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Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2015 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: crucial, Ballistix Elite, ddr4-2666
Make sure to visit your UEFI after installing Crucial's Ballistix Elite DIMMs' as this 16GB kit defaults to the JEDEC profile of DDR4-2400 @ 16-16-16-39. One quick click later to XMP and you will hit the advertised DDR4-2666 16-17-17-36. This kit ships with the Crucial Ballistix M.O.D. utility to give you temperature readings in real time, see exactly what frequencies and timings you are running at in Windows and for those kits which sport LEDs, the ability to program a lightshow. Hardware Canucks spend some time overclocking this kit and found the best performance to be with DDR4-2750 @ 12-12-12-26-1T. It is a good kit of DDR4 but remember it will cost you, in this case about $335.
"Enthusiasts have been waiting for Crucial's Ballistix Elite to hit the market and it is everything we could have wanted; overclocking headroom, performance and a lifetime warranty...it's all here."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- Crucial Ballistix DDR4 2666 @ HardwareHeaven
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Review @ Neoseeker
- Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 16GB Memory Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ADATA XPG Z1 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 @ Kitguru
- G.Skill RipJaws 4 16GB DDR4 2800MHz Memory Kit Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2015 - 12:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, server 2003, idiots, EoL
If you ever feel ignored when offering technical advice to executives or anyone ranking above you in your business then this statistic about Server 2003 that The Register quotes will come as no surprise, "47 percent of 1,000 Fortune 500 IT executives had no idea that end-of-life was coming". Of course this does not signify that they were never told nor that Microsoft obfuscated the EoL date, it shows that they completely ignored the professionals that work for them and warned them. Now they will have a choice, they can run servers that no longer receive security updates nor support from Microsoft or they can pay $600 per server for a year of extended support, with that amount likely increasing every year. It does not make business sense to migrate to every new server or client platform that is released but postponing that upgrade for over a decade in the assumption that your supplier will never cut you out is bordering on idiocy. Just to add to your frustration, none of those supposed IT executives are likely to be fired as a direct result of this poor planning and on the off chance one does leave; the severance they pick up will likely be worth more money than you have made since the release of Server 2003.
"MICROSOFT HAS PUT a price on extended support for servers running Windows Server 2003 after it reaches end-of-life this summer."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Your HDDs were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS @ The Register
- Suse launches Enterprise Storage as standalone software-defined product @ The Inquirer
- Samsung to adopt 20nm process for over 50% of its DRAM output in 2015, say sources @ DigiTimes
- Mozilla's Flash-killer 'Shumway' appears in Firefox nightlies @ The Register
- Flaw In Netgear Wi-Fi Routers Exposes Admin Password, WLAN Details @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2015 - 06:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kingston, HyperX Cloud II, audio, gaming headset, dsp
As regular subscribers of the PC Perspective Podcast are aware, not every headset is created equally and while poor to moderate sound reproduction on the speakers can be ignored to a certain degree, poor sound capture quality on the microphone cannot. Kingston's original HyperX Cloud was not too bad for sound capture and most of the ears which were attached to people that reviewed the headset found it quite enjoyable. Techgage tried out Kingston's follow up product the stereo Cloud II with inline DSP to allow virtual 7.1 surround sound recently, focusing more on the audio reproduction than capture. From their review it does indeed sound like Kingston has put out another audio winner but as they did not do much testing of the audio capture quality we are not sure if this product might make it onto a podcast near you.
