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Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2016 - 02:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, google
Remember the thrill of finding the actual download button for the software you need, hidden on a webpage featuring at least four other large download buttons leading to unrelated and generally nasty software? Well those horrible people at Google want to take that joy away from you! Instead of practicing your skills at slapping the monkey, shooting the duck or pretending you are on an online version of Let's Make a Deal trying to pick the right download button to reveal the prize you want, they will present you with a bright red warning screen.
For some reason those hacks over at The Inquirer think it is a good idea to take away the hours of time spent with your family, and all the interesting things that "just appeared" on their machines.
"Google is still chipping away at creating a secure online experience and has just unearthed a new element for safe browsing that stops click-happy idiots doing click-stupid things."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GPS malfunction caused '12 hours of chaos' on Earth @ The Inquirer
- This File Will Self-Destruct in 24 hours @ Hack a Day
- Japanese wireless boffins demo 56Gbps fibre replacement* @ The Register
- A virtual phone inside a virtual cloud desktop is now an actual thing @ The Register
- 10 Best Free Mobile Application Development Frameworks That Support Android @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2016 - 01:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: open source, microsoft, machine learning, deep neural network, deep learning, cntk, azure
Microsoft has been using deep neural networks for awhile now to power its speech recognition technologies bundled into Windows and Skype to identify and follow commands and to translate speech respectively. This technology is part of Microsoft's Computational Network Toolkit. Last April, the company made this toolkit available to academic researchers on Codeplex, and it is now opening it up even more by moving the project to GitHub and placing it under an open source license.
Lead by chief speech and computer scientist Xuedong Huang, a team of Microsoft researchers built the Computational Network Toolkit (CNTK) to power all their speech related projects. The CNTK is a deep neural network for machine learning that is built to be fast and scalable across multiple systems, and more importantly, multiple GPUs which excel at these kinds of parallel processing workloads and algorithms. Microsoft heavily focused on scalability with CNTK and according to the company's own benchmarks (which is to say to be taken with a healthy dose of salt) while the major competing neural network tool kits offer similar performance running on a single GPU, when adding more than one graphics card CNTK is vastly more efficient with almost four times the performance of Google's TensorFlow and a bit more than 1.5-times Torch 7 and Caffe. Where CNTK gets a bit deep learning crazy is its ability to scale beyond a single system and easily tap into Microsoft's Azure GPU Lab to get access to numerous GPUs from their remote datacenters -- though its not free you don't need to purchase, store, and power the hardware locally and can ramp the number up and down based on how much GPU muscle you need. The example Microsoft provided showed two similarly spec'd Linux systems with four GPUs each running on Azure cloud hosting getting close to twice the performance of the 4 GPU system (75% increase). Microsoft claims that "CNTK can easily scale beyond 8 GPUs across multiple machines with superior distributed system performance."
Using GPU-based Azure machines, Microsoft was able to increase the performance of Cortana's speech recognition by 10-times compared to the local systems they were previously using.
It is always cool to see GPU compute in practice and now that CNTK is available to everyone, I expect to see a lot of new uses for the toolkit beyond speech recognition. Moving to an open source license is certainly good PR, but I think it was actually done more for Microsoft's own benefit rather than users which isn't necessarily a bad thing since both get to benefit from it. I am really interested to see what researchers are able to do with a deep neural network that reportedly offers so much performance thanks to GPUs. I'm curious what new kinds of machine learning opportunities the extra speed will enable.
If you are interested, you can check out CNTK on GitHub!
Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2016 - 11:53 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, Trion 150, tesla, steam os, Samsung, rise of the tomb raider, podcast, ocz, NVMe, Jim Keller, amd, 950 PRO
PC Perspective Podcast #385 - 02/04/2016
Join us this week as we discuss Rise of the Tomb Raider performance, a triple RAID-0 NVMe array 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 (audio only)
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:16:38
- Join our spam list to get notified when we go live!
- We’re on Patreon!
