Hacking Android into an iPhone; sort of

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2016 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: hack, iphone, Android

It is more of a bootloader, in that a custom 3D printed iPhone case hides a device based around  LG Nexus 5 which plugs into the iPhone and allows you to launch Marshmallow 6.0.1 on your iPhone.  Once you unplug the lighting cable connection between the iPhone and the case your phone reverts to iOS, thus avoiding having to flash the protected innards of the phone.  The interface is described as somewhat laggy but it has a functional USB port, HDMI out and room for a microSD card.  This is the same fellow who managed to get Win95 running on an Apple Watch so we may read more about his rule breaking modifications at The Inquirer.

iphone-android-case-580x358.jpeg

"ANDROID RUNNING on an iPhone? Really? It's true. Sort of. The latest episode in our ongoing series of things running on other things is a doozy, the Holy Grail."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

James Reinders Leaving Intel and What It Means

Subject: Processors | June 8, 2016 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: Xeon Phi, Intel, gpgpu

Intel's recent restructure had a much broader impact than I originally believed. Beyond the large number of employees who will lose their jobs, we're even seeing it affect other areas of the industry. Typically, ASUS releases their ZenPhone line with x86 processors, which I assumed was based on big subsidies from Intel to push their instruction set into new product categories. This year, ASUS chose the ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon, which seemed to me like Intel decided to stop the bleeding.

reinders148x148.jpg

That brings us to today's news. After over 27 years at Intel, James Reinders accepted the company's early retirement offer, scheduled for his 10001st day with the company, and step down from his position as Intel's High Performance Computing Director. He worked on the Larabee and Xeon Phi initiatives, and published several books on parallelism.

According to his letter, it sounds like his retirement offer was part of a company-wide package, and not targeting his division specifically. That would sort-of make sense, because Intel is focusing on cloud and IoT. Xeon Phi is an area that Intel is battling NVIDIA for high-performance servers, and I would expect that it has potential for cloud-based applications. Then again, as I say that, AWS only has a handful of GPU instances, and they are running fairly old hardware at that, so maybe the demand isn't there yet.

E3 Demos Versus Released Games

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2016 - 11:39 AM |
Tagged: E3

With E3 coming up, JohnGR pointed out a video in the comments of one of our E3 trailer posts that compares Ubisoft's demos with their released games. I tend to be relatively forgiving of these issues, personally, but the video is quite well done from an editing standpoint. It has quite a few moments of dry irony, especially with the contrast between the demo's busy audio sequences and the game section's silence.

We'll be seeing a lot of demos over the next handful of days. It's good to keep in mind that they are promotional snippets, either video or playable, that represent what the developer or publisher wants their game to be viewed as. Sometimes, it's just an overly optimistic view of what they can accomplish.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 368.39 Drivers for Mirror's Edge

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 06:11 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

NVIDIA has released a new graphics driver, in line with EA's new title, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Version 368.39 is another of their WHQL-certified, Game Ready-branded drivers that integrates all of their tweaks to improve the game's performance, including an updated SLI profile. It also includes performance tweaks for Insomniac's Oculus-exclusive VR title, Edge of Nowhere, which released on June 6th.

nvidia-geforce.png

Beyond performance enhancements for specific titles, the driver also includes new features and fixes to known bugs. On the feature side of things, a handful of OpenGL extensions were added to support new features in Pascal. Extensions allow hardware vendors to add features without the Khronos Group needing to officially support it in the standard (although many turn multi-vendor and eventually end up in a later core specification). In this case, NVIDIA has added Single Pass Stereo to increase VR performance, Lens Matched Shading to also increase VR performance, Improved Conservative Rasterization to reduce the chance that a pixel fragment will be missed during rasterization of degenerate or otherwise odd geometry, and Double Precision Atomic Operations to increase reliability when doing GPU-compute on 64-bit, double-precision values in OpenGL.

On Windows 10, seven bugs were fixed in 368.39, and two of those were fairly high profile. First, the GTX 1080 Founders Edition fan speed revving issue has been fixed, as NVIDIA mentioned a few days ago. Second, performance issues (stuttering) in Total War: WARHAMMER were fixed. They also fixed an issue where Metal Gear Solid V would fail to launch (white screen).

The new drivers are available on GeForce Experience or their website.

