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Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2015 - 03:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, corsair, KATAR, gaming mouse
The Corsair Katar seems small, 85g and 111x64x38mm but the reviewer at Hardware Canucks did not seem to find it uncomfortable. The sensor matches up to the competition, adjustable between 100 to 8000 DPI but you can see all of the buttons in the picture below, there are only 4. However for many games, such as DOTA that may well be all the buttons you need and the simple design makes it easy to use in either hand. At under $40 it is not overly expensive to pick up. Check out the full review to see if this mouse is good enough you want it to fall into your hands.
"Can a peripheral that's endorsed by "professional gamers" be worthwhile? Typically no, but Corsair's Katar begs to differ. It offers everything FPS gamers could possibly want in a gaming mouse."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CM Storm Sentinel III Ergonomic RGB Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries Rival 100 Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- G.Skill KM780 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- TteSports Poseidon Z RGB @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries Apex M800 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2015 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, just cause 3
When a reviewer mentions that they utterly forgot about the first mission for 12 hours after completing ye old mandatory game beginning you know something is up. From how Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN describe Just Cause 3 it is not because the storyline is so bad you want to ignore it but because there is just so much stuff to blow up and it is a lot of fun doing it. That describes the first two Just Cause games and it looks like the third will be no different, apart from what is described as a more reasonable escalation of enemy forces in the later parts of the game. If the random violence of maliciously attaching people to various objects and generally causing chaos is up your alley then the latest installment of this series should not disappoint.
"Avalanche’s Just Cause 3 is officially released Tuesday morning online and in something called “shops”. “Officially”, because it was apparently released early in a few naughty nations, prompting the developers to make a list of planned Day 0 fixes. Of course, that means the code we’ve been reviewing from for the last week also lacks that patch, making it tricky to know how many of the issues I encountered – in an otherwise stupendous game – will affect you. Bearing this in mind, here’s wot I think."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Big Winter Sale Starts Now @ GoG
- Jade Empire Free On Origin
- Fallout 4 Building Guide @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Primal Carnage: Extinction Game Review @ Madshrimps
- Fallout 3 7-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Goalpost-Apocalyptic: Rocket League’s Chaos Run Out @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A Brand New UI: Alpha Centauri Redux @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Steam Controller updated with Mouse Region mapping @ HEXUS
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2015 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 10TB, hgst, western digital
Western Digital subsidiary HGST had previously released a 10TB drive which used their new shingling technique to reach such high storage densities and meant that there was a limited capacity for rewrites. They have now released a new 10TB drive which is formatted in a more traditional manner and does not have the same limitations as brought on with the shingling method of design. The Inquirer also mentions 6TB and 8TB models if you don't quite need 10TB of storage. No mention of price is made but you can guess that this HDD will be close in price per GB to SSDs, sadly not the price parity we were hoping for.
"HGST HAS released its first 10TB helium-filled drive for general purpose data centre use."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft adds Debian to Azure tool belt as it joins forces with HPE @ The Inquirer
- MSFT boffins bust mobile data bottlenecks with iOS app @ The Register
- Google to end updates, security bug fixes for Chrome on 32-bit Linux @ The Register
- Prototype Sodium Ion Batteries in 18650 Cells @ Hack a Day
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 2, 2015 - 09:39 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: phanteks, mini-itx, matx case, Enthoo Mini XL, dual system, dual motherboard
Phanteks has announced a new version of their Enthoo Mini XL enclosure, adding their PSU splitter to the package to allow both systems to use a single PSU, and now including the optional mini-ITX upgrade kit.
"With the overwhelming response from the community, users have requested for a solution to the Enthoo Mini XL's dual system configuration setup. Today, Phanteks announces the release of the Enthoo Mini XL Dual System. The Mini XL Dual System will have Phanteks Power Splitter and the Mini ITX upgrade kit pre-installed. With Enthoo Mini XL Dual System, users can run two fully functional system independently of one another. The Mini XL Dual System provides users to have the option of having a high powered gaming system and workstation or Gaming system and streaming system all in one case."
The need for a dual-motherboard system is confined to a small percentage of builders, but the appeal of this enclosure package might create some additional interest. It's a cool idea, and while the Mini XL has been around since January the PSU splitter is a fairly new product, and interesting on its own.
