G.SKILL Announces Trident Z 4x8GB DDR4-3866 Kit

Subject: Memory | September 2, 2016 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: gskill, ddr4

Judging by a quick scan of Newegg USA, G.SKILL is pretty much alone in bringing 8GB DIMMs to speeds above DDR4-3733. They already have a 2x8GB kit in the DDR4-4000 and DDR4-4133 ranges, but they're now introducing a 4x8GB kit into the DDR4-3866 classification. The chip is rated at CL18-19-19-39 when supplied with 1.35V. This is much higher voltage than slower sticks, but, as far as I can tell, pretty good at that speed. It also supports XMP 2.0 to automatically configure your BIOS, which is a bonus.

gskill-2016-tridentz-32gb-3866.png

Granted, I cannot think of too many situations where four channels of high-bandwidth memory will give you any real benefits, apart from obviously a narrow list of overclocking record categories. Current DDR4-capable processors can do up to 16GB DIMMs. Personally, I'd tend to err on the side of slower, denser sticks of RAM. I'm more concerned about leaving everything I want in memory, versus any potential bottlenecks I might introduce in giving my CPU work. That's just me, though. If you have the need for high-bandwidth, quad-channel, DDR4 memory, then here you go.

Pricing has not yet been announced. That said, a 2x8GB DDR4-4000 (the next category up) of the same brand can be found for around $190 USD. 2x8GB DDR4-4133 (the next category above that) is about $220 USD. While those kits contain half the sticks, 2 vs 4, the new kit might be slightly cheaper per stick than these. That's just speculation, though, until retailers show their stock.

Source: G.SKILL

Have a thing for old disks? FLOPPYFlash, for those who like it at 3.5"

Subject: General Tech | September 2, 2016 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: FLOPPYFlash, Compact Flash

It may be masochism or an extremely dated OS or piece of software you support but there are some people out there still using 3.5" floppy disks.  Trying to source new disks which are not yet dead to replace the ones that die on you will be a frustrating experience but there is hope thanks to Solid State Disks Ltd.  Their FLOPPYFlash drives use Compact Flash as their storage medium and connect to your machine using the old 34 pin floppy disk ribbon cable, or even the rarer 26 pin or 34 pin slim and Shugart connections. You can also set your data rates, 125 and 500 Kbit/s being the norm; which should successfully convince your machine it is reading from its old pal, but you will know better and likely sleep better at night.

Pop over to The Register for a look.

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"Floppy disk sales have, well, flopped but there are still masses of PCs and old embedded PC-based systems out there with floppy disk slots and drives. Now this near-dead space can be made usable again, with a 32GB FLOPPYFlash drive from Solid State Disks Ltd."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Corsair Announces the Carbide Air 740 Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 2, 2016 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: atx, enclosure, corsair, case, carbide, Air 740, dual-chamber, airflow, cooling

Corsair has announced a new member of the Carbide Air family with the new 740, and this dual-chamber case is all about airflow.

AIR740_1.jpg

A follow-up to the Carbide Air 540, the 740 is a cube-like design, and a fairly roomy 16.8 x 13.4 x 20.1 inches in size. There's plenty of internal room for large components, and tons of room for cooling. How much room? Corsair says the Carbide Air 740 can hold "up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans, a 240mm/280mm top radiator, 240mm/280mm floor radiator, and 240/280/360mm front radiator – all at once."

AIR740_side.jpg

Specifications from Corsair:

  • Dual-chamber Direct Airflow Path design: Utilizes dual-chambers to deliver cooler air to your CPU, graphics cards, motherboard, memory, and other PCI-E components without your drives or power supply getting in the way.
  • Industrial-style ergonomics and space-saving internal design: Offers massive internal volume by moving the power supply and drive bays into a separate chamber.
  • Includes three custom Air Series AF140L intake and exhaust fans: Based on the award-winning AF140, the included fans provide great airflow performance at lower noise levels than typical case fans.
  • Amazing cooling expansion room: For up to eight 120mm or seven 140mm fans, a 240mm/280mm top radiator, 240mm/280mm floor radiator, and 240/280/360mm front radiator – all at once.
  • 8 x Expansion slots: Can house up to 4 graphics cards.
  • I/O Port: 2 x USB 3.0, headphone and mic.
  • Dimensions: 426mm x 340mm x 510mm

carbide_air_740_build.jpg

Corsair has priced the Carbide Air at $149.99, and it's available now. 

