Fabulous fablessness? AMD looking to ASMedia for chip R&D?

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2014 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: amd, asmedia, asus, rumour

DigiTimes spilled a juicy rumour today which has AMD looking to a work even more closely with ASMedia in the future.  AMD has already partnered with this ASUS subsidiary to integrate SATA Express into their newest chips as a way to save development costs and ease production issues.  This goes along with AMD's fabless strategy that started with the split off of GLOBALFOUNDRIES and has since lead to partnerships with other major fabbers like TSMC.  While still very much in the rumour phase and with AMD refusing to comment we are not sure this will indeed occur but it does fit with AMD's current strategy of price reductions and may free up their engineers to work on more specialized designs.

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"AMD reportedly is planning to outsource its PC chipset R&D to ASMedia Technology, a subsidiary of Asustek Computer, to save costs and the cooperation is expected to greatly benefit ASMedia's revenue performance, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

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Source: DigiTimes

Computex 2014: Samsung 845DC EVO Enterprise TLC SSDs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 4, 2014 - 07:37 PM |
Tagged: computex 2014, computex, tlc, ssd, Samsung, 845DC EVO

Well that was an alphabet soup of a title.

Samsung has just announced a new line of SSDs, based on three bit per cell (TLC) memory, for enterprise customers. The Samsung 845DC EVO is rated at 530MB/s reads with 87,000 IOPS. The company will also cover up to 600TB of writes under its warranty (no mention of length in years, though). The drive will be available "later this month" in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB models. Samsung did not mention price in their press release, but Anandtech claims the 240GB will be $250, the 480GB will be $490, and the 960GB will be $969.

Samsung's SSDs will give you some TLC???

This is basically $1/GB scaling, plus $10. I must admit, this is getting pricy. In the consumer space, we have recently seen 512GB for $199. That said, SSDs are not known for sticking to their MSRP. Also, these are enterprise-rated drives. Being TLC-based, I wonder how much (if any) SLC-style write cache was included, as per the consumer 840 EVO.

Lastly, Samsung claims that these drives use around 4W under load. This is much lower than hard drives but a little high for SSDs, according to benchmarks that I have seen. That said, there are a few ways to parse that (for example, if they mean that its peak is typically 4W, which would be pretty good for a 960GB drive).

The Samsung 845DC EVO will be available later this month for a little over $1/GB.

Source: Samsung

Baaaaa! Why so serious?

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2014 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: goat simulator, gaming, fun

It seems that gaming has become a lot less about having a good time over the past few years.  An entire branch of gaming expects you to run a treadmill of low level quests before you get to the point where you can actually start exploring and many people will not even pick up a game if they can't get achievements for simply playing something that they should be able to enjoy for the simple sake of playing. 

It is more than that however, we have progressed from teabagging and hurling vulgarities at any and all players, be they friendlies or enemies, to having a subgroup of gamers actively insulting so called 'casual gamers' and 'fake gamer girls' in social media and other public forums.  Somehow the idea that gaming is enjoyable because it is a game has been overwhelmed by those who find their fun in deriding other players.

Perhaps this is why Coffee Stain Studio's Goat Simulator has caused such a divide of opinions in gamers; those who can see the fun of wandering around smashing things and generally being silly love it. Those with a need to either prove themselves better than everyone, or at least that everyone is worse than they are can't grasp the idea of purely enjoying a game because it is simply amusing in and of itself.

For those still able to enjoy pure silliness you should read through the full patch notes of Goat Simulator 1.1 on Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN; the addition of a new map and split screen multiplayer has nothing on the notes involving Flappy Goat, the "Applying plastic wrap around your screen will now give you a 3D-effect." or Minecraft goat.  If you have even a tiny bit of a sense of humour left you should also watch the accompanying trailer.

If you want to play with the Fragging Frogs, the most fun frog-based gaming community around, you had best practice having fun. For those of you who never lost that playful spirit, come on it and join in the fun!

"Goat Simulator really is just the dumbest thing, isn’t it? Naturally, that’s why everyone in the whole world loves it and I have a pet goat now. I was surprised (and let’s face it: a bit saddened) to find that real goats have functional neck bones and lack tongues that stretch like elastic and stick like gorilla glue, but them’s the breaks. Related: do not hurl real goats into traffic. They will break. That got a bit dark there, didn’t it? But you know what’s not dark?"

