Samsung is being a little cagey about their new Z-SSD

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2016 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: z-ssd, NVMe, Samsung, HHHL

The Register had a quick chat with Samsung about the Z-SSD they announced at FMS 2016, hoping to get some details from the company about the technology behind the new product, with little success.  We know it will be DRAM-NAND gap-filler such as the one Netlist announced earlier and will be possible competition for Intel's XPoint.  Samsung did confirm that it will be NVMe and will initially launch as a half height, half length PCIe card, with other interfaces to follow.  They did admit it will use 3D V-NAND, but would only hint at the custom circuit design they will use.  The Register offers some prognostication at the end of the quick interview, you can see that right here.

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"The mysterious Samsung Z-SSD was announced at the Flash Memory Summit, and positioned as a DRAM-NAND gap-filler. This makes it competition for XPoint. We asked Samsung about it, and here is what we learnt."

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Source: The Register

Win $100 Steam Gift Cards - Intel Extreme Rig Challenge

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2016 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: Intel, contest, giveaway, video, extreme rig challenge

Happy Monday everyone! How about a little contest to start off your work week right?

Intel Extreme Rig Challenge - Win a $100 Steam Gift Card!

The contest will run for one week, open to anyone in the world! 

Sometimes these short and sweet posts are pretty, huh?

Fanatec Releases New CSL Elite Products - Affordable Racing!

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2016 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: wheel base, Thrustmaster, T500RS, T300, steering wheel, pedals, Fanatec, CSL Elite, ClubSport V2

This past Summer I was introduced to Fanatec products for the first time.  Before that I had only handled some lower end Genius products, as well as low end and midrange Thrustmaster units.  My review of the Fanatec setup will be posted here this next week, but my overall impressions of what Fanatec offers is overwhelmingly positive.  The only issue, and it is a glaring one, is the lack of an affordable setup based on their designs.  This past Friday Fanatec introduced a new series of products that aims to make their setups far more affordable than what we have seen so far.

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The new CSL Elite Series of products offer many of the same features of the higher end ClubSport series of products, but at a much more affordable price range.  This does not mean that they are skimping out on features and quality construction.  The CSL Elite Pedals with Loadcell Kit offer a full aluminum build with a three pedal setup and the load cell on the brake pedal.  This allows increasing resistance during braking that other spring loaded pedals may not offer.  Fanatec claims that up to 90kg of pressure can be applied to the load cell.  Having used their upper end ClubSport pedals, I can attest to what a difference such a load cell and a heavy aluminum base can do for the racing experience.  Fanatec includes three different types of anti-skid pads that can be swapped out on the pedals.

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The CSL Elite Wheel Base offers 6NM of force to the wheel.  This is more than the ClubSport V1 base, but slightly less than the V2.  In violent crashes, the wheel certainly can break the grip of the user’s hands.  The base accepts a wide variety of wheels from Fanatec, but the bundle comes with the CSL Steering Wheel P1 for Xbox One.  The base comes with the automotive grade quick release unit that easily swaps in and out wheels.  The base also includes an RPM LED display on the base that is not included in the ClubSport series.  The base also includes a built-in table clamp that is a $50 accessory for the ClubSport V2 setup.

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The smaller motor, single belt design, and plastic construction of the wheel base allows Fanatec to shave a big portion of the price off of this part.  It still features the metal drive shaft and metal quick release mechanism (something that Thrustmaster doesn’t have even on their high end T500RS base).  The base still allows the connections for the optional shifter and e-brake.

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Fanatec offers the bundle with a full version of Assetto Corsa for Xbox One for $639.85.  This is a tremendous price point that puts it in range of the T500RS.  Fanatec products have never been this reasonable for PC and Xbox One racers.  It is still a chunk of change, but it is nowhere near the $1800 range where a full ClubSport V2 setup can be bought for.

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The base can be upgraded with options such as a static paddle shifters.

I’m looking forward to seeing reviews of these parts and how they stack up to the V2 and other setups from competitors.

Click here to read the entire release and pricing.

Source: Fanatec

Blizzard Announces Live Streaming

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2016 - 10:19 PM |
Tagged: blizzard, facebook, OBS

So I was greeted with an interesting pop-up when I updated my Battle.net launcher today. Turns out Blizzard is pushing Blizzard Streaming to “the Americas, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand”. Currently, Facebook is the only platform that you can stream to, and Blizzard hasn't announced bringing it to others, but the settings area is clearly a vertical list of horizontal widgets, so that suggests they intend to add more than one at some point.

As for the application, itself, this could be useful (especially if other services are added) for users who only stream Blizzard titles, and who want something designed a bit more mainstream than OBS. That said, Raptr and GeForce Experience both fall under this category. Moreover, Blizzard doesn't clarify whether or not the stream will make use of NVIDIA's NVENC, Intel's Quick Sync, or AMD's VCE, all three of which are supported on OBS Studio. Granted, Blizzard titles tend to be easy to compute, but it is hard to beat encoding on an idle, integrated GPU, if you should have one.

That said, choices are good, and you now have another.

