Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 12, 2014 - 10:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: apple, apple a8, SoC, iphone 6, iphone 6 plus
So one of the first benchmarks for Apple's A8 SoC has been published to Rightware, and it is not very different from its predecessor. The Apple A7 GPU of last year's iPhone 5S received a score of 20,253.80 on the Basemark X synthetic benchmark. The updated Apple A8 GPU, found on the iPhone 6, saw a 4.7% increase, to 21204.26, on the same test.
Again, this is a synthetic benchmark and not necessarily representative of real-world performance. To me, though, it wouldn't surprise me if the GPU is identical, and the increase corresponds mostly to the increase in CPU performance. That said, it still does not explain the lack of increase that we see, despite Apple's switch to TSMC's 20nm process. Perhaps it matters more in power consumption and non-gaming performance? That does not align well with their 20% faster CPU and 50% faster GPU claims...
Speaking of gaming performance, iOS 8 introduces the Metal API, which is Apple's response to Mantle, DirectX 12, and OpenGL Next Initiative. Maybe that boost will give Apple a pass for a generation? Perhaps we will see the two GPUs (A7 and A8) start to diverge in the Metal API? We shall see when more benchmarks and reviews get published.
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 11:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Starcraft II, WCS, blizzard, blizzcon, esports
The StarCraft II World Championship Series is Blizzard's official method of conglomerating numerous tournaments, including their own, into a canonized ranking system. Players get points for winning various Intel Extreme Masters, Red Bull Battle Grounds, DreamHack events, GSL seasons, and so forth. Beyond the prize money of each event, points are awarded to sort a global standings list. These points, beyond bragging rights, lead to an invitation to the year's final tournament at BlizzCon.
The system has drawn some criticism, however. One specific complaint is that players are allowed to partake in any region of their choosing. This seems to lead to tactical placement of players relative to other ones, rather than actual geography. Moreover, this allows players to join in servers that they are not anywhere near to, introducing lag in the online components. If I remember correctly, the rules stated that, unless both players chose to play on a server that was outside the region (ex: a South Korean server for two competitors in WCS America), the server would default to the region (America in the previous example). For 2015, Blizzard is requiring that all players must be legal residents of the region they choose to play in. The reasons for this decision do not seem to be publicly explained, but it should discourage the shuffling of players for logistical advantages.
The other, major change is that all participants of WCS 2015 need to qualify. Previously, if I (again) remember correctly, while points were reset, some placements in leagues carried over. This time, if a player is in any given league, they fought to get there from the very bottom. If anything, I expect this became necessary when the decision was made to change residency requirements.
WCS 2014 isn't over yet, though. It will close with BlizzCon on November 8th.
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 07:38 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 9, windows, threshold, microsoft, leaked build, leak
Update: September 12th @ 12:08pm EDT
A short video has just leaked online. The screenshots cover more, but obviously as still images. It's a good idea to check out both.
Computerbase.de (linked above in "yes") claims to have access to Windows 9 Technical Preview Build 9834. This should be close to the pre-release that is rumored to be public later this month (again, if rumors are accurate). It seems to be focused on desktop usage, as rumored, but still is uncomfortably close to Windows Store and its certification requirements.
Image Credit: Computerbase.de
There are some significant changes over previous versions, from virtual desktops to a nearly borderless window look and feel, seemingly be default (saving probably about 8-10 pixels per window in width and just as much eyesore). This makes me wonder how true borderless apps (RDIO, GitHub for Windows, and Blizzard's Battle.net Launcher are examples) will play with these new styles. One of the main glitches that I have with Windows 7 is when something kicks me out of Aero and most of the non-standard styled windows freak out in one way or another (Trillian and Firefox being the most obvious offenders).
Maybe, just maybe, we will be able to get our hands on it later this month or early next month.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 11, 2014 - 04:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: quad sli, quad crossfire, nvidia, amd
Psst. AMD fans. Don't tell "Team Green" but Linus decided to take four R9 290X graphics cards and configure them in Quad Crossfire formation. They did not seem to have too much difficulty setting it up, although they did have trouble with throttling and setting up Crossfire profiles. When they finally were able to test it, they got a 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme score of 14979.
Psst. NVIDIA fans. Don't tell "Team Red" but Linus decided to take four GeForce Titan Black graphics cards and configure them in Quad SLI formation. He had a bit of a difficult time setting up the machine at first, requiring a reshuffle of the cards (how would reordering PCIe slots for identical cards do anything?) and a few driver crashes, but it worked. Eventually, they got a 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme score of around 13,300 (give or take a couple hundred).
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 11, 2014 - 03:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 210, snapdragon, LTE, cheap tablet
The Snapdragon 210 was recently announced by Qualcomm to be an SoC for cheap, sub-$100 tablets and mobile phones. With it, the company aims to bring LTE connectivity to that market segment, including Dual SIM support. It will be manufactured on the 28nm process, with up to four ARM CPU cores and a Qualcomm Adreno 304 GPU.
According to Qualcomm, the SoC can decode 1080p video. It will also be able to manage cameras with up to 8 megapixels of resolution, including HDR, autofocus, auto white balance, and auto exposure. Let's be honest, you will not really get much more than that for a sub-$100 device.
The Snapdragon 210 has been given Quick Charge 2.0, normally reserved for the 400-line and up, refill the battery quickly when connected to a Quick Charge 2.0-supporting charger (ex: the Motorola Turbo Charger). Quick Charge 1.0 worked by optimizing how energy was delivered to the battery through a specification. Quick Charge 2.0 does the same, just with 60 watts of power (!!). For reference, the USB standard defines 2.5W, which is 5V at 0.5A, although the specification is regularly extended to 5 or 10 watts.