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A quick walk around Computex 2014

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2014 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: thermaltake, roccat, nzxt, gigabyte, computex 2014, asus

The Tech Report has been busy at Computex, visiting as many booths as they can in amongst the numerous vendors showing off their upcoming products.  From ASUS we get another look at the ROG systems and a G-Sync monitor as several new motherboardsBoth Thermaltake and Roccat have new peripherals to show off while NZXT is more focussed on cooling products.  Gigabyte has taken advantage of the event to show how fast their limited edition Z97X-SOC Force LN2 can push DDR3, hitting 4.5GHz in a live demo!  There is more coverage that that, as well as our own, so you can expect to be busy over the next few days.

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"Earlier today at Computex, Asus let loose a veritable cornucopia of items under its Republic of Gamers brand. Among them: two stylish mini gaming desktops plus a 27" display outfitted with Nvidia's G-Sync technology."

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The ASUS Transformer Book T200TA springs a leak

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2014 - 12:45 AM |
Tagged: asus, transformer book, T200TA, Atom Z3775, Bay Trail, leak

A post on the German site Mobile Geeks gives us the stats on the ASUS Transformer Book T200TA, a Bay Trail powered that appears to sport the normal docking tendencies of the Transformer Book line up.  It is rumoured to be powered by a Bay Trail Atom Z3775 which can reach 2.39GHz at full speed with 2GB of memory, WiFi, local flash storage of up to 64GB. The outputs include USB 3.0, microUSB 2.0 port, HDMI and even without the optional dock you get SD card reader.  The dock can raise your local storage to 500GB and likely extend the battery life.

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Product may not be exactly as shown

Source: Mobile Geeks

VESA Releases DockPort™ Standard

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | June 3, 2014 - 07:54 PM |
Tagged: vesa, dockport, DisplayPort, amd

Remember DockPort?  The three in one connection we have discussed in the past? The Thunderbolt-ish connection for devices with DisplayPort which allows transmission of —audio and video plus USB data and power all on one connector.  It's here!   (even if the devices aren't quite common yet)

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NEWARK, CA (3 June 2014) – The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced the release of the DockPort standard. Developed by several VESA member companies, DockPort is an optional extension of the DisplayPort standard that will allow USB 3.1 data and DC power for battery charging to be carried over a single DisplayPort connector and cable that also carries high-resolution audio/video (A/V) data.

This new extension of the DisplayPort standard is fully backward compatible with all existing DisplayPort devices. When a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort source —such as a computer or tablet— is connected with a DockPort-enabled DisplayPort sink— such as a display monitor or docking station —A/V plus USB data and power will be transferred over a common cable through a single connector. If either the source or sink device is not a DockPort-enabled, then source and sink will recognize only the DisplayPort A/V data stream.

“As computing platforms become increasingly mobile, it becomes necessary to reduce the number of external connectors,” explained Steve Belt, Corporate Vice President - Strategic Alliances & Solutions Enablement AMD, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has developed a technology standard that enhances elegant docking designs, reduces mobile form factors, and enriches the user experience with streamlined, one-cable access to a wide range of external displays, peripherals and storage.”

DockPort is the first royalty-free industry standard that combines these three essential interface functions into a single connector. VESA first revealed its intention to develop this standard at the 2014 International Consumer Electrics Show. It anticipates that several vendors will demonstrate DockPort-enabled DisplayPort systems at Computex Taiwan, which begins today.

“Until today, most mobile computing platforms required three separate interfaces to support power charging, data transmission and external video,” said Chris Griffith, Business Development Manager for Consumer and Computing Interface at Texas Instruments, a VESA member company. “With DockPort, VESA has elegantly merged this ungainly tangle of wires into a single, sleek connector, combining power charging with the industry’s most popular data transport—USB—and the industry’s highest-speed A/V transport—DisplayPort. DockPort can reduce system implementation cost as designers can reduce external connectors and simplify docking implementations.”

VESA is developing a compliance test protocol to certify systems that meet the DockPort standard. Systems that satisfy this test protocol will be permitted to display VESA’s new DockPort logo on their packaging as a guide for consumers seeking this capability.

“The new DockPort standard demonstrates the enormous adaptability of the DisplayPort standard,” according to VESA Board Chair Alan Kobayashi, Fellow & Executive R&D Management for DisplayPort Group at MegaChips Technology America. “On the one hand, DisplayPort is a flexible A/V transport protocol that easily coexists with other protocols, like USB—it plays nicely with others. On the other hand, DisplayPort is also a robust and proven connector design whose electro-mechanical properties can accommodate data and power over a common passive copper cable and interface.”

