Neither IBM nor the mainframe are dead yet

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2015 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: IBM, mainframe, power8

IBM has just released a new mainframe based on their new 5GHz 22nm Power8 based Processing Units with some models supporting up to 10TB of RAM, the minimum you can run is a mere 64GB.  It can not only run IBM's zOS but is also capable of directly supporting Linux and can be managed with a Blade running Windows if you so desire. These fancy looking little mainframes are set up with drawers of either 39 or 42 PUs, so you can upgrade as your usage requires although 2 are actually spares and 6 are System Assist Processors, the remaining PUs can be assigned to varying roles as in previous IBM Z models.  These machines are designed to handle large amounts of data traffic, providing real time encryption on up to 2.5 billion transactions per day.  The Register feels that the most likely usage scenario will be to provide secure mobile data traffic, something which is certainly needed.  You can also glean more information from this blog entry if you are curious about the architecture and capabilities of this mainframe.

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"Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the market, but IBM will be hoping that the billion dollars it's poured into developing the new z13 mainframe will get the big end of town as excited as Big Blue itself is."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Windows 7 Is Now Classified as Extended Support

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2015 - 03:41 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, extended support

According to Microsoft's lifecycle calendar, Windows 7 left mainstream support on the 13th of January and has entered “Extended Support”. This means that the operating system will still receive security updates, but not non-security ones, and “requests to change product design and features” will not be accepted. While the OS is over five years old, it is still very popular, especially among PC gamers.

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My concern is that this occurred while we anticipate major changes to the Windows platform. While I never really expected that Microsoft would release DirectX 12 for Windows, there was still hope that we would see a pre-release or developer build while Windows 7 was still in mainstream support (despite being several driver models behind). Now that the window has closed, so to speak, that hope is diminishing. Windows 8.1, on the other hand, might be okay, but I have no idea why you would want to stick with it over Windows 10, especially if it is a free/cheap update.

Besides DirectX 12, I am also concerned about Microsoft cutting off first-party web browsers at IE11. Sure, it is a much better place to end than IE8 on Windows XP, and the end-user could always install a third-party browser, but it could lead to problems for web developers. It is much easier to say “keep Internet Explorer up to date” (heck, even Microsoft is saying it) than the alternative, “use a different browser”. There are still many features under consideration (Shadow DOM being the most interesting for me) that would be nice to have, and not need to worry about the fraction of a fraction.

But at least it will be kept secure until 2020.

Source: Microsoft

Remember all those online 'experts' telling you that OCZ SSDs always fail?

Subject: Storage | January 14, 2015 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: ocz, torture, ARC 100

The Tech Report has already shown a variety of SSDs can survive long after their write life cycle has been exceeded and that some drives can continue past 2 petabytes. Kitguru is performing a very similar test, specifically with OCZ Arc 100 SSD and have now passed the 100TB mark with the five drives they are testing.   Not a single one of these consumer level drives have died and only one of the drives has reported an error and that was one single bad  block.  While they have had problems with a specific controller in the past, they no longer use that controller and claims that all of their drives are tarnished is a bit of an exaggeration.  A specific performance was also finally addressed, but they are certainly not the only manufacturer that has needed to be called out to address performance degradation over time.  You can see the current results here.

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"The drives all passed the warranty figure of 22TB at the close of December – our next test was to get them all past the 100TB mark. Would any fail?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: KitGuru

FarCry 4 performance, it is almost ready for prime time

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: ubisoft, sad, gaming, farcry 4

[H]ard|OCP recently put out a pair of articles covering Far Cry 4, the first of which covered the various new graphics features, many of which are only available to NVIDIA users and others like the Godrays which have such a performance impact on AMD GPUs that they may as well be NVIDIA only.  The second will be of more interest to gamers as they benchmark a dozen GPUs, covering NVIDIA from the GTX 750Ti through to the GTX 980 and AMD from the R7 260X through to the R9 290X.  They also had a chance to test SLI performance but unfortunately as Ubisoft decided to disable Crossfire completely in the game there could not be any multiple AMD GPU setups tested.  Perhaps the most telling conclusion from [H]ard|OCP is also the most obvious, even though this is an evolution of the FarCry3 engine there have been numerous issues with the game since launch and even after six patches major issues with the game and the continued refusal to support Crossfire are hurting this games performance.  If you still plan to play the game you can read [H]'s full performance review to see how your GPU should perform in Ubisoft's latest ... release.