"Sequels… they’re either blockbusters (The Empire Strikes Back) better than the original or busts (Caddyshack II) that should have never seen the light of day. In the world of PC peripherals, it’s rare when we see a direct follow-up to a product. Kingston, though, bucks the trend with its new HyperX Cloud II gaming headset. Is it a blockbuster, or a bust?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Asus Echelon Forest Multi-Platform Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Kingston HyperX Cloud 2 Headset @ Bjorn3d
- SteelSeries Siberia Elite Prism Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Plantronics Voyager Edge Bluetooth Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Inateck BP2001 Wireless Stereo Bluetooth Portable Speaker @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | February 16, 2015 - 04:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ocz, ARC 100, endurance
The sample size for the tests at KitGuru to see how well the OCZ ARC 100 SSDs stand up to their warranty are only five drives, now four as one has failed. The ARC 100 is rated for 20GB/day of host writes for 3 years, a total of 21.9TB and this one made it to about 322TB of writes before succumbing to errors. The other four are still going strong which lends credence to the claimed improvements that the Toshiba owned OCZ has made with their new SSD controllers. Even if you do suffer the death of a drive during the warranty period of three years the new hassle free ShieldPlus Warranty makes it very easy for you to get a replacement.
"The drives all passed the warranty figure of 300TB on 3rd February 2015 – but one of them has just failed with 322TB showing before failure."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Patriot Ignite SSD Review (480GB) - Asynch Flash Takes On a Whole New Look @ The SSD Review
- Crucial MX200 500GB & 1TB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Plextor M6e Black Edition PCIe 256GB SSD @ eTeknix
- ADATA Premier Pro SP900 M.2 6Gbps SSD @ The SSD Review
- Synology DiskStation BeyondCloud Preconfigured NAS Review @ Techgage
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-431 NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Silicon Power Mobile X31 OTG USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Inateck HB3001G OTG 3-Port USB Hub and Card Reader @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2015 - 01:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 900m, overclocking, responsibility
It seems that the recent ability to overclock the GTX 900M on laptops was a bug and not a feature, according to the response of an NVIDIA representative on this thread, to the many reasonable and well thought out posts on the thread on their forums. This started in the 347.29 release and continues into the current 347.52 release which supports the newly released Evolve as well as overclocking on desktop components.
It would be very nice to see the restoration of the ability to overclock mobile NVIDIA chips so that users can decide if they wish to or not but perhaps it is worth reminding those who want to overclock that they are doing so at their own risk. This does not mean the voiding of the warranty which will happen but refers more to the actual risk of damage to the GPU and the laptop it is in, by exceeding the thermal design of the laptop you risk destroying the expensive machine you just bought. Laptops have nowhere near the thermal flexibility or compartmentalization of a desktop, not only can you not pop the side off or slap in a new fan, the heat from the GPU is bleeding directly into other components in the laptop as their is no significant air gap between components.
Restoring the ability to overclock either natively or through third party applications is something that would be very appreciated, however there should be a strong warning presented to users if they do chose to. If you are running GPU enabled BOINC or Folding@Home on an overclocked laptop which you then leave unattended, it is your fault if the damn thing catches fire not NVIDIA's so do not go suing.
"Nvidia has removed the ability of users to overclock their GeForce GTX 900M series GPU equipped laptops in a recent driver update. The driver in question is the GeForce R347 driver (version 347.29). Before the update users of the laptops in question had no problems overclocking or even underclocking their GPUs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel reportedly to delay launch of 14nm Skylake desktop CPUs @ DigiTimes
- Google, Mattel team up to offer View-Master VR in kid-friendly package @ ExtremeTech
- Get Your Data Back with Linux-Based Data Recovery Tools @ Linux.com
- Think you’re hard? Check out the frozen Panasonic CF-54 Toughbook @ The Register
- iOS 8 causes more developer headaches than Android 5.0 Lollipop @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN! @ The Register
- The TR Podcast 170 video: What the kids put in their PCIe slots these days
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2015 - 11:04 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: SFF, nvidia, mini-ITX GPU, mini-itx, gtx 960, graphics, gpu, geforce, asus
ASUS returns to the mini-ITX friendly form-factor with the GTX 960 Mini (officially named GTX960-MOC-2GD5 for maximum convenience), their newest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 graphics card.