Dockport VESA version.jpg

Source: VESA

More hints on Devil's Canyon

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2014 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: Intel, i7-4790k, devil's canyon, computex 2014, computex, 4790k

The biggest improvement for overclockers on the new Devil's Canyon processors goes by the name of Next-Generation Polymer Thermal Interface Material; which will replace the much maligned TIM used on Haswell chips that many have blamed for poor overclocking results.  So far the news is good but as no samples have arrived anywhere for review we still await the final word.  As it is an LGA 1150 processor the current heatsinks will cool this chip and in theory a BIOS/UEFI update should allow them to run on current Z87 boards making it a very easy upgrade.  As you can see in the list the speeds are raised slightly from the previous generation, check out the other features [H]ard|OCP heard about right here.

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"Intel is presenting its new Devil's Canyon processors today at Computex in Taiwan. Enthusiasts get a two new processor solutions, one with HyperThreading and one without. While many of us are familiar with processor core clocks of 4GHz+, this is first time we have Intel serving up a minimum 4GHz clock on its enthusiast K processor."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2014: WD Shows SATA Express-based PCIe HDD

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2014 - 03:37 AM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, WD, ssd, pcie, SATA Express, hdd

SATA Express is an interface to either connect a hard drive to PCIe lanes, or up to two drives via SATA. Obviously, PCIe bandwidth over a cable connection is the real draw. To use the full speed, however, the drive needs to be able to communicate over PCIe. Currently, the standard uses two PCI Express 2.0 lanes (1 GB/s).

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Now that Z97 and H97 have launched, WD is set to show off the technology at Computex. The above image is apparently of a dual-drive product, containing 4TB of rotating media and 128GB of SSD memory. I am immediately reminded of the Western Digital Black2 dual drive which Allyn reviewed last November. That product crammed a 120GB SSD into a 2.5" 1TB HDD, which appeared to the system as two separate drives. The drive has "Technology Demonstration" written in red font right on it, but it could be a good representation of what the company is thinking about.

WD also asserts that their prototype uses standard AHCI drivers, for OS compatibility.

If you want to see this product in action, then -- well -- you kind-of need to be at Computex. At some point, you might be able to see it in your own PC. When? How much? No pricing and availability, again, because it is a tech demo.

Source: WD

Computex 2014: ASUS Announces ROG G20 Compact Gaming Desktop and ROG GR8 Gaming Console PC

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2014 - 12:46 AM |
Tagged: ROG, gaming pc, computex 2014, computex, asus

Gaming PCs are often misunderstood. Many of our viewers will probably build their own from their personal selection of parts. If you would like to have someone else handle it, then an oft dismissed option is going through a system builder. If you find an option that is in your budget and has the performance you desire, then it is perfectly acceptable to buy it.

ASUS has just announced two offerings, branded Republic of Gamers (ROG), for you to consider.

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The ROG G20 Gaming Desktop can be customized with options which range up to an Intel Core i7 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. It is designed to be quiet, with expected noise at around 23-25 dbA (it is unclear whether this is measured idle or under load). While it has two fans, it also uses "natural convection" cooling, a process which uses the excess heat to make hot air rise, which is replaced by cool air that cools the components.

Yup, the PC cools itself with the air motion caused by its own heat.

After customizations, the ROG G20 Gaming Desktop is expected to retail for $800-$1700, depending on what options the user selects, and be available in late Q3, for North Americans.

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The other PC is the ROG GR8 Gaming Desktop. This device will include an Intel Core i7 and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti. Despite its form factor, a side panel allows user access to RAM and storage. It has Gigabit Ethernet and built-in 802.11ac wireless. While it obviously has HDMI outputs, it also includes DisplayPort.

ASUS does not currently have an expected price range, but it will also be available Q3, for North Americans.

Source: ASUS

NVIDIA Launches GeForce Experience 2.1

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 2, 2014 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, geforce experience, ShadowPlay

NVIDIA has just launched another version of their GeForce Experience, incrementing the version to 2.1. This release allows video of up to "2500x1600", which I assume means 2560x1600, as well as better audio-video synchronization in Adobe Premiere. Also, because why stop going after FRAPS once you start, it also adds an in-game framerate indicator. It also adds push-to-talk for recording the microphone.

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Another note: when GeForce Experience 2.0 launched, it introduced streaming of the user's desktop. This allowed recording of OpenGL and windowed-mode games by simply capturing an entire monitor. This mode was not capable of "Shadow Mode", which I believed was because they thought users didn't want a constant rolling video to be taken of their desktop in the event that they wanted to save a few minutes of it at some point. Turns out that I was wrong; the feature was coming and it arrived with GeForce Experience 2.1.

GeForce Experience 2.1 is now available at NVIDIA's website, unless it already popped up a notification for you.

Source: NVIDIA