  • Stay tuned as we will have a review of this new Corsair Carbide Air 740 enclosure soon!

Full press release after the break.

Source: Corsair

IBM Prepares Power9 CPUs to Power Servers and Supercomputers In 2018

Subject: Processors | September 2, 2016 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: IBM, power9, power 3.0, 14nm, global foundries, hot chips

Earlier this month at the Hot Chips symposium, IBM revealed details on its upcoming Power9 processors and architecture. The new chips are aimed squarely at the data center and will be used for massive number crunching in big data and scientific applications in servers and supercomputer nodes.

Power9 is a big play from Big Blue, and will help the company expand its precense in the Intel-ruled datacenter market. Power9 processors are due out in 2018 and will be fabricated at Global Foundries on a 14nm HP FinFET process. The chips feature eight billion transistors and utilize an “execution slice microarchitecture” that lets IBM combine “slices” of fixed, floating point, and SIMD hardware into cores that support various levels of threading. Specifically, 2 slices make an SMT4 core and 4 slices make an SMT8 core. IBM will have Power9 processors with 24 SMT4 cores or 12 SMT8 cores (more on that later). Further, Power9 is IBM’s first processor to support its Power 3.0 instruction set.

IBM Power9.jpg

According to IBM, its Power9 processors are between 50% to 125% faster than the previous generation Power8 CPUs depending on the application tested. The performance improvement is thanks to a doubling of the number of cores as well as a number of other smaller improvements including:

  • A 5 cycle shorter pipeline versus Power8
  • A single instruction random number generator (RNG)
  • Hardware assisted garbage collection for interpreted languages (e.g. Java)
  • New interrupt architecture
  • 128-bit quad precision floating point and decimal math support
    • Important for finance and security markets, massive databases and money math.
    • IEEE 754
  • CAPI 2.0 and NVLink support
  • Hardware accelerators for encryption and compression

The Power9 processor features 120 MB of direct attached eDRAM that acts as an L3 cache (256 GB/s). The chips offer up 7TB/s of aggregate fabric bandwidth which certainly sounds impressive but that is a number with everything added together. With that said, there is a lot going on under the hood. Power9 supports 48 lanes of PCI-E 4.0 (2 GB/s per lane per direction), 48 lanes of proprietary 25Gbps accelerator lanes – these will be used for NVLink 2.0 to connect to NVIDIA GPUs as well as to connect to FPGAs, ASICs, and other accelerators or new memory technologies using CAPI 2.0 (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) – , and four 16Gbps SMP links (NUMA) used to combine four quad socket Power9 boards into a single 16 socket “cluster.”

These are processors that are built to scale and tackle the big data problems. In fact, not only is Google interested in Power9 to power its services, but the US Department of Energy will be building two supercomputers using IBM’s Power9 CPUs and NVIDI’s Volta GPUs. Summit and Sierra will offer between 100 to 300 Petaflops of computer power and will be installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory respectively. There, some of the projects they will tackle is enabling the researchers to visualize the internals of a virtual light water reactor, research methods to improve fuel economy, and delve further into bioinformatics research.

The Power9 processors will be available in four variants that differ in the number of cores and number of threads each core supports. The chips are broken down into Power9 SO (Scale Out) and Power9 SU (Scale Up) and each group has two processors depending on whether you need a greater number of weaker cores or a smaller number of more powerful cores. Power9 SO chips are intended for multi-core systems and will be used in servers with one or two sockets while Power9 SU chips are for multi-processor systems with up to four sockets per board and up to 16 total sockets per cluster when four four socket boards are linked together. Power9 SO uses DDR4 memory and supports a theoretical maximum 4TB of memory (1TB with today’s 64GB DIMMS) and 120 GB/s of bandwidth while Power9 SU uses IBM’s buffered “Centaur” memory scheme that allows the systems to address a theoretical maximum of 8TB of memory (2TB with 64GB DIMMS) at 230 GB/s. In other words, the SU series is Big Blue’s “big guns.”

