Beema Mullins down for your next mobile system

Subject: General Tech | April 29, 2014 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: TrustZone, security, Puma+, Mullins, mobile, Kabini, Jaguar, boost, beema, amd, AM1

Beema and Mullins have arrived and by now you must have read Josh's coverage but you might be aching for more.  The Tech Report were present at the unveiling and came prepared, with a USB 3.0 solid-state drive containing their own preferred testing applications and games.  Not only do you get a look at how the Mullins tablet handled the testing you can see how it compares to Kabini and Bay Trail.  Check out the performance results as well as their take on the power consumption and new security features on the new pair of chips from AMD which come bearing more gifts than we had thought they would.

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"A couple weeks ago, AMD flew us down to its Austin, Texas campus for a first look at Mullins and Beema, two low-power APUs aimed at the next wave of Windows tablets and low-cost laptops. Today, we're able to share what we learned from that expedition—as well as benchmarks from the first Mullins tablet."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

NVIDIA Announces Watch_Dogs Bundle with GeForce GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 29, 2014 - 10:22 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, watch_dogs, watch dogs, bundle, geforce

A bit of a surprise email found its way to my inbox today that announced NVIDIA's partnership with Ubisoft to include copies of the upcoming Watch_Dogs game with GeForce GTX graphics cards. 

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Gamers that purchase a GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GTX 780, GTX 770 or GTX 760 from select retailers will qualify for a free copy of the game. You can details on this bundle and available GPUs to take advantage of it at Amazon.com!

The press release also confirms inclusion of NVIDIA exclusive features like TXAA and HBAO+ in the game itself, which is interesting. From what I am hearing, Watch_Dogs is going to be a beast of a game on GPU hardware and we are looking forward to using it as a test platform going forward.

Full press release is included below.

OWN THE TECH AND CONTROL THE CITY WITH NVIDIA® AND UBISOFT®

Select GeForce GTX GPUs Now Include the Hottest Game of the Year: Watch_Dogs™

Santa Clara, CA  April 29, 2014 — Destructoid calls it one of the “most wanted games of 2014.” CNET said it was “one of the most anticipated games in recent memory.” MTV said it’s one of the “Can’t-Miss Video Games of 2014.” This, all before anyone out there has even played it.

So, starting today(1), gamers who purchase select NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX® 780 Ti, 780, 770 and 760 desktop GPUs can get their chance to play Watch_Dogs™, the new PC game taking the world by storm and latest masterpiece from Ubisoft®.

Described as a “polished, refined and truly next generation experience,” in Watch_Dogs you play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. While seeking justice, you will monitor and hack those around you, access omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control traffic lights and public transportation to stop the enemy and more.

Featuring NVIDIA TXAA and HBAO+ technology for an interactive, immersive experience, it’s clear that gamers can’t wait to play Watch_Dogs, especially considering the effusive praise that the official trailer received. Launched mere weeks ago, the trailer has already been viewed more than a combined 650,000 times. For gamers, Watch_Dogs seamlessly blends a mixture of single-player and multiplayer action in a way never before seen, and Ubisoft has gone one step further in creating a unique ctOS mobile companion app for users of smartphone and tablet devices allowing for even greater access to the fun. If you haven’t checked out the trailer, please check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eHCJ8pWdf0.

The GeForce GTX and Watch_Dogs bundle is available starting today from leading e-tailers including Newegg, Amazon.com, TigerDirect, NCIX; add-in card vendors such as EVGA; and nationwide system builders including AVADirect, CyberPower, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, iBUYPOWER, Maingear, Origin PC, Puget Systems, V3 Gaming PC and Velocity Micro. For a full list of participating partners, please visit: www.GeForce.com/GetWatchDogs.