Other than the smaller size to allow compatibility with a wider array of small enclosures, the GTX 960 Mini also features an overclocked core and promises "20% cooler and vastly quieter" performance from its custom heatsink and CoolTech fan. Here's a quick rundown of key specs:
- 1190 MHz Base Clock / 1253 MHz Boost Clock
- 1024 CUDA cores
- 2GB 128-bit GDDR5 @ 7010 MHz
- 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x DVI output
No word on the pricing or availability of the card just yet. The other mini-ITX version of the GTX 960 on the market from Gigabyte has been selling for $199.99, so expect this to run somewhere between $200-$220 at launch.
ASUS has reused this image from the GTX 970 Mini launch, and so have I
The product page is up on the ASUS website so availability seems imminent.
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2015 - 11:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, pc gaming
If you are interested in the top five most played PC games, according to Raptr, then the rank order has not changed much. Each of them bled a lot of mind share though. In January, the top twenty games accounted for 61.93% (give or take rounding error) of total time, with 44.05% of total time dominated by the top five. In December (2014), the top twenty games had 78.41% of total play time, or 57% for just the top five. This means that PC gamers, at least those using Raptr, were spending a lot more time playing a diverse spread of less-popular games last month.
The biggest change (by rank) was Warframe, which lost six ranks and 43.2% of its play time, even though that was only 0.6% of Raptr's total. The second-largest change in the bottom fifteen games is Diablo III, which climbed up five ranks due to a major update that was released halfway through the month. The third-largest change is Dragon Age: Inquisition, which lost almost half (43.3%) of its play time, resulting in a drop of three ranks.
Even though the ranking had a few big movements internally, all twenty were also on last month's list.
Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2015 - 03:54 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zenbook, UX305, ultraportable, ips display, core m, asus, 5Y10
ASUS has announced the availability and pricing for the ZenBook UX305, and the specifications are quite exceptional for the price. Not content to compete on hardware specs alone the design of the notebook is a miniscule 0.48” thick, making the UX305 the world’s thinnest ultraportable notebook according to ASUS.
As impressive as the slim profile of the aluminum design might be, it is more impressive to look over the main specifications of the $699 UX305:
- Intel Core M 5Y10 processor
- 8GB of LPDDR3 memory
- 256GB SSD
- 13.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS display (matte finish)
I'll let that sink in for a moment. Quite an impressive list given the MSRP for these specifications is, again, only $699. At this price it's going to be very difficult to beat the UX305 considering what’s under the hood, as this configuration contains double the memory and storage space compared to many ultraportables in this price class. And 1080p IPS on top of everything is just icing on the cake. Battery life should be very good considerin the processor the heart of this is Intel's newest low-power Broadwell-based Core M (the 5Y10), which features HD 5300 graphics and a TDP of just 4.5W. Moreover, the processor is passively cooled and the notebook features a completely fanless design for silent operation.
Since there are no fans to expell heat ASUS has made it a point to promise that the palm rest will always stay cool thanks to their “IceCool technology” (whatever that is - but I really hope it’s an ice cube cooling system). The UX305 is powered by a 45Wh Lithium Polymer battery that has a claimed 10-hour battery life, and the notebook features 802.11ac wireless, three USB 3.0 ports, and includes a USB Ethernet adapter (a nice touch). ASUS is also touting a premium sound system with this notebook, employing a B&O ICEpower amplifier and enhanced with their proprietary “SonicMaster audio”. Rounding out the feature list is an SD card reader and 720p webcam.
The notebook weighs in at 2.6 Lbs, and this configuration of the UX305 is available immediately (listed on their official store). With the surprisingly low MSRP it sounds like this ZenBook will be a solid choice for anyone looking for the latest notebook tech on a budget, and depending on performance and real-world battery life it could just be that mythical MacBook Air "killer" (if you're ok with Windows 8 over OS X, of course).
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 15, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ubisoft, DirectX 12, directx 11, assassins creed, assassin's creed, assasins creed unity
During a conference call with investors, analysts, and press, Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft, highlighted the issues with Assassin's Creed: Unity with an emphasis on the positive outcomes going forward. Their quarter itself was good, beating expectations and allowing them to raise full-year projections. As expected, they announced that a new Assassin's Creed game would be released at the end of the year based on the technology they created for Unity, with “lessons learned”.
