Windows 10 November Update Released...ish

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 11:21 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Microsoft has published the November 2015 Update for Windows 10, which brings it to the logical version number: 1511. It is not available to everyone though. The update is apparently being rolled out to users slowly, and manually pressing “Check for updates” will not fix it either. I've been doing that all day and still haven't got it. Those who want to receive it before Windows Update graces you with its existence will apparently need to either download the ISOs, or use the Windows 10 update tool. It was designed to bring Windows 7 and Windows 8.x to Windows 10, but it (apparently) can also be used on older versions of Windows 10 to update them to newer, public versions. It might remove the ability to go back in case of problems though, so be careful.


The update itself shouldn't be too surprising if you have been following our periodic check-up with the Windows Insider program. This is essentially the most recent build, although it apparently is installed without the big in-place upgrade process (although I have yet to do it myself, as stated above).

In the foreground, users will likely notice a handful of changes in the interface. It should be better behind the scenes, too. Microsoft Edge has been upgraded to include many new Web technologies, which should enable peer-to-peer networking for websites and very high-performance numerical math in JavaScript. The OS's memory manager has been updated too. Build 10240 had the compressed memory feature that first appeared, as far as I can tell, around the 10074 era, but Microsoft clearly wasn't done with it. The first Insider preview after the July launch updated the memory manager, although they wouldn't specify exactly how. Likely this means that Microsoft merged the changes that they knew they could clean up by July, and left the rest to hang in a private branch (until the post-launch Fast Ring preview).

And, of course, WinBeta did a video walkthrough that highlighted the visible differences between July and November. I guess that's something to watch while you continually click “Check for Updates”. Or not.

Note that if you have only recently installed Windows 10, Microsoft will not push the new version to you just yet. They do not want the new build overwriting the image to bring you back to Windows 7 or 8.x, so they are waiting for it to expire.

Source: Microsoft

Bose's 2015 SoundTouch speakers; is name recognition enough?

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, bose, SoundTouch 10, wireless speaker

Bose has recently released a monaural wireless speaker, the SoundTouch 10 and at the same time refreshed their existing SoundTouch 20 and 30 speakers.  The chances are that the Bose name is enough for you to either desire or dismiss the speakers immediately, regardless of what the product actually is.  For those who do not immediately cringe away from the brand, this speaker utilizes the Waveguide technology found on new Bose products to attempt to compensate for the monaural design of the SoundTouch 20.  They have incorporated a remote into the package as well as support for streaming from sources such as Spotify or Pandora.  The speaker requires mains power, you won't be taking this on the road as it does not have a battery inside of it as many wireless speakers do.  If you are interested you can drop by NitroWare to check out the full review.


"Bose's 2015 SoundTouch speakers offer internet music streaming connectivity, precision audio design and ease of use. With the compact SoundTouch 10, Bose is trying to appeal to an audience who may be new to the brand. Does Bose's efforts warrant your hard earned money? We discuss this in a preview of these new speakers."

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Audio Corner


Source: NitroWare

Podcast #375 - Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, qualcomm, snapdragon 820, Lenovo, yoga 900, be quiet!, amd, r9 380x, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 14nm, FinFET, nvidia, asus, Maximus VIII Extreme, Thrustmaster, T300

PC Perspective Podcast #375 - 11/12/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the Snapdragon 820, Lenovo Yoga 900, R9 380X 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: - 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 Sebastian Peak

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!


Running Intel HD 530 graphics under Linux

Subject: Processors | November 12, 2015 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: linux, Skylake, Intel, i5-6600K, hd 530, Ubuntu 15.10

A great way to shave money off of a minimalist system is to skip buying a GPU and using the one present on modern processors, as well as installing Linux instead of buying a Windows license.  The problem with doing so is that playing demanding games is going to be beyond your computers ability, at least without turning off most of the features that make the game look good.  To help you figure out what your machine would be capable of is this article from Phoronix.  Their tests show that Windows 10 currently has a very large performance lead compared to the same hardware running on Ubuntu as the Windows OpenGL driver is superior to the open-source Linux driver.  This may change sooner rather than later but you should be aware that for now you will not get the most out of your Skylakes GPU on Linux at this time.