Power9 SO Die Shot Photo.jpg

A photo of the 24 core SMT4 Power9 SO die.

Here is where it gets a bit muddy. The processors are further broken down by an SMT4 or SMT8 and both Power9 SO and Power9 SU have both options. There are Power9 CPUs with 24 SMT4 cores and there are CPUs with 12 SMT8 cores. IBM indicated that SMT4 (four threads per core) was suited to systems running Linux and virtualization with emphasis on high core counts. Meanwhile SMT8 (eight threads per core) is a better option for large logical partitions (one big system versus partitioning out the compute cluster into smaller VMs as above) and running IBM’s Hypervisor. In either case (24 SMT4 or 12 SMT8) there is the same number of total threads, but you are able to choose whether you want fewer “stronger” threads on each core or more (albeit weaker) threads per core depending on which you workloads are optimized for.

Servers supporting Power9 are already under development by Google and Rackspace and blueprints are even available from the OpenPower Foundation. Currently, it appears that Power9 SO will emerge as soon as the second half of next year (2H 2017) with Power9 SU following in 2018 which would line up with the expected date for the Summit and Sierra supercomputer launches.

This is not a chip that will be showing up in your desktop any time soon, but it is an interesting high performance processor! I will be keeping an eye on updates from Oak Ridge lab hehe.

Build Log, in VR!

Subject: Systems | September 1, 2016 - 05:43 PM |
Tagged: system build, htc vive, oculus rift, VR

Over at The Tech Report is a new build log, taking you through the steps of building a VR Ready machine.  The intent is to build a machine capable of giving you very good performance on a Rift or Vive, while leaving you with enough money to purchase said headset and accoutrements.  If money is no object then by all means pick up a couple of Titans or 1080s, but you don't necessarily need to.  As with our guides the components included are to give you a guide as to what you will need, if you have a preferred vendor you can substitute all you desire.

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"The arrival of Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive VR headsets is as good an occasion as any to build a brand-new PC, so we tapped MSI and Corsair to help us assemble a system worthy of those headsets' stiff system requirements. See how it all came together in our build log."

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Systems

Podcast #415 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: yoga, video, strix x99, ssd, Predator, podcast, P3520, Mate 8, Lenovo, Intel, Huawei, Fanatec, CSL Elite, asus, acer, 1060 turbo

PC Perspective Podcast #415 - 09/01/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, 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, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:49:46
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:07:04 IFA 2016
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn:
      1. Update your iOS devices (really bad root exploits finally fixed)!
      2. HTC Vive users - enable bluetooth and standby your beacons
  4. Closing/outro

Lian Li's skill in Heavy Armour has increased, they can now equip Ebonsteel cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 1, 2016 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: Lian Li, Ebonsteel PC K6, mid tower

If you like minimalist cases, the Lian Li Ebonsteel PC K6 is worth taking a peek at.  They relocated the buttons and I/O ports to the top of the case, which also sports a magnetically attached cover hiding 280x140mm mounting point for cooling.  The dimensions of 220x495x515mm give you quite a bit of space, GPUs have 310mm clearance and CPU coolers 170mm.  The HDD bay can accommodate up to seven 2.5/3.5" drives and the body and panels are all made of SECC, giving the case a bit of weight but also ensuring it will survive mimor abuses.  Drop by Modders Inc if the picture below appeals to you.

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"In the PC case arena, Lian Li is known as one of the premier case makers for aluminum cases. As long as I can remember they were the leader and the one I personally hoped to own some day. Their fairly simple but well thought out designs made them popular but the higher price tag was not in reach for …"

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CASES & COOLING

Source: Modders Inc

Wireless VR, a possible upgrade coming to the HTC Vive

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: htc vive, Quark VR

Bulgarian based Quark VR have met with Valve representatives to demonstrate their almost wireless prototype for improving the experience of users of the Vive.  Their device is a small receiver that you wear on your body which transmits all necessary signals up to the Vive so you will not have any wires connecting your body to a PC, backpack or otherwise.  As the device uses WiFi to transmit the signals there is the possibility that this could introduce lag into your VR experience, something which can have a very negative effect on your carpeting and walls.  Drop by Ars Technica for more information on this project.

