Sapphire Will Release Custom Radeon RX 460 Nitro OC Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2016 - 03:50 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, rx 460, polaris 11, nitro, amd

AMD and its board partners will officially launch the first Polaris 11 GPU and the Radeon RX 460 graphics cards based around that processor on August 8th. Fortunately Videocardz.com got a hold of an image that shows off Sapphire's take on the RX 460 in the form of a factory overclocked and custom cooled RX460 Nitro OC. This gives us a hint at the kinds of cards we can expect and it appears to be good news for budget gamers as it suggests that there will be several options around this firm $100 price point that are a bit more than the bare necessities.

In the case of Sapphire's RX 460 Nitro OC, it uses a custom dual fan cooler with two copper heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack (that is much larger than reference), and two 90mm fans. Display IO includes one DVI, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort. The card itself uses a physical PCI-E x16 connector that is electrically PCI-E 3.0 x8. The x8 connection will be more than enough for this GPU though it also enables partners to cut costs.

Sapphire Nitro RX 460 OC.jpg

Clockspeeds are not yet known, but the Polaris 11 GPU (896 cores, 56 TMUs, 16 ROPs) will be paired with 4GB GDDR5 memory.

It is encouraging to me to see custom cards at this price point out of the gate with the full 4GB of memory (AMD allows 2GB or 4GB versions). Gamers that simply can't justify spending much more than a hundred dollars on a GPU should have ample options to choose from and I am looking forward to seeing what all the partners have to offer. 

Are you looking at Polaris 11 and the RX 460 for a super budget gaming build? What do you think about Sapphire's card with the company's custom cooler? 

Source: Videocardz

Samsung PM1633a: 15.36TB SSD for $10,000 USD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2016 - 11:03 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, enterprise ssd

Allyn first mentioned this device last year, but they're apparently now shipping for a whopping $10,000 USD. To refresh, the PM1633a is an SSD from Samsung that packs 15.36TB into a 2.5-inch form factor. According to Samsung, it does this by stacking 16 dies, each containing 48 layers of flash cells, into a 512GB package. It's unclear how many packages are installed in the device, because we don't know how much over-provisioning Samsung provides, but the advertised capacity equates to exactly 30 packages. Update @ 11:30pm: Turns out I was staring right at it in the old press release. The drive has 32 packages, so 16384 GB, once you account for over-provisioning.

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Image Credit: Samsung

Down at CDW, they are selling them for $10,311.99 USD with the option to lease for $321.73 / month. That's only 2.1c/GB... per month... for probably three whole years. No Ryan, that doesn't count. The warranty period doesn't seem to be listed, but Samsung will cover up to 15.36TB per day in writes. I mean, we knew it would be expensive, given its size and performance. At least it's only ~65c/GB.

Source: CDW

GamersNexus Disassembles an EVGA Hybrid Liquid Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 1, 2016 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: evga, asetek, liquid cooler, closed-loop

Well this is interesting. GamersNexus has about a twenty minute video (and a couple-page editorial) where they disassemble an Asetek / EVGA liquid cooler for GPUs. He spends the first half of the video with a discussion of previous videos, an overview of the industry and its split between vendors and manufacturers, and an explanation of various components including the difference between CPU and GPU plates. The second half of the video disassembles the cooler, talking about it as he goes.

The disassembly begins at ~9 minutes.

The availability of closed-loop coolers introduced me to water cooling. While I could be very careful to do everything right, I just don't trust myself to assemble a liquid-filled (non-conducting or otherwise) component that close to electronics. Part of that could be attributed to my childhood, where a dead PC meant no computer for x number of weeks, or months, because we could barely afford one at all. An assembled (and warrantied) cooler, though, while still intimidating when the tubes get even slightly torqued, is clearly designed to go in hassle-free and remain working without maintenance. That's a good part of why, while it's pretty obvious what is inside these units, seeing it first-hand is fascinating (at least for me).

Source: GamersNexus

Rumor: GTX 980 and GTX 960 Lawsuits???

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Lawsuit, GTX 980, gtx 960

Update @ 9:45pm: I heard that some AMD users were notified about their R9 purchase as well, calling it simply "R9". Since I didn't see concrete proof, I omit it from the post in case it was a hoax (as the story is still developing). I have since been notified of a tweet with an email screenshot.