- Week in Review:
- 0:44:25 Winner: EVGA Winter 2016 Prize Pack and Giveaway
- News items of interest:
- 0:46:35 Gigabyte adds full GIMPS and Prime95 compatibility to Skylake processors
- 0:48:40 So That's Where Jim Keller Went To... Tesla Motors…
- 0:54:40 AMD FirePro S-Series Introduces Hardware-Based GPU Virtualization
- 0:56:15 Who's a pretty boy? Is it you Fallout?
- 0:58:40 OCZ Launches Trion 150, Successor to Trion 100 SATA SSD, Using 15nm Flash
- Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Mobile | February 4, 2016 - 09:39 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wi-fi, shield tablet, shield, ota update, nvidia, android 6.0
NVIDIA has pulled the Android 6.0 OTA update for the original SHEILD (pre-K1) tablet after users experienced wi-fi connection issues. A post on NVIDIA's official forums explains:
"We have temporarily turned off the OTA update until we understand why a few users are losing WiFi connection after updating their tablet to OTA 4.0."
(Image: Android Police)
The post is authored by Manuel Guzman of NVIDIA Customer Care, and includes a list of potential fixes:
- Reboot your tablet 2-3 times. If this fails, power cycle your tablet 3-4 times (not reboot but complete power off). If this does not work, charge your tablet to 100% and attempt again a couple of times or so.
- Factory reset your tablet. Make sure you backup any important files before you perform this step.
- A couple of users reporting their WiFi coming back after leaving their tablet powered off for a few hours. Try leaving your tablet powered off for a few hours and then turn the device back on.
Users who still have issues connecting are asked to navigate to the Advanced W-Fi page on their tablet, and then to "take a screenshot and email the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org".
Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2016 - 02:15 AM | Scott Michaud
This example is an image of Windows 95, complete with its default applications such as Minesweeper. It was ported by Andrea Faulds, who is a major contributor to PHP. The Windows 95 demo was apparently created in 2015, according to her personal website, but I just found out about it.
Subject: Storage | February 3, 2016 - 03:31 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Trion 150, toshiba, tlc, ssd, slc, sata, ocz, A15nm
*Note* This piece originally stated 'A15nm', however this was an error in the Trion 150 spec sheet at OCZ. It has been corrected in this article (as well as at the OCZ web site).
2015 was a bit of a rough year for OCZ, as their integration with parent company Toshiba ran into a few performance bumps in the road. First was the Vector 180 launch, which saw some particularly troublesome stalls during writes and TRIM operations. The Trion 100 launch went a bit smoother, but we did note some inconsistencies in caching performance of those TLC/SLC caching SSDs.
OCZ hopes to turn things around by kicking off 2016 with some updates to their product lines. First up is the just announced Trion 150:
Looking at the spec sheets of the Trion 100 and 150, it may be difficult to spot any differences. I’ll save you the trouble and say that only *one digit* changes, but it is an important one. The Trion 150 will use Toshiba 15nm TLC flash (the Trion 100 used A19nm). What is interesting about this is that the Trion 150 carries the same endurance rating as its predecessor. A flash memory die shrink typically comes with a corresponding reduction in endurance, so it is good to see Toshiba squeeze this likely last die shrink to their planar flash for all of the endurance they can. Further backing up that endurance claim, the Trion 150 will carry OCZ’s ShieldPlus warranty, which offers shipping-paid advance-RMA (without receipt) of this product line for three years!
OCZ has Trion 150 samples on the way to us, and we will get a full performance review of them up as soon as we can! Full press blast follows after the break.
Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2016 - 02:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: modding, gaming, fallout 4
[H]ard|OCP has put together a little guide on improving your Fallout 4 experience with the help of modders and the great people at Nexus Mods. They describe the basics on how to install mods as there are steps you need to follow to ensure your mods successfully apply, whether installed manually or with the Nexus Mod Manager tool. They explore several mods than greatly increase the size of textures, making them much better looking as well as adding weather and storms to the mix. As long as you meet the graphics memory requirements which they mention you should not see much performance degradation when using these mods. Soon Fallout 4 may be meeting or surpassing Skyrim's impressive mod community.
Of course immediately after [H] covered this topic Bethesda released a new patch which enables HBAO+ for all GPUs and extra debris effects specifically for NVIDIA GPUs.