"Using the Power Splitter, a dual system configuration can operate independently of one another. Powering ON/OFF on one system will not affect the other and vice versa. As long as one system is running the power supply will be fully operational until both systems are off."
The Enthoo Mini XL Dual System enclosure will be available this month, and the press release listed 209.90 Euro (about $222 US) indicating this might not be available in the US just yet.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | December 2, 2015 - 12:09 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: yoga, wacom, ThinkPad Yoga P40, Thinkpad, NVIDIA Quadro M500M, mobile workstation, Lenovo, ips, Intel Core i7
Lenovo has announced a pair of new mobile workstations at the Autodesk University event in Las Vegas, and the front-runner is the latest ThinkPad Yoga.
This new ThinkPad Yoga P40 may look like the previous models, but it's loaded with workstation-level features and specs, beginning with the 2560x1440 IPS display with Wacom Active ES technology that boasts 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Lenovo says the software driving this digitizer has been carefully optimized with help from Wacom:
"Professional artists and designers have been clear with the need for absolute precision and accuracy. Working with Wacom, Lenovo developed a unique driver to get closer than ever to the ‘pen to paper’ experience. For a comfortable and realistic sketching experience, the rechargeable ThinkPad Pen Pro is included, along with additional pen tips providing varied levels of tactile feedback for the professional community."
The underlying hardware features 6th-Gen Intel Core i7 processors, graphics provided by a 2GB NVIDIA Quadro M500M card, up to 16GB of memory (SoDIMM), a 512 GB SSD, and Intel 8260 2x2 802.11ac wireless. The ThinkPad Yoga P40 also features the Lift 'n Lock keyboard from the original ThinkPad Yoga "with a frame that automatically rises around the keys when the Yoga device switches into tablet mode", and Mil-SPEC construction.
Image credit: Laptop Mag
The ThinkPad P40 Yoga will be available beginning in Q1 2016, and pricing will start at $1399.
Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 07:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: networking, cable tv, cable isp
A bit before the week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I came across a pair of interesting articles (linked below) over at DSL Reports that had some interesting figures for the state of broadband and cable TV. While cable companies continue to rule the roost when it comes to the ISP subscriber side of things, they are also steadily bleeding cable TV subscribers. According to the numbers (which they got from Leichtman Research), the third quarter of 2015 has been simultaneously the worst quarter ever for telcos who lost both internet and cable TV subscribers, it was the best quarter (of least cable TV losses) since 2006.
On the broadband side of things, of the top seventeen providers Leichtman Research provided numbers for, cable companies brought in 787,629 new subscribers while the telephone companies lost 143,338 of their subscribers (likely customers on older forlorn CO-fed DSL tech). Cable companies are maintaining a healthy lead in total subscribers as well at approximately 54 million versus 25 million telco subscribers.
|Subscribers YTD||Net Subscribers +/- in Q3|
Not too bad considering all the bad press the cable companies have thrust upon themselves with, for example, Comcast rolling out 300GB caps across the US and their notorious (or should I say infamous) customer support departments. Somehow only CableOne and WOW lost subscribers in Q3.
At the end of Q3'15 there were 94 million cable television subscribers shared among the 12 top providers (eight cable, two satellite, and two cable). Collectively, the companies lost 190,693 TV subscribers versus last quarter which is an increased loss YoY as well (155,000 in Q3'14). It should be noted that if Dish's Sling TV subscriber numbers are not taken into account, it is a 345,000 decrease in pay TV subscribers.
|Subscribers||Net Subscribers +/- in Q3|
The cable companies lost 144,693 subscribers in Q3 making it an improvement in that it is the least amount of subscribers lost since 2006. For example, in the same quarter last year the cable companies lost 440,000. Comparatively, the telephone companies only lost 49,000 TV subscribers, but it was their worst quarter yet when it comes to losing TV subscribers. Charter, Direct TV, and Verizon were the only three of the listed companies to actually pick up subscibers this quarter while everyone else lost them.