"As it's been a while since my last Windows vs. Linux graphics comparison and haven't yet done such a comparison for Intel's latest-generation Skylake HD Graphics, the past few days I was running Windows 10 Pro x64 versus Ubuntu 15.10 graphics benchmarks with a Core i5 6600K sporting HD Graphics 530."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:



Source: Phoronix

Remember Beyond 2000? The internet does, much to NEC's dismay

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: wearable computing, amusing

If you are under the age of 30 then this post will be lost on you but for those of us conscious, or at least semi-conscious of the heady times which were the 90's there was an Aussie show called Beyond 2000 (or Towards 2000) which was picked up by Discovery Channel back when before it became a reality show channel.  They tried to predict the technologies which would be commonplace in the new millennium and was very interesting to those of us interested in technology.  Of course, like all other shows which try to predict the future, looking back on them from 20 years into the future is cringe-worthy and more than a little amusing.  Grab a beverage and a snack and check out the shows predictions on wearable tech and fashion over at MAKE:Blog.  Then feel shame at how cool you thought these were back in the 90's.


"This segment on wearable computing is from a 1992 episode of the Australian tech futurism show Beyond 2000 (and replayed in the states on the Discovery Channel for those of you that remember). It starts with a fashion show (like you do) featuring a number of wearable computing devices designed by Hideki Takamasa of Japanese company NEC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: MAKE:Blog

Samsung Announces Exynos 8 Octa 8890 Application Processor

Subject: Processors, Mobile | November 12, 2015 - 09:30 AM |
Tagged: SoC, smartphone, Samsung Galaxy, Samsung, mobile, Exynos 8890, Exynos 8 Octa, Exynos 7420, Application Processor

Coming just a day after Qualcomm officially launched their Snapdragon 820 SoC, Samsung is today unveiling their latest flagship mobile part, the Exynos 8 Octa 8890.


The Exynos 8 Octa 8890 is built on Samsung’s 14 nm FinFET process like the previous Exynos 7 Octa 7420, and again is based on the a big.LITTLE configuration; though the big processing cores are a custom design this time around. The Exynos 7420 was comprised of four ARM Cortex A57 cores and four small Cortex A53 cores, and while the small cores in the 8890 are again ARM Cortex A53, the big cores feature Samsung’s “first custom designed CPU based on 64-bit ARMv8 architecture”.

“With Samsung’s own SCI (Samsung Coherent Interconnect) technology, which provides cache-coherency between big and small cores, the Exynos 8 Octa fully utilizes benefits of big.LITTLE structure for efficient usage of the eight cores. Additionally, Exynos 8 Octa is built on highly praised 14nm FinFET process. These all efforts for Exynos 8 Octa provide 30% more superb performance and 10% more power efficiency.”


Another big advancement for the Exynos 8 Octa is the integrated modem, which provides Category 12/13 LTE with download speeds (with carrier aggregation) of up to 600 Mbps, and uploads up to 150 Mbps. This might sound familiar, as it mirrors the LTE Release 12 specs of the new modem in the Snapdragon 820.

Video processing is handled by the Mali-T880 GPU, moving up from the Mali-T760 found in the Exynos 7 Octa. The T880 is “the highest performance and the most energy-efficient mobile GPU in the Mali family”, with up to 1.8x the performance of the T760 while being 40% more energy-efficient. 

Samsung will be taking this new SoC into mass production later this year, and the chip is expected to be featured in the company’s upcoming flagship Galaxy phone.

Full PR after the break.