"Fallout 4 has been out for several months and it is possible that you might find the image quality lacking overall. We take some of the most popular and highly downloaded image quality mods and find out how we can improve the environment in Fallout 4. We modify for visual improvements to give you more immersive gameplay."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Shadowrun: Hong Kong – Extended Edition Coming Soon @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Rise of the Tomb Raider: Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- Need For Speed: Most Wanted is On The House @ HEXUS
- Have You Played… Sacrifice? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Long War Team Reveal XCOM 2’s Launch Day Mods @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Game @ Kitguru
- Battlefleet Gothic Does Galactic-Scale 40K In March @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Rocket League: Learning to Fly @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Next on the list of companies which should know better is Malwarebytes, but it is not as bad as some say
Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2016 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, Malwarebytes
Considering the business that Malwarebytes is in you can expect to see a lot of negative press about a gaping security hole in the near future and while there is a vulnerability it is not as bad as many will make it out to be. The issue lies in that signature updates are done over HTTP and are unsigned, very bad practice but something which would be exploited on a single client connection as opposed to something you could use to create a wide spread infection. The Register links to the Google Project Zero entry which was released today as the vulnerability was first reported to Malwarebytes 90 days ago and has not been addressed on the client side.
The actual concern you should have is that the original bug report also found vulnerabilities on the server side. Malwarebytes did correct the server side issues almost immediately but neglected to follow through on the client side. It is good of them to patch and offer bug bounties but a complete follow through is necessary if you are a security software peddler who wants their reputation to stay intact.
"The antivirus firm says it has addressed server-side vulnerabilities that were reported by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy in November. However, security holes remain in the client-side software that runs on people's Windows PCs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Exascale project wants machine with TEN MEEELLION ARMS @ The Register
- Joysix, Six Degree of Freedom Mouse Made From Retractable Key Rings @ Hack a Day
- Intel, Qualcomm set up their WiGig 802.11ad devices on blind dates @ The Register
- MQTT: Building an Open Internet of Things @ Linux.com
- Build Your Swarm: Control Cockroaches for Under $30! @ Hack a Day
- Building Custom Appliances with SUSE Studio @ Linux.com
- Microsoft ships 6.0 million Surface tablets in 2015, say sources @ DigiTimes
- Ventec 3015+ Battery Pack/Wall Charger combo @ TechwareLabs
- Barracuda Networks Kills Copy & CudaDrive @ TechARP
- Auslogics Registry Cleaner Tutorial @ Hardware Secrets
- 2016 Samsung SUHD TV Models Revealed @ Tech ARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 3, 2016 - 02:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: virtual machines, virtual graphics, mxgpu, gpu virtualization, firepro, amd
AMD made an interesting enterprise announcement today with the introduction of new FirePro S-Series graphics cards that integrate hardware-based virtualization technology. The new FirePro S1750 and S1750 x2 are aimed at virtualized workstations, render farms, and cloud gaming platforms where each virtual machine has direct access to the graphics hardware.
The new graphics cards use a GCN-based Tonga GPU with 2,048 stream processors paired with 8GB of ECC GDDR5 memory on the single slot FirePro S1750. The dual slot FirePro S1750 x2, as the name suggests, is a dual GPU card that features a total of 4,096 shaders (2,048 per GPU) and 16 GB of ECC GDDR5 (8 GB per GPU). The S1750 has a TDP of 150W while the dual-GPU S1750 x2 variant is rated at 265W and either can be passively cooled.
Where the graphics cards get niche is the inclusion of what AMD calls MxGPU (Multi-User GPU) technology which is derived from the SR-IOV (Single Root Input/Output Virtualization) PCI-Express standard. According to AMD, the new FirePro S-Series allows virtual machines direct access to the full range of GPU hardware (shaders, memory, ect.) and OpenCL 2.0 support on the software side. The S1750 supports up to 16 simultaneous users and the S1750 x2 tops out at 32 users. Each virtual machine is allocated an equal slice of the GPU, and as you add virtual machines the equal slices get smaller. AMD’s solution to that predicament is to add more GPUs to spread out the users and allocate each VM more hardware horsepower. It is worth noting that AMD has elected not to charge companies any per-user licensing fees for all these VMs the hardware supports which should make these cards more competitive.