What do you think about the numbers? Will the cable beheomouths continue being the dominant source of internet for the US? Will traditional cable/paid TV ever make a comeback, and if not just how many subscribers will these providers have to lose before they embrace new models that support à la carte and even cord cutting/streaming only?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 1, 2015 - 06:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, modular psu, 80 Plus Platinum, Strider Platinum ST55F-PT, 550W
As the title implies, the Silverstone Strider Platinum ST55F-PT is smaller than you might expect a 550W PSU to be, at just under 6" square. That this PSU is designed for computers of a small size is reinforced by the fact that there is only a pair of PCIe 6+2 plugs, not a problem for small systems but worth noting if you were planning on adding a second GPU. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows that the PSU easily meets the 80 Plus Platinum standard and not only was the power delivered impressively stable but the PSU also operated quietly. It will cost you a small premium but if you need a solid, quiet and small PSU this review is worth checking out.
"SilverStone comes to us today with a Platinum rated PSU that is also billed as having a "Power Density (of) 305W per liter." While this is a bit odd, the messaging seems to be big power in a little footprint. Let's see how this "ultra silent" fully modular PSU stacks up when it comes to serving up big-time power under big-time pressure."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master V550S with 3D Circuit Design @ techPowerUp
- Rosewill Photon and Quark Overview: Affordable Power @ Modders-Inc
- Corsair RMx Series 1000 W @ techPowerUp
- Deep Cool DA500 Aurora 500W @ eTeknix
- eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Update
Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 05:51 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: shuttle, SFF, broadwell-u, M.2, mini PC
Shuttle, once the king of compact PCs, is jumping right into the think of the tiny PC market with its new XPC Nano (NC01U) series, a half liter broadwell-powered black and gold affair. The XPC Nano boxes measure 5.55 x 5.55 x 1.14 inches, and while they are vesa mountable, the chassis design is nice enough to leave in the open as well.
The mini PCs feature two USB 3.0 ports and a SD card slot on the front panel, an old-school RS-232 port on the left side, and the following ports on the back.
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x Audio combo jack
Inside, Shuttle is using Intel’s Broadwell U processors and there are options from Celeron 3205U up to the Core I7 5500U. This chip is cooled by an allegedly “whisper quiet” heatpipe cooler. There are two DDR3L memory slots for up to 16GB RAM, a 2.5” (7mm) drive slot, and one M.2 port for a solid state drive. It further comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The XPC Nano systems will come pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home. The base model starts at $279 and there is a $10 mail in rebate if bundled with a keyboard and mouse from Shuttle’s website.
The base SKU with a Celeron 3205U (1.5GHz) and 2GB RAM is currently available for $275.77 on Newegg. The higher end models do not appear to be for sale yet, but should be soon. Product specifications can be found here (PDF)
Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 04:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, apollo lake, 14nm, rumours
DigiTimes has heard rumours that Intel will be refreshing their processor lineup with Apollo Lake processors in June and August 2016, with devices powered by the new processors in October. This is rather good news considering how slowly new PC sales have been growing over the past year, it is nice to see that we will still have some new CPUs in the coming year. Details are rather scarce, the 14nm chips will come in dual and quad-core options and use the new Gen9 GPU which will support Ultra HD output. You can expect 6-10W TDP, these are very much mobile oriented chips.
"Seeing the trend, Intel is scheduled to mass produce its next-generation Apollo Lake-based processors in June-August 2016 with related entry-level PC products becoming available in the market in October 2016, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- After Twenty Years of Flash, Adobe Kills the Name @ Slashdot
- A Look At NVIDIA’s Standalone Iray Plugins & Iray Server @ Techgage
- Windows 10: Enterprise adoption rate seems a bit optimistic @ The Inquirer
- Belkin's N150 router is perfect for learning hacking skills – wait, what, it's in production? @ The Register
- VPN users menaced by port forwarding blunder @ The Register
- Microsoft takes PUPs behind the shed with gun in hand @ The Register
- TP-LINK Touch P5 AC1900 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router Review @ Madshrimps
- AK RACING Nitro Gaming Chair Review @ NikKTech
- Tech ARP Elephone Q Smartphone Giveaway
Subject: Motherboards | December 1, 2015 - 11:02 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Rainbow Six Siege, msi, motherboard, KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, krait gaming, krait
MSI has announced a partnership with Ubisoft and introduced a specially designed motherboard, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE, which includes a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Standard Edition).