Source: Samsung

NVIDIA Jetson TX1 Will Power Autonomous Embedded Devices With Machine Learning

Subject: General Tech | November 12, 2015 - 02:46 AM |
Tagged: Tegra X1, nvidia, maxwell, machine learning, jetson, deep neural network, CUDA, computer vision

Nearly two years ago, NVIDIA unleashed the Jetson TK1, a tiny module for embedded systems based around the company's Tegra K1 "super chip." That chip was the company's first foray into CUDA-powered embedded systems capable of machine learning including object recognition, 3D scene processing, and enabling things like accident avoidance and self-parking cars.

Now, NVIDIA is releasing even more powerful kit called the Jetson TX1. This new development platform covers two pieces of hardware: the credit card sized Jetson TX1 module and a larger Jetson TX1 Development Kit that the module plugs into and provides plenty of I/O options and pin outs. The dev kit can be used by software developers or for prototyping while the module alone can be used with finalized embedded products.


NVIDIA foresees the Jetson TX1 being used in drones, autonomous vehicles, security systems, medical devices, and IoT devices coupled with deep neural networks, machine learning, and computer vision software. Devices would be able to learn from the environment in order to navigate safely, identify and classify objects of interest, and perform 3D mapping and scene modeling. NVIDIA partnered with several companies for proof-of-concepts including Kespry and Stereolabs.

Using the TX1, Kespry was able to use drones to classify and track in real time construction equipment moving around a construction site (in which the drone was not necessarily programmed for exactly as sites and weather conditions vary, the machine learning/computer vision was used to allow the drone to navigate the construction site and a deep neural network was used to identify and classify the type of equipment it saw using its cameras. Meanwhile Stereolabs used high resolution cameras and depth sensors to capture photos of buildings and then used software to reconstruct the 3D scene virtually for editing and modeling. You can find other proof-of-concept videos, including upgrading existing drones to be more autonomous posted here.

From the press release:

"Jetson TX1 will enable a new generation of incredibly capable autonomous devices," said Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "They will navigate on their own, recognize objects and faces, and become increasingly intelligent through machine learning. It will enable developers to create industry-changing products."

But what about the hardware side of things? Well, the TX1 is a respectable leap in hardware and compute performance. Sitting at 1 Teraflops of rated (FP16) compute performance, the TX1 pairs four ARM Cortex A57 and four ARM Cortex A53 64-bit CPU cores with a 256-core Maxwell-based GPU. Definitely respectable for its size and low power consumption, especially considering NVIDIA claims the SoC can best the Intel Skylake Core i7-6700K in certain workloads (thanks to the GPU portion). The module further contains 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and 16GB of eMMC flash storage.

In short, while on module storage has not increased, RAM has been doubled and compute performance has tripled for FP16 compute performance and jumped by approximately 40% for FP32 versus the Jetson TK1's 2GB of DDR3 and 192-core Kepler GPU. The TX1 also uses a smaller process node at 20nm (versus 28nm) and the chip is said to use "very little power." Networking support includes 802.11ac and Gigabit Ethernet. The chart below outlines the major differences between the two platforms.

  Jetson TX1 Jetson TK1
GPU (Architecture) 256-core (Maxwell) 192-core (Kepler)
CPU 4 x ARM Cortex A57 + 4 x A53 "4+1" ARM Cortex A15 "r3"
eMMC 16 GB 16 GB
Compute Performance (FP16) 1 TFLOP 326 GFLOPS
Compute Performance (FP32) - via AnandTech 512 GFLOPS (AT's estimation) 326 GFLOPS (NVIDIA's number)
Manufacturing Node 20nm 28nm
Launch Pricing $299 $192

The TX1 will run the Linux For Tegra operating system and supports the usual suspects of CUDA 7.0, cuDNN, and VisionWorks development software as well as the latest OpenGL drivers (OpenGL 4.5, OpenGL ES 3.1, and Vulkan).

NVIDIA is continuing to push for CUDA Everywhere, and the Jetson TX1 looks to be a more mature product that builds on the TK1. The huge leap in compute performance should enable even more interesting projects and bring more sophisticated automation and machine learning to smaller and more intelligent devices.