Original post below:

Apparently, Newegg is informing customers that NVIDIA has settled a class action lawsuit with customers of the GeForce GTX 960 and GTX 980 cards, along with the GTX 970. It's currently unclear whether this is an error, or whether this is one of the sibling class action lawsuits that were apparently bundled together with the GTX 970 one. Users on the NVIDIA Reddit are claiming that it has to do with DirectX 12 feature level support, although that seems like knee-jerk confirmation bias to me.

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Regardless, if you purchased a GeForce 900-series graphics card from Newegg, maybe even including the 980 Ti, then you should check your email. You might have a settlement en-route.

That's all we know at this point, though. Thanks to our readers for pointing this out.

Source: PCInvasion

Windows 10 Version 1607 Changes Driver Signing Policy

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2016 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Remember, folks, that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Microsoft has been trying to shed their stigma as a giant source of malware, but all solutions have side-effects, and those side-effects can have damaging consequences. When you believe that you or someone else is doing good, that is when you should be extra cautious, not less. It's a source of complacency.

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With tomorrow's Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft will require kernel-mode drivers to be signed by them on systems with Secure Boot enabled. This change will not affect PCs that have been upgraded from a previous version of Windows, including Windows 10 1507 and Windows 10 1511. That said, this could be a concern for those (like me) who are planning to clean install soon.

To me, this doesn't look like it will be that big of a deal. Hobbyists should be able to manage with either disabling Secure Boot, if their system allows it, or by fitting their driver around the user-mode framework. It might cause an issue with hotfix graphics drivers, though, which are pushed out before getting signed by Microsoft.

Also, if Microsoft changes their driver signing policy in the future, then this is could be (Update @ 7:30pm ET: original verbage was a little too strong) huge leverage against anyone attempting to circumvent it (such as implementing a graphics API that outperforms whatever DirectX version they have at the time -- see how Vulkan is not allowed on MacOSX). Even if you trust Microsoft now, you need to think about what Microsoft in 10+ years can do if they choose to.

Source: Microsoft

Report: NVIDIA to Announce Mobile Pascal Graphics at Gamescom

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, notebooks, mobile gpu, mobile gaming, laptops, GTX 1080M, GTX 1070M, GTX 1060M, discrete gpu

VideoCardz is reporting that an official announcement of the rumored mobile GPUs might be coming at Gamescom later this month.

NV_logo.jpg

"Mobile Pascal may arrive at Gamescom in Europe. According to DigiTimes, NVIDIA would allow its notebook partners to unveil mobile Pascal between August 17th to 21st, so just when Gamescom is hosted is hosted in Germany."

We had previously reported on the rumors of a mobile GTX 1070 and 1060, and we can only assume a 1080 will also be available (though VideoCardz is not speculating on the specs of this high-end mobile card just yet).

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Rumored NVIDIA Mobile Pascal GPU specs (Image credit: VideoCardz)

Gamescom runs from August 17 - 21 in Germany, so we only have to wait about three weeks to know for sure.

Source: VideoCardz

Plextor's Upcoming M8Pe M.2 SSD Previewed at Computer Base

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: M8PeG, ssd, solid state drive, preview, plextor, nand, M8Pe, M.2, CES 2016, M8PeY

Plextor announced their first M.2 SSD at CES 2016, and now the M8Pe series is officially set for a release this month. Computer Base (German language) had a chance to preview the new drive, and supplied a detailed look at the M.2 version (this is model M8PeG, and the version with a riser card is M8PeY).

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The Plextor M8PeG SSD (Image credit: Computer Base)

Even the M.2 form-factor version of the SSD includes a heatsink, which Plextor warns creates incompatibility with notebooks as the M8PeG is 4.79 mm in height with the heatsink in place.

Specifications for the drives are as follows:

  Plextor M8PeG Plextor M8PeY
Controller Marvell 88SS1093 (8-Channel)
DRAM 512MB LPDDR3 (1024MB variant)
Capacity 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
NAND Toshiba 15nm Toggle 2.0 MLC
Form Factor M.2 (80 mm) PCIe card (HH, HL)
Interface PCIe 3.0 x4
Warranty 5 years

So what did Computer Base have to report with their hands-on preview of the new drive? Here's their CrystalDiskMark result:

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(Image credit: Computer Base)

Naturally we'll have to wait for a full-scale AllynReview™ to get a better idea of performance in all situations, but until then it's good to know we'll soon have another option to consider in the M.2 SSD market. As to pricing, we don't have anything just yet.