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"We play Far Cry 4 on no less than twelve different GPUs for this in-depth look at what graphics settings are playable in Far Cry 4. We will talk about playable settings and show apples-to-apples so you know what to expect in this game and what upgrading your video card may do for you in this new game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sure it is still 1's and 0's but a lot has changed in 25 years

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: history, cpu, errata, dan luu

A question was asked of Dan Luu about what new tricks silicon has learned since the early days of the eighties.  The answer covers a gamut of what tools those who work on low level code such as drivers and UEFI/BIOS now have at their disposal.  It is far more than just the fact that we have grown from 8 bit to 64 bit or the frequencies possible now that were undreamed of before but delves into the newer features such as out of order instructions and single instruction, multiple data instructions.  If you are not familiar with how CPUs and GPGPUs operate at these low levels it is a great jumping off point for you to learn what the features are called and to get a rough idea of what tasks they perform.  If you know your silicon through and through it is a nice look back at what has been added in the last 25 years and a reminder of what you had to work without back in the days when flashing a BIOS was a literal thing.  You can also check the comments below the links at Slashdot as they are uncharacteristically on topic.

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"An article by Dan Luu answers this question and provides a good overview of various cool tricks modern CPUs can perform. The slightly older presentation Compiler++ by Jim Radigan also gives some insight on how C++ translates to modern instruction sets."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Report: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Specs and Synthetic Benchmarks Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 14, 2015 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: rumors, NVIDA, leak, gtx 960, gpu, geforce

The GPU news and rumor site VideoCardz.com had yet another post about the GTX 960 yesterday, and this time the site claims they have most of the details about this unreleased GPU with new leaked photos from a forum on the Chinese site PCEVA.

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Image credit: PCEVA via VideoCardz.com

The card is reportedly based on Maxwell GM206, a 1024 CUDA core part recently announced with the introduction of the GTX 965M. Clock speed was not listed but alleged screenshots indicate the sample had a 1228 MHz core and 1291 MHz Boost clock. The site is calling this an overclock, but it's still likely that the core would have a faster clock speed than the GTX 970 and 980.

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Image credit: PCEVA via VideoCardz.com

The card will reportedly feature 2GB of 128-bit GDDR5 memory, though doubtless 4GB variants would likely be available after launch from the various vendors (an important option considering the possibility of the new card natively supporting triple DisplayPort monitors). Performance will clearly be a step down from the initial GTX 900-series offerings as NVIDIA has led with their more performant parts, but the 960 should still be a solid choice for 1080p gaming if these screenshots are real.

The specs as listed on the page at VideoCardz.com are follows (they do not list clock speed):

  • 28nm GM206-300 GPU
  • 1024 CUDA cores
  • 64(?) TMUs
  • 32 ROPs
  • 1753 MHz memory
  • 128-bit memory bus
  • 2GB memory size
  • 112 GB/s memory bandwidth
  • DirectX 11.3/12
  • 120W TDP
  • 1x 6-pin power connector
  • 1x DVI-I, 1x HDMI 2.0, 3x DP

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Image credit: PCEVA via VideoCardz.com

We await official word on pricing and availability for this unreleased GPU.

Source: VideoCardz

Grand Theft Auto V (PC) Delayed Until March 24, 2015

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 04:20 AM |
Tagged: GTA5, GTA Online, consolitis

The fifth major release of Grand Theft Auto was launched sixteen months ago on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, without the PC. Eventually, Rockstar announced next-gen versions for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which explained why the PC was missing before: it was considered a next-gen platform. Those platforms launched a year after the initial release, but the PC was pushed into January 2015. Now it has been pushed again, into late March (the 24th to be precise).

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It's not like we're not trying!

Again, I hope that the extra time will be worth it -- and it might be, too. The game was overwhelmingly successful from a sales standpoint, but Grand Theft Auto Online (its multiplayer component) was criticized for a wide range of issues: service connectivity, glitches including loss of characters and progression, and some even claim a lack of content. Maybe, just maybe, it will be polished by the time it gets to us. And hey, Rockstar even claims that it will launch with Heists (which could be considered a running joke in itself).

