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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
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | October 21, 2014 - 07:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, pcper, nvidia, live, GTX 980, geforce, game stream, borderlands: the pre-sequel, borderlands
UPDATE: It's time for ROUND 2!
UPDATE 2: You missed the fun for the second time? That's unfortunate, but you can relive the fun with the replay right here!
I'm sure like the staff at PC Perspective, many of our readers have been obsessively playing the Borderlands games since the first release in 2009. Borderlands 2 arrived in 2012 and once again took hold of the PC gaming mindset. This week marks the release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which as the name suggests, takes place before the events of Borderlands 2. The Pre-Sequel has playable characters that were previously only known to the gamer as NPCs and that, coupled with the new low-gravity game play style, should entice nearly everyone that loves the first-person, loot-driven series to come back.
To celebrate the release, PC Perspective has partnered with NVIDIA to host a couple of live game streams that will feature some multi-player gaming fun as well some prizes to giveaway to the community. I will be joined once again by NVIDIA's Andrew Coonrad and Kris Rey to tackle the campaign in a cooperative style while taking a couple of stops to give away some hardware.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Game Stream Powered by NVIDIA Part 2
5pm PT / 8pm ET - October 21st
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
Here are some of the prizes we have lined up for those of you that join us for the live stream:
- 5 x NVIDIA SLI Bridges - From NVIDIA Direct
- 1 x ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q G-Sync Monitor - PC Perspective Review
- 1 x Acer XB280HK 28-in 4K G-Sync Monitor - PC Perspective Review
- 3 x Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Steam Keys
Holy crap, that's a hell of a list!! How do you win? It's really simple: just tune in and watch the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Game Stream Powered by NVIDIA! We'll explain the methods to enter live on the air and anyone can enter from anywhere in the world - no issues at all!
So stop by Tuesday night for some fun, some gaming and the chance to win some hardware!
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 21, 2014 - 06:42 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: maxwell, nvidia, gaming, mini ITX, small form factor, GTX 970, GM204, gigabyte
Gigabyte has announced a new miniature graphics card based around NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 970 GPU. The upcoming card is a dual slot, single fan design that is even shorter than the existing GTX 970 graphics cards (which are fairly short themselves). Officially known as the GV-N970IXOC-4GD, the miniaturized GTX 970 will be available for your small form factor (Mini ITX) systems in November for around $330.
The new Mini ITX compatible graphics card packs in a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 970 processor, 4GB of video memory, a custom PCB, and a custom WindForce-inspired cooler into a graphics card that is smaller than any of the existing GTX 970 cards. Gigabyte is using a custom design with a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector instead of two 6-pin connectors from the reference design or the 6-pin plus 8-pin from manufacturers like EVGA. The single power connector means less cabling to route (and
successfully attempt to hide heh) and better small form factor PSU compatibility. The cooler is an aluminum fin array with three copper heatpipes paired with a single shrouded fan.
The tiny card comes factory overclocked at 1076 MHz base and 1216 MHz boost, which is a respectable boost over the reference specifications. For reference, the GeForce GTX 970 processor is a 28nm chip using NVIDIA's GM204 "Maxwell" architecture with 1664 CUDA cores clocked at 1051 MHz base and 1178 MHz boost. It appears that Gigabyte has left the 4GB of GDDR5 untouched at 7.0 GT/s.
|Gigabyte GTX 970 Mini ITX||
Reference GTX 970
|Core (MHz) Boost||1216||1178|
|Memory Rate||7.0 (GT/s)||7.0 (GT/s)|
|PCI-E Power||1x 8-pin||2x 6-pin|
The display output on the miniature Gigabyte card differs slightly from the reference design with the addition of a DVI-D connection.
- 3 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DVI-I
- 1 x DVI-D
According to Gigabyte, its custom cooler resulted in lower temperatures versus the reference design. The company claims that when running Metro: Last Light, the Mini ITX Gigabyte GTX 970 GPU ran at 62°C versus a reference design hitting 76°C running the same game. If true, the Gigabyte cooler is capable of keeping the card significantly cooler while taking up less space (though fan speeds and sound levels were not mentioned, nor compared to other custom coolers).