Source: NVIDIA

Microsoft OneDrive for Business Gets Upgrades

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2014 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: subscription, skydrive, onedrive, microsoft, cloud storage

Today, Microsoft has announced changes to their OneDrive for Business storage solution. A regular, free OneDrive account comes with 7 GB of storage. For $5 per user, per month, Microsoft added a 25 GB option. That 25 GB option is now a tiny bit larger: 1 TB. It will also be included in several Office subscriptions. The official announcement claims Office 365 ProPlus (formerly requiring a $1.50 per user per month upgrade) but that is, apparently, an incomplete list.

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According to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, any Office 365 plan which includes OneDrive for Business will be upgraded to 1 TB. I expect that Office 365 Pro Plus was mentioned in the press release because, as far as I can tell, it did not have OneDrive for Business, minus the aforementioned upgrade, until now. The rest of the options already had OneDrive for Business, just a much larger one now. I have compiled the relevant information in a table, below.

 
Price
(Per User Per Month)
Maximum Users
Editing from
Mobile Apps
OneDrive for Business (Standalone)
$5
($2.50/user until September)
Unlimited (?) N/A
Office 365 ProPlus $12
1 (?)
(5 PCs or Macs)
Yes
(5 extra devices)
Office 365 Small Business $5 25 No
Office 365 Small Business Premium $12.50 25 Yes
Office 365 Midsize Business $15 300 Yes
Office 365 Enterprise E1 $8 Unlimited No
Office 365 Enterprise E3 $20 Unlimited Yes
Office 365 Enterprise E4 $22 Unlimited Yes

I must say that OneDrive is looking to have all of the features of Dropbox, at least the ones that I use, with significantly higher storage. While the 7 GB, free plan would probably be sufficient for my uses, a whole terabyte for a few dollars per month is definitely tempting if I had a reason to fill it. Not too long ago, I was paying $100 USD per year to Dropbox for 100 GB.

Note: The $5-per-user-per-month fee is the price after September. Until then, it is 50% off.

While not all of Microsoft's websites have been updated yet, the upgrade seems to take effect today. Check out OneDrive for Business, or one of the applicable Office plans, to see whether a terabyte of cloud storage is worth it for your needs.

Source: Microsoft

If you have to ask the price the MSI GS70 STEALTH is not for you

Subject: Mobile | April 28, 2014 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: msi, gs70, stealth

Back during CES we saw several teasers showing off the MSI GS70 STEALTH gaming laptop and now we finally have a review thanks to Hardware Secrets.  The insane specs of this machine mean that the power cord is rated at 120W although at a hair under 6lbs it is surprisingly light.  If you can afford the price tag this is a serious contender for the most powerful gaming laptop currently available, barring some that have opted for SLI graphics.

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"The MSI GS70 STEALTH is a gaming laptop computer with a fourth-generation Core i7-4700HQ processor, 16 GiB of RAM, 17" Full HD screen, two SSD units in RAID 0, a GeForce GTX 765M video card, high-end Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi controllers, and much more. Let's analyze this powerful machine."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Corsair's H75, you pay for the miniaturization

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 28, 2014 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, SFF, Intel, H75, corsair, amd

Corsair's H75 has a smaller footprint than previous models, the radiator of 120 x 152 x 25mm should fit inside even smaller cases, allowing you to reduce the noise produced in the smaller case.  As well they have dropped support for LGA775, the change in mounting hardware should make it easier to install on both AMD and Intel systems.  While Morry was quite pleased with the performance of this cooler considering it's size; [H]ard|OCP had a slightly different take.  When they looked at the cooler in terms of price for performance they felt that there are better values on the market but do still recommend it for those who need a small, powerful cooler and are willing to shop around to find it on special.

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"Corsair has been in the liquid CPU cooling game for over 10 years now. As sealed system liquid CPU coolers have become the norm among hardware enthusiasts, the competition has gotten stiff to say the least. Another thing that has changed over the years is that many DIYers are going to smaller cases for their systems; the H75 looks to address this."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Incoming patches for all IE versions

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2014 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: internet explorer, windows, microsoft

We have another IE flaw, one which applies to IE6 though IE11 and officially all versions of Windows since Vista; unofficially it will also effect the non-supported legacy OS versions as well.  This particular issue is not a memory overflow but instead is what is referred to as use-after-free which does make it somewhat harder to craft a webpage to take advantage of.  Corporate users of the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit should make sure their users are up to date while the rest of us who are using IE should consider Protected Mode or upping your Security to high.  Pop by The Register for a link to the full description of the vulnerability.