The graphics cards use ECC memory to correct errors when dealing with very large numbers and calculations and every VM is reportedly protected and isolated such that one VM can not access any data of a different VM stored in graphics memory.
I am interested to see how these stack up compared to NVIDIA’s GRID and VGX GPU virtualization specialized graphics cards. The difference between the software versus hardware-based virtualization may not make much difference, but AMD’s approach may be every so slightly more efficient with the removal of layer between the virtual machine and hardware. We’ll have to wait and see, however.
Enterprise users will be able to pick up the new cards installed in systems from server manufacturers sometime in the first half of 2016. Pricing for the cards themselves appears to be $2,399 for the single GPU S1750 and $3,999 for the dual GPU S1750 x2.
Needless to say, this is all a bit more advanced (and expensive!) than the somewhat finicky 3D acceleration option desktop users can turn on in VMWare and VirtualBox! Are you experimenting with remote workstations and virtual machines for thin clients that can utilize GPU muscle? Does AMD’s MxGPU approach seem promising?
Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2016 - 11:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Blender, open-source
The Blender Foundation guides development with a series of first-party short films, each of which are created with open-source software and released under a Creative Commons license. Despite their purpose, to promote open source software and highlight ways to improve Blender, they each have engaging traits that are uncommon in commercial films. Cosmos Laundromat opens with a fairly long shot of a sheep's attempt at hanging itself, while Sintel's ending will make you feel hollow when it reveals its meaning.
This short, Caminandes 3: Lamingos, above, is much lighter than Cosmos Laundromat or Sintel. It has more of the ironic, mischievous cartoon feel of Big Buck Bunny, their second Blender short film. It is about a Llama and a Penguin who are trying to eat some berries; unfortunately, they are both trying to eat the same ones.
The two-and-a-half-minute short film can be downloaded and is free to use under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Its assets are also available, but only under a Blender Cloud subscription.
Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2016 - 05:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: file syncing, encryption, bittorrent sync, bittorrent
BitTorrent continues to support its file sharing and syncing application with the recent release of Sync 2.3.1. The 2.3.x update contains a number of bug fixes for stability, but the important news is the added support for encrypted folders and finally allowing selective file syncing on Linux systems. Additionally, the company put out a short brief on the information they collect and how they are securing your files synced by Sync which is available as a PDF.
Sync 2.3 allows Windows users to run Sync as a service and Android users can move data to and from an SD card from within the app so long as they are running at least Android 5.0 or newer. Linux users also get a bit of love with support for selective file syncing (where you can choose which specific files to download locally and which to keep on the remote peers) though it appears that BitTorrent has limited this feature to its paid Sync Pro tier which is in line with other platforms. According to BitTorrent Inc. among the performance and bug fixes, the biggest UI change is a redesigned process for adding new folders.
On the security and privacy front, BitTorrent claims that it employs several security measures to keep your data safe. First though, the company allegedly only collects benign data including the program version, add folder errors, the amount of data transferred (directly and via relay server), number of peers, and share link and tracker statistics as well as few more things you can see in the brief linked above. All the data that they collect is reportedly sent in the clear so that users can verify what they are collecting on them.
To secure your files, BitTorrent uses SSL and AES-128 encryption to transfer files. In the case of Advanced folders, it generates a X.509 certificate (each folder is given it's own certificate) using a certificate authority and then uses a certificate chain to control user access and file modification permissions as well as a mechanism to revoke access. In the case of encrypted folders, Sync generates storage and session keys with the session keys complying with perfect forwards secrecy standards such that future session keys being cracked does not compromise past sessions. When using the encrypted folders option (which is useful when using a VPS as an off-site backup or to any machine that you do not fully own and control for that matter), data from your local machines is encrypted before being sent to the remote machine using AES 128 bit encryption (I wish they had gone with at least AES-256, but it's something). The data is then sent over SSL. Thus, the data on the remote machine is never in an unencrypted state which is a good thing for having a secure off-site backup. The encrypted folder can still be used as part of the mesh to speed up syncing among your machines, as well, while remaining secure.
