Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 19, 2014 - 03:28 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, SoC, atom, haswell, Haswell-E, Airmont, Ivy Bridge-EX
Every few months, we get another snapshot at some of Intel's products. This timeline has a rough placement for every segment, from their Internet of Things (IoT) product, the Quark, up to the Xeon E7 v2. While it covers from now through December, it is not designed to be a strict schedule and might contain an error or two.
Image Credit: VR-Zone
First up is Ivy Bridge-EX (Xeon E7 v2). PCMag has an interesting rundown on these parts in depth, although some aspects are a little fuzzy. These 22nm-based chips range from 6 to 15 cores and can access up to 1.5TB of memory, per socket. Intel also claims they will support up to four times the I/O bandwidth for disk and network transactions. Naturally, they have all the usual virtualization and other features that are useful for servers. Most support Turbo Boost and all but one have Hyper-Threading Technology.
Jumping back to the VR-Zone editorial, the timeline suggests that the Quark X1000 will launch in April. As far as I can tell, this is new information. Quark is Intel's ultra low-end SoC that is designed for adding intelligence to non-computing devices. One example given by Intel at CES was a smart baby bottle warmer.
The refresh of Haswell is also expected to happen in April.
Heading into the third quarter, we should see Haswell-E make an appearance for the enthusiast desktop and moderately high-end server. This should be the first time since Sandy Bridge-E (2011) that expensive PCs get a healthy boost to single-threaded performance, clock for clock. Ivy Bridge-E, while a welcome addition, was definitely aimed at reducing power consumption.
Ending the year should be the launch of Airmont at 14nm. The successor to Silvermont, Airmont will be the basis of Cherry Trail tablets and lower end PCs at the very end of the year. Moorefield, which is Airmont for smartphones, is not listed on this roadmap and should not surface until 2015.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 19, 2014 - 12:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, gaming evolved, amd
The AMD Gaming Evolved App updates your drivers, optimizes your game settings, streams your gameplay to Twitch, accesses some social media platforms, and now gives prizes. Points are given for playing games using the app, optimizing game settings, and so forth. These can be exchanged for rewards ranging from free games, to Sapphire R9-series graphics cards.
This program has been in beta for a little while now, without the ability to redeem points. The system has been restructured to encourage using the entire app by lowering the accumulation rate for playing games and adding other goals. Beta participants do not lose all of their points, rather it is rescaled more in line with the new system.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 18, 2014 - 09:03 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, gtx titan black, geforce titan, geforce
NVIDIA has just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Black. Based on the full high-performance Kepler (GK110) chip, it is mostly expected to be a lower cost development platform for GPU processing applications. All 2,880 single precision (FP32) CUDA Cores and 960 double precision (FP64) CUDA Cores are unlocked, yielding 5.1 TeraFLOPs of 32-bit decimal and 1.3 TeraFLOPs of 64-bit decimal performance. The chip contains 1536kB of L2 Cache and will be paired with 6GB of video memory on the board.
The original GeForce GTX Titan launched last year, almost to the day. Also based on the GK110 design, it also featured full double precision performance with only one SMX disabled. Of course, no component at the time contained a fully-enabled GK110 processor. The first product with all 15 SMX units active was not realized until the Quadro K6000, announced in July but only available in the fall. It was followed by the GeForce GTX 780 Ti (with a fraction of its FP64 performance) in November, and the fully powered Tesla K40 less than two weeks after that.
For gaming applications, this card is expected to have comparable performance to the GTX 780 Ti... unless you can find a use for the extra 3GB of memory. Games do not display much benefit with the extra 64-bit floating point (decimal) performance because the majority of their calculations are at 32-bit precision.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Black is available today at a price of $999.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2014 - 08:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: passive cooling, cooling
Somewhere in the world, someone is developing a passively-cooled desktop made up of copper water pipes. Thirty-six (36) of them pass through what looks like an aluminum block attached to the socket LGA 1155 heatsink mount. As the copper pipes heat up, it passes to the air within it. Convection forces this to exhaust upward through the copper chimney and replaces it with cool air from below.
All Images, Credit: "Monster", CoolEnjoy.net Forums
From the 3D prototype, it looks like two passively-cooled discrete GPUs are intended to fit just above the elbow in the chimney. Even from the rendering, it is clear that quite a lot of thought and effort has gone into this project. I cannot tell how they intend to access PCIe slots from up there, be it a larger motherboard or an extension adapter, but options probably exist.
Initial testing with a Core i5-4440 (stock frequencies) show around 65 deg C at full CPU load. This should be in line with a typical air-based cooler.
Either way, this is the most impressive "SuperPipe" cooler that I have seen.
Your move, MSI.
Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2014 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gila, genius, GX, gaming mouse
Gaming mice have been changing over the past few years, no longer is having adjustable DPI enough to satisfy gamers, they want to be able to modify the X and Y axis independently and want huge amounts of programmable buttons. The Gila from Genius is capable of both, indeed it can have 72 different mappings for the 10 buttons thanks to the 32K of onboard storage. The MSRP is $65, if that is within your budget head over to Hi Tech Reviews to see their opinion of the mouse.
