Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 12, 2014 - 05:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mediatek, arm, cortex, A17
Our Josh Walrath wrote up an editorial about the Cortex-A17 architecture less than two days ago. In it, he reports on ARM's announcement that "the IP" will ship in 2015. On the same calendar date, MediaTek announced their MT6595 SoC, integrating A17 and A7 cores, will be commercially available in 1H 2014 with devices in 2H 2014.
Of course, it is difficult to tell how ahead of schedule this is, depending on what ARM meant by shipping in 2015 and what MediaTek meant by devices based on the MT6595 platform in 2H 2014.
There are two key features about the A17: a 40% power reduction from A15 and its ability to integrate with A7 cores in a big.LITTLE structure. MediaTek goes a little further with "CorePilot", which schedules tasks across all eight cores (despite it being a grouping of two different architectures). This makes some amount of sense because it allows for four strong threads which can be augmented with four weaker threads. Especially for applications like web browsers, it is not uncommon to have a dominant main thread.
The SoC will also support LTE and HSPA+ mobile and 802.11ac wireless connections. It will not integrate the Mali-T720 GPU (DX11/OpenGL ES 3.0), but instead use the Power VR Series6 GPU (DX10/OpenGL ES 3.0 unless it is an unannounced design). MediaTek does not explain why they chose the one licensed GPU over the other.
MediaTek claims the MT6595 platform will be available in the first half of 2014 with devices coming in the second half.
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 04:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows Phone RT, Windows Phone 8.1, Blue
Before we begin: rumors, rumors, rumors.
We all know the troubles that Microsoft had when they created the Surface RT. It was a branding nightmare. It is Windows but it will not run the library of applications that your stack of installation media represents. Of course I need to be fair, between the iPhone announcement and its release, multiple people claimed to me that they wanted it to run OSX software because "it is based on OSX". Even Apple had this branding problem. They clearly survived it.
Image Source: AngelWZR Twitter.
The latest leaks claim that Windows Phone 8.1, formerly Windows Phone Blue, will be released as Windows Phone RT. This build is not expected to be the unification with Windows RT.
The apparently leaked SDK also claims various features, such as Internet Explorer 11 (now with 100% less Silverlight), display out, VPN support, and so forth. Check out Dailytech.com for their large list of features and screenshots.
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 02:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, goat simulator
For $10 you can pre-order Goat Simulator on Steam as it has gone from a wacky physics engine demonstration to a real ... goat simulator. They've even added a brand new feature to the tongue we saw sticking out of the goats mouth in the original video. If you lick something it will stick to your tongue, which was put to the obvious use of chasing humans around while wielding an axe. We can only hope that there will be a Troll Bridge add-on in the near future; how can you not buy this?
"Hmm, I worry that it’s ever so slightly less entertaining now it’s a real thing with a pricetag, as opposed to an out-of-nowhere joke. Now it’s got the Snakes On A Plane problem – it has to live up to its concept. Still, we (including I) asked for it, so down Goat Simulator’s rabbit hole we must go."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Titanfall beta registration opens for Xbox One and PC gamers @ The Inquirer
- Double Dragon: Neon Now Available on Steam
- Gouraud Shading In The Myst: Myst Remake Gets Remade @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Battlefield 4: Second Assault rumoured to launch on 18th Feb @ HEXUS
- Video Impressions: Titanfall’s Beta @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Garrett Expectations: Another Thief Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hands-On: Age Of Wonders III @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vmware, vTardis, home lab, win8
Thanks to the shortsightedness and inadequate investment of the currently popular style of IT Manager who just might be able to turn on a computer without requiring assistance the idea of a computer lab at work to allow you to test new software or infrastructure has more or less disappeared. This has lead to the rise of home labs for many, as the repercussions of rolling out untried modifications can be very serious as can falling behind of the latest trends and technology. With that in mind Simon Gallagher discovered a new use for vTardis; to set up ESX clusters on a laptop which is much easier on your electrical bill. With the specific improvements to VM performance on the Core i7 3720QM and a laptop capable of handling 32GB of RAM he was able to set up ten ESX instances, complete with nested virtual machines. There is one more trick to setting these clusters up, it seems you need Windows 8 to be able to pull it off though The Register does not specify why. You could pull this off with an AMD processor as well, as long as it has Rapid Virtualization Indexing.