For those interested, the Jetson TX1 Development Kit (the full I/O development board with bundled module) will be available for pre-order today at $599 while the TX1 module itself will be available soon for approximately $299 each in orders of 1,000 or more (like Intel's tray pricing).

With CUDA 7, it is apparently possible for the GPU to be used for general purpose processing as well which may open up some doors that where not possible before in such a small device. I am interested to see what happens with NVIDIA's embedded device play and what kinds of automated hardware is powered by the tiny SoC and its beefy graphics.

Source: NVIDIA

Asus Lights Up Budget Skylake With New B150 Pro Gaming D3 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | November 11, 2015 - 08:07 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel Skylake, Intel B150, asus

Asus has a bright new option for budget gamers with a Skylake compatible motherboard based around the B150 chipset. The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 is a cheaper alternative that sacrifices some expandability while still incorporating several enthusiast-friendly features.

Intel’s B150 chipset is a cheaper alternative to the Z170 which has received a lot more attention this year. 

The Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 features a LGA 1151 socket ready for up to Core i7 Skylake processors that is powered by the company’s “Digi+” VRMs. On the memory front, Asus has opted for four DDR3 slots supporting up to 64GB dual channel DDR3 modules at 1,866 MHz. This is a departure from most of the Skylake motherboards that have launched this year which use DDR4. Opting for DDR3 means slightly less potential performance but at welcome cost savings.

For storage, this motherboard has six SATA 6Gbps ports and a single M.2 slot for solid state drives (albeit limited to 2 lanes of PCI-E).

Asus B150 Pro Gaming D3 Motherboard With PCI and LED Lighting.png

The lower-left of this budget board is dominated by a slew of expansion slots as well as Asus’ SupremeFX (Realtek ALC1150 codec) audio hardware. The B150 chipset powers a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot and the board further includes a second PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two PCI slots for legacy expansion cards. 

To help this board stand out, the company has added LED lighting above the PCI-E slot and along the right edge of the board. These LEDs can be configured as a solid color, to cycle colors, or to respond to changes in CPU temperature or load (which could help accentuate a custom case mod or simply act as more "bling").

Rear I/O is decent with the following options:

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 4 x USB 3.0 (Intel B150)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A (ASMedia)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (ASMedia)
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet (Intel)
  • 5 x Analog audio (300 ohm headphone support, Realtek codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF

There are some limitations with this board, however. The major downgrade from Z170 to B150 is the number of PCI Express lanes from 20 on Z170 to 8 with B150. As such, when using the second physical x16 slot (max electrical x4) with a x4 or faster device the two physical x1 slots will be disabled. Further, when using the M.2 slot for your SSD in SATA mode, one of the physical SATA ports will be disabled. There is only so much bandwidth to go around here as well as the loss of overclocking ability with the cheaper chipset.

Naturally, Asus has not released specific pricing or availability for the B150 Pro Gaming D3. Expect it to undercut existing Skylake compatible boards, though. And if you have been thinking about upgrading, this is a cheaper upgrade path (you can re-use your DDR3 memory) that is an alternative to the Biostar board that can support both DDR3 and DDR4.

Also read: The Intel Core i7-6700K Review - Skylake First for Enthusiasts

Source: Asus

Thrustmaster Offers T300 Servo Base as a Standalone Product

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:39 PM |
Tagged: wheel, tx f458, TX, Thrustmaster, T500, T300RS, t300 base, T300, 599XX Alcantara

Seems we have been on a bit of a Thrustmaster kick as of late?  We are not really complaining as there are certainly some interesting products that the company offers.  The latest product is not new, but how it is presented is.  Thrustmaster has traditionally bundled all of the different parts of the wheel together, but for the past few years they have worked on expanding the wheel ecosystem so users can upgrade certain pieces at will.