They also claim that Grand Theft Auto Online for the PC will support 30 players. Nice.

The system specifications were also released, and they're fairly modest (unlike other recent titles). At a minimum, you will need a 64-bit OS with 4GB of memory and 65GB of drive space, which might be a stumbling block for some. Besides that? Core 2 Quad Q6600 and a GeForce 9800 GT. Its recommended specs push the CPU up to an Ivy Bridge Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 660.

It is interesting to see that only quad cores (or higher) are supported, but fairly old ones. Unless something like Far Cry 4 happens, there should be plenty enough performance in a dual-core Pentium Anniversary Edition to keep up. Hopefully Rockstar doesn't error-out machines if they do not detect at least four threads.

Source: Joystiq

Curious what a Xiaomi phone is like?

Subject: Mobile | January 13, 2015 - 05:49 PM |
Tagged: xiaomi, redmi note, android 4.4

We hear a lot about Xiaomi products here in North America but as they are not commonly found for sale by the major providers we do not tend to see them in action.  Madshrimps recently reviewed the 5.5" Redmi Note, one of their lower priced offerings.  The screen is 720p, powered by a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 series CPU and using the Adreno 305 GPU along with 2GB of low power DDR3 and 8 GB of onboard storage.  The base OS is a modified version of Android 4.4 and it comes with a wide variety of apps installed, including many now popular fitness apps.  If you are curious how a Xiaomi phone priced under $200 without contract performs and just what it comes with, check out the review here.

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"The Redmi Note 4G smartphone has impressed us positively because if offers a lot for its value; the incorporated Snapdragon 400 MSM8928 SoC from Qualcomm may not have a very powerful 3D component but it compensates with good CPU performance, quite decent power consumption and thanks to that we did not have the feeling that the smartphone discharges pretty fast right in front of our eyes as we have seen with some MTK6592 units which have reviewed in the past."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: MadShrimps

NZXT Enters the Set-Top Box Market with the DOKO Remote PC Streaming Device

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2015 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: set-top box, remote access, pc game streaming, nzxt, DOKO

The new DOKO device from NZXT is an interesting spin on the living room streaming box, and it's a lot more than another Netflix player.

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So what exactly is it? According to NZXT "DOKO is a low latency (50-80ms), 1080p 30 FPS PC streaming device that brings you the full functionality of your PC, anywhere in your home."

The DOKO provides the interface to remotely connect to computers over your network, providing access to whatever resources you have on your PC. The DOKO has USB ports to connect peripherals and though there is no proprietary hardware required, the company has compiled a “recommend” list of compatible keyboards, mice, and game controllers on their site.

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The DOKO interface

And NZXT is making the gaming aspect of the streamer’s capability a big part of the product, though with a 30 FPS limit it isn't as exciting as it could be.

“DOKO brings you unrestricted, latency-free gaming direct to your TV. Experience a new way to play your favorite PC games, with complete access to ALL of them, whether they are from Steam, Origin, Uplay or any other source.”

In-home streaming is already a part of Steam, but the idea of an agnostic gaming experience without a second computer is attractive if it works as well as advertised. The company also points out the advantage of being able to do everything your PC can do… (Uh, we’re talking about spreadsheets, right?)

The DOKO will be available exclusively from NZXT’s online store (sorry, online "Armory") for $99, and will start shipping January 28.

Source: NZXT

More NVIDIA GTX 960 Sightings: Galaxy's KFA2 GTX 960 Lineup Reportedly Pictured

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 13, 2015 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: rumors, nvidia, multi monitor, mini-ITX GPU, leak, HDMI 2.0, gtx 960, gpu, geforce, DisplayPort

The crew at VideoCardz.com have been reporting some GTX 960 sightings lately, and today they've added no less than three new cards from KFA2, the "European premium brand" of Galaxy.