"At last year's Melbourne VMware user group (VMUG) conference, VMware's Mike Laverick opined that IT pros need a home lab these days, because bosses have stopped shelling out for training."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Wireless power groups join forces: One spec to rule them all @ The Register
- Patch Tuesday brings Microsoft fixes and Adobe Shockwave update @ The Register
- Isolate a browser with Sandboxie to protect your PC @ PCSTATS
- EnerPlex Kickr IV Foldable Solar Charger Review @ TechwareLabs
- Dropbox clears up its transparency position @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | February 11, 2014 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fusion-io, PCIe SSD, ION Accelerator
If you love fast storage Fusion-Io has new products you are going to love. The first is the ION Accelerator, which can hold up to 32TB of flash storage in proper server form factor, the full 32TB likely being 4U. They rate the speed of this device at 1.7 million random IOPS, 56 microsecond access latency and 23GB/sec of bandwidth. They also released the hybrid ioControl line of appliances with a flash cache in front of HDDs which will provide great performance at a fraction of the cost of the purely flash ION. There are three models of ioControl, the n5-50 with up to 1.46TB flash and 160TB, the n5-100 with handles up to 3.14TB of flash and 176TB of HDD and the largest n5-150 with 4.8TB of flash and 192TB of disk space. Obviously the larger pool of flash can improve performance; to see the full spec sheets drop by The Register.
"These two appliances are essential server/controllers running Fusion-io software with their innards stuffed full of Fusion’s PCIe flash cards, plus disks in the hybrid appliance product. The company says they are “for accelerating enterprise applications including Oracle, SAP HANA, and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as virtualisation workloads.”"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Labs demos crazy-efficient, crazy-fast 'network on chip' @ The Register
- Microsoft gets with the times, builds two-factor authentication into Office 365 @ The Register
- Samsung leaps out of volume PC game as UK market crashes @ The Register
- Intel 7260HMW 802.11AC Versus Intel 7260HMW BN 802.11n @ Legit Reviews
- MtGox takes heat as reasons for Bitcoin FAIL surface @ The Register
- Cloudflare fights off a huge DDoS attack @ The Inquirer
- Retrotechtacular: Where the Linux/UNIX TTY Came From @ Hack a Day
- PGP Web of Trust: Core Concepts Behind Trusted Communication @ Linux.com
- Silentium PC EU Joint Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 07:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows xp, windows, microsoft
Windows XP will be end-of-life in just 59 days and Microsoft is concerned. They want to enlist their blog readers as tech support who encourages the upgrade to Windows 8.1 directly, or by the purchase of a new PC. Of course, they are not going to provide any incentive or discount. They just hope that a little peer pressure is all they need.
I will not beat someone up for being a dreamer, but...
The security nightmare is real, however. It is expected that attackers are hoarding vulnerabilities until after April 8th, when open security holes will remain without patch. Some customers will be allowed paid extra support, apparently at the price of $200 per PC for a year. Of course, this is common practice and can limit the number affected by the rumored malware apocalypse.
Then again, I expect that plenty of those machines are already ripe with infection.
Microsoft seems to be hoping that the exodus from Windows XP will land in Windows 8.1 and solve two problems at once. Windows 7 is still available in devices and resellers who stocked up on old installation media, both in spite of Microsoft (rather than endorsed).
For the rest of us, sit back and watch. I will make a crazy prediction and claim that, sometime between now and June, Microsoft should flinch in some way. It could be the re-introduction of Windows 7, some promotion or discount for retailers or system builders, or whatever.
I think they will be disappointed by April.
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2014 - 02:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Razer Edge, razer
If you have spent the last year eyeing the Razer Edge 64GB and Edge Pro 256GB gaming tablets, now might be your time to pounce. Amazon is knocking $300 (30%) off of the 64GB version as well as $350 (24%) off of the 256GB one. This puts their prices at $700 and $1100, respectively.
The tablets have fairly decent internals, considering their price points. Both contain the comination of Intel HD4000 integrated graphics backed by an NVIDIA GT 640M LE discrete GPU (albeit the Pro version seems to have an extra gigabyte of vRAM). The Pro includes a dual-core Core i7 CPU, with hyper-threading, while the non-pro includes an i5. The Pro has 8GB of RAM, and the non-pro has 4GB. I probably would have little use for this device but, then again, I am a desktop guy.