Before optimization, every material on every object is at least one draw call.
Of course, there are many ways to optimize... but that effort works against future titles.
After their speech, the question period revisited the topic of Assassin's Creed: Unity and how it affected current sales, how it would affect the franchise going forward, and how should they respond to that foresight (Audio Recording - The question starts at 25:20). Yves responded that they redid “100% of the engine”, which was a tremendous undertaking. “When you do that, it's painful for all the group, and everything has to be recalibrated.” He continues: “[...] but the engine has been created, and it is going to help that brand to shine in the future. It's steps that we need to take regularly so that we can constantly innovated. Those steps are sometimes painful, but they allow us to improve the overall quality of the brand, so we think this will help the brand in the long term.”
This makes a lot of sense to me. When the issues first arose, it was speculated that the engine was pushing way too many draw calls, especially for DirectX 11 PCs. At the time, I figured that Ubisoft chose Assassin's Creed: Unity to be the first title to use their new development pipeline, focused on many simple assets rather than batching things together to minimize host-to-GPU and GPU-to-host interactions. Tens of thousands of individual tasks being sent to the GPU will choke a PC, and getting it to run at all on DirectX 11 might have diverted resources from, or even caused, many of the glitches. Currently, a few thousand is ideal although “amazing developers” can raise the ceiling to about ten thousand.
This also means that I expect the next Assassin's Creed title to support DirectX 12, possibly even in the graphics API's launch window. If I am correct, Ubisoft has been preparing for it for a long time. Of course, it is possible that I am simply wrong, but it would align with Microsoft's Holiday 2015 expectation for the first, big-budget titles to use the new interface and it would be silly to have done their big overhaul without planning on switching to DX12 ASAP.
Then there is the last concern: If I am correct, what should Ubisoft have done? Is it right for them to charge full price for a title that they know will have necessary birth pains? Do they delay it and risk (or even accept) that it will be non-profitable, and upset fans that way? There does not seem to be a clear answer, with all outcomes being some flavor of damage control.
Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2015 - 05:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mouse, gaming mat, input, XTracPads, Carbonic, Ripper, Ripport XXL
They are not the most glamorous of peripherals but they do save your desk and can help you with your accuracy, so pop over to Overclockers Club to take a look at XTracPads. They offer three different sized gaming mats from the paper sized Carbonic at 8.5" x 11" x 1/8" to the Ripper at a larger 11" x 17" x 1/8" to the immense Ripper XXL at 36" x 18" x 1/8" which is going to cover a goodly piece of your desk. They are priced at roughly $15, $22 and $35 so it is not a major investment to pick up and well worth it if you are looking to replace an old mat which has seen better days.
"From a casual gamer perspective, I am sure someone who can game competitively will likely notice a greater improvement than I. Personally, I have had trouble with mouse pads that were too hard, not stiff, but solid cutouts of plastic (I don't even know if they are made anymore really). I have also had issues with mouse pads that accumulate a bunch of gross after a bit of use. I can live with poor or cheap mouse pads, but now that I have had a taste of the other side I really don't want to anymore."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Talon Gaming Mouse Review @ OCC
- Cougar 600M Gaming Mouse Review @HiTech Legion
- Cougar 600K @ HardwareHeaven
- ROCCAT Ryos TKL Pro Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Techgage
- Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Keyboard @ techPowerUp
Subject: Storage | February 13, 2015 - 02:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, micron
The large storage companies have been teaming up for a while now, not simply through mergers and takeovers but also joint ventures between those who were once competitors. It is debatable if consumers will see much cost benefit from this cooperation but at least the products do seem to improve as specialties are combined. In this particular case we will see the traditionally disk based Seagate working with the flash memory maker Micron develop SAS products as well as SSDs for Enterprise customers. The idea of Serial attached SCSI SSDs is certainly interesting but in the current business environment you have to wonder how many companies will have the budget to invest in large scale migrations to flash based storage. It is far more likely this will bring new hybrid storage servers to the market, with SSDs in the front to provide bandwidth to frequently accessed data with HDD behind them for backups and cold storage. You can get a quick refresher on the other companies which have started cooperative ventures in the article at The Inquirer.