"With this new model you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege [Standard Edition]. But that’s not all, during this exclusive promotion MSI is also giving away a free copy of the game with the Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard. The promotion starts on Tuesday 1st of December, 2015."
The motherboard is based on the current Z170A KRAIT EDITION, and this new R6 SIEGE design offers the same gaming-oriented featues such as DDR4 Boost, Intel LAN, and high-end audio components, and both feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with Type-C and Type-A ports.
No specifics on pricing/availability just yet.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | December 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: TSMC, SoC, LG, Intel, arm
So this story came out of nowhere. Whether the rumors are true or false, I am stuck on how everyone seems to be talking about it with a casual deadpan. I spent a couple hours Googling whether I missed some big announcement that made Intel potentially fabricating ARM chips a mundane non-story. Pretty much all that I found was Intel allowing Altera to make FPGAs with embedded ARM processors in a supporting role, which is old news.
Image Credit: Internet Memes...
The rumor is that Intel and TSMC were both vying to produce LG's Nuclon 2 SoC. This part is said to house two quad-core ARM modules in a typical big.LITTLE formation. Samples were allegedly produced, with Intel's part (2.4 GHx) being able to clock around 300 MHz faster than TSMC's offering (2.1 GHz). Clock rate is highly dependent upon the “silicon lottery,” so this is an area that production maturity can help with. Intel's sample would also be manufactured at 14nm (versus 16nm from TSMC although these numbers mean less than they used to). LG was also, again allegedly, interesting in Intel's LTE modem. According to the rumors, LG went with TSMC because they felt Intel couldn't keep up with demand.
Now that the rumor has been reported... let's step back a bit.
I talked with Josh a couple of days ago about this post. He's quite skeptical (as I am) about the whole situation. First and foremost, it takes quite a bit of effort to port a design to a different manufacturing process. LG could do it, but it is questionable, especially for a second chip ever sort of thing. Moreover, I still believe that Intel doesn't want to manufacture chips that directly compete with them. x86 in phones is still not a viable business, but Intel hasn't given up and you would think that's a prerequisite.
So this whole thing doesn't seem right.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 30, 2015 - 03:48 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: rumor, report, price cut, nvidia, GTX 980, GTX 970, gtx 960, geforce
A report published by TechPowerUp suggests NVIDIA will soon be cutting prices across their existing GeForce lineup, with potential price changes reaching consumers in time for the holiday shopping season.
So what does this report suggest? The GTX 980 drops to $449, the GTX 970 goes to $299, and the GTX 960 goes to $179. These are pretty consistent with some of the sale or post-rebate prices we’ve seen of late, and such a move would certainly even things up somewhat between AMD and NVIDIA with regard to cost. Of course, we could see an answer from AMD in the form of a price reduction from their R9 300-series or Fury/Nano. We can only hope!
We’ve already seen prices come down during various black Friday sales on several GPUs, but the potential for a permanent price cut makes for interesting speculation if nothing else. Not to disparage the source, but no substantive evidence exists to directly point to a plan by NVIDIA to lower their GPU prices for some 900-series cards, but it would make sense given their competition from AMD at various price points.
Here’s to lower prices going forward.
Subject: Systems | November 29, 2015 - 09:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, playstation 4, ps4, amd, Jaguar, APU
Of the eight Jaguar cores that Sony added to the PlayStation 4 APU, two were locked down the console's operating system and other tasks. This left the developer with six to push their workloads through. This was the same as the Xbox One until Microsoft released an update last year, which unlocked one to give seven.
NeoGAF users report that, allegedly, PlayStation 4 games can now utilize seven of the eight cores after a recent SDK update from Sony. They source a recent changelist for FMOD, a popular audio management library for PC, mobile, and console platforms, which references targeting “the newly unlocked 7th core.”
Since this is not an official Sony announcement, at least not publicly, we don't know some key details. For instance, is the core completely free, or will the OS still push tasks on it during gameplay? Will any features be disabled if the seventh core is targeted? How frequently will the seventh core be blocked, if ever? What will happen if you block it, if anything? The Xbox One is said to use about 20% of their unlocked seventh core for Microsoft-related tasks, and claiming the remaining 80% is said to disable voice recognition and Kinect features.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are interesting devices to think about. They go low frequency, but wide, in performance, similar to many mobile devices. They also utilize a well-known instruction set, x86, which obviously has a huge catalog of existing libraries and features. I don't plan on every buying another console, but they move with the industry and has a fairly big effect on it (albeit much less than previous generations).
