MSI Celebrates 30th Anniversary in Style, a limited edition GTX 1080

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 15, 2016 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: RGB, msi, GTX 1080, EKWB, factory overclocked

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MSI has just turned 30 and to help you join in the festivities they've released a custom GTX 1080 for purchase.  It uses an EK Predator Liquid Cooling Unit, the card is fully covered by a waterblock and a radiator and fan are already attached.  The card comes in a wooden box as a keepsake.

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The card is still two slots high and the GPU is overclocked somewhat, the boost is 1860 MHz.  In addition to the 30th Anniversary and MSI logos on the card, there are of course RGB lights which offer 16.8 million colours controlled by the MSI Gaming App.

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You can check out the full press release here, or the product page here.  Once we spot it on Amazon, Newegg and B&H we will update this post with links and prices.

 

Source: MSI

Podcast #417 - Maximus VIII Forumla, MoCA adapters, GFE logins and more!!

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2016 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: VR, video, tesla, Silverstone, podcast, nvidia, msi, MoCA, Maximus VIII Formula, MasterLiquid, holodeck, GFE, geforce experience, euclideon, cooler master, asus, actiontec

PC Perspective Podcast #417 - 09/15/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Maximus VIII Forumla, MoCA adapters, GFE logins 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: 1:36:39
  1. Week in Review:
  2. This episode is brought to you by Casper! (Use code “pcper”)
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  5. Closing/outro

T-Mobile now offers truly unlimited data, whether they like it or not

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2016 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: t-mobile, hack, net neutrality

This probably won't last long, so try it out now if you want or just laugh at the way telco providers completely ignore net neutrality while the debate rages on in courts and government.  It seems that T-Mobile does not count any data used in a speed test against your monthly bill, likely because customers on limited data might become quite irate at a T-Mobile tech blowing through their monthly data.  A bright young kid has found a way to take advantage of this, he discovered any media sent from any folder labelled "/speedtest" will not count against monthly data limits and set up a proxy to allow anyone take advantage of this feature. 

Drop by Slashdot for more information as well as their usual reasoned and well thought our discussion below the story, which may or may not contain numerous other ways to circumvent providers attempts at hiding the ways they circumvent their own billing for data usage.

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"Ajit writes that he then created a proxy server that allows users to access any site with this method. All a T-Mobile user has to do is go to this page and input any URL they want to visit. "Just like that, I now had access to data throughout the T-Mobile network without maintaining any sort of formal payments or contract," Ajit wrote on Medium. "Just my phone's radios talking to the network's radios, free of any artificial shackles."

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Source: Slashdot

AMD Celebrates Anniversary of Radeon Technologies Group

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 14, 2016 - 09:55 PM |
Tagged: rtg, radeon technologies group, Polaris, crimson, amd radeon, amd

It has now been a year since the formation of AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group and the graphics driven division has proven itself rather successful. Looking back with hindsight, AMD's new graphics division has enjoyed several wins with new products and advancements in driver support reclaiming market share from NVIDIA and new initiatives advancing VR, HDR, and open source visual effects.

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Specifically, the Radeon Technologies Group, led by Raja Koduri, has managed to launch its new "Polaris" graphics architecture based on a 14nm FinFET process with the RX 400 series for consumers and the Radeon Pro Duo, Radeon Pro WX series, and Radeon Pro SSG (Solid State Graphics) for professionals. The company asl hit a milestone on FreeSync monitor design wins with a total of 101 displays launched to date.

Along with actual hardware, the graphics division has shaken up branding by rolling out new driver software under the Radeon Crimson Edition brand (with 21 driver releases since release) and dropping FirePro in favor of carrying over the Radeon name to create new Radeon Pro branding for its professional series of graphics cards. Driver support has also been enhanced on Linux and the AMDGPU-Pro driver works for RX 400 series.

Further, the Radeon Technologies Group launched its GPUOpen initiative back in December to foster the creation and advancement of free and open source visual effects and productivity code that developers are free to download, modify, and share.

Speaking of market share, AMD has managed to claw back some discrete GPU market share from a lowly 18% of GPUs in Q2 2015 to nearly 30% last quarter (Q2'16). That is a very respectable jump in just a year's time especially against NVIDIA's successful Pascal launches helped both by the price/performance of RX 400 as well as much needed focus on improving driver quality and timeliness of releases. 