"SEAGATE AND MICRON have announced that they will join forces to work on projects together over a number of years."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Torvalds Polls Desire for Linux's Next Major Version Bump @ Slashdot
- AMD stops shipping chips as bloated channel begs 'Please, no more' @ The Register
- Microsoft launches wobbly Windows 10 phone preview for Lumia daredevils only @ The Register
- Hacker kicks one bit XP to 10 Windows scroll goal @ The Register
- HP's Sprout computer proves the desktop isn't dead @ The Inquirer
- The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Media Preview @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2015 - 03:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: warner bros, pc gaming, GOG
Another publisher signed a deal with GOG to sell and distribute games, DRM-free. To launch their partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, six games have been added and five of them are on sale. LEGO Batman (50%-off), the two LEGO Harry Potter games (each 60%-off), F.E.A.R. Platinum (50%-off), and Bastion (60%-off) will be at their reduced prices all week.
The sixth title comes from their acquisition of Midway Games and is actually a three-game combo: Mortal Kombat 1+2+3. One person in the comments said that they are DOS-based versions and controller support might be a problem (although JoyToKey should solve that problem nicely - especially for a fighting game without analog controls). The first two games only support single PC multiplayer, although Mortal Kombat 3 allows LAN. Of course, LAN support should be easily extended to online multiplayer with people that you know online via VPN software, but I have not tried it myself and lag could be a problem.
All six titles are DRM-free, because it's GOG and that's how they roll.
Subject: Motherboards | February 12, 2015 - 03:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: motherboard, Kaveri, Intel Gig-E, FM2+, DDR-3 2133, crossblade ranger, audio, asus, A88X
It has been a while since Josh reviewed the ASUS Crossblade Ranger so it seems appropriate to put up a reminder that there are some impressive AMD boards out there with The Tech Report's review of the board. This board has just about everything except an M.2 port, from the Asus SupremeFX 2014 with high end caps and EMI shielding to HDMI, DVI, and VGA display outputs to a BIOS button on the backplate which allows you to update the upgrade the motherboard's firmware without a CPU or RAM installed. Check out the full review to get a list of the other features as well as a glimpse into the personality traits the board displayed during testing.
"Asus' Crossblade Ranger is a tweaker-friendly, top-of-the-line motherboard for AMD's Socket FM2+ processors. We kicked the tires and turned up the clocks to see whether the Ranger lives up to its top billing."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Rampage V Extreme Review @ OCC
- ASRock X99 OC Formula @ HardwareHeaven
- ASRock Fatal1ty X99M Killer mATX @ Kitguru
- ASRock X99X Killer @ HardwareHeaven
- ASUS X99-PRO Haswell-E Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI's X99S MPower @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2015 - 01:46 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, gtx 960, plextor, m6e black edition, M6e, r9 390, amd, radeon, nvidia, Silverstone, tegra, tx1, Tegra X1, corsair, H100i GTX, H80i GT
PC Perspective Podcast #336 - 02/12/2015
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 960 Overlocking, Plextor M6e Black Edition, AMD R9 3xx Rumors and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- 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: 1:11:53
Week in Review:
News item of interest:
0:46:10 NVIDIA Event on March 3rd. Why?