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"A Bulgarian VR startup is promising a fix to the problem, though, saying that an untethered, wireless solution for the HTC Vive will be ready for demonstration sometime this fall."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Ars Technica

Qualcomm joins in VR fun, designs VR820 reference platform and HMD

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 1, 2016 - 10:30 AM |
Tagged: VR, snapdragon 820, snapdragon, qualcomm

After Google's unveiling of its pending VR platform, it would follow that the major players in the technology field would toss various hats into the ring. We saw Intel announce a reference head mounted VR system at IDF last month called Project Alloy. Today Qualcomm takes the covers off its own reference head unit, creatively called VR820.

The reference platform is built on exactly what you would expect: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with the Adreno 530 graphics subsystem in place to handle 3D rendering. Thanks to the heterogeneous computing capability of the QC platform, the VR820 integrates an impressive array of data input including the standard gyro and accelerometer. VR820 adds in dual front-facing cameras to allow for spacial tracking and 6-degrees of freedom for movement (left/right, up/down and forward/backward, pitch, yaw and roll) and to integrate see-through or augmented reality applications. Most interesting to me is that the VR820 is among the first platforms to integrate internal eye tracking, ostensibly to allow for tricks like foveated rendering that allow the system to dynamically change quality levels based on where the users' eyes are actually focused. 

Snapdragon-VR820.jpg

The VR820 is a reference platform so you'll likely never see a Qualcomm-branded device on the market. Instead VR820 will be available to OEM out for product and resale as early as Q4 of this year, meaning there is a SLIGHT chance you'll see something based on this for the holiday.

Despite being built on what is essentially a smartphone, the VR820 will allow for higher performance on the CPU and GPU courtesy of the looser thermal constraints and the larger battery that will be built into the device. Qualcomm stated that they expect the device to allow for "a couple of hours" of use in it's current implementation. That doesn't mean a partner wouldn't decide to implement a larger battery to expand that time frame.

The current display in this device is a 2560x1440 single screen, though the SD820 and Adreno 530 could address two independent displays should a partner or future reference design call for it. Looks like Qualcomm switched up and implemented a 1440x1440 display per eye in this reference platform. It is an AMOLED display so you should see amazing color depth though I am a bit concerned by the 70Hz refresh rate it peaks at. Both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift are targeting 90Hz as the minimum acceptable frame rate for a smooth and high quality user experience. Though I will need hands-on time with the product to decide either way, I am wary of Qualcomm's decision to back off from that accepted standard.

Snapdragon-VR820-back.jpg

That being said, with the low latency AMOLED screen, Qualcomm tells me the VR820 will have an 18ms "motion to photon" latency which comes in under the theoretical ~20ms maximum for an immersive experience. 

The current iteration of VR820 is running Android, though other operating systems like Microsoft's Holographic OS should be compatible if the ecosystem buys in. 

It's clear that the goal of untethered VR/AR is the target for mass market experiences. I personally have doubts about the capability of something like VR820 or Intel's Project Alloy to really impact the VR gaming market without being attached to much higher end processing like we see with the Rift and Vive today. More mainstream activities like movies, conferencing and productivity are within the grasp of a processor like the Snapdragon 820. But how well will it handle games that try to emulate Job Simulator or Eve: Valkyrie? Will eye tracking capability allow for higher effective resolution gaming?

There is still a lot to learn about Qualcomm's entry into the dedicated VR space with the VR820, and though pricing will obviously depend on the specifics of the OEM that licenses the design and what modifications may occur, QC thinks the reference platform as we see it here should be in the $500 ballpark.

Check out Qualcomm's full press release after the break!

Source: Qualcomm

PC Gamer Surveys Piracy

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 12:47 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, piracy

There's a lot of ways to gather information about a topic. Surveys allow a lot of responses quickly and easily, but they have many limitations.

