NVMe testing, torturing both the drives and the reviewer

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2016 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, 9100, micron

Testing out twelve 9100 NVMe flash drives is not easy as it requires some interesting configurations to make the testing worth while, sticking them all in a box and running ATTO is not going to create valuable information.  Those custom configurations revealed some interesting limitations, such as Windows' RAID having an upper limit of 385K IOPS and the Linux flavours tested topped out at 400K IOPS. 

Server 2016 Technical Preview 5 turned out to be more stable than Server 2012 R2; somehow using Resource Monitor managed to crash hard enough to break the Server install in one case.  2016 also had that upper IOPS limit which was far below the drives actual capabilities.  Drop by The Inquirer for look at the work which was done to set up for testing as well as the results.

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"I have spent the past TWO months testing these cards, the past month of which has involved truly tormenting them. I've learned a lot of things. There's the basic "NVMe is faster" that you can get from reading about the theory behind the drives, but there have also been a lot of little practical tidbits that you only get to find out when you run face first into problems."

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Source: The Register

Keep an eye out for big Toshiba NVMe drives

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2016 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: NVMe, toshiba, ZD6000

Apeiron is a supplier of  NVMe over fabric links for businesses and will be releasing products based on a Toshiba NVMe SSD, which was being kept quiet until now.  You will not see these coming to a desktop near you but the announcement contains a very interesting tidbit.  The two ZD6000 drives being sold are 1.6TB and 3.2TB in size.  While that 3.2TB drive is attractive, Aperion suggests that there will be higher capacity drives released after these models, with The Register speculating on doubling, which would give us some impressively sized drives.  The technology used to stack this memory will eventually spill over to the consumer side so you can expect capacities to continue to grow and for prices to steadily decline.

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"Toshiba has quietly made 1.6TB and 3.2TB dual-port ZD6000 NVMe SSDs available to OEMs, and we know this because Apeiron says it has certified them."

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Source: The Register

Steam Summer Sale Has Started!

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 07:27 PM |
Tagged: steam, sale, sales, steam sale, pc gaming

You probably already know this at this point, but the Steam Summer Sale has begun. The theme, this year, is Steam Summer Picnic Sale. As far as I can tell, it has no relevance other than it ends on July 4th. They do claim to have 12785 titles on sale, though, and filtering all on-sale software by Windows lists 12595 of them.

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Some interesting deals include 40% off DOOM, 50% off Fallout 4, 35% off Rise of the Tomb Raider, and 50% off Just Cause 3. The Witcher 3 is also 50% off, although it was like that before the sale and its DLC are still basically full price if you want the both of them. If you're looking for older titles, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is 75% off, as is Civilization V and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition. As always, have a browse if you are okay with tempting your credit card.

If not? ... ... Sorry.

You were to bring balance to the ads, not leave us in darkness HTML5

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2016 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: VPAID, VAST, security, Malware, javascript, html5, flash

Upsetting news today from GeoEdge, not only is HTML5 not going to prevent drive by infections from ads but it also turns out that Flash was nowhere near as responsible for these infections as we thought.  Hard to say which of those two facts is more upsetting but don't worry, you can still malign JavaScript.  The security problems actually stem from the two advertising standards used on the web, VAST and VPAID which are the vector of infection of the JavaScript code which runs to display the ad on your browser.  Follow the link from Slashdot for a detailed explanation of what is happening. 

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"A study from GeoEdge, an ad scanning vendor, reveals that Flash has been wrongly accused of being the root cause of today's malvertising campaigns, but in reality, switching to HTML5 ads won't safeguard users from attacks because the vulnerabilities are in the ad platforms and advertising standards themselves."

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Source: Slashdot

3DMark Sale and a brand new DX12 benchmark, Time Spy

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 10:37 PM |
Tagged: Futuremark. Time Spy, 3dmark

A new version of DirectX hitting the market means we need a new benchmark and once again Futuremark has delivered, with the Time Spy benchmark.  Right now 3D Mark is 80% off on Steam and if you pick it up you will get access to the new Time Spy Basic benchmark when it is released.

Time Spy uses the new DirectX 12 API and supports new features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.  It will have reviewers digging out hardware they thought they had already tested to provide you with new benchmark data points that will apply to the currently available DX12 games as well as those which will be released.

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This is also a great opportunity to pick up the full version of the benchmark for your own usage, even if you have yet to upgrade to DX12 hardware.  You should check out the teaser trailer if you are familiar with past 3D Mark versions as you will see a few glimpses at benchmark screens that caused you mental raster burn in years past.