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The reported reference design GTX 960 (VideoCardz.com)

Such reports are becoming more common, with the site posting photos that appear to be other vendors' versions of the new GPU here, here, and here. Of note with these new alleged photos on what appears to be a reference design board: no less than three DisplayPort outputs, as well as HDMI 2.0 and DVI:

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Reported GTX 960 outputs (VideoCardz.com)

This would be big news for multi-monitor users as it would provide potential support three high-resolution DisplayPort monitors from a single card in a strictly non-gaming environment (unless you happen to enjoy the frame-rates of an oil painting).

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The reported mini-ITX GTX 960 (VideoCardz.com)

The other designs shown in the post include a mini-ITX form-factor design still sporting the triple DisplayPorts, HDMI and DVI, and a larger EXOC edition built on a custom PCB.

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Reported EXOC GTX 960 (VideoCardz.com)

The EXOC edition apparently drops the multi-DisplayPort option in favor of a second DVI output, leaving just one DisplayPort along with the lone HDMI 2.0 output.

With the GTX 960 leaks coming in daily now it seems likely that we would be hearing something official soon.

Source: VideoCardz

Corsair's overclockable Vengeance LPX DDR4-2800 kit

Subject: Memory | January 13, 2015 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: ddr4, ddr4-2800, corsair, Corsair Vengeance LPX, X99

With the release of the X99 chipset came the introduction of DDR4, which is not seeing the same uptake as DDR3 did at launch, though it is still selling well.  Part of this may be the pricing, DDR3 was expensive when it first launched but even stalwart early adopters may balk at the $340 asking price for the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2800MHz.  The other main reason for the mild reception is the minimal performance gains which DDR4 offers, you can see a slight difference in synthetic benchmarks but when it comes to gameplay the performance increase is minuscule for the price you pay.  If you do have an X99 board then this kit is a good choice for you, not only can you often find similar kits on sale for significantly less that $300, Overclockers Club overclocked these DIMMs to 3200MHz at timings of 16-16-16-30.  Check out their review here.

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"Packed full of promise, the latest modules in the Vengeance series of Corsair's DDR4 memory lineup deliver excellent performance when tweaked to get the tightest timings. Out of the box they come with 16-18-18-36 primary timings using just 1.2v to run the modules. By tweaking the applied voltage a little bit you can get the timings much tighter at the rated speed and even when running at my max overclock of 3200MHz. At this speed I was able to run the timings at 15-15-15-28 2T using over 1.4v applied to the modules."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

Alas poor Win7, I knew him ...

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2015 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: win7, extended support, the cycle of life, inevitable

Sigh, the end draws nigh for that most common of desktop operating systems, Windows 7, has moved into Extended Support.  This follows the move at Halloween from an active product to one no longer available but is not the final straw for the OS which is currently scheduled for 2020.  The Inquirer quotes a source which places the current market share of Win7 at just over 56% globally, far above the currently selling Win8.1 but this number will slowly begin to fall, likely at a quicker pace than did WinXP's share.  When a Windows product reaches Extended Support it still receives security patches and serious bug fixes, albeit at a slower pace than when it is current so don't worry that your Win7 boxen will be dying any time soon but it does make it even more worthwhile to familiarize yourself with Windows 10 as new machines will be running that OS very soon.  Drop by The Inquirer for other upcoming dates, such as the final nail in Vista's coffin.

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"WINDOWS 7 has reached an important milestone that begins its long, slow descent into obscurity and eventually end of life, where it will doubtless continue to command more market share than its successor."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

LinkedIn Posts Hint at Radeon R9 380X Features, Stacked Memory

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 13, 2015 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: rumor, radeon, r9 380x, 380x

Spotted over at TechReport.com this morning and sourced from a post at 3dcenter.org, it appears that some additional information about the future Radeon R9 380X is starting to leak out through AMD employee LinkedIn pages.

Ilana Shternshain is a ASIC physical design engineer at AMD with more than 18 years of experience, 7-8 years of that with AMD. Under the background section is the line "Backend engineer and team leader at Intel and AMD, responsible for taping out state of the art products like Intel Pentium Processor with MMX technology and AMD R9 290X and 380X GPUs." A bit further down is an experience listing of the Playstation 4 APU as well as "AMD R9 380X GPUs (largest in “King of the hill” line of products)."