The small form factor friendly GTX 970 is coming next month with a MSRP of $329.99. Are you excited?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 21, 2014 - 04:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Nepton 240M, Nepton 120XL, Nepton, cooler master, all in one
They are not quite available yet but Cooler Master have announced two new all in one watercoolers, the Nepton 120XL and 240M which incorporate a new Silencio fan which as you may expect offers good performance with low noise. If the pricing follows the previous generation of Nepton you can expect to see the 120mm model retail for around $100 and the 240mm for around $120.
Taipei, Taiwan — Oct 21st 2014 — Cooler Master, a leading creator, innovator, and manufacturer of desktop components and peripherals as well as mobile accessories today announced the Nepton 120XL and 240M, the latest additions to the Nepton all-in-one liquid cooling family. See full details on the Nepton 240M product page here.
Keeping It Cool
Nepton 120XL and 240M are introducing a brand new Silencio fan from Cooler Master. This fan is designed with unique fan blades and technology in order to maximize air flow and static pressure with minimal noise output. The result of these fans and Nepton’s skived fin micro-channel technology brings Nepton 120XL and 240M to a whole new level of cool, mirroring the thermal success of the Nepton 140XL and 280L models.
The Cooler Master Nepton series was introduced with the 140XL and 280L models, which sported 140mm and 280mm radiators respectively. The new Nepton 120XL is equipped with a 120mm radiator while the Nepton 240M is equipped with a 240mm radiator. These sizes allow more opportunity for builders and enthusiasts to get their hands on the incredible performance from the Nepton line.
Sealing the Deal
Using Cooler Master’s exclusive design, the pump of the Nepton series pushed 120 Liters of liquid per hour through the flexible and robust FEP tubing to maximize thermal transfer. Topping the pump with a simple geometric design and illuminated Cooler Master logo, the Nepton series continues to turn heads. Backed by a 5-year warranty, Nepton 120XL and 240M will be cooling systems for years to come.
Nepton 120XL and 240M is now shipping to vendors in North America and will be available soon. Price and availability may vary based on region.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 21, 2014 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: modular psu, HX1000i, Corsair Link, corsair, 80 Plus Platinum
Corsair have updated their high end and high powered PSU line with the HX1000i, developed once again with CWT and sporting an 80 PLUS Platinum rating and Corsair Link integration. The documentation is a little confusing, referring to a single 12v rail rated at 83.3A or 1000W but also mentioning it can be toggled to multiple 12V rails, not to mention the small rounding error in their math. The actual PSU is very well constructed and passed all of the tests that [H]ard|OCP's torture chamber required of it; just not to the same level that the older HX1000 unit managed. That is a little disappointing as you would hope that the quality would improve over time but it is in line with the competition and certainly not a bad showing, merely not what [H] had hoped for. It is still worth your consideration so make sure to read through the whole review to see if the HX1000i meets your needs.
"Corsair's HX series represents its "second tier" line of enthusiast computer power supplies, but its new HX1000i does take the top spot when it comes to its ~1000 watt power supplies that are Platinum certified and fully modular. Let's see if this latest addition from Corsair represents its quality pedigree of days gone by. "
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Fractal Design Newton R3 1000W Semi-Modular PSU @ eTeknix
- FSP Aurum PT Series 1200 W @ techPowerUp
- Deepcool DQ750 Quanta Semi-Modular PSU @ eTeknix
- Be Quiet! Pure Power L8 730W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- BitFenix Fury 750G Semi-Modular PSU @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2014 - 01:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hoverboard, hendo
Arx Pax Labs, Inc. have a brilliant marketer and an interesting product in development; one year before the exact date a certain Marty McFly travelled foward to in time they have announced the Hendo hoverboard Kickstarter project. Their current products use a patented tech which they refer to as Magnetic Field Architecture to create a field which allows their devices hover when over a non-ferrous metallic surface. This does have some drawbacks, namely the limited amount of areas in which the device will function, as well as creating difficulties steering but the tech does work and will continue to be developed to provide more functionality. For $10,000 you could get your hands on one of the 10 working prototypes though a more attractive price point and a less limited product supply is at the $300 mark which will get you the Whitebox Dev kit, which is literally a floating white box for you to use and take apart. There are lower priced tiers which will allow you to have a 5 minute ride on one as well.