Source: NVIDIA

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst DRM Rumors Are Wrong

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2016 - 12:42 AM |
Tagged: ea, dice, DRM, origin

GamersNexus wrote a piece that claimed Mirror's Edge: Catalyst has DRM that limits the number of hardware changes to four. According to an email from EA's press contact, it turns out that GamersNexus' article is not accurate. According to EA PR, if Origin detects five activations in a single day, the user will need to wait until 24 hours after their first activation to attempt again.

So you can change your hardware as many times as you want over the life of the game, just not more than four times in a single day, on a single account at least.

ea-2016-mirrorsedgecatalyst-error-gamersnexus-wrong.jpg

Image Credit: GamersNexus
This message didn't seem to say what they were implying it did. Turns out, it doesn't.

I decided to ask EA when I read the error message that GamersNexus posted -- the article's  interpretation didn't seem right. The wording was as follows: “Too many computers have accessed this account's version of Mirror's Edge(TM) Catalyst recently. Please try again later.” It seemed very odd to me that the wording “recently” and “Please try again later” would be attached to a permanent bricking of the game.

Again, it turns out that this is not the case, unless our press contact was not up to date about this specific title. As much as I dislike DRM, being a proponent of art preservation and archival, this part of Mirror's Edge's DRM should not affect the vast majority of users. This is something that should only affect people who are literally benchmarking a half-dozen (or so) graphics cards.

In short, it sounds like this is a non-issue after all.

Source: GamersNexus

GeForce GTX 1080s Are Available at Newegg Canada

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2016 - 12:07 AM |
Tagged: zotac, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GP104, asus

Update @ 10:30pm, June 7th: Annnnnnnnd it's gone.

Update @ 9:45pm, June 7th: ASUS is now out-of-stock, so I crossed out the relevant links. ZOTAC is still around for now.

Update @ 8:45pm, June 7th: Turns out that it's also available on Newegg US. In fact, it's possible that both sites share from the same stock pool, at least for the US ASUS and US ZOTAC cards, given that Newegg Canada says it ships them from the US.

A couple of GeForce GTX 1080s are available at Newegg Canada at the moment. Both models, one from ASUS and one from ZOTAC, are listed at $909. This seems high, but it's actually the current US-to-Canada exchange rate from the $699 MSRP. If you were interested in the Founders Edition cards, then you have a brief moment to pick one up.

nvidia-2016-dreamhack-1080-stockphoto.png

That said, it's looking like the custom-cooled versions might be a better bet. The EVGA dual-fan GAMING SC ACX 3.0 version is listed at $824.99 CDN (~$635 USD) and, from what we've seen so far, seems to be quite a bit cooler than the Founders Edition (albeit we haven't tested sound levels yet). Those should be coming out fairly soon, and will apparently lean on the cheaper side of the Founders Edition fence.

But, if you don't care, go go go go go.

The frequency of Pascal reviews is still increasing

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: geforce, GP104, gtx 1070, nvidia, pascal

With Computex behind us it is time to catch up on all the reviews which were launched during the show, including [H]ard|OCP's review of the GTX 1070 Founders Edition.  Their testing was done using an NVIDIA provided driver, GeForce 368.19 the same one which Ryan used in his review.  They did not have a chance to delve into overclocking or utilizing the new power settings.  From their testing they concluded the GTX 1070 is a great upgrade for those using a vanilla GTX 980 or R9 390X, while the card performs faster than a R9 Fury X or GTX 980 Ti the jump is not quite enough to recommend dumping it for anything less than a GTX1080.

1465207528cuxE41aRq8_1_1.gif

"In our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card we will explore the price competitive performance and find out what kind of gameplay advantage the new GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition offers over the previous generation cards. We compare both the GTX 980 and Radeon R9 Fury GPUs to the new GTX 1070"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Video Perspective: Intel Giving Away 6950X + SSD 750 Systems at PAX Prime

Subject: Processors | June 7, 2016 - 07:29 PM |
Tagged: Intel, video, PAX, pax prime, i7-6950X, taser

Intel is partnering with 12 of their top system builders to build amazing PCs around the Core i7-6950X 10-core Extreme Edition processor and the SSD 750 Series drives. Intel will be raffling off 7 of these systems at PAX Prime in September. You can find out more details on the competition and how you can enter at http://inte.ly/rigchallenge. 

As for us, we got a taser.

