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Subject: Storage | October 27, 2014 - 02:59 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Samsung, firmware, 840 evo
Over the weekend Samsung silently updated their 840 EVO Performance Restoration Tool. The incremental update improved support for some system configurations that were previously not recognizing an installed 840 EVO. Samsung also improved how the GUI progress bar responds during the update process, presumably to correct the near silent failure that occurred when the tool was unable to update the drive's firmware. Previously, the tool would halt at 15% without any clear indication that the firmware could not be updated (this would occur if the tool was unable to issue the necessary commands to the SSD, mainly due to the motherboard being in the wrong storage controller mode or using an incompatible storage driver).
Still no word on relief for those owners of the original 840 (non EVO or Pro). We've also heard from some users with Samsung OEM TLC-based SSDs that showed the same type of slow down (some variants of the PM851 apparently used TLC flash). More to follow there.
We evaluated the Samsung 840 EVO Performance Restoration Tool here. If you've already successfully run the 1.0 version of the tool, there is no need to re-run the 1.1 version, as it will not do anything additional to an EVO that has been updated and restored.
Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2014 - 02:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, Takstar, HD5500
Some people still prefer headsets with a simplistic design and understated branding as opposed to models with colours bright enough to pass for emergency beacons and a logo large enough to be spotted from orbit. Takstar understands this and even offers their product for less money than their ostentatious competitors, but that is only half the story as they still need to sound good. It has a variety of connection options, a 1/8" adapter designed for mobile devices as well as a larger 1/4" connection for use on stereos. On a mobile device the bass is lacking, which is more because of the lack of power as the headsets sounded much better on the 1/4" plug from a more powerful source. Do not expect a miracle from $75 circumaural headphones but for the value conscious you should take a look at TechPowerUp's review.
"Takstar is well-known for their bang-for-the-buck headphones, and today, we take a look at their HD5500s. Priced at $74.50, these headphones are for mobile users who want a solid and well-sounding pair of headphones. We take the HD5500s for a spin to see if they can live up to such expectation."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Blackbox M10 SE Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Review @ NikKTech
- Roccat Kave XTD @ HardwareHeaven
- Gigabyte Force H3X Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Rikomagic MK902 Network Media Player Review @ NikKTech
- Bass Egg VERB Bluetooth Vibration Portable Speaker Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2014 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Haswell-EX, Haswell-EP4S, Intel, server, xeon, Broadwell-DE, Skylake
Intel's release schedules have been slowing down, unfortunately in a large part that is due to the fact that the only competition they face in certain market segments is themselves. For high end servers it looks like we won't see Haswell-EX or EP4S until the second half of next year and Skylake chips for entry level servers until after the third quarter. Intel does have to fight for their share of the SoC and low powered chips, DigiTimes reports the Broadwell-DE family and the C2750 and C2350 should be here in the second quarter which gives AMD and ARM a chance to gain market share against Intel's current offerings. Along with the arrival of the new chips we will also see older models from Itanium, Xeon, Xeon Phi and Atom be discontinued; some may be gone before the end of the year. You have already heard the bad news about Broadwell-E.
"Intel's next-generation server processors for 2015 including new Haswell-EX (Xeon E7 v3 series) and -EP4S (Xeon E5-4600 v3 series), are scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2015, giving clients more time to transition to the new platform, according to industry sources."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- iOS 8.1 @ The Inquirer
- How to Get Open Source Android @ Linux.com
- Mozilla to make Firefox OS a tasty filling for a Raspberry Pi @ The Inquirer
- Pesky POS poison won't Backoff @ The Register
- Cisco patches three-year-old remote code-execution hole @ The Register
- Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 @ Kitguru
- Tech ARP 2014 Mega Giveaway Contest
- WIN a 1TB monster Samsung EVO 840 SSD @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 11:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: square enix, kingdom hearts 3, unreal engine 4, ue4
I did not report on this the first time because it did not seem like a credible rumor. As it turns out, they were citing an interview with the game's director from Famitsu, the Japanese video game magazine. Basically, while Square likes to make their own engine to use with their RPG projects, their Luminous Engine did not satisfy their needs so they decided to shift production to Unreal Engine 4. While it is still not scheduled to come to the PC, we know that the engine feels at home on our platform.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
It seems pretty clear that Kingdom Hearts was not moved to Unreal Engine 4 for PC support. That would just be silly. More likely, their internal engine might have needed a little extra development work and, especially with the vastly different art styles of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy, they moved the two release dates further apart. Maybe they will even release Kingdom Hearts 3 earlier than intended?