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The M8Pe SSD lineup (Image credit: Computer Base)

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2016 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon software, Crimson Edition 16.7.3, driver, graphics, update, rx480, rise of the tomb raider

AMD has released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 driver, with improved performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider for Radeon RX 480 owners, as well as various bug fixes.

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From AMD:

Radeon Software Crimson Edition is AMD's revolutionary new graphics software that delivers redesigned functionality, supercharged graphics performance, remarkable new features, and innovation that redefines the overall user experience. Every Radeon Software release strives to deliver new features, better performance and stability improvements.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 Highlights

Performance Improvements:

Rise of the Tomb Raider performance increase up to 10% versus Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.2 on Radeon RX 480 graphics

For a full list of bug fixes and known issues, you can visit AMD's release notes page for 16.7.3. The new driver is available now from this link.

Source: AMD

Custom Cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 Graphics Card Revealed

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 30, 2016 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: xfx, rx 470, polaris 10, Double Dissipation Edition, amd

AMD's budget (under $200) Polaris-based graphics cards are coming next week, and the leaks are starting to appear online. In the case of the Radeon RX 470, AMD is expecting that most (if not all) of its board partners will be using their own custom coolers. Thanks to Chinese technology site EXPReview, we finally have an idea of what an RX 470 will look like – or at least what an XFX-branded RX 470 will look like!

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation.jpg

The website posted several photos of the alleged (but likely legitimate) XFX RX 470 "Black Wolf" graphics card which will probably be branded as the XFX RX 470 Double Dissipation in North America. This is a dual slot card with dual fan cooler that measures 9.45 inches long. Three copper heat pipes pull heat into an aluminum heatsink that is cooled by two 80mm fans that can reportedly be removed by the user for cleaning (and maybe user RMA replacement like Sapphire is planning). The card also features a full backplate and LED-backlit XFX logo along the side of the card. The design is all black with a white XFX logo.

Video outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI which seems about right for this price point.

XFX Radeon RX 470 Double Dissipation Backplate.jpg

The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector and the card will use AMD's RX 470 GPU and 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The RX 470 features 2048 cores, 128 texture units, and 32 raster operators, This is essentially a RX 480 GPU with four less Compute Units though it maintains the same number of ROPs and the same 256-bit memory bus. We do not know clockspeeds on this custom cooled XFX card yet, but overclockers may well be able to push clocks further than they could on RX 480 (there are less cores so the chips may be able to be pushed further on clocks), but it is hard to say right now. I would expect out of the box clocks to be a bit above the reference RX 470 clocks of 926 MHz base and 1206 MHz boost.

You can check out all of the photos of this card here.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more RX 470 and RX 460 news as we near the official launch dates!

Also read: 

Source: EXPReview

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Extended for Assistive Technologies

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2016 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

For the majority of users, the Windows 10 free upgrade period has just ended. That said, Microsoft is extending the offer for a specific group of people: those who use assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech software for those with visual impairments. They are being intentionally vague with which AT software allow users to qualify, which makes sense, because being pedantic to users with disabilities after offering it to everyone (sometimes like a hot potato) for a whole year wouldn't be the best PR.

windows-10.png

They haven't yet announced an end date for this new offer. They also haven't really discussed why they are making this exemption, although they do promote the upcoming Anniversary Update several times, with its new accessibility features highlighted. This makes me think that, while of course Microsoft is going to namedrop the new build whenever possible, they might have found that users were hesitant to upgrade to 1507 and 1511 because of accessibility concerns. Since the general public upgrade offer ended just before the Anniversary Update, they might be allowing those users to jump aboard Windows 10 even though their disability prevented them from using 1511.

Either way, it's a nice extension to make.

Source: Microsoft

Phanteks Launches Full Cover Water Block For Reference GTX 1080 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 29, 2016 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, phanteks, GPU Water Block

Phanteks, a company that produces cases, CPU coolers, and fans has unveiled its first GPU cooler in the form of a full cover water block for Nvidia's GTX 1080 Founder's Edition (and any partner PCBs that use the reference design) graphics card. The PH-GB1080-X is a full cover nickel plated copper block with acrylic top and black (aluminum?) accents on the edges of the block. There are two ports for inlet/outlet on both top and bottom (so users could SLI multiple cards and water cool in series or parallel). Phanteks allegedly uses Dupont Viton for the gaskets which is a "high-performance seal elastomer" for the aerospace industry (and overkill for the temps that will be seen in a PC water loop heh).