I think the encrypted folders are a good addition to Sync, though the encryption bit-ness could be improved (a weak VPS' processor doesn't need to decrypt the data anyway so CPU time needed for the beefier algorithm should not matter...). In past coverage users have mentioned issues when syncing folders that they encrypted themselves before adding to Sync where the data could get corrupted when the peers became confused on changes made and what to sync. Hopefully this will help avoid that though they do still need to work on fixing user chosen pre-sync encryption. I am still using Sync to backup my photos and sync documents between my laptop and desktop and it works well for that sans the storage limits imposed by One Drive (and the uncertainty of my once-promised 25GB of free storage).
What do you think of the changes, and is their security good enough?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2016 - 03:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Wraith, fx 8370, amd
By now you should have memorized Josh's look at AMD's new processors and FM2+ motherboards, unfortunately the one thing we were missing was time to test the unit (which totally did arrive, sorry!). TechGage on the other hand did receive an FX 8370 Wraith and had a chance to do some quick tests with this new 95W cooler. There was a slight hitch, the motherboard they used ran the fan at the full 3,000RPM so more audio tests do need to be run however the thermals show great potential as the FX 8370 never surpassed 57C. This indicates with a properly controlled fan header you should be able to reduce the speed and noise generated without seeing troublesome CPU temperatures.
"It’s not often that we’re treated to a CPU cooler update from AMD, so it was with great interest that we checked out its Wraith in action at last month’s CES. We’ve now been able to poke and prod the cooler over the past week in our lab, and cover everything important about it here. For good measure, we also tackle platform updates."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermaltake Riing 14 LED RGB fan @ HardwareOverclock
- Cooler Master Sentinel III @ techPowerUp
- Fractal Design Core 500 Mini-ITX Chassis @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Midi Tower Review @ NikKTech
- Raidmax Monster II Mid-Tower Case Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2016 - 02:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z170, PSU, power supply, motherboard, GTX 970, giveaway, ftw, evga, contest
For many of you reading this, the temperature outside has fallen to its deepest levels, making it hard to even bare the thought of going outdoors. What would help out a PC enthusiast and gamer in this situation? Some new hardware, delivered straight to your door, to install and assist in warming up your room, that's what!
PC Perspective has partnered up with EVGA to offer up three amazing prizes for our fans. They include a 750 G2 power supply (obviously with a 750 watt rating), a Z170 FTW motherboard and a GTX 970 SSC Gaming ACX 2.0+ graphics card. The total prize value is over $650 based on MSRPs!
All you have to do to enter is follow the easy steps in the form below.
We want to thank EVGA for its support of PC Perspective in this contest and over the years. Here's to a great 2016 for everyone!
Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2016 - 01:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
In the search for higher density data storage some rather arcane materials are being studied for their unique magnetic properties. The latest research being conducted is with extremely thin multilayered films, in this specific case iridium-cobalt-platinum films. These materials display the ability to create incredibly small magnetic features called skyrmions, an area where the magnetic field is rotated compared to the surrounding material and can be coerced to appear and disappear. This is the essence of magnetic data storage, on a much smaller scale you see in current storage material. There are certainly a lot of hurdles to overcome, the experiment described at Nanotechweb is the first to form skymirons at room temperature and they used an X-ray source as the write head. It is still quite interesting to read about, even if we are a long way from seeing it considered for use in data storage.