"The Gila by Genius, a part of their GX Gaming line of PC gaming peripherals, is a mouse designed for MMO and RTS gaming. Genius, using the brand GX Gaming, has released the Gila gaming mouse which has eight additional buttons, adjustable weight, and adjustable DPI, from 200 up through 8200. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Shogun Bros. Ballista MK-1 Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Speedlink Decus 5000dpi Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Mionix Avior 7000 Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- 12-Way Gaming Mouse Roundup @ Legion Hardware
- CM Storm Reaper Mouse from the Aluminum Gaming Series Review @ Modders-Inc
- Mionix Avior 7000 Optical Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- Func KB-460 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- FUNC KB-460 Mechanical Keyboard Review @ TechwareLabs
- MSI GK-601 Cherry Red mechanical keyboard @ Kitguru
- Func KB-460 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Techgage
Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2014 - 12:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cloud, vmware, vcloud connector
Getting familiar with virtualization, especially VMWare's take on the technology is a wise decision for anyone planning on starting or continuing a career in IT. Even if you never end up hosting your own cluster of VMs, being aware of what they are capable of will help you deal with vendors and salespeople. It is now even easier to expand your knowledge of how multiple virtual machine clusters can communicate as VMWare has made their tool free to use. This does assume you have VSphere and ESX based clusters but as that software is also available at no cost, that is not a tough prerequisite to meet. Check out the links from The Register to see about creating your own interlinked cloud, or perhaps hooking into a friends.
"VMware has released version 2.6 of its vCloud Connector tool, and dropped its price to $0. At current exchange rates that's £0 and $AUD0, for UK and Australian readers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- An Introduction to the AWS Command Line Tool @ Linux.com
- Nokia reportedly to launch Android variant smartphones @ DigiTimes
- Whatever Happened To the IPv4 Address Crisis? @ Slashdot
- Kickstarter kicked by attack @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2014 - 03:10 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: web browser, Google Chrome, chromium
This stutter was 628 milliseconds, or about 38 consecutive frames at 60 FPS.
Image Credit: Chromium Project Blog
Web browsers are designed under the assumption that a single thread of instructions will weave through every task, one by one, until everything is done. At some point, since the early 1990s, computers have been give multiple cores (and some of those designs can have multiple threads shoved through at once). The problem is now that, since "Task A" was designed to occur before "Task B", doing them separately... can break stuff good.
A simplified browser execution flowchart. Execution follows the arrow.
Image Credit: Mozilla
In case you are wondering, Mozilla started to move compilation to a background thread as of Firefox 21. Firefox 29 will move the entire just-in-time (JIT) compilation process off the main thread. This is currently in their "Aurora" release channel. To the rest of the world: it's an alpha.
This optimization is currently available in Google Chrome Beta (33).
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2014 - 10:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows 7
You cannot purchase a retail copy of Windows 7 at this point, officially. The last day of retail availability was October 30th, 2013. System builders can still include the operating system in their PCs, however, until October 31st, 2014.
Windows 7 Professional is the exception.
The Windows lifecycle website claims that OEMs can include Professional in PCs until a to-be-announced date. That date will be at least one year after whenever they decide to announce it. As of February 16th, the date is still listed as "Not yet established".
I should note that Volume Licensing customers have downgrade rights and installation media available for the two versions prior to whatever is current. In short, they have their own timeline.
Basically, we know that preinstalled Windows 7 Professional availability is on a countdown timer. We know that timer is at least one year long. We do not know how much longer than a year it will be. We also do not know when the announcement will be made and thus, when the timer will start ticking.
The Ars Technica article claims that this Windows 7 Professional OEM extension is for business users. That said, a fair amount of those users are on volume licensing. Another possibility is that Microsoft wants to bridge the gap between Windows 7 and the rumored "Windows 9" for enthusiasts. "Threshold", as it is codenamed, is supposed to address users who are primarily in the desktop interface. Professional would give them devices to purchase until then, without the general public purchasing a cheap Windows 7 machine and intending to use it for a decade (potentially beyond Windows 7's EOL in 2020).
Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate will no longer be preinstalled in PCs on October 31st, 2014. Windows 7 Professional will be available for some unannounced time afterward.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 16, 2014 - 03:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, hdd, 5TB
We may see an internal hard drive with up to 5TB of storage from Toshiba. This is an enterprise SKU but, either way, it is a step beyond the tyranny of 3TB models dotted with 4TB options at a higher price per gigabyte. For example, Newegg.com lists a 3TB Caviar Green at $114 with the 4TB version going for $164.
You might just be, Toshiba. You might just be.
The push to 3TB was fairly difficult, due mostly to software limitations in addressing more than about 2.2TB per drive. 3TB was uncommon for internal storage, although external USB drives avoided the issue. And then came the flood. Back in 2011, disastrous flooding exploded prices of hard drives. The world was cut to a fraction of its production. With standard 2TB drives over doubling in price, the industry took forever to return. Ryan, at the time (October 2011), noted that the days of 2TB for $89 would be gone for a while; that is the exact price which Newegg lists, today. Even worse, we basically did not see 4TB until almost 2013.
It is a good step, though. I hope this reaches other companies and the consumer space in reasonable time. While I am dreaming, just maybe it could push down prices on existing models? I am looking at you, 4TB disks.
Toshiba's MG04 series drives will be available in both SAS and SATA models with sizes up to 5TB. Samples will begin to ship this month.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 15, 2014 - 11:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: motorola, Lenovo, acquisition
According to Bloomberg, Lenovo's CEO has recently made a claim in a phone interview that, "In a few quarters we can turn around the business [Motorola]". Google is currently in the process of selling a subset of Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion USD. When it was first announced, I assumed the deal was based on Motorola's brand power and their relationship with wireless carriers around the world.
Now, two weeks later, Lenovo outlines their plan. The company expects to push Motorola into China, emerging markets, and even existing ones. Lenovo's CEO, Yang Yuanqing, believes that customers will positively identify with the brand, especially in China. They are planning to relaunch the brand in China and become a stronger third-place competitor (globally).
The company also disclosed that approximately 3,500 employees would carry over with this acquisition.
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