Interesting - though not entirely enlightening. More interesting were the details found on Linglan Zhang's LinkedIn page (since removed):

Developed the world’s first 300W 2.5D discrete GPU SOC using stacked die High Bandwidth Memory and silicon interposer.

Now we have something to work with! A 300 watt TDP would make the R9 380X more power hungry than the current R9 290X Hawaii GPU. High bandwidth memory likely implies memory located on the substrate of the GPU itself, similar to what exists on the Xbox One APU, though configurations could differ in considerable ways. A bit of research on the silicon interposer reveals it as an implementation method for 2.5D chips:

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Source: SemiWiki.com

There are two classes of true 3D chips which are being developed today. The first is known as 2½D where a so-called silicon interposer is created. The interposer does not contain any active transistors, only interconnect (and perhaps decoupling capacitors), thus avoiding the issue of threshold shift mentioned above. The chips are attached to the interposer by flipping them so that the active chips do not require any TSVs to be created. True 3D chips have TSVs going through active chips and, in the future, have potential to be stacked several die high (first for low-power memories where the heat and power distribution issues are less critical).

An interposer would allow the GPU and stacked die memory to be built on different process technology, for example, but could also make the chips more fragile during final assembly. Obviously there a lot more questions than answers based on these rumors sourced from LinkedIn, but it's interesting to attempt to gauge where AMD is headed in its continued quest to take back market share from NVIDIA.

Source: 3dcenter.org

Swiftech's new AIO cooler, the H220-X

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 12, 2015 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: swiftech, H220-X, AIO, watercooler

Swiftech has taken a new generation of their MCR radiators and paired it with the tried and tested Apogee XL waterblock in their new AIO watercooler, the H220-X.  At ~$170 it is more expensive than many competitors solutions and so will need to perform at higher levels in order to get a recommendation from [H]ard|OCP.  The cooler does offer some extras which the competition does not which helps justify the pricing, you can power up to eight fans with the included adapter which makes sense as the modular design of the H220-X allows you to add to the cooling loop if you so desire.  The performance was quite good especially when you consider how quiet the cooler operates at full load but as [H] mentions in their conclusion, the price is quite high and they saw the MSRP at a much lower $130.

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"Swiftech is a standard name in the computer hardware enthusiast arena. Today we review its answer to an enthusiast All-In-One CPU cooler. As you might guess it is strong on hardware, design, and purpose. The H220-X CPU Liquid Cooling Kit focuses on little to no noise while providing excellent cooling."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Using the embedded HD7850 to spot the next generation of gamers in the womb

Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2015 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: ultrasound, opencl, hd 7850

The new bk3000 Ultrasound System from Analogic will use an embedded HD7850 and OpenCL to triple the quality of the information the ultrasound reveals.  This will allow ultrasounds to reveal anatomical detail and micro-vascularization that was not available with previous ultrasound technology and could even enable Gamegaters to locate their own heads with the use of the E14C4t transducer.  The most familiar usage of ultrasound is for displaying a fetus in utero but there are far more medical uses for this type of (mostly) non-invasive scan and the increase in detail and the transformation abilities that Open CL brings will not only make it more effective but could expand the usefulness of ultrasounds as a diagnostic tool.  As we at PC Perspective continue to age we are very appreciative of advances such as this, especially if we can get a split screen that allows us to do a little light gaming while the doctors poke and prod!

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SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Jan. 12, 2015 — AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced that the AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU is enabling cutting-edge application performance for the BK Ultrasound, powered by Analogic, bk3000 ultrasound system. Analogic is a leader in developing healthcare and security technology solutions to advance the practice of medicine to save lives.

“The AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU with OpenCL provides a powerful and efficient pairing,” said Cameron Swen, segment marketing manager, medical applications, AMD Embedded Solutions. “This product is yet another proof point to AMD’s dedication to the healthcare segment through its technology, which helps facilitate crisp, detailed medical image visualization and other advanced graphics-driven capabilities, helping doctors provide improved care for patients.”