T300 Servo Base.png

This is all well and good, but users might find that they are throwing their money away by not recycling or reselling the parts they were upgrading.  Bought the TX F458 and want to purchase the shifter?  Go for it, but you need to buy the 3 pedal unit as the F458 kit only includes a two pedal unit.  Upgrade to the leather GT wheel or the new 599XX Alcantara edition?  Might as well throw the stock wheel in the closet, never to be seen again.

Choice is a good thing, so Thrustmaster is now offering its more moderately priced base unit, the T300, as a standalone part.  This will allow users to purchase a good quality base all the while picking and choosing what other components to use.  The base price is $249 US.

The T300 base unit features a strong brushless motor with the dual belt pulley system.  This base unit is an upgrade from the TX base that is included with my previously reviewed TX F458 Italia Edition wheel set.  It features the full 1080 degrees of rotation vs. the TX’s 900 degrees.  The motor also looks to be larger and stronger than the TX.  The base unit is compatible with the PS3/PS4, and the PC.  It also features the H.E.A.R.T sensor that utilizes the Hall Effect to provide a contact-less sensor that should last nearly forever.  It features the 16 bit sensor giving over 65,000 values around the axis.  Xbox 1 users will have to rely on the TX base unit as the T300 is not compatible with that system.

T300 Servo Base Ecosystem.jpg

Thrustmaster's competitor Fanatec has been selling the base units by themselves for quite some time, so it is nice to see Thrustmaster offer customers the same flexibility.  One thing must be noted though, the T300 is significantly less expensive than the lowest priced Fanatec base units that are currently available.

Click here to read the entire press release.


Source: Thrustmaster

Fallout 4 performance at the high end

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:36 PM |
Tagged: R9 FuryX, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, gaming, fallout 4, amd

[H]ard|OCP tested out the performance of the 980 Ti and FuryX in single card configurations as multiple GPU support is non-existent in Fallout 4, some have had moderate success with workarounds which [H] mentions at the end of the review.  At launch it seems NVIDIA's card offers significantly better performance overall, hopefully that delta will decrease as patches and drivers are rolled out.  As far as features go, enabling godrays has a huge effect on performance for both cards and FXAA is the best performing AA when displaying a wide variety of terrain, close forested areas allowed TAA to narrow the gap.  As to the game itself, as of yet they do not sound overly impressed.


"Fallout 4 is out on the PC, in this preview we will take a look at performance between GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X as well as some in-game feature performance comparisons. We'll also take a look at some in-game feature screenshots and find out what settings are best for an enjoyable gaming experience."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

NVIDIA's new Tesla M40 series

Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2015 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Tesla M40, neural net, JetsonTX1

There are a lot of colloquialisms tossed about such as AI research and machine learning which refer to the work being done designing neural nets by feeding in huge amounts of data to an architecture capable of forming and weighting connections in an attempt to create a system capable of processing that input in a meaningful way.  You might be familiar with some of the more famous experiments such as Google's Deep Dream and Wolfram's Language
Image Identification Project
.  As you might expect this takes a huge amount of computational power and NVIDA has just announced the Tesla M40 accelerator card for training deep neural nets.  It is fairly low powered at 50-75W of draw and NVIDIA claims it will be able to deal with five times more simultaneous video streams than previous products.  Along with this comes Hyperscale Suite software, specifically designed to work on the new hardware which Jen-Hsun Huang comments on over at The Inquirer.  

At the end of the presentation he also mentioned the tiny Jetson TX1 SoC.  It has 256-core Maxwell GPU capable of 1TFLOPS, a 64-bit ARM A57 CPU, 4GB of memory and communicates via Ethernet or Wi-Fi all on a card 50x87mm (2x3.4)" in size.  It will be available at $300 when released some time early next year.


