AMD is ARMed for ambidextrous computing

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2014 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: amd, arm, seattle

While you are awaiting Josh's take on the announcements from AMD this morning you can get a brief tease at The Tech Report, who will also likely be updating their information as the presentation progresses.  You can read about the chip bearing the code-name K12 here, though there is no in depth information as of yet.  You can also check out the stats on a server powered by ARM Cortex-A57 CPU also known as the Opteron A1100 or Seattle.  Keep your eyes peeled for more information on our front page.

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"At a press event just now, AMD offered an update on its "ambidextrous" strategy for CPUs and SoCs. There's lots of juicy detail here, but the big headline news is that the company is working on two new-from-scratch CPU core designs, one that's compatible with the 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set ISA and another that is an x86 replacement for Bulldozer and its descendants."

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Epic Games Teases Unreal Tournament Announcement

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2014 - 04:14 AM |
Tagged: Unreal Tournament, unreal engine 4, unreal, ue4

Unreal Tournament will make a comeback. This Thursday, on the official UnrealEngine Twitch.tv channel, Epic Games will make some announcement about the future of the franchise. The only other concrete information that we have is in the original tweet from Paul Meegan, their vice president of product development for about a year and a half.

 

 

So, Unreal Engine 4 dev community and Epic. That could mean any number of things but it sure seems to suggest that the community will have an active hand in its development. As our readers know, UE4's licensing structure has transitioned from an undisclosed, large fee upfront and a percentage of revenue to a small monthly subscription (and five percent of revenue). Full source code is provided to these licensees.

Perhaps the game is not, itself, the product?

Or maybe it is. Who knows. I just get an... off... feeling from the structure of this preannouncement (and that is not a bad thing). It is set to occur on the stream where they record Unreal Engine training videos. They explicitly mention "UE4 Dev Community + Epic". Why the community so front and center?

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According to Edge, Epic is currently working on three titles: Fortnite, an unannounced mobile game, and an unannounced "high-end next generation title". The mobile title is currently in pre-production and will not be "formally announced for some time". This, of course, leaves one of two possibilities: it is the "high-end next generation title" or Epic is not counting it as an official title, for some reason.

Going a little further, Fortnite is said to be PC exclusive. If Unreal Tournament is their high-end next generation title, it will either be their only offering on the next generation consoles, or they do not have a planned offering on a next generation console.

As fun as it is to speculate, I should be clear that this is entirely speculation. We will know more when Epic makes their announcement, Thursday at 2PM EDT.

Time for another Fragging Fest!

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2014 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: gaming, vlan, kick ass, fun, fragging frogs

Tomorrow is the 6th official PC Perspective and Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party, kicking off at 10AM EDT on Saturday May 3.  You will find all the pertinent info on this thread in the Forums, such as how to Friend players on Steam or Origin, the Teamspeak server information and a list of the games we are likely to play as well as the patches and mods you will need.

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Some reps from AMD will once again be joining us to give away prizes to those on the TeamSpeak server which you will need to log into in order to have a chance to win.  Battlefeild 4 is a definite and you can be sure there will be some UT2004 being played as well.  As well you are likely to get a chance to take a shot at the PC Perspective staff who will be showing up at various points during the day.  There is also a high likelihood some of the games will be livestreamed

Come join us and have a blast!

Why should you be worried about the FreeBSD credentials leak?

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2014 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: freebsd, security

You may not use it as your main OS but there is a chance your TV, PlayStation and quite possibly a lot of your networking gear runs on a version of FreeBSD.  While the repercussions are likely to be limited to a kernel crash which is annoying but not overly concerning researchers do suggest it is possible a talented attacker could get hold of at least some of the contents of the kernel's memory.  You probably shouldn't panic like your kernel could but following the link from The Register and patching is probably a good idea.

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"Got FreeBSD? Get busy on the patch, because a problem with its TCP ordering has emerged, with both denial-of-service and data leakage as possible effects."

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Source: The Register

Sapphire Launches Factory Overclocked R9 295X2 OC Graphics Card

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 10:57 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, factory overclocked, r9 295x2, 4k, gaming, hawaii, dual gpu

Early last month, AMD launched a new flagship dual GPU graphics card called the Radeon R9 295X2. This new card features two Hawaii-based GPUs paired with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. Since the launch, several partners have come forward with reference cards of their own. One piece of the "world's fastest graphics card" puzzle that has been missing, until now, is a vendor daring enough to take the beastly R9 295X2 and push it even further by offering up a factory overclocked edition. It looks like Sapphire is the first to attempt such a feat by offering up the factory overclocked Sapphire R9 295X2 OC.

The upcoming Sapphire card will join the existing reference design R9 295X2 and ratchets up both the GPU and memory clockspeeds. Sapphire is clocking both Hawaii GPUs at up to 1030 MHz and running the 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 5.2 GHz. These factory overclocks are modest from a numerical standpoint, but considering cards running at stock clocks of 1018 MHz for the GPU and 5.0 GHz for the memory are already pushing a 500W TDP and over the ATX PSU spec, seeing any overclock is notable.

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In all, we are looking at 5,632 stream processors (Hawaii architecture), 128 ROPs, and 352 TMUs. Each GPU uses a 512-bit bus to 4GB of graphics memory. This factory overclocked graphics horsepower rounds out to a smidgen more than 11.5 TFLOPS of single precision performance.

