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September 4, 2015 - 03:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The unofficial BB-8 toys that makers have been building were based off of the Sphero toy but as it turns out the officially released one is not. As it turns out it was a team from Creature Animatronics who created the toy for Disney, a team recently talked about because of their large sized hexapod robot. If you haven't picked one up yet you have at least heard about it in your travels on the net today and as it turns out we do not know all the tricks it will be capable of yet. According to Disney they will release more features for the app that interfaces with the robot as the release of The Force Awakens gets closer. Check out the links at Hack a Day for more information.
"As it turns out, it was actually built in Pinewood by the Creature Animatronics (CFX) team which includes [Matt Denton] — He’s the guy who built the Mantis Robot. A hacker / engineer — not a big toy company."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BlackBerry gobbles up former sparring partner Good Technology for $425m @ The Inquirer
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 820: More specs revealed along with early benchmark score @ The Inquirer
- Windows 10 grabbed about five per cent market share in August @ The Register
- Samsung’s consumer IoT vision – stupid, desperate, creepy @ The Register
- 128TB SSD by 2018? Toshiba promises much, delivers ... a little @ The Register
- Google Updates: Custom Tabs, no more Drive websites, and something about logos @ The Inquirer
- IBM and ARM team up for IoT infrastructure alliance @ The Inquirer
- Damn well knew it! Seagate has helium drives in its labs @ The Register
- Windows admin added to Puppet Enterprise @ The Register
- Security SOHOpeless: Belkin router redirection zero-day @ The Register
- Philips Hue Lighting Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2015 - 07:46 PM | Ryan Shrout
UPDATE: Did you miss the event? Sorry to hear that, but you can catch the fun and humor from our racing adventure right here:
Everyone once in a while we try to have fun around the PC Perspective offices, and tomorrow night is going to be one of them. The team is gearing up for racing simulation action, pitting me (Ryan) against the likes of Allyn and Josh in a handful of racing titles including Project Cars, DiRT Rally and maybe more. Even better? We hope to have YOU join us as well if you want to - we are working on setting up the correct lobbies and groups in Steam to make it happen. I'll have details on this page as we get closer to the appropriate time on how you can join us for some racing fun!
And if we are going to be racing and I am going to be embarrassing myself, why not live stream the whole thing as well to hang out with the loyal PC Perspective readers?!? So join, us won't you?
And what's a live stream without prizes? Two lucky live viewers will win a Logitech G29 Racing Wheel of their very own! That's right - all you have to do is tune in for the live stream tomorrow afternoon and you could win a G29 valued at $399!! (Be sure to read Allyn's review of the G29 right here!)
Logitech G Racing Live Stream and Giveaway
5pm PT / 8pm ET - September 3rd
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Thursday, September 3rd at 5pm PT / 8pm ET at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience. To win the prizes you will have to be watching the live stream, with exact details of the methodology for handing out the goods coming at the time of the event.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from us?
So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Thursday at 5pm PT / 8pm ET and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2015 - 04:19 PM | Ken Addison
PC Perspective Podcast #365 - 09/03/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the R9 Nano Preview, Tons of Skylake SKUs, Asynchronous Shaders 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, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:49:27
Week in Review:
0:48:45 This week’s episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by VideoBlocks
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 3, 2015 - 01:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Lian Li has announced a new enclosure along the lines of the PC-Q33 (a mini-ITX enclosure we reviewed here), but this new PC-V33 houses a full ATX motherboard inside its cube-like, hinged exterior.
If you’ve looked into open test benches at all you’ll really appreciate the design of the PC-V33, which essentially takes that idea and adds a cover that conveniently folds down on a hinge, exposing all components. This is a very unconventional design, and one I really appreciated when reviewing the mini-ITX version. So what’s new besides the larger size and support for ATX motherboards?
Here’s a quick rundown of the enclosure’s features:
- Unique flip-open canopy, opens to test bench style ease of access
- Full ATX size build in compact mid-tower case
- Full sized PSU and GPU card supported
- Up to 240mm internal radiator support
- Redesigned rear vents with increased air flow
- New shock-absorbing drive cage
- Easy-open side doors with no screws and toolless design throughout
- Black or silver full aluminum or add a tempered glass side wall
In addition to supporting full-sized components and 240mm radiators, there is also support for tower air coolers up to 190mm high, and the case also features a rubber-damped hard drive cage (and drives have their own 120mm exhaust fan). How much space will the PC-V33 take up on your desk? Dimensions are (WxHxD) 13.15" x 13.86" x 15.35", which are on par with an open test bench case.
The MSRP of the standard version is $199 and the version with a glass side panel is $229. The PC-V33 will available in early September.
Subject: Displays | September 3, 2015 - 08:58 AM | Sebastian Peak
The latest ROG Swift monitor from ASUS is the PG348Q, which features a curved 34-inch IPS 21:9 display.
[inline:files/news/2015-09-03/Swift PG348Q front+back_shadow.jpg]
The ROG Swift PG348Q offers 3440x1440 resolution from its 100 Hz IPS panel, and includes NVIDIA G-SYNC technology. The new ROG Swift is said to have a "frameless curved design", but as we saw with the recently reviewed ASUS PB258Q monitor this might not be quite as frameless after all, but we shall see.
The ROG Swift PG348Q features full tilt, swivel, and height adjustments, and offers a couple of ASUS-specific features including GamePlus, which "gives users four different crosshair options, an in-game timer and an FPS counter for an added advantage in first-person-shooter and real-time-strategy games", and GameVisual, which "provides six preset display modes for optimized gaming visuals".
[inline:files/news/2015-09-03/ROG PG348Q with G20 special edition.jpg]
Pricing and availability of this latest ROG Swift has yet to be announced.
September 2, 2015 - 06:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
It seems that not only aren't people leaping to Windows 10 and allowing Microsoft permission to collect their metadata but far too many who use Windows 7 or 8 are opting out of the program. KB3080149 is a recent 'Update for customer experience and diagnostic telemetry' which will enable Microsoft to track your usage even though you explicitly opted out of the Customer Experience Improvement Programme. At least the data sent is encrypted, little consolation for users as The Inquirer points out.
"MICROSOFT HAS BEGUN retrofitting some of the more controversial aspects of the new Windows 10 operating system to predecessors 7 and 8."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
September 2, 2015 - 05:58 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tomorrow afternoon, at 12pm PT / 3pm ET, AMD is hosting a live stream on its Twitch channel to show off and discuss a little more about the upcoming Radeon R9 Nano product we previewed last month.
I have no idea what is going to be discussed, I have no idea how long it will be and I don't really know what to expect at all other than that. Apparently AMD is going to play some games on the R9 Nano as well as talk about mods that the small form factor enables.
September 2, 2015 - 03:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Lenovo’s newest Yoga tablets have arrived boasting some serious entertainment cred. The main event is the YOGA Tab 3 Pro 10, a 10.1” Android device with a 2560x1600 display, built-in 70-inch projector, and Dolby Atmos digital surround (!).
It makes sense that Lenovo would have tailored their Android-powered Yoga 3 tablets for entertainment as tablets are often used for content consumption at home or on the go. But I wouldn’t have imagined Dolby Atmos (the new surround tech that adds vertical sounds to the mix) to find its way into a tablet, let alone one that will retail for $499. And let’s not forget about what Lenovo is calling a world first, that 70-inch rotating projector!
While there was no listed resolution for the projector I don’t think it’s full HD (likely 480p).
What about the rest of the tablet? It’s powered by an Intel Atom x5-Z8500 quad-core processor, a 14 nm Cherry Trail part that features Intel HD graphics (up to 600 MHz) with 12 Execution Units which should help contend with the large 2560x1600 display resolution for GPU-intensive applications.
- 10.1-inch 2560x1600 IPS display
- Intel Atom (Cherry Trail) x5-Z8500
- 2GB LPDDR3 memory
- 16 GB or 32 GB onboard storage
- MicroSD slot (up to 128 GB)
- Rotating 70” Pico Projector, 50 nits, Digital Focus, Gesture Control
- 4x front-facing speakers, Dolby Atmos 3D Surround Sound
- Rear camera: 13 MP Auto Focus, Front camera: 5MP Auto Focus
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth® 4.0, Optional 4G LTE (select countries)
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
What kind of battery life can we expect? Thanks to a massive 10200 mAh battery the Yoga Pro 3 10” should last up to 18 hours, according to Lenovo. Pricing starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi version and $599 for the LTE model.
Rounding out the lineup are the non-pro YOGA Tab 3 8-inch and 10.1-inch models. These versions retain the Dolby Atmos audio and will be offered in LTE versions, but have considerably lower specs (identical for both other than battery):
- 8-inch 1280x800 IPS display
- Qualcomm Quad-Core 1.3GHz (APQ8009)
- 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage
- MicroSD slot (up to 128 GB)
- 8MP AF Rotatable camera
- 2x front-facing large-chamber speakers
- Dolby Atmos 3D Surround Sound
- Lenovo AnyPen Technology
- Bluetooth 4.0, Optional 4G LTE (select countries)
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
Batteries are 6200 mAh for the 8-inch providing up to 20 hours, and 8400 mAh providing up to 18 hours for the 10.1-inch version. The 8-inch version will start at $169 for Wi-Fi only and $199 for LTE, and the 10-inch version will be $199 for Wi-Fi only and $249 for LTE.
Availability for the new YOGA Tab series was not immediately available and will be updated when announced.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 2, 2015 - 11:43 AM | Sebastian Peak
The GTX 980 Ti has received the Matrix treatment from ASUS, and the ROG GTX 980Ti Platinum graphics card features a DirectCU II cooler with the new plasma copper color scheme.
[inline:files/news/2015-09-02/Matrix GTX 980 Ti Platinum.png]
In addition to the claimed 25% cooling advantage from the DirectCU II cooler, which also promises "3X less noise than reference cards", the Matrix Platinum is constructed with Super Alloy Power II components for maximum stability. An interesting addition is something called Memory Defroster, which ASUS explains:
"Memory Defroster is an ASUS-exclusive technology that takes overclocking to extremes – it defrosts the Matrix card's memory during subzero overclocking to ensure sustained stability."
The overbuilt ROG Matrix cards are meant to be overclocked of course, and the GTX 980Ti Platinum offers convenience features such as a one-click "Safe Mode" to restore the card's BIOS to default settings, and a color-coded load indicator that "lets users check GPU load levels at a glance".
[inline:files/news/2015-09-02/ROG Matrix GTX 980Ti Platinum.jpg]
The Matrix GTX 980 Ti Platinum also comes with a one‑year XSplit Gamecaster premium license, which is a $99 value. So what is the total cost of this card? That hasn't been announced just yet, and availability is also TBA.
Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
IFA is turning out to be an odd place full of weird announcements focused on PC gaming and enthusiasts rather than just mobile phones and electronics. ASUS has gone in the completely opposite direction today, announcing not just a series of gaming notebooks but a new series that is water cooled. I'm not making that up.
That is the new ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) GX700 series of gaming notebooks, coming in the 4th quarter of 2015. Looking for a price? You won't find it here but you will find a lot of interesting technology. This is what ASUS claims about the GX700:
- All-new flagship gaming laptop
- 4K 17-inch display
- Water-cooling system with pump/radiator
- Mobile K-series CPU with overclocking
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics (TBD)
A 4K screen in a 17-inch form factor is going to...have exceptionally small pixels. Clearly this is going to need quite a bit of Windows-based text and format scaling to make sure the desktop experience is usable. ASUS is using the new K-series Skylake processor that is unlocked and allows for overclocking in the same way you do so in the desktop market.
Oh, and what's this? An unannounced mobile GeForce GTX GPU? I doubt this is anything more than a currently shipping Maxwell GPU with some additional horsepower behind it, possibly more closely matching performance of the desktop GTX 980 Ti.
And of course, let's talk about the water cooling system. I asked for more details but ASUS wasn't budging. Clearly if you market this as a notebook there has to be portability to the device so expect that large portion that is front in center in the above picture to detach with quick connections to the notebook housing. That large external base will likely hold the pump, radiator, reservoir and even some docking functions like display connections, USB, etc. With water cooling and an unlocked Skylake processor you should expect some impressive overclocking capability considering the form factor!
I would assume that if you disconnect the machine to take on the road without the water cooling base the hardware would run at slower speeds with normal in-case fans as we see with other designs on the market today.
This sound amazing, crazy and kind of senseless, but I need to try it right away. Expect to pay top dollar for something like this especially considering the component cost of the screen, CPU, GPU, etc. not to mention the specific engineering for the new housing and design. I'll keep my eyes out for more information on the ASUS ROG GX700!
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
ASUS has announced the newest addition to their Republic of Gamers (ROG) gaming laptop lineup, the G752. What's new? ASUS offers these bullet points:
- All-new chassis with new design theme
- New plasma copper, armor titanium and lava red color
- Intel Skylake platform
- NVIDIA graphics up to a GTX 980M 8GB
- Optional 4K display
- Thunderbolt 3.0 technology
- Gaming keyboard with anti-ghosting 30-key rollover with 2.5mm long-travel keys
The high-end model is the ROG G752VY, which boasts these specs:
- 17.3” AG FHD IPS LED backlit display (1920x1080) with G-SYNC / 17.3” AG UHD IPS LED backlit display (3840x2160) with G-SYNC
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ / i7-6820HK Processor (TBD)
- Mobile Intel CM236 Chipset
- DDR4 2133 MHz memory up to 64 GB
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 4 GB / 8 GB GDDR5
- 2.5” SATA 2TB 5400 RPM HDD/1TB 7200 RPM HDD/1TB SSHD, PCIEX4 M.2 NVME 512 GB / 256 GB / 128 GB SSD
- DVD Super-Multi / Blu-ray combo / Blu-ray writer
- Built-in HD camera and array mic
- (WxDxH) 428 mm X 334 mm X 23~53 mm, 4.38 Kg (with 8-cell battery)
With the option of a 4K display and some serious specs the G752VY covers the bases for a desktop-replacement gaming powerhouse, topping the list of new laptops.
Sitting below the G752VY is the G752VT (yes this is a different laptop, though you could easily mistake the “T” for the other model name’s “Y”), and this 17.3” laptop differs in GPU selection with the GTX 970M and is only offered with a FHD 1920x1080 IPS display. Rounding out the lineup is the G752VL which has the GeForce GTX 965M GPU, and is otherwise virtually identical.
These new gaming laptops will be available in Q4, and pricing starts at $1499.
Subject: Networking | September 2, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
This is a seriously imposing-looking router, and the specs are just as huge.
Here are some highlights from ASUS:
- AC5300 speeds
- Tri-band wireless up to 1000 Mbit/s on 2.4 GHz and up to 2167 Mbit/s on each 5 GHz band
- Up to 5333 Mbit/s combined on the 5GHz band
- NitroQAM technology for low-latency gaming and 4K/UHD streaming
- Eight external antennas in a 4x4 config
- Ultra-wide area coverage
- Award-winning ASUS AiProtection Network Security Services
5333 Mbps on the 5 GHz band alone? So how does the RT-AC5300U router provide so much bandwidth? It’s powered by a staggering array of radios! Looking at the chipset specs we that it’s comprised of BCM4709 + BCM4366 (2.4 GHz) + 2x BCM4366 (5 GHz), with 256MB DDR3 memory and 128MB of flash. And we can’t forget the 8 external dual-band antennas! Yes, eight. Truly, this is a beast (though it looks like an overturned spider).
Pricing and exact availability were not revealed, but ASUS says it will be coming in Q4 2015.
Subject: Displays | September 2, 2015 - 06:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Acer has announced a pair of gaming monitors, beginning with their first curved NVIDIA G-SYNC monitor, the Predator Z35.
This 21:9 UltraWide display features a 2560x1080 resolution and supports overclocking for up to 200 Hz refresh. The Predator Z35 certainly looks the part, with angular styling and a dramatically curved (2000R curvature) screen that promises to help provide immersive gameplay.
Next up is the Predator XB1 Series, which consists of both 27-inch and 28-inch models.
All monitors in the Predator XB1 Series feature NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, with resolution the differentiating factor between the two 27-inch models.
The 27-inch models (XB271HK / XB271HU) feature a ZeroFrame edge-to-edge design with 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) or WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS panels that support 100% of the sRGB color gamut, while the XB271HU supports NVIDIA ULMB and refresh rates of up to 144Hz. The 28-inch model (XB281HK) features a 4K UHD panel that has a fast GTG (gray to gray) response time of 1ms, rendering fast-moving actions or dramatic transitions smoothly without smearing or ghosting.
Pricing for the Predator Z35 will be $1199, with XB1 starting at $799. The Z35 will be available in the U.S. in December, while the XB1 will be available in November.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 06:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Acer’s updated V Nitro notebook series has been announced, and the notebooks have received the newest Intel mobile processors and have been fully updated with the latest connectivity some advanced wireless tech.
The Aspire V 13
"The refreshed Aspire V Nitro Series notebooks and Aspire V 13 support the latest USB 3.1 Type-C port, while 'Black Edition' Aspire V Nitro models support Thunderbolt 3, which brings Thunderbolt to USB Type-C at speeds up to 40Gbps. All models include Qualcomm VIVE 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with Qualcomm MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology."
MU-MIMO devices are just starting to hit the market and the tech promises to eliminate bottlenecks when multiple devices are in use on the same network – with compatible adapters/routers, that is.
[inline:files/news/2015-09-01/Aspire V15 Nitro VN7-592_08.jpg]
The Aspire V 15 Nitro
What kind of hardware will be offered? Here’s a brief overview:
- 6th Gen Intel Core processors
- Up to 32GB DDR4 system memory
- NVIDIA GeForce graphics
- (SATA) SSD/SSHD/HDD storage options
- Touchscreen option added for the 15-inch model
Additionally, the “Black Edition” models offer a 4K 100% Adobe RGB display option, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M up to 4GB, NVMe SSDs, and something called “AeroBlade” thermal exhaust, which Acer said has “the world’s thinnest metallic blades of just 0.1mm thin, which are stronger and quieter”.
[inline:files/news/2015-09-01/Aspire V17 Nitro VN7-792_win10_02.jpg]
The Aspire V 17 Nitro
Pricing will start at $599 for the V Nitro 13, $999 for the V Nitro 15, and $1099 for the V Nitro 17. All versions will be available in the U.S. in October.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 03:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
The newest versions of the ThinkPad Yoga are here, and these updated models feature the latest Intel 6th Gen Core (Skylake-U) mobile processors while retaining the trademark 360-degree hinge.
First up we have the ThinkPad Yoga 260, the 12.5-inch variant. This is the original form-factor from the ThinkPad Yoga S1, and while screen size and resolution options haven’t changed virtually everything else about this new laptop has.
The Yoga 260 makes use of the newest Intel CPUs from Core i3 to i7, and unlike that first TP Yoga S1 this uses DIMMs which creates the possibility of upgrading after purchase – but that probably won’t be necessary as the configuration options allow for a very powerful system:
- 12.5-inch multi-touch display with 1366x768 or 1920x1080 resolution
- Intel Core i3-6100U, i5-6200U, i5-6300U, i7-6500U, i7-6600U processors
- Up to 16 GB DDR4 DIMM
- Up to 512 GB SSD
- Integrated Intel Graphics
- 720p HD Webcam
- WiGig, Bluetooth® 4.1, WiFi Combo Card, SCR, LTE-A
- 2x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, OneLink+ and microSD ports
- Battery life up to 10 hours
- Windows 10 / Windows 7
The ThinkPad Yoga 260 starts at 2.9 lbs and will be offered in both black and silver finishes. We will update with pricing/availability when available.
Next there is the 14-inch version, the ThinkPad Yoga 460.
The specs for the larger version of the new ThinkPad Yoga are a little more business-oriented than the 260 with an anti-glare screen option, DDR3L memory, and standard HDD storage available, and the 460 also adds a discrete GPU option:
- 14-inch multi-touch display with 1920x1080 (glossy or anti-glare) or 2560x1440 (glossy) resolution
- Up to 6th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors
- Up to 8 GB DDR3L
- Up to 1TB HDD, 256 GB SSD
- Integrated Intel Graphics or NVIDIA GeForce 940M 2GB
- 720p HD Webcam
- WiGig, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Combo Card, 802.11ac WLAN, WWAN Connectors
- 3x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, OneLink+, 4-in-1 Media Card Slot
- Battery life up to 10 hours
- Windows 10
The Yoga 460 is constructed from a carbon fiber material and starts at 3.9 lbs, and will also be offered with either a black or silver finish. We’ll update with pricing/availability information for this one as well when it's announced.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 03:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Lenovo has unveiled their reinvented their ideapad (now all lowercase) lineup at IFA 2015 in Berlin, and the new laptops feature updated processors including Intel Braswell and Skylake, as well as some discrete AMD and NVIDIA GPU options.
At the entry-level price-point we find the ideapad 100S which does not contain one of the new Intel chips, instead running an Intel Atom Z3735F CPU and priced accordingly at just $189 for the 11.6” version and $259 for the 14” model. While low-end specs (2GB RAM, 32GB/64GB eMMC storage, 1366x768 screen) aren’t going to blow anyone away, these at least provide a Windows 10 alternative to a Chromebook at about the same cost, and to add some style Lenovo is offering the laptop in four colors: blue, red, white, and silver.
Moving up to the 300S we find a 14” laptop (offered in red, black, or white) with Intel Pentium Braswell processors up to the quad-core N3700, and the option of a FHD 1920x1080 display. Memory and storage options will range up to 8GB DDR3L and up to either 256GB SSD or 1TB HDD/SSHD. At 0.86" thick the 300S weighs 2.9 lbs, and prices will start at $479.
A lower-cost ideapad 300, without the “S” and with more basic styling, will be available in sizes ranging from 14” to 17” and prices starting between $399 and $549 for their respective models. A major distinction will be the inclusion of both Braswell and Intel 6th Gen Skylake CPUs, as well at the option of a discrete AMD GPU (R5 330M).
Last we have the ideapad 500S, available in 13.3”, 14”, and 15.6” versions. With Intel 6th Gen processors up to Core i7 like the 300S, these also offer optional NVIDIA GPUs (GTX 920M for the 13.3", 940M for the 14"+) and up to FHD screen resolution. Memory and storage options range up to 8GB DDR3L and up to either 256GB SSD or 1TB HDD/SSHD, and the 500S is a bit thinner and lighter than the 300S, with the 13.3” version 0.76” thick and 3.4 lbs, moving up to 0.81” and 4.6 lbs with the 15.6” version.
A non-S version of the ideapad 500 will also be available, and this will be the sole AMD CPU representative with the option of an all-AMD solution powered by up to the A10-7300 APU, or a combination of R7 350M graphics along with 6th Gen Intel Core processors. 14” and 15” models will be available starting at $399 for the APU model and $499 with an Intel CPU.
All of the new laptops ship with Windows 10 as Microsoft’s newest OS arrived just in time for the back-to-school season.
Subject: Motherboards | September 1, 2015 - 09:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
ASUS has announced a number of new motherboards today, all of which feature new Intel chipsets for LGA 1151 processors.
We've seen quite a few Z170 motherboards show up on the market in the past month, and now prepare for the onslaught of the alphabet soup of variations. In addition to Z170 you will now be seeing H170, B150, H110, and Q170 (and who knows what else might manifest itself?). Fortunately, ASUS has announced boards with all of these new chipsets so you can find one precisely tuned to your build's needs - since we don't all need overclocking or multi-GPU support after all.
The boards will be segmented into a couple of classes, Signature and Pro Gaming. As ASUS describes:
- ASUS Signature: H170, B150, H110 and Q170 chipsets in ATX, mATX and mITX, with 5X Protection II, USB Type-C, and LED-illuminated audio
- ASUS Pro Gaming: High-value H170 and B150 boards with gaming-optimized audio and networking, USB 3.1 and M.2 connectivity, and smart DIY features
Taking a look at the Signature series first, the H170-PRO, H170M-PLUS, and Q170M-C motherboards all require DDR4 memory, each supporting up to 64 GB 2133 MHz DDR4 RAM with 4 DIMM slots. The H170I-PLUS D3, on the other hand, makes use of the existing DDR3 standard for a less expensive upgrade path to Skylake, which natively supports both DDR3L (1.35V) and DDR4.
All four boards have Realtek ALC887 audio, and both “PLUS” boards offer Intel NICs with the Q170M-C sporting Intel vPro Gigabit LAN.
Moving down to the B150-PRO D3, B150M-PLUS D3, H110M-PLUS D3, and H110I-PLUS D3 we find a series of lower-cost boards that all make use of DDR3 memory, the same Realtek ALC887 audio, and Realtek Gigabit LAN. Both Intel B150 based boards also feature USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C along with standard USB 3.0 ports.
Finally, we have the Pro Gaming tier, with the H170 PRO GAMING and B150 PRO GAMING D3. As you might have guessed the PRO GAMING D3 uses DDR3 memory, while the H170 version uses the new DDR4 standard. Both motherboards feature Intel NICs, Realtek ALC1150 audio, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A and Type-C.
Specifics on pricing and exact availability have not been disclosed, but the boards will be available “soon”.
September 1, 2015 - 07:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
At $100 the ThermalTake eSPORTs Poseidon Z Forged keyboard is a little less than most LED bearing mechanical keyboards. It has 10 programmable keys, five to a side, which caused Techgage some consternation. but they did get used to the placement of the Enter key eventually. The model they tested used Blue switches, Brown are also available if that happens to be your preference. The onboard DAC amplifier for S/PDIF headphones makes the keyboard an even better value compared to the competition, Techgage like how it performed but wonder if another lower cost version could be offered without the DAC. Check out the full review here.
"Thermaltake was once known only for its chassis and cooling products, but over the years, the company’s branched out tremendously. Through its Tt eSPORTS brand, it caters to those who take their gaming seriously. On the test bench today is a perfect example of a “serious” gaming peripheral: the Poseidon Z Forged keyboard."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Corsair Strafe Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum Keyboard Review: Fun Fury of Fancy Fingering @ Modders-Inc
- Das Keyboard 4 Professional Review @ NikKTech
- EVGA TORQ X5 @ Bjorn3d
- Azio MGK1 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Neoseeker
- Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex RGB Mouse @ Kitguru
September 1, 2015 - 04:24 PM | Scott Michaud
For an engine that was released in late-March, 2014, Epic has been updating it frequently. Unreal Engine 4.9 is, as the number suggests, the tenth release (including 4.0) in just 17 months, which is less than two months per release on average. Each release is fairly sizable, too. This one has about 232 pages of release notes, plus a page and a half of credits, and includes changes for basically every system that I can think of.
The two most interesting features, for me, are Area Shadows and Full Scene Particle Collision.
Area Shadows simulates lights that are physically big and relatively close. At the edges of a shadow, the object that casts the shadow are blocking part of the light. Wherever that shadow falls will be partially lit by the fraction of the light that can see it. As that shadow position gets further back from the shadow caster, it gets larger.
On paper, you can calculate this by drawing rays from either edge of each shadow-casting light to either edge of each shadow-casting object, continued to the objects that receive the shadows. If both sides of the light can see the receiver? No shadows. If both sides of the light cannot see the receiver? That light is blocked, which is a shadow. If some percent of a uniform light can see the receiver, then it will be shadowed by 100% minus that percentage. This is costly to do, unless neither the light nor any of the affected objects move. In that case, you can just store the result, which is how “static lighting” works.
Another interesting feature is Full Scene Particle Collision with Distance Fields. While GPU-computed particles, which is required for extremely high particle counts, collide already, distance fields allow them to collide with objects off screen. Since the user will likely be able to move the camera, this will allow for longer simulations as the user cannot cause it to glitch out by, well, playing the game. It requires SM 5.0 though, which limits it to higher end GPUs.
This is also the first release to support DirectX 12. That said, when I used a preview build, I noticed a net-negative performance with my 9000 draw call (which is a lot) map on my GeForce GTX 670. Epic calls it “experimental” for a reason, and I expect that a lot of work must be done to deliver tasks from an existing engine to the new, queue-based system. I will try it again just in case something changed from the preview builds. I mean, I know something did -- it had a different command line parameter before.
UPDATE (Sept 1st, 10pm ET): An interesting question was raised in the comments that we feel could be a good aside for the news post.
Anonymous asked: I don't have any experience with game engines. I am curious as to how much of a change there is for the game developer with the switch from DX11 to DX12. It seems like the engine would hide the underlying graphics APIs. If you are using one of these engines, do you actually have to work directly with DX, OpenGL, or whatever the game engine is based on? With moving to DX12 or Vulcan, how much is this going to change the actual game engine API?
Modern, cross-platform game engines are basically an API and a set of tools atop it.
For instance, I could want the current time in seconds to a very high precision. As an engine developer, I would make a function -- let's call it "GetTimeSeconds()". If the engine is running on Windows, this would likely be ((PerformanceCounter - Initial) / PerformanceFrequency) where PerformanceCounter is grabbed from QueryPerformanceCounter() and PerformanceFrequency is grabbed from QueryPerformanceFrequency(). If the engine is running on Web standards, this would be window.performance.now() * 1000, because it is provided in milliseconds.
Regardless of where GetTimeSeconds() pulls its data from, the engine's tools and the rest of its API would use GetTimeSeconds() -- unless the developer is low on performance or development time and made a block of platform-dependent junk in the middle of everything else.
The same is true for rendering. The engines should abstract all the graphics API stuff unless you need to do something specific. There is usually even a translation for the shader code, be it an intermediate language (or visual/flowchart representation) that's transpiled into HLSL and GLSL, or written in HLSL and transpiled into GLSL (eventually SPIR-V?).
One issue is that DX12 and Vulkan are very different from DX11 and OpenGL. Fundamentally. The latter says "here's the GPU, bind all the attributes you need and call draw" while the former says "make little command messages and put it in the appropriate pipe".
Now, for people who license an engine like Unity and Unreal, they probably won't need to touch that stuff. They'll just make objects and place them in the level using the engine developer's tools, and occasionally call various parts of the engine API that they need.
Devs with a larger budget might want to dive in and tweak stuff themselves, though.
Unreal Engine 4.9 is now available. It is free to use until your revenue falls under royalty clauses.
September 1, 2015 - 02:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The new 14" and 15.6" Lenovo ThinkPad E Series were revealed recently and The Inquirer got a sneak peek at it. They offer a choice of Intel and AMD models, somewhat good news for the much beleaguered processor company, along with up to 16GB of RAM and an SSD. The most interesting upgrade is the Intel RealSense 3D camera on some models, which you may remember Ryan testing on the Dell Venue 8, which should make conference calls more interesting as well as letting you measure your room. They also announced updated M and B and E line of laptops as well as the S series desktops, read more about it at The Inquirer.
"The E Series laptops come with a host of features "ideal for business users", Lenovo said, including fingerprint scanning security and up to nine hours of battery life."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Muted HAMR blow from Seagate: 4TB whizzbang drive coming 2016 @ The Register
- Hands on with Windows Server 2016 Containers @ The Register
- Better crypto, white-box switch support in Linux 4.2 @ The Register
- Tricks For Using Desktop-Integrated Calendars @ Linux.com
- Windows 10 is the world's fourth biggest OS after a month @ The Inquirer
- Worldwide server shipments grew 8% in 2Q15, while revenue increased 7.2%, says Gartner @ DigiTimes
- Amkov AMK5000S Sports Action Camera @ Kitguru
- EnGenius ENS1750 Outdoor Access Point @ Benchmark Reviews