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"The flaw means the browser “may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer"."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Another GPU Driver Showdown: AMD vs NVIDIA in Linux

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 27, 2014 - 04:22 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, linux, amd

GPU drivers have been a hot and sensitive topic at the site, especially recently, probably spurred on by the announcements of Mantle and DirectX 12. These two announcements admit and illuminate (like a Christmas tree) the limitations of APIs on gaming performance. Both AMD and NVIDIA have their recent successes and failures on their respective fronts. This will not deal with that, though. This is a straight round-up of new GPUs running the latest drivers... in Linux.

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Again, results are mixed and a bit up for interpretation.

In all, NVIDIA tends to have better performance with its 700-series parts than equivalently-priced R7 or R9 products from AMD, especially in low-performance Source Engine titles such as Team Fortress 2. Sure, even the R7 260X was almost at 120 FPS, but the R9 290 was neck-and-neck with the GeForce GTX 760. The GeForce GTX 770, about $50 cheaper than the R9 290, had a healthy 10% lead over it.

In Unigine Heaven, however, the AMD R9 290 passed the NVIDIA GTX 770 by a small margin, coming right in line with it's aforementioned $50-bigger price tag. In that situation, where performance became non-trivial, AMD caught up (but did not beat). Also, third-party driver support is more embraced by AMD than NVIDIA. On the other hand, NVIDIA's proprietary drivers are demonstrably better, even if you would argue that the specific cases are trivial because of overkill.

And then there's Unvanquished, where AMD's R9 290 did not achieve triple-digit FPS scores despite the $250 GTX 760 getting 110 FPS.

Update: As pointed out in the comments, some games perform significantly better on the $130 R7 260X than the $175 GTX 750 Ti (HL2: Lost Coast, TF2, OpenArena, Unigine Sanctuary). Some other games are the opposite, with the 750 Ti holding a sizable lead over the R7 260X (Unigine Heaven and Unvanquished). Again, Linux performance is a grab bag between vendors.

There's a lot of things to consider, especially if you are getting into Linux gaming. I expect that it will be a hot topic, soon, as it picks up... ... Steam.

Source: Phoronix

"NVIDIA test model(SHIELD)" with Tegra K1 on AnTuTu

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | April 27, 2014 - 03:30 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, sheild, shield 2, AnTuTu

VR-Zone is claiming that this is the successor to NVIDIA's SHIELD portable gaming system. An AnTuTu benchmark was found for a device called, "NVIDIA test model(SHIELD)" with an "NVIDIA Gefroce(Kepler Graphics)" GPU, typos left as-is. My gut expects that it is valid, but I hesitate to vouch the rumor. If it even came from NVIDIA, which the improper spelling and capitalization of "GeForce" calls into question, it could easily be an internal prototype and maybe even incorrectly given the "SHIELD" (which is properly spelled and capitalized) label.

nvidia-shield-antutu.jpg

Image Credit: AnTuTu.com

As far as its camera listing, it would make sense for the SHIELD to get one at standard definition (0.3MP -- probably 640x480). The fact that the original SHIELD shipped without any, at all, still confuses me. The low resolution sensor still does not make sense, seeming like an almost pointless upgrade, but it could be used by NVIDIA for a specific application or built-in purpose.

Or, it could be an irrelevant benchmark listing.

Either way, there are rumors floating around about a SHIELD 2 being announced at E3 in June. It is unlikely that NVIDIA will give up on the handheld any time soon. Whether that means new hardware, versus more software updates, is anyone's guess. The Tegra K1 would have been a good launching SoC for the SHIELD, however, with its full OpenGL 4.4 and compute support (the hardware supports up to OpenCL 1.2 although driver support will apparently be "based on customer needs". PDF - page 8).