Phanteks PH-GB1080-X Water Cooling Block.jpg

In addition to the acrylic top, users can plug in three (1mm) RGB LEDs into the bottom edge of the card to add a glow effect. Oddly, Phanteks shows the LEDs using three individual cables that then go off to a reported proprietary power adapter that can plug into RGB motherboards or Phanteks' cases. Having the LEDs running off of a single cable (or bundled together) coming of the back edge of the card closest to the motherboard would have been helpful to cable management!

Phanteks' new water block is available for pre-order now for $129.99.

Using a water block on the GTX 1080 should allow users to easily achieve above 2000 MHz GPU clocks and have the card clockspeeds be much more stable than on air. Gamer's Nexus tested their GTX 1080 with an EVGA all in one cooler and managed to crank the GPU clockspeeds up to 2164 MHz and the memory clockspeeds up to 5602 MHz. That 2164 MHz clockspeed is quite the overclock and while it was only a bit above what they achieved on air, the clocks were much more stable and actually able to be maintained during long gaming sessions unlike on air. A custom water loop and a water block like the one Phanteks is selling should do just as well as Gamer's Nexus' results if not ever so slightly better.

If you already have a water loop in your system and have been waiting for a block to go with your GTX 1080 you now have another option!

Also read: The GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Review - GP104 Brings Pascal to Gamers

Source: Phanteks

AMD Details the RX 470 and RX 460 Graphics Cards, Coming in August

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 29, 2016 - 01:09 AM |
Tagged: rx 470, rx 460, radeon, polaris 11, polaris 10, Polaris, amd

We know pretty much all there is to know about AMD's new Polaris architecture thanks to our Radeon RX 480 review, but AMD is taking the covers off of the lower priced, lower performance products based on the same architecture tonight. We previously covered AMD's launch event in Australia where the company officially introduced the Polaris 10 RX 470 and Polaris 11 RX 460 and talked about the broader specifications. Now, we have a bit more information to share on specifics and release dates. Specifically, AMD's RX 470 will launch on Thursday, August 4th and the RX 460 will launch on the following Monday, August 8th.

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First up is the Radeon RX 470, based on the same Polaris 10 GPU as the RX 480, but with some CUs disabled to lower performance and increase yields. 

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This card is aimed at 1080p gaming at top quality settings with AA enabled at 60 FPS. Obviously that is a very vague statement, but it gives you an idea of what price point and target segment the RX 470 is going after.

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The only comparison we have from AMD pits the upcoming RX 470 against the R9 270, where Polaris offers a range from 1.5x to 2.4x improvement in a handful of titles, which include DX12 and Vulkan enabled games, of course.

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From a specifications stand point, the RX 470 will include 2048 stream processors running at a base clock of 926 MHz and a rated boost frequency of 1206 MHz. That gives us 4.9 TFLOPS of theoretical peak performance to pair with a 6.6 Gbps memory interface capable of 211 GB/s of peak bandwidth. With a 4GB frame buffer and a 120 watt TDP, the RX 470 should offer some compelling performance in the ~$150 price segment (this price is just a guess on my part... though yields should be better – they can salvage RX 480s – and partners being able to use memory chips that do not have to hit 8 Gbps should help to lower costs).

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Going down another step to the Radeon RX 460, AMD is targeting this card at 1080p resolutions at "high" image quality settings. The obvious game categories here are eSports titles like MOBAs, CS: Go, Overwatch, etc.

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Again, AMD provides a comparison to other AMD hardware: in this case the R7 260X. You'll find a 1.2x to 1.3x performance improvements in these types of titles. Clearly we want to know where the performance rests against the GeForce line but this comparison seems somewhat modest. 

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Based on the smaller Polaris 11 GPU, which is a new chip that we have not seen before, the RX 460 features up to 2.2 TFLOPS of computing capability with 896 stream processors (14 CUs enabled out of 16 total in full Polaris 11) running between 1090 MHz and 1200 MHz. The memory system is actually running faster on the RX 460 than the RX 470, though with half the memory bus width at 128-bits. The TDP of this card is sub-75 watts and thus we should find cards that don't require any kind of external power. The RX 460 GPU will be used in desktop cards as well as notebooks (though with lower TDPs and clocks).