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2015 - 01:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: overclocking, nvidia, msi, gtx 960, GM206, maxwell
While Ryan was slaving over a baker's dozen of NVIDIA's GTX 960s, [H]ard|OCP focused on overclocking the MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G that they recently reviewed. Out of the box this GPU will hit 1366MHz in game, with memory frequency unchanged at 7GHz effective. As users have discovered, overclocking cards with thermal protection that automatically downclocks the GPU when a certain TDP threshold has been reached is a little more tricky as simply upping the power provided to the card can raise the temperature enough that you end up with a lesser frequency that before you overvolted. After quite a bit of experimentation, [H] managed to boost the memory to a full 8GHz and the in game GPU was hitting 1557MHz which is at the higher end of what Ryan saw. The trick was to increase the Power Limit and turn the clock speed up but leave the voltage alone.
"We push the new MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING video card to its limits of performance by overclocking to its limits. This NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based video card has a lot of potential for hardware enthusiasts and gamers wanting more performance. We compare it with other overclocked cards to see if the GTX 960 can keep up."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Five GeForce GTX 960 cards overclocked @ The Tech Report
- NVIDIA GTX 960 Reference Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MSI GTX 960 Gaming GPU, The Sweet Spot @ Bjorn3d
- MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G @ Modders-Inc
- 6-way GeForce GTX 960 Shootout @ Legion Hardware
- Testing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Cards In SLI @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Video Card Review - EVGA SSC Edition @ NitroWare
- Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming 4GB @ Modders-Inc
- Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X OC 8GB @ Kitguru
- Corsair H105 on 4770K and R9 290 @ HardwareOverclock
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2015 - 12:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, fud
In networking, an air gap refers to a security measure that separates a network from the public infrastructure, either physically or through the use of extremely secure tunnelling. This prevents access to that network over the internet or less secure LANs and is used in high security locations as it is generally considered one of the best ways of securing a network. As with all things silicon, it is not perfect and this article at The Register should not be read by the faint of heart. They describe several methods which have been developed to overcome air gaps, thankfully most require that the attacker had been able to gain physical access to the air gapped systems to infect them from within and as you have heard many times, once an attacker can gain physical access to your systems all bets are off.
What is interesting is the ways in which the infected systems transmit the stolen data without the need for physical contact and are incredibly difficult to detect. Some are able to use the FM frequencies generated by GPUs to send data to cellphones up to 7m away while another uses the pixels to transmit hidden data in a way that is invisible to the user of the machine. Other attacks involve spreading infection via microphones and speakers or a thumbdrive which was attached to an air gapped machine which could transmit data over a radio frequency up to 13 kilometres away. It is a wild world out there and even though many of the attacks described have only been done in research labs; don't let strangers fondle your equipment without consent!
"The custom code had jumped an air gap at a defence client and infected what should have been a highly-secure computer. Sikorski's colleagues from an unnamed company plucked the malware and sent it off to FireEye's FLARE team for analysis."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Storage firms drop 'A bombs' on the backup biz @ The Register
- BitTorrent Announces Exclusive TV Shows @ Slashdot
- Chip giant TSMC, flush with record sales, plans $16bn fab build-out @ The Register
- Ofcom paves way for IoT network with white space approval @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2015 - 08:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: reverse-consolitis, PC, Nintendo, emulator, dolphin
Update: Fixed the title of "Pikmin". Accidentally wrote "Pikman".
Considering the recent Nintendo license requirements, I expect that their demonstrative YouTube videos will have a difficult time staying online. Regardless, if you are in a jurisdiction where this is legal, it is now possible to play some Gamecube-era games at 60 FPS (as well as 1080p) with an emulator PC.
The blog post at the Dolphin Emulator's website goes into the “hack” in detail. The main problem is that these games are tied to specific framerates, which will cause problems with sound processing and other, time-sensitive bits of code. I have actually been told that one of the most difficult aspects of bringing a console game to the PC (or restoring an old PC game) is touching the timing code. It will break things all over. For Super Mario Sunshine, this also involves patching the game such that certain parts are still ticked at 30 FPS, despite the render occurring at twice that rate.