Waiting. Seeing. You know the drill.

Source: VR-Zone

Unreal Engine 4.1 Launched: Console and Linux Support

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 27, 2014 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: unreal engine 4, ue4, epic games

Epic Games has just incremented the minor version number of their popular engine by releasing Unreal Engine 4.1 to all subscribers. While the dot-zero was available privately for quite some time, it was made public barely a month ago. Its headlining feature is a few extra platforms: Linux, SteamOS, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. Each of these are included in the 19$ per month and 5-percent royalty agreement -- excluding outside fees, such as those required to become a registered developer with Sony and/or Microsoft, obviously.

You will also need a capable Windows PC to deploy a game to Playstation 4, Xbox One, Linux, or SteamOS... "for now". This implies that development on other platforms is being considered. Development from OSX seems likely, as does Linux, but creating games on an Xbox One or Playstation 4 seems a bit far-fetched. Who knows though? If any company has good enough relationships with Sony and Microsoft to make it happen, it would be Epic.

 

I am guessing... Dreamcast support is a "no". It was not that ahead-of-the-curve.

The actual update notes are just shy of 7000 words and about 20 pages long, so platforms are not everything. Epic has been adding a lot of content and templates to the engine and their marketplace, including the Elemental demo first seen at E3 2012. The editor was also updated with numerous improvements, such as better FBX importing (FBX is a cross-application 3d file format).

Also, it is available now.

Source: Epic Games

Seasonic's high quality, low power G-450 PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 25, 2014 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: PSU, seasonic, Seasonic G-Series, 450W, g-450

The Seasonic G-450 is still more power than Josh's latest build requires but is perfect for powering a SFF system as the unit is a mere 6.25" in length.  With a pair of 6+2 PCIe power connectors and 37A on the 12V rail you will be somewhat limited in your choice of discrete GPU, reasonable consider it is a 450W PSU.  [H]ard|OCP found the quality on this unit to be good overall and excellent compared to other lower powered PSUs but found the pricing somewhat confusing as the G-550 is a mere $10 more.

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"Seasonic is continually short on marketing but long on performance, and we are good with that. Today's 450 watt G Series computer power supply makes more sense in this new world of lower power desktop CPUs and GPUs. Does the G-450 give its users solid power in this lower end of the spectrum range at the right cost?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Enter Tegra K1 CUDA Vision Challenge, Win Jetson TK1

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2014 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, contest, jetson tk1, kepler

Attention enthusiasts, developers and creators. Are you working on a new embedded computing application?

Meet the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit. It’s the world’s first mobile supercomputer for embedded systems, putting unprecedented computing performance in a low-power, portable and fully programmable package.

image002.jpg

Power, ports, and portability: the Jetson TK1 development kit.The Jetson TK1 development kit

It’s the ultimate platform for developing next-generation computer vision solutions for robotics, medical devices, and automotive applications.

And we’re giving away 50 of them as part of our Tegra K1 CUDA Vision Challenge.

In addition to the Tegra K1 processor, the Jetson TK1 DevKit is equipped with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage and a host of ports and connectivity options.

And, because it offers full support for CUDA, the most pervasive, easy-to-use parallel computing platform and programming model, it’s much easier to program than the FPGA, custom ASIC and DSP processors that are typically used in today’s embedded systems.

Jetson TK1 is based on the Kepler computing architecture, the same technology powering today’s supercomputers, professional workstations and high-end gaming rigs. It has 192 CUDA cores, delivering over 300 GFLOPs of performance, and also provides full support for OpenGL 4.4, and CUDA 6.0, as well as the GPU-accelerated OpenCV.

Our Tegra K1 system-on-a-chip offers unprecedented power and portability.Our Tegra K1 system-on-a-chip offers unprecedented power and portability.

Entering the Tegra K1 CUDA Vision Challenge is easy. Just tell us about your embedded application idea. All proposals must be submitted April 30, 2014. Entries will be judged for innovation, impact on research or industry, public availability, and quality of work.

image003.jpg

By the end of May, the top 50 submissions will be awarded one of the first Jetson TK1 DevKits to roll off the production line, as well as access to technical support documents and assets.