Analogic used OpenCL standard to gain access to the GPU for general-purpose computing, referred to as “GPGPU,” delivering exceptional performance and offering system and development cost reduction through cross-platform portability. As a result of using AMD GPU technology, Analogic achieved a 3x improvement in the amount of information in each ultrasound image and reduced time from capture to presentation. Traditional FPGAs and DSPs create a fixed, inflexible implementation that requires custom software targeted at specific hardware. Going to a software-based solution using OpenCL helps to further lower the development cost and provides improved long term value since the software can be used across product lines and through generation shifts.

“It was a critical design goal for us to implement a platform that delivered exceptional performance,” said Jacques Coumans, chief marketing and scientific officer, Analogic. “After reviewing the options available, we chose the AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU for its excellent quality and scalability. The bk3000 ultrasound system, powered by AMD embedded graphics technology, delivers exceptional speed and image fidelity, which allows clinicians to identify anatomy and flow dynamics deeper in challenging patients.”

The AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 is based on AMD’s award-winning Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture to advance the visual growth and parallel processing capabilities of embedded applications. In addition to ultrasound, other applications for GPGPU include some of the most complex parallel applications such as terrain and weather mapping, facial and gesture recognition, and biometric and DNA analysis.

The new Analogic bk3000 ultrasound system is targeted for urology, surgery, general imaging, and procedure guidance applications and is commercially available in key markets worldwide.

Source: AMD

Still wondering about adaptive refresh and why it matters to more than the 144Hz crowd?

Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2015 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: freesync, amd

The Tech Report published a video of Freesync in action using a camera which records at 240 fps.  The subject material is running at less than the 60Hz that most of our monitors use which means that you can actually see what it does for you.  Watching the video at 60Hz you can see the tearing on the blades of the windmill as the actual frame rate of the render is 44 - 45Hz while when Freesync is active the matched frequencies do not cause any tearing.  The demonstration shows how Freesync can benefit lower end systems that are not going to push a 144Hz monitor to the limits, if you can only manage 40-50 fps in a game Freesync is going to make it much easier on your eyes.  You can catch our latest coverage of Freesync here.

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"We've been hearing about FreeSync, AMD's answer to Nvidia's G-Sync variable refresh display tech, for just over a year now. This week at CES, we finally got a chance to see FreeSync in action, and we used that opportunity to shoot some enlightening 240-FPS footage. We were able to find out some new specifics from AMD, as well."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Want to Build Two Systems in One Case? Then You Need the Phanteks Enthoo Mini XL

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 12, 2015 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: phanteks, mini-itx, micro-atx, Enthoo Mini XL, enclosure, dual-motherboard, cases

Phanteks has introduced a computer enclosure with a new form-factor they are calling “super micro ATX”, a large alternative to standard mATX designs that has the advantage of supporting two complete systems within a single case.

Enthoo_Mini_XL.jpg

The second motherboard is supported via their ITX upgrade kit, and as the name indicates the second system must be built on the mini-ITX platform. While this might appeal to a very small market there is a need for running discrete systems for some users, and this design is certainly an interesting alternative to running two boxes. How it handles heat dissipation is a good question, but considering the “extreme cooling” capacity of the case - with up to 14x 120mm or 8x 140mm fan mounts - there would be plenty of room for a pair of AIO solutions to keep the CPU heat outside of the enclosure.

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The mini-ITX board is installed at the top (Image credit: cowcotland.com)

The enclosure’s dimensions are (WxHxD) 260mm x 550mm x 480mm (10.24” x 21.65” x 18.90”), and the feature list includes:

  • Dual removable hard drive cages
  • 2x removable Drop-N-Lock SSD brackets
  • Fully equipped with dustfilters (1x top, 1x front, 2x bottom)
  • Removable top panel for easy fan installation and dust filter cleaning
  • Compartment for fan installation in top panel
  • Clean cable management using Phanteks' preinstalled Hoop-N-Loop cable ties
  • Mod friendly structure uses screws NOT rivets
  • 10 color abient lighting controller
  • 2x USB 3.0, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack

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Two backplates! (Image credit: cowcotland.com)

For full specs see the product page at the Phanteks site. Pricing is not listed and searching for the product at the usual places doesn’t turn up any listings as of this morning.