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Source: Futuremark

Check out the impressive work done for the Computex GIGABYTE Case Mod Show

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: case mods, gigabyte, computex 2016

Gigabyte hosted a showcase of impressive case mods from all across the planet at Computex and TechARP posted a slideshow of the best of them.  They are all quite incredible, going beyond basic modding to the creation of truly unique enclosures, from Gatling guns to Ghostbusters.  It is a pity the forklift wasn't powered by a Steamroller or Bulldozer though.  Check out the full slide show and videos of the cases here.

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"The GIGABYTE case mod showcase featured incredible case mods by top case modders from around the world, including Maciel Barreto from Brazil and Suchao Prowphong from Thailand."

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Source: TechARP

Podcast #405 - AMD RX 480 Hands-on, 32-core Zen rumors, VBIOS scandal and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: Zen, western digital, video, vbios, SM961, sli, Samsung, rx 480, radeon, podcast, My Passport Wireless Pro, msi, GTX 1080, evga, drobo, be quiet, asus, amd, 960 PRO

PC Perspective Podcast #405 - 06/23/2016

Join us this week as we discuss an AMD RX 480 hands-on, 32-core Zen rumors, the ASUS/MSI VBIOS scandal 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Kaspersky Labs!

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

Program length: 1:33:07
  1. Week in Review:
  2. This episode is sponsored by Kaspersky Labs!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: devCalc Pro - Engineering Mode calculator for iOS
  5. Closing/outro

Dennaton Games Releases Hotline Miami 2 Level Editor

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2016 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, hotline miami, devolver digital, dennaton games

The (Edit June 26th: latest entry in the) Hotline Miami franchise was released a little over a year ago, and it was quite popular with both fans and critics. It is a fast-paced, top-down action game that is unforgiving enough that it tends to feel a little bit like a puzzle game as well, at least to me, in the sense that you need to figure out how to catch enough NPCs off-guard to easily and quickly take them out. As such, level design should have a huge impact on gameplay.

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And now users can make their own maps. Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital have released the level editor in today's patch. If you don't like user-generated fun, or you experience bugs or something, then you can stay on Hotline Miami 2 version 1.05.

Hotline Miami 2 and Hotline Miami 1+2 combo are both 75%-off for the rest of today.

Dawn of War III is looking ... different

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 06:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dawn of war III, warhammer 40k

Relic was showing off what DoW III will look like in the usual E3 tradition, with an enhanced 'game play' video.  Heroes are somewhat different than in the previous game, instead of leading a squad they operate on their own, however Gabriel does have an impressive upgrade to his Thunder Hammer.  Also featured is something which is totally not a warjack; an Imperial Knight which is a scaled down Titan with a single pilot.  Generally found guarding Ag. worlds they are the first of the Super Units to be revealed.  Heroes will be Elite Units, faster but somewhat squishier than Super Units which will be much slower, vulnerable to anti-vehicle attacks but able to shrug off most other attacks.  They can be chosen at the beginning of a mission and then deployed with Elite Points which you gain during the mission.  The quotes over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN don't have a lot of detail about how the game will play but the video sure is pretty.

"For the benefit of good warboys and wargirls, here’s the not-really-gameplay-despite-what-Relic-say look at a grizzled Gabriel Angelos duffing up some Eldar with the help of his Space Marine chums and a 14-metre mech named Imperial Knight Solaria"

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Intel still hasn't paid AMD the 1.2 billion USD anti-trust fine

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2016 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, antitrust

This is a saga for the ages and a snit worthy of any 2 year old child.  11 years ago AMD filed suit against Intel citing questionable business tactics Intel had been using worldwide.  Intel was offering discounted parts to retailers if they would use Intel chips exclusively.  For instance, if a company like Dell offered an AMD alternative then Intel would raise the price of every Intel component sold to Dell across the board.  This is, of course, illegal. 

The court cases were settled in 2009, in the US Intel agreed to pay AMD $1.25 billion USD to settle all outstanding court cases in the US and several overseas.  In the UK there was a seperate court case which also went against Intel, the courts there requiring Intel to pay AMD  €1.06bn, the largest ever fine in the UK.  Since then Intel has been fighting tooth and nail to find a way not to pay the fine and while they have not succeeded in their legal battle they have succeeded in not paying AMD one single cent.  Their initial appeal was dismissed in 2014 but that has not stopped Intel from delaying the payment and as of today that fine still remains unpaid.  The Inquirer posted today about their latest challenge to the ruling, Intel's legal team claims that it somehow unfair to be punished for unfair business practices.

Six years on and over 1 billion dollars that should be AMDs is still under a couch cushion in Intel's offices somewhere.

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"CHIPMAKER Intel ain't giving up and continues to fight the €1.06bn (around £815m) antitrust fine levied on the firm six years ago."

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Source: The Inquirer