The five most noteworthy Jetson TK1 breakthroughs may get a chance to share their work at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in 2015.

Source: NVIDIA

Your Friday FUD; the hackable hospital

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2014 - 12:52 PM |
Tagged: hospital, hack, fud

If you thought that antibiotic resistant infections were the only sort of bug you had to worry about when you are hospitalized then this story on Wired is not for you.  Scott Erven is head of information security for Essentia Health which operates a network of 100 facilities in the US and he has released some shocking news about the hackability of hospital equipment.  It would seem that almost every life saving device is hackable, in many cases quite easily hacked by remote.  Implantable defibrillators can be set off by an attacker or worse, prevented from shocking a heart when it should, drug infusion pumps can have the delivered dosage changed,  maximum radiation levels delivered by CT scans can be changed and a host of other rather terrifying vulnerabilities make going to the hospital even more anxiety inducing than it already was.  Your best bet is to try to stay healthy.

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"When Scott Erven was given free rein to roam through all of the medical equipment used at a large chain of Midwest health care facilities, he knew he would find security problems–but he wasn’t prepared for just how bad it would be."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Wired

Podcast #297 - AMD AM1 Platform, AMD Never Settle Forever, 15nm Flash Memory and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2014 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, AM1, Athlon 5350, evga, EVGA SuperNOVA, ubuntu, 14.04 LTS, catalyst 14.4, never settle forever

PC Perspective Podcast #297 - 04/24/2014

Join us this week as we discuss gaming on the AMD AM1 Platform, AMD Never Settle Forever, 15nm Flash Memory and more!

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

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

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

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:08:24
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Battlezone II - still being patched!
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

OCZ Launches the RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD

Subject: Storage | April 24, 2014 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: RevoDrive 350, PCIe SSD, ocz, SF-2282

OCZ has announced the release of the RevoDrive 350, a PCIe SSD using the SandForce 2282 controller and available in 240, 480 and 960GB models which should be priced at  $530, $830 and $1300 respectively.  This is certainly more expensive than SATA SSDs but then again if you check out the three reviews you can see that this drive is also significantly faster than SATA drvies.

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SAN JOSE, CA – April 24, 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions - a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the RevoDrive 350 Series with workstation-grade design capabilities and maximum performance for professional content creation, multimedia, and extreme gaming applications. Achieving three times the performance of SATA-based SSD solutions, RevoDrive 350 is based on proven performance architecture and features 19nm Toshiba NAND to complete OCZ’s portfolio transition to in-house flash, offering a high-performance yet cost-efficient SSD solution for bandwidth-intensive client applications.

Using the PCI Express Gen. 2 x8 interface and up to four LSI SF-2282 processors to offer more available bandwidth than the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features up to 1.8GB/s sequential speeds and up to 140,000 4K random write IOPS, delivering SSD RAID performance without the hassle in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution. Enabling both performance and functionality for applications ranging from scientific computing to extreme gaming systems, this workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, supporting up to 50GB of host writes per day for 3 years to provide leading endurance for media professionals over less robust consumer SSDs.

“The new RevoDrive 350 is built using proven technology with the added benefit of utilizing in-house premium Toshiba flash and OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 to deliver highly efficient performance aggregation while reducing the burden on host resources,” said Daryl Lang, Senior Vice President of Product Management for OCZ Storage Solutions. “This next generation PCIe SSD is the ideal solution for performance-minded users looking to maximize both bandwidth and density for the complete gamut of gaming, content creation and workstation applications.”

VCA 2.0 effectively makes the RevoDrive 350’s multi-controller design appear and act as a single drive to the host system to enable drive-level management features such as secure erase, SMART, and TRIM. In addition to mass data storage, the RevoDrive 350 can also be used as bootable device, promoting ultra-fast system boot-ups.