"Researchers in France, Switzerland, the UK and Germany say they have observed nanoscale chiral skyrmions at room temperature for the first time. Skyrmions, which are quasi-particle magnetic spin configurations with a whirling vortex-like structure, could be used to make ultrahigh-density data storage technologies and nanodigital electronic devices with greatly improved data transfer speeds and processing power."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- PEDOT-based composites provide electrode materials for supercapacitors @ Nanotechweb
- AMD Updates APUs, Athlons & Motherboards @ Hardware Canucks
- Windows 10 now a 'recommended' update for unsuspecting PCs @ The Register
- Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again @ The Register
- Google plugs Android vulns @ The Register
- Samsung Forum 2016 Coverage @ Tech ARP
- Cisco Patches Authentication, Denial-of-Service, NTP Flaws In Many Products @ Slashdot
Subject: Memory | February 1, 2016 - 05:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ddr4-4000, corsair, Corsair Vengeance LPX
That is no typo, the 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX kit which Hardware Canucks just reviewed is indeed 4000MHz effective at timings of 19-23-23-45. The small size of the dual channel kit helps keep the MSRP to $225, affordable for what it is and not removing the purchase of a second kit from the realms of possibility. However the question of performance remains, does a DDR4-4000 kit provide noticeable performance improvements or is it simply good for bragging rights for those few with a motherboard that can support it? The results vary, especially when looking at memory timings and CPU overclocks compatible with the memory frequency however it was also clear that this memory could probably go faster ... if you had components that were capable of reaching those frequencies.
"The Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-4000 is one of the fastest, highest performance memory kits around but with a capacity of just 8GB, will it be enough for today's applications? "
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2016 - 04:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fluke, fail, cat6
The difference between Cat5(e) and Cat 6 will not be obvious for home users but is certainly noticeable in large business deployments. Cat5 and 5e are capable of providing 100MHz whereas Cat6 is rated to 250MHz, assuming it is installed to specifications. In addition to the increased frequency, Cat6 is has much greater protection against crosstalk and system noise which is far more important to many sysadmins.
Previously we benefited from the honour system in place, many Cat 5 cables actually met the Cat 5e specification but it seems that this is not the case with Cat 6. Hack a Day has heard word through a cable provider that Fluke noticed that 80% of the Cat 6 tested with their equipment does not meet specification, in many cases it does not even meet Cat 5e specs. Since a Fluke line tester capable of analyzing network cabling to this degree of accuracy costs north of $10,000 not all companies are going to have their networks fully tested for compliance. This may be why you are seeing odd behaviour on your network.
"So they did some research and purchased a Fluke certification tester for a measly 12,000 US dollars. While they were purchasing the device, they ran across an interesting tidbit in the fluke knowledge base. Fluke said that 80% of the consumer Cat 6 cables they tested didn’t begin to meet the Cat 6 specification."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Running "rm -rf /" Is Now Bricking Linux Systems @ Slashdot
- Graphene Optical Lens a Billionth of a Meter Thick Breaks the Diffraction Limit @ Slashdot
- Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge start getting Android 6.0 Marshmallow update @ The Inqurier
- Galaxy S7: 7 things to expect from Samsung's next smartphone @ The Inquirer
- Windows 10 dethrones XP to become number three operating system @ The Inquirer
- Intel and Micron's XPoint: Is it PCM? We think it is @ The Register
- Tronsmart Vega S95 Telos Android 4K Media Player Review @ Madshrimps
- Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown @ The Register
- How a Hacker Jump Starts a Car @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2016 - 12:48 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ripjaws, RGB LED, mechanical keyboard, G.Skill, Cherry MX
Memory maker G.Skill recently announced a refresh of its mechanical keyboard line that tweaks the KM780 series and cuts $10 off of the MSRP pricing. The two new refreshed products are the Ripjaws KM780R RGB and KM780R MX.
The new keyboards use an aluminum plate/base, Cherry MX switches, and a black anodized finish on the frame. The KM780R MX is backlit by red LEDs while the KM780R RGB can have custom per-key backlighting. Both feature a full QWERTY layout plus number pad as well as media playback keys, a LED volume level display, and six macro keys (three on-board key profiles). There is also USB and analog audio pass-through ports.
G.Skill is offering the new gaming keyboards in several models depending on your choice of key switch. Specifically, users can choose from Cherry MX blue, brown, or red switches. Connecting via USB, they employ anti-ghosting and full N-key rollover tech as well.
The every so slightly cheaper KM780R series does away with its predecessors bundled extra gaming key caps and key removal tool. The KM780R MX has an MSRP of $120 while the KM780R RGB model has an MSRP of $159.99 (Note that the brown and red variants are actually $140 on Amazon right now, but the Cherry MX blue version is not on sale.)