Sapphire is utilizing the same hybrid heatsink design as the reference cards which uses a centered fan and fin stack along with a AIO water cooler with a 120mm radiator.

Sapphire has not released pricing or availability on the overclocked model, but the stock-clocked R9 295X2 has an MSRP of $1,499. You can expect the R9 295X2 OC to come in at a premium, especially considering it is the first factory overclocked version that should hit the streets.

I'm excited to see this card come to market and push the boundaries of performance.

In the meantime, Ryan got a bit crazy with two stock R9 295X2 cards in quad crossfire and two power supplies. If you've got a few grand burning a hole in your pocket (or only wish you did), see what such a drool-worthy setup can get you in terms 4K gaming at PC Perspective!

Source: Sapphire

HCW Reviews Deck Mechanical Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 10:09 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard

Carl Nelson of HCW reviewed the Deck Hassium Pro and the Deck Francium Pro mechanical keyboards. These keyboards are named after the element with the same Atomic Number as its number of keys. The Hassium has 108 keys and the tenkeyless Francium has 87 keys.

Because Breaking Bad is popular?

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Apparently the font used for the keycaps stood out to Carl. It has similar design characteristics as Papyrus and Comic Sans. Hear that? It's the sound of a UX designer crying (you might be able to hear it over the Cherry MX Brown switches -- but maybe not the MX Red).

If you look at anything in the review, make sure it is the second page where he shows the various key lighting modes. There are a few unique modes, such as slowly fading keys after they are pressed and a few animations. It is definitely interesting to watch for a few minutes. He does not really like the quality of the backlight, which he questions the choice of PBT plastic as the cause, but the keyboard still lets light through.

In short, he enjoys how well it is made but is timid about the price.

Source: HCW

PC Multiplayer Servers Shut Down. PC Adapts.

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 09:34 PM |
Tagged: halo pc, halo, gamespy, gameranger

Unlike the discontinuation of Xbox Live in April 15, 2010, the PC has a few more options. Some games have been ported to Steamworks by their original developers, other games can be directly connected by a console command, and Halo PC can now be attached to GameRanger. Sure, it is a third-party application, but it functions. For fans of Halo, GameRanger also supports Halo: Custom Edition for gamers who want mod support. It even supports the demo for some reason.

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I can still play online Halo 1... Anniversary Edition... until 360 Xbox Live is shut down too.

(Note: Yes, Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox *never* had online.)

Sure, it would be better for the platform to evolve in the direction of true perpetual support. We can all hope for, and work toward, that future. Also, we can do that while sniping drivers out of Warthogs.

Source: GameRanger

Microsoft Fixed IE Zero-Day (Including for XP)

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 08:57 PM |
Tagged: windows xp

The recent Internet Explorer remote code vulnerability has been fixed for all affected versions of IE, on every affected platform. Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 on Windows XP, both 32 and 64-bit versions of the OS, have received the update, despite being unsupported (EOL). The fixes are available on Windows Update.

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According to Microsoft's official statement, these updates were pushed to Windows XP because it is close enough to April 8th, XP's EOL date, that it made sense to. Another possible reason is that, since IE6 (and later) are still supported on Windows Server 2003, the update is not entirely tied to Windows XP. It is not like the update was made exclusively for paid "Custom Support" users, IE 6, 7, and 8 are still supported products somewhere.

In any case, Microsoft is still clear with XP users that they are on borrowed time. They encourage users of Windows XP to migrate to Windows 7 or 8.1, and install IE 11 while they are at it. This will not be the bug to bite you, though.

Source: Microsoft

Face it, tape backups aren't going anywhere anytime soon

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: tape, backup, sony

Sony has just raised the bar on tape backup after creating a new process which can create strings of uniformly orientated nanocrystals in a layer less than five micrometers thick, giving the tape a storage density of 148 Gb per square inch.  Compare that to the current market standard of 2Gb per square inch on LTO-6 high-end LTO Ultrium tapes.  Unfortunately there are two questions left unanswered by the statement that The Register linked to; what I/O speeds can this media maintain and what its expected lifetime is.

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"Researchers at Sony have developed a new kind of magnetic tape that can store 74 times the data of current designs, dramatically cutting the amount of room needed for backup libraries."

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Source: The Register

NVIDIA Proves the Cake is Not a Lie with Portal on SHIELD

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, Portal, GTC, Cake, lie

Sometimes I feel like this job just keeps getting stranger and stranger. Today is no expection.

Over the years we have gotten plenty of strange guerilla marketing materials in the mail from both AMD and NVIDIA. Apparently, this is one of those days.

After reciving just a tracking number, and no additional information from NVIDIA earlier this week, the mystery package finally arrived today. Upon initial inspection we had no idea what to expect.

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When we opened the box, we were greeted by a polystyrene cooler with the logo of Bake Me a Wish, which only served to confuse us more.

As we opened the cooler, and the subsequent box inside of it, things started to make more sense.

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Inside the box, we were greeted by a chocolate cake, accompanied by a card from NVIDIA.

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As you may remember at this year's GTC Conference, NVIDIA announced that they had ported Valve's Portal to Android and would be releasing it for SHIELD. Today we were greeted with a reminder of that, and the message that we should be able to try it for ourselves.

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A teaser from this year's GTC Keynote

While we can't talk about our experiences with Portal just yet, stay tuned to PC Perspective for more coverage of the NVIDIA SHIELD and Portal very soon!

Source: NVIDIA