Looking for a new CPU? You will be waiting until January at the earliest

Subject: Processors | June 7, 2016 - 06:45 PM |
Tagged: Zen, kaby lake, Intel, delayed, amd

Bad news upgraders, neither AMD nor Intel will be launching their new CPUs until the beginning of next year.  Both AMD's Zen and Intel's Kaby Lake have now been delayed instead of launching in Q4 and Q3 of this year respectively.  DigiTimes did not delve into the reasons behind the delay in AMD's 14nm GLOBALFOUNDRIES (and Samsung) sourced Zen but unfortunately the reasons beind Intel's delay are all too clear.  With large stockpiles of  Skylake and Haswell processors and systems based around them sitting in the channel, AMD's delay creates an opportunity for Intel and retailers to move that stock.  Once Kaby Lake arrives the systems will no longer be attractive to consumers and the prices will plummet.

Here is to hoping AMD's delay does not imply anything serious, though the lack of a new product release at a time which traditionally sees sales increase is certainly going to hurt their bottom line for 2016.

bad-news-everyone.jpg

"With the delays, the PC supply chain will not be able to begin mass production for the next-generation products until November or December and PC demand is also unlikely to pick up until the first quarter of 2017."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: DigiTimes

Intel Adds M.2 Adapter Option to SSD 750 Series

Subject: Storage | June 7, 2016 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: SSD 750, M.2 2280, M.2, Intel, Adatper

Back when Intel launched their SSD 750 Series product line, their hope was that the motherboard industry would adopt the U.2 PCIe connector and add those ports to all motherboards. Well, it's over a year later, and we've only seen U.2 appear on a very small fraction of currently shipping motherboards. It's far more likely to see motherboard manufacturers simply tossing in a U.2 to M.2 adapter than to incorporate both onto the board itself. Since things have panned out the way that they have, Intel has recently let us know they will be introducing a new SKU of the SSD 750 products:

Photo Jun 07, 14 09 50.jpg

Instead of the bundled U.2 cable (seen above next to an ASUS Hyper Kit), the alternate will include a U.2 to M.2 cable, eliminating the need for an adapter for consumers who have no native U.2 port on their systems.

For now, the only available products on the market have the U.2 cable, so don't worry about getting the wrong one. Once the new SKU hits the to market, we should see product descriptions indicating which cable is included. Those purchasing starting this summer should be aware that in the future there will be an additional product with the alternate cable, and be careful to purchase the desired product/cable.

The Vives are coming

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2016 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: htc, vive, VR

As of today if you order an HTC Vive VR Headset you should receive it mere days after you place your order, no longer is it a preorder process where you would need to wait an indeterminate amount of time.  The package will cost you  $799US or $1,149CAN so it is not quite an impulse buy but it certainly is very tempting.  You can order online or drop by a Microsoft Store, Gamestop or Micro Center if such things exist in your neighbourhood.  Al took a look at some of the technology in the Vive in this article, which is interesting to look at even if you can't quite afford one yet.

VR_Web_Product_HMD.png

"HTC ViveTM can now be purchased through www.vive.com in 24 countries, shipping within 2-3 business days of purchase. In addition to online availability from HTC, individuals can now buy the revolutionary Vive virtual reality system in select Microsoft Stores, GameStop and Micro Center locations. Pre-orders placed through these retailers will be fulfilled beginning this week."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: HTC

Intel Launches Xeon E7 v4 Processors

Subject: Processors | June 7, 2016 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: xeon e7 v4, xeon e7, xeon, Intel, broadwell-ex, Broadwell

Yesterday, Intel launched eleven SKUs of Xeon processors that are based on Broadwell-EX. While I don't follow this product segment too closely, it's a bit surprising that Intel launched them so close to consumer-level Broadwell-E. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, though.

intel-logo-cpu.jpg

These processors scale from four cores up to twenty-four of them, with HyperThreading. They are also available in cache sizes from 20MB up to 60MB. With Intel's Xeon naming scheme, the leading number immediately after the E7 in the product name denotes the number of CPUs that can be installed in a multi-socket system. The E7-8XXX line can be run in an eight-socket motherboard, while the E7-4XXX models are limited to four sockets per system. TDPs range between 115W and 165W, which is pretty high, but to be expected for a giant chip that runs at a fairly high frequency.

Intel Xeon E7 v4 launched on June 6th with listed prices between $1223 to $7174 per CPU.

Source: Intel

iBuypower Demos Project Snowblind

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 7, 2016 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: project snowblind, ibuypower

So... how an LCD works is quite interesting. They do not produce light, but rather, they block it. On televisions and monitors, they are put in front of colored filters that, themselves, are in front of a white (give-or-take) light source. When they are fully open, you see the subpixel's value of red, green, or blue. When they are fully closed, you see as black as the panel is capable of producing.