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 29, 2015 - 05:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, cancer research, gpgpu
The University of Toronto has just received a $200,000 grant from the NVIDIA Foundation for research in identifying genetic links to cancer. The institution uses GPUs to learn and identify mutations that cause the disease, which is hoped to eventually help diagnose the attributes of cancer for a specific patient and provide exact treatments. Their “next step” is comparing their technology with data from patients.
I am not too informed on cancer research, so I will point to the article and its sources for specifics. The team state that the libraries they create will be freely available for other biomedical researchers. They don't mention specific licenses or anything, but the article is not really an appropriate venue for that sort of discussion.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 29, 2015 - 05:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics driver, radeon, crimson
Users have been reporting that the latest AMD graphics driver, Radeon Software Crimson Edition, has been incorrectly setting fan speeds. Some users report that the driver spins up fans to 100% and others report that they slow down to 30% regardless of load.
Over the weekend, AMD acknowledged the issue and claim that a fix is intended for Monday.
Some users also claim that the card will stick with that fan setting until it cooks itself. This seems odd to me, since GPUs (and CPUs of course) are now designed to down-volt if temperatures reach unsafe levels, and even cut power entirely if heat cannot be managed. We haven't really seen reports of graphics cards cooking themselves since the Radeon HD 5000 series implemented hardware in response to Furmark and OCCT. That said, the driver bug might some how override these hardware protections.
In the mean time, you'll either want to keep an eye on your fan settings and reset them as necessary, or roll back to the previous driver. AMD didn't comment on the high fan speed issue that some were complaining about, so I'm not sure if this fix will address both issues.
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2015 - 04:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Several years ago, AMD spun off their chip manufacturing infrastructure into a company, which was named GlobalFoundries, and became a fabless integrated circuit designer. This transaction meant that AMD would be free to shop around when they needed something printed, and they wouldn't need to pay for the upfront expenses. That burden would be placed on the shoulders of stakeholders in GlobalFoundries, and of course the revenue they acquire from their larger pool of customers.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Speaking of their stakeholders, GlobalFoundries is wholly owned by Advanced Technology Investment Company, which is owned by Mubadala Development Company, which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. GlobalFoundries merged with Chartered Semiconductor and was actually paid by IBM to acquire their fab business, at a reward of $1.5 billion USD and binding IBM to a ten-year exclusivity deal for server processors, which helped bolster the company. Oil prices have been fluctuating though, and sources tell Bloomberg that Abu Dhabi is interested in selling some or all of GlobalFoundries at a valuation of around $15-20 billion USD.
The report stops there, without declaring any potential candidates, but speculation doesn't. A lot of it just sounds like listing names who have lots of cash. If the source is even accurate, we don't know who are involved or how serious they are.
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2015 - 07:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: snes, retro, Nintendo
So I missed this one until yesterday, when Dave Voyles of Microsoft tweeted it out. While the video was published in 2011, it doesn't have too many views and this topic only gets better with age (pretty much).
Image Credit: "Wikipedia SNES PAL" by JCD1981NL - Own work
Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons
The narrator opens up a Super Nintendo, which is a PAL kit for North Americans wondering why the casing looks so different. The console has a dedicated CPU, RAM, two sound processors with RAM, and a four-package video chipset of two graphics chips and two VRAM packages. The two video chips, each paired with a package of RAM, are used in tandem but apparently cannot see into each others memory. This reminds me of the split-memory architecture on the PS3, which provides 256MB to the Cell processor and 256MB to the NVIDIA GPU.
Another interesting note is that, because the sound system has its own 8-bit Sony processor, sound effects and music will continue to play when the main system freezes. I never really thought about it until I watched this video, but I believe I've actually experienced that a few times in the early/mid 90s. I just never thought much about it because computers were still somewhat magical back then.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 29, 2015 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: thermaltake, msi, CPU Water Block, cooler
Normally a water block presses against the CPU heatspreader, but this one is a bit different. MSI and Thermaltake decided to team up and make a motherboard-specific cooler that pulls heat away from the CPU and the motherboard's VRM MOSFETs. This way, water chills both the CPU and its power delivery, which could be a bottleneck when overclocking.