Where does this leave AMD and its RTG? Honestly, the graphics division is in a much better place than it was last year and it is in a decent position to survive and make a difference. There are still many unknowns and just as AMD's processor division is dependent on a successful Zen release, the graphics division will need Vega to be a hit in order for AMD to get wins on the high end and compete with NVIDIA on the flagship and performance fronts. They will further need Vega to update their professional series of cards many of which are still using the company's Fiji architecture which is not as power efficient as Pascal or future Volta (the competition).

With that said, the team had solid wins since their formation and are gearing up for the future. According to the announcement, the Radeon Technologies Group will be focusing on pushing virtual reality (VR) and HDR (high dynamic range) in gaming by working with developers, improving drivers, adding to their GPUOpen software collection, and launching new products.

From the press release:

"We’re passionate about perfecting pixels and delivering an unrivaled gaming experience for our community, and uncompromising power and creative freedom for developers and content creators. And if you think our first year was exciting, wait until you see what RTG has lined up for the future."

In the near future, Raja Koduri told Venture Beat to expect VR backpacks to be on show at CES in January and to look out for mobile Polaris graphics cards. Also, Radeon Crimson Edition may be incorporating features from recently acquired startup HiAlgo who developed software to dynamically monitor gameplay and adjust the resolution to maintain maximum frame rates and prevent overheating during long game sessions. One of their techniques called HiAlgo Switch would allow gamers to switch from full to half resolution (and back again) at the press of a hot-key button so as to keep FPS high if a gamer anticipates they are about to enter a demanding area that would normally result in low frame rates. While these techniques are not very important for desktop gaming (especially the CPU/GPU limiter to prevent overheating), all three would come in handy for mobile gamers using laptops with discrete cards or especially APUs.

I am looking forward to seeing where Raja and the RTG team go from here and what they have in store for AMD graphics.

Source: AMD

Revealing the ghost in the machine, DX12 frame times in Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: frame rating, deus ex: mankind divided, dx12, gaming

Just as we do here at PC Perspective, The Tech Report relies on rating frame times to provide accurate benchmarks as opposed to the raw number of frames per second a card provides.  This means that their look at the new DX12 patch for Deus Ex focuses on different data which does not produce the same results as FRAPs would.  This shows in their results, switching to DX12 results in much longer frame times in Deus Ex, with many spikes and a significant amount of frames that take more than 50ms to refresh.  Drop by to see their full look here.

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"An early version of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's DirectX 12 rendering path is available now, and many sites and AMD itself are already producing average FPS numbers using that software. We go inside the second to see what the real story is."

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Gaming

Eight is enough, looking at how the new Telsa HPC cards from NVIDIA will work

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: pascal, tesla, p40, p4, nvidia, neural net, m40, M4, HPC

The Register have package a nice explanation of the basics of how neural nets work in their quick look at NVIDIA's new Pascal based HPC cards, the P4 and P40.  The tired joke about Zilog or Dick Van Patten stems from the research which has shown that 8-bit precision is most effective when feeding data into a neural net.  Using 16 or 32-bit values slows the processing down significantly while adding little precision to the results produced.  NVIDIA is also perfecting a hybrid mode, where you can opt for a less precise answer produced by your local, presumably limited, hardware or you can upload the data to the cloud for the full treatment.  This is great for those with security concerns or when a quicker answer is more valuable than a more accurate one.

As for the hardware, NVIDIA claims the optimizations on the P40 will make it "40 times more efficient" than an Intel Xeon E5 CPU and it will also provide slightly more throughput than the currently available Titan X.  You can expect to see these arrive in the market sometime over then next two months.

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"Nvidia has designed a couple of new Tesla processors for AI applications – the P4 and the P40 – and is talking up their 8-bit math performance. The 16nm FinFET GPUs use Nv's Pascal architecture and follow on from the P100 launched in June. The P4 fits on a half-height, half-length PCIe card for scale-out servers, while the beefier P40 has its eyes set on scale-up boxes."

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Source: The Register

Amazon Is Selling Fallout 4 for ~18$. Should You Get It?