But, if it does come to the PC, it seems somewhat more likely that it will function better than Final Fantasy XIII does. That title was locked to 720p with a few odd quirks, like Esc being the equivalent of "/qq" despite even Alt+F4 giving a warning prompt, and that it seems to require a keyboard to close (I could not find a way to close the game with the gamepad or mouse alone). That said, while a tangent-to-a-tangent, I did like the option to have the original, Japanese dub. Yet again, I digress.
This was not the first time that Square has developed an RPG on Unreal Engine. The Last Remnant, for the Xbox 360 and PC, was developed on Unreal Engine 3. Kingdom Hearts 3 does not have a release date, but it might be sooner than we expect (and probably much earlier than Final Fantasy XV).
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 08:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, free to play
Year to date, League of Legends, Crossfire, and Dungeon Fighter Online are each closing in on one billion dollars in revenue. Yes, three free-to-play MMO titles are closing in on $1 Billion USD in a single year. All three exceed World of Warcraft, which is still the most lucrative subscription MMO. That might change once expansion pack revenue from the upcoming Warlords of Draenor is accounted for, however. The total MMO industry, free-to-play or subscription, is estimated at almost $8 Billion USD, from January through September.
This is all according to Gamesbeat and their dissection of a SuperData Research (how is that a real name?!) report on the MMO industry. Of course, there is always the possibility that these products will fall short of that milestone by the time January rolls around, but they are pretty close for nine months in and three to go.
The interesting part is why. The article discusses how easily these games can transition between markets due to how low the barrier to entry is. This is especially true in markets that embrace internet cafes, where the game is already installed. The barrier to entry is creating an account, the customer does not even need to think about payment until they have generated interest in the free content.
The second reason, which is not mentioned in the article, is the curve of revenue by customer type. A flat-fee is some value multiplied by the number of legitimate users you have. You will get at most "X" from a customer, maybe a little less for sales, and zero for pirated copies or customers that simply ignore your content. Subscription games split this off to a recurring income; it is the number of legitimate users for that month, summed over every month. While this will get more money from the most dedicated players, because they are playing longer, this still has a ceiling. Free-to-play and other microtransaction-based models have no ceiling except for all the content you have ever made. This is an unlimited ceiling for consumable content.
This can be good for the consumer or it can be bad, of course. Where a game falls on this spectrum really depends on how it is designed. Also, money is not everything. A game can even be released for free if the developer has a reason to not ignore all claims, whether it was a hobby, tech demo, are art piece. It is up to the player (or their gift giver) to decide what is worth their time or money, and that is okay.
Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2014 - 03:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wow, blizzard
With the new expansion for World of Warcraft, Blizzard is expanding their infrastructure to better serve their customers in Oceania. The company will not require users who are currently on North American realms to switch, but will be reimbursing server swaps, for as many characters as desired, during the two weeks leading up to Warlords of Draenor's November 13th launch date. This will not affect the time of release, which will be 7:00 PM AEDT / midnight PST (PDT ends on November 2nd).
The expression, better late than never, definitely applies in this situation. The game has "Oceanic" realms for quite some time now, but they were still physically located in the west coast of America. Sure, the ideal latency of a packet from Australia to California
is around 30ms (Update: It's actually around 60ms, 120ms round-trip ideal assuming 66% speed to light in a fiber cable. When Googling the distance between Australia and California, it thought I meant Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, 4000mi, not Sydney, Australia, 7500mi. Pixy Misa in the comments, who pointed out my error, said that they experience about 170ms of latency in practice), assuming the speed of light in fiber optics is about 2/3rds of light in a vacuum, but the actual latency is significantly higher in the practical world. Getting the servers about 4000 7500 miles closer should be welcome.