Engadget tried it out and the current model can solidly support up to 300lbs, the next generation is expected to handle 500lbs. There are far more uses for this technology than the hoverboard though perhaps not quite as fun. Delivery companies could implement hover pallets like you see in many sci-fi programs and conveyor belts might be a thing of the past. It might even be possible to temporarily raise a properly configured building off of the ground during an earthquake with enough of these devices installed in the foundation. Check out their Kickstarter's comment section for more information and links to other sites that have had a chance to try out the hoverboard.
"A KICKSTARTER PROJECT is offering investors the chance to own a hoverboard a bit like the one in Back to the Future 2 for just $10,000."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Doctor Who and the Dalek: 10-year-old tests BBC programming game @ The Register
- Samsung ships its first 20nm 8Gbit DDR4 memory chips for servers @ The Inquirer
- Solid State Tesla Coil Plays Music @ Hack a Day
- Rumor: Lenovo In Talks To Buy BlackBerry @ Slashdot
- Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch @ The Register
- Lenovo to set up secondary brand for mobile devices @ DigiTimes
- Whisper tracks its users. So we tracked down its LA office. This is what happened next @ The Register
- Vivi wins MSI MOA 2014 Grand Final @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2014 - 10:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, pc gaming
Raptr, a PC gaming utility, tracks the time spent within each game and aggregates that data across its user base. Its actual purpose is for game recording, adjusting quality settings for your machine's performance, community engagement, and so forth. Still, it is allowed to collect that data, so it does, and it shows fairly interesting trends of game popularity. Note that these figures represent percentage of total game play, by hour.
Before we get into the numbers, a quick reference about statistics. It may be counter-intuitive, but you can get a pretty accurate result from a relatively small amount of data. Ars Technica's "Steam Gauge" polled 100,000 random Steam accounts, including hidden ones by poking at generated IDs, and came up with fairly accurate sales figures, confirmed by a few indie developers.
Where you can run into difficulties is if your random sample has some non-randomness, outside of your intended bounds. For instance, if you want to see trends involving PC gamers then it is logical to limit your survey to PC gamers, but you can run into systematic error if the study is voluntary, self-reporting, or has some other bias. Sometimes you cannot control these biases for your experiment, so multiple, different experiments may be necessary to dial in on a causation.
In this case, it seems like Raptr's study is an honest representation of the typical Raptr user. Tens of millions of samples is enough to crush random error. The only question that I can think of is whether Raptr users represent a sample space that you care about. If you want to know about the average gamer, including console, casual, and mobile, then maybe not. The average PC gamer? Definitely closer, but it should be compared to other studies in case there is disproportionate representation of some group. Interesting none-the-less? Of course.
So, that aside, the top three PC games of this poll stayed exactly where they are:
- League of Legends
- World of Warcraft
- DOTA 2
World of Warcraft and DOTA 2 held steady, but League of Legends increased its lead by over 14% (relative to second place). 22.54% of all play time that is recorded by Raptr is done in League of Legends. Diablo III jumped up to 5.23% of total due to the launch of a new "season", which encourages players to create new characters and compete for placement and loot. Basically, it attempts to recreate the feeling at launch where enthusiasts attempt to be the first to reach the level cap, and so forth.
The recently launched The Sims 4 found its way to #16. It launched on September 2nd, so it had basically a full month to collect usage time (including the launch surge). Raptr expects that it will slip off the list for October, and that makes sense for me.
Subject: Systems | October 20, 2014 - 05:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: LIVA, silvermont
Yes, you read that right; this system can be powered by a USB power source, as long as it can provide a minimum of 2.1 amps. It runs Windows 8.1 on a Silvermont generation Atom, with 64GB of local storage and 2GB of RAM and it is amazingly small, instead of showing you the exterior you can see the size of the board in comparison to the Atom and the VGA port. It has a UEFI BIOS, certainly pared down in comparison to a high end motherboard but with more than enough options for what this device needs to do. Check out the MadShrimps review here and be ready for another review to appear on our front page.