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Improving on the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features a sleek integrated heatsink that provides a more stable and cooler thermal SSD environment, and includes optimized drivers redesigned from the ground up with new Linux support in addition to Windows® OS. Available in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities, RevoDrive 350 provides ample space, and comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

Source: OCZ

The FCC's gaff and Verizon's pebble are on track to derail Net Neutrality

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2014 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: net neutrality, legal, FCC

In a wonderful display of ignorance the FCC seems to be on course to end any hope of US citizens actually receiving the bandwidth they pay for and major corporations are in danger of breaking their wrists because of too many high 5's.  With one ingenious move they have made over 100 years of common carriage laws designed to allow enforcement of fair business practices obsolete as far as providers of "information services" are concerned. 

Today we will we see some of the the results of their utter failure to protect the interests of US citizens as Net Neutrality will be redefined to allow providers to throttle or increase the available bandwidth to online media companies based on how much dosh those aforementioned companies are willing to shell over.  This means that while you may have a connection rated at 100Mbps download, that will no longer have anything to do with the actual speed you receive; that speed is dependent on how much bandwidth the provider makes available to the media service you are using.

The ruling is not yet released; keep an eye for updates here and on The Inquirer ... or just skip down to the new Gigabyte boards if you don't want to be depressed.

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"IN A MOVE designed to serve corporate America and raise the hackles of almost everyone else, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed to redefine net neutrality."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

AMD AM1 Retested on 60 Watt Power Supply

Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2014 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: TDP, Athlon 5350, Asus AM1I-A, amd, AM1

If I had one regret about my AM1 review that posted a few weeks ago, it was that I used a pretty hefty (relatively speaking) 500 watt power supply for a part that is listed at a 25 watt TDP.  Power supplies really do not hit their efficiency numbers until they are at least under 50% load.  Even the most efficient 500 watt power supply is going to inflate the consumption numbers of these diminutive parts that we are currently testing.

am1p_01.jpg

Keep it simple... keep it efficient.

Ryan had sent along a 60 watt notebook power supply with an ATX cable adapter at around the same time as I started testing on the AMD Athlon 5350 and Asus AM1I-A.  I was somewhat roped into running that previously mentioned 500 watt power supply due to comparative reasons.  I was using a 100 watt TDP A10-6790 APU with a pretty loaded Gigabyte A88X based ITX motherboard.  That combination would have likely fried the 60 watt (12v x 5A) notebook power supply under load.

Now that I had a little extra time on my hands, I was able to finally get around to seeing exactly how efficient this little number could get.  I swapped the old WD Green 1 TB drive for a new Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB SSD.  I removed the BD-ROM drive completely from the equation as well.  Neither of those parts uses a lot of wattage, but I am pushing this combination to go as low as I possibly can.

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The results are pretty interesting.  At idle we see the 60 watt supply (sans spinning drive and BD-ROM) hitting 12 watts as measured from the wall.  The 500 watt power supply and those extra pieces added another 11 watts of draw.  At load we see a somewhat similar numbers, but not nearly as dramatic as at idle.  The 60 watt system is drawing 29 watts while the 500 watt system is at 37 watts.

am1p_02.jpg

So how do you get from a 60 watt notebook power adapter to ATX standard? This is the brains behind the operation.

The numbers for both power supplies are both good, but we do see that we get a nice jump in efficiency from using the smaller unit and a SSD instead of a spinning drive.  Either way, the Athlon 5350 and AMD AM1 infrastructure sip power as compared to most desktop processors.

Source: AMD

Toshiba 15nm Flash Memory in Mass Production

Subject: General Tech, Storage | April 23, 2014 - 08:57 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, 15nm

While we often see smaller fabrication nodes discussed in terms of faster and more power efficient processors, it also increases storage density for memory circuits. In fact, it is probably easier to visualize how a process shrink will increase memory capacity than it is to ponder the benefits for CPUs and GPUs. Smaller features in the same area gives more places to cram data. Toshiba is starting to mass produce 15nm NAND Flash at Fab 5 in Yokkaichi.