The chart below outlines the comparison between the three known Polaris graphics processors.

  RX 480 RX 470 RX 460
Stream Processors 2304 2048 896
Compute Units 36 32 14
TMUs 144 128 56
ROPs 32 32 16
GPU Clock (Base) 1120 MHz 926 MHz 1090 MHz
GPU Clock (Boost) 1266 MHz 1206 MHz 1200 MHz
Memory 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 4 or 8 GB GDDR5 2 or 4 GB GDDR5
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 211 GB/s 112 GB/s
TDP 150W 120W <75W
GPU Polaris 10 Polaris 10 Polaris 11

There is still much to learn about these new products, most importantly, prices. AMD is still shying away from telling us that important data point. The RX 470 will be on sale and will have reviews on August 4th, with the RX 460 following that on August 8th, so we'll have details and costs in our hands very soon.

It is not clear how many or what kinds of cards we can expect to see on the August 4th and August 8th release days though it would stand to reason that they will be mostly based upon reference designs especially for the RX 460 (though Gamer's Nexus did spot a dual fan Sapphire card).. With that said, we may see custom cooled RX 470 graphics cards because while AMD does technically have a reference design with blower style cooler the company expects most if not all of its partners to go their own direction with this board including their own single and dual fan coolers.

For gamers looking to buy into the truly budget card segment, stay tuned just a little longer!

NVIDIA Offers Preliminary Settlement To Geforce GTX 970 Buyers In False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 28, 2016 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, maxwell, GTX 970, GM204, 3.5gb memory

A recent post on Top Class Actions suggests that buyers of NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics cards may soon see a payout from a settlement agreement as part of the series of class action lawsuits facing NVIDIA over claims of false advertising. NVIDIA has reportedly offered up a preliminary settlement of $30 to "all consumers who purchased the GTX 970 graphics card" with no cap on the total payout amount along with a whopping $1.3 million in attorney's fees.

This settlement offer is in response to several class action lawsuits that consumers filed against the graphics giant following the controversy over mis-advertised specifications (particularly the number of ROP units and amount of L2 cache) and the method in which NVIDIA's GM204 GPU addressed the four total gigabytes of graphics memory.

Specifically, the graphics card specifications initially indicated that it had 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache, but later was revealed to have only 56 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2. On the memory front, the "3.5 GB memory controvesy"  spawned many memes and investigations into how the 3.5 GB and 0.5 GB pools of memory worked and how performance both real world and theoretical were affected by the memory setup.

EVGA GTX 970 Closeup.JPG

(My opinions follow)

It was quite the PR disaster and had NVIDIA been upfront with all the correct details on specifications and the new memory implementation the controversy could have been avoided. As is though buyers were not able to make informed decisions about the card and at the end of the day that is what is important and why the lawsuits have merit.

As such, I do expect both sides to reach a settlement rather than see this come to a full trial, but it may not be exactly the $30 per buyer payout as that amount still needs to be approved by the courts to ensure that it is "fair and reasonable."

For more background on the GTX 970 memory issue (it has been awhile since this all came about after all, so you may need a refresher):

Xiaomi Launches Sleek Mi Notebook Air Ultrabooks

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2016 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: xiaomi, ultraportable, ultrabook, thin and light, Intel, core m3, core i5

According to the guys over at The Tech Report, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is jumping into the notebook game with two new Mi Notebook Air ultrabooks. The all aluminum notebooks are sleek looking and priced very competitively for their specifications. They are set to release on August 2nd in China.

The new Mi Notebook Air notebooks come in 13.3" and 12.5" versions. Both models use all aluminum bodies with edge to edge glass displays (1080p though unknown what type of panel), backlit keyboards, and dual AKG speakers. Users can choose from gold or silver colors for the body and keyboard (Xiaomi uses a logo-less design which is nice).

Xiaomi Mi-Notebook-Air in Gold and SIlver.jpg

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air via Ars Technica.