PC Gamer ran a survey for a couple of weeks, polling their audience about whether they pirate computer games, and why. It attempts to correlate this act by age, income, country of residence, and reason. It also asks about how this practice changed over time. They acknowledge that this system could easily be gamed, whether by multiple votes or deliberate misinformation, but noted that it's an interesting study none-the-less. They even highlight a few areas of concern, like non-zero income for people who claim to be under 10 years old (of which some are probably guessing their parents salaries, but still).

The survey is interesting, though, and you should check it out.

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It's important to know a bit more about how surveys work, though. Simply put, people often report information that is much different from what would have been measured, especially in hypothetical or long-term situations. Someone who records what they ate during the day, through a survey that occurs multiple times per day, is likely to be fairly accurate.

However, asking someone if advertising works on them is hilariously bad. When I've seen surveys on this, they are overwhelmingly “no” or “it informs me of products or services I would have otherwise not been aware of”. Hate to break it to you, but that's crap. It works. It works on everyone. There is an industry that is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, in the US alone, that testifies to it working.

While you would typically expect a survey about piracy to be skewed in a way that makes the respondents self-identify better, even that is not necessarily the case. About a decade ago, Paulo Ceolho was pirating his own book, leading to an increase in sales. The same happened for a comic book artist, named Steve Lieber, whose sales peaked about ~20x higher than being reviewed on Boing Boing; this peak lasted longer, too.

These sorts of effects, as well as many others, will probably not come up in a survey. In the latter case, there is an emotional reaction to an author who treats you with respect, even though you pirate their work. You actually need to test for these effects with concrete experiments.

In short, read the data with a few grains of salt. This is not an effective acquisition method for what they are attempting to learn, but it's well done for what it is.

Source: PC Gamer

NVIDIA Announces a Fallout 4 Mod

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 31, 2016 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gameworks, fallout 4, pc gaming

Vault 1080, which is a terrible pun by the way, is a free mod of Fallout 4 that is developed by NVIDIA Lightspeed Studios. It is designed to show off GameWorks technologies, such as volumetric lighting and HBAO+, more heavily than Bethesda did with the base game. They claim that the content lasts more than an hour, which is pretty decent for a free expansion.

It will launch on the first day of PAX West: September 2nd.

If you're wondering why NVIDIA has a game development studio, they are mostly responsible for bringing content from the PC to their Shield devices, such as Half-Life 2 and Portal. They also created NVIDIA's VR Funhouse demo, which was also release for free to show off GameWorks (such as NVIDIA Flow and VRWorks Audio) for the HTC Vive. Basically, they develop games (and now game content) to make NVIDIA's hardware more appealing.

Source: NVIDIA

PlayStation Now Arrives for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: sony, PS3, Playstation, playstation now

As of yesterday, Sony has launched the PC version of their PlayStation Now client for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. This service allows a catalog of PlayStation 3-era titles (which includes remakes from their previous consoles) to be streamed, in a way similar to OnLive. While the US and Canada are both supported, it's difficult to tell the other regions that it is available in, at least from Sony's official sources.

sony-2016-psnow-pc-release.jpg

One caveat is that the service requires the DUALSHOCK 4 controller (and their upcoming, official wireless adapter if you aren't happy with USB cables). From an openness standpoint, this isn't really much better than the console, and actually worse if a far-future title becomes exclusive to it; you can't emulate software that can only be remotely accessed, but that's okay as long as you go in with those expectations. Games can be added and removed from the service with zero recourse, which means that you can lose content that has intrinsic value, especially if it's controversial. On the other hand, it allows you to experience games that you otherwise couldn't, because they were already locked into a platform. On the other-other hand, you're perpetuating that by supporting the platform, but that's your decision to make.

I'll stop that infinite loop here.

All of that aside, the service offers a seven day trial. One month is $19.99 USD, which adds to about $240 each year, while 12 months pre-paid is $99.99 USD.

Source: Sony

If you don't Ottoman-tically update your drivers, Radeon 16.8.3 has just arrived

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 31, 2016 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: radeon 16.8.3, crimson, amd

Similar to the release yesterday from NVIDIA, AMD's Crimson 16.8.3 hotfix has been timed for release with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and the Battlefield 1 Beta.  This particular update will add Crossfire profiles for both games and also fixes an unfortunate bug from the previous release which occasionally caused a static, albeit colourful screen over top of your game.  Unfortunately, the Gaming Evolved overlay launch problem still exists, as does the workaround. 

radeon-crimson.jpg

If you do plan on submitting bug reports whilst trying out the new Battlefield, please do head on over and upgrade so the devs are not working on issues which are already resolved.