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 01:34 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, fallout 4, bethesda

I don't usually post individual deals, but this is a fairly big drop in price for a very popular game. The physical copy of Fallout 4, for PC of course, is currently a little over $18. Since, digitally, it is still a $60 game, this is about 70% less than the price on Steam.

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I'm guessing that this deal is to clear out stock for an upcoming Game of the Year edition. This is something to keep in mind. The last DLC has just been released two weeks ago, and, if history serves, that means it won't be too long before they release the game with the DLC bundled in. Probably, if you waited this long, you should wait until that gets released (and goes on sale) to pick it up. I doubt that it would arrive before 2017, though, so it's up to you.

Source: Amazon
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Penclic

Introduction

The Professional Typist MK1 from Penclic is a compact, tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard with Kailh Brown switches that the Swedish company has designed "for the professional typist that wants to type fast, really fast."

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"Whether you are an engineer writing reports, journalist writing articles, or anyone else who uses a keyboard a lot, you require the best tool for the job. The brown mechanical keys give a distinct feel for when you have pressed far enough and are more responsive than membrane alternatives and the keystroke sound is also suitable for the office environment. These features enable users with extra nimble fingers to type superfast."

A relative newcomer to the PC industry (and one I had not heard of before now), Penclic was founded in 2011 and specializes in ergonomics and "smart, clean Scandinavian design". I can certainly appreciate the clean design aesthetic, which is refreshing after mainly covering products in an industry that thinks PC enthusiasts want RGB lighting on everything and Batmobile-inspired industrial design.

This keyboard may not be targeted specifically at "gamers", (it is called the "Professional Typist MK1" after all) but it could certainly be used in that capacity. Key switches are a personal thing - as is standard vs. TKL (and 60%, etc.) - but Penclic may just have produced a product that can appeal to just about any user.

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Continue reading our review of the Penclic Professional Typist MK1 mechanical keyboard!!

The holodeck down under, an update from Euclideon

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: VR, holoverse, euclideon

It is hard to believe but it was indeed five years ago when Euclideon first started talking about their Unlimited Detail technology and how it can be used to create a holodeck.  You can now visit their first hologram entertainment centre, assuming you can get to Australia where the centre is located.  The video that [H]ard|OCP posted along with their interview looks very impressive, though it is difficult to get a feeling of what it would be like inside the room.

Ryan sat down (virtually) with the CEO of Euclideon, Bruce Dell, to talk about the recent updates to their Euclideon Unlimited Detail engine, the addition of animation capability and the opening of virtual reality hologram entertainment rooms based on the tech.

The technology used to create the rooms is fascinating and very different from the polygon based rendering techniques we are accustomed to.  They have named it Unlimited Detail and describe it as using 'trillions of little computer generated atoms' to create flat images on the wall or 3D holograms inside the room. Their UD engine can also stream 3D graphics from hard drives at a speed which does not need a cache, essentially giving them unlimited video memory which they use to project the equivalent of 20,000,000 converted polygons per square metre.  Check out the article as it is well worth looking at.

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"It's been five years since we last heard from Bruce Dell of Euclideon about its Unlimited Detail Technology and how he saw it changing the gaming world. Since then Bruce has not been sitting on his hands, and are now delivering the Holoverse VR / AR experience to the folks Down Under. And a new video showing this off!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

A new breakthrough in spine care! Read your book through the cover, or the introduction at least.

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2016 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: mit, terahertz camera, georgia tech

MIT have come up with a camera which radiates EM at terahertz frequencies which can read a bit of a closed book thanks to the difference in reflectivity between ink and paper.  This is less a spy device than a way to read ancient scrolls and parchments which could disintegrate at a touch.  The camera can only penetrate to a depth of about nine pages before the clarity of the image degrades and the text can no longer easily be read.  The software the camera communicates with is able to recognize the letters and words in the images, it is not the scientists who read the manuscripts directly.  The Inquirer points out that this means it is also capable of defeating captchas, an impressive feat in and of itself though one with possible negative repercussions.

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"IMAGINE IF you could read a book like Superman. Well, thanks to research by MIT and Georgia Tech, X-ray vision could be the next big thing in reading after the team created a camera that can read closed books."

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Source: The Inquirer