This brings us to Project Snowblind, which iBuypower demoed at Computex 2016. Again, we didn't have a physical presence there (Ryan was about 500 miles away in Macau at the time) but other sites did, so we're embedding PCGamer's video below. Basically, they put an LCD panel -- just the shutter part -- on the case's side window. This allows them to output a mask over the view into your components, even with animation. They apparently even successfully made it tint the light as it passes through somehow.

Video Credit: PCGamer

The technology currently dedicates an HDMI port to itself, which could be a scarce resource for multi-monitor users with a single graphics card, but a USB version is expected at some point. It's purely aesthetic, but I could see it having a practical, aesthetic purpose: dimming. I'm not sure if iBuypower will officially support this, but I could see users outputting black, or even just a really deep shade of grey, onto their case windows if they want to, say, darken the room to view a movie.

ibuypower-2016-projectsnowblind.jpg

Currently no word on pricing, availability, or the like.

Source: PCGamer

AMD Release 16.6.1 Crimson Edition for Mirror's Edge: Catalyst

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2016 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd

Over the last few months, AMD has been fighting their reputation for being slow and unreliable with driver updates. Ryan wrote a piece about it after AMD discussed the issue with him. He noted that, while the increase is noticeable and great, it takes time and consistency to trust that a company will provide their products with a certain level of support.

amd-2015-crimson-logo.png

Since then, AMD has released two drivers in April, three in May, and now, already, one in June. Each of these provide enhancements for individual games, right in line with their release dates, as well as fix several issues along the way. Crimson Edition 16.6.1 aligns with Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, which makes this post surprisingly difficult to type. It also includes enhancements for Paragon and a Crossfire profile for Dark Souls III. If users were experiencing flickering and corruption with videos in a web browser, AMD claims that was also fixed in this version.

Of course, users are not required to install every version, but it's available for those who want it.

Source: AMD

Even Mods Have Pre-E3 Trailers -- Skywind

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2016 - 11:15 AM |
Tagged: skyrim, morrowind, elder scrolls, bethesda

TESRenewal Project is basically about taking earlier Elder Scrolls titles and bringing them to newer engines. Three mods are under the control at the moment: Skywind, which puts Morrowind into Skyrim; Skyblivion, which puts Oblivion into Skyrim; and Morroblivion, which puts Morrowind into Oblivion. Morroblivion is already out in the wild, with the latest release dating back to November, 2014, but the other two are being worked on behind closed doors.

They have now released a small update teaser video (above) -- less than two minutes long -- that shows off various environments (and the assets in them). Obviously, at this point, Skyrim is fairly old. It was released almost five years ago, and it still runs on DirectX 9. It is still very popular though, and what we can see from the trailer looks at least as good as Bethesda's default content.

bethesda-2016-skywind-mod.jpg

Skywind will be a non-commercial mod, although it will require both Skyrim, Morrowind, and their expansions (except Hearthfire) to play -- even though it doesn't use any Morrowind assets. This may or may not be a Bethesda requirement; they tend to be quite restrictive with their copyrights and trademarks. (The Mod Workshop payment issue, the Scrolls trademark issue, and the Fallout-posters fan site trademark issue all jump to mind.)

Either way, it will be free if you own both titles, and it looks like an interesting total conversion.

Motherboard by Colorful Includes GTX 1070 Graphics

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards | June 6, 2016 - 09:14 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, motherboard, gtx 1070, GP104, colorful

So here's an interesting bit of news from Colorful, via Videocardz and LG Nilsson. Remember when on-board graphics was a pejorative? Since the GPUs that are attached to many CPUs tend to sufficiently cover everything below a discrete graphics add-in board, there is not a whole lot of mind-share for discrete, on-board GPUs. You get the occasional desktop-style device with a mobile add-in module, but that's about it.

colorful-2016-gtx1070motherboard.jpg

Image Credit: LG Nilsson (via Videocardz)

In this case, it looks like Colorful, the Chinese PC hardware manufacturer, integrated the required components from a GTX 1070 directly onto a motherboard's PCB. We've heard rumors that GP104 would be available in mobile form-factors in a few months, so it's possible that this draws from some laptop initiatives, but it's interesting to see others consider it too. As Videocardz pointed out, this is not an ATX-standard board, so it's possible that Colorful is planning on getting into (or supporting someone getting into) small form factor desktops or is building hardware for all-in-one PCs.