Note that this is not a closed-loop cooler. It is designed to be embedded in a custom cooling loop, which means that the user (or a small business computer store that maintains their PC) is responsible for routing water and preventing leaks. That said, users who are looking for a high-quality cooler for their power delivery system should expect a little commitment to their build (and a little risk).
Also, since the product is designed for a specific motherboard, the user shouldn't expect to keep it hanging around from build to build. You will almost definitely use it while you have it and leave it when you move on. On the other hand, you shouldn't worry about it covering your RAM or anything -- you can be reasonably assured that it's built for your setup. (That is, unless you buy the wrong motherboard or something... d'oh!)
Subject: Mobile | November 28, 2015 - 09:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Samsung, s7, galaxy
The follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S6 is already being rumored, which people are obviously calling the Galaxy S7. The last two phones were unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which takes place in late February / early March. Information coming out in November is a bit... early. Some sites believe that Samsung will announce the phone in January, but who knows? Some of the rumors are interesting, though.
The one that catches my attention is the potential inclusion of a microSD card slot. External storage is rare these days, with Google removing it from their Nexus line and severely limiting what apps can do with the contents. That said, Android 6.0, recently released for a few devices, made further changes to increase its capabilities. You can now use SD cards as internal storage, but only if you agree to format and encrypt the storage to use only on that device. While the recent batch of Nexus phones don't include a microSD card slot, the changes might be enough to sway third-party manufacturers to include a slot.
As a developer, it would certainly be nice, especially if you intend to develop software that uses an SD card. Makes sense, right? Purchasing a developer phone that has all the features you might want to target?
Speaking of developer phones, the upcoming device should have a top-of-the-line processor in it. Reports are split between the Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8890. If it's the latter, availability is expected Q1 2016; the former started sampling a few months ago and was launched on November 11th. As such, SoC availability should be ready if Samsung intends to launch the phone early, regardless of the chosen chip, but that's probably not the limiting factor. It is also entirely possible that Samsung could include different processors for different markets. Qualcomm was absent from the Galaxy S6 line, but the S5 had some sub-models using Qualcomm processors and others Samsung's own implementation.
Either way, they are fast processors that support OpenGL ES 3.1 + AEP at the very least. The Adreno 530 is rated for about 550 GFLOPs, which is a tiny bit faster than a GeForce 9800 GT, although with Vulkan-level feature support (provided correct drivers). Thankfully Google has been more friendly to Khronos-based standards, and Samsung even more so.
When will we know for sure? Don't know. How much will it cost? Don't know. What will it be officially called? Don't know, but anything other than Galaxy S7 would be surprising. Would it make sense for Samsung to shake up the date and other long-running details? Well, the Galaxy S6 launch was lackluster, so this would be the most likely time for them to be squirrely. We'll see.
Subject: Displays | November 28, 2015 - 05:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, lg display, oled
LG Display announced that they are investing $1.6 Billion USD to build an OLED panel factory in Paju, South Korea. This initial cost will cover the building, the “foundations” of the clean rooms, and basic infrastructure such as water and power. Construction will begin immediately. The plant is expected to cost $8.7 Billion USD by the time it starts producing displays, which the company anticipates for early 2018. It will produce panels for smart watches, cars, and even large TVs.
The shift from LCD to OLED has been anticipated for a while, but it seems like the former technology just kept remaining viable. It kept ahead of plasma technology, despite LCD being considered inferior in terms of contrast and maintainability by some, and outlived it. SED threatened to crush it, but never really became available because Canon basically misunderstood patent licensing terms from a Texas-based nanotech company. Mobile devices helped push LED panels away from TN technology and into IPS-like panels, which closed the gap between LCD and early OLED.
LCD would eventually need to reach its maximum viable potential though, and heightened availability of OLED could do it. Hopefully the technology makes it to consumer desktop panels relatively soon. Display manufacturers have been experimenting with higher refresh rates, better displays, and higher resolution recently, but adding OLED to the mix should push the industry toward focusing on contrast and color reproduction even more heavily.