"The mini PC kit ECS has offered is shipped in a DIY format, and incorporates a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. The footprint of the product allows us to carry it anywhere and it can be even powered by an USB powerbank, if it can deliver at least 2.1 A"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Giada D2308U Mini-PC Review @ Madshrimps
- PCSpecialist Predator X99 System @ Kitguru
- iconBIT Toucan 4K Android Mini-PC Review @ Madshrimps
- Build your first PC: Step by step video guide with KitGuru TV
Subject: Memory | October 20, 2014 - 02:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vengeance LPX, corsair, Ripjaws 4, G.Skill, hyperx predator, kingston, ddr4, DDR4-3000
With the new DDR4 standard comes new speeds and of course updated branding from the major memory resellers. As it is brand new there is a possibility that some memory is better than others at this point, which is why Kitguru assembled three different kits to test. Corsair's Vengeance LPX, G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 and Kingston's HyperX Predator all have very similar specifications on paper though each has a distinctive look. Read on to find out if there is a brand that you should be looking for right now, or if it is price and availability which should drive your purchasing decision.
"One of the key technological advancements that the Haswell-E processors and Intel’s latest High-End Desktop (HEDT) platform iteration have brought into the consumer limelight is DDR4. We compare three 16GB quad-channel memory kits from Corsair, G.Skill, and Kingston, all running at 3000MHz. Is there a specific set of ‘go-to’ memory at this early point in the DDR4 life-cycle?"
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 16 GB 3000 MHz Kit (4x 4GB DDR4) @ techPowerUp
- Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 @ HardwareHeaven
- Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2800MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit @ eTeknix
- Kingston HyperX Predator 16GB 3000MHz Quad Channel DDR4 @ eTeknix
- Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 32GB 1866MHz Quad Channel DDR3 @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2014 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10
This time it is The Tech Report who are taking a look at Win10 and what it brings to the table and what it takes away. As you can see from the screenshot below the Start Menu is mostly back, with a selection of large tiles already added to the side of the menu, though they are easily removable or can be replaced with non-Metro applications. Since the contextual search still appears at the bottom of the Start Menu the search button on the taskbar seems unnecessary. The multiple desktops work as promised, with ways to easily switch between your workspaces, windows have been visually trimmed along the outside and drop shadows are back. Check out the new command prompt and other changes in their three page article.
"TR's Cyril Kowaliski has spent some time with the Windows 10 Technical Preview, and he's jotted down his thoughts about each of the major new features and changes. His conclusion? This has the potential to be the best Windows release since Windows 7."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM will pay $1.5bn to get rid of its chip-making unit @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft Gearing Up To Release a Smartwatch of Its Own @ Slashdot
- US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports @ The Register
- Spotify is Powered by Linux and Open Source @ Linux.com
- Think Before You Measure – Old Test Gear and Why It Is Awesome @ Hack a Day
- Using the Wrong Screw: A Painful Lesson in iPhone Repair @ Hack a Day
- Tech ARP 2014 Mega Giveaway Contest @ Tech ARP
- NikKTech & COUGAR Worldwide Giveaway
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2014 - 11:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine 4, epic games
Epic Games released Unreal Engine 4.5 last Tuesday, and it is one of their largest releases since launch. While most point-releases occur on a four-to-six week schedule, this one took about nine weeks.
The headlining feature from the press release is Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows. In the real world, lights have an actual size. A light bulb is not an infinitesimal point, it fills up your hand when you grab it (when it is off and cooled to roughly room temperature, of course). If a surface can see a light, it is lit by it. If the surface cannot see the light, it is not lit by it, which looks like it is covered in shadow. If a light is big enough that part of it lights a part of a surface, but part of it is blocked, you get "soft shadows".
Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows is a dynamic effect, which means that it can update over time. This is very useful if, for instance, the object that is casting a shadow gets blown up by a rocket launcher or, less entertainingly, the sun sets. The effect is also particularly quick, with scenes rendering in just a couple of milliseconds (you get about 16ms to hit 60 FPS). This is faster than cascaded shadow maps (a method to generate shadows that is optimized for shadows near the camera) in benchmarks listed at Epic's documentation.
Unreal Engine 4.5 has also updated Subsurface Scattering. I am not exactly sure what is different, because Unreal Engine 4 had SSS for quite some time now, but they changed something. This technique is useful to create realistic skin, but is also very useful for oceans, ice, and wax.