GDDR6's timing will be a little slower than we had hoped

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2016 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: gddr6, Samsung, delay

The Inquirer offered some sad news for anyone hoping to see GDDR6 next year as Samsung is now aiming to deliver in 2018.  The specifications remain the same, internal bandwidth topping out at 16Gbps, compared to GDDR5X at 12Gbps.  That will translate to a maximum of 512GBps on a 256-bit memory bus, 786GBps on a 384-bit bus.  Mobile devices will also appreciate the new standard as it should use around 20% less power, good news for those who buy gaming laptops.

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"SAMSUNG HAS ANNOUNCED that GDDR6 memory interface technology will be introduced in 2018, not 2017 as was previously expected."

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Source: The Inquirer

Faster WiFi is great but ... MegaMIMO 2.0; really?

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2016 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: MegaMIMO 2.0, wireless router, wifi, mu-mimo

Multi-In Multi-Out routers are a wonderful thing, not only are the routers far more tentacular than before, the technology also make our unwired lives better as Sebastian explained.  The only thing that could make it better is a bandwidth boost, which is what these researchers at MIT have been working on.  In an experiment involving laptop bearing Roombas they showed a increase of 330% in transfer speeds thanks to synchronized phases allowing multiple signals to be sent on the same frequency.  Pop on over to Slashdot to learn more about their research.

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"Scientists at MIT claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the system will shortly enter commercialization and could ease the strain on our increasingly crowded wireless networks."

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Source: Slashdot

Podcast #414 - AMD Zen Architecture Details, Lightning Headphones, AMD GPU Market Share and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2016 - 10:51 AM |
Tagged: Zen, video, seasonic, Polaris, podcast, Omen, nvidia, market share, Lightning, hp, gtx 1060 3gb, gpu, brix, Audeze, asus, architecture, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #414 - 08/25/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the newly released architecture details of AMD Zen, Audeze headphones, AMD market share gains and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:37:15
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Qualcomm and OSIsoft Announce Snapdragon-Powered Smart Ballpark

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2016 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: utilities, SoC, snapdragon, Smart Ballpark, San Diego, qualcomm, Padres, OSIsoft, iot, industrial, baseball

Ever wonder how efficiently a major venue operates when it's only full of fans on game days? It turns out they don't operate all that efficiently, and the overhead is very expensive. This is where Qualcomm and OSIsoft step in, collaborating on a new “Smart Ballpark” project for San Diego's Petco Park.

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“The San Diego Padres are utilizing edge intelligence gateways, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, to collect data from critical infrastructure systems and stream it in real-time to OSIsoft’s PI System in order to monitor utilities, improve operating efficiencies and drive sustainability across the team’s entire Petco Park ballpark.”

With usage monitoring for utilities (electrical and gas energy, potable and non-potable water) the Padres - San Diego’s Major League Baseball team that calls Petco Park home - see the potential to save more than 25% in the next five years.

“The edge intelligence gateways, using Snapdragon processors, connect to sensors and legacy systems throughout the ballpark using a broad range of communication methods, including wired and wireless technologies, analog and digital inputs and multiple communication protocols. These edge intelligence gateways acquire, store and stream data in real-time to the OSIsoft PI System which then presents the data to the Padres’ facilities managers using OSIsoft’s Visualization Suite and analytics, providing the operations team with deep situational awareness of everything happening in the venue.”

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This is a mammoth implementation of IoT (Internet of Things), with OSIsoft’s PI system a major player on the industrial side. Qualcomm naturally needs no introduction, as the smartphone SoC maker found in so many devices across virtually all brands. Qualcomm has also worked on improving mobile data performance in large venues such as ballparks, with products like the X16 modem (expected in products starting in the second half of 2016) offering improved connections via carrier and link aggregation, and use of unlicensed spectrum.

Full press release after the break:

Source: Qualcomm

Deus Ex: GPU-kind divided

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2016 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex: mankind divided

You are probably wondering what kind of performance you will see when you run the new Deus Ex after you purchase it; as obviously you did not pre-order the game.  TechPowerUp has you covered as they have tested the retail version of the game with a variety of cards to give you an idea of the load your GPU will be under.  They started out testing memory usage with a Titan, running Ultra settings at 4K will use up to 5.5GB of memory, so mid range cards will certainly suffer at that point.  Since not many of us are sporting Titans in our cases they also tried out the GTX 1060, 980Ti and 1080 along with the RX 480 and Fury X at a variety of settings.  Read through their review to garner a rough estimate of your expected performance in Mankind Divided.

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"Deus Ex Mankind Divided has just been released today. We bring you a performance analysis using the most popular graphics cards, at four resolutions, including 4K, at both Ultra and High settings. We also took a closer look at VRAM usage."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Love upgrading memory on your laptop? Double check any Apollo Lake machines you like.

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2016 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: ultraportable, LPDDR4, Intel, apollo lake

A report from DigiTimes is bad news for those who like to upgrade their ultraportable laptops.  To cut down on production costs companies like Acer, Lenovo, Asustek Computer, HP and Dell will use on-board memory as opposed to DIMMs on their Apollo Lake based machines.  This should help keep the costs of flipbooks, 2 in 1's and other small machines stable or even lower them by a small amount but does mean that they cannot easily be upgraded. Many larger notebooks will also switch to this style of memory so be sure to do your research before purchasing a new mobile system.

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"Notebook vendors have mostly adopted on-board memory designs in place of DIMMs to make their Intel Apollo Lake-based notebooks as slim as possible, according to sources from Taiwan's notebook supply chain"

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Source: DigiTimes