Both models sport a single USB Type C port (which is also used for charging), two USB 3.0 Type A ports, one HDMI video output, and a headphone jack. The Xiaomi website shows an USB Type C adapter that adds extra ports as well. Internally, they have a M.2 slot for storage expansion but the notebooks do not appear to be user serviceable (though iFixit may rectify that...). Also shared is support for the company's Mi Sync software and Mi fitness band which can be used to unlock the computer when the user is in proximity.

The smaller 12.5" Mi Notebook Air is 0.51" thick and weighs just over 2.3 pounds. It is powered by an Intel Core M3 processor and Xiaomi claims that this model can hit 11.5 hours ouf battery life. Other specifications include 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SATA SSD, and 802.11ac wireless.

If you need a bit more computing power, the 13.3" notebook is slightly bulkier at 0.58" thick and 2.8 pounds with the tradeoff in size giving users a larger display, keyboard, and dedicated graphics card. Specifically, the 13.3" ultrabook features an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia Geforce 940MX GPU, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB NVMe PCI-E SSD, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This laptop is a bit heavier but I think the extra horsepower is worth it for those that need or want it.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about what many will see as an Apple MacBook Air clone is the pricing. The 12.5" laptop will MSRP for RMB 3499 while that 13.3" notebook will cost RMB 4999. That translates to approximately $525 and $750 USD respectively which is a great value for the specifications and size and seemingly will give Apple a run for its money in China. That's the bad news: Xiaomi does not appear to be bringing these slick looking notebooks to the US anytime soon which is unfortunate.

Also read:

The Huawei MateBook Review: A Denial-of-Surface Attack

Source: Xiaomi

LeEco To Buy US TV Manufacturer Vizio For $2 Billion This Year

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2016 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: vizio, LeEco, China, business

Chinese technology company LeEco (SZSE: 300104) will purchase US television manufacture Vizio (NASDAQ: VZIO (not trading)) in a deal worth $2 Billion USD set to close in the fourth quarter of this year. 

LeEco plans to acquire Vizio's hardware and software divisions and run the US company as a wholly owned subsidiary while spinning off Vizio's Inscape television viewership data arm as a privately held company. With approximately 400 employees, yearly revenue in the billions ($3.1 billion in 2014), and at least 20% of the US television market, the acquisition would allow LeEco to enter the US market in a big way. Vizio is best known in the US for its televisions where it is a respected brand, but the company also produces ultrabooks, tablets, smartphones, and sound bars. It is a private US-based company with manufacturing in Mexico and China.

Vizio.jpg

Founded in 2004, LeEco is involved in a number of technology related fields across China, India, and soon the US. The Vizio brand (and partnerships such as the one with Walmart to carry its TVs) alone will be instrumental in LeEco's plans to break into the US market which has been resistant to Chinese brands making inroads (Lenovo apparently being the exception, but even Lenovo was not able to get its smartphones into the US market in a big way). The company of 5000+ employees is involved in Internet TV, video production and distribution, e-commerce, smartphones, tablets, gadgets, home automation, and even (soon) driverless cars.The company had 2014 revenue of $1.6 billion.

It is interesting to see all of the buy outs of US tech companies by overseas companies. To be clear, I don't necessarily think that these deals are a bad thing or being done with malicious intentions, but they do piques my curiosity. In this case it could be a good partnership that would allow both companies to benefit with LeEco getting a strong US brand and the recognition and market trust that entails and Vizio getting a much larger staffed company with experience in Chinese markets where it could help Vizio push its smart TV platform and ultrabooks and phone aspects further. Here's hoping that a LeEco owned Vizio grows and maintains its quality and price points.

What do you think about LeEco buying out Vizio? What will the future hold for the US TV maker?

Source: Reuters

Intel Will Release 14nm Coffee Lake To Succeed Kaby Lake In 2018

Subject: Processors | July 28, 2016 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: kaby lake, Intel, gt3e, coffee lake, 14nm

Intel will allegedly be releasing another 14nm processor following Kaby Lake (which is itself a 14nm successor to Skylake) in 2018. The new processors are code named "Coffee Lake" and will be released alongside low power runs of 10nm Cannon Lake chips. 