Although Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows and Screen-Space Subsurface Scattering are the most interesting feature to write about, I would consider C++ Hot Reload to be the most important feature of this version. To explain it, I will need to first describe how Unreal Engine 4 is designed. When you subscribe, you are given source code access to the engine on GitHub; alternatively, you can download the Unreal Engine Launcher, which allows you to manage canonical builds of Unreal Engine. When a version of the engine is run, it will open a project in Unreal Editor. These projects could be programmed either in C++ or Epic's flowchart-based scripting system, "Blueprints". Complete games could be made in Blueprints, and developers are encouraged to do so, but they are often used for simple objects (lights and elevators), modifications of complex objects, and rapid prototyping.
Rapid prototyping is the key part of my explanation. Remember how there is "engine code" that, when compiled, opens an editor to run "game code" for any given project? Despite the E3 2012 demo, many changes in a project's C++ source require the editor to be shut down and reloaded when game code is compiled. This led people to use Blueprints as a prototyping tool, not because of its logical, visual layout, but because you could manipulate objects several times in just a couple of minutes and without closing the editor. Now C++ is said to be a first-class citizen in this regard (unfortunately I have not had time to test this). As long as you are not modifying the engine's code, just the C++ code associated with your project, your changes should be possible while remaining in editor.
Also updated, and finally supported by default, is Unreal Motion Graphics (UMG). UMG is a UI platform that is built upon Slate, which itself is the main UI platform for Unreal Engine 4 (Unreal Editor, for instance, is created with Slate). Basically, it extends Slate and includes a Flash Professional-like editor for it, complete with styles, animations, and scaling for high-DPI devices.
Because I am not in the DirectX 12 private beta, I am unsure whether that branch has been updated. Microsoft has announced that it was based on Unreal Engine 4.4. They have not said anything publicly since, at least not regarding that.
Unreal Engine 4.5 is available now for subscribers through GitHub or the Unreal Engine Launcher.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 19, 2014 - 04:52 PM | Scott Michaud
There are many interesting ways to pull heat away from a processor. You can submerge your device in mineral oil or even phase-change fluid (such as "Novec"). You can push cool fluid up to the thing that you are trying to remove heat from and then pump it away through a radiator. If using air, you can make use of vapor chambers and the convection current formed as devices heat up. The goal is to abuse one or more interesting material properties to store energy and move it somewhere else.
Image Credit: HT4U.net
Or you can just have an obscene, gigantic mass of metal with more fins than the NHL. According to FanlessTech, these are three heatsinks that are not yet available (and may never be). Two of them have three towers, connected to the base by heat pipes, and the last one has four.
Image Credit: ExtraHardware.cz
Personally, I would be a bit uncomfortable about buying a PC like that unless I needed absolutely silent or top air cooling performance. The amount that it hangs over RAM or nuzzles against add-in boards seems sketchy to me, especially if you need to swap a DIMM or two at some point, but I always use stock coolers at reference voltage and frequency so what do I know?
Image Credit: PConline.com.cn
Yes, that would be a regular, ATX motherboard.
When will these prototypes become available? Who knows if they even will. Still, if you have a need for cooling solutions that are a little over-the-top, you might be able to get your hands on these some day. There's nothing wrong with adding more mass and surface area, rather than doing something fancy. It works, and it probably works really well.
Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2014 - 07:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: forums, friday
It has been a while since we mentioned the PC Perspective Forums on the front page, except of course the Fragging Frogs who have been having a great time lately and have put together some amazing VLANs full of gaming, fun and hardware giveaways. There is a lot more than that hidden behind the tab at the top of the page for you to discover. For anyone who has read about the latest and greatest hardware on our news and reviews but who isn't quite certain about if the hardware is right for them, we have a variety of forums specifically targeting the various components that we talk about. I don't just mean GPUs and Cases or Motherboards and Processors, there is a forum specifically devoted to overclocking in general and for specific components as well. You can also comment on my current choices on the Hardware Leaderboard and get feedback on your own choice of components.
If you have a working machine but are looking for tips on how to deal with Steam on Linux or what Windows tweaks might help you out then you are covered and can join in with the gurus which hang out here. If networking is more your thing, be it a small LAN or suggestions on strange errors you are seeing in a large network environment then check out this forum which also contains information on setting up and securing your network and the clients attached to it. If you have some old kit you would love to trade off for different equipment or were hoping for a deal on some used components; well head on over to the Trading Post and browse through the offers.