The transfer does not yet have a date, but refunds will be offered for character migrations between 6:01PM AEDT on October 29th, 2014, until 6:59PM AEDT on November 13, 2014. Just make sure to do realm swaps as a separate transaction from anything else you might buy. Apparently Blizzard acknowledges that their storefront will not be able to pick out the Character Transfer and Guild Master Realm Transfer among other services. While they should have spent a little more time making this promotion robust, I cannot really blame them. This is a one-shot. It is probably not worth the man-hours.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 26, 2014 - 02:44 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, driver, catalyst
So Ryan has been playing many games lately, as a comparison between the latest GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA. While Civilization: Beyond Earth is not the most demanding game in existence on GPUs, it is not trivial either. While not the most complex, from a video card's perspective, it is a contender for most demanding game on your main processor (CPU). It also has some of the most thought-out Mantle support of any title using the API, when using the AMD Catalyst 14.9.2 Beta driver.
And now you can!
The Catalyst 14.9.2 Beta drivers support just about anything using the GCN architecture, from APUs (starting with Kaveri) to discrete GPUs (starting with the HD 7000 and HD 7000M series). Beyond enabling Mantle support in Civilization, it also fixes some issues with Metro, Shadow of Mordor, Total War: Rome 2, Watch_Dogs, and other games.
Also, both AMD and Firaxis are aware of a bug in Civilization: Beyond Earth where the mouse cursor does not click exactly where it is supposed to, if the user enables font scaling in Windows. They are working on it, but suggest setting it to the default (100%) if users experience this issue. This could be problematic for customers with high-DPI screens, but could keep you playing until an official patch is released.
You can get 14.9.2 Beta for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 at AMD's website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 24, 2014 - 03:44 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, leaderboard, hwlb, hawaii, amd, 290x
When NVIDIA launched the GTX 980 and GTX 970 last month, it shocked the discrete graphics world. The GTX 970 in particular was an amazing performer and undercut the price of the Radeon R9 290 at the time. That is something that NVIDIA rarely does and we were excited to see some competition in the market.
AMD responded with some price cuts on both the R9 290X and the R9 290 shortly thereafter (though they refuse to call them that) and it seems that AMD and its partners are at it again.
Looking on Amazon.com today we found several R9 290X and R9 290 cards at extremely low prices. For example:
- XFX Radeon R9 290X Double D - $299 (after MIR)
- Gigabyte R9 290X WindForce - $360
- MSI R9 290X Gaming - $366
The R9 290X's primary competition in terms of raw performance is the GeForce GTX 980, currently selling for $549 and up. If you can find them in stock, that means NVIDIA has a hill of $250 to climb when going against the lowest priced R9 290X.
The R9 290 looks interesting as well:
Several other R9 290 cards are selling for upwards of $300-320 making them bone-headed decisions if you can get the R9 290X for the same or lower price, but considering the GeForce GTX 970 is selling for at least $329 today (if you can find it) and you can see why consumers are paying close attention.
Will NVIDIA make any adjustments of its own? It's hard to say right now since stock is so hard to come by of both the GTX 980 and GTX 970 but it's hard to imagine NVIDIA lowering prices as long as parts continue to sell out. NVIDIA believes that its branding and technologies like G-Sync make GeForce cards more valuable and until they being to see a shift in the market, I imagine that will stay the course.
For those of you that utilize our Hardware Leaderboard you'll find that Jeremy has taken these prices into account and update a couple of the system build configurations.
Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2014 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: watercooler, Nepton 240M, Nepton, cooler master, all in one
As with the previous generation the new Nepton 240M is designed with "ultra-fine micro channel" technology which quadruples the surface area of the radiator but does provide more resistance to air travelling through the rad. Installation was a breeze with only one small issue with the gasket which was easily solved. The Tech Report were more than happy with the new Silencio fans which stayed under 40dB under load, in fact the noise barely changed when compared to when the computer was idle. The pump was also reasonably quiet and powerful enough to keep the CPU nice and cool though at a cost, the new Nepton 120M has an MSRP of $130.