Source: AMD

Testing the community developed RADV driver against AMDGPU-PRO

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 31, 2016 - 05:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, open source, linux, RADV, graphics driver

As of yet, AMD has not delivered the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver originally slated to arrive early this year, instead relying on their current proprietary driver.  That has not stopped a team of plucky programmers from creating RADV, utilizing the existing AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end and Intel's work with Mesa NIR intermediate representation to pass to LLVM IR.  You won't get Gallium3D support, ironically RADV is too close to the metal for that to work.

Phoronix just wrapped up testing of the new driver, looking at performance for The Talos Principal and DOTA 2, contrasting the open source driver with the closed source AMDGPU-PRO.  RADV is not quite 4k ready but at lower resolutions it proves very competitive.

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"With word coming out last week that the RADV open-source Vulkan driver can now render Dota 2 correctly, I've been running some tests the past few days of this RADV Vulkan driver compared to AMD's official (but currently closed-source) Vulkan driver bundled with the AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver."

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Source: Phoronix

Lenovo Announces Yoga Book 2-in-1 Tablet with Halo Keyboard and Create Pad

Subject: Systems, Mobile | August 31, 2016 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: Yoga Book, windows, wacom, notebook, Lenovo, Halo Keyboard, Create Pad, Android

Lenovo has unveiled the Yoga Book, a 2-in-1 design with a unique touch-based lower half below a conventional 1920x1200 IPS touch display. Lenovo is calling the Yoga Book "the world’s thinnest and lightest 2-in-1", with a 9.6mm thickness and weight of 1.52 pounds.

03_YOGA_BOOK_LIFESTYLE_PHOTOGRAPHY_GOLD_LIBRARY.jpg

This lower section is a hybrid design, combining Lenovo's "Halo Keyboard" virtual keyboard with a surface called "Create Pad"; allowing the lower half to be used for pen writing (with handwriting recognition) and drawing. The "Real Pen" (which is a dual-use ink pen and stylus) offers 2,048 pressure levels and 100-degree angle detection, according to Lenovo, and promises a precise experience when writing and creating artwork.

"The Halo Keyboard re-imagines the possibilities of a modern keyboard, while providing the technology platform for all other standout Yoga Book productivity-driven features, such as the Create Pad and Real Pen. It appears to the user as a full, backlit virtual keyboard with shortcut keys for a typing experience that matches that of a physical keyboard, easily overcoming the challenges of typing on a tablet screen."

03_Yoga_Book.jpg

"The lack of physical keys also allows the Halo Keyboard’s flush surface to house the Create Pad. For the artists and free hand note-takers, the Create Pad converts into a virtual notepad that instantly digitizes everything from doodles and to-do lists to web page annotations and on-screen notes, using the Real Pen and our Note Saver app."

Yoga_Book_Handwriting.jpg

The Yoga Book is available in both Android and Windows versions, with the Android version offering a custom interface called "Book UI". As to hardware, both versions are powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor (quad-Core, up to 2.4 GHz) with 4GB of LPDDR3 memory and 64GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD cards up to 128GB in size).

What about pricing? This might be surprising for a high-concept device like this, as Lenovo has chosen to compete in the $500 tablet space. The Android-powered Yoga Book starts at $499, with the Yoga Book with Windows at $549. Both will be available starting in October.

07_YOGA_BOOK_LIFESTYLE_PHOTOGRAPHY_GOLD_HOME_OFFICE.jpg

Full press release after the break.

Source: Lenovo

Acer Announces Trio of G-Sync Gaming Monitors with Eye-Tracking Tech

Subject: Displays | August 31, 2016 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: Z271T, XB271HUT, XB251HQT, Tobii, Predator, montior, gaming, g-sync, eye-tracking, display, curved, acer, 240Hz, 165hz, 144hz

Acer has announced three new G-Sync gaming monitors, all of which come equipped with eye-tracking technology from Tobii. The displays announced range from 24.5" to 27" in size, with refresh rates ranging up to 240 Hz.