While I have not used them, the original models from last year appear to have garnered quite a bit of praise in reviews (particularly from AnandTech). It seems like G.Skill has not changed much and the R variants are more of the same for a bit less, and that's probably a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing full reviews though, of course.
Have you tried the memory giant's other products before?
Also read: Mechanical Keyboard Switches Explained and Compared by Scott Michaud @ PC Perspective
Subject: Memory | January 31, 2016 - 10:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Vengeance LPX, ddr4, corsair
Earlier this month Corsair released new DDR4 memory kits under its Vengeance LPX brand. The kits come in 32 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB capacities and come bundled with a 40mm "Vengeance Airflow" RAM cooler.
At the top end, the 128 GB kit comes with eight 16 GB modules clocked at 3,000 MHz and with CAS latencies of 16-18-18-36. At stock speeds it is running at 1.35 volts. Stepping down to the lower capacities gets you faster DIMMs. Corsair has the 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) kit clocked at 3,333 MHz and runs at the same voltage and CAS latencies. The 64 GB kit does come with either black or red heat spreaders as well. Lastly, the 4 x 8 GB (32 GB) Vengeance LPX kit runs off of the same 1.35 volts but is clocked at 3,600 MHz (16-19-19-39 rated latencies). It also comes in black and red SKUs.
The memory kits are available now and are currently priced a bit below their MSRPs at Newegg. The 32 GB kit is $340 and the 64 GB kit is $526. Finally, the 3,000 MHz 128 GB kit will set you back $982. These prices seem more competitive than the last time I looked at DDR4, and there certainly does seem tot be some room for overclocking (especially on that 128 GB kit) so long as the motherboard can handle it!
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2016 - 07:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: web browser, web, shockwave flash, shockwave director, oracle, Java
After decades of semi-ubiquitous usage, Oracle has announced plans to stop providing the Java plug-in for web browsers. It will still be available in the upcoming Java 9 platform, but classified as a deprecated feature.
Java, Shockwave Director, and Shockwave Flash filled in a huge gap in Web standards during the late 90s and early 2000s. Plug-ins were about the only way to access files, per-pixel 2D animation functions, and even access to 3D graphics hardware. Web browsers can do almost all of that now, albeit file input and output is limited to individual files, because you don't want every website to be able to read and write files (and site-specific data lockers with APIs like IndexedDB and Web Storage) on the user's hard drive without the user's explicit control.
As such, browsers are trying to kill off native plug-ins. This could be a problem for games like Battlefield 3 and 4, which (Update Jan 30th @ 7:51pm: Used to... it's apparently been a while. Thanks wileecyte in the comments.) require plug-ins to launch the native application, but the browser vendors have been expressing their desires for quite some time. Even companies that are heavily invested in plug-ins for their products, like Oracle, are finally giving up.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | January 29, 2016 - 05:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tesla, tesla motors, amd, Jim Keller, apple
Jim Keller, a huge name in the semiconductor industry for his work at AMD and Apple, recently left AMD before the launch of the Zen architecture. This made us nervous, because when a big name leaves a company before a product launch, it could either be that their work is complete... or they're evacuating before a stink-bomb detonates and the whole room smells like rotten eggs.
It turns out a third option is possible: Elon Musk offers you a job making autonomous vehicles. Jim Keller's job title at Tesla will be Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. I could see this position being enticing, to say the least, even if you are confident in your previous employer's upcoming product stack. It doesn't mean that AMD's Zen architecture will be either good or bad, but it nullifies the earlier predictions, when Jim Keller left AMD, at least until further notice.
We don't know who approached who, or when.
Another point of note: Tesla Motors currently uses NVIDIA Tegra SoCs in their cars, who are (obviously) competitors of Jim Keller's former employer, AMD. It sounds like Jim Keller is moving into a somewhat different role than he had at AMD and Apple, but it could be interesting if Tesla starts taking chip design in-house, to customize the chip to their specific needs, and take away responsibilities from NVIDIA.
The first time he was at AMD, he was the lead architecture of the Athlon 64 processor, and he co-authored x86-64. When he worked at Apple, he helped design the Apple A4 and A5 processors, which were the first two that Apple created in-house; the first three iPhone processors were Samsung SoCs.