"The Nepton 240M is a big liquid cooler with a price to match. We strapped it to TR's Casewarmer to see whether it could take the heat."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid CPU Cooler @HiTech Legion
- Cool and Quiet, Like a Ninja: Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU Cooler Review @ Techgage
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid Radiator @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Nepton 240M Liquid CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- Deepcool Maelstrom 240 Liquid Cooler Review @ Neoseeker
- Thermalright Macho Zero Passive CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Gelid SpeedTouch 6 Fan Controller @ eTeknix
- Upgrading your CPU cooler with Kitguru TV
- Silverstone Grandia GD10 HTPC Chassis @ eTeknix
- Fractal Core 3300 ATX Mid Tower Case Review @ Modders-Inc
- Thermaltake Core V71 Case Review @ TechwareLabs
- Antec ISK 600 @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Fortress FT05 90 Degree ATX Full Tower @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2014 - 12:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dirty pool, online retailers, wretched hive of scum and villany, airlines
Have you noticed that prices seem to creep up slightly every time you visit an online ticket site hoping for a deal? As many are probably already aware, the cookies dumped on your machine when you browse allow the sites to keep track of how many times you have visited a site and can base their pricing off of that count. In other cases they can tell if you are browsing their sites mobile device version or the desktop site and of course if you are logged in as a member or not. So far none of these practices is technically illegal but they are also laughably easy to defeat. Simply browsing in anonymous mode, clearing your cookies or even just using a different device will reset those prices and is a habit you should get into. Slashdot has linked to a PDF which details many of these questionable practices and of course those ever polite commentators under the headline will offer sage and on topic advice.
"For instance, the study found, users logged in to Cheaptickets and Orbitz saw lower hotel prices than shoppers who were not registered with the sites. Home Depot shoppers on mobile devices saw higher prices than users browsing on desktops. Some searchers on Expedia and Hotels.com consistently received higher-priced options, a result of randomized testing by the websites. Shoppers at Sears, Walmart, Priceline, and others received results in a different order than control groups, a tactic known as “steering.”
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Surface Pro 3 and Xbox sales push Microsoft Q1 revenue to $23.2bn @ The Inquirer
- Android 5.0 Lollipop to land on Samsung Galaxy S5 in December @ The Inquirer
- DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets @ The Register
- Adobe spies on readers: EVERY DRM page turn leaked to base over SSL @ The Register
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2014 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xfx, R9 285 Black Edition, factory overclocked, amd
Currently sitting at $260 the XFX R9 285 Black Edition is a little less expensive than the ASUS ROG STRIKER GTX 760 and significantly more expensive than the ASUS GTX760 DirectCU2 card. Those prices lead [H]ard|OCP to set up a showdown to see which card provided the best bang for the buck, especially once they overclocked the AMD card to 1125MHz core and 6GHz RAM. In the end it was a very close race between the cards, the performance crown did go to the R9 285 BE but that performance comes at a premium as you can get performance almost as good for $50 less. Of course the both the XFX card and the STRIKER sell at a premium compared to cards with less features and a stock setup; you should expect the lower priced R9 285s to be closer in performance to the DirectCU2 card.