Z271T_03.jpg

Acer Predator Z271T

"Each new monitor features NVIDIA G-SYNC and high refresh rates for smooth gaming experiences without lag. The new Predator gaming monitors are available in different sizes and configurations to meet the needs of a wide range of users looking to take their gaming experiences forward." 

  • Predator Z271T: 27”, curved screen (1800R curvature), FHD 1920 x 1080, 144 Hz)
  • Predator XB251HQT: 24.5”, flat ZeroFrame screen, FHD 1920 x 1080, 240 Hz)
  • Predator XB271HUT: 27”, flat ZeroFrame screen, WQHD 2560 x 1440, 165 Hz)

XB271HUT_01.jpg

Acer Predator XB271HUT

The Z271T is the sole curved display option, offering an 1800 radius curve and standard 1920x1080 resolution at 144 Hz. The flat-paneled versions provide a choice between very high refresh rates (240 Hz with the 1920x1080 XB251HQT) and higher resolution (2560x1440 at 165 Hz from the XB271HUT).

XB251HQT_Side_Rear.jpg

Acer Predator XB251HQT back, side view

U.S. pricing and availablity have not been announced.

Source: Acer

A closer look at Adam Jensen's beauty treatments

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: deus ex: mankind divided, nvidia, amd

It was not just Adam Jensen's cyberware that was updated since 2012, we have also seen new computer hardware and software features added to our gaming machines.  [H]ard|OCP fired up the new Deus Ex to test a long list of features including tessellation, subsurface scattering, cloth physics, ambient occlusion, contact hardening shadows, parallax occlusion mapping, volumetric lighting, screenspace reflections, and chromatic aberration.  They chose the three new NVIDIA cards as well as the two AMD cards.  As of yet there is no DX12 support but a patch is planned but there are still some interesting findings; this game loves huge tracts of  VRAM and they also found that the default AA setting may not be your best choice.

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"Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is released, we take a look at performance and image quality. We will compare performance between GTX 1080, GTX 1070, GTX 1060, Radeon RX 480, and Radeon RX 470. We will also look at image quality and talk about our experiences with each video card and what is playable in DE:MD."

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Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Return of the Revenge of the Attack of the USB Type-C cable, Part 2

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, anker

The good news is that Google researcher Benson Leung has some help in his quest to rid the world of bad USB Type-C cords, the bad news is that he still needs it.  Another intrepid investigator who goes by the moniker Nathan K discovered that the Anker PowerLine USB-C cable model A8185011 is a danger to your electronics.  The labelling states 5A, 100W and yet testing shows 3A, 60W which would not be so bad except that the wire allows Rp pulldown to be doubled.  This leads to a very hot charger as 5V Vconn voltages end up where they really should not be.  Anker has recalled these cords so you should not see them for sale anymore but you might want to double check any you currently own.

Drop by The Register for info and a link to Nathan's Google+ post, which includes the testing data.

A8185011_TD01_V1.jpg

"Peripherals builder Anker has issued a recall after researchers found that one of its USB-C cables could potentially cause serious damage to connected hardware."

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Source: The Register

Acer Announces the Predator 21 X Curved Screen Gaming Notebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | August 31, 2016 - 10:33 AM |
Tagged: 2560x1080, ips, Predator 21 X, notebook, laptop, gaming, curved, acer, kaby lake, GTX 1080, sli

Acer has announced "the world's first notebook with a curved screen", and this panel happens to be attached to a very high-end gaming laptop in the Predator 21 X.

Predator 21 X_07.jpg

In addition to the 2560x1080 curved 21-inch display, the new machine also offers Tobii eye-tracking technology, Intel 7th Generation "Kaby Lake" processors, and (last but not least) dual NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI.

Predator 21 X_05.jpg

"The Predator 21 X takes the flagship spot in Acer’s gaming notebook series and is advanced beyond anything on the market today. It’s the world’s first notebook to offer a curved 21-inch IPS display (2560 x 1080), and when combined with wide-angle viewing, it delivers a truly immersive gaming experience.