Intel Coffe Lake to Coexist With Cannon Lake.jpg

Not much information is known about Coffee Lake outside of leaked slides and rumors, but the first processors slated to launch in 2018 will be mainstream mobile chips that will come in U and HQ mobile flavors which are 15W to 28W and 35W to 45W TDP chips respectively. Of course, these processors will be built on a very mature 14nm process with the usual small performance and efficiency gains beyond Skylake and Kaby Lake. The chips should have a better graphics unit, but perhaps more interesting is that the slides suggest that Coffee Lake will be the first architecture where Intel will bring "hexacore" (6 core) processors into mainstream consumer chips! The HQ-class Coffee Lake processors will reportedly come in two, four, and six core variants with Intel GT3e class GPUs. Meanwhile the lower power U-class chips top out at dual cores with GT3e class graphics. This is interesting because Intel has previous held back the six core CPUs for its more expensive and higher margin HEDT and Xeon platforms.

Of course 2018 is also the year for Cannon Lake which would have been the "tock" in Intel's old tick-tock schedule (which is no more) as the chips will move to a smaller process node and then Intel would improve on the 10nm process from there in future architectures. Cannon Lake is supposed to be built on the tiny 10nm node, and it appears that the first chips on this node will be ultra low power versions for laptops and tablets. Occupying the ULV platform's U-class (15W) and Y-class (4.5W), Cannon Lake CPUs will be dual cores with GT2 graphics. These chips should sip power while giving comparable performance to Kaby and Coffee Lake perhaps even matching the performance of the Coffee Lake U processors!

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information!

PCPer Live! Sapphire Joins PCPer to Talk and Giveaway a Nitro+ RX 480!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2016 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: video, sapphire, rx 480, radeon, Polaris, pcper live, live, amd

UPDATE: Did you miss the live event? No worries, see what trouble Ed and I got into with the recording embedded below!!

When it comes to GPU releases, we at PC Perspective take things up a level in the kind of content we produce as well as the amount of information we provide to the community. Part of that commitment is our drive to bring in the very best people from around the industry to talk directly to the consumers, providing interesting and honest views on where their technology is going. 

Though the Radeon RX 480 was released last month, based on AMD's latest Polaris, we are bringing in our first board partner. Ed Crisler, NA PR/Marketing Manager for Sapphire will be joining us in studio to talk about the RX 480 and Sapphire's plans for custom cards.

Sapphire NitroPlus RX 480.png

The Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 Graphics Card

Sapphire Live Stream and Giveaway with Ed Crisler and Ryan Shrout

10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET - July 29th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live stream notification list!

pcperlive.png

The event will take place Friday, July 29th at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Ed to answer live. 

As a price for hosting Sapphire in the offices, we demand a sacrifice: in the form of hardware to giveaway to our viewers! We'll have a brand new Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 8GB to hand out during the live stream! All you have to do to win on the 29th is watch the live stream!

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Ed or me?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Friday at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live notification list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

PCPer Live! Sapphire Joins PCPer to Talk and Giveaway a Nitro+ RX 480!

Podcast #410 - Data Recovery, New Titan X Launch, AMD builds a GPU with SSDs and more!!

Subject: Editorial | July 28, 2016 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: XSPC, wings, windows 10, VR, video, titan x, tegra, Silverstone, sapphire, rx 480, Raystorm, RapidSpar, radeon pro ssg, quadro, px1, podcast, p6000, p5000, nvidia, nintendo nx, MX300, gp102, evga, dg-87, crucial, angelbird

PC Perspective Podcast #410 - 07/28/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the new Pascal based Titan X, an AMD graphics card with 1TB of SSD storage on-board, data recovery with RapidSpar and more!!

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

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

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Sebastian Peak, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:46:33
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. 1:29:15 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Wii emulation is absolutely usable now (Dolphin 5)
  4. Closing/outro

ASRock Releases H110M-STX Mini-STX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | July 28, 2016 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, mini-stx, mini-pc, H110M-STX, asrock

The motherboard within ASRock's DeskMini mini-PC kit has been released as a standalone product, and this H110M-STX motherboard offers Intel processor support up to 65W in its 5" x 5" Mini-STX form-factor.

H110M-STX(L1).jpg

Image credit: ASRock

Specifications from ASRock:

  • Supports LGA 1151 6th Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors up to 65W TDP
  • Supports Dual-Channel DDR4 SO-DIMM 2133
  • Graphics output: D-Sub, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • ALC283 Audio Codec
  • 2x SATA3, 1 M.2 (PCIe Gen3 x4)
  • 3x USB 3.0 (Type-A & Type-C from front I/O; 1 from rear I/O)
  • 3x USB 2.0 (2 from onboard header; 1 from rear I/O)
  • Intel Gigabit LAN
  • 1x M.2 (Key E for WiFi + BT module)

Like thin-Mini-ITX motherboards the H110M-STX requires an external 19v power adapter. ASRock recommends a 120W adapter for 65W CPUs, while 35W Intel CPU builds can manage with a 90W adapter.