Also interesting is that some games, like Super Smash Bros. Melee, did not require a game-side patch. Why? Because they apparently include a slow-motion setting by default, which was enabled and then promptly sped up to real time, resulting in a higher frame rate at normal speed. The PC is nothing if not interesting.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 12, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raspberry pi 2, Raspberry Pi
It did not take long to find a problem with the Raspberry Pi 2. As it turns out, the Pi 2 contains a power regulator chip that is susceptible to bright sources of light. The light will force electrons to move when a metal is struck by enough photons with the correct, per-photon energy, which is its frequency/color, and that will be perceived as a voltage (because it actually does cause a voltage).
In the Raspberry Pi 2, this manifests as a voltage drop and the device immediately powers down. This was first discovered by Peter Onion on the Raspberry Pi forums while he was taking photographs of his Raspberry Pi 2. He noticed that each time he snapped a photo, the Pi would shut down. Liz Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation promptly confirmed the issue and wrote a long blog post explaining what actually happens. She borrows Peter's joke from the forum thread, that the Pi 2 is camera shy, and explains that “everyday light sources” will not cause this to happen. She then explains the photoelectric effect, the role of the above pictured U16 chip, and the issue itself.
I definitely appreciate Liz Upton and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, founded on the premise of education, taking the time to explain their bugs from an educational standpoint. That said, it is easy to lose sight of your goal when you have a product to defend, and I am glad that it did not get in the way.
A final note: this will not damage the Pi 2, just cause it to crash and power down. The only real problem is that shutting down your device mid-task will crash your task. If that is a write to the SD card, that will likely corrupt that write.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2015 - 11:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: strix, maxwell, gtx 750ti, gtx 750 ti, gm107, factory overclocked, DirectCU II
ASUS is launching a new version of its factory overclocked GTX 750 Ti STRIX with double the memory of the existing STRIX-GTX750TI-OC-2GD5. The new card will feature 4GB of GDDR5, but is otherwise identical.
The new graphics card pairs the NVIDIA GM107 GPU and 4GB of memory with ASUS’ dual fan "0dB" DirectCU II cooler. The card can output video over DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort.
Thanks to the aftermarket cooler, ASUS has factory overclocked the GTX 750 Ti GPU (640 CUDA cores) to a respectable 1124 MHz base and 1202 MHz GPU Boost clockspeeds. (For reference, stock clockspeeds are 1020 MHz base and 1085 MHz boost.) However, while the amount of memory has doubled the clockspeeds have remained the same at a stock clock of 5.4 Gbps (effective).
ASUS has not annouced pricing or availability for the new card but expect it to come soon at a slight premium (~$15) over the $160 2GB STRIX 750Ti.
The additional memory (and it's usefulness vs price premium) is a bit of a headscratcher considering this is a budget card aimed at delivering decent 1080p gaming. The extra memory may help in cranking up the game graphics settings just a bit more. In the end, the extra memory is nice to have, but if you find a good deal on a 2GB card today, don’t get too caught up on waiting for a 4GB model.
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | February 11, 2015 - 09:59 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb 3.1, usb, msi, asmedia
USB 3.0, for storage, is fast. If you are using an external, spindle-based hard drive, it will perform basically as fast as an internal sibling would. Apart from my two SSDs, I do not even have an internal drive anymore. You can safely install games to external hard drives now.
But with USB 3.1, the spec doubled to 10 Gbps, which matches the first generation Thunderbolt connector. A couple of weeks ago, Tom's Hardware put it to the test with an ASMedia USB3.1 to SATA 6 Gbps developer board. Sure enough, when you are raiding a pair of Intel 730 SSDs, you can achieve over 700 MB/s read/write in CrystalDiskMark.
About the most interesting part of Tom's Hardware testing is their CPU usage benchmark. While USB 3.0 on Intel's controller choked a CPU thread, USB 3.1 on ASMedia's controller did not even reach half of a thread's maximum (the CPU in question is a Core i7-5930K Haswell-E at 3.5 GHz).
So until we get flash drives that are constrained by USB 3.0's fairly high ceiling, we might be able to have reduced CPU usage.