Source: Phanteks

Two of Intel's CES Wearables Powered by ARM Processors

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2015 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: wearables, SoC, smartwatch, Intel, ces 2015, CES, arm

Wearable tech shown at this year's CES by Intel included the Intel MICA and Basis PEAK wearables, but a blog post from ARM is reporting that a pair of these devices are powered by an ARM SoC.

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The Intel MICA (Image credit: Intel)

ARM has posted pictures of teardowns from different wearable products, highlighting their presence in these new devices. The pictures we have taken from ARM's blog post show that it is not Intel at the heart of the two particular models we have listed below.

First is the Basis PEAK, and it actually makes a lot of sense that this product would have an ARM SoC considering Intel's aquisition of Basis occurred late in 2014, likely after the development of the PEAK had been completed.

peak_watch.PNG

The Basis PEAK (Image credits: Basis, ARM)

Of course it is likely that Intel has plans to integrate their own mobile chips into future versions of wearable products like the PEAK.

Of some interest however is the SoC within their own MICA luxury wearable.

INTEL_MICA.PNG

The Intel MICA (Image credits: Intel, ARM)

For now, ARM is the industry standard for mobile devices and they are quick to point this out in their their blog post, writing "it’s important to remember that only ARM and its partners can meet the diversity requirements and fuel innovation in this space". Intel seems to be playing the "partner" role for now, though not exclusively as the company's mobile technology is powering the newest ASUS ZenFone, for instance.

Source: ARM IoT Blog

CES 2015: Samsung Monitors and ATIV Computers

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2015 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: UD970, Samsung, S34E790C, ces 2015, ATIV One 7 Curved, ATIV Book 9, ativ

I was invited to a meeting with Samsung on my last day at CES.  The Samsung Pavilion was absolutely packed, but I was able to see a handful of products that should pique the interest of people that are passionate about their monitor technology.  I was led around by Sara and we checked out not only a few monitors, but the latest ATIV PC products.

Up until this point, I thought curved TVs were a gimmick.  I still think curved TVs are a gimmick.  For a living room seating multiple people that will have a different angle to the TV, I believe a flat screen is still the best overall experience.  When it comes to PC usage, my mind has been thoroughly changed.

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Samsung has forged ahead with a curved 21:9 panel that they give the very unwieldy product name of S34E790C.  This is a 34” VA based panel that features a resolution of 3440x1440.  This is not quite 4K resolution, and of course it features the ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio.  This means that it is a bit easier on a video card than a full 4K monitor.  This is simply a stunning looking unit.  The design features a thin bezel and a really solid looking base that adds to the aesthetic rather than detracts.  The rear ports include two HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, 3.5 mm audio output, power, and a 4 port USB 3.0 hub.

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The base is a solid, curved unit that allows users to raise and lower the panel.  The bezels are again relatively thing so that multiple monitors can be placed together without the bezels becoming distracting.  The unit also features a 100x100 mm VESA mount so that other stands can be used with this monitor.

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Three of these monitors together would make for a tremendous Surround or Eyefinity setup.  There would have to be some serious horsepower in terms of graphics to push that many pixels though.  The curve is not extreme in the least, and the monitors curve around the user in a subtle way.  This would be outstanding for flight sims, racing, and pretty much any game that can utilize a wide FOV.  Samsung showed five of these together, and they blend nearly seamlessly together.  This monitor currently retails around $1400, but MSRP is supposed to be $1,199 US.

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On the professional side they were showing the UD970.  This monitor was released around mid-year in 2014, but they were happy to put it on exhibit at CES.  This is a 3840x2160 (4K) monitor that is aimed directly at professionals with color calibration done at the factory.  When this comes out of the box, it should be in good enough shape to start working directly on professional applications which require a nicely calibrated monitor.  This monitor is the typical flat style rather than the curved unit described above.

 

The ATIVs

Away from the monitors Samsung was showing off their latest all-in-one.  The ATIV One 7 Curved is a 27” AIO that features the latest Intel i5 processor (Broadwell) with the HD 5500 graphics option.  It has 8 GB of memory and a 1 TB hybrid HD (flash and spinning 5400 RPM drive) and runs Windows 8.1.  The screen is a 1080P unit, which is a little disappointing considering the availability of fairly affordable 1440P panels, but that extra cost would drive up price from the very reasonable $1,299 MSRP.