"Machine learning is the grand computational challenge of our generation. We created the Tesla hyperscale accelerator line to give machine learning a 10X boost. The time and cost savings to data centres will be significant."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Video Perspective: Lenovo Yoga 900 Skylake-powered 2-in-1 Notebook Preview

Subject: Mobile | November 11, 2015 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: yoga 900, yoga, video, Skylake, Lenovo, Intel

The barrage of Skylake powered notebooks and tablets has begun and the PC Perspective offices are filling to the gills with boxes and samples. I have already previewed the new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book in preparation for our full review, so I thought I would do the same for the Lenovo Yoga 900. This is the first product released as part of a new branding scheme Lenovo has adopted for its flexible notebook line. 


The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a 13-in convertible notebook that can be used in the classic clamshell form factor in addition to the fully collapsed mode to operate as a tablet (and in two other forms). It maintains the same watch bad style hinge that was introduced with the Yoga 3 Pro and starts at $1099 with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, a 3200x1800 resolution touch screen and a 256GB  NVMe SSD. You can find it in orange, gold or silver colors.


Even maxed out with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, the Yoga 900 is quite affordable, at just $1299!

For this generation Lenovo has decided to use the full 15 watt Skylake processor which will improve performance over the Yoga 3 Pro (the previous model) quite dramatically. If you remember back to last year, the Yoga 3 Pro was thinner and lighter than the Yoga 2 Pro but actually took a step backwards in performance (using a Core M processor) and battery life. Lenovo got lots of feedback that users weren't interested in those trade offs and the Yoga 900 is a bit thicker and heavier, but offers better performance and impressive battery life at over 9 hours in our Wi-Fi browsing tests.


Connectivity is decent for a thin and light machine including two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 port, SD card reader and a combination power port / USB port. That combo port is used to plug in your charger when you are tethered to power or utilize it as an additional USB port for accessories when mobile. 


The keyboard and trackpad are still question marks for me - it definitely doesn't feel like previous Lenovo keyboards, with very little throw a requirement to fit in this form factor. I'll give it until we post our full review to really pass judgment.


Check out the video preview as well for some more thoughts on the new Lenovo Yoga 900!!

Basemark GPU Vulkan Announced for Q2'16 Release

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 10, 2015 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: vulkan

The Vulkan API, announced during the Game Developers Conference last March, is a low-level method to communicate with GPUs. It is essentially a fork of AMD's Mantle, which was modified to include things like OpenCL's SPIR bytecode for its shading and compute language, rather than DirectX and Mantle's HLSL (or OpenGL's GLSL). At the time, Khronos mentioned that Vulkan is expected to be released in 2015, and that they intend to “under promise and over deliver” on that schedule. Being November, I expect that something came up, which isn't too surprising as Microsoft seems to have similar issues with DirectX 12.


That said, Basemark has just announced that they will have (at least one?) Vulkan-compatible benchmark available in Q2 2016. It is unclear whether they mean calendar year or some arbitrary fiscal year. Basemark GPU Vulkan is planned to focus on “relevant Vulkan API performance tests as opposed to theoretical workloads”. This sounds like more than a high-draw, low detail technical demo, which is an interesting metric, but one that will probably be covered elsewhere (like the competing 3DMark from Futuremark).

Hopefully the roll-out, for developers at the very least, will occur this year, though.

Source: Basemark

Read the build log and then try to win the Damagebox 2015

Subject: Systems | November 10, 2015 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: system build, damagebox

The Tech Report have built a few Damageboxes over the years and 2015 is no different as they have just completed the build and are now running a contest to give it away.  The concept behind the Damagebox is to build a powerful PC that runs at a reasonable decibel level and is not ridiculously expensive to purchase.  The system is built around an ASUS Maximus VIII Hero, an i7-6700K, 16GB of Kingston DDR40 Ddal Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSDs and two Asus Strix GTX 980 4GB cards in SLI.  Check out the rest of the components, the beautiful wiring job and most importantly, how to get a chance to win it.