On the other hand if you are looking to harness the power of your PC for something a little more altruistic than Bitcoin why not join the Folding Frogs in the hunt for new configurations proteins which could help cancer research or join the BOINC crew to chug SETI or any of the wide variety of projects available in that Distributed Computing network. If fun and games is more to your liking right now then the Off Topic board is always hopping with humour; however if a nice argument is more your style then join in The Lightning Round!
Your comments on our posts are always appreciated but there is a lot more to discover on PC Perspective when you look behind the front page.
Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2014 - 06:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: taleworlds, mount & blade
While it seems odd, it makes more sense once you realize that TaleWorlds is not actually developing it. The company supports its mod community and, for the second time, decided to promote one into a full DLC. The previous mod was Napoleonic Wars, developed by Flying Squirrel Entertainment, which is now a full independent game studio.
The expansion, Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest, is the commercialized and updated Brytenwalda mod. Being an external effort, I doubt that TaleWorlds diverted much resources away from Mount and Blade II: Bannerlords to release this expansion. As an added benefit, it might launch a new independent games company -- maybe even a virtual furniture and meatball franchise.
While the company has not announced online player counts yet, this engine is known for supporting hundreds of players. Napoleonic Wars regularly has servers with 200-player caps not including horses (although I have heard, but not seen, that people have pushed that up to 250). This could be very interesting for a Viking Age theme.
Subject: Storage | October 17, 2014 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: icy dock, ICY CUBE MB561U3S-4S, MB662U3-2S, external drive
Techgage has an assortment of Icy Dock products that they examined to make up this review. The ICY CUBE MB561U3S-4S is a 4-bay external drive enclosure, which will take all of the installed drives and create a single volume out of them. This happens automatically, there are no other RAID options available when you use this particular dock but it does simplify the setup process. The MB662U3-2S is a two bay enclosure which offers more choices for setup, you can set the drives to Large, JBOD, RAID 1 or RAID 0. If you just have a single drive, they also have an external 3.5” SATA HDD enclosure and finally two HDD caddies which slide into a 5.25" drive bay. The first can be set up to fit a pair of 2.5" drives and the second is for hotswapping. Check them out if you are in need of storage accessories.
"It has been quite some time since we have looked to see what ICY DOCK has been up to. This is a company that established its reputation by making some very good hard drive accessories through the years. In this article we are going to take a look at several offerings from the company – from mobile to desktop. Let’s see what it has to offer."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- IronKey Workspace W700 Secure Flash Drive @ The SSD Review
- Synology DS415+ NAS @ HardwareHeaven
- Thecus N2310 @ Legion Hardware
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-251 2-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- QNAP TS-451 Turbo NAS Server @ Benchmark Reviews
- Synology DiskStation DS415+ @ Legion Hardware
- Thecus N7710-G 7-Bay NAS with 10 GbE @ Silent PC Review
- Kingston M.2 2280 SATA 120GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB SSD Review @HiTech Legion
- Micron M600 mSATA @ The SSD Review
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | October 17, 2014 - 03:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Thunderbolt 2, thunderbolt, mac mini, mac, Intel, haswell, apple
I was not planning to report on Apple's announcement but, well, this just struck me as odd.
So Apple has relaunched the Mac Mini with fourth-generation Intel Core processors, after two years of waiting. It is the same height as the Intel NUC, but it also almost twice the length and twice the width (Apple's 20cm x 20cm versus the NUC's ~11cm x 11cm when the case is included). So, after waiting through the entire Haswell architecture launch cycle, right up until the imminent release of Broadwell, they are going with the soon-to-be outdated architecture, to update their two-year-old platform?
((Note: The editorial originally said "two-year-old architecture". I thought that Haswell launched about six months earlier than it did. The mistake was corrected.))
I wonder if, following the iTunes U2 deal, this device will come bundled with Limp Bizkit's "Nookie"...
The price has been reduced to $499, which is a welcome $100 price reduction especially for PC developers who want a Mac to test cross-platform applications on. It also has Thunderbolt 2. These are welcome additions. I just have two, related questions: why today and why Haswell?
The new Mac Mini started shipping yesterday. 15-watt Broadwell-U is expected to launch at CES in January with 28W parts anticipated a few months later, for the following quarter.