"Today we are reviewing the new XFX Radeon R9 285 Black Edition video card. We will compare it to a pair of GeForce GTX 760 based GPUs to determine the best at the sub-$250 price point. XFX states that it is faster than the GTX 760, but that is based on a single synthetic benchmark, let's see how it holds up in real world gaming."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ZOTAC GTX 780 AMP! Edition Graphics Card Review @ TechwareLabs
- ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970 4GB @ eTeknix
- GeForce GTX 970 cards from MSI and Asus @ The Tech Report
- ASUS STRIX GTX 980 OC 4 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GTX980 Gaming 4G @ Kitguru
- MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G – New Maxwell Price/Performance Beast @ Bjorn3D
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 Offers Great Linux Performance @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Chipsets | October 23, 2014 - 03:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell, Broadwell-E, Haswell-E
VR-Zone China got hold of an alleged Intel leak, go figure, that talks about their next enthusiast processor platform, Broadwell-E. This architecture is mostly Haswell-E that has its (rated) feature size shrunk down to 14nm. Given an available BIOS, it is expected to support at least some existing LGA 2011-v3 motherboards with the X99 chipset. Like Haswell, they are sticking with a maximum of 40 PCIe lanes. We will need to wait for individual SKUs to see whether one or more models will be limited to 28 lanes, like the Haswell-E-based Core i7-5820K.
Image Credit: Chinese VR-Zone
Intel claims 140W TDP, which is identical to the current three offerings of Haswell-E, for all options. The slide claims six and eight core models will be available (also identical to Haswell-E).
One bullet-point that baffled me is, "Integrated Memory Controller: 4 Channels DDR4 2400, 1 DIMM per Channel". Double-checking with the other writers here, just to make sure sure, it seems like the slide claims that Broadwell-E will only support four sticks of DDR4. This makes zero sense for a couple of reasons. First, one of the main selling points of the enthusiast platform has been the obscene amount of RAM that workstation users demand. Second, and more importantly, if it is compatible with existing motherboards, what is it going to do? Fail to POST if you install a fifth stick? This has to be a typo or referring to something else entirely.
When will you be able to get it? A bit later than we were hoping. It is expected for Q1 2016, rather than late 2015.
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2014 - 01:56 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, podcast, GTX 980M, msi, X99S GAMING 9 AC, amd, nvidia, Intel, Kingwin, APU, Kaveri, 344.48, dsr
PC Perspective Podcast #323 - 10/23/2014
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 980M Performance, MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:18:59
Subject: Motherboards | October 23, 2014 - 01:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asrock, Z97 Extreme6, Broadwell, haswell
For just under $200 the ASRock Z97 Extreme is a good base to build a Broadwell or Haswell platform on for significantly less than a brand new Haswell-E system. The design is quite clean and well spaced out to allow the use of a large cooler along with integral heat sinks improving the looks and thermals of the motherboard. The first two PCIe 3.0 16x slots share 16 lanes between them, the third slot is PCIe 2.0 and is limited to a maximum of two lanes, with two 1x and a mini PCIe slot each getting one lane. Four of the remaining PCIe 3.0 lanes are taken up by the M.2 socket, which gives you up to 32Gbps of transfer speed, not too shabby for a Z97 board. There are a lot of other features, including two separate physical UEFI chips and a very comprehensive software suite to manage the system, which you read about at The Tech Report.
"With Broadwell compatibility and a secondary M.2 socket connected to four PCIe Gen3 lanes in the CPU, ASRock's Z97 Extreme6 might just be the most future-proof Haswell motherboard around. It's surprisingly affordable, too, despite having loads of other extras. Read on for more on a truly unique Z97 contender."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- GIGABYTE GA-X99-UD4 LGA 2011-v3 @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASUS X99 Deluxe Review @ OCC
- ASRock X99 OC Formula @ The SSD Review
- ASRock X99 Extreme4 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASUS AM1M-A Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2014 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: bittorrent sync, cloud, dropbox, onedrive, google drive
BitTorrent is good for more than just downloading files of various natures, it has a tool called Sync which performs a similar task to solutions like Dropbox only more privately and apparently with more speed. From the graph below you can see that in at least one scenario BitTorrent Sync is significantly faster than other solutions when it is allowed free reign on your connection, you can limit the speed in the settings if time is not of the essence. What is also very important to note is that this is purely an encrypted client to client transfer, your files are never cached on a server for posterity or for 'quality assurance' as they are when you use the competitions software. That does mean both devices need to be powered on and on the network for this to work but for many the privacy would be worth the slightly less flexible operation. Check it out on Slashdot.
"Now that its file synchronization tool has received a few updates, BitTorrent is going on the offensive against cloud-based storage services by showing off just how fast BitTorrent Sync can be. More specifically, the company conducted a test that shows Sync destroys Google Drive, Microsoft's OneDrive, and Dropbox. The company transferred a 1.36 GB MP4 video clip between two Apple MacBook Pros using two Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, the Time.gov site as a real-time clock, and the Internet connection at its headquarters (1 Gbps up/down)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft unveils tighter security plans for Windows 10 @ The Inquirer
- Windows Update bricks fake USB chips @ The Inquirer
- iPad Air 2 teardown reveals down-sized battery and glued-down components @ The Inquirer
- Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ... @ The Register
Subject: Processors | October 22, 2014 - 10:02 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Richland, Q3 results, lisa su, Kaveri, APU, amd, A10 7850K
While AMD made a small profit last quarter, the Q4 outlook from the company is not nearly as rosy. AMD estimates that Q4 revenues will be around 12% lower than Q3, making for a rare drop in what is typically a robust season for sales. Unlike Intel, AMD is seeing a very soft PC market for their products. Intel so far has been able to deliver parts that are as fast, if not faster than the latest APUs, but they also feature lower TDPs while at a comparable price. The one area that AMD has a significant advantage is in terms of 3D performance and better driver support.
To keep the chips selling during this very important quarter, AMD is cutting the prices on their entire lineup of FM2+ parts. This includes the entire Kaveri based lineup from the top end A10-7850K to the A6-7400K. AMD is also cutting the prices on the previous Richland based parts, which include the A10-6800K. Also of interest is that buyers of A10 APUs will be able to select one of three game titles (Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief, or Sniper Elite 3) for free, or use the included code to purchase Corel’s Aftershot Pro 2 for only $5.
|Compute Cores||12 (4+8)||12 (4+8)||10 (4+6)||10 (4+6)||6 (2+4)|
|TDP (cTDP)||95 (65/45)||65 (45)||95 (65/45)||65 (45)||65 (45)|
The A10-7850K is a pretty good part overall, though of course it does suffer at the hands of Intel when it comes to pure CPU performance. It still is a pretty quick part that competes well with Intel’s 2 core/4 thread chips. 3D performance from the integrated graphics is class leading, and the potential for using that unit for HSA applications is another checkmark for AMD. We have yet to see widespread adoption of HSA, but we are seeing more and more software products coming out that support it. Having tested it out myself, the GPU portion of the APU can be enabled when using a standalone GPU from either AMD or NVIDIA. The Kaveri chips also support TrueAudio, which will show up in more titles throughout the next year.
One aspect of AMD’s latest FM2+ platform that cannot be ignored is the pretty robust selection of good and interesting motherboards that are offered at very low prices. Products such as the Gigabyte G1.Sniper.A88X and the MSI A88X-G45 Gaming motherboards are well rounded products that typically sell in the $90 to $110 range. Top end products like the Asus Crossblade Ranger are still quite affordable at around $160. Budget offerings are still pretty decent and they come in the $50 range.
One other product that has sparked interest is the Athlon X4 860K Black Edition. This product is clocked between 3.7 GHz and 4.0 GHz, features two Steamroller modules, and is priced at a very reasonable $90. The downside is that there is no GPU portion enabled, while the upside is that there is potentially more thermal headroom for the CPU portion to be clocked higher than previous A10-7850K parts. This will of course differ from individual chips, but the potential is there to have a pretty solid CPU for a very low price. Add in the low motherboard prices, and this has the making of a nice budget enthusiast system.
So why the cuts now? We can simply look at last week’s results for AMD’s previous quarter, as well as how the next quarter is stacking up. While AMD made a small profit last quarter, predictions for Q4 look grim. AMD is looking at around a 12% decrease in revenue, as stated above. AMD has a choice in that they can keep ASPs higher, but risk shipping less product in the very important 4th quarter; or they can sacrifice ASPs and potentially ship a lot more product. The end result of cutting the prices on their entire line of APUs will be of course lower ASPs, but a higher volume of parts being shipped and sold. In terms of cash flow, it is likely more important to see parts flowing rather than having higher inventories with a higher ASP. This also means that more APUs being sold will mean more motherboards from their partners moving through the channel.
Intel does have several huge advantages over AMD in that they have a very solid 22 nm process, a huge workforce that can hand tune their processors, and enough marketing money to make any company other than Apple squirm. AMD is at the mercy of the pure-play foundries in terms of process node tweaks and shrinks. AMD spent a long time at 32 nm PD-SOI before it was able to migrated to 28 nm HKMG. It looks to be 2015 before AMD sees anything below 28 nm for their desktop APUs, but it could be sooner for their smaller APUs and ARM based products on planar 20 nm HKMG processes. We don’t know a all of the specifics of the upcoming 16/14nm FinFET products from TSMC, Samsung, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES, so it will be hard to compare/contrast to Intel’s 2nd generation 14 nm TriGate line. All we know is that it will most assuredly be better than the current 28 nm HKMG that AMD is stuck at.
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2014 - 03:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Mizar, input, gaming mouse, cooler master
The Cooler Master Mizar gaming mouse has a nice understated appearance with a 7 buttons and high end Avago ADNS 9800 sensor capable of 1000 Hz/1ms. That mix of design and technology let Cooler Master retail the mouse at a reasonable price without trimming out the functionality that really matters. It does not ship with a copy of the software, which is a good thing as it will be outdated as soon as it is packaged, but there is a CM utility available for download to program your mouse buttons including macros and profiles. Check out how it performs in game in Benchmark Reviews full article here.
"For some odd reason Cooler Master seems to be releasing products everyday, whether it’s a new case or a new peripheral, their product line has been increasing exponentially in the past few years. What is not odd is the fact that many of Cooler Master products Benchmark Reviews has come across end up highly appraised. Today we are looking at one of two pointing devices Cooler Master has released this month."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MadCatz R.A.T. TE @ eTeknix
- COUGAR 700M Aluminum Gaming Mouse Review @ Madshrimps
- Func MS-2 Mouse @ HardwareHeaven
- HyperX Skyn Mouse Pad Review @HiTech Legion
- Cougar 700M Mouse and Cougar Speed Mat @ Kitguru
- Aorus Thunder K7 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2014 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, borderlands: the pre-sequel
As you may have noticed, Ryan and the gang from NVIDIA have been playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and giving out lots of prizes to viewers. That is certainly enough to make anyone think positively about the newest installment of Gearbox's series, but how is the game its self? Several familiar characters make an appearance, albeit in slightly different roles than either of the previous games nor do gravity or oxygen remain as they were. Does the zany dialogue and cartoony graphics provide as much fun as the other games or has the series already reached its peak? As usual Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have thoughts on that topic to share with you.
"It’s a little tricky to avoid feeling that a review of The Pre-Sequel (!) is superfluous. Surely everyone in the world has had a taste of Borderlands at this point, and have made their minds up about it? This is very much more of that same formula, with zaniness turned up to… What’s that, Steve? You’ve never played a Borderlands game? Wow."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- To The Moon! Borderlands: Pre-Sequel Preview-Review @ Techgage
- F.E.A.R. Online Is Free-To-Play On Steam @ [H]ard|OCP
- Wot I Think: Legend Of Grimrock 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Civ: Beyond Earth’s Intro Recreates Science Victory @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Lights off, nappies on! It's Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within @ The Register
- In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream - Alien: Isolation Review @ Techgage
- Wot I Think – Styx: Master Of Shadows @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Review @ OCC
- Sleeping Dogs 2-Years Later Review @ OCC
- Civilization: Beyond Earth Linux and Mac release dates confirmed @ HEXUS
- Tunnel Vision: Alien Eyes Sore Jubilation @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Back In Flashblack: Jagged Alliance Again @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2014 - 12:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: whql, nvidia, GeForce 344.48
"Game Ready" for Lords of the Fallen, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Elite: Dangerous.
Best gaming experience for Lords of the Fallen, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Elite:Dangerous.
- Supports Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) on Kepler and Fermi-based desktop GPUs. Software Modules
- NVIDIA PhysX System Software - version 9.14.0702
- NVIDIA GPU PhysX acceleration is available only on systems with GeForce 8-series and later GPUs with a minimum of 256 MB dedicated graphics memory.
- NVIDIA GPU PhysX acceleration is not available if there is a non-NVIDIA graphics processor in the system, even if it is not used for rendering.
- HD Audio Driver - version 18.104.22.168 CUDA - version 6.5
- GeForce Experience - 22.214.171.124 Application Profiles
Added or updated the following profiles:
- Assassin's Creed Unity – control panel FXAA disabled
- Dead Rising 3 – SLI-Single profile added
- Elite Dangerous – SLI profile added, control panel FXAA disabled
- Escape Dead Island – SLI profile added
- FIFA 15 – SLI-Single profile added
- Lichdom: Battlemage– SLI profile added
- Lords of the Fallen – SLI profile added
- MechWarrior Online – DX11 SLI profile added
- Monster Hunter Online Benchmark – SLI profile added
- Ryse: Son of Rome – SLI profile added, stereo blocked
- Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth – ambient occlusion (AO) profile added
- Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition – SLI profile added
- The Crew – control panel FXAA disabled
- The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – SLI profile added 3D Vision Profiles
Added or updated the following profiles:
- Dead Rising 3 – Not Recommended
- Strife – rated as Fair 3D Compatibility Mode Support
Support for 3D Compatibility Mode has been added for the following games:
- Dead Rising 3 – rated as Excellent
- Strife – rated as Excellent
Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 8.1 Fixed Issues
- Make control panel option for MFAA visible in NVIDIA Control Panel only for non-SLI configurations.
- Implement MFAA along with porting TSF filter to driver side shim.
- Add SLI profile for Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition.
- GeForce GTX 980, Windows 8.1: Occasionally, the first line in a displayed frame mistakenly has content from a prior rendered frame.
- Need SLI profile for FIFA 15.
- Having G-SYNC enabled with Oculus Rift drivers installed causes applications to crash while launching and sometimes causes the system to reboot.
- Green screen when certain videos played back in Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Backport to r304_00 all missing changes to the FreeBSD installer.
- Device does not start (error code 49) in certain OEM motherboards.
- Assassin's Creed Unity, Windows 8: TDR crash after loading a level and playing a little on NVIDIA 7-series GPUs.
- Windows 8.1: Significant drop off in performance with 3D Vision enabled in SLI in Tomb Raider, no repro with Windows 7.
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2014 - 12:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10, assimilate
Now calling number 9860; you may proceed directly to download or use the automated Update system to receive your newest installment of the Win 10 Tech Preview. Do be warned that your installation size will increase as this download is as large as the original you received to begin your Windows 10 Experience. Those who have never touched a Windows phone previously should not be alarmed by the Action Center which will pop over top of any work you are doing whenever one of your social media feeds receives any sort of update, this is its intended effect and you should embrace it.
You now have the option of joining the Insiders Fast ring of updates, this is highly recommended for those who prefer to enjoy the new features Microsoft will be incorporating without warning and before these wonderful new developments can be sullied by the anti-TIFKAM masses found online. The Register did not report how many Canaries died to bring you this technical preview but any sacrifices would not have been in vain. Please touch here to launch IE to visit their post on mobile and desktop devices.
"Less than three weeks after it debuted the Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft has shipped a comprehensive update to the pre-release OS that brings substantial changes, including some new features borrowed from Windows Phone."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM and Microsoft will collaborate to compete in the cloud @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre @ The Register
- Microsoft warns of PowerPoint zero-day bug affecting nearly all Windows users @ The Inquirer
- Genius DVR-FHD568 Vehicle Recorder @ Benchmark Reviews