The accessories, such as the gaming controller case and the docking station, unfortunately seem to remain at full price. Since they seem to be a sizable "point" of the Edge, that could slightly sour this price reduction.
Like most Amazon deals, it is anyone's guess when or if prices will go back up.
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 02:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: seattle, Opteron A111, opteron, arm, amd
The Inquirer had a chance to hear more about the upcoming Opteron A111 which contains an ARM Cortex A57. We now know it runs at 2GHz, can address up to 128GB of RAM and has enough channels for 8 drives to be connected to it. While the chips will be able to operate in tandem with traditional x86 server chips the reduction in power needed and heat produced could mean Opteron based servers could be as small as a cellphone. We also know that they will be running on a specially flavoured version of Fedora, read on to see what else was revealed by Ian Drew.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has spilled some more details about its first ARM based server processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Just how solid is cloud storage in 2014 @ The Register
- Broken Age and the Kickstarter factor @ The Tech Report
- The Android Experiment: Wearables and satnav @ The Inquirer
- Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch Review @ Madshrimps
- Make a cool be quiet! wallpaper to win amazing hardware! @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 01:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: TSMC, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
Well this is something which I expect they will not sell to Lenovo...
IBM, one of the world's most advanced chip fabrication companies with the capability to manufacture on a 22nm node, is looking to sell this division. According to The Financial Times, via Ars Technica, the company selected Goldman Sachs to seek options. They are primarily looking for interested buyers but would also consider finding a business partner to offload the division into a joint venture.
The two initial candidates are GLOBALFOUNDRIES and TSMC.
Image Credit: IBM via ZDNet (Outside photographers are not allowed inside their fab lab).
IBM is not willing to get rid of its chip design ability. IBM creates many chips, often based on its own "Power Architecture". This trademark comes with their RISC-based instruction sets which rival ARM and x86. It forms the basis of the Xbox 360, the Cell processor found in the PS3 (and rarely elsewhere), and the last three Nintendo game consoles starting with the Gamecube.
Despite designing all of the above chips, only some were actually fabricated by IBM.
Personally, I am not sure how serious the earlier mentioned potential buyers are. It could have easily been someone who looked at the list of leading foundries and picked the top two. TSMC is not even a member of "the Common Platform" alliance, not to mention how small IBM is compared to them, so I cannot see much reason for TSMC to bother.
GLOBALFOUNDRIES is a different story, It would make sense for them to want that part of IBM (Josh notes they even share some resource centers). Still, the both of us wondered if they could afford the deal. ATIC, parent company of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, might be able to get the money from somewhere - but would they? They purchased Charter only just recently. Now, if they simply enter a partnership with IBM, that might be a different story than an outright purchase.
Fabrication is hard and expensive. Creating a foundry is about $10 billion, give or take a few billion depending on yield, and changing your equipment for new nodes or wafer sizes is not much cheaper. I can see IBM, a company that is increasing concerned with high profitability, wanting to let someone else deal with at least some of the volatility.
IBM has not commented on this rumor.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 7, 2014 - 03:54 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sli, crossfire
I will not even call this a thinly-veiled rant. Linus admits it. To make a point, he assembled a $5000 PC running a pair of NVIDIA GeForce 780 Ti GPUs and another pair of AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards. While Bitcoin mining would likely utilize all four video cards well enough, games will not. Of course, he did not even mention the former application (thankfully).
Honestly, he's right. One of the reasons why I am excited about OpenCL (and its WebCL companion) is that it simply does not care about devices. Your host code manages the application but, when the jobs get dirty, it enlists help from an available accelerator by telling it to perform a kernel (think of it like function) and share the resulting chunk of memory.
This can be an AMD GPU. This can be an NVIDIA GPU. This can be an x86 CPU. This can be an FPGA. If the host has multiple, independent tasks, it can be several of the above (and in any combination). OpenCL really does not care.
Obviously, to be fair, AMD is very receptive to open platforms. NVIDIA is less-so, and they are honest about that, but they conform to standards when it benefits their users more than their proprietary ones. I know that point can be taken multiple ways, and several will be hotly debated, but I really cannot find the words to properly narrow it.
Despite the fragmentation in features, there is one thing to be proud of as a PC gamer. You may have different experiences depending on the components you purchase.
But, at least you will always have an experience.
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