So what's next? A vendor like ASUS making a VRWorks Audio sound card with integrated Pascal?

Source: VideoCardz

Silverstone's TD02-E, decent all round and easy on the pocket

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, Tundra Series, TD02-E, Silverstone, cpu cooler, All-in-One cooler

A few years back you may remember that  Morry did a review of the SilverStone Tundra Series TD02 AiO watercooler.  More recently, Modders Inc reviewed the newer model the TD02-E, part of their high performance line.  The waterblock is compatible most modern processors but you will need a decent sized case to accommodate the radiator as it measures 278x124x27mm with two 120mm fans. The cooler performed admirably, especially for its ~$90 price tag and did so at reasonable noise levels, going full out at 2500RPM it measured  50.2 dBA, or 38dBA at a more modest 1400RPM.

td02e24.jpg

"Silverstone Technologies has made quite a career making cooling solutions for the PC DIY market. Their solutions are also quite often a unique alternative with out-of-the-box oriented ideas and far from having a "me too" design philosophy. With the all-in-one liquid cooling solution's popularity, Silverstone also has thrown their hat in the ring with alternatives from the typical Asetek OEM"

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: Modders Inc

Yooka-Laylee Trailer for E3 2016 Released

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2016 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: windows, pc gaming, osx, linux

The next week-and-a-half should be good for video game enthusiasts. E3 2016 starts on June 14th, although EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony, and AMD (with PCGamer) have press conferences throughout the 12th and the 13th. Of course, not to get lost in the traffic, many entities are releasing their announcements prior to those conferences. For instance, Watch Dogs 2 will have a reveal on this Wednesday, June 8th, five days prior to Ubisoft's press conference.

This post is about a Kickstarter project called Yooka-Laylee, though. This title is being created by Playtonic Games, which contains several past employees of Rare, apparently to create a proper Banjo-Kazooie-style platform title. It raised over two million British Pounds (~3 million USD) and targeted an October 2016 release date. That has since slipped to Q1 2017, but that should be expected for a crowdfunding project, especially when the stretch goals start piling up. It is scheduled to be released on Windows, Mac, and Linux... and a few other boxes.

Of course, they couldn't resist making a Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts joke at the end...

... I chuckled.

FSP's new Hydro X series; technically the less expensive model?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 06:55 PM |
Tagged: fsp, PSU, Hydro X, 650W, 80 Plus Gold

With all the hoopla and brouhaha caused by Computex last week some smaller launches were missed, such as the FSP Hydro X 650W PSU.  This particular PSU is non-modular but does carry a five year warranty, an 80 Plus Gold rating and a single 12V rail capable of providing 649.92W @ 54.16A.  [H]ard|OCP's testing showed it to be a solid PSU, providing stable power and meeting with the claimed standards.  Unfortunately there is currently a bit of an issue, though FSP is working to resolve it.  This PSU sells for $95 but the previous fully modular model can be picked up for $85 or less, even though the MSRP is technically higher.  [H] reached out to FSP about this issue and you can see how they plan to resolve the issue in the full review.

1463006474rCJn1f6Y40_2_9_l.jpg

"FSP does not have much to say about its Hydro X in terms of marketing speak, but it does hit the high points that enthusiast system builders are looking for: "Silent operation, High efficiency ≧ 90%, Full Japan-made electrolytic capacitors, Powerful single +12V rail design, Ribbon cables, and Complete protection: OCP, OVP, SCP, OPP, OTP."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

What did we just tell you about bloatware?! Now ASUS Live Update is the risk of the day

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2016 - 06:26 PM |
Tagged: asus, bloatware, security

After last week when several laptop OEMs, including Lenovo once again, were caught installing highly insecure bloatware on their laptop you might hope that this week would be different.  Sadly you would be mistaken as once again software preinstalled on laptops is in the news.  In this case it is ASUS Live Update which transmits requests for updates in plain text and does not check any software updates which come back for authenticity.  This of course leaves you wide open for man in the middle attacks, where someone posing as those update servers could feed you whatever installation files they desired.  As the pull quote from The Inquirer below states, removing it immediately would be a very good idea.

a6e6087353a6c593afc6327b758650a6.jpg

"My advice to anyone who purchased an Asus device: remove LiveUpdate. It's really that simple. If you're an IT administrator, find devices making periodic calls to Asus's domains and blackhole them, get the user to come and see you,"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer