All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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:
- SanDisk, Toshiba to jointly make 3D flash memory @ DigiTimes
- Michael Dell berates Microsoft's Nadella about high price of Surface tablet @ The Inquirer
- Square Enix To Concentrate On Remaking Their Back Catalog @ Slashdot
- Marvell, Longsys partner to make SSDs @ DigiTimes
- IoT's sub-GHz 802.11ah Wi-Fi will be dead on arrival, warn analysts @ The Register
- Amazon Fire TV Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:34 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2015 - 02:12 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: yoga 900, xr321ck, western digital, video, valve, ultrawide, steam link, Steam Controller, sandisk, podcast, Lenovo, freesync, acer, 3440x1440
PC Perspective Podcast #372 - 10/22/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Steam Controller and Steam Link, Acer XR321CK Ultrawide Freesync Display, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:29:18
Week in Review:
0:40:00 Learn how to add narration to your Kindle ebooks. Visit amazon.com/pcper
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2015 - 09:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webgl, tencent, atlas, artillery games
The Chinese investment and Web company, Tencent, has taken interest in many American video game companies. In a couple installments, Tencent purchased chunks of Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, which now total up to over 90% of the game studio. They later grabbed a “minority” (~48%) stake in Epic Games, which creates Unreal Engine, Unreal Tournament, Fortnite, Infinity Blade, the original three Gears of War games, and a few other franchises.
This time, they purchased an undisclosed share of Artillery Games. Artillery has not released a title yet, but they are working on a WebGL-powered engine. In other words, titles created with this technology will run directly in web browsers without plug-ins or extensions. At some point, Artillery Games decided to make a native client alongside their web engine, which was announced in September. This was apparently due to latency introduced in the Pointer Lock API and networking issues until WebRTC matures. (WebRTC brings P2P network sockets to web browsers. While people mentally equate it to video conferencing, it is also used for client-to-client multiplayer. There is even a BitTorrent client that runs in a web browser using it.)
Unfortunately, the real story would be how much of Artillery they have purchased, and we don't know that yet (if ever). They are buying up quite a lot of formerly-independent studios though, considering how many are left.
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2015 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, sword coast legends
Sword Coast Legends was just released and you should probably take a look at this quick preview of the game at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you are hoping this will fill your time until Baldurs Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is released. They have not yet had time to complete a full review including the multiplayer and Dungeon Master modes but the overall initial impression that this game feels more like Dungeon Seige than previous D&D games. You can still pause the game to order your party in combat but it seems less necessary as you are using a small pool of abilities to hack and slash your way to victory. The review is not primarily negative and it sounds like there is fun to be had but if you were hoping for something more intricate and involved then you may be disappointed. Then again, it may prove that the multiplayer mode with a DM overseeing a custom adventure may make this title worth picking up.
"We’ll have some thoughts on the multiplayer portion of just-released, latter-day Dungeons & Dragons RPG Sword Coast Legends [official site] – including the all-important DM mode – very soon, but while RPS gathers its party to sally forth, I thought I’d share some initial impressions on singleplayer."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- After Burner: Sega’s jet-fighting, puke-inducing arcade marvel @ The Register
- The RPG Scrollbars: Conning Purple @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Mad Max Review @ OCC
- Tales From The Borderlands Episode 5 Is Out @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2015 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: patriot, Viper V360, gaming headset, 7.1 headset, audio
Patriot has expanded into the gaming headset market with the Viper 360, which has two 40mm Neodymium drivers and two 30mm sub-drivers which use software to emulate 7.1 surround sound. The earcups have the volume control, a button to toggle the Ultra Bass Response feature and a switch to turn the large LED lights on and off, should you desire a glow in the dark head for some reason. The frequency response matches the competition at 20Hz- 20KHz, the two sub-drivers are enabled in UBR mode and do add some vibration along with more bass volume. At $60 it is reasonably priced and the the two year warranty should ensure you get your money's worth. Check out the full review at Modders Inc.
"Patriot is known for its memory and mobile products, and has just recently started selling peripherals. It might seem like an unusual jump, but their new headset proves that Patriot is prepared to expand and succeed in this new market. Patriot's initial headset offering is the Viper V360, a virtual 7.1 capable gaming peripheral that plugs in via USB."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Corsair VOID Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Void USB Dolby 7.1 RGB Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Corsair Void 3.5mm Stereo Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- AKG K845 BT Closed-Back Over Ear Bluetooth Headset Review @ NikKTech
- TDK TREK Flex A28 Wireless Speaker Review @ NikKTech
- Inateck Mercury Box wireless Bluetooth speaker @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2015 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: killer nic, bigfoot
When the Killer NIC was first released in 2006 the PC Perspective crew were not overly impressed, it seemed a solution in search of a problem and initially it was far more expensive than it was effective. Over the years the way the solution was implemented changed from running on an embedded Freescale PowerPC SoC to using part of the CPU to handle the processing which both reduced the price as well as offering better overall performance. More recently the acquisition by Qualcomm has helped Bigfoot develop a far more effective product, the one seen on many Z170 boards and which has received far more positive reviews. The Tech Report recently had a chance to sit down and talk with Killer's CEO Mike Cubbage and the Chief Marketing Officer Bob Grim about how their product has changed over the years. You can read about what they learned as well as learn more about how the current generation of Killer NIC performs its various tasks in their article here.
"Killer-powered Gigabit Ethernet ports can be found on many gaming-focused motherboards and laptops these days. We talked to Killer Networking about the details of its latest hardware and software, and then we put those features to the test with a Killer-equipped motherboard."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Silicon quantum logic gate is a first @ Nanotechweb
- Ultrasonic Power Transfer: uBeam’s Curious Engineering @ Hack a Day
- Self-Encrypting Western Digital Hard Drives Easy To Crack @ Slashdot
- Global desktop shipments in 2015 expected to fall over 15% @ DigiTimes
- How Scientists Are Circumventing Journal Paywalls @ Slashdot
- Tips and Tricks for Using the Two Best E-Readers for Linux @ Linux.com
- ARM floats power-sipping Mali-470 GPU for Internet of Things things @ The Register
- Vertagear S-Line SL4000 Gaming Chair @ eTeknix
- Overclocking Pros and Cons @ Hardware Secrets
- D-Link DCS-2630L: 180 Degree, HD WiFi 802.11ac Camera @ Phoronix
Subject: Storage | October 21, 2015 - 09:22 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: western digital, WD, sandisk, ssd, hard drives, solid-state drive
Western Digital has agreed to purchase Sandisk for $19 billion in cash and stock, a deal which values Sandisk at $86.50 per share and represents a 12% premium over yesterday's closing price. Current Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan will remain in charge of the company, which retains its headquarters in Irvine, California, while SanDisk's CEO Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to remain with Western Digital and join their board of directors.
Sandisk had reportedly been looking for a buyer, with Micron the other likely candidate according to this morning's report from The Wall Street Journal. The move should help to better position Western Digital in the SSD space, something rival Seagate appeared to be focused on when purchasing LSI last year. Neither company has any significant presence in the consumer solid-state market dominated by Samsung, and it will be interesting to see where WD goes with the Sandisk brand.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 21, 2015 - 07:18 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: water cooling, nvidia, liquid cooled, GTX 980 WATERFORCE, GTX 980, GPU Water Block, gigabyte, AIO
Gigabyte has announced the GeForce GTX 980 WATERFORCE water-cooled graphics card, and this one is ready to go out of the box thanks to an integrated closed-loop liquid cooler.
In addition to full liquid cooling, the card - model GV-N980WAOC-4GD - also features "GPU Gauntlet Sorting", meaning that each card has a binned GTX 980 core for better overclocking performance.
"The GTX 980 WATERFORCE is fitted with only the top-performing GPU core through the very own GPU Gauntlet Sorting technology that guarantees superior overclocking capabilities in terms of excellent power switching and thermal efficiency. Only the strongest processors survived can be qualified for the GTX 980 WATERFORCE, which can fulfill both gaming enthusiasts’ and overclockers’ expectations with greater overclocking headroom, and higher, stable boost clocks under heavy load."
The cooling system for the GTX 980 WATERFORCE begins with a full-coverage block that cools the GPU, RAM, power delivery, without the need for any additional fan for board components. The tubes carrying liquid to the radiator are 45 cm SFP, which Gigabyte says "effectively prevent...leak(s) and fare a lower coolant evaporation rate", and the system is connected to a 120 mm radiator.
Gigabyte says both the fan and the pump offer low noise output, and claim that this cooling system allows the GTX 980 WATERFORCE to "perform up to 38.8% cooler than the reference cooling" for cool and quiet gaming.
The WATERFORCE card also features two DVI outputs (reference is one dual-link output) in addition to the standard three DisplayPort 1.2 and single HDMI 2.0 outputs of a GTX 980.
Pricing and availability have not been announced.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 20, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Silverstone, RVX01, rv05, raven, mid-tower, enclosure, case, 90 degree motherboard
There's a new version of the Raven mid-tower enclosure on the way, and while it still offers a premium look this new model will be priced to move with a projected price of just $80.
The SilverStone Raven RVX01 still features a 90-degree inverted motherboard design, with the I/O facing the top of the enclosure as with the current RV05, a layout that provides excellent cooling power from fans that blow hot air upwards from the floor of the case. No less than 3 of SilverStone's 120 mm "Air Penetrator" fans are pre-mounted at the bottom of the RVX01 (up from two 180 mm fans in the RV05), so there should be no shortage of cooling power. It will be interesting to see how noise might be affected by the smaller fan size, thought on their high setting the RV05's 180 mm fans were among the loudest I've tested.
The new Raven case features the same aggressive, angular styling as before, again with a 5.25"-free design that offers only internal drive mounts. But where the current Raven only offered a single dual-3.5" bay along with a pair of 2.5" SSD mounts behind the motherboard, this new version has 4 bays that can be used for 3.5" or 2.5" drives. While the drive total will be the same the option of up to 4 3.5" drives will definitely appeal to some, as the previous design was rather restrictive when it came to storage.
The Raven RVX01 is scheduled for a November 2015 release.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 20, 2015 - 05:55 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Lenovo, yoga 900, convertible, 2-in-1, laptop, notebook, Intel Core i7, QHD+
Lenovo has introduced their latest Yoga convertible notebook, and this one isn’t just thinner and lighter – it’s 14.9 mm thick and weighs just 2.8 lbs – Lenovo claims that it’s the world’s thinnest Intel Core i-series laptop. And the improvements don’t stop with the external design, as Lenovo has upgraded virtually every aspect of the Yoga.
First off, 14.9 mm (0.59 inches) would be slim for a thin-and-light notebook anyway, but the Yoga’s thinness is even more impressive considering its 2-in-1 convertible design. The unique hinge mechanism is part of what allows Lenovo to keep such a slim profile, and this aspect has also been revised with a new version of the “watch band” hinge for the Yoga 900 that Lenovo says offers smoother movement than before.
So what’s new under the hood? The latest Intel 6th generation processors to start with, and here are more of the specs:
- Processor: Up to 6th Generation Intel Core i7
- Display: 13.3" QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS, 300 nits
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
- Memory: Up to 16 GB LP-DDR3L
- Storage: Up to 512 GB Samsung SSD
- WLAN: 2x2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: 2x USB Type A 3.0, 1x USB Type C 3.0 with video out, 1x DC-in with USB 2.0 function, Audio Combo Jack
- Card Reader: 4-in-1 (SD, MMC, SDXC, SDHC)
- Webcam: 1MP 720p HD CMOS Camera
- Audio: JBL Stereo Speakers with Dolby DS 1.0 Home Theater Certification
- Battery: 4 Cell 66 Wh Li-Polymer, up to 9 hours battery life
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.75" x 8.86" x 0.59" (324 x 225 x 14.9 mm)
- Weight: Starting at 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
In keeping with the Yoga name this laptop features a 360-degree hinge design, allowing virtually limitless possibilities for using the machine. This new Yoga also features a battery with much greater density than before – 50% more, according to Lenovo – and a revised cooling system that provides up to 30% better cooling as well as quieter performance.
The Yoga 900 starts at $1199, but the base models will differ in specs depending on where you look. Best Buy seems to have the better deal as they will offer a unit at the introductory price featuring a Core i7-6500u processor, while Lenovo’s base model has an i5-6200u for the same $1199 price. Both versions feature 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD.
Subject: Mobile | October 19, 2015 - 06:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb 3.0, SD4000, kensington, docking station
The Kensington SD4000 USB 3.0 docking station is a very easy way to connect to a single 4K resolution display or a pair of 2K displays even if your laptop technically lacks the ability to support it. The small 19.5x85x2.75cm (7.7x3.3x1.1") connects to your laptop via a USB 3.0 connection and provides three USB 3.0 out, a LAN Port and DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI out, as well as separate mic and headphone jacks. There is a sliding plastic cover over the DP and HDMI ports as you can only use one at a time, an handy way to distinguish which one is active. eTeknix plugged in a 4K display and had no issues getting and external display to show full resolution, though they did not test gaming performance. As this dock is intended for business and productivity focussed users that does make sense, if that describes you then check out the review.
"For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- MSI GS40 6QE Phantom @ Kitguru
- Amazon Fire HD 8: Mid-spec Nokia Lumi... er, MediaTek slab @ The Register
- iPad Mini 4 @ The Inquirer
- Cubot H1 Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- Alcatel Flash 2 Smartphone First Look @ Tech ARP
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2015 - 05:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mionix, Castor, gaming mouse
The Mionix Castor gaming mouse is for those right-handed people who are looking for a basic LED glow and programmable buttons that number under a dozen. On the Castor there are six in total, two of which sit under the thumb on the right hand side of the mouse which is why lefties are not going to enjoy using the Castor. Using Mionix's software you can program those buttons as you see fit as well as adjusting the DPI between 50 to 10,000 and split the X and Y axis if you so desire. You can also vary the USB polling rate, Angle Snapping, Angle Tuning, Pointer Speed and Lift Distance to be saved in one of five profiles which you can jump between using the button at the top. Techgage with the overall design of the mouse as well as the number of features hidden in this unassuming mouse. Check out their full review if you are looking for a new gaming mouse.
"Mionix’s marketing strategy of naming its products after heavenly bodies is brave. It’s good, then, that the company succeeds more often than not in designing stellar products. Will its Castor, named after one of the brightest of stars visible in our skies, live up to its billing? Or will it explode like a supernova amidst such galactic expectations? Read our review to find out!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Mionix Castor @ techPowerUp
- Razer Mamba 2015 RGB Wireless – 16,000dpi @ Kitguru
- NZXT S340 Razer Special Edition @ Kitguru
- Mionix Zibal 60 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- G Skill Ripjaws KM780 RGB mechanical gaming @ Kitguru
- Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E.M GameSmart Mobile Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- El Reg keeps pushing Apple's buttons – its new Magic Keyboard @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2015 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x5 Z8300, UP board, Intel, Cherry Trail, atom
Intel's efforts to put an x86 processor in your pocket have been rather varied, from the old Minnowboard, the Compute Stick and recently the new Intel Galileo and Edison chips. Apart from the new Galileo and Edison releases, the hobby community have not adopting them in the same way that they have Raspberry Pi or Arduino. Hack a Day has a post about a new product that might be a bridge between Raspberry hackers and x86 hackers called the UP Board.
It is the size of a credit card and is powered by a quad-core Cherry Trail Atom x5-Z8300 clocked at 1.84GHz, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC Flash. For peripheral support it has a Gigabit NIC, five USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, HDMI and most importantly, the same 40-pin GPIO pin connector the Raspberry Pi Model B Plus uses as well as DSI and CSI connectors for the Raspberry Pi camera and touch screen. This offers familiar hardware for those already familiar with the Raspberry and means that the kits they currently have could be transferred. It will be interesting to see if this brings x86 functionality and interfaces into hobbyist scene.
"Efforts to put x86 on a dev board have included the Minnowboard, the Intel Galileo and Edison, and even the Intel Compute Stick. These have not seen the uptake you would expect from a small x86-powered board, but that tide may soon turn. The UP board is exactly what you would expect from a Raspberry Pi-inspired board with a real Intel processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft offers to PAY YOU to trade in your old computer for a Windows 10 device @ The Register
- Standards body wants standards for IoT. Vendors don't care @ The Register
- Windows 10 will nag you not to ditch default Microsoft Edge browser @ The Inquirer
- $65m write-down, ARM chips ship: A 90-second guide to Planet AMD @ The Register
- LEAGOO Elite 4 Smartphone Giveaway @ TechARP
Subject: Processors | October 19, 2015 - 11:28 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen, SoC, processor, imac, APU, apple, amd
Rumor: Apple to Use AMD SoC for Next-Gen iMac News about AMD has been largely depressing of late, with the introduction of the R9 Fury/Fury X and Nano graphics cards a bright spot in the otherwise tumultuous year that was recently capped by a $65 million APU write down. But one area where AMD has managed to earn a big win has been the console market, where their APUs power the latest machines from Microsoft and Sony. The combination of CPU and a powerful GPU on a single chip is ideal for those small form-factor designs, and likewise it would be ideal for a slim all-in-one PC. But an iMac?
Image credit: Apple
A report from WCCFtech today points to the upcoming Zen architecture from AMD as a likely power source for a potential custom SoC:
"A Semi-custom SOC x86 for the iMac would have to include a high performance x86 component, namely Zen, in addition to a graphics engine to drive the visual experience of the device. Such a design would be very similar to the current semi-custom Playstation 4 and XBOX ONE Accelerated Processing Units, combining x86 CPU cores with a highly capable integrated graphics solution."
Those who don't follow Apple probably don't know the company switched over almost exclusively to AMD graphics a short time ago, with NVIDIA solutions phased out of all discrete GPU models. Whether politically motivated or simply the result of AMD providing what Apple wanted from a hardware/driver standpoint I can't say, but it's still a big win for AMD considering Apple's position as one of the largest computer manufacturers - even though its market share is very low in the highly fragmented PC market overall. And while Apple has exclusively used Intel processors in its systems since transitioning away from IBM's PowerPC beginning in 2006, the idea of an AMD custom APU makes a lot of sense for the company, especially for their size and heat constrained iMac designs.
Image credit: WCCFtech
Whether or not you'd ever consider buying an iMac - or any other computer from Apple, for that matter - it's still important for the PC industry as a whole that AMD continues to find success and provide competition for Intel. Consumers can only benefit from the potential for improved performance and reduced cost if competition heats up between Intel and AMD, something we really haven't seen on the CPU front in a few years now. With CEO Lisa Su stating that AMD "had secured two new semi-custom design wins" In their recent earnings call it could very well be that we will see Zen in future iMacs, or in other PC all-in-one solutions for that matter.
Regardless, it will be exciting to see some good competition from AMD, even if we will have to wait quite a while for it. Zen isn't ready yet and we have no indication that any such product would be introduced until later next year. It will be interesting to see what Intel might do to compete given their resources. 2016 could be interesting.
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2015 - 07:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam
Of course, this quote doesn't include things like promotional images for games. It's a store, so it will promote its products. This is referring to like, Doritos. In response to Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation integrating ads in their service, Valve said that it doesn't make sense for Steam. It might make some short-term money, but it doesn't bring value to the user, it could harm the long-term relationship with the user, and it probably doesn't even sell Doritos.
Doesn't go with Mountain Dew.
In my opinion, it doesn't really matter. An ad-free Steam is nice, but I don't feel it would that it would affect me much as a user (although that would need to be actually measured to be a valid data point). I also think that its lack of effect is a fallacy. When surveyed, the vast majority of people believe that advertisements don't work on them, or just let them know that products exist. They're wrong.
I do believe that it would affect their long term brand perception with customers in general, though. Several brands have tried to get involved in gaming platforms and events, and the inevitable ads and product placement get ridiculed. It makes sense that Valve would avoid that, especially since their brand is what's keeping them on par with their competitors.
What do you think, though? Do you believe that you would mind? Or would you just shrug and ignore them (unless they're obnoxious)?
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2015 - 06:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
Windows 10 Build 10565 was released last week to Fast Ring users. It was the fourth public build since release, and it contained the most listed changes of any of them. One major change is the ability to clean install Windows 10 with a Windows 7 or 8.x key. Previously, users would need to install their old OS and then upgrade it. This was particularly annoying for users who upgraded an old version of Windows to 10, did a reinstall of Windows 10 for some reason, and the activation servers didn't recognize them. The official solution in that case was to uninstall Windows 10, installed Windows 7 or 8.x again, then upgrade again. (Again, this is only if a Windows 10 reinstall failed to reactivate for some reason.)
Tonight, the bandages come off... or on. On. Definitely on.
That's last week's news, though. This week, they moved Build 10565 to Slow Ring and released ISOs for it. The interesting part is that Slow Ring users, until now, were still on the official build, 10240, alongside the general public. This is almost too close to the rumored November update of Windows 10 to be worth it. At the same time, they also chose the build with some of the more severe known issues to flight to the Slow users, such as the inability to use Search without Cortana. This makes me wonder if they pushed it just to release ISOs for the above reinstall with Windows 7/8.x key feature.
If you're a Slow Ring user that is still on 10240, then this is your last chance to disable Insider builds, if you are properly activated.
Subject: Motherboards | October 16, 2015 - 06:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition, skylake-s, msi, lga1151, Intel Z170
As you saw from the pictures in Morry's article, the MSI Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition is a gorgeous looking motherboard and a shoo-in to power modders systems for this generation as it will lend great character to any inventive build you might construct. Looks are not everything in a motherboard however, enthusiasts also want to know how well it performs. [H]ard|OCP have also recently reviewed this motherboard which earned a Gold Award from their team as well but some of their experiences differed. For instance they saw a stable overclock of 4.7GHz @ 1.45v with the memory at DDR4-2666, albeit with some small problems which they discuss, a bit better than the 4.5GHz Morry achieved. They also had some issues with the sensors and Command Center software which you should read about in addition to Morry's discoveries.
MSI, keep doing what you are doing as some of us are not cultural illiterates!
"MSI has a goal to be the number one motherboard maker in PC Gaming. To that end MSI has been rebranding and the Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION motherboard is an example of this shift in focus. This new XPOWER series retains much of its heritage but shifts gears towards being an upper echelon gaming oriented solution."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z170x-Gaming 7 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- GIGABYTE Z170X Gaming G1 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Gigabyte GA-Z170X-GAMING G1 (Intel LGA-1151) @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 7 @ Kitguru
- MSI Z170A GAMING PRO @ techPowerUp
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K6+ Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Motherboard Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2015 - 03:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: drone, electro-magnetic cannon
The concept sounds easy to duplicate, a so called "electro-magnetic cannon" which sends radio signals powerful enough to interfere with communications between a drone and its controller that then triggers the drone to automatically land but you probably shouldn't build one. As with WiFi and cell signal disruptors, it are considered illegal for civilian usage, a pity for movie goers who would be far happier without the jerk in front of them talking on their phone during the main feature. Battelle's gun has as range of 400 metres and if put into practice will prevent future incidents such as the recent grounding of waterbombers during a forest fire because numerous drones were occupying the air space in order to take pictures. The drones would be unharmed and emergency services would not be interfered with. Take a peek at The Register for more information, but stop those dreams of intercepting Amazon drones to see what they are carrying.
"US biz Battelle boasts it has found a way to rid our skies of annoying drones without breaking the flying machines' hardware."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Updategate: Microsoft is now installing Windows 10 by default in Windows Update @ The Inquirer
- MyPaint Fills a Graphics Void on Linux @ Linux.com
- Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo sweat over controversial CISA bill @ The Inquirer
- Dropbox pushes Paper, a new way of group working @ The Inquirer
- Intel inks $8bn debt deal, preps for Altera buy @ The Register
- How do you create an SLA and status page for the whole internet? Meet IANA: Keepers of DNS @ The Register
- TP-Link Archer VR900 AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Modem Router @ eTeknix
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 15, 2015 - 09:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: PC-18, mid-tower, Lian Li, enclosure, case, aluminum case
Lian Li has announced a new mid-tower enclosure for the North American market, and the PC-18 has a decidedly retro style.
Dual 5.25-inch external optical drive bays? Boxy styling? Bare metal interior? The hallmarks of a 1990's case are here with Lian Li's new PC-18 mid-tower, but there is an interesting addition to a classic design with a hinged radiator bracket in the center of the enclosure.
The PC-18 uses this bracket to support up to 360 mm long radiators, though for a CPU I can see how the installation process for a self-contained system (depending on hose length) might be a bit tricky considering the hinge is on the right side, and closing the bracket blocks access to the CPU.
No rear exhaust fan opening? Retro.
For a GPU, on the other hand, I could see how the bracket's central positioning and hinged mount would make installing a card like AMD's Fury X really convenient.
Here are the full specs:
- Model: PC-18 A/B
- Case Type: Mid Tower Chassis
- Color: Black or Silver
- Material: Aluminum
- Expansion Slot: 7
- MB Type: ATX, Micro-ATX
- External drive bays: 2x 5.25"
- Internal drive bays: (HDD bay) 3.5" HDD x3, 2.5" HDD x1; (Remove HDD rack) 3.5" HDD x2 or 3.5"/2.5" HDD x1
- System Fans: (Front) 120mm x2; (Top) 140mm x1; (Side) 120mm x3 or 140mm x2
- I/O Ports: USB 3.0 x2, HD Audio
- PSU Type: ATX PSU
- Maximum VGA Card length: 285 mm (410 mm with HDD bay removed)
- CPU cooler height: 160mm
- PSU length: 160mm
- Dimensions: (W) 210mm (H) 452mm (D )490mm
- Net Weight: 5kg
The Lian Li PC-18 carries an MSRP of $149.99 and availability is listed as "coming soon".