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The machine seemed very snappy and the curved screen again seems very appropriate for PC usage.  Since the user is fairly close, the curve does allow better use of peripheral vision.  The unit is only about 1.5” deep, so we can see exactly why they are using a Broadwell based chip which does not require a tremendous amount of cooling.  It features HDMI in and out ports for use with consoles and other display options.  There are also two 10 watt speakers integrated into the machine which will provide for some pretty impressive integrated sound.  Most speakers in this class are around 2 to 4 watts, so by putting in a couple of 10 watt units there will not be a need by most people to utilize other speaker peripherals.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this product is the SideSync 3.0 software platform.  This application allows users to control their Samsung based Android device.  The demonstration I was given used the Galaxy S5.  The user will see a representation of the phone on their screen and they have access to all of the applications installed on the phone.  Here is what Samsung has to say about SideSync 3.0:

“Through SideSync 3.0, ATIV One 7 Curved users can receive phone calls and text messages forwarded from their Samsung smartphone right to their PC. Users can also control their smartphone from their PC screen, mouse and keyboard through SideSync 3.0’s sharing mode, as well as share content between devices with Samsung Link 2.0. This means that users can save all of their photos, videos, music and more in the ATIV One 7 Curved’s ample 1TB flash drive, and then easily access it from other devices from anywhere in the home.”

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The demonstration was actually pretty slick and it is useful.  It was really funny to see the cursor go from the screen and over to the smartphone and be able to click on the programs icons.

The final product shown to me was the ATIV Book 9.  This is a 12.2” laptop that weighs in at a pretty light 2.09 lbs.  It has a very dense screen that is 2560x1600.  Samsung is bringing back the 16:10 aspect ratio as they found it more useful for productivity work on this particular laptop.  The laptop features the new Broadwell based Intel Core M 5Y70 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, and around 10.5 hours of battery life.  This particular configuration goes for around $1,400 US when it is released this quarter.

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This probably would have been a much more impressive looking laptop if I had not seen the Dell XPS 13 with an edge to edge display.  That model is around 11” wide and weighs slightly more at 2.6 pounds (2.8 pounds with the touchscreen version).  Still, the ATIV Book 9 is an impressive performer with its 2560x1600 screen and half pound less weight.

After all is said and done, I really want 3 x S34E790Cs.  Now if I can only get more desk space and a couple graphics cards that can push that resolution.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Samsung

CES 2015: Deepcool Tristellar and Pentower Mini-ITX Cases Launched with Outlandish Designs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2015 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: mini-itx, enclosure, Deepcool, ces 2015, CES, cases

Deepcool has announced a couple of new mini-ITX enclosures, and they are anything but average.

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The Deepcool Tristellar (Credit: Legit Reviews)

First we have one of the wildest looking enclosures at I’ve ever seen (other than the In Win D-Frame mini), and it looks very much like an Imperial shuttle (ROTJ, anyone?). With three sections connected to a central hub, the Tristellar has the look of some sort of spacecraft, and would appear at first glance to be rather complicated to build in (though I'd love to find out first-hand).

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Exploded view of the Tristellar (Credit: Legit Reviews)

The enclosure was featured as the basis of an upcoming gaming system from CyberPower, and it would indeed house a capable gaming machine with support for mini-ITX motherboards, full-size graphics cards, and standard ATX power supplies.

The second case is a little more conventional on the surface, but again we have a design that is quite a departure.

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The Pentower enclosure (Credit: Legit Reviews)

The upright Pentower enclosure seems to borrow from the design of the latest-gen Mac Pro (albeit in a less cylindrical fashion), but is not built upon the Mac’s cooling design (in which the CPU and GPU are directly connected to the large central heatsink). Such a design seems ideal for this enclosure shape, but Deepcool has implemented their own air cooling system here.

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The Mac Pro’s thermal design (Credit: Apple, Inc)

With the Pentower standard components can be used and installation should be relatively easy since “after the shell is removed, all of the panels and trestles are exposed (and) users can install units directly without uninstall(ing) any other part of the case“, according to the press release.

There is no listing for the Tristellar or Pentower cases on the Deepcool website as of today, and naturally pricing and availability have not been announced.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!