don't break anything, then you can still receive updates for Microsoft. Again, the clause is just for the case where Microsoft's updates are incompatible with your device -- it is not Microsoft's responsibility to keep giving you updates for the manufacturer's problems until the OS gets end-of-lifed.
This does lead to some concerns, though. Imagine that Microsoft pushes a build which disables developer sideloading and Win32 support, locking Windows 10 down to a Windows RT state. If you are even capable of blocking that update, Microsoft will likely not allow you to receive security patches. On the other hand, I don't exactly blame Microsoft for branching the operating system for each individual milestone. Doing something like killing support for Win32 would also be pretty brazen, although it looked like Windows 8.x was on that trajectory when it relegated the Desktop as an “app”... and one which all Win32 software required to survive.
So freedom advocates will have some things to think about, but those concerned about “free as in beer” can sleep a little easier. They will continue updating you for as long as the hardware supports it, until at least 2020 for features (at least 2025 for security). Beyond that time, it depends on whether Microsoft will charge for upgrades to whatever the next version is. Will it be a free milestone (think service pack)? Or will it be classified as Windows 11 with an upgrade or subscription fee? Who knows.
Subject: Motherboards | July 17, 2015 - 05:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: X99, asrock, X99E-ITX/ac, mini-itx
This ASRock board will not be for everyone, many enthusiast who want to build an X99 system are not looking for a mini-ITX board but there are always some who want a lot of power in a small area. The form factor limits this board to a single PCIe 3.0 16x port but ASRock did manage to incorporate a half sized mini PCIe 1x slot as well. Storage options are impressive with a half dozen SATA 6Gbps ports, eSATA, a single SEx port and even a four lane M.2 port. The dozen assorted USB plugs include a pair which support USB 3.1, and there are two LAN ports, on a board this size there is a lot of potential for peripherals and exotic storage solutions. Of course overall performance is also key to deciding if this board is worth using and after reading the full review at [H]ard|OCP you will have no doubts this is an impressive motherboard.
"There is a small subset of computer enthusiasts that have been asking for an X99 option in the mini-ITX form factor. Ask and you shall receive, right? ASRock steps up to the plate to provide small form factor enthusiasts with just such a motherboard. We evaluate the X99E-ITX/ac and experience the good, the bad, and the ugly...if any."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- Asus TUF Sabertooth X99, Military Tough @ Bjorn3d
- ASUS X99 Sabertooth Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS Sabertooth X99 Review @ OCC
- ASRock X99 Extreme6/3.1 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- BIOSTAR GAMING Z97X Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Asrock Z97 Extreme 4 Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Mobile | July 17, 2015 - 04:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: roundup, recommedations, tablet, convertible, laptop, gaming laptop, smartphone
Wondering what is hot in the mobile world right now? Well, you can see what The Tech Report thinks are the best mobile computing devices in their latest round up right here. They have four recommended tablets, ranging from the low cost Google Nexus 7 which is still a hit after years on the market to the much more expensive and brand new iPad Air 2. Of the convertibles they recommend, two happen to be Surface machines from Microsoft and they split up their laptop recommendations between those for general usage and two designed specifically for gaming. Rounding out the list are four phones and a look at what is coming down the pipeline in the near future; what you won't find are any Chromebooks.
"In this edition of our mobile staff picks, we chose our favorites from the current cream of the crop in tablets, convertibles, laptops, and phones."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Rooting, Flashing & ROMming ASUS’ ZenFone 2 @ Techgage
- Mlais M7 Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung Galaxy S6 edge @ TechARP
- Android Wear 5.1: A more enduring wristjob for your pleasure @ The Register
- Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 12 @ The Inquirer
- ASUS ZenBook UX305 Ultrabook Review @ Techgage
- MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro G (1461UK) G-Sync Gaming Laptop @ Kitguru
- PC Specialist Lafité Notebook @ eTeknix