"We built a brand-new gaming PC based on the latest components--and we're giving it away! See what components we chose and how the build turned out. Then find out how you can enter to win the system."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:


Parsing the alphabet soup which is the current SSD market

Subject: Storage | November 10, 2015 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, NVMe, M.2, M&A, 3D XPoint

This has been a huge year for SSDs with a variety of new technologies and form factors to keep track of, not to mention the wide variety of vendors now shipping SSDs with a plethora of controllers embedded within.  [H]ard|OCP has put together a guide to help you translate these acronyms into a form that will help you to make an informed buying decision.  You may already understand what NVMe offers or when 3D XPoint flash is the correct solution but have you memorized what U.2 A, B, E, and M connectors look like.  For information on those and more check out their article and consider bookmarking it for future reference.


"Since our last SSD update article, the last 7 months have seen no shortage of exciting announcements, and the enthusiast market has rapidly evolved in both positive and confusing ways. Let’s get up to speed on U.2, NVMe, 3D XPoint, M&A, and the rest of the buzzword soup that make up this market."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Choose your own pump, the Monsoon Modular Reservoir System

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 9, 2015 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: water cooler, reservoir, Monsoon Modular Reservoir System, Monsoon

As you can see in the picture below the Monsoon Modular Reservoir System requires some assembly before it can be used but once you have set it up you will have a unique looking reservoir.  The clear tube that holds your cooling liquid is perfect for those who want to build a case with fluorescing or just coloured liquid to match the theme of your mod.  The fact that you can choose your own pump motor, keeping size in mind, will also appeal to modders and quiet computing fanatics, you will not be stuck with one that does not meet your need.  The kit Modders-Inc ordered ran them just under $70, not the cheapest reservoir on the market but within reason for their target audience.


"Of the all the reservoir types available in the market, the tube res has always been preferred mainly due to its large visibility and ease of installation. However, for the most part the design hadn't changed much until a couple years ago compression style reservoirs emerged into the market. Monsoon has developed their own compression style reservoir that has just …"

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



Source: Modders Inc

Shopping for mobile devices?

Subject: Mobile | November 9, 2015 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: ZenPad, ipad, venue 8

It is the season of sales and shopping and mobile devices are always in demand, which is why The Tech Report could not have timed the newest update to their Mobile Device Guide any better.  From tablets ranging in price from $200-500 to a range of laptops for the mobile business user to those with deep pockets and a desire to game on a laptop there is a lot of good advice in the article.  They have separated the convertible laptops from those permanently attached to their screens for your convenience and finish up with a half dozen phone favourites for you.


"In our mobile staff picks, we round up the latest and greatest tablets, laptops, convertibles, and phones that we think are worth your hard-earned dollars. In this edition, we consider Microsoft's Surface Book, Google's latest Nexus devices, Apple's iPhone 6S, and more."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:


Toshiba's new Skylake powered Portégé series

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 9, 2015 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: toshiba, portege, Skylake

The Inquirer hasn't received a model for review yet but they did get a quick peek at the new line of Portégé business laptops from Toshiba.  The new models are the 13.3" Portégé Z20t-C, 14" Portégé Z30-C, 14" Tecra Z40-C, and 15.6" Tecra Z50-C and will ship running either Windows 7 or Windows 10 depending on your preference.  From what they were told only the small Z20t-C will have the new USB 3.1 Type-C port, other models will sport USB 3.0.  One nice feature with the new Z series is that they will all use the same docking station, handy for when you are managing multiple models.  If you are looking for a new business laptop or your company is fishing for vendors then you might want to wait to check out Toshiba's new line when it officially launches.


"TOSHIBA HAS UNVEILED fresh iterations of its flagship business laptop range, the Z Series, adding Intel's latest 6th-gen Core processors."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA Releases Driver 358.91 for Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, Legacy of the Void

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 9, 2015 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, 358.91, fallout 4, Star Wars, battlefront, starcraft, legacy of the void

It's a huge month for PC gaming with the release of Bethesda's Fallout 4 and EA's Star Wars Battlefront likely to take up hours and hours of your (and my) time in the lead up to the holiday season. NVIDIA just passed over links to its latest "Game Ready" driver, version 358.91.