To bring gameplay immersion to the next level, the notebook also integrates Tobii eye-tracking technology for a new method of control that’s more intuitive and natural. Built-in eye-tracking hardware (infrared sensors and software) unlocks a completely new facet in gaming. By tracking a gamer’s eye with software, the notebook introduces new interactions like aiming, identifying enemies and taking cover simply by gazing at objects on the screen. Eye tracking also enhances the experience by providing infinite views whilst navigating treacherous paths and roads in a game."

Other features of the Predator 21 X include a keyboard with Cherry MX key switches, a unique design for the numeric keypad "that allows it to be flipped over and turned into a Precision Touchpad", a 5-fan cooling system, and a 4-speaker, dual-subwoofer premium sound system.

Predator 21 X_08.jpg

Pricing and availability have not been revealed.

Source: Acer

Qualcomm Releases the Snapdragon 821 Mobile Processor

Subject: Processors, Mobile | August 31, 2016 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: SoC, Snapdragon 821, snapdragon, SD821, qualcomm, processor, mobile, adreno

Qualcomm has officially launched the Snapdragon 821 SoC, an upgraded successor to the existing Snapdragon 820 found in such phones as the Samsung Galaxy S7.

snapdragon821_1.jpg

"With Snapdragon 820 already powering many of the premier flagship Android smartphones today, Snapdragon 821 is now poised to become the processor of choice for leading smartphones and devices for this year’s holiday season. Qualcomm Technologies’ engineers have improved Snapdragon 821 in three key areas to ensure Snapdragon 821 maintains the level of industry leadership introduced by its predecessor."

Specifications were previously revealed when the Snapdragon 821 was announced in July, with a 10% increase on the CPU clocks (2.4 GHz, up from the previous 2.2 GHz max frequency). The Adreno 530 GPU clock increases 5%, to 650 MHz from 624 MHz. In addition to improved performance from CPU and GPU clock speed increases, the SD821 is said to offer lower power consumption (estimated at 5% compared to the SD820), and offers new functionality including improved auto-focus capability.

snapdragon-821.jpg

From Qualcomm:

Enhanced overall user experience:

The Snapdragon 821 has been specifically tuned to support a more responsive user experience when compared with the 820, including:

  • Shorter boot times: Snapdragon 821 powered devices can boot up to 10 percent faster.
  • Faster application launch times: Snapdragon 821 can reduce app load times by up to 10 percent.
  • Smoother, more responsive user interactions: UI optimizations and performance enhancements designed to allow users to enjoy smoother scrolling and more responsive browsing performance.

Improved performance and power consumption:

  • CPU speeds increase: As we previously announced, the 821 features Qualcomm Kryo CPU speeds up to 2.4GHz, representing an up to 10 percent improvement in performance over Snapdragon 820.
  • GPU speeds increase: The Qualcomm Adreno GPU received a 5 percent speed increase over Snapdragon 820.
  • Power savings: The 821 is engineered to deliver an incremental 5 percent power savings when comparing standard use case models. This power savings can extend battery life and support OEMs interested in reducing battery size for slimmer phones.

New features and functionality:

  • Snapdragon 821 introduces several new features and capabilities, offering OEMs new options to create more immersive and engaging user experiences, including support for:
  • Snapdragon VR SDK (Software Development Kit): Offers developers a superior mobile VR toolset, provides compatibility with the Google Daydream platform, and access to Snapdragon 821’s powerful heterogeneous architecture. Snapdragon VR SDK supports a superior level of visual and audio quality and more immersive virtual reality and gaming experiences in a mobile environment.
  • Dual PD (PDAF): Offers significantly faster image autofocus speeds under a wide variety of conditions when compared to single PDAF solutions.
  • Extended Laser Auto-Focus Ranging: Extends the visible focusing range, improving laser focal accuracy over Snapdragon 820.
  • Android Nougat OS: Snapdragon 821 (as well as the 820) will support the latest Android operating system when available, offering new features, expanded compatibility, and additional security compared to prior Android versions.

Qualcomm says the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe is the first phone to use this new Snapdragon 821 SoC while other OEMs will be working on designs implementing the upgraded SoC.

Source: Qualcomm