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While not mentioned in the press release, I believe that SanDisk and Toshiba are still in a partnership. The facility being discussed was actually a $4 Billion USD joint-venture between these two companies. I, reasonably, expect that SanDisk will also see some benefits from today's announcement. According to the press release, 15nm MLC is already in mass production with TLC following in June.

I brought up this story to Allyn, to see if he had any insights on it. He noted that 15nm is getting quite small. I asked about its implications in terms of write longevity, as that is has been the biggest concern in previous node shrinks. He guesses that the flash should be able to handle around 1,000 writes on average, compared to ~3,000 writes on IMFT's 20nm process. Keep in mind, IMFT prides itself on enterprise longevity and so, at least to me, it sounds fairly reasonable. Toshiba also mentions that they will have products for the high reliability market, such as enterprise SSDs.

The announcement does not mention anything that you can go out and buy yet, though. At the moment, it is behind-the-scenes stuff. It should be soon. I doubt that Toshiba would mass produce components like this without products or OEMs lined up.

Source: Toshiba

Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Is, Today, Free Forever

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: steam, Red Orchestra 2

Yes, the title makes sense... with some explanation. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad is free forever, if you add it to your Steam account at some point today. Once it is in your account, it is yours. The price will return to a non-zero value at 10AM tomorrow, April 24th, 2014 (I assume PDT). Of course, you should just launch Steam and add it to your account as soon as possible. The button suggests that you need to install it to your computer immediately, but you don't; it will just add it to your library.

This does not include Rising Storm, except the "rifle-only" access that has been available for Hereos of Stalingrad customers. To get the rest of Rising Storm, it will need to be purchased and, go figure, it is scheduled for a "free weekend" and a discount, this weekend. Clearly, Tripwire is hoping to increase sales of Rising Storm through the sum of these promotions.

To summarize the entire promotion:

  • Hereos of Stalingrad can be added to your Steam account (if claimed before 10AM).
  • With this, you can access "rifle-only" content for Rising Storm.
  • This weekend, the full version of Rising Storm will be free until the end of the weekend.
  • During that free weekend, Rising Storm will be discounted.

Honestly, there is little reason to not just add it to your Steam library as soon as you get a chance. From there, you can sit on it if you do not have time for it. It is such a small commitment.

Great news Civ fans, Steamworks has your back

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: civ4, steamworks, gamespy

The death of GameSpy was a long time coming but unfortunately the demise has called into question the ability to continue to play multiplayer matches on a long list of legacy games such as Civilization 4.  A list of older 2K games were released, whose fate was undetermined until now when it was announced that Borderlands and Civ3 and 4 will be migrated to Steamworks to allow continued multiplayer support.  At the end of May we will see these games go offline, hopefully for a very short time, as they are migrated.  Follow the link to 2K support on Hexus for the list of games which will not be saved.

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"Beginning May 31, 2014, Borderlands 1 and select tiles from the Civilization catalogs will temporarily go offline while service is transitioned to Steamworks. During the transition, players will experience interruption of several features, including online play, matchmaking and voiceover Internet protocol (VOIP). Players will not experience interruptions to offline play."

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Gaming

Source: Hexus

Skip PCIe SSDs and jump into ULLtraDIMMs

Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2014 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: mcs, ULLtraDIMM, diablo, PCIe SSD

Memory Channel Storage is exactly what it sounds like, non-volatile flash storage that is placed into DIMM slots to take advantage of the low latency connection between the CPU and more traditional DIMMs.  This may not help gamers to rack up higher scores but for server applications which have large queue depths resulting in very large IOPS.  This setup also allows for workload to be shared across memory channels, as opposed to a PCIe solution which is only able to connect to the lanes accessible to that particular slot.  There is a link to the white paper on The Register for those who wish to delve deeper.

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"Diablo provides Memory Channel Storage (MCS) technology to SanDisk’s subsidiary SMART Storage. It’s OEMed on to Supermicro and also IBM (soon to be Lenovo) for its x86 servers as ULLtraDIMM technology."

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Source: The Register