Fallout 4 is going to be impressive graphically

Here's the blurb from NVIDIA directly:

Continuing to fulfill our commitment to GeForce gamers to have them Game Ready for the top Holiday titles, today we released a new Game Ready driver.  This Game Ready driver will get GeForce Gamers set-up for tomorrow’s release of Fallout 4, as well as Star Wars Battlefront, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. WHQLed and ready for the Fallout wasteland, driver version 358.91 will deliver the best experience for GeForce gamers in some of the holiday’s hottest titles.

Other than learning that NVIDIA considers "WHQLed" to be a verb now, this is good news for PC gamers looking to dive into the world of Fallout or take up arms against the Empire on the day of release. I honestly believe that these kinds of software updates and frequent driver improvements timed to major game releases is one of the biggest advantages that GeForce gamers have over Radeon users; though I hold out hope that the red team will get on the same cadence with one Raja Koduri in charge.

You can also find more information from NVIDIA about configuration with its own GPUs for Fallout 4 and for Star Wars Battlefront on

Source: NVIDIA

ASUS Announces ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly Motherboard and Matrix GTX 980 Ti

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | November 9, 2015 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, Matrix GTX 980 Ti, Headphone Amp, E9018K2M, DAC, asus, 10GbE, 10 Gbps Ethernet

ASUS has announced two new products for their Republic of Gamers lineup today, and while we saw the Matrix GTX 980 Ti at IFA in September (and the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly was also on display), there are further details for both products in today's press release.


ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly motherboard with Matrix 980 Ti

The motherboard in question is the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, a Z170 board with an external headphone amp and 10Gb/s Ethernet add-in card included. This board could run into some money.


The ROG 10G Express expansion card

While other Maximus VIII series motherboards have high-end audio support, the Extreme/Assembly further differentiates itself with an included 10Gb/s Ethernet card. ASUS has partnered with Tehuti Networks for the card, which in addition to 10Gbps also operates at conventional 100/1000 Ethernet speeds, as well as new 2.5/5Gbps over CAT5e.

“ROG 10G Express is the enterprise-speed Ethernet card, powered by Aquantia® and Tehuti Networks: these key partners are both members of the NBASE-T™ alliance, and are working closely to create the new 2.5Gbit/s and 5Gbit/s standards that will be compatible with the existing Category 5e (Cat 5e) cabling and ports. With PCI Express 2.0 x4 speed, it equips Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly gamers for next-generation LAN speeds of up to 10Gbit/s — or up to ten times (10X) faster than today’s fastest onboard consumer Ethernet.”

This will certainly add to the cost of the motherboard considering a 10GbE card (without the 2.5/5Gbps feature) currently sells for $239.99 on Amazon.


The ROG SupremeFX Hi-Fi amplifier

If you’re an audio enthusiast (like me) you’ll be impressed by the attention to audio, which begins with the audiophile-grade ESS E9018K2M DAC chip found on other members of the Maximus VIII family, and capable of not only native PCM 32-bit/384kHz playback, but up to dual-rate DSD (DSD128). The external headphone amplifier features the Texas Instruments TPA6120A2, and has a very high 6V output to drive the most challenging headphone loads.

What about the Matrix GTX 980 Ti? Full specifications were announced for the card, with boost GPU clock speeds of up to 1317 MHz.


  • Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  • Video memory: 6GB GDDR5
  • CUDA cores: 2816
  • GPU clock (boosted):
    • 1317MHz (OC mode)
    • 1291MHz (gaming mode)
  • GPU clock (base)
    • 1216MHz (OC mode)
    • 1190MHz (gaming mode)
  • Memory clock: 7200MHz
  • Memory interface: 384-bit
  • Display Output: 3x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x Dual-link DVI
  • Dimensions: 11.62 x 5.44 x 2 inches

Availability and pricing information for these new ROG products was not released.

Source: ASUS ROG