Devices featuring the Snapdragon 210 are expected for the first half of 2015.
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 01:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: firefox, mozilla, web browser, web development
Remote Debugging for Safari on iOS and Chrome on Android is available in early development on Firefox Nightly with an optional extension.
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 12:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, corsair, logitech, Mad Catz, razer, roccat, steelseries, gaming mouse, keyboard, round up
The end of summer brings more than just pretty coloured leaves, you can also expect to see round ups of products released this year. The Register has put together an article looking at the best mice and keyboards for gamers which are currently available. In most cases they pair a keyboard and mouse from the same company so that your desk will look impressive with matching peripherals. It is not just about the aesthetics though, they also provide you with an overview of what features make each pairing unique and the features that should intrigue you. Check it out right here.
"In the case of the keyboards and mice I’m reviewing, it might be difficult to put forward a convincing argument that they are to blame, as they are all developed to make the very best of my gaming talents, but often this comes at a preposterous price."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CM Storm Mizar, TteSports Saphira and Balista MK-1 Head-to-Head Mouse Review @ eTeknix
- GAMDIAS ZEUS Laser Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Cougar 700M Mouse @ HardwareHeaven
- Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Tt eSPORTS THERON Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- EVGA TORQ X10 Carbon Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Asylum
- ROCCAT Kone XTD Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Aorus Thunder M7 Mouse @ HardwareHeaven
- Tt eSPORTS Poseidon ZX Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ TechwareLabs
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 12:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mojang ab, Minecraft, microsoft, consolitis
First and foremost, I would like to remind everyone of the Twitch.tv and Google acquisition rumors. Things are not done until they are done and it could be significantly more complicated than it appears on the surface. And yes, I am speaking from the position of someone who was bitten and wrote a news post on the subject.
Regardless, discussion has been circulating that Mojang AB, creators of Minecraft, were in talks to sell their company to Microsoft for $2 billion dollars. First, this tells us that randomly generated diamond and gold is worth a fortune; second, it tells us that Mojang, like Oculus, is twice the company that Instagram was. I guess all it took was those OpenGL filter effects.
Joking aside, two billion dollars is a significant chunk of money, about a third of Computing and Gaming Hardware's annual revenue. Minecraft is definitely a valuable asset, especially with the licensed media and merchandise, and would be a good addition to a publisher's portfolio (along with their employees if convinced to stay on). It is not entirely without basis, either. Competing publisher, Activision-Blizzard, allegedly planned to spend $500 million on Destiny, although Bungie denies that, which Activision claims is the cost of launching a new franchise nowadays.
The most interesting part of the rumor, to me, is the Bloomberg report which claims that Notch initiated the discussions. He was quite outspoken against Microsoft for a while, especially with the licensing requirements for Windows Store. Apparently, current head of Microsoft's Computing and Gaming Hardware division, Phil Spencer, is friends with Notch and has been visiting him and Mojang AB.
But until something official is announced, this is all speculation. That said, Notch has been particularly quiet about the topic on Twitter. To me, that strongly suggests that something is up.
Podcast #317 - ASUS X99 Deluxe Review, Core M Performance, 18 Core Xeons and much more news from IDF!
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 11:30 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, X99, X99 Deluxe, Intel, core m, xeon e5-2600 v3, idf, idf 2014, fortville, 40GigE, dell, 5k, nvidia, GM204, maxwell
PC Perspective Podcast #317 - 09/11/2014
Join us this week as we discuss our ASUS X99 Deluxe Review, Core M Performance, 18 Core Xeons and much more news from IDF!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Tietelman
Program length: 1:33:48
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:15:50 NVIDIA GM204 info is leaking
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Allyn: Read our IDF news!
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2014 - 10:04 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: idf 2014, western digital, hgst, Intel, dell
The Tech Report have been busy scribing up the various announcements and product releases that Intel and others are revealing at this years IDF. The HDD is staying alive by offering larger capacities than were available previously, from Western Digital's 6.3 TB archival model to HGST's 10TB helium filled monster with a 3.2TB SSD also available for frequently accessed data. From Intel comes information on Skylake systems and their wireless charging to the first benchmarks we've seen for Core M ultraportables. Also present were Dell, which allowed TR some hands on time with their Venue 8 7000 and of course a small announcement from that other company.
"Somewhat surprisingly, the initial model's capacity is listed as 6.x TB. The Ae is based on an "innovative Progressive Capacity model" that allows WD to increase the capacity of shipping drives as yields improve and the company gets better at squeezing more data onto the platters. The gains will be small—capacities of 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 TB are listed as examples—but WD says the folks who need drives like these are hungry for even incremental improvements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 161: Haswell extremes, FX redux, and Tonga devil magic
- Intel demos Skylake silicon; production expected in 2H 2015 @ The Tech Report
- IDF: Intel announces A-Wear to push big data apps via Internet of Things @ The Inquirer
- Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs @ The Register
- Intel Publishes Initial Skylake Linux Graphics Support @ Phoronix
- Intel Core M 5Y70 Broadwell-Y Benchmarked At IDF 2014 @ Legit Reviews
- Use home networking kit? DDoS bot is BACK... and it has EVOLVED @ The Register
- Quanta lands half of Acer notebook orders for 2015 @ DigiTimes
- Robotic Arm Control from the BeagleBone Black @ Linux.com
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