H110M-STX(L2).jpg

Image credit: ASRock

As to availability/price, this has yet to appear in the usual e-tail channels in the U.S., with no results currently on Amazon or Newegg. ASRock's larger H110-ITX board sells for $69.99, so this may give us an indication of where pricing might be - though the smaller STX form-factor could increase cost.

H110M-STX(L4).jpg

Image credit: ASRock

A sub-mITX form-factor might seem a bit unnecessary, but the smaller board does provide builders with a way to create their own mini-PC boxes with upgradable processors. Naturally, one would need an enclosure for this tiny motherboard, and the only one I have seen thus far came from SilverStone's booth at CES - though ready availability for all products in this newest form-factor is still an issue.

Source: ASRock

Microsoft Converts Unreal Engine 4 to UWP

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2016 - 08:47 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, epic games, unreal engine, unreal engine 4, ue4, uwp

The head of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, doesn't like UWP too much, at least as it exists today (and for noble reasons). He will not support the new software (app) platform unless Microsoft makes some clear changes that guarantee perpetual openness. There really isn't anything, technically or legally, to prevent Microsoft (or an entity with authority over Microsoft, like governments, activists groups who petition government, and so forth) from undoing their changes going forward. If Microsoft drops support for Win32, apart from applications that are converted using Project Centennial or something, their catalog would be tiny.

Ridiculously tiny.

SteamOS would kick its butt levels of tiny, let alone OSX, Android, and countless others.

As a result, Microsoft keeps it around, despite its unruliness. Functionality that is required by legitimate software make it difficult to prevent malware, and, even without an infection, it can make the system just get junked up over time.

microsoft-2016-uwp-logo.png

UWP, on the other hand, is slimmer, contained, and authenticated with keys. This is theoretically easier to maintain, but at the expense of user control and freedom; freedom to develop and install software anonymously and without oversight. The first iteration was with Windows RT, which was basically iOS, right down to the “you cannot ship a web browser unless it is a reskin of Internet Explorer ((replace that for Safari in iOS' case))” and “content above ESRB M and PEGI 16 are banned from the OS” levels of control.

Since then, content guidelines have increased, sideloading has been added, and so forth. That said, unlike the technical hurdles of Win32, there's nothing to prevent Microsoft from, in the future, saying “Okay, we have enough software for lock in. Sideloading is being removed in Windows 10 version 2810” or something. I doubt that the current administration wants to do this, especially executives like Phil Spencer, but their unwillingness to make it impossible to be done in the future is frustrating. This could be a few clauses in the EULA that make it easy for users to sue Microsoft if a feature is changed, and/or some chunks of code that breaks compatibility if certain openness features are removed.

Some people complain that he wasn't this concerned about iOS, but he already said that it was a bad decision in hindsight. Apple waved a shiny device around, and it took a few years for developers to think “Wait a minute, what did I just sign away?” iOS is, indeed, just as bad as UWP could turn into, if not worse.

Remember folks, once you build a tool for censorship, they will come. They may also have very different beliefs about what should be allowed or disallowed than you do. This is scary stuff, albeit based on good intentions.

That rant aside, Microsoft's Advanced Technology Group (ATG) has produced a fork of Unreal Engine 4, which builds UWP content. It is based upon Unreal Engine 4.12, and they have apparently merged changes up to version 4.12.5. This makes sense, of course, because that version is required to use Visual Studio 2015 Update 3.

If you want to make a game in Unreal Engine 4 for the UWP platform, then you might be able to use Microsoft's version. That said, it is provided without warranty, and there might be some bugs that cropped up, which Epic Games will probably not help with. I somehow doubt that Microsoft will have a dedicated team that merges all fixes going forward, and I don't think this will change Tim's mind (although concrete limitations that guarantee openness might...). Use at your own risk, I guess, especially if you don't care about potentially missing out on whatever is added for 4.13 and on (unless you add it yourself).

The fork is available on Microsoft's ATG GitHub, with lots of uppercase typing.