Corsair Introduces Carbide 88R Micro-ATX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 28, 2015 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: micro-atx, enclosure, corsair, case, Carbide 88RR, carbide

Corsair has introduced a new enclosure that delivers solid looks, a roomy internal layout, and a low $49.99 MSRP.


Image credit: Corsair (via TechPowerUp)

The Carbide Series 88R is a micro-ATX enclosure that offers plenty of room for cooling inside, with dual 120 mm fan mounts up front and on top of the case along with the 120 mm rear fan. There's a 5.25" bay as well for your optical drive needs, and while the open layout doesn't leave a ton of room for storage there is still space for a pair of 3.5" hard drives - with mounts for two SSDs as well.

With 383 mm of GPU clearance even the longest graphics cards will fit, though CPU (up to 150 mm) and PSU (up to 160 mm) support is reduced compared to the typical mid-tower. The Carbide 88R measures 378 x 198 x 440 mm (HxWxD), and weighs 3.65 kg.


Image credit: Corsair (via TechPowerUp)

The $49.99 price point is very attractive, and the Carbide 88R looks very good for a budget offering with a nice brushed finish front panel and a large side window to show off your build. So when can you buy one? Availability, sadly, was not announced.

Source: TechPowerUp

Here's a launch trailer for you, watch it instead of pre-ordering

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2015 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars Battlefront, gaming

EA continues to tease us before the November 17th launch date of Star Wars Battlefront, now with a brand new launch trailer which you can watch below.  Enjoy the trailer, fondly remember the open beta and put that credit card down!  If you don't want Day 1 DLC, games that are only mostly ready for Primetime at launch and Deluxe Pre-order Editions that cost over $100 then don't pre-order games!  If you don't encourage them by buying things sight unseen then the problem will go away.

"This is the News You Are Looking For."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


Source: EA

What better way to celebrate the release of Star Wars Battlefront than making a motorized AT-AT

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, AT-AT, 3d printing

You will need some experience to build this AT-AT successfully as there are a total of 69 individual parts in 28 STL files and you will need to wire in a 9V battery, a 90 rpm motor, and a switch to make it walk.  The finished design will stand about 12" tall and walk on flat surfaces, you will need to modify the design if you want sound effects or a lightsaber created hole in the bottom to insert explosives but the basic design is more than impressive.  You can see the AT-AT in action at MAKE:Blog and the creator, Dan Olson, has posted the full project at Thingiverse if you want to build your very own.


"This is a walking model of an AT-AT from the Star Wars films. It is powered by a 9V battery, a 90 rpm motor, and a switch. Everything else is 3d printed using roughly 750 grams of filament."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: MAKE:Blog

Video Perspective: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Preview

Subject: Mobile | October 27, 2015 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: video, surface pro 4, surface book, surface, Skylake, microsoft, Intel

In early October Microsoft took the wraps off of a pair of new 2-in-1 convertible notebooks in the form of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The Surface Pro 4 is much like the previous tablet designs from the Redmond giant and includes a kick stand and optional Type Cover to make the tablet a notebook in terms of functionality. The update kicks up the processor to Intel's 6th generation Skylake design while increasing storage performance with NVMe Samsung SSDs.


The Surface Book is definitely the more interesting of the two devices with a unique design that is more notebook than tablet/2-in-1. The 13.5-in 3000x2000 3:2 screen tablet is detachable from a base that includes a full keyboard and track pad, additional battery and even an optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU. The hinge is similar to the watch hinge that Lenovo introduced with the Yoga 3 Pro and uses something Microsoft calls "Muscle Wire" to keep the tablet and keyboard docked firmly using magnets.


Though I am really just getting started on the review process of these devices, I wanted to share a quick overview of both machines. Check it out in the video embedded below.

So what do you want to know about or see specifically tested on the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book? Let us know in the comments below!

Now that's a hack, print your own organs with a modified MakerBot Replicator

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2015 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: MakerBot Replicator, 3d printer

Some university boffins have been using their melons to modify a commercially available 3D printer to print out a variety of organs with collagens, alginates and fibrins.  They modified a MakerBot Replicator with a custom syringe-based extruder, which they made on the MakerBot and have provided the STL files for anyone who wants to make one.  Their process is much different than current organ printing techniques, instead of printing live cells on a existing scaffold they print the organs in a hydrogel support bath which keeps the cells alive and also acts as a support structure.  They call the bath FRESH and it is of a consistency that allows the print head to move through the gel easily but holds the extruded cells firmly where they are printed, making it possible to print with much greater accuracy and flexibility that you would when printing freely suspended in the air.  Their full article is available to those who are interested if you click through the link at The Inquirer.


"A RESEARCH TEAM FROM Carnegie Mellon University has hacked a commercial 3D printer to create models of hearts, arteries, bones and brains out of biological material."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Corsair Introduces Strafe RGB Silent Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2015 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: Strafe RGB Silent, mechanical keyboard, keyswitches, keycaps, gaming keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX Silent, Cherry MX

Corsair has introduced the Strafe RGB Silent mechanical keyboard, which is the first keyboard to use the Cherry’s new MX Silent keyswitches.


“With a sophisticated noise dampening system integrated into each key, the Strafe RGB Silent offers all the legendary precision and feel of German-engineered Cherry MX mechanical key switches, but up to 30% quieter.”

Corsair says that “you simply won’t find a Cherry MX Silent keyswitch anywhere else”, so if the noise from mechanical key-switches bothers you (or those around you) this looks like a great alternative. So how is it silent? Corsair explains:

“Rather than using rubber O-rings or other quick-fix external fittings to reduce key noise, the Cherry MX Silent uses a patented fully-integrated noise reduction system built into every key, greatly reducing key bottoming-out and spring-back noise. The result is a keyswitch that’s up to 30% quieter, making Strafe RGB Silent the ideal choice for gamers that demand the tactile feel of a mechanical key, but prefer a quieter operation to not disturb their partner, kids or co-workers.”

The keyboard also features full RGB lighting powered by Corsair’s on-board controller, and offers “individual multi-color dynamic backlighting for nearly unlimited lighting customization, effects and personalization”. Lighting profiles can also be downloaded using Corsair’s RGB Share service.

Corsair lists these other features for the new keyboard as well:

  • USB pass-through port allows the easy connection of a mouse, gaming headset or phone to a PC
  • Full-length soft-touch wrist rest offers comfort for even the longest gaming sessions
  • Gaming grade circuitry provides 100% anti-ghosting and full 104 key rollover ensuring every critical key press registers
  • Two included sets of custom textured and contoured keycaps, vital keys offer enhanced grip and feel for FPS or MOBA games

The Strafe RGB Silent carries a 2-year warranty from Corsair and is available now with an MSRP of $159.99 from Corsair’s web store, or exclusively at Best Buy (in North America).

Source: Corsair

Steam Link First Impressions: Game Streaming Still Needs Work

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2015 - 12:08 AM |
Tagged: video, valve, steam link, steam hardware, Steam Controller, steam, game streaming

Last week we posted a video that looked over the new Valve Steam Controller and I offered some feedback and input on the new hardware. It was interesting, to say the least, and took some getting used to, but in the end I was surprised by how easy some things were, and how different other things felt. It's an interesting experiment for $50 or so, but it definitely is not a product I recommend all of our readers invest in immediately.


But what about the Steam Link device? This second piece of the puzzle is a small unit that sits near your TV or entertainment system, with an HDMI output, USB inputs, integrated wireless connectivity and Ethernet support. The goal is to stream Steam games from your primary PC without the need for a second computer. Instead, much like the NVIDIA GameStream technology that we have seen for a couple years now, the Steam Link receives a video stream from the gaming PC, accepts input from a controller or keyboard/mouse, and loops it all back.

Specifications (from Valve website):

  • 1080p resolution at 60 FPS 
  • Wired 100 Mbit/s Fast Ethernet and Wireless 802.11ac 2x2 (MIMO) networking abilities 
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports 
  • Bluetooth 4.0 
  • HDMI out 
  • Supports Steam Controller (sold separately,) Xbox One or 360 Wired Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710, or keyboard and mouse 

In the Box

  • Steam Link 
  • Power cable and adapter 
  • HDMI 2.0 cable 
  • Ethernet cable 

To get my full take on it, and to see me test out a handful of games using the Steam Link in our office, check out the video above. The short answer is that game streaming technology is still hit or miss: some titles work great others are an immediate turn off. Want to play a fast paced FPS game? You're going to hate it if you have any kind of PC gaming experience already. Maybe you need to catch up on those recent indie games released on the PC but want to sit on your couch? Steam Link will do the trick.


Again, the device is only $50, so it's not a significant investment for most people, and it might be worth trying if you have some time and are interested in checking out the technology out for yourself.

Microsoft Edge Extensions Delayed

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2015 - 07:28 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, edge

One thing that will not be in the November update for Windows 10 is extensions for Microsoft Edge. The browser should be updated in general, that feature needs a little more time before it is ready for the public. The official statement has the feature arriving in “a future Windows 10 update in 2016”. We still don't know how frequent these updates will occur, but Mary Jo Foley has sources that say “Redstone 1” will be released in June (give or take maybe?).


Microsoft also has not elaborated too much on what this extension model will be. The Ars Technica source reports that Microsoft will allow add-ons to be written in “HTML-plus-JavaScript” but they do not elaborate on whether privileged APIs will be available, and what those would be. Whatever is being planned, Microsoft has been dead-silent about it.

To me, this means that it's either far off, or completely mundane.

Source: Ars Technica

Windows 10 Update Details

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

We have been expecting a relatively major update to Windows 10 in the October-ish (which at some point the rumors slipped to November-ish) time frame since the OS launched in July. We already know much of what will be in it, based on the preview builds being sent to Windows Insider participants, so the contents are not really a surprise either. It will update a few user interface elements, tweak how System manages memory, and allow clean installs using Windows 7 and 8.1 product keys that qualify for Windows 10 upgrades.


Really, the major news is how the update will be delivered. I was honestly expecting to do the in-place upgrades that each new Insider build forced upon users. This made sense to me. If you have installed Windows 7 recently, you will know that it is a several-hour updating process that involves several reboots and gigabytes of patches. The build metaphor makes sense in a “Windows as a Service” universe, where all PCs are pushed from milestone to milestone with a few incremental patches in between.

Apparently, it will just be pushed down Windows Update in an item named “Windows 10 November 2015”. That's it. Pretty much the same experience as downloading service packs over Windows Update in previous versions. Oddly familiar, especially given the effort they put into the in-place upgrade interface over the last year and a bit.

Maybe we'll see that in future feature-updates?


Batman: Arkham Knight Being Re-Released on PC October 28

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2015 - 10:54 PM |
Tagged: warner bros, steam, release, re-release, pc gaming, batman arkham knight

Four months after being pulled from sale due to performance woes, Batman: Arkham Knight is being re-released for PC (along with a new patch containing all of the fixes) on October 28.


Image credit: Warner Bros.

From the official statement:

At 10 am PDT, Oct. 28th, Batman: Arkham Knight will be re-released for the PC platform. At the same time we’ll also be releasing a patch that brings the PC version fully up-to-date with content that has been released for console (with the exception of console exclusives).

This means that next week, all PC players will have access to Photo Mode, Big Head Mode, Batman: Arkham Asylum Batman Skin, and character selection in combat AR challenges.”

After such a terrible introduction and long absence after its unprecedented removal from sale on Steam, is there any chance Warner Bros. will still attempt to charge full price for the re-released game? Such a move might be considered controversial, but we will have to wait and see as pricing was not announced.

Testing GPU Power Draw at Increased Refresh Rates using the ASUS PG279Q

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | October 24, 2015 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: ROG Swift, refresh rate, pg279q, nvidia, GTX 980 Ti, geforce, asus, 165hz, 144hz

In the comments to our recent review of the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q G-Sync monitor, a commenter by the name of Cyclops pointed me in the direction of an interesting quirk that I hadn’t considered before. According to reports, the higher refresh rates of some panels, including the 165Hz option available on this new monitor, can cause power draw to increase by as much as 100 watts on the system itself. While I did say in the review that the larger power brick ASUS provided with it (compared to last year’s PG278Q model) pointed toward higher power requirements for the display itself, I never thought to measure the system.

To setup a quick test I brought the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q back to its rightful home in front of our graphics test bed, connected an EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti (with GPU driver 358.50) and chained both the PC and the monitor up to separate power monitoring devices. While sitting at a Windows 8.1 desktop I cycled the monitor through different refresh rate options and then recorded the power draw from both meters after 60-90 seconds of time to idle out.


The results are much more interesting than I expected! At 60Hz refresh rate, the monitor was drawing just 22.1 watts while the entire testing system was idling at 73.7 watts. (Note: the display was set to its post-calibration brightness of just 31.) Moving up to 100Hz and 120Hz saw very minor increases in power consumption from both the system and monitor.

But the jump to 144Hz is much more dramatic – idle system power jumps from 76 watts to almost 134 watts – an increase of 57 watts! Monitor power only increased by 1 watt at that transition though. At 165Hz we see another small increase, bringing the system power up to 137.8 watts.

Interestingly we did find that the system would repeatedly jump to as much as 200+ watts of idle power draw for 30 seconds at time and then drop back down to the 135-140 watt area for a few minutes. It was repeatable and very measurable.

So, what the hell is going on? A look at GPU-Z clock speeds reveals the source of the power consumption increase.


When running the monitor at 60Hz, 100Hz and even 120Hz, the GPU clock speed sits comfortably at 135MHz. When we increase from 120Hz to 144Hz though, the GPU clock spikes to 885MHz and stays there, even at the Windows desktop. According to GPU-Z the GPU is running at approximately 30% of the maximum TDP.

Though details are sparse, it seems pretty obvious what is going on here. The pixel clock and the GPU clock are connected through the same domain and are not asynchronous. The GPU needs to maintain a certain pixel clock in order to support the required bandwidth of a particular refresh rate, and based on our testing, the idle clock speed of 135MHz doesn’t give the pixel clock enough throughput to power anything more than a 120Hz refresh rate.


Pushing refresh rates of 144Hz and higher causes a surprsing increase in power draw

The obvious question here though is why NVIDIA would need to go all the way up to 885MHz in order to support the jump from 120Hz to 144Hz refresh rates. It seems quite extreme and the increased power draw is significant, causing the fans on the EVGA GTX 980 Ti to spin up even while sitting idle at the Windows desktop. NVIDIA is aware of the complication, though it appears that a fix won’t really be in order until an architectural shift is made down the road. With the ability to redesign the clock domains available to them, NVIDIA could design the pixel and GPU clock to be completely asynchronous, increasing one without affecting the other. It’s not a simple process though, especially in a processor this complex. We have seen Intel and AMD correctly and effectively separate clocks in recent years on newer CPU designs.

What happens to a modern AMD GPU like the R9 Fury with a similar test? To find out we connected our same GPU test bed to the ASUS MG279Q, a FreeSync enabled monitor capable of 144 Hz refresh rates, and swapped the GTX 980 Ti for an ASUS R9 Fury STRIX.



The AMD Fury does not demonstrate the same phenomenon that the GTX 980 Ti does when running at high refresh rates. The Fiji GPU runs at the same static 300MHz clock rate at 60Hz, 120Hz and 144Hz and the power draw on the system only inches up by 2 watts or so. I wasn't able to test 165Hz refresh rates on the AMD setup so it is possible that at that threshold the AMD graphics card would behave differently. It's also true that the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU is running at less than half the clock rate of AMD Fiji in this idle state, and that may account for difference in pixel clocks we are seeing. Still, the NVIDIA platform draws slightly more power at idle than the AMD platform, so advantage AMD here.

For today, know that if you choose to use a 144Hz or even a 165Hz refresh rate on your NVIDIA GeForce GPU you are going to be drawing a bit more power and will be less efficient than expected even just sitting in Windows. I would bet that most gamers willing to buy high end display hardware capable of those speeds won’t be overly concerned with 50-60 watts of additional power draw, but it’s an interesting data point for us to track going forward and to compare AMD and NVIDIA hardware in the future.

Are NVIDIA and AMD ready for SteamOS?

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: linux, amd, nvidia, steam os

Steam Machines powered by SteamOS are due to hit stores in the coming months and in order to get the best performance you need to make sure that the GPU inside the machine plays nicely with the new OS.  To that end Phoronix has tested 22 GPUs, 15 NVIDIA ranging from a GTX 460 straight through to a TITAN X and seven AMD cards from an HD 6570 through to the new R9 Fury.  Part of the reason they used less AMD cards in the testing stems from driver issues which prevented some models from functioning properly.  They tested Bioshock Infinite, both Metro 2033 games, CS:GO and one of Josh's favourites, DiRT Showdown.  The performance results may not be what you expect and are worth checking out fully.  As well Phoronix put in cost to performance findings, for budget conscious gamers.


"With Steam Machines set to begin shipping next month and SteamOS beginning to interest more gamers as an alternative to Windows for building a living room gaming PC, in this article I've carried out a twenty-two graphics card comparison with various NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon GPUs while testing them on the Debian Linux-based SteamOS 2.0 "Brewmaster" operating system using a variety of Steam Linux games."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: Phoronix

Report: Intel Xeon D SoC to Reach 16 Cores

Subject: Processors | October 23, 2015 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: Xeon D, SoC, rumor, report, processor, Pentium D, Intel, cpu

Intel's Xeon D SoC lineup will soon expand to include 12-core and 16-core options, after the platform launched earlier this year with the option of 4 or 8 cores for the 14 nm chips.


The report yesterday from CPU World offers new details on the refreshed lineup which includes both Xeon D and Pentium D SoCs:

"According to our sources, Intel have made some changes to the lineup, which is now comprised of 13 Xeon D and Pentium D SKUs. Even more interesting is that Intel managed to double the maximum number of cores, and consequentially combined cache size, of Xeon D design, and the nearing Xeon D launch may include a few 12-core and 16-core models with 18 MB and 24 MB cache."

The move is not unexpected as Intel initially hinted at an expanded offering by the end of the year (emphasis added):

"...the Intel Xeon processor D-1500 product family is the first offering of a line of processors that will address a broad range of low-power, high-density infrastructure needs. Currently available with 4 or 8 cores and 128 GB of addressable memory..."


Current Xeon D Processors

The new flagship Xeon D model will be the D-1577, a 16-core processor with between 18 and 24 MB of L3 cache (exact specifications are not yet known). These SoCs feature integrated platform controller hub (PCH), I/O, and dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, and the initial offerings had up to a 45W TDP. It would seem likely that a model with double the core count would either necessitate a higher TDP or simply target a lower clock speed. We should know more before too long.

For futher information on Xeon D, please check out our previous coverage: 

Source: CPU-World

Shame if something happened to all your content; better try YouTube Red

Subject: General Tech | October 23, 2015 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: google, youtube, youtube red

Google is taking advantage of its near monopoly of online streaming once again.  Earlier this year they dropped ad revenue for content creators down to 55%, significantly lower than competitors such as Spotify.  Now they are essentially repeating what they did just over a year ago with independent artists, either you sign up for YouTube Red or your content will no longer be visible to anyone.  This will only effect those content contributors who make a fair amount of ad revenue, the average uploader will not need to pay the $10/month to enusre their videos are not blocked.  One question that doesn't seem to be answered at either The Register nor Techcrunch is the effect YouTube Red will have on ad revenue, if you sign up for the service as a viewer you will no longer see ads, so how exactly will content creators make anything from ads that no longer show up or generate revenue?


"YouTube Red is Google's ad-free subscription service, and rolls up both music and video for $9.99 a month. Google Play subscribers will be opted in, and find that Red videos will be available offline too. Amateur uploaders aren't affected: what Google wants to do is nail down producers who have drawn an audience, and who already draw a tangible quantity of shared advertising revenue."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Report: AMD Radeon 400 Series Taped Out, Coming 2016

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 01:49 AM |
Tagged: tape out, rumor, report, Radeon 400 Series, radeon, graphics card, gpu, Ellesmere, Baffin, amd

Details are almost nonexistent, but a new report claims that AMD has reached tape out for an upcoming Radeon 400 series of graphics cards, which could be the true successor to the R9 200-series after the rebranded 3xx cards.


Image credit: WCCFtech

According to the report:

"AMD has reportedly taped out two of its next-gen GPUs, with "Ellesmere" and "Baffin" both taping out - and both part of the upcoming Radeon 400 series of video cards."

I wish there was more here to report, but if this is accurate we should start to hear some details about these new cards fairly soon. The important thing is that AMD is working on the new performance mainstream cards so soon after releasing what was largely a simple rebrand accross much of the 300-series GPUs this year.

Source: WCCFTech

Samsung's Enterprise SSD PM1725 Hits 6 GB/s and 1 Million IOPS in Demo

Subject: Storage | October 23, 2015 - 01:28 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, solid-state drive, Samsung, PM1725, enterprise

The 950 Pro SSD is here, (and Allyn has the full review right here) and while it's the fastest consumer SSD out there, the latest enterprise SSD demo from Samsung is absolutely insane.


Image credit: Kit Guru

The PM1725 has a PCI Express 3.0 x8 interface, and a 2.5" version will also be available (though limited to PCI Express 3.0 x4). And with read speeds in excess of 6.2 GB/s the PM1725 sounds like a RAM disk. And if that wasn't enough the drive managed a million IOPS from a demo performance for this new SSD at Dell World in Austin, Texas.


Image credit: Tom's Hardware

Tom's Hardware had hands-on time with the card and was able to run a few benchmarks verifying the outlandish speeds from this SSD, with their 6.2+ GB/s result coming from a 128k QD32 sequential test, with the IOPS test run as a 4k random read.


Image credit: Tom's Hardware

I'm sure the price will be similarly out of this world and this of course isn't a consumer-oriented (or likely even bootable) option. For now the Samsung 950 Pro is the object of NVMe desire for many, and for $199.99 ($0.78/GB) for the 256 GB model and $349.99 ($0.68/GB) for the 512 GB model on the 950 Pro is pretty reasonable - even if they "only" offer up to 2.5 GB/s reads and 1.5 GB/s writes. I'd certainly take it!

ASUS Has Created a White AMD Radeon R9 Nano

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 23, 2015 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: r9 nano, mITX, mini-itx, graphics card, gpu, asus, amd

AMD's Radeon R9 Nano is a really cool product, able to provide much of power of the bigger R9 Fury X without the need for more than a standard air cooler, and doing so with an impossibly tiny size for a full graphics card. And while mini-ITX graphics cards serve a small segment of the market, just who might be buying a white one when this is released?


According to a report published first by Computer Base in Germany, ASUS is releasing an all-white AMD R9 Nano, and it looks really sharp. The stock R9 Nano is no slouch in the looks department as you can see here in our full review of AMD's newest GPU, but with this design ASUS provides a totally different look that could help unify the style of your build depending on your other component choices. White is just starting to show up for things like motherboard PCBs, but it's pretty rare in part due to the difficulty in manufacturing white parts that stay white when they are subjected to heat.


There was no mention on a specific release window for the ASUS R9 Nano White, so we'll have to wait for official word on that. It is possible that ASUS has also implemented their own custom PCB, though details are not know just yet. We should know more by the end of next month according to the report.

Fractal Design's new mini-ITX case, the Core 500

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 22, 2015 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: mini-itx, fractal design, core 500

For those building an HTPC or who prefer a tiny system to a full sized ATX build, Fractal Design is a common choice for a case maker.  Their newest is the Core 500 Mini-ITX case, measuring 250x213x380mm (9.8x8.0x14.4"), with a single 5.25" bay on the front, up to six internal drives mixed between 3.5" and 2.5" and a front panel with two USB 3.0 and headphone and microphone jacks.  The Tech Report liked the spartan exterior but did have some problems when installing components in the system, the all-in-one liquid cooler they used had issues fitting and larger GPUs will also prove problematic.  On the other hand with a $60 price tag the case is much less expensive than other mini-ITX cases and if you plan your components carefully you shouldn't have issues fitting them into the Core 500.


"Fractal Design's Core 500 is the company's take on a Mini-ITX case that stays compact while making room for big radiators and graphics cards, along with plenty of storage. We poked around and put our Casewarmer test system inside to see how the Core 500 measures up."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:


AMD releases a new POS processor; with DDR4 support

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: Merlin Falcon, Excavator, carrizo, amd

On your latest flight you may have noticed some branding on the displays powering the schedules and in-flight entertainment, or perhaps if you were flying to Vegas you didn't notice it until you were playing the slots.  If you were paying attention you would have noticed that the display was powered by AMD, as are many POS, medical and even military displays.  A new series of Excavator based processors was announced today, the Merlin Falcon which has four Excavator cores, a Radeon third-gen GCN GPU and support for both DDR3 and DDR4 RAM. 

Yes that is right, the first DDR4 chip from AMD is arriving but you won't be running it in your desktop.   You should probably be jealous as this processor will have HSA 1.0, hardware based HEVC/H.265 video decode,  DirectX 12 support and even the ARM co-processor that provides AMD's new Secure Processor feature.  There is more at The Register if you follow the link.


"AMD will today unveil Merlin Falcon, its latest R-series processor aimed at industrial systems, medical devices, gambling machines, digital signs, military hardware, and so on."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

"The 8-Bit Guy" Discusses Game Audio

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, audio

Over the last couple of months, we highlighted the work of The iBook Guy because it's very interesting. He also announced a rebrand to “The 8-Bit Guy” because he hasn't published an iBook video “in quite some time”. If you have been a long time follower of PC Perspective, you'll know that we have a history of changing our name to slightly less restrictive titles. Ryan initially named this site after the K7M motherboard, then Athlon motherboards in general, then AMD motherboards, then PC Perspective. I guess we shouldn't cover mobile or console teardowns...

Anywho... back to The 8-Bit Guy. This time, his video discusses how old PCs played (or, more frequently, synthesized) audio. He discusses the early, CPU-driven audio, which were quickly replaced by dedicated sound cards in the 1980s. They could drive audio waves that were either square, triangle, noise, or PCM (microphone-sampled). These four types were combined to make all of the music and sound effects of the time.

This brings us to today. He notes that, with today's modern computers having so much storage and RAM, we end up just mixing everything as an audio file and play that. This is where we can expand a little. Until around the Vista era, sound cards have been increasing in voice count. One of the last examples was the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi. This card implemented their EAX 5.0 standard, which allowed up to 128 voices in games like Battlefield 2, and that was about it. When Microsoft released Vista, they replaced the entire audio stack with a software-based one. They stated that sound card drivers were a giant cause of bluescreen errors, and thus almost everything was moved out of the kernel.


At around this time, voice limits were removed. They don't make sense anymore because mixing is no longer being done in hardware. Nowadays, even websites through Web Audio API can play thousands of sounds simultaneously, although that probably will sound terrible in practice.

Audio processing doesn't end here, though. Now that we can play as many sounds as we like, and can do so with complete software control over the PCM waves, the problem is shifted into an algorithmic one.

This is an area that I, personally, am interested in.


See the source and demo at my GitHub

Earlier this year, I created a demo in WebCL that rendered 20,000 - 30,000 sounds on an Intel HD 4600 GPU, with stereo positioning and linear distance falloff, while the system's main NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 was busy drawing the WebGL scene. The future goal was to ray-trace (high frequency) and voxelize (low frequency) sound calls based on the environment, to simulate environmentally-accurate reverbs and echoes. Over the summer, I worked with a graduate student from Queen's University to offload audio in the Unity engine (I preferred Unreal). We have not yet introduced geometry.

At this year's Oculus Connect, Michael Abrash also mentioned that audio is interesting for VR, but that it needs to wait for more computational horsepower. A lot more. He also discussed HRTF, which is the current way of adding surround to stereo by measuring how an individual's ears modify sound depending on location. It gets worse if sounds are closer than a meter away, or the actual user's ears differ too much from the experiment subject.

Anyway, enough about me. The 8-